Friday, November 23, 2007

"Just walkin' on my shoes."

Gage took a fairly nasty fall this week. He was standing on a dining room chair, reaching into a cupboard to pick out a snack (a 'Nack,' ahem) and his little socked foot slipped and he went down hard, smacking his head on another chair on his way to the floor.

I set Lila down on the floor as gently but quickly as I could manage, muttering "Oh, my God," something I can only remember doing one other time - when he fell off the front step and struck his forehead on the pavement.

I went to Gage, and he was silent. He was completely silent and still for a full two seconds, then he sprang into action - tears streaming, wails ensuing. Thank freaking goodness. Seriously.

I held him and rocked, which normally he cringes against - far too babyish for a big boy like Gage - and I whispered into his sweaty hair, willing him to feel better. Only a minute passed before his cries turned into words. Specifically, words sounding like 'Pick a nack! Pick a nack!" He picked a nack - some cheese crackers. And he immediately calmed, fingering the crackers, his voice plucking out the curious, pleased 'Oh!' to which we are so accustomed.

"Gage feel better," he said, turning to me. I'm sure I was ashen, my breath still coming in jerks, my heart still pounding.
"Good," I said. Stroking his head again. Still rocking.
"Mommy feel better?"
"Sure," I answered immediately. "Yes." I thought about it. "That was scary. When you fell."
"But you're okay. And I feel better."
"Gage feel better, too."

Again. Thank freaking goodness.

He cracked me up a couple of times this week. Once we were all over at my parents' house and Gage came trotting through the kitchen, where my mom and I were drinking tea.

My mom: "Hi, Gage. What are you doing?"
Gage: "Just walkin' on my shoes."

My mom and I were practically snorting with laughter, exchanging a look that meant 'He *does* have a point.'

He said another funny thing to my mom this week. He was cheerfully talking about all the work he was going to do (we're big into work right now, any kind of tools). He was talking about hammering nails and sawing wood.

My mom said: "What else are you going to do?"
Gage's expression turned to disappointed and wistful, and he said in a tiny voice: "Gage so sad. Gage no can walk up the wall."

I'm turning beet red, I'm sure, trying not to bust out giggling and my mom manages to say, in a voice fairly unbroken with laughter, "That's not something you need to feel sad about, Gage. No one can walk up walls."

Let me tell you, though. It doesn't stop him from trying.

Mike and I took the kids shopping a few nights ago. We went to Babies R Us and then we were going to run into an adjacent store for a few minutes. I realized I'd forgotten the one thing we went to Babies R Us for - a childproofing cabinet lock - even though we had a bag full of stuff when we left. I don't know how that happens, but it happens. (Plus, Lila has adorable sparkly black Christmas shoes now.) So I ducked back into Babies R Us and Mike went ahead with the kids.

Of course, as soon as I was alone my first thought was 'I could drive away.' It's so ridiculous, how I have these little kids and a great husband, and I'm really happy with my life, but it's so *busy* all the time. As soon as I have a moment to myself, and the keys in my hand, this dark little ticklish spot in my brain starts teasing me. 'Here's your chance, Jen. By the time he figures out you're gone you'll be miles away.'

Where would I go? Home? What would I do? Take a nap? I don't even *want* to sneak away, in all honesty. It's just that when I have a moment like that - no one watching me, no sticky little hands to hold, quiet - that tiny, dark part of my brain yells 'You fool! Run, run while you can!'

So of course I bought the cabinet lock, went into the next store and found my darling family. As soon as Gage stuck his sticky little hand in mine I knew I'd been right all along. And when Lila started wailing, Gage broke away with a fistful of goldfish crackers and Mike couldn't decide which coatrack was more 'us' I held it together.

By the way, if you buy a wicker hamper any time soon and there are goldfish crackers in the bottom of it - Gage Wuz There.


I decided to get a tattoo. Of my kids' names. It's going to be simple, and I'll post a pic once it's done. I've never seriously considered a tattoo before, but this is totally right. There's no doubt about it, it's right.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This is a mushy one

I've been having a bit of a tough time lately. I feel so unbelievably close to Gage that sometimes it seems as though it's me and Gage against the world. I feel sometimes like Gage and I are holding hands and stepping off a cliff together. He knows how I'm feeling by looking into my eyes. I don't know what it's about, but it feels a little dangerous to me. It makes me feel a little edgy, to be this deeply, this fundamentally attached to him in every way.

The other day when we were both beginning our colds and we were miserable I thought I could relax for a minute, but as soon as I sat down Lila stated to cry. I closed my eyes and I totally felt like I was going to lose it and I hear Gage say "I love you, Mommy. I'm so proud of you, Mommy." I smiled at him with tears in my eyes, but I was a little uncomfortable, too. He shouldn't need to worry about how I'm feeling. He's got enough to think about just being two. But we're so close, me and Gage. We have this vast connection that's thick and untouchable. It's equally thrilling and nerve-wracking.

Lila, on the other hand. I'm having heart-breaking issues with her, too. She's giving me trouble every night, because all she wants - all her little body craves - is to sleep next to me, pressed against me. When she nurses at night she's the happiest she could be. We lie down together, bellies touching, and she closes her eyes and makes happy little grunting sounds. Once in a while she opens her eyes, looks up at me and grins drunkenly. She slows down nursing more and more until she's just suckling a couple of times, then taking a break for several seconds, then suckling again. This is her paradise; all of her stars are aligned. Lila wants nothing more than this closeness, all night long.


It's impossible for me to provide her that contact for long. I have lots of reasons, but there are a few that are always just below the surface. The evening is the only time Mike and I have together, and it's harder, of course, to spend time with him when I have a sleeping baby attached to my front. Also, I can't get over the tiny tugging in my brain that says "It's not best for either you or Lila to get in the habit of falling asleep together every night, all night."

But oh, how I wish it was. It breaks my heart to have to pull her off and put her down in her (comparatively) chilly crib all by herself. Gage was always a great independent sleeper. Lila just never has been. And it's so ingrained in her that she knows what she wants, this is a nightly battle.

I'm sure that if we did sleep together she'd be soaring with pleasure and neither of us would really wake much in the night, except to stir a little when she got hungry. But since she's in the crib she wakes often, hungry for not milk, but my warm body.

I had a lot of expectations about parenting, but I didn't know that part of helping them grow up, helping them to learn how to get along in your family would be such an every-day battle. I have no problem telling Gage a hundred and seventeen times to put his milk on a coaster. I have a big problem telling Lila to sleep alone, when it's clear to me that all her little being wants, all her mind, heart, stomach and body wants is to press against her mama all night long.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"It's dark and we're wearing sunglasses."

This week was a long one. Gage and I were both sick for a solid Monday through Sunday, which, in my opinion, is a little excessive for a cold. Lila was sniffly but not *sick* (thank goodness). In between coughing, medicating and wiping noses we managed to have a few good times.

On Thursday I was sitting at the dining room table, Lila was on her belly on the floor near my feet and Gage was walking from the living room to me. I kind of thought I saw out of the corner of my eye Gage step on Lila's back, but I couldn't be sure. I said, "Gage, what just happened?" and he answered in this really cheerful, guilt-free voice, "Gage step on Baby Yi-yah!" So yeah. He stepped on her. But Gage is Lila's hero, so all that happened was that Lila grinned at him. I wipe her nose and she screams for five solid minutes. Gage *steps* on her *back* and she grins at him.

One big success this week was that Gage had his first public poop on the potty. We all went to Mike's sister's home for a visit and that's where he did the deed. The only part that was a little awkward was that we had to do Gage's poop-on-the-potty ritual in front of other people. The ritual includes, but is not limited to, singing, clapping and the lighting of a candle that Gage gets to blow out. It's actually pretty complicated stuff. And not the kind of thing you want to do in front of lots of people, LOL.

This morning I took the kids to a friend's house for a four-mom rotating playgroup we do once a week. There are seven kids in all - four boys Gage's age and three babies, two of whom are girls. Gage very politely asked the hosting mom for goldfish crackers and she brought him a little dish of them. So the moms are sitting around chatting and the boys are playing. All of a sudden the hosting mom is half-laughing, half-scolding Gage. I look over at him and he has a plastic hammer in his hand. He's taking the crackers out of the bowl one at a time and placing them carefully on the coffee table. Then...WHAM! Cracker crumbs everywhere. He must have smashed about twenty goldfish before my friend caught him. And the mom - she's so cool - she's like, "That's why I have a dog. And a vacuum."

Lila can no longer be trusted in the bouncy seat, and maybe not even the swing. She does a sit-up and could totally lean to one side and fall out now. She's such a big girl! We have to pack up her baby equipment and move onto the next stage.

She started to cry when we were on our way to playgroup today and Gage looked over at her and said exactly this: "I know, Baby Yi-yah. We'll be there in a few seconds." My little man.

He's also started to say "I think" before or after (and sometimes before *and* after) sentences. (Except it sounds like 'I Fink.') Like:

Me: "Eat this bite of pasta."
He: "No, too hot."
Me: "It's not too hot."
He (grudgingly): "I fink it's too hot. I fink."

or, while I'm driving us to the grocery store at night:
He: "Gage need my sundasses please."
Me: "You don't need sunglasses, it's too dark."
He: "I fink I need them."
Me: "Fine, here they are."
I drive for another minute.
Me: "Gage, do you see that tractor?"
He: "No! Where? It's too dark!"
I mean, I don't want to say 'I told you so,' but....

That's a funny thing about toddlers. Sometimes they're really reasonable, for a long time, and then all of a sudden they jerk the rug out from under you and you remember that really they're just tiny little kids. Like the other day he was such a good companion to me. He was really sweet all morning, and cooperative and conversational. I was brought back to reality from this exchange:

He: "Really good soup, Mommy." (see what I'm saying? How sweet is that?)
Me: "Thank you, Gage. That's a nice thing to say."
He: "Color with markers on paper?"
Me: "Sure. What color paper do you want?"
He: "Sam has ears."
There's the D'oh moment. I was like, "Oh, riiiight. You're two." Not to mention...thanks, Captain Obvious. Most dogs do have ears.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

No Pooping Evermore

Lila didn't poop for six days. Thank goodness she finally pooped this morning, or the tone of this post would be entirely different. The downside of six days of no poop: (1) Prune juice by the spoonful. (2) Last-ditch attempt involving a thermometer and lots of screaming. The upside: We started Lila on homemade applesauce, and she *loves* it.

Does this look like a constipated baby to you? This is day four. And no, I didn't purposefully style her hair that way. Although I would have if I'd thought of it.

Speaking of poop, I have a problem with Gage. Every time I put him down for a nap or nighttime he has to be reassured in the following manner:

He: "Jackson (his cousin) no go poo-poo in my bed."
Me: "No way. Not gonna happen."
He: "No go poo-poo in my clean bed."

So of course I'm thinking, "Where on earth did he get *this* crazy idea?" and the only person who comes to mind is YOU, Sean. YOU. What have you done to my kid? Yeah. Thanks for that.

Gage is still happily embracing the phrase "My byself" but has added another charmer into the mix: "Evermore." It seems to be a cross between 'anymore' and 'ever again.' Like when I tried to give him steamed asparagus the other day. In his (L-less) words:

"No yike dis apadadus. No yike dis evermore."

Mike's take: "It's like we're living with The Raven." LOL

I had this totally passive-aggressive exchange with Mike the other day - it was priceless. We were kind of arguing - not *fighting* but that kind of neutral-toned: "How silly of me. I thought I asked you to take the garbage out, but here it sits." So I was a little ticked at him, but not enough to make a big deal out of it. I'm in the kitchen making Irish Soda Bread (cursing the full garbage can, if you can imagine) and Gage is 'helping.' He asks me if he can hold some eggs. With a flash of inspiration, I tell him, "Sure." I give him two eggs - one for each hand - and I say "Why don't you go show Daddy what you have?"

O.M.G. SO worth the risk of raw egg on the carpet. Gage toddles up the stairs and finds Mike changing Lila's diaper in her room.

Gage: "Look, Daddy! Eggs!"
Mike: "Wow, Gage. Wait, are those real eggs? Did your mama give you real eggs? Are you being very careful with those? You have to be VERY careful with those eggs."
Me: (snorting back laughter in the kitchen)
Gage: "TWO eggs, Daddy. Two of 'em."

It was hysterical. As is this picture:

Gage has definitely inherited his dad's indeciciveness. When I met Mike I used to get so mad at him. We'd go to, like, a diner and he would look at the menu for twenty minutes before deciding. I'd flip open the menu, skim it, and say "Great. Coffee and french toast." Mike would D R A G the process out until I was half-starved and the waitress was rolling her eyes at the prospect of giving us "Just one more minute." He just *couldn't* decide. I fairly quickly learned to prep him on the way to the restaurant. "What are you hungry for? Maybe you should decide now." LOL

So now that Gage had a small bag of Halloween candy it's the same thing all over again. He gets one, *maybe* two pieces per day. But the effort put forth is ridiculous. He dumps the candy out in a pile.

He: (touching one piece, then the next.) "Hmm...."
Me: "How about the M&Ms?" (which, incidentally, he charmingly calls 'Emens.')
He: "No thanks." (touching more pieces, just barely brushing them with his fingertips.)
Clock: "Tick. Tick. Tick."
He: "Pretzels!" (grabbing the little bag.)
Me: "Great! You love pretzels! Let's put the rest back for next time."
He: "Nooo.... No pretzels." (Starts touching the treats all over again.)
Me: "How about Smarties? Perfect! Smarties are awesome!"
He: "No thanks. No Marties."
Me: (Seething internally)

I swear this can take a full five minutes. Thank goodness it's a *small* bag.

BTW, We still have "Crash" out from NetFlix. Seriously, should we watch it?