Wednesday, February 27, 2008

(Almost) All About Gage

Gage's brand-new line: "What's so funny?" It's awful. It's awful because *everything* is funny! He cracks me up seventy-five percent of his waking hours (the other twenty-five percent is comprised of whining, using the potty and drinking milk, in no particular order). Several times tonight he cracked me up, and I got the old evil eye and a stern "What's so funny!?" You are, kid. You are.

You know how he's so concerned with happy being the opposite of sad, and that one of them has to be happening all the time? My mom and I took the kids out to the diner tonight and Gage threw a little sheet of stickers under the table. He looked at me and:
He: "Was that funny?"
Me: "No."
He: "Was that happy?"
Me: "Nope."
He: "O-tay. That was sad. I'll pick it up. Sorry, Mommy." He ducks under the table. And then, two seconds later, glaring at me, "What's so funny?"

I made a mistake the last time I had him at the diner, though. They have three plasticky pictures on one of the windows - like big stickers - and each one is a different fish. The first two - I don't know what they are. The last one is a shark. We sat near the fish stickers and of course they were a big hit.
He (pointing at the first picture): "What's this?"
Me (thinking fast - it's orangey): "Uh...a goldfish."
He (next picture): "What's this?"
Me (having no idea): "A barracuda."
He: "Hmm...batta-tutta."

Now all he can talk about is the freaking batta-tutta! And the picture, of course, is of a very mild-looking fish. There aren't even any teeth. Why did I have to choose barracuda? Everyone in the diner probably thinks I'm a moron. They look at the picture, they look at me, they sadly shake their heads.

Speaking of bad influences...Gage was trying to pull up his pants the other day...and they got caught on his bottom. He wrenched them around but couldn't pull them up. "This sucks," he said. I calmly pulled up his pants, left the room and busted up laughing. It was his first naughty phrase! Mike glared at me and said "That's all from you." He's right. I have to be more careful.

How's this for an ironic picture....

He ate a big lunch of pasta with garlic marinara today (his favorite meal) and drank two small cups of apple juice. When he was finished he stood up, grabbed his belly and said: "My tummy sooo full. Gage ate so many food. Gage heavy."

Often in the morning Gage will wake up, go into Lila's room and climb into her crib. I don't know how long they're in there before he calls me, but it doesn't seem like a very short amount of time. They squeal to each other in some secret dolphin language and Gage talks to her, tells her how to play with her toys. Eventually he wakes me up and calls for me to come get them. He's never tried to climb out of her crib, and doesn't seem inclined to.

Last night I went in to check on Gage in the middle of the night. He was sleeping - on his floor. Sometimes the bed seems to just be too much for him. I don't claim to understand it. I picked him up, and blankie, of course, and placed them both gently on his bed. I tucked blankie around him and his eyes fluttered. He grinned at me and whispered "Thanks, Mommy."

Sweet boy. My heart melts.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A quick, sad note

One of the clients from my company passed away this weekend. I learned about it this afternoon and it hit me kind of hard. I knew he was sick - he got very sick very recently - but it was still a shock to know that he'd passed. He was a terrifically friendly, solid man and I respected him and enjoyed his company immensely. I'm fully certain that everyone who knew him will miss him dearly.

Gage was in bed when I heard the news, so I had a little time to be sad by myself. When he got up he came and sat with me. I know I was smiling at him and talking in a friendly voice, but somehow he saw sadness behind my eyes. He was looking so closely at me, like through me, and he said in this tiny voice: "You a little sad, Mommy?"

Me (surprised that he noticed): "Yes, I guess I am a little sad."
He (humming in different pitches): "Hmm, hmm, hmm."
Me: "Someone I know from work got sick and it makes me feel sad to think about him."
He: "Gage sing for you. Make you feel better. Hmm, hmm, hmm."
Me: "Thanks, pal. That song does make me feel better."
He: "Daddy no sick. Gage no sick."
Me: "Nope. Daddy, Mommy, Gage and Lila are all healthy, and we're very lucky."
He (touching my cheek): "You feel better, Mommy?"
Me: "Yes, Sweetpea. I feel much better now."

How does he do it? How does he turn me to complete mush? He can see hidden tiredness in our eyes and hear a yawn in our speech. He knows the moment he's pushed his limits too far, and whispers an apology just before we scold him. He is so attuned to our moods - it's darling but also heavy.

I'm constantly surprised by his intuitions.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

(Almost) All About Lila!

It's been far too long. Lila is practically a grown woman by now. And Gage has married and left the family home.

Well...maybe not quite that long. But. We’ve been sick off and on (mostly on) since the week before Christmas, with the worst of it just last week. We had the stomach virus from Hell. ALL of us. In two days I lost five pounds. I haven't been that sick since I had a 104-degree fever on Christmas morning when I was about 12. Anyway.

We now have two teenaged babysitters. I may have mentioned our search – it’s been a while, I’m actually cringing because I can’t remember how much I’ve talked about this. We need coverage for the kids Mon-Thurs from about 3:00 until 4:30, between the time that I leave for work and Mike gets home. We have two wonderful sitters now. They’re great with the kids and they are quite punctual, professional, friendly and sweet. Their parents have done well. (Of course, when I was 16 I would have eaten up that praise and in my head I would have claimed that my *parents* had nothing to do with it – it was all me. Ah, to be young and na├»ve….)

Still, it’s weird. I guess it doesn’t matter how much you like the people you leave your kids with, they’re still not you. Maybe it will get easier. I HOPE it gets easier. For both Gage and myself. The babysitter came today and told me that last Thursday Gage stood at the front door for fifteen minutes after I left, waiting for me to come back. Today he begged me "Mommy stay home and play with me." Failing that, "Gage come to work with you?" It's too sad.

Did I tell you Lila’s crawling completely the right way now? Belly off the floor. She’s such a little girl already. She’s dropping the baby from her face at an alarming rate. I packed up all the clothes she’s outgrown today and her drawers are fairly empty. It seems some shopping is in order…. Darn. LOL

Lila and I are taking a Mommy & Me Yoga class every Sunday morning with my sister and her daughter. Lila and I, unfortunately, are the class deadbeats. I go early so she can nurse in the huge, warm room (we go to The Yoga Loft on South Side Bethlehem). She crawls around, stopping often to check and see if I’m still where she left me. She gums up the mirrors with her sticky little hands. She greets the other babies who come in with big grins and attempts at hair-pulling (friendly, I’m sure).

We start the Yoga and fifteen minutes into the forty-five minute class Lila is DONE. She just stops. She is tired of lying on her back while I massage her little belly, feet and hands. Every time I let go of her she rolls over and tries to escape. I pull her back onto my mat by her ankles and she protests grumpily. We end up nursing again and by the time she calms down again we have five more minutes of class and then it’s over. I pack her into the car and she falls asleep in about three seconds. Then my sister and I go out to lunch to eat cheeseburgers or waffles. Got to counteract the healthful Yoga somehow….

Lila has another big thing going on. She is great at going to bed at night – GREAT. I have no complaints there. I put her in the crib, let her blankie drift down under her chin, covering her, and she grins at me and rolls over to fall asleep. The problem is that she’d wake up again two hours later. And then two hours after that. And then again.

I went to the doctor a week ago for my never-ending bout of illness and my doctor (sweet, sweet doctor) told me it’s time to let her cry it out at night. Cry it out, or CIO, is when you let your baby fuss without going in her room to comfort her or feed her. It’s a big transitional time because she teaches herself to self-soothe and fall asleep on her own. All babies – all PEOPLE – go through stages in their sleep every night. Lila took to waking at the end of each sleep cycle and was relying on my feeding her to get back asleep. As of five nights ago this all changed. The doctor said that I’d do a lot better physically if I got more sleep, so once we were all healthy enough to employ CIO we did.

The first three nights were NO FUN. They were awful. I had a really tough time – tougher than with Gage – but we persevered. Lila had a tough time – the second night (the worst) she woke up about seven times. The fourth night she woke up once, for three minutes. The fifth she woke up once, for thirty seconds. Tonight is the sixth night.

Lila is certainly none the worse for wear. She is way old enough to not eat during the night. And I’m already reaping the benefits of a better night’s sleep. I’ve had more energy the past couple of days than I’ve had for months. So. Go us. aunt works for M&Ms and we're taking part in a consumer study about a new M&Ms idea wherein they print your kids' FACE on an M&M. I sent them a pic of Lila and I should get my M&Ms in a couple of weeks. I'm excited to get them - and we'll definitely be eating them at her 1st birthday party - but therein lies the problem. We'll be eating the M&Ms. The ones with a picture of my daughter on them. We'll be eating my daughter's face. Huh.

I'm guessing that the results of this study are: "It's a little odd." We'll see.

Next up: "(Almost) All About Gage!"