THREE

I sit here in front of these posts every year, because this is what a mommy blogger DOES, by golly. Then I go to write a letter to little man, and all I can think is, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

But, let’s get serious here people, HE IS THREE. I remember being equally stunned upon realizing that he was 1 week old. And that he was one year old. And when he started preschool. And when is time going to just stop moving forward already?!?!?!?!?

Dear Bowie,

Well, bug, much to our chagrin, you’re 3 now and still not potty trained yet. Which I’m learning to deal with. Everyone keeps telling me, “He’ll get it when he gets it.” But, if I have to clean poo out of tiny underpants any more…I might just lose my proverbial marbles.

But I do so adore talking with you. You have developed conversational skills like talking in full sentences, having feelings and opinions and answering questions. Even though our conversations go something like this: “Mama, look! It’s Lighting McQueen!!! Wow, what a cool toy. Is he your favorite toy? Yeah, he go SO FAST! And look, he is all red! Sure is! What number is he? Ummmm….7.” I still love talking to you. (Psst, and I always will.)

You’re also remembering things, totally random things, completely on your own without any prompting from me. For instance, the time the police man on the horse was outside the swim school. He was letting kids pet the horse, and you were a little shy, so mama petted him for you. You insisted you would do it “next time”. Next week when we went to swim school, that was all a distant memory for me, but you asked, “Mama, when is the horsie coming?”

And can we discuss the movie Cars? Because I don’t want to forget this hilarious and adorable part of your life. You have nothing short of a complete obsession with this movie. You were already in love with cars, especially race cars, before you saw the movie so it really was a natural fit. But, we watch that movie no less than 4 times a week, often more. And I don’t turn it on because I want you out of my hair for 117 minutes, but because I know the sheer pleasure and joy you get from watching it, even for the 57th time. Cars 2 debuts in theaters this summer. I think I have chosen what will be your first movie theater movie. And I can’t wait to see the look on your face.

It’s been an eventful year, to say the least. What, with all the growth spurts and picky eating and tantrums and potty training and starting preschool. We also moved to a new house since you turned 2, and you took to it like a champ. I think you wanted the extra space as much as we did. We decided to make you a big brother this year, and though we have hit a big bump in the road, that’s still our intention. There’s no telling what this next year will bring for you, but I know you’ll be the awesomest big brother that ever was.

Here’s to another year of your sweet little voice saying, “I love you mama!” because I know those moments will be fewer and farther between all too soon. Here’s to another year of my kisses making all your boo boos better. Here’s to another year of snuggling in your bed with you to help you fall asleep. And here’s to a lifetime of the special bond we have as mother and son. I love you, little man, have a very happy third birthday.

Love,

Mama

The Patience Wears Thin

Bowie’s latest activity of choice has been to find a tube of toothpaste, during the 10 seconds I am distracted from him each day, squirt a bunch of it into his hand, and smear it around the bathroom.

I have allowed this to happen, and had to take on the cumbersome task of cleaning it up (cumbersome? Yes. Why don’t you go smear toothpaste all over your bathroom and try cleaning it up, and we will discuss.), no less than 5 times (THUS FAR). And the only thing more annoying than  cleaning up a particularly sloppy and difficult mess left by a toddler is having to do it more than once.

I’ve tried all of that “they’re only little once” and “try not to focus on the moments when they are bad, but instead on the moments when they are sweet”. But, we all know those sweet moments are few and far between. And SWEET JESUS IN HEAVEN, I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO SMELL ANYTHING BUT COLGATE FOR AN HOUR AND HE’S WASTED ALMOST AN ENTIRE TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE AND LOOK AT ALL THE TOOTHPASTE STAINS ON OUR CLOTHES. Ahem.

Sometimes, I’m just not patient enough to hold in the anger. It comes spilling out like angry volcano lava.

But then, after all that anger finds its way out, and you have unleashed it all upon your child, that’s when you look down into those big, innocent eyes and realize crap. He was just a normal, curious toddler who liked the feel of the toothpaste squishing between his fingers, and now I’ve gone and hurt his feelings. This is all my fault anyway, for not paying attention while I was on the phone.

Motherhood is the single most frustrating thing on earth. I’m sure of it. Someone should study that.

This is where I blink and then he’s in college.

Bowie has started preschool! We got in late in the year and were able to fill the spot of a family that left (this is a gigantic positive twist of fate, as it is nearly impossible to get your kiddo into a San Francisco preschool so easily). It was a totally last-second deal and we are all still adjusting, but I think it’s going to be a great move for our family.

We have been 4 days now, and he’s not quite with the routine yet, however the teachers are telling me most kids his age take some time to get the schedule.

I can’t believe I am the mama of a preschooler. My goodness. Most cliche line ever, but I’m going to use it anyway because seriously: they grow up way too fast.

Grilled Cheese for the Kiddos

Since embarking on this hiding-the-veggies-in-his-food regimen, I have found that so many of these mom chefs are getting the nutrition in either by frying up the food with hidden veggies in oil or hiding the veggies in a dessert full of sugar. Both of which I was trying to avoid. I mean, once in a while is fine, of course, but not three meals a day or anything.

One recipe stuck out to me as a pretty good course of action, and I make it for Bowie nearly every day for either lunch or dinner: grilled cheese with veggie puree. It’s got several healthy elements, and kids tend to scarf it down, plus it’s super easy to make. And it’s even tasty for adults, because the veggie adds such a nice, creamy texture and a richer flavor to it. AMAZING with a bowl of tomato soup.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash

(Adapted from a recipe from Deceptively Delicious)

Makes 1 sandwich

1/4 cup shredded cheddar

1/4 cup butternut squash or carrot puree*

butter or spread of your choice

two slices bread (use whole wheat for another health boost)

1. Mix the cheese and the puree together in a small dish.

2. Butter both slices of bread on one side.

3. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium low.

4. Place one slice of bread in the skillet. Place the cheese and puree mixture on top of this slice. Then place the other slice on top. Allow it to brown, then flip and allow that side to brown (a couple of minutes on each side). Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

*To make carrot puree, peel carrots and cut into 3 inch chunks. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor, adding water if necessary. Carrots are a great source of beta carotene and fiber.

To make sweet potato puree, cut whole sweet potatoes into quarters (leave peel on). Steam for 40 to 45 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Alternately, leave them whole and roast them at 400 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Scoop the flesh from the peel and puree in a blender or food processor, adding water if necessary. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, beta carotene and antioxidants.

Purees can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, or can be frozen and stored for several months. I freeze the puree in ice cube trays so I can easily pull out small amounts at a time (great technique if making your own baby food too!).

You could use other veggie purees if you have them, but for this recipe, the carrot and the butternut squash have a creamy and mild enough flavor to blend right in.


One Part Cute, Ten Parts Mama Heartache

Yesterday morning, I looked at Bowie’s feet and his right foot and ankle were so swollen, they looked like they would pop! After a panic (you know, my usual response) and a trip to the doctor, he looked like this:

Looks sorta cute, but oh my poor little baby boooooooy.

Instructions were to ice it and to keep him off of it. Ever try to keep a 2 year old off his feet? No easy task. Lots of viewings of Wall-E were involved. Good news is, he’s healing up fast, about half the swelling today from yesterday.

The Potty Process

Potty training has been going….well….not really going. We are hitting a lot of road blocks, including Bowie not seeming to care when he as a giant steamer in his pants or is standing ankle deep in his own urine. We had heard a lot of theories that letting them have accidents will help teach them to be uncomfortable in the mess and will speed up the self-awareness process.

But, having cleaned up more underpants poo messes than I ever thought humanly possible and cleaning up about twice that amount in pee puddles (probably because my child ingests almost nothing but juice and fresh fruit) made me rethink that approach. Clearly, he wasn’t ready for that level yet.

I didn’t want to go the Pull-Ups route. I was already sick with myself for using disposable diapers for 2 years, and adding more to the landfills wasn’t all that attractive of an option. We had gotten a bunch of them secondhand from a coworker of my husband’s, but I doubted I’d ever use them. However, in a recent mommy error I allowed our diaper supply to hover dangerously low and then also ran out of clean underpants. So, alas, I tried out the Pull-Ups.

You guys, there really is something to these things. Not only does it corral the mess and keep it off of your floors (and clothes and towels and furniture and rugs and car seats and strollers) but it also helps the child to feel soiled in a way that neither diapers nor underpants can. They are learning how it feels to go in their pants, learning how to tell when they need to go, and um, keeping the house a little cleaner.

We know we have a long road ahead of us, and will trudge forth patiently. But I’m starting to realize that no matter how many books and articles we read or how many experts and fellow parents we consult, we still have to figure out what the process is for our family, and for Bowie specifically, if we ever want to achieve any kind of success. And it could mean more junk in the old landfill. Woe is me.

It could be a total coincidence, but in the last 24 hours, we’ve seen a huge difference in how he’s handling the potty situation. Now, the only problem is—that case of diapers I ordered. Probably should have been a case of Pull-Ups.

Ideas Please!

I used to wonder why people started thinking about Halloween in the beginning of September (aside from the fact that in the retail world, Halloween comes directly after back-to-school). I mean, it’s still 8 whole weeks away, and this is not a holiday that requires a lot of pre-planning.

But now, I sort of get it. Only because if I don’t start thinking about it on September 1, then I probably won’t think about it until October 30, and when you have a delicious little toddler to dress up, you want to plan that stuff out, for realz!

I have no idea what he should be. Here are costumes from the past.

First Halloween:
Dr. Bowie's First Halloween!-4

Second Halloween:
playgroup halloween

What should he be this year???

Two

Yesterday my baby boy turned two. All I can say lately is, “WOW. TWO. WOW.”

We returned yesterday evening from another whirlwind family visit in Wisconsin, and we drove past the hospital he was born in. It does not feel like two whole years have passed!

Partially, I think that is because we are still total noob parents, and Bowie reminds us every day. After all the poop blow outs, all the public tantrums, all the sugar crashes, all the day trips with no diapers, we are still making mistakes daily. But my mom says that never stops. So I feel better. I think.

Bowie, what can I say about you at age two? You are a CHATTERBOX. You walk around all day long, trying out your new words, your new phrases, and some of that gibberish you’ve always been saying. When mama lets you park your tuckus in front of the TV, you’re really enjoying Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, Dinosaur Train, Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine and, oddly, Super Readers.

But if you had to pick just one, I’m positive it would be Thomas. You love trains and planes and bikes and cars and basically anything else with wheels. Also, dinosaurs, balls, rocks, mud, hammers, you are ALL BOY ALL THE TIME. Which I am learning to love.

Your picky eating habits are on their way out the door. (Well, now I’ve jinxed it.) Lately you’ve been enjoying some new things, and even eat what we do for dinner occasionally. I have to get out of the habit of making two different things for meals before you figure out that you have me completely wrapped around your little finger.

Your sleeping habits leave something to be desired, as I have been chronicling here lately. But, mommy and daddy still have a few tricks up their sleeves, and things are improving. It could have a lot to do with the whole cutting of the two year molars, and the fact that I haven’t, for almost two months now, been able to find a decent disposable diaper, and you often wake up soaked in your own pee pee. Sorry about that.

This is a fun age. I would say that I wish you could stay this age, but I have said that a lot in the past, and it always turns out that the next stage is always even more fun. I’m looking forward to watching you grow up day by day.

Happy second birthday, sweet pea! Here’s to a whole bunch more!

Love,

Mommy