Two Point Five

It’s handy that Ferris’ half birthday falls on St. Patrick’s Day, because it makes it so easy to remember. And I want to document it all, because at this age, they change so much and so quickly, you might as well give an update every hour.

I’ve noticed so many things about him lately. I think this year, between ages 2 and 3, is one of the most exciting times to watch your child grow. They come out of the baby phase and learn to really communicate and socialize, and they become a real “kid.”

The thing that’s really striking to me, and just interesting, is that Ferris seems to be the kind of kid that can pick up an activity, pretty much any activity, and instantly be good at it. He’s not very self-conscious, so he’s willing to try just about anything. He’s not afraid to admit when he’s scared and he wants to give something up. And he’s not very clumsy, compared to some kids. (Including his big brother, who was very clumsy, awkward, shy and unwilling to try anything new without some major encouragement.)

He’s so proud of his accomplishments too. When he succeeds at a new task, like climbing a steep ladder to a slide for instance, he jumps and dances around and says, “I did it!!!!” over and over again. And he’ll make sure everyone in earshot knows he did it.

He’s making friends in preschool, real friends, and he’s turning out to be pretty loyal. He asks about his friends when they aren’t at school. And he can recall events from his day at school, and even from days before. He’s getting more articulate and starting to use whole sentences, so he will recount his day for me on the way home, and it’s crazy cute.

He shows empathy and concern really well for his age. When another child is crying, he wants to investigate, and he asks, “Aw, what’s wrong?” When he sees a crack in the street or  some damage to a car or a house, he gasps and says very dramatically, “Broken.” And he wants to fix it. The other day, my husband was home sick from work and had a depressing (but good) documentary on. Ferris had no idea what the subject matter of the movie was, nor could he fully understand what was being said, but he got enough of a vibe from people’s expressions to know it was sad, and every couple of minutes he’d say, “Awwww.”

He’s not really a big fan of sweets. Of course, he likes sweet things, like any other kid, but he doesn’t like to have a lot of it in one sitting. And he usually won’t eat anything cakey or cookie-like. Even his tolerance for sweet cereal is limited. We give the boys Honey Nut Cheerios for general daily breakfast, but we have some goodies on hand like Cocoa Krispies, Apple Jacks, etc. that we allow on the weekends or the occasional after-school snack. But, he will choose the Cheerios over those almost every time. I think he’s like his mama this way.

Now that he’s big enough to defend himself, we’ve reached the era of Brother Fist Fights. It would be hilarious if not for that whole getting hurt thing. I’m breaking up no less than a dozen fights a day. Do girls fight this way? So physical and rough? Anyone got any great tips on getting it to stop? Or will they still be giving each other noogies at Thanksgiving dinner in 20 years?

Favorite things: Gogurt, milk, hummus, gum, “Blankie” and “Monkey”, Thomas, Caillou, Bob the Builder, running, jumping, going on walks outside the stroller, the beach, the park, anything and everything that Big Brother is doing, eating, saying, wearing or feeling.

Least favorite things: Holding hands to cross the street, being stuck in a stroller, someone helping him go up/down stairs or opening/closing doors or getting in/out of the car, not being allowed to fully subsist on Gogurt and milk alone, the post-school pre-brother-gets-home early-afternoon slump where he’s tired enough to nap, but refuses to actually nap.

Why oh why do they have to grow up so much and so quickly?

Here’s an action “I did it!” shot. Remember this play structure? He tackled it. Like a boss.

 

i did it

Farewell Kindergarten

My Dearest Kindergarten Graduate,

The day I sent you off into your classroom for your first day of Kindergarten, I stood in the hallway that smelled like old books and fresh pencils with the other Kindergarten parents. We smiled and hugged you guys and said, “It’s going to be so great! You’re going to make so many new friends!” What you don’t know is that after you were inside, and we were instructed to move along now, we all went out for coffee and cried our eyes out.

I cried for a lot of reasons. I didn’t think my precious baby was ready for the full days away from me, having been a pretty constant companion of mine for the first five years of your life. And I wasn’t sure you were up for the challenge yet of sitting in your desk, listening to your teacher, and doing school work. Keeping you at the dinner table until you’re finished eating is plenty difficult. Mostly I cried because I knew you could do it, because you were such a BIG KID all of a sudden. You were not my baby anymore. Sending you off to school was one of those moments where I feel like I’m watching you grow right before my eyes.

I went to pick you up that afternoon, and you had on a paper bracelet that announced “Kindergarten is fun!” And you were jazzed to go back the next day. You had made a bunch of new friends already, and you had done some really fun things that you proceeded to tell me about for the remainder of the day.

You’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but overall you have done so well. You soared academically, and made amazing strides socially, strides that a year ago when you were graduating preschool, I’d never have guessed you could have made. You’re not a real fan of homework, but who among us is, really.

So, we bid adieu to Kindergarten. It was a fun, exciting, challenging year full of new adventures and new horizons. Congratulations on completing the first of your 13 years of schooling. May first grade and all the grades to come be as magical and empowering and fulfilling as Kindergarten was for you.

I love you so much, and I am so proud of you!

Mama

 

Mother of Two

So. Yeah. Didn’t mean to ditch you there. That was the quickest week of my life. Wow. And just like that, I’m a mama of two. Thanks so much for all the love on Twitter and Facebook, welcoming my baby Ferris into this world. You guys are awesome.

Here’s a pic of me from earlier today, one week post partum (minus a few hours).

(You’ll notice I didn’t clean the mirror for you this time. That requires two hands!)

I feel so good. Compared to how I felt after having Bowie, I don’t even feel like I gave birth. Not that it was a whole lot easier this time. I mean, in some ways yes. 18 hours of labor compared to 6 hours of labor = amazeballs easier. But, epidural compared to no epidural = NO FREAKING WALK IN THE PARK. Overall, things went very well, and recovery is going great.

I will be posting the birth story here in a few days, after I gather my thoughts and can think straight again. Pregnancy Brain was pretty bad this go around, but I totally forgot how bad New Mom Brain is, wowza.

I just wanted to check in with you and let you know I’m doing so great. Learning to make Bowie’s lunch with one hand, nursing a baby in the other. Re-learning how to change a poopy diaper on a wiggly newborn by nightlight.

Our little family is adjusting perfectly to the new addition. And I am so, so, so looking forward to watching Ferris grow. (Just not too fast, ok?)

Here’s a super sweet picture my husband took at the hospital when Bowie first came to meet baby brother:

Love you guys. Stick around, there’s so much more to come on my journey through motherhood!

 

A few quick things

>I’ve started doing a wee bit o’ writing for Circle of Moms. Check my first post here.

>The fleas in California this year are at apocalyptic levels. Outdoor Kitty had them so bad, she gave herself a skin infection from all the itching, requiring a double round of antibiotics and steroids for the irritation. And even though I have given both kitties their monthly dose of Advantage, I am still finding fleas on them. Which makes me itch and scratch like crazy whenever I feel the tiniest little itch. Pair this with my strong distaste for the silverfish problem our house has and…I’ve got the creepy crawlies 24/7.

>When I was pregnant with Bowie, I ate a ton of junk food, fast food, sugary stuff. This time I really haven’t craved it all that much. Once in a while (like, once a day) I want chocolate, but I don’t overdo it. And I almost never want fast food at all. (Which is just weird for me, pregnant or not.) (But I’m not complaining.) SUCH a different pregnancy, in so many ways.

>Also about this pregnancy: it’s all of a sudden going super s-l-o-w. When I hit the 20 week mark, I thought wow, this is going SO FAST. And now the days are dragging, I can’t imagine myself making it all summer long being pregnant, and I spend all my time either yawning or peeing or being hungry. Or yawning while peeing and being hungry. And for all that yawning, you’d think I’d be able to sleep at night. But, no. My body gearing me up for sleepless nights with the babe, I guess.

>Bowie’s behavior at school improved drastically for a few weeks, but this week went back to its normal ugly self. And I am truly scratching my head. Sometimes in life, I have these thoughts, “If I’m really going to be honest with myself, I know what the problem is here.” But this time? That is NOT the case. I’ve been trying my damnest to be the patient yet firm, fun-loving parent I know I need to be, I really have been trying. And it seems to work some days, but not other days, normal I guess. But, I can’t deal with my normal as ending my day with reports of other kids getting injured by my son, and having my own scratches and bruises from him to contend with. The occupational therapist we have met with is taking her dandy old time getting back to us on what she thinks about his issues or lack thereof with sensory processing. I have a very strong feeling that is the issue (like after a violent outburst in a crowd of kids he tells his teacher “I thought everyone would push me and step on me”), and I’m dying to meet with her and hear her strategies for dealing with it. With the new baby on the way, I’m operating on borrowed time here.

>On a much lighter note, my garden is going off. I guess the past few years of experimentation and poring over gardening books is finally starting to pay off. I’m definitely still experimenting here, but so far so good! I just hope it all doesn’t go to pot when A) we finally get our normal San Francisco cool, foggy summer weather and B) I have a newborn.

Ok, I think that’s it for now. I have to go, I’m hungry. And I have to pee. Have a good week, all!

 

The Week in Snippets

A few random things. Because apparently that’s how I roll now?

Mid-pregnancy ultrasound is scheduled for April 27. I can hardly wait to lay eyes on the little one, and see how things are going. I’m such a ball of excitement/nerves/wonder, I can hardly think straight. But I had a nice talk with the midwife at my appointment last Friday about my concerns, and she said the heartbeat sounds really great, and the baby is moving around a lot, so things seem to be progressing very well. And if I need to pop in for a “heartbeat check”, to just give her a call. That conversation made my LIFE. In a sea of doctors and midwives who are trying desperately to understand how I feel and put me at ease, finally someone who could.

I’m not sure how often I’ve discussed this on here, but lately Bowie has been very…physical. Too physical. And he’s started hurting kids at preschool. But, the preschool director, his teacher and Brien and I are bound and determined to get him back on the right track. We’ve enlisted the help of an occupational therapist, who we got a smokin’ deal on through the preschool, and she is in the process of evaluating him for sensory motor sensitivities, which could explain a whole heck of a lot of the things he’s having issues with lately. I will keep you all updated, and go into more detail in a future post. For now, I will just say that it’s been a major stressor for me and my husband lately, and we’ve been working so hard lately, doing our absolute best, with few results. Some results, but it’s slow-going. It’s all fairly normal, and he will outgrow it, but I’d love to have this phase behind us, especially with a new little one set to arrive this fall.

I have had pregnancy brain something fierce. I’m not talking about walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there. I’m talking about having to make myself no less than 4 to do lists, all of which say the same thing, and leaving them around the house for myself, and STILL forgetting things. An example: I had a meeting at preschool the other night, a meeting we have once a month, without fail. I had it on all of my lists. I had it on the calendar. I talked with another mom about it that day. During dinner that night, I was talking about it with my husband. Then, I rinsed my dinner plate, put it in the dishwasher, sat down on the couch, and that was it. I forgot all about the meeting until it was long over. And I never forget stuff like that. Never! I was…I don’t know…embarrassed? It felt like that time in sixth grade when I totally forgot I had to give a how-to speech in English class, and had to make one up on the fly. Which was terrible. (But, thank you Mrs. Beguhn for making me do it anyway, LESSON LEARNED. Well, unless I’m pregnant, apparently.) Thankfully, the person at school in charge of making sure everyone gets to the meetings is a close friend. And she didn’t judge me. Too much.

The weather was nice this weekend, and is supposed to be even nicer as the week progresses. I did a whole bunch of gardening over the weekend, and I’m super excited to see how we do this year. I’m taking the old trial-and-error approach to figuring out gardening in the Outer Sunset (we have a very unique climate out here), so starting off the new season, I’m always so excited to see what grows, what doesn’t, and the whole spectrum in between. This year we’re trying (thus far) strawberries, lettuce, pattypan squash, two kinds of bush beans, fava beans, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, celery, peppers and chard. I’m also trying some new techniques with rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro and basil (for some reason, raising healthy herbs completely eludes me, no matter what, but, I press on). If you have any tips on any of these, or tips on raising a garden in a mild, wet, foggy climate, let me know.

And, the obligatory belly bump photo. I wasn’t going to do these this time, for some reason it just seemed unnecessary. But, all of a sudden I have this BELLY and I just have to share (and yes, I cleaned the mirror for you people. You should feel very special.):

Have a great week everyone!

The Tree

We read The Giving Tree a lot in our house, it’s one of munchkin’s favorites. Today, he made a connection:

Out of the blue he says, “Mommy, you’re the tree and I love you.”

“I love you too.” [kiss]

“No, mama. Trees don’t kiss. But, trees can hug.”

“Ok.” [hug]

“You are my tree and I love you.”

MIND = BLOWN

But, you know, I think that’s maybe the underlying message of the whole book? That I haven’t figured out in 25 years of reading the book?

The tree loves the boy and gives him everything he needs to be happy, expecting nothing in return. Yep, that about sums up parenthood.

Regression

Bowie has been acting less and less mature lately, and it’s starting to irk me. A few examples:

1. He won’t sit with me during his preschool’s opening circle time. Ten minutes of welcome songs, finding out what’s for snack, and finding out what the day’s projects will be. When he was 2, he wouldn’t sit, but that’s to be expected. He’s been sitting for it this entire school year, but for the past week, he refuses. It’s okay if it’s a day or two, sometimes they need to just let loose. But it’s been more like 8 days. At this point, he’s just being obstinate. I hope when we return from winter break, this ends.

2. I figured we were fully and totally a potty trained household when, about a month ago, he started going into the bathroom on his own, pulling down his own pants, going potty and most of the time also pulling up his own pants. All of a sudden this week, he demands that I help him with the entire process. And if I, you know just hypothetically, tell him, “I’m really busy with dinner right now, could you please be the big boy I know you can be and do it yourself.” Then, I am rewarded with an accident mess to clean up.

3. He’s obsessed with age right now. The bigger kids at school are all turning 5, and he really likes to pretend to be 5, and be “a really big, strong boy”. Then yesterday, he announces he’s pretending to be 1. And he’s acting like a baby, not a big boy. But, not just for fun, he is working it. Anytime he doesn’t feel like doing something, he plays the baby card, “I’m 1, I’m a baby!”

So, Internet, what gives? Is this kind of regression normal sometimes? I kind of think he’s going through some kind of hormone-surge-growth-spurt kind of thing. Maybe that’s part of it?

Thankful 2011

Every Thanksgiving, in both families, we all go around and say something we are thankful for. My responses are usually inane, thought of on the spot, and not really all that heartfelt. I’m thankful I didn’t get that cold Bowie had last week. I’m thankful our plane travel went smoothly. I’m thankful I get to eat this yummy food.

But this Thanksgiving season, I find myself thankful for things in a way I never have been before in my life.

For starters, we’re able to travel to Wisconsin this year, the first time in two years, for Thanksgiving festivities, which are a pretty big deal in both families. It’s always a hassle to travel that week, and quite expensive. Add a small child to the mix…it’s enough for even the most seasoned traveler to say, “forget it.” But, once we are there, it’s fantastic to see loved ones, stuff our faces with grub and feel the cold weather on our cheeks again, just so we remember why we love California so much.

And, I’m still really bummed about my miscarriage after all this time. I’m getting to the point where a negative pregnancy test doesn’t send me into fits of misery for days on end, but I truly thought I’d be pregnant by the time my would-be due date rolled around (Nov. 19). And, since I’m not, it stings just that much more this month. But, now that the day has passed, I feel kind of relieved too. I woke up on the 20th and thought, “Well, I survived.” It might seem strange that I feel that way, but it is significant that the time I would have been pregnant has now passed. It’s like I’m through the thickest part. Not over it by a long shot, but through the worst of it. I’m thankful to have just a bit of weight off my shoulders.

I’m also at the point in this whole experience where I am just so grateful that I have Bowie. There were a handful of people that, upon hearing about my miscarriage, would say, “Well, at least you have Bowie!” Which at the time I thought was a little insensitive. I mean, yes, I do have an awesome kid already. But, I still lost something. And that’s to be acknowledged.

But after a while I kind of got the gist of what they meant. He truly and wholly has been my warm sunshine in this cold, grey world. Without him, I’m uncertain I’d have survived this ordeal. And I mean that literally. There are days I’d have only climbed out from under the covers to refill my wine glass and grab more chocolate if I didn’t have that sweet boy depending on me. So, for that, I’m eternally grateful. Any siblings he has or does not have in the future, I will never forget how his bright, smiling face made me feel during this time.

I’ve also been watching friends go through some major relationship turmoil this past year. I made an attempt to joke about it on Twitter, saying something to the effect of, “I guess we’re at the age when our friends are all getting divorced.” But, I got a zillion responses from other people who have this happening too, and it’s really not funny at all. Just so sad, and one of those situations where you’d step in and do anything and everything you could to help, but there’s really nothing you can do. Huz and I have our moments, and the difficulties we’ve been through lately have been rough. But, we still love each other, when it comes down to it. And I’m very grateful to have him a part of my life, someone to cling to when the world is threatening to blow me down.

I’m also guilty of not being so grateful each and every day that I have the luxury of being a stay-at-home mother, and that we get to live in a nice house in a super cool city. There are so many people suffering right now at the hands of our crappy economy, and we’ve tightened the purse strings, and have put off large purchase (i.e. house) plans for a while, but we can’t forget how fortunate we really are.

Yes, this year I think I finally understand true gratitude. Maybe that means I finally grew up?

Nah.

Lefty?

It’s looking more and more these days like Bowie might be left handed. Which is…well, it just is. I don’t care which hand he uses for anything. It’s just an observation I made recently.

But, it is an observation that I’m glad I made before he started kindergarten. And without left handed family members, I might not have had the wherewithal to keep an eye out for it. At least now I can give people a heads up right away, instead of allowing him to endure years of tortuous teachers forcing him to use his right hand (though, I’m naively thinking they don’t do this anymore?).

As a baby, he used both hands for everything. And for a while, he was using his right hand with crayons. But lately, he’s using his left hand a lot for coloring and for eating. And then the other day at school, he was signing in with his teacher at the big sign-in board at preschool, and she put the marker in his right hand, and he switched to the left hand.

In that moment, I figured I’d better explore this a little bit. Mainly, I wanted to know if he was genetically predisposed, because both my husband and his mom are left handed. So, if it is genetic, then it would stand to reason he’d be more likely to have this trait. If not, I’d say the jury’s still out and I could sit back and not fret about it until he starts learning how to write. (Which, MY GOD, is only a year or so away, where does the time freaking go?)

It is genetic, in a way, which is all I can really say with any authority after my intensive one-hour Google search session. This article does a pretty good job of explaining it (but if you’re like me you will have to read it a few times). So, it’s possible it’s just in his genes, but a lot of other contributing factors would be at play.

Also, kids can be as old as 5 or 6 before they show a full preference for one hand over the other. And, me witnessing just a handful of the many things he does with his hands doesn’t necessarily mean he’s showing a preference, just that sometimes he prefers the hand that only about a tenth of all humans prefer. (But, I followed him around for a whole day trying to get a picture of him using his left hand to use with this post, and he kept using his right hand soooo…)

So, right now, still watching and waiting. But, I think there’s a good chance I’ve got a lefty.

Do any of you have left handed children? When did you first notice it? Have they had any trouble because of it in school?

Newest Family Member

Auntie got Bowie a fish for his birthday. A real, live, eating, swimming, pooping fish. Which is super fun, truthfully. I grew up with lots of fish around, and had been wanting to get him one for a while now.

We tried to get a really cool, fun name stuck in kiddo’s mind, but nothing took. Not Miguel, Ricardo, Lightning McQueen, The Situation, nothing.

Fishy’s name is Fishy. And this is NOT because he just keeps pointing at it and saying “fishy!” This is because one day when I was saying to him, “Is his name Ricardo? Can you say Ricardo? I think Ricardo is a nice name!” Bowie turned to me and said, “NO MAMA, his name is Fishy!”

Okay then.