Monday, May 31, 2010

Unintended consequences. (Apparently I'm writing a whole Good Nite Lite series)

First of all, let me start by saying: Do you have any idea how much it annoys me that the company chose to spell it "Nite Lite"?  OH MAN.  Night and light are already only one letter different.  They didn't need to be shortened to be cutesy rhyming words.  And really, there are WAY too many terrible spellers out there, companies shouldn't be perpetuating bad spelling by naming products with misspelled words.  Make up words all you want, but PLEASE, for the sake of America's education, don't use real words with stupid spellings.  It hurts me every time I have to type it.  (I feel compelled to type it the way they spell it since it's a product name.)

ANYWAY.  Back to the point.  (You: there's a point?)  We bought this thing to help with the getting up too early situation.  What we didn't realize was that it would also help with bedtime.  If Kalena doesn't want to go to bed and you tell her that her moon is on?  She's up the stairs in a heartbeat.  She has, on more than one occasion, declined to give good night kisses after we told her the moon was on.  She gets SO excited about it.  The moon ALWAYS gets kissed good night (the rest of us are chopped liver apparently.)  Lately (probably because it's still light out) I hear her talking to herself for up to an hour after we put her to bed.  But even the nights she doesn't go to sleep right away, she always goes to bed willingly.  Just one more reason to love the thing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Names and nicknames

Do you call your kids nicknames?  Did you intend those nicknames when you named them?  When we named Kalena I didn't really intend to use a nickname for her.  When we named Will, I intended to call him Will rather than William.  I think of that as just a shortened version of his name rather than a nickname though*.  We did talk some about nicknames, and we came to this brilliant conclusion: nicknames happen. You don't plan them, you often can't avoid them, they're just part of life.  (Aren't we brilliant?)

Anyway, I'm glad we came to this conclusion because, although I use their names here on the blog, I RARELY call my kids by their given names.  Kalena is mostly Missy or Miss (except when I really need to get her attention) and Will is almost always Buster, or Mr. Buster if we're feeling formal.  Because, you know, formality is often a necessity with a 5 month old, right?  Right.  How did these nicknames come about?  I DON'T KNOW.  They just happened.  Now I just wonder how long they'll last.

*Do you distinguish between "shortened names" i.e. Josh for Joshua or Brad for Bradley and nicknames?  I didn't used to, but I do now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brian is a fan of the toddler stage

Kari mentioned in a comment yesterday that Brian is always telling her how much he likes the age Kalena is now.  This is true.  He is NOT a fan of the baby stage.  Especially the newborn phase.  I'm not sure those first few sleepless weeks with a newborn are anyone's favorite, but some people enjoy them more than others.  I like the tiny sweetness of brand new babies.  Brian spends the first couple months having buyers remorse about the whole thing.

He thinks babies are basically just an annoyance until about 4 or 5 months.  You deal with them, but they aren't good for anything.  I enjoy snuggling a newborn, seeing teensy fingers and toes, watching the little sleeping smiles (gas or no, they're still cute.)  He starts to like them when they get social, (and as you all learned in yesterday's post, I love that part.)  But, if he has to choose between taking care of Kalena or taking care of Will?  He will pick Kalena 99 times out of 100.  That works well for me, since I would almost always prefer to take care of the baby.  He likes that Kalena can communicate, he likes the playing, the rough housing, the running around.  Basically he enjoys all the stuff that wears me out.  Right now this really works to our advantage.  We never have to argue about who has to deal with which child.  I just hope Kalena is out of the tantrum-y toddler phase before Will is in it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh, the differences between a two year old and a five month old

I mentioned in another post that the stage Kalena is in is not my favorite.  And I think that the stage Will is in just contributes to that.  I know that's not fair to Kalena AT ALL, but I can't help it!  Of course I'm not a big fan of the teething-caused crying fits, but otherwise?  I heart this age.  He sleeps well at night; he is social and smiley; he will play in the exersaucer or play on the playmat; he'll stand if you hold his hands.  He's at that adorable stage where he's not a fragile newborn, but he is still a BABY.  (Hard to be fragile at 16 lbs you know.)  Most of the time he's just fat and happy.  And I am LOVING it.

I really hope saying he sleeps well doesn't jinx it.  Or saying he's happy most of the time.  If I'm complaining about him tomorrow, you'll know what happened.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's a little bit empowering, but also a little obnoxious

I've always been one of those people. People who don't send food back, or return things, or complain about service.  This comes mostly from laziness, I think.  I have just never thought it worth the effort to do that kind of stuff.  But lately that's changed.  I don't know why, but it has.  I've sent back food that wasn't done right, returned things, even gone back and had a cashier re-ring up my stuff because she'd missed a sale price the first time.

It's been interesting.  Of course it's nice to get what you want.  But I always feel like that's what you should be getting in the first place.  I mean, if I buy something and get it home just to find out it's broken or missing a piece, that is ANNOYING.  I think what annoys me is that *I* have to do work because *someone else* screwed up.  Okay, it's probably not a person's fault if something is broken in the box, but you know what I mean.  In the past I've opted not to do that work, and to just deal with the screw up.  But lately I've decided I'd rather get what I want, even if it means extra work.  I hope being more assertive is a good thing, and it doesn't just mean I'm getting bossier as I get older.  Because I'm bossy enough as it is.

What about you?  Are you a returner or a leave-it-alone-er?

Monday, May 24, 2010

2 year check up

Kalena had her 2 year check up last week.  She is still a giant.  She weighs 30.4 lbs and is 35 1/2 inches tall.  That puts her in the 88% for weight and 90% for height.

I feel like she should be talking more, but she has a vocabulary of about 75 words, so I guess she's doing fine.  I only know that because I had to guess at the appointment (and it turns out I am a very bad guesser) and wanted to know for sure so I made a list when we got home.  She understands MANY more words than she says, so sometimes I wonder if she just doesn't bother with talking because everyone around here will do it for her.

In other news, we're pretty sure Will is teething.  He's always been a finger sucker, but then that turned into fist gnawing and hours-long scream fests.  Tylenol settles him right down, but I'm hoping these teeth don't take too long to come in.  And don't worry, it's not real Tylenol, I know that's been recalled.  We always get the generic stuff.  I just can't see a reason to pay more than twice as much for the EXACT SAME THING.  Obviously buying a name brand doesn't guarantee it's safer (see current recall!) so what's the point?  Anyone?  Is there a point?

Kalena never had much of a problem with teeth.  They bothered her occasionally, but not like this.  Hers always came in bunches, and I'm sort of hoping his do too if he's going to get so worked up about it.  Anyway, pretty sure this whole teething thing is also the reason for his reverting to newborn-like sleep patterns.  Not a fan of the waking every two hours.  It makes me tired, and I can't manage to be all snarky and sarcastic when I'm tired.  I tell better stories when I'm well rested, people!  Maybe tonight he'll go back to sleeping for 9 hours at a time.  Well, I can hope, right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The birthday party

We had Kalena's birthday party on Saturday, and despite rain when it was supposed to be sunny and warm, it was good.  Kalena has been very into the movie Up lately, and coincidentally my parents' gift to her was a little playhouse, so we decided the presentation of the playhouse HAD to include some balloons.

Pretty stinkin' cute huh?  Okay, well we all liked it.  Here's Kalena trying out the house's phone.  The phone was quite popular-- she and Espen fought over that more than anything else.  Even though we had 3 other phones they could play with.  Apparently this one is the BEST phone.

Espen ringing the doorbell.  That's what Kalena was doing in yesterday's picture too.  It does ring, a lovely ring.  And by "lovely" I mean "quiet."  The phone also makes nice quiet noises.

Trying out her new rocking horse, one of the gifts from Brian's parents.  She's quite a fan.

She was a little overwhelmed by everything, and every time she opened a gift she just wanted to play with that and not open anything else.  This happened even though we let her see the house and the horse and then she and Espen played with those while we MADE AND ATE lunch before doing anything with the other gifts.  

All in all it was a fun party.  I'm glad I didn't make myself crazy over a theme or anything fancy though.  Especially since the balloons were the most popular item of the day.  Good thing we got rid of the box that house came in, otherwise it might have ended up being the favorite.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I have a 2 year old. Wow.

A year ago I thought Kalena was such a big girl.  Turning one made her seem so OLD.  She started walking just before her birthday, so she didn't seem like a baby anymore.  But now, looking at these pictures she seems like SUCH a baby.

Here she is at her party on Saturday.  These days she seems like a little person to me.  She says quite a few distinguishable words and recently started doing that thing that kids do where they babble a whole bunch and then look at you expectantly, like they just said something really important and they hope you were paying attention. 

Bad days notwithstanding, she is a joy in our lives.  Nothing is quite as sweet as when she offers me kisses and lays her head on my shoulder.  And the new things she learns to say make me laugh every day.  "Heavy" is one of her newest words (thanks to Brian always saying, "Oh, you're so HEAVY!" when he picks her up) so now everything she picks up is, "'Eavy, 'eavy, 'eavy!"  She is a little ray of sunshine, and some days I'm still amazed she's mine.

Happy birthday Kalena!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sounds like somebody has a case of the Mondays.

I'm going to whine today so that tomorrow I can tell you whole-heartedly what an adorable two year old I have.

I'm not particularly looking forward to this week.  Brian will be gone all week for work and that makes me worn out just thinking about it.  Before y'all point this out, I know how spoiled I am.  Living with my parents means even though Brian is gone I have LOTS of help.  But I'm used to Brian doing certain things.  Like sitting next to Kalena during dinner and dealing with the mess that entails, and giving her a bath and getting her ready for bed every night.  The age Kalena is just wears me OUT.  I find it very emotionally draining to spend all day with her.  I know it's just one of the stages she has to go through but MAN.  The whining and the crying and the tantrums and the FAKE crying and yelling "NO! NO! NO!" at everything. It's exhausting.  It doesn't help that she's over this whole "being potty trained" thing and would now rather just continue what she's doing than tell me when she needs to go.  I know backsliding after a skill is mastered is NORMAL but that doesn't stop it from being ANNOYING.

Anyway, I'm going to venture a guess that the 2 to 4 age range is going to be my least favorite.  Do you have a favorite or least favorite stage?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quite the jumble of thoughts and pictures.

We tried to get all gender neutral stuff when Kalena was a baby, with the thought that we didn't want to have to buy all new stuff if we had a boy next.  Also, I'm not the biggest pink fan in the world.  I like it fine, but I didn't want an all pink nursery or anything.  Well, when we found out we were indeed having a boy next, I was especially glad for the neutral colors.  Green carseat, brown and tan pack-n-play, blue stroller, green and tan vibrating chair.  We did, however, end up with a pink bumbo.  It was the only color they had in the store.  This means lots of pictures of my little guy in a bright pink chair.  Oh well.

I'm sure you're all wondering about the initials on the bib.  (Because apparently I think my blog readers have nothing better to do with their time than wonder about my child's clothing.)  The bib was a gift, or rather part of a gift basket, from Aldolphson & Peterson Construction.  No, that's not the company Brian works for.  It's a company his dad works with.  Sometimes.  I guess they really want to get in good with him, sending a gift basket for the birth of his grandson.  It had a lot of nice stuff.  ANYWAY, he's not wearing it because I was feeding him.  (In case you weren't paying attention to what I said about baby food.)  He's wearing it because he's a drooler, so if he's not in a bib the front of whatever he's wearing ends up soaked.  

Decided to take some pictures on the couch with no bib.  Classier than the pink bumbo with bib pictures.  Although, I left him in the duck sleep sack, so probably not the manliest pictures he'll ever have.

As soon as Kalena realized I was taking pictures she wanted in on the action.  She is starting to smile when I ask her to, so that will make picture taking easier.

At least until she gets distracted.  

Will's hair has gone blond, by the way.  It stayed dark longer than Kalena's did.  I thought maybe it would stay dark for good, but I guess for now we've got another blondie.  They're definitely looking like siblings these days.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ah, to be a two year old.

Then I could sit around all day in a lawn chair and eat suckers.  Sounds pretty good to me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Drowsy but AWAKE

I'm pretty sure that every parenting book ever in the history of parenting books give this piece of advice: when putting baby to bed or down for a nap, make sure to lay him down when he is drowsy but awake.  In other words, don't feed your kid to sleep, don't rock him to sleep, don't walk him around until he falls asleep in your arms.  Kids need to be AWAKE when you lay them down.  I suppose this is to keep you from having to feed/rock/walk to sleep every night for however long.

When Kalena was a baby I thought, well sure, that's great advice.  THEORETICALLY.  Unfortunately that girl would not go to sleep unless she was eating.  (Or sometimes riding in the car, but you get the point.)  There was no laying her down awake.  Not even when she got a little older.  You may remember from other posts that she took a bottle to bed with her every night until she was 18 months old.  18 months!  The first time I ever put her to bed drowsy but awake and she actually went to sleep she was a YEAR AND A HALF old.

All the parenting books make it sound so EASY.  Just lay baby down drowsy but awake and TA DA!  Sleep.  They don't get into what happens if "drowsy but awake" equates with fussing then crying then screaming and then a child who not only isn't sleeping, but is no longer even drowsy.  ANYWAY.  After our experience with Kalena, I just assumed that those parenting books were full of crap and that babies don't actually fall asleep without help, the books just TELL you that to make you feel bad that YOUR kid won't.

Then Will came along.  And one night when he was a few days old, he was awake after nursing, but I laid him down beside me anyway hoping to rest my eyes for a few minutes before he started crying.  Then I watched, completely amazed, as he went from wide-eyed awake to asleep in just a few minutes.  Who'd have thought?  It is actually possible.  He doesn't do it every time, most of the time he nurses to sleep, but still.  The times it does happen it always surprises me.

What parenting book advice did you hate?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seriously, just one more post about the good nite lite.

After this I'll shut up about it.  For awhile anyway.

I just have to say, Kalena LOVES this thing.  Like, lots.  Lots and lots.  Loves it so much I thought it might actually be a problem.  Because for the first few days, when she got up in the morning she wanted to take it with her.  Unplug it and carry it around for the day.  I would have let her do it too, except she reset the times when I let her and I didn't want to have to set the thing every night before bed.  Then she would cry when I made her leave it there.  Fortunately we've resolved this problem.  She now kisses him goodbye every morning when she leaves the room.

It's definitely love.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's day. Pictures first.

The family, all dressed up for church.  How come they always hand out flowers in church on mother's day and not cookies?  If you gave me a choice between a corsage and a cookie and I'll choose a cookie EVERY time.  Maybe it's subliminal messaging-- ladies, we like you to smell nice, but we don't want you getting fat.  No cookies for you.

Not that I need any cookies since my mom made the world's most delicious dessert and I've eaten like half of it.  ANYWAY.

Brian ruined what would have been the best picture.  But then I realized Will is making the same face, so now it's just funny.

Me with my mom.  And Mr. William.

Happy mother's day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Good Nite Lite so far

Well, so far so good.  The whole point of this thing (for those of you too lazy to click over to the website and read about) is to get your kid to sleep later in the morning.  (The night light shows up as a moon when it's time to sleep and changes to a sun when it's time to get up.)  It hasn't *exactly* worked like that around here.  I started out setting it for the sun to come on at 6:30 am, the time she'd been getting up for the previous few weeks.  She woke up early the first morning, around 6:15 or so, but I didn't go in right away. I went in right before it switched to the sun so I could tell her that we don't get up while the moon is on, we have to wait until the sun comes up.  The next day she was quiet until the sun came on at which point she started saying, "Up! Up!"

After a few days I set it to go off at 6:40 instead of 6:30 and she seems to be doing alright with that.  It has not (and probably won't) encouraged her to sleep any later.  BUT!  She doesn't cry when she wakes up now.  She waits (or talks to herself) until the sun comes on and someone comes to get her.  This is GREAT.  I cannot believe what a relief it is to KNOW what time she's going to get up.  I don't have to worry that she'll be up at 5.  If I get up at 6 I know I can shower before Kalena will be up.  (I don't have to worry about Will, he's a more predictable sleeper.)  She doesn't wake me up by crying anymore.  It is AWESOME.  Next week I'll be pushing it back to 6:50 and then 7:00 am the week after that.  Depending on how she does with that, I may or may  not try to push it later than that.  If this system does eventually cause her to sleep later, I'll probably push it back a little more.  We'll see though, I don't want to make her bedtime any later.  I very much prefer her to be up in the morning and have the evenings to myself.

One of the reasons we started it now is that she's still in a crib.  When we move her to bed, I fully intend to use it to keep her from getting out of bed in the mornings.  (I REALLY hope this works.)  There is one change I'd make if I could though.  I wish it had a "nap" setting.  Kalena doesn't always nap, but I think if I could tell her that it's "quiet time" while the moon is on and we don't get up until the sun is back out I think that would work.  Maybe some other sort of visual cue would work for this?  Any suggestions?

Anyway, even with no nap setting, I'm sold.  It's worth it.  I'll keep you updated on how things go as the weeks go on.  Because nothing is as exciting as sleep schedules.  I know you'll be holding your breath.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Books, books, books.

I'm in a book club.  Okay, I'm in two book clubs, but I'm just going to be talking about one right now.  It's newly formed with my friend Sherry, and we're reading exclusively young adult literature.  Since I grew up reading classics, that's a change for me.  I conned Sherry into it really.  I wanted to start reading young adult stuff, but didn't know where to start, and Sherry does.  Thus, a book club.

ANYWAY, I've learned some things.  First off, I've learned that YA stuff is almost exclusively series stuff.  Apparently this is because single books don't make enough money?  Sherry was explaining it all to me.  Also, I've learned that my compulsion about book finishing?  (Wrote about that here.  (Big fat fail on the keeping track of what I read for a year, by the way.  That lasted like 4 months.))  It extends to series books.  It doesn't even matter if I didn't like the first book, I HAVE to know what happens.  I realized that after our March book.  I came away feeling like I'd watched a confusing movie preview.  I didn't really know the characters, I was never really sure why things were happening, and it felt totally unresolved.  But as soon as the next book comes out I'm totally reading it.  I just need to know.  It's the same way I'll read through ridiculously long books I'm not enjoying, just hoping it will get better.

Ah, compulsive reading.  If only I didn't need sleep I'd have more time for it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Toys and noise

I have a strange tolerance when it comes to noisy toys.  Electronic toys that talk or play music?  Don't bother me.  I really don't even notice them.  The exersaucer or Kalena's toy laptop or her toy cell phones or the star on the baby Einstein playmat?  That stuff can play ALL DAY LONG and I am unfazed.  But if she turns on her toy dirt devil vacuum?  I'm asking her to turn that thing off like 30 seconds later.  It doesn't make sense, it should just be white noise (it just makes a vacuum-like noise) but MAN that thing annoys me.  I have the same reaction to those popper type toys.  Luckily Kalena doesn't own any.

I'm not sure what the deal is.  I think maybe the noise those particular toys make is louder than others?  Anything that is particularly loud really gets on my nerves, so that could be it.  Even loud white noise bothers me.  That can cause problems in the summer when it's too hot to sleep without a fan on, but the noise from the fan keeps me awake.  Weirdly enough, I can sleep through lots of noise going on OUTSIDE my room.  Just not in the room.

Anyway.  Back to the toys.  It's not like I go out of my way to buy the noisy ones, but I don't avoid them either.  I also don't hide them away, or avoid replacing dead batteries or anything like that.  The vacuum however, those batteries may need to go.  Do you avoid the noisy toys?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

We'll be waiting on the solid food

When Kalena was a baby I was SO excited to start feeding her "real" food.  That was because I didn't realize that baby food is a big fat pain.  You have to buy it (or make it) and spoon feed the baby and it makes a giant mess and maybe she'll like it, maybe not.  UGH.  At Will's 4 month appointment the pediatrician said the recommendation about solid food has changed and 6 months is now the recommended age to start.  This did not make me sad.

In fact, I was sort of thinking I'd skip the baby food altogether this time.  I think I'd just prefer to nurse until he's ready to eat ACTUAL food.  (Kalena quit eating baby food altogether at like 8 months, so it probably wouldn't be too much longer anyway.)  Maybe he'll get super interested (like my nephew Eli who is just a little older and LOVES baby food.  Seriously, check out this video.)  If that's the case I'll deal with baby food.  Otherwise, I'm just not so interested.  What do you think of the baby food stage?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Too many toys

As you may know, Kalena's birthday is coming up.  On the 18th to be exact.  And that brings up the issue of toys.  She has plenty to play with, and while I make an effort to keep the toy buying to a minimum, I don't think a birthday is the time to skip on the toys.  Still, it's getting to the point that I think I should be rotating through them, or making some of them "special toys" or SOMETHING.  I've already put away toys that are too "young" for her, although we'll be getting them back out soon for Will to play with, so that may be a lost cause.

So, lovely readers, tell me-- what do you do when there are too many toys?  Do you get rid of some?  (She plays with everything.)  Do you rotate through them, or bring some out only on special occasions?  If you rotate them, how do you do it?  Weekly?  Randomly?  Are they sorted by type or all mixed together?  Tell me everything, I NEED to know!  And if you have kids of multiple ages, how do you deal with younger toys vs older toys?

I hope you all spend as much time thinking about this crap as I do.