first day of daycare

25.08.14

First Day of Daycare @ohbotherblog

So it was a big day for us here at the oh, bother house: Holdy’s first day of daycare. She’ll be going three days a week while my parents continue to watch Gatsby full-time.

I think it’s going to be great to provide her some real structure and to be around other kids. We’re all really hoping it’ll help with some of the tantrums and discipline issues (fingers crossed!).

So, true to form, I tried to make a cute chalkboard sign for a First Day photo prop. True to form, my sign is pretty much a poor man’s Pinterest reject. 

And, true to form, Holden refused to pose for an Instagram-worthy photo:

First day of Daycare @ohbotherblog

Just to be clear, the tears were for the photo and not for going to daycare itself. She’s been asking excitedly about school for like two weeks.

She was super psyched to wear her (completely empty) backpack:

First day of Daycare @ohbotherblog

On the way into the center, I asked if she wanted me to take her picture. She actually looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, “mooooom.” I remind you: she’s two.

No, there were no tears for Holdy during drop-off. In fact, the teachers told me they think she’s the only kid to never cry on their first day.

Fantastic.

She ran into the room, said hi to the kids, gave and accepted several hugs, and then joined the crowd and literally never looked back. Not even when I said goodbye. I was prepared to feel elated to have a day free from being screamed at by a toddler. I wasn’t prepared to feel a little sad at how big my little girl was. I mean, I guess independence is a good thing, right?

I didn’t get a call all day telling me to come back and get her out of there so I figured we were good to go.

When I picked her up, she was playing dolls happily with another little girl. Her teacher said that Holden had been good all day–no screaming, no tantrums. She did apparently cry for her mommy a couple of times (is it bad that hearing that made me feel a little good?). She even napped. And went on the potty. So overall, a great day.

I decided our new tradition is going to be ice cream on the first day of school, so I went ahead and got that started today.

First Day of School Tradition @ohbotherblog

And, bonus: she seems completely exhausted.

Daycare = a success so far.

happy 5 months, GB

23.08.14

I’ll update you on the result of our craycation shortly, but first… Happy 5 Months, GB!

happy 5 months, gb @ohbotherblog

Weight: According to my super scientific stand-on-the-scale-with-him-stand-on-the-scale-without-him method, about 15 lbs.

Likes: being held, milk, his sister, sitting outside, watching the fan, when mommy makes crazy faces and voices, the baby gym, being “hugged” by his sister, flying in the air, being tickled, dipping his feet in the pool, trying to sit up, belly raspberries

Dislikes: This kid is pretty freaking pleasant. There’s not much that upsets him… except being hot (so being at the beach for craycation was just fantastic).

Eats: Every 3-4 hours. Mommy’s milk or a 6oz bottle of breastmilk & formula combined.

Sleeps: Through the night. In his crib. Thank the Lord. 

Accomplishments: Smiling (a lot!), chuckling, rolling over like crazy, chewing on his hands, grabbing, kicking like a soccer player, holding his head up, putting his Nuk in his mouth

I love you, Buddy! Thanks for being so easygoing. Please stay that way.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of today’s shoot:

Behind the scenes baby photo shoot @ohbotherblog

 

Just kidding. That lasted about seven seconds and then she threw the camera on the ground and started screaming that she didn’t have her own tie sticker. 

craycation, or why am I going to the beach with a baby and a toddler?

18.08.14

craycation - going to the beach with a toddler and a baby @ohbotherblog

I’m envisioning that this will likely be the first in a series of posts on what I can only anticipate is going to be a very *interesting* trip to the beach.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve taken a vacation, though I’m sure by the time this trip has ended I won’t count it as a “vacation” either. Hence, “craycation.”

We did travel to Disney World with Holden when she was about 9 months old. At that time, it was six adults to one relatively immobile baby. This time, it’s  three adults, one crazy toddler, a sweet infant, a 4-hour car ride. Oh, and one hotel room. What could go possibly wrong?

First of all, holy crap do you have to pack a lot of stuff. In addition to clothes and diapers and wipes and all that jazz, I’m taking like half a carload of stuff just to keep Holden from driving us all crazy: a portable DVD player, movie, Kindle, books, flash cards. Then there’s the strollers. And the pack n play. And the food/snacks.  The monkey leash will definitely be making the trip, though putting it on her generally leads to a ridiculous tantrum.

Speaking of tantrums, today has been one long day of cranky behavior, hour-long screaming tantrums and various poop incidents. I could never have used a vacation more. But I can’t help but feel like I’m signing myself up for a self-imposed week of terror.

I am excited to share this tradition with the kids though. We used to go to the beach all the time when I was growing up. Sand. Boardwalk. Ice cream. Kites. Seashells. French fries. I’m just hoping that the good outweighs the bad, haha.

Holden has been on a beach before, but she was super new, so she doesn’t remember. She’s excited to “get her toes wet, get her butt wet and eat crabs.” I’m looking forward to some pool time and at least one margarita. 

I’ll let you know how we make out.

the toddler mullet

07.08.14

Billy Ray Cyrus. Carol Brady. Joe Dirt. Holden. What do these folks have in common?

Legendary mullets, that’s what.

The toddler mullet @ohbotherblog

Holden’s super fine golden blonde hair has grown into a mane that’s straight up business in the front, party in the back.

Now here’s the thing: the poor thing was pretty much bald until her first birthday.

Baby' 12 month onesie photo @ohbotherblog

So I’m kind of loathe to cut her hair because it took so dang long to grow. I have trimmed her bangs once or twice.

Trimming toddler's mullet bangs @ohbotherblog

Sometimes she’ll let me pull it back into a wispy little ponytail.

Toddler ponytail @ohbotherblog

But until the business catches up to the party, I guess we’ll just keep rocking that mullet. I mean, that’s cool, right?

happy 4 months, GB

23.07.14

Happy 4 month birthday, GB @ohbotherblog

Happy 4 months, Big Guy. You are the sweetest baby; so content and pleasant 95% of the time. I’m pretty sure you think your name is “Handsome” (maybe it should be).

Happy 4 Month Birthday, GB @ohbotherblog

Weight: According to my super scientific stand-on-the-scale-with-him-stand-on-the-scale-without-him method, about 13.5 lbs.

Likes: being held, milk, his sister, sitting outside, watching the fan, watching mommy, when mommy makes crazy faces and voices, the baby gym, “boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants and boots and pants,” being “hugged” by his sister, flying in the air, being tickled

Dislikes: This kid is pretty freaking pleasant. There’s not much that upsets him. He doesn’t love the Bumbo chair yet.

Eats: Every 3-4 hours. Mommy’s milk or a 6oz bottle of breastmilk & formula combined.

Sleeps: This big guy now sleeps in the crib in the nursery and… THROUGH THE NIGHT! He generally sleeps from about 9p to 6a with very few interruptions. 

Accomplishments: Smiling (a lot!), chuckling, rolling over, chewing on his hands, grabbing the rings in his baby gym, kicking like a soccer player, holding his head up

Milestones: May be showing signs of teething (?)

Happy 4 Month Birthday, GB @ohbotherblog

Oh, and look who had to get in the post:

Happy 4 Month Birthday, GB @ohbotherblog

(ps: I really boned up Holden’s monthly photos by not showing her sitting in a chair or something to give perspective. I’m trying a bit harder this time around. The adorable month tie stickers are from Bump2Baby Stickers on Etsy.)

 

crying over frozen milk

21.07.14

Welp, after 4 short months, this day has come: my freezer milk is finally gone. 

the last of the freezer milk @ohbotherblog

I have never been a fan of pumping. I find it to be a necessary evil, but I’ve always really really hated assembling all of the parts and pieces, putting on that hands-free bra and hooking myself up like a cow. Since going back to work part-time, I’ve only ever been able to squeeze in one pumping session a day–with GB was drinking two bottles while I was gone–so I was always playing catch-up and not-so-slowly making my way through my freezer stores.

So now here we are. The freezer milk is gone and it’s time to begin supplementing with formula.

With Holden, I pumped twice a day at work until she was 7 months and then gave up and resorted to the freezer. The day I made the decision to stop pumping altogether was straight-up joyous. I think the freezer milk lasted us a few months and I began supplementing with formula around her 10-month mark. I breastfed when I was in her presence and formula-fed when I wasn’t until she was 13 months old and totally over my nips.

The plan with GB will be similar: Breast feed when I’m around. Pump at work (ugh). Mix breast milk and formula when I have milk; and just use formula when I don’t.

I certainly don’t judge anyone who formula feeds their kids but I do feel a little bummed that I’m tapped out so early. The plan is to keep up with the pumping until I just can’t stand it anymore, but good lord do I hate it. Glad to have some reliable back up in trusty ol’ Enfamil.

the horror. the horror.

13.07.14

My toddler is a screamer. @ohbotherblog

So here it is: my toddler is a screamer. It turns out that Holden’s own fireworks display on the Fourth of July was not a fluke; she is a full-blown screaming, tantrum-throwing, screeching toddler. She has also added a fun new word to her vocabulary: NOW. “Milky now.” “Outside now.” “Done now.”

I have a 24-lb. terrorist in my house.

My toddler is a screamer. @ohbotherblog

According to Babycenter (where I end up after googling crazy things like “screaming toddler,” “toddler play in poop,” etc.):

Believe it or not, your toddler’s volume is turned way up not because she means to annoy you, but because she’s full of that wonderful toddler joie de vivre. She’s exploring the power of her voice, and experimenting with what she can do with it.

Joie de vivre, eh? Let me tell you, there is no joie in having to bust out your wrestling pretzel legs just to change your kid’s diaper.

So Babycenter recommends:

  • Run errands on her schedule - Um. I rarely leave the house with her, let alone taking her to run errands.
  • Stick to noisy stores and restaurant – This kid hasn’t seen a restaurant that isn’t Chick Fil A since her first birthday.
  • Ask her to use an indoor voice – If you want to feel absolutely invisible, ask a hysterical, screaming, hiccuping toddler to use her indoor voice.
  • Make a game out of it – That sounds like the worst game ever.

What to Expect says:

  • When your toddler starts screeching up a storm, turn on some music and suggest he sing or join you in a sing-along.
  • Challenge your screaming toddler: Look him in the eye and whisper. That may catch his attention and may make him curious enough to listen (and hopefully quiet down so he can hear).

So, again, these ideas all sound well and good but… seriously, when Holden gets worked up, it seems like pretty much all I can do is put her in a safe place to let her scream through it. I’ve tried reasoning with her. I’ve tried putting my fingers to my lips and “shh”ing and getting her to repeat it. I’ve tried whispering. Time outs make her even more upset (don’t get me wrong, I still do them). If I put her in her room, she beats on the door like the zombies in the Thriller video while calling out my name. Today I literally let her scream in my face for 15 minutes while I drank my coffee without even acknowledging her or saying a word.

When she finally calms down, we talk about how it isn’t nice or effective to scream and how she should use her inside voice and apologize for screaming, etc. But when she’s in the moment, it is a typhoon of horror.

I saw a tip on a Babycenter message board that sounded somewhat promising, from Good Ol’ Doctor Phil:

He advises that the parent/guardian needs to VALIDATE the child. In other words, the child is screaming because he/she cannot communicate effectively with you and that is the only way to get your attention. But, if you VALIDATE them by repeating what it is that they want three times (i.e. “I KNOW you want that book. I KNOW you want that book. I KNOW you want that book.”) they stop and listen to you.

Worth a shot I suppose.

If not, What to Expect reminds that “this too shall pass.”

My toddler is a screamer. @ohbotherblog

Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later.

fireworks fail, or my worst night as a parent to date

05.07.14

My hometown puts on a pretty fun event for Independence Day at our Atlantic League baseball stadium. Think bounce houses, carousel, playground, live music, concessions and, of course, fireworks.

If you’ll recall, we forewent fireworks for Holden last year. This year, I thought we’d give it a shot. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well.

I’ll preface by saying Holden has been getting her two-year molars, had a fever the day before and I was keeping her up about an hour and a half past her bedtime. But she had taken a nice, late nap so I thought we might be okay. Spoiler alert: we weren’t.

My mom and I got to the stadium (with both kids) around 7:45pm. We rode the carousel and had fun on the playground.

Then we headed onto the field to set up our blanket and stake out our spot for the fireworks show, which was to start around 9:30pm. There was a fun Army jazz band and Holdy got her dance on for a bit.

Then Ms. Antsy got, well, antsy and started to run around a bit. My mom went off chasing her and… 15 minutes later… brought back a possessed demon child from Independence Day hell.

The screaming. The kicking. The writhing. The teeth gnashing. As I carried her out, literally kicking and screaming (and in the process dropping her shoe, which I had to humiliatingly accept from a nice man who chased after us to return it to me), I could feel all eyes on us. Some judging. Some sympathetic. Some terrified.

I took her to a grassy spot off the field that was slightly more private and actually had to form a human Thundershirt to calm her down. For 30 minutes, I struggled to get her to a level that I could even just talk to her. It was overwhelming, and embarrassing, and scary, and frustrating, and mortifying. But I think I kept relatively calm myself. Not sure what the thousands of bystanders would have to say.

The storm passed and we went back on the field to pack up and leave before the fireworks even started. She was calm (tired?) enough to ride in the stroller (usually a struggle) and we got to watch the ‘works on the way out and the walk back to the car. Bonus: we missed the traffic on the way out.

I’m hoping this is “normal” two year-old-stuff. The knowing looks I received from other parents tells me it is. But I’m not exaggerating when I say it was my worst night as a parent so far. I left feeling absolutely terrible about myself as a mother.

But the excitement on her face when she watched the fireworks for the first time *almost* made that 30 minutes of horror worth it.

Holdy's First Fireworks

*Almost*.

happy three month birthday, GB

23.06.14

At 2:31 pm today, Mr. Gatsby (GB) will be three months old. Here’s a snapshot of the little man:

Gatsby is three months old @ohbotherblog

Weight: 12 lbs., 6 oz. The pediatrician called him a “string bean” at last week’s appointment. Pretty sure I was never ever considered a string bean.

Likes: being held, milk, his sister, sitting outside, watching the fan, watching mommy, when mommy makes crazy faces and voices, the baby gym

Dislikes: not being held, tummy time, riding in the car without a Nuk, not being paid attention to

Eats: Every 3-4 hours

Sleeps: Alert the media: we’ve had a few nights of 8 hours of sleep! (11a-6p). Usually it ranges between 6-8 lately. I’ll take it!

Accomplishments: Smiling (a lot!), chuckling, rolled over from front to back several times, chewing on his hands, grabbing the rings in his baby gym, kicking like a soccer player.

Places Visited: The Maryland Zoo for Sissy’s birthday, The Farm, Redeux Grand Opening

Gatsby is three months old @ohbotherblog

Also, this month’s pics may look adorable, but I assure you, nothing in my life goes that smoothly. Here are some outtakes before “the talent” was given some milk from craft services.

Gatsby is three months old @ohbotherblog

Gatsby is three months old @ohbotherblog

Also, go ahead and check out the evidence that I really boned up Holden’s monthly photos by not showing her sitting in a chair or something to give perspective. I’m going to try a bit harder this time around. The adorable month tie stickers are from Bump2Baby Stickers on Etsy.

that time I thought holdy almost blew up the house

18.06.14

Toddler puts ball in AC exhaust pipe @ohbotherblog

When I got home from work this afternoon, Holdy was upset and kept saying “ball stuck.” My dad nonchalantly explained that she had put one of her water table balls into one of the vents outside. I, being an idiot, thought nothing of it until I—also nonchalantly—mentioned it to someone else… and they said that it could kind of be a big deal, as that vent is the exhaust to the AC and furnace.

So I contacted “my guy”—you know everyone has one.

Toddler puts ball in AC exhaust pipe @ohbotherblog

That convo led to me literally hacking off the pipe to see if the ball was there. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. (ps: I was doing that in a dress, with a phone in one hand while Holdy screamed in her gated bedroom and GB screamed in his infant seat.)

Toddler puts ball in AC exhaust pipe @ohbotherblog

So I turned off the AC (ack! it’s 90 degrees outside) and my guy came and looked inside the actual HVAC unit. The ball wasn’t there, which means it’s (hopefully) somewhere in the pipe between the unit and the outside wall.

The good news is that AC doesn’t put out exhaust—only heat does—so it shouldn’t be an immediate issue in this hot, hot summer and I can turn the AC back on. But my guy is going to send his HVAC guy to come and (hopefully) get the ball out soon.

Oh, and to fix this:

Toddler puts ball in AC exhaust pipe @ohbotherblog

Never. A. Dull. Moment.

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