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).
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
Welp, after 4 short months, this day has come: my freezer milk is finally gone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Well, Big Girl, it’s your second birthday. This has been a wonderful, frustrating, hilarious, educational, heartwarming, awe-inspiring, terrifying, remarkable year watching you grow.
Truth be told, you entered your “terrible twos” a bit early: more like the “terrible 18 months.” But I’ll take a terrible day with you over no day with you at all.
You are precocious and curious and silly and sweet. You like to make funny faces and have a laugh that’s bigger than your body.
You’re a “hugger.” You have so much love to give. Granted, sometimes you literally tackle other kids to the ground or put your brother in a sleeper hold, but you’re such a sweetie.
You love to dance. Or, excuse me: “shake your booty” (thanks, Nanny). You love to run and climb and swing like a monkey. You’re a very athletic little girl. I’ve witnessed several yoga headstands and even a forward roll already.
You’re a great big sister. You like to “help” me with your brother by shoving his Nuk in his mouth or covering his face with a blanket or throwing away his diapers (after smelling them or putting them in your mouth). You like to “tickle tickle tickle” him. And hold his hands. My heart grows three sizes every time I see you with him because I know you’re in it together for the long haul, whether you like it or not.
You’re a great little sister to our dog, Sally, who has gotten a lot more tolerant of your love. You give her big hugs and giggle when she licks your hands and face.
You have an amazing vocabulary for a two year old (I credit the flash cards). You’re starting to string words together into a sentence and I love watching you learn and grow every day. I cracked up laughing the one time you held up my bathing suit top and said, “Oooooh. What is thiiiiiis?!”
You like to hold my hand to come down the steps. I’ll remember that when, in ten years (or less, ugh), you’ll make me walk behind you in public.
You like to “sing” even though you don’t know the words. You love Katy Perry and Frozen. You tell me to “Sing. Anna. Mama.” and I belt out “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” for you. Even in public. We car dance with one hand in the air to “Happy” or “Blurred Lines.” Or anything with a beat, really.
You like to eat sushi (“soosh”) and edamame and vegetables. You like to eat whatever I’m eating (which has become a trick of mine to get you to ingest food). You call any kind of dessert “pie.” One day your Duke brought you home from the park with a sippy cup full of Coke. He was banned for a week. You drink the hell outta some milk (“muhk”). Every morning, you greet me with your command: “Muhk. Joos. Mana.” (milk, juice, banana).
We watch Yo Gabba Gabba and Sesame Street (“Elmo”) and Dora the Explorer (“DuhDuhDora”). You love Toy Story (“Woody”) and Annie and, of course, Frozen (“Anna”). Since you can’t read I’ll tell you that I bought us tickets to see Disney on Ice “Frozen” in October.
We’ve started practice potty training but mom isn’t ready to fully pull the trigger yet. You like to pee on the potty and wear your big girl undies.
You sleep in your big girl bed in your big girl room… with 18 stuffed animals, 4 Nuks and 7 blankets. I’m concerned you may be showing some tendencies of hoarding. Before you go to sleep, you like to turn on your sound machine and humidifier (pointing and saying “too”) and then instruct me to “Fan. On.” to turn on your ceiling fan.
You like to go to the park and the swimming pool and Gymboree. You like shoes and purses. You’ll throw a bag over your shoulder and say, “See ya!” When I ask where you’re going you say, “Mall.”
You like to color and try to eat the crayons. You make me tea and soup in your play kitchen. You love to read books and play with your flash cards (before you could talk, you could do the “You’re out!” sign for the umpire card). You enjoy looking at “pickles” of yourself on my iPhone, despite hating actually posing for photos, and are a pro at a touch screen already.
Two years old, going on seven. Starting preschool in the fall. Miss Independent; Miss “Holdy do it.”
You’re my big girl and my sweet baby girl at the same time. I love ya, kid. Happy Second Birthday.
As I stand holding the third invitation we’ve received to a carnival/circus-themed kid’s birthday party this year—this one complete with big-top tent, popcorn machine and balloon-animal-making clown—I feel both relieved and slightly guilty.
Holden’s second birthday is this Saturday. I’ve opted not to throw her a big party this year because I. just. cannot. I think the party I threw for her first birthday was cute and not really too over-the-top and even that was more effort than I care to spend this year. I mean, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about those damn rainbow cupcakes.
So for Holdy’s birthday, we’re taking a trip to the zoo and then we’re inviting grandparents over for a cake that I will (hopefully) make. I like to think I’m not depriving my child or traumatizing her by not throwing the big party.
I enjoyed having a summer birthday growing up and, if the weather was nice, we’d spend the day at the pool and I’d get a thrill if my birthday was announced over the loud speaker. I was usually able to invite a friend to the movies and then we went back to my house for cake and ice cream. It was enough for me.
Part of my inspiration in starting this blog is that I think we as parents/homeowners/cooks/humans are placing too high expectations on ourselves to lead a Pinterest-worthy life. It’s exhausting.
So I’m taking myself out of the game on this one. I can’t compete with the photo booths and handmade decorations and popcorn bars. There will be no clowns or paper garlands or custom party favors. There will be zoo animals, and birthday pizza, and a (hopefully) handmade cake and, of course, the birthday clock photo. And it will be enough for me. And for Holden.
Let’s all just cut ourselves some slack.
oh and p.s.—this is the cake I’m attempting tomorrow night: The Best White Cake Recipe. Just because I’m not throwing a Pinterest-worthy party doesn’t mean there won’t be Pinterest fails.