Monday, November 30, 2009

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

So…yeah. Thanksgiving. I don’t even have the energy to recount the whole crazy saga but suffice it to say that:

  • We flew with both kids for the first time. J was amazingly well-behaved throughout both airports and on the flights. Which was good because on the way there, when we got on the plane the guy in front of us groaned and said loudly, “Great, there’s little kids behind us” the same way you would say “Great, I just stepped in dog sh--.”. Jr. of course slept, nursed, looked around for 5 minutes, and then slept some more.
  • Sleeping on a fold-out sofa bed with a newborn and a toddler – NEVER AGAIN.
  • J really likes snow. And mountains. He kept proclaiming that he wants to move to “Denber.” Me too, kid, me too.
  • We all got sick. Except, miraculously for Jr., whose only symptom despite all of us repeatedly coughing and sneezing in his face has been mild nasal congestion. TH and I both had sore throats Monday morning before our flight, and by Wednesday we were all coughing, sneezing, stuffed up, and kind of miserable. On top of that, for the first time in my Colorado-born-and-raised life I experienced altitude sickness, which I kind of thought wasn’t a real thing until last week. It all culminated in J vomiting 3 days in a row, not from an upset stomach but from gagging after a severe coughing fit. One vomiting episode involved chocolate milk and us having to trade in our rental car because of the, um, mess, and another was right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. Awesome.
  • As usual I want to move back home. More than ever.

In other news…today was my first day back at work. Weird. In some ways, it’s almost like I never left, like having Jr. and going on maternity leave never happened. I had appointments lined up as soon as I walked in the door, and multiple surgeries and emergencies. I almost forgot that I needed to pump until I started, ahem, leaking. My clients were so happy to see me, and *most* of my patients managed to still be alive and well in my absenceJ. J was happy enough to go see his friends at daycare, and thankfully TH has managed to work out a work-from-home schedule for a few weeks so Jr. won’t have to start daycare until January when he’s 13-14 weeks old. So in that sense, it was a little easier for me this time around because I knew the baby was in good hands and I already have excellent childcare for J.

On the other hand, I was so torn this morning when I left for work. I’ve enjoyed being home with Jr. so much more than I did with J, partly because he’s a waaaay easier baby than J was, and partly because I’m waaaaay more relaxed and confident this time around. Especially in the last couple of weeks, since he’s been “talking” and smiling at me and looking into my eyes when he’s nursing. I’m falling in love with this little guy, just like I did the first time. I had days where I really thought I could be a stay at home mom, and other days (see previous posts LOL) where I thought I was going to go crazy being home with the two of them. But I realized today as I was doing surgery and laughing with my coworkers that I really am happiest when I can have both worlds. I get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from my job that I just MISS when I’m at home, even though I feel like being a mom is the most rewarding thing I do. It’s all a balancing act, and I’m so far from reaching a perfect balance, but I think it’s going to be okay.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Ten Phrases I've Uttered the Last 2 Weeks

Okay this is my last "venting" post for awhile. I promise.

I'm pretty sure one of the following phrases will be Jr.'s first words because he hears me say these ALL. DAY. LONG.

10. "Stop. I said, stop doing that. STOP THIS INSTANT. I feel like I just said stop."

9. "You're not listening. Today is a bad listening day."

8. "What did I just say? What did I just say??"

7. "I'm counting to 3."

6. "And if you don't think I'm serious, feel free to test me." (my favorite line, also useful when arguing with TH lol)


4. "STOP TRYING TO STOMP ON THE DOG. If she bites deserve it." (Don't worry, we're talking about an 8 pound dog here, she can't really do any damage.)

3. "Do not touch him while he's sleeping. Leave him alone. Stop messing with him, he's sleeping!! He's---you just woke the baby up."

2. "I'm not saying it again." (hmmm....yet I say this alot).

1. "I love you, but you're making Mommy crazy."

But I do love him though.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

That sound? That would be all hell breaking loose.

Okay so it hasn't been that bad, but the past couple of weeks have left me a bit drained. Jr. has been a delight, finally "waking up" and starting to smile and coo and wave his arms around when we talk to him and hold his head up and (kind of) sleep well. Taking care of him is a thousand million zillion times easier for me, mentally and physically. I've never been a huge fan of the newborn phase, but I've been trying to cherish these times a little bit more with Jr. because I'm 99.9999% sure we won't be having any more kids. I don't mind the getting up at night as much, either because I'm more used to it--we all know that once you have kids you never really sleep like you did before you had kids--or I'm more efficient at it or both. Jr. is still sleeping in our bed but at least he's making it from 8pm-midnight before waking up. So that means of course that I go to bed every night right after the kids so I can get one good block of sleep. It's so lame being a parent of a little infant, I have no life...

However. Staying home with J and Jr. has been a bit trying lately. The combination of having a new sibling, being 3.5 years old, and changes to the routine i.e. having Mommy's home all day every day has resulted in J being completely unpredictable and on some days this close to being sold on Craig's List. Just kidding. Every day is a roller coaster it seems. Part of the day is us having a good time hanging out together, cooking, doing crafts, watching movies, walking to the park, etc. The other part of the day is inevitably me raising my voice at some point, J hanging out in the time out spot, me standing in my closet or hiding in my bathroom counting to ten (or 1,000), and me texting TH with increasing frequency as 5pm creeps closer: "r u getting off on time?"..."what time r u leaving wrk?"..."r u coming straight home after wrk?"..."where r u?"
I've never seen J be this bratty. I hate to use that word but it's the only one that really encapsulates how he's been the last couple of weeks. For whatever reason he's suddenly realized that he can be really defiant, and has started talking back to me, EVERY TIME I talk to him it seems. If I tell him to put his shoes on, he says "YOU put your shoes on. I'm not putting my shoes on." If I tell him computer time is over, he tells me he's not turning the computer off, ever. He argues with me about going upstairs to find his cup, and where his cars are supposed to go, and whether he has to get ready for bed, and what we're having for lunch. I get so tired of arguing with a 3 year old! When I send him to time-out, he yells and screams the whole time, "OUT OF TIME OUT!! I'M GETTING OUT!!" If I'm attending to the baby while he's supposed to be in timeout or in his room, he plays a "game" where he runs out of timeout giggling, and when I see him he runs back. Some days he actually yells "You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!!" (I'm not kidding. Thanks, And I get angry, and start yelling, and J starts acting more crazed, and I get a headache. Meanwhile amazingly Jr. sleeps through it all or kind of bemusedly watches us from the bouncy seat.

To top things off, J is totally having a Potty Training Regression. As in, last week he was having accidents (#1 and #2) every single day, as if potty training never happened. I don't know why, but this particular regression has been the most frustrating thing of all. I can't really describe the sense of defeat I felt when I realized we had to do potty training all over again, after months with not a single accident. And I mean all over again, we had to go back to Pull-ups after one particularly trying day where J changed pants SIX TIMES by 2pm. TH and I have been trying to really push positive reinforcement and not punish when he has an accident, but it is SO HARD not to get angry when he walks right past the bathroom and proceeds to stand in our room and pee, especially when we all know he can use the potty. Sigh...I know, I know, this too shall pass.

At least we have daycare/preschool so we can get a break from each other. I keep reminding myself that this is a huge adjustment for J, and that he has no idea why we're so tired all the time (thankfully he never wakes up at night when Jr. cries). I go back to work in less than 2 weeks, which I'm sure will bring another round of Transition Madness--just when we all get the hang of Mommy being a Sort-of Stay at Home Mom, back to work I go. I'm thinking it's going to be awhile before we're back on a good routine.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where were you in '99?

Since today is a "preschool" day (previously known as daycare, "preschool" is less guilt-inducing for me), I had a long list of all the stuff I was going to get done while Jr. is napping. Laundry. Mop the entire downstairs. Go through accumulated bills/statements and file or shred appropriately. Clean the kids bathroom. Start pumping and get a milk stash going since it's only 3.5 weeks until I'm back at work. Clean up dog poop in the yard. Send out way overdue thank-you cards from the surprise baby shower that is now 6 weeks in the past (I know, I know), organize some of the 5 billion pictures we've taken of Jr., and oh yeah, maybe update the blog.

Yes, like most moms with newborns, I have a looooong list of crap that is just not getting done despite my temporary stay-at-home mom status. So with good intentions I was organizing my desk (or maybe jacking around on the computer wasting time on Facebook and Babycenter, whatever), and for whatever reason I decided to "dust" a little photo album that I never look at, a photo album commemorating the Summer of 1999, also known as One of the Most Adventurous Summers of My Young Life. As I flipped through the book, all I could think was, "Holy crap. This is TEN YEARS AGO." It feels like 5 minutes ago, but it also feels like an alternate life that was lived by someone else. I was 22. I lived in a one-bedroom apartment by myself, although TH and I were definitely pretty serious by then. I was still a zookeeper at the Denver Zoo. I was in between my 1st and 2nd senior years at CU Boulder (I needed the "Five-Year Plan" because I had to work full time at the zoo to pay the bills, so I was only in class 2-3 days a week trying to crank out the pre-req's for vet school). I hadn't even applied to vet school yet, and I was still trying to figure out if I really wanted to be a vet or if I wanted to pursue something more academic.

At that time, I knew I was destined to work with animals. Because of my exposure to exotic animals through being a zookeeper and my love of all of my anthropology courses, I kept envisioning myself being The Next Jane Goodall. I was fascinated with primates (still am), and I fantasized that maybe I would become a primatologist, living in the jungle studying monkeys or apes when I wasn't teaching anthro classes (I also had and still have a great interest in teaching). So, when one of my anthro professors announced in spring 1999 that there was an opportunity for students to spend the summer in Central America helping her study monkeys, I jumped all over it. Keep in mind that A) I had never been outside the continental US, B)I was a scholarship/loan student with very little money to traipse around the world, and C) I needed to keep my job at the zoo. I'm still amazed that I actually managed to go on the trip. Somehow, I scrounged up additional student loan money to finance my part of the excursion and keep my rent paid while I was gone, I convinced my boss to hold my job for me over the summer, and I got my first passport. And off I went to Costa Rica and Panama, traveling by myself (well not exactly, I was with a research group but I had never met any of them prior to the trip).

This isn't even the smallest or crappiest plane. It was hilariious -- as small as it is, they had the nerve to have 3 flight attendants and a meal/drink service on this plane.

It was such an adventure! Getting to the island off of Panama where our research station was located took 2 days of progressively smaller and more questionable aircraft, culminating in us riding in a 10-seater, double prop plane that had DUCT TAPE ON THE WINDOWS to keep rain out and that flew so low over the mountains you could see birds in the trees (that part was not so much "adventurous" as "scary as hell"). Once we reached the tiny little "town" that held the airstrip, it was another hour into the jungle to reach the station, which was right on the uninhabited beach. We only had semi-electricity (lights in our "dining hall") for a few hours each day, with no real running water, just a gravity-fed ice cold shower in the "cabina" where we slept on little cots surrounded by mosquito nets. For six weeks, we woke up at around 4am and strapped on head lamps so we could hike into the rainforest and listen for the howler monkeys to start screeching, then use machetes to hack through the forest until we figured out their exact location. (Just thinking back I can't believe we actually did that everyday). The rainforest was exactly as you picture it in movies: hot, humid, muddy, trees so tall and leafy that it was almost night-time dark during the day, millions of insects and lizards and birds and butterflies (but thankfully no big cats or poisonous snakes. Those were on the mainland.) Each day we would set up shop at the base of some huge tree and spend hours watching the monkeys do their monkey thing through binoculars, notating their activities every 5 minutes. Every once in awhile --I kid you not -- a creepy-silent Amazonian-type barefoot and loinclothed "Forest Person" would amble by, say "hola" to us and then kind of chuckle at all of our equipment and notebooks and headlamps before they melted back into the forest to do whatever it is they did.

View of the part of the island where the monkeys were. I know, right?

Standing at the base of one of the giant rainforest trees. This one was a smaller one. Notice how dark it is in the middle of the day because of how dense the forest was.

Inside the cabina where we slept. On those little cots. For weeks. Mine is the upper one on the right.

In the afternoons we would hike back to the station, and have fun -- we'd usually jump into the ocean to wash off the mud, then spend the hours before dark snorkeling, drinking beer on our little beach, playing cards, reading, and smoking cigarettes (yes, smoking. I was a sort-of smoker in my college days, and I smoked so much while in Panama that I pretty much smoked myself out and ended the habit when I got back. What can I say, I was 22, there wasn't much else to do, and the packs were only 25 cents.) On weekends we would go into town and hang out at the local bar, drinking tequila and beer until early morning. It was crazy.

Swinging on a vine in the forest. A real vine, y'all!

After a day of monkey-watchimg. Notice the mud up to my knees. And the youth.

Anyway I could go on and on, but suffice it to say the summer of '99 was pretty pivotal for me. It was the first time I felt like a real adult, travelling in different countries by myself, taking part in a real research project. It was also when I realized that I couldn't stomach being a true primatologist. The jungle was just too "real" for me. The bugs, the heat, the mud, the mind-numbing monotony of watching monkeys sleep and eat and scratch each other's backs all day, having to take daily anti-malaria medication that can cause "hallucinogenic dreams," the lack of interaction with the outside world. When I came back from Panama I was 100% sure I was going to vet school. It was also the first time I'd tried to maintain a serious relationship from afar, and that summer was also when I became pretty sure that TH was The One, because I missed him more than anyone else while I was gone, and when I saw him at the gate when I got off the plane I almost cried I was so happy to see him.

I've had alot of challenging and cool and different experiences since then, but nothing that really matches that summer. When I look at the pictures of myself then, I wonder if I'm living the life that I envisioned back then. I'm not sure. I love my life. I've accomplished most of the goals I made for myself then. But I can't help feeling that my true "Adventure" days are behind me, at least until my kids are grown and gone. And that's okay.

Monday, November 2, 2009


So today I'm focusing on my first love, J. With all that I want to say about Jr. and having a second kid and all that, I haven't reported much about J recently. So here are a few of his Deep Thoughts and random musings that have made me laugh over the past few weeks. This is why I like having the blog, if I didn't capture these things here I would forget them forever. (This is pretty much Jr.'s baby book at this point LOL).

When watching me breastfeed for the millionth time: "Mommy, don't say you're feeding the baby. You're drinking him. He's drinking milk." So now that he's decided that's the accurate terminology, we all refer to breastfeeding as drinking the baby. Hey, it makes us laugh.

New word of the month: "Softy." It describes things that are soft, or sweet, or have an indefinable texture, as in, "I like yogurt. It's softy." or "Your toothpaste is spicy, mine is just softy."

J: "I don't think I like this brush." Me: "Why not?" J: "It's so....hairy."

After explaining what a mustache is: "I don't have a mustache like Daddy. I just have a cheek face."

J heard me refer to my breasts as boobs, so now he calls them that except he says "boods." Which is funny in and of itself, and even funnier when he says things like, "The baby doesn't want his binky, he wants to drink your boods." Or when he found a stray breast pad on the floor and yelled out in front of houseguests, "Mommy! I found one of your bood things! The thing you put in your boods! I found it!!"

Another explanation gone awry -- I explained to J what fur is in response to him asking why animals don't wear clothes. He proceeded to tell me that he has "furbs" too, only "not on my booty."

Shoot. I had a bunch more in my mind but I forgot. Have a great Monday!