Monday, July 26, 2010

He's like his own little special interest group.

We've been calling J Mr. Smooth lately because he's learned how to grease the wheels for himself, the power of persuasion. He's an expert at giving out strategically placed compliments, to the point where sometimes I wonder if he's being sincere -- is he just an innocent wide-eyed four-year-old making an innocent observation, or has he just figured out that if you smile and raise your eyebrows and say the right thing you can sometimes get what you want? Maybe his dad -- very much an old-fashioned southern gentleman who turns on the charm when he wants to -- has been coaching him.

For instance this weekend I went to the hair salon for a cut and blowout, something I do maybe 2-3 times a year. Whenever I come home from the salon TH whistles and calls me "Hollywood," and of course I spend the next few months unsuccessfully trying to recreate that hairstyle myself. So this time when I came in the door J ran up to me, looked at my hair, and stopped. "Whoa." he said. "Mommy, your hair looks really good. It's so beautiful. It makes you look so pretty." I was oddly flattered, and I gave him a big hug and said thank you. J must have noticed my reaction to his compliment because later when I was cooking dinner he randomly came up to me and said, "Mommy, your hair is the most beautiful. I really really really like it when you go to the hair place and you have it like that." "Gee, thanks again, sweetie," I said. Not five minutes later, he came up to me again and said, "Wow Mommy your hair is just so nice! It's just so beautiful and everything!" When I thanked him again, he actually said, "But you didn't hug me." Um, okay. So I hugged him again. Later, after dinner, J asked if we could go to Target and buy a Hot Wheels car. When I told him that it was time for bed and lectured that we can't go to Target and get a new car all the time, he said, totally apropos of nothing, "But I really like your hair!"

It's not just compliments. On Friday he ran into the house after school and pulled some kind of pipe cleaner, plastic bead, and glitter contraption out of his backpack, handed it to TH and said, "Daddy, I made this for you!" But when he noticed me watching from across the room he quickly snatched it from TH, came over and handed it to me and said, "Well, I made it for you, too Mommy, because you're soooooo pretty. Can I have some cookies?" I think this kid has a future in politics.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just call him Hoover.

So, as it turns out, I don't need to worry about Jr. being a picky eater like J. At least not yet. This boy loves to eat. Everything. We have yet to find something that he doesn't like -- no, scratch that -- we have yet to find something that he doesn't enthusiastically love and eat large amounts of even if it's the first time he's ever had it. I'm not sure if the homemade baby food made a difference. Because at this point baby food of any kind is a thing of the past. At 9.5 months Jr. wants to eat everything we eat, the less like baby food the better.

Bread. Pasta. Pizza. Yogurt and cheese. Any kind of fruit. Carrots. Sweet potatoes. Beans. Burritos. Tacos. Crackers. Cookies. Rice (real rice, not rice cereal). Oatmeal (real oatmeal with milk and brown sugar, not oatmeal baby cereal). Cinnamon raisin bread. BBQ pulled pork. Turkey chili. Grits. Cornbread. Tortillas. Cake and ice cream. Rotisserie chicken. I'm sure you're getting the picture...

Of course we're careful about how we introduce things and there are definitely still some stuff that's off limits (whole milk, peanut products, shellfish, choking hazards like grapes and hot dogs, etc.). It's funny because with J we were so much more strict about letting him eat stuff like ice cream and cookies. It's not that we let Jr. have alot of junk, but we're definitely much more relaxed about letting him have a little bit of whatever we're eating as long as it's within reason. It's interesting comparing the two boys' eating habits. Jr. already eats more than J, who continues to be a super picky eater who somehow manages to subsist on juice, cheerios, and sunshine (or so it seems some days). Last week TH and I finally hired the sitter so we could go out for his birthday, and we ordered a pizza for her and the kids. I told her it was ok for Jr. to have a little pizza crust. When we got home, she apologetically told us that Jr. seemed "really hungry" so she kept feeding him. I can't fault her for that because when Jr. is hungry he is HUNGRY and he makes the most godawful sound until you feed him something. My mom heard him making this particular noise one day while I was feeding him and talking to her on the phone and she said, "Well, that's an ugly sound." So now we call it That Ugly Thing. And if he's doing it, someone better feed him STAT. Anyhoo. The babysitter informed us that Jr. ate 2 full 3oz. containers of homemade pears and peaches, a WHOLE SLICE OF PIZZA with crust (sans toppings), a bowl of soft diced carrots, 1/2 a container of YoBaby yogurt, and "about 50 of those little puff things." Oh, yeah, and an 8oz bottle of formula about 30 minutes later. J, on the other hand, ate...about 1/3 slice of pizza ("mostly the pepperonis," she said) half an orange, and some milk.

Two things make Jr.'s eating habits kind of humorous. First, Jr. doesn't have a single tooth. Not so much as a swollen gum has appeared yet. Lord knows how much he'll be able to eat once he has something real to chew with. Second, Jr. is still a little thing compared to his brother at the same age. At his 9 month appointment 2 weeks ago he had only gaind 15 ounces since his previous visit 3 months before--less than a pound. His head circumference (minus the hair) and length are still tracking in the 50-75th percentile, but his weight is now in the 10th percentile. He has yet to clear 16.5 lbs, despite already eating us out of house and home. When J was 9 months old he was over 20lbs. I'll be amazed if Jr. is 18lbs on his first birthday (only 10 weeks away, can you believe it??).

Well, gotta run, Jr. is at my feet pulling on my pants doing That Ugly Thing, which will quickly turn into That Horrendous Earsplitting Yelling if I don't hustle downstairs and fix him a steak or something...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Caption Wednesday: Random Summer Stuff. (Let's face it, I couldn't be "wordless" if my life depended on it.)

Here, little Jr. points out several areas where the babyproofing is severely lacking. For instance, did you know that babies this small can stand up in the tub and grab the faucet handle, like, really fast?

Hi Mommy! There's no way you'll whip these pictures out and show them to our girlfriends when we're 16, right? Right?

Finally! Beginning to see the advantage of having two kids: they play together like this for a few hours every day and I can actually get stuff done around the house. It is kind of sad, though, how Jr. doesn't really have any toys of his own--we've been so lazy about buying him stuff since he's perfectly content playing with his older brother's Hot Wheels and RC vehicles.

"Sigh...est si dur être un bébé parfois. Pourquoi suis-je pense en français? Je ne sais pas, le regard sur mon visage a appelé pour lui."

"Oh, hey there little Jr., I know the camera's on me so I'm pretending to be all nice and stuff and acting like I didn't just PUT MY HANDS ON EITHER SIDE OF YOUR HEAD AND PUSH YOU DOWN TO THE FLOOR like 2 minutes ago because you kept trying to touch my precious Cars Laptop..."

Yeah, yeah, it's unsafe, sparklers can kill people, blah blah blah. You're only young once. And I must admit, J usually acts really nervous/scared about this kind of stuff so I was actually proud on 4th of July when he was the only kid at the BBQ who would hold the sparklers.

Ah, little kids. Don't let this picture fool you. J did not put his face in the water (voluntarily) one single time at the pool but he INSISTED on wearing these goggles the whole time. 4 is my favorite age so far - everything is fascinating!

Seriously you guys, I know he's my kid and I'm biased but the girls are in so much trouble when this one gets older.

"Hellooooo, ladies..."

You know what they say, the higher the hair, the closer to God.

Monday, July 5, 2010

So that's the end of that.

Breastfeeding. We're done with it.

Kind of.

After 9 sometimes-blissful, sometimes-torturous months, I'm throwing in the towel on nursing Jr. It's not that I don't love breastfeeding. I do...except for when I hate it. Ok maybe I don't hate breastfeeding, but I do hate pumping at work, and pumping after work, and pumping on the weekends, and anything having to do with pumping. I hate the act of it, and the constant stress of "not making enough." For whatever reason, first with J and now with Jr., I just don't make alot of milk. It's kind of strange, really, considering my, um, ample assets. I've gotten to the point where I have to pump 3-4 times a day on my work weeks just to make about 50% of what Jr. needs at daycare. I've been supplementing with formula for about 6 weeks, and it's still a huge struggle to eke out enough breastmilk to half-fill two 8oz bottles. And now that Jr. is eating solid foods really well and mobile, not only am I not able to keep up with the milk demand, but now it's a baby rodeo every time we go to nurse with him rolling and turning and upside down and trying to climb over my shoulder. I don't have the stamina or patience this time around to go through all the rigamorole I did with J at this stage to keep him nursing: nursing beads, hiding out in a dark room, laying down, etc.

I do feel a little bit guilty about it. Not because Jr. is all that attached to it, he's never been as much a boobie baby as J was and I think he could take it or leave it. I feel guilty because so far formula has been ALOT harder on Jr.'s body than it was on J the few weeks I supplemented with him. After almost 3 months we finally have the eczema somewhat under control, but if we so much as think about switching formula to a cheaper brand or something different he flares up immediately. On top of that, even with 50% breastmilk bottles he has horrendous constipation on formula. We're talking screaming and crying while he's passing rock-hard, sometimes bloody stool. Thank goodness he likes prunes.

There are some good things about not breastfeeding anymore. It's going to be alot easier and less time-consuming to just send a canister of formula to daycare with empty bottles for her to fill up, with far less washing/sterilizing/freezing on my end. I look forward to my boobs getting to a more normal size and not wearing nursing bras anymore, and being able to work out a little harder. I'm also pretty sure that once I'm done lactating it will be easier for me to lose weight; with J it seemed like my body held onto some extra fat while I was nursing that came off pretty quickly when he was weaned. And it will be nice to actually be able to take a break at work that isn't completely consumed by pumping.

There is some sadness about it, but not as much as I expected. We don't plan to have any more biological children, so I know that this is it for my breastfeeding experience. I will miss some of the little moments, the cuddling in the middle night, the sleepy milky smiles, Jr. bobbing his head on my chest like a little bird and reaching up to rub my cheek in the dark...

Whatever the case, we're not all the way done yet - we're still nursing at bedtime and if he wakes up at night, and first thing in the morning -- but the end is near. After last week I'm not taking the pump to work anymore, and I know from experience with J that once I stop pumping it may only be a matter of days before my milk dries up for good. Oh, well. On to the next thing.