Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Math: 20 = 24?

Yesterday Lucas turned 20 months old. This morning I turned into the mom of a toddler.

I've been telling family and friends that we were seeing the start of the tantrums, willfullness, independence, etc. that are part of the "terrible twos" for a few weeks now. But this morning it hit full-force. (Please let this have been full-force!) This morning--the one morning that Abel is out of town for work. The one morning that I had to get to work by 8:30am. The one morning that I had to prepare for houseguests coming this evening and pack for our own trip this weekend. (Yes, I did as much as possible the night before, but there are always those last minute things, you know.)

Oh, and did I mention that Lucas woke up at 5:30am?

It all started out nice enough. So he woke up at 5:30am (a full hour earlier than normal) but he was content to play in my bed for a little bit while I half-closed my eyes for another 15 minutes. We went downstairs and he drank all his milk and ate a banana. I had my cereal. Life was good. I felt confident I'd get everything done and we'd get out the door in a timely manner.

Then. What? I don't know!

The littlest things caused meltdowns. Usually I can hug Lucas or distract him. But not today. All I could do was sit back and let him stomp his feet, clench his fists, hold his breath, turn red, stomp some more, yell...all until he got it out of his system. Then he was fine. Happy. Playful.

Until about 45 minutes later something else. I don't know what. And the tantrum started again.

Okay, he was tired. And I know he missed Dada--he kept looking for him and asking for him. But these reactions were just so extreme. I know this is part of life...he's learning to sort his emotions and handle new/different situations. But it was so hard for me. It was so hard to watch, to not really be able to help him. I just felt so bad for my little guy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Elmo = Toddler Crack

When Lucas was a little baby we took the "No TV until age 2" recommendation VERY seriously. If the TV happened to be on in the same room, we didn't even let Lucas face the set. Overall, this was pretty easy to accomplish as we (read: Abel) were renovating our basement family room from Lucas age 8mos to Lucas age 17 mos (yes, it took as long to renovate the basement as it did to build a baby! But credit has to go where credit is due. Abel did it all by himself and the finished product is amazing!). This left the only TV in the house in the guest room which made a great breastfeeding area and not so great area to play or get-anything-done-other-than-catch-up-on-soaps,-Ellen and-Oprah.

Yes, I will admit, that I did get pretty close to Ellen and Oprah and did know all the minute details about Brooke and Ridge on "Bold and the Beautiful" during those early months. But when Lucas became more alert and mobile, the guest room just didn't cut it anymore. So, the no TV thing was pretty easy to accomplish.

Now that our basement family room (have I mentioned how awesome it is?) is finished and houses our computer, TV and a wonderful play area for Lucas, we spend a lot more time around a TV. We've watched some episodes of Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder and other miscellaneous cartoons. But, Sesame Street is my favorite (and least brain-numbing) so that is my go-to program.

I'm not kidding, after watching about 3 episodes, Lucas has become completely addicted. He stands at the basement door and begs to go downstairs. When he gets down there, he grabs the remote and starts to cry out "Elmo Eh elll mooow" in the most heart-wrenchingly pathetic tone.

How did this happen?

How did he get so addicted? And so quickly?

Does Elmo's high-pitched voice have secret tones only toddlers can hear?


I think someone should come in and do a study of Lucas's behavior when it comes to Elmo. As I now know, Elmo comes on at minute 40 of Sesame Street. For those first 40 minutes Lucas wanders in and out of interest in the show. But I swear, before the end of the first "la" he has run over and planted himself directly in front of the TV. Then he stands or sits completely hypnotized for the next 20 minutes.

This is the boy who does not stop moving all day! This is the boy who wakes up and starts jumping and running around his crib. This is the boy who must shovel all his food into his mouth in 5 minutes or less because he can not stand sitting still in his highchair no matter how hungry he is.

Then Elmo and 20 minutes of not moving a muscle other than to point, giggle or bop.

Now, how do we go about bottling this?

Monday, August 20, 2007


As a new mom you get lots of advice. LOTS. I can count on my mom for great advice. I've ignored a lot of advice. And, by the grace of God, Lucas started sleeping through the night at about 4 months so we were able to bypass that whole topic of advice from the entire world. (Trying to ensure good karma in the next go-round, I generally refrain from giving sleep advice to those who aren't so lucky. I find Starbucks giftcards and sympathetic looks to be much more appreciated!)

Anyway, I just read the best advice ever. It is from Swistle: People don't notice how cluttered your house is if it smells like cookies baking. And they don't say anything about how cluttered your house is if their mouths are stuffed full of cookie.

Now this is some advice I'll totally take to heart!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Good Old Days?

When we left my parents' on Sunday, we left Lucas behind to get some extra time with his Aunt, and planned to pick him up Wednesday evening, leaving Thursday morning for a visit with my in-laws. Four nights. Three days. The longest we'd ever been away from him.

I knew we'd miss him, but it was also pretty enticing to have almost an entire week to ourselves. Ah, I told myself, back to the good old carefree days pre-baby. Being awakened to NPR and hitting the snooze button a few times. Having no one to get dressed in the morning other than myself. Going out to dinner and staying out past 7pm. Taking a long shower. What luxury!

It has been nice. Our first "free" night we went downtown to one of our favorite (and not baby-friendly) restaurants and had wine! and appetizers! we lingered over our entrees! and lingered over the check! Then we walked around, meandering until the insane heat--high 80s at 8:30pm--made us head home.

We've talked to him on the phone every day. My mom or sister fill us in on all the cute stories.

And, yet.

Most of our conversations eventually come around to what do you think Lucas is doing? I miss Lucas. I can't wait to see Lucas.

I miss my wonderful and cheery alarm clock every morning (bonus is that he calls out for Dada everyday!). I miss playing. I miss hugs. I miss bath time. Heck, I miss being frazzled. I MISS MY BABY!

Were those the good old days? They certainly were carefree (though I wouldn't have told you that at the time!). No, I think the good days are the ones happening now. The days filled with crazy toddler love.

See you tonight Buddy-boo! I know you'll be sleeping when we get in, but we're waking you up!

Monday, August 6, 2007

With fresh eyes

We were on the road again this weekend for the 3rd of 4 weekends away from home. We went to my parents' home to visit with them and my little sister, who is visiting from San Diego, and brother, in from Philly. It was a great time--with everyone home except my brother-in-law who is currently serving in Iraq.

My sister hadn't seen Lucas in about 3 months and couldn't believe how much he had changed. It is fun to see your baby through someone else's eyes.

Especially because over the last few weeks, I had been worrying about Lucas's language development. First, Amalah so courageously shared with us the challenges of her son's language and sensory issues. She was one of the first blogs I "discovered" several months ago and I've often thought her adorable Noah is a lot like my adorable Lucas--Lucas is just a few months behind Noah.

Next, my husband Abel picked up and started reading a random article in a parenting magazine about language development. One particular passage was relating speech language development benchmarks and said that a child should be able to name his body parts by 18 months. Abel started freaking out because Lucas, at 19 months, can only name a few. I retorted, well, have you taught him any body parts? (So what, I can only take credit for nose and belly, but that's something, right?) To prove my point, I practiced "arm" with him the next morning and demonstrated the newly acquired body part to Dada that night.

Yet, the questions and doubts were lingering in the back of my head. I found myself adding up the number of words Lucas knows. Wracking my brain to remember if he has "lost"any words. Listening for any multiple word phrases. And noticing the few times he walks on his tip-toes.

Ugh. These benchmarks and developmental milestones are enough to drive a sane mom (is that an oxymoron?) crazy! This is the kid that was walking at 9 months. He has been babbling constantly since about 5 months. He mimics inflection. He constantly amazes me with the comprehension of words he can't yet say. We've hit all his well-baby check-ups and the doctor has never expressed any concern. But still I worried.

Then came this weekend's visit with my family. It pretty much erased my doubts. Lucas was talking in multi-word phrases. I wasn't the only one who noticed. My sister swears that he said I want to get up when she went in after his nap. He told my brother gonna' get you. My mom recognized I want that.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the craziness. It sure was great to see Lucas in a new environment and through the eyes of his loving aunt, uncle and grandparents. It helped me to see in a new way, too.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I knew I was nervous about chopping off all my hair and going shorter than I've been since 5th grade. But I didn't realize that it would take a Xanax to get me into the salon.

All day I was fine, I was even excited about doing a good deed and getting a new look at the same time. Then on the drive over, I started panicing. I could literally feel the anxiety rising up my limbs. I had one last Xanax in my purse for emergencies and had saved it through many recent anxious moments (specifically while visiting my in-laws last weekend).

Even as I swallowed it, I couldn't believe that I was taking a Xanax over HAIR. Come on. It is just hair! My hair grows quickly. I hated it how long it was. It was driving me crazy. I knew this was a good thing to do. I kept thinking of all the wonderful compliments I get about my hair--great color, so shiny, so thick. I knew I was going to make some underprivileged young girl (or boy!) so happy with the wig they'd get from my hair and Locks of Love. I had encouraged my niece to do it. I was doing it in honor of my mother who has been bald from chemo. since early January and has handled it with such amazing grace.

Why was I freaking out?

As I parked and walked around the corner to the salon and the Xanax kicked in, I realized I was more attached to my hair than I thought. And, I was seriously worried I'd look awful.

When I got into the chair and told my awesome stylist what I was doing, she was so happy. Later, well into the cut, she told me that earlier that day, she learned of the death of a young woman who had been a long-time client. A woman just about my age, with two kids, who died of cancer the previous night. I thought to myself, I am doing a good thing. And, Melba is helping me do a good thing. And, damn, she's a great stylist. My hair looks amazing!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007