May 31, 2009

Happiness

I do not deserve these babies.

But I love them with all of my heart.


Sadness


A childhood friend just lost his baby boy. I do not how. I do not know any of the details, but I do know that he had a baby boy, and that baby boy is now gone.


I certainly do not understand why, and I cannot begin to try.


I just hugged and hugged and hugged my babies all day long, and well into the night.

May 27, 2009

Pee Pee!

So today, about four minutes and sixteen seconds after I walked in the door, my recently turned nineteen-month old son, James, looked at me and squealed, "Pee pee!"

He's said this before, so I habitually responded, "James, do you need to pee pee?"

"Potty!"

I thought to myself, Huh, isn't this interesting. Our nanny and I were just talking about this a few minutes ago, before she left. And he's never followed up "pee pee" with an immediate "potty." Nice. This could be something.

"Okay, James. Do you want to use the potty?"

"Potty!"

I become a frantic mother. Why? Who knows. My child said "pee pee!" And "potty!" So, I do what any (working, insane) mother would do. I run out to the cluttered garage, and grab the little "big boy" potty we purchased a month ago (which, upon purchasing and unpacking, James put his toys inside...so out to the garage it went). I plop the potty down on the ground. I had been reading about all this, and preparing, but I threw that all out the window. He said "pee pee" and "potty," I'm repeating over and over again in my head.

So, I dropped his drawers, pulled off his diaper, and plopped him right down on the potty...in the middle of the living room.

Huffing and puffing, I looked at him. Silence. "Do you need to pee pee?"

"No."

Okay, I thought. No big deal. It was a valiant effort. But then, only about three seconds passed, and he smiled his huge-I'm-a-big-boy smile. And I hear it.

"Pee pee!" he exclaims.

Indeed. And there it was. Pee pee! Holy cow.

Do I really have a living, breathing, peeing human being in my house? It may be a potty training fluke, a mere pee pee miracle, but communication is the first step in this potty training mission. Although, I have hardly declared this a mission. If he asks, he can use the potty. If not, who cares? Diapers aren't forever. Just like the paci isn't. Motherhood... 'tis such a breeze.

My fingers are crossed and I'm laughing hysterically by the way.

May 25, 2009

Seriously Great Parenting


Just in case you are just absolutely too busy, too overwhelmed, too distracted and tired to feed your child a bottle while holding her, then you just must have this new product: the baby bottle swaddle.

Just a little side note to this...

If you do purchase this product, then you also might consider putting your children up for adoption or calling DFCS on yourself, because there is no way you should be allowed to parent.


* * * *
Dear Inventor of the Baby Bottle Swaddle:
There are no words for the mountain of idiocy upon which you have built your house. This is not only a bad product, but unbelievably freaking dangerous, misleading and just waiting for a lawsuit.


A bottle swaddle? How about a crackpipe for your kids? That'd be a sure seller.

"You love your crack, now your children can love it too!
Introducing the Sweet Baby Crackpipe, in four designer colors, and with a fashionable clip-on strap. The SBC, because being a baby shouldn't be shady."

God help us all.


Four Letter Words....


Our son and four letter words....
Crab.

Frog.

Shirt.


...I'm sure you can make the connection. In the meantime, I will try to steer clear of the seafood aisle, the Leapfrog learning toys at Toys R Us, and all clothing stores.

May 24, 2009

Chopped Liver

Mia, Papa, Stella - May 2009

To James, nothing says chopped liver like Mommy and Daddy... when Mia and Papa are in town!

My folks have been up since yesterday - and if that little stinker of a boy of mine, didn't walk right past me this morning to get to Mia!

All jokes aside, we are very thankful that our children are growing up with such amazing grandparents. Can't beat it. And rumor is... Grammy will be here in a little over a week too!

Papa and Stella, March 2009

Mia and James, March 2009

May 19, 2009

Only Children...


I am an "only" child. I have older "half" siblings (15+ years my senior), with whom I have never shared the same roof, so I can claim only child status. The funnier thing is that I have a sister I have only met once, when I was four years old (another blog, another day).


While only-childrendom certainly has its benefits (more attention, more funding, etc.)(another blog, another day), it can be a lonely little blessed world. I always swore that I would have zero or two children, and within a span of fourteen months, I managed to hold up that end of my bargain with myself.



In the weeds of chaos, I sometimes think "holy mackerel, what were we thinking" (we weren't) but then I see the interaction of James and Stella, the way she absolutely adores him, the way he squeals "Sissy! Awwww!" and reaches out to hug her... I know the "choice" to have these two babies, and so close together, was not only the serendipitously correct one...but it completely rocks.


Talented Screams


American Idol finalist, Adam Lambert, reportedly didn't sleep until he was eighteen months old, per his parents in an interview tonight. They attribute Adam's brilliant voice to the hours and hours of screaming at night.

Oh, dear sweet baby James... while you have given up the sleepless night ghost (only waking to scream 1-2 times a night now, and literally falling down to sleep the second we open the door), you have taken to the throwing yourself on the floor and screaming during the day when life does not go your way. My fellow kindred Scorpio soul, I do not get angry at
you during these fits of insanity. Rather I completely empathize, and wish I could throw myself down and do exactly the same.

I cannot wait to see what your Talented Screams hold in store for you.

May 17, 2009

Lazy Sunday


James and Daddy went to Lowe's to pick up basil and plants for the back deck. While they were gone, Stella and I played dress up and did a photo shoot.



These are the days I feel most at peace. Happy babies, sweet husband, laundry in the dryer, and a clean bathroom. I'm even ready for work tomorrow.



"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together."
-Erma Bombeck

May 15, 2009

Friday Night Fit (And Flashback)

I had a really crappy day today. Not only was it a twelve hour work day, with only Nip Chee crackers to eat, but I almost missed kissing my babies goodnight. And for what? An important email that "had" to go out...and then, didn't? Ridiculous.

And my sweet "Mombow" had to have a medical procedure this morning (and on her birthday, which turned out fine, thank goodness), but it worried the living life out of us for the better part of the day.

Finally, I am really angry today, for reasons that I should not blog about, because someday the facts and circumstances behind today, just will not matter. So I'll internalize this one, only to deal with it later. Talk about it on the porch tonight with my husband, and I'll be okay. :)

But in practicing the "Secret" to the fullest extent of my ability: I am very grateful for the life I have, the people I love, and these kissably delicious babies of mine.

See? I'm already over it. Ahhhh. Just like that, I truly am. Time for Friday night.


I am finally about to settle on the back deck in jammies, with a cold beer, a good sandwich, and this sweet, sexy man of mine...by favorite things in the world. Ahhh, Friday nights. Holla.

James and Daddy, December 2007


May 14, 2009

Apple! Toam-toe! No!


"Apple. Toam-toe."



"Apple. Eat."



"Toam-toe. Red."




"Apple. Hat!"


"James, do you want to be a big boy, and try to drink with a straw."

"Strawww?"

"Yes, do you want to drink from this straw?"


"Cup!"

"Yes, it's a cup. Do you want to drink from the big boy cup?"

"Noooo!"

May 13, 2009

Stella Goes to the Doctor

Stella Girl went to the doctor for her 4 month checkup today. She's actually 4 1/2 months... I'm running a little behind.

Weight- 16lbs, 12oz (off the chart- 95th+, they say)
Height- 25 1/2 inches (90th percentile)

Five vaccinations and lotsa smiles later, she seems ok. Baby girl is an angel. I feel so very blessed to know her, let alone claim her as my own.

May 12, 2009

Stella Eats Solids

And we are so proud....




And James was so mad....
...And yes, there are more James & Stella at my YouTube channel:http://www.youtube.com/mnatwood
....And a Flashback to one of James' first foodings...

May 10, 2009

Mother's Day



I am a mother with two babies. When did this happen to me?


We had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. My folks came up, we went strawberry picking at Washington Farms and had a nice dinner downtown Lawrenceville at McCray's on Saturday night. My husband made an awesome breakfast of strawberry pancakes and eggs this morning. Another weekend of excellent dieting.


The highlight of the day, however, was tonight. We went to eat at
Red Robin (how typical: people with two kids take the kids to Red Robin. I don't care - how awesome is Red Robin?!), and James finished off the night with some of our chocolate mudpie.
This resulted in him running circles around the bed when we got home. Stella was laying between Jason and I on the bed, while James went back and forth.... he was saying something over and over again, and I could not figure out what it was. Then out of the blue, there it was, clear as day: "I go fast! I go fast! I go fast!"

And boy, was he ever. Thank you, Red Robin mudpie. You make my boy go fast.
Now, I have two sleeping babies and my husband and I are enjoying the quiet. Another weekend gone "fast", and another work week yet to go. The chaos is certainly tangible, but the love cannot be described.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day.

To all the wonderful mothers in my life, near and far: my mom, Mombow, Joan, Nannie, MawMaw, Melonie, Beth, Barbara, Anna, Sharon, Carol, Kim, Suzy, and our adopted mom, Sandy B....and all you girls out there who read this blog and understand exactly what I am saying.... I'm so glad to know such wonderful women and mothers like you.

May 8, 2009

BlogVice: Birth Ready (Part One)

James, 2 months
Friday night, I "blined." This is my new word for the dangerous combination of blogging and drinking wine. A co-worker actually came up with the word, so I cannot take credit for it. But she's not a blogger, so I steal it! Ah-ha! I bline! I bline!


I had lunch with same brillant co-worker on Friday afternoon. She is expecting her first baby, and I talked her ears off. She swears that she wanted all my advice, and that I didn't scare her, but I fear that I did. In my enthusiasm about all things baby and helpful, I probably said too much. Sorry! But at the risk of scaring "all" my readers, I do have alot of scoop. (Men, this is when you click on to ESPN.com, or pick up the latest issue of Maxim...you don't want to read this).



The scariest imagery in all the world may be that of childbirth. People claim that it's "beautiful," etc etc.... and while the end result (said baby) IS beautiful, there is really nothing too beautiful about the process of getting said baby here. And at the risk of going into too much detail where my blog might be stopped by the "dirty internet site police," one should prepare for childbirth with the proper exercises. I do not mean Kegels, which the real purpose of that is to get you back to "normal" after birth (again, no details) and prevent you from wetting your pants after sneezing (again, I've said too much). I'm talking about perineal massage. For those of you who are done having children, do not bother to read the rest of this paragraph. For those of you who want children "someday," do not read it either, because then you will not have children. This is for my pregnant readers - you're already down the path, so now you need to deal with it, absorb it and do whatever you can to avoid the tear/cut. Read it and practice it, no matter how humiliating it is. I promise it will save your goodies. Perineal massage



There are so many different "methods" of childbirth. I've read them all. In hindsight, I think Bradley might have been the way to go, but I do not have any experience with it, because I did not practice it. I do know that the Hypnobirthing Childbirth Method consists of alot of hogwash (like you can "breathe your baby out" without pushing ---whatever), but much of the imagery and meditation and breathing techniques are fabulous, and got me through many days of labor without drugs (yes I said "days"). I'm still trying to obtain a reader base for my blog, so I'm not posting my birth stories yet. Everyone would run.


Anyway, some of you may swear by Hypnobirthing and have actually managed to have "pain free childbirth." If so, I say in response to that: 1) you're a dirty rotten liar, and 2) prove it! Post a link to your recent, pain free, drug free labor video, and we can all reconvene at a later date. And I do not mean for you to post the homebirth video of the Russian midwife who births her own child in water unassisted -we've all seen her. She's high as a kite on something. There are also videos shown in the Hypnobirthing classes that "show" these labors. These women are drunk. I digress. Hypnobirthing has some good theories and practices, and I do very highly recommend it for that. A section in the book covers perineal massage too. The Hypnobirthing Method, combo with the perineal massage, and most of all, my fabulous midwife saved me from two c-sections. I do not knock Hypnobirthing except for the premise that drug free labor can be painless, or even comfortable, and that one need not push. I think it would have been a more reasonable assessment to say manageable. Plus, why not push? It would have taken my babies forever to arrive without pushing, if it's even possible - I still doubt.




On a lighter note:
The purchase of a baby tub does not seem like a big deal, but really, it is. You have never seen slippery like a wet, soapy newborn who has no head control. There is a tub at Target which has an actual sling that the newborn lays in, so you're not juggling them. Fabulous and cheap.



Gerber Sleep N Play baby jammies are the best. They come in three-packs, are a super-value, and have zippers, which are great for middle of the night changings. You don't spend your time fumbling for snaps and buttons.


Co-sleepers are for the birds. We used a co-sleeper for James, and we heard every peep. It was awful. I never slept (as if a new mother sleeps anyway). But with the co-sleeper, I literally had to climb in and out of the bed like a monkey to get around it. We used a bassinet for Stella, and wheeled her across the room, close enough so I could hear her cry, but far enough so not hear every snort and cough when we slept - and it was great.

My final piece of advice for this entry is to spend the cash on a video monitor for the baby's room. Being able to click it on and see the baby, will save you alot of trips in the middle of the night, especially with new mother paranoia. A good one has night vision and is so clear that you can even see spit-up and that kinda thing if you mount it on the wall over the crib. It helps with sleep training too, when a baby is older. The monitor gives you the ability to see them and make sure they are "ok" without them seeing you.

May 7, 2009

Unwritten



"She was a girl. But she was my little girl.
She was an exquisite little bundle with hands so tiny that they were like the palms of a little frog, with eyes so dark a blue that they were like the sky above Hever at midnight. She had a dusting of black hair on the crown of her head...she had [his] kissable rosebud mouth. When she yawned she looked like a very king, bored with insufficient praise. When she cried, she squeezed real tears onto her outraged pink cheeks, like a monarch denied his rights. When I fed her, holding her in my arms and marveling at the insistant, powerful sucking...she swelled like a lamb and
slept as if she were a drunkard lolling beside a tankard of mead.

"I held her in my arms constantly...and I cunningly kept her to myself. I fell in love with her. I fell completely and utterly in love with her and I could not for a moment imagine that anything would have been better if she had been a boy."

-From The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

May 6, 2009

Pants on Fire

I have never, ever fed my child fishsticks, chicken fingers or pizza. He only eats organic, microbiotic and healthy food. He has never had a cookie.

We do not allow television to be watched in our house when the children are awake. In fact, when the television is turned on, my husband and I are only watching Fox News.

We only talk to the children in plain language, and never resort to baby talk.

Our child does not stand on the furniture, and in the even he attempts to do so, he sits right back down the second we look at him.

We do not eat McDonalds ever.

My son has never taken a swat at me, said "no" when I meant yes, nor thrown any sort of temper tantrum.

Boys should never wander around without their shirts on. It's simply disgraceful.

My babies have never been in a baby swing. Children are not properly stimulated when placed in baby swings.

I believe that pumping is evil, that a baby should never, even be given a bottle, and that a child should totally be allowed to inconvenience a mother until he decides to wean himself, or otherwise make decisions of importance on his own volition.

I would never wear any sort of "mom jewelry."

I think minivans are quite useful and very modern, actually.

Changing a child's diaper in public is the lowest form of parenting, and should never even be considered.

Working mothers are selfish, career-driven and do not have the best interests of their children at heart.

I cannot believe that people talk on and on about their children, motherhood and birth stories. It's inconceivable.

Parenting books like "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" are unnecessary. Parenting is an exercise in completely giving onself over to one's children. You can only parent from the depths of your soul.

I am horrified when I see children throw temper tantrums and throw food, silverware and cups on a restaurant floor.

Babies should not be fed rice cereal, and should only be exclusively breastfed for the first twelve months of life. In the event someone carelessly chooses to bottlefeed, a bottle should never be propped up and fed to a baby.

Natural childbirth is not meant to be painful, you can "breathe your baby down," and epidurals really are unncessary.

Our house will never be rearranged for the sake of the children. I cannot imagine giving up a proper dining room for the sake of a playroom.



Just kidding ya'll.

I AM A DIRTY, FILTHY LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.

Today, I rolled in from my reasonably successful job, soaking from the rain, wearing my silver "James" and "Stella" necklace and plopped down on the floor of what used to be a respectable dining room and which is now covered in a carpet of Legos and potty books. I watched my son throw a massive temper tantrum and internally I "planned" the meals for the next few days: fishsticks, chicken nuggets, and McDonald's on Saturday. I told James not to hit his sister (who I have propped up a bottle, and am feeding her four ounces of pumped milk), at which time, he said "no" and popped me on the head. I had enough, so I wrangled him and Stella into the living room, clicked on Sesame Street on the DVR, handed him a cookie, and watched as he climbed on top of the coffee table.

"Get down, James."

"No," he said.

Okay, whatever. I grab him and gingerly place him, seated, onto the couch. He stands up, looks at me, says "Sit down" and gives me an evil look. Fine. I decide it's not so bad - he's not wearing his shoes anyway. Stella begins to cry, so I pick her up (she's been in a swing) to jiggle her until the Happiest Baby on the Block "jello head" is in full effect, while prattling on in baby talk "my little Stella bella baby girlllll oh I love you soooo much."

After James had his fishsticks and threw pudding on the floor, I wiped off his chest (he ate without his shirt on), and put him down to play. We managed to get both kids bathed and in semi-clean jammies, and Stella had her bottle of straight formula and rice cereal. While I fed her, I thought about how much I love Stella, but how thankful I was for that epidural only four short months ago. Natural childbirth is painless. I could shoot my doula.

Both babies are sleeping, and after a ridiculously busy day, I sit down to blog and tell everyone about my children. I realize that I forgot to eat, in the bustle of getting James' bag ready for "school" tomorrow and researching the best way to potty train him by the age of two. Oh, and Stella had to get her sleep sack washed for the next day. Before completely settling down, I take a little "me time" and click on the Honda website to peruse pictures of the new Odyssey. I note that the website actually has as a tagline "Respect the Van."

Holy crap. I'm SO not there yet. But I may be eventually. Sooner than I think.

Until then, pass the Chicken McNuggets please.

May 4, 2009

Flashback: We're Pregnant.

I was driving home from Court today and realized that exactly one year ago tomorrow, I had a giant surprise: that second baby positive pregnancy test. Stella girl.

I remember thinking on May 5, 2008, at approximately 5:45pm:
"Uh, today is May 5th." (I began counting to myself: 29, 30, 31, 32, 33) and then, "Uh... I better take a pregnancy test." I told my husband we needed diapers, and I stealthily sped to Walgreens, acting like we were down to our last one. This was not hard to believe, because ever since Bon Jovi's concert four days earlier, I'd been forgetting everything. Jon Bon Jovi has that effect on one. I came back from Walgreens in a jiffy, and took the test. I took two of them. Back to back. (When you've had one baby, you learn to pee on whatever necessary and when needed, cup or stick, and pronto).


I wearily carried my two little pink sticks, each glowing with two faint lines for "YES!" out into the living room. I carried them, one in each fist, like blazing candles (or firecrackers)... and my eyes skimmed over to my barely six month old in his Exersaucer (the little dear, who still wasn't sleeping all night, mind you) and then my eyes bounced over to my breastpump (I still was doing that medieval torture), and then my eyes rested on my husband, and I thought... this has got to be a crazy joke. Jason looked up at me, and said, "What?" I was thinking, "Oh, buddy, I'll tell you what what what." And I told him, and we both stared quietly at James...and then loudly laughed, because it was the only thing left to do.



So we laughed for nine months. And frankly, we haven't stopped since.



We laughed at the first eight-week ultrasound: "Look at that bean. That's the best looking bean ever." We laughed when we were told, "It's a girl" because we knew James needed a little sister to torment him. We cracked up when my belly grew bigger than humanly possibly, and even when it became covered in stretch marks that the first pregnancy did not leave. I said, "Oh well, there it goes." And Jason said, "What goes? That bikini you were wearing to work everyday?" Good point. We laughed when I farted getting out of the car in my ninth month. And when that baby girl was born, we laughed because she looked like the most beautiful little Chinese man in the world. And we laugh now, because she is so beautiful, and we don't deserve her.
Just now, I told my husband across the table (working on his computer... shut up, it's what we do at night - better than the alternative...)
Me: "Do you know what tomorrow is?"
Him: "Cinco de mayo?"
Me: "Yes. And?"
Blank stare.
Me: "We found out one year ago tomorrow, that we were pregnant with Stella."
He turned pale, and made a weird grunting sound, and said, "You aren't about to spring that on me again are you?"


No, but I cannot help but laugh. That would be a funny one. Stella was by no means, by no stretch of the imagination, an "accident." She was a surprise, yes. But now I know, that she was the best surprise that I have ever had. She is my perfect, precious daughter. Just what we needed, wanted and hoped for. We just didn't know it at the time.

So we laugh when James squeals with delight, "Sisssssssy!" And tries to sneak her a goldfish cracker. Everything is just as it should be.


I love you, Stella girl. You are the best. Cinco de Mayo may be Independence Day for the Mexicans, but for us, it's the beginning of a new world - el Cinco de Stella.

May 3, 2009

No Dinero? No Problemo!



Even in this economy, our son has an entire playroom full of toys, which we cannot coerce him to play with.


He has books, firetrucks, noisy toys, quiet toys, bears, ducks and Legos, etc. etc.

However, a $1 value pack of scouring sponges from the nearest Dollar Tree proved to be the biggest value of all... providing hours and hours of Sunday morning entertainment.



Captain Sponge-tastic. Our boy. And yes, he still insists on sitting in Stella's Bumbo seat. With the sponges.


May 2, 2009

Sweet Baby James

Today, our boy sat in his brand new booster seat and ate spaghetti by himself.

He showed his baby sister the Very Hungry Caterpillar (very) up close and personal.











We love you, our dear sweet boy.

And believe it or not, we really do miss your stinky hair.

James, November 2007