Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jack at Two Months, or What Happened to My Neck?

Jack weighed 10 pounds, 12 ounces at 8 weeks. He's now 9 1/2 weeks and getting pudgier by the day. He is by far the earliest mover I have had, and started flipping from tummy to back at 7 weeks. He can scooch forward and pivot on his belly too.

Here he is, showing off his cute pudge. He loves a bath. He has always loved his bath, since I skipped the sponge-bath thing when he was a newborn and went straight to the tub with him. (Don't tell anyone.)

All clean and happy!

We've had a few magic nights where he has slept almost 7 hours straight, but it's usually only 5 or 6.

He's a social guy. When being held, he prefers looking out toward the room rather than checking out a shoulder seam. He's smiling a lot more now, and smiles when I make silly faces at him. (Did I mention his great sense of humor?) He coos when he's extremely happy. It's the sweetest sound, eliciting the most embarrassing baby talk from anyone.
Here he is, doing his push-ups. He's getting pretty strong, and sometimes likes to stiffen his legs and stand when I'm holding him.
Here's the 2-month picture, taken on the right day!

I had no idea a baby bottom was so multi-functional.

Messy, Messy!

Aaccckk!! I have HAD it! Enough with the food mess already, kids.

Seriously, I need some advice, help, a bigger cleaning bucket, new dish rags, anything.

My kids--oh, all right, Helen--is the messiest eater in the world. It doesn't matter what she eats, it winds up on her face, her hands, her hair, her chair seat and arms, the table and the floor. Food slides off her spoon fairly often because she doesn't pay attention. Sometimes she still gives up and uses her fingers for chunkier food. The biggest mess is always right after the floor has been mopped. It just makes my blood irritating.

Helen gave up wearing bibs a long time ago, unless it happened to be one of her brother's old Elmo bibs. Truthfully, a bib could not contain her missed bites.

Today at lunch I made beef and noodles, and somehow she dropped a huge pile of noodles right by her hiney and then sat in them. I had to strip her clothes, and then the noodles from her shirt got stuck in her hair. I sneer at those paper towel commercials where the mom cleans up the toddler in one smiley moment with a one-sheet swipe of the advertised brand.

She is starting to hate being messy, so now she also yells when she gets sticky.

Maybe I should try throwing her food into the blender along with some applesauce, and pouring it into a cup with a lid and a straw.

If I have to have some "Come to Jesus" sessions to teach her to be a neat eater, I will, but one-on-one supervision is pretty difficult for me to pull off right now. (I'm imagining me sitting beside her, breathing down her neck over every disorderly bite.) Seriously, it feels like a full-time job to keep my kids clean. I wipe up one mess, and they're off to the next room to pull out more toys or miss the toilet with bad aim.

I may just lose my ever-lovin' mind.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Helen's World

This little girl has us laughing and scratching our heads at the same time.

Here her diaper fell off in the parking lot of Dr. Wiatrak's office building. She wasn't yelling, "PODDY! PODDY!" for no reason.

Here is a brief moment of quiet at the Golden Arches. Lately, she has been acting shy (while remaining observant) in public.

Helen see, Helen do. Mommy cleans, now how 'bout you? In her determined mode, she got the broom out of its holder on the wall, accidentally smacking Mommy between the eyes with the handle.

Lately, she chooses several "items of the day," and hauls them everywhere. This day, it was her night-night bear and her cup. The number of items ranges from 2-4, usually evolving into whatever triggers her fancy. She will browse room by room, adding to her collection, hollering her frustration when stuff starts dropping. (It's like me walking into a store and only grabbing a basket. That's when you find all the good deals and you end up needing a cart.)

And conking out for an extremely rare morning nap during room time. Remove whatever is uncomfortable, clutch all that is precious--this day it was a travel pack of Kleenex--and float into oblivion.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Skirt

Here's a skirt I made for myself, using fabric and bias tape from Heather and a vintage (never used) zipper from Leslie's grandmother's collection. I made sure to hand-sew a hook and eye above the zipper, so that I wouldn't have another unfortunate experience like I had a few years ago.......that involved church and a slippery red skirt with an easy-open front of God and everybody. I didn't want to turn on the light in the room, because Jack was sleeping on the bed, but it is a rich shade of orange.

A New Helper

I've always been a champion of the underdog. Maybe it all began when I had Charlotte's Web read to me, and listened to Fern save the runt piglet from the axe. Wilbur turned out to be a pretty fantastic pig. I remember applying some of Fern's life-saving tactics on my mom when our cat had pre-term kittens. Mom let me keep them in a box inside, but it didn't end well.

I'm also one to save little bits of things, finding a use for them later. Construction paper scraps, fabric scraps, the bottom of the ketchup bottle, stale bread crusts. I try to avoid wasting something I bought or made.

When we moved to this 30-year old house, we were faced with the dilemma of the original kitchen appliances. Grandpas took their new fridge with them, so that replacement was a no-brainer. We had to buy a microwave too, to be installed over the 2-year-old range. We decided to spray-paint the old oven and dishwasher doors, and get as much use out of the dinosaurs that we could. I was happy with this restorative solution, and set about discovering and working with the quirks of my old appliances.

I have previously testified about my oven. I have not said anything about the dishwasher. Until now. The very first time I used it, I ran to the living room window and looked out to see who was driving the tractor out to which field. I saw only grass waving in the breeze and empty sky. I was mistaken. It was the dishwasher, loudly washing its dirty load. The thing was so noisy, we couldn't carry on conversations in the kitchen. If the phone rang, I had to take it to another room--far away. Even then, the person on the other end would ask, "WHAT is THAT?!" If I would have to run it when we had company over, undoubtedly our guests would perk up their heads with puzzled looks during its ear-shattering screeches. It really did sound like a jet engine. Jason and I developed our own interpretations of its sounds, and sometimes sat around imitating it, just for kicks. It washed my dishes fairly well, when I used it. I attributed the sometimes resulting dirty dishes to my own fault of cramming every last article I could into the beast. Black residue of some kind would appear over all the inside, and I had to scrub it off with a toothbrush. Then lately, it ceased to drain properly. After each wash, I had water standing in the bottom of the tub. Foul-smelling, backed-up-drain water. I told the Mr. about it.

I had a doctor's appointment on Friday, and when I came home, I saw that the Mr. had replaced it with a new Whirlpool! At first I was sad for my little friend, since it had held my sympathies for so long and had embodied my ideals of making the most out of our resources. When I recovered from my shock, I asked him what changed his mind. "When I opened it last night and smelled poop!" he said.

I used the Whirlpool once. Twice. Three times. I couldn't believe how clean my dishes got. Squeaky clean! I couldn't believe how quiet it was. I could hear myself think.

Jason cleaned out the drain last night. It was a very gross job.

I've decided I've got myself a great dishwasher, and a great man!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jack turned one month old a few weeks ago...

Jack is doing great! At nearly 6 weeks, his final bedtime is usually 11 pm. He has been waking up mostly at 4 am, but sometimes at 2:30 am, for a quick and ravenous feed, after which he plunges back into a deep sleep. Either way, he usually is up again at 6 am for a more leisurely, drowsier feeding and then settles into a first morning nap until 9 or 10. His 5-week weight check showed him at 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

We're seeing some real smiles. I love the jowlsy cheeks . The second chin looks like it might divide into a third.
Owen is back to feeling much better. He hasn't needed any pain medication for a few days, so I think it's time to clear the pharmacy off my kitchen windowsill. Here he is watching his requested DVD--a Dave Matthews concert. We had a glimpse of his future aspirations when he told Jason he wants to play music on TV.

Helen continues to love on her baby brother. She has really done a one-eighty.

Before Jack arrived, I was seriously stressed about how all three kids were going to get along, and was dreading the adjustment period. The week before his birth, I felt like I had an impression from God. I pictured Jack on a blanket on the floor, with Owen and Helen busy around him, pausing their play once in a while to kiss him and snuggle with him. After that, I had peace. And really, we've actually had a few moments just like that.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Things as they are...

Our family made it to the 9:00 service at church this morning! Since Jack was born, we hadn't been able to get ready before the 11:00. But there were a few loose ends that a few keen eyes caught.

To save time, I tried a curly hairstyle that I didn't have to blow-dry. When we dropped off Owen at his class, my observant nephew grinned at me and said, "Aunt Joyce, your hair looks funny!" Jason and I immediately busted a gut. I wanted to hear it again, so I pretended I hadn't heard him and asked him what he had said. He repeated, "Your hair looks funny!"

My sense of humor won over my ego. "Why does it look funny?" I prompted.

"It's still WET!"

After the service, I picked up Helen and Jack from their class. Helen started playing with the new orange gingham skirt* I had just made for myself. She was intent on one little spot in the front, picking and poking away. I finally looked down from my conversation, and here was a tiny imperfection in the fabric that I hadn't noticed and couldn't have cared less about.

Then after lunch, I was sitting in the recliner feeding Jack. Owen climbed up beside me and started hitting my left chest. He concernedly suggested, "Jack needs to eat this one!"

I'm so glad to be surrounded by kids who help me keep it real.

* Fabric courtesy of Heather, pictures to follow.