Saturday, February 28, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: 15 months: The good, the bad, and the basically competent


1. Tad turned 15 months old last week and I've been saying this for ages but he really looks more like a little boy than a baby now. It makes me broody.


He had his checkup this past Wednesday. He was 30.25" long and weighed 22 lbs 12 oz, a gain of 1.25 inches and 1 lb 10 oz since his last appointment 3 months ago. I keep waiting for him to hit the weight gain plateau everybody talks about, especially considering he's so active, but apparently his insatiable appetite is good for something.

I had the clever idea to bring along his little wooden truck to the appointment, so after he sobbed indignantly through being weighed he sat happily driving it back and forth and saying "Bruu bruu bruu." Then the resident (our pediatrician's practice is a teaching practice) came in and he stared at her soberly and silently while continuing to push the truck back and forth. (He didn't resume sobbing indignantly until she actually started to examine him. Stethoscopes are EVIL, y'all.)

I hope the resident got some practice not phrasing questions in confusing ways, because she needs it. First she asked if we were "both still at home with him" and after Scott and I conferred with our eyes I decided to cover all bases and say, "We both live with him, I stay home, he (Scott) works." Apparently she was going for the first part. I'm sure these it's common even for toddlers to have one parent not living with them, but it still weirds me out every time they ask.

Then later she asked if we "play with his teeth" and we were kind of like: ???? She clarified that she meant toothbrushing. "Ohhhhh. Yeah, we brush his teeth."

After she asked some more questions and did an exam and praised Tad's awesomeness (because he's obviously awesome), our regular ped came in and got major brownie points for bringing up a concern we'd raised a couple of months ago and making sure to get an update (everything's going fine now) and being generally awesome and competent. I think my standards are low when "competent" and "awesome" are basically the same thing, but there you have it.

We went with this pediatric practice because they were the only one we could find that took our insurance and had openings for new patients (we had our "new patient orientation" literally 4 days before Tad was born, so it was definitely down to the wire) and ended up with this particular primary doctor because he was the one who happened to have an opening when Tad was 5 days old. (When your baby is born on a Wednesday and you don't get home until just before close of business Friday and you need an appointment on Monday, you can't afford to be picky.) I was irrationally grouchy about that for a long time (I like feeling like I have a choice) but now I'm starting to appreciate how lucky we were.

2. It amazes me how good Tad is at walking now considering he wasn't taking more than a few steps here and there at the beginning of the year. The other day he amused himself by walking backwards all the way down our long main hallway, and in the last couple of days he's decided to start marching--just marching around like an itty-bitty soldier at intervals for no apparent reason. It's kind of adorable.

3. He's also up to at least 13 teeth. He's had the 8 incisors for a while; the molars have been coming in slowly since the beginning of December, with #4 poking through at the beginning of this month.

Meanwhile, in late January his first canine (the lower right) began poking through. The other three are on the very brink. I thought I felt the upper left one poking through the other day but now I'm not sure. It's a little hard to feel for teeth when you have to fit your fingers in the small gap between incisor and molar during the 0.005 seconds your child will hold still without biting you.

When the resident asked how he was sleeping I told her it could be worse. (Though not by much.)

4. He's continuing to add new words and signs to his repertoire, and I think his advanced vocabulary really does help with the whining. He still whines, but I can prompt him, "Hey, what do you want?" and he'll generally stop whining and tell me. (Hint: It's usually "milk.") This month's new additions:

- "Ih deh", said when pointing to things. I think it means "right there", but I'm not 100% sure. I'm counting it as a word because he uses it consistently to mean the same thing. ("Hey, look at the blank wall! So fascinating when I'm supposed to be sleeping!")

- "Thi-theh", which means "thank you." It also means "Give me that" and "You're welcome" and "Hey, you need to take this thing!" Words need to be multi-purpose when you know less than 20 of them.

- The sign for "pee." He's a little fuzzy on how it works, since he thinks he has to touch MY nose, but hey, he's trying.

Speaking of, he's been peeing on the potty off and on for the last couple of weeks. He kept running away during diaper changes so he could hide in a corner and pee on the carpet, so we started sitting him on his potty chair once his diaper was off. When he pees in the potty we praise him. When he pees on the carpet we whisk him off to the seat and explain cheerfully that pee goes in the POTTY. If he doesn't pee at all we wait a minute or two, ask him if he's "all done" (this often prompts him to stop bouncing around and actually sit down and pee), and then put him in a fresh diaper.

Scott thinks we should try him in pull-ups, but I am not so sure. Recall which one of us would be home with little Potty Prodigy all day and would have to clean up most of the potential puddles.

5. He also recently mastered drinking out of an open cup, which is fantastic because he won't drink out of the Take and Toss straw cups and I'm too miserly to buy the expensive straw cups that mold after one use. Now, when he asks me to nurse for the 15th time in one day, I ask him if he wants a cup instead and then hand it to him without waiting for an answer. Because seriously, you can't nurse 15 times a day when you're over a year old.

We're not interested in weaning anytime soon (though I'm sure that I'll be ready way before he is) but now that he is over a year I have been feeling a lot less conflicted about setting boundaries. We'll see if that actually leads to a reduction in his overall nursing sessions or if he just asks more in order to compensate.

6. His love of books has really taken off lately. He can sit through Big Red Barn or The Snowy Day in their entirety and will follow me around most of the day shoving books into my hands (or throwing them at me if I refuse to hold out my hand) and insistently saying "Thank you!". (Which in this case means, of course, "You need to take this.")

My tolerance for reading board books is not nearly as big as his tolerance for listening to them. And I won't read the same book twice in a row either. I told him yesterday that we can't do that because the poor book needs a chance to rest in between readings. I should probably feel bad for lying to my child at such a tender age.

7. When he's not throwing books at me he's generally getting into something--his current favorite escapades include snatching things out of the fridge (he's particularly obsessed with the bottles of salad dressing) and using his ride-on car to get things off the dining room table.


It's sometimes hilarious but usually also exasperating. And I have a feeling he'll be able to reach a lot more things before he finally develops some impulse control.

On the other hand, he's been learning how to give hugs and kisses. This toddler phase definitely isn't all bad. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cream of soup

Lately I have been trying to make an effort to be a bit more health-conscious, and one of the things I am therefore trying to phase out of our diet are canned soups. We don't generally eat straight up canned soup anyway, but we do occasionally use it in cooking. So here are two substitutions I've tried in the last few days.

***

Chicken pot pie:

Cook chicken in big oven-safe pot. (I have a stainless steel skillet that works okay, but I really want a dutch oven.) When it's cooked, add about 1/4 cup olive oil or butter or whatever. Then add 1/4 cup flour and stir until the chicken is coated in a sort of bready paste. Then add 2 cups of milk and a teaspoon or two of salt (I used 2 and it was a bit salty, so maybe 1.5?) and cook until thick and bubbly. Then add vegetables and crust and cook as normal.

This was a big success, other than being slightly salty. Scott declared it, "Even richer and creamier than usual." That man knows the way to a woman's heart.

***

Stroganoff:

Cook beef, do not drain. Add 2 tablespoons flour, stir, add 1 cup milk, cook until thick and bubbly. Then follow the recipe as normal.

I accidentally added 1/4 cup flour because I forgot I was only doing 1 cup of milk, but it worked out fine anyway. I did not add any extra salt because this recipe already has cooking wine and boullion.

This tasted okay but not fantastic; I think the main problem was that I wasn't paying very much attention and certain things got a bit scorchy. I will try this again sometime before I declare it an unqualified success.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Photo dump

It's been forever since I posted any photos here because seriously, who has time to hunt for the correct photo and then upload it? Nobody, that's who.

Cupcakes for his baptism day

I am always amused by the random items that end up on the "wrong"
side of the baby gate.

Curlies!




He snatched that orange out of the fridge while I
was cooking and started eating it peel and all.
So we let him. (He ended up eating about half
the peel and then sucking out the insides.)


This was on Saturday afternoon. I still think he
must be getting sick or something, because this
never happens.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fun with language

Several weeks ago, Tad started looking at us and making exaggerated chewing motions when he wanted food. Sadly, he's since picked up the actual sign for "food," though he often conflates it with the sign for "more." (This is kind of understandable for two reasons. 1 - The signs are similar--with "food," you make a beak with one hand and touch your mouth; with "more" you make a beak with two hands and touch them together. 2 - We usually only use the word "more" in the context of eating. When you're 14 months old, how are you supposed to know that "more" only gets you food if you already had food to begin with?)

Speaking of "more", he went through a brief phase of being just a little bit picky. The way he expressed this? He would make the sign for "more" while there was still plenty of food on his tray!

He also recently invented a sign that roughly means "ball"--he will lift one arm and then bring it down to smack it against his leg. This is derived from the fact that when I throw a ball for him, I will point (while saying "See the ball? Go get the ball!") and then when I drop my arm down it often does smack my leg. I don't remember the "real" sign for ball; I should probably look it up and start teaching it to him. Except that worked a little too well with "food" and his made-up signs are awfully cute.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Great Nap Transition of 2015; Daily Routine

Remember a while back when I bragged about how well switching Tad to one nap was working? Remind me to never do that again; it tempts the sleep fates. Fortunately we seem to be back on track now (knock on wood) after a few days in which he seriously went from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with only one THIRTY MINUTE nap. It was awful. But like I said, it's been going better again the last few days. I'm determined to stick with it for at least a month (until Tad's 15-month appointment, just because that's a convenient cutoff) to give us a chance to make new habits. I'm sure I will report back later.

Anyway, with the new nap schedule our daily routine on a good day goes something like this. (For a bad day, insert long stretches of whining.)

6:00 - I get up and have my breakfast and a little introvert time and then get ready for the day and pack Scott's lunch and so forth
7:30 - I pull the baby out of bed, throw a coat on him, and bundle him out to the car so we can drop Scott off at the bus stop.
8:00 - Breakfast, diaper change, maybe putting some clothes on, maybe not
9:00 - ???
11:00 - Lunch, another diaper change, naptime routine
12:00 - Nap!!!
3:00 - Snack, another diaper change
4:30 - Go get Scott
6:00 - Dinner
7:00 - Maybe some TV, maybe Scott and I taking turns playing with the baby so the other can have some introvert time
8:00 - Another diaper change, teeth brushing, pajamas on, bedtime routine
9:00 - Baby is asleep; Scott and I hide on our respective computers until we get tired and go to bed ourselves

That 9-11 a.m. stretch is the part I don't know what to do with now. Sometimes we have appointments or errands or playdates or whatever, but other days we sit around and he whines because he's bored and his teeth hurt and I whine because I hate whining and can't get anything done with a 22-pound toddler hanging off my leg. Maybe I should start "homeschooling" or something.

ETA: For the record, I do change his diaper a little more often than is listed here, but those changes are as needed rather than built into the routine.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Impossible things

A few weeks ago, I was joking to Scott that maybe we should name our next baby after the patron saint of sleeping. (I admit I'm not sure who that would be.) Of course, I added, naming our first baby after the patron saint of impossible causes amounts to the same thing and we all know how well that worked.

(Yes, now you can guess Tad's real name, or at least get down to a short list. I don't care; I don't use his real name so people can't Google him based on his future resume and I am quite sure nobody is going to look at his resume and think, "I should Google 'the patron saint of impossible causes' just in case I find something.")

Then yesterday I was talking to Sheila on Facebook and told her that joke (she gets all my baby sleep jokes) and she said, "Instead you got the impossible baby!"

I didn't think much of it at the time, but I've been slowly digesting it ever since and I think Sheila might have been more right than she imagined. I don't think I ever told the story of how Tad got his name, for obvious Google-y reasons, but his first name was not on our list of baby names going into the pregnancy. It wasn't until about 18 weeks that I suggested it and Scott suggested a middle name to go with it and boom, he was named. (And three weeks later we found out he was a he, which was kind of nice since I didn't like our backup girl name nearly as much.) It was one of those situations where it's less like giving him a name and more like finding the name he was always supposed to have.

There have been so, so many times in the last 14 months that I've asked God why he would set me up to try to do something so clearly impossible. I don't expect my life to be easy, you know, but I don't expect it to be impossible. When it gets to that point grace is supposed to appear and help you get through it.

This feels like a little bit of grace. It doesn't change one single thing about my life right now, doesn't make one second of the last year easier, but it means something. It means that God's not sitting up in Heaven waiting for me to say all the right prayers in all the right order so that he finally gives me the grace to survive this child he blessed me with. He always knew that I was going to have to do the impossible.

And apparently believes that I can.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stream of consciousness

My aforementioned progesterone supplements are helping, but I can still tell where I am in my cycle based on the state of disarray of my apartment. (If it's "So messy you'd be ashamed to invite over your mother-in-law," that's the follicular phase. If it's, "So messy you contemplate setting the whole thing on fire and starting over," that's the luteal phase.)

I'm having a good week currently; yesterday I reorganized Tad's toys so that the living room doesn't look like Babies R Us vomited in it, and today I vacuumed the living room, dining room, and hallways.

Tad finds the vacuum terrifying (I obviously didn't use it enough when he was in the womb), but fortunately for my spine, he has moved on from needing to be perched on my hip the entire time I'm vacuuming. Now he toddles along after me, babbling reproachfully and occasionally bursting into tears if the vacuum should happen to blow air on him.

He hates weather, incidentally. Especially wind, but any inclement weather will do. If we go outside and it's anything other than dry and calm, he scowls and gibbers complaints at me until we get into the car.

He had a spur-of-the-moment pediatrician appointment on Wednesday at which he scored some antibiotic cream for his poor bum, and that's all we'll say about that. He also weighed 22 pounds and 2 ounces, so we need to switch his carseat to the other recline level. (It has one rearfacing level for 5-22 lbs and one for 22-40 lbs, and he was 21 lbs 2 oz when we bought it for him, poor thing.)

His new baby cousin was baptized on Sunday and when we put the two of them next to each other Tad looks HUGE and OLD and it makes me all broody. Also, we had him wear shoes to complete his outfit and from the way he carried on and refused to walk you'd have thought we'd broken both his ankles. We took the shoes off and he happily toddled around his grandparents' house in the wake of his older cousins and some of their cousins.

I decided two days ago to push him to take only one nap. We'll see if I change my mind in another two days, but so far it's going well. Yesterday I distracted him with grocery shopping all morning and then he napped from 12-3 (though he needed resettled at about 1:30), went to bed peacefully a little after 9, and stayed in bed until 8. (He did wake up a couple of times wanting to nurse, but if I don't have to actually get up I call it a good night.) Today I distracted him with vacuuming (he did not enjoy that nearly as much as grocery shopping) and then put him down a little after 12, resettled him at 1:30, and he's still sleeping now, at 2:35. But I should publish this post and go do some dishes or something before he wakes up.