Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sweet little Daniel boy

This post is all about my littlest sunshine, my huggable, snuggable little Daniel. I just took him for his nine month check-up (at ten and a half months) and he was in the fifth percentile for his weight. Between his skin issues and his major aversion to most solid foods, it has been really hard to keep him gaining weight. I'm trying a new strategy though that I hope will plump him up a little. I'm feeding him three meals a day of his favorite foods: sweet potatoes, carrots, and fruit, as much as he will eat. Then, I'm trying to introduce a greater variety of foods little by little. I don't know what to do with a picky eater. Daniel may be a second child, but Nathan was such a good eater that I have no experience with feeding a picky child. He doesn't like textures. He won't eat food that's too cold. He doesn't like the taste of green vegetables. Mainly, he likes sweet, smooth and slightly warm foods. Sounds a lot like breast milk, doesn't it?

Despite his teeny tiny size, he's getting around wherever he wants to go. He has this funny little crawl that's halfway between a regular crawl and sitting, but his own little style does not slow him down. He's also pulling up. I love it when I'm sitting on our couch and all of a sudden a little face pops up wearing the proudest expression of delight.

His favorite toy right now is a bendy straw. Yesterday he played with a straw for about two hours. He carried it around with him and held it in one hand as he picked up toys with his other. When I hold the straw in front of him, he breaks into a big grin like I've just offered him the best thing in the whole world. He also loves music. When we sit him down in front of the piano, he touches the keys one by one like he is playing his own special melody. Anytime he hears music, he perks up. I won't be surprised if he turns out to be my musical one; he already loves it.

Daniel's had a tough start to life. From the ambulance ride to the hospital after his birth to the endless itching and skin rashes, he's had a lot of stuff to deal with. But he doesn't know his life has been hard, and he is the most precious, loving baby I could have ever wanted. As I look at his face that has just popped up beside me again, I'm thanking God for entrusting me with this precious life for this time, and resolving to be faithful, in teaching him, loving him, and fattening him up, to the best of my ability.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ghetto Gardening: This is how I dig it

I'm in my second season of gardening. I guess that makes me a seasoned gardener. It does not, however, mean that I know anything about what I am doing. Now in classic Erin style, I've read multiple gardening books over the winter off-season, but reading books does not a gardener make. I have a few massive challenges between me and that luscious veggie harvest that I covet.

First and perhaps most insurmountable, I am trying to garden in a brick. You know that flaming orangey red Georgia clay? Yep, that's what's sitting about six inches under the surface. Here is where the books have failed me. Somehow, all these awesome gardeners who write books do not live in Georgia and do not try to grow plants in Georgia clay. One man recommended digging down 24 inches for the healthiest plants and the best ever vegetables. Not going to happen! After about twelve inches, the only way to proceed is with a pickaxe.

The other tiny little problem I have is that gardens take time, lots and lots of time. So do children. I have both. Obviously, my children take precedence, so often, the garden suffers. Dirt isn't dug. Seeds are planted. Plants aren't watered. There is however, one thing that I am good at, mainly because it requires little time and no attention--making compost. I have tacky piles of rotting plant and veggie matter all over my garden patch. All I have to do is dump my compost bucket every couple of days and let nature take its course. When I scooped out some compost to mix around my tomato plant, I was ecstatic to see earthworms. Sometimes, it's good to be excited about the simple things.

Anyway, I like to call what I do ghetto gardening. The two main features of ghetto gardening are a gardener with little time and even less money. Recently, right after I transplanted a couple of my tiny, fragile tomato seedlings, we had a frost warning. See my creative, cheap frost cover for my plants above. I hope that somehow, probably by no doing of my own, my garden will suddenly blossom and we will be inundated with fresh veggies. But if it doesn't, I'll continue to be excited about all the small successes (some of my seedlings are still alive) and mourn the failures (some of them aren't), and most importantly, consider it all a learning experience. If the end goal is learning, even the failures are a success as long as I learn from them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The lost passy and my hubby the hero

So the past couple of days, Daniel's eczema has been terrible. Like, he's screamed for thirty or more minutes at a time and I've had to physically restrain him from tearing his skin to pieces. Needless to say, this shreds my nerves pretty quickly. Yesterday was pretty rough, and Stephen did not even get home until after I was in bed because he had some school something until late.

Today, when Stephen called during his break to check in on us, he got more than he bargained for--a full ten minutes of me having a nervous breakdown on the phone. I talked about how I didn't think Daniel's eczema would ever get better, I would never sleep again, and I was a horrible mother to Nathan because I had to focus so much attention on Daniel. When I get into this state of mind, only two things seem to help: a long nap or somebody taking both the kids so I can be alone.

Knowing this, Stephen hurried home after school and as soon as I nursed Daniel, took both boys outside for a walk. Forty-five minutes later, I was much saner, and not on the verge of flying into a million pieces, though still in a somewhat fragile, stressed out state. When I went out to reclaim Daniel, he was fussing so I looked for the passy in the stroller. It was not there. I hurried to Daniel's room to get a spare for him.

Daniel has a very close relationship with his passy. He loves his passy almost as much as he loves his mama. I love his passy because he loves it. We have three passies, the exact same design, and I cannot rest unless I know the location of at least one passy. I also have a strong aversion to losing anything. So when the passy showed up missing, I was not happy. After watching me wandering down the driveway and scanning the street for signs of the missing passy, Stephen decided the only way I would move on from this problem was if the passy was found. So he got in the car, and drove away to scan the road for the missing passy.

A few minutes later, he returned, passy in hand. It had been found, dropped on the road, half a mile from our house. I breathed out a long sigh of relief. The passy was found. It had not been run over. Funny the things that make a mommy happy. You would have thought someone had handed me a hundred dollar bill.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just a mom

Oh, no, I'm not tired. I really prefer to get up every three hours of the night every night for a year. Doesn't everyone?

Well, I really don't feel like eating by the time I've got dinner cooked. I'd rather just fix all the plates and cups and then leave the table to nurse the baby.

Yes, I would love to use that snotty scrap of toilet tissue off the floor, so you just go ahead and take the roll in your toy shopping cart.

I find that tripping over toys really keeps me on my toes, so why don't you just go ahead and scatter them all over the floor.

I prefer to carry a screaming baby around until my back aches. After all, it's such a good workout.

It doesn't really matter if I look haggard and unkempt. I don't ever have a chance to look in the mirror, and if I did clean up, the kids probably wouldn't recognize me.

Please, don't take my picture. I probably don't want to remember what I look like anyway.

No, I don't need sleep, food or a break. After all, I'm just a mom. Everyone knows moms can keep going on love alone, so why mess with a good thing?

Monday, April 5, 2010

What a mess...

Here's what happens when extreme Type B meets and marries even more extreme Type B and then they have children.

Yes, this is my kitchen. It actually looks like this 90% of the time: dirty dishes on the counters, toys strewn across the floor, and basically not a clean surface in sight. Now before you clean freaks show up on my doorstep, Clorox spray in hand, rest assured that the kitchen is cleaned every day or two. I just can't seem to get ahead in that cycle of meals, dirty dishes and washing. Somehow I'm always one (big) washing behind. Only once have I had something actually start molding in my kitchen from lack of cleaning. After cooking hamburgers in my George Foreman grill one day, I left some wet paper towels to soak the especially gunky surface and before I could clean it off, they dried. After the cycle repeated a couple of times, I noticed it--mold. Eww. Nonetheless, I finally got it clean, thanks to some bleach. We have since eaten a meal cooked on the same grill without getting ill.

This is also what happens when tired mommy tries to cook delicious dinners from scratch for the family and runs out of energy before clean up commences. Or as soon as the food is prepared, everything falls apart. You mommies out there know about this. Daniel starts crying, hungry and wanting to nurse. Nathan is hungry and wants his plate fixed, his cup filled, his fork delivered to the table. I'm lucky if I get to take a couple of bites of my own food, much less worry about restoring the kitchen to a pristine state. I hope to one day be able to keep my kitchen clean most of the time, but today is not that day.

However, it is a sign of spring that I do have a desire coming over me to sort, organize and get rid of some stuff. My current project is the toy monster. I'd like to get a handle on the toy situation before someone breaks a leg. Stephen and I are tired of tripping on toys in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms--well, basically everywhere. I've decided I need a multi-pronged approach, one that includes some training on picking up after yourself for Nathan, some new toy boxes, and getting rid of some toys.

Surprisingly, this is as difficult for me as it is for Nathan, especially because I'm not too sentimental when it comes to stuff. My stuff. Stephen's stuff. But not the toys. I'm flat out attached to the toys--the same toys that I hate when I stub my toe in the middle of the night. They're like part of the family. I can't bear the thought of Nathan asking "Where's my bear (truck, ball)?" and knowing that I gave it away. Sometimes I feel like there's enough in this world to disappoint my child. How can I add to that disappointment? But then I see the tantrum in the grocery store line and I'm reminded that a childhood free of disappointment is a sure recipe for a brat.

So we are getting rid of some toys. I pulled them all out today (even the ones I had bundled away in temporary storage) and dumped them on the floor. Nathan was elated. I realized why it has been so hard for me to sort the toys that need to go. He loves them all. When he finds toys I've had put up, it's like being reunited with a long lost friend. "My dump truck!" After boxing the few toys that I knew he didn't play with much, I've embarked on a fact finding mission, to observe which toys get played with the most. Once I've got my information, I'll pull a reverse Santa Clause. Bye, bye toys. Hello, floor.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Shoes

I bought shoes today. Two identical pairs of gray Asics accented with cranberry, gel insoles, size 8 medium width. These are the first shoes I have bought in more than two years. Ever since Nathan's birth, the advent of my life as a stay at home mom, I have worn a wonderful pair of brown, earth-girl looking sandals. My sandals have been my summer shoes, my winter shoes (worn tacky with socks showing), my gardening shoes, and my walking shoes. I have bought the exact same shoe three times to replace the old worn ones, keeping the old worn ones anyways because I couldn't bear to part with them. They are the perfect shoe for someone who, like me, does not like shoes.

My feet like freedom. I am the barefoot queen of my own home. So what would possess me to run out and buy shoes? Well, in a word, Cathe. For two years now, I have been exercising barefoot in my own home to a variety of workout videos--pilates, yoga, in-home walking, The Firm, etc. I love exercising barefoot. I feel like I use better form and pay more attention to proper alignment which is easier on my knees and back. Earlier this year, I decided to use some of the money we got back on our tax return to purchase a health club grade exercise step and a couple of Cathe Friedrich workout DVDs to ramp up the intensity a little bit. Since the only tennis shoes I owned were a horrible pair that constricted my toes and rubbed blisters on my heels, I decided to give it a try with just my socks. Low impact stepping may have been okay, but Cathe is all high impact, high intensity, all the time.

After a few workouts sans shoes, my feet began complaining, so I resigned myself to getting some shoes. If there's anything I hate more than wearing shoes, it's shopping. Shopping wears me out more than a vigorous, sweat poring off my body workout. But it couldn't be helped. So this morning I headed out to the shoe store with two kids in tow and a resolution to find comfortable shoes. Thankfully, I had Mimi with me too. She kept track of Nathan while I juggled Daniel while trying on twenty plus pairs of shoes. After the entire bench was piled with teetering stacks of boxes, I finally found them. I walked around, did jumping jacks, pointed and flexed, and still my feet felt good in them.

I wanted to take advantage of the buy one, get one half off special so I continued to look for another pair of shoes. The pile of boxes grew as I tried on low heeled sandals, flats, and some ugly, chunky things that were comfortable until my feet started to sweat in them. By this time, we had been in the store almost two hours, I had taken Daniel for a nursing break, and my shopping energy was quickly flagging. I decided the best bargain was to get two pairs of the comfortable shoes and run for it. So here I sit, two pairs of gray and cranberry tennis shoes richer, waiting for the acid test of shoe comfort--a heart pounding, foot pounding, Cathe workout.