Monday, November 29, 2004


I'm learning that kids go through a lot of phases. Some are short, some are long, but many of the bad (or at least annoying) ones seem to go away on their own in whatever time they need. I really like that.

Take, for instance, Kevin's need to wear shoes ALL THE TIME. This includes wearing shoes to bed. We don't like for him to have them on all night so we take them off after he falls asleep. If you were to watch us do this, you'd think that we were disabling a bomb - but in reality we're just trying not to wake him up. Last week, we began waiting until bed time to change Kevin into his bed clothes (that in itself is another phase which he has outgrown... he used to refuse to wear pajamas) and redirecting him when he vehemently asked for his shoes. Surprisingly, it worked! This week, he doesn't even ask for his shoes at bed time anymore. I really didn't think we'd get past this phase so quickly.

Kevin used to throw his napkin on the floor during meals. This is a phase that did not go away on its own but is an example of how perfect parenting will produce perfectly behaved children (if you're not a parent, you may not catch on to my sarcasm.) Anyway, we've taught Kevin that he gets nowhere by throwing his napkin on the floor in a fit of anger. Another phase that has come and gone.

I'm learning to put so many annoying things that Kevin does into perspective now that I realize he changes his behaviors on a fairly regular basis. It's nice to know that even the longest phases are still phases that will probably go away on their own. That's a relief when he picks up his hairbrush before bed every night now and has to brush everybody's hair (not very well, mind you) a few times before getting into bed (and he screams without it, at which point I realize, "Hey, it's just a hair brush and it's only about 2 minutes worth of time and it's really just annoying, it's not hurting anyone.")

I know, I know - most of you are wondering where the really annoying or harmful stuff comes in. I mean, really - shoes to bed and using a hairbrush? Come on, those are probably good things! Well, these are just some examples. Don't fret - there are worse things going on around here while you're not looking :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Kevin's new bike helmet for use with his tricycle and (hopefully soon) a trailer attached to my bike for trips to the grocery store and playground. Posted by Hello

Thanksgiving Therapy and Preparing to Return to Work

Last Wednesday our bible study group celebrated Thanksgiving together. It was the first time in a long time that Andy and I (and Kevin) had been together with our group. Keep in mind that these are all our best friends - it's not like these are people we see once a week, say Hi, and leave. No, our lives are intertwined in true community.

You can imagine the catharsis I experienced in telling my friends in person about our new jobs as parents. For some reason, I had a lot of negative things to say that night. But you know what? On Thursday morning, I felt great. I had no idea that expressing the challenges I felt would so positively affect me. The next two days with Kevin were grand - I was happy and full of energy and I really enjoyed being his mom all day long. I didn't get more sleep than usual, more exercise, or anything else. I really feel that it was due to telling some of my closest friends that parenting was very trying and I wasn't sure I was supposed to have done it that made me feel so much better.

So, any of you reading this who are those friends that I complained to that night, look out, because I'll be back to tell more the next time my spirit sinks ;-)


I return to my job next Tuesday. I'll work Tuesdays and Thursdays in the office and then in January, I'll start adding 4 additional hours per week from home. I was looking forward to this a couple of weeks ago but I'm not so sure I'm gonna like it now. On Sunday evening I told my boss the following regarding my return to work: "Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and playing ultimate frisbee [during lunch], but that's about it." Then I stopped and said, "Wait a minute... were you asking me whether I'm looking forward to coming back to the office as my friend or my boss?" D'oh!

Fortunately, I am friends with my boss and he understood my feelings and didn't mind that I'd said it. He said he felt the same way about my return - that he'd love to see me stay home but that he'll be happy to have me back in the office just to be around and to play ultimate frisbee. What a guy!

I'll have to start preparing for the "babysitter" this weekend. I need to make sure that there's something for lunch in the fridge and that I make a list of all of the important phone numbers (the most important being the number to the phone on my desk at work :-) I'll have to get up earlier than I have in awhile to get myself ready before getting Kevin ready in the morning. Our friend who will take care of Kevin will come to our house instead of us going to hers for awhile, so that'll make the transition easier on our family. Kevin won't have to nap in a strange place and I won't have to have Kevin completely fed and dressed by the time she arrives (I'll try to, but I won't stress myself out over it.)


Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

We're glad that Kevin likes to eat apples as much as we do and run through the fields at the orchard.  Posted by Hello

Is it a revelation if you already knew it but forgot?

On Sunday, I was cranky. I thought I'd had enough of Kevin and needed a break from him. But I was cranky with Andy, too. So maybe I needed a break from the whole family. I went to my volleyball game in the evening and continued to be cranky. I was very excited to be there and playing but it wasn't a very taxing game and afterward I was in an even worse mood. On the way home, it hit me... what made me cranky before I was a mother can still make me cranky now that I'm a mother and it's not related to being a mother!

When I don't exercise, I can get in a really foul mood. It's the kind of mood that nothing can cheer up - not chocolate cake, not a really funny joke, not time alone. Nothing makes me feel better except to exercise. And I don't mean that I need to take a walk or follow Kevin around the house a few extra times in a day. I need to really work hard and fill my muscles with lactic acid. Granted, it doesn't take much to do that these days as I haven't been exercising regularly :-)

Sunday evening on my way home from volleyball, I knew that I couldn't go home and be in a good mood. I couldn't imagine facing Andy and Kevin and any of our usual antics with any sort of cheer in my attitude. So I pulled into the elementary school down the street, parked at the end of the dark lot, stepped out into the brisk air and started to run. I ran laps around the parking lot. It felt like heaven. I had to stop and walk a few times, but as soon as I caught my breath, I started to run again. My legs and arms pumped, my heart pumped, and all kinds of good chemicals were spreading their way into my brain. I smiled. And it was a lasting smile, not the kind that I can force onto my face while gritting my teeth behind it. I was joyous.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

What else is there to write about?

I haven't written regular posts in awhile. The reason is that I have nothing to talk about except for Kevin and as intriguing as that is to me, I'm sure that it's not all that exciting to most other people. I have kept a bit of a journal every few days of what he's up to, but I can't think of anything to write a blog post about. I'll come up with something, although if you're bored of reading about Kevin, you'll want to stop right here :-)

Kevin is in that stage of big developmental changes. There are a lot of things that he knew before he joined our family, but he's now starting to learn some things that we've tought him. For instance, he says, "Excuse me" when he burps. Actually, he says, "Mee mee" but we get the point. He's learned to jump with both feet in the air since coming home, although that's fairly natural and probably isn't from anything that we've done. Now he's learning to name the parts of his body, albeit in Spanish. He can do a few animal noises such as Meow, Woof woof, and Cock-a-doodle-doo. He does some others but not with complete comprehension. For instance, I showed him that a rabbit wiggles its nose and when I show him a picture of a rabbit, he'll wiggle his nose. But, when I ask him without a picture what a rabbit does, he says, "Ribbit" like a frog. He's learning to make elephant sounds with his arm pretending to be a trunk and that is funny because he looks more like he's wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve than swinging his trunk.

We've had a few playdates with various friends and family members and he appears to be getting more comfortable with meeting new people. He's still very shy but when there is only one or two new people to meet at a time, he warms up to them faster than he used to. He's been in Sunday School class the past 2 weeks and he cries to begin with, but then he's fine. It's nice to not be distracted during the church service or feel like he's distracting everyone else.

He has also spent some time alone with our friend who will take care of him the days that I'm at work starting after Thanksgiving. I think this situation will work out well and I'm very excited that we didn't have to search far and wide to find the right fit for him. If you ask me whether I'm excited to go back to work or not, my answer will depend on the day. Plus, each day I feel more settled to the point that I can branch out and get more things done at home, so I'm more comfortable in the role of stay-at-home Mom than I was a few weeks ago. But, there are advantages to me going back to work also, and I think that it'll be good for me. We'll see how it goes - if I can't stand it, I'll take a leave of absence. I expect it'll work out, though, but I won't count my chickens before they hatch, so to speak.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Terrible Mother Award

I admit it, I win the Terrible Mother Award for the week.

Kevin hasn't been sleeping through the night recently and it's been hard on us after we were treated to very nice sleeping patterns since our return home. Every night last week Kevin woke up and cried at least once and we tried various ways to help him get back to sleep. We didn't want to just let him "cry it out" as he needs to be secure in knowing that we are here for him and will provide what he needs. We're still trying to figure out where the line is between needing to provide security and needing to let him get through things on his own, but we knew that we didn't want to leave him by himself in the middle of the night.

Anyway, fast forward to last night. We shut Kevin's door when he falls asleep and we go about our business of getting things done around the house. We head to bed and - whoops! - I forget to open Kevin's bedroom door before getting in bed myself. I didn't realize this, however, until 5:30 this morning. Andy and I discussed at that point whether to open the door then or wait until it was time to get up for church and we decided to wait. We would hear him if he rattled the doorknob or cried to be let out.

At 7:00 am, I checked on him before taking my shower. D'oh! He wasn't in bed. There he was, curled up on the floor. He was sleeping soundly, but I could only feel terrible at the thought of him waking up scared in the middle of the night, sliding out of his bed, trying the doorknob and realizing he was locked in, and then being unable to get back into bed himself. Poor thing!

I'm sure you parents out there realize that he was no worse for wear this morning once he woke up. He smiled within 2 minutes of opening his eyes and he had a joyful day, not apparently holding any grudges against either Andy or myself. I won't tell him for a few years that it is usually my job to open his door before getting in bed ;-)

I know that most kids are pretty resilient, but Kevin continues to surprise me with how resilient he really is. He's been through a lot that most kids don't have to go through and he comes out smiling on the other side every time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Flash, the "Handsome Mouser" Posted by Hello

I didn't even realize we had a mouse...

...let alone a whole family (or at least a whole neighborhood) of them! Our cat, Flash, great mouser that he is, has found a few of the little critters in our house lately. Tonight while eating dinner, we heard some squeaking and Flash's collar jingling. Funny thing was that Flash doesn't have any squeaky toys. So, I sent Andy to find out what was going on. Hey, I took care of the freshly dead body last night, it was his turn. Anyway, it appeared that Flash had a mouse in his mouth at the time he ventured upstairs and we heard him. Then he went back downstairs and must've lost it because Andy saw a mouse scurry into the laundry room when he was trying to figure out what was going on.

I'll admit that I'm proud of Flash. He's an indoor cat so he doesn't get too many chances to hone his hunting skills, but when he needs them, he's got them.

Elesa, I hope you're not reading this. See you next week :-)