Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pac-Man Fever

Jack has taken to begging for food lately. He'll spot something he wants -- say, Steve's glass of water. He'll then point to it, and in quickly increasing levels of franticness, say, "Agua! Agua! AGUA!" as if he is in a dessert and has just come upon a beautiful oasis, with ice-cold water poured by Elmo himself. Then, to really show he means business, he'll open his mouth as wide as he can, like a Pez dispenser or Pac-Man and will say, "Aaaaah!"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Feeling Good

I promise not to post too obsessively about this. Really.

I've been doing Weight Watchers for 6 weeks now and have lost more than 10 pounds. More importantly, I feel really healthy. I'm eating tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and am finally drinking enough water. I've also found that, thanks to some really great recipes, I am eating better food and am enjoying it more than before I decided to lose weight. How amazing is it that I can eat things like bacon cheeseburgers and onion rings and still lose weight? Now granted, they were turkey burgers with turkey bacon and a moderate amount of cheese, and the onion rings were baked, but they tasted damned good.

Now that I'm paying closer attention to what I'm eating, I'm horrified at the calorie and fat content of some of the food I was eating before. Those cinnamon scones from Starbucks? Holy Yoda! One scone was well over 2/3 of the calories I eat now in an entire day. It's not like I thought they were healthy before, but I just had no idea how bad they were. With portion sizes so out of control, it's really no wonder that so many Americans are obese.

Knowing how good I feel and how well I'm treating my body, even after I finish losing weight, I can't imagine going back to the diet I had before. Things have changed in a big way, and I'm proud of it.

Even better, I've rediscovered my old friend running. I have several 30 minute running playlists on my iPod now, so the time goes fast and my pace is much better than it was before. Going for a half hour run is a guilt-free way to spend some time by myself every night, something that I think I really needed.

I'm about three pounds away from my goal weight, so I'm inspired to find my next big goal. Next year, I am going to run the Quad Cities Marathon. Running a marathon has long been one of my life goals, and what better place to do it than in my hometown, the place where I learned to love running in the first place? Plus, as my brother pointed out, there is probably no better food in the universe than a post-marathon shake from Whitey's. I'll start training in April.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Booster Gold

Jack has been interested lately in sitting on the kitchen chairs, rather than in his high chair. He might not be totally ready for it yet, but I bought him a booster seat. A couple of days ago, he was testing it out, sitting at the table eating some watermelon with me. The little melon hound polished it off, pointed to the container on the kitchen counter and asked for more.

In the short time it took me to put more watermelon on the plate, Jack climbed down off the chair, picked up the booster seat, carried it across the kitchen, turned it upside down, stood on it, and was trying to open the door to the pantry.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do keep the cookies in the pantry.

What a sneaky little monkey! My dad predicted that something like this would happen. He said that Jack knew how to work door knobs and was just too short to do it yet. I replied that one day he'd be just enough taller to make it happen, but Dad said Jack would figure something else out in the meantime. And that he did. Not only did he realize that the booster would make him taller, but that he'd be taller still if he flipped it upside down. It was a brilliant plan, and the only thing he had to do was get rid of Mommy. And how to do that? Why by asking Mommy for more delicious fruit, sure to get her out of the way so he could get to the cookies. No doubt Mommy, big sucker, would fall for that!

This kid is way too smart for me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Embracing It

I have been a mom now for almost 20 months, and I have to admit, it's happened:

I love gigantic handbags.

Five days a week, I'm at work all day. I don't need to lug around my diaper back, packed as if I'm going on safari. I could carry around a bag big enough for my keys, wallet, and lipstick. But I've discovered that I really like a gigantic tote bag that carries that, plus a bottle of water, my calendar, and anything else I might possibly need. That's without even getting into carrying stuff for the boys -- a snack, binkies, and toy for Jack, Steve's hat, the camera, and so on. I feel comfortable and put together carrying my big blue bag. I am coveting more and more simple -- and big -- tote bags.

I am carrying a Mom bag, and I am not ashamed!

But the second I start talking about cutting off all of my hair because "it's just easier," somebody stop me, okay?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Everybody's Talkin' At Me

I realized that I forgot some of Jack's words from the last list. Others include:

I don't know (often said with his palms facing skywards, shoulders shrugged)

And this weekend, he added three new words to his vocabulary! Jack can now say:


It is really amazing to see how much he is learning and developing. Think how long it took him to get that first word, and now he's got three new ones in just two days. Very cool.

I can also really see his gross motor skills developing. Was it just this spring that we had to watch Jack on the playground when he went from the mulch to the pavement? He'd inevitably fall down making the transition. Now he runs all over the place, completely carefree. I took him to a different neighborhood park on Sunday (to stave off a change into Tantro The Destroyer). All by himself, he went up the stairs on to the big jungle gym, across the bridge, and down the big tube slide. He was absolutely delighted with himself.

There is a song on one of Jack's Sesame Beginnings DVDs that I find myself singing to him often.

You did something new today
Hooray, hooray, hooray!
You went down the slide today
Hooray, hooray, hooray!
You did something very new
And Mommy's very proud of you
Hooray, hooray, hooray!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Something to talk about

Jack is learning more and more words lately, so it seemed like a fun time to jot down all of the words he knows right now. I'll try to remember them all.

More (Jack's first word)
Uh-oh (frequently used, a very practical word for Jack)
Mama (often interchangeable with Dada)
Jack (pronounced "DACK!")
Bye-bye (sometimes "buh-bye")
Yes (pronounced very carefully)
Cookie (pronounced "Go-key" and refers to either the treat or the monster)
Oh, no! (accompanied with Home Alone-style hands on face)
Bobo (Jack's pet name for Roary)
Eye (often accompanied by a chubby finger poking at one's eye)
Kermit (I swear, I've heard it three times)
That ("dat")
What ("wha dat?")
Where ("Wha Bobo?")
Car ("gar")

Do animal noises count? We also have:
Moo! (which apparently pigs also say)
Rar! (word of choice for tigers, lions, and dinosaurs)
Quack! (Ack! Ack!)
'Ow! (what kitties say)
Arf, arf!

Welcome, Riley!

I have a new nephew! Riley Davis Broadhurst was born last night and weighs in at a petite nine pounds, six ounces. It's kind of funny that you can hear a weight like that and say, "That's it?" So much for all of the techs who told Jenny and Chris that they could predict his weight within a few ounces.

Anyway, I can't wait to see pictures of the little guy. Welcome to the family, Riley!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

And the Oscar goes to...

Jack had a show at school yesterday. The theme was "Academy Awards," and each class had a performance. Jack and his fellow Group Two classmates swirled scarves around and danced to the song "Hot Potato." Steve and I joined the other parent papparazzi to get the best possible photos of our boy, and let me tell you, Jack danced with everything he had. At one point, he even did a spin and shook his heiney for the crowd. It was excellent.

After the last performance, one of the teachers invited everyone back to the school for an "after party." Steve and I agreed it would be a mistake to let Jack see us and then leave, so we headed home. Besides, it was a lot more fun to imagine Jack at his first Oscar afterparty, holding a martini in a sippy cup and saying, "No, Lindsay Lohan, I will not date you! You're old and you smell like cigarette smoke and hamburger grease. Leave me alone so I can go to the Vanity Fair party in peace."

In other news, Jenny is having a Giant Mutant Baby. The doctors estimate that Riley is between 11 and 13 pounds. Holy Yoda! This means that her plan of having a drug-free birth is out the window. She's scheduled for a c-section tonight. Jenny and I talked the night before last, and I gave her every single detail I could think of. I think it made her feel a lot better, believe it or not, to know that when you try to walk for the first time afterwards, it feels like you're going to rip in half. And that your regular underwear is not going to hurt the incision. I have also recommended that given Riley's size that she bypass breastmilk or formula and just give him steaks to gum on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Premiere Night

It was a big night last night at Stately Wasser Manor, and anticipation was at a fever pitch. It was time for the season premiere of family favorite show Sesame Street, and it honestly got the same level of excitement as we'll have for the starts of other favorites like Survivor, The Amazing Race, and The Office.

Not only do we have all new content ahead (no more boring "skin" content on Elmo's World), but we also met a brand new friend, Abby Cadabby.

I'm happy to see that our newest Sesame friend is a girl. Girls are few and far between on Sesame Street these days, and Zoe, Rosita, and Natasha need a friend. Besides, I don't want my boy to grow up thinking that all of the cool characters are boys.

Jack was completely transfixed by Abby. He sat quietly on the sofa next to me, grinning around his binky. Then he turned and gave me a huge Binky Smile, as if to say, "Thank you so much for letting me watch this!" I look forward to watching more of the episode tonight.

In other news, I talked to my sister Jenny last night. See how cute and happily pregnant she looks here?

Yeah, those days are over. Her baby's due date is today, and the girl has had just about enough of being pregnant. I had a feeling she might be feeling that way, which is why I actually called my stepmom instead of her, in case Jenny did not want to have the, "Yes, I'm still pregnant" conversation, which gets really tedious. I think she was willing to talk to me because she knew I'd understand that she is generally annoyed and pissed off right now. So come on, baby Riley! Get out here and check out the world. We can't wait to meet you, and you need to be nice to your mommy. She's the lady who's going to feed you.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sweet Dreams

The other night, Steve and I went to check on Jack. He was making a bit of noise, so I hid for fear he was awake. Steve is braver than I am, and peered into his crib. "Awake?" I whispered. Steve shook his head and said, "Dreaming."

I took a closer look. Jack, in his sleep, was petting Roary's head and making tiny roaring noises.

It was just about the cutest thing ever.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Jackson Colic

The other night, I was watching an episode of Surviving Motherhood, also known as Lady, You're Crazy and saw a story that took me back to the Bad Old Days of Jack's early babyhood. The woman's son was suffering from colic. Seeing the desperation on that woman's face really brought me back. Jack had colic from when he was six weeks old to around three months. If you haven't experienced life with a colicky baby, you just can't imagine how hard it is.

Jack would scream and wail inconsolably every single day for hours at a time. I was very, very new at the whole motherhood gig, and it really shook my confidence. What kind of mom was I if I couldn't do anything to stop my baby from crying? I was also embarassed to be living in The Screaming Baby House, convinced that everyone in the neighborhood could hear it and hated us. And I'd look at other women who had babies without colic. I'd watch their kids happily playing with their feet while I strapped Jack into the JackSack (aka Baby Bjourn) and trying frantically to calm him down, and I would secretly hate them because I was just so jealous. I was also sleep deprived and exhausted.

Any time I'm faced with a problem, I try to learn as much about it in hopes of finding a good solution. So I took to the internet. Here's what I learned: 20% of babies suffer from colic. Doctors think that it's probably discomfort due to an immature digestive system. Or maybe overstimulation. Or maybe something else entirely. They just don't know. I could not believe it. 20% of all families with new babies are suffering this kind of hell, the kind of thing that, to be honest, makes Shaken Baby Syndrome seem a bit understandable, and there's no huge Colic Foundation dedicated to finding the cause and fixing it? We just have to suck it up?

I heard good things about The Happiest Baby on the Block. Dr. Harvey Karp supposedly had a magical program that would, like a switch, quiet a crying infant. Madonna had used that program, and as luck would have it, I'd gotten his DVD as a shower gift. I popped in the DVD, and Steve and I watched in amazement as time after time, Dr. Karp stopped fussy infants from crying, transforming them from wailing banshees into sweet little angels. So we tried his 5 S's to see which would help Jack.

Swaddling: Worked great... as long as Jack was asleep. For wakeful times, not so much.
Side/Stomach Position: Terrific. Now if my arms are tired from holding him upright, I can take a break and hold him differently while he screams. Next!
Shhh Sounds: The shushing gives me something to do while Jack cries.
Swinging: Now not only is Jack crying because of the colic, but also because he's not being held.
Sucking: The only sucking that could have helped was me sucking down a bottle of wine.

I decided quickly that Dr. Harvey Karp could kiss my stretchmarked ass. My five s's were starting to include sweating, swearing, swigging booze, stifling screams, and wanting to strangle Dr. Karp.

It was soon getting to the point where when Jack started to cry, I'd just join him. Then, my wonderful husband had a simpler, breakthrough revelation. We needed two things.

The first was a change in attitude. We needed to accept the fact that there was not a single thing we could do to stop Jack from crying. The only thing wrong with him was colic, and we'd just have to wait it out. Instead of trying to stop his crying, what we needed to do was let him know that we were there for him while he worked through it.

The second thing was... ear plugs. I know, it sounds crazy, but believe me, with ear plugs in, we could still hear the crying just fine. It just wasn't as piercing and painful when it was muffled by a bit of foam in our ears.

Those changes made all the difference. I was able to calmly hold Jack while he cried, not wondering if there was something different I needed to be doing. What he really needed was for his mommy or daddy to hold him close so he'd know that even though he was having a hard time, we loved him and were there for him.

The weeks passed, and one day, the darkness seemed to be lifting. It was a while before either one of us dared to say it: the colic seemed to be gone. Sure enough, Jackson Colic was no more, and Jack started to develop a reputation as an incredibly happy baby.

Looking back, I think the tough days of colic really brought all three of us closer together. Jack learned he could rely on us in hard times. I admired Steve's strength and brilliant thinking. And Steve appreciated how much more patient I became as a result of this trial. Now, any problems we go through just don't seem as hard, because we know we can get through some trying trying things. And now, I think I really do have the Happiest Baby on the Block.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mommy Is Not Funny

So, the night before last, the boys and I were sitting at the dinner table, and Steve and Jack started goofing around together. First Steve would make faces or silly poses -- hands on face, Home Alone style, for instance -- and Jack would immitate him. The peals of Jack's laughter echoed in the halls of Stately Wasser Manor. Then, the two of them decided to mix it up. Jack made noises and moved his hands and Steve immitated him. Even funnier. When Roary started immitating Jack, I swear, Jack was panting to catch his breath, he was laughing so hard.

Last night, we're again at the dinner table. Jack made a silly face and hand gesture, and I copied him. Jack returned this with... a blank stare. Then I started making some of the same gestures and faces as Steve had, and Jack looked completely preplexed. You could see the thought bubble over his head: What on earth is Mommy doing? If I had asked him to balance the checkbook, I think he'd have been equally confused.

What the hell is that all about?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Group Hug

Jack, in his quest to be the Sweetest Little Guy Ever, has taken to initiating Family Hugs. I'll be holding him, and he'll pull Steve over so that all three of us can exchange hugs and kisses. If one of us starts to pull away, he'll pull us back in for more cozy squeeziness.

The overwhelming cuteness of this has allowed me to forgive him for the fact that he woke up three times last night. That and he has a cold.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Calling All Mommy Readers!

Jack, ever the gentleman, likes to signify that he is done with his meal by throwing all of the leftover food on the floor. Sometimes this includes flicking globs of yogurt at his mother while she's on the floor picking up banana slices. Lovely.

When he starts throwing food, we tell him NO. Dinnertime is over, and we take him out of his highchair. So far this has had absolutely no positive effect whatsoever. Maybe it's early and things will work better if I give it time? No more dinner doesn't seem like much of a punishment when you consider that the reason he's chucking chicken nuggets is that he doesn't want to eat anymore.

Does anybody have any advice, or perhaps coupons for paper towels? Now is the time to de-lurk!

Lady Willpower

I haven't talked about this yet, but what the heck: I'm trying to lose some weight. In the past two weeks, I've lost about five pounds, and I think ten more will put me in good shape. I want to take better care of myself, and first and foremost is to lose some weight, eat healthier foods, and exercise more.

I am incredibly proud of my efforts so far. Right now, as we speak, there is a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera sitting on my desk. My boss brought it in to thank me for a project I worked on. And I'm not eating the bagel. The scales have fallen from my eyes, and I now realize that all of those articles I've read about portion size are now joke, because that bagel, without cream cheese, contains 410 calories. Last weekend when Steve's parents visited, I also did not eat the pineapple cake or the gigantic wedge of cheese that my mother-in-law brought into my house.

I feel good, and I can already see a difference in how I look and how my clothes fit. The frustrating thing is that I have snuck onto the scale a couple of times in the past few days (my weigh-in day is Sunday) and so far I haven't lost any weight this week. What the hell?

Still, I am resolute, and if that scale doesn't budge by Sunday morning, I am going to crank up the exercise even more, working in a run every day if I have to.