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Monthly Archives: May 2011

In a WWF wrestling match between Elmo and Caillou…

We are a living commercial for the Sprout Channel in our house. Ollie loves Chica, the puppet on the channel’s morning live program, The Sunny Side Up Show. She “talks” in a squeak, and I’m impressed by the puppeteers abilities to make her understandable. I get him up in the morning, ask him if he wants to see Chica, and he nods, vehemently. He’s pushed me out of his way on his way to see her.

I’m happy to report that, for the most part, I enjoy the Sunny Side Up Show enough to let it accompany our mornings. Outside of a dreadful 20 minutes where they show Barney, I can happily tolerate Bob The Builder and Fifi & The Flowertots to give him lots of opportunities to dance and point excitedly. Thomas & Friends is a huge hit with him. Like other little boys I know, Thomas’ adventures are an Ollie favorite. But, interestingly, he does realize when they show a newer episode, an episode where George Carlin is not the narrator. He likes the Carlin episodes, he doesn’t like the replacement ones. As much. (And, really? George Carlin? Bizarre.)

However…Caillou.

After the Sunny Side Up Show, they segueway into an hour of Caillou. An hour of a cartoon that sucks to epic proportions. When I realized it wasn’t just a couple episodes, but a whole hour of this torture, I groaned. Loudly. I don’t do a good job of concealing my distaste I have for this show. I’ve even rewritten the theme song to more appropriately express for my feelings. The way the show’s producers planned, theme song should be this:

I’m just a kid who’s four

each day I learn some more

I like exploring

I’m Caillou

In my house, it’s this:

I’m just a kid who’s four

each day I whine some more

I’m so annoying

I’m Caillou.

I know I should try to hide my feelings for this whiny little bald-headed boy with the randomly giggly little sister Rosie. I know, I know. But I’ll tell you, the random giggling, the primary colored shirts, the way that Caillou always seems to get his way, the “cute” way that Rosie mispronounces “butterfly” (flutterby) is just too much. It irritates me. It irritates me like a loose hair that I can’t reach stuck in my bra strap.

Caillou and his stupid cat, Gilbert.

My disdain for this show has maybe perhaps rubbed off on Ollie. And for that I am eternally grateful. From the opening chords to the theme song, until I turn it off, Ollie shows distress. He fixes his face to its dislike setting, points to the tv with more urgency, and uses all his communication skills to express that he does. not. want. to. watch. Caillou. Change the channel, Please and Thank You. And while I try to not to satisfy every whim of my stubborn almost two-and-a-half-year-old, I do comply. Happily. We switch to PBS when Caillou’s on Sprout, to watch a tried-and-true favorite, Sesame Street. When Sesame Street is over on PBS, they switch to Caillou, and I switch back over to Sprout for another hour of Sesame Street. Why is this kid shoved down our throats? But, Ollie likes Elmo, and that’s something I’d much rather encourage. In a WWF wrestling match between Elmo and Caillou, I’d be the one shouting from the sidelines at Elmo to clothesline the baldy.

I’m not sure that pride is the appropriate response to Ollie’s distaste for Caillou, but I am proud. For all my efforts to have shared interests with him, he dances to Achy Breaky Heart. (I know. The former music snob in me cringes at this confession.) He likes monster trucks. He doesn’t like tomato soup and noodles. Grape jelly makes him cringe.

I will take this shared distaste of a bald-headed four-year-old who’s name means “Pebble.” And thank my lucky stars that his interests aren’t reversed. If he loved Caillou as much as he seems to hate him, I’d wonder if he was really my kid.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

MY GIANT HANDS ARE NO MATCH FOR YOUR PUNY TOY

We didn’t use the jumperoo too much with Ollie. All of his therapists told us it’s not the best thing for kids to be in them for too long. Something about hips and whatnot, and with his apparent delays already blossoming, we didn’t want to roadblock him in any way. With Tucker, though, we’ve used it slightly more, not as concerned about mobility issues.

He fell asleep, so of course, we took a picture. A few pictures, actually. But I’m going to dissect this one a bit to illustrate why this one is my favorite.

Why? Because although it’s a sleeping baby in a ridiculously uncomfortable position, it’s also got some great details.

First: Although he’s sleeping, he’s assuring us he’s Okay.

Second: The onesie he’s wearing, it’s a 6 month size. He was just over five months in this photo. It’s a teensy bit tiny.

Third: Oh my goodness. The CHUB!

Fourth: RAWR! YOUR PUNY TOY IS SO PUNY! I’m so awesome, I can pick this tiny toy up with with just thumb and index finger!

Thank you for indulging my photo dissection.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

My Little Wrecker Brother

Last month, I embarked on a project. I created The Alphabet for Ollie. I booted up my old design program and created the letters, two to a page, ready to print out, cut out and laminate. I even downloaded a super cool new font to use and bought colored construction paper to get the job done right.

But then my new font wasn’t loading properly, or maybe I’d forgotten how to install it properly, but I had to do some thinking outside the box to use it. Then the construction paper was too big to fit in the printer. Then I discovered the printer’s USB cable had been chewed by the cat and was unusable.

Maybe the universe was telling me I shouldn’t continue this.

After a week, seriously, of working on The Alphabet, I’d solved all the issues that cropped up. I bought new colored PRINTER, not construction paper, duh. I worked some design tricks on the font so I could use it, electrical taped the cable. Cutting out the laminated letters kind of sucked and the kitchen scissors are now a little sticky, but whatever. I was done, and proud of my mommy project, and the letters were nice letters.

I proudly showed them to him, making the sounds. We brought them into the living room and he threw them around. All 26 letters strewn about the room. He picked them up one-by-one and brought them to me. “B! Can you say B?” He’d look at me like I’d grown a third eye. So no, he wouldn’t say “B,” but he kept bringing them over and I kept asking.

Anyway….

He sat down with his letters, cut out and laminated. He pushed them around a little. Put them in his little pencil case.

And then started tearing them up.

First went the N (or the Z, with the super cool font, they both looked the same), tore directly in half.

He brought the pieces over to me, urgently signing “Help!” “Please!” “Help!”

Dude, I can’t fix it. You broke it.

He cried and sat down next to his pile of letters.

Next went the L.

Tore apart again. Same deal. Brings the pieces over, cries when I can’t help him fix it.

I was slightly irritated at him, honestly, and wanted to pout a little myself, when I saw that he tore through the laminating sheets, and how quickly he started destroying them.

Seriously? I thought. Don’t you know how long it took to make those just for you?

Hopefully someone’s learning something with this project. Maybe Ollie, if not learning the letters and the sounds they make, is learning to take it easy on things he likes. Doubtful, since he’s still tearing letters apart, weeks later, and still asking me occasionally to “help” fix them. It’s probably me, since I’m learning not to put a week of effort into something could possibly be destroyed by a toddler in a matter of minutes.

At least somebody learned something?

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Boys in pajamas.

Tucker fell asleep on the floor, waiting for his bottle.

We have pajama days a couple times a week, just because I think kids in jammies is one of the best parts of having kids.

Tucker woke me up the other morning, laughing in his sleep. A few minutes later, he was cooing and gooing telling me he was up. It’s so nice when they realize that they’re not dying of starvation and screaming about it the moment they wake up, but can spend a few minutes stretching, cooing, yawning in the morning.

Ollie looks so old in his two-piece jammies. We had to switch from the footed, zippy jammies when he unzipped and went digging in his diaper and found poop. So two-piece, top and bottom jammies is the way he rolls these days.

Ollie wakes from his naps like a little teenager. On the rare instances we have to get him up, we’re not so welcomed. He’ll put his blanket back over his face and snuggle deeper into his blankets. He’ll sit there, stunned that I’ve woken him, blinking and smacking his lips. After a good couple yawns and stretches, he’s ready to come out to the living room, blanket in hand, ready to play.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

And Tucker eats, too!

Tucker’s now five and half months old and his appetite seems insatiable. So insatiable, I felt I wasn’t keeping up with him and made the switch to formula about a month ago. His last bottle of the day sometimes requires a refill because he wants more than the 9 ounces the bottle can hold.

It’s amazing how much this kid eats. I’m so not used to this. 11 ounces before bed? Any less and he wakes up at 4am because he’s starving? Cuh-RAZY.

So, a month or two before I wanted, I mixed up his formula with rice cereal. I didn’t want to, I really didn’t. I learned from Ollie that baby poop with more than milk or formula is really quite stinky. And, a little more honestly, it’s just so much easier to sit down with a bottle than it is to mix up the cereal. And even more honestly, I really didn’t want to have to start feeding Tucker yet, since Ollie only started feeding himself a couple months ago.  I wanted a break from spooning food into open mouths.

But alas, ’twas not to be.

Tucker warmed up to the cereal in fun fashion, though.

He grabbed my hands to get the spoon in faster, he made his little happy baby coos and mmmmms.  He didn’t wake at 4am looking for more food. He was finally satisfied.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“Holy crap; he actually ATE THAT?”

I don’t know what’s going on, I really don’t. But I’m not about to question it, I’m just going to roll with it.

What’s that?

Ollie’s gag reflex and oral aversions are remarkably, and seemingly almost overnight….disappearing.

My little boy who, up until very recently, couldn’t handle a bit of soft Stage 3 puree chunks, is suddenly, amazingly figuring out that food is not the enemy.

He’s not freaking out immediately if something is on his tongue.

He’s not making himself throw up because he doesn’t know what to do.

He’s actually eaten a toddler pinky sized potato chip.

To which I exclaimed, “Holy crap; he actually ATE THAT?”

And then he grinned.

Ollie has only recently gotten super interested in what we’re eating. I think the first “real food” he tried was chicken broth a couple months ago.

He liked it.

He kept coming back for more.

He finally seems to have made the realization that food doesn’t have to be the bland baby food that’s been keeping him going. After a year of living on Banana-Plum-Grape and Sweet Potatoes, he’s figuring out that what we eat just might be a little bit more tastier than the baby food geared to baby palates. He’s been not-so-subtly expressing that he’d like to try what’s on our plates. By “not-so-subtly,” I mean he comes up centimeters from your plate or bowl, mouth wide open, all up in your grille if you’re eating…pretty much anything.

But I gave him a very small bit of flake from my Raisin Bran last week. He gagged and threw up. It put me in a funk for the rest of the day.

I mean it was just a tiny bit, just a few millimeters in size. You’d be in a funk, too, if your two and a half year old couldn’t handle a flake of crunch.

But then a day later, I gave him tiny bits of potato and meat from my Beef Stew. He mushed it up, swallowed it, showed me his tongue and grinned.

My funk was immediately cured.

It’s a trial and error to see what Ollie can handle, but I’m no longer assuming whatever we try will make an immediate appearance in upchuck. We’ve learned the little guy really likes garlic bread and really, really loves Sour Cream & Cheddar Ruffles. He sucks all the flavor off until it’s soft and knows that if a bit comes off in his mouth, he can chew it.

We do still have to sometimes remind him to chew. He will still gag on occasion, but not to the point of vomiting. But cheering him to “chew-chew-chew!” will remind him that he can handle food in his mouth in a less-aggressive way…chewing and swallowing is far more desirable than throwing up.

With this revelation, this advancement in his eating, I think lately, it’s been a matter of communication. While most kids don’t have to learn to chew, Ollie did. It’s no one’s fault, I think, just his early learning that eating is a little less than wonderful, and a crazy gag reflex and oral aversion because of his early birth. So now that he knows what chewing is, we can remind him to do it when it’s not coming to him on its own.

The best part, seriously, is the look he gets on his face when he’s tackled a chunk of food. He’s so, so proud of himself. Like Joe Rogan on Fear Factor, we say, “Show me your tongue!” and he’ll open his mouth wide, tongue out as far as possible, eyebrows up and eyes wide open. And then he grins.

It’s really kind of awesome.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Our kitchen make-over!

Spring Break happened late last month, and as owners of a home that was last updated at least a couple decades ago, that means making some of our own updates and improvements. Last Spring Break, we got a new bathroom, this year we tackled our not-as-bad-as-the-bathroom-was,-but-still-pretty-bad-kitchen:

The countertops (BLUE!) were the first to go, replaced by a less aggressive color that hides coffee spills much more efficiently. We also got a new sink, but I’m somewhat sad to have replaced the sink that the house was born with, but clearly, it had seen its day. The date on the bottom showed that it had been the headquarters of dishwashing since 1956 or so. I know that retro-vators (people working to restore their mid-century homes to how they could have been when brand new) would feel sorrow that we replaced our original Kohler sink (with Hudee Ring!) but stainless is a more logical choice for us.

When we first looked at the house to buy it, the first thing we both said was, “that’s some blue countertop!” and wondered why, oh WHY would anyone choose to install that in their kitchen (colorblind? too cheap to pass up?). Then we started peeling up the vinyl peel and stick floor tiles that were thrown down. We discovered this awesome must-be-70s era Armstrong linoleum floor. Suddenly the blue counters didn’t seem so outlandish, with bits of blue and silver in the floor. To be honest, I seriously considered restoring this floor, it’s awesome-ness just was too awesome. But, knowing that some day we might be selling, we went with a more neutral choice. A chocolate-milk colored ceramic tile, incidentally, the same brand and color that we put in the bathroom last year.

Next came a backsplash. I love backsplashes and spent hours at the home improvement stores choosing the style and colors. I had an idea of what I wanted, but couldn’t find it. Mosaic would have been too busy for my style, but I wanted some kind of flair. The mosaics I found, while easily separated to make a stripe, when separated, were too bland. I wanted flair! I wanted drama, but not too much drama! I ended up ordering my flair style online. Happily the site photographs their products well and I got exactly what I wanted. A bit of color, a bit of neutral…

I love it, it’s exactly how I imagined.

We got a new pendant light fixture over the sink. The old was was hidden behind the fun scallops that made the cabinets lovely. I’ve learned to love the cabinets, and didn’t want to replace them. They’re original to the house and in really good condition. I did get some new door and drawer pulls to update them a bit, and they’re now over 50 years old and still holding dishes with style.

The update continued with a new coat of paint to warm the room up a bit. It was white and cold before; with some Sahara Sand on the walls, it is a much warmer feel.

Yesterday, Ollie’s Speech Therapist was here for the first time since it’s been redone. She was talking and just trailed off. She started her next sentence with, “Sorry, I just noticed your new backsplash; it’s gorgeous!”

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized