Wednesday, March 26, 2008

When it's too quiet....

The evening seemed to be going so well. Jack's day had been strange -- it took him 2 hours to fall asleep for his nap, so we anticipated a struggle at bedtime. Instead, he was rather mellow, and seemed to be asleep at 9.

But when I went in at 10 to tuck him in, I spotted a white something on the floor near his bed. My first thought was that one of his stuffed animals had suffered an industrial accident, but when I got closer I found it was a soaked diaper doubler. Oh no. I peeked under his "tent" to find a sleeping boy with his one-piece pajamas unzipped, diaper half-off, and a wet bed. We re-diapered him, changed his pajamas, put a towel under him in bed, and hoped for the best. He slept fine, and after a marathon laundry session this morning, his bed is now back in order for his nap (fingers crossed).

I talked to him about it this morning, very gently urging him not to take off his diaper at night. When he overheard me telling his grandfather about the incident, he started jumping up and down and said "mommy said not to do that again!"

Friday, March 21, 2008

Many shades of tired

Before I got pregnant and birthed Jack, I never thought much about being tired. This doesn't mean I hadn't been tired before. Back in Brooklyn I arrived at a bread bakery in a seedy part of Long Island City very early twice a week, trudging through the dark streets as prostitutes headed home for the day, their work done. And when I worked at Farley's more often than not I was up at 5 am for the early shift. I have been pleasantly tired by many "day" hikes and completely exhausted with a few hard all-day hikes. A few times returning west from the Sierra on my motorcycle, I recall struggling with the oncoming glare from the sunset and body fatigue, feeling completely beat.

Then I had Jack, and learned the limits of exhaustion and the many shades of tired. There was early pregnancy sleepiness, late pregnancy get-up-every-hour-and-pee-in-the-night and stop-kicking-me-in-the-spleen weariness, and then total exhaustion during the last stage of labor, when I found I could no longer push all the way through the contractions.

Directly after delivery I suppose pain (and terror) were stronger than fatigue, but as my body recovered and I learned to trust that Jack would keep breathing even when I wasn't watching, pure exhaustion set in. I remember sitting in the pediatrician's waiting room trying to fill out paperwork with Hans, the both of us laughing as we struggled to accomplish the simple task. There were countless days splattered with the tears of sheer sleeplessness. For the most part, Jack has been a very healthy baby and toddler, sparing us anxious nights of stomach flu or ear aches, but it was still tough to get up every few hours and breastfeed him for well over a year. I recall attempting to read to him many times when I was so tired I couldn't register the words on the page. I knew what they were, but I couldn't get them out of my mouth. I would start a conversation with Hans but abandon it because I was just too tired to explain something. And worst of all, when I was really really tired, was the total body wipe out. Then I felt my body vibrating slightly, as if I was running 60 miles an hour in 1st gear.

These days Jack sleeps through the night and I suppose I would call myself well-rested (ha). But all it takes is one bad night, waking up at 4 and unable to sleep, or kept up in the wee hours by our slacker neighbors, and I'm back dragging myself through the day. Ah well, you know the name of this blog, right?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Worries and butterfly kisses

Jack has adjusted to the time change, and is sleeping and napping well. Hans puts him to bed between 8:30 and 9, and Jack sleeps until 6:30 or 7. Lately Jack's been requesting butterfly kisses before he goes to sleep, which is cute until he snatches off our glasses (the kid is fast). He likes these eyelash kisses on his nose, ears, mouth, forehead, and cheeks. Usually asks for some on his belly too, but those make him laugh too hard just before a nap or bed.

His verbal skills continue to amaze us. He has learned what it means to worry. Where did learn this? We were listening to "Good Day Sunshine" yesterday, and he said he was worried about "Here Comes the Sun," which is the next song on the CD. He didn't want to listen to it, so I put the player on repeat and we listened to GDS about 10 times in a row (I was hoping he'd be more of a George Harrison fan, oh well).

The weather has been mostly nice so we spend a lot of time outside in the yard or at the playground. Jack likes to water the beets and carrots we planted, and we enjoy watching them grow. Every day something new is leafing out or blooming, which is fun.

When we're inside, Jack is currently mad for play dough and floor puzzles, but anything train-related (or vaguely resembling trains) is a big hit.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

State of the garden address

Our backyard assortment of natives and edibles planted last year is looking lively now that winter is waning. The small manzanita is dangling white blossoms, the ceanothus is a froth of purple, and the hummingbird sage is showing off hot pink flowers. California poppy, monkeyflower, California fuschia, toyon, coyote brush, coast live oak, buckwheat, spicebush, mock orange, and various penstemons all made it through the winter and are shooting up and out. I am very happy that the yellow bush lupine is thriving -- I started this from seed last year; the mother plant which literally grew through cement along the City College reservoir now looks quite dead. The coyote mint is the most impressive of the natives -- it's already spread out in a three foot radius. One lemon tree was badly injured during the strong winter storm and is iffy for survival, but the other Meyer lemon is doing well, with many new buds. The buds on the apple trees are just opening up.

Three weeks ago Jack and I began working on our vegetable garden. We started carrot, beet, and lettuce seeds inside, and today planted the sprouts outside in half wine barrels. Jack is enthusiastic about our efforts, and we talk about gardening all the time. I can't wait to eat the results!

I've never grown vegetables, so this is an experiment, mostly prompted by Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Growing our own food (even a little bit of it) seems a good introduction to a host of topics for Jack, including science, cooking, gardening, and ecology. And watching his little fingers sprinkle tiny seeds onto the dirt is pure magic.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's not just the time change

Jack's nap is slipping from late morning to early afternoon. For some time he's been a dedicated 11:30 napper, but in the past week he hasn't been getting to sleep until about 1 or later. His morning wake up time and bedtime have stayed pretty constant, so I'm not sure where this late nap is going. Could be he's moving toward giving up his nap completely, which we've been expecting and anticipating for some time. Or maybe he's adopting a nap time closer to most kids his age?

Yesterday we went to San Pedro Valley Park in Pacifica for a few rounds of Pooh sticks. It turned out to be a good destination for this, and Jack adored finding sticks and tossing them off the 3 different bridges in the park. We saw and heard many birds, found milkmaids, plum trees, and trilliums in bloom, and enjoyed the sunny mild weather. This photo shows Jack practicing his letters, which he does constantly these days.

Monday, March 3, 2008


What a truly awesome week it's been. Jack's verbal comprehension and communication skills have increased dramatically.

For one thing, he simply gets it. Anything and everything! He understands what we're saying and is almost always completely engaged in his interactions. It's no longer us talking at him, it's conversations back and forth.

He speaks in sentences more and more. Last night, Hans was trying to corral Jack into bed and Jack said "not yet." Hans asked him when it would be bedtime, and Jack answered "when the timer goes off" (we've been using a kitchen timer for some "time to..." backup and it works really well).

He understands time issues. We'll go the dentist and then go to the post office and then go home. Or to the playground after nappytime. He gets that.

He often knows what he wants and, with increasing frequency, asks for it politely. After nap, when I ask him if he wants a snack, he'll say (with great excitement) "crackers and cheese stars and cheese and pickles... please!"

He's more agreeable to change, even big changes. We've been trying to get him weaned from his binkeys for a few months, and although he has used them less and less, he has still requested them at nap and bedtime, and several other points during the day. Yesterday at naptime I noticed his 2 binkeys had holes in them. So into the trash they went, and I told Jack why. "We have no more binkeys," I said. And he was kind of quiet. "Beeboo bit a hole in binky," he said. "Yup," I said. "And we don't have any more." And that was it. No crying, no whining. We had the same kind of dialogue at bedtime last night and naptime today. I guess we hit that issue at the right time!