Saturday, January 28, 2012

22 months (and 2 days)

Asher on his 22nd month birthday.  Squinting at the flash.

Benjamin on his 22nd month birthday. Glaring at the flash.
My boys are rapidly approaching their 2nd birthday!

They have each said 2-word phrases (Benjamin said "hi, daddy!" and Asher said, "more cracker"), but it is not yet occurring regularly.  When we're not around other children their age, I forget how far behind they are.  They manage to communicate pretty well, but then we see their friends who are their age or younger who have more words, speak in sentences...  I know one day they will be talking nonstop and I will miss this period of relative quiet, but for now it worries me.

Benjamin has started to try dressing himself.  On Thursday he wouldn't let me dress him, and he wanted to put his pants on.  He got the hang of it, but then tried to button his jeans over his thighs, which didn't work.  When I left for work, he had his jeans on his head.

Benjamin loves books, and he carries them around all the time.  Tonight he wanted "But Not the Hippopotamus!" which basically consists of opening the book to the second-to-last page so that Benjamin can say "Hey! Hey! Hey!" where the book reads "Hey! Come join the lot of us!" and then Benjamin setting the book on the floor, standing up, and pumping his fists in the air when the book says, "But yes! The hippopotamus!"

Asher has turned into a bossy boy.  He likes to make his own trouble, but if he sees Benjamin doing something he's not supposed to, Asher will go up to Benjamin and say "No! No! No!"  The other night Eric stood on their toy bench to fix our doorbell and Asher rushed right up to him to tell him "Down!"  We're trying to let Asher know that mommy and daddy will take care of telling Benjamin when not to do things, but... he is still bossy.

The "sleep training" got us nowhere.  Asher kept waking up at 5:50 or before (and is still doing that), and Benjamin stopped waking up at 7 or later and is now also waking up at 5:50 or so.  Benjamin got up earlier and earlier to play with Meema and Grandpa at their house.  Now we are all up by 6 in the pitch black, and mommy and daddy are zombies.  On Thursday when Benjamin and I came in from my parents' house (at 7:30 a.m.), Asher was asleep in his big round chair and Eric was asleep on the couch.  No one is getting enough rest here!

Speaking of which... it is time for bed!  Tomorrow is Eric's morning to get up with the boys and hopefully I will get a little rest before our week starts all over again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

and the nomination for wildest hair goes to...

Asher Bear!
He's getting a trim on Thursday, but this morning it was especially adorable.  He loved his photo shoot:


What a cutie!
We're working on some sleep training with Asher, so Eric has taken on the dirty work of staying at our house with him while Benjamin and I sleep in peace and quiet at my parents'.  I don't like sleeping away from my husband and my child, but if it pays off in more rest for us all, then it will be worth it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1st trip to the aquarium

Today Grandpa Nick and I took the boys to the Baltimore Aquarium to meet up with Cass and Walter (the same people who first took them to the zoo, and got us a zoo membership, coincidentally).  Before the trip, Asher and I had looked at an online tour of the aquarium and Asher was very enthusiastic, saying "Oooohhhh!" and "Coooool!"so I was pretty excited to take them.

First we had lunch to ensure good moods for all present.
Asher enjoying a homemade chip
Benjamin scored a girlfriend even while acting like a goofball
Grandpa Nick and Benjamin
Our next stop was to see all the rays they have.  There was also a shark, and a huge sea turtle that Asher was very taken with.
Grandpa and Benjamin
Then we alternately raced/stopped for too long through the rest of the museum.  Asher seemed to think the octopus was really funny and kept going back to laugh at it.
the cutest brothers on the planet
Benjamin, Grandpa, and Asher
Benjamin and mommy
"Here, fishy fishy!"
Both boys had a lot of energy and stamina to walk around the aquarium.  We did go to see the dolphins at the end of our visit, but by that point both guys were just done.  Asher fell asleep within minutes of getting in the car and slept the whole way home, and Benjamin stayed awake until we were 20 minutes from the house!

We got home just as it was getting dark, and cuddled on the couch with daddy (who had enjoyed a day to himself and been very productive and busy around the house) until dinner.

It was a wonderful day, and although I am exhausted now, I am feeling very grateful for my family and my life.  It is such a privilege as a parent to share the world with my children, and to see looks of awe and excitement on their faces.  I love sharing that feeling with them-- sometimes I forget just how amazing our world is, and they remind me not to take it for granted.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

almost 22 months

Asher driving the bus at the Please Touch Museum
Benjamin driving the bus
Almost 22 months means almost 2...  I have reserved a place for their birthday:
Smith Playground
The only downside is that the room holds "about" 15 kids.  We will be inviting more than that with the assumption that not all of them will come.  All of our guests can use the playground all day long, so I hope that not all the kids need to spend much time in the party room anyway.  I don't think I'll do much as far as decorations, but I will of course make some food and at least two cakes.  We pushed the party back until April 14, because the outside part of the park does not open until April 1, which seems like it might still be iffy weather.  The following weekend is Passover and I'm not interested in a birthday party with two flourless chocolate cakes (we'll already have enough of that during the week, since both my birthday and Eric's fall during Passover this year).

The nice part about having it April 14 is that Eric's parents will be able to attend!  They were already planning to come down that weekend for a visit, so the timing works out perfectly.  I am excited both for my boys to have all 4 grandparents at their birthday party, but also for Eric's parents to get to share the event with them.

So what's new with the boys- they are still not "talking," but they are learning and using more words.  We are working on labeling and repetition, and they both have picked up new things with frequency.  They are now good at hi, bye, mama, daddy, na-night, more, cookie, bubble, no, down, uh oh, and Asher likes to call Trouble "Catty."  They have other words as well, but they use them less consistently.  They are both communicating more, and their listening and comprehension are also very good.

They are also both developing many new physical skills.  Asher's jumping two-footed, which he loves to do.  Asher is also working on monkey bars at Gymboree.  Benjamin is very strong and likes to hold himself on the monkey bars and swing his legs up parallel to, and above, his waist.

No matter how much I think our home is safe, they always find a new way to make trouble.  Just today I heard Asher saying "uh oh, uh oh!" from the living room and came in to find him on top of a table, flipping the light switch off and on.

Sleep continues to be difficult.  They are both in toddler beds and good about staying in there most of the time, but the other night they figured out the doorknob and were most of the way down the stairs before Eric realized what was going on.  Asher wakes up during the night some nights (or obscenely early some mornings) and wants to nurse. He used to be appeased by Eric saying "no mama, no nurse," but now that gets him more hysterical.  So he's nursing, which Eric says during the day he wishes would stop, but at night finds very convenient!  Their naps are also iffy- some days Benjamin decides he doesn't feel like napping, which leaves him very tired and crabby come dinner time.

They are exercising their independence more and more, which can be very trying.  Today I couldn't find one of Benjamin's shoes and tried to put a different pair on him and he got completely hysterical.  I didn't even realize he had paid close attention to his shoes before that!

In general, they are flexible and good-natured, and I am always thankful for that.  I have seen other toddler tantrums that are far worse than what my guys can do.  I always worry that those are on their way, but in the meantime, I appreciate life without them!

I have not been taking enough pictures, so I will have to change that and get some cute ones to post soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January/spring 2012

What amazing weather we've been having!  We've been taking advantage of it by going for walks and trying to do as much as we can outside.

Yesterday we took an impromptu visit to the zoo.  We got there at 3:30 and they close at 4... but they never kicked us out so we stayed til 4:30!

We raced to the children's zoo so the boys could pet the animals and get out of the stroller.  Here is a picture of Asher walking away from me:
My first thought when I saw it was, "that's no baby, that's a boy!"  He looks so big, and his build is so boy-ish, not toddler-chubby at all.

I also got a picture of Asher on the tractor.  Here he was, on this big tractor, and he had the whole thing to himself.  There were ducks on one side of him and goats and sheep on the other.  And what is he interested in?
The plane flying overhead.  Just like they cared more about the train that runs by the zoo than the animals in it.

I had a hard time getting a good picture of Benjamin because he was moving the whole time, but he spent a long time looking at the ducks.
We also managed to see the otters, which the boys usually love, but this time one came right up to the glass by Asher and Asher got scared, so he wouldn't stay anywhere near them.

On our way out Benjamin wouldn't walk, wouldn't be carried, and wouldn't get in the stroller.  He ended up lying on the pavement just looking at us.  We looked right back at him!  Finally he got up and we managed to make it back to the van.  A whirlwind zoo visit in beautiful weather.

After the zoo we met my parents for dinner at an Asian food court.  We ordered Korean food, and Asher loved eating bulgogi as long as I was feeding it to him with chop sticks.  When the boys got tired of high chairs and food, they rode the escalators up and down and up and down with my parents.

Today was a much less busy day.  In the afternoon the boys and I went with my parents to our favorite coffee shop while Eric stayed home to work on the headboard he is making for our bed (I will post a picture when it's done, it was a big beautiful surprise for me!).  Before we even got our coffee at the coffee place, Benjamin fell off a bench, bumped his head, and screamed.  I had to take him outside because it was so loud!

We came back in, got our coffees, and I was just walking back toward my mom and Asher when Asher started coughing.  The cough was familiar- it was his "I'm choking on something and about to throw up!" cough.  I told my mom he was going to be sick, and as I said it, he threw up.  I rushed off to get paper towels and he threw up some more, all over the floor, right by Benjamin's feet.  Benjamin was so upset (Asher wasn't) that he started to cry again.  So, throw up on the floor, crying baby...  not good.  We got some rags to clean up the mess, and I was getting paper towels to wipe off Asher and my mom said, "I think I'm going to throw up!" from cleaning up Asher's throw up.  I tried to do it instead, but Benjamin was so hysterical that my mom decided she would rather clean up throw up than deal with him.  It was a very stressful few minutes!

The rest of the day was uneventful.  Our dishwasher is broken, so we ordered pizza for dinner and had a quiet evening.  No one threw up, and nothing else broke.  That's a good end to a day!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

the bedtime saga continues...

Benjamin made the adjustment to his toddler bed quite well.  His second night in it he got up and ran around the room for a while, and jumped in Asher's bed, but in general it has been a quick and easy transition.

We had trouble with sleeping while we were in Maine for Christmas, and Asher's problems continued at home.  He would not stay in bed at bedtime, and was getting out of bed, lying on the floor, and kicking at the door with both legs while crying hysterically every night.  Then he would fall asleep on the floor in front of the door because he was exhausted, and then wake up a couple of hours because he was asleep on the cold, hard floor.  Then when we went in to put him into his bed, he would start the hysteria all over again.

This was not really a happy situation for any of us.  Benjamin would get fed up, pick up his blanket, and meet us at the door to go sleep in the pack n play in the next room.  Eric and I were ready to tear our hair out.

Then I went to work and didn't come home until after the boys were asleep.  Eric reported that they both went down without a peep.  Interesting.  So the next night, Eric and my mom put the boys down.  Not a peep.  Ok, let's try that again... Friday night I helped bathe them, get them in their pj's and gave them kisses while Eric read stories and then left the room quietly.  Not a peep.

We seem to have found the solution to our problem.  Asher just doesn't want to be without mommy.  It is very flattering, but also difficult.  I want to tuck my boys in at night, and give them kisses.  I am sure I will again, but in the meantime, this seems to be working.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: please don't let today be indicative...

... of the rest of the year.

Today did not get off to a great start.

First, Benjamin accidentally swiped my eye when he turned around to give me a hug, and took off a piece of my cornea.  Ouch!  My mom googled "corneal abrasion" and decided she should call her neighbor, who is an opthamologist.  His suggestion was that I go to the ER.  Given that our last visit to the ER has amounted to about $700 in bills, no thank you.  He said I needed an antibiotic.  So I paged my doctor, who called in a prescription for an antibiotic.  The antibiotic was $85 for 3 ml, which is also ridiculous, but less than $700, so I'll take it.

Then, Benjamin wouldn't eat breakfast, but Asher ate enthusiastically.  I was upstairs with Benjamin after breakfast and I heard Asher cough a couple of times and Eric cry out... Asher had thrown up his breakfast, and Eric had tried to get him from the dining room to the kitchen sink.  There was throw up across both rooms, and down the front of the cabinet, but almost none in the sink.  Yuck.

It was 9 o'clock and I still hadn't managed my cup of coffee, which was making me crabby.  I finally sat down to "enjoy" my coffee, and part of my breakfast (Benjamin stole the other half), when Asher pulled his kiddie chair up to the breakfast bar, got on the chair, and yanked a mat that had 3 clean wine glasses on it down over his head, smashing the glass all over the dining room.  While he reached up, we yelled "Asher, NO!" and he completely ignored us.

At that point, I called my mom, who kindly volunteered to come over and help out so we could make progress on the mess around us.

I was trying to clean up the dishes from our dinner party last night, and noticed that the sink seemed to have trouble draining.  I ran the garbage disposal several times and didn't think much of it.  Then Eric went to the basement and yelled up "The drain backed up! The basement is flooded!"  There was kitchen waste all over the basement.  I felt so terrible for Eric, he had to pull up all the laminate flooring he had put down, and unhook the washer and dryer, and deal with dirty water, and so on.  And of course we weren't exactly well-rested after staying up later than our usual 10:30 the night before.

The only positive was that the boys asked for naps.  I appreciate when they do that, rather than throw fits and get out of control.  Asher climbed in my arms and nodded when I asked him if he wanted to have a nap, and Benjamin took my hand and led me to the stairs, which he then climbed on his own and walked into the guest room, where he naps.

After naps, there were no further tragedies.  We went to ikea to replace the glasses Asher broke, and while we were there we noticed an inordinate number of toddler meltdowns.  It seems like everyone's children are overtired from the holidays and excitement and lack of schedule.  I am desperately hoping my boys start to sleep-- their crabbiness is wearing me down!

So here is hoping that 2012 is not a year full of bumps and frustrations (though of course they are part of life every year).  I'm looking forward to another year of adventures, excitement, and surprises from my boys!