Friday, December 30, 2011

Hard Time

Date:     December 30, 2011
Crime:   Assault and Battery
Victim:  Zeke

Details:   Victim was in his bedroom with Father and Perpetrator, messing around and generally resisting Father's attempts to remove Victim's pajamas and to put on daytime clothes.  Perpetrator was playing with a mechanized toy that sings and dances to "Honey, Honey."  While Father was distracted, Victim got too close to Perpetrator and Perpetrator grabbed the toy and repeatedly banged it against Victim's head, bruising the left eye and cutting it just below the eyebrow.
Report based upon testimony of Father and Victim.  Perpetrator refused to answer questions.

Perpetrator:          Ben
Conviction Date:   December 30, 2011
Sentence:             1 minute time out & stern lecture

This isn't the first time that Ben has attacked Zeke, but it is the first time he's been disciplined for it.  (It's also the first time he drew blood.)  I've had to come to some new vistas of thinking about my little baby.  For example, he's a little bit aggressive when he plays with other children and adults, and he's very, very strong.  I think it's no longer appropriate to say, "he's just a baby", and it's time to begin the never ending training about being soft, being kind, and thinking about how others feel. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Everyone was in the car at about 4:30pm and we were sadly driving away from Grandma's house.  Zeke, who had not started the day happy, was kicking my seat vigorously and crying and screaming, "I want my Daddy!  I want to go home!  I want my Grandma!  I want my dinner!  I wanna get out!"  Etc.   I tried to tell myself that what he was really saying was "I am tired and hungry, please help me," but it wasn't really taking.
I reached back to give him half of a peanut butter sandwich and he swatted it away.

"Noooo!  Nooooo!   I want my lunch!  I want my lunch!"

So I brought my arm back, repackaged the sandwich in its baggie and put it back in his Toy Story lunch box.  Then I carefully handed the whole thing back to him.  Remember, I am driving this whole time, so I'm moving slowly and keeping both eyes on the road.  And there is lots of screaming and kicking going on.

Zeke grabbed the lunch box and continued screaming.  "I don't want this!  I don't want this!  I don't waaaaaannnn-"
"Zeke!"  I said sternly.  "There is no screaming in the car.  It scares Ben.  If you don't want your lunch, please hand it back to me."  I blindly reached my hand back to retrieve the lunch box.  He kicked me.
"Zeke.  There is no kicking.  You are in time out."

It's a toothless punishment in the car.  The radio was already off and I had no way to enforce any kind of time out while I was changing three lanes and merging onto the GiganticInterstateHighway.  Ben started crying, not really because he was sad, mostly because he likes to imitate noise and Zeke was putting on a great show.  Ben easily matched Zeke's loud, building sobs and long wails, just a few seconds behind.

Zeke kept up the crying and took his sandwich out of the bag, screaming, "I don't want thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssss!"
I'm not sure exactly what he was doing, but about a minute later he began to throw chunks of sandwich at me.    At least one piece landed in my hair.

"I want to get ooooooooooouuuuut!" Zeke shouted.
"Ah, ah, ah, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!"  repeated Ben.
As I was still driving, and trying to get us into the carpool lane, I decided that the best response would be to ignore him.  I started to sing hymns at a nice, medium volume to help myself calm down.
Zeke responded by taking off his shoe and throwing it at me.

"No singing!  Mama stop singing!"  he screamed.  It hit the radio console instead, but it made me hopping mad.  I reached back and yanked off his other shoe, dropping it to the ground so he couldn't reach it.

"Zeke!  There is no throwing in the car."  I used my very angry voice.  The kind that is not a shout, but a low, controlled tone and has absolutely no affect on him.

Then I took a few breaths and started singing again.  Zeke kept up his tantrum, quickly removing a sock and throwing it at me.  The second sock he threw at Ben.  "I want my sandwich!" was his new demand, along with "I want my Daddy" and "I want out".  He was out of ammo, but he screamed and struggled against his car seat for another half hour, giving up when there were only 10 minutes left of our journey.
Just wanted to share how much my boys love car trips.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost here...

This picture has nothing to do with Christmas.  It's just fun.  This is Prince Ben in his too-small bathtub, eating a plastic fried chicken drumstick.  
 We are very much looking forward to Christmas this year.  There are lots of cousins around to play with, lots of family gatherings scheduled, and lots of goodies to eat.  Last year I was pregnant and felt like I had an excuse to eat whatever I wanted.  This year I am supposed to be good.
 This is Ben, exploring some decorations in our neighborhood.  He was very excited that some of the lights were low enough for him to touch.  And below is Zeke, happy to have a few drops of rain so he can play with his umbrella.  Zeke thinks it will snow on Christmas Day because it does so in all the picture books we read.  He also thinks there will be sleds and hills for us to slide down.  Wouldn't that be awesome?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Party

This was taken before we started drinking.  
Mike and I went to his work's holiday party, which they cleverly styled a "Masquerade", thus avoiding even the word "holiday".   It was held at a fancy restaurant and hotel in a very swanky zip code, the type where the valets are pushy and the doormen enforce a dress code.  (Imagine short, glittery skirts and plunging necklines.  Most men were wearing suits and ties.)  We had sitters (thanks Grandma and Grandpa) so we didn't worry about the kids at all.

We got to try various crazy foods like pureed and encapsulated olive essence, cotton candy with foie gras, and puffy pastry things that had shavings of meat and liquidifed cheese in them.  The first thing I ate at the party was what looked like a tiny ice cream cone filled with caviar.  Black caviar.  It was my first taste of the delicacy (despite my time in Moscow) and I was not pleased.  Later I tried a dwarf purple potato that somehow tasted exactly like the caviar.  Yea.

We stayed for a waltz lesson on the ballroom dance floor and tried to meet people that Mike works with.  We eventually found the dessert table, which was pretty good, although I think sprinkles are unnecessary on cupcakes, even the ones made from edible silver.

It was fun to do something so different and strange, and it was rather awesome not to have anyone wipe their nose on my shirt or pull my hair or try to get my attention by throwing things.  We should have date nights more often.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


This video makes me laugh every time:
He got dressed all by himself that morning.  And no, he doesn't ever slow down.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Before the Sickness

We have been sick for two weeks now.  Is it the same bug?  Is it multiples going around and around?  Bacteria? Virus?  Who knows.  It was beginning to feel like a seasonal bout of malaria.  Yesterday I gathered enough anger to rise from my delirium and I depleted a can of Lysol.  Doorknobs, counters, floors, the highchair, bathroom surfaces, light switches....
That's my cute Ben before the Sickness.  He's standing on his own regularly now, and I cheer and cheer for him and I don't think he knows why.  But he laughs and squeals and waves his hands.  It's a good time.  He's a climber too, just like Zeke and his mama.  Too bad they don't make baby harnesses.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Ben is cute
Tonight I was eating dinner with Zeke at our small kitchen table and he asked me to tell him a story.  I agreed and began telling him "Zeke and the Beanstalk" while I continued to spoon food into his mouth.  He loves to hear stories, probably because all the stories we tell are about Zeke.  For example, Zeke and the Beanstalk (Jack and the Beanstalk), Zeke Goes to Grandma's House (Little Red Riding Hood), Zeke and the Three Bears (Goldilocks), Zeke Makes Lemonade (just what it says), etc.  
I started out the same as always, "Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Zeke, and he lived with his Mama, his Daddy, Ben, and a cow, in a small house with a farm.  One winter, after there hadn't been very much rain, Zeke's family was running out of food and getting hungry.  
"One day Mama went to the cupboard and it was bare.  There was no food left and everyone was very hungry.  Daddy was so hungry his tummy sounded like this, 'PPPPFFFGGGHHHTTT!'   
Mama was so hungry her tummy sounded like this (in a higher voice), 'ppppfffggghhhtt!'  
Zeke was so hungry his tummy sounded like this, 'ffffggggaaaahhhhtbbbla!'  
Ben was so hungry his tummy sounded like...."

Zeke listened with great interest and chewed absentmindedly.  He knows the story well and he mouthed the words with me whenever I said a sentence he'd already heard dozens of times.  

" Mama brought the cow to Zeke and said, 'Zeke, I need you to take this cow to the market and sell it for food.  The cow is the only thing we have left -"
"Yeah," Zeke interrupted me.  "The cow and the bear!"
I paused, confused.
"The bear?"  I asked.  He pointed to our kitchen cupboards.
"The bear in the cupboard," he said again.  "He ate all the food!"

Zeke eats a whole turkey for Thanksgiving

Monday, November 28, 2011

All Grown Up

The Binky Fairy came to Zeke's house two weeks ago.  She took away all of Zeke's binkys, but she left something magical for a little boy who's all grown up:  Buzz Lightyear.
He loves this toy.  The buttons really do all the things Buzz Lightyear does in the movie, and the wings really pop out.  Zeke loves to run around with the toy making it "fly"; sometimes that's how he comes out of his room in the mornings after the blue light turns on.  Zeke calls it his "Buzz Lightbeer" toy because he heard Woody say that in the movie, and he's certain that's the right name.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Costume Preview

We decided to trick Zeke for one more year.  We told him that this coming Saturday is Halloween, which is the day we will be attending a trunk-or-treat party at church.  So what if he waits one more year before actually knocking a door?  On Saturday there'll be way too much candy and lots of kids in costumes and good, safe fun.  Where we live there isn't really an option for trick-or-treating anyway - I met a lady across the street from us who said she'd lived in her home for 18 years and never had a trick-or-treater, and she'd taken her boys through the neighborhood when they were little and never had a door opened.
And now for a preview of my incredibly handsome boys:  
 Woody Zeke
Ben the Pumpkin 
(He's modeling just the hat here, there's more to come)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We went to a pumpkin patch and didn't buy a pumpkin.  But we had lots of fun jumping in the bouncy houses and petting some farm animals.  Well, okay, Zeke did not have fun petting the animals.  There was a feisty ram who scared him.  

This is Ben.  He went to the pumpkin patch too, but he was busy eating an apple as big as his face so the pictures aren't that great.  Here's Ben at home playing with a bean bag (and about to get kicked by Zeke).

Friday, October 14, 2011


It turns out that potty training does not simplify my life.  Now, I have one additional battle to fight each time we try to leave the house, I must carry "emergency" supplies for Zeke in case of an accident, and I'm starting to feel guilty about all the time Ben spends wandering the house alone while Zeke and I sit in the bathroom (see picture below). 
Potty training is also a never ending process.  (Okay, maybe it's a 10 year process, but that feels like forever right now.)  Turns out that total potty training will require Zeke to grow an additional 5 inches to be able to reach the sink to wash his hands with the aid of the step stool, an additional year for him to develop the impulse control to not flip ALL the toilet paper off the roll, and maybe another six months for him to be not quite so exited about seeing his poop in the pot.   
I'm starting to see some fraying at the edges, however, probably because we still use diapers during nap time and bedtime and he's taking note of the conveniences.  He just doesn't seem to mind the feeling of a wet, cold diaper, or a squishy brown surprise.  M&Ms can only do so much - how do I motivate a 2 year old to do anything he doesn't really want to do himself?

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Paradigm

We didn't quit.
He's quite an amazing boy, I think, because he's had only 2.5 accidents since we started with underwear, and there's been no bowel accidents.  He is proud of his big boy underwear and he's generally very excited to go "potty training" (which means, 'go pee in the pot'.  Sometimes he's too cute to correct).
Zeke had a spot of trouble on Thursday related to a bowel movement.  We had a very successful start - that morning he made a small offering in the pot which I celebrated loudly.  We promptly got a hold of Dad on a video chat and did some more celebrating.  Then Zeke announced that he had to "go potty training" again, and we hustled off to the bathroom.  He sat on the pot for about 10 minutes with no result.  When I suggested that he get off, get an M&M and come back later if he needed to, he immediately melted down, kicking and screaming and crying and refusing to get off the pot.  (He took a swing at Ben when I got close and tried to help him stand up.)

I stayed calm and told him that I would help him off the pot whenever he decided he was ready - something that never happened.  I forcibly took him off the pot about 40 minutes later when it was time for a nap.  And yes, he was screaming and crying that entire time.
Today, Friday, we had no meltdowns.  That is an incredible blessing.  But we've also had no poops.  In light of yesterday's micro-poop I am beginning to suspect a constipation battle.  There's a plan for tomorrow that includes natural laxatives, more water and a trip to Awesome Park, so cross your fingers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Failure! (I'm sure)

Today, Zeke wore big boy underpants for approximately 1.7 hours.  He peed in the pot once, got two M&Ms as a reward and was privileged to drink apple juice and grape soda.  
Then, at approximately 9:15 am, Zeke melted into a weeping, gnashing pile of two year-old.  I changed him into a diaper at 10:15 am, hoping that it would reestablish balance.  I was wrong.  The tantrums lasted until nap time when he cried himself to sleep.  He woke early from his nap, told me he was disappointed I was not his father, and resumed his tantrums.
I may not have strength enough for more potty training.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Success! (I think)

This morning Zeke refused to wear the big boy underwear.  I didn't push the matter.  After the first diaper change of the day, I suggested again that we try the underwear and Zeke accepted.  He pulled the underwear up, worked on his shorts, and announced that he had to go pee.  
I was very excited and rushed all of us to the bathroom for the procedure.  I knew that there would likely be no pee (we had just changed his diaper and he hadn't drunk anything in the last hour), but that was ideal for a first attempt.  He wasn't actually in dire straights so I could be urgent without rushing.  
When he was all done, dressed and washed up, I cheered him on as he went to his special money dish to get a coin for the M&M machine:
 He enjoyed getting the coin, putting it in the slot, turning the crank, and watching two M&Ms fall into the slot at the bottom.  He even shared one with Mama.  With chocolate dripping from his lips, he chewed his M&M and announced, "Zeke wants to potty train!" and dashed back into the bathroom to go again.

Zeke's throne.
We spent much of today in the bathroom.  It was miserable for Ben, exhilarating for Zeke and exhausting for me.  But he stayed dry all day, even at the park.  There was a minor nap time leak, but I expected that (and worse).
Tomorrow I am going to stress emptying the bladder completely before getting off the pot, and I think I will stop rewarding just sitting - there must be actual tinkling to earn an M&M.
Hooray Zeke!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Potty Time, attempt 1

Just a heads up - I have decided that it is time to potty train this boy:

You'll notice I wrote "I have decided" and not "he has decided", which may be foreshadowing.  But he has many of the skills required for potty training - the ability to pull his pants off and on, the ability to flip the roll of toilet paper so that it spins sheets and sheets onto the floor, the ability to climb onto step stools with ease, and the ability to take off his diaper at will.  
I have a plan, and I purchased some gear for the event, including a new spray bottle dedicated to a baking soda solution that will deodorize my carpet.  I think I'm prepared for an onslaught of laundry and I'm ready to be patient and loving no matter how many failures he has.  Trouble is, I'm never ready for a day of staying inside all day long.     

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The first time Zeke hit Ben, I was shocked and scared and I did everything I shouldn't have.  I got angry, I yelled, and I put him in time out for 3 minutes instead of 2.  Now that Zeke has attacked Ben more times than I can count, I have managed a standardized, calmer response.  Not every time, of course, but an increasing proportion of the time.  
I'm always sad when my boys fight.  But, when the pendulum swings to the other is beautiful.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Sometimes Zeke drinks a good amount of water on a mostly empty stomach.  Then he likes to shake his belly and hear the water slosh around.  Listen close.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not on my carpet

Good thing he likes taking baths, eh?
What is he eating?  Refried beans.  We spoon a glob onto his tray and let him go to town.  He loves it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Double the Fun

Zeke loves to jump on Mom and Dad's bed.  He is not allowed, of course, but he still climbs up there and tests the rule, seeing just how much bounce he can put into his "walk" on the bed before he gets a time out.  One afternoon, Ben was watching Zeke play on the bed and he crawled over and tried to pull himself up.  I helped him get up because, well, he's just so little and cute.  Ben quickly crawled over to Zeke and tried to do exactly what Zeke was doing, and then he tried to eat Zeke's face.  That means he really likes you.

I pulled Ben away and reset him at the far edge of the bed in crawl position.  He immediately started back for Zeke, who also got into the crawl position and continued to test the "no jumping" rule.  I was poised and ready to prevent anyone from falling off the bed, but I wasn't ready for what happened next.
Zeke crawled forward with a bounce and Ben crawled forward at the same time, and two hard heads bashed together.  From my vantage point, it looked like Zeke's face smacking into the top of Ben's head.  Regardless, both boys took a breath and sent up true, loud, and heart-wrenching pain cries.  Both cried real tears, grabbed mama, and tried to force the other one off my lap.
I did my best to comfort the two simultaneously, wondering if there were any actual injuries.  An open mouthed, sobbing Zeke lifted his head and showed me a mouthful of blood.
After I hustled him to the kitchen, checked for other injuries and gave him a Popsicle, he was ready to let me examine his mouth.  There was a pretty good-sized puncture mark in the middle of his tongue, kind-of towards the tip.  I figured he probably bit it and focused on tricking Ben into letting me put a cold pack on the angry, red goose-egg growing on the top of his head.
After ten minutes the tongue was still bleeding, so I called the doctor.  She assured me that stitches really weren't an option and that the mouth heals quickly.  Then she said, "The nurse made a note that this happened when the boys were on the bed."
"Yes,"  I affirmed.
"And, mama called the doctor."
"Well then, I'm obligated to say this:  'No more monkeys jumping on the bed.'"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Awesome Conversation

Ben, Zeke and I were sitting on some stairs outside watching the garbage truck this morning.  Since I watch Zeke much more than the garbage man, I saw him put his hand to his mouth and start chewing.
"What was that?"  I asked.
No response.
"What did you put in your mouth?"
"He's going to push a button!"  Zeke said, fascinated.
"Zeke, are you eating something?"  I asked again, looking around at the possibilities.  "Is it a rock?  Zeke?  Are you chewing on a rock?"
"No," he said, still captivated by the truck.
"Is it a leaf?  What is it?  What did you put in your mouth?"
"Is it a booger."
"A booger.  How's that?  How's that -"  I paused to rephrase.  "Where'd you get the booger?"
"From Zeke's nose," he said casually.
"Oh.  So you got a booger from Zeke's nose and put in in your mouth?"
"I picked a booger!" he said, demonstrating.
"Well, how's that taste?"  I asked.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lost time

Hello again!

   We recently lost our home computer due to an unfortunate cleaning incident.  But now we have a new computer and most of our stuff reloaded.  The only drawback to our hot new computer is that it has a hypnotic blue power light that flashes when the computer goes to "standby" mode.  Both our boys are drawn to it like moths to a flame.  They can't look without touching, of course, so the computer gets powered on and off frequently.  Makes that "save" button very, very important.
   Here's what you missed:

Ben grew two small teeth :  front row, bottom.
Ben crawls.
Zeke has started to use "I" to refer to himself - occasionally.
We made a new rule about Zeke not eating 5 pounds of blueberries in less than 24 hours.  Messy.
Tina rearranged the furniture several times and, in the end, put everything back where it was in the first place.
Mike went to work.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Zeke Speaks in the Past Tense

"Zeke throwed the ball and Mama taked it away."

"Daddy camed home from work."

"Zeke will change into a baby and fly on an airplane."

Awesome conversation

Zeke: Did you find a gross cracker.
Mom: Oh? Did Zeke find a cracker?
Zeke: Yeah. (wrinkles nose) Groooooss.
Mom: Where was it?
Zeke: Right there. (moves to location and points)
Mom: What happened to it?
Zeke: (chewing) You ate it. (swallows) You want a new cracker.

Pronouns are tricky things, yo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


A good friend advised me that three things are required for a happy day as a stay-at-home mom:

1. enough sleep
2. daily spiritual nourishment
3. limited or no computer time while the kids are awake

I think her formula works for me, but I am finding step one to be impossible.
I won't mention the certain someone who thinks he needs to eat at 2am and 5am every morning. Nor will we discuss the fact that doing dishes and cleaning my kitchen is a tremendous time-suck that postpones my bedtime by at least 45 minutes at night. My latest problem is that I have become a food hippie.
Why did I spend three hours today making organic carrot baby food for Ben?
Why am I planning a "baking day" on Saturday to prepare two high-fiber, non-cereal recipes for Zeke's breakfast?
What's wrong with Del Taco Dinner Night?
The American Woman today spends, on average, 15 minutes preparing dinner each night. What's wrong with being average?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

6 months already?

Yes, Ben is 6 months old. You may be thinking that the time just flew by - not so for me. Ben is still a fantastic guy and we are very lucky to have him - even Zeke admits it on occasion. He's growing and changing everyday and we do our best to capture key moments in his journal so nothing will be forgotten.

6 - the number of different solid foods Ben has tried (watermelon, carrots, apples, squash, yams, prunes)
5 - the average number of ounces of milk Ben drinks at eating time
4 - the number of strollers Ben has ridden in
3 - the number of times Ben wears a onesie before outgrowing it
2 - the number of teeth Ben currently has (very small, but visible to the naked eye and yes, I can feel them)
1 - the number of stuffed animals that Zeke will admit belong to Ben (a cute little green frog that Zeke frequently sleeps with)

Happy half-birthday Ben!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zeke Speaks

"Sometimes, Mama says, 'crap!' everyday."

"Zeke poke holes in the box with screwdriver because Daddy is a bad bunny."

I guess I should watch what I say, eh?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nutrition and Sleep

Zeke loves to watch Toy Story.  Yeah, pick up your jaws and move on - we do watch TV at my house.  Movies, really, because I hate actual television, but we still watch.  Zeke gets to watch whenever I am feeding Ben and I am also tired, grumpy, or out of good distraction ideas.  Anyway, in Toy Story, there is a scene where the bad boy next door is torturing Woody and "playing" interrogator (or something like that) and he mom suddenly shouts to him, "Sid, your Pop Tarts are ready!"  The boy immediately runs out of the room, excited, and the viewer is then allowed to see that he was already enjoying a first breakfast in his room of sugary Fruit Loops in milk.
As I have now seen Toy Story more times than any other movie I have ever seen, this moment has stayed with me, and helped me make an important decision:
I will not be Sid's mom.  
My boys will not behave like Sid.
In order to accomplish this goal, I have made two resolutions.
(1)  Overt sugar, including Pop Tarts, will be a treat, not a daily occurrence.
(2)  Soda pop will have no harbor in my home.  
As it seems that a toddler's world is influenced primarily by example, these rules apply to me first, and to Zeke second.  This was day two of my resolve.  I had no idea how much I relied on chocolate to compensate for fatigue.

Coming next week:  preliminary reports on Ben's sleep training!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Father's Day

                              "I Love Sticking with You, Dad!"  love, Zeke

Zeke and I had big plans for Father's Day.  Ben said that all he really wanted to do was drink some good milk, sleep, and skip the squash sessions, so we decided to plan without him.
First, Zeke and I made an awesome t-shirt for Dad.  It was made using an iron-on transfer kit and I was too tired to read the full-page of instructions in font 8, much less to execute them, so I attached Zeke's artwork to the shirt using safety pins.  Then we wrapped it up.
Then, early Sunday morning, Zeke and I got to work in the kitchen while Dad "slept in" (translation:  Mike slept in his bed until 7:25am and then got up to help Ben, who was easily convinced that he could sleep for another hour or so if Dad held him in the rocking chair).
Zeke and I started one frying pan with too much oil and put eight sausage links into it.  The package said to cook for 16 minutes, so I set a timer.  Then we got a bowl and began mixing Grandpa W's awesome pancake recipe.  Zeke thinks that anything mixed by hand in a bowl is cookie dough, so he took generous samples of the batter after each ingredient was added.  He even managed to sneak an extra 1/4th cup of sugar into the pancakes while I tried to stop the sausage links from burning.
When I realized that the sausages were cooking in the pan I would normally use for pancakes, I pulled out my wok.  It's big, so it can probably cook 3 or 4 pancakes at a time, right?
Wrong.  Woks are gigantic, but it's all curved surfaces, and pancakes need flat surfaces.  My wok held just one medium sized pancake.  When I tried to flip it, Zeke insisted that he get to hold a pancake turner as well, so the pancake burned while I fished another turner out of the drawer.  The extra 30 seconds sunk me - the pancake held fast to the wok and I chipped it, bit by blackened bit, out of the wok.
Pancake number 2 went pretty much the same way, even though I oiled the wok slicker than the Gulf of Mexico.  When pancake 3 failed, I dumped the wok into the sink - black pancake and all.
By this time, Zeke had eaten a third of the pancake batter, and he had managed to drip another third of the batter onto his clothes, the stool, the counter, the cup boards below, and the floor.  I pulled out a third pan and tried to cook what was left.
When the fire alarm finally quieted down I had two breakfast plates assembled - one for Dad and one for Zeke.  Each plate held a collection of burned sausages, burned pancakes, portions of a burned toasted bagel with cream cheese, and chunks of mango violently ripped from the pit.
I poured some Dr. Pepper into a sippy cup, grabbed a fork and told Zeke it was time to wake up Daddy.
Zeke ran into the room and announced, "Time for Cer-re-re-real!"
I followed behind carrying a cookie-baking tray with Mike's breakfast plate and the sippy cup on it.  I smiled and said, "Happy Father's Day Mike!  You do such a great job as a father, we wanted to make a special breakfast in bed for you.  Zeke helped lots."
Then I set down the tray so I could take Ben from him and said, "And you need to enjoy this because we're not celebrating Father's Day again for another 5 years.  And no, you can't have syrup in the bed."

Then Ben and I went to clean up the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Can Hear You Just Fine

Recently I was at a park with Zeke and we were done.  Ben was tired and hungry, Zeke was bored with the playground, and my back was ready for a break.  As we walked to the car, Zeke rambled along picking up leaves.
"Come on Zeke," I said, trying to be nice.  He said nothing, and tramped into some bushes in the opposite direction of the car.
"Come on Zeke, let's get to the car," I said.  He still said nothing, climbed out of the bushes and found a low cement curb to walk on.
"Zeke, come on," I repeated, impatiently bouncing Ben and wondering what would happen if I just went to the car and left Zeke to his wandering.  "Zeke, let's go."
I waited a few more seconds and watched him jump around on the grass.  Then, just as I took a breath to repeat myself for the tenth time, Zeke spoke.
Without looking at me he said in his most angry voice, "Zeke!  Come!"
Then he found a drainage grate and stuffed some leaves down it.

"[The two year old's] main way of refusing at this age is not verbal but motor.  The typical Two-year-old, when he does not wish to comply with an adult request, typically gets up and down from his chair, leaves the examining table entirely, explores the room, runs around the room, or hands things to his mother instead of playing with them himself."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Solid Foods

I am a participant in the White Out movement. I don't agree with everything Dr. Greene says, but I agree that white rice cereal is a non-nutritive food. Therefore, I decided to start differently with Ben.
In my head, I decided that I would start Ben on solids at 5 months - roughly the end of June - because I felt that we started too early with Zeke. For the past two weeks however, he has shown increasing interest in eating times and food. He grabs for everything I try to eat or drink, and he practically salivates when it's "dinnertime" and he and I watch Zeke eat.
One day I gave Ben a carrot to chew on. It was a big carrot, cold from the fridge, freshly peeled and washed. He gnawed on it happily. The next day I gave him a carrot for each hand. The next day I shared my apple with him (he sucked on it after I took bites). But this week I started with watermelon.
I cut up a watermelon into cube pieces and Zeke and I have been enjoying it, but Ben has been devouring it. I stick a piece on a fork and let him go. He grabs that fork and holds it with a vice grip, pulling it to his mouth with all the strength he's got. Then he sucks on the watermelon until he gets a chunk off. I fish it out, of course, pry the fork away from him, and get another piece to stop him from crying. He gets really offended when he thinks I'm taking away the food.
In other words, we're ready for solids. Tonight I'm getting out the high chair and tomorrow we start two weeks of butternut squash. It takes 8 positive exposures for a baby to develop a "taste" for a food. Ben is going to love squash. And I made enough to share with Zeke.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All about Ben

Ben is definitely a baby now (no longer a newborn).  He smiles, he uses his hands to grab things, and he has his own opinions about what he'd like to be doing and when.  My favorite is when I lay him down on his back and he doesn't want to be laid down so he does a super crunch and holds it until I pick him up.  I learned that he laughs when I lean in close to kiss him, and he likes it when I smooth his hair while he's nursing.  His hair is staying dark, but I think it's falling out in places.  His eyes are staying dark blue and his lashes are just like Zeke's - impossibly long and dark.  He doesn't roll over yet, or sit up on his own, but I'm sure both will happen soon.
Ben is getting stronger and more coordinated with his arms and hands, and he likes to explore my face and neck when I'm holding him in the cradle position.  Zeke will see this and say, "Ben messing with Mama."  It makes me laugh every time.
My house is a mess, my list of undone projects is staggering, and I have a pile of partially read books that is shameful.  But my boys are healthy and growing and their clothes are generally clean.  Good enough.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Zeke has carefully developed a technique for getting what he wants that is surprisingly effective.  Here is a sample from this afternoon, approximately 3:42pm.

"Want a binki."
"Zeke wants a binki?  Okay, you can have one at bedtime, but not right now."
"Want a binki right now."
"Not until bedtime."
"Want a binki."
"You can have one at bedtime."
"Want a binki.   Want a binki.  Want a binki.  Want a binki.  Want a binki.  Want A Binki.  Want a Binki.  Want a Binki.  WANT A BINKI!"

"You can have one at bedtime."
"Ready for bedtime."

Awesome, eh?   My patience usually runs out by 5pm, leaving a gap of at least an hour before Mike gets home.  To prevent myself from doing something stupid (like screaming back), I usually give in to his demands and rationalize my weakness.  (It's okay to watch 10 more minutes of Pooh Bear, I haven't had ten peaceful minutes with Ben all day...Fine.  I'll give back the toy I took away because he threw it at Ben's head.  He missed so it doesn't really count...) 
Next post will be about Ben - I promise.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Face Lift

Mike finally got around to fixing the blog so we could use the new Blogger design template editor.  Now Tina can make quick changes to the layout, style, etc without worrying about all the special modifications that Mike made.

Except the title of the blog, which required a little special mangling to get it to look pretty.

Let us know what you think!  Zeke likes it:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Are we sleeping yet?

Yes. There is more sleeping in my house now. The Zeke sleep problem has been well-managed with a gate, calm, gentle parenting, a blue light from Target, and a fancy timer. I am learning that there is no "solution" to Zeke's developing physical abilities and strong will - these are good changes that show he is growing up. I have a new understanding of the song lyric, "Buildings and bridges are made to sway in the wind/to withstand the world that's what it takes."

Awesome shirt, Zeke!

Ben also continues to grow, and I mean grow. He is outrageously long for a 3 month old. For example, we're trying size 1 year pajamas tonight because the 9 month pjs are just too short. Also, I had to make a special swaddle blanket for him that is 61" square because they don't make swaddle blankets for giant babies. He's also too long for our double stroller, but he's too young to sit up yet. Crazy times.
Aren't these great problems to have?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When a Terrorist Runs Your House...

Zeke moved into a toddler bed one week ago. He's cool with it. The problem remains, however: he can pop in and out of bed as he pleases, he can open all the doors, and climb onto almost anything.
Sleep re-training is in progress. 3/4 ths of us are irritable and tired. Here's the one exception:

Saturday, April 23, 2011


A little boy at the park took a bite out of Zeke. It was a dispute over a shovel in the sandbox. In that moment, I forgot all about "Scream-Free Parenting."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Skills

I expected that Zeke would wake up from his nap at 4:30pm. I expected that he would do his usual vocal exercises and then count his animals. (One, two, free, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, twenty!) I expected to be able to get Ben comfortably asleep in his bassinet by that time - far away from the projectiles that Zeke normally hurls at us when we go into his room together at the end of nap time.
Instead, at 4:00pm, just as Ben's eyes were drooping and I was getting ready to eat that second pumpkin chocolate chip cookie sitting on a plate next to my rocking chair, a small figure rounded the corner and surprised me.
"Hi..." I said, wondering what had just happened.
"Awake," he told me.
"Yes, you are awake," I said, still hoping it wasn't true.
"Out of crib," he told me, clutching his smurf.
"Yes. How did you get out of your crib?" I asked.
"All by myself."
And then he ate my cookie.

Zeke reports on the cookie.

Addendum: Tonight Mike and Zeke did the normal bedtime routine and Mike finally said goodnight and closed the door behind him. I had just put a sleeping Ben in the corner of the living room couch so I could get started on some dishes. Mike took a moment to visit the necessary. Suddenly, I heard Zeke's bedroom door open and the thud, thud, thud, of my toddler at a dead run. Since Ben was in an exposed position, I dropped everything and ran to protect him. Zeke zoomed right past his usual target and jumped into the (empty) rocking chair.
"Awake, " he told me, loudly.
We're in trouble.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ben's Baby Blessing at the Beach

Time for another late post.
At the beginning of this month we went through the formal procedures to give Ben a name and a blessing. We were lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents attend our ward that Sunday, along with several aunts, uncles and two cousins. We had a good visit with everyone afterwards back at our ranch, featuring way too much nacho cheese dip.
Unfortunately, I have no pictures from that day, except this one of Zeke in his new Easter clothes.

You'll just have to use your imagination to see that Mike looked distinguished and mysterious in his suit with his goatee, and Ben managed to keep his white vest-suit clean for all of Sacrament Meeting. Hooray!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Mike!

Although my post is a little late, Happy Birthday to the man who makes it all possible...

And even though Grandma and Grandpa made a wonderful, decadent, strawberry shortcake for his birthday, just like Mike likes, Zeke insisted on a real birthday cake - you know, something with sprinkles.
I made it for you, Daah-ee!
We may never recover from the sugar-shock.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Language Development

Our family members have made significant strides in language recently.

Ben is now cooing and ahhing and making other non-crying noises that generally melt my heart. It's terrific.

Zeke recently said his first 3 word phrase: "Throw! Hat! Guy!"
It was motivated by this crazy YouTube Video: Chicken Song
Zeke has been exploring two word phrases for a few weeks now, and my favorite is "Good. Work." which he usually says after he starts working on a poop.

Tina has lost most of her vocabulary and communicates largely with grunts and gestures. Her most common 26 word phrase is "Don't touch him! Don't!- Just leave him alone! Do you know what 'alone' means? Back up - no - just, just walk away Zeke. Get away from him!"

Mike is now very practiced at the following phrase: "Do you have enough chocolate?"

Below: Zeke identifies himself as a "Cool Dude."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Moments as a Mom

Here are some moments from my world that made me laugh:

Actual Conversation with Zeke
Tuesday morning. 3:20 a.m.
Tired Tina decides that she deserves an Oatmeal Cream Pie. Ben nurses and Tina eats the delicious Oatmeal Cream Pie, taking care to hide the wrapper under a burp cloth on the couch so that, if she forgets to throw it away, Zeke won't find it the next morning.
Tina forgets to throw away the wrapper.
Tuesday morning. 7:12 a.m.
Zeke comes into the living room, at full speed, saying, "Mama! Baby!" Tina is nursing Ben (again) on the couch. When Zeke approaches, Tina begins to burp Ben and quickly grabs the closest burp rag at hand. Zeke immediately sees the forgotten wrapper. He holds it up and says,
"It's a wrapper," Tina says, caught red-handed.
"Eat." He gestures with his mouth and hand.
"Yes. Mama ate it."
"Yes, mama ate it all gone."
"Treat!" he accuses.
"Yes, it was a treat," Tina admits sadly.
"Zeke!" he cries, insistent and pointing to himself.

I recently had the opportunity to take Zeke, Ben, and their six-year old cousin, Legoman, to the park. I brought snacks, some healthy and some not quite so. Of course, Zeke quickly found the two pouches of fruit snacks I had brought. I opened his for him and he jammed two pieces in his mouth. Then he held up the second bag and asked me to open it. I told him it was for Legoman and we went on an instant search of the playground to give it to him.
Legoman accepted the fruit snacks reluctantly and asked me what they were. I thought it was impossible that any American child under ten would not know what a fruit snack was.
It took Legoman 5 seconds to open the pouch, another five seconds to pull out one and put it in his mouth, and 3 seconds to empty the rest of the pouch and stuff everything in his mouth.
Then he was back on the swing, leaving me to wonder about the choking risks.

While at a park with Zeke and Ben, I nursed Ben on a park bench, using this amazing, gigantic nursing cover my sister-in-law gave me. Just as Ben and I were getting comfortable, I looked around for Zeke and noticed that he had gotten quite far away from my position, near a slide and ladder on the far side of the playground. I watched while he started up a really tall ladder that lead to one of the biggest slides there. When he was on the second rung, I detached Ben, cradled him close to me under the nursing cover, and made a run for it shouting, "Zeke! No! Come down!"
When I got there, Zeke had climbed to a spot taller than my head and two rungs from the platform. He was nervous and not moving, but happy that mama was there. I started shouting encouraging things like, "Stay right there! Mama's going to get you. Hang on!"
I needed to get him down but both my hands were busy holding Ben. For two seconds I considered placing my six-week old baby on the astroturf at my feet. Not a good option. I looked around and saw two women sitting on a park bench ten feet away. I hustled over to the closest woman, still carrying Ben under the cover.
"Would you please hold my baby?" I asked, trying to pull him into view quickly. "Just long enough for me to save my other baby," I said, not taking no for an answer. I was placing Ben in her arms before waiting for her answer.
Completely trusting this total stranger, I dashed away to rescue Zeke. Better than the astroturf option?

Friday, March 4, 2011

How Old is Zeke? Free! No, Two!

Happy Birthday to Zekeopotomus. He turned two recently, but he tells everyone that he is three. (It sounds like "Free!" whenever he says it.) In celebration of Zeke, here is a short list of awesome things about this little man:
  • He loves to jump.
  • He can be persuaded to do anything (even eat vegetables) if I provide sound effects.
  • He would like to live at the park, or, if possible, the Butterfly Reservation close to our house.
  • He is mad for the vacuum.
  • He wants to do everything Dad does, exactly as Dad does it. (Today he rolled his pack-pack around the house and announced that he was going to work.)
We love Zeke!
Grandma adds detail to the three layer carousel cake.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Status Report

Hello again!
I decided to climb out of my hermitage and make contact with the world. Mike has been back to work a whole seven actual business days, and I have not yet turned into a puddle of mush. Being the caretaker for two little boys instead of just one is much more work, but it is the same kind of work so I'm pretty confident I can do it. It's like doing twice the job for the same pay. I didn't even get a fancier title.
In more important news, tonight I made meatballs to go with our spaghetti. The meatballs were made of good seasonings, bread crumbs, onions, tofu, and egg to hold it all together (no actual meat). They were actually good. I have ideas for improvement for next time, but not a bad first run.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Attachments -OR- We don't have very many picture to share

We are all excited to have Benjamin home, although not excited enough to take all the pictures that we should be taking. Here's one from the hospital. He was grumpy.


We've been trying out various nicknames for him, and I have compiled this list:
  • Grumpy (see above).
  • Ben (the obvious choice).
  • The Chairman, after Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed. (not Mao)
  • Linus, after Benjamin Linus from LOST.
  • Netanyahu, the PM of Israel.
If you have other recommendations, please comment below or contact us directly.  Or just call him that name.

I took another video in the hospital, which I will share here.  It is of Ben, and has no sound.

Zeke is getting along fine at home, although since Dad has been taking Zeke out during the day to let Mom rest, we are finding that he has developed a cute attachment to Dad and a concerning resistance to allowing Mom to help. For example, Mom wanted to do the bedtime routine tonight, which is typically a Dad activity anyway, but Zeke wanted to fight at each step of the way. He even motioned that Dad should give the baby to Mom so Dad could read books (we're working on words and this would have required several new words to communicate).

Another example is when Mom took Zeke to the Doctor today. Dad stayed home to take care of Ben, and Zeke cried for half an hour in the waiting room. Tina reports that it went like this:

Zeke: "Dadada... [tears]"
Tina: "He's at home."
Zeke: "Dadada... [sobs]"
Tina: "He's at home."
Zeke: "Dadada... [rubs snot on the clean shirt Mom put on 5 minutes before leaving the house] "
Tina: "He's at home."

This will have to change when Dad goes back to work.  Until then, we are happy, tired and ... well, mostly tired.