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.