Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Enter: The Underpants Gnomes

Over the past 2 weeks or so, the Biscuit's nighttime routine has taken a bit of an interesting curve. It all begins with the sounds of a screaming hyena coming from his room shortly after lights out. "MA!" "MA!" I hear echoing through the house via the baby monitor. If these cries go unanswered, eventually I hear "ma MEEEEN ka!" "ma MEEEEN ka!" over and over and over again. This is followed by an unusual rustling noise. So, the first night I went to the Biscuit's room to get him back to sleep, and I was amazed at what I found (or didn't find)...

I bounded over to the Biscuit's crib to find my dear son was completely naked from the waist down. Where was his underwear? I wondered. Enter: the Underpants Gnomes.

Now, you all know that I am in the process of slowly potty training the Biscuit, and I suppose that has something to do with it all. I looked at the Biscuit and asked, "Where are your pants and underwear?" No response from the Biscuit. So, I shuffled around his bed and blankets and, thankfully, the gnomes had left them there... this time. I took the Biscuit to go potty and redressed him with his pullup.

This behavior continued for several nights. I, in spite of every effort to ensure he went potty before going to bed, I was unsuccessful at stopping the underpants gnomes from paying the Biscuit a visit (well, a warning on Christmas Eve that Santa wouldn't leave presents if he took his underwear off was quite effective.)

The night before last, the scene changed a bit. I heard the cries for my attention over the monitor, the rustle. Those damn gnomes again! And then, to my surprise, something new: "I wear my underwear on my arm." WTH. I went into the Biscuit's room and, sure enough, he had a tighty-whitey bracelet adorning his arm. Uggggg.

Where is the Dear Abbey for toddlerdom and when will this wackiness end?

Sincerely,

1 befuddled, muddled, puddled, Fox in Sox untameable toddler mommy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Perfect Picture

I am notorious for ruining group pictures. For whatever reason, I lack that photogenic gene. I always end up with one (or both) eyes closed, with a mouth that is in an awkward position or, as evidenced in a recent national publication, I am the only person in the picture who is fuzzy.

It seems that the Biscuit has inherited (or perhaps learned) some of this anti-photo behavior from me. The Biscuit is such a handsome boy and, he does take a fantastic picture (on rare occasions). The camera LOVES his curly hair and baby blues. But (sadly) it takes about 20 crap pictures, to get 1 decent picture of the Biscuit.

A few times every year, I attempt to get "the perfect picture" of the Biscuit. Every birthday, Halloween, picture day at school, and (you guessed it) each year at Christmastime, I attempt to become an expert photog... and, every time I fail.

About a month ago, the Biscuit had picture day at school. We had been preparing for weeks: practicing smiling with a "Cheese!" The weekend before Monday's picture day we had it down to a fine science. I dressed the Biscuit in his cutest little collared shirt and sweater vest and sent him off to school absolutely sure that THIS year we would have the perfect picture (in year's past each picture conveyed a very, very serious-looking Biscuit, not at all the true nature of my fun-loving child).

I assumed that all went well with picture day. When I started seeing announcements that pictures were in, I kept waiting to see the final results sitting in his cubbie when I picked him up each night. A week passed and I saw notices of final orders for pictures. Thinking that his teachers had forgotten to put his pictures in his cubby, I decided to ask.

The Biscuit's teacher told me that the photog took some pictures, but (sadly even after several tries) they could not get the Biscuit to pose for even 1 crappy, smileless picture this year. "I guess they were all just too terrible to print." she told me. I was devastated. Will there be no memories of the Biscuit's Toddler 2 Year-Old days at school?

I decided that we at least had to get a picture of the Biscuit for Christmastime to share with family. So this past Saturday was our scheduled picture day at the house. Thankfully, the weather was agreeable.

We started the pictures inside, positioned next to the fireplace in a nice leather chair near the tree. I gave the Biscuit an ornament to hold/play with. The Biscuit's daddy was on snap duty while I tended to smile patrol. Again, the Biscuit was not amused. So I resorted to a time-tested toddler friend: goldfish (whole grain of course). We did manage 1 semi-decent shot (though you can see a bit of gold glimmering in his mouth).

We took it outside and used a different tactic: 2 cameras and 2 photographers. The Biscuit's daddy and I both took the helm on camera duty hoping that 1 of us would be able to catch a smile somewhere in between the other person's snap. After 20 minutes and 1 very irritated toddler who didn't want to sit on the tree stump that the squirrels sit on to crack nuts "See the empty nuts Biscuit?" anymore, we managed to rake out 1 more semi-decent shot.

I don't know what the rest of you do out there to get these beautiful pictures that I often see of your kids (and I wish you would tell me), but I know that it is HARD work to tame a toddler into a perfectly posed picture. Much respect to the photogs out there who do this for a living. I would lose my mind for sure.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You Better Watch Out!

The Biscuit and I started a new game on the way home from school each night. When one of us sees Christmas lights or other holiday Griswoldy-ness outside we shout, "It's Christmas!" It's a silly little game I started to help us pass the time as I drive us home each night.

On the way home on Friday, I was feeling particularly holly jolly. We had been seeing lots of Christmas everywhere, I had the continuous Christmas music station playing in the background, and an oldie rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" came on. I, naturally, started singing with the radio as I kept looking for the lovely lights of Christmastime.

You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town... He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake.

So, I'm singing along and spot another sign of Christmas. "It's Christmas!" I shout. Usually, the Biscuit is always the first to spot the lights and beats me to saying it. This time, however, the Biscuit was silent.

I gave it a few seconds, awaiting the Biscuit's joyful "It's Christmas Mommy!" but nothing was coming from the backseat. I turned for a moment and said, "Biscuit?" To my surprise, the Biscuit's lip was trembling and he let out one heck of a cry. Tears started rolling down his face and he said, "Scary mommy."

Well, as much as I tried to explain that Santa wasn't really watching him at night (we're still not over the scary room problems yet) he definitely was not a fan of Santa's anymore. I got him home and hugged him (a Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas yard decoration helped ease his fears too).

I remember how scared I was of all those crazy cartoon-like animated shows that come on during the holidays (and I still love them, especially Rudolph and the one with baby New Year, Happy). It's a magical (and sometimes scary) time for our little ones. I guess we just have to pay close attention to everything we show them and sing to them. You better watch out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Many Types of Coughs

10:45 last night: I was semi-awake on the couch with the Biscuit's baby monitor sitting on the floor beside me when I heard the sound no mother wants to hear:

1 quick, dry cough followed by another quick, dry cough.

I awakened from my sleepish state, grabbed 2 clean towels from the linen closet, and headed into the Biscuit's bedroom to confirm my suspicions. As I suspected, I was in for another one of "those" nights. Flu season is in full-swing my friends and I have been a bad, bad mommy.

While I did finally manage to get my own flu shot this week, I had been unsuccessful at getting one for the Biscuit over the past month. Each time I planned for it, he ended up with a cold or a fever (rendering a vaccination attempt idiotic).

Back to the coughing. As most of you mommy and daddy's who've been through a night with a puking infant or toddler know, there are many different types of coughs that we listen for over our baby monitors. Much like the different cries of a baby (with meanings of hunger, pain, and fussiness), there are also basic cough sounds.

  • The wet cough = congestion that traditionally goes along with a cold or upper respiratory infection
  • The standard cough = general throat clearing associated with allergies or randoms in the throat
  • The quick, dry cough (hack) = in isolation, may be associated with allergies or something going down the wrong way, gagging, etc.
  • The quick dry cough = repeated more than once, almost always indicates puking

So I have my standard response to puking, something I guess you just figure out the first time it hits (no one EVER prepared me for what to do if your child is hurling in the middle of the night thank you very much Dr. Spock), but I thought I'd share my little tricks to help you keep your child as comfy as possible, while protecting your floors and clothing.

As I mentioned, I enter the room with 2 bath towels. I lay both across the floor horizontally in front of the crib/bed. The towel closest to the crib should be placed just slightly under the bed (to catch future overflows that certainly will come later in the night). This serves as the resting/move-to location for the puker and the staging area for later puke sessions. I immediately place the Biscuit on the towels so he is out of the primary puke zone/spill so I can strip the bed and bundle the mess-including all impacted lovies- to be laundered. I then quickly remake the bed (with another mattress protector).

Next I strip the Biscuit of the dirtied clothes and put fresh ones on. If I had the sense to grab a wet washcloth on the way, he's all the better for it. Else, I leave him on the towels while I run the batch of ewww ikkiness to the laundry and grab a washcloth on the way back. If you're lucky, you have a significant other to get the laundry washed (b/c u will probably need that other mattress cover later). I also have several backup lovies-the Biscuit has 1 favorite monkey named Oou Ahh-so I grab a fresh one from the secret hiding place.

Returning to the Biscuit, I cuddle and rock him back to sleep (giving ibuprofen if he has a fever and applying all of my typical fever techniques). For a stomach virus, I usually spend 20-30 minutes holding him during this first session waiting for that cough to come again. When it does, I quickly move us from the rocking chair to the towels (where I often have a plastic bowl or something for him to puke into) so we can isolate the mess to this area. I try to keep it on 1 towel so I can just pick that up after he finishes getting sick and grab a new one on the way back to the laundry.

Rinse and repeat. The time between is usually consistent for the first 3 pukes, but then gets longer until he's stopped. We've been through it so much, it's like clockwork now when it happens but I was absolutely terrified the first time (and it didn't seem fair to call my own mother at 2 AM, though she surely wouldn't have been upset).

Well, here's hoping you are all smarter than me and got your little kiddies all flu vaccined-up this year. If not, hope I help you out a bit with post-puke cleanup duty.

(and yes I left a secret dangling participle or 2 in there for those of you who want to tease me later)

Friday, November 28, 2008

What The Biscuit is Thankful For?

With the Biscuit's Starenka recovering from her recent head injury, I had the honor of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. It was a great way to get the holiday season kicked off. The tree was up and lit, the house was clean (sort of), and the air was thick with the smells of rosemary, thyme, and cherry pie.


As we all started digging in to all of the wonderful food, I thought I'd find out what the Biscuit was thankful for this year. (I knew that he had been learning about being thankful at school over the past week so the idea wasn't too grand for a 2 1/2-year old I thought). So I asked him, "Biscuit, what are you thankful for this year?" The Biscuit looked at me confused (perhaps they hadn't exactly gotten through to him on what thankful means at school after all). I asked again.


This time the Biscuit answered: "Mirrors Mommy!" I looked back at the Biscuit, shock and awe beginning to set in. "You're thankful for mirrors, Biscuit?" "Yeah, Maminka." he said.


Uh, oh. Had I really raised a 2 1/2-year old who was completely vain? Surely not. So I thought about it for a moment and then remembered that the Biscuit loves for me or his daddy to hold him up in the mirror. It makes him smile so big, he often asks us to take him to the mirror.


He's not being vain, he just likes to "see" that moment in time. I guess toddlers don't quite grasp the concept of photographs that can be used to capture the moment. For the Biscuit, his trips to the mirror are times for him to get to see how happy he is.


I think maybe we all could learn from the Biscuit. I know I have happy days and not so happy days, and I am grateful to have both. In those happy moments, it would be nice to step outside and look in on me and see the love and delight... to look in the mirror for a moment. As young as they are, sometimes they are the brightest of us all. Thanks Biscuit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Reason Doesn't Work, Try Candy?

Raising (and taming) a toddler can be hard work, especially when they really really want to be independent.

When it's 30 minutes after the time you were supposed to leave in the morning (to make it to work on time) or 30 minutes past bedtime, I find that sometimes I give in (against my better judgment) to my very smart and crafty toddler's demands at the cost of many months of effort to develop tried and true ways of doing things.

This morning it was about 50 below outside. Well, it wasn't that cold, but it was one of the coldest days so far this year. Over the past few weeks, the Biscuit has been wearing a zip-up hoodie to school as his jacket in lieu of a proper jacket (in spite of my prodding). And not just any zip-up hoodie, but one that bears his favorite (current) cartoon character: Lightning McQueen. When it came time to get out the door this morning I knew I had to figure out a way to get the Biscuit to wear a proper jacket that would actually keep him warm on the playground so I did what any self-respecting toddler-protecting mommy would do... I took his hoodie off its hook and moved it to a secret location in the laundry room (hidden from view).

When the Biscuit went a-lookin' for Lightning McQueen and asked me where it was, I replied, "Hmmmm. We must have moved him." Now, yes, I feel terrible about it, but I would have felt worse if the Biscuit came home tonight with an even worse cold than he already has from standing outside in 20 degree weather (legs wet from going pee pee on himself). The Biscuit was visibly shaken by the change in his morning routine. I needed a distraction, else he might explode into a full-blown tantrum. Deflect! Distract! I had to think of something quickly!

And there they were... glistening in the morning sunlight: a bowl full of jelly beans.

"You want a jelly bean Biscuit?" The Biscuit moved closer to the stash of gem-like candy, reached his hand in, picked out a perfect green jelly bean, and popped it into his mouth of freshly brushed teeth. He smiled as he chewed. Mission accomplished.

In the van (oh yes folks, I do drive a minivan) on the way to school, I pumped him up and let him know that he gets to be a big boy today and show ALL his friends his big boy jacket (and yes this is the same "that scared you? jacket" that I've rattled on about before). Somehow, the magical high fructose corn syrup high stunted the typical tantrum-ish responses I'd gotten over the past couple of weeks relative to the attempts to wear the big boy jacket to school. The Biscuit instead responded with: "Okay Maminka. My yelly bean is stuck" (to his teeth).

In the end, he put on the jacket without a fuss at school (and told me that he even wore it on the playground). I truly hate lying (good ol' Catholic guilt setting in) and certainly don't want to set that example for my son, and I despise the idea of bribery or deflection tactics (such as candy), but as a working mom, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get to work on time. It seems all good, but I know that tomorrow morning I will be faced with how to offset the tantrum that I will see developing before me when the Biscuit demands a jelly bean. 1 day (and tantrum) at a time I guess.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Diapers

I had such a special treat this week. On Monday, when I arrived to pick up the Biscuit from daycare, I found a stack of diapers in his cubbie with a note from his teachers that read, "Yay!The Biscuit doesn't need these anymore."

You all know how long we've been working on potty training the Biscuit. He can claim victory over the toilet (more or less) at last! The Biscuit isn't accident-free, but he certainly has more good days than bad. The last phase for his potty training at daycare was getting rid of the diaper during naptime. We had been working on this at home for a while and I finally let his teachers know that he was ready to stop using a diaper at nap time. They gave it a shot and after 2 days were convinced that the Biscuit was ready.

Now, when I say that the Biscuit is potty trained, that implies that he is level 1 potty trained. Sadly (and this was news to me as a first-time mom) toddlers potty train with #1 first. Getting trained to use the potty for #2 happens later on. So the Biscuit is still pooping in his undies EVERY DAY and Maminka still has to swish them in the toilet to get them clean after (ewww! a trick my own Maminka had to show me). I pray that he poops at daycare so I don't have to clean it up.

Well, as I said, he'd get it in Biscuit time. And so he did. Diaper Pail be GONE!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trick or Treat, I Can't Sleep

We managed to make it through our first official trick-or-treating Halloween. The Biscuit sought treats at 3 houses (1 more than I thought we'd make it to) before we made the short trek back to the house. All in all, we walked away with a handful of candy, a runny nose (from the cool night air), 1 souped up red wagon (that served as a real-life Lightning McQueen), and the moment forever captured in video. The Biscuit ended the night with the phrase, "that was a good trick or treat" so I feel I did my job well this year.

Since Halloween was the night before the change in time, the Biscuit has spent the entirety of this week trying to catch up. So, on top of the runny nose, riding home from daycare in the dark, and eating/bathing/getting to bed later, Maminka has had little to no sleep this week.

I feel as though we've regressed back to the days of infantdom when we went through spells of crying every couple of hours (which I answered by rocking the Biscuit back to sleep). I'm not a total pushover, I don't go running to the Biscuit's room with every cry but since he is sick, I do feel compelled to answer the call when the real tears and cries start. In my head, I think that the Biscuit just knows that he's uncomfortable (from the stuffy nose and disconnectedness to time of day) and hasn't learned how to cope. The comfort of mommy's calming shoulder to sleep on seems to do the trick.

Well, it's 8:00 PM on night 5 of the latest spell of sleeping trouble... and I don't hear a whimper. Perhaps he's made it through another milestone of development (perhaps I'll be up again at 3:00 AM). In this case, time truly will tell.

Wishing you and yours a happy election week. However you voted, here's hoping you voted with your little one's futures in mind as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eye-yai-yai

Sorry all for the posting delay (just when I was getting back in the regular schedule again), but I really do have a good excuse. Last week, we made our first trip to the Urgent Care (the daytime ER as I like to call it) with the Biscuit.

I got the call at the office around 10-ish from daycare. The Biscuit had slipped after getting off the slide and plunged into the wooden border that held the mulch in place on the playground and cut his face next to his eye. I live about an hour from where I work (and the Biscuit's daycare is about 10 mins from our house) so the drive to get him after these frantic calls is always grueling. I was told on the phone that the gash was big enough that he would need stitches. I imagined that my child was being held in a special room at daycare with blood gushing from his forehead (during the 45 mins that it would take me to get to him).

To my relief, the wound had clotted by the time I got there and the Biscuit was just angry that he couldn't go back out to the playground. We hugged and quickly headed to the Urgent Care (apparently pediatricians don't do stitches anymore, as I found out). The Biscuit was a model patient at the UC... until the doc walked into the room.

As soon as the doc started poking around, the Biscuit started wailing and whooping and screeching in ranges that I didn't think were possible from a male body. I had to almost sit on top of his legs to try to hold him still during the inspection and cleaning of the wound. It became quite obvious that stitches (though they were what I preferred for him) would not be possible with such a squirmy toddler (especially since the wound was right next to his eye). We had to resort to the old Dermabond (aka medical super glue) to seal the wound.

During the entire time the doc was trying to seal the wound, the Biscuit kept screaming "Hold you Maminka, hold you." My heart ached to see him so distressed. After what seemed an hour (though was likely mere minutes), the doc finished and sent us on our way.

When we walked back out through the waiting area, all eyes were on us with looks of "awww, poor fella" and the like. Clearly, everyone had heard the Biscuit as well. Well, it's now day 8 and the superglue is still there (the doc said 5-7 days)... am hoping it falls off soon.

Daylight Savings Time\Standard Time is coming. So folks, prepare your little ones for the upcoming time change. If you can (I can't) get 'em in bed a little bit earlier each night this week so Sunday night won't be such a big change.

And, I'll ask for some extra prayers for the Biscuit's beloved Starenka. She's not doing very well after her own bump up this past week. After the Biscuit's event, I spent the following days in the ER and hospital with my own Maminka (Starenka) -- something must be in the air.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stay Tuned

Hi everyone. My apologies for no Wednesday post this week. 1 trip to urgent care and 1 trip to the ER are my excuses. Stay tuned... back on track next Wednesday with details.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Looking Back: RSV

Well folks, I've mentioned the Biscuit's trip to the hospital a number of times in the blog, so I think it makes sense that I actually give the details on it. This'll be a long one, so tuck in. Here's how it all went down...

When the Biscuit was about 6 months old, we took a trip across the country to visit some relatives. Biscuit had his first plane ride as part of the trip and caught one heck of a cold after we got back from the trip. Actually, my husband and I also caught a bit of a cold after we returned home, too.

For all of us, the cold manifested mostly as a horrible cough (that couldn't be soothed with any OTC medicine or herbal remedy). I constantly had a coughdrop in my mouth (even as I slept...kids, don't try that at home). The Biscuit's runny nose and cough persisted for over a week, but he barely had a fever. We treated him with doses of ibuprofen off and on and ran a humidifier in his room nightly. We also added one of those plug in the wall soothing vapors to see if it would help his cough. He never seemed to be struggling with the cold any more than a typical cold. I was mostly keeping an eye out for signs of an ear infection from the drainage. He was sleeping through the night and his appetite was normal. All seemed okay.

I got a call from the Biscuit's daycare about a week and a half into the cold symptoms. They said he was running a temperature of 101 (their indication that he had to go home) and they mentioned that it looked like he might have pink-eye. I left work immediately and called his doctor to make an appointment for a couple of hours later.

I got the Biscuit home to get changed and kill the extra hour we had before it was time to go to the doctor. He spent that hour in my arms... he was beginning to show signs of lethargy. Less than 5 minutes later, I noticed that mucous (that daycare had assumed was pink-eye) was around both of his eyes (a sign I now know as a double sinus infection). I went ahead and left to go to the doctor's office early.

When we sat at the doctor's office, I could tell his fever had increased a bit. He lay in my arms in the waiting room. I could hear his breathing becoming labored. I told the receptionist that we needed to see the doctor, and we got back to the exam room. The doctor came in quickly, listened to his heartbeat and breathing and several nurses tried to get his temperature (which they weren't able to do very easily). The doctor walked out of the room for a moment and came back in to break the news.

In a fog, the doctor told me that Biscuit was having trouble breathing and that we needed to get him some oxygen and some medicine quickly. And, she said, we need to get him to the hospital. She said she suspected that he has respiratory synticial virus (RSV). My doctor's office was across the street from the hospital so it seemed less of a big deal to me, surely it was just a precaution... they must not have the equipment he needs. The doctor then explained that we needed to transport the Biscuit to the specialty hospital downtown (about 20 minutes away) in an ambulance. "Okay" I somehow mumbled.

The EMTs showed up quickly, put my almost lifeless baby on a stretcher and off we went. I found out then that there is a special back door at the pediatrician's office where babies in this condition are taken, so as not to alarm the other patients and parents. I got on my cell, called the Biscuit's dad and my own parents.

I wasn't able to ride in the back with the Biscuit, but was assured that I would know if his condition worsened along the way. Of course, we had to travel during rush hour so the ride took longer. The Biscuit's daddy met us at the ER door. I had composed myself during the long ride and was ready to be strong momma again.

When the Biscuit got to the hospital, they took his REAAAAL temperature (and you all know where they get the real one from). His temp was 105. It took MUCH longer than it should have to get him some ibuprofen to get his fever down... I paged the nurse 2X and my husband finally had a face-to-face at the nurses station that helped us get the Tylenol to my son. He was then poked, prodded, x-rayed, Iv-ed, O2 tubed, pulse Ox monitored, etc.

In the end, he was diagnosed with RSV, a double ear infection, double-pneumonia, and who knows what else. Some rounds of antibiotics, lots of oxygen, and lung medication (albuterol and pulmicort) and plentiful doses of breastmilk finally led my Biscuit out of the hospital 5 days later.

Looking back, if it had to do it all over again, I wouldn't put my my 6-month old infant on a plane during the height of cold and flu season, I would give my son a dose of ibuprofen or Tylenol BEFORE we left for the doctor (or at least carry some with me), and I would be more aware of the fact that MY "unable to be calmed cough" was probably an indicator of an upper respiratory infection, which could mean something far worse for my babe.

We had to continue lung medication treatments on the Biscuit for over a year to keep the Biscuit healthy. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this year we won't have to pull out the nebulizer and Pulmicort.

Another little boy in the Biscuit's class at school (we later found out) had RSV immediately before the Biscuit so who's to say for sure where it came from. I suspect the plane, but I'm a germ freak and airplane air is just nasty.

All in all, I know we were lucky. The Biscuit was in terrible shape when we got to the hospital, much worse than I've ever allowed myself to believe I'm sure. I am grateful that he was such a healthy boy going in to fight the RSV, and I think the extra chunkiness helped too. Goodness knows we had a slew of prayers helping us get through it all. Thanks to those of you who were there for us when we went through it and for those who went through it with me again just now.

Love them all you can every day, and keep your little one's safe during cold and flu season.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Did a Little Jacket Scare You?

He takes a huge gulp from his glass, knocks it back, and exhales with an "Ahhhhhhh. This is the life." These are not words I expected to hear from my 2 1/2 year old following dinner tonight as he drains his sippy cup of milk. As always, the Biscuit amazes me with his mature verbal skills and continues to make his momma-linguist proud.

He's growing up so fast, yet he's still my little baby. I don't know if it's the scarecrows, pumpkins, ghouls, and general spookiness in the air that let us know Halloween is fast approaching or if it's just that time in a toddler's developmental stage, but lately my ever-mature Biscuit has regressed back a bit to his earlier days of fear of the unknown. Surely you all remember my post about the scary doorstop in Moving to a New House 3 when the Biscuit learned the phrase "scared you." Now the Biscuit has moved from doorstops to bulky jackets.

The Biscuit's Starenka picked up a winter jacket for him a couple of weeks ago (we love Starenka who's always picking up stuff). I finally washed the jacket and hung it on the doorknob of a closet door that's in the hallway on the way to the Biscuit's bedroom. When the Biscuit walked out of his bedroom one morning, he saw the shape of the bulky jacket hanging on the doorknob. He quickly moved to the far side of the hallway and demanded my hand as we walked down the hall together.

I realized that it did look a bit like a little boy standing in the shadows of the hallway, so I put the jacket away in the closet. The Biscuit, brilliant boy, was not fooled. He knew the jacket was still in the closet (and hence the scary thing is still there). His fears progressed each morning. When he woke up this morning, his first words to me were "Jacket scare you?" This was his way of asking if I had been scared to walk down the hallway by myself to get him. This morning he wouldn't walk by himself holding my hand, instead he demanded that I carry him down the hallway past the closet.

So folks, how does mommy rid the house of the demon jacket fears? It's about 9 hours until tomorrow morning's monster jacket defense lesson. Though I traditionally do quite well under pressure, I just don't have a plan for this particular attack. Time for monster spray perhaps.

Oh the joys of motherhood. What simple pleasures and tribulations we get to face as we teach our little ones life-changing skills... like bravery and courage. It's truly amazing to me to step back for a moment and recognize the true impact that I will have with how I choose to address this comical and deceptively minor situation.

On that note, I'll drink in a deep breath of courage of my own. Ahhhh, Biscuit... This is the life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getting warmer, warmer, uh-oh, burning up!

The Biscuit has had so many incidents of fever in his short life. From below average readings (96 - 98) all the way up to 105. I feel like a pro when it comes to fever management. I'm sure there are a few WOWZAs out there seeing the 105 (and yes, I'm probably the only 1 left who still says wowza), so I have to explain that the 105 fever was associated with a trip to the hospital via AMBULANCE (no fun for a mommy or a baby) that occurred when the Biscuit had RSV. (This is the 2nd time I've mentioned the RSV event in this blog so you can count on that to be posted next). But, I (as usual) digress... back to the hot topic.

The Biscuit was sick this past weekend with what I later found out to be a stomach virus that was going around. He had a mild fever and was throwing up all night long. His fever was so mild (100 or so) I didn't even bother to do much about it. Frankly, the throwing up was the immediate worry for both of us.

The next day, however, his hurling ceased while the fever persisted. So I treated the fever as I normally do. First course of action: dose of ibuprofen. Now, I am not a medical doctor (though I probably should have been and goodness knows it would've been helpful right now with the turmoil going on in financial services industry) so take my advice or not, but always use your best judgment and consult your doctor too. Dr. Spock has some thoughts on fever management you can read about if interested.

When the Biscuit has a fever, here is the traditional course of action that I take:

Dose of ibuprofen (repeated every 6-8 hours until fever breaks); my doctor told me that ibuprofen works better on fevers. It is CRUCIAL that you give your child the correct dosage. Too much is bad and too little may make it ineffective at these critical times, which has happened to me. The Biscuit is a chunky boy so I ask my doctor every 6 months or so what the proper dosage is. If the Biscuit's fever doesn't go down at all, I'll do the following:

  1. TLC
  2. Take off all clothing, except a pull-up, diaper, undies (whatever); clothing keeps the heat in
  3. Offer a drink of water/juice (ideally, offer room temperature liquids b/c the body has to burn energy to get the temp of the liquid to that of the body BUT the Biscuit is NEVER in the mood to drink anything when he has a fever so the ONLY thing I am able to lure him to drink during fever time is a cool juice box)
  4. Cool washcloth on the forehead, back of the neck, or top of head
  5. Turn on a cool fan, turn down the A/C
  6. Dose of Tylenol. This is a bit controversial, so definitely talk to your doctor. Advice I have gotten from another toddler mommy and my doctor was to wait the 20 mins or so to see if the ibuprofen is working. If it doesn't start to lower the fever, give the appropriate dose of Tylenol. You can keep the 2 going (alternating) as long as you keep to the 4-6 hours for Tylenol and 6-8 for ibuprofen. I ONLY do this when there is a high need to get the fever down quickly.

So those are the basic tips I have to share. Fevers can be scary but if you have the checklist in your head, it's easier to think it through before rushing to the ER in the middle of the night. I think we, as parents, tend to know whether our toddler is OK and just fighting a fever or in trouble. I am more confident in my ability to help the Biscuit through a fever after dealing with him in the worst of circumstances. When the Biscuit had RSV, I held his lethargic, labored-breathing body in my arms as he fought a 103 fever that escalated to 105 in less than 2 hours.

I now know when a 103 fever is just a fever that I can bring down and when he is in trouble and needs medical intervention. Fortunately, all parents haven't had the same desperate circumstances. My rule of thumb is that I always give it an hour following all of the above and if it hasn't gone down at all... I may call the doctor (if it has gone up and hits 103 and rising I'm on my way to the urgent care center).

The body is a magical thing and fevers are a natural way for it to fight off infection. TLC is an amazing remedy and nothing beats the magic that "mommy hold me" can do. Good luck with your little ones as we enter Flu season.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Snoopy, Doggy Dogg

Another successful night, or so I think. I put the Biscuit to bed on time (dinner, bath, read 2 books, bed), turn off the light in his room with a 1...2...3... "light's out Biscuit" - "night, night" - "love you" - "see you in the morning."

I steal off to the den to enjoy some time to myself, my mommy duties done for the evening. I turn the baby monitor on (yes, the Biscuit's 2+, but for some reason I continue to listen in on the monitor just in case he throws up or something) only to hear the sound of silence (ode to Simon & Garfunkel). Ahhhhh, "Sweet." I say to myself: He's out. 30 minutes later, it begins. What begins? you ask. Have a listen to the music behind this link on YouTube and you'll begin to hear my night's torment.

You see, last Christmas, one of the Biscuit's beloved Aunts gave him the cutest Snoopy plush animal. It was love at first sight for the Biscuit. When you press Snoopy's hand, Snoopy not only plays the Peanuts theme song, he also lights up and blinks Christmas tree-like lights on his shirt. The Biscuit decided that Snoopy just wasn't the right name for the treasure. Instead, he called him Doggy Dogg.

Doggy Dogg is currently 1 of 9 friends (in order of importance: Ooh Ahh, Meow, Doggy Dogg, Pooh, Mr. Pug, Max--yes, that's Max the bunny of Max & Ruby, Zebra, Bear, and Froggy-the newest addition) who move about the house wherever the Biscuit goes and they all (naturally) sleep in the Biscuit's bed with him every night. The Biscuit loves to hear Doggy Dogg and, I can only imagine how "cool" the lights must look in the dimly lit room.

Doggy Dogg plays for exactly 10 seconds with each press. The Biscuit continued to press the button until he fell asleep... 11 minutes. 66 times!!! Thankfully, the Sound of Silence came back to me eventually.

But you all know how you hear a song and it gets stuck in your head all day long? Let's just say I had some weird dreams last night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feet First

The Biscuit has fat feet. Bless his heart, he inherited his grandpa's wide feet (grandpa is a EEE) and it makes shoe shopping quite miserable. Where some toddlers may be blessed with a plethora of shoes to choose from each day, the Biscuit has 2 pairs: New Balance tennis shoes and black Crocs (well, you all know me, ain't no way I'm paying $30 for Crocs... the Biscuit has "Krocs").

We are always on the lookout for new XX (extra wide) shoes for the Biscuit. I have my eBay alerts running constantly, but these rare gems don't pop up often. The Biscuit's Starenka (grandma) has aided me in my search for months. She hit the jackpot 1 Saturday and uncovered a Stride Rite outlet at a nearby mall and picked up a cute pair of brown, suede tennis shoes for the Biscuit in the next size.

Now, I know what you're thinking... Stride Rite? Those aren't cheap. No, they aren't, but I can't walk into Wal-Mart and pick up a pair of shoes either, so I have to buy what fits and Stride Rite is excellent and has so many choices in XX size. The pair ran around $20 at the outlet store, which is not as bad as some of their shoes (at $40-$50 on average).

As cute and practical as these new shoes were, the Biscuit didn't want to wear them. Every morning when it was "shoe time" I would try to put the new shoes on him only to find rejection and a bit of a fit if I pushed too hard. I was determined to get the new pair of shoes into the 2-shoe rotation (which had been dominated by the Krocs all summer) so I came up with a plan.

Since we have a shoe spot--a consistent place where the Biscuit's shoes are always placed each day--I took the new shoes out of their hidden location in the closet and put them in the shoe spot. After about a week of dust gathering on the new shoes, magic happened 1 morning. When it was shoe time, I asked the Biscuit which shoes he wanted to wear today and, to my surprise, he ran and got the new shoes "These ones!" A victory smile consumed my face.

As with most things with the Biscuit, he came around in his own time. In the end, I was pleased I figured out a way to "win" with de-feet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why I Now Hate Bunnies

Bunny rabbits are soooooo cute. For most of my life I have loved cute, furry little bunny rabbits; truly I have. When I was a little girl, living in the glorious foothills of the Ozarks in the middle of "nowhere town" (my address was actually Route 2 or something like that) my brothers and I stumbled upon an abandoned bunny (abandoned being a nice way of explaining that my cat, Isis, stole the bunny from its momma and we saved it from sure death). As kids do, I tried to heal the bunny's wounds with alcohol and by trying to make a cotton ball stick to the open wound (cotton ball = kidthink for replacement of bunny fur). In the end, the bunny lived (I suppose) and wandered back to its hutch. From that day forward, I always had a soft spot for the bunny... until now.

Enter the devil bunnies, better known to all toddler parents as:
Max and Ruby. Ruby and Max.

Basic plot, Ruby tries to do something, Max foils it (and ends up saving the day in the end). Somehow, this low graphic, simple plot, simple theme song amazes my child. When asked what he wants to watch on TV his response is always the same: Max & Ruby. And no matter how many times he hears the theme song (the worst theme song in the history of) he always squeals with delight "Max and Ruby!"

Please know that my child truly does not watch much TV (1 hour or less a day) but 75% of that TV time is dedicated to our bunny pals. I, frankly, am quite tired of watching Max & Ruby but I do have 1 request of Nick Jr. "For the love of Pete, please make a new episode." If I must watch this, at least give me a new story to watch.

I long for the day when we hop beyond our bunny friends. What does this obsession say about the Biscuit I wonder?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Biscuit, Butter & Mosquitos

Last week, the Biscuit came home after what seemed to be an exciting 2-day stay with his starenka and grandpa. I heard stories of fun dinners, endless stories read, walking around the garden outside, and picking tomatoes. All seemed harmless enough.

The Biscuit seemed a bit groggy, not really a surprise, it had been an exciting visit for him. Then, I saw them... 2 huge cherry tomato-sized welts on his legs and OMG, why is his ear abnormally large?

Summer is here, friends. As if the heat and humidity wasn't enough... here come the mosquitoes.

It seems the Biscuit has inherited his Mommy's wacky reaction to bug bites. A terrible reaction, known in the highfalutin medical community as: skeeter syndrome. No, that is not my comical, country-folk accent coming out. That is truly the name for the syndrome. Followthatdog has a nice article, which (incidentally) led me to the official name for the syndrome.

What to do before they bite? Avoid bananas. Maybe it's an old wives tale, but the Biscuit did (incidentally) have a slew of bananas the day before. Use a non-toxic, non-DEET containing bug spray. Cutter and Off actually have DEET-free options available now and there's always the old standard: Avon's Skin So Soft (Avon also offers a bug-spray now that includes SSS). Don't go out at dusk.

What to do after they bite? Sadly, no super treatments. TLC, ibuprofen, cortisone, and maybe some ice (the Biscuit won't allow the ice). Got a suggestion for a natural remedy for a toddler? Please share.

Need some skeeter humor, read Jaim's skeeter post. Got your own skeeter story about your little one? I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Longest Potty Training EVER

Oh loyal readers. After a 3-month hiatus I am, perhaps, back in the saddle again. Much has happened in 3 months, but I will be true to blog form and keep it short, sweet, and single-topic (yeah right). Well, I will do my best.

Sadly (for me), I am still potty training the Biscuit. He's about 50/50 (in the potty/in the pull-up) right now. I've taken the stance of a low-pressure potty training approach. So, how did I get him this far?
  1. As noted before, the Biscuit picked out his own potty (to get him excited).
  2. I read Bye Bye Diaper as much as the Biscuit can stand it.
  3. I created a Potty Chart that I proudly hung on the back of the bathroom door where the potty is.
  4. Success = an Elmo sticker on the potty chart for each sucessful potty (2 for poop).
  5. On the weekends, we step up from the pull-up and wear big-boy underwear and try to go potty every 45 minutes.
  6. We do the potty dance whenever we are successful.
  7. I thank the Biscuit for trying if he sits for a while and can't potty and tell him that I know it is frustrating.

As with all things, I know he's smart and he "gets it." When he's ready to go full time potty, he'll let me know.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's Potty Time!

Well folks, I am on the eve of potty training with the Biscuit. Oh I can just smell it (or not smell it anymore I should say) -- no more stinky diaper pails. I think my diaper pail is pretty good at keeping the smells in, but as the Biscuit's digestive system develops, it becomes harder and harder to keep the smell in the pail. I dread flipping the lid to dump the diaper each time.

Okay, so I suppose I must fess up a bit. Yes, I really do believe in green living and nothing would make me happier than not to stop using disposable diapers. I truly love the little 'g' diapers and I personally think I would be happier as a baby with a cloth diaper on, but daycare + "green" diapers do not mix. I use Pampers (I prefer Baby Dry, but can't find them in size 6 so I'm forced to use Cruisers). Frankly, if I ever end up with another baby who is a girl (which sadly it looks like I never will), I absolutely will use chlorine-free, recycled diapers (I'll blog on the reasons why we need to pay special attention to our developing baby girls in another blog) but for now, it is what it is and my filling up the landfills with diapers days are numbered!

The Biscuit has been showing more and more signs of potty-readiness lately. He can almost get his pants down on his own, he tells me when he's pottying, he's interested in the potty, and he often wakes up with a dry diaper. So, I decided it was time for the Biscuit to pick out his throne.

Many moons ago, when I initially thought he was "ready" for potty training (yes, a bit anxious I know), I bought him a seat to lay on top of our potty seat. This time, I went for the more accessible, on the floor potty. The Biscuit and I went shopping, he picked out the royal potty, and he held on to it the whole time we were in the store.

When we got the potty home, the Biscuit and I set it up in the bathroom, he pulled his pants down (I took off his diaper), and he sat on his new throne. The prince then proceeded to look down for about 5 seconds and Eureka: pee pee in the potty! My boy is a natural.

We both did the pee pee dance while the "royal potty" played the pee pee dance music. A suggestion to all: put a washable rug under the potty. Pee pee guards are just useless. Diaper days are numbered.

If only I knew what in the heck to do next.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Moving to a New House, Part 3

During one of the first nights that the Biscuit spent in the new house, he had a little bit of trouble sleeping through the night. I couldn't figure out why he kept waking up, but ended up in his room on a few occasions quieting him back to sleep.

The next morning, I went in to wake him and did our usual morning routine. When I asked the Biscuit if he had a good night's sleep (as I ask every morning), he replied, "No!" I was a bit shocked by this answer, since he usually promptly responds "yes, Mommy." I asked him why and he pointed in the direction of his closet door saying, "what's that?"

I took the Biscuit over to the closet door and he kept pointing upward. Finally, I realized that he was pointing at the doorstop near the upper hinge on the door. I lifted him up and said, "Did that scare you?" and the Biscuit replied, "touch it" so I let him touch it.

Since then, whenever he sees a doorstop he points to it saying "scared you." Now, it truly was cute to hear him say it, and I let him continue for a few days before correcting him with the actual word for the object. He still prefers to call it "scared you."

Makes me wonder, though, if a doorstop scared him and kept him up half the night, how in the world will we ever deal with monsters under the bed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Moving to a New House, Part 2

I had enough sense to measure the windows in the Biscuit's room prior to our move so that we could purchase blinds for his window and have it ready to install on day 1. I assumed that the blinds would be enough to block out the light so that the Biscuit could get a good night's sleep.

As pleased as I am to have a home with a front door that faces East, that also means that the morning sun shines very brightly in the Biscuit's bedroom and the wonderfully large window, even covered with a blind, still lets in much too much light for an easy escape to "Sleepy's House." The first couple of nights I opted to let it go, expecting that the Biscuit would get used to the light. He didn't (and I don't blame him frankly. I like it dark when I go to sleep too.).

I threw a quilt over the window to rectify the situation (yes, I know it's tacky, but I was losing sleep and was desperate). I finally purchased curtains to cover the window (in addition to the existing blinds). I opted not to get the blackout curtains, since the blinds + curtains did a fairly good job of blacking out the light. The Biscuit was grateful and went to sleep very quickly the first night the light was blacked out.

So far, eveythng else in the Biscuit's room has not caused a problem. Well... I guess there is one more thing that "stopped" him in his tracks and caused a "scary" situation to occur; but I'll save that for next time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moving to a New House, Part 1

As promised, we're back in the bloggin' business again. My many apologies for the delay in posting. The move to the new house was quite consuming, but I have lots to share from the experience.

Fortunately for us, we moved within the same general vicinity of our old house. We expected that the Biscuit would really only be forced to adapt to a new house with a new bedroom. One of the big changes that a typical move might involve, such as a new school/daycare, was not something we had to prepare the Biscuit for.

We started talking to the Biscuit about "moving to the new house" about 2 weeks before the actual move took place. He was already starting to get a bit fussy and unsettled (which showed in his sporadic, middle of the night wakings) when he started noticing that we were packing things up, the environment of the house was somewhat more stressful than usual, etc. We made 2 visits to the new house with the Biscuit prior to the actual move date.

It's amazing what simple pleasures children find in new things. The Biscuit was absolutely enamored with the doorbell at the new house. Each time we went for a visit, his main objective was to ring the doorbell. His teachers at school even picked up on the excitement about the doorbell and helped us to reinforce that positive association. It is always a great idea to keep the teachers in the loop on life changes.

The 1 thing that I knew I wanted to make sure of was that the Biscuit's room looked fairly similar (in positioning of furniture) to his old room. Unfortunately, the "will of the gods" stepped in to mess up my perfect plan to trick the Biscuit into thinking this was the "same ol' thing" just a different house.

As always seems to happen with in-town moves, we filled up our U-Haul truck before we had everything packed inside. We were then forced to make several moves with other cars and trucks to get the rest of our belongings to the new house. In one of the final trips, the glorious winds of fate stepped in and wrecked my perfect moving plans. As a tractor trailer passed by my husband in his truck, the beautiful crib that my son had spent the last 2 years of his life in took flight and caught 15 feet of air before coming crashing down into a rocky ditch on the side of the road. My husband dreaded making the call to tell me the fate of the Biscuit's crib... torn to shreds.

We had previously made plans for the Biscuit to spend the first 2 nights of our move at my mother's house so he wouldn't have to try and rest in the chaos. This gave me an extra day to figure out what to do about a new bed. It was a challenging decision because he is almost old enough for a toddler bed, but still isn't potty trained. I opted to purchase another crib that was similar to the old one, saving the additional change in beds for a later date (there is such a thing as too much change).

Much to my surprise, the Biscuit didn't seem to be bothered by the new bed. I didn't try to deceive him and, instead, told him outright that he had a new bed in his new house. He was excited about his new bed. Whew!

I can happily report that the Biscuit's first night sleeping in the new house went quite well. Once he was down for the count, he slept right on through the night. So tips so far are:

  • Introduce the concept of the new house before the move
  • Use positive tone and voice to talk about the new house and moving
  • Minimize stress (if you can)
  • Be aware that sleeping habits may be affected
  • Make caretakers/teachers aware of the move so they can use positive language too
  • Find something positive/reward that your toddler can associate with the move (e.g., ringing the doorbell)
  • Adapt to the unexpected (e.g., shattered cribs)
  • Give your toddler credit for being adaptable

Please share your tips too. More to come...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Outgrowing Location #1

As inevitably happens, we outgrew the Biscuit's first home. My apologies for the hiatus over the past couple of weeks (and the next). We are in the process of selling, buying, and moving homes. The good news is... there will be lots to blog about as the Biscuit shows us how well he will adapt to the change (ha!).

More to come...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Is It More than a Rash?

The Biscuit had not been feeling well over the Easter holiday. He had a bit of a cold the week before and then a fever (101F, 102F or so) for a few days going into the holiday weekend (we can't seem to have a holiday where he doesn't have a fever). As sometimes happens when he's not feeling 100%, his eating slowed a bit. For the most part, he had stopped eating solid foods, but was still drinking plenty of fluids. Then came the rash.

After his bath, I noticed that his arms and legs were covered with tiny little pinkish bumps. The rash didn't seem to bother him (no itching) but it certainly bothered me. I gave the Biscuit some extra allergy medicine and put him to bed. I had a date with GOOGLE.

After a few calls to parents of other toddlers and my own parents (with no luck) I found a few possibilities from my friend GOOGLE. The 2 most probable culprits: Roseola or hand, foot, and mouth disease. I prayed for the first, because HFM just sounded gross.

In the morning, the Biscuit was feeling great. No fever, no cold, rash was fading, but a few of the rash bumps seemed to have burst--so off to the doctor we went. While in the waiting room, the Biscuit's best friend, Adam, from daycare is carried in by his grandma. "Does Biscuit have an upset tummy too?" she asked. "No." I replied, "but we'll have to compare diagnoses later."

My doctor said that we had a case of a viral rash (roseola) that often follows an infection. The Biscuit had the remnants of a trailing ear infection. So we left. We later found out that Adam had HFM. Yikes. I then remembered that the Biscuit had refused one of his favorite treats: Mandarin oranges after putting 1 or 2 in his mouth and saying "Ouch!" It should have been a tell-tale sign for me that there was a sore somewhere in his throat (that was unable to be seen by the naked eye).

Well, as gross as it sounds, there's not much to do for HFM but keep up the Ibuprofen and offer lots of liquids. The Biscuit has since made it through and is back to his hearty appetite.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Recommended Reading

The Biscuit has been an avid listener of books since he was a wee one. I started reading to him as soon as he was born (or really close to it) as I was fortunate to have some friends with kids who were quick to offer me the must-have books for reading to your little ones. The Biscuit's taste in books has changed over time for sure. While I desperately want him to love Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, which I read to him every night when he was a baby, it just doesn't make it on his list of fav's as a toddler. In the spirit of the late, great Roald Dahl, I share with you the Biscuit's list of TV avoidance, the Biscuit's Reading List:

Snuggle Puppy
Hug
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Love You Forever
Something's Buggy (OK, this was a freebie at Chick-fil-a but he loves it)
The Pup Speaks Up
May I Please Have a Cookie

What were/are your child's favorites?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Teach Your Toddler Some Manners (Please)

Call me old fashioned, but I truly believe that you should raise a young boy to be a young gentleman. As soon as the Biscuit was able to say the words "please" and "thank you" we began incorporating the words into our daily lexical diet. Now he can express his wants and pleadings (for food usually) to me by saying "More please." And at only 22-months old, I am quite proud of the accomplishment.

Just this week, we started working on yes ma'am and yes sir (and the no's). The Biscuit is following suit very well. Maybe it is old fashioned (I hope I don't set him up to be bullied), but I have seen a few kids in today's society who still actually say these words (and I have seen so many who don't). I view it as a sign of respect for the parents (or teachers) and it just makes the child who says it seem more well-behaved than the next (who doesn't).

As an update, the pushing and hitting behavior calmed down pretty quickly after I brought home "the naughty stool" for the Biscuit. He responded so well to the discipline. No matter where we are (we find naughty stools/chairs/spots wherever we go so we can use them in a moment's notice), if I mention going to the naughty stool, the Biscuit pays attention. To be fair, our little naughty stool gets a lot of wear and tear (and sometimes he just sends himself there because he likes to sit on it) so I'm not saying that it is a true deterrent yet, but I certainly can say that tantrums are rare and I can quickly change his behavior just by mentioning the word "naughty."

All in all, the Biscuit is one well-behaved little boy. I think that a lot of love from a lot of family and teachers helps. I'm quite grateful for that because it makes it a lot easier to help him on his path to becoming a young gentleman.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Calling All Toddler Blogging Mommies!

As much as I love to hear myself rant (and those of you who know me know that I DO love to rant), I really would like to hear from some other toddler moms who blog (all: please resist the desire to make that into an acronym. I cannot. TMWB!).

Part of the reason that I started this blog is because I couldn't find any other toddler mom blogs out there that were still active. Google sent me to a few todd-mom blogs, but all were last updated in '06. So PLEASE, if you know of any decent TM blogs, let me know. Bloggers love to read too!

The Littlest Knight

The Biscuit has always been a mama's boy, but lately it has been going to the extreme. His possessiveness of me has even transferred to protection of me from the Biscuit's daddy. When my husband comes home in the evening (well, when I come home I should say) my husband walks over and gives me a kiss. Lately when he's been doing this, the Biscuit comes running over and says, "No daddy!"

This behavior extends to hugs and any sort of affection that I get from my husband. The Biscuit still loves both of us just the same as he always has, but he's vocally not "okay" with my husband having any sort of closeness to me. The behavior doesn't apply to my parents or anyone else that comes in close proximity to me (except for other children at daycare who may approach me. He is NOT okay with that at all).

I suppose it's just a little weird for me to see the Oedipal behavior in reality (or is it Electra). I guess those Greeks really knew what they were talking about. I look forward to the day that the Biscuit outgrows it. He truly has regressed lately with the new chivalry. It's almost impossible to leave him at school in the mornings (as he has firmly attached himself to my leg). Any advice (or words of reassurance that this will end)?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stretching Every Dollar

It may be a bit off-topic for this blog, but I thought I'd add in my two cents on some ways to save $$$ as a toddler mom. So, my biggest suggestions for saving money... no for not WASTING money are:
  • consignment stores
  • online auctions

When we were preparing for the arrival of the Biscuit I started exploring consignment stores. There are SO many out there in every community and there are SO many good deals to be found there. Now, I'm not saying that everything you buy your child should be used, second-hand, previously-owned, however you want to package it, but I am suggesting that you consider it for things like play clothes (or clothes for daycare) and for things like books, DVDs, strollers, high chairs, etc. Just get yourself a nice high-pressured steam blaster if you're like me and paranoid about cleanliness and germs.

An example of a big way to save (at baby time): We opted not to get a brand new stroller when the Biscuit was born and, instead, picked up a 3-year old Graco stroller for $10. It's been great and now that the Biscuit is walking, he won't even get back in a stroller. I know it seems like a good idea at the time to spend $200 on a new stroller, but I would so much rather keep that $$ for his college fund.

Now, on to online shopping. My son has an unusually wide foot, extra wide to be exact. I can't walk into a Target, Wal-Mart, or Old Navy or even a Payless and walk out with new shoes for him. A fitted pair of shoes is going to run me about $25-30 a pop (ouch). Once I determined what the Biscuit's size is, I opted to start shopping around on online auctions, like eBay. So far, I've managed to do well shopping there. I even managed to get a pair of $40+ Stride Rite shoes (gently used) for $10, including shipping... not a bad deal!

Yes, some call me frugal, but I prefer to think of myself as practical. My son looks adorable and I always pick out nice things for him. So don't read this and think that he looks like a rag-a-muffin. For goodness sakes, he'll either ruin them during dinner of playing outside. It just makes sense (or should I say cents) to me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Me and My Shadow

The other day, I noticed that the Biscuit was behaving rather strangely. He was walking backwards away from a wall and then forwards in a repeated motion. Thoughts of "uh-oh, we've got a crazy one on our hands" did occur to me.

I realized, however, that the Biscuit had found his shadow. The husband and I were delighted! "He's your friend Biscuit!" we shouted to him. The Biscuit was amused with his new friend and desperately wanted to touch him so he kept moving toward the wall to try and get closer.

Ahhhh. A developmental milestone reached. A world of imagination begins. We can't wait to get him outside so we can have him jump and try and chase his new friend. Gotta make sure we have the video camera so we can record the moment and send it to the America's Funniest show.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Toddler Party Tricks

No, I'm not offering a list of things you can do at a 2-year old's party to entertain the kiddies, I'm talking about the horrible thing that some parents do: turn their toddlers into the entertainment. I'm quite guilty of this and the kharma wheel came back to bite me this weekend.

Being a fan of the University of Arkansas (Go hogs!), it was only natural that one of the skills that the Biscuit needed to learn was how to "call the Hogs." I decided to test it out on him last weekend. He picked it up like a champ. He's so smart.

Wooooooo PIG SOOOIE (click 2 see it on YouTube)! The Biscuit even had the hand motions down pat. When we went to visit his Starenka (his grandma; loosely Americanized it's pronounced stu zhenka) and grandpa, we showed off his new trick. He repeated it again at dinner for his daddy and his Auntie. It was one of my most proud moments! Until Sunday...

Sunday morning we, as usual, went to church. (and you all know where this is heading) During the pastor's sermon, when all was quiet, the Biscuit (perched up in his Starenka's arms) began to call the Hogs in the midst of God and everyone.

Well, we hushed him fairly quickly and we giggled a bit. Guess that'll teach me not to use my child as a trained monkey. (but it was really funny)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pick Your Battles

Last night at dinner I gave the Biscuit some broccoli on his tray for the 4th or 5th time. I assumed that he would refuse to eat it as he usually does. To my surprise, he picked it up and named it "bwokuhlee" and put it in his mouth for a moment. He then very promptly threw it on the floor.

Usually I give him the business for throwing food, I do pick my battles with him and while I typically will correct him verbally for throwing food on the floor, I don't discipline him much for it. I am hoping that the food throwing is a phase and that he will begin to mimic our table manners soon.

He continued the broccoli dance throughout the meal: in the mouth for a moment and then hurdled onto the floor. Each time he put the broccoli in his mouth, my husband and I looked at each other, smiled, and tried not to breathe (thinking we might break the spell that was causing our toddler to actually eat "some" broccoli). Finally, my brilliant husband realized what the Biscuit was doing.

"He doesn't like the tops of the broccoli, only the bottom" my husband says to me. Aha! And he was right. He was putting it in his mouth, eating the bottom part and then throwing the icky tops away. I, too, used to be a broccoli stalk-eater as a child so I can understand the preference.

Today I served broccoli topless. The Biscuit loved it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Climbing the Stairs

We live in a 1-story house that has these amazingly steep steps up the front to the porch. I always carry the Biscuit up the stairs when we go in the front door (we usually go in the back door). This past weekend, my husband put the Biscuit down at the bottom of the steps and said, "Mommy watch."

My brilliant child walked up the 6 or so steps, holding on to the rail with both hands, with no assistance at all. Apparently, he had done the same when he went to visit his Paw Paw so the hubby wanted to check to see if he could do it at the house. Let me stress again that we don't have stairs so this truly is a bit amazing to us.

I had the blessing of taking 2 semesters of a perpetual motor therapy development class during college. In class, we worked with kids who were challenged by motor development. I worked with a girl who had ADHD. Our two goals were to 1 - walk up a flight of stairs correctly and 2 - tie her shoes by herself. She was 6-years old. Many kids walk up stairs when they are learning by going up sideways. The Biscuit walked straight and held on with both hands (one crossed over his body).

This is why I am so amazed with the little magician. He truly is magic to me. I guess we'll start working on tying shoes now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spaghetti

Everybody has their favorite recipe for spaghetti, so I thought I'd offer my favorite toddler (and baby) recipe for spaghetti. We've been feeding this to the Biscuit since he started on table food (I'm not kidding) and he has been lapping it up every time we have it since. (Oh, and the adults in my house eat this too!)

Ingredients (sauce)
2 cans organic diced tomatoes (non-organic tomatoes are the most pesticide-containing veggie)
3/4 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1/2 yellow onion
4 baby carrots (diced)

Instructions
  1. Brown the meat and drain.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in the same pan for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and carrots.
  4. Add the meat back to the pan.
  5. Cook for at least 20 minutes on low-medium heat.
  6. Cook spaghetti noodles separately (according to package instructions).

I recommend (for babies and young toddlers) that you put some noodles and sauce in a small food processor and pulse/chop for a few turns to make it easy for the little ones to eat both the meat and the noodles. And, of course, everything's better with cheese so add Parmesan or some shredded cheddar if desired.

I've substituted the carrots for green peppers on occasion and I suppose you could probably throw in part of a squash or zucchini. Just remember that the veggies need to cook for about 20 minutes to turn soft (and to go unnoticed).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Applesauce & Carrot Muffins

So a friend gave me Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious book to help with toddler recipes (b/c I am always asking friends for tips on what to feed the Biscuit). While I won't share the recipe here (buy the book!) I will share with you which recipes in it work for the Biscuit and which ones don't.

So far we are 1 for 1. I made her Applesauce Muffins (which also contain pureed carrots) and the Biscuit devours them! (and the hubby and me aren't turning them away either) The Biscuit thinks they are cake. At breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner I'm hearing "CAKE! CAKE!" as he demands another.

I don't have any problem forking them over to him. They're loaded with oats so it helps on the poop department too. BTW, my ever-amazing 20-month old declared to me two days in a row "I poop!" Now, I'm not a linguist or anything, but that is advanced language development if ever I heard it. (Oh wait, I AM a linguist).

Potty training is just around the corner I suppose...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sneaking in Healthy Food

A friend gave me a wonderful tip (that she read in the kids recipes book by Jerry Seinfeld's wife). She told me to start offering the Biscuit appetizers before dinner. The thinking is that you offer your child something healthy (veggies and such) before dinner when they are hungry as hippos so that dinnertime won't be as stressful (since you already know they've had something good to eat).

The Biscuit looks forward to his special plate of appetizers that he gets 15-30 minutes before supper. I usually only offer him 1 veggie as the app (more than 1 seemed to confuse him and make him less interested in eating the app). His favorites are:
  • endamame (soybeans)
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • carrots

It truly has served to make both of us happier. Of course he will often ask for a cookie as his app, but when he sees the plate with the healthy snack, he forgets the cookie request and eats the vibrant veggie instead.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Biscuit

One early morning in May, my husband and I were blessed with the birth of our son who, for the purposes of this blog (and the public nature of the information and for privacy reasons), we'll call "The Biscuit." We actually do call him the Biscuit from time to time as a term of endearment. For the 30-somethings's out there, yes, this probably is carry over from the nutty character on Ally McBeal.

The Biscuit is 19 months old and quickly approaching the "terrible two's" stage. I thought this was a perfect time to start blogging about our experiences as parents raising a toddler. I plan to share our thoughts on approaches to parenting and to throw a recipe in here and there. Hopefully this will help another parent who's going through the same stuff out there (I am always looking for helpful advice for toddlers and can't seem to find a holistic, Internet source) or will at least give someone a good laugh. If nothing else, it'll keep me sane when we decide to do this all over again with kid #2.

The Biscuit was nursed for the first 13 months of his life. I'm a big fan of breastfeeding and you CAN do that and work full time. It was lucky for us that I did because on those very few occassions when the Biscuit had to have formula, he got sick and couldn't digest it. We made the choice to both continue working so the Biscuit goes to daycare full-time.

The Biscuit is a handsome handful of a boy. Of course I'm biased, but I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't find his baby blues and curly locks irresistible. He's a hefty boy, weighing in at 32 pouunds (he's always been a chunkster). Since he is a big boy, and I am a believer in organic products and a healthy environment for your family, we've raised him on organic milk and as much organic foods as we can find and afford.