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?


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)