Sunday, December 4, 2011

Everything's a competition

N seems determined to outdo his brother in just about everything he can possibly do.  He "cooked" longer, was born bigger, eats more, grows faster, etc etc.  I'd have to go back and see who got the first tooth sooner and all that, but he probably got that sooner, too, knowing him.  So I guess I shouldn't really be surprised that yesterday he decided to beat out his brother in yet another area...eye injuries requiring a trip to the emergency room.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Likes & Dislikes

Z - thomas the tank engine, trio building blocks, pears, spinach, fisher-price radio (online), ode to joy as performed by beaker of the muppets, and everything else he liked last month (hasn't been much new going on here lately!)
N - crawling crawling crawling!, pulling himself up to a stand using anything around him (including his brother), pretending to be a prison inmate at the kitchen gate, trying to play with whatever big brother is playing with, being permanently affixed to mommy, trilling and clucking his tongue and blowing raspberries, eating baby food directly from the pouch (mommy forgot a spoon...)
Mommy - getting to sleep until 8ish several days in a row (still getting up in the middle of most nights, though), slobbery baby kisses, energetic toddler hugs, having Daddy working from home now, seeing Z go out of his way to find a toy to give N (even if it's really just to get N to leave him alone!), losing weight

Friday, November 18, 2011

Everybody wants to be a cat...

When I was young (between 5 and 10, maybe?) I had a thing about cats.  I really liked them, I wanted to have one, and really, I wanted to be one.  Cats have it MADE. There were at least two times where I KNOW that I "walked" around on all fours public.  On purpose.  And let me tell you, an (old) asphalt parking lot is rather hard on the "paws," especially if you're wearing a skirt.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Up, up, and away!

N has been putting lots and lots of effort, every day, into trying to catch up with his big brother.  You could just see it in his eyes, while rocking back and forth on all fours, thinking "gotta learn to crawl, gotta learn to crawl, I'm missing all the good stuff!" only to fall on his belly yet again.

(cricket, cricket)

Ah, it's been so peaceful here in annoying posts to read, just nice quiet nothingness.

Oh wait, you wanted new posts?

You didn't like the silence?

Well, I guess I probably COULD post something about the boys...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Likes & Dislikes

Z - reading potty books on the potty, moonbounce playgrounds, peanut butter on crackers (triscuits, of all things!), bubbles, singing nonsense syllables monotonously at the top of his lungs for 20 minutes straight, reading books to himself (he memorizes them sooooo quickly), handheld video games of any kind, asking for breakfast at lunchtime and lunch at dinnertime, asking questions and then answering them himself because a) he knows exactly what we're going to say or b) he's giving himself permission for whatever he asked for
N - flirting with strangers, blowing raspberries, standing in the dining chairs backwards so he looks like he's in prison, crawling, rubber duckies, rolling over while we're tying to change his diaper, following us from one room to the next (takes awhile, though!), trying to get in on whatever Z is doing, the letter F (efffffff!!!!!!!)
Mommy - seeing Z get better with N every day, bedtime hugs & kisses from Z, being half the double-primary of N's solar system (Z being the other), getting a little more sleep with only one mid-night feeding

Playing catch-up

It's been a busy couple of weeks since Z came home from the hospital, which has led to a dry spell here on the blog.  Pretty much as soon as we had Z all settled and feeling better, we realized that our elder statescat Earl was NOT looking good.  He'd been losing weight, being pretty lethargic, nothing too alarming by itself but when it all added together we decided we should take him to the vet.  $1400+ later, we have a diabetic cat on several medications, daily insulin shots, and dietary restrictions.  We almost lost him, but he's getting back to normal for the most part.  Needless to say, that's been pretty stressful.  On top of that were a bunch of events taking place, a couple that were photography-heavy and needed to take precedence over the blog when it came to my computer time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Breakfast of champions

1 orange piece of cheese
1 white piece of cheese
1 sippy cup of milk
1 banana

and half a 1 oz square of baker's white chocolate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

P is for Potty

The groundwork for potty training has been laid for almost a year now.  Grammy had provided a mini-potty way back when for Z to get used to the idea, and he would sit on it (fully clothed) while we used the toilet.  So he has had the concept in his head for quite a while.  This summer, Grammy bought him a full-sized potty so we could begin training in earnest, though we haven't had a ton of success.  There were two days where we had tiny trickles first thing in the morning, but then he seemed to lose interest in it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Daddy go kitchen

The other night, M (otherwise known in this household as "Daddy") was getting ready to cook dinner. I was feeding N his solid food, and Z was nowhere to be found.  Since everyone knows that silence equals mischief, M went down the hall to Z's room to see what he was up to.  Nothing is what he was up to, just playing in his room, some random game known only to him.  But when M came in the room, Z got right up, pushed him out the door, said, "Daddy go kitchen!" and closed the door on him.  I guess he really wanted Daddy to get cooking!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Language lesson

A selection of English words and phrases, according to Z:

Fork drop =  pork chop (except, of course, when he drops a fork)
Ehm-fee-ahnt  = elephant
Magnet noodle = magnadoodle
Pappagoni = pepperoni
Mackagoni = macaroni
Manganetos = magnetos
Moouk = milk (up until very recently, this was book...since book was also book, we had to rely on context)
Try-sih-gull = tricycle
Trang-you-lo = triangle
Deedle & Fred = needle and thread
yaow = water
yaowmewon = watermelon
yivving woom = living room

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On solid ground

The general consensus on when to start a baby on "real" foods is 4-6 months.  Apparently their little systems can't really handle it before 4 months, and they probably don't show much interest before then either.  Our pediatrician wanted us to wait until 6 months on the basis of recent research regarding obesity (which applied only to formula-fed, not breastfed, babies) but was okay with us starting with a little cereal before that.  Well, by the time N was 5 months old, that child was RARING to go.  The highchair was still in the attic, so at mealtimes he'd sit on my lap while I ate...and every single bite I took was watched alllllll the way from plate to mouth.  Every last one. And then he started reaching for the fork/spoon, and reaching for the plate (catching it, more often than not, the fast little bugger!), and generally making a nuisance of himself.  So we plopped him in the bumbo chair, strapped a bib on him, and gave him what he wanted...real food!  If you can call rice cereal that.  It was organic, and whole grain, and mixed with breastmilk...and he ate that stuff like it was going out of style.  Loved it!  By the end of the first serving (maybe two tablespoons, total?) he had the hang of it and was looking around for more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home, James

We came home from the hospital early yesterday afternoon.  Saturday had been a pretty good day for Z, with the move to the non-ICU, taking several good long walks (apparently important for his recovery), and finally starting to show some interest in food again (even if I had to trick him into eating by making his chicken cluck at him).  The downside of the new room, of course, was that he was no longer on his own...we were sharing a semi-private room with a 9 month old little boy.  The baby himself was not really a problem, but the family was!  They had a lot of drama related to why the baby was in the hospital, and it caused a fair amount of disturbance, what with all the various people coming in to talk about it, and the family getting upset and all.  Luckily we were there for less than 24 hours.  Sunday morning they did a last echo to make sure things were still good (they were!) and the last two monitors were removed.  While we waited for Daddy to check out of the Ronald McDonald house and come to pick us up, we took a couple more walks to the play room and the room where the bunny was (unfortunately the bunny was inaccessible on a Sunday, but we could look at it through the window). Then we waved goodbye to our nurse, loaded up in the car, and headed out.  Z slept the whole way home, and we were greeted by a very excited, very bubbly, very raspberry-y baby when we arrived.  And a very clean house, courtesy of Grammy, thank you so very much!  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Less intense

We're out of the pediatric ICU finally!  This morning they took out his chest tube and central line, and the IV in his foot went bad this afternoon and was removed as useless, so he no longer has anything sticking in him.  He's been pretty chipper all day, despite not getting much sleep last night.  We took two good long walks around the PICU this morning, but we haven't explored the regular children's ward yet.  There's apparently a bunny, though...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Take heart

The surgery went fine yesterday.  They had given us a laundry list of things that they MIGHT have to do, depending on what they found when they got in there.  The minimum they expected to have to do was remove the band on the pulmonary artery, remove any scar tissue that had formed around it, and make sure that the artery didn't need any repair from that removal.  The other "mights" included putting another occlusion device over the VSD, attempting to sew a patch over the VSD, and performing major reconstruction of that artery - and that reconstruction would have involved putting him on bypass and stopping his heart.  Needless to say, we REALLY didn't want that to happen. We were lucky enough that everything went smoothly...they got the band removed with minimal artery repair needed, and decided after watching the newly-unimpeded flow that there were not any VSD holes significant enough to warrant further surgical intervention.  The surgeon explained to us that yes, there is still a small amount of pressure imbalance, but if Z was a brand-new patient presenting with this amount of imbalance they would not be willing to surgically repair it.  The likelihood of it being a problem is extremely small.  So while future surgery seems very unlikely at this point, it can't be guaranteed...but at least we no longer have a band needing removal looming over us.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Z story

Z had a pretty rough first year of life.  Always a small baby, we discovered when he was just shy of 3 months old that he had a heart defect preventing him from thriving.  The story is long and involved, but since we're about to pick up where it left off, I thought I'd share the back story so that future updates would make sense.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Likes & Dislikes

Our regularly monthly event!  Only 2 days late!  And with bonus features!

Scrub a dub dub

In a previous post I introduced the Three Amigos, with a brief mention of the three sidekicks (they need a collective name...Three Stooges?  Three Musketeers?  hmm...) that join him at bedtime. Today I was puttering around in the kitchen while Z was playing with Mr. Penguin in the living room, occasionally coming into the kitchen to pontificate on who knows what at the top of his quite capable lungs. I can only assume the other five animals were scattered around his room in various uncomfortable-looking poses, since that's usually the case.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Three Amigos

Z, like many children, sleeps with stuffed animals.  Unlike many children, however, his go-to friends are not teddy bears.  Instead he has Mr. Penguin, Mr. Beagle (earlier in life he saved time by referring to this pair as "Pengle"), and Fuzzy Froggy. The intrepid trio:

Three Amigos
(shown here in the "chairs" made for them using waffle-blocks)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Puppet Master

Friday we were signed up to go see a puppet show at an area library with some other kids and moms we know. It was supposed to start at 11 and be about an hour.  Great, I thought, that should work perfectly with N's nap schedule, he'll be up from nap #1 in time to leave and be back in time for nap #2.  And we'll still be able to go to the gym at 3:30 again.  HAHAHAHA said Murphy.  N got up at 7:20.  Not too bad, though it would make naptime at 9 a little more difficult.  Nine rolls around and he's not even remotely tired.  9:15 and still no go.  At 9:30 I put him down regardless, because he's been up for two hours and that's usually about his limit.  Now I'm thinking we might have trouble getting to the show on time, because he usually sleeps for about an hour and a half.  Wrong again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hello, gym!

The gym we belong to was chosen entirely because it has on-site childcare, which means I can drop the boys off and forget about them for an hour or two.  Before N was born this provided me with a sanity break every day, where I could hop on a bike and read a book without having to worry about a toy bashing me on the head.  Or being deafened by the ABC song being "sung" at the top of the lungs.  The side benefit of losing weight was nice and all, but if I'm being honest it was really about the break.  Once N was born, though, it became muuuch more complicated.  Infants have to have “appointments” to ensure the baby to staff ratio doesn’t get out of whack, which means I have to PLAN.  That’s a four letter word around here.  I make plans and Murphy just laughs at me.  So prior to today, N had only been to the gym once…and on that occasion Z just about flipped out when he saw the PARKING LOT, screamed the whole way into the building, and apparently screamed anytime someone came near N.  And then screamed when I came to pick them up, even though he’d been fine right up until he heard my voice.  So between the scheduling and the freakouts, it hasn’t been worth the effort to try and get out there, so it’s been a good four months since I’ve been.  Today, though, I decided it was time.  N has been doing pretty well on his new sleep schedule, so it was possible to make an appointment with a fair amount of confidence.  Zach is pretty well adjusted to the fact that he has a brother, now, so he's less anxious about that kind of thing.  And I had a new book that was interfering with my ability to do anything not related to reading it.  So I made an appointment for 3:30, figuring that N would get up from his afternoon nap around 3.  HAHAHAHAHA…I finally woke him up at 3:25.  Luckily the gym isn’t too far, and they give you a 15 minute grace period on these appointments.  We get there, Z is still okay.  We walk in and the lady at the front desk remembers him by name (warm fuzzy feelings ensue) and he’s okay.  Walk into the kid zone and the ladies get all excited to see him, ooh and aah over N, and we’re doing okay.  In fact, despite all my worries, there’s only a little bit of a pouty “I want to cry but I’m holding it together” expression as he walks back to the playroom, and otherwise it’s no big deal.  Hallelujah!  What was I so worried about?  He's a big boy now.  Let the regular gym-going re-commence!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Please don't stop the Musik

Today the boys and I ventured out in the downpour to attend a Kindermusik class.  And let me just get this right out there:  my son is THAT KID.  The one that wanders all over the place and gets into things that he shouldn't.  Like the name tag stickers, and the markers to write on the name tag stickers, and the pens next to the registration forms, and the hand sanitizer, and other people's bags, etc etc.  Though he somehow managed to take the water bottle directly to its owner without any guidance that I could see, so maybe he just caught her brain waves and deduced she was thirsty.  Anyway, he spent most of the 30 minute class walking about the room looking for things to examine.  A little back story:  this kid loves toys that play music.  We have three of those Munchkin Magic Cube thingsyes, three...two Mozart that manage to play in different (and discordant) keys, and one nursery rhymesand Z will sit there playing all three of them and bask in the cacophony.  He loves his little electric piano that plays a different song for each key and has been playing it non-stop all weekend (it's been missing for several months and we just found it again).  And he's quite content to just dump all of said toys, along with the mundane non-electrical items, in a heap on the living room floor while he plays.  So you would think, given that information, that in this class Z would be fascinated by the musical activities and content to let all the musical toys lie wherever they happened to fall.  And you'd be wrong.  This child pretty much ignored the activities completely, except where the toys were concerned.  The teacher would bring out a basket of, say, shaker eggs, and distribute them to the kids, leaving extras in the center of the circle and putting the empty basket back on the table.  Z would play with his assigned egg for, oh, 10 seconds, then promptly retrieve the empty basket to start collecting all the eggs again.  Even to taking them away from a couple of parents!  And then again with the rhythm sticks.  And with the castanet-like thingies.  And the little hand drums.  The only thing that finally captured his attention was the big "sharing" drum, which he joined two other boys in enthusiastically pounding.  And then the class was over, and he'd done almost nothing musical in nature.  And I was very grateful that I hadn't had to pay for this class!

(You might be wondering where N was during all this...he was right there with me the whole time, perfectly content to practice his pre-crawling exercises, watch his brother, and slobber all over his shaker egg.  He had a grand old time!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Likes & Dislikes

The current tastes of the Ellerboys:

Z - the ABC song (and Twinkle Twinkle and Baa Baa Black Sheep, but they're all the same song, really), bananas, breakfast bars, iPod Touch and iPad, Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss, helping Mommy unload the dishwasher, giving N his bottle (with mixed results), baths (except for the hair rinsing, but that's getting better!)
N - watching Z do just about anything, learning to eat solid food, looking out the front window while standing on the sofa, anything chewable, petting the kitty, blowing raspberries, being held by strangers, getting his eczema baths

Z - eating the food he's given (vs the food he asks for), wearing clothes, timeouts, the Orkin man
N - sleep training, being left alone for even a split second, bananas (so far, anyways!), being held by family members, getting his eczema vaseline treatment

Quiet time

About a month and a half before N was born, Z stopped taking naps.  Any naps.  Oh, he'd fall asleep in the car if he was in it at that time of day, and for a while if you weren't careful he'd fall asleep on the living room floor while waiting for dinner.  But no naps.  That week was pretty rough...I'd put him in his crib, he'd cry for 30 minutes and I'd take him out again.  By Wednesday, if I so much as stepped towards the crib while holding him he'd start pitching a fit.  There wasn't any problem at bedtime, just naptime.  His timing was impeccable...just as I was really starting to get worn down by the pregnancy, he took away MY naptime.  Lately, though, it's just been too much having both of them all day.  So a couple weeks ago we started afternoon "quiet time" for Z when N has an afternoon nap.  Sometimes I take a nap too, and sometimes I just listen to the chaos emanating from Z's room.  The times when he naps are vastly outnumbered by the times when it sounds like he's picking up his furniture and throwing it out the window...


I just went to let Z out of his room from his afternoon quiet time.  He opened the door all happy and bubbly and talking in Z-speak, which is to say lots of unintelligible words with a little English thrown in for seasoning, but buck naked.  I interrupt Z-speak to say, "Where's your diaper?"  His response, perfectly clear, appropriate tone of voice and everything: "Oh.  Took it off." as he went and got it for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fork drops

This is probably a case of funnier if you were there, but since this blog is just as much for me to remember as it is for me to tell other people, you'll just have to suffer through.  Happened over the hurricane weekend.

Scene:  eating dinner - pork chops, salad, watermelon.

Z - Have chicken?
Me - It's not chicken, son.  It's pork.  Mommy made pork chops for dinner.
Z - Fowk chops?
Me - That's right, pork chops.
Z - (points at fork) Fowk, (points at pork) fowk chops.
Me - Pork, buddy, with a P.  Pork chops.
Z - Fowk chops.
Me - Okay, what you said.

Next day:  eating lunch - fruit, crackers, the carrots from my chicken pot pie.
Z - Have a fowk?
Me - We don't have any more forks.  You dropped all the forks, now all the forks are dirty.
Z - Fowks dropped?
Me - Yes, the forks dropped on the floor.
Z - Have fowk drops for lunch?  Pwease?

(I hear I said, probably funnier if you were there...)

Sleep, beautiful sleep

Now that N is six months old, we've had to start thinking about sleep training.  He's not a BAD sleeper, per se, just...irregular.  Doesn't keep to a schedule.  So, since baths are now part of our must-do evening ritual, it seemed like a good time to institute a bedtime routine and move into establishing a sleep schedule.  Last night went pretty well, bed at 8, woke up a couple times but got back to sleep, woke up for a feeding at 11:30 then slept until 9:00!  If it weren't for how difficult it was to get him back to sleep after that feeding I'd call that a win.  Tonight he was in bed by quarter to 8, but woke up after about 45 minutes.  Let me tell you, that boy has LUNGS.  Didn't even need the monitor to hear him all the way at the other end of the house!  We let him cry, heart-wrenching though it was, and he got himself calmed down and back to sleep.  I neglected to check the clock so I'm not sure how long it actually was, but definitely less than 20 minutes.  Here's hoping tonight isn't too hard...

Doctored up

The baby, N, is a healthy little cherub.  Big fat cheeks, several chins, spare tires on the thighs, et cetera et cetera.  Never been sick a day in his admittedly short life.  So when he started getting little red spots all over, we didn't worry too terribly much.  Well, over the weekend we discovered that we're horrible parents for not noticing that he had a red rash allllllllll over his back.  Really bad looking.  After emailing the pediatrician some pictures and getting no definite "it's nothing!" feeling, he recommended we bring him in for a look-see.  And joy of joys, the diagnosis is eczema!  And not even the standard, run of the mill ezcema!  "Nummular" eczema is the disorder of choice, though the doc is not 100% on this diagnosis due to some irregular symptoms.  So for now we get to do twice! daily! baths followed by petroleum jelly.  Fun stuff!

Also:  this child is nineteen pounds at 6 months.  Nineteen.  Z was only TWELVE pounds at this age.  N also has three whole inches on him, 27 to his 24.  I think they'll be wearing the same size clothes by the time Z is five...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'll huff and I'll puff...

and I'll blow your internet down!

Thanks to hurricane Irene, 17 thousand things have happened in the last 74 hours that have gone undocumented on this blog.  I swear, if I'd had internet access it would have been the most boring weekend EVER.  But while we never lost power (thank goodness, says my freezer full of irreplaceable breastmilk!) we did lose cable and thus, internet as well.  So brace yourselves for an onslaught of catch-up posts, as I rack my brain to try and remember the good times that were had by all...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mommy help you?

My best friend has a little girl about 6 months younger than my toddler.  While my boy Z has definitely trended towards physical accomplishments (running, jumping, climbing, giving his mother a heart attack on a daily basis), she zeroed in on linguistics.  That child was making sentences at 18 months old, I tell you!  And here's Z, almost 3, not worrying too much about making himself understood by words.  After all, pointing and screaming work so well!  In any case, it's safe to say that her language skills are much advanced.  One thing she's been doing for a couple months now, is saying "you" when what she means is "I."  So instead of saying "I need a hug!" she says "You need a hug!" which I have to say is quite entertaining.  It's taken some getting used to on my part, translating her pronouns!  But since Z doesn't really use sentences it wasn't something I'd heard here at home.  Every so often I think, that MIGHT have been him doing it...but maybe not.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, he has broken the pronoun barrier!  Yesterday he came to me with a clear need for me to do something for him and said, "Mommy help you?"  Ah, be still my beating heart!  Seems like such a silly thing to get excited over, but by golly I am!  My little boy is growing up!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mount Everest, here we come!

The toddler, currently 2.75 years of age, just recently discovered the joys of climbing.  Up until now, we've been able to keep him in his crib by taking out the spring platform and placing the mattress directly on the floor.  Alas, those halcyon days of containment are at an end.  In the space of a week he has:  climbed out of his crib (in the dark, wearing footed pj's, our last available obstacles), used the crib to climb up onto his dresser, used the bottom drawer of the dresser to climb to the top (us having moved the crib after the earlier achievement), climbed over the gate between the living room and kitchen, and used one of the drawers in MY dresser to climb up and change our clock settings.  He also makes quick work of climbing into his baby brother's crib.  Needless to say, we're somewhat less than thrilled to have him roaming freely about the house at all hours of the day.  Luckily he seems content to go to bed when we put him there, so it's only in the mornings that we have to keep a sharp ear out for his escape.  Now if only there were more baby-proofing things in this house capable of stopping him...

I think I can, I think I can

I'm going to be super optimistic here.  This blog is intended to chronicle the many cute/funny/aggravating/life-threatening things that happen here at Casa Ellerman.  A toddler, an infant, two cats and a husband make for an interesting time - let's see if it leaves me opportunity to post about it!