Tornadoes

I am absolutely 100 % scared of tornadoes. I have so much hatred respect for their power and unpredictability.

When we lived our brief bit in Alabama there were a few things that I didn’t know. A) we moved right at the beginning of tornado season. B) Alabama gets a lot of tornadoes each year. Yes- so my deep, deep fear of tornadoes was only multiplied when we lived out there.

Just to give you an idea of how scared I was. When there were strong storms coming, I was glued to the tv watching the warnings go out as the storm came closer to our county. Then when the siren down the hill from us would go off- I wouldn’t be like our neighbors and continuing to party outside on the deck- I would be huddled in the tiny steel framed under-the-stairs closet with my then-4 month old son and our two dogs. Oh- and calling Husband making sure he was ok and telling him how much I wanted to go back to California.  Granted while we were out there, most of the damage was just wind damage. There was one category 2 tornado that ripped the roof of a bank in a town an hour from us. BUT I hated the pit in my stomach as I watched the warnings go out. I hated the feeling that when a siren went off that it meant my someones life could be catastrophically changed forever in one moment of tornadic terror.

So none the less I am so happy to be back in California where there is no tornado season. I am glad that I don’t have to swallow my heart as it tries to leap out as siren sounds. I am glad that my sons will only have to worry about getting wet when it rains, not having to remember where the nearest shelter is.

HOWEVER (Sorry for the all caps but I want to put a huge emphasis), my heart and prayers go out to all of those whose lives have been torn apart by all the recent tornadoes. I pray that loved ones are safe and that God gives you the strength to continue on and rebuild.

Comparisons

I have to catch myself that I don’t try to compare my boys to each other or to other kids. I know each kid is an individual and has his/her own timeline. I do ok for the most part. I more note the difference between J and E than make comparisons.

For example: When J was 6 to 10 months we lived in very, very close corridors so J learned how to sit by himself and furniture stand around 7 months;while crawling J didn’t really start until later and only really got it around 8 months (army crawl) to 10 months(up off tummy). With E, we have more space so he learned how to army crawl much earlier 6.5 months and sitting up didn’t happen until maybe 8/9 months. I just noted the difference in learning to crawl as indicative of our living situations.

Now I am having the problem more with other people comparing and judging my sons. We have an acquaintance that has a son 2 weeks younger than E. Her son(call him C) is already walking (at 11 months); E is nowhere close to walking on his own. He will furniture walk, but that is pretty much it. E shows absolutely no interest in standing on his own or walking. If Husband or I hold his hands and try to get E to take a few steps, the whole time E is bending his knees trying to get down to the ground to crawl away. It seems like E figures he gets around just fine crawling or being carried.

But back to this acquaintance. With C walking already, I have other people asking if E is walking and when I respond with a simple ‘no’, I receive a look that says “well, why not? he is older he should be walking”.  So I end up almost having to justify why E isn’t walking yet. I add “yes he isn’t walking, but he also has a toddler brother that doesn’t want to share his toys. So J tends to push E to get him away from the toys. I bet C doesn’t have that competition and I bet he also gets a ton of help from his two much older sisters.” And I add in my mind so Lay Off! E will walk when he darn well wants to walk. I don’t see any teenagers still crawling so I am pretty sure E will figure it out eventually.

So what else can I say that will politely make people stop comparing my kids or at least make it clear I don’t want to hear it?

Box of Chocolates

Toddler sleeping patterns are like a box of chocolates. When you put them down you really don’t know what kind of night you’re going to get.

Take for instance J’s past few nights of sleep:

Sunday night: fell asleep while reading books, woke up about midnight due to wet diaper, allowed me to change him without much crying and fell right back asleep until 6am

Monday night: fell asleep after books with a quick cry to let me know he wanted me there but understood it was bedtime, and slept the entire night! Even slept in to 7am which is beyond rare.

Then last night- what happened? J fell asleep during his book, then woke up at about 2:45am screaming. I went in and changed the wet diaper, read a quick cardboard book I know for memory, gave him a kiss and left. J screamed, stomped his feet loud enough I could hear it down the hall in our room, and even threw himself against the door with enough strength to knock the wind out of his cry for a brief second. This went on for 5 minutes and then quieted enough for me to think he was finally understanding he was to go back to sleep in his own bed. Wrong! At 3am, the screams, foot stomping, and body throwing started up again. I waited 5 minutes again – this time with Husband asking me if everything was alright (I answered ya, cause I know he would just sleep through it no matter what the answer was). When J didn’t settle down, I finally gave up and slid down the dangerous slope, and went and slept in J’s room. J had been screaming so hard that he had hiccups and clung to me like a little monkey. His arms were locked around my neck. And if I even moved to try to get comfortable, J would think I was leaving again and would the neck hold tightened and his legs would curl trying to keep me there. As long as I didn’t move and J had his arms around my neck, he would fall right back to sleep. He then slept soundly with me in a choke hold the rest of the night- until 6 anyways.

J used to sleep so well in his crib back when he was a year old and now it’s changed so much. So now I am scared of how E’s sleep habits will change. E has always, from 3 weeks old, slept in his own bassinet/crib and slept pretty soundly for a good 10-12 hours each night.

Jealousy

I am jealous. Sometimes this results in sympathy but more often it is accompanied with bitterness or utter lack of compassion. My kids have three sets, but don’t get to use any of them like I would love for them to- or like other kids get to use even just one. Any guesses?

I am straight up jealous of those that have grandparents around. I am sympathetic to those who are in the same position as myself. I am bitter when those who have it seem to take it for granted and assume it will always be there. I am bitter to those who tell me that it is my Husband’s and my choice and we should’ve chosen to live by a set. (Which we have, but other situations ended up that we moved away from them) Above all- I have an utter lack of compassion for those who complain about it.

So this is our story…When E was born, one set of grandparents drove down from Washington to be able to watch J. The other sets of grandparents are in Alabama and Nebraska..a long ways away from California. Grandparents returned to Washington a couple of days after E was born, and Husband was called back into work a mere 5 days after-rather than the 2 weeks we budgeted for. So I was left by myself with 16 month old toddler and new baby with only 5 days of recovery.

This story is where my dark side of bitterness and utter lack of compassion emerge…A friend’s wife had their second baby. Our friend took 7 days off at first then complained the whole way as he was called into work for a day; then resumed time off again with his family for another 3 days. I was sympathetic when he complained about being called into work leaving his wife with their toddler (3yr old) and the new baby…except she wasn’t alone! Her parents were helping out and her sister lived next door. Really?! She couldn’t handle two kids without her husband despite having family there?

Despite all the bitterness, I really am jealous of not being able to see those cute moments when grandpa and grandkid share a cup of milk and cookies, or grandma walking kids to park hand in hand. I get them once in a while when I visit or they come out here-but that usually isn’t untill the end of the trip. Kids this young just need time to get used to a new person-or one that they havent seen in months. There isn’t the moments of kids running yelling ‘granma! granpa!’. I know that will come as boys start to remember but its hard now.

So, to all those who have the grandparent/grandkids close by, be sure to enjoy the fact that they get to have a face to face relationship. And to those who developed and designed Skype, THANK YOU! Skype has made it easy for my kids to know the face and recognize the voices of Grandma K and Grandpa B. When J hears the call sound, he goes running for the laptop to start a conversation with the video.

What a mess!

I knew that kids learning how to eat is messy. “J” was messy but mostly just his face and bib. As soon as he could feed himself with a spoon the mess went WAY down. He even started to take the napkins/wipes we would hand him and wipe his own face (I think that was at about 18months).

“E” on the other hand is just messy beyond messy. He has recently started to cry and pout big time if I try to feed him; he wants to do it.  But if I let him feed himself this is the mess I end up having to clean up:

 

or

or the worst of it

Preschool

With California’s cut off for school admission, “J” will be 5 turning 6 when he enters kindergarten. That is still quite a few years away, but it has started a debate in my mind. Do we do two years of preschool or just one?  On one side, the first year we could do 2 days a week, just to get comfortable with the idea of leaving us for a while- and to have the social interactions. Then the second year, do 3 days a week- again to increase the idea of being away from us for longer bits of time. BUT then on the other side of the debate- I say to myself, that I am here with the kids and we have play dates, so why send him away for two years when he will be in school for many years anyways.

I really just don’t know how I feel. I am staying home with the kids and have no need to rush back into working, so we don’t need preschool as a half day, day-care type thing. But then again, “J” could use the play dates/socializing with kids his own age (he is currently the oldest of our group). Any ideas?

Trains

I have mentioned before that “J” is obsessed with trains. Husband and I decided that we needed to budget a new train table for “J” and “E”. When the time came, we presented it to the kids trying to make it very clear to a “it’s MINE” toddler, that this was for both boys. Most of the time “E” only has control of the trees, signs, people, and -if “J” is forced to do it or else gets a time out feeling generous- a single train car. As much I say “it’s for both of you- share!”, the table actually is really cool. “J” is so consumed with playing at the table that he hardly notices “E” playing with all the other toys that he used to say ‘no’ about. It’s great to see Husband down on the floor making train sounds and making up stories with the boys too.

On a different but similar note…we, as a family, took a train ride for the first time. “J” was so excited when the train pulled into the station and he realized we were getting on it. We rode past other trains, cow pastures- accompanied with toddler ‘moo’s, and neighborhoods. When we arrived in Sacramento- we were absolutely shocked at how close we were to our destination of Old Town. By close, I literally mean we walked through the parking lot and turned the corner to see the backside of the Railroad Museum! The boys loved just being in the strollers and out for the day. It was such a great day of wide eyes and new experiences.