Monday, November 30, 2009

Tis the Season

Oh, the holidays. They are officially Upon Us. We celebrate Christmas in the Oscarelli household and to be honest, I love every minute of it. I love decorating the tree (we pick ours up on Thursday!), I love Christmas music (I've been known to bust out with Jingle Bells in July), and most of all I love giving gifts.

I really truly do love giving. I love searching high and low for the perfect gift; I love the look on the gift recipients face when they open my gifts; I love wrapping gifts. This presents a problem as I tend to overspend and this year our budget is tighter than ever. Herein lies the problem.

So, I've already "finished" my shopping for the kids - the kids being Oscar, Miles, and my niece Ella. This is where the majority of our holiday spending goes and it's gone. But. See, I've found a few more things I'd like to get for the kids and I'm having a hard time restraining myself. I've made the boys gift lists on Amazon (they are sub lists under my list, if you're maybe wondering what to get them...) to contain my spending and spare my wallet. I've rationalized that once I finish shopping for everyone else on my list, if my budget is not totally depleted, I will buy each of the three kids one or two more gifts. Each year, we do a "main" gift of each kid, then several smaller-type gifts.

So, who remains to be shopped for? At least 50 percent of my list. I think that's not bad given there are still three and a half weeks until Christmas.

Where are you on your holiday shopping? Are you a pre-shopper or a last minute shopper and do you love or hate it? I'm actually a bit of both, if I'm being honest, and I mostly love it. Also, do folks do a "main" gift-type thing for their kids, or is this just a tradition in my family?

I can't wait to hear about your shopping!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things












I am so very, very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brothers, Eleven Months


Miles at eleven months (November 2009):


Oscar at eleven months (May, 2008):


A lazy post, I know, but it's been a while since I've done one of these. So, what do you think? I say so different. Nelsons say so alike. What say you?


Monday, November 23, 2009

More, But Not Yet

My pregnancy scare a couple of weeks ago forced me to think about something I'd been putting off: Would There Be More Children and When? Really more of the "when" part because Nelson and I'd already decided to have at least one more.

It's kind of a weird thing though, right? Even though I know I want another child to join our family, there are certainly days when I'm maxed out by the two very rambunctious boys I already have. They hand me my ass more days than not. But at the same time, they are also pretty wonderful - smart, loving, funny. Everything you'd want in a kid.

I also have the same worries I did when I was pregnant with Miles: Will I be able to devote enough time to all of the kids if I have another one? What about finances? And the size of our house? I'm also really worried about getting a hard baby. I've had two really easy ones; my number has got to come up sooner or later.

But.

I like begin pregnant. Well, for the most part. I like hearing the baby's heartbeat and feeling it kick. I love the full moon shape my belly takes, how nice my skin looks, the full and shiny hair. I love the anticipation of labor and planning for my home births. I love the feeling of euphoria the first time I hold my tiny babies. I love how my heart grows to encompass the new member of our family and how within seconds of his birth, it is as though he's always been with us. I miss teeny, tiny fingers and toes; first smiles; fuzzy heads; sweet smells; impossibly small onsies.

So, yes, there will be another baby. Just not right now.

We talked about it this weekend. Nelson asked me if I was ready to have another and I didn't even have to think before I said "No." He's not ready either, though I'm pretty certain if I said, "Yes! Now!" he'd have jumped on board.

Why not yet? Lots of reasons. I'm really enjoying the rhythm of our life right now. I'm enjoying our boys and watching them grow. I want to spend some time with them in their toddler hood, to foster the bond I can already see is going to be very strong. I'm savoring this time with Oscar and Miles. I'm making parenting breakthroughs everyday and it feels wonderful. A baby changes the dynamic so much and I'm not ready for that shift just yet.

We've decided to revisit the conversation in six or seven months, when Oscar is three (!!!) and Miles is 18 months. I might be ready then, although next winter or spring feel more right to me. But I do know that when I have dreams about our family, I always see us with three running around, and sometimes a fourth in my or Nelson's arms.

So (hopefully) there will be three. We're are in negotiation about four - I feel like if number three is a boy, I'll be done. Three boys in a row is A LOT of boys. However, if number three is a girl, I think I'll want a fourth. Who am I kidding? I'll likely want a fourth either way.

So, what about you? Plans for a new baby? A first baby? Or are you Done? How do you see your family picture?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Nursing

I breast fed Oscar for 12.5 months. I stopped because I was three months pregnant and my nipples hurt like a bitch. He was kind of over it too. It wasn't hard or sad for me to stop. I was in pain. I was glad for it to be over.

Breast feeding was hard with Oscar. He was sleepy and jaundice and I had to wake him for feedings for his first two weeks. He had a poor latch; there were lots of blisters and cracking and bleeding. My first month was hell and I almost quit. But, it got better and I grew to really enjoy that time with him. He started on solids at four months and his nursing began declining. He weened gradually and naturally and I was okay with that. Particularly because of the pain.

Miles was a completely different story. He latched on within seconds of his birth. It was like one of those videos they show you - he inched his way over to my nipple and just grabbed on. And he pretty much didn't let go for the first four months of his life. He nursed every hour and a half for FOUR MONTHS. He had a fantastic latch and a great appetite, but it was tough with the every ninety minutes for 17 straight weeks. He wouldn't even touch solids until he was nearly seven months. Miles was tough in ways too, but I'll take a hearty eater over a poor start when it comes to nursing any day.

So, here we are. Miles is eleven months. He's nurses less these days - every three to four hours - but still quite a bit for a baby of his age. He eats plenty of solids, drinks water, but he really enjoys nursing. Like, he latched on and hunkers down for a good 10-15 minutes at each session. By the time Oscar was four months, it was all I could do to get him to nurse for five consecutive minutes. Miles just loves it. He loves nursing.

And, truth be told, so do I. The moments I spend nursing Miles are often the only moments in the day I get to spend focused just on Miles. He looks at me, he smiles. His had seeks my lips for kisses. He grabs on to my index finger to pull me closer. These are sweet, sweet moments. I'm nowhere near ready for them to end.

My pediatrician (and the AAP) recommends breast feeding for a baby's first year of life (exclusively for six months and with complimentary solid foods after that), and for as long as is mutually desired by mother and baby after that points. The World Health Organization actually recommends breast feeding for up to two years and beyond, with complimentary foods.

Where am I going with this? I'm getting there.

I intend to breast feed Miles beyond a year. I intend to do it until he and I are both tired of it. Maybe it will be for 18 months. Maybe it will be for 20 months. Maybe 26. Who knows? I'm just going to do it for as long as he and I both want to, and to be honest I don't really care what the AAP, the WHO, or anyone else thinks about it.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, a few weeks ago we were at a get together where people were discussing breast feeding and how they all though it was important that women be able to nurse in public. I couldn't agree more. I'm a championship public nurser. I'll do it anywhere, anytime, anyhow. I've done it in museums, in Target, in restaurants, at my father-in-law's sportsman's club,. I could give two shits. If my baby is hungry, I feed it. End of story.

Then some of these same folks expressed disdain for extended breast feeding, to the tune of a kid should no longer be nursing if they can ask for it. I didn't say anything, but I wish I had because I could not disagree more.

And, that's not to say extended breast feeding, or even breast feeding period, is the right choice for everyone. Here's the thing though: It's a personal choice. Breast feeding is a personal choice. Do it, don't do it, I don't care. What I do care about is my right to breast feed my kid for as long as I want.

You know what the real rub is? Most of the people having this discussion have never breast fed a child. That's not to say they can't have an opinion; of course they can. I just don't think they have a full grasp of the issue.

I'm not going to sit here and extol the benefits of breast feeding and extended breast feeding. The benefits may be why I started, but they are not why I've continued. Because, for me and for many women who choose breast feeding and extended breast feeding, breast feeding is about more than nutrition. It's about the love and closeness I feel with my babies. It's about the comfort and safety they feel being breast fed. It is about the bond breast feeding has helped establish. It's about my boobs and my kids and I don't give a shit if it makes anyone else feel uncomfortable.

It is not "weird" or inappropriate to breast feed a kid into it's second or third year. It may not be the norm in the U.S., but it is pretty much everywhere else in the world. What is weird and inappropriate is thinking you have a say in someone else's breast feeding decisions. Think what you want, but keep it to yourself because I don't care and neither does that woman over there nursing her 2.5 year old. We are happy and comfortable with our decision. You don't have to be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RTT: Do You Love TMI? I Got Your TMI Right Here

This isn't actually all that random, but I so love Keely and her fugly button.

randomtuesday


*Last week, I though I was pregnant. Again. I took the lone pregnancy test left from the multi pack I bought when I though I was pregnant with Miles. I was tired, achy, starving, getting headaches, having tummy troubles, cramping, sore nipples. Basically ALL of the early pregnancy symptoms I had with both boys. It was negative. Whew.

*So, honestly? I wasn't all that freaked out about being pregnant again. I though about it, and Miles would be two and Oscar would be three and a half when the new baby came. Not really what I'd planned, but doable. I mean, Miles barely even qualifies as a baby anymore and I really love little babies. Not that I'm trying to get pregnant again anytime soon, but I've already had one surprise pregnancy so a second surprise pregnancy would really be all that surprising.

*In closely related news, I got my period for the first time in 21 months. While I was at a fucking party. And I was totally unprepared because I haven't had a period in 21 months. I felt like a 12-year-old. It was such a goddamn Judy Blume moment.

*Also, it seems the symptoms of PMS and pregnancy are basically identical.

*Have you hear of these? They are a bit pricey, but you can wear them for 12 hours so you only need two a day. And, you have to be okay with getting a bit intimate with yourself to use them. They are so amazing particularly for those of us women who've vaginally delivered babies of size and no longer find tampons effective and think pads are inconvenient or just plain gross (me). I debated doing a whole post about this issue, the issue of feminine hygiene products after giving birth vaginally, but then I decided no one really wanted to read a whole big vagina post, right? I mean there's a reason no one talks about it.

*I'm not sure how to follow up my vagina speech up there. Anyone else feeling really uncomfortable right now? Good, me too.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Eleven Months, Capturing the Moment



You love your brother and take every opportunity to hug, kiss, and wrestle with him.
When you "dance" to music, you nod your head back and forth like some kind of baby rocker.

You can stand unassisted for brief periods and you have taken a couple of steps.

You still do not sleep through the night; you wake at least once, sometimes twice.

You have four teeth and are working two more.


You say "Mama," "dog," "yea," and "Dada."

You mimic your brother's squeals, yells, and other assorted noises (Oscar, in stereo-o-o-o.)

You hate it when I leave a room, and you lurch for me as soon as I return.

You smile almost constantly.

You laugh, even when you're whining.

You make this funny face, where you scrunch up your eyes and bare your teeth.


You love it to be tickled.

Your favorite foods: tofu, peas, Cheerios, bread, rice, couscous, Boca burgers, pasta, prunes, and meatballs.

You love to nest blocks and cups, and put things inside containers so you can take them out again.

You love playing with your baby piano and improvising drums on toy bins.

You crawl with your left leg pushing you along like an oar (as did your brother.)

You love kisses.



You are tough, and can really take a fall and assorted pushes, slaps, and kicks from your brother.

You put everything and anything into your mouth.

You are freakishly strong.

You are very silly.

You are snugly.

I love you immeasurably.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Miles Goes Guerilla: A Photo Montage

Immediately preceding this photos, Oscar has pulled his patented lean-back-on-Miles-to-knock-him-down. Miles quickly recovered.


You think that's funny? I'll show you funny.



I will school. Your. Ass.

Who's laughing now? Who? Well, we both are, but still.

In this photo, taken moments after the last series, Oscar has escaped but Miles is hot on his tail. Oscar is once again pulling his patented leaning move. It is terribly unsuccessful.

FOOL! You cannot defeat Miles William!

Nom, nom, nom. Delicious brother.

Muah ha ha ha! I am VICTORIOUS!

Little: 1; Big: 0

I think Oscar needs some new moves. And a blood transfusion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

RTT: This is Mostly About Facebook

Who loves Keely? I do! I do!

randomtuesday

*So, the other day on Facebook I got a friend request from someone who was absolutely NOT my friend. We've known each other probably since fifth grade but we have never clicked. I have always had an active dislike of her. Granted, I've not seen her in nearly 15 years so things could be totally different, but I just don't feel the need to reconnect with someone that I never liked being connected with in the first place. To be clear, this is not just some random person I went to high school with (I deny those friend requests too) but a person that I NEVER got along with. I feel like she only added me so she could snoop into my business, but then I can't figure out why she'd be interested in my business in the first place. But I do know that I don't want her seeing photos of my kids and the personal info I have on FB. I'm feeling a little bad for denying her request, but I shouldn't have to be FB friend with an real life non-friend just to spare her feelings, right? Right? (All my IRL friends reading this right now are DYING to know who this person is, aren't you? Well, I'm not telling.)

*Things have gotten significantly better with Oscar since last week's incident. I've made it a priority to play with him more often and focus more time on just Oscar, and it's really made a huge impact. There have been a couple of times when he's gotten nasty with Miles, but not like that first day.

*Yesterday was the first time Oscar spontaneously told me he loved me. He's been saying, "Love, you Momma!" for three or four months but it usually comes after I tell him that I love him. He says it in return. Well, yesterday I was "sneaking" up on him and he caught me in the act and just launched himself at my legs and said, "I love you, Mommy!" And then I died.

*At almost 11 months of age, Miles is still not sleeping through the night.

*Parenting is not a theory; it's a practice. If you've never done it, you just don't know. No, your pets don't count because PETS do not equal CHILDREN; they equal PETS. Getting up at night to let your puppy out is not the same as waking every 90 minutes to breast feed an infant. Cleaning up dog shit on the floor or emptying a cat box is not the same as having your kid crap on your lap and pee on your face multiple times a day. Not. The. Same.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gang Signs

Scene: Approximately ten years ago, sitting in Nelson's truck in the parking lot of a local liquor store, where Nelson and Jenni have come to buy alcohol for the housewarming party of their first apartment.

Jenni: Hey, lets go.

Nelson: I don't think we should go in. There are gang members hanging out by the door.

Jenni: What?

Nelson (pointing): Gang members. Right there.

Jenni: Gang members? Those are not gang members. What makes you think they are gang members?

Nelson: Just look at them. They are throwing up gang signs all over the place!

Jenni: You're kidding, right?

Nelson: No! Look! Look at them! Gang signs!

Jenni: Nelson, they are not "throwing up gang signs." Those aren't gang members; they're deaf people. They're just talking to each other.

Nelson: What? Are you sure?

Jenni: Those aren't gang signs, asshole. It's sign language.

Nelson: ...Oh. Ooohhhh!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where it Gets Hard

For the past three or four months, I've really been feeling like I've hit my stride as a mom of two kids less then two years apart. I know how to get them both in and out of the car; how to get us through a trip to Target or the grocery story; precisely how long I have to run errands with both boys; how to get us all dress and fed everyday; how to conquer dinner and bath time solo; how to get the laundry done every week; how to hug two squirmy boys at once.

I've been feeling pretty proud. More than a little smug. Like I'm a fucking rock star or something.

Then, yesterday, Oscar handed me my ass. Just served it up to me on a silver platter. Here you go, Mom. You suck.

And now, it's hard again.

Yesterday was quite possibly the hardest day I've ever had as a parent. I had more than one moment where I thought, "I can't do this. I'm not doing this well enough. I'm completely failing these boys." It was really, really shitty.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment when it started so I could go back and change everything. Was it when I allowed Oscar to stay in his PJs all morning? Or when I let him have half a piece of Cinnamon toast and two cups of juice for breakfast? Or when I insisted he change his full diaper against his wishes? When I finally made him get dressed? Could it have been starting the day with a movie instead of Agent Oso? Or was there no particular moment?

Oscar was difficult yesterday, to say the least. The very least. He was mean; he was slapping and punching and kicking Miles and I. Trying to knock us over. Laughing at his brother's tears of pain and frustration. Kicking me and laughing when I put him in time out and refusing to stay put. Throwing toys with every intention of causing injury to others.

He would not sit still. Not for one minute. Not for 30 seconds. He was throwing his body full force on to me or onto Miles. I stood up, holding Miles from his reach and he came at me fast and hard, trying to knock me to the ground; pound on me with his fists; scratching at me with his nails; kicking me with his feet.

I tried to put him in time out; I tried raising my voice sternly to him; I tried putting him in time out again; I tried explaining that he was hurting me, hurting Miles and that was not nice; I tried ignoring him; I tried distracting him; I tried giving him something to eat; I tried getting him to take a nap, like Danny; I tried hugging him.

Nothing worked. Nothing. Everything I tried just made him more and more angry. It went on for nearly two hours. I didn't even recognize him. He was not my sweet boy.

I put in Grouchland again, and he lay calmly on the couch for the duration. I went to the couch and asked for a hug and he just clung to me for dear life for several minutes and then I knew it had been as bad for him as it was for me. It was over. He continued to be difficult for the rest of the day, but he wasn't mean so I just let it go. He fell asleep at 6pm, before dinner, and we put him down fully clothed.

I woke this morning determined to make today a better day. Because yesterday was awful. It was awful for me and I'm sure it was awful for Oscar.

He woke up early, before I even finished my shower. He wanted to wear the same shirt he'd been wearing all night and the previous day - I allowed it. He chose his breakfast and settled in sleepily for some early morning Sesame Street.

Oscar and I spent the morning playing cars while Miles played beside us and the TV hummed unwatched in the background.

Right now, Miles is napping and Oscar and Danny are playing a very involved stacking game. I was waved away, "Go sit on big chair, Momma. I play with Danny."

Today is a better day and we are moving forward. I'm thankful that it is not awful, that I do not feel like I'm failing my little boys and that Oscar's delicate balance has not been upset. Not yet, at least.

I've been humbled by my two-year-old. This is hard. Really, really hard. I don't win every day. I don't even win most days. And I still have get up every morning, game-face on, trying for a win even after my ass has been royally kicked. Especially after my ass has been royally kicked.

But today, I don't care about winning. I'm just hoping for a draw.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

RTT: Can You Say Achoo? Say Achoo! Louder!

Keely's her name, Random Tuesday's are her game. Check it.

randomtuesday
*Noses still runny, coughs still chesty. When will this end? Miles has had a cold for going on four weeks, and the rest of us are going on two. Enough already!

*I just want to let you all know I'm NOT participating on NaBloPoMo. And if you are participating and therefore be clogging up my reader all month, I'm telling you now I'm not going to read all those posts. It's exhausting, people. And to be clever and witty in your comments section? I'm lucky to pull out a good one two or three times a week. NaBloPoMo kills me. But good luck to you and stuff.

*I need a haircut.

*Oscar has been really into Dora and Max & Ruby lately. If she tells him to do something "LOUDER!" one more time, I'm going to throttle my TV. We don't have a problem with volume over here, Dora. Zip it.

*Oscar's new thing with Miles is trying to hug his little brother until he bursts, or leaning into him until he knocks him over. Unfortunately for Oscar, Miles is made of tough stuff and actually LOVES all the attention. So you lose, Oscar. You're attempts to be a jerk to your brother fail. At least this time.

*We've officially entered the Rice Cake Stage of Miles' snacking life. That means there are mushy little bits of rice cake all over my house. Awesome.

*Miles is still not sleeping through the night. Send help.

*Babies and toddlers do not understand the concept of falling back. Hello, 4:30AM.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trick-or-Treat

Saturday was Oscar's first ever trick-or-treat and he was a champ. The child was made for trick-or-treating. I'd been talking it up all week and he'd seen a few trick-or-treat Dora and Max & Ruby episodes, so he kind of got the gist. The gist being candy.


It only took my little candy procuring savant one house to nail it: 1)Knock on door; 2) Say trick-or-treat; 3) Say thank you; 4) Say happy Halloween.


Ridiculously cute. If he had to wait behind other kids, he'd be hopping up and down saying "Trick-or-Treat!" the whole time. He also pretty quickly grasped the concept of only going to houses with their porch lights on. "I see lights, Mama, lights! Go dat one!"


Towards the end of our hour-long walk, he was pretty much saying trick-or-treat or happy Halloween to everyone we passed on the street. Dead cute.

Obligatory Halloween photos (Oscar was Max the Bunny; Miles was a pirate):