Sunday, January 27, 2013

Exist in the now.

I'm constantly reminding myself to be present, to exist in the now. But it's hard not to get lost in the daily shuffle and forget to appreciate the little things. This week I made a conscious effort to do better. I savored the moment one night when Ashton nursed himself to sleep--a rare occasion these days. I noted the way his heavy body laid across my lap, definitely not the body of a tiny baby anymore. I listened to his deep breathing, studied his long lashes and chubby cheeks. I wrapped his stubby fingers around the length of mine, remembering his strong newborn grasp. I kissed him and whispered good-bye as I lay him in his crib. He pried open his eyelids only long enough to squint at me in the darkened room, then he rolled onto his stomach, propped his butt in the air and snuggled up with his blankie. His deep breathing resumed. Nothing more precious than watching a baby sleep.
Then later that night as I tucked Spencer in, we prayed and talked and acted silly. I kissed him all over and tickled him until he giggled his high-pitch, contagious, uninhibited laugh that could make even the crabbiest person crack a smile. I noticed that even though my son is growing faster than I can possibly control, underneath it all, he is still the same baby I rocked and rocked and rocked while he screamed and screamed and screamed for five straight months. He informed me that night that he is getting big. I sighed and told him I know and that I wish he'd stop, to which he replied that he is trying to get big.

I really noticed just how big he is getting at his early education screening this week. It is a pretty neat experience to see your child through someone else's eyes. All the little things I took for granted that he has learned in his three and a half years on this earth are growth markers, identifying how truly amazing and smart he really is.
Getting ready for the screening.
They checked his eyes and ears. He failed the hearing test and will have to retake it once his cold clears up. They talked with him, had him build with blocks, draw lines and other shapes on paper, describe and identify objects, jump with two feet together, stand on one foot, etc. I left with a new respect and appreciation for my son, as if I was suddenly witnessing him as a separate entity from myself. He once proclaimed that he is Spencer, the boy. At the time I laughed because it was a strange thing to say. But now I get it. Indeed, he is. Spencer, the boy who will eventually become a man and will go out into this world and do great things.

During the screening a speech therapist came and talked with Spencer, listened to the way he pronounced words, and concluded what I already knew: he mixes letters around. He says Ps for Ts and Ts for Ks, etc. They were encouraged when I said his speech has come a long way since starting preschool in the fall and decided to just monitor him until May, when they will reevaluate.


This week marked the fifteenth month of Ashton's life. Although his love affair with his dolly has simmered since last week, he still decided she should be in his current growth pictures. Within the past week or so he has decided walking is his favorite thing. He prefers it to crawling now. Except, of course, if there is something he absolutely needs to get to super fast. Then he will race on his knees since crawling is still fastest.
We prepared a Valentines project for this week's play date. The boys helped me make Kool-Aid paint and I cut out hearts. It was most of the babies first experience with paint, so it was interesting watching their introduction to the messy wonder of it all. All the kids but Spencer couldn't resist tasting the paint, which is why I brought edible stuff.

This weekend we dropped the boys off at Grandma and Scharmer's for Ashton's first overnight away from us. Dave and I celebrated with our friends for their birthdays, hitting up a few bars, and then having our own sleepover at their house. The morning after I was reminded of my age and current lifestyle since I am most definitely not accustomed to late nights and alcohol. It was fun to get away and be reminded that we are people outside of being parents, too.

Here are some random things from our week:

Apparently Ashton wasn't quite done eating breakfast.

Tricking Spencer into napping by turning his toddler bed around to make a makeshift crib. Trapped inside, he couldn't get out and play and was forced to nap. Win for the Mommy!

Workbook time at breakfast.

Playdoh fun. (Ash is rocking the edible kind.)

Help, I'm stuck!
A game of Candy Land after little brother is in bed.
Eating at the table like a big boy. The boy turns 15 months and thinks he's done being a baby.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ties, babies, projects, and a late Christmas.

We were overdue for another session of Mommy Photography. Well, I'm sure my kids wouldn't have agreed with that sentiment, but it had been a few months, after all. Monday I suited the boys up with Daddy's ties, set the scene and snapped away. I have a huge amount of respect for the professionals that tackle more than one subject at a time, because reigning in my own two squirmy rugrats was challenging enough. Maybe I should resign myself to one kiddo at a time.

Over the weekend I bought some dolls for the boys. Spencer had been asking for a dolly like his friend's doll, Sally. So why not? Boys can play with dolls, too. They grow up to be daddies, right? Why not foster an environment where gender roles don't matter? I hadn't anticipated Ashton's reaction to the dolls, though. He fell in love. Hard. He carries the baby around the house. He pats her back. He hugs her. He gives her slobbery kisses. He brushes her teeth and feeds her. He gives her rides on his firetruck. He sleeps with her and rides in the car with her. The kid is obsessed with his baby doll.

Our project this week was to make our own shirts. First, the boys colored on sand paper. I colored over their scribbles to make them dark enough to transfer onto a shirt. Then I ironed their drawings onto white t-shirts. These will definitely be neat keepsakes, documenting their artistic talents forever.

The boys also got messy playing with some jello at a play date. They snacked on the jello in between squishing it between their fingers and digging it out of the bowl. This was definitely a great edible sensory activity.

We've been struggling with Spencer pooping on the potty. He's mastered peeing, but he can't seem to get over the fear of going poop on the toilet. He will hold it until he is wearing a diaper at nap times most days, but on the days he can't quite hold it, he'll have accidents. Thursday he had an accident at preschool and was sent home in a pair of pink, girly undies. He then pooped in those undies and then another pair. This made for a very frustrated mommy. We've done just about everything to encourage him to poop on the potty, but nothing seems to work. I made yet another sticker chart out of desperation, hoping maybe this one will do the trick. The reward is to build an extensive road system on the floor using painter's tape. I found the idea in a magazine and Spencer is very excited about it. I taped the magazine picture next to the sticker chart as an incentive.

This weekend we had a late Christmas get together with Grandma Amy, Marmer, Aunt Katie, Uncle Bryan and cousins Samantha and Hunter. Since Katie and Bryan live so far away, we aren't able to spend as much time together as we'd like. It was definitely a great time, and we especially enjoyed watching the cousins interact. Our impromptu sleepover gave us more time with the family.

Homemade gifts from Aunt Katie: crocheted monkeys.

Crocheted hat from Aunt Katie.
Hunter and Samantha's traveling pillowcases from my family.
Marmer assisting in Project Bring Down Ash's Temp.
Cousin fun.
Cheersing with kiddie cocktails.

Movie time.
Bedtime stories. The two three-year-old boys shared a room and did surprisingly well.

Unfortunately, Ashton went yet another round with The Crud, and he was on the losing end of that battle. We visited Urgent Care this morning and got prescribed some meds that will hopefully rid his body of this nasty virus once and for all.
Cuddling with his new monkey.

This week's randomness:
My friend asked me to make her husband a blanket for his birthday.

Dave and Spenc test out its comfiness.
This little stinkbutt was supposed to be napping.

My most favoritest face: squinted eyes, scrunched up nose, full teeth grin.

Napping with Daddy. He won't sleep on Mommy like that.

Bedtime stories.