backround

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-change...

Today marks a full month that I have been working out every day after sending Little Man off to school and while Vegas takes his morning nap.  At first I ran a mile a day, and now I'm up to a respectable 3 miles. We have a little home gym in the basement with a treadclimber that I like using, and I blast my 80's Pandora station and try to stave off the inevitable boredom I feel after Mile 1. I think at some point I'd like a little TV down there, but for now the music keeps me moving. Between the working out and making better food choices, you'd think I'd have lost a bit of weight by now - but I'm only down maybe 3 or 4 pounds. So this month I've decided to take a break from any form of booze to help jumpstart my weight loss.  Yep.  This is after a 10 month dry spell so you know I'm pretty serious about losing some weight.

The other plan for the month of March is to treat myself better emotionally. One of my bad habits is when I'm talking to a friend and I start being negative about myself. I'll put down my body image, my personality, or my talent because I feel self-conscious and less-than.  I don't like hearing other people say those things about themselves, so why do I want to perpetuate that behavior in myself?  I don't.  So my promise to myself has been that I will do my best to say more positive things about myself, and if I don't have anything nice to say - stuff it. I've had this goal before, but I'm hoping that pairing the goal with Lent where everyone else is trying hard to give up things will be a good reminder of what I'm doing (although I'm not religious myself).

Along that line, I am also planning on cutting a few negative people out of my life. This will be a really challenging thing for me, even though it sounds like such a simple goal.  Part of my personality is that I constantly strive to be accepted and liked at the risk of my own feelings and opinions. My insecurity in some of my friendships means I put up with a lot of negativity that I know isn't healthy. Last night something finally just snapped into place for me. I need friends who boost me up, because I tear myself down enough as it is! Dwelling on the negative feedback I always get from certain people just keeps me in that vicious cycle of being down on myself, which then just allows them to think it is okay to say hurtful or negative things.

I've been so overwhelmed the last month or so with negative thoughts and I'm not going to be okay with that anymore. This next month is going to be getting in shape physically and emotionally, and I am so ready for it!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hashtag Real Talk

Little Man is finally back in school after a million snow days.  We got notice from the county that he will be in school til the end of June making up the missed days, which is actually a good thing.  The kid just thrives on schedule and being active!  Once school lets out he will start a special needs summer camp, because our county has claimed it is the best alternative to having very little ESY (extended school year) funding for any kids over preschool age. It's only four days a week, but he will get whatever therapy he qualifies for there (I assume very little), and it will keep him very busy.  He sleeps so much better if he is up early and plays hard all day, so I'm very happy we have a plan in place for summer. Originally camp was off the table for him since we thought it would be much too expensive, but now that I have read the paperwork properly (oops) it has gone from "astronomically priced" to just "slightly more expensive than an ideal summer camp".  I've been working like a madwoman trying to find funding from the county and private companies to help offset the cost, but we don't qualify for much.  I won't go into how angry I am that I am going to pay an arm and a leg for a summer program because the county is being cheap.  Actually that's all I really have to say - I'm pissed about it.  But I'm not going to let that stop me from putting him into the program because I think that will be his best opportunity for growth this summer.  

Vegas is 6 months old, and growing like a weed!  He wears size 6-9 months in pajamas because he's so long (26 inches) and right now he is filling out and weighs about 18 lbs.  His doctor had us come in for a follow-up on his head circumference because he went through a head-growthspurt, but it normalized and now his head is just right.  I was strangely calm about waiting the month in between appointments after the initial freakout on my birthday. But looking at Vegas, he is just so on-track developmentally that I never thought that there would be a problem.  He is hitting all his milestones and very emotionally engaged.  Sometimes I just look at him and get weepy thinking about how fast this baby will 'grow up' compared to my first sweetheart.  Vegas is already making the sign for milk whenever he gets hungry, and he's able to play games with us and relate so well.  Things that Little Man took so long to do, and sometimes still can't do.  

Hubs and I have had many talks lately about how strange it will be to have a little person around that is able to listen and repeat things, and eventually communicate more complex wants than simply food and TV.  How weird it will be as Vegas grows and surpasses the level that his big brother is at. We've discussed how we will have to parent Vegas who will be able to understand things like time-outs and reason (and bribes), and how one day he will ask us why he is treated differently than Little Man.  We want to be the best parents that we can be - as I assume most parents do.  But really everything we know about parenting has been about what works for our one-in-a-million kiddo. Our kid that doesn't fit in any box or diagnosis, who struggles with so many things but has surprised us with his achievements over and over again.  To be clear though, we don't ever discuss all this and think that parenting Vegas will be so much easier or better - just different.

My love for Little Man is unconditional.  If he never communicates well with us or becomes potty trained (but please baby Jesus, help us potty train this child!), it won't lessen how much I love his snuggles, his laugh, and his cold little feet in my lap. It won't change that he is my first true love, the little man who taught me everything I know about selflessness and made me a Mommy for the first time. But can we real-talk here?Things are tough with him right now, really really tough.  It's hard to wake up every morning raving about this unconditional love I feel for him when I'm cleaning up another spilled diaper, or giving a third bath that day, or encouraging him to eat something besides his safe foods.  It is much easier to rave on Facebook about the smiles from Vegas and how he is tasting solid foods for the first time, than it is to try and get my five year old to stop and pose for a picture after he's screamed for 45 endless minutes. Without stopping.  Have I mentioned there seems to be no earthly reason?

As we go through this rough patch with Little Man, I know it will all settle down eventually.  We've gone through some crazy months of things before, and they always iron themselves out.  I think it is especially hard this time because things are so simple with Vegas right now that it almost magnifies the issues Little Man is having.  I'm sure there will be times in the future where this situation is reversed.  But right now I think we just need the support of family and friends, and maybe a little luck.

 This took forever to edit.  I had a lot I wanted to get across and am still not sure I did it all justice. Sorry if the train-of-thought is chaotic!

Monday, February 3, 2014

I've got NO problems with the rain

Seriously, none.  If it rained for a week instead of snowing one more day, I'm one hundred percent okay with that.  Having Little Man at home and off his normal school schedule is a train wreck waiting to happen. Plus the cleanup is a little ridiculous...

Our evil beloved cat Maximus is just waiting to be squeezed
And check out those teeth marks on the back of the toy box.  Yep, that used to be up in his room before we realized he was slowly crushing the plastic into sharp points.

Baby Vegas' face has slowly been healing up the past few days.  I mentioned his eczema a few posts ago, which had been kind of awful at his last doctor's appointment.  It must have been itching him because suddenly he woke up one morning covered in scratches and it looked terrible.
This wasn't even the worst it ended up looking. Ughhh!
We started using Aquaphor on the advice of his pediatrician and it has worked miracles!  His face has completely cleared up and he is back to having cute chubby baby cheeks again - no steroids necessary. It is a double bonus because we are planning on starting solids in the next few days.  The pediatrician also warned that eczema was one of those possible indicators of allergic reaction to foods, so I am glad we're starting with a clean slate.  He has had a tiny bite of carrot puree and he absolutely hated the experience (or possibly carrots) so it hasn't been a crazy rush to push solids.  As Hubs said, "If that face is what solid food tastes like, I'd never eat again."

I let Hubs take the photos and he missed the best faces.
Next time Mommy gets the camera!
This past weekend was insanely busy. Friday we headed to Babies R Us looking for two big ticket items after trading in two expired car seats we'd been holding onto for the trade-in sale.  If Vegas was a few months younger I think we would've gotten the 4Moms rocker thing, it was so mesmerizing Hubs could not walk away from the demo.  Instead we got a Graco MyRide 70 for my car, and a jogging stroller for the springtime that with clearance and coupons we ended up getting for half-price!  We always underestimate how long it takes us to pick out any baby item, and so our "quick trip" ended up being closer to 3 hours!! We looked at our watches and realized we'd have to drop everything and race home to meet Little Man's school bus! Luckily my amazing father-in-law was home and dropped what he was doing to pick up Little Man... Having family live so close is awesome, I don't know what we'd do without them.

Then Saturday was one of my favorite couple's baby shower, and we took both boys.  Vegas was a big hit, and loved getting loved on by all the mommas at the party.  He is such a quiet and observant little guy, he just sat on laps and looked around until he fell asleep.  Little Man on the other hand pretty much stayed in the corner watching his DVD with Hubs (he is such a champ). We made it three hours before Little Man's DVD player died and then he was done with the party - which was to be expected and we were very proud of him.

Originally thought we'd head to a Superbowl party on Sunday, but Little Man was so worn out from the day before we didn't want to push it.  He spent a lot of the morning tantruming and feeling out-of-sorts, and had a couple of meltdowns before we ended up convincing him it was time for a late nap.  The only tough part about trying to socialize him more is that sometimes we push him too hard and we end up paying for it the next day.  Huge changes in routine just don't sit well with him.  Which brings us full circle to my first point - I'll take weeks of rain over random days off of school for snow ANYTIME.  This kid loves his routine, and Momma loves her sanity!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1, 2, 3, 4, I declare it Bed Wars

Holy bed-war Batman, it's been hellish out here at night.

Between an unscheduled week off school from snow and me down for the count with a stomach bug, Little Man has had some serious backsliding with bedtime.  In all honesty, it isn't really even backsliding so much as a new way he's circumventing our attempts to keep his diaper on at night - but it is really awful.  Awful to the point where last night I was in tears, and that was just after one incident.  The night before we had 3, count 3 separate outfit changes and cleanups.  That means 3 attempts at scrubbing the carpet and checking for ick, 3 pajama sets in the washer, 6 new pieces of duct tape to try and keep his diaper on, and 1 big load of nasty laundry.  And poor Vegas was just being a normal baby and had a couple up-the-backs which meant a whopping 5 nasty diapers in less than 2 hours.  Sesame Street has nothing on how much counting I've been doing lately.

I'm just beyond frustrated because there doesn't seem to be light at the end of this tunnel. I am upset that I find this whole situation so overwhelming that sometimes I just snap or cry at Hubs because otherwise I would be fighting with a little boy who can't fight back.  There is no logic in being angry at Little Man, because even as you're sitting there using the mom-voice-of-disappointment, he is humming and laughing in his own little world.  Yelling at him doesn't work either.  He'll cry for a minute because he's startled by the noise, and then once the yelling is done he's back to himself.  And I just get even more upset at myself because yelling at him seems just mean and useless when it is so clear he has no idea why I'm yelling.  So most nights its just another tired "Buddy why did you do this again?"... then we tag-team cleaning up the mess and the kid.
I cannot wait for this stage to be past us.  I cannot wait for a solution to appear to this crazy problem.

Besides Little Man's bed issues, Baby Vegas is going through his own sleep problems.  Nothing major, he is just suddenly much more restless at night and wakes up searching for his pacifier every two hours or so.  It just means one of us has to walk in, give him the binky and a pat on the belly, and he's back to sleep.  This has only been the last 3 or 4 nights, so I'm thinking it's teeth or a growth spurt.  Again, it's not anything to complain about but combined with the fact that Little Man's diapers are making us insane it's been a little rough here at night.

So please forgive my yawns - this war is slow and seems neverending.





Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An Average Birthday

I wasn't expecting much out of my birthday this year.  It fell on a Monday, and that just seemed gloomy already. Being an adult means doing stupid adult things on your birthday too, so I scheduled a well-visit for Little Man knowing full well I'd have to bring Vegas along for the ride. But I honestly wasn't expecting the day to be as chaotic as it was...
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We wake up bright and early - Vegas had gone to bed an hour earlier so he is up and ready to play at 6:30 AM.  Little Man is also up and had a late night diaper so he gets tossed into the tub for a morning swim.  By the time he leaves for school at 8:30, he has managed to exhaust himself with a 20 minute tantrum while waiting for the bus.  I just keep wiping the tears and his nose with a towel and waving to the cars as they pass our driveway.  I toss him to the bus para with a cheery "Someone has a case of the Mondays!" and think that was that.

We are out of breakfast food so I scarf down a fruit cup and 1/4 cup of coffee while I give Vegas his bath.  Then it is time to call Medicaid to make sure Little Man is cleared for his visit.  56 minutes of beautiful elevator music later, I am told that I called the wrong number, and to try another.  Efffffff.  But hey, I manage to put together a pot roast for dinner that night while on hold!

Of course then I realize that I am going out to dinner with my mother that night. Pot roast is already cooking.  Oh well.  I guess Tuesday's dinner is done.

Then I finally reach the proper number for Little Man's health insurance.  I didn't need to call them. I throw the phone in disgust.  Thank you Otterbox for your brilliant phone-saving design.

I play some phone tag with mother and Hubs to set up birthday dinner.  Already so exhausted I don't feel like going out that evening. But it's my goddamn birthday.  Plans are made.

My turn for a shower.  Then I have just enough time to do the dishes before I gather up Vegas and a bag full of necessities to pick up Little Man from school.

Little Man is waiting for me in the office, half-asleep with dark circles under his eyes. He falls asleep the minute we get in the car.  Then I realize I've given us too much time to get from the school to the doctor.  I decide that dieting isn't as important as I thought.  I scarf down a 'lunch' of fries hoping that Little Man won't wake up and demand half of them.

I strap Vegas in his Ergo and Little Man in the too-small umbrella stroller.  The diaper bag of snacks and DVDs goes on my shoulder. I have to tilt the stroller so Little Man is lying flat and he won't drag his feet on the ground and tip out. I drop both the diaper bag and Little Man's shoes on the way in to the office. Twice.

I race into the doctor's office.  Little Man is transferring to Vegas' pediatrician for my sanity and to put less mileage on our cars.  His former pediatrician was in the city 2 1/2 hours away.  I could never get in touch with her, not to mention that "dropping in" for a quick visit was never possible.

New Doc refuses to care for Little Man without approval from Old Doc.  I calmly explain that Old Doc is missing, presumed dead (or transferred to her specialty, going to a clinic meant they were just biding time til they left to make the big bucks).  Frazzled and confused secretary then suggests that maybe I can call them to transfer records?  Of course when I set up this appointment 2 months ago, I was told to "just bring an insurance card and the patient."  I don't have their number in my phone.  Maybe I can call the school for his records, since they have a copy too?  As I pull out my phone to look up the number, it dies. Phone revenge. Hubs has misplaced my car-charger so it is dead until I get home in several hours.  Little Man will not be seen today, sorry.

I decide this visit will not be in vain.  After some shuffling, Vegas can be seen today, and Little Man will take his appointment tomorrow.  Brilliant.  I just have to pick him up early from school again, and repeat this part of the day tomorrow. I am tired just thinking about it.

Our visit is pretty routine. Vegas has a horrible eczema patch on his face that has been bugging him for several days.  If by bugging him, I just have been avoiding taking photos of that side of his face, while he continues to be the world's happiest baby.  Doc wants that taken care of with steroid cream, which I inform him will not be happening. He seems displeased but I don't have the time to care. We breeze through immunizations and then an extra head measurement, because of my paranoia.  Each time he goes in for a well-visit both the doctor and the nurse measure his head, because of Little Man's medical history.  They think I'm neurotic, but I don't really care.  

Suddenly he informs me that Vegas' head is now "too big".  It used to be on the smaller side, then it was average, and now it is above-average on the growth charts.  Good ole' Doc is slightly absentminded, and he doesn't remember why I like the extra head measurements, so as he is saying this I am running through scenarios in my head.  He lists off a bunch of things that a big head might mean, from the mundane to the H-word, and what to look for in Vegas.  When I mention Little Man's history again, he whips out his tape measure and starts comparing my head to Vegas'.  He measures Vegas' head again too. My head is average sized, his head is still above-average.  Now I am instructed to take the tape measure home and hope that Hubs has a huge head.

I hold it together until we're home, and then I bawl.  Baby Vegas is practically perfect in every way.  He is alert, happy, reaching his milestones, and really freakin' cute.  I cannot imagine there is something wrong with him.  I know in my heart that whatever could be wrong, it isn't Little Man all over again.  It would be different.  Right?  I allow myself some time to freak out until Hubs gets home from work and I tell the story to him.  To him, I remain calm and slightly detached and try to think positive thoughts.  I don't know if it works so well, but there is no time to dwell on it, because we have 30 minutes to get the kids in the car to go to BIRTHDAY DINNER.

I have sangria.  I get a new kitchen appliance. Things start to look a little brighter.  I have a second sangria and some coconut cream pie and things are downright cheery.  Little Man is polite during dinner because there is a loaf of bread on the table.  Vegas sleeps through the entire meal because his shots wore him out. Then we cuddle him and coo over how adorable he is through dessert, and Little Man watches his portable DVD player with his eyes half-shut holding onto Hubs' arm like a pillow.

My birthday is over, and I couldn't be happier to crawl into bed that night.
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In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't the worst birthday in the world.  The time my mother scheduled my wisdom tooth removal the morning after my 21st was definitely worse.  The year I was grounded and missed seeing 'Titanic' with the rest of my friends was emotionally devastating (until I was un-grounded and saw it the week after).  This year I guess it just didn't live up to the hype of being a special day 'just for me'.  Which is the moral of parent/adulthood I suppose - it's not all about you all the time, even when you think it's gonna be all about you.  

On the bright side, I did manage to celebrate the weekend before my birthday with some great friends, and the weekend of the 18th I will celebrate with my sorority sisters and family! My phone and Facebook were filled with amazing people wishing me well and keeping me positive! Things also fell into place the next day which made the day before seem less intense.  Instead of trying to do the doctor's appointment with both kids in tow, my brother-in-law watched the baby while I took care of Little Man.  Then Hubs took care of the house and kids while I went to play practice and had my "me-time".  We even had dinner already prepared because of the pot roast from the day before!

At Little Man's appointment (which was uneventful, for a nice change of pace) we found out that Hubs' head is also average and so if at Vegas' next monthly checkup things don't look more average, he will go see a specialist at Children's Hospital.  While the doctor didn't give me a resounding "things will be fine", he also assured me that Vegas doesn't seem to exhibit any symptoms of neurological problems and this is just a precaution.

So Happy Birthday to me!  The only present I want is a kid with an average sized head.  Send me your good karma, and I'll put it towards a good cause. I'm staying away from Google and WebMD for the next few weeks, and going to relax and enjoy my amazing little guy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Welcome to the New Year! Wrapping up the old one first...

Well it has definitely been a minute or two since I have had a chance to update the blog.  Life has certainly not been dull around here, so I will do my best to make this as concise and interesting as possible!  I'll try to start from where we left off...

Our wedding anniversary dinner in November had the tiniest little hiccup to it.  Ex had promised to pick up Little Man for an overnight visit.  I reminded him multiple times that he needed to be at pickup by 2:00 PM at the latest, so we could make sure we made our dinner reservations.  Somehow between 10:15 PM and the next morning, his car broke down, he lost his phone, and was unable to contact me in any fashion til 3:30 PM.  To say I was livid would probably be abusing the word livid.  In true Ex fashion, he wasn't able to form an apology - but he had plenty of excuses. He insisted that we wait for him to come get Little Man, which would have put pick up time at around 6:00 PM.  Yeah, that wasn't happening.  This was the straw that broke the camel's back for me (and Hubs wisely lets me deal with Ex solo).  We'd given him so many chances over the past year and he just kept letting us down over and over again.  I said some not-so-nice things on the phone to him and told him to get his life together and contact us again when that happened.

That was November 16th and we haven't heard from him since.  No Christmas wishes, no New Years greeting - he has just vanished.  We got a check for $100 he mailed a day after the phone call, but even with that check it puts him behind in child support by 4 digits.  At this point, Hubs and I are just so exhausted with the lies and the excuses that this is almost a relief. While the occasional babysitting was nice (5 times in 8 months), it wasn't worth the amount of work we had to put in to ensure Ex saw Little Man.  I'm not sure what his plans are and whether or not he wants to continue to be in Little Man's life, but at this point if he walks away we aren't planning on chasing him down.

Whew.  So that was a heavy first topic!  Moving on to more fun things - December was jam-packed with activity!  Hubs began his 2 1/2 week vacation by driving us all 16 hours up to my grandparents in Wisconsin!  My grandfather had a pacemaker put in days before we went out, so it was wonderful to get to see him and be assured that he was doing well.  He adores the boys (us grandkids are pretty much chopped liver when the new baby is in the room) and was tickled that we spent a few days with them.  My grandmother has pretty bad Alzheimers so while she enjoyed seeing us too, she was very confused a lot of the time. We spent two days there with my mother and sister and had some great family-bonding time.

The boys are adorable.  The afghans are older than all 3 of them.
Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without a plague of some sort - so Little Man brought some sort of snuffly/coughy/sinus thing from his kindergarten class and passed it around to everyone except Hubs.  That meant not only was everyone cranky and tired for the drive home, but I was utterly useless.  So the drive took much longer and was broken into two parts.  Little Man doesn't sleep in hotels very well, so that was a nightmare within the nightmare.  Lets just say we mostly used the hotel to stretch our legs, because no one was sleeping.
The calm before the storm.
Once we got back, it was almost Christmas!  My mother and sister came down and spent Christmas Eve here, where we did our annual beer tasting and dinner.  I was so excited because last year I had to miss out on all the fun (read; alcohol), and this year I was very ready to relax and have a great night after our hellish drive home.  My sister even cooked dinner, so it was really one of my favorite parts of Christmas. 
Now I'm craving lasagna again.

We got through 2/3 of these and then someone fell asleep feeding the baby so we called it a night.
Don't worry, we had the rest a few days later.

Christmas Day was spent with my Hubs family, which was extra awesome because they live so close to us. His mom cooked (I cannot believe I got out of cooking anything this year!) and then we just relaxed and enjoyed the holiday.  

[Well, Little Man had a bath midway through the evening, but luckily it was after dinner and presents, and it was just family around for that little disaster.  The diaper problem has since been solved, albeit very unconventionally.  Duct tape on the legs of a footie pajama put on backwards with the feet cut off.  It is the only thing working for us right now.  We have several brightly colored rolls of tape to match his pajamas, and we put the tape loosely around the ankle so it keeps him from being able to pull up the pajama leg any higher than his calf.  He still tugs at the diaper but now it can't really be released from the pajama itself, so even in the rare case that he gets it off most of the mess is contained within his pajamas.  Not an ideal solution, but a solution.]

So Christmas came and went, and we were all spoiled rotten.  Of course the boys got everything their little hearts desired, despite Mommy and Daddy only getting them one gift each.  Between grandparents, great-grandparents, and god-parents, these kids will never go naked, hungry, or be bored.  Hubs and I can't complain either - I was so touched at how much thought all our families put into our gifts.  We both said that after this year it will be hard to top the gift we found for our mothers - we made them photo blankets with a collage of the last few years of our family.  I couldn't wait to watch them open them on Christmas and was so close to spilling the beans about them early - luckily UPS made sure they didn't arrive too early and so I was spared having to keep them a secret for too long!

We spent the rest of Hubs vacation partying with friends, having our first New Years Eve as a family, and lazing around the house watching Redbox and Netflix.  Our resolution this new year is to eat more dinners at our table (instead of on the couches in front of the tv), and we've managed to do that... once!  We'll keep trying though.  I also auditioned for a local production of "The Wedding Singer" and received the role of Holly, so these next few months I plan to viciously attack the treadmill and get back on the clean-eating wagon.  One of her lines is about wearing "my skin tight bustier."  Yikes!

On that note, I leave you with Little Man's holiday photos.  I got some taken at Target too but haven't picked them up yet - whoops!  Even though he is such a happy baby, I seem to always catch him being so serious.  Most of our friends have nicknamed him "The Judge-y Baby"... and I'm thinking that might stick.  Happy New Year!
I actually took this because I was laughing at how many people do this pose because of Pinterest.
Then I fell in love with the photo.
Hypocrite.  I can't even apologize, because I like it so much.

This is my favorite Christmas photo ever. Feet.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

There Are All Kinds of Routines

I've found a sweet rhythm in our morning routine.  We wake up at 7:30. Well, to be clear I wake up at 7:30, poor Hubs is already out the door for work by then!  I get the Little Man dressed and set up with cereal and his tv show, or he gets therapy if it is a Wed/Thurs, then I feed Vegas his morning bottle.  He is sleeping from 10:30 to 7:30 now that he is in his big boy crib which means we're all enjoying a fairly good night's sleep. By the time Vegas finishes eating, it is time to get some teeth brushed, face washed, and throw the lunch I've packed the night before into Little Man's backpack. Then we walk down the driveway to wait for the bus.  I usually bring the rest of his breakfast with us and he happily eats that while we watch the other neighborhood kids walk to their bus stop and leave for school.  I savor this short wait with my happy Little Man, when he wants nothing more than to giggle and run around with me, where his patience and energy level are usually the best they will be all day.

I come inside and watch Colbert and Stewart while having my coffee and breakfast, and then its time for chores and catching up on whatever I missed last night on the internet.  Once a week, usually Tuesday or Wednesday, I go grocery shopping.  But our daytime is fairly quiet and blissfully uneventful.  Vegas is an easygoing baby, and aside from his tendency to only nap in 15-20 minute increments, is an absolute dream.  He's either swinging, eating, or hanging out in his gym.  Or getting snuggled on - I'd missed having a squishy little baby around!

His easy nature is helpful, because Little Man has become a total pill at night for the past few weeks.  Maybe it is the loss of naptime now that he is in school.  Maybe it is the realization that home is not nearly as structured as school, and that he can push boundaries here with us.  Whatever it is, after school is now the most stressful time of Little Man's day.  That means that from 4:45 - 9:30 is usually the most stressful part of MY day, because there is certainly no perfect rhythm to our after school/nighttime routines.

Once Little Man gets off the bus, he is usually so exhausted that I walk/drag him up the driveway and get his coat and leg brace off to settle down for afternoon snack.  He is also always ravenously hungry (which is weird, I know they have snacks at school and he has a huge lunch), and flips out if snack and dinner don't come in quick succession.  Every time I step into the kitchen, he panics and immediately needs to be given a snack.  If I tell him that there is no junk food til after dinner, it is full out tantrum time.  His tantrums have gotten so bad that he now does the typical toddler "lay down and flail around kicking" thing - with a few added special kid bonuses.  He smacks his chest so hard that he leaves bruises and scratches all over himself.  Sometimes he pinches at the skin on his neck.  He cries so hard that he loses his voice.  He chews on the feet or zipper of his pajamas.  He intersperses tantrums with flopping down onto Daddy or Mommy to just cuddle for a few minutes.  Or watching his shows.  Or chewing on toys.

Needless to say after a few hours of these kind of tantrums we are excited for bedtime.  We put him upstairs in his room and he usually settles right down to sleep.  The problem now is that there is literally nothing we can do to keep his diaper and pajamas on anymore.  Nothing.  He has no problem at all if he stays dry.  But if he pees and wakes up wet he takes off his pajamas and diaper and goes back to sleep naked, and this happens at least twice a week.  Even with an extra fastener to keep the zipper closed, he just hulks out of the zipper and rips the pajamas open, leaving the fastener on top and wearing the pajamas like a cape.  This routine means a setback in the morning - an early morning half-asleep bath and frantic scramble to be ready for the day.  But this is actually a best case scenario if I walk into the room and see the jammies off.

God forbid the kid makes a dirty diaper. This almost always happens at night before he falls asleep for good. I have no words to describe how disgusting it is to clean up a full sized boy's diaper, when all you want to do is crawl in bed and pass out in exhaustion.  Give me all the baby diaper blowouts in the world - they don't even phase me anymore. The tough part is that it doesn't matter what we do - we can check on Little Man every half-hour after bed, and the kid will magically poop the second our back is turned.  It takes all my energy not to flip out at him and scream.  Logically I know that the reason he takes off his diaper is because its gross to sit in a dirty diaper.  I understand that to him, it is off and now he is happy and wait, why is Mommy so angry that I am 'clean' and dry?   And now, he gets a late night bath.  HURRAY everything is awesome in Little Man's world!  Mommy and Daddy are the ones bleary-eyed scrubbing the bedroom and kidlet at 10:30.

This is my most dreaded of all our routines. We have a lifetime supply of Resolve and Lysol wipes and Clorax spray thanks to Costco.  The washer does a nighttime load and in the morning we throw a soggy pile of bedclothes into the dryer.  We move through these motions on autopilot.  We applaud ourselves on the nights we find Little Man in the process of tearing open the pajamas, we sigh in exasperation on the nights we miss our window.  There are half-hearted lectures to Little Man about never doing this again and a stern goodnight and back to bed.  Then Vegas finally gets his moment of peace and quiet (because Little Man usually goes back to sleep after removing a diaper, and is very. upset. at being woken up to be cleaned up), and we scarf down a late bottle before being tucked into bed.

Routine.  It's all routines at this point.  Some of them I like more than others.