Category Archives: Baby Genius

our sweet, sweet boy

BG has long been an affectionate boy, but he is even more so lately. He especially loves hugging J and I together. He has these moments when one of us is holding him and he gathers his other mom in to join the love fest that inevitably lasts a few minutes. It’s the best feeling. He’ll hug back and forth, all the while saying “Awwww,” and then he’ll pucker up for kisses from each of us.

Yesterday, he took this family love fest to a whole new level. J and I were working through a problem, and because we’re both emotional people, we were crying a little. It was a very low-key exchange, but we were emoting. BG had been playing by himself, but he saw us and decided to come over where we were. He picked up his big stuffed bear, whom he loves to hug, and then he asked to get up on my lap. I picked him up, and he indicated he wanted me to hug Bear, so I hugged Bear. He then hugged me with bear, and then, he grabbed for J and pulled her in for a big family hug with Bear in the middle. It was such a lovely moment, and we were awed by our boy’s sensitivity.

But then he did something that blew us away. As usual, he puckered to kiss each of us, so we both kissed him. But then he placed one of his hands on each of our faces, and he pulled our faces toward each other so that we would kiss. We did, and he continued to hug us together. We both wept.

I’m in awe of this moment. I know I’m biased and I’m inclined to think my child is special, but he really is. He’s got such a big heart, and he is already so beautifully empathetic. I only hope we can continue to foster this in him.

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oh, wise internets, can you please help?

I have a confession: my son has never once slept from night until morning. Oh, sure, he’s slept for a five-hour stretch–the technical “sleeping through the night”–a handful of times, but when it comes to truly sleeping through the night, it’s been a no-go for sixteen months. Nearly a year ago, I started bringing him into bed with me more of the night so that our family could get some sleep. And as you may have guessed, while this no longer resulted in the frequent ups and downs, it was the beginning of a new habit: the all-night nurse-a-thon.

But we’re ready for that to change. It needs to change. I have a sneaking suspicion that if BG weren’t nursing all night, he’d actually sleep for longer stretches.

So this is where you, wise readers, come in. We’re ready for night weaning and getting BG to stay in his bed for the majority of the night. His current schedule looks like this:

7:00pm: BG goes to bed (nurses down).

10:00pm-ish: BG wakes up wanting to nurse and then goes back to his bed.

12:30-1:30: BG wakes up again, wanting to nurse, and more often than not joins me in the bed and does not go back to his own bed. He often nurses off and on most of the night, and while his wake-ups are very brief, they are plentiful.

6:30am: BG is awake for the day.

So, keeping in mind that we’re not going to be doing any cry-it-out in his crib by himself (it just doesn’t work for any of us), do you have any advice? What sort of night weaning worked for you or others you know? How do you get a sixteen-month-old to understand that “Na-Na” isn’t gone for ever; it’s just gone at night?

Thanks in advance for your valued advice. We are so desperate.

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home home home

We recently taught our boy what “home” is, so any time we are out and about and we want to help him see that our activities are coming to an end, we can say, “Do you want to go home?” and he will chant “Home! Home! Home!” There have been times when he has done this without any prompting, and it warms me to hear it. Today, before leaving my parents’ house, I asked Baby Genius, “Do you want to go home?” And he beamed as if he had forgotten briefly that there was such a thing, and through his sweet smile said, “Home.”

So today we came home. We are all relieved and happy to be here.

Our holidays out of town were, in a word, chaotic. We spent the whole time at my mom and step-dad’s place beginning with Christmas Eve when we celebrated with the whole family. Our family dynamic has changed so much in the past two and a half years when my sister added the first grandchild to the mix. Now my brother, my sister, and I all have kids, and it’s a very different experience gathering together. Most of us are busy kid-wrangling, so the conversations aren’t as leisurely as they once were, and my mom, as sweet as she is, doesn’t see that we’re grown-ups who don’t need a bunch of gifts to be happy, so she overdoes it with gifts for us, and she overdoes it with gifts for the grandkids, and so much time is spent unwrapping that little time is left just for being in each other’s company.

But it is fun to see the kids together, and next year, when they’re 1, 2, and 3, it’s going to be especially joyful. BG loves his two-year-old cousin and will hug her and let her kiss him endlessly–until she gets overbearing (and she inevitably does). He loves to touch the baby’s head and call him “Behbeh.” It is so sweet to imagine these kids growing up together, yet I do wonder how it will be; all of them are being raised so differently. At the same time, staying at my mom’s with my sister and her child (as well as my sister’s new boyfriend) was not the warm family time I had hoped for. The two-year-old requires a great deal of attention, and my sister wanted to devote her attention to nearly everything else but her daughter. Tantrums and mayhem ensued. We found ourselves retreating to our room with BG on more than one occasion to listen to some quiet music and escape the chaos. By the time we left today, I know my poor parents were more than ready for an empty home, and yet my sister lingered. There is little that annoys me more than lazy parenting, and my sister is the laziest of parents who expects everyone around her to care for her child once she arrives and until she leaves. Consequently, BG gets little time with his grandparents, whom he sees far less frequently than the two-year-old does. It sucks.

Imagine my “delight” when my sister told my parents she’d be staying a third night. We were ready to get the hell out of there. Alas, that would not be our fate. We originally wanted to come home yesterday, but J caught a nasty stomach bug which laid her flat all day yesterday and last night. BG caught it late last night as well, so I spent a good many hours cleaning up vomit–off of me, off of him, off of the floor and the bathtub. At one point, I was draped in towels from head to foot as I snuggled the poor boy wrapped in a towel for a blanket. Yeah, it was that kind of night. Glamorous it was not.

Fortunately, today everyone was well enough to head home, so we trudged through the packing while the two-year-old threw tantrum after tantrum because she wasn’t getting the attention she needed. J and BG sequestered themselves in our room while my mom helped me pack the car, and we finally got out of there. I asked BG as we pulled down the driveway, “Do you want to go home, sweet boy?”

“Home! Home! Home!” was his reply.

“Let’s go home then,” J and I said.

And getting home, seeing his face light up as he saw that we were headed up our stairs, hearing him chant, “Home, home, home” as we neared the door, made all of that chaos melt away. Nothing feels quite so good as coming home after being away–except for seeing that through one’s child’s eyes as well. We may not love this apartment or this town, but it is home, and it’s damn good to be here.

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virgo emerging

My son is a Virgo, as am I. While I am not  one to place much weight on the various stereotypes associated with astrological signs, I can’t deny that there are some very Virgo-esque traits that we see him developing, primarily in the neat and tidy realm.

Examples:

Clean laundry belongs in laundry baskets. Laundry that has been folded and placed in piles belongs back in the laundry basket. He is not satisfied until every last piece is in the basket (and he chants, “In! In! In!” as he does this). Unfortunately, because he has yet to master the art of keeping clothes folded, this means clothes/diapers/towels go back into the laundry baskets  in whichever state he is able to get them there–translation: unfolded.

Cabinet doors must be closed. If a cabinet door is left open, it must be closed immediately. Baby Genius will always take care of this.

Similarly, I have a water bottle with a pop-up lid. That lid should be closed. If found open, Baby Genius will close it.

When bath time is taking place, certain toys are played with in certain quadrants of the bathtub. Near the end of bathtime, the little bath puppet crocodile must be placed back on the faucet, and the stacking cups must be neatly stacked.

On a more personal note, when Baby Genius switches sides while nursing, the other side must be completely tucked away when he continues on the new side. He will stop nursing and work to cover me up if he finds that I haven’t done so in a timely manner.

And perhaps our very favorite practice of our tidy boy:

Toys belong in the toy baskets. When Baby Genius is finished playing with his toys, he has begun placing every last one back in his toy basket. This is a new and beautiful development. We can only hope it will continue.

As you can see, we either have an emerging Super-Virgo neat freak or an emerging case of OCD. Either way, how can you not love this kid?

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one of those days

Some days with a toddler are just hard.

BG was super whiney and clingy today, but he was crabby too. I would give him food only for him to throw it on the floor or smack it out of my hand. Picking him up helped, but if I had to put him down for any reason, he flipped out. Diaper changes were crazed, arched-back fits. And then after nearly every diaper change, he would remove his diaper inside of his clothes.

Meanwhile, he wanted to nurse what seemed like every five minutes, but he has also bit me on both sides recently, so I’m in some pain, and I don’t feel like being constantly available today for nursing.

But of course you know where this is headed. During one of these diaper changes, as he was crying with his mouth wide open, I took a look at his gums. I knew one molar was on its way, but it seems one has broken through where I hadn’t seen even a speck of a bump, and its mate has created this insanely huge bump where the tooth has not yet emerged. The poor boy. I hope this thing pokes through soon. Between the biting and the crying and the clinging and the overall toddlerness, I’m at my wit’s end, and I’m guessing he is too.

Fortunately, I have a fabulous wife, who despite having oodles of end-of-semester grading to do has given me break after break today and put smiles on our boy’s face to boot.

Tomorrow is another day. It will be better. It will.

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i prefer an alarm clock

Our son has an interesting new affectation. He has long loved the word “up,” but he has only recently realized that “up” can mean that one of his moms gets up from a sitting or lying position and can thus be an order. For the past few days, this has meant that when we are sitting around with him on our laps, he will sometimes pull up on our clothes while saying “Up” quite sternly in an attempt to get us to stand up with him. It has been fairly amusing but harmless. He usually just wants to dance.

Imagine my surprise, though, when at 6:15 this morning, my son, apparently wide awake and bored of my sleeping, grabbed my shirt, jerked upward, and shouted “UUUUUUUUUP! UUUUUUUUUUUUUP!” He did this every few minutes until 6:45 came around and I finally relented.

Up indeed.

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thankful for our toddler

Thanksgiving at home was a success–except for the fact that by the time we ate dinner, which was BG’s normal dinner time, he was totally spent and positively disinterested in the food we made (oh, and it was good). So he had rolls with butter and we pulled out the ever-trusty veggie burgers and gave him one of those. He did, however, have a few bites of pumpkin cheesecake. I don’t think he’s ever eaten anything sweetened with much of any sugar before, so he was at first a little taken aback by the sweetness and really puckered with each bite. Then he sort of dug in and loved it. We aren’t really supposed to be giving him any dairy, but for today, we let it slide a little.

I think the big issue is that he has his first molar coming in. It looks so nasty! It’s this enormous bump, and I can’t help but gawk at it when his mouth is open. I hope it comes quickly; unfortunately, this boy is a slow teether, so it could still be another couple of weeks. Poor guy.

We’ve been dealing with a lot of erratic toddler behavior as a result of the teething too. Last night, we were singing, and I was dancing him around, and he reached for my face  and bit me so incredibly hard that my jaw is literally bruised and swollen from it. He has done this two or three times in the past, and it’s always around some pretty horrific teething. It’s moments like these that we’re probably lucky he’s not in daycare, lest he bite some other child’s ear off or something.

But amidst this toddler behavior is a lot of good. For instance, today, we went for a long walk through these lovely hills covered in oaks, and lots of others were out walking their dogs. BG greeted each one with, “Hi Di-Di! Di Di!” (Di-Di = dog) as he kicked his legs excitedly. This boy loves dogs so much that he often laughs uncontrollably when they’re in his presence, and now that he can greet them, he seems even more pleased. I wish we could get him a puppy so that the two of them could gnaw on each other.

I don’t know where I’m going with any of this. I’m tired and full and happy to have had a day with my family, even if my baby is turning into a little wolverine.

Coherent thoughts to come tomorrow. For now, a glass of wine, some TV with the wife, and then sleep.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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the trenches

We are living in the trenches right now. Yesterday, it was essential to try to keep BG still. His cold had settled into his chest, and his breathing was so labored. Any time he so much as crawled three feet, the poor guy was horribly winded, and yet he couldn’t stop moving. We wore him in the Ergo a lot, even tried to watch TV with him, despite our vows not to (didn’t matter, he wasn’t at all interested because he had so many things to do!), anything to keep him still. Today, he seems to feel quite a bit better, but he’s still got the crankiness of someone who doesn’t feel well, and to top it off, I spotted something very alarming in his mouth–further back, there is a gigantic bump, the tell-tale sign of his first molar coming through.

So, because the boy is sick and because his mouth likely hurts like hell, he won’t eat. Today, he ate mostly bread products and yogurt. I made him his favorite potato-leek soup, and it may as well have been a bowl of paint because he flung the spoon back at me. He normally loves pasta but wanted nothing to do with that. We can barely get him to eat fruit, which he loves. It’s painful. I mean, he has adopted the fickle eating habits of your average one-year-old, but when he’s interesting in nothing more than bread and yogurt, we know we’re in crisis mode, and that’s where we are.

He also won’t sleep. Our usual attempts to get him to sleep are failing right and left. He’s always been a bad sleeper, but he is fighting any sleep whether naps or nighttime. Tonight it took him over an hour to get him to go to sleep, and he spent the bulk of this time screaming and kicking at us all the while trying to cling to our necks to stay upright lest he accidentally fall asleep on his side. He’s going be very angry with himself when he wakes up.

On top of this, my poor wife is suffering from insomnia. No mother of a toddler needs insomnia. It’s a cruel, cruel thing to ask someone to endure. She is being such a trooper. I love her for this.

Please gods, send us a rope ladder; we want to climb out of this.

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one small step

Baby Genius took his first solo step today. It was a single step as he was transferring between me and J, but a step it was, and we are celebrating. All day he has been doing sort of a downward dog pose, so he clearly is ready to start trying to stand on his own. I predict he will be toddling within a month.

It’s terrifying, really, to think my son will soon be mobile on two feet. His crawling has been very efficient–and fast–so mobility is not something I’m unfamiliar with, but walking is just different, isn’t it? It just reeks of independence, autonomy, and is decidedly unbaby.

J and I are so unbelievably proud of this boy who meows at the cats, sings “lalala” along with this favorite songs, and who is now trying his hardest to walk. He’s so awesome, and I am so grateful that I get to be this little person’s mom.

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the monster

Our vacuum cleaner has long been called “the kitty-eating monster” because all of the cats are terrified of it and hide when they see it come out. Well, it turns out the vacuum cleaner may also be the mommy-eating monster.

Our home was in desperate need of a vacuum today, and I couldn’t wait to do it one day longer, so I decided I would run a quick vacuum while J bathed our boy. I was going as quickly as I could, but I soon heard, “Stop! Turn it off.” My wife had run to the hall to get my attention, and as she and I walked the few steps back to the bathroom, she told me Baby Genius was panicking.

As I entered the bathroom and BG saw me, he made the saddest sad face and burst into tears. According to J, he had been brave until then. She had told him, “It’s okay. You can be a big boy.” And he had been a big boy, but he was panicking, his lip quivering as he repeated over and over again “Up, up, up, up,” which is when she got me to shut the thing off. Seeing me, seeing that I was okay, he just let go and started bawling.

I picked up my drenched, naked boy and held him tight, and then I took him to see the vacuum cleaner. He swatted at it a couple of times, then asked for a drink of water. I took him back to his bath and we all sat there together, and he was fine, especially knowing I hadn’t been eaten.

This isn’t the first time the sound of the vacuum cleaner has freaked our boy out. He always seems convinced that something is happening to me, which is just so sad! I’ve tried running it while J holds him, but that isn’t any better. I think it’s just going to take some time, some age, and some perspective.

So, dear readers, what were your monsters? What are your kids’ monsters?

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