Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rocking Our Worlds

Some wise soul told me when I was pregnant with Graham that having two kids is not twice as hard, it is exponentially harder...she was right! I often feel like this blog should be sunshine and roses highlighting all the good stuff, but we also have quite a few, shall we say teachable moments. Graham is starting to exert his will now that he is no longer a baby, but on the cusp of toddler-hood. He is also sprouting a handful of teeth (possibly molars, or eye teeth- they are so swollen it is hard to tell, but two bits of tooth broke through the night of his birthday). He fights diaper changes, getting in the car seat, and God forbid his turn on the swing comes to an end (his protests come complete with the arching of the back and throwing himself about like a fish out of water). On the other hand, I went to a talk today on Preschoolers at a local Church with an onsite nursery (free!) and I was able to leave him at the nursery for a little over an hour with not one bit of protest. The nursery school teachers gushed about how smiley and cuddly he was. Refreshing after Gwen's drop offs at preschool. The honeymoon ended her 4th day at school (so week 2). I think because she learned that Graham and I go to Gymkids... without her, her little world was rocked. Not only does she have a life outside the family now, but Mama and baby brother have a life away from her. I thought we were going to have to quit the program, her screaming and crying was so intense, it must not be a good fit, right? Today Spencer dropped her off and not a tear was shed. At Back To School night this evening her teachers said she participates in class, has friends that she regularly plays with, and even though she is one of the youngest, appears to be one of the most mature. That is the Gwen I know. Every day after school she talks enthusiastically about what she did, so it is a good fit, just a rough transition (for me and her). I have really been struggling trying to be a cool, calm collected Mama who responds thoughtfully to her children's undesired behavior, keeps a tidy home, and prepares organic well balanced meals from scratch. The children of course take priority number one, then food, then housecleaning...but what about Mama? Let's not forget Spencer either. Spencer joined a bowling league with work so he has one night a week to do his thing, and I now have a different free night too. I went to the movies last week and am getting a massage this week. One thing we have learned is a happy Mama is a good thing for everyone. But one thing I have realized, is a two hour break once a week isn't enough for me to keep it together on a daily basis. So, we are considering getting a house cleaner, and I have a consultation scheduled at The Parent's Place to hopefully gain some insight and skills into how to respond better to the behaviors that are making me feel crazy. I hope she rocks my world, in a good way.

There is a longer video of Graham on his birthday with us singing, but this is the brief one where he shows of his sign for milk (after indulging in a little cupcake), waves bye-bye, and says good night.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Graham!

Graham was born one year ago today! What an amazing day that was, and every day since has been incredible (in various ways). He is almost walking; standing hands free, walking holding onto hands, cruising. He is talking a little; Mama, Dada, uh-oh, sometimes hi, sometimes bye, and nigh-nigh when he goes to bed. I am suspicious he is calling Gwen Neh-Neh (I often call her Gwen-Gwen or Gwenie at home). He crawls around the house calling out Neh-Neh, Neh-Neh. He points and waves, does the sign for milk and all done, and is starting to grasp the sign for more (claps his hands). He still nurses like a newborn at night, but eats most foods. I thought he didn't want to be spoon fed anymore, but have since discovered he likes the consistency of chunky puree, but the flavor of adult food (and is a huge fan of quinoa). He has been such a cuddly baby, and continues to be super sweet leaning in for kisses and hugs, resting his head on your shoulder. Now that big sister is in preschool two mornings a week, Graham and I have been going to Gymkids. He is the youngest in the class, and it is during his naptime so there is some crankiness and nursing, but he loves playing with all the different sized balls, and watching the other children climb and play (all 12-18 months old, but Graham is the only non-walker). I am so glad he gets to have this time with me and with the other kids his own age. He is such an amazing little man, and I can't wait to see more of his personality blossom in his second year. Happy Birthday Graham!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama's Little School Girl

Gwen had her first day of preschool today all by herself! It went well. We made it to school on time, she was a little shy meeting her teacher, but was excited about sitting at an activity table. I signed her in while she sat and colored. When I went to check in with her she had already moved to the play dough table. I asked her if I should leave or stay a few minutes, and she said leave, so I did. Around noon I got a very confusing call from her school asking me if I had dropped her off this morning, or if I had since picked her up. Then the call got cut off. I called them back and said I did not have her with me, and Teacher Vivian, bless her heart, asked if I could come help them find her. She called me within 5 minutes to say she figured out where Gwen was and that I didn't have to come and get her and sorry for the confusion. I was still very confused but glad Gwen was where she was supposed to be and apparently nothing had happened. At school when I picked her up I found out she had put another name tag on, a little girl named Madeline who wasn't in school today. When the teacher (who has a bit of a Chinese accent) asked her, "Is your name Madeline?" Gwendolyn said yes. Thus thoroughly confusing the teacher and her aid. It wasn't until they looked up her paperwork that has a photo of each child that they confirmed Gwen was not missing. Gwen seemed to have a good day. When I went to pick her up I saw her sitting on the floor with the other children listening to the teacher, and then she lined up near the door and waited patiently for me (all the parents line up outside and single file in the room to sign out their child and then help gather their things). She had a necklace of cheerios with the name Madeline tied to it, a piece of coloring (everything was colored with short intense brown strokes), and a skinned knee. She was very grateful to for the sandwich I brought her to eat on the way home (she inhaled it) and was clearly ready for her nap. On the drive home she told me she played with another girl. When I asked her if she would like to go back to school some time, she lit up and said, yes! I could be sad about my little baby girl growing up, but I am so happy for her and amazed at the little girl she has become.