Friday, October 29, 2010

Sharing is NOT Caring

From the mouths of babes (AKA Niall)...

So this is what I get.  Mommy keeps getting on my back about this "sharing" thing, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Well, I am NOT a fan!  I think that other babies or dogs or whoever need to just go get their own toys and stay away from mine- because it ain't workin' out so far.  No way Jose.

I was at Granny Bags' house one day, having a great time with my doggie pal "Amber".  She was giving me the best big, wet kisses and keeping me company next to my playpen when I didn't want to take a nap.  She was such a good friend, I decided to share my passie with her.

Well, forget that!  She didn't know how to use it AT ALL.  She just chewed it up until the sucky part came off and there were just a bunch of teeth marks left in the whole thing.  I tried to tell her that I was done sharing and I wanted it back, but it was too late.  Amber isn't very good at the giving it back part.

I can't even use the thing any more- it doesn't even look like a passie!  I'm going to have to get even by taking one of her doggie treats- they look like they taste pretty good, too.  We'll see how she likes that. 

Mommy says sharing is caring, but sometimes we just don't see eye to eye.  I say poo on sharing.  Hmmf.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tantrum Free Toddlers... or so they say

I guess you could say I'm a bit of a pre-planner (or anal psycho spaz; whichever you prefer).  I just like to be prepared and avoid headaches whenever possible-- what's so weird about that, right?  So I've gotten into the habit of doing things a bit early over the last couple of years.

I was the least pregnant person in my birth class (about 3 months when we started compared to everyone else around 6-7 months); I just finished all of my Christmas shopping this week (mostly online to avoid my inner mall rage); and I bought a discipline book when Niall was 8 months old.

Call me crazy, but that last purchase was the smartest thing I've ever done- I am about 3/4 of the way through this book and I'm wishing I had started even sooner.

I mentioned that Niall has started having some unpleasant little tantrums lately- like scream, hit, kick, grab, arch back so you can't strap me into the high chair, throw my spoon across the room, hold my breath and make my face turn purple tantrums.  Really enjoyable.

It sounds crazy to have to worry about discipline before a year old- or even after a year old.  I was just trying to get ahead and be ready for the terrible twos.  What I didn't realize is that this book is mostly about prevention; feeding the so-called baby meter so that you won't have to deal with so many tantrums.  It makes a lot of sense.

But the discipline part- that's another story.  When I first read this guy's philosophy, I thought he was completely nuts... and my husband said he would never be associated with me if I did any of this in public.  But I'm dead serious- after a few tries of this crazy method (in the privacy of my own home), I believe him!  Now it's just a matter of getting the guts to do it in public.

Get ready to laugh... His suggestion is that you get into character and repeat the toddler's feelings of anger and frustration to show him that you understand what he wants.

Demonstration:  (picture me doing this in the middle of a meltdown at the store with everyone staring at me...)  Toddler starts flipping out because he can't have a candy bar he spots as you're checking out.  You drop down to his eye level- we wouldn't want to be threatening to their fragile egos ;)- and with the same amount of emotion and lots of hand gestures, I would say "Niall want candy bar.  Niall WANT!  NOW!  Niall want candy bar.  Niall MAD.  Mad, mad mad!  Niall says "Mean Mommy!" etc. and then say "but noooo, no candy right now.  How about we play with one of our toys?  Do you want the car or the teddy bear?"

So he ultimately thinks that you need to acknowledge their feelings before offering a distraction (preferably offer options to give them some control), which I get.  It must be very frustrating not being able to communicate well, or even know if your parent understands what you want.  It's just SOOOO embarrassing.  Imagine if it didn't work!  Then, I'd be the ultimate headcase.  Niall would do something like that, too, just to make me look like an idiot.  He's a smart little bugger about that stuff.

But seriously, if your kid is approaching the terrible twos, the concepts in this book really do work.  I am so happy that I got it.  I honestly think I'm going to have to re-read it when I'm done and make some little bullet point lists to use all of the information.  It's called "The Happiest Toddler on the Block," by Harvey Karp, MD. He has used these tactics on his own little tricky patients in the pediatrician's office, so he really knows his stuff.

Does anyone have any other helpful resources or advice for dealing with temper tantrums/ terrible twos?  I'd love to hear them!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pee Wee Herman

A friend of mine pointed out that there's just something about vacations- babies/toddlers always seem to come back home with a new trick.  I guess the new environment just stimulates their little imaginations and helps them to learn new things or accomplish new milestones.  It gives them that extra bit of motivation that they couldn't seem to find at home.

I definitely think she's right.  I've been thinking about it, and Niall came home from South Carolina last Easter (at 4 months old) laughing like a little hyena.  We go to Ocean City (7 months) and he learns how to crawl.  We go to San Diego (9 months) and he can suddenly smile for the camera.  It really seems to be something about these vacations.  He comes home a brand new person. 

Well, this time, he learned to expose himself.  Yes.  I was putting my makeup on in the mirror and could see him clearly in the background.  He likes to stand up in the pack n play these days and just kind of peek his head over to see what's going on.  I swear, the kid didn't move the lower half of his body- but somehow managed to slip his pants off and dangle them over the side of the playpen, like "I don't need these mom"-- with a huge mischievous smile on his face.

And then proceeded to do it again when we got home.  He's not even close to walking and yet he somehow maneuvers his legs out of his pants- while standing up- without so much as losing his balance or wobbling over.  I can barely do that!

Aside from indecent exposure, we did a lot of other exciting stuff throughout the week.  First most important stop: Grotto's Pizza- a must!  Second stop: Kohr Bros pumpkin and cinnamon swirl custard.  Last stop:  a long walk on the beach to attempt to compensate for my gluttony.

Some less exciting firsts included pointing to anything on the ceiling (lights, fans, smoke alarms), as well as a series of his first excruciating temper tantrums.  I mean, WOW, could this possibly be the same boy I was just giggling and cuddling with a week ago??  I'm very nervous about handling the terrible twos.  If this is just the beginning, I don't want to see the end.  Stay tuned ;)

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Wedding at the Beach

So, we made it.  Despite getting off to an ugly interesting start, our mini vacation at the beach really turned around!  The sun came out, it was almost 70 every day, and we finally got to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Our friends couldn't have asked for a better time (or place) to have their wedding.  I have never been to such a beautiful mansion- especially one that is right on the beach.  AMAZING.

Every time I go to a wedding, each one is so different from another, but so perfect for that person.  That's my favorite part.  They all have such special & unique locations, settings, and personal touches.  It's like this seemingly universal event somehow takes on the characteristics of the couple's personalities and lives.

The wedding took place on the balcony overlooking the beach, with the waves crashing in the background.  The reception was partially outside and partially inside of the monster beach house, but still looking out onto the water through the wall to wall windows.

The bride was in this beautiful vintage looking silk dress with a short netted veil, just covering one side of her face.  She looked awesome.  There was a dress up area to take funny pix throughout the night, where my friend and I pretty much had a field day, and they also had a slew of incredibly talented friends and relatives.

First, the maid of honor gave her speech to the tune and fashion stylings of Michael Jackson- she busted out the hat, glove and sunglasses... and proceeded to sing her own version of a medley of MJ songs tailored to the couple.  I wanted to get her autograph and beg her to be my friend. 

Then, her family members rocked the 12 piece band and played a variety of tunes for us to dance to.  And to top it all off, her friend made the most amazing homemade cupcakes- chocolate ganache, red velvet and vanilla funfetti.  Yes please, I'll take one of each... and I did :)

Niall stayed back at our little beach condo, so it was nice to really get to fully enjoy the wedding instead of chasing him around, making sure he didn't knock over the cupcake stand or chew on the iPod hookup.  But we got to do a lot together in the few days before the wedding, so I'll get to that tomorrow :)

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You know you need a break when...

... your "break" turns into a big mountain of stressful experiences. The number of things that have gone wrong in the last 24 hours has GOT to be some kind of sign- and I think that sign is "don't try to mix work with vacation."

Our friends are getting married in Bethany Beach this weekend, so I decided to take a time share opportunity and spend the whole week here. I love wearing a big sweatshirt and comfy pajama pants, just sitting on the beach. And I thought it would be extra fun with Niall.

Long walks on the boardwalk, the cool crisp air, the waves crashing against the shore, and most importantly... the wonderful quiet of the off season. There was just one little teeny bit of work I would be doing- my medical billing at night after he went to bed, and of course, updating my blog (which I don't consider work).

But things just haven't been that easy...
  • There's no internet access, so I've been driving around looking for a place where I can pick up a signal and do some of it during Niall's naps.
  • It's a complete ghost town. Don't get me wrong, I like quiet- but it's hard to even find a place to eat around here! (and it's incredibly eerie)
  • It's been raining or rainy since we got here :(
  • I forgot all sources of entertainment-- there's only so much beach walking I can do without my ipod, and only so much chilling at the house I can do without movies or a book.
  • In preparing for this trip, I boiled a pot of water for Niall's bottles. But I always open the spout and let it boil a minute longer once the kettle starts squealing. Well, since I couldn't hear the squealing, I completely forgot about it and the kettle just about melted into a puddle. I'm totally shocked that the metal part even held together- it was on there for at least an hour. It was the rubber parts that didn't make it. Regardless, I'm throwing the whole thing away. 

  • Nothing really exists here. Every address (including the condo) that I've typed into my GPS won't show up. I have to find a landmark near it and just maneuver my way to the real place. PS- I have NO sense of direction.

  • And my favorite- just before bed last night, I flipped on the TV and saw a trailer for Paranormal Activity 2 with the baby getting dragged against the crib.  So I quickly changed the channel to the news and learned about a couple, 2 miles away from where we are, waking up to 2 armed men standing at the foot of their bed.  They have yet to be found.  We're all by ourselves until Matt gets here Friday, so I slept really well ;)

  • So, anyhoo... here I am at the Kool Bean Cafe (another non-existent address), trying to get a little bit of work done and probably will just cash in for the week after that.

    I don't know why I get such a guilty feeling when I don't write on my blog every day- it's like I'm letting people down, which is ridiculous. So I'm letting myself off the hook this week. We're gonna go enjoy this ghost town for all it has to offer (not much) and we'll see you next week!

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    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Eskimo Kisses

    I can barely contain myself right now or put into words how special this was.  There have been a lot of special moments in this first year with Niall- a lot- but this one blew the rest out of the water.  It gave me chills and literally melted my heart- I could actually feel it melting inside of my chest.  Ok, I should probably admit (if you haven't already noticed) that I'm a chronic exaggerator about this kind of stuff.

    You've probably read a few posts on this blog titled "Best Day Ever!" or "Grossest thing I've ever seen!" or something of the like.  But the problem is that I'll come across an even better day or an even grosser thing- and then I'm like the boy who cried wolf and nobody believes me.  But just work with me here (you may see another post just like this in a couple weeks)...

    Now that Niall is getting close to the one year mark, I've been wondering if he can really understand me.  Even though he can't communicate well, I'm figuring that he may know a few things that I'm talking about- but I couldn't really be sure.  He hasn't ever let me know if he does.

    But now I know that this boy, without a doubt, understands the words that are coming out of my mouth.  It doesn't sound that exciting, but it really changes everything.  Our entire dynamic.  I've been operating on the premise that I'm basically talking to myself all day long.  The thought that I've actually been involved in a conversation is just mind-blowing to me.

    Anyway, here's how it happened.  I've been giving Niall eskimo kisses almost every night before bed for the last 3 or 4 months.  He stands up and hangs over the crib rail and I come up and nuzzle his little nose before saying goodnight.  Last night, I decided to find out if he could return the favor.

    He was pretty wound up, jumping all around the crib (as usual), but I thought I'd give it a go anyway.  As he was scaling the rails of the crib, I asked "Will you give mommy eskimo kisses?" and pointed to my nose.  He immediately calmed down, stopped what he was doing, leaned in to me and nuzzled his nose to mine.  It was so deliberate and adorable, I could have cried.

    So, of course, I proceeded to ruin the moment and ask him for eskimo kisses 67 more times- to the point where he would purposely turn away when I said "eskimo kisses".  I tried again today and he was nice enough to do a mild version of what he did last night- nowhere near as deliberate or obvious, but it'll do ;)

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    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    What the dillyo?!@#$

    Top Baby Blogs and Top Mommy Blogs have reset their vote counters.  We're starting from scratch here :(

    Please click the 2 vote buttons at the top left corner of the page to help Niall get his groove back!
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    Friday, October 15, 2010

    I think I can, I think I can!

    From the mouths of babes (AKA Niall)...

    Wow, what a fun day! I finally understand where that choo choooo noise that mommy always makes really comes from. These big huge boxes on wheels came zooming by us so fast. There had to be at least a bazillion of them- and all different colors and sizes.

    But I don't get why mommy thinks that my spoon does the same thing as the trains. She must not be all that smart. Maybe I can explain it to her one day.

    Me and my friend Will got to play on one of them- it looked just like Thomas from my books, but it didn't have eyes or a mouth or anything. Poor train, somebody forgot to give him his face :(


    Mommy got me a mini train that I can hold, but I like to eat it or throw it instead.  I got this cool hat, too.  When I put it on, everyone says that I'm in charge of the train- any time the magic contruckter cap is on my head, all the boxes on the train move!   I'm definitely gonna be a contruckter when I grow up.

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    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday

    I'm going to do a little series of blasts from the past over the next few Wednesdays- because I'm starting to forget what Niall looked like in those early months! Scary how fast time flies by :(

    1 month:

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    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    The Stink Bug Patch

    ... I mean, pumpkin patch. But there were honestly more stink bugs than there were pumpkins- no joke. I absolutely LOVE pumpkin patches (and all things Halloween/ fall), but I may be scarred for life now.

    Let me start at the beginning. I've been looking forward to taking Niall to the pumpkin patch since well before he was born. It's one thing to go pick a pumpkin and carve it to impress the kids who will be stopping by your door. But it's quite another when you have your own little kid to impress. Now the pressure is on!

    I wanted to go somewhere that would really give us the full effect of the season. I'm talking hay rides, cider, pumpkins still on the vine, a patch that Niall could actually crawl through- one so thick and bountiful, I could potentially lose sight of him in its abundance... you get the idea.

    A place so wonderful would obviously be quite a hike from where we live- but well worth the effort. Our friends knew of the perfect place, so we all went together. About an hour's drive, a few wrong turns, a little bit of a late start... well, it ended up being 4 o'clock by the time we got there- which was no big deal at all. We had no other plans.

    But then we noticed the sign at the entrance- Saturdays 11am-5pm. 5pm?!! We only had one hour to get through all of the fun activities I had planned. So we immediately hopped on the hayride with our fresh squeezed lemonades (it was a little too hot for cider that day- 75 degrees!), looked through the pre-picked pumpkin barrels, got a few cute pix, and headed out.

    In the span of this one single hour, with windows cracked about a half inch, we opened our car to put the pumpkin (and baby) inside and found something far scarier than any haunted house I've ever been in... I kid you not, scout's honor- at LEAST 38 stink bugs. They were wedged in the cracks of the doors, windows, windshield, the rubber stripping lining the doors and windows, the floor, the seats... EVERYWHERE!

    Matt was swatting like a mad man and I was just hyperventilating, repeating over and over "No, I can't do this; No, I can't do this". I tried to swat them out but there were too many! In just my passenger side front door rubber stripping, there were 15-20 of them. It was horrifying. I've had my Halloween scare for this year ;)

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    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Mini Meat Head

    I hope Niall is a go-with-the-flow kind of kid, because everything has apparently been mapped out for him over the next 18 years of his life. This poor boy is going to have absolutely no say in his choice of sports or hobbies- because all of the guys in this family have already picked out his entire lineup of physical activity for every day of every season of every year.

    We've got Daddy, who wants him to water ski; Uncle Pat, who wants him to play hockey; Uncle Seamus, who wants him to play football; Grampo, who wants him to play golf; Grandpop, who wants him to play basketball... and then Granny Bags would prefer that he read and play violin ;)

    So we've got quite a few high expectations for him at this point. One of which is playing the part. So not only does he have to like these sports and be good at them, but he should also look pretty hardcore while doing or watching them.

    Case in point, the Friday night Caps game. Uncle Pat and Daddy were getting revved up for the big season opener, so I decided to put Niall's cute little Capitals #8 Ovechkin shirt on... and left to pick up some dinner.

    When I got home, I found that these hooligans turned my little angel into a some kind of meat head/ skin head. They cut the sleeves off of his adorable (and expensive) shirt and turned it into a work out muscle-tee.  There's just something so wrong about looking at a 10 month old from the side and being able to see part of his nipple.  What am I in for here?!

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