Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sinking in the Spiral

You know that dangerous spiral that happens when a couple things go wrong, and you start to feel like the world is against you, causing a chain reaction of bad stuff until you realize you have created your own doom with your negative attitude?  I think it's safe to say that I'm knee-deep in the spiral...

It started out all fine and good.  We had a great trip to South Carolina to visit my dad and stepmom for Thanksgiving--

real live alligators, tours of pirates' houses, trains, toys, aquarium visits, birthday celebrations, Christmas tree decorating, holiday feasts...




...but since then, things have taken a turn for the worst.

Brendan projectile vomited all over himself and his car seat in the middle of our 10 hour car ride home.  Naturally, the gas station we pulled off to had closed the women's bathroom for repairs so I was forced to clean Brendan off with a bunch of paper towels and wipes on a disgusting pee-covered floor while Matt attempted to get as much puke off the car seat as he could and keep Niall from playing trains on the rim of the orange stained toilet seat. 

We made it home ok, got the boys clean and bathed, fed Brendan some baby oatmeal, assuming that was the most bland thing I could possibly give him.  I put him down for the night and went back up to check on him before I went to bed, only to find that he had thrown up again, rolled around in it and fallen back to sleep once it dried so that his whole body was covered in the perfect mix of crusty and goopy.

Woke him up to give him another bath, and then little B thought he had slept through the night and was ready to be up for the day.  He didn't get back to sleep til 3am that night and then everyone woke up at 6 for the day. 

Monday night, same thing pretty much.

Last night, everyone went to sleep ok, Brendan seemed to be holding his food down.  I felt like I had sunken into a heavenly marshmallow cloud of happiness when I hit the pillow last night... Until I woke up at 3 am to the sensation that my extremeties were about to fall off.  I went downstairs to turn on the thermostat which I was certain had accidentally been turned down or off... to find out that our house temperature was holding steady at a crisp 57 degrees and would not budge when I tried to turn it up to the normal 72.

My heart sank into my stomach when I thought about the fact that I had been woken up in such discomfort while in comfy long pants, a long sleeve shirt and huddled under a down comforter-- my sweet boys, on the other hand, are blanket-kicker-offers and they don't know to pull their blankets up over their chests when they are cold.

I could have just died right there on the spot when I went in to cover Brendan and pressed the back of my hand against his frozen ears, hands and nose.  All he was wearing was a little cotton pajama suit.  Same thing with Niall.  Of course, when I swaddled him up in some fuzzy blankies, he woke right up and once again refused to go back to sleep (and kicked the blankets off again).

This morning, my eyes felt like someone had stabbed them and then set them on fire after not sleeping 3 nights in a row.  Then, we found out that we need a new furnace (which should cost a pretty penny) and won't be able to have it installed until tomorrow.  To top off the cake, I had 2 separate doctors offices call me today to cancel appointments that I had made months ago. 

Have I depressed you enough yet?  I think I will leave it at that and maybe one more cute picture for the road...
This is immediately following a massive puke session-- I think I could learn a thing or two from his outlook on life ;)

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Doing things my way

Every year, we try to go to one of the "Truck Touch" events in our area, where kids can climb on all the cool  public service/ construction trucks and fulfill their life long dream of sitting in the driver seat, honking the horn and even turning on the sirens-- it's pretty serious stuff.

And every year, I tell myself: "This was fun, but next year, when Niall is a little older, he is going to be so all over this!"-- and then he's not.  For a kid who yells out "Trucks!" in the midst of a deep sleep, he seemed pretty disinterested at what should be a young boy's heaven on earth.  But that's Niall for you; he has to warm up to things and do them on his terms.

So when I scanned the area and picked what I thought was pretty obviously the coolest thing there, he just shrugged his shoulders and continued to walk past it...

Ok, round 2.  How about the vacuum truck that sucks up all the leaves off the street?  This guy will let you put a bag under the sucker and let you slurp it up!!

Meh, not really.

Ok, Round 3.  How about looking around the back of the giant grocery truck?  How cool is that?!

Nope, not cool at all.  Pretty lame, actually.  Well if there's one thing I've learned about Niall, it's DON'T PUSH HIM.  And when choosing my battles, this is certainly not one I'm going to engage in or waste my time with.

But interesting things start to happen when I give him his space.

As soon as Matt and I started doing things on our own, Mr. Couldn't Care Less suddenly became interested.

When Dad got in the truck to drive, he got in the bucket.

As long as it was his idea-- "Nope, I don't want to drive, I just want to sit in here"...

Then, suddenly, the driver seat seemed a little more appealing.

And then he became interested in making sure we knew the correct terminology for all the trucks and their parts...

Until even the back of that grocery truck seemed worth taking a look at...

This kid never ceases to amaze me with his selection of "favorites."  By the end of the day, the vehicle that he deemed the most fun.... not the bomb squad, not any of the construction trucks, not the vacuum sucker upper.... but, drum roll please.... the metro bus.

My Stubborn Egg.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

My Time is Ticking

It's a mixed bag, the stay-at-home mom gig.  There are certainly days when I swear I would happily take the first full time job that comes my way.  But then there are days or even weeks when everyone is just so easy-going, pleasant and fun to be around.  Those are the times (surprisingly more often than the former) when I think to myself "I am just so lucky to have this gig."

I sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses, but when I do, I really can't help but smile and feel truly happy.  Like the days when we are out and about, and decide out of nowhere that we need to make a side trip to Potbelly's for a milkshake in the middle of the day.

Like the times when we pack up the diaper bag at 8 am and decide to take a trip to the Washington monuments for the day.

And like the times when I just don't feel like doing anything and we all snuggle on the couch for a good Pixar flick and some homemade popcorn.

I can't help but think I'm really going to miss all of this next year when Niall is in pre-school.  Even though it's just the mornings, I can rarely count on making anything happen in the afternoons logistically.  It's just too hard with naps and cleaning the house and getting dinner ready.  So when the mornings are out, unfortunately so are the McCullough clan excursions.

But things will evolve, like they always do.  The excursions with mom will become excursions with friends that mom only knows about because of talks around the dinner table.  And that's ok.  That's my baby boy growing up and becoming his own person.  It's a good thing and a crazy thing and a hard thing all at the same time.  Niall will love it, this I know-- and if he is happy, how can I not be?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baby Bruiser

Even before Brendan could crawl, he was desperate to keep up with his big brother. It was adorable to watch at times...

...but it mostly involved gasps of horror at the sound of the sonic boom that was sure to follow.  See, it all happens so quickly that I find myself taking a picture of a smiling baby one second, and rushing over to scoop up a bruised little noggin the next.

Situations like this one rarely end well in my house.  I've learned that just because Brendan can pull himself up, doesn't mean he can keep himself up; that cruising = bruising; that hanging with the big brother = getting knocked over like no other.  And it is seriously heart breaking to watch this little guy's battle wounds day in and day out.

If I were to take him into the hospital every time he banged his head against something, I would be in there just about every other day.  So I just hold him and hug him and kiss him and hope that it will all be ok.

It's hard to tell what's really going on here-- I'm sure that part of it is second time mom syndrome, where I just don't have the same keen eyes I did when it was just Niall and me.  With one baby, I could be fully attentive to his every move.  Now, I find myself sprinting around the house with a vacuum while Brendan rummages through the recycling bin for a good paper towel roll to chew on.

Part of it has to be big brother hazard.  Niall really is mostly gentle with Brendan and very sweet to him, but when he gets too excited, it's game over.  Brendan is getting rolled on top of, yanked around, knocked over, crawled over, shoved into toy baskets, pushed too hard on the swing, being aggressively lifted up by a kid who shouldn't even be lifting a hamster, you name it.

And the other part of it has to be Brendan's personality.  There are situations Brendan gets himself into that I am confident Niall would never in a million years have gotten into. For instance, I am pretty sure I am the only mom in the world who can say that she has caught her sweet, innocent baby chomping on a stink bug not once, but twice in the same month.  I might also have the only baby in the world who can head butt his pack-n-play from one side of the room to the other in a fit of rage.

But he's tough, God bless him.  What this little trooper is lacking in stature (90% of his height, according to the current U.S. baby population), he makes up for in persistence and attitude.  When he gets knocked over (or knocks himself over), he gets right back up with a big, gummy smile on his face.  And that's what we love about our little B.

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