Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three months...

Three months. It has only been three months. That is a blink of an eye. I mean, the NHL playoffs take two months. That might be the reason why I can’t figure out how this:

Photo: Dan Candura

Became this:

Photo: Brandon Candura

Really, despite still being a skinny little guy, the changes are unbelievable.

Asher has been a good little man. But as the second kid, he definitely takes his share of abuse. Forget about trying to quietly take a nap in the car. Forget about being able to have a bottle without your little sister being read a book at the same time. Forget about being able to lay on the ground and have a few minutes of tummy time –big sister quickly interrupts that by lying down next to him and throwing her arm over his back. “I love you, Asher,” She will say.

That is ridiculously sweet and kind, honey. But can you love him without driving his face into the ground? Love means never having to gasp for breath, remember that Olive.

Some of this might explain his laid back attitude. Sitting there and taking the abuse, or tuning out the background noise is easier than fighting against it. As long as someone is there to feed him and rock him to sleep when he gets tired, he is as chill as the crowd at a Jack Johnson concert. Right now he could not be more different than the whirling dervish of excitement that is his older sister.

Of course, things will change. Maybe he will talk a blue streak like his older sister. Maybe he will decide that sleeping through the night is over rated. Maybe he will end up being allergic to 900 different kinds of food. Who knows? All I know is that things will change. Just got to give it a few months.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

Olive is officially entering the world of bladder control.

(Too much information? Hey, if you don’t want to hear about this stuff, don’t read a blog about little kids!)

She has been going to the “potty” for several months now, but really, it has always been on her terms. Mostly she would go when trying to delay her bedtime (“if I sit on the potty I know I can get them to read me eight books before they finally pull me off and put me to bed”). But after a series of summer vacations and car trips where a potty-trained toddler would have been more of a hassle than a blessing, we decided to give this training thing a whirl. So one morning I sat her down and said, “Olive, if you go potty, I will give you a lollipop and you can wear big-girl pants with Dora on them instead of your diaper.”

“Purple lolli-pop?”

“Sure, I can get you a purple lolli-pop.”

“OK. I use the potty.”

And she did use the potty (If there wasn’t a purple lolli-pop ,I think she would have filibustered and simply asked “why” for the next three hours). And then she did again in a couple hours. And again in a couple more hours. She was even requesting to go potty. Man, was this going smoother than expected.

But after a little while Olive, instead of thinking of the lolli-pop as a reward for using the potty when she felt like needing to go, thought of using the potty as something she needed to do in order to get the lolli-pop…which she wanted constantly.

At least twice a day, she would randomly jump up from whatever she was doing and declare. “I need to use potty.” And then look at me, hold her finger in the air and say, “I get lolli-pop after. Purple one!”

She then sat down on the potty, gritted her teeth and groaned until her face turned four different shades of red.

“I CAN’T DO IT!” She yelled through her locked jaw.

She even started to request big glasses of water to make herself pee so she could get a lolli-pop.

Uh-oh. This wasn’t good. I was going to give my two-year-old a hernia and/or create a life-long addiction to purple lolli-pops.

But she WAS going to the potty. She WASN’T wearing diapers. This whole lolli-pop bribery thing, for all its sugar-drenched faults, was working. Sure, it might give her early-onset diabetes, but really, the way things are going, by the time she goes to school approximately 98% of her classmates will be taking insulin. Don’t want her to feel left out.

Eventually, we managed to trim down the lolli-pop consumption by creating diversions (“You want a lolli-pop? Wait what’s that over there?”) and using a variety of parental white lies:

· “If you have too many today there won’t be any tomorrow.”

· “Another one will make you sick.”

· “Daddy lost the lolli-pops.”

· “Lolli-pops don’t taste good in the morning.”

· “Your face will freeze like that.”

· “Columbus discovered the Americas.”

Most of the time it works, but other times we just give in and give her the pop to keep the incentive going. Now it has been a couple weeks and she is almost completely trained. She rarely has accidents, and when she does, it is almost purposeful. Like when Leanne left her inside while she went to get something from the car. Olive wanted to go too. Mommy said no. Olive decides, fine, you leave me here. I’ll just piss on the floor. This bladder control thing works two ways.

So we continue to march slowly towards the land of expelling bodily waste on command. A milestone moment for a child and one more moment in parenthood when you sit back and say, “I don’t know how my life can get more ridiculous. Did I seriously just give my child a high-five for taking a poop?”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Long Time Coming

It has been a long time since I have done one of these…like, six months.

A lot has happened since then. Mostly the birth of my son, Asher.

I am now a father of two and a member of a family of four. This change could not have been more wonderful, more frightening, more exhausting, or more exciting.

When I walk in my daughter’s room in the morning, she almost immediately says “What Asher doing?” When we bring him down the stairs after a nap she stops whatever she is doing and squeals “I want to see him!” She wants to know when he is sleeping, and when he is awake. She wants to know what he is doing at all times, why he is smiling, if his hands will always be small, if he wants his binky, and when he is eating. She is either a caring, doting big sister, or is training to be a stalker.

It is a toss-up at this point.

Yes, two is a lot harder than one. Yes, it is more than twice as hard. But it isn’t because of the newborn – all he does is eat sleep and poop. We actually wondered more than once why we thought having one of these things was ever hard. A day spent with a one-month-old is a day spent flipping back and forth between MSNBC and FOXNews to see if you can make yourself black out. With the occasional bottle and dirty diaper thrown in.What makes it so hard is trying to deal with a two-year-old with one hand tied behind your back. you still need to read books and play tag and negotiate potty-training, all while carrying around a floppy ten pound mini human being.

Also, any downtime you had is now gone. When Olive was born, I felt jealous at my wife’s ability to soothe our daughter by feeding him – something me and my poor excuse for man-boobs could never do. But I didn’t envy the hours each day she spent nursing while I slept, watched TV, wrote in my blog, or did any manner of other required or leisure activities.

Now, the tables have been turned.

For the first two months of Asher’s life it seemed that he only wanted to eat when Olive needed to be changed, bathed, fed, taken to the playground, put to sleep, taken out of her crib, put in time-out, or needed help building a fort, playing with play-dough, playing hide-and-seek, or running from her imaginary friends. I would spend my day doing these things while my wife would nurse and watch two back-to-back episodes of Teen Mom 2.

But we are falling in to our new routine and we really don’t remember what the old routine was anymore – we are having so much fun now that we don’t want to.

Writing in the blog has been tough, finding time between baths and diaper changes and play and sleep and work has been more difficult than I expected. Also, I have to change the mast-head and that is just a pain in the ass. But just like how I have gotten used to my new routine as a parent, I hope to get used to a new routine as a writer.