23 November 2005

happy thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Mergenthaler Schmidt family!

(James is wearing an American-Indian styleheadband that he made and decorated at preschool. The drawings vary from a tepee and a frog to an alien and a racetrack. And Evan, well, he's just looking delighted, as is the case most of the time. If you click on the photos you can see a larger image.)

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!


16 November 2005


It's come to my attention that my son is a popular preschooler. Anyone who knows him won't be surprised to hear this -- he's incredibly social and active and confident, but also very kind and inclusive. I think he just wants everyone to have as much fun as he has all the time. He's making a lot of friends at preschool; he's even helped one of the more shy boys to come out of his shell and be more interactive with the other kids. And several of the other parents have approached me about getting our kids together for playdates on our off days.

This is great for James, but busy for me. I'm happy that James is getting the chance to develop friendships with his classmates on a one-on-one basis, but all of the planning and driving and socializing and dragging the baby and his paraphernalia all over the place are starting to wear on me. I'm trying to figure out how to balance all of this so that we're not on the go every single day. I'm new to this playdate stuff, so I'm worried about offending someone by refusing playdates even if we're already busy. And I'm thinking about how to get the housework done if I'm not there; and I'm thinking about all the money we're spending on gas just to meet a three-year-old's social obligations; and I'm thinking about how we'll have to reciprocate all of these playdates and how much cleaning and preparation that will involve, espcially if lunch is included; and I'm thinking about how being a stay-at-home mom is not involving being at home as much as I would like these days.

Oh, the woes of a quasi-suburban stay-at-home mom. It seems kind of ridiculous that I'm stressing over excessive playdates, I know. I think I just need to find a comfortable balance that allows James his social interaction, and me the time to do my household duties, and have some rest as well. But where is that balance, and how do I find it? I like hanging out, I like being social... but in limited amounts. Is this the kind of thing I have to sacrifice for the sake of my child's social development? Should he have to forgo playdates because I'm a homebody? I don't think so. There must be a way to do it all, right? :-)


14 November 2005

our baby laughs!

We knew it would happen eventually, but we were so impatient waiting for it. In fact, we knew he could laugh -- we'd heard him do it a few times -- but it was as if he was choosing not to. He's a very happy baby; we had lots of smiles, but silent smiles. A squeal now and then. But finally, finally we have the adorable sounds of baby laughter.

The change in Evan after the weekend is kind of remarkable. It's as if being crowded in one house with my entire family finally convinced him to make himself heard. Not only does he laugh, but he babbles now, which he rarely did before this weekend. All of a sudden he's on to consonants -- ba ba ba. Now that he can talk to and laugh at James, their relationship is really starting to take off. Of course Evan has always been in love with James, but now he can really express it. And James really appreciates getting audible reactions to his antics.

I'm realizing as I write this how boring it might seem. Big news, the baby laughs, he babbles. But seriously! Baby laughter and baby babbling are two of the best, cutest, most wonderful sounds ever. It's a fact.


11 November 2005


...Except, not really.

We're spending the weekend at my Mom's with my sisters, their significant others, and my niece. My niece is six weeks older than Evan, so it's always fun to get them together and see how alike and how different they are. It is amazing the difference that six weeks can make in terms of development, and it's also pretty amazing to see how different parents can shape the personalities of their children. If you knew my sister and me, but didn't know which baby was whose, and had to decide, you'd figure it out pretty quickly, I think, probably after about three minutes with them. Maybe I'll write about this in a little more detail after the weekend, and after seeing what the babies are like now.

Speaking of what my baby is like now, Evan has been pretty much refusing to sleep unless he is rocked to sleep, and once he's asleep he will not stay asleep unless he is held. We're working on fixing this (any suggestions?) but I think it will be nice for me and Greg this weekend to have other people available to hold our attention-seeking baby. And also to pay attention to our older child, who actually demands attention at time. How did I end up with children who crave so much attention? It's the total opposite of how I've always been. I don't think we've been depriving them of attention. With James I suspect it may be a sign of his confidence (which he has quite a lot of).

Anyway, no blogging for the weekend. Hope everyone has a good one.


09 November 2005


Sorry for the lack of updates; things have been a little hectic here. James was sick for several days with what was probably just a virus. We were concerned that it might turn into an ear infection but it seems to have cleared up by itself with no trouble. And Evan has the sniffles. To be more precise, he's full of phlegm, the poor thing. But we have introduced him to the Jolly Jumper, which I think he may enjoy even more than eating -- and that's saying a lot.

I had a nice weekend; a friend of mine from high school visited, and being able to hang out with her all weekend (ie. having freedom from my children) may have spoiled me. ... Actually. I'm a firm believer that any parent needs time away from his or her children to really be able to enjoy them. I'm a much better parent when I have time to myself to preserve my sanity.

Weird weather today -- thunderstorms in November? But my friend Bethany reminded me of the song "November Rain" which has been happily playing in my head all afternoon.


04 November 2005

single parenting

Well, I've done it. I've survived almost three full days without my lovely boyfriend. This is the second time since Evan was born that Greg has had to travel for work, and let me tell you, I knew full-time parenting was hard, but you never really appreciate your partner until he's no longer there.

These couple of times I've done it on my own with my boys has given me a new-found respect for single parents. Being the child of a single parent, I've always known it wasn't easy, but I don't think you can truly understand it until you've been there. And I'm aware that three days doesn't qualify me to fully understand single parenting; but I think it gives me a little more insight. With no one to relieve you or share the duties, the discipline, the decision-making, parenting is hard. And tiring. And lonely. I can't imagine doing this permanently. It's a hard enough job with two. It makes me very grateful to have a wonderful man like Greg in my life, and it makes me incredibly appreciative of my Mom and all she did for my sisters and me growing up.

Three days was long enough for me. We survived it with no major incidents, although not as much sleep as I would have liked. (James wanders into our room many nights to sleep with us; he's been sick this week so his dry, barking cough gave everyone a little trouble sleeping.) Now what I want to know is, when's my vacation?


02 November 2005

things I never thought to worry about

James just came in from playing outside, and as we were taking off his sweatshirt, he exclaimed, "Oh! I forgot about the worms in my pocket!" Sure enough, he reached into the front pocket of his hoodie and pulled out a huge handful of worms. After those went into the garden, he pulled out even more worms. When asked why he put worms in his pocket in the first place, he replied, "Because they would get dropped if I carried them in my hands." Of course. Silly me.

Just add this to the list of things that never occurred to me when making the decision to have children.