29 November 2006

who is this kid?

I thought it was pretty amazing when Evan recently started sleeping through the night. No crying until 6am! I didn't think it could get better.

But today after lunch, I told Evan it was naptime, and instead of screaming and crying "NO!", Evan said nicely, "Naptime. I tired. I go bed." And he laid down happily in his crib for a nap.

This is the kid who has had sleep issues from day one. Who, for months, could not go to sleep without being rocked and/or nursed. Who sometimes had to be held for an entire nap because putting him down would wake him. Who woke up as many as 6 times a night for the first seventeen months of his life. And now he goes down nicely for a nap without crying? He sleeps through the night every single night?

Somebody must have pulled a baby switcheroo, because this is bizarre. I'm pleasantly surprised, but suspicious.


20 November 2006

baby's first song

Tonight was Evan's singing debut. Do you recognize the song? (If you're not into toddler entertainment, you won't, but the other parents reading this might be able to tell what it is.)


16 November 2006

shallow and superficial

The title of my blog post refers to me. Or does it? You be the judge.

Is it wrong that I don't allow my four-year-old to leave the house in sweatpants? I know that kids' fashion is different from adults', and I know that he's more comfortable in sweats than anything else. And lord knows I'm no fashion icon -- c'mon, I'm a feminist: comfortable shoes only, and of course, at the initiation ceremony I had to turn over all of my bras for burning.

And I don't care if he's really fashionable. First, we don't have the money for him to be really fashionable; second, I love the weird mismatched clothing combinations he occasionally comes up with. Maybe I'm just having flashbacks to my own childhood -- I can remember being teased for my clothes as early as the second grade. I guess there's nothing inherent in sweats to provoke teasing. But it's hard enough growing up poor without advertising it to the world by dressing like a hobo.

Okay, writing my thoughts out has helped me come to a definitive conclusion: I'm shallow and superficial. I think I really just don't like the sweats because they reflect poorly on me; like, can't I send my kid out of the house in something other than grubby gray sweatpants? I'm sensing some sort of lesson about parenting here... something about allowing your kids to do harmless things that make them happy even if you don't quite approve, or something like that.

What do you know, I've turned sweatpants into a learning experience!


10 November 2006

seven months early

Baby update! I took Evan to the doctor's this morning (a couple of months late on his fifteen-month check-up), and this visit, combined with my own recent observations, have convinced me that Evan's brain is somehow seven months older than the rest of him. Physically, he's right on target. Actually, believe it or not, my formerly roly-poly little boy, who was once in the 90th percentile for weight, is now in the 15th percentile for weight. He still looks chubby to me, and the doctor said he's still growing normally, but his growth has slowed dramatically.

But mentally, the boy is a different story. The doctor told me that his speech is like that of a two-year-old (which sounds right to me; James, my textbook child, was not speaking as well as Evan does now until he was at least two). He's starting to put words together into sentence fragments ("more drink, please" or "TV watch Elmo"). And we've noticed in the last week or two that we're really starting to get into the Terrible Twos. Evan's two favorite words, currently, are "no" and "mine", and he uses both, often together, with alarming frequency.

And the tantrums! "No" and "mine" figure prominently in the tantrums, which are a reaction to all kinds of evil deeds by his parents and brother, such as when James tries to kiss him or when Mama tries to feed him peas (at one time, his favorite vegetable, but now apparently a form of torture). And this baby knows how to do a tantrum -- throwing things, ear-splitting shrieks, flinging himself down on the ground and flailing. We occasionally worry that he's going to hurt himself, but thankfully we've so far avoided any spills down the stairs or falling down onto anything too hard.

The older Evan gets, the more I realize what a wonderful baby James was. I feel a little guilty, because any other parent who has asked me about the Terrible Twos has heard from me that they're not really that bad, because even though the screaming and crying are annoying, you can understand where it's coming from, because your baby is frustrated or impatient or over-stimulated or whatever. And that was all true, for James. His Terrible Two behavior stemmed from two things: 1) he couldn't really communicate with us until he was two or so, and so got frustrated trying to tell us what he wanted or needed, or 2) he wanted to be very independent from a young age, and insisted on doing things for himself, therefore getting angry and frustrated if we wouldn't let him, or if he couldn't do what he was trying to do.

But Evan? Evan has finally taught me the true meaning of the Terrible Twos. Half the time we can't figure out what he's screaming about. Or his screaming seems all out of proportion to whatever it is that's upsetting him. We're working on trying to prevent these outbursts and tantrums, but since it's hard to know exactly what will set him off, this has been kind of difficult. And he's too young to really discipline; the best we can do is try to calm him down and distract him.

So, this is Evan at 17 months. Physical health: normal. Verbal development: outstanding. Emotional development: pretty normal, but driving us crazy. Maybe the fact that the Terrible Twos came seven months early means that they'll be gone by the time he's actually two. One can only hope.

Oh, but let's not forget the best news of all: at 17 months Evan is finally, almost sleeping through the night! He actually did two nights in a row, and last night he woke up screaming once (yes, really screaming) but was quickly settled with a cup of milk. Now that I've posted this on the old blog, I'm sure he will wake up 47 times tonight just to prove me wrong, but hey, that's what kids do best.


08 November 2006

election reflections

Happy Election Day, a day late. I hope everyone got out and voted yesterday. We got to our polling place at 8am, so that Greg could vote before traipsing off to Ohio for work, and James assisted me in the voting booth while Evan charmed all of the old ladies volunteering at the polls. I love voting -- it makes me feel like I'm important, like I'm part of something great. Of course, in a state like New York, my individual vote doesn't matter much, but I still like being part of the whole process.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with who America elected yesterday. Here in New York, we are finally being governed by a Democrat, Eliott Spitzer, who I'm a little bit in love with in a political-admiration sort of way. We re-elected Hillary to the Senate, and you know, as much flak as she gets, and as much as she panders to the center and right, I still support her. I still admire her. My Republican Congressional representative was barely re-elected, unfortunately, but it was a pretty close race, so that makes me a little bit happy.

But the big news, of course, is that the Democrats took back the House of Representatives (and maybe the Senate), and for the first time ever, we have a female Speaker of the House. Ever since Nancy Pelosi appeared on my radar a few years ago, I've admired her as a strong, liberal woman with real progressive values and a backbone. I'm thrilled that she's in a position of leadership, and I'm excited that she is actually in line for the presidency! Of course, that's obviously a long shot, but considering that it's been more than 100 years since a woman first ran for President (thank you, Old Toad Trivia Night, for that piece of information), it feels good to think that the presidency is finally realistically within the reach of a woman. And not just Pelosi, either, but we're at a point where there is serious speculation about a woman -- Hillary --running for president, and perhaps actually being elected. I know the chances of her being elected are debatable -- I love her and even I'm not sure she could win -- but it's definitely a possibility, and given that there are two years between now and the next election, I think it's too early to predict.

And speaking of women, the other piece of news that's exciting to me is that the voters of South Dakota rejected the abortion ban. I guess the three guys protesting abortion outside the hopital in the rain this morning (such dedication!) didn't hear about that, because if an abortion ban didn't fly in a place like South Dakota, there's no way it'd ever pass in New York.

All in all, a pretty eventful and satisfying election. I don't have any illusions about the Democrats suddenly turning America around and heading in the direction I'd like to see -- I'm registered as an Independent because most of the Democrats aren't far enough to the left for my taste, and they're typically as bad as the Republicans in terms of conviction, integrity, honesty and reliability (or should I say, the lack thereof) -- but I'm pretty confident that they won't do worse than the Republicans have done, and that's at least a step in the right direction. Or maybe not a step so much as just not going any further in the wrong direction, but still, that's important.

Update: Rumsfeld is resigning! And I thought things couldn't get any better!


03 November 2006

friday photos

Halloween photos, a few days late, due to the illnesses and recovery periods of all members of the family. There aren't any pictures of Evan because he was still under the weather; the closest he got to a costume was wearing his Tigger pajamas, and he did not cooperate for photos.

The delicious bloodshot-eyeball cookies we made

James, after helping scoop out pumpkin guts

James with our crazy jack o'lantern

Pirate Greg and Super James