Sunday, July 26, 2009

Crawling to safety

The bathroom floor is almost dry now. Earlier today, there were two distinct paths of dampness.

When one of us isn't home and the other one needs to take a shower, Jeff and I take Biscuit in the bathroom with us and let him play. We're lucky that our master bathroom is pretty big, so we spread an afghan out on the floor, throw down some toys, and Biscuit just hangs out.

Until today.

He's been getting more and more mobile, especially over the past week, but I didn't realize how much until today.

Our shower has glass walls, so I could see him playing. But I swear, I think he watched until I needed to close my eyes before he made his move. I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair, and when I opened my eyes, he was gone.

I opened the shower door and leaned out. He had scooted and rolled from our bathroom into our bedroom. I grabbed him up, dripping water everywhere, brought him back into the bathroom and closed the door. He didn't like that at all. He rolled back over to the door and hollered at it. Then he rolled onto his back and started banging his feet against the door.

I got back into the shower and got the water adjusted. Then just as I closed my eyes to soap up my face, I realized it had gotten awfullly quiet. I quickly rinsed my face and opened my eyes. I have a knit robe that hangs on the back of the door. It has a long belt that was hanging down just far enough for Biscuit to get his hands on it.

He had one end of the belt in his mouth and was in the process of rolling over. Guess where the belt was. Yep. Wrapped right around his little neck.

I moved a little quicker getting out of the shower this time. I left another trail of damp carpet behind me. By the time I got to him, he had unwrapped himself and was just grinning at me. I did a quick look around to see if there was anything else he could get into. I didn't see anything, so I finished my shower.

I was reading an article online the other day that talked about babyproofing your house. I thought they were going a little overboard when they suggested that the parents should get down on all fours and crawl around the house looking for things the babies could get into.

After my shower experience today, I'm thinking Jeff and I will be doing some crawling around our house next weekend.

Still fireworks friendly

Jeff, Biscuit and I went to a Greensboro Grasshoppers game last night with some friends. We had six tickets, but unfortunately, two of our group couldn't make it.

We missed having them there, but with two empty seats, it worked out well because we had room for Biscuit's stuff without being crowded in our seats. We wheeled him from the car to the game in his umbrella stroller and had his diaper bag. It probably doesn't sound like those two things would take up a lot of room, but you'd be surprised.

Some of the seats on the row in front of us were open, so Jeff spent most of the game sitting there, which gave us even more space and left an empty seat, so Biscuit had his very own spot.

Biscuit was a little rowdier during this game than he was at the last one we went to. He's had some teething pain, and he's a little more mobile now, so he didn't like being confined to our laps. Jeff took him on a couple of walks just to give him something new to look at, but overall he was still really good.

I knew there would be fireworks after the game, and I was a little concerned about how Biscuit would react. My worries were for nothing because the game went to 12 innings and by then, Biscuit was fast asleep. Enough people had left at that point that I set his stroller up in the aisle beside my seat and fastened him in so he'd be more comfortable.

Right before the fireworks started, I grabbed him out of his stroller and held his head against my chest and put my hand pretty tight against his ear. He slept through the entire fireworks display. It was a really nice display, too. The show included some I had never seen before.

There were two pretty girls in the row in front of us. They turned around to see how he had handled the fireworks. They thought it was pretty funny that he slept through the commotion.

I told them that the funny part was that their long, pretty, brown hair almost became the victim of Biscuit's little hands several times during the game.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The seat saga

(A post from The Daddy Man.)

One morning last week, I took Biscuit to day care. Kim normally does the morning run. I might do it once a week. Everything went fine, and I went off to work as normal.

I told her I'd pick him up in the afternoon, too, but my work ran long, and I had to let her know that I couldn't make it.

I was about 3/4 of the way through writing my story about UNCG's basketball schedule, when the phone at my desk rang. It was Kim. She was at day care and needed the car seat to bring Biscuit home.

I told her I'd bring it right away and hung up. But the instant I hung up the phone, I remembered: When I dropped Biscuit off that morning, I carried the car seat inside. I remembered this because he was fast asleep inside it when I dropped him off.

When we drop off or pick up at day care, we have to clock in or clock out. So while she was waiting on me to bring the car seat, Kim had already clocked Biscuit out and had stepped out to one of the rocking chairs on the front porch to finish feeding him a bottle he had started.

I called her three times on her cell phone, but with the traffic noise from the busy road the day care is on, she never heard the ringing.

Finally, I called the day care and talked to the director, Miss Cindy. I asked her if Kim was there, and she said she was sitting outside.

Cindy stepped out to let Kim know what had happened. She said she wondered why Kim was sitting out there instead of going home, but that she had always liked those chairs, too, so she didn't think too much about it.

After Biscuit woke up from his nap that morning, the morning teacher had taken him out of the seat and put it in their closet, but the afternoon teacher didn't realize that. So Kim had to go back in to get it. Biscuit is too heavy now for her to carry him in the seat, so she put his empty bottles and other stuff in the car seat and carried it in one hand and Biscuit in the other.

So after four phone calls and about 15 minutes, we got everything sorted out. I finished my story, and Biscuit and Kim headed home.

We've already decided that when he moves into a bigger car seat, we're going to head off this problem from the get go ... we're buying two of them.

I'm stuck on you

Biscuit and I have a little game we play. He lies flat on his back, and I say, "Lie down." Then I hold out my fingers, he grabs on and pulls into a sitting position, and I say, "Sit up." Then while still holding onto my fingers, he gets into a standing position, and I say, "Stand up." Then I hug him and pat him on the back, saying, "Good job. Good job." And he laughs like it's the greatest thing ever, and we do it again.

So yesterday, I thought it would be fun to say the phrases and see what he could do on his own. I was so excited and surprised when I put him on the bed and said, "Sit up." And he rolled around a little bit and sat up on his own. I knew he couldn't stand on his own, so I helped him out.

I called Jeff into the bedroom to watch Biscuit's new trick. I put him on the bed and said, "Sit up." Nothing happened. I said it again ... "Sit up." And nothing.

I just figured it was stage fright or that he was too distracted by Jeff being there. So I tried one more time. Biscuit tried to move and suddenly Jeff started laughing.

The bib Biscuit was wearing had come unfastened in the back. It had a Velcro closure, and the sticky side was now stuck to the comforter on our bed. So Biscuit was stuck to the bed, too.

Biscuit has hated the sound of Velcro being ripped apart since the day he arrived. Maybe he knew that Velcro would one day be his downfall.

Darned if you do, darned if you don't

I have come to learn over the past 8 1/2 months that "mom guilt" is a very powerful thing.

I feel guilty about things I've done, like those times when after dinner with my girlfriends I've stayed to chat in the parking lot too long then realized that Biscuit had gotten really tired and really cranky because it's way past time for him to be snug in his own bed at home.

And I've felt guilty about things I haven't done, like I know the books and Web sites say that we should read to Biscuit a lot, but by the time I get him home from day care, spend some time playing with him, get him fed, get us fed, then get Biscuit dressed and ready for bed, he's asleep, and I realize I didn't read him a book.

Jeff always says the same thing to me, "He's fine. He eats. He sleeps. He poops. And he's happy and smiling more often than not." I know this is true, but I still always second guess myself or feel like I should be doing more. Welcome to motherhood, right?

I wrote in an earlier blog that Biscuit has learned to sit up on his own. What I didn't write was that I didn't see it happen the first time.

Biscuit and I were playing on a quilt in the living room floor, and I was thirsty. So I got up and went to the kitchen for a drink. The top of my can was dirty, so I rinsed it off in the sink. I left Biscuit lying on his belly and by the time I came back, he was sitting up. I missed it.

I missed seeing him do something that, in a baby's life, is a really big deal. Pour on the mom guilt.

The thing is, with him in day care, I just assumed I'd miss a lot of stuff. I figured he'd sit up there first. He'd crawl there first. He'd walk there first. But so far, he's done everything at home.

A friend of mine at work said that his day care center asked if he and his wife wanted to know about accomplishments or not. As in, if your baby starts crawling at day care today, do you want us to tell you about it, or do you want to assume that she did it the for first time when you see her do it later at home? He told them not to tell him. But I told Biscuit's teachers that I want to know. Just because I don't see it the first time doesn't make it any less of a big deal.

Or so I thought.

Spending time with him is another dilemma. I know that I need to take some time for myself and that Jeff and I need to have time for just the two of us. And it's not for lack of babysitters that we rarely get either of those things. We've got several couples just waiting for the chance to hang out with Biscuit for an evening. But spending time away from him is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, I'm a working mom who sends her baby to day care every day. So I feel like I should spend every second I can with him when I'm not at work. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like if I don't get a few minutes by myself, I might just break down into a crumpled heap on the floor.

I took a comp day from work yesterday. It was the first day off (besides a sick day) that I have taken off since Biscuit got here when I didn't have something to do or somewhere to be. Plus, Jeff has to work over the weekend, so he was supposed to be off, too.

My mind went crazy with all the possibilities. We could take a day trip. We could take Biscuit on some sort of outing. We could drive down to Ikea or Concord Mills. We could drive to Blowing Rock just to have a picnic.

But then I realized, I can take Biscuit to day care and have a whole day to myself. Better yet, I can make Jeff take Biscuit to day care then have a whole day to myself. Jeff ended up having to work Friday after all, so I laid out my plan for him, complete with me getting Biscuit ready to go to day care and Jeff taking over from there.

It was so, so nice to crawl back into bed after my boys left the house. Unfortunatey, I couldn't go back to sleep, so I gathered up a pile of magazines I had been wanting to read. I turned the TV on in our bedroom and went back and forth between my magazines, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and the "Gilmore Girls." It felt like such a guilty pleasure.

And then I started wondering if I was doing a selfish and bad thing by shipping my kid off to day care with total strangers just so I could sit and bed and waste time.

God bless my husband for his patience and understanding. Jeff was able to do his work from home, so he spent part of his morning reassuring me that: 1. Taking time for myself isn't selfish, it makes me a better mother because I need some time to relax and regroup. 2. The teachers at day care are not total strangers. Biscuit's morning teacher had a day off last week. She had to go by the day care to pick up something and couldn't leave without checking in on "her babies." They love him there. So I went back to my magazines and TV.

About noon, I talked to my brother on the phone for a while. He, by the way, said he doesn't understand when people talk about working from home. He said, "How am I supposed to fix a man's air conditioner if I'm at home?" He thinks he's funny.

I took a long shower about 12:30, took my time getting dressed, then went out for a nice lunch with Jeff about 1:30. We drove separate cars to the restaurant so I could leave there and go see a movie at 2:55. My movie lasted a couple of hours, so I had just enough time to run into a clothing store and look around, and after, you guessed it, money guilt, I bought myself a shirt. This left me with about 15 minutes to get to day care and pick up Biscuit.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day, but it was different from "me days" I've had in the past. For one, even though the day was all mine, there was no sleeping late. I was still up at 6:30 a.m., even though I didn't set an alarm. Who needs an alarm when you have a Biscuit?!?

I also had to be constantly aware of the time. You can't really fly by the seat of your pants when you have to be at day care by 6 p.m. to pick up your baby or they'll start charging you $1 a minute for being late.

I also couldn't be too frivolous with money. Day care, diapers and baby food are expensive. Plus, Jeff had hotel expenses for the car show in Carlisle, Pa., from a couple of weeks ago. We spent this past weekend in a hotel in Chimney Rock with my family. And two weeks ago, we had to buy a new refrigerator.

So I guess I've said all of this to say that I think you're darned if you do and darned if you don't.

If you take Curtain No. 1, you realize that if you spend all your time and money on this newest addition to your family, you're not going to have time and money you need for yourself. And if you take Curtain No. 2, you realize that if you don't spend all your time and money on this newest addition to your family, you're going to miss some big moments and feel guilty.

But I've been thinking about how much I enjoyed the movie yesterday. And it was so nice to have a casual lunch at a restaurant with Jeff where we didn't have to rush to get back to work. And I'm wondering which pants I should wear with my new shirt next week at work.

So Monty, I think I'll learn to deal with a little guilt and take Curtain No. 2.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A combo deal

It seems like until now, Biscuit's accomplishments have been spread out far enough that we could enjoy each thing as it happens.

But over the past few weeks, he's gotten his first tooth, learned to sit up by himself, starting to hold his bottle by himself and is getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth like he's ready to take off crawling.

Quite a list of accomplishments!

Now if I can just remember to write it all down in his baby book before I forget when it all happened.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yankee-Doodle Boy

Yesterday was Biscuit's first Fourth of July. My parents were in town until yesterday afternoon, and Jeff and I had just planned to hang out at home last night. We both like fireworks, but the show in Greensboro is so big, it's just too much of a hassle to get in and out of the place where they have it.

But when a friend called to suggest we meet them for dinner then see the fireworks show in their smaller town, we thought it sounded like fun.

We drove over and had dinner at a good Italian restaurant near their house. Since Biscuit has gotten so good at sitting up, I figured he could try one of the booster seats that they pull up to the table. He was asleep when we got to the restaurant (20 minutes or more in the car and he's down for the count), so we just left him in the car seat and carried him in.

We ordered some cheese bread as an appetizer, salads and pasta dishes. Then I jinxed myself. I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if Biscuit slept until I was done eating?" So what happened? He woke up as soon as the cheese bread hit the table.

Jeff got one of the booster seats, and I set up the fancy cover thing he got for a baby shower present. It's a padded seat cover that fits over boosters or the front seat on store buggies. We got him all strapped in, then he had his dinner of two jars of baby food - summer vegetable medley and sweet potatoes. He tolerated the veggies and chowed down on the sweet taters.

We left the restaurant and went back to our friends' house. As usual, I had a takeout box from the restaurant with most of my dinner in it. They said the community center where they were doing the fireworks show was within walking distance of their house. And I was more than a little excited that I had a new stroller to take on the excursion.

It was a nice walk until we ran across some brilliant citizens who thought it would be a good idea to park on the side of the street, straddling the sidewalk. Biscuit's stroller has small bicycle-type tires, but still, I don't think off-roading-it should really include having to scale ditches and embankments. But with me pushing, Jeff at the front and a friend on each side, we got the boy safely back onto a cement surface.

We got to the community center, and it looked like everyone in the town had turned out. We found a nice spot and threw down a blanket. I took Biscuit out of his stroller and let him stretch out and play. I was excited about seeing the fireworks because I can't remember the last time I went to a fireworks show. But at the same time, I had no idea how Biscuit would react to the noise, so I was also pretty nervous. Throw in that it was WAY past his bedtime - an hour and a half, to be precise.

The first fountain of sparks lit up the sky, and it was followed by a pretty loud boom. Biscuit jumped, but he didn't make any noise. The next one went off and still nothing. I was holding his face close to mine and talking to him, telling him the colors and saying "Wow" and "Look" and whatever else I could think of to let him know it was okay.

They sent up two or three at one time, then there was a pause of a few seconds. Biscuit's little head started turning all around. He was looking for more fireworks. I was nervous that he would be scared, but here he was looking around for more.

After the show was over, we loaded him back into his stroller, and I figured he'd be asleep before we got back to our friends' house. But with all the excitement, he was still wide awake and looking around. I don't know where he could've gotten that nosiness from!

We didn't even go in when we got back to our friends' house. We just loaded the boy in the car and headed home. We didn't place bets on how fast he'd be asleep, but I'm pretty sure that instead of his normal 20 minutes, it was more like two.

I hope he continues to be okay with fireworks. It would be a fun Fourth of July family tradition.

A long walk to a new stroller

I have loved Biscuit's stroller since the day we got it. All except for one small detail. I can't get the @#$% thing to open and close.

Jeff picked out our stroller. I told him I didn't have a preference, as long as it would be comfortable for Biscuit and had a place for the diaper bag. The stroller or should I say "travel system" that Jeff picked out is a three-wheeled jogging stroller. And let me stop right here and say that our purchase of said stroller has nothing to do with the hope of an exercise plan. We won't be doing any jogging with this stroller unless we're out for a walk and it starts to rain!

Jeff picked this stroller because it has real tires instead of plastic wheels. And because it's a travel system, it came with an infant car seat. The car seat fastens onto the top of the stroller facing backward. Then when the baby is big enough to sit up, he can sit in the stroller seat facing forward.

Once this stroller is up and running, I love it. It handles well. It's very comfortable for Biscuit. It has a big storage basket on the bottom. And it even has a couple of cup holders. (Something I made fun of in the store but have used every single time I've pushed the stroller!)

But it's gotten to the point, over the past few weeks, that I find myself looking for ways not to use the stroller. And that's very unfortunate because like I said, it's a great stroller.

My parents came up this weekend, and Mama and I wanted to go into Kohl's. Kohl's doesn't have buggies, so unless I wanted to carry Biscuit all over the store, I had to get the stroller out. I was dreading it, but I figured Mama would be there to help me get it set up and put down.

I hauled the stroller out of the trunk and got it set up with almost no drama. Biscuit was asleep, so I left him in his car seat, snapped him onto the top of the stroller and away we went. It was so easy getting around inside the store. I had two free hands to look at things, and when I got ready to go to the dressing room, I just wheeled the stroller right in. No problem. I was remembering why I loved the stroller so much.

But when we got back to the car, I remembered why I hated the stroller so much. I tried in vain to break down the @#$% stroller for about 10 minutes. Now, 10 minutes might not sound like a long time, but you try sliding a lever with your thumb and squeezing a long bar with your other fingers while jerking a big stroller into a folded position for 10 minutes. The back of your neck would be sweating just like mine was. Also, add in some words that you never want your son to hear much less say and throw in a few angry tears. That about sums it up.

I called Jeff, who was driving my Daddy around in the Barracuda with the top down. I told him that I hated to ruin his leisurely cruise, but I was in the Kohl's parking lot out on Wendover and I couldn't get the @#$% stroller in the trunk. And the thing is too big to fit in the car without being collapsed. He said they would swing around and head our way.

In the meantime, Mama said, "Where did you get the stroller?" I told her Babies R Us. She said, "That's in this shopping center, isn't it?" I told her it was at the other end, past Target.

I had Biscuit in the car by this point. So Mama kicked the brake off and started pushing the stroller away. I said, "What are you doing?" She said, "I'm pushing it to Babies R Us so they can fold it up and put it in the trunk."

She had quite a walk. She had to pass the old Linens N Things store, Pier 1 and Target, and I guess she didn't think about how it would look for her to push an empty stroller around. This one woman asked her how she was doing. Mama said, "Fine. How are you?" The woman said, "I'm fine. God bless you." But Mama said the woman said the "God bless you" part like she was talking to somebody who had lost her marbles. Mama always walks with a purpose, so I guess it did look pretty funny.

As she was walking into Babies R Us, and I had already pulled into a parking spot. I was pretty upset, so I just sat in the car with Biscuit, figuring she would get someone from the stroller department to fold the thing up, then she'd wheel it out, and I'd stick it in the trunk.

She walked out the door of the store and motioned for me to come in. I stepped out of the car and she said, "Come on in. You're getting a new stroller." I said, "What?!?" And she just motioned for me to come.

I grabbed a buggy and set Biscuit's car seat on top. We wheeled into the front door, and Mama was standing at the customer service desk with her hand on her hip. "Oh, Lord," was all I could think. That was her "taking care of business" stance.

The cashiers seemed to be tip-toeing around her a bit, and I said, "What happened?" She said, "I brought it in, and several people tried to close it but nobody could. So I told them they needed to do something. The woman behind the counter said, 'Can you push it over there?' And I told her I had pushed it all the way from Kohl's, and I wasn't pushing it anywhere else!" That's when the manager came over, and Mama informed her that they were giving us a new stroller.

The manager wheeled a huge box up to the front of the store on handtrucks. I told her that the car seat came with the stroller, but it was working fine. She said she'd give us the stroller and write off the rest as damaged goods. She spread out all the parts in the floor and put it together right there in front of the gift-wrapping station.

After she was done, I opened and closed it a few times to make sure it was okay, and I swear, I think I skipped out of the store. It's SO much better!

It had never even occurred to me to take the stroller back. I learned my lesson, though. It never hurts to ask.

When did that happen?

Most of the major accomplishments so far in Biscuit's life can be tacked on to a specific, certain date.

He smiled for the first time (a real smile, on purpose) on New Year's Eve. He laughed for the first time on Valentine's Day. (What can I say? The boy likes holidays!)

But I can't tie a date to his latest feat. Biscuit is sitting up on his own now. And he has been for a few weeks.

I'm not sure when it happened. And I feel a little guilty about it. Did I miss it? Was I just so busy that I didn't notice? I asked Jeff about it to see if he knew when it might have happened. But he said he didn't know, either.

We finally decided that his sitting up has been more of a gradual accomplishment. He started out sitting up for a second of two then falling over like a sack of potatoes. And slowly but surely, he's gotten better and better at it, so now he sits up for long periods of time and can usually even right himself if he starts to fall over.

Yesterday evening, he sat in a booster seat at a restaurant for the whole meal. Then today, I was putting clothes in the washing machine, and I asked Jeff if he wanted to throw in the shirt he was wearing. He said, "Sure. Can you hold the boy?" I said, "Um, no. I'm putting clothes in the washer. Just set him down in the floor." He did and was able to get his shirt off and in the washer with no problem. And the boy was still sitting right where he left him.

When did our boy get so independent? We have no idea.