Zach, Alex and I went to another Burgh Mom get together. This time it was family-friendly and hosted at the lovely Kim’s abode. The kids were all able to run around (Zach played “baseball” for a good two hours with Kim’s hilarious 3 year old son, Oliver), the parents were able to chat, and we all had good beer and good food.

Red Pen Mama and her wonderful almost-4 year old daughter, Monkey, were able to make it, even though her younger daughter was a bit under the weather. Monkey took over the job I had been given by Kim’s daughter Eleanor of blowing bubbles as soon as she arrived, and was nice enough to share her books with Alex and Eleanor. Of course, Alex continually threw them on the ground, banged them on the table, and successfully put every one in his mouth. (Sorry for the soggy books Red Pen Mama!)

A “new” Burgh Mom joined us: Mary. Her youngest is only six months old, and it was wonderful to see a smaller baby. Alex has always been large for his age, so that so-cute-tiny–want-to-cuddle-little-baby stage ended, well, the second he was born at almost 10 pounds.

Throughout the afternoon, Alex’s favorite phrase was “Uh oh!” When he dropped something, when he was walking in circles, when he was coming to get some food “uh oh!” was coming out of his mouth. It’s been his favorite thing to say for a few days now, but he reached an all new record saying it yesterday.

“Uh oh! UHHH…oh. uh…OH! UH OH!” The entire drive home after leaving Kim’s was full of them, ranging in volume and intonation. So silly.

Funny Boy

Running, Running, Running… and Falling.

Because Alex is by no means a calm baby (ha! “Calm” has never, ever, been a word to describe him. Even when he’s fast asleep he’s still babbling to himself and going in circles in his crib), it can be hard finding ways to entertain him. He doesn’t play with toys, so that’s not an option. He wont sit still long enough to read a book, so that’s not an option.

The way that I entertain him is pretty simple most of the time. It’s purely physical. We run, we tickle, we tackle, we giggle, we run some more.

His favorite game is chase. I chase him. He chases me. “I’m gonna get you! I’m gonna get you!” over and over again. “Oh no! You’re catching up! Oh no! Are you going to get me? Oh no!” Over and over again. And over again. And again. He loves it. He runs and giggles and runs and giggles all over the house, occasionally taking a break by sitting under our dining room table.

He is also enjoying a game of “Tackle” on the bed. We both sit up, and I say “tackle!” and I knock him over. (Well, I pull him in closely and then we lay down together with a little bounce from the bed. So, it’s not so much a tackle as it is my way of making him cuddle with me everyday.) Once I tackle him, he likes to tackle me in return. He lunges his whole body towards mine and we fall over together.

So cute.

Unfortunately, with his love of running around and the fact that he is still new to it, he falls. A lot. So, behold the first of what I assume will be many falling injuries:

Mouth injury from falling

The inside of his lip has a huge gash from his bottom teeth. So, between the little cut on the outside and the gash on the inside, there was a lot of blood.

He was over it and running around again about one minute after I thoroughly cleaned his mouth and lips.

Snotty Baby

Poor Alex has been sick for a solid week. I had no idea that someone so little could produce so much mucus. Between his nose constantly running, the phlegm he is coughing up, and what I can only imagine is teething pain thanks to all of the biting, he is an unhappy camper.

There are no more wonderful cuddling moments, either. He doesn’t want to be held, but he doesn’t want to play by himself. He wont really nap, because he can’t breathe very well, but he doesn’t want to stay awake. He hasn’t eaten a real meal in a week, but he reaches for any food I am eating or try to give him, and when he puts it in his mouth he chews it and then promptly spits it out.

Hopefully he feels better soon. Or if he doesn’t, I hope he will resume his enjoyment of the cuddling.

Sleeping Alex

At least he is napping now. If he follows his recent trend, he’ll wake up in five minutes. Exactly fifteen minutes after he finally fell asleep.

A Testament To Our Awful Schools

The class I am taking at Community College is a required course for the nursing program I am interested in starting next fall. It is a second level course, so everyone in it has taken at least one other course in this field.

That said, why doesn’t anyone know anything about what we are studying?

More importantly, why doesn’t anyone know anything about…anything?

(A woman who has two kids had no idea what folic acid is. My professor, who is a Developmental Psychologist (and thus should be up to date with research in development) went on a nice long tangent about how great “Baby Einstein” is. I could go on and on with the things that have made me shudder in that class.)

First night of class. We are forced to do an “ice breaker” of sorts. Giant post-it notes are placed in front of us. Everyone has a few Crayola markers. We are told to draw our lives. On the giant post-it notes. From birth until now. Draw. Our lives. On giant post-it notes. And then share it with the 25 strangers in the class.

Now, I’m not a terribly private person. I will share just about anything with anyone. But I don’t like being told to share my life story with a bunch of strangers who can’t possibly have any interest in my life story because I have absolutely no interest in theirs.

The first person to share their life story: Born. In preschool was molested. In first grade, the “murders started.” Elementary school was awful. Parents split up. Mom died. More murders. Then middle school…

Many of the stories were not much better.

I felt like a horrible human being when I got up to share my story: Born. School. Good school. Lots of learning. Smart teachers. Went to college. Really good college. Had a baby. Still with my High School sweetheart. Love my baby. Yay. (Sure, I’ve had some hard times, but these people really gave me another perspective.)

During that class, a student mentioned they were seven different nationalities all rolled into one. She listed them all, “…Italian, Irish and Yugoslavian.”

The girl who had all of the murders in her life said, “Yugo-what!?”

I’ll give the teacher credit for not making any face or reacting in any negative way. She simply responded, “A Yugoslavian is a person who has ancestors who were from Yugoslavia.” (I can’t give her any more credit because I’m pretty sure she is faking her two Master’s degrees. She has no idea what she is talking about.)

To which the student replied, “Yugo-where!?”

Now, I don’t expect everyone to know the history of Yugoslavia or even the fact that it is no longer a country. It baffles me, though, to think that a college student has never heard of Yugoslavia. (Or that she didn’t have the thought to at least pretend she knew.)

This student has attended Pittsburgh Public Schools her whole life. From preschool until graduation. She has a high school diploma and is now studying Psychology in college. She had never heard of Yugoslavia, didn’t know there was a presidential election in November, had no idea who Freud was, couldn’t believe that she wasn’t going to grow any taller (she’s 22), and had to be told why she can’t be a Psychiatrist with a degree from Community College.

And who says we don’t need to drastically change our schools?

Alex Playing

I hope I can give Alex the educational opportunities he deserves. If that means never sending him to a Public School, so be it.

The One Where I Admit I Love When My Son Is Sick

No one likes a sick baby. They are snotty, they don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough, thus guaranteeing that you will end up with whatever they have, they wont sleep by themselves, if they sleep at all, and they insist on your attention 24/7.

I have to admit (again) that I love it. When Alex is sick, he is so sweet. He wants to be held all the time, he looks up at me with his sad little eyes and just wants me. Holding him is wonderful. He curls his little legs in, buries his face in my chest, and just relaxes.

No one likes a sick baby. But I love the cuddling. As I’m writing this, Alex is curled up on my chest breathing loudly. His eyes are watery, there is snot all over his face, and he keeps coughing in my mouth. He is a gross little thing right now, but as he looks into my eyes for comfort I can’t help but love this calmness. This rare moment when he really needs me.

Sick Alex

And What Can Your Child Do?

Like all parents, sometimes I have to check myself. Too often I find myself comparing Alex to other kids his age (or even ones who are not his age). Are they walking? Is Alex walking better? Does Alex say more words? Less? When did your kid get their first tooth? Why can’t Alex mimic me better? Is he smart? How did you get your kid to drink from a sippy cup so quickly? Why can’t Alex feed himself with a spoon yet? Is it normal that he can’t point to his nose?

…and it goes on and on.

So, instead of focusing on all of his accomplishments and comparing them to others, I like to focus on all of the funny things he does. Things that many babies may do, or maybe they are unique. Either way, I don’t care. I enjoy watching Alex grow and do new things, so I have to take pride in the fact that he is wonderful, right?

  • “Mama” means Mama! “Mama” is also something he says to people he really likes.

  • “Baba”…well, “Baba” means so many different things. It’s his bottle, a ball, bye bye, and the majority of the lyrics to the song he always sings. He also calls his cars and trucks “Baba.”
  • He understands a lot. Ask him to find his foot and BAM! he found it. Ask him to find his hair? Well, he found his ear! “Brush your hair” sounds very similar to “grab your ear,” right? “Where’s your nose?” gets the wonderful reaction of him reaching out and smacking your face. Right around your nose. If he doesn’t smack you, he will grab ahold of your nostril, possibly drawing blood. He understands food, lunch, dinner, applesauce, banana and fish sticks. Say any one of those things and he’ll bounce up and down and start breathing heavily. He’ll also make his way to the kitchen.
  • He likes to put his tongue on his teeth and rub it back and forth across his mouth while making noise. Try it, it makes a great noise.
  • He sings lovely songs for me. “Ba ba ba wa la ma ma la ba” are pretty consistent lyrics. He can’t carry a tune, or hit any note, but because he dances while singing it’s okay.
  • He needs to put every. single. finger. in his mouth when he eats. Unless he’s distracted, in which case he may miss his mouth entirely and drop the food on his shirt.
  • He screams. Just for the heck of it. Sometimes he’s happy when he’s screaming. Sometimes he’s trying to get your attention. Often, it’s when he’s in the car, which is a great place for extremely loud, high-pitched, noises, while one of us is attempting to not to kill us.
  • The sippy cup is still a long way away from being a source of liquid for him. He holds it, puts his mouth on it, and sucks away. But he doesn’t tilt it, so he just sucks on air.
  • He waddles when he walks. You can’t wonder why they are called “Toddlers” when you see a baby walking!
  • Recently, he has taken a liking to taking his diaper off. Mostly when he’s supposed to be napping. He has pooped in his crib not once, but twice. I wont show you the pictures because I don’t want to speak with child services about why my son was naked, covered in his own poop, and crying. (He cried when I walked out of the room to get the camera. He had been having fun with the poop.)

  • (Edited post to add:)He always gets the joke. If adults are conversing with each other and start to laugh about something, he will be watching, waiting, and suddenly burst out laughing. The laugh is obviously fake, and is a low “heh. Heh. Heh.” It’s absolutely hilarious. A vicious cycle, too, because you can’t not laugh at his fake laugh, which makes him continue the fake laugh.