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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Permission to Complain

There are a few things that drive me crazy that are not socially acceptable to complain about.

Coughing, for instance: I think coughing is the most irritating sound. I think I also hate its' inconsistency. Someone may cough and then cough again in 30 seconds. They may cough four times in a row and then not again for another four minutes. It may go loud cough, hacking cough, no cough, little cough, back to hacking cough. Ugh, pick a cough and stick with it! There's not even a response to coughing like "bless you" for sneezing. (Sneezing is way better than coughing, by the way).

But it's not cool to complain about coughing. Why? Because it's not their fault. They don't mean to cough. I myself have been known to cough. Sometimes people cough because they're sick. Who complains about sick people? Me. I do. All I know is that when someone coughs, I want to yell, "Shut up!" But I can't because that would be crazy.

Here's one similar to coughing (in that it's a bodily function that comes from the mouth): Baby Spit-up. I have a big chip on my shoulder about spit-up. When I complain about my children spitting up, people often say, "Oh, it's no big deal."

To these people I think but don't say: You're right. It's not as big a deal as kids starving to death in Africa. But it's a huge pain. I change Gus' clothes about four times a day. I change my own clothes at least twice. I'm constantly wiping up floors, chairs and the shoulders of friends who come over. I bring four bibs, six burp cloths and spare onesies everywhere I go. When I put Gus down to sleep, he often spits up which not only disrupts his sleep but then I have to change a sheet, change his clothes, change his swaddle blanket. Once he spit up all over the church pew and left a pool, a pool I tell you, of spit up. Forget about tummy time unless I want the poor kid to be face down in a puddle of regurgitated milk.

But I can't say any of that. It would sound like I'm not grateful for my healthy baby or that I think it's his fault. So spit-up, just like coughing, is annoying but taboo for venting.

My last complaint: the rain. This one's a little different. I don't have a problem with the rain itself but more of a beef with this cliche exchange:

Me: "Ugh, it's raining."
Some unoriginal person: "What? Are you going to melt?"

No, the rain doesn't make you melt. It doesn't hurt you in any way to get wet from the rain. However, it's annoying, right? I mean, nobody likes to go outside in the pouring rain unless they're in a music video. Who likes to get soaking wet after they've gotten dressed and flat-ironed their hair? If people liked getting wet in the rain then the umbrella companies sure wouldn't sell a lot of product. So rain, while necessary, is not totally convenient (but clearly, not okay to complain about).

And if you have a complaint about this blog, go get your own blog and complain about it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beach Boys

We took our first vacation as a family of four to Tybee Island, Georgia. Some highlights: Leo being so brave in the ocean, Gus putting his feet in the ocean for the first time and lots of fun times in the pool. Some lowlights: Frank finally getting burnt after a summer of risky no-sunscreen-applying, Leo being a general menace and torrential rain on the drive back.

Here are some pictures (and of course we only photographed the highlights because who wants a picture of Leo being a menace?)

This is how Gus spent most of his beach time--in this cool tent-umbrella contraption we borrowed from friends:

Frank said, "If only Gus could sit up, this could be our Christmas card!"

Leo LOVED the ocean. He and Frank frolicked in there. I tried to play with him in the ocean and he told me that he preferred to swim with Daddy. (I was very insulted, especially after I had sung my cover of "Ring around the Roses" which I changed to "Ring Around the Ocean...Splashes, Splashes..."

Big news: Gus became a thumb sucker on this trip!
Tybee is close to Savannah so we had dinner there one night. Leo said, "Savannah is a silly place!" (He came to this conclusion after seeing cars driving on the trolley tracks.)

The condo we stayed in had a great pool!

Gus in his happy place
Ready for a day at the beach!

Sunrise view from our condo:
Guys, get off your computers so we can hit the beach!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Hoarders' Convention


This is what I said to Frank after returning from the bi-annual kids' consignment sale. It's not that I'm a snob (because I have no problem with my kids wearing used stuff), it's just that I am not a consignment sale person. And this is actually a really nice consignment sale. The owners are very selective about the stuff that gets sold. I appreciate that. I just don't like the act of shopping at it (or any consignment sale).

Frank is much better at it. He loves to go on Sunday because that's the 50% off day. This time I took the half-off God's Day shift because he had work to do. Both of us thought we were getting the short end of the stick.

Here are a few things that were said at the consignment sale (mostly in the very long checkout line) that I just couldn't relate to:

"I got to shop early because I consigned my stuff. I got so much stuff!" (Huh? You sold your junk and bought more junk? What is this, a swap meet?)

"I bought twelve Halloween costumes! I'm set for years. And if they don't wear them at Halloween, they can be dress-up clothes!"

"I came all four days. The first day I scoped it out and the next few days my mom and I shopped."

"I got so much stuff. I mean, some of the shirts were like, a dollar. Even if you don't like it, who cares?"

"I heard about this other consignment sale. They have really good stuff, not that we really need anything."

"I'd rather buy stuff for her (baby) than new shoes for me." (Obviously.)

"I'm just going to go ask a question. I'll be right back. Hold my place in line." (Totally uncool consignment sale behavior! I mean, I stepped out to look at dirty exersaucers and did I ask for my place back? No! It set me back about a dozen people!)

When Leo and Gus have grown out of their baby/toddler clothes I know I will be tempted to participate in this. Please, do me a favor. Refer me to this blog.

P.S. I couldn't decide between this title and "Little Shop of Hoarders." I will use that one someday soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Carpooling and Kicking with Leo

September has brought a lot of new activities for Leo: he started preschool AND soccer.

He goes to a Presbyterian church for preschool. (Sorry, Catholic church. Your tuition was higher and you lacked the carpool line this lazy mom desired.) Leo's buddies John and Dawson also go to this preschool but they are in the three-day class. Leo is in the four-day class because he is gifted. Just kidding. He's in the four-day class because that's all we could get into since the three-day class was booked. But it's working out great. Dawson's mommy kindly takes Leo to school each morning that Dawson goes. They go in the carpool line which is a lot of fun. Then I pick Leo up at 1:00 and he chats the whole way home about his adventures. Here are some things he's told me:

--He was "The Weatherman" last week. His job was to look out the window and then announce to the class what the weather was like.
--He would like to be the "flag holder" one day.
--When the flag holder holds the flag they say the pledge. I only know this because he started saying something that was the same cadence as the pledge and then Dawson's mommy confirmed it.
--Someone named Ellie had a birthday and they had cupcakes.
--He sits on a star that says "L-E-O" for story time. His class' name is "The Stars."
--They have story time every day and they sing some song about how they should be quiet.
--Ms. Amanda, his teacher, calls pee-pee "tinkle."
--At first he wouldn't eat his snack because it was on a paper towel but then he did. He even throws his paper towel away. (His teacher actually told me that.)
--He didn't get to play in the Diego house one day. It wasn't his turn. He had to do another activity. (Seriously, he said "activity.")

On an unrelated note, (well, sort of related to the "tinkle" comment), Leo now pees standing up. And not only that, he just goes into the bathroom by himself, lifts the seat, pulls down his pants and goes! It's so funny to see him do that. I did so good training Frank to put the seat down and now I'll need to train Leo too. Or maybe I should just accept that I'm outnumbered!

Now, for his other first--soccer. Leo is in a sports class again but this one is outdoors and it's four weeks of soccer and four weeks of t-ball. Leo does okay with the soccer skills but he sometimes has trouble following directions. For instance, for one "activity," they were supposed to dribble a soccer ball from one side of the field to another. Leo just stood there looking very confused. The coach had to keep saying, "Leo, kick the ball!" after all the other kids were already back to the other side. Oh, well. Maybe we'll have better luck with t-ball!

Here are some pics from the last couple of weeks:

The cutest part about soccer is how he wears those high socks and shin guards!

The only "first day of preschool" pic I have is this one and it's not even the real first day!
Leo zonked out after a rough day at preschool. I love how he's sleeping on his stuffed Chicken. (She-Liz, that is the chicken you gave him!")

Leo took this picture of me! I think he is a budding photographer. (Well, there was another one with fingers in front of the screen.)

If you look closely, you can see that Gus' shirt says "Gus." We are having a bit of a cool front so Gus is sporting pants for the first time in his life!

Here's Gus and me on our "date night." Frank and Leo went to the Braves game and Gus and I stayed in. It was so lovely!

Call the Guiness Book of World Records. Leo ate 17 mini pancakes one morning! (Oh, and that's syrup in the coffee mug.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gus has been here three months

It seems like just yesterday our little Gus was born. But really it was like 90 yesterdays ago! While Leo still seems to require more of our time and attention, Gus is content to take a back-seat to his older, more demanding brother. I'm not sure yet if this is an age thing or a personality thing. Probably both.

Little Gus is just so content. Did I say that last month? He's not jolly. He's not angry. He's just content.

But he does smile a lot more now! When he sees a new face he gives a big grin. And then before you know it, it's gone. He even laughs every now and then. Leo was belly laughing at nine weeks old. We haven't gotten that from Gus yet. Then again, we also haven't had a crying spell that we can't squash with Gus either, and we had plenty of those with Leo!

Two things they have in common: Gus is still spitting up a ton, maybe even more than Leo did! He's actually on medication and even that's not helping. Poor guy. Poor us. Poor all of our clothes and furniture! The good news is he's not upset about it. Just me. I hate spit up! There, I said it!

And the other thing they have in common is that they are both AWESOME night sleepers. I sometimes feel guilty telling people that because I rarely encounter babies who sleep through the night as quickly as my boys. But then I think about Leo and his terrible napping and Gus and his terrible spit up and I don't feel so bad. I mean, I should get something good, right?

Gus goes to sleep between 8 and 9 and we don't hear from him until after 7am. Sometimes after 8. Okay, today he did wake me up at 5am but that hardly ever happens. And I just gave him a little snack and he went right back to sleep. (By the way, breastfeeding is so much better with all these multi-media devices--Blackberry, iPad, etc. I didn't have all this stuff when Leo was a baby!)

During the day, he's more wakeful. It used to be that when we took him in the car, especially right after eating, he would fall right asleep. Now he stays up. He's got things to do, people to see.

Leo is still "aggressive with love" towards Gus. I cannot seem to get him to be gentle. Just yesterday Gus was propped up on the Boppy and Leo was kindly tickling his feet and saying, "Hey, Gussy Gussy." The next thing I know, Leo's got Gus by the ankles and is starting to drag him across the rug!

But did Gus freak out? Nope. Just me.

I think now that Gus is three months he's not considered a newborn anymore. He's officially a baby. And we love everything about him--his fleeting smile, his rolls, his chins, his long eyelashes, his demeanor, his fuzzy hair and even his chronic sour milk smell!

The Exercise Class Wave

Last Tuesday was my first official day back teaching spin. There was a little confusion about how old babies have to be to go in the play center (12 weeks or 3 months? I thought the former and I was wrong) so I ended up bringing Gus to class with me.

Most of the people in my class were familiar faces and they were cooing and oohing over Gus. They didn't mind him being there at all. Although I do think his cuteness was distracting them from working to their full potentials.

About twenty minutes into class one lady packed up her bike and left. I came to the conclusion that she had a problem with me, my class or even my infant. Others I've mentioned this to disagreed. They offered other possibilities such as: she could have not felt well; she could have always planned to leave at that time; she may have suddenly realized she forgot to be somewhere.

But I know, after almost six years of fitness class instructing, how to spot a unsatisfied customer. Here are the facts:

--It's totally fine to leave a class early, especially if it's one of the reasons stated above. But twenty minutes in is an odd time to leave a class. Often people leave ten minutes before the end, maybe 15. They simply can't stay the full hour. That's okay. Another common check-out time is halfway, after 30 minutes. They figure they got in 30 minutes and now they'll either leave or go do something else for 3o minutes.

--Coming late is also fine. Some people feel bad about coming into a class late. They'll say, "I came to take your class but I got here ten minutes late and didn't want to disrupt it." I really don't mind people coming in late. If the class isn't very full, I'm happy to get more bodies in there. (It's not my favorite when new people come in late, though, because then I have to get off my bike to set them up and explain things which IS disruptive.)

--The main reason I know that this lady didn't like my class was because, as she left, she DID NOT wave at me. If you are leaving a class early for one of the above--and I'll just say it, approved reasons--then you would wave, right? You would give that polite little wave to the instructor that tells me, "It's not you, it's me." And then I'll know that you either: realized you had to be somewhere, only wanted to work out for a little while or you felt like you were going to die. All fine reasons to leave a class early.

The wave I'm describing is much like "the confident wave" I referred to in a previous blog. It's not a hand-flapping side-to-side "HELLO!!" kind of wave. It's not a baby-style up and down "BYE BYE" type gesture either. It's more like a nonchalant, cool wave: Hand up, couple of tiny shakes side to side and then you're out the door. A "Thank you" and a smile really seals the deal. Then we know that we're good, our class is good and our baby is good. Oh, and unlike the confident wave, you can do this one even if you're ugly.

Now, if you're leaving because class was tough and you're about to go to the hospital, I don't really have a wave for that.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

God Bless Gus

Labor Day weekend we welcomed Gus into the Catholic Club. Whereas I had to go through months of classes to be in the club, Gus is now a "cradle Catholic." We were so happy that our family came to celebrate with us: My parents, Frank's parents, My sister ("Tia"), and Aunt Julie and Uncle Doug, who also served as Gus' Godparents! We got to meet their son, Franklin, for the first time. He is just a 2.5 months older than Gus so they will be close cousins. The only people missing were Uncle David, Aunt Laura and Cousin Ellie. But they had a good excuse; they are expecting another close cousin of Gus and Franklin's in the next few weeks. (Side note: I will be that baby's Godmother!)

Here is the whole group at Gus' baptism:

Proud Godparents and parents with a confused Gus: "What is this Catholic thing and why am I wearing a dress?"

With cousin Franklin!

Franklin, Leo and Gus--future longhorns. You're outnumbered, Aggie/Bear Ellie!