What a Dick

I've been watching the Olympics on NBC for the past week, mainly because there is nothing else to watch and we've caught up on all of our DVR'd regular shows. Figure skating has sucked me in once again. Unfortunately NBC had the poor taste to hire Dick Button as a commentator for the sport yet again. This old coot is ruthless when he gets wound up. Not only does he point out even the hint of an imperfection in a performance, he lets us know about flaws in wardrobe, and even when the skaters are "too athletic" for his tastes. I actually heard him complain about a skater not tucking her laces inside of her skates, saying that it ruined the look of the entire package. Only Dick woud look closely enough to see skate laces. At least Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic try to keep him grounded in reality. I had to look up the winner of the Women's competition online because I couldn't stand to finish watching old Dick any longer tonight. I won't destroy it for those of you who are waiting to see the coverage unfold, but I'm sure Dick will destroy most of it for you anyway.


Too much TV

I've been feeling some strong guilt lately for the amount of television I let Toddler watch. He demands his favorite shows at all times of day, and often it is just plain easier to give in and let him watch. I get the nice bonus of him being happy while I get a few moments to myself. I know that the AAP recommends that kids watch very little television, and that kids under 2 watch NONE. Of course this only strengthens my guilt because Infant is often zoned out in front of the TV with her brother. I almost jumped for joy when I read this Slate article yesterday: The Benefits of Bozo . Is it wrong that even a glimmer of hope that I am not permanently damaging my children's brains makes me so happy?


Road trip

DH went away for the weekend so I decided to take the kids to go visit their Grandparents (my Dad and Step-Mom) a 2.5 hour drive. Toddler was excited about seeing Grandma and Grandpa and Max (their dog), Infant needed a nap and I had my fingers crossed that she would sleep through the entire drive. The trip started off well. Toddler was pointing out trucks to me, and repeating the question "are we going to Grandma and Grandpa's house?" Approximately 20 mintues from home I realize I've left my wallet at home. I don't have enough gas in the car to make it to my Dad's house, so I have to turn around to get my wallet. As we pull into our driveway, Toddler asks if we are at Grandma and Grandpa's house, despite the fact that I've repeatedly told him that I need to get my wallet at home. No, buddy Mommy just forgot something at home...I'm irritated at myself and briefly consider just calling the trip off and staying home, but we go anyway.

We stop for gas just north of the metro area, and as the car slows Infant wakes up. I guess the hum of the car was keeping her asleep, but when it is gone she thinks her nap is over. For some reason I didn't take this opportunity to put sun shades on the rear windows, Infant protests wildly because the sun is in her face as a result. The rest of the trip was a blurr of trying to throw toys at children while driving, and hoping they would remain happy, Infant crying, and Toddler demanding things he had dropped on the floor. We stopped one more time en route, mainly so Infant could nurse, but it was a good opportunity to pick up stray toys and attach sunshades to the windows...of course I forgot about the sunshades again. Honestly I think being a Mom has deleted part of my short-term memory.

We made it to my Dad's house finally, and I vowed to be better prepared with toys and distractions for the drive home. I almost left my cell phone on the return trip, but thankfully my Step-Mom ran it out to me before I drove off. The kids slept through at least 2 hours of the return trip, it was MUCH easier.



I decided to make Valentine's Day cards for Toddler and Infant's daycare playmates. I realized that most of the kids would give him the store bought 25 cards for $1.99 variety, but felt above doing the same. I realize that the kids topping out at age 5, won't be impressed by homemade cards. They will be impressed with Sponge Bob and Dora cards though so I'm not sure why I felt compelled to make hand stamped cards. Anyway, I went on two separate treks to crafting stores to find a "Happy Valentine's Day" stamp, some new card stock, and some washable stamping ink pads (so Toddler could help). I'll fast forward to the actual card making so I don't bore everyone with the minutiae...Toddler helped for the first 2 cards or so, then I decided that even with washable ink pads he was too young to really help. He loved stamping, but just kept inking his hands, and stamping on inappropriate surfaces. DH chuckled at me, and asked me what was wrong with the store bought cards. The cards got handed out at daycare, but I'm sure they were quickly tossed aside since they were not attached to a piece of candy. Oh well, at least the other kids' parents had a nice laugh at the fact that I spent so much time making cards nobody cares about.


Dinner without kids

DH had a birthday on Friday, and as a gift to him I arranged for a babysitter Saturday night. I'm almost ashamed to admit that it was the first time we had gone out without the kids since Toddler was born (no I don't mean Infant). When we trained for the marathon together we had friends watch Toddler on one or two occasions, and we have taken advantage of our daycare provider's generosity to keep the kids late a couple of times. However, this was the first time we set out specifically to enjoy some couple time. I was a bit nervous about leaving the urchins, but they did just fine with the babysitter who they know very well.

Dinner was nice. I'd forgotten how easy a dinner out could be. We didn't have to entertain our children while waiting for our table, we even sat at the bar and had some beer (shhh don't tell infant her milk supply was likely tainted) and just talked. I ordered salmon, which I wouldn't normally do when I need to share my meal with Toddler. I ate my salad, and got to eat all of the croutons myself, it was almost like a guilty pleasure. The conversation did involve talking about the kids, but they weren't our only topic. All in all it was nice. DH and I definitely need to do this more often.

Perhaps next time we will be adventurous enough to stay out past 8 pm.



Is it wrong to bribe your child with candy to get him to do something you want? DH and I agree that we shouldn't use this tactic, however I often end up doing it anyway. This morning Toddler asked me for candy fish (I foolishly bought a bag of Swedish Fish at Ikea) almost immediately upon setting foot downstairs. I told him no, and offered him a Pop Tart instead (yes I realize that Pop Tarts probably have more sugar/calories than a few Swedish Fish, but it is the principle). He refused the Pop Tart, saying "I don't like Strawberry." I managed to ignore the ensuing tantrum, and felt proud of myself for not caving in. Of course less than 10 minutes later, when he was dragging his feet getting ready to leave for daycare I offered him candy fish if he would get in the car. Yes, I am weak, but he was amazingly happy during the ride to daycare.



This post will be short since I am typing it while attached to my fabulous Pump in Style. Just to dispel any myths that might exist (though I doubt there are any), pumping is in no way stylish. I've spent enough time pumping that I've had way too much to ponder how Medela came up with the name Pump in Style for their product. Perhaps it is to lull women into thinking that pumping is in fact stylish (though I'm sure they ultimately realize that their nipples need to be drawn through plastic tubes repeatedly in order to get the milk out), or maybe they are referring to the plain black case that is designed to *not* look like a breastpump. Any woman who has pumped even once knows unmistakably what is inside that black bag, and if she is no longer pumping for her children she will sigh a deep sigh of relief that it is someone else who needs to use the nasty contraption. Pumping in style is an oxymoron, it is impossible to maintain any sense of style while pumping. It is not for the faint of heart, and it is not for an audience. It does however, allow me to continue nursing my infant even though I am back at work, and that is the prize I keep in my mind whenever I start to dread another pumping break. I also thank my lucky stars for wireless internet access that allows me to web surf while pumping, and for the trashy magazines I would never have time to read otherwise.

I must get back to work, my milking session is over...just 5 oz, which makes 12 total for the day. I've pumped the equivalent of a can of soda, woo hoo! Pumping puts milk consumption in perspective for me. I agonize over even an ounce of ebm my infant doesn't eat, imagine how the cows feel when I dump my Toddler's unconsumed sippy cups full of milk down the drain. Poor cows, all that work, wasted.



Written Monday night...
Conversation with DH before bed last night:
DH: Weekends are harder than weekdays
Me: What?
DH: The kids are exhausting
Me: The kids are exhausting every day, but yes on the weekend we have to deal with them all day long.
DH: Good night.

So the conversation got me thinking, are weekends really harder than weekdays? The test came this morning, DH left for work just as I hopped into the shower this morning, the goblins were still asleep...lying in wait. Thankfully Infant woke up first, shot me a huge smile as she stood up in the crib, and made those nice little grunting noises to tell me she was happy to see me. She also ate without biting me (Biting), so the morning was starting off well. It was just too bad that Toddler woke up on the wrong side of my bed (of course he was sleeping horizontally across our bed with his feet buried in my chest, so I don't think side of the bed really applies). Toddler seemed content after just a few minutes of cuddling, we headed for the kitchen to get his daily Pop Tart, I poured him some milk, then all hell broke loose. I am not sure if the offense was that I filled the wrong sippy cup, that I filled the cup at all, or that it was filled with milk instead of juice. Toddler became Toddzilla when he saw the milk filled sippy cup on the kitchen counter, and proceeded to throw a monster tantrum, that he never really recovered from.

I somehow managed to force some clothes on Toddler despite his protests, in the process however Infant found said sippy cup and had spilled milk all over herself and the living room floor. I cleaned up the mess, then tried to console Toddler who was now asking for Madagascar. I had to explain to Toddler that we had naively ordered Madagascar as a Pay Per View movie, and it was no longer available to us without paying another $3.95...blank stare from Toddler. He continues to ask for Madagascar, and I find Seasame street on Digital Cable, he throws a bigger fit "I don't want that, I want Lion, and Zebra, and Piggy Bank." Didn't we just go over that buddy???, and what Piggy Bank are you talking about (I guess that he is confusing Toy Story with Madagascar now, but that is just too deep for a Monday morning). We find Winnie the Pooh on Disney Channel West, and Toddler is content enough to let me finish getting my stash of stuff out to the car (laptop, pump, Infant's milk for daycare, etc.), then Disney Channel has the gaul to show a commercial, Toddler starts accusing me of changing the channel without his knowledge or approval. I feel like screaming Calgon take me away!, but I know it would just be lost on my audience.

Somehow we all make it into the car, get to daycare, and even get into the front door of daycare. I must have made some horrible mistake at that point though, because Toddler refused to go downstairs (split entry house, daycare in the lower level). I get Infant situated in daycare, and come back for Toddler. I sit on the couch with Toddler for maybe 5 mintues trying to convince him that he will indeed have fun at daycare...

I make it to work, sip some coffee, and relax for just a moment before starting everything I need to get done for the day. I feel like I've already put in a full day, but in a lot of ways a workday is the worst of the kids. They do not like transitions, and workdays are days full of transitions for them. On weekends they never let up, but we get lots of quiet down time at home. I don't necessarily think that weekends are any harder than workdays, just different.

Must get some sleep, Tuesday will start all too soon.



I'm finally starting to build my mileage again, and it feels pretty good. I'm closing in on 25 miles per week at an average pace of 9:00 minutes per mile (mpm). If I could force myself to lift weights or even remain consistent with an ab routine I think I would be in great shape. As it is, I have this fantasy that I will magically lose 5 pounds and all extra belly/hip/butt fat when I stop nursing infant. I can dream anyway, can't I? Anyway, I am gearing up to run the Get in Gear 10K at the end of April. I've run the GIG twice before, and never had a good race on the course, but then I've never had it as a goal race so to speak. I'd be thrilled with 55 minutes or less for the distance. I am trying to keep running fun and without too much pressure though, so ultimately I just want to feel like I gave it a good effort.

I had a nice 5.5 mile treadmill run this morning in around 50 minutes, watched Rachel Ray's 30 minute meal on the Food network and Curb Appeal on HGTV during the run. What does it say about me that I am watching a cooking show while running? I think it speaks mostly to the fact that we just have basic cable on the tv in front of the treadmill. I'd love to have the DVR down there, or even a DVD player and the entire collection of Alias to watch on DVD. The secret to treadmill running is to preoccupy your mind with television so you forget that you are running in place. You also need to put a towel over the treadmill display so you don't stare at the time s-l-o-w-l-y ticking away. Running outside is a completely different experience, but even then I need my MP3 player to distract myself while running. I am certainly not a simple runner, who just needs a pair of running shoes and some weather appropriate clothing, I like my gadgets.



I am still breastfeeding infant, and for the most part I enjoy doing it. Frankly nursing her is much more conveinient than bottle feeding her brother was, and this way we don't have to wash bottles. We don't have to bring food for her when we go out on weekends (aside from a small bowl full of Cheerios we use to distract her at restaurants), because her milk supply just comes along with me. Anyway, I had no plans to wean her until after she turned a year, and we both felt ready to stop. However, infant recently discovered that her new bottom teeth can be used to get a reaction out of me. I've discovered that being bit on the nipple is quite painful. I'm trying various techniques to get her to stop biting me, but if we can't figure it out soon I think we might wean earlier than planned. I would love the side benefit of not having to pump at work anymore, but I would hate having to wash bottles and buy formula. Tough decsions, especially since I worked so hard to breastfeed her brother and never had much luck. I feel lucky that infant has breastfeed as long as she has, and just hope that maybe some of the tips I found here help us through this painful stage without too much bloodshed.


Sibling play

Infant and Toddler are sometimes just too cute for words. Watching them really start to play with each other tonight was absolutely amazing. Toddler did everything possible to get Infant to notice his every move. Infant followed Toddler around like a little puppy. Both of them giggled the entire time. It was a shame when they noticed that their father and I were watching them, because then they turned to us for entertainment. Sometimes I try to analyze how different Infant's first two years will be from Toddler's first two years. Toddler spent long stretches of time playing alone. He sat content in one place, playing with and chewing on various toys. Infant, is much more mobile than Toddler was at the same age. I wonder if she is mobile because she longs to get in on the action with her brother, or if she would have been the same if she were an only child. I suppose this gets into the whole Nature vs. Nurture debate, and I am far too tired to really delve into it further. I'm thrilled that my kids like each other at this stage, and I hope it lasts for a long time to come. I'm sure I am naive to believe that my kids won't fight the way my brother and I fought, but I hope it doesn't happen for many years to come.


Survival mode

I'm sure I will find more interesting things to write about at some point, but for now all I've got is my daily routine. As the Mom of two young kids I'm finding that there is little time for non-essential things. I feel rushed to get the kids dressed, fed, and hussled off to daycare so I can get to work. I don't know how it is possible to wake up at 6 am (or earlier if the infant sees fit) and still struggle to get to work by 8:30 am, but it is. I don't even blow dry my hair anymore because it takes too long. If I'm at a client site I make an extra effort to put on make-up, but if it is an office day I get by with very little. This was unheard of to me pre-kids, it was actually unheard of pre-baby #2, but my standards have lowered.

After work there is another rush to get home before the kids (husband picks them up), so I can squeeze in a 30-40 minute treadmill run without too many interruptions (I used to run outdoors in all kinds of weather, but now the treadmill is my friend). Then there is preparing/eating dinner while still wearing sweat soaked running clothes, and cleaning up dinner/kids after eating. I finally shower at some point, and then need to begin the kids bedtime rituals. On a good night, both kids are in bed by 8:30 PM, and I get a few moments to relax on the couch or in front of the computer before bed. I know the infant will wake up during the night, so I should go to bed at 9 PM, but it just never happens. The next day will begin all too soon, and the routine will repeat with minor variations.

One day the toddler might be defiant, and the infant pliable, the next day the roles might reverse, but for the most part my life exists in survival mode--doing what I need to do, but not much else. In many ways the treadmill is a good analogy for my life at this phase, I keep running but I never seem to get anywhere. I'm sure tomorrow will bring more of the same, but the kids will do something cute and it won't matter all that much how hurried and tired I am. Survival mode is more than just surviving, but sometimes in survival mode you are thankful for a 6-hour stretch of uninterupted sleep (and a bunch of coffee) to make survival just a little easier the next day.