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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Changing diapers in this household has turned into a full-on contact sport. I'd like to say that I'm getting better at it too, but seriously, changing Zachary's diaper has got to be like roping steer (which I've never done but have witnessed during childhood trips to the Ellensburg Rodeo -- an attempt, I believe, to help City Girl Jenny, see life outside the suburbs and the Starbucks). He's only 9 months old, and I think I'm going to have to give up on the changing table concept. I changed Matthew on the changing table without problems for 2 1/2 years! Now, the moment we put Zach down to change him, he immediately rolls over, gets up on all fours, then stands up in order to play with the beautiful quilt my Aunt Jackie made for him that's hanging on the wall. So, I have the pleasure of trying to clean baby buns that are in constant vertical motion -- not an easy task, I assure you. If I change him down on the floor, I usually end up crawling around after him trying to secure a clean diaper on the bum! I finish every diaper changing session exhausted and totally spent. I think I'll start wearing a tool belt with all of the diaper-changing accoutrements handy, so that it'll be easier to change Zach mid-movement.

Monday, January 29, 2007

It happened. They said it would happen, I doubted it, and yet it happened. I had a moment -- truly only a brief, fleeting time -- where I actually missed bed rest. Certainly not the WHOLE bed rest experience, but the beauty of lying in a bed (and getting to stay in it) when you're really tired. Zachary, the angel baby, really is a pretty good sleeper. He's finally settling into a bit of a nap routine, and as of the last few nights, he heads to bed around 8, has a snack at 11ish (before I go to bed), we're up around 4, and then he decides he's ready for the day around 7. I know it's not that bad (and I apologize to anyone who has had a SERIOUS anti-sleep baby reading this right now. I know that you hate me. Sorry). It could be WAY worse (and when we do have one of those way worse nights, I'm reminded of how good we have it). But I'm tired. I'm just always deeply fatigued. I don't remember the last morning that I woke up and my first thought wasn't, "When do I get to get back in bed?" Or "Is today the day that I'll get to take a na?." Matthew knows now how I cope with the whole tired-thing. One morning when driving to preschool, I was drinking coffee (as I frequently do), and he said, "Ahh, Mommy. Are you tired?" The kid knows. And on the topic of coffee, I would like to confess a new addiciton: the Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks. LOVE them. When I'm not drinking one, I'm thinking about when next I can. Of course these cost money and calories, so I do limit my intake...but distance only makes the heart grow stronger. Or in this case, lack of lattes only makes my longing lengthen. Mike knows that he need not ever worry about what to get me for Valentine's Day: a Starbucks giftcard, and I'm good to go.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The time has come -- for professional therapy. And no, for once I'm neither kidding nor exaggerating. After months of debating and struggling, I have finally decided to start therapy. Everywhere that I've read about postpartum depression has strongly recommended that treatment really should be two parts: Anti-depressant drugs AND therapy. I don't have a real good reason that it's taken me so long to give in to the therapy side of things, but what's important is that I finally have made up my mind, and I'm THRILLED about it. I had a woman recently tell me (when explaining why therapy really is important) that OB's hand out anti-depressants like candy because depression obviously isn't their specialty. But once you're on the drugs and can at least think straight (better anyway), then you really need the therapy to work through all of the issues and emotions that you're still dealing with. And I'm definitely still dealing.

So, I finally came around and made the call. I found a therapist who specializes in pregnancy-related issues, postpartum depression, parenting and family life. I met Louise yesterday for my first-ever therapy session, and I was ridiculously excited! Let the healing begin. I realized, hello! Who wouldn't want to sit for an hour and talk about themselves?!! And FINALLY -- someone who takes notes when I'm talking!! I've been waiting for that for ages. Don't people realize that everything I say is worth writing down?! Well, thankfully, Louise gets it. And it's official now, I have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Unfortunately the treatment plan doesn't involve a vacation to Hawaii and lots of dark chocolate, but it does involve a weekly trip to Louise (for a few months) and getting to talk about myself. I'll bring my own dark chocolate, but she at least provides the Kleenex.

Yesterday was a big day all around. I had my first therapy appointment and Matthew had his first ever trip to the dentist. The good news is that they had lots of toys and he got to watch some of CARS while they cleaned his teeth. The bad news is that the dental hygienist took one look at his mouth and said, "So, what' s his habit? Thumb sucker? Pacifier?" I responded, "Uh. No. It's a little bit weirder than that...See, Matthew has a special teddy bear 'Green Bear'. Matthew turns Green Bear over, smells the tag on the bear's butt (yes, it looks like he's smelling the bear's rear) while sucking his bottom lip -- his own that is, not Green Bear's bottom lip 'cuz, well, that'd be hard since Matthew's already smelling the bear's bum...uh...yeah." So, yes, the bottom lip part, that's where the dental issues come in to play. And here's what's worse, while he automatically does the bottom lip suckage the moment he has Green Bear (at nap time and bed time), he also does the infamous habit subconsciously -- while watching tv, playing, riding in the car, etc. The dentist took one look at him and said, "Yeah. That's a new one. Well, he's too young for orthodontia, but I imagine that as soon as he's old enough -- five or six -- they'll want to get an appliance in there to push out his bottom teeth so that they don't permanently affect the shape of his mouth, his adult teeth, etc. In the meantime, I'd try to get him to break the habit in the next six months." So, we some how get to break a habit that Matthew has literally been doing since day one. (We have a picture of him in the NICU on the 'tanning bed' -- jaundice therapy light bed -- wearing shades and sucking that bottom lip). AND we have a 3-D ultrasound picture of Zachary also sucking his bottom lip (although he has since developed an appetite for the flavor of thumb instead). Alas, forget about saving for college, we better just start saving for anti-bottom-lip-sucking-dental apparatuses or apparati, if you will. And while I'm in therapy, Matthew will start a teddy bear-butt-smelling-bottom-lip-sucking support group. Also known as Lip Suckers Anonymous.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For the love of Pete!!! (I don't know who Pete is or why the love is for him, but regardless...) Who told Zachary that sleeping was an optional occupation?! Whoever it was, boy, do I have words for you. He has also decided recently that in addition to being an avid left-thumb-sucker, he also wants his comfort object to be gripping a wad of my hair (in his right hand, of course since his left is occupied. In fact, he's such a thumb-sucker, that since the development of teeth, he has a permanent teeth indent/open wound on his thumb). So, if he's pulling my hair and sucking his thumb, he falls asleep like a champ. However, once in the crib (known to many as "baby jail"), he realizes what's really going on. (Wait a second! She's actually thinking of leaving me in here by myself?! And taking her hair with her?! What is the meaning of this nonsense?! Isn't this child abuse or something? I've got to call CPS...oh, and learn how to use the phone and knowing how to talk would help too...)

Now, there's this whole philosophy of letting the baby 'cry it out' -- essentially you occasionally soothe them, but they learn to put themselves to sleep. Crying it out, though hard to listen to, works like a champ (Matthew is living proof). Zachary, however, is not a candidate for the 'crying out' technique as he doesn't cry it out, he screams it out. Zachary throws a complete crib-bound, crazy coup d'etat. He wails and screams, cursing in Baby Tongue, gets up on all fours, bumps his head against the crib slats (just to add any parental guilt that might have already been lacking), and tries to then sucker you in with a squeal of glee and mischievous smirk, once he sees you approaching the crib. You can read his thoughts at this point: Ahh, the jig is up! You have finally been suckered into my plan. Muuuw-ah-ah-ahhhh! (evil baby laugh). If I maintain strength and don't immediately fall victim to his evil baby scheme, then occasionally I get to hear it in stereo (lucky me!): Zach screaming from his room and Matthew yelling, "STOP CRYING! NO CRYING, ZACHY!!" from his room. If there was a soundtrack for my life right now, that would definitely be a cut on the CD. Thankfully, the next one would be the music of Matthew and Zachary giggling together while playing on the floor. That one's my personal favorite.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I had a blind-date today. It went fantastically well! We were set-up through a mutual friend and have been emailing and talking on the phone for almost two months now. We have an amazing connection and a lot in common!...Her name is Patricia and she has a three-year-old boy and a ten-month-old girl. Our friend Cathi thought it would be helpful to get us together since we've both been going through postpartum depression. It's been so great to have the support -- the true empathy -- from someone who really understands. And it was such a fun play-date for all of us. Patricia and I talked while the boys played, and Zach and Olivia crawled around on the floor, occasionally stopping to poke at the other ('Wait a minute! You're my size!'). They were so cute, and I realized that it's the first time that Zachary has ever played with another baby -- and he was surprisingly gentle with the little lady. What a difference from Matthew's baby days when we spent one morning a week playing with our baby friends from childbirth class. Another exciting thing about these new friends is that they speak French! Patricia's husband is from Marseille, and Maxime goes to a French immersion school. So, I got to practice a little of my rusty French -- though it was really more Franglais today. All in all, our first rendez-vous was tres bien!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Does anyone know the cost of a welder's mask? We need to invest in one for feeding Zachary. That, and I think an entire tarp-themed outfit would be good. I've recently introduced prunes to an already creative-and-hands-on eater, Zach. The prunes, of course, are the baby food, smooshy version. I can report that they are messy going in and as you can imagine (though I don't blame you for not wanting to) equally messy going out.

On to another messy topic -- snot. Truly a subject that only a mom could dedicate an entire paragraph to. Zach's got it. Lots of it. And he's seriously upset about it, or at least the cleaning up process. If I even walk towards him with a Kleenex he starts to howl. And Matthew, watching me approach Zach with the tissue, immediately covers his ears. At one point today, Zachary was wailing so much while I attempted to clean up the nostril situation, that Matthew got pretty upset about it. He stormed over to me, ripped the Kleenex from my hand, and said, "Mommy! That's enough!" It was very sweet how he wanted to protect his baby brother from the torture of the tissue. Although he and Zach proceeded to spend much of the afternoon wrestling -- it's TBWW...Toddler-Baby World Wrestling, and Matthew wasn't so concerned with protecting Zach at that point. But, in all honesty, I'm not too concerned about the littlest Martin man. He can hold his own -- literally. He's a hair and face-puller, so Matthew is usually the first to want out of a brotherly wrestling match. Zachary is also quite the little gymnast and was absolutely cracking himself up, doing headstands (with my spotting) over Matthew's small Elmo sofa. Too bad the minimum age at the gym is 12 -- I have a feeling that getting him to burn off all that energy might be a bit tough.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My being a gym-junkie has paid off, in a very funny way. Two nights ago, Mike and I met up at the gym. After picking the boys up from the Kids' Club we all went next door to the grocery store. A normal event. The problem? I'd forgotten to pack my belt with my after-workout clean clothes. So, I walked around the store, pulling up my pants every chance I had. Thankfully, we made it home without incident. Mike was getting Zach changed and Matthew ready for bed while I carried groceries up the stairs. I like to load myself up like a pack-horse in order to make as few trips as possible. So, laden with multiple plastic bags on each arm, I commenced my summit up the stairs. Unfortunately, there was no free hand for holding up my jeans, so with each step I took, my pants slipped lower and lower. By the time, I got to the top of the stairs, my jeans were completely around my ankles, and I was laughing hysterically. I shuffled to the kitchen to put down the groceries, and then I shuffled down the hall. Matthew took one look at me and said, "Mommy, you look funny. Better come see in the mirror." I assured him that I knew how funny I looked and didn't need to see the proof.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Perhaps it's because we are now a pet-free home or maybe due to the fact that Zachary crawls around like an animal, but apparently Matthew now thinks of his baby brother as some sort of mammal other than human. He has taken to patting Zachary on the head (I'm surprised it's not accompanied with "good doggy"), occasionally tries to ride Zach like a horse (thankfully baby ZJ is one tough little tyke), and most recently has begun setting up obstacle courses for Zach to clamber over and through. Zach definitely would win 'Best in Show', as he crawls over packages of diapers, successfully plows over Kleenex boxes, and climbs into laundry baskets with the agility of a miniature poodle, yet leaving a wake of destruction comparable only to that of a robust Rottweiler.
Oh, and he drools too. Maybe that's where Matthew gets the connection.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Confession: I have become a Gym Junkie. I love it. Absolutely, love it. I try to go a few times a week and at least once, I bring the boys with me to play in the Kids' Club. They have a policy there, that any child under 18 months counts as three kids (as they're more demanding for hands-on attention), and only 10 kids are allowed in the Club at a time. I have, on occasion, had to wait a few minutes for some children to get picked up before I could leave Matthew and Zachary since combined, my two children are the equivalent of four. Needless-to-say, three-kids-worth-Zach rules the joint. Now, that he's thoroughly mobile (AND at eight months old, climbing already), he really does count as three children. What I don't understand is why the childcare attendants at the Kids' Club don't understand that and come home with me to help out. How can they just send release those 2 (but really 4) children into the world with ME everyday and assume that I've got what it takes to keep Zachary from: climbing into a laundry hamper basket (it's happened already), nearly doing a complete headstand on to Matthew's Elmo sofa (been there, done that), getting stuck under the over-turned bouncy seat (totally his own fault), playing with lamp cords (almost a daily habit -- the kid is FAST. Turn your back for a second and he's exactly where you don't want him to be!), sucking on the bathroom rug (grosses me out more than I can even begin to explain), attempting (and thankfully getting too frustrated to venture on) to climb the stairs, partially eating a WRAPPED chocolate that Matthew gave him (both boys take after Mommy in the chocolaholic intervention is in order), and whacking his noggin' numerous times a day on any possible hard, bluntish object (be it toy, furniture, wall, etc.). Yes, apparently I don't have what it takes to keep our busy Zachary safe, so I'm praying that he's got a guardian angel with as much energy as he does, and I'm thinking it's time to invest in a helmet and full-body padded suit....for me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I have yet to address a topic that is WAY overdo, but I constantly lack the time and the sufficient creative juices to properly paint the picture that I want you to see. Alas, I have no choice, but to suck it up and do my best attempt (although not nearly adequate) at the depiction of Matthew, the Little Drummer Boy.

At Bellevue Square (a huge shopping mall near us), starting last Christmas, every night from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve 60, yes, 6-0 drummers dressed as toy soldiers march out along the streets and play a 15 minute show with laser snowflake lights on the sides of the building, loud holiday music and complete with fake snow. It's like stinkin' Disneyland in Bellevue! It's amazing! We went to it a couple of times last year, and Matthew was so into it (maybe even more than me!) that with the help of a bucket on his head (the strap strategically placed below his nose forcing it up like a piggy...VERY funny), he transformed himself into a little drummer soldier boy.

This year, he has taken the drumming to a whole new level. Every day for the last, oh, month or so, (often multiple times every day) he'll request that we put the Little Drummer Boy song on (the Harry Connick Jr. version is his personal favorite). He will then put on a show for us (and anyone present willing to watch). He wears his drum, marches out from his bedroom, and stands on a stool (that he has strategically placed -- and it has to be JUST SO -- in the living room) and proceeds to drum along (in perfect rhythm, none-the-less) to the entire three minute song. He is absolutely serious and focused throughout his entire presentation. Drummer Matthew also includes a brief interlude of stick tapping in the air (just like the performing drummers do) as well as the occasional hip or booty shake (a bit of his own flair to personalize the number) and then concludes with the grand finale of a high-stepping, drumming march back down the hall. The piece de resistance this Christmas, was Grandma Therese surprising us all with a mini-soldier Drummer Boy costume for Matthew to wear whilst performing his routine. Contrary to popular belief, I have NOT coached the child at all and did not intend to be a Stage Mom. (Though I can tell you that the soldier drummer boys get paid $30 a night for the 15 minute show, auditions are held at the end of September -- requiring a short sight-reading of the show music and a brief piece to demonstrate skill, and the minimum age of the drummers is 13 though I have no doubt that will change once they see the cutest, littlest soldier drummer boy of them all). Drummer Boy Matthew can be viewed (along with other holiday photos) at