in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

big boy undies in practice

please forgive me for putting your underwear on the web, son.
they're just so cute and little i couldn't resist.
this is really a tale of two children ... living in the same body. 

one is a chipper little fellow, who came home from school yesterday in the same big boy undies he went to school wearing. that's right, it was an accident free, pee- and poo-in-the-potty sort of day! he was so proud, i was so proud, we called grammie to discuss what a big boy he is -- in short, it was awesome.

hoping to keep up the trend, when we got home i said, "hey, john, let's go pee pee in the potty real quick, babe."

enter the other child, a screaming little banshee who proceeded to yell, scream, hit, fall out, storm out, stomp, slam doors, and sulk for an hour.

i tried it all. i tried speaking gently and nicely and talking to him. i tried yelling. i tried spanking. i tried bribing. i tried time out. i tried sending him to his room. he cooperated with all of them*, but didn't stop yelling and crying for a single second. when daddy came home, he tried several of the above, too, to no avail.

(*the sending to his room thing was a new effort, and at first seemed to work great. i said, "you need to stay in your room until you feel like taking a deep breath and feeling better," i said. "ok," he gulped between crying and yelling. but then 30 seconds later he was opening the door and walking into the hallway. when he heard my footsteps coming, he yelled "NOOOO!" and ran back into his room, slamming his door. it would have been funny if it wasn't so awful!)

finally after an hour, he seemed to have cried himself out and was willing to sit and eat something, at which point he had an accident. after all, it had now been nearly two hours since the last potty visit.

once in a fresh pair of big boy undies and with some food in his belly, though, i'm pleased to report that child #1 returned. he was in a good mood for the rest of the evening, used the potty a time or two again, apologized to mommy and daddy, and was overall fun to be around until he went to bed.

and then, the best thing ever happened. he asked me to sing him a lullaby. i asked him which one. he said, "a GREEN one." so i made up a silly green lullaby song, and as i sang ... he beatboxed along. and he did a damn fine job, too.

child #1 is pretty awesome. let's hope child #2 goes on hiatus for a while!


Monday, February 25, 2013

in a boat

it's hard to tell from this pic, but john found a big stick
that he was using to "paddle" his "boat.
is this our canoeing kid, or what?
we're finally getting back to normal. last wednesday, john woke up with a fever, and the doc diagnosed him with double ear infections. he was a pretty good sport, but he got worse and worse and he was pretty sick through sunday.

so we didn't go out much this weekend, though we did a lot of house-arranging and storage evaluating, etc. we put up some garage shelving which is where that big box  lid above came from. john was a great sport playing in the garage while my husband and i hung from unevenly fabricated bars, hit things with mallets, and ultimately built two large shelves with no injuries and minimal cursing.

i knew john was fully back to normal on the drive to school today, though. he was so quiet in the car, that i asked him what he was thinking.

"what you say, mommy?" came the incredulous reply. (perhaps i've never asked him this question before?)

"what are you thinking -- what's in your head right now?" i clarified.

a pause. "um ... a carrot!" he said.

we stopped at a stop light. i turned to look back at him. 

"a carrot?" i asked, a little confused.

he responded by making a gesture of digging in his head to pull a carrot out.

"yumma yumma, carrots are delicious!" he said.

i just giggled and we drove on.

a few minutes later, he was being quiet again and i was about to ask him again what he was thinking, but he beat me to the punch.

"mommy?" he said.

"yes, john?" i replied.

"i'm thinking of another carrot!" he exclaimed with glee.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the shadow

"so here's the thing, mom ..."
i have recently begun to notice a stage of development in john that i had never considered before: the beginning of fear of abstract constructs in the world around him. like every toddler, he's been startled by a loud noise, or frightened by a dog with its nose in his face, or shaken up by a decent fall. but all of those are distinct, concrete things to fear.

sunday night, our whole family was hanging out in the living room. john didn't want to sit with me, he was having an all-about-daddy moment. as he leaped from my lap to daddy's arms, he caught a glimpse of movement outside our back window.

"what was that?" john asked.

i hadn't seen anything, so i let my husband answer him.

"it was just a shadow, john," said daddy.

"but what was that?" john asked again.

"i don't know, but it was just a shadow," daddy patiently explained.

this was very concerning to john. a look of dismay bordering on fear passed over his face, and he clung tight to my husband's neck.

"the shadow come get me ..." he said in a slightly awe-struck, notably discomfited voice.

my husband hugged him tight. "no, baby," he whispered. "the shadow won't get you. you're safe in your house with your mommy and daddy and doggy."

said doggy, though, wanted to go outside to relieve himself, so my husband opened the back door, and john's nervousness escalated to near panic. "no, daddy! the shadow get buddy! the shadow come get me!"

so we huddled together by the door and watched buddy patrol the yard, assuring john that he was protected and safe from any shadows. and when buddy came back inside unscathed, john was much reassured, and soon went off to play with his toys.

but that whole experience left a mark on me. i know, this beautiful child can't -- and shouldn't -- stay fearless forever. there really ARE shadows out there that could be threats. and the realization that there is darkness sometimes lurking outside our doors is actually a good one for a kiddo to have, as long as we're able to teach him to live carefully but not in fear.

i even know that the recognition of abstract concepts like "the shadow" is actually a developmental milestone, of sorts, that his world is become less just the literal things around him and that's a natural part of growing up.

what i didn't know was that it would make me so sad to see our little bug discover the boogie man. it's one of many steps in the end of his sweet little innocence that i want so badly to preserve.

am i being overdramatic? perhaps. i've been accused of that a time or two. but indulge this mama for a moment as she double-checks the locks so no shadows can come in our home.

Monday, February 18, 2013

pull up your big boy undies

"what time is it? mommy?
what oclock?"
john's teacher told me something amazing today. "you should bring me some big boy undies," she said, "i haven't changed john in weeks."

it seems that at school, since they check in with him periodically to see if he has to potty, and since his very smart teacher has noticed his (very regular) bowel movement schedule, john is potty trained.

at 9am at 2pm, she plops him on the toilet. he might sit for 20 minutes, reading a book. when she checks on him, he says, "i just poo-pooin', miss meka." and when he's done, he's good and done.

we're not quite that far along at home, but tonight we go shopping for big boy undies. and i'm sure we'll have a few accidents, but that's just a part of the process ... and soon my little boo will be in big boy undies full time.

and ... it's a great time for him to be out of diapers. because good lord willing and the creek don't rise, we'll have a new wee one in diapers come october! that's right folks ... i'm pregnant again! it's very early going - 5 weeks tomorrow. we won't even see the doc until march 7.

i know that makes this way earlier than is "conventional" to talk about it. but our family got so much love and support during my miscarriage last year, that i just was bursting at the seams to share this joy, and to ask for your thoughts/prayers/whatever floats your boat. 

and you know what? i feel good. WE feel good, my husband and i. we feel excited and not nearly as nervous as i expected we would. so thanks for loving john's family, and here's to hoping for a healthy pregnancy and a perfect little sibling for my big-boy-undies-wearing john.

Friday, February 15, 2013

dreaming

freshly awakened and not quite awake.

last night i didn't sleep so hot. i had a hard time falling asleep, and when i did finally doze off i had one of the most intense and vivid dreams i've ever had -- and not a good one. pretty terrible, actually.

right as my dream reached an apex of horribleness (it involved another person there having her palms burned off with acid), i was wakened by john crying in his room.

now, john doesn't cry out in the night too much these days. and since i was already awake with my heart racing, i decided i would go check on him.

i poked my head into his room, calling his name quietly. he sat up in his bed and held his arms up in the universal toddler language that says "hold me mommy."

i said, "oh, john, did you have a dream?"

and he said, "tell that doggie to stop taking my food! no, doggie. don't take my food."

and i was struck by the sweetness of an innocent mind that is terribly upset by a nightmare in which a dog is taking your snack. so we snuggled in john's chair for a few minutes as i absorbed his sweetness and light, and acid-burned hands drifted out of my mind, lulled to rest by the easy breath of a beautiful creature.

then i tucked him in, made it back to my bed, and slept like a baby the rest of the night.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

i missed something

our ornery little valentine.
yesterday i was under the weather, so i stayed home from work. i have never been so thankful for daycare as yesterday - being able to pry myself out of bed just long enough to take john to school, then come back and sleep uninterrupted most of the day was a GODSEND.

i'm feeling much better today - although our little valentine was in a pretty icky mood this morning. he did cheer up before school, so that's good!

he was in an icky mood yesterday morning, too, but he recovered more quickly. once he was dressed and i was almost ready to leave, he ran through the kitchen, saying to me, "i better now, mommy!" as he zoomed past.

then he stopped in his tracks, pivoted, and looked back at me. "i missed something!" he cried out.

"what did you miss, john?" i said, a little nervous that this was about to devolve into more tears.

but instead, he broke into a beautiful grin. "i love you so much!" he said, and zoomed away.

it might have been 24 hours early, but that was a heck of a valentine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

little man big chair

he looks so little ... but so grown.
today i was the only member of our family that had to go to work/school. so when john woke up, i figured i'd try to keep him situated in his room so that daddy could snooze just a little bit more. so i set john up with a blanket, some chocolate milk, and his iguy, and he snuggled in to watch a kid-oriented documentary about helicopters on netflix. i know the show was about 26 minutes long.

i went to get ready for work.

not too much later, daddy woke up. john had been awful quiet watching his helicopters in his room, so i went to go check on him.

still sitting there, nestled in his chair.

"whatcha watching, love?" i asked him.

"just helicopters," he said distractedly.

i thought to myself, but surely the helicopters show is over. and i peered down at the iguy ... and discovered that this kid can now officially operate his ipad. "did you restart it, baby?" i asked?

and he said, "it was over. i pushed the arrow to start it."

wow. kids these days ...

Monday, February 11, 2013

mardi gras!

take a moment and just check this image out. really soak it in. this is GOLD.
so first things first: our child was the naked baby running around at thoth at magazine and bordeaux yesterday. (if you've never spent time in new orleans, especially around mardi gras, that's the name of the parade [thoth] and the intersection we stand near to watch it.)

we drove down to new orleans yesterday morning to spend time with grandpa and watch the parades. where we sit, there are three parades that roll back to back (okeanos-midcity-thoth) so it's a great seat for some family friendly parade-going. john loved the first two parades -- he loves all parades, really -- and wore his tigger costume proudly as he became accustomed to riding on grandpa's shoulders or mama's shoulders to run up to the floats and, in his words, "get cool stuff."

in the downtime between parades two and three, john was running around exuberantly and generally being cute. suddenly, he stopped dead in the middle of the street (don't worry -- it's blocked off and safe to run around) and tore his tigger costume off. like ... as if it were a breakaway costume. in one fell grasp he undid the two velcro tabs on the back and dropped it at his feet. 

clad only in his pull-up and sneakers, he continued running around like a mad man.

and suddenly, he was the hit of the crowd. strangers were taking pictures of him. everyone was laughing and grinning. he's a clown, that naked child of ours.

so keep a look out - if video of a naked baby at mardi gras goes viral anytime soon, it may well be john.

***

some other (more clothed) mardi gras weekend highlights:

southdowns parade in baton rouge
every year we go to my aunt's house for loading up the float for spanish town the next day, then head to my good friend B's house for the southdowns parade. she lives right on the route, so we party at her house for a bit then head outside for parade fun. john LOVES this parade - it's pretty lowkey, not too crowded, plus his uncle-brother ben and lovely wife mallory ride in this parade and drown him in goodies every year.

snuggling with daddy as we wait for
the parade to arrive
"throw me something, mister!"

spanish town parade in baton rouge
saturday of mardi gras weekend is marked by my husband and i riding in the spanish town parade, which is a lovely debaucherous day of beer, semi-nudity (ok, just scanty costumes, but still) and throwing beads to the throngs. it's the one time of the year when, if a strange man asks to take a picture of a group of you and your girlfriends posing together scantily clad, you say "sure" and make sure you're properly displayed -- and don't even ask for payment. and this year marked the first "good weather" parade we've had in years, so the crowd was huge and energetic and it was awesome.

i'll find a pic or three later, hopefully.

epilogue: our kid is so much fun
it was a full and exhausting weekend of hanging with family and friends, enjoying the revelry, and cutting loose. and one of the most fun parts, for me at least, is enjoying experiences like this with john. hearing him tell my husband and i that that purple camel he caught is named "camelly" (which is pronounced cama-wee), or that the fleurs de lis beads he got are "really awesome," it just strikes me that we are so blessed to have a cool kid to share all this with. and whether he's naked in the streets or hiding in a suitcase (see below), he's always a heck of a lot of fun.



Friday, February 8, 2013

sack of potatoes


i know, i know ... how many pictures can you bear to see of my child sleeping cutely? but i somehow never tire of them, and this morning as i snapped this one while he snoozed, then picked him up and got him ready, i had a little inspiration as to why.

from the time he was in my belly, john has been moving. nonstop. sure, he'd take a little rest every now and again, but then the tapdancing and wiggling would continue. i learned (easily) to sleep while he bopped around in there - it got to where i was more taken aback when he didn't move.

when he joined us in the "outside" world, he wasn't any more still. ask my mom - she's got a great video of a few-months-old john, laying on his back and kick kick kicking those feet like he for all the world believes if he does it hard enough, fast enough, he'll just pop right up and go.

and when john learned to walk, he only walked for about 23 steps. ever since then he's been running ... everywhere. you know that kid isn't feeling well when he walks.

he's just a high-energy, high movement kind of boy. if he's not running, he's climbing. if he's not climbing, he's dancing. if he's not dancing, he's wiggling. 

sure, he stops for snuggles. but then he's off again. and it's wonderful. he's fun to watch, a blast to play with, and he keeps us on our toes in the best of ways.

but sometimes ... sometimes i just like the dead weight of a sleeping boy in my arms. there was more of that as an infant, of course, but nowadays it's a rare thing to hold a still john. so i love pictures of him in his sleep, because they capture that quiet stillness that is so rarely there.

and this morning, it was even better than a picture -- i didn't turn the light on, just sang a gentle morning song ("hey little peanut ... good morning i love you ...") and scooped him up into my arms. i gently placed him on his changing table, where i dressed a sack of potatoes that was hardly even conscious. and i picked him up in my arms and held him close, sniffing his hair the way mamas do, and i sighed a deep sigh of contentment. 

wiggle on, little bug ... but every now and again, let mama hold your sleeping self. it's sweet.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

the menagerie on the bus

he found a christmas box under the seat this
morning. it was a prop the whole drive in.
this morning on the way to school, john was singing "the wheels on the bus." he's gotten quite good at it, singing about the wheels, the steering wheel, the wipers, the horn, even the baby on the bus.

eventually he sort of ran out of things to sing about.

"what else on the bus, mama?" he asked.

"how about ... a doggie?" i suggested.

"they have a DOGGIE on the bus???" he asked incredulously.

"well, maybe!" i said, so he sang about the doggie on the bus going bark bark bark all through the town.

"what else is on the bus, john?" i asked when he'd finished.

"maybe ... a kitty cat!" he said, and sang about the kitty on the bus going meow meow meow all through the town.

"and what else, baby?" i asked.

"um ... maybe ... a dragon!" he said gleefully.

"what does the dragon on the bus do, john?" i asked, curious if he would roar or what.

and he proceeded to sing, in a sweet little voice, "the dragon on the bus goes chomp chomp chomp all through the town."

so apparently my son has a dragon on the bus eating all the school children ...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

flordida

if you look closely, you'll see a very small,
fire-engine-pj's-clad boy staring happily
at "all the blue airplanes!"

this past (long) weekend, our little family headed off to florida to gigi and great grandpa's house for "passover." (it's in quotes because the real passover isn't for months, but our family has always been flexible in scheduling our seder around everyone's schedules, and this year we needed to fit it in before my cousin daniel was off to australia for two years!)

we got up eaaarrrllllyy on friday morning, and hustled off to the new orleans airport. (that's right - while everyone else was flooding into the city for the super bowl, we were heading out!) john had been talking about getting on a plane and going to "flordida" for days, so we were all pretty psyched. we had plenty of extra time at the airport, so john enjoyed watching all the airplanes just outside the windows at the gate.

he ran around and played at the gate like crazy - making friends with the other passengers ready to get on the plane. secretly, i was very pleased - if they liked him, maybe they'd be more forgiving of his noise on the flight!

i needn't have worried.
wish you could make out the oh-so-blue
sky that was the backdrop of this sleeping kid!

when we got off the plane, great grandpa and grammie were there to meet us. there was a pretty spectacular moment when john gleefully squealed and ran down the hallway to jump at grammie - i know it made grammie's day!

we went back to gigi and great grandpa's house where we settled in, then grammie and i took john to the most amazing (if slightly overwhelming) playground. it was like a three-story treehouse, with ramps and ladders and slides, and it took up an office building worth of space. john had a fine time and befriended some other kids, and grammie and i only lost him in the chaos once -- and it was just for a minute. i climbed up into the treehouse of doom and found him in the hall of mirrors. i'm not making that up.

by friday evening the whole family was gathered -- gigi, great grandpa, grammie, uncle dick, auntie marie, cousin daniel, cousin other-one-nick (remember from the cruise?), uncle nick, auntie lizzy, and a bonus of uncle howie and aunt laurie. gigi served an awesome dinner and we all hung out and had a grand time.

did i mention gigi's bathtub?

it's more like a swimming pool to john.
funny thing is i remember taking baths in that tub
when i was just a few years older than john!

we decided john didn't need a crib or pack-n-play, so we just made a little palette/next for him in the corner of our room. and he slept just fine there, thank you very much:


saturday was a trip to the beach while john napped at home with daddy, then a chinese food appetizer, then the traditional maltz family seder. i was SO very proud of john, who did the four questions with a little help from mommy. (i read a few words at a time, he repeated them back to be basically perfectly!) john also got $5 in exchange for cousin daniel stealing the afikomen, which is a pretty sweet deal. (it's a special piece of matzah that is to be the ceremonial dessert after the seder. traditionally the youngest child steals it, then gets bribed for its safe return. daniel just helped the process along until john's old enough to do it himself.)

my grandma (gigi) had a ton of her friends over after the seder, so we visited with them and then stayed up late playing poker. (ok, i didn't play poker, but i hung out with the rest of the family while they did.)

sunday was another trip to the park, and then of course the super bowl in the evening.

and monday we got up and flew home, with john telling me we were heading back to louisiana to go home. (sharp kid, no?)

and last night, john performed the following awesome dance. if you listen closely, you'll hear "i like to move it move it" from madagascar playing in the background. well-done on the videography, daddy!


video