Tuesday, February 24, 2009

wake-up call

So here's the scoop on Alex's new bed. We went to IKEA with the intention of getting a bed made specifically for toddlers, only to discover that those beds are no wider than a crib, and if we were going to the trouble to get him a bigger, better bed, we wanted to get him something he was actually going to be able to grow into. So we ended up getting him a regular twin-sized bed, what you might call a "typical IKEA design" - very Scandinavian, low to the floor, brown wood veneer with a slab headboard and a recessed mattress. We put it together on Sunday morning and he laid right down in it at naptime, slept for two and a half hours, and sat in the bed whining until we came to get him.

Oh, there's one little detail I forgot to mention about this whole bed situation. We sorta put the cart before the horse on this one in that we ran out and got a new, fancy bed before we got new, fancy bedrails to keep A from falling out of it. Not for lack of trying, however. We did look at some rails at Target when we got his bedsheets, but the design of the fancy, new bed with the recessed mattress is not conducive to having regular bedrails that slide under the mattress. Our best bet was the kind of foam bumpers that sit on the bed and are attached by straps that wrap around the mattress. Of course, we didn't have time to order them online (and they cost a fortune), so Plan B was for me to make some. So we went to the fabric store to get the supplies only to discover that it would cost as much to make them as it would to order them and have them shipped. So we nixed that idea and decided to "improvise" until we could get some bumpers delivered.

"Improvising" meant we covered the floor around Alex's bed with sleeping bags and stuffed pillows between his mattress and the bed frame to discourage him from rolling out. The bed is only about a foot off the floor, and the sleeping bags are soft enough to cushion a fall, so we weren't really worried that he would be physically hurt. Just emotionally scarred, maybe. We put him to bed before we left for our movie in case he decided to get up and run around, but much to our surprise, he stayed in bed and went right to sleep.

I spent most of the movie wondering if A had fallen out of his bed, and when we got home around 10:30pm, Grammy assured us that he was still sleeping soundly in his bed. So I hit the little girls' room, and as I was washing my hands, I heard a loud THUMP, followed by Alex's high-pitched squeal, followed by silence. The idiot I am, my first thought was that Tim had slammed the door to the other bathroom and woke Alex up. It wasn't until I heard Timothy running from the living room to Alex's room until it dawned on me. Eeeeekkk!!! Alex fell out of bed!!!!

I made it to Alex's room in time to see Tim open the door and flip on the light, and sure enough, there was Alex, lying on the sleeping bag next to his bed. Tim picked him up, and it was only then that I noticed he was still sound asleep, and that the bright light was doing more to wake him up than the fall had. I told Tim he was still asleep and flipped the light back off so he would stay that way. In fact, if we hadn't heard him fall, I'm pretty sure he just would have slept right there on the floor all night and we would have found him that way in the morning.

Clearly our system to keep him in bed had failed miserably. We decided not to risk another fall by putting him back in bed, so we pulled out his mattress on put it on the floor, where he slept for the rest of the night.

So that was Night 1. To avoid a repeat performance on Night 2, I ran around town the next day, searching through furniture stores, baby stores, and department stores for some more bedrail options. When I finally resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to find what I was looking for, I decided to go ahead and buy "regular" bedrails that slide under the mattress, you know, the ones that I had nixed two days ago. I figured we could try them and take them back if we couldn't make them work.

They worked. Mostly. They cause the mattress to buckle a little, which is what I was fearing from the start, but it's not as if Alex is sleeping on a camel's hump or anything. Just a little bump in the middle that flattens out when he lies on it. I think Alex would agree that, considering the alternative, sleeping on a humpy mattress is a small price to pay.

So it seems that, once again, we have not given Alex enough credit for being a good boy. We totally expected this bed situation to be a long, painful process that would involve us going to his room twenty times a night to put him back in the bed after he had gotten up to read a book or play with his toys or just run around and enjoy his newfound freedom. But, for a week and a half now, he has stayed in bed every night after I have laid him down and kissed him goodnight, as well as at naptimes, and in the morning or after a nap, he will sit in his bed and whine until I come get him up. The only exceptions were two times at night, when I laid him down and said goodnight, and he immediately got out of his bed, stood next to it, and flashed me a huge grin. Both times, I gave him "the look", told him to get back into bed, and he did just that. Obviously, he was testing his boundaries, and lucky for me, he quickly understood where those boundaries lie.

I wish I had pictures to share of Alex in his new bed and his rearranged bedroom, but Timothy had "official lawyer-type business" to attend to in Nashville and needed to take my camera with him. He returns tonight, so I will try to post some pics asap. Or whenever I get to it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

good times with Grammy

Alex has the best Grammy, who was willing to use her three day weekend to drive all the way to Dallas and watch him while Tim and I went out for Valentine's Day. This meant we could nix our original plan of leaving him at home with Murphy, a movie, and a giant bowl of Goldfish crackers, and instead, do what some people would consider more "responsible" or "legal".

Grammy got here Friday evening, so Alex got a nice surprise when she came to get him in the morning. We spent a lazy morning around the house, and Alex opened the V-Day gifts that Grammy brought him, including a fun card that makes kissy noises, a tennis ball and rackets, and a bowling set. He subsequently made out with the card, smacked the rackets together until my head hurt, and kept knocking the bowling pins over before Grammy could get them all set up. Needless to say, he LOVED his new toys and kept opening and closing the card, cracking up every time it kissed at him.

We had planned on making an IKEA run to get Alex a "big boy bed" while Grammy was here so that she could run interference while Tim and I put it together, so that was next on our agenda that day. We had decided that it's time to retire Alex's crib for two main reasons, the first being that he has pretty much outgrown his pack 'n' play, meaning his head and feet almost touch the ends when he lies in it. And considering his propensity to turn cartwheels in his sleep, I was feeling guilty about making him sleep in it when we travel. So we figured we would get him acclimated to a bed so he can sleep in a bed or on a pallet when we go somewhere.

The second reason is that the child can be a bit of a wildebeast regarding how he treats his things, and his crib has recently become his latest victim. He likes to hang on the rails and jump up and down and yank back and forth, not to mention the abuse he inflicts in his sleep. On many occasions, I have heard him kicking his crib slats over and over and over, and I just hope and pray that he is dreaming of being the next David Beckham and not the next cage fighting star. I was not very confident about the stability of the crib to begin with because the drop-down mechanism on the front rail has given us some problems in the past, and if we were planning on recycling this crib for Baby Evans #2, it would be nice if Alex hasn't completely destroyed it.

Anyway, we found him a new bed at IKEA and planned on putting it together on Sunday morning so he could nap in it that afternoon, so Saturday was his last night in his crib. Ever. SNIFF! Here are some pics of him enjoying his last few minutes of babyhood.

Timothy and I ended up having a nice dinner at a little Italian place, and while a late movie was also part of our official V-Day plans, we were both so tired and stuffed with pasta (and antipasto and salad and soup and bread and tiramisu) that we decided to rain check the movie and went home and crashed instead. We ended up seeing Slumdog Millionaire (excellent film, I highly recommend it) on Sunday night since Grammy was driving home on Monday, so we got to have two date nights instead of one. We had a fab time, as did A with his Grammy. I think she might have enjoyed it a little, too.

We did put Alex's bed together on Sunday morning, and he napped in it that afternoon with no problems whatsoever. As for that night...well, more on that later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

V-Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, Alex came home from school on Friday with some V-day inspired artwork and treats, as well as a Valentine's card from his teachers. When I realized that I had sent him to school on the day before Valentine's Day without cards for his classmates and teachers, I felt like a total loser and still get a little sick to my stomach thinking about it. I am a total stickler for the over-celebration of holidays, and I am completely ashamed that I dropped the ball. I suppose I will have to make up for it next year by baking personalized Red Velvet Cakes for each of his classmates and teachers and deliver them to his class dressed as Cupid (shirtless and diapered). I think that should take everyone's mind off of this year's debaucle.

Alex was unaffected by my blunder (plus he didn't come home with any Valentines from classmates, so apparently other moms forgot, too), and he was very excited to show me his artwork and share his cookie. The heart-shaped lollipop, however, was off-limits.


Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

summer in February

After a wicked storm two nights ago, that conveniently came to town while my husband was working late and I was alone with Alex, wondering whether the bathtub or the closet was a safer refuge should the roof blow off, a warm front moved in - again - and we spent a beautiful afternoon outside in the sunshine. Not that it takes a storm to get a warm front around here. Maybe I just appreciated it more yesterday since we were able to enjoy it here in Dallas, not in the Land of Oz, where I was convinced we were going to end up Tuesday night.

Anyway, we had a ball in the front yard instead of the back, seeing that, after the rain, a grassless backyard turns into a mudwrestler's dream. Although we did spend Tuesday afternoon in the backyard and continued to play out there as the rain started to come down, and it was one of those amazing times you have with your kid, where you just throw caution to the wind and let him play in the pouring rain while you watch him have the time of his life. I love those moments. The ones where you wish you had a camera to record every second, while at the same time, you cherish the thought that it's a memory that only the two of you will share.

And that's about as sentimental as this post is going to get. Here are some pics of our fun afternoon. Enjoy.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

19 months

Before now, I had thought of 19 months as one of the lesser landmarks in a kid's life. One of the "forgotten months", part of that mysterious chunk of time that occurs after a kid turns one-and-a-half but before he reaches two, a phase where he basically just kills time until his next big milestone.

Ironically, in terms of development, this month has been the most significant one since Alex started walking. Literally, it was as if his brain wrinkled up over night, and all of a sudden he would repeat every word that we said to him. In the two days after we got back from Eldo, he debuted more than half a dozen words. In fact, I think he has nearly doubled his vocabulary since last month, including words he says regularly and those which require prompting.

His favorite phrase, by far, is "uh-oh, broke!", which he utters when he drops something, when we turn the TV or the radio off, when something comes apart, when his toys don't seem to be working right...you get the picture.
He loves numbers and letters in general, although he can only say "one" and "five" while holding up the appropriate number of fingers. In fact, I think that's what's preventing him from catching on to the other ones - he can't figure out how to get his fingers to work, and that is somehow linked to his ability to say them. It's just a theory...

He is always pointing out letters in his books and on signs and boxes and clothes - anywhere he finds letters, he will point to each one and say "O". Just "O". If you show him the word "mama", and ask him what it says, he will tell you "O, O, O, O", pointing to each letter along the way. Funny, he will repeat most words when we ask him to, but he is much more stubborn about individual letters and numbers. Thing is, I think he is kind of obsessed with "O's" in general. He says "circle" when I ask him to (more like "cirle" - that second syllable is a doozy), loves for me to draw circles, balls, anything round, and recently he has learned to draw a circle himself, albeit a wonky, pointy, lopsided one. One of his other favorite words is "round", and if he sees a circle or a ball or a wheel turning or anything else of that nature, he will stick out his pointer finger and move it in a big circle while saying "round".

Another popular one - and I rue the day I taught him this - is the phrase "one more", typically used in reference to reading books before bedtime. I am such a sucker when it comes to reading to him, and I will sit in the rocking chair and read to him for forty-five minutes as long as he keeps bringing me books. I finally tried to put my foot down and started telling him "one more", (which usually turns into "two more" or "three more", but that's beside the point). Now, whenever we finish a book, he jumps off my lap, sticks his finger up, says "one more", and brings me another book to read. How do you say no to that?


He can say most of his animal noises now, at least the ones that we have thought to teach him. He knows what a cows says, a cat (although his cat sounds like it's sick and might be dying), a dog, a snake, a bird, a duck, a chicken, a rooster (sorta, sometimes), a lion, a tiger, and a sheep. The poor piggy and monkey and horsie sort of fell by the wayside - I guess we need to work on those...



He can also say all the parts of the face as he points them out, although he is particularly fascinated with ears and eyelashes. When he is in a goofy mood, he will stick his hands out in front of him and say "back" while he shuffles backwards acrross the room. We have recently taught him to say "thank you", as well, which sounds more like "dane-doo", but he uses it in the appropriate context, so that's a good start.


Anyway, the list goes on and on, but I'm not going to bore you with the rest. Point is, we are having tons of fun watching him learn so many new things and look forward to what he will say next. That pretty much concludes the vocabulary portion of this post. Except to say that, being able to communicate better seems to have made Alex aware of how much he still can't say, and that has led to umpteen hissyfits and whining and frustrated tears. Alex gets kind of upset, too. We often have to look him in the eye and remind him that he can use words to tell us what he wants, and after a few simple questions, we can usually come to an understanding. But that whining, oooh, the whining. Dealing with that there requires a lot more patience than I have. I guess these things are what characterize the "Terrible Twos". Just my luck, the kid decides to start his terrible twos at 18 months...

So with the exception of the whining situation, the fact that A is talking more is good news. And now for the bad news.


The bad news is that my child has become the class bully and is in imminent danger of being expelled from school. He went back to M.D.O. on the Tuesday after we got back from Eldo, and when I picked him up that afternoon, his teacher informed me that he had bit one of the other kids. I apologized and told her that he had never bit anyone else before, which is technically true. Occasionally he will throw a fit and pretend to bite me, but he will not actually close his teeth, and sometimes if he gets really frustrated, he will bite himself. But he had never bit another child, so this was kind of shocking news to me.


The teacher bent over backwards to assure me that this was no big deal, that kids go through icky phases when they are learning to share, and that she dreads telling parents these things for fear that they will freak out and ship their toddlers off to military school. Since that day, he has committed five more bitings at school, attempted two more, and took a chunk of flesh from the arm of a little girl with whom we had a playdate last week. Beyond a stern "no", his teachers can't do much to discipline him, so if he even thinks about biting me at home, he goes straight into time out. And before trying time out, I had no faith whatsoever that he would stay in one spot, especially if he was throwing a fit. But to my utter surprise and elation, he will sit perfectly still in the "time out corner" and bawl his eyes out until I tell him to get up and give me a hug.


So we're at that point where we have to determine what methods of discipline work best, and attempt to be consistent about how we administer them. So far, he seems to respond better to time out than to a spanking, which just isn't always practical in public. It's easy enough at home, where he gets a couple of warnings then goes into time out if he continues to disobey. But at school? The grocery store? Things get a little more complicated when you don't have home field advantage.


Aside from the whining, there are lots of other things A does for fun, like jump on his bed, bang his head on things (for comic relief), draw on appliances and furniture with chalk, read books, play outside, tease Murphy, pull things off of shelves, pull things out of cabinets, pull things out of drawers, play with his friends, and play with his toys.
He loves to sing and dance along with his Raffi video, which is one of my faves of alltime, so I'm pretty excited that he is into it. If you moms are not familiar with Raffi, I highly recommend checking him out. (apologies for the singing)



We introduced him to the potty this month, as in, "Alex, this is Potty, Potty, this is Alex" and bought a little training potty for him to get familiar with. Occasionally I'll ask him if he needs to go, to which he usually answers, "no", although he did pee on the pot once, mostly on accident. That's about as far as we plan on taking it at this point, because he is clearly not ready to potty train yet. But we are certainly willing to leave the option open.


Although I have a hard time imagining that the child will ever sit still long enough to go to the bathroom on a potty as opposed to going in his conveniently mobile diaper. The kid does not stop moving. Ever. Not even in his sleep. By the end of the day - forget
that - by 9am I am exhausted and start to wonder how I can possibly maintain the amount of energy that is needed to chase after him until 6 in the evening.

He is extremely outgoing and friendly to everyone, always waving and smiling at strangers. He is well known at school because when we walk down the hall in the morning, he waves and screams, "
BYE THERE!" to every single person that passes by. He is the sweetest boy, he will give me big hugs and kisses on demand, and sometimes when I haven't even asked him. He is my buddy, my pal, and while he makes me nuts at least half of the time, he makes up for it by being unbearably adorable the other half.


Friday, February 6, 2009

out with the old

In an effort to watch less (no) TV while A and I are home during the week, we have recently revamped the playroom, boxed up most of Alex's old toys (which, of course, made those toys exponentially more interesting than when they were just sitting around his playroom), and hit Toys 'R' Us to spend some of his Christmas money on new "big boy" stuff. We ended up getting an inflatable ball pit with a zillion extra balls and a big foam mat so that if when he falls off of his slide, he won't bust his head on the tile floor.

Here are some pics of
the new and improved playroom, and a few of A in action.



p.s. I don't remember why he is half naked. I'm sure there's a good reason...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A new 'do

While A is feeling much better, he still has those moments that make me want to rip my hair out, and instead of giving him the pleasure of rendering me bald with his booger-like behavior, I decided to beat him to the punch and cut it all off myself. Well, not myself myself. I paid my stylist (way too much, in my opinion) to do it for me, and for the first hour after I got it done, I sort of had a breakdown and wished that I had in fact done it myself myself. Then I remembered that I always hate my hair after I get it cut, or rather, the way it is styled, and that I am never pleased until I wash it and style it myself. So I washed it and styled it and yeah, now I feel much better (although I forgot I had bobby pins in when I took the pictures, a style I usually reserve for when I'm cleaning or sitting around the house working out).

I can even wear it curly, which is awesome because I can sleep on it wet and barely have to touch it in the morning. How's that for low-maintenance?

Anyhoo, I feel like a goober posting self-portraits, but my family doesn't get to see me much if not on the blog. Plus, if I don't post pics of myself every now and then, one day I will look back and wonder what I looked like.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A breath of fresh air

So A is well on his way to a full recovery from his ear infection, and to celebrate his improved state of health, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather we've been having and went outside to play yesterday. Not to rub it into our northerly neighbors or anything, but after his nap, A and I went out in shorts, t-shirts, and bare feet and ran around in the grass and the sunshine. In February. In fact, we even broke out the sprinkler and watered the (icky, brown, prickly) lawn, and yeah, I might've watered Alex a little, too.

He wasn't really crazy about being assaulted by the sprinkler, mostly, I think, because he was completely blindsided when the water shot out. Of course, it didn't help that the water was freezing.

He ran around some more to dry off, tried to "calm the waters" with his hands, and played with our pumpkins (that have camped out on the porch since Halloween but are still too pretty to throw away).

A trip outside isn't complete without a little round of one-on-none tennis, Alex's new favorite sport. He adores watching tennis on TV and will run forward and pretend to hit a ball at the net (complete with Monica Seles-like grunt), then race backwards to receive the next hit. When he tries to play with actual racket and ball in hand, it turns into a round of golf rather than a tennis match.

The fun had to come to an end because Tim was going to be home soon and I hadn't even thought about dinner. So we headed inside for the night, but are looking forward to many more warm days.