Sweet dreams

Before this week, I couldn’t tell you the last dream I had. Apparently, one has to sleep in order to dream. But this week, I’ve had dreams almost every night, which is good or bad depending on the dream, but which is ALL good to me because it means I’m getting that very important thing called shuteye.

For no apparent reason at all, James has suddenly gone from sleeping four or five hours at a stretch to slumbering for a good seven or even nine hours uninterrupted. This means that I not only get the five straight hours my body prefers, but even eight if I get to bed in a reasonable amount of time. This week, I have had time to take care of the kids and the house, and check my email and write blog entries. If he keeps this up, I’m going to be one spoiled mommy.

All this sleeping means James is up a lot more during the day. Luckily his cranky spells have pretty well subsided save for about an hour’s worth of “iffy” moods before bedtime. Now he spends his days bouncing on my knees with his sister, being read to and playing on his Gymini. He especially enjoys a good round of his favorite song, “Roly Poly” — it is, in fact, his first favorite anything — and today he got his very own blue Bumbo (photos are forthcoming) and had a nice little sit, with a giddy Maddi alongside him in her nearly-outgrown but much-beloved purple one.

Now that I have a baby instead of a newborn, I’m feeling a lot more energetic and human most days. Of course, there are always those other days when the kids are fighting and gassy and teething and we’re running late everywhere and Maddi’s got boogers and Fig Newton on her face and has pulled her ponytail and barrette out and James has pooped on his outfit and then pooped on his backup outfit and then Maddi, not to be outdone, poops her outfit and my debit card doesn’t work at the pump and I leave the wipes in the McDonald’s washroom and have spitup on my shirt and Cheerios stuck to my butt, but I guess you’re probably not a parent if you’ve never had one of those days. Besides, that’s what Prozac is for.

And it’s all worth it at the end of the day after I’ve eaten and unwound a little and go into the bedroom to behold James sleeping in his swing with a sweet little smile on his face.

Yes, he still sleeps in his swing. We’re working on that. I’m just not ready to give up my seven to nine hours yet!

And here’s a shot of James at 16 weeks:

In the line of doody

Statistically, one of the leading triggers for child abuse is potty-training incidents, and with Maddi in full potty-training mode, I’m beginning to understand why people find this phase aggravating. Luckily for Maddi, the worst treatment she can expect is Mommy’s patented Glare of Death, or if the infraction is particularly grievous, the “What in the name of all that is good and holy happened in this room?” bellow. (Much as I hate to admit it, on a bad day I can occasionally be mistaken for Jane Kaczmarek’s character in “Malcolm in the Middle best site.”)

Despite the never-ending trips to the bathroom that culminate in nothing more productive than a small toot or, if it’s one of those days, the pulling of towels and washcloths out of the linen closet, we expect that our toils will one day be rewarded with a toddler who can excuse herself and use the bathroom independently — and consistently! In fact, things are already better in some ways. For one thing, her diaper pail stinks a lot less when most of her poops wind up in the local sewer system instead. For another, her clothes fit much better over Pull-Ups than they did over diapers. And the cost savings we anticipate when she is finished potty training will be enough to pay for swimming classes for both Maddi and James.

About a month ago, Maddi began asking to use the potty (or, as she calls it, “pobby”) multiple times a day. After about a week and a half of consistent potty use, I bought her a package of disposable “big girl” training pants. Much rejoicing on Maddi’s part ensued. She quickly dubbed her new Pull-Ups “girl pants” and insisted on wearing them at all times — even to bed. All of a sudden, she wanted to use the potty every 10 or 15 minutes. Amazingly, although the false alarms are many and there are plenty of “misses” as well, she produces something the majority of the time.

If she is feeling bored, the first words out of Maddi’s mouth are “Pobby! Pobby!” Her little potty is great, but the big potty is even better. Maddi particularly loves to visit other people’s potties. She likes to potty at the mall, and delighted in using Nana’s toilet (which has a squishy seat and embroidered moon and stars, which delighted her to no end), and was eager to let her favorite teacher at the gym daycare escort her to the loo there.

Unfortunately, this past week Maddi has developed a new potty-related behavior, which is changing her own Pull-Ups after accidents. This is vexing after a pee accident because we’d rather she didn’t race about the house bottomless considering that she’s not very consistent on the toilet just yet, but it’s downright horrifying when she’s made a poop.

The first time it happened, Maddi was standing in the middle of the living room when she started yanking down her pants as usual, frantically gasping “Pobby! Pobby!”

“Maddux, wait until you’re in the bathroom!” I said from the sofa where I was (of course!) nursing James. “Oh, crap!”

“What?” Chris asked from the office.

“Literally! There’s CRAP!” I cried, “Quick, grab the baby!” I whisked a poopy, diaperless Maddi into the bathroom, soiled Pull-Up in my other hand, to finish her No. 2, had a discussion about how it is Mommy’s job and not hers to clean up poop messes, and foolishly assumed that was the end of it.

But alas, a few days later, we opened her door after naptime to an all-too-familiar odor. If you recall Poocasso’s Brown Period, you will understand what I mean by “all too familiar.” After some 100-odd times (no exaggeration) of opening her door to that, I think I know a poop mess when I smell one. Sure enough, Maddi’s fingers and one foot were stained brown. After her bath, I surveyed the damage. There was a poopy Pull-Up on the floor, a sizable portion of crusty carpet surrounded by soiled Pampers wipes where she had tried to clean herself off, and some suspicious smears on the closet door. We had the don’t-change-your-own-diaper talk again and I vowed never to sleep during the children’s naptime again.

Then, this morning — when I shouldn’t have had to worry because she hasn’t had a morning poop in ages — Chris opened the door to yet another Poocasso masterpiece. Maddi had a thorough scrubbing and I again surveyed the catastrophe that was her room. Another diaper, with sleeper still attached and covered in filth. More carpet. More wall. Her dresser(!!!!). And in the absence of wipes (thanks to my removal of the wipes from her room because she pulls them all out of the box), she had used a bath towel and a sock.

Needless to say, we will all be very happy to see this potty-training thing over and done!

And now, for some non-potty-related cuteness:

Grin and bear it

No one will ever be able to accuse James of being a high-maintenance baby. Other than his preference for the All Mommy All the Time channel, he’s pretty easy to please. In fact, unlike a certain other baby I could mention, James can be left in his bassinet for 15 or 20 minutes at a stretch and remain perfectly contented.

Part of this, of course, is attributable to his beloved bears. His bassinet came with a mobile from which dangle three plain white ursine pals, which online reviews of the bassinet assured me were too boring and dull to capture any baby’s attention. However unimpressed Target’s and Amazon’s customers may have been with the bear mobile, James has no complaints. All we have to do is turn on the mobile and he will kick and flap and gurgle and coo at those bears for as long as they remain in motion. Should his little friends cease moving, James will let us know via urgent grunting and complaining that we need to reset the mobile. But does he want to get out of the bassinet? Nope. Not really. Just turn his bears back on and he’s good for another 15 minutes.

Thus far, he’s been only marginally interested in other toys — even ones that rattle and chime. But for some reason, those bears are really entertaining.

And here’s our little James at 14 weeks old: