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Drum - 16 months

Today Drum is 16 months old. As I was reading Mo's 16 month post I realized he was probably supposed to have a 15 month appointment, which he never did. Is it my responsiblity to remember that shit or should the doctor's office have reminded me to set one up? Anyway, the appointment is now scheduled...for when he's nearly 17 months.

I'm frustrated to report that at 16 months Drum is still as screamy and screechy as ever. I keep thinking it has to be just a phase, but how long is a phase? When is it just who they are? I love him so much, he's my boo bear, but he is challenging me greatly. This morning, for instance, the simple act of changing his diaper and getting him into clothes gave me so much anxiety (the screaming and writhing!) that I was frazzled all morning. When he's sweet, he's so sweet. When he's pissed, he's SO pissed.

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I think I mentioned last month that I wondered if part of his frustration was because of his lack of ability to communicate his needs. So I arranged through a local organization to have a free in-home assessment. They came last week and spent a couple hours with me and Bro. About an hour into their visit, one of them said, "OK so he's... 25 months right?"

Um no. He's 15 months. Whomever prepared their paperwork wrote 1/1/15 instead of 11/1/15. They were flabbergasted when I corrected them, but also relieved. He's very close to on track for a 15 month old; not so much for a 25 month old. However, they still noted a lack of vocabulary, a lack of interest in nursery games (patty cake, etc.), and a slight delay in verbalization for his age. We'll receive free services that include a monthly in-home visit to observe and work with him, and to primarily give us tools to help him along.

To be honest, I'm not worried at this point. He understands language incredibly well and always seems to know what we're saying or asking him. He knows how to indicate some of his basic needs (point to the pantry for a snack, push my hands toward my chest to pull down my shirt so he can nurse, bring us shoes to put on this feet). He did start saying mama in the last couple weeks, so he does have one word, and I know he'll talk eventually, probably even soon. But like I told the assessment professionals: if I can help him express himself in a way other than screaming and screeching, I really want to do that.

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At 16 months I wrote about Mo that she was easy-going and adaptable, and when I read that just now, I laughed out loud. She was and continues to be just that, but Drum is decidedly not. A couple weeks ago when spring visited in mid-February, I took the kids to the park. Every time I tried to redirect Drum away from something or help him safely up the steps or down a slide, he freaked out. When it was time to leave, I carried him out of there wailing and writhing in my arms. It's exhausting and makes me want to never leave the house with him.

On a lighter note, Drum is a great helper. He loves to help us fold laundry, empty and load the dishwasher (his favorite part is closing the dishwasher when we're done), throw things in the trash, put away groceries, sweep and vacuum. I like to call him Danny Tanner because he's very tidy - his favorite toys are his toy broom and our dust buster, and he's a stickler for putting things in their proper. Part of his assessment included a play cup and spoon, and the only thing he wanted to do with them was put put them in the sink where dishes belong.

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He also still enjoys dragging around large objects and now he's into dress up. Awihle ago, Mo got a box full of dress up clothes from her cousin and she and Bro like to dig through it together. Mo kind of wishes there were more ninja costumes, but Drum really loves the frilly stuff. He's also started to show a small interest in books, which is a nice change. He'll actually grab a book and bring it to us occasionally, and then sit through a page or two before pushing it away. That's a huge improvement.

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He's still a good sleeper. He fights the getting-ready-for-bed part - the diaper changes, the changing into pajamas - but once he's in his crib, he puts himself to sleep and sleeps all night. He also naps pretty well. By this age, Mo was down to one nap in the afternoon, but Bro still requires two. Ideally, like on the weekends when he's home, his schedule goes like this: 7:00-7:30 wake up, breakfast, hang out, 10:00 nap for about 1.5-2 hours, lunch, hang out, snacks, 2:30 nap for 1.5-2 hours, more hanging out, dinner, play, 7:00 bedtime. During the week though, when he's at daycare, it gets a little screwy. Their nap schedule isn't in synch with his circadian rhythms. We start his day at 6:30, and so he's ready for a nap at 9:00, which is fine. But then they want him to nap with the big kids at 1:00 and he's not ready then, so he doesn't often sleep much or well, and then he's SUPER FUSSY when we pick him up and for the rest of the night. 

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This post has had an obvious negative tone. There's a bit of a dark cloud over everything because we're all figuring out how to do the things we need and want to do when there is a ticking time bomb ready to scream at any moment. So let me end this with a fun story. 

A few times in the last month, Drum has asked to sit on the toilet. Sometimes when I ask him if he has peed, he'll pull at his diaper, then walk into the bathroom and point at the toilet. So I put him up there! He doesn't pee, but he thinks it's fun to sit and maybe throw some toilet paper in the bowl. No plans to potty train any time soon, but I can't handle how adorable he is up on that big seat!

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Drum - fifteen months

On February 1 Drum turned 15 months. He's a hoot right now. He's either being silly or he's grumpy as hell. His grumpiness is wearing on me, so let's discuss that and get it out of the way. Basically he hates everything most of the time. That might be overstating it, but only a little.

This is a typical scenario: He starts screeching and crying. I offer him a pacifier. He shoves it away in tears. I offer him a snack. He wails. I offer him water. He screeches and shakes his head. I walk away, he bends over and puts his head on the ground in exasperation. His face is covered in tears and snot, he's crying, he's miserable. I offer him a snack again. He wails some more, then succumbs and takes the snack. Repeat repeat repeat. 

Drum puzzle

 I've been struggling with this. Everything we do leads to him screaming. I'm sometimes anxious to approach my child to complete a simple task because I don't want to hear the wails of anguish. I hope it's a phase, maybe teething - he did just grow some molars, skipping over the several teeth that typically come first - because his persistent grumpiness is wearing on my psyche!

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I also continue to wonder if some of it is related to some frustration with not being able to communicate adequately. He doesn't talk at all and he only very recently started signing "more" again - he stopped signing awhile ago the couple other signs he had. To get what he wants he usually just makes some urgent noises while looking or pointing at the thing he wants. But I wonder if, when the thing he wants is more complicated than "that pacifier that I can't reach just there," he screams and cries in frustration.
Every couple months I complete an online assessment through a local nonprofit, and in his 14 month assessment I wrote that, though I'm not worried about his inability to speak, I do wonder if there is more I could do to help him communicate if indeed that is causing him some frustration. They are setting us up with an in-home assessment to determine if he's still on track, if there is more we can do at home for him, or if he needs some sort of intervention.
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Anyway, he's grumpy a lot, but that's not all he is. He's also so sweet and he loves to cuddle. He gives hugs and kisses (open mouth kisses!) and he likes to be held. He is very tidy. He never tires of throwing used diapers or other trash away, he likes to put things where they belong, he likes to wipe his face and hands, he likes to sweep and wipe things up. Mo is messy and I don't remember her being so tidy. Up to this point, the two of them have been much the same. A baby is a baby - yeah they were different in some ways, but it wasn't until recently that I've really started to see differences in their personality, to see who Drum really is and how that is and will be different than Mo.
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He still doesn't like books much, but he's been showing a little more interest. Hopefully someday he'll actually enjoy reading. Whenever music comes on, he starts to dance, usually twirling around and bouncing. He loves to play the drum set his grandma got him for Christmas. And he really loves shoes! He's always bringing us shoes to put on him - his, Mo's, ours - he doesn't discriminate. He is a sweet boy even if he does have trouble controling his emotions! 

I want my community back

I have been feeling isolated lately. I grew up in a big family, and as an adult, I've never been good at making friends because I've always had built-in friends. My family is my network, my support system, my friends, and my community. I have a couple really good friends and many lovely acquaintances who bring wonderful things to my life, but I never built a community out of my social networks. I know many people do - they build families out of friends, but I guess because I was lucky to have a big, close family, I didn't create a tight friend community. My best friend is someone I've known over 20 years, and I consider her part of my inner circle, but everyone else I'm close to is family.

But my family is spreading out, both figuratively and literally, and I'm feeling more and more alone. One sister lives almost a two hour drive away, one is moving an hour away, my brother and dad are each close to an hour away, and my mom is an hour and a half. I do have one sister that lives 10 minutes away, but we are both so busy that we hardly see each other. 

This is the time in life where I need people, where we need to support each other. Every day I feel overwhelmed with everything - work, kids, home, life - and I have this vision of surrounding myself with people who I can lean on and whom can lean on me. I thought those people would be my family, but somehow lately that isn't happening. We're all scattering, and we're all hunkering down into our own lives and our own problems. We're all getting by each day, relying on our own small family units instead of relying on each other.

I feel isolated despite my big family. I don't know how to re-establish my community, and I don't know how to build a brand new one. It feels unnatural for me to live like this. I want my community back.



My Mo is four years old

Four years ago I gave birth to a life-changer. My Mosie. I am loving Mo at this stage, too. She is my little buddy, and we love hanging out together. Sometimes I feel a tad guilty because if I am choosing between Mo or Drum to run an errand or something, I will usually pick Mo. Drum is awesome, but he requires so much more effort. I mean, he's one, so duh. But Mo requires less and she's just fun. We enjoy spending time together and I am so lucky to have such an amazing mini companion.

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Mo at four is silly, loving, and full of adventure. She loves to be around people and draws her energy from others. One day, out of nowhere, she said, "This whole world is like a party!" and there could be no truer statement to describe her outlook on life. She makes everything a party, and especially loves an actual party where the goal is to hang out with other people and eat snacks. Someone told me that the way they are as young kids is essentially the way they will always be, and if that's true, Mo is going to live a great life. I'm excited to continue watching her make the most of any and everything she does.
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Mo started preschool in the fall, and it is going well. If asked directly, she says she'd rather stay home than go to school, but I suspect that is because she enjoys hanging out with us so much. She doesn't quite understand that the alternative to school is not lazy days at home with family, but rather going to daycare, which she definitely doesn't want to do. When I ask her what her favorite part of the school day was, she'll say, "When you picked me up!" But I know she does well there. Her teachers say only great things about Mo and her time at school. In fact, her primary teacher always tells me how much she enjoys Mo. She'll often pick her up and cuddle with her a bit when I drop her off, and Mo loves her back. The teacher says that her vocabulary is impressive and she's always saying the funniest things. She describes her as silly, smart, easy-going, and klutzy.
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Mo is very affectionate. She still loves to be close to people whenever possible, cuddling up on the couch, pressing her body against mine or crawling onto my lap. She likes to sleep with me, and it's a little treat for her on the weekends. If she stays in bed all night (she went through a phase of getting out of bed a million times at night), she gets to sleep with me on the weekend. When I drop her off at school, she wants "one more kiss and hug" again and again. I love it. I love it so much. I want her to always want to cuddle and kiss and hug me. I cherish every time I get to hold her hand, every time she climbs into my lap unprompted, every time she gives me a kiss. I know there will come a time when she doesn't need or want to hold my hand or cuddle with me, and I don't want to take any of that for granted now.
A year ago Mo was just starting to learn letters, and now she's almost mastered them. She can recognize all letters (though she sometimes struggles with lowercase d, b, n, and h), and she can write them well. She loves to read, and will stay up far too late reading books in bed. She's can't actually read of course, but she loves to "read" books and magazines. We put a reading lamp in her room because her night light wasn't bright enough to read and she kept turning her overhead light on. I can't wait until she learns to really read - I hope she loves devouring books like I always have.
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Mo makeup instagram

She continues to be a picky eater. She went through a phase for several weeks where she had a huge appetite, wanting to eat all day long. But even then, she was picky about what satisfied her endless appetite. Fortunately her list of acceptable foods includes things like peas, broccoli, black beans, carrots, cheese, yogurt, granola bars. We get her to eat some pretty healthy stuff, but she also loves "treats" and tries to negotiate for them all day long. "Mommy can I have a treat for being good?" Always.
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Mo is still wearing pullups at night, and still very much needs them. I wrote a year ago that we were too lazy to work on getting her out of overnight pullups, and oops, that's still true! I do kind of wonder if it's a problem. She has been potty trained for a year and a half, but still wets at night. I had a kidney thing that had me wetting the bed until I was well into elementary school, and I want to be sure there's not something going on with Mo. I plan to ask the doctor at her four year appointment.
Anyway, another cool thing to watch is how Mo and Drum grow together. Drum is old enough now that they can play together and they often do. Both are still pretty independent at times - Mo likes to "cut paper" or draw by her self at the table sometimes, and Bro likes to wander around the house and explore solo - but they also invent silly little games together. I hope they continue to be friends forever.
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Mo is very creative. She likes to draw, paint, and color. She has been really interested in puzzles and games (I made her a memory game for Christmas, and she also got Spot It and Guess Who - three games she has been loving). She still loves to watch TV as much as we'll let her. She usually goes through phases of obsession with different shows - the show du jour is Shaun the Sheep. She sings little songs, some she's learned and others she's made up. She likes to tell and hear stories. She pretends a lot, becoming a superhero, a princess, a kitty.
It has been the joy of my life to watch her grow these last four years. I worked hard to bring this child into the world, and I work hard to be a good mom to her, and she makes me proud every day.
Happy fourth birthday Peach Pie!
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Drum - fourteen months

I'm a couple days early, but I'm off work this week AND I sent the kids to school/daycare today so I'm just getting all kinds of stuff done. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're not working and have no kids around. 

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Drum will be 14 months old on New Year's Day! This month has been busy as it always is, but it has been good. Drum just keeps on growing. He's still not talking at all (making sounds, but no meaningful words), but he's very interactive. He recently learned to point to his hair and nose when asked, and he loves to blow on his food before he eats.

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He's starting to run and loves when we chase him. He's always dragging large objects around, like the laundry basket or an large empty box. His cousin Scarlet got a microphone and stand for Christmas, which she left at our house, and he loves to drag it around. He figured out how to turn on the music, so he walks around, dancing, with that thing dragging behind him. He also likes to find three of something - pacifiers, markers, toys - and carry one in each hand and one is his mouth. For no real purpose, he just hangs out like that. He also loves his snack cups. We fill one with puffs or cereal, and he strolls around snacking from the cup, perfectly content.

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Drum loves to get into the recycling, the trash, the pantry, the baking cupboard, and the cupboard full of pots and pans. If ever we can't find something (like a missing remote), we first check those places and 9 times out of 10 we find the missing item that way.

We had his daycare's holiday party at an indoor play place. He met Santa, and though he was not impressed, he only fussed. No tears. But at that party I watched him bully another kid. The kid was standing somewhere Drum wanted to be, so Drum screamed and kind of hip checked the kid to get him out of the way. I guess he's like that at daycare a lot. Dude, my kid is the toddler bully, what the heck?

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He loves this one particular woman (K) at daycare though. I think she's like his second mom. When I'm around, he won't go to anyone else. But he will happily go to her when I drop him off. It makes me really happy, and I told K that she's not allowed to leave until Drum goes to preschool. She was noncommittal.

Bro is a big time climber. He's all over the furniture and anything else he can scale. He has definitely developed that tendency a little earlier than Mo did. She's a big climber now, but looking back when she was his age, I think she was just starting to figure out how to climb onto our ottoman, something Drum has done for awhile now. It might also be because he's a lot taller than she was and can climb up things more easily. Anyway, every day is an adventure with him!

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One thing that kind of concerns me is that Drum hates reading. HATES IT! He always has. Mo did as a baby but by this age she had learned to love books. Bro wants nothing to do with them. If we try to read to him, he pushes the book away or closes it, and wriggles himself free. I know how important reading with your kids is, so I wonder what developmental stuff he's missing out on.

We celebrated his second Christmas. We always have a lot of family parties, and it can be tricky with his nap schedule, but he did pretty decent. On Christmas day we stayed home. We didn't do much for the kids in the way of presents, which was a good thing for Bro. He was only mildy interested in opening gifts. His favorite was a big orange ball his sister had picked out for him. 

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I spent a couple days home with both kids while Mike worked recently. I love them dearly, but I was reminded why I wouldn't be a stay at home mom even if it was an option. It's frustrating and it's definitely not the kind of stimulation I need to feel like a full person. I do wish life wasn't quite so crazy so I could have a little extra time with them, but I'm glad for the reminder that staying home full time with kids is not for me. Plus I think they get so much out of daycare and school, things that I can't provide for them.

I do wish there was a little more time for snuggles though!

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