Thursday, August 06, 2009

Photographic Phriday

A friend of Mrs. Blonde's for the better part of a decade, Katelin Carter, is a professional photographer in the making. While still in her undergraduate program, she has started Full Pockets Photography. As you'll see from our shoot, her eye for a good photo is already much more mature than her education would suggest. Here are some of our favorites...

Make sure to check out more shots from our shoot and the rest of Katelin's work at Full Pockets.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

LA unplugged: depacifying a toddler

LA was about 5 days old and wailing in the middle of the night (infants actually do that, make a note of it) we discovered the beautiful glorious allow-mama-and-dadda-to-sleep-for-just-a-bit wonders of the pacifier. We got one out of the package, plopped it in his mouth...and, wait for it...shhh...hear that...SILENCE!

And, so began the age of the paci. Jump ahead two years (this time last year) and you have a happy little boy who's eloquent in every feasible way except for one thing. The addiction we gave him. The dreaded paci!

"I'm tired I need my paci."

"I need my paci so I can calm down."

"I need my paci so I can relax."

Back when we were first thinking toward depacification, you had a few pieces of advice for us. We were most amused by what designHER Momma did when PK was at this stage. "oh, we were mean over here. We just started cutting the tip of the paci little by little over the course of a month or two until there was nothing to suck on but the plastic part. but it worked..."

We tried that a year ago and it wasn't working out too well with LA having recently adjusted to his toddler bed at age 18 months and getting used to his brother being around when he was 21 months. So, we gave up. Shortly after that he showed interest in potty training. We rolled with that and got that notched off the list. But, still needing omission...the paci.

In the middle of last winter, Mr. Blonde spontaneously told LA when he asked for his paci that we were going to give Baby Matthew (a friend's then infant) LA's paci when he turned 3. Much to our surprise, LA was into it and thought a baby SHOULD have a paci. Big boys don't need pacis. Ah hah! We had a plan.

Jump ahead to yesterday. August 4, 2009. As a prelude to going cold turkey at his birthday party this weekend, Mrs. Blonde cut a very very tiny slit in the end of the paci. Simple physics really. Kid sucks on paci, it goes in and out of mouth as desired. Kid sucks on paci with slit in it, it stays put. No in. No out. Nothing. LA didn't say anything about it until bedtime last night...

"Dadda, my paci has air in it. I don't want it. Get me a new one."

"It's the only one we have (outright lie), buddy. How about I just sit it here on the floor next to your bed and you can get it if you want it?"

"Uh huh."

He wasn't upset in any way whatsoever. Until about an hour later and he still hadn't fallen asleep. Now, in our house, we have a schedule. That schedule has been in plan since the dawn of time (dawn of time = when we had kids). It dictates a fairly strict eating and sleeping schedule. The boys like it. We like it. Don't screw with it. It works. So, when LA comes strolling out of his bedroom at 9PM, it's unusual to say the least. That's when the byproduct of a lack of ability to self-soothe took over.

"Dadda, I have to go poo poo."

"I'm thirsty. Please can I have some milk?"

"My belly hurts."

"I'm hungry"

"I have to go pee."

Oh, did we mention we had dinner guests over last night too? Yeah. We did. Ryan & Stephanie, we love your patience. Thank you.

Anyway, by 9:45, Mr. Blonde just went in there and laid with the little man. There isn't that much space in a toddler bed for a 200 pound 31-year-old and a soon-to-be-3-year-old. But, evidentally, there is enough. Because for the first time since we has a newborn in the hospital, LA fell asleep without a paci!

Did you hear that? WITHOUT A PACI! We're not out of the woods just yet. He has an overnight trip to Grandpa and Grandma's tonight and a couple nights until his birthday party at a local fire station this weekend where we'll give the paci to Baby Matthew. But, we've never been closer. We need a strong finish. Ready...Break! Go team! Wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

happy monster

For the past couple weeks my little Boatboy (age: 14months) has really become the little monster when he doesn't get his way. He is often the most easy-going (not to be confused with stationary, he's VERY active) happiest outoing baby. Think: laughs and says "Boom!" at loud noises, smiles at strangers, etc. At this age LA wouldn't let hardly anyone hold him without screaming and crying. His little brother will go to anyone. Very different children in several ways. That's part of the extreme beauty of parenting.

Watching them relate to one another has gone from 90% playing intervention / 10% having fun to 25% playing intervention / 75% having fun. Boatboy adores his older (21 months his senior) brother...until he doesn't get his way. Which leads us to yesterday afternoon's quick little shopping venture at Target.

It's about a half mile away. We needed my favorite generic brand diapers. Easy little jaunt, right?

I put them in the little 2-seater for the first time where they face each other. They were laughing and LA was tickling Boatboy and all was well. Then, Boatboy started taking everthing out of LA's hands. When LA clung to the item, Boatboy screamed and cried. I had to stop multiple times and squat down to try to calm him. He would calm down until he wanted something else. Now for the hidden jewel in this scene (and it WAS a scene), LA kept giving his little brother anything he wanted and telling him "It's ok. It's ok" in a really sweet little voice. He was also shoving his fingers in his ears because of the pitch level of the little monster's scream. I almost left a full basket (Mr. Blonde refuses to call it a "basket." He calls it a "cart.") in the center aisle and just bolted. Luckily removing Boatboy from the seating arrangement worked and I was able to hurry it up and scramble out.

It is interesting writing this. The first couple of years with LA I really struggled because he would not stay with many people. Major heaps of stranger anxiety didn't make for much flexibility in our lives. Now I am very thankful for his sensitive side. He is such an amazing big brother to Boatboy. Now, they have their moments (see previouisly cited 25% playing intervention), but he really does want to make him happy the best he knows how.

I am truly blessed to watch my sensitive LA interact with my happy Boatboy monster any day. I just won't be watching it occur in a 2-seated shopping "cart" anytime soon.

Sunday, August 02, 2009