THE BEAN

SPROUT

Friday, August 29, 2014

{this moment} dish washers

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 


If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sprout is Twenty Months Old!

Today Sprout is twenty months old!


The past few weeks, whenever people have asked me Sprout's age (as parents in parks seem to do) I've had to think for a minute.  I can't quite seem to wrap my head around the fact that she now twenty months old.  Well on her way to two.  While she'll always be our baby, her baby days are coming to an end.  That's a bit hard for this Mama to believe.

Sprout continues to be her sweet, stubborn, silly self.

-Words.  She says many.  As I mentioned before, it's not the easiest to understand all these words, but if you're clued in to the way she says things (without s's for example) you'll pick up on them.  She tends to stick to one word phrases, but is occasionally putting two words together.  The longest string I've heard her say is "each peach pear plum" (or rather "pum" but we know what she means) --the title of a favourite book.

-She LOVES books.  While she has always enjoyed bringing us book after book to read, she hasn't always sat to listen to them in their entirety.  That's changing.  She still won't listen to all The Bean's stories, but an age appropriate board book (or twenty) will hold her attention to the end.  The Zoe books continue to be favourites.  She's also been enjoying the very simple photo/word books where she now points and says what the photos are of.

-Aside from books, her great love is her babies.  Jean Luc, The Bean's baby, in particular.  Fortunately he doesn't seem to have any issues with her adopting him as her own.  She also likes stuffed animals.  The past few days she has taken to nursing almost any baby/animal that she is toting along with her.

-Speaking of nursing, though she has really only been nursing around sleep times for quite some time now, she is asking to nurse A LOT.  Almost always when she's fallen or been bumped.  Often at other times too.  I will concede occasionally, but more usually just tell her, no, milk is for when she is going to sleep and offer her a sippy cup with milk or other distraction instead.  I'm not sure what the story is exactly, if it's an attachment thing, something she's going through developmentally... I just don't know.  She gets lots of cuddles and kisses and reassurances, so hopefully that fulfills whatever she is looking for when she asks to nurse because I cannot handle being 24 hour diner or the on-off-on-off thing.  

-Sleeping in the kids' room is going well.  I nurse her as an end to the bedtime routine and then put her in her crib.  Sometimes she is already asleep, but usually she'll cry or more recently just talk and roll around for a very short time and then go to sleep.  Sometimes she and The Bean talk to each other.  Often he comes out to tattle on her for standing/jumping in her crib, but when we send him back into the bedroom, we can her him egging her on.  This girl and her brother.  They're quite the pair.

-She has really started mimicking behaviours.  Her brother's in particular.  She ought to have a shirt that reads "monkey see, monkey do" because really, whatever it is he is up to, she thinks she should also give it a go.  Most of the time it is quite amusing.

-She loves being outside and has really become quite adept at navigating the playground equipment --climbing ladders and slides, wanting to do monkey bars (with help) and slide down poles (ditto).  She loves being pushed super high in the swings.  Of course, water play is still a big hit and I'm sure we'll try to make it to several more splash pads before they shut them down for the season and we have signed her up for swimming lessons which begin in a few weeks. I imagine we'll spend a lot of time dancing and creating obstacle courses out of our living room furniture this winter.

-She is friendly, but reserved.  When we come out of the bedroom in the morning she gives Jen and The Bean a big "HELLO!"  She's also picked up on The Bean's habit of greeting our neighbours from the as they make their way to the subway in the morning.  She sticks pretty close to me in unfamiliar situations.  Even when she wakes up from a nap she'll often want to snuggle or sometimes will request "back" which means she wants me to wrap her on my back.

-We continue to keep the potty as an option, though she is almost always in diapers.  She does want to sit on it often, but if we let her go diaper-free for any extended period we end up cleaning up puddles while she exclaims "pee!" in surprise.  She has shown more awareness around BMs and will tell us "poo" before she goes.  She has no interest in sitting on the potty to poo.

-Much to my chagrin, she can be quite particular about her wardrobe choices.  Her favourites right now are her (Mickey) "Mouse" shirt, which she insists on wearing with her mouse socks, of course.  And an Elmo shirt of The Bean's which is at least two sizes too big, but she loves.  (Oh, and his Batman pajamas, which I am pretty sure she wears more often than he does.)

-In addition to loving Mickey Mouse (who she has never seen on television) and Elmo (who she has) she also really likes fish, bunnies and horses and will point them out in books, etc.

-No big changes on the food front.  She isn't a particularly adventurous eater, but she eats fairly well.  I'd like it if we could add a few new things to her diet, so we'll keep offering them and see where that takes us.

-The final thing that I can think of to mention is that she has started singing.  The Itsy Bitsy Spider is her "best" song, but there are definitely others that she's trying.  Twinkle Twinkle comes to mind.  The ABCs.  --She also recognizes letters and will go "a a a a... Mama!" almost, but not quite managing to copy The Bean spelling "m a m a... Mama!"

She's a funny one, this Sprout.  She certainly makes us both laugh and shake our heads at some of her antics.  Of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sick Kid

A few weeks back now The Bean had a terrible stomach virus.  He's never been that sick for that long.  He could barely eat, had zero energy, and was obviously distressed.

After this had been going on for week Jen took The Bean to the urgent care.  Likely a virus, they said, but best to have some labs run anyway.  We also booked an appointment with our pediatrician.  We decided to press (again) to have the ongoing issues his had with his digestive tract looked at more carefully.  

Maybe because of the extreme nature of the virus, or maybe because we've brought it up so many times now, the pediatrician agreed that we should try to get to the bottom of what's been going with the Bean's GI tract.  

We left the office armed with kits to collect stool samples, and requisitions for blood work and ultrasounds.  

It took a few days to get everything done. The Bean was amazing (amazing!) during his blood draw.  Six vials taken by good (but not great) nurses.  Obviously uncomfortable but so, so brave.  He only complained a few times afterwards that it had hurt.  

Yesterday we had the follow up with our pediatrician.  There were some odd and potentially concerning, but not entirely conclusive results.  We are going to repeat the blood work.  Since I accidentally handed in the ultrasound requisition with the last set of blood work, we will take him to SickKids and have everything done there.  

If things come back the same, our pediatrician is going to request our appointment with the GI specialist be bumped up from its current late-January date.  He doesn't have the expertise to know where to go next with this information.  

I am trying to stay away from the computer and search engines that tell me that this could be Bad.  Hopefully we'll have more answers soon.

(In the mean time he is eating and sleeping and running and climbing and singing and chatting chatting chatting and doing all of the usual Bean things.  Surely it can't be that bad, right?)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Runaway Rainbow and a Giveaway from Sarah's Silks

Rainbows have a long tradition of being used to symbolize diversity, inclusiveness, and hope.  Though we've never owned a rainbow flag, bumper sticker or other rainbow paraphernalia, when my wife and I went to buy The Bean his first playsilk, it was the rainbow silk we were drawn to.  It seemed fitting for a little boy with two moms; but even without that as a factor, it was too beautiful to pass up.  

It quickly became the go-to for a game of peek-a-boo.  Then it became a ghost costume.  Tied around his shoulders it was a cape.  Around his waist it was a skirt.  On his head it was his princess hair.  The versatility of this "toy" is one of the reasons we wanted it for our son in the first place.  It proved a good choice.  Two years we had added another playsilk to our collection so that The Bean and Sprout could each have one for some creative play.

---

When we were invited to participate in WorldPride this past June, our host asked us to come decked out in rainbow gear.  I immediately though how perfect it would be to put the playsilk over the canopy of our stroller as we marched down the streets of Toronto.  Unfortunately in the hubbub of getting downtown and in place to march our beautiful playsilk blew away.  By the time we realized it, it was too late.  We tried to backtrack, but it was gone.  We were more than a little bit upset, but tried to get over it quickly as upset is not the mood one wants to be in at a Pride celebration.    

Even without the playsilk decorating our stroller, the parade was amazing.  

Still, we wanted to replace our playsilk.  While browsing, I saw that Sarah was looking for bloggers to review her products.  Hopeful, I reached out to her.  She graciously agreed to send some products to review, and even suggested a giveaway for our readers!  


The Bean was so excited when we received the Sarah's Silks package in the mail.  He eagerly tore into it and wanted to play with the new toys right away.  I draped the silk scape over our dining room table and the kids hung out in their "fort" while I grabbed some sweaters so we could go outside.  



Once outdoors, The Bean and Sprout ran in and out under their new rainbow silk scape, giggling joyfully.  The Bean then donned our starry night playsilk as a cape, while Sprout put on the rainbow cape and grabbed the other wand we had and then took turns turning me and each other into different animals.  After a short time that turned into more running across the lawn, this time with capes and wands trailing behind them.  Since then the playsilks have been used as blankets and babycarriers.  I'm curious to see what they get used as next.  


---

If you think your little one(s) would enjoy playing with one of the items at sarahssilks.com, please leave a comment  on this post saying what you think they would like best.  A winner of a $50 gift certificate (courtesy of Sarah), will be randomly selected a week from today.  Good luck!  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Project 52: The Last Two Weeks

A portrait of my children, every week for a year.

31/52




The Bean: Thought he was well enough to enjoy some of his cousin's birthday treats. (He wasn't.)
Sprout: Hanging out in a bin playing with a toy house.  Naturally.


 32/52





The Bean: Honing his Spidey Skills.
Sprout: Getting her first haircut.


Friday, August 8, 2014

{this moment} Helper

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 


Okay, just a few words...  I was cleaning up breakfast dishes and heard The Bean saying, "This is how you do it, my sweetie.  Put your foot in here."  I turned around and saw this.  Sprout often refuses to let me dress her, or even help her get dressed.  Especially, for some reason, with pants/shorts.  I guess her big brother is allowed to help though.  I'm glad.  He's been so difficult lately.  This is a good reminder of what a sweetheart he can be.   

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rough Patch

We've been having a pretty great summer, but this past week and a bit has been anything but.  I know I've taken a step back from this place, but I really haven't had the energy or emotional reserves to process it all.

Of course we are still feeling the absence of our cat.  Even Sprout is looking for her now, questioning "Mo? Mo?" when she wakes up from her naps.  Pointing out the cats in her books and asking "Kitty?"  The Bean tells us a few times a day that he is sad because our cat is gone.  We are sad too.  My dad called yesterday afternoon and I ended up crying on the phone with him for twenty minutes.

On top of that we have been dealing with The Bean being sick.  Concernedly sick.  He seems to be on the other side of it now, thank goodness, but it was pretty awful.  I haven't written about it at length here, but he's had pretty persistent stomach issues for a good two+ years now.  At first we thought he was having a bit of a flare up --we'd been travelling.  Off our schedule.  He threw up.  We worried, but didn't worry too much.  He had started to have bad diarrhea.  We wondered if it was food related.  We booked an appointment with our pediatrician for Celiac (etc.) testing.  Then he started vomiting again. He threw up once a day for five consecutive days.  When we were out running errands.  When we was on the couch chilling out.  When he was sleeping in our bed.  He was barely eating.  He had next to no energy.  He'd wake up, go lie on the couch, and request to be covered in blankets even though it's the middle of the summer.  Jen took him to the urgent care.  They ordered more blood work and stool samples.  They took his weight and Jen noted that he'd dropped over 5lbs.  That's quite a bit percentage of body weight for a kid who just broke the 30lbs mark.  Anyway, things have been improving over the course of this week.  We still don't have any answers as to what it is/was, but I'm glad the worst of it seems to be over.

However, his  behaviour has been SO difficult.  Perhaps we were too forgiving of his moodiness and demands when he was sick.  We have had a lot of ignoring our requests the past little bit.  A lot of yelling.  Even quite a bit of kicking and flailing.  It's awful.  It's exhausting.  I've tried giving him extra attention.  Talking to him.  Listening.  Compromising.  I've tried ignoring.  Threatening.  Taking away privileges.  Nothing seems to be working consistently.  Jen and I were trying to brainstorm about what approach to take last night and after a little bit of talking I told her I was too exhausted to think about it any more.  Hopefully I'm able to gather my reserves and we can decide what we're going to do soon.  We can't let this go on.

On top of it all, it's August.  August is when I'm supposed to be thinking about starting back to work.  Only I'm not starting back.  Again.  And while we agree that me staying home with the kids and Jen working full time (gods willing) is what makes the most sense right now, it doesn't really feel like a decision.  It's more of a default.  Because truth be told there are no jobs in our city in my field that I am able to get.  I can't quite answer why that's the way it is.  I can't even get an interview with the public boards, and the job postings for the private schools are few and far between.  My fingers are perpetually crossed that something changes and I do get an amazing job at an amazing school and there is space for our kids in the daycare that we love, but it's not likely.  Which makes it hard not to think about next fall when The Bean starts kindergarten and what will happen then?  What if nothing changes on the job front between now and then?  What do we do?  Do I stay home until both kids are in school full time?  Do I apply for a job working the cash at a nearby store?  Day shift or night?  Do I take more courses?  Do I go back to school?  Again, we have no real answers here.  And honestly I find the whole thing completely overwhelming.

Anyway, that's sort of where we've been the past few weeks.  There have been some great moments to, to be sure.  And I will try to update on those before too long passes.  Concerts.  Parks.  Visits from family members.  Parties.  Play dates.  Hopefully things which stick in my memory more than some of this other stuff.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gone

I know I haven't written about her a whole lot, but today we lost our cat, Mo.

Jen got Mo from the Pittsburgh Humane Society back in 2001, not long after we started dating.  For some reason she went in wanting a white cat.  But, I think it was really how affectionate Mo was that won Jen over.  She went right up to the front of her cage and positioned her head just so so that Jen could scratch her all around her ears.  Their initial meeting was at lunch time... Jen was so worried that she would find another home if she didn't go back and get her right away that she returned after work that same day to adopt her.  

We didn't really realize what a kitten she still was then.  She was very playful, but also very well behaved.  She wouldn't jump up on any of the furniture until Jen encouraged her to do so.  LOL.  She was a people-cat from the get go.  She liked being around, preferably on, whoever was nearby.  

Jen sometimes left Mo in PA when she came up to visit me, but quite often she brought her along.  We both still get a kick out of the time Jen had a baffled border guard ask her, "Do you always bring your cat on vacation with you?"  In more recent years, we've taken her on trips back to PA with us, or asked my cousin to come hang out with her if it's a shorter trip.  She never liked being alone.  

Two years ago, the summer after I had been laid off, while I was pregnant with Sprout and we were on a family vacation, we got a call from our vet.  We had borded her, which we never did, because she hadn't been eating and we thought it was better for her to be with the vet than home with my very attentive cousin visiting, just in case something were seriously wrong.  It was good kitty-parent intuition, I guess, because our vet said that she thought we needed to take her to the emergency vet to get checked out.  We left The Bean with the grandparents (who were vacationing with us) and came back into the city to figure out what was going on with the cat.  

After multiple test and ultrasounds we were advised that she needed surgery, or would likely die.  I would love to say that it was an easy decision to make, but it wasn't totally easy.  We ended up spending the majority of my severance package on Mo's surgery.  A surgery we weren't sure would work.  Fortunately it did work, and though she never quite returned to her pre-sick condition, she survived.   

Though not having a job has been really hard on us, we've often reflected that Mo probably liked me being home.  When the kids went down for naps and I sat down, it never took her long to hop up beside me for some ear scratches.  I'll admit that I often scooted her down to my feet so that I could have my hands free.  I did that as recently as yesterday.  Of course, now I feel endlessly guilty for not giving her the attention she wanted.  But I also am thinking of looking up from playing on the front lawn and seeing her sitting on my desk (a no-no) looking out the window, and smiling even though she really shouldn't have been there.  And of brushing the knots out of her fur in the evening.  And of encouraging The Bean and Sprout to pet her gently.  



Today, like many days, Mo had thrown up.  We cleaned it up and went along with our usual routine.  She was a little more "around" than usual as the kids ate their lunch.  Jumping up and stealing my chair when I went to get The Bean more chocolate milk.  I'm glad I got a new chair, rather than shooing her down.  I took the kids in for stories and then nursed Sprout.  When I came out of the bedroom there were a few more little puddles of spitty throw up around.  I got some paper towel and Lysol and cleaned them up.  Then I came across Mo in the kitchen.  She was lying on her side panting.  She didn't look well.  I went over to give her a pat and talk to her.  Her head was in a puddle of spit.  I grabbed a towel and carefully picked her up and brought her over to the couch.  I called Jen.  Jen called the vet.  I called my cousin to come over and watch the kids.  I called Jen back and told her I thought she should meet me at the vet.  I lifted Mo carefully into a basket, because she doesn't much like her cat carrier and she already seemed pretty freaked out.  I pet her and reassured her until my cousin arrived.  I drover her to the vet.  Jen was there waiting and walked up the block with us.  Our lovely, loving vet came down from her lunch break to see us right away.  They took Mo to the back room and got her set up with some IV fluids and oxygen.  The vet came back and filled us in on what was happening.  They took some x-rays and blood.  No clear answers.  The vet suggested the emergency clinic.  Jen and I talked privately.  We had agreed on no more surgeries after the last one.  We debated the pros and cons of the chest ultrasound and the abdominal ultrasounds they were suggesting.  We thought about how things might play out if she ended up on heart medication.  We hadn't made a final decision, but I don't think either of us were quite ready to give up on Mo completely.  Then the vet came back in and told us the decision might not be ours.  Despite the oxygen, Mo was showing signs of distress again.  We went back into the room and she was panting again.  We both pet her and kissed her and talked to her, and then we gave the vet the go-ahead to give her the medication to put her to sleep.  It was heartbreaking.  

We stayed a few minutes longer.  We said goodbye.  And then we went home.  Sprout was awake, but too young to understand.  We told The Bean that Mo was sick, so we took her to the vet but she died.  Only seems to half-understand.  He asked a few times how our days were and then if we were sad.  I was lying down outside when he was bike riding and he came over and said, "Oh, I thought you were dead."  He said he wants a new cat.  He asked when Mo was coming back.  

I keep looking around wondering where she is.  She'd typically be lying on the couch beside me right now.  I have a feeling it's going to be a little while before I stop looking.

I miss her.  



Moses Washington Jones
March, 2001- July 30, 2014
May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Not-As-Big Project 52 Catch Up

A portrait of my children, every week for a year.

29/52




The Bean: "I love snails!  They're full of surprises!"
Sprout: Skipping stones. 

30/52 



The Bean: Totally hyped to see one of his favourite bands play.
Sprout: Also diggin' the show.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sprout is Nineteen Months Old!

Today Sprout is nineteen months old!


Maybe I say this every month, but this past month has really flown by.  After the last update I thought it would be a good idea to write some of the changes in Sprout's development down as I noticed them.  I was a bit neglectful... six bullet points is as far as I got.  Of course, there have been many other changes.  I will do my best to remember and make note of them here...

-Perhaps one of the biggest changes is that Sprout is now spending (most of) her nights in a crib in the kids' room.  This feels life-changing.  And while I miss having my baby right beside me during the nights, the truth is that I think we are both/all sleeping better now.  I felt like I was never falling into a proper sleep, always listening to her toss and turn and wondering if she was going to wake up and want to nurse, or be held, or whatever.  After spending a few days away in a hotel, we were able to test out how the kids did sharing a room.  Sprout's nighttime cries didn't seem to wake up her brother, so rather spontaneously (if you can call something you've waited over a year to do spontaneous) we decided to put her in the crib in the kids room at home.  She was really tired the first night, so it went really well... she didn't wake up until 5:30am, at which point I brought her into our room and I nursed and cuddled her until a more reasonable wake-up time.  Since then she's been waking once or twice before we go to bed, but settling back down fairly easily, and then waking up any time after 4am to join me in our room.  She still naps in our room because she's a frequent nap waker and I really, really don't want her disturbing her brother's naps.  That time is too precious to me.

-As I mentioned, we went away for a few nights.  Jen's parents treated us to a stay at an indoor water park out their way.  It was very fun and solidified Sprout's love of the water.  She may have said "splash" more than she said "mama" while we were there, and that is a lot.  ;) 

-She's continued to add new words and sounds into her vocabulary.  Ball, man man (for Spiderman), hop, and cluck come to mind.  She's also started putting two words together, sometimes three even.  No examples are jumping to mind immediately, but things like "more milk" and "hot blow" (the food is hot, blow on it) and "baby in" (put the doll in the stroller) come to mind. 

-She definitely knows her own mind.  She often requests "help" or "hand" when she wants you to do something.  As I think I mentioned last month, "no" is another big word.  "Mm Hm" is her usual affirmative response.  And when you ask her a question, she will adorably tap her chin and say "Hmmm."  I have no idea where she picked it up, but I love it. 

-I said about her knowing her own mind --two notes in that regard
1) She really wants to figure out this potty thing.  Often when I take off her diaper she will go sit on the potty.  She likes to stay naked on the bottom and run back and forth to it, sitting for a few minutes, then getting up to play.  She gets quite upset when I try to put a diaper on her in this situation.  However, she has yet to have a "successful" potty trip and really is not aware that she has to pee until it is happening /has happened.
2) She is determined to dress herself.  This can be such a battle when I am trying to get us out somewhere, but mostly I am trying to just let her figure it out or help her to the degree which she deems acceptable.  The result is often waist in the leg hole of her shorts, things on backwards, etc.  but she's one and a half and we're at home, so what does it matter?  Right?


-Like her brother, she's been getting really into dancing to music.  It's pretty adorable as she tries to copy many of his "moves."  We took her to a couple of live shows this past week and she had such a good time running around and dancing. 

-She can jump!  She actually gets airborne for a half a second.  She loves it.  She's also taken to leaping onto the couch from our ottoman.  I'm just waiting for a crash.  Hopefully we can avoid any ER visits.  

-She is still totally obsessed with her babies.  

-She also LOVES airplanes.  She'll point and bounce and call out "pane! pane! up! fi!" when she sees one.  Which is often.  We live relatively close to an airport.

-Her favourite books are Welcome Summer and other touch and feels, Zoe's Snowy/Windy/Sunny/Rainy Day, The Carrot Seed, and Hop on Pop which she calls Hop Pop.  She listens to a lot of The Bean's longer books since I read to both of them together before naps, but she seems to prefer the books meant for younger ones.  Which makes sense, but I still find notable.

-She is both a shy, snugglebug and an outgoing silly billy.  I had to use the above photo for this month's update because it shows what a goofball she can be.  She has the best, best smiles, but mostly saves them for those she's the most comfortable with.  She's also a big joker.  We get a kick out of her.

-I know many of you don't know her name, or her many nicknames, but she will point to herself and say her name, and she will also call herself "B", which is a part of one her nick names... the one The Bean most often calls her.  I think it's adorable.  (Of course, I think about 95% of what she does is adorable, so maybe I'm not the best person to comment on this!)

-She is still a frequent nurser.  It's been a while now that she just nurses before going to sleep or when she wakes up, but she sometimes asks in between those times.  Often I distract her, occasionally I nurse her.  I'm so, so happy to have this relationship with her.  It's exhausting, but it is also so nice to be able to hold her and stare at her and feel her little body relax as her breath changes and she calms down and falls to sleep.  It's a privilege.  Though I sometimes think that it would be nice for my body to be my own again, and to get a full night's sleep would be oh so amazing, I am not wishing away these moments. 

-Food is about the same.  Sometimes she's a bit finicky.  I think she gets pretty significant pain with teething, and although I haven't noticed any new teeth trying to push their way through, I wouldn't be surprised if sometimes when she doesn't want to eat if it's because she's in pain.  Again, knowing that she'll nurse and get the nutrients and calories she needs makes me much less concerned about missed meals.

I think that's pretty good for now.  Hopefully I keep up on all the progress over this current month a little better than I have been.  Mostly she continues to be a loving, silly, joyful little bug.  It's so wonderful to be her family.