Making Moments: Squeaker

Such a sweet little thing. So tiny, so perfect, so dependent. She has the cutest little cry, which after each wail has a quick little squeak, not unlike that of a squeaky toy. It’s hard to get annoyed at a cry that is separated by high squeaks. I think for the purposes of this book, I’ll call her Squeaker.

Squeaker is a cuddly little girl so far. She calms down quickly when you pick her up. Seeing her next to two year old Tootles, I am reminded how tiny newborns really are. She is only a little smaller than he was at birth, but wow, what a tiny little thing. And though Tootles has thinned out some in the last year, he has still grown so much!

Making Moments: New Arrival

Okay, so I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted entries for the Making Moments project I was working on for nine months, but this week my new baby was born, and I decided that if I wanted to start it back up to complete the last three months, this would be a good time to do it, so here I go! I think I’ll post them more often this time, too.

New Arrival:

What an awesome experience! I got to deliver my own baby! Jenni was in the final stages of labor when the doctor turned to me and said, “Oh, by the way, would you like to deliver your baby?”

“Me? Really?”

“Sure. I’ll help you out.”

“Yeah! That would be awesome!”

So they dressed me head to toe in sanitary garb and the doctor coached me through catching the baby. My favorite part of the whole birth experience is the moment the baby is out and moving on its own. It’s even more amazing when you get to be the first to experience that.

Wow!

Kid Friendly Gardening

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My 6 month old loves the out-doors. Sometimes we get out a blanket, lay him down, then kick back and enjoy the weather – that is, until he makes his way to the edge of the blanket and starts vigorously sucking on the cheese-weeds. We grab him, place him back on the center of the blanket, and hand him a toy to divert his attention. Next thing we know, he’s got his face in the crabgrass. After two or three more attempts to reposition and distract him, we finally give up and decide he’d be better off gnawing on the living-room carpet.

My two year old thinks every plant below her eye-level is a flower. One of her favorite outdoor activities is running around the yard, picking “flowers” to give Momma. Few things cheer my wife more than getting a toddler-fist size bouquet of dandelions, morning glory, and clover. The trouble occurs when her fist is full of squash-seedlings, lettuce, and bean-sprouts.

I’ve decided that I’m not really trying to raise a garden at all. I’m raising kids, and if I can use the garden to help me raise my kids, then the garden is worth my time. I’ve decided that if a plant can’t take a few kicks, stomps, and picks, it’s probably not worth the effort. Kids aren’t usually strong enough to pull a plant up by the roots, but they can sure mangle leaves, so root-based vegetables will probably be able to pull through. Things like lettuce or swiss chard will grow so bountifully that however many times you rip out the leaves, they’ll keep growing.

I also decided to make my garden circular, with a grass-strip down the middle, like two half moon gardens. The path allows the kids to run up and down the middle of the garden without stampeding the veggies, and the circular shape makes it easy to water. It also makes it so I can easily put the sprinkler in the middle of the two gardens. If I turn the sprinkler on high enough, it provides a liquid force-field to keep out toddlers for a short time. As much as they like running through the sprinklers, few are brave enough to venture anywhere near the center of the spray.

Most kids over the age of one have lost the burning desire to stick every existing object into their mouths, but a few go through withdrawals and try it while playing in the yard, so it might be wise to research your vegetables before planting them to make sure there are no other parts (stems or leaves especially) that might be poisonous.

For some kids, the real fascination is with the raw dirt. This might be remedied by making a sand-box. If you’re worried about cats, get an under-the-bed storage container with a lid and fill it with sand. The lid will keep out cats, and your kids will get their fill of dirt.

Kids love outdoors, and gardens make the outdoors more exciting. Let them be involved in the gardening process, and they will grow up finding yard-work a fun family experience. And don’t go bananas over the quashed carrot-tops and the prematurely picked pumpkin “ball.” After all, your kids may enjoy them more that way than they would eating them off their dinner plate.

Good Night Son

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We have two kids. My daughter is almost 2, and my son is two months old. We’re still working on teaching our daughter not to lay on her brother, poke his eyes, pick him up, push her head against his, comb his hair with hard objects, sit on him – you know, the usual kid stuff. She was trying to teach him to count this morning, though she only gets to 9 before getting distracted, and always starts on 2.

Yup, they’re bundles of fun. Our son’s still got to learn to sleep at night. He seems to prefer the day. It makes for an interesting pattern. After an exhausting day of work, I get home about the time he starts waking up bright-eyed and ready for a full evening of wide-eyed grunts and grumbles. I get ready and climb in bed – my wife’s already sound asleep by this time, totally oblivious to the whimpers and strange disgruntled noises coming from the bassinet, which I expend the energy of my whole soul trying to ignore. But of course, the intense effort begins to give me a headache, and leads my brain from exhaustion to a sort of wired, zombie-like mindset.

Finally I give in and leap from the bed with more vigor than I intend, swooping the poor little runt from his torture chamber, plop down on the rocker, and begin pumping with gusto. If this fails to lure him to sleep, it succeeds to induce the fall reflex, in which he stretches out shaking hands and wears an expression of suppressed horror.

Of course this only proves to waken him more, so I take him in the living room to change his diaper – the bane of my son’s existence (and he makes sure to let me know it every time). After re-wrapping him and stepping back to see if he shows signs of sleepiness, I realize that while he is now calm, he’s as awake as I would be at noonday. But noting that he’s being fairly quiet, I return him to the bassinet and slip back under the covers. Then comes the time of blissful sleep that I long for, and I feel myself slip gracefully into the comfort of my dreams. About this time, the noises from the bassinet return, tearing me cruelly back to reality. After another herculean effort to ignore the whimpers and grunts, I decide that for the time being, sleep is a higher priority than proximity to my wife, and I spend the rest of the evening on the living room couch. Good night son!