First Family Vacation

Sort of.  A couple weeks ago we went to Omaha.  It wasn’t so much a “vacation” as it was only for 3 days.  And it wasn’t technically our “first” trip together, as we had traveled a couple times for a funeral and a wedding.

But, it was our first trip out of town as a family that was exclusively for our own enjoyment and lasted more than 48 hours.

I was nervous about traveling with a toddler… but Wolfie did so well!  And it (mostly) was a lot of fun!  Even with a lack of routine, nap and meal times completely off, lots of excitement and stimulation, we really only had one full-on toddler meltdown in 3 days.  Everything else was totally manageable.  And this was even with him having a fairly nasty cold the whole time.

Day one started out rough and was pretty questionable for awhile.  A half hour outside of Des Moines, my car decided to break down.  The recall issue I hadn’t attended to yet chose the absolutely worst time to show itself, of course.  We managed to be able to drive back home, so we switched cars, turned around, and headed back.  Turning what should have been an easy 2 hour travel time into about 3 1/2 hours.  We had left shortly after Wolfie had fallen asleep while sitting with his dad, so sure that he’d fall back asleep in the car and sleep most of the way there.  Ha, funny.  I think he dozed off for maybe 5 minutes, but otherwise did not sleep all of the 3 1/2 hours.

We ended up in Omaha sometime after 1:00.  Past normal nap time, but too early to check into the hotel, so we proceeded with our plan to head straight to the children’s museum, hoping keeping him occupied with fun activities would keep him from getting too grumpy.

It totally worked.  He had so much fun!

They had a room just full of balls that you could drop into various contraptions.

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They had dinosaurs (aka “Rawr”s).

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They had a splash table.

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What more could an almost-two-year-old ask for?

He played for an hour and a half or so and then was ready to leave with no complaint.

While we were waiting in the hotel lobby for G to check in, we sat down on a couch for some mama milk and Wolfie promptly passed the eff out.

We stayed at a hotel with an indoor pool and water park, so after nap and some dinner we went down to check that out.  Again, toddler paradise.  He completely wore me out bouncing back and forth between the pool and the splash pad and going down the slide.  We would return here many more times before we left.

Day two was the big Zoo excursion.  He did amazing.  His absolute favorite part was the aquarium.  He loves fish, which he calls “doo doo”s, thanks to the Baby Shark video.  He was mesmerized.

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I’m kicking myself for not getting a video of him staring wide-eyed up at the fish, pointing, and saying “doo doo” over and over and over.

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We would eventually go through this building twice.  I’m also kicking myself for not buying him a souvenir in the aquarium giftshop, to commemorate the occasion, since he won’t remember it.  They had the cutest stuffed fish, but I was worried about him getting grumpy in line.  At least we have pictures.

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And we’ll be back.

I didn’t manage to get any more pictures that day outside of the aquarium.  I tried to get one of a really cute polar bear, but my phone ate it.  Wolfie had his only vacation meltdown at the zoo.  Bad combination of too much stimulation, missing  nap time again, and going too long without a snack.  But he still calmed down relatively quickly with some mama milk on a train ride.

Day 3 found us at the art museum.  We were mostly there for the children’s room they had, but did take a quick stroll through some of the galleries.

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(I think I’m very funny.)

We made it through one small gallery of modern art and headed into a larger wing of the museum to look at some other (less interesting, really) stuff, but it wasn’t long before Wolfie spotted a water fountain and it was all over.

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After hanging out here for awhile, we stopped for a quick snack in their atrium.  Where my phone ate yet another picture of this huge blown glass sculpture that Wolfie loved because it looked like balls. (Purchase of a new phone may be in my near future)

Then it was outside to a little wading pool they had to do some real splashing, unlike he was able to do in the inside fountain.

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And then we finally made it to the children’s room, where he had so much fun.

Painting.

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Sculpting.

He was WORN OUT by the end of all that.  When we got to the car, all he wanted to do was nurse and sleep.  I may or may not have nursed him while he was in his car seat in order to be able to get him to sleep, get him strapped in, and get back to the hotel.

Our trip home the next day was much more uneventful.  He slept half the way or so.

The rest of our week off was not as fun, since the aforementioned cold spread to both myself and G, and turned into an ear infection for Wolf.  Then my cat also got sick, and I had to deal with the car situation.  But we survived.

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Good Intentions

I have several things that have been tumbling around in my head that I want to write about, but am struggling to find the time.  I am going to at least list them here so I can have a reminder.  I will try to put these thoughts into actual writing over the next couple weeks.

  1. Traveling with a toddler, our recent family road trip
  2. Parenting when your partner has anxiety
  3. Why my kid is a “mama’s boy”
  4. The internal struggle over the second child question

Those are the big ones.  There might be more I am forgetting and may add later.

By way of a general update… my kid is still the best.  He’s getting a lot more independent and a little more strong-willed, but nothing that hasn’t been manageable to this point.  He is so sweet, caring, and empathetic, he makes me melt daily.

Since my last post was about communication, I thought I might provide an update on that as well.  Just as I was starting to wonder a little bit about his language skills, his vocabulary EXPLODED.  In the week vacation we had off together the first week in June, he must have learned 20 new words, and has been going strong ever since.  He’s even starting to pick up on stuff that I’m not specifically working on with him, like learning the names of two characters from his favorite movie (The Secret Life of Pets) just by watching it.  New words include:  Grover, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Abby (from Sesame Street, obvs), Max, Duke (see above), Bat (learned during our trip to the zoo), Rock (learned during our trip to the beach), Bird, Apple, Melon, Knees, Hands, and I’m sure a bunch of others that I’m forgetting right now.  He’s also now saying the words in addition to signing for Mama Milk, All Done, Please, and More.

Goose and I both received raises at work in the last month or so (though mine doesn’t go into effect until mid-July, his was backdated to Jan 1 and he received a nice little bonus of back pay).  We are really hoping to get into a better house within the next 2-3 years or so, and this will certainly help us get to that goal.  Our house isn’t terrible, just old with old-house kind of problems that we don’t want to invest in fixing.  And our neighborhood is very much less than desirable.  Never would I have thought I’d dream of living in some subdivision with the winding roads that I used to call “getting lost in suburban hell”.  But the idea of NOT having cars tear down the street as fast as they can while my kid is playing in the yard is very appealing.

Adventures in Toddler Communication.

I’ve been feeling like I should be doing a better job at helping Wolfie increase his communication skills, so I’ve been trying to actively teach him new words lately, with sometimes hilarious results.

Exhibit A:  So, for a while he’s known the word “phone”, but pronounces it “done”.  Also for awhile, we’ve been trying to get him to say “phone” by emphasizing the “fffff” sound.  Which now leads to him saying, “fffff-done”.  We’re really working on getting him to say his name.  He’s been doing a decent job at saying “Wah” for the first part.  So, once again, we’re making the “ffff” sound to try and get him to say the whole thing.  But we’ve been so good at associating “ffff” with “phone”, than now when he tries to say his name, it comes out “Wah-ffff-done”.  Doh.

Exhibit B: A similar case of “I only know this one sound as associated with one specific word”.  Yesterday, we were working on the word “happy”.  The only other word he uses that has a “p” sound is “purse”.  He says “happy” now, but to him it’s “hap-purse”.  That works, I guess.

Exhibit C: He loves to give the dog treats.  So we thought we might try to get him to tell the dog to sit.  When giving the dog treats yesterday, we were saying “tell her to sit”, “say sit, Truffle”, etc.  Then he very cooperatively sat his own butt on the floor.  I nearly fell over laughing.

Guys.

My kid peed in the potty.

I have told way too many people that this happened.

He’s been showing signs for a little bit, so I brought home a potty on Monday to be prepared. With full intention of having no pressure and letting it sit in the bathroom unused.

He sat on it a bit on Monday night.  Sat on it again on Tuesday morning and totally peed.  What?

Lots of high fives and hugs were given.  He proudly picked the potty up and carried it into the living room to show his papa.  XD

He loves flushing the toilet, so it seems that at least for now getting to dump the potty and flush the toilet is a pretty good reward.

No more pee since then, but he’s been interested in sitting on it for a bit several times.

So, I guess potty training has commenced.  Here we go.

The importance of sleep.

In dealing with what was pretty much never-ending teething from 12-20ish months, sleep eluded me for a very long time.  I was run down, to say the least.  Exhaustion to the point of experiencing occasional dizziness, heart palpitations, etc.  Sometimes I literally felt like I was dying.

Then I got a brief reprieve.  Teething pain seemed to have given us a break for once, and Wolfie slept really well for probably about 3-4 weeks.

I got really spoiled to feeling like a human again.  I didn’t even realize how much better I was able to function, until now.

What I assume is teeth-related discomfort again, we are now back into restless nights.  It’s only been 3 or 4 days for far, but I’m on my way to feeling back to death again.

Still, that brief reprieve from sleepless nights did help me refresh.  And gave me hope for the future.  Someday my kid will have all his teeth, and I feel more confident that once this occurs he will actually sleep well on a more regular basis.

Until then, coffee.

20 months

I keep meaning to write about this and not finding the time.  My time at the moment is short, but goddamnit I’m going to try.

My little Wolf is just over 20 months old now, and I am loving this age.  15-18 months were a real challenge, but it seems that we are communicating with each other better now.

I am feeling a good amount of mommy pride at the fact that we manage to avoid most full-on meltdowns these days.

We kind of are just starting to get each other, I guess.

Most of the time all it takes is a little patience.  If I want my little guy to do something specific, I can try to force him to do it, which will never go well.  Or I can be patient with him, let him finish whatever he is doing now, and let him decide when he’s ready to cooperate.

Granted, there are times you need to make your kid do something.  But those are really fewer than most people think.  That’s my sense anyway.

After a long day at work, all I want in the world is to take my kiddo home and hang out with him there.  But he loves to dawdle when we are leaving daycare, and is never excited to get in the car.  But if I just work with him, I can often get him to agree without any tears.  “I know it’s so much fun to jump off the curb.  Let’s jump off together 3 more times, and then we’ll go in the car and have a cracker.”  Dude, it totally works.  And what’s 5 more minutes of my time to let him play and be happy.

Giving warnings and setting expectations is key.  “Okay, we’re going to watch 2 more sesame street videos, then you can pick your very favorite to watch last, and then the phone is going bye-bye.”  He hardly ever gives me a problem with this.

Granted, sometimes this means I repeat myself 1 million times.  “Wolfie, are you ready for your bath?  How about now?  You want a bath?  Bath?”  This is often because he’ll get excited for bath time, but then get totally distracted by something and forget all about it.

Watching him grow into this little person is so cool.  It’s so weird when I find out he learned something at school that I didn’t even know he knew.  We put up the hoods on our jackets the other day when it was raining, and he proudly exclaimed “Hat! Hat!”.  Gee buddy, I didn’t even know you knew that word.  I also realized he knows the sign for please, tho I never taught it to him.  Yay, school works!