Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo Friday--Reunited

While Oliver and I were traveling this summer, Marty went back to Connecticut for about a month. These were shot at my mom's house the day father and son were reunited. I think they missed each other. Boys love funny, don't they?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photo Friday--Ice Cream

As a finale to the summer travelogue, what better series to share the essence of summer than one involving Dairy Queen.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Yes, another zoo!! Why not? Oliver loves them, we wanted to go to Chicago, and what better thing to do on a summer trip?! We were smarter this time. We skillfully avoided the Merry Go Round until the end of our visit. Wise move. He asked for it a few times, because he's smart and now knows that zoo=Merry Go Round, but we were able to distract him with all the cool animals, snow cones, and lunch. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time. As usual, it seems that many of the animals were "napping" somewhere hidden when we visited. Why does this happen at every zoo we visit? Is it just the heat of the summer? Should we be visiting the zoo in the winter? Marty's dad decided it was a scam. They just pretend they have polar bears, giraffes, and sea lions so that you'll walk by their pen and shrug and say, "They must be sleeping," when really they don't have any at all, saving themselves millions in raw meat and dead fish. Oh well, we saw enough that it was definitely worth the trip, and of course got lots of great pictures.

Look, fish!

Snow cone!

Comparing tongue colors.

Walking with Mam-aw and Pop-pop. No, not to a Cubs game. What made you think so?

Obligatory animal picture. Eh, seen one rhino, you've seen 'em all, so insert bears, ostriches, zebras, and monkeys here. But not the giraffes, polar bears, sea lions, or lion. No, they were "sleeping."

Finally, we rounded a corner, and what did Oliver spy? That's right, you guessed it . . .


Because fake animals are so much better than the real ones. Hey, at least they weren't sleeping. This time, Oliver was very brave, and instead of sitting on the bench, he chose a giraffe!!! It was stationary, so that gave him some comfort, but the fear he showed in Indianapolis was gone.

But the obsession had only been fed. "Mer-ron! Mer-ron!"

But what are grandparents for, except to spoil, and so Pop-pop took him again. This time, Oliver chose the panda bear, and it moved up and down. He loved it! Fear, conquered!!

"Wait, why is this thing slowing down?"


"Mer-ron! Mer-ron! Mer-ron!"

Happily, the lion woke up and came out just in time. It was enough to distract him, and then we were done for the day. Yes, he fell asleep before we even left the parking lot. Big day at the zoo!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Day of Summer Fun

The last stop on our journey was to visit Marty's parents in Illinois. Oliver had more fun than even he could handle . . . which led to just a few tantrums. We were lucky enough to catch some of them on film. It's so hard not to laugh. Here are the highlights, of both the fun and the funny, of one day of our visit with Ma-maw and Pop-pop.

At the Splash Pad

"Wow, this is a lot of sprinklers!"

Full disclosure: I didn't join them on this day. I believe I was back at the house reading a book. So I had a great time! Apparently Oliver had fun too, and then at some point, he stopped and held on to this water cannon, never to leave it again. He just stood there and watched everyone.

See, he's still holding on. Marty said he didn't act scared, but he wasn't shooting it at anyone either. Who knows. Maybe he thought he was in control of the world!

Playing Basketball and Golf

Same day as above, I was still inside reading a book. Hey, it was my day off, and boy did I need the break! Ma-maw got Oliver this basketball goal. Marty said that amazingly, Oliver made a basket on the first try! Awesome! He wanted to do it again, without anyone's help. Unfortunately, he never made another one, no matter how hard he tried . . .

. . . and tried . . .

. . . and tried.

And so he got mad.

Really mad.

So Pop-pop helped him move on to golf.


Until he got mad when the ball wouldn't go in the hole on the golf bag, so he stormed off.

And looked back to make sure everyone saw how mad he was.

 "Why is everyone laughing at me?!"

Watering the Plants
So they tried his favorite distraction of all: water.

Time to water the plants! All the plants!

 He decided it was much more fun to fill up the big watering can using the pool water, until it was so heavy he could hardly carry it. He barely swam in his little pool the whole time we were there, but he did use about every drop of water in it to water the plants. Ma-maw's garden is probably really healthy now!

Never mind that I'm watering my shoe!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Boy Bed

We interrupt this travelogue to cover some breaking news. Back to snow cones, elephants, water play, and ice cream after this!

Oh boy!
On Tuesday (the 13th), we returned "home" to Connecticut. (Yes, I'm behind on my blogs. You'll see why). Oliver and I had such a great time on our 6 week long trip. It was so great to spend extended time with our families. Oliver loved seeing everyone; I've seriously never seen him have so much fun as he did on this trip. I loved having the help and support, and hanging out with all my favorite people. I cannot wait to have them all closer again, when we move back to our real home next year. I'll admit, I was not looking forward to going back to Connecticut. I could have kept traveling the year away until we returned to Iowa.

The one thing I was looking forward to was sleeping in my own bed.  Oliver . . . not so much. That Tuesday night of our return, we did the typical bedtime routine, and put him in his crib. He completely went ballistic. He did not want to go to bed, and he was screaming in protest. He never does this. He always goes right to sleep. We are absolutely spoiled by having a pretty good sleeper. But that night, he was not having it. I don't know if his crib now felt unfamiliar, having slept in the pack n play for 6 weeks, or if he just wanted to keep playing with all the toys he missed. I felt like it was just a tantrum, so I let him cry it out. Next thing we hear is a thump, then a split second later his bedroom door opening, and his cries getting louder as he starts running down the stairs. Marty ran to meet him before he fell, given his emotional state. We took him back in his room and soothed him, and he kept saying, "downstairs! downstairs!." So we said no, it was bedtime, and offered to read him another book to calm him down. So Marty read another book, put him in bed, and he fell right asleep, and slept until 8:30 the next morning. Odd. But whatever, we chalked it up to confusion from all the travel.

Did he wake up the next morning, crying for me as he normally does? Only for a second, then he quieted down. I thought perhaps he went back to sleep or wasn't quite awake, so I hesitated for a minute. The next thing I know he has opened his door! He jumped out of his crib again! Same story at nap time. He went down fine, slept for 2 hours, barely made a sound, and opened the door himself. Obviously, this was not a fluke. This was a milestone.

Let me be nostalgic for a moment.

Awwww, just look at him, only one month old, so tiny in his crib, sleeping soundly. I'm going off on a tangent here, but I have to brag about my good sleeper. He went into the crib from day one. This wasn't our intention; we had borrowed a bassinet. But he screamed whenever we put him in it. We were having feeding problems at the time, so I spent a lot of time nursing in the chair in his room, so I just put him down in his crib, and he slept great. We never looked back. He slept through the night at 11 weeks old. I would offer any first time parent this advice: put them in their crib as soon as you can, swaddle, and use white noise. That's why he's a great sleeper. But we also got spoiled by that, because we never had to make the transition between a bassinet and a crib. But now we had to make the bigger transition from crib to bed. I was scared.

The movers broke his original crib, which still makes me sad, because it was far superior than the one we have now. However, we were smart when we bought his new crib, because we got a convertible crib, knowing that we'd be making the transition sooner rather than later. This was a really good thing because we didn't have to go out and buy anything, we simply exchanged the front panel of his crib with one that has a bed rail on it.

When Marty got home that evening, I told him it was time to make the switch, as the crib just wasn't safe anymore. Marty asked Oliver to show him how he got out of his crib. I'd asked him that too, after his nap, and he just kept saying "climbing!" But Daddy must have asked the right way, because he showed him. I was running downstairs to get the camera when he started, but here's the middle and end of it. You can imagine the beginning, he just put his foot up on the rail.and pushed off with the other one.

Then he just dropped to the floor on his feet, easy as can be. Actually, it was much better than what I had envisioned, which was him flinging himself over the edge and falling to the ground in a heap, barely escaping broken bones.

Still, I was not ready for this. Oliver is not a climber, so while other kids starting climbing out before their 2nd birthday, he never showed an interest or even tried. On our trip, in the much smaller pack n play, there were times when I'd see him put his foot up, but he never really tried to get out, even when I put him in there for a time out. I was not ready for the challenges that come with a toddler having free reign of his room and our home. I was not ready for my baby to become a big boy. I know, he's been a big boy for a while now, but the crib really is the last vestige of babyhood, isn't it? Time is moving too fast. Make it stop!!!

 Daddy making the change, with Oliver watching his every move. Notice the bink in his mouth (which he is only allowed to have in his bed). So maybe one final remnant of babyhood.

Practicing sleeping in the new bed

Well, it wasn't long before I was hoping that time would just move a lot faster and we could skip the rest of the toddler years altogether. Because this was hard. For the first time since he was an infant, I was losing sleep.

He did remarkably well at night. Went down without a problem, and stayed asleep all night. The only problem was that he woke up early. Normally, he wakes up about 7:00-7:30. The first few mornings of the big boy bed went like this: 6:30, 6:15, 6:00, and 5:25 (and that was a Sunday morning!). Ugh, to say the least, but at least he was sleeping.

Naps were another story. I'd put him down, and he'd lay down with his blanket. Then as soon as I shut the door, I'd stand outside and hear him pop up and run right to the door. He'd open it to see me standing there. So the first day I offered to rock him, and sang a lullaby. Then he went down and went to sleep, but only for 40 minutes (1.5-2 hours is typical). That went on for a few days. Then Sunday, you know, the day he woke up at 5:25, he fought the nap. He opened the door 3 times, after I rocked, sang, everything. Finally I told him he had to take a nap, and that I was shutting the door, but he had to stay inside. I latched the door (a safety latch to prevent him from using the lever door handle), treating his room like a crib, and let him cry it out. I hated it. He cried for 20 minutes, slept for 20 minutes, cried for 20 minutes, slept for 20 minutes, alternating for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, when I had all I could take.

So much for Mommy's free time, or even getting decent sleep for that matter. I was up every night listening for him to get out of his bed, and then getting up way too early. Not enough nap time to write any blogs or get anything accomplished. I had hit rock bottom. I know it had only been 5 days, but it felt like forever (no sleep), and I saw no end in sight. And just when I thought there was no hope at all . . .

The next 2 nights he slept until 6:45. Then that next day's nap lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes after only one lullaby!! We have victory!!! Hooray!! And finally, today's nap lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes (during which time I wrote most of this blog!). Now, let's hope it's not a fluke and that it just took him a little time to get used to it.

So, I'm starting to see the light. I'm sure we'll have good days and bad days, but I know that we'll be just fine, and we can move on to bigger and better things. More specifically: potty training. This is the milestone I thought we'd tackle following our trip. But it's been delayed a few weeks. All the books say not to do more than one change at a time, and I agree. I'm in no hurry, though I think he might be ready. So, after that, we're all done, right? It gets easier from here? Please, just nod, pat me on the back, and tell me, "Of course it does!"