Category: Toddlers

I love the Munchkin, but I’ve put so much energy into him for the past almost three years that I’ve really neglected myself in two important areas: what I eat and how active I am.  As a result, it’s time for me to get off my duff and get moving while revamping what we’re eating as a family.

What this means in practical terms is that I’ve started getting up earlier every morning to go walking.  If the weather is bad or if I can’t drag myself outside, then I do a workout or two through an app for my phone called Workout Trainer.  I’m spending more time browsing the sales at Aldi on produce so I can bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into the house and onto our plates.  And I’m searching for some new recipes to add to the repertoire; I have to find some new ones to tantalize the Munchkin’s taste buds and satisfy my need for something healthier.

As much as I love the Munchkin, I have to take care of myself so I can take better care of him.

I do have to admit that he eats amazingly well most of the time.  His favorite food is grape tomatoes, which he treats like grapes and chows by the bowlful.  I have to moderate how many he has because of their acidity; he’d eat the whole container at once if I let him.  Little goofball.  😀

He’s two now, about 35 inches tall and 28 pounds.  He’s growing like a weed and developing like mad: his speech is very clear most of the time, and he’s constantly surprising me with what he puts together verbally.  Last week I asked him what a horse says.  His response?  “Neigh.  But cow says moo.”  A little thing, but just one that reminds me what amazing creatures kids are.  Plus, it’s those moments that make up for the days he whines and yells all the way home from daycare or all afternoon on a weekend after waking up from his nap.  They have to keep us from giving them to the circus somehow, you know.


Daddy takes charge and becomes numero uno.

It’s a little hard to take on coming home, especially knowing that I’m heading back out come Sunday, but it’s just what happens when they’re little.  He’ll certainly never remember it, but I have to admit it stings, more than a little, and it will take me a while to forget.

Sometimes this whole finding a balance between work and family thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

This month has been a tough one from a work perspective: I was supposed to be gone at least one day a week every week this month, which got changed to being gone at least one day every week this month but one.  And did I mention being out of town almost all of this week and then for the next two weeks straight?

It’s the first time I’ve been away like this since the Munchkin was born, and it’s turning out to be a lot harder than I ever realized it was going to be.  I never used to have an issue with long-term trips.  Heck, it wasn’t until a year after we were married that we managed to hit the point where we’d lived together as much as we’d lived apart, and we’d been a couple for six years by then.

This time is different, though.  This time I can’t help thinking about all the things I’m missing out on while I’m gone.  All the good night kisses I’m not getting in.  All the books I’m not reading to the Munchkin.  His non-stop chatter on the way to daycare in the morning and back home in the evenings.  Heck, all the bathroom trips we’re working so hard to encourage him to make when he’s ready, which is so not glamorous parenting at all.

Tonight really hammered it home for me.  On this trip, in preparation for the two weeks solid I’ll be out of town, we both downloaded Skype; once the Munchkin got his bath tonight, we started chatting.

And it just hit me how much I wanted nothing more than to be there on the couch with them both, just hugging him and reading his tractor book and trying to get him to chew up his strawberries and oranges before he swallows them.  I don’t think it helped that I know that, when I get home tomorrow, he won’t be there because he’ll be having a Nana night, so I have to wait that much longer to see him in person.

But I’ll get through this week and be extra glad to pick him up from daycare on Friday.  And then we’ll get through the next two weeks.  I keep hoping it will get easier, especially since this likely won’t be the last time that I have to be out of town for extended periods of time for work.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated.  I’d love to blame that on the fact that, since Thanksgiving, we’ve been rushing around in and out of town almost every weekend, but, honestly?  It’s just been laziness.  We have been incredibly busy this year, however, and our (multiple celebrations of) Christmas helped to wind things down and wrap it all up.

Or unwrap it, if the Munchkin had anything to say about it.  Last year, he couldn’t have cared less about presents and lights and trees.  This year?  That all went out the window.  He loved tearing into the wrapping paper to get to whatever was hiding underneath.  Of course, if what was underneath had the temerity to be clothing, he was done and on to the next one.  We made sure he thanked everyone, but it was hard to keep his attention on cute shirts and jeans when he could be playing with Elmo or his new tricycle.

My two favorite memories of the big day?  Him coming around the corner of the couch to see what Santa brought him and yelling out “Bicycle!”  And then later, throwing himself through his new play tunnel, only to come out the other side to look up at Southern Honey and yell happily, “Hi, Daddy!”  It was just so cute that even thinking about it now makes me grin.

His biggest obsession of the holiday season was something I hadn’t anticipated: He has become absolutely passionate about Christmas lights, which he calls “tree lights.”  Whether they’re on Christmas trees, on houses, on bushes, they’re all “tree lights,” and he adores them.  Even now, almost a month after Christmas Day, he still talks about them as we’re driving to daycare in the morning and home in the evening.  Fortunately, what he understands is amazing, and he now talks about how “tree lights all gone.”

And in terms of what he understands — and what he says — he amazes me constantly.  Last night he was busting out six word sentences in the car on the way home.  He’s my little chatterbox, just going a thousand miles a minute.  He has some favorites he recycles, as though he’s constantly reminding himself of fun things he’s done, but then he comes out with these gems out of nowhere that show me that he understands more than I frequently think he does.  It’s a good reminder not to let any unfortunate four-letter-words slip while he’s around.  😛

Back to the Zoo-ture!

The weather finally took a turn for the cooler on a weekend we had some time together as a family, so we headed back down to the big city to take another trip to the zoo.  Despite a few hiccups starting out (loaned out a car with our umbrella stroller and his monkey backpack/leash inside), we really had a great time.

One thing I think we’re discovering is the the Munchkin has an affinity for things that swim.  Last time it was the koi; this time it was all the fish and turtles in the indoor exhibit.  He wandered along the tanks, poking but not tapping at the glass, to say hi.  Piranha, chiclids, iguanas, an anaconda… I foresee us having lots of adventures in the future.  😀

What was also hilarious was watching him with the goats in the encounter exhibit.  He acted just like he does with the cats: getting a running start up to them, then stopping abruptly, and patting them while saying, “Hi!”  He tried brushing one of them, but he pretty much just ended up getting more dirt on the poor thing, so we wandered him away and let the goat nap in peace.

All the animals aside, I think his favorite part of the day was after lunch when he got to run around the huge playground.  It’s one of those fantastic wooden contraptions with interior stairs and tunnels going up, down, and around, and he climbed and slid and toddled like a madman.  A very, very short madman, but a madman nonetheless.

I’m glad that fall is right around the corner, because we should be able to get a few more visits in.  I love seeing him discover new animals and have new experiences.

Sunday worries

For summer, it’s a fairly mild Sunday outside, although that probably has as much to do with all the rain we’ve gotten lately as anything.  Southern Honey is off to pick up the Munchkin from a night at Nana’s house, and I’m on the couch debating whether or not it’s acceptable to sell one’s child to the circus after he makes one sick for the umpteenth time in the past fifteen months.  I hear that it’s frowned upon.

Despite the rampaging illness scourging the family countryside, the Munchkin is doing pretty well.  Poor little thing has a friend at daycare who loves to bite, so he’s changed rooms.  We’re hoping this will make him happier to get there in the morning, especially since he’s in the same room with one of the little girls he had been seeing pretty much every day for ten months at his old daycare.  It’s been hard, as much of a fuss as he’s been routinely putting up when I drop him off in the mornings — Unless they’re eating breakfast when I get him there.  Then he just settles in to stuff his face and ignores me leaving.  😛 — so I’m hoping seeing a familiar face every day will help him, especially once he realizes he’s not going to be gnawed on regularly.

The only thing I worry about is that it’s too much change too fast.  He really has bounced around a lot in the past two or three months, with changing daycares and then staying with Southern Honey’s mom for a week, and it’s taking him some time to settle back in.  I wonder a lot if we’re doing the right thing for him.  But his daily report sheet from daycare almost always indicates that, once he settled in in the morning, he was happy and playful the rest of the day, so that must count for something.

The Munchkin is fifteen months now, with eight front chompers.  He’s been a bear for the past week or so, breaking into some serious tantruming at the drop of a hat.  I thought maybe we were just getting unlucky, that he was hitting the Terrible Twos early.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it),  he’s just teething — two top molars with two more bottom ones making their future presence felt.

At least that’ll be four more come in in short order?  There has to be a reprieve at some point.

The Animals at the Zoo Say Hi!

Yesterday we decided to try something new on our weekend day off together, so we drove down to the city and spent almost two hours exploring the zoo.  We didn’t see everything, not by a long shot, but it was a good start.

He loved the meerkats from the observation area inside the enclosure.  Southern Honey and I had to crawl to get in, but he just strolled right under the rock — benefit of being short.

Even when he wasn’t paying strict attention.

He loved playing peek-a-boo through the bamboo lining the walkways.

He sided with the octopus on his onesie when it came time to wear his shark hat.

But what he really loved (aside from shouting at the alpaca’s butt through the fence at the petting zoo), was the koi living outside the clouded leopard enclosure.

He thought about trying to hop in and join them, but that darn monkey on his back kept him from getting too far.

So he decided just to hang out.

I hear that there are times when people step back, slow down, and maybe even take time to smell the roses.  We, unfortunately, are not the type of people who build those times into our lives.  Except for sometimes, when they’re usually overtaken by events.

Such as this past weekend: My goal was to handle my shopping and cooking for the next month of cooking.  Then a nasty stomach virus reared its head, and we ended up spending six hours at the ER with the Munchkin.  All’s well that ends well, as we came out with a prescription for Zofran and a happier baby, but pretty much no cooking got done, and much sleep was missed.

There’s no time to catch up on it, either, as I’m hopefully having my wisdom teeth yanked out on Friday, and the next weekend is the Munchkin’s birthday party.  I’ve got a lot of work to do for that: finish the menu, get some music together, make sure everyone who wants to come knows the specifics, decide whether to bake a cake or cupcakes and get all the appropriate equipment, and clean the house in case the weather is too bad to have it at the park.

This whole idea of kids’ birthday parties is new to me.  Most of the time for birthdays, we just get together, maybe have dinner or go bowling, and call it a day.  There’s no big hullabaloo over that first bite of cake or chuckling over how cute we are playing with wrapping paper or something.  And we all entertain ourselves talking.  Now I’ll be finding ways to entertain alien beings, I mean small children.  😛

This year is a little bit easier, in no small part because there won’t be very many small children there.  We’re going old-school: Fraggle Rock.  So I’m thinking I’ll set it up for people to be welcome to play “Pin the Tail on the Fraggle” if they want to, have music from the show playing, and hopefully decorate the cake/cupcakes in a Fraggle-friendly manner (radishes shouldn’t be too hard, right?).  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’m not insane and even half of this gets done.  We’ll see.