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Dec 11 2012

Yep, My Son is Definitely a Boy

By at 1:05 pm

toy truck

My son loves garbage trucks. Every morning, without fail, he keeps his eyes peeled. When he finds one, he says, Mommy, Ga-bage Tuck! Watch it?

Having raised three girls before him (and another girl after), this vehicular fetish is a bit new to me. The novelty of his request is a big part of why I am so willing to indulge my waste-dump-loving little man whenever possible. Plus, I never tire of seeing his wide, saucer eyes light up as the stinky garbage cans get dumped into the truck and crushed by…whatever that crushing thing is. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 10 2012

The Other (Better) Side of Divorce

By at 2:41 pm

broken heartMy parents separated over 18 years ago and since that time, my younger brother and I have seen three marriages between them and one more divorce. We’ve gotten six step-siblings, lived in seven houses, and many times struggled with finding a place in our parent’s new world.

We were told all the right things, things that you don’t understand at 4 and 9. We never thought it was our fault or that we had caused the marriage to end. We never considered that we were capable of breaking apart our family. We were 9 and 4 and had parents that loved us as much as any parents have ever loved their children. They were parents who would have died for us without blinking, parents who went without to give us things we didn’t need. They were great parents, but they couldn’t figure out how to put aside their anger for one another, their hate, and so even though they would have died to give us life, they never figured out how to live to give us something greater. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 5 2012

How My Toddler’s Adjusting to Life With Two

By at 9:55 am

My toddler is slowly but surely adjusting to his new baby brother. I try hard to foresee battles before they ensue and we’re slowly getting back to our old dynamic. I’m getting used to taking two kids everywhere and I’ve realized that a fully capable toddler and I did just “run in” to stores where as a toddler, newborn and I take HOURS to simply leave the house in one piece. There is no “running in.”

At our baby’s 1 month visit, my toddler also had his 30 month appointment. My husband was with me and it was easier to just do both at the same time. Our toddler loved all of the attention he got and admittedly two minutes of the appointment was spent examining the baby and 45 minutes was spent discussing Big Brother’s adjustment. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 28 2012

Ten MORE Tips for Life With Two

By at 2:03 pm

tamara reese life with two

Earlier this week our editor Debbie Kolben asked for some advice dealing with her daughter’s adjustment to being a big sister. Yesterday Carla gave her ten tips, and here are ten more.

Oh Debbie, I am so sorry you’ve fallen prey to the toddler-who-received-a-sibling-torture. It’s horrible. I wrote about it last month when I was still buried in a toddler shit-storm on a daily basis.

I’ll be honest, the first few weeks I was like, “Hey he likes his baby brother, this is good, we’re doing GREAT” and then? My worst parenting lows. I could see no resemblance of my sweet firstborn. He was a monster and I had nothing but negative feelings towards him. I felt like I was always yelling or kvetching at him. He refused to listen to me and would do NOTHING that I asked. The tantrums were horrible. Meals? WORSE. My angelic boy who was my entire world was gone and I cried wondering if our relationship was changed forever. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 16 2012

Confessions of an Obsessive Fertility Tracker

By at 12:22 pm

I have some OCD tendencies. I try to embrace them and not drive my husband crazy, but I enjoy only moderate success on that front.

My OCD tendencies extend to stockpiling (please God dont let me end up on Hoarders in 20 years), organizing stuff, and fertility tracking. Unbeknownst to me when I started tracking my fertility (and trying desperately to have a second child), there is a whole community of people who obsess over every detail of their cycles too! We have a whole online support group with fertility tracking tools, message boards, and even our own jargon. My favorite is POASaholic for people who cant stop peeing on a stick. People like me.  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 15 2012

My Third Child Started Kindergaten (and I’m Over It)

By at 10:13 am

Adam's three childrenI recently sent my third child off to kindergarten. My only girl, my last baby, looking all grown up with her hair in a ponytail, wearing a backpack, clutching a lunch box. And I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling kind of… bored by the whole thing.

When my oldest went off to preschool for the first time, I read the handbook they gave us like it was The Holy Grail, terrified of making a mistake (oh, no, did I build the wrong kind of art smock?) and veering his entire educational future off-course for want of sewing ability. I attended every parent meeting and curriculum night. I volunteered for field-trips and saved his “report cards.” Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 4 2012

Two Isn’t So Bad, Really

By at 4:13 pm

You know who’s screwed Jordana, you are!

black and white photo of tamara's sons

Via Tamara Reese

I had a lot of fears about my firstborn’s reaction to a new baby. We did everything we could to prepare him and I believe much of it was a success, particularly the “big brother” books that we read at ad nauseum. We’ve been especially diligent at pointing out what Big Brother can do that baby cannot.

That being said, it’s been a rough month over here.

My firstborn, now 2 and a half, refused to eat our first week home from the hospital. He’d pick at the occasional carbohydrate here and there but showed his displeasure through exerting control over what went into his mouth. That passed and now mealtime is accompanied by tantrums and food throwing. Yay.

And then there’s sleep. A first he went to bed at a reasonable hour and then had a nice 4 a.m. wake up where I was trying to juggle two crying boys. The past few weeks, we put him down for bed and he stays up in his crib until well past midnight talking, screaming, playing, calling for me and claiming to have poop in his diaper (which turned out to be true only once).

The only upside is that he’s still in a crib and hasn’t attempted to climb out (knock on wood).

Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 3 2012

That Baby is Totally and Completely Screwed

By at 4:45 pm
Jordana Horn's fourth child

Jordana and Baby G.

I’m sitting in the kids’ service for Sukkot, my 38-week-pregnant body uncomfortably positioned on a folding chair. In front of me is my 14-month-old daughter, Baby G. She is sitting for the first time in a plastic toddler school chair, in a circle with other kids.

It’s clear that she is profoundly mesmerized by the proceedings. It is blowing her mind how the service leader knows her name, and how she is asked to clap at regular intervals. She keeps turning around to look at me with her huge, gap-toothed grin on her face, as though she’s saying, “Can you BELIEVE this?”

She is sweet, and innocent, and beautiful. I stare at the little Florence Henderson-esque blond curls on the back of her neck. In an act of tremendous restraint, I somehow refrain from leaning over, grabbing her and covering her with kisses. I love her. And I pity her.

This gorgeous baby, light of my life, is totally and completely screwed. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 27 2012

Getting Our Toddler Ready For Baby #2

By at 12:24 pm

Little boy on stepsWe’re about to welcome a new little addition to our family. I’m pretty sure my 2-year-old thinks I’m birthing a playmate for him who will bound out of my womb ready to pass a ball. And I’m afraid the screaming infant we bring home won’t be the only thing my son finds disappointing.

My husband and I have done all we can to prepare his little mind for the changes ahead. We took a sibling class at the hospital geared towards toddlers and they read books about a new baby, toured the hospital rooms where he will meet his little brother, and even learned to diaper his beloved Curious George doll.  He left mostly talking about the apple juice he spilled down his shirt during snack.

We have lots of books about becoming a big brother, our favorite being What Baby Needs by Dr. Sears mostly because it shows babywearing, breastfeeding and cosleeping. All things we do in our house, and did with my son, but none of which he actually remembers.  He loves to read the books but until he actually sees us doing these things he doesn’t really understand.

What he does understand is that I am physically limited.  My son wants to be carried, snuggled and rocked. He wants me to rough-house with him and play trains on the floor. Thankfully my husband is being extra hands-on when he’s home and in the meanwhile we’ve taken to lots of couch snuggles while reading library books, which appears to be a suitable substitute.  At bedtime, my son and I would gently dance around his room together before bed time, me swaying with him in my arms and singing a song I made up called “dancin’ with your Mama” — I still sing the song, but can no longer dance while holding my lanky boy. I’m by no means wishing this baby out, but I cannot wait to dance with my son again. We both miss it terribly.

There have been lots of tears and tantrums from both of us as this pregnancy comes to close. He knows that if he runs, I cannot chase him (cue frantic Jewish mother waddling after he toddler screaming “GET BACK HERE!”) and he has figured out that if he flattens himself completely on the ground, I have no way of getting him up. I find myself snapping at him more than usual and the patience I once had left around the time my belly button popped and I lost track of my feet.

Last week after a car nap which lasted over an hour thanks to me driving around, my son woke up and was ready to come inside. But once we walked in the door, he melted into hysterics and refused to climb the stairs up to the apartment. I’m not physically capable of picking a limp screaming toddler off the ground and carrying him up sixteen stairs, so I told him I would let him collect himself and I’d be back to check on him in a minute.

I waited upstairs for five minutes and then peaked down to find him asleep on the step.

I know he has big huge feelings right now and he’s sensing that I’m tired and can’t physically do what he needs me to do for him right now. My heart aches for him on these days. But when I looked down those steps at my sleeping boy, I remembered

He will always be my first baby,

He still needs so much of me,

and there will always be enough love to go around.

Sometimes it’s just hard to be two.

Jul 17 2012

Is My Middle Child Doomed?

By at 1:37 pm

three kidsReading Jeffrey Kluger’s fascinating book, The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, I learned that “Schoolhouse Rock” may have lied to me.

Three may well not be a magic number.

In fact, when it comes to the ideal number of children per family, three might possibly be the very worst one. (Fun fact: I have three kids! I would go for four, but my husband has informed me that while I may have as many children as I see fit, he’s never changing another diaper again. I am to do with that information what I will.) Read the rest of this entry →


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