Monday, January 31, 2011

parent-teacher conference

I met with Sebastian's teacher Carina this morning. She had no concerns - said he was doing everything he was supposed to be doing physically and developmentally. His only fault is apparently an unwillingness to stand up for himself when another child takes away his toys. He'll tell the teachers, but avoids direct confrontation. (Clearly taking after Steve, not me.) He is always cheery, plays with everyone, and likes to show other children how to do things. But the funniest moment of the meeting came when Carina said that he never acted up or got upset or had meltdowns. I asked, incredulously, "He never has a tantrum?!" And she said, "No, does he have them at home? What does he do?" That cracked me up. She hasn't ever even seen a Sebastian tantrum. He saves them all for us, his lucky mommy and daddy.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

expanding palate

Despite our best efforts, there was a long period there when Sebastian's food intake was not ideal. He ate simple carbs - bread, pasta, rice, cereal - and some fruits (apples, berries, bananas) and meats (ham, sausage, fish sticks), and truly remarkable quantities of eggs and cheese. No vegetables. He refused to eat things like hummus, guacamole, yogurt, and edamame, which we thought were easy. When he was very young, he ate everything, and since I made most of his baby food, he had a terrifically varied diet. So we kept cooking our regular food and offering it to him, and hoping.

He has gotten steadily more adventurous over the last four months or so, but this past month has seen some absolutely tremendous strides in his willingness to try new vegetables and cuisines. He has eaten zucchini, green beans, carrots, eggplant, brussels sprouts, spinach, edamame, and cantaloupe. We ordered Indian food for ourselves and he astonished us by eating lamb curry, lentil/spinach pattie, and the samosas. We went out for Korean food and he ate jap chae noodles, bi bim bap, scallion pancakes, pork dumplings, and bulgogi. I made a sweet potato, carrot, and white bean casserole with garam masala, and he ate that too! We are giddy with glee, and planning to visit all kinds of fun restaurants with him now. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

two children (man to man coverage)

When we had one child, it felt like a lot. Now that we have two, I'm remembering those days with some nostalgia. Any time we have only Liesl, especially if it's the two of us at home with her, it seems really really easy. And now that Sebastian is sleeping through the night, napping easily, and potty-trained, well... But of course, the problem is that you don't realize how easy one child is until you have two, and then it's too late - there's no way to go back to having just one. :)

Steve has been unusually busy with work this month. He's had to work through both of the last two weekends and quite late on many nights. He tries to be home for dinner/bath/bed and then continue working from home, but he hasn't been able to always manage it. I find it exhausting to look after both kids all day long - the back and forth between them, making sure both are fed, well-napped, diaper-changed/potty-visited, and entertained. Oh, and that I manage to do some basic house things, like make meals and clean up the kitchen, and basic self-care, like brush my teeth and have a shower. But bedtime is particularly difficult, as Liesl needs her bedtime routine a bit before Seb, and she needs things to be quiet and dark as she nurses to sleep. He's been pretty good about playing quietly by himself in the living room while I sit in the bedroom with her for half an hour, but it sometimes feels like a delicate juggling act.

Starting in the new year, we cut back Sebastian's day care hours to three days a week. I'm on unpaid leave until June and we need to save some money, and the theory is that it'll be fun for us to hang out together a bit more than we usually can. We've had so many snow days so far this year that he wouldn't ever have made it there five days a week anyway, but it has meant that January has featured a lot of days with me in charge of two children. I'm steadily getting better at dividing my attention and retaining my sense of humor, but it's definitely been a learning process. Sebastian has also gotten better at playing by himself and recognizing when I need to do something else before taking care of him, although that too is a work in progress.

On one of the first days we stayed home together, Liesl had a doctor's appointment. Sebastian was very well behaved in the waiting room and in the doctor's office room, mostly because both were well equipped with trucks. But then, just as I was trying to talk with Dr. Jane, Liesl decided she was cold and hungry and started crying. And then Sebastian tugged on my sleeve to tell me he needed to go pee. So I interrupted the doctor to take Seb to the bathroom (Liesl still determinedly crying in my arms). He peed, we flushed, we came back to the room and I continued speaking with the doctor. Then it was time for vaccination shots - four of them. The nurse finished and Liesl was howling (and naked, of course), and I was trying to nurse her (so I was half-naked), and then Sebastian tugs on my shirt and tells me he needs to go poop. So we walk out into the waiting area - half of us half-dressed, and Liesl alternately wailing and suckling - and I deposit Seb on the toilet seat. I tell him to come back to the room when he's done. Which he does, but of course, he can't wipe himself, and it turns out he couldn't reach the flush button or the sink. Yucky. We returned home at 11:30, and I told Sebastian it was nap time (thank goodness he can't read clocks quite yet, as nap time is actually 1), and collapsed onto the couch with an exhausted baby girl. My brain felt like it had short-circuited.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

tummy time

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

brotherly love

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I think I keep posting basically the same blog entry: Sebastian loves Liesl! It's not news at this point, and yet he keeps amazing me with his utter devotion to his little sister. At least she's smiling at him now. :)

He participates in every bath I give her - I get an extra washcloth for him, and he splashes it in the water and all over her. He still likes to watch her diaper changes, but only if poop is involved. He asks to cuddle and kiss her all the time. He sings and reads books to her, and creates little dramas with stuffed animals for her amusement (as in the pics above). When Steve and Seb and I were hugging, and Steve said, "a whole-family hug!", Sebastian said, "where's Liesl?". And on Monday, when he was having a total meltdown in the car on the way home from a playdate at Nathan's house, I reprimanded him for behaving badly and waking up Liesl with his screams. He quieted down immediately and said, "I don't want my baby sister to be upset."

We are so lucky that he's such a sweet boy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a girly girl

We have recently discovered that Liesl loves dolls and stuffed animals - anything with eyes and a mouth. She'll stare, fascinated and intent, and smile very sweetly, when we dance stuffed animals in front of her. She coos at Sebastian's hipster boy doll, Pip. (Despite my best attempts, Sebastian really never paid much attention to Pip and has been unmoved by Liesl's usurpation of his doll.)

And Liesl smiles at people - not just us and extended family members, but at perfect strangers in the grocery store. Big, happy smiles, and the occasional gurgle. Sebastian never ever smiled at anyone he didn't know. He still doesn't either smile or talk to most people. But Liesl - our girl - is so very interested in people. It's so stereotypically female, and yet so obviously innate and not learned.

What fun to have both a boy and a girl.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


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Liesl has developed this very funny habit with Steve - when he smiles at her, she gives him her very best grin, and then turns her head away from him. And then turns back, still smiling. It's very coy - like she's doing her best hair-flipping flirting with him. She rarely does it with me, and never to Sebastian. (When she looks at Sebastian, she stares at him very intently, and watches everything he does. And smiles. She's going to be his little shadow, I think.) Steve and I can't figure out why she's doing it, but it's really funny.

We were skype-chatting with Popo and Grandpa the other day, and Liesl gave me the biggest pout before she started fussing a bit. I thought my parents were going to cry from laughter, and glee, as they claimed to recognize that overly dramatic pout from my babyhood and thanked the gods of karma for blessing me with a daughter who would take after me. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

And in other news, Liesl figured out how to hold things and grasp things just yesterday and today. We've been giving her a little shaker toy, and various brightly colored noisemaking things, and she's been moving the toys around and investigating them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

big step: sleeping in the real bed!

Sebastian moved out of his crib a long time ago - almost a year ago - after we caught him climbing over the railing. We put his crib mattress on the floor for a long while, and then finally over the summer picked out and bought a twin-size bed and frame. He refused to use the bed. Nothing would convince him to get on it, or sleep in it. We took away the crib mattress and he started sleeping on the floor - on the hardwood floor - with nothing but his pillow, his duckies, and a thin blanket. After a little while, we decided to humor him and provided him with a mat. He put the mat as close to the door of his room as possible, with his head in the doorway, and bedded down on it every naptime and nighttime.

We've tried to figure out why he doesn't like the bed, but he hasn't been able to articulate his objections. We decided that maybe he's just afraid of falling out. So today we borrowed a bed rail from our friends, the Krapfs, and installed it, and Sebastian informed me that he was going to sleep in his big boy bed. Steve set it up, with stuffed animals lining the bed rail and Seb's favorite objects all around, and our boy curled up to read himself to sleep. But then, when the actual moment of going to sleep arrived, he had second thoughts. He told us he would sleep in the big bed when he was as tall as us. He asked very sweetly to have his mat back. We cajoled him to just try it for one night, telling him how proud we would be. He still looked anxious, so I crawled in beside him and cuddled with my boy until he drifted off.

We'll see if he makes it through the night, or if he's willing to try again tomorrow night. But for tonight, success! He looks so long and lean to me - growing up so fast. Sigh.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hana Jane

We are delighted to welcome our new niece, Hana Jane Cuthbertson! She was born to Tricia and Jeff just after midnight, January 12. A snow baby. She's lovely. We drove to the hospital in Hoboken yesterday afternoon so we could meet her and see Trish. Sebastian was extremely excited to see his new cousin. (Really, he was. He kept asking "are we there yet?" all the way to the hospital, and when we initially told him he couldn't come in with us, his face fell and he looked crushed. So we had to sneak him in.)

Of course, now Sebastian has four girl cousins, and nary a boy cousin in sight. Poor thing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two month checkup

We took Liesl to the doctor today for her 2-month checkup. Sebastian was a very well-behaved and concerned big brother ("Why are they hurting her?"). Liesl weighed in at 12 lbs, and measured 22 1/2 inches. She's about 50th percentile for height and 75th for weight, so she's clearly eating enough. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

letters to Santa

As I blogged earlier, Sebastian wrote a letter to Santa requesting a new school bus, and Santa showed up in person and delivered one at his daycare holiday party. Apparently this made a deep impression. A couple of nights ago, as he was lying in bed trying to go to sleep, he asked Steve if he could write another letter to Santa and ask for more Cars movie characters (the Sheriff and Ramone). He was extremely excited about his brilliant idea. Steve explained that Santa only comes once a year, and that a year was a really long time, and so the two of them decided that they would instead write a letter to mommy asking for the cars.

This is the letter that was awaiting me at the breakfast table:
Dear Mommy,
I want Sheriff and Ramone, Mama. Please can I have them? Please Mama? I'm going to clean up my dishes when I am done eating and I will not fuss when Mommy tells me to go and I'll clean up my toys.
Thank you.

Steve had to prompt him re. the promises of good behavior, of course. But Seb insisted on trying to write his own name at the end. I love it.