Monday, March 29, 2010

better than a banana phone

lately everything is a phone for Max - a calculator, the dial on a heating pad, a book. but yesterday i looked into the living room and caught him talking into something completely unexpected:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a little update

"A-peeeeeeeeeee!" says Shoghi, pointing at the sky. Planes are such an object of fascination and discussion in his world lately.

Max has woken up from a deep sleep twice this week, sitting straight up and calling out: "Chickie!!" Ever since we went to our little buddy Lanny's second birthday party almost two months ago and saw their chickens, we have been subjected to endless chicken talk from Mr. Max. How I wish we could afford to put up a chicken coop in our yard this year - I think the boys would really love it.

Funny words this week:

monkey: moogie
Shoghi: Shoggy (like soggy)
flowers: fwa-sis
Mama: Ma-mee
Elmo: Melmo
chicken: chickie
"ouchie" is also getting a lot of play this week...
"I go pee-pee" and "take a bath" were his first 3-word combinations that emerged this week.
what does the rooster say? "a-dicka-doo"

Here are Laurie, Max and me, prompting Max a bit - he had been playing this little game of 1) pour out water 2) stomp in water 3) say "oh no." It was too cute to let slip by without a video.

Elmo: ama
kitty: kidda or just "ca" for cat
juice: do
plane: pee
diaper: boo-boo
bird: boo
cereal: see-da
butterfly: fa-da (also the word for fly)
leaf: wee
turtle: doo-da

Here's Shoghi last week, naming animals with me:

I'm so glad I let them watch Signing Time... Shoghi's language development is so much harder to understand than Max's, but he's using a LOT of signs, and uses them to clarify his words for us. This week, he will just go through a litany of seemingly unrelated words: leaf, train, plane, auntie, orange, hair... he's really acquired so much new language in the past month, it's incredible. Still, he got a referral to see an audiologist, and I'm going to take him in at the end of April. He confuses the hearing of many similar words, like sky and cry, duck and dog. While that could be totally normal, I want to make sure. His hard vowel sounds are starting to emerge - "e" is his strongest vowel sound.

saying and signing "go"

I forgot to tell you all months ago that I did take Shoghi to Early Intervention... geez, it seems like forever ago. Was it all the way last fall?? I'm sure it was September or October. I was concerned at the time that he might have some sensory issues, and didn't realize that EI would just be evaluating for developmental delay, which wasn't a concern. So, he tested just fine. Truthfully, I am still watching him with a close eye. He is a kinesthetic learner, which has been clear to me since he was born, so it may simply be that the way he relates to the world is so different from the way I do. And it's not that I feel like anything is "wrong" - I just want to make sure I offer things to him in the best way possible.

Meanwhile, Max has turned into our latest biter, and unlike Shoghi's long, long stint of social biting when he was really a baby, this biting is aggressive. Max actually bites Shoghi specifically to get the adult's attention about half of the time, and the other half he's biting because he's angry or frustrated. We've been trying some very basic time-out strategies with no success. I'm going to keep on with it, though, because I know he understands. He looks at me and actually says "no biting"... little smartypants!

More later - we're justting back into shape after a week of sickness!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Ah, the word of the week. Shoghi is suddenly babbling away, signing and saying so many new words. His only hard vowel sound is still "e"and he still says words mostly with consonants (like "ke-da" for kitty). We have yet to capture the joy on video, but let me assure you, it's been so delightful to experience this major shift. He now says "wa-da" for water, and "ba-ba-da" for bear... well, there are just so many!

Max continues his own path of development, and has now added verbs to the mix. "get it," eat sleep, drink, go, walk, jump... so many! He has started counting - for real counting - as well, and says thank you. He's started singing with some songs on Sesame Street... it's just so much fun. Some cute mispronunciations:

monkey: gookie or, suddenly today, moogie
turtle: too-a
banana: manna
egg: still weega-wee. still love it.
ouch: ouchies
have a good day: g'day!

Here's a video of Max saying thank you... most often, he says it without prompting, but you know, you gotta get these videos for the grandparents!!

Here's Max again... talking to the farm animals last month (he's saying "sleeping")

And hey, thanks for the menu ideas! I'm excited to try some of them in April!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

cooking this week

After my last post about menu ideas, a friend emailed to gently suggest I was too ambitious in the kitchen. I wish that were the case! When I am having a bad day (or days), we eat a lot of scrambled eggs with pesto, our most reliably-eaten meal. The little tykes are finally eating boxed mac and cheese, and they really love the chicken breakfast sausage, party meatballs, and frozen gnocchi dishes we get at Trader Joe's. But I have had a constant struggle with my weight (and really, with eating well) since adolescence, and I have had high blood pressure on and off since my long hospital stay after being in a head-on car crash in 2004. I'm concerned about my own health, and I am really striving to set good habits for my children. I want my kids to be among the exception to the obesity epidemic we are experiencing in this country. I want to be around and healthy to meet my grandchildren and have them know me.

Maybe my meal ideas look a little complicated, but really the part I struggle with the most is cleaning up! For now, while I am still at home with my children, I hope to continue cooking meals with basic ingredients and avoid processed foods as much as possible. As spring unfolds, I also hope to find us eating more veggies, something often lacking from meals.

Looking back on what I wrote last week, I'm doing pretty well. My lack of specific planning showed a little last night, when I was in the middle of a several-hour-long anxiety attack. I ended up cooking brown rice (which Max ate) and made the sauce for butternut squash mac and cheese, but no pasta. Thankfully Laurie came home early and cooked up some breakfast sausage, made some corn, and we warmed up some of the delicious chicken pot pie she had made the night before. When the boys refused everything but the meat, they ended up eating whole grain c*heerios with milk and raspberries while I sat between them trying to catch my breath. What a mess!

There have been better moments, though, like when Korin came over on Sunday and we made our sweet potato gnocchi to freeze. It's so delicious, but sadly I'm the only one here who will eat it.

I made sweet potato and cheddar quesadillas, and the boys actually ate them!

I also managed to make four loaves of cardamom bread, but I forgot to add the cardamom. We gave loaves to friends and sent one to work with Laurie to the delight of her colleagues.

We also made a corned beef crockpot meal, but it was too sour for both me and Laurie. I think I'm going to throw together an easy lentil soup this afternoon, to go with that brown rice from last night. I want to get more meat-free meals on the table. Do you have favorite vegetarian meals? I'd love to hear em!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

bedtime ritual

I'm a pretty regimented mom. We have a schedule that has evolved over the past year, and I love it. We're firmly down to one nap a day now, too, and did I tell you that I finally got Shoghi off of those stressful nighttime milk bottles? Yep - the the past month, he's given up his bottle, and is also doing better at sleeping through the night (finally!) most of the time.

Our most consistent ritual, though, is bedtime, which we call sleepytime. After dinner, the boys go a little nuts, running, squealing with laughter at each other, getting out the last of the day's big energy. If they're terribly messy after their meal, we go up and they take a bath, once or twice a week. About a half an hour later, I put on a DVD - usually Goodnight Gorilla - and we all sit down and watch together while pajamas are put on and teeth are brushed.

a typical end-of-day scene of snuggling, tv-watching, and a big mess in the background

After as little as 10 and as long as 20 minutes, we all head upstairs - the boys crawling up the staris themselves. They both stand in Shoghi's crib in his room (they've been in separate rooms since they went into cribs), and I read several books, sing a song or two, and then the boys say goodnight to each other with kisses and hugs, which has recently evolved into lying on top of each other, rolling around, laughing with each other, and sometimes ends with someone being bitten (remember our problems with biting? it's back, and now they both bite!).

shoghi taking a nap

Then I take Max to his room, settle him in his crib, returning afterward to Shoghi's room to give him a small bottle of water which he keeps in his crib all night, sing to him, and say good night. Many times, that's it - they might chat for a while, but they both calmly go to sleep. They're generally sleeping by 7, which is a blessed, early time. Since they get up so early - Max gets up at 5:30 consistently - the early bedtime is a necessity for us all.

napping Max, who still loves his thumb!

Friday, March 12, 2010

March menu ideas, anyone?

I'm just going to take a moment and use the old blog as a notepad. Menu ideas for the next 2 weeks. Please feel free to contribute!

herbed polenta (try again)
butternut squash mac and cheese (I now make this sauce and freeze a couple of pints - great to defrost on hard days)
farfalle with myzithra
corned beef slow cooker dinner
red curry with steamed veggies, zucchini and chicken
quesadillas (try for the first time) what do you like to put into yours?
sweet potato apple casserole (breakfast?)
chicken pot pie
sweet potato gnocchi (Korin? Want to make some together? Maybe on Monday afternoon??)

chocolate beet cake
zucchini bread
peanut butter oatmeal cookies

challah do you have a tried and true challah recipe?
cardamom bread
Kelly's almond scones

I'd also like to make some Chinese pork dumplings to freeze - anyone interested in getting together to make a couple hundred with me?

Do you have a good recipe we should try? Bring it on!!

from babies to boys

When, how, did it happen that my little babes became these running, talking, playing children???

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It's been a rather long time since I've posted, hasn't it? March has arrived, spring is here, my children continue to change and grow, and somewhere along the line, I feel like a part of me has been lost. A heavy old feeling has returned, and this time I have a happy little life surrounding me. There is no bad relationship to blame. The days of infertility and pregnancy loss are behind me. Sure, there's a lot to be stressed out about - still not having a job, getting older and wondering if I'll have a chance to be a mama to a third (biological) child, running out of money... these are all things that I encounter in my mind and heart every day. But the darkness I feel taking up residence again I have now come to accept as something else - why is it so hard for me to even type this word - depression.

To admit that I'm not just lazy, not a terrible procrastinator, not irresponsible, not at fault... to set aside labels that I have used on myself for years and years... why is that so hard? It's easier to blame myself than to think that perhaps these symptoms that have plagued me for so long are not just a failing of my will to change. Ironically, though I have spent a lot of time in therapy, I have not used medication for depression aside from when my marriage was falling apart and I was in the worst grief of infertility. And now that I really believe that this is truly clinical depression that I'm dealing with, I have no health insurance or savings left to deal with it.

I have envisioned this blog as a place to record the story of this little family - to share it with family and friends, to connect with new people... and ultimately, to have it as a gift for my sons. I hesitate to write about the darker moments of parenting.

One thing I am proud of, though, is that in these past months that have been tarnished by panic attacks, muscle and joint pain, and the dark paralysis of this strange and unwanted internal despair, I can truly say that all the energy I have summoned has gone to my children. I haven't written my resume or kept on top of all of my bills, but I have spent countless hours playing with Max and Shoghi, celebrating their little lives, cooking for them, researching their development and trying to come up with ways to engage their curiosity, looking into their precious eyes, hugging their beautiful bodies, washing their diapers, telling them stories, and re-discovering the world through their experience of living. I know that even in my worst hours, I am a loving mother to my boys, and that is a gift to all of us.

So, this is the reason I haven't been posting much. It is hard for me to admit that things have really gotten this dark - and it's been very sad for me to come to the realization that if this is not situational depression as I had guessed in the past, that I may well have to deal with the truly terrible affliction of depression for a good while. Have you dealt with depression or a disease of chronic pain or fatigue as a parent? If so, please share your experience!