Thursday, September 30, 2010

Division of Labor

It's funny how things just sneak up on you. Ry and I never had a formal discussion about how our division of labor would change once I started school. Somehow though, it did.

Ry is up before me. He generally gets T peed, (partially) fed and dressed before he leaves for work. I'll take over with whatever breakfast is left, teeth brushing, shoe donning and school dropping. Since F sleeps later than anyone else in the morning, I'm usually waking him 30 minutes before we have to leave for school to nurse, change and breakfast him.

Then, I drop the kids at school and go to school myself. When I get home in the afternoon, I unload the dishwasher, reload with breakfast dishes and throw a load of laundry into the wash. Then I fold the load already in the dryer. Then I pick up the kids and spend the rest of the afternoon baby wrangling. When Ry gets home, he takes over the wrangling while I make dinner. We eat and then I give the kids a bath while Ry does dinner dishes. Then I put F to bed, while Ry puts T to bed. When we're done with bedtime, I make lunches for the 4 of us for the next day, while Ry advances the wash to the dryer. Then, and only then, do we collapse on the couch to watch TV/work/study/snuggle.

It didn't occur to me until last night that we have a smoothly-functioning little system going on. The schedule isn't identical every day, but it works like clockwork. This is one of the things I love best about my husband. We didn't have to have a big discussion. There is no kvetching or elaborate planning. We just knew what had to be done and did it. Somewhere along the way some things became my responsibility, and some his. Our lives are peaceful. And that's how I like it best.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little humble soup

There's nothing like a 3-year-old to deflate your ego a little. I've been feeling like a bit of a domestic goddess lately. I'm going to school, the house is staying (reasonably) clean, I pack lunches for my family every night, the kids get bathed regularly, everyone has clean clothes and I make dinner the great majority of the time. My husband regularly praises my cooking, which is highly appreciated.

T is not always so appreciative. I made turkey meatball and dumpling soup for dinner last night. T tried a few bites and turned his nose up. Then he realized that he didn't get to have one of the leftover apple donuts for dessert if he didn't eat dinner. I listened to the drama unfold from the living room.

First, he tried bargaining.
T: "Daddy, can I have a sandwich instead?"
Ry: "No T, this is what we had for dinner."

Then the real rhetoric started.
T: "But, remember I tried it!"
Ry: "Yes, you did, but you have to eat more than that to have an apple donut."
T: "But, remember it didn't smell very good?"
Ry: "Let me smell. That's how it's supposed to smell."
T: "But, remember that it didn't taste very good?"
Ry: "It tastes good. Look, there's carrot and turkey and biscuit. It's all food that you like!"
T: "But, it doesn't taste very good!"
Ry: "It tastes good T."
T: "But, it's pretty yucky!"
Ry: "No one is making you eat it. You can just stop eating it."
T: "But, I want a donut!"
Ry: "Then you know what you have to do."
T: "But ...."

At that point, I took F upstairs to go to bed. When I returned downstairs, I learned that T had managed to force down some soup to earn his apple donut. I want my eat-anything toddler back. Zucchini used to be his favorite food, for goodness sake. The last time he ate it, he actually gagged. Sigh. At least he's keeping my ego in check.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Green eyed monsters

There is a lot of jealousy going around our house lately. F is pretty used to having my arms to himself. Now that he's getting older and more interested in crawling around and investigating the first level, T has been jumping into the now-vacant arms. And then, oh, the drama. It starts with the lower lip and progresses to full-out crying in the matter of a few moments.

Not to be outdone, T likes to crawl into my lap when I'm holding F, so I end up with one on each leg. Neither of them are too excited about it.

It gets even funnier when Ry is home. Last night, Ry put his head on my shoulder and F immediately crawled up in my lap to take his place. Our first level has 3 rooms in which the kids can play. It's not unusual for all 4 of us to be crowded into a single 5 x 5 square.

I know I should be grateful that we all like each other so well. Still, I think that a lot of conflict would be avoided if the boys could just get used to the idea of the other being around.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm all "grrrr" and stuff

So I've been looking high and low for a long-sleeved brown or tan romper/sleeper/shirt and pant set for F to wear under his Halloween costume. You would think that would be pretty easy to find, wouldn't you? Well, it's not. Everything in his size (18 months) has a design or pattern or other weirdness going on. There are several in smaller sizes, like this one, but I cannot find, for the life of me, a brown outfit in his size.

So please. If you happen to see one, please please please buy it for me and I'll pay you back. Yeesh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Guinea Pigs

Each time I learn something new, I have 3 guinea pigs at home. F isn't really much help, since he'd rather chew on my equipment than be assessed. Ry submits to my assessment with a kind of amused resignation. T, on the other hand is a very enthusiastic volunteer. He'll sidle up to me and ask if I'll listen to his belly. You bet kiddo!

Do you see the blue pinwheel on T's shirt? It's his stethoscope.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First Festival of Fall

Have you ever looked at something for so long and so many times that it just starts to look like wavy lines on paper? That's where I am with studying for my second exam tomorrow. So, instead of continuing to study, I'm going to show you our family trip to the First Festival of the Fall.

How I love fall. It's by far the best time of the year. The air starts to get that crisp feeling, the trees turn beautiful colors and you get to start wearing your sweaters and cute boots again. Alas, it did not feel like fall Sunday. But it was still a beautiful day and we set off for the festival with high spirits.

We wore babies.

We ... well, I don't know what he was doing here. Chewing I think.

We played air T-ball. T is not quite ready for the big leagues, but he did connect a few times.

We bounced.

And we ate ice cream. Chocolate ice cream. In the backpack. Lots of it.

Other stuff we did:
  • Ate more food that doesn't belong on my diet.
  • Watched a "dancer" that reminded me of something I might have done in my bedroom in the 6th grade.
  • Got creeped out by the scary clown on stilts.
  • Watched a magician who didn't realize that his audience was a bunch of preschoolers.
  • Baked in the hot, hot sun.
And stuff we didn't do:
  • Actually buy anything from the myriad vendors. (Knitted toilet-paper covers, really?)
  • Stay for the next act from the "dance" troop.
  • Register for the Baby Crawl.
  • Feel like we wasted our day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Table, Refinished

Our kitchen table was in pretty bad shape. To be fair, we bought the table and all 4 chairs from K-Mart for $200, so I guess you get what you pay for. The finish started chipping within the first month. The good news is that it's 100% wood, so we figured we could always refinish it. It's taken the better part of a year to actually get around to doing that. Luckily, I have a very handy man. This weekend, he took the table apart and refinished it for me!

There was lots of sanding, staining and shellacking. (Did you know that there is an actual product called Shellack? I had no idea, I thought it was just a saying or a brand name, like Kleenex, but no, it's an actual product. It's not what we used though. We used Poly. Anyway).

Here's the top of the table, drying in the kitchen. Best quote of the weekend from T: "Moooommm, F is climbing on the table!"

Ry rigged up this fancy contraption to varnish and poly the legs so they didn't get all grassy, leafy and dirty.

Any finally, we have a gorgeous newly stained table. Of course, the color we picked bears no resemblance to our dining room chairs, but we can always refinish them too. Someday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

All important sleep?

F has mostly acclimated to daycare. He likes the women in his room, enjoys the other babies and eats well. He is not sleeping well.

Most days he'll only take two short, 15-20 minute naps. Then when he gets home, he's tired and miserable. I've taken to putting him down for a third nap around 4:30 or 5 just so he's not so sad all evening. The short naps during the day are beginning to affect his nighttime sleep too. On days that he doesn't sleep much during the day, he gets up earlier the next morning. Then, on the weekends when he finally gets good napage, he'll sleep for 13+ hours overnight. For F, anyway, sleep begets sleep and no sleep begets no sleep.

This can't be good for him, right? Ry thinks I'm overreacting, but I've started to look into a home-based childcare arrangement or nanny for F. I think the daycare is just too bright, too loud and has too much going on for him to sleep well. Am I overreacting? I keep thinking the sleeping will get better, but if anything, it has gotten worse over the past 3 weeks.

Is the catch-up sleep enough? Is sleep important enough to move him even though I like everything else about the school? This is hard. :(

Friday, September 17, 2010

My sunny, funny boy

T turned 3.5 Monday. He's a bright, funny, energetic, friendly little man. He and his brother are about as different as can be. T provides us a constant monologue. He's impulsive, emotional and loud. He's also sweet-natured, smart, and funny. I can't imagine our lives without him.

T is beginning to understand letters (this morning, "RED spells red!"). He's highly mechanical and I'm afraid we'll come downstairs some morning to find he's dismantled our dishwasher. It will be OK, of course, because "Daddy will fix it!" Oh, to have that kind of faith.

So far, T is still blissfully unaware of fashion, but has a strange fixation on shoes. The shoes he's wearing in this picture (with accessorizing pajamas and bathtub mat) are flashing shoes. He simply had to have them when we went back to school shopping a few weeks ago. Now he wants to wear them with all clothing.

He's not particularly into sports, but loves to climb, run, and slide. He's a good eater (even if he gags on anything green these days). Despite that, he's skinny. I have to cinch his pants down as far as they'll go.

Just like Daddy, T loves a good video game. As a matter of fact, he loves just about anything involving a screen. The computer is always his first stop at school in the morning, and every Wii game is his "favorite game!"

T makes me crazy, but he also makes me smile, makes my heart burst with love and pride, and makes me excited for his future. I love you, big man.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things happen for a reason

Today we learned that our nursing school is closing its doors. We will be the last class to graduate from this program, which has been in existence since 1890. Doesn't that make you kind of sad? The hospital-based programs are going away, largely because of the push from hospitals for all their nurses to have Bachelor's Degrees. The CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) today told us that the hospital has made a commitment to hire program graduates before anyone from the outside. That's nice. They are also opening a brandy-new hospital in 2011, which (hopefully) means more job opportunities when I graduate in 2012.

What it also means is that you cannot take a leave of absence. When I was first considering getting a nursing degree we were also trying to get pregnant with F. When it didn't happen right away, I thought, "Oh well, I can always take a leave of absence for a year and come back to finish." The timing, as it turns out, works much much better this way.

Our hospital also works with a local college for a Bachelor's Degree. It's hard to tell from looking at their website, but it looks like I should be able to complete the BSN in less than two years, part time. Then I'll be off to look at MSN-Midwifery programs. There are 3 close enough to attend. One of them is outrageously expensive (almost $35000 per year) and the other two are a lot more reasonable. If I go back full time, I can get my MSN in an addition 12 - 18 months or 2-2.5 years part time. So, best case scenario, I'm looking at 5 or 6 more years of school. Guck.

I really wish I had figured all this stuff out when I was 18.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I can see the future

It's been fun to watch the relationship between the boys evolve. Generally, T is the one doing the annoying, the irritating, the loving and the pestering. Lately though, I've been seeing an interesting scene play out.

T hates it when F turns on the Roomba; so much so that he runs over to turn it off and put it back in place whenever F crawls over to mess with it. For the past couple days, I've watched F crawl over to the Roomba, push the button, and then lift his head up to look around for T. Reliably, T comes to turn off and right the Roomba. F waits for him to get up and walk away before crawling back over to push the button again.

This evening, the drama got still more interesting. After turning on the Roomba, F would hightail it over to Daddy to occupy the lap that T vacated to turn off the Roomba. Unfortunately, F wasn't quite quick enough to make it before T could jump back into the lap. That didn't keep F from trying a good half dozen times. Someday, F will get quicker. Someday, T may realize that he's messing with him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

6 Things: The Nursing School Edition

1. Our class building is February-in-Manitoba cold. I've taken to wearing long pants, long sleeves, socks, close-toed shoes and a hoodie to class. My nose is still cold. A couple of my fellow students have started stealing blankets and sheets from the lab linen carts to huddle under during lecture.

2. Now that F seems to be getting the hang of the whole daycare thing, T has started having difficulty. Every morning this week, he said he didn't want to go to school. Today, he asked if we "could just stay home instead." I think it's finally settled in that I'm really going to be gone all day. When I told him that we couldn't stay home because I had school too, he asked if I could come and get him before his nap. "It takes too long for you to come and get me!" Seriously, my heart is breaking. Of course, when I leave and peek back in after dropping F in his room, T is already playing with the other kids. Still.

3. Our maintenance guy walked into the room to adjust the temperature (Hallelujah!) just as our professor was showing us how to insert a foley catheter on a wall-sized illustration. He tried to look anywhere but there, and our professor turned around, flushed bright red and said (as he left) "Perfect timing. And I see him all the time."

5. Being in a classroom with all women is a strange experience. The senior class has 5 or 6 men. I often muse about how and if the discussions would be different if there were men.

6. Our professor popped my high grade balloon after coming in the morning after our exam and telling us that the exam was too easy. I'm choosing to believe we're just the smartest class they've ever had. I'm also choosing to study really hard for the next exam since it'll probably be impossible.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

When did this happen, exactly?

Today I pulled out fall clothes for the boys. I buy most of T's clothes the year before, when they're on clearance. Luckily, F has been fitting into lots of T's old stuff. A couple of things struck me.

1. T is in boy sizes. When did that happen, exactly? I can't believe I have a boy. I'm reminded a little more every day that he's not a baby anymore. Today when I picked him up from daycare he said "Mommy, I sure did miss you today. I'm really glad you came to get me." Seriously. We play "baby" now. He curls up on our laps, pretend cries and pretend takes a bottle (not sure where he got the bottle thing. I guess it's better than pretend nursing.) I guess when you play "baby" you aren't one anymore.

2. There's not that big a difference between the boys' clothing now. I actually put one of F's shirts over T's head the other day and was putting his arms in when I realized that it was a little snug. F is very quickly approaching Toddlerhood. Sniffle. My head is spinning with how quickly these past 10 months have gone. I can't imagine our lives without him.

Yes, I realize that both my boys aren't wearing pants and the floor's covered with toys in this picture. Don't judge me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sweet Validation

The long-dusty cobwebs in my brain have been swept away. I took my first exam this morning as a nursing student. About 20 minutes ago I found out that I passed my first exam as a nursing student with a 98%! Apparently I do have a science(ish) brain.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Send positive thoughts

My first exam (on Nursing Assessment) is tomorrow morning. My note cards have been written and studied. The reading is complete. Lecture notes have been reviewed. Now all I can do is hope I studied the right stuff.

A 79 is an F. No pressure. Wish me luck folks.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Today, 10 months

My baby boy is 10 months old today. He's long and round and every time I look at his little round face I smile. F is turning into a very happy guy. He cracks up about the craziest little stuff (like bonking my head with his nose) and is very ticklish.

He's crawling all over the place, standing up with help of the furniture, and letting go, only to fall square on his bum. Then he'll look around confusedly, as if to say "what happened?" He takes great joy in getting into his brother's toys, and his brother in turn takes great joy in snatching them away from him.

F is still the strong but silent type. He says "Mama," "Dada," "More" and almost hyperventilates with excitement when it's time to eat or nurse. He's got a little baby-crush on the sweet little old lady who comes into the daycare in the afternoons to watch him. He follows her around the room and she tells me that he's just "the most content little guy!" He has 5 teeth (which is 5 more than his brother had at 10 months), blue (still!) eyes, and a wee bit of hair (which is a wee bit more than his brother had at 10 months).

I'm smitten. I'm in love. I can hardly believe that in 2 short months my baby is going to be a year old. Happy 10 months, little F.

Friday, September 03, 2010

And these are just for the first 6 weeks

We've had a couple of weeks of intense readjustment. Being a full-time student with a husband, kids and home is a completely different experience than the traditional college student experience. I kick myself almost everyday that I didn't figure this out when I was 18. I've been dropping the boys at daycare around 8, going to class for 7 hours, rushing home to get a few things done around the house (like laundry and dishes), picking the boys back up, being mauled by the boys until Ry gets home, cooking dinner (or, more recently, heating/picking up dinner), getting the boys in bed, packing 4 lunches for the next day and then collapsing on the couch. Then I get out my books and notes and study until Ry wakes me up on the couch to go to bed. The bathroom hasn't been cleaned in nearly 2 weeks, F is finding all kinds of fun stuff on the floor to put in his mouth and Ry has been valiantly trying to fill in the gaps. Oh, and my first exam is Wednesday. Throw in a healthy handful of mommy guilt and you pretty much have the past 2 weeks.

It's not all been bad, of course. I'm enjoying the material and my classmates. The kids are adjusting pretty well to daycare. While I'm feeling completely overwhelmed, I'm also grateful to not be my class mate who is a single mom to her 2 kids, works full time and is trying to finish this program.

Good times. So, yeah. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting during the semester. F turns 10 months old tomorrow and is about as freaking cute as he can be. T is 3.5 in a week and cracks me up. I'll try to get some posts up about them. You know. In my free time.
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