Entries from June 2010 ↓


our new favorite entertainment in the riftraft household is seeing what we can do to make baby dude laugh.  it cracks us up every time.  i challenge you to watch this video and not smile:

giggles from carissaabc on Vimeo.

p.s. today was much better than last week.  i even managed to put baby S down for 2 naps without the use of a stroller!  And I found that music and singing can be excellent tools in my childcare management toolbox.  duh.  i’ve known this at work for years.  this is just a slightly different way of using it so it took me a week or two to discover it.  and these babies don’t care if it’s the “itsy bitsy spider” or “summertime” or just scat singing at the top of my lungs.

driving the daddy-mobile

we took a little father’s day walk this afternoon.

when gabriel rides in the baby carrier facing forward, he likes to hold onto thumbs or fingers.

i think it looks like he’s operating a construction vehicle.

so cute!


and to everyone who read my last post and laughed to themselves and said, “Afternoon?  Pfft.  That’s my life every day!  Suck it up, lady and welcome to motherhood!”  Thank you for understanding that this is just another adjustment to our new normal for me.  Everyone who is a parent of two (or more) kids just earned my utmost respect today.  And if you have any pearls of wisdom (or mantras of humor) to help me keep my cool in the face of two kids crying at the same time, I’d appreciate hearing them.

Carissa and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Afternoon* (with apologies to Judith Viorst)

when Baby S (who is approximately 10 months old) was dropped off at our house around noon for our weekly childcare sharing arrangement, his dad (who is, to all appearances, unflappable in the face of chaos**) mentioned that Baby S had been a bit of a mess today and that he was probably ready to eat and take a nap, so he suggested that feeding him a bottle would help to achieve both of those goals.  Baby Dude was asleep upstairs, so I took Baby S downstairs with the bottle and though he drank the whole thing, it did NOT put him to sleep.  And so, since I couldn’t take him on a walk to put him to sleep because Baby Dude was sleeping upstairs, I resorted to the other trick I’d heard worked–PBS.  But after a full half-hour of Word World he was still standing up in his playpen and dancing to the music, so I gave up on the idea of a nap for him.

Then I went upstairs to check on Baby Dude and he was also awake, so I decided that maybe we’d try that walk after all.  I bundled Baby Dude up in the Moby Wrap, plunked Baby S into the jogging stroller, pulled the shade way down and tucked Baby Dude’s head under the edge of the wrap because there was a very light sprinkling of rain.  We walked and walked and Baby Dude fell asleep again, but Baby S was still perky, perky, perky and so we walked some more.  And then it started to rain a little harder and I started to head home.  And it rained harder.  We weren’t soaked when we got home, but definitely damp.  And still perky.

I thought maybe Baby S was still hungry, so I put him in his chair to feed him some solid food.  I tried to put Baby Dude on the floor in my line of sight, on a play mat, but he was having none of it and began to fuss.  I moved him closer to us and Baby S leaned over to look at him, drooling spinach and cottage cheese onto the floor.  Then Baby S got excited and began to squeal and that scared/startled/stressed out? Baby Dude who began to cry again.   So I juggled trying to feed Baby S (if his mouth is full he is slightly less likely to squeal) and calm Baby Dude for awhile, and finally decided that lunchtime was over, cleaned up Baby S and we all went to play with toys in the living room.  I’m pretty sure I saw Baby S actually look around the room, deciding what were the things he was definitely NOT supposed to play with and then (with a glance back at me) he made a beeline towards those things (books on the shelves that are not board books, CD’s, a rather tippy side table, Baby Dude’s face … yes, we really should baby-proof the house!) so we played the game of distraction for awhile.   Baby Dude had a big spit-up that got him soaked and spilled a little onto my clothes too.

Then, both boys started to get really fussy, so I looked outside, noted the lack of rain and decided to pack them up again for another walk.  This time, Baby S nodded off after the second block (hooray!) but Baby Dude was not even willing to snuggle his head down on my chest.  We went back to the house and I parked Baby S in the stroller (if he’s asleep, I am NOT moving him!) in the living room and I went upstairs with Baby Dude, changed a very messy diaper (his second today) and fed him a bottle and was thrilled to see those heavy eyelids that I’ve come to love so dearly make an appearance.  I wrapped him up in a blanket, gave him his binky and headed downstairs for about 10 minutes of both-babies-asleep bliss and breathing.

Then Baby S woke up, disoriented because he was in a slightly unfamiliar place, sleeping in a stroller (can’t be comfortable) and I was not his mom or dad.  He wasn’t super fussy, but he did cry just a little and there was a bit of shrieking when I laid him down to change his diaper (his pant leg was soaking wet!) and there was no way I was risking that he’d wake up Baby Dude, so I put him back in his booster seat (damp diaper and all) and gave him some water and soothing foods.  He was playing with his gums in a certain way that made me wonder if perhaps he was teething, so I checked his diaper bag to see if there was any medication for that and there wasn’t, so i tried to call Unflappable Dad to ask about the possibility of teething and medication and he didn’t answer and i didn’t want to leave a message because every time I do that, by the time he’s gotten the message it’s a moot point, so I hoped that cold banana and bread chunks felt good on his gums if they were sore and filled his tummy even if they weren’t.

Soon enough, Baby Dude woke up, so I brought him downstairs to join us and then began a dreadful cycle of Baby S squealing which caused Baby Dude to cry which was interesting enough to distract Baby S who would quiet down and watch Baby Dude until he calmed down and then Baby S would make another loud (usually happy) sound which would set Baby Dude off again and nothing I did seemed to help–bottle, pacifier, holding him, lying him on his “baby lounger” pillow–except that patting his back SOMETIMES made the crying decrease just a little bit and this went on for what seemed like a really long time and by this point I was so frazzled that I began to cry myself and it was at this EXACT moment that Unflappable Dad called back and apologized that he’d missed my call and, to my great embarrassment, I was unable to pull it together and ended up crying on the phone to him and I’m pretty sure the call ended with me laughing maniacally and saying that I’d be fine and Unflappable Dad promising to be right over to pick up Baby S.

Then, as I sat there, sniffling, still bouncing and patting Baby Dude who was still very sad, and trying to feed some yogurt to Baby S he sneezed on me–yogurt and all.

And later, as we were sitting in the living room, I looked down and realized that I was covered in other people’s various bodily fluids and I hate being covered in bodily fluids (regardless of whose they are).

And, while bouncing and patting a still screaming Baby Dude, I looked over to Baby S to discover that his diaper was falling off and poo was hanging out.

And Baby Dude continued to scream the whole time Unflappable Dad packed up Baby S and his belongings, but as soon as they were gone, he calmed down enough to drink a bottle and then was perfectly content to watch me cook supper.

And J came home and took over with Baby Dude and I went on a bike ride to get groceries and I realized as I biked along the lake that… some days are just like that.

Even in Australia.

*perhaps just a touch of hyperbole, and I know it could have been a lot worse, but let’s not go there, people.  let’s just not go there.

**Apologies to Unflappable Dad–I am sure that you get “flapped” sometimes, but it makes this blog post funnier to give you this nickname and, really, I HAVEN’T ever seen you get flustered, but I won’t hold it against you either way.

p.s. it’s possible that I accused the wrong child of teething today.  this evening, J thought he spotted a little white nub breaking through Baby Dude’s bottom gumline.  And he screamed a LOT this evening, but is currently sound asleep.  Nobody shriek!

adjusting to our new normal

it’s been a busy few weeks of adjusting to our new schedule with me back to work three days a week.  for now, we’re doing childcare sharing with two families and J is able to stay home two mornings, but that will change in the next few months and we’ll have to adjust again, so i’m trying to just enjoy each day as it comes.

my first week back at work was more difficult than i’d expected for me.  I mean, I’d already been back two mornings a week for the past 6 weeks, what was the big deal, right?  But 3 full days in a row of not seeing my baby and I found that I’d come home just missing him like crazy.  The good thing about that was that I then spent the rest of his awake hours just talking to him and singing with him and playing with him until it was time for him to go to bed and i finally, intrinsically understand the push-pull feelings of working parents.  when i’m home with him all day, i don’t tend to focus on him exclusively.  There’s laundry to be done and dishes to be washed and other people’s kids to take care of (see childcare sharing note in first sentence) and, well, it’s good for a baby to learn to be content entertaining himself for short periods of time right?  But he doesn’t get the intense one-on-one interaction all day long.  I think they sort of balance out.  Don’t they?  In the end, I think the only thing that I’m really missing out on by working is time to exercise.  When I get home from work, I want to spend all of my time with baby dude until he falls asleep.  Maybe I’ll have to take up a night-running habit.  Not to say that it’s not difficult to miss out on the little bits of my boy’s day, but I think it would also be hard for me to not get the fulfillment (and, let’s be honest, the break from someone needing my care all the time) that i get from my job.  i know this is not a new struggle.  i know my ideas are in no way new or novel ideas, but this is the first time I’ve experienced them from the inside.  It makes me wish (once again) that we lived in one of those countries where women get 1 year maternity leave.  Oh, Canada…