From the moment of birth, I've been amazed at the differences between Zoe and her big brother.
Of course, her entire life is different. For one, she hardly ever gets to sleep uninterrupted during the day. Jed, passionately in love with his "buddy," can't stand to have her out of his sight for any length of time. She tries to nap in her little chair but Jed's lolling all over her, cooing and bringing her presents and making sure she is keenly aware of every little thing he does. Poor girl. Are all number twos chronically sleep deprived?
Speaking of sleep, my girl is an AMAZING sleeper! After the year of sleeplessness following Jed's birth, during which he nursed every. two. hours. around the clock for at least ten months, I was expecting the same with number two. But by 8 weeks or so she was already sleeping big chunks of the night (5-6 hours a stretch) and she's continued. Still sleep deprived, but I am so much more functional than I expected. She's an angel.
Since I didn't know what I was doing and needed to fill my days, Baby Jed got bathed twice a day: morning and night. Yet he still managed to be a filthy little kid. I'll never forget the day I found a dead bug under his chin roll (gross, huh?) Baby Zoe, on the other hand, gets bathed twice a month whether she needs it or not. Poor stinky little gal. We're too busy playing during the day to mess with baths.
Jed hated to be wrapped up. Zoe loooooooves to be swaddled and has since birth. As soon as you lay her on that blanket and start to pull it around her, she looks up with a radiant, quiet gaze as if to say, "Thank you, Mom, for making me so snug and cozy so I can go to sleep." Then you just lay her on the bed, and for morning naps and often even at night, she'll mutter to herself a bit, squirm, and then having assured herself that she is not going to come loose, drop off into slumber. Looks like a little skinny pig in blanket. My pretty little pink hot dog.
Zoe's been blessed with a lovely little routine from day one, so different from my early transitional months with Jed. Heck, I didn't even know what a routine was! I remember how hard it was to get those naps in with him. When I finally realized he needed two regularly scheduled naps it was like torture being stuck at home trying to fit them in. Nowadays, Quiet Time is always religiously observed. I've become one of "those" moms who will let the world go to heck in a handbasket before missing a nap. With occasional blips in the morning, pretty much for Zoe every day follows the same pattern, and she really flourishes because of it. Mom was right - kids love routine. And now so do I. I cherish our quiet, happy at-home time.
Jed was a very content baby, but more sober. Zoe is all smiles, a joyful child. If you just look in her direction, her eyes light up, and she smiles a cheek-cracking, adoring grin. If you giggle at her, she opens her mouth wide wide wide and smiles and sometimes even blesses the world with her silvery little laugh. I call her my sunshine because that's exactly what she is -- even at 4 AM that smile makes my heart leap for joy. I love to lay on the bed with her at such unholy hours and just talk. She looks right at me, smiles like I've given her the best gift ever just by noticing her presence. We coo and giggle, have a little conversation, until slowly her eyes start to drag shut and in a moment, her eyes button tight, asleep.
My Jed has beautiful pearly white skin, but my Zoe has her dad's warm brown complexion. Jed was a translucent white with light pink cheeks and vibrant blue eyes at this age. Zoe has dark skin, much darker than mine, and murky blue-green eyes. She has short, patchy eyelashes. Too bad, how come the boys always get the dark, luxurious fringe?
In other ways, they are remarkably similar. They are both really, really good babies. Beautiful. Pleasant to be around. Michael says really most of the differences are in us. We've figured out how to make their lives, their needs, just as important as our lives and needs.
My Jed has learned that just about any time we spell something out loud, it means that spelled item is very, very desirable. For example, imagine we are traveling from one boring activity to another in the car. I may say "Daddy, should we go for i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m tonight after the whatever?" Michael would frown, look confused and spell it back to himself several times before figuring out what I mean. Jed, however, will perk up his ears and with shining, eager eyes proclaim loudly from the back seat "YES, MOM, we should have some R-F-J-T-I-Z!"
He even knows what m-i-l-k spells so now we have to spell it l-e-c-h-e.
Another popular one is repeating what few letters he remembers. "Michael, should we give Jed an s-a-u-s-a-g-e for dinner or should he just be forced to eat this disgusting pumpkin concoction I've created?" Jed pipes up "Jed should have some s-u and s-u-s-a and s-a-s-a-s!
I confess that at this point I've started purposely spelling things just to hear what stream of letters will emerge from his darling little mouth. Yesterday, as I made dinner, I told Jed, "Zoe is crying. Go give her some TLC." He ran over and smoothed her head and patted her tummy. "Mom, she is OK. I gave her some S-R-T-M-A."
Warning: This post will have graphic accounts of bodily functions. You are forewarned.
So, you may or may not know that I've been pretty much dragging my feet on this potty training thing. It scares me. Several times Jed has seemed ready, but mom sure the heck hasn't been so nothing has happened. I've watched all my friends potty training their younger, willing, third-child daughters who pretty much do it all themselves, and felt absolutely no desire to potty train my own "sit in his poop til it oozes out all over" "NO, MOM, I'm CLEAN" man-child.
Recently, though, he's started peeing out of his disposables at night and that's just gross so I knew the time was coming. Monday, Jed took things into his own hands. He informed me that he wanted to go pee. Rather lazily thinking to myself that I still haven't bothered to pick up those stickers I "needed" before we really started potty training, I said "so go." "No, Mom, in the potty." I looked up in surprise. "Oh. OK, uh, let's go."
So we did. And after some cajoling, running of water, and book reading, he went! With the obligatory celebration, and a few chocolate chips, he was thinking this pee pee thing was pretty darn awesome. Back onto the pot he went, and I figured that if we were going to do this we were REALLY going to do this. I gathered my supplies: a few crumpled sheets of leftover "I love primary" stickers from an activity I threw last year (Jed is sticker-deprived enough that any ol' sticker is thrilling at this point), a marker and piece of cardstock to create a fancy-shmancy potty chart that says "Jed's Potty Chart" in uneven letters over a crudely drawn grid, and a few handfuls of chocolate chips. We were in business.
I grabbed the kiddie toilet seat that Michael hasn't had time to install and got a handful of tools from the basement. Yes, now going to the potty also included destruction (and I mean that literally... only after using excessive physical force ripping the old lid off did I figure out how easy they are to properly remove), and TOOLS! Wow, going to the potty really is thrilling! Especially when I get to hold Dad's screwdriver! The rest of the morning was a series of frequent fake outs (I did it mom! No you didn't.) interspersed with enthusiastic cheering when WE ACTUALLY DID IT!
Finally after five hours Jed asked "Mom, can I have a diaper now?" and feeling rather exhausted of potty training myself I happily agreed. We diapered him up and headed upstairs for lunch.
Today was potty training round two. I figured out at some point on Monday that the key really is being completely bare naked. It's easy to pee in Thomas the Train underpants no matter how many times mom stresses that Thomas really really really hates to be wet. But having pee running down your legs and spattering all over mom's carpet really does catch the attention. Today he was over on the far side of the basement while I exercised near his little red potty. "MOM! I'm peeing!" he shouted in alarm. "Run, Jed! Run to the potty!" Boy did he run but the poor kid, by the time he got himself situated, didn't even get a single drop in the potty which was extremely disappointing for all of us, especially mom when she went to investigated and realized that a running, peeing little boy makes for a whole lot of, um, bouncy spray for lack of a better term. What a mess! (Or as Jed would put it, a big ol' messy mess.)
Mothering sure is an education. Never as a daydreaming youth did I picture myself sitting in front of a toilet for hours on end thinking "This is really all I have to do today. Just sit here and verify the pee." Not glamorous, but at least there are plenty of chocolate chips.
Zoe laughed, a real laugh, for the first time last week. She laid on the floor beneath me as I did pushups, kissing her little nose every time I lowered myself to the floor. She reached up, grabbed the earbud cord hanging from my ears, looked up at me with a big open-mouthed smile, and LAUGHED! She looked positively mischievous, as if she knew how naughty she had been.
Jed loves to read. He'll haul out a big stack of books onto the couch and hang out there for hours.
Michael enrolled in an online programming class, since he's so bored with his other responsibilities working full time, parenting two small children, fixing up our rickety old house, traveling the stake for YMs, cleaning up disasters instigated by his accident-prone spouse, etc.
Last night Jed told me a story. The froggy went to the pond and he and his mom put on their swimsuits and jumped in. He caught the starfish. There was a little girl named Penny and she put on her swimsuit and jumped in. They played everywhere inside with their suitcase. They played outside. They played in Penny's garden, it was a flower garden. The frog went up the tree. Etc. etc.
Zoe has a new nickname: "Kickstart." Because she is always kicking her little heels in the air, and one especially as if she is kick starting a motorcycle.
Michael has been doing a project for the board of directors and he got to ride in the corporate plane!
I want to start sewing again. I painstakingly cut and carefully sewed according to directions a shirt for myself. I even measured to make sure the *ahem* recently augmented bust would fit, and even added a half inch for my broad shoulders. I finally got it done far enough to put it on yesterday. I can't even get it over my shoulders! It fits like one of JED'S shirts!!! How is that possible?!? I am cursed. Fortunately, I am familiar with this curse. That's why it was a practice run made out of some really ugly violent magenta velveteen I got for free. The universe may have it out for me, but I can still outwit fate on occasion. I still want to start sewing and remain undaunted. Zoe needs some violent majenta pants.
Why do people in Indiana park cars on their lawn? I am serious, often you'll see three or four cars parked in the middle of someone's yard, just in our neighborhood!
Also, it rains a lot here. The only place I've ever lived where your shoes get filled with water walking across a lawn.
Michael's been working a lot lately, and Jed misses him. Several days last week Jed insisted on wearing a tie, on top of whatever else his outfit was for the day, so he'd "be like dad." It's quite the look layering a red tie over a yellow and blue striped polo shirt. He cuts a wide swath.
Jed also often heads "off to Walmart for shopping, Mom." He'll come over in his tie, barfcase in hand, "I need a kiss!"
My Dad is playing Tennis in the National Senior Games in St. George. He and his partner just beat the no. 2 seed of the tournament 6-3, 6-3. Pretty sure that means my Dad is just plain cooler than yours.