2010 So Far

The twins had their 15-month pediatric visit today. (I only have approximate stats because, now that they’ve grown out of their their handy carrier car seats, I was tending to both hyped-up boys and didn’t have any place to restrain the other while measurements were being taken on the one. The nurse helped as much as she could, but it still got a little hairy.) Anyhoo, Gabriel is about 25 pounds and 29 1/2″ long, and Zeke is about 24 pounds and 29 1/4″ long.

The dual occupying force of Gabriel (front) & Zeke protect the fort from invaders.

I discussed Zeke’s acid reflux diagnosis with the doc and noted that even though he’s on Prevacid, he still has either one big puke in the morning or a few dribbles throughout the day. I also mentioned that Zeke typically has about five BMs a day — no kidding — and that he and Gabriel’s breath still ain’t the sweetest, even though I’m brushing them twice a day.

Doc assured me that the major pooping and stinky breath is normal in some kids, but said that perhaps all of these issues are related and I might consider testing out some dietary possibilities, namely doing some food trials for a few weeks to see if Zeke is lactose intolerant. That will take some major preparation as far as grocery shopping and cooking go ’cause we are one dairy-loving family, but I plan to get that underway asap. Plus, Zeke’s gastro-intestinal doc is supposed to call to discuss the diagnostic x-ray he got before Christmas, so hopefully that’ll shed some light on matters, as well.

Donned w/ drool scarf & Daddy’s Astros hat, Gabe’s ready to party.

Houston is still having sleep issues. The very night of my last blog entry, he briefly attempted his hand at an all-nighter again, saying that “Suhs-tuhn dis bed nebber ebber ghent” (translation: Houston will never, ever sleep in this bed again). We actually discovered him up on the changing table with all four of his blankies and every single “friend” (stuffed animal) that was living in his crib at that time; we’re still not quite sure how he pulled that off. Figuring that Houston had finally come to hate his crib, we took Granny’s advice and moved his mattress onto the floor for a couple of nights till Stephen was able to assemble his big-boy bed on 1/9.

Houston’s sleeping has been hit and miss since then, but he has earned back all his toys and privileges, although we still use that stuff as leverage when need be. Sometimes Houston dozes off easily, sometimes he fights it tooth and nail, and other times he just happily hangs out in bed, reading books, talking about super heroes or even reprimanding his stuffed Snoopy by saying, “Shhh, go seep, Soopy” (go to sleep, Snoopy) and then breathing a heavy sigh as if he’s the parent of Joe Cool.

We also moved Houston’s toddler bed into the twins’ room one night, since we only have one cool-mist humidifier and all the kids were fighting colds at the time, but that was short lived. The excitement of sleeping in the same room with “bruv-uhrs” was just too overwhelming for all the boys, and Houston was back in his room soon thereafter. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

Houston wonders, “Should I leave Zeke alone or thieve his current favorite toy?”

Even though we’re still dealing with some issues, it’s surprising to me that Houston was so willing to vacate his crib because he always found it to be such a secure and relaxing place. Up until now, he always adored his crib time, going to sleep quite easily, resting for long hours at night and during naps, and usually playing contentedly in the crib even after he had awakened. Goes to show that you can never predict the ways of toddlers.

Toddlers aren’t all infuriating, though. Here are some funny Houston-isms to prove it:

  • He notified Lisa during her recent visit that he would “nebber ebber ghent” (never ever again) do the following things: have a time out, eat and pee pee.
  • The nah-nah song has morphed into including all sorts of non-human items, such as cookie, coffee, shirt, pee, potty, etc.
  • He “reads” his Spidey books aloud while on the potty, in bed and to anyone within ear shot, perfectly describing each page’s super hero and their action.
  • He recently notified us on one occasion that he was “fuh-wated” (frustrated) and on another that “Suhs-tuhn need pie-see” (Houston needs privacy). Wow.

Not a shy thief himself, Zeke (right) retains control over his favorite toy & sing-along Elmo.

As previously mentioned, Aunt Lisa did visit for five glorious days. Then Houston spent two nights at Granny and Grumps’ house last weekend, Auntie Merdy dropped by yesterday for a long visit, and Aunt Dina and cousin Kara are coming to see us for two nights this weekend. Thank God we haven’t yet scared too many people away from the zoo and all of its wild inhabitants.

And speaking of wild, Gabriel and Zeke are as boisterous as ever, matching big brother wrestling move for wrestling move. They are two tough cookies and smart, inquisitive little devils to boot!

Click the above “He did it” pic to check out all the January photos.

The Terrible Twos Ain’t No Joke

I’ve been attempting to write this blog for days now, but Stephen and I have been experiencing some major challenges with Houston’s naps and nighttime sleep, which is obviously negatively affecting our waking state.

It all started on Christmas Eve, when Houston woke up around 1 a.m., saying “Taz bite Suhs-tuhn” (translation: “Taz bit Houston”). Not sure why the the Tasmanian Devil pillowcase he has been sleeping with for months all of a sudden scared him, but that was his story. We let Houston crawl into bed with us, even though we knew this would insure a restless night’s sleep for us, since Houston is one heck of a flip-floppin’ little dude, constantly awakening us throughout the night.

Moreover, we don’t want to set a pattern of having kids constantly sleep with us; I mean, every now and again is fine, but our boys need to feel comfy in their own beds.

After devouring Santa’s leftover cookies, Houston breaks in the new sliding board.

Then a day or two later, Houston fought his nap vociferously and ended up falling asleep much later in the day than normal and awakened to a dark room with no night light. He said “Suhs-tuhn see bad goiz” (“Houston saw bad guys”) and further explained that that was why he needed to either sleep on the couch (something he has never done) or in Mommy and Daddy’s bed in the future. Again, we caved and let him fall asleep in our bed, while Daddy played a computer game in our darkened bedroom, and then stay in room our again that night.

After the bad-guys story, Houston began complaining about monsters and shadows. And then to top things off, Houston surprised us one night by showing up in our hallway well after bedtime, just standing there, looking sad and clutching his ho-ho blanket. In other words, he finally figured out how to crawl out of his crib or just found the proper motivation to do so.

From that point on, we have not only had to contend with a very stubborn Houston (I wonder who he gets that from?), but also a very mobile one. We censored his TV watching, taking out anything we thought might have inspired these antics in him, and talked with him repeatedly about how Mommy and Daddy would never let bad guys into the house or scary monsters get him in bed, but we are still unsure as to whether this is really a case of fear or just a simple power struggle between parents and child.

Zeke wonders, “Should I battle Houston for possession of the door or try to steal Gabriel’s book?”

Every night has been a battle, but last night was the crowning jewel. Our self-willed boy went to bed around 8:15, but persisted in breaking out of his crib fortress, so Daddy put a childproof cover on the inside of his doorknob to keep him from getting out of his room and wandering around the house while everyone else is asleep. Then after subsequent escapes, we would find him in a well-lit room, standing in the middle of his room or sitting on his changing table.

I even went so far as to take the bulbs out of his overhead light (yes, our tall boy can now reach all of the light switches around the house while standing on the floor). Each time we would take away something of value to him: first, ho-ho blanket and his Spider-Man action figure got confiscated out of the crib, and then we began taking away privileges, like watching TV or playing with Hot Wheels.

Houston finally fell asleep around 4 or so this morning and only slept in till 9. Houston’s current punishment: he can only use brothers’ little-kid toys while playing with the dudes, or he can read books or do puzzles. That’s it. And he can earn back all the things he loves as he starts to obey Mommy and Daddy’s rules and wishes. No, we don’t expect perfection. What I told him tonight was that he has to go one whole day being “pretty good.” Not too much to ask.

Grumps assists cuddly-boy Gabriel w/ opening gifts.

We also pulled his hand-me-down toddler bed down from the attic last night. Once we get a safety rail (due to his nighttime tossing and turning) and assemble it, I think sleeping in a big-boy bed may help matters, as well.

Even though Stephen and I were walking zombies today, my brilliant husband came up with a different tactic for tonight: I tucked Houston into bed and simply stated that once I turned off the lamp, Mommy was going to sit in the rocker in his room and read to herself by night light till he fell asleep, and no talking was allowed. It worked! And it only took about a 1/2 hour. Plus, it would’ve probably even taken less time if our fool-cat Stanley hadn’t rapped at the door just as Houston was dozing off.

Not only was Christmas Eve the beginning of Houston’s sleep troubles, it also has the distinction of being only the second day in Houston’s life in which he hasn’t napped. See, after being extremely well-behaved while running errands with Daddy, he nodded off for about 5 minutes on the ride home, obviously tricking himself into thinking he was rested.

Well, he wasn’t and Houston’s dinnertime behavior was quite atrocious. In fact, he decided to hit the handle of his spoon when the convex end was buried deep within a heaping bowl of mac and cheese. The result sent goo and noodles flying across the table, hitting me in the head and even landing some on the ceiling.

Zeke tries to sneak away a gift all for himself.

As a result, Houston got sent to bed without dinner, wasn’t allowed the duty of leaving out cookies for Santa and was denied the highly anticipated task of breaking off the very last link in our Christmas countdown chain. We decided that all that was punishment enough and that Santa would indeed visit Clan Dillingham, even though there had been some naughtiness afoot.

We did concoct a story that Santa left a note, explaining that he and the elves only assembled the tower and sliding-board section of their jungle gym since Houston had been leaning toward the naughty and, as a alert to stay on course with being nice, the swing section would have to wait. Santa’s note also said that Houston should heed this one and only warning or else Santa won’t be visiting Clan Dillingham next Christmas.

Granny and Grumps spent the night after Christmas, brought the kids a ton of gifts from them and extended family, and allowed Stephen and I get to go out childless for a few hours. Then Gramsey and Papa visited the following day, too. The boys went wild with excitement over both sets of grandparents hanging out all at the same time — smiles and giggles abounded! To view Part 1 of our Christmas merriment, click the top photo of Houston sliding and click the above photo of Zeke to check out Part 2.

New Year’s Eve for Mommy and Daddy consisted of listening to Phish’s millennium concert, which we attended together 10 long years ago; catching some of Willie Nelson’s live concert on XM; watching the Times’ Square ball drop; and then beginning 2010 by watching a few season-four episodes of “Lost” on Netflix. Party hardy, baby!

Cowboy Houston snuggles up w/ his doting “Ganny.”

Other notables:

  • Stephen, who happens to be the best husband in the world, gave me a gift certificate for an hour-long full-body massage at a fancy spa for Christmas.
  • The twins have gotten much tamer in the living room, so much so that I can leave the room for brief moments now to get a cup of coffee, change a diaper, use the bathroom, etc.
  • We decided to try our hand again at potty training Houston, since his size-6 diapers (the biggest money can buy) are beginning to chafe his inner thighs.
  • Gabriel nods “yes.” Both twins shake their heads “no,” but they also do that for fun, even when it’s not appropriate. (I think they just like the dizzying effect it gives them.)
  • Both boys did the sign for “hat” today and are also trying diligently to say “ball” and “dada.”
  • Houston can often be heard singing the “nah nah” song, which is inspired by the Batman TV show theme. But it simply goes, “Nah nah (insert super hero name here).” It sometimes includes family members names, as well as pets.
  • Houston also likes to “read” by pointing to letters on the page and randomly calling out the alphabet and numbers as he makes his way through words.
  • We did a furniture swap between the boys’ rooms, moving Houston’s tall dresser into the nursery and the twins’ shorter dresser into big brother’s room, all in an effort to keep the twins from pulling down electronics. What a pain.
  • We also had to do a crib swap (again). Because Gabriel is so rambunctious in bed, he often gets his leg stuck between the slats. We decided that easily freeing him, but more often from one crib would be better than rarely, but painfully and painstakingly freeing him from the other.

Ah, the splendors of parenthood!