If you can't manage from an office, why not do it from home? In addition to the three other moms groups I am a member of (Le Leche League, Mommy & Me, Monday Moms), I started yet another group with Kim this week though Meetup.com called Second Time Moms. This one is unique though because it's catering to a niche group: moms who have toddlers and who are planning for, expecting or have recently had their second baby. It's enough of a challenge for first time moms to learn the ropes of keeping a fragile being alive- it's quite another to continue that task while keeping yet another fragile being alive. If these were older children, say 6 years old, and moms having a second child, it would be easier. A 6 year old can speak, is generally potty trained and tends to disappear in the day for nine months out of the year. However, a toddler is wrought with short comings in language, tempers that flare out of nowhere and tend to make messes in their pants as well as around the house. I dread some of the details of raising a toddler, such as potty training/bed wetting, converting the crib to a toddler bed, dealing with testing authority, and I'm certain to find a Crayola masterpiece etched into our carpet or sofas at some point. Add those anxieties to my desire to have a second baby in the somewhat near future. I am either insane or strangely naive.

Josh's latest skill: he can climb onto kitchen/dining room chairs and then onto the table. I'm working on getting him to only "sit down" on chairs and to not get on the tables. I feel it may be a losing battle though in the kitchen. There's really no way to keep him from climbing onto those chairs unless I turn them upside down on the floor- which he climbs on as well but at least can't get onto the table.

A bit of bad news. Darwin has again bit Josh, this time it was hard on his fore arm enough to require a good cleaning and huge bandage. The cat has been kicked out of the house for now. There's food and water for him on the porch, but he's not allowed inside. My job this week (in addition to keeping Josh from falling off chairs and tables) is to either find the cat a new place to live or send him to the pound. I really don't want to send him to the pound because he doesn't deserve to die, but he cannot be in our home near Josh any more and none of the no-kill shelters are taking animals. I've called every single shelter and agency known in the metroplex. Darwin has been a source of great controversy since he came into our home, but it's high time he left even if he is adorable.

New toddler accomplishments:

  • Turn on and off mom's laptop
  • Climb into highchair, stroller or kitchen chairs repeatedly
  • Attempt to climb onto couch and fail repeatedly
  • Throw dramatic tantrums if crossed
  • Eat well one day and toss it to the floor the next day
  • Point to things of interest
  • Pretend to talk
  • Test the rules to gauge parental reaction
  • Play chase several times a day
  • Make a mess several times a day
  • Hog the TV remote
  • Demand any electronic devices
  • Drink lots of milk from a sippy cup
  • Squirm during diaper changes
  • Walk away while being dressed or undressed
  • Kiss or lick glass surfaces
  • Nuzzle on mom and dad's shoulder when tired

Josh loves playing in water. I've taken him to the Lewisville Aquatic Park, Addison Circle's fountain area, a friend's pool at her apartment and now tomorrow the Jack Carter Pool in Plano. Not all this week nor back to back but all recently. It's about the only thing to do in the sweltering heat. Although Josh loves all kinds of water for play, I prefer the super-shallow wading areas. My little guy has no sense of danger whatsoever! He tries to crawl out of my arms in the pool so he can crawl on the water. I explained to him it doesn't work like that but he doesn't get it.

Most babies shift towards taking on nap a day around their first birthday. Josh is inconsistent. Some days he'll pass on the morning nap and take a long afternoon snooze- but then he'll revert back to two naps. I'm encouraging him to move towards that one long nap so that I can work in the afternoon. Today's tactic worked very well- we hung out at Addison Circle eating brunch (he had half a banana and some peach) then played in the water fountains with Preethi & Vincent then he played some more after lunch. By the time we got home at 1pm he was exhausted. He slept from a little after 1pm to 4:45pm- waking once for a drink. Tomorrow there's a playdate at 11am so we'll probably leave home early to play at a park before joining the group. That should make him plenty tired!

So how's life with a toddler? All in all I'd have to say (so far) it rocks! I love seeing him learn. Unlike when he was an infant, I can play with him. And he's better at self-play. Nights have become quiet (almost no waking) and easy to put him to bed. And he can eat more types of foods, though I still opt for the healthy stuff. It's easier to have fun with a toddler than an infant like going places and trying new things. It's also neat to see his opinions developing. He hates ravioli right now. But he'll eat crackers, cheese and fruit until the sun goes down. Some music makes him dance while others are lost on him. And he loves "outside". Any time to be outside, whether walking, strolling, playing with wood chips or dashing across the neighbor's yard- is a good time. Oh, and toddlers are way more resilient. He falls, bumps and tumbles all the time and is getting better at not crying about it. But I still hold him and rock him to sleep mostly because I like to and still can.

Someone somewhere right now is watching a home video. Someone somewhere right now is writing a book. Someone somewhere right now is discovering they've lost their home.

Nolan sent Joshua a survey to fill out. Here's what Josh had to say:

  1. FIRST NAME? Joshua
  2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not directly, but my parents got inspiration for my name from musicians they really enjoy.
  3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? This morning- I ran into the side of the kitchen table and got an 'uh-oh' on my noggin.
  4. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO? Climb and run!
  5. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Of course!
  6. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Yep! I can carry around my toys around the house, push chairs across the kitchen, climb to the top of stuff and peel off the rubber shock absorbers from the cabinets.
  7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? I haven’t tried ice-cream yet but I hear it’s real yummy!
  8. WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION? Toddler
  9. SHOE SIZE? 6W
  10. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My grandparents! I just can’t get enough of them!
  11. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? I’m too busy playing to check my emails.
  12. WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Yogurt with cereal grains and a veggie cracker
  13. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Mandarin Orange because that’s one of my favorite fruits!
  14. FAVORITE SMELL? Dirt
  15. WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU MEET? How big they are compared to me!
  16. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Very much- I can’t wait for Nolan to be my play pal.
  17. FAVORITE DRINK? Juice!
  18. FAVORITE SPORT? Swimming. No wait! Running. No wait! Climbing, yeah!
  19. HAIR COLOR? Dirty blond
  20. EYE COLOR? Blue
  21. FAVORITE FOOD? Cheese
  22. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? I like Baby Einstein and they have happy endings
  23. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? White and green under my blue-green overalls
  24. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My daddy playing piano and my parents making funny noises
  25. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Vancouver, CA to see my Matt
  26. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I can make clicking and ticking sounds with my mouth!
  27. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? May 25, 2005 at 11:08pm in Dallas, TX at my midwife’s birth center

I had an interesting moment at the grocery store this afternoon. I was looking for the last two items on my list, chicken patties and meatballs from the freezer section. I knew they were along the back row but wasn't seeing them right away. A guy, maybe in his late 30's, was standing in front of the section I was scanning back and forth on. I think he was reading package labels or something. I realized how silly it must have seemed that I was going back and forth past him looking for these things. I decided to make light of my predicament by saying, "I'm not stalking you, really." He chuckled then said back,
"The way my life is that would be a welcomed change." I shot him a friendly smile kind of going along with his humor. Then it struck me like a brick: what did he really mean by that? Is this how people pick up other people in the grocery store? Was he making some slight advance? I mulled over his words probably longer than I should have while finally locating my items. He looked at me again as I reached in for a package, and it wasn't a flirty smile- more like it was a prolonged glance. Women have a funny way of noticing even the slightest changes. I didn’t respond to his extra glance sensing there was something fishy about the way he responded. Maybe he’s single? Maybe he’s lonely? Maybe he’s just friendlier than I expected? Or maybe what he meant to say just came out funny.

Josh is still sick. I'm getting worried about him because he hasn't eaten hardly anything since Tuesday except some yogurt in the mornings and a few bites of applesauce and mandarin oranges that I've forced upon him. We decided to take more dramatic steps today. I made straight formula (no whole milk) and offered it to him in a bottle. Although he's supposed to be done with bottles, if this is the only way I can get nutrients in him I'll do it. In fact, this week has no rules. He's watched more TV/movies than usual, I've offered him more juice than I usually do, he ate a pretzel one afternoon so I kept offering him more- if he wanted to eat a cookie I've give it to him so long as he ate something. He's still throwing up too. This evening he barfed all over me, the carpet, the wall, the steam cleaner near the wall, the kitchen floor, all this while on our way to put him to bed. We tried to give him water, he threw that up too. Then we tried 1.6 mL of medicine to soothe his coughing and runny nose- he puked that up too. So now he's laying in bed coughing every minute or two, and probably hungry and thirsty. I plan to take him to the doctor Monday to see what I can do to keep him from getting too dehydrated and hungry. My hunch is that he got a cold on top of a nasty stomach virus.

Someone somewhere right now is being hired for a new job. Someone somewhere right now feels trapped in their marriage. Someone somewhere right now is celebrating their 21st birthday.

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