Monthly Archives: March 2011

And The Diagnosis Is…


I worried Robbie had another ear infection. I was terrified it would be another night of screaming and kicking. Mostly because the screaming and kicking started as soon as we got home. Robbie refused to eat dinner and was only consolable with a bottle of milk. At a loss, and with nowhere to take a 19-month-old for walk-in care at 6:30 at night, I called and left a message for our on-call pediatrician.

By the time she called back, Robbie had calmed down considerably. He’d granted us the opportunity to bathe him and get him dressed in his pajamas. Since there was no screaming, I could actually hear what Dr. Sheldon had to say. I explained that I thought it might be an ear infection, but things didn’t add up. Robbie didn’t have a gross runny nose; everything was still running clear. He was rubbing around his ear, which probably should be a red flag. But, Robbie never rubs at his ears when he has an infection.

While trying to figure out what the problem was, Dr. Sheldon asked me if I’d checked for teething. I told her his mouth was pretty full with teeth, and then it hit me. His two-year molars. He’s closer to two than he is to one, so it made sense. So did the rubbing near his ears. He was rubbing at his jaw!

After I got off the phone, I asked Robbie if I could check out his mouth and feel his teeth. I showed him how I was going to do it with Justin, which Robbie thought was hysterical. He took a turn sticking his fingers back into Justin’s mouth, which I’m sure my dutiful husband appreciated. Robbie opened wide and let me feel the back of all sides of his mouth. And there it was. A lump on his lower right jaw.

We gave him a generous dose of Tylenol and a little extra cudding. Robbie fell to sleep after an hour (or two) of talking in his crib (yes, we got him back in!). I’ll be honest… When I went into his room to turn off the lights on my own way to bed (he’s tall enough to reach the light switch now), I could smell him. He had pooped. Majorly. But I wasn’t going to touch him. I figured the diaper change could wait until 3:00 in the morning, which is precisely when he woke up screaming for a change. Fortunately, this morning, he went back to sleep ten minutes later.



Justin and I are zombies today. That’s what happens when your toddler doesn’t actually fall asleep for good until 3:00 in the morning. Since I know you’re already on the edge of your seats, I’ll fill you in.

Robbie went to bed last night around 7:30. I kept him up an extra hour because of the time change. He didn’t actually fall asleep until 10:30, even though Justin and I went to bed at 9:00. Unfortunately, this did not last long. Robbie woke up screaming at 11:30. I only had enough milk left for one bottle, which he devoured. He started screaming again at approximately 11:37. This earned Roberto a trip into our bed until 12:30. Why so short? He never fell asleep. He watched Sesame Street and then decided to use me as a trampoline. In my tired stupor, I took him back to his crib where he screamed until 1:00 in the morning.

We all fell into a light sleep, somehow knowing it wasn’t meant to last. And it didn’t. Robbie woke up again (screaming, of course) at 2:00 this morning. I rocked him back to sleep, put him in his crib, and crept back to our room. He was screaming within 15 seconds. I told Justin that I couldn’t deal with the screaming anymore but that I couldn’t make it stop. We waited for another 10 minutes. It only got louder.

My dutiful husband got Robbie, rocked him to sleep, and brought him to bed to sleep with us. As soon as Justin laid down, Robbie started tossing and turning. At one point, Robbie’s entire torso was stretched across Justin’s face. I’m still not entirely sure how Justin didn’t suffocate. Within half an hour, Robbie popped his head up, started laughing, and proceeded to “hop on pop.” Then he tried to catapult himself over me to slide off the bed.

I was done. So done. And not at all patient. I knew Robbie was in the mood to play. But no one else in the house was. Not even the dog. Putting him in the crib would only result in screaming, which I knew my fragile mental state could not tolerate. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I took the mattress out of Robbie’s crib and put it on the floor with his blankets. I told him he could play or sleep but that I was done with him until 6:30 in the morning.

This is what I found when I woke up at 6:41 this morning (my alarm goes off at 5:55, but a certain toddler turned the volume off on my radio):



Even though it isn’t anywhere near summer (or, in all honesty, spring, for that matter), I couldn’t pass up the 99 cent bubbles at Target last weekend. But, like any harried woman, I forgot I even bought them. Until Robbie found them in the bag on his changing table.

I don’t know how Robbie knew what they were, but as soon as he saw the mini three-pack, he brought them to me, crying, “Buh-ble! Buh-ble!” Of course, he yells that at almost anything in a jar. I’m not one to squash enthusiasm for summer, especially after the winter we’ve had!

I opened the jars, and we had bubbles everywhere. I was blowing them faster than Robbie could realize where they were coming from. It was a bubble dream come true. Until Robbie wanted to try on his own. I’ll be honest; at first, I did not want to hand over the bubbles. No, it wasn’t because I was having too much fun myself. It’s because I was envisioning puddles all over my bedroom floor.

Not that my floors were clean. At all. And, once I realized that, and the fact that bubbles are only soap and water, and that there was less than two ounces in each bottle, I handed them over. Robbie managed to blow a few bubbles, but mostly he wound up with the wand in his mouth, blowing hard, and not making many bubbles.

It didn’t take long for the bubbles to be on the floor. Two bottles of them. Incidentally, that makes for a very slippery floor. Robbie bit it twice. Hard. But, he kept coming back for more. That’s my boy!

Note the actual bubble in the lower left corner!

Good Night!


Bed time has become quite the ritual at our house. Lots of screaming. Lots and lots of screaming tonight. No one could console young Robert. First, there was screaming about his teeth. Both toothbrushes were still upstairs, and I, unfortunately, picked the wrong one to “make”. It was so bad that Robbie wanted to walk down the stairs to rectify the situation. I caught him with one foot off the landing…

Things got a little better with a lovely game we call Hop on Pop. For five minutes, Robbie threw himself at Justin repeatedly. And then he found Justin’s belly button. A fun game of “Find the Belly Button” quickly ensued. But then it was time for stories, prayers, and bedtime. Robert was having nothing to do with any of this.

He screamed as we put him in his crib, again throwing himself at me and trying to climb out of the crib. I’m definitely one for letting him cry it out, but I also know when Rob has reached the point of inconsolable. And, boy, was he there. I finally realized the problem: his sippy cup. Zhining asked me not to give him bottles any more because he was throwing cups at daycare and refusing to drink. I tried to oblige, but, desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve never seen Justin down and up the stairs so fast with a full bottle of milk.

Robbie grabbed the bottle from Justin’s hands and thew himself back into my arms as I rocked. After a few minutes, he sat himself up and put his head on my shoulder to cuddle. We read a few books; we made our way all the way through prayers. I told Robbie we could cuddle for a few more minutes or he could go to bed, and he put his head back on my shoulder and his arm around my neck.

I’m heading up to bed myself now, but, before I do, I’ll check in on the little man. Zhining told me he’s learned to put a blanket on himself before he takes a nap. I’ll be curious to see if he does that here, too. I tried to explain it to him before he fell asleep, but, as far as I know, he only understands these instructions in Chinese…



We are very into oral hygiene. Mostly since Robbie discovered his teeth. As soon as he sees anything to do with teeth, he starts shouting, “Teeth! Teeth!” He cannot be trusted in the bathroom. I have to admit… I’ve pulled Justin’s toothbrush from Robbie’s grasp (and mouth) more than once. I’m not sure Justin actually knows this.

Tonight we reached a new level with Robbie’s teeth. As soon as he got out of the tub, he immediately reached for his toothbrush and began cleaning his mouth. He offered to brush our teeth, which is getting harder and harder to decline as Robbie gets stronger (and grows longer arms). The brushing lasted a good five minutes; Rob is nothing if not thorough.

But don’t think it ended there. Oh, no. My dear child took his toothbrush upstairs while I put his pajamas on. And then he found his other toothbrush on his dresser. So, there I was: barely diapered child double-fisting toothbrushes and footies to put on. Luckily, Robbie was amenable to holding two toothbrushes in one hand for a few minutes. He was not, however, willing to drop either of them for story time and cuddling. This proved to be difficult, as one of us was getting stabbed with a toothbrush at any given moment.

I was somewhat concerned that he’d fall asleep, both brushes in hand. Actually, I was hoping for it. It would have made a great picture. But, I was not to be so lucky. Robbie was extremely irritated that I would dare put him to bed, and he angrily threw both toothbrushes to the ground in protest. And, yes, I picked them up, rinsed them off, and plan to use them again tomorrow.

Daddy Who?


Robbie is going through a mommy phase like I’ve never seen before. He wakes up saying, “Mama! Mama!” Only he pronounces it “Ma-mah”, with the emphasis on the first syllable, like he’s European. I’m not sure how to feel about it. Some days, I’m mildly amused. Others it irritates me almost as much as hearing “Miss!” all day at school. But, I digress.

Young Robert is none-too-pleased to see Justin walk through his door in the morning. As I get dressed, I hear Robbie continue to chant my name. I do what I can to stay out of Robbie’s line of sight while Justin gets him ready for the day, but all bets are off when the boys return to our bedroom. Robbie instantly becomes attached to my legs, whether it’s holding on with both arms or resting against them as he crouches down to eat cereal. And if I decide to leave the room? Tears. Epic tears. And screams loud enough to wake the building.

And poor Justin. This does nothing for his daddy ego. Just as Robbie can’t seem to understand why I would even allow Justin time alone with him, Justin has no idea what he’s done to deserve the screams of horror that go along with Robbie being left with him. This morning, I offered some solutions. Perhaps Justin should stop holding Robbie upside-down to play. Justin thinks this should be fun (I happen to agree; I loved being upside-down when I was little), but our vote doesn’t seem to count on this one. Perhaps it’s that I bring him food in the morning. Maybe it’s Justin’s crazy class schedule. Whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t last too long.

After all, although I fully expect to always be Robbie’s favorite parent, it just isn’t fair that he bursts into tears at the prospect of time alone with Justin.

Thumbs Up, Dude!


This has been a horrible long winter, and the last week was particularly difficult for me. The days were interminable; I couldn’t even think of anything positive enough to blog on a regular basis. It seemed like spring would never come and my child would never do anything blog-worthy again. But then today came.

We slept with the windows open last night. The sun came out and the sky was bright and clear all afternoon. The snow melted from the front yard. And the back yard. And the circular driveway at daycare, which hasn’t been cleared since late December. It was as good as spring. Except for the 35 degrees. But who am I to complain?

The afternoon just kept getting better: Justin was home for dinner and bath time, something that rarely happens with his work and school schedule. Robbie, however, wasn’t quite sure what to do with both of us home; he spent most of the time before dinner glued to my side. When bath time hit, though, all bets were off. It was all about Daddy.

Robbie thinks Justin is hilarious, especially during bath time. Justin has all sorts of good tricks up his sleeve; one favorite is “opposable thumbs”, where Justin shows Robbie how thumbs work. Today, we thought we’d try to teach Robbie how to give a thumbs up. He gets the idea. But he seems to confuse giving a thumbs up with hitching a ride…

Coffee and a Bagel


On my way home from morning errands, I stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts for supplies. Mostly coffee. And I did what I always do: I forgot to get a cup for Robbie, too.

I got home, and Justin and I got everything set up for breakfast in just a few minutes. Then Roberto saw the coffee. And screamed and screamed. He did not want his donut. He did not want his milk. No, my child wanted the styrofoam cup. In an effort to stop the screaming and ease the headache I could feel forming at my temples, I got a mug for my coffee and poured Robbie’s milk into the Dunkin’ cup. I leaned back in my chair, happy to have avoided the near-crisis.

Robbie happily grabbed his big boy cup, brought it to his lips, and took a sip. He looked at me, frowned, and said, “Nait nait. NO nait nait.” Justin and I looked at each other, unsure of what to do. We both shrugged our shoulders. I took the cup back, emptied out most of the milk, and poured in a little coffee. It was exactly what he wanted. My nineteen-month-old son had a hankering for a morning cup of joe. I may have to start ordering decaf if he keeps this up…

Bed Time


I used to dread the minutes after Robbie had his pajamas on. There’s the struggle to read a book. The cries of, “Down! Down!” Trying to squeeze in a few words of prayers. And then the desperate tears to not leave him in his crib.

But tonight? Tonight was different. Tonight, Robbie curled up in my arms, laid his head on my shoulder, and drank his milk. Tonight, he held on tight while I rocked him and enjoyed a few moments of quiet. I even got all the way through our prayers. Even through blessing the animals.

When I tried to put Robbie down, the tears welled up in his eyes. He grabbed my arms and tried to climb out of his crib. And I fell for it. Hook. Line. And sinker. I knew he would wait for me to get to the rocking chair before he tried to make his escape. Except he didn’t. He just attached himself to me, placing his head on my shoulder and his arm around my neck. Robbie paid rapt attention while I read two books and never made a move to slide off my lap. He gave me kisses before going back to bed and played peek-a-boo before settling down to read himself to sleep.

I don’t know what prompted Roberto to play the role of doting, cuddly son. But his timing was perfect.

Spring Fever


I don’t know about you, but I need spring. Like I’ve never needed it before. Open windows. Flowers. Blue skies. Family walks. Grilling out. But, as I fantasize about spring, the snow is still refusing to melt in my front yard. I picked across an ice-covered parking lot and even more treacherous sidewalks to get into school this morning. There was a little hope, though. About an inch of it. The crocuses have started to come up in the front yard. All 120 of them.

I’ll hold on to that little bit of hope as long as it takes. Otherwise, I’ll just focus on the cold I haven’t been able to shake. Or the laundry. Or the toys that litter the floor. Or how fast the water spreads across the kitchen floor when Robbie dumps out the entire water bowl. Very quickly, by the way.

I”m sorry there’s not more to write… My processing is so slow. The other day, while cooking, I had the following thought process: “My thumb hurts. The pan is hot. I need to move my thumb.” I am hardly present enough during the day to think of anything to blog about at night. But, that’s all going to change tonight. Tonight, I am getting ten hours of sleep. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be healthy and well and positive. And tomorrow we will all be one day closer to those crocuses blooming.