Friday, March 28, 2008


This winter has GOTTA end. 
Both TheLimey and I are beginning to understand why people choose to move to warmer states, although we used to pooh-pooh them roundly.  Winter is tolerable when you're an adult and you can do grownup stuff.  Even fun winter-oriented stuff. 
But when you're stuck in the house for FIVE freakin' months of the year with a baby or toddler, things look otherwise.  And when you're stuck in a tiny, tiny, tiny squalid (even roach-bearing) apartment that is chock-full of things a kid really really wants but isn't allowed to have (like the stove, the soggy germy kitchen sponge, the VCR, Daddy's entire computer, the bread knives, boxes of chokey dry noodles and beans, jugs of cleansers [although of course they're way up high], rolls of toilet paper, and the toilet itself, etc.) it's very otherwise.
I've been looking online for advice about activities to do with a bored toddler.  Many of them include "go outside!"  Well, duh.  And we do take Limelet outside as often as possible: it's just such an event to get him fed and dressed to go out (and yourself at the same time).  It often takes an entire hour just to get out the door.  And then if it's really cold, he needs to come back in after 15 or 20 minutes.  And it all has to be timed around his nap, meals, and...whatever.  This can mean an entire morning revolves around taking him outside for 15 minutes.  He does go to certain activities, like some playgroups at the library or whatever.  But they are at certain times and on certain days, and therefore don't help when he's crying and cranky at some other time. 
Just being able to step outside at any time would be a HUGE help, but we can't do that so simply.
Other suggestions I've seen include letting them play with a bunch of dried beans or sand and scoop them around.  Finger-painting was also in there.  Well, I could potentially see doing that, but we really just don't have the space for him to do "projects".  Especially messy or potentially hazardous ones.  I can't emphasize the crampedness factor enough as a problem.  It doesn't help that along with the smallness, there is the fact that every room leads to every other room.  What I mean by this is, you can't get to the bathroom or the bedroom without going through the kitchen and the office.   We don't really have a usable kitchen floor.
So not only is the kitchen literally the size of our old bathroom minus the tub (for those of you who've seen our old place) it's also a major thoroughfare. And the office would be a decent size if it wasn't mostly taken up with throughways to the bathroom and bedroom, plus a big desk with our computers, and our office bookshelves.  Oh, and my dresser.  What this means is that we have to take Limelet through the kitchen and office (FULL of items he wants but can't have) to go to the bathroom ourselves, give him a bath, change his nappy, get his clothes, or put him to bed.  And the only other place, the one room that he can even freely be in is the living room, which makes him truly insane after a while of being trapped in it.  (Who wouldn't be?) 
The rugs are filthy and ragged after a winter of high use and constant food exposure, and the windows are far above his head so he can't even look outside unless he's a) being carried by one of us or b) standing at the open door, looking out the storm door (which it's still too cold to do).
Other suggestions included making playdates.  Again, duh.  I think a lot of the suggestions must be for older toddlers who maybe have slightly more "friend" relationships than "parallel play" interactions with other kids.  So theoretically, he could go visit some other kid, if TheLimey was up to organizing, initiating, and preparing for that activity.  However, I can't even imagine having another kid over to our place to play.
I guess all the suggestions simply boil down to "do something" or "go somewhere" and both options are just hard right now.  All this would be completely okay if the weather would just stop being completely inhospitable, so he could just go outside and play during the day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

18 Months

Limelet's 18-month-iversary was actually two days ago, but there it is.
Last night when I got home, TheLimey was heading to football [soccer], so I decided to take Limelet out during the brief period before his bedtime.  A nearby shopping mall just opened a new play area for small children, and I wanted to try that out.  It's ironic that they opened it just as spring is springing, instead of during the winter when we so desperately needed it, but--oh well.  It might be useful for hot weather, too.  Anyway. 
So I fed, dressed, and packed him up, and we went to the mall.  I don't know if he's ever been to one, come to think of it.  Neither TheLimey nor I tend to frequent malls, and I can't remember the last time I went to one, so it's likely that Limelet hasn't been before.  He was very impressed with the mall decor and music, and kept staring all around us murmuring, ohwow, ohwow. ohwow!
When we got to the play area, I was happy with it.  It had a thigh-high padded wall all around it with soft benches, and soft carpeting inside.  There area contained maybe five soft play structures/sculptures for kids to climb on and slide down.  They were made of something like a yoga mat is filled with, but the plastic coating was shiny and slippery instead of matte.  The play sculptures were in various shapes such as a bridge, a truck, a staircase, and (Limelet's favorite) an airplane.  The airplane also had a little "cockpit" where the children could sit and turn a steering wheel.  That was his favorite part of the whole place.  They also had some toys built into the walls, which he also liked a lot. 
The negative aspect was just basically a few older kids that were running around and around the enclosure at top speed and shrieking, completely not noticing when they bashed into anyone, whatever that person's size.  I'm not sure those kids weren't all the progeny of one harassed-looking woman.  At any rate, one of the dashing shriekers pushed another child who was climbing on the airplane, who then slid off and inadvertently kicked Limelet in the mouth.  It hurt him, but amazingly he didn't quite cry.  His little mouth crumpled up and he looked at the other child in a very wounded way, but he didn't quite get to the point of crying.  And then he went back to playing and it was fine.  (The rules stated that kids should be under 42" to use the area, but I think a few of them were stretching it.)
Limelet has started understanding words in one go more often, and he may be set to start generating them after hearing them once as well.  Yesterday he learned instantly the new word "tuna" ("nuna").  He was also very upset that he couldn't play with the open tin of nuna as he really, really wanted to do. With a knife, of course. 
Nuna is aurally closely related to his full term for n-n-nursie, which is neh-neh-nuna.  (Abbreviated, it's just neh-neh.)  Ha ha! I almost forgot.  He just discovered in the mirror after his bath that he has little tiny "nursies", so now he pinches at them and asks, neh-neh?
When he wants to go to sleep at night (which occasionally happens), he climbs into my lap and asks for neh-neh.  Then I announce that it's time to say night-night Daddy, which Limelet has translated to bah-bah-Didda.  TheLimey would often say not only night-night but bye-bye Booboo, which Limelet has also taken to saying.  Sometimes he gets Bs and Ds mixed up, though, so last night he said bah-bah Doodoo.  (He doesn't know what doodoo is, though.  We say poo.)  After we sat down in the rocking chair to nurse, he uncharacteristically interrupted the nursing process and sleepily said, bah-bah Booboo.  And then he went back to going to sleep.  Just couldn't go to sleep while he knew he'd said it wrong, I guess.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baby Borrowers - Revolting

By now you've all probably all already seen the fracas about the Baby Borrowers, an NBC program in which parents abandon their babies (yeah, I said it, ABANDON!) to teenage strangers for three days solid, leaving the infants to grieve for their parents as if they were kidnapped or orphaned, since babies can't be made to understand that their parents are coming back in a few days. I don't care that the parents are watching from behind a two-way mirror. The babies don't know that.

The focus of the program, of course, is on whether the teenagers can hack it as parents. We all already know people who were teen parents or raised by teen parents. Parenting is hard, and even harder on teens, that's all there is to it, so expect it to be frickin' hard, whoop de doo. Some hack it, some merely survive it.

But meanwhile, I am just sickened by the baby aspect of it. Who would do this?!

If it was for 8 hours a day, maybe it would be similar to daycare, and at least the babies would have their parents back for bedtime etc. But then you couldn't get to see how teenagers respond to being kept awake all night by a grieving infant, so I guess it wouldn't be as interesting.

I guess it's already too late, as the filming must already have been done. I'm still angry about it. Will they survive and grow up to be normal people? Probably; kids are resilient. But there are a lot of terrible things that kids can survive that you shouldn't inflict on them purposely.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gender Issues

Now, I'm not that concerned about trying to present Limelet as super-masculine.

In fact I'm a bit annoyed with a lot of children's clothing (and toys, etc.), as it seems to fall either into the "trucks, dinosaurs, military, and [American] footballs" category or the "sparkly pink and purple marabou princess" category, with little in between. Since I buy his clothing second-hand, I may limit my choices somewhat further; I don't know for sure. Why can't they have more stuff that's broadly applicable, like planets, animals, atoms, musical instruments, and smiley faces? (And why are dinosaurs supposed to be "for boys"? Weren't at least half of all dinosaurs likely female?)

Anyway, I try to get basic, solid-solor (hopefully) cotton items that are not specifically "girl" items. So most of his clothes end up being some form of blue, green, red, and white, with some orange, brown, and black here and there. His little coat with the zip-out liner is navy and dark green camo-print (the alternative? Pink, of course). He has little brown hiking boots.

So why, why WHY, given that he's not wearing pink and sparkly clothes, does everyone refer to him as "she"? Always! Even if they have a sparkly pink-clad toddler in tow themselves!

Granted, part of it may be because I haven't been able to bring myself to cut off the shiny curls at the back of his neck yet, but it's not like he has a huge mane of hair or something. And with his hat on, you can't even really see his hair anyway. I don't think it's really the hair: I think it's because he has such big, pretty eyes and (his dad's) pouty lips.

But it does make me think people are pretty narrow-minded. (I'm trying to avoid the word "dumb".) For gender clues, you look at a child's clothing, as their bodies aren't very differentiated yet physically (which is why our gender-anxious society came up with the whole monster-trucks-versus-mermaids toddler clothing dichotomy in the first place).

But basic politeness suggests: if you can't tell, then use gender-neutral pronouns. Duh! How much harder is it to say "How old is your baby?" than "How old is she?" Of course, this all goes to the whole gender-sex discussion, in which those things are social constructs anyway.

But I just can't figure out why people apparently must specifically say "girl" if they're not sure. I guess it's lucky Limelet has a gender-confident same-sex parent.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Limelet now says "ummmm...." complete with furrowed brow and all. His application is a little scattershot, however.

Despite all the discussion about people snarking about nursing mothers (whether in public or just in general), I don't think I've had even one negative comment so far about nursing Limelet. One older woman asked me if I still had enough milk for him, but that's about as far as it's gotten.

I don't know why I haven't had any problems where others report it. Of course, I don't usually nurse him in public openly, so there goes one source of potential conflict. No one has criticized me for nursing him longer, either. Which is a good thing, because I'm not that interested in stopping just yet!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo
Thank goodness that winter's finally broken after that last few weeks of really snowy weather. Limelet and Dada can go outside again instead of being trapped in the tiny hovel.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Almost 18 Months

More of a news roundup than an essay.

Limelet has lately begun "using his words" (as they say) a lot more, both spoken and sign. "No" is one that he manages to do really cutely, and it's been easy to see the progression of head-shaking from turning his face away from unwanted food to general nay-saying.

He does seem to be picking up the odd word in one go lately, but it hasn't taken off like crazy. He realized that he could say "up" the other day, for example (well, he says it without the "p", but he's trying) and that it would make me stand up. He crawls onto my lap and grabs my shoulders and tells me to get up, because he's bored by being near the floor. Also, there are more cool things to grab and manipulate above the three-foot mark...which is for a reason. It's all stuff we're trying to keep out of his reach.

He draws in the bath with his washable crayons, and has reduced his eating of them. He draws pretty good circular figures now ("around and around"), but I can't tell which is his dominant hand yet. He ALWAYS kicks left-footed, however, which makes TheLimey pretty happy. (Apparently a left-footed kicker is always in demand.)

Limelet has occasionally had some eczema in the past, but not to the point where some Noxzema wouldn't get rid of it in a few days (and I tried a bunch of stuff, including olive oil, and dietary changes.) But in the past week he started getting some really bad patches, including one on his leg that got pretty raw from scratching. Luckily, we had a doctor visit set up for yesterday anyway. Now he has been prescribed cortisone cream (2% solution, and diluted with equal parts Eucerin cream.) It seems to be helping, which I'm not too surprised about since cortisone is an anti-inflammatory agent. However, I was hoping to avoid cortisone anything--though it's better than his leg becoming infected, which was a risk with how badly raw it had become. (And I thought it was pretty odd that the doctor declared the zinc-oxide cream I'd been using--mainly as a barrier--as being "too strong", but then prescribed cortisone.)

Limelet has gone directly to wearing size 3T, which theoretically is a size for three-year-olds. Or maybe it's just "toddlers' size 3." His 80c hiking boots still fit him, but they won't for too long. I went back to the second-hand store and found another pair of boots that are a little bigger for $2. They look kinda like Docs. (I'm sure TheLimey will want him to have little braces and a bowler any minute now.)

Still working on getting his vaccinations done gradually, so that he can enter day care next summer. I am of mixed emotions about that. I would like to stay home with him at least half time, and it seems like being away from parental care for 40 hours a week (plus drive-time, I'm sure) is an awful lot for a little tyke. Yes, I know plenty of people do it, but people do all kinds of things that I don't agree with. One of the sites I recently applied to advertised "convenient on-site day care", so I was pretty excited about that one. But haven't heard back from them--they're probably looking for someone more experienced (heck, maybe even licensed).

Winter has been especially hard on both TheLimey and Limelet lately. They are often trapped in that tiny, tiny apartment all day since it's been so bitter bitter cold. There are indoor activities they go to on some days, like the library playgroups, but if either of them is sick, or something else happens to throw off the daily schedule, then there goes that day's possible outlet. Of course going out like that requires an entire morning's preparation for an hour's activity, too.

So we are all impatient for spring, though Limelet doesn't know that's what he's impatient for. He just wants to be outside. He will play at making footprints in the snow until his fingers are numb and his face is beet-red, if it's left up to him.

He still plays with his Matchbox cars daily. They are his most constant entertainment. I also found at the second-hand store a device that apparently blows ping-pong balls out and rolls them down a swirly ramp, only to be sucked up and blown out again. We need to get some batteries and ping-pong balls to try it out. Meanwhile, Limelet stuffs it full of Matchbox cars and then demands that it be emptied out so he can drop them in again.

Several of the Fuzzi Bunz diapers became destroyed (plastic came unbonded with the fabric, and some elastics denatured) by the super-hot dryers. Ideally, they are line-dried, or at least dried on low heat in the dryer. But we can't really have a clothesline here, and the dryers have limited settings: basically scorching or air fluff, and we've been using scorching. Now we have to go to air fluff; hope it doesn't take all day!

Limelet is becoming a regular little boy instead of a baby, but he's still my little baby. Weird: when he's 30, we'll be about 70!