brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Sometimes bedtime is a happy magical rose-tinted time of cuddles and tickles and stories and sleepy sighs and love-yous and good-nights etc and all is right with the world.

But sometimes…





Amongst the things Niko was freaking out about tonight was that his water was not cold enough. We keep a lidded/sippy cup of water near his bed that he can drink through the night. He’s been dry over nights basically forever (since LONG before he was potty trained, what’s UP with THAT?) so liquids near/during/after bedtime have never been an issue for us. But today he made me refill that fucker with “clean clear cold fresh” water three times and it was never cold enough. “This still tastes like warm water!” So I filled it with ice from a novelty crab ice cube tray while the cold water was running to get as cold as possible, then topped it off. THIS ALARMED HIM. Because it was ICE and he didn’t not WANT ICE because ICE IS (apparently) TERRIFYING especially when it is MON-MON (crab shaped, no idea why he calls crabs mon-mons) SHAPED what was I trying to do, KILL HIM? Later I managed to get him into pyjamas and he got upset because I 1) didn’t help him take off his shirt and then 2) helped him take his shirt off. Then I offered him short pyjama pants instead of long pyjama pants WHAT WAS I THINKING (other than it being in the 80s)? Also I called him sunshine which, he was furiously quick to remind me, is NOT his NAME.

In the course of the night he pulled my pants down off of my body, exposing my bottom to anyone who might have been passing by. He was sobbing in incoherent rage when he did that, but also started laughing because LOL BUTTS so was sobbing and laughing and coughing and just… a mess.

Poor kid.

(it was pretty funny)

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I came out of the bathroom, post shower, the other day and Niko was huddled in the corner of the couch with a blanket pulled over him, looking weak and wan. I asked if I could get him anything and he asked for a carrot and some orange juice and some other things. I brought him that stuff, got dressed, sat down near him with a book. He drank some OJ and started making disgusting noises and then puked. I scrambled up, got a napkin, held it for him as he puked some more. We cleaned him up and he started freaking out because he had vomit on his clothing and WAS NOT CLEAN OMG EW OMG EW OMG and I got him into clean, dry clothing. He was already looking a little better, but his main interest was still in sitting quietly on the couch, watching tv. And eating dry cereal. I know standard care after barfing is to limit food, but in the past he’s puked from being too hungry and bringing up stomach bile is painful, so whatever. I let him eat. If he’s going to puke, he’s going to puke. He was pretty perky by the end of the day, jumping around and yelling, but continued to have some lower intestinal tract excitement for the next few days.

I hate vomit so much. I really do.

Last night he woke up around midnight, screaming, incoherent. This went on for about fifteen minutes, just fifteen minutes of screaming and sobbing and flailing and garbled talking and fluttering eyes. He’d respond to questions, more or less, but wasn’t quite THERE. He insisted he was hungry and ALL he WANTED was a CARROT. Nesko started peeling him a carrot while I held him, and Niko turned his head toward the kitchen, in the direction of Nesko, and said “I really wish I was eating that carrot right now” and because I am a bad, terrible person I started laughing. Because it was a ridiculous situation! He was going to get that carrot in SECONDS. Niko got angry at me and yelled at me for being mean and kicked me out of his room. “You shouldn’t laugh at me!” which is true, I shouldn’t, but good Christ you’ve been screaming for fifteen minutes over the most absurd thing. Nesko brought him the carrot and Niko started screaming again, this time because the carrot was TOO COLD!!!! Nesko held it for him while Niko took little nibbles of it, coughing the whole time. I don’t think he was really awake. I got him some milk figuring if he WAS hungry milk would help fill his little tummy up. He started screaming again, this time that he had to pee and poop. Nesko took him into the bathroom, helped him with his pants, sat him down on the seat. More screams. The toilet is cooooold! It’s tooooo cooooooooolllllld! He peed a bunch and then… launched a volley of farts. A tremendous one. I assumed, at the time, he was unleashing more than just wind but no. It was all gas, sound and fury signifying nothing… or maybe just signifying stomach pain, I don’t know.

Nesko chivvied him back into bed, tucked him in, snuggled with him a bit, and Niko fell back asleep. He slept pretty late, until 9-ish, woke up cheerful and energetic, slipped into bed next to me. I started to get up and he insisted no, no, he wanted TATA to take care of him that morning! I asked him what had happened the night before, and he had no idea what I was talking about. Didn’t remember the crying, didn’t remember the carrot, nothing. He was excited to eat the rest of that carrot for breakfast, though, and drink up the rest of his milk, and has been capering and happy all day.

That’s the one saving grace, I guess. Whatever’s going on at night, he doesn’t remember it in the morning.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

“Niko, did you finish your apple? Go take your plate to tata if you want bacon.”
“NO! I do NOT want… oooh! Yeah! I DO want bacon!”

“Mama, is this dinosaur a plant eater, or a meat eater?”
“Well, it’s got forward facing eyes and big sharp teeth. It looks like a meat eater.”
“No, I think it’s a plant eater.”
“But look, it’s a therapod. It’s got two feet with three toes on it, and a long tail for balance, and–”
“WELL MAMA, next time Elliot comes over I will ask HIM if it’s a plant eater or a meat eater.”
“And will you believe what he says?”
“I will if he says it’s a plant eater.”

“Ahhhh! Ahhh! Ahh! The living room is fulllll of dinosaur zombies!”
“Oh, huh.”
“DO YOU KNOW HOWWWWW to stop dinosaur zombies?”
“Do you…. I don’t know. How do you stop dinosaur zombies?”
“WITH FLOWER GUNS! pew pew pew pew pew.”

“I wanna watch that train show with that fox and that hound.”
“Oh… do you mean “The Fox And The Hound”?”
“Yes, it’s got a train in it.”

“Niko, no puppet show in the kitchen. No toys in the kitchen. You need to take that puppet show out of here.”
“TOO BAD it’s stuck to the floor TOO BAD I can’t move it OH WELL TOO BAD.”

“Hey, do you want to watch ‘Word World’?”
“Yes! They make words on that show, that word world show. Do they make the word dinosaur?”
“I don’t think so, that’s kind of a big word and they mostly spell little words.”
“What about Stegosaurus? That’s my favorite word.”
“Why is that your favorite word?”
“Because of all the S’es.”

We are ONCE AGAIN trying to transition Niko to sleep in his own little bed and not in our bed, kicking and punching us all night. The night before last he was up literally every hour, yowling and crying, resulting in three very tired people the next day. I had a headache LITERALLY ALL DAY from lack of sleep. Nesko slept in until almost 11:00, scuttling our plans to run errands in the morning. Niko was lobbying hard to go to the park that day and I told him that we’d planned to take him to the park in the morning but we were too tired to go because he’d kept us up all night. TOO BAD. He asked several times and I told him the same thing each time. Why can’t we go to the park? Why can’t we go outside? Why can’t tata play with him? Because he’s sleeping, because he’s tired, because he was up all night because Niko was being mean and unkind and not being quiet and not letting us sleep.

Last night went much better. He did wake us up with his crying once, but I think it was a legit nightmare. Nesko settled him and came back to bed. We both went to bed around 10:30 (although I had a hard time falling asleep) and woke up around 8:00 and my mood and energy levels are both vastly improved. I’ve still got a sleep deficit but am feeling a lot better. Niko and I had a talk today about his future allowance.

Basically, he gets 10 cents for each night he sleeps through the night without being a dick and if he makes it for a full week he gets an additional 30 cents, which makes a dollar. Also, if he helps us pick up all his toys and books before going to bed he gets 10 cents with a 30 cent bonus if he does it every night for a full week. This is another dollar. So he’s got the potential to earn $2.00 a week just by being a decent person and not an asshole. He wants to buy some more trans, so he’s got a goal to work toward. I’m going to make a chart so he can see how well he’s doing, including showing how well he’s working toward his goal. The train he wants costs $10.95 and I figure Nesko and I can handle the tax since he’s so young. When he’s 6 or so he can start figuring that out and accounting for it himself.

I know some people will object to “bribing” him for basic good behavior, but honestly, I want him in the habit of doing these things and I want to give him an allowance any way. Some people push for giving kids a base allowance that’s not dependent on behavior or chores. I think most people just do what their parents did, but neither Nesko nor I got an allowance so we don’t have that to fall back on.

How do you handle allowance in your household? Was it an easy decision, or hard? Is it what your parents did, or different? Is it dependent on chores, or not? What’s your pay scale? I’d love to hear more.

BTW, I wrote a post about diets, body size, and taking photos of yourself at my main blog. Please feel free to check it out.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

A few months ago, Nesko and I were worried and upset. Why was our child acting like an out of control jackass? Was it something we were/weren’t doing? Was this a major personality change? My MIL returned to beating the drum of “it’s his medication’s fault” (he takes an oral medication for his asthma every night) but she blames everything on that. I fretted to a friend of mine who doesn’t have kids but who nannied for several different families while in college.

I keep telling you, Brig. Little kids are psychos.

She is full of wisdom!

The best part of getting advice from someone like her, someone who’s raised kids but isn’t a parent, is that she isn’t as emotionally invested in her advice because 1) they aren’t HER kids and 2) she’s worked for a bunch of different families and seen just how different kids are. So she can be all “well, this worked this time and that worked another time, your situation reminds me of this other thing” and I get a range of advice instead of “THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE DID WITH OUR CHILD AND HE’S PERFECT SO IF IT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU IDEK YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.”

Anyway, apparently kids who are 3 1/2 go through this stage where they turn into horrific beasts and EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE and they challenge everything and “forget” all rules and sometimes start crapping their pants again even if they’ve been potty trained for a year because HA HA HA WHY NOT, SUCKER.

So we battened down the hatches and set boundaries and enforced rules gently but firmly and remembered to give him extra time for transitions, and… I realized the other day that I no longer want to find a nice family of wolves to take over raising my child. He’s back to being delightful and charming.

It’s not perfect, he’s back to sleeping in our bed which I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE. But at least he’s sleeping now and not waking up constantly screaming about how lonely he is… or just plain screaming. His actual hand to god real nightmares and night terrors have been completely gone since he started sleeping with us again, poor duck. So in theory I should be more rested. But in actuality he pushes me to the edge of the bed and is a very active sleeper, hitting and kick and working his cold feet under my body to scrape his toenails along my torso/crotch. If I put my back to him he hooks his toes into my butt like he’s a tow truck trying to haul me out of a ditch. It’s weird, man! Toes don’t go there!

But this too shall pass. He won’t be in our bed forever.

He’ll either grow out of this, too, or I’ll look up that nice wolf family I had my eye on. There’s some coyotes in the area. You think they’d take him in?

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Bedtime Questions

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:17
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We have a pretty simple bedtime routine. Around 7:00-7:30 (ideally, sometimes later) Nesko or I start herding Niko toward the back of the apartment. After brushing teeth, he gets his night time medication and then he changes into pyjamas OR opts to sleep in his clothing (a battle I am willing to surrender, who gives a fuck, seriously) and we make sure he has his lovey du jour and his water. Then he selects two stories and whoever’s putting him down cuddles up with him and reads two stories and then, if I’m the bed time parent, I sing him a special song which is as follows, sung to the tune of “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady:”

Nikola my Nikola, oh my sweet Nikola
Oh, my pretty baby.
Nikola oh Nikola, my funny Nikola,
joking, laughing baby.
Nikola my Nikola
arms and legs Nikola
growing bigger baby.
Nikola oh Nikola
I love you Nikola
Because you are my baby.
Na na na nana na
Na na na nana na
Na na nana nana
Na na na nana na
Na na na nana na
Na na nana nana

Sometimes I also sing him “twinkle twinkle little star” or “london bridge” or “wild rover” or “lord randall” or “greensleeves” or “crazy train” or something. Lately he’s been requesting “peanut butter jelly time.” WHATEVER, CHILD.

Then it’s snuggles time. Nesko usually falls asleep because he is a HUGE JERK who I am HUGELY JEALOUS OF, who can fall asleep pretty much anywhere in about five minutes LIKE A JERK. I, on the other hand, am very good friends with Insomnia. We play cards together nightly. Anyway, sometimes, to help Niko wind down, I ask him little questions like “what are 3 fun things that happened today” and “where are 3 places you’d like to go” and “if you could swap your tata for anything, what would it be?” (answer: a big fluffy bed. LOL WHAT.) (he would swap me for a pillow.) (he would swap baba for a big giant dump truck.) And we generally talk about his day, his week, what’s going on, etc.

Sometimes, while reading or afterwards, he asks ME questions.

The other night, we were reading “The Runaway Bunny” and he asked me a very important question.

Why Is Her Butt In A Pot?

“Mama,” he asked, “why is her butt in a pot?”

I started laughing, because seriously. That is a funny question and it tickled me that all these years we’d been reading the book he’d just assumed that the mother bunny was sitting in a pot or something in the middle of the river. I explained to him about really tall boots but I don’t think he believes me. In his personal head canon, that rabbit’s just fishing while sitting in a pot.

Insert pot to piss in joke here, I guess.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.

William Makepeace Thackery said that but if you’re anything like me you might remember it better from “The Crow.”

Niko is still in that stage where he thinks I know everything and can do everything. If he asks me a question and I don’t have an answer, he thinks I am holding out on him and gets angry at me. I gave him some blueberries and didn’t pluck a dried bit of leaf off one of them, and he was offended. “Why would you even think I like this?” He asks me to draw an Ornitholestes and takes it personally if I draw it “wrong” (holding an egg/not holding an egg/too big/too small/too happy/not happy enough/dancing/not dancing/etc). He had a hilarious looking pratfall the other day out of NOWHERE (usually you know why a kid falls down. They slip on a piece of paper or step on a floppy sock or stumble over a toy or slide on that slippery patch of floor they’d rubbed butter into earlier or something. He just flew right down.) that ended up fairly serious, with a badly bitten lip. He clung to me, sobbing, upset that he was crying so much and unable to stop. Then he blamed me. “You should have SAVED ME. You should have CAUGHT me.” It was my fault he fell, you see. Because I should have intervened. Like lightning. Like god.

I can’t save him. I can’t read his mind and make him happy. I can’t make everything all better. He’s still grappling with the idea of mortality, of death; with the idea that some day he might not have a mama and a tata, that he’ll be alone. I can’t just make that better.

He has nightmares, and night terrors. Maybe this is the side effect of a medication he’s on, or maybe it’s just his age or his relation to me (I get nightmares frequently, as in several times a week… during times of high stress they can hit every single night multiple times a night. It’s… not restful.) He screams and cries and thrashes and he’s seriously upset, and it just kills me that I can’t make everything right. I hold him, I try to calm him down. One particularly bad one I tried to reassure him that he was in his own little bed and he was safe. “I’m not safe. I’m not! I’m not safe anywhere!” he wailed. It was like a knife through the heart. He didn’t remember it at all the next day.

“Why didn’t you save me? You should have saved me!”

I’m trying, kiddo. I’m trying.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Lately, I’ve been putting Niko down for a nap– or “a rest”– and he’s been highly resistant and not falling asleep until, like, 4:30. And then I wake him up at 5:00 and he’s groggy and out of it, and acts like a huge jerkass when it’s bed time and frequently doesn’t wind up falling asleep until after 10:00 pm (I like to get him into his jammies, teeth brushed, starting story time, by 7:30) and over two hours of screaming and escape attempts.


So today, we’re totally skipping that nap.

Because maybe the inactivity and final late nap are just too much for him, and then he’s not tired at bed time.

And maybe this bedtime will be less horrific and I won’t be tempted to sell my child to wolves. Wolves are good caretakers, right? Nurturing, motivational? Human children wolves raise are well adjusted go-getters, yeah? They found cities and make something of themselves?

IN OTHER NEWS, Niko is playing with his trains and apparently they are full of bees! I DO NOT EVEN KNOW. I have no idea what’s happening here! Whew.

“Mama, this train is going so fast that I took a picture of him running away. And he ran out of bees! See? I took his picture.”


“But I buried him under the mountain before I took his picture. He’s deep in a mound.”


We’re going to be using our tax return to do some repair work in the kitchen, do a teensy bit of remodeling, and also to do a bit of work in Niko’s room. Ideally I’d like to gut his room down to the studs and put in new insulation (I don’t think there’s any at all) and new wallboard, but we might not be able to do that. We also want to make a bunch of built in looking (but not actually built in because it’s a very small room and the next people who live here might not want built in) shelves and cabinets to hold his toys and books. Again, might not be able to do that either. BUT!!! We ARE going to paint one of his walls and the inside of his door, at his request. He’s specified red and held tight to that choice for months now, and consistently picks a similar shade of red. I brought home a bunch of red paint samples and he’s settled on Behr S-H-190 “Antique Red.” We have a bunch of glow in the dark stars and some glow in the dark planets that you’re supposed to hang from the ceiling and I tried to talk him into painting the wall dark blue so we can make a night sky with glowing stars but he would have NONE OF THAT. It’s RED OR NOTHING. So I’m considering painting his ceiling (or part of his ceiling?) dark blue and putting planets and stars up there. I don’t know if that would work or if it’d be over whelming, with a dark red wall. Thoughts? Suggestions?

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I tried to put Niko down around his regular time and he was riled up and fussy and kept popping out of bed and wanting just one more thing etc. His negative behavior ramped up until I was standing outside his door returning him repeatedly to bed as he escalated his screams. He begged me to stay with him, said he needed me, begged me to let him sleep “in the big bed” (our bed) etc. He finally insisted that he needed to tell me something and I relented.

“Don’t get lost!” he begged me.

“What.” I said.

“Don’t go into the woods and get lost!”

We discussed how I wasn’t going to go into the woods, I wasn’t going to get lost, I wasn’t going to sneak out in the middle of the night while he was sleeping, I wasn’t going to run off with wolves or get eaten by wolves, I wasn’t going to get hugged by a hug wolf and turn into a hug wolf and go on a hug wolf rampage. I wasn’t going to leave him.

“Are you going to die like the seal’s mama did?”




I don’t normally let Niko watch “Caillou” because the protagonist’s whiny voice is irritating and I don’t want to model that tone, or negative bullshit behavior, for Niko. But yesterday I was elbow deep in sprtiz cookie dough and using a new press I wasn’t as familiar with so I was having some few problems and hiking out to the living room to change the channel wasn’t at the top of my priorities. It apparently should have been, as an otherwise innocuous trip to the zoo involved meeting a baby seal who’s mama died so it was being hand reared. And apparently that concept soaked in Niko’s brain for awhile only to surface tonight in a fit of terror and screams and neediness.

So I hugged Niko and kissed him and promised him that I would never die. I would never leave him. What if I get sick? I’m not going to get sick. What if I get hurt? I’m not going to get hurt. What if I get old? I’m not going to get old. I’m never going to die, I’m never going to get old, and I’m never going to leave.

These are promises I can’t back up.

I have no way of keeping these promises.

And it was utterly useless to try and soft shoe around the issue, to make vague claims that I simply would never leave, that I would always love him. No. He wanted the full deal, the full promise.

I will never die.

I will never age.

Jesus, I can’t keep that promise and it’s tearing me up.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko’s overnight at his grandparents’ went well, to a degree. He ate all the clementines in the entire world, so if you’re having trouble finding them in your kitchen or store, it’s because of him. He ate a bunch of other fruit and veg as well. Child acts like that stuff is candy. <3

He missed his nap on Friday, didn’t get to bed until after 9:00 pm, and missed his nap on Saturday as well as again going to bed later than usual Saturday night. Now, he slept all night long on Friday, he cooperated with bedtime and slept well. But he’s running on a sleep debt and that caught up with him last night (Saturday night). He woke up screaming and sobbing several times. Well, I say “woke up” but at least at first he was still asleep.

The first time he woke up he was sobbing and screaming and thrashing around. I asked him if he was awake and he said no. I told him he was in his own bed in his own room in his own home and he was safe, and he sobbed that he wasn’t safe, he wasn’t safe at all. He demanded to touch Nesko’s hair and then cried because he wanted Christmas presents from Santa. He was really out of it. I picked him up and held him and then Nesko took him, and he woke up and was very different, calm, awake. We eased him back down and left.

He woke up again about an hour later, screaming and thrashing. I got him resettled. He woke up again and I dragged myself out of bed, glassess-less, to resettle him again. He woke up again and came into the bedroom to scream at me for having taken something out of his bed (he was unclear what) (I hadn’t taken anything).

So we took him into our bed and he cuddled in and slept like a log all night.

He is very beautiful while he sleeps. I mean, he’s a good looking kid when he’s awake but when he’s asleep in the pearly light of early morning he just looks luminous and still, perfectly carved, the ideal of a child.

He woke up smiling and alert, laughing, cuddly. I asked him how he slept. “Very well!” he said. Did he have any bad dreams? “No, only good dreams!” He was all bouncy exclamation marks. “You woke up crying a few times. What happened?” “I don’t know, but I stopped crying and I’m not crying now! I’m hungry. Can I have some cereal?”

It’s not even 11:00 now and he’s complaining that he’s tired and cranky and needs a nap, in between singing songs about the CTA (namely, the red and brown lines, and how they thunder down the lines). I think he’ll sleep long and hard this afternoon, and hopefully tonight we’ll all get some peace. My head is killing me.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Niko came up to me today and asked what a Biyyo is. He has trouble with medial-Ls still so I tried to piece together what he was asking. Billow? Pillow? I told him I didn’t know.

“A biyyo is when you GET RIWEY LOUD JUST LIKE THIS!” he informed me.


He provided a few more examples of bellowing as I loaded the dish washer and then wandered into his bedroom.

Niko’s going on an adventure tonight! He’s going to try a sleep over at his baba’s house. Nesko and I are going to see “The Hobbit” tonight with a friend, but that should be wrapping up around 9 or 10 so Niko totally freaks out and MUST come home, we’ll be able to fetch him home at a reasonable time. And if not, we can grab dinner after the movie. Wish us luck. He’s never been very interested in sleeping anywhere but our house, but if we can get him used to sleeping at baba’s it’ll make life a lot easier for us.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Life has been kind of kicking my ass lately. Fun! I’ve been job hunting, there’s been car trouble, Nesko’s still working full time plus some over time plus working with his dad plus trying to fix his car. It turns out that you can’t jam extra hours into the day or extra days into the week, and staying up two hours later than you should just so you have a chance to sit next to and talk with your spouse is a bad idea for both of you because talking doesn’t replace sleep even if said spouse IS really cute.

In more fun news, Niko and I made cookies the other day. It worked out pretty well. We don’t have a table in the kitchen, and we don’t really have counter space, and I can’t really move my enormous heavy stand mixer, so we wound up doing that thing where he stands on a step ladder and I hand him a measuring cup of dry ingredient and he dumps it into he mixer bowl and I remind him not to touch the beater because I like him with both hands thank you very much. And then I turn the mixer on and do all the rest of the work myself and don’t give him the beater to lick because oh god raw egg god no. Then he piles all his toys in front of the oven because that’s the most helpful thing to do when I’m baking. Then we eat all the cookies. ALL OF THEM. I want to do it again, but we’re out of eggs, and the car wouldn’t start Sunday so… grocery trip postponed. (lack of eggs forced me– FORCED I SAY– to eat cold pizza for breakfast. Oh no!)

Niko’s been resisting naps lately, which is a foolish move on his part, because he needs a nap or he… uh. Does not cope well. After several days of nap refusal, he spent most of this morning draped over me on the couch, and is now sleeping in his bed cuddled up with a butterfly hand puppet.

I… should probably tell you about the butterfly hand puppet.

There’s this hand puppet. It’s a butterfly, with a big lipsticked mouth. It’s kind of creepy. Niko is enamored of it, possibly because it looks vaguely like a muppet? There are times when he will not listen to me or respond to me unless I’m talking in a silly voice through the butterfly hand puppet.

“Talk like a butterfly mama! Mama! TALK LIKE A BUTTERFLY! No, mama, no! No singing. Only butterfly can sing. Talk like a butterfly!”

Sometimes he calls me butterfly mama.

I sing the Reading Rainbow theme song in a goofy voice and he sings along.

All this butterfly talking makes my throat hurt. I mean, it literally causes me pain.

But I can’t stop because it’s so adorable and hilarious. Niko brings Butterfly things to eat… rocks and trains, but also flowers he makes out of round tinker toy pieces stuck onto straight tinker toy pieces. He says “I love you butterfly!” and gives the hand puppet a hug and a kiss and I try to eat his face and he laughs and says “naughty butterfly! Oh, I’m not mad at you!” Then he sings a song about butterflies while jumping in a circle.

Is this the best age, or what? Toddlers, man. Toddlers.

Anyway, nap time today, Butterfly coaxed Niko into bed (I only had to scoot him across the floor with my foot A LITTLE BIT) and then read 2 stories to him. I asked Niko if he wanted to sleep with Butterfly. His eyes got big and he laughed nervously. “SURE. YES. SURE.” Butterfly wished him good night and lay down on his pillow and I pulled my hand out. I wished Niko good night and told him to sleep tight. “WE WILL” he promised. Daww. And then he fell asleep in like 30 seconds because holy Christ is he running on empty lately.

DID YOU KNOW: if you read books too often they get broken? It’s true. The words just get worn out. At least that’s what Niko claims. We couldn’t read “Time To Pee” or “I Am A Bunny” because “we read those too much, mama, they’re broken. We broke them. The words are broken. We can’t read those too much.”

We’ve started doing some incredibly lazy and half assed potty training. Nesko released Niko into the wild yesterday wearing a shirt and socks and no pants at all. Nothing. Just his business flapping in the breeze. I set a timer and every 20 minutes Niko sat on the toilet and produced a minute amount of urine and then received a chocolate chip. It was a pretty sweet deal. Eventually it was nap time so I diapered him and put him down and then a friend came over… and it turned out he was faking the nap the entire time and he wanted to party, and since it was his favorite person in the whole entire world I said fuck it and let him. He did the foulest poop known to man, resulting in an emergency load of laundry and bath and the living room smelled really bad for like 20 minutes even though no poop got on the floor or anything, it just funked up the air. He was rashy from it (HE IS A DELICATE FLOWER and terrorpoops give him a bright but passing rash) so I put him in underpants. HE WAS THRILLED. Thrilled I say!  Dude, I have been trying to get him into underpants for months now. Literally months! And he would respond each time as though I were offering to mangle a limb! He was good as gold all evening until I put his bed time diaper and jammies on him. And, I mean, he was still good as gold then, he just wasn’t being manhandled into the bathroom every 20 minutes.

Lulled into a false sense of cocky over confidence, we did the underwear thing again today and after two pee pants in 45 minutes (and this was WITH two toilet visits!)  and a shy request for a diaper, I put a diaper and pants on him. Is he too tired to hold it? Was he only trying to impress our friend? I don’t know. We’ll try again this afternoon, maybe. MAYBE.

Another exciting result of potty training? Niko learned the word “penis” which he pronounces “Pee-Nuss.” It may sound odd that he never used that word before, but we usually use the Serbian word for his penis, which I don’t know how to spell. I think “Pee-Nuss” is hilarious, though. We’ve also hit the milestone that butts are funny, which I don’t know, I guess asses are just inherently funny? Because we don’t have verboten body parts or body labels in our house, and we talk about bottoms and butts and rectums and body parts and nakedness is no big deal. But the other day I told Niko to pull his sagging britches up over his bottom and he said “You mean my… GUZA?!?” (guza is the Serbian word for butt) and then he literally fell over laughing the way that toddlers do. WHATEVER, MAN. Just please wipe your Pee-Nuss after you pee, we don’t need dribbles all over the place.


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The Sleeping Thing

Wednesday, 4 January 2012 23:55
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I was all set to write a little congratulatory “btw,  Niko’s sleeping in his own little bad, KAZAM!” post but then last night he joined us in our bed around tiny-o:clock because “monsters” had “eaten his rug” and “turned Carl (his stuffed elephant) into a bear and Carl was sad.” We had a talk about monsters and how to get rid of them and everything seemed ok, and then he spent the day with my in-laws and came home and apparently his room is infested with monsters and dinosaurs.

Which, ok, my friend Kate thinks that is ridiculous because duh monsters are afraid of dinosaurs and dinosaurs are extinct, and I totally agree with her, but try explaining that to a two year old, right? They don’t logic well.

So I managed to get him settled in bed, reading him “I Am A Bunny” and “The Thomas And Friends Year Book” (which is a freaking catalog of Thomas And Friends toys only with no prices ha ha surprise suckers! That thing your kid totally wants is US$600!) and then the freak outs began, fueled in part by being over tired and possibly by running a low fever.

Because I am the meanest person ever, I sternly forbade Niko from sleeping in the big bed, and I turned out the light and left him to sniffle and tremble in fear.

Half an hour later he tucked himself neatly and calmly into our big bed while I faffed about online.

I let him fall asleep and then scooped him up in the most hilariously clumsy way and dragged him back to his room. He woke up half way there and resisted as much as a half-asleep toddler can resist, but frankly, he was having difficulty sitting up let alone pulling another escape attempt. So he soon crashed and I haven’t heard anything else from him.

We rearranged some furniture in his room, and that may have triggered this, or it might just be a completely random totally awesome toddler brain thing. I have no idea. It’s also possible that he is just a super lucky kid who inherited my completely rad night terrors. Yay!

Later on I’m gonna talk about Cingular and our decision to take Niko off of it. It’s pretty boring, but mostly I want to record it for myself. STAY TUNNED FOR MORE GRIPPING TALES OF TODDLER MEDICATION.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We’ve pretty successfully transitioned Niko to sleeping in his own bed, although he wakes up a few times a night and needs attention, and putting him down can take an hour or more which WHEE FUN! Sometimes I think “FUCK IT” because he’d gotten to a point, sleeping in our bed, where he’d go down in just a few minutes and I hate a drawn out bedtime ritual (which, just throwing this out there, is the worst when Nesko does it because that means Nesko is home, and Niko wants to party with him instead of sleep).

Sometimes Niko wakes up early in the morning and gets into bed with us/me and I don’t really care. He snoozes a bit longer, I get to continue lying in bed with no demands on me, whatever. Usually Nesko is already out of bed and getting ready for or already left for work. Then, the other day, Niko woke up and got into bed with us at 5:00 am after a very long and protracted falling asleep and also woke up several times during the night and Nesko and I were both too tired to put him back to bed. I’d forgotten just how much I hate sleeping with a toddler. He rolled around like a rotisserie toddler. He kicked me repeatedly, in the “drumming his heels on me” way. He got his fingers tangled in my hair and yanked it while thrashing around. He pushed at me. He tried to burrow his head inside of me. He stuck his feet under me. WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS.

It really strengthened my resolve to not let him into bed with us unless it’s morning and we’re just chillin’, even when he cries and says he’s lonely, even when he begs us to sleep with him “just a little bit” and pats his pillow and says we can lie down “on this spot right here.” Fffffffffffffffffff. NO MORE.

Does that sound cruel? He’s actually pretty good about sleeping by himself, especially at nap time. Nap time is usually not a struggle at all. In fact, he’ll finish eating lunch and say he’s ready to sleep now, and we calmly do our business and read two stories and I tuck him in and make sure he has his water and his objects of affection (Canada the moose, Carl the elephant, Other Carl the other elephant, Medo the panda bear (“medo” is how you say “bear” ins Srpski, so he has a bear named bear), Emily the Steam Engine and her Tender, his Special Blue Blanket) and give him some hugs and kisses and that’s it. He sacks out for 2-5 hours and while I can’t get anything done in the kitchen, I can pick up the living room or the dining room or work on lesson plans for the student I tutor or just sit on my butt and surf the net. You know. Whatever.

The little bits of regressing he’d been doing (crawling, and referring to himself as “a crawling baby!”, needing every single pacifier in the entire house in bed with him, asking for a bottle– something he gave up when he was 13 months old, with no fight at all) are easing off, although he still wants his pacifier ALL THE TIME when we’d already weaned him during the day, and he’s chewing on EVERYTHING including his fingers/hands (is he teething? HE HAS ALL HIS TEETH. Any teeth coming in are UNWANTED EXTRAS).

And at night, I stretch out in the middle of the bed (not the edge of it) and curl up with my husband and nobody kicks me or punches me. It is GLORIOUS.


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Oh, Canada.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011 14:49
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

My sister-in-law was in Canada recently and came back with a gift for Niko, something she does frequently. This time, she brought him a little stuffed moose in a red sweater. There’s a Canadian flag embroidered on the bottom of one of his feet, and his sweater has a white maple leaf and the word “Canada” on the front.

Niko has named him “Canada.”

He is Canada, the Moose.

Canada joins Carl the elephant, Masquerade Carl (who is a green elephant my brother-in-law won at a carnival when he was in high school), and Other Carl (who is a blue sockmonkey style elephant) as special bed lovies.

Soon after Canada came into our lives, I held up his flagged foot and asked Niko if he knew what that was.

“Yes!” he said. “Iiiiiiit iiiisssssssssss a….. FOOT!” I think, sometimes, he worries that I’m a little slow.

Later, he determined that Canada has hands with fingers growing out of his head. I tried explaining that they were antlers, like horns. I showed him photos of other moose, and a video of two baby moose drinking water from a sprinkler while mama moose looked on. He remains steadfast that Canada has fingers growing out of his head.

Nesko was putting Niko to bed one night, and Niko narrated the following:

“Canada, why you got fingers growin out of your head? Because, said the moose, I am wearing a coat!”

This is, I suppose, some kind of toddler logic; internally consistent in some way that I can’t see. Or maybe he’s making a joke. It is very hard to tell with toddlers sometimes.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I don’t even know how long Niko’s been sleeping in his own bed at this point. Two weeks? I think it’s something like two weeks. Or three? I have no idea. Part of this is because when he wakes up at night he is all OH GOD FREAK OUT I AM ALL ALONE OH HELP ME THERE IS A TIGER and someone has to go in and settle him down again which is fast, but internets?

I have insomnia.

I have a hard time getting to sleep.

I have a hard time staying asleep.

When a panicky toddler wakes me up at 2am because his pacifier fell out of his mouth and is wedged between his neck and his shoulder and he cannot FIND it and he NEEDS IT and I have to get out of my nice warm soft bed and walk across the creakiest floor in the world and come fully awake? I’m up for at least an hour after that. And at his peak of waking, he wakes up 4-5 times a night. That’s kind of eased off as he’s gotten more used to sleeping by himself but I? Am tired. So tired. It’s a little like having an infant again, only I’m not fumbling with formula in the darkness.

Thank God.

So on the one hand, I can sprawl out in bed and nobody is scratching me or kicking me or shoving me onto the floor; on the other hand I’m exhausted from waking up all the time.

Although that’s getting better!

What’s not getting better is some of Niko’s behavior is regressing. When we initially weaned him off daytime pacifier use he panicked and started clinging to his pacifiers, sleeping with one in his mouth and one (or more) in each hand. He’s started doing that again. He’s jumping on the furniture again, getting into the bread flour and dumping it on the floor again, scrubbing the sink drain with my tooth brush, and other behaviors that seriously we halted these behaviors months ago WHAT IS GOING ON. Fear and insecurity is what’s going on, also possibly he’s cutting his third molars. No, not his third YEAR molars, he’s got what looks like an additional (third) set of molars pricking through his gums.

I am not entirely surprised by this because while Niko seems to have a normal sized mouth and normal sized teeth (I have a small mouth and large teeth) he seems to have my cyclone crooked teeth, including a bunch of teeth just like slanting sideways, like what is even up with that, is your head crooked or something? So he’s got my dental drama going on, apparently including extra teeth. Although  mine were premolars, not molars. Haha! Fun.

ANYWAY. Before you get all jellus on me because my toddler sleeps in his own bed, making him a high achieving prince among toddlers, let me tell you our other problem. Namely, his room is DIRECTLY off the kitchen, and he sleeps with the door open. Which means when he’s napping (for a 2-4 hour chunk of time a day) or asleep (and I put him down at 7:30) I have to curtail my kitchen activities. In other words, the only time of day I am toddler free, I can’t do my toddler-free chores like wash dishes or make bread or make noise in the kitchen because Niko will take that as his cue to strike up a conversation and delay sleeping.

We’re considering swapping his bedroom with what is now the office. The office flanks the living room, which  means if we wanted to watch tv after he went to sleep we’d have to keep the volume down LOW; and it means if we had guests we’d have to provide everyone will ball gags to shut them up. However, we also want to carve out a mini pantry that would butt into his room (the kitchen has VERY little storage space OH GOD IT IS TERRIBLE) (but not the worst kitchen I’ve had; that one had no counters other than a drain board on the side of the sink, and you couldn’t open the fridge door all the way OR the oven door all the way AND the oven was plugged in with an extension cord. That kitchen had a pantry that was sweet as hell, though.) and if that room was an office instead of our precious baby boy’s bedroom I’d feel way less guilty about hogging space for my cookbooks, microwave, and huge bins of flour.

Do I even need to stay that swapping an office with two computers and a bunch of books and papers and general junk and guitar stuff with a toddler’s room is a lot of work?

Because it is.

On the other hand, his closet is extra deep, so we could put shelves all along the back for storage AND hang coats in front, because this apartment? Does not have a coat closet (or a linen closet or a pantry or a broom closet). There’s a lot of stuff I love about our vintage (1930s) Chicago 2-flat. Lack of storage is a problem, though.



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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Nikola has been sleeping in his own little bed (his new bed! with the Thomas (the tank engine) sheets!) in his own room for about a week now.  It hasn’t exactly been a smooth transition and for awhile we were getting up every two hours or so to help him settle back down in bed because he’d wake up, panic, and cry. Naps go more easily than bedtime, possibly because his room is better lit and he can hear me moving around. When he wakes up, he runs out of the room screaming I’M AWAKE I’M AWAKE I’M AWAKE I WAKE UP NOW just to make sure we’re all on the same page vis-a-vis his sleep/wake cycle.

Settling him down continues to be an issue, however. While he no longer screams and sobs and begs us to “sleep with me… just a little bit, ok? just one more time, ok?” or to “put your head riiiiiiight here… in this spot… riiiiiiiiight here” while patting his pillow invitingly, he has figured out that he can totally play with toys and put off actually sleeping. On the one hand, he’s 2 1/2 so he pretty much is awful at things like “stealth” and “playing quietly” (he’s recently learned to whisper, but it’s a VERY LOUD whisper and usually involves him whispering I AM QUIET. I AM SO QUIET. I AM BEING VERY QUIET. which is like a red flag for “hey, look at me! I’m doing SOMETHING and you should probably find out what.”

So while he isn’t very good at being quiet, he still manages to put off actually going to sleep for awhile. And I’m never sure how long that while is. And that makes me kind of nervous because that is the sort of controlling person that I am.

Another downside is that we haven’t turned on the heat on yet and he’s really, really warm and I kind of miss having 30 pounds of toasty toddler curled up at my back. Things I do not miss: having 30 pounds of toddler scrape his toenails along my abdomen; having 30 pounds of toddler punch me in the face; having 30 pounds of toddler yank fistfulls of my hair out by the roots every time he rolls over. It’s a mixed bag.

We continue to discover just what constitutes a security object for Niko. His love affair with Carl the Elephant and Baby the Baby Doll continues, but he no longer REQUIRES them to sleep. He seems to cycle through sleep loveys, and his must-haves have included the following:

  • a fuzzy blue blanket
  • a talking book with hard plastic pages
  • a rock
  • a different rock
  • a wooden magnet train
  • a plastic mold-a-rama train with a snapped-off funnel we got at the Museum of Science and Industry
  • a sock monkey
  • a toilet paper tube
  • an unwound, knotted, colorful ball of yarn with a duplo window tangled in it
  • a stick

His consistent needs, though, include a night light, a flashlight, and the door being open. The last is inconvenient because his room is directly off the kitchen and also very close to the bathroom, which means after I settled him down tonight I took a shower and heard, as I turned the water off, a tiny voice piping out “are you all clean mama?” Then the clatter of a rock being dropped and the worried requests to come find said rock, which is not really what I want to hear while I’m dripping wet and naked at 9:30 at night.

Other than that, though, things are pretty groovy.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

Yonks ago, before I had a kid, before I was married, back when I lived near the always-foul-smelling Morse stop on the red line (seriously, every single time I walked past it some dude was urinating on the wall of the building like urine alone was keeping the station standing), I got sick.

I was low-key miserable. You know how it is. Tired, cranky, full body ache, scratchy throat, listless, vaguely nauseated, my upper lip a snot trough. Nesko went to the store to pick up canned chicken soup, crackers, ginger ale, drugs, and Martha Stewart Living magazine all of which are vital to my recovery process. He kept calling to check in and see if I wanted/needed anything else. I added coke, frozen pizza, and popsicles to my list. He called again. I started teasing him with stuff stores don’t carry. I said I needed an elephant.

He came home with my groceries, AND some flowers, AND a stuffed elephant. Because he is the best.

That elephant has had a special place in my life ever since.

Niko hasn’t really used a lovey until recently. Sure, he uses a pacifier when he’s sleeping, or feeling ill, or getting jabbed again and again with sharp needles at the doctor’s office because I delight in his suffering. But he hasn’t really had a comfort object.

And then, somehow, out of all the stuffed animals and blankets and sharp pointy trains he has, he selected the elephant as his special lovey. He flirted a bit with a soft blanket, and with a baby doll, and with a length of wooden train track, but he settled on the elephant. At nap time, he protests that he NEEDS his EYAYINT. WHERE MY EYAYINT? I NEEEEEEEED IT he bellows, then he finds it and drags it back to bed by its trunk, singing a song. He settles in, nuzzling it. He tips its head back, trunk pointing up, while making elephant noises. Sometimes he brings his baby doll along for a ride.

I bought a copy of “Good Dog, Carl” at the thrift store. It’s a slightly mis-bound board book and Niko, who loves dogs and babies, really enjoys it. I checked “Carl’s Masquerade” out of the library about a week ago, and it’s in heavy rotation right now… read before every nap and bedtime and sometimes in between as well. Niko reads it to us, and reads it to his baby and his elephant. And then he decided that his elephant was named Carl, and Carl looks after Baby, and Baby rides on Carl.

So he sits on the floor and prop his baby doll, Baby, up on Carl the Elephant’s back and trots them around. When he goes looking for his elephant, he reminds me that HE NAME CARL. And when he goes to sleep now, Carl and Baby snuggle in with him.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We had a routine checkup at the pediatrician’s yesterday. In the past six months, Niko has grown 1 inch and gained 2 1/2 pounds. His asthma is doing better, his possible-allergies are doing worse. We came away with refills for his albuterol (and instructions to use it only when he’s coughing), and a prescription for singulair. We also arranged for a blood draw to do an allergy panel. Let me tell you, it’s just not a good doctor’s visit unless I’ve found a way to stick needles into my kid.

After the checkup, our pediatrician offered Niko a sticker and a sucker (after first checking with us that he could have them, something I appreciated). Niko had never had a sucker before, or any kind of hard candy. I held onto it until he was in the lab for his blood draw. In the lab, Nesko sat down with Niko on his lap, and Niko started eating the sucker. It blew his tiny mind. It was such an experience that he hardly noticed the needle slipping into his tiny vein. He said something like “Oh! That is a little pinch!” when it went in (we told him he might feel a little pinch) and then happily chatted about the cars on his shirt (“that one red one! That one is…. BLACK!”) and ate his sucker (“Oh! It’s a nice tandy! It tastes like RED tandy!”) and 3 vials of blood later we were done and he had a bandaid on his arm and we went to the library.

When he talks about his day yesterday he mentions the doctor and he mentions the library, but the blood draw doesn’t seem to have made any kind of impression at all. He has asked for more candy, though. Frequently. Enthusiastically.

Once home and fed he took a nice long nap and then went to his grandparents’ house… where he asked to pee in his potty, something he successfully did.

This  is the first time he has peed in the potty. I was stunned when I heard.

So I’ve been chasing him around all day. Do you have to pee? How about now? Want to pee in the potty? How about now? Now? Look, here’s your potty! Want to put some pee in there? I’ve gotten a big fat no overall, although at one point he gamely sat down on his potty… and made pee noises with his mouth. Pssh, pssh, pssh.

In an ideal world I’d corral him on the tile floor of the kitchen and let him run around pantsless, rushing him to the potty at the fist sign of urine. But it’s really cold today and will be so for… uh.  The next 8 months or so. I’m not entirely certain how we’re going to handle this, but candy and stickers will probably be employed.

Not crying at a blood draw! Being excited to go to the library! Peeing in the potty!

The next thing you know he’ll be sleeping in his own bed. Which, I’m pleased to say, he’s been doing a bang up job of getting to sleep by himself after I’ve put him down for naps and bedtimes lately, albeit in our bed. He’s only dragged every single thing out of the closet ONCE. I’m pleased! If this keeps up, we’re going to try and settle him down in his own bed starting on Monday.

Wish us luck.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

I don’t want to jinx anything, but last night was the second night in a row that I got Niko settled into our bed, read him two stories, collected my pyjamas, turned out the light, and left the room with him still awake. I could hear him humming to himself last night, and I poked around online a bit so I could hear him if he fussed/cried/called out. But he did not, and I took a shower and made my husband’s lunch for today, and did some tidying up.

This is basically the best thing ever, and I hope it continues.

Later today, I’m going to try and settle him for a nap the same way.

If we can do this all this week and all next week, bed time and naps, then the week AFTER I’m going to try and transition him to his own bed. His “new bed.” The one with “THOMAS sheets.” The one he CLAIMS to want to sleep in, then protests wildly about.

I am really looking forward to a child-free bed.

Part of this is because I’m tired of getting punched and kicked all night. He has literally kicked me out of bed before, and once he kicked me so hard he knocked the wind out of me and I woke up alarmed and gasping with a foot buried in my midsection. But more than that, I miss my husband. And it’s not even a sex thing, it’s just a general physical contact thing. Pre-baby, we’d sleep spooned up, me with one arm flung around him, my front against his back. I felt so safe with my giant husband teddybear to hold on to. Or he’d sleep on his back and I’d rest my head on his shoulder, one arm and one leg tossed over him. I miss the physical contact, the touch, the skin against skin, the smell of him.

I’m looking forward to regaining that, reconnecting.

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brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)

We’ve hit a developmental phase that I totally hate. Some infants/toddlers never reach this, some are afflicted for a long time, some flirt with it on and off. It’s utterly horrific. I’m talking about night terrors.

When Niko woke up screaming and sobbing and inconsolable yesterday morning at like 5:00 am, we assumed it was a hold over from his recent battle with a stomach bug. Maybe his stomach hurt. Maybe he had a fever dream or something. He eventually came out of it enough that he was able to respond to our questions and we assumed it was a bad dream only, but I had my suspicions that he was only saying “yeah” to things as an automatic response and had been in the throes of a night terror.

I think I was right. This morning was the worst of them all. He’s had “night” terrors a few times before during his naps. The longest until today was 45 minutes of sobbing. Today, though, he “woke” at 3:30am and sobbed and wailed and thrashed around and slapped himself in the face until about 5:00, at which point we all got out of bed and I took a shower while Niko clung to Nesko on the couch, still whimpering gently, and watched “Thomas.” An hour later he was still on edge, clingy, weepy, and delicate.

He perked up, out of nowhere, after a bit. Nothing had changed, he just hopped down and started playing with a train. He objected strenuously to a diaper change/getting dressed, but was in pretty high spirits when Nesko dropped him off at Baba and Djedo’s.

Also: he has a rash and has been rubbing his eyes/putting things on his eyes. The rash looks like contact dermatitis (my old friend), but we haven’t changed any detergents or soaps or lotions or ANYTHING (I mean, we haven’t even opened new bottles of the same brand). It started out ringing his neck and has spread to his back and chest, the insides of his upper arms, and his face. It might be heat rash, possibly, I guess but it’s 10-20 degrees cooler than it’s been lately so I don’t know if it’s that. It might be a strawberry thing (he’s been eating a lot of them lately, and I’d cut them out of his diet several months ago because he had a rash on his stomach that seemed to come up when he ate strawberries, but then he ate strawberries more recently with no rash at all). It might be from the farm we visited this weekend, although Nesko says the neck rash has been in place for about a week, although maybe THAT was heat rash and this is something else.

I do not know.

At least it doesn’t seem to itch.

In more fun and less screamy news, we went to Wagner Farm in Glenview. We went last year, although it was later in the year (late October) and pretty cold and windy. The good bit about that was no flies, less cow poop stink. It being warm, though, meant less snotty nose on Niko’s part. He was still feeling a bit down after his stomach bug and wanted to be carried everywhere, but he had a good time. He even touched a calf! It was thrilling. If you ask him about the visit, he mentions that he saw a cow, and he touched a cow, and that the cow “making poop” and “THAT FUNNY.” So, you know. Poop jokes. Yay?

Afterward, we went to The Choo-Choo Restaurant in Des Plaines. We met our friend Brian there. We weren’t able to sit at the counter, where a train runs around delivering your food. The food tasted good anyway, although Niko was very ready for a nap. (We should have just gone home, but we’d already made plans and Brian was already on the way, and we are selfish jerks who like seeing our friend.) He didn’t eat much, and wanted to sit in this train ride like the kind you see outside grocery stores, where you put a quarter in and it jerks around, but the train jerking around seemed too much for him… it looked a bit, at times, like he was about to be carsick.

We didn’t do all we wanted to do this weekend because of his rude awakening Sunday morning and generally being out of sorts the rest of the day. But there’s always next weekend. We have plans to visit Ann Sather’s (again) and then the beach (again) with a different friend of ours from out of town.

I have a bunch of photos of the last beach trip and the farm, and hope to post them soon.

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