Nature Versus Nurture

The good news is that the poop-dome is over. The better news is that we leave for St. Thomas on Thursday (and are staying at a Boston airport hotel tomorrow night, so in a way vacation starts tomorrow).

As Das Big Boy began feeling better, he started intoning a phrase he almost never utters: I’m hungry. Saturday morning he asked for donuts, and because we were happy to see him willing to eat (by which I mean because we wanted donuts), we obliged. So he had donuts for breakfast. Our pediatrician had suggested following the BRAT diet (Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) to help the kiddos’ GI tracts. But Das Big Boy doesn’t really believe in those foods (he’ll eat applesauce and a few bites of toast). He seemed more keen on the DA-BRAT diet (Donuts, Abstaining from Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast).

Sunday I received the following texts from Herr Husband:

text convo

And then, come dinnertime, Das Big Boy began whining that he didn’t want dinner. “I don’t want a hot dog!” he hooted, “I hate hot dogs.” (Hot dogs are among his favorite foods. Also, he’s really into hating these days. A lot of parents might not be into that, but I love that he’s expressing himself!)

“I want donuts! Please!” He shouted.

“Sweet pea, eat hot dog and then you can have donut,” I started to say from the dining room where I was setting the table. I walked back into the kitchen to see Das Big Boy munching on a chocolate donut.

“Sorry,” said Herr Husband, “I’m just so glad he’s eating.”

“You are a terrible father,” I laughed. “He’s had donuts for three meals today.”

“Reminds me of someone else I know,” said Herr Husband.

It’s true. We may never know whether nurture (Herr Husband’s permissiveness) or nature (my own terrible eating habits) are to blame for Das Big Boy’s donutfest.

That’s all. Except that Das Big Boy woke up at four this morning because he was hungry. And never went back to sleep. So we taught him a lesson by buying more donuts. And I ate two of them.

Finally, there is this cuteness. Please excuse my bragging. And my singing.


On my way to the ICA: The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston | 5th Annual ICA International Film Festival

Local families: check out the Children’s Film Fest at ICA Boston! I’ll be seeing Mo’s movie Tick Tock Time Emporium! AWESOME!

And yes, my poopers are staying home.


Yes, the wee Husband Hausfraus have been struck by a poopstorm. A Poopocalypse (Now). Poopmageddon. Poopnado.

Das Big Boy and Little Liebchen are in the midst of a GI event. Thus far, it’s only caused frequent, explosive diarrhea (as opposed to the diarrhea and vomiting model so many of our friends’ kids have been rocking). KNOCK ON WOOD. Seriously. All of the wood.

In general, I’m able to keep a sense of humor when my life turns into one long succession of particularly grim diaper changes. It’s like when LL was a newborn and they would both cry at once and I would laugh at myself because it seemed like something out of a sitcom. Like that, only with poop. Did I mention that there was a lot of poop?

But this morning was a little sad because poor DBB had a fever and just felt crappy (figuratively in addition to literally). He lay down and watched two consecutive episodes of Sesame Street. For those of you who know him, this is a clear sign of how sick he was. In general, it’s almost impossible for him to sit still (unless he’s being read to–books are magic for him). I think it’s a preemie sensory thing, actually. After all, he was supposed to be in a delightful amniotic sea the last three months of his gestation. Instead, he spent six weeks cramped up in a popped balloon and then three months being poked, prodded, shuffled and splayed. So now he’s a superwiggler. But not this morning. He was downright lazy. He had a low fever, which I ordinarily wouldn’t treat, but he was so clearly unhappy that I wanted to try drugging him to see if it helped. Problem? I had no drugs. (Well, none of those drugs. But he seemed like Xanax was the last thing he needed).

So I put out an AMB (All Moms Bulletin) to my local mama pals (the group mentioned in yesterday’s post), and several wonderful ladies offered to help me out. Ladybird, who has two kiddos of her own, dropped off the (dye-free, of course) Motrin (not Tylenol, because I swear DBB’s body can tell the difference) and wouldn’t even take my money or complain about my annoyingly precise demands. Awesomeness.

I feel really lucky to have friends I can turn to in a shitstorm. It’s what everyone wants, and it’s nice as a stay-at-home-mom who’s been in the ‘burbs for a couple of years to know that I’ve built a community of folks to whom I can turn. In a way, it’s closer to college than anything I’ve had since. My friends are nearby, and I can ask for help when I need it.

This brings me to my final mushy point before I tell more poop stories: Ask your friends for help. I didn’t know how to do this when DBB was in the NICU. So HH and I hid out in our fox hole, and were lucky that our friends knew how to help without our asking: sending six red velvet cupcakes to us at the hospital, sending a peapod giftcard so we’d remember to eat, faking reasons to come to NYC or the way Upper West so they could visit us and DBB (then Das Fetal-Baby) without making us feel pressured, writing us emails or leaving us voicemails without expecting to hear back. Lots of other well meaning people asked what they could do and we said, “nothing,” as if we had it all under control. We didn’t. We were just in such a shitstorm that we didn’t even know what we needed. I learned from that the importance of knowing how to ask for help. And I learned that friends really want to help, so that when people ask or offer, it’s ok, even a good thing, to accept. It makes both of you feel good. So Ladybird, thank you. And I look forward to returning the favor. But hopefully not during a shitstorm, because I certainly don’t wish that on you.

The highlight of today went thusly:

I was upstairs with LL trying to get her down for a nap. She finally fell asleep and I gently deposited her in her crib. When I got downstairs, I found DBB in the living room standing very still.

“I need clean socks,” he told me.

I looked at him. “You’re wearing footie pajamas. Why do you need socks?”

“I need to go poop in the potty.” I got closer, “Oh, you made poop,” I said. “Do you want to go make more in the potty?” Note: Das Big Boy often likes to ask to use the potty after he’s already done so. In his diaper. He will also tell you before he’s going to poop or pee, but if you offer the potty he simply says. “No. I want to poop in the fireplace.” And then does (in a diaper).

As we walked to the bathroom, I began to suspect what awaited me. As if she did, too, LL started to wail upstairs. When DBB and I got to the safe zone, I took off his pajamas to find that poop had indeed run down to his feet. He was less than pleased, so I comforted him as I cleaned him up and then deposited him, now quite cheerful, on the potty.

I scampered upstairs and had started nursing LL again when I heard water, or at least something wet. Oh no, I thought, is he pooping on the floor? But it went on too long for that. I started downstairs, thinking Maybe he’s washing his hands. Yeah. Maybe.

I arrived to an overflowing toilet. I tried to keep LL out of the bathroom while I grabbed towels to block the flow of water. She responded with a poop of her own. I lifted the back off of the toilet tank to stop the water from running. DBB thought it looked fun, lifted the tank lid and dropped it back on the tank such that the lid broke. As I tried to contain the poop, water, and hysteria, I tried calling HH to share the fun news from home. But he couldn’t hear me over the chaos. In an exasperated tone, as if he were the only one having a busy day, he told me to call from the home phone. So I sent him this picture with the text “And flooded bathroom.”


I’m sorry to report that your only media today will be this photo of my broken toilet. The children are poopballs and were not photographed. To compensate, I have made the photograph of the toilet extra large.

“That is not good,” he replied.

“I’ve noticed.” I wrote.

I put DBB in the bathtub, mopped up the bathroom, and changed LL’s diaper. She has diaper rash, of course, which I am treating with the hippie mom approach of breastmilk and coconut oil, so that when she doesn’t smell like cat poop she smells like an umbrella drink.

I think the total shitstorm count was LL: 7 DBB: 5. Could be worse, I realize.

Let’s hope it doesn’t get worse. Let’s also hope it gets better before I’m supposed to be drinking actual umbrella drinks in St. Thomas. Six days from now. Don’t hate. I’m pretty sure I got poop in my hair today.

Nothin’ but a Nudie Party

First of all, the title of this post is intended to recall this song:

For some reason, I think this 2Pac/Snoop hit occupies a much larger place in my mental musical canon than almost anyone else in America’s. I’m constantly referencing it at mildly inappropriate times. Like when Little Liebchen gets together with a crew of one year olds and I say to the other moms, “Ain’t nothin’ but a baby party…” And they respond by politely ignoring me. Or wondering if I’ve got some chronic I might be willing to share.

Anyway, it also applies to tonight’s topic: the nudie party, which is what Das Big Boy calls the sometimes brief, sometimes extended chunk of time after his bath during which he is allowed to frolic about in the altogether. Once, during a speech assessment (which he nailed, obvs. DBB may not like to talk to other children, but he is off the charts verbal when given the chance to show off for an adult), he was asked what you do after a bath. “Have a nudie party,” he answered. The speech pathologist looked to me for clarification, or maybe to gauge how she could get me out of her office to call social services. I offered up my best kids-will-be-kids smile and my weakest explanation, then asked DBB what he did before a nudie party. Thankfully, he answered correctly and didn’t talk about his penis.

Anyway, I should probably come clean about something. I am a naked person. I believe the world is divided up into two types of people: naked people and nonnaked people (or the clotheds.) There is a third category of naked when drunk people, but I think they’re mostly repressed nakeds or freespirited clotheds. Naked people are comfortable being naked. Clotheds people are not. There is nothing remotely sexual about being a naked person. In fact, once, back before we were married, Herr Husband suggested I might wear clothes to dinner more often. “What!?” I replied, “I’m sure lots of guys would find it sexy if their girlfriends ate dinner naked!”

“But you’re not trying to be sexy,” he replied. “You haven’t brushed your hair in three days and you’re all slouched over and you’re kind of sweaty ”

“It’s hot in this apartment,” I defended myself, “Hence, the nudity.”

My naked cooking (beware spattering oil–ouch!), naked laundry (yeah, right), and naked lounging earned similar levels of enthusiasm.

My college roommate and I were both naked people, although not, I recall, at the same time. When we lived in a first floor dorm room with a large bay window, this led to people occasionally knocking on our door and saying polite things like, “Um, I just wanted you to know your curtains are open and I can see you,” or “You should shave your legs.” I always thanked them as if I cared and did nothing further. I think nudity is like a booger: you tell a friend, but you don’t go out of your way to tell a stranger. And yes, I went to college in New Hampshire but they heated the holy hell out of those dorm rooms.

I also once attended a party which ended with a group of friends naked in a very small hot tub. We debated the finer points of politics and bickered about who would survive in a zombie apocalypse. It was one of the least sexual experiences of my life.

All of this is to say that I have a long history of nonsexual nudity as laziness and temperature control rather than as a way of showing off my body or some silly thing like that (I think clothes are much better for showing off one’s body, especially after one has breastfed a baby, never mind a baby with a strong right sided boob preference which has led to the sudden development of a mismatched pair, or eternal conflict, if you will. You are SO going to look for this development next time I see you, dear reader, I know you are.)

But this brings about a conversation I somewhat recently had with a group of my mom friends: at what age does it become inappropriate to bathe with one’s kid? In my case, boy kid. Herr Husband and I always had family bath with DBB until I became pregnant enough with LL that it was uncomfortable to fit us all in the tub. We treasured these family baths as a way to spend time together. And now I bathe with DBB and LL. When I shared this with my friends, a lot of them said they had never bathed with their kids. On the hippie mom spectrum, I think I’m one of the more out there ones among this particular crew. I’m pretty sure they thought my bathing with kids was as surprising as I found their never having done so. Of course, my parenting philosophy, if I were to have one, would be called Lazy Parenting (there will be a post on this). Do whatever is easiest for you (with lots of love, of course). It’s easier to bathe with a kid than to reach into the bathtub. So bathe with kids. Added bonus of contained, distraction-free time together.

CG Toga

Dinner at the Husband Hausfraus. Togas, diapers, Herr Husband in a white t-shirt. It’s like college all over again.

After tonight’s bath, DBB had his nudie party, and LL enjoyed a brief one as well (she’s too young to be a reliable non-peer). Meanwhile, I cooked dinner in the buff (I now know to stand back). But when it came time to sit at the table, I felt a bit funny doing so with no clothes on. So I donned a Curious George toga. The kids ate dinner in diapers and HH wore his undies and a T-shirt. (It should be noted that we keep the house at 73 degrees in order for the kids’ rooms to be warm enough. Our furnace is very efficient, I promise, lest I erode some hippie cred.)

So I guess my answer to my own question is I’ll know when it’s time to stop the group baths, just like I knew it was time to put that toga on. And like I know I shouldn’t go to a naked hot tub party again unless everyone else is really, really drunk and it’s so dark that you can’t see my boobs.

Feel free to share you pro/anti-nudie thoughts in the comments!

The A List

We had a wee bit of snow last night into this morning (maybe four to five inches of light, powdery stuff), but the public school district that governs Das Big Boy’s preschool made an early call, so we had a snow day.

Das Big Boy slept in, and Little Liebchen woke me up for the second morning in a row with the sweetest, clearest little, “Mama,” and big grin.

“Hold on!” You say, “I thought you were done co-sleeping.” We are. But when she wakes up at five or six am, I bring her to bed with me, nurse her, and then she sleeps for several more hours (until 7:45 today). Yes, you can all hate on me for my late sleeping children. Das Big Boy slept until 8:30. But he gave up his nap shortly after turning two, and his sister sucks at napping as well, so don’t begrudge me my nights.

20140122-222643.jpgToday we frolicked in the snow, played with the awesome ball tower, and watched some Sesame Street. If that sounds too idyllic, some of us also had temper tantrums because we “hate all the food!” and suffered two time outs for sister-pushing when she was trying to horn in on our toys. And we had to shovel out because HH is on a business trip luxuriating in hotel sleep. While I shoveled, the kids played/sat (depending on age) in the snow until LL’s nose got red and then I popped them in the car until I finished. I just made it sound like I am a damsel because HH always shovels (which he almost always does), but really it’s just a challenge to figure out where to stash one’s children while shoveling. Someone should invent a heated tent or something.

This evening we went to dinner with Dr G. and her adorable wee ones. A good time was had by all (although DBB continued to hate all the food such that I had to practically feed him his pizza, which he currently wants to eat in a genteel, Bill de Blasio knife and fork fashion.) Dr G.’s daughter found the entire notion of going out late (it was 5:30) to restaurants (it was pizza in suburbia, though she’s right that it was yuppie pizza) to be akin to being a movie star.


A movie star like this. Except Gisele is a model. And except with a breastpump and ice cream and without looking beautiful or potentially exposing my children to nail polish and hair product chemicals and fumes (it was dinner with Dr. G., after all). And to be fair, I did some breastfeeding there, too. And drank wine. So maybe I shouldn’t be so judgy.

I kept up the glam by doing the following in the span of forty minutes: changing two diapers, getting two kids in jammies, reading to the baby (Todd Parr’s The I Love You Book), nursing/singing to the baby, putting the baby to sleep, brushing the toddler’s teeth, reading two books to the toddler (Todd Parr’s The I Love You Book and Jonathan Allen’s I’m Not Scared), Facetime singing three songs to the toddler with HH, kissing the toddler goodnight, listening to the toddler briefly holler for me, cleaning three cat boxes (yes, we still have two cats which is a sad story I’ll discuss at another time), and taking our trash and recycling out. At this point I felt more rock star than movie star. (Although it’s been pointed out to me that calling someone a rock star when they accomplish something challenging is silly. We should call them something more heroic. So I felt like a nurse or a teacher or a single parent). Then I pumped while eating ice cream and watching Modern Family, which really did feel like something movie stars would do.


Que Dulce es la Vida (y la Leche)

You’ve probably been wondering: “Where the heck are you, HH? Are you on another year-long blogging hiatus?”


Why yes, that is my baby devouring nachos. I’m not sure this is what the baby-led weaning people had in mind.


We’ve had a delightful visit with cousins visiting from Argentina. There was lots of eating and mate drinking and chatting and playing. Das Big Boy fell completely in love with said cousins, who will be called Piloto, because he is a pilot for Aerolineas Argentinas, and Profesora, because she is a professor (my names might be getting weaker. Maybe because it’s late and I am chronically underslept). “Piloto comes, too,” said DBB as we were leaving for school on Thursday. So Piloto kindly accompanied us to school drop-off. And then they made him a pooplo (now correctly pronounced as pulpo) out of yarn. And since then it’s been all about Piloto and Profesora. They’re leaving early tomorrow morning and I’m pretty sure DBB is going to be devastated. How old do you think our kids will have to be before the flight to Buenos Aires stops being criminally insane?

But I know you’re DYING to know who won the raffle for the signed copy of The Emperor’s Blades.

Interestingly, there was exactly one entrant who wasn’t previously known to me, and he happened to be the only entrant who was male.


That adorable apron is finally getting some use!

He won. This might mean rafflecopter fears charges of nepotism. It might mean it’s sexist. But it definitely means that Collin Kelly is a lucky guy! We’ve emailed and I can assure you that he is a delightful friend of Mo and her Bro, and clearly very deserving of this awesome prize.

Finally, you should know that every time you mention the word dance or play music, LL dances by pumping her little arms in a frat-guy-dancing-to-hip-hop way. I have tried to catch this on video but she goes all coy when the camera comes out. In addition, she shares her brother’s appreciation for MC Hammer. That’s my girl.

Buenas noches!

Give Him His Due


Now he’s leading the balance beam parade at preschool!

Today is Das Big Boy’s due date. I almost forgot to mark the milestone, but at around three o’clock today I noticed the date. I had wanted to acknowledge it somehow this year, to light a candle every day between his October twenty-first birthday and his NICU discharge date of February eleventh, with some sort of layover today. Of course, I did none of these things.

I did try to tell Das Big Boy about it. He’s shown some interest in the NICU as a topic, and talks about how he lived there after he was born (which of course breaks my heart). I’m quite sure that if he’d realized he could have claimed today as his birthday, he would have. Every birthday we’ve celebrated since his –be it his classmate’s or his sister’s–he’s informed me that: “I want it to be my birthday again,” or “No, it’s my birthday,” or, “Now it’s October twenty-first,” or, “I want all the presents. Those presents are for me!”

Anyway, we had a conversation like this:

HH: DBB, did you know that today is your due date?

DBB: Interested look

HH: Today is the day that you were supposed to be born. Remember how you came out of Mommy’s body early?

DBB, possibly attempting to change the subject, or more likely addressing this issue of being inside someone’s body with the only concrete example he understands: “What’s in the mommy monkey puppet’s breast?”

HH: The baby monkey.

DBB: The baby monkey!!

Maybe next year we’ll have a more thorough chat about his due date. Or maybe I’ll forget it entirely. I think that would be kind of nice.

Don’t forget to enter the book giveaway for The Emperor’s Blades if you haven’t already. Only nine minutes left! Winner announced tomorrow!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Also, once you’re done reading The Emperor’s Blades, you should read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, if you haven’t already. A favorite quotation that’s been bouncing around my head all day: “The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love.”