Good Baby
The New Normal

And Everything Else

My dad is back in the hospital. On Monday night he had a coughing fit while taking his medication (nothing super out of the ordinary -- he chokes very easily since losing his larynx to cancer) and aspirated a pill into his lung. He's now being treated for aspiration pneumonia. The good news is that he appears to be responding very well to the treatment and we're hoping he'll come home today. My parents got to "see" the baby via webcam a few hours before the accident, and I spoke with him on the phone yesterday and as always, he sounds great.

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We're all sick too, although in a much less dramatic pneumonia-ish way. Noah came down with a bad, baaaaad cold last week -- he woke up wheezing on Thursday, and because Daddy was home scored himself a trip to the DOCTOR, where Daddy was told that it was indeed just a bad, baaaaaad cold. As we all know, Mama would never have taken him to the doctor, but would have instead smeared some Vaseline on his chest and called it a day.

***
I did take Ezra to the doctor yesterday, obviously because he's new and shiny and like soooo the favorite, and his weight is officially back up to 7 pounds, 8.5 ounces. I returned the hospital-grade rental pump and plunked down money for my very own Pump In Style, like a real breastfeeding mother with real boobs that work and sustain her child and stuff.

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I feel the need to clarify my somewhat slapdashy post from Monday, the point of which was unintentionally hijacked by the idea that I actually sterlize my breastpump parts after every feeding. Which I promise you I do not. Not at all. Once a day, tops, and only because I HAD THRUSH ONCE, and once you have thrush you cannot ever forget having thrush, and I guess one of the lifelong side effects of thrush is a compulsion to sterlize pump parts in the microwave every morning. But that's it! The only time! Usually I just run everything under hot water for a bit and pile them up glamorously on a handtowel in our master bathroom. Anything to keep the romance alive, folks.

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Don't even get me started on this one. Photos like this are the only thing keeping me from selling Noah to the gypsies. He's been challenging. Very, very challenging.

SYNONYMS: SEE ALSO: WILLFUL, TANTRUMMY, DEFIANT, BRATTASTIC.

But that's a topic for another day. Another day when I have two hands free to type and more than two hours of sleep to ruminate on my own failings as his mother and finite amount of patience and when I can actually bear to think about Monday, when I spilled an entire cup of soda on the legs of two well-dressed business people at the mall food court because I was trying to balance a tray in one hand and pull Noah up off the floor where he had melted into a puddle of NOOOOO I WANNA SIT OH DER with the other and everybody was staring at me, ME, the terrible mother who couldn't control her terrible kid and I apologized over and over to the man and woman who I'd splashed with soda but they just glared at me and I could tell she was mentally reminding herself to re-up her birth control prescription, and finally I hauled Noah off by the hood of his jacket and prayed that the ground would just swallow me up whole.

Towards the baby, he is nothing but loving and gentle and proud as can be. His teacher hasn't noticed any change in his behavior at school, and says that he loves talking about Baby Brother and has been more social than ever with his classmates. But towards US, he is downright awful. He yells, he tantrums, he laughs at our panicked faces when he slips away from us in a parking lot.

This isn't how Noah behaves, except that now it totally is, and I'm ashamed to admit that I am not coping with it very well.

The other night, after many time-outs and tantrums, Jason ordered Noah to an early bedtime and was trying to get him into pajamas while desperately clinging to his last bit of patience. I didn't hear the conversation, but apparently Noah started signing that he was scared, and said that he was scared of Daddy, because Daddy was always so mad.

The sound of Jason's heart breaking? Yeah, that I heard.

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But...yeah. Let's save that topic for later. Let's all just look at this photo for awhile instead.

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Thank you to Heather B, Nicole and Jessica for filling in for me this week over at the Advice Smackdown.

Comments

charlotte

Wow. I'd been thinking about, you know, when to have #2--but I'm not so sure I have your degree of patience. You rock!

And all the best to your Dad; hope he gets through this okay.

DebbieS

Amy, if you ever *do* find a gypsy camp to pawn Noah off on, will you tell me where they've set up camp? My daughter is about 6 weeks older than Noah, and reminds me on a regular basis why some mammals eat their young. She laughs at my panicked face when she manages to break my kung-fu grip on her hand in the parking lot, too. And she's an angel to everyone else. I think it's a stage, where they're learning to manipulate emotions as part of developing skills. At least, that's what I tell myself, as I slowly chip my front teeth while gritting them ::grrr::

But they are awful cute ;P You and Jason are doing a great job..this is just Nature's way of controlling the toddler population ;) Hang in there!

jodifur

Welcome to 3. Michael is all tantrumy and I didn't just have a baby. I hear 4 is better. I'll let you know in March.

So sorry about your dad.

cas

Can't help it, have to commisserate. My newbie is all of four weeks old. Her three and half year old sister is suddenly devil incarnate. Or at least it feels like it. I blamed it on the upheaval of the new sister close on the heels of dealing with the chaos hurricane Ike ...combined with the fact that I obviously am a sucky mother of two kids at the same time.

Then I went to lunch with one of her BFFs and his mum. He has no baby sister or brother at the moment...and she swears he is being just as jerky as she is.

She claims it is a three year old thing to tell their mom/dad that they are NOT best friends anymore...and to throw fits...and to, all around, be a lot more painful to be around than they were only a short while ago.

In short...I feel your pain. I feel like all I do is get annoyed/upset with my three year old...and she spends her days "in trouble"....

On the upside, her teachers at school claim she's a total angel...

Sallyacious

I got distracted halfway through the comments, so someone may have already said this, but it's entirely possible, given that he's being so angelic elsewhere, that Noah is acting out at home because he feels safe there. He's coping with a HUGE change in the best way he knows how, and trusts you both enough to know that he CAN be a brat and you'll still love him lots. He has to blow off all the steam and anxiety somewhere, who better to take it out on than those people he believes will love him no matter what. It's actually an indicator of how good you are as parents, not the opposite.

alison

I didn't read the other comments but I'm sure they're similar. Noah's behavior is normal and it will take some time for him to adjust. Not only is he 3 (they're so unreasonable!) but you've brought home this new little baby who gets all of mommy and daddy's attention. He'll come around. Try to have "mommy and Noah" time or "daddy and Noah" time where he gets to do something special without the little brother in tow...the park, the movies, out to lunch, etc. Hang in there!

Marnie

I love everyone else's stories and empathy!

No baby sibling here, but the advice I got a few years ago was to pour on the praise every single time he's doing something even remotely not horrible. My daughter hit the F-ing Fours about 30 seconds into her birthday, and was a royal beeyotch for a good 4 months (maybe more? I've blocked it out) when a friend finally made that recommendation to me, to pour on the praise and simply ignore the other stuff. Within a couple weeks she started to mellow out, and a couple weeks later she was great again. It may have just run its course, but focusing on her good behavior was good for me, too.

I'm sure it will get better soon. Just carry those pics with you to show to anyone else you spill soda on, and they'll forget all about it!

Carey

So, um, do you even read these after 100 or so comments?

Small anecdote about my own child rearing. When I brought my second son home from the hospital, my first asked, "When will the baby go back in your tummy?" When I answered, "NEVER!!!!!" my first born asked, "Can we put him in the recylcing bin?"

Sibling rivalry ... ain't it great? Hang in there. Now, some nine year later (shit, I'm old), they still have a touch-and-go relationship, but more touch than go.

Anissa@Hope4Peyton

Oh, I'm so sorry for all the heartbreaking adjustments. You are not a bad parent, Noah is not a bad kid...it just takes a lot of freaking time to get used to having a new body in the house...especially one that is cute and cuddly and dependent and sucks your very soul. It's a tough gig to follow and sustain. I hope things start evening out for you sooner rather than later. But just in case, we could start a collection for bail money if you think you'll need it.

christine

Ann, you cannot be serious with the "WHY ARE YOU TAKING A NEWBORN OUT THIS EARLY?????????????????????????????????"

Cease and desist. Thanks.

Tina C.

i recommend using a spray bottle on the 3 year old during a tantrum.

MommyNamedApril

great pictures! my older son was a puddle of NOOOOOO for a full month when we brought #2 home. then, all of the sudden, he was himself again. give it a little time and *try* to be as patient as possible (heh. i know, i know, i've been there. just do your best and know he'll adjust soon).

Christina

We have a 12 week old (this week) and we thought the three year old would take it better then our friends who had babies when they had 2 yr old. HAHAHAHA... yeah your story sounds exactly like ours. The three year old has been hell on wheels since the baby was born BUT only to us. He thinks the world of Marisa but we are evil. The worst was the first 6 weeks and it has sort of tapered off but any change to his daily routine makes him CRAZY. Hang in there. I know it will get better for all the first born kiddos and their parents!

Kristin

I promise it will get better. They don't know any other way to ask for attention at that age. I have been there.

The pics are just the sweetest thing and you can tell how much he loves his brother.

Broad

Nothing to offer in the way of assvice, but I'm glad you're dad is doing all right.

Natalie

Oye. Kiddos aren't exactly GOOD at major changes in their lives, regardless of what the change is. When my son's father and I split up, he remained picture perfect for everybody, EXCEPT HIS MOTHER. Man, did we ever have some whopper battles and there were many days that I wanted to write a big 'F' on my head for Failure.

Obviously, a baby brother is different than split up parents, but it is still a big change in his little life and the point I am trying to get at is that it will get better.

And those pictures are priceless.

Jenny

Ezra looks so much like you! I had thought that already, but it's especially clear in the pictures with Noah...where Noah's all looking like his daddy and Ezra is all you.

imagine1community

We moved from NYC to England for a year, leaving when my kid was almost 3. At that age, the change was REALLY HARD on him, and we had some seriously challenging behavior for a few weeks. Hope it doesn't last for too long.

Kristin Huff

If nothing else, my 2nd child helped remind me that everything is a stage, everything passes. Soon Noah will be back to his normal self. Soon! Maybe only a couple of weeks!

Sending good, healing thoughts to your dad.

Abra Leah

Chloe totally did the same thing when Bradley was born. LOVED the baby, pissed at us for bringing the baby home. Totally normal.

One of the things I did that was a HUGE help:
Make a special Treasure Box. Put ALL new things that Noah can play with independently. Bring out the box when you need to attend to the baby (nursing, changing, etc) so that Noah has some super cool new things to play with and he'll feel special because he has the Big Brother Treasure Box. Be sure to pass the baby off for a while, too, and devote an hour or so JUST to Noah so that he knows he is still your little guy.

It seems simple, but I swear, Chloe was just a mess until we started doing these things. (And she was in ECI for speech and such and still kind of having ugly tantrums from all that unable-to-communicate stuff.)

Hang in there! :)

Rachael

I hope you Dad is doing okay. Sorry things are rough with all the changes in your house, but he'll get better, he really will.

Heidi

My son loved his little sis from the start, but he was wild with us for the first new weeks. There is so much anticipation, then the actual adjustment from a family of 3 to 4, but things do eventually settle down. It was like he was on a 24 hour sugar high and couldn't stop convulsing. He also had to accept that just because he wasn't a baby didn't mean was an adult by default.

Hugs...it'll get better.

Beth

The day I came home from the hospital with #2, my oldest (then just shy of 3 yrs old) climbed onto my lap and "accidentally" peed on me. It went downhill from there. It was a rough transition for her, but thankfully, like Noah, she was always sweet and loving at school and with the baby, and she saved her nastiness for Mom and Dad. Hang in there! Noah will come around.

Oh, and in case commenter Ann is reading, I was out and about with newborns #2 and #3 after the first week, because my husband had to go to back to work and I had no family close by the take my older daughters on outings. We all would have gone crazy if we had stayed in the house until the baby was no longer "newborn". They all have lived to tell the tales of their early trips to the store and library and sisters' schools.

Rachel

My oldest daughter was the exact same way towards me after I had my second kid. She was a perfect angel with her new sister and in school, but a holy terror with me. Looking back, I realize now that she probably was angry at me because I was giving her less attention and focusing so much on the new baby. She got over it after about a month. Wouldn't surprise me if Noah does the same.

Jeanette

Because I've been there...

The next time Noah acts brattastic, calmly put the baby down, pull Noah on your lap and give him a hug. Even if the baby cries...do it.

Worked for me.

kim at allconsuming

Most importantly, I hope it all works out with your dad.

And that photo? Of Ezra's little chicken-wing leg and a foot lost in a sock? Edible.

Motherhood Uncensored

Colds all around here (even the new baby -- ack) and my just sub-2 year old is making us wonder why in God's name we ever had children at all.

But, it's pictures like those, and many more moments to come (I keep telling myself that) that will make it worth it.

nonsoccermom

Oh, that sucks. I think I got lucky and avoided that sort of thing since my oldest was over 5 when my baby was born. However, he largely ignores her, doesn't ever want to hold her, has only given a kiss when prompted, all of which makes me sad. A tradeoff, I guess. Anyway, good luck! Judging from some of the other comments, it will get better. Hopefully very soon. :)

Jennifer

Don't you wish that instead of looking all judgy or trying to ignore other mothers in the midst of the toddler tantrum, other people or at least other mothers would do something to help? Why couldn't someone come over & ask if you wanted some help getting to the table? Seriously, having someone else take the food tray so you can have hands free to help Noah could have made all the difference, no? We've all been there.
Your little boys are just absolutely edible!

Andrea  C

true story- my brother when he was about 3, was in Giant with my mom he took some cookies down from the shelf, she took them from him and put them back. He covered his face/head and started screaming "mommy, mommy please don't hit me." my mom has NEVER hit any of us. point of story- these kids know how to get what they want, we think they are little and simple, but i bet the signing - was a similar stunt from Noah.

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