Monday, September 27, 2010

The Big Boy Bed

Last Thursday, following Snoodie's fourth attempt to launch himself headfirst from the confines of his crib, David and I decided it was finally time for the move to the BIG BOY BED.

And thus, the horror began.

Having consulted a series of internet-based expert advisors on how to proceed with such an epic undertaking, I decided to reveal the Big Boy Bed early in the afternoon to get Snoodie used to the concept. I brought him to his room and began clapping my hands and smiling like a demented used car salesman as I showed him his new digs:

"Snoodie is such a big boy that he gets to sleep in his very own Big! Boy! Bed! It's gonna be awesome!" I explained.

Snoodie seemed completely down with the program. He jumped onto the bed, rolled about enthusiastically, and even pulled Blue Bear close for some hard core snuggle time. I was pretty sure we were in business!

As evening fell (once again on orders from the internet-based advice givers) I ran through our bedtime ritual with military precision. After bath and books and cuddles I placed El Snoodo gently down upon the Big Boy Bed. After dimming the lights, I looked my son deep in the eyes and carefully yet lovingly explained,

"This is your first night in your Big Boy Bed! Now it is time for night-night and I want you to close your eyes and go to sleep. Mommy loves you."

Snoodie gazed back at me as if to say,

"I understand completely, mother darling. I guess this means I'll see you in the morning."

I shut the door and smiled to myself, secure in my stone-cold mothering badass-i-tude... which point I was almost knocked over by Snoodie speeding past me on his way out the door, laughing hysterically. He reached the living room and in his jubilation began performing an elaborate "happy feet" dance for David and my sister, who were sitting on the couch. The gleam in his eyes told me that I had made a MAJOR miscalculation.

The Snood was drunk with freedom; the newfound ability to escape the confines of his bed appeared to be coursing through his veins like a drug.

And Snoodie wanted more.

Summoning my inner Supernanny, I blank-faced the Snood's increasingly complex footwork and hauled him back to bed without comment. I looked him in the eyes, delivered a firm "Night-Night!" and turned to leave.

Snoodie bested his time to the living room on his second escape and was spinning in manic circles by the time I scooped him up to put him back in bed again.

And again.

And again.

CUT TO: 2 and 1/2 hours later.

Snood and I are still at it. Snood's exuberant escapes have become decidedly less exuberant over the course of the night, but still he manages to go through the motions.

Like any good addict, the Snood seems determined to recapture the magic of that first high. He staggers out of bed again and again towards the living room, the ritual becoming increasingly desperate with each repetition.

But still it goes on.

Towards the end of the evening, Snoodie was limping forth from his room, too tired to even walk a straight line. As I watched this sorry display I turned to David and said,

"You realize that in the movie version of this we are the bad guys, right? The kid who just won't go down and keeps on staggering to his feet no matter what the big guys throw at him - HE'S THE HERO!"

David took this in with a concerned look on his face before my sister (who had observed our war of the wills from start to finish) chimed in,

"Not if the movie is Fatal Attraction. Then it's like when you keep thinking Glenn Close is dead, but instead she keeps on rearing back up and trying to kill Michael Douglas and his wife. In that case, you two AREN'T the villains, you're just the terrified victims of a sociopath's unrelenting rampage."


That made us feel better.

By 10pm Snoodie had given up and fallen asleep in bed, clutching Blue Bear lovingly and even snoring quietly. Since then, David and I have attempted to up our game each night in hopes of making the whole undertaking less fraught, but the Snood has matched us at every turn with his seemingly unlimited tactical skill.

When we added a doorknob cover so that he could no longer open the door, the Snood began crashing objects in his room with extreme prejudice until we got worried and opened the door to check on him. When we switched over to a baby gate at the doorway he started pitching Blue Bear into the hallway and then pathetically begging for his return.

I gotta hand it to the kid - he's good.

Still, we've managed to stay the course. Two days into the Big Boy Bed transition I was literally begging David to let me move Snoodie back to the crib, but my husband held firm:

"There's too much blood in the sand at this point," he explained. "We've got no choice but to hold the beach."

And (husband's favorite phrase alert!) he was right. The nights since have gotten easier. We're getting our time from bedtime to sleep down by about an hour each night. And today for the first time I am proud to announce that Snoodie NAPPED IN THE BIG BOY BED!!!

Ah, Sweet Victory!

Sure, it took two-and-a-half hours, but who's counting?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PART THE SECOND - The Six-Million Dollar Bear (Actual Cost $17.35)

OK, so for reasons that remain somewhat unclear the blog went absolutely bonkers last week. First I couldn't post at all, and then by the time I could post I really didn't want to post and then a post from several months ago was sent out to all the subscribers which I guess was fairly confusing.

You would think that being married to a fellow who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might be useful at such times.

But you would be incorrect.

Because when my darlingest hus-bear walks in after a long day of wrestling with advanced technology, I hand him two human dirt-factories to be wrestled into baths and beds. On those nights when, having completed this task around 8pm, he sits down for the first time in 12-hours only to have me announce...

"Uh, honey, there's something wrong with the blog, will you figure it out?"

...his response is other than enthusiastic.

So I am left to troubleshoot on my own, using my mother's tried-and-true computer fix-it methodology. Would you like to use it too? It's easy! Just follow these simple steps:

1. Hit side of computer repeatedly while mumbling unspecified invectives.
2. Throw hands skyward before declaring in a loud voice, "The internet is broken!"
3. Pour generous serving of alcohol. Consume.
4. Repeat Step Three until computer-related issues seem less pressing.

Folks, if I do say so myself, the system is foolproof.

I am happy to report that all that technical ugliness is now behind me (thanks, AT&T customer service!) which means that I can finally concentrate on the task at hand: detailing the particular horror that is - OPERATION SPARE BEAR.

When last we left Snoodie's beloved BFF he was looking like patient zero in the impending bio-pocalypse. His nose, the preferred target of Snoodie's love gnaws, is barely hanging on and smells like something one might find in an aquarium's morgue. His belly has been used repeatedly to erase the playroom's blackboard, and the stuffing in his limbs has migrated to unsightly places as a result of persistent oversqueezing.

Several months ago, I chronicled our attempts to introduce duplicate bears into the rotation in the hopes of slowing this wear-and-tear with exactly zero success.
Instead Blue Bear's hideous decline has marched on unobstructed, forcing me to make some tough choices:

CHOICE #1: Allowing Blue Bear to meet an untimely end, we sit back and watch as his limbs and facial components fall off one by one until eventually Blue Bear is no more and Snoodie's personal devastation is complete.

CHOICE #2: Do literally ANYTHING to avoid resorting to Choice Number One.

All this to say, folks, that we have decided harvest our two spare Blue Bears for parts. Yes, you heard me right, we're flying in the face of all that is human and decent and using clone bears.

When Blue Bear #1's nose finally comes off, I'm going to pull the nose off Blue Bear #2's face and sew it onto the face of Blue Bear #1. The American Medical Association may have put a moratorium on the use of clones, but they'll NEVER STOP ME!!

And, I just want to say in my own defense that there is room in my horrible heart to take some pity on Bears Nos. Two and Three. Surely they were created in the hopes that some adorable moppet would love them best of all one day. I've seen "Toy Story" and its sequels, and yes, I understand that Two and Three deserve better than to be hacked apart piece by piece, grafted onto a decidedly slimier version of themselves, and then chewed to a pulp by the marauding Snood monster.

But these are desperate times, people. And desperate measures must be taken.

All that remains to be seen is whether I can look into these soulful black eyes, wield the scissors and do what needs to be done.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Six-Million Dollar Bear (Actual Cost $17.35)

When last we left the saga of Snoodie's beloved BFF "BLUE BEAR", David and I had attempted to introduce two replicate bears into Snoodie's habitat with zero success. This failure has left us, like so many parents before us, living a life that is sadly dominated by concern regarding the whereabouts of a goopy and grotesque bundle of blue fur.

(Blue Bear in healthier days)

Back in January I described Blue Bear's existence thusly:

Blue Bear's life has not been an easy one. Blue Bear was on the front lines for the "Great Stomach Flu of 2009" and required several trips through the washing machine by the time the puke quit flying. He's been dragged through the mud and peed upon more times than I can count, but through it all Snoodie's love for him seems only to grow.

In the ensuing months things have taken a turn for the decidedly grosser. While teething, Snoodie developed the habit of chewing on Blue Bear's face for roughly 14 hours out of the day.

The result is this:


(If you could smell this image I assure you - it would be even more horrifying)

Nowadays we remain in a constant state of high alert - fearing that at any moment representatives from the CDC may descend upon our home wearing hazmat suits and looking to confiscate Blue Bear indefinitely in order to study him for new and menacing viral strains.

In light of this harsh reality, David and I have been forced to come up with a dastardly option. Indeed it is a plan so vile, so deranged that its very existence has caused me to question the darkness that must lurk in the depths of my soul.

And as much as I would like to tell you all about it....I HAVE A PLANE TO CATCH!

That's right, folks. Husband and I are off to Massachusetts for 3 child-free days of bliss at a B&B for the wedding of one of my oldest pals! I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl!
But please, tune in next week for the hideous details of the monstrous terribleness that is...OPERATION SPARE BEAR PARTS.

In the meantime, do what you can to prepare yourself mentally.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Outing

There are certain activities that are just fundamentally incompatible with small children.

My problem is that I seem to have a great deal of trouble correctly identifying these activities in advance of participating in them.

For example, when Snoodie was 8 months old, David and I found ourselves in Niagra Falls and so we decided it might be fun to take our BABY for a spin on 'The Maid of the Mist'.

We were incorrect. It was not fun.

Over a year later, it still seems difficult to fathom that there was NOTHING about an entirely open vessel heading directly into four million cubic feet of falling water that said to me, "Not for infants".

(actual footage from 'Maid of the Mist' outing)

All this to say that it should come as no surprise that when my sister (a major marine-life aficionado) called me earlier in the week to ask,

"Hey, you wanna go out to the beach some night this week and see some sharks that are swimming close to the shore?"

I replied,

"Sounds great! I'll bring the kids!"

Because hearing the words "shark hunt" and thus opting to leave the kids behind is just not how I roll as a mom.

(actual sharks, though not my actual camera)

As it turned out the sharks were the least of my problems. They were of the docile, non-human-eating variety, cool to look at, and downright fin-tastic. The issue was, as it often is, that no matter how much I try to prepare for all eventualities, the chance that the whole affair will go completely off the rails increases exponentially with each child I bring.

The main issue at present is the fact that the first of my children (Snoodie - 23 months) moves at all times at roughly the pace of a meth-fueled cheetah, and in far less predictable directions, while my second (Crinkles - 3 months) is a perma-inanimate object usually ensconced within 30-odd pounds of carseat.

So our trip to the beach went something like this:

We pull into the lot, and as soon as the car is in PARK Snoodie begins wailing for release with cries of, "UP! UP!" I rush to unbuckle him, and as I go to retrieve Crinkles I scream to my sister,

"Can you chase Snoodie? He's escaping!"

I haul the 18-wheeler-sized double stroller out of the trunk, snap Crinkles into place, and head towards the sand.

THE SAND! Yeah, so it immediately becomes evident that the only route to the shoreline is over 40 yards of beach, which makes the stroller a no-go. I go back to the car to return it and realize I'm going to have to carry Crinkles in his car seat so that he'll have a quasi-protected place to sit when I'm inevitably chasing his errant older brother around. Which means I can now carry only one of the four bags of beach supplies I've brought with me. I need to choose among





I decide the food bag takes precedence and head off, leaving my other supplies behind.

As I totter out onto the beach I can see my sister in the distance chasing Speedy GonSnoodez across the sand in the exact opposite direction of the sharks. Several beachgoers notice my struggle to stay upright under the weight of Crinkles' car seat and offer helpful suggestions such as,

"You should have carried the baby and left the seat, that's what I do when I come to the beach!"

As I lack a free hand to punch these people in the jaw, I continue on my snail-like journey towards the water's edge. I can tell by the increasingly loud cries of,


followed by a firm,

"Hitting me in the face is not allowed please!"

that my sister is managing to wrestle Snoodie in the direction of the shore, where we can already see sharks-a-frolicking!

We arrive and my sister, anxious to get a closer look at our finned friends, heads straight for the water as I stay behind to give a bottle to a now very agitated Crinkles.

EXCEPT! We've forgotten about Snoodie who has already spied the water, screamed 'BATH!" at the top of his lungs, and marched in up to his shoulders with all his clothes on.

I give chase but in the process leave Crinkles completely unattended on the sand 20 yards distant. People enjoying their evening strolls on the beach are congregating around him and murmuring in concern,

"Who left this baby here?"

In response I emerge from the sea soaked from head to toe and carrying a toddler who is screaming,

"Naii! Bath! Naiii! Bath!"

repeatedly. I attempt to tend to Crinkles in a way that conveys to the passers-by, "No need to call Child Protective Services!" but accomplish little other than causing him to become wet, sandy, and epically enraged. Snoodie, meanwhile, continues his tantrum and adds some rolling about in despair, thus managing to coat every square inch of himself with wet sand. (Hmm, perhaps I should have instead brought the clothing bag after all! A dry outfit for Snoodie sure would be handy right about now!)

My sister returns from shark peeping as I am stripping Snoodie down to his diaper, and we open the food bag to attempt a picnic dinner -- only to find that an errant sippy cup has soaked all of the contents beyond recognition. (Hmm, perhaps I should have instead brought the towel bag after all! Those things sure would be handy right about now!)
So we skip dinner and make our way back toward the parking lot. I'm once agin carrying Crinkles in his carseat, now with the added bonus of him shrieking loudly. Snoodie walks beside me, his wild running curtailed by the fact that his diaper is so wet that it is dragging on the ground between his feet as he whimpers softly. (Hmm, perhaps I should have brought the diaper bag after all! A proper diaper for Snoodie sure would be convenient right about now!)

And thus ends our outing. For those of you keeping track our scorecard looks something like this:








What can I say, folks? Just another day at the beach....