July 29th, 2009 | Posted by Brinestone in Kids - (3 Comments)

At his 3-year checkup in April, the doctor told me that our “project” for the summer was to teach Lego to pedal a tricycle. I’ve been trying, but he hasn’t really gotten it. I even bought him a little 12-inch bike at a garage sale for $5, but he mostly likes to push it around and maybe sit on it for a minute or two before climbing down. A few days ago, he was just messing around on the upstairs neighbors’ big wheel and figured out pedaling all by himself. He was so proud!

The next day, I bought him a helmet (which he requested, actually) and Jon Boy fixed up his bike (put a new tube in the back tire and lowered the seat). He tried riding it for the first time, and while he was stopping and going a lot, he had a great time. Now we go on daily bike rides. A few nights ago, I heard him say, “This feels SO good!” 🙂


July 22nd, 2009 | Posted by Brinestone in Kids - (3 Comments)

Well, this is overdue, but I do feel it’s worth writing about, even if almost all of my readers know all of this already.

In early June, my mom offered to watch our kids while Jon Boy and I went on vacation for a week. She would be in Utah in early July to drop my youngest sister off at EFY (Especially for Youth, which entails religion classes, dances, and activities at BYU for teenagers), and then would have to stay out here for five days until EFY was over.

At first I was speechless. I didn’t know how to tell her how grateful I was for her offer or how much I’d longed for at least one night away from the children. In early June, I was still horribly sleep deprived, so the thought of one night’s uninterrupted sleep sounded like heaven, let alone time alone with my husband. I said yes. Then she reminded me that I’d obviously have to wean Duplo first.


Suddenly my excitement deflated. There was just no way. He was nursing a good six times a day or more, including two or three times at night. He hardly ate anything healthy, which I didn’t worry too much about since I figured he was getting lots of good nutrition from the enormous amounts of breastmilk he was consuming. But if I were to try to wean him, somehow I’d have to also get him to eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, and whole milk. Also, I was pretty sure I’d read that you should try to eliminate one feeding a week or so, and that meant it would take at least six weeks to wean completely. I had four.

But I was determined. It’s not every day you get an opportunity like this when you have young children. Even if Duplo was still nursing twice a day by the time we left, maybe it could work. I would certainly have excess milk if I was eliminating feedings, which I could pump and freeze. I would bring my pump on vacation (glamorous!) and keep up my supply. Maybe we couldn’t go for the whole week, but I wasn’t sure I wanted that anyway. Even just a night or two away would do wonders.

The next day, I worked really hard. Every time Duplo wanted to nurse, I gave him a meal or a snack. I encouraged him to drink juice, water, or milk. He did pretty well, only nursing three times during the day, and then twice at night. One feeding down, five to go, I thought.

I kept him down to five the next day too and remained optimistic. The next day, though, he started biting. Every time I sat him in his high chair, he’d nibble a little and then fuss to be let down. Immediately thereafter, he’d cling to my legs and bite at my pants, sometimes nipping skin too. This was his signal that he wanted to NURSE, not eat solid food. I tried not to give in, but eventually I got tired of getting mauled and bitten all the time. That night, he nursed a lot all night long, every two or three hours. The all-night buffet continued for the next three days, and I finally decided that I’d give up on eliminating feedings during the day and work on nights first.

I read Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution, which really resonated with me. I could see myself using most of the suggestions, and I agreed with her basic assumption that babies cry to express needs. I set up a plan to improve Duplo’s sleep and put it into action. While his sleep did regularize, which was a big plus, he continued to nurse six times or so a day. We weren’t making any progress with weaning, and we were quickly running out of time. I think we had about two weeks left by this point.

I started to realize we might not be able to go at all, or if we did go, Duplo would cry almost the entire time. Still, we reserved a room at the bed and breakfast where we went on our honeymoon. It was only a twenty-minute drive away, so if I had to go home right before Duplo’s bedtime and nurse him to sleep, I could. I could even return in the morning when he woke up. We would have enough bottles frozen to last him during the day, hopefully, if I pumped every day.

A week and a half before we were scheduled to leave, Duplo got sick (yet again . . . *sigh*) with a high fever. Lego had had a fever a few days before, so I knew it probably came with a sore throat. Duplo was also teething: all four bicuspids at once. The result was a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day for both of us. Duplo refused to eat anything and screamed almost nonstop because he was hungry. He was hot to the touch, and holding him all day in our too-warm apartment was not my idea of a good time. The house was a mess, but I left everything undone to care for my sick baby.

Who would. Not. Nurse. I tried over and over and finally managed to get him to take a little pumped breastmilk in a bottle. All night he woke, expecting to nurse, but wouldn’t even latch on. Then he’d fuss and roll around, not sure what else to do to get back to sleep. Finally, after half an hour to an hour, I’d put him back in bed. An hour later, he’d be up again.

The next day, his fever was gone, but he still wouldn’t nurse or eat anything else. I started to get worried because his diapers stayed dry for quite a long time. I pumped milk and put it in open cups and basically dumped it down his throat. That night was basically a repeat of the last, and I was exhausted.

But sometime in the night, when I offered Duplo milk in a sippy cup, he just took it and gulped it down. The whole cup. That was a turning point, after which he decided it was okay to drink large quantities from cups and bottles. It was still not okay to nurse, apparently.

He must have been exhausted too because the next night he slept a six-hour stretch, something I hadn’t seen in over nine months. And the next day his appetite was ravenous. Over the next few days, my once-picky eater changed into the best eater in the house. He ate nearly everything I presented in amazing quantities. Sometimes I can’t believe someone so small can eat so much (tonight, for instance: 1 egg, 1 slice lunchmeat ham, 1 oz. cheese, 3/4 plum, 8 oz. juice, some Cheerios). He eats five times a day, as is typical for toddlers. Maybe all toddlers eat as much as he does and I’m just not used to it because of Lego.

Six-hour stretches at night became seven, then eight. The night we were gone, he slept eleven hours, from 7 p.m. to  a.m. Apparently my mom kept waking up wondering if she’d missed hearing his cry.

Now, he doesn’t do eleven hours every night. But I think he’s done at least six every night but one since he weaned. This makes for a very happy mommy.

The only downside, really, is that weaning so quickly seems to have shocked my hormones quite a lot. Everything I’ve read about sudden weaning advises against it because it can cause intense mood swings, headaches, and even depression in the mother. I’m not depressed, but I have definitely had my share of intense mood swings, both up and down. I feel like my mind and emotions have been taken over by someone much crazier than myself. I just hope everything evens out soon for the sake of my husband and children.


July 3rd, 2009 | Posted by Brinestone in Kids | Random Musings - (1 Comments)

1. The fastest and most effective way to get Lego to wake up from a nap (say, when falls asleep on the couch too late in the afternoon) is to put him in his bed. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible.

2. I just bought some faux suede teal flats. For some reason, having such utterly impractical shoes makes me feel rich, even if I just paid $2 for them at a yard sale.

3.Yesterday, I came to a four-way stop. Another vehicle approached the intersection at almost exactly the same time as me. I thought I’d gotten there first, so I started to drive into the intersection. When I saw that the other driver was moving into the intersection too, I stopped to let her pass. As she drove by, she gave me a very stern, angry look and shook her head slowly several times. I had to laugh. Obviously she was a Latter-day Saint woman who would never flip someone the bird on principle. But she was not above letting me know that that’s exactly what she would have done were she, you know, the type.

4. My dad got us a season pass to the pool for the summer. We are loving it! We’ve only been three times, but the kids just love the water, and it’s a great way to get out of the house when it’s hot without melting into a puddle of goo.

5. Duplo weaned himself (more on this later) just in time for Jon Boy and I to take a mini-vacation next week. Talk about timing!


June 25th, 2009 | Posted by Brinestone in Kids - (3 Comments)

Have you ever watched a baby learn about his or her world? It’s terribly fascinating. Duplo’s in a stage right now where he’s trying to figure out what things are and why we do certain “rituals” with them. He’ll hold telephone-like things to his ear, hit himself on the head with a brush over and over, make sniffly noises into tissues, wipe whatever surface he can find with anything that resembles a rag, and point at nothing in particular in books while babbling. He has no idea what these things are for, so he plays with them the way he sees us use them, and I’m guessing he’s either hoping to obtain insight in this way, or else he’s desperate to fit into our family by doing what we do in hopes of gaining our approval.

Everything he does is a little window into his mind, yet so much is a mystery and will remain so until he learns to speak well. Even then, those who are fluent in their language don’t understand one another very well most of the time.

Meanwhile, Lego is continuing to figure out how the world works, but obviously at a more sophisticated level. The other day he asked me whose tummy his babies would be in when he’s a daddy. I feel like I’m answering “how” and “why” questions much of the day, and each one teaches me a little bit about what Lego knows and how he thinks the world works. How exciting it must be to be trying to figure out the mystery that is the world, let alone the intricacies of human behavior and culture. To come into the world knowing nothing and watch these big people around you in order to gain clues as to how to become a person. No wonder Duplo wanders around the house nowadays with an impish grin on his face, smiling in awe and delight at nearly everything.

There’s nothing like a child to help you remember what awe and delight are.

One year old

June 1st, 2009 | Posted by Brinestone in Kids - (3 Comments)

Duplo had his birthday on Friday. I wanted to share a few things about him so that when he asks what he was like as a baby, I’ll be able to find this and share with him.

1. Duplo is a sweetheart. He loves his family and will tolerate quite a lot from us, especially Lego, and especially if Lego is laughing. The look on his face is often, “Is this supposed to be fun? I’m not totally happy with it, but Lego’s laughing, so I guess it’s a game and I’ll laugh too.”

2. Duplo loves walking and climbing. He can climb up onto Lego’s bed, and from there, he could reach the pictures on the wall above it (well, until we hung them higher). He once climbed up onto a little picnic/sand table in our back yard. I turned around from pulling weeds to see him on top of it! I think my heart stopped for a moment.

3. Duplo likes lights. If you ask him where the light is, he’ll tilt his head way back to see it and point. If you ask him where Mommy or Daddy is, he’ll point to the light. We’re still working on that.

4. Duplo is a little carpet cleaner. If there is something on the carpet, he will find it. And put it in his mouth. And then bite whoever tries to remove it. Dozens of times every day. I will be so glad when he outgrows this stage. The grossest thing he’s put in his mouth so far is a pillbug/roly poly.

5. Duplo still likes to growl from time to time. He also says “muhmuh” meaning “milk” and “mum-mum” (yum-yum) meaning “solid food.” He said “dada” a few times when we were sure he meant Daddy, but I haven’t heard it for a couple of weeks.

6. Duplo loves his bath. Further, he gets really annoyed if anyone is in the bath or shower and he isn’t allowed to get wet too.

7. When Duplo pushes cars around like Lego does, he makes sound effects. We’re not sure if this is an innate skill that all young boys possess or if he learned it from watching his older brother.*

8. Duplo is starting to mimic our actions with certain objects around the house. He’ll brush his hair with a brush, hold a phone to his ear and babble into it, rub things with a rag, and scribble with a pen. The cutest ever was the other day when he pulled a piece of toilet paper off the roll, held it to his nose, and “blew” his nose into it, in and out.

9. Duplo is still not sleeping through the night. I’m hoping part of that has to do with frequent illnesses. At his one-year checkup today, we found out that he once again has an ear infection. He was throwing up over the weekend. Last week (or was it two weeks ago?) he had a bad cold. When will he just be healthy? Poor little guy.

10. Duplo can follow a few basic commands, though only when he wants to. These include “Come here,” “No,” “Don’t eat it,” and “Wave bye bye.” Today, he was playing with a pen and paper, so out of curiosity, I asked him, “Can you color?” He immediately squatted down, put the pen to the paper, and scribbled, then looked up at me for praise. Smart boy!

Here are some pictures from the birthday celebrations, for those of you who haven’t seen them yet:


the birthday boy


birthday cake and candle


walking in new birthday clothes


looking at a light

*Some obstetricians have reported hearing “vroom vroom” sounds when trying to listen to boy fetuses’ heartbeats.