rambling anecdotes

Three Fridays ago (is that all?), I made the conscious decision to toilet-train Ethan after a conversation with the mothers’ group. Today Ethan is pretty much potty-trained, although we haven’t yet made the final step from potty to toilet 100% of the time because Ethan is too short to confidently hoist himself up yet. The first three days were surprisingly easy and Ethan quickly worked out what was going on. As time progressed and he decided that he would pee on his own terms, it was a little trickier to persuade him to go when we wanted him to — before leaving the house, for example — but with a little coaxing he would go. Now he takes himself off to the bathroom and plonks himself on the potty when he feels the urge.

The hard part is, surprisingly, the pooping. Ethan’s always been a regular ol’ kid (thanks to all the fruit) but he has gone from one poop before even getting out of bed in the morning (so in his nappy) to multiple times a day. We’ve had three pairs of soiled underwear in the last week because he doesn’t quite make it or isn’t finished when he thinks he is. I’m not sure what to make of this.

Other interesting-ish thing of note: Ethan has a tiny scar on his left cheek. I remember him having a scratch there a few months ago (maybe from Amelia, I don’t remember) but surely not deep enough to scar.
Amy is spilling a little less lately, but she’s also feeding less often. Yesterday she discovered that she could get her fingers into her mouth and has been sucking ferociously on them ever since. We went to Lollipops this morning and I lay her on a blanket in the under-3s’ playground, far from the older children, with her toys and she fell fast asleep after a ten-minute play with her Lamaze cube. She adores that thing — even better because I got it from Ross for $10 in January. On Wednesday I switched out her capsule to the next-up carseat and she loves having the extra space to wiggle and play, and even though she’s still facing backward, she can see me in her little mirror, plus Ethan chats away to her. The two of them have lots of involved conversations in which Ethan tells Amy what colour the traffic lights are or whether everyone has their seatbelts on.

I was shocked to find that Amy is almost at 4 months, the minimum age for starting solids. Already! She’s starting to watch us eat, I’ve noticed, but she’s a long way yet from wanting to actually try them. She doesn’t have the hand control for one thing, and for another she’s only just working out that other things can go in her mouth besides boob.
I just discovered Ethan in the bathroom, having pooped in his potty, trying to empty it into the toilet and rinse it out under the bathtub tap. That’s a little, uh, gross. But helpful!

rambling anecdotes

Current status: crazy


Name: Ethan Hamilton Hope (still)

Age: 2 years, 8 months

Physical description: Tall and lanky, dark blonde hair, deep blue eyes, lots of freckles across his nose, bruises all over his shins, the usual itchy eczema patches

Special talents: Singing “Twinkle Star” and “Skinny-Ma-Rinky-Dink”, jumping off things, charming elderly ladies, opening other kids’ presents at parties, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, ordering our takeout

Favourite things: His motorbike, treehouse, rolling things down the slide, Futurama, Blue’s Clues, dancing, Hullabaloo, singing

Likes: Chinese food, rice, macaroni and cheese, “cold toast” (bread), peas and carrots, Mcdonalds, KFC, yoghurt, fish and chips, cheese, Meal Mates, juice

Dislikes: Campbell Live, red meat, time out, going underwater at the pool

Words he says: That he shouldn’t? “What the hell?” and “Why?” Otherwise he says anything and everything.

Stuff he does: helps with housework (dishes, vacuuming, laundry, gardening), tidies up his toys (sometimes), builds a snowman

World-domination skills: forms one-half of the Mecha-Ethamynator, a creature capable of mass destruction through whingeing and hyperactivity.


Name: Amy Joan Hope

Age: 3 months today!

Physical description: Long and chubby: 7.04kg and 65cm, fine pale blonde hair, the same blue eyes as Ethan, Sharpei-like chubbiness, pale red birthmark on the back of her head under her hair, eczema on her neck

Special talents: Grinning, chuckling, figuring out how things work (playgyms especially), rolling to one side and back, slowly rotating on her blanket by wiggling like a worm

Favourite things: the TV, Ethan, her swing, the fireguard, staring

Likes: milk and sucking on her fingers, raspberries on her neck, making people embarrass themselves in attempts to make her laugh

Dislikes: sucking on her fingers — that is, she screws her face up at the taste; being ignored

Words she says: Aaah, agoo

Stuff she does: holds her head up while on her tummy, kicks, wriggles when we go to pick her up, snuggles against our necks

World-domination skills: forms one-half of the Mecha-Ethamynator, a creature capable of mass destruction through whingeing and hyperactivity.

rambling anecdotes

Backdated: Amy’s birth story

Right, I have spare moments, so here we go:

Amy Hope born Tuesday June 28th at 2:12pm via caesarean section after a short and strangely tolerable labour.

So went into labour as I said around 5am and the contractions were niggly little things, just a tight stomach and crampy-feeling. Jess went off to the airport and returned at around seven-thirty with her parents and we hung out and caught up with them for a while. Around 8am I called my midwife and said I suspected I was in labour (I think my first words were, “Do you have any plans for today? ‘Cause I thought I might have a baby.”) and she said she’d pop round about 9 because she had a plumber coming to give her a quote and she didn’t want to reschedule. Heh. I was fine with that, though, because it was still early and I wasn’t in real pain yet, just discomfort. Sitting on the big gym ball really helped. As they got a little more painful, though, I started checking my watch to see how far apart they were and everyone noticed I was getting antsy, so I was easily persuaded to call the midwife back and tell her the contractions were already three minutes apart (!). We agreed to meet at the hospital at 10:30 and see how things were going. Neither of us expected too much, I don’t think.

So called Mike at work and told him we were going in at 10:30 and he came home at 10 to get me. By then the contractions were strong enough that I couldn’t talk through them and I had to get up and walk around. In between I made phone calls, sent text-messages, posted on LJ (as one does), and made arrangements for Ethan (who was in daycare) for the next day — a neighbour had offered to take him to our usual Wednesday craft group — packed the remainder of my bag and kept track of the times, which were still two to three minutes apart and about a minute long.

Got to hospital to find no parking spaces anywhere (even in the special drop-off area, which was full of tradesmens’ vehicles — stupid new hospital) so Mike dropped me at the door with my gymball and a bag and dashed off to find parking. He made pretty good time, because he was there within five minutes.

So we spent an hour or two sort of roaming the birthing suite, me walking off contractions and the midwife writing notes and Mike reading the paper. I took the opportunity to read Ethan’s notes which the hospital provided for the midwife in case of stuff happening, I don’t know. The contractions slowly built up to the point where walking wasn’t doing it and neither was the gym ball, and about then we needed to put in an IV line (past caesarean patients automatically require a line in just in case — just the needle, not an actual drip) and it took the midwife, an intern, and another doctor to get it. Five tries, with a 16-gauge needle (the kind you can see down). Ugh. I almost lost it then because I was getting frustrated with the doctor and quite sort as well, and started losing control of the contractions and not breathing properly. And to top it off, I started wanting to push. I told the midwife and she did an internal and announced that I was at 9cm already — according to the notes that was at about 1pm. She told me to try not to push (ha!) until I was a tiny bit more dilated but on the next contraction I couldn’t help, I pushed, and my waters broke, and now I know how it actually feels I’m quite embarrassed that I thought they’d broken earlier.

So then it was all on. Very intense, lots of groaning (I lost my voice the next day) and I really didn’t feel at that point like I had any control over anything. The contractions were rolling into each other and I was being pulled along. Over to the side the midwives were watching the fetal monitor (another caesarean what-if necessity) and Amy’s heartrate was obviously not stable, going down to 70-something and back to 140-something, but not in time with the contractions, which would have been fine. She was in some distress. The midwives called in a ob-gyn who did another exam and found that Amy was posterior and her head was tipped back so the largest diameter of her head was pointing out. Ethan was exactly the same except that his head was tilted sideways, not up.

The consensus was that we’d go into the operating theatre, I’d get a spinal block and the surgeon would try a new suction-thingy called a Kiwi-Kup, attach it to Amy’s head and try to move her head to a better position so I could still push her out naturally. If that didn’t work, we’d resort to a caesarean. By this time I was all for a spinal block, especially when the anaesthetist said it would work instantly. By now the contractions felt almost constant and now that I knew they were all but pointless I was more than happy to be drugged up. Only problem was inserting the block while I tried not to push through another contraction, which was pretty much a physical impossibility. But then sweet relief. And a lot of shoving, and then it turned out the suction thingy didn’t work and I said sure, fine, whatever. And then, minutes later, Amy was pulled forth, purple and silent, and I managed to freak the hell out while being completely unable to feel anything below my collarbones. Luckily she cried a few seconds later, but still very quietly, and everyone was saying she was a girl and I didn’t believe them at first because I’d been talking myself out of it for so long.

And that’s the horrible details. I’m recovering fine, walking around and probably already doing stuff I shouldn’t but I’m not silly enough to rupture any stitches (I hope). I’m annoyed mostly because I can’t drive for — worst-case — four to six weeks and I can’t lift the stroller either so we’re close to being housebound. I’m hoping that if we have the stroller at home, Ethan can at least lift himself into his seat on the front or we can’t even go for a decent walk.

Amy is thus far an angel. She’s cried properly a total of three times in three days, once when I went and showered and she woke up, once when we bathed her and once on the drive home from the hospital today. She sleeps for three to four hours at a stretch and feeds for a good twenty minutes non-stop, then dozes off again. She smiles in her sleep.

This has taken me about three hours to write.

rambling anecdotes

Backdated: Ethan 2-year report

Name: Ethan Hamilton Hope (still)

Age: 23 months, 12-ish days, 2 on the 26th

Physical description: Tall, blonde, lanky. About a dozen freckles across the nose. Three fading eczema patches on his back. Still no back molars, although they’ve popped through once and dropped back again.

Special talents: Can stick belly out and suck it back in again; saying “Maaaatt Daaamonnn”; the wiggle-butt dance; flying; having complex conversations on basic topics; farting and burping, then excusing himself and laughing.

Favourite things: Hi-5, Blue’s Clues, his Tonka truck set, blowing the seeds off dandelions, picking “flowers” for me and Michael, riding his bike, throwing stuff, playing on the slide, running away from his parents while shrieking with laughter, stealing the phone, tickling and being tickled, singing, teddy (now called Ted), his stuffed dog (now called Darcy), playing music.

Likes: Cheese, tomato sauce, fish and chips, lollies, junk food in general, ice cream, his grandparents, his cousin Liam, staying up late, airplanes, trains, trucks, bulldozers, rubbish trucks, dump trucks, cement trucks, big trucks, little trucks, tractors, motorbikes.

Dislikes: being caught after running away, being tipped upside down, turning off the TV, going to bed, waking up.

Words he says: More than enough: “Daddy, open the gate for me?”; “What’s doing?”; “Hey! What happened a my teddy?”; “What’s gonna happen now?”; “Daddy sad today”; Where’s Grandad gone?”; “Wanna get up now!”; “Want say hello on the phone”; “Happy birthday cake” and a zillion more grownup things. Also heard to say “Crikey!” and “Oh my God!”

Stuff he does: drives the car; helps with the laundry; runs his own bath; gets out of the car (after I undo his harness); checks for cars before crossing the street; helps pay at the shop – hands over the money/card and gets the change/receipt; sits at the table to eat; gets in and out of bed without help; once peed on the potty (woo!); farts really loudly; makes up tickle-chase games; lines up his Tonka trucks in a row and counts them; counts to six (although doesn’t realise he’s supposed to count objects); tries to spell his name; counts down with the microwave; jumps off the furniture; pretends there’s a barracouda in the bath and scares the bejeezus out of himself.

World-domination skills: coming along nicely. However, no longer able to sneak out under the front gate and terrorise the neighbours. Can build a tower eight blocks tall and destroy it in a matter of seconds.

rambling anecdotes

A Variety of Things

Ethan’s talking is coming along in leaps and bounds. He makes good attempts at more complex sentences, strings things together, uses “and” and tries to use “or”. He says “I” for himself but doesn’t yet follow up with “am”. Just now he was asking for a drink of water, and he’s in a parroting mood this morning, so I gave him some options to copy: “I will get it”, “I want to get it”, “I am getting it.” We’ll see if a few repeats of that helps. He’s into naming things still, and incessantly asks everyone, “What’s-a-name?” He asked Michael this morning and I said, “His name’s Michael,” and Ethan replied, “No, name’s Daddy.”

He was building towers yesterday out of wooden blocks and made it to eight. I think he could have gone higher but he didn’t have any more cube-shaped blocks within reach. Then, of course, he knocked them all down. I got him some Duplo blocks (only about a dozen) for Christmas that came with a giraffe, tiger, and zookeeper, so he builds those into a tower and puts the giraffe on top, then puts it on the coffee table and tells us that it’s tall. Well duh.

In baby-related news, Ethan now says “Good morning” to my stomach every morning (with a reminder). I told him back before Christmas that I have a baby in my tummy, and he stuck a finger in my belly button and said, “Baby in the hole?” to which I couldn’t do anything but laugh and say yes. A few days later he tried to pour his milk in my belly button for the baby. I ask him sometimes what the baby’s doing and he says either sleeping or crying. If he says crying, then he gives my stomach a hug and a kiss. It’s very cute.

He’s been asking about going on the airplane a lot. Having no concept of time, it’s hard to explain that we’re not going for another week. I don’t think he’ll be upset once he’s on the plane; he’s far too excited and I’ll try to get him a window to look out of at least while we’re taking off.

Last night we got KFC for tea and I took Ethan through the drive-through. I paid with my eftpos card and Ethan was in the passenger seat, holding out the twenty cents Michael had given him earlier and saying, “I get it!” The man at the window didn’t hear him and Ethan was understandably disappointed. Instead we came home and put the money in his piggy bank for later.

rambling anecdotes

This morning I was sitting in the lounge checking my email, when Ethan came storming through from one end, arms in the air, shouting, “I FLYING! I FLYING”!

Utter hysterics resulted.

rambling anecdotes

“No Pushing Ethan!”

Today we had Plunket group round here, meaning a houselot of toddlers. Very entertaining. Jake, Thomas, Amelia, Mia and Georgina all came to play with you. And I got to gossip with their mothers, so everyone was happy. You, as always, were dissatisfied with the available food options on the table and ate all of Amelia’s lunch (her Dad is a chef, so it’s quite understandable really) and gorged yourself on grapes and Jake’s Twisties.

At one stage you came into the dining room rubbing your head. I asked what happened and you said, “Pat on the head”. So I did. And then you said “Thomas pat on the head”. So I guess Thomas was patting your head and maybe patted a bit too hard. You weren’t upset, though, and explained it very well indeed. Later I saw you tell Amelia off: “No Amelia, no pushing Ethan!” followed by a quick look up at me and, “Amelia push Ethan a-back”. Actually, you were the one backing up into her, but she thought it was funny anyway. You managed to refrain from hitting or pushing for the most part though and I was very pleased with the way you treated your friends. Now we need to work on your sharing skills.

Unfortunately, not long after everyone left, you were tired and grouchy and had a tantrum on the floor and bumped your head quite badly on the corner of the couch. You came up for a cuddle and we put a cold flannel on the bump, but you got very lethargic and clingy so I called the nurse and we’re going in for a quick look when you wake up from your nap. It means I have to check you every now and then to make sure you’re still okay, though. Hopefully it’s all just a combination of tiredness and the shock of bumping your head.

rambling anecdotes

Getting one over on your Ma

Whenever Ethan’s grumpy and wants something I can’t give him, or at least not right away, I can sometimes distract him/cheer him up by saying something ridiculous.

So today, for example Ethan, we were coming back from the dermatologist appointment and you asked for “something to eat”.

Me: Do you want a sandwich?
Ethan: Sandwich!
Me: Do you want…an elephant sandwich?
Ethan: Elephant sandwich!
Me: Do you want…a car sandwich?
Ethan: No.
Me: How about…an octopus sandwich?
Ethan: Octopus sandwich!!
Me: Okay, when we get home I’ll make you an octopus sandwich.

At home…
Me: Okay, cheese sandwich!
Ethan: NO! Octopus sandwich!
Me: …
Ethan: Octopus! OC-TO-PUS!
Me: Well, tell me where to find the octopus. Is he in the…fridge? The cupboard? The freezer?
Ethan: Octopus in the bag! [points]

So we have a bag of sea-themed biscuits/cookies that Ethan’s grandparents bought him, and one of the shapes is, in fact, an octopus. So I made him a cheese, mayo, and octopus sandwich. Now everyone’s happy.

rambling anecdotes

Words Words Words

Ethan: “Mum! Banana?”
Me: “You’ve got a gingerbread man.”
Ethan: “Yes…”
Me: “So eat that!”
Ethan: “No.”

[discovers hole in sock]
Ethan: “Oh! What’s in there?”
Me: “…it’s your toe.”
Ethan: “Hi, toe!” [waves]

[wrapping Liam’s birthday present]
Me: “Who’s this present for?”
Ethan: “Happy birthday!”
Me: “Happy birthday who?”
Ethan: “…Ethan!”

“Banana inna jamas, a coming through…”
“Si-i-i-ingin inna rain, a singing inna rain, atta gorous fee-ing, I happy ‘gain, a waughing a cloud, so dark above, sun inna hah, re-e-eady wuv…”
“Sweepy fish, sweepy fish, swimming inna wa-ter!”
“Itty-bitty spi-der, cwimbing up-a wall” [this one I don’t know, but maybe he means Incy Wincy.]

rambling anecdotes

Stuff and things and grossing out your mother

You have been rather sick lately, for unknown reasons. Two nights in a row you threw up everything after having your bedtime bottle, and then you’ve had nappies in varying degrees of weirdness. Luckily you’ve been happy all the same, and sleeping well enough. If only you’d eat your dinner.

You’re into full-on sentences:
* “Mama Daddy under blanket too?”
* “Oh, what’s in there?”
* “What’s this?” or “Who’s that?”
* “Mama lie down too!”
* “Lie down Mama’s bed?”
* “Want up-a-tree!”

And colours: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and white.

And remembering weird things, too – today we were weeding the garden and you said something about a sleeping buzzy bee in a particular spot. About two months ago we were weeding in that place and there was a bee crawling amidst the weeds and I told you that it was sleepy because it was too early for bees to be out. You’re incredibly good at explaining yourself, except when you wake up from your nap and you’re upset. We still can’t figure out why you wake p crying sometimes, but lots of cuddles helps.

Now you’re sitting on the couch with Dad, watching “Sing-a-Rain, too!” (or Singin’ in the Rain). You can sing along with me for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Pat-a-Cake”, and like to play tickling games on me and Dad, especially “Round and round the garden” and “This little piggy”. And you love hide-and-seek type games, although of course you still think you’re hiding if you can’t see us. Your favourite toy today is a party whistle, the foil kind that unfurls when you blow it. You also like to play the grown-up to your stuffed toys, putting Teddy in the high chair and feeding him, or telling Teddy off for some imagined reason.

The challenge at the moment is persuading you to play more gently with me. We’ve always played fairly physically, and if I’m lying on the floor you like to climb up and pretend my stomach is a bouncy bed. And, er, no.

Lately you’ve been spending a lot of time imitating us. Today you put on my rubber gloves and tried to do the dishes, you helped me weed the garden, and you pushed the mower for Dad (but not when it was going, because it’s too noisy for you). You love pretending to drive the car, rake the gravel, or sweep the driveway. We spent ten minutes yesterday watching the washing in the machine, then you handed me the pegs while I hung it out. It’s incredible, now that I’ve listed them all, how many activities you can do or try to do now.