Friday, February 25, 2011

Totally worth it

It's things like this that make me realize having 3 kids in less than two years isn't so bad.

And the change of clothes for all three was totally worth it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I think the kids know when Billy is on an overseas business trip because that seems to be the time when they do new, and often naughty, things. This time, Sebastian is the culprit. New (and naughty) behavior: crib escaping.

It started (and ended, actually) on Sunday morning. I went into their room and saw that Sebastian's crib was empty which could only mean one thing. He finally realized he can climb out of his crib. I have known for a little while that he is physically capable of doing it, even while still in his sleep sack. Both he and Collette use toddler sleep sacks that have special foot holes. Also, the sleep sacks are on the long side for Sebastian, who is short for his age. So, the sleep sack still gives him plenty of mobility, being so big. However, I was hoping he would just take for granted that he had to stay in his crib and not realize that "hey, I can just climb out of this stupid thing and do whatever I want!" So much for that.

I called Billy (who was in Beijing at the time - he has since made his way to Kuala Lumpur) and told him what happened. I told him what our options were: get crib tents, use the travel beds we already have, switch him to a toddler bed (shudder). Then I remembered one other suggestion I heard from someone in my mother of twins club, not sure who or when but it was filed away in my brain for this very moment. This person had taken out the bottom of the crib that hold up the mattress and simply put the mattress on the floor but within the crib. This only works if your crib sides come close enough the ground that the mattress can't be pushed out. Luckily, our crib fit the bill. Billy agreed that we should try that way as it seemed the easiest thing to do. I quickly got to work removing the support platform and put the mattress back in on the floor. This gave us about 8 extra inches of depth and now Sebastian's head barely reaches past the crib side.

Now I'm just waiting for Collette to make her escape. It's fine though. I'm ready!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sometimes I forget my "mothering style"

Billy left on Friday for a 15 day business trip to Asia. As luck would have it, the Aunties are also away for the long weekend, living it up in NYC. Usually weekends are family time for us so this weekend was pretty slow, what with no one around.

During the week, when I know I will be alone with my kids around the clock for 4 days, I make a point to be really busy. Especially doing social activities. For me, this is really necessary because I get easily worn out when I don't see and talk to other people. Well, adult people. This is part of my personality type, as outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This is the personality test used in a very enlightening parenting book, Mother Styles.

According to Mother Styles, my mothering style is ESTJ. However, I am extremely E, or extroverted. What that means for me as a mother is that being home with kids all day will drain me and adult interaction will give me energy. That's the reason why, even when my kids take a nice long naps, sleep all night and behave like angels (ha!), I will still feel exhausted if I have been all alone for days. Extroverts get their energy from being with (adult) others and that's me to a T.

Being alone all weekend has been really hard for me. It's my own fault - I have known for quite some time that Billy and my sisters would be gone this week and neglected to make any plans. I just forgot how stressed I get when I don't have any grownups to talk to. Friday afternoon was fine. Saturday was OK. This morning, eh. By this evening, I was ready to throw myself off a bridge. The kids weren't being particularly bad. I just had so little patience by that point. And I knew it was me - my "gas tank" was empty.

Tomorrow we're back to our normal routines and hopefully that will help me recharge after a very draining couple days. As for now, early bedtime for mommy. :)

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Decision Made

We settled on a preschool, choosing to go with the first preschool. This is the one that is more of a typical preschool, run by the town's recreation department, not the daycare center one. Something I didn't mention in the last post was that this is a one year thing. For the following year, we will be applying to the public preschool lottery which is in the same building as their future elementary school. That program is 5 days/week. If we don't get in, we will look at other 5 day programs, probably in a Montessori type setting. Here were our biggest reasons for choosing this school despite the fact that the hours are shorter and its not as close to our house (but still just 5 minutes away):

  1. Cost. That one's for you Auntie Kim :) I know it's bad form to talk about money but I think that's stupid. So, I'll give you some numbers. Preschool A is $1,800/yr/kid. Preschool B is $4,650/yr/kid. Now remember, I have two kids. So, this was a $5,700 decision. If Preschool B had been so much better than preschool A, it may have been worth it. But we know that we'll still have two more years of preschool to pay for after this so we figured we shouldn't spend to much this first year if possible.
  2. Schedule. As someone pointed out to me, when you choose the days you go, there is the chance that you might miss things because they happen on teh days you are not there. For example, I'd be really sad if they missed the animal guy, or the firefighter, because it was on Monday and not a Tuesday. With Preschool A, this isn't an issue because there is no choosing - its simply a 2 day schedule.
  3. Logistics. Drop off and pick up at Preschool is much better than at Preschool B. At Preschool A, someone meets us at the car - I don't even have to get out! At Preschool B, I would have to park my car in a parking lot and walk across a street with 3 kids to get them inside. Then, I would have to go up to the second floor (1.5 flights) to bring them to their classroom, take off their coats/backpacks/etc., all the while keeping any eye on Matteo who can't be in a stroller because there are no elevators to get up there. That sounds awful to me. He will most likely be walking by then and will have zero impulse control. It's a recipe for disaster.
  4. Public school connection. Since this school is in our town (although a bit further than the daycare which is actually in the town next door), they communicate with our public schools and coordinate things like how they teach handwriting. It's a small thing, but it's nice. Somewhat related, most kids in Preschool A will be from our town (its a very small preschool) so they might get to know some future classmates.
So, that's that. We'll be sending them the check in a few weeks. Wow. That was fast.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I didn't want to jinx it

Add ImageThat's at least one reason why my Valentine's Day post is 2 days late. The other being that I am a bad blogger.

Valentine's Day was pretty uneventful this year. No exchanging of gifts. Just a nice dinner out with me and Billy. Cards to one another. Flowers. The kids did some crafts:

Collette's Valentine to Daddy

But it was Sebastian who made this a special Valentine's Day. He gave me the gift of going a whole day without crying. To be honest, I'm not sure if that was the first time or not. But it was the first day that I ever noticed that he didn't cry. So, either way, it was a big deal for me. Maybe he is turning some sort of corner, developmentally. His language is doing much better but he is still progressing at his own, slow pace. Or maybe it's just his age. In which case, I hope this is more of a permanent shift and not just one of those phases. I can deal with crying every so often but everyday, multiple times a day crying fits over (seemingly) meaningless things is hard on me. Oh ya, and him.

By the way, yesterday was also a no-cry day. He almost lost it over a new car puzzle during our EI session but held it together. We'll see how today goes. So far, so good.


On a separate note, thanks for your input on the preschool thing. More on that later.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Am I really writing a post about preschool?

Well, it seems I am. Yesterday I got a call, a day early, that both Sebastian and Collette made the lottery for a local preschool. It's not super competitive so chances are pretty good that you'll get in. But, it does get very good reviews from parents and I liked what I saw at their open house a few weeks ago. This preschool is run by our town's recreation department so is much less expensive than private preschools in the area. For their age (they make the 2y9m cut off by one week!), the program is two mornings a week, 9-11:30.

The only other school we are considering is actually a daycare center. They have a morning program and you can sign up 2, 3, 4 or 5 mornings a week, any days you like. The hours are 8:30-12:30 and I think they do lunch there - we are visiting this afternoon and will get more details then. The idea of having 4 hours just for me and Matteo is quite nice but the cost of this school is way more than double the other. And my guess is that both will be similar in their approach to teaching, learning and discipline.

So, now we have to make a decision. Billy doesn't want money to enter our decision but, true to my nature, I disagree. However, there are some things that concern me about the recreation department preschool (the less expensive one). First, they will have many more holidays and breaks than the daycare preschool because they follow the public school calendar. Also, they don't start until mid-September and they end in mid-June, already shaving off a couple of weeks from the public school calendar. Second, Sebastian and Collette will need to be potty trained by then. This might be a good thing in that it gives us some motivation to get it done. I think Billy especially needs a kick in the pants where potty training is concerned. However, you never know how your kids will react. They both show signs of readiness but Sebastian refuses to even sit on the potty. Who knows when he will feel ready? At least Collette will sit on the potty, albeit briefly and with no successes to date.

The daycare preschool is more convenient - longer hours, fewer holidays, walking distance to our home, no need to rush and potty train the kids (although I hope they are potty trained by then regardless!), we could have them continue school through the summer since its a daycare. But, I'm not sure if that's enough to justify the cost. Plus, there is that fact that, since families can choose their own days, that Sebastian and Collette may not have the same kids in their class on one day as they do the other. Does this even matter?

Advice? Which issues do you think are more important?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Matteo, 6 months old: Milestones galore!

Holy cow - it's been half a year since we got our little Tater Tot. I almost can't believe it (how cliche of me). But it's true. This is another difference I am finding with this one - time is flying. Not sure if its because I'm so busy or because he is just one baby. I definitely never felt this way with the twins. If anything, 6 months felt like way more, not less. Anyway, I have come to the realization that I need to take way more pictures of Matteo because I will certainly forget all this baby bliss.

This past month has been a very busy one for my littlest guy. Here is what he has been up to:
  • Learning to sit up. He is almost 100% there but will tip every once in a while so I like to stay close by.
  • Sleeping unswaddled. He kept breaking free of his swaddle during our trip so when we got home I just ditched it. It required some extra rocking to sleep at first but was a pretty easy transition overall.
  • No longer the smallest. Sometime in January, Matteo surpassed Lola in the weight department, tipping the scales around 19lbs. to Lola's 18.
  • Almost sleeping through the night. During our trip, he got in the bad habit of waking up twice at night (around 1 or 2 am and again at 5am). Luckily, I was able to get him to hold off until 5am (no 2am feeding) with minimal crying, just some hourly fussing. Now, he makes it until 5am without a problem and I feed him just so I can get a little bit more sleep. But even that 10pm - 5am stretch has been so lovely.
  • Playing with toys. This past month has been great for him in terms of grabbing, shaking and chewing his toys. A lot of it goes hand in hand with sitting up. he likes to sit and just pick up what ever is in front of him and investigate it.
  • Rolling. He has only done it a few times but at least he has done it. Just back to belly so far.
Here's his chair picture, which is actually a couch picture that my sister took. But at least we got a shot of him on the actual day (yesterday, February 3).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Silver Lining

In case you didn't know, New England is getting it's ass handed to it by Mother Nature this winter. I know lots of people who love the snow but most of them own skis and have no small children. For the Soto familia, the snow and cold is just one big PITA. Driving sucks, getting dressed for outings is like launching a military operation and the stomach bugs are cycling their way through every house. Ours has been no exception.

The weekend before last we we're hit with the 5-day bug. Sebastian got it first, then Collette, then me. The laundry was never ending and I have now seen every episode ever of Caillou.

Although being sick and taking care of pukey, poopy kids really bites, there was one BIG silver lining for me.

As I was tucking Colie in after yet another nighttime puke and clean up, I told her I loved her and, like it was the most normal thing in the world, she said " Love you, mommy.". That was the first time she ever said that - a moment of vulnerability she doesn't usually show when she is healthy.

It totally made this miserable weather and sickness worth it.

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