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Handy Little Helpers

While there’s still an element of novelty about it, I’ve been getting the 2 bigger kids involved in helping to take care of the baby. It keeps them occupied while I’m occupied and the little help they can provide does come in quite useful.

So when I’m giving Finn a bath, I’ll get them to stand around to watch, maybe help fill the tub with water or squeeze a dollop of baby wash onto his body. Or when I’m burping him, I’ll let them help pat his back until they get bored or tired, which is usually like about 5 pats in.

They’ve been enthusiastic about everything except poop-cleaning.

“It’s so gross, later the poo poo come onto my hand,” they’ll say while pretending to gag.

Yesterday, I managed to convince them to just observe while I gave a running commentary on how to clean a poopy diaper. They crowded in real close as I laid out the wet tissues, cotton balls and diaper cream in preparation for THE MOST FASCINATING DIAPER CHANGE EVER.

“Ok, first, we take a wet tissue and fold it into half…”

“Ewww, why is the poop yellow? How come it’s so soft? Baby Finn got diarrhea? It’s so smelly!”

Well, at least they seemed fascinated by the process so mission accomplished.

Finn must have sensed there was an audience because while they were peering at his bottom, he decided to unleash a fresh jet of poop right in their general direction. I managed to block most of it with his soiled diaper as Tru jumped back 3 steps and held his nose in horror. I turned to make sure Kirsten was poop-free and she was gagging involuntarily, making the most priceless series of vomit faces I have ever seen. I think a little vomit must have come back into her mouth in the process.

“Are you ok, princess? The poop didn’t get onto you right?”

She managed to regain some composure, then stomped out of the room muttering “I cannot do this, I’m outta here…”

Maybe I’ll give it some time before their next poop-cleaning lesson.

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An overdose of poop

One of the remarkable things about newborns is the regularity and frequency with which they poop. Like about 8-10 times a day to be exact. Every time I check, there’s almost always a fresh batch baking in the oven.

Finn has set a new record because it’s just 7 days in and I’ve already had to catch poop with my hands twice. When there’s a stream of poop coming right at you midway through a diaper change, there’s no time to think about options. You reach out and block what you can to contain the damage. It was either that or letting it land all over my clothes. Obviously, I choose hands.

With this level of pooping frequency, it’s important to choose the right diaper. Finn has been wearing the new Drypers Soft diapers since he was born and it’s really quite an improvement from the previous version.

Here are some of the things I look for in a newborn diaper.

1. Softness. Everything about a newborn is so babysoft and the last thing you want is to have their bottom chafed by a diaper. Now the Drypers Soft range is exactly that – soft. And cushy. And a little fluffy.

2. Absorbency. It’s a no brainer, unless you want to be cleaning up leaks several times a day. The best part is, not only is it absorbent, there’s a specially designed Stool Lock System TM to draw and secure loose stool away from baby’s skin so just in case I forget a diaper change, most of the poop is stuck to the diaper and not his bottom. I don’t know how that works, but it works.

3. Multiple Fastening tape. Like the Drypers Wee Wee DRY range, the new version of Drypers Soft now come with a Flexi-Tape TM that allows multiple fastening. It’s easy to check his poop status and refasten if it’s all clear. More importantly, removing the tape is quick and quiet so he doesn’t get startled with each diaper change.

4. Design. Ok, this is completely frivolous but a nice design just makes it look extra pretty. Like this.

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Say goodbye to bath-tubbing fun.

I’ve finally thrown out my bathtub. Not the baby or the bathwater, but the entire bathtub.

I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time now, because it’s been accumulating algae and fungus at the bottom from being left on the moist bathroom floor for two years. I know the responsible thing to do is to scrub it and hang it up in a dry place after every bath but that happens up to 4 times a day (2 for each kid) in my house and it just seems like an exercise in futility to keep cleaning it and hanging it up and taking it down when I can just leave it there.

At first, when I was still obsessed with de-germinating every surface my newborn came into contact with, I would scrub the tub at the end of every day. Which turned into once a week, then a month, then never. Now it just sits there on my bathroom floor with its algae and unscrubbable dirt, just taunting me.

The only thing that’s been keeping me from chucking the tub out are these happy moments of peaceful coexistence.

That and the fact that my attempts at making them bathe standing up haven’t been entirely successful. They are like 80-year-olds with arthritis whose legs give way after 30 seconds of standing in the shower and they end up sitting on floor. And they keep harassing me for bath toys because “momma, you can’t expect me to just stand here for 3 whole minutes without any toys, right?”

Last Saturday, during our weekly clean up of the house, we decided it was time to get rid of the tub and replace it with a tiny stool for them to sit on during their bath sessions. My bathroom suddenly looks so HUGE and I don’t have to navigate past a minefield every time I need to pee.

And here’s why a stool is so, so much better a bathtub.

1. In and out in 3 minutes flat.

Bathtubs encourage prolonged soaking. A quickie bath defeats the very point of having a tub full of water to soak in. You spend 5 minutes filling the tub, throwing in bath toys, adding a few drops of that organic bubble bath, and you feel like you need to make it count. But with standing showers, the whole point is to do your thing and get out of there in the shortest time possible.

2. 4 words: Poop in the tub.

This is every bit as EEEEWWW GROSS as it sounds. It’s happened to me enough times to make me hate tub time. Once, it happened during a particularly bubbly bath and I didn’t even notice it until I was pouring the soapy water into the drain when I discovered several brownish lumps which I presume have already disintegrated after having been swirled around for half an hour. This was also after I got them all dried and changed. Immediate re-shower.

3. 4 more words: Pee in the tub.

This could be better or worse than having poop in the tub, depending on how you look at it. The good thing is that pee is always less gross than poop – it’s colorless and mixes fairly well with bath water so much so that you usually can’t tell if it has happened. But not knowing for sure means that there’s always the chance they could be walking around all day with a layer of pee residue.

4. Slimy squirties.

They always make these bath squirties look so cute and colorful and you think of how awesome these would be in the bath, squirting fountains of water in all its majestic glory. But what they don’t tell you is that it is nigh impossible to squeeze out every drop of water from these sneaky little water traps. You’ll either be the sucker who spends 15 minutes squeezing squirties after every bath or the sucker who has a bunch of slimy algae-covered squirties after a month; your choice.

5. Save the earth.

Save water, save the earth. Do I really need to explain this? Didn’t think so.

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The adventures of Captain Poopypants

So I’m a little behind on the toilet training. Which is to say that both kids are still safely clad in their nappies all day and all night. Its not for a lack of trying either, especially since I’m not exactly a huge fan of the diaper-poop-cleaning business.

I’d much prefer to have them to do their stuff straight into the toilet bowl and then just press a little button to see it all disappear like magic.

I’ve read up on all the toilet training techniques and I’ve tried them all. Making Tru sit on the potty, asking him if he needs to go poop, giving him stickers to incentivize successful toilet sessions, but he hates the potty. Every time I put him on the potty, he says “all done” before his rectal muscles even have a chance to contract. So I do what every good parent does – lead by example. I once half-squatted on the potty (I wasn’t sure if it could support my weight and it would be embarrassing to break his potty during my brilliant demonstration) for a good 5 minutes showing him how it’s done and the whole time he was laughing his ass off saying “mommy funny“. So much for leading by example.

I waited for another few months and upgraded him to a training seat over the toilet bowl. This time, he was happy to sit on the training seat for a long time but for all the wrong reasons. He would alternate between yanking out the roll of toilet paper and reaching over to flush the toilet a hundred times because well, it is kind of therapeutic. See, I wouldn’t mind trading a few flushes if he actually managed to do his thing on the training seat but 10 minutes and not a drop. Yeah, trust me, I checked.

Some folks say that the only way is to bite the bullet and let them go diaper-free, which I also tried. So far, all I’ve gotten for my efforts are pee puddles on my floor. Most days, I’m glad to find the puddles because the alternative is to locate the foul-smelling dried patches of pee after 2 days. That’s possibly worse than having to clean poop off the diapers if you ask me.

Anyway, the point is, I think I’m ready to start toilet training. If not, my son will set the record for being the oldest kid clad in diapers five years from now. In other words, what I’m really trying to say is HELPPPPP!! You’re welcome to take my kid over for a week-long toilet training boot camp or if you have a secret toilet training method, let me know and I’ll do it.

Well, except sitting on the potty again. That, I’ve already done thankyouverymuch.

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The curious case of the missing bath toys

You probably already know that I misplace things fairly often.

I’m just talking about the things that I know are missing, because it technically does not count as lost until you need to start looking for it. It could be due to my massive brain that is thinking about 5,000 things at once. Or wait a minute, maybe it’s because I spend my entire day running after two very active toddlers who think it’s funny to hide my stuff, like “let’s see momma grab her hair and charge around the house looking for her car key while we are already FASHIONABLY LATE because THAT’S SO HILARIOUS.”

Again, that’s just the things I know are misplaced. Most of the stuff they hide, I don’t even know I have to begin with. Just the other day, I found $2 in the dustbin. Again. Who knows how much money they’ve chucked into the rubbish bin already? I can’t believe I’m having to sieve through my own rubbish before dunking them down the chute.

Then there’s my bathroom. I call it the Bermuda Triangle. It’s weird because stuff goes in there and just disappears completely. Stuff like bath toys, squirties, toothbrushes (I’ve lost 3 baby toothbrushes to date), non-bath-toys that find their way into the tub because I can’t find any bath toys to keep them occupied in the tub.

For a while, I’ve been having a nagging suspicion that the items in the bathroom are disappearing so I check the kitchen dustbin (nearest to the bathroom) all the time just in case they’re throwing stuff away there, but nothing. So I just leave it at that since mysterious toilet disappearances are not at the top of my list of things to investigate (as opposed to making sure the kids are still alive and not in any mortal danger).

This morning, I had a massive choke in my bathroom and it started to FLOOD. I mean drain water with little poop bits was filling the floor at an alarming rate, threatening to flood my entire kitchen as well. And don’t even get me started on the smell, I can still smell it in my head after scrubbing my hands like 25 times. Obviously I start panicking and screaming for help.

Soon after, toys were coming out of the hole in my bathroom floor, the hole I cover up with a drain cover, without any idea that Tru can open quite easily with his little fingers. I found a pig, a whistle, a squirting thing and a chicken, all slimy and covered in oh gross, I don’t even want to think  about it. Obviously then I start panicking and screaming at Tru for throwing stuff into the toilet drain. At which point he came in and saw the water and toys and thought the entire toilet was a giant bathtub and wanted to start bathing. In the drain water.

It was a good move though, because I forgot about yelling at him for the toy-throwing and started yelling at him for being all disgusting and gross.

I think it’s time to start looking for a plumber, but I know whichever plumber unfortunate enough to take the job is going to give me the evil eye once they discover the slime-covered toys in the drain. I have a feeling there’s a lot more where those came from. AND IT’S NOT EVEN MY FAULT. Gah!

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Hang on while I allow myself to wallow

Ever wish you could redo certain days all over again? I try not to go into that mode because I’m all about carpe diem and hakuna matata. Life ain’t perfect, we make mistakes, we learn, move on, I get that. But it doesn’t stop me from wishing I could have a do-over sometimes. Especially now that I’m a mom, I feel like I have less room for error because I don’t just affect me when I mess up.

I was planning to have a happy post today but I’m just feeling a little bummed from last night, so indulge me. Normal programming will resume tomorrow.

Since the last time they were sick, the kids have been waking up several times every night, wanting to migrate to our bed. We thought it was a phase that would pass on its own, but it’s just been getting worse. Mostly, Tru wakes up screaming for milk and mommy’s pillow, which wakes Kirsten up and that’s when the fun begins. Just when I was starting to enjoy my uninterrupted sleep at night.

At first, we caved and let them sleep on our bed because it was the easiest way to make them go back to sleep, but it was a temporary solution which resulted in terrible sleep for us anyway. The past few nights, we decided it was time to retrain them to sleep in their own room. This was a far more difficult process which involved a good hour of resistance before they would fall back asleep. We also decided to cut out the midnight milk feeds because it was more of a comfort snack than a hunger cue. In fact, most of the time, they would drink 2 ounces and refuse the rest.

Every night, we would wait for the dreaded screamfest to begin and like clockwork, they gladly delivered.

Last night, it was more of the same. I was stoned out of my mind and I slowly shuffled my feet into their room, obviously in a less-than-spritely mood. My strategy was simple. Kirsten was the easy one, she usually fell back sleep within 5 minutes of patting and then all I had to do was sit and wait for Tru to toss and turn for the next 45 minutes.

Except that this time, baby girl was the one screaming and refusing to sleep. I tried singing, whispering, humming, patting, carrying, rocking and none of it worked.

30 minutes in, I was like “baby girl, this is very bad. You got to help me here, I need to see you TRY.” She closed her eyes for a minute, grabbed her duck and started whimpering. Ok, some progress, I thought. But this went on for a while, and my back was numb from all that bending over her cot. Finally I picked her up, brought her over to Kel and went out to make her milk.

Good thing daddy had the sense to check her diaper because her poop as all caked up and her ass was bleeding from nappy rash. I mean, there were real specks of blood and it was red as a baboon’s bottom.

daddy knows best

The feeling I had when I came back into the room was possibly the worst I’ve ever felt. It was a total rookie mistake. Always check for poop first, but I didn’t, I got careless. There I was, patting her bleeding bum, and all upset because it wasn’t working. Worst thing was, baby girl really tried, just like I asked. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep even though her ass was on fire. Seriously, if there as blood coming out from my ass, I wouldn’t be as obliging.

After we cleaned her up, I held her and told her momma was real sorry. I think she understood because she grabbed my finger tightly with her tiny hands and fell asleep.

Of all the dumbass things I’ve done in my life, I think this easily makes it to the top. So excuse me, I need to wallow and feel awful for just a little while more.

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Hot water is surprisingly handy in sticky situations

One of the things I do best is improvisation. Problem solving, I like to call it. Now that I’m unemployed, it’s the only thing that makes me feel useful.

Like the other night our kitchen was invaded by a mutant lizard and the husband said it was too high to catch so I formulated a plan to terminate its miserable life. He loaded up a water pistol and armed himself with a glass of boiling water. The plan was to shoot it and when it falls off, douse it with the boiling water. Hasta la vista, baby.

Ok, so the hot water didn’t kill it like we planned and it escaped into the air con vent in the living room but it was pretty much fatally wounded so I have a feeling it crawled in there to die. Which counts for a win. I’ll improvise again when a foul smell starts coming out from my air con in a few weeks.

The only thing about improvising as opposed to advanced planning is that you end up winging it a lot. And your instincts take over so you end up doing stuff that seemed ingenious at that time but on retrospect seems like the sort of thing an airhead would do. You know the feeling you get at the precise moment where you do something and realize that it was massively moronic but it’s already done and you can’t undo it. Yeah, that feeling. I get that a lot.

See, I have 1 rule when the kids are sleeping. #1. Never wake a sleeping baby. Even if that means you have to hold in your pee and tiptoe around the house, you do it.

So when I was all out of wet wipes and Kirsten did the number 2, there was no way I was going to risk going into the room to get a new pack and wake Tru up. My other option was to wash her bottom at the basin direct without first scraping off the residual poop. On hindsight, I should have used normal tissue soaked in water but it was too much of a hassle.

Next thing I knew, there was a large piece of semi-soft poop lodged in the sink. That was when I grabbed a chopstick from the kitchen to try to poke it into the drain but it made it even more stuck and I was actually spreading the poop all around the sink drain. Flushing water down didn’t seem to work and it was too far in for me to pry it out with my hands.

It was a nice little pickle. I thought of leaving it there for the husband to discover when he got back but I’m responsible so I improvised some more. Hot water is my solution for most problems (like perverts and pests) so I spent 5 minutes pouring hot water into the sink while scraping off crap from the edges. Except that I didn’t anticipate the smell it would cause. Trust me when it say that it is FOUL. Seriously, the smell of boiled poop is exquisite beyond description.

I used to think that becoming a mother automatically makes you all grown up and smart and responsible. Guess not.