The Great Room Sharing Experiment

This is either a stroke of genius or the worst idea my wife and I have ever had. We are four nights in and what this will ultimately look like is impossible to imagine. In this moment it looks like chaos. Some of that chaos is likely attributable to a few factors that we really should have considered.

1. Yogi is no longer among the napping. We had initially counted this among the pros as there would be no opportunity for mutual napping shenanigans with only one napper. This is true, but it introduces another wrinkle. Yogi is dropping his nap. Present tense. He hasn’t dropped it, he’s just in the process. This means that he’s mostly ok without those extra hours, but sometimes he’s not. Every minute after 5 o clock on those exceptional days life is miserable. For everyone. Which makes our new two-boy bedroom routine even dicier.

2. We’re creating a new bedtime routine. This involves getting things started a little earlier for Yogi and a little later for the Monk. It also involves reading stories as a family (previously we had paired off) and that isn’t so easy. Everyone wants to sit in the lap of the storyteller and no one wants to share their seat. Additionally Monkey doesn’t want to take the book at a standard pace and he’d really rather not move in a linear fashion at all. Yogi finds this deeply offensive. It’s not exactly the relaxing send off that we were going for.

3. We decided to take the plunge during the time change. This was just nuts and further evidence of my lack of attention to detail. I’m trying to convince myself that we’re saving ourselves future headache by shaking everything up all at once, but so far the argument lacks conviction. Mostly because everyone in this house was out of bed and going about their business by 5 this morning.

I should also mention that my chaos threshold is extremely low, so in reality all of this is going fine. So far the two things that we were the most concerned about are not happening. They aren’t keeping each other awake for hours after bedtime and when one of them wakes in the night it doesn’t seem to disturb the other. So clearly we had a rough night and an early morning and I’m catastrophizing. It’s what I do best actually. I think I need a nap….

The Farmer & The Barnyard Dog

Life with children just amplifies everything, doesn’t it? Whatever there was before, now there’s more of it. More joy, more worry, more chaos, more, more, more. Well, except sleep and sex. There is not more of that, but I digress. I’m trying to talk about Halloween. I thought Halloween was pretty fabulous before kids, but now I’m hooked. Perhaps it’s the social psychologist in me, but a culturally sanctioned opportunity to play with a new identity is brilliant. Looking for a little more power? Be a superhero for the evening. Eager for competence? Be a doctor. There’s no harm in it. It’s just good clean fun. Plus there’s candy.

This year Halloween lasted an entire week at our house. We kicked off the week with a Monday morning party with our playgroup that was both fun and almost painfully cute. The party was attended by two pumpkins, a pirate, Curious George, a fairy princess and one small Superman. In addition to friends there were the kind of Pinterest-y snacks that in spite of their cuteness I will never actually get around to making. Again with the village. Thanks to other Moms my children get to experience craftiness. Go team!



On Wednesday our central library hosts a party with a Halloween themed story time and trick or treating with the librarians. The boys loved wearing their costumes and seeing their favorite puppets dressed up alongside them. Yogi is still laughing about it. It’s pretty packed, but it’s been a good introduction to trick or treating. Familiar, lighted surroundings and not a candy in sight. Just erasers and whistles and book-related tattoos. This was our second year and we’ll definitely be back next time.

IMG_1465Halloween was a stormy, howly-wind kind of night for us. Perfect for the holiday, not so perfect for the holiday activity. Our neighborhood decided to postpone until Friday. After the vomit-fest that was Halloween last year, I was a little leery about striking out in the dark with two kids. We live only blocks from one of the trick-or-treating mecca’s in our town which means crowds of people and entirely too many cars. My wife suggested a to-go cup and I was immediately glad she did. Alcohol does help.

Both boys were in rare form. The Monk was focused like a laser on the candy. He knew exactly what it was and what to do with it. While his older brother when handed a pack of Nerds gleefully shouted “Shaker!”, Monkey gnawed through the box before anyone could stop him and downed the whole thing. There is no way of explaining how he understands exactly what to do in novel situations except to imagine that he just feels it in his bones. The Monk knows things, particularly things about food.

Yogi had another focus.


I know! Can you believe it?! And that expression?! What possessed him to do that with his mouth? Admittedly, this little pumpkin is one of his favorite people, but this was a little much. He grabbed her hand as soon as we spotted her family in the crowd and they took the houses as a team. Yogi appeared considerably more enthusiastic about the hand-holding then she did, but she didn’t resist. They helped each other navigate tricky steps and agreed entirely on which houses to pursue and which ones to skip. It’s wonderful to be surprised by your children, but it’s also unsettling. Who are these people? Hoping I’ve got a long time to work on figuring that one out.

This Moment

  • I just made a smoothie with mango, basil and cinnamon and I’ve got 30 minutes until I pick up the boys from school. At drop off this morning, no one cried. All of this means, life is good.
  • My wife has begun making a list of the things we need to do before the new baby comes. No one is pregnant.  I am thinking this list is not hypothetical. It may even exist somewhere on paper.
  • After falling hard for his voice as a high schooler I will soon be in the same room with Pat Conroy. I can hardly believe it myself. I get to hear the man read. In person.
  • It’s Halloween and not even the impending rain can dampen my excitement. I mean, I get to hang with these people.


  • I just finished How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk (Adele Faber) and I’m all in. What an excellent resource. I’m going to start from the beginning and make some notes soon so I don’t forget it all immediately. Cannot recommend this one highly enough.
  • After playing with the idea for years and years, I’ve finally started my own Memoir book club! We’re starting with Abigail Thomas’s A Three Dog Life.
  • Although their shirt sizes have some spread, the boys are very close to the same pants size. Oh Yogi, my sub 30 lb three-year old.
  • Potty training has proven itself an effective strategy for facing not just Yogi’s shit, but my own. Struggle is a generous giver, isn’t it? More on this soon.
  • We’ve got letters on the brain around here. Yogi is very enthusiastic about each and every Y he encounters. All this wordiness just makes my heart sing.
  • We have moved a pack and play into Yogi’s room. For Monkey. The new set-up happened yesterday and we’re looking at a mid-week kick-off. Room sharing here we come. Intimated by the potential for chaos, but excited. Mostly excited. For now.

The Boys Want to Read You a Story

My boys are reading!!!! Well, they’re not actually reading but they’re making their way and it’s a wonderful thing. If you need a little cute today, check these boys out.

The Monk using his very favorite word

Yogi reading in his “story time” chair at Nana and Pop’s house. This is the book that inspired Halloween costumes this year. Yogi is a Farmer and the Monk is his Barnyard Dog. There is lots and lots of twirling going on.

Reading in a Dump Truck

I’m enjoying my Sunday AM coffee shop date with myself, strolling back through recent posts when I noticed something.  Where is Yogi?  I haven’t posted a picture of the boy in entirely too long.  The larger problem is that I haven’t taken a picture of the boy in way too long.  Bad Mama.  I spend quite a bit of time thinking about how he is growing up so fast and he’s a different boy every day and yet….. I’m not taking pictures.  😦  Oh well.  Course correction ahead.
For now, here are some pictures I took recently with the phone on my camera.  Yogi’s grandparents found this nifty little dump truck and he decided that it made the perfect reading nook.  Here he is “reading” one of his tiny board books.  Muzzie taught him how to put his face right into the center and chatter at top volume.  Yogi reads!!!

This is the “I’ve finished my book and now I can’t get out of this thing” face.  Help!!!

Yogi and the Fork

Although I miss the snuggly sweetness of mealtime when he was entirely milk-fed, Yogi with a fork has his own brand of charm.  And yes, I did say Yogi with a fork.  The times they are a changing.

The high chair with tray is waiting patiently in the basement for Monkey and Yogi now sits in the chair that we should have coughed up the money for in the beginning.  It pushes right up to the table and can easily adjust as he grows.  I initially balked at the price (and by balked I mean harassed my wife for the suggestion that we spend that kind of money on a chair for anyone, much less a baby), but now I think that if you can swing it, you’ll be glad you did.  This is the chair and cushion that we chose.

Once we get him in the chair and push him up to the table, it’s on.  As you all know, there were days when I wondered if he would ever eat food that didn’t come through a bottle, but now he eats with gusto.  After reading lots of Montessori theory, we made the decision to forgo plastic kiddie type plates and utensils and Yogi eats on our plates (the small one for salads) and he does what he can with his fork and spoon.  We bought two sets (meaning we have two spoons and two forks) and we just wash them after each meal.  They look something like this when compared to a regular fork:

Most of what he eats is picked up with  his hands, but he plays/works with the fork at every meal.  He likes to pierce the occasional blueberry (bee-bee), cheese square (che) or black bean (bean) with his fork.  The chatter is fairly constant while he eats.  If he’s not actually chewing and swallowing at.that.second, he’s telling you about what’s on his plate or the fact that a car is driving by (cahhh – sounds kind of like a Boston version of the word) or that Baker is coming down the stairs (dah).  The spoon seems to be less compelling, but he can use it fairly smoothly.  He’s much better with it than the fork, but I think it’s not as fun. 

Mealtime with Yogi can be a headache (Really Yogi?  Hand washing is not a torture technique), but it’s also a lot of fun. 

Shake, Rattle & Roll

One thing that will be a welcome change when Monkey arrives is that I will have a relatively passive person to diaper.  It has been quite some time since I’ve experienced a diaper change that felt like something other than the capture of a wild animal.  
It’s about perspective, right?
So, I’ve mentioned in previous months that Yogi believes my request that he stop playing long enough to be changed to be completely unreasonable.  I’ve tried (per your suggestion) to diaper him standing up, but I’m not anywhere near coordinated enough for that.  
That leaves me with one strategy – NEVER STOP PLAYING!  See Yogi, Mama does listen. 😉
What we do now (that actually works) is play on the changing table.  When it’s time for a change I usually ask Yogi to pick a book from the bookshelf and he settles in for a quick story.  It works best if I ask him questions (“Can you find the apple?  Show Mama the bunny.”), but it’s pretty foolproof.  The boy loves to read and it’s a great distraction.
I’m telling you this story today because yesterday we had a game changer.  Yogi’s tambourine was lying on the bookshelf and when it came time for the diaper change he picked it up.  He shake, rattle and rolled his way through the diaper change and this morning when I asked him to pick a book, he dug through his toy chest until he found what he wanted.  The tambourine.  

When he was a newborn and diaper changes were significantly stimulating enough to be considered an activity in his day, I never dreamed of this.