I know i haven't been keeping everyone very up to date. I think i mentioned that i got a promotion at work, which has been great, but even fully staffed i was going to have one less staff person working for me than my old boss had working for him. On top of that, the other FT person quit in September and we're still in the process of replacing him. So, i have my old job to do, the other Research Associate's job, and the new job. It's a lot and i'm busier than i've ever been before which means working many evenings instead of updating all of you.

But, a few quick moments to catch people up. We've had some ups and downs medically with Silas lately. Right now he's got more going on medically than a 23 month old should! He had been referred to an ENT because of persistent fluid in his ears. The next step is tubes-- we have an appointment in 2 weeks to find out how quickly we need to get it scheduled. At the same appointment we found out that Silas has a fungal infection on his head that he got scratched until now it's bacterially infected. So, 10 days of antibiotics and then 8 WEEKS! of antifungal medicine. We also now have to use special shampoo on the bumps.

To top it off, he threw up last night in his crib. I'm not sure what that was about. He hasn't had a fever and has acted normally all day. So we'll keep an eye on him.

Henry is well for now and had another great soccer class. He's getting so good at "trapping" the ball with his foot and generally keeping the ball close to him. I think next week is our last class and then in a few weeks we're going to start a class through the parks district. It will depend what i can get him signed up for but i'm looking at t-ball and a "hit, throw, run" class. Either of which i think he would do well with. He has asked about an art class as well so i'll have to see if that's something i can find for him-- maybe later in the summer.

I'm home for 2 weeks now so i hope to have some pictures sooner or later and some more posts.


We get some expert help...

In the two to three years before i got pregnant with Henry i was what they call "baby crazy." I was obsessed with having a baby and i channeled the delay before we were both ready into reading absolutely everything i could get my hands on. I was still supporting us both while JT went to law school so i read every parenting book in the Chicago library system and pretty much every book on the shelves of the Barnes and Noble-- while nestled into their comfy chairs.

By the time i actually got pregnant, i was basically done with pregnancy books and focused all my efforts on books about infancy, childcare, and toddlers. When Henry was actually born and had his various ailments including colic and sleep troubles-- i read what i could find on those topics as well. Once we thankfully moved on from these i was a bit burned out on reading and for approximately the past 3.5 years i've mostly winged it.

I have a monthly subscription to a parenting magazines so i'm up on the latest child-rearing sound bites. And i have a resident early-childhood expert on speed dial so i wasn't completely out of touch, but mostly we've felt pretty good about being able to tackle what came based on our own ideas and approaches.

But then, in the past several months we started having some real behavioral challenges with Henry. Nothing completely out of the ordinary but unpleasant all the same. He's defiant, easily upset, sometimes sulky and was starting to throw some serious tantrums. I'm a very patient person and i don't have that much of a temper. And yet, i was finding myself irritated a lot and getting angry and even, gasp-- yelling more and more. Between Henry's phase and Silas' normal toddler antics i felt like we just weren't doing the best we could-- for them and us!

So i've checked another round of books out from the library and the first one i read; "Mom I Hate You: Children's Provocative Communication," has proven extremely helpful. The author is a Psychiatrist and the books deals with helping you understand why kids say things that press our buttons and how to deal with these situations in a way that takes power away from provocative statements and teaches them how to behave better. We're experiencing pretty dramatic improvements with Henry just by using some of the initial approaches he suggests. Next up is a book called "Positive Discipline" so i'll let you know how that one goes.


It's how you play the game...

I was talking with a good friend the other day about what we want for our kids-- kind of a big talk but we were focused on just how we're trying to get the important stuff impressed on our kids. For me it's not so much about what but how. Of course there are deeply held values and beliefs i'm trying to pass on to them (primarily in the fields of kindness, respect for our bodies, community and the environment, and thrift) but equally as important to me is that they learn the process of thinking, problem-solving and decision-making.

So although i was thrilled that Obama won and am nothing if not a liberal, we didn't talk a whole lot about who we were supporting around election time. For Henry's first introduction to politics i put the emphasis firmly on the process. What does "election" mean, how do elections work, how does voting work?

Henry accompanied me to the polls and got to participate directly by helping me push the "next" button. As he and Silas get older they'll be able to participate in elections and other civic processes in more advanced ways. Sure, that would be great if we shared political views when they're all grown up, but i'd be happiest if i inculcated an appreciation of democracy and the democratic process.

At the same time i realize 3 going on 4 is an amazing time to lay the groundwork for topics that might come off as "preaching" a bit later. Henry is a sponge and really wants to know about everything. The challenge is how to talk about not smoking, not drinking too much, exercising, helping others, etc. in a way that is age-appropriate and not out of left field. It helps to live in an urban environment where you're shoulder to shoulder with outcomes and actions that you don't really want for your kids. But, i'm always looking for new angles. I figure we've only got another year or two left before all of this brings responses like "oh mom!"