It?s All About the Teeth

In our house, we?re all about teeth right now. As you probably guessed from the title, Dominic is teething. We?re talking screaming, trying to eat people?s hands off their arms and biting everything he can reach with surprising viciousness. Yup, my littlest munchkin would make an awesome zombie. In fact, I don?t think he even needs teeth, his gums seem to be just fine for gnawing on stuff. (the awesome wooden teething ring my dad made for Dominic is suddenly coming in very handy!)

BUT, he?s not the only one teething around here. Oh no, I have a house full of kids who are popping out teeth. Dorian had four loose teeth a few weeks ago and has managed to lose two of them. One is really, really lost, he must have swallowed it in his sleep, because he woke up and it was gone. The other came out two days ago. And he has two top teeth about to come out, but in the meantime, they?ve just scooted waaaaaaaaay over to one side of his mouth so he has this big gap on the top that looks like he already lost a tooth. There?s a good reason he?s a bit anxious over the thought of having all his teeth fall out, with three big holes in his mouth at this point.

And then we have Dante. Dante, who, while screaming with his mouth wide open the other day, allowed me a nice view of the inside of his mouth, where I saw a big tooth pushing up behind his bottom ones. Uh . . . I didn?t realize he was ready, too. I checked his front teeth, but they were in there nice and solid. So, I started to worry, like a good over-anxious mother, about having to pull his other teeth to make room for the giant behind them. It was all for naught . . . not one, but BOTH of his front, bottom teeth are now loose. He?s excited.

Now the race is on. Who will lose two baby teeth first? Will Dominic get his teeth before his brothers get their second sets? Da da da dah!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 43

Dorian: ?Mama, we should call the señor.?

Me: ?What señor??

Dorian: ?The one who buys teeth.?

Me: ?What? Are you talking about the tooth fairy??

Dorian: ?Yeah, I?m losing a lot of teeth and I?d like to get some money for them.?

For the record, we don?t do the tooth fairy around here, but a friend of mine told him he should tell me to pay him for the teeth.

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Dante: ?Here?s a letter for you.? hands me a paper with scribbles.

Me: ?Thanks!?

Dante: ?It says ?Mama? and here it says ?Dante is gorgeous?.?

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Dorian: ?Dominic is saying, ?Cereal! I want cereal! No MORE MILK!??

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Dorian: ?What?s Dominic?s other name? Like I?m Dorian Gabriel and Dante is Dante Luka. What?s Dominic??

Me: ?Dominic Cruz.?

Dorian: ?So we could call him Cruz if we wanted??

Me: ?Yes.?

Dante: ?And he?s not Hernandez Davies like me??

Me: ?Yes, he?s Dominic Cruz Hernandez Davies.?

Dante: ?I think he should be Dominic Luka. I like Luka.?

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Dante: ?I?m HUNGRY!?

Me: ?I don?t have any food, we have to go shopping.?

Dante: ?Yeah, you only have chichi (milk) for Dominic.?

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Dorian: ?There?s blood where my tooth came out. I could die from losing my teeth and bleeding.?

Me: ?You have to lose a lot more blood than that to die.?

Dorian: ?But if ALL my teeth fell out right now, I would die.?

Me: ?No. That wouldn?t kill you either.?

Dorian: ?What happens if all my teeth fall out??

Me: ?You won?t be able to eat.?

Dorian: ?Yeah, I?d have to drink chichi like Dominic!?

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Dorian: after beating me in Mario Party 8 by stealing my gems ?I win again!?

Me: ?Yeah, by stealing from your mother. You should be ashamed of yourself!?

Dorian: ?I don?t know what ashamed means.?

Me: ?It means you should be embarrassed by your actions.?

Dorian: ?YOU should be embarrassed for losing so badly!?

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Dorian was running in and out of the house the other day, asking for orange slices and taking them outside on a plate, then coming back for more. A little later, he came in with some quetzales in his hand.

Me: ?Where?d you get that money??

Dorian: ?From Zanelle and Saul.?

Me: ?Dorian! Why do you have their money??

Dorian: ?I told them it?s one quetzal for oranges. They can have as many as they want. And they gave me two quetzales.?

He used his earnings to buy chocobananos for himself and Dante.

Three Months Old

Can you believe it?s been THREE whole months since this little person entered the world?

He?s such a happy little guy, always smiling and giggling at us!

Some people comment on how ?skinny? he is, but I think he?s just right. He?s outgrown his sleepers and is on to 6 and 12 month sizes now . . . I have to go shopping for new stuff for him already!

His favorite thing to do right now is try to sit up while talking earnestly to his big brothers. He also loves taking car trips and is quite content in his car seat with a loving audience of two big brothers.

He just learned how to yell. And he likes it. Now, if someone is bugging him, he lets out a loud shout to tell them to back off!

He recently discovered hands and feet and now he spends much of his time examining them and trying to chew on them. It doesn?t matter if they?re his own or someone else?s, into the mouth they must go!

Practical Reading

Dorian has been rather reluctant to actually apply his ability to read outside of his schoolbooks. He?s just reached the point where he can reasonably read most instructions in his workbooks, but he frequently complains that he?s not good enough at it. I tell him to practice . . . and this morning, he did!

I had been up since midnight with Dominic, so I was relaxing in bed, feeding the baby and watching Survivor and the boys were out in the kitchen. When I went out, they told me that they were making Chantilly for breakfast. That?s a whipped dessert topping, for those not familiar with it. I had a package mix that Dante had wanted to eat for several days and we made Jello last night to eat with it, but I hadn?t made the chantilly yet.

?Mama, we?re making the recipe on the back of the packet,? Dorian told me when I came out to see what they were up to. ?But I think it?s not working. It says to put 3 cups of milk, but maybe that?s too much.?

?THREE cups?? I knew it wasn?t that much! When I looked, it said 3/4 cups of milk. Since he hasn?t learned to read fractions yet, he just took the first number. Whoops!

They enjoyed their chantilly soup anyway.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 42

Danteto Dorian ?Do you know what I?m thinking? No, you don?t, so leave me alone!?
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Dante: ?Mama, that Zanelle is unacceptable!?

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Dorianto Dominic after I smothered him in kisses ?Mama?s kinda kissy, isn?t she??

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Dante: ?Mama! We just found Tiki lanterns! Zanelle grabbed one and I saw it and it?s a bug and it?s bum has light, like woooom wooooom woooom.? demonstrates flashing light with hand.

Me: ?You mean a lightening bug??

Dante: ?No, a Tiki lantern!?

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Dante: ?I was so scared, Mama! An airplane was falling on me and gonna squish me, but Zanelle grabbed the wheel and kept it up.?

Me: ?How big was this airplane??

Dante: ?Like this.? demonstrates a size about 2 inches high.

Me: ?I don?t think that would squish you . . . ?

Dante: ?It could cut off my fingers and then I would say, ?Dorian, please go tell Mama I have no fingers.? And then I would take my fingers and put them back on.?

Me: ?How about we just avoid anything that might chop off your fingers??

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Dorian: ?Mama, I just saw Saul and he picked up a rock and he saw a bird and he threw the rock at the bird! And the bird fell down! He hit it in the wings.?

Me: ?What? That?s very mean!?

Dorian: ?Saul will never do that again.?

Me: ?What did you say to him??

Dorian: ?I said, ?That?s NOT COOL! Don?t you do that ever again!? and he said he wouldn?t.?

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Dante: ?I?m hungry!?

Me: ?I don?t have any food right now.?

Dante: ?Yeah, just boobs for Dominic.?2

Post Partum Depression: What It?s Not Like

I am in love with Dominic. I wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning with him, change him and lie down to nurse him again. We snuggle up together, just the two of us in our own little cocoon of sleepiness until around 5, when the milk runs out. He looks up at me and smiles and coos and I tell him I love him and breathe in that perfect baby scent and revel in the softness of his skin and his cute little mouth puckering to make new sounds, his eyes bright with excitement over being able to communicate, however simply, with his mama.

Dominic is a mama?s boy through and through. He will tolerate others for a short period of time, but really, he just wants me to hold him all day. And I kinda want to hold him all day, too. My moments of frustration come after nights of no sleep, when the big boys are fighting and the baby is colicky and things are out of control. But they?re short lived and I am still loving life.

Since having Dominic, I?ve had moments where I feel like I can?t do this, be a mom to three children. Like I?m stuck in my chair, feeding a baby, 24-7. But they?re just that, moments, and they pass and everything is good again.

What a difference from my first two.

With Dorian, I actually had pre-partum depression, which started around 38 weeks, when I was hugely pregnant, pre-eclamptic and at that point when most women are ready to throw in the towel on the whole baby business. I was feeling pretty down in the dumps for the last month or so of the pregnancy and when he was finally born and it turned out he had problems, even the after birth high couldn?t help me. I went through the first 8 days like a robot, doing everything I needed to do to get my baby home, but not feeling like he was really mine. And when he did come home with the colostomy and reflux and only sleeping 20 minutes at a time, with everyone around me coming down on me for being a bad mother, blaming me for his birth defect, for not being able to breastfeed and any number of other things, my depression grew. It wasn?t something you could just chalk up to post-baby blues or hormones getting flushed out of the system. I was officially depressed.

When I found out I was pregnant with Dante when Dorian was just 7 months old, I spiraled even further into depression. I wasn?t ready to handle another baby. I felt horribly guilty that Dorian would only have a little over a year with us as an only child before we would tear his world apart.

Then my second baby came into the world and things went from bad to worse. Dorian hated the baby and did everything he could to hurt him or me. While Dante was super tranquil for the first three months, I wasn?t. I cried daily. I cried because I didn?t want to breastfeed . . . and because I did want to but didn?t have enough milk. I cried because Dorian was unhappy. I cried because I was unhappy. I seriously considered leaving Irving with the boys, because I didn?t think I could be a decent parent at all to them. My in-laws came and took Dante away because they said I couldn?t handle two children and Dorian was too badly behaved for them to handle. Irving was working a lot during those first years, so I felt like I had no support, especially since my best and only friend had moved back to Australia when I was 8 months pregnant with Dante.

I finally did see a doctor about my depression, because Irving was worried that things were getting out of control. I was given anti-depressants and when they finally kicked in . . . things changed. I could finally see my boys in a different light. They were blessings, not angry creatures trying to make me go crazy.

You?re supposed to be happy after having a baby. Love your baby and want to spend your time with him. Be excited about the possibilities ahead of you and your child. But when you suffer from post-partum depression, all of that is just gone. Instead of sunshine with the occasional rain shower, you have thunderstorms that turn everything dark, all the time. You don?t want to see anyone or leave the house (unless it?s to get away from the screaming infant that you can?t soothe, making you feel like an even worse failure) and you feel guilty about the way you feel. So you hide it. Until it can?t be hidden anymore.

I never realized just what I missed with Dorian and Dante in their first year until I had Dominic. Now I?m realizing that I lost so much with them. I didn?t enjoy those snuggles and the midnight smiles and the fussing that meant they wanted to be close to me, because I?m their mother. Those moments are long gone and I?ll never get them back. Today, I enjoy what I do have with them, the excited words-tumbling-over-words explanations of a game or event, the over the top joy when they achieve a goal or learn a new skill. But most of all, I?m enjoying discovering that babies can be amazing and sweet and wonderful. Not that we don?t have bad days, because we most certainly do! Those days, though, are surrounded by good days and that?s something I hope more moms get because they asked for help when they realized things weren?t going well.

Postpartum depression is real and it sucks. I never imagined that I could be this happy with a baby, because it never happened before and while I realized that I wasn?t up to par with the first two boys, I didn?t realize just how bad it was until I didn?t have PPD with Dominic.

What We?re Eating

While we aren?t strictly dieting (going too low in calories caused what little milk I had to go AWOL, so we?re back to healthy eating rather than dieting), we are doing very well with eating healthily. Here are a few of the dishes we?ve had lately. (I?ll link them up if and when I put the recipe on Gourmet Mama).

Breakfast

Poached eggs on a tortilla with tomato sauce and soy cheese.

Green smoothie. I vary the fruit used in these, but the usual is a couple of bananas with strawberries or pineapple and some spinach. The liquid is milk and/or yogurt and I usually toss in a little cinnamon for good measure. These are particularly delicious!

Lunch

Pesto Chicken Quesadilla and salad.

Pesto Lentil Patties with salad.

Pesto Chicken Wrap (can you see a theme here?).

Chicken Salad (without pesto!)

Supper

Chicken, spice rub eggplant steaks and salad with salt and lime. As you can see, I like to use a LOT of herbs on my food to give it flavor. I really need to get my herb garden going because I spend a lot on things like basil, oregano and garlic.

Beef with Portabello Mushrooms and Salad.

Green beans, chicken and green peppers . . . with pesto dipping sauce!

Whole wheat pasta, Pesto Layered Eggplant, peppers and Vegetarian Meatloaf Cupcakes.

What are your favorite healthy eats?

Curious George and the Zombies

So, today was Dante?s birthday and somehow I got confused and thought it was tomorrow and so on Monday, I thought I had lots of time to make the cake until that evening when I realized I had just one day to make it all happen. Oops.

I got up on Tuesday after a long night of no sleep, feeling worn out and fuzzier than usual. I literally had problems reading recipes. Nonetheless, I made an orange cake and a banana cake and slapped them together with some chocolate orange frosting and since I had no time for a crumb layer, iced the whole thing in yellow and then stuck it in the fridge. While the kids played, I was busy sculpting zombies out of the leftover fondant packets that my sister left us. I only had green and orange, so I used food coloring to change things up a bit.

When the kids were in bed, I iced George. My icing bag lasted just long enough to get the outline done and then it burst. Yay. I used a sandwich bag with the corner cut out to fill in the remaining spaces and then smoothed them with a spoon. It didn?t turn out half bad!

To get George?s face right, I traced him onto a piece of paper, cut the main shape out and used a pin to draw it in the icing. Then I cut away each section and traced the remaining shapes onto the cake and then outlined them with black icing.

Finally, the zombies were placed. I used pins to hold them in place, but by morning, they had slid down the cake, leaving an interesting trail of black goo .. . er, I mean icing.

Needless to say, the birthday boy was thoroughly excited when he saw the cake he?d dreamed up in real life! While I think George turned out fine, I really am not that thrilled with the zombies, but the boys loved them, so it?s all good.