Unhealthy Sleep Habits, Unhappy...Everybody

Once, when Lu was two and a half, I was bragging to someone at a party (a sweet woman named Kristina) about what a good sleeper Lu was. I  pitied this poor woman, who was pregnant and worried about the fact that she still had to stroll her kid around the block to get it to sleep, and what would she do when the new baby came. Oh, bless your heart, I thought smugly, you not only have created bad sleep habits, but you've also gone and done a super crazy thing like have another baby. God smote me. That very night, my perfect sleeper began escaping from the crib, setting into motion a set of bad sleep habits that it took a good three months to undo.

Fast forward six years (yes, I was crazy enough to have another one) and here I am again (though Milo is a full year older than Lu was when the sleep shenanigans started). I am not sure who I bragged to, but I am being punished. Milo's sleep-related crimes:

Waking up in the middle of the night. We have let him come "sleep" in our bed. He ends up perpendicular to us both, usually with his feet in my ribs. Oh, and he snores which amounts to two men sleeping and snoring and one woman seething.

Waking up at 5. Almost every morning. Like some kind of rooster that says "DADDY, IT'S WAKE UP TIME." We let him in the bed with us and tell him to go back to sleep, it is not wake-up time. Instead he explores our facial orifices and asks every few minutes, in a stage whisper, "IS IT WAKE UP TIME YET?"

Peeing in the bed. This I can forgive, as he is three years old.

Peeing on the bed. As in, removing his pants and underwear and taking a protest piss onto his mattress. After he does it, he will yell, "MOM, I PEED!"

Getting out of bed, turning on the light and playing with his toys. Honestly, if he is quiet, I don't care if he does this. But he can now open the door to his room, the snack drawer, the front door, etc. so this requires a whole new level of Milo-proofing that we are too disorganized to manage.

Being a sleep-deprived jerk. Even the teachers at school have commented on his, er, attitude.

We are all tired. Even Clifford. This has to stop. Do they make pediatric doses of Ambien?

The Chocolate Thief

Me, noticing the chocolate smears around his mouth: "Milo, what are you eating?" Milo, holding out an empty foil wrapper: "Chocolate."

Me: "Where is the chocolate?"

Milo: "In my tummy." Lifts shirt, points to belly button. "See, right here."

Me: "Where was it before?"

Milo: "In my mouth."

Me: "But where did you get it?"

Milo: "My room."

I know he has a stash in his room somewhere, pilfered from the snack drawer. I just haven't found it yet.

Can I Go With You?

I will write a lot about the smart, strange, sweaty world of Hong Kong later this weekend. For now, I can I only write about the through-the-looking-glass-of-the-web-cam-via-skype moments that defined my relationship with my family for the last two weeks. The 13-hour time difference was just right: I woke up just early enough to see them off to bed every night. Jason told the kids they had to say goodnight to the sun so I could say hello to it in the morning. This occasionally worked. Milo got so used to seeing Lauren on the web cam with me that he went from wondering "Where you friend?" (as in, where's that auburn head that normally pops up on Skype?) to asking, "You have Lauwen?"

Jason would just put the computer on the kitchen island so I could watch and hear them play. Milo would do occasional drive-bys to the camera, and when I'd sign off in the mornings to go work or play (so they could go to bed), he'd ask, "Can I go with you?"

Lice. Twice.

When I checked Lu's head on Saturday and found lice AGAIN, I nearly cried. When I found a bug on Milo I actually did. We began the process of lice treatment all over again, only this time, I did what I should have from the start: instead of going for the most expedient, chemical (read: nuclear) option, choose the thorough, non-toxic, actually effective route. Otherwise known as Lesson 1: do whatever Mary Ellen, internet detective, diplomatically suggests you do in the first place. And this new method did work — Lice Ice is this minty, all-natural gel that coats the hair and suffocates the bugs and eggs. Milo enjoyed his menthol mohawk. Lu howled for about 6 of the 9 hours she wore the Lice Ice, offended by the smell, the stiffness and how bad her hair looked. Not that it mattered what she looked like: no one invited the people of the Louse House anywhere on Saturday.

When I washed their hair and combed it out Sunday (Milo sat patiently, as long as I gave him an M&M every 45 seconds), I was confident we'd beaten the bugs.

Until I took Milo back to school Monday. After I casually mentioned to the school director that he'd HAD lice, she marched him up to her office to inspect his head. And found a few nits. Ejected.

That's when I called the Texas Lice Squad, this group of hair hygienists who wear scrubs and magnifying masks and pick the bugs out or your money back. They checked all three of us, found nothing on me, one possible nit on Lu and a handful on Milo. "Pretty clean," they said admiringly, but treated us anyway and charged us $168. Worth every penny and then some. I don't clean my own toilets or my own teeth — why could I be trusted to get these heads clean? Lesson 2: with this and so many other tasks in my life, I should really just hire the experts.

Time Out

Yesterday, Grover was being really naughty. He kept pushing Babar and Milo. Then he had to go to time out. Repeatedly. I only know this because 1) Milo kept tattling on him to me and Jason and 2) I kept walking past the very spot where we put Milo in time out, and poor naughty Grover was flopped there in a blue heap, no doubt contemplating his misdeeds. Or revenge.


The little animal is two today. I really want to write a stupid sentimental post about the joys of being his mother and how he's the most perfect baby ever and I love him so much my ears tingle and couldn't you just put him on a bun. But that's the kind of post that will give people hairballs. And besides, he's no longer a little animal or a baby. Sigh. He's a person, one of my favorite people, which is good because I spend a lot of time with him.

Here's a quick interest inventory for those of you wanting to get to know Milo — the person — better.

Favorite toy: "Guys." Playmobil, Lego, whatever little plastic dudes might be around (all cast-offs from Lu). "Guys" was probably his tenth word and "MY GUYS!!" is his favorite sentence. Which is why, when it came to decorating his cake, I just stuck guys on it, sweetly reminded of when Stacy put a ceiling fan on Jameson's birthday cake because, well, that was his favorite thing. Favorite activities: Arranging guys, driving trains and cars, headbutting, kissing and making up. Best personality traits: charm and persistence. The scene below from today sums it up... Milo, Attempting to Get More Cake Hopefully: More cupcake? Sternly: More cupcake. Coyly: More cupcake? Desperately: MORE CUPCAKE. Fiercely: Want! More! Cupcake! Coyly: More cupcake? Favorite travel destination: Pie's house. As in, EVERY DAY AFTER SCHOOL, "I go Pie house? I go Sy (Solly) house?" Favorite book: the first one third of the first one he chose, followed by the middle third of the other three nearby. He has little patience for books. Favorite accessories: sunglasses, hats and the occasional markered-on mustache (either by self or sister). Oh, and guys, of course.

Once Milo's English is better, we'll have an actual interview. In the meantime, for the fact that I didn't subject you to the post about how he still has one dimple and I see the stars reflecting in his blue eyes like so many dreams, (agghck) you're welcome.

Milostone: 17 months

Ah, Milo. He of the wrinkled nose and sparkling eyes and pink cheeks and really bad attitude. Milo is a man of extremes: either joyful or awful with little in between. Mostly joyful, thankfully. Like when he is a kissing bandit. He kisses all the ladies at school. On the lips. He looks forward to kissing you.

Or when he's grunting any of the 21 words he knows. I try not to dwell on the fact that when Lu was his exact age, she knew over 100 words. He may be able to get by on his looks or that whole kissing thing.

Remember when I didn't want to have another baby?