Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Living Up To His Nickname

When we left for the hospital a week and a half ago, we were parents to a sweet, cute, pleasant little boy. Now we are parents to a sweet, cute, pleasant infant and a bossy, angry, disobedient two year-old.

The punk took some time off of being a little tyrant to hang out with his mama in the bathroom during her beautifying routine this morning. The difference between little girls and little boys? A little girl might play with her mom's makeup. A little boy uses his mom's makeup... to build towers on the toilet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rabbit Ears

Remember Jack? Well, his ears fell off.

The end.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

22 No More

It is now hitting me that I am a changed woman. Motherhood has done a number on me.

One of the instances that brought this into sharp focus is the "nipple" conversation my man had with the punk the other day (referenced in my last blog post). When I was first married, I could not say this word. I had probably never said it in my life before the age of 22. As Sarah mentioned in my comments, this word is gross. Yes indeed. I have an aversion to the word "nipple" like my man has to the words "panties" and "moist." But apparently, one can't be a mom - especially a breastfeeding mom - without acknowledging this gross word as part of her anatomy.

You may wonder why the 2 year-old punk even knows this word. I certainly never say it to him, not even in reference to his little brother's eating habits. No, he learned this word months ago from his dad, who thought it important (rather, entertaining) to teach him where his own nipples are. And not only their location, but their sound. Cows say "mooo," pigs say "oink," and the punk's nipples say "wikki-wikki." Incidentally, his belly button says "wooba-wooba." Bet you didn't know body parts could talk!

Actually, if you're a mother of boys, or married to a man, or have ever lived with brothers, you know that body parts make plenty of noises. And that when this happens, these noises must be acknowledged. And celebrated. And that's the unfortunate topic for another day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Name is Asher Bell

Photos by Amy Gretchen

I was scheduled to be induced on Monday, but went into labor on Sunday. After fielding contractions all morning at home, my man and I checked into the hospital at 1:50 pm. Asher Junah Bell was born at 6:18 pm. An hour later, his older brother came to meet him:

The punk has welcomed his baby brother with open arms. We often have to remind him to be soft because he wants to climb all over him to give him hugs and kisses. This morning, he wanted to be especially helpful. When Dad told the punk that he was going to bring the baby to Mom for his breakfast, he offered to help:

"Asher eat MY nipple?"
Dad: "No, Buddy."
Then, wisely, the punk conceded: "Asher eat MOM's nipple."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Patriotic Punk

In order to get my mind off these contractions that are frequent and intense enough to be a big bother, but not regular enough to make the trip to the hospital, I thought I'd share a video with you. The punk and I often recite the Pledge of Allegiance together whenever we see a flag in our travels. Actually, I would recite the Pledge while he joined me in repeating a few of the words at the ends of phrases. So when one day, he spotted a giant waving flag and surprised me by reciting the entire thing, I was quite impressed by my little patriot.

Here, he shows off his skill while enjoying a blueberry pancake with powdered sugar and strawberries. I guess the red, white & blue breakfast was catalyst enough!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The punk and I took a misguided trip to the park this morning on the way home from the doctor's office. Granted, it isn't shiny and warm, but I figured if we came prepared with jackets (and pretzels), we would be able to kill an hour. As soon as we arrived on the playground, I discovered that the slides ended in pools of ice water. I guess 38 degrees isn't going to cut it. So we meandered back to the car with the promise of being able to play in the backyard.

On the way to the parking lot, the punk made a fascinating discovery: "Oooooooooh! Wooooooorrrrrms!" There were millions of them and he anxiously examined each one, being careful not to step on any of them. (I didn't bother to tell him they were already dead.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Punk #2

The punk's online nickname was a bit of an accident. When I started writing about him, I called him several different things: Little dude, Little man, Baby Bell. I also called him the punk, and that one stuck over time. Now, because I like the punk's moniker so much, I've been fretting for 9 months over what to call his little brother online. The pressure is on! Here are a few ideas that have been swimming around in my head:

The bean
The goober
The mister
The menace
The hoodlum
The rascal

Please help me! I need your input! Please vote on your favorite here, or suggest a new nickname. The deadline is looming! 7 days and counting...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

12of12: March (Saturday)

On the 12th of each month, I take 12 photos to document my day. Here's what the 12th of March looked like in the Bell home.

[Click on the block of photos to enlarge.]

1. We finally put the finishing touches on the punk's new big boy room. He now has shelves and a hamper.
2. Sweeping the master bedroom after my man installed our new shelves. We're still working on our finishing touches.
3. The punk gets to watch a cartoon when I get in the shower. Last time I left him to his own devices without the distraction of TV, he biffed it off the fireplace hearth and I had to run out of the bathroom, naked and wet, to rescue him. Today he chose Thomas the Train.
4. Lunch: scrambled eggs, cheddar, and Uncle John's salsa on a toasted sesame bagel. Yum!
5. I wanted to show the size of my 39-week belly so I laid down for this shot. Then the punk came in to join me for the photo shoot.
6. It was overcast and a bit gray today, but warm enough for some park action. Should I have let the punk jump with a stick in his hand?
7. Maternity jeans and cowboy boots.
8. Climbing the spiral.
9. Bringing Up Boys by James C. Dobson
10. My man and I went to the Red Iguana for our last date this century.
11. It was seriously the best Mexican food I've ever had. I found myself making involuntary "yummy" sounds.
12. We returned home in time to enjoy the punk's nightly bath/bedtime routine as a family.

Gooooooooood Morning!

I am so happy. So, so happy!

For the past 3 days, the punk has been getting up between 5:30-5:45 am.

Not. Good.

I have never, ever been a morning person. My childhood friends know this. I was always the one at the slumber party who, when everyone else was waking up and whispering, giggling, and getting up to enjoy their Cocoa Puffs, retracted back into my sleeping bag, put my hand over my ears, and huffily went back to sleep until their mom came in with the vacuum. Before I had the punk, a co-worker told me that becoming a mom would turn me into a morning person because the wee hours are the only time a mom has to herself. Not so. Guess what. The hours after the kid goes to bed are precious adult hours too, and I will take the dark stillness of midnight to the dark stillness of 5 am any day.

So, when the punk got up at 5:30 on Wednesday, I led him back into his room, told him it was too early to get up, and went back to bed, only to have him come waltzing back into my room a few minutes later. I figured it was a fluke and wouldn't happen again. Then it happened again on Thursday. And again on Friday. This is not acceptable. I have less than two weeks of life without a newborn and I refuse to awake before the sun on these last precious days.

So last night, I put a digital clock in the punk's room. As he was going to bed, my man and I showed him the numbers on the clock and compared those numbers to the "7:00" I had written on a piece of paper. We told him that when the first number on the clock was 7, that's when he could get out of bed. Then we crossed our fingers and turned off his light.

This morning, I heard his door open and his little pajama-clad feet padding into my room. It was 4:00 am. I asked him what number was on his clock and we went into his room to investigate. When he saw that his clock had a 4 on it, he got back in bed with a reminder to watch for a 7. I went back to bed, fully expecting to see him again in 20 minutes.

The clock says "4:10."

But the next time I opened my eyes, I noticed the faint glow of dawn coming in through the blinds. Could it be? I checked the time: 6:30! My man got up to work out and I lay in bed to bask in the "late" hour. I was so thoroughly rested that I didn't even go back to sleep. I just lay there smiling, and then turned on my light and read for a little while.

At 7:30, the punk came walking out of his room, holding proudly the paper that said, "7:00." And there was much rejoicing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Toddler Speak

Usually I can understand everything the punk says, even when others can't. But this morning, as we were enjoying our bagel sandwiches and grapes, he had me stumped. We were listening to my girl mix (Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor, Emily Hope Price, Adele, She & Him, Lisa Loeb). While listening to music in the car or at home, he often asks me who we are listening to: "Oh, who's that song?" He even knows the words to many songs on the new Sara Bareilles CD, much to my man's dismay and my amusement.

This morning, he kept asking me something about Simba Wallace. After trying to figure out what he was talking about, I brushed the topic aside and asked if he wanted some more grapes. But then he brought it up again, this Simba Wallace character. After I still didn't get it, he asked me who was singing, to which I replied,

"This is Sara Bareilles."
"Simba Wallace?"

Ah. There it is.
Simba Wallace = Sara Bareilles.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snow Boots and Slippery Slides

Monday's luscious rainstorm soon turned into a major winter storm that dumped 16 inches of snow at our house. The sun has since been trying to melt the frozen stuff away, but it's not working fast enough for the punk and me. We decided to arm ourselves with coats, snow pants, hats, gloves, boots, and a towel to dry the slides, and visit the park despite the wet, white wonderland.

The sky was just as fluffy and white as the ground.

I don't think the punk minded one bit. In fact, there were two other two year-olds with their moms on the same playground. It seems everyone is itching to be outside.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rainy Backyard

It's not often that we desert dwellers have the experience of seeing moss on our trees and fences, so when I caught a glimpse of the beautiful bright green stuff while enjoying my hot chocolate this morning, I just had to get outside.

The punk has, not surprisingly, adopted my love of the sweet golden liquid. He calls it "hot hot chocolate," to the tune of Hot Cross Buns. This is what happens to a person who blows bubbles in his breakfast beverage. When the outdoors beckoned, we just slipped some boots over our pajamas and ran outside without bothering to clean ourselves up first.

I love rainy days.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baseball Season

Last weekend, the punk and his daddy went sledding to make up for time lost to a business trip during the week. Today, my man is investing in his retirement. It's called left-handed hitting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows that there are plenty of people in our world who have no problem asking impertinent questions of a gestating woman. I've addressed this topic before, but I will never cease to be surprised at the lack of tact or thoughtfulness these people can possess.

For instance, when finding out that I am about to have a second boy, these weirdos imply that I should be sad that I didn't get a girl this time. What is the sense in that?

Or, when considering the size of my giant belly, these people have asked if I'm sure I'm not having twins.

While we expectant mamas are often the targets of thoughtless, stupid, or intrusive questions and comments, I've found another category of human that shares this same misfortune:

Old men with long, white beards!

The punk and I were enjoying a leisurely lunch at the Costco deli when two sets of strangers joined us on nearby benches. These two couples began conversing with each other, and I, having nothing to distract me besides the task of cutting up the punk's pizza, had no real choice but to witness their conversation. They talked about where they lived and what they were doing at the Murray Costco, and then Mrs. Bandana asked Mr. Whitebeard, "So, are you a Santa Claus at Christmastime?"

He snorted and then grunted, "No." His wife then came to his rescue with an excuse: "He's not good with children."

So, are we all clear about the rules?
1) All mothers should be disappointed if their first two children are of the same sex AND
2) All bearded men are expected to dress in furry red felt in December and let scores of snotty kids sit on their laps.
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