Raising a Blended Family

The things he understands

Language is exploding around here. Spoken language, but also language comprehension. The former is adorable (seriously- the “tee goos” we get whenever we hand him anything- toddlerese for “thank you”- are killer cute, as are requests for “cah-ckers” [crackers] and entreaties phrased with “pease” [please]); however, the later is frequently mind-blowing. He constantly surprises us with the depth and breadth of his understanding, and we will often say things in jest to him, only to be bowled over when he shows us he understands.


“Pax, it’s night night time” resulted in him laying down right where he was, scrunching up his face, and squeezing his eyes closed… “pretend” sleeping.

“Pax, where is Mommy’s phone?”: he turned, ran out of the room, and came back with my phone which he had stashed somewhere and which I coudn’t find for the life of me.

-Same as the above, only substitute “sippy” for “phone”

-Telling him he needs a butt change either results in him running into his room and climbing onto his changing table, or (alternately) running and hiding… depending on what his little toddler heart feels like doing at the time.

-He “sings” along to songs now: he frequently singsongs “let it go, let it go” whenever Frozen comes on or just randomly, and he will sing along to his goodnight song we sing him, getting syllables, rhythm and cadence right even if he doesn’t know the exact words.

-He definitely knows what “no” and “uh-uh” means, but more often than not he chooses to ignore them… or repeat them back to us while grinning and doing whatever nono activity he was going to do anyways

-If you ask him if he wants dinner or is hungry, he will say “uh!” (his “yes” sound) and go get in his high chair.

-He knows what a park is, will point at it out the window, and get mad if you don’t park the car soon enough


And so. much. more.

At twenty months, this kid understands so much… I can’t believe how much he’s growing.


You’ve gotta laugh, because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.

Life marches on, at a rapid pace that has me simultaneously shaking my head in resignation and cackling maniacally with glee. I tend to thrive when life is crazy busy, which is a good thing because around here it generally always is! And when things get stressful, I have no one to blame but myself because I signed up for this. Yes, yes I did.

School-ise, I just finished two classes. The first two classes of nursing school. YAY! They were only four weeks long, but they covered the same content as their semester-long counterparts: we went through about 20 chapters in each class, if not more. It was a little hectic to say the least! I am still in one ongoing class that started at the same time but goes until the end of July, and Monday I start another hectic 4 week class. Busy! But for all the studying, I absolutely don’t feel anything like a nurse yet, either. We had a vaccine clinic the other night where, after one whole hour of in-class practice on a skin-like “blob”, a lecture, and some textbook reading, we were guided by instructors while giving shots at a vaccine clinic for real live kids! Talk about see one, do one, teach one. THAT was a little scary. My first patient ever was a two month old baby, who was sleeping peacefully in his mother’s arms until I came along. (Sorry, baby). I think it went well but there’s nothing good-feeling about making a bunch of kids cry, and the only comfort to be had was that they would have cried regardless of who was doing their shots, simply because… they’re shots. I wanted to cry too, kids (never been a fan of needles… ironic?)

Back in class, we are also learning to practice skills on these simulator mannequin things they have, which breathe, have pulses, squirt blood and generally try to die while you try to save them and your instructors sit back and laugh. And, while they are dying, the mannequins are creepy as hell in the process- they blink and talk in weird robot voices, and track with their eyes. When I first walked into the simulation room I was by myself, the lights weren’t on, and I had no idea they talked. I about died when a voice said hello out of the blue, and the only other “person” in there was a creepy staring mannequin! I felt like an idiot when I realized what had happened but MAN. You try being in that room in the dark with one of those things! C-r-e-e-p-y!

So anyways. School is going well!

Life outside of school is also going well. I can’t believe how much both kids are growing! Today was Thing One’s last day of school, which means that all of a sudden and out of the blue I have a third grader! Where did THAT come from? Because I swear kindergarten was yesterday! I’m proud of her for making it all the way through the year, because I know she struggled and she even had to change schools midyear when we moved. You’d have never have known it though, she just kept right on truckin’, found a new social circle, and moved on without a care in the world. That’s Thing One for you.

Thing One dressed as a Swan for her 2nd Grade play:



She did express some worry today in the car that she might be held back a grade again. That’s not actually a danger, but since she was held back in first grade she’s slightly confused and doesn’t understand why we did it or why it probably won’t happen again. I tried to reassure her she was an official third-grader now, and she told me her teacher had said the same thing (which tells me she really was worried about it, if she brought it up with me AND her teacher). I still don’t know if she believed me when I said she was moving on, and my heart breaks a little at the thought of her worrying about that… but at least I know that come August, when school starts again, she will HAVE to believe me! And there’s a whole, big, fun-filled summer in between now and then to distract her. She’s going to her dad’s for 6 weeks, which to be completely honest feels like a welcome break right.this.moment but I know in a few days (tomorrow) will start to feel like a big, missing space where she should be. Especially because she is coming back right in time for her birthday, and then flying out (solo. eek!) to California to spend some time with her grandmother. She’s hardly going to be home at ALL this summer. I at least will see her in California, since I do believe Pax and I are going to be taking advantage of an unexpected break in my school schedule this August to fly out there, spend some time, and retrieve my daughter… but poor Shorty has to work and won’t be able to see her or go on the trip. And Pax isn’t going to understand where his big sissy is or why she’s not here to chase him. Last year he was so little he had no idea, but this year he knows and he and Thing One are close. This is the first year where I really see the age difference between them and get a glimpse of how it will be in the future, when she’s off with friends and he’s here alone (until we have the next one, which is obviously postponed until after nursing school). It’s also the first year where having a blended family feels like a big burden- having our daughter spend most of her summer away from us and our kids separated because they have different sperm donors/dads is hard. I am sure there will be questions from Pax in the future about why he doesn’t get to go, and conversations about how her dad isn’t his dad… this should all be very “interesting.”


(watching Sister leave for school and playing at the park):







Speaking of Pax, he is learning! He is growing! DAILY. He can now climb out of his crib at-will, and does so frequently, only to climb up into the glider in his room instead and fall asleep. I think he does it because that’s where we usually rock him and he misses us, and also because he gets sleepy and can’t get back into his crib… both are a little wrenching on the mama heartstrings!

Sleepy, adorable, pathetic cuteness:



It’s definitely time to put his toddler bed in there and make sure everything is secured to the walls (he climbs), we just need to find the TIME to do it. Yikes. He is also understanding more and more and more. I will be honest and say that I haven’t noticed a huge difference in what he says (other than saying his sister’s name), but what he understands is HUGE. For example, tonight he took my phone and hid it. I looked everywhere and could NOT find it, so I asked him to go get it. He took off running and came back with it in his hand- and I didn’t even know he knew the word “phone!” He also likes to “talk” on the phone, and if you hold up your hand in a pretend phone and say “ring ring, is Paxton there?” he will grab the nearest toy phone (he has about ten of them) and put it to his ear and talk to you. It’s super cute. He loves to Facetime as well, although he doesn’t understand the concept of you needing to see him as much as he wants to see you, so usually what you end up looking at is his head cut off at his eyes up to the top of his baldish little head. Pretty adorable.

Breastfeeding is still hanging on by a THREAD. I don’t even think it’s appropriate to call it breastFEEDING anymore… it’s more like breastPACIFIERing in the middle of the night when Pax comes into Mommy’s bed, is awake and Mommy wants sleep. So, yeah, partly on my end is the reason it’s continuing, and there are some nights if I don’t offer it he’ll sleep without it. But, there are definitely the nights I wrote about where he SCREAMS. And cries. And throws fits. If he does not get to “nursie”. Silly boy. I can see his point of view- it’s always been something that not only nourished, but comforted him, and he’s having to learn to cope without it. It’s hard and he doesn’t have many other coping skills in his one-year-old toolbox. So, I get it and on the nights where he ABSOLUTELY.MUST.HAVE.IT. I generally give in in the name of A) sleep and B) my toddler actually breathing instead of hyperventilating. I’m not sure if that’s the best thing to do for everybody involved, since it only reinforces the screaming-to-nurse thing, but I also don’t know how to comfort him when everything but the boob has failed, and especially when my brain is not working because it’s 330am and I only went to bed two hours ago because I was up studying. So, that’s where we are with that and with him. Overall, I love his age and this stage. I could write books and books and books but I will leave it at that, because it’s late and I’m sleepy.

The one last thing I wanted to mention is the “lifestyle” change Shorty and I are going through right now. It’s not a diet, because we’re not following strict rules about what we can and can’t eat, we’re just generally trying to make better choices for ourselves and our family. Those better choices include less eating out, a TON more veggies and whole foods, and exercise for everyone. We’ve been doing it about a month, and it’s showing! There’s the obvious. We’ve both lost about ten pounds, which is wonderful news for me. I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever been, having been the heaviest I ever was when I got pregnant and then I never fully lost the pregnancy weight. I’m not sure but I think Shorty is the same way. So, we’ve both been excited to shed some pounds and inches. It became very tangible to me tonight, when for the first time since I was four months pregnant with Pax, I was able to put my wedding ring back on. My fingers had gotten too fat for it to fit so I wore it around my neck on a necklace instead- but tonight I finally got to put it back on and that felt AWESOME! I also feel more energetic, I’m pooping better (sorry, lol) and all the exercise is a good way to relieve stress. We’ve been going on a lot of family hikes which have been great bonding time and a good way to model exercise for the kids and get ourselves off the couch, plus we’ve been eating a lot better too. I had been feeling pretty bad about the way we were feeding the kids (it was NOT pretty and Thing One even got a little bit of a tummy, though I would never tell her that. It was all our fault because we weren’t feeding them right), but now we are feeding all of us right and it feels a lot better. So, yay us! I hope we continue on this path and make it a permanent change.

it FITS!!!!


Before and After: One Month Lifestyle Change (before on L, after on R):

(yes, my mirror is a mess. Oh well.)