America’s Next Top Family Portrait

Before I had kids, I use to look at America’s Next Top Model and wish I could be one of those models.  I love the poses, the onsite locations, and to see the best shots of each contestant.  As I look at the best shot photos, I thought how hard could it be to pose and stand still to get a great shot right? Why did it take hundreds of shots to say, “This is your best shot?” The shot is usually not the most spectacular photo and I thought to myself, “Is this the best shot that they could find?”

I imagine if there was an America’s Next Top Family Portrait, where families get to pose with their children in a contest to photograph the best Family Portrait.  I wonder what that competition would be like.  It’s hard enough getting the kids dressed for photos and to keep their clothes clean, it’s hard to keep them still and focus on the camera without squirming, or making faces to get the “perfect photo.”  It’s hard even when you’re not going to a professional studio; just taking a photo of your family can be frustrating.

I was trying to get a photo of The Don, Bam Bam, and I to try to update my icon for Google but it didn’t go as well as I hoped for.  I had to deal with Bam Bam squirming, trying to reach my phone, and crying because he wanted to get down.  The Don was making funny faces and monopolizing the camera.  I was try to orchestrate the picture the best I could without being pushed out the way by The Don or punched in the chin by Bam Bam.  The results were as follows:

The photo shoot (A few photo shots)

I can imagine the panel with Tara Banks saying to me here is your best shot:

The Best Shot



I can imagine the criticism that the panel would give from the lighting to the pose that I decided to choose. Thank goodness that this wasn’t a real competition because unless the kids were asleep, it’s very hard to get a perfect photo with the kids. Maybe I can get a better picture next time. 

If there was America’s Next Top Family Portrait we would be gone in the first round but I had fun taking the pictures with the kids.   There’s never a perfect picture I think but a perfect in the moment picture and that’s good enough for me. I just have to get a picture with them asleep then it would be perfect. 


The War Has Just Begun! Hungry Games Part III

If you knew me, you would know that I like a challenge.  Sometimes I look for one because life can get boring.  However, to succumb to a challenge every night at dinner time can be exhausting; pain staking exhausting.  I wrote about how The Don was playing the “hungergames” at dinner time.  I wrote about how my husband initiated a game of imitation to get The Don to eat.  As I mention to my husband before, it won’t last.  I’ve asked him “How long are you going to get this up with him waiting for you to eat in order for him to eat?”  I recall my husband said, “As long as it’s working,” well about two months after The Don turned three years old, that game got old really quick.

There are some days that The Don would refuse to eat anything.  There are other times that he would eat if my husband or I made him eat.  There are times when we try to negotiate e.g. “If you eat just three bits of food then you can be excused,” at least I know he ate something.  Some how, The Don is coming up with bigger and brighter schemes to get out of eating dinner.  I’m not the type who would make The Don eat, to me he wouldn’t starve himself so if he doesn’t want to eat, let him go hungry for the night.  It seems like the pass two months he refuses, I mean adamant about not eating dinner.  Damn is my cooking that bad?

I did notice that before he sat down to the table, The Don would automatically ask for water.  As so as I give him some water, he doesn’t want to eat because you’ve guess it, he’s filled up with water.  So, I started not to give him any water until he ate some food.  My husband and I saw that this was working because if The Don wanted the water bad enough, he would eat the food to get it.  This worked for about a month.  Then, he would ask for the water again but this time, he would sit there and not touch anything.  He was persistent in wanting the water.  So I would tell him, “If you give me five bites of food, then you can have some water.”  The Don would hesitantly, eat whatever dinner was then would drink a sip (I make sure it’s a sip) of water.  This didn’t last long because since he got the water, he didn’t eat anything else.  I would send him upstairs if he was done.  He’s not allowed to play if he doesn’t eat but me sending him to his room where is toys are didn’t solve the problem of him eating his dinner.  For the past couple of weeks, he would say that he was tired and wanted to sleep or he wasn’t hungry but yet a few minutes ago, he was awake watching TV.  Hmmmm.  So this is the excuse that he is using now that’s he’s tired and not hungry.

At tonight’s dinner, The Don used the “I’m sleepy, I want to sleep” routine but he wanted water.  I made him eat a few bites of food first then gave him some water because he did look sleepy or was he acting?  Anyway, he laid his head on the table portraying that he was sleepy.  At this time, he looked at Bam Bam and told him, “Don’t drink all your water.  Make sure you’re eating your food.”

“Don’t worry about what Bam Bam is eating. He’s eating his food. Unless you going to eat don’t talk and lay your head down and be quiet.  You’re sleepy right? If you want to talk, you have to eat.” 

Every time The Don popped up his head from the table, I told him to lay it back down until everyone was finished eating.  I told him that if you don’t eat, you’ll get it for breakfast in the morning. We’ll see if this strategy will work.

So I told The Don to go upstairs to say good night to daddy, brush his teeth and go to bed.  The Don tried to be playful but I was stern and told him that since you’re tired, it’s time for bed.  I wasn’t playing with him.  If he keeps claiming he’s tired at dinner time, he doesn’t get the chance to play.

 I feel this eating dinner challenge is going to be a long battle.  When I thought that I won the war, I realize the battle has just begun. 


He’s In The Room

The Don is very smart.  Although sometimes he act like he’s unaware of what’s going on and what is being said to him, he knows exactly what’s going on and what is being said to him.  I think he plays possum a lot.  This little prankster knows more that I think he does.  I have to be careful not to talk about anyone unless I want them to know what was said.  I have to be careful not to use cuss words or any other derogatory words around him because he sure will repeat it. I definitely have to be careful talking about him to anyone even if I think what he is doing or saying is totally inexcusable because ‘he’s in the room.’

Mischievous The Don

When The Don was a baby, I could talk about him what he does good and what he does bad to anyone who would listen and I know that he doesn’t understand what I’m saying.  Now, the almost three and a half year old understands quite a lot.  You know when somebody’s talking about you like you’re not in the room?  Yes, same thing that I do with The Don.  I have to remember that what I’m saying about him even if its earshot, he understands. For example, “He’s drive me crazy.”  “Why isn’t he listening?” “Is that smell coming from him?” I have to be careful of talking about him and talk to him when he’s in the room.  It’s a hard thing to do when you’re so use to him not understanding you.  This goes for cussing as well.

Last Tuesday, I went to Target with the boys.  The Don likes to stand in the front of the shopping cart.  The Don wanted me to push the cart faster.  I told him that I couldn’t because my feet were bothering me.  About two minutes later as I was pushing the cart slowly, The Don blurted out “Come on ASSHOLE.”  I looked at him so fast that I thought I was going to break my neck.  I said to him, “What did you just say to mama?”  The Don looked away silently.  Some people may say that when a child does something to provoke a response you should ignore them.  I’m not that parent.  I told him, “We do not say that word.  Do you understand?”  I need to thank my husband for saying asshole when he’s driving.  I’m sure he heard it from him.

The Don is a sponge, a very absorbent sponge that keeps soaking up more water.  We got to make sure the water he is soaking up is clean because we have to remember  “he’s in the room soaking everything in”. 

If There’s No Guarantee

It may sound selfish to say this but if I’m going to have another baby at this moment, the baby would have to be guaranteed a girl before I would even consider getting pregnant.  Yes, I thought to myself how selfish I am to rather be pregnant with a girl than a health baby…but am I?  I’m at a point where I’m satisfied with having my two boys and not thinking about having another baby at all.  I’m even contemplating having my tubes tied in the next year because in my mind I’m done.  The thought or I should say the gamble of trying again and the baby being a girl is fifty-fifty but in my husbands family, him being one of three boys and he’s father from a previous marriage had two boys, the chances of me having a girl is very slim. 

Why even risk it?  Why go through a pregnancy and labor all over again knowing my odds of having a third son is greater than a bag of money dropping out of an armor truck and landing by my door step.  Just for a chance that I might have a baby girl?  Is it worth it?  I’m not even sure that I want a baby girl.  It would be nice but is it right?  In my opinion, I don’t see a baby girl in our family.  How would she fit in?

Don’t get me wrong, if I were to have a baby right now and if the baby was a boy, I would love him just the same.  I’m sure that I would fall in love with him just as I did with my other sons.  I’m at a point where I’m comfortable with having two but longing for what could be if I tired again.  The “what ifs”  bothers me from time to time and I’m guilty of envying other parents who have daughters and wonder why I haven’t been choose to have a daughter.  Maybe in the universe plan, it wasn’t meant to be. 

I want my reason to have another baby is not to have a girl, but to have another baby boy or girl.  I think to myself that if I had a girl the second time around, would I even think of having another baby or would I stop.  I think it would be the latter.  I think I need to do some soul searching and take my time before I tie my tubes prematurely and regret not having another baby in our family no matter what sex the baby is.  To gamble or not to gamble or should I say to clip or not to clip?  The best thing that could have is to have another health baby to love in our family. The worst thing that could happen is I could regret it.  But you can’t miss what you never had right? Right?

Don’t Ask. Don’t Get!

Bam Bam is a year old now and do you know what that means?  WEANING!  Yes, weaning off mama’s breast, tit, jugs, well you get the picture.  I really don’t see a problem with Bam Bam getting off the tit because Bam Bam is an eater.  I mean, anything you put in front of his face, that is edible or sometimes unedible, he will eat.

Bam Bam Eatting
When I weaned The Don, he was about sixteen months on Election Day.  Yes, I remembered the exact day The Don weaned.  I couldn’t wait either because The Don at the time seemed like he needed the breast for everything.  I was told by my lactation consultant to distract The Don when he wanted to nurse like give him some water, or snacks, or a toys to distracted his urge to nurse.  I had to be careful where I sit or stand because depending on where I was signify The Don it was time to nurse.  On that election day The Don didn’t ask to nurse at all and now I felt empowered that I could tell him no if he wanted to nurse.  It was hard to let go on my part and I could of stop him sooner but I didn’t want it to be dramatic for me.  You thought I was going to say dramatic for The Don right? HAHAHA! Yeah, I was the baby in this story.

Bam Bam on the other hand doesn’t seem phased at all because like I said previously, he’s an eater.  Even when I’m becoming engorged, Bam Bam isn’t interested unless he’s trying to force out a poop.  If he pooped already, he doesn’t need my milk to push it out.  Gross I know but it’s true.  My policy from now until he is fully weaned is if Bam Bam doesn’t ask, Bam Bam doesn’t get any milk.  The way Bam Bam get down with food, he might be weaned off sooner than The Don was. 

In a sense that I’m going to miss nursing Bam Bam but I will be glad to get my breast back to myself again.  I remember telling the lactation consult at the time I needed advice on weaning The Don that I will miss the bond that we had when I nursed him.  Her response was, “You can have another one.”  Naw, that’s ok.  This time, think it will pass.

Hydro what now?

Bam Bam had his twelve month check up yesterday.  It started out as any ordinary check up visit; undress to diaper, measure head circumference, height, weight and temperature.  Then we went to the examination room to wait for the doctor.

About fifteen minutes later, the doctor came in to ask me questions about Bam Bam.  What’s he’s eating? Is he still drinking breast milk? When did he start walking? Is he saying any words?  After the questioning, the doctor conducted the physical examination.  Bam Bam’s eyes were perfect.  His ears were perfect. His heart rate was perfect. His legs joints were flexible and when pull out they were straight.  His teeth were coming in nicely and the signs of his first molars coming in showed that his teeth are coming in on schedule. 

Now, the doctor checked Bam Bam’s pulse near his groin area and they were fine.  Then the doctor checks his penis and felt his scrotum to make sure his testicle felt normal.  When the doctor felt the right scrotum, he said, “Hum, it feels like he has a hernia there.” 

“What! How could he get a hernia there?” 

“Or it could be a hydrocele.  I think it’s a hydrocele.  Let me shine a light through the scrotum to see if I can see through.” 

The way Bam Bam was angled, which is his scrotum facing the doctor, I couldn’t tell if the light went through or not.  I guess the doctor see the light go through Bam Bam scrotum and concluded it was a Hydrocele. 

“Is this condition common?”  I asked.

“It’s not uncommon.”  The doctor answered. 

 “How did he develop this hydrocele?”

The doctor proceeds to explain to me “There’s a chamber in each testicle that when the testicles get cold, such as after a bath, the testicles are able to pull itself towards the groin.  In this case the chamber is particle open and fluid can get filled in chamber causing a hydrocele.”

“What should I do?”

“We’ll just watch it.  It should go away on its own.  If it get’s bigger, if he starts to walk funny, or if he’s in pain from it, he will need to get the hydrocele surgically removed.”

“Should I feel for it to make sure that it didn’t get any bigger?”

“No, it should go away on its own.”

Anything with surgery, especially for someone as little as Bam Bam is a scary thing for me to think about.  I did notice during diaper changes that Bam Bam’s testicles looked bigger but since he was born, he always had big testicles so I didn’t think anything of it.  Now, I’m more mindful of his right testicle to make sure it’s doesn’t look bigger.  I carefully look at his right testicle and when Bam Bam briefly pulls his testicles into his body, I can see a little nod that could be the hydrocele.

I have to admit, I’m learning more about how the penis and testicles work by having boys than I had from text books or my husband.  From the looks of the penis, it seems like a very simple organ that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.  However, after learning about Bam Bam having a hydrocele, the penis is more complicated than I expected. Bam Bam doesn’t seem bothered by it and hopefully, it will never bother him.  I’m praying that it will go away on it’s own.  


I have to wait it out for three months because that’s when Bam Bam’s next check up will be or if I see any signs of distress before I know if it went away on it’s own or if Bam Bam may need the hydrocele surgically removed. 


Pass me the cold bug

Well it finally happen. Bam Bam (formerly known as Bambino) caught the cold bug.  I was hoping that he wouldn’t catch it before he turned one but last Wednesday when the boys and I was at the park, I saw the inevitable sign of a cold.  That sign was the watery snot running down his tiny nose.  Bam Bam made it through the coldness of last winter without a sniffle, runny nose or a cough.  The Don caught his first cold when he was six months old.  I am impressed that Bam Bam didn’t get a cold until last week.  I thought he would make it before his birthday but I’m impressed never the less. 

What I imagine a cold bug would look like

The thing about the cold bug is that it spread fast, I mean really fast. I put the boys in the car and heading towards the driver seat. As I looked back into the back seat, I saw Bam Bam dropped his Sippy cup.  Guess who pick it up and put it in his mouth?  The Don did.  I seen in slow motion the cold bug germs on Bam Bam Sippy cup touched The Don lips and as The Don drank from the cup, a swarm of cold germs swam down his throat and into his body. Yes, I have a vivid imagination. Now, I always told The Don not to put things in his mouth because he would get the “cold bug” but I guess I didn’t tell him not to drink from someone else’s cup as well. Lesson learned for the both of us. 

A couple of days later, I’m trying to get Bam Bam comfortable, giving him Tylenol, orange juice, and draining his nose with the bulb syringe to help unclog his nose when I heard a sniffling, snotty nose The Don coming towards me.  “You got the cold bug too?”  I said to him.  I don’t know why I’m surprised because I literally imagine the cold bug going down his throat. The Don’s nose was really stuffy so I had to put Vick’s vapor rub on him a couple of nights and he was good to go.  The Don never seems to have a cold for long. So, I’m taking care of two kids, thank goodness they weren’t really sick just uncomfortable, when I felt an irritation in my throat and in the back of my nose.  So guess who has the cold bug now.  Take a guess.  Me!  Of course it’s me. Damn kids gave me their cold!

While my children are getting over the cold bug, the cold bug bit me.  I’m can’t afford to get sick so I’m drowning myself with some green tea…a lot of green tea and hopefully I’ll get over the sick bug quickly.  I’m sneezing right now as I typed this. As the saying is that with kids, the cold bug will come quickly in the house and everyone will catch it.  Sometimes it may circle back around again.  With the kids putting things in their mouths and sharing each other’s cups because they don’t know any better, they will catch the cold bug a lot and probably so would I. I’m keeping the orange juice on stand by and the vapor rub ready because Mama is going to stomp the cold bug to smithereens. We may get rid of this cold bug for now, but they always come back. Damn you cold bug!  Do me a favor and pass us by next time…wait was that a sneeze from The Don?  Wait, did he sneeze in my food?  Great!  It has only begun.