Tuesday, January 29, 2013

6 months

We marked the eve of Greta's six month birthday by being up all. night. long.  Vito had a lump removed yesterday and is wandering around bumping into things with his cone.  MJ came down with a stomache bug today.  And Greta has decided that she will wake every two hours to comfort eat throughout the night.

I scheduled her six month appt. on the actual day, so that we could get the flu vaccine into her asap.  Our family has so far been remarkably healthy this year (don't tell anyone, because I'm pretty sure no other family on earth has been) and would like to keep it that way. So her stats: 16.3 lb, 25 in.  Another way to see this: her weight for length has skyrocketed to the 80th percentile and her head is at the 95th percentile.  So the many times a night she's been waking up ravenous?  The pediatrician assured me she's doing just fine and can we can work on feeding her less.

Up until the last few days, she was doing pretty well at waking one or two times a night, eating quickly and falling right back asleep (honestly, it was more of a dream feed that she prompted).  But the few nights have been h-e-double-hockey-sticks.  Wake ups every 2-3 hours all night long.  Clearly, she is now expecting to be fed every time she wakes up, and it's killing me.

So tonight we started trying to break that.  Rather than her usual six o'clock bedtime she was up until eight, trying to fall asleep and not doing well at it.  Because we wouldn't let her nurse to sleep.

But now she's still asleep, 4 hours later!  6 hours since last fed.  And me?  I am not asleep.  Because hubs was kind and let me get a nap in.  ALWAYS a bad idea, why don't I learn?

Anywho, this month Greta got fun.  She plays with toys, and anything else she can get her paws on.  She tries to grab everything out of my hands, particularly my phone.  She already sits like a champ (at the 9 month level according to our Pedi) and is happy to sit and play with things.  Unlike MJ, she will actually be engaged with the same toy for ten minutes or more.  She seems more focused.  The flip side of that is that she's not really rolling; any time she does it seems to surprise her.  She'll lay in tummy time for half an hour, but won't flip over.

And did I mention that 95th percentile head?  GIANT noggin.  Crazy girl.  I was thinking it looked big...

This little girl melts my heart.  She is such a part of the family.  And DH has warmed up to her.  She can always make him smile, and clearly recognizes that he's someone special.  I love starting to get the first inklings of the person she'll become.  I love that she's becoming so interactive and yet is still so cuddly.  I can't believe her baby hood is half over. 

This also marks six months of me being home, and so far it's wonderful.  I was reflecting on that today, so exhausted from the family, and still so much happier than being in the office.  I am ready to get this house rented, though... after 2 nearly signed leases, ugh.

But I digress.  This is not the most well thought post out there.  And the photos will have to come later, because my camera's in Greta's room.

I was thinking today how much harder the prospect of letting her cry to sleep is than it was for MJ (not cry a ton, mind you, but there will inevitably be some tears).  Are other people bigger softies for their second born?  I don't think it's differences in their personalities, I think it's just a fuller appreciation of how fast this all goes.  Why have her cry when I could be in there rocking her?  Because I'm not going to get enough opportunities as it is.  With MJ, I felt like these days would go on forever...

Other stats on Greta:  loves sticking everything in her mouth, flapping her arms wildly while she eats, motorboating when she's tired, her big sister's antics.

This is also the month that nursing essentially ended.  I still nurse a couple times a day, but she gets barely anything.  I wish it wasn't so, but it is.  It was good while it lasted.

Sorry for not giving you a more well though out epistle, Greta.  I'll try to do better for the one year, okay?  Maybe in exchange, you'll sleep better by then?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Simply because I have a moment to spare.

Three posts in one week is a rarity.  Don't get too used to it.

But it's Friday night, and much as Friday night no longer really matters, I can never let go of the feeling that it does matter.  A weekend lays out before me!! Even though weekends are often more stressful than weekdays.

Some thoughts.

1)  Greta, in her natural, uninterrupted habitat, would go to bed at 6:00 every night.  Sometimes we're out and about and she'll fall asleep in the car, which just turns into a late nap and means she's up later.  It kills any social life, but when we're all just hanging at home, I love it.  She's goes to bed SO EASILY if I put her down at 6:00, it makes me not want to bother with any other scenario. I nurse her a bit (with my rapidly diminishing supply) then give her some bottle to top her off, and she's out like a light.  Five minute process, and she almost sleeps better than if she goes to bed later.

2)  Furthermore, the 6:00 bedtime gives me an evening to just play with MJ.  Tonight we ate cake and watched Dumbo. The number of acid trip sequences in movies I watched as a child is astounding.  I am opposed to TV (for my kids, which makes me a total hypocrite since I love it myself) to a greater degree than most folks I know.  It can, on occasion, get a bit maniacal.  But in the past few months, I have discovered the joy of watching a movie or TV show with MJ, and it is magical.  We cuddle, usually on the couch though tonight in bed, and we talk about what we're watching.  How sad when Dumbo was separated from his Mama!  Her compassion warms my heart.  I absolutely love when we get to watch something together.  I try at all costs to avoid using it as a babysitter, but the joy of sharing a cinematic experience is immense.

3)  I love Greta's arm flaps.  When I give her a bottle, or nurse her, one arm (whichever isn't pinned to her side) will just flap wildly with joy, like she's trying to fly away (like Dumbo!)  It makes my heart melt every time.  Everything about this little girl makes my heart melt.  The fact that she will be 6 months next week is mind blowing.  Babyhood half over?  Can that be?  I NEVER thought I'd be a baby person, and I think my early blog posts reflect that, but it turns out I am.  The idea of not having a baby in the house is so, so sad to me.  The exhaustion gets me, but everything else I'm okay with.  Baby puke, messy diapers, mindless babbling, bring it.  We haven't decided whether Greta is our last or not, and I think that almost makes it harder.  Are these coming months my last months of having a baby ever?  Or will there be more?  It's amazing how notable babyhood is and yet how short.  If I could have a stork drop a baby on my doorstep I'd be all in.  But the idea of another pregnancy?  And childbirth?  Sometimes I'm not sure I have that in me.

4)  I often feel like a single parent these days.  Which is probably a very clueless thing to say if you're actually a single parent.  And that would also make me a single parent with more means than many have, so very blessed.  But goodness, it gets tiring.  Just having the hubs home for an evening the other day reminded me how easy it is to have two parents around, how much simpler it is to function.  I need to take myself out on a date; hire a babysitter, and just get out of the house for an evening.  I love these girls so much, and I'm not really tired of them, I'm just kind of tired of being in charge.  Tired of battles with a 3-year-old.  Tired of never getting a full night's sleep.

Off to bed.  I hope.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A follow up.

Two weeks ago we went to Florida.  Bonita Springs, near Fort Meyer.  I sort of dreaded it, because the four of us would be sharing one tiny room.  First world problems, I know.  White Whine, etc. At some point in the past couple years, I decided that it wasn't really worth it to travel somewhere and stay in a single room.  If we were spending so much to get there, and stay there, springing for the extra room that is found in, say, a suite, was always worth it.  With kids that go to bed early, it is totally worth it for the ability to stay awake and chat, especially since you're on vacation and can't go anywhere else since the kids are sleeping.  With two kids, that is even more true.  But we were tagging along on hub's work conference, and the hotel was full, so single room for us it was.

In truth, it was one of the best vacations we've had in recent memory (the girls and I, since Dad worked much of the time).  I felt like a whirlwind.  We were going from morning to night, and I slept so hard at night that I could never even remember what was happening when I awoke.   Not like me at all.

Looking through my photos, I'm frustrated I didn't take more of them.  I felt like I took a lot at the time, but we were going with such momentum that I missed a lot of things.  Like, for example, not a single photo of the water slide that MJ was obsessed with.  None of the turd at the bottom of the pool that shut it down for an afternoon (wait... maybe I don't want a photo of that... at least it wasn't my kid!)

There's not a whole lot to report, I guess, other than lots of splashing in the water and time hanging out with family (my Mom was staying at my Aunt's house nearby, and my cousin decided to come down as well!)  I wasn't sure how it all would go, and if we would get to see much of them, but we got to see tons of them, which was awesome.

The trick to all this, which I've neglected to share, is that the girls slept in the bathroom.  We made a little bed for MJ in the bathtub, and pushed Greta's crib in there as well.  No one was allowed to flush the toilet at night.  In truth, this is not the first time we've done this, and it has become such a habit that MJ is used to and looks forward to sleeping in the bathtub when we travel.  Some day she'll have to grow out of it, I suppose, but then Greta can have a turn.  I forget that this is not normal to everyone else.

A few photos of the festivities.  Not at all representative of what we spent our time doing, since there are so many from the beach and few from the pool.

I asked MJ to pack her backpack, but she decided that wasn't enough space.  So she took EVERYTHING out of our suitcase and filled it with books and toys.  It was hilarious, though I unfortunately didn't think so at the time.  
Greta is not quite as busy on the plane as MJ was at this age.  But still pretty busy.  Thankfully we've a few tricks now, including let her tear every page from a magazine, and the old standby, a plastic cup.  With a little bit of ice, all the better.

By the time we got to the hotel, MJ was quite possibly the most tired I have ever seen her.  Hot and sweaty, too.

The reunion.  Love these smiles.

The view from our window.  Totally lovely, surrounded by mangroves.

See these baby thighs!!  Amazing!  I'm making her spend a lot more necked time back home, just so I can catch glimpses.  

Greta was not a fan of these.  Neither was MJ, three years ago when I bought them.  But I made her wear them because I thought they were cute.  I managed one smile before she was through with them.

A bit confused.

Can't hold their smiles in.  Even when they don't want their pictures taken.

Love this expression.  "Help me, mom.  They're too much!"  I feel that way too most days.

The fountain below our window, 12 floors down.

A pina colada I weaseled out of Aaron one evening while he was schmoozing downstairs at the hotel bar. God I love these things.  I don't ever want to know how many calories are in them.  I think I don't.  I said the same thing about eggnog lattes, until I found it, and now I don't drink them. Maybe this is why I managed to gain 4 pounds in 5 days.

MJ's bed.

Greta's high chair.  Necessity is the mother of invention.

These guys were sports, when we dragged them to mini-golf.  Probably not how Sarah envisioned spending her birthday.... 
Aunt Phylis!

Papa Chuck!  Lucky thing we're not in stranger-danger territory yet.

Sarah and MJ, the drama queen.  "DO NOT TAKE MY PICTURE."

The trolley bus.  One of the highlights of the trip, apparently.  Not having to sit in a car seat is an amazing thing.

Total contentment.  What you can't hear is the waterfall from the pool about 5 feet to the left of them; so loud!

After about 8 months of swim lessons, I was curious to see how MJ would do.  Turns out, still terrifying to watch!  She thinks she can swim and is happy to go above her head at any time. 

Greta also loved the water, which was not all that warm.  But she loved floating around.  I loved wearing a swimsuit, doncha know.

The hammock we discovered shortly before leaving.  None of us were excited to return to the great white north.
This was a very cold pool.  I dragged MJ under the water fall after the kid pooped in the other pool... she wasn't ecstatic about it.
Gave the kiddos shuttling water in order to build a sand castle in the shade.  Very effective.

Sand!  I have a photo of MJ, one month older, wearing the same outfit and also eating sand.  Should dig that out.  We apparently don't have kids with sensitivities to textures.

Ignore the side boob.  Sorry about that.

Add caption

I let her chew on a shell.  How else are you going to raise a geologist?  

Our morning entertainment.
The grandparents, in their native habitat.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day in the Life, Winter 2013

My last day-in-the-life was more about score settling than anything else.  But I found it really enjoyable, and truly enlightening, and plan to keep doing these.  Navigating the Mothership organizes these a few times a year, and I didn't realize she was doing another round until Friday night.  They need to be posted by Sunday night.  So Saturday it was!

As with last time, I will start with bed time.  Because babies work on a 24 hour clock, and the night time really determines the quality of the day time around here.
10:45 pm:  DH and I returned home from a date night.  I was feeling pretty good, because the girls had slept in until 8 am (!) on Friday morning.  Our "date night" was a work party, put now that I'm starting to know a few of the ladies it is getting more fun.  And since I'm not pregnant, as I was last year, I actually got to imbibe.  Probably responsible for some less than stellar sleep that night.  
11:00 pm:  Greta wakes up.  This wake up has become so routine that it often feels useless to try to go to bed before this.  If I tuck in at 9:30, by the time I'm asleep it's only an hour before I'm up again.  And that's if I'm in bed by 9:30.  As usual, she downs 4 ounces and goes right back to sleep.  Thankfully, although she's been waking a bunch, she usually eats quickly and goes back to sleep.  After she goes to sleep I wash bottles, and see that the baby sitter failed to feed her very much of the food I left.  I expect it to be a long night. I crawl into bed about 11:30.  DH is snoring something fierce so I move to the spare room.
3:45 am: Greta squawks.  Seems to settle.  I never quite get back to sleep, knowing that this means she'll be up soon.
4:30 am: Wakes up.  Nurse her, because I didn't pump before bed.  She keeps falling asleep on me, don't think there's much milk.  Finally give her a bottle.  Don't get her back in her crib until ~5:50. Half doze through all of this.  I duck into DH's room (our room, but since I'm sleeping in the spare room...) to tell him I'm going back to bed and closing the door.  I'll let him take the next wake up so I can get some rest.
9:00 am: Up for the day.  The girls have been up for a while, and I've half dozed but not woken up enough to ask DH to take them somewhere else in the house.  MJ screaming 5 feet from my head bounces me out of bed and I'm grumpy.  Letting me sleep in but then not trying to keep them quiet makes me less thankful than I probably should be.  I Give Greta remainder of bottle he started.  Then 2 more ounces.  Girl is hungry.  DH takes a shower, MJ watches iPad, we all cuddle in bed.  Girls are happy, mom is grumpy.  I think about my goals for the day: Squeeze in a run.  Vacuum.  Look over some rental applications.
The kitchen at the start of the day.
9:20 am: MJ bonks Greta with iPad.  Tries to redeem herself by blowing raspberries on her forehead.  Greta gets over it, followed by cuddling and wrestling in the bed.
9:29 am: My turn for a shower.  Weigh myself. 151.2.  The running is slowly dropping things, but still 9 pounds to go.
9:30 am: Shower while I can, shrieks from the other room, drown it out with the sound of water.  Ponder the rental.
9:38 am: Finished.  Apparently I really do take shorter showers than DH.  Get dressed.  So little fits these days, it's always a crap shoot.
9:40 am:  Hear potty talk from the bathroom, so reappear to scold the potty talk. Everything is "poopoo" and "peepee" these days.  Dad gets ready for work.
9:45 am: Greta still hungry so I try nursing her while MJ and dad go downstairs.
9:47 am:  Try to take a picture of dad in his scrubs but no space on my phone, must find things to delete.  This is such a constant problem.  MJ tries to help by "deleting" things from my phone sometimes.  Oy.
9:54 am:  Greta is asleep on me.  Extract myself to go make coffee.  Fail.  She wakes up, so we go downstairs.
10:00 am:  Start coffee pot.  Change our water filter and unload dishwasher.  Coffee pot seems to not work this morning; it works about 90% of the time, so I can't bring myself to get a new one, but then randomly stops working.  Bad morning for it.  Make French press, which is better coffee, but much more time consuming.
10:10 am:  Dad leaves for work.  He'll be done at 6:00.  He'll be working all weekend, so I steel myself.  The extent of my exhaustion sinks in and I want to cry; am super grumpy to everyone.  Try to keep it together so he doesn't have to leave a total train wreck behind. The run may change to a nap, though realistically neither are likely.
Dad leaving for work.  MJ has decided to wear my vest for the day.
10:15 am: MJ is going "shopping".  She is knee deep into pretend play as I just try to function.  She asks what I want from the store.  I say sleep.  She says they don't have that.  So I ask for cake.  She says they do have cake.
10:20 am: Coffee is nigh.  I don't know how any mother of young children could possibly function without coffee.  It is nearly a disaster in the house if I don't have some.  And we are apparently having a picnic on the kitchen floor.
10:24 am: Coffee. The coffee emboldens me and I decide to make a breakfast sandwich with some leftover bacon we have
10:29 am: Egg is cooked, muffin is toasted, food is done.  Life is looking a bit up.  Join girls on kitchen floor to drink coffee, eat breakfast and play.
So many fruits and veggies!
Morning picnic.
Somehow some play carrots ended up in my fridge after our picnic.
10:37 am:  Renew Craigslist ad for the rental that we can't get rented; Saturday is the best day for finding a renter and I want it at the top of the list.  Continue picnic.
10:45 am: Run downstairs to start cycle 2 of diapers.  Bring laundry upstairs.  Find shell in dryer.  Dream of Florida (which I will post about soon)
10:50 am: Put some clothes away.  Just the ones that are likely to get wrinkled before I get to the rest.
10:55 am: Vacuum.  MJ sets out to help me; she "vacuums" in the kitchen while I vacuum in the living room.  Greta is in the "circle of neglect" aka exersaucer.
11:10 am:  Success!  Feeling accomplished. Realize I need to start getting ready for 12:00 showing.  
11:14 am: Poopy diaper.
11:18 am:  Thaw milk for bottle.  Thankful for my large freezer stash so Greta still gets a bottle of frozen milk a day, despite my declining milk supply.  MJ continues helping clean by wiping down the table and floors with a paper towel and cleaning the living room.  She is actually being truly helpful.  It's pretty awesome.
11:22 am: Get MJ moving.  Socks, shoes, etc.  Winter makes getting out of the house such a chore.  Explain to MJ why she can't wear crocs (snow gets in the holes).
11:27 am:  Add "bath for Greta" to mental to-do list.  Grime in her neck folds is gross.
11:28 am: MJ starts packing backpack.  I get socks on.
11:34 am:  We're ready!  Now have 10 minutes to kill.  35 degrees out!  So don't need to start car. Enough time for one more cup of coffee.
11:48 am:  In the car.  While driving to rental, pep talk for MJ that she must be silent at the rental.  She is not allowed to ask the prospective tenant a million questions or be a disturbance.  
11:55 am: Arrive.  Unload. Greta thankfully fell asleep.
MJ explores the pantry.
Realize I haven't yet taken a self portrait.  Would you rent from this lady?
12:00 pm:  No one here.  Will be super annoyed if I get stood up.  Decide to color with MJ while waiting.
12:06 pm:  Call to ask where the prospective tenant is.  They got "caught up" and ask to reschedule.  I say don't bother.  I'm only mildly annoyed despite the inconvenience.  MJ, however, is super upset by this.  Weird.
MJ is super annoyed by the no-show.  Maybe she should be the muscle in this operation.
12:10 pm:  Back in the car.  MJ tries to convince me to go out to lunch.  I laugh at her attempts at persuasion, she's pretty convincing.
12:20 pm: Another rental call.  Try to tactfully explain it's in the ghetto without dissuading a potential renter. These folks live in Shakopee,  I settle on the descriptor "urban".
12:26 pm: Back home.  No plans to leave for the rest of the day, which is such a glorious feeling.  Especially in the winter.
12:30 pm: Greta is awake.  Set her down with a toy and get 5 minutes of calm to go to the bathroom.
12:36 pm:  PB&J for MJ. Heat up Mac and cheese.  My lunch consists of the food MJ doesn't eat.
12:43 pm:  Nurse Greta. MJ finishes lunch and continues wiping down the floor.  Kind of weird, but she's into it.
12:55 pm:  Read Cinderella while nursing.  Lots of Cinderella love in the house these days.  Change descriptors while reading so as not to suggest that good people are pretty and bad people are ugly; someday she will be able to read and I will no longer have this freedom.
1:05 pm: Finish and tuck MJ in for a nap.  Swaddle Greta and get a bottle in hopes she'll fall asleep
Swaddled, but obviously not asleep.
1:15 pm:  Girlfriend still hungry.  Give a little more, she seems starving today.
1:25 pm:  It is clear she is not sleeping.  Although there are some eye rubs and yawns, an awful lot of smiles.  I was hoping she would nap while MJ does so I could run on the treadmill downstairs.  I decide to get creative and get my running clothes on.  I take her downstairs, with a bunch of toys in a cradle and hope she'll be entertained by watching me.
Hoping this will work....
1:32 pm: On the treadmill, warming up.  It seems like this just might work...
My biggest fan, apparently.  And with less commentary than MJ insists on providing when I run. 
2:03 pm: Done! 2.42 miles!  Week 5 of C25K completed!  Thought she might fall asleep but she didn't.  She did play a bit and just was happy cooing away.   I'm not sure if she could see the iPad or not.  Rest. Play with Greta
2:08 pm:  Messy diaper.  Two in one day is a rarity for her, so it must be bath time.
2:18 pm: Bath done.  Play!  Get dressed.
Look at those adorable thighs!
2:24 pm:  Return rental calls.  Play with Greta's toes by the fireplace.  Practice rolling.  She seems like she'll start crawling before she really starts rolling; she's only done it a few times and it is just not happening.
2:42 pm:  She's fussy.  Nurse her in hopes of getting her to fall asleep.  It works instantly and i play on my phone for a few minutes.
2:54 pm: Put her down in her crib.
2:57 pm:  Some friends will be coming over later so I order pizza.
3:03 pm: Ordered.  Time to pick up some more around the house.
3:12 pm: Finally finish picking up kitchen, which I had been trying to finish since the morning.  The kitchen is usually a good metaphor for my life.  Girls sill sleeping so I sweep and swiffer.
A bit better.
3:24 pm: Done.  Greta starts squawking.  MJ's door opens upstairs.  Still rousing so I hang up Christmas cards that I never did anything with.
3:35 pm: Bottle for greta. Post-nap bathroom break for MJ.
3:39 pm: I ask MJ to pick up baby choking hazards, since we will have several crawlers visiting.
3:44 pm: Greta finishes bottle.  Continue picking up and do some laundry.  The amount I've gotten done today is astounding to me.
3:58 pm:  Tantrum for no discernible reason.  No idea what sparked it, but she ends up getting sent to her room until she can calm down.
4:25 pm:  Make some steamed sweet potatoes for Greta.  Feed her squash and green beans.  MJ is still wiping the floors.
Seriously, she can't enough of wiping down the floors.  Weird!
4:36 pm:  Friends Maggie and crew arrive.
4:50 pm:  Everyone has arrived.  4 preschoolers, 4 babies (2 crawling, 1 newborn).   Oddly quiet at first.  Takes them a good long while to actually get hyper.
5:00 pm:  Pizza arrives.  Children strangely quiet.  Chaos eventually descends.
6:00 pm: DH gets home.  Joins the festivities.
Our adorable big kids, who stole the iPad when we weren't looking and snuck upstairs with it.

The girls.  MJ has known Mia since 4 weeks of age, and Annie since birth.  Turns out they still like each other!

7:00 pm: Put Greta to sleep.  Considering she was rubbing her eyes at 5:30 and usually is in bed by 6, can't believe how long she lasted.  Everyone departs shortly thereafter.  Start cleaning.
7:25 pm: Pump, since Greta hadn't nursed in a while.  
7:35 pm: Back downstairs.  Pick up.  DH takes MJ upstairs and I get peaceful time cleaning with a glass of wine.  An enjoyable end to the evening.
7:45 pm:  DH's co-worker drops by to borrow his otoscope to check her daughter's ear.  I forgot this visit was happening and at first was annoyed that I couldn't sink into bed with my laptop, but quickly remember how much I like chatting with her.  MJ and Eddie, her 4 year old, raise a ruckus.  We talk about schools, we have both fallen in love with the same much-too-expensive private school.  MJ ends up staying up much past her bedtime.
8:45 pm: They depart, we make vague plans of dinner soon and I hope it happens.  DH puts MJ to bed so I can do some work.  I have to look into some tenants that have applied for our place and form an LLC.
11:00 pm: Greta wakes up, downs a bottle and goes back to sleep.

So it all started much like it began, with some baby cuddles and a bottle.  Despite being exhausted, I actually got everything done that I set out to do, which always feels good.  I'm so often going on autopilot most of the day, because it takes so much to tend to the girls, that I don't often think about what is happening or when or how long it takes.  It's interesting to see that these little nagging things I always aim to get done (like hanging up Christmas cards) take so very little time.  It's also interesting to see how much time I spend just sitting on the rug playing with Greta.  I always think I don't get to do much of that, but I did a lot more than I realized.  As tiring as this phase is, I know I will miss it so much.  I love playing with the girls all day.  I love getting drug into MJ's imagination.  I love being fully absorbed by motherhood, even when life is crazy and DH is working and I'm trying to get some other stuff done.