Saturday, March 30, 2013

Greta, 8 months

This month we finally got some sleep.  It involved a bit of crying (on Greta's part and my part, as well) but wasn't too traumatic once we set our minds to it.  For a while she got down to eating once a night, which is not bad considering she usually sleeps 12 to 14 hours at night, so it seemed too much to ask for her to not wake up at all.  She's now consistently back up to 2 feedings at night, but, again, sometimes as long as 14 hours of sleep, so that seems fair.

About a week ago she quit the swing.  We used to use it for that last stretch in the early morning when she seemed like she wanted to get up and play, but would instead fall back to sleep in the swing.  Then she quit it, cold turkey, and screamed bloody murder when we tried to put her in it.  The good news, though?  She is still sleeping that last stretch, and in her crib.

This month she got even more fun.  If she had her way, she would have me sit on the floor with her so she could pull herself to standing all. day. long.  Any time she's fussy I can always get her to calm down by letting her pull herself up on my arms.  She's not really good enough to do it on something like a table, yet (and we have no coffee table) which must be why she relies on me.  I'm in no hurry to have her walk, but she is seemingly very determined to do so.  She constantly practices taking steps, and while she's not really close to walking yet, she's making great strides.

She's not much for crawling, though.  She has learned to scoot around (mostly backwards) and spin around on the floor.  But she gets fed up with it pretty quickly and too frustrated to continue.

Another key development has been signing.  She signs "milk" when she wants a bottle.  Admittedly, she signs it at many other times as well, but it's an interesting insight into her psyche.  She will sign "milk" whenever she seeks comfort of some kind.  I've seen her fall over and instantly sign "milk".  And while she's taking a bottle, she will lay there and just sign "milk" the entire time.  This is her only sign so far, but has given us renewed commitment to signing in general.

Other favorite activities include shaking her head around wildly, I guess to see the world shake around. Only sound so far is "Dada" but she definitely knows her name.  She loves having her sister home all day, and is so totally infatuated with her (the feeling seems to be mutual).

Everywhere she goes the comments are "She's so happy!  Oh my gosh, is she always this happy?" and the answer is yes.  It is so effortless to get her to smile.  She's such a wonderful baby, and it makes me sad to think how little "baby" time we have left.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A few quotes from our day...

"Mom, I can't wipe my boogers on these pants because these are my nice pants."

"Mom, I need to poop a deuce."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's true.

One is easier is than two.

I never really doubted it, but today I really felt it. Lately, really, I have felt it. I expected to be hit with a ton of bricks after the second was born, but that didn't happen.  Instead, it was a slow realization that life was not going to spring back to normalcy but would, instead, only get harder.

I've never heard a good description of this phenomenon, because, truly, babies are really freaking hard.

So here's my theory.

Babies are physically hard.  When the physical hardships get really bad they bleed over into mental hardships.  Changing diapers?  Gross, much of the time, but then it's done.  Sleep deprivation?  Freaking terrible, but when they sleep there's nothing else to worry about.  

The older they get, it seems, the more mentally taxing they get, and the less physically taxing.  I can imagine that by the time they're teenagers, the mental exhaustion has bled over into physical exhaustion.  The exact opposite of infants, in which the physical exhaustion bleeds over into mental exhaustion.

Which is probably why middle childhood is described as the golden years.  I already long for grand-children, and fully understand why my mom (and most mothers) was crazy for grandchildren when I was most-certainly not ready to provide them.

Tonight, my darling 3-year-old is galavanting with her dad and friends.   So I'm playing solo parent to an infant.  It's so easy that I don't fully know what to do with myself.  I almost forget what it's like to have hobbies.  I remember that I have them, but forget what it's like to experience them.

There's no real point here.  Other than to say, two are harder than one.  I'm sure that it never really gets easier, and even if it's "easy" someone else always has it harder.  Enjoy what you've got, but that doesn't mean you can't complain about what you're going through.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Our first graduation

Today was hard on me.  I thought it might be hard on MJ, but I was (thankfully) wrong.  Today she said farewell to the only daycare/preschool she's ever known.

She started there when she was 4 months old.  I cried then, but I cried more today.  She has moved through 4 different rooms there, and many loving teachers.  They have seen her learn to crawl, learn to walk, learn to run, learn to draw, learn to share, learn to talk, and learn to give hugs.  It has been like a second home for us, and without family living close by has been a total godsend.  She kept going months longer than she really needed to, because it has been such a loving, nurturing environment.

I felt silly for tearing up when I picked her up today.  But then I saw that all the teachers were crying, and felt a little less silly.  I thought that her seeing me cry would make this transition harder for her, but she was fine.

One of the teachers said to another "I don't even know what this place is without MJ".  They all told her how much they love her as she left.

How very blessed we have been.

Helping clean up after gym.  The BEST part of the day.
Unphased.  Change, bah.  I can handle it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Making it real (and a plea for some advice)

I have now been a "stay at home mom" for longer than I worked at my last job.   I have enough distance from it to definitively say that it was the absolute right decision.  I Hated my job.  I should have known better; the only other time I had a traditional office-desk-type-job was in college, and I wanted to tear my hair out every day.  Sitting at a desk, all day every day, is torture for me.  So even though this was in my field, it couldn't overcome how terrible it is for me to sit in one place looking at spread sheets all day.  On top of that, I love being home with the girls.  When MJ was this age it KILLED me to drop her at daycare every day, knowing I was missing 90% of her waking hours.  I can't get enough of the smiles, coos, and belly laughs.  Although the days are occasionally a bit repetitive, we've managed to mix things up enough to avoid most of that.

So now I'm home.  I've been home with Greta for 7 months, but during that time MJ has continued to go to preschool most days.  At first it was because I had a newborn and needed the extra help.  Then it was because we bought a rental property and needed to get it up and running.  And now, there are no more justifiable reasons.

In about a week, that will no longer be the case.  I'll have both girls home with me, full time, and I'm a bit terrified.  I know this is what SAHMs do, and I'm excited about all the fun things we'll get to do.  It will be good for Greta, because she loves when her sister's around.  But how do people get anything done?  As it is now, with MJ gone for a good chunk of the day, I feel like I'm still going from sun up to sundown getting things done.  But now I'll have two rugrats around, one of whom is quicker at making messes than I am at cleaning them up.

Additionally, without any family around and a husband who works many evenings and weekends, I'll have few chances for a break.  If I could just drop them at a grandparent's house for a few hours in order to get things done that would be... amazing.  Or if the hubs came home at normal times every day and I could take an hour or two to do something.  But I won't have that.

So how do you do it?  What are some tips you'd like to pass along on how to keep your sanity?  How to get the things done that need to get done?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Freakin Puerto Ricans

I hope that's not an insult... I don't really know these things.

I'm not going to give a full accounting of our trip, but if you want details feel free to ask.

I will share a few MJisms, though.

On our first night there, she was up late enough to see the stars and moon.  It's a rarity, because it's too cold in the winter to be outside much in Minnesota, and in the summer it gets dark so late that she's usually asleep.

So it was fun to watch the stars with her. 

Her comment: "I wish I could climb up a ladder and pull them all down.  And put them in my bedroom."

She befriended the resident cat lady and fed the kitties every evening.  They were terrified of MJ, but she had treats so they tolerated.

There is more.  Greta is awake.  It will all have to wait, time to click "publish".

At our hotel, watching the fish.

Trying to get Greta to stop eating sand by distracting her with a cup.

Yes, those thighs are real.  No airbrushing required.

Our traveling high chair.  But she's basically outgrown it now.

Don't be fooled.  She wasn't impressed that we made her watch the sunset, she wanted to go feed the cats.

It was so terrifying to watch them in the waves.  This surf was rough.

My camera always stumps other people.  It's always lucky when someone manages to take a decent picture with it.  This was our hotel balcony.  The water lapped at the balcony during high tide - yikes!

Old San Juan.  The oldest fort in San Juan.

Waiting for brunch.  So nice to be able to play outside.

7 Months: Survival Style

In truth, Greta didn't really have a 7 month birthday, being as there were only 28 days in February.  Furthermore, we were gone (Puerto Rico baby!) and so I didn't get a chance to take any pictures until the 3rd, a whole 2 days past what would otherwise be her birthday.  Someday she'll be in therapy for that one.

This month has been... rough.   As compared to the other months, anyway, because in truth she still remains a pretty easy kid.  But this is the month she decided to become a truly troubled sleeper.  I've dug out our old sleep books and scoured the internets for advice.  She wakes up every two to three hours (at best) looking to eat or be rocked back to sleep.

Prior to leaving for Puerto Rico we started working on getting her to sleep on her own, and mostly failed.  But any progress we made we lost while we were travelling because we had to be respectful of neighboring travelers (thus we had to swiftly soothe her instead of letting her figure it out).

Supposedly it's that whole object permanence thing.... she suddenly realizes that I exist when she wakes up and wants me back.  I never worried about rocking her to sleep because, honestly, I enjoy it so much.  So why make it an issue if we were both enjoying it?  But I enjoyed it when it was once, twice, or three times a night.  More than that and I no longer enjoy it.

Since our return she has been a total mess.  Fussy and crying all. the. time.  I think the kid is just exhausted.  We've started doing some cry it out, because I don't know what else to do.  I'm exhausted.  She's exhausted.  And, truth be told, she is now sleeping longer stretches (5 hours at times), thus making a very strong case for cry it out.  Sorry kid, we tried gentler approaches but you just weren't having it.

Apart from the last couple days, though, she is generally a super happy kid during the day.  The number one thing that strangers comment on is how happy she is.  She's all smiles, all the time.  In the past week she has discovered how to shriek and has started truly interacting with her sister.  Lucky thing MJ loves to entertain, because Greta loves to be entertained by her.  They sit in the backseat with MJ making weird sounds and Greta laughing hysterically.

I won't be surprised if this kid walks before she can crawl.  She has started to spin around a bit when placed on her belly, but still wants nothing to do with being on her belly.  She would be happy to have me hold her on her feet all day long and loves trying to take steps.  She has discovered not to let go of me yet, though, after a few tumbles.

She has also become a stomach sleeper, which is something MJ never did and therefore decidedly disconcerting for me.  At this point, though, I'm willing to try anything that helps her sleep better.

I love this little girl, and just can't get enough of her during the day.  I could do with a little less of her at night.  If we can get this sleep thing figured out then the sun will shine a bit brighter around here.