Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Story time

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May Days

Before Teddy was born, during the sunset of 2013, my Mom was fond of saying that 2014 would be the year that I just wouldn't remember.

While the details feel so intricate to me now, I fear she may be right.  Although Teddy is sleeping much better than he was, he is still up twice a night, followed by a 6 am wakeup from the big kids.  I seem unable to fall asleep before 10:00 on most nights.  So I spend much of my day in a haze, with days (like today) that I question whether I should even be driving.

May started a few days ago, right?  Isn't Cinco De Mayo in a couple days?

Sadly, no, that was 16 days ago.  So perhaps I really will forget this year, and I should write down a few things.  I like bulleted lists.  So here's a few events of late.

1.  Tonight we went to the end of year picnic for MJ's school.  It is such a magical place, with goats and llamas and chickens and rabbits and ponies and burros.  Although she enjoys animals now, when she was a toddler we'd take her to the zoo or the aquarium and she was bored unless there was something to climb.  Completely uninterested in the animals around her.  Greta, on the other hand, is nuts for animals.  Absolutely cannot get enough of them.  Although MJ loves this school, I think Greta would be in absolute heaven.  We'll see.  We had planned to send MJ there next year for kindergarten, but she got into a public school down the block from our house and will not be returning in the fall.  We are excited but will miss this magical place.  Perhaps Greta will come in a couple years.

2.  A week and a half ago my Mom arrived.  I had a long list of projects to accomplish while she was here.  During her stay I: built 4 different pieces of patio furniture, a bunk bed, installed the water line for the automatic ice maker on our fridge, cleaned our basement and packed a bunch of baby clothes for my sister in law, fixed a shelf, fixed a lamp, planted bulbs, installed an internet camera, and spread mulch over our front yard.  This is on top of a lot of cleaning and cooking and general wifeliness.

In addition to feeling so accomplished, it was so nice to have my Mom here.  I dare say I enjoyed her visit much more than her last visit.  I so dreaded her departure last time that it almost prevented me from enjoying her stay.  I realized that she and I are alike in this.  If something is hanging over my head, I can't enjoy the moment I'm experiencing.  This is also why I would rather flee town in the middle of the night than have to say goodbye (which she does, too, starting her drive at 3 a.m.!)  We also had some wonderful conversations that made me realize how well she knows me.  Now, being a parent, it often boggles my mind that I used to be the flailing toddler on the ground that she had to endure.  It's not that I thank her so much for those moments, it's that I thank her for continuing to come back and put up with me in spite of them.

3.  The girls have been sharing a bedroom since last August.  It has gone exceptionally well.  There was a short spell in December where MJ was waking Greta up in the morning.  Since MJ often wakes up long before G, this led to a very tired Greta and a very grumpy Mom.  We moved MJ's mattress into another room for a week, as a way of driving home that if she wakes her sister up she can't share a room with her.  During that week both girls slept poorly, with many middle of the night wake ups.  It was really more of a punishment for me, apparently.  So we moved them back together and it has continued to be wonderful.  Until a week and a half ago Greta was still in her crib and MJ was in her toddler bed.

But over the past month I have wanted the crib for Teddy; he was in a pack and play or a smaller crib, but I was convinced it was time to transition.  Furthermore, with my Mom in town, it was a good time to assemble a major piece of furniture.  So we bought one on Amazon and assembled it a week and a half ago.

The girls were so excited.  It was a major project.  8 man hours spent building this thing (5 or 6 of those were woman hours).  Plus the mattresses we bought for it (another major internet research project... mattresses stress me out...)

But it was a rough start.  MJ went to sleep fine, but Greta could not stay in her bed.  Although she had been napping in her sisters bed for months, that was always when MJ was out of the room.  With MJ in the room, in the TOP BUNK, she just wanted to climb up there and play.  MJ would fall asleep and Greta would climb up and pull her hair.  Lots of tears.  Lots of yelling.

So we put Greta in the pack and play.  And the next night.  Many nights.  The first couple nights she wanted to sleep in the pack and play.  The next couple nights she would start in her bed, and then climb out of it, and we would put her in the pack and play.

But finally, we are having some success.  She has now slept in her bed for the past few nights without getting out and bothering her sister.  Then they wake up in the morning and play.  I am back to thinking this was a good idea, but not with enough confidence to fold up the pack and play.

4.  Greta.  Oh, Greta.  If I had any sense at all, this age (22 months) would be my least favorite.  Because she really is a terror.  She's becoming more sweet, but she's still a terror.  She doesn't abuse Vito quite as much as she used to.  She is nicer to her brother than she used to be.  Today I even saw her share and play with another kid.  At the same time, though, she is a runner.  She loves to run away from me.  MJ never did this, perhaps because I could always carry her if there was an issue.  But with Teddy in my arms, Great sees the opportunity to bolt in the opposite direction.  It drives me nuts.  It makes me angry.  And I'm afraid she'll get hurt.  I do not know how to get her to stop.  I think I must just endure it.

But she is so sweet, too.  She loves to cuddle in a way that MJ never did.  She constantly wants to climb into my lap and read books.  Books, books, all the time.  We have a picture encyclopedia that she looks at constantly.  Also a couple Dallas Clayton books.  And, of course, Curious George.  She gives me unprovoked kisses and hugs.  How could I not adore this?  And the chatter.  So much chatter.  I think she's right on the verge of a language explosion; more and more new words popping up, and more complex expressions every day.  I can't decide whether I look forward to more language or not.

5.  MJ is a sweet kid.  She makes me proud to be her Mama 98% of the time.  I am constantly told by strangers how well spoken she is.  And she has finally become a neighborhood kid.  The other kids knock on our fence to ask if she's free to play and are bummed if she isn't.  I expect she'll be leading the pack soon enough, because it seems she's the one that is always furnishing the ideas of what to play.  It is fascinating to watch her become part of her community.  She is so much like her Dad.  And, much like him, she makes me so crazy and so happy, all at the same time.

6.  And Teddy.  My baby.  I am trying to soak up every moment of babyness.  I think if someone could just hand me a 4-month-old, without having to endure pregnancy or newbornhood, I would take it.  Every time. So we'd go from a family of 5 to a family of 15.  He has started to grab faces and pull hair.  Greta looked shocked at first, but now seems to find it funny.  And totally endures it, doesn't try to hit back.  MJ spends a chunk of every day trying to get him to laugh.  It is all so freaking adorable.  I try to remember how adorable it is, always.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

4 months

This was a big month for you, little man.  This month you lost two of your favorite things: your pacifier and your swaddle.  But you also started nursing and started sleeping better.  This month brought many, many smiles.  Some true belly laughs.  This month was the month that I can no longer quite remember what our family was like without you.  You seem to have always been here.  You have just started to pull hair, and Greta looks utterly shocked when you manage to get a hold of hers: she stares at you in disbelief that you are becoming a worthy opponent.  And then she laughs.

You have started to become fascinated with Vito, though you haven't managed to get a hold of him yet.  You had two nights when you slept through the night, from 7 pm to 6 am.  But the rest of the time you are up one to two times a night.  I am already getting spoiled with your better sleep, because now I feel like I am still exhausted and you need to be sleeping better, though I know this is world's better than you were doing and I'll probably just put up with it for now.

You're still not very good at nursing.  If you are at all sleepy, you just fall asleep at the breast.  This is the same issue you've had since you were born.  I think the reason you're nursing better now is that you are more alert, so you have periods in the day when you actually nurse well.  But prior to you starting to nurse, 1 week before you turned 4 months, I was only pumping about 20 ounces a day, so I know my supply is not great.  And for me, as soon as my supply starts to go down, I seem to be unable to get it back up, no matter how much I pump or nurse.  Don't know why that is, but with 3 kids now that has always been the case.  So we nurse 4 to 5 times a day, I figure you get somewhere between 10 and 20 ounces, and I try not to stress about it beyond that.

Your sisters adore you.  Greta is still warming up to all this, but she is starting to really enjoy "playing" with you, as much as a 21 month old can play with a baby.  This is going to be alright.  In fact, this is going to be better than alright.