Does this bother anyone else?

Why can’t she just paint with ONE color and then switch? Why must she dip her brush in EVERY color before she paints a black streak on the paper? Why must she WASTE all that paint that gets wiped off at the end of the session?

Oh well, at least she had fun. 🙂

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Sweet Boy and Thanks to Carol

Okay, so I sweat the small stuff. I cry over spilled milk. I worry about tomorrow.

 

And today was horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad. And I don’t ever want to repeat it.

 

And I have a newborn and a toddler. And it freaks me out. And I am desperately trying to stay in the moment so that I don’t freak myself out by planning and overthinking and writing out notebooks full of lists and schedules and plans and ideas that will never come to fruition.

 

I am also an only child. And the whole time I was pregnant I was second-guessing and thinking, “WHAT have I gotten myself into? I don’t even WANT another child!!!”

 

But tonight. Tonight my sweet baby boy, who spent seven hours straight crying his lungs out today, smiled the sweetest smiles and craned his little neck around to see my face in the soft light. And he said, “Awowhwooooeeh.” Then he closed his eyes, nursed his little tummy full, and smelled so sweet and soft and delicate. And when he was done, he let his head fall to the side, tucked his little fists up against his cheeks, and sighed the sweetest little baby sigh I’ve ever heard.

 

I know that little boy is not always going to smell sweet. I know his eyes will not always be closed in quiet repose. I know I will more often hear those grating cries and spend so much time soothing his hurts. But I know that every moment is so worth it.

 

He looks just like his Daddy. Some day his wife will look him in the eyes and be so in love with that man. But for now, I get to look him in the eyes and be so in love with that boy. That sweet boy.

 

Thank you, Carol, for Jonathan. I know you cherish those memories of holding and caressing his itty bitty body in the darkness of the evening feedings. Thank you for raising him with love so that I can love the man he is. And thank you for setting a wonderful example of how to raise a boy.

Still Here!

Yes, it’s a quiet time in the life of my blog. But that doesn’t mean life outside the blog is quiet… no, no…

Gelato is 2 weeks old today, and we’ve got a pretty good little routine down. Everything is going really well with him except for a couple things. First is that I’m not really adept at getting out his burps. Second is that I’m really struggling to find his optimal waketime (which can be elusive in a baby this age, so I’m not beating myself up about it too much).

The burping thing is a big issue because he really gets quite gassy and he ends up screaming out in pain fifteen minutes into his nap, or getting major hiccups prior to me laying him down, which causes him to cry and cry. And there is, like, NOTHING I can do to console him while the hiccups last. So sad. He gets especially bothered by hiccups/trapped gas at his 8:00 pm feeding, so he is occasionally up from 8-10 pm, just fussing and crying off and on. Not good. I got him some gas drops yesterday, but as we were driving home, I read the ingredients and realized I got the kind with dye in them… instead of the dye-free ones that were RIGHT NEXT TO THEM on the shelf. Gah. So he has to go another day until I get to the store. I am considering just getting gripe water instead of gas drops anyway. People swear by either one, and I just don’t know what to do! Both are somewhat expensive (because parents with babies are DESPERATE for calm!) so I don’t really want to get both unless I need to.

The waketime issue is another big area of concern because if I miss his “window” and his cues (not sure what they are still- so frustrating!), he really fights his naps. I end up having to shush/pat him for an extra 20 minutes, and I won’t have time for that once my help leaves (ie, Thursday). I will have to find a way to get him down and resting quietly/napping so that I can focus my attention on Hula Girl. The problem is that I think he gets overstimulated quite easily, too. So if I have him anywhere near Hula Girl, and she’s got her little arms wrapped around his head (very common, unfortunately) while she’s talking in her oh-so-loud toddler voice, he’s almost guaranteed to get overstimulated and therefore won’t nap well. Boo. Fortunately, with the schedule worked out the way I have it set, I will only have to deal with overstimulated baby once each day! Here’s what I’m thinking might work for us:

7:00 get up, get showered, make Hula Girl’s breakfast

7:45 get Hula Girl up, dressed, milk

8:00 get Gelato up, take kids downstairs so Gelato can nurse while Hula Girl has breakfast

8:45 put Gelato down for nap 1, take Hula Girl outside, do learning activities and SSR

10:45 put Hula Girl in her room for roomtime

11:00 get Gelato up, nurse

11:45 put Gelato down for nap 2, get Hula Girl from her room, make lunch together

1:00 put Hula Girl down for her nap, take a nap myself!

2:00 get Gelato up, nurse

2:45 put Gelato down for nap 3, clean part of the house, make dinner

4:00 get Hula Girl up from her nap, snack, play outside

4:45 put Hula Girl in her room for roomtime

5:00 get Gelato up, nurse

5:30 DADDY gets Hula Girl from roomtime

5:45 put Gelato down for nap 4

6:00 dinner with Jonathan and Hula Girl, family time

7:00 start Hula Girl’s bedtime routine

7:30 Hula Girl in bed

8:00 get Gelato up, nurse, bedtime routine

8:45 Gelato in bed, I go to bed

10:00, and then twice in the night, nurse Gelato

See? All under control. Assuming all goes well. Also, now you see why the gas drops/gripe water and waketime issues are HUGE. But I just have to have faith that God’s grace will cover the areas I can’t. My one goal is to parent with grace, respect, and calmness. At the end of the day, I want both children to feel like I’ve met their basic needs (and even some of their wants) and for Jonathan to come home to a peaceful, relatively clean and organized household (most days- I know there will be some days when I want to tear my hair out by noon).

OKAY, time for a pep talk- what is your best advice for me?

Gelato: 10 Days Old

I want to keep some kind of record of how my son is doing as he grows. I have done some monthly/important milestone-y updates on Hula Girl in both the blog world and in email correspondence with my family and friends. I intend to print everything out and put it all together in a book someday for her; I thought I’d like to do the same for Gelato. So here’s some info about our littlest man.

Nursing is going really well. I was all prepared for him to hit his first growth spurt today, but I haven’t really seen too much indication of that other than him wanting to eat quite soon after his 10:00 feeding last night and his 7:00 feeding this morning. Both times, though, he only took one side for less than six minutes, so perhaps he was just nursing for comfort? I am still trying to figure out all his cues. Anyway, he generally spends about 15 minutes on the first side and then another 10 minutes on the second side when he’s nursing. I burp him in between sides and then change his diaper after the feeding is over. I found that if I change his diaper between sides, it helps to wake him up, but it actually rouses him too much and he ends up wide awake and staring around at 3:00 in the morning… which is kind of not what we’re going for. 🙂 He’s becoming quite difficult to burp. However, I found that if I hoist him up so his arms are hanging over my shoulder (therefore putting gentle pressure on his tummy) I can usually get him to burp within five minutes. If he doesn’t after five minutes are over, I move on.

Waketimes are still very short. We generally have time for nursing, burping, a diaper change, and the nap routine. I have found that if I get him down within 45 minutes, he goes right to sleep with no issues. However, if I keep him up any longer, he fusses and sometimes cries a bit before falling asleep for good. I have also found that it’s okay to let him fuss and cry a bit- he doesn’t get super worked up at all, and I am glad to be giving him the skills to be able to fall asleep on his own. Today I tried giving him a bath after his 10:00ish feeding, so he was back down after an hour of waketime (pretty stimulating waketime, too, I’ll admit). But he didn’t fall asleep until he had cried and fussed a bit and so he was awake for about an hour and fifteen minutes. That’s 30 minutes too long… oops. But he’s gotta get clean sometime, you know? Kid was starting to stink. 😉

Waketime activities are quite limited. As I mentioned above, it’s more like up, eat, diaper change, back down. But while he’s nursing, I try to do things that are at least somewhat stimulating for him. I read to him at least three times per day. I play music for him. I talk to him. I rub his little arms and legs and back and feet. Anything to keep him focused on being awake and eating! I can’t wait until he stays awake a bit after nursings so that I can actually play with him and smile with him a bit.

Naps, as I mentioned before, are quite good. If I get him down on time, it does not take him long to fall asleep and he stays asleep until I wake him 2.5-3 hours after his feeding for the next cycle to begin. He is a warm sleeper and he likes to be swaddled. He does try really hard to work his hands out of the swaddle and if he can actually manage it, the nap is sometimes cut short. He will put his hands near his mouth, making himself think he’s hungry, and he’ll cry to be fed. Silly boy. So now we’re working hard on keeping those arms down in the swaddle. We’ll see how that goes.

Nights are stretching out finally! He actually didn’t have a super wakeful period in the night last night except for once, when I had to stop and reswaddle him. That woke him up and kept him up for quite some time. Otherwise, he’s sleeping pretty well at night, only waking to eat sometimes. Other times I wake him to eat. He even did a 4.5-hour stretch last night between feedings, which let me sleep for three and a half hours straight! Yahoo!

So we’re still keeping at least 8 feedings per 24 hours. We will continue to do so until he’s at least 5-7 weeks old. It is tough to keep that many feedings because he could just sleep during the day, but it is important for him to be nourished. And now that he’s starting to sleep longer stretches through the night, I have to add extra feedings during the day. That means that our schedule during the day looks something like this: feed at 7, 10, 1, 3:30, 6, 8:30, 11, and then let him wake at night. Hopefully we’ll get down to only one night waking soon…

Gelato is also going to be circumcised today. I am NOT looking forward to having him in pain. 😦 I know it will heal quickly and he’ll never remember it… but he’s still my LITTLE guy and I feel awful that he has to go through it! My plan is to send Jonathan in with him, and then once it’s over, nurse him for comfort. Auntie Nay-Nay will be home with Hula Girl when we take him to the doctor. I am excited to go to the doctor today, though, because I can’t wait to see how much weight he’s gained since Monday. I am sure it will be a lot. After all, between Thursday and Monday he had gained 14 ounces. Yes, my friends, my milk is nutritious!

 

Well, He’s Here!

Yup, my extended hiatus meant something this time. Gelato has arrived.

He came last Tuesday at 2:29 p.m. and he is perfect. He’s a sweet, sleepy little guy who smiles every time I give his squishy cheeks a kiss. Seriously. I don’t know what it is about the kisses- the feel, the sound, whatever- but he really truly does smile every time.

Kid was huge. Flipping 8 pounds 13 ounces huge. For those of you who don’t know me, I am 5’3″ and Jonathan is 5’7″. We are not large people. Hula Girl surprised us when she was born at 8lbs 4oz. I hoped and hoped and hoped that Gelato would surprise us by being smaller than his sister. The odds were against us, considering he’s a second child AND a boy AND he stayed in there four days longer than she did, but I still had hope. Oh, well. He’s out now!

I did end up having a natural delivery. In fact, my whole labor was so fast that I didn’t have any other options. I arrived at the hospital 7 cm dilated, and 2 hours later he was out. No kidding. Because I had no medications, the whole recovery process has been much faster and easier than the first time around. However, natural childbirth was definitely not a walk in the park, which is why I am SO glad it went as fast as it did. I had back labor with him. I never asked if he was “sunny-side up” but I do remember the doctor talking to the nurses about turning him as I was pushing him out. The pain in my back was beyond anything I had ever felt until the whole “ring of fire” experience that so many moms have talked about before me. The only other thing I will say about the natural delivery is that I am SO glad we have already decided that two children is enough for our family.

Anyway, little guy is a sleepy little snuggly boy. All he wants to do is nurse, then snuffle around in my neck and grunt and squeak until he falls asleep. I know he’s not supposed to fall asleep right away after eating, but it is next to impossible to get him to stay awake much longer. So I just cuddle him, tell him how wonderful he is and how much he is loved by his family, and then swaddle him, sit still with him, and put him in his crib. Then he falls asleep until I wake him 3 hours later, and we repeat!

Night times are stretching out a bit, too. The last couple nights have been pretty good. Last night, in fact, he went 4 hours between feedings (netting me 2.5 hours straight sleep!!!) and I am betting that he’ll soon stretch that to the full 5 hours he’s allowed per 24-hour period. However, I never know what to expect since he is a little guy (only 8 days old, ya know?!). I am expecting a bit of a regression in the next couple days since 10 days is the first growth spurt usually. So we’ll see!

Hula Girl is doing really well with the transition. Jonathan is home still and he’s doing a great job with her. We make sure he gets enough sleep at night (meaning: he sleeps all night and I handle all baby stuff on my own- something we did NOT do with Hula Girl- my recovery has gone so easily and smoothly that it is actually possible for me to handle it all easily) so he can play with her all day long. It will be a tougher time next week when he returns to work and my sister-in-law leaves… but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyway, our little family is doing well. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers you sent our way!

40 Weeks 4 Days

Since I don’t typically post on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I didn’t post this weekend. And a lot of people assumed it was because I was in the hospital giving birth. Sorry, friends. I was not.

Gelato is still in there, cooking away. Getting bigger and bigger every moment. Yipe.

Jonathan is now officially on vacation. I told him that I would appreciate him being home even before Gelato comes, just so he is HERE and can help with Hula Girl. She is over the moon happy that her Daddy is home with her all the time now. What little girl wouldn’t love a chance to hang with her Daddy during all her waking hours? I will say, though, that even though she’s thrilled to be with Jonathan a lot, she still wants me. She comes to find me and sits with me on the couch and snuggles and reads books endlessly. When I walk into the kitchen, all she wants is for me to pick her up and hold her while she rests her head against my cheek and shoulder. When she comes out of her room after sleeping, she comes straight to me and says, “Mommy, are you coming downstairs with me?” SUCH a mommy’s girl. And I love it. L.O.V.E. it.

This past weekend was pretty uneventful as far as things go.

We went to swimming lessons for Hula Girl on Saturday. They were quite a bit more challenging than the previous lessons have been, but Hula Girl did very very well. She is great at following directions and she is not afraid of the water. Both of these characteristics make her an excellent swimming lesson participant! The class started working on keeping their arms out in front of them when they are swimming or jumping in. Hula Girl and the other little kiddos had to wear these floatie belt things around their waists. Hula Girl’s was too loose and it kept slipping up to her armpits, but she didn’t care. She kept on swimming and kept on jumping like a pro.

After swimming lessons we spent a chunk of time skyping with Ama and Papa (Jonathan’s parents) and Hula Girl impressed them (and annoyed all of us eventually) with her constant LOUD chatter. Kid never stops talking. And her talking voice is pretty much a shout. That evening at dinner we implemented “medium voice” practice. So far it’s going well.

Sunday was full of naps for me and laid-back stuff for the family. We went shopping in the morning so Jonathan and Hula Girl can eat this week. Then we came home and Jonathan pushed her in the swing while I napped. After her nap we made brownies as a family. Hula Girl has never had brownies before, so she wasn’t sure what that meant. But when she got up from her nap, I heard her singing, “We are making brownies! We are making brownies!” all the way downstairs. And the whole time she was pouring, stirring, and sniffing the batter, she kept looking up and grinning like the Cheshire Cat while proclaiming, “I am making brownies!” She got to eat one after dinner, and I’m pretty sure she’s hooked now. 🙂

Today Jonathan took Hula Girl out and about to return about $100 worth of random items from various stores around town. We often end up buying the wrong thing or too many of one thing, but we are SO BAD about returning the items we don’t need. They pile up in random places around our house- garage, bedroom, kitchen peninsula, etc. I think Jonathan realized we’re hoarding a jackpot and decided today’s the day to cash it in! It’s nice to be home alone.

Okay, onto the PREGNANCY stuff. 

I have been begging, pleading, longing, hoping, crossing fingers, praying, and generally pining for labor to begin. I have had several false starts, including one last night.

Yesterday I felt slightly different from the way I had felt previously. In fact, on Saturday, I felt GREAT! I had no contractions, no pressure, and no pain at all. All of Saturday. Then yesterday I felt crampy and all those random twinges, pokes, pinches, and sharp pains were magnified to a significantly higher level of pain than what I’d been feeling before. Then I woke in the night at 2:00 and was in a lot of pain and I was having contractions that were 8ish minutes apart…for over two hours. I laid in bed trying to fall back asleep, but making an entry in my phone’s contraction timer app each time I had a contraction kept me awake for a long time. Around 3, I decided to go downstairs and eat because I was starving. I last looked at the clock around 4:15, and I think I managed to fall back to sleep soon thereafter. But I was convinced that I’d be waking up and heading to the hospital.

When I woke up, nothing seemed very different anymore. No pain. Some contractions still, but not enough to really take notice and start tracking them again. So, here we are.

Warning: possibly gross details to follow.

I did lose the mucus plug today, which is not a definite labor sign. It can happen any time after the 7th month, and the plug itself can regenerate. But since I hadn’t lost mine yet, I am kind of thinking that things are finally starting to move in the direction of labor. Since I lost it, I have been feeling stronger pains and my backache hasn’t gone away. So, without making any promises… maybe today/tonight?!

Week 40-Examining my Motives

So I’ve been thinking. Why do I really want to get this kid out of me so much? After all, I know all the information out there about letting a baby come in his own time and not being born on due dates, and the like. And my number one priority this time has been to have a healthy natural birth. And just because he’s “due” today doesn’t mean anything really- everyone knows you don’t really set a date in the calendar and make flight arrangements and cancel plans based on that one date. Babies are unpredictable, as they like to remind/teach us from the very very beginning- even before the beginning! I know all this. But I have been so stuck on just wanting him to come out.

Some might suppose I’d want him out because I can’t really wait to hold him and meet my son. Well, sure. But since I don’t know him yet and I don’t know what it’s like to have a son, I haven’t really thought about that much, to be honest. I know that I will grow another heart when he comes out and I will love him and adore him just as much (but in a totally different way) as I love Hula Girl. I know he will be a joy and a struggle and a wonderful blessing in my life. But I can’t really fathom what that will be like yet, especially since I have been so focused on Hula Girl and Hula Girl alone for almost three years now. He’s actually kind of like an intruder into our special Mommy-Daughter-super-special-no-one-else-allowed-except-maybe-sometimes-Daddy club. And I am actually dreading the day when her priorities can’t be my priorities because his priorities are more important. What will that feel like for her? When she grows up, will she remember feeling left out or unimportant? Or will she only remember the good times, like when her baby brother is sleeping and I can spend 30 minutes snuggled up with her on the couch reading book after book after book? And then thinking about all these things with Hula Girl makes me sit and wonder what Gelato will be like. Will he want to snuggle? Will he want to wrestle? Will he be into reading like his sister? It’s so hard for me because I can see so much of Hula Girl’s personality and I’m really enjoying getting to know her. I can’t really remember a day in her life when she didn’t have a quirky little personality, and it’s hard to imagine another baby with a different personality… and then calling that baby mine, too. Freaky.

Another segment of the population might think my haste to kick this parasite out of my belly is due to my level of discomfort with him actually being in there. Absolutely. He is a PAIN in the back, the front, the sides, the middle, and all around. Literally. I have been waking more and more frequently at night from just plain pain. I can’t walk more than 25 yards at a time without feeling immense pain in my hip. I can’t lift my Hula Girl without feeling like I’m going to burst. And shaving my legs… well, let’s just say that if I could sleep with hairy legs, I would be far more comfortable during my 25-minute long showers these days. Seriously, ladies, try it. Put a beach ball down your shirt and then try to shave. Now imagine that beach ball is a human being who kicks and punches when you squish too hard. And the lower backaches. Yowza. I am grateful each night for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift- a rice bag that I can heat and reheat and reheat and reheat to keep the pain-dulling warmth close as long as I need it. Yep, I feel a little ridiculous using a heat-giving rice bag during the middle of the hottest summer on record, especially when I wake up drenched with sweat, but that’s really what’s keeping me able to sleep even a little. Without that rice bag poor Jonathan’s hands would be sore and tired from having to rub my back constantly. So thank you, Jenn, from both of us. By the way, please do not recommend a heating pad. I will not be able to sleep with one in my bed since… um… they are electrical and I don’t do electricity in my bed. The rice bag is better anyway- it can mold and shape to my exact specifications. And if you do choose to recommend a heating pad after all that, I just might have to throw my rice bag in your face’s direction. That is all.

But neither of the aforementioned theories is correct. Do you know why I want this kid out so badly? It is one hundred percent pure selfishness on my part: I want Jonathan to come home. The past few weeks have been the hardest ones of my life. Here I am parenting a toddler (a very active, very in-her-testing-phase two-year-old to be exact), and life is not dull. All I want is to collapse on the couch during the heat of the day, go for long walks during the coolness of the mornings and evenings (“coolness” is relative- it’s been about 75 here in the evenings and mornings), take warm soothing baths whenever I feel a backache, watch movies that match my mood, and eat healthy but delicious foods. Instead I am chasing and disciplining and providing learning opportunities for my super bright and therefore not easily amused child, making breakfast and getting said toddler’s room ready for bedtime, unable to take baths since the bath shares a wall with toddler’s crib and running the water would wake her up, unable to watch movies because we have a strict ban on TV viewing in our household for anyone under the age of three, and grabbing snacky foods that fit my elimination diet whenever I have time to do so between the cleaning up and the setting up and the playing and the reading and the sunscreening and the bathing and the helping and the corralling and the loving and the kissing and the constant constant constant awareness that I need to just drink this in because she’s never going to be this same age ever again and I want to relish every moment for what it is.

I would be able to do all the fun things, like watching her become smarter and more beautiful by the second, while laying on the couch if Jonathan were home. I would be able to sneak away and take a bath. I would be able to make food that I can actually enjoy and eat. I would be excused from the hard stuff, like lifting and sunscreening (is there anything worse than trying to put sunscreen on a wiggly toddler whose skin tone matches Casper’s? honestly? anything more difficult?) and disciplining and physically playing. I would get to enjoy snuggles and reading and kisses and amazement… all from the comfort of the floor or a chair. Jonathan is an amazing father, and when he’s home, it’s a truly welcome and wonderful break for me. He makes time and makes sure Hula Girl knows how much he loves her by engaging her in creative play, careful discipline, emotional development, and so on. I can rest assured that when he’s home, it’s not all on me, and in fact, if we’re going to be quite honest here, it’s mostly on him. He takes it on and loves on us and cares for us like no one else could possibly ever do.

So when I say I want Jonathan home, it is purely selfish. And he’s not going to be home until Gelato’s out. Because his work is actually being really awesome and flexible with his schedule. He was originally slated to take off work starting today, but since no little gnome has popped up in our crib yet, he is at work. And there he will stay until Gelato appears. I have been anxiously awaiting and looking forward to Jonathan’s presence at home ever since the plans were made back in May. And now I am truly disappointed that I have to wait. Because it’s not just having to wait to see him… it’s having to wait to take a break from being a full-time Mommy of a toddler (yes, I realize that once Gelato gets here, I will be a full-time Mommy of a toddler AND a newborn- but I am pretty darn sure that will be physically easier on my body than being ginormously pregnant while being a full-time Mommy of a toddler). Oh, I am so looking forward to the time when we start to develop our new lives and new routines as a family of four. How sweet to have such a great time together planned… how bittersweet when those plans get postponed!

 

 

 

Officially Ready Now!

Hooray! My dad is awesome. He came today and delivered our last piece of necessary baby equipment- the changing table. He built Hula Girl’s changing table and we love it so much. It’s actually more like a dresser that can be used as a changing table when she’s little and it will definitely be something that she keeps in her room forever. So we were quite attached to it, and we really didn’t like anything else for Gelato. So I asked my dad to build us another one… and he did! And guess what- he even turned little toadstool-shaped handles on his lathe for the drawer pulls! How’s that for awesome?

Hula Girl was excited to see her “Maybe” (Grampy) today. She hasn’t seen him in a long time. She helped him put the changing table together and then monopolized his time until lunch by keeping him busy with Legos. She handed him all the blue ones and made him build her a tower. It was a twisty tower, something she hasn’t seen before. She liked it. She will be quite sad to find out that “Maybe” has  gone home when she wakes from her nap.

In other news, I got bit by a stupid fire ant today. And it’s not the first time that’s happened. I was pushing Hula Girl in her swing on the front patio while Grampy carried parts of the changing table in from the car. And then she said she wanted to feel Gelato in my tummy. I thought that was sweet, so I stopped pushing her and let her feel, just long enough to stop staring at my feet and squashing the little pests every two seconds, and just long enough for one of them to get brave enough to get revenge. OW. So now my foot is swollen. And it hurts like the dickens. But you’ll all be glad to know I have fortunately learned from my previous mistakes, and I did not freeze my foot and get frostbite this time.

Anyway, Gelato is due tomorrow. I am feeling crampy and icky today, with a few contractions thrown in there for good measure. But I refuse to pay attention until they hurt or until something else happens (like, if I am one of the 10% of women whose water breaks pre-labor or something). So there.

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