One Month Old!

My friend Emily posts monthly updates on her babies’ development by comparing their accomplishments to the developmental milestones listed in the book What to Expect The First Year And I’m totally stealing her idea. Sorry, Emily! 🙂

Gelato is one month old already! Can you believe it!? Time’s a-flyin’.

According to the book, by one month, Gelato….

should be able to:

• lift his head briefly when he’s on his tummy on a flat surface

• focus on a face

He can.

will probably be able to:

• respond to a bell in some way, such as startling, crying, quieting

He does.

 …may possibly be able to:

• lift head 45 degrees when on stomach

I’m betting he does about 30.

You see? He’s right on track!

I was so worried that he might not be on track. I have actually seen this worry come across the posts in our Babywise Google group. Many new moms are worried that their babies sleep too much and won’t have time to develop according to normal developmental lists. I can hardly believe I can actually measure ANY development, since it seems like Gelato is constantly eating or asleep (or falling asleep, which is another story…). But yay! My kiddo’s on track.

Another one of my friends, Valerie, does weekly summaries of her newborns (and then monthly summaries after that). I also like her style, so I’m also stealing that idea. In fact, I’ve already stolen it several times for Hula Girl’s summaries. So I’m just going to go back to the earliest one for Hula Girl and adjust it accordingly.

Current Schedule/Routine

Is cuh-razy a time? Because Gelato’s pretty much always on “Cuh-Razy” these days, what with his growth spurt and all. Yep, it’s still going strong. He’s woken up to eat every 2.5 hours again today (ironically, giving me one of his longest stretches of sleep at night last night, though). I would say we have more of a routine right now than a schedule since he’s been so unpredictable most of this week. Here’s his general routine when he’s eating every 3 hours:

I shoot for having him up at 8, but he’s only made it to 7:45 all week. Then it’s eat, diaper change, possibly some time cooing and gooing at the trees on his wall, and back down for his first nap within 30-35 minutes.

The second waketime is super short. It always  has been. I get him up, he eats, and he goes straight back down. He doesn’t even open his eyes. Even if I change his diaper and don’t warm the wipe.

The third waketime is his best as far as attention span and alertness goes. This is when I try to get his smiles. Oh, those smiles! Little soft, misshapen baby globby smiles. And lately he’s been trying to laugh! So. Much. Cuteness. He’s awake for about 45 minutes here.

The fourth waketime is also longer, so I try to do tummy time here. However, he is much more fussy during this time, so I am very sensitive to the fact that he could easily become overtired if I overdo the stimulation levels. This nap is a struggle.

After his fourth feeding, all bets are off as far as what will happen next. He has “witching hour” between 5 and 7 p.m., so if he sleeps 45 minutes somewhere in here, I call it good*. After this time, we do his bath (same time as Hula Girl’s bath, same room, different tub). Then I take him to his room, do a lotiony massage, jammies, and nurse him for bed. I can’t WAIT until he’s old enough to read a story with Hula Girl before nursing… I can’t WAIT to have family stories and prayers. He is in bed by 7:45 most nights.

*If he actually takes his nap here, I make sure to wake him by 8:00. We do a quick diaper change and Jonathan reads to him while he nurses. Then we put him straight to bed, no waketime.

Then I feed him at 10:30 or 11, three hours after his bedtime feeding (this is his “dreamfeed”). I prefer 10:30. He seems to sleep longer and better if we do the feeding at 10:30, plus I get to sleep earlier. He also doesn’t seem to nurse very well at 11, but will take both sides at 10:30. Weird.

I make sure to wake him twice more in the night since he’s only a month old. These feedings usually come at 2/3 and 5/6. I have to make sure to get 8 feedings in each day, at least until he’s 6 weeks old. Then we can safely drop feedings AND he can sleep longer stretches at night… YAY!

Sleeping:

Naps:

Kid’s a sleeper. Gelato sometimes has struggles getting settled down to sleep for naps. I think this is my biggest weakness as a mom for him right now. I can’t seem to figure out the right amount of waketime that will result in easier naps. I am working on learning his sleep cues. So far, I think that when he starts to thrust his tongue out in a half-yawn kind of way, that’s his first sign that he’s getting sleepy. If we hit a full-blown yawn, we’ve waited too long. If he does a little sigh that goes “heh-heh-heh,” we’re golden. I think.

Once he falls asleep for naps, he has no struggles staying asleep until his next feeding. He has woken once at 45 minutes, but that was at the beginning of this growth spurt, so it doesn’t count. 🙂 His naps are generally 1.5-2.5 hours long. Mostly on the 2-2.5 hour range. Unless I miss a sleepy cue and get him down late. Then they’re shorter.

I am working on using the Baby Whisperer’s “4S” sleep routine: set the stage, swaddle, sit, and shush/pat. More on that another time, since we just REALLY implemented it today.

Nights:

As previously mentioned, he’s a great night sleeper. No complaints except one: sometimes at that 2/3 a.m. feeding, he’ll WAKE UP and be ready to party. I send Jonathan in to settle him down while I get more sleep. Hey, it’s only fair. Jonathan gets an otherwise uninterrupted full night’s sleep. (Unless Hula Girl cries for some reason-more on this in her 27-month summary tomorrow!)

Nursing:

Easy peasy. Gelato was a born natural. I was also very cognizant of the issues that happened with Hula Girl, and I was desperate not to repeat them! So I worked very hard from the very first feeding to make sure that nursing went much smoother this time around. And it has! I made sure he got full feedings every time, so he fell into a 3-hour routine on his own (meaning I had to wake him every 3 hours, still do- except this week). This is contrasted with Hula Girl’s propensity for “snacking” every 1.5-2 hours, 24/7. No kidding. I also made sure his latch was perfect, so I didn’t have any of the painful issues I experienced last time. I still had some irritation because I’m a fair-skinned redhead and apparently that makes things exponentially more painful for me (as every nurse in the hospital reminded me several times; we live in a city with a very dense Hispanic population, so a fair-skinned redhead is apparently unusual enough that the nurses take care to check on someone like me very frequently!). But overall, nursing has gone very smoothly.

Also thought I’d mention here that Gelato is a FAST nurser. He’s done, both sides and both burps, within 15-20 minutes (with 20 being VERY extremely long). I think this is partially because I have a super strong super fast letdown reflex, so the milk flows quite freely. He doesn’t have to work very hard to drink milk from me… unless you count slowing the milk down as work! He does occasionally stop and sputter around a bit and let milk stream out of his mouth. I think this is because the flow gets too fast and he just can’t handle it yet. I will say he’s getting better at it and we’ve had less and less frequent “spray-him-in-the-nose/ear/eye/neck/chin/forehead-as-he’s-bobbing-around-trying-to-breathe-but-to-no-avail” moments.

He’s also pretty easy to burp, which I am grateful for. I don’t spend hours doing ridiculous tricks. I just hold him high on my shoulder with his arms over my shoulder and pat/rub the left side until he burps. He’s quite loud when he does it, and he sometimes startles himself so much that he throws himself backward and lets out a squeak of surprise. Silly boy.

He does spit up sometimes, but those are only times when I see him acting weird- like, he’ll pull away, latch, pull away, latch, pull away, latch, and fuss. I thought this might indicate reflux, but I think it actually indicates the fact that my milk comes SO fast sometimes. Anyway, when he does this, he spits up. Yet another reason my milk comes too fast. He just can’t stomach it all. Literally.

Acne/Cradle Cap:

Yuck. Yep, we’ve got it.

His face and neck have acne. That will go away soon. I think I can feel myself leveling out hormones-wise, so I’m betting he will be back to beautiful softy baby skin soon. I remember Hula Girl got a pretty bad case of acne when she was teeny weeny too.

His ears have cradle cap behind them; his right ear has cradle cap all over the earlobe. And he’s got a bit of it under his nostrils in the little fold between his nose and lip. On days following a bath, it’s more under control. But if he sleeps through that witching hour, he is a scabby yellow fellow the following day. I am working hard to make sure it doesn’t get all over his head- that’s just gross.

Sibling Love:

He is enamored of his sister. The other day I could not get him to settle down and stop crying, no matter what I did. So I told Hula Girl to sit next to him on the floor. Voilá! Happy baby, happy toddler, cooing all around.

The love goes both ways. Hula Girl thinks Gelato is the greatest thing she’s ever seen and she asks to see him all.day.long. She wants to wake him from naps, she wants to watch him nurse, she wants to help put him to sleep. Right now I think she feels more curiosity (and maybe some resentment) than actual fondness. That will come in it’s time.

Me:

I am feeling great about having managed and coped and come this far. I feel like the hardest days are behind us. I have healed completely (I feel like I could start exercising again, but I will wait for the doctor’s okay on that). I have been able to get enough sleep to manage and not feel absolutely exhausted. I have been able to keep a pseudo-sense of organization in Hula Girl’s and my life. No one has gone unfed, unwashed, unclad, or unloved. I have been somewhat hungry… and unable to do much about it. I am working to rectify that situation. There have been times I have wanted to tear my hair out and abandon it all. I am sure there will be plenty more times like that. But it all seems like it’s totally worth it. I have good perspective right now. Yahoo! Lots of this is due to my superb husband who arrives like a knight in PLATINUM armor every night. 5:30 is awesome. 🙂

 

“Whoa, I LOVE the Floor!”

Our Fall Wall Hanging

Today I woke up with autumn in my bones. It’s currently 90° outside, but it was only 56° at 7:00. So Hula Girl and I had a fallish morning.

We started with a harvest breakfast: strawberries, peaches, banana bread (for her), maple & brown sugar oatmeal (for me), and hot peach tea. Hula Girl even got to drink her tea out of an adult mug- what a treat!

After breakfast, we headed outside to create the wall hanging you see above. This thing is huge. It’s 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. So it’s not just a painting. It’s a wall hanging. And it’s hanging in our hallway because I haven’t gotten around to putting up a gallery wall like I want to do eventually. This will suffice for now.

And yes, her feet are huge these days! (I did take the picture at an angle, though, so the bottom footprints are not likely to give the most accurate scale.)

She had so much fun! I put the red, yellow, and orange paint on a paper plate, had her step in it (which she was very tentative to do at first but when I encouraged her more, she wanted to JUMP in it!), and then I spun her around in the paint a few times just for good measure. She loved that part! She also loved walking in the grass and getting the blades all red, orange, and yellow. (We watered the grass afterward to wash the paint off.)

So she was barefoot outside. I allow this. What kid should not be allowed to go barefoot? Yes, I know there are “dangers” around our house- fire ants, super sharp “pokies” (grass seeds/burrs), lots of rocks, etc. But our backyard is pretty tame- cement, grass, 1″ granite. Hula Girl is quite adept at carefully making her way across the rocks without hurting her little feet. She also knows to avoid the ants.

However, Gelato started crying and wanted to eat. I decided to nurse him outside since it was a beautiful morning and I wanted to let Hula Girl stay outside playing. But… as soon as the baby got settled into nursing (which took a while because I have a super super super powerful letdown and he sometimes struggles to stay latched at the beginning of a nursing session- imagine trying to comfortably drink from a fire hose), Hula Girl started screaming. She had a “poky” in her foot. I told her to sit down where she was, but in her panic she decided to run on tiptoes to where I was nursing Gelato. I reached down to pull the poky out of her foot, causing Gelato to get a)squished, b)unlatched, and c)angry! Then of course the poky did not come out cleanly and she had two supersharp needle thingies left in her foot. I jumped up, told her to stay put, and ran inside to get the tweezers. I set Gelato on the floor, booked it to the bathroom, and returned to find her screaming bloody murder at the screen door (she’d hobbled over) and him just chillin’ like, “Oh, hey Mommy, the floor’s pretty comfy!” I got her inside and used the tweezers to extract said sharp objects, and her foot began to bleed. That did not make her screaming stop. Quite the opposite, in fact. Gelato was looking at her quizzically, probably thinking, “Shrieking sister-thing has got to be crazy. How could she be so upset about the floor? I love it here!” 

Gelato is going through his four-week growth spurt. He is normally very predictable on a 3-hour schedule, which is why his wackiness yesterday threw me off-guard. I kind of thought he had already gone through his 3/4 week growth spurt, because a couple days ago he woke early to eat a couple of times. But yesterday and today, his feedings have been closer and closer together. Today I have been feeding him every 2.5 hours. It’s funny though, because I expected to have to feed him more at night during a growth spurt, but last night was one of his best nights of sleep ever! He just ate and went back to sleep every time I woke him! And today he’s been hibernating- he’ll wake up enough to eat, but then he’ll fall back asleep immediately afterward. Even when he’s with Hula Girl and she’s screaming her head off because she has a bleeding foot. How he did not get overstimulated like mad is beyond me.

The adventures continue. I was just talking to my mom about how I am working to keep everything in perspective. Once Gelato is Hula Girl’s age, things are going to be CAKE around here. For real. They will play together constantly, they will have nap/rest time at the same time, they will eat meals at the same times, and she will be much less inclined to get “into” things. An example, just for humor’s sake- my little girl is growing up so fast! She learned how to do a good job of sweeping today. She practiced her skills on a whole pile of baking soda that she dumped on the kitchen floor while I was upstairs getting Gelato’s diaper changed. Ummhmm. I want to chronicle all these things so I can look back on them and laugh. I had a hard time laughing about it this morning. But I do think I handled it well. Her only consequences were that she had to clean it up (she was very dependent on my help… but a few more episodes like this one, and she’ll be a master at sweeping!) and she had to apologize to me for being wasteful.

I want to mention that this whole parenting-two-children-thing has come as a surprise to me. Honestly, I expected it to be hard. But I couldn’t have predicted the ways in which it is hard. I feel like it’s similar to having our first child- I expected to be tired, but I didn’t know quite how tired the human body can be. I expected my life to change, but I had NO idea what that really meant. Now, having my second child has been easier in many ways. I knew how to handle newborns. I knew how to feed, burp, change diapers, give baths, settle a baby for a nap, etc. But it has been SO hard in other ways- I am having to learn to balance the needs of two very needy little people. I am having to learn how to be flexible in ways I’ve never had to be flexible before. I am learning how to cherish the few moments of true “me” time I have each and every day. It’s not like Jonathan can come home and just “handle it” anymore. I still have to be actively involved in parenting 24/7 because he can’t nurse Gelato. It kind of makes me feel stuck.

But then I have to step back and regain perspective. One month down, eleven to go until I am no longer breastfeeding. One month down, five to go until we start solid foods. One month down, one or two to go before he’s sleeping through the night. Seriously, I’m halfway to having a baby who sleeps 8 hours straight! And a third of the way to 12 hours! So really, this is truly a super super short season.

Something else that has given me perspective is this blog post. I ran across it on facebook today and it’s really helping me feel like my struggles with Hula Girl’s behavior in the past couple of days are normal, and that I’m dealing with things the best I can. I just need to remember to ease up on my expectations of her (she’s only two!!!) and keep a more eternal perspective. If she’s still getting into the cupboards and drawers next week, I have not failed as a parent. 🙂

Hokay, have a good afternoon. I have about 5 more seconds before Gelato’s due to wake for his next feeding.

 

 

 

 

Well, Tomorrow’s Another Day

Holy cow. What. a. morning.

Hula Girl decided that she’s going to not only disobey, but deliberately do everything exactly OPPOSITE of what I ask. For example, “Hula Girl, please stay off the baby’s bouncer.” So she sits on it. “Hula Girl, please bring your spoon to the table.” So she brings her fork and knife to the couch.

And her new favorite phrase? “I’m not.” For example, “Hula Girl, please do not touch the computer.” “I’m not!” “Your hand is on the computer. You are touching it.” “I’m not touching the computer.” REALLY?!

She knew the day to strike. Today, of all days, is perfect for disobedience. Know why? Gelato is whacked out. After waking early this morning, he’s had rough naps (his second was only 45 minutes long) and a general sour demeanor- very unlike his norm. I have had to spend extra time with him today. Time away from Hula Girl. Hula Girl has taken the opportunity to engage in some risky and naughty behaviors. Such as: eating chap-stick, sunscreen, makeup, and contact lens solution; removing the gate from the bottom of the staircase and coming upstairs unattended; opening sundry kitchen drawers and emptying said compartments; and manhandling the computer and removing the keyboard to a previously unknown location. The good part about all these things is that they are things she has done in the past. I have not yet had to say, “I said _________ would never happen, but….” because, folks, my girl is plain ol’ uninventive in her naughtiness. Thank goodness.

However, we need to crack down. These are safety issues, not just minor little annoyances. None of them would arise as issues normally, because she is normally never left unattended for more than 2 minutes during the day (save for her roomtime, which is specifically set up to be unattended free play in her SAFE room- oh, unless you count that time she locked herself in and I about died of a heart attack). But they happened today because Gelato is off schedule and his being off schedule is really making me dance. Not in a happy way. More like a “I’m in the middle of a crocodile-infested river of lava and I am jumping from one piranha’s back to another just to stay alive while being chased by a giant T-rex who’s out to get me” kind of way.

And the “I’m not!” needs to make itself scarce quick like a bunny or else Hula Girl is going to be spending a heck of a lot of time in time-out. Jonathan and I will be discussing our strategy tonight; until then, my strategy will be to phrase everything 100%positively, so she can’t refute what I’m saying. Instead of, “Please don’t floss your teeth with the blind cords!” I will say, “Please floss your teeth with one of the many many balled-up strings you call ‘fuzz’ which you collect as you wander throu ghout the house!” Instead of, “Don’t write on your face with the chalk!” I will say, “Here’s some water and a paintbrush! Let’s go outside and paint your arms and legs!”

Naptime was a big ordeal today. Gelato had been screaming his head off for about 20 minutes, when Hula Girl got down on the floor with him and entertained him so he was back to his smiling self. At 1, I said we needed to go upstairs for her nap. So we all trooped upstairs. I knew Gelato needed a nap, too, but I figured if I could just get Hula Girl out of my hair down for her nap first, I could spend as much time as needed to get Gelato down for his nap (I was prepared for hours of nursing, rocking, shushing, holding him on his belly, etc.). So we get into her room and get her dressed in her jammies, clean diaper (her diapers are ALWAYS dry after naps these days- why don’t we just do undies? oh yeah, because she’s still in her crib), and socks. Then I got her in her crib, reminding her that we were lucky to have read SEVERAL books at breakfast (seven, I counted), so we didn’t have to read a book before nap today. Cue Gelato’s crying again. So I rushed through a prayer with her and kissed her goodnight, only to walk out the door and hear, “I need to go peepee and poopoo.” siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Kid refuses to go peepee in her diaper if she’s awake. So I knew I would have to bring her potty into her room. I told her I would put Gelato down for his nap and then bring her potty in her room.

I get to Gelato’s room, swaddle him up, and start his naptime song. He starts screaming. Picture this: me, bending my knees deeply 30 times in a row, holding a squalling newborn, listening to a screaming toddler, praying out loud, “Lord, give me patience. Lord, help me relax. Lord, I can’t do this. Lord, give me your grace.” Miraculously, Gelato calmed down enough to put him down, and I sprinted downstairs for Hula Girl’s potty. As soon as I got to her room, he started crying again. Oh well, it’s his turn to wait now! After undressing and re-dressing Hula Girl, I sprinted back downstairs to put the potty away, and as I turned back up the stairs to attend to Gelato, he STOPPED. It was glorious. Two kids, not crying, simultaneously. The same thing I have most days, only today it was that much more special.

And… I survived. With a sense of peace. Like, whoa-that-was-crazy-but-I-made-it-with-the-grace-of-God-and-let’s-hope-I-never-have-to-do-that-again!-Peace.

Let’s hope whatever’s up with Gelato is down tomorrow. And let’s hope Hula Girl wakes up on the right side of the bed!

We Got out of the House! (and we weren’t thrown out the window.)

Well, library storytime has started back up again after our August break. As you may know, storytime is Hula Girl’s absolute favorite outing. She looks forward to Tuesdays all week long. In fact, when we’re in normal “storytime routine” (meaning we haven’t taken a month off), she will ask me daily, “When is Tuesday? When is storytime?”

So of course we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see our favorite friends.

Also, I am determined that Gelato will have more flexibility in his life than Hula Girl had.

With those two goals in mind, Hula Girl and I took our time getting ready for storytime this morning. We worked around the house, putting dinner in the crock pot, putting the clean dishes away and reloading the dishwasher, putting away some laundry, stocking the diaper bag, and cleaning the kitchen counters. She is such a little helper these days! (I can’t wait to write her 27-month summary post. That will be up on Saturday.)

Once we were dressed, had hair brushed and styled, had our “faces on” (I wore mascara and lip gloss; Hula Girl stuck to the lip gloss only), had our shoes on, went potty one last time, and filled our water bottles, it was finally time to wake up “Edoo Buh-buh.” Hula Girl came upstairs with me and “helped” by rocking the car seat by the handle while I grabbed some diapers out of the drawer.

Gelato does not like his car seat. I mean, if you think of it from his point of view, you probably wouldn’t like it, either. Every time he has to go in it, he is woken early from a nap, too early to eat again, but far enough from his last meal to allow his tummy to be slightly empty. He is denied food. He is denied the comfort of his warm blankets swaddling around him. Then he is shoved into this crazy contraption that wrenches around his shoulders and belly and snaps really loudly and keeps him in a semi-upright position. And this thing, we might mention, is so hot it feels like it might be a pizza oven. So of course he starts sweating the second his head hits the padding.

So of course Gelato cried. All. the. way. to. the. library. And all the way into the library, and all the way through the library, until we finally got to the storytime room. Then I nursed him, and he got distracted by the lights, and he was quiet for a minute. Or two. Then he was unhappy again because “someone threw off his groove.” (“I’m sorry, but you’ve thrown off the Emperor’s Groove.”) He’d like to have me thrown out the window. (By the way, has anyone else noticed that the little old man’s voice is the same as Piglet’s?!?!) “Beware the grooooooove…”

Anyway, storytime wasn’t the greatest outing for the three of us. But Hula Girl did get to see all her regular friends, and I got to see all their moms. I really enjoy these ladies! There is just one more mom who’s pregnant, and once she has her son, there will be FOUR baby boys in storytime with their older siblings! I can’t wait! It really is fun to finally be around some real people who have children nearly the same ages and stages. (Even though I do NOT regret having virtual friends one bit!)

When we got home, I put Hula Girl in roomtime and then nursed Gelato to sleep (another no-no in our normal daily life, but hey, live a little, right!?). Then Hula Girl painted a masterpiece while I made her lunch. All in all, a good morning.

I can’t wait for the day when Gelato outgrows his hatred of his car seat. I hope it’s soon!

 

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