Friends, Neighbors, Allergies, and Cheese

Yesterday started with beautiful weather; it ended with freezing rain! A huge thunderstorm moved through right as we arrived at our play date, which was thankfully moved to our new friends’ house instead of the park. We were grateful for our friends’ hospitality, and the kids had a lot of fun playing with their bunny. 🙂

Today I get to play hostess as I will have three of our neighbor’s kiddos over this afternoon. I plan to make cookies and then let the kids run wild. The house is clean, and since the kids are four and up, I’ll most likely be able to make some dinner while they’re here since they’ll need a bit less constant supervision. Before they come over, we will have some rest time and I hope to read a bit of Charlotte Mason’s Home Education.

Monkey Man slept in until almost 9:00 this morning. That is the first time any one of my kids has ever slept past 8:30. I was worried about him! He seems to be all right, except for his seasonal allergies, which are really dragging him down right now. We have been giving him some raw honey and a couple of my friends have mentioned some essential oils to use. We’ll try that today!

I think I’ve discovered why Sugar Plum has issues with dairy. I think it’s related to Jonathan’s migraines. Sugar Plum has always had a rough time of it when I’ve tried to introduce dairy into my diet. I had some cheese last night, and today she was just crying and crying while she held onto her little head. She’s done that in the past when I’ve tried cheese (we live in Wisconsin, after all). We’ve been experimenting with keeping Jonathan off dairy for a few weeks, and then trying cheese. Each time we’ve tried it, he’s had a migraine the next day. It’s becoming quite obvious that while dairy may not be the only trigger for his migraines, it certainly plays a part. And I’m thinking it’s the same for Sugar Plum. She gets little baby headaches when I have dairy. Poor thing! So… no dairy for us. Good thing I’m weaning her soon. I’m ready to eat pizza again.

Gelato- 15 Months

We went to Gelato’s 15 month appointment this morning.

He has stayed small: he weighs 22 lbs 2 oz, which puts him in the 25th percentile for weight; he is 30.5 inches tall, which puts him in the 25th percentile for height; and his head circumference is in the 10th percentile.

I find it interesting that he has not gained weight in the past two months. We’ve been a couple times for an ear infection and then another suspected ear infection, and his weight has hovered right around 22 pounds. I know that he eats a lot, but he’s also a very active little guy. He burns it off quickly!

According to the (very accurate, I’m sure) development assessment that I complete each well check, he’s on par with a typical 21-month-old as far as cognitive, language, and physical skills are concerned. I found it funny that there was a question related to how many words he can say outside of family members’ names; if he could say more than 3, I was to circle Yes. This would have been indicative of a typical 20-month-old’s language ability. Knowing I was to fill out one of these questionnaires today, I laid in bed this morning counting the words I can think of off-hand that Gelato already uses on his own, and I got over 100 before I stopped counting. He even uses 2-3 word phrases frequently, like “What’s that?” or “Get it!” or “Wear it!” or “Up there!”

I love that Gelato still has a passion for accessorizing. He wears Hula Girl’s necklaces, headbands, bracelets, belts, and purses all around the house. He puts on my shoes, Jonathan’s slippers, and Hula Girl’s boots all the time. He tries to put on his own shoes but since they’re shoes that actually fit him, it’s too hard for him to wrangle them onto his feet.

Gelato loves to talk on the phone. He will carry around the toy phones (he no longer uses the dollhouse sink/mirror as a phone, much to my chagrin!) and talk all day long. He says, “Heddo, doing? Dood!” (Hello, what are you doing? Good!) Then he tells the person on the other end what he’s doing- sliding, climbing on the chairs, eating play fruit, reading a book, throwing a ball, etc. It’s pretty funny.

He still loves to climb. Lately this has taken him on top of the table in the playroom and on the dining room chairs. I don’t like him up on the dining room chairs since the floor in there is tile, so now I have a strict push-in-your-chairs rule at the end of every meal. He also climbs outside, and has gotten really good at climbing up and down the ladders on the playset. He doesn’t let go mid-ladder anymore, which saves me a bit of my sanity.

He has also discovered the joy of sliding. Since the slide from the playset is pretty steep and a bumpy slide, I make sure to be right there slowing his descent. He really enjoys the slide in the playroom and will slide down it over and over all day long.

He is not afraid of anything, which scares me to death. Moms of boys, I totally get you now. He does things that make my heart stop. Literally, I feel it stop momentarily when he does some of the things he does. WHY are boys so daring?!

Gelato certainly has his own opinions about… everything. I am thinking we might be investing in Dr. Dobson’s The New Strong Willed Child somewhere here in our future. I’m not trying to imply he’s a naughty boy; he’s just very determined. This is a great characteristic when he’s trying to learn how to take off his shoes. But when he’s trying to run after the neighbor’s dog and it’s time for us to go inside for dinner, it can be quite ear-splitting. 🙂

Gelato has some loveys that sleep in his crib with him now. He has his blanket with an owl on it, a stuffed owl, and a bunny that’s larger than he is. The bunny was a gift from the Easter bunny, who brought Hula Girl her giant sheep that she slept with for months as well. He will ask for his “Nanket” while I sing to him, then when I lay him down, he says, “Owl? Bunny?” Then he squeezes his little arms around his blanket over his chest and laughs.

Oh, he laughs, and the boy’s laugh is absolutely the best sound in the world. He laughs all day long. He finds delight in what he does and in what his family members do. Hula Girl will be sitting in her chair kicking her feet and he will notice and burst out in a huge belly laugh. Or Jonathan will peek around the corner and he’ll grin and giggle until Daddy pops out, then the chortle ensues. He loves when I say “Alligator, alligator, chomp, chomp, chomp,” and tickle his little collarbone super gently. He just laughs and laughs. He laughs when he succeeds in doing what he wanted to do. He laughs when he’s surprised, like when a ball rolls off the table. He just laughs SO much.

And he sings. All the time. If he’s not talking on the phone or laughing, he’s singing. And dancing. His current favorite is the same as Hula Girl’s was at his age- Abiyoyo. It’s a song from a book based on a South African folk tale about a giant. A boy tames the giant with his ukelele and then the boy’s father makes the giant disappear with his magic wand. Then all the townspeople join the boy in his song, “Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo…” Pete Seeger wrote it, in case you care. 😉

Gelato decided to try something out this past week- not napping in the afternoon. It’s kind of a bummer deal for him, because then he has to go to bed super early, like 5:30 early. Today is the first day in over a week that he’s actually taken an afternoon nap. I think he got overtired from the time change and then he just hasn’t been able to figure out what to do. I put him down super early this morning for his nap, and he fell asleep quickly, but I wasn’t sure today’s nap would work… yay, it did! I think we’ll stick to slightly early nap times in the next few days to see if he self-corrects. I remember Hula Girl went through a non-afternoon-napping phase at 15 months as well, but then she went back to sleeping twice daily until 17.5 months old. I am holding out hope. Gelato doesn’t get cranky with just one nap, but he DOES sleep really restlessly at night and we are wakened several times per night by him crying out or flopping around. I could do with a good solid night’s sleep again.

And you guys, Gelato is so smart. I have said this before about him, but it is more and more apparent to us every day. He learns so quickly, he speaks so clearly (and so abundantly!), and he is so independent! We are so blessed to have two amazingly bright children who love to learn and who pursue knowledge and skills on their own, without me having to direct them at all. It is such a joy to see their little eyes light up and the looks of consternation on their faces while they’re trying to figure something out. The two of them share a look that says, “I’m thinking really hard about this right now!” It’s so cute.

Oh, I should mention that he is fully weaned now, as of a week and a half ago. It’s nice, but bittersweet. Good thing he drinks well from a sippy cup now.

I love my little man.

Gelato- 14 Months

My little boy just melts my heart.

There is only one thing about him that annoys me right now: he is the world’s messiest eater. It doesn’t help that I feed him messy foods like rice, cottage cheese, yogurt, and the like. But he drops it on the nice, clean, freshly-mopped-tile-and-scrubbed-grout floor! I keep telling Jonathan we need to invest in a splash mat or just an old shower curtain, but I keep forgetting.

Gelato is a climber. He has always been, as long as he could. He will climb anything. Rocks, trees, ladders, people, tables, chairs, desks, bookcases, cribs (we’ll be turning his around when he gets big enough- I have a feeling it will be a struggle to keep him in his crib as long as we did his sister!), couches, dirt piles, fences, cars. His favorite thing to climb right now is the “rock wall” that goes up into their playset. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but that rock wall is over six feet high, it’s at about an 85° angle, and it has plastic rocks to hold or step onto. And he has been doing this since before he was even 13 months old. Now that he’s a seasoned pro, he’s making some careless mistakes. Just today I had to catch him (my hands were 3 inches from his body, so it more of a “steady” than a “catch”) when he decided to take his hat off mid-climb. Who knows what he’ll climb next?

Gelato is a water baby. I have been able to take him to the Y a few times lately, and since he can walk now, the toddler pool is just way more fun. The only issues come when he gets knocked over by a big kid splashing him or a current under the water that pulls his feet out from under him. Then he falls down into the water and doesn’t even try to get back up. So my hands are, again, always within a foot of him. I don’t touch him unless I have to. He needs to learn it on his own. But I have had to several times. Silly boy. He really enjoys getting his face wet, too. He’ll crouch down and bend his neck so his face just barely touches the water, then he jumps up and lets out a little shriek of happiness. So cute.

Gelato is a bookworm. Whereas Hula Girl would just come sit on my lap for hours and hours, Gelato has resisted the sitting for reading time his whole life. The only time he sits still for a book is just before nap, because that’s part of our nap routine and he’s used to it. Otherwise, he will carry a book all the way across the house and cry out, “Read-ee! Read-ee!” until I read the book. He will sit next to me for a page or two, but then he gets up and wanders off, but he still expects me to keep reading. If I stop, he will come back, open the book to the last page I read, hand the book to me while giving me a very convincing eyebrow-raise, and say, “Read-ee!” Aye, aye. His favorite right now is Baby Beluga. He calls it “Goo-gah? Baby Goo-Gah?” He loves the pictures.

Gelato is a dog lover. And a polar bear lover. If we are reading and come across a dog or polar bear picture, he gets quite excited. Our neighbor has a dog who is allowed to roam freely. Her name is Scampers. Gelato calls her “Mamper? Mamper?” He looks out the window for her every few minutes and chases her around with random objects whenever she’s outside and we go on walks. She doesn’t like that part very much, but she does like to come out and sniff us and then she takes off in one direction or another like an unpaid tour guide, and Gelato follows her wherever she leads. He adores her.

Gelato is a BOY. Kid picked up a beetle today. I think he wanted to eat it, but Hula Girl smacked it down out of his hand because she was so terrified of the thing. (You go, Girl!) Instead of letting him pick it up again, I told him he could just look at it. He followed it around for a while, saying, “Beeboh! Beeboh!” Then he forgot about it, played with a stick, and was disappointed when he remembered about it and it was gone. (Aw, shucks.)

Gelato is a Mama’s boy. This one is my favorite. He just loves me. He likes Jonathan and Hula Girl, too, but he loves me. Probably because he likes to nurse. But really, it’s so cute. He’ll just wander into the room and hug my leg. Or he’ll sit on my lap and grab my hand so he can interlock his fingers and hold my hand for a while. He likes to give me kisses all day long (“mmmm-ah! mmmmm-ah!”), and he pats my face so gently while he tells me about my eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair.

Gelato is a listener. He obeys really really well. The other day I called both kids into the kitchen and asked them to clean up the kid dishes they’d spilled out of the drawer in their hunt for breakfast utensils. He grabbed some cups, put them away, and said, “All done!” Smartie boy. He also tests quite a bit already, which shows me he understands what I’m saying. For example, I tell him stop before he gets out into the street in front of our house (we live on a very sparsely used dirt road, or else he wouldn’t be getting to the road before me). He stops, turns, grins like a little imp, and takes a few more steps before stopping, turning, and grinning again. Test, test, test. I take his hand and move him back to where he was when I said it first, and reinforce. Repeat. It’s a long process, but he really does listen well.

One more thing I just want to record for posterity: I’m beginning to wean him now. Hula Girl was weaned at 14.5 months, and Gelato will likely be weaned by then as well. We’re putting him on coconut milk and we’re trying to cut out all dairy for both kids as soon as we can. He is really excited to drink milk, because he’s seen his idol (big sis) drinking milk so much and now any time she has it, he wants it, too. Her influence can be so great. 🙂

Catching Up

It’s officially fall here, folks. Today’s high was 54°. When Hula Girl and I went outside to play on the swing, the wind chill was 36°. Yep. Chilly.

I wish I had posted on Monday. We had a perfect day on Monday. Perfect. I loved my children like mad because I didn’t even have to think in order to get through the day. Hula Girl was on best behavior, she was well rested, and I enjoyed spending every moment with her. Gelato slept well for all his naps and was cooing and smiling up a storm. Ah.  The good ol’ days.

Today I was struck yet again with how very sporadic the early baby days, weeks, and months can be. As soon as we hit our “groove” in the earlier part of this week (hey! We beat the 45-minute intruder!!!!!!), today was crazy because Gelato is now experiencing Wonder Week 8. Basically, his sleeping, eating, etc., are going to be “off” for a few days because his brain is experiencing a huge developmental leap. So yeah. We had a perfect little 3-hour schedule happening for a few days… and today he ate every 2-2.5 hours. It’s not like his naps were short, either. That’s what kills me. With the 45-minute intruder, I felt confident letting him fuss or helping him get back to sleep because I know a 45-minute nap is just not long enough. However, with his naps today, I had no justification for trying to let him/help him fall back to sleep because each time he’d been sleeping for over an hour and a half. That is a decent length for a nap! So when he woke early, I went ahead and got him. We ended up adding a feeding and a nap today. Ugh. SO not my favorite thing.

Also, because of Gelato’s unpredictability today, Hula Girl’s schedule shifted. She didn’t get roomtime until 5:00 this evening… and that was just crazy. She needs her morning roomtime in order to make it to lunch happily. I have made it my personal goal to ensure she has roomtime in the morning tomorrow.

Can I just put another little complaint out there (in the hopes that some of my BW mom friends will chime in)? I have been doing everything by the book since Gelato was born. I made sure we got full feedings. I woke him every three hours during the day, every 5 hours at night. He was on track- sleeping 5 hours at night during his fifth week. Then he regressed during his 6-week growth spurt and we haven’t seen a nighttime stretch longer than 4 hours since. Some might say that I should drop the “dreamfeed” (his 10 p.m. feeding that I wake him for) but even if I do that, he still wakes around that time. And after his late evening feeding (around 10ish) he consistently wakes every three hours afterward. Feed him at 10? He wakes at 1 and 4 a.m. Feed him at 11? 2 and 5. He is so stuck on eating every 3 hours!!! So I try letting him sleep. He’ll wake at 10:30 or 11:30. And wake every 3 hours after that. BAH. By 8 weeks, he’s supposed to be able to sleep 7-8 hours at night. If you ask any pediatrician, babies can “sleep through the night” (general definition of that is about 6 hours) by the time they’re 12 pounds. My kid passed 12 pounds about 2 pounds ago… and here we are. Awake every flipping 3 hours. What am I doing wrong here?!!??!?!?!?!?! Vent over.

On the bright side of things, Hula Girl is getting funnier and funnier and more sophisticated in her conversational skills lately. She has started giving out step-by-step directions. “Here, I will show you. First you… Then you….” So funny to hear her describing things like how to put her blankie in the proper corner of her crib! It’s also a great experience to finally have a child who is able to express every thought she has in her head so that I can actually understand her the majority of the time. Some of her thoughts are supercute due to the fact that she’s two and can’t conceptualize things yet. For instance, yesterday we were talking about how my grandma turned 90. I said, “Isn’t it amazing that Great Gramma is 90 years old today? Do you think you want to be 90 years old someday?” She said, “Yes! I want to be 90 years old. And Great Gramma will hold me!” So I guess 90 years old is actually destination where your loved ones will wrap their arms around you and hold you. Hm. Might not be too bad after all!

Gelato is developing in his own little baby way. He has discovered his little hands and is perfectly content to sit and suck his knuckles all during his waketime. He’s learning to laugh and to use his consonants. He’s good with /g/ these days. He also likes to squeal, coo, and gasp. But his laugh is the best. I also enjoy his willingness to just sit and stare into my eyes while smiling his gummy little baby smile. He knows his Mommy. And I love that.

Something else I want to make note of for my own future reference (as if I could ever forget) is the differences in the ways my children smell. I swear their scents match their personalities. Hula Girl has always had more of a “sharp” smell to her. When I nursed her I could smell her sharpness mingled with the smell of the milk. However, Gelato has more of a soft, fresh smell. I have also not noticed the scent of the milk when I nurse him. That’s probably because he gulps it all down faster than I ever imagined possible.

Jonathan and I have gotten into Grey’s Anatomy. We just finished season 1 tonight. So far, it’s an okay show. Nothing to write home about. But we will continue to watch, because we are deprived of the ability to actually leave the house much. Here’s hoping it gets…better?

Well, it’s 10:00… time to do the dreamfeed. Let’s hope we don’t do another feeding at 1 and 4! Maybe my littlest man will surprise me!

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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.

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!

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