Insane Conversations, Husband Edition

Last night we went to get Gelato up for his dreamfeed at 10:30. Jonathan always changes Gelato’s diaper and then brings him over to me to nurse.

Jonathan [hands me Gelato]: Here you go.

Me: Um, why is his head all wet?

Jonathan: Really? His head is wet? Ah, dang! He must have peed on himself.

 

Hangin’ in There

For those of you who knew me when Hula Girl was born and received a billion and one emails that were about ten pages long each, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for not kicking me in the rear end and telling me to suck it up. Because, really, although the transition from no children to one child is definitely a much larger shift than the transition from one child to two, I should have realized that one child is cake.* With icing.

*I do think that our experience with our first child was a slightly more difficult one than many people have- I did absolutely no research, neither of us had ever been around a lot of babies, and she had reflux. Reflux alone makes any normal baby issue get magnified about 100 times because you’re never sure if your baby is just acting fussy because of a growth spurt or mental leap or if she’s in pain and needs her dosage adjusted for the umpteenth time. Plus since she’s in pain, you can’t just leave her to fuss for a moment- fussing turns to screaming which turns to guilt since you know your baby’s in pain. And all the while you think you’re doing the right thing by nursing her every.single.flipping.time.she.”demands”. it. but you learn later on that nursing every 1-2 hours around the clock is likely aggravating her reflux instead of helping her feel better. Whoever said smaller more frequent meals was the way to go for reflux babies was not right in the head.

Anyway, I am still struggling through this crazy season. But I am able to keep perspective and realize that it really is just that: a season. A very short one at that. Gelato is going to be a newborn for just seven more weeks, bringing the grand total of newborn plus toddler days in my life to about ninety all together. That means three months. That is NOT a lot of time when you realize I will be turning 27 years old when he turns 3 months old, which means I will have spent just 1/108 of my life in this particular season. That’s nothing for me to complain about, now is it?

It is definitely the hardest season of my life by far. I will always remember this time fondly, because I am learning what Scripture means when it talks about being refined. It takes heat…and lots of it!… to purify precious metals. (As I typed the word “precious” just now, my mind went in three separate directions at once, which was a weird experience in itself. But weirder still, here are, in no particular order, my thoughts when I typed that word: “My precioussssssss,” “That was a really sad movie,” and “I am so glad God sees me as his precious child the way I see Hula Girl and Gelato as my precious children.” I think the third thought was the most appropriate, given the context, but you gotta forgive me a little Gollum.) Anyway, I am feeling the heat these days, and I put Gelato to bed every night SO looking forward to the few hours I am given to relax with Jonathan before I collapse into bed (only to get up out of bed every 3-5 hours after that).

I have been encouraged by several people, experienced Babywise moms included, to just let go of the schedule if it needs to be let go of in order to maintain Hula Girl’s and my sanity. I tried a little of that today… and I felt awesome afterward. Seriously, by the afternoon, when Gelato had taken a 2 hour 50 minute nap and a 2 hour 20 minute nap, I had completely forgotten that he spent the first segment of the day (between 6:30 and 11:15 a.m.) only sleeping 100 minutes TOTAL. Oh, and he nursed FOUR times during that segment of the day. FOUR. That’s half his daily nursings. In five hours. So, he’ll end up nursing about 10 times today. Yup, that’s the way the cookie crumbled today. Hula Girl loved it. She helped me change his diaper, she turned on the music in his bouncer for him, and she nursed Elmo. Lifted up her shirt, put Elmo on a supportive pillow, and nursed him. Then she burped him, swaddled him, and put him to sleep. I watched the whole thing silently, laughing to myself. Whenever she caught a glimpse of my face, she grinned and went back to what she was doing. I was in love with my little Mommy.

Anyway, that’s just a snapshot. We’re making it work. Tim Gunn would be so proud. Although he’d probably lay into me for my fashion choices these days- baggy sweatpants, t-shirts, and no accessories from the Lord & Taylor wall at all. Meh. (Oops, I just revealed my deep dark love for Project Runway. I can’t stand Heidi, but I love me some Tim.)

YAHOO! My dad is coming tomorrow to hang out with Hula Girl and then it’s the WEEKEND! Happy Early Friday, friends.

 

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.

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!

Elimination Diet Day 1

I started the dreaded elimination diet today. Blech.

For those of you who are unaware, Hula Girl had very bad reflux, plus constipation (yes, an exclusively breastfed baby can get constipated) and eczema, when she was an infant. We finally saw a GI doctor when she was 4 months old. He was not super concerned about her reflux (she was gaining weight VERY well, even though there was blood in her vomit), but her constipation and eczema issues suggested to him that Hula Girl might have a food allergy or intolerance. Being the extremely patient person that I am I just plain ol’ jumped straight into a total elimination diet. And I kept it up for 4 months straight. And guess what- all her issues cleared up nicely. We still have yet to find more than one food she’s actually allergic to… so who knows what was up with that. But it worked for us for that time, and it made our little daughter much more comfortable.

Now, being the very calm and rational person that I am, I am terrified that Gelato will have some of the same issues. There is no guarantee that one child will have reflux just because his sibling had it. But there is also no guarantee that he won’t. I decided to be proactive and clear my system of the usual allergens for about a month prior to his birth. So here we are.

My food options have just become severely limited. I will say I am not going as hard-core as some diets like Dr. Sears’ Elimination Diet. Even though I am going to stick to the rice only for grains rule and the range-fed organic turkey only for meat rule, I am going to have a wider variety of fruits and veggies, and I’m going to eat beans. Dr. Sears’ ED is really only meant to be followed for about 2 weeks, after which time the mom starts adding extra foods back in, in order of their allergen-prone-ness. For example, one of the first things a mom would add back in is peaches since hardly anyone on the planet is allergic to peaches. Avocado as well. (Although I know several people, Jonathan included, who claim an allergy to avocado simply because they do not like it.)

Anyway, today I have eaten a bowl of Rice Chex with rice milk, a nectarine, a sweet potato, and rice. For dinner I expect to have some zucchini (cooked with a little salt and pepper- whoa! I’m going crazy!) and some more rice. The whole point of an elimination diet is not to starve oneself; rather, one is encouraged to eat lots and lots… of a very limited variety of foods.

My wider variety includes grapes, peaches, nectarines, avocados, spinach, carrots, and some other random non-citrus, non-gas producing fruits and veggies. I am thankful it’s summer.

I will continue to keep the top 8 allergens (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, and tree nuts) and citrus out of my system until after Gelato arrives. Once we’re all settled in, probably around 3/4 months old, if we are not experiencing any major issues like reflux, constipation, or eczema, I will slowly start to add some of these delicious foods back in. It’s always a slow process, but I expect that I’ll be on a fully-incorporated diet again by the time he’s about 8 months old. Fortunately, he’ll be able to try some of the foods himself at 6 months (yogurt, for example). I figure it’ll be easier to link a reaction to foods if he’s the one eating them!

Last time I did this diet, when Hula Girl was 4-8 months old, I lost a lot of weight really quickly. I am rather concerned about this since a nursing mom MUST keep up her caloric intake in order to produce ample milk. One of the bes ways to boost a milk supply is by eating a bowl full of oatmeal daily. Sure, sure, oatmeal has no gluten… but it is processed in plants that also process wheat, so the threat of cross-contamination exists. So no oatmeal for me. Sad. Oatmeal cookies are the BEST when nursing.

Because of the limited foods, I will also have a longer road ahead of me before I can exercise again. This is not good, people. As previously mentioned, I am ginormous enough that people think I’m having twins (and I still have a month and some change to go)! But I am very excited to go ahead and start at least walking again. I told Jonathan that I’d really like to just take it slow for a while and then start training for a marathon again. I did that a few years back and it was great! I really enjoyed running. And I got in really good shape, too! So, that’s my long-term goal.

Wish me luck and send me lots of encouragement as I watch my family scarf down delicious burritos! 🙂

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