Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blogging from Hawaii, Day 4

We are getting into our groove here in Hawaii now. Everyone is sleeping (knock on wood) and this morning both kids slept until almost 7:00am! Fantastic. Everyone is still sick but we are managing fine and the kids are doing remarkably well considering how they feel. So now...I give you what you really wanted to see...Pictures!!

Here is The Girl asleep on the airplane:
...and The Boy a little while later had his nap:
The amount of CRAP we had to travel with...it was insane...
Once we arrived, before we even had time to change into swim suits, The Boy had to make "snow angels" on the beach... The Girl in "her cage" aka the crib we got from the Hotel...
The Girl and Gigi before dinner one night...
Waiting for fireworks one night...The Boy kept his hands over his ears the entire time (including the entire half an hour we waited before they started...)
The Girl and her snotty nose grinning at me from her stroller as we strolled along the beach at night after dinner...
...and today we took The Boy to an aquarium...
...and he actually let a hermit crab walk on his hand!!

I feel like we are officially on vacation. It is fabulous. And have I mentioned how damn cute my kids are? So damn cute...
Aloha!








Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blogging from Hawaii, Day 3

You may wonder how I am able to blog so often during my vacation. The reason is that sometimes it seems like I have spent my entire vacation sitting in this hotel room while one or both of my kids nap. I was joking today that when people ask me, "How was vacation?" I would have to answer, "Well I wiped a lot of snot and I sat in a hotel room."

Both kids are sick and have unnatural amounts of green stuff coming out of their noses. But I am not complaining because we are still in Hawaii. Sleeping has gotten better for both kids too. Hence the reason I am spending so much time in this room versus out in the wonderful Hawaiian weather. The girl got up around 5:00 this morning after a good night of only getting up once at 2:00am to have her nose suctioned and to nurse. The Boy got up shortly after that. Then The Girl goes back to sleep for her morning nap around 8:00am and my family generally takes The Boy shortly after that and goes to the beach or the pool. I sit in the room while The Girl sleeps. Once she gets up (usually around 10:30) I get her dressed and we go down to the resort to find the others. Generally we hang for about an hour before we go back up to the room for lunch. And then it is time for The Boy to nap and generally The Girl joins him. So I am up in the room with them both until around 4:00pm at which time I get to take them both and go out in the world until dinner. Right after dinner The Girl needs to go to sleep (no chance I am letting her get overly tired like the first night) so I head back up to the room with her by 8:00pm. So as you can see, I am spending a WHOLE LOT of time in this room while people sleep. But they are little kids...they need their naps. And their smiling faces when they have gotten good naps makes it all worth it.

Some high points of my trip so far:
  • When The Boy says, "Can you sit with me?" I actually have time to do so. And I am able to say yes every time and enjoy hanging out with my little dude.
  • The way The Girl's hair curls in this weather around her little clips.
  • My son's face last night after FINALLY being able to see the firework show that he missed last year (the hotel next door to us does a show every Friday night at 7:00pm and last year we were in the middle of dinner and rushed to see it only to see the last firework go off. For an entire year he has talked about wanting to see the fireworks in Hawaii).
  • The pure bliss on The Boy's face while he rolls around in the sand and makes "sand angels" (like snow angels but obviously in the sand) and gets sand into every crevice in his little body.
  • The Girl's little body loving the kiddie pool and continuously laying down for me to hold her on her back while she floats and blows bubbles. She is going to be a little water baby it seems.
  • Just the time spent with my two kids. They are both so damn sweet and so f-ing cute that it kills me. I love the memories we are creating and I love having the time to just really be with them without having to worry about laundry or dinner or cleaning the house or getting somewhere on time or ANYTHING. I just get to hang with my kids. Priceless.

The Boy just woke up from his nap...must go. Aloha!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blogging from Hawaii, Day 2

We are on day two of our vacation. Yesterday was the travel day and it went relatively smoothly. Well as smoothly as it can go when you are trying to get through an airport and security with 4 adults, two small children, two strollers, two car seats, 5 checked bags and like 8 pieces of carry-on stuff. It was a little insane, but we made it here safely.

The Boy is SO happy. He was such a good boy (actually they both were) on the plane and getting to the hotel. All he wanted to do was get to the PX and buy some sand toys and go to the beach. So after a small snack, that is the first thing we did. He couldn't have been happier. We unpacked and got ourselves settled and went down to dinner. That was around 6:00 Hawaii time,which was about 8:00pm for us.

This, I believe, is where I made my crucial mistake. I should not have gone to dinner. I should have sent them all away, nursed The Girl, and put her to bed. But I didn't. I brought her down to dinner with us and she slept for a little while in the stroller and then coughed and woke up and screamed. I gave her some food and aborted dinner to try and get her back up to the hotel room and to sleep.

Did. Not. Happen.

I think she got over tired and then simply couldn't fall asleep. And when she did, she was up 5 minutes later screaming. I started her in her crib. Then after 20 minutes or so of screaming (sorry other guests of the hotel--at least it was early), I brought her to bed with me and nursed her to sleep. She fell asleep, but only for about 20 minutes. And each time she woke up and didn't know where she was or what was going on it pissed her off more. She screamed like I have not heard her scream in a LONG time. It reminded me of the newborn days because she was crying even when I was holding her. I tried rocking, I tried shushing, I tried the stroller, I tried it all. Each time she would fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake up even more pissed. Finally at about 11:30pm Hawaii time (so 1:30am my time) I gave up and put her down next to me in the bed and let her "cry it out." There was nothing left to do. She cried for about 10 minutes and then passed out. Only to continue to wake up about every hour during the night. I nursed her every three hours or so, and kept having to jump from one side of the bed to the other to try and stop her from rolling off. And once she would fall back to sleep I was paranoid to move. So if I didn't have covers over me, or if I needed stuff for my lips (I have her cold and had to breathe out of my mouth so my lips were ridiculously dry), or had to pee, well I was paranoid to do any of it.

Needless to say, it was not a restful 5 hours of sleep. Why only 5 hours you ask? Well she was up for the day at 5:10am. Just up. Not screaming anymore, but up and crawling around and chatting and POOPING and...well just up. I finally got out of bed and took her to the bathroom to change her at 6:00am when my mom popped her head into my room.

We have two adjoining rooms and last night my mom and step dad slept in one room in one bed with The Boy sleeping in the other bed in their room. My grandmother and I each slept in one of the beds in the other room with The Girl in a "crib" (more like a baby jail) until she ended up in bed with me.

"Are you guys awake?" My mom asked?

"Um yeah...I am not sure we ever slept." I answered.

"Oh good because your son has been up since 4:00am."

So apparently The Boy woke up at 4:00am with a huge sneeze and couldn't go back to sleep. He officially has his sister's funk (so do I for the record) and was also "just up." So my mom was up with him from that point on. But he was good as gold. He just snuggled in bed and watched his iTouch and hung out. He's such a good boy.

So that has been our vacation thus far. I am hoping that today will be a better day and The Girl can figure out this whole sleep thing. I will say that as of right now, she has been asleep for 2 hours, IN HER CRIB, for her morning nap so that is definitely a good sign. But damn, am I tired.

It's only 9:30am and I swear it feels like around 3:00pm.

Aloha!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aloha!


We are off to Hawaii! This is a picture of our flight info from last year, but we are on a similar flight this year. We are out of here at 6:30 in the morning tomorrow. You wouldn't believe the week I had trying to get all of my work done for the end of January and also get prepared for this trip. All with a sick baby who wouldn't/couldn't go to daycare. It wasn't easy. But I think we did it. This time tomorrow night I will be in tropical Hawaii. My step dad is bringing his computer so I might update you all while I am there, but if not, I will check in a week from now when we return. Hope everyone has a great week. Aloha!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Of COURSE!!!

Did I mention that Peanut had her 9 month "well baby" checkup at the doctor's office on Wednesday?

And isn't it funny that exactly three days after that she started coughing just a little and sneezing every half an hour or so?

And then this morning she woke up and spent the better part of the day doing this:
So, so sick. The most pitiful version of herself I have ever seen. Poor sweetie.

And did I mention we leave on vacation in four days?

Fuck.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The One Where I Ask for Your Advice...


So we are going on vacation in less than a week. I know, I know, cue sad music here... We are off for our annual trip to Hawaii.

But I have never traveled with a 9 month old. The first time we took The Boy he was two. It is much easier to travel with a 2 year old than a 9 month old. At least I think so. I really don't know.

Is there anything that I should know? Any tips you have for me?

I have given in and allowed her to have food from a jar while we are gone. So I am not bringing food. I have also put up the pack n play in her room and am having her sleep in it. That way she will be used to sleeping in it before we get there. But other than that...I am sorta winging it.

We are staying on a military base/resort so we will have access to a PX store (I believe that is what they are called) where I can buy diapers/wipes/all of the essentials when we get there so I don't need to worry about bringing all of that. I am planning on bringing a small, fold up umbrella stroller for The Boy and our usual stroller for The Girl. My thought is that I need her to have a stroller where she can recline because I have a feeling she will be taking lots of her naps in that stroller. I don't plan on spending my entire vacation in the room while she leisurely naps away. I am also traveling with The Ergo for when we need to go to the beach and times when a stroller isn't the best option.

We did buy her a seat on the plane and are bringing her normal car seat for the plane ride and the car to the resort. I have lots of hats and cute little swim suits and outfits that I bought for her when all the summer stuff went down to $1.99 back in September/October so we should be good to go for clothes.

So what do you think? Am I missing anything? Is there some gem of wisdom that I need to know that will make my travels with two small children easier? Please...do advise...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy 9 Months Old Peanut

What a month this has been my love. So many things happened...so many "firsts." You started off the month with your first Christmas. You loved the wrapping paper and the lights and all the craziness, but you didn't so much care about your gifts (that will change). In fact we still have a couple of unopened gifts from Christmas sitting in your room for when we feel like you need a new toy.

Part of the above could be contributed to your very first sickness. You got a nasty cold on Christmas Eve and were sick as a dog on Christmas day. But even though you kept both of us up ALL NIGHT LONG on Christmas Eve, you were in relatively good spirits on the big day. You weathered your cold like a trooper and it seemed to last about 10 days until you were totally healthy again. But during that sickness you seemed to have forgotten how to do something that I deem quite important.

You forgot how to sleep. This past month has been a nightmare with sleeping. You went through a period where you simply could not fall asleep unless I was standing right next to your crib. That isn't so much the case anymore, but you still seem to wake up at all hours of the night screaming. As soon as I go in your room and give you back your Binky and your Kitty (lovey blanket) you roll over on your side and go right back to sleep. For about a half an hour. Rinse and repeat. I am really not sure what is going on with your sleep or how to solve it. I could write an entire post on what I have tried and what seems to work, but this is about all the lovely things you have done in the past month so we are going to move along...

You, my girl, are officially on the move! At the beginning of the month you were barely crawling. Just sort of getting into the position and moving a little bit--sometimes in the wrong direction. And slowly but surely you got better and better at it. Now you haul ass down the hall and into the bathrooms (I always have to make sure your brother's mini potty is clean now...) and into all the rooms and places you only looked at from afar before. You love your new found sense of freedom. At the beginning of the month you would cry hysterically if you weren't in the same room as me. Now you bellow something along the lines of "Dy Dy Dy..." and then disappear down the hall to see what mischief you can get into.
And speaking of that...it was time for the baby gates to come back out. At first you were intrigued by them, but now you just get down right pissed. You will see the door open and you will crawl over as fast as your little arms and legs will let you move. If we happen to slam that door closed on you right before you make it inside the door to eat the cat food, you sit there and look at me like I have just killed your only puppy dog. But you sure do look cute trying to convince me to let you in...
You also got your first official injury this month. You slammed your face on a metal bar at the pediatrician's office and got your very first bruise. It doesn't look like much in the pictures, but let me tell you, it was impressive. You should be very proud. In fact when we went to your doctor's office for your checkup today, the first thing he said to me was, "Um...did she get into a bar fight?" I am so proud I could just die...
Much to my dismay...you got your very first set of pig tails this month. Your Gigi couldn't stop herself. I would like to tell you that it was a one time occurrence, but really...have you met your Gigi? This is just the beginning my girl. And who knows? Maybe you'll grow up to be a pig tail kinda girl... And if that's the case, then you should be very happy that your Gigi is in your life because I have NO clue how to do your hair at this point. I am lucky if I can get the clip in it to keep it out of your face. I promise that I will work on this and hopefully get to the point where I can make you look cute without having to call in backup.
You did great at your appointment today and continue to sail along marvelously with your growth. Your stats: You weigh 18.8 pounds, which is in the 50th percentile, you are 27 inches tall, which is in the 25th percentile (it's okay to be short honey...Mommy will teach you all about it), and you are perfectly healthy. You are doing all the things you are supposed to be doing like crawling and pulling up to a standing position and chatting away and eating all the right things. You are the picture of "normalness" and I couldn't be happier.

Day in the life: You wake up around 6:30 or 7:00am (could be after a full night's sleep, or could be after getting up every single half an hour for the entire night!!!) and nurse. Then you are on the ground and you are off! You usually go torture your brother in his room while I get ready and get everyone dressed. At about 9:00am you eat breakfast which consists of 4 cubes of fruit and 2 ounces of breast milk mixed with either rice cereal or oatmeal. You top that off with a hand full of Cheerios. Then you play until around 10:00 when you nurse again and go down for your morning nap. Once you wake up you nurse again and then have lunch. Again you have about 4 or 5 cubes of pureed food (usually a veggie and a fruit) and then you eat a ton of finger foods. Your favorites right now are tofu cooked in chicken broth, mac and cheese, peas and your all time fave: sourdough bread. You love you some bread. Good girl. Mommy taught you well. After lunch we head out and do whatever we are doing with our day. Around 3:30 or 4:00 you will nurse again and go into your crib. Sometimes you sleep but most of the time you just play in there for about an hour or so. It depends on how long you slept in the morning. Then you get up and play until dinner. You eat your pureed food around 5:30 and then sit in your highchair with the rest of the family and eat your finger foods during our dinner around 6:30. Then there is more playing until about 7:30 when we begin the process of bed time. We clean up everything, put on jammies and clean diaper, put on our sleep sack and go out into the living room where we nurse in the dark. This is my favorite time of day. Just you and me. Sometimes you fall asleep while nursing and other times you nurse until you are full and then turn your head to the side and smile at me. I cuddle you and put you down in your bed and turn on your mobile and head out (and we pretend like you are going to stay there quietly until the next morning, which up until this last month you used to do but now I see you several times throughout the night but we aren't talking about that right now...)

You are a joy and a delight. Your smile makes my heart soar and to watch you explore the world around you with your new found freedom is just wonderful. You are fearless and curious and smart and perhaps the most adorable little girl I have ever witnessed and I love you more than life itself.

Now. Let's talk about these bean bag photos. You are making it quite difficult for me to get an entire year of you in one shot. I tried to take your picture today and instead of a cute, quiet baby sitting in the bean bag I ended up with shots like this...
...and I got quite a lot of shots of the top of your head as you tried to get out as fast as possible so that you could get your little hands on my camera...
...and when I kept pushing you back in the bean bag to try and get a good shot, you finally got fed up with my mean oppressive ways and threw a little fit...
But in the end...I think we got a pretty good shot. Happy 9 months old my love!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What Happens at the Doctor's Office Stays at the Doctor's Office...


The Boy had his 4 year well-baby checkup (are they still called "well-baby" exams when they are four years old? Well-kid exam?) on Friday. He is still a little dude, but that comes as no great shock. The laugh of the day was when the nurse weighed him and told us he was 35 pounds. I looked at her, "That isn't possible."

"I'm pretty sure that's what the scale said, but let's have him jump back up there again to double check..." (The Boy walked back over and got back on the scale).

"He gets weight checks with his gastro doc about every three months and he was just weighed a couple of weeks ago and had barely broken 30 pounds. There is no way he is up 5 pounds since then," I explained to the nurse.

We both looked as the scale settled with The Boy standing on it and sure enough...35 pounds. No freakin' way!! I thought to myself. How is that possible?

The Boy jumps off the scale proclaiming himself to be "Big. HUGE!!!" And when he gets off the scale I glance up at it and after the nurse had slid the little marker things back down to zero it was apparent that the scale was not calibrated correctly. It was WAY off on zero. So she took him next door to weigh him on a different scale.

She came back in, "He weighs 30 pounds."

Yeah, that's what I thought.

And he is 37 inches tall. And lest you think I am living in the dark ages, I am fully aware that that is tiny for a four year old. But he has grown 3 inches in the past year and gained a few pounds, which is all normal. He continues to be about a year behind in his growth. We lost a year of growth between one and two when he just stopped all growing, but we have been moving since then. And considering his Mommy is only 5' 3", and donor Daddy likes to think he is 5' 8" but is really more like 5' 6" we aren't holding out hope for a basketball player.

He passed his hearing and vision tests with flying colors. Although we failed peeing in a cup because we had just peed before we left the house and "der nofing in der Mommy." So no pee for the doc. He could answer all the questions and hop on one foot and get himself dressed and do all the things he was supposed to do. And his doc was quite proud that he was graduating from speech therapy. He summed it up with, "well we are still dealing with our usual issues but other than that I think he is pretty fabulous." We think so too.

********************

So during his exam I was trying to hold The Girl on my lap. She has NO interest in sitting quietly anywhere these days so she was itching to get down. I put her on the floor where she happily crawled around and chewed on things that were probably filthy with all sorts of disgusting germs. Oh well, what can you do?

At some point during the exam she crawled over to the exam table and was holding onto the metal bars that hold it up and pulling up to a standing position. Well her little hands slipped and she CRACKED her face against the metal bar. I put "cracked" in caps because I seriously heard the crack. She started screaming one of those screams that has about a minute of silence in between the piercing screams. She was hurting poor little thing. It was a nasty fall. She hit her cheek bone and her face right against the metal pole when her hand slipped. Thank God we were sitting in the room with the doctor or he might have thought I had done something bad to my little precious. It took her a good 10 minutes to settle down, so I know she was in pain.

Poor sweetie has suffered her first injury. And after I gave her all the hugs and kisses I could muster, I immediately brought out the camera and tried to capture it on film. She has a nasty purple bruise on her left cheek where her dimple would be. Do you know how hard she had to hit that thing to get a bruise...on her cheek? Pretty damn hard. Of course I can't get the camera angle right and it doesn't look nearly as bad in the pictures as it does in person. Here was my first attempt. This was how she woke up from her nap later that day...
As you can tell in the above picture she was NOT happy that afternoon. I gave her Tylenol but I am sure it hurt like hell. She had no interest in eating solid foods (probably hurt to chew) and only wanted to nurse.

Since then she has been fine. But she looks like she was in a bar fight. When we went to the grocery store on Saturday the checker lady said, "Oh, she's so cute. How old is she?...Is there something on her...never mind." I said, "Her cheek? Yes. It's a bruise."

"Oh, I wasn't going to say anything because I didn't think a baby that little could get a bruise like that. So then I thought it was a birth mark and I didn't want to say anything about that either..." (stop yourself lady...)

"Yes, it's a bruise. And no, I didn't beat her. She fell against a metal pole in the pediatrician's office."

"Wow. That's pretty nasty. She must have really clocked it."

Thanks lady. Yes. Yes she did.

And that is the story of Peanut's first injury.
Again, the camera really doesn't do it justice. You'll just have to take my word for it. That happened on Friday and today, on Monday, she still has a purple and blue mark. Pretty impressive bruise for a first time. I can honestly tell you that The Boy has NEVER in his life had a bruise like that. Never. He doesn't do anything that might cause that sort of outcome. He is very practical and skeptical. But this one? She is fearless. I have a feeling this is just the very beginning of her bruises...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Graduate

The Boy is graduating from speech therapy. I am so damn proud of him I could burst. This week he is doing all of his yearly testing because he just turned four. On Tuesday he tested out of his school district speech therapy and his private therapist told us that she would see him through the end of January when we could start a "home program" and she wouldn't need to see him on a weekly basis anymore. When I think back to the toddler he was when we started this whole early intervention thing to the boy that he has become today I am overwhelmed by how much he has changed.

I no longer have to follow him around and translate everything he says to the people he is talking to. I no longer have to explain to perfect strangers that no, he is actually three years old (much older than they assume based on his speech). I no longer have to witness people giving him "that look." You know the one? The one where they have a half-confused look on their face while they half-smile and nod to whatever he is saying when it is perfectly clear that they haven't got the foggiest idea of what is coming out of his mouth.

But most importantly, HE is able to be independent. He can talk to other kids without me around. He can carry on conversations with adults and children alike all by himself. I recently realized that although the transition to his new school hasn't been completely seamless, I have not heard one word about them having any trouble understanding him.

He actually said to me the other day, "Mommy I say dat word good now, huh?" about a word that he used to struggle with. He knows that he talks well and he knows that he can now communicate effectively. And that is HUGE.

While I have never been thrilled with the services he received through his school district, his private therapy was exquisite. In fact, I am a little broken up about the fact that we aren't going to see them every week. The Boy started going there when he was only 12 months old and it was discovered that he couldn't swallow a Cheerio. He worked with the director on his suck/chew/swallow issues for about a year and then he transitioned into speech therapy. He has been seeing his current speech therapist at least once a week for the past two years. She has been more wonderful than I ever could have hoped for. When you have a child that doesn't fit into the social standards of "normal" for whatever reason, it is so wonderful to have someone understand what an amazing little person your child is and treat him as such. She always took extra care to make sure that The Boy didn't feel any different than any other kid. And although I am sure she gives great care to all of her kids, I like to think that she has a special place in her heart for my little boy. And we have a special place in our hearts for her.

I am trying to make this a special post about how much my boy has grown but I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that with this graduation I no longer have to shell out $70 a WEEK for his private therapy. This is a great relief on my heart but it is also a pretty big relief on my pocket book. I can't put into words how helpful this is to my family.

But most of all I am just proud of him. Proud of him and a little misty. He is such a big boy and such an amazing little dude. And now when he tells me about the things in his life that inspire him, we can all smile and understand and be right there with him.

Congrats my boy. Mommy is SO proud of you. I love you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Evidence...

That my world is changing...my baby girl is ON THE MOVE!!

Here she is going after her dolly...sigh...
video

I wanted to post a video of her going after her brother's stuff because it is pretty hilarious how mad he gets, but he screams at her using her name the entire time so I guess I shouldn't be putting that out in the internet...

Hope everyone is having a nice, relaxing Sunday.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

WANTED: Old Baby Back

If someone sees an eight and a half month old baby that is ridiculously adorable but who has bad hair, please return to owner.

I don't know what happened to my child who used to know how to go to sleep, but if you see her could you please forward her my way?

I used to have a child who would nurse, rock in the chair for a few minutes, and lay down in her crib while awake. She would watch her mobile for a few minutes and then fall to sleep without so much as a peep.

Now? Now we repeat that exact same process and it all starts out just fine. Until the part where she decides she is ready to go to sleep. At that point she sits up and screams. I come into her room, lay her back down, give her a binky, turn on the mobile, rub her tummy and "shush" her over and over. If I even think about stopping any part of that and she is not completely asleep she sits straight up and screams.

Rinse and repeat.

Once I finally get her to sleep she is usually good. For about an hour. Then she does the same thing. Each time she does it as the night goes on it takes less and less time to get her back to sleep. Finally (most nights) she does it for the last time at around 11:00pm and manages to make it through the rest of the night. Last night she did it at 10:00, at 11:00, at midnight, and then when she did it again at 1:45am I decided she must be hungry (see previous post regarding supply issues) and brought her to bed with me and nursed her. She slept very soundly there for the rest of the night.

Most nights she stays in her own bed after about 3 or 4 wake-ups where I have to use the above process to get her back to sleep. What the hell? Separation anxiety? Just blatantly lost the ability to fall asleep on her own? WHAT?!?!?!

Am I doing the right thing? Consistency is key, right? At some point she will remember how to sleep, RIGHT? I have read a lot on the Internet and it appears this age is pretty normal for some serious separation stuff that messes with sleeping. But damn.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

But On the Bright Side...

Look at that face...

...the face of that four year old...


That is what it is all about.

Focus Mommy...

(and yes, he did the candles on his cupcakes himself. That is why there are way more than four and why one cupcake has more than others. It was his birthday after all...)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Some Anger on an Otherwise Delightful Day

How do you move on? How do you just "get over it?" Not for her, but for ME. I am tired of these feelings of anger coloring my happy times. It isn't fair. And they are my issues so I have no one to blame but myself.

I should back up a little.

In the effort of giving my son the best life possible and the happiest birthday of all time I included his Mom in the festivities. And that really did make him happy. For him, he was surrounded by everyone who loves him dearly. And he had a great day filled with joy and with love. And she was fine. She loves him dearly. And there really is no problem including her. She is pleasant and nice and sweet and does her best to be really great. It honestly isn't her. It's me.

I was cranky. I couldn't shake it. It started this morning when she called to wish The Boy a happy birthday. I gave the phone to him and let her do her thing. After she was done she told him to give the phone back to me. She said, "Can you believe 4 years ago we were in the hospital and you were in labor right now and I was calling your mom...and then we ended up with our precious little boy...?" "Doesn't that make you all warm and fuzzy?"

No. Not it doesn't. Because all I can think about is on that day at that time I truly thought I was going to give my son the greatest life with two moms who loved him more than anything. I thought we were going to raise him together and teach him about love and relationships and watch him grow and we were going to be a family together. And then 4 months after that she told me she wasn't sure if she loved me anymore. And on his 6 month birthday she moved out. And my world fell apart.

And damnit if thinking of his birth directly takes me to those following feelings. I don't want it to. I want to think about that day, the day my precious boy was brought into the world, and just get to remember the joy there. But I don't. And I feel like she robbed me of that. And now, you call me up and expect me to swoon at the memory? Sorry. I don't remember it like that. I can't look at you over the dinner table and share a smile and know that together we made the most perfect boy in the whole world. I look at you over the table and think...you walked away from the most perfect boy in the world. You left me to do this on my own. And now you sit here and smile and pretend like you were always there and that you should get to have the same feeling of parental pride over what an amazing kid he turned out to be.

And I'm so angry about that. Angry about what happened almost 4 years ago, but mostly angry that on a day like today, a day that should have nothing but love and smiles in it, those memories creep back in. What she did has forever tainted my memories. And I want them back. I want them back for my son. I want to get past it all. Not because I need to forgive her. But because I want my joy back. I want to look at that little boy and not feel like we were abandoned. I want to have a special day without remembering the SHIT that went along with it. And I wonder if that will ever be the case.

Happy 4th Birthday Boy!!


Today is The Boy's fourth birthday. He is officially a little dude. When he woke up this morning I sang Happy Birthday to him, he listened carefully, then he looked up at me, stroked my cheek and said, "Tat Tu Singing to me Mommy. I love you." He is so unbelievably sweet he kills me. When I left him in line for his class at his (still relatively new) school today he turned and looked at me and said, "I not gonna cry today Mommy. Because I am four." Indeed he is.

If you had asked me about a week ago what I thought about his third year I would have said something like, "I feel kinda bad because his third year was probably mostly about my own pregnancy and having his sister. I'm afraid he kind of got lost in the shuffle..." But yesterday I sat down to do his yearly video (every year I put together all my favorite pictures and videos in iMovie and put captions and set it to his favorite/appropriate songs and make a DVD out of it--gotta love the Mac!) and I realized that isn't the case at all. He had a full and wonderful year. Made even better by the addition of a sister whom he loves dearly.

A lot of the things he did this year signify the ending of his baby/toddler hood and the beginning of life as a little boy.

He went on his annual vacation to Hawaii in January (we leave in three weeks for this year's trip...) and had a BLAST. Loved it. He spent his last night in his crib and moved into a big boy bed. He said goodbye to his beloved Binky. He got potty trained. He started a new, real school (as opposed to in-home daycare/schools that he was in previously) and he is about ready to graduate from speech therapy. For the first time in his little history I can tell you that he had a relatively healthy year and finally topped the 30 pound mark. No he didn't gain a ton of weight, but he also didn't spend the entire year sick either. That is HUGE.

He also went through his normal obsessions. Started out the year with all things cars and trucks. Just any ole car or truck would do. Then that morphed into the movie Cars and all of its players. Then we wouldn't play with just any car. It had to be Lightening McQueen, or Sheriff, or Mater... At some point he moved onto Bob the Builder. I think this was when The Ex bought her new house and every time she had him over she gave him some sort of (really dangerous if you ask me) sharp tool to play with and he loved it. So then he was obsessed on Bob the Builder for a while. That somehow morphed into Handy Manny. That was a big one. He loved all of them and learned to count in Spanish (bonus!). Then we ditched all things repair related (Mom sold her house--Ex is Mom, I am Mommy...) and started getting into the things he was learning at school. The Planets were his first big obsession. He loved them. Still does. Not only can he recite them in order, but he can tell you what color each one is and if it has moons and if it is "tilted on its side" or has rings etc... He really got into the whole solar system. Then he somehow got into all things nature. And from that we got into bugs. Bugs of all shapes and sizes. Toy bug, real bugs, play bugs on TV, movies about bugs... So many damn bugs. He loved them all. But that led into what was decidedly the biggest hit of the year: Spiders. He still loves Spiders perhaps more than life itself. And of course, as I have blogged about many times, that morphed into Spiderman. That was true and strong right up through Halloween. It slowed down a bit when the Holidays came around because he became obsessed with all things Holiday. Specifically Rudolph. Loved Rudolph and the song and the old-school movie; all of it. He loved everything about the Holidays. He is now a kid that understands that when people start talking about the Holidays, it means presents are coming. And what is better than that? Now that the holidays are over I am trying to think of what is his favorite thing right now. He has been watching Pinocchio lately and is now into the whale from that movie and therefore all sorts of sea life. That has been his big thing lately. That and asking me for a "rescue helicopter" over and over and over. Doesn't seem to matter that he has a rescue helicopter, because apparently it isn't just the perfect one. He has also gone back a little bit to Handy Manny and Bob the Builder because Mom/Santa got him a tool bench for Christmas and he loves to work on it.

I remember when I would post on my yearly summaries the words that he was saying. Now, after years and years and thousands of dollars spent on speech therapy, I can't get the kid to shut up. Seriously. My parents constantly laugh because he is just like I was. They say it is payback. He will talk just to hear the sound of his own voice if he doesn't have something constructive to say. And if you happen to say something to him that he doesn't understand he will ask what the specific word means. For instance, this morning when we were driving to school he said to me, "Mommy, Spiderman shows are boring." I said, "Really? You think they are boring?" He said, "Boring means something you don't let me watch anymore." I laughed and told him that no, that wasn't exactly what it meant. I then explained to him that I don't let him watch Spiderman anymore because it is too violent and he acts like a crazy child after watching it. He said, "What is violent?" I said, "Violent is when people are mean and harsh and when they use shooter guns and bad things to hurt other people." And he said, "You mean like how you hurt my feelings cause you don't let me watch Spiderman anymore?" Um, no. Not exactly like that. But he wants/needs to know what everything means. He likes to use things in the correct context and he loves to have all sorts of different vocabulary to choose from.

His personality hasn't changed much in the past year. He is still sweet and sensitive. He is shy when he first meets you but then the life of the party once he warms up. He is compassionate and caring. He always has time for hugs and is sincerely upset by the injustices of the world. He is truly the greatest big brother I have ever witnessed. Not once has he ever raised his voice or hit his sister. And he was pretty upset when she Godzilla'd his marble game to pieces. He talks to her sweetly and says hi to her when she wakes up in the morning and now that they are in different schools, he can't wait to get home to see her in the afternoon. He will go up and give her a hug and tell her he missed her and tell her all about his day. It makes me cry pretty much every day.

I can't believe how much he has grown up in this past year. And I can't imagine the little boy he is going to become in the year to come. All I know is that this little red head is like an extension of my heart walking around on the outside of my body. I am SO proud of him and all he is becoming. He is one of the greatest little human beings I have ever met and I am privileged to have him in my life, much less to get the opportunity to raise him. Happy 4th Birthday my love! May all your wishes come true!

Monday, January 4, 2010

What's That Thing You're Supposed to Do At Night?

Oh yeah...SLEEP!!

Someone forgot to give my daughter the memo... The two weeks that she was home on holiday have felt like two years in a lot of ways. But there are a couple of key issues.

First of all, the separation anxiety. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to be in a room full of relatives who want nothing more than to spend some time with your baby, only to have said baby scream bloody murder anytime Mommy puts her down/walks out of the room. We all know that I am a single mother, so I thoroughly enjoy it when there are other people around who are interested in helping out with the care of my children. The holidays are great for this. Everyone loves to feed a baby. Everyone loves to hold little babies. So for those precious moments during the holiday get-togethers, I look forward to others getting their "baby time" if you will. But none of that happened this year. The Girl is at the age where not only does Mommy need to be visible at all times, it is preferable if she is somehow touching Mommy. Sitting next to me on the floor is just not sufficient thankyouverymuch. Plus, there are times when I simply MUST put her down in order to get her brother a plate for dinner, or help clear the table, or pee for GOD SAKE! And during those times she would scream like someone was poking her eyes out with sharp sticks. Fun, fun times...

I briefly mentioned during my Christmas post that she got her first bad cold on Christmas day. The sickness was yucky in and of itself, but the ramifications of the sickness are just as bad, if not worse. When she was so stuffy she couldn't breathe she had a hard time nursing. Understandable. But now? She can breathe out of her nose, but during the day she isn't so much into the nursing anymore. Now don't get me wrong, I haven't started giving her bottles or anything. But she wants to see what is going on in the world. She arches her back, rips her face away (usually while still attached) and basically has no patience to lay there and eat a proper meal. She is fine first thing in the morning, and right before she goes to bed at night. But other than that? No thanks. Can't be bothered.

This has led to what appears to be some supply issues. During the time she was home with me she was basically only nursing 4 times a day. First thing in the morning (between 6 and 7), right before her morning nap (around 10:00), right before her afternoon nap (around 3:00) and right before bed (around 7:30). Sometimes I would try and throw another one in there either before lunch or after, but again, not all that interested. I know that is not enough milk in a day. She is eating three full meals right now (of solid foods), but still... I think this lack of milk she is getting is leading to the biggest and most frustrating issue of them all...

The child no longer sleeps through the night. There have been several nights since she was home (starting with when she was sick and continuing on) that she is waking up SCREAMING during the night. I have tried everything you can think of. I have gone in there and rubbed her back and "shushed" and calmed, I have tried to let her cry it out (that one definitely doesn't work), I have gotten her up and given her Tylenol/Gripe Water and rocked her and tried to put her back to bed. I have tried everything. But after several different variations on all of the above I am coming to the conclusion that she is hungry. Based on what I have read I try not to make nursing my first go-to conclusion when she wakes up. She has been sleeping through the night forever so I didn't want to get her into a habit of waking up to snack when it wasn't really necessary. So that is usually the last thing I try. But it seems to be what works. So that is why I think it is linked to the milk production going down. Last night she woke up screaming at like 9:30 and after half an hour of settling her she was up again at 10:15 I decided to give her a 4 ounce bottle of expressed breast milk. She downed it and went right back to sleep and slept until 7:20 this morning. I think she was hungry.

So now that she is back in school I am going to step up my pumping routine (hate that damn thing). I have a ton of frozen milk right now so I am not close to having to supplement.

I should note that while that is wonderful for most people, I have serious issues...it links back to my son's eating issues all starting at 9 months and he being on formula and...well I could write an entire post on that alone. But needless to say if you supplement your child I do NOT think you are a horrible person. On the contrary, I wish I could let go of my own issues regarding what happened to my son and just do what is right for my daughter...oh man, I am digressing BIG TIME!!).

Right now I am going to try and do what I can to get my supply to go back up and hopefully that will give her some more milk and help to have her sleep through the night again.

I also have been reading around on the internet and it seems right around 8 months is when a ton of kids start waking up during the night due to separation anxiety. That could explain why if I "give in" and bring her to my bed she almost always calms right down, smiles at me like, "See...was that so hard?" and goes back to sleep. But I don't want to start that as a habit (again, go co-sleeping if that's what you're into...it just isn't for me) so I am trying to teach her to settle in her own room, in her own crib.

Oh yeah. And she's started crawling. Like for real. Damn...what a two weeks it has been. I feel like I aged 5 years. And since I have done nothing but bitch about her for this entire post, here are some super cute pictures to make it all seem okay. :)
She emptied her basket of toys and then sat in it. Seems like a good solution.
On the move. Crawling over to get her chubby little hands on the camera as fast as she can.

PS--Any and all suggestions for any of the above issues are greatly appreciated...