Saturday, March 29, 2008

The land of sleep and poop

Meg is really working on her sleeping. Thursday night, she slept eight hours at a stretch, to the shock and surprise of everyone. That would have been awesome had Andy not been up every hour coughing and crying. Last night she slept from 10 to about 3:45, not quite six hours but there is definitely a trend in this. I hope it keeps up when we go home Monday.

Andy, however, is still avoiding his afternoon nap and throwing everything off. Unfortunately, it makes him so ornery by the evening if he doesn't nap that it's terrible for everyone. Thursday my friend Susan came over with her boys and at about 8:30, he was whining and crying so much I finally put him in his bed and said I'd be back in 20 minutes to tuck him in. I came back in five minutes and he was already asleep. Yesterday, I tried putting him down for a nap in the room with my sister and Emma thinking that the peer pressure would work. It didn't. But about 4:30 when I was getting my hair cut (finally!), he conked out on the couch in front of the TV for about two hours after throwing a huge fit. I am missing the routine of school to sort of keep his day and nights in order.

With the warm weather in Dallas and us being on vacation, I thought I would take this as an opportunity to really work on potty training. Andy can clearly pee on the toilet. He usually needs to be prompted, but when I get him there, he can go. In fact, he can often go hours with a dry pull up. Sadly, the kid can't avoid pooping in his diaper. Or underpants. Earlier in the week, I switched to underpants during the day. I reminded him over and over that he was wearing big boy underpants and that he had to tell me when he needed to pee or poop. He managed to pee at my mom's, at my sister's and at IKEA. However, he also managed to poop in his underpants. Twice. And if you thought cleaning up adult caliber crap from a diaper was gross, imagine having to clean his butt, jeans and underpants in the bathroom at IKEA. Yuck city. I did this for days and I just can't get him to crap on a toilet, no matter how many bribes I offer. Any suggestions, Internet?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mark your calendar

Baby Meg slept six hours at a stretch last night, from about 10 p.m. to about 4 a.m. I wish I knew what trick it was other than having the whole family around and lots of activities. She's been sleeping in the pack and play in the room next to mine, connected by a bathroom. She's a noisy sleeper so it's better for me to have her in the next room so that I only hear her when she really needs me. The bonus is that room is right next to my parents' so my mother has been kind enough to be getting up for feedings as well.

The only downside is that Andy is sleeping in the room with me. He's in a crib (his choice) and it's easier to have him with me than worry Meg will wake him when she gets up, but it's taking him forever to wind down from the day so bedtime and nap time are quite a chore. Who knew I'd be worried about the three year old sleeping rather than the baby?

We've been in town a week now. It's been great to have such a long visit. My family has been incredibly hospitable and accommodating, but it will be nice get back to Bjorn as well as my own stuff and semblance of routine.

Monday, March 24, 2008

We're here

We're in Dallas now where the weather is 70 and the grandparents, aunts and nieces are nearby for playing. Andy is having a blast with his cousin Megan. Meg hasn't noticed so much, but she did sleep for 5 1/2 hours at a stretch last night. Fingers crossed that she keeps that up. Both kids did fine on the plane. Andy's portable DVD ran out of juice about 2 1/2 hours in so the last half hour was pretty busy keeping him from knocking the seat in front of him and generally being a royal pain in the neck to the other passengers (and his parents). Meg did great though. I actually find it easier to console her than Andy in those kinds of situations.

On the way back, my sister Elizabeth is coming with Megan (leaving baby Emma at home) so we'll have three kids and two adults. Andy and Megan usually play pretty nicely together so the hope is they can entertain each other. Let's just hope they don't entertain each other by acting more obnoxious than usual.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Terrible threes

So that part about Andy being fine with his new sister? Well, he may be fine with her, but most definitely the terrible threes crawled up and bit him on the ass. Hard. The kid is either a terror or a delight -- never one in between. We're still struggling with potty training. He's alternately enthusiastic and then screaming that he doesn't want to go.
The screaming, sweet Jesus, is just beyond annoying. He gets like that about almost anything, "I do NOT want to watch Thomas. I WANT Little Einsteins." Or "I do NOT want to get in the BATH. NO! NO BATH," which is usually followed 15 minutes later by "I'm NOT getting out of the bath. I want to stay HERE. I NEED to stay here." I don't believe in hitting children, even spanking really, but damn, it's times like this that I really understand how a person could be driven to it.
Of course, after all the screaming, then he'll be really funny and cute, like when he wanted to wear nothing one cold Sunday afternoon and spent the day peacefully playing completely nude. It was cool in the house, but he didn't seem to mind.
We leave today for Dallas for 11 days. Bjorn is coming for the weekend and then comes back while the kids and I will stay in Dallas through the following weekend. It's going to be nice to have a good, long visit with my family. I just hope we're all still speaking to each other other at the end of it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shameless plug

My sister Mary is training for her first triathalon and is humbly raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you can swing a couple of bucks, please, please donate to her cause. For your donation, I promise never to post a naked picture of myself.


Andy has been generally really sweet and wants to play and hug his sister. I just need to make sure I'm watching so he doesn't try to hug her putting his butt over her face.

Giving kids boxing gloves is a great idea, isn't it? Clearly this was an idea their fathers came up with.

Tia, Meg and Andy at the zoo. If you can read his shirt, it says "Future Aggie Vet." Mary shirts for Andy and one for Meg, but the one for Meg is 18 months so Andy has been proudly wearing it as an undershirt for the time being. The concept of it being his sisters doesn't seem to register.

Precious darling angel baby when sleeping. When screaming? Not as much, but there is something very special and magical about a sleeping baby. If only they came with on/off switches.

Andy's self-declared best friend Mia holding Meg. I love this picture of Mia.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tia trip

My sister Mary has been visiting this week. Andy has loved having his Tia around and it's been great for me, too (Meg hasn't noticed really, I believe). The plan was originally to drive up and go skiing in Pennsylvania, but a warm winter combined with an early spring meant that the slopes were barely covered in snow, less than ideal for skiing and tubing so we've had to settle for more local entertainment, like shopping, the zoo, the Smithsonian and the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Meanwhile, the NCAA basketball tournament starts Thursday and since I'm not working at the moment, I haven't found a March Madness pool to waste my $10. If you know of one, let me know. Next weekend is my favorite weekend of the year. There are games on all day, they're exciting with lots of upsets and it's not until the end of the weekend that I realize I'm totally out of the pool.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Six weeks

Meg had her six week appointment today. (I just love our pediatrician. I geekily want to be her BFF.) First, the stats:
  • Weight: 11pounds, 4 ounces, 75-90th percentile.
  • Height: 22 inches, 50-75th percentile.
  • Head circumference: 15 1/8 inches, 75th percentile.
  • Chest: 15 1/4 percentile,

She has been deemed "perfect" by medical professionals. And not incidentally, voted the cutest baby of the day by the staff. (Sure, it was only 11 a.m., but I'll take it.) Before the vaccinations began, she cooed adorably and even smiled, a cute side smile in an early Joey Potter way before Katie Holmes got mixed up with Tom Cruise and turned creepy.

Poor baby got four shots in her legs, which made her cry hysterically. I didn't cry, but I sure wanted to. It was pretty awful. I was smart and brought Tylenol to take the edge off. I'm not sure it did much good for her, but I felt better.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The no nap crisis of 2008

Andy is quickly outgrowing his afternoon nap. This isn't a surprise as he is three and that's when kids naturally start to outgrow it, but it turns out we really need that nap. I need the break, and damn, that kid does too or else he's luggage come bedtime. Unfortunately, evenings are also when Meg is awake and fussy so I am juggling two cranky kids through the maze of dinner, bath and (hopefully) bed. Neither wants to give me long enough to get the other situated so I find I have two crying kids for two hours and at the end, I want to cry myself and/or finish a gallon of vodka. By the end of it, when they're both in bed and asleep, I love them more than anything, but in those moments? Well, not so much.

Everything is improving every day, including my ability to multitask. Meg woke up last week a full-fledged infant. She's able to spend 15 minutes under her mobile happily staring, waving her arms and legs and talking to the animals. She hasn't quite figured out how to smile yet, but she's really close. She can also coo a little bit. Her eyes are still slate blue, but they are lightening up ever so slightly.

And despite Andy being an obnoxious three year old, he can actually be quite useful. He loves to help and I am finding him great at grabbing a burp cloth for me or getting the washcloth to give Meg a bath. Granted, his lack of attention span makes him far from a reliable apprentice, but at least for that moment I know he doesn't have a wet screwdriver in the electric socket.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What the?

Andy has fallen out of bed twice in the past week. Since we got the new bed last spring/summer, he fell out of bed maybe once or twice in the very beginning. Now months and months later, twice in a week. What's what all about? We wake up to a thud, followed by crying. He's usually more scared than hurt and can quickly settle back down once he's lifted back into bed (which is much easier for Bjorn since the kid weighs nearly 35 pounds now). He also doesn't remember it in the morning.

After he goes to bed, I usually go in and check on him and make sure his "gate" of pillows is lined up on the edge of the bed and that he's tucked in and off the edge. The kid must be discovering sleep walking or something though because the last few weeks I sometimes find him half hanging off the edge as if he started to go somewhere and fell asleep. Very strange. I still have the guard rail in the closet that we had on his old bed, but with the configuration of new bed with the top and all, that would mean the only way to get in and out would be at the foot of the bed. I may give this another few days/week and then reassess. Between the two kids waking up in the night and Mark coming home at random hours, I am starting to think it will be 2010 before I get a decent night's sleep.

I know I'm tired when I wake up thinking, "Great. Just 14 hours until bedtime. And 38 hours until Maria comes. To make matters worse (or better?), I am returning to indoor soccer tonight. It is not going to be pretty. I run the way Elaine on Sienfeld dances right now. I have a feeling mocking and/or vomiting may ensue.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Projectile vomiting 101

Meg has discovered throwing up. I was hoping she could wait on that until her freshman year of college so at least I wouldn't have to clean it up. She has thrown up three times of varying degrees in the last 12 hours, including one massive barf all over the bassinet we borrowed (don't worry, Jenn, it will be clean before we give it back!) Fearing something other than overacheiving spit-up, I took her to the doctor's today who says she has reflux (an official diagnosis of profusely spitting up).

She recommended putting a little rice cereal in her bottle as well as elevating her crib mattress to an incline by putting a phone book or towel under one end. Considering the bassinet now has to be totally reassembled, it looks like we're moving her to the crib. I'm going to see how it goes and if it's not better by next week for her well visit, we may consider a baby antacid.

Fortunately, she seems happy and mostly unbothered by all this. I, however, have gone through two different sweaters this morning alone. On the bright side, this is making me look back into my closet to get my regular clothes back into the rotation.
On the Andy front, he's trying hard to give up his afternoon nap. There are many days though where if he doesn't lay down for a bit by three or four in the afternoon, he's a raging pile of toddler mush like in the picture above. He'd gone on a walk with me in the morning and then to Costco with Bjorn around lunchtime. Despite protests, "I am NOT tired. I do NOT need a NAP," I finally coerced him into his room to change him out of his clothes that were soaked due to a lid malfunction in the car. I left him on his bed for a minute to go take care of Meg and came back to find him totally passed out. He then slept for 2 1/2 hours. Clearly he didn't need a nap.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Daycare search

With my time off with a kid with an unpredictable schedule that doesn't want me to nap, I'm doing some research of childcare options. I like Andy's school, but it doesn't start until age two and I'm interesting researching places where both of them can go together. My reasons for that are selfish - I'd like the convenience of one place. Plus, at three, Andy can tell me about his day and I like the idea that he can tell me about Meg's day, too. I also think Andy would like being in school with his sister.

I first looked at the KinderCare in my neighborhood last week. Several friends go there and really love it. It's way convenient - only a mile from my house - and I like that we'd know other parents and kids there. The staff was very nice. The baby room was quite clean and bright and the teachers just love babies, which I like to hear. The thing I didn't like was they don't turn out the lights for nap time. I'm not sure why that bothers me, but it's a small thing to get over. For Meg, it's most important for me that there are people there to hold her and love her more so than activities at this point.

For Andy's room, the class size is 20 with two teachers and floaters for special things, like music. It was loud, but all the kids seemed to be having fun. They also have a nice playground segregated by age so the little kids don't have to mingle with the older ones on the playground. I liked that the teachers were interacting with the kids and doing projects. The school menu is also good and healthy. It's funny, I'm willing to feed Andy crap like McDonald's, but if I'm paying for it, I'd like it to be a healthier choice. The school also does neat stuff like Parents' Night Out when they rent a moon bounce or something like that and the kids eat pizza and play while the parents can go out.

Today, I met with a lovely woman who has a daycare out of her home in Annandale. She's the main teacher, but her older mother is there during the week to help. Her daughter is a college student and GW and is home a lot to help as well. I had a good vibe from them. The house was nice and clean (as you would expect since they knew I was coming). The playroom in the basement was pretty cool. Lots of preschool stuff that Andy loved that focuses on reading and numbers. It was very well organized and clearly geared toward learning. She also takes lots of pictures so the kids can see pictures next to words for their schedule and toys. It would be a smaller ratio of teacher to kids (at most five), not counting when the daughter and mother are there.

It felt more like a school at my sister or mother's house in that it felt very warm and family like. She takes the kids out to dig in the garden and they walk to the playground down the street. In the summer, they play with water in the backyard or even go to the pool. She even takes them to the library sometimes. The mother loved Meg and I have a feeling she would spend most of the day holding her, which I liked. Andy liked it so much that he cried when we had to leave.

Who knows what we'll do, but it's nice to know there are some good options out there.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bye bye breastmilk

I apologize for the terrible formatting below. I can't figure out how to make it look normal.

Meg eats like a horse. I really love it and love how big she's getting (although I'm dreading in advance all the rude comments from people saying how fat she is. Fat isn't nice to say about adults so why say it about a baby?) I also firmly believe that full baby usually equals happy baby. And I have hope that every ounce she consumes makes us that much closer to a good night's rest.

I have been breastfeeding this whole time. Not exclusively, but if there are 12 feedings in a day, 11 come from me. Last week, there was a day that she was fussy all day long. I kept nursing her and nursing her and that didn't put her into that happy food coma. Instead, she kept being cranky. I took her on a long walk in the brisk air. She napped in the car seat and popped right back awake when we got home. Finally, exhausted, at about 9 p.m., I offered her some formula. Just two ounces to test if that's what was bugging her. She drank all of it as if she'd been starved for days. I made another two ounces and she took that, too. And then passed out.

This trend has been going for the past week so I think this is the beginning of the end of breastfeeding. It's sort of circular in that the less I feed her, the less milk I'll produce so it's a downward spiral since as she gets bigger, she'll eat more and I'll have less to offer.

On the one hand, I'm relieved. I'm totally okay with formula and more bottles means that my tender chest will no longer be main source of snackfood. It means I don't have to whip out my boob at McDonald's to feed a screaming baby. I'm no La Leche League person who believes in breastfeeding until the child goes off to college. I actually believe society now puts all this pressure on women about breastfeeding so that when new mothers can't do it, it puts undue stress on their delicate psyche.

That said, I'm surprised by how much it bothers me that it's not working out. When Andy was a couple weeks old, his pediatrician wasn't happy with his weight gain and recommended supplementing. I was secretly relieved. I wasn't digging the process, I didn't know what I was doing and the whole business intimidated me (how would I ever go out? I could never breastfeed in public!) I liked to have an excuse for not having to nurse. But now, I'm much more confident. She and I have mastered the latch and I'm not afraid to drape myself in a blanket and feed her if that's what I need to do. Sigh.

Meanwhile, here's a great post I read recently about the peaks and valleys of having a newborn with a toddler in the house that really resonated with me (and is way better written than I could do).

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Andy thinks he's a cat so I got him ears and a tail to complete the look.

Meg with Maria who is helping keep us sane. She's also a super swaddler. Look at that.

A picture with both kids, neither of which looks that great. They are both in the same picture though and looking at the camera.