Saturday, December 31, 2011

something new every day

Last night, as I was getting her ready for bed, Charlotte started waving her hands in front of her face while saying "eh-poor, eh-poor." It took me a moment to realize she was saying and signing EXPLORE. I asked her what explore meant and she walked around the room pretending to look for something. One of our newer Signing Time videos is about the great outdoors- animals and nature terms and words like tent, camping, and explore. We've watched it maybe 4 or 5 times, and her focus has consistently been on the animals. But suddenly, she tossed out "explore." And today, "tent." Every day this little girl amazes me.

I started listing some of her recently-acquired words, but there are too many. She is such a sponge right now, picking up everything anyone says or does. Incredible. We tell her every day that she's awesome, and she returns the compliment... "Mommy awesome. Daddy awesome, too."

She has at least two new teeth, canines that finally broke through on the right side. The top left one might be through too, but it's hard to see. The bottom left is visible through her gums, but not quite broken through. That's 14 teeth now.

We have a name for the baby. C proposed it on Christmas eve, and it grabbed me right away. Her nickname will be Maggie, short for Margaret Frances. Charlotte now pulls up my shirt and calls, "Maggie wake up! Maggie moving?" Charlotte understands that Maggie will come out on Maggie's birthday, but we don't know what day that will be. Today, I think I convinced her that once a baby comes out, she can't go back in. I don't know if Charlotte wants to go back in once Maggie vacates her spot, or if she wants to send Maggie back in. Either way, she kept saying, "Back in Mommy" until I convinced her that wasn't a possibility. If Charlotte is half as loving with Maggie as she is with her dolls, this baby will be drowning in hugs and kisses... and blankets.

My pubic bones ache like mad now, especially towards the end of the day. My ankles no longer return to normal after a night's sleep. The GD seems to affect my blood sugar only before 11 am. Once I make it to lunch, I never see high numbers, no matter what I eat or how little I walk. In fact, after pizza today I measured the lowest blood sugar number I've ever seen. And all I did in the hour between eating and testing was put Charlotte down for a nap and read a book.

Maggie has the hiccups now. Charlotte is sleeping (have I mentioned what a terrific sleeper she is?). It's January first already. Happy New Year all!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

at 21 months...

Just to document what our precocious little toddler is up to these days, I must mention...

She sings. Not just made-up songs like "Daddy song" that I mentioned before. Now she sings "Twinkle Twinkle," "Ring Around the Rosie," and my own version of "Rock-a-Bye" that I made up in the hospital when she and I were alone for the first time ("Rock-a-bye Charlotte in my arms. We love you and all of your charms. You're the best girl that we ever knew. We love you Charlotte. Yes, we do."). She has attempted the alphabet, and occasionally makes it through all the syllables with the tune, but not all are pronounced correctly. She also starts "Frosty the Snowman" and "Jingle Bells," but hasn't learned all the words yet.

She can count to thirteen, but when she's counting something she likes to go back and count certain items more than once so she can end on one of her preferred numbers... usually 5 or 10. She can correctly identify numerals 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 0. She gets 2 & 5 and 6 & 9 mixed up, possibly because they so closely resemble each other upside-down.

She can put her shoes and socks on all by herself. The shoes are often on the wrong feet, but she'd rather keep them that way than suffer the indignity of someone correcting her efforts.

She can put her legs into her pants, but doesn't yet know how to pull them up. Sometimes both of her legs end up in one pant leg.

Given a letter of the alphabet and a word or two that begin with that letter, she can name additional words that also begin with it. She can do that for several letters, not all or even half yet. But wow, what a start. Some of her favorites are "D-d-d-DADDY!" and "M-m-m-Mommy!"

She understands that she is more likely to get what she asks for, and to get it more quickly, if she asks nicely for it. "Watch Elmo NOW" has been replaced with, "Please, Mommy, watch Elmo TV?"

Some days, if I haven't gotten a shower before she wakes up in the morning, she takes a shower with me. She doesn't mind the water splashing all over at all, even in her face and eyes.

Given the choice between wearing a dress or jeans, she chooses the dress every time.

She fearlessly slides down any slide at any playground we've been to, all by herself, even when no one is there to catch her at the bottom. Then she shouts, "Do it again! (her absolute favorite phrase)" and runs back to the ladder or stairs to climb up and slide again.

She usually waits to poop until she has a fresh, clean diaper on. Then she announces that she has a poopy diaper and needs to be changed again.

Nap and bedtimes are a breeze. She loves to snuggle down with her babies (she sleeps with 3 dolls and several stuffed animals) at bedtime, and looks forward to afternoon "quiet time" when she can take a couple of books to bed with her to read while listening to a BST CD. She sleeps from 7:30 until 7 every night, and naps for 2-3 hours every afternoon, starting at around noon.

Charlotte has mastered most of the signs from the three Signing Time DVDs we've watched so far, in addition to all the Baby Signing Time signs. She usually speaks the word as she signs it, so signing has really become a tool to reinforce her spoken words. When I can't understand what she's saying, I ask if she knows the signs for her words. Misunderstandings don't last long.

She climbs and descends the stairs holding just one hand while her other leans on the wall or holds the railing. The rail is still a little high for her, but she doesn't like two-handed help any more.

She drinks water out of a big girl plastic cup without any sippy or straw attached. When she's had enough to drink, she takes a big swig and lets it dribble down her chin.

She loves to talk to and poke at the baby. She knows that the baby will drink milk from mommy when she's born, that the baby will come out on the baby's birthday, which we don't know yet, and that babies sleep a lot. She wants to teach the baby to roll a ball.

Charlotte loves trains and Elmo and Abby Cadabby and her baby dolls. She is an avid "reader." She reminds me often that we should go to the library for more new books.

so quickly

Just over 6 weeks left in this pregnancy. Unbelievable. The nursery STILL does not exist- is full of two desks and chairs, papers and files, and most un-nursery-like, the cat's litter box. That's our project for the week- clear it all out. And choose a paint color. And a carpet, unless we do a fantastic job of cleaning the existing one. But the thought of a new baby crawling all over the rug that once housed the litter box makes my skin crawl, so I suspect the room will see new carpet. So much left to do, and time is flying by faster each time I pause to consider it.

33-week visit to the midwife this past week- all is perfect. I also had a level-2 u/s, at which all the organs were functoning perfectly and #2 measured in at the 46th percentile. We also saw a lot of hair on her perfectly-formed little head. I don't know if Charlotte's hair showed up on u/s and no one ever pointed it out, or if this baby has a whole lot of hair, but now we know she's definitely got some. It'll be interesting to see just how much when she comes out. GD be damned, this baby is matching Charlotte's growth stride for stride. Speaking of which, my glucose levels have stabilized. In the spirit of the holiday, and since I was working retail on the Friday before Christmas, I had two cookies in addition to my carb-controlled lunch. My blood sugar was lower than it has been after any meal since I started measuring it. So, I gave myself the weekend off from monitoring.

For reasons that have not been made clear to me, the OB/MW practice will be much less cautious about me this pregnancy. With Charlotte, I went in for twice-a-week NSTs and weekly BPPs from 32 weeks until delivery. This time, I am scheduled for no more ultrasounds at all. None. Nada. Not a single one. If I press the issue, they'll give me one more growth-check at 36 weeks. But I really don't believe we need it. I will have a weekly NST, though, starting Tuesday at nearly 34 weeks. From my (Dr. Google) research, it appears that the biggest concern in an AMA (aka "Mommy's over the hill") pregnancy is a decrease in amniotic fluid. I've been assured that the NSTs and bi-weekly visits to the OB or MW will be sufficient to catch any problems before they become critical. And the OB/MW visits become weekly after 36 weeks, so someone will be checking us out twice a week for pretty much the rest of this. As far as the baby's size is concerned, provided my blood sugar continues to be controlled through diet and exercise (the miracle of the 15-minute post-meal walk lives on!), I have nothing to worry about.

Basically, it seems that I am not the only one more relaxed this pregnancy. The medical personnel involved seem pretty calm about it too. Now my only concern is that my water may not break to signal that it's time to head to the hospital. True "labor" didn't start until we were already there last time, and then it went very quickly. Second babies are supposedly even faster to arrive. We don't have a huge margin for error. It'll be interesting, to say the least.

I found out that the hospital DOES have rocking chairs available, and that they were available when I birthed Charlotte. It didn't occur to me to ask for one while I was there, but I will make a point of it this time. Even before the baby is born, I'll put in my request.

Physically, I am mostly feeling completely normal. The baby moves a lot, so I feel a lot of jabs, pokes, and rolls in addition to BH contractions that usually set in when I overexert or haven't had a drink in a few hours. I tire more easily, and deep breathing takes effort. By day's end, my pubic bones feel completely beat up and moving my legs sideways is excrutiating. But a decent night's sleep seems to cure that, as well as the very minor ankle swelling that I've encountered thus far. Sitting at the computer is bad news for both, though, so I'll end this here. Suffice it to say that I a feeling great 90% of the time, and would probably not notice the aches and swelling if I went to bed a little earlier.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I wish you all the best this holiday season and beyond.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

make mine a double

After a lot of research, I finally picked out our double stroller. By the time #2 us here, Charlotte will be not-quite-2 and not ready to abandon a free ride on trips to the zoo or the mall (for people-watching and indoor walking when the weather makes it dangerous to walk outside). I decided on the Joovy Caboose. I like that the back seat is padded and has a seat belt, but I'm a little concerned about the lack of space when the front is occupied by a carrier, but we'll have time to practice before the new baby gets here. The stroller should be here within a week and the baby is due 2/9. I know Charlotte will enjoy the stand-up option. She'll have a higher vantage point from which to see the world, and she'll be a big girl who doesn't need to sit down all the time.

We upgraded our car last week. I would have been the only one able to drive our Corolla if 2 car seats were in the back. C wouldn't fit (well, technically, he could squeeze in but only with a bit of uncomfortable pretzeling) when the driver's seat is forward to accommodate Charlotte's convertible. And the convertible takes up less room than the carrier did. Now, we have a sleek little wagon with liberating sliding doors and three rows of seats. Even with two car seats, we can take on two passengers in addition to our little family. I'm planning for a future with carpools and playdates, when I'll need to take more than just my two girls. We looked at a lot of small and mid-sized SUVs, but without a 3rd row (and a much higher price tag, plus horrible mileage), we'd never have room for more than the 4 of us. It's not flashy or sporty, but so far I am loving the new wheels.

When Charlotte was an infant, she never liked my Mobi wrap. Slings seem a little too precarious, and she never liked those either. So, in anticipation of toting #2 to Charlotte's music class and to the playground and generally carrying her around the house with me (Charlotte didn't like to sleep unless held for the first month or two), I bought an Ergo carrier. I tried it on today, 7-month belly and all. Obviously, I'm not about to carry anyone on my front, but it fit quite comfortably on my hip. Charlotte was super-curious, so I plopped her into it and she loved it, much to my surprise. She kept asking me to walk around the house giving her a ride in it. I hope #2 likes it as well.

Still no crib for #2, and the nursery has not been emptied out or redecorated. It struck me yesterday that we only have 2 months left. Nine weeks! And that's assuming the baby's not early. Yikes! We have plenty of clothes, and she'll sleep in the basinett for the first few months anyhow, so I'm not panicking yet. It would be nice to get it done, though. And, not that I'm complaining, C hasn't been laid off yet, and may wind up working on a job that might continue thorugh the whole winter. I'll keep picking at the room. Mostly, I hope to have the guest bed in there before the baby comes so that she and I can share a room for the first few weeks while we settle into some semblance of a routine. My Mom will also need a place to sleep when she stays here with Charlotte while I'm in the hospital.

We may cloth-diaper. I'm still debating, but today Zulily is offering some Fuzzibuns for an unheard of price (they have ugly phrases/pictures on the butt- I guess no one was buying them at retail). I might pick up a few to try out on Charlotte before making my real decision. Anyone care to weigh in on their experience with cloth diapering?

It's past 1 am, and I am not asleep. This has become my routine... I simply cannot fall asleep at a reasonable hour, but I'm consistently exhausted all day. I've tried not napping, but that doesn;t seem to affect my nighttime wakefulness. I need to find a solution, and soon. I can feel my mind turning to mush.

Monday, December 5, 2011

GD- not too bad, so far

I had my GD session last week and learned that my numbers from the 3-hr GTT were remarkably similar to those I had two years ago. The specifics are downstairs, and I am too lazy at the moment to make that walk, so I'll include them later in case anyone's curious. Or maybe just for my own reference since I read back on this blog to remind myself what happened when and what I thought of it. Glocometers and lancing devices have gotten smaller since my last pregnancy, but I'm happy to report that the 15-20 minute walk still works miracles. It's difficult, though, to get out and walk after each meal when I have to consider Charlotte's meals and naptimes and wants/needs.
Not to mention my own desire to put her in her bed each night- I love the sleepy hugs and kisses, and especially the blowing... [in her music class, there's always a lullaby, preceeded by the instruction to count to 3 and blow the lights out]. Now that she doesn't object to bedtime, she lies down and asks me to cover her with a blanket, then immediately tries to blow out the lights. I have to remind her to count to 3 first, giving me time to walk to the light switch by the door. Sometimes, she calls out "Sweet dreams" to me as I leave the room.

So, in spite of only sporadic walking, my blood sugar has been mostly OK. It will improve as I get used to counting carbs again, and already it's gotten me into a better mindset as far as my diet is concerned. I was a little too lenient on myself before, but now I have the extra incentive I needed to eat the way I should.

Baby #2 still doesn't have a name. When I think of one I like, C vetoes it. And I haven't been enamored with any of his selections. We both so loved Charlotte's name that it's making compromise difficult this time.

I have a 31-ish-week OB appointment tomorrow. As we near the home-stretch of this pregnancy I'll be scheduling the twice-a-week NSTs and weekly BPPs that swallowed up my schedule last time. I hate the cost of them, and will have to make arrangements for a babysitter (thank goodness for my parents), but I look forward to paying more attention to this little one, who I fear has been a little neglected compared with her big sister. I just don't have the time to obsess over every little thing with this pregnancy. Charlotte isn't a demanding little girl, but I enjoy devoting as much time and attention to her as I can. She's learning something new daily, hourly, almost by the minute, and I don't want to miss a thing.

Charlotte isn't demanding, but she tries to be. Whenever she wants something, she tells us by announcing "Need that NOW!" She learned the word "now" from me, I must admit. As in, "Charlotte, sit down on that chair now. Chairs are for sitting, not standing." Or, "Charlotte, get away from that {dangerous thing} now before you get hurt." She no longer sits in my lap for storytime, but walks around the room and returns to peek at her favorite pictures as I read to her. She does listen to the stories, though, and her favorite changes every week or so. She loves getting new books from the library, too, so we go at least every other week.

Music class is on hiatus until the new year, but Charlotte loves to sing and dance any old time. She makes up songs. The Daddy Song, for example, goes something like this, "Daddy so-ong. Oh, Daddy song. Daddy, Daddy song." She made up a similar Mommy song, Grandma song, Reilly (our cat) song, ... We have songs for brushing our teeth, pulling on socks, pouring milk. Everything is an event worth celebrating with a song. And when she doesn't feel like making one up, she loves to sing "Pop Goes the Weasel" or "Ring Around the Rosy." She sings most of the ABCs, and recognizes maybe 6 or 7 letters now- especially C for Charlotte, U for upside-downm M for Mommy, and D for Daddy. She is finally associating numbers with the counting of things, although she isn't always accurate. For instance, she counted her fingers last night and only had four on one hand because pointed a lot faster than she spoke, running out of fingers to point to before she reached the number 5. She loves numbers, and will spontaneously start counting even when there's nothing to count. She recognizes the numbers zero, four, five, and eight, but I wouldn't claim that she knows how many each represents.

Charlotte likes to feel and see the baby moving under my skin. She'll pull up my shirt to "look at the baby," and tries to poke her awake if the baby isn't already moving. My belly has gotten lots of hugs and kisses in addition to the pokes, but I really doubt Charlotte understands that a real person is in there who will soon be sharing Charlotte's home and parents. Charlotte goes with me to my OB appointments. She was very protective at first and cried when the nurse wrapped my arm in a cuff to check my blood pressure, but now she thinks of it as a hug for my arm.

It's way past bedtime, and I could babble on for hours more.Happy holiday season, everyone!