Friday, December 14, 2012

Nine months, at ten

Maggie had her 9 month visit to the ped today.   She is 28 inches tall now and weighs 17 pounds 1 ounce.  I didn't ask for percentiles.  This is coming from my phone so I won't say much, but here are some recent photos.  Maggie's bihgest new talent is cruising... on everuthing and confidently.  Can walking be far behind?  Maybe, since it took Charlotte several months to let go and walk independantly.  Maggie seems much more determined, though so walking could start any day now.  She already stands, holding nothing, for 5-10 seconds at a time.  And twice she has taken a step on her own from one cruisable object to another.




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Herding cats

The terrible twos have hit with a vengeance.  I thought we'd somehow sidestepped them by teaching Charlotte to sign.  She's such a great talker anyhow that she could say pretty much anything she's thinking or feeling by now.  I read in a few different places that the root of the terrible twos was frustration on the part of the child who isn't able to communicate, but that's not what's going on here.  Nope, we have full-fledged defiance.  A daily battle of wills.  A constant testing of limits.  And it's really really hard.

I'm slowly learning to pick my battles.  If Charlotte does something I'd rather she not do, I should redirect her away from whatever it is.  If I come right out and tell her NOT to do something, that's exactly what she then does, over and over, with giggles and grins the whole time.  Yesterday, it was swatting at her sister while we were all brushing our teeth (picture Charlotte standing on the counter, me behind her holding Maggie in one hand and my own toothbrush in the other.  It's that or I don't get to brush my teeth until after lunch.).  I explained that she was scaring Maggie and might hurt her; that we don't hit people; that she would not want anyone swatting at her.  It didn't matter what I said, Charlotte just kept swinging her arms at Maggie.  It was too late to just redirect her attention, and I didn't want her to think her actions were acceptable.  But what in the world can I do at that point?

Compounding the challenge is the fact that I have Maggie to contend with too, so I can't just drop everything and devote my full attention to Charlotte.  Besides, I don't want Charlotte to misbehave as a way to GET my full attention.  I try to devote at least 30 minutes each day just to Charlotte, one-on-one without computers or phones or a baby sister stealing any of my focus.  It's not that I ignore her the rest of the day, but my attention is perpetually split between the two kids, the house that always needs cleaning, bills that I need to pay, meals to prepare, etc.

Is this terrible twos, or sibling jealousy?  How do I discipline a 2 1/2 year old?  I think it's time I started attending the "Parenting Toddlers" support group.  If I learn anything earth-shattering, I'll share it with you.  Until then, I just need a sympathetic ear (or eye, in this case) to listen and nod in understanding.  Eventually, Charlotte won't be 2 any more.  And until then, I need to remember that her "terrible-ness" fills less than 2 hours out of the whole day.  She's still a complete joy the rest of the time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

7-month stats

Maggie had her "6"-month visit with the pediatrician today.  She's just under 27 inches tall and weighs 16 pounds 2 ounces.  She's in the 30-40th percentiles for weight and height.  Her head circumference is 17.5 inches, which is some higher percentile, but I forget what.  She's parallelling Charlotte's size now, I think.  This is the point in Charlotte's life when the doc suggested I supplement.  This time, even though Maggie has dropped a few percentiles, he declared that she looks healthy and is doing fine with whatever I'm feeding her.  Good, because I wasn't going to supplement anyhow.  So,  all continues to be well.  Both girls will get flu shots in a month- we'll see how that goes. And by falling a month behind on Maggie's appointments, we'll be able to take care of Maggie 12-month and Charlotte's 3-year visits all at once.

Pictures soon.  Honest!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another month

Seven now.  I still have those stickers that I'm supposed to put on Maggie's tummy so I can record each month in photos, but they're never in the same room as the camera.  Or as Maggie and me.  Maybe tomorrow.  Then we'll only be 3 days late.

Anyhow, she'll have her "6" month pedi visit later this week and I'll know then how much she's grown.  I can't even begin to guess.  She looks a lot leaner to me, in both body and face.  She doesn't have the huge cheeks that Charlotte did, although people do sometimes comment on her cheeks (which I don't understand, aside from the fact that her whole face is adorable, including her cheeks).  She's pretty much completely in 9-month clothes now, although a few 6-month onesies and a whole lot of smaller pants still fit.  She's long, or seems so to me.  And oh so happy ALL the time.  Just tonight, when she was 45 minutes late to have her dinner and we made her ride in the car for an impromptu run to a favorite burrito take-out joint, Maggie was cracking up as Charlotte tried to imitate the "words" she was saying.

Maggie fusses a little when we put her to bed now, but doesn't full-out cry, and falls asleep within a few minutes.  She loves walking in the Ergo, which I have to say is the most comfortable front carrier I've worn.  I haven't tried it on my back yet, nor with Charlotte.  But I love having Maggie on my front where she can smile up at me whenever she wants to.  Sitting is very old hat.  The new skill this month is controlled falling.  When she wants to get down from her seated position, she tips over, on purpose and always to her left, and catches herself before her face or head can touch the floor.  It looks a little reckless, but I can tell by the complete lack of surprise that it's intentional.  Once down on her belly, though, she gets a little frustrated because rocking and rolling don't always take her exactly where she wants to go.

Baby Signing Time is a big hit and has become the household pacifier when Maggie does occasionally get upset, or when I need to occupy her so I can get something done.  She also loves standing- sitting on someone's lap is fun only for a couple of minutes, but standing is fun for as long as someone's willing to help her with the balance.

Sleep in general is great.  She's easy to put to bed at night or for naps, wakes up cheerful almost all of the time, and sleeps through the night (7:30-5ish) about 5 times each week.  She consistently wakes up at 2:30, though, those other two nights.  I've kept track of all her naps and feedings since she was born, so I looked at my notes to see if, maybe, she'd only nursed 4 times during the days preceding an interrupted night's sleep.  I looked for nap patterns- maybe she'd slept too much during the day.  A later-than-normal bedtime?  I haven't found an explanation.  Maybe I'm just a big softie two nights each week and it's all me, not her.  When she does wake during the night, she generally nurses for 20 minutes and goes right back to sleep.  Then she wakes up at 7, same time as Charlotte.

Feeding... she is so easily distracted that it's nearly impossible to get a full feed into her during the day.  I sometimes leave Charlotte in front of the TV watching Blues Clues so I can feed Maggie in her own room, but I can't do that multiple times each day.  Even if Charlotte is quietly "reading" or doing puzzles, Maggie has to look at her every minute or two to make sure she's not missing anything.  We're well into solids now, with two "meals" worked into our day as often as I can fit them in.  I try to coordinate Maggie's solid meals with Charlotte's lunch and dinner so the three (or four) of us can sit at the table together to eat.  She  jams two fingers in her mouth as soon as I withdraw the spoon, and ends up smearing food all over. She likes everything except green vegetables (peas and green beans, specifically) so far.  Maggie looks so proud and grown-up sitting in the highchair, and she attacks Mum Mums and puffs with great enthusiasm.  She's getting pretty good at picking things up off the tray.

I've been pretty awful with my own sleep habits lately, sometimes going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning for no good reason.  I function pretty well but fall asleep every time I sit down.  I am making a serious effort to get back into a real routine, so no more post tonight.  I always promise photos, but rarely deliver.  I finally got a smart phone and have taken a lot of pictures with it, but haven't figured out how to put them on the computer yet (not that I expect it to be hard, I just haven't tried).  When I do that, I'll have lots to share.

G'night all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Please help

The family at reproducing genius can use some help right now.  Their priceless little boy, who will turn 3 very soon, was just diagnosed with an extremely rare leukemia.  In addition to chemo, he needs a bone marrow transplant, and for that, a donor.  If you can spare a few dollars, donations can be made via paypal from a link on their blog.  If you want to show your support with a t-shirt, they can be purchased from the talented folks at chronicles of conception.  All the profits will go directly to Caemon's family.

Also, you can register as a potential bone marrow donor on be the match.

And finally, you can pray, wish, send healing thoughts, or simply hope that this little boy will be cured.  Every little bit helps.  We all know how precious a life is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Six Months!

Wow.

Maggie continues to be an incredibly delightful baby.  She was under the weather over the weekend.  I diagnosed it as roseola and just kept her comfy, fed her whenever she wanted to eat (as briefly as she wanted), and let her nap the days away.  For the first time since she was itty bitty, she woke up crying twice so it was quite obvious that she wasn't feeling well.  Poor baby.  It came and went rather quickly, though, and she's already back to her smiley self.  I'm still waiting for her eating and sleeping habits to return to normal- she gets up around 2:30 am to nurse for 5-10 minutes, and she refuses to nurse for more than 5 minutes at any one time during the day.  I suspect the nighttime feeding is necessary since she's not eating much during the day, but I'm not sure how to "fix" the situation so we can go back to sleeping through the night.  I'm kind of hoping she's responding to the summer heat and will adjust once cooler weather sets in (please let that be soonish!).

The big accomplishment this month is SITTING.  She first sat, relatively unsupported, on Tuesday, 8/7.  We were on the floor at Charlotte's music class, with Maggie  wedged between my knees but holding herself up for 3-5 minutes at a stretch, repeatedly.  By the following Tuesday, she was able to sit with essentially no help at all for more than 10 minutes.  With a little experimentation, I found out that when she's tired, she collapses forward after a few minutes.  When she's playful and wants to get down and roll around on her own, she falls backwards or to the side/back.  She looks so proud of herself when she's sitting.  I have photos and will try to share them soon (I left the camera in her room and I am NOT risking waking her up to retrieve it).

Do I need to mention that rolling over is old hat by now?  She figured out that rolling is a form of locomotion, and covers every square inch of her crib before falling asleep.  She especially loves knocking over the monitor which we leave propped on a pillow outside one end of her crib.  She pokes at the glowing green light, and down it goes.

Maggie enjoys cereal on a daily basis now, and has tried carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, and winter squash.  She loves everything except the peas which made her shudder and gag, reminiscent of Charlotte's reaction to them.  She tries to grab everything to put it into her mouth- and I mean everything.  Two fingers on her right hand are almost always between her gums these days, even more so than just a few weeks ago.  I suspect we're in the very early stages of teething since she doesn't just suck on fingers.  She gnaws on them.  Aggressively.  I'm surprised she hasn't hurt herself.

Maggie still adores Charlotte and can't take her eyes off her big sister.  That, too, is likely contributing to her brief nursing sessions during the day.  I don't want to sit Charlotte in front of the TV every time I need to feed Maggie, so we're stuck all being in the same room at Maggie's mealtimes.  Charlotte is incapable of sitting still, or of being silent, so Maggie is perpetually distracted.  I don't fault either of the girls- that's just the way it is with a toddler and her adoring baby sister.

The pediatrician is on vacation so no 6-month appointment yet.  In fact, she'll be 7 months old when we finally see him again.  Fine with me- she is due for some shots and I'm in no hurry to get them.  I have no idea how much she weighs or how tall she is, but she has definitely grown.  We can no longer squeeze her into 6-month sleep-n-plays; she's just too long for them.  Separates in the 6-month size do still fit, so we're making it through the summer without having to supplement her wardrobe- hurray!  Size 3 diapers still fit, but where the tabs used to meet on her belly there's now a gap of about three-quarters of an inch.

Maggie has mastered the exersaucer- she stands fully upright in it (proudly, I must add), bounces, spins around, pokes at buttons that light up and make noise, and deftly maneuvers toys into her mouth. She loves dancing in the doorway jumper (when Charlotte lets her have a turn), and doesn't mind playing in the pack-n-play as long as someone is within sight of her.  When Charlotte is napping and Maggie and I get some one-on-one time, I let her sit in Charlotte's highchair and bang on the tray.  Apparently, that's a lot of fun.  She can't pick up a Cheerio yet, but that's good because she's not ready to eat them.  She does like gumming Num-Nums and teething biscuits into gooey oblivion and smearing the remains all over her face and hair.  She still enjoys her sippy cup very very much, filled only with water since I plan to wait until she's about a year old before introducing watered-down juice.

Maggie hasn't quite settled into a truly solid routine.  Some days, she naps 3 times.  Most days, twice.  She sleeps through the night (now that the roseola is gone... this post was completed on 8/21) most nights, going to bed around 7 and waking up at 5-ish for a quick meal and nap before really getting up for the day.  She only cries or fusses when she's very overtired, like after my parents babysit and my father refuses to put her in her crib because he wants to hold her all the time.  She lets out a little whimper whenever we walk into her room, but she doesn't object to going to bed so I'm not sure what the whimper is for.

When we're out and about, Maggie is content to sit in her car seat and watch everything happening around her.  She does get upset if everyone exits her line of sight, especially if Charlotte and I both disappear, but as long as she can see us she's happy to watch and entertain herself with whatever toys are in her lap.  She likes to play pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo, and thinks sneezes are hilarious.

All in all, things are fantastic.  We're busy and always falling behind on dishes and laundry, but Maggie is a happy baby, learning something new all the time, so I think we're doing OK.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Four years, two weeks

My blogiversary was 2 weeks ago.  I can't believe it's been over 4 years since I learned that our path to parenthood would be rocky.  Even more, I can't believe we are where we are now- parents to two incredible daughters who are better in every way than I could have imagined.  I've said it before, but it bears repeating- THANK YOU, dear IF community, for your camaraderie and support.  We would not have made it here without you.

notables

C, Charlotte, Maggie and I went out to dinner in a reasonably nice restaurant on Sunday evening.  We went a little early, 5:30, so Charlotte could eat at her usual time and so we'd be back only slightly later than her 7:30 bedtime.  I brought a jar of sweet potatoes for Maggie, along with her new sippy cup (which she LOVES), and nothing special for Charlotte, which was poor planning on my part.  The girls were absolute ANGELS!  I'm used to them being un-ornery, low-fuss kids, but even I was blown away by how wonderful they were for two straight hours in public where they had to "behave."

Charlotte sat sweetly in her high chair, with her napkin in her lap.  She reviewed the menu with me and picked her meal all by herself, then ordered it herself from the waiter (who was wonderfully patient in not rushing her, and in speaking to her like a real little person... Charlotte doesn't seem to know how to react when someone speaks to her in baby talk).  Maggie smiled after every spoonful of sweet potatoes while we were waiting for our food to arrive, and then played happily with her toes, a blanket, and the sippy cup while the rest of us ate dinner.  Twice, Charlotte told me she needed to go potty, so we did.  And her diaper stayed dry all evening as a result.  We're still not "pushing" potty training- we just encourage her to take a potty break every so often.  More and more, she's telling us when she needs to go.  Several other patrons even stopped by to comment on the girls.  We were apparently quite obviously all enjoying each others' company.

Then we went home and Charlotte had a meltdown because she was overtired and did not want to go to bed.  Many hugs and a few stories later, she was asleep before 9 and woke up as her usual happy and entertaining self on Monday morning. No harm done.

*****

Charlotte needed only 3 diapers all day today.  We just kept putting the dry ones back on after each potty break (all but one initiated by Charlotte today).  She apologized for waking up with a soiled diaper, and her first words to me this morning were, "I'd like to go potty now, please."  She finished what she'd started in her diaper and made history the rest of the day.

*****

Maggie sat up for more than 5 minutes straight today without falling over in any direction.  Completely unsupported, that is.  I couldn't focus on Charlotte's music class while Maggie performed this feat, so impressed was I.

****

Maggie drank about 4 ounces of water from her sippy cup entirely by herself today without dribbling half of it down her chin. Her shirt and face were dry when she finally dropped the cup.  I had simply handed it to her.  She got the spout into her mouth all by herself, tipped the cup, and drank.  Like a thirsty kid.  Like a pro.

****

Charlotte is now drinking from a "big girl cup" at home whenever her drinking can be done in the kitchen or dining room.  We bought a couple of "unbreakable" cups for this purpose, and she's used them periodically since she was about a year old.  But we're gradually dropping the straw cup habit at meal and snack times, saving the straws for in the car and on the couch.

****

We're only one week away from Maggie turning 6 months old.  Huh??

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Potty Training

We're still letting Charlotte mostly take the lead when it comes to potty training.  I bought her some "big girl" underwear (the really thick, absorbent kind that's completely NOT waterproof), and she likes wearing it around the house.  I'm not brave enough to let her wear it out yet.  She spent a whole afternoon, from 3-7, in it without an accident while we asked her every 40 minutes if she needed to use the potty.  And when she said she did not need to, we insisted it was time for a potty break anyhow.  Today, we were checking out at a department store when she informed me that she needed to go, so we had our first encounter with a public restroom.  We rushed to the bathroom, which was as far from the register as it could be.  I had her straddle the seat, facing backwards, so there was no danger of falling in.  I also held on to her so we'd both feel safer.  And she did it.  I was so proud of her that I gushed all the way out of the store afterwards.  So far, that's the only reward we've offered, and it's all she seems to need.  She beams when we exclaim how wonderfully she's doing, and it's the first thing her Daddy asks about when he gets home from work each night.

My only complaint about Charlotte and the potty is that she takes FOREVER to go.  Even when we're getting ready to go swimming or to go some place she likes, she takes up to 30 minutes to finally believe she's finished.  And she GOES the whole time... little bits here and there.  We have to start the bedtime routine half an hour earlier now to accommodate nightly potty time, and getting out of the house on time is more challenging than ever.

My plan is, when we have three consecutive days without anything on the calendar, to put Charlotte in her big girl undies and just take potty breaks on a schedule the first day.  I'll remind her about the potty on the same schedule the second day, and on the third day I'll see what she does all by herself.  She's already stayed dry through a few naps in the past week, and she hasn't done a complete poop in her diaper in two weeks (half in the diaper, other half in the potty after she realizes that she needs to go).  We need to work on   her undressing by herself, too, but I'll worry about that later.



at five months

If I wait for the time to write a lengthy post, I'll be writing this when both girls are in college.  Instead, here are some highlights from Maggie's 5th month-
* She rolls over confidently and purposefully now, mostly from back to front, and is comfortable staying on her belly for extended periods of time.
* Preferred sleeping positions are on her side or on her tummy.  She only stays on her back when she's too tired to move after being placed in her crib.
* She has a sippy cup and LOVES drinking water from it.
* She's beginning to settle into a rhythm of 2 daily naps and sleeping overnight most nights from 7:30 until 5:30.  She sleeps through the night 3 or 4 nights in a row, then needs a "midnight" snack once or twice before returning to STTN-mode.
*  She enjoys rice cereal immensely- takes her fingers (two of  which are almost constantly in her mouth) out of her mouth to allow the spoon in and gums the heck out of the spoon to make sure she doesn't miss a drop.  The fingers go right back in as soon as the spoon exits so she ends up with cereal-covered fingers... all the better for sucking on later?
* She wears 9-month sleep-n-plays, and size 6-months in everything else.  Size 3 diapers fit perfectly.
* She eats 5 times a day, plus her cereal snack.
* She almost never protests bedtime.  And I mean very nearly never.  I don't even remember the last time she cried when I put her to bed.  She usually smiles at me when I sign "sleep" after laying her in her crib.
* When she wakes up, Maggie usually plays quietly with her feet or a bed-toy until someone notices that she's moving around.  She plays so quietly that the monitor stays off (it only turns on when she makes noise).
* She's still fascinated with anything Charlotte does- just can't take her eyes off her when she's in the same room.  Maggie will not nurse if Charlotte is around.
* Meals by bottle are up to 6-7 ounces at a time now.  My parents babysit when I work once a week, so that's when she gets a bottle.  I don't bother trying to give her a bottle myself any more.
* As long as she can see what we're doing, Maggie doesn't need or want to be held all the time.  She loves hanging out in the doorway jumper or exersaucer.  She tolerates the pack-n-play as long as Charlotte and I are playing on the floor beside it, but as soon as we wander out of her sight, she wants out.
* I can't tell you the last time Maggie cried.  It may have been when she got her 4-month shots at the pediatrician's office (a couple of weeks late because the power was out at her 4-mo appointment).
* Maggie is so curious about what's going on around her that she will not nurse in public.  If we're out and about, I have to take her to the car to get her to focus on eating.
* The dark hair she was born with has turned to a very light brown, almost blonde.  It still sticks up on the top of her head, but gravity is starting to tame it as it gets longer.
* Maggie loves splashing in the bath.  And sucking on her toes or a wet washcloth, whichever I let her grab.
 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A big day

Charlotte is suddenly very interested in potty training.  For the last few days, we've asked her every couple of hours if she'd like to go potty, and almost every time she's said "yes," and then successfully used her potty chair.  Hurray!  That's 3 fewer poopy diapers I've had to change in the last two days, plus many wet ones avoided.  I'm so proud of her.  We still haven't come up with any kind of reward or incentive, aside from our endless praise.  So far, that seems like enough for her.  So, today is a big day because Charlotte has used the potty 4 times already and it's only 4 in the afternoon...plenty of time to use it another few times and set a new personal record of more than 5 in one day.

Maggie is having a BIG day too!  She rolled over.  On purpose.  BOTH ways.  She rolled over kind of accidentally a week or so ago, but didn't repeat it until today (unless she's been doing it while I sleep, and returning to her back so I'd not find out).  I set her down on the floor to help Charlotte with her big day, and returned to find Maggie playing happily on her belly.  And just moments ago, I watched her roll over from back to front, play with a toy for a couple of minutes, then roll to her back to get at another toy that was dangling above her.  She doesn't even get an arm stuck under her chest.  It looks like she's been doing this rolling thing for a while, but as I wrote, I had not seen it happen intentionally before.

This mom thing is soooo much fun!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

teething? sharing. "swimming." parade. smile!






the fourth. And the third.

Happy to report that both girls slept through all of the amateur fireworks displays that went on in our neighborhood, including some incredibly loud BOOMs that literally shook the house.

I love sleep (posted at 12:30am, when I should be sleeping.  Why am I not?  I have no idea...)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Memorable moments

Charlotte packed up her pink plastic Halloween pumpkin with a tiara, some blocks, and some bracelets today.  She put it on her arm like a purse, marched toward the door, and announced, "I'm ready for the pah-tee ("party," in Massachusetts-speak) now.  I'm going to the pah-tee.  I'm getting married at the pah-tee!"   [I have lived in New England on and off for 34 years, but I learned to speak in Georgia.  I have neither a southern nor a Massachusetts accent.  I have not lost my R's.  In spite of spending most of her time with me, Charlotte seems to have picked up her father's accent.  Wierd, huh?]  [And MARRIED????!? Where did she get that idea?]

Charlotte likes to sit on the couch, turn on my pump, and put the adapter cap against her chest.  She sees me pump and wants to make bottles of milk for her babies, too.  She has also offered her bare chest to her dolls and to Maggie.

Our latest assortment of books from the library includes "Angelina Ballerina."  Charlotte loves it.  She asked me what a plie, an arabesque, and a curtsy are.  I showed her and now she insists on practicing her ballet before bed each night.  I took ballet lessons until I was 8 or 9 years old, so I think I showed her the correct moves.

Charlotte can say (and use) some pretty complicated words quite well, like arabesque and stethoscope.  She also seems to have learned the correct use of the words "I" and "me."   As a grammar-snob, this makes me very very proud and happy.

There are at least 10 "friends," one pillow, and four blankets in Charlotte's bed.  When she wakes up from a nap or in the morning, she likes to toss them all on the floor to make room for jumping and hopping in her crib.  Before she'll lie down to go to sleep, each item must be properly placed in its own special spot.  It's a great stall-tactic at bedtime.

At the end of her bath tonight, Charlotte announced that she was finished and that she needed to sit on her new potty (I thought she'd be more likely to use it if she picked it out).  She pooped (hurray!), then looked at it and said, "I made a pine cone."

Charlotte doesn't want to wear anything identical to what Maggie's wearing, but she frequently insists that they both wear the same color.

Maggie reached out and held Charlotte's hand today when the three of us were watching the Backyardigans on TV.  Charlotte wasn't in the mood for hand-holding, but tolerated it for a minute or two.  (I'm really enjoying the music and dancing on that show and can't get the theme song out of my head.)

I showed Charlotte "European kisses" last week (three kisses on alternating cheeks).  Now, she asks for "my'pean" kisses.  Get it?  "Your-pean."  "My-pean."  I love it when she makes logical leaps like that.

Maggie is completely entranced with Charlotte and contorts herself if need be to get a view of her.  Charlotte still asks to hold Maggie almost every day, and now she really wants to HOLD her, not have Maggie propped up beside her.

Maggie is sleeping through the night (from before 8 until after 4) about 80% of the time now.

I had steroid injections in both thumbs last week to address my trigger finger problems.  The injections were extremely uncomfortable, and my thumbs were in a LOT of pain for about 24 hours afterwards, but by day three I was able to straighten both thumbs painlessly.  One still clicks a little, but the doctor said it could take 3-4 weeks for the injections to fully take effect.

Charlotte loves Thomas the Tank Engine, so we went to a local touristy train-to-nowhere to see him this week.  The excitement on the faces of all the 2-5 year-olds as Thomas pulled into the station was priceless.

Laid-back Maggie, enjoying her playmat solo because Charlotte was napping.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

quickie

Four months- holy cannoli!  I remember clearly that Charlotte started rolling over three days before her 4-month mark.  We were at a baby sign language workshop when she did it for the first time, back to front, and got her arm out from under her.  Maggie's not even close.  She falls to her side when grabbing her feet, but no further.  Her toes have definitely entered her mouth by now, though.  I don't recall exactly when Charlotte pulled that off, but I know she worked on it for an awfully long time.  Maggie gets both big toes between her gums with ease.

The "talking" continues, still primarily when Maggie is lying on her back.  She's settling into a 1-short and 2-long naps per day routine, with the short one usually right after her first feeding of the day.  She's eating more at a sitting (6 oz by bottle) and going longer between meals now, sometimes spacing her meals out by 5 or more hours.  I'm not comfortable with anything more than 4 hours apart during the day, but she flat-out refuses to nurse when she's not truly hungry.

I'm beginning to "ignore" her at night when she wakes, and she's consistently calming herself back to sleep without crying.  This just started in earnest three nights ago, but I have not had to go to her.  I still wake up, but soon I hope to sleep through her lighter stirrings then eventually sleep through the night myself.  Most times, she's put into her crib awake-but-sleepy.  She sometimes protests for a few minutes (again, not crying... just complaining), but is generally asleep within 10 minutes.  We're blessed, again, with an easy sleeper.

4-month ped appointment- We lucked out.  The power was out, so no shots.  The doctor didn't want to open the refrigerator. We'll go back to catch up on the shots as soon as this heat wave breaks.  We're miserable enough when it's 90-degrees inside the house without adding shot-recovery to the day.  Maggie weighs 15 pounds 1.5 ounces and is a smidge under 25-inches tall.  Those plus her head circumference are all 70-75th percentile.  She smiled and babbled during the entire appointment, leading the doc to comment on how different Charlotte's and Maggie's dispositions are.  I had to correct him- they're both sweet, mellow girls.  Charlotte just doesn't like strange men measuring her head or sticking lights in her ears.

Here are a couple of pictures.  Charlotte loves to climb and jump and run, so here she is summiting her playground.  It's hard to believe just a year ago, when we put it together, she didn't know what to do with it and needed help getting up the easy ladder stairs.  And here's Maggie, with her bee-bear, posing for her 4-month photo.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

this and that

If I didn't have a calendar, I still would have known when 3 months had passed since Maggie's birth.  Like clockwork, my scalp began releasing some of the hair that accumulated while I was pregnant.  This is normal- women pretty much stop "shedding" while pregnant, and then resume about 3 months post-partum. But the hair loss is not at your normal, pre-pregnancy pace.  Nope- there's a lot of catching up to do, so the hair falls out at an alarming rate.  This is the point when I got my hair cut very short after Charlotte was born.  This time, it's a bit longer; long enough to catch in a ponytail.  I have no intention of cutting it short again since I hated the length about two months after it was cut, and I've been growing it out ever since.  So, there's hair everywhere and it drives me nuts.  But I knew it was coming.

I have "trigger thumb" in both hands.  How the heck did this happen?  I did some research and learned of another thumb condition that typically afflicts new moms, but I don't have that one.  No, I have "trigger thumb." In both hands.  It supposedly results from repetitive motions... like changing diapers?  I can't think of anything I've been doing repetitively, or with my thumbs, so how this came about is a complete mystery to me.  I'm seeing a hand specialist next week to learn what I can, and to find out if a steroid injection will cure me.  I've been living with it for about 2 months, so it's not too terribly bad.  Mostly just annoying, but pretty painful when I first wake in the morning.  I suspect the wrist supports I wore to manage carpal tunnel in the last couple of months of pregnancy contributed; my thumbs always felt a little misaligned when I woke in the morning.

Maggie loves facing forward in the Bjorn.

Maggie sleeps through the night about half of the time.  Other nights, she gets up between 3:30 and 4:30 for a dream-feed, then sleeps again until 7 or 8.

I found a bathing suit top I'm willing to wear in front of people and I've been Charlotte's pool buddy for two classes now.  I don't know if I can nurse in it.  I still wear the bottoms from my maternity suit though.  The new suit came with briefs and I prefer swim shorts.  I don't recommend shopping for a swim suit 3 months after having a baby.  It's humbling.  I don't like the size that I bought, but the others were too small.

I'm going back to the p/t retail job I had until Christmas.  Having a job, any job, may help me qualify to refi my mortgage.  If it doesn't, at least I get my discount again.  I wonder if any of our vendors carry double strollers.  The Caboose is great, but sometimes I want the option of strapping Charlotte in.  And I think she'd like to have a better seat to ride on for our longer walks.

C has been back to work for a month now, with the company he worked for last year.  I don't trust them, but someone mentioned to C today that they might be working through January.  Since we operate under the assumption that he'll be laid off by Thanksgiving every year, those extra weeks of work would be like winning the lottery.  Maybe we'll finally plan a honeymoon.

Our fifth anniversary is just over a week away.

My brother, who is 3 years younger than me, will celebrate his 20th anniversary in 3 weeks.

And here's what you really wanted- some photos of the girls.  Maggie is wearing 6mo and 6-9mo clothes and size 3 diapers now.  We'll find out next week, at her 4mo pedi visit, just where she falls on the growth curve.








Thursday, May 17, 2012

Three months

Another month's gone by in a blink, and our teenie-tiny newborn has been replaced with an infant.  A solid, opinionated, smiley, talkative gem of an infant.  Maggie is certainly growing, but I can't tell you how big she is because we don't have a working scale in the house.  I'd guess around 15 pounds, and maybe 25 inches tall.  She fills up 6-month sized clothing now.  That's as far as the bulk of the gift-clothing went, 6 months, so if she continues to lengthen and expand at this rate, I'll be shopping for 9-month summer clothes before Fall sets in.  Charlotte wore 6-month clothes until she was 8 or 9 months old, well after we turned on the heat for the season.

This month, Maggie found her voice.  She loves to talk, especially while lying on the changing table.  She gets a sly look on her face- slightly serious, but with a hint of a smile- and then blurts out a string of syllables punctuated with waving arms and kicking feet.  She loves conversations and stops babbling to listen for a response before launching into her next soliloquy.

Maggie loves bathtime, especially when I prop her up so she can see herself in the mirror.  She has serious cradle cap, which I've been advised to treat with olive oil and a gentle baby hair brush.  I let Charlotte's go untreated and she still has a bit remaining that I'm now "treating" with my hydrating conditioner (seems to help).  Maggie's is so bad that I can't imagine doing nothing about it for two years while we wait for it to simply go away on its own.  If you've had any success treating cradle cap, let me know your secret, please.  The Mustela stuff doesn't seem to have done a thing.  I haven't done the olive oil yet... so greasy, I don't want to stain her sheets.

Maggie seems to be back to sleeping through the night again... for the last 4 nights.  In fact, she slept for a full 11 hours (that's not a typo- ELEVEN) each of the last 2 nights.  Way to go, Maggie!

We've successfully given two complete feeds by bottle.  Each was about 4 ounces, after which maybe a quarter-ounce remained in the bottle.  I'll try a little more milk in the next one to see if she takes 4 ounces, or leaves the same amount behind.  The standard, narrow nipples seem to work better for her, but she sometimes gets her mouth around the entire nipple base so I'm trying to steer her toward something wider.  I may try something other than the breastflow ones since those seem a bit too stiff for Maggie's liking.

Riding in a baby carrier is now a form of torture.  When we go for a walk, Maggie prefers to ride in a stroller, either in her car seat on our sit-n-stand or in the reclined (but not flat) seat of the Cortina.  She has decent head control, so I may try facing her forward in the Bjorn soon.  Perhaps she just wants to see something other than the front of my shirt.

Maggie has a blankie/lovie that she already seems somewhat attached to.  Charlotte never developed such an attachment so I don't know if this is real or too early to stick.  If it continues for another week or so, I'll pick up a duplicate or two and start rotating them.  She likes to snuggle it to her cheek and chew on the corners, so it gets pretty slobbery.  She can't hold or hug the blankie at night because of the swaddle, so I've managed to wash it at night without any problem.

I swaddle Maggie at night.  She wriggles her arms out of the velcro'd wraps, but the Miracle Blanket works very well.  Some evenings, when I catch her at exactly the right time, she gives me the biggest grin while I'm wrapping her up, so I believe she likes being swaddled.  To distinguish between night and day, I just put mittens on her  for naps, so she can't scratch herself, and let her stretch her arms and legs.

So far, Maggie has shown no interest in trying to roll over.  I'm not very good at imposing tummy time on her, although I do try to get some in at least every-other day.  She doesn't immediately complain, but only lasts about 5 minutes before letting me know she's not a fan.  When lying on her back on the play mat, she does bat at dangling toys.  She grabs toys on her bouncy seat and swing too.

I'll add more to this when I think of other developments this month.  I'll add pictures too.

Monday, April 30, 2012

nearly 11 weeks; 25 months and 6 days

Well, Maggie is back to sleeping through the night again... for the last three nights.  It was three in a row last time, then not again for a couple of weeks.  It'd be nice if it sticks this time, but I can live with early, early AM feedings if need be.  Maggie generally goes back to sleep after about 45 minutes of awake time first-thing in the morning, and it gets me out of bed before Charlotte wakes up, so I can take a shower before juggling two kids. One of the bonuses with baby #2 is that my hair no longer turns into an oil slick overnight, so I don't necessarily need a shower every day (but I do like to take one daily).  Maggie has a cold now, so I don't think the STTN will continue uninterrupted for the next few days.

Maggie still has not taken a complete feed by bottle.  I tried again this afternoon and she drank about 2 ounces, then lay in my arms staring up at me wide-eyed and turning her head into my chest while smacking her lips.  She wouldn't take more from the bottle, but nursed for about 4 minutes before falling asleep.  Two-ounces is progress, though.  Eventually, I'll be able to leave her with someone for more than an hour at a time.  I tried a standard stage-1 nipple at first, on the bottles I pump into.  Maggie just let the milk that dripped out of it run down her chin, making no effort to suck or drink a drop.  Now I'm trying the "breastflow" from First Years- it's a two-part nipple set-up that's supposed to require both sucking and squeezing to draw milk out.  I might try to basic nipples again just to see if our "progress" is due to Maggie's age or the nipple we're using.  I don't want to wean her; I just want someone else to be able to feed her once in a while.

Charlotte has developed a very entertaining imagination.  When she wakes in the morning, she doesn't immediately call out for rescue from the confines of her crib ("Mommy/Daddy come!").  Instead, she plays with her babies and stuffed animals that spend each night with her.  She tells them stories, sings songs, teaches them signs, and sometimes dances with them.  She also says something every day that completely cracks me up.  For example, she wanted to take off her shoes and socks, so I told her she could have bare feet in the house.  She replied, "I don't have bear feet!  I have Charlotte feet."  She reminds us daily that there are no "octopusses" in our house, and no ghosts or frogs either.  She insists I take pictures of her when she's playing nicely with Maggie (i.e. they lie together on the playmat, or in Maggie's crib... which Charlotte desperately wants to sleep in).  She likes to hold her baby sister about once each day and has started insisting that I not only let go of Maggie, but put some distance between myself and the two of them.  I don't know what she's plotting.

The terrible twos have arrived, but not in the way I expected.  Charlotte doesn't throw tantrums, especially not in public.  Instead, she whines and fusses when she doesn't get her way.  The difference between real crying and the fake drama is so blatantly obvious that she peppers in commentary to try to convince me that it's legit- "I can't stop crying."  "I need ____."  "I don't like anything!"  But somehow, when I remind her that I cannot understand what she's saying while fussing, she can instantly shift into normal calm speech.  I simply ignore her when she's whining.  She seems to get it, and the spells pass fairly quickly.  If I do try to talk to her or reason with her when she's in the middle of a fit, it only gets worse.  And once a fit ends, she lets me know by telling me, "I'm happy now, Mommy."  The only time it really bothers me is when she wakes Maggie up, leaving me with two screaming girls to contend with.  Fortunately, that's rare.

Most days, I am a very lucky Mommy and the two go down for simultaneous naps after lunch.  I usually end up leaving Charlotte in front of the TV while I put Maggie down.  Then, Charlotte insists "I'm not tired AT ALL," while I guide her toward her room for "quiet time."  I consistently let her know that "quiet time" is for me, not just for her, and that she doesn't have to go to sleep if she's not sleepy.  She is allowed to bring 2 board books to bed with her in the afternoon, and on some days she reads to herself and her bed-friends for two hours instead of sleeping.  Usually, she's asleep within ten minutes.  Charlotte's nap usually lasts around 2 hours, Maggie's 90 minutes, or more.  I generally end up with nearly an hour of me time during which I eat lunch (sometimes breakfast, as I don't always have a chance to eat in the morning), wash dishes, and otherwise tidy up.  Sometimes, I nap too.

Maggie isn't on a real schedule yet.  I think Charlotte was by now, as this is about the time I returned to work (part time) after her arrival.  A schedule is beginning to reveal itself, though... sort of.  She wakes between 5 and 6:30, usually, eats and goes back to sleep about an hour later for 90 minutes or so.  We run our errands or go to a local playground or class in the morning, so as soon as Maggie is fed again we usually hop in the car and go somewhere.  It's generally 2 or 3 hours between feedings, and she nurses for 10-20 minutes.  Maggie naps for a bit between each of her feedings with one exception- staying awake between meal numbers 2 and 3, with a little dozing in the car when we're out and about.  The witching hour is a thing of the past now, but she gets a little gassy in the late afternoon, so gripe water has become her late afternoon snack  Hmmm... that sounds kind of like a schedule to me.  I guess we do have one.

Sleepy me... past bedtime.  G'night, but here are a couple of photos because they're dang cute.  Ignore the dates on the last two- I forgot to reset the time stamp on my camera after recharging the battery.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

looking back... gaps!

I was just reading through old posts, looking for details on Charlotte's growth so I could figure out when Charlotte was the size that Maggie is now. I couldn't find that information anywhere, and at first thought I'd been negligent and had not recorded it. Then I noticed that some posts that I *KNOW* were here (ER/ET details from last May) have disappeared. Has anyone else had similar issues with blogger? Do you know if the missing posts are retrievable, or why they disappeared to begin with?

I need to record important details somewhere else... I feel like a lousy historian for trusting a web site. Charlotte didn't have a baby book, but now I'll get one for each of the girls.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two months

Must I state the obvious? OK- one more time, all together- "I can't believe how quickly time is flying by!"

Maggie is two months (and one day) old already. She had her 2-month ped appointment this week and received three shots, pooor babe. She wailed, but I nursed her as soon as the last was over and she was calm and smiley again in under ten minutes. Like Charlotte, the shots made her pretty sleepy- she slept through the night that evening and spent most of the following day napping. Unlike Charlotte, Maggie is at the top end of the height and weight curves, measuring 23 1/2 inches tall (maybe a little more since her legs weren't fully extended and her head was cocked a little to one side) and 13 pounds 3.5 ounces. Ninetyith (sp?) percentile for both. Her head circumference is 15.5 inches, or 60th percentile. She's solidly into 6-month clothing now, especially length-wise, and has pretty much outgrown the bassinett. C assembled her crib today, a hand-me-down from our niece's daughter. We splurged on Charlotte's furniture, but Maggie ended up with a hand-me-down crib and a clearance changing table/dresser... poor Maggie. Charlotte will be in the same bed, in one configuration or another, until she leaves for college. Maggie's room is smaller than Charlotte's, so the plan is to buy or build a loft-style bed for Maggie when she's ready for it.

Maggie is a very happy baby, almost all of the time. She smiles easily, both on her own and in response to all sorts of interactions. She loves to watch people. She will lie contentedly on the playmat on the kitchen floor while I make dinner, or sit in her swing while I play with Charlotte, as long as she can see what we're doing. She loves to be sung to and seems to enjoy Charlotte's music classes (siblings under 8 months attend for free, then it'll be half-price). Stepping outside instantly calms her when she's fussy, and she loves to ride in her car seat. The one exception is between 5 and 7 each evening when she has her "witching hour." Sometimes, she sleeps through it. Occasionally, she's awake and the hours pass quietly. Most evenings, though, she spends at least 45 minutes crying miserably in spite of a clean diaper and a full belly. We've learned not to even consider putting her to bed during this time since it only leads to more vigorous crying, even if she's so tired that she falls asleep as soon as someone holds her. When I can, I put her in a carrier and we take a walk outside. Sometimes, though, I'm home alone with the two girls and have to feed Charlotte and get her ready for bed while Maggie's venting. Those nights are a little rough, but we manage. Luckily, C is usually home.

Aside from her first day in the hospital, Maggie has yet to take a complete meal from a bottle, so I usually have to take her with me wherever I go. Unfortunately, Charlotte's been on an "I don't like Daddy" kick lately, so she often goes with me too so we can avoid a tantrum. I feel like I never get any alone time, almost. Both girls are generally asleep by 8 each night, Charlotte for the whole night and Maggie until 1 or 2am, so I do have some evening-time without a baby demanding my attention. That's when I clean or pay bills or check my email. Going back to work wouldn't be such a bad thing had I the opportunity, but I do value the time I get to spend with my little ones. I can see why a lot of women work for little more than the cost of daycare, but that's not for me at this point. Maybe when Maggie starts preschool...

All in all, I'm getting better at juggling two children. C's seasonal layoff ends this week and I'm not dreading it. My parents help out a lot, which makes life much easier and keeps us from spending all our time at home.

Pictures to come soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

and then I woke up

OK, so 7 1/2 weeks might be a little early to start sleeping through the night reliably. Last night, we were up every 4 hours. Maybe she was making up for missed meals from the nights she slept through? Regardless, getting up once during the night, as every four hours turns out to be, isn't all that bad. I just felt I needed to be honest about the STTN stuff. Wouldn't want to mislead anyone!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I must be dreaming

Maggie has slept through the night each of the last three nights. By "through the night," I mean that I put her to bed in the late evening, between 8 and 9 pm, and she SLEPT until nearly 6 am. ALL night. A few little stirrings from her during the night, but no full-fledged waking. I believe I've witnessed a miracle, folks!




For the record, this new development began at 7 weeks and 3 days of age. I suspect she weighs a bit over 12 pounds now, so maybe there's some truth to the rumors I heard that 12 pounds is some kind of milestone weight as far as sleeping is concerned. Yay! Her 2-month ped visit is later this week, so I'll soon know what size she really is.



Here are my girls, playing nicely together. Any toy of Maggie's is Charlotte's too-






Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two years!

This one is all about Charlotte. Maggie updates will have to wait, and I'm short on time so this will be brief (it ended up taking two evenings to write this, so it's not at all brief)...

Charlotte is TWO! We had a "small" celebration, just cake and ice cream, with our immediate and nearby family which turned out to be more than 40 people. Luckily, the weather was nice so most everyone stayed outside the whole time. Charlotte had a blast running laps around the house with all her cousins. She thinks she's one of the big kids and wants to do everything they do. Plus, she loved being the center of so much attention. Here we are two weeks after the party and she still likes to sit at the dining room table and write "thank you letters" to her aunts and uncles. (I'm not kidding- she'll see a pen and ask for a piece of paper, then sit nicely at the table, writing. I ask what she's writing, and she tells me it's a card or letter for Uncle-so-and-so "Thank you presents for Charlotte.") I baked the cakes again, but none were from scratch and the frosting wasn't as elaborate as last year's- just a quickie rainbow on one of the two big cakes as we went with a more-or-less rainbow theme. This year's tutu is a rainbow of tulle, but Charlotte prefers wearing her ladybug tutu from last year. She asks for help to put it on whenever the urge to dance comes over her... which is at least 2 or 3 times a day.


Charlotte has graduated into size 5 diapers, size 5 shoes, and 24mo & 2T clothes. She's starting to have some serious clothing preferences, with a love for dresses and a distaste for woven pants. She flat-out refuses to wear jeans (is this *my* daughter????), but I think she finds the stiffer waistband uncomfortable in contrast to all her knit pants and leggings. She frequently announces "Charlotte don't like clothes," then strips down to her diaper while we're home. Then, and hour or two later, provided we haven't made a big deal of her lack of attire, she asks for help in getting dressed again. She puts on her pants, shoes, and socks by herself. She can put on a shirt but has to really focus on it to figure out which end should go over her head first- and she's usually in too much of a hurry to waste her time on pulling a shirt on when Mommy's around to help. She can reliably count to 13 and knows she has 5 fingers on each hand. She can name all the usual colors (red, blue, green, orange, purple, yellow, white, black) and loves to finger paint and color with crayons. She walks down stairs by herself, and no longer uses her knees on the way up (something she's very proud of, stating "Charlotte go'd up stairs on her feet" each time she does it).


Something she does that amazes me, which she's been doing for a couple of months now, is conjugate verbs in a way that makes sense but isn't always grammatically correct. I first noticed it with her daily morning announcement, "Charlotte wake upped in the morning!" Then there's "go'd" instead of "went." There are a few others, but I can't remember them right now.


Charlotte's speech is remarkably clear, and she has no trouble stringing lots of words together into multiple sentences in succession. I love the insight she gives me into what she's thinking and what she notices as we go about our days. She especially likes pointing out similarities and differences between people and things lately- "Mommy has two eyes, just like Charlotte!" "Daddy is a boy. Charlotte is a girl." "Grapes like rubber balls, but juicy." She's constantly asking, "Mommy, what is this?" or "Mommy, what are you doing?" When asked an open-ended question, such as "What would you like for breakfast?" Charlotte often places her hand under her chin and says, "I am thinking of an idea."


Elmo was replaced in her heart by Abby Cadabby, briefly, but now Olivia is her favorite fictional character. We do (I confess) use the TV as a bit of a babysitter and let her watch Olivia, Sesame Street, Chuggington, Handy Manny, Bob the Builder, or Thomas while I feed her baby sister. I enjoy watching them too, until she asks for the same episode of the 12th time in a row. We like to read Olivia books too and hunt for more every time we visit the library.

Two-year pediatrician appointment went well- no shots, and Charlotte got to stand on the big-kid scale, fully clothed, instead of stripping to lie on the baby scale. She weighs 25 pounds and is somewhere around 33 or 34 inches tall. She was very upset, maybe a little frightened, by her doctor and cried and wriggled when he was measuring her height. She's taller than she was 6 months ago, so neither the doc nor I was all that worried about getting a truly accurate measurement. In his words, she's "bulked up" in the last 6 months, jumping from the 5th percentile to the 25th in the weight-for-height category. I don't know her height-for-age percentile, and haven't bothered to look it up, but I know she's on the petite side of the growth charts.

I gave Charlotte a hair cut a week before her sister was born. She was constantly pushing hair out of her eyes, but it's too fine to stay in barrettes or pigtails. The day after I butchered her hair, we went to my stylist and she and I both got trims. She loved it, especially the lollipop I brought to entertain her, and has been asking for another haircut for a week now. It's time. The front is in her eyes again. Surprisingly, my stylist charges less than half what the local "kid-centered" salon did... and the kiddie one went out of business shortly after I took Charlotte there for her first trim back in December.

Charlotte has become an excellent jumper, achieving both height and distance when she leaps around. She's come close to skipping. Is there aything cuter than a toddler skipping? I'm looking forward to warm-weather rain showers so we can jump in puddles together. Strangely, she no longer likes jumping into the pool at her swim classes. A couple of months ago, that's ALL she wanted to do and we'd actually ignore what the instructor was saying to spend nearly the entire 30 minutes climbing out and jumping back in again. She swims with my mother now (I am NOT ready to wear a bathing suit), but I go and watch every week. She flat-out refuses to jump into the pool after practicing climbing out, instead sitting on the edge and sliding back into the water on her bum.

My town offers a tot soccer program for 2-year-olds. I am ridiculously excited, and signed her up as soon as the rec department flyer arrived in my mailbox. We start on 4/26. Did I ever mention that I am kind of nuts about all things soccer? The thought of one day coaching my own daughter makes me all weepy with sentiment and joy.

Let's see, what else... Charlotte's interest in the Signing Time videos has waned, so we now watch maybe one per week. She still loves signing, and "teaches" me signs all the time. Today, she reminded me how to sign candy, why, broom, and washcloth. We bought a slew of videos for her for Christmas. At this rate, it'll take years to watch them all since we don't move on to another new one until we've mastered the ones we've already opened.

Charlotte still faces backwards in her car seat. I'm thinking of turning her around. Just think of all the "left" and "right" practice we could have if she faced the same direction as I do. She always asks me, "Mommy, what is going on?" when we stop at red lights and stop signs, so I've explained those particular traffic rules. She'll be quite the back-seat driver when she finally gets to see where we're going.

Food- Charlotte still loves broccoli above almost all else. And hot dogs. She adores fruit, although apples and bananas have suddenly fallen out of favor. She recently started enjoying corn and peas. She'll taste anything we put in front of her, but usually takes several attempts before actually eating a new food. Today, she tried plums for the first time and that's all she wanted to eat for the rest of the day. We've switched to 2% milk from whole, with the intentionof moving on to 1% after a week or two. We're not a skim household, so that's as lean as we'll go.

As far as being a big sister is concerned, Charlotte wants to hold and hug and kiss Maggie every morning... for about 15 seconds before she tells me "That's enough now." She likes to kiss Maggie's head while I'm nursing. She picked up one of her toys one day, held it to her chest and announced, "I'm pumping." She once pulled up her shirt and offered her chest to one of her dolls, asking if the "baby" was hungry. Generally, she's been wonderfully patient with sharing my attention with Maggie. I try to give her a lot of one-on-one time whenever Maggie is sleeping during the day, and we've started some new projects like finger painting and baking cookies. I try to get us out of the house as often as pre-baby. It's a lot of work, and sometimes we reach our destination only to end up sitting in the car for a while so I can feed Maggie, but I don't think Charlotte feels like her life has changed all that much.

"Terrible twos"- Charlotte has an opinion about everything. Every day, at least once, she tells me, "Charlotte don't like anything." She gets very worked up whenever I say "no," but calms right down when I tell her I can't understand what she's saying while she's fussing. She wants to be understood, so the fussing stops and she says what she has to say, then starts fake-fussing which lacks the intensity of the real thing. She frequently does not do what she is told or asked to do, and I'm struggling with how to handle that. I tell her I am disappointed and that she's not being helpful, but I don't know if that has any impact. Most of the time, she's pretty cooperative, so the occasional difficulties are easier to handle than if they were constant.

I could go on forever. If I left anything out that you're curious about, just ask. Two is a great age, and I am still having a blast being Charlotte's mom.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One month! (begun 3/15,completed 3/24)

I'm afraid Maggie is suffering from second-child syndrome and there haven't been nearly as many photos snapped of her as there were of Charlotte's first month. Fewer visitors. Fewer "welcome baby" gifts. And the universe didn't stop when she arrived- we still go to music class and waterbabies on Charlotte's same old schedule. I can't always drop everything the moment she makes a sound, and sometimes I actually set her down so I can attend to Charlotte's or my own needs.
As a result, or perhaps just because of her own nature, Maggie is kind of an independent little lass. She sleeps in a bassinet beside my bed, so I hear her every movement (seriously- the bassinet rattles and creaks constantly). I've actually seen her lie there, eyes wide open looking around for 5 or 10 minutes before she starts making her little grunting "I need some attention please" noises. I've put her to bed awake-but-sleepy and she's drifted off to dreamland all on her own- who among us was able to do that with baby #1 this early in the game? not me!
The one exception to all this easy-going wonderfulness is a nightly witching hour that appeared out of nowhere a few days ago. From about 6-8 pm, she's exhausted and inconsolable and cries pitifully until C manages to calm her to sleep with his magic (boobless) touch. If she's in my arms during that time, she's convinced she should be eating, but when that doesn't provide the solace she needs, she goes back to yowling and flailing. Swaddling doesn't work at that point. I tried putting her down for a well-timed nap just before witching hour, but she didn't sleep long enough for it to influence the evening.
It's 3/24 now, and I am just getting back to this blog for the first time in over a week. We've escaped the witching hour every night save two since I began this post. I think Maggie just wants to be involved in the action of our nightly dinner routine. As long as we don't try to put her to bed between 6 and 7, she may cry a wee bit,but there's no serious meltdown. Some evenings, she eats at 4-ish and then sleeps right through the witching hour completely.
Maggie had her 1-month visit to the ped. She weighed 11 pounds 5.5 ounces and was 23 or 23.5inches tall. She was squirming and crying by the time the doc tried to measure her, so the height measurement is suspect. I think Charlotte was about this size when she was 4 months old, or older, but I'm not entirely sure. Maggie wears a mixture of 0-3,3,and 3-6-month clothes now. She just bigger enough that none of Charlotte's summer hand-me-downs will fit when summer weather arrives. Oh, well. We have an ample supply of short-sleeved onesies that she can live in when it's hot out. And with the weather we've had already, maybe summer will start early enough this year that she'll get to wear the cute rompers and outfits in April or May (which Charlotte wore in August/September of her first year).
Maggie is an unpredictable nurser- meals can take anywhere between 8 and 35 minutes, then tide her over for 2 to 5 hours. Usually, it takes her 15 minutes to become sated, and she wants to eat every 3 hours. I am trying to get her to eat more less frequently,especially at night. I'm also still looking for a nipple she likes so she'll take abottle (of breastmilk). To date, she has not successfully taken a bottle since we came home from the hospital. She doesn't refuse it; she just doesn't seem to know what to do with it, so nothing comes out. I'd love for C to be able to feed her just once a week in the middle of the night so I can get a weekly full night's sleep.
I started pumping about 3 weeks ago, usually just once per day and I get about 4 ounces each time. I don't have to build up a major supply this time- no return to work on the horizon, and no fertility treatments to dictate the end of nursing. I'm not even sure what we'll do with an accumulated 4-ounces a day, but I like knowing it's there in case something unexpected happens.
Computer's battery is dying... bye for now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Birth story, part 3- the happy ending

As I mentioned, I was heartened by the fact that I heard a brief cry from Maggie before she and C left for the nursery. I was also encouraged when the nurse brought her over to me before taking her away. That would not have happened if Maggie had been in any real danger. I only wish C were a better photographer. The two pictures we have now of Maggie and me in her first few hours are horrible- I look like hell, and the pics are not well composed so we're not sharing them.


Once C left, I felt like I was essentially on my own in the OR. No one was talking to me, and it was only after repeating "I'm going to throw up" a few times that the anesthesiologist put a puke-bucket near enough that I could almost reach it (then he told me "Try not to miss next time" when I missed with the first round). I was tremendously uncomfortable, and time was still a blur even though I knew Maggie had arrived at 1:32. I could have been in there for 20 minutes or 3 hours as far as I knew. I was still freezing and shivering pretty violently so when a nurse replaced the anesthesiologist, I was wrapped in warm blankets from the arms up. It helped a little, but I was still mostly exposed and mostly frozen while the surgeon stitched me up. Regardless of how long it really took, it felt like I was there for an eternity- still trying not to move so I'd be an easy sew-up, but shivering uncontrollably. I suspect the table was tilted so my head was lower than my feet because I felt pretty upside-down, adding to the awkward uncomfortable-ness. It also felt like a 40-pound brick was on my breastbone- I had a hard time taking more than a very shallow breath and I worried I might pass out, further delaying my chance to hold Maggie for the first time.

After an eternity (where was my baby? where was my husband? was everyone OK? was someone holding my baby or was she untouched and neglected?), the sewing was done and I met the "bear hug," greatest OR invntion I've heard of- a blanket of sorts that hooked up to a low-powered hair dryer which filled the blanket with warm air that was gently pushed out onto my body through a network of tiny vents. Pure heaven, but it still took a good half-hour or so for the shivering to stop. C commented later that he'd never seen anyone shiver as violently as I did in the OR. Unbeknownst to me, I was hooked up to a pitocin IV- I found that out pretty quickly, though, when "after pains" carried on for nearly 18 hours, and not just when I was nursing as I'd read to expect. For that, not for the incision or anything else, I needed pain meds. Seriously, it was worse than labor with Charlotte had been. Morphine was connected to my IV, too, and I actually pressed the dose button 5 times in the first 12 hours or so. The pit was done (three bags, I think) by the next morning, and then Motrin was enough to manage the pain, which was mostly due to a gassy-inflated abdomen once the pit was over. Having a nurse come in every few hours to check on my uterus and do "uterine massage" was pretty painful, too, but that pain ended as soon as the nurse's hands stopped touching my belly.

In addition to the pitocin, I received several bags of IV fluids before the line was removed at about 11 am on Wednesday. I did not count how many bags, but it seemes excessive. Someone said something about making up for all the fluid I lost (blood, amniotic fluid, anythng else?), but that doesn't make any sense to me since you're supposed to lose the amniotic fluid and I didn't have any bleeding issues. In the aftermath, when my legs were painfully swollen from knees to toes, it felt like a sadistic joke to have been pumped so full just so it could puddle in my lower extremeties. If anyone cares to explain that rationale for all those fluids, I'm all ears. But since I will never be pregnant again, it's not something I can improve on "next time."

Once my shivering had quieted a bit and the nurses weren't afraid I'd drop little Maggie, she was brought into my room. She looked exactly like Charlotte to me at first, but with so much more and darker hair than Charlotte was born with. I don't know if there was an issue with her blood sugar at birth, but they were concerned that if she did not feed fairly soon then her blood sugar would drop lower than they were comfortable with. One nurse told me I'd be given a chance to nurse, and then we would give Maggie some formula to make sure she'd gotten enough. The another nurse came in and said it was time to give Maggie a bottle- she was ready to take her away for the feeding. I got mad, really mad. For two reasons- first, I'd been told I'd have the chance to feed her before any supplementation and I was concerned about both nipple confusion and a negative affect on my milk coming in; second, Charlotte had been given her first bottle by a student nurse without my consent on our discharge day, which upset me in so many ways. So, with Maggie, I first expressed my confusion over not being allowed to attempt nursing before the bottle was introduced and then demanded that either C or I feed her. The staff did not cave in to my request to breastfeed, but C was able to give Maggie the bottle. And based on how much she took, I guess she needed it. I think she drank 2oz or something like that, which seemed like quite a bit for a brand-new newborn. The next feeding was entirely mine, and Maggie was given only one additional bottle (also by C) in the 4 days we spent in the hospital. And that bottle was in response to a borderline low blood sugar after I allowed her to sleep a little too long (I was asleep too, and therefore did not wake her when I should have). My milk came in late on day 3, catching Maggie by surprise as she gagged and choked a little when her mouth was unexpectedly filled. To this day, I feel like I'm producing enough to feed 2 or 3 Maggies. Maggie has nursed like a champ since her first time at the boob. All the breastfeeding woes I went through with Charlotte are a distant memory, and my biggest concern now is keeping Maggie's razor-like fingernails away from my very tenderest bits. Mittens or socks on her little hands do the trick, but I sometimes forget at 3 am.

I don't feel like writing more today, but I haven't said much about the recovery. I'll address that in another post. For now, I'd like to annouce that the swelling is nearly gone. There's just a trace left in my ankles and upper feet, but everything looks perfectly normal now. The swelling started to noticeably diminish on day 13. I still had a hard time squeezing into shoes as late as day 18. But things are nearly back to normal now. After the gas, the swollen legs/feet were the worst part of recovering.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Birth Story, part 2

OK, so the midwives broke my water and copious amounts cascaded out while one of them kept her finger on Maggie's head- a very uncomfortable position to be in (for me. I don't know how it was for the m/w). When the fluid eased to a trickle, we all turned our attention to the monitor and saw that Maggie's heart rate was plummeting from 140-ish to 45-ish with every contraction. Contractions also started coming more frequently, although I couldn't tell you how often since this is when everything started to blur for me. The midwives had me roll onto my left side, then my hands-and-knees, hoping a new position would relieve pressure on the cord and prevent additional decelerations. Nothing worked.

C was still standing off to the side, near the door. He heard one of the midwives call down the hall, "All hands in 209!" The room was suddenly full of people. An internal fetal monitor was inserted. An anesthesiologist came in and said to me, "So, we're having a c-section. Why doesn't she have an IV?" He was the first to mention c-section, and the midwives and doctor quickly shushed him (he was unanimously labelled an a$$hole and pretty much everyone apologized for his crude insensitivity afterwards) then turned to me to explain what was happening- each contraction was putting pressure on the cord, blocking the flow of oxygen to Maggie and causing her heart rate to decelerate. She could not tolerate the decels for long, and since no position appeared to alleviate the pressure, the safest course of action would be a quick c-section. A nurse started an IV in my arm (not an easy task while I was on hands-and-knees). I rolled onto my right side and signed the consent for surgery, then was whisked away to the OR.

It was freezing in the OR. Why is it always so darned cold in operating rooms? I sat on the edge of the table while the anesthesiologist administered a spinal. He told me to hunch over and push my lower back toward him. Obviously, he'd never been 9-months pregnant with a big baby who was entirely out front. There was no way I could "hunch." I could slump, but I could not "curl around the baby" or do anything else he was asking me to do. He seemed frustrated with me and kept jabbing me in the back, all while I was trying very hard not to move. I was afraid to flinch as he kept hitting nerves, for fear that he'd hit something even worse and do some damage, or that my movements would somehow harm Maggie. People were talking, but I couldn't tell if they were talking to me. I had tunnel-vision, and the only person I could really understand or pay attention to was the midwife who calmly put her face in front of mine and explained all that was going on. If not for her, I would have been even more lost and scared in the frigid, glaring room full of distant voices.

I kept asking the midwife if Maggie's heart rate was OK. I was afraid that my inability to curl my back would mean general anesthesia for me or serious permanent damage to Maggie. I'm not a crier, especially in front of people I don't know *very* well, but I know I was in tears at this point- frustrated with myself for not being able to comply, and terrified that something awful was happening to my baby. And I wanted to punch the anesthesiologist, who kept right on poking and stabbing, muttering about my not doing as I was told, not warning me before hitting nerve after nerve in my spine. For some reason, he was also harping on getting my tubes tied (not part of my plan, and obviously unnecessary)- like that was his business and something I'd be thinking about at a time when my baby's life was in jeopardy.

Finally, I felt a warm, tingling sensation (thank goodness for the warmth of it!) in my right foot. Then in my left. As it crept upward, I swung around to lie on the table and felt an overwhelming sense of relief- the spinal had finally worked and I would not need to be knocked out, and we could finally get to work on saving Maggie.

Time was still a complete blur to me. When C received his scrubs so he could join me in the OR, the nurse told him it would only be about 5 more minutes until he'd be escorted in. Half an hour later, he was still waiting, worrying that something unthinkable had happened or that I'd needed general anesthesia to speed things up (in which case, he would not be allowed in the OR). When he did finally walk in, C was told not to look at anything but my face because the surgery had already begun.

I remember asking C what time it was just before Maggie emerged. Charlotte was born at 1:25 AM, and I knew we were close to 1:25 PM. I thought it would be interesting for both girls to have the same birth time, 12-hours apart. It was 1:30 by then, and Maggie was out two minutes later. C's first words on seeing his second daughter were, "God- she's BIG!" Then I heard someone comment that she wasn't pinking up and was a little limp. I heard her cry and that gave me hope that she would be OK. A nurse brought her over and C snapped a quick photo of my first sight of Maggie, then he and our daughter quickly left for the nursery while the doctor closed me up.

To be continued...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birth Story, part 1

I don't have time to write a whole lot now. Charlotte is at a swim class with grandma and daddy, and Maggie is asleep... probably for another half-hour or so. And I hope to take a shower before everyone is back and awake. But, if I don't start writing this now, I'm afraid I'll lose all the details to the haze of time. So here's a start...

My doc (I alternated appointments between a midwife and a DO- love both of them, and trust them both with Maggie's life and mine) had asked that we arrive at the hospital between 6 and 6:30 on the morning of the AROM. In spite of our best efforts, we were running about 10 minutes late, but figured that didn't really matter since nothing runs on-time in a birth center. Babies are not born on a schedule, right? Anyhow, my parents arrived to spend the day with Charlotte, and C and I left for the hospital. The nurses told us when we got there that we weren't expected until 9, but since we were there we might as well get the early monitoring done. I just wanted to go out to breakfast, but they convinced us to stay. 30-minutes later, all was measuring well- small contractions every 8 minutes or so, a steady fetal heart rate with appropriate accelerations when she moved around, no suggestion of an IV or other "invasive" paraphenalia.

The midwives (not my usual one... two others in the same association, but who work exclusively at the hospital) came in shortly after 8 to assess and found that I was essentially unchanged since my last appointment- 4cm, -1-station, and maybe 90-percent effaced. "Walk" they told me. I suggested I get dressed and walk down to the donut shop in the lobby for breakfast, but they asked me to stick to the halls of the birth center. C went out and picked up a breakfast sandwich for me, a muffin for himself. I walked. And walked.

The birth center is one not-very-long hall in the rambling hospital, so walking was extremely dull. I'd met one of the nurses (K) when she popped into my room to make sure the birthing cart was stocked with everything it should contain, and I joked with her that if she needed anything from the supply room down the hall she should just let me know and I'd pick it up for her on my next trip by. I don't know how many times I paced the hall, but eventually the midwives decided I should try somthing a little different and offered me a birthing ball to rock on. The checked me again at 9:30, and nothing had changed. More monitoring, all was well, but no progress toward a natural labor. One midwife said she wasn't comfortable breaking waters with the baby as high as she was, but the other insisted it was OK. I was told to walk some more, rock on the ball a bit longer, and they'd break my water at 11:30 even if nothing had changed. So I walked. The nurses changed shifts and the one who'd done several of my NSTs (and discharged us after Charlotte was born) was "mine" for the next 8 hours. I liked her a lot- warm and friendly, sincere, and chatty where I am quiet so I never felt like I had to make up conversation or entertain her.

11:30 rolled around, and I'd put miles of wear on my slippers and the hallway. More monitoring, another check, and no change whatsoever. Surely AROM would get things going. So, the midwives finally agreed with each other that I'd gone as far as I would without interference, and that as long as they kept a finger on Maggie's head to prevent the cord from whooshing out with the fluid it was safe to rupture the membranes. C ducked out of the room for a moment as he didn't want to see exactly how the membranes would be ruptured (it sounded worse to him that the reality of a "crochet" hook).

Pop.

Whoosh.

Whoooooosh.

Gush.

Waterfall from between my legs.

C came back in and stood off to the side, not sure of what to do.

It went on...
and on...
and on.

All while a midwife kept her finger on Maggie's head to keep the cord from slipping down.

Finally, the waterfall tapered to a trickle and the midwives told me there had been 5-6 times the normal amount of amniotic fluid they expected. Polyamnio-something. Not a problem, just an indication that Maggie's kidneys were working VERY well.

Maggie's waking up. Got to go...