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.