Monday, March 30, 2009

Makes My Monday: Gently Used Gear

What Makes My Monday? Used toys and books!

This Saturday was our local MOT sale. Check out Goddess's description with photos. It was a zoo and as a member I got the 9:30 am earlier start time. At the fall sale I'm going to sell so I can get first picks!

We did pick up a bunch of toys thanks to recommendations of on-the-spot moms (Hi, Rebecca!) with older kids.

Although not quite ready for it on their own both kids liked the rocking chair - especially when Husband made the chair rock.

And here is a photo that just came in from the nanny - and the kids are playing with their new toys! Shape sorters were one type I snagged and a toy with lots of things to spin and move.
What is that toy called with the wires in the background (that is mandatory at all doctor's offices?) - we got that at the sale too.

Books were also a good find - a nice cheap way to expand their library since I'm sick of reading the same ones. My new favorite is "Is Your Mama a Llama?" Ned laughs when I turn the page to reveal what type of animal it is.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seven Months

The kids turned seven months on Wednesday. We did some chair photos before oatmeal and some couch pictures after getting dressed. The kids are getting very squirmy now that they can sit on their own!

Here's what usually happens when I take their photos together:

Both kids can now sit well but Penny does like to flop back so we keep a bopi behind her. They started eating puffs. Penny actually likes them but you would never know with her expressions.

Ned: Your little coos are so adorable and I love when you reach up and gently play with my necklace. I can't keep up with your clothing needs - for a boy in the 50% you can't fit in 6-9 month clothes any more. You absolutely hate when I wipe your nose and have learned to bat away spoons and bottles when you don't want any more to eat. You refuse to hold your own bottle because it is so much easier if we do it for you but you will for Nanny (see photographic evidence below). There is always something in your mouth - fingers, toys, paper - whatever is "handy". I can't believe how well you reach for toys - even in the bathtub. You like to talk to the wind during afternoon walks. Your pacifier is only useful during story time before naps. Sometimes you try to get on your hands and knees when we do tummy time but apparently rolling is for other kids.

Penny: I would like nothing more than to see you eat like a normal baby but we are learning tricks to keep you fed - who knew a baby could eat that much gruel (aka oatmeal/rice cereal and formula)? Whenever we feed you something other than gruel you are very suspicious. I was tired of your clothes so I brought out the 6-9 month clothing - although they are a little big (as shown below)! You still love your jumparoo but have also learned to sit up on your own. You suck in your lower lip and have the most stubborn expression that Grammie says you inherited from me. Nanny April says you are practicing your vowel sounds and I can't wait to hear them. You always have a big smile for me when I come into the room (or really for whoever comes into the room).

Friday, March 27, 2009


I owe my blogging public chair photos and the kids' 7 month letter which will be posted this weekend. In the meantime Spring has sprung and the Nanny sent me this photo from her cell phone earlier this week. I have forwarded the crap out of it to all my friends and co-workers but just couldn't resist posting even though the quality isn't great. Apparently Nanny saved the good ones on her camera for a little surprise for Husband and me that she is still working on. Enjoy!

Yes, there is fake green grass and easter eggs in the basket. The nanny tried them out in the basket the other week and Penny threw grass onto Ned's head where it stayed until they finished playing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

OMG: Theater Thursday

This week's theme is OMG ("Oh My God" for the uninitiated). What do your kids do that makes you run for the video camera?

Ned makes the most adorable cooing sounds. He likes to gently reach for my face and/or my necklace while he makes them and he always does them on the changing table. Please ignore the crusties on his face - both kids have the sniffles.

Play along with Goddess and the gang!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Cousin

Yesterday Stacey had her little girl! Go check out Stacey's update and photos at her blog. Since this is my blog I can tell you all how excited I am. Since Stacey knew as of the end of last week that it would be a C-Section I quickly booked a flight and am going to visit April 2-6th. My in-laws are coming during that time to help Husband (although I'm sure he'd be fine on his own).

I'm totally going to call her Cammie and I hope Stacey doesn't hate that. Cammie's cheeks are so adorable. I will go back and update my birth story with photos (since they are all gone thanks to the Evil Empire Who Cannot Be Named Or I Would Lose Ad Revenue) later tonight.

I can't wait to get my hands on Cammie. And now that I'm a mom I'm so full of advice - some of it hopefully good. My plan:
  • Bring Stacey food and water while she feeds Cammie or is resting.
  • I won't insist on feeding Cammie bottles (got to establish some good BFing!) or holding her all the time but I want a sleepy baby nestled into me at least once.
  • Do chores around the house without being asked. Go grocery shopping. Maybe I'll cook but to be honest I'm not much of one. I can dial and wield a credit card though. Maybe I'll make a vat of Lori's special marinara sauce.
  • Change dirty diapers. Change clothes and clean up spit up. Burp.
  • Laundry. Then more laundry.
  • Take photos of baby and family and do a little album for them.
  • Listen to Stacey talk about how wonderful Cammie is; how hard it is to be a mom; or whatever else she wants to talk about.

What else should I do to help her?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sibling Rivalry: Reach Out and Take What is Yours

The kids have started to try to take toys away from one another. It doesn't matter what Ned is playing with or if Penny has her own toy - she wants his.

This morning Penny was playing with a stuffed rabbit.

Ned swooped in.

Penny wanted it back - don't you love her expression in the last photo?

Thankfully the kids don't throw tantrums or shriek about taken toys (yet). It also doesn't matter if there are other toys within reach - each tyke wants what the other has. I had this grand plan that I would tell each child that the toy the other sibling was playing with was his or her toy until such sibling was done with it. This doesn't seem to work with infants. Husband likes to put a toy between them and see them take it back and forth (because it is funny to see them struggle to get it back) but I don't want to foster animosity. Your words of wisdom or tales of terror are most welcome.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If You Haven't Got a Penny

"Then a Hay-Penny will do!" I sing that rhyme to Penny all the time. Thanks for everyone asking how Penny is doing and how our specialist visit went.

We went to Children's Hospital and saw an incredibly nice GI. The only reason we didn't have to wait two months to see her (or anyone at Children's) is that we pulled a few strings. Dr. GI spent more than an hour with Penny, Husband and me and was very thoughtful and caring.

Basically, there is something wrong. Mommy, Esq. is not crazy. A baby should not be refusing the bottle like that for as long as she has (looking back at old blog posts I see she started this around week 8-10 [and note the mohawk in that photo and the one below - Husband still loves to style her hair]). The problem is that Dr. GI isn't quite sure what is wrong. Penny presents with a bunch of different possible diagnoses: acid reflux, allergies, swallowing disorder.

The doctor has recommended treating for as many things as possible. Our new plan is:

1. Allergies: Hypoallergenic formula. Allimentum for now; possibly Neocate in the future. Unfortunately I think Allimentum smells foul - like cat throwup. Sorry, P.

2. Acid Reflux: Prilosec. Back to that from Prevacid. Apparently more useful if there is an esophageal problem. P also hates this - I have to hold her nose to get her to drink it and this is after paying an extra $3 (for a $45 bottle) to make it apple flavored.

3. Failure to Thrive: Increasing calories - adding vegetable oil to her veggies and giving her as much oatmeal with formula as she will take. At this point we need to just get her back on the curve. Good thing she loves oatmeal!

4. Swallowing Disorder: Basically she can't handle having the formula pool in the back of her throat which is what the nipple does. Since she does a few sucks and then breaks away from the bottle it indicates this could be the problem. If this is the problem it is a sign that she will likely be delayed in other areas - such as speech. We are going to do a barium swallow test to look at how she swallows. Possible treatments (although not all that effective) are physical therapy and trying other methods of drinking. I have tried to give her a milkshake type drink with a cut up nipple and then just cup feeding it to her but she doesn't like that either. Dr. GI did imply that Penny's odd trait of holding her arms out straight to the sides is probably a sign of strong muscles but poor muscle control - again, a sign that she may develop speech and other coordination slower than most kids.

She seems to be doing a bit better. Just this morning she ate 5.5 ounces in 10 mins - up from 2 ounces at her first feeding (after not eating for 12 hours) over the last two weeks. I was extremely thrilled but since it is the first time I'm trying not to get too excited. Seeing a specialist has made me more optimistic and I sort of wish I had pushed the issue sooner with our pediatrician. Since Penny is such a happy girl (or as Dr. GI said, has such a sweet disposition) it hadn't felt urgent. Can you imagine how happy she'll be once she is bigger and stronger?!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Photo Finish

This is why I rush home to make bedtime whenever I can.

The tykes love to be stripped down for PJs but hate putting on the new onsies, socks and PJs. Both kids like to pull at their socks and Penny manages to pull one of hers (usually the right foot) off every once in a while although these crew socks work much better than any other kinds I've bought. Ned is wearing a 12 month onsie (Circo brand) and Penny is wearing a 6 month onsie (Carter's brand). I had to cut their fingernails on Thursday morning because Ned woke up with a scratch on his nose and I think his hands are twice hers. Husband thinks calling Penny "a peanut" is silly so he uses other nuts randomly. Today it was pistachio.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Theater Thursday

We are playing along with Goddess in Progress at Thursday Theater. Her theme is "food" but I didn't have any recent fun food videos so instead I present you with The Funniest Thing Mommy Does. Whenever Ned is whining Husband or I bust this move on him:

Yesterday the kids finger painted for the first time. Nanny used food coloring, water, soap and some flour to thicken it up. Ned per usual ate some but realized he did not like eating soap. Reminds me when we were in middle school my mom washed Allison's mouth out with soap for talking back. She was so stubborn she just ate the soap.

Ned looks like a crazy artist but Penny was clearly having fun.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Whole New Legal World

Being back at work is quite different than when I was working last July.

1. No more freebies. Yesterday I went to a training session and there was no lunch. Apparently sandwiches that had been provided at lunches were "going to waste". That was no consolation and I watched everyone else eat their brown bag lunches. Now I have to waste valuable billing time getting lunch before a non-billing training. The cookies were always eaten - at least bring on the cookies!

2. Working hours. I used to be in the office a minimum of 11 hours a day regardless whether I was busy or slow. In at 7:30 am and picked up by Husband at 6:30 pm (when he used to work in the city too). Now I am in the office 7 hours (10 am -5 pm). Since I'm spending time with the kids in the morning I can't just put something off to when it was quiet at 7:30 am and I could get it done. Instead I am doing anything left over for the day after dinner. This will change once I have more active matters but it will really suck when I have to miss bedtime for the first time.

3. Boundaries. I'm setting them. Oh, you want a call at 6 pm - how about 7 pm (when I know the kids will be asleep)? I definitely hate how many calls come in after 4 pm. Can't you call in the morning when I'm NOT busy?

4. Practicing Law Solo. I'm realizing I'm getting to be pretty senior - and so I am able to do more on my own. Thankfully I'm pretty confident in my abilities to handle matters. After dozens of high stress deals and corralling twins I think I can handle most crises (but not all) without feeling like I am going to throw up.

5. Billing. God, I hate accounting for every minute of my day. Maybe that is why I'm already behind on recording my hours. Bad, Mommy, Esq!

6. Job Insecurity. Cutting back on the summer program, staff layoffs, etc. I'm worried about either being laid off or realizing I can't juggle this job and my family and will have to try to find a job in this (legal) economy. Better go work on #5 instead of blogging.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Step Away from WebMD

Lesson I learned today: Do not do online research trying to figure out what is wrong with Penny. Especially after my mom passed on from my dad that he thinks she has a swallowing problem. You will end up reading about Laryngomalacia. But that is only after you decided not to read about the other scary reasons a kid might have problems swallowing. We'll let the experts do the diagnosing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Up-To-The-Second Information

Husband is taking care of the kids today since our Nanny is buying a house. Nanny may send texts but Husband sends emails. Husband and I courted via email since we worked in the same office but were quietly dating. I think almost every day we have an email exchange that makes me laugh.

Here is one from this morning for your amusement.

Husband E-mail: "Tummy time now. Need to wear the kids out so they’re ready for nap at 12:30 so I can take a call."

Mommy, Esq.: "Just turn off the monitors and you can't hear them cry. I hope they were up earlish so they'll nap for you - was he up at 10 am and her at 10:30?"

Husband: "Yes. About that. They’re starting to act sleepy now. In the middle of their 'meeting'—they must’ve gotten that from me." [Meeting = when they sit in their bumpos and share toys.]

Mommy, Esq.: "Ha! I can see Ned dozing off in the Bumpo chair like you do. Penny would fight to stay awake like her mommy."

Husband: "He was using Frenchie the Giraffe to rub his eyes."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Still Growing (Mostly)!

Today was the kids' six month well visit - a good two weeks after they turned 6 months.  Anyway, Nanny came with me because Husband is off on a college friends lost weekend.  I just got off the phone and he claims he was drinking "spring water" but I think that is code for booze.  He said something about a couples massage with his friend Nick so I'm sure that's the alcohol talking. 

Ned: weight - 17 lbs, 6 oz (50%); height - 26.5 inches (50%); head - 17 inches (25th).  Given how big Husband's head is he's shocked Ned's is so small since Ned is a dead ringer for Husband. 

Penny: weight - 12 lbs, 11 oz (3% or less and down 1 oz from last Friday); height - 25.5 inches (10-25% - sounds really precise); head - 16 inches (10%). 

The kids didn't like when someone other than Nanny or Mommy was holding them even though they've seen the doctor and nurse numerous times.  The doctor thinks they look healthy and she is definitely puzzled how happy Penny is despite not eating. 

Mommy, Esq. list of concerns included rash for Ned - turned out to be eczema so Aquaphor and some hydrocortizone.  Penny has been constipated and since most pedi GIs usually recommend a stool softener we're starting her now so we can cross that off the list before our visit next week.  And no more rice cereal - she prefers oatmeal anyway.  Ned also has an almost imperceptible lazy eye - it's noticeable but I can't quite figure out which eye it is!  The doctor thinks it is probably phantom but we are going to see an opthamologist just in case. 

Here is a little pictorial week in review.  Our Nanny takes photos with the camera too!  Work has been busy - if only I had enough time in my day to meet client demands, tuck the kids into bed and still watch American Idol.  I'll let you all speculate which one didn't get done. 

Wishing Winter were over

Wearing a Ned hammy-down 

New favorite sitting toys

Penny thinks cold icy snow is funny

Playing together

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

While the Momma Is Away

...Her Chicks Will Play! The Nanny sends me text messages sometimes with photos. She also takes photos on my camera and I promise to upload them soon.

This one she sent me while at work today. The kids were enjoying splashing around with Easter chicks and eggs. On my phone I thought it was Ned on the left but when I saw a larger version I realized it was Penny.

Thanks for everyone's well wishes about Penny's eating (or lack thereof) - we managed to schedule an appointment with a GI specialist next week. I had to use connections to get it done - otherwise we wouldn't have been able to see someone until the very end of April. And people want socialized medicine? But that is a rant for another post.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Scrawny Sweet P

On Thursday Penny ate 14 ounces - all day. Friday I was home with the kids (our nanny's grandfather passed away) and Penny ate 3 ounces in her AM bottle and .5 ounces at her 11 am bottle. I was beside myself so I broke down (in tears of course) and called the doctor demanding we come in for a weight check even though their 6 month visit was scheduled for this Thursday. 5 weeks since her last weight check and she's only gained 9 ounces - putting her down in the third percentile for weight (she was up at 10 percent at her 4 month visit and just under 10 percent at 5 month weight check).

We just cannot get her to eat her bottles. It is a 45 minute struggle to get 3 ounces into her so she's been averaging less than 16 ounces a day for a few weeks now. Our nanny is frustrated; I'm frustrated.

The doctor thinks it is "interesting" but acknowledged we don't want to hear our daughter is interesting. We're adding extra scoops of powder to her formula, including some olive oil in her veggies. She is totally willing to eat solid food. Now I need to schedule an appointment with a GI specialist. I know in my heart that this is not acid reflux - she doesn't have any signs of acid reflux and we've had her on different types of meds for months now. My sister thinks she might have allergies but there is no sign of that either - no rashes or hives. She doesn't arch her back or fuss when she eats solid foods - and she only fusses at her bottle if we try to pry open her mouth and shove it in.

It is absolutely the worst to know your kid isn't eating - that is something that they are supposed to do and what we can do for them as parents. She is very active - playing with toys and happy. She just clamps her mouth down and refuses to eat. We found a sippy cup she likes but it takes her forever to suck even an ounce out of it so that isn't really an option. We switch her up - a bit in the sippy cup and then slip in the bottle. It is very time consuming and stretching my patience to its limits at times.

To say I was upset on Friday is putting it mildly. I was so exhausted after the kids went to bed that I fell asleep on the couch at 9 pm. Thankfully I only had some work to do - which came in at 5:30 pm of course. And Husband went with me to the doctor while my mom watched Ned because I told him I needed him to back me up with the doctor.

I just hate that this takes away from my fun loving time with Penny - and Ned gets ignored a little when we have to deal with Penny (easier when 2 adults - happens more when there is only 1). I don't want to be frustrated about this and I worry it is impacting her development. I'll let you all know how it progresses. She's wearing lots of Ned hammy-downs - this photo shows her in one of his outfits.

Ned's new thing is sitting. He doesn't really roll around like Penny (she only rolls side to side, not over) - he's more of a stationary player. He can sit for a long time on his own - sometimes more than half an hour. It's kind of fun because he'll sit next to Penny on the playmat and she likes to steal his toys. He's drooling like crazy and pulling every now and again on his left ear so I think he might be teething but no sign of a tooth yet.

For the time change we did exactly nothing. The kids have already moved things back a half an hour on their own so we're just going with that. They are taking an incredibly long afternoon nap (and had a very short AM nap) so that's pretty good. I have to say I think time changes in today's society is stupid. We don't need it to go out and farm our land. But hey, they got up at 6 am today when really it was 7 am with the time change so I'll take it.
I'm doing the AM routine myself every day this week and lots of bedtimes. Husband has to travel for work two days and then he's going early Thursday AM to a boys weekend in Arizona. Let's hope my work schedule is accommodating. I've already been working at night during the week since items usually crop up late in the day. And I'm already behind in my billing. Hee!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Melted Heart

I always say to Husband that certain things the kids do "melt my heart". He thinks that is a funny way to describe how one is feeling. Here is a recent photo that melted my heart. Our friends had a daughter earlier this week and it seems like their little guy doesn't mind the new addition.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

If you're looking at this post on the Mommy Esq. homepage, scroll down a bit, and look at the right side of the page where the Google AdWords module is. Are you only seeing their "public interest" ads? (Stop Hunger, Help the Children, Stop Eating Whale Jerky, meesh meesh meesh.) I bet you are--I just tried in a few different browsers and they were all I got.

Those are the default ads Google runs when you first sign up for AdWords, before they've confirmed that your site is "OK," and not doing anything shady. Or pr0n. Significantly, unlike "real" AdWords ads that run after the site is cleared, the site owner doesn't get paid for them. there anything that Mommy, Esq. posted recently that might upset Google's bots enough that they would deny us our meager AdWords revenue? I wonder.

Down With Google!

For some reason all my blog photos were automatically uploaded to my Google photo album. There wasn't enough room in the Google photo area for other photos I needed to upload (non-blog ones to share with family and friends). So I deleted the ones that were automatically uploaded. They automatically DELETED from my blog. If you look through older blog entries the photos are gone. The tags are still there but I have to find all the photos and upload again. Why, oh, why would Google do something this evil to me?

Mommy, Esq: In Fact As Well As in Name

Tuesday was my first day back at work - now I am officially a Mommy, Esq. It was definitely a trial by fire since Husband had to travel for work and I was going to do morning and bedtime alone.

Things That Sucked:

1. No naps. I couldn't nap when the kids did - instead I had to drive into Boston.

2. Commute. Took almost 55 mins door to desk. Today was better - only 40 mins. I drive in and before you all bemoan the state of our environment it would take even long if I took the train (the walk alone from North Station would be 20 mins).

3. Last minute work. In true Big Firm fashion I got an "emergency" client request at 4:30 pm. I still managed to get it done and go out the door by 5:10 pm but it was stressful.

4. Kids. Not being able to see them until the cranky time before bed.
Thinks That Were Good:

1. Nanny folded my laundry and ran and emptied the dishwasher.

2. Commute home - once I got on the highway it was pretty quick - probably 40 mins desk to door.

3. Not feeding Penny. Sorry, Sweet P, but I hate feeding you. Don't worry, Blogverse, I'll be discussing with her pediatrician next Friday.

4. Nanny filled out daycare sheets so I could know what the tykes were doing all day. She also took photos.

5. I talked to the nanny during afternoon nap time to make sure they were doing fine.

6. Having work to do. It was nice to feel useful - often with the kids I feel like I'm treading water.

7. Seeing work colleagues.

If you were wondering what Ned and Penny were up to - here are some photos. Apparently Ned plunged both hands in the container and cried about how cold it was. Hee! His hair is crazy spiky and super soft. But he looks like an insane asylum patient.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Their Form of TV

I was talking to a friend of mine about TV for kids recently.  Her 9 month old son enjoys the occasional Baby Einstein video but since they live in Sweden he watches via laptop.  I have heard that Baby Einstein is great for a mom who needs a break.  I'm not opposed to TV for my kids it is just that with the nanny and our routine I haven't been watching TV very much - especially since we stopped needing to do marathon feeding sessions.  

But my kids do like the glow of computer screens and Penny loves it when someone plays Wii in the playroom.  Lately I've been "Skyping" with family members so they can see the kids before I head back to work - usually after their third nap and before bed.  We have a computer hooked up to our family room TV and a camera that I can move around.  The tykes love it!  Craning their necks and making cute sounds you would think we'd never heard of the "witching hour" (trust me, we have).  I hope this gives them the chance to see family across the country and get in a bit of their own form of TV time...our tykes will be surprised when they watch a show that doesn't actually talk back to them.