Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hallooo, Mommy, Esq., Where are you?

It's been non-stop since leaving for Columbus. Husband is traveling for work and he's doing lots of kid stuff while I'm working on a deal. I should be able to post some Columbus pictures this weekend. We missed the 9 month chair photo since we were traveling but the kids did turn 9 months on Monday so maybe I'll cheat and do chair photos this weekend too.

We met with Early Intervention for Penny's service plan and I was remarking that she hadn't gained ANY skills in the last two months which isn't surprising since she's gained zero weight in that time. Penny must have heard me since I think she was trying to play her favorite game - peak-a-boo - this morning. She kept taking her lovie, covering her face and pulling it down and I would say "peak-a-boo" and she laughed.

We are also beginning the adventure of "Mommy, Hold Me" which is sweet to a working mom but also hard when both kids want to be held but not together and they don't really want to be held but somehow moving around while attached to me. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. Both kids are snot factories, possibly teething without teeth and Penny seems to be finally getting fed up with not eating and resulting in a fussier Sweet P.

Draining week but makes me thankful that I have a wonderful partner-in-parenting in Husband but also that this would be easier if one of us had regular hours/no travel. I worry about him getting burnt out on doing bedtime duty/doctor's visits so I line up help for him when I can.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8

Over the last year or so I have seen quite a few episodes of J&K+8 and now I am following their lives in US Weekly. Last night I watched the premier and it was difficult to watch. No one has asked my opinion but I'm dying to hear what others think so I'm going to throw my opinion out there.

Jon and Kate got married very, very young (he was 22). They had the twins quickly and a couple of years later the sextuplets. Kate was in charge and Jon probably liked that. He went off to his IT job and she arranged an army of help, counted pennies to keep the kids fed and clothed, cleaned, cooked, etc. Basically she did the lion share and certainly hen-pecked him in the process. But when I was a stay-at-home mom for 6 months I could see how quickly that happens. You feel like it is all up to you - all the problems, the housework. Your spouse does what you tell him but you have to tell him. It drives you crazy.

Fast forward 3 years and she has written a book and arranged for a TV show. They start making money and Jon quits his job. That is where things fall apart. He doesn't have his identity outside the kids whereas Kate was fine to have hers subsumed by the kids. She is off traveling for her book and the show and he is home with the kids (with help but still...). He realizes how hard it is, how he isn't Jon but Jon with 8 kids and he suddenly realizes he's barely 30 and his whole life has been about the kids.

I agree Kate has been hard on him but she has been holding the family together when they were poor and raised what seem to be a pretty good bunch of kids. Leave aside their choice to have 8 kids she has done the hard work to get them to this point. I don't discount Jon - we wouldn't like the family so much if we didn't empathize with a guy whose wife nags him all the time.

But the short and long of it is that I can see why this happened and how it happens all the time to families. I wish Jon would go back to his job and that they would do marriage counseling but I don't think that will happen and divorce is likely in their future (the poor kids). What do you think of the Jon & Kate scandal?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Traveling with Twins: Part Three - Leaving On a Jet Plane

"Leaving on a jet plane, not sure they'll let us back on again." Oh, wait those aren't the lyrics?

Husband has taken the kids with his dad to visit his grandmother. The first time I visited Husband's family they told me we were having lunch with his grandmother - I hopped in the car and we drove and drove. A 2 hour trip each way which is more like how long it takes to get to a vacation destination in Massachusetts.

Anyway, this means I can't upload any photos (he has the camera) but I can tell you how the first leg of our trip went.

Final Answer is: Exhausting.

We fit everything in one suitcase (including our stuff), 2 diaper bags and 1 backpack (mainly for my work laptop or we could have gone without). We only took 1 baby bjorn and 1 stroller. My nanny pulled most of the kids' stuff on Friday while they napped so that made packing easier.

Ned only really cried as the plane landed and Penny slept on me a little but it was a long, long day and being in a strange place resulted in fussy eater (Penny) and sleepers (both). I felt badly for the woman next to me when Penny kept trying to grab her jean jacket and turn the pages of her book. You really notice how small those airplane seats are (especially on commuter jets) when you have an infant in your lap. It is amazing how I just assume we'll get special attention/treatment because I have young kids with me. And we do - people were very nice. There were lots of kids on the plane and in fact another 9 month old (5 days younger than my kids) was sitting right in front of us and Penny of course flirted with him and everyone else. He was a giant baby - probably three times her size. I laughed to myself when his mom turned to her husband and said something about how much easier it is to have one baby because they could trade the kid back and forth when he was rambunctious. Yup - I could barely see Husband's head about 7 rows in front of me.

My sister-in-law hosted a party for the kids on Sunday afternoon. The guests of honor did pretty well being surrounded by more people and kids than they've ever seen in their short lives. Hopefully Husband's cousin will send me some of the photos he took so I can post them.

Only one more flight back home on Tuesday morning and then hopefully back to normal. I think it is going to take at least a year before I want to fly with them again. Visitors are welcome at my house any time though!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Traveling with Twins: Part Two - Excuse Me, Are You Moving In?

Thanks for all your fabulous advice. I put it to good use in creating the packing list below.

This packing assumes that Husband is with Ned and I'm with Penny and we are not sitting together. The flight is completely booked so we have to hold the kids on our laps and we could not reserve seats (there also may be a rule about number of infants per row since we are on a commuter jet). I'll be interested to see what I end up annotating on this list during the packing and after the trip and will let you all know. Sorry for the formatting below - I'm trying to be more modern on my blog but have zero HTML skills.




Diaper Bag (Mommy, Esq. carryon) – for Penny:

Wallet with insurance cards and ID
2 premade bottles
4 diapers
Wipes – large hospital pack
Extra outfit
Lovie
2 pacifiers (one with attachment cord)
Toys – 1 stuffed book, rattle
2 cloth bibs
2 burp clothes
Baby Tylenol and Baby Benadryl
Nail clipper
Snot syringe
Comb
Food: baggie of puffs and teething biscuits
Changing table travel pad
Penny’s napping blanket made by Mimi

Backpack (Husband carryon) – for Ned:

boarding passes
birth certificates
2 premade bottles
4 diapers
Wipes – large hospital pack
Extra outfit
Lovie
2 pacifiers (one with attachment cord)
Toys – 1 stuffed book, rattle
2 cloth bibs
2 burp clothes
Camera with extra batteries
Food: baggie of Os
Changing table travel pad
Ned’s napping blanket made by Mimi

Carryon/Gate check:

2 umbrella strollers
2 baby bjorns


Suitcase:

Sleep sacks
Socks – 6 pairs total
Shoes – 1 pair each plus Ned’s “babydals”
Sweater/jackets
6 onsies
3 pajamas
8 outfits – at least one nice outfit per kid; put in freezer bags
2 bibs (rinsable)
Sun hats
Sunscreen
Barrettes for Penny
Aquaphor
4 burp cloths
2 food clean up washcloths
2 bath washcloths (will use Bill and Debi’s towels)
2 crib sheets
Sample size lotion and body wash (J&J)
2 empty bottles per kid
Busy box, stacking rings and small piano (absolute favorite toys)
Penny’s sleeping elephant and taggie blanket
Cell phone charger
Work laptop, cord and mouse
Mommy Esq and Husband books (maybe we’ll have time to read with grandparents around!)

You can also print the list here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dfppt2c3_18djdbmsct

Tomorrow the kids are using my backup daycare for the first time - that list and schedule is also in process. How do people get any work done for clients when there is so much kid stuff to take care of?

For 10lbs of awesome in a 5 lb bag: I think there is a rule about when to use word numbers with parenthesis - I used to think it was for numbers 10 and under but it was actually for much higher than that. Husband mocked me too - you guys should join a club. He was the one who added "mattresses" to the list and his mom made fun of him for that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Traveling With Twins: Part One - Beg, Borrow and Steal

Husband and I are taking the kids to visit their grandparents this weekend in Ohio. Below is the list I just sent to his mom for her to beg, borrow and steal (and okay, buy, if necessary). Luckily Debi (my mother-in-law) is from a giant family with lots of grandnieces and grandnephews to try to borrow equipment from.

Part Two will be our packing list. Part Three will be the story of how we survived and where I pretend that the other people on the plane did not try to have my screaming kids ejected somewhere over Buffalo. This is riveting stuff, people.

Grandparents to Buy:
  • Two (2) 32 oz cans of Neste Good Start (orange label, note: not Good Start 2) premade formula
  • Two (2) 32 oz bottles of Similac Alimentum (purple label) premade formula
  • One (1) package of wipes (we use Pampers sensitive but anything is fine)
  • One (1) small package of Pampers size 3 (Penny)
  • One (1) small package of Pampers size 4 (Ned)
  • Beechnut Oatmeal for babies – no soy or milk (in red “milk-carton” box)
  • Beechnut Rice Cereal for babies - no soy or milk (in red “milk-carton” box)
  • A few jars of Earth’s Best Stage 2 food – some dinner (meat/veggie mix; 1-2 jars), fruit (3 jars), veggie (1-2 jars)
  • Ned eats pasta, shredded cheese, green beans, peas, squash, sweet potatoes – most frozen veggies…in fact, almost anything you put in front of him.
Equipment (Beg, Borrow or Steal)
  • Two (2) cribs and mattresses
  • One (1) bouncy chair (if possible) – Penny eats in bouncy chair
  • One (1) or two (2) highchairs
  • Two (2) car seats. If you can only find an infant and a convertible Penny can ride in the infant seat – she’s still small enough.
What did you overpack that you realized really did come in handy? What do you wish you had brought?

Snaggletooth

Ned's first tooth broke through a couple of weeks ago right after Husband and I were complaining about him keeping us up. I guess usually both bottom teeth come in at the same time but not for Ned!  


He is putting his chomper to good use with table food - more to come on that subject!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

8 Month Chair Photos

Terrible working mom that I am I never posted the kids 8 month chair photos. With less than 2 weeks before their are 9 months I thought I'd finally put them up (don't you love nap time?). As I mentioned in the 7 month photos, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get them to pose - they are very active little monkeys.

This photo very much tells the story of how my kids humor me:

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Buddy

I looked at Ned the other day and thought - when did you get so big?!

He went from this:



To this:



In a flash.
He isn't crawling or pulling up but he's thinking about it. Instead of my baby he's become my little huggable buddy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Time on the Outside

Husband mentioned last night that the kids have now officially spent more time outside of me than inside of me. I counted and 37 weeks was on Monday so he's right.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy (even the gestational diabetes was manageable) and birth. The kids were healthy ("full term" at 37 weeks), no NICU time, decent sizes (Ned was the smaller baby!), eating well and eventually sleeping well. In my mind everything was so hum-drum that I thought my kids were going to be "normal" in the milestone sense of normalcy. I certainly did not expect them to knock those milestones out of the park but that they'd be average. After all, I was a very (at the time) preemie and I crawled, walked, ate and talked on schedule.

All of a sudden in the last few weeks I feel like I have a preemie on my hands. Every ounce that Penny eats matters (I text the nanny after every feeding) and her weight is constantly scrutinized. Yesterday she weighed in at 13 lbs, 2 ounces, a 2 ounce drop in two days (not surprising given the Snot Monster). When I pick her up to hug her I feel like I'm going to break her somehow. Those are things you worry about when your kids are first born, not when they are almost 9 months old. I'm not even worried about her inability to roll, make apprioate "sounds" or spend any time on her stomach, just whether she eats.

So many families have to deal with much more serious medical issues (like this little girl Dakota that I shouldn't have been reading about yesterday) and I know we'll eventually get through this. It just sucks more when things were "normal" for quite a while and I feel like there is no reason for why she won't eat or grow. I just added a new blog tag - "failure to thrive" to my blog and that sucks too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baby Monsters

Babies come in various monster forms like cuddle monster, crabby monster, fussy monster, happy shriek monster and a new one currently inhabiting the Esq household:

What's your favorite type of baby monster?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baby Dip

Now that we yanked Penny off the acid reflux medicine and Duacal supplement and drugged her up with Tylenol for her fever and Benadryl for the bubbles she's been blowing out her nose we can go back to the Esq status quo which seems to involve Mommy, Esq. and Husband (and Nanny) parenting the equivalent of a 6 month old and a 9 month old which sucks.

Instead let's talk about something fun and filled with chlorine - swim lessons! Baby Dip started 2 weeks ago and I'm happy to report my kids haven't inherited a fear ("respect") that Husband has of water*. I knew they liked the bathtub and was hopeful they would be okay in a larger pool. They loved it!

Waiting For Class to Begin
Ned thinks it is easy to swim - see someone else drags you!
Penny thinks about going after the duck
Ned gives his friend Georgie a kiss
Daddy will catch you!
Do you think there is an "n" missing? Neither does Husband.
Waterfall fun
Time to dry off

Special Thanks to Georgie's Mom Julie who took all these photos.

*True Story: I once told Husband I wasn't sure I could marry him because he didn't swim. He never learned but I did make him go snorkeling during our honeymoon in Hawaii.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Penny update

Husband here...

Well, the new stuff the GI prescribed Thursday did NOT work so well. After a weekend of not eating and occasional puking, plus some labored breathing, fever, and dry diapers, Penny's spending today with Mommy going on a round of doctor visits. Right now they're at the hospital, getting her some blood work and a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia...or something.

A visit to MGH's pediatric GI/ENT team for a second opinion is in the works.

Meanwhile, I can't even help Wife deal with it all because I'm stuck in Delaware for a meeting that probably isn't happening.

Expect more updates as we get new info.

---UPDATE---
Wife says I was worrying you all for no good reason--sorry about that. No pneumonia, no dehydration, no infections...everything's fine. As fine as last week, anyway.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pushing Through It

Sometimes after a really stressful day when you learn that your daughter gained no weight in one month* and you spent the better part of an afternoon scouring labels at Whole Paycheck for high calorie soy-free, milk-free, nut-free foods that won't make her throw up because you are supposed to find someway to double her calories** and your husband is all quiet and worried it helps to have a reminder sent by your wonderful caregiver that she is having fun anyway.



*Static at 13 lbs, 4 ounces (although possibly longer (no idea), now at 25.9 inches).
**We are also going to be adding prescribed high calorie powder in her bottles and food.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wash That Taste Right Out of My Mouth

You all should be happy you weren't me this morning.  After breakfast and getting dressed (them, not me) the kids and I were playing on their playroom mat.  I picked Penny up and was sort of rolling her in my arms away from me and back again for kisses. 

Penny suddenly projectile vomited at me and some if it went in my mouth.  Excuse me, I have to go brush my teeth again. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Teething

Husband here with a quick update before I get more coffee...

Ned is officially teething. We can feel two bumps on the lower gum. And he was up wailing until about 3:00 last night before the exhaustion finally started working together with the ibuprofen.

I'm tired. On the bright side, once these two teeth are out, it should be smooth sailing until he's 16 or so. I assume.

Mommy, Esq. additional information: This is payback for my hubris when I said the kids were teething last December. Special thanks to Husband for getting up most of the time - I'm so lucky his side of the bed is closer to the door.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Just To Pass The Time Away

Thank you for all the wonderful Table Food comments you provided yesterday. We tried some broccoli for dinner last night and it was a big hit with Ned (not so much with Penny). Did you know you could burn broccoli in the microwave? Apparently this happens if you don't put in enough water when you microwave the crap out of it.

**********************************************

I sing "I've Been Working On the Railroad" to the kids every day. I have a terrible memory and it is one of the few I remember from my childhood. I looked it up on Wikipedia the other day and there is a final stanza that wasn't in the version my mom sang to us...with good reason:


Someone's makin' love to Dinah
Someone's making love I know.
Someone's making love to Dinah
'Cause I can't hear the old banjo


What is your go-to song?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Their Highchairs Are On Mount Everest

This is Part One in an Indefinite Multi-Part Post on Table Food. You used to call it Food... that was before kids.

Months 5-8 I felt in control of the food situation*. The Esq Tykes "ate" but it was bottles and something we moms call "solid" food but is in no way solid.

I introduced rice cereal at 4 months, follwed quickly by "solids". We introduced the sippy cup at 6 months (neither kid is any good at them but they do drink some water if you hold it for them). My kids may be "behind schedule" developmentally but my philosophy is that I will at least try to introduce things over a long enough period so I'm ready with the routine all in place when they are ready to develop said skill. It also lets me get ready mentally for each stage.

This month I decide I need to get a handle on Table Food. I was raised in a home where green beans came out of cans and we had set weekly nights like Chopped Liver (McDonald's) and Stewed Monkey Brains (Prince Spaghetti Night). Only since having kids have Husband and I come up with a set of go-to meals for us that are relatively nutritious and easy to make. I would really rather just insert an IV for my nutrition so I don't need to have choices or spend time cooking so I really want to encourage healthy behaviors in my kids and ensure they aren't the picky eater I am.

After 2 weeks of attempting it, I have determined that Table Food sucks. The kids can't eat what we do (especially since mine have no teeth and we don't get home early enough to make dinner) but we can't have them eating purees at 1 year old (can we? please?). Husband and I get home too late to make something for dinner before the kids eat/go to bed so I try to have a bunch of options in the fridge to put a couple of items on their trays before "solids".

Future blog installment will include, but not be limited to: Jar Food, I Heart You 4Ever; Fruit and Veggies = Wet and Slippery; Grocery Lists Are For Dummies.

In the meantime take pity on Mommy, Esq. and send me suggestions for finger foods to introduce and any infant-appropriate menus. Any tips for getting kids to eat what you put on their trays? (So far no luck with blueberries, peaches, pasta, watermelon, green beans, carrots - the kids won't let them near their mouths. The only winners are corn cakes (like rice cakes), puffs, Os and pancakes). What do people in daycare do with introducing finger food? Bonus points if you include suggestions on how to help incorporate the Nanny into doing the lion share of the work.


Visual evidence as to how my kids do not heart table food.





*Note: Except Miss Penny and her rejection of bottle food. She cannot have milk or soy so we are delaying Ned on most of those items too (except cheese because we always have shredded cheese in our house).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Firsts

Today I made the kids pancakes, violating the rules about no eggs before 9 months (or was it a year? Whatever!).  They loved it and I've now created another Esq generation of Sunday pancake-eaters.  Husband also gave the kids small bits of bacon - Penny kept hers in her mouth for about 15 mins chewing on it until I finally dug out the remnants.  She liked it though!

You Should See What You Look Like In the Morning!

I Can Fit More In, I Swear!

Mommy, Esq. isn't a professional like Nanny April but sometimes the creative juices flow.  What a Card took her kids to Chuck-E-Cheese but I brought the ballpit to my kids. 

There Is Enough Room For You Too


Friday, May 1, 2009

What do you see?

Husband wants to challenge Eric Carle as children's writer of the year at our house.  Since I'm sick of him reading Good Night Maine he decided to come up with his own children's book - violating copyright and trademarks I'm sure. 

Check it out here.