Thursday, April 29, 2010

Second Time Not So Charming

Blogging is sparse this week as I try to muster my flagging energy level. I'm 36 weeks early next week and I'm only carrying one so why am I so damn tired? Yesterday I had to work from home because Penny had a doctor's visit (nicely cutting into her nap) and I also need to see whether the slight looking damage I caused on the minivan a month or so ago in a parking garage would require an insurance claim or out-of-pocket. Result: damn, cars are expensive; hello increased premiums.

Anyway, I'm so done with working. I was off for a few weeks before I had Ned and Penny but I had gestational diabetes, feetloaves and was carrying twins. I don't think my OB is going to give me early medical leave this time with the absence of the foregoing.

But it is so different being pregnant with toddlers - Ned and Penny want to be picked up when they see me and are jealous of each other. I'm having a hard time getting up and down off the ground as I play with them. There is no lounging in the morning in bed - I have to be up for the kids.

I called a friend of mine who is a stay-at-home and suggested she get some help part time for the month leading up to the birth of her second. If I'm this tired with a full time nanny I can just imagine how she'll feel!

But my brain is also functioning at a much slower pace, making being at work tough too. And not much prep is getting done for Spyder since I'm either working at night (to make up for my slowness during the day) or can't seem to do more than push buttons to work my DVR. How did you other moms cope with this?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Little Bodies, Big Personalities

Being a stay-at-home mom is exhausting. And that is with my in-laws in town (of course that also meant guests which can be tiring in and of itself). I have some "lessons I learned" last week that I will share in the next post.

What amazed me the most during my 9 day-straight interaction with the kids is that they have quite a bit of personality. Some facets are charming, others challenging but put them all together and we have 2 additional PEOPLE running around the house.

Penny: I think she may be OCD - she likes to clean everything. Give the girl a rag and she'll clean the floor, her toothbrush, your shirt, etc. She does let herself get messy while eating so I'm not too worried about it - it's just weird since there is no way she inherited this from Husband or me or our respective families. Speaking of eating, man, that girl can put it away! She's also getting better with utensils. Penny is very much a people person - would prefer to play with you than by herself. She gives lovely hugs. Penny does refuse to wear barrettes or hair things even when given a choice (she'll take both and then refuse to wear either). Stubborn, completely stubborn - and she doesn't really forget when she's mad - we had some 45+ min shrieking bouts when she didn't get her way. Her communication skills are improving every day but when she nods her head yes (basically using her whole body) it is still my favorite. She can focus on projects for longer periods of time than Ned can (stickers are a big favorite) but she is more easily bored by reading (unless she can be asked questions of items to point to) and/or TV time.

Ned: He cries "Mama" all the time but he doesn't really mean me, he just means that he doesn't like that you won't give him (or let him do) x, y or z. If we just dropped him in a field somewhere to run around he'd be happy until he fell over from exhaustion. I love how he snuggles and is so fascinated while watching The Backyardigans. His language has also progressed - "juice" being a new favorite word (joining "TV" and "blue" - what kind of parents are we?!) as well "shoes" so he can go outside. He always asks for "Dada" over the monitor in the morning and nothing makes him happier than seeing dogs at the park. He is more easily frustrated than Penny but he doesn't hold a grudge for as long. Now that he has the run of the house and more outdoor time he hasn't been "reading" as much. He is more willing to do his own thing than she is.

It was a wonderful week getting to know the kids but you'll have to excuse me while I go get a snack and sit in quiet at my desk at work. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Diary of a Stay-at-Home Mom

Nanny April has jetted off on a Caribbean cruise for a week and Husband has to save his vacation time for when Spyder is born so I am playing the role of stay at home mom this week.

Unlike other stay-at-home moms I have called in the troops to help. In part I thought I was going to feel pretty lousy this close to my due date (about 5 weeks to go!) and of course it was a wonderful excuse to ask my in-laws to come up and use the guest room one last time before we convert it into a nursery.

Monday and Tuesday I'm on my own but since Helen is a teacher she has this week off so she's going to come during the arsenic hour on Monday and my mom is going to come on Tuesday during that same hour. Husband is basically traveling all week, as FYI.

I do have work to do for my job (of course!) but I have a few "must dos" on my household to do list as well for this week. Lots to get organized before this baby is born!

Here is a taste of some activities I was thinking of for the tykes this week (just heard it will rain Thurs/Friday, ugh):
  • Aquarium (we are members)
  • Children's museum (never been)
  • Local parks
  • Playdates (including one Tuesday morning with Nicole and her adorable twins)
  • Backyard fun - sandbox, playhouse and water table
  • Arts & Crafts (I assume 10 mins per project attention span) - stickers, playdough, cooking
Here are the things that I am not looking forward to:
  • Determining every menu (usually I just have to deal with breakfast) for what the kids will eat, plus what we'll eat
  • Cleaning up the eating
  • Laundry
  • Practicing patience - it can be hard to have unlimited patience after a full day with two toddlers who are easily upset lately
Good thing I still have plenty of lap room.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You're my boy, Blue!

Husband here...

It's fun to see the kids' language skills developing. Penny has a very cute way of saying "uh-ohhhhh" when anything unexpected happens. She also says "shoe" very well and clearly knows what it means.

But Ned has my current favorite word. Partially because it's more abstract, and partially because of the way he uses it. He'll point to various things and say "blue." (Well, it's "booo," really.) Most of the time it's something that's actually blue, and those times his tone is pretty happy. But other times he'll point to something that's certainly not blue, like the red "eraser" trackpoint thingy nub on my notebook from work. He still says "boooo," but with an almost panicked tone. You can tell he knows it's not really blue, he just doesn't know the right word and wants you to tell him.

That's my interpretation, anyway.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is This The Beginning of the End: A Penny Medical Update

Last week Penny was at MGH for various swallow studies and other aspiration studies. Because I am pregnant I had to stand in the other room when they did the films but I think she did better without me - Penny is such a people pleaser that she was laughing and pointing to stickers and drinking when instructed. All in all I was told she was the best kid they've ever had (I bet they say that to all the moms). She did flip out when they put the tube down her nose (to make sure that there is no holes between her esophagus and her lungs) but they told me that adults do too. The fluid in her lungs was gone and they said all tests were "negative" (ie, normal).

The tests did show that Penny "holds back" liquid in her mouth, it takes 2 swallows to clear and that she does not "continuously swallow" (think of how you gulp water when you are thirst - she takes "breaks"). Apparently this is very common with reflux kids - a protective mechanism they develop. It does not cause aspiration. It was pretty cool watching the liquid go down on the X-ray monitor.

Yesterday Penny spent the day at my work daycare and we had an appointment with her pulmonologist in the afternoon to discuss the test results. After Penny took everything out of my wallet twice and went over to waive at each person individually in the waiting room, we got to see her pulmonologist.

He kept remarking how big she was and how grown up (she weighed in at 21 lbs and is 30.5 inches tall for the record). Originally he was going to suggest we go forward with the CT and lung biopsy to confirm what sort of interstial lung disease she might have (some are treatable with steroids and a few other options) - and to get it all done fast-track before I had the baby. Instead he decided we should see at home if she is any better without the O2. She seemed "so great" developmentally and size-wise that he was wondering if maybe she's grown out of it.

We were instructed to record her desaturations in a journal and check occasionally to see what her level was running at on the monitor. If the desaturations were frequent she'd move straight through to the CT and the lung biopsy and if it was ambiguous we'd come in for an overnight sleep study.

We put the monitor in the hallway so it wouldn't disturb either kid's sleep (it is set to alarm at 88%). It NEVER WENT OFF. In fact, we checked periodically until 2:00 am and she was running at 97% the whole time.

Of course we thought this before (God, was that really last NOVEMBER?) but she went back on the O2 a couple of weeks later. I spoke with her pulmonologist this morning and he was very excited. He would have been happy with mid-90s and thinks 97% is "very reassuring". He wants us to keep the O2 etc on hand and use the monitor again if she gets a cold but otherwise Penny doesn't have to wear the monitor.

We have kicked the failure to thrive (she eats more than Ned!), her reflux is under control (but she still clearly needs her meds), and the O2 saga may be over. Next up is her "allergies" - I don't think that will be done before Spyder arrives but it is nice to see how far Penny has come in the last year.

P.S. Isn't it weird how we call doctors "Dr. So and So" even though they could be our age (and younger)? Her pulmonologist is great and I could actually see us being friends except it is odd with me calling him "Dr." all the time, after all, he calls me by my first name.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Before I went back to work more than a year ago I was the person in-charge of every aspect of Ned and Penny's life. I decided when it was time to nap and sleep train them, when to transition them to "solid" food and fretted about what to feed them for "table" food. Husband would just nod as I explained what other moms did (after consulting fellow moms, including my mom of twins group of course).

Now sometimes I come home and Husband says "Nanny April [and I] decided to start doing something differently today" - eliminating the bedtime bottle, switching Penny to sippy cups from bottles, eliminating the morning nap and other small transitions. Each are of course necessary but it is hard when I am not the one who planned for it, thought about how it would work, did a dry run, consulted my fellow moms, etc.

Last night they decided to have the kids sleep out of their sleep sacks because we've been unable to locate larger cotton sleep sacks in stores. Instead they were covered in blankets. I wasn't prepared for the transition. I hadn't consulted the MOTs! Is a loose blanket best or should we be "tucking them in" now? Won't their feet get cold?

I often assumed that my stay-at-home mom friends just decide themselves when transitions will occur sometimes get burned when they realize they can't power through a transition.

Part of this is linked to my Type A personality and I need to let it go but this is one part of the working mom psyche that I struggle the most with.

How do you handle transitions in your home?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Future Coffee House Visitor?

I do have a bunch of Easter photos to share but for now below is a cute video of Penny.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Did I really believe I could stay 15 forever?

It's no small truth that I have the soul of a 15 year old. I like to gossip, watch movies directed at the teen set, read trashy romance novels, sleep late and lounge by the pool without actually going in. It is in stark contrast to my normal practical self.

Today I am reminded that I am not 15 - I turned 33. This is a bit disappointing because of the following facts:

1. I honestly spent the last 6 months thinking I was turning 32. Therefore, I have figuratively lost a year of my life. I blame Ned and Penny since I keep referring to "last summer when I was also pregnant" but of course that was two summers ago.

2. Last night when I checked on the kids I noticed how big Ned looked. Yes, it could be the too small sleep sack, but the size of his hands are disturbing.

3. I just plucked a grey hair. My second plucking ever. Very fitting it should occur on my birthday. And why do they appear near the front where they are so much more visible? This is in sharp contrast to the natural highlights I was admiring in Ned and Penny's hair this morning. It reminds me of some hair commercial (Clairol?) where the mom model wanted to have her highlighted to match her adorable blond child. I can't take the time or expense of the upkeep - I'm lucky to stay up with my eyebrows.

4. Wrinkles. Clearly it is a myth that if you moisturize every day since you are 15 it will stave off wrinkles. I've been noticing them. Aren't car mirrors the worst?

Since I missed this year I won't say I'm any wiser. But I'm pretty much where I would like to be as a mom, a wife and sometimes even a lawyer.

Two Lovely Wishes (with a hidden Third)

P.S. Happy Birthday to Allie and Stacey, my awesome sisters.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

The kids did their first Easter egg hunt at Grammy & Bumpa's house. Penny is very good at Easter egg hunting. Ned tends to focus more on getting the eggs open...kind of like a monkey cracking coconuts.

As Jefferson (or Franklin? whatever...) said, apologies for the long video, as I have not had time to edit it down to a short one.