Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Completely Average

Josephine Alice was one month old on Sunday. Behold the resurgence of the chair photos with a new compliant subject!

Today we went to the pediatrician. Josephine weighs 9 lbs, 4.6 ounces, is 21.75 inches tall and her head measures 14 inches. She is exactly 50% and has gained basically an ounce a day in the 26 days since we last saw the pediatrician. It is so relaxing having an average baby!

Josie will tolerate tummy time and I'm as impressed with her neck strength as I was with Ned and Penny when they were newborns.

She seems to be seeing better - enjoying short periods of time on the playmat and staring up at the fishes in her downstairs swing (you can see them in the back of the tummy time photo). [The crazy eyed look in the photo below is very reminiscent of her older brother Ned.] Our new baby is a pacifier addict and is fussy primarily when she is gassy or overtired.

Josie gives me a 6 or 7 hour stretch after we put her to bed (by 8:30 pm although earlier if possible) but is then terrible to get back to sleep - grunting and snuffly - I'm usually up about 2 hours in the middle of the night. Husband always gives her a bedtime bottle and I pump after we eat dinner to make up the difference. There are definitely times that I sleep Josephine in the swing for the second half of her "nighttime" sleep. All of this feels normal and I'm not that stressed other than wishing she would just fall back asleep!

I'm not napping really during the day but I feel okay generally and usually get at least one or two things crossed off my list each day. Not sure why so many of them involve me shopping! I also try to do at least one or two activities with Ned and Penny each week. Monday counts since I took all three kids to the doctor's with Nanny April and on Thursday the older tykes will be getting haircuts and we'll all go out to lunch. I even went to tour a gym and will be visiting another one this week so I can start exercising when we are back from the 60th Wedding Anniversary Family Vacation.

Josephine with her Bumpa:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Survival of the Parents

How was your weekend?

Mine looked like this:

Dr. Mommy, Esq. has diagnosed Ned and Penny with conjunctivitis (the mucus in the eyelashes/red and puffy and glassy eyes) - which I will confirm tomorrow at the pediatrician's office. Josie and I both seem to have thrush so that will total FOUR co-pays in one day.

Every weekend is torture. Josephine has been fine - she's up for two hours in the middle of the night and wants to clusterfeed/is fussy during the 4-7 pm twin meltdown and bedtime routine - but overall she's pretty manageable.

The boy we call Ned - he's not manageable. Penny has also started getting into the act. Husband's and my asses are being kicked by our toddlers. I wish I could say it was because they are sick or maybe their two year molars are coming in but we all know that is a crock of b.s. Toddlers are soul sucking creatures whose tantrums and screaming are designed to embarrass and exhaust you.

I'm in survival mode again and it has nothing to do with a newborn.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where Are Those Lazy Summer Days?

Josie and I went on our first Big Firm newborn playdate. Four of us had babies at work (all due in the same week) and three of us were on leave at the same time last time.

Here is Josephine (on right) with Quinn David and Josephine Marie.

It was nice to just sit there and do nothing but chat with moms about feedings and diapers, our respective birth experiences and older children reactions to new siblings. I actually think I'm the most nervous of the three of us - but then again my Josie has been hard to settle at night and between feedings.

I've definitely been trying to do too much since she's born. It's as though I want to go-go-go since last time I spent so much time at home. I've taken her grocery shopping, to the mall, to breastfeeding support group, etc. With Ned and Penny I only left the house during the day once a week for our Isis class starting when they were 6 weeks old.

I also feel as though I should be spending time with Ned and Penny during the day even with a full time nanny. So I feed Josie downstairs and I don't really spend as much time focused on her as I did with Ned and Penny. I need to spend more time with her up in her nursery bonding which was my original plan. She isn't eating much during the day so I spend a lot of time trying to get her to eat which can be more fun when Penny points to my breast and says "Eat! Eat!". And yes, of course I worry about Penny's failure to thrive condition as precedent so I'm going for a weight check and lactation consult on Monday. I also test froze some milk and when thawed the milk smelled bad like last time. At least now I won't kill myself trying to get a freezer stash going or keeping track of every ounce.

Husband was away for three mornings and bedtimes. It worked out okay for me to handle the mornings solo since Josie was eating around 5 or 6 am so I could get Ned and Penny up around 7/7:30 am (I did let them hang out extra long in their cribs awake). Evenings are rougher since I'm tired but I had my mom, dad and friend Natalie come over one per night and that was a big help. Josie was down by 9:00 pm most nights and so I had an hour or so to myself before bed. He's gone for another three nights next week but my mom is going to help out. After that I hope I can start to handle it on my own.

I will post more pictures soon. Josephine has some intense baby acne right now so she's not the most photogenic baby. Below is Josie in an outfit Ned wore with a comparison photo. Doesn't she look just like him?!

Ned at approximately 6 weeks:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Post-Josie Work Trip

Husband here...

I'm currently on my first overnight work trip since Josie was born. It turns out it's much easier than I expected--no major issues with me being away.

Well, none for me, anyway. I'm sure Wife, Esq. has her own slightly different POV.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Completely Unresearched Approach to Potty Training

[Also check out Husband's post below on a new fun bedtime ritual. We were blogging in separate rooms and were both surprised when the other posted!]

When Penny got interested in the mechanics of "potty" I got a small Bjorn potty in our downstairs bathroom and an insert for the toilet in their bathroom. Nanny April has the kids sit on the potty after naps. They love to come in and sit on the potty when I go. The more the merrier in my opinion.

But they are interested and certainly not going to get more biddable as they get older so I'm going to do an experiment (assuming I can get Husband on board). This is not researched, I have read no books, articles or blogs about potty training.

I am not mentally ready for bootcamp so I'm taking a "solid food" approach to potty training. We will "peepee on the potty" party several times a day:

1. When they wake up before diaper changes.
2. After breakfast before getting dressed I will have them sit on the potty.
3. I will ask Nanny April to have them sit on the potty after morning snack (or before they leave the house) and before lunch/nap.
4. She has them sit after nap before snack.
5. I will ask her to have them sit after afternoon play.
6. Then, after dinner, I will strip them naked, have them sit on the potty and - here is the key - keep them naked for an hour or so until bath/bedtime, with a sitting on the potty just before they get into their bath. This will be Husband's job - to ask them if they need to potty. I also advised him that maybe we encourage after-dinner family time in their playroom where we have very easy to clean playmats down. And who doesn't love a little naked time in the warm summer evenings?

To be fair I have no idea if my kids really understand what it means to "go potty". Ned randomly pooped and peed once and Nanny April made much ado about it but no other successes.

They will keep wearing diapers. I am not buying underwear or doing sticker charts. I will not stress about it if I miss a time or two. It will be a toddler distraction activity and not a "time to grow up ". I'll let you know if we have any success but my "program" was designed so I wouldn't stress since I have enough stress with a newborn and a husband who travels every week. This could go on all summer and will probably have set backs like when we are on vacation in North Carolina since I am maybe bringing one potty with us and I'm okay with all that.

My original plan was just to have Nanny April take care of it but she's only here 8 hours a day so I figured I might as well turn it into an activity.

This potty training endeavor was inspired by the tykes' friend: The Duchess, Georgianna, aka Georgie, or GiGi to my kids. GiGi is the leader of this ragtag band of toddlers (check out her grip on her minions in the photo below). Her mom is 8 months pregnant and is going daytime cold turkey potty training. Brave woman.

Lay it on me ... what do you think? Am I doomed to fail?

Goodnight Moon Is Hot!

Husband here.

Wife is getting to have most of the fun with Josie for now. Fortunately, I still have Ned and Penny to keep me entertained.

They are starting to develop quite the sophisticated sense of humor. One of our standard bedtime books is, of course, Goodnight Moon. The other day I was reading it, and getting a little bored with the story. I decided to point out random things in the room. (Look kids, drapes! Ooooooh.)

I thought I'd teach them a valuable lesson, so I pointed to the fireplace in the book and said "Fire is HOT!" Then I touched the fire and shouted in pain and yelled "Hot!" They giggled. I did it again. They guffawed. I did it again. They almost pooped themselves, they were laughing so hard. (Diapers were on, fortunately.)

Ever since, they both love that book, but all they'll do is flip through to each picture of the fire, and say "Hot!" and laugh. The moment we get in the bedroom after baths, they race to the bookshelf, chanting "Hot!" and grab the book...Penny grabs my fingers to make me hold the book so she can read it. And in the morning when they wake up, as soon as I walk in the room, they point to the book on the ground and say "Hot!" and laugh. Occasionally I'll hear them saying it to each other over the monitor.

I'm not sure they quite learned the safety lesson I intended, but at least it's entertaining.

Oh, also, Penny now says "Uhh-guh-guh" for "elephant." It's kind of cute.

(Now an aside: has it occurred to anyone how rich this family of rabbits in Goodnight Moon must be? The kid has a bedroom that looks to be a good 20 feet wide. With a fireplace. And--I think this is significant for the 1940s when the book was written--a phone in the kid's room! And I'm assuming the "quiet old lady" is paid staff of some kind. Finally, there's a tiger skin rug on the floor. Which I imagine would have been expensive. It's also weird that these giant anthropomorphic rodents would have hunted tigers and kept cats as pets. There's a lot going on in that book.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rainy Day Ramblings

I went to a breastfeeding support group on Wednesday. I had gone a few times with Ned and Penny primarily as a way of getting out of the house but didn't stick with it because I felt like a fraud - what with pumping, and bottles, and some formula and a child that wouldn't eat and milk that wouldn't freeze properly. I was surprised how emotional I felt back in that room, insecure again with a new infant. Josie has only been eating every 4 hours (and at night has even gone 5 hours) and she takes forever and of course all that can run through my mind is whether she will be like Penny. She may look like Ned but she has the same tongue tie as Penny. And I'm already worried about reflux since Penny's was silent other than hiccups (which Josie has of course - most babies do).

Husband is not a fan of breastfeeding. I've noted that before with Ned and Penny and it is especially true this time around because I spend an hour or more feeding Josie and lots of time that impacts my ability to help with morning and bedtime with Ned and Penny. And soon he'll be travelling again (including a three day trip in two weeks). Yes, he should be more supportive but yes, I also understand where he is coming from - he wants this baby to be on a schedule even if I am not making him get up in the middle of the night. I want to make it work but man, the pull of a bottle is so strong - especially because I know I won't be pumping when I go back to work(personal choice the details of which I won't bore you but relate to frozen milk issues and job demands and sanity). Overall I feel better this time about breastfeeding but very, very nervous about reflux and if Josie is eating enough.

Ned and Penny are handling things rather well. I've been spending time with them during the day (sometimes I nurse Josie downstairs while they are playing). It was hard the other day when I noticed that Penny likes to give Nanny April hugs and kisses. She has never, ever, given me a kiss just because. I love that they love Nanny April but it would be nice to see her come to me too. Overall though I can be pretty pragmatic about working mom issues like that one - the kids spend so much time with their nanny that I would expect her to be their favorite.

Nanny April does so much around the house that my days and nights are relatively calm. Boring even. I've cleaned out my bathroom cabinet and drawer, am working on the home office spring clean up and I try to get out once a day to see a friend or do some errands.

I still think Josie looks like a "fatter" Ned (she has more weight in her face) but Husband does enjoy styling Josie's hair post-bath like he used to do Penny's. Penny is probably about 9-10 weeks in this photo.

I finally found an earlier one of Penny (she's probably 3 weeks old here):

Josie's mohawk:

This is the best I could do so far for a "group" photo:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Off topic rant: Avatar sucked.

Husband here...

After a lousy day dealing with clients, followed by a typically rough toddler bedtime, I thought Wife and I could enjoy watching Avatar, which came yesterday from Netflix.

Six months or so I'd waited to see it. Work and kid responsibilities wouldn't let me get to the IMAX to see it when it first came out.

And damn me if it didn't just put the capper on a horrible day. The movie simply blows goats. Even though it was from Netflix, I feel like I should demand my money back from someone.

Fine, it had decent effects. But that's cost of entry for any big-budget sci-fi flick.


This post deals well with some of my basic objections, notably about the little battlemechs--and their idiotic knives:

Then there's the issue that humanity in the movie had mastered gene splicing to the point that they could make a human-Navi hybrid...but they couldn't figure out how to exploit the brain-to-brain interface that was apparently common to every single plant and animal on Pandora? That is a goldmine right there...they're still controlling their knife-wielding battlemechs with hand gestures.

But what really kept bugging me was one line--about how Unobtanium (whatever it is and whatever it does) was worth "20 million a kilo." Now, assuming they're talking U.S. dollars (and it would be silly to say they're not; otherwise why quote a figure to audiences in 2009?), it's straightforward to figure out what that means in modern terms.

Assume a fairly tame, consistent 3% level of inflation in the 144 years from today until 2154 when the movie is set. Thanks to the magic of compounding, that $20M/kg is only $283,445/kg today. By way of comparison, gold today is $39,195/kg. So Unobtanium is worth about 7.2 times what gold is worth.

For this they go to the trouble of interstellar travel? (Forget about costs of extraction and any qualms about oppressing the natives...) Ridiculous. Even if you assume space elevators (never shown/mentioned) to at least reduce the cost of getting cargo to and from Earth orbit.

Jam together any 3 episodes of Battlestar Galactica together and you have a better (and shorter) movie with a more coherent backstory. Yes, even if "Black Market" is one of the three.

One star. Shame on you, Mr. Cameron.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's All Coming Back To Me

Blogging might be a bit sporadic as Josie and I try to figure each other out. Feeding on demand means no schedule or sleep so my mind is a bit foggy and I can't yet figure out how to be on the computer while feeding her. She's now a week old!

Photos to come soon but in the meantime I've been experiencing all the challenges associated with infants that I had long since forgotten with Ned and Penny. There are also some key differences with having a "singleton" but I'll save those thoughts for another post.
  • Tied to the breast. When in doubt as to what is wrong - gas, hungry, exhaustion, etc., just shove a boob in the baby's mouth. Josie is very, very interested in nursing and as a result I seem to be tied to her 24/7 (never mind I've had to start using a shield to help with pain). We have had to do a couple of bottles when I feel completely tapped out but things are going well in the breastfeeding department. How do moms with other kids manage to care for them while breastfeeding a newborn?
  • Diapers. I had forgotten how often you have to change diapers - at least 10 a day.
  • Obsolete husband. Husband has so little to do (this time around) since Josie is nursing. He has been on twin duty of course but I feel like he hasn't been able to bond with Josie as much. And since he is back at work already I don't want him to get up in the middle of the night unless I can't mentally get out of bed (happened at least once around 5 am when I had been up most of the night).
  • Unpredictability. I never know when she'll want to eat or sleep or for how long.
  • Exhaustion. Good thing I don't have to make any important decisions on a daily basis!
  • Floppy and fragile, but sweet and snuggly (even if that is all routing).
What is your least favorite part about caring for infants? Most favorite?