Friday, December 30, 2011

Highlights of a Christmas Reel

I'm so exhausted that I know if I tried to write a real post - a witty, entertaining read with a clear cut beginning, middle and hilarious ending - that I would wind up with fragment sentences and no real point.

Because this year Peanut got me no sleep for Christmas. Gotta love the girl. She found the perfect gift for the woman that has everything! Waking every three hours to eat is no fun, but she has decided it is the perfect gift of quantity time. Not qaulity, for I know no one is in top form at 8:30 pm, Midnight, 3 am and 630 am. No one.

Sigh.

I'm tired and can't think straight, but I want to fill you in on some of the Christmas a-happening's, because it really was a fun, exhausting time. So here goes.

I can't remember where I read it (Andrea, was it you?!) but someone out there in this bloggy world of ours had a genius idea for Christmas gifts from the kids to their Dad, and I stole it. I took Bjorn to Dollar Tree, gave him ten dollars and told him he could pick anything in the store to buy for Daddy. My only rule was that he could only get one of an item. No duplicates, no multiples. Ten different items.

It was a blast.

Here's what Daddy got for Christmas.

What happens when you combine a ten dollar bill and a 2 year old.

Why, yes, that IS a giant roll of paper towels, flushable wipes, a hairbrush with three hair ties, cough drops and a Toy Story folder, among other things.

I thought it was so much fun to shop with Bjorn for the gifts, but it was actually more fun to see Daddy open it. He had no clue what he would find next in the gift bag!

We also flew not once, but twice, to Houston in the month of December. The first time was to get Peanut baptized, which is a blog I will have to write another day. Short story - she was shunned at her own baptism (although I was told that it still "took") and I wrote a nasty-gram to the diocese of Houston concerning one grumpy old priest.

Huh. Maybe this was why she was kicked out?!
I digress.

So. . . we flew twice in December, and somehow (miracle of miracles!) we didn't have to wait at the airport all day to get standby on flights and all our flights were on time. I really don't know how we did it. It was practically a work of art to have everything work out for us the way it did.

It's not easy traveling with kids, but it was worth it to see family and friends. Yes, even the 45 minute flight from Austin to Houston, with Peanut screaming the entire time, yes. . . even that was worth it. We had a great time at Grandma and Pap-pap's.

Mostly because the In-Laws watched the kids for a night while The Hubs and I took in a movie. What movie did we see, you ask?

Does it matter? WE WENT ON A DATE NIGHT!! That's really all that counts.  And then I made him take me to WalMart afterwards to pick up some last minute things. On the Friday night before Christmas at 11 pm. It was soooo awful.

No, really, it was fun. It's always nice to see Bjorn and Peanut with their extended family. We live so far from everyone, and don't get to see family on a regular basis and feel that we never get enough family time. Especially when it comes to Bjorn and Peanut with their grandparents.

We also did the annual Skype Christmas with my parents. Although sometimes I totally hate Skype (isn't the whole point of talking on the phone rather than seeing them in person so that you don't have to put on makeup/contacts/pants?), this Skype Christmas was not that bad. Mostly becasue its all about the kiddo's now, and at least one of them is totally verbal and completely into Christmas, presents, and Skype. I'm about to teach him how to turn on the computer so he can do it himself. He's always bugging me to talk to Grandma on the computer.

At least he likes Skype. Bjorn's the one they really want to see anyways.

We also began Peanut on rice cereal. Because of the aforementioned horrible sleeping routine she has gotten in, we decided to put to test the old wives tale of cereal-fed babies sleeping better. So far, it hasn't worked. But here's hoping! Mama could use a good night's sleep. . . I feel like I have a newborn again.

She was a natural! Actually grabbed the spoon to try and shove it in her mouth!




Friday, December 16, 2011

All Mommy wants for Christmas is a nap. . . .and a necklace

Peanut is officially in the "grab and pull" stage of babyhood.

She grabs my hair, my jewelry, my hands. If I am texting or talking, she grabs the phone - and has remarkably long Go-Go-Gadget arm reach. She grabs my purse straps and my food, and more than once I have seen her hands clenched in a fist and pried them open to find a pacifier stuffed in her little fist.

It has become a little bit of a problem during feeding time. Her little hands don't stop grabbing just because she is busy eating. They punch and scratch just as usual - more so, even. And when she finds something solid ( my hand, my face, my boob) she grabs and twists and pulls.  It's annoying, frustrating and dang, does it hurt! I told The Hubs this morning that I couldn't take much more of it, and if she continued, I was quitting breastfeeding. Problem-solver that he is, he grabbed two socks and put them over her hands. Problem solved.

Like I said, she grabs EVERYTHING. I can't wear jewelry, and I can't wear my hair down.

Which is why I am asking for these for Christmas

From www.smartmomjewelry.com
A necklace that she can eat to her heart's content. . . . and Mommy can still look pretty.

Her grabby-ness also means she is starting to be a little more fun, making the transition from "sleeper and eater" to "sleeper, eater and player". I put musical toys in front of her in the ExerSaucer and she actually punches them until they sing. It's kind of funny.Except when I remember that's what she does to me when eating, too. Not so funny.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where's the beef?

Dear Peanut,

I'm sorry to be your alarm clock this morning. Really sorry. I know you like to sleep - your 14 hours of uninterrupted snoozing since you were 7 weeks old tells me this. I totally get it. I'm a huge fan of sleeping myself.

And I also hate alarm clocks.

But sometimes a Mom has to do things she doesn't want to do, including waking her baby from a wonderful, deep sleep filled with sugar plum dreams. So, I'm sorry, but I have to.

Because the 1 pound you gained in the last two months is not enough. Because going from the 75th percentile in height and weight to the 25th percentile means your growth is stunting. Because the 10 hours you are awake in the day means you only eat 4 times, and the average breastfed baby needs to eat 8-10 times, and you have some major catching up to do.

Because I'm your mom and I said so. (And because your pediatrician says so, too.)

So we are going to pretend you are a newborn again, and we are going to feed you every 2 hours. Waking you when you try to sleep until 9 am, and feeding you whenever I possibly can. I won't leave the couch except to take you to your crib to nap, spending the time feeding and feeding and feeding and feeding.

Anything to make you big and strong.

I know it's not your fault you weren't eating enough. Your acid reflux medication had never been adjusted to your weight, thus not giving you enough relief from the heartburn. I know mealtime was something of a burden to you, causing your stomach and throat to inflame and hurt. Poor little girl. Don't worry, though - I got it fixed. Your meds are at the proper amount now, so give it just two days, and I promise - mealtime will soon be enjoyable again. Then we can start to beef you back up.

But you're going to have to do your part.

If you want to sleep as late as you want, you are going to have to spend the next two weeks filling that belly and eating and growing. Then, once we have established a good eating routine, we can talk this over again. Until then, say sayonara to sleeping in, little one. Because it's time to eat. Again.

Love,
Your Udder Mother,
The One With All The Food. . .

Mom


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She's on a roll. . . . . and I'm on edge

When my girl gets going, there is no stopping her. Now she is constantly rolling. All the time. Everywhere.

Which is great, because she should be rolling and moving and getting that little body going. (She also made forward movement yesterday. Forward movement. That's almost like crawling. But that's another story.)

Except for one teensy little problem.

Like Zoolander, she's not an ambiturner.

She rolls onto her stomach and then starts screaming like the little banshee she can be for someone to PLEASE COME TURN ME BACK OVER!!!!!

Again, this is fine and all, because while most babies first learn to roll from their stomachs to backs, thus avoiding this whole issue, my babies learn to roll back to stomach first, so I got used to doing this with Bjorn as well. But what isn't fine - no, it's not fine at all - is when she rolls over onto her stomach when she's sleeping and spits up. Then, when I go to check on her, as I am prone to do every few minutes now, I find her face down in a puddle of baby spit-up, curdled milk lodged up her nose, in her eyelashes and all over her face.

No, no. This isn't fine at all.

Because she is a horrible napper anyways. Fights us until the bitter end, sometimes screaming her little monkey wail for as long as an hour and a half, the whole time never opening her eyes because she is so tired but she.just.won't.go.to.sleep.

But now? Now I can't even put her down in her crib and hope that she cries herself to sleep. Because now I know that there is a very very real possibility that she will roll over onto her stomach, not be able to turn back over, and find herself - again - in a puddle of curdled milk and such.

After the curdled-milk-in-face debacle, she fought her nap today, screaming for 45 minutes. When she had finally completely exhausted herself, I laid her in her crib, and watched from the rocking chair closeby. Within three minutes, she was on her stomach, screaming again. I rolled her back onto her back, she surrendered to sleep and five minutes later, did it again. This kept up for 30 minutes, and I spent the majority of her nap playing Words With Friends in the chair, waiting for the next time to turn her over.

Until she learns to turn over both ways, this rocking chair is going to be my favorite spot and Words With Friends is my best friend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stop. Drop. and ROLL

Peanut rolled over.

Or, at least, I think she did.

See, last night, I put her on her back on her playmat, looking up at the toys dangling above. Then walked into the kitchen - a mere 10 feet away in an open floor plan - turned back to her. . . . and she was face down. Well, not really, because her face was very proudly up, looking around, not down, in the mat or anything, but she was very definitely now on her tummy.


Damn. Could I really have missed her first roll-over?

I called The Hubs, who was at the local hardware store. "You missed it!" I said. "She rolled over!" Of course, I was here. . . and I missed it, too." He told me to grab the video camera, but a watched pot doesn't boil and a watched baby doesn't roll.

We tried the rest of the night, but only wound up tiring her completely out with the effort.

This morning, I again put her on her back on her mat in front of the couch. I grabbed a cup of coffee from the kitchen, walked back to the living room. . . . and there she was, on her tummy.

Not only did I miss the first roll-over, I missed the second, too.

I'm starting to think she does it on purpose. Because I was very attentive after that (I was not about to miss it again!) and not once, not once, did she roll over. She's waiting until I leave the room, doing a quick one-two-three-heave count and throwing herself onto her tummy. Just because she can.

If she is this sneaky at 4 months, what am I going to do when she's a teenager?!



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shaping the future one embellished onesie at a time

When we bought our house, we were newlyweds who had literally just moved halfway across the country.

Three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1500 square feet seemed like way too much room for two 20-somethings and a 40 pound dog. In fact, for over a year, two of the bedrooms served as nothing more than storage for crafting, beer brewing and jackets we didn't need for Phoenix weather.

Now the dog is 50 pounds, the 20-somethings are both over 30 and our family of two has become four.

Three bedrooms is starting to feel a little cramped.

When we found out Peanut was on the way, we knew we had a choice. Move her in with Bjorn or turn the guest bedroom into her nursery. Considering that none of our family live within driving distance - not even i the same state - we decided to keep the guest bed up and ready for use.

But we didn't want to bunk Bjorn with his baby sister.

It took a little bit of logistics, and alot of convincing the Hubs that it would work, but we wound up keeping the guest bed in Peanut's room. But because it is such a small room, and such an odd shape (angles everywhere!), we barely had any room left. Peanut's crib went against one wall, and her changing table? Well. . . . the dresser became her changing table, and that went in her closet.

Yup. In her closet. We (and by 'we', I mean, 'The Hubs') took the doors off her closet, and we (by 'we', I mean, 'me') put up a curtain valance to hide some of the storage on top. But it's still a closet.

Every time we change her diaper, she lies on her changing table, staring straight up into a sea of colors and textures. She sees pinks and purples swirls, green polka dot pants. Sweatshirts with shiny stripes down both arms. Blue shirts stitched with flowers and trees. A lime green raincoat that makes me long for a thunderstorm.

Her arms reach up and she touches velvet and chiffon, silk and cotton. Each fabric designed to draw out a different reaction, and she does not disappoint. Her eyes light up and she smiles that wide open, gummy, toothless smile we parents will do anything to get. And all it takes are a few clothes.

I can't help but imagine that maybe having her changing table in a closet could shape her future. I imagine her as a fashion designer, or a model, touching the fabrics much as she does today, letting them slip and slide through her fingers. Maybe she will design furniture or homes, her inspiration drawing from those early days when she was exposed to more colors and textures than she knew existed. All because her changing table wouldn't fit anywhere else.

I always think that you are where you are in your life for a reason. To teach you something, or give you something.The people you meet are there for a reason, and when they leave from your life, it is because their purpose has been fulfilled. Maybe we are here in this house for a reason as well. Maybe while we have cried and raged at the injustice of the housing crisis, this house really has been what we needed all along.

Maybe our modest little home, with its modest little bedrooms, will breed imagination into our children in ways we never could have expected.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Life. Interrupted.

If you would to look through my blog editing page, you would see 6 unfinished posts. From the last week.

I've tried to write. To keep you, and I, and my kiddos, whom I hope will read this in the future as a love letter from their mother, because you better believe I'm never going to finish those damn baby books - to keep you all updated.

But I don't want to just write stats and information. I want to tell a story of our life. Weaving the words together to show you what our life is like, what our days entail. I want to make you laugh and cry everytime that I laugh and cry.

But I keep getting interrupted.

By a little girl who won't stop crying. Who doesn't sleep during the day but for 45 minute increments. By a little boy who so desperately wants someone to play cars with him. And puzzles. All day. By a husband who wants his wife to sit with him, and talk with him for a few minutes after both kids are asleep. By my own busy mind that relentlessly asks the same questions, without any answers.

And while so much of motherhood sounds like complaining (When do I get to sleep? Where did these stretch marks come from? Why does he have to ask me the same thing twelve times? Why can't he just freakin' find the butter himself?), it's really not. I promise. It's just that sometimes, misery loves company.

Things are great, really.

Because in all those interruptions, in all those moments when I don't get to finish what I wanted to, or take that moment I thought I could take, those are the moments where I am living. I'm not writing about the past or the future or the hopes.  I'm living.

I'm racing cars down a track, then stopping to say 'hi, green car, how are you?', giving a big car hug when they meet at the end. Where there is a dinosaur and a dragon the car stops from attacking.

I'm playing Peek-a-boo with a drama queen of a Peanut whom loves attention - craves it - and watching her smile take over her entire face.

I'm holding hands with the man I married, on the couch, watching our favorite DVR'd shows, thinking that ten years ago, on a Friday night, I would've been at the bar, sipping rum & coke in a short, little dress, scoping out the scene and this - the couch, the TV, the sweatpants - this is so much better.

So that's why I haven't written about the fire house tour we took, where Bjorn jumped up to volunteer a demonstration of 'Stop, Drop and Roll' in which he stopped, dropped, and when asked to roll. . . . . he pretended he was bowling. Because that is how we allow him to 'throw' the ball in the house - by rolling.

Why I haven't posted pictures of our Halloween costumes - the Arrrgh Pirate Family - and told the story of a 2 year old and his little girlfriend, actually understanding what Halloween is all about, trick-or-treating through the neighborhood, fearlessly running from door to door. . . until that one, last, scary house.

Interruptions are why I haven't told you that Peanut has slept through the night every night for as long as I can remember now. How she smiles and laughs and actually grabs at and plays with her toys. I haven't told you that she can stand - by herself, all by herself! - for a millisecond, how she can hold up her head and chest and how she is thisclose to rolling over, from her back to her belly, which is supposed to be the most difficult of the rolling, but it's the one Bjorn did first as well.

I've decided that my life is built around these interruptions. They aren't annoyances, nor are they diversions from the life I should be leaving. Nope. These interruptions are my life. I'll enjoy them while they last.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Past

I love Halloween, and now that I have kids, I have an excuse to dress up.

And boy do I dress (them) up.

Halloween 2009, 5 months old. Chewbacca (Princess Leia not shown)
Halloween 2010, 17 months old. Oompa Loompa (with his Mama, Veruca Salt)


    


While I had many ideas leading up to Halloween, I discarded them all. Simpsons? Not a cool enough costume for Bart (except for the skateboard, which, admittedly, he would have thought was pretty awesome). The Flintstones? Not sure I could have convinced The Hubs to walk around town essentially in what is a nightshirt.

I finally asked Bjorn what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween, and since it was so easy, decided to work the whole family around him. Stay tuned next week for after Halloween pictures!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scared - and not just for Halloween

I've always been a little scared of my kids.

With Bjorn, he was such a bad napper and I needed him to sleep so badly, that I would literally tiptoe around my house. Meanwhile, The Hubs would vacuum, watch action movies in the loudest surround sound we have, and carry on long phone conversations right outside his door.

And he never woke. But I needed his nap oh-so-badly that I was always scared that I would wake him with the slightest sound.

With Peanut, I'm still scared of her.

But not because of sleeping. So far (and knock on wood for me, will ya?!) she is a great sleeper. She's been going to bed about 8:30, sleeping through the night pretty much fully, minus some pacifier-putting-in about 4:30 or 5:30 am. Then sleeping in until 8. (But the toddler has me up at 5:30. Ugh.)

She doesn't really sleep much during the nap. Mostly catnaps of 45 minutes to an hour. But she can sleep in the living room with a movie on. While Bjorn plays 'marching band' (which is pretty much what it sounds like, completely with cymbals, honking horn and drum).

She also naps in her bed during the day, something that was hard to do with Bjorn because he only liked to sleep while being held. Peanut is much easier to put down.

She is also just as smiley as Bjorn was, if not more. As long as she is getting direct attention - whether from me, Daddy, Bjorn or the Dog - she is happy and all smiles. She loves to play, loves to be sung to and coos sometimes for no reason at all.

But I'm still scared of this.

I'm afraid that at any moment, for absolutely no reason and with absolutely no cure, my sweet, coo-coo will turn into the banshee we had the first few weeks. I'm so nervous that if we don't stop a crying fit in the first few minutes, then it will accelerate into the never-ending crying no parent should ever have to endure.

Which has only happened once in the last 6 weeks. Last night. And she only screamed for an hour. Then slept through the night. So, really, it wasn't that bad.

I'm still scared.


Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm a Mom

I have toothpaste in my hair. I don't know how it got there, but I can only assume it happened during our morning ritual - the battle of teeth brushing.

I have spit up on my shoulder. It mostly hit the couch cushion, so I took the time to turn it around (only to discover that I had done that once before with the same cushion), but it hit my shoulder too. And dribbled down my back. Bjorn thought it was fun to help me wipe it off. In other words - smear it around.

I went to the grocery store like that. Two grocery stores, actually. And the post office. Didn't think twice about it. Until I got home, looked in the mirror and shuddered.

Then I shrugged and thought. 'What's the big deal?! I'm a mom!'


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Battle of the Sexes

Before my first baby, I was told that as a mother, I would automatically understand my baby's different cries.

I would know which one meant hungry, or lonely. It wasn't always going to be different in a way you could define, but just like when you met "the one" ("I just knew"), you would "just know" what each cry meant.

I didn't. Not a bit.

I pretty much figured out that "knowing" what each cry meant really meant trying every possible thing it could be until you finally found the right one, when you sigh with relief and more than a little bit of exasperation.

Chalking it all up to that being yet another one of those Mommy myths ("It's just a phase", "Stretch marks will fade" and, my personal favorite, "You don't mind changing it when it's your kids poop".), I forgot about it.

Until I had another baby.

And I see it now. I know.

I know when she's hungry or tired or over-stimulated. I can tell when she's lonely and that little cry can turn into a coo if I just sit with her and talk for a few minutes. I can tell when she needs a new diaper, if she's chilly or if she just wants a little snuggling. I'm not always right, but I'm pretty darn close.

I don't know if this is because I not a 'new' mother, so I'm less worried about what I 'should' be doing. I'm just doing it. I don't know if part of it is because I am more comfortable this time around with being a mom to this helpless little thing.

Or if Peanut, like most females, is just a better communicator. There might be something to this whole battle of the sexes thing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quality Time

A few weeks ago, a Mommy friend asked about Peanut and any sibling rivalry or jealousy with Bjorn.

"We've been pretty lucky, " I said. "He really seems to love her. No jealousy here. At least not yet."

She commented that her kids started to show a little jealousy only when the younger one was able to crawl and steal the older one's toys, and cry more for Mom, taking away some of the attention.

"I'm really glad I have them on opposite nap schedules. That way I always get one on one quality time with them during the day."

I was floored. You want them on opposite sleep schedules? You want them to take naps at different times? My entire plan since finding out that I was having another was to get them on the same nap schedule.

The only way I am writing this is because of that. I have tried so many times to write so many posts, but when one child is shouting 'Play Puzzle! Play Puzzle!', pulling me towards his playroom while the other child has a death grip on my hair and is dribbling spit up on my shirt because she.just.doesn't.want.to.be.put.down, well. . . . . . keeping sane is the only thing on my mind. Writing comes second.

I understand the reasoning behind this mom's motives - she wants quality time with each of her kiddos. But, to me, you can get that quality time elsewhere. Somewhere besides nap time. Some time besides the only time of day where I can go to the bathroom without a little boy barging in saying 'Mommy, what you doing?', much less take five minutes to write a post or read a chapter of a book.

Which, by the way, I plan on doing. Right now. While both my kiddo's are still sleeping.

Now that's what I call quality time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Big Boy Bed: Take Three

So, we've had Bjorn in his Big Boy Bed for about 7 weeks now.

How do I know its been 7 weeks?!

Because we were stupid silly enough to start him in it when Peanut was about two weeks old. . . and she is now 9 weeks old. Thus. . . . .7 weeks.

It has had its ups and downs.

Literally. He gets up and gets down. Then comes running in our room. "Bjorn down! Down from Bjorn's bed!"

Yeah, we know. If you were still in it, we would still be sleeping.

It is still a little bit of a battle putting him to sleep/nap. He likes to have something to take with him to bed, but its never the same thing. He likes to ask for for milk (no), juice (no), cereal (no), car suitcase (ok). Then he grabs his car suitcase/lunchbox/dinosaur book and walks calmly to bed. He lies down nicely, then looks up with those big ol baby greens of his and says, 'Mommy sit wall?'

So I sit on the wall.

We used to have to lie on the floor next to his bed. Then we moved to sitting on the floor next to him. Now we sit on the wall next to the door. Hopefully, it is only a matter of time before we can leave completely, without sitting on the floor at all.

But maybe not.

See, we have had problems with him sleeping practically since the beginning.

He's always slept through the night - that's not been the problem. But putting him to sleep has always been a battle and a half. When he was in a crib, we would put him to bed, and he would cry. SCREAM. BELLOW. BANSHEE. For 5-10 minutes. But if we could get through those hours minutes of torturous cries, he would fall fast asleep and stay asleep all through the night.

This never stopped. As much as everyone told me he would grow out of it - that this was "just a phase" - he didn't. It wasn't. He cried until the moment we put him in a big boy bed. Then cried some more.

So the fact that we have to sit on the floor with him for a few minutes is not really a big deal. Not when you think that we used to have to listen to him sobbing and screeching for five minutes. I'll take the floor any day.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Two Months

I can't believe Peanut is 2 months old already. Am I the only one who thinks time is going by waaaaaayy too quickly?!

We had her two month appointment this past week, and she did great. Well, she did as well as could be expected considering that she got three different shots, and one oral vaccine. I would've screamed too.

She is now 23 1/4 inches long and 11 lbs 5 oz. WOW! She has grown over FOUR inches since her birth two months ago, and put on over 4 pounds. Considering that she started at a little over 7 lbs, I think she's doing pretty well! In the 60th-75th %ile for both height and weight.

I like that she's starting to look a little chunky. You should see her thighs. Soooo cute!

We are still giving her Zantac every morning and evening for her acid reflux. Sometimes we give it to her a little later in the morning, and we can definitely tell the difference. She gets moody and fussy without it. While its not nice to know that she doesn't fell well, it is nice to know that we are giving her the medicine for good reason - because she needs it.

Bjorn is still loving on his baby sister. . .sometimes a little too much! He really doesn't understand the meaning of the word "gentle". But he tries - he really does. He loves helping her find her "princess fire" and "horsey fire" (Fire = pacifier). And he has finally learned that a blanket only goes up to her chin, NOT over her head. so he can tuck her in himself now.

His favorite new game with Peanut is to ask if she can go Night Night in his bed. I'll lie her on his bed, and he will read her stories, sing to her and bring her his Night Night cars. So far he is very good at sharing. Let's hope this lasts!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Milk. It Does a Baby Good

Breastfeeding is not easy.

Anyone who tells you that it is will also tell you that natural, drug-free childbirth doesn't hurt that bad. That she loves watching Sesame Street and Dinosaur Train over Glee and Law and Order. That you can't even see her stretch marks anymore.

She lies.

See, because breastfeeding isn't easy. Not at all. Sure, it starts great. While in the hospital, with lactation consultants and nurses nearby, the baby feeds great. She sucks mightily, and then falls asleep lying against you like a little angel.

You think you're the luckiest mother in the world, with the easiest baby.

Then you get home.

And those nurses are nowhere to be found. Your husband is completely supportive of nursing, but doesn't really know what to do now that you're leaking and dripping milk on the bathroom floor after your warm shower. He jokingly calls you her 'Udder Mother', but you can't help but think - as your baby eats again - that it's not really a funny joke. Or a joke at all. That is what you are.

You resign yourself to a month of sitting on the couch while she does nothing but nurse every hour and a half. You sigh and tell yourself that it is worth it to avoid paying for formula give your baby the best antibodies you have.

What you don't realize is that this is only the beginning. Because in the two days since you left your hospital, your little baby has decided that she is too tired and too lazy to suck mightily. She begins to chew instead of suck, and since you are in the early, uncomfortable days of engorgement, she is still able to get milk this way. This teaches her that it's ok to eat this way, and leads to sore, cracked, bleeding nipples that have bits of skin hanging off. Just because she doesn't have teeth doesn't mean those gums aren't sharp.

If you're lucky enough to avoid this lazy sucking routine, you still have to endure three weeks of soreness and pain. For those sharp little vampire gums are sucking on a very sensitive part of your body. If you can grin and bear it for a few weeks, you are golden. All feeling in that area will soon be long gone. Which is good, because not only does she nurse on your chest, she also squirms - throwing punches and elbows like she's cagefighting on the WEC circuit. Bruises begin to decorate the stretch marks you already have.

If you happen to know a lactation consultant (or a friend who has breastfed), you will learn that there are mini sombreros that can help you while you are in the gnawing/chewing/get this kid off me phase in the beginning. Called 'breast shields' they are flimsy hats that protect your nipple. Crazy as they look, as annoying as they are to use, and as weird as they make your husband feel when he finds them lying around the house, use them. Totally worth it.

Once you get past this stage, you think you are in the clear. But then this is the time when the baby - maybe, just maybe, please please please - begins sleeping longer and longer. Maybe even possibly through the night. Then engorgement hits.

You thought you knew about engorgement from when you left the hospital. After all, you were swollen and tender and full. But that was when your baby was nursing every hour.

Now she eats every 3-4 hours and only as much as she wants. No longer does she eat until she falls asleep at your breast or until you decide that 60 minutes of eating is long enough for any baby to gain enough nutritional milk. She eats for 10 minutes on only one side. If you decide to make her eat a little more in order to ease your pain, she delicately burps and out comes a gallon of warm milk on your shoulder and down your back where it drips on the new couch you probably shouldn't have bought just a few months before she was born.

But if you let her eat only on one side like she wants, and figure she will get to the other side on her next feeding, well, on the next feeding, you feel a hard lump on your breast. And it's tender and swollen and hurts with a stabbing pain when she nurses. Uh oh. You now have a clogged duct.

You read up on clogged ducts. (What did people do before google, wikipedia and webmd?) You follow all the directions to rid yourself of it - feeding on that side first, massaging the lump, feeding more often even if that means waking her up. Only none of that works and you wake up two days later thinking you have the flu. You are achy and tired, with a horrible headache. In the mirror, you see red, angry streaks all over your breast and groan, knowing that it is not the flu after all.

Now you have mastitis. When not taken care of, it can lead to a breast abscess, not to mention that it hurts something awful, so you know you have to rid yourself of it now. Again, you thank Al Gore for inventing the Internet so you can find out how to treat it, only to find that treating it homeopathically can take up to 5 days to work. You decide to take the easy way out, call your Doc and ask for the antibiotics that can heal you in 24 hours. On the instructions for the meds, it tells you to call your doctor before use if you are nursing.

Which is what everything says. Even medications your OB prescribes because of nursing.

You thought that now that you were no longer pregnant, you could have sushi again. And beer. And soft cheeses and Pei Wei spicy noodles. You thought that you could finally enjoy all the foods that had been denied to you for the last 40 weeks.

Nope. Sorry. You still have to watch what you eat. For you, it's not 'You are what you eat'. It's 'Your milk is what you eat'. You have to remember that broccoli gives you gas, so it will probably give your baby gas. Gas in babies translates into crying. Lots and lots of crying. No broccoli, then. Your beer is in your milk, so you have to limit yourself to only one, and time it in such a way that it will be diluted in a very small amount - if at all - in the milk.

Then one day your baby starts screaming and crying uncontrollably all day, every day. After a week of this, you call the Pediatrician, who recommends that you - the mom, the cow, the 'Udder Mother' - cut out all spicy foods, caffeine, nuts and dairy products. It seems that your baby may have an immature digestive system and acid reflux, so she can't handle these foods. You stare longingly at the packet of string cheese and yogurt you just bought. After another night of waking every three hours to feed, you decide that you didn't hear the Doc tell you the part about caffeine and pour yourself another cup of coffee. There is only so much you can take.
Add to all of this the annoyance of finding a shirt that allows you to feed in public without flashing either your belly or your boobs, because although you have a nursing cover, your baby hates it and kicks and flails until she is able to move it out of the way and expose her - and you - to whomever is nearby. And the irritation of pumping if your baby sleeps too long, or you leave her at just the wrong time and you have to pump elsewhere while she eats formula, or already pumped milk.  And then having to dump the milk, as there is no way to keep it cool until you get home to a fridge, but you put all this damn effort into pumping, and you are just so ticked that you are wasting this liquid gold breast milk.

Then your baby turns a year old, and you decide to wean her from nursing. She does just fine, switching from breast to cow's milk with no problem.

It's you that has the problem.

You find that while you were caring for your swollen breasts and worrying about who was seeing your boobs in public, you were actually doing much more.

You were getting quality time. You were getting cuddles before, during and after nursing. She was seeing you all day, every day, even when all you wanted just a few hours by yourself. She was needing you, and right along with that, you were needing her, too. And now you miss that. Now she wants to do everything herself. Now she can hold a sippy cup all by herself, and doesn't need you  - and only you - when she drinks milk.

Which gives you more time for the laundry and shopping and cooking that you never had time for before.

And all you want is to have no time again. No time for anything but that nursing quality time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ha!

I told The Hubs that following my 6 week check-up next week, I want to start training for the half-marathon in January. To lose some of this baby weight, get healthy, and maybe get a little free time - even if it is in running shoes.

Then, today, I dropped the toddler at my cousin's to play and went grocery shopping to two stores with the babe.

My quads hurt. My arms hurt. My feet hurt. I'm more exhausted than I have been in months (and that's saying alot!) and the one armed drummer from Def Leppard has nothing on the pounding in my head.

Unless grocery shopping really is that taxing, I think I may need a little more training than I counted on!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Month

One month.

My little Peanut M&M is one month today.

One month ago, I was wondering if this little baby was a boy or a girl, with lots of hair or no hair, who would look like me or the Hubs or like neither of us, but her own little mix.

And then she was here.

And nothing has been the same since.

We've had our ups and downs already. (Re: Bedtime battles with the toddler and Acid Reflux in Peanut.) But I have to keep reminding myself that we are only 4 weeks into dealing with and learning to live with her. She is only one month into surviving outside of an environment that used to be consistently warm and snug. Now she has to deal with cold and hunger and waiting to be soothed. It's a different kind of life for all of us.

In the last month, she has:
  • Slept through the night once - from 11 pm until 5 am. And the one other time from 7 pm until 2 am. I consider both of these forms of 'sleeping through the night', as I consider any 5+ hour stretch of sleep.
  • Been diagnosed with acid reflux and put on Zantac. Things are MUCH smoother now. She has fits still - as any infant does. No longer are there 3 hour screaming banshee fits. Now we get the much sweeter 'La-la-la-la' cries of newborn hunger/sleep/comfort-needing. We like this better.
  • Put on at least 2 lbs from birth weight. At the doctors appointment last Monday, she weighed 9 lbs, 5 ounces. Woo hoo!! Go Mommy Milk!
  • Went from nursing well to nursing horribly to nursing okay. She nursed great in the hospital - of course. Latched on and went to town immediately, with no problems. Came home from the hospital and it went all downhill. She began 'chewing' her way on, leaving me bleeding and with gnaw marks. We got through that with the help of 'clear sombreros' (nipple shields), but now she has a problem latching and staying latched. I guess if it ain't one thing, it's another!
  • Been lifting her head pretty much since the second week. When holding her to your shoulder, she will push off, and arch back in order to better look at you. Or in order to burp or fart. It's really a toss up as to which it is.
  • A little bit of baby acne. Unfortunately, it is all on her face, upper back and chest. Apparently, its perfectly normal, but it doesn't look comfortable. It looks angry. I've been putting breast milk on it in order to try and ease it up a little.
I am recovering nicely. I am driving (woo hoo!) and I have taken the kids shopping by myself a few times. As well as taking them to the Children's Museum - which I could most definitely not have done if I hadn't gone with Nicole. There was no way I could have kept up with Bjorn while holding Peanut. He's too fast and climbs too high.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Officially a Bad Mom

Because instead of trying to teach my child to love his big boy bed, instead of fighting with him for two hours like we do every day about taking a nap, instead of making him sleep in his bed like he needs to do, instead of listening to him screech that he wants "mommy to sleep floor" next to his bed. . . .

I put on Toy Story. And will gladly let him fall asleep on the couch like he wants to.

Because the baby is finally sleeping. And I am exhausted. And there is only so much fighting and crying and screaming I can handle and this week's allotment is already up.

Whatever. He will sleep in his own bed eventually, right?!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"To you it sounds like crying, but to Jesus it's a wondrous sound"

Oh, the joys of newborn parenting.

This has been my week:

video

I know it looks like that's my boob in the shot. It's not. It's my fleshy arm. Just FYI.

This was at the end of an hour and half crying jag where they crying sounded like that the entire time. Seriously. I took the video for two reasons.

1) To prove to my friends that this was not normal newborn crying and there was a perfectly valid reason I call my beautiful baby girl a banshee. Point proven, I believe.

2) My Dad asked me to. I think it was something about sending it to my Grandma so she could hear the cries of her sweet great-granddaughter? 

Really, this crying has been going on all week. Oh yeah - and this was my first week at home alone with the kids. Shivers.

When she's not sleeping, she's eating. When she's not eating, she's screaming. (Hell, even sometimes when she is eating, she's screaming!) And when she's not sleeping, eating or screaming, she's grunting and throwing herself around her crib, scaring me into thinking that the banshee might soon be awakening.

These screaming fits last anywhere from 45 minutes to forever x infinity. (Actually, to about 3 hours - and these ones always seem to come in the middle of the night. . . . of course.) And they drive us bonkers.

Our first thought was the dreaded 'colic'. The disease that strikes newborns for no reason, with no discernible cause, at any time and for any length of time with absolutely no cure. The disease that strikes fear into the heart of parents everywhere.

Finally, after a week of listening to her cries, and seeing her distress when she couldn't be soothed, I called the pediatrician for advice.

Their advice sucked.

Since I'm nursing, I am to cut out all spicy food, gas-inducing food, caffeine, and dairy. There goes my ice cream in the evening, my creamer in my coffee (and the coffee, for that matter!), my daily string cheese snacks, the yogurt I just bought, my milk and cereal in the morning and oh so much more! Sigh. . . . .

Appointment tomorrow afternoon to see if this has actually helped my Peanut. I'll let you know how it goes.

**EDIT**

Peanut had her pediatrician appointment today and I gotta say. I LOVE our pediatrician! At least, I love the RN's and NP's at the practice. Gotta love your nursing staff!!

She listened to everything I said, didn't dismiss even the slightest concern and spent the appointment really talking to me about everything Peanut and I are going through. I feel well informed and taken care of. Exactly what you want from your Ped.

Bad news? I have to keep dairy out of my diet for another week or two and then maybe, maybe add it back gradually.

Good news? She doesn't have a protein imbalance or total milk intolerance, so it may just be a immature digestive system combined with my eating too much dairy (ahem, those gallons of Blue Bell!) and her having acid reflux/baby heartburn. She is on Zantac now, and we should **cross your fingers** see an improvement in the next few days.

Here's hoping!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Diary of a Big Boy Bed. . . .

I would be perfectly content keeping Bjorn in his crib until college. It's easy, it's there and he has yet to realize that he can climb out. And when Mama needs a break, I can put him in there and he can't escape. I kinda like that.

The Hubs, on the other hand, has been itching to get him out of his crib practically since the first day he went in there. Something about growing into a man and getting chest hair or something. I don't understand. But since I feel like I hold the parental reins most of the time (since I'm the one that googles things, reads the books and talks it out with other mommies and parents), I decided to step back on this decision and let The Hubs lead the way on this.

Even though Bjorn's grandparents were here playing for two weeks and just left. Even though he has a new baby sister. Even though Mama and Daddy are exhausted and don't have the energy or patience to play with him as usual. Even though the last time was a complete and total disastrous mess.

So we are trying this Big Boy Bed thing all over again. Here's how it's been going so far.

Day 1:

The Hubs took the fourth side of his crib off right after he woke up. He left it leaning against the wall and when Bjorn asked about it, he told him 'Your bed is broken.' and since we tell him that all the time with toys with dead batteries, he said 'Oh, ok.' Then The Hubs (Bless him!!) spent about two hours playing with Bjorn and his bed. Climbing in. Climbing out. Putting his animals to bed. And his cars. Getting the dog to go to bed with him. Anything he could think of to make Bjorn more comfortable.

And as a special added bonus, we took the Cars obsessed toddler to Target and bought him FOUR "Night Night" cars. (He has about 30 "inside cars", 10 "outside" cars and now the "Night Night" cars. The kid loves his friggin' cars!!) We thought having these plush pillow cars to go to bed with him might make him actually want to go to bed.

He fell asleep in the car on the way back from Target and woke up in the transfer to his bed. Then wouldn't go back to sleep, so. . . no nap in his bed on Day One.

Night 1:

Bjorn was completely exhausted, so The Hubs took him in his room. There was a little bit of kicking and screaming involved, but The Hubs laid on the floor with a pillow and blanket, and Bjorn laid next to him, crying softly. A few minutes later, he was asleep. (And by HE, I mean both my boys.) When The Hubs woke up, he left Bjorn to sleep on his floor, covered in a blanket. Which is where he slept until 2 am, when he woke up. Terrified, probably.

The Hubs groggily went to his room, and thinking that it was almost time to wake up anyways, got him and brought him back to our room, where he proceeded to cry and throw tantrums and fits. (Bjorn, not The Hubs.) Finally at 4 am, we got him to sleep in our bed. . . . . and then Peanut M&M (who is sleeping in a bassinet in our room and slept through Bjorn's entire fit) woke up at 4:30 with her own two hour fit. It was a loooooong night.

Day 2:

About 2 pm, when Bjorn was nice and tired and snuggly, we asked if he wanted to take a nap. Of course, the standard 'No, no, no!' commenced, but quickly turned into 'Mommy come?'. I grabbed Bjorn's hand, walked into his room and laid on the floor next to his bed. He spent about 15 minutes climbing in and out of the bed, playing with his cars and generally being a nuisance. But, finally, he laid down and fell fast asleep. I snuck out, traded places with The Hubs so I could feed the Peanut and he could sleep next to Bjorn.

And sleep he did.

Two hours later, I hear the pitter patter of little toddler feet as Bjorn comes out to the couch, saying 'I down. I down.' Turns out he likes being able to get down by himself. As a reward for sleeping so well in his bed, I gave him a Popsicle. Ok . . . . . I gave him two Popsicles. I'm a sucker, and I really want this bed thing to work out well now that we've got it started. I need to go buy more Popsicles. . . .

Night 2:

When we told Bjorn it was night night time, the typical "No!" response was loud and clear, but, again, two minutes later, he grabbed my hand. 'Mommy come?' he asked.  This time, though, I was already feeding Peanut, so The Hubs went instead. He laid on the floor next to his bed, Bjorn crawled in and fell fast asleep. (Well, he fell asleep after playing with The Hubs a little bit. Apparently the nightlight we have changes colors and Bjorn thought it was like watching fireworks. "Oooh, red. Ahhhhh, blue. Ohhhh, green. Ahhhhh, yellow." Finally, The Hubs had to tell him to close his eyes and go to sleep!)

The Hubs left after Bjorn fell asleep, and the kiddo slept in his Big Boy bed until 6:30 am when we heard him stirring. I sent The Hubs in right away so Bjorn wouldn't get scared when he woke up, but Bjorn was already walking out the door. He likes his new found freedom. Me? It scares the heck out of me!

Day 3:

Naptime was a success - again, with The Hubs laying on the floor next to the bed until Bjorn fell asleep. Two hours later, the kid was up and out the door. Happy as can be.

Night 3:

My turn to lie on the floor next to the kiddo. After only 3 nights of this, it's already getting kind of old. But I am prepared to do this as long as is necessary to get the kid comfortable in his bed. Whether it takes one week or 3 months, the most important thing is that he is adjusting, happy and feels safe. And if that means The Hubs or I have to lay on the floor until he falls asleep, so be it. It's a small price to pay for the happiness of my child.

He fell asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed. Yes!

But it didn't last.

Three hours later he was up, screaming into our bedroom. I scooped his slobbering self up into our bed, where he fell fast asleep in our bed until Peanut woke up hungry at 6.

Night 4:

Same thing. Fell asleep fine in his BBBed and then - BAM! - four hours later he comes screaming into our room. We had a plan this time, though, and The Hubs calmly took him back into his own room and laid on the floor next to his bed. This worked fine until 5 am, when he jumped down, ran past his dad and came into our bedroom looking for me. Which is when we scooped him up and let him sleep with us until 7.

Not sure if letting him sleep with us is the right thing to do in the long run, but it is definitely a short term gain. Because we are all getting some sleep this way. I have the feeling it is going to hurt us later though. . . . . .

Any hints? Suggestions? He actually seems to like his bed now. Goes to it willingly and asks for it. But when he wakes up - whether we are still in there or not - he gets scared. He has a night light. His door is cracked so he can get in and out (when it was shut, he would blood-curdingly SCREAM. Cracked is much better!). So, now what? Is it just a waiting game?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Finally: The Birth of a Peanut M&M

It’s different walking in for a scheduled c-section.

It’s different walking down the hall in two paper thin hospital-issue robes and light blue non-slip thick socks rather than being rushed down a hallway, strapped to a hospital bed next to nurses holding IV poles while nervously clutching your husbands hand.

It’s different walking into the operating room yourself, seeing the various surgical implements, knowing that some of these are about to be used on you, but not knowing exactly which ones rather than being wheeled in, already slightly drugged after 14 hours of labor, not really seeing anything.

It’s different being prepped on the OR table joking around with the anesthesiologist about how his choice of music (Boyz 2 Men ‘I’ll make Love to You’. No joke.) is pretty much the reason we are all there in the first place rather than being prepped on the OR table asking the nurses and doctors repeatedly, ‘You’re not going to forget my husband, right? You’re going to go get my husband from outside, right?’

It’s different the second time around.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

Since a scheduled c-section requires 8 hours of food-and-drink fasting beforehand, and since my surgery was scheduled for 11:30 am, we decided to have a Last Supper the night before, my choice. I chose Cracker Barrel and I went.to.town. Ordered one of the largest breakfast meals they had, two additional side choices and a hot chocolate. If I’m not going to eat for 8 hours, I’m going to do it up right, dammit!

Next morning, we woke up leisurely (translation: when the toddler woke us up at 7ish), showered, grabbed our stuff and were on the way to the hospital by 8 am, on schedule.

We were ushered into a pre-op room, where I was required to shower and change into the standard backless gown. There is nothing like a backless hospital gown to make a humongous pregnant woman feel beautiful. When I become president, I am requiring all hospitals to provide robes (backless if they have to be, whatever) comparable to luxury hotel robes. I mean, I think my final bill submitted to insurance was around $35000 for four days. what’s another $500 for a robe to make you feel pretty?

I’m just sayin’.

This is the point in the story when it becomes a whole lot of hurry up and wait. We had to be at the hospital at 9:30 for a scheduled 11:30 surgery. Then, some emergency situations came up in postpartum and the one OR was in use for a while and we kept getting pushed further and further back. Whatever. We were anxious to see our Peanut, but I was not anxious at all to go through surgery. I was scared.

Because lets be honest, no one wants to go through surgery. I talk sometimes about someday getting a “mommy makeover” - tummy tuck and boob job. But I really don’t think I will. I can’t imagine putting myself through that much pain just to look a little better. It’s just not worth it.

But I digress.

They finally call us to the OR and I do take that long walk down the hall in my backless gown and non-slip socks. And the hardest part? I had to walk through those doors, watch them close behind me, and leave my husband on the other side. Nothing has ever been harder than to let those doors close between us.

I’ll spare you all the minor details, but let’s just say that I had a very friendly and competent nursing and anesthetic crew who, while prepping and dressing me, made me feel as comfortable as one can when one’s who-haa is hanging out. I’ll also say that nothing can beat a supportive and loving husband. Because without him in there, I was over-thinking, hyper-ventilating and threw up twice. (Which apparently is pretty hard to do, considering I was numb from the chest down and had no way of forcing it up. But somehow I did!) Thank God for supportive husbands who hold their wives hands even when their designer hospital gowns smell like vomit.

When The Hubs came in, he grabbed my hand, leaned over and whispered “Wanna hear a funny story?’
Sure, I thought, I’ve got nothing else going on!
I took a picture in the hallway while waiting for you. And. . . . . My camera said “Card Full.”
“What?!”
“Don’t worry. I just started erasing everything on there! So we’re good now!”

Whew.

I had the nursing staff move the overhead light (they wouldn’t let me have a mirror) so I could see at least a little bit of the gory stuff - mostly just a lot of blue (gowns) and reds (I’ll let you guess what that was).

Then came the actual c-section, which started with the standard ‘You might feel a little pressure and a bit of tugging.’ and ended with ‘Wow. This baby will not let go! I can’t get it out! What is he wrapped around or holding onto?’ as they tugged and pulled and put all their muscle into getting Peanut out. Apparently, even though I was having steady contractions about 7 minutes apart all morning, this baby still hadn’t completely decided to come out. Until Doc came to wrench her from her warm, happy little home. Both her and I were pretty bruised up from the fight - mine are still all over my tummy but her cheek bruise has since faded.

We still didn’t know at this point if Peanut was a boy or a girl and when they held her up, they told The Hubs “You call it!” to which he poignantly said “Uhh. . . . Ummm. . it’s a . . . .ummm. . . “ because when everything is swollen and there is blood everywhere and an umbilical cord hanging in the way, it can be hard to figure out just what IT is. So Doc finally told me Peanut was a girl.

And I was shocked. Crying shocked. Didn’t believe him shocked. (Like he would make something up like that?!) But, me? With a girl? I didn’t think it was possible.

All this time I had thought that I wanted a boy. Another boy to be rambunctious and silly and wild. Another boy so close in age to Bjorn, to play with and fight with and learn to hunt and fish and drive together. But when I heard Peanut was a girl, I knew right away that that was perfect. That a girl was exactly what I had wanted the whole time - and didn’t even know.

The Hubs left with Peanut to get her weight (7 lbs 5 oz) and height (19inches), leaving me to cry and be excited while Doc finished his work on me - which included a complimentary mini tummy tuck. Woo hoo!!

My little Peanut was crying across the room and then heard one of the nurses say ‘I’ve never seen a 10 before!’ I already knew my girl was a perfect 10, but how did this nurse know? Because her APGAR scores were a 9 and then a 10. Perfect 10.

And Bjorn was a 9 and 9 (I think). Which means we are going to liquidate their college funds for an Hawaiian vacation because both my kids are getting scholarships to Harvard!!!

Since we named her Madalan Marie, we nicknamed her our little Peanut M&M. I smell a certain Halloween costume that would be perfect for her. . . .

The recovery has been much easier this time around. Sure, it has been no picnic in the park. And I’ve decided that even though Doc has cleared me to drive once I can stomp, (which I can do now - we “march” Bjorn to bed most nights), I’m going to take it easy and put it off as long as possible. I’ve got some precious cargo in the car and I don’t want to chance it. Besides, it’s not very often that I can give The Hubs a list and the coupons and send him off to the grocery store. Or Walgreens. Or to do the laundry. I’m going to milk this recovery for all it’s worth.

All in all, the repeat c-section was not a horrible thing. Of course, I would have liked to have had a VBAC, but I also would have liked to have a designer robe instead of a hospital gown, pizza right away instead of Jell-O 8 hours later when I finally could fart (which is the requirement after a c-section before you can eat ANYTHING. Total torture!) and a baby that consistently sleeps through the night. So we don’t always get everything we want, but what we get can sometimes be what we need.

And I got my little Peanut. So I’m happy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kick it Like Beckham: Take Two

OK, so I know that I owe you a birth story, and I will get to it eventually, but the birth story takes a while. And I don't have a while to think and sit and write right now. I'll get to it. . . . later. But for now? Snippets. That's all you get. Oh yeah - our little Peanut M & M was a GIRL!!

Yeah, surprised the heck out of me, too!!

I wrote a few weeks ago that she never stopped moving. That she was kicking and rolling and generally being a nuisance of herself in the womb.

Now The Hubs knows what I meant.

She sleeps all day (and all night, too. Woo-hoo!!). But when sleeping, she wriggles like mad. She squirms when she gets a diaper change. Moves around when nursing and burping. She can't just sit there.

Even the nurses at the hospital commented on it. The nurse for her first appointment pointed it out. Everyone who holds her mentions her moving her head around, waving her arms (like she just don't care) and squirming.

Yeah, people, I know. I've dealt with it since I felt those first kicks at 17ish weeks. Trust me, I know. She's a kicker.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

No Baby Yet. In case you think you missed something. . . .

I know, I know. It's been like two weeks since I've updated. No, we do not have a Peanut yet.  Lots has happened, but not that. I can't even remember most of it. So I'll highlight what I do remember. . . .

My last Doc appt was this previous Thursday. Everything is looking good! Peanut's heartbeat is 156 BPM. And I weighed in at exactly 36 pounds more than when I started - which is good, considering that with Bjorn, I tipped the scale at a whopping 51 pounds when all was said and done! Of course, when I weighed myself this morning - 3 days later - another 4 pounds somehow jumped on the scale. I blame a faulty scale.

The C-section is set for this Thursday, July 28 at 11:30 am. Getting closer!!!!

I had one day last week when I had contractions all day. Not bad ones. I could still talk and walk and do everything normal - which is good, because The Hubs was working til midnight that night and I DID NOT want to go into labor at home on my own! And not long contractions - lasted less than a minute every 45 minutes to an hour. But the next day, there were no contractions. Then none the next or the next or the next. Must have been a fluke.

With the date rapidly gaining on us, The Hubs and I decided to finally take a date night out. We begged my cousin to watch Bjorn for the night and went to do what I had been dying to do for months.

We went to the casino.

Yes, I know, I'm like 20 months pregnant. Whatever. I really wanted to gamble. And I knew, just knew, that rubbing my big ol' belly was going to be about as lucky as rubbing a Troll doll. We were gonna win.

But we didn't.

I lost my first $100 in the first 20 minutes. On slots. Quarter slots. Oooooh. . . I was such bad luck.

Good thing The Hubs was on a streak and won it all back - and more - within the next twenty minutes.

And that was our night. Back and forth. He would lose, I would win. I would lose, he would win. In the end, though, the only winner was the casino. As usual.

Today we took some maternity/family portraits at a local ranch nearby. They turned out exactly as I wanted. So even though I had to set my alarm for 5:30 am just so we could possibly beat the heat and the sun (which we didn't - we finished at 9 am and it was already 100 degrees), we got some great shots. And had a great time.


39 weeks

I've also continued my 'super couponing' (I'm not extreme - I buy one set of papers and that's all the coupons I have. Although I have been tempted lately to buy extra inserts. . . . . ). I'm keeping track of my expenditures and savings a little more closely, but since The Hubs is scared of using coupons, I'm also trying to stockpile a little bit before Peanut. Not much. Just in really cheap items right now - like we now have 8 jars of great tasting spaghetti sauce (no Ragu for us - yech), normally $4, for $1 a piece and 10 boxes of cereal, normally $4.50 (who pays this much for this stuff?!) for $.75-$.90 a box. Oh yeah, and we have enough toothpaste to last us for 6 months. Which isn't going to stop me from getting two more tubes for free when I go to the store tomorrow. . . . . .

It's been a fun couple of last 'Just the Three of Us' weeks. Busy, exhausting and fun. Now we've had our date night, I got a cute pedicure and the crib is set up. We are ready for baby!

** Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I quit my last Mommy's group and found another one that sounded interesting. So far we've only met up three times but I am really liking these girls! These Moms feel like the Moms I wanted to meet with Bjorn - the ones I could call for anything and meet up with for everything ranging from playdates to Moms Nights Out to 'Please Take My Child for Just an Hour so I can Please Grocery Shop in Peace'. I am sooooo glad to have met them. Better late than never!!**

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Story Time

Bjorn and I were sitting on my bedroom floor playing with his cars when suddenly he stopped, came to sit on my mostly non-existent lap and began talking.  This is his story (with my questions because I needed to make sense of it):

Uh oh, Roar coming.

There's a dinosaur coming?

Uh huh. Babble babble babble babble roar stopping car.

Is the dinosaur trying to stop the car?

Uh huh. Stop, Roar. Stop! Car ok.

Did you stop the dinosaur and save the car?

Uh huh. Uh oh. Roar babble babble Mommy bed babble Zahza*.

Is the dinosaur getting on Mommy's bed to get Hansa?

Uh huh. Stop, roar. Zahza move!

Good job. You stopped the dinosaur from getting Hansa.

Gro'er feet.

Is there water on your feet?

No. ROAR feet.

Oh, you see dinosaur feet?

Uh huh. Bjorn roar feet. Stinky. *Sniffs*

Does Bjorn have stinky dinosaur feet?

Uh huh. Mommy feet?

Does Mommy have stinky dinosaur feet?

*Sniffs* Nooooooo. Uh oh. Roar babble babble coming Sesse** babble car.

Ummm. . Is there a dinosaur in the street with the car?

Uh huh. Stop Roar! Stop! No Sesse! Car ok.

---------------------

Then he put his fingers in his mouth and leaned up against me, storytime over. I can't help but be proud. Maybe I have a future little writer in Bjorn. As I send off one writing submission and work diligently on another due tomorrow (Talk about procrastinating - oops!), I think that maybe, just maybe, he got some of that imagination from me. Here's hoping.

*Zahza is Hansa, our Brittany Spaniel dog.
** Sesse. What he calls the street. As in 'Sesame' Street.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kick it like Beckham

I read recently that as it gets closer to D-Day, I may feel less of the babe's movements, being that they are starting to have less room to maneuver.

Either I have the largest womb and the smallest kid, or those books are a bunch of crap.

This kid is kicking the bejeezus out of me.

Not the foot-in-the-ribs kind of kicking. That really only lasted about a day. Peanut is extraordinarily gracious and kind in leaving my lungs and ribs alone.

But in every other way, this kiddo will not.stop.moving. Sometimes I get irritated at the constant movement. I can't sit on the couch to watch America's Got Talent without my stomach rippling and ebbing like the tide.

I can't use my belly as a cup holder anymore. Peanut keeps spilling my coffee.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In case you were wondering. . . .

The time is getting closer to Peanut's birth (2 weeks, people - 2 weeks!) so I thought I should write the one post I have been putting off, telling myself it wasn't even necessary to write.

But if it wasn't necessary, I wouldn't keep thinking about it, then, would I?

So here goes.

I am going to have a repeat c-section.

Yes, even if my water breaks on its own. Even if I start to go into labor early. Even if that means rushing to the hospital at 2 am to get cut open and gutted.

Not a very good visual, I know, but let's be honest here, that pretty much sums it up.

I have friends who are considering VBACs (Vaginal Birth After C-Sections). Friends who had completely natural births. Friends who do the "normal" delivery of epidural and vaginal birth. Friends who don't truly understand why I am choosing to have surgery.

Trust me, I really wish I didn't have to. Especially after the depression and breakdown following the previous one.

But it's the right decision for me.

I did alot of research and talked to my doctor about the possibility of a VBAC. While he doesn't do them often, he - and the hospital where I will deliver - will do them. Which is rare, I'm told. Not many doctors or hospitals will allow them.

Which is Strike One against VBAC's for me. Because if a hospital is saying it is an unsafe practice and they won't allow them to be done at their facility, who am I to argue? Call me naive; call me innocent, but I can't bring myself to believe that the entire health care system is using c-sections as a revenue generator for doctors and health care providers. Which is what Pro-VBAC'ers always say to me. That doctors and anesthesiologists want to make that extra $1500 per patient, so they would rather put the mother through surgery than let her deliver on her own. That c-sections are a way for doctors and hospitals to rack up the bills on the patient, increasing their fees.

I cannot think that people - even a large, greedy group of people - could really think this way. So I believe instead that doctors and hospitals don't allow them for the reason they state in their medical practices information. Because it is more dangerous for the mother and baby, and the risk is higher for both.

Which is what my doctor told me when we discussed VBAC. He was completely honest with me. I remember the conversation going something like this: "A VBAC is not dangerous in itself. It is dangerous in the 5% chance that something goes wrong. And in the 5% chance that something goes wrong, there is a 90% chance of something going very, very wrong for mother and child. Hysterectomy for the mother. Permanent brain damage or death for the baby." And this is where I stopped listening, because after you mention brain damage or death, what more is there to hear? Nothing. Not for me.

Because if there is an increase in a chance that something would go wrong with my baby, then I am totally out.

Strike Two and Three. Hell, let's strike out the next two batters and move to the next inning.

Deal Breaker.

You might say that there is always a risk when it comes to birth - and you're right. I understand that completely. There is a risk when it comes to surgery. I understand that, too. But the increase of any risk in a c-section is not to the baby. It is to the mother, in terms (mostly) of infection because of surgery. Although I don't like the possibility of having surgical complications, I feel that it is more important to make sure that the baby can be born as healthy as possible.

So that is why I am choosing surgery this time. That is why even though I am scared to pieces of having another c-section, I am willing to do it.

In case you were wondering.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Nobody Nose the Trouble I've Seen. . . .

This morning, Bjorn was eating a balanced breakfast of 1/2 Cheerios, 1/2 Cocoa Puffs when he comes running up to The Hubs and I.

"Nose. Nose! Cer-e-ul. Nose!"

"Ummm. . . Do you have cereal in your nose?"

"Uh huh!" he nods emphatically.

"Bjorn?! Did you PUT the cereal in your nose?"

"Uh huh!" Another emphatic nod.

And, sure enough, the kid had stuffed a cocoa puff up his nose.

After a few nostril squeezes and no results, I was just about to grab a pair of tweezers and go digging when The Hubs stopped me.

"I'll get this," he says. "I have experience with getting things out of noses."

To which I wondered, How?! I mean, the guy has changed a zillion diapers now, but none before Bjorn's birth. So no experience in the baby department, but he has experience in taking small objects out of noses?! Maybe I don't need to know. . . .

Sure enough, he had that puff out in no time at all.

Four hours later, just as Bjorn and I were finishing a sandwich lunch, I see something strange hanging out of his nose.

And I pull out a piece of rolled-up ham. Sigh. . . . .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kids say the Darnedest Things. . . .

We've been asking him lately about Peanut, and which sibling he would like, occasionally throwing in a twist. No matter what, he always picks the last option we give him.

"Bjorn, do you think Peanut is a brother or a sister?" "Sister!"

"Do you want a girl or a boy?" "Boy!"

"Would you like a brother or a puppy?" "Puppy!"

But then he got to be a little too smart for us. At my latest OB visit, Doc asked Bjorn, "Do you want a brother or a sister?"

To which he replied eagerly, "Puppy!!"

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

Although Bjorn is right on schedule with his pediatrician-approved 5 new words a week, we are trying to work on some of the words he won't say.

Like he won't say 'elephant', he will just make the sound (whinny? snort?) like an elephant.

He won't say 'motorcycle', just 'Vroom vroom' or, more often than not, 'Rtrtrtrtrtrtrtr'. It's more like a grunt than anything else.

And horse. He won't say it - just goes 'Neeeiiigghh' like a good horsie.

Until today. Watching Sesame Street today, he pointed to the TV.

'Mommy! Mommy! Hor! Hor!'  To which I looked at the screen, expecting to see Heidi Fleiss and friends.

Nope. Just a HorSE. NOT a Hor.

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

A few days ago, I took Bjorn to a park with a slide he can go down all by himself.

At first he was a little anxious, so I made a big deal about it - clapping, smiling, the whole shebang. he quickly got the hang of it, and I felt my applause was no longer needed.

Then after sliding down, he looked over at me. 'Mommy. Quack. Quack now!'

'Quack? A duck? Where do you see a duck?' I asked him.

'No Mommy! Quack. Not Quack!'

Which thoroughly confused me.

We went back and forth a few times, until finally I asked him to show me what he meant.

He walked right over to me, took my hands and made me clap. 'Mommy. Good job, Bjorn. Quack!'

So I quacked. Ummm. . . I mean, clapped.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

35 week Preggo Pic

This really needs no words. Instead, I'm just going to count this as my 35 week Preggo Pic. Enjoy!


The view from the top. Notice anything?!

Yes, that IS two different shoes that I wore. In public. Oops.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

With the amount of time I spend on Amazon.com and coupon websites and mommy blogs, I honestly thought that I knew about most cool products that were out there. Sure, there were a few newbie things I wasn't aware of, but surely nothing that I actually needed.

Oh boy, was I wrong.

I found out yesterday that there are probably thousands of things I absolutely-must-have-and-definitely-need. . . . and for sure there are at least three.


My New Favorite Things

* Ever heard of swimmie diapers? Yeah, those diapers that you put on your kid when he goes swimming to hold in all the, um, fecal matter that could come spraying out were he wearing a regular diaper that disintegrates when it touches water. Those swimmie diapers. The same ones that cost $10 for 10, and the kid always seems to poop right when you put it on. Ex-pen-sive. (Not to mention gross. Ever pulled a poopy swimmie off? Unless you can rip the impenetrable sides off the dang thing, you have to peel it down their legs - poop and all. Ugh. Messy.)

Anyways. They have these things that I pretty much equate with the cloth version of swimmie diapers. They hold in the poop, but not the pee (just like regular swimmers diapers), and they have Velcro so they can be put on and taken off much like regular diapers. Oh yeah, and they are only $14.50 on Amazon, meaning that if you go swimming twice a week throughout the whole summer, buying one of these will save you about. . . umm. . . .well, alot of money in disposable swimmies. These miracle diapers are called Bummis.

* My second newest favorite thing is not an item, but a club of sorts. It's called Amazon Mom and signing up is completely free. (Again, one of my favorite things. Free!!) When you sign up you get coupons and email deals and all sorts of cool stuff. The best part? FREE SHIPPING. No, scratch that, free 2 DAY shipping. So, those Bummis I was telling you about? They ship for free. And you don't even have to spend the $25 to get it. Sure, terms and conditions apply, but pretty much, you get up to a year of free shipping. And great deals on diapers. Ummmm. . doesn't get much better than that!

* If only I had known about this next treasure one year ago when we bought our pop-up camper. Because, you see, Bjorn has been sleeping in a pack 'n' play when we camp. And those things are heavy, bulky and take up alot of camper space. Not to mention, they are kind of a pain in the ass to put up, take down, and store.

But look what I could have used.

Oh yeah, I know, it's so expensive. Is it really worth it? Blah, blah, blah. But we went camping 10 times in the last year, people. 10 times. Sometimes for up to 4-5 days. That's a helluva lot of use out of the GoCrib. I like to think that even when Peanut comes, we will still go camping as much as we did last year; just strap Peanut into a front/back carrier and off we go. But I also like to think that these stretch marks will go away on their own and someday I will be able to go to the bathroom alone, without a wee little voice saying "What you doing, Mommy? You poo poo, Mommy?"

So maybe if the initial investment is deemed too high, there is always the Babies R Us version, the Kidco Peapod.The cheaper version. Which may not be quite as comfortable for the kiddo, but, hey, neither are those fold-out beds in the camper, and The Hubs and I use those just fine. It's camping. We can all rough it a little.

* Lastly, there is an item that while not made specifically for parents or young children, is the perfect addition for every family.

We've all heard of Skype. (Right? Haven't we?!) In fact, it's become a verb, much like some other internet-y words. Google it. I'll facebook you. Skype me later.

Soon, I predict that you will be using another Internet-y verb. Presto. As in, Presto that pic to Grandma.

The only way I can explain it is that Presto is a one-way computer/printer for those who have no computer, printer or Internet. Are you fully confused yet? Because it is actually pretty simple.

My Grandma has no computer and no Internet access. But with the Presto machine we bought her, she is able to connect through some kind of line (cable line? phone line?) and receive emails. They are sent to her "printer" (for lack of a better word) where, if the email is from a safe sender - one that has been pre-approved (so no spam "want to enlarge your &*%^" emails for Granny), it will print out right there for her.

She gets emails now. And pictures. Right away. She no longer has to wait for the person to remember to send the digital prints to Walgreens to print off into actual pictures, and then remember to go pick them up and then still remember to put them in an envelope and send them off. And, oh yeah, we ran out of stamps last week and I keep forgetting to buy new ones. When all this time, these pictures were posted on facebook and shutterfly and twitter and the only person who hasn't seen them. . . . is Grandma. 

Not anymore. Now Grandma can see them the same day as everyone else.  When Peanut is born next month, Grandma will get to see pictures the day s/he is born.  Instantly. Cool. Super-cool. Actually, one of the best things ever invented. And everyone without Internet access should have one.

No one asked me for my opinions on here. No one sent me free stuff or coupons or anything. In fact, these companies probably have no clue who I am, that I have a blog or that I covet the items they sell. I mention it to you here because I don't want you to miss out on some of the cool things that I did. And because I'm hoping that somehow, someway, these companies will somehow find me, send me free stuff, put me (and my gorgeous baby) on an advertisement and whisk me and Bjorn off into a life of modeling and hefty paychecks. And because I want to hear all about the cool stuff you just found out about, too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Not always what it seems

Today we went over to a friend's house to play in the baby pool and hang out with friends.

And I got a little boy who knocked over his 8 month old baby friend, wouldn't share any toys and liked to yell "No! No! No!" whenever anything was asked of him. Even if what I was asking was if he wanted to play outside in the pool.

By the time the other Mommy friend got there with her 9 month old, I had had it. Up to HERE. Done with him and his tantrums.

He got spankings. Toys taken away. Time-outs.

And I literally growled at him. Growled. Not one of my higher points.

Where was my cute, sweet little boy? Where was the little man who loved to share his toys and read books to his favorite baby friend and had to be stopped from helping too much? Where was my happy helper boy? Where was the kiddo who other moms stopped to tell me that he was "too cute" or had "such good manners"? Where did he go?!

Apparently, he went away with his mom the sweet, caring, patient woman. Because she didn't show up today, either.

 I'm thinking that the pregnancy hormones have kicked in.

After I got home, and an hour nap for me and two and half for him, I had some downtime to think. And I think maybe he wasn't so bad.

Ok, so he wouldn't share and he was yelling and he kinda threw a few fits.

Isn't that what 2 year olds do sometimes?

And instead of <> growling at him, couldn't I have found a better, more patient, less exasperating way to show him what to do instead? But I was so tired and so uncomfortably fat and so fed up with it all that I couldn't think of anything but what a little terror monster my sweet boy had mutated into.

Maybe it wasn't so much him. He was just being a typical toddler. Maybe it was me. I just need to look at him with restful eyes and a pinch of salt (preferably on a margarita glass in about 5 weeks) because things are not always what they seem. Sometimes they are better.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Like a Fish to Water

I have never actually learned to swim.

I can kick and stay afloat and do all the things that will keep me from drowning, but I most comfortabe drifting along in the shallow end of the pool atop a raft that comes with a can holder.

The Hubs, on the other hand, grew up a competitive swimmer and even now, at a big 6''1', can slice cleanly through the water. At one point deep in his scuba diving days, he entertained the thought of going for his Underwater Rescue Diver certification and running his own dive shop.

I still hold my nose to go underwater.

Needless to say, I was a little anxious about Bjorn's first day of swim lessons. Would he take after me and dip his toes slowly in the water or like his Daddy and dive right in?

I shouldn't have worried. He dove.

Like a natural, he jumped right in and when the instructor said to kick, he kicked. When he asked Bjorn to use his arms, he did. And when he asked him to do both at the same time, the little Boy Wonder did that, too.

He blew bubbles, dove under water for plastic pool rings and jumped in the water from the side of the pool. He swam (with me holding him just above water) from one end of the pool to the other and back again. He seal-crawled in the shallow end and monkey walked along the length of the pool, holding onto the railing.

Having been in a pool only half a dozen times at most, he was a completely natural. Took to it like a fish to water.

So it looks like we may be spending alot of time in the water in the future. Guess I will have to take swim lessons, too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Everything I need to know, I learned from Extreme Couponing. . . .

I am totally addicted to Extreme Couponing.

So much so that, I am ashamed to admit this, I actually DVR'd the show when I was out for the night.

Yeah, I don't think that is what DVR was invented for. (And doesn't the whole concept of DVR - paying more for something that could be quite cheap, go against the whole idea of Extreme Couponing?)

But, whatever. . . . I am completely addicted.

I have always been a sales/coupon freak. Half my college wardrobe came from Goodwill and other thrift stores - and I looked good, too. It was all name-brand, no-holes, fits-perfectly stuff. I just got fantastic deals on it. The other half of my wardrobe came from New York & Company or The Gap, when they had coupons for "Buy $75, get $25 off". And I would buy $75 dollars worth. . . of sale items. My total savings was always astronomical!

Or so I thought.

I mean, I really thought I was good at couponing and sales. After all, I had a closet full of great clothing for a third of the price.

Then I got pregnant with Bjorn, and as the budget reins tightened, I saw how it easy it was to save even more through groceries and household items.

Before, I had cut coupons, but used them haphazardly, and never after looking at the sales flyers. I began my new saving by shopping all sales, regardless of if I needed something or not; getting toothpaste and toilet paper and dish washing soap. For free! (In fact, in the last three years, I don't think I have ever bought toothpaste or dish soap. After coupons, it is always free. Free, people!!) Then I meal-planned according to what was on sale that week. Finally, I went to three/four/five different stores in order to get the best freakin' possible deal I could.

But my grocery bill was stuck at $150 a week. Which seems to be waaaay too much when there are only two and a half of us to feed.

How could I get that to go down? It was like my weight - once it was where it wanted to be, nothing could make it go any lower.

So, the first few times I watched Extreme Couponing, I was determined to learn something. Something I could put into action.

I learned that you can make your food bill be less than $4. . . but you can't have any fresh fruit or vegetables. In fact, no produce at all. All fruits and vegetables, if any, must be canned or frozen.

I learned that all meats you buy have "meat by-product" in them or are some un-recognizable mixed form of turkey, pork, beef, chicken and other "products". No real meats allowed.

I learned that some people actually have 300 bottles of Excedrin and 50 packages of Depends, even though they have never had a problem with migraines or incontinence.

I learned that kids shouldn't be expected to build forts under their beds, or store their toys in their closets, because those spaces are meant to be filled with 653 rolls of toilet paper and 92 bottles of Bleach and Windex.

And I learned that it is selfish - so incredibly selfish - to take all 65 bottles - every single last one - of Guldens Brown Mustard off the shelf just because you have a coupon that makes it free. Because the next person that needs that Guldens for a backyard family BBQ that started ten minutes ago, but just realized that they have no mustard, so had to run to the store to get some - will have to go to yet another store and take more time away from their fun, relaxing day. Because you decided it was more important for you to hoard 714 bottles of something that will expire in one year than to be a good, contributing member of society and share.

That being said, my total before discounts at the grocery store yesterday was $122.90. I saved $64.51 after coupons and store cards, with my total coming to a whopping $58.39.  For the week! That's like a savings of 55% or something. I walked away with a cart full of milk, fresh bread, fresh vegetables and fruit, 2 dozen large eggs, 3 Snuggle fabric softeners ($2 each after coupons!!), 2 packages of Hebrew National hot dogs ($2 each!), 8 large yogurts ($.77 after coupon!), 3 packages of coffee - Tully's and Seattle's Best (less than $5 each), pasta, pasta sauces, a 24 roll of the good 3-ply extra strong Toilet Paper ($4 after coupon!) and much, much more.

I feel like I did good - especially when last night's dinner (spicy sausage and rice stuffed bell peppers) turned out fantastic, and tonight's dinner (Taco Thursday!) sounds delish as well.  You can save without sacrificing.

Take that, Extreme Couponers. You may spend only $8 a week on groceries, but I eat oh so much better. And I leave a few mustards for others. Go back to kindergarten and share!