Monday, March 31, 2014

Gone fishin' at 8 weeks

At eight weeks old:
---Doing a very unscientific weighing, Fish is weighing in at 14.75 pounds today and is 24 inches long!  He has gained over 5 pounds & 2 inches in two months! At his doctor's appointment earlier last week, he weighed  14.5 pounds.  His official 8-week visit is at the beginning of next week and I'll get an official weight and length on him.
---So, he is sleeping well at night now.  We had some rough patches, but all in all, he sleeps pretty good.  Our usual routine is going to be bed about 8:30-9:00, feeding him and him falling asleep about a half hour later.  He usually gets up around 2:00-3:00am and then will get up again between 5:00-6:00am (the closer to 6:00am it is, the more he stays awake for the morning).  But for the past week, he has this mysterious cold that arrives at his 3:00am feeding, stays until around 7:00am and then goes away for the day, only to return again at 3:00am.  With the cold, he has been uncomfortable as he can't breath very well and sleeping really lightly between 3:00am -- 7:00am, which means that I sleep really lightly as well.

---Holy megawatt smile!  He has just started smiling constantly in the past couple of days.  Whenever I or Daddy greet him, he instantly lights up.  He even smiles for Sister sometimes.  He isn't much of a talker yet, but that has also amped up in the last couple of days.  His mouth is opening and closing and he is trying really hard to make sounds come out.  We get the occasional noise -- at first I was concerned, because Finn was talking at 4 weeks.  She was a babbler by 8 weeks.  But then I realized that he just isn't the talker that she is.
---He is still a good napper on most days.  He will take a good long nap in the morning -- 2-3 hours if we are lucky.  And he will take another good long nap around 4:00 - 5:00pm for an hour or two.  Then he catnaps during the other times.  He currently naps in the swing or the Mamaroo (sometimes in the bouncer) as I don't have anywhere to lay him him down yet.  Once we move the bassinet that we use to change him in the middle of the night out of our room, I'll move it downstairs and try to get him to nap in that (if he doesn't grow too long for it, which is close).

---He is currently outfitted in 0-3 month clothes.  The pants are too short and the shirts are getting too short as well.  I could probably easily transition him into 3-6 month outfits now (and have the clothes out in his room as we speak to see what we have in that size), but I'm reluctant to do it just yet as I have sooooo many 0-3 month clothes, but not a lot of 3-6.  He is already in 6 month sleepers.  And with the washing they get before they get put on, they are almost fitting perfectly.  They are just ever so slightly too long -- but that won't last for very long.  I'm thankful that the warmer weather is around the corner(hopefully), so I won't have to continually put him in sleepers until the fall.  I don't want to have to break out the 9 month stuff too soon. 
---He is in size 2 diapers.  We moved him over to that size two weekends ago.  

---He still has a love-hate relationship with his pacifier.  He has a natural suck tendency, which I didn't realize until a week or so ago.  Maybe that's why he is SO BIG ALREADY.  I was just feeding him every time he was start to make those fish-lips or he would start to root when I picked him up even if he had just ate an hour before.  In my mind, that meant that he was hungry and so I fed him.  Then he would spit up a lot of what he has just ate.  Mama The Brilliant here finally realized that he just wanted to suck, even though he refused to the pacifier.  So I've been giving him the pacifier more and it has eased his crankiness due to digestion and an overfull tummy.  He also refuses to take bottles.  We have tried four times with three different people and he just won't take them.  Yesterday I went out and bought Mam bottles (it's a nipple racket.  You can't buy just nipples because the base of the nipple is all different sizes, so you have to buy the bottle as well.  Total nipple scam.), which is the same brand of pacifier we use.  So I'm hoping with the similarity between the two, the bottle might come more quickly.
---He is doing better in his carseat.  At the beginning he was a dream, falling asleep instantly.  But now he really fusses.  I'm not sure if it's due to the dark canopy that I have to put over him because of the cold weather or if he just doesn't like the seat.  Eventually, he will fall asleep, but there are sometimes where he just screams and screams back there.
---But we are finally hitting our stride.  I'm figuring out his personality and he is figuring out that he seems to like us as his family. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reporting from the Trenches: Ingrown Nails & Screaming Wails

The above photo was taken last week...  This is NOT what our house looks like right now...  But I had these fabulous photos that I wanted to show.  So the photos are in no way a depiction of what is going on in our household right now.  Instead, we have a cranky newborn and a screaming toddler.  We will begin with the screaming toddler...

Two nights ago, the girl had an award-winning meltdown.  She should have been given an Oscar.  Unfortunately, poor Daddy was the recipient of all the wrath that she had to spew.  In now trying to remember the timeline of events, my mind has actually blocked out most of it.  My brain obviously knows how to keep me mentally sane.  I do remember dinner being fine.  Some good ole' fashion Mac 'N Cheese with Velveeta, of course -- much to the chagrin of E who swears that Velveeta is NOT considered cheese.  In my raising in the Midwest, Velveeta actually has it's own cheese-subsection, but that's a story for another time.

Aaaah, yes.  Then it was bath-time.  Fish was to get a bath in the big bathtub as it's still fricking winter here (Hello, Mother Nature?!?!?  Just wanted to tell you that I'M OVER IT!  We had snow on the ground yesterday -- enough is enough.  Seriously.) and our upstairs is a hell of a lot warmer than our main floor AND also, the kid is just too big for the infant bath that I usually put on the counter.  So I used the infant rack (not sure what else to call it) and put that in the bathtub to give him a bath.  Worked like a charm.  Finn came up and "helped" with the bath.  Obviously, her helping was wetting a washcloth and wringing it out on the floor.  Once Brother is finished with his bath, she was up next, but wouldn't put down her washcloth and wouldn't stop wringing it out on the floor.  Then we made a first-time parent of a toddler mistake.  We said -- "Do you want to take a bath?"  Ooops.  Because of course, the answer was "NO!"  And then all holy hell broke loose.

Girlfriend did NOT look like this two nights ago.  She had horns growing out of her head, her teeth were sharp as knives, and she was holding a pitchfork.

I drained the tub of the water that we were going to give her a bath with as E tried to tame the tornado that she had become and put on her jammies.  I'm not sure what brought about her wrath to be honest.  Maybe a combination of not wanting to take a bath, not wanting to go to bed and not wanting to stop throwing water everywhere -- but I think the sole factor was that she was overly tired.  Proceeding on, I took Fish into our bedroom to feed him and hopefully put him to sleep so E and I could be a two-man team against Finn the Ferocious.  Unfortunately, he didn't get the memo and it took him about 45 minutes to fall asleep.  So E was on his own.  The screaming wails that were coming from her room were some of the worst that I've heard from her (worse than the shrieks that cats make when they are fighting).  He put her in his crib and had to leave her room, probably to ensure that he would still have hearing the next day.  Once she was calm, he proceeded back into the pits of fury only to return a couple of seconds later as the shrieks erupted, again.  Finally, she had simmered enough to listen to him explain to her what she needed to do in order for him to stay with her.  Then, the evil spirit that had taken over her body left and she became our little cherub again, dreaming sweet dreams until the morn when it all starts over again.  Lather, rinse, repeat...

To top that all off, Fish isn't his sweet angelic self either.  Rah, rah.  Earlier in the week, I noticed his toes for the first time.  I know, I know.  What mother doesn't constantly pay attention to her kid's toes.  Obviously, I don't.  The poor baby has some serious ingrown toenails on his big toes.  In fact, on his right big toe, the entire toenail bed is sunk at least 1/8 inch below his skin.  So as that toenail is growing out, it is pushing it's way back into the skin on the edge of his toe -- the entire edge of his toenail, mind you.  The left big toe is only halfway growing back into his skin.  The right toe is so severe that if it continues, it will come out the other side of the tip of his toe!  So I immediately call his pediatrician who is out on vacation and end up with Dr. Awesome, a younger doctor in her practice.  E & I have had Dr. Awesome once before.  Her name is derived from the fact that everything positive we told her was "Awesome!"  "He is eating well."  "Awesome!"  "He is sleeping great."  "Awesome!"

So I take Fish to see Dr. Awesome, who didn't say anything was awesome during this visit.  In fact, she said that the toe was so severe that she couldn't do anything with it and gave me a referral to a podiatrist.  As she was giving me some treatments that I could do at home with him while I wait for his podiatry appointment, she did say twice "He is going to LOVE that."  The first time was in reference to me having to soak his toes in an epsom salt bath twice a day for 20 minutes!  That time, I thought she was being serious as what baby doesn't love to be soaked in warm water, kind of like a bath.  The second time was when I was supposed to clean it with hydrogen peroxide a couple of times a day and put bacitracin on it.  Then I became suspicious that she was being sarcastic.  Come to find out when I got home and begun soaking his feet, she was sarcastic.  What newborn wants to sit straight up and have his feet dangling in water -- I usually end up soaked because he is kicking the bowl away.  AND there is absolutely NO WAY that you can get a newborn to sit with his feet in water for 20 minutes!  So we do it as long as we can -- usually 5 minutes.  And of course, there are no pediatric podiatrist in our HUGE hospital system except one.  And he is only a podiatrist that is willing to see a patient as young as Fish.  Of course, we can't get in to see him until next Tuesday -- so I'm crossing my fingers and legs that his nails will not grow a lot in the next five days...  So far, the toe nails are not infected, so that's a good thing.  Again, crossing everything I got that it stays that way...

I'll leave you with a picture of what I'm hoping will return to us next week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Six Words of Life

My kids are growing before my eyes.  My kids... My kids -- that just sounds like something MY parents would say and not me.  But it's true.  I have kidSSSSSSSSSSS.  That sentence totally made me smile.  When I was single and stupid, my biggest fear in life was that I would have ugly babies.  You know those babies...  The ones that only a mother could love.  I would be afraid that people would tell me that my baby was adorable, but I would know that secretly they were only saying that do to etiquette.  Everyone told me about the blinders that mothers put on once they have a baby.  Those blinders make those babies the most adorable babies in the world.  I have on HUGE blinders...

With Finn, multiple people actual told me that my husband and I needed to have more children because she was so truly beautiful.  I totally agreed.  But now my fears have changed.  I want to make sure that I am my best version of myself so that I can lead by example on being the people that I want them both to become.  Let me tell you -- that is hard to do on a daily basis.  And I'm not even into the hard sh*t yet.  I'm just in the patience zone...

E & I write them yearly letters on their birthdays.  The letters are anything that we choose to write about and are not shown to each other.  It's a way that our advice can live on forever for them in physical form.  It's something that I wished I would have had from both my father & mother.  To see them as people (not just Mom & Dad) as I got older and needed more complex advice.  I hope they are something that they treasure and return to years after both E & I depart.

But I keep thinking about what is my words in their head going to be...  What are the words that I want them to remember when times get tough and they need the voice of their mother to remind them what to do.  Whether it be on a tough day in middle school when all their friends decide that it's her turn for them to be mad at (girls can be such bitches).  Or when it's his first day of college and he is scared to be away from home.  Or when they have hit a rough patch in life and aren't sure what they are doing wrong.  I've actual come up with something.  Well, I read it and had an "ah-ha!" moment.

My advice to them is only six words...  It's words that will hopefully resonate with them when they are struggling and help them make the right decision.

Show up.  Be brave.  Be kind.

Show up.  Sounds simple, right?  But sometimes it's the hardest one of the three to do.  Showing up is 75% of the battle.  When you say that you are going to do something, do it.  Or when you say that you are going to participate, participate it.  No one likes a flake.  And most importantly, no one trusts a flake.  And showing up doesn't need to be a physical presence somewhere.  It could be a phone call or an e-mail to a friend that might need you.  You'll find that in most instances, once you have shown up, you may truly enjoy yourself or be happy that you did.  And if you don't want to show up, once you DO show up, you just might get the support that YOU needed that day. 

Be brave.  Be brave can fit into a multitude of categories.  It can mean doing something that makes you afraid.  Or doing something that you know is right that the group isn't doing.  Remember, just because everyone is jumping off the bridge, doesn't mean that you have to.  The best way to grow and learn is to do something that you haven't done before or something that you might not be very good at.  The only way to get better is to make mistakes and try.  Give it your best try, even if you feel foolish.  People can't get angry at someone who is trying their best and if they do, then you don't need to be friends with that person anyways.

Be kind.  Probably the most important one.  Always be kind.  To those around you.  To the environment.  And also to yourself.  Be kind to the kid in class that everyone is making fun of -- you never know the circumstances that kid may be in.  Be kind to the environment -- pick up after yourself and leave things they way that you found them or if you don't, make them better.  And also be kind to yourself.  Don't be too critical of yourself.  As I said earlier, everyone makes mistakes -- that's how we grow into better people.

Of course, there are lots of other things that fit into these six words.  I'm just skimming the top of the iceberg.  This whole raising good people thing is nerve-racking.  But a huge piece of advice that I try to give myself on a daily basis (besides the six words of life that I am going mantra for my kids)?

"We’ll only ever be required to handle one day at a time. Thinking about all of the future right now—packing years of challenges into this one present moment when we try and force ourselves to deal with every heartache we’ll ever possibly experience in life—is not only overwhelming, but it’s unrealistic. Whatever the case, when we get there, we’ll wake up any given morning and deal with that one day. And amid the challenges of that day, there will also be lots of good things to cushion the hard moments—both for us and our children. People who make us happy, lovely things to make us smile. Coffee and music and walks outside and delicious food and good books and holding hands and kissing cheeks. And then we get to go to bed every night and wake up again and deal with the next day with maybe the same challenges but new good things too. We’ll never have to deal with thirty years of hardship on one given day, so why do we force ourselves to think about all of it right this second?"  -- Enjoying the Small Things

Monday, March 24, 2014

A week in the life (v.2014.10)

 Sporting a pink "Weebok" hat.  Her first baseball cap to look like Daddy.

Backwards like a boss.

These almost came home with her, but thankfully, Daddy thought about Mommy's reaction.  OR the more likely theory... the fact that they wouldn't fit in our car. 

Lovin' Baby Brother on St. Patrick's Day

Fish rockin' his "Me First St. Patrick's Day" shirt

Out for a beer with SaraBeth

Huge smiles for Mom -- the little stinker!

Finn got a letter from her cousin Neave.  It got hung on our frig immediately.

Basking in the late afternoon sunlight

Someone was taking selfies on the pot

Another potty selfie

Someone's belly is getting too big for his clothes...

Cheering on my poor Hawkeyes...

Pretty Princess Brother

This is his heel pressing through the bottom of his sleepers.  All the 3 month sleepers look like this.   He is WAY too long for them.

Got his first rugby shirt on (which his poor potbelly is hanging out of).

Had to unbutton the pants as they felt too tight around his belly...

He is going to be too big for his carseat within the next month or so...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Show me that smile again

So we are having some serious growing pains.  Fish is getting ready to turn seven weeks old.  And boy, did he do some serious growing in his first six weeks of life.  I'm not going to say much, as a picture says a thousand words...

The bear is scaled to be exactly the same size in each photo...

Again the bear is scaled.  Two words... Big Fish.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Put Me in the Zoo

(all the photos in this post were taken with my phone -- I had packed up the good camera, but forgot it on the table in our rush out of the house)

I will go into the zoo. I want to see it. Yes, I do.
Will you keep me in the zoo? I want to stay in here with you.

(Courtesy of Dr. Suess)

Two weeks ago, we bought a year-long family pass to the Zoo.  We got the pass that included all four of us plus one additional guest. When looking at the cost of a membership, it happened to be the same as two trips with the four of us with our +1.  We have high hopes of going to the zoo often this year (and if I choose to stay-home, I'll be able to take the rugrats during the week).

So we decided this past weekend that we all needed to get out of the house.  Our Zoo is open year round, which is crazy due to our crazy cold and snowy winters!  In fact, the only days that the Zoo is closed is on New Years Day and Christmas.  The other 364 days?  Open for business!

Our Zoo also has an indoor structure that is called "The Rainforest".  So we chose to go to the Rainforest and spend a Saturday.  Both E & I were really excited to take Finn.  It would be our first big "first" for Finn that we have done in a while.

I had prepped Finn the night before.  I asked her if she knew what the Zoo was.  And I asked her what animals she wanted to see in the Zoo.  Apparently monkeys and turtles were her main focus.  She was so excited to go to the Zoo.  Her exact words?  "It will be fun!" (which is said in the cutest way)

Now the Rainforest is pretty limited in the variety of animals that it houses.  It has a 10-foot waterfall immediately upon walking in the door.  Then there are monkeys on either side.  After the monkeys, you walk through a rainforest path looking at all the different plant life that is included in the rainforest.  This was obviously of no interest to Finn.

On the upper level, there are the big monkeys, an ocelot (who was M.I.A.), a family of otters and an orangutan.  She was quite interested at first.  But didn't want Daddy to move anywhere but by her side.  She wouldn't get rid of her security blanket (her bink and her lamb).  We tried to take them away several times during the Rainforest, but I think that she was very unsure of where she was and all the strange things that were in front of her.

One of the old monkeys came up right next to the window (as you can see in the photo above).  We asked Finn if she wanted to reach out and touch the glass to see if the monkey would "touch" her hand.  Hell no!   

On the lower level of the Rainforest, there were lots of snakes, spiders, fish, & turtles.  There is a huge display of fruit bats (which are my personal favorite as well as E's).  We went through the Rainforest and Finn was still being really good (despite it being an hour past her nap time).  So we thought we would hit some of the outside animals which were close to the entrance.

The African elephants (my absolute favorites!!!) were right next to the entrance.  The elephants are kept in their building when the temperature drops before 40 degrees.  It was below 40 that day, so they were inside.  We got to see all five females as well as the one male.  Finn was pretty scared at the beginning but by the end (and with lots of positive talking from both E & I about how excited we were to be seeing the elephants), she had warmed up enough to want out of the stroller and was standing along the fence.

We ended our visit to the zoo with the lions.  By that point, I think that we were almost 90 minutes beyond her normal nap time and she wasn't as impressed with the lions as I would have thought. The girl can give an enormous "ROAR" when you ask her what the lion says, so I thought she would be so amazed by them.  I think that she was really tired.

In fact, upon arriving at the car, she fell asleep before we got four blocks away from the zoo.  And she was OUT.  E & I didn't really want to go home at that point and both of us were starving (and thirsty).  So we picked a local brewery to grab a pint as well as lunch/dinner for the three of us.  Brother was great the entire time in his stroller.  He only cried when we were initially outside waiting to get our membership validated. And then he fussed once in the Rainforest.  The rest of the 2-3 hours he just slept away in his carseat.  It was a great day out!