Monday, January 31, 2011

The monkey thought it was cold outside?

I remember the days when playing in the yard was a song-worthy occasion. My sister and I seemed to have theme songs for all sorts of activities, songs that we learned and songs that we made up. Truthfully, I still do, but I try to limit them to the world inside my head. Not everyone wants to hear my rendition of I Wear My Sunglasses at Night or It's Amazing What Praising Can Do or Great Big Poop.

Apparently, playing on the slide in the front yard needs the accompaniment of a little voice singing Pop Goes the Weasel. It goes like this:

"All around the mulderry bush the monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought it was cold outside, POP goes the weasel!"

The "POP" punctuates the leap from the slide. Yes, leap. When I tried to sing it with her, I was told, "NO! You don't sing it!" Alrighty then.

After a nasty week of fever and snot, we had a great weekend of outdoor play. Saturday, we loaded up the parade float and walked to the park for a picnic and the playground. EGR took a couple of babies with her and taught them how to slide and swing. Luke had carrots at the picnic, then he got to feel the dirt on his feet for the first time and swing in the baby swing. He loved all of it. When I sat down to nurse him at the playground, Ella took a break to nurse her babies, too.

Aside from a couple of short breaks on the stroller, Ella ran/walked the entire two-ish miles to the park and back. I thought that might lead to an earlier bed time. It did. For Dave, not Ella.

Luker is one step closer to getting around all by himself. He's perfected his technique of slipping out of laps and onto the floor where he can have a better view of Ella's business. I've nearly dropped him a few times when he decided he was tired of sitting and needed to get busy. He's starting to imitate us now, too. When he's upset or "neeeds" me, he says "Mama Mama Mama." I don't know if it counts as the first word, but the noise certainly sounds like the word. He also says, "heeeey" and he completely copied Grandmother the other day when she exclaimed "Oh!" about his diaper situation. He loves having his feet sniffed, kissed, and pat-a-caked. He loves being naked. He HATES HATES HATES having his nose wiped. The first time he rolls from back to stomach will be because he's trying to get away from me cleaning his nose. I know this already.

Friday, January 28, 2011

School is in Session

Since starting preschool, EGR has revealed to me exactly how nerdy I have always been. She plays school now - hard-core, in the zone, teaching her "babies" using the exact routine they use at her school. The only difference between her school-playing and mine is that she doesn't understand the concept of homework yet, so she fails to leave the "friends" with assignments when she leaves the house each morning. Oh, and she doesn't have a chalkboard mounted on the wall. Yet.

I guess preschool is a little early for chalkboards and homework. I'm sure those things will come in due time.

What does the school day look like? She starts the morning by waiting at the door for the friends to arrive and placing their backpacks outside in a neat row. Once they have all arrived, they play with toys, then sit at the table to paint a picture. After that, they might line up for music practice or sit in a group to practice saying the pledge. Sometimes, while they are in the group, they also sing a song or read a book. Then, it's lunch time, so back to the table. After lunch, nap. Their artwork goes out into the hall with their backpacks and they sleep until thier mommies and daddies pick them up from school. I've documented it with pictures.

Backpacks and artwork.
 Lined up for music practice.
 Nap time; sometimes the friends have to sleep "each together" and share a blanket.
 Ready for lunch.
 Saying the pledges - to the flag and the Bible. She knows both of them.
Thankfully, my husband was raised in a Baptist church so he can give her the lines of the plege to the Bible if she forgets them. I'll have to get her to teach me, because I never learned it.

In case we didn't know it already, she's officially my daughter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Luker Super Pooper

In what I deem an amazing feat of physics this morning, Luke managed to get more poop on his t-shirt than in his diaper. The smear of poop on my own t-shirt alerted me to the situation. It was impossible to get him out of his clothes without getting poop all over him. That's how bad it was. Bad enough that I left him butt naked on my bed, built-in sprinkler system uncovered, to fill up the tub. Bad enough that I'll probably just chunk that onesie. Bad enough that when Dave came to kiss us goodbye, I held my hands in the air as if waiting for a pair of surgical gloves so as not to mar his bright white shirt. He told me, "You're a good mother." Umm-hmm, don't I know it. He's just glad it wasn't him that picked that kid up out of the high chair, unaware of the secret mess he'd made. Lesson learned: Leave Luke in bed to make his morning poop. At least if it's not bouncing off the seat of the high chair it has a better chance of staying in the diaper.

Luke thought the whole thing was hilarious until I took advantage of the situation and used the warm washcloth to clean out his crusty nose. He did not like that at all. Ella also thought it was funny when I told her about it. She's been calling him Luker Super Pooper for a while. Now I know why.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Having Babies in Holes

Dave and I conduct our marriage as a partnership, running our household as a team, making decisions together, etc. He generally has more influence over the financial decisions because that stuff interests him, and I generally have more influence over the parental decisions because it interests me. We still discuss and give our opinions, but the more knowledgable person usually gets a weighted score in the final tally. We jokingly tell people that ours is a 51% -49% partnership, but the person with the majority vote changes with the subject. Given my sweet husband's inherent love for arguing, this is a good formula for us to follow. It cuts out the crap when I've done hours of research and he needs to tell me that so-and-so at the courthouse says we should switch the baby to soy formula to remedy his gas. Right. Maybe, if the baby were drinking formula. Thanks, so-and-so.

Thus, last night, as we watched Luke repeatedly attempt to steal food from our plates at the supper table and get increasingly mad when we stopped him, we had such a discussion about the introduction of solid food. The child is obviously ready to eat, but he's only 5 months old. Though I had previously decided we would wait until 6 months to introduce solid food, I was struggling with the rightness of that decision in the face of a very interested baby. Seeing my struggle, Dave started asking me questions. Questions about what the research says, what the AAP says, what our pediatrician says, what the mothers who start solids at 4 months would say, about allergies, and so forth. I spouted off all I have learned about the subject, all while fending off little hands. Then he asked me the clarifying question, understanding me as he does: "What would those mothers who dig a hole to have their babies do?"

Me: "They'd watch their babies and feed them when they started acting interested in food. Oh. They wouldn't have books and AAP recommendations to tell them when to feed the baby, they'd just pay attention to his cues."

So, he ate canned peaches last night because that's all I had in the house suitable as a first food. He loved them. He also drank about an ounce of water from his cup, which he has quickly learned how to use. He'd gladly have eaten my spaghetti, but I will adhere to a slow introduction of the least allergenic foods even if I started a few weeks early. I went out at lunch today and bought carrots, squash, pears, prunes, sweet potatoes, beef, chicken, and turkey. In no time at all, he'll be eating straight from the table, just like his sister.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Know You're a Mama When...

… you realize the weird bulge in the back pocket of your jeans is a pair of size 2T Sponge Bob panties. And you’re just thankful they are clean.

… your other pockets are crammed full of pony tail holders, infant socks, Mylicon drops, and acorns.

… you open your laptop bag at work to find a string of purple Mardi Gras beads.

… the thing you move by yourself to your new desk, because it’s too valuable to pack for the movers, is a cork board covered with snapshots and construction paper animals with wonky, sticker eyes.

… you can do anything with a baby in one arm.

… you realize that clicking noise coming from the bottom of your sock is just a smattering of stick-on earrings you picked up on your way through the living room.

… Llama Llama’s tears make you want to cry when he misses Mama. (Llama Llama Misses Mama, by Anna Dewdney – I LOVE her books.)

… at any given time, you pretend to be a cat, a hair dresser, a dog groomer, or a dentist to make the daily routine more interesting (read: easier).

… you fold five loads of laundry and you can’t figure out what you wore last week.

… you know exactly what it means when your 2 year old wants to listen to “Chuck’s song”.

… you realize you’ve put your underpants on inside out because you were dressing in the dark so as not to wake the kids. You know you are a sleep deprived Mama because you didn't make this realization until lunch and you decide not to waste the energy to turn them right side out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

I've been saying the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep prayer at bedtime with Ella for a long time. We started adding other prayers to the end of it last year when Grandmother's little dog, Sissy, had to have multi-mastectomy surgery and Ella was very worried about her. Some nights we barely make it through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and some nights she has a long list of people and animals for which she wants me to pray. Any time she is worried about something or doesn't feel well, I pray about it for her.

She recently started saying Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep with me. I say it and she repeats it, just like my parents did with me. Tonight, for the first time, she decided to say her own prayer all by herself. It went like this.

"Dear God" (Sideways look at me to see if she was doing it right. I answered with a nod.) "thank you for" (Another glance at me for affirmation.) "Thank you making me feel better. God bless everyone. Amen."

I won't lie; I teared up about it.

The H. Luke Update
H. Luke is on the move. He rolls over as soon as we lay him down, and he inchworm scoots around the floor to get to his toys. He's been getting up on his knees, too. He also moves the walker all around Grandmother's dining room. All in all, he's been way too busy to nap during the day and he cannot nurse in a room full of people and noise right now because he might miss something. And he's growing. I hear they do that when you feed them, and feed him I have. He nursed around the clock over the weekend and I swear he woke up heavier and longer the next day. And he left me hungrier. I could not get enough to eat for two days.  Now he's just busy learning how to be mobile.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Which is more obvious?

Scenario 1
A mother sits in a booth at a restaurant. Her baby is crying, but she cuddles him in her arms to quiet him while her preschooler sits beside her, chatting with her and the infant. The waitress greets them and takes their drink order.

Scenario 2
A mother sits in a booth at a restaurant. Her baby is crying, but she cuddles him in her arms to quiet him while her preschooler sits beside her, chatting with her and the infant. The waitress greets them and takes their drink order while making a large production of unrolling a set of silverware from the napkin, shaking out the napkin, and reaching around mom's back to drape the napkin over her and baby.

In both scenarios, mom is nursing the baby and has been from the moment she sat down.

This happened to me on a recent family outing. I was completely taken by surprise to have my personal space invaded as a perfect stranger took it upon herself to drape a napkin over my child's head while he nursed. I, of course, immediately removed the napkin from his head because he isn't accustomed to dining with his head covered and it was in our way. I was already managing a preschooler's hands, a menu, and a baby - a nursing cover was just added frustration.

If you were the family sitting diagonal from our booth, you might have noticed I was nursing if you happened to be paying attention when I adjusted my clothing to latch him on. Otherwise, it just looked like I was holding my baby. Until there was a napkin over my shoulder.

Now, should you choose to nurse under a blanket or nursing cover, that's completely up to you. Good luck keeping that cover on when you reach the point of The Distractible Nursling - and I do hope you nurse that long and longer. But, if you are trying to be discreet and not draw attention to your nursing self, you should know that nothing screams NURSING MOTHER louder than a blanket over your baby's head.

However you choose to do it, I hope you will nurse in public because the more people do it, the more normal the practice will become in this society. I also hope you know that most states, including mine, protect your right to feed your baby anywhere you are allowed to be.

So, why did I get covered with a napkin? I don't know. I'm guessing it made the waitress uncomfortable when she realized what I was doing. Or maybe she is a very modest person and thought I would appreciate being covered, though I don't know how you reach that conclusion about someone who makes no bones about latching on a baby while placing a drink order. I like to think it isn't the restaurant's policy to cover nursing mothers with napkins. That thought kept me from raising the ruckus that I felt brewing inside me as I stewed over having my personal space invaded and my baby's head covered. It was a nasty brew. One of indignation and violation. One that left me feeling quite pissy until the food came, and still leaves a bad taste in my mouth regardless of the good food. I probably should have spoken to the manager, but I didn't. For that reason, we will go back to that restaurant and give it another try.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Long Lean Luke

Luke, known as Harris by the medical community, had his 4-month check up yesterday. He is 26 inches long (75-90 percentile on the growth chart) and weighs 14 pounds 8 ounces (25 - 50 percentile). Again, he's two pounds heavier and two inches longer than EGR at this age. He's already wearing 6-9 month sized clothing.

Yet again, I discussed reflux with the doctor, and given what I know now with Ella's experience, we decided to medicate him again. I requested something other than the evil Zantac, so he'll also be taking Prevacid - half the dose that his sister takes each day. I think he has "silent reflux" because he doesn't throw up, or even spit up very often, like Ella does. That's the main reason I've been trying to decide if I was crazy for thinking he has it for the last 2 months, but the older he gets, the more obvious it's becoming. We had two nights of inconsolable, painful screaming for over an hour during Christmas and he's more and more often squirming uncomfortably when I lay him in his bed at night. I can also see and hear the reflux coming up into the back of his mouth and him swallowing it back down with a nasty, fussy face. And, he's had an unexplained stuffy nose for almost 2 months. So, child number 2 is medicated, and I will not be so quick to try to get him off the medicine as I was with Ella. I don't want to repeat chronic sinusitis.

He was in rare form for his visit - squealing, rolling over, and showing off his mad jumping skills. He sat right up when the doctor pulled on his hands. He was having a grand ol' time playing with everyone until that first shot royally pissed him off. I know the shots are necessary, but I hateses them.

He now tries to get his own arms out of the straps in the car seat when I unbuckle him. He tries to sit up and get out of the bouncy chair by himself when I unbuckle him. If I prop him semi-reclined on a pillow, he tries to sit himself straight up. It won't be long before he can sit unsupported. He'll be thrilled when he can sit in the floor beside Ella all by himself.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Good End to the Old Year

New Year's Day sucks. It is the most depressing day of the year for me. I think it's because of the holiday let down. It's rare that I wake up wishing for a day to be over, but that's generally how I feel about January 1st. I am thankful that we have lunch every year at my parent's house because that gives me something to look forward to, but after that I'm just ready to start life over again on the 2nd  without all the holiday hustle bustle. This year was no exception, and the nasty rain didn't help at all.

What was good, was New Year's Eve. I woke up in my new bed, on my new mattress with new sheets, in my newly arranged bedroom with two pairs of giant brown eyes looking at me. Neither pair were Dave's eyes. Luke was in bed with me, as he often is in the mornings, and Ella had come in sometime during the night. They were lying side by side, looking at me, waiting for me to wake up. It filled my heart with joy. (Plus, it's nothing short of a miracle to wake up after them without any of the usual racket.)

Then it got better. I first explained to Ella that it was the last day of the year and that the next day would be the first day of the new year. To which she promptly responded, "And I will go to school?" She's so ready to go back and I'd been telling her that after we had Christmas and New Year's Day it would be almost time for school again. She goes back Thursday and I can't wait because I'm hoping that will help with her sleep regression.

Then Luke was hungry. As I was settling into the pillows to nurse him, she insisted that she wanted to nurse him. I helped her up onto the bed, plopped him into her lap and she lifted her shirt as he turned his head to latch on. Then I took him back and told her I though he wanted her to nurse his stuffed bird instead. She was glad to, so both Luke and Hooey were happily fed. And burped.

It does my heart good to see her to so comfortably nurse her babies, stuffed animals and plastic tub toys - and even in a room full of people, as she demonstrated at Nana's house on Christmas Eve. I love that it is such a normal part of her life that she acts it out. I love that when Luke or other babies cry, she suggests nursing as a remedy. I hope she'll remember this when she has babies one day. It's certainly more normal than the "big bobo" she has behind her panties where Baby Kensley was born, which is the reason she can't carry Baby Jane to the car right now. It's going to take a lot more effort to teach her that C-section deliveries are not normal, but we'll get to that in good time.

Luker Man is his usual smiling, happy self. He got his new cup for Christmas and had no trouble drinking a couple of ounces of milk from it on the first try. He's ready to eat food. So ready that Dave recently asked me at the supper table, "We aren't going to have a peaceful meal around here for two months are we?" No, we will not. He squeals and grabs at our plates. He'll get his first solid food when he's six months old in February; until then he can chew a spoon and squeal at us while we eat. Food isn't the only thing he tries to grab; he's after anything in his reach, which makes holding him in one arm while I put on my makeup even trickier these days. He's also figured out how to propel himself forward in the walker at Grandmother's house. He is pratically bursting with the need to jump in the floor and play with Ella and he gets vocally upset when she leaves his sight. I'm very afraid for the day he becomes independently mobile. He is going to rock her world.