Thursday, July 31, 2008

Welcome to...the Wonder Months

My pediatrician has a really nice perspective on things, and he is able to talk me down off a ledge on a lot of topics. He knows my background in child development, and my experience with kids with specials needs. He says he understands why I'm paranoid about everything, because he was the same way when his kids were small, being a pediatrician and all. So yesterday at David's 4 month visit, he calmed me down on a bunch of things that I was all strung up about, and then he said, "Make sure you appreciate this 4-6 month period. They truly are the Wonder Months." So that afternoon (after David crashed from his shots), I took some time to appreciate all that he has learned in 4 months. It really is amazing! Then we took this video, in which he showed off all of his skills really nicely, and also showed what a good natured baby he is, because this was just a few hours after receiving 5 immunizations, for heaven's sake! (It's a little long, and probably won't be interesting to anyone who isn't related to the child, but for posterity...)

David at 4 months:

17 pounds, 3 oz. - 85 %'ile

25 3/4 inches - 75 %'ile

Another interesting fact...I'm sure that those of you who have small children have heard that you "aren't supposed to put sunscreen on babies under 6 months." Well I asked about that, because I'm finding it difficult to keep him completely out of the sun when I'm carrying him around the park chasing a 2 year old, you know? And he said he had asked a pediatric dermatologist at a conference once, and that he said that whole thing is an attempt by the suncreen companies to avoid litigation, and not based at all in science. The worst that could happen from the suncreen is a rash, but a sunburn, of course, could be long term damage. So anyway, I feel better about that, seeing as we're going to the beach next month.

And finally, a funny Katy story from this morning: she and I were sitting at the table having bowls of cheerios for breakfast, and she was chugging milk from her sippy cup. She set it down on the table and let out a satisfied sigh. Then she looked puzzled at my lack of beverage and asked, "Where's your Bi Doke (Diet Coke), Mommy?" Oh, dear. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it can't be good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

6 Reasons

In an effort to think about something other than baby sleep, I'm going to answer the call of Pam, who tagged me for a meme. It's of the "6 random things" variety, but I'm going to change it up a bit. I mentioned recently that we are considering moving next year, so I'm going to offer 6 reasons on both sides of the decision.

6 reasons to move to the outskirts of the city:

1. We currently own our duplex and rent out half of it. The rental values in our neighborhood have gone way up in recent years, so we could get a really good rent out of the place where we are currently living. Combine that with the current housing market, and financially it's a good time to buy a second home and rent out both sides of our current home.

2. Amazingly, we need to start thinking about how we might choose to educate our kiddos. The public schools where we live are just not a positive option. Unfortunately, I know this because I worked for the district for 5 years. There are some select schools in our district that I would consider, but they aren't the ones where we would be assigned. We still aren't sure what we will decide as far as public, private, or even home (?!?) education, but if we lived in a different school district, it would at least give us that option to consider.

3. I would really like for our kids to grow up in a neighborhood that was family oriented and safe for them to grow and develop. Although we have met some kids in our neighborhood, the vast majority of people do not have small children, nor are they sensitive to having them around. I wouldn't feel safe letting them ride bikes around, and we even have a hard time finding a park that isn't busted up and covered in inappropriate graffiti.

4. Besides the safety of my kids, I worry about the crime where we live. My sister, who lives a few blocks away, has had her house broken into 3 times in the last 2 years (one of which was while they were at home asleep, my worst nightmare). There have been lots of other significant crimes to houses all around us, and we don't have a dog. I have to admit, I'm scared alot. Every night when we go to bed, I take my purse to my bedroom, because if someone breaks in in the middle of the night, most likely they'll just take whatever they can grab in the main area of the house, so at least they wouldn't get my wallet. It would be nice not to have this conscious thought every night.

5. We are involved in a church that we love. Right now we live about 25 minutes from there, and while driving there once or twice a week isn't a big deal, it's hard to get into a community when most of the people live up in that direction.

6. Although there are some things that I love about our house, and we've made it our own, but there are also limitation to it. The yard is small, there are 3 flights of stairs between my bedroom and the laundry, and my dining room is also my office and my playroom. So the thought of looking for a house based on our needs as a family right now is so exciting.

Now if you are still reading...

6 Things I will miss about living in our current neighborhood:

1. Our neighbors. I know, I just complained about the people in the neighborhood, but I have gotten to know a few people really well and just love them. I will miss them terribly, and I don't know if I can hope to have new neighbors as wonderful as some of the ones I have here.

2. How close we are to everything. Within a 2 mile radius, I have my pick from 10 grocery stores, 3 CVS's, 2 movie theatres, Target, a zillion restaurants, and 2 major sport stadiums.

3. Speaking of close, Brian works about a mile from our house. I cannot overemphasize how great this is. I see him during the day a couple of times a week. He can swing home to watch the kids so I can go to a doctor's appointment, or I can easily meet him for lunch or drop something off if he forgets it (here's your lunch, sweetie!). Not to mention the cost of gas these days...

4. In the past couple of years, we've fixed up a lot of the house to be the way we like it. Well, Brian has. He finished the attic, added a full bath, remodeled the kitchen, and fenced in the yard.

5. After living here for 3 years (and in this neighborhood for 2 years before that), I've finally gotten to the place where I see people that I know when I'm out and about. I go to the pool, the library, the grocery, and there's a good chance I'll see someone I know. I love that, and I know it'll take years to get to that point again if we move to a new community.

6. Because we are centrally located in our metro area, we are 15 minutes from everywhere (except our church). So it really opens the possibilities of what you can easily do.

So that was nothing like Pam's original meme, but there you have it. And in case you're curious about baby sleep, we're in a significantly better place than we were one week ago, but maybe not as good of a place as I might have hoped we would be. Progress is good. We have a well visit tomorrow, so we'll have new stats to report.

Friday, July 25, 2008

And the winner is...

... Mommydaisy!! The random number generator has made it's selection, and I will be picking out snacks for MD this week. She's a mom that I've gotten to know through the world of blogging, and she's a fellow Buckeye, which is always fun. Go check her out!

Thanks to everyone who entered! I want to do more contests in the future, what fun!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sleepy, new books, and a game

David started rolling over. We went cold turkey on the swaddling blanket. Brian and I have been up since 4:30 this morning. We just decided it's going to officially be Crappy Sleep Week, and hopefully we'll all be sleeping better next week.


I got my prize from Kelsey for the Pay It Forward contest! I am so excited. I really have absolutely no clue which books are good and how to pick them, but most of the time when someone physically hands me a book and says, "Read this, it's good," I really enjoy it. So I'm going to start with "In Her Shoes," because I've read Jennifer Weiner before and I really liked her. And Katy absolutely loves the picture book. She's read it several times already and is reading it by herself from memory. Perfect. Thanks, Kels! (For everyone else, don't forget to enter my Pay It Forward by noon on Friday.)


Giselle did this game the other day that I thought was fun, so I'm going to give it a try. It's called "One year ago, one year from now." You'll get the idea...

One year ago I had just found out I was expecting David. I was in that not-sick-yet-haven't-told-anyone-nervous-excited phase. Good times. I had just gotten over an ear infection. Katy was 14 months old, cute as ever, learning new words, and enjoying her first summer at the pool. I was also trying to decide what to do about work.
One year from now, David will be 16 months old, probably walking (running?) around and getting into trouble in every corner. And Katy will be 3, full of energy and bossy, if the trend continues. Possibly getting ready to start preschool? We haven't decided on that yet... And the other big question mark, which I haven't mentioned on this blog up to this where will we be living? I'll go into more detail in another post, but Brian and I have been talking about moving to the outskirts of the city (read: The Burbs) sometime next year. There are many factors to consider, and the decision itself seems overwhelming, let alone actually moving. So this time next year could look quite different... and maybe, just maybe I'll be sleeping through the night?
Your turn: what do last year and next look like for you?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Speaking of Contests...the snacks are on me!

Recently, a bunch of people have been having these Pay It Forward contests. The idea is that you have a contest on your blog that includes sending the winner a prize, and then that winner holds a contest and gives away a prize, etc., etc. Sounds fun, right? Well, I entered several contests, hoping that I would win one because I wanted to host a contest here, but I hadn't won anything, so I was going to just go ahead and have one anyway. BUT! Exciting news! I won Kelsey's Pay It Forward: Book Edition!!! Kelsey has given me a book to read in the past and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I'm anxious to see what she'll hand over this time.

So! That means that I have to Pay It Forward! Here's how this will work:

1. I will be putting together a prize that includes All Things Snacky. Who doesn't love snacks, right? I'm going to wait until I find out who won before I buy the snacks, because it will be fun to cater to the winner's preferences.

2. To enter this contest, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, answering the question: What's the one snack that you just CANNOT put down? If you've never left a comment here before, it's easy! Click the little link at the bottom of the post that says, "# comments". You can select the anonymous option is you don't have an account, but be sure to sign your name so I know who you are! (and if I don't know you personally, leave your email address so I can contact you if you win) Leave your comment by noon on Friday, July 25th.

3. On the 25th, I'll use a Random Number Generator to select a comment, and therefore the winner! I'll contact you to get your address if I don't already have it.

4. I will send you a package of delicious snacks, influenced by how you answered my question, sometime the following week.

5. You will then host a contest on your blog. If you don't have a blog, you can host a contest here. That means everyone can participate!

So okay, get commenting! Let's talk about snacks!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thanks, a comparison, and a crappy photo

First of all, I wanted to say thank you for all the encouraging comments on my sleeping post the other day. I felt really comforted by my online community of mommies, and I appreciated everyone's thoughts and advice. Partially I just need to relax and go with the flow, but I also realized that maybe there are some other things I could try that might help the situation. So I'm still tired and frustrated, but emotionally I'm handling it a little better today. Oh, and my mother-in-law read the post and told me that it's payback: apparently Brian was a terrible sleeper as a baby. Humph.

I've been marveling this week at the size difference, or lack thereof, between Katy and David. David is quickly approaching the weight that Katy achieved at her one-year well visit. And technically, they could be wearing the same size diapers. I'm still putting David in size 2 for as long as I can, but in another month or so, he'll be in size 3's, which Katy has been wearing for over a year now. And finally, check out these 2 pairs of shorts, one for each kid, both of which fit them perfectly. These kids are 2 years apart, people!

And in case you couldn't tell, the shorter ones are Katy's. What does it say about our cultural expectations when even toddler girls' shorts are significantly shorter than boys'?

On a funny note, I've mentioned on several occasions about Katy's stranger anxiety. It's still hanging around, but we're learning to get by. Today, Brian and I had to take the kids with us for a brief appointment with a lawyer (and because I'm sure that sparks a lot of curiosity, we were creating our last will and testament. yuck.). Experience told me that Katy was going to be scared, because the lawyer a) is a man, and b) has a beard. So I brought along a little photo book with pictures of family and friends. I thought perhaps if I distracted her while we were in the office, then she wouldn't cry or get upset. Well, she made it through without crying, but I could not pass up the cell phone photo of how she chose to use the photo book to cope with her fear. She hid in the corner of the waiting room for the entire 10 minutes we were there, like this:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Update x 4

Summer update: It's officially hot, and the only activities that I want to do outdoors must involve water. Or shade. We've been taking Katy to the city pool on the weekends and people comment on what a "fish" she is. She dives under water without any fear and just assumes that you will scoop her up. It's really fun to see her enjoy something so much, and we'll have to get her in a program this winter. I'm not a great swimmer, so I would love to see her be confident in the water.

Baby update: David spends most of his waking hours trying to figure out which finger he would like in his mouth, how to get it there, and then whether he wants to suck or chew on said finger. After a while, this game frustrates him and he starts to fuss. Teething? Or just normal 3 month old behavior? Everything is blamed on teething, I know. He's getting to that age where they want to move and be involved in the world, but they can't yet, and that frustrates them.

WW update: I'm back down to the lowest weight I achieved the last time I did Dub Dub after Katy was born. Now I'd like to lose that extra 15 pounds I've been carrying around since I got married/pregnant with her. And if I failed to mention it before, Brian is doing well, too, and I couldn't, COULD NOT, do this without him. We've each lost about 15 pounds since we started in May.

And now for the Big One...

Sleep update: To say that I'm frustrated about sleep right now would be a major understatement. I. am. really. really. frustrated. There are so many issues, I don't know where to begin. And I know he's only 3 and a half months. I'm just tired. He's waking up twice at night, which is really normal for his age, and Katy did that until she was 10 months old, so ok, fine. But naps are about to drive me batty. He doesn't sleep much in car seats, strollers, or carriers anymore, so we're home most of the time in order to facilitate naps. Absolutely every single thing that I want to do outside of the house has to be manipulated around naps, which I never know when will take place. If we are out and about and naptime comes around, it's a stressful situation for everyone. But at home at naptime, it takes me about 10 minutes to get him to sleep, then I lay him in the crib, and maybe there's a 50% chance that he stays asleep. Otherwise, I start over with the soothing. It may take 3 or more of these attempts to get him down. Then even when I get him to go to sleep, he wakes up like clockwork about 40 minutes later. I go in and try to get him back to sleep (because I have read that naps should be an hour to be restorative, and he still seems tired), and sometimes he goes back down and other times not. Most days he's taking 3 naps, some days 4. If you count going down for night and the 2 times he gets up at night, I'm soothing him to sleep 7-10 times per day. (Let me reiterate here that if I weren't putting him down for naps, he would be miserably fussy, because we've had those days, too). Most of those times I'm trying to keep Katy safely occupied, as well as keep her from barging in and disturbing the process. David's getting too big for his swaddling blanket, but he won't go to sleep without it. I tried and gave up after a long period of holding a screaming baby. I woke up this morning with a tension headache because I'm all stressed about sleep. Any suggestions from all you pros out there? Seriously - tell me what to do or tell me to loosen up or tell me when I will be able to lay him in the crib and walk out of the room and he'll go to sleep. That happens eventually, right? right??

If you're still reading, bless your heart! You guys deserve a contest. A contest with prizes. More on this to come... as soon as I get a nap.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

3 years of bliss

(I'm backdating this, as I meant to post it yesterday, but, uh...I didn't get around to it. Sleeping issues - ugh. But that's for another post...)

On this day in 2005, I became a very happy Mrs. Brian. And although 3 years doesn't sound like a very long time, I have a hard time remembering what it was like to be single. It really seems so natural to me to be married to Brian that it feels like it's been a lot longer than 3 years. And he is an absolutely fabulous husband. Just as an example, I was feeling quite frustrated and exhausted because of my nap wars as of late, and as I came down the stairs tonight from putting David in bed, I heard Brian cuing up our wedding video. He said, "Will this make you feel better?" And oh my gosh, I love my wedding video (thanks, Michael!). I've only watched it a couple of times, but it just makes me feel all warm and cozy, and there are parts that make me laugh so hard I snort (some of the things you people say in your well wishes? Priceless). It's a good time (for me, not for anyone else, I'm sure). So it was the perfect way to cheer me up. He knows me like that.

If I had to pick a theme for our marriage so far, it would be obvious: reproduction. Shortly after David was born, Brian and my mom were folding laundry and commenting on how many maternity clothes I had. But they then realized that I had actually been pregnant for more than half of my marriage (since 2 pregnancies = 18 months+, and I had been married less than 3 years). Add to that the months I've been nursing, and there have only been 3 months of our entire marriage that I have been neither pregnant nor nursing. So yeah, reproduction would be a theme. But it's a good one. I deeply enjoy the challenge of being a parenting team with my husband. He's an incredible father.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to say: Happy Anniversary, Brian! The first 3 years have been awesome, here's to many more to come!

Friday, July 04, 2008

missing milestones and happy videos

Lately I've been feeling bogged down and overwhelmed by all of the "things" I need to do. I'm feeling behind on everything. I run around all day putting out fires and trying to keep my head above water, only to discover that another flood is coming. At any given moment, there's laundry to be folded, dishes to be washed, emails to be written and calls to be made for work, carpets to be vacuumed, and diapers to be changed. And of course I'll get to it eventually, but by the time I do, there will be bathrooms to clean, floors to sweep, toys to put away, and dinners to be made. It's not that bad, really, I'm just adjusting to the fact that I have to make arrangements for someone to help me with the kids - not so I can relax or do something fun - but so I can clean and cook and go to the grocery.

Sometimes my distraction for all these things keeps me from experiencing the joy that is parenting my kids. I got especially frustrated with myself the other day: Katy was complaining that her tummy was hurting, and I asked her if she had to go potty. She said yes, so I thought, what the heck? I'll put her on the potty. I've had her sit on the potty a few dozen times before, but nothing has happened, and I haven't pushed it. So this time, she sat for a few minutes and nothing happened, as usual. I went into David's room and decided to try to put away some of the clothes he's outgrown (3-6 months - yikes!). Then I laughed at myself as I realized that I had forgotten that Katy was naked, and had been running around playing in her room for some time. So I went and got her dressed again.

Fast forward a little bit to nap time. I put Katy down for a nap and then went into the bathroom to use "Mommy's potty," and I looked at her plastic potty in amazement. She had peed in the potty! There was a very distinctive puddle, and she must've done it while she was still naked and I was putting David's clothes away. I was so upset that I had missed it!! I was so busy that I didn't have the chance to make a big deal about it and tell her how great it was. She just did it and went about her business. Poor thing!

So what I'm realizing as I write this is that I need to lower my standards. It's hard for me to do, because, as I mentioned, I'm a firstborn. But if I keep being wound so tight about every little chore, I'll miss moments like this:

and this: