Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lacey is not the only one who is easygoing

Its funny what a different mom I am this time. When Lana was born, its no secret that it didn't go well, and I did not fall into motherhood naturally. Since she had colic, I read every parenting book I could get my hands on to try to figure out how to fix the incessant crying, especially the sleep books, b/c man oh man I needed some sleep. Like more than a 2h nap, some serious sleep! I documented her every move--how many wet/poopy diapers she had, how many ounces of milk she drank and how often, how many minutes she slept. I had a sheet of paper I took everywhere so that I could refer to the schedule, even though it wasn't a schedule per se. I was a slave to the pump b/c if I missed a pumping session or even delayed it, I was afraid of losing my supply, which was already not abundant. I think I was also reading those books to try to glean some info on how to be a good mother, b/c at the time, I knew nothing about babies and I was pretty insecure. We got her in her crib as soon as we moved into our townhouse and we sleep trained her at 3 months. She was the kind of kid that needed to sleep in her crib for all naps as well as night time, so if I was out, I was running home to get that kid in her crib before she really flipped her lid. One yawn and I was marching her upstairs. To this day she is a very routine-driven child and it works for her (and us).

Lacey is now 8 weeks old. After the first few days where you have to monitor how much weight they gain, I don't think I have looked at the clock since. She feeds when she is hungry or rooting, she sleeps when she conks out in my arms. She has never slept in her crib for more than 30 minutes b/c this baby wants to be held and I am not ashamed to say I enjoy holding her, even if I am spoiling her. She has no schedule. I don't think this is a big deal b/c she is still so little, but it occurred to me yesterday that maybe she should have a consistent bedtime. Or something? I really do want to get her in the crib, but she loves to co-sleep on my body where its warm. Who doesn't like to cuddle? So its funny, the second time around I am just so opposite of where I was the first time around. Lacey and I go with the flow. I hope to get her a little more regimented, but I am not sure when that will happen. I guess I am not in a huge hurry b/c things seem to be working just fine for now.

I do wish Lacey would smile. Even though Lana was a miserable baby, she was smiling by 6 weeks, so its perplexing that Lacey who is so content is not smiling yet. She gives little half-grins, but nothing consistent and certainly nothing I could photograph. Speaking of photos, this poor kid does not get photographed the way Lana did. I suppose that is common with #2. I want to, but I don't have a lot of free time to take a bunch of photos of a wiggly newborn hoping one turns out. Plus her eyes are always closed b/c she likes to sleep, so that's not a cute photo. Maybe I am waiting for her to smile to really go camera crazy.

Lacey is beginning to coo and make "ooh" noises which is so cute and rewarding. Bill and I can not get over how this baby will actually be awake and not screaming. We didn't know babies did that!

I was re-reading some of my recent posts and I came across as very grumpy and depressed. Its actually not how I have been feeling at all. Oh, I have my moments, given the events of the past couple of months, but overall I am happy and thankful for so many blessings in our lives. My girls just make me feel so full. Full of life, full of joy. So this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful and I will stop and remember all of the reasons that my life is so blessed. Plus, I am really looking forward to mashed potatoes. And pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Enjoy your families!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bah Humbug

I am not looking forward to the holidays this year. I don't mean to be a bummer, but I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the whole process. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas go SO fast and are filled with shopping, wrapping and shipping. And don't forget the Christmas cards! Yikes. Like most women (I think), my husband is not involved. I do it all, and I should b/c I am a stay at home mom, right? Except that this year, I have two kids and I am up several times a night at which time I am thinking about what I should buy everyone, instead of trying to fall back to sleep, which is just shooting myself in the foot. I am not sure how I will be navigating the mall with 2 kids, while I actually use brain activity to think about gift giving and finding a good deal and all that crap. My strategy is to take someone with me, which would be my mom b/c well my husband is not involved, but that means we are doing it on the weekends with every other human being. Bill hates the holidays b/c he didn't grow up with them. I am also trying to do some online shopping, but I don't really like to b/c I can't touch the merchandise and I like to.

Normally I am festive. I like the holidays. I like traditions, family get-togethers and Christmas songs. Maybe I am in a bad mood b/c my dad is gone and I feel his absence and how on earth can I be happy this holiday season? Maybe I am just a little overwhelmed by anything extra. Maybe I just need a nap. Maybe its been raining for too many days straight. Maybe I need to get some gifts purchased to feel like I will actually get it done. I will really try to perk up my mood, b/c I want to enjoy the holidays like I usually do. I will try, really.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Best Years

A couple of days after my dad passed away my maternal grandparents came to visit from Florida. They are in their mid-eighties and I was so impressed and grateful that they made the long journey from Tampa to Seattle to visit us. We had planned this visit long before my dad declined and we decided that the company would be very comforting to me. I didn't mention this visit previously because as it turned out, in the days following my dad's death, I was too overwhelmed to really deal with anything, let alone having house guests. My grandfather is on oxygen now and it was the first time he traveled with the portable tank. My grandmother is totally overwhelmed with his care and his health issues, and rightly so. It was a stressful visit for them, I was emotionally spent (and 9 months pregnant) and I felt like the world's biggest brat for feeling this way. In addition, my mom's youngest brother was visiting from Arizona and his significant other--so we had a full house! It was a rare and special time for my grandparents to have 2 of their children together, plus a grand daughter and great-grand daughter. Plus, it was their anniversary--61 years together!! We took them out for a nice dinner and had a toast and my grandfather got emotional--it was a special moment indeed.

Anyway, while my grandparents were visiting, we did a lot of talking. My grandfather is becoming aware of his mortality. He is aware that he is nearing the end of his life, his health is not great. He feels like a burden to my grandmother. It sucks actually. But he said something that really sticks in my mind and I have been thinking about lately. We were talking about fathers--how the role has changed over the years. How parenting can be so stressful and busy, especially when the kids are young. He was recalling how when his 3 kids were little, he worked all day, came home and ate dinner in like 5 minutes and then went over to his house that he was building, pretty much by himself, with his own two hands and expertise and he would work there until 10 or 11pm and come home and do it all over again the next day. This was in a time when there was no Home Depot! Imagine that! Anyway, we were talking about how some fathers are present and some are not--some dads just aren't involved emotionally or physically in their children's lives. And he said with a tear in his eye, "When my kids were little, these were the best years of my life." I can't get this out of my mind lately. Lana has been great, so sweet and wonderful. She was sitting on the sofa last night telling me about her imaginary monsters and what they were wearing and saying and doing and I was really focused on the moment (for once) and I looked at my happy, smart kid and her sweetly sleeping baby sister and I thought--these are the best years of my life.

I hope to remember this during all the trying times and tantrums and ridiculous moments of having a 3.5 year old, but its true--these kids are little and it goes so fast--soon they will be teenagers and will be too cool to hang with us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Lacey

Dear Lacey,
You are such a lovable baby. You are such a blessing and you arrived in our lives when I needed you the most. You are now about 6 weeks old and you are awake for longer periods now. This is great because your eyes are so beautiful and clear. You seem to be deep in thought, furrowing your eyebrows at times. You love to look past us--toward the ceiling. What do you see there? You have just started to smile, although not at me so much. But that's okay because I get to cuddle you and nurse you. I love to rub my whole hand over your head--your hair is like duck fuzz. The bottoms of your feet are the softest surface on the planet. Your feet! They are long and thin. You have such tiny toes, with a little freckle on the fourth toe of your right foot. So very adorable!

You are starting to enjoy the playmat now. You reach out for the octopus. Lana believes that she taught you how to grab the ring attached to it. She is your best teacher. Remember this, because she wants to teach you everything. She will probably boss you around and you will probably find this to be annoying. But her intentions are pure--she wants to love you. She gives you kisses on your head and is very gentle with you. Remember this, because someday you two will probably be beating the crap out of each other.

You hate your car seat. Probably because nobody is holding you. In fact, its the only time we ever hear you really cry and wail. The swing is okay, but nothing tops you being snuggled. You love to be held and we are spoiling you by holding you constantly, but we love to cuddle you, sweet baby. You make your Baba so happy when you sleep on his chest.

Sometimes you get a little fussy, but not often. You mostly grunt and protest until someone picks you up. You have also started to coo. Best of all, you sleep! You have just started giving me 4.5h at night!! What a glorious gift!

We love you sweet Lacey. We can't wait to see the girl you will become! You bring us so much happiness and fulfillment. We are so happy to have you in our family. Love, Mom

Monday, November 9, 2009

Productive Weekend

We had a pretty good weekend and it feels good to get out a little more. It at least feels more "normal". Friday night we went to our favorite sushi restaurant. Its our favorite b/c they have the BEST kids meal EVER!! Shrimp tempura udon noodle soup for $7. But it comes with a small bowl of miso soup, they have complementary edammame, and the shrimp tempura is served with tempura veggies and they leave it separate from the udon noodle soup so it doesn't get soggy AND it comes with 3 pieces of cali rolls. And that's just the kids meal. Bill and I ate a boatload of sushi, but they were so busy that by the time our sushi came, Lana was WAY done and antsy and Lacey needed a feeding, so Bill and I shoveled it in in like 5 minutes flat. Now that is a perfect example of eating out with kids. Shovel and enjoy and get the hell out of there before someone starts crying. We have been going out to eat fairly regularly since Lacey came along b/c she is pretty chill and with the carseat awning (which I call the sneeze guard) and the bundle me, she is pretty covered. Plus eating out is really our entertainment and such a treat b/c I don't have to think about what to cook and who is going to eat it or enjoy it and I don't have to clean up. Maybe one day I will enjoy cooking again? I hope so...one day.

Saturday we were up bright and early. Lacey has been doing a bunch of nights in a row where she is up every 2h to eat, but she only has one boob, so she is hungry in 2h, but not starving and oh, I just want to go back to sleep. We went to get photos done at Picture People. I was thinking that Lacey will probably sleep through the whole thing and Lana is only somewhat cooperative on a good day, so this will probably be a disaster all around. To my great surprise it went so well! We got a family portrait and a couple of both girls. Lacey was awake and content the whole time. Lana followed directions and was totally agreeable the whole time. It was by far the least stressful photo experience since Lana was born. I couldn't believe it. For the family portrait they had us sitting in this totally goofy configuration that made Bill bend in ways he is not designed to bend and me leaning too far forward which made me look like I was about to flash a boob and we both looked ridiculous. Luckily I asked the girl if we could do one standing up or we wouldn't have a decent one. After, we went out for lunch and headed home. My mom came over and I caught a much needed nap! I was so totally out of it--I slept for 2 hours and it felt like much longer. Mom and Lana played, we had a lovely meal that a friend brought over on Friday--yay no cooking again--and it was a nice evening.

Sunday was a great day too. Bill and Lana went to see Disney on Ice. It was Lana's first experience like this. The main attraction was Tinkerbell and Bill said she was transfixed. We initially thought my mom would take her, but she insisted that Bill take her. Lana has been very affectionate towards Bill lately and he is loving it. He has been wishing for a daddy's girl for so long! So they went and we were worried she either wouldn't have the patience to sit still or she would be scared of the noise and lights or something else would freak her out. You never know with Lana. A hangnail produces tears and requires a band-aid and magic jelly bean (thanks Laura), but a flu shot is no biggie. Like I said, unpredictable. So they had a blast and Lana came home with a $14 Tinkerbell cup (ouch!) with straw that was apparently once filled with "artificial ice" according to Lana. She was surprised that the princesses were not robots, but "real people Mama!" While Bill and Lana were on their date, mom and I took Lacey and went to the outlet mall to start Christmas shopping. I generally don't start this early, but this year I better get my butt in gear.

So overall it was a productive weekend and last night Lacey finally slept more than 2h at a stretch, so I feel like a million dollars! I went for my 6 week checkup at my OB today, which was surprisingly a pants-off appointment (I didn't remember that from the first time) and I got cleared for all the limitations you have post-partum--none of which I feel much like participating in at the moment. I am still having pain from time to time, but the pain in significant. Yeesh, am I ever going to feel normal again? But all is well and I am thankful for that.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grief, continued

I have been having a hard time finding the time to sit down and blog. Or even just sit down. Lacey has had some increased fussiness, during feeding times only. That, coupled with her cold, she has not been feeding well and we went to the pediatrician for the third time in 2 weeks. Baby zantac has worked wonders, even in just a couple of doses and my zen baby is back--whew! She even rewarded me with a 4.5h stretch of sleep AT NIGHT! But guess what? I had insomnia. How's that for irony? She has not repeated the phenomenon. Oh well, at least I know she can do it.

We have also been getting out of the house a little more. We had our first playdate this week and we have had a few visitors this week as well. We have also been doing errands like Target and the grocery store in the early morning hours so that its not too crowded. I still don't have the physical stamina I wish I did. I can overdo it very easily and then have abdominal pain, which is a drag. I am hoping we go out for sushi tonight. I have been indulging in sushi almost weekly since Lacey was born.

Also since Lacey was born, I have not had a very difficult time with the grief I was experiencing prior, due to my dad's death. But its funny how grief works, sometimes you are just going along in your life and something will happen, you see something seemingly benign and the band-aid is ripped off all over again. This happened twice this week or was it last week? The days are all running together now. I turned on Oprah, which I never watch and Lisa Niemi, Patrick Swayze's wife was on the show, talking very candidly about her husband, their marriage and the last few days of his life. The last few days of Patrick Swayze's life sounded a lot like the last few days of my dad's life. She described it in great detail, things the hospice nurses said, his level of coherence, etc. It was enough to just stop me dead in my tracks and remember those last few days, seeing him via Skype, talking to him, but him unable to speak back. The pain of his death just resurfaced and it wasn't pleasant.

Then today, Lana asked me to see photos from our wedding, which she does quite often and when I got to the bookshelf, I noticed a scrapbook I made from college. I asked her if she wanted to see mommy in college and she agreed. I was looking at photos of my friends and those silly times that seem SO very long ago and wedged in one of the pages was a letter from my dad, dated February 21, 1995. A real letter people, not an email, remember those? Wow, it was weird to read. Especially weird b/c this pre-dated my parents' divorce, my dad's relocation to VA. It was as close of a snapshot of my family that I remember from my childhood, but that I rarely even think about now. He talked about all of these things going on at home--silly things like we had moles in the garden, the cat was being a pain in the ass, he was traveling for work too much. He was so sweet, giving me encouragement to study hard, but to remember to have fun. To be good, but not to stress so much. He said that I bring him and my mom unending joy and pride. He apologized for not writing often enough.

Finding this letter was a gift, almost a conversation I wish I could have with him now. I wish I could have any conversation with him right now. Sometimes, after it rains and the sky is blue with those big fluffy white cotton clouds, I look to the sky and talk to him and wonder what he is doing up there. But its not the same.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Critics corner

I realized that my recent posts have been rather complainy, so I thought I should mix things up a bit. I decided to do this despite the urge to pontificate on 3.5 year old tantrums and the one I just experienced 5 minutes ago which leaves me totally dumbfounded and worn out, but I think I'll pass this time on being complainy and pessimistic and grumpy. Just this once.

We have spent SO much time at home the last 5 weeks. So much of this time has been spent in front of the TV. Watching Nick Jr., formerly Noggin b/c according to her, PBS is so for little kids. We have seen every episode of every cartoon, multiple times. I thought I would do a little "critics corner" of the children's programming.

Wow Wow Wubbzy--our favorite by far. Lana totally loves Wubbzy--thinks he is cool. She loves Widget, Walden and Daisy and all of their attributes. Lana will even quote it in her real life. "That wasn't supposed to happen" or "grapetty grape juice" or "kickity kick ball" are lines I hear often. She is glued to it as I type. I think it teaches some good lessons overall.

Olivia--I love the theme music, so catchy and peppy. Olivia reminds me so much of Lana. Precocious, creative, bossy. Plus, I love the way the pigs walk--so refined!

Yo Gabba Gabba--I'll admit, when I first saw this show, I thought you know the people who make this show are on drugs. This is like the Telletubbies for older kids. But then it started to grow on me. I like the music and the lessons put into songs--like "too much candy's gonna make you sick" or "don't bite your friends" or "there's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy". DJ Lance is pretty weird and the characters are bizarre, but I am definitely starting to love Yo Gabba Gabba.

Wonder Pets--Ugh, I hate this show--its so annoying. I don't care about the team work crap, the whole talking like its an opera and the speech issue on Ming Ming just irritates me.

Dora--I like Dora fine, but is it me or is everyone yelling their lines in this show?

The Upside Down Show--I like this show for the creativity and imagination. I just wish it wasn't on at bedtime--its too manic for bedtime. Those dudes are seriously nuts. Seriously.

Ni Hao Kai Lan--we love this for obvious reasons. Lana knows a bit of Chinese and its reinforced in this program. She can relate to Kai Lan. I love it that someone is always having a tantrum or a bad attitude and yet the rest of them are trying to problem solve.

I am so glad Halloween is finally over so that we can get some new episodes to watch. I know I am rotting Lana's brain by watching so much TV, but with the new baby and our self-imposed house arrest and then the illness, we have been parked in front of the TV for a month. I wish it was summer still! I miss summer.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Halloween That Wasn't

I am looking forward to seeing all of your kids in their Halloween costumes, b/c well, we didn't do Halloween yesterday. Poor Lana was too sick and frankly she didn't give a hoot about Halloween or Trick or Treating. All day she was deliberating about which costume to wear. In August I scored an adorable flower costume from a consignment store that was warm and fuzzy. She also recently got her first princess dress-up dress--Snow White that I was going to let her wear for her school Halloween party since it was inside and she wouldn't freeze. But she missed her party b/c I couldn't send her to school with boogers dripping down her face, so I told her she could be either Snow White or the flower for real Halloween. Its so funny when I think about giving her choices. My mom and grandmother always comment about how we give her too many choices in general. Like its some newfangled parenting technique. Back in the day, you buy or actually make the Halloween costume and that's it--you are wearing it! No choice! But like many 3.5 year olds, Lana has been super indecisive about what her costume would be and yes, I have given her too many choices. But that's what we do these days--we give choices and time outs, we dilute the juice and we don't spank.

Anyway, last night at 5:30pm after a monster crying spell about um..nothing, Lana went up to her bed and slept. Wow--that's novel. She has never done that before. She must really feel like crap. We woke her for dinner which led to more crying and we decided no trick or treating. She didn't care as long as she could have a few pieces of candy for her pumpkin from our stash. She seemed happy to have some sweet tarts after dinner and help me at the door. I asked her if she wanted to put on her costume so that the kids who come to our house would see her costume too--nope, no deal. So we put Lacey in her pumpkin onesie and took a few photos and that was Halloween this year.

It was so worth it though. It was pouring rain, which would have been miserable to walk around in. Especially since she was sick already, staying home was the right decision. I couldn't help but feel bad that she didn't get to do Halloween, but really I need to just drop my expectations. She is 3--she will never remember that she didn't do it. Plus I am sure there will be plenty more holidays and parties missed due to illness. So I am over it. Luckily I have another girl to save that awesome flower costume for.

Here are some photos of pre-Halloween festivities: cookies and pumpkin carving, followed by a couple of photos of Lacey my pumpkin and her startle response.