Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random

Do you ever get words or phrases in your head the way you get songs stuck in your head? Or am I the only one? Because I am constantly getting phrases and names stuck in my head. And lately, I get the names of other people's facebook friends stuck in my head (esp. if I see them crop up frequently). And then that makes me wonder if other people are walking around turning my name over in their brains a thousand times, the way you rub your tongue over a rough spot on your tooth, for a whole day. Kind of the way I wonder how many strangers have pictures with me in the background or accidentally in the frame. Like that.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Trust me, I'm an expert

I decided today, that after parenting not one, but two very fussy babies (one quite fussy, one UNSPEAKABLY fussy), I am An Expert. At least as much as the Baby Whisperer and the jackhole that wrote Babywise. (Um. Y'all know I already thought I was smarter than them even before Gracie was born. But like, now I KNOW.)

And you know, as a Very Important and Also Smart Expert, my biggest problem with those books, and I'm sure plenty of others, is the whole stupid idea of forming bad habits. They tell you not to do things like co-sleep or hold your baby all the time or feed on demand or anything like that because you will form bad habits and it might be okay now but one day? Oh, you will PAY.

Katie was two months old today. We've handled her reeeally differently from Gracie. With Gracie, we lived in perpetual fear of forming bad habits. We did everything in our power to avoid it, and stressed endlessly over how much we held her, how much attention we gave her to stop her from crying, the amount of time she spent in the swing. Katie? Partly out of necessity and partly from experience, we just hold her all the time. It's what she needs right now. We WOULD put her in the swing except she hates it with a fiery passion, so we don't, but we WOULD. She sleeps in my bed every night. That one, I'm working on fixing, and guess what? Last night, she slept in her cradle until 4am. I mean, no, she woke up twice, but when I put her back in the cradle, there was no vortex that opened up out of her head to suck in the entire room. She didn't kill me with death rays from her eyes. And she also, um, slept. Not every night has gone as smoothly, and tonight probably won't either, if I have to place a bet (she's been EXTRA ticked off today). But how is that different from Gracie? Only in one way: neither Stephen nor I want to jump off the roof and die. We're as rested as we can be with a baby and a toddler (and for Stephen, with a job that requires him to be up all night and attempt to sleep during the day). We can see straight and operate motor vehicles safely and again, I cannot stress this enough: we do not wish we were dead. In terms of Katie's behavior, though? She is in *exactly* the same place Gracie was at this age. So much for bad habits.

But let's just say I'm wrong (which I'm not, trust me, but let's just SAY I'm wrong). Let's say I'm forming all kinds of terrible habits with Katie that I will have to fix one day. You tell me: would you rather work on things like sleeping independently and nap schedules and eating every three hours and not being held all the time when you're ALSO torn and bruised and swollen in one location or another from pushing out a baby and riding the Postpartum Hormone Roller Coaster and your entire life has been flipped upside down by the addition of another human being? Or a few months later when you're physically healed and your hormones have stopped beating you up and you feel like maybe one day your life will feel normal again?

Exactly.

And I'm pointing this out for free on my blog. And you'll never get bedbugs from my blog.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

That one was my fault.

I've come to accept in the last two months, that I just make high-maintenance babies. I don't make babies that sit in bouncie seats or sleep in cradles or nurse without striking or live without hours of screaming. It sucks, but what are ya gonna do? They grow into pretty awesome kids, so whatever.

Today, Katie would not. stop. screaming. I mean, she was a handful even by Katie standards. The kind of screaming where her head gets sweaty. Inconsolable. I was entirely fed up and frustrated.

While Gracie and I were eating dinner, Stephen was watching a show about chocolate on tv. He commented on the caffeine content in chocolate- it's actually pretty low.

But let's say, theoretically, that someone- we'll call her Piggy- ate an entire one pound bag of M&Ms yesterday. A bag intended for her toddler, but hello, that kid doesn't need any more cawkit, so I will eat it for her. THAT? would result in significant caffeine consumption. And if Piggy had a baby daughter, I bet she would be reeeally caffeine-sensitive.

Oops. My bad.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

At least it's healthy?

My little Norma Rae continues her strike today- she did pretty well overnight, but was on and off today, mainly refusing lefty like it was spraying poison, but better than yesterday.

One of the things you're supposed to do with a striking baby is to avoid letting them get too pissed off. Get them nursing before they're screaming with rage, because once that happens, you've missed your chance. Sooo, when Katie started crying while I was making lunch today, I knew I had to drop everything and feed her. Gracie was not necessarily on board with this plan, as she stood at my side screaming, "Wahermelon!! WAHERMELONWAHERMELON!!!!" I sliced a piece off the wedge I was chopping, rinsed off the knife and put it away, handed it to her, and rushed off to feed Katie.

While Katie was grudgingly accepting FOOD I made WITH MY OWN BODY (no, no, don't mind me, dear. just put me in the first nursing home you find...), Gracie was munching away at her wahermelon. AND THEN SOME. Because after I left the room, she pushed a stool up to the counter, scooped up the seriously enormous chunk of watermelon I'd left on the counter, and chowed on it like a cartoon character.




You guys. She ate the whole thing. When she was done, the rind was entirely white. I really should've taken a picture of it, I was really very impressed.

She was pretty impressed with herself too (and in case you're wondering, she also ate a bean and cheese quesadilla and an entire container of strawberries for lunch. I'm thinking maybe she's growing...)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

When Grace was two months old, she went on a hard-core nursing strike. (well. saying it was hard-core is rather unnecessary, since EVERYTHING Gracie has ever done has been hard-core, a pattern which continues to this day, but I digress.) We eventually recovered, but it took a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to do so. (Two out of the three of those cliched terms are entirely literal here, by the way.) I never could figure out the cause, there were so many possible choices. She was getting lots of pumped milk, because she screamed all the time and never slept, and I had to occasionally sleep. Since she happily took bottles during her strike, and part of getting her back on the breast involved using bottle nipples like nipple shields and tricking her, I thought maybe that played a role. I started the mini pill days before she went on strike, and I thought I noticed a drop in my supply, maybe that was why? Also, Gracie was just an intense, pissed-off mess, so maybe THAT was why. In the end, even my kick-ass lactation consultant could only guess what was going on and offer emotional support. There's not much to do with a striking baby besides offer the breast without forcing it and pump to maintain your supply (and, apparently, trick them with bottle nipples.)

*****
A few weeks ago, I was really not feeling breastfeeding. If you've breastfed before, you know this happens a lot. I say all the time, breastfeeding is the most counterevolutionary process on earth. That particular day, I was feeling exhausted and stressed about never being able to be away from Katie, about not having enough pumped milk ready for me to go back to work. I cannot lose weight when I am breastfeeding- with Grace, that meant I fluctuated somewhere around 5-8 pounds above my goal. This time, it means 15 pounds. That's a LOT. Enough to need new clothes. And on this particular day I'm referring to, I discovered that after a week of eating absolutely perfectly, hoping to at least drop five pounds before returning to work so I won't need new work clothes, I'd gained three pounds. I was DONE. Totally fed up. I met a friend for lunch and tried not to think about it. Noticed a pair of women at a table behind us talking about healthcare-related issues. Thought I overheard them refer to the lactation consultant's agency that I'd used with Grace. After lunch, I picked up Katie, nursed her, and popped her on my shoulder to burp her. The women commented on how cute she was, and told me they were lactation consultants. It opened the floodgates, so to speak. I tend to get really serious verbal diarrhea under the best of circumstances, but I was feeling so stressed and frustrated, I just felt the need to tell them all about how a lactation consultant was the reason I'd nursed my first child for a year, how my kids were so different, etc etc blah blah blah. About 2/3 of the way through this explosion, I felt utterly mortified and tried to back my way out gracefully. Like all good lactation consultants, they smiled warmly and let me ramble on. Women who look at other women's boobs for a living need to be maternal and non-judgemental. Anyway, I took it as a sign from the universe. I needed to stop being so vain about my stupid weight, stop stressing so much, and just enjoy nursing my baby.

*****

Last night, Katie slept in the cradle for two hours. When she woke up, I promised myself I would attempt to get her back in the cradle after I'd nursed her. I HAVE to break this habit. I HAVE to get her sleeping on her own.

I woke up an hour later with her jammed in the crook of my arm, with the most smug little smile on her face, and my boob hanging out in the breeze.

Best laid plans and all.

*****

I noticed today that Katie was very, very fussy nursing on the left. She's always been noisier on that side, just like her sister, and also like her sister, strongly prefers to nurse on the right. It was frustrating, but not shocking. I was out at the mall with a friend and her new baby, and by the end of our shopping trip, I noticed she was also fussing a little about nursing on the right. She was fussy overall, so I didn't think much of it.

When we got home, she refused the left side entirely. A few hours later, she was completely refusing to nurse and screaming with rage at the mere suggestion. I pumped while Grace was in the tub and Stephen gave her a bottle, which she chugged in minutes, grateful she didn't have to debase herself by, gross, nursing. GOD, Mom, WTF do you think I am, some kind of dirty HIPPIE?!??!

An hour and a half later, I was able to get her to nurse on the right, with a LOT of support and focus. She kept leaning her head back, but she did it.

*****
Of the many friends I have that live inside my computer, one has mentioned a relative in Chicago who is an IBCLC. Today, while checking out the website for my beloved IBCLC from Gracie's newborn days, I realized her relative works for the same agency as my lactation consultant. Suddenly, things started to come together. I was so sure I had heard the two women at the restaurant allude to the agency I'd used when Grace was born. There were only four IBCLCs with that agency. Neither of those women was my IBCLC, so it was likely that one of those women was my friend's relative.

Yep. It was.

I feel like that is a huge, flashing sign from the universe, that I put all of that together today. Hell if I know what the universe is telling me, though, since, as I learned with Grace, there's just not that much to do with a striking baby. But it's pretty amazing nonetheless.

*****
That story about falling asleep with Katie in the bed doesn't really tie into anything else here. I just thought it was funny.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wait...

I was supposed to do tummy time with EACH kid?

....oops.

Gonna get right on that.

Tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How is this possible?!

I blinked, and she went from this



to this




That'll teach me to blink.

And to breathe. When we got home this morning, I was seriously overwhelmed. Gracie was a tornado at breakfast with the bunny, tearing around and getting lost in the crowd, photo-bombing the other kids' easter bunny pics, trying to take all the eggs in the hunt, and I ran after her while wearing Katie on my chest. We got home with Gracie hopped up on sugar and Katie just DONE with being dragged around. I was still overheated from running around with a human strapped to my chest while carrying the diaper bag and trying not to lose my phone or my keys and for a second, I felt totally irritated with myself for even leaving the house, and just wished that the girls were old enough to visit the bunny and wait in line nicely and participate in arts and crafts and not run away from me the whole time. But for once, I stopped myself and remembered not to wish my life away. That the days are long but the years are short and one day, the absolute last thing either one of them will want to do is visit the Easter bunny with their stupid, badly-dressed mother.

It was a really, really good morning.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Random Thoughts

I met a new friend today from inside my computer. She's a baby center person, from the March 2011 AMA (advanced-maternal age, hello, I'm old) board. She had twins, so she also had February babies. (and we found out later we were even in the hospital, on the same floor, at the same time. Crazy, right?!) It's cold and raw and disgusting in Chicago, so we went here. It was super crowded, the parking situation was terrible (the neighborhood is notoriously crowded), and I had the worst cup of decaf I've ever had in my life, but oh my. Grace was in HEAVEN. I wish I'd found it sooner, because even though she dozed in the car on the way there AND back, she still took a two and a half hour nap after lunch. We'll definitely be going back.

For the most part, the kids all shared space pretty well. Considering the age group and how crowded it was, I was really surprised there wasnt' more of a need for parental intervention. There was one kid, though, who wasn't playing super-well with others. He saw Gracie climbing the stairs to go down the slide, shoved her out of the way and said, "NO! MINE!", and then proceeded to stand at the top of the stairs and block her from even going up at all. I glanced around for his parent/nanny/responsible adult, and nobody came forward. I watched him act like that a few more times, and nothing. My new friend shrugged and said, "I think in places like this, all's fair in love and war. it's just part of the setting." And considering the fact that she has twins, that attitude is probably a very, very good thing. But...I disagree. Grace is one of those kids who MEANS to be good when she's playing with other kids, but she has a really poor sense of her body in space, so I have to really watch her to make sure she doesn't plow anyone over. The other day at the children's museum, she accidentally STOMPED another little girl's fingers before I could stop her. And while I would be totally appalled with any parent who went nuts over that, I also think I need to step in and show her that she hurt someone and needs to say she's sorry. I mean, they're all little, how can they learn to behave if we don't tell them? I also had to watch Grace like a hawk because she's a human garbage disposal and tried to eat like five random bags of goldfish and snacktrap contents that she found scattered throughout. I can't imagine that would have gone over very well.

On the flip side, when I set down an empty coffee cup next to my foot so I could lift her up to dunk a basketball, if someone else's kid comes running over and picks it up, I don't think that deserves the nasty look I got from their nanny. Because, seriously, the play space is a coffee shop. that's the idea. There are no garbage cans in the play space. It's NEXT TO MY FOOT. But then, maybe the other mom felt that way about her bully of a son? I really don't know. Just thinking out loud.

And speaking of twins (we were speaking of twins. Tangentially, anyway), one of my other friends linked me to this blog. (She knows her from her multiples group.) God bless her. Can you imagine? I think there are people in this world who are meant to have twins and people who aren't and I think you can ALL guess under category I FIRMLY fall. It's not just me being high-strung and far too inflexible for twins, there is also the fact that I don't give birth to newborns so much as miniature terrorists. I mean, CAN YOU IMAGINE?! Good night. I work with a woman whose first baby was born in December, second baby was born in March, and then had boy/girl twins in December. When she found out Katie was due in March, knowing that Grace was born in December, she said, "ohhh, and when you have your third, you'll have twins in December!" I threw my pen at her. I am not kidding you guys- if I ever got pregnant with December twins, you would all have to take turns staying in my house and hiding the sharp objects.

Consider yourselves warned.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Look at me! Look at me!

One day, if all goes according to plan, Katie will be a middle child. And when that day comes, everyone will chuckle and say, awww, look at Katie. Typical middle child. Desperate for attention!

So I just want to say for the record: She has been like that SINCE BEFORE SHE WAS BORN.

"hi, I'm your fetus and I have a cardiac arrhythmia. Look at me!!!"

"hi, I'm your fetus and I'm allll tiny! Go get your growth ultrasound and look at me!!"

"Hi, I'm your baby and I'm gonna come ten days early! Look at me and all my dimples!"

"HI MY NAME IS KATIE AND I'M PRETTY SURE YOU'RE NOT HOLDING ME WTFSCREEEEEAM!!!"

Unless the universe somehow knew she was going to be a middle child and programmed her accordingly, it's just how she is. And I'll have my little drama queen know, she might have decided yesterday that she hates the front carrier, but that is too freaking bad because I occasionally require the use of my hands.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Currency!!!


You may or may not be aware, girls who hit and kick get their blankies taken away. This causes much weeping and wailing and cries of "peeeeeease bankit BACK!!"

Whether or not it produces actual changes in behavior remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stats

I just read mine for the first time. I dunno, I kind of figured it was just friends reading here and the occasional person who got lost on Google, so it didn't seem that interesting.

And really, yes, that is exactly who's reading here. But then I saw the search keywords that got people here and I found this phrase:

"baby crabby for weeks crying doc says nothing help"

I'm sorry, random person who was googling with frustration, rage, whatever. I know you didn't find anything here that helped you. Probably you are not even reading this anyway, but man, it sure does suck, doesn't it?

It gets better. Promise.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And when she was good, she was very, very good....

People have been asking how Gracie is doing with Katie. Gracie is doing very well with Katie. It's everything else in the world that's giving her fits.

No. I exaggerate. But SERIOUSLY OH MY GOD, the girl is feeling every second of her two years old.

Defiant is the word that comes to mind most often. Not always- often, in fact, when we ask her to do something (or not do something), she just ignores us. Clearly, we are addressing another child named Gracie who is banging on the wall with plastic bowling pins, or not picking up her toys, or digging thru the kitchen drawers. But when she REALLY doesn't want to do something?! "NOOO! NO NO NO NO NO NO," she will shriek (SHRIEK) with a pitch and timbre that can shatter your eardrums. And the TONE in her voice? There's so much more than no in there. It's "I don't want to and you can't make me because you're stupid and dumb and I don't EVER have to listen to you so just go to hell already OKAY?!?!?" And in those moments, she challenges me more than she ever did as a newborn. Which is saying something.

Aaaand then there's the kicking and the hitting. Kicking is mostly reserved for diaper changes and getting dressed. She doesn't want to, and if she has to bloody my nose to stop it, so be it. It's a loss of control, really. The hitting, though? Ohhh, my, does my blood boil. She stares me dead in the eye and slowly, deliberately, reaches out and smacks me. Or pinches me. Or grabs my fingers and pulls in opposite directions.

If I show anger, either to these actions, or really any form of misbehavior, she finds it utterly hilarious. Time-outs are merely a brief interlude in her day. "Sah mommy," she'll say afterwards, hug me, and skip off on her way, only to repeat the same misbehavior the next time the mood strikes. Taking away things she wants occasionally works temporarily, but she soon forgets it ever happens. I know I have to find her currency, but I have a feeling that won't happen until her memory is a bit longer (and I seriously can't believe there are kids who actually respond to time-outs. for real.)

But she's also so, so, so good. She's getting such a sense of humor, with actual give and take. She gets SO excited about going to play outside in her sandbox. She'll get so excited about something, and say to me, "Mama! Wookit dat!" She spreads her hands out over something and says "taaa!" (because she hasn't quite figured out Ta-Da!). She'll walk into a room with her hands behind her back and say, "ah-prise!" and when we ask her what, she'll whip out some random object and say, "Deese!" She will occasionally do this in front of the mirror, to watch herself say it. (she'll also run past the front hall mirror and check herself out as she goes by.) She pats her sister on the head and says, "nice baby..."

She is funny and sweet and clever and amazing. And when she's bad? Well. I'm really hoping to find her currency soon.