Monday, August 29, 2011

Six Months (...and change)

Yeah, so I'm almost a week late here (more on that in a minute.)

It's been HALF A YEAR since I was rudely awakened from a blissful slumber by the first signs that Katie would not, in fact, be a March baby.

Six months is, I think, my favorite age.  It's when they finally start to DO stuff.  They're happier and calmer, but also more interested in and excited about their surroundings.


This is a chatty kid, right here.  Or maybe she's not.  Grace was very quiet and thoughtful at this stage, watching everything you did, serious as a heart attack.  Katie is jabbering constantly, sometimes quietly, sometimes yelling, but always chattering away.  It's completely hilarious.


She's getting super strong.  She pushes all the way up on her arms, rocks on her hands and knees, and is never, ever in the same spot where you put her down.


She likes to eat well enough, but it reeeally pisses her off if you do the feeding.  She's quite vexed by the digestive changes that food hath wrought.


She looooves her tubby.  She's really close to being ready for joint tubbies with her sister- though Grace begs to differ on the "really close" point, and has started climbing in with her every night.  It's all fun and games til Katie has the gall to reposition, at which point it turns from, "ohhhh, Katie!!!" to "NO KATIE STOP DAT."  *sigh*


And look, I don't want to jinx anything, but it's possible she's figuring out how to sleep.  She likes to stay up late and wake up early, which is some bullsnitch, but she usually only wakes up once, maybe twice.  Her naps stink like yogurt that's been left in the sun, but you know, you can't win 'em all and a six month old who only wakes up once overnight?  Yes, I will take that.

 And it might just be me, but I think that she might possibly kind of look a little bit like her sister.

HAHAHA, good night, I am so tired I almost forgot my "more on that in a minute" point, and it actually directly relates to the picture right above this one. 

I spend a lot of time feeling bad for Katie, because everything Gracie does is being done for the first time.  It seems like she gets the shaft.  But then I spend a lot of time feeling bad for Gracie, because Katie ha a much more relaxed, laidback mother, who's not constantly freaking out about every little thing.  Someone said to me, just today, "First children are lucky because they have their parents' constant attention.  Second children are lucky because they don't."  Yep.  That.  Exactly.

Life is sweet.  What more is there to say?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's an ANALOGY.

Running the marathon is one of my absolute proudest accomplishments.  I still kind of can't believe I even did it.  I never, ever thought I could do something like that, I thought it was something other, more athletic, dedicated people could do.  I wasn't tough enough, I lacked the concentration, I started running too late in life...but then I did it!  I actually did it!  And it was so amazing. 

I felt incredibly proud.  That pride didn't mean I looked down on other people who did not run marathons, that I thought less of people who didn't ever want to run a marathon, that there was anything wrong with not running marathons or that I thought anyone could run a marathon if only they tried hard enough.  I was proud for me and it wasn't about anyone else.

(....some of you see where this is going, right?)

Katie will be six months old tomorrow.  I have been back at work full-time for half of her life.  And yet? I have managed to provide her with every drop of breastmilk she has required.  (I can't say I've fed her exclusively since we already introduced solids, but I have been able to produce all the milk she needs.  We've had a nearly-flawless breastfeeding course so far, she had a great latch right from her first moments in the world, and with the exception of a brief (albeit incredibly stressful) strike and some diva-like behavior requiring that I be standing whilst nursing, it's been uneventful.  My body is also more than happy to produce milk, so even though she wasn't much of an eater for those first few weeks, we're keeping up just fine.   

And you know, I'm really glad for all that.  I'm very lucky in that sense, for all of those things.  I know what it's like to have a baby who can't seem to latch (and really, I was even lucky then, since the lactation consultant got Grace right on, she just needed someone who knew what they were doing to show her how, rather than the broke-ass "breastfeeding counselors" we had in the hospital).  I do NOT know what it's like to have supply issues, but as a working mom, I know what it's like to go several days on end watching the bottles fall ounces and ounces short of what the baby will need, leading to frantic water-chugging and calorie consumption.  So yes, I'm lucky...but I also kind of resent the word lucky here, because it's a helluva lot of work.  Pumping sucks ass.  I have repetitive motion stress in both hands and wrists from it.  I have to schedule my work day down to the nanosecond to be sure I can pump often enough to maintain a supply (not an easy task in a job where planning is nonexistent, as neurosurgical emergencies don't typically follow a schedule).  I feel limited in the amount of time I can spend away from Katie, because I don't want her to need too many bottles- in the first few months, that means essentially being attached 24/7, since new babies really like to eat frequently.  It means dealing with a public that still thinks of breastfeeding as somehow sexual/offensive/disgusting.  (like the woman at Target who sneered at me with disgust while I nursed Katie UNDER A COVER.  I glared right back bat her and defiantly raised my eyebrows.  Bitch kept walking.)

So, yes.  I'm lucky.  But I'm also working hard at it.  And I'm really, really proud of this accomplishment.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Switching Things Around

SO.

 Our swimming issues.

I was talking to a friend at work, who also has a daughter Grace, a few months older than my Grace.  She was gloating about the fact that her daughter was finally old enough to go to classes on her own.  I mentioned what was going on in our classes, and that I was thinking we should probably take a break...but also thought she might keep asking when we were going to swimming and I would regret skipping it.  My friend commented that it used to be Grace's favorite thing ever, and we talked about it a little more.  And then, I was AGAIN reminded that I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, when my friend wrinkled her nose and said, "Soooo....do you think maybe she's just bored?"

Bored?  After essentially taking the same class for the last year and half of her life?  What on EARTH are you talking about?  How could she possibly be bored with the same songs and drills that she's been doing since she was 13 months old?

Derrrr.

We are skipping the next session of swimming.  We may or may not do one more parent/tot session before starting her in big girl classes.  I haven't decided yet.  She has to learn how to swim, so eventually she's going to have to go back, but I'm not sure when that will happen. 

I'm kind of surprised how sad I am about it.  I really hated swimming.  I mean, no, not as much as I hated gymnastics, which I inexplicably signed up for when I decided we weren't taking swimming (AGAIN, I did not ever say I was smart), but I really wasn't enjoying it.  There were other moms I looked forward to seeing (even when they weren't giving us cute dresses;), we knew all the teachers, and it was just something we did.  And now we don't.  And that should be fine!  But, yeah.

She's really looking forward to gymnastics, and that's what really matters.  What matters even more is that she's also taking a tuesday morning playdate class all by herself.  As in, no parents.  As in, TEH AWESOME. 

Yeah.  We're gonna be alright;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Peek Inside My Head

(in case you had any doubts about the depths of my insanity)

So, after Grace was born, the postpartum period was reeeeally rough.  And honestly, not just because she was fussy and high-maintenance.  The hormones were awful.  I'm pretty sure I've covered this before.  And I'm also pretty sure I've covered the fact that I had the exact opposite experience with Katie- I was positively euphoric.  But I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that although things got a lot better within a week or so of Grace being born, I continued to feel like a bit of a nutcase for a long time after Grace was born.  Like, pretty much until Katie was born.  And it's like the hormones snapped me back into being myself.  Which makes me think of that Sweet Valley High Book, where Elizabeth hits her head and turns from the good girl into the BAD girl, and is TOTALLY about to give it up when she falls and hits her head again and snaps back into being the good girl, and thus her virginity is preserved. 

And, see, this worries me, because I only want three kids.  And what if having the third kid snaps me back into being off-kilter, and I don't have another baby to snap me back into place????

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Actually Happened.

So Grace woke up horribly from her nap the other day.  Stephen finally got her calmed down, and then we had the following conversation:

S: I know she's calm now, but it's not gonna be pretty when it's time for s-t-o-r-e.
me:....huh??
S: remember, I told you, I'm going to the s-t-o-r-e!
me: what?!?!?!  What are you talking about with a story?!
S:...Oh my God.  Seriously???

I TOLD YOU, I'M TIRED.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Incoherent and Unrelated

You know how there's, like, a PERFECT amount of drunkenness for bowling?  You go out with friends, play a few frames, and you're doing fine, but nothing remarkable.  Then, a few beers later, suddenly everything is a strike, except the 7-10 split that you absolutely OWN.  And just as you're making your plans to join the pro circuit, you drink juuuuust one more beer, and suddenly you can barely get the ball out of the gutter. 

It's like that with being tired, too, I've found.  I go from my usual state, to just plain tired, at which point I become clever, charming, and generally hilarious.  Then I have one more bad night of sleep and the next thing I know, I'm hurtling down the expressway and it takes me a solid two minutes to remember where I'm going.  Then  I think, muuhhhhh.....maybe I should eat lots of food.  And next I think, "Sigh.  Now I am stupid AND I need new clothes." 

Guess which phase I'm in now?  Sigh, indeed.

Unrelated: yesterday at the produce market, I had Katie in the carrier and Gracie in the cart.  Gracie was helping me put red peppers in a bag when a rather loud woman walked up to us and started blathering about how wonderful it was that I was TALKING to my children instead of being on my CELL PHONE, and on and on.  And I felt really uncomfortable and kind of speechless.  Because on the one hand, it doesn't matter who they are or what they are saying, when someone compliments your parenting, it's really hard to have any reaction other than bashful, aw-shucks, drink-in-the-validation.  And so there was some of that.  But also?  Gah.  PET PEEVE.  Mothers are allowed to talk on the phone.  I know that before Katie, when I had more of a free hand, so to speak, I actually tried to make my phone calls in the store, because Gracie was mesmerized by the bright lights and people and displays, as opposed to at home, where she needed my constant entertainment.  Just because you see someone talking on their phone for the thirty seconds it takes to walk past them doesn't mean you know a thing about the way they spend their days.  And although I was chatting and playing with my daughter in the store, I also let her watch too much non-educational tv on many days when we're home, and that little nugget makes it way onto my application for Mother of the Year, too.

Also on my application: Grace has been waking HORRIBLY from her naps lately.  Yesterday was no exception.  Shortly after she woke up, Stephen went to get her dressed for swimming.  She. Lost. Her. Mind.  Went insaaaaane.  Stephen asked what I wanted to do, and I said we'd go anyway- she does that a lot and then rallies once we're out of the immediate situation.  (this is just like the moment in the horror movie where the people go upstairs to check out the funny noise, isn't it?)  So we got in the car, and yep, she was fine.  Ran around the locker room once we got there, laughing and having fun.  We went out to the pool, and she was acting...funny.  Normally she sits right on the edge of the pool, next to me, kicks in the water, and demands that I get in the water (she knows she's not allowed in the water until I get in).  Yesterday, all she wanted to do was play in the drinking fountain.  The teacher bribed her into the pool with a toy, and she started jumping in, standing in the water (she's just now tall enough to "touch bommom!"and thinks it's the coolest thing ever), throwing the toy so she could swim after it, etc.  And then it was circle time.

(cue ominous music)

Gracie did not want to do the circle time.  She didn't want to sing the songs, she didn't want to do the motions that went along with them, all she wanted to do was scream no and cling to me like a spider monkey.  I tried everything and she just kept escalating.  She was obnoxious and disruptive and we just could not stay.  So, we didn't.  I was utterly mortified, turned ten shades of purple, and carried her out of the pool and to the shower.  Continued to feel like a gigantic horse's ass the entire time we were getting showered and dressed.  She was told multiple times why we were leaving, apologized, and even said to me at one point, "mama, pwease be happy.  be happy, mama."  Sooo, message received? I  hope so, because minutes later, one of the moms we've known from previous classes came into the locker room and told us she had a present for us.  I had complimented her daughters on this dress before, and she was giving it to us, since her girls had outgrown it.  And that is only the second nicest thing she did, because when she heard what happened, she did my absolute favorite thing in the world: she told me a story about one of her daughter's tantrums.  I mean, seriously, is there a nicer thing one mom can do for another? 

I feel like this is the point where I should tie everything together, but I'm too tired.  (ooh!  that kind of ties it all together!  Go me.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

PANTS.

So, we've been battling some seriously bad sleep in our house.  To anyone who's shocked: welcome to my blog!  I'm glad you've stopped by.  My interests include running and making babies that never sleep.  To the rest of you: sorry.  I know.  it's so tiresome.  but this one is interesting!  Because it's all about how stupid I can be!

Because, see, I do This Thing, where a piece of information enters my brain, and something flickers and tells me it's significant, but I choose to dismiss it.  I really think there should be a name for that phenomenon, because although my skillz are exceptional, I know everyone does this.  This happens to me allll the time at work, I figure stuff out and don't say anything, and then it turns out the thought I had was right and nobody believes me because I didn't say anything. Another, less flattering example: when Grace was about seven or eight months old, she woke up in the middle of the night, at a time when she'd mostly stopped waking.  I got her out of bed and it was like nursing a little chunk of asphalt.  Damn, I thought, I really need to turn on the air conditioning, it's hot in here!  The next day, I kept thinking, jeeeeez kid, what the heck?  Stop WHINING!  And then?  After I'd dragged her all over kingdom come, running errands, I took one look at her sitting in the shopping cart, with red-rimmed, glassy eyes, saw her let out a big heavy sigh, and thought, "oh my SHIT, she is SICK.  Mommy fail.  NURSE FAIL!!!! AUGH!"  And yes, she had, like, a 432 degree fever.  So my point is, I'm sometimes a little slow on the uptake.

...whiiich is important to the story.  Because for the last week or so, Katie developed the extremely (un)charming habit of waking upwards of six times a night, waking only a few times a night but staying awake for an hour or more (a true Gracie special), and generally sleeping horribly all-around.  Which did not exactly have a positive impact on her personality.  About a week ago, I scooped her and was nursing her when I thought, dang, her little legs are COLD.  Here, let me just warm them up on my warm belly.  And put her back to bed.  Lather, rinse, repeat, ad finitum. 

And then?  A few evenings ago, it occurred to me: PANTS.  Who the hell can sleep when they're cold?  Yeah.  So I put pants on the poor kid before she went to bed.  She woke up twice that night.  Since she slept well, her naps were also better (although that is another story for another day, right there).  Was it a fluke?  Nope.  Next two nights, same thing.

The secret is pants. 

(OK.  the secret is not freezing your baby.  But for a massively SIDS-paranoid person like me, I prefer to think of the secret as pants rather than warmth.)