Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Months!

This boy, he is a moose.

A happy, smiley, hungry MOOSE.  Today at the pediatrician, he weighed just over 14 pounds, and was something like 25 in long (I don't have it in front of me and poor little post-vax boy is sleeping on my lap and I do not want to disturb him).  At the edge of the chart for weight, off the chart for length.  He's a big dude.  Size of an average four month old.  And you know why?

He never, ever, ever stops eating.

True story: after my six-week postpartum visit, I thought, ok, this is just utterly ridiculous, I neeeeed to drop at least five baby pounds (which are actually breastfeeding pounds, as I gained an immense amount of weight AFTER he was born) before I go back to work so I don't have to buy a whole new wardrobe.  Except, to make a really long story short, after a long and crabby week, I figured out that even though he SEEMED satisfied, this boy was HUNGRY.  He wanted much more than I could make while eating a reasonable amount of food (or even a slightly-more-than-reasonable amount of food, because I tried that, too).  So whatever, I"ll go shopping at some point before I go back to work and James the Giant Leech can continue to grow at an alarming rate.

He is a terrible sleeper.  Try to hide your shock.  The  He still totally does not get that there is a day and a night, and nighttime is for sleeping.  He is an obligate bed-sharer, because I asked our pediatrician which he thought was safer, belly sleeping or bed sharing, and bed sharing won that odd calculus.  FINE.  Sigh.  Even at that, he wakes up at least every four hours, usually for several hours at a time, and fusses extensively from 5am until I have to face the day and get out of bed.  He's been getting much fussier in the evenings, and I don't know if this is him trying to figure out bedtime or just behaving like a two month old baby, but I am so hoping he's figuring out a bedtime.  Little dude is seriously high maintenance in the evenings and if he's gonna wake up for the day at 5, he needs to sleep at SOME point.

I am totally failing at tummy time with this boy.  Oops.  In my defense, it's seriously almost impossible, because Katie is convinced we are totally lying to her and she can continue to use him as a punching bag and it will not hurt him one single bit.  Two separate times today, I pushed her away right as she was going to either kick him in the face or stomp on his stomach.  Soooo, yeah, tummy time not really an option during her waking hours. And then she's in bed and, seriously, I am TIRED.  I don't WANNA.

The other thing I am failing at: blogging this little boy's infancy.  Seriously, seriously, I keep saying it but SERIOUSLY: three is a lot of kids.  Three is especially a lot of kids when one of them is both hell-bent on twisting her baby brother's ears off his head and also oh yeah what the heck, decided now would be a good time to INSIST on potty training.  (eff you, potty training.  eff you forever.)  I swear, though: this little boy is adorable and perfect and I spend as much time as humanly possible staring at his little face and kissing his pudding cheeks and playing with his hair and holding him close because the days are long but the years are short and so are the months so my sorry ass is going back to work in two weeks and that is BULLSHIT (US maternity leave fucking sucks.  And I'm spoiled and get three months.  US maternity leave fucking sucks.)  The lack of blogging, though, is by no means an indication of how enamored I am with this child and his firsts and his little SELF.  I used to think when people joked about documenting everything your first kid did and nothing your later kids did, that they meant the people decided it didn't matter.  That's really  just not true.  You just have no more time.  Every single time he grows or changes or does something new, I feel the same way I did when Gracie did it, except with an additional ache that I will never, ever watch another child of my own do that for the first time.  And I don't really need to document it to remember, anyway.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The One Universal Truth of Girlhood

No two girls are alike.  Some girls love tea parties and princesses.  Some girls love dirt and soccer.  Some girls love dirt and princesses but not soccer or tea parties.  We are a diverse bunch.  However, there is one thing that is true for every single girl across this great nation:

Groups of three do not work.

Never.  Ever. 

It is not until adolescence, or really, adulthood, that we are able to handle the complex social dance of three girls in a group.  And even then, it is fraught.  There are always two who are better friends than the third- it is a matter of being old enough not to care.  Social status is power, not size or strength, and within a group of three, the social power does not work.  The grid explodes.  Except, not.  The grid turns on itself.  The grid becomes HAL 9000.

Gracie takes gymnastics with two other little friends.  This did not initially occur to me as a problem, because there are eight girls in the class, and because her own sister is there, and one of the other girls also has a little sister, who will be three in a few months.  I didn't see it as a threesome until today- of course it is a threesome.  They are the ones who are friends outside class. The little sisters are, well, little.  They are their own group.  The group in class is a group of three.  It hit me like a bolt today.  I turned to one mom and said, "Oh my god, they're a threesome.  How did we miss that?!"  And her face fell, and she said, "Oh god, how DID we miss that?"  Because it. never. works.  And sure enough, the coach today came over to chat and said, "you know, they always get cliquey.  It happens every week. This week it was Gracie on the outs, and there was a lot of unhappiness."  So maybe I noticed that without knowing I did, and that was what finally made it click? Because it won't always be Gracie on the outs.  Sometimes it will be another girl's turn. That's how it works.  But maybe I sensed she was on the outs and that was how I figured it out?  I don't know.

I know that I have multiple very vivid memories of playdates with two other girls, and they always, always ended badly.  I don't remember a single playdate with two girls that ended well, except the ones I spent with my friend Katie and her sister, and that worked because they were sisters, so the same social power dynamic wasn't there.  I have always sworn I would not set up threesome play dates for my daughters, and I wouldn't send her on them either, and here we are, set up in a threesome.  I mean, we're not going to quit gymnastics over it or anything, I just can't believe I didn't notice it.

I would ask if anyone had ideas on how to make a little girl threesome work, but you know what?  You can't.  It can't be done.  It is the great unsolvable problem of female childhood.  Right there.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Faster and Faster and Faster

You know how, the older you get, the faster time seems to go?  Like, when you're seven, and you're waiting to turn eight, it feels like a million years, but when you're seventeen and waiting to turn eighteen, it happens in the blink of an eye?

I feel like the same thing happens with kids.  I swear, the first month of Gracie's life lasted a year.  And even though my maternity leave felt too short, it also felt like I was away from work for five years.  And even after the colic passed and she became the sweetest, most amazing little thing, I swear the first year of her life was an eternity.  It just felt so. very. long.  Not always in a bad way, but long.  Then Katie was born, and five minutes later, she was a month old.  I went back to work ten minutes after that.  Jimmy, shoot, don't even get me started.  I swear I'm still in labor or something, and he's rapidly aging in the delivery room.

I just thought of it because I was looking at a picture of my friend's daughter on Facebook- her first, and a formerly fussy newborn.  I thought she must be nearing a year old, but she's not, she's only six months old.  And I think maybe that is how we experience firstborn children.  Everything is so monumental, and gets so much of our focus, every milestone, every month, it just happens more slowly.  And then we get busier, and we know what to expect, and so it's a combination of less focus and that same thing as when you're driving somewhere new and it seems like it takes a million years longer than the drive home?  I don't know.  IT'S TOO FAST IS ALL, OKAY???

There are others like me.  I KNEW I WASN'T CRAZY.  (Check out the comments.  There are LOTS of us.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It Goes Like This

Jimmy is our first baby to actually tolerate being put down while he's sleeping.  Well, I mean, Grace would eventually give up each night, but it took hooours of holding her and many, many trips back in when she woke up.  Katie was like, bitch, please, you WILL hold me, and if your eyes are open, they will be gazing upon me adoringly.  Jimmy, well, he prefers strongly to be held, but you can get him in the right mood and put him down.  Thank god, because it turns out three is a lot of kids. 

He does not usually tolerate such insolence at night.  He strongly prefers to co-sleep and be snuggled at night.  Every once in awhile, though, I can get him down in the cradle until his first waking.  Last night, he woke up around 11:30ish, so it did not last long.  I nursed him and snuggled him, and noticed that he was REALLY asleep.  And I could probably put him back in the cradle and he'd do pretty well.  And then I looked at his pudding cheeks, and his tiny fingers and his fluffy hair, and I thought, I won't be able to do this much longer.  He's going to need a bedtime (for my own sake), he's going to get too restless, he's going to be too big and he'll need to learn to sleep on his own.  You know, like they say, babies don't keep.    So I curled him up next to me and went back to sleep.  And totally, totally do not regret it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Five Year Family

Today is the five year anniversary of this:

When I look at that picture, I still get the same feeling in my chest that I got the very first time I saw it.  It's not as immediate, or as strong, but it's there.  I remember feeling like all the air sucked out of the room, that I was never more shocked in my life, but also never thought any other result was possible.  I remember bursting out laughing for no reason two hours later.  I remember a week or so later, stopping into Gymb0ree and buying a package of onesies, because I was so excited to buy something for my Very Own Baby.

Tomorrow is the very last OB appointment of my life.  (How perfect would it have been if it were today?  so close...only I would think about something so stupid.)

Five years, three kids, two houses later, here we are.  This is our family. This is how we will always look.  No more unknowns.  Well, okay, yes there are.  Of course there are!  But in terms of who makes up our family: this is it.  Two girls and a baby boy, which is exactly what I always wanted (embarassment of riches is the phrase you're looking for.)  (well.  Not really.  Close, though.  I bet there's a perfect word for it in German.  They have the best words.)

Five years is a really long time, and I can hardly even remember the person I was before these three nuggets dropped into our laps.  But I look at that picture, and I totally cannot believe it's been that long.  For five years, I have been pregnant or breastfeeding.  Eleven months from now, I will wean my last baby, and my body will be mine and mine alone for the rest of my life.  And most of all?

I really, really need to buy new clothes.  Seriously.  Damn.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One Midnight Gone

grr.  I fixed this in photobucket.  it's still messed up.  you get the idea.
I said it before, but I'll say it again: I know I'm supposed to say, "OMG, I can't believe it's been a month, where did they time go?!!"  But.  Yeah.  it's been a month.  It's definitely been a month.

Don't get me wrong.  James is a giant peach.  He is snuggly and lovely and his cheeks, ohhhh man, those cheeks.

Like all the members of our team, he is rather fussy- he must be held at all times, and occasionally, you must be upright, preferably walking around.  Occasionally, in the early evening, he just wants to sit and look around, and he doesn't much care what you do.  He is...not a great sleeper.  Not terrible, but not great.  He is usually awake from at least 10-11:30 in the evening, and when he wakes up a little after 4, I know he's up for at least an hour, if not longer.  He is an obligate bed-sharer, which is sooo not my favorite thing, but it's that, let him sleep overnight on his stomach, or die of exhaustion.  It seems like the least of all evils, but I do let him nap on his stomach (I don't let him play with forks and electric sockets...YET), and I have seen him turn his head from side to side and even lift his head and shoulders off the bed, so we'll see how long the bed-sharing lasts. 

(why can't I get those side by side?  someone smarter than me chime in here.)
His sisters both love him.  Really, they do.  One of them is having a much harder time appropriately demonstrating that than the other.  Three guesses which one...yeah.  Gracie sees him open his eyes and oohs and ahhs and says, "ohhh, look at that little boy, he's so cute!!"  and gently strokes his hair.  Katie is...well.  You know how you can't read the newspaper with a cat in the room because they will obsessively, compulsively step on it, knock it away, sprawl out in the middle of it?  That's Katie.  No matter what she's doing, if Jimmy is in my lap, she will fling herself between us, pick at his face, tug on his eyelids, pull at his ears, pinch him, poke him, try to kick and hit him.  She cannot and WILL NOT be stopped without physical force.  Time out has become a game for her.  It's...a pickle.  This morning, he napped in the pack n play for an hour or so after the girls woke up and she was her little angelic self, sitting on my lap, talking to me and telling me stories, snuggling up with me and watching tv.  But the minute he woke up, it was the return of Angelica.  Poor kid.  It'll get better.  Or, I mean, it won't, and they'll fight until one of them leaves for college.  It'll EVENTUALLY get better, though.

He is nursing like a champ and growing like a weed, and I know that I am going to blink and he will be four years old, with long muscle-y legs and a tremendous vocabulary and I will wonder what the hell happened to all the time.  For now, though, a month seems about right.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

That One Time James Had Impending Respiratory Failure

For reals.

So last night, Jimmy was awake allll night long.  He woke up every few hours, and then woke at 4:15 and would. not. go back to sleep.  He was fussy, nursing poorly, and generally full of piss and vinegar.  He's been pretty fussy lately- nothing we can't handle, being the seasoned fussy baby veterans that we are (no wimps in this house), but generally crabby.  Still, this was unusual.  He slept poorly the night before, and then was wide awake through the girls' naps, so I was pretty wrecked when I got out of bed this morning.

Stephen got G off to school, and shortly afterwards, MIL came to get Katie, because the girls were spending the day with her.  J was still really fussy, and sounding congested, so I tried to bulb suction him and didn't get anything.  I passed him off to Stephen and went to get in the shower.  It passed through my mind that I should bring him in the bathroom with me, and maybe the steam would loosen something up, but I sort of forgot it as soon as I thought it (I should also mention it was his second night in a row of not sleeping AND for the last two days, he has decided to wake up right when the girls go down for their naps.  So, you know, me = not the sharpest knife today.)

I was about 3/4 through my shower when Stephen came in and told me he was worried about J's breathing.  I finished up and went to check on him, but by the time I got out he was sleeping comfortably.  Stephen said, yeah, he's fine now, but when he wakes up, he makes a ton of noise.  A few minutes later, sure enough, he woke up and was panting, snoring (even though he was wide awake), head-bobbing, and generally looking distressed.  Ummmm, okay. I don't like this.  I decided to watch him awhile.  And it didn't get better.  And when I peeked under his shirt, I could see him sucking in his ribs, which is no good.  At all.  Sigh.  So after a few minutes of total denial, I made a pediatrician appointment for a few hours later.  In the meantime, I sat on the couch with him, watching him like a hawk.  He didn't change- didn't get worse, but also didn't get better.  Until, oh, five minutes before we left for the doctor, when he fell asleep was completely and totally fine.  Really, kid?  REALLY?  I told Stephen, they will tell us we are crazy and I really don't care, because he will start up with this crap again tonight and then I won't know WHAT to do.  Bonus: I've known the doctor we were seeing today since her residency, and we always got along really well, so I can flat-out tell her I know I'm crazy.  And honestly, it's really hard to think of horses when you already have a zebra at home.

Initially, as we told her our story, she was kind of smiling at me, like, awww, yes, third time around, you're still a new mom, and patiently said a few times, "It's okay!  Babies do funny things!"  Then she opened his t shirt and sort of quietly said, "Yeah.  He's working pretty hard," when she saw him sucking in his ribs.  She left the room for saline and suction.  Squirted some saline in his nose and let it sit.  When she came back, she suctioned his nose and said, "Whoa!!!  That's adult-sized!"  And held up a chunk of mucous the size of a cheerio.  Yay!  We celebrated.  She left to get a nurse and a pulse ox, and Stephen said, "So....we brought him to the doctor for a booger?"  And I said, "Um.  Well, no, I mean, he...*sigh*...yeah.  We did."  "well," he joked, "I have a feeling she just left to call Children's and question your employment."  Snerk.

When they brought in the pulse ox, he was initially registering about 94%, which is genuinely fine, but really?  Too low for a healthy baby.  So we waited a minute and eventually he rose to 99%, where he should be.  But obviously, that boogie was giving him some trouble.

Once they were done, poor little dude nursed like he'd never been fed and promptly passed the heck out, staying asleep for the next, like, five hours, waking only to nurse one more time.  He's gonna be up all night again, but whatever.  Just glad it was a horse.  In the form of a booger.