Sunday, July 26, 2009

And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt

Well, I survived my first week back at work. I was exhausted every night, even though all I did was sit on my ass in front of a computer all day. It felt good to be back, though. It's nice to think about things other than nap schedules and baby poop.

My lovely husband surprised me with flowers and chocolates delivered to my office on Day 1, to celebrate my new position at work. What a keeper, eh? :-)

Lucy and M. rubbed along pretty well. Only one incident of M. calling me with screaming baby in background to complain and ask for suggestions. I think the lack of sleep (Lucy still isn't back to sleeping through the night) was getting to M. and making him a little grumpy, but who can blame him, right?

It's now Sunday afternoon, and I'm just hours away from starting my second week back at work, the last week before Lucy starts daycare. I've discovered that I have one whole week of work appropriate outfits that fit, which is good. However, given that Fridays are casual and I wore jeans, that sentence is a little misleading. Also, I am afraid that I ONLY have one whole week's worth of outfits that fit, and I may need to repeat them all this coming week. There will likely be some shopping in my future, I think. My goal is to find a routine that allows me to get back on the treadmill at night after the kids go to bed sometime before Labor Day - I don't want to put too much pressure on myself to start that now while we're all getting used to a lot of changes. So one day I will fit into the rest of my nice work clothes, but that day is a little far off.

So far, the weekend has been pretty successful. Both days, we have managed to get both kids to nap at the same time for a decent amount of time. That is true parenting success (and luck)! Ah, if only all weekends could be this way... :-).

Off to enjoy my last few moments of peace and quiet before the kids wake up!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

At Least It's Not A Baby Ruth Bar

I don't mind if Finn pees in the pool, honestly I don't. Everybody expects it, right? I mean, a public pool, especially the baby pool, has to be about 55% urine, don't you think? And honestly, bringing a wet child, with a wet swim diaper and a wet bathing suit, into a women's locker room of questionable cleanliness is no one's idea of a good time. I know, because I've done it. The logistics of wriggling in and out of wet clothes (which must be done completely so that this little child, who is not tall enough to stand up yet, can instead perch precariously, holding on tight with his little hands, on a germ-infested toilet seat), washing hands when neither soap nor sink is reachable, etc, is just too tiring to even think about.

But I can't TELL Finn this. I can't say to him "Hey, I know we've been going on and on about how great it is that you pee in the potty now, and not in a diaper, but there's this one little exception to the rule..." Yeah, I think that would be a bad idea. And so, even though we still put him in a swim diaper (they totally don't contain pee, but HE doesn't know that) when we go to the pool, Finn thinks he shouldn't pee while swimming. Each time we've gone recently, he has (loudly) let us know that he needs to go to the bathroom. After our first experience with the wet bathing suit, etc, etc, though, I don't WANT to take him to the bathroom. Bad mom that I am, I ask him if he can hold it a few more minutes until we get ready to go home. And what's the worst that could happen, really? He pees in the pool? No big deal, we've established that all the kids do it. Finn wants to keep swimming (ha, swimming, I would hardly call it that, but that's because I'm bitter that Finn has so far completely refused to wear the flotation device I was so excited for him to try out), so he readily agrees.

And then, mere minutes later, lets me know quite matter-of-factly that he has peed a little bit. You know, in his outside voice, the one that CARRIES SO WELL.

And then everyone, who until then has been happily pretending that the pool if full of only water and chlorine, is forced to contemplate how they are now swimming in my son's pee.

Like I said, I DON'T CARE if Finn pees in the pool. I just wish he didn't feel the need to announce it to the world.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day one of a SAHD experiment

Well, today marks A.'s first day back at work since Lucy was born 12 short weeks ago. Now it's daddy's turn. I have pretty awesome benefits through work that allow me 6 weeks of family leave. I took 3 of those right after Lucy was born and 1 when my parents drove out a few weeks ago. Now, I'm going to spend the final 2 weeks with Lucy before shipping her off to daycare. Just the two of us. Mono y mini-mono. All alone. Gulp.

All of this got me thinking about how society views stay-at-home-dads (SAHD) - though the acronym pretty much sums it up - and dad's in general. TV: daytime programming is mostly soaps and talk shows focused on women, while primetime gives us 6 Al Bundy's for every 1 Charles in Charge. Every parenting magazine and book: how to balance being a working mom and raising children. Those that mention dads usually do so in condescending ways. Basically, media is geared toward the traditional (i.e. 1950's) version of life, where daddy goes off to work briefcase in hand and comes home to a pot roast and gorgeous wife with gin & tonic in hand. Since the 1950's also promised us jetpacks and robot housekeepers, it shouldn't be surprising that the 'ideal' home life never transpired - though the latter are actually based in reality and exist in some form. As ridiculous as it is to assume that women should be the sole child raiser/house cleaner, etc., it's equally ridiculous to assume that men can't - or are less capable or unwilling. The irony, of course, is that the more society treats men as incapable parent the more guilt working moms feel as they drop the kids at daycare. Well played society! Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a vegetarian-friendly pot roast to cook and G&T to mix.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In which I natter on about nothing at all

M. is working from home today so that he could go to the doctor's office this morning - his nagging wife, afraid that his achy and swollen lymph nodes were a symptom of some awful disease, made him go in despite his protestations that he was most likely fine (the doc ended up prescribing antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory so I feel quite vindicated, though he does, indeed, look fine). In addition to ending my maternity leave much the way it started, with both parents home with Lucy (though admittedly with fewer hormone-induced crying jags), I saw another potential bonus. I was hoping to pick up Finn a little early for some fun one-on-one time. The post-daycare, pre-bedtime hours have been a total drag for Finn lately. Lucy is a crab then, and even when we have a few moments in between prepping dinner and feeding the baby, it's been too hot to go outside and let off any steam. Finn has been kind of trapped inside, and a little bored and miserable (it doesn't help that he seems totally uninterested by all his toys, but that's a whole separate blog post in itself).

Today, I wanted to surprise Finn by packing his bathing suit (and goggles, of course) in the car and making a detour to the pool on the way home. Part of my motivation is to try out the new flotation device we just got him, which should help him learn how to feel more independent in the water, the Stearns Puddle Jumper. My neighbor has them for her two kids, and it was amazing how well they were able to stay afloat and get around in the water (Grammy and Bumpa, you may want to check them out for your boat, have a couple on hand for visiting grandkids...). I thought it would be a lot of fun for Finn, and as a bonus, tire him out for bedtime.

Alas, the day has been gloomy and cloudy (though hot) without a single sunny break. We've even managed to have a little bit of rain, something we haven't seen since June. So the pool trip has been placed on the backburner, hopefully only until tomorrow. Instead, I think I will take Finn to one of his favorite places - Target. Clearly we shop there too much, as our two-year-old commonly asks to go there by name. I'm headed there to pick up some photo prints that I ordered online - can't go back to work without at least one physical, actual photo of my new baby to display. I'm guessing I'll probably let Finn talk me into buying him a toy while we're there. One which he will play with for about a day, and then ignore completely. Sigh.

To follow up on my previous post, it seems apparent that Lucy is in the midst of another growth spurt. She has woken up every night for the last four nights, and she's been downing her bottles like there's no tomorrow. Hopefully once her limbs are done making like trees and growing, all will return to "normal." Whatever that is with a baby. In the meantime, after last night, the middle of the night wakings became "so not my problem" anymore. Now that I'm the one who will be working, and M. will be the one sitting around lazily eating bonbons and watching TV all day, he gets to be in charge of the 2 am feedings. At least for the next two weeks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My only guess is that she must be able to read

Breaking her streak of 8 or 9 nights, Lucy woke up at 1:55 am last night. I see that she's already trying to sass me and prove me wrong.

Monday, July 13, 2009

True Confessions of a Temporary Housewife

One more week. That's all I have left of my maternity leave. Only one more week of not setting an alarm, of not putting on make-up, of meeting-free days. Only one more week of letting Lucy doze on me mid-afternoon, of watching her wake up all smiles from her first nap of the day, of knowing exactly what she did and how she felt all day long.

It's also only one more week of terrible daytime TV programming, of spending significant portions of my day trying to get one little person to fall asleep or stay asleep, of feeling out of touch with the rest of the world.

Am I ready? Yes and no. I'm starting a new job at work, so there will be challenges and new experiences when I return. I'm a little nervous about it, but also excited. I do, of course, have concerns about how Lucy will transition to daycare. But this isn't my first rodeo, and I know it will all eventually work out. Plus, we've arranged it so that Lucy is not starting daycare at the same time I am starting back at work. She will be spending two more weeks at home with M. before she starts at daycare. Then she'll have to start getting used to an earlier wake up time so she can join us all in the morning rush out the door.

Yes, I did say EARLIER wake up time. Which brings me to one of my two confessions, the "secrets" I have been keeping from this blog for fear of somehow inviting bad karma that puts an end to them.

Lucy has been sleeping through the night.

Not the "if your baby can sleep 5 or 6 hours straight at night, she is technically sleeping through the night" crap. The "we get her into her crib asleep anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30 pm, and she doesn't wake up until after 6:30 am" sleeping through the night. 10, 11, even edging toward 12 hours in a row.

She's been doing this every night for at least a week - I can't remember exactly when it started. Disbelieving, M. and I continue to prepare for middle of the night feedings. We prep the bottle warmer with the necessary water for heating, and we bring an insulated sleeve with ice packs and a bottle up to the kids' bathroom. Where it then sits, all night long, until either I start to hear a few stirrings over the monitor, or I get worried that it's been too long since I heard anything, and I decide that it MUST be time for us to start our day. Today I went in at 6:55 am and had to wake a dead-asleep Lucy in order to give her her reflux medication.

I'm under no illusions that this will keep up forever. Eventually, Lucy will need to learn to sleep unswaddled, and she will need to learn to fall asleep on her own (THIS, she still does not do. Much effort to get her to sleep, followed by many wonderful hours of sleep). Not to mention growth spurts, ear infections, teething... there will be wake ups. But for now, it's heaven.

Confession #2 involves Finn. With very little work from M. and I, he is now just about completely potty trained. It's crazy how wonderful he has been about it. We still put him in a diaper at night and a pull-up for his naps, but he has been keeping them dry. The rest of the day he spends in big boy underwear, and he's had nary an accident in days. I think, very soon, we will be attempting underwear at night, too.

I'm not sure what did the trick. Daycare had been putting him in underwear, but he was having some pee accidents and (if he didn't poop in his morning pull-up first) a good number of poop accidents. Poop in the potty just wasn't happening. After one poop accident that happened at home (v. traumatizing for all of us, not my finest parenting moment), we decided to take a break from the underwear. We continued to send Finn to school in pull-ups, and just before the 4th of July, something clicked for him. He started pooping in the potty. At home and at school. So we've been running with it, and it's working out great. We've even done errands and trips out of the house in underwear, and he has been perfect. It almost makes up for the tantrum/discipline troubles he's been giving us lately ;-).

We had friends over this weekend, and finally managed to get a family picture of the four of us together - our first one since Lucy was born. Now I can finally update our picture on the sidebar of this blog!

And a couple of bonus pictures of my angelic (kidding, kidding) children:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marking One Year

In honor of my 1-year blog anniversary, I decided to present you all with a video clip for the first time ever. This demonstrates true blog dedication, as the time it took to upload the camcorder software and figure out how to use it seriously cut into my Veronica Mars viewing time last night. I'm still flying pretty blind here, and hope that it actually works. I apologize in advance if the file is too big - this is definitely an experiment for me!* Also, it's about 20 seconds longer than I would like, but I haven't gotten to the video editing portion of the help manual yet :-). Behold, Lucy's quiet little voice, taped on the 4th of July. She's very conversational (and smiley, as you'll see), but definitely in a low-key manner. Way different than the adorable, but much louder, yelping and yodeling her one month older cousin, Cameron, does.

*OK, it definitely was too big, as Blogger tried and tried, but could not successfully upload the video. Thanks to MommyEsq for the tip of publishing to YouTube (my debut!) and embedding it here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In which I try unsuccessfully to NOT talk about my kids

I thought today was my 1-year Blogiversary. It's not (that blessed event is apparently actually on July 10th, according to my archives), but my error in memory caused me to go back and read a couple of my old posts. And now I feel the need to apologize because, dude, I was much more interesting and funny before my life became focused solely on my kids (and let's be honest, that happened at least a good month or two before Lucy was born, when third trimester exhaustion left me unable to think of ANYTHING other than getting the baby OUT). Then, I had descriptions of awkward haircut experiences and home improvement projects, and even a little political commentary. Now, it's all, "She sleeps! She doesn't sleep! I have nothing to say, so here, cute pictures!"

So, since my life still revolves entirely around getting one 10-week-old little girl to sleep or eat for a few more days, I will harken back to my past in the interest of sharing non-kid related (for the most part) thoughts. I will relate some embarrassing stories about myself. With a (tenuous) purpose, of course.

Sibling rivalry with multiples is always fierce, and I certainly admit that my sisters excel in ways I do not. But I think it can be justifiably argued that, in high school at least, I was the best student of the three of us. Graduated 6th in my class (not too shabby in a fairly competitive, upper middle class community where all kids are expected to go to college), 1430 on the SATs, etc (yes, none of this is embarrassing, except perhaps the fact that 14 years later I still remember all this stuff, but I'm getting there, I promise). My mom always attributed my scholastic success to my "fine scientific mind." It was a phrase she used often, up until the time she realized that, even with a Ph.D. in Biology, I was never going to "cure cancer" (another phrase she often trotted out). I always just thought my success was because I had a good memory (had being the operative word here, as I now have a rather mediocre memory, thanks likely to too much alcohol in my wilder days) and was able to take tests well.

Best student or not, I always felt insecure about my assumed intelligence, as though I was putting on a smart act, and people would one day find out I was dumb as a rock. And it's true that I'm lacking in the big picture/common sense department. I share with you now a couple of embarrassing examples as testament:

I did not learn to tell time until the 7th grade. This is true. I faked it until then. Digital watches were a staple. You see, I was on solid ground during the first half of each hour, when the little hand is aligned with the number of the hour. My downfall was the second half of the hour. If the little hand is halfway between 1 and 2, and the big hand is on the 9, does that make it 1:45 or 2:45? I kid you not, I did not know. Understanding finally dawned for me when I started taking Spanish lessons. In Spanish, in the first half of the hour, you would say "Es la uno y media" (It's one and a half, or 1:30). After the half hour, you switch to saying "Son las dos menos quarto" (It's two minus a quarter, or 1:45). Somehow, this led me to finally understand that after the half hour mark, the little hand starts moving toward the next hour. So even though the little hand is between the 1 and the 2, it is most definitely 1:45 and not 2:45. Crazy, eh? I'm not sure how this concept escaped me in the first or second grade, whenever the topic was first introduced.

Second example: I'm not sure exactly when I realized my error in thinking with this next one, but it was certainly only within the last 10 years. For a very long time, the advertising prowess of the M&M corporation flew completely over my head. I always thought their ad campaign that M&M's "melt in your mouth, not in your hand," was completely ridiculous. Those delicious red, yellow, orange, green, brown and tan (remember those tan M&M's?) candies ALWAYS melted in my hand. WHAT were they talking about? Clearly those candy engineers needed to work on their hard candy coating, as it was not holding up as advertised. Eventually it dawned on my that what those tricky M&M ad execs where trying to tell me was "Yes, we realize that our candy coating COULD melt in your hand, but our candies are so gosh darn delicious that there will be no TIME for them to melt in your hand. You will stuff the whole bag of sweetness into your pie-hole as fast as you possibly can." Ohhhh, now I get it...

There are plenty of other times in my life where I have demonstrated such a lack of, hmm, would we call it common sense? It made me unsure of myself a lot, still does, in fact. So it was never reassuring to continually hear about how smart I was, how I was destined to do something noteworthy. Like anyone else, I'm really good at a couple of things, pretty darn sucky at some other things (like telling time, apparently), and just OK at all the rest.

I've been thinking about these old knowledge quirks of mine lately because of Finn. It bothers me a little that all of the staff at his school keep going on and on about how smart he is (see, I had to turn it back to my kids, after all, couldn't stay away). I mean, they really do go on about it (mostly to us, I think, I don't believe they say these things to Finn directly but I don't really know). Some parents might be opposed to such high praise on the grounds that it might make their child lazy, as if they don't have to work as hard at school because they are naturally smart (don't worry, I am not confusing daycare with school here, this is all hypothetical future stuff). Other parents might see nothing wrong with it - I mean, aren't we SUPPOSED to encourage our kids? Me, I'm worried it will give Finn feelings of inadequacy someday. It's a lot to live up to, this "smart" label. I love my child and recognize his awesome qualities more than anyone else. But he's a 2-year-old with great speaking skills, not a genius. I want to make sure he has the space to find out on his own what he's good at (and what he's bad at), and praise him for the things he does, not the things he might do one day.

Did well-meaning family members and friends scar me a little with praise? Who knows. Maybe I'm just inherently insecure. If so, hopefully Finn and Lucy managed not to get those genes from me. One thing is sure, though - you can bet that I'll spend a little extra time helping them with their homework during the time unit.

Friday, July 3, 2009

An Ode to Goggles

He wears them in the tub, shower and pool;
He won't take them off for dinner, he's stubborn as a mule;
I do believe if I let him, he'd wear them every day to school.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

As Promised

This will be a picture overload, mostly because I just can't pick which photos to post, they are all so adorable. Most are from this past week, but some stretch back a few weeks, so I'll do my best to give some captions.

Lucy (6 weeks) on a walk with cousin Cameron (10.5 weeks)

Finn and Auntie Krissy, June 15th

Lucy and her mommy, June 15th

Happy and adorable

Lucy meets Grandpa

An early morning pajama conference

Lucy and Grandpa have a conversation

Modeling a new outfit her Granny picked out


Showing off Finn's planes at the airpark

Watching a plane take off

Identifying a mystery bird in the backyard with Grandpa

Granny and Grandpa with the kids

Waking up all smiles from a quick nap

One of my nicknames as a baby was "the turtle," because I was constantly poking my head up to look around while on my tummy in my crib. Great-grandmother Mimi couldn't resist a turtle outfit for Lucy. Not shown, turtle on her bum and the label "slowpoke." Too cute.

Even though we are terrible about giving Lucy tummy time, the girl has some neck and upper body muscles. She'll be sitting up in no time!