Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blinded by Cuteness

This shall be a hit and run post, mostly for the sake of putting some new photos up. Which shall wow you with their cuteness, of course, because they feature my children. But first, in the way of updates/tying up loose ends, I will say that we DID end up going to the county fair last weekend, and a good time was had by all. We got rained out after a couple of hours, but it was plenty of time to see most of the animals, eat a little fair food, win some prizes, and ride a few of the rides. Finn is still talking about it. It's a good thing we had a babysitter for Lucy, though, as she ended up running a little fever from her shots, poor thing. All is well now, though.
Thank you all for sharing your car experiences and recommendations. We'll be taking our time with this decision (won't buy until the spring, likely), and we have a very long list of cars to start test driving. That's the fun part!

Next week is Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end to summer (I'm old school - the official end is the equinox). School is back in session beginning tomorrow, and our neighborhood pool will close up shop next Monday. I am both happy to welcome fall (yay for sweater weather!), and in shock that the summer is over. It feels like yesterday that I was sitting outside during some freakishly hot April weather, riding out contractions and wondering if I would meet my baby soon (and I did, that night). Now she's over 4 months old, trying to sit up and roll over, becoming more like a person every day. Today we set up Lucy's high chair and had her sit at the table with us during dinner. She thought it was great, smiling and "talking" to us the whole time. It's just unbelievable how big and grown up she's getting.

In other "I can't believe how big my kids are getting" news, Finn starts his first official day in the 3-year-old room at daycare tomorrow. He began the transition last week, and so far, things have been going well. Which is more than a little shocking, as Finn is notorious for handling transitions really badly. Luckily, two of his classmates are moving over with him, which is helping. He now enters a classroom where he will start learning to write letters and numbers, and participate in a more school-like, regimented curriculum. I worried (of course) that the school was moving him too soon - it's a 10:1 ratio in the new classroom, and Finn still has almost 2 months to go before he officially turns 3. However, he really does seem to be ready to be challenged a little more, so I think it's for the best.

And now for the pictures. They stretch back a few weeks (wish it wasn't such a pain to upload photos or I'd be better about doing it more often - hmm, where, exactly, does a new computer fall on our priority list?), so I'll try to post them in date order to some degree.
Lucy's first day at daycare, August 3, 2009 (14 weeks old)

Every time we bring out Lucy's "toy blanket" (thanks for making it, Mom), Finn insists on bringing her choice toys, and hanging out with her (until his attention wavers, of course - he is only 2). Here they are hanging out on the blanket together a couple of weeks ago - very cute, no?

Sorry for the red eye, but I couldn't resist putting this one up as it's such a good representation of how alert and smiley Lucy always seems to be.

New hair cut, this must be haircut #20 or so...

This past Friday was the end of summer picnic at daycare, with a circus theme. Finn has not yet learned a healthy fear of clowns, and was very excited for his clown hat and face paint.

Yesterday, more blanket time.

And more smiles.

Finn with a new cowboy hat, photo taken by M. tonight. We went to the local mall yesterday for some kids' activities that were being held in the parking lot - musical performances, face painting, balloon animals, moon bounce - something a little different than our typical Saturday afternoon. While there, we bought a ticket for Finn to spin a wheel and win a prize. The lucky duck managed to land on the pie slice that gave kid's choice of the prize OR a $25 gift card to Macy's. I showed my devotion to motherhood by giving up the gift card and letting Finn pick one of the cheap toys instead. He chose this hat. So if the next time you see me I'm wearing shoes that should have been retired long ago, just remember that I'm a good mom. Because I could have done a lot with that gift card...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Four-Month Stats

I took Lucy to the doctor's office today for her 4-month well baby visit. I decided, for the first time, to leave her infant car seat in the car, and just carry Lucy and the diaper bag with me. Lucy alone = a little heavy. Lucy + 20-odd pound car seat = so heavy my arms may fall off. In fact, I have calluses on my palms, and black and blue marks from bumping the seat on my legs as I struggle to carry it every day. Yeah, the baby + car seat set up is either that heavy, or I'm that weak.

Turns out, it really is that heavy. For, as suspected, Lucy has officially surpassed the 15-pound mark. The numbers:

Weight: 15 lbs 5 oz (90%)
Height: 25 inches (75%)
Head: 16 inches (75%)

She may be a heavy-weight, but she's long, too. Crazy that short lil' ol' me birthed such a giraffe. Which I realize is not an appropriate analogy, as Lucy's neck with all it's scrumptious, hard-to-clean creases, is one of the shortest parts of her.

She's healthy as a horse (what is with it with my animal comparisons tonight?), and there are no concerns. The doc suggested we keep giving Lucy her reflux meds for the next two months, then maybe see if she can do without them at her 6-month appointment. I smiled and nodded, but inwardly snickered a "yeah, right" at that. If she's anything like Finn, she'll be dealing with reflux for many months to come. Sigh.

We've also, of course, been given the go-ahead to start solids whenever we want. But honestly, I don't want to go to the effort yet, so we will be holding off for at least another month. Having done the whole spoon-feeding thing with Finn, the novelty has worn off, and I'm in no rush to add one more duty to the whole post-work, pre-bedtime routine.

Other random updates/thoughts that are not worthy of their own blog posts:
- M. and I are reaching the point of deciding we need a bigger car for our bigger family. We've been holding steadfast to our two small Saturn sedans, with their excellent mileage and relatively low (one is 10 years old, so not THAT low) maintenance costs, but don't think we can hold out much longer. I am, as so many other young moms before me (can I call myself young? Is 32 young?) morally opposed to driving a minivan. Unlike so many of those other young moms, though, I am determined not to cave in. We are mostly interested in some of the smaller SUVs, like the Subaru Forester or the Honda CRV. What do you drive, and do you like it? Does it have enough room for you?

- We are planning a family vacation with my entire family next summer to celebrate my grandparents' 60th anniversary. An unimaginable number of us will descend upon 3 large beach-front houses in Nags Head, NC. It will be chaos, and lots of fun. We would like to drive to NC, thus we now have a goal of purchasing the above-mentioned new car before next July 17th.

- I made the mistake of telling Finn that a) we are going to the beach next summer, and b) we are going to buy a new car before we go to the beach next summer. He now talks everyday about how we're going to buy a new car and go to the beach tomorrow. He has, cutely, even told his friends at school about it. Time is apparently still an elusive concept for him. And I'm going to be talking about this trip ad nauseum for the next 11 months...

- Tomorrow our babysitter is coming to watch Lucy for a few hours while we take Finn to the county fair. Or at least, that's the plan, which I again stupidly told Finn about ahead of time. Good old Hurricane Bill or whatever it is that's causing all these torrential rainstorms right now may interfere with those plans. If so, I'm going to have one disappointed little boy on my hands. Maybe if we're feeling brave, and anything good is playing, we could take Finn to his first movie theater show instead. Am I that brave? I'll let you know.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Who Does Number Two Work For?

I'm so sorry, but this post is going to have to enter the poop realm. With the occasional exception, I have been trying to stay away from the trifecta of annoying* parenting conversation topics: poop, developmental milestones, and breastfeeding. It's really a quad-fecta that includes sleep, but I post about that all the time so I am intentionally leaving it out in the hopes that you won't notice how truly boring my blog is (totally making my own word there, by the way, you like it?).

Anyway, er, yes, the poop. As I have mentioned in passing before (a mention in passing TOTALLY doesn't count as annoying), Lucy occasionally has some trouble pooping. It has actually, amazingly, been less of an issue lately, as she has been pooping nearly every day since she started daycare (see, I didn't blog about THAT). But this weekend she was, shall we say, lagging behind a bit. Overdue for some Number Two. And quite fussy for much of her awake time all day Saturday and Sunday. I chalked it up to crappy napping, a common problem for little L.E. But as Finn, M. and I were eating dinner on Sunday night, Lucy finally let loose, inspired by some rockin' good play time in her bouncy chair.

Thinking that I had the easier job, I offered to change Lucy's diaper if M. would clean up Finn and get him down from the dinner table. It quickly became apparent, however, that I unwittingly set myself up for the clean up of the worst poop-splosion I have ever seen. I picked up a smiling Lucy (should have been a clue right there - of course she was grinning like an idiot, she was finally empty of massive amounts of poop), and soon realized that my hands were gripping a wet onesie. And wet jeans. Both of which were wet ALL around the waisteband. I looked down at the hapless bouncy chair, and saw the wetness echoed all over that fabric, too. Uh oh.

Worst clean-up EVER! Poop on Lucy's stomach. Poop on her legs. Poop on her hands. Poop on MY hands. Poop on the changing pad. For all I know, poop on her poor little head (always a challenge to get those pooped-on onesies off without some collateral damage). I managed to keep it down to a 10 or so wipe event, but only because I had M. start the water for a bath as soon as I realized the extent of the damage. Even though it wasn't supposed to be a bath night.

All is right in the world now, of course. The poop is gone, the baby is clean-smelling and asleep, and I rewarded my efforts with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio once the kids were asleep. A lesson has been learned, however. Next time, I'm choosing the Finn clean-up!

Since I am sharing poop stories here, I may as well drag Finn into this, mostly because I would like a written record of his quirks to reflect on when we're old and gray.

Finn is a phenomenal potty pooper. Really great. He hasn't had a poop accident since early July or June. Not only that, but he's just GOOD at it. It doesn't take forever, he knows when he has to go, and he gets the job done. He'll do it at home or out in public, and he's not scared of "falling in." But he does have some rituals that he seems to follow every time he poops (it would be interesting to know if he does the same at school, too).

When Finn first determines that he as to poop, he tells us and makes a beeline for the bathroom. When he gets there, we help him pull down his shorts and underwear, which he then kicks off completely. And EVERY time, as he kicks them off, he says "It's easier if I take them off." Then, in a gymnastic-like move, he straddles the seat and scoots himself back as far as his little hiney can go. YOU know, so that when he pees, it stays in the bowl (I'm actually quite grateful for this). He makes whichever parent is standing guard hold his shirt up (way, way up) because he is convinced that otherwise, it would get peed on. Said parent is not allowed to lean against the sink or the wall to support themselves as they crouch awkwardly to hold this shirt up. Oh no. You try it, you get reprimanded. And then, EVERY time, Finn channels Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense and whispers, "I hear poop coming."

Then, magically, it does come. And Finn, gripping the seat of the toilet tightly, leans over to watch it intently once it's in the bowl, making note of whether it sinks or floats, or whether it disappears down the drain.

The end.

*Don't get me wrong, I don't find those topics annoying. I could go on and on all day about them. Seriously. Ask my co-worker Donna. I just imagine people who don't have small kids/are not planning on having small kids soon are not quite as interested in them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Finally a Moment to Blog

I've been totally remiss in updating about Lucy's start at daycare. In my defense, I've been crazy busy at work AND traveling - as I type this, I sit in the Tampa airport, waiting to fly back home. With any luck (all fingers and toes are crossed), I will be home in time to help with bedtime. Metro D.C. traffic patterns can suck it, I WILL see my kids tonight.

I'm always quite prepared about travel - I get to the airport early (hence, finally some free time to actually update my blog, thanks to free wireless), I pack all my toiletries in the standard quart size bag and put it in easy reach to pull out for security, I take off my shoes and take out my computer without asking, etc. Total pro. Except today, of course, where I somehow managed to forget that I had a water bottle packed in my carry on suitcase. I could go on and on about the experience of having my back set aside and searched, and the contraband taken away, by a TSA official who seemed to be pulling my leg the entire time as he spoke very deliberately and slowly in his Greek accent. Until he pulled out the bottle of water, of course. But I'll spare you, and move on to more interesting topics.

So, daycare. There actually isn't much to report. Lucy is doing great there. She does a wonderful job drinking her bottles (she's up to six ounces. SIX! I'm just floored, I don't think Finn hit that volume until he was at least 7 months old), and is generally pretty happy and smiley. As predicted, she does not do a great job napping there. But fortunately, to make up for the shortness of her naps (they average about half an hour, but some have been as short as 15 minutes!), her providers are really good about putting her down often. Usually she takes about 4 naps a day at school, so she's getting about 2 hours of sleep there. Still less than she needs, of course, so bedtime has been coming early.

One slight disruption - we just learned yesterday that Lucy's primary caregiver has given notice, and will be leaving after Friday. It all seems a bit fishy - she told M. that she is quitting because "too many people are mad at [her]." Unclear if she meant her co-workers, but I'm really not interested in getting the scoop. Her role will be taken over by one of the other senior staff in the infant room, so Lucy and the other babies won't really notice a difference. Not that they notice much, of course ;-).

I have been out of town since Sunday night. My first time leaving Lucy, and it was not easy for me. I've whipped out my trusty cell phone on several occasions over the last couple of days just to look at the pictures I have of Finn and Lucy on it. Pathetic, I'm sure, but what can I say, I miss them!

M. has been doing great job on his own, due in a large part to Finn. He has been a big help, playing by himself while M. puts Lucy down for bed and in general being as helpful as an almost 3-year-old can be. It's my turn next week - M. will be out of town for two days - and I can only hope things go just as well for me. Don't want M. showing me up! ;-)

By the way, Finn has been asking to wear underwear to bed at night. M. managed to wriggle out of it last night by offering pull-ups with Lightening McQueen on them, a new purchase. I was relieved for him, because parenting solo is no time to introduce possible middle-of-the-night accidents that require changing the sheets. However, it's definitely time, so we may try it out tonight since I will be back to help. I think he'll do great, but may be back to ask for advice if things don't go as well as expected.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Here Comes Lucy

Last Thursday we brought Lucy in to the daycare center to get a little orientation to the infant room. We received one back in January when we were looking at new daycare centers. That was a long time ago, though, and given that I nearly passed out while I was there (don't think I ever blogged about that, but I blame it on an overachieving heating system, no protein for breakfast, and the fact that I was 5 months pregnant. V., v. embarrassing, but no harm done), it seemed like a good idea to get a refresher.

It was all pretty standard fare, for the most part. The usual sick policy stuff, a rundown of how often all the toys are cleaned (often), how often diapers are changed (also often - every 2 hours, or sooner if poop is involved), etc. We will bring in extra clothes (lots!), bibs (lots and lots!), burp cloths, a couple of blankets, a couple of pacifiers, a sun hat (they do try to take the infants outside every now and then), a mobile for her crib (not required, but helps to distract if the caregiver can't attend to Lucy right away when she wakes up), bottles (already made up), diaper rash cream, and the kitchen sink. Good lord, the list is long. Of course, most of those things will live at daycare, so M. will only have to carry in a mountain of stuff the first day. Subsequent days should be a bit more manageable.

Two things that we do not have to bring in are diapers and wipes - score! I'd say that's a huge money saver (and it is), but honestly it's a drop in the bucket compared to the eleventy-million dollars we'll be paying each week to have two kids in daycare.

There are only 3 babies on the small infant side of the room right now (enrollment is down all over the center, and I think that's true everywhere as I keep seeing daycare signs advertising vacancies all over town - side effect of the crappy economy I guess), so Lucy will have just one primary teacher for most of each day. Her name is Babs, and she's a bit much. Very thorough, and I'm sure she'll do a good job. But she's been doing this for a long time, and clearly has her own ideas about how one should raise babies. It's OK, as it seems her opinions match ours on key things (she rocks babies to sleep if they need it, thinks lots of floor time is important, gives little ones pacifiers whenever they need it but restricts pacifier use to sleeping only when babies get older, etc). But should we ever disagree I'm sure there will be some resistance on her part to change how she does things. I'm no rookie, though, so I'll have no problem insisting on what I want for my child.

As part of the paperwork we had to fill out for Lucy, there was a standard "All About My Child" sheet that the state provides. Clearly it's meant for older children, as it seemed a bit ridiculous to try to find things to write to fill the boxes. For example, "Things my child is good at." Um, she's pretty good at standing if you help her up and hold on to her? Or "Things I'm working on with my child." Falling asleep on her own? I mean seriously, what am I supposed to write? We're working on solving differential equations, and I'm concerned that Lucy's just not getting the concept yet?

The one box that's actually useful for an infant, the one that asks you describe any routines your child follows, is the smallest box on the form. So, as helpful as that form may be to Babs, Lucy will be accompanied tomorrow by a printed copy of a Word document I put together to describe all the Lucy essentials for taking care of her. How often she eats, how often she sleeps, how we get her to go to sleep, what makes her fussy, even a sample schedule. I broke down and used a Word document because I can update it periodically and bring in a new copy when things change. I'm hoping it's an improvement over the endless pieces of small notebook paper I used to bring in for Finn.

I'm not nervous about Lucy going to daycare tomorrow, and I'm not worried that she'll be miserable. I know she'll be a horrible sleeper there, and that's OK. They'll take good care of her, and I'm sure she'll get lots of attention. I am sad, though. I'm sad that I'm not going to know what every minute of Lucy's day is like anymore. I won't know what all her moods were, what things made her smile, what things made her laugh. I had a hard time with that while M. was taking care of her, too, perhaps even a harder time than I will with daycare. At least daycare will give me an exact reporting of how long each nap was and how many ounces she drank from each bottle. I think it's safe to say that I'm a little bit of a micro-manager, and I don't like that I won't be able to have a say in all the little aspects of Lucy's days anymore.

Yikes, it's already 10 pm, time to get myself to bed. Just a few more hours until Lucy wakes up (sleeping through the night is still not happening again), and then a couple more before the mad morning rush begins. I leave you with some pictures:

Such a happy baby!

Not to mention cute.

Blowing bubbles with an excess of drool

Modeling the floaties that we FINALLY got him to use in the pool this weekend

Chilling with some toys

Slings, not just for carrying babies, also excellent for stuffed dogs