Month: April 2017

Eleven Months

Eleven months.  This is a hard one for me.  The first birthday looming in the near distance is a ticking bomb, nearly ready to explode with emotions.  Eleven months feels like we may as well be there, but not quite enough to enjoy the sweet reward of crossing the finish line.  It’s the 12th mile in the mini marathon, the eighth month in a nine month pregnancy.

At eleven months, this is what I know to be true of our girl:

-she seems more like her older sister every day. (I’m talking about MG).  Not only in looks do these two resemble each other, but also in personality and growth.  I was looking back in MG’s baby book and these two are just about neck and neck. Bea was ahead of them at this point, both in growth and development, but also in hair.

 

(Mg, Bea, & Sib, each at 11 mos)

-new tricks.  Tricks are my favorite because they are among the first signs that there is a real relationship between you and baby.  They understand you and they want your praise.  Some of her tricks include clapping when we say “yay” (and also when she’s really excited, like when I get her up in the morning…the cutest!), waving when we say “hi”  or “bye” (this one is probably my favorite because she has such a cute wave.  She is able to not just give a lazy forearm wave, but is able to rotate her hand back and forth vigorously on her wrist, which gives the impression of enthusiasm), and two new ones that are hit and miss but more hit as of late are raising both arms in the air when we say “so big”, and giving us very drooly, open mouth kisses when we ask for one.

-I spoke about it last time as well, but this month was full of anxiety.  Sleeping and eating were difficult (I will elaborate below), but also sickness was very prevalent as well.  One evening around 10pm, Sibby cried out and when I went to her, I found vomit in her bed.  I got her out and cleaned up, and then sat with her as it continued to flow, every 10-20 minutes for four straight hours.

Viruses are common this time of year and in young babies, but I wasn’t yet convinced this was a virus.  For one thing, this was the fourth time in 6 weeks that she had woken up at the same time of night and vomited in her bed, and then continued to vomit until her stomach was emptied.  (and while the vomiting didn’t last four hours the past times, it had gotten worse each time).  For another, she had no other symptoms: no fever, no diarrhea, and she always had eaten normally, if not better than normal on these days.  It gravely concerned me and I worried the range from food sensitivity/allergy, to something much more scary like a brain tumor.

I placed a call to the pediatrician’s office when going on hour two of the cycle. The doctor immediately launched into “this is just a virus” and explained how to keep her hydrated. Finally I interrupted her and explained this was the 4th time in 6 weeks and that got her attention.  She told me to go to the ER immediately.

Immediately? As in 2am? Yes.

Well I wasn’t convinced.  But after another hour of the same cycle, I finally began gathering my things to prepare to spend another night alone in the ER.  (*I would have called my parents to help with the other girls, but they were both fighting off the flu at this time)

We spent a miserable night there, with Sibby finally falling asleep in my arms, only to be woken up for x-rays, an ultrasound (to check for blockages), and to be catheterized for a urine sample.  So many negative feelings flooded back to me from our first experience with this and on top of that, I was beyond the point of exhaustion, having not slept at all that day, and not well at all, really, for the past few months.

Finally, around 6:30am, they released us with nothing conclusive and the directive to continue monitoring her at home.  Two days later, I was able to get her into the pediatrician’s office, and thanks to an unfortunate diaper blowout, they were able to take a stool sample which later confirmed she was battling Norovirus (unfortunately also confirmed by us that night as MG came down with it).

Somehow, and I mean this as a true miracle, it did not spread to the rest of us (!!!), but then both Sibby and MG came down with a different strain of something the following week that caused two days of fever, acheyness, and malaise.  Fun times.

-sleeping/feeding..somewhat of an improvement?  This month started with a lot of anxiety towards her eating and sleeping.  The dr had told us at her last checkup that she needed to consume more calories during the day (with the payoff being better sleep at night).  So I diligently tried all of my tricks to get more food in her (VERY reminiscent of MG’s 11 months).

Unfortunately, the only thing she will consistently eat are pouches.  I never wanted those to be her main food source as they are both processed and a very fine texture (not getting her used to “real food”), not to mention expensive.  But we found the key was to mix in these with table food, and a variety of foods she can self-feed (i.e. bits of turkey and cheese), and somehow we are able to stuff her full each mealtime.  She is completely over puffs, much to my dismay (an easy filler while I’m trying to get dinner on the table), but when she added in the self-feeding at the end of this month, it was a total game changer.  And has made meals a lot more enjoyable, for all of us.

Also rather unfortunately, all of this extra food did not seem to make her a better sleeper, but seemed to rather instead make her worse.  My pediatrician shamed me a little for nursing her every time she woke up and also before bed (rather she wants me to not nurse her within an hour of sleep so she won’t associate that with falling back asleep). While that is too extreme for me, I do agree with her that a huge problem is Sibby waking up at the end of sleep cycles (consistently every three hours), and wanting to nurse back to sleep.

So at the end of my rope, I decided to start baby bootcamp this past week and ever since, I’ve been getting woken up only once or twice a night to nurse, which feels very manageable at this stage of life. I don’t really want to put all the details on here because baby sleep is a very controversial thing and I don’t want to add to all of the noise on the internet, but we’ve found something that works for us that feels gentler than Ferberizing and shifts sleep/brain building above nursing through the night.  Ironically, I found we were doing the same thing for MG right around this time and while Bea was a wonderful sleeper, it gave me a little perspective that this is just another hump to get through and it really doesn’t matter how we solve this “problem” or when, she will turn out to be a happy, well-adjusted, sleeping child someday.

-not talking or walking.  The closest thing we have to talking is saying “dada” a lot, and for a lot of things.  She does have a sweet little voice.  Walking doesn’t seem like it is on the horizon, because she can pull herself up, but only to knees and she really doesn’t stand, even when we are holding her hands.  Her core is strong but her calfs are not.

Some people are blessed with babies that walk and talk by a year, but I don’t know where they get them.  Mine never do that.  They are content to do things on their own time and I am content to watch them.

Time already moves too fast for my liking, so the longer they want to stay little, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

-smk

Post-holiday blues

I’ve been in a little bit of a slump lately.  Being a self-described psychoanalyst, I have spent some time mulling it over, trying to root it out.

And I’ve “narrowed” it down to this list:

-post spring break/easter blues and the press to the end of the year madness:  Coming off of the holidays are always hard, but I never seem to remember that until the night before the routine starts back up.  After getting to spend so much time as a family unit, it is so hard to think about separating to go back to reality.

-sewing: usually one of my favorite pastimes that brings me a touch of joy in the afternoons,but lately I’ve had more “flops” than successes as I try to learn my new machine.  Unfortunately, the machine only comes in for the FINAL stages of construction, so an outfit may be near perfect and then ruined on the last draw.  Heartbreaking and discouraging.

-sleep: never enough, per usual, but always important to note how it throws so many other things off-balance

-emotions: my sister and BIL are just about to have their baby!!  I am SO excited, both for them, and also for our family as a whole.  We are about to grow again by another life and I get to experience being a hands on aunt.  I can’t wait!  At the same time, the timing of her pregnancy is eerily similar to Sibby’s (she’s due on the same day I was, one year later).  Watching them enter these final weeks, while also getting emotional about the upcoming first birthday for Sibby (always a hard one for me!), compounded with knowing that we have closed that chapter of our story, has stirred up a whole bunch of stuff.  It’s good for me to work through it though, and I’m honestly happy that feeling these small doses of sadness are bookended by immense JOY for them.

Thinking back to just about this time last year was when everything….well…exploded.  I was lamenting on Instagram last night how it feels so good to be on the other side of all of that madness, BUT, oddly enough the growing pains aren’t over quite yet (I mean, of course that sounds obvious, but doesn’t immediately come to mind when I’m feeling a little blue).  We are still connecting to our new life here and that will take a while to feel like home again.  Until then, there will be little tinges of sadness as I think about relationships, our church, and, oddly enough the stages of life we left behind.  I do so miss having all of my little ones home with me under one roof, all day everyday.  When I think back to living in Upland and Noblesville, those warm, fuzzy feelings will always be most prevalent.

I hope and I KNOW these moments of heart-squeezing sadness will turn into warm, fuzzy feelings too, eventually, but it feels like I have to spend a while here first, before I can move on to the next chapter.  It is nice to move forward confidently when you’re ready to no longer linger in the past.

-lack of time: I feel like I divvy myself out each morning but then everyone keeps coming back for seconds and before I have finished giving out seconds, multiple people/things are coming back for thirds and it seems like my firsts and seconds weren’t satisfactory enough because they just want thirds and fourths.  Even though I repeat the phrase ‘”I am doing my best” both aloud, and just mentally to myself, it seems like I am falling short in the attendance of at least one human in my life on a daily basis, or the housework, or to being social, or to myself.

This is mainly due to two things: 1) Sibby’s age (being so young and also mobile she requires so much attention, OF COURSE.  This will pass soon, but is a very involved stage for now.  Also, I KNOW I felt this way with the other two at this age,so that helps, somewhat.) 2) the school calendar .  Why have I still not adjusted to this yet?  I don’t know.  I’ve felt instead I’ve spent the whole year working against it.  Every single morning, I wake up, not knowing or remembering when Sibby will need to take a nap (and do I need to wake her up now to keep her on that schedule?). School pickup really messes up my afternoon think time because it falls right smack in the middle of rest time and really the afternoon.  Not having those forty minutes, for some reason, often throws off my whole plan for anything I want to get done by myself.

Oh well, no matter.  Summer is around the corner and hopefully I will have a new handle on things by August (which by then, Sibby will probably have dropped one of her naps, which means I will have to figure out something NEW).

That being said, I’ve been prone to daydreaming lately, as an escape to the above.  Coming up with a summer bucket list and a loose schedule for the days has been a nice diversion.  Being in a new city AND state is really exciting because it affords us what could feel like an extended stay-cation as we hunt some new things to do and try.

If you’ve made it this far through my lamentations, I appreciate you.  These posts aren’t the most fun to write, but I find them both helpful for processing my current feelings and also as a nice reflection when the tides have turned.  I also write 90% of this with the hope that one day my girls will find some comfort in their early days of motherhood or life changes.  And the other 10% hopes that perhaps you will too.

-smk

Spring Break

I’ve never needed a spring break like I’ve needed this one, well at least since my teaching years.

We desperately needed the ten days as a sister unit, with a few days off for N as well, bringing us some quality family time that has felt scarce in the time since our move.

I tried to find something fun/memorable for the girls and I to do everyday, and we made up for our pinched time at home by ordering takeout, eating out, or making very simple dinners (Costco rotisserie chicken and salad!)  The weather outdid itself and I am enthralled with spring here (in the past, it always felt as if it never got warm until about May, and there was always so much rain…)

Together we went to the zoo, the movies, a playground, Target to spend some money carefully stashed since Christmas, and had two play dates.  The end of the week brought lots of painting for our house: the kitchen cabinets, a large chalkboard for the dining room, the round table and chairs, and the kitchen open shelves.  Because our last house was project heavy, it feels as if we’ve been doing house projects for the last three years.  My creative mind is SPENT but I’m also eager to make this house feel like ours.  I keep reminding myself that if we press on, we will get to an end point someday, or at least the point where the projects are spread out enough that they are fun again.

We had briefly entertained the idea of going to the beach for a few days (because it is DRIVE-ABLE now!), but were ultimately glad we stayed home, both due to the relaxed time we needed together, the weather at home, and the way the city emptied out for this spring break, allowing us less traffic congestion and less waits at local hotspots.

There’s so much to do and see here, mostly because it is all NEW.  I feel little bit of excited anxiety wanting to consume it all now, but peace, too, knowing it will still be here for me as the girls enter into easier stages.

For now, thankful for rest and time when we have needed it most.  Good food, my family spending time together, a relaxed schedule, and that is as happy as I get.

-smk