Sunday, September 30, 2012

5 Months!

Ben is five months old today!

FIVE. As in the number right before SIX, which is the number right before EIGHTEEN AND OFF TO COLLEGE!

I know I say this every month, but time...she really does fly. It was inevitable that I would feel remorse for not enjoying those early days a little more. Mommy amnesia has already begun to set in and if it were not for this blog I would be well on my way to forgetting just how tired I was...and by extension beating myself up for said lack of enjoyment. Thank goodness I did write those exhausted posts. Not only do I look back at them now and appreciate how hard it was but I also have a much deeper gratitude for just how great things are now.

Likes: Lily, cuddling, taking baths with Lily, Dr. Brown pacis, putting everything in his mouth, the exersaucer (ie the circle of neglect), being swaddled, nursing, "kiss-tickling", the swing, and more Lily.

Dislikes: Loud noises (specifically the vacuum and Lily's shrill screaming...not Mommy's favorite either), tummy time, being able to see his bottle but not being able to reach it, being put down.

Milestones: This month marked a few exciting milestones. Ben started sleeping through the night. Can I get an Amen? Amazingly, just like his sister, he accomplished this feat for the first time at Mimi and Doe's house. More on this in a minute. Other notables this month, holding his own bottle and really taking a paci for comfort.

Feeding: Ben is still nursing great and taking two bottles a day. We have upped the ounces to 7 in the morning and before bed. I have been taking Fenugreek for the past few days to try and up my milk production a little (which seems insane given how much milk I had a few weeks ago) before we head to Florida on Tuesday. We are leaving Ben and Lily with Matt's mom for an overnight while we are there and I want to make very sure that Ben will have all of the milk he needs. When we get home from Florida I will start thinking about solids, gasp.

Sleeping: Aaaaahhhhhhhh. There are no words for how wonderful this is. Both of my kids sleep through the night. (cue manic laughter!) This time last month I literally thought we were months from this blissful place. We are still using the escape proof swaddle trick and have recently upgraded to the large size swaddle me. Right now Ben is still waking a little earlier than we would like (between 6-6:30, I know eye roll. What can I say we are not morning people). That is not a complaint of course just a statement. Other than sleeping through the night there haven't really been any changes to his sleeping routine. Ben still takes two long naps during the day and all in all things are so wonderful in the sleep department I could jump for joy.

Odds and Ends: Ben continues to be a very happy baby. He prefers to be held but is much more tolerant of being put down as long as he has a toy to cram into his mouth. I am a little concerned about his unwillingness to roll. When he is tired of being on his belly he simply flails and screams, it is more than a little pathetic. I know he can roll, or at least he used to be able to, but for now no dice.

Ben has found his voice. Our days are now filled with what my brother affectionately calls dinosaur noises. He squawks and squeals loudly at his toys and really gets going when he thinks Lily is listening.

Toys, toys, toys. The baby gear invasion has begun. We brought out the exersaucer, which Ben is actually tall enough to use. I also pulled out all of the teethers, rattles, and baby doodads. For the first time since he was born Lily now views Ben as a threat (because he has toys?!?) and we have seen signs of a tiny green eyed monster.

Matt and I are both looking forward to, and dreading, our trip. We'll see how our two do on a three hour nonstop flight at 6:30pm. I've heard that getting on a plane 30 minutes before your kids typically go to bed is an excellent idea.

Up next: 6 months, trick or treats, and solid food.

Friday, September 28, 2012

#28 - Teach Lily a Song

Lily still loves music and loves to sing. This is my personal favorite. 

(Yes, that is a harness that Lily is wearing. No, she has never worn it out of the house) 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who wants a clean house?!?

Anyone else remember that show on the style network? I love me some Niecy Nash.

Today was a cleaning day. Some cleaning days make me crazy, especially when my family moves from room to room leaving a path of destruction which almost always includes, but is by no means limited to the following items: dirty diapers, dog hair dust bunnies, coffee cups, soaking wet undies, cat barf, random computer wires, last night's jammies, doll house residents, stickers, cheerios, and six non-matching size 5 shoes.

MOST of the time I am able to stay on top of the chaos...but you know what, sometimes it just gets away from me. When the housework starts to build up I am not a fun person to live with. (There, I publicly admitted it, Happy Birthday Dingle!) In all seriousness, I get really anxious when the house is a mess.

The only things missing from this photo is Lily stomping through the room like Godzilla. 

As every mom knows, you can't clean anything until you pick up and put away everything. I happen to think I have a pretty good system in place for getting things cleared away relatively quickly.

Rule #1: Everything MUST have a home. This really is key. Random junk take notice, if I can't find a place to put you away, the garbage can is your new home. The only drawback to this rule is that each member of my household will swear that they can't put things away because the don't know where they go. I have found that the counter argument, "put it back where you found it" works wonders.

Rule #2: When picking up never touch something more than once. In other words if you pick up the soaking wet undies take them to the laundry room and while you are on your way look for other things that need to go along with you. This rule really streamlines cleaning up the playroom. I take all of the bins out of the storage cube, line them up, and just start tossing things into the appropriate bin. No more looking for that last puzzle piece or tea cup, I just trust that when I am done everything will have turned up.

After everything is put away it really only takes me a few minutes to dust and wipe down the counters. Last step is vacuuming, which I will be honest, always takes me the longest. I have a love/hate relationship with the animals that we allow to live in our house (I am kidding, it is 92% love, 8% intolerance to the mess, smells, and destruction of private property). I really can't stand all of the dog and cat hair all over everything and as a result my Dyson and I take our sweet time.

It bears mentioning that the only chore I despise doing is cleaning up dirty dishes. I consider myself the luckiest woman in the world that my husband cleans the kitchen.

Someday I will insist that the kids help me pick up their junk but for now picking up and cleaning comes down to the three things.

1. I am a control freak and I like things done my way. I am sure this surprises no one. Also, it is really hard to  get my two year old on board with my system, go figure.

2. Kids are kids and their job is to play. I buy that helping out around the house teaches kids responsibility and some day they will have to earn their keep. (Fear not! I promise I will not send useless adults out into the world). That being said, the kids have their entire adult lives to do chores and I really do feel like it is my job to keep the house looking nice.

3. Ultimately, I don't mind doing it. Just like being a stay at home mom doesn't devalue my education and make me an idiot, cleaning up after my family doesn't make me their servant. Nor does it make me a pushover. I pick my battles and if ten years from now my kids are sweet, polite, and grateful then I will happily continue to do the lion's share of the work.

Especially when the playroom looks like this afterwards :) 

Friday, September 7, 2012

4 months!

This post is about a week overdue but I was waiting until Ben had his 4 month checkup so that I would have some numbers and percentages. Well guess what, his appointment was yesterday and I didn't get the sheet with his stats. The office was a zoo for some reason and we waited 45 minutes just to be seen. By the time the appointment was over it was after 4pm and the lobby was still packed. I just didn't have it in me to ask for the sheet so we scooted out without it. Maybe I can pick it up next time so I will have it for his baby book...if he had a baby book that is...right now he has a baby shoe box filled with all of his trinkets. That counts for something right?

His appointment, although it is sort of a blur, went fine. I talked about Lily too much and came home feeling really guilty for giving off the impression that Ben is a second class citizen around here. He isn't of course, my day revolves around him just as much as it does my busy toddler. The pediatrician didn't say anything and it is entirely possible that I am making something out of nothing, but man that mommy guilt is no joke. In any case the pediatrician said that overall Ben looks great. Her only comment was that he had dropped a little in his weigh percentile. Like I said I don't have the sheet but she mentioned that he had dropped from something like the 70th percentile to the 50th. She emphasized that she was not concerned but wanted to make sure Ben was still nursing well. Of course the control freak in me wants to nurse him every five minutes to try and fatten him up. Matt reminded me no less than 5 times last night that he isn't too small or skinny he just didn't gain as much weight between appointments this time. Deep breaths. 

Is it too late to change the tone of this post? 

Ben is tipping the scale at 14lbs 10oz and the nurse measured him at 25in long, but I think he was a little diagonal on the table so he may actually be a little longer. 

Feeding: Little man LOVES to eat. He gets a 4-5oz bottle in the morning from Dad around 7am. As soon as I arrive on the scene he is ready to nurse again, even if it has only been an hour and half. He nurses a third time for good measure before his morning nap at 10. In the afternoon he is content to nurse a little less frequently and usually nurses only when he gets up from his nap and then again before his afternoon nap at 3. He had been having a small snack at 5 but for the past week or so I have been trying to cut out that feeding because I felt like he didn't need it (hmmm, maybe he does?). At 7pm he takes another bottle from dad, this time is it 7oz! This holds him over for quite awhile and he usually nurses once at some point during the night. In summary that is 2 bottles and 5-6 nursing sessions in a given day. My best estimation is that he eats 26-28oz a day. For now I am still holding off on solids. Like I said, the pediatrician was not worried and little dude still has his tongue thrust reflex which says to me he is not ready. 

Sleeping: Getting Ben in a sleeping schedule has been by far the hardest part of the past few months. Before heading home to Maine for a week in August I decided that Ben was ready for a little cry it out sleep training. The result - a whole new baby! The first few days were really rough but as soon as he started soothing himself to sleep at nap time it was like someone flipped a switch. As of now Ben takes two great naps during the day. The first nap in the morning is usually a marathon (which is exactly what Lily used to do) some days he sleeps for 3 hours. The afternoon nap is usually shorter, an hour and a half or so...I wake him up by 5 at the latest so that he will go to bed on time. Matt and I have the double trouble bed time routine pretty much nailed down and both kids are snuggled in their beds by 7:30. Right now Ben is sleeping in the pack and play in the guestroom though the pediatrician said I should think about putting the kids together sooner rather than later. It is just that Ben is such a light sleeper! Before Matt and I go to bed we always go in and check on the kids. When Lily was this age not only was she sleeping through the night but we would do a diaper change around 11pm so that she wouldn't wake up soaked. If we even attempted more than a quick kiss on the head Ben would wake up like a cannon had gone off and be ready to rock and roll. Needless to say we are very careful not to wake him. Most nights he sleeps until 2:30 at which point I go in and give him a kiss, readjust the swaddle and reinsert the pacifier, and assure him that I am still on the planet... this buys me 2 more hours of sleep. At 4:30 he nurses and usually goes back down quietly until 7ish. The pediatrician really urged me to stop getting up with him at 2:30, which went over like a lead balloon last night. He fussed off and on from 1:45 to 3:30 at which point I could take it anymore, tried to nurse him, but he kept falling asleep, only to have him wake up again at 4:45 and cry/fuss until 5:30. I nursed him again and he slept until 7:30. It was a long night. I might try nursing him at the 2:30 wake up and see if that will hold him over until 7. I have a feeling we are a long way away from the blissful days of having two children who sleep through the night. 

Likes: Lily, nursing for hours, the playmat, Lily, the yellow and black crinkle block, getting licked by the dog, Lily, the "escape proof swaddle" (youtube it), being surprised, and most of all...Lily. 

Dislikes: Getting too tired while laying on tummy, being put down in or on something that doesn't move, that "flailing" feeling.

Ben is a super smiley baby and when he isn't overtired he doesn't hesitate to spend most of his waking hours knocking me over with that big gummy grin. Whats more - he is SO ticklish! It is a riot to give him a bath or change his clothes. He laughs and squirms so much that you can tell it is almost too much for him to take. 

He is meeting all of his "developmental milestones" and sometimes I can't believe how strong he is. He has full head control most of the time, he can roll both ways, and can prop himself up on his little chicken wings. In the last few days we have also observed him dropping his paci, looking for it, grabbing it out of my hand, and then the big finish...getting it back in his mouth! 

 There are a million more things I want to write down so that I never forget them but they will have to wait. I did well to write this much with one hand while Ben napped and I played mommy doll with my "free" hand.  

Next stop, the start of fall. I can hardly believe it. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Runner's High

Dingle and I both agree that once you pass the 5K mark in your running regime you are...a runner. That is to say that most people who don't run with some regularity can't go out on a whim and run much further than 3 miles. Is that just something we tell ourselves? It is a distinct possibility.

A few weeks ago while I was working towards completing my first 5K race in over a decade I would have said that a 5K was my limit. All summer long it didn't seem to matter how frequently I ran or how hard I pushed, the farthest I could run without wanting to die was 3.1 miles and my average pace was always 10:40 (to the second).

Unlike last year I was not nervous about the race for the entire week leading up to it. I wasn't actually all that nervous until we got in the car to head over to the high school. As soon as we backed out of the driveway I said to Matt, "Why are we doing this?".  The weather that week had been pretty hot and humid, I was less than excited to run the very exposed course in the beating down sun. As luck would have it the clouds rolled in right around race time, thank goodness!

Sights set on the finish line! 
Jen and I ran with two fellow SHS class of '99ers. The other two ladies are far more proficient runners and God love them, jogged along beside us encouraging us all the way. Somewhere around the 2 mile mark I became intensely bored and completely lost my focus. All I could think about was how tired I was becoming and how far we still were from the finish. In those minutes, which seemed like an eternity, I fell back from the pack a little bit. I knew that no matter what I wasn't going to walk, but at that point I didn't care if I slowed down. Our cheerleaders pulled back with me and distracted me just enough to push me up the last hill (where I walked last year). At that point the rest of the course is downhill, which I think is almost harder to run when you are tired but I didn't care...I was almost home! My legs felt like mush but I had the biggest smile on my face as I passed my family near the finish line. I may have been a bit delirious but I swear I saw Micheal Phelps holding a giant sign that read, "Will you marry me?"  Sorry Micheal, I'm taken.

My official time: 32:06! Holy WOW!

Looking very tired and sweaty next to my handsome husband and gorgeous sister in law. 
Okay, so I could kick myself all day long for those pesky 6 seconds but all in all I was pretty thrilled with my time. I could not have done it without my fantastic running buddies who really did push me to this summer's personal best.

After the race I gave myself permission to take a few days off, and then I got sick and ended up taking a few more. I was starting to think that I had lost my drive upon hitting my goal, and that maybe I had maxed out my potential. After 7 days off I eased back into a few short, slow jogs. Since then I have had a few great runs including my first sub 9 minute mile in over a decade, another 3.1 miles in under 33 minutes, and yesterday a 2 mile run in under 20 minutes! With the cooler weather I am feeling stronger and am definitely getting faster.

So what is next? I am working to increase my distance. I don't know if 5 miles is attainable but it is definitely something to shoot for. Matt and I are going to register for at least one more 5K together this fall. We are also doing Urban Dare together in celebration of his 30th birthday (I know he is a baby!).  It should be fun, as long as we don't kill each other!

#10 - Done!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Potty Diaries

Alternative title: How I potty trained my 2.5 year old in three days!!

Alternative alternative title: #22 - Potty Train Lily

Before I decided to officially tackle this whole potty training endeavor we did a trial run to see if she was "ready". In the name of full disclosure I do not count those first potty attempts towards my her three day victory over diapers. 

After a few practice days I went out to the store on Thursday afternoon and picked up two packages of big girl undies at Target. I chose My Little Ponies and Cinderella (because they were both on clearance). Lily seemed really excited to wear every.single.pair. In hindsight I should have just bought two packages of the ponies on account of the fact that she wore all of them first and then resisted the princess undies. Live and learn. 

On Thursday night Matt and I agreed that as of Friday morning she would be diaper free during the day! Unfortunately for Lily she woke up looking like this on Friday morning...and no I'm not talking about her hair.  
Covered in a red rash from head to toe. 
Obviously Matt was worried so he called the pediatrician before I had even gotten up for the day. They squeezed her in at 11am. Ugh. We had only been at the whole "diaper free" thing for a few hours and I just didn't dare take her out to the doctor's office (and I suspected the pharmacy) in her undies. A few weeks ago I bought some Pamper's Easy-Ups which are diapers, but as the name would imply they slip on and off. I have no idea what the difference between these and Pull-ups is. Lily calls them her girl diapers because they have Dora on the front.  In any case, Lily wore a girl diaper while we were out. Turns out the rash was the result of amoxicillin she had been taking for an ear infection. Unfortunately she is clearly highly allergic which begs the question, what else is she allergic to? I am deathly allergic to codeine, something I really hoped not to pass on to the tots. Only time will tell. 

Back to the potty. 

Getting a little annoyed with the paparazzi
After her appointment we went to the pharmacy and stopped off at the playground for a few minutes to reward excellent behavior at the doctors office. (Some of you may remember Lily's aversion to the doctor) As soon as we walked in the house she said, "want to sit on the potty?!". Turns out she had kept her diaper dry for over two hours. I was so proud and I just knew she had this.  She wanted to eat lunch on the potty like a weirdo, who I am to say no?  

On Saturday we went to the zoo with Rory, Erica, and Eamon. Lily wore a girl diaper which she did not keep dry, but we were out for almost 4 hours. I was hoping that she would tell me she needed to use the potty but the association between diapers and just "letting it go" is a strong one. 

Sunday we didn't leave the house and she wore undies all day, including nap time. 

I read several strategies for so called "one day" potty training. To be honest Lily just didn't need all of the fan fair. The strategy suggests getting a dolly that wets to demonstrate how to use the potty...yeah we skipped that. We also skipped the call chart and the running back and forth from the potty ten times. Over the three day weekend she had TWO accidents and both were my fault. I got distracted and by extension so did Lily.  

As I mentioned the other day I made a basket of treats to reward her for peeing on the potty. As of this morning the basket is almost empty and Lily seems to understand that when the treats are gone, they are gone. I will let you know if I end up regretting the basket, as of now the answer is no. 
Stickers from the treat basket, the only time all day she didn't choose chocolate! 
Our next big hurdle is of course pooping. Yesterday she crept off to the playroom while I was nursing Ben and filled her undies with a horrible toddler nightmare. It really was an epic mess and there was gagging. She was instantly remorseful but I could tell she did it on purpose. We washed up, flushed, washed up some more, tossed the undies in the trash, admired the zoo toy, and talked about hitting the potty next time. We'll see. For now she is still going to wear girl diapers to bed at night, if need be I suspect she will do her business then. Luckily for me her daddy gets her up in the morning. 

I am not exactly looking forward to the first time she needs to use a public bathroom so for now wherever we go, the potty goes too. 

There you have it. Just like most a life's big transitions thus far Lily simply shrugs her shoulders and says "whateves mom."  

Micheal Phelps is proud of you coo coo girl! (Mommy and Daddy are pretty darn proud too!)