Friday, November 12, 2010

6 1/2 years

That's the difference in ages of my children. I've spent a fair amount of time during the past 5 years bemoaning the fact that my children would not be closer in age. Even after I got pregnant with Ben and, yes, even since he's been born I've spent time thinking about and feeling frustrated about this. Of course, I truly am grateful to even have had a second. There was time that I feared Lucy would be an only child. There was a time when it looked most likely that we would add to our family via international adoption and then our kids would have been even farther apart in age. But truly, despite all my angst about it, the age difference between Lucy and Ben has been in some ways a blessing.

Lucy and Ben adore each other. Nothing makes my heart sing like watching her read to him or listening to her make him laugh. Sure she is and will continue to be very motherly to him. Hopefully he won't resent it too much as he get's older, but right now he just lights up around her. Also, to be frank, he is a handful and I feel every minute of my 41 years, so having Lucy be relatively more self sufficient is wonderful. Not only does she not need the same level of care, but she actually helps out with Ben a lot. She'll play with him so I can take a quick shower or throw some laundry in the washer or cook dinner. She reads to him and plays silly games that make him laugh out loud.

One downside is that Lucy has a lot of activities and Ben is hard to take out, so we often divide and conquer. This means that we don't go out too often as a family, but right now it's what works best for us. Also, I know that it's not forever, once he’s older and a little easier to handle we'll do more things together. Another benefit is that we're not trying to get two kids to a bunch of different activities. Lucy participates in a lot (probably too many) activities and I can imagine the additional logistics that would be required if we had to get Ben to practices or games too.

I used to worry a lot about what kind of relationship Lucy and Ben would have with 6 1/2 years between them, but my and my husband’s families are good examples that years apart don't dictate how well you get along with your siblings. My sister and I are 4 years apart and we’re not super close, but we get along well and talk frequently. My husband is 2 years younger than his sister and 2 years older than his brother and none of them ever talk to each other. They put up with each other once or twice a year at holidays and that’s it. So I see firsthand that being close in age doesn’t mean kids will grow up to be close. Also, a former roommate of mine was 6 years older than her brother and they were very close.

So while I still struggle sometimes with lingering feelings of anger and self pity and envy leftover from the years of infertility and treatment, I'm pretty OK with the difference in age of my kids.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Yellow Brick Road

No clever subtext to the title, I just finally got Lucy to watch The Wizard of Oz with me. I bought the DVD over a year ago, but she refused to watch it with me. I don't remember how it came up last week, but she suggested that we watch it over the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, we made some popcorn and hot chocolate and curled up on the couch and watched it. And she loved it! She's been singing We're Off to See the Wizard all week. Sometimes it really is the little things that remind us how good life is.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just another day.

Today I turn 41.

Can't quite believe how fast it got here.

I wish I were more content with my life these days, but I'm working on it.

Still seeing the therapist, but I'm not sure if I'll keep it up. I like her, but I feel like I just complain about the same things week after week. But I won't quit trying to feel better.

Not that it's all bad mind you. Much is very good and I'm so lucky in so many ways. I know that and it's why I'm trying hard to figure out how to enjoy it all more.

So happy birthday to me. I plan to make this next year better than ever!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

18 months!!!

Holy Moly. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was still home on maternity leave, and the day before that I was on bedrest in the hospital for what seemed like an eternity, and the day before that I was living life in that perpetual dark cloud that is infertility. Yet somehow here we are nearing the end of 2010, and I'm nearing the end of the year in which I call myself "40", and now (as of a week ago) when people ask how old my son is I have to say 18 months!

I've got so much I'd like to be saying here, but no time or energy to sit and type it all out. Really you'd never stop hearing from me if I could just talk into a tape recorder and have it magically spit out here.

But I wanted to take a few moments to say a few words about my baby. My baby who is not so much of a baby anymore. Though he seems like a baby still in so many ways, one of which is his love of the bottle. He's been using sippy cups exclusively at daycare since he turned one, but I just didn't have the heart to take away his bottles at home because he loves them so.
But about a week and a half ago, almost by accident, we skipped the bottle one morning and then I thought hmmm? maybe he's ready. So I just gave him sippy cups at dinner and in the morning and he was fine. He did wake up in the middle of the night one night and nothing but a bottle would calm him. Two nights later and the same thing happened. Basically over the course of 8 days he had 2 bottles total, both in the middle of the night. Then the cold he's had got worse and he's getting 4 teeth in and a couple of nights ago he was up all night and nothing (not even Mommeeeeeee!) would calm him but a bottle and he drank 3 throughout the night. And that one night set us back. The next night and again in the morning he cried when I tried to give him a sippy cup (though I think the cold is still really bothering him, plus he got a couple of immunizations and a flu shot a few days ago). Last night we didn't give him bottle and he did fine. So I'm sure he'll be off them for good soon. I know the time is right, but it's also one more step away from his babyhood and that makes me a little sad.

There are other things that still make him seem more baby than boy. The lack of words is a big one. Oh, he "talks" a lot. He's always making noise and he's got lots of animal sounds under his belt. And he can cry for "Mama" or "Mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" in ways that both make my heart sing and break depending on the reason for the call. But at this age his sister was using complete sentences and Ben's list of words is relatively short and his pronunciation is nowhere near as clear as his sister's was. Thus we get what seems like a lot of grunting followed by frustration and crying because it's hard to figure out what he wants much of the time. One word he says often is "more" and it's always accompanied by the sign for more and it's too darn cute. He's as likely to ask for more books or tickles as he is for more food. He also says "owl" with the emphasis on the "ow" part and he loves dogs, which he calls "buppies". Though many furry things are called "buppies" including all of his sisters Zhu Zhu pets, which he loves!


He is, of course, a toddler and we recently got rid of the high chair and moved a small table into the kitchen for him. Of course sometimes he likes to climb the table or push it around the kitchen, but it still is safer than the highchair, which he pulled over on top of himself one day and he would always try to climb out of it.
Here's my big boy at his table.

Eating a plum


He has recently discovered stuffed animals and particular loves the buppies. He'll grab them and hold them up to his cheek. He's also started to chew on them, just like his big sister did. No pacifiers or thumbs for my kiddos, pass the stuffed animals or blankets please.

In addition to stuffed animals, he loves real ones. Anytime we see a dog he wants to hug it and he often tries to hug our cats.
They cats just barely tolerate Ben and they usually run away from him, but he never gives up.

We took the kids to one of the many fall festivals around here a few weekends ago and Ben made friends with a calf.


He also had fun posing for some photos

and playing with his big sister.




He loves to be read to and will bring us books to be read. He has a few favorites. Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Polar Bear, Polar Bear; Sheep in a Jeep, to name a few. Whenever a grandparent visits he needs a little time to warm up, the best way into his heart is through books. If you start reading he'll come right over. Also, if he's having a tantrum about something often I can just start reading a book and he'll come over and quiet right down.

Ben loves to go down the slide on the playground at his school.
In fact, I learned the hard way that I need to take the "long way" around to our car when I pick him up in the evening, otherwise we need to walk through the playground and he has a fit if I don't let him go down the slide a dozen times. Of course, the long way takes us past the big kids playground where there are often many balls laying around and then OMG, the wriggling to try and get down and get to the balls kills me. But if I try to let him walk... well, hahahahahahaha! Which reminds me that "ball" is another one of the words we hear all the time. He's just a little obsessed.

Ben is 100% boy. I hate the stereotype, but he really is hardwired in the stereotypical way. He loves anything with wheels and recently discovered the joy of trains! My parents gave him a train table as an early Christmas present and at the same time brought up all my nephews old trains. When my mom opened the big bin of trains and accessories it was if angels started to sing. He walked right over and then sat down and played for about an hour. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

On the downside, we can't keep him off the darn table!


You've never seen a happier kid than when he's kneeling on driver's seat of my car with his hands on the steering wheel.
A couple of weekends ago we went to visit the fire station. It's hard to describe the joy, so I'll show you.




He kicked a soccer ball all the way down the sideline before his sister's soccer game the other day and had all the parents oohing and aahing. He loves to throw balls, and really anything else for that matter. He also loves to wrestle and tackle. Unfortunately he also hits a lot. If I had a dollar for every time I've said "gentle hands" I'd be rich. He's still the cutest incarnation of a Tasmanian Devil that I've ever seen. He's also almost 30 pounds and 34 inches tall (90th percentile across the board). He physically wears me out. My parents and I took the kids out to dinner one day last week when they were visiting and mid-way through the meal I was literally dripping with sweat with the effort of chasing and restraining Ben. But I couldn't love the little guy more. He makes us all laugh, keeps us on our toes (literally), warms our hearts and lights up our lives!

Friday, October 8, 2010

All's Well

I know, I know, I suck at this blogging stuff. I didn't mean to leave you all hanging and I'm sorry. I've just been unbelievably busy and can barely find time to read anything much less post here. Anyway... I'll try to write a proper post soon, but for inquiring minds the followup mammogram was more of the same. They reported that they see an area that is "likely" benign but want me to come back in for another mammogram in 6 months. Nobody seems concerned and so I was ok with things (still am really). Nevertheless I am going in for a second opinion of sorts on Monday. My OB called me and said that whenever a patient is asked to do a repeat mammogram in less than a year she offers a referral to a practice of specialists. I figure better safe than sorry, so I called and on Monday I'm heading to the Center for Breast Health to see what they think.

Have got lots more to say, but I'm tired and I'm going jogging with a friend in the morning, so nighty night all.

And thanks to all who checked in on me and for all the care and concern -- you all seriously warm my heart!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Karmic Payback

I knew I was tempting fate by actually saying and writing that the mammogram was no big deal. When I got home from work last night there was a message on our voicemail from the radiology center asking me to call back. For once I was actually hoping it was some insurance issue. I just called and it turns out they want me to come back in for more films due to some "thick tissue" on one side. Of course they can't see me until Monday. Of course I went straight to Dr. Google. It seems that thick tissue makes it more difficult to identify abnormalities on a mammogram. I'm going to try to remain calm. (ha ha ha) I now have almost exactly 96 hours in which to try to not panic and imagine all sorts of worst case scenarios. Thank you universe, I really needed something else to deal with right now!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Firsts

In the last few days I've had a few firsts. My first meeting with a therapist, my first mammogram, and my meeting with a "wellness coach".

I had intended to put up a post right away to give my very first impressions of these firsts, but Ha Ha, I should have known better. Though I don't think my thoughts on these have changed much, so what I'm about to write will probably be pretty similar to what I would have written 2 days ago.

I'll start with the easy one - the mammogram. Aside from making me feel old, it really was no big deal. So I'll risk saying that I don't get all the angst about them. Not that I love having some stranger grabbing my boob and mashing it down in a machine, but it really didn't hurt. In fact, I'd have to say that the worst part was having to hold my breath while the technician took the picture.

The appointment with the therapist was ok. She was nice and I felt comfortable talking to her. Though I'll pretty much tell anyone anything if given an opening. (The only reason I'm sort of anonymous here is because my husband would have a cow if I went "public" - plus I don't want to risk certain family members stumbling across all this.) So, I talked a lot and she talked a bit, and I suppose that's how those things go. I made another appointment for 2 weeks from now because she's going to be on vacation next week.

Despite liking the therapist, I felt disappointed after I left. It took me so long to get to this place and now I'm ready to tackle things. And there are a lot of things to tackle. While I definitely think there will be a benefit in the long-term from talking and working through this stuff with her, I'm wanting to take action, to move, to address stuff head on, not just talk. I want to get myself assessed for ADD, I think I want to get my daughter assessed too, I'm pretty sure we'll need to bring my husband in to talk about the parenting issues and some of the marriage issues, and I mentioned all those things, but that's as far as it went. She didn't offer to meet with us together, she said, "maybe you could talk with someone or go to a parenting class". She suggested maybe seeing psychiatrist for the ADD stuff. Mind you this is a full service counseling center that offers all of these services and more. One of the reasons I choose to go there even though they don't take my insurance was because of the one-stop-shopping. I'm feeling just a tad overwhelmed and the notion of having the built-in support and ease of dealing with these issues in one place was very reassuring. I realize her job is not to tell me what to do or do anything for me, but I guess I was hoping for someone who might at least volunteer some suggestions or referrals. I'll definitely go back for another appointment. I just need to figure out if I need to readjust my expectations or find someone else to work with. Sigh.

That leads to my last first, the "wellness coach". It may seem weird that I met with the therapist and wellness coach back to back, so let me 'splain. I actually signed up for the session with the coach through the fitness center at my work. I thought it would be focused on fitness and diet and I could definitely use some help here. I signed up thinking it would be a one-time meeting and hoped to discuss how to design realistic fitness and nutrition regimes for myself. Oh, but she was so much more. First of all she was super nice. Second, she made me cry, several times! She actually asked me some questions that I had expected the therapist might have asked me. But the thing I really liked is that she is action oriented. She is a coach, not a therapist, so when I walked out of the meeting I had two goals set for myself the next two weeks and another meeting scheduled with her.

I know I can't afford to keep seeing both of these women for very long, but I'm going to do a few sessions with each and see how I feel about things.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Long Time Coming

Yesterday I finally made the call. On Monday I have an appointment with a therapist.
I have so many things to deal with that I really don't even know where to start. I know that finally calling and making the appointment, despite being worried about where it might lead and stressing over how to pay for, it is a good first step. Though it is probably a step I should have taken years ago.

In addition to my mental health, I'm also playing catch up on medical appointments. I saw the dentist last week, saw the gynecologist yesterday, and I see a new dermatologist in a week. Funny thing about all those intrusive exams and specula I dealt with during the years of infertility treatments -- instead of making my annual pap seem like no big deal, I actually dread it more than ever. I didn't have to wait for the doctor for very long, but by the time she came in I was sweating and my whole body was completely tensed up. Thank goodness the doctor is very nice, very quick, and overall it wasn't all that uncomfortable. Still, if I never saw another speculum as long as I live you wouldn't hear me complaining.

Back to the mental health stuff. One of the things I plan to talk about with the therapist is how to deal with our daughter's behavior. She's been winning the battles and we're all losing the war. She's actually been ok lately, but even on our best days it feels like a constant struggle. I suspect that at some point very soon my husband and I will go in together to discuss this, but I wanted to go to this first session alone and just be able to dump out all my issues at once and see where it makes sense to begin.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tears and Nausea

No, I'm not pregnant. I'm just dealing with my typical end of summer blues. It always starts the same with the knowledge that "oh, it's August already". I try to focus on the bright side of the return to a "normal" schedule for Lucy and to help her get excited about a new school year, new teacher, getting to see friends again, etc. But it never works very well. The icky gnawing feeling in my stomach starts and I find myself ultra sensitive and on the verge of tears for about 2 weeks.

This year seems a bit worse. Ben has already transitioned to a new classroom at daycare and it's ok, but not great. He wails every morning. As we enter the classroom he begins shaking his head back and forth and saying "no, no, no, no, no". I love the tight hugs. The feel of his little arms around my arms and his head resting on my shoulder is the best. But he doesn't know the teachers yet and he won't be distracted by the toys and so at some point his new teacher pulls him off me and I try to be cheery and stoic as I leave, but it's a rotten way to start the day.

Lucy had a great summer. She spent most of it in the care of a teen-aged babysitter who she adores. The vast majority of their time was spent at the pool. They had a great time and I feel like I missed out on all the fun. There's some other stuff I'm feeling very blah about too, but I'll save that for another post.

I know that once school starts a lot of these feelings will dissolve away. We'll get busy with homework and ballet and tap and soccer and swimming. (Yes, I'm probably crazy to let her do all those activities, but if she had her way she'd also be taking hip hop classes, piano, and drama classes!) We have an EIGHTH! birthday party to plan and of course the holidays will approach like a speeding train. I guess like my own kids its the anticipation and the transition that's hard for me, once we're on the other side I'll feel better.

But this mood is making it hard to be a blog reader. Everyone seems to be writing things today that make me cry!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Books, books, books!!!

Thanks to Mel I finally created a BlogHer account so that I could comment here and get a book donated. And you should to. Plus it's fun to sit for a minute and remember your favorite books and the impact they've had. It makes me want to go home and pull out all my old favorites and re-read them right now!

Here are the books I listed over at BlogHer as those that made a difference to me.

- Wuthering Heights
- The Secret Garden
- The Little Women series
- A Little Princess
- The Anne of Green Gables books
- The Betsy-Tacy books
- The Great Gatsby
- Tender Is the Night
- Franny and Zooey
- The Big Rock Candy Mountain
- Crossing to Safety (really everything by Stegner)
- Darkness Visible

What books made a difference in your life?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photo Friday: Beverage/s & What’s/Who’s cooking?

Visit Calliope's Place to see who else is participating in Photo Friday.

I decided to go all out and put up four photos! Disclaimer necessary -- I am no photographer. Though I have secret fantasies of getting a really good camera and actually learning how to use it, deep down I know I probably never will. It kind of makes me sad. I'd love to be able to take really great photos, but not only are time and money scarce, but I'm not sure I have the patience to really learn something new.

But that's not why we're here today is it. Nooooo it's not, so onto the photos.

Beverage -- This is what I am drinking at the moment.



Beverages -- Remnants from the weekend's birthday party.



What's Cooking -- Really this is what will be cooking as it is on the menu for tonight.



Who's Cooking -- Why that would be little ole me, of course!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Endorphins

It's a little difficult to pick one moment this week. Last Wednesday was Ben's first birthday and then we had his party this weekend and there were lots of wonderful moments, but this weeks perfect moment is just about me.

I was on swim teams from the time I was 7 until I finished high school. Every summer, sometimes in the winter when I was in elementary school, and during the winter every year of high school I was on a swim team. I also played lacrosse from middle school through high school and rode my bike all over the place. Even so I have always struggled with my weight. The struggle got more difficult after high school when I stopped participating in regular organized sports. In my 20s I would go through phases of working out regularly and a few times managed to lose weight and get into pretty good shape. My last best effort was before I got pregnant with my daughter. In the year or so leading up to trying to get pregnant I started running. There was a great 1.7 mile loop near the apartment we lived in at the time and I got to the point were I would run 2 or 3 circuits of the loop a few times a week. I was also going to the gym and strength training a bit. I'm sure at the time I still wanted to be in even better shape, but when I look back at photos from that period of time now, I think I looked great. Then we got pregnant and I miscarried and winter came and I wasn't working out so much, but I was doing the Weight Watchers program and in the month just before I got pregnant with Lucy I reach a weight I hadn't seen in years (and have yet to see since). When Lucy was about a year old I started a diet and began working out at the gym regularly and lost a good bit of the pregnancy weight. Unfortunately, I didn't keep up the good work and then a year and a half later we started trying to get pregnant again and then infertility and well it all went to hell. And then I got pregnant with Ben (yeah!), which was great, but more weight.

I really thought that with 6 months of maternity leave all during good weather months I would go for lots of walks and get exercise and lose the baby weight and at least some of the IVF weight. HAHAHAHAHA!

And then I went back to work and a crazy schedule added to my usual laziness and lack of discipline meant that I made no progress toward weight loss or just being healthy. But about 7 weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I wanted to start running with her and train for a 5K hosted by the PTA at my daughter's school. And I said yes. Her husband came up with a 6 week training program for us. It wasn't easy (still isn't) and I haven't really lost any weight and the running is still hard. BUT, this past Sunday was the 5K and while we were slow and finished behind about 3/4 of the other runners, we finished without stopping. And the perfect moment... we actually finished with enough energy left to pick up the pace a bit as we approached the finish line. My husband was standing there holding Ben and managed to get a photo of us as we approached the finish and when I looked at it later in the day I realized that we both had big smiles on our faces.

Go see who else had a perfect moment here.

My Beautiful Boy

Among our dear friends who helped us celebrate Ben's birthday last week was a family who is like family to us. Their older daughter and Lucy were in daycare together and are truly two of a kind! It would hardly seem right to celebrate one of our kids' birthdays without them. My dear friend Cynthia, the mom in this group, also happens to be a photographer.* She is never far from her camera and Saturday was no different. She took some photos during the party that I think are just wonderful. They can been seen on her blog.


* I couldn't recommend her more highly if you live in the DC area and want great photos of your children or yourself! Just feel the need to say that she took the photos because we're friends without expecting any recommendations or advertisements. In fact, like 99.9% of my IRL friends/family, she doesn't even know about this blog.
Her main website is here.

Party Time!

(disclaimer: I actually started this post a week and a half ago, which is why the tone changes a bit from beginning to end. Also, it's been edited to reflect the passage of time. ;)

On Saturday we had a birthday party for Ben. I went ahead and decided to throw a relatively big party. I realized as we were trying to decide what to do that I'm still disappointed in what I missed out on with both my pregnancies. Don't get me wrong, I remain grateful for all the support and care we got from friends and family, but still feel like I missed out on a lot. Frankly, part of it probably also stems from the fact that most of my older and closest friends were done with babymaking and most of them don't live near me. So without too much whining I'll just say that there wasn't much fanfare for my pregnancy or Ben's birth. In fact, two of my oldest (as in known them a long time) friends (women who were in my wedding!) didn't even bother to send a card, email, or phone call to say congrats. (Ok so what I said about the whining, nix that.) I mean we didn't really need any stuff for Ben and I wasn't expecting the same response as when Lucy was born, but you know what, I've had A LOT of friends (including the two who were in my wedding) have 3 kids and even if I had fallen out of touch I always sent a little something and I often sent something for the other kids too. So, I really don't think a card or email is really too much to ask. Ok, so apparently I'm a bit more angry about all this than even I realized.

I've never been the most popular girl around. I wasn't in a sorority at college and I typically have had just a few close friends. And I've been guilty of letting some friendships fall by the wayside and losing touch with people. But I've also tried to be there for my friends. I've thrown A LOT of bridal and baby showers -- even some 2nd baby showers, and I try to remember to send birthday cards and call and send occasional emails to let people know I'm thinking of them. I guess it really makes me more sad than anything. It makes me really think that perhaps these relationships didn't really mean as much to my "friends" as they did to me. It makes me doubt myself and question all my relationships.

ANYWAY. The upshot is that I decided that even though he's only one and doesn't really have his own friends yet, F#@% it! I wanted a real celebration. So, I invited a sort of random selection of our friends and astonishingly most everyone we invited came. Fortunately, the weather held and we were able to keep the kids outside for the most part. It was definitely even harder than usual to play hostess while chasing a one-year old unsteady walker around, but it was a great party. My parents came up for the day and my mom took the kids for a long walk before the party so that my husband and I could get ready. So many dear friends came to help us celebrate and we had a great time. Unfortunately, Ben was tired and cranky by the time I gave him the little cake I'd made just for him, so we didn't get any fun cake smash photos because he just fingered it a bit and then cried to get out of the high chair. I guess I'm a little too used to throwing parties for an older kid, should probably have scheduled it a bit earlier in the day. Nevertheless, we had a great time.

We didn't get to the gifts until after the party, but he enjoyed some of his new toys on Sunday and particularly loves his new firetruck.


Sunday was another busy day. We started the day off with a little exercise. Lucy did a one mile fun run with a friend and I ran my first ever 5K with her friend's mom. Daddy and Ben came to hang out with Lucy after her race and to cheer me on for mine. Afterward there were snacks and some time on the playground with friends. Then we headed home to clean up in time for my husbands parents to arrive for the day and another birthday celebration! He seemed a little more interested in the cake they brought, but as my father-in-law commented, the little guy got a raw deal. It was his birthday, but he didn't get any chocolate cake (and it was VERY good!)

So it was a very full and very fun weekend. Now we just need to get the house back in order and catch up on our sleep!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

You've Come A Long Way Baby!

My little man turned 1 yesterday. I still can't believe it. It really feels like yesterday that my water broke and we were driving to the hospital at 3am. I can still recall so vividly walking into the nursery to wake up my mom and tell her we were going to the hospital. I remember how antsy I was waiting to find out when they would do the c-section and that I must have asked my husband what time it was about 20 times in as many minutes. I remember how terrified I was of the spinal and how anxious I felt lying there waiting for them to start. And oddly I don't remember hearing the baby cry when they got him out, though my husband assures me that he did. What I recall most vividly is watching them carry him across the room and being so surprised at his full head of hair.

It's been quite a year. In some ways we are still adjusting to being a family of 4. Logistically speaking, having one child was not easy, but having two sometimes seems impossible. Just this morning, for the first time since I returned to work in November, my husband took both kids to school/daycare so that I could get to work early and therefore go home early. Our hope is to do this twice a week, so that at least twice a week our evenings will be a little less hurried and crazy. And even though we're all tired and Lucy is still adjusting to having to share her parents, we all love him to pieces!

He is walking a la Frankenstein these days. He's all boy too. I always hated hearing people say things like that, it seems like such a stereotype, but there's a reason stereotypes exist -- some people fit the bill. Lucy was a very active child and never fit the mold of the little girl playing quietly with her doll, but Ben is another level of active altogether. At a year he is already so much more physical. He loves to wrestle with pillows and his sister and is constantly pushing the furniture around the house. He gets into everything and just screams when we take anything away from him or move him away from the glass fronted bookcases, which he likes to bang on. Unlike his sister, who spoke early and often, Ben has no words yet. Not even mama, which of course kills me. The doctor said that he's definitely a couple months behind in that area, but that he's also a couple of months ahead on his gross motor. He added that it's not that unusual for a boy or a second child and Ben is both. So he didn't seem at all worried, but did mention that if Ben doesn't make some progress by 15 months we'll have his more formally assessed.

The daycare providers are pushing us to get him off the bottle, and I know that we should be trying harder, but he LOVES his bottles. He doesn't take a pacifier, but the bottle is his comfort, and I'm a little hesitant to push it too hard too fast. His height and weight percentiles finally flipped. At 6 months he was 95th percentile for weight and at 9 months he was 90th. Not sure what his height was at 6 months (I'm thinking about 70 or 75th %), but it was 80th at 9 months. I don't have the raw numbers with me but his weight was at the 75th percentile and his height is at the 85th percentile. He is still plenty chubby -- as you can see in the pictures below!

Thought things on the sleep front are much improved, I would mind a bit more improvement. As I suck at documenting such things, what I'm about to write is kind of a guess on my part. I'd say that 4 nights out of 7 he sleeps through the night -- meaning he goes to bed anywhere between 6:45 and 7:30 and sleeps until anywhere between 5:15 and 6:00. On the other 3 nights he will most often wake around 3:30 or 4, take a bottle and then go back to sleep for a couple of hours. We can't seem to figure out what, if anything, is causing him to wake up on the nights that he does. I'd love to get him on a regular 7 to 6 schedule, but it's probably too much to ask, since no other member of the family has a very regular sleep schedule either. We really do try though! But I do try to recall the nights when I was up several times and just be grateful for where we are now!

Now if we can just get him to stop biting, seriously! (That really is a post for another day.)


April 21, 2009

















April 21, 2010








Monday, April 19, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

Sunday evening, as she often does, Lucy came into Ben's room while I was trying to get him settled down for bed. I left them playing on the floor of his room for a minute so I could get him his bedtime bottle. I closed the door when I left so he wouldn't try to leave the room. Usually when the two of them are together things are anything but settled. Lucy loves to tickle Ben and he loves to be tickled. She also enjoys indulging him with his favorite games of wrestling and tug of war. Even when Lucy is trying to be quiet (which isn't often), just her presence gets Ben excited. So, I fully expected to have to work hard to get both of them to quiet down when I came back. But as I approached his door, I realized that instead of hearing lots of laughing and thumping, it was actually quiet. I stood and listened for a moment while Lucy quietly sang "Hush, Little Baby" to her brother.

What's your perfect moment?

To read about other perfect moments go here.

I Capture
Perfect Moments.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Randomness

Lucy was sick most of this week. She was sent home from school early on Tuesday with vague symptoms of "feeling icky". When I picked her up it was clear that the school nurse didn't think there was really anything wrong with her, but a few hours later she had a temperature and asked to go to bed about 3 hours earlier than usual without having eaten anything. Wednesday she had no fever and seemed to be on the mend, but then yesterday she woke up with a stomach ache which turned out to be diarrhea that lasted until she went to bed last night. Today she seems just fine, but she has to be symptom free for 24 hours before going back to school, so right now she's sitting on the back porch painting mini birdhouses while I fritter away some time on the computer. I'm supposed to be trying to get some work done, but I'm certain I'll end up taking leave for the full day because I just don't have anything that can be done in the short snippets of time that I have between the frequent calls of "mama, mama, maaaamaaaa" from the porch (or her room, or wherever). Course if I'm not working I should at least be putting away the laundry or doing dishes, etc. But I haven't slept well the last two nights and I can't seem to get off my behind.

Am back after a long pause, and happy to report that Lucy finally has her appetite back AND I actually can't remember the last time she was in the bathroom. Yesterday I swear she was going every 10 to 15 minutes from the time she woke up until bedtime. Thank goodness it's over.

As far as my own health goes, I still haven't really lost much weight, but I am sticking with the running. Last night I ran 3 miles all by myself! I'd missed the scheduled morning run with my running partner in crime because of being home with Lucy, and since the 5K is next weekend I really need to stick with the training plan. I did end up stopping once to walk for a minute, but since the running (really shuffling) is still very hard, I actually pretty proud that I ONLY stopped once, since I didn't have the peer pressure as motivator.

In other news, Ben is all boy. Seriously, he is fearless and into everything. My husband was actually worried about brain damage the other day because of the number of times the kid falls over and hits his head. He loves to wrestle with pillows and he's learned to climb! A couple of days ago he managed to climb onto the twin bed in his room by himself. Now I just have to make sure he doesn't fall off and onto his head! I think he's actually had a mild version of whatever stomach bug his sister had because early in the week he had a lot of loose poops and was very whiny. I continue to learn just how different he is at daycare than at home. Here we can hardly get him to eat anything and he yells if I try to give him his formula in a sippy cup. At school he eats anything they give him and mostly drinks from a sippy. I think I see more behavior charts in my future. ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meme Time

More fun from Calliope Join in if you dare. ;)

You.
Can.
Only.
Type.
One.
Word.

No.
Explanations.

Not as easy as you might think…

1. Yourself: Weary

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: Asleep

3. Your hair: ponytail

4. Your mother/stepmother: caring

5. Your dog: memory

6. Your favorite item:

7. Your dream last night: none

8. Your favorite drink: DietDr.Pepp.er

9. Your dream car: MiniCooper

10. The room you are in: basement

12. Your fear: unhappiness

13. What you want to be in 10 years: happy

14. Who you hung out with last night: husband

15. What you’re not: efficient

16. Muffin: blueberry

17: One of your wish list items: bathroom

18: Time: lacking

19. The last thing you did: email

20. What you are wearing: jeans

21. Your favorite weather: warm

22. Your favorite book: Stegner

23. The last thing you ate: toast

24. Your life: stalled

25. Your mood: okay

26. Your best friend(S): distant

27. What are you thinking about right now? bed

28. Your car: messy

29. What are you doing at the moment?: typing

30. Your summer: busy

31. Your relationship status: married

32. What is on your TV?: nothing

33. What is the weather like?: wet

34. When is the last time you laughed?: today

Monday, April 12, 2010

SCATTERGORIES (4/12/10)

I've been wanting to join in on Calliope's Scattegories fun for awhile now. I'm finally doing it! You should too!

1. What is your favorite springy color? "filmy green" (it's the color of the nursery and I still love it even after 7 1/2 years and baby #2 )

2. Something you put in water? fluoride

3. Something you east asparagus with? fungi

4. Something you change into flip-flops for? fun in the sun

5. Something you imagine yourself singing in your imaginary convertible? Feelin' Alright

6. Something that makes you sneeze? feathers

7. Something that gets you outside? flowers

8. Something that crashes your picnic? flies

9. Something that stings you? f-ing wasps

10. Something that wafts through the air at night? fireflies

Friday, April 9, 2010

Odds and Ends

About 1 year and 2 hours ago one of my doctors stopped by my room and told me I could go home the next day. (I know it would be more interesting to wait until tomorrow to post that 1 year ago I went home, but we're having company for dinner tomorrow and between the ballet class, shopping, cleaning, etc, I know I won't have time to get online tomorrow.) When I think back to last year it seems surreal that I spent nearly 2 months in the hospital, but at the same time, I vividly remember the details of my hospital room. I also vividly remember feeling both excited and terrified about the prospect of going home, though I suppose it was appropriate as I felt that way about the pregnancy in general. I also remember that when I did leave the next day, it felt very anticlimactic. It was such a big deal for me having been there for what seemed like an eternity, it seemed like there should have been some fanfare when I left. At the very least I sort of expected some of the nurses to say goodbye, but my nurse that day was new to me and she just went over all the information with me and left. When my husband arrived to take me home two volunteers came to help us get my stuff down to the car, and that was it. And a year later...

Ben has been taking tentative hands-free steps for about a week now. He took 20 for my mom on Monday, but the most I've seen is 8.

He hasn't had an ear infection since his tubes were put in last month, but he's still a little snot making machine and wakes up coughing many nights. I'm going to ask the doctor at his one-year if it might be allergies.

It's very difficult to get Ben to eat much here at home. He will rarely tolerate sitting in his highchair for very long, so I end up shoving bits of finger food or spoonfuls of food at him while he toddles around the kitchen. Of course, at daycare they have no such problems so at least I know he's eating more and practicing with more finger foods there.

Ben loves the cats. They avoid him like the plague.

Lucy is still in love with Ben and he with her.

She had a wonderful spring break staying first with my parents and then my husband's. Since she got home she's been a nightmare. There's been way too much yelling (mostly me) around here the past few days and I really need to take some time out to figure out how to deal with her.

But she can still be sweet and funny a lot of the time.

Yesterday she was in a great mood when I picked her up from school. She proceeded to tell me how she can't wait to be thirteen because then "I'll be free of you!" And this was her being nice. ;)

I started the Sou.thBe.ach diet over a month ago. I really stuck to it, but with much in the way of results. I think that while I cut out all carbs (and therefore all junk), I was replacing it with so much cheese and a good helpings of mayonnaise that it was just too much fat and calories. But I'm still glad I did it. I needed something drastic to get out of the habit of eating as poorly as I'd been for so long. I'm not really following the diet anymore, but I have continued to make much healthier choices (without all the added cheese) and I do feel better. If I don't see some progress I'll probably go back to doing the Wei.ght.Watch.ers plan, but I'm going to try and just make reasonable choices for awhile and see how that works.

I also started jogging with a friend several weeks ago. Actually, we go so slowly that I'm not entirely sure I should call it jogging, but it's more than a walk. ;) In fact, I just registered for my first ever 5K in 2 weeks. We'll be going sloooooowwwwwlllly, but I'm determined to at least finish.

All in all, things are ok. :)








*I know the time because I kept a daily log the whole time I was in the hospital.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So much for separation anxiety

Dear Ben,

I'm so glad that you like your daycare providers. It makes me happy to see you smile and reach for Miss R. when I take you to school in the morning. It's fun to watch you sit among the pile of toys and laugh as you shake the noisemakers. It would make me very sad if you clung to me and cried when I dropped you off. However, it would be nice if you showed some interest in me after we get to daycare. It kind of hurts my feelings when I try to say goodbye and you either completely ignore me or cry to get back to the toys. Just sayin'...

Love Mommy

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Honest Abe

Lucy brought this home from school last month. No sugarcoating with my kid!

On the Bright Side...

As I mentioned, I am not really happy about being done with nursing. Even though I complained a bit about the pumping, I wasn't really ready to quit that either. But first my son and then my boobs quit on me. In fact, for awhile I was like the long-suffering girl who keeps begging the boyfriend who clearly doesn't want her anymore to take her back. I couldn't count the number of times after Ben was obviously done with nursing that I lifted my shirt hoping to entice him back. No dice, he would either just turn away and ignore me; touch my boob with his hands like it was some strange new toy; or aim for it with his teeth. So I finally stopped begging him to take me back. And I am still sad about it. There was, however, one thing that did not make me sad. A couple of days ago I threw out all my nursing bras. All I have to say about that is "Good Riddance!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tubes

Ben had his ear tubes put in this morning. The morning went better than I'd expected considering we couldn't give him anything to eat or drink when he woke up. I took him to the surgical center and my husband met me there after dropping Lucy off at school. Afterward we all went home and then I came to work while my husband stayed home with a grumpy baby. He was still pretty unhappy even after water and juice at the surgical center, followed by a 40 minute nap, and then a bottle at home and some crackers. He'd be unhappy and then take a drink or a bite of cracker and suddenly smile at me and then just as quickly start crying again. But I recently talked to my husband who reports that after a big lunch and a nap Ben was back to his usual happy self. My only regret is that I didn't take the camera with me this morning. He looked so darn cute in his little hospital gown!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inappropriate

Last night I was ushering Lucy through the steps needed to get ready for bed. Yes, I was ushering her – if someone isn’t standing there telling her “ok, now go put on your pajamas, now brush your teeth, etc” she’ll get distracted and end up on the floor with a book or creating some elaborate scenario involving half a dozen stuffed animals. Frankly, even with me in the room guiding her every move it can still take awhile because there will inevitably be pit stops to bounce on the bed or adjust one of the thousand knick-knacks on her dresser or bookshelf or play with the cats. Where was I, oh yeah, getting ready for bed and she announces that a kid told her something “inappropriate” about her body. Me: pause, swallow, pause “really, what did she tell you”.

Lucy said she couldn’t tell me. As I have a thousand times before, I told Lucy how important it is for her to be able to talk to me about anything. I had to promise that I wouldn’t get mad, that I wouldn’t tell anyone else (course I had my fingers crossed behind my back). Still she hesitated. She kept assuring me that it wasn’t someone I knew. I kept telling her it was fine for her to not tell me who it was, but that just in case this kid maybe needed help I needed her to tell me. Then I started asking questions. I asked if the kid had said she touched her private parts, “NO!” I asked if someone else had touched her body, “NO!” I asked if she’d kissed a boy “Ewww, NO!” followed by lots of giggles. I can’t even remember the other paths our conversation took us before she finally divulged the big secret to me about 5 minutes later. Someone had told her “how much they weigh!” And yes, I had to stifle a giggle when she finally blurted it out.

I wasn’t really too worried about what the inappropriate thing was, but I was relieved that it wasn’t really anything to be concerned about. I’m not sure where she got the idea that telling someone what you weigh is inappropriate, but I took the opportunity to explain that some people don’t want others to know what they weigh and that’s ok, but that if someone wants to share that information that’s ok too.

The exchange has me thinking about two things. First, how do you ensure that your child will come to you with information that is potentially sensitive or embarrassing or scary? Second, I wonder how to balance the need to tell her about things that are scary and complicated so that she will recognize a dangerous situation and know to tell someone about it with the desire to protect her from some of life’s unpleasant realities and not unduly frighten a 7 ½ year old.

We’ve had the typical talks about bodies being private and touching, etc. But I seriously doubt that most children really understand the implications of such actions. And frankly people can be very subtle in their actions and words (both sexually and otherwise) leaving even adults unsure of their intentions. So, without divulging too much information how do you know you’ve shared enough with your child so that they are armed with enough information to recognize a dangerous situation for what it is?

And even if they do recognize something inappropriate or dangerous, how can you be sure that they’ll tell you about it. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I have said to Lucy that she can tell me anything, that I won’t get mad or laugh at her, that I can’t help her or celebrate with her if I don’t know what’s happening to her. But still my 7 ½ year old, who still wants me to snuggle with her every night at bedtime, who still sits on my lap, and is liberal with bestowing kisses and hugs, was nervous to tell me that someone told her what they weighed. I thought I was doing the right things and saying the right things to make sure that as she grows she’ll know that she can come to me with anything, but I worry that even done perfectly some kids just won’t and maybe she’s one of them.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that parenting is such a great joy, but it’s also full of little landmines. Just when you think the area is cleared, another one pops up. I guess really all I can do is pay attention and keep doing whatever I can to make sure she knows I’m here for her.

Oh, it's you again.

Today I got my period for the first time since August 2008. I knew it was coming since I recently stopped nursing and then pumping. Not getting a period for 19 months was a great side effect of being pregnant and then nursing and I sure didn't miss it at all. Having spent so much time trying and failing to get pregnant and then miscarrying several times when I finally did, I think I'm just conditioned to really hate any bleeding from the nether regions. On the bright side, since I'm not nursing anymore I can take as much Ad.vil as I want.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beanology

You're all tagged! Yes, you, reading this. You’re tagged. Now that you know more about me than you ever wanted to know, play the game, it’s fun! Let others know a little more about yourself, repost this as your name followed by “ology.”

FOODOLOGY:
What is your salad dressing of choice? Ranch
What is your favorite sit-down restuarant? Jaleo
What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Chick-fil-a
What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? Pasta
What are your pizza toppings of choice? Sausage, mushrooms, spinach, olives
How many televisions are in your house? Two, but one is just used for the Wii
What color cell phone do you have? Blue

BIOLOGY:
Are you right-handed or left-handed? Right
Have you ever had anything removed from your body? My wisdom teeth, scar tissue from my tubes, a few moles, some cysts on my scalp, and my kids.
What is the last heavy item you lifted? My son.
Have you ever been knocked unconscious? No
Have you ever fainted? No

BULLCRAPOLOGY:
If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No.
If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Hannah. My grandmother was Johanna, called Hansi, and I always wished my parents had name me after her.
How many pairs of flip flops do you own? 4
Last person you talked to? my sister

FAVORITOLOGY:
Season? Spring
Holiday? Christmas
Day of the week? Saturday, the weekend, but still one day to go!
Month? Not sure, weather wise probably May. Event wise December
Color? Depends on what for. I do love me some bright pink, but I love medium toned blues and greens.
Drink? Diet DrPepper, hot water (I know, I know, my dad thinks it's gross)
Alcoholic? Cold beer in summer. A medium bodied red anytime.

CURRENTOLOGY:
Missing someone? Yes, friends who have moved away and even some nearby that I just don't see often enough.
What are you listening to? Radio - pop/classic rock station
What are you watching? Nothing right now
Worrying about? Work, my daughter's behavior, reconnecting with my husband
What’s the last movie you saw? Sadly I don't remember. I think maybe it was "He's Just Not That Into You" from On Demand, we haven't been to the movies in ages and haven't even been watching much on DVD lately. We definitely have some catching up to do.
Do you smile often? Yes, but too often lately it's an effort.
If you could change your eye color what would it be? Gray/blue like my dad's
What’s on your wish list for your birthday? Just a little effort by my husband. If I had to pick a gift item I'd say a spa day.
Can you do a chin-up? No, never could
Does the future make you more nervous or excited? neither, too busy getting from one day to the next.
Have you been in a car wreck? No
Have you caused a car wreck? No
Do you have an accent? I don't think so.
Last time you cried? Don't remember, but certainly within the past week. I am a cryer. I cry when I'm sad, mad, frustrated, etc.
Plans tonight? Get the kids to bed, clean kitchen, get to bed before 11.
Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? Yes.
Name three things you bought yesterday? Lunch, a soda, lipstick
Have you met someone who changed your life? Yes, lots of people.
For the better or worse? both - depends on who and how you look at it.
How did you bring in the New Year? At home with husband and kids
Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? Absolutely
What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't. Showers are zen time -- I want quiet and lots of hot water.
Have you held hands with someone today? My daughter
Who was the last person you took a picture of? My son.
Are most of the friends in your life new or old? Mostly new (relatively speaking)
Do you like pulpy orange juice? Yes
Last time you ate peanut butter and jelly? a few weeks ago
What were you doing at 12 a.m. last night? Sleeping.
What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I hope the kids sleep awhile longer.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Infertility Hangover

I've got a lot of things swirling around in my head and I'm not sure I'll be able to write it out in a way that makes sense but I'm going to try. I've been mucking around with this post for days now and I can't get it organized in a way that makes sense and I can't get the wording just right, so I'm just going to post it as is and hope it makes some kind of sense.

A couple of days ago I was emailing with a friend who I don't see or talk to much anymore. She was there for me for my first pregnancy, my first miscarriage, my second pregnancy and the premature birth of my daughter and then all the years of infertility that came later. I commented in an email to her that I feel as though I have an infertility hangover. I feel as though I've been down for so long that I'm not sure how to be up again. That being said, I know it's not just the infertility stuff that's had me crying at the drop of a hat lately. There's the difficulty of having two children after being used to only 1 for 6 1/2 years, and the difficulty of a baby who hasn't slept well with few exceptions for 10 months (though he finally is and that's a whole other post), and frankly all it affects my relationship with my husband. I can't think of the right way to describe that at all. I wouldn't say that we are always "at each others throats" that seems too aggressive. It's just that I think we're both pretty disappointed and frustrated with one another and the state of our marriage and so we bicker A LOT. Oh and there's my weight and work situations. Right now I'm a good 25 pounds heavier that my pre-infertility average and even then I always wanted to lose 10 pounds. Long ago I realized I'd never be Hollywood skinny, but I've been really unhappy with my body for too long now. Also, there's the practical matter of my clothes. Hardly anything in my closet fits. Even what used to be my big sizes don't fit and I really don't want and can't really afford to replace my entire work wardrobe. I've been getting by, thanks in part to the fact that I work from home 2 days a week, so I don't have to dress nicely on those days. But it's getting old! And work, well let's just say that over the course of the years trying to get and stay pregnant I stopped caring much. While I don't think I did a bad job at my work, I certainly could have been doing better. The result is that I have been getting the kind of feedback that I was used to and I keep getting passed up for promotion. Even though I know my heart hasn't been in it, it still sucks. But still most of the problems I'm struggling with now are very much related to the 4 years of thinking of nothing but wanting a baby.

Also, I see a distinction between what I mean by infertility hangover, where I'm not sure how to get out of it and the feelings that I know I will always have about pregnancy, childbearing, family size, etc. I truly believe that there will never be a time when I won't feel some mixture of envy, sadness, bitterness, jealousy, when I see someone with 3, 4, more kids, or someone with kids who are close in age, or hear about how easily someone falls pregnant, etc. But I truly believe that the intensity of those feelings will wax and wane and they certainly won't be present all the time, they'll just pop up now and again.

The infertility hangover is more about the lasting effects of the all-consuming, constant depression that became a way of life during all the years we were trying to have another baby. I stopped caring about work, but not enough that I wasn't frustrated when promotions passed me by. I wouldn't say I stopped caring about how I looked, but I certainly didn't have the energy to deal with it.

But I've decided it's time to get rid of the hangover once and for all. I just got passed up for promotion again, I feel awful with regard to my weight and my physical well-being in general. And I have no excuses anymore. Ben weaned himself and now I'm done pumping AND he's finally sleeping through the night, so I'm no longer the walking definition of exhaustion. So, today I started the South.Beach.Diet; I still haven't figured out a way to fit in regular exercise in this crazy schedule, but I CAN do something about my diet. And even though my nicest clothes don't fit, I'm going to try and take more care with how I dress. I'm also going to try to do a better job with my hair and makeup (not a ton, but at least look a little more polished). And I'm going to really try to change my attitude about work and my work habits. I know it won't all be easy, but I'm ready to be up again. I really need to turn things around for myself and for my marriage, and I know that if I'm happier I'll be a better mom and that is the most important thing to me of all.

Sleep Training Is a Drag

But I can say it's worth it. I know it's controversial and I totally get why many people don't like it, but in our case it was definitely the right decision. In fact, I was pretty much dragged kicking and screaming to it, but I can honestly say thank goodness my husband insisted we finally do it.

With the exception of a few weeks in late July / earth August, Ben’s sleep habits have been awful. Getting him down wasn’t too hard as he would usually fall asleep nursing, and then after he quit the boob, after having a bottle. But he would wake up many times every night. Nap times have been very hit or miss. Some days he’d take great naps, others not so much. I was so exhausted because of the night waking and lack of naps in the fall that I did let him cry a bit at naptime and it seemed to work. We didn’t let him cry at night much because we didn’t want to wake our daughter. Then in November he got what turned out to be the first in a long series of ear and sinus infections. I certainly wasn’t going to embark on any sleep training when I knew he was sick and not feeling well. By mid-January we were pretty sure that Ben was going to end up needed ear tubes and so we agreed that we’d wait until after that happened to start any sleep training. First, I didn’t want to do it if there was a possibility that he was waking up because he was in some kind of discomfort or pain. I was also hoping that maybe some of the sleep problems would resolve themselves once the tubes were in.

Ben is actually scheduled to get the tubes put in tomorrow. But events conspired and we have already started the sleep training. First of all, his sleep habits were getting worse. Not only was he waking up multiple times a night, but it was getting harder and harder to get him down for the night and back down. He would seem to be asleep in my arms, but the minute I moved toward the crib I’d feel his little body shift and his hands would grip my shoulders. Then a couple of weeks ago, he caught a virus. Ben's sleep got even worse while he was sick and I got almost no sleep for 3 days straight. I ended up getting very sick myself and my husband had to take over all the night shifts for a couple of nights. I had taken him to the doctor so we knew it was a virus and not an ear infection. Once he was better my husband really put his foot down about sleep training. I kind of hated that he was being so fucking uncompromising about it, but I was truly too sick and too tired to really argue. Less than two weeks later and I am so grateful. The very first night was hard. Ben cried for 30 minutes, and I cried for almost as long. BUT, he slept the entire night through without a peep. The next night he cried for about 10 minutes, the third night for only 3 minutes and the 4th night he cried for 30 seconds. Since then we’ve had several nights were he didn’t cry at all even though we put him down awake. In fact, we could hear him babbling happily in his room and then after a few minutes silence. The other nights he has cried a bit, but always for 30 seconds or less. And, with the exception of 2 nights, he’s slept for between 11 and 12 hours straight.

Even now I still hate to hear him cry for even a few seconds. To be holding a sleepy but happy baby who is cooing in my arms and then listen to him cry because I’ve put him in the crib just hurts my heart. Truly though, I know it’s soooo much better for him to be getting good sleep and I also know that I am a much better mother, wife, and employee because I’m not so freaking tired all the time. After so many months of chronic sleep deprivation, I truly felt like the walking dead. I had very little patience and frankly, couldn’t even think straight. I’d read something for work multiple times that I should have been able to understand and I just couldn’t figure it out. Less than two weeks of getting somewhat normal sleep and I feel like a completely new person.

My husband definitely was ready to do this much sooner than I was. The other night I told him how much I appreciated that he hadn’t said I told you so after Ben adapted to bedtime and started sleeping through the night so quickly. He responded that he was too relieved and happy to care.

So, while I can’t say that sleep training is enjoyable, I can say that for us it was definitely worth it. Of course I say that knowing that compared to some people we’ve been lucky. I have friends who have told me stories of their children crying for hours, of making themselves vomit from the crying, and of much longer adjustment periods. So I do know that we are lucky that Ben adjusted his sleep patterns and his reaction to being put to bed so quickly. I’m not sure I would have been able to hold out had he cried for much longer that first night or if he had continued to wake multiple times and we’d had to listen to him cry several times a night, etc, etc. But fortunately he didn't and I think the entire household is happier for it.

Shopping Therapy

I've been a bad, bad girl.

I haven't been feeling so great lately. Physically or mentally (there will be another post about all that soon), and I have really needed a pick me up. I realize that spending money is not the best approach, and I do have plans for a more healthy way to deal with my problems, but I really needed to do something nice for myself. Though I didn't plan for yesterday's shopping spree, I'm looking at it as sort of the kick off to my "take care of me" efforts.

I actually went to the mall with Ben yesterday for the sole reason of getting him some new shoes. Which I did first. But by the end of the day I was grateful that my 10 month old is nearly 25 pounds, otherwise the stroller would have surely tipped over from all the bags hanging off of it!

After our stop at Stride Rite, I hit the Gap for a bunch of clothes for my rapidly growing baby. Then Hannah Andersson for some PJs for him. By the time I left the mall I also had bags from Sephora, Ann Taylor Loft, Nordstrom, and West Elm hanging off the stroller.

After truly years of searching, I finally found some throw pillows from West Elm for our living room that both match what we already have AND that I like. At Sephora I picked up some ridiculously expensive face cream, body scrub, mascara and lipstick. From ATL I picked up a cute sweater and t-shirts. I got a belt at Nordstrom, but the real splurge of the day was on a handbag and wallet. I actually still feel a little dizzy from the handbag purchase. I've never spent even close to that much on a handbag before. In fact, to pay for that shopping spree I spent all the money I'd saved up for a DSLR camera. I've been wanting a good camera for so long, but I also know that right now I don't really have the time to learn to use it. So, I'll start saving again, but right now I can't wait to take my new bag for a test drive!
Here's my new love




And 2 different views of the wallet I got to go with it.




Frankly, I don't think the photos do either of them justice.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The End of Nursing

Really I should have called this entry the end of pumping. Actual nursing ended a few weeks ago and had a bumpy ride ever since just before Christmas. About a week before Christmas Ben started refusing to nurse. And by refuse I mean biting, hitting, and sometimes crying if I offered him a boob, except for during the wee hours of the night. All day long I’d pump and he’d drink from bottles, but late at night it was just as it had always been, the two of us in his dark room snuggled up and connected in a way that I loved. Then in mid-January one Saturday afternoon he seemed to be going for the boob, so I offered it and all of sudden we were back to nursing all the time (though of course he was getting bottles and I was pumping during the workday). That lasted for a few weeks and then in early February he just stopped nursing all together. He didn’t bite or cry, but just had no interest at all in nursing. So I went back to the pump full-time and for a couple of weeks I was able to pump enough that we only had to supplement with a little formula. But it got harder and harder for me to keep up with the pumping and so last night was my last pumping session. Today the pump has been silent and my boobs have stayed in my bra.

I’m sad.

I’ll never nurse a baby again. And even though Ben hasn’t been interested AT ALL, at least while I was pumping I could keep up the illusion that just maybe we weren’t done. But as I used the pump less often over the past couple of weeks my supply plunged dramatically. I think between the inconsistent pumping and the complete absence of any actual nursing, my body said enough is enough. The past 5 to 7 days I’ve hardly managed to get any milk out at all. It was one thing to keep up the pumping while I was home with a sick Ben last week and over the weekend, but to keep lugging the pump back and forth to work and have to pump in my office when I barely get any milk out just seems ridiculous. So, last night was my last pump. After about 15 minutes I’d gotten maybe a drop or two and I just decided I need to be done. But I’m working at home today and I keep seeing all the breast pump paraphernalia in the kitchen and the pump is still in there and it just makes me sad. I waited for so long wanting so much to have a successful pregnancy and to have another baby and to hopefully nurse. And I did and it was not wonderful all the time, because this time around I spent the summer outside or out and about a lot because this time around I had a 6 ½ year old too. There were times out in public in the hot summer weather when nursing wasn’t so fun, but overall I was happy that it was never really too difficult and then once my daughter went back to school and I was still at home for 2 months it was just great. And it was always wonderful in the evenings. Even in the middle of the night when I was up for the 2nd or 3rd time and exhausted, it was so great that I could offer him what he wanted, something that made him calm and happy.

I know I’m lucky it worked as well as it did for as long as it did, and even the pediatrician told me at Ben’s 9 month check up that anything more was gravy, but still I just wish it had lasted a little longer. I really wanted to nurse for a year and even once he quit, as much as I complained about the pump, I really hoped I could pump at least ½ his “milk” intake until a year. We’ve been supplementing pretty heavily the past 2 weeks and now he’ll be strictly a formula baby. Right now there’s a bottle in the fridge with not quite 3 oz of breast milk. It’ll be the last breast milk I’ll ever pump and the last breast milk Ben will ever drink. Every time I open the refrigerator and see it sitting on the shelf tears well up in my eyes. In fact, it’s took a lot of self control while I drafted this post not to go hook up to the pump, but I know it’s time. He’s fine with it, so I guess I should be. Partly I feel a little sad that I can’t keep giving him the same sustenance that I was able to give to his sister for a full year. But really it’s the milestone that it represents. My baby won’t be a baby much longer. He turns 1 in less than 2 months, he’s started to cruise along the furniture and eat table food, before long he’ll be a toddler not a baby. He’s my second and last baby and after every thing we went through to have our kids and to make sure they are healthy, I’m grateful. BUT, I always wanted more children and knowing that I’ll never be a mom to a baby again makes me so sad. And on a more intimate level I will simply miss that special bond and that time that was just ours.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Last Year

One year ago yesterday I was sent to the hospital. I was 26 1/2 weeks pregnant and my cervix was short and soft. I can still remember so vividly the anxiety I felt when the ultrasound tech told me she needed the doctor to come in and take a look and the panic that struck as I sat in the doctor's office while he called the hospital. I know exactly where I was standing in the waiting room when I called my husband and somehow choked out the words that he needed to come home and drive me to the hospital. I even remember exactly where I was on the drive home when I called into work to tell them I wasn't coming in and probably wouldn't be for a long time.

I also remember how nice all the nurses were when we arrived at the hospital. I remember calling my mother and convincing her she did not need to fly back from Florida and how awful it felt when my husband and daughter went home for the night that first night.

I ended up staying in the hospital for 7 1/2 weeks before I was sent home for more bedrest.

I am now exhausted thanks to an adorable 10 month who doesn't sleep well, but I am so grateful for the hospital, the nurses and doctors, the insurance coverage, and my flexible employers, all of which allowed me to keep baking that baby until he was ready to come out.

And thanks to everyone who commented here and on facebook or came to visit me in the hospital for helping to keep my spirits up. It was all worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow My!

I'm sitting here typing and watching the snow blow around outside. I used to love snow. After the past week - not so much anymore. But it is pretty. The baby is napping and the kids -- meaning my daughter and my husband ;) -- are downstairs playing Wii. I've been so neglectful of the blog lately, but it's not because I don't have lots to say. There seems to be a constant swirling of thoughts in my head that I'd love to get down on paper, but unlike the snow outside my window, they never seem to settle anywhere. Between the baby who won't stay asleep and the 7 year old and the job and the commute and the husband, on the rare occasion that I find some time to type anything out I'm just too damn tired. Plus, it's almost as though with so much time past and so many thoughts floating around up there I just don't know where to start.

But today I felt like it was time to check in.

The tiredness.

I'm really tired of talking about how tired I am. Really I am. I finally have a small shred of hope that sometime soon it won't be the uppermost thought in my head. Ben is scheduled to get ear tubes put in on February 26th. Since November, the poor kid has just had a series of ear and sinus infections. He's now on his 5th round of antibiotic since early November. We went to see an ENT last week. He told me that he felt things were still "borderline" in terms of Ben's history with regard to recommending tubes. He said we could opt to do it if we wanted to be aggressive, but that we could also wait 4 to 6 weeks and see if the fluid in his ears went away on it's own. We hadn't really made a decision, but I did go ahead and schedule a followup appointment for 4 week out just in case. The on Saturday his eyes started seeming a little goopy. Sunday there was more goop, but it wasn't horrible and I did not want to go out with the roads still covered in snow. But when he woke up from his nap on Monday and both eyes were crusty I knew we had to go in. Turns out not only were his eyes infected, but he has another ear infection. As soon as I got home I called the ENT's office and asked if this changed the doctor's opinion at all. A nurse practitioner called me back pretty quickly to tell me the doctor did think this "tipped the balance" in favor of putting in tubes now. So, we are scheduled and I'm really hoping that no only does this keep him from getting the recurrent infections, but that perhaps he'll start sleeping better too.

In retrospect I probably should have suspected another infection because late last week he started refusing to nurse, again. He never gets fevers with these things and he's so good natured that we never even suspect he has an infection. When he was diagnosed with the sinus infection is was because I was complaining to a nurse (who'd called me about a form being ready) at the pediatricians office about his sleep habits and she suggested we bring him in. 24 hours after finishing the course of antibiotics for that his nose was runny again. I thought I was being paranoid, but I called and they had me bring him in and he still had the sinus infection. After the 2nd course of antibiotic was done he was still coughing a lot. Again, this time it was my husband who was worried, but I humored him and called the doctor's office. They told me to bring him in and guess what? Ear infection. That time the doctor told us to go ahead and schedule a 2-week followup to make sure it got knocked out. When we went back in the infection was gone, but there was still fluid in his ears, so that's when they told us to go see an ENT. Oh, but where was I, back in last December in the middle of the sinus/ear infection mess, he suddenly stopped nursing during the day. It started with the biting (ouch!) and then he would just cry when I offered him the boob. Except in the middle of the night. So all of a sudden I was pumping round the clock and nursing him at 2am or whatever time he happened to wake up. Then about the 2rd week of January, just as suddenly, he went for my boob one day and all of sudden we were back to nursing again. But for the past 5 days I've been pumping during the day and nursing in the middle of the night again. I'm used to pumping at work, but boy do I hate having to pump when I'm actually home with Ben.

So that's our boring little saga, which I truly hope will be ending on February 26th. I know we're lucky because ear infections and ear tubes are not that big a deal, but chronic sleep deprivation really sucks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

milestones

Oh my -- I started this post back on Jan 20th. New proof that I suck at this whole blogging thing. I could blame it on the baby, but really I wasn't all that much better before he came along. But the reason for the post was to document a milestone. The day I started writing he was 39 weeks and 1 day. If counting by the day of month he hit the 9 month mark the following day, but if counting by weeks it was the day before. Either way, I can't believe my baby is 9 months (now 9 months and a few weeks!) old.

He had an uneventful appointment with the doctor. Only 1 vaccination and he only cried for a second. He weighed in at 23 1/2 lbs and is at the 90th percentile for his weight. He's 29+ inches = 80th percentile for height. His big sis was only 16 pounds, 5 oz at 9 months, so the ache in my back and arms is NOT in my head.

Little man is crawling all over the place and pulling himself up on anything that he can grab. I don't know if it's a boy thing or a coincidence, but he's already into things that his sister never even noticed. For instance, he'll go after and try to chew on any electrical cord within reach and shoes. He also is fascinated with the vacuum cleaner, the CD player in his room, and his humidifier. I just spent a ridiculous sum of money on a play yard which will take up probably half of our upstairs living space, but there's no way around it. There's no good way to keep him contained and even if there were, there's not a really good baby safe space in our house. Now if only it will stop snowing so that the play yard can get here.

The little guy exhausts me because he doesn't sleep well, and he exhausts me because now that he's mobile I can't take my eyes off of him, but he's damn cute and I really can't get enough of him.