Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"My Face Hurts"

It seemed so far off when we first talked about it, but finally today came around. I drove Eli to the dentist this morning so that he could have a soft tissue graft of skin from his palate onto his lower front teeth.

The appointment was at 8 o'clock in the morning, and we were the youngest people in the waiting room by about two score years. Oscar was with us, while Elsie was with her babysitter. The little lady toting the full-sized oxygen tank kept talking to us, asking questions about the baby. She commented that she could see his little baby feet sticking out, and she just LOVED baby feet (I can't make this stuff up--it's ALL little old ladies). Eli got him out of his carrier and was holding him and when I looked up to the receptionists window, there were about five women in green scrubs just craning their necks to admire. What is it about men and babies? :) I guess I can't help it that my family is pretty good looking (in person).

Eli was called back and they told me they'd call me to come pick him up in 1.5 to 2 hours. Okay. So, Oscar and I went to Wal-Mart to shop for Eli's liquid diet. We were there for a while, distracted by sale items. And then we ran the groceries home, fed Oscar again, and went to Sam's Club for gas, because by this time (3.5 hours after I dropped him off) I was getting anxious and wanted to be in the car when they called. I was just about to leave the pump when I got the call to make my way back across town. Finally!

While I waited in the waiting room, this time with three other people three times my age, again everyone wanted to see the baby. I brought him over so they could get a closer look. The woman who had initially asked about him turned about to be a memory care patient who was there with her husband. It didn't phase me one bit that she asked how old my baby was and what his name was multiple times. And I wasn't the least bit surprised any of the three or four times that she commented on his little baby feet. (See? I'm not exaggerating.)

They called me back to Eli's surgery room. His back was to me and the dentist was getting together his instructions. Eli heard me talking and said, "Is that Erin?" I said hello, and he haphazardly waved over his head. He lala land, as we like to say in my mother's house. Kind of slumped over, with the IV still in. When I got to see him, his lips were bloody, and his eyes half-lidded. It stressed me to see him this way. The dentist gave instructions and then sent us on our way. The two assistants helped to get him to the car, and we drove to the pharmacy, where it was going to take forever for the drugs to get filled, so I left the prescriptions there and took Eli home. By this time Oscar was hungry again.

Have I mentioned how much I love our neighbors and I'm so sad that they're only planning to be here until he finishes school? Well, I went ahead and unlocked the door. Mr. Neighbor supervised Eli as he got out of the car and into the chaise lounge in the corner of the living room, while Mrs. Neighbor took Oscar and tried to calm him down. Little Neighbor chased the cats (he'd never really seen cats before, except when he was over taking pictures with Stacey). And Mrs. Neighbor volunteered to run back to the pharmacy to get the drugs. An angel. An absolute angel. So I was able to feed O and get Eli settled and with some food in his stomach (yogurt smoothie and V8 juice) before the narcotics came.

He was in pain, and I felt useless and unhelpful, but I stuck it out. And once he had the drugs in him, he was able to sleep. But, of course, Oscar didn't want to, so no nap for this mama today. And I made the decision to not return to work this Friday. I will return on Monday, full steam ahead. But I need these days to square away details and prepare myself to get back in the groove. And to care for my husband.

This evening he is somewhat human again. Somewhat. I was feeding Elsie dinner and I turned around and he had come downstairs, stealthily, like a ninja. And Elsie was being herself, so we could help but want to smile and laugh, but Eli couldn't smile. "My face hurts," he said. I remember that from my wisdom teeth being removed.

Anyway, we're headed to sleep as soon as the next dosage hour comes about.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sleeping Beauty and Snugglesaurus

Suffice it to say, Mama got a nap today!

Thank you to M&T for the ah-dorable dino jammies! Look at those footsies!


Friday, September 24, 2010

6 Weeks of O (and one day)

I'm lost in this warped time-space continuum. Elapsed time has no meaning to me. Minutes take hours and days take seconds. Someone will call me and leave a message and I'll think, I need to call them back. And then I do. But it's been days since they called, but I could just swear it's only been hours. Wasn't this past weekend Labor Day weekend, the beginning of September? So, this post might be mostly random thoughts because I've been thinking them, and thinking about posting them, but then time passes and I haven't posted in over a week...

So, I've been told that O is six weeks old (and one day) already. Sorry I don't have stats for him--I had a cranky, non-napping toddler and we didn't get out to the group at the hospital to get them weighed. It was nap time yesterday, and she was obviously tired, but she screamed hysterically and then cried for most of nap time (when she wasn't meowing at the cat who was asleep on her rocking chair). See, I'm not the parent who will put a child down for a nap, and after five minutes of crying, or ten minutes, or even forty-five, will say, oh, she doesn't want to nap. You know why? Because it's not about what Elsie wants. It's about what's BEST for HER. A schedule. A nap time. She doesn't have to sleep. But she does need to be given the opportunity. And she did not use that opportunity to sleep. So, we went out and played with the neighbors after lunch, and Elsie was cranky, but she definitely loves being around other active children.

On that note, she has stopped behaving toward Oscar as if he were a cat. She'll steal his pacifier, slobber it up really good, and then try to give it back to him. The other day he was crying and she picked up his pacifier and tried to shove it into his mouth, which made him more mad, but I did appreciate the help. :) Mostly, though, she'll go get her baby dolls (courtesy of Grandma Beaver and the lovely EW) and throw them around a little bit. The other day she did this:

I was completely surprised by this turn of events. She is understanding what her babies are, now. Hmm..

She also has started saying her M and B sounds again (thanks to a playdate with Mr. J who says "fish" and "ball" like a pro). She will throw out a "Mama" from time to time, but she's not talking to/about anyone in particular. So I say, "That's me. I'm Mama," and tap my chest. And then she taps her own chest and says, "Mama." And I say, "No, you're Elsie" and use her hand to tap her chest, and she says, "No." Her favorite word. She doesn't really quite know what it means, but she sure does love it. And randomly, on Tuesday, she started saying "ball." We walked in to A & J's house to play and she spotted his ball pit and yelled "Bah!" and ran over to it. I thought it was a fluke until later when we were home and she came running (yes, she runs now, too) into the room yelling "Bah! Bah! Bah!" and then threw a little bouncy ball onto the floor in front of her. And the other day, she was eating lunch, and she said, "Coco!" I initially ignored this randomness, but then I thought I should turn around and investigate, just in case, and sure enough, Coco had jumped up onto the counter in her line of sight. And did I mention that she says "thank you"? I don't know how long she's been saying it, but the babysitter at our church small group said something to me about her having that down pat, and I was puzzled. Sure enough, she hands me something, she says thank you ("taaank you"). I hand her something, she says thank you. It's cute.

She's also turned into a certified professional monkey. Yes, she was climbing up on chairs before. Now she wants to climb on the table from the chairs. She's tried more than once to get into her high chair without help (yikes), and the other day I caught her climbing up the handles of the drawer in my bathroom, like a ladder, to get to things that I thought I had put out of her reach. She prefers to stand on top of her little picnic table instead of sitting down at it. And she's even tried climbing up onto the changing table. The one good thing, though, is that she doesn't like to get down from the chairs or coffee table because the edge is not soft, so once she climbs up, I'm free to do things that she would ordinarily interfere with (loading/unloading dishwasher, taking out the trash) because she's trapped herself on her own private island:

So, enough about big sister. Let's talk about the man of the hour. Before he was born, some people were of the opinion that O couldn't be as good as his sister. Truly this was my worst fear as well since she was such a good baby, but all the naysayers were wrong. Let's talk about how Oscar is similar, but also different in a good, good way.

Oscar is a gem. He's been a sleeping machine since we brought him home from the hospital. I'm not saying that he didn't cry, and wasn't fussy, but unlike Elsie, he did not have his nights and days turned around (maybe because he was born at the end of a rather easy-going summer while Elsie was born after a crazy school year). He slept for 3-hour stretches from the get-go, and had absolutely NO wide awake time in the middle of the night. I was utterly unprepared for this. My houseguests actually got to sleep at night! I was not a complete zombie! What?

Oscar is also much more vocal than Elsie ever was in her baby stages (as Eli noted, she has more than made up for it now). I used to wonder what people meant by baby coos, because Elsie skipped from silence to babbles. Oscar coos. And it is the most adorable thing. Usually, it's in conjunction with gassiness or discomfort, but it's is still so cute.

Oscar does not really mind having things put over his head. E used to scream and scream. Oscar lodges his complaint and then leaves it at that. (Again, as Eli noted, he didn't spend a traumatic day waiting to be born.)

While Elsie slept through everything, Oscar sleeps through Elsie, and I have to say that that is a much larger accomplishment. He likes the vibration mode on the bouncy seat, which Elsie hated. He prefers the white noise of the bathroom fan, where Elsie liked the dryer. He's a quick eater and a pretty good burper. But he does have that gas issue that will wake him up around 4 a.m. We work through it and go back to sleep.

And while I'm bragging, last night O slept for a nearly 6-hour stretch, followed by a 3-hour stretch. It was much easier to face my cranky teething toddler this morning once I had had a good night of sleep:

Yep, she's pretty even when she's crying. It's sickening. ;)

So, if you've made it through this post, you're probably thinking, um, Erin, where are the pictures of that baby? I know that's the only reason you're here, which is why I'm saving the best for last. Ladies and Gents, I give you O, at 6 weeks (and one day):

And this here's a shout out to all you little old ladies who pull back the blanket on a sleeping baby because you just can't get enough:


Thursday, September 16, 2010

5 Weeks of O

Oscar is going to be a little heartbreaker--his smile (even if it is inspired by gas) is just the cutest thing. I am in love all over again. Perhaps I did get a genuine smile this week...maybe. I think I was sure about Elsie's smiles by about 8 weeks, so I have a little time.

So, time is flying by. It does not feel like it has been 5 weeks, but that's also good because it means that I am strong and capable. Okay, mostly it shows that I have really good survival skills, despite the occasional breakdown. :)

Since we went to the doc on Monday, we did not go to support group at the hospital today to get weighed. Mostly, it's just quite an undertaking to park in the deck, get the babies inside, chase after the toddler, and then do it all in reverse.

We went to Wal-Mart instead and were home for lunch with my hard-working husband. It was a restful day, though there were no naps for this mama. My mind was reeling about other things, about which I will later share.


Monday, September 13, 2010

1 month of O (yesterday) with doctor stats

Yesterday was one month of Oscar. I decided to wait to post until today because today was the big day: duo doctor visits for the kids.

Let's just say that taking two children to the doctor at once is not for the faint of heart. That's why I took Eli with me (and had he been busy, I would have recruited someone else), because I knew both children would get shots, and I remember what it was like with just Elsie getting shots.

We were the first appointment of the day, and it still took 1.5 hours. Yeesh. This was Elsie's 15-month appointment, even though she's 16 months, because, obviously, we were awaiting the arrival of Oscar when we turned 15 months and didn't want to tempt fate by scheduling an appointment we might not be able to keep.

Elsie did such a great job--running around the waiting room with daddy chasing after, dancing on the exam table in only her diaper, somehow getting the nurses (not our nurse) to give her a sticker after her shots. And very little fussing. Though she did hold her breath until her face turned blue after the first shot, but that is more and more commonplace these days when she doesn't get her way or is just extremely mad about something (like going to bed, for example). And of course, Oscar did great. Minimal crying for his shot, but the aftermath of the heel stick was what really riled him up. And then I was home today with two fussy children. Yay.

Anyway, here are their stats:
Elsie -- 16 months -- 31.5 inches tall, 22 lbs 9 oz., 19.75-inch head
Oscar -- 1 month -- 22.25 inches long, 11 lbs even, 15.375-inch head

The scales are digital at the hospital and analog at the pediatrician, which is what I think account for the weight difference from this past week's breastfeeding group. But I'm just amazed at how HUGE Oscar's head is after only one month. He was born with a 14.25-inch head. Elsie only gained 3/4 of an inch in six weeks. This boy put on 1 and 1/8 inch in four??? Is that really right? I may have to whip out the measuring tape, now that I'm thinking about it...

On a final note, I just want to thank everyone who kept their eyes on Elsie yesterday at the church picnic while I was inside having a breakdown. I only *look* like I've got it together. Well, that is until I look like I've lost it, which I evidently did yesterday. It was a long day, and coming outside with two kids, no free hands, no booster seat, and no seats period was a little overwhelming. I kept trying to keep Elsie out of the cooler of ice, and then I relied on a stranger to carry her to a newly materialized empty chair after I fixed Elsie a plate, but I couldn't get to Elsie to cut everything up and she kept shoving huge chunks of food in her mouth, and Oscar woke up and was screaming and hungry, and Eli was still inside counting the offering, and the food was becoming scarce but I didn't have the ability to fix a plate for me and I was really hungry because I didn't eat breakfast (and did I mention that I got bit by an ant in MY OWN BED that morning? and had a screaming baby from four to six a.m.), and on and on and on and...then, tears. Finally, escape to the nursery. And then home for a nap. A much needed, much deserved NAP. So..where was I? Oh, yes. Thank you, friends, for your assistance in keeping Elsie out of the parking lot. Love you!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mother and Child

Sometime in August I received the e-mail newsletter of promotions from Sips N Strokes and then looked at the September calendar of paintings. The only one that caught my eye was the one on the evening of September 11, a painting called "Mother and Child" (promotion: free cheesecake samples!). All spring I had been wanting to paint one called "Guardian Angel" with an angel holding a baby under her wings, but I just couldn't get it together to get that one painted. So when I saw this one, I decided that I must paint it.

The only problem was what to do with the baby. Thank you everyone for the encouragement to take him with me. I got there early enough to choose a table that didn't have any easels set up at the end of it, so I put Oscar on the table in his carrier and sat right next to him while painting. He slept like a champ. During one break he was still sleeping but twitchy, so I took him out to the car and fed him. He didn't cry until I was packing up my stuff and getting ready to leave to come home. The Lord is so, so good. I needed that! Here's my final masterpiece. Guess who it is:

And, I didn't have to go alone. Three friends were able to go with me at the last minute. Thanks, Ladies!

Thank you to Eli for putting Elsie to bed so that I could go. I hope you enjoyed the Bama game in relative peace and quiet. ;)


Friday, September 10, 2010

Jobs and Sanity

Aside from babies, there have been other big developments in our lives. I know this is so after-the-fact, but I want to blog it for prosperity's sake.

Eli got a job! Two jobs, actually. On the same day.

The day that Oscar turned one week old, Eli traveled to Montgomery to be sworn in as a first lieutenant in the Alabama National Guard. He was hired on as a JAG to do the "weekend warrior" thing--you know, one weekend a month, two weeks a year. His weekend drill starts next weekend (not the one coming up, but the one after) in a town two hours north of here. This also comes with some time away to do full training in JAG school and officer basic. Those will be early next year and will require his absence for about 16 weeks (or more? I think I'm in denial...). I'm sure by then we'll be in a great routine, only to have to reinvent the wheel. By then I think it will be easier. Perhaps Elsie will be able to reason a little better, and talk, and Oscar will be in his not-as-much-of-a-lump stage. We'll come up with some other schedule (and child-feeding menu). I'm already thinking about how we can save some money and put it to use in paying off debt while there's only one big person eating, using the electricity/water, etc. (And BTW, that makes me an Army Wife, right? Haha.)

That SAME day, Eli had an interview with the law firm that he has wanted to work with (first choice). He had interviewed with them shortly after our first year here, when we thought he might be vacating his clerkship upon the completion of his contract, but they weren't hiring at the time. They called him out of the blue that second or third week in August and asked him to come in and interview again. He walked out with a job, starting in October. He was so excited!

We are so blessed. :)


Thursday, September 9, 2010

4 Weeks of O

Is it Thursday again already? Both of my children were born on Thursdays, so this day always means that we are at another week of togetherness.

Oscar went to the dentist this morning...with me. He was asleep for all the x-rays, then decided to wake up when the cleaning started. He wasn't inconsolable, but he did want to be held. So, the receptionist came in and offered to hold him. She was so funny--answering phones with a cranky baby--but she was also amazing in her ability to multi-task.

We came home, Elsie napped, I tried to nap, and then we went out to the hospital for Thursday Moms group. It was a good time. Now we're home and Elsie is taking her afternoon nap. So is Oscar. So will I be.

Oscar weighed in at 10 lbs. 10 ozs. That's more than an ounce a day gain from last week! Elsie was still in the 23 pound range, fully clothed. Speaking of which, I'm amazed when I see her in these size 18-month dresses at how much she's grown. The dresses that a few short months ago came down to her ankles are now at her knees. Amazing!

Well, that's the news from our neck of the woods.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

16 Months

Elsie is 16 months today. She said cookie, I think. She's climbing on everything. I turned my back on her yesterday, and when I turned around again, she was dancing ON TOP of the coffee table. So, yeah. Soon enough she is going to break out of the crib. We have to make a decision about what to do next as far as sleeping arrangements go. Anyone have any suggestions/anecdotal tales of caution?

Do you have experience with:
1. Crib tents?
2. Toddler mattress on the ground?
3. Toddler mattress in toddler frame?
4. Twin mattress on the ground?
5. Twin mattress in the frame?

We're concerned with putting her in a room with a baby gate in the doorway because she'll climb right over it eventually (or knock it down with brute force) and I don't want to close her in the bedroom lest she fall asleep behind the door. Short of sawing the door in half to make a Dutch door, what can we do?

Also, we're treading dangerously close to the throwing food stage. I need to find a tutorial for a splat mat to go under her high chair because that is just messy. :)

And here's the last redundant question:
Blueberries are good for you (anti-oxidants, and whatnot), so do you know what happens when you eat a lot of them?


Thursday, September 2, 2010

3 Weeks of O

We went to the breastfeeding group at the hospital today, and Oscar is weighing in at a whopping ten pounds! Oh, my! The nurse joked that I must just be full of cream. Haha. He's not a chubby baby or anything, so I'm not too worried. Elsie put on weight pretty quickly, too. At four weeks, she we 10 lbs 5 oz., so Oscar is keeping up with the sibling competition. (And maybe winning?)

I put Elsie on the scale, too, before we left, and she weighs 23 lbs. 8 oz. I knew she wasn't 25 pounds yet but she's getting there quickly. She did such a great job with the little babies around. She didn't poke any of them in the eyes; she didn't steal any pacifiers. She did step on one baby accidentally, but he didn't notice; and she did steal one mommy's water bottle, saying "cold" while running away with it. She was much loved (or at least tolerated) by the mothers. And near the end, A & J showed up as the babies cleared out, so she and J ran around a bit.

Getting out of the house with two small children is very challenging, but so far, I've made one outing per day with both kiddos. And we're doing pretty well with napping (that includes me!). I know that just when I really get into a groove it will be time for me to go back to work. Today's adventure is a good case study in why we need a double stroller. I pushed Elsie in the umbrella stroller (which was loaded down with diaper bag, snack bag, and my lunch) with one hand while wearing Oscar in a sling. It worked, but there are easier ways to do this. And I intend to make it a possibility.

Also, just in case I don't post again this week, Oscar is making his first foray out of state this weekend, as he & I head to a Beaver family wedding in GA. Elsie will go with her daddy on a different adventure. We're going to miss a birthday party for an Elsie-sized friend, and we're very sad, but it will be great to introduce the for-now-newest Beaver to the rest of the Beavers and to the will-be-newest-Beaver (the bride).

Have a good Labor Day weekend! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Word, Etc..

We have a word, people! For the longest time, Elsie has been able to say "hi" and "uh-oh". She also barks like a dog and meows like a cat (in fact, she meows at Oscar and wants to pet him...hmmm...). But we decided that onomatopoeic words don't really count as true words. I thought she might be saying "hot" and "cold", but Eli didn't agree, since she wasn't consistent with their uses.

But we do agree that we have a first word: CHEESE!

The other night I got into the refrigerator to get a slice of cheese to nibble on (for Elsie and me) and from across the room, in the living room where Elsie is playing, she starts talking. It took me a minute to realize that she was saying "cheese", so I stopped, a little surprised and asked her, "What did you say?" And, of course, she wouldn't say it again. But last night Eli gave her some cheese also, and she said it, without prompting. She recognized it in his hand as he got it out of the fridge. So, yes. Cheese. I'm so proud.

Last night, I tried to get her to say "please", and told her that it rhymed with "cheese", so it shouldn't be too difficult, but she didn't agree. She just wanted to grunt and point. C'est la vie.

In other tidbit news, Oscar falls asleep to the sound of the bathroom fan--and there are four of them in our house (woohoo!) so right now he's in the bouncy seat in the downstairs bathroom doorway, which was handy while I was putting groceries away. Yesterday he took his nap in his bassinet which I just pulled into the master bath--where there are two fans! And there's one in Elsie's bathroom which I used while I gave her a bath the other night. Oscar sat propped up in the Boppy pillow, chillin' like a villain while the Hurricane got clean. (She had had lasagna for dinner, and got lots of it up her nose--that must be what she's been digging around for--leftovers!)

And this has been a three-day week so far (it's Wednesday, see?). Elsie spent Monday morning with J, at J's request. O and I were able to run some errands, and after I picked Elsie up we went to Sylvan to show off the baby. First outing with both kids by myself. Yesterday we stayed in all day, but when Eli got home, we went to Hickory Dickory Park in Auburn and Elsie burned off her energy while I met another mom there--we're meeting up on Thursday at the breastfeeding support group, and I'm excited. She said she'd help with Elsie around the little babies. And then today, I took both kids and we went to Kroger. Elsie rode in the car part of the cart, while Oscar rode up top. All went well until we got to the checkout when O started wailing and Elsie just wanted the car to GO! But we survived, we're home, and both kiddos are napping. I need a nap, too, but I had to put groceries away. So, I think I'm heading that way now.