Monday, May 31, 2010

well, we tried

My mom always took us to do interesting things. And I always imagined I would do that with my family. Then one day I realized that if I wanted that to happen, I had to actually find the place, and take us there. So, that was the first hurdle on taking advantage of having Daddy home for Memorial Day.

But, I found a park that I wanted to explore, and we went through the amazingly huge operation of getting the four of us out the door, and arrived there. We couldn't figure out where to park near the playground. And it was big enough that once we had parked, it would have taken way too long to get to the playground. There was nothing more to do there, other than walk the paths, which were beautiful, but had a lot of litter, and weren't that interesting to the two-year old. And there were the lion statues which scared her.

And it was seriously hot. So the baby got upset, and I ended up needing to feed her. By the time that was done, all four of us were very hot, very sweaty, and possibly slightly sunburned (despite the gads of sunscreen we'd all slathered on). And Daddy was tired of keeping Kiddo out of the pretty gross lake. I think we'd been there 45 minutes, perhaps an hour.

So we went home, and cooled down. So much for our adventure. I guess it will take me more work to get to my mom's status of day trips. (I suspect though, that while I don't remember them, there were plenty of trips that worked out like this one anyway...)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

not ready yet

Kiddo actually took a nap today - hooray. I went to open the door so that when she woke up she could just walk out, and found this:
She had climbed into the crib (now set high for an infant), and settled in amidst the diapers, blankets, and princess dress to take a nap. The light was on, and the blinds were in disarray. Clearly she did not fall asleep here immediately.

We make a big deal about what a big girl she is, and how proud we are. Experts say though, that kids want to regress a little when a new sibling shows up and gets lots of attention. This, and our current potty struggles, tell me that the experts are right.

Yesterday I picked her up and held her for while. I was standing. This is her favorite way to be held these days, but given her weight and size, I can't do it for long. As I went to bed last night I prayed to remember to hold her like that a little each day, to tell her in a language she understands right now, that I love her very much. So many of her wants are being put off right now (as are mine, my husbands, and sometimes even baby's) as we learn to be a family of four. I need her to know that with all the changes, our love for her has not.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

give me four

Now that Kiddo's more social at church, she's learned how to shake hands and 'give me five.'

She's also learning how to use her fingers to represent numbers, one finger for one, two fingers for two, etc.

So at Wendy's the other day, she turned to her aunt and declared "give me four" holding out her four fingers, thumb tucked toward her palm. After that exchange she said "give me five." I had to explain to her aunt what she was doing, because as the mom, I am the official translator of Kiddo the toddler.

I was asked if I taught her that. No, she just figured if you can "give five" you can probably give all the other numbers too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

one month already

Aren't they cute together? This picture really emphasizes what Kiddo says: "She's so teeny!"
And since you can't really see the small one, here are some closeups.

Yes, she is a little fatty (for my gene pool any way), and yes, 4 1/2 weeks after her birth, she still has her umbilical stump. I tell her constantly its gross, and she should loose it, but she seems unfazed by my disapproval. (Hopefully she will retain this obliviousness to the approval of others (others meaning those who are not me) throughout her entire life.)

My kids have these adorable square heads. I love them. And they're pretty small (their heads, in comparison to the rest of their size). Considering how babies come, I love this about them.

I just have to kiss those delicious fat little cheeks each time she demands to eat. This delays her feeding, and irritates her. That just makes the moment that much sweeter. Did my mother secretly enjoy irritating me when I was teeny (and perhaps older)? No, I think she's nicer than that.

laundry woes

Last week I was trying to use our building dryer when the coin accepter broke, and thus I could not finish the laundry. My friend, who actually has a washer dryer in her apartment, finished it up for me.

Then last night, my husband went to take the garbage out, and stopped right outside the door with a blissful look on his face. This usually means he is remembering how much he loves me. (I'm not kidding about that.) Then he said "Do you hear that?" It was the dryer running. One of our building mates must have fixed it. I have never been so excited to do laundry, even laundry I pay for by the load.

I broke it again this morning. And Baby gets lots of clothes dirty fast. Someone's going to the laundromat tonight.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

not what I expected

Saturday: all day in car.
Sunday: much of day in car.
Monday: all day in car.
So why on Tuesday, did she see her car seat, and not only sit in it, but ask to be strapped in?

our family

Here is the first picture of the four of us (yes, it took us almost a month, but at least we're all wearing nice clothes, and not, say, hospital gowns).

Note that it is really hard to get a good picture with two adults and two children (at least Baby was cooperating).

Here is the next try. Equally pleasing, don't you agree?

his graduation

Last weekend my husband's mom and sister flew out, rented a minivan, and we all drove the four hours back to my husband's graduation. From this picture, can you guess who was the most proud? (Hint: she's holding the diploma.)

It was wonderful to be back in the greenery (our current home, is, well, a lot of concrete gray). It was excellent to be in a church building, and have many kids in the nursery. It was fun to see old friends. Most importantly, it was good to remember that a multitude of miracles happened to get us out of there, and over here, and here is a good place for us to be.

Here is a picture of the amazing graduate and his ever helpful advisor. Without his help, this degree, this job, this life never would have happened. He mentioned more than once what a good job my husband did, and how he wrote one of the fastest dissertations ever.

As we walked toward the car after the ceremony, my husband mentioned that he didn't realize how much, in order to finish, you just have to want it. You have to want to be done more than anything. And he is right.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a long time coming

Congratulations Sweetheart!

Friday, May 14, 2010

survival of the loudest

Since there are two children now, they must compete for attention. Baby has already learned that to win the attention contest, she must be loud. When she first came home, she cried mildly for attention. She quickly figured out that I can ignore that while taking care of Kiddo's needs. Now she whimpers a bit, then starts crying loudly and persistently. She's figured out that to get the attention she wants, she must make some noise.

Interestingly enough, Kiddo has learned the same lesson. Two days ago when she was upset she cried for 30 minutes straight, to ensure that I focused on her, and her alone.

I'm grateful that neither one of them is prone to crying, so they only push the volume up (make the noise big) when they're serious.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

a mother's dilemma

I found myself with both girls asleep at the same time this afternoon, and was met by the age old dilemma of a new mother: sleep or shower?

Getting Kiddo to sleep was a miracle. Now that she cannot be confined to her bed or room, she's stopped taking naps. More than once someone has suggested to get the child proof door handle covers, and each time I've thought: that seems a little extreme. I think I was hoping she'd take responsibility for her need to take naps. (Although once I said that thought out loud I realized how ridiculous an expectation that is for my sweet (or anyone's) two year old.) But I was at the store yesterday, and was just a little desperate, so I bought some. I intended to bring them home, and leave them in the bag for a few days while I thought about it.

My husband is not like me. He saw my purchase, opened the package and immediately installed the cover. That night after we put her down we heard her trying to get out of the room (I now think she was just investigating the cover that glowed in the dark), but she was unable to get out. "Yes!" my husband exulted. "It works!" (Which we knew, because he almost got stuck in there.)

Today at nap time I explained that she needed to stay in bed, and left her again. As soon as I closed the door, I could hear her heading for it. She couldn't open the door, so she started knocking on the door, then calling out to me. I explained that she needed to stay in bed. And then I heard her sweet voice say "Oh, I forgot, I need to stay in bed." A few moments later she was knocking again. Then I said that she didn't have to sleep, she could read or play with toys. Again her little voice "Oh, I forgot. I need to play with my toys... No, I canNOT play with my toys." And the knocking started again.

Then came her trump card "Mama, where are you?" over and over. But today, I just didn't care. A few months ago that question melted me. Today I just ignored her. (I'm sure it helped that the other girl needed my attention right then.) About 15 minutes into nap time I heard her walk away from the door. 15 minutes later I checked on her, she was asleep in bed.

I decided a nap was more important than a shower, but it's my lucky day, I got both!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

one dog says "woof"

Sandra Boyton is an inspired children's author. Kiddo has loved her books from her first interest in books, and still loves them 18 months of development later. One of her favorites is "Dogs - a counting book" which she knows by heart. We spent much of the last month reciting it everywhere, interspersed with peals of laughter from my sweet daughter. It's easier to repeat yourself if she's laughing out loud. But, since of all the noises a dog makes, it never once "barks," Kiddo has rephrased that part of her life.

When the loud, angry German Shepherd that lives two doors down from us is out, she runs and jumps on my lap, (slightly terrified) exclaiming "The dog is woofing!"

But barking is still a part of her life. Because when we hear a car horn (an relatively frequent occurrence) she exclaims "The car is barking the horn!"

But, no matter how urban our neighborhood, there are still birds, and lots of them. Kiddo loves to hear them too. As we hear their songs outside Kiddo will turn to me and ask "Do you hear those birds? singing that song? in that tree?" And I do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kiddo's growth

In the last two weeks, Kiddo has determined that adding a new person to our family was not enough change, so she would learn some exciting new skills.

As previously mentioned, she can climb out of her crib now. So, as soon as Grandma went home, Kiddo moved (back) to her big girl bed. At bedtime, this has gone very smoothly. (What a difference 4 months makes!) But, it means that naps are mostly a thing of the past. I am trying to teach her about 'quiet time' and the expectation that she stays in her room so I can at least sleep for a few minutes during the day.

But her next new skill is that she's learned to open doors. So I can't even close her into her room. Quiet time is usually short, because I'm feeding Baby, and when Kiddo comes out of her room, then she's done. But she may be doing better with it, so I have hope.

She's also learned to take her shirt off. She can already get her pants off, which means that she can get mostly naked whenever she'd like. She usually does it near the end of the day, when I have less energy to convince her to get her clothes back on. She does understand that underwear is imperative, so at least that stays on.

One final skill that Kiddo's developed in the last few weeks is that she can actually carry a tune. Tonight she sang "I am a child of God" to her grandma and aunt at least 10 times straight. This skill is particularly sweet. She loves music, and this is another way for her to express herself. We also sing "Wheels on the bus" at least once a day, but usually more.

While Kiddo showed much interest in Baby at the beginning, now she doesn't seem to really care. She is pretty patient with the demands that come along with an infant, but occasionally insists that I "close it" (stop feeding) and "put the baby to sleep." I tell her no, and we move on with life. She's learning that the world doesn't revolve around her, and I guess that's an important lesson.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

my afternoon

11:30 - feed Baby
12:00 - put Baby down for nap, feed Kiddo
12:10 - get fussy Baby up, continue trying to feed Kiddo (she's not into eating today)
12:30 - still at table with Kiddo, put Baby down to sleep
12:45 - finish lunch
12:55 - start putting Kiddo down for nap
1:10 - leave her in her room for nap, door securely closed
1:11 - put myself down for nap
1:20 - wake to wail of starving infant (or at least she thinks so)
1:25 - hear doors opening and closing (really? I thought Kiddo didn't open doors yet)
1:27 - Kiddo walks into room where I'm feeding Baby (I guess she can open doors now)

I sure enjoyed my 9 minute nap... although it's really too short to consider it a power nap. This was more of a taunting nap.

I may never sleep again, but I hear that's normal for mothers. Too bad, I really like sleep, and, as my husband will attest, I'm much nicer when I get it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

a laughing matter

Do babies smile from the get-go? Of course the typical answer is no, it's gas. But I've also read people who say otherwise. I don't really know.

But, I think that my baby smiles. She doesn't smile at me for sure, but she smiles in her sleep about whatever is making her happy at the time (dreams of heaven perhaps? or just of good milk?). I know that these are actual smiles (at least some of the time) because she also chuckles in her sleep.

An infant chuckle is a great sound, and Baby makes the sound already. The first time I doubted. The second time I heard it I knew for sure she was laughing. The third time I just enjoyed it. She chuckles. I love it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

a very quiet Sunday

Since yesterday was Stake Conference, so we had no responsibilities at church, and church was held 45 minutes away, and our baby is about 10 days old, we decided that no one would attend this week. (I'm sure next week Dad and Kiddo will be back.)

So we had a day where we were all at home, but we didn't have errands to run, or chores to do, because it was a Sunday. Basically we took turns playing with Kiddo, and trying to rest.

Late afternoon, as Dad was working on dinner, I had one girl in her old baby toy:
and the other in her car seat:

both completely content.
And I thought, hey, if this is all parenting two kids is, then I can totally do it.

As I conclude my first day solo with the two of them, and one has slept most of the day (here's a hint: it is not the older one), and have dinner being brought in to me, I can reassure myself, it is not so simple. Maybe if I weren't so tired...