Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweet Cheeks

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bunny Hop

For the weeks leading up to Easter, Madelyn carried around her "Here Comes Peter Cotton Tale" book (that played the song) and would "read" it to me while she bopped her head back and forth.  She used those head bopping maneuvers at church on Easter Sunday.

After having read the book over (and over and over and over and over) again, imagine her excitement when she actually got to hunt for those Easter eggs!  Though this is her third (!) Easter, its the first that she was actually aware of what was going on.  She had a taste of Easter egg hunting at her daycare providers house on the Thursday before Easter.  She could not be separated by that darned purple plastic egg for love nor money.

For me?!?  More eggs?!?!

On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, not only did Madelyn "help" make cupcakes, we had a bar-b-que with a couple of close friends and their children.  It was sunny and beautiful and Madelyn LOVED hunting for those eggs.  She also loved the candy she found in them and now walks around saying "cannee, cannnee".

What, you mean you're not supposed to eat the batter off the counter, Mama?

Easter Sunday was not as lovely - but we braved the chilly cold to go Easter egg hunting with her Clark cousins.  She *loved* it.

What she did not love was having Mama remind her that William's Easter basket was William's.  Not hers.

Turns out William doesn't like to share much either.  He does, however, love new soft things.  Especially if Mama lets him eat them.

Mama is a lame Mama and did not have her camera during any of the Easter egg hunting.  So, we'll have to wait for pictures from our friends and family to share those bits of fun.

Sweet William

When I was pregnant with Madelyn, my dear friend Jana gave me a beautifully written book called Tell Me My Story, Mama by Deb Lund.  It's the very sweet story of a young girl asking her mother about the night she was born and being reassured that the story will always be hers and hers alone and the new baby the family is expecting will have it's own special story.

It is beautiful and still makes me cry when I read it.

Madelyn pulled it off the shelf the other day and we read it.  In doing so, I realized I'd never actually written Will's special story down.

In some ways, I was so calm about the idea of having another baby and yet I constantly wondered how this one would be different.  I was really nervous that Will would get too big and I'd end up having a c-section.  Ultimately, all that really matters is a healthy baby.  But to the day I die, I will never forget the moment Madelyn came into this world.  Not ever.  And being a selfish sort, I wanted that experience once more.  I wondered if Jim would be home or if I'd have to meet him at the hospital.  I wondered if Will would come quickly as people predicted.  I hoped I didn't have to labor too much around Madelyn because I didn't want to upset her.  I was really curious if I'd handle the pain any better than I did with Madelyn.

Because of my gestational diabetes, I was going for non stress twice a week.  I knew Will was comfortable in there and I knew I was dilated for weeks before I had him.  The surprising thing about that for me was that in the weeks before I had Will, I was as dilated as I was when I was begging Jim to take me to the hospital with Madelyn.  While I was ready to get the show on the road, I was also aware that GD babies tend to have underdeveloped I was doing my best to keep him cooking.

Will had other plans for us.

Thursday, October 21st - 3 am
Jim had an odd shift and had just gotten home and crawled in bed.  I remember him saying how tired he was and I remember thinking how much Will had been moving around.

At around 4 am, I woke up feeling pretty wet.  At this point in my pregnancy, it wasn't uncommon for me to be really, really sweaty and I thought that's what was happening.  I had to use the restroom, so I rolled (as gracefully as possible when you're 9 months pregnant) out of bed and headed toward our bathroom.

And as I got there, my water broke.

For half a heartbeat, I thought I'd wet my pants.  Don't judge, because if you've ever been pregnant, you know it happens.

It didn't take me too long to realize that was not the case.  I remember sitting down on the toilet in utter shock.  I grabbed a towel and walked back into the bedroom to tell Jim.

Poor guy - he was absolutely beat.  He'd just gotten to bed after a 13 hour shift and I'm waking him up with "honey, it's time".  I think he was running on pure adrenalin.

Earlier in the pregnancy, I'd asked my OB if I was safe to take a shower if my water had broken.  I knew that I might not get a shower for awhile and I'd better get it while I could.  She'd said that unless my contractions were painful, I could take that time.  And here's the thing, I wasn't having any serious contractions!  I was having them, but they were so mild I could barely register them.  I'd had worse menstrual cycles than that.

So, while Jim ran around packing some clothing and putting things in the car, I took a shower, styled my hair and put on some makeup.  When we were ready to go, I went into my Mom's room to let her know that baby was on his way.  She was more than a little shocked that I was dressed, with my hair and make up done.   I told her I'd call her when we were checked in.

Then I went in to kiss my first baby goodbye.  I was really emotional when I tiptoed into her room.  Madelyn has been and always will be the very first miracle I had a hand in.  She is my heart of hearts and a tiny part of me didn't want to let go of those last minutes that she'd be my only baby and have my undivided attention.  I knew that the new baby was going to rock her world and in the long run, it'd be amazing...but that she wasn't always going to like it until then.

Jim and I hopped into our Durango and headed for Tacoma General.  Jim hadn't taken my warnings that baby could show up at any time seriously and he'd left all of his gear in the tractor he was driving that week.  So, on the way to the hospital, we made a pitstop at the Pacific UPS site to grab his stuff.  I have to say, I think I was rather calm for being in labor.

At this point, though, I still wasn't feeling any serious contractions.

I texted my boss and let her know I was in labor.  I wanted to call everyone, but it was just 5 in the morning, so I decided to wait.  I did call my friend, Rebecca, who was scheduled to come shoot Will's delivery.

On the way to the hospital, we finally had to break down and pick a name for our poor kid.

We'd had two names that we both really liked and we couldn't make up our minds.  I had my favorite and Jim had his, but neither of us felt strongly enough about it to say to the other "this *has* to be the name".  I'll never forget driving down 167 having a calm conversation about how we really did need to name him....and realizing he was coming within a matter of hours!

In the end, Madelyn was the deciding factor.  For months she'd been on the verge of major talking, walking around the house saying "dub a dub a dubya" when we asked her to talk.  Jim really liked the idea of her calling her brother "W", so William it was.

And his name has significance.  William is his paternal grandfather's middle name.  It is the name of my grandfather's brother, Grandma Clark's brother and Grandma Freda's second child.  Warren is my father's middle name.

William Warren
As my mother in law would say, "it's very presidential".

We arrived at the hospital about 5:30 and got into a triage room.  I remember being very embarrassed that I was continuing to leak all over the place.  Hospital floors may be cleaned constantly, but seriously - there is no 3 second rule at the hospital.

By 6 I was in a labor room.  By then, we'd called all of the parents and my best friend Sue.  We'd also talked to Rebecca and because she had commitments that paid more bills than photography did, realized she just wasn't going to make it.... 

Since I was feeling so fine and not really having any major contractions, Jim sacked out on the parent bed while I walked and walked and walked.  My nurse was amazing.  Her name was Deb and since she didn't have a ton of other patients that day, she spent a lot of time in my room talking with and telling me funny stories about being an L&D nurse for 20 years.

By 8, my OB had been by.  She'd checked me and we'd decided that since the contractions weren't really coming on as strongly as would be good, we would start some pitocin.  I had a history of contractions that don't really get regular.  With Madelyn, I'd labored for 24 hours before my contractions got regular and really started producing the results we needed - and it took that little kick of pitocin to get there.  Living in the northwest, there are a lot of opinions about how much intervention one needs in a delivery.  Some women try to have as few as possible and perhaps those mothers would have waited longer to see what happened.  I can understand why they'd feel that way and what I know is this:  my OB knew how scared I was of a c-section and knew I wanted to try and have him vaginally.  She also knew the longer we waited until that 24 hour mark after my water broke, the more likely I would be to have a c-section.  Ultimately, she left the decision up to me and I trusted her.  I'm glad I did.  We started pitocin about 9 am.

Since I was feeling so little pain, I decided to forgo the epidural even though we'd started pitocin so that I could continue to walk and keep things moving.  So, I walked and talked to Deb while Jim slept.  I paced my room. I bounced on the birthing ball.  I walked the halls.  All the while the pain I was feeling wasn't overwhelming to me, which was refreshing after my labor with Madelyn.  Eventually, though my contractions got a lot strong and I started having to breath through them.  I still wasn't at the point that I thought I needed an epidural.  I remember at one point, Deb was watching the monitor and said, "Heather!  You could breath through that?  That was STRONG!".  I don't know how I did it when I was begging for an epidural at 2 cm with Madelyn...but it just didn't hurt as much this time.

At 11 am, Deb suggested that we find out exactly where the anesthesiologist was at and how long the wait was.  I was starting to have to have a bit more pain and I remember telling her that it'd probably be good to get in line for that epidural.  I knew it could take awhile.  The anesthesiologist was available, so he came pretty quickly, but Deb did check before he was there.  I started going through a pretty intense contraction as she checked.  Things seemed to have progressed quite quickly because as it happened, she told me that will was "right there" and to do my best not to push just yet.  Things seemed to slow down and I was hyper focused on breathing and Deb's face.  In my minds eye, all I remember almost a tunnel vision with Deb's face at the center of it and the room around us fuzzy.  This one moment in time is probably the biggest reason I will never forget Deb. She knew my OB thought he was a big baby.  Earlier she'd said my OB had already talked to her about "Plan B" in case Will's shoulders got caught up or we had to take him via c-section.  She knew that scared the bejesus out of me.  She also know how much it meant to me to have the experience of welcoming Will into the world without a c-section.  So, while I was focused on breathing and her face, she said, "Heather, he is so right there.  I can feel down to his shoulders and he's not going to get cleared up on anything.   Girl, you've got this and it's going to happen just like you want it too so you can stop worrying".  It was the one moment, during my actual labor that we both Deb and I teared up.

We also decided it was time to wake up poor Jim, lest he miss the birth of his son.

The anesthesiologist came and put in my epidural but he did caution me that because I was so far progressed, it would not block everything.  There simply wasn't time for the medicine to work.  He wasn't lying about that.

Things went pretty quickly from here on out.  My contractions were intense and I felt every little bit of them.  I am proud to say that I never cried.  I'd felt like such a cry baby during Madelyn's labor....but with Will's I was just a ball of determination.  It helped a ton that things were happening so quickly.  I might not have definitely wouldn't have done so well had I labored for a long time.  Oh, don't get me wrong.....I panted and gritted my teeth and probably made embarrassing noises, but I didn't cry.

When my OB showed up, she swung the mirror around so I could see and we started pushing.  During the second big push, my OB, Deb and Jim were all chanting at me to push hard!  Part of me didn't want to because it HURT but what came out of my mouth was, "This is a whole lot closer to natural that I wanted!".  It only took seconds before my OB said, "It's going to be over soon, kiddo, push hard and reach down and pull your son into your arms".

I have to take a minute here to tell you how much I love my OB.  She was with me through our miscarriage.  When I went through the D&C for that, she stood beside my bed and held my hand while the medication put me under and was holding my hand when I came around and started crying.

She called me every other day when I was pregnant with Madelyn and we thought I was going to miscarry to check and see how I was feeling.

She was there when Madelyn came into the world and stayed with me, holding my hand, while Jim stood with Madelyn while they helped her unclog her lungs.

She helped keep me calm when I was nervous about a c-section and big babies.

She never once chided me about my weight.

She always told me what a good mom I was for doing everything I could to be healthy during both of my pregnancies.

And she's laid back enough to know that even though I'm all about Western medicine, that we could still slow down and savor the moment and let me be a part of the delivery if things were progressing well.

So in that moment, when she told me to pull my son into my arms, I was a little bit in love with her and so thankful that she knew what it felt like to be a mom.

And at 12:42 pm, I did just that.  I reach down, slid my hands between his arms and body and pulled him into this world.

And my world will never be the same.

The next hour was so peaceful, as far as deliveries go.  We delayed the cord clamping for a few minutes while Jim and I stared at our handsome baby boy.  Then, Jim snipped the cord.  He didn't hesitate for one second like he thought he might.  I think Madelyn's birth had proven to him that childbirth wasn't as scary as he remembered it being.

I held William and let him latch for a bit. Eventually, Deb needed to measure him and weigh him (a respectable 6 pounds 15 ounces and 18.25 inches...not so big after all).

Once that had been done and I was feeling capable of standing up, they moved me to my own room.  We stayed for a little over 24 hours.  Jim and I were anxious to get home to our sweet girl.  I didn't want anyone bringing her to the hospital only to take her away again.  I didn't think that would go over well and it would break my heart to have her cry.

I was up for most of that night, just holding my little guy...knowing this was about the only time I wouldn't also be responsible for taking care of Madelyn.  I wanted to savor some time with my sweet boy before I was the mom of two.

And sweet he is, our sweet William.  His little face just lights up my whole world and I can't believe I've been so blessed to get to help guide him through life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday

 I'm so thankful....

For all of the folks below, including the ones that weren't yet a part of the family because they yet graced us with their presence (I mean that sincerely, it is by God's grace that they are here)

For this little guy, even when he falls asleep before storytime

That these two are starting to have fun together

For this little gal, especially when she's figured out something sunglasses

For this big guy
Who is also this guy when he's all cleaned up in spiffy duds
To these gals, who'll always have my back, no matter how long it's been since we've talked

That this is who is watching out for me from upstairs

That this is what flies over my home

That the husband and I both have one of these

Certain peeps from here (you know who you are) that keep me sane in all this mommyhoodness

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - 5 Months!!!

Happy is as happy does

Yeah, I'm just that good looking!

Hello Mr. Gorilla, I do love you

Look into my eyes

God bless Mama and Daddy and my sissies...oh yeah, and Mr. Gorilla

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tupelo Honey

It's amazing how a song can bring you right back into the heart of a moment.

It's been a long time since I've thought about my time in Korea.  Certainly I think about it in passing on a daily basis.  I have Korean masks on display in my office.  I wear my Seoul Pub rugby shirt to bed on a regular basis.  Very recently, news of events in South Korea have made me think about what it was like to be an ex-pat living in a country that is, technically, still at war and while not widely publicized has daily border squirmishes.

But I haven't really had one of those moments when my senses are thrown back into the moment and if I close my eyes that world swirls around me.

Today I was trying to concentrate on a project and put on my headphones to block out other noise.  On a random play list the song "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison came up.

And in a moment, I was thrown back into a little bar "up the hill" that we went to on a regular basis.  If I closed my eyes, I could smell the aftershave of the boys on 48 hour leave and the wafting aroma of foods not found anyplace stateside.  I could hear the music in the background and the laughter of people enjoying the freedom of leave or the freedom of a moment without students encircling their knees begging for attention.  I could taste the kool aide and soju of a "kettle".  I could feel the heat of the night and the weight of the humid air on my skin.

Normally Van Morrison wouldn't be something I would listen to.  Through a friend, I'd met a sweet man named Skip.  Skip was a contractor that worked with the US Military on security issues and regularly traveled to Seoul.  Skip had shockingly white, thick hair, a smile a mile wide, a gentele demeanor and when we danced my nose would be squarely in his chest. 

Skip was from the East Coast and had, by all accounts, a lovely wife and two grown daughters he adored.  Having been in Korea awhile, I knew the difference between someone looking to step outside of his life back in the world and someone who never waivered from what he was, no matter where his location or distance from his family.  Skip was the latter.  If he asked me to dance or bought me a kettle, it wasn't because he was trying to forget his wife, Joy, or accomplish some sort of ulterior motive.  He just wanted to dance with a friend. 

Skip was the sort of man that worried about us girls being in an unsafe environment and would call us when he heard intel that might suggest we should move to safer ground for a period of time.  He never told us any details, he just casually suggested that we might want to spend time south of the Hahn River so that should something happen, we not be trapped when they blew the bridges crossing the river.  He would bring us treats from home....magazines and books that we couldn't find in Seoul.  He would go shopping at the PX and bring us a fridge full of food that we'd have to pay triple the price for at a black market shop.  He genuinely cared about our well being.

Skip regularly told me I reminded him of his youngest daughter.  One night he requested the DJ play Tupelo Honey and asked me to dance.  He said that when he was at home and out and about, he'd always dance with his daughter to the song because she was "an angel of the first degree".  For the rest of our friendship, whenever Skip was in town, he'd request that song and ask me to dance.  Skip knew that some of the experiences I was having at the time made me question my worth and would continue to lead me down a road of insecurity and self doubt.  Being young and inexperienced in a environment like I was in can do that to a girl and it took me a long time and a good deal of therapy to reclaim what I'd always known to be true about myself.

Before I left Korea, I saw Skip and we danced to Tupelo Honey.  At the end of the song, he said, "Heather, please always remember that you're as sweet as Tupelo Honey."

I don't know what became of Skip, we lost contact when I left Korea. 

So for the sweet young girl that I used to be...

For the sweet young daughter I'm raising who will hopefully never question herself the way her mama did and will not have to go the sort of self doubt I did...

And for Skip where ever he may be.....

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Friday

It may be raining outside but my heart is light and my spirit is free.

It's my Friday.
I have an amazing husband.
I have beautiful, healthy children.
I have a great family.
I am not dealing with unspeakable natural catastrophy or leaders that rule by oppression.
I have a God and He is good.

And the best thing about me is them....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Miss Chomper

Speaking of teeth...

We've had our first biting incident.

When I picked Madelyn up from daycare last night, I was informed by one of the little boys that Madelyn had bitten him.  After talking to her daycare provider, it turns out that Madelyn has an admirer.  This same little boy is obessed with loves to play with our beautiful little miss and follows her around constantly torturing trying to pick her up or hold her hand.

Apparently our VIG (very independent girl) had enough and turned around and bit him yesterday.

The mature, responsible parent in me is not happy that my daughter bit someone else.
The educating parent in me spent time explaining to her that teeth are not for biting (though I am not sure if the message reached her or just sounded like the teacher on Charlie Brown).

The insecure parent in me is a little afraid she'll turn into "that child" that other parents complain about.

The vain parent in me thinks it's pretty darn cute that this little boy is so taken with Madelyn....she is pretty adorable if I do say so myself.

The mama bear in me says "that's right, little dude, mess with my daughter and she'll chomp on you".

Teeth are not for biting...and they sure are cute.

Lovin' This

File this in the "Things I Love" Category....

I love to watch Madelyn run to people when she's excited to see them.   Her face is all aglow, her eyes are wide and excited and if she can say your name, she'll call it over and over again.

She does this when I pick her up from daycare.
She does this when Jim comes downstairs after waking up in the afternoon.
She does this when people she knows come to the front door.

She'll take your hand and drag you back to whatever you're doing at the moment.

I just love it and all the innocence and youth it represents.

Pearly Whites

My girl has a healthy fear of our pediatrician, much to my pediatricians understandable dismay.  We have a wonderful doctor - she's patient with my many questions, my "worry wartedness" and completely understanding and supportive of working moms since she is one herself.  She's funny and very gentle with our children.  You can't blame Madelyn though, every time she goes, she's getting a shot or her ears are being scraped.  It's so bad that at our last visit, Madelyn cried when William was getting shots!

So, you can imagine my trepidation for Madelyn's first dental appointment.  I didn't want to be the mother with "that" child....  The child with nasty teeth and numerous cavities because said child flipped a lid every time her mother came near her with a tooth brush.  We do brush.  Every night.  And every night Madelyn flips a lid.  I try to be as nonchalant about it as I can be.  While Madelyn has "her turn" with her Piglet toothbrush and apple flavored trainer paste, I lotion her up.  Then, it's "Mama's turn".

Queue screaming child soundtrack here.

Every night.

So, imagine my delight when not only does it turn out that Madelyn's teeth are in "better shape than most", but that she actually liked riding up and down the dental chair (even if she had to be coaxed the first time by having Mama and William ride with her).  She thought "Mr. Thirsty" was pretty cool the way he sucked water out of her mouth.   She wasn't so sure about the little mirror, but she sure did like the part where she got to pick out a new tooth brush, 5 stickers ("more, Mama?") and a little toy.

She has a new best friend, Holly, whom she talks about nightly ("Mama, go Holly and up, down?") and I have a new phrase to help coax her...."let's brush the sugar bugs off your teeth, darlin!"

Brothers & Sisters

(Okay, maybe a few words this Wednesday.  It's long, but there are cute baby giggles :) )

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Staying Put

Is it wrong that I want this little guy in my room until he's 43?

I know my husband would object.  I'm guessing the little guy will object in about 8 years.  I'm quite certain his wife, when he has one, would object too.

But the monkey and me, we agree....he needs to stay put so I can listen to his sweet little noises all night long and lean over and kiss his little head.

Name Games

Madelyn - A woman of magdala, High Tower

I never set out to give my child a biblical name.  I'm not opposed to it, it's just not what I set out to do when I suggested Madelyn as a first name.  What I really wanted was to be able to call my little girl "Maddy" as a child and allow her to have a very professional, yet feminine name as an adult.  The funny thing is, Jim and I almost exclusively call her Madelyn, not Maddy.

For months we've been trying to get her to say "Madelyn".  So, imagine my "aha" moment last night when we were going through our nighttime routine and I realized she's been trying to say "Maddy" for quite sometime.  Mama just didn't understand Madelynese.

Mama: Can you say Madelyn?
Mads:  Mah-ee
Mama:  Yes, you... (Mama is thinking she's saying "me" in a southernish accent)
Mads:  Mah-ee (Mama thinks she's saying Mommy now)
Mama:  Who's Mommy?  (Mads points to me)
Mama:  Who are you?
Mads:  Mah-ee (points to herself)  Mah-ee (points to herself again) Mah-mee (points to me)
Mama:  Ohhhh!!!  Are you saying "Maddy!?!?

At this point, she wrinkles up her forehead, looks at me like I'm completely dense and says:  Yeah, Mama, Mah-ee.

It only took her 24 months and the kid is already smarter than me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet William

My sweet, sweet boy....

I just can't tell you how much I love you.  Yes, I'm the cheesy mother that's going to post about how much she loves her son.  I talk about how much I love Madelyn all the time.  Heck, I was worried I couldn't *possibly* love anyone as much as I loved her.

But I do...I love you to the moon and back.

And you've had a rough go of it in the past few months.  You took me by surprise with that.  You were so quiet and calm and peaceful and honestly, I think that's your nature.  I've probably jinxed myself by typing that...but I do.  But we had a rough patch of it about when you turned 3 months.

You'd been sleeping pretty darn well and were starting to coo back and forth with me.  You were holding your head up really well.  You would snuggle up with me at night and didn't need me to swaddle you. You were drinking your bottles so well and I was keeping way ahead of you (go me!).  You didn't nap on a consistent basis during the day - but overall, you were getting a lot of sleep.

I wrote in your baby book (which I've been *terrible* about keeping up, I'm sorry m'boy) on the 13th of January that you were getting a bad case of cradle cap.  By the time we went to Papa and Gigi's to visit, your scalp was just one big mass of ickyness and it was starting to come down onto your face.  You'd rub your eyes till your forhead was raw.  You were getting terrible spots on your body.  You'd cry and cry.  You wouldn't sleep.

And we couldn't figure out where my happy baby went!  We went back and forth to your doctor's office (and she is awesome - you don't like her much because she is the self professed "baby torturer" by messing with your ears and giving you shots...but she's so good with you and with me too).  At first, we thought it was an ear infection that was causing you distress and just normal cradle cap and possibly that you had eczema.  I found out that your great grandfather had it - so that made sense. 

We treated it and your ears got better, but nothing else did.  It was getting worse.

So, I took you to a dermatologist.  He is a very nice guy but what he had us do wasn't working and you continued to get worse.

Then, we put you on sensitive formula because your dad and I were starting to think maybe the gassiness you had (and boy did you have it) was really bothering you.  That did nothing for you.

Then our dishwasher leaked and we had to have the house dehumidified.  And things REALLY got bad that week....  And we chalked up the serious eczema to the dehumidifier.  Only when they were gone, things didn't get any better.

Finally, we put you on soy formula.  That didn't really help much, but when I put you back on breastmilk things got really, really bad.  You cried non stop.  It broke my heart.  You were exhausted but you wouldn't sleep.  I can see in your eyes during that period of pictures how very tierd you were.

So your pediatrician had us put you on a hypoallergenic formula and we took you to an allergist.  The trip to the allergist was one of the worst experiences I've had as a mother.  The allergist was great, but your skin was so blotchy we couldn't do a patch test.  So, we had to draw your blood.  Only, the lab we used wasn't specialized for children.   I will never do that again.  Never.  You started crying when you saw the needle.  I don't know how you knew, but you puckered up the second you saw it.  Then, the tech couldn't find your vein and while I had to hold you down, she dug in your arm.  I know how much that hurts as an adult.  Having your scream and look into my eyes was pure torture.  She found it just about the time I was going to deck her.  I don't ever want to repeat that experience.

Turns out you have a milk protein intolerance and you're allergic to peanuts.

Nuts, my little peanut.  I eat a lot of nuts.  So, we're armed with the formula and an epi pen while I try to figure out what we're going to feed you instead of PB&J.  I'm praying you're one of the 20% that outgrows it and we'll retest you at a year old and every year after that.  I'm hoping I can use all the milk I have banked in 7 months....

After a week and a half on the formula, you're like a different baby.  You're happy again.  You're sleeping so much better.  You are still a cat napper during the day and you wake at least one or twice during the night - but it's not every hour and half.  It takes me awhile to get you down for good - but all in all, it's fairly smooth.

You still sleep in our room in your co-sleeper.  I really don't want to move you.  I will at some point, I'm sure...but I don't want to.  I like peeking at you in the middle of the night.  I like hearing you breath.  I like kissing your head.  You're already getting so big, I don't want to miss any of it.  Your sister is not a snuggler - I'm hoping you're different and want to snuggle with your mama.  I'm already looking forward to building forts in your room and Madelyn and you and I having slumber parties on a Friday when Daddy is at work.

You talk to me all the time.  You coo and I coo and you coo's precious.

You smile all the time....and now you giggle.  You giggle when your Daddy talks to you.  You giggle when your sister plays with you.  You giggle when I squeeze your belly.

On your 5 month birthday, you really started rolling from your back to your tummy.  You'd done it the first time at the end of February, but hadn't really done it again.  On Sunday, you couldn't stop!  Each time you would look at me like, "what in the heck just happened?!?!"

You've started reaching out for things with your hands.  You love to chew on your "Mister Star" (it was your sister's favorite too).  You are reach for the car seat toys I have above you.  You LOVE to hold your bottle....the look in your eyes when it's coming at you is priceless....and you reach up for it.

You are starting to enjoy being put in the exesaucer. You weren't so sure about that at first, but you're starting to like it.  I have to laugh though, the first time we put you in it at 4 months, you could bounce yourself up and down on the lowest setting.  Your sister couldn't even touch the ground at the same age and setting.  We had to put books under her feet.  You've got the advantage of weight on your side.

You've started trying to scout yourself forward when you're on your tummy.

I love the smell of you.

I love to nibble your little cheeks.

I love that you're my constant companion.  You think life is good no matter what we're doing, as long as I'm holding you.

I love the way you stare at your Daddy waiting for him to look at you and how you grin when he does.

I really wish we could bath you more.  We don't because it's hard on your skin.  I hope you love the water as much as your sister does.  Sometimes I take you into the shower with me after your sister has gone to just need a bit of a water bath and you stay warmer when the room is steamy.  I love how squishy you feel.  You've got the squishiest baby thighs and tush.

You're starting to get really curious about what we eat at dinner time.  We'll try solids soon and I can't decide whether to start you on oatmeal or sweet potatos.  Your Daddy votes for applesauce.

I still keep you swaddled....I don't know when we'll break that.  You fight it at first, but honestly, you rub your eyes till their just raw if I don't.  I'm hoping as time goes on you'll get over that.

You've really started to interact with your sister.....she'll try to make you laugh and you'll giggle.  This eggs her on and then she'll giggle...which makes you giggle even more.  I love the sound of my children laughing.

I could stare at you all day long. Really, I could.  Who wouldn't want to when you look at this face...

My Girl

Where do you start when you're so far behind in updating your blog? There's so much to say about my babies that I don't even know where to begin!

I've been reading through entries where I've talked about Madelyn and I look at pictures from a year ago, much less from when she was born….she has changed so very much and grown so very much, it's just amazing to me and I just don't know where to start in telling stories or talking about her. She is such a little firecracker. She's got so much going on in that little head of hers.

So, I'll just do a brain dump of all the things I love about Madelyn or think, I need to remember this forever. Sit down, this is going to take you awhile…..

Every little thing she does is magic

Her independent streak grows daily (if I say stubborn, then I'm also calling myself stubborn since I'm the same darn way). Maybe I don't love this, and yet I do. It's constantly "Mama, me…" and that's cute, unless it's bed time and I'm really trying to get her into her jammies because Will is losing it and I'm all alone. Then I don't love it so much.

She alternates between Mama and Mommy since she's started daycare. I love hearing Mommy, but I love it when older little girls say "Daddy and Mama" like a southern belle….so I can't decide which I want her to call me.

Daycare outside of the family has been a new adventure for her. The first week was TOUGH. She'd cry hysterically when I left. Stasha has been awesome though – on those first mornings, she'd call me later in the day to tell me that Madelyn was doing okay and had stopped crying pretty quickly. Now, a month later, she asks me in the morning if we're going to Stashas and when we get there, goes right to her. The other night, when both Jim and I were reprimanding her, she says, "Mama, Stasha GO!" Hmph!

We're getting closer and closer to potty training. She's very curious and talks about pee pee all the time. She'll tell me after she goes. She wants to sit on her potty chair but she's yet to make anything happen. We've had a few accidents if she's running around like a jay bird – and she'll announce it after the fact if I didn't catch her in the act.

When the moon hits your eye like a big peeeeeza pie, that's amore

She's still such a darn picky eater. She's no longer a teeny weensy thing –she's up to the 50th percentile, but it's still worrisome to me (me, worry? Nahhh) mainly because I really, really want to raise a healthy eater. I know, I know….it's my job to provide her a healthy meal, it's her job to eat it – but I still have a hard time sending a 2 year old to bed hungry. That having been said, she'll be up for 2 hours in the morning before she'll indicate she's hungry. If I try and get her into the highchair any sooner than 30 – 45 minutes after she's gotten up she'll revolt.

Her favorites include:

• PB&J sandwiches

• pasta and marinara sauce

• black olives

• cheese (cheddar particularly)

• apples (she says this all day long… apwuls pweese, apwuls pweese and now…Mama, mama, apwulsaaaas)

• bananas

• bread of any kind

• cereal (and particularly cereal with raisins or dried strawberries)

• turkey sausage

• green beans

• raisins

• cranberries

• mac and cheese

• hotdogs

• grilled cheese and tomato soup (for dunking)

• pears

• meatloaf (but not hamburgers or ground beef…weird!)

• ham (she also asks for this often…)

• black beans

• waffles and pancakes

• tuna fish on crackers (actually, she'll just eat the tuna fish off the cracker and ask for more)

• grapes

• chicken nuggets

• pizza (but pepperoni or Canadian bacon – hold the pineapple, she'll pick that off)

She loves to dunk things. We'll do French dips and she won't eat the sandwich so much as she'll dip the big sourdough bun in the sauce. If she sees ketchup or ranch sauce, it's game over until she gets some. She'll dip anything in them. Apples in ketchup. Pears in ranch sauce. You name it, she'll dip it. If it's food she doesn't like, she'll keep dipping and licking.

She drinks her milk out of her bowl (like her Daddy).

She is a water drinker! I don't even bother with juice. All day long it's "waa waa, Mama, waa waa".

We try really hard to just feed her what we're eating for dinner without offering her other options if she doesn't like it – but if it's something really out of the norm, I will give her a "back up" meal. That having been said, we now do "One bite of this for one taste of that". I'll set her meal before her with portions of everything and she doesn't get more of her favorites still she's tried everything or at least had a bite of her veggies.

She can climb into her own highchair and buckle herself in. I keep thinking we need to move her to the table. Not all of the adults in the house agree on that move just yet…she's rather messy still.

She's getting better and better with her fork and her spoon. She can spoon feed herself cereal and soup if she really, really concentrates. She still prefers her hands for most everything. I just don't know at what point I start cracking down on that.

She loves her hippo bib best. Seriously. A hippo. "Mama, no raaah (her word for lion…she has a lion bib), hippo, hippo!"

And she'll have fun, fun, fun till her Daddy takes her t-bird away

Watching Madelyn play is just good for the soul. I love to watch her figure things out and see what her imagination will come up with.

She loves to dance. She always wants to dance. She got a Dora the Explorer microphone that plays music for Christmas and she'll turn that on and hold it to her mouth like she's singing and march around and around. She holds her babies and dances them around. She *really* likes to dance with Mama and Daddy, which consists of taking our hands and spinning around in circles. She's always asking me to dance and I always oblige her. Jim always says, "You're a fly girl, you're a fly girl" (hello, does that date us or what?) and she'll shake her little tushie.

She has a new found fascination with being dizzy. She'll spin herself around and around (typically in her bed) and say, "Mama, dizzy!"

She loves to jump, which she can now do properly. She'll try to jump off of anything and everything.

She loves her legos and will build a single pile of them as high as she can get them to go and then knock them down.

She got a kitchen for Christmas and *loves* it. She's really starting to pretend, so she'll make us "dinner" and set plates and bowls in front of us and try to feed us. If you ask her what she's making, it's always "Peeda" (pizza). I think that's become her "go to" word for food. Everything is "peeda". Or pie. She's ever even had pie.

Along the pretending line of things, she likes to put her babies to bed, try to diaper them and swaddle them like I do Will. She'll put them into her baby stroller or her baby pram (she has both) and will say, "Bye Mama" and take off for a "walk" with her babies.

She loves play do and wishes we would play with that I've had to hide it because inevitably she'll ask for it five minutes before dinner. Or five minutes before bath time.

She loves to color. This is one of her favorite activities at day care. Thus far it's just scribbles but more and more the scribbles aren't just random chicken scratches across the paper, she'll actually color over something. She won't draw a circle if you tell her "draw a circle", but she does draw circles frequently. If you ask her what the same circle is over and over, she'll give you a different answer every time.

Madelyn loves to go on walks. She constantly asks to go on walks – whether it's pouring rain or sunny. She loves to be outdoors. She loves to walk to the park. She loves to walk up the steps at the end of our neighborhood. She wants to walk everywhere we go. Problem is, she doesn't want to stay with Mama and Daddy. We're working on that.

Madelyn is a total water baby – she absolutely loves to swim. We're in week 3 of her second round of swim lessons. She'll let me dunk her under water now. She likes to jump into the water and wants to do it without Mama catching her. She hasn't figured out yet that she can't quite swim. We've been to the King County Aquatic center a couple of times and we've been to the Federal Way Rec Center pool. The Rec Center pool is *awesome*. It's got a slide that is just Madelyn's size and she LOVES it. I've yet to be bold enough to take William and Madelyn at the same time by myself – I really want her to go as often as she wants to and I want Will to be a water baby too….but I'm nervous I couldn't keep them both safe.

My Little Bookworm

She loves to read. I could read for hours to her at night. Lately, she'll take a book for herself and look through it and grab a book and hand it to me for me to read to her. During the day, she'll pull book after book out and "read" through them (babbling to us). She also likes to read to William.

When books have big letters printed out on them she likes to point to them and say "twooo twooo twoo" while I say the actual letter name.

She loves all of her books – but these books she asks for over and over:

• Good Night Gorilla

• Just in Case You Ever Wondered

• Elmo Loves You

• I'm a Big Sister

• Gossie and Friends books

• The Please and Thank You Book

• Anything by Sandra Boynton – but specifically Moo, Baa, Lalala, The Going to Bed Book, Pajama Time, But Not the Hippopotamus, Horns to Toes and In between, Bob and Bath Time

• The Christmas Carol (seriously….she'll have me read this over and over. And who knew that in the original poem the reindeer's name was "Donder" and not "Donner". I thought it was a misprint at first)

Gibber Jabber

Madelyn doesn't talk as much as I'd like for her to – for her 2 year appointment I think I counted 60 – 75 words that she had said, but not all the time. That's on the low end of the scale….and I am sure it's due to her binky. We're working on that…

She does a lot of two word sentences and I know she understands much more than she says. I can give her pretty complicated instructions and she'll follow them (if she's in the mood  ).

In addition to those 60 – 75, she says:

1. One

2. Two

3. Three

4. Ouch (it comes out ahhch)

5. Owee (she uses this a lot lately)

6. Cow

7. On

8. Why

9. Pie

10. Rock

11. Whee

12. Water (wa wa)

13. Home

14. Help (Help please!)

15. Apple

16. Applesauce

17. Cat

18. Dog

19. Hot (she'll say this even if it's just a little warm)

20. Good Good Girl (it comes out gu gu girl)

21. Hippo

22. Now

23. Up

24. Go (this is often "Mama, Go Now!" "Mama, Go Walk!" "Mama, Go Stasha?")

25. Shoe

26. Sock

27. Cheese

28. Yellow

29. Airplane

30. Soup

31. Bowl

32. Ice Cream

33. Caillou

34. Eat

35. Pizza (Peeda)

36. Freda (Her Grandma Freda)

37. GiGi (Grandma Griffitts)

38. Guy (this is her word for anyone that seems scary to her. If she sees a witch in a book, she'll say "guy! Guy!". Lately she's taken to pointing at our front door and saying "Guy! Guy!". I didn't figure it out until we were looking at her Aladdin book and she pointed to the character Jafar and said, "Guy!")

39. Stasha (this is her daycare provider)

40. Purple

41. Green

42. Key

43. Pee Pee

44. Poop

45. Amen (it comes out Aaaa-meee)

46. Me

47. I fly (And she'll run around with her arms out saying "I fly, I fly")

48. Bee (for a bee)

49. Bee (for her Aunt Bree)

50. Drew (her uncle – only it's more like Dew)

51. Santa Claus

If you ask her what a cow says, she'll moo. If you ask her what a monkey says, she'll tickler her armpits and say "ooh ooh ohh". If you ask her what a lizard says, she'll stick out her tongue. She'll roar for a tiger and a lion. For all other animals, it's "eeeh eeeh".

Along the same lines as talking, she loves to sing. She'll follow me and do the actions for the Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, I'm a Little Teapot. She loves when I sing the ABCs – if I start up, she'll go over to her ABC refrigerator magnet and push the button so it starts singing. When we're playing in the bathtub at night, she'll make her little fishy swim if I start to sing "Three Little Fishies".

Rock a bye baby

She's such a good sleeper! She rarely, rarely wakes up in the middle of the night. Now that we have a video monitor, I can see that sometimes it takes her a long time to fall asleep, but for the most part, she goes right down. Especially now that Will is here, she no longer wants or needs to be rocked. In fact, if he's being really fussy and we're alone, she'll ask to just be put directly to bed by saying "Mama, ni, ni" and pointing at her bed.

As of late, she pretends to go "ni ni" or she'll put her babies "ni ni". If we're alone and rocking, we go through the list of names she knows and she asks me if they're going "ni ni" (Mama ni ni? Yes Madelyn, Mama is going to go to bed when we're done rocking. Baby ni ni? Yes, Madelyn, Will is going to bed too. Daddy ni ni? Daddy is at work, sweetie. Nana ni ni? Yes, Nana is in bed. Gigi ni ni? Yes, Gigi is in bed. Papa ni ni? Yes, Papa is in bed. ) In our world, when it's her bed, everyone has gone ni ni ;)

Naps are a different story. At home she'll generally nap from 2 pm to 5 pm. I tell her its nap time, we go up to her room, straight into her bed and not a peep until I go in and wake her up at 5. At day care she rarely naps. I'm hoping that's just part of an adjustment. At daycare she's either on the couch or on a mat on the floor in the open. She still really does need that nap. "No nap" days are no fun by bedtime.

She's a night owl and does not like to be woken up early in the morning. If left to her own devices, she'd go down between 8:30 – 9 pm, be up at 8:30 – 9 am, eat lunch around 1 pm and down for a nap at 2. That was our schedule when Will was first born and I was home. If I have to actually wake her up instead of just going in when I notice that she's up (and she won't call out for me…she just hangs out in her bed), she's pretty darn cranky. The first 15 – 20 minutes of being up are always a good snuggle time. She's not too interested in doing anything but that and watch some TV.

She can climb into her crib, but she has yet to try to climb out. She just calls for me till I come.

By the end of February, she's stopped doing bottles altogether at night…we do a sippy cup of water that she'll hold as we rock and read. Then she'll say "All done" and put it on her night stand. Part of me is glad – but part of me hates to see the last of these baby things go.

When I rock her, she'll lay her head on my shoulder and run her little hand up and down my arm. I just love that.

She'll say her prayers with me at night by either folding her little hands into a prayer or holding my cheeks in her hands and trying to mimic what I'm saying. She finishes by saying "Ahhhmeee".

Brothers and Sisters

Madelyn loves her little brother. She is constantly stroking his head, giving him kisses, bringing him his binkie. Lately she wants to change his diaper.

Funny story: One day she decided *she* was going to change his diaper. So, she sat between my legs while I took his diaper off and started to wipe him off. She looks at his boy parts and then up at me like, "what the heck, Mom?!?!". So, I said, "those are Will's boy parts because he's a boy." She looks back down at him and back at me, then back at him and pokes him. This made Will giggle, so she pokes him again and he giggles again…. It doesn't phase her now – but at first she was pretty darn curious.

When we took William for his 4 month check up and she for her 2 year check up, Madelyn had her shots first.  She cried and we calmed her and wiped her eyes.  When it came time for William's shots, she looked over and him and saw what was about to happen and big tears sprung to her eyes and she leaned over and started trying to shush him before he even uttered a peep.  My baby was crying because my baby was sad and sweet that is!

Sometimes Madelyn doesn't love Will. When she's really needing some love she'll pat the swing and say, "Mama, BABY!" and want me to put him down so we can play (typically it's when she wants to dance). When I was on maternity leave, she really had a hard time of things in the morning. I always tried to get her up before I got Will up so we could have time together. If he woke up and started crying, she'd grab my hand and just hold it tight in her lap while staring at the TV as if to will me not to move. She really doesn't like it when Will cries, particularly at bedtime if we're reading a story. She'll try to shush him and give him his binky. She doesn't understand it when he doesn't calm down and she'll start crying. Those are the times that break my heart because I know that she really, really wants her Mama and she's not going to get as much time as she used to.

She doesn't like it if we get into the car. She'll say, "Mama, baby!! Baby!!" as if to say, "Hey lady, aren't you forgetting someone?"

She's always talking to him in her little gibberish and trying to make him laugh.

Now that he giggles, she tries to tickle him.

He watches her constantly – and it's just amazing when they look at each other and start interacting. I just love those moments.

That Face

Madelyn is just like her Mama – her emotions are written all over her face. She'll give me the side eye when she's trying to avoid me. She and I get into some serious locked eye battle of wills. I'm still winning. For now.

She has an infectious laughter and she now tries to mimic our smiles and sing songy voice when we talk to Will.

She will try to bat her eyes and tilt her head and grin when she wants us to do something.


This is where I admit my kid watches way more TV than I thought I'd ever let her. Every time I see another parent talk about a movie their 2 year old has seen or a character they love, I don't feel like I'm scaring her for life quite so much.

But she does – she loves TV. And I do my best to always interact with her – we talk about what we're seeing and I try to pick shows that include dancing or doing things (i.e. The Wiggles, Monkey See, Monkey Do). Her favorites include:

• The Wiggles

• Monkey See, Monkey Do

• Caillou

• Sesame Street

• Chuggington

• A Bee Movie (During the movie she'll say, "mama, Go, Bee, GO!")

• Santa Clause is Coming to Town

• Happy Feet (with a LOT of fast forwards over the scary parts)

• Madagascar 2 (with a LOT of fast forwards – and I have to say, this is a favorite for Jim and I…we quote it all the time)

• Merry Madagascar

• All 3 Tinkerbell Movies

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snips & Snails

~*~ Edit: I wrote this over 2 months ago, with the intention of uploading some photos and posting. That obviously didn't happen, so I'll share it with you and try to keep up better with my blog~*~

I've never been very good at keeping up on Madelyn's Love Letters....and I suspect that now that I have two children, it's not going to be any better....

But I have thoughts rumbling in my head I wanted to put on paper, so to speak.  So here's my first love letter to William.

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of !"

My dearest little William.  I'll admit when I looked at the sonogram screen and realize I was growing a boy, I was flabberasted.  It's not as though I didn't realize it was just didn't seem likely.  Your dad makes girls!  So I was floored.  And overwhelmed.  Girls I know.  Girls I can deal with.  They are sugar and spice and everything nice...and being a girly girl myself, I'm all over that.
But boys?  What do I do with a boy?
And everyone kept telling me I'd get it.  And truthfully, I didn't believe them.  I didn't ever believe I could be nearly as good a mama to a boy as to a girl.
And you know what I've realized in the last 20 days?  You and me?  We're going to be like peas and carrots....because while Madelyn is my emotional mini me and I will spend a lot of time teaching her how to harness her spirit to serve her, you were put on this earth to ease my soul.
Already you are my peaceful child.
Already when I hold you, I feel confident and accomplished.  I don't stress.  I know what I'm doing and I'm doing a good job.
Part of that is me.  I've been around this block and around it with a newborn that gave me a run for my money.  She cried.  A LOT.  She was difficult to sooth.  Her tummy hurt her all the time and that made for a very stressed out mama.
But you?  Okay - so you don't suck very well and we're pumpng exclusively again.  But this time, God was kind and 3 pumps a day gives me enough milk to feed you for the day and a bit more for the freezer.  That's not how it was with your sister or I wouldn't be doing this again.
You?  You're calm.  You love to just lay in my arms and watch the world, when you're not sleeping that is.  And that sleeping bit?  It's a blessing.  Your sister didn't do much of that as a newborn or a young infant and it nearly drove your mama to the brink of insanity.  But not sleep.  Not always when I want you to - but enough that I can sleep a bit too.

I cannot express in words how in love with you I am, my beautiful, perfect little man.