Friday, May 30, 2014

8 weeks... going on 18...

Well, it's official. Rosie hit 8 weeks old today.

She's heading off to college tomorrow.

I know, I know, not really, but it kinds feels like it's going that fast. I can't even begin to explain how DIFFERENT it feels this time around, how FAST she is changing, and how much more I want her to STOP changing! The third baby, you guys. The third baby.

So, what's an 8 week old unfathomably adorable baby doing these days? You know, all the classic newborn stuff:

Rosie eats.
Around every 2-3 hours during the day. She continues to be a champion nurser and really the only time we ever hear her cry is when she's hungry or when she's eaten too fast and needs to burp. Well, she also cries every time I buckle her in the carseat, but usually ONLY during the buckling process. Once she's in and the carseat is moving, she's usually fine. Thank goodness.

Rosie smiles.
It's amazing. She started doing it around 5 1/2 weeks, and we LOVE it. At first she would only smile for me (good girl.) but she quickly started smiling for David, and now will smile for Henry and Maggie too, when they get really close to her face and talk to her. Because of this, there is A WHOLE LOT of googly baby talk happening in our house, because the rumors are true: babies really do love baby talk.

Rosie spits-up.
Actually, it would really be more accurate to say that Rosie projectile vomits. Seriously, it's intense. The crazy thing is, she usually does absolutely nothing. For most of her feedings, she eats, she burps, we're done. No spit-up. Tada!
But then, every once in a while, with no warning, she will seriously puke up an ENORMOUS amount of milk. Like, everything she ate. Ounces and ounces and ounces- soaking her clothes, my clothes, whatever piece of furniture we're sitting on, and occasionally any people or pets who are in the vicinity as well. It is EPIC! And then, as soon as she's done, she's happy as a clam again. Smiling and cooing like nothing ever happened.
But of course, I am not happy. I am upset. I am concerned. I am covered with milk. I worry that this is not normal and that she probably has the Ebola virus or a busted stomach valve or is deathly allergic to whatever I ate today. (Because, apparently, having done this whole 'baby thing' twice before has in no way lessened my tendency to think that the sky is falling.)
I also am convinced that she MUST be hungry again in 10 minutes, because there is NO WAY there's anything left in her stomach after that, so I try to feed her again, and guess what? If I feed her again, she pukes again. Duh.
However, if I can climb out of my hormone haze and CALM DOWN and NOT feed her again, she's happy for the next 3 hours, then eats again with no problem.
There seems to be no clear trigger, but I suspect that it happens when she eats way too much, way too fast. I tend to overproduce anyway and I have a fast let-down, and sometimes when she's really hungry, I just think she can't regulate herself. Sort of like the way I am when brownies are in the house.
The good news is that, it seems to be happening with less and less regularity; she did it day before yesterday, but before that it had been almost a week since the last time. I'd love for her to grow out of that, ASAP. The laundry it creates is a total drag.

Rosie sleeps.
This always the tricky part. The delicate part. The part that, when it's going well, we hesitate to even speak of it aloud, because we might RUIN IT BY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.
But, for posterity, (and because I am well aware that we are still in the blessed 4th trimester, and that she may, at any moment, stop doing this and wake up every 45 minutes all night long until she is seven) I feel that I must document that Rosie sleeps.
She sleeps hard.
She sleeps all. night. long.
She usually eats for the last time sometime between 9 and 11pm, and then sleeps until somewhere between 5 and 7am. It is an amazing and blessed thing, and I have done nothing to make it happen or to deserve it, and I am just so unbelievable thankful. SO THANKFUL, THANK YOU, JESUS.
She's been doing it for about 2 weeks now; before that she was doing the same schedule, but waking up at about 3am to eat. Once last week and once this week, she's still woken up around 3 to eat, which honestly, is fine by me. She goes right back to sleep afterwards, so it feels like no big deal at all.
We've had a couple tough nights where she's either up a lot, or fussy and hard to get back to sleep, but none for the past 3 weeks, so we're in a great stretch right now. I will miss it when it is gone, but I am so very glad it is here now.

Sweet Baby RosiePosy,
We love you so much! It's hard to believe that you've only been here for 8 weeks- you seem like such a fixture in our family already. We love your sweet smile, your gurgly noises, your lovely disposition, and yes, even your tiny balding head.
You have brought your brother and sister such joy over the past two months- they LOVE to hold you and sing to you and talk to you. You are the first thing they ask about in the morning- "Where's Rosie?" they say, bleary eyes scanning the living room. Henry especially is not happy with me when I go places and take you with me, he thinks that you'd much rater stay with him. Maggie is present at every one of your diaper changes and swaddlings and loves to lay next to you when you're on the floor having tummy time. She's already decided that you are her sidekick.
Your daddy and I are completely smitten as well. We weren't entirely certain we were up for this whole three kids thing. When it's all theoretical, it's hard to be convinced. But you. You have absolutely won us over. Absolutely and completely.
My favorite time with you is at night. When everyone else is sleeping. I love the weight of your little body, falling asleep on my chest as we sit on the sofa. I love the feel of your tiny hands, opening and closing against my skin. I love snuggling you into bed next to me for a late-night or early-morning snack. I love watching you sleep in your tiny bassinet next to us, your chest rising gently, your little mouth making that tiny, perfect o shape. You might not be quite as tiny anymore, but you're still perfect.
We are so very lucky that you are ours.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I A Big Girl

In the months before Rosie was born, Maggie went through a mid-toddler-life crisis.

Half the time, she was a big girl. She wanted to pick out her clothes and set the table and climb into the van by herself and take care of her baby doll, and be the boss of everyone. And she would announce it loudly; "I a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG girl," she'd say, standing up especially tall and puffing out her chest as she said it.

The other half of the time, she was NOT a big girl. She was a BABY. And she would tell us so, in those exact words. "I NOT a big girl, I a BABY. I BABY Maggie." She wanted to crawl and be "uppy" (picked up) and be rocked and sung to and snuggled in blankets and carried all over the dang house.

This was one of these parenting things that I wasn't really sure how to handle. Do I indulge the baby regression? Do I push for big girl behavior? What do all the Smart Moms do? 

For awhile, I did both. Indulged the baby play (which yes, at times was annoying, but I sort of, maybe, really loved, because I also was going through a pre-birth emotional crisis about Maggie no longer being my baby), but acted super excited when she was a big girl. 

And then, somehow, this game evolved:
Maggie would announce, for whatever reason, "No I a big girl, I a BABY!" 
And I would say, "Oh, you're BABY Maggie?" 
And she'd say, "Yah, I Baby Maggie." 
And I'd say "Oh, Baby Maggie is so cute and cuddly! But, wait a minute... if you are Baby Maggie, then where is my Big Girl Maggie? Where did she go?? I love her! I will miss her so much!" And then, I'd fake-cry until Big Girl Maggie came back.

Kids love fake crying, FYI, and this became a favored game in our house for quite a while. I mean for WEEKS, we did this EVERY day, often SEVERAL times a day. Henry also liked it, and would occasionally ask out of the blue, "Hey Mags, are you a baby or a big girl right now?" trying to goad her into starting the game.

Now, I'm not sure exactly why, or exactly how, or even exactly when, but the whole reason I started typing this post was because I realized this morning that we haven't played that game in at least two months. Since sometime well before Rosie came.

The crisis is over. She decided. She's absolutely a big girl.

I mean, I knew it all along, but it's nice that she's on board with the whole thing, you know?

Now, for your viewing pleasure, further evidence that Maggie is TOTES a big girl, presented in Top Five fashion, since everyone loves a list:


5. She got the stomach bug a couple of months back. Took it like a champ. Threw up all.night.long and didn't cry once. She's a soldier.

4. Her hair has gotten super long. And sometimes pointy.

3. She has developed Big Girl Opinions and Big Girl Vanity. She wants to pick out her clothes, her shoes, her accessories and decide how we're doing her hair every day. And then she wants to show off.

Oh, yeah. You see that correctly. Maggie uses the big girl potty. Again, like a champ.
Around Valentine's day she decided that underwear was cool and said that she wanted to wear her big girl undies. (We had a few pairs that a friend had given us.) I thought it was a fluke- remember, she JUST turned two in December- so I explained that you can't wear undies until you're ready to put your peepee in the big potty.

And then she called my bluff. She said "Otay, I peepee in potty." So, I took off her diaper, set her on the potty, and that kid screwed up her face in concentration... and peed.


So, I HAD to let her wear the underwear. I mean, I told her to do it, AND SHE DID IT. That day I'd sit her on the potty every hour or so, and ever time, she'd make a really serious face... and she'd pee. And I'd let her keep wearing the underwear, because, Day 1 of Accidental Potty Training and NO ACCIDENTS.

Obviously, we were sticking with this. About a week later, (and, yes, our fair share of accidents, the first day was a miraculous fluke) she was truly potty trained. She rocks.

Also, here's my potty training hack for all of you who might have it looming in your future: buy an extra potty and put in the back of your van. It's fantastic. Saves you from road-trip emergencies, nasty, unusable public restrooms, and parks without a bathroom.

And... DRUMROLL PLEASE... The number one reason that Maggie is officially a Big Girl...

1. She gave up her pacis.
I know it might seem like potty training should take the number one slot, but it's DEFINITELY the pacis that win for me. I mean, I knew that EVENTUALLY she'd use the potty but I seriously had a deep seated fear that she would never, ever, ever be able to go to sleep without a paci. Or four pacis, because she preferred to have LOTS in bed with her.

At her 2yr checkup the pediatrician walked in the room and was like "So, she still uses a pacifier?" and I was like "DARK MAGIC, HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!" Seriously, it caught me so off guard. I mean, she only had them in her bed at home, we didn't carry them around, there was no paci in sight, was I wearing a sign that said "Bad Pacifier Mother"?!?!

Apparently, he could tell by her teeth. She smiled when he walked in and he could tell immediately. I was truly panicked- first because I thought I ruined her mouth, but mostly because I THOUGHT I HAD ANOTHER YEAR? I thought 3 was the magic age for no-more-pacis?!?! Why are you changing it up on me?!?!

He kindly told me that it was no big deal, we should just think about getting rid of it soon, maybe after the new baby came and things had calmed down a bit. Though I appreciated his understanding, I didn't have the heart to tell him that it would probably be about 18 years after the new baby came that things would "calm down a bit."

I decided to take his advice though, and at least wait until after Rosie was born. We were also kind of in the middle of potty training when we had that appointment, (it was in February. I was two months late for her checkup. I just... was busy?) and I felt like we should spread out the transitions a little. For my sake AND hers. But, about a month ago, the window of opportunity presented itself- Maggie said she wanted a bike like Henry.

Now, in case you haven't noticed, I should probably go ahead and confess that my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE way to parent is bribery.

We can dress it up if you want and call it motivational tools, or working towards a goal or reward-based parenting, but let's call a spade a spade- I bribe my kids and I will never stop.

The next time Maggie said she wanted a bike like Henry, I told her YES! She could have one! I explained that whenever she was ready, she could take all her pacis to Target and trade them in for a big girl bike AND a princess helmet. She's not really used to getting whatever she wants as soon as she asks for it, so she was truly stunned. It was kinda funny.

"Otay?" she said. "I get pincess bike and pincess helemet?"
"YES!" I said! "But, you have to be all done with pacis. We will leave them at Target for another baby to have and you can have a princess bike and a princess helmet."
"I get a pincess bike?" she repeated. "And a pincess helmet? I keep it?" Clearly it was still sounding too good to be true.
"YES!" I said again, "But you have to be alllll done with pacis, becuase if we leave them at Target they are all gone. So you can snuggle with your blankies and your bunny and your Minnie Mouse, but you won't have any pacis to sleep with. But you will have a BIKE! Is that okay? Do you want to do that?"
"I GET A PINCESS BIIIIIIIKE" she screamed and started jumping and shrieking all over the living room.

I was a little worried that she didn't fully understand the trade-off, so I told her we'd go to Target tomorrow and tonight she could PRACTICE sleeping without her pacis so that she'd be ready to trade them for a big girl bike tomorrow.

This child, the one who had NEVER ONCE gone to sleep without a pacifier since about 2 months of age, this child who insisted on sleeping with AT LEAST 2 pacis, but would really prefer 3 or 4, this child who regularly woke up in the middle of the night crying because she couldn't find her paci, forcing us to crawl around on the floor in the dark, guided only by the light of an iphone screen until we found the beloved paci's, THIS VERY SAME CHILD climbed in her bed and went straight to sleep without a single peep.

It felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

The next day David took that kid to Target and bought her a bike (tricycle, really) and a 'pincess' helmet. Because she's awesome.

Now, the epilogue to this story is that although Maggie continue to go to bed at night sans paci with no problems whatsoever, after the first day, she stopped napping.

Could. Not. Go. To. Sleep.

Again, every night, passed out without a problem; every naptime, wide-freaking-awake for two entire epically-long, god-forsaken hours. I stuck it out for ten days, and then I caved.

I told her I had found one lone paci under the couch (lie. i had saved all the pacis. out of fear.) and it could be her naptime paci. BUT ONLY NAPTIME, OKAY MAGPIE??

It worked. Naptime is back. Bedtime is paci-free and fine. Maybe I shouldn't have wimped out, but seriously, I have a newborn, I NEEDED MY GIRL TO NAP. Plus, we've still cut down from like 12-14 hours per day of paci time to 2 hours per day of paci time. Without tears.

I'm still calling that a win. I'm still calling Maggie a Very, Very, Very Big (and incredibly cute, stubborn, sweet, and cuddly) Girl.

Not to mention that she's shaping up to be a kick-ass big sister, too.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Krispy Kreme

David prefers a cake-like donut.
I prefer a yeast donut. (And, ideally, I'd like it to be Hot & Now!)
We're a family divided.

But, I'm hoping to bring the kids over to my side. I think it's working.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

We Heart Sunshine

But, if we can't have it, we'll take a living room tent.
Thunderstorms, we welcome you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Four Is Really Big

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Henry turned four.

This seemed like an appropriate opening line because it acknowledges that I am insufferably late in posting about his birthday AND honors the fact that we initially started with a Star Wars theme for his party.

The Star Wars theme was mostly because he wanted a Rancor cake for his birthday. In case you're not a Star Wars aficionado/geek, the Rancor is a VERY minor character that appears ONCE for like FIVE MINUTES in Episode VI. He lives under Jabba the Hut's throne room and is all claws and teeth and slime and Henry absolutely adores him. ADORES.

He had told us months ahead of time that he wanted Mumsie to make him a Rancor cake for his fourth birthday. (Mumsie makes the kids' birthday cakes because she makes incredible cakes and I make funfetti cakes. So she wins.) I tried to explain to him that I didn't think that was going to work, a Rancor would be really hard to make out of icing, and wouldn't he like a (insert a million different cool cake ideas here) cake, but he would not budge. A RANCOR CAKE. Like he thinks we're on Cake Boss or something.

When he told Mumsie that he wanted a Rancor cake, I again interjected with some reality; "I don't think Mumsie can make a Rancor cake, bud..." and then Mumsie said "Of course I can make a Rancor cake!" because grandmothers are mothers who have forgotten how to say NO. They make wishes come true. Not unlike Disneyland.

She bought a Lego Rancor figurine, made a chocolate cake, a gooey praline-slime topping, and a bunch of bones out of pie crust, and dammit if it that woman didn't come up with a Rancor cake.

Henry loved it. He still (three months later) sleeps with the Rancor figure on the table next to his bed, and every time anyone mentions cake he says "Remember that Rancor cake Mumsie made me for my birthday when I was four?"
We absolutely remember, Henry. Absolutely.

The true theme for this birthday really ended up being "Ferocious Beasts" since in the end he was torn between his love of the Rancor, his love of sharks, and his love of dinosaurs. But, in reality, the dinosaurs won out, I think. We sent out a dino invitation, he got a new dino bed as his big gift from us, and about 95% of his gifts... were dinosaur themed. INCLUDING a hand-stitched T-rex pillow from his Nana to grace his new bed. We're truly swimming in dinosaurs over here, guys.

His party was great, obviously:

Full of friends, food, fun, and... did I mention the dinosaurs?

We also had a great time celebrating as a family that weekend. Henry requested bagels as his birthday breakfast (because loving carbs is genetic) and then later that morning, David & I set up his new bed while he & Maggie watched a movie.

Lest you think we're super lame for giving him a BED as a present, let me clarify that ever since we gave Maggie a big girl bed for HER birthday, Henry has asked for a new bed for HIS birthday. David's parents had an extra twin bed that they were getting rid of, so it seemed like a no-brainer, we just needed to get him a comforter & sheet set.

I was really torn between getting him Star Wars bedding and dinosaur bedding, but the monstrous price tag on Pottery Barn's twin Star Wars set made the decision for me. (Don't they know that KIDS are sleeping in these beds?!? And they occasionally pee and vomit at night? And somehow mysteriously get ALL surfaces sticky over time?)

He was hilariously thrilled when he saw his new bed all put together and EVERY DAY he asks me to help him make his bed in the morning because he likes to see "all the dinosaurs all spread out." Plus, I've already had to wash that comforter twice, so I do feel like I made the right decision, POTTERY BARN.


I feel like it's a good thing that I was late getting your birthday post together because it's given me a little more time to reflect. Four is big. Really, really big. To you, turning four was like what turning sixteen is to a teenager- you felt like the whole world opened up. You got a new bed, you get to sit in a booster seat instead of a carseat, you get to stay in part of the service at church and then go the big kids class. You can reach the faucet handle and the light switches. You love to tell me that "four is really big" and I've come to agree with you.

I tell you almost every day to please STOP GROWING. You always refuse, telling me that you have to keep eating healthy food, so you have to keep growing. (Such awesome logic.) Then I quiz you, saying okay, but if you have to keep growing, do you promise to still love Mommy when you are a grown-up? When you're a teenager? How about when you're in middle schoool? When you're really REALLY big and you have your own kids?

You answer yes, to every question, without hesitation. "Yes! Yesssss, Mommy, I'll still love you. But I gotta keep growing."

"Okay" I finally say. "Okay, as long as you promise." And then you usually ask for a snack because you're a bottomless pit.

I love how fun you are these days- how much you have to say, the way you love top 40 radio, your concepts of time and justice, your sense of humor, the inventive ways you describe things. I love that you ask me if we can "make this day go by fast" when there's something you're looking forward to, or that every Saturday you ask if we can "make this day go slow" because you're so excited that it's the weekend and that Daddy's home. I love how much you love to learn, and that you ASK to do worksheets and read books and practice letters and go to the library. I love the way you get excited about new ideas and ask question after question until you feel like you've explored a new concept fully. I especially LOVE the way you love others- the way you think about your friends and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, the way you take care of your sisters, how compassionate you are, and how you'd prefer that we just all be together all the time. Every day should be Saturday!

Dad & I are considering putting you in a 2 or 3 day preschool program in the fall, and even though I know you'd do great, I sort of hate the idea. Because I am selfish. I don't want to share you. Not even a litte. I don't want to miss out any part of you while you're this small (big! big, yes, I know you're actually BIG, but from another perspective, also very small.) Because next year you'll be five, and then you'll go to kindergarten and then huge chunks of your life will begin to happen apart from me.

And even though I think that's a really, really great and necessary thing, it's also kind of sad. So far, we've been constant companions, you & I, for four years, and even though we irritate each other a fair amount (it drives me bonkers when you whine or use baby-talk, and it drives you bonkers when I make you share something 'special' or don't IMMEDIATELY answer your questions) I still cherish every single minute that we've been together.

Everyone talks about this being a "season" of life with very young children, and how fast it will be over, and all that nonsense and it wasn't really until we started to talk about maybe doing preschool that it hit me for some reason- it IS a season. It WILL be over. It IS so very fast. You were right, Henry. You ARE really, really big. And also really, really small. And I really, really love you.

So, Happy Birthday, buddy! Can't wait to see what you'll request for next year's cake.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Be Yourself

We tell them "be yourself!" and then give them costumes and encourage them to pretend to be someone else.
Slightly confusing, but super cute, so I'm gonna keep doing it.
Darth Vader



a "goofy guy"

Minnie Mouse