Has it already been another month???

Wow.  It’s already been another month and my girls continue to grow, much to my dismay.  We’ve had a lot going on this last month.  We moved from our home of Irvine to 65 miles away (La Canada Flintridge).  And so much has happened with our girls:

Sia – 5 months20130730_130420-MIX

  • Started sitting up and can now sit with pretty good stability
  • Rolling everywhere!  I will put her in one place and leave for a few seconds and next thing I know, she’s scooting around on the hardwood floor or stuck under the couch or inching along under the coffee table
  • Was in her first car wreck 🙁  We were rear-ended on the freeway.  Luckily no one seems to be hurt.  It just scared all of us
  • At long last, doubled her birth weight.  She was right around 13 lbs 12 oz right when she turned 5 months and yesterday (the last day of her 5th month), she was 14 lbs 12 oz
  • We made it!!!!  We made it to 6 months on exclusively breast milk!  I’m proud of us!
  • Very vocal – coos and sings
  • Laughs heartily
  • Happy child.  Really only cries when she’s hungry, tired and sometimes when she needs to be changed.  Or of course if something hurts.
  • Wakes up every 3 hours and eats.  Tough on me but luckily she goes right back to bed.  We’ve been trying to put her in her crib awake so she can learn to fall asleep on her own but haven’t been able to let her cry it out; it’s a little early to sleep train, IMO.
  • Is wearing 3-6 month/6 month clothing
  • Is holding on to objects for longer than just a few seconds, knocks down stuff on the table while sitting in my lap, and actually enjoys playing with toys

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Karina

  • 20130730_134942Language has been amazing.  Told her dad he needed to cooperate.  Ha!
  • Sings ‘America the Beautiful’ beautifully.
  • Has been surprising us by knowing the words to pop songs like Rumor has it, Just the way you are, and Next to Me
  • Doesn’t try to drive as much as before but wants to climb into the stroller and carseat by herself.
  • Is VERY friendly with adults.  When someone comes to the door, she tells them “I’m Karina!  I’m two!”
  • Has been approaching other kids and tries to talk and play with them at the park, etc.
  • A little pickier with food than she was earlier.  Likes to eat fruit, Rice and Beans, Fried Rice, grill cheese, fries, chicken nuggets, broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, pizza, spaghetti, cinnamon toast
  • Likes puzzles, trains, watching movies/cartoons, playing on the computer, painting, play-doh, LEGOs, magnetiles.  She’s starting to copy the figures in the LEGO book
  • Is able to read most three letter words. I actually hear her trying to sound out words even when she’s alone.  Like the stool she uses for the toilet – it says “primo” on it and she’ll try to read that or if I put words on her easel with magnetic letters, she’ll sit in her playroom and read them
  • Favorite books this month: 5 minute princess tales, pinkalicious, Curious George, Disney bedtime stories.  All are collections of stories; she likes to pick which story to read.
  • Napping was all over the place.  No more driving to get her to fall asleep.  Some days she fought the nap so much that I gave up, only to have her fall asleep at 4:45, wrecking her bedtime.
  • Wakes up a couple times a night.  Sometimes to go to the bathroom, sometimes to try to make her way into our room.  Getting her to go to bed at night has been a challenge.  Takes a LOOOOONG time
  • Picked out her pajamas (and no longer calls them jajamas 🙁 )from the drawer, sat down and dressed herself completely (underwear, shirt and pants) for the first time.  It made me cry because I was so proud and it’s so obvious how big she’s getting.
  • Will fight us to wash her hands but once she starts, she won’t stop.
  • Almost daily, still wishes her dad a Happy Father’s Day and me a Happy Birthday and both of us a Happy Anniversary, even though all those days have passed.
  • Still loves her sister – smiles at her and says “wakey wakey sleepyhead!” when we go get her from her nap or when she wakes up in the morning
  • Misuses the words “scary,” and “tasty,” which I find adorable
  • Lots of “I don’t wanna…”
  • Lets me cut her nails but hates sitting still so I can comb her hair
  • Is no longer a t-rex.  Is now an alligator.  For someone as soft and cuddly as her, she sure does see herself as spiny and fierce!
  • WEighs about 25.5 pounds.  Sigh.  Never gains weight.

It’s been a crazy but wonderful month. This morning I wanted to take the girls to the library for Toddler story time.  The local librarian does a fantastic job with music, toys, books, etc.  But it didn’t work out.  I let her pick out her clothes.  She seemed offended by my choices.  Then, after chasing Karina around the house in a funny squat-run while holding her ponytail, I finally got her hair done.  She proceeded to try on all her winter hats as if we were in Minnesota in January instead of Southern California in August.  Messed up her hair, of course, but that’s ok.  For some reason she likes to wear her dog hat sideways so its face is on the side instead of in the front.  It’s funny.  I let her pick out her sister’s clothes.  She ridiculed me as I got dressed.  “Your booty is SOOO boooooty.”  I don’t even know what that means but it can’t be good.  After getting all three of us dressed, I packed a snack for her and threw in a load of laundry.  Took her to pee so we could go.  Denied needing to pee but then peed about a gallon.  Wanted to wipe and wipe and wipe and then wipe some more.  Left bits of TP all over the bathroom – looked like we had a raccoon or something.  I suggested we go to the library.  Again, offended.  I gave up.  We stayed home.

Big Month

A lot’s been going on over the last 6 weeks and before I forget, I want to jot down some of what’s been going on:

Sia – 4 months

  • Rolled over from back to tummy and tummy to back at three months, three weeks old.
  • began grasping things
  • looking out the window in the car
  • scoots/pushes with her legs
  • profile pic for gDiapers’ facebook page
  • Took her second airplane flight in June to celebrate her Aaji’s birthday
  • 3-6 month clothing
  • follows Karina around the room with her eyes
  • sleep regression!!!! from 7-10 hours per night to much much less
  • fully in medium diapers
  • gnaws on her hand and is drooling some
  • Started sucking her thumb at four months, three weeks old
  • Laughing outloud at four months, three weeks.
  • Enjoys being in the exersaucer
  • Soothes herself to sleep at night but am still working on getting her to go down for her naps more easily

Karina – 29  months

  • Started school again
  • Sounding out words – van, up, box, fox, map, sun, pass
  • Jumped!!!!
  • Started using words like actually, otherwise, because
  • compound sentences
  • climbs in and out of her booster herself
  • modified abc song, makes up songs too
  • Can recite the Gayatri mantra
  • attempting to ride a three wheeled scooter
  • taking forever to fall asleep but at least she stays in bed pretty much all night!
  • Favorite song to sing is “Hurry hurry drive your fire truck!”

gDiapers While Out and About

One thing I love about gDiapers is how versatile they are.  I can still use them easily while away from home.  A reader asked if I could do a post on how I do that so here goes!

Out and About for a few hours
What to pack:

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I take my gDiapers with me everywhere.  With baby #2, I actually haven’t bought any disposable diapers at all and she’s almost four months (I’m kinda proud of that).  With my first daughter, I always kept a regular disposable or two in my diaper bag to be on the safe side.  I tend to overpack so take that into consideration!  Usually when I leave the house, I put two fully assembled gDiapers and an extra pouch into my diaper bag, along with disposable wipes (I prefer the gDiapers brand wipes as well), small wet bag, and a changing pad all in my diaper bag.  I also usually have two disposable inserts in my bag at all times, in case I’m in a rush and don’t pack everything I need.  If I’m going to be out for a long while,  I will take additional cloth as well.  I have this

wetbag drawstring wet bag.  I like it because it has a nice wide top so i don’t have to worry about getting my hands dirty and I can easily shake out the contents.

Sometimes I stuff the gDiapers with cloth inserts and sometimes I just stuff them with the disposable inserts.  Usually I just take into account how long we’re going to be out and how far we’re going.  For longer drives or occasions where I won’t have an easy way to change her, I prefer using the disposable inserts because they hold more than the cloth inserts do.  If I’m just heading out to the market, then cloth works great and is my preference.  The important part is that they’re assembled ahead of time so the diaper change is as easy and quick as possible.

The change (cloth insert):
Usually I just swap out the diaper.  If I’m using cloth, and it’s a wet diaper, I throw the cloth insert into the wet bag and drop it into my dry pail when I get home.  If it’s a dirty diaper, I unsnap the pouch with the insert inside, roll it up and throw it in the wet bag.  Some people swish the insert in the toilet but I’m not comfortable doing that in a public bathroom.  Right now I’m only dealing with EBF poo so it’s no big deal.  When she starts solids, I will shake out as much of the mess as I can into the toilet and then put it into the wet bag.  Or to make things even easier, you can use disposable/flushable liners on top of your cloth.

After swapping the diaper out, I then assemble the diaper for the next change, toss any wipes I used in the trash, and throw the wetbag into my diaper bag.  If there’s a leak, I toss the pants into the wet bag too.  I’ve never had stink issues.  I have, however, forgotten to bring my wet bag.  In those instances, I use a plastic bag if I have one or wrap the insert in a pouch and paper towels and hope it doesn’t get things around it wet.  One of my diaper bags has a plastic pouch built in so I use that.

The Change (Disposable Insert):
If I’m using a disposable insert and I’m using a changing table within a bathroom stall, I will rip up the insert and flush it.  If the changing table is outside the stall, then I just roll it up and toss it.  If it’s a dirty diaper, I take the pouch and put it in my wet bag.  If I’m at someone’s house, I usually put the insert into my wet bag and dispose of it when I come home.  You never know who has a septic tank and the refills aren’t recommended for septic tanks.  Since my baby is exclusively breastfed, I sometimes will rinse out the pouch before putting it in the wet bag.

The Aftermath (or the Afterparty if you please):
When I come home, I just dispose of the disposable inserts like I normally would, drop the pouches and wet bag into the dirty laundry and the cloth inserts into the dry pail.  That’s it!

Traveling with gDiapers
Usually when I travel, I use the disposable inserts.  It just makes life much easier.  The only exception is if I’m going for an overnight trip or if I’m staying with my in-laws who have a washing machine and usually have cloth diaper safe detergent at their house.  It’s like our second home so it’s fine.  In general, you don’t want to wash the diapers in public washing machines because they may have detergent build up, which may transfer to the inserts and then you have to strip them.  If you do plan on washing while traveling, I’d suggest taking Soap Nuts so you can take just what you need without worrying about spills or measuring like you would with liquid detergent.  When I go up to my in-laws’,  I take a regular pail liner/wet bag with me to store the inserts between washes and just keep it on the floor of the bathroom (we usually don’t share a bathroom with anyone else).  If I’m just going for an overnight trip, then I just take a wet bag and do what I would do while out and about for the day.

Usually while travelling, I pack 2.5 gPants per day and 1.5 pouches per pant.  The nice part about the pants and pouches is that you can wash those without any concerns about detergent build up.  In an all-in-one cloth diaper, you would have to be more careful.  I also take the usual number of diaper changes per day and add an extra two per day to calculate the number of inserts I’ll need.  If you’re going to be gone for a while, you might want to consider ordering disposable inserts online and having them delivered so you don’t have to take up so much space in your suitcase.  I’m never sure about how good the toilets are at hotels so I usually just throw them away instead of flushing and rinse the pouches so that they’re not too gross when I get home.

I try to balance convenience with greenliness (how do ya like THAT word???).  If you’re comfortable using only cloth inserts and cloth wipes, great!  If it’s too much hassle, you can use the disposable inserts and wipes – gDiapers are flexible!

Mama Guilt is a Bitch

Until a few months ago, I had never heard the term “Mama Guilt.”  When I heard it, I knew instantly what it was because I breathe it every moment of my life, it seems.  Here are a few examples of what my mama guilt is like.  I feel mama guilt because:

  • I put my little one in Montessori school at a very young age.  She could barely speak and cried often when I took her there and when I picked her up.  It felt so cruel to send her out in the world alone!
  • I took her out of school because she was getting sick a lot (which is normal) but I was about to give birth to her sister and couldn’t afford to keep getting sick after baby #2 was born and also wanted to avoid the little getting sick.  The guilt came because she was really enjoying school and I was starting to see the benefit of her being there.
  • I put her BACK in school this week.  She’s been crying from the time she remembers she’s going to school in the morning to the time I drop her off.  I feel so guilty that I hold her hand or rub her leg/foot while driving, even though she’s all the way in the back seat.  I sing little bunny foo foo on the way there while fighting back my own tears on the slim chance that it will save a few of hers.  So in case you weren’t counting, that’s triple guilt for the same issue…school.  The stupid part?  She likes it.  She says she likes it and is in a happy mood when I pick her up.  And yet, guilt.
  • My younger one doesn’t get the same kind of attention/mind space that the older one did when she was little.  My only solace is that I don’t doubt that she’s getting the same love.
  • I sometimes (too often) feed my daughter junky food.  And sometimes she eats it in the car.
  • I’m only able to stick to the little one’s bedtime routine a couple days a week.  She deserves a massage and a story at the end of the day.  But sometimes I’m just in a race to get her down for the night before she becomes overtired.

guilt

Sigh.  It’s stifling sometimes.  You just want to do right by your kids.  But it’s hard.  The Mama Guilt eats at you.  From what I can tell, this is just a drop in the bucket in the long road of parenting.  So I better toughen up!

I think the guilt is ok as long as I can be productive with it, rather than being paralyzed by it.   I think in some f’ed up way, it helps me.  It reminds me that my kids are absolutely worth trying to do better.  It motivates me get up and try again the next morning, even if the prior day was a complete failure.  I do have to remind myself to stop and look at what’s going well and what I can be proud of.  I know we must be doing something right because I am so incredibly proud of our two girls.  They are healthy and happy and while I can’t take all the credit for that, I do think that I’m helping them feel secure in their lives.

mamaguilt

So I’ll take that guilt.  And just watch.  I’ll kick it in the nuts, fix what’s wrong and brace myself for the next guilt laden challenge.

Bed sharing…Yay or Nay?

Since I’ve been a mother, I’ve gone back and forth on our views on co-sleeping and specifically bed sharing.  Before we get too far, let me clarify the difference between the two.  Co-sleeping is sleeping near infants/toddlers/children where one another can be seen/heard – so for example, if your infant sleeps in a pack n’ play in your room, you’d be co-sleeping.  Bed sharing is when the infant is actually sleeping in the same bed as you.  When my older daughter was born, I was very much against bed sharing.  I had read that if you start letting your little one sleep with you, you’ll be stuck forever.  And I know people whose 6 and 8 year olds still slept with them and that didn’t appeal to me.  And I valued my sleep.  She slept in her crib in her own room from the day we brought her home from the hospital but we slept in a bed in her room.  When she was a month old, my husband and I were both back in our bedroom and she was in hers.  Then my husband started talking about how nice it would be to have her sleep with us and came up with an argument that went something like this: do you think cavemen and people living in the wild would put their newborns in their own caves just to be eaten by tigers and bears?  Ha.  Ya, I couldn’t argue with that and as silly as the argument was, it did get me thinking about what was natural and meant to be.

In the 28 months of her existence, Miss K has slept with us on and off.  Sometimes it was for our own convenience and sometimes it was because she really liked it and we like making her happy.  I, however, don’t usually enjoy having her sleep with us.  I love having her near and knowing she’s next to me and knowing that she feels secure when sleeping in between me and her dad.  But the reality is that I don’t sleep well.  The other day, she woke up early and came in our room and climbed into bed with us.  She punched her dad and kicked me in the gut at the same time.  Sigh.

When little Super S came along, I definitely didn’t have as strong of an opinion about it because we had gone through ups and downs with her sister. Also, this time around I’m much less about the “shoulds” of parenting and much more about trusting my judgement and paying attention to my child’s wants.  She slept in a bassinet in our room for the first month and has since slept in her own crib in her own room.  If she has a hard time falling back asleep in the morning, sometimes I bring her in to our bed and enjoy the snuggles.  She actually sidles up to me if I pull away and has been doing that since she was first born!  It’s wonderfully warming.  But in general, she’s sleeping in her room.  A couple weeks ago, my grandma came to visit our place.  She is 80-something years old and spent most of her life in India.  I was showing her the baby’s nursery and she said (and I’m translating loosely here) “People in America just send their babies to their own rooms.  They don’t even let them sleep with their parents.”  Basically she was saying I was just throwing my poor helpless baby in big old room all by lonesome and it was mean.  In general, I don’t take much of the pseudo-criticisms that my grandma has to heart but her comment got me thinking.  Should we be letting our little one stay close to us?  Would it make her feel more secure?  Would we bond more/better?  And would she be safer?

As I’ve stated before, I’m semi-crunchy.  I like a lot of the attachment parenting stuff but I also know my limits and am fearful of raising a spoiled child.  I’ve been really battling this one in my head.  I know it’s safer for her to sleep in her own crib but am I being hard on her?

The other day, I heard a piece on NPR about bed sharing and infant death.  Well, I heard part of it…of course during any interesting discussion, both kids pipe up and get crazy so I couldn’t listen as closely as I had wanted to.  I just want to point out that it was dead silent when the stupid BBC was talking about some 70 year old British soccer manager’s retirement.

Anyway, the radio piece talked about how a baby suffocates while sleeping EVERY FIVE DAYS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY alone.  This is heart breaking.  Inappropriate sleeping conditions are the leading cause of accidental death for children in this area.  Scary.  But then people all over the world share beds and have for ages.  So how could it be so bad?

I looked up what the AAP has to say about it and basically they say that co-sleeping is  encouraged but bed sharing is not.  There is evidence that suggests that co-sleeping arrangements decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.  They say it’s ok to feed your little one in bed but then they should return to their own bed, bassinet, etc.  Additionally, there are no studies on the effectiveness of bed sharing devices so they do not endorse those either.  According to them, “Bed-sharing might increase the risk of overheating, rebreathing, or airway obstruction, head covering, and exposure to tobacco smoke,which are all risk factors for SIDS.”

I think what I took away from the radio discussion is that if you plan and prepare, bed-sharing can be  much less risky.  It’s when you’re exhausted and let the baby sleep with you on your soft mattress with billowy blankets and fluffy pillows (Holy shit, I’m guilty of this) that accidents can happen.  Risk obviously increases if you allow your baby to sleep with you while you’re under the influence of drugs (even prescribed medications) or alcohol.  Or if you have other children or even your partner in bed with you. Ya, it feels kind of weird to put your delicate, helpless newborn into a stark, empty crib on a hard mattress but it IS the safest way to sleep.  There are way fewer suffocations and way fewer cases of SIDS when babies sleep this way.

So having read up a little on this, I’m going to continue to put Super S in her crib at night.  No blankets, no toys, no crib bumper, no nuthin’ in it.  And I’m going to stop feeling guilty for it.  Instead I’ll debate with myself whether or not we should move her crib into our room. 😀

Epiphany

A few days ago I had an epiphany.  I realized that the state of my daughter’s hair has a direct correlation to the state of my ire.  The wilder her hair, the more frazzled I am.  So I took some pictures to serve as evidence.

Exhibit A:  Goooooood Morning!  We’re going to the Wild Animal Park today!  Yay!!!!

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Fast forward to the end of the day.  Between me and her dad, we spent a good 30 minutes and four separate tries in a public bathroom trying to get her to pee.  She needed to yet wouldn’t.  I also fed her sister and then changed her in the front seat of our car before going into the park.  As soon as I lifted her legs to put the new diaper underneath her, Super S peed all over the changing pad, her fresh (cloth) diaper, her clothes and the pee dripped onto the seat.  Ya, check out Miss K’s hair at the end of the day:

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Exhibit B:  It’s a sunny day!  No one peed in their beds last night!  Mommy’s going to do some wonderful crafts and activities with the girls!

IMG_20130508_095007Let’s not talk about what happened by the end of the day.  Let’s just say this picture and her hair is accurate again.

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Exhibit C:  Which brings us to today.  Despite multiple middle of the night wake-ups and coming back from feeding an infant just to find a toddler where I normally sleep, today started out pretty good.  Daddy took care of Miss K. so I could catch some extra z’s.  Lookin’ good!

photo (7)I’ll let you guess what today is like.  I took this picture before 10:00 am.

photo (6)I can only conclude that we need to shave Miss K’s head.  A-S-A-Stat.

Having a Newborn the Second Time Around

Becoming a parent for the second time has been so incredibly different than the first time.  I’m more relaxed, more confident, less emotional.  I remember with Miss K, I literally cried at least once a day, everyday, for probably over two weeks – just so incredibly overwhelmed by the wonderfulness of our baby and our new lives together.  This time I find myself still in awe of my new baby – the love I feel for her is almost stifling and when she smiles, my heart stops.  Ok fine.  Now I’m crying so I can’t claim that I didn’t cry this time around…BUT you get the point.  Things are different.  I am able to enjoy Super S in a different way than with Miss K.  With K, I was constantly worried that i was doing something wrong or that something would go wrong with her health.  I can’t help but also check to see if Super S is breathing but it’s not with the same fear – it’s more of a reassurance.

I think the hardest part about motherhood this time around is that I am so incredibly aware of how fast time is passing.  She’s already eleven weeks old.  She’s already grown out of newborn diapers and clothes.  She’s getting big so fast.  And though I’m enjoying (almost) every minute of being a mom to a newborn, it breaks my heart that it’s going by so quickly.  I think I get one more week where I can call her a newborn and then she’s just an infant.  I can’t make time stop but I really wish I could sometimes.

The nice part is that I had forgotten a lot of what it’s like to have a newborn but have been floored by how amazing it is.  Like the way they curl when you pick them up.  Or how frantically they try to eat you.  Or how their head smells when you hold them near.  Or how often they poop in the first weeks.  Or incredibly sweet they look all swaddled up.  Or how they confused and try to turn their heads in the wrong direction when you feed them because they feel your hand on their head.  Or how their little faces break your heart when they cry with that full on pout, complete with pouty lips.  Or how incredibly, wonderfully unaware they are but yet they’re aware of your existence.  Or how their sheer innocence can give you faith in humankind.  Or how they validate your existence.  Sigh.  So nice.

This next paragraph is more for me to help me remember what my baby was like at this age because I have a feeling in the future I will be desperately trying to remember details…So at 11 weeks, Super S laughs, follows our fingers when we move them, smiles, and looks for my voice when she hears it.  She weighs about 11 pounds, 5 ounces.  She seems tall to us – She’s somewhere around 23 inches.  Long and lean with a small head.  I’m going to jinx myself by saying this outloud but Super S sleeps 8+ hours a night.  She eats about every two hours, which translates to about 8-9 feedings a day (I think that’s why she’s able to sleep long stretches at night).  She is wearing 0-3 month and 3 month clothing, depending on the brand and outfit.  We bathe her 2-3 times a week and massage her 4-5 days a week.  I try to read to her daily but don’t always succeed.  We try to bottle feed her a couple days a week to make sure she doesn’t reject it in case we have an emergency and she easily sucks down 4 oz. per feeding. She sleeps in her crib in her room at night but rarely during the day – usually she’s in her carrier, on my chest, or in the swing.  She’s breastfed and she’s beautiful.  Her skin seems lighter than when she was first born and she’s grown out of most of her cradle cap and peeling skin.  When I kiss her face, she opens her mouth like she’s trying to kiss me too.  She coos and talks to us a lot and holds wonderful eye contact.  She recognizes her dad and smiles when she sees him.  When I undo the velcro on her swaddle in the morning, she gives this awesome stretch with both hands above her head.  Usually it’s then that she realizes she’s hungry and lets out a loud yell.  Did I mention she’s beautiful?IMG_20130427_144255

What It’s Like to Have Two Babies

My older daughter is now 27 months and my younger daughter is two months.  When I was pregnant with the second one, I wondered what it would be like.  I worried that I wouldn’t love the second one as much as the first (because it was hard to fathom loving someone else like I loved my first born), I worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle having a newborn and a two year old, especially if she was going through her terrible twos phase.  I worried that I would give one more attention than the other.  Now that I’ve had two for a couple months, I can confidently say that I absolutely love my second daughter as much as my first.  Admittedly, the magic of having a newborn isn’t quite as sparkly as it was the first time but my heart still skips a beat when Super S smiles at me.  And the world kind of slows when she looks at me with her beautiful eyes while I nurse her.  And she, like her older sister, is able to strip away all complications in life and remind me about being a basic human.

I still worry about not being able to handle it all and giving more attention to the other.  The funny thing is that I feel guilty about not giving the older one enough attention then turn around and feel guilty about not giving the younger one enough attention.  So maybe they’re equal after all?

Here’s what it’s like to have more than one child:

  • No peace in the bathroom.  If my older daughter isn’t in there – talking to me, trying to hand me tissue paper, trying to touch EVERYTHING if we’re in a public bathroom – then my younger one is either crying hysterically from her crib OR she’s hanging out on my shoulder.  Ok, realistically, it’s usually both of them going nuts at the same time.
  • When one baby cries, the other does too.  You just have to pick one, calm them and then take care of the other.
  • When the younger one is hungry and we’re out (say at a park, grocery store or my favorite – parking lot), the older one will inevitably throw a tantrum that requires me to pick her up.  So I’m awkwardly carrying both, praying I don’t drop either.
  • When I’m feeding the younger one while out and about, the older will want to wander off.  Then I have to awkwardly walk while nursing, trying desperately not to let too much skin show while panicking on the inside because I can’t see the older one.
  • When one is sleeping, the other will suddenly be the loudest person on the planet.
  • Every time I think Maybe, just maybe they’ll both be asleep at the same time, as one drifts off, the other will start to fuss.
  • Sometimes you pump breast milk while having an infant resting on your thighs and then the toddler comes over and gets all up in your business and follows up with jumping on your legs saying “I wanna ride!”

Did I mention that all of these things actually happen?  Did I mention that they all happened this week?  Did I mention that it’s only Tuesday????

Several people have said that having two isn’t just double of having one.  It’s more than that – tripled, cubed, whatever.  And it’s true.  Mommy burn-out came WAAAAY earlier this time than last.  Maybe it’s because it’s relentless.  Maybe because the intensity of the frustration is so much greater.  Maybe because it’s a hell of a lot of work.  In a nutshell, having more than one is chaotic.  And exhausting.

But then amazing things happen.  Like my older daughter, despite being only two years old, gets a new placemat and asks if I got one for her sister.  And the little one, while falling asleep, smiles when she hears her sister’s voice.  And my older daughter frantically climbs on me while i’m holding the little one because “I wanna see Sia’s face.”  And while nursing my little one, my older one will climb on my leg and just sit on my foot and and smile at me.  And then she’ll walk over to the side of my rocking chair and lay her head in my hand and say “Maaama” and I have this wonderful feeling that I’m able to give them both the comfort and the love that they need at the same time.  And they’ll look at each other while lying on the play gym. I swear they’re communicating and making plans for the future (which might include how they’re going torture me).  And knowing (not thinking but KNOWING) we did the right thing having more than one baby because they are just so so SO perfect together and love each other already. That melts your heart.  Have even a glimpse of those moments and suddenly having more than one is pretty awesome.

Infant Allergies

Here we go again.  When my older daughter was about three months old, she used to cry and cry 20 minutes after nursing and she was unconsolable.  She was fussy, threw up a lot, hiccuped frequently and needed a lot of attention.  Being first time parents, we didn’t know what “normal” was and just thought it was part of growing up.  One morning in April, I saw what looked like blood in her dirty diaper and immediately called her pediatrician. They tested the stool and indeed, it was blood.  After confirming that there was no fissure in the area, our pediatrician informed us that the most common cause of blood in stool in infants is an a cow’s milk protein allergy.  So she had me cut dairy from my diet and we returned to have baby’s stool tested for blood.  It was there again the second week so she had me cut out the top six allergens from my diet (dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, eggs, and shellfish) and we returned after a week to see if there was still blood in her stool.  There was.  So the doc put her on a super broken down formula to rule out that it wasn’t something other than an allergy. If she still had blood in her stool after having formula for a week, we’d go see a GI specialist.  Luckily, no blood was found after being on the formula for a week.  The doc said we could still breastfeed but that I should continue to keep the top allergens out of my diet and add them back slowly to figure out what the allergy was and to give Miss K. some time to grow out of the allergies.

Because allergies are often genetically inherited, we knew that there would be a good chance that Super S would have them too.  We’ve been sensitive to the signs and I cut out dairy several weeks ago.  Super S definitely hasn’t been as fussy as Miss K. was at the peak of her allergic reactions but we noticed she’d cry after feedings (presumably around the time the breastmilk was running through her system and inflaming her gut).  She also had been a loud sleeper in her earlier weeks (having watery sounding breaths and gasping).  We noticed she hiccuped often and for long periods.  I had a heavy let down response and she gagged at almost every feeding, gulping to keep up with the milk.  She seemed to be having some sort of silent reflux and when I asked the pediatrician about her bubbly saliva, I was told that it was reflux.  I changed the way I fed her to a decline (her feet were lower than her head) and only fed her on one side per feeding to give her more hindmilk.  I started removing dairy from my diet.  It seemed to help quite a bit. She was only fussing after a few of the feedings and she was sleeping better.  She had her 10 week appointment and everything was hunky dory.

Last Saturday night, I changed her diaper and saw blood.  This time it seemed to be more bloody than I remember Miss K’s.  Because we had seen this before, we didn’t freak out but wanted to make sure it was an allergy and not something else.  Luckily our pediatrician’s office is open for a few hours on Sunday and we were able to take her in.  They tested the stool and yep, blood.  Luckily for us, our pediatrician was the Sunday doctor that week and she seemed confident that it was an allergy.  Enough to say that unless things got worse, we’d check her stools again at her four month appointment (which is still six weeks away).  She didn’t think it was necessary to try the rule out method we did last time and told me to cut out just dairy.  Well, I had *mostly* cut out dairy several weeks prior.  I think it might be soy so I’m going to keep it out of my diet as well.

I haven’t been strict with the dairy-you know how it is…a little cheese here, a bit of butter there.  But I’ll eliminate it from my diet in every way I can.  And soy too.  The thing that’s tougher this time around is that I’m a vegetarian now.  So last time when we would go out to eat, I could always get meat sauces or grilled chicken.  Now the options are much more limited (and honestly, not all that fun).  I’m mostly vegan but with the elimination of soy, it’s pretty tough.  Like last time, Asian food is mostly out since it almost always has soy.  So are most processed foods.  On the flip side, it really helps that my hubs is vegan.  It’s not such a leap to make when he’s not eating any dairy or meat because we know the meals we make at home will be vegan.  I won’t have to make separate meals for everyone.  Going out will be a bit more challenging but we’ll make it work.  I can’t lie though…I’m a little intimidated…what the hell am I going to eat?

This week I’m planning on making quinoa khichadi, bean enchiladas with no cheese, garlic seitan, panzanella salad with pizza rolls, and pasta with either a veggie marinara sauce or avocado sauce.  Of course on Sunday I saw some people eating ice cream cones.  I’ve never wanted one so badly in my life!  Oh wait, that’s not true.  The same thing happened the first weekend I changed my diet for Miss K.  We had gone to Catalina and people were walking around with these hugemongous waffle cones stuffed with ice cream.  I wanted to knock down a teenager I saw and take her mint chip cone.  But I didn’t.  I just ate an orange.  How sad.

My biggest concern is that my baby is ok.  Like her big sister, she seems to have a happy disposition and since she doesn’t really complain, I want to make sure she’s comfortable.  And my biggest fear is that we’re assuming it’s an allergy but it’s something else.  For now, I’m modifying my diet and we’ll see how it goes.

I realize that I could probably avoid this whole diet change song and dance by just feeding my bub formula.  But I don’t want to if I don’t have to.  There’s nothing wrong with formula but my preference is to give her the benefit of breast milk (and there really are sooo many).  I just can’t help but have mixed feelings about the breast milk. On the one hand, it’s so good for her but on the other, I feel like the milk I produce is inflammatory poison.  Melodramatic, I know…but I feel like there’s something wrong with my milk even though the allergies are inside my daughters’ bodies, not mine.  I’m so blessed to have a healthy supply but it’s so unfortunate that it’s not sitting well with my girls.  I just want Super S. to be healthy and comfortable.  She’s so incredibly cute with her little smile and laugh and superhuman baby strength.  I just hope I’m doing the right thing and doing things right.

Daddy and His Girl

I am a lucky ducky…for a lot of reasons.  One reason is because my husband was able to take FIVE WEEKS off for paternity leave when we had our second little bub.  This made a huge difference because I really think it helped Miss K. feel secure among all the changes that our family went through.  And he was fantastic with her.  He’s probably her most favorite person in the world (and actually, the converse may be true as well).  He made her breakfast, took her to the bathroom, washed her hands, helped give her baths, fed her, and took her all over the place.  The two of them were off on an adventure virtually everyday.  I think it really built up his confidence in his ability to care for our kiddo.  The only regret I have is that his hands were so full with Miss K. that he didn’t get the chance to bond with Super S. like he did when Miss K. was a newborn.

Because he loves her so much and he has such a zest for life and because he has such energy to expose her to new experiences, he took her to all kinds of places and I wanted to capture this because I know one day soon we’ll forget (hell, I’m already forgetting).

Aquarium of the Pacific – The dynamic duo’s first trip was to the Aquarium of the Pacific.  It was a relatively quick trip but Miss K. loved playing on the boat in the kids area and called the huge whales “mama whale and neeni whale.”  Awww…

Train Ride – Daddy took Miss K to ride the trains twice, both times from Irvine to San Juan Capistrano.  It’s a quick trip with only a couple stops but it’s just right for a two-year-old.  The second time her friend, Shane, and his parents joined.  The first time they came home with some delicious cookies.

TrainRide

Mt. Baldy – Daddy wanted to show Miss K. what snow was like so they made a quick morning trip to Mt. Baldy.  He picked the right day because the snow couldn’t have lasted for long.  The next several days were sunny.  Miss K. came back and reported that she saw snow and snowmen!

San Diego Zoo – We have an annual pass to the incredibly wonderful San Diego Zoo.  So while it may not have been the best thing to do, all four of us trekked down to San Diego and checked out the zoo when Super S was just a few weeks old.  We saw orangutans swinging on ropes, hippos in the water, and took the sky tram across the park.  We were only there for a couple hours but Miss K. loves animals and really enjoyed it.

Library – Daddy also took Miss K to the local library to check out some new books.  Miss k loves books and therefore loves the library.  They got her a library card and picked out a stack of books.  And when it was time to return them, they did it all over again.

Woodbridge lakes to feed the ducks – Miss K. likes to feed the ducks so her dad took her to walk around the lake and feed the birds.  It’s crazy how many birds there are and she has no fear!

Parks – These two went to several parks, including William Mason park.  One day we walked around and a lady was kind enough to give us some bread to feed more ducks.  And we saw turtles in the water!  Miss K. kept wanting to visit one of several tot lots.

Park3

Park2

 

Why does this picture of my bub and her dad make me cry?  Maybe because it so captures their relationship.  He’ll always protect her, educate her, hold her up when she needs it (and probably when he doesn’t), stand next to her…I’m so glad they have each other.
Park

Eric Carle’s Treasured Stories – In March Miss K went to her first live show at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.  The show brought to life some of Eric Carle’s most popular books – Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do You See?,  The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.  The show lasted an hour and luckily Miss K was able to sit through it all.  She loved it and talked about the how the caterpillar got big and fat.

Pretend City – Miss K, her dad, her cousin, and her aunt all went to Pretend City and had a blast.  They danced, played with fruit and ran amok.  Awesome despite all the germy kids.

Visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s House – The biggest and most wonderful adventure the two shared was going to Northern California to visit Miss K’s Aaji and Abba.  They took a plane and made it through the whole trip with no potty accidents.  They picked fruit, blew bubbles, sang songs, played with stickers, and took a fun bath with her grandparents.  I think it was wonderful for both Miss K and the grandparents.  It gave them an opportunity to bond without pesky mom around and really, everyone loved it.

GlamorousMissSnectarineblossom

I remember once I stopped by my Dad’s office without calling him in advance to let him know I was coming.  I walked around his factory looking for him and saw him coming out of a room.  When he saw me, he looked at me as if to say “You came?  You’re here?  I’m so glad.”  I should add that I was 34 years old and pregnant so it’s not like I had that little girl spark.  When we found out we were having a girl, all I wanted was for my husband to feel the love that I knew my dad had for me inside of him and for my baby to have that same sense of security knowing that her dad loves her.  And I just knew Mr. Crunchycake would love our squishies more than anything.  And he does.

My husband really is a wonderful dad and this is very high on the extensive list of reasons why I love him.  All his hard work helped me recover faster and allowed me to ease back into the chaotic life of a mother and it let me bond a little more with our second squish than I would have otherwise.  I’m so glad he made the most of his time off with his girl.