Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Brother

People often ask how Will is doing in the transition to being a big brother. For the most part, I think he's done very well. We've had some moments here and there, but he is mostly loving and gentle with his little sister, and though I wouldn't ever leave them alone in the same room together, I do not truly fear that he would hurt her on purpose. What would concern me more is that he would try to "help" her in some way and accidentally cause her harm. He just hasn't shown any sort of overt jealousy or anger toward her. When he has acted out, it is usually directed at me.

How did we prepare him? We started talking about the baby with him and named her very early on - basically right after the anatomy scan,. We took him to every single doctor's appointment so that he could hear the "heart beep." We had about ten different "I'm a Big Brother" type books that he called "Emma Books." We didn't try to force the books on him, but when he chose books at night, he almost always picked an "Emma Book." We took him to the store about a week before Emma was born and had him pick a toy for his sister and also had Emma "buy" a toy for Will. We introduced them at the hospital on "neutral ground" and had him bring her home with us as a family.

Once Emma arrived, we made sure that Will still felt special. Obviously, our attention was now divided, but we did our best to make sure that he still got one-on-one time with both of us. I took him for walks, M took him to the park, etc. During times that I absolutely must have my focus on Emma, I try to include him. When I am nursing, we often read stories together or I let him have a special snack We also introduced t.v. to Will about the same time Emma was born. This was very handy because I could remind him that only big brothers get to watch t.v. and he is still very excited about this new treat, so it definitely has been a sanity saver on some days.

Most people that I knew that had already made the Leap to two found that the first two weeks were the hardest in terms of the older sibling adjusting, and I definitely found that to be the case. I felt as if it was almost magical, but at the 2 week point, he stopped having as many tantrums and fighting bedtime (which had been the two things that I noticed that happened right after we brought Emma home).

Probably the most effective tool I had for dealing with those early tantrums was The Big Box of Gifts. I had bought little toys and treats whenever I saw things on sale or at garage sales over the summer before Emma was born. I am not talking big ticket items. I bought things like a box of Cheerios, Matchbox cars, bubbles, a little flashlight, and fruit snacks. I wrapped the gifts in old newspaper and leftover bits of wrapping paper and put them in a big box. My mom brought more little gifts with her when they came to visit and added hers to my collection. Then, whenever we were having a "moment," I would remind Will about the Big Box of Gifts and that helpful big brothers got to pick a gift. I also remembered to commend him when we were having a good moment (like when he spontaneously kissed Emma or helped us feed her a bottle) and let him pick a gift. The Big Box of Gifts was especially helpful when M went back to work. If I could tell it was going to be a rough day, I would tell him that if he was good and helpful all day, he could pick a gift when Daddy got home. He never got to the point where he expected a gift, so it wasn't a problem to do this. We even have a few wrapped gifts left, so I can give him a surpise from the Big Box of Gifts when he has been especially good.

Overall, it has been an easy transition. And when he calls her "My Emma" or says, "I hold her, please" it makes the moments that aren't so easy worth it.

Monday, September 27, 2010



I hate insurance companies. I was looking through an insurance statement yesterday and it showed that I have only reached $500 of our deductible for the year. Since we have actually paid out over $2000 from our own pockets in the last month alone for Emma's delivery, I am not sure how this is even possible, so the insurance company is doing an audit.

But in the meantime, we would have to pay 100% of the Mirena costs, which we can't afford right now since we just paid out the afforementioned $2000. So, I had to cancel the appointment. I'll get back to you on my experience later on.


I am having my IUD put in today. I did a lot of research and just felt that this is the overall best way for us to prevent pregnancy for the next few years.

I am nervous, because while most people loved the convenience of never having to remember to take their pill and that they didn't have to pay for birth control every month, I also talked to a few people who had bad experiences. Either the insertion hurt a lot, or they felt the hormones were too strong, or they could feel the device in them and it was uncomfortable.

For us, it isn't just about convenience or cost. It's about the fact that I get pregnant while on the pill. I have gotten pregnant on both the regular and mini-pill. When we were on our suppression phase of our IVF cycle, an ultrasound determined that I was about to ovulate, even on BCPs. My RE told me that up to 5% of women still do. Wow! That day reminded me of when the Friends show where Rachel told Ross she was pregnant and he read the 98% effective on the condom wrapper and freaked out.

We are so thankful for our miracles, but I have to say, we are done for now. Not done forever for sure (but probably). M is thinking of a vasectomy, but we're not 100% sure. Everyone has told us to give ourselves a couple of years before we make this decision. So, this seems like the safest bet for now.

So. . . I'll be back later to tell you how it went!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Off To Gramma's

In the lottery of MIL's, I feel as if I really hit the jackpot. Sure, my MIL has annoyed me from time to time. I think that's just part and parcel of the dynamics of the relationship.

For the most part, however, my MIL is easy to get along with, supportive of my relationship with her son and our family, and she is probably the most amazing grandmother, ever. Today is her birthday and she asked, over a month ago, if she could have Will on her special day. She takes him once a month for us, and would do it more often if we wanted. This last month, she came here once, too, so that we could get away for dinner and a movie.

In addition to taking him for several days a month, she also comes and gets him and takes him back to her house. As she lives an hour away, this is no small favor. We will then go get him on Saturday, but it makes it nicer to only have to do half of the driving, especially since Emma is still not a huge fan of the car.

The very best part about these trips to Gramma's House is that Will loves it. I think he enjoys being the only show in town again. And I would want to go someplace where I am loved as much as this kid is loved at his Gramma's. My husband's grandmother, Will's Nana, lives there, too, and the two of them dote on him to an almost ridiculous level. I say almost ridiculous, because I do believe that's what grandparents are for. I love the fact that they spoil him with love, attention, and all of his favorite foods (they still make him follow the rules and say his pleases and thank yous, so they are not completely spoiling him). I love the fact that he feels so safe and special with them.

He apparently loves it, too, because the minute Gramma arrived yesterday, he was putting on his shoes and packing his little Spiderman case with special toys to take with him. I put him in the car with his Pillow, blankie, and sunglasses. He kissed me goodbye and then called out to my MIL (who was still loading his suitcase into the car), "C'mon, Gramma, I'm ready to go!"

It is so funny to think that we were dealing with his intense separation anxiety just a year ago and now look at him! Such a big boy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Decision Made

Well, the decision has been made. . . for now. In order for me to take the job, I would have had to have found a nanny or other care for our children by today. And the nanny we wanted and offered the job to has decided to return to school fulltime. While we were waiting for her to consider our offer, we also started doing the numbers. Nannies are expensive and there wasn't going to be as much left over as we thought after all was said and done, so me going back to work was starting to make less financial sense. I realized that if going back to work right now was the right thing to do, I wouldn't have felt so ambivalent about it. While I do not intend to stay home forever, I clearly wasn't quite ready to go back at this point.

For the moment, we have decided that Emma needs me at home for at least the first year, then I am going to look at going back to work. Having a plan in place has always made me feel much more settled and at ease. It lets me enjoy this time at home more.

Thank you for your input and advice. The struggle between working outside of the home or staying home with your kids is such a sensitive subject and I appreciate your gentle honesty and guidance.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today was one of those days when it wouldn't be so bad to pass my darling children off to a well-qualified Nanny. Emma would not be put down today, not for one single second. She spent what seems like the entire day in either the Ergo or my arms. Well, or crying if not in either of those spots.

Will was also uncharacteristically whiny and needy as well. I am keeping everything crossed that they are not coming down with something. This type of behavior usually precedes a Big Ol' Sick.

I tried to be patient and think I succeeded for the most part, but by the end of the afternoon, I was stick-a-fork-in-me-DONE. I put the kids in the double stroller and got the heck outside with them and the dogs. It was a lovely fall late afternoon, with no clouds in the sky and the sun doing that thing with shadows that it does this time of year that just makes everything look a bit crisper. We walked to the new neighborhood behind us, where they have installed a really nice playground system with. . . wait for it. . . a baby swing. I just about peed my pants with excitement when we saw it. So did Will!

So what had been a craptastic afternoon was turning nice. Will was laughing, Emma wasn't crying, the dogs were still being annoying, but it felt good to breathe again. I wouldn't want to pass these moments onto someone else.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's Meant To Be

Two years ago, M and I wrestled with the decision of whether or not I should give up my career to stay home with Will. It should have been an easy decision, based on the fact that being a SAHM is everything I ever said I wanted to be. Life is never that simple, though, and it was much harder to walk away than I thought it would be.

After months of angst, we went with our orginal plan. I gave up the financial security of working outside of the home to raise Will. It felt "emotionally" right, even if my logical, always-need-to-have-a-five-year-plan self was freaking her freak out.

For the most part, I did not regret it. But there were moments when I thought about the path not taken. A few months ago, I needed to take our dog to the vet, so in I went. I was six months pregnant, I had Will in the stroller, and Rocky on a leash. I was covered in fur (Rocky gets nervous at the vet) and cracker crumbs (Will gets hungry at the vet) and wearing jeans and a zip up hoodie. I hadn't had much time for a shower or makeup that day, so my hair was in a ponytail and I barely had lipgloss on. I was looking and feeling every inch the stereotypical SAHM.

In walked a sales rep for a veterinary pharmaceutical company. She was every inch the stereotypical sale professional. She wore a suit and amazing shoes and walked with a confident bounce. I looked at her and felt a strange twinge of envy. She chatted up the front desk staff being before ushered into the backroom, but I kept thinking about her after she had disappeared behind the doors.

Now I am being offered an opportunity to rejoin the professional world. The emotional part of me is still screaming that it's too soon and I don't want to leave my bay-bees. The logical part of me knows this might be my last chance to get back into the industry I left. While the timing isn't the greatest, would I ever really want to go back? And this is my chance to help bring my family the financial security that we otherwise might have to live without.

We talked to a girl at church that we know from the nursery. Will has always loved her and she seems to have a soft spot for him. She is currently trying to decide whether to take another nanny job or go back to school. She was clearly flattered that we asked her and needs a few days to think about it. Which is okay, because I feel as if I still need a few more days to think about it, too.

I feel as if I am in a major war between my heart and my head. My head is telling me that this is the logical thing to do, my heart is arguing valiantly. I feel as if when you are a parent, you ultimately need to do what is right for your children. I guess the problem is when I am no longer sure what that is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ten Things I Love

Ten Things I Love About Will Right Now

10. He sings songs now and gets most of the words right. His favorite is Happy Birthday.
9. He has been in a huggy and kissy mood lately.
8. He says please and thank you (mostly) without being prompted.
7. He sleeps (mostly) through the night.
6. He takes three hour naps.
5. He likes to learn and asks for his flashcards. We're doing letters and numbers now.
4. He likes vegetables. Broccoli is one of his favorites.
3. He loves spending the weekend with his Gramma, which allows me a bit of break without feeling guilty.
2. He loves to read stories.
1. He will wrap his arms and legs around us when he is not quite ready for bed. "One more rock, rock?" he asks when we try to get up from the chair. Because he only does it occasionally, it is still adorable and I love that extra snuggle.

Ten Things I Love About Emma Right Now
10. She slept for TEN hours last night.
9. She loves to eat. Since this is very likely my last baby, I am really treasuring these moments together.
8. She has found her hands and will slurp rather enthusiastically on them.
7. She loves the tubby. Seriously, I think the girl could live in the tubby and I enjoy seeing her so happy.
6. She also loves her activity mat with the "baby crack" star. Seriously, what do they find so fascinating about the star?
5. She is a Wiggle Worm, a real mover and a shaker. She will kick herself across the playmat and off the bath lounger.
4. I love all of the girly, incredible cute clothes that I get to dress her in. I love getting her all fancied up.
3. She is finding her voice and giving the cutest little coos. I know her laugh can't be far behind.
2. Despite the fact that she is active, she also loves a good cuddle. I love how she will snuggle into me.
1. She is the most smiley baby. And though she smiles at the afforementioned star, she saves her most special smiles for me. When I walk into her line of sight, she will break out in a huge, toothless grin. It's beyond adorable.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Worth A Read and Perhaps A Try

When Will was 5 weeks old, he started crying.

And didn't stop.

Well, of course he stopped, but not from the hours of 2 - 7 PM every day and sometimes later. Then he was up every hour to hour and a half throughout the evening. Very little sleep was had in this house.

During this same time, my mom started calling him Little Toot because he would fart. Constantly. I have never been around another baby that was like his. He was a gas machine. We thought that perhaps he was colicky or maybe sensitive to cow's milk. I removed all dairy from my diet and there was a slight improvement, but he also turned 3 months old at about the same time, which is the hallmark of colick.

We tried a lot of things to help him feel better. Heck, I even gave up ice cream! That's love. I bought a "miracle" blanket which didn't really help. We gave him gas drops and gripe water. He cried. I cried.

I would have tried anything to help him feel better, but the only "cure" for colic is time, and whatever we tried was more to make us feel better about doing something.

Will's pediatrician blogged about a potential "treatment" for colic today. If you have ever been around a colicky baby, you know that anything is worth a try. When we did probiotics for Will (for diarrhea recently), we used these straws. This company also makes products for infants and also discusses more about the use of probiotics in "treating" colic.

It might not be proven, but it doesn't sound as if there would be any harm in trying it. I sure wish I'd had it in my arsenal two years ago.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Whoo Freakin Hoo!

Emma slept through the night!!!! And not just the so-called "experts" definition of six hours. No, my friends, Emma slept from 9:30 PM til 6:30 AM with nary a peep. I even was smart enough to go to bed at 10:00, so I got some serious sleep myself.

Go, Emma, go!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The burning and pain got a lot worse as the day went on yesterday, so since M was already taking the afternoon off work to go to traffic court, I decided it was the perfect time to leave the kiddos with him and try to get into the doctor.

I didn't really know whether to call good ol' Dr. S's office or my primary care doctor. I ended up calling Dr. S (he's got the GYN in his title after all) and they got me in with a Nurse Practitioner yesterday afternoon.

She did a pretty thorough exam and didn't see anything amiss with the girly bits. She didn't see any yeast, either visibly or under the microsope. There was no bacteria present in the swab she took. She did note that I looked "breastfeedish" in there (I swear, she said that!), which means that it looked kind of dry and thin. She said that could account for the burning.

I also left a urine sample, and that revealed lots of nasty, so it turns out that I have a urinary tract infection. However, she also thought it could be the breastfeeding causing some of the burning, so she also prescribed an estrogen cream to shove up the ol' hoo haw.

Next up? An interesting job offer has been brought to me by an old boss. I really don't know wht to think or do about this. I love being home with the children, but it has meant that we don't have the financial security we might have. It would be a full time position, but it would be a work from home job similar to what I did before, so there would be a lot of flexibility. I would make enough that we could hire a nanny to come to our house and we could take advantage of this economy to buy a bigger house with the "luxuries" of a guest bedroom and an actual yard for our kdis and dogs to play in. Things have been tight lately, what with lots of medical bills from Will's surgery and Emma's birth. In an ideal world, I would stay home and we'd have plenty of money, but this isn't Neverland. Part of me thinks we'd be idiots to pass up this opportunity and part of me can't imagine handing Emma to someone. Plus the job would require three weeks away from home for training. In about a month. Now, I could take Emma with me if I could find someone to come with me to care for her while I was in training all day, but what about Will? Yeah, I think it's probably just too silly to even think about and yet. . . it's in my head.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Whalloping Dose of TMI

This was an infertility/TTC blog, morphed into a pregnancy blog, and for gosh sake, I even blogged about my post c-section constipation. Obviously, the line of what to share and what not to share is very blurry with me.
So if I say that what I am about to talk about might be TMI, then you might want to just stop reading.

You've been warned. . .

Okay, still here? Good, because I need some advice.

I have a problem with my girly bits. They feel all "burny." I don't think it's a yeast infection because I've had those before and this is nothing like a yeast infection. There is no itch and no white discharge. It's just a burn. I also do not think it's a urinary tract infection as I have had a ton of those. This burning feels lower, more in the external areas than in the bladder/urethra area. I also don't have any increased urge or frequency.

The other symptom is that I am spotting. It's kind of like the first day of my period spotting, which for those of you who aren't me and might need more of a reference than that, means that I need a pantyliner but not a pad and it's mostly brownish but a bit of red thrown in for good measure.

With Will, I didn't get my period for seven months post partum and everything I am reading suggests the time interval should be about the same in subsequent pregnancies. It also has been going on for four days now, which means that if it is my period, it's freakishly light.

Dr. Google has yielded a diagnosis of vaginitis, but a lot of the symptoms don't match. Additional way TMI is that there is no discharge (except the bleeding) and nothing "smelly" going on. Just the burning (have I mentioned the burning?) and the light bleeding. No cramping or anything else. I don't have a fever.
So, what do you think?

Monday, September 13, 2010


My sister called me last week, complaining of cramping and some very light spotting. My stomach twisted at this news, but I tried so hard to think positively. My husband always reminds me that I am too negative when it comes to pregnancy, that bleeding doesn't always equal the end. She already had an OB appointment scheduled for the next day, so I urged her to put her feet up and drink some water.

At 3:30 on Friday, I got a text:

We're waiting for u/s. Couldn't get baby's heartbeat. Disappointed, I really wanted to hear it. [Husband's name] is here with me.

I knew that this wasn't good. She was supposedly 13 weeks pregnant and the doctor's doppler should be able to pick up the heartbeat by then. I called my best friend and cried with her on the phone. I kept trying to convince myself that this was all okay.

At 4:30, my sister texted me again:

I lost the baby. Please don't say I told you so.

My heart wrenched, both at the fact that my sister's baby had died, but possibly even more because she thought I would actually say something like that to her. I tried to call her, but she didn't answer. I left a message, letting her know how sorry I was and that I would love to come down and be with her or to help in anyway possible. A few hours later, I got another text:

This is all too fresh right now. I will call you when I am ready to talk.

I completely understood and respected her need to process and grieve on her own time, but I'll admit to a twinge of disappointment. I wanted to be able to help her, to ease her pain, if only the tinest of bits.

I sent her a long e-mail on Friday night, telling her how sorry I was and offering any help that I could. I sent her all sorts of reference links and told her that I would always be there for her. I thought about sending her the link to my blog, but decided against it. I need to keep this space free from my family, plus there would be the matter of a few posts that I would need to delete if she was going to be reading it.

Friday night was rough. As you know, I had some not-so-charitable thoughts regarding my sister's pregnancy. While I never would have wished this on her, never in a million years, it was hard for me to hear her flippant disregard for her pregnancy. While I was pleased at the prospect of being an Aunt, I also had some definite jealous moments of "why is it so easy for some people and hard for others?" In fact, on Thursday, I was telling M that I needed to work on my attitude for her pregnancy, because I hated that I was feeling the way that I was.

Saturday morning, we finally got to talk. She is devastated and openly admits that she is fearful that this was God's way of answering her prayers because she didn't really want this baby for much of the pregnancy. She was just starting to get used to the idea and be excited and now it has been snatched away. Like all of us who have lost babies, she is analyzing everything she did and didn't do while pregnant, convinced that she somehow doomed the baby.

I was able to talk to her about her feelings and it felt good. Well, not good, of course, but hopefully you know what I mean. It was the first positive talk we've had in a long time. And we even talked about my feelings in regard to the pregnancy and she said she had wondered if I would feel that way and that was why she told me over the phone, so I would have time to collect my thoughts before seeing her. I guess I never really thought of it from her perspective and what it would be like to find yourself pregnant very quickly knowing what your sister had been through in TTC.

I wish with all of my heart that my sister had never experienced this pain. I am so sad for her and my brother-in-law. I fervently hope that they are able to conceive without issue and carry the next pregnancy to term. And I hope that my own attitude is better next time around. I really hate that infertility makes me react to pregnancy the way that I do. It's a lasting scar from my IF battle and not one that I am proud of.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Sister Lost Her Baby

I have nothing more to say about this.

I just can't.

The Great Preschool Debaucle of 2010


I hate it when a plan does not come together.

A few months ago, I posted that we had enrolled Will in preschool. Although I was a bit wistful that my little guy was old enough for such a venture, I was excited, as it would give me some one on one time with Emma and it would also be something just for him once a week.

Well, things didn't exactly work out. My girlfriend who was going to do the preschool with me was going to take Emma (and I was going to take her little girl) on the days that we were working in the classroom (supposedly once per month). So, that still left two days a month of "me n' Emma" time.

Then my girlfriend decided to do another preschool that her mom helps run, so she could go for free. So, that meant that I was going to have to figure out what to do with Emma on classroom days. At first, I hoped to take her along in the Ergo, but that's against the co-op's rules. They do have a younger sibling co-op, but of course, that means you have to return the favor. So now, I was back down to two free days and having to go and bring Emma and Will to the younger siblings co-op on the second day.

Then I got the work schedule. And I was scheduled for two days. I guess our class is short on parents somehow, so we'll be volunteering twice a month for at least the first half of the year. So now that meant that I would also have to be in the sibling co-op for two days, leaving absolutely no Emma time and schlepping both kids there every week. Ugh.

Then I got my committee assigment. Each parent has to do a committee assignment which is an additional task. Mine are bulletin boards that have to be maintained. Not a huge deal, but another day I have to come it, decorate the boards, and figure out what to do with my kids or watch them while I do it.

Then I got the parent meeting calendar. Once a month, there are mandatory parent meetings where kids are not allowed and childcare is not provided.

All of this for two hours, one day a week. I kind of started thinking that it just wasn't worth it.

I realize that I should have figured all of this out in the beginning when we registered. I guess I was in the second trimester honeymoon phase of pregnancy and didn't figure into the equation how tired I would be with a newborn. This all just seems like too much effort and makes me tired and even more anxious just thinking about it all. But part of me feels as if I should cowgirl up and put forth the effort anyway, because I don't want to shortchange Will because I am too tired. And other parents are doing this, so what's wrong with me for feeling overwhelmed by it?

After my girlfriend backed out and I was trying to decide what to do, we happened to have Will's two year exam, so I asked Dr. Swanson what she thought about preschoool for him. She said as long as he was being socialized in other ways (and I truly feel that he is), it was not a big deal and to look into preschool next year when life isn't so crazy (and two of my other girlfriends are doing non co-op preschools, so I have the advantage of letting them go first and road testing it for me). She said that she didn't even start her own son in pre-school until he was three. So, I felt better.

But I was still feeling like a Loser Mom who was failing her kid. So, I didn't tell the school (officially). Hey, we paid our non-refundable deposit to hold our spot, so I figured I had the luxury to make up our minds. I figured the fact that we didn't go to any of the twenty million (seriously, a lot) of class playdates, picnics, orientations, and Meet the Teacher Days would be a clue.

Well, today was the official orientation for his age/day/class. I finally reconciled myself to the fact that it just was't happening, so we didn't go. I just feel badly about it. I keep thinking that he'll be so behind the other kids at preschool next year and that a better woman would have found a way to make it all happen.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Short and Long of It

Rebecca asked if I would talk to my doctor about my anxiety.

The short answer is absolutely, 100% YES.

The longer answer (because I always have a longer answer) is that I wanted to give myself a week to work it out on my own. The feelings started last Friday and I was hoping it was temporary. I do feel a bit better right now, but I definitely still feel anxious. Tomorrow will be a week.

I have an appointment to have an IUD put in at the end of September. Part of me feels as if I should wait until then and talk to him about it if I am still having anxiety. Part of me feels as if that is way too long to wait. I'm just not sure that a week is long enough.

I am absolutely okay with being on medication, but I am a little concerned about nursing while I am on them. I know that thousands of women are doing it without harm to their babies, but it just makes me feel a little . . . guilty? No, that's not right. I don't feel guilty for taking care of myself. I just hate the thought of passing it on to Emma through my milk. So I also wanted to check in with our pediatrician and get her opinion on the best one to be on. I read somewhere that Zoloft doesn't pass through breastmilk and I need to do some research on that, too.

I realize this is a sensitive and extremely personal topic, so perhaps keep your comments anonymous if you prefer, but if you have any experience with either taking these medications or other solutions/suggestions, please leave them for me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sleep and Eat

Thank you for the kind comments yesterday. It means a lot. I think sometimes just talking (writing, really, but sometimes I feel as if I am talking to you more than writing. . . blogging is weird like that) about it helps.

So does sleep. Emma had a great night of sleep last night. She went from 10 - 4 and since I went to bed when she did, I really got a nice chunk of sleep, too. It was just what I needed.

Unfortunately, I am still feeling anxious and eating is difficult. I know one night of good sleep isn't going to reverse the sleep deprivation of 7 weeks, so I am just hoping for another good night tonight and trying to eat small snacks throughout the day to keep up my energy.

One very weird thing about me is that the more that I can't eat, the more I want to feed those around me. I don't really want to take the time to analyze that, but there has got to be some deep pyschological issues there - I'm sure something freudian that I can blame my mother for :). In any case, I made a new crockpot chicken recipe last night that was super easy and I really enjoyed it (well, the making of it and watching my family enjoy it). I thought I would pass it along so you can enjoy it, too.

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice

4 chicken breasts (Can use bone-in or boneless - I used boneless)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, diced
1 box Long Grain and Wild Rice with Seasonings
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

Place chicken in bottom of crock pot. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle diced onion over top. Top with cream soup. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours. Cook rice according to package directions. Before serving, stir rice and sour cream in. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Serve hot.

To make it easier, prepare the rice the night before and place in refrigerator. Before serving, stir cold rice and sour cream in and let cook for another ten minutes or until rice is heated through, then top with cheese.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Being Honest

So, I feel like I am still "okay."

However, that feeling of panic, that feeling that starts in the pit of my stomach and works its way up into my chest as the afternoon and evening progresses?

It has started again. It started Friday.

It's mild and I am talking to M about it (vs. last time, when I didn't tell anyone). I am also writing about it here. Sometimes, I think just putting something out there helps.

I know it has a lot to do with sleep deprivation. My babies just aren't great newborn sleepers. I keep reminding myself that means squat as far as long term sleeping, since Will (generally) sleeps great. Unfortunately, I look at other newborns who are sleeping much more and think "What am I doing wrong?" Logically, I know I am not doing anything wrong, but I second guess myself and the anxiety creeps up a bit higher in my throat.

Yesterday was just a bad day. Emma wouldn't let me put her down, she wouldn't nap alone, she wouldn't stay in her swing alone, she basically required one of us to carry or hold her at all times. And this was on top of the two to three hours of broken sleep I got the night before. I started counting the days since she had a bowel movement and realized it was four. That can't feel good.

So, I gave her a half ounce of prune juice with an ounce of warm water. She chugged it down and. . . let's just say. . . four hours later. . . it worked. A lot. She slept better last night and seems to feel better today.

But the panicky feeling? It's still there. And I haven't eaten a real meal in three days. This is another huge sign of anxiety for me. I stop eating. Now, don't mistake me. I have eaten some things here and there, but not much, especially considering I am breastfeeding. Even when we went to the fair on Saturday, where I usually make an eating spectacle of myself, I only had a bite or two of my usual favorites. My stomach just feels "off" during the day and by dinnertime, the anxiety is such that eating is impossible.

I am hoping this is just the result of a few rough days of little sleep and that I will feel better soon. I'm just checking in.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

If He Walks Like A Duck

We had Will's two year check up last week. I have one piece of advice for you if you are trying to take two kids to the pediatrician's office by yourself: Don't.

When Emma had to go in for a jaundice check at 3 weeks, I attempted this feat alone and it just wasn't doable. I mean, it was doable, in that we all survived and she got checked out by the doctor, but I think I heard maybe 10% of what the pediatrician said. I felt rude and I also couldn't even focus on what she said to me. It was a waste of a co-pay.

Since I did have a couple of things that I really wanted to ask about in regards to Will's development and I didn't want to be rude to the lovely Dr. Swanson, we went as a family, with the intention being that M could look after Emma and I could focus fully on the appointment.

If I do say so myself, Will was a super star. He stood still on the scale for his weight, sat still to be measured and examined, and only wiggled a bit when Dr. Swanson checked his diaper area. M needed to get the TDAP vaccination, so he got a shot first, then Will got his. He only flinched and gave me a bit of a disgruntled look at the poke. There were no tears. And he got his sticker and Daddy's! His height and weight both settled in around the 50th percentile.

I filled out the four page survey that looks at Will's development. I really think they should mail those out ahead of time. I am fast at filling out paperwork and I still wasn't done with it by the end of our appointment. It was four pages, front to back, and it involved some questions that needed props I didn't have (will he drop a bead in a bottle?) and some things I needed Will's assistance for. I am pretty sure Will is on-track for development. He might be a tiny bit behind in some areas and a tiny bit ahead in others, but I think he averages out.

My concerns going into the appointment were twofold: Nightmares and toe walking.

Nightmares were pretty easy. I just wanted to make sure that she supported handling the nightmares the way we have been, which is to give him a few minutes to settle on his own, and then heading into his room if the cries get frantic. She agreed with the tactic.

Toe walking was my other concern. I was a toe walker as a child. Correction, I am still a toe walker. It's not a huge deal, but my own pediatrician said that I had shortened achilles tendons. At the time, the surgery for that was considered highly invasive and not very successful, so he didn't recommend it. I was teased for my toe walking throughout childhood and people still comment on it now. Toe walking can be inherited. It can also be a symptom of autism (I don't really think he has autism), so I wanted to make sure we had documented it and if there was something less invasive that could be done, we might be interested in looking into it.

After examining his legs, Dr. Swanson recommended duck walks, where I walk around on my heels and encourage Will to do the same. To make it more fun, I add in quacks and "wing" flapping. Will thinks walking like a duck is pretty funny, but he doesn't get the idea. He continues to walk on his toes and quacks. We'll keep at it.

So, Will got the all-clear for his physical health and development. His next Well Child exam will be when he turns three! I'm sure we won't make it that far before heading into the pediatrician again, although that would be very nice. We'll be seeing Dr. Swanson plenty with Emma!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fuss and Sleep

Emma is apparently a baby who is going to have to fuss herself to sleep. I remember reading about this type of baby when Will was a newborn. At the time, I had a baby who went from 0-60 in 2.3 seconds as far as crying. Once he started, he wasn't going to stop. So try to get him to self-soothe was quite unproductive at this age.

Emma, on the other hand, really does fuss herself to sleep. I am going to try to get a video of it, because it's really quite miraculous.

For example, her nap the other day? She was clearly tired, so I changed her diaper, swaddled her, and put her in her crib. I almost laughed at myself as I did it, expecting to have to rescue her very shortly. As I was walking out, she started to fuss, not cry, but a gentle "wah wah." I turned around to get her, but by the time I got back to her crib, her eyes had drifted shut. After another weak "wah," she was out like a light for 45 minutes. She did it again tonight when I put her on the ottoman at my feet while I was blogging. She started to fuss with a little more vigor that yesterday, but as I was reaching for her, her eyes slid gently shut. She has been sleeping there for thirty minutes and I think she might be out for the night. Now if only she was actually in her crib. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

It makes me hopeful that when we actually get down to sleep training, it might be easier than I am expecting. Fingers crossed and all of that.

As for nighttime sleep. . . eh. She's a newborn, what do I really expect? And I think I have gotten better and existing on little to no sleep. It just isn't bothering me this time as much as it did last time. Would I love an 8 hour chunk of sleep? Absolutely. Will I settle for (and do just fine on) a four hour chunk? Yes, and I'll be grateful for it. It could be a lot worse.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Day In the Life (Continued)

To avoid having The Longest Blog Post Ever, I broke a Day In the Life into three parts. You can check out my morning and afternoon if you haven't already. Just so you know, this was my actual Monday. I have not edited it with the exception of bathroom breaks. If you want the details on that, e-mail me privately :). We usually don't have such a busy day with three playdates. I usually try to limit to to one scheduled event a day. There is good reason for this, as I think Will's meltdown was due in large part to too many activities and a bit of leftover Grammaitis. However, this particular Monday both neighbors had family in town that they wanted us to meet and M was working late, so it seemed like a good idea. . . in theory. Other than the unusual number of outings, this was pretty much an average day.


5:30 PM: Sigh with relief when neighbor takes Will to play. He washes Will's face with a washcloth and I feel like a bit of an @ss for not doing it myself. [W: That's much better. Now it's time to play. See ya later, Mommy!]

5:31 PM: Sit down to nurse Emma. [E: It's about time, Mommy. Ahhhh, The Milk.]

5:40 PM: Chat with girlfriend and her sister about Life With Two. My girlfriend had her second baby girl a month before Emma was born and is having a hard time transitioning due to post partum depression. She just started medication and I am hoping it helps her. I reflect on how grateful I am that, so far, I am not having those issues.

5:45 PM: Why is it that toddlers cannot share toys? Time to intervene on yet another toy disagreement. [W: Oh, please, Mommy. Adults are not any better on sharing toys, you just hide it better.]

5:47 PM: Crisis averted there. They both moved on to another toy. [W: For now, Mommy. For now.]

5:55 PM: Eat dinner standing up, while wearing Emma in the Ergo, but constantly bouncing so she won't cry. [E: My tummy hurts. I think I have something called "gas." It feels better when Mommy bounces.]

5:56 PM: Try to get Will to eat some dinner, but he's too excited and wants to play with his friend. [W: It's too much fun to play. I can eat later!]

6:30 PM: Head home so we'll be there when M gets home.

6:45 PM: M gets home. Will is so happy to see Daddy. This is one of my favorite parts of the day. [W: Daddy's home! Yay, Daddy!] [E: The Man They Call Daddy is home. Since Will seems excited, I will be, too.]

7:30 PM: Tubby time for Emma while M plays with Will in the playroom. [E: Ahhhh, I love the tubby, especially that shiny round thing over there. I love the warm water, I love the massage Mommy gives me with the washcloth, I never want to get out.]

7:45 PM: Time to get Will in the tubby while M watches him so I can get Emma into jammies. [W: Okay, Emma, my turn! I love tubby time!] [E: Noooooooo! I don't want to get ooooooout!]

7:46 PM: Emma was so happy in the tubby and now she is greatly displeased and is going to let the entire neighborhood know about it. [E: Wah, wah, wah. I'm too upset to think of something clever.] [W: I am so happy in my tubby. Why is Emma crying?]

8:15 PM: Time to trade off again, so I can read stories and "rock rock" for one song. Lately, he is asking me to make up songs about his favorite things, like his friends, his sister, and objects that he likes. [W: I just like to hear how dumb these songs can be. Mommy goes all out.]

8:30 PM: Trade off with M so he can finish with the "rock rock." [W: I have these parents wrapped around my finger. This bedtime ritual is ridiculous. I'm tired after the first story, but they seem to need it for some reason and who am I to deny them their pleasures?]

8:31 PM: Swaddle Emma and nurse her until she falls asleep. [E: I really don't want to go to sleep. I am not at all tired. Oh, wait? I get The Milk? I will have some and just not fall asleep
. .. ]

8:44 PM: Put Emma "down for the night." She might stay down, she might not. It really just depends. [E: Yawn. . . I am awfully tired. I think I might actually go to sleep for right now. I can always wake her up later. . . many, many times.]

Finally get some time to sit down and watch a movie or some t.v. with my husband. What a wonderful, crazy, hectic day!

The End.

Well, hardly. It's really only the beginning.

A Day In the Life (Continued)

A day in the life of one mom with two kids is crazy-busy-fun. Here it is, broken down into morning, afternoon, and night. You can read the first installment here. And per It Is What It Is' suggestion, Will and Emma's take on the day have been added in italics.


12:01 PM: Still singing the same song in the car on the way home. We will listen to this song five times en route. [W: That's right, Mommy. This is my revenge for making me share toys this morning. Singing this song over. and. over. again.] [E: Ugh, Will, I am only six weeks old, but I am already so tired of this song. We are so going to sing different songs when I am old enough to ask for them.]

12:10 PM: Back home. Time to get everyone back in the house. This is tricky because I can't park my car in the garage. So, I take Emma out in her seat first, put her seat on the front porch (it's only a few steps from the car), then go back to retrieve Will. [W: Oh, she thinks I will wait patiently does she? Well, I have some tricks up my sleeve. Watch and learn, Emma.]

12:20 PM: We are now inside. Emma is screaming to be released from "Baby Prison" - a.k.a., the car seat. Will is saying that he needs to go potty, and since this could be the time that he really means it, I hustle to get his pants and diaper off while jiggling Emma in one arm. [W: That's right. Dance, Mommy, dance. I don't really have to go potty, but it's sure funny watching you hurry.] [E: Good one, Will. But next time, can you wait until she puts me in the Ergo? It's much more comfortable than how she is holding me now.]

12:21 PM: Nope. False alarm. [W: I will wait to pee pee until the diaper is back on.]

12:25 PM: Make lunch for Will with Emma in the Ergo. [E: Why are you always cramming me into this thing, Mommy?]

12:30 PM: Nurse Emma while Will eats his lunch. [E: Will, your lunch looks a lot better than mine.] [W: I'd share, but I got in trouble last time I tried that.]

1:00 PM: Nap time. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Put Emma back into the Ergo so I can get him changed and ready for bed. [W: Okay, Emma, I am tired. So I am handing this over to you. Make sure she doesn't sit down or take a nap, okay?] [E: On it.]

1:14 PM: Head downstairs. Attempt to put Emma in our bouncy chair so I can get some things done. [E: I don't know who she thinks she is kidding. This is so not the chair I like.]

1:20 PM: Rescue Emma from the subpar bouncy chair. Stick her in the Ergo so that I can do laundry, dishes, and run the vacuum. [E: Back in this thing again? Well, maybe I could use a little nap, too. As long as she doesn't sit down, we're still on plan.]

2:30 PM: Chores are done. Maybe I can sit down for a second and catch up on blogs. [E: Nope. No way. Nuh-uh. No sitting down for you, Mommy, unless it involves The Milk.]

2:32 PM: Nurse Emma. [E: I am weak when it comes to The Milk. I shall let Mommy sit here as long as I get The Milk.]

2:50 PM: Emma fell asleep nursing, so I will attempt to transfer her to her swing so I can have some hands free time. [E: Dang The Milk, it makes me sleepy every time. But I am awake now. This silly swing is so not going to work to make me. . . yawn. . .]

2:55 PM: Miracles of miracles, Emma is actually sleeping in her swing and Will is still asleep in his crib. Time to blog and watch some t.v.

3:25 PM: I hear Will calling for me in his crib. [W: Mommy, where are you?]

3:26 PM: Change Will into swim clothes. We are headed to the neighbors for a swim playdate. [W: Wait. Where is Emma? She was supposed to be keeping Mommy busy while I slept. Ugh. Can't trust a six week old.]

3:30 PM: Emma is up from her nap, so we head to our friends'. Because it's an outdoor playdate, I have to remember to bring towels, sunscreen, and a change of clothes. It's a good thing I got the big diaper bag.

3:40 PM: Thank goodness the neighbors live just feet from our house. And it still takes us 10 minutes to get there! Our neighbors' parents are visiting, so there are extra hands to help out with the kids. I might actually get to eat my snack with both hands. [W: Maybe we should give Mommy a break, Emma. I'll play nicely and you hang out with that nice gramma-lady.] [E: That sounds like a good idea, Will. This is a nice gramma-lady and Mommy looks tired.]

4:45 PM: I got to sit and chat with my friends and eat a snack with both hands. There were no tantrums, feedings, or fussings to attend to. It was lovely. Time to pack back up to head home so our friends can have dinner. M is working late tonight, so we are heading to our other neighbors' house for dinner. [W: I am having so much fun, Mommy, I don't want to go home!]

4:46 PM: Uh-oh. Will doesn't want to go home. Wrestle him back into regular clothes and get him to say thank you for snacks and playtime. Drag a screaming toddler with one arm and hold Emma with the other. [W: No, no, no! I don't wanna go home.]

4:50 PM: Home to change Emma and get Will some water. [W: We were really good at their house and Mommy still made me go home. Payback time.]

5:01 PM: Major Will meltdown. He wanted to play with the stroller that I was airing out in the sun. I wanted to put it away before we left for our other neighbors' house for dinner. I "won," but he is going to make me pay for my victory with The Tantrum To End All Tantrums. [W: I can't believe that she took away my stroller. My stroller! I need it! This is so not fair! I will grow up and take away her wheelchair someday, you just watch.]

5:30 PM: Finally make it across the street to our other neighbors' house for dinner. Will's eyes are still puffy and swollen and he has the hiccups. Emma is crying from the Ergo. My nerves are shot.[W: Mommy is so mean.] [E: I'm hungry. Please feed me.]

To be continued. . .

*I consider the afternoon to be the "easy" time of my day. Will takes a nap, so I usually get one-on-one time with Emma, or if I am really lucky, she takes a nap, too.

It's A Naptime Miracle

Now, I realize I am about to get a little cocky here and will no doubt be "rewarded" with her never doing this again, but. . .

Emma is sleeping.

In her crib.

And. . .

wait for it. . .

I put her down awake.

As in drowsy, but awake. The hallowed ground of sleep training methodology.

It's a start.

(But let's not talk about how many times she was up last night. Yeah. We'll pretend last night didn't happen. It might as well not have happened for how much sleep I didn't get.)