Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why I Shouldn't Leave the House With Less Than Five Hours of Sleep

I've learned recently that more than one outing a day can be hazardous to my sanity. Also, fewer than 3 outings a week will cause me to feel cabin feverish, especially since it's so nice out right now.

Yesterday was Claire's 1 month check-up. Kate, Claire and I packed up gear and toys into the car for the 1.7 mile ride to the doctor's office. Once out of the car, Kate immediately ran in the opposite direction that I wanted to go. Carrying a diaper bag, a baby in a car seat and trying to herd a toddler all at once is ... challenging. Forget about taking that cup of coffee inside with you - there's no way to make it happen.

The highlights of Claire's well-baby exam:

  • height 21" (20" at birth)

  • weight 10lb 10oz (8lb 5oz at birth)

Apparently all that regurgitation of food has not affected her ability to pack on the chub.

We came back home and got ready to head out to playgroup at Erin's. Kate was already showing the signs of sleepiness (at 10:30am) but I ignored them, convinced that her social well-being was at stake because we never go anywhere to play with other kids. We got to Erin's and Kate was excited to see other children, play with Erin's dog, and play in the grass. Claire was sleeping peacefully in her car seat. Way to go, Jen; this was a great idea. I mentally patted myself on the back.

Then, just like it did with Tim last week, all hell broke loose at once. It was lunchtime and Kate couldn't be corralled. She is used to sitting in her highchair for meals, and without it she won't stay still to eat. I couldn't hold her because Claire woke up and needed coddling. Before I could get Kate any food, Claire spit up (read: vomited a gallon of milk) all over me and down my shirt. She has this way of doing that; she turns her head and spits right down my shirt. Mmm. Covered in baby goo, that's how I wanted the afternoon to go.

So Deb gets some food for Kate and tries to feed her and her daughter while sitting on a blanket on the grass. Kate kicks over her plate of food and walks through the fruit salad on the blanket to get to me. Claire is screaming (why, I'm not sure. I was the one covered in goo), and I am verbally questioning my desire to have kids so close in age to one another. Kate wanders out to the porch and tries to sit in a chair but falls down and bumps her head. Melissa picks her up and tries to calm her down.

These were all warning signs of Kate's pending meltdown, but I didn't see them. Why? Because I had too little sleep the night before. Kate wandering around looking like she is drunk and bumping into things is a sure sign that she is exhausted. I guess me not picking up on the cues is a sure sign that I am.

I decided that we were done and asked Erin to hold Claire while I took Kate out to the car. I carried her down the long driveway, put her in her car seat and buckled the seat belt, and drove up to the door to go get Claire. I think by the time I made it back out to the car Kate was already half-asleep. I snapped the baby seat in and we were off. We were halfway down Sabino Canyon road (which is really like a highway) when I noticed that Kate was so tired that she was falling forward as she nodded off to sleep. I called her name, apologizing to her that I had kept her out so late. She sat up and then leaned forward again. Wow, she is so tired. I have never seen her do that; she must be absolutely exhausted, poor kid. She was sleeping on her lap, totally bent over at the waist. Then, after about another minute of this, I realized why she was leaning over so far. I had forgotten to tighten her seat belt. Duh. You can't lean over that far if your harness is tight. Way to go, mom.

And that is why I should not leave the house with less than five hours of sleep.

On the positive side, Kate slept for 4 hours yesterday afternoon, allowing me to get my first daytime nap since Tim's mom left. Hallelujah.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Girls night out - Revenge

Well its time for "Dad" to add a little drama to the Blog. Thursday night was girl's night out, and Jen needed to leave at 6:15 to go to an event. Thoughtful and well-planned out husband that I am I arrived at 6:14 to take charge of the kids as Jen ran out the door. The rest of my instructions were passed by cell-phone as I had no idea who had eaten at what time and who needed medicine for the night.

It was "Bath Night", and what I didn't know was how detailed the plot to "get back at Dad" had become. I imagine if I had arrived at 6:13 I would have heard Jen completing her last minute pep-talk to the girls: "Okay girls, remember, your Dad doesn't get nearly enough vomit or "poo" (I'll keep this in Kate's terms)at work so you two need to help him out with that." I envision a little high-five just as Dad is pulling into the driveway.

We finish Kate's dinner, clean up and head for the tub with Claire pretending to sleep peacefully on her chair. Naked toddler goes into the tub and instantly the infant goes into blood-curdling mode - on the other side of the house. I sprint to the kitchen trying to calculate how fast a toddler can drown herself and remembering fondly Kate's headfirst trip into the 45 degree pool a few months earlier. The bathroom isn't big enough for me and Kate and the bouncy-chair, so the newly quiet and "pacified" Claire is now sleeping right around the corner.

The bath continues, with a little soap and some playing by Kate and Claire shattering the peace occasionally after dropping her "binky". (Every time Claire starts crying, Kate dutifully looks up at me and exclaims "binky!"--knowing that will fix everything) Two or Three trips around the corner to tend Claire have me thinking about all of the news stories I'd seen with shattered parents telling a random news crew "I only left her alone for a minute!". Kate is happy-as-a-clam, but I decide this isn't working out so well and relocate Claire into the bathroom doorway so I can keep track of both kids at once.

Now, understand that Kate LOVES her bath time. Usually bath night never lasts long enough, and often ends with Daddy saying "Okay we're done, stand up" while trying to wash the soap off the toddler who only wants to keep sitting back down in the tub. Tonight, as I "plug" a pacifier in the infant for the 30th time to stop the crying I glance in the tub and Kate is sitting their with a weird look on her face. "What's wrong Kate?" I ask while making attempt 31 with the pacifier, and then I notice a lot more than toys floating around Kate in the tub. Kate notices too... and promptly stands up, hands waving in the air and exclaiming "Done...Done...Done!".

As if on cue, (part of the pre-arranged plan) Claire spits out the pacifier and joins in. Did I mention Claire's lovely way of regurgitating every time she gets upset? Now Dad is dealing with one crying infant and one toddler trying to crawl out of a shit-bath while dodging yellow-ish green floaters. Somehow I manged to get kid #1 rinsed off and swabbed with baby-wipes while holding screaming kid #2 over my left shoulder.

Kate's nightly tooth-brushing went quick, with the rising stench of the bathtub making life in the bathroom unbearable. A fast "Dora the Explorer" story later and Claire and I showed up back in the bathroom armed with rubber gloves and everything in the house labeled "bleach" or "disinfectant". The cleaning was a story of its own and I'll just say I learned more than I cared to about what Kate had for breakfast and lunch that day, and we ran out of Jack Daniels that night.

I called Jen at the Ladies Night out in the middle of all this, and I only remember laughter...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Because I Can

Kate walks in mommy's shoes.

Kate doesn't care that Keith Urban is flat.


I'm trying this video thing....this is Kate's first try at walking in flip-flops.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Random Stuff

I ought to be napping, but I wanted to update my faithful readers before doing so. Be forewarned that I'm working on new-mommy sleep deprivation and therefore this might be not only random but also slightly incoherent. But, you will get photos, so it's all good.

We made it to the park this morning, me, Kate and Claire. Christy is in town from MO, and invited several of us to meet up with her, Taylor and Jack. It's challenging, going to the park with a newborn and a 17-month old. Kate isn't really into taking direction, so it's slow-going. She is into exploration, which is entertaining and messy. Today she decided to try to climb something but fell down and ended up with a mouth- and nose-full of rocks. Seem familiar? This was also accompanied by a scrape on her nose which bled slightly, and a fit of crying. I was attending to Claire at the time, who had started crying. Yee-haw.

This all followed our packing up into the car before heading to the park: I had Kate outside while I unlocked the doors and started the car. Kate wandered down the driveway, like she usually does (except this time she didn't have her push-toy to slow her down). This meant that Kate was at the end of the driveway while I was in the carport watching her. She is very good about not going in the street, but others don't know this (and I'm always, always close by watching just in case) and a car with a woman driving past our house stopped and gawked as she watched this toddler wander aimlessly close to the street without a parent in sight. Somehow this annoyed me. I am sure she was just concerned that I was not aware of Kate's proximity to the street, but I felt the judging eyes: Where is this child's absentee mother?? Why is she letting her child play in traffic? Ah, well. She stopped well-short of the street and after the so-concerned lady left (without doing a thing about Kate), I went and picked Kate up and put her in the car.

Okay, that was a lot of writing and now I need a nap. Y'all enjoy these photos.

I wonder how many things I can get into while Mama changes that baby's diaper.

Woo-hoo! Claire has been evicted and the bouncy seat is now mine!

Yes, she is watching the Today Show.

Mommy's Lil Fighter Pilot. Hey, you never know.

Bath time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend Update

My dad and step-mom visited over the weekend, and Kate and Claire got to spend time with their grandparents.

After they left, we took the kids to the park. Kate loved the slide, even when she went down all by herself and got a mouth and nose full of dirt and rocks. Woohoo, parents of the year award goes to us!

And now that I've updated you with all sorts of information, I'm going to try to take a nap. My 3 hours of sleep last night are wearing thin.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Angel

Claire and Tim sleeping on the sofa.
Tim is fabulous. He is The Most Fabulous Person in the world. Not only did he get me See's chocolates for Valentine's Day (which I asked for; you gotta take 'em when you can get 'em and right now my metabolism is as high as it'll ever be =), he got home after flying, ate some leftover pizza (do I know how to treat my husband for Valentine's Day or what?) and told me to go to bed. I gleefully accepted, knowing that he would take care of Claire while I got some rest. He gave her a bottle before coming to bed, which allowed me probably 4-5 hours of mostly-uninterrupted sleep. Blissful. After the night before's antics, sleep was the best thing anyone could give me. Thanks for taking one for the team, Tim. My turn tonight.
As for Kate, she did much better last night. She woke up a few times sort of whimpering, but Katie is right: Motrin is the way to go when it comes to teething. So Motrin it will be, with lunch and with dinner.

Those are some granny pants.

McLaren's first trip to the zoo, 2 weeks old.

Grandma and Kate watch the elephants.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If It Isn't One... can bet your bottom dollar that it will be the other. This applies to issues involving:
  • feedings
  • wake time
  • crying fits
  • illness
  • teething
  • general neediness

Tim's mom left last night. She'd been here since the day before Claire was born, and Kate had gotten used to having her Grandma around to play with her, feed her, get her up in the morning, and take her on walks. I had gotten used to having someone here to cook, do dishes, take care of Kate (and Claire if I needed a nap), and listen to me question my sanity at our decision to have children so close in age to one another.

Over the weekend, Claire had regressed in her nighttime sleep habits. She was back to sleeping for a bit and then waking up pretty much every time you left her in her crib and walked out of the room. I was concerned about how she would do (and how we would do) during our first night without mom here to help if we needed her.

Claire did great. She slept when I wanted her to, waking up every 3 hours to eat. Awesome.

Kate did not do so well. She was up until 2:30am, screaming at the top of her lungs (I'm pretty sure you could hear her at the end of our driveway. Seriously. It was that loud.). I do not know why. I didn't know why then, and I don't know why now. Tim tried to get her to sleep on his chest (he thought maybe she was upset that Claire got to do this and she wanted to do the same). No luck. He took her into the guest room to sleep in the big bed. No luck. He slept on the floor next to her crib. No luck. He fed her some milk and fruit puffs around midnight. Gave her Tylenol. Tried rocking her. No luck. The only blessing that I can think of about last night is that Claire slept through it all. I don't know how, but it was good that at least one of the kids got some sleep and gave us some peace.

I think Kate must be teething something fierce. Why the Tylenol didn't do anything, I don't know. It's after 3pm now, and she is just finally quieting down to nap. She has been in her crib since about 1pm, screaming, talking, crying, and generally being miserable.

Us, we are exhausted. Tim cancelled his first flight this morning, and I'm not even trying to nap right now because Claire is currently refusing to sleep. So I'm here blogging, one-handed, as I cradle her in my left arm. Are you sure you don't want us to build that guesthouse in the backyard, mom?

Friday, February 09, 2007

All it Takes

Apparently, all it takes for Claire to sleep peacefully at night is for her to know that her Daddy is on night duty in addition to her Mama. Oh, it's not just Mom I'm going to keep awake all night? I guess I'll sleep between each feeding. The last 2 nights have been much better than the one I posted about last time. Claire is back in swaddle-loving mode, and I am getting more sleep. I still don't know what I'm going to do when Grandma Cheri leaves, though. She is allowing me the opportunity to nap whenever I need to, and to sleep in.

Tonight is a majors promotion party, and Tim and I are headed out for our first 'date night' since Claire was born. It will be an early night, I'm sure, but it will be great to get out and see people and it will be fabulous to have a beer!

More photos later; both the babes are sleeping right now. I'll try to catch them in action later this afternoon, as Kate tries to hit her sister with the school bus, or Claire tries to launch milk back at Kate.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Growing and Growing

13 days old. I don't want to wake up, Mom.

Claire had her 2 week well-baby check up this morning. She's 13 days old now and weighs 8lbs 9oz, and is 21" long. That's some growing since she was born! She was 8lb 5oz and 20" then, so the doctor says she's doing just fine.
Unfortunately, she is back to sleeping most of the day and crying at night. Swaddling is no longer working for me, and I am once again tired. Last night was a tough one - she was particularly fussy and I think I was up with her more than I was in bed. I remember Kate not wanting to wake up during the day, too, but I don't remember what I did about it. Maybe that's why I was in such a fog for the first 4-6 weeks of her life.
The problem was probably that we had a tasty dinner of roast pork, potatoes and broccoli, followed by pie. Claire knew that her sister got pie, and she didn't get any. Not fair! I'm going to stay awake all night!

Pie after dinner.

Mommy put Cool Whip on my nose.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Getting More Sleep, One Burrito at a Time

Burrito Claire.

I was worried, those first few days home from the hospital. You get kind of spoiled when you're still in your room at St Joe's here; the nurses come and whisk your baby off to the nursery at the impression of a button on your bed. Sleep, blissful sleep. Then you get home 2 days later, and find that those nurses were the best friends you had while you were there. They comfort your baby, swaddle her, change her diaper, feed her if you ask them to, and generally play 'mommy', all so you can rest. At home, you have no nurses to help. Lucky for me, I have Tim's mom here to help out for a few weeks, but we've been having her take care of Kate for the most part. Claire is up to us.

And sleep was not on her agenda the first couple of days she was home. At least no sleep at night. That's the time to fuss and cry! The time to have diaper blowouts, spit-up contests, and time to expend all efforts to wake your older sister! Two girls crying at 3am, now that's fun.

We spent the first 2 nights on the sofa, rotating shifts. Claire would sleep on top of my chest as I reclined on the couch, trying to get comfortable and keep her from crying at the same time. We began to doubt our choice of homes. Our floor plan is not conducive to containing the screams from either a 2 day old or a 16 month old without waking the other one up. Or waking up the entire household (and maybe the neighbors), for that matter.

I thought back to Kate's newborn days and tried to remember if she was the same way. She was. I think we were having the same problems, too. Gassy baby (from me drinking milk), screams throughout the night, wanting to eat every 1 1/2 hours or so. And because I was sleep-deprived, I gave in. I let her sleep on me, I fed her every 90 minutes, and I was exhausted.

It was time for an intervention. The next day I began stretching out the feedings, and I stopped drinking milk. The gassy baby problem disappeared almost immediately (making me wonder if it really is milk, but I'm not about to start drinking it again for at least a couple more weeks), and Claire started napping better. She still woke up at night, though. So I thought back to our days in the hospital, and remembered that they had given us 2 blankets that were the perfect size for swaddling a newborn. I wrapped her up tight, arms down at her sides. And the silence was deafening. Peaceful, glorious sleeping baby. Now Claire gets swaddled every night, and we get about 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep until she's hungry again. Whew.

Poopie suit.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Okay, okay!

9 days old.

Sleeping with her mouth open.


Kate & Daddy before Dining Out.

Photos for Niki (and everyone else who didn't write a nasty email to me complaining that there needed to be more photos of Claire on the blog). =P