Sunday, July 26, 2009

So far behind

It's been too long since I posted a general update on Luca, much less something about Rohan. By the time they're in bed for the night, I'm too tired to type this all out and upload pictures, but it's overdue.

So, here's what's up in their world!

Luca is now 26 months old, and she amazes us with something new everyday. Her language skills are really impressive, she's getting a sense of humor all her own, and she's really showing herself to be a silly, kind, sensitive kid. She's also testing us more with her individuality and the "NO!" phase, but I hear about the terrible twos and I think, "If this is as bad as it gets, we really lucked out!". I know as her mom I am supposed to say that, but it is true almost to the point of being obnoxious. Just today my brother in law asked us, "Has anything ever been wrong with Luca?", which stumped me until he explained he never knew a kid her age could be so sweet and well-behaved and just all around easy to be with. Mind you, she does save her worst moments for when she's alone with us, but even those tantrums are usually about jealousy or not undestanding WHY something is as it is or just plain being tired. So, yeah, we're lucky and we know it.

Just yesterday, I was talking to her about daycare, because her former daycare buddy moved to California while I was on maternity leave, and I was worrie about whether she had new friends. So I asked who her best friend is now, and she replied, "Rohan is my best friend." Now, I know she doesn't really 'get' what a best friend is, but you had better believe that answer made my heart burst into a millions rainbows.

She's really into books right now, which comes in handy when I can use them to get her to do something she needs to do. She had a 48 hour bug 2 weeks ago, and after her fever was gone she didn't want to eat. So we pulled out a zuccini muffin, and told her it was green eggs and ham. She broke into a huge smile and said, "I do like them Sam! I do! I do!" and then she went ahead and ate a few bites. She also loves to 'read' books to Rohan and her baby (cabbage patch). Her baby, ironically is ALSO named Rohan, and she changes her diapers, puts powder on her bum, and makes sure baby gets fed.

Rohan is doing what any 4 month old does. He sleeps, he smiles, he coos and goos and almost laughs. He rolled for the first time before he hit 4 months, and now he's rolling front to back and back to front all the time. He's also very touch oriented. Part of this could be due to how much we had to hold him as a newborn because of his Masto, but to this day he craves being held and touched. He's known for grabbing tightly to a finger or a face when you try to set him down, and for holding onto my hand while nursing like a reminder to us to slow down and revel in the sweet infant stage. He's got good hand-eye coordination, and is able to pick up his Boppy, grab toys and bring them to his mouth, and touch his sister's face in a way that makes my heart melt into a puddle of love.

I started this blog post 4 days ago, and in that span of time when it sat unfinished, Romo decided to debut his laugh. And OH MY GOD if that didn't make my heart sprout wings and fly around the world, I don't know what could. Baby smiles and baby laughs are the BEST things I've ever been witness to in my life.

So that's the update on the kids. Both of them are doing very well. Rohan just started going to daycare with Luca last week. He's had a little trouble adjusting, but I think this is going to be his personality...that he's going to be a little less laid back and receptive to change than Luca. He is quicker to get enraged than she ever was, but the other side of that is that he's quicker to be filled with joy, and his face opens up into a smile a million times a day with an ease I never knew possible. I think over time he will adjust and grow to love Laura just as Luca does, but he will also get to spend one day a week with my mom and one day with Darrick's...he is a LUCKY boy indeed! I think it's so amazing that he and Luca will get that time with both Grandmas (and their Grandpa too!). We've been really blessed by our families, and our kids are too!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Smile That's Just for Me

The moment I've been waiting for with Romo finally happened a few days ago. THE smile.

You moms know. Especially if you breastfed. (and that's not to knock non-breastfeeders, but I've only ever experience this while nursing a baby, not while giving a bottle, so I can't speak to that experience)

It was early morning, Darrick and Luca still sleeping upstairs and Romo and me snuggled into the big recliner watching some baby-related show on TLC or DHC (I can never remember). My sleepy little boy had a clean diaper, a warm blankie tucked around him, and he was lazily nursing in a half-sleep, his eyes barely visible under a curtain of sweet baby lashes. Suddenly, he stopped nursing and rolled almost onto his back, and as he looked at me his face burst into a thousand tiny shooting stars, showering me in a smile so brilliant and filled with joy that I couldn't help but grin back like a fool in love. And fool in love I am...but now I now he is too. These are the moments I remember with Luca where everything sort of clicked into place and I thought, "That smile right there is JUST for me." No one else in the world will have those moments with him, where his belly is warm and humming with milk, and the morning light is blue-gray, and his little hand is grasping my finger and then he rolls back and smiles like, "Dude. This is AWESOME, mom!"

And then he spent the next 20 minutes doing the latch then detach routine, each time rolling back to look at me and smile, repitition not even dimming the power of his sparkle one tiny bit. And every time, my heart would swell up with such love for this little love, who finally seemed to realize, "Hey! There's a you and there's a me, and I love the you and you love the me and this milk is nice and you're warm and my belly is too."

Oh my god. Magic. Pure, unadulterated baby magic. Rolling in fresh cut grass, feet dipped into an ocean clear as glass, puppy breath and warm fresh baked cookies bliss!

Someone better sign me up for that IUD fast, before I claim baby insanity and start plotting to convince Darrick of a #3.....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cookie Hair and the Promise of Boobs

(from the backseat)
"I need to take a bath."
Me: "You do?"
"Yeah. I have cookies in my hair."

Ok, (a) She is two. She shouldn't be eager for bathtime, nor should she be able to express it so well. (b) Cookies in her hair? I need to hang out wherever she's been hanging out.

Other recent Luca-isms include asking me why her toy monkeys don't wear pants (a fair question, but one I can't really seem to find a good answer for), telling me "I threw up in buckets." (which, apparently, she DID when her daddy took her to the urgent care for kids for a fever of 103.2), and telling Darrick she'd eat her lunch because it would give her boobies like mommy has.

Ok, that last one went a little differently than I'm making it sound. She was refusing to eat lunch, which anyone who knows my kid knows it basically an everyday occurence, so my husband was trying to bribe her.

"If you eat lunch, we can go play in your pool."
"NO dada. ALL DONE."
"Do you want to go to the park? If you eat lunch, we can go to the park!"
"NO DADA. Let Luca down, please."
(switching tactics)
"Luca, you need to eat your lunch. If you don't eat, you're going to bed."
"Luca needs to sleep in DADA'S BED!"
(rapidly switching again)
"Luca, do you want to be a big girl?"
"Yes. Luca's a big girl, like mama."
(frantically trying to find something...ANYTHING...that will make her eat)
"Luca, if you want boobies like mommy when you grow up, you need to eat your lunch."
:::end scene with Luca eating every last bite of lunch:::

Apparently, it's not just boys and men who can be made to do ANYTHING for boobs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Trying to find the Zen in Exhaustion.

A new baby will tire you out. I probably don't need to say that, but some people have never HAD a new baby...or have but it's been awhile and mom/dadnesia has set in. So you may not know just HOW tiring it can be. And the answer to that question can be VERY tiring.

Before Luca was born, people were all, "Get sleep NOW because when you have a baby you won't sleep at ALL!" and I was all, "Dude. Shut up. I get it." But I didn't get it, not really. And I also didn't benefit at all from 'getting sleep now' because, as it turns out, sleep cannot be saved up. The extra ice cream I ate while pregnant? In reserves. The extra sleep I got? No such luck.

Here's the thing. The newborn phase is a maddening cycle of baby waking every 2-3 hours to eat and be changed and need rocking or bouncing, followed by more eating and then some sleeping. And if you're lucky and can shut your mind and body down on a moment's notice, you too can nap throughout the day when baby does. If you are EXTRA lucky, you can do so with a sweet, snuggly, half-nekkid baby curled up in your arms all gooey and warm with a full, happy belly (co-sleeping being a hotbed of debate, let me say I realize there is data out there that would tell you not to do this for safety reasons, and obviously safety matters, but there is also data about the safety of co-sleeping and when you have a newborn and sleep it at a premium, you do what you have to do).

But if you're either not a napping kind of person (though I have a hard time imagining ANY new parent not suddenly becoming 'the napping type' when faced with the lack of sleep) OR you wish to have a life beyond baby (as in, you need to do dishes before they crust together into one large Super Dish in the sink, and you want to return some phone calls, and you need to shower before you start to REALLY smell, and maybe you have some Tivo to catch up on...) you may find yourself getting by on something close to 0-4 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. I'd say in a day, but the term 'day' becomes sort of moot when you have a new baby, as the little time-stealers have no real sense of silly things like 'days' and 'schedules'.

What eventually happens is that you adjust. You get used to not getting much sleep, to the point where your 5 a.m. wake up call from a hungry baby is commonplace and you find yourself starting stories with, "So on Saturday I got to sleep in until 6:15...". But what's even better - what happens in the midst of the maddness and crying (baby's, your's, etc.) and sleep deprivation - is that you find little moments to treasure. I call it trying to find the zen in exhaustion, because I do, indeed, still have to TRY. Please don't mistake me for someone who is upbeat and rosy at 3 a.m., on wake-up call #2 for the evening, with a baby crying while my dog and my husband compete for the title of World's Most Obnoxious Snorer. I've been known to throw down a silent temper tantrum (silent ONLY because I don't want to risk rousing the baby who I've been trying to bounce back to sleep for 23 minutes, not because of any sort of fatigued self-control). More than once I've whispered "Come OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON, buddy! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE go back to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep?!?!" only to get a blank, wide eyed stare in return.

And then there was last night when I used the old standby, "I thought you CHANGED his diaper! FUCK! I'll DO IT. mumble mumble couldafuckintoldme mumble mumble jesus mumble 2inthefuckinmorning mumblemumble." while storming out of the room. (For the record, when I apologized this morning my husband had no memory of this outburst, having either fallen back asleep before I even got to 'diaper' OR having blocked it out for his own sanity). This, of course, was followed by me feeding, changing, and bouncing the baby, then gingerly setting him in his crib asleep, collapsing back into my SO comfortable bed, and then manically kicking my blanket off in a fit and whisper-shouting "You have GOT to be KIDDING ME! %&#^%&!!!!" as I heard him start to cry again on the monitor. Ah, the beauty of parenthood.

But...then again...there IS some beauty in all of this madness. I remember what happened once Luca was no longer waking at night to eat (which wasn't until she was 6 months old). On one hand, I kind of sort of totally relished in the solid chunk of sleep I was getting every night. I almost dared to call myself well-rested (Nevermind that Luca has always been an early riser and still demanded my full attention at 5:15 sharp each morning. Who the hell installed the internal alarm on that kid??). On the other hand, there was this kind of sadness to that chapter in her life closing. As insane as it sounds, those middle-of-the-night-or-is-this-early-morning wakings make up some of the sweetest memories of Luca's infancy, and I have no doubt I will someday feel the same about the time I spend awake and alone with Rohan.

There's something about a totally silent house, lit by just the dim yellow bulb of the stove vent and so enveloped in sleep not even the crickets are awake to sing. There is a sweetness to those moments spent in complete silence, with nothing to focus on except the hungry baby in your arms, drinking happily with eyes closed and a small hand wrapped around your finger as if he's silently reminding you to be in that moment and focus just on him. I've spent many nights in the past 2 years fading seamlessly in and out of sleep sitting up on a couch or a recliner, with a baby in my arms, ocassionally looking at the clock and being surprised that an hour passed since last I looked at it. I've also spent many nights trying to keep myself awake while nursing, the TV on some baby show I've seen 13 times before (spoiler: she ends up with a c-section) or an old episode of Cheaters (spoiler: he's cheating, and beating him/the other woman over the head with a shoe will just make you look stupid when the host does his voice-over update and says you took him back).

They're moments I sometimes bitch and moan through, and moments in which I wish for nothing more than my down pillow on my cheeks. And they are also moments I wouldn't trade for another 10 or 20 or even 100 minutes of sleep a night, because they are so fleeting.

Since returning to work a few weeks ago, Romo and I are struggling with breastfeeding. He's taken to the bottle like a champ...a bit too much so, to the point where he prefers it to nursing. I can't entirely blame him, as my supply has always been this side of abundant, and the bottle is instant gratification on an empty tummy. Add to the fact that I'm not there for him to nurse on demand from during the day and you get a baby who sometimes cries when I try to feed him. When it's 3 a.m. and the whole house is sleeping save for you and the hungry baby, you don't let him get to wailing. Instead, you pop a bottle of expressed milk in his greedy little mouth and wish you weren't so tired since now you know you have to pump after he's back in bed. It's been hard to deal with, emotionally, because of course I keep thinking "If only I was at home, this wouldn't be happening." But it's something we're working through.

And on the flip side of it, it has meant that my husband (who happens to be a STELLAR example of a Dad) has been helping out at night by running in to grab Romo and give him a bottle instead of me waking to attempt to nurse him or give him the bottle myself. He actually offered to do all the night feedings, since he's home with the kids for the summer (I wasn't being sarcastic before when I called him stellar), and I have to get up for work in the morning. And one would think this would THRILL me beyond belief because while he does that I get to slide deeper into the pillows and get back to dreaming.

Instead, I've found myself having an odd and unexpected reaction: I miss the 2 a.m. feedings. I miss sitting down with my nursing pillow and my hungry baby and watching him go from crying and grunting in hunger to drowsy and content as he fills his belly. I miss sitting on the yoga ball bouncing him, kissing his sweet cheeks and feeling his body relax as he drifts into baby dreamland. ::sigh::

You may be asking yourself, "What the hell is wrong with that girl?!?!" And, if Rohan wakes 3 times tonight like he's been doing lately, I may ask myself that very same question and come post a retraction to this sentimental hogwash. But for now I am focusing on the Zen in Exhaustion...because I know from experience that this phase in life will be over long before I want it to be, and that I'll be remembering it fondly in a few months' time. And rather than just remembering how sweet and magical those moments alone with baby were, I want to experience how sweet and magical they are, right here and now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You may notice...

...I added a new feature below the posts (You Might Also Like...).

I'm not sure it's working quite as well as I want it to, but such is life. What do you think...does it add anything to my blog or is it just kind of weird?


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