Lucy at 9 months

Lucy’s 9-month well-baby checkup was this morning.

9 month pediatrician appointment. The mirror is awesome.

She weighed in at 19 pounds, 14 ounces (I thought for sure she’d break the 20-pound mark this time, but she was 2 ounces shy), and she’s 27.8 inches tall. For those of y’all who care, that puts her in the 76th percentile for weight, and 52nd percentile for height. (I’m thinking that awesome potbelly makes up for the height/weight discrepancy.) She’s also in the 97th percentile for head circumference, which puts her as slightly smaller-headed than her sister. Catie was always off the charts for head size.

The doctor diagnosed her as basically perfect except for her eczema, which she’s had since she was a newborn. I could’ve told you that. This little baby girl is freaking awesome.

Lucy modeling her hat for when the weather gets sunny.

She crawls all over the place now, and she is FAST. She’s also pulling up to a stand on just about anything she can grab. If I happen to be sitting on the floor near her, she often uses either my hair or my boob to grab and pull herself up. Not so nice for me, but she’s so pleased with herself, I can’t really get mad at her, either.

She took two steps yesterday, pushing a little ride-on toy car in front of her, so I know that walking for real is just around the corner. I’m kind of terrified.

She mostly sleeps through the night now. Not always, but generally. Our routine lately has been that she goes down sometime around 8 or 8:30, and she might wake up sometime before midnight for one last bottle, but then she’s good until morning. So, it’s not too bad.

She eats like a champ. Baby food, finger food, regular table food… whatever you got, she’s game for trying it. Catie was always a bit of a picky eater, so this is kind of awesome to be able to just toss anything on her high chair tray and know that it’s most likely not going to go to waste.

She’s starting to get words here and there, too. The most popular ones are “hi” and “bye,” complete with hand wave. She’s not totally consistent, sometimes she waves and says “hi” to the door, or she’ll say “bye” a minute or two after we’ve left. Still, she’s getting it.

She can kind of say “bottle,” but it sounds like “bwuh”. And “all done” sounds like “nuh-nun.” She definitely has her own little dialect, but we’re figuring it out.

She can say “Pop-Pop,” which made my dad damn near melt. And she can say “Kay!” for Catie.

Still no consistent use of “mama,” but sometimes when she’s upset and wants me, she’ll say “mamamamamama,” which I figure is close enough.

For the most part, though, she is so much fun. We’re past the newborn stage and getting into the fun baby/early toddler phase where she seems to be learning something new every day.

And now that she’s getting bigger and a little more interactive, I’ve found that the dynamic between Catie and Lucy is changing too. Sometimes this is a bad thing – Lucy is mobile and wants to check out toys that Catie has deemed as “hers,” so we’ve had lots of long talks about how certain things have to be shared. Because, yes, of course, Catie has some toys that are very special to her and I don’t expect her to share those. But she also doesn’t get to yank every single thing away from Lucy with a, “That’s mine!” (And a lot of times, the things she yanks away are toys she hasn’t played with in months, if not years.)

But on the good side, it also means they play together sometimes now. Lucy loves watching Catie, and wants to do everything that her big sister does.

Catie thought it would be funny to get in the empty tub with her clothes on. Lucy agreed. Goofy kids.

I have to say, this phase that we’re in right now is so much fun. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

sleep training begins, kinda

It’s generally a bad idea to talk about a particular parenting style on the Internet, because it always leads to disagreements – breast versus bottle, stay-at-home moms versus working moms, natural childbirth versus medicated… all of those arguments we’ve had a hundred times or more.

Which is why it’s probably a bad idea for me to write about this, but a couple of posts this week got me thinking about it, so here it is.

I’ve started sleep training Lucy.

Let me back up: for the past four months, my mom has been living with me, so the idea of letting Lucy cry it out simply wasn’t an option. My mom is respectful of my parenting decisions, but she’s also a grandma, and it goes against her instincts to let her grandbaby cry. Besides, I never would’ve let Lucy cry it out when she was younger than 6 months old anyway.

But lately, bedtime with her has turned into this ridiculously elaborate dance, and it basically feels like she’s training me, instead of the other way around, and I have to put a stop to it.

Lately, Lucy’s sleep routine has been:
* Bathtime.
* Bottle.
* She starts to fall asleep on the bottle, then wakes up and wants! to! play! (Which, WTF? Wasn’t the whole POINT of the bath to make you sleepy, kid?).
* She rolls around on the floor and plays for at least an hour, sometimes longer.
* She eats some solid food – because I figure what the hell, we’re awake, and maybe having a little extra in her tummy will make her sleep longer. (Tip: it doesn’t.)
* Play some more. I get increasingly desperate for sleep.
* Another bottle. This time, she falls asleep while drinking it.
* Burp.
* Caaaaarefully transfer sleeping baby to crib. If she wakes up, she screams bloody murder, then I have to pick baby up and rock her until she falls asleep again, then repeat transfer process. (This may take up to 5 times or more, before successful crib placement actually occurs.)
* I crawl to bed and collapse, and pray that she sleeps through the night. Which she’s done, like, maybe 4 times in her life. Normally she wakes me up after 3-4 hours.

So. That’s completely ridiculous, right? I mean, I know it is.

The thing is, when I’ve tried to let her cry it out, I end up caving in. She screams and screams, and eventually I just can’t take it anymore, so I go get her. (Of course, the message she receives from this is, “If I scream loud enough, Mommy will come back and get me.” So that’s completely useless.)

Last night, she woke me up at 4 a.m., as per usual. I gave her a bottle, burped her, and put her back in the crib. As soon as I set her down, she woke up and started shrieking. I sat down on the floor next to her crib, reached through the slats, and tried to pat her and comfort her, to get her to go to sleep on her own.

I did that for half an hour. She never stopped screaming.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I could feel myself starting to get angry – which is completely irrational, I know. She’s a baby, she can’t help it. But she had me up past midnight, then woke me up less than 4 hours later, and I was just exhausted and I couldn’t take it anymore. So I left.

I lay down in my bed and I stared at the clock. Lucy screamed for 22 minutes, then she finally fell asleep.

(For the record? Catie slept through the entire thing.)

I don’t feel that guilty about it – I mean, she wasn’t hungry, she wasn’t sick or in pain. She was just pissed off and didn’t want to sleep. Or she didn’t know how to get herself to sleep. Which is mostly my fault, because I haven’t made her figure out how to soothe herself yet.

I don’t know if this is something I’m going to do long-term. All I know is that I’m raising these 2 girls by myself, I don’t have a partner who I can tag-team for nighttime duty. And I have a full-time job, and I am useless during the day if I don’t get enough sleep. So I have to do something.

This is less about a particular parenting philosophy, and more about basic survival.

Trying SO HARD. But so far she can only go backwards.

Besides, based on the smiles and laughs I got this morning when she woke up, I’m pretty sure no major long-term damage has been done. Yet.

Almost happy*

Warning: I’m totally scattered right now, so this post is going to be really disjointed and all over the place. I’ll throw in a bunch of cute kid photos to make it worth your while.

It appears that I am going to be moving in about, oh, a week and a half. I’m kind of in denial about it. My parents are running around the house throwing all of my stuff into boxes, while I focus on the kids or work or whatever, but la-la-la, I’m not thinking about packing. It seems to be working so far, since I haven’t freaked out yet.

(Oh, did I mention that my dad is here for Thanksgiving? He booked his flight before he knew that he’d be moving up here 3 weeks from now. We’re glad to have him. Even though he and my mom bicker like… well, like a couple that’s been married for almost 42 years, I guess. But Catie and Lucy both adore him, so it’s good to have him around. Most of the time. I’m personally getting a little tired of the “So hey, why DID your marriage fail, anyway?” inquisition. Sigh. Thanks for that, Dad.)

Ok, moving on! Other random stuff, which I shall number to make it seem more like an ordered list of events, and less like I’m in dire need of ADHD medication.

1. I’ve been sick for over two weeks now. I finally gave up and went to the doctor, where I found out that I have both a sinus and ear infection. So that’s fun. Hooray for antibiotics!

2. Lucy seemed to be coming down with the same crud that I have, and I freaked out at the thought of her being as sick as I am. Turns out she got something much milder than me. She was a little feverish for a day or so, and she seems to have a bad case of Drippy Nose, but other than that, she’s still her normal happy, cheerful self. Thank God for small favors. The Drippy Nose is gross, but it’s manageable.

Had to take a break from packing to take the (still drippy-nosed) baby for a walk.

See? She sure doesn’t LOOK sick.

3. Catie had her second appointment with a counselor. It was good. We took silly pictures of ourselves in the waiting room.

Making silly faces.

She seems to be doing pretty well. We’re working through it as best we can.

4. We’re having a ridiculously mild fall, and I have to admit that I’m loving it. I adore the in-between weather when the highs are in the 60s, it’s so nice. I’ve been taking Catie to the playground a lot lately, even though I’ve been sick and I’m sure I sound like I’m going to keel over and die of tuberculosis right next to the monkey bars. On Sunday, I had to take a break from all of the cleaning and packing and take both of my girls to the playground.

I didn’t get any pictures of Catie at the playground, because it’s impossible to take a non-blurry photo of a whirling dervish. That girl never stopped moving for a second. But while we were there, I thought I’d try Lucy out in the baby swing for the first time. I balled up my hoodie and stuffed it in the swing behind her to keep her from flopping around too much.

Lucy's first time in the swing.

She LOVED it. Like, I’ve never seen her laugh that hard for that long, ever. It was fantastic.

5. Also on the topic of Lucy’s first milestones, last night we gave her a taste of her first “real” (non-pureed) vegetable. It was my mom’s green beans, which are already really soft, and then I chopped them up into tiny, non-choke-able baby-size pieces.

Lucy, aka The Mess-Maker

She loved them, but hoo boy, what a mess. Still, it was pretty hilarious to watch her lean over and try to slurp the green beans off of the high chair tray. So overall? Totally worth it.

Lucy, aka The Mess-Maker

Yeah. Definitely worth it.

6. I just checked and verified that, yep, I am indeed moving in NINE DAYS. Ok, maybe I am starting to freak out a little.

* This is the name of the song that was playing on my iPod when I started typing this. It’s by a band called K’s Choice. Seemed appropriate.

Two Months

Lucy turned two months old yesterday. We dressed up a little for the occasion.

Lucy is 2 months old today
(Tutu’ed onesie courtesy of Greis. It’s one of my favorite baby outfits ever.)

She had her two-month pediatrician visit today. Her current stats are:
Height: 22 1/2″
Head circumference: I don’t know, but it’s big. Like 96th percentile. We all have freakishly large heads in this family.
Weight: 12 pounds, 14 ounces

Considering that she was only 7 pounds, 1 ounce at birth, that means she’s almost doubled her weight in two months. I knew that she’d gotten a lot bigger, but DAMN.

Making herself at home.
“It just means there’s more of me to love.”

She got a few vaccines, which was awful, but overall the visit went well. She’s right on target developmentally.

As for other non-medical stuff, Lucy’s current likes include:
* Ceiling fans.
* Her big sister.
* Baths.
* Mommy’s singing (she might be alone on that one).
* Bottles, boobs, pacifiers… basically anything she can shove in her mouth.

Not quite clear why she had to come along to my doctor's appointment. (Because Daddy's at work!)
Exhibit A.

And her current dislikes:
* When people break eye contact with her. She wants face-time, all the time.
* Diaper changes.
* Pretty much all baby toys. She doesn’t care yet.
* Being set down anywhere (baby swing, bouncer, baby gym, etc.). She prefers to be held, and it’s just too damn bad if it inconveniences anyone.

Really, for the most part, she’s an incredibly good baby. She’s very smiley and sweet, and yes all newborns are difficult, but she’s just lovely to have around.

I mean, y’all. This girl.

We have tushie ruffles.

I am just so in love with her.

Recent random things that have made me laugh

The past few days have been a little on the rough side. It’s all temporary stuff, I know, I’ve just been ridiculously insane a little hormonal, and it’s been hard. I’m calling my doctor to talk about changing my meds (or increasing the dosage) because I don’t feel like myself at all, so I’m being proactive and trying to fix it. Objectively, I know that my life is pretty awesome: great family and friends, two beautiful kids, everybody’s healthy, Dave & I both have good jobs, we have a nice house, etc. We’re the freaking American Dream over here. There’s no logical reason for me to feel so mopey, and I know that, so I’m going to get help for it.

And I also know that once I start getting a little more sleep on a consistent basis, and feeling a little more stable on the whole work/mom/wife front, things will get easier. Or they should.

But in the meantime, I thought I’d write down a few things that have cracked me up lately, because (a) y’all probably don’t want to read a bunch of depressing crap about my moodiness, and (b) I need to be reminded that The Funny is still here.

—————————————————————————————

1. A few nights ago, Lucy was being really fussy for no discernible reason (babies are like that sometimes, you know), and Dave was trying to calm her down while I took care of Catie’s bedtime routine. After she screamed her head off for a good long while, she finally collapsed from exhaustion. On Dave’s face.

She fell asleep. On his face.

Ok, mostly on his jaw, but still. That picture cracks me up.

—————————————————————————————

2. While changing Lucy’s diaper, she peed on the changing table, so while I was holding her in the air trying to clean it up (and she was diaper-less, of course), she peed again. And it got all over Catie’s backpack.

Catie’s reaction was to cry, “Lucy just PEES on everything and this is why we should send her to live with somebody else!”

I told her that I only have two babies and I plan on keeping both of them. Also, maybe she should stop leaving her stuff in her baby sister’s room, particularly right next to the changing table.

—————————————————————————————

3. The way Catie says “ridiculous.” She keeps telling me that stuff is “ri-dick-lee-ous.” Love it.

—————————————————————————————

4. I got this adorable monogrammed onesie as a baby gift from my aunt and uncle.

Monogrammed onesie from my aunt & uncle. Love it.

I called my mom and described it to her over the phone.

My mom: “Oh, I don’t like that.”

Me: “What? It’s cute! What do you mean?”

Mom: “I don’t think it’s safe for kids to have their names printed on their clothes like that.”

Me: “Mom, she’s 7 weeks old. You think someone’s going to call her name and she’s going to go running to them?”

Mom: “Huh. Good point.”

—————————————————————————————

5. A few nights ago, “Independence Day” was on TV and I was watching it while Catie played upstairs in her room. She came downstairs, I was about to change the channel (because, you know, it’s not exactly a kid-friendly movie), but before I could, she asked me what I was watching.

Me: “Oh, it’s just a movie about bad aliens that come to Earth. But it’s all silly make-believe stuff.” (I try to be very nonchalant about potentially scary stuff so she doesn’t get freaked out.)

Catie: [sees the shot of Air Force One in mid-flight] “Is that the aliens’ spaceship?”

Me: “No, that’s the President’s airplane. But see, in this pretend movie, they say that he [pointing at Bill Pullman] is the President. And you know that our President is Obama, right? And he doesn’t look anything like that, does he?”

Catie: “No, that’s silly! That’s not Obama! Obama has short hair just like Baby Sister!”

Looks like she's doing a little dance.

Yeah. I can totally see that. Lucy and Barack Obama are basically twins, aren’t they?

How Things Change

Baby starts crying.

Baby #1: Immediately pick up and console.

Baby #2: “Sorry, kid, but your mama has to pee so you’re just going to have to scream for about 90 seconds. I promise you won’t be scarred for life.”

——————————————————

Baby spits up all over you.

Baby #1: “OMG! Bathe the baby and change her clothes! Take a shower and change my clothes! Clean everything! AAACCKKK!!!”

Baby #2: Don’t worry about it. Later, ask your spouse if he minds holding the baby so you can rinse the dried baby puke out of your hair. In the sink. You know, all classy-like.

——————————————————

Baby has a massive blow-out poo-splosion diaper.

Baby #1: Run around like a headless chicken trying to figure out how you are going to clean all of this poop, because holy hell you need a gas mask and a haz-mat suit. Scream things at your spouse, like, “Hold her hands! Don’t let her put her hands in the OHMYGOD EWWW THAT IS SO NASTY!!”

Baby #2: Pretty much the same reaction. Poop is gross, man.

——————————————————

Grocery shopping.

Baby #1: Take her out with you at every possible moment, both because you can’t stand the idea of being away from her for more than 5 minutes, but also because you kind of want to show her off.

Baby #2: You will be willing to pay someone hard-earned cash to come watch your kid so you don’t have to take her to the store with you. Grocery shopping alone becomes your “me time.”

——————————————————

You need to shower.

Baby #1: Carefully arrange your hygiene schedule around the time that your spouse is available to take care of the baby.

Baby #2: Drag the bouncy seat into the bathroom, plop the baby down, and take your damn shower already.

——————————————————

The baby sleeps for five (5!!) consecutive, uninterrupted hours.

Baby #1: Call everyone you know and alert them to this new development because, haaa! You will be well-rested and less crazy from this day forward! Hooray!!

Baby #2: Don’t tell a soul for fear of jinxing it the way you did last time, dumbass.**

Sleepy head.

**Note that the previous statement is NOT an admission that she slept for 5 hours, ok? And I certainly didn’t admit that she slept for 5 hours the last two nights in a row. Now everyone throw some salt over their shoulder or cross their fingers or say a prayer or something because OMG no jinxes pleeeeeeease!

This Week

Things that happened this week that I totally forgot to blog about because, hot damn, y’all, I am TIRED.

1. My brother and sister came over from Charlotte last weekend to hang out. That was fun, even though I completely forgot to take any pictures whatsoever.

2. Everyone (my brother, my sister, and my mom) went back to their respective homes on Sunday. We were very sad about that. Or at least, Catie and I were sad; Lucy honestly didn’t seem to notice much.

3. I survived 48 hours on solo parent duty with a four year-old and a newborn.

Um, Catie, that doesn't look very comfy for your sister.

That probably seems like nothing to some people, but for me, it felt like a pretty major accomplishment.

4. Dave got back from England on Tuesday evening. Thank God.

5. Also on Tuesday: I started back to work. And Lucy turned 6 weeks old.

Who, me? I'm not sleepy at all!
Whaaa? Where does the time go?

6. I moved Lucy to her crib, because she’s such a light sleeper that she wakes up if I so much as roll over or clear my throat. I thought maybe we might all get some more sleep that way. She’s spent the last 2 nights in her crib, and it’s been semi-successful. She’s gone from sleeping 2.5 hours at a time to sleeping 3 hours at a time, so… yay? I guess? I’ll celebrate once she’s consistently sleeping 4+ hours at a time. (Soon. Please, God, let it be soon.)

7. I’m finally starting to feel the post-partum crazies set in. I know that it’s just the accumulation of several weeks’ worth of exhaustion, and it’s all stuff that will pass as soon as I get some rest. But this has not been my best week, to put it mildly.

8. We have no plans this weekend, and I am so looking forward to that. I might not get out of my pajamas until Monday.