Friday, December 31, 2010

Mooooooo.

I feel like a cow lately.

For starters, there's always something attached to my boobs. If it's not June, it's Lucy. If it's not Lucy, it's the pump.

Don't get me wrong. I'm so grateful to have a huge supply. Right now I'm pumping an extra 20 ounces a day for my freezer stash, and last week I was able to send 120 ounces to a mama who needed a little help with her newborn until her own supply was better established.

Of course, with all that milkin' comes a lot of eatin' and drinkin'.

I think I eat as much as your average Holstein right now.

I'm never one of those mamas who gets cravings and gains a lot of weight during pregnancy. With both my girls, I gained around 15 lbs. However, once the baby makes her entrance and starts nursing, it's like a switch is thrown.

All I can think about is food. I wake up in the morning thinking about breakfast and how quickly I can make pancakes (specifically chocolate chip pancakes), eggs, bacon, and coffee. I have eaten this same meal practically every day since June was born. Healthy, huh?

I woke up last night positively STARVING. This is seriously the first time in my life I've gotten out of bed to eat.

I'd love to know how many calories I'm burning from nursing alone. What's gonna happen when I start working out this week?

Sigh.

Almost forgot- Lucy signs "milk" when I'm pumping. Fabulous.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How do you do it?

How do you listen to your tiny baby cry for HOURS?
How do you ignore his or her cry for food, for comfort, for YOU?

If something feels wrong to you- if you have to fight your maternal instinct to pick up your baby- then IT IS wrong.

Mothering doesn't stop when the sun goes down. Babies are not created to live half the day isolated from their primary source of nourishment and nurturing.

YOU are the expert on your baby- not the M.D. (or, worse, the pseudo-doc) who wrote the book.

My heart is so heavy tonight.

Addendum: I know I shouldn't be so judgmental. There are plenty of people who disagree with my parenting practices. But I can't help but feel angry at the "experts" who convince mamas that we don't know how to mother, that our instincts are wrong, that we are better off listening to (most of the time, anyway) a man with book profits on his mind. Just as I believe women know how to birth, and know the best way for them to birth, I believe mamas know how to take care of their children. I wish more women would trust their gut in this respect.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Christmas time...at the Nolan's.


This year was a year of firsts for us- last month we spent Thanksgiving at home, and we did the same for Christmas. Although I love spending time with family, and Christmas is my favorite holiday, I could not fathom traveling 7+ hours in the car with a 15 month old, a 2 week old, and 2 dogs. Not. Happening. So, we stayed here and had our own little family Christmas. Christmas Eve was spent baking cookies, watching Christmas specials, and attending Mass. On Christmas morning, Brett made sure that the tree was on, the candles were lit, Christmas carols were playing, and the camera was ready for Lucy to walk down the hall into the living room.

I was really surprised at how into it she was! Lucy was super excited to play with her new toys and clothes, and ripped apart wrapping paper like an old pro. Wow- was Santa good to the Nolan family!

For Lucy: lots of clothes (she FINALLY fits into the JCrew CrewCuts collection!), a LittleTikes play table and chairs, her own comfy chair, a play "house," bath crayons....lots of other little things.
For June: clothes (some matching Lucy's, of course- but they're are larger sizes so you won't see pics for a while), a blanket, stuffed animals, a name cut-out (from Dixie- Lucy has one, too).

For Brett: plenty of homebrewing supplies (he's into making beer), tools...lots of "guy" stuff. Don't let it fool you, though. He also got a book on artisan bread making- something he's been talking about doing for a while now.

She may not look like him, but she sleeps like him.

For me: a beautiful necklace with charms for Lucy and June, Victoria's Secret gift card (wishful thinking, Brett), a new dress in a retro style, makeup (the expensive kind that I very seldom buy for myself), a food processor, JCrew gift card, LILLY PULITZER ACCESSORIES!


Oh yeah, AND I FIT INTO MY NON-PREGGO JEANS!!!

My favorite Christmas present!

And now, the aftermath....



Junie-bug at 2 weeks.

On our way to June's ped. appointment
Okay, okay. So June is almost three weeks old now- with all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, I didn't get around to posting her 2-week stats from her appointment on Wednesday. Drumroll, please......

7.44 lbs. (up almost 2 lbs. from her discharge weight)
20 in. long
Have to double-check her head circumference

In the 25-30th percentile in every category...she's a peanut, but a proportional peanut!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Relativity, mommy-style.

Einstein explained his Theory of Relativity using a woman and a hot stove.

For moms, I think it would be better explained this way: When you're reaching the end of your journey in preggo-land, a week lasts forever. Once your newborn arrives, a week is gone in the blink of an eye.

I cannot fathom that June is already one week old (technically, she's now a week-and-a-half). It's hard to believe that she's already here! Every morning I wake up to see her sweet little face next to mine, and I feel such a sense of awe. I love waking up to a mommy sandwich- June on my right, Lucy on my left. That's 'cause even though Lucy takes naps in her crib and starts out there at night, she generally wakes up around 5 or 6 each morning. Brett retrieves her and brings her to bed, I nurse her, and we all go back to sleep until 8 or so. I know the family bed isn't for everyone, but it works beautifully for us.

Some June developments:
- Like I did with Lucy, I disregarded the hospital's advice to clean June's umbilical stump with rubbing alcohol- recent research shows that alcohol actually increases healing time. For the most part I left it alone, only dabbing on some witch hazel when it was hanging by a thread. And, like Lucy, June lost her umbilical stump within a week of her birth.
- June loves to nurse around the clock. Like Lucy, she seems to be a snacker and prefers to sleep with a boob in her mouth as well. However, unlike Lucy, June is a champion sleeper. She already sleeps for 4+ hours at a stretch at night! June has nursing in the side-laying position down pat, which means I only get up once at night- and that's to change her diaper. Score another point for bedsharing!
- Strangely enough, June loves her swing- something Lucy never really took to. However, when we tried it out yesterday, June wasn't a fan of the Moby- whereas Lucy practically lived in it. I'm really hoping this changes quickly!

Lucy developments:
- Lucy's signing has taken off. It's like something clicked all of a sudden! She picked up 3 new signs yesterday alone- "baby," the grown-up version of "help" (I was having trouble differentiating the babied-down version of help from some other signs), and "cracker." She's still not talking- at least not whole, decipherable words. However, her babble sounds more and more like the real thing, and there's a smattering of words there. It's just a matter of figuring out what she means. Lucy also imitates our vocal inflection, particularly when she "reads" her books out loud.
- She's back to nursing several times a day, mostly in the night and morning. Lucy's doing a great job with sharing, though. She loves to sign "baby" and point to June- it's pretty adorable. We've only had one incident of sister-on-sister abuse so far, and it involved an Eric Carle board book. However, I think it was more of a case of Lucy having terrible aim when she chucked it then an intentional targeting of her baby sister. Still, we had a serious chat about throwing things and being patient. It's a good thing newborns are more tough than they look!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.

Ready to go home!

Mimi and her girls.

BTW- I knit this headband.

She cheeses when the flash goes off.

Daddy and his baby girl.

Love those lips!

Monday, December 13, 2010

MY adventures in tandem nursing.

December 9, 2010- First time nursing both girls at the same time.
Lucy at 15 months, June at 2 days old.
(Sorry for the crappy editing, but I didn't want to give everyone an eyeful!)

For those who read my blog regularly, you already knowing the following. For those who don't, a little background:
I became pregnant with June when Lucy was six months old and just starting solids. I was very proud of the fact that she was a breastmilk-only baby, and I both knew with my brain and felt with my heart that we were not ready (physically or emotionally) to wean. With the go-ahead from my midwife, Lucy continued to nurse throughout my pregnancy. We managed to avoid formula altogether until she was over 10 months old, at which point both my supply and my freezer stash had dwindled and we needed to supplement. It was incredibly difficult for me and gave me a new understanding for moms who desire to breastfeed but struggle with it.

To make a long story short, we fought through supply issues related to pregnancy, morning sickness so bad I lost almost 15 lbs., the "creepy crawlies" that are impossible for anyone other than a pregnant breastfeeding mom to understand, and overall tenderness that had me struggling to let her latch. By the morning before June's birth, Lucy was still nursing twice a day (morning and night), but my patience was wearing thin. I desperately wanted to at least offer Lucy the chance to continue breastfeeding, but didn't know if she would even want to once my milk came in.

So I was very, very nervous after June was born to see how Lucy would react. On Wednesday morning (about 16 hours after June was born), my mom brought Lucy to the hospital to visit, where Lucy saw me nursing her little sister and immediately wanted to be held. I handed June to my mom, Lucy was put on my bed, and I hesitantly offered Lucy my breast. She latched on, and was so surprised to get milk! She nursed for a few minutes, stopped, and looked up and smiled at me before getting back to business. That smile meant the world to me, and made all those months of uncomfortable nursing worth it.

Since then, I have nursed the girls simultaneously several times- not something I planned to do, but it's so beautiful to me to see them together like that. Lucy is going down for naps (and sometimes bed) without a pre-sleep bottle, and I definitely think it is helping her to feel secure in her role in our family. She's not being replaced- there is room for both my girls at mama's breast.

And in case anyone is wondering, my body is definitely responding as though I was nursing twins (that's what all the books I read and lactation consultants I talked to predicted). Unlike most newborns, June didn't have to wait for my milk to come in- it came in immediately. That really helped in making those early days of breastfeeding a lot easier. Even with nursing both girls I have to pump several times a day- I'm stocking the freezer already, and as a full-time working mom, that makes me feel so much better about going back to work! So if you're currently pregnant and nursing, take heart- it may very well be worth it in the end, and I'm definitely grateful that I stuck with it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It’s a girl- welcome June Elizabeth!

I feel blessed beyond words to share our wonderful news. Miss Louisa Mae (aka Lucy or “the Goose”) is a big sister to our brand-new daughter, Miss June Elizabeth (formerly known as “the Deuce,” now frequently referred to as “the baby” or “Junie-bug.”)

And now, before I forget the details, it’s time for her birth story.

As of my last post, I was feeling very down and very pregnant. A great deal of my stress was due to the fact that my dear Mama, who had flown in a little over a week ago, had a return flight scheduled for today. I was worried about who would watch Lucy while Brett and I were at the hospital, whenever I actually went into labor. Because Brett is a stay-at-home dad, and I have a strong dose of working-mama guilt in my system, we rarely either need a babysitter or go out at night. In fact, since we’ve moved here, we haven’t left Lucy with a sitter. Anyway…

On Tuesday (the very next day after I posted my woe-is-me blog), I had a regularly scheduled appointment with my midwife. The appointment went great- blood pressure still very low, measuring a little small but still “normal,” and although I was still only 50% effaced, baby’s head was very low and I was a full 4 cm dilated. We decided that the day had come for an all-out try for non-medicated baby eviction. (Please let me preface this by saying that I am NOT supportive of elective chemical/hormonal inductions, and in a different situation, I would not recommend repeating what I did. Any action that is intended to push baby towards delivery is an induction of sorts. However, I will say that the strategies I used will really only work if baby is ready, and that I was absolutely sure of my conception date, so there were no concerns about potentially delivering a pre-term baby). The strategy I used could be referred to as MCB- membrane stripping, castor oil, bath. My midwife stripped my membranes, I took a big hit of castor oil once I got home, and then followed that with a soak in the tub. The idea is that the membrane stripping causes the release of prostaglandins and subsequent dilation and cramping, the castor oil causes contractions in the intestines (the theory is that when the intestines touching the uterus contract, a “ready” uterus will be encouraged to contract as well), and the bath helps to minimize the nasty side effects of castor oil and relax mom. Trust me when I say that castor oil is NOT fun. For me, it’s simply terribly difficult to get down, and causes what I’d categorize as moderate nausea and intestinal discomfort, but I’ve heard of plenty of people who have severe vomiting and diarrhea. It’s not for the weak-hearted or weak-stomached, and you certainly don’t want to go into labor dehydrated.

I chose to have my castor oil in mixed into a three-egg omelet. Brett mixed in lots of veggies to help cover the taste and mouth-feel of the castor oil, and we figured this was a good way to get in plenty of protein and quality calories, in the case that it worked. I managed to get the whole thing down, and then hopped in the tub. Within a few hours- by about 2 or 3 pm, I was having mild contractions.

By this point, I knew that this might be it, and was ready to encourage my contractions on. Brett and I walked over to a nearby park and played with Lucy- or should I say, Brett played with Lucy, and I walked circles around them, because walking always helps me manage my rushes. On the way home, I started feeling a lot of pressure, and a more definite feeling of “this is it.” I took another bath, got out my birthing ball, candle, and labor beads, and started to work more purposefully through the rushes.

By about 6/6:30, things were getting a lot more serious. Brett and I took another walk, and I was not able to talk through my rushes anymore. I focused on breathing through “loose lips”- making horse-like sounds (Ina May says loose lips above = loose lips below). When we returned home, I told Brett to go fill up the gas tank (I had forgotten to take care of it earlier) and get my bags ready. I still intended to stay at home for as long as possible, but I wanted to be ready. By the time Brett got back, I was really working hard, and at around 7:30, I felt a gush of fluid. I was admittedly very nervous when I realized that it was not my water breaking, but blood. I’m obviously familiar with bloody show, but this was a considerable amount of blood- and I hadn’t had much at all with Lucy. At that point I decided we needed to head out for the hospital- I wasn’t comfortable with the bleeding and wanted to make sure the baby was okay.

The ride to the hospital was a blur. It took about 45 minutes, and the whole time I was in the back seat of the CR-V, facing the rear, crammed on my knees between two car seats and hanging over the back. I am simply unable to work through rushes sitting down, especially in the front seat. Please don’t ask how I managed to climb into the back seat in the first place- I couldn’t tell you. Anyway, Brett turned on some soothing music, and I continued to low-moan and hip-rock my way to the hospital. When we finally reached the hospital parking lot, I jumped out before Brett could park- I absolutely could not have another contraction in the car. I headed into the hospital while he grabbed our bags, but was stopped by another rush. He caught up with me, and we made our way to labor and delivery. Rushes were probably 2 minutes apart by this point, and I needed to squat and rock with each one. However, I was still very calm in-between, and had a few quick conversations with some of the staff members we met in the halls.

We finally reached L&D at roughly 8:15 pm. When we arrived at the desk, I was in-between rushes, and the nurses asked, “What are you here for?” Brett just looked at them, dumbfounded, and said, “WE’RE HERE TO HAVE A BABY!” They looked in some sort of scheduling book and said, “Oh, well you’re not scheduled.” I guess they thought I was there for an induction! Luckily, another rush hit right then, I got into it, and they started to take me seriously.

I was put into triage, and the nurse quickly realized I was easily 7, quickly approaching 8 cm dilation. Everything went kind of crazy then, because my midwife hadn’t arrived yet, the attending OB’s didn’t want anything to do with me or my birth plan, and I was not in the mood to lay in a bed and be monitored- I was going through transition at this point (I found out later that neither OB was at all comfortable with a natural birth). I remember having 2-3 rushes in bed while they monitored and got the heplock in, then said to the nurse, “I’m sorry, I HAVE to get up!” With that contraction, I started feeling very pushy and told the nurse so. I laid back down, and proceeded to pant- I wasn’t sure how dilated I was, and didn’t want to push too early (I had a 2nd-degree tear with Lucy and REALLY wanted to avoid a tear this time).

Since it appeared that I was being ignored while the nursing staff and attending OB’s decided what to do, I knew I needed to grab their attention. I did so by yelling, “I NEED TO PUSH!” Luckily Miss Only-Nice-Nurse-In-the-Room looked down and realized baby was crowning. Her exact words to the docs were, “I don’t care WHO it is, but someone needs to put on some gloves!” One doc snapped into action, and my bed was quickly broken down. He tried to coax me into the stirrups, but I evaded him and grabbed my ankles instead. He broke my water (baby would have been born in-the-caul otherwise, which would have been pretty cool, but he was afraid, in his words, of being “splashed”) and baby June was born immediately. I believe it took 3 solid pushes total. What was cool was that I was managed to really control my pushing this time. The staff was pretty freaked out that Brett and I chatted and kissed between pushes, and I was trying to laugh and joke with them. June was born at 8:35 pm- about 20 minutes from the time I had arrived. She was 6 lbs, .6 ounces, 18 ½ inches long, and I was tear-free.

I will give the docs/nurses credit that they followed my birth plan to the best of their ability. Brett got to tell me she was a girl, and she was placed on my chest immediately. The staff did her Apgar (9-nearly perfect!) while I was holding her, and they didn’t touch her again until she had nursed well (she latched immediately). They respected my wishes regarding vaccinations and eye drops, let me keep her placenta, and delayed all routine checks. I did end up getting some pit after June was born as a precaution, but I didn’t mind. I felt really great and was up and moving immediately. After a while we were moved from Triage into postpartum, and we ended up staying the minimum (for June) of 24 hours before heading home.

June’s birth was definitely an adventure, and was truly beautiful in its own way. I’m grateful that we avoided the hospital for as long as we did, and that I was able to bring her into the world on my own terms. I’m also happy that we were able to show a group of non-believers what natural birth can be.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Still hanging in there.

It's no accident it's been over a week since I've blogged.

I've reached the point in one's pregnancy when you can no longer call anyone without them asking, "Are you in labor?" People have ceased saying "Hello!" when calling me and skip straight to, "Are you on your way to the hospital?" Those who I haven't seen in a few weeks, upon seeing me now, comment, "I can't believe you're still pregnant!" My mom, who is currently visiting, is constantly answering text messages and phone calls from family members. I can't hear what they're saying, but I can hear her repeating, "No, nothing yet."

GRRRRRR. These are the reasons why I've been holed away, avoiding the world. I am intentionally not answering my phone, because, frankly, I'm sick of it. I haven't completely avoided facebook, only because I need to make sure that no one else is busy having a baby before me!

Anyway, I'm sitting at 39 weeks, 2 days right now- I haven't even technically hit my "due date" yet, and I'm officially losing my mind. I guess that's what happens when your first baby comes early- you sort of expect to be holding a baby by now.

Yes, I know that each pregnancy is different and each baby is different. But it doesn't help that I've had SO much prodromal labor this time, and by now, hours upon hours of Braxton-Hicks contractions. Over the weekend, I had 5+ hours of what *truly* felt like the Real Thing. Just when I let myself think I was a short while away from meeting my little one, the contractions stopped dead in their tracks.

Anyway, I have an appointment with my midwife tomorrow, and I'm really hoping for some changes, no matter how subtle. Last week I was 50% effaced and 3 cm. And yes, I know that the numbers don't mean anything. It's just that I really need a little encouragement at this point!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Maternity photos.

When I was pregnant with Lucy, we chose to have newborn photos done, but to forego having maternity shots taken. This time around, I definitely wanted to get some pictures of the bump!

I had a wonderful time at my maternity shoot with Ashley from Ashley Victoria photography. She really listened to my ideas and worked hard to make them happen- even if it meant getting in the ocean in November! Ashley has a preview of the pictures up on her blog here- we can't wait to see the rest. It will definitely be difficult to narrow down our list of photos to purchase.

Friday, November 19, 2010

We've been busy...

...hence going over a week between posts. There's no other way to put it- things have been crazy around here. Goose is more of a handful than ever, and working, keeping track of her, getting ready for the Deuce, and doing the million and one other things that keep our home together are starting to become overwhelming. Thank goodness for an amazing husband who doesn't mind washing diapers, can cook, and does an all-around awesome job keeping the house in order!

Some of what we've been up to:

- Re-configuring the nursery for TWO babies. And no, we're not planning on putting the Deuce in the crib at night- I just like having a safe place to put him/her down. And to store things out of Goose's reach :-)

- Getting up to date on Lucy's scrapbook and baby book.

- Knitting! I am so hooked right now. These are my first stabs at longies and a hat for the Deuce. Tonight I also cast-on for my first attempt at a baby sweater, and I bought some beautiful chocolate-brown wool today for babylegs-esq legwarmers for the Deuce as well.


- Setting up a mini changing area for nighttime changes....I obviously don't want to have to go into the nursery at night to change the Deuce and risk waking the Goose up. Also have a nursing area, although I am pretty much a pro at sleeping and nursing a baby at the same time. This will likely only be used until the Deuce catches on to nursing in the side-laying position.

- Washing all of our gender-neutral baby clothes and putting them away, as well as re-arranging lots of other things in the house to make room for all the little-baby stuff.



- Getting my maternity photos taken. I had a blast with Ashley and can't wait to show off the end result!

- Working towards tandem nursing (or at least the opportunity to try it) one session at a time.


- Keeping Lucy from putting bags over her head.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Discipline.

Disclaimer: This post represents my feelings only. It is not meant to serve as judgment of those who choose to use corporal punishment in a loving, restrained, and consistent manner. We all must decide how to discipline our children, and I have learned that judging others for their decisions is unproductive, unnecessary, and not at all loving. That being said, open discussion is encouraged in the comments section- I’d love to hear from both Gentle Discipline/Attachment Parenting mamas and those who practice corporal punishment (I’m sorry I’m not familiar with all the terms here).

I was raised by parents who did not (regularly, anyway) spank. I can count on one hand the number of times I was physically struck by my parents, and it was always by their hand on my bottom.

Brett, on the other hand, was (according to him, anyway) spanked much more regularly. Apparently the belt was an option, too.

So when Lucy became old enough that we needed to discuss discipline in more detail, we found ourselves somewhat divided. I am squarely in the “hands-and-other-objects-off” zone. Brett is in the “time-outs-don’t-work” and “I was spanked and I turned out great” arenas. After much discussion, Brett has finally agreed that our home will be spanking-free until Lucy is at least 3, or when we judge that she is capable of fully understanding what she is being punished for and why. Admittedly, I see this concession as a window of time in which to convert Brett to my way of thinking. However, there are times when I question my own convictions.

Like when Lucy throws food from her high chair. It drives me absolutely crazy! For months she was a dream- we could take her anywhere without making a huge mess. Then, out of the blue, she started throwing food. It began with her feeding the dogs, and now, even if they are kenneled or not around, she does it anyway- it’s become her way of telling me she’s done eating. What’s especially frustrating is that she KNOWS that sign for “all-done” and will do it. I truly don’t understand why she’d rather throw food than just tell me she’s done.

I did read a piece by Dr. Sears that addressed this type of behavior. According to him, children of this age love our reactions, and will continue to do a specific action to see ours. In other words, it’s not a case of “mommy told me not to, but I’m going to do it anyway;” he argues that children are not mentally capable of this. Rather, Lucy is thinking, “when I throw food, Mama makes a funny face and talks in a funny voice.” She actually enjoys seeing my frustration, because she is emotionally incapable of empathy at this point- she doesn’t understand that I am angry or sad. So, for the time being, I’m working on not giving her the reaction she’s looking for. I will walk away from the table and do the dishes. I’ll tell her in a quiet, regular tone to stop- making sure to keep my face composed and neutral. If it continues, I’ll ask her (and sign) if she’s “all-done,” and then remove her from the high chair.

But it’s so hard! I occasionally worry that I’m spoiling Lucy. I wonder if a smack of the hand would help her better understand what I’m trying to convey. I fear raising a child that doesn’t understand or respect boundaries, or that I cannot take out in public because she cannot behave properly. I fear being judged by other parents for not disciplining enough.

Then again, I worry about the implications of teaching my daughter that there is room for physical pain in a loving relationship. I’ve read studies indicating that little girls who are punished physically are more likely to experience abusive relationships. I also am concerned with teaching immediate obedience, mainly because I want my children to know that there are times when they should NOT obey an adult- namely when an adult asks to touch them inappropriately, or be touched inappropriately, or, in the case of a stranger, to get into a car with them. Finally, I worry that spanking sends the message that hitting, even when done with a greater goal in mind, is appropriate.

In just a few words, I want my children to behave out of a genuine desire to do the right thing, not out of fear of being reprimanded. And, believe me, I know that sounds like a lofty goal. To be honest, I’m still not exactly sure how we’ll get there. I know that I want my children to be compassionate and honest and trustworthy and to live lives that are solidly grounded in Christian moral values.

For the time being, I’ll keep reading, and talking to other moms and dads making the same sorts of decisions.

I’ll continue to speak respectfully to my daughter, to illustrate how I expect to be spoken to.

I’ll view this phase as an opportunity to work on my own character, particularly my patience.

And I’ll work on demonstrating the same grace towards my daughter that our Heavenly Father does to His.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My daughter, the crab.

Lucy has recently learned how to pinch. Hard. It’s just one of a string of recent developments that has her acting like less of a “baby” and more of a “little person.” One moment I was playing with her on the couch, the next she made a grab for my knitting needles. When I hastily pried them from her fingers, she looked up at me, yelled, and, that’s right, started pinching my thigh.

Where do kids learn this stuff? Admittedly, Lucy gets much less peer interaction than most kids her age. To my knowledge, she’s never been pinched by anyone else. And with the exception of her Baby Signs and Classical Baby dvds, she doesn’t watch tv- and I KNOW there’s no pinching on there. I am at such a loss! Clearly she’s not aware that it hurts, and she finds my reaction hilarious- it’s only slightly different from the one I have when she isn’t careful with her teeth when nursing or chucks food on the floor from her high chair. It seems as though Lucy is constantly researching how her behavior affects ours. If I had to name this stage, I would call it, “Let’s see what I can do to make Mama and Daddy make funny faces and funny sounds.”

Some of Lucy’s other recent developments/favorite activities:

- She LOVES to give hugs- to her stuffed animals, us, the dogs….

- Although she’s still not speaking many words, she has so many associations! I can ask her, “Lucy, can you please go in your room and get Tugs (her stuffed puppy) and bring it to Daddy?” And she’ll do it! I can ask her to hand me things I drop (handy when you’re super-preggo) and she will.

- In that vein, Lucy is obsessed with opening and closing drawers and doors, as well as moving items from one area to another. What’s worked for us: if I catch her opening a drawer, I’ll ask her to close it, please. Usually she does- then I make a big deal of it, saying, “THANK YOU, Lucy! Thank you for closing the drawer!” She gets very excited that she is doing what Mama wants and it generally distracts her from what she was doing- which is usually preparing to dump everything on the floor and move it somewhere else. I’ve found socks in the kitchen drawers, and once discovered she’s dumped the wet wipes from the wipe warmer in her room, only to replace them with dry ones from another basket.

- She loves to open the clothes hamper in her room and shove *clean* clothing and diapers into it.

- The girl is crazy about animals! In the last week, she’s managed to grab a lizard (a green anole), and has had two near-snake experiences. And no, she wasn’t scared. Lucy pets and gives her puppies hugs constantly, and is constantly trying to catch the neighbors’ dogs and cats.

- Lucy is still taking two/three bottles a day- one in the morning (she wakes up around 5 am, then I nurse her, she has a bottle, and goes back to sleep), one at naptime, and one at night. As soon as the Deuce is born and my supply comes back, I’m planning on exclusively nursing her morning and night, which will easily cut out those bottles, and she’ll be on a cup for her naptime milk. The rest of the day she uses a sippy. She still takes her pacifier, but only at night, and I’m not in a big rush to drop it. I know that she still has a need to suck, especially with still being breastfed.

- Can you say hissy fit? Lucy is the queen of throwing a tantrum. Last weekend in Best Buy, Lucy wanted to climb the lower merchandise shelves. As soon as I told her “No” and pulled her away, she threw herself on the floor, yelling and kicking her arms and legs. The kid is quite the actress! I’ve also seen her throw fits over having items taken away and for not being allowed outside. What does Mama do in moments like this? Ignore, ignore, ignore. I’ll walk a step or two away, and pretend to be very interested in something else. If we’re at home, I’ll walk out of the room. That usually does the trick.

Overall, I’m amazed at what a little person my daughter is becoming! She is starting to really show her personality and her own preferences and dislikes, which can definitely lead to parenting challenges. However, I’m loving how interactive she is, and how independently she’ll play now. Brett and I both agree that many kids these days have too much schedule and form in their lives in terms of early education- classes, routines, pressure to develop a certain way, etc. Our focus is on independent, creative play. I’m also starting to look into what type of home-schooling we’ll be pursuing (Waldorf? Classical?), but that’s another post for another day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trunk or treat!

Trick or treating is this weekend here, and we still plan on taking Lucy around the neighborhood, but we decided it would be fun to take her to "trunk or treat" at Brett's church as well.

By the time we had finished circling the parking lot, Lucy had it pretty much figured out. She'd pick out a piece of candy, either dump it in her bucket or stick it in her mouth (still in the wrapper!), and then play with that piece until we came to the next stop.


She is walking so well now!

Lucy tried to sit down a few times and eat her stash before we made it around.

What happened when I took away the Snickers she was trying to suck through the wrapper.....

We finally gave her some M&Ms-her first candy (that I know about, anyway!)

I was sort of disappointed that she didn't get to wear her black tights and red onesie- but it was just too hot (think 80 degrees!) It's supposed to cool down this weekend, though, so hopefully I will be able to snag a picture of the entire ensemble- including antennae.

Monday, October 25, 2010

33 weeks.

Since Saturday, I’ve been 33 weeks preggo, which means that if I deliver the Deuce at the same time as Lucy, I have just under 5 weeks to go. I’m not gonna lie- 5 weeks sounds a lot more appealing at this point than 7 or, heaven help me, 9.

The good:

- I’m up roughly 10 pounds from my non-pregnancy weight. I’m guessing that I’ll end up gaining about 15 or so total- that would put me about the same as with Lucy. I’m fine with this, because it means that after I deliver this little one, I will be on the fast track to “back-to-normal.” Being practically continuously pregnant for the past 2 years has not been good to my self-image.

- I have (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD) no stretch marks yet. I’m going to credit my daily application of shea and coco butter for this. That and drinking tons of water. And great genes (thanks, Mama!)

- My hair looks fabulous. My skin is pretty clear.

- I’m sleeping pretty well. Lucy is napping in HER crib in HER room now, and at least starts out the night there. She still ends up in our room between 4:30-5:30 most nights, but that’s fine because I get up around 5:45 every morning, and she nurses before work.

- This baby is a mover! I seldom worry about whether he/she is doing okay because there’s so much movement.

- I’m still in nesting mode and getting a lot accomplished. Realistically, the baby could come at any time and we’d be ready. Diapers and covers are washed, I have some ‘sposies, we already have wipes in the warmer for Lucy…clothes are all sorted and washed. Diapers, boobs, some sleepers…that’s all you really need (oh, and a carseat if you want to come home!)

The bad:

- I have SO MANY Braxton-Hicks (BH) contractions. I have a couple every hour during the day, and then when I get home at night…WHAM! I actually ended up in Labor and Delivery last week to be monitored because I was having near-continuous, super-uncomfortable, borderline-painful BH. Luckily the baby is handling the BH fine, and there is no cervical change so far. Stay put, baby- at least for 5 more weeks!

- Just about everything sets off the BH. Walking too fast, peeing, bending the wrong way, baby movement….all turn my uterus rock hard. I’m hoping that because of all the practicing, this labor will be even quicker and easier than mine with Lucy was. I’m supposed to call L&D if I have more than 6 BH in an hour…but….that is practically every day. My strategy now is to simply lay down, drink *more* water, eat protein, and see what happens- if that doesn’t stop ‘em, then I’ll call.

- I’m starting to get a little nervous about tandem-nursing. Don’t get me wrong- I didn’t push through all the nipple-soreness, nursing strikes, etc. to give up now. Plus Lucy is nursing as enthusiastically as ever, so I don’t foresee her giving up in the next few weeks. I actually pumped the other day out of curiosity and got an ounce easily, so I know I still have milk. I guess I’m more wondering how it will all work…nursing both before work, both before bed….how much I will be able to pump…is it true that you produce as if you had twins…so many questions! I guess I will just have to wait and see.

- Even though I’ve not gained that much weight, I’m quickly outgrowing all my clothes- including my maternity stuff. I think I’m down to 2 pairs of jeans and a pair of capris that fit. However, I’m not up to buying more stuff, so I think I’ll just suck it up for now…especially since I wear a uniform to work anyways.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Where the Blue Ridge yawns its greatness....

Last weekend Brett and I decided to haul our happy butts up to Clemson. It had only been a month since we’d visited last, but as my due date approaches, we realized that it was probably our last opportunity to go before no. 2 gets here. Besides, it was a home-game weekend, the weather was supposed to be beautiful, and my mama and aunt said they would be interested in driving down as well- Clemson is about a 12 hour drive for them, an 8 hour drive for us.

Anyway, Brett managed to pack the car while I was at work while simultaneously keeping Lucy distracted from her morning nap. That way, when I got home around lunch, we could hit the road- and Lucy would sleep. All went to plan and the trip went pretty smoothly. I only wish we didn’t have the time-change to deal with- we lose an hour moving from Central to Eastern.

Oh, and before I go any further, I want to give a shout out to our latest purchase- a hitch-mounted cargo carrier and bag. We spent MONTHS debating a new, more generously-sized car (even going so far as to get a loan application and test-drive a beautiful *used* Excursion), but could simply not commit to a car payment (Brett’s truck is paid off, and we’re looking forward to paying off the Honda in a few months). While we both would have loved the Excursion, it wasn’t “fiscally responsible”- aka not fun. Anyway, we spent only $200 for the carrier and bag (which is both HUGE and waterproof, btw), and that’s solved our space issue for now. We’re up front, Lucy’s in the middle (as will be the new baby), and the cargo area is, as usual, occupied by Savannah and Chuck. My, what we sacrifice for our canine babies! Bonus: because the bag is BEHIND the car and not ON TOP of it, it doesn’t hurt gas mileage, and it’s easy to get to.

Back to the story….so Friday night was spent with family. On Saturday, Brett, two of our friends from UGA, my mom, my aunt, and I headed to the Clemson game. Even though we were in the upper UPPER deck, we had a great time. I managed to get what may be the worst sunburn of my life- on my feet! Leave it to me to live in Florida and get burned after a few hours of October sun. As of right now, it still looks as though I have on red socks.

After the game, we returned to Brett's parents' house, where we enjoyed a yummy barbecue. Tons of delicious food, lots of friends, great time! I was especially glad to get to see the Mertens family and finally meet Ms. Abigail in person. Abigail and Lucy are only a few weeks apart in age, and will have siblings very close in age as well- too cute :-)

Sunday was a day for church and relaxation, and I was sad to say goodbye to my mama. The next time I will see her is when the Deuce arrives, so hopefully it won't be too long! We headed back home on Monday, and had a relatively uneventful trip. We managed to make the trip with only one stop, and Lucy behaved very well for the vast majority of it. However, I'm still grateful that I won't have to cram myself in the back seat next to her for quite a while.