Friday, August 22, 2014

Vivi: Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four & Thirty-Five Weeks

Wow, I let myself get way behind writing Vivi's weekly updates.  Second child syndrome rears its ugly head!  Sorry, Vivi.

Vivi wants to crawl so badly.  She's still not sure how to get one of her knees out behind her.  Instead she rocks her body back and forth while she leans forward on her hands like she's getting ready to launch.  In the meantime, she's figured out how to scoot about without crawling.  She moves all around the playroom to reach the toys she wants.  She arms crawls backwards when she's on her tummy.  Pretty soon everything will click in place, and she'll be following me around the house instead of crying every time I put her down.  Also, I better start cleaning the floors more often.

Sleep is becoming a real issue.  Her patterns are getting worse instead of better.  In April, she was starting to sleep for eight-hour stretches, and she took two solid naps a day.  Now, she wakes up two to three times during the night, and she very rarely naps unless it's a quick snooze while she nurses.

I know she would be a much happier baby if she were better rested, we're just struggling to find a way to make that happen.  We had a plan of action for Madeline, but we're having a hard time finding something that works well for Vivi.  Anyone have any tips?

She's been eating her  cocktail of prunes, juice, oatmeal, and laxatives every day, and it's still working.  We haven't had any more tummy troubles since starting the medication.  Now that she's not getting backed up every time she eats, I've been able to give her more solids.  She likes getting food other than prunes!   

On the other hand, Vivi's eczema has been terrible over the past month.  It's spreading to her chest, but her ankles and the backs of her knees are still the worst areas.

I opened her pajamas one morning while we were in Vermont to find her covered in an unsightly itchy, red rash, so we brought her to a walk-in clinic at a local hospital.  Guess what?  She's allergic to her eczema cream...her hypoallergenic, fragrance free, dye free, National-Eczema-Association- recommended baby moisturizer.  This was the second hypoallergenic brand we've tried that she reacted poorly to.  So...yeah...there's that.

We met with the GI specialist yesterday, and while he was pleased with her weight gain, (15 lbs, 10th percentile) he was worried by her rash.  She has so many strange symptoms even though I've changed my diet.  And while her tummy is getting better, it's taking two daily medications to get there.  

In a round-about way, he basically told me to switch to formula.  Breastfeeding is best, but not if it's continuously making my baby uncomfortable.  He suggested I pump while we add in more formula to see if her symptoms improve.  That way, I won't loose my supply if the formula doesn't work out.  

Even before we saw the doctor, I wanted to start adding in formula.  First, I'm worried that my supply isn't keeping up with Vivi's demands.  There's been a lot of biting and pulling and fussing while eating recently.  Secondly, as the doctor suggested, I wanted to see if it helped her out.

Eric buckled down and really tried to get her to take a bottle of her hypoallergenic formula this week.  The first few times she wasn't having it, but eventually, she gave in.  Yesterday she had two bottles without incident.  We'll continue to gradually add in more bottles over the next week before Eric goes back to work.  Then we'll have to see if she'll take a bottle from me.  We'll see.

It's funny.  I thought I was better prepared to have a baby the second time around, and in a lot of ways I am, but this baby just keeps throwing more surprises my way.  Parenthood is one giant experiment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vivi's First Ice Cream (Sorbet)

We've all heard the sob stories of the second child.  Not only does Vivi miss out on ever having mom and dad to herself, but all her toys are hand-me-downs, and everyone is much less impressed with her milestones.  Like...Oh, you rolled over?  Well bully for you, kid.  Your big sister can do simple math.  Why don't you learn to do that, then we'll talk.

But there's one thing she didn't miss out on: Maddie's first taste of ice cream was at Ben & Jerry's, and Vivi's first taste of ice cream was at Ben & Jerry's.  (To see Maddie's first trip to the ice cream gods, see here.)

Dairy allergy be damned! Only the finest for my girls!

 When we visited the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont last week, I was not planning on sharing my mango sorbet with God or anyone.  I certainly wasn't considering letting Vivi, who seems to be allergic to air, try any.

But as soon as the cone entered her line of sight, it was love.  It would be hers.  Oh yes, it would be hers. And so I tried, in vain, to wrestle her greedy, nugget-y hands away from it.  Her feet kicked in anticipation, her fingers dove into the sorbet, her mouth opened like a baby bird, and she nearly wiggled herself away from me.

I caved.  I held the cone up to her mouth and let her slobber all over it.  

Boy, did she love it.  I mean, she really loved it.  I have never seen her so excited about food before.  Every time I pulled the cone away from her lips, she grunted in frustration.  She was so enthusiastic that she kept taking giant bites only to find she couldn't handle holding so much frozen food in her gums and spitting it back out.

I watched her carefully for the rest of the day in case she turned out to be allergic to mango, but she was fine.  So fine, in fact, that we visited a different Ben & Jerry's the next night to repeat the scene for my parents.

Madeline saw Vivi's enthusiasm for mango sorbet, and decided she needed to have the same flavor.  It was a hit with her too!

Needless to say, I bought a whole mess of mangoes at the supermarket today.  Mango puree coming to a baby near you!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's a Sunny Day on the Farm

Vivi has a Fisher Price "book" about farm animals that talks and sings.  Your child may also have this book, and if so, I'm sorry.  It opens with the line, "It's a sunny day on the farm," followed by, "It's time to play with our animal friends!"

However, Madeline always says, "It's time to cook our animal friends!" instead. (She likes to pretend that it's a cookbook.)  At first I was worried by her desire to cook the cute baby animals, but meh...she's right.

While in Vermont, we visited Shelburne Farms right outside of Burlington.  Madeline was petting some sheep, and I asked when they would be shorn.  The teenage farm hand whispered, so as not to upset the children, that these sheep were for eating, not wool.  Sorry, Lambchop...

Across the barnyard, we saw some adorable piglets napping amongst a pumpkin patch.  Every few feet, there was another tiny piglet hidden beneath the vines with the remnants of half-eaten pumpkins strewn about them.  This was really adorable.  Also, pumpkin-fed pigs probably make excellent bacon.  As do the acorn-fed turkeys living next to the piglets.
Sleep soundly, little pig.
I obviously know where meat comes from, and if I had my choice, I would much rather my food live a happy life amongst a pumpkin patch than a miserable existence in some giant stockyard.  Yet, from my position in suburbia, it's pretty easy to forget that farms are not just some cute place to visit with the kids.  It's time to cook our animal friends indeed, Maddie Bear.  How right you are. that I've left you with these are some cute pictures of my family.

Shelburne Farms is immense.  There's a wagon that brings visitors around the property, but we missed the ride when we first got there.  Rather than wait for the next wagon, we decided to walk the half-mile to the barnyard.

We saw some (slightly creepy) statues along one of the paths, and then realized that with the right stick, they were really instruments.

That's the barnyard in the background.  It looks like a fortress.  It now houses the children's barn, cheese making, a bakery, a wood smith, and a school.  Oh, how I would love to send Madeline and Vivi to that school so that they will be able to live off the land should the zombie apocalypse come upon us.  

Chickens roam the barn freely, so there's an area to leave any eggs visitors may find.  There were lots of kiddos chasing chickens, but Maddie was all set with that.  

She had no problem riding the tractor in the play room however...

Oh, dear God, they're not acorn-fed people....are they???

We got some goodies from the bakery.  I call this next photo, "No, You May Not Have My Cookie, Vivienne!"

And this one is called, "Fine, I'll Just Eat Some Grass Instead."  

When we were done visiting the barn, we (or rather I) decided it would be a good idea to hike to the top of a hill to admire the view.  Eric was carrying the baby, so why not?

The flowers were worth it...

The view was worth it.

Madeline took this next one.  

If you ever find yourself in this area of the globe, I can't recommend this place enough.  We didn't even see the inn, of which there are tours complete with afternoon tea.  How Downton Abbey is that?!  Next time...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Riding in Cars with Kiddos

There was a time when I knew the route to my parents' cabin in Vermont so well that I could make the 200 mile drive in under three hours.  I knew how fast I could safely drive without getting a ticket or careening off the side of a mountain.  I knew where the best restrooms were if I had to use them, which I usually didn't.  And I knew where to get food, which I did even less.  This was before children of course.  

By the time we made it over the Vermont border on our way home today, we already had made three stops.  We made two more stops on our way through New Hampshire.  Three stops actually if you count peeking in at a gas station restroom only to find that there wasn't a changing table.  The Dunkin Donuts across the street didn't have a changing table either, but the nice man behind the counter offered me a gigantic trash bag to lay across the floor.  Epic poops call for epic measures, I guess.  Gross.  
All in all, it took us almost five hours to get home.  

I don't mind long car rides.  I like seeing new places.  I like shuffling through songs on the radio.  I like that Eric and I get a chance to have meaningful debates such as where the capital of the American wizarding world would be located.  

But as exciting as it is to set off for new adventures in the car, eventually you have to drive home, which is never as fun.  By then, there's nothing new to look at.  I can't find a song worth listening to on the radio, and those cute little debates are starting to seem more like couple's therapy.  Add a bored preschooler and a crying, pooping, hungry baby to the mix, and needless to say, we just wanted to get home as quickly as possibly this afternoon.

When we finally reached Massachusetts, things were starting to get weird in our car.  Maddie was whining because she wanted to hold a bag of pasta.  Vivi was crying.  I was belting out "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" along with the radio.  Eric had a headache.  And thus, our wonderful vacation came to an end.

Ironically, on the way up to Vermont, back when we were fresh-faced and eager to explore, there were several stops we wanted to make but couldn't.  We drove an hour out of the way to have lunch at the Long Trail Brewery.  But when we got there, both girls were sleeping soundly.  Since two sleeping children in the hand are worth more than two cranky children in the bush, we just kept on driving.  That trip took about six hours, but hey, at least the girls got in a good nap.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry...especially if you have kids.  

These are the faces of three insane people stuck in traffic in the middle-of-nowhere Vermont.  Vivi was there too, but busy either pooping or crying.  It's a toss up.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

M & V: Summer, 2014

I am copying this idea from Elise Blaha, who copied it from A Beautiful Mess.  I was inspired to compare the interests of Madeline and Vivienne this summer and plan on doing so again every few months to illustrate how they are growing and changing.  

  M  &  V

Wearing: Blue Polka Dot Sun Hat- Old Navy/ Yellow Polka Dot Sun Hat- Old Navy (Maddie Bear hand-me-down)
Playing: Duplos/ Sorting Blocks
Reading: Little Bear / Princess Tag Book (It doesn't have the greatest story line, but she does love to chew on it.)  
Eating: Handfuls of blueberries/ Prunes AKA Poop Cocktail   
Watching: Barbie: Swan Lake (M borrowed this from the library.  She only watched it once, and didn't even get to finish it because there was a scratch on the DVD, but she says it's her favorite movie.  Bold claim.) / V doesn't watch TV.  She's too busy watching life.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vivi: Thirty-Two Weeks (AKA: Pooping the Baby)

Whenever I feel that I might be over-sharing, I comfort myself with the fact that we are living in the age of publicly embarrassing our children.  If some kid ever gives Vivi hell about the fact that her mother discussed her bowel movements on the Internet for God and everyone to see, I'm confident that with some careful digging, we can fight fire with fire.

I may have talked about my baby's bowel movements, kid, but your mom let it slip that you were conceived in the back of an Airstream on the way to Bonnaroo.  Also, here's a graphic picture of your water birth.  Step off.

Anyhow, without going too much into the gory details, let me get you up to speed. Vivi has been having trouble pooping.  Every few weeks she has a really bad episode of constipation.  Imagine, as a grown adult, passing a cantaloupe through your rectum.  That's a good comparison of what Vivi is dealing with.  It's pretty awful.  And to make maters worse, it's not like she passes one single melon and is done with it.  She's a three-day festival of love, peace, and horribly painful poop.

We met with the GI doctor last week.  Here is what I was hoping he'd say: "Oh, it's not dairy causing these problems after all.  It might, in fact, be kale.  Let me run a few tests just to be sure.  In the meantime, here, eat this block of cheese!"

But instead, we were given a prescription for laxatives and some guidelines on what to feed her...not cheese.  Her weight is also lagging again even though the child still eats every two to three hours...even at night.  Holy frustration, Batman.

And so, I introduce to you, what I call a poop cocktail:

 It's a blend of strained prunes, baby oatmeal, pear juice, and laxatives.  She eats it every day for lunch, and so far...we've got poop, Houston.  Every time that little diaper fills up, I do a happy dance.

We also let her sip at a cup of either prune or pear juice at meal times.  How could this girl not be pooping, right?  RIGHT?

Still, the constipation only comes on every three weeks or so.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my butt cheeks clenched for at least the next month.

Meanwhile, in non-poop related news, (if you made it this far) Vivi is making "mum" sounds.  "Mum-mum-mum-mum-mum" all day long.  Madeline's first words were "bubba" and "Dada."  I'm hoping I get a Mumma this time.

She's still got a good case of separation anxiety.  Eric tried to put her to bed a few nights ago, and after I left the room, she stared at the door and cried hysterically for half an hour.  If I put her down to do housework, her eyes follow me around the room desperately as she lets out loud bursts of broken-hearted sobs.  It's so nice to be so loved, but nothing gets done around here.

Madeline and Vivi are the cutest siblings on the planet.  Watching them together makes my ovaries quiver every time.  Maddie is really good about sharing with her little sister.  They play all the time.  Vivi thinks Maddie is hilarious.  She laughs at all of her jokes.  Sometimes they both start giggling uncontrollably at one another like they're sharing some secret.

My girls are the best girls.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What We've Been Up To

There's like a whole separate world that exists after the sun goes down that does not involve potty breaks and crying babies.  People eat leisurely dinners by candlelight, sip martinis, listen to music, look at the stars. I had forgotten that.  

Our life is never quite boring, but it is pathetically routine.  You can find us starting bedtime for the girls by 6 pm most nights.  A wild time in our house involves a drink and some Netflix.  

So it's pretty amazing that we were out after dark not one, but two nights over the weekend. 

We started things off with a picnic on Friday afternoon...

Then we went to the Lowell Folk Festival Friday night where we...gasp...stayed out till after the sun went down.  

I was too busy having fun to take any pictures, but the girls were great.  We ate some delicious food, Maddie danced to some drums, Vivi discovered that dogs exist (she does not like them), and we walked around our old stomping grounds.  

On Saturday, we drove up to York Beach, Maine for one of Eric's concerts.  We ate seafood, rode carousels, stared at the ocean, and...gasp...stayed out past dark for the second night in a row.  It was such a gorgeous night, and again, the girls were great.  

And hey, they even slept in till 8 this morning after their wild nights out on the town.  Pretty good.