Friday, April 18, 2014

Vivi: Seventeen Weeks

It amazes me how quickly babies change once they get through those first three months.  Vivi is suddenly much less like a loaf of bread and much more like a human.  

She's falling into a predictable routine now.  I know that at 8:30 am and 1 pm she will be ready for a good nap.  Granted those naps are still taking place in her swing instead of her crib...but we'll tackle that problem soon now that she's actually following a pattern.

Bedtime is still a challenge, but we're making progress in that area too. She loses her temper big time when we lay her down for bed.  I don't think her tummy is bothering her anymore, (although sometimes it is) but I think she's associating being on her back with her reflux.  No wonder she hates it.  

She's getting better at self soothing.  We let her cry for five minutes before picking her up to calm her. Last night she cooed to herself for twenty minutes without crying.  

The only problem now is that by the time she calms down enough to fall asleep, it's been two hours since her last feeding, and she's ready to eat again.  

On the other hand, she's sleeping for great stretches.  She slept twelve hours straight last Sunday.  I woke up on Monday morning in a panic when I realized that Vivi hadn't woken up all night.  Most nights she still wakes up to eat around 2:30 in the morning, but I'll take it!  We've come a long way from nursing every two hours all night long!

Vivi's personality still seems to be a combination of sweet, serious, and ambitious.  She's not as easy to get a laugh out of as Madeline was.  When she does laugh, it's a mixture of glee and irritation.  "Ha-ha, Mumma, you're tickling my chin!  Now, quit it!"

Eric tried to get her to laugh this afternoon and instead frightened her.  She screamed loud! 

She rolled over for the second time this week.  She made it look so easy too.  I keep waiting for her to do it again, but she'd rather hang out on her side.  

Vivi is becoming less stranger shy.  Hooray!  But she's definitely a Mumma's girl.  She cried when I left the room to get coffee this morning, but beamed when I came back in.  She's using me for the milk.  

We still haven't had any major bottle success.  Womp.  

But best of all, she had her physical this week, and she's doing great!  Twelve pounds!  She's still 18th percentile, but she's starting to swing back up a bit.  And as long as she doesn't keep falling, we're good!  

Eric is on vacation next week.  We're looking forward to snuggling Dada, celebrating Vivi's first Easter, and visiting New York!  Hooray Spring!  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Parenting, Currently

I'm attempting to nurse Vivi before putting her down for her afternoon nap, but someone is making the process difficult.  

If only I could get big sister to understand that if she lets Vivi nap then she has Mumma all to herself.  

A few minutes ago I told her she couldn't play with the iPad.  But since she knows I'm trapped under the baby, she pulled her red bouncy horse over to the bookshelves to try and reach it anyway. (See him guiltily peaking out behind her? I realize M looks guilty in the picture too, but she was not.  She was hiding from a pretend monster.) 

I told her that if she touched it, I wouldn't let her play with it for an entire week.  That convinced her to go play with her toys in the other room for about two minutes.  Then she came back and used a drumstick to hammer a nail in the floor.  

Guess who is now not napping?  

*** Update***

Vivi eventually fell asleep, so I don't have to sell my children to the Gypsies afterall.

Now I've unleashed a wild Maddie Bear on the world to get some energy out.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Spring officially sprung in these parts last week. (We're supposed to get a dusting of snow tomorrow, but I'm in denial.)

It's amazing how some sunshine and open windows can affect one's outlook on life.  We're all much happier people when we can get outside.  

Madeline ran around the neighborhood with the boys on our street for hours over the weekend. Vivi was content watching the kids running past her. Nana and Pop visited, and we cooked burgers on the grill for the first time this season.  We've visited some playgrounds and taken long walks.  

Now I'm longing for summer.  Days at the beach, lounging on the lawn, eating Popsicles, and fresh tomatoes are calling to me.  Stay away, cold!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vivi: Sixteen Weeks

It's time for another bunny picture...

Vivi's four-month physical is next week, and I'm very curious to see what she weighs.  She looks like she's gained a few pounds.  Her face is rounder.  She has a belly.  Yesterday morning she refused a feeding, but other than that, she's been eating so well.  Hooray!  

We have a lot of experience with stubborn girls in this family, but Vivi may actually be the queen.  First, there's the bottle thing.  I had some dental work done last week that kept me separated from my baby longer than usual.  It was the opportunity we needed to force Vivi to take a bottle.  After all, she wouldn't let herself starve...right?

Well, she just might.

Eric tried and tried and tried, but she would not take a bottle.  She waited us out, and when I got home, the little barracuda nursed herself silly.  

We're also having a hard time getting the child to sleep.  Once she falls asleep, she's been doing great.  She slept for a nine-hour stretch last night.  Thank the Baby Jesus!  However, it's taking us about four hours to put her down to sleep every night.  She cries in her crib.  She cries in our arms.  The other night she cried so hard that she pooped.  It wasn't even a Monday...her regular poop day.  And it's getting worse instead of better, which leads me to believe she's just messing with us. 

She does the same thing when I try to put her down for a nap, which I just do not have the time for.  This baby may be sleeping in her lamb swing until she goes off to college because it's the only way I can put her to sleep easily.

Madeline did the same thing, but the pacifier saved us from going completely insane.  Vivi won't take a pacifier though.  She plays with it...she will not suck on it.  Again, this child is stubborn.

However, I am pleased to report that we may have had a slight bottle breakthrough yesterday.  She kinda, sorta nibbled on it enough to drink an ounce.  Progress!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Second Time Around

Eric and I brought Madeline to her very first pediatrician's visit without any extra diapers.  We had a flashy new diaper bag filled with burp cloths, hand sanitizer, and a wipe caddy...just no diapers. About two minutes into our appointment, Maddie needed to be changed.   Luckily, the nurse was able to scrounge up a spare and was nice enough not to slap us across the faces with it.  Such was our complete and utter cluelessness as first-time parents.

Thankfully, like so many poor slobs before us, we managed to get through it without too much lasting damage to our child.  We learned how to change her diaper without having to change her entire outfit.  We learned how to get her slippery body wrapped in a towel after her bath without dropping her.  We learned how to function on very little sleep.  It wasn't easy, and there was a steep learning curve, but somehow we managed to turn that baby into a well-adjusted three year old.  

Thanks to all that experimentation at Madeline's expense, I was able to approach parenting much more confidently this time around.  Having a baby for the first time is an intense, traumatic experience where every wayward cry is cause for concern.  Now, I don't dwell on the color of Vivi's poop nearly as often.

Basically, I got this whole parenting gig down.  Ain't no baby gonna stand in my way!    

Except, the thing about babies is that no two babies are alike.  No, not even if they're from the same barrel of genes.  So while we have an arsenal of tricks and go-to methods we picked up from raising a Maddie Bear, they don't always work for a Vivi Bear  In many ways, it's like we're first timers all over again. 

For example, Vivi is sensitive to her surroundings in a way Madeline was not.  She's a light sleeper.  She hates baths and being naked in general.  She doesn't like being held by people who are not her parents.  She won't take a bottle or pacifier. And although I can't ask her why, I suspect it's because she doesn't like the feel of a rubber nipple.  These are all issues we never had to deal with when Madeline was a baby.  

Plus, raising a baby isn't as easy this time around because we also have an older child in the house.  I can't nap when Vivi does because Madeline needs juice, or a hug, or someone to play with, or a lesson on why it's not okay to stomp one's feet next to her little sister's head.  

So while there's a level of calmness that didn't exist for my first child, managing a second is in no way easier.  It's just hard in different ways.  

On one of our first outings as a family of four, we frantically threw shoes, scarves, blankets, and hats on the girls on our way out the door.  We made sure Madeline had toys and books to keep her busy in the car. I carefully packed enough diapers to last Vivi a week, and then checked to make sure I had everything I needed a second time.

It wasn't until we arrived at our destination that I realized I had forgotten the entire diaper bag on the dining room table.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Letters to Maddie Bear: April, 2014

Dear Madeline,

In the three years you've blessed this earth with your presence, we've had it pretty easy.  You have sometimes been a little too sassy, and sometimes a little too smart for your own good, but overall, you've never given us much cause for concern.  You have been sweet, polite, and eager to please...a real delight.

Much to my shock and horror, that sweet little girl vanished for a time this past month. Oh, Maddie Bear you have become a major handful.  

It's like you suddenly realized that you don't have to listen to us at all.  I mean afterall, we're not going to beat you.  We're not going to cast you out into the wilderness.  We will continue to love, clothe, and feed you no matter how rotten the behavior.

You yell at us, argue with us, and give us attitude.  Simple tasks like putting a coat on become epic battles.  

When I told you for the second time not to stomp your feet next to Vivi's head last week, you sassily replied, "Just calm down, Mumma."  

That is not okay.  

When I brought you to buy ballet clothing, you ran out of the dressing room without a shirt and threw a fit on the floor when I forced you to put it back on.  

That is not okay.

And this behavior is so out of character that I seriously worried that you were possessed.  

I suspect that part of the problem is jealousy toward your little sister.  Another is that you're sick of being cooped indoors with Mumma all the time. And it's partially part of being three and not knowing how to express your frustrations appropriately.  

The good news, Madeline, is that it's getting better.  We've changed the way we approach you.  We've become stricter with some rules (you can not yell at Mumma and Dada) and more lenient with others (I don't care what clothing you wear as long as it's weather appropriate.)  

I know what an amazing little girl you are, and I know this is a phase.  We'll figure it out.  

And although I won't tell you this, part of me is proud that you stick up for yourself.  Mumma and Dada try our best, but we're not always right, and we're not always fair.  We're being forced to reexamine our parenting, and that can't be bad.  Although it is often frustrating.  

In other news, you started ballet.  It's the cutest thing on the planet!  I felt like my chest was going to burst watching you tiptoe across the floor in your pink tights, a sweet, shy smile on your face.  

You're such a girly-girl.  Today you dressed yourself head to toe in pink.  When you played with the little boys on our street this afternoon we overheard you tell one of them, "Look, I have a skirt on today," while daintily curtsying.  The little boy you told could have cared less about your skirt, but you were so proud of it.  

You love being read to and listening to stories.  Not a day goes by without you asking to hear the story of a favorite fairytale.  Stories from when you were a baby are also a big favorite.  

You love to play pretend games.  You ask me to play Frozen all the time, but then tell me that I'm doing it wrong when I try.  Sometimes I can't wait till Vivi is old enough for you to boss around.  

We love you, little girl.  Even when you're frustrating us and I'm ready to drink a bottle of vodka...we never stop loving you.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Vivi: Fifteen Weeks

Before Vivi was born, I remember wondering how it could be possible to love another child as much as I love Madeline.  Now that Vivienne is a part of our lives, that seems so silly.  Even though she's so different than Maddie was as a baby.  Even though she's my second child.  My heart is hers as much as it is her sister's.

How could you not adore that face?!

We met with the GI doctor this week.  He poked her a bit, asked a bunch of questions, but wasn't alarmed.  We have a follow-up next month to keep an eye on her weight.  It seems like her medication is working though.  Fingers crossed that it keeps working!  

Vivi only poops once a week.  (Sorry if I'm embarrassing you, future Vivi.) Mondays are her poop days, and we can see it coming Sunday night as she starts squirming.  The rest of the week, there's nothing.  Of course, she makes up for it on her chosen day.  We're talking multiple outfit changes.  

In less graphic news, Vivi rolled over once this week.  She was lying on her mat while Maddie was at school.  I ran into the other room for a minute to grab a burp cloth, heard some grunting, and when I came back, she was on her belly looking very confused.

She hasn't repeated this trick, but she's really close.  Maybe I just need to leave the room more often.

Bedtime has been a challenge this week.  Even though they aren't in the same room, the girls feed off one another.  Maddie jealously causes a fuss from her room knowing that I'm rocking Vivi next door.  Then Vivi hears Maddie hooting and hollering, and it keeps her from falling asleep.  Then Vivi cries and keeps Maddie up.  Round and round we go.  Things haven't been settling down till around 10 pm.

On the bright side, Vivi had two eight-hour stretches of sleep this week.  Huzz-ahh!

She's starting to laugh more often.  She's ticklish on her chin and belly just like big sister.  If I nibble on her belly or chin, I can get a chuckle.  Sometimes I lift her up above my head, squeal, "Flying Vivienne!" then nibble her cheeks when I bring her back down to my face.  She likes that.

The weather is finally getting nice enough to emerge from our hole without twenty layers of clothing on.  Vivi doesn't seem sure what to do when I bring her outside.  She looks around nervously and whines when the sun gets in her face.  We keep warning Madeline that next spring Vivi will be chasing her around the yard.

Finally, Vivi is starting to interact with us and her surroundings more and more.  I can put her on a blanket with a bunch of toys for long periods of time.  She's amused by the bright colors and loud noises her sister makes.  Boy, does she love her big sister.

She's started trying to grab Madeline.  She really goes for her hair, and Maddie thinks it's funny to put her head on Vivi.  I warn her that one of these days Vivi is going to give it a good yank, but Maddie doesn't seem too concerned.  I'm just waiting...

I can't believe how fast the months are passing us by.  Nearly four months already?!  Such a big girl!