Friday, October 24, 2014

Vivi: Forty-Four Weeks

There's really only two things you need to know about Vivienne.  One: She is very, very cute.  I mean cheeks for days.  Cuddles for hours.  Gurgling noises that make your ovaries quiver.

But the second thing is this:  She is a demanding child who will bring a grown woman (and I mean me) to her knees faster than you can say, "Quick!  Get me a pumpkin latte!"  I mean really.  Holy. Cow.

People used to tell me that Madeline was an easy baby.  I didn't believe them.  I was a first time parent running on little sleep.  Easy?  It sure didn't feel easy.

But they were right.  How blind I was.  Madeline was a cake walk.  It took the arrival of Vivienne to teach me that.

Don't get me wrong.  I love this little ball of trouble.  I can't imagine life without her.

It's just that she seems to think that I am her personal man servant who lives for the sole purpose of catering to her every whim and whimper.  And let's face it, that's exactly what I am.

I'm a little grumpy now, so forgive me my rantings.  She hasn't slept well this week, which means I haven't slept well this week.  We even tried bringing her in bed with us last night to try to get some sleep.  She calmed...but also pulled our hair, poked our eyes, and kicked her feet.  This week she is fussy.  She is clingy.  She has spilled her sister's juice three times and my coffee once.  She is determined to play with all the things she's not allowed to play with, and she somehow manages to find the only chocking hazards in the house to pop in her mouth.  Changing her diaper is torture.  She cries the entire time I leave the room.  She cries the entire time I put her in the playpen or a chair or her crib.  She yells at Madeline and her Dada when they try to hug her.  And even though she was up for a better part of the night, I just spent the entire time Madeline was at school trying to get this overtired, cranky pants to take a nap.  Guess who won that battle?

Let me get back to the cute part.  If I don't focus on that, I might bring her to the children's consignment store to be consigned.

Vivi's eyes are currently green.  They are very pretty.  I still think they're on their way to turning brown.  Madeline's eyes didn't settle until she was about a year old.  We'll see.

She's determined to walk.  She spends every minute she can searching for things to pull herself up on.  It won't be long.

She is very shy.  All the moms gather in the hallway outside Madeline's classroom at pick-up time.  Vivi spends the whole time burying her head in my chest and stealing quick peeks at the people around us.  If someone catches her eye, she smiles quickly before hiding her face again.  Sometimes she does the same thing to us.  She catches us watching her, smiles shyly, and hides her face.  It's her thing.

She has learned how to wave and clap.  It's the cutest thing ever.

She's showing her first signs of interest in Elmo.  Whenever Madeline watches Sesame Street, Vivi looks at the screen, grins, and waves.   Then she goes back to trying to pull over the coffee table, stealing Madeline's Cheerios, or ripping up the mail.

We gave her black beans with dinner one night this week and she LOVED them.  She also tried papaya for the first time this week.  She's not as enthusiastic about that.

It's almost the weekend!  Here's hoping Vivi will sleep in for us.  :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Random Thoughts

This has been one of those weeks where nothing is going right, and yet, nothing is going particularly wrong.  It's just blah....and busy... but I feel like I'm not getting anything done.  I did organize my underwear drawer.  If nothing else, I have that.


I don't understand how bits of food end up in Vivi's diaper every day.  She wears a onesie layered under pants and a sweater most days.  How does that tiny slice of banana find its way through all those clothes?

I found a grain of rice in there after lunch.  We haven't even eaten rice recently.  Has she been hiding it in her belly button?


Me: Maddie, did you read any books at school today?
M: We read "The Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything."
Me: Oh, what's that about?
M: It's about an old lady who wasn't afraid of anything....

Well, if you ask a stupid question, Mumma...

At least she was talking to me.  Usually when I ask how her day was, she says, "I don't want to talk," and we drive home in stony silence.  My little teenaged four year old.


This morning was pitch dark, rainy like the End of Days, and Vivi kept up us all night.  It took a Herculean effort (And two very awake children plus a nagging husband) to get me out of bed this morning.   Yes.  Coffee.  Yes.

I've mentioned before that our town does not allow drive-thrus.  This should be enough to stop me from visiting Dunks so often, but nothing comes between me and that pumpkin coffee.  Instead, I drive twenty minutes out of my way so that we don't have to get out of the car.

It was worth it.


Lastly, my kids are cute.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Vivi: Forty-Two and Forty-Three Weeks

Vivi is plotting her escape from this house.  I just know she is.  Why else would she be spending so much time trying to bypass every closed door and baby gate we put in her path?  Why else would she suddenly find every cord and electrical outlet so fascinating?  She must be wiring some fancy device to contact the outside world.  And she's creeping from chair, to table, to ottoman in a suspicious way. It's all very Mission Impossible...

On the other hand, holy separation anxiety!  I've read that it's normal for babies to feel extra anxious about being separated from their parents when they learn to crawl, and for Vivi, this is definitely the case.  She crawls away, but if I don't come chasing after her, she either peeks back to check if I'm still there, or she starts crying.  If I'm the one to leave, she loses her mind.  

Sleep has been awful the past week or so.  One, she's teething.  But the bigger problem is that she won't let me leave.  She wakes up in the middle of the night screaming.  As soon as I pick her up, she falls asleep on me.  The second I put her down, epic baby tears.  Eric isn't allowed to rock her in my place.  Vivi won't stand for it. We repeat this cycle every nap time and every time she wakes up during the night.   Madeline has to share a room with all this nonsense going on too... Poor girl.  

She's never been what I'd call a friendly baby.  Madeline was a people pleaser.  Smiles for everyone!  Vivi gives old ladies the stink eye.  She's all, "You don't know me, lady. Step back before you embarrass yourself."  

Don't get me wrong, she's very sweet, but she's also very shy.  And she refuses to be a performing flea.  She mostly eyes everyone suspiciously before turning to me and whimpering softly.  Silly baby.  

Meanwhile, I've been introducing finger foods now that some teeth are on their way and her tummy troubles are under control (knock on wood).  She loves it!  She won't accept the spoonfuls of pur├ęs I try to wedge in her mouth, but a chunk of banana is just fine by her.  

And the best news? Picture that scene from Scarface where he's sitting at his desk with a giant pile of cocaine in front of him.  Now replace Pacino with me and the blow with baby formula.  (Thanks for the visual, Em!) Her Nutramigen is now being covered by insurance.  Ah-maze-ING!  

I can't believe she'll be ten months old next week.  How can this be?!  She was JUST BORN!  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In Fall We...

Spend afternoons on the lawn...

Wear pumpkin hats...

And witchy hats too...

Gather leaves... (but don't eat them!) 

And visit hay mazes...

Search for the perfect pumpkins...

And steal kisses...

Let Mumma take lots of pictures...
Help Dada rake the yard...
 And get really, really excited!
  We love autumn!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sisterly Affection...

And by affection, I mean carefully controlled frustration, jealousy, and rage. It's arrived.  

For the first months of Vivi's life, Madeline loved and tolerated her.  Then that baby became mobile, Madeline realized she isn't just a cuddly piece of furniture, and the novelty quickly wore off.  

Madeline is done.  Finished.  She's had enough. 

Vivi knocked over my coffee cup a few days ago.  As I pulled her away from the puddle, I sighed, "Oh, Vivienne, what am I going to do with  you?" 

Without missing a beat, Madeline answered, "Let's put her in the closet."  

The suggestion was made in earnest, and I have no doubt that Madeline would happily store Vivi away in the closet for an afternoon or two.  She wouldn't even feel bad about it.

There's part of me that doesn't blame Madeline one bit.  Now that Vivi can crawl, every time Maddie tries to build a tower, do a puzzle, or draw a picture, Vivi is there to ruin it. Maddie has to share toys that used to be hers.  She gets reprimanded for leaving spilled Cheerios everywhere for Vivi to find.  The smallest toys need to stay out of reach.  Worst of all, in spite of our best intentions, Vivi takes up most of Mumma and Dada's time and energy.  It's hard being the big sister.  

Then last week she knocked Vivi over with the glider in their bedroom, mumbled a very insincere "Sorry, Viv," and just kept right on banging the chair into her baby head.

A day later, there was a thump when I left the room for a moment to put something away.  

"What was that?"  I called as I rushed to its source.

"Vivienne..." Maddie said nonchalantly.

I turned the corner to find Maddie sitting in the Bumbo, (the very same Bumbo her baby sister had just been crawling on a moment before) and Vivi rolling on the floor about to burst into tears.

And that was not the first time I caught Maddie snatching toys away from Vivi or elbowing her out of the way.  

My sympathy for Madeline does not extend to doing her sister bodily harm.  Time outs were had. Tears were shed.  Conversations about the responsibility of being the big sister were repeated.  

Meanwhile, Vivi worships the ground Madeline walks on.  She constantly chases after her, which is annoying for Madeline.  But it's also a little sad for Vivienne when the big sister she loves so much avoids her.  It's not her fault that she's just a little baby who can't do anything but knock over Lego towers.  She wants to play too!  

I'm hoping Madeline will become more receptive to playing as Vivi grows older and less destructive.  Fingers crossed...

In the meantime, we keep some zones Vivi-free for Madeline to escape to.  We build time for Madeline to spend alone with us.  We remind her how much Vivi looks up to her, and we praise all the good big sister things we see her do.  

This morning Maddie was back to sharing Olaf, giving hugs, and helping her walk across the room.  We'll see how long it lasts...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Random Post-Breastfeeding Thoughts

It's been a little over a month since we switched Vivi to formula.  My days of being a baby's meal ticket are done...probably forever.  

On one hand, it's nice to have my body (or at least some version of it) back to myself.  In general, I think nursing makes moms feel more comfortable with their bodies.  This is good.  But there's a thin line separating comfortable from too comfortable.  It's about time I stopped walking around this place basically shirtless and unshaved.  My husband, for example, now views my body in the same way he views Five Guys burgers, which he used to love until they built one on every corner.   Now, if I suggest we eat there he's like, "Five Guys?  Really? Meh. I mean, if you really want..."

Even the teenage girl across the street had the unfortunate luck of running into me as I walked to the mailbox with my shirt unbuttoned to the navel one afternoon.  No, I was not wearing a bra.

I didn't even realize my mistake for an hour afterward.  No wonder she rushed inside so quickly without returning my wave.  Hidey-ho, neighborino!

Now that I'm not unbuttoning my shirt to feed Vivienne every few hours, I can go out in public fairly confident that I'm not going to end up unintentionally flashing everyone.  That's nice.  

But on the other hand, growing babies does a number on a woman's body, and nursing helps temporarily cover up some of those issues.  So, now that it's all over....Woof.  

I can't post a real picture of my chest because, as I said, my flashing days are through.  Plus, ick.  Instead, let me provide this visual:

Yup, my breasts look like Statler and Waldorf...those old, wrinkly guys from The Muppets.    

After nine months of pregnancy, and an additional nine months of lactating, I'd forgotten what my chest actually looks like.  It turns out that I'm not blessed with the bodacious curves of a Kardashian after all. (Except for, you know, the fat thighs.)  It came as quite the shock.  At least in my younger years thou they were small, they were at least round.  Now, I feel like my whole body is one big deflated balloon.  The party's over, people.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.  

Plus, now that I'm not effortlessly burning through calories and no longer avoiding all dairy products, those pumpkin lattes are starting to take their toll.  My jeans were a little snug this morning, and I think my scale is probably broken because that was not the number it was showing last week.  

The hair on my head is also rapidly thinning.  So, there's that...

And lest I think I'm fooling anyone with my cleverly positioned scarves and dark, slimming jeans, Madeline scooted past me on the couch last week and cried, "Excuse me, you big, silly hump!"  Maddie Bear:  Keeping it real since 2010.  

Moving on...

Probably the biggest bonus about giving up nursing is that I will never again have to use a breast pump.  Breast pumps are the devil's instrument.  We watched a demonstration of a cow being milked at a dairy farm over the summer.  The tool they used on that poor lactating beast was really just a larger, slightly more industrial version of the same exact pump I was using.  

They are horrible.  And now I'm stuck with a $200, really weird looking planter because nobody wants a used breast pump.    

Meanwhile, Vivi, the baby who latched within five minutes of being born, comfort nursed at all hours of the day, and vehemently refused a bottle for the first eight months of her life, has moved on surprisingly fast.  She now eagerly drains the formula from her bottle without a backward glance.  

Times were good, Mumma, but I've moved on.  

Truth be told, all the jokes and TMI above are just meant as a cover.  I am sad that it's all over.  I feel a bit rejected. Replaced. Obsolete.

My child will never need me on such a deep level again.  Tomorrow she'll be packing up for college, and I'll probably never see her again because she'll become some sort of genius astronaut and move to mars...all because she was breastfed.  

Plus, the fact that the human body can provide nourishment for our offspring is pretty remarkable.  My body was taking all the pie, potato chips, and blood orange San Pellegrino I was consuming and turning it into milk.  When I wasn't busy feeling like a dairy cow, I felt like I was performing some kind of magic.  

And unless we have a major change of heart, (or a major birth control were all thinking it) Vivi will be our last baby.  My magical, lactating breasts are gone forever.  Sob.  All I have left are my raisins in the sun, a breast pump/ planter, and a hefty formula bill.  

Then again, now that she's no longer nursing, Vivi sleeps through the night most of the time.  And when I get a full eight hours of sleep, forget everything else I just said, I wake up looking like this:  

Instead of this:

So worth it.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Parenting, Currently

Vivi kept me up till 2 am last night for unknown reasons.  Maybe she's teething?  Maybe her tummy was bothering her?  Maybe she was too hot? Or too cold?  Only one thing was clear: Homeslice was not happy.

And after hours of wailing, whining, and sleeping on top of me, she still woke up for the day at 6 am.  I knew she was trouble when she walked in.  

She's currently napping, so I'm lounging on the couch with this:
(Lunch of champions...)

My living room looks like this:

And Maddie Bear is doing this:
(Parental-approved rotting of the brain!)

Moral of the story?  Mumma is unable to function on four hours of sleep.