Thursday, April 26, 2012

Week 37 and counting

I'm pretty sure my belly dropped in this past week, specifically this past weekend. I've noticed it looking a bit lower and I can fit nearly 4 fingers between the base of my chest and top of my belly.

Not getting a lot of sleep but enough to feel pretty good most of the day. And, gratefully, Carolina is still a good napper. The past week I've been giving her melatonin and I know it has not stopped the headbanging but I think she's able to rest a little more. She seems less agitated and fights me less about laying down for naps. Her bad dreams persist. I wrote the director a letter explaining that after May, I'm not enrolling Carolina in school. I explained about the poor sleeping and other regression, and said that if it gets worse, I'll take her out earlier. It's hard since I don't really know what happens every day or even on a weekly basis. They don't do that kind of thing here. And I realize in a class of about 15, my one child is not their first priority. But she's mine and the head banging really lets me know this isn't good. God, I hope she stops again this summer. It was such a relief when it ended.

Since we're aiming to move in June or July, I believe that will leave (unfairly) the bulk of packing to my husband. I would like to start packing up non-essential things now but there's not any good place to put a pile of boxes and I think I'd get a right bollocking from just about everyone at this stage in my pregnancy if I did.

It's too bad that paying a moving company to pack up your things is so exorbitantly expensive, otherwise I would.

I've had such a craving for cakes. Cake, brownies, cupcakes. Cookies, not too much. Cake. I want cake. I tried to make a red velvet cake with icing from a recipe in a recent Saveur issue. It was a total and complete failure of both time and money. It took me an hour and a half to get to the point where the cakes were cooked and icing should have been done but the cake was tasteless and icing wouldn't firm up. I actually threw it all away. It is the first baking failure I've made so badly that it went in the garbage before anyone could do more than taste it. VERY VERY gratefully my lovely husband brought home a piece of cake from Magnolia Bakery, which made everything better, and a cupcake for the very disappointed Miss Carolina. She had been running into the kitchen every 20 minutes with this big smile asking, "Cake ready yet, Mommy?"

Plus there's no Dutch chocolate baking powder in the stores here. And asking the store staff if they have any is difficult as I don't know how to say it in Spanish, and when I do explain what I'm looking for invariably the men understand I want Baking Powder, and then say something along the lines of "If it's not here (pointing) we don't have it." So I got unsweetened chocolate bars and melted them, and put it in during the mixing, seems to work mostly as an alternative.

There are shelves and shelves of box cake mixes, but little to get you really baking. And I hate store-bought icing. I guess no one bakes much anymore. I heard that catering children's school parties can be done by McDonald's now, so why make your own food? Bah. I'm with Julia on this one. Make your own damn food!

Actually, it's because I have the time and cooking with Carolina is a lot of fun. Once this baby comes, at least the first year or so, I know I'll go back to wishing all our food was instantly made by someone else. Speaking of which, if the store wasn't so far from our apartment, I'd waddle over to the supermarket on Greenpoint Ave to get some pierogis. I'm going to miss good, inexpensive pierogi at the local supermarket when we're in New Jersey. I know where to get really good pierogi in NJ, but it's not at the local supermarket.

And, the supermarket here isn't actually far, it's about 6 blocks away. But I'm still on the no-walking-more-than-necessary promise this week to my husband. Poor guy is understaffed this week so I can't encourage the baby to arrive early. Come Saturday, however, let's go for a walk!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's that Mommy?

Today, I was hugging Carolina on my lap to help calm her down. And the baby kicked and moved really strongly. Carolina sat up and looked at my belly and said, smiling, "What that Mommy?" I told Carolina that it was the baby moving and her brother heard her crying and wanted to give her a hug, too. She looked interested and a little confused and said, "Is my brotha? What he doin?" I said he was moving, so she hopped off my lap and said, "Ok!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Update on the baby's progress

I went to the OB last Friday and it was a quick visit to see how far along I am. 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. That means my body is getting ready but it's not likely to happen this week. I had a LOT of Braxton-Hicks contractions on Friday, it made walking really difficult. We walked to the post office 6 blocks away and back, and that set it off. And then I went to the subway (lots of stairs at both stations) and back to the doctor appointment. That night it was contractions and lots of kicking.

I even had to schedule my weekly appointments for the next 3-4 weeks. So we're at the end here.

Maybe my mom is right. Maybe the baby will come at the next full moon on May 6th.

I've finally relented and have given up all the acidy and fatty foods that I like but shouldn't eat. The indigestion and pain is ENOUGH. Plus it's nearly over. So food has been more boring but at least I don't spend any portion of the night with excessive gas, pain or going to the toilet.

Honestly, these last two months are an adjustment in a way that even having a baby isn't. I want my body back! Even though I know while breastfeeding, it's still not really mine. At least I can be more mobile, even when I'm not sleeping. At all. Yes, I remember that really well.

Big news: Museum day with Papa & no pee in diapers!

I stand corrected. Papa planned to take Carolina to the Brooklyn Museum with two other families and their girls, so four adults and 3 girls all under the age of 6 at the museum. Looking at art. Meeting up at 1pm, you know, naptime. With over an hour on the subway each way. I thought, this is ABSOLUTELY a bad idea. I couldn't go, or rather I chose not to go as it was going to be tough to walk around and go up stairs and I'm tired enough as it is.

Papa didn't check his email that said the day before that the other two families weren't going to go anymore. So, he and Carolina headed out -- and she had been yawning saying she was tired. And apparently it went great. No complaining, no whining. They had a great time.

Even bigger news, she held her pee for when they arrived home instead of going in her diaper in the taxi. She waited! This is the third or fourth time we've been out and she had to go, and she decided she would wait. She's even gotten up in the middle of a TV show she likes and went to the bathroom herself, took off her pants and diaper and sat down to pee. And THEN told me she was done.

She likes to jump off the potty, with her pants around her ankles and then run around. She's tripped a few times, naturally, but she thinks it's funny.

She's earned the right to wear undies AND sit on the couch. Until recently we couldn't trust that she'd notify us since she had worn undies and peed all over her own little chair. Twice. So the rule was if you're on the couch, you're wearing a diaper.

But she's got the knack now.

In fact, there's only been pee in her diaper during nap or nighttime, and not always. And all the poop goes in the potty. THANK GOD. I had no idea how much easier it is to clean up than in a diaper. I'm happy and proud of our little girl.

Good thing she got this down before the baby comes. I'm sure there will be some regression, and probably potty time might suffer -- so we still have a large box of diapers just in case. But if not, then we'll just keep going. I think she'll enjoy the summer more in undies. Her little hiney was really, really sweaty last summer.

UPDATE: We're going to move this summer; we've decided. I've got a tentative spot held for Carolina at the school that I want to send her to, too. She's still having nightmares and the other night was calling out for me, and then stopped. I don't think she even woke up. Head banging is back, even during naptime, which is very unusual. So I'm giving her melatonin drops to help make her drowsy earlier at night. After moaning and banging for over an hour and a half late last week, I had enough of listening to her try to calm herself down. We'll do this for a week and then see how it goes. I know that moving will be a big adjustment for her. Plus having a brother. Plus a new school. It's a lot at once. But it's time. So, like taking off a sticky bandage, we're going to rip it off as quickly as possible and get it all over with at once.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

School meeting with the teacher

I had a meeting with Carolina's teacher. It seems that there wasn't any hitting but a boy in her class (and apparently there are more boys than girls on the days she goes) pushed her near her face when she was sitting next to him and leaned over to see what he was doing. He wanted her to go away and leave him alone.

Then later that day, while he was doing something on the floor, she went near to see what he was doing and he pushed her again.

Both times the teacher told the little boy not to do that, to be gentle, no pushing, be nice. But Carolina cried the first time because she was scared/surprised. Apparently this little boy is particularly aggressive and mouthy.

I also found out that the boy's name she's been telling me is her friend, is actually a boy that is very similar in temperament to Carolina. So it makes sense she likes him so much and refers to him as a friend by name. I honestly wasn't sure if he was a real boy in her class or someone she made up. This is because, she will sometimes tell me her cousin, Angela, plays with her, too. But Angela is in Mexico.

I understand now that she pushes kids away, too. And as sweet and sensitive as she is, she will definitely stand her ground and has no problem telling other kids to be nice or leave her alone. I'm not sure if that's more like me or my husband, but either way, I'm proud that she's able to balance her space with her reactions to others intruding, depending on the situation. Especially since mostly she's verbal about it.

This is less bad that I had originally thought, but I'm still not happy about it. I understand there are kids that are, just by their personality, more aggressive or physical. And there are times to push and yell when you're this age to express yourself. I get it. I really do. And I also understand that she's trying out this new behavior at home to see where the boundaries are and what is acceptable at home versus at school.

I still don't like it.

I don't see leaving her at this school for a very long time but unless we move, I've little other choice. Unless I take her out of school entirely.

The other schools in the neighborhood are the same or worse. There are other schools that have much better reputations, cost a ton more, and (at this point more importantly) require us having a car to bring her. Taking the bus or train for upwards of an hour a day to just pick her up (so 30 minutes there and home) with an infant isn't going to happen for me. Not forgetting the extra time it would take Ismael to take her there and still get to work on time. By car the same trip would take 10-15 minutes.

Is this the best we can do right now? I think so.

grumble, grumble

The one thing I did appreciate that the teacher said was after she found out from the director that I was having trouble with Carolina going home and being very wound up, she started to ask Carolina every time she was about to go home what she would do at home. Carolina invariably would tell her "eat pancakes", which is true many days for her lunch to have pancakes. And then the teacher would say that she would take a nap after that, since naps are good. If Carolina agreed or not, the teacher would emphasize that naps are a good idea and she should do it after she eats.

I appreciate the reinforcement and getting her mentally prepared for what would happen at home next, even though it's the same thing every time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Busy week and it's only Wednesday

So on Sunday, Carolina locked herself in the bathroom. Without clothes on. Having just gone pee pee in her potty. With the lights off. Sigh... so after about 10 minutes of trying, we called the police. Eventually, after another 10-20 minutes, and still not able to open the door from the other side (let's just chalk that up to inexperience with screwdrivers), I was able to talk Carolina into unlocking it from her side.

She didn't panic very much, which was surprising given the situation. But since our landlord had never put a correctly sized door on the bathroom (but a lock, yes?) there is about 2-3" of space below the door. So she could see us and we could play "toesies" and I could give her books, to which she said no to all of them. At least she could see me when I was on the floor talking to her. And so, eventually, after asking for the second or third time, she understood which part of the doorknob I meant (since I referred to it as the straight line she had turned earlier) and she did it.

So she got herself out!

And then the police came an hour later. I had since called 911 to cancel the request, but not surprisingly, the request wasn't cancelled. And these poor, totally hot and stressed out (but very friendly) cops came running up the stairs. I explained what happened and they looked relieved as it was possible that their delay meant a 2 year old was locked in a bathroom alone for just over an hour.

Then on Tuesday after school, Carolina tells me that someone pushed her and someone else hit her. I was not pleased as this isn't the first time I'm hearing that she's being pushed. During her nap, I called the director but no one answered. After briefly talking with my parents about it, and I should really know better than to tell my dad anything bad that happens to Carolina as he's very protective of her (I really called to talk to my mom, the teacher, but there you go they were both home) and he got pretty angry about it. They explained that as often as it seems to happen, it's a bad sign about how the classroom is run. I've no idea as she's our first and this is her first experience in school but it felt wrong.

I called the director again, who'd never gotten my message. Explained what I understood from Carolina and she went to talk to the teacher. The teacher told the director that yes, a little boy pushed Carolina out of the circle line but it wasn't a big deal so she didn't tell me. But since I'd called about this kind of thing two weeks ago, the director set up a meeting for me to speak to the teacher tomorrow morning after we drop off Carolina. So, I'll find out from a grown up's perspective what is happening.

It's really hard to get contextual information from a toddler, even one as chatty as my daughter. But what I'm going to struggle with, I'm guessing, is what the teacher sees and the context she observes it in and how my daughter is perceiving it. And I'm wondering if Carolina is doing anything to provoke this reaction. I'd be super-duper surprised if she is, and that would concern me more as it would be completely out of her personality to be an instigator. Anyway...

What really bothered me from the start was just after she started school she started to be more aggressive. She started to push us away and say 'no' or protest much more forcefully. I realize this is part of being a 3 year old, as she's really into protesting and procrastinating with things she doesn't want to do (go to sleep, put on clothes to go out, blah blah blah). It's just that it happened right away when she started going to school. So something is up, I just don't know what it is exactly or how much is expected adjustment vs. aggression from other kids. And they let the kids cry for what I understand (from other parents not my daughter) to be long periods of time. I'm certain this will stress out the other kids, especially one like Carolina who is very empathetic.

I really, really, really, really, really want to send her to this lovely Montessori school in Fort Lee. Really, really. It's really, really, expensive and moving is a pain, and a huge adjustment for a preschooler, and apartments there aren't cheaper and transportation will be more for commuting, and, ideally, we'd get a car, which is more money. So it's just all money we don't have flying out the window. But I really (have I mentioned really) want her in there. It is so calm and organized and focused and there's no yelling or screaming or crying. And I know enrollment for the fall is closed as it's already mid-April and they had enrollment in late March.

Ok, good, so now I'm stressing about money and a contraction starts. I should go wake up the sleeping beauty as it's been quite a long time for a nap and I could use a cup of tea. My allergies are really bad and I think it might be turning into a cold.

Tomorrow I'll be 36 weeks pregnant. This kid might not have dropped yet but my body is certainly getting ready. I'm ready. Let's go!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More crampy contractions, 35.5 weeks

Last night around 3am I was awoken from a dream about being in labor to actual contraction-like pains. It lasted a few hours. I'm still really achy in my lower back and lower abdomen, and I *think* the mucus plug might have started to leak. Around 6am, after another bad dream about going to the hospital unprepared, I felt a VERY strong need to get up and pack my hospital bag as well as get the baby's bed ready and wash the bottles and pacifiers and just be ready-ready.

My parents already have Carolina's bag of clothes and such, and her presents from her brother, as well as her Papa's bag of clothes for the two days they'll be there. But my bag hadn't been packed. So now it is.

I remembered that I needed travel-sized toiletries for the hospital, and so I started digging around for the toiletry bag my lovely friend Cheryl had sent to me when Carolina was going to be born, and the bathroom drawer we have of "things for travel". I was only missing a little deodorant that didn't smell too much, I have full-sized extras but they're really strong and I usually use a non-fragrant deodorant from Tom's of Maine. Now, we're all set.

These cramps keep coming but they're not very strong and there's nothing to "time" so I don't think it'll be today. It might be tomorrow. It might be two weeks from now. There's something fun and anxious about not knowing and not being able to know.

Whatever it is, we're ready as we're going to be.

I should clean the apartment.

Carolina is at the park with her grandparents who came over to visit while Ismael is out doing the weekly food shopping.

Earlier I was ready my blog posts from 2009 to see if I had left myself any useful tidbits about going to the hospital, since I forgot a lot of little details (e.g., toiletry bag), and I realized I was really stumbling through being a mom at first. That's to be expected, but what I was surprised about is that me, now, wants to talk to me, then, and give me advice so I could sleep and stop being so stressed out about every little thing. The stress might certainly have contributed to Carolina sleeping. I was probably making her anxious.

I know that two kids is absolutely different than just one. I just don't know exactly HOW it is different, so I expect to stumble through this first 6months to a year again, I just expect to stumble differently.

I should cut my nails. Accidentally scratching an infant looks terrible on their skin, like you just lacerated them.

We're still not completely decided on the circumcision. If I had Ismaelito today, I'd say to leave it on. And still not be completely certain that is the right decision.

Parents shouldn't be trusted with these kinds of decisions. HAHAH... I'm joking. Completely joking.

Really, I should go clean now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pregnancy week 34

Set your timers to 2-3 weeks! My hair is starting to fall out like pre-pregnancy time and these recent cramps/contractions are no joke. Plus I have an attack of season allergies so my super pregnancy immune defenses are leaving. Sigh. I love those.

I feel huge and without a shirt on, you can definitely see I've got a baby inside. It's not a cute bump; this is serious!

Sleep, wake, pee, eat, repeat is basically my cycle. And the least frequent is eating. Don't get me wrong, I'm eating well and often, but I'm peeing like crazy. There's no room in my abdomen for more growth -- and yet my belly skin itches and gets "sore" which is what happens every time he grows. So, each time I think "I can't get any bigger", I do.

Carolina has already told me this week she wants to take out the baby. Asked if we could use scissors to do it and very much gets this is happening soon. I don't talk to her about it much. If she brings it up, I mostly just ask supporting questions like "Is it a brother or sister?" (very often it's sister), "where is he now?" (to which she looks at me incredulously and points to my belly. Like, mom, don't you know by now?) and "what's his name?" (pronounced: Iz-mail)

Mostly she wants to: hug him, tickle him or asks what's he doing.

I need to pack her bag and mine for her stay with my mom and mine at the hospital. I realized today I need bottles and a few breast feeding supplies. And I should really look up Lamaze breathing as I've forgotten how. Not that I really used it the first time in my panic-stricken time in labor. Hahaha. Oh, fun times!

And I know there's a lot going on in Carolina's life as she's been quietly, or not so quietly, bumping her head against her mattress every night the past 4 nights. She says it makes her feel better. I guess school, potty training and a brotha coming is stressful. Can you imagine if we had moved now? Oy vey!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick update on pregnancy and Carolina

This morning I woke up with some cramping and then intermittent intense pains. Still nothing regular happening, so must still be Braxton-Hicks. Carolina and I spent the weekend at my parents place for Easter (Papa joined us Saturday afternoon), and when we went to the mall to get the baby and her some new clothes we rented a wheelchair for me while my dad pushed both of us. It actually was necessary. Walking around has become pretty tiring and difficult for me.

I don't remember it being this tough last time but then again, I wasn't going anywhere at this point. I'm not sure if it's my "advanced maternal age" or the fact that I'm already a mom and, man, is this tiring. I'm going with the latter as my aunts with multiple children seem to agree on that point.

We were recently invited to see some friends families (with their kids) on the 21st in Bay Ridge and then to a friend of Carolina's party on May 6th. I honestly can not do these events. It's just too much. Ismael seems to think that going to Bay Ridge is a good idea with Carolina while I stay at home. I have a feeling it'll be fine but as she'll miss her nap, I told him to bring cab fare. Oh, and be ready to come back at a moment's notice since it'll be closer to the due date. But I won't mind the small break, actually.

If my mother-in-law is right and the first major pain you have is two weeks before the baby is born, then 2 weeks from today is a very early April 24th. Our niece's birthday. I'm hoping he waits as that will be 36 weeks and I'd like our son to have his own birthday day.

I think I might also be coming down with a cold since my throat is killing me. Time for some soup and tea!

And, last thing, before we went to my parents place for the weekend, there were 4 days of all pee and poop in the potty (except for that one time at the park) and then pretty quickly it went back to diapers all the time (not even pull-ups!) and now we're on diapers still. I think she'll warm up to the potty again but clearly a change of location was a trigger. It's all part of the process :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Potty training updates and pregnancy progression

So, first things first: potty time! Something must have happened in Carolina's head yesterday either emotionally or cognitively or both because in the morning, she resisted a little bit but then peed in the potty as soon as she got up. And then two more times during the day, after TELLING ME she had to go! This is huge. She only peed once in her diaper ALL DAY!!!! Until the last few days we were only getting warning about poop, but now it's everything. ¡Excelente!

Sometimes "I have to go potty" is a delay tactic for not going down for a nap or bed or leaving the apartment to go shopping -- whatever reason. But she's started to tell us, sit down, goes, looks very proud and then goes to wipe and wash her hands. I heard this is how it really starts but had no idea when it might happen. I always make sure to say "Hooray!" and that I'm proud of her and smile. Sometimes if she sees that I'm going to the bathroom, she will say "Hooray!" and ask to see it and always wants to flush. That's actually how her interest in the potty got started, she'd flush for me but that was it. (Note to friends without kids: once you have a kid, going to the bathroom is not a private affair the first 3 years. After 2/2.5yrs, it should be for the parent of the opposite sex. And around 3, or before, depending on your tolerance, is when doors should be closed.)

And, as other parents told me, it's "just one day he/she decides 'I'm ready' and that's that." So of course we're very supportive, and if she's feeling ambivalent about it and REALLY won't go, then we let her keep the diaper on.

I'm going to have to ask her teacher if they have a potty there at school. I have a feeling this is a big victory at home but will take a bit longer with other potties in the world. She has let me know when we were at the park that she had to go, I said "let's go potty here." And she smiled and just said, "no." I think she just peed in her diaper and kept playing. So I think the idea of going in the grownup public toilet at the park is possible but not appealing. She didn't really want to go at my parents' place last month but maybe when she and I go tomorrow, she may feel more brave since she's doing it more at home.

On the other front: pregnancy. Ismaelito has been kicking less and less but moving just as much. I can tell he's much bigger. Besides the fact that my belly is bigger (putting shoes and socks on is HARD WORK!) he's just clearly filling up more of the space. Sleeping at night has turned into a few hours of rest in between bathroom breaks, with him kicking me awake fairly often. So on the days I can relax enough to nap, I nap for 1-2 hours, just like my daughter. I'm eternally gratefully she's still a napper otherwise this would be extremely difficult for me.

Now I'm on to these kids' shenanigans beforehand, so I'm keeping track of his more common times to kick me awake to get an idea of what his awake/feeding hours will be during the night. So far he's on Carolina's schedule but we'll see when he comes out. Inside is not the same as outside.

I have a feeling he'll be a bit early and bigger than Carolina, but not by a whole lot. What am I basing this on? Not much. I also think he'll look more like his Papa and be much more rambunctious than his sister, although they'll both be active kids. I'm guessing this last part on the fact he's a boy. I've yet to meet a boy that isn't more active or "destructive" than most girls.

Today we're 34 weeks:

If he was Carolina, he'd be born 3 weeks from tomorrow. So I'm getting his bed and clothes ready. I just finished the last wash of baby clothes from ones we have and ones we've been given (Thank you, Aunt Julia!). I'm going to the outlet stores this weekend with my parents to get some more baby things for him since I'd given away quite a lot of infant clothes to a few families, in particular a woman whose husband left her at the hospital just after she gave birth and he didn't come back. And the woman only spoke Spanish. One of the nurses is a mom in our neighborhood and posted the story on the mom message board. I felt I had to help her since Carolina was about 9 months at the time and we didn't need ALL the infant clothes.

Anyway, shopping!