Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Went to Mexico, came back with chatty Spanish speakers

Well, I can't say they're both talking in Spanish all the time, but I can say that Carolina's resistance has lessened. Playing with her (mostly) bilingual cousins made her want to talk in Spanish more. 

The baby also picked up more. He now will greet people with an "hola", instead of "hello." He's also gotten a little better at walking by himself instead if needing to be carried everywhere. 

He's got three new teeth coming in. And has a cold. I think there's some infection since the mucus is thick and yellow. But no fever so nothing big. 

Carolina really enjoyed visiting the family. I have to say, for first time, since my very first visit to vallarta, I had a really good time as well. It made me think I could live there. It's still too violent and corrupt, on an individual's level, for me, and I don't believe the educational system, or a culture for pursuing learning, is in place but it was nice. 

What I like about it for the children is that there is trustworthy, loving family in many places. Extended family are friends and the culture tolerates whatever a kid is going to do. It's really much more relaxed, not lazy. 

I really liked the weather, too. Secretly, I'm getting sick of the cold. Although I find it reassuring that it gets cold and snowy. It's not Christmas without the cold and snow. For me, it's really not. It never feels like Christmas when we're there. Plus all their holiday songs aren't mine and tv shows aren't either. The little cultural cues that tell me it's Christmas are missing. 

But, for the kids, who don't have those in place, it's great. It's running outside without shoes and having a great time with fewer restrictions. Eating cookies and candies, and believing that Mexicans are friendly, fun, loving people. My kids have no idea that Mexicans are viewed in a negative way in the States. So, for me, it's really interesting, and a bit of a relief, to see Carolina embrace it all so freely. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Reading, getting married, and toddler sleeping

So Carolina's reading continues! She just keeps spotting words she knows and words she sounds out herself. Reading the cereal box seems to be popular. 

She's also become concerned about going into the "number grades" and getting married. Lord knows why she's concerned about who she will marry, since I pointed out she can't marry her papa and her grandfathers are both not available. And cousins are out. This whole idea stresses her and I've no idea why. 

I probably shouldn't have told her she can't marry her papa but I wasn't certain if lying about this one wouldn't be worse. I don't know where the topic came from. And telling her that she doesn't have to worry about it until she's much older seems to make it worse. She wants to know now. So, yesterday, she decided on one of the boys in her class. I said that was fine. She has to wait until she is an adult, but he's a fine boy to pick. 

She's also very aware of graduating from kindergarten (in a year and a half), and the older children returning to help out. She knows she is not ready for "big kid work" but won't be put off my explanations of-- the teachers will tell you what you need to know when it's time. Today is just pre-k. You know how to do that. 

Still, she's anxious. I hope to help her figure it out so she's less worried. 

Lil' Mel now takes a nap without a bottle. He kept refusing it, so I just stopped offering it. He's nearly over his ear infection, and I know being very congested made him disinterested in drinking since he couldn't breathe. But he's taken interest, mostly, in the night bottle but not daytime. 

Fine by me! I was wondering how it would go since I got Carolina off the bottle by reading to her instead, before naps and nighttime. But I can't read to him since he doesn't sit still long enough for more than a sentence or two. Such a boy. He just wants to lay down with his chupon. Uh, ok. Easy peasy. 

And we still enjoy his way of saying "no". Kind of a cross between "no" and "now" with a bit of a cat's whine. It's very amusing. It also gets the job done. He is very clear about "no", and "yes", which is a slow up-and-down head move. Makes things easier. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reading and talking

Carolina has started to read. Really read. On her own. So proud. 

She also has an ear infection and feels crappy. So she went to bed at 5pm. 

And the baby just said "wacala" when he saw a hair on the side of the tub. Ha. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

18 month checkup

Hitting all his major milestones, and only missing one minor milestone, is Ismaelito!

23lbs/10.2kg (30%)
32" / 81.3cm (20%)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Talking and more words

These are the new favorites so far:
Pak (park)
Wak (walk)
Bahx (box)
Sah-kuh (sock)
Baw (ball)
Pahtah (pasta)
Chicka or bakbak (chicken, or the sound a chicken makes)
Koo-kah (cookie, or sometimes cracker)
Poop (yup, he means poop. Or pee.)
Wahwah (water. Or maybe it's agua)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bath time

Whoever suggested giving more than one child a bath at the same time was either sinister, mad, or didn't have enough time to do them one at a time. (We're talking toddler age and older. Not babies, I mean.)

Giving the baby a bath AND THEN letting Carolina take a shower is MUCH easier. Twice as long but MUCH easier. 

And then, whoever said it was much easier has never had to coach Carolina from outside the shower's sliding door.  It basically amounts to a waste of baby shampoo/body wash, water and time. It's the epitome of inefficient bathing. 

And still. Still. It's more pleasant than a dual bath. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Hair color

Carolina said to me, "Mommy! Look at your hair!"
I said, "I know, I have to dye it. It's white all here."
She responded, "It's not white. It's a rainbow! Mommy! You have rainbow hair. It's so beautiful!"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New words and fun at school

New words that the baby is now saying:

Buh/buk ("book")
Uh oh ("uh oh" or "oh no!")
Cook or cook-ah ("cookie")
Grrrowh (sound he makes when he sees any animal. All animals growl.)

He's finally taken to walking with me instead of having me carry him everywhere. We're still working on him playing by himself since he prefers to be near or on me all the time. 

He's had a cold and started waking up at night again. I thought it was for comfort, and it was, but he made it into a new habit. So we agreed to let him cry, no matter what, and he did. First it was on and off for over an hour (after midnight), and then a few minutes a few hours later. Then it was about 45 minutes (after 1am). Then it stopped. 

One bad habit broken at a time. 

And Carolina is really, truly enjoying going to school all day. She eats her lunch! She takes a nap! She tells me about her day! 

I've given her chicken nuggets (that I made), pasta with broccoli and carrots, meatballs, pancakes, fish and zucchini fritters. She's also had pizza. I'm just going to keep making her lunches of food I'd wish she'd eat for dinner. So dinner is lunch and vice versa. She gets so hungry at school that she doesn't mind eating. 

I don't give her a snack when she's in the car after school either, since it meant she ate nearly nothing for dinner. So dinner is now at 4pm. But she really eats. 

School schedule has helped me kill snacks. Whoo hoo!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First (full day) of school: Pre-K

So happy and not worried at all!

First hair cut

To avoid "baby mullet", I trimmed his hair for the first time. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

New words, new activities

The baby has started to use more words. The ones I can think of most easily are:
Cuh-kah (cookie)
Ch-kah (chicken)
Toca (toca, touch)
Tch (touch)
Pa-tah (pasta)
No no no (no)
No toca? (Can I touch that or no?)

And recently, besides continuing to "read" on his own by looking at books, albeit briefly and infrequently, he's continuing his interest in music. 

There's a toy with buttons that light up and play a different song for each button. He will sit and press the buttons or lie with it, for up to 15 minutes at a time. He seems fascinated by the music, control by buttons and lights. He's also pretty good at the piano. 

He's also taken an interest in his sister's favorite toys, namely HopHop and Lalaloopsy. Lala is easy to carry and she's plastic so he likes gnawing on her while teething. HopHop is just a favorite, so he wants her, too. Mostly this is completely unwelcome stealing and she wants to take them back. Sometimes she lets him. 

He has dolls of his own that he particularly likes but there's something about holding his sister's that's more special. 

Speaking of Carolina, she's getting exciting and anxious about going to school all day in a few weeks. I'm a little nervous myself. Mostly I just hope she eats her food. I know the teachers will help her adjust to the full day routine, but food time is her time to be belligerent, if she wants to be. And I hope the nap may is comfortable enough. I don't truly expect her to nap, I'll be impressed if she does not talk the whole time since they won't let her read during nap time, but I just want her to feel comfortable. 

More to come...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Books are now real

Something happened yesterday and a book stopped only being something the baby wanted to gnaw on, but became "alive". 

I read him "I Love You Through and Through", which means he squirmed in my lap and tried to eat it but liked one part--when I gently rubbed his head when it says "hair".

So he's been walking around, occasionally rubbing his head and looks at me to say "hair", and does it if I happen to say "hair". Or he'll pick up that book and bring it to me and touch his hair. 

He's started to pick up other books for me to read, too. It's barely a page here and there but it's a huge change from before. 

I feel relieved, actually. Knowing he will be teachable and not in his oral stage forever. (I realize that's not going to happen anyway, but the glimmer of progressive change was reassuring just the same.)

In other news, his sister loves, loves going swimming with her grandmother. Just the two of them. And she's back on her Tiny Titans kick. This means nice comics to read and look at and a calmer Carolina who wants to "read" on her own. Love those Titans!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Toca, toca

The baby has learned that "toca" is "touch", and used it at first to get his papa to lift him up to touch something up high. Maybe a picture on the wall or even a light. Mostly, it was things that mommy is too short to lift him up to. 

That initial use of "toca" quickly grew into wanting to touch everything, and then as a single-word sentence. You'll hear him walking around just saying, "Toca, toca, toca, toca..." Sometimes very quickly and sometimes with varying intonation so that it sounds just like half of a conversation, but only using "toca".

It is very cute. It is very funny bit is also very tiring when he's on a tear to touch everything. And many, most, or only things he shouldn't be touching. 

I finally understand why they have those baby gates and corrals. There are boys, and boys are not girls. Nope. Not even. He is full of energy and curiosity, just like his sister but he doesn't take "no" for an answer. I can tell now that this isn't going to slow down, either. 

Good thing we moved to an apartment with a park and huge field across the street. We need it!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's a hot, busy summer so far: teething, potty issues, apartment closing, packing (again)

With the apartment closing, constantly looming but never coming, and keeping the kids busy, I've just realized I didn't put many updates recently.

The baby is talking more and more. I know I keep saying this but he's going on and starting to repeat words very clearly. It comes and goes, but it's fun. He's got 3 molars coming in at once. So he's been more cranky and uncomfortable than usual. And he's got this habit of putting his hand down his pants. He still hasn't pulled out any poop but he is letting his diaper get loose and leaking out at night. It's becoming a problem, so I'm looking for cheap short sleeve onesies to use instead of his short sleeve PJ shirts to discourage his new habit. His belly has been giving him trouble because of the teeth and he's grabbing at his ears a lot. He's also eating everything. Everything, everything. He's taken a small bite out of the TV stand, you know, the wood. Boxes, paper, tissues, foil, toys, plastic, literally anything he can put into his mouth. I will be well happy when he's done teething.

It's a very potty month, his sister has a new/old habit of not going to the bathroom in the morning. Actually, it's a control move and won't go to the bathroom at all unless it's about to fly out of her. She's had some emergency runs to the toilet at the pool, and once didn't quite make it.  She's giving me a hard time about eating her dinner, too. So we're back where we were when she was about 2 and it's no fun.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to bend significantly and just let her control things, because otherwise this isn't going to get better. It drives me up the wall that she sometimes yells "I have to go pee pee!" in the car. When we're no where near a toilet and we're more than 10 minutes from home. It's bad because her "warning" isn't for much in advance. It doesn't happen all that often but it has happened. It kills me since I have her sit down to at least try before we leave, but even that is getting major arguments. "I don't have to!" "There's nothing there!" (And then once she's sat down, about a second later you hear, "I don't hear anything!"). Holy christmas...

But it's been hot this past week. Last week rained a few days and was "cold" (about 75 degrees), and this week it's been in the high 90s and humid. I really don't like global warming.

We are finally going to close on the apartment this Friday, and we're only half in boxes. There will be a trip to Home Depot to get more boxes. (Man, I miss NYC and all the free boxes in the local neighborhood. Nothing like that here.) 

In between school and summer camp, there was a 2 week break. So we'd go do some fun thing every day, or at least try to. And those weeks it wasn't brutally hot. There was a day we went on the train at Van Saun Park. It was a fun morning.

Friday, June 28, 2013

So much activity...

The kids had their birthday parties. The baby's been walking for about 3 months and is now running. A few days ago he started clapping and will now clap at various times, which is very cute and funny. His big sister has really enjoyed her swim classes and is home with us for summer vacation until school-camp starts next week. 

Here are some photos from this month's activities...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baby's been talking

Here's the latest (of what I can remember off hand):

Dak or tak oo (thanks, thank you)
Buh buh or buh eye (bye-bye with hand waving)
Papa (papa)
Mah mah (mama)
Na (Carolina, no, or no no)
Gah-pop or pop (Grandpop)
Dah or dat (that, that thing there)
Bak or Bak pak (backpack)
Boo (book)
Duh-p (diaper)
Uh-la (¡hola!)
Aw duh (All done)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Dear School Director,

I've no idea how your daffodils ended up with cream cheese on them. 


My papa is a superhero!!

Another child's mom told me that my daughter and her son were arguing over whose dad was stronger. My kid insisted that her papa was stronger "because he does exercises." (When I later asked her if the little boy's father does exercises, she first very confidently said, "No!" and when I asked if she was sure, she hesitated and then took a drink of apple juice and then said, "He doesn't do exercises.")

Eventually this back-and-forth argument escalated until she told him that her papa was very strong, like a superhero.

So, reading Superman Family Adventures and Tiny Titans comics has clearly left an impression.

My husband, the superhero :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

He's walking!

Now, I realize I've announced this before but tonight, for the first time, he went tone by himself in the kids' room and started walking across the room. He didn't realize we were watching him.

And why I say "he's walking" is that for the first day, he's walked and then falls or gets down to crawl and also gets back up to walk again. Usually he'll stay down to crawl. He was also carrying things in his hands as if to transport them somewhere. It was first, a Minnie Mouse purse, and then later a magazine and then a plastic bag.

So, we'll see tomorrow if he keeps it up. Last night he got up just once and slept until 5.45am, but the night before he slept from 6.30pm until 5.30am. I would have left him until 6, since he was talking quietly and not crying. BUT! He was talking to his sister and I wanted to let her sleep.

We'll have to figure out some kind of curtain system in their new room.

In other news, my girl has been very supportive and loving with her brother. She's really like a little mommy by encouraging him to walk and allowing him to borrow her toys so readily. I'm very proud of her.

They're both much happier to go to the part every afternoon since it's finally warm enough now. Phew! Spring made it?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Walking around, talking and getting up a lot

For anyone who has ever had a baby or is involved with a baby, you'll know that it wasn't a surprise that the baby didn't continue to sleep through the night after that first, wonderful night. And then a few days later he got a cold (new tooth runny/stuffy nose!) and couldn't sleep through the night since he couldn't breathe. And now he isn't sleeping through the night because he's hungry or wants to be held or pooped. Getting up twice to have a bottle and sometimes an extra time for a burning poop. And sometimes it's up for the day at 5am and sometimes 6am. It isn't a regular schedule so I know it's not going to stick. Honestly, I'm just holding my breath for this to end. I just have to trust the baby that he knows what he needs and it'll go back to the path of an older baby, soon.

In other news, the kids are sharing their room nicely. Poor Carolina is being disturbed by these  wakings and is tired. So her naps are daily and at least 2 hours. She's actually being really great about sharing the room. I'm hoping that we can do some nice changes to their new room so that they are both happy and feel like it's each theirs.

So, he's been walking a lot more and talking up a storm.



He's even gotten even more indignant about wanting what he wants when he wants it. It started about 2 weeks ago and it's both funny and frustrating from my point of view. I remember this from Carolina, it's similar but different and, luckily, like Carolina you can distract him fairly easily still.

Friday, April 12, 2013

First conversation and first night without waking up

To be completely frank, yesterday was a big day in Ismael's life thus far.

First, he took his nap and went to bed without me having to hold him or wait until he fell asleep. In fact, he clearly was not interested in me holding him after his bottle. He just laid there and fell asleep. He even slept through the night. He was very tired and I tried to get him down by about 5.30pm but couldn't and so he was asleep around 6pm. He didn't wake up until 5.45am this morning and he clearly only woke up because he pooped. He wasn't all that interested in being awake. He didn't cry out, he didn't need a bottle. He just slept. I think he just graduated from baby to toddler.

Second, last night at dinner he was very chatty and so was Carolina. She wasn't happy I gave her homemade chicken nuggets for dinner, she had expected the store bought popcorn chicken when I said "chicken nuggets". Since she wasn't going to eat much of it, I cut them up into smaller pieces and put them on the baby's tray. He ate them up happily. I gave Carolina a lot of strawberries for dinner and she was happier. (She had just eaten nearly a whole apple on the way home from the park so I wasn't surprised she wasn't very hungry. I did get her to eat a few small pieces of chicken, too.) I then cut up some elbow pasta for the baby and some broccoli, too. He ate all of it. Then while I was talking to Carolina I noticed that the baby was playing more with this food rather than eating it and had slowed down putting food into his mouth.

I asked him, "Do you want more?"
He just smiled
I asked him and with sign language, "More? Do you want More? or All Done? All Done?"
He says, "Duh."
I smiled and asked again (also with sign language), "All done or More?"
He says, "Ah duh. Duh."

I cleaned off his face and hands and picked him up and he seemed very pleased with himself. I was so excited he just spoke with recognizable words that I had to call his papa immediately.

After yesterday, which was his 11 month "birthday", I have to say, it was a good day.

Today is Carolina's school picture day, and she was excited about. We'll have a nice photo of her (I hope) to share soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Big day in baby news: More teeth! No reflux! Better naps!

Fourth tooth broke through yesterday.
Doctor confirmed, today, the reflux is gone.
Took his first nap without needing me to hold him until he fell asleep AND didn't cry when I left the room.
Woke up once for a bottle last night and slept until 6am. (He's been doing this more and more.)

And he's great at waving and saying "Buh buh", even if he means "Hello".

Super, super awesome!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Much more talking and a trip to DC

We just got back from a trip to DC to see the cherry blossoms. There were only about 3 trees that were in bloom with flowers, the rest were still buds. None had pink flowers yet. It's been too cold for too long. Even yesterday morning when we went it was about 30 something. It was going up to 50 something, and there were tourists walking around in shorts and shirts in the morning. One girl was so cold in her little shirt and skirt that her goosebumps were clearly visible from a few feet away. She looked miserable. I was sorry we didn't have anything to give her to keep warm. Young and in love, she looked like she was going to just deal with it. :)

Anyway, the baby slept most of the time out since I  carried him. He was my heater. And Carolina had a LOVELY time with her cousin Marisa. She just loved going around with her and having an attentive audience for anything she wanted to say to Marisa. She did quite a lot of walking and some time in the stroller. It was a LOT of walking from the Metro to the Jefferson Memorial, back to the Air & Space Museum and then back to the Metro. Both our little people fell asleep in the car on the way back to Aunt Karen's house.

The baby has been talking more and more. Just last week he started to say "Pop Pop" or "Bop Bop" it's a sound somewhere in between. Sometimes he would say it at my dad, so maybe it's "Grandpop" he's trying. He's also saying "Nuh Nuh" which I think is sometimes just a sound, sometimes saying my "No no no" and sometimes trying to say "CaroliNA".

He very quickly figured out how to climb up the stairs in Karen's house. They are the first stairs he's been near. We have some in the building but we only use them to go between floors when we are doing laundry. Otherwise, he doesn't see stairs and never is on the ground near them. This morning at about 5.30am (yes, it was an early one) he crawled away from me and toward the stairs and took the first two very quickly while saying "Nuh, Nuh, Nuh, Nuh". I thought maybe he was repeating the "No no no" that I tell him when he's doing something I don't want him to do, especially since he stopped at the second stair and looked back at me with a mildly naughty smile. Then later I was thinking maybe he was trying to tell me "Carolina" since she was still sleeping upstairs.  Whatever it was, he's becoming very chatty.

Friday night he was very tired. His naps were all over the place while we were traveling. He actually napped more while we were in the car; I think it soothes him into a slumber even if he's not very tired. Well he had slept some on the way back from the B&O Railroad Museum but not enough for a real nap, maybe about 20 minutes. But then he woke up as soon as we got to Karen's house and couldn't go back to take a nap. I put him down for the night at about 5.30pm. I didn't get a lot of support for that idea but I could tell he was DONE, and trying to keep him up any longer was just cruel. He slept, without waking up, until 5.30am the next morning! No bottle in the middle of the night, nothing. Hooray! Well, 5.30am is still too early to get up, but that was a nice stretch of quiet and sleep.

Now that we're back home, we're still keeping Carolina in our room until we know he can sleep until 6am, even if he gets up for one bottle at night. If he can't, then he's going to learn that I won't go get him until 6am. Cry all he wants. It's a tiring habit of super early rising, and one that Carolina shouldn't have to deal with since she goes to school.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ismaelito's first steps

He took his first two steps yesterday and then later last night stood up by himself. Then this morning, he did this:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Third tooth, better sleep -- happier days

The baby's third tooth broke through today. It's the top, right side lateral incisor. I was expecting one of the front two to come next but his teeth had other ideas.

He's been sleeping MUCH better and longer since he is in his own room. Carolina is still in our room while the antibiotics take effect and until the baby stops getting up before 6am and cries until we go get him. His two naps are still working themselves out. They're happening regularly but the length isn't consistent, so there are days (like today) when he'll wake up well before 2pm and so getting to 6pm is very trying. He is NOT interested in a nap between, so I just do the best we can to keep him entertained, fed and rolling along until it's bedtime.

Ismael has been good about putting the baby into the crib shortly after feeding him his night bottle, and that has made it easier for me to do during nap time. So I don't have to wait, for what feels like forever, until he's totally, completely asleep before putting him down.

Carolina has been having some trying days, too, with being so sick. She really isn't trying to be difficult, so I've been as patient as I can. I feel really badly for her. This ear infection really knocked her out. I think she really likes sleeping in our room but I keep reminding her of her bed and her room and that's where she's going to go back. I'll let her know that her brother needs her and she can sleep with him. She seems to really enjoy the idea of sleeping in a room with other people. I didn't realize until about Christmastime that she would prefer that to being on her own.

Anyway, she finally went to school today (Friday) after a week of being home. SHE WAS READY. And since it was Children's Day, they let the kids wear whatever they wanted (no uniform) and did some special activities. She had a good time. I was glad the day she went back was a special day. She would have been crazy this weekend if she hadn't returned at least one day. I know my monkey; she needs her routine.

Ok, back to the whining parade!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Musical rooms (instead of musical chairs)

Saturday we took apart and put back together the crib so it could be moved into the kids' room. We got a blow-up bed for Carolina so she could sleep in our room until the baby adjusted to being in her room.

That afternoon, she came down with croup. That night, it was really bad. But, luckily, the kids were sleeping in separate rooms so they don't both get sick. It was good she was already in our room so I could check on her.

AND EVEN BETTER HE ONLY WOKE UP TWICE.  Papa has been going in to give him bottles and now they're best friends. He woke up last night at 12.30am, like the night before, killed the bottle and then not a peep (again) until 5.30am. We let him cry on/off until 6am. That's the rub. Getting him to stay quiet until 6am. We're not doing anything earlier anymore. Once that's more settled, Carolina can go back to her room. I'm hoping he relents by this weekend. But he's not going to win this one. Not this time.

And naps are going better, too. I'm relieved. As usual, I wish I'd allowed the change to happen sooner and glad that I got out of the way. Keep baby out of mommy's room and EVERYONE sleeps better.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Red letter day, sleep progress

Last night, mostly out of exhaustion I continued with the "give bottle, hold until sleepy, put down" tactic and then let him cry until he fell asleep. Gratefully it was only about 10 minutes of crying and then he'd sleep. He got up 3 times, and one of those times we both had to leave the room so that he was alone to cry until he fell asleep, but he did it. We had to wake him up at 6.45am otherwise we were going to all be late getting out of the apartment this morning.

He did take the bottle each time. For him, he was drinking a lot -- 4 ounces each time. So, hopefully he gets that at night it's just bottle and not much mommy/daddy time and drinks up during the day. I really can't force him to drink any more or eat any more while he's awake. I mean, actually, he is eating every 1-2 hours. I would like to feed him less frequently but he's definitely more of a snacker than a meal-er. That's my doing since when he was much younger and we found out he had reflux, they told me to feed him smaller amounts more frequently. So I encouraged him to nurse more frequently, and consequently he'd take less. He's still on the meds for another week before we start weening him off that, but, look, whatever. It's going to work itself out.

He'll learn how to sleep on his own and eat when it's time. He'll go to school and dress himself and learn to use the potty.

But right now, right this minute, I'm totally and completely satisfied with what's going on.

All morning I've had the tune of "I'm So Pretty" (Sound of Music) in my head but with the words:

I'm so happy,
I'm so happy,
I'm as happy as happy can beeeee!
And I pity, any girl who isn't me to day.

Also, I told this (below) to a close friend, who is also a mom, and it's the truth. It's not something that my kids will enjoy reading but for any other mom out there, here you go:

I forgot about what happens to your boobs when you are weening a baby. I remembered the being very full and pain, but I forgot the stage between when you're full and when you get your "regular" boobs back. I remembered they are, ultimately, more droopy and look really small for a few days. But in the meantime, it goes something like this:

One boob is all like, "We're done? Later!" The other one is all like, "Are you sure we're done? Are you really sure? I mean, you can still change your mind. I got some milk here. I can make more!"

(Glad I have my sage tea to help with the boob that just isn't getting the hint. And in case anyone reading this is interested, this is the No More Milk tea: http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/breastfeeding-support/no-more-milk-tea.html It works great. I don't get any benefit from sharing except in case someone uses it and it is helpful.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sleep, not sleep, sicknesses and bottles

The baby is now fully weened. He doesn't exactly realize that yesterday was his last night being nursed to sleep. I've been drinking sage tea, and surprisingly it's working. I was in much more pain and more full when I weened Carolina. I wish I had known about that tea then, it would have saved me 3 days of major discomfort. He's still looking for me to feed him sometimes, but he's adjusted to a bottle with formula better than I expected. I didn't expect much after the first few months of trying. He doesn't take more than 4oz a time, but whatever. It's progress.

Our plan, since he's not sick anymore, is to get him into Carolina's room this weekend. I have been putting him for his first nap, since Carolina is at school, in her room in the pack n' play. It gets him used to both sleeping in her room and the pack n' play. It's a bit hit or miss. He takes forever to stay down in his crib if he's not completely asleep. It's a bad habit, that I'm desperate to break.

He's started to only get up 2x a night BUT he can be up for an hour during that time. It is completely dark and quiet and still, he will be awake. Even if we hold him. He might just lay in our arms or try to get up, but either way, he's awake. If we put him in the crib to be by himself, he will usually do one of the following (for up to 30 minutes as that's the limit we can tolerate): cry, talk/play, call out Maaa-maa, or Pa-paa.

During this time, it is really cute to hear him call out our names regularly.

He seems to think it's his job to wake up at 11.30pm and 4am and get up at 5am. He might also believe that he gets bonus points for waking up sometime in between midnight and 4am. He also, clearly, thinks that he will "win the day" if he stays awake.

This morning is the first time I let him 'cry it out' for a nap. I waited the recommended 20 minutes and, literally, on the 20th minute he stopped crying. He is now in his sister's room in the pack and play and asleep, he did it himself! For the first time since he was only a few months old! God, I hope this is the first of many times he does it himself and hopefully without much crying. (I know this will eventually happen, it's just getting to that point.) If I know this kid, the next time I make him do this, he will resist more. He is pretty stubborn. But, one time is better than never!!

In the meantime, we're getting Carolina ready to welcome her brother into her room. She will help us re-organize where the furniture goes in her room. In fact, we are going to borrow my parent's blow-up bed in case she needs to sleep in our room while we work out what's going on at night with the baby.  JUST IN CASE she gets too tired from him being up and crying. She, cutely, insists she can sleep through it and wants to stay in the room with him, but I know with the way he's been the past month that she may not be able to do that.

Speaking of the past month, Carolina has REALLY enjoyed her ballet class.  She also seems to enjoy that it's just us going to her class, without her brother. The baby doesn't enjoy it as he cries endlessly the last 30 minutes he's with my mom, every week. The class is 45 minutes long and we are gone for just over an hour. My poor mom. She's still willing to do it every week. I have started to look for a baby sitter but I think it'll be worse. My husband disagrees. He wants the baby out of the bedroom and fully adjusted to a non-family babysitter RIGHT NOW. Ha. Yeah.

PS that nap lasted 30 minutes. and he was crying his eyes out.  short but not bad.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ear infection gone, so are some naps

Well, it looks like the ear infection is gone and the new cold I thought the baby was developing is turning into more of allergies. (Mommy needs to dust more often!)

He seems to be giving up his early morning nap (the 7am one) and getting up a wee bit later (5.30 or 5.45am instead of 5am. Thank you!). And his fourth nap, the 4pm one, seems to be going away too. He gets wicked tired about 4.30/5pm but there's just no putting him down. So he powers through and I get him in bed by 6/6.30pm at the latest. Seems to be working as the last two nights, although he cried out a few times between 7 and 10pm, but wasn't really awake, he only got up to feed around midnight and some 3/4am time.

I realize that this isn't a great situation for a 9 month old in many families, but after the last 4 weeks we've had, this is a blessed relief and I'll take it.

In other news, his big sister is doing very well in school. I went to the parent/teacher conference tonight. She's doing about the same as she was in fall, and has made some improvements. So we'll keep working on her holding her pencil, dealing with her when she's feeling moody, and helping her with her letters and numbers and sounds. Really, though, I'm truly impressed with what she's accomplished in a short amount of time.  She can write pretty well and knows 95% of all the numbers and letters ALL THE TIME. She forgets some when she's feeling tired or stressed sometimes, but mostly she's on top of it.

She's a cutie pie and I'm really proud of her!!

Also, she's really, really enjoying her ballet class. I'm so glad that it's close by and she likes it so much. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waving, almost walking and school

Today, for the first time that I've noticed, the baby waved! I had just come home from visiting Carolina's school and my parents were babysitting for a short time. When I picked up the baby and we were talking about them leaving, he started to wave at my mom. I think my mom was waving to him first, which makes sense.

He didn't do it again, but it was the first time I noticed. Hooray!

He's been standing by himself for a second or two a few times now. I've also noticed that when he's crawling, he may stop and look like he's trying to stand up by sticking his butt WAY up in the air. Whatever move that is, he's getting ready to do something new.

Carolina gave us a tour of her school this past weekend. It was for all the children to do for their parents. We got 15 minutes and she led us around her classroom. She was only supposed to talk about what she was showing us but she was desperate to show us how different activities worked. She's a surprisingly good tour guide. I now know what she's talking about when she says she plays with water and beans! She's also been enjoying her ballet class IMMENSELY.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sign language and pull ups

So, we're still dealing with fractured sleep because of this ear infection (poor baby). And since that's going on, I haven't been expecting much development from the little guy; he's been so tired all day and night.

Just this morning, when I was giving him lunch #1 (just before we go get his sister from school), I made him a bowl of some veggies and cereal and myself a bagel. He was playing with some toy in his mouth when I came with the dish and bowl. He sees his food, then looks at mine and gets REALLY EXCITED. He starts jumping up and down in his chair and clearly wants some bagel.

I give him some of his cereal and then a wee piece of my bagel. (This isn't the first bite of bagel or bread he's had, but I'm just explaining the whole thing...) Like usual, when he wants some more food, I ask him if he wants "more" and I show him the sign with my hands. In the middle of this he starts to put his little fists together! He's clearly trying to show me he wants "more", and he's saying "mmmmmmm! mmmmmmmm!" insistently when I give him some veggie cereal instead of the bagel.

I was well impressed.

And just yesterday he was trying to get something from the kitchen table, which is over his head, and he grabs the edge of the table and actually tries to pull himself up. He quite nearly did a pull up by lifting himself off the floor. I wouldn't let him as I could tell he wasn't steady enough, but this little one is going to walk soon. I'll bet by springtime, I'll have two walkers and each in an opposite direction!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Colds, ear infection, crawling, cruising, talking -- we got it all

On the flight home, I knew I was sick. Then Carolina got my cold. And did the baby, too. Then Carolina got better and the baby worse. Then he got an ear infection. Now he's got antibiotics and can (finally) breathe again. It's been about 3 weeks since he slept well. And so that means the same for me.

At least he's not getting up and staying up for an hour or so. But he's getting up every 2-3 hours. And still thinks there's an obligatory wake up check at 4 and 5am. I'm letting it go until he's done with the antibiotics since, really, it's only been 2 days that he can breathe while sleeping without a disturbing amount of mucus interrupting him.

I do, however, feel like I'm losing the thread that's keeping me sane. So tired.

My kids are very good, mostly. It's just tough being inside all the time and not getting any real rest.

I took the baby for his 9 month checkup (that's when we found out it was an ear infection since a few days before his ears were still clear but looking like it could go either way and his nose was the problem.)

He is, otherwise, growing and developing nicely. 19 pounds even and 28" long. He's about bottom 30-35% for both height and weight and hitting his milestones for development. He's really charming, too. And he's going to be waving and clapping soon.

Carolina has been a good big sister. She thinks she can carry him around and keeps moving him. Even though I tell her not to. Once he can walk (please not too soon!) he's going to be giving her a run for her money. He's a super fast crawler, just like Carolina was, and getting around (standing up, sitting down, and "cruising" between places) very efficiently.

And his sister likes to feed him with a spoon and helps me by being a little parent and telling him, sweetly, "no no" if he's about to go somewhere he shouldn't. She's also aggressively pushing and moving him around to "help mommy" but, you know, she means well.

There was a Teddy Bear party and a Valentine's party at school, both made Carolina very happy. She's now willing to eat pizza. It had to be "Mrs. Karim Pizza" (her teacher) but she does like it. She gets upset when she can't stay at school to eat some with the other kids. So her teacher lets her take a slice home. Very kind.

I know she's ready for a full day, and I know she can survive well with an hour nap. I'm not sure if she'd sleep at school, though. But more to the point, we don't have the money for a full day. Maybe next year. I know it is good for her social development and her teachers would like to see her there. It's just an extra $400/month. I know it's worth it, we just don't have it. I am glad they are so loving and supportive at her school. She's learning so much. She can read a little and can write very nicely. She's much more confident, too. I'm grateful for her happiness. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Everyone has a cold but crawling and climbing continue

Everyone but papa, who gratefully continues to go to work, has a cold. There's a lot of mucus and not a lot of sleep but we keep rolling.

The baby is now 90% crawling with his belly off the floor and 5-10% still with the belly on the floor. And he is climbing up on everything and cruising around the living room nearly like a pro. He still can't get down without falling. So, he's still working on that.

Carolina helps by pushing him away from the couch. He's figured out how to fall pretty hard a few times that way. She must believe in the "tough love" training style.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Negotiation

Parent: I offer you a relaxing bath and as much milk and food as you need just before bed. At bedtime a quiet and dark place to relax. Upon finishing the milk, you will lay down in your crib and sleep until morning.
Infant: I counter offer that you hold me until I fall asleep and put me in my crib carefully and slowly as to not wake me and I will wake up a minimum of two times during the night to drink more milk. If you skip this first step, I will cry ceaselessly for up to two hours and at that time begin hyperventilating, requiring you to come in and soothe me in the way and manner that I like.

Parent: I offer that I will hold you until you're asleep and you will sleep until morning.
Infant: I accept that offer and raise you a required minimum three-times-a-night waking and a morning wake up time at 5.30am or, possibly, after.

Parent: Is that the best you can do?
Infant: I can also throw in teething and acid reflux, so that during at least one of those night wakings I will cry endlessly until you hold me and I fall asleep and I will wake up every time you try to put me in my crib so that you are required to hold me while I sleep and you get a minimal amount of sleep.

Parent: Do I have to accept this offer?
Infant: Yes. No backsies.

Welcome to parenthood.

Monday, January 28, 2013

After his first trip abroad, things slowly back to normal and a second tooth!

We took the baby and Carolina to visit the family in Mexico. It was his first airplane rides and first trip out of the country. He did pretty well. I had pretty high expectations as Carolina was a surprisingly good traveler and I had very low expectations with her. Again, my Carolina was a great traveler.

She slowly picked up some Spanish and got used to visiting a lot of people and missing her naps, and staying up late. In fact, she took only two naps in the car when we were going or coming home from visiting someone and the rest of the week she was up. And up late! She was a good girl most of the time and rarely gave us a truly hard time. I think playing with her cousins made it more fun. Once Angela went home midweek she was less interested in being there, but there was always Jose to play with and his little sister.

The baby was afraid of everyone the first day, of course. And the second day he slowly warmed up to family. He was having a week where he preferred men to women. Carolina was like that around this age: having a preference for men over women and then vice versa. Always, the babies prefer other babies. This was great as Elena is just a year old and also using a walker, so the babies had dueling "andaderas" (walkers).

Carolina was very excited to be there and be able to take off her socks and shoes and run around in the grass. I have to say, she got very dirty most days and was very happy about it. She was very loving with her Abuelos and was happy to see Tita and Bis. That was nice as it's the first time she was clearly happy to be there and the family was glad to have her, as always.

The baby, once he warmed up, was very charming indeed. We took them everywhere and only had 3 days where we stayed at my in-laws (aka "home"). In fact, we shared a room, all four of us. It wasn't too bad. It did get crazy half way through since the baby's second tooth came through. So, now he has two teeth!

And that night when it broke through was pretty much like the night his first tooth broke: he got up constantly and sometimes stayed up for up to an hour. Gratefully, Carolina was very tolerant and either didn't wake up or was able to go back to sleep. She would be more concerned with "what happen with the baby?" than "why's he waking me up?" She is more kind than I was!

Yesterday, our first full day back, was a bit of a trial. I forgot until the afternoon that the day after a big trip like that with a baby, you basically have to just throw away the next few days in terms of sleep patterns and just do whatever the baby needs. It's like when a baby gets sick: all bets are off and schedules are whatever the baby says. End of story.

He didn't sleep well Saturday night, and Sunday was skittish and didn't want to be put down. It was when we were plotting to get him into Carolina's room ASAP and thinking this was the beginning of a nightmare anti-sleep situation (we must let him cry it out for an hour!) that I realized the baby just needed more time to adjust. He didn't want me to put him down? He was afraid? He only wanted to sleep 30 minutes at a time and whine the rest of the time he was awake since he was exhausted? Ok! Let's just roll...

Last night was a bit better with him only waking up 4 times but always going back to sleep, and today's naps were back to a regular schedule.

I have to decide what to do next: Re-start the bottle with formula (to get him weened off me), Ween him off of the reflux meds, Start to move him into Carolina's room.

I think I'll do bottle in the morning tomorrow or Wednesday and start with weening him by the weekend. I just don't want to do too many changes in case something goes "wrong", then I won't know what the thing is that set off the "wrong".  Since we don't have any more big trips planned, I can start to plan for him to go into Carolina's room in a month or so.

After we all shared a room, Carolina was very interested in having her brother be in her room at home.

Finally, I should mention that the baby has started to "cruise". He figured out how to pull himself up in the crib while at my in-laws and sit back down (sort of). I say, "sort of" since he mostly just loses his grip and falls down. Mostly startling himself but not hurting himself. So when we got home, he's very adept at pulling himself up and has started to do that everywhere. He even tries to "walk" by holding on to chairs or a table or the couch. He's less interested in crawling than figuring out how to walk. He's clearly trying to keep up with his big sister.

His quick crawling style is still more military commando-behind-enemy-lines-on-the-belly, but even that changed while we were away. He's doing more and more crawling with his belly off the floor.

I had previously thought that crawling was important but not essential. I read an article about a book that talks about the correlation between the importance of the crawling stage and learning ability/styles in later development (early childhood), in particular the lack of crawling and ADD/ADHD. So, now I know that it's REALLY important for the brain to go through that phase. I'm not worried that Ismael will miss the crawling phase, but now I understand it's importance as more than just being a milestone between sitting up and walking.

This is the book if anyone is interested: http://www.amazon.com/Stopping-ADHD-Nancy-E-ODell/dp/1583331972.

And this is the part that I'm talking about from http://stoppingadhd.com:
The Main Problem: There are many children and adults, at least 10% of the total population, who cannot seem to sit still comfortably for more than a few minutes. They are often classified as ADD or ADHD. The mechanical aspect of writing, just getting the words down on paper, becomes an incredibly difficult task. Many of these difficulties can be traced to an immature Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex.

The Cause: Although the Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR) occurs naturally in the normal development of children, if this reflex stays at an immature level, it can greatly interfere with specific and general coordination tasks. The STNR will stay at an immature level if the child does not crawl enough or properly in infancy. Individuals with an immature STNR will be extremely uncomfortable in what is generally considered the “proper” sitting position: sitting up straight and sitting still.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Second tooth while traveling

The baby's first tooth is still making its way up and his second tooth broke through today.

It's been tricky to see when it happened as he salivates a lot and moves his lips and mouth in such a way that you can't keep it open enough to see. But while at Manuel & Paz's new house, I got a quick look and saw the second tooth broke through.

It's been difficult for him to initially fall asleep the past three nights. Now we know, at least in part if not all, why.

All four of us sharing a room hasn't been as terrible or difficult as I had imagined. The baby wakes up 2-3 times a night and gets up anywhere from 5-6.30am. Same as at home. Carolina has been sleeping through his bits of crying and wakes up about 6.30-7am, which is later than at home, since she's missing naps and going to bed later. Playing with her cousin has been a surprising highlight. They're getting along famously and both behaving better than we expected.

The baby is chatting more and with more sounds. I think he's trying to speak Spanish, too. I remember Carolina doing this when we'd visit. She'd make more and different noises. The baby has started to make a sound that sounds a lot like "Carolina". It's more like "Cah-lena" in baby -- so not defined sounds. But that's what it sounds like. Man, he adores his sister. I think she wants to eat him up sometimes with how strongly she hugs him. It's lovely they get along.

We're now planning on getting him on a regular bottle schedule when we return and will put him in Carolina's room shortly. Within 2-3 months he should be totally on a bottle with formula and in Carolina's room. So says the PM in my head. Let's see what reality says...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quote of the day

"I love Mexico! I take off my shoes and socks and run in the grass!" (While at Bisabuela's house.)

Traveling with babies: Airplanes & Mayhem in Poopville

Traveling via airplane with a baby,  especially one under a year who doesn't have a regular diaper-change schedule? Here's a tip from me: 1 diaper for every hour of daytime travel. (Bring an extra 2 for any overnight flights.) Never leave for a flight without a 4 diaper minimum and a new pack of travel wipes.

It may seem like a lot but if you ever have a trip like the one we had yesterday, you'll be glad you brought them all. 

I hadn't changed his diaper for about 4 hours since leaving Newark airport and we just landed in Houston for our 2 hour layover. It was still fairly dry but who wants to sit in a kinda-pee pee diaper? So that's 2 diapers used. 

Next flight I used 3 diapers. There was a poop marathon BUT I made a rookie mommy mistake: I tried to change his diaper BEFORE waiting 5 minutes after I thought he was done. (It smelled! The Fasten Seat belt light was on. I felt lucky.) Wrong!

I even just went to the bathroom with the changing pad, one diaper, all the wipes and a little plastic bag. Not even the entire diaper bag. (Mostly it works out you don't need the entire bag with you every time. But if you don't bring it and have to change poop or peed on clothes...)

In the midst of changing him on one of those mini commuter planes where the changing table is so small it's only good for a newborn, I got the diaper on and "Blurfffppp" more came out. He was so terrified of the plane's motor noise I cringed at having to walk back to get another diaper just to do it again. But we went. 

All changed. Done, right? Nope!

He fell asleep and 5 minutes before landing--more poop! So get through immigration as quickly as we can, change again. (That was diaper #6.) And we made it through the hour car ride without incident. I used nearly ALL the wipes from a travel pack of about 70. Really. 

The two flights plus 2 hour layover was about 7 hours of travel. Then 2 hours of car rides all in all. I should have brought 7 diapers in our carry-on but only brought 6. Good thing. 

There have been flights where we brought 5-6 and only used 2-3. Still, more is better. Too much is unwieldy. 

You never know when the flight will be delayed or cancelled, or when you may need to change a diaper on your seat and not in a bathroom because you can't leave your seat!

Have children, will travel!

PS They were both very good. Must be why we keep doing it. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

First tooth!

Last night was a doozy. He was up, maybe 20 times, from when he went to bed at about 6.30pm until he got up this morning at 6.45am. Now, if you've been around us recently you know that sleeping until 6.30am is unheard of these days. He's been up at 5am for nearly 3 weeks. It's been rough. Last night he kept waking up crying out, like he was scared or in pain. He didn't want to nurse much and I thought at one point to try Orajel but I was honestly so completely exhausted that I didn't act on it.

We were running a bit late and I wanted to get back to the apartment early so he could take a nap, so I didn't even think to check his mouth. After bringing everyone to school and the bus, I put him down for a nap. It was another short one, and I figured after that tough night he'd have slept more. So I checked his mouth -- a little tooth had started to come through!

It's the bottom, front on his right side. The bottom, front on his left side is right there, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it broke through tomorrow or any day in the next few weeks.

If I remember correctly, this was around the time that Carolina got her first tooth, too. I'll have to check back to see when the second through fifth teeth came as I recall always being relieved a tooth broke through and then going through another cycle for the next one. And she didn't wake up this much, or I don't remember if she did. So if this is his M.O. then next time this happens, he's getting Tylenol and Orajel before midnight because mommy was so tired she didn't know where she was a few times.

Once I can get a photo of the little tooth, I'll post it.

In other news, Carolina has been back at school for three days and is MUCH happier than being at home all the time. She's even gone back to being more polite and whining and protesting less. I am certainly no Montessori teacher and there aren't any kids for her to play with in our apartment like at school.

She came home today with her name traced a few times, and it's really good. Over the holidays she started to write on her own, and has been naming the people and things she draws by just writing whatever letters she thinks of and then asks what the name is that she gave to it. It's pretty funny sometimes. Her tracing of letters during our holiday card bonanza really improved, and continues to at school. I'm fairly certain that they enforce her holding her pencil more correctly than I was.

Having my mom as a teacher always made me respect teachers, and just seeing what Carolina's teachers do with her, reinforces what I already knew -- good teachers are amazing. They're full of patience, clever ideas for different ages, and are so good as sussing out what a particular child will like and needs. Often doing this better than a parent...

Yesterday, she asked if we could go ice skating since she was reading a story in a magazine that had an illustration of a girl ice skating, so after I finish this post I'll be looking into where we can do that locally. I knew where they were in the city but I forget where in this part of NJ. Of course, she wants to use purple skates, but I think white rental skates will have to do.

Finally, her new favorite story (that we read at least twice daily) is: The Sleepy Little Alphabet. My mom gave her this book and two others for Christmas. This one is clearly the favorite as the illustrations have lots of little, fun details that she enjoys looking at and we talk about. She will even sit with it alone for 15-30 minutes while I put the baby down for a nap or to bed at night. The next new favorite is Oh, No!, then it's The Snowman, which I bought for her and didn't realize that they flew to Brighton in the story. I nearly cried when we turned the page and I saw the Brighton Pavilion (I miss it!). Then it's The Lonely Book. (These are all links to Amazon.com, and I don't get any money if you click on them.)

See? Having a mom who was a teacher means always getting age-appropriate books as gifts for your kids, and ones they LOVE.

Speaking of books, once I finish my 8" high pile of Financial Times weekend inserts, especially the How To Spend It magazines, then I can FINALLY start reading Murakami's 1Q84.