Let’s Potty

Photo by Amy Reed. From www.unsplash.com

Today I decided to be daring and dress Abby in underwear instead of a pull up. I would like to say it was because I have confidence that she would take to it right away, realize she always needs to use the toilet, and we would all live happily ever after. But no, I really did it because I am tired of pull ups and messes. Yesterday she had more dirty pull ups than successful toileting attempts.

This has taken longer than I expected it to. Since I last wrote about our adventures in potty training Abby progressed a lot, to the point where I thought we were almost finished. She was staying dry every day, with only occasionally having accidents at night. She was a good example for her older potty training cousin Mallory, who had been refusing to poop or pee except in a diaper and would hold her poop in for days in defiance; Mallory has since finished with pull ups and is exclusively wearing underwear.

Unfortunately, after Oscar was born she has regressed substantially. I am back on the schedule of asking her if she needs to potty every thirty minutes. When I ask she will usually say no and then soil her pants. I’m not sure if it is because she is in need of extra attention or if it is for some other reason.

She was incredibly excited to finally wear the Peppa Pig undies. She refused to wear pants because she wanted to keep checking out her underwear.

We started out well, with her telling me two different times that she needed to potty. The next time I noticed her stand up from her Sesame Street chair and start pulling at the crotch of her undies. I figured that we would have at least one accident today and I had hoped that the wet sensation of pee in her underwear would feel so uncomfortable that she would get it. Diapers these days are so good at wicking away moisture that I’m not sure she has ever really felt wet.

I cleaned her up and put on a new pair. She promptly peed in them, even though I tried to put her on the toilet several times. Because it was almost nap time I put her in a pull up and planned to try again later. She was dry when she awoke, but soon peed and pooped.

My plan didn’t pan out. Back to the drawing board!

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Getting Used to Life with a Newborn Again

Photo by Jenna Norman. From www.unsplash.com

Baby Oscar is now six weeks old. I love having him lay all scrunched up in a ball on my chest. His smell and soft fuzzy head is intoxicating. This week he has even given me several early smiles (I swear they weren’t gassy ones!) It has been wonderful staying home and snuggling with him each day, but I am still trying to get used to having a newborn.

I had forgotten how many noises a newborn makes. Like his sister did, he sleeps in a Pack and Play in our bedroom at the foot of our bed. All night long I find myself sitting up and hurriedly grabbing my eyeglasses from my nightstand so I can check on him after being woken by a strange sound. In my already sleep-deprived state, I have often resorted to sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed, glasses on, positioned so that I can see over the footboard and side of the Pack and Play. He makes lip smacking sounds when hungry, grunts when trying to pass gas or poop, dinosaur-like noises when stretching, kittenish mews, sweet yawns, and pissed off crying screams.

Unlike Abby, who can generally tell me what is wrong or what she needs, I have been plunged back into “what does baby need?” I feel a little more skilled this time around, but it is still hard to assess when Oscar is screaming for no apparent reason. Is it gas? Is he hungry again, so soon? Is something really wrong? Is he over-tired? Too hot? Too cold? Did his sister do something? Was it a spider in his bed? A sleep-deprived brain can come up with anything.

Maybe it is just my anxiety, but I feel the need to check on him whenever I hear something odd, so I don’t get much sleep, even though he sleeps way more than his sister did at this age. You would think that since this is my second child I would be a little more relaxed, but I can’t seem to be. It doesn’t help that a trillion articles about SIDS seem to show up in my Facebook newsfeed each day, making me paranoid.

Another thing I have had to get used to is diaper changes. I must admit I have been peed on quite a few times. I was not prepared for the speed and accuracy at which my tiny baby boy is able to shoot urine. And the poop! This kid uses at least two clean diapers per diaper change because I swear it is his mission to poop as I am changing him or as I am dressing him.

He wants to nurse all the time, and as of yesterday, has gained almost six pounds since leaving the hospital. I don’t mind too much, now that we finally seem to have the nursing thing down pat. I have been trying to get him to take a pacifier, because I think that a lot of the time he acts like he wants to nurse he is just really using me as a pacifier. We’ve tried five different ones and finally found one he will take, but he hasn’t figured out how to keep it in, so unless someone holds it the pacifier pops out and he wakes or gets upset.

With Abby being older I had forgotten how restrictive it can be to have a young baby. He wants to be held all the time. Sometimes I don’t get to take a shower for a couple days. My coffee is constantly going cold before I can drink it. Often I am so busy I forget or don’t have time to eat. The cycle of nurse, change diaper, clean up spit up, seems never-ending. I am waking up every hour and a half again to nurse at night.

I am so relieved that Abby hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy towards her brother. I am sad because I feel like I have to pay so much attention to the baby that I don’t get to spend as much time focusing on and interacting with her. I try to give her extra attention when I can, but it is not always possible. Whereas she always wanted to sit on my lap, have only me get her a drink, snuggle with me at bedtime, etc., now it is “Daddy, come snuggle me!” that comes over the baby monitor at night. I must admit that I can’t help feeling like the third wheel now. I know how my husband must have felt when Abby was in the difficult stage where she only wanted Mommy.

I am so tired that I want to check out at 8:00 p.m. every night. I usually go to bed at 9:00. I feel bad doing that because it means I get little to no time to spend with my husband. No more Netflix in the evenings together. We barely get to have a conversation at dinner time between Abby talking or the baby crying. I hate it because I don’t want him to feel neglected. I miss spending time together.

All too soon my maternity leave will be over and I will return to work. It is going to be so difficult to know someone else is taking care of my baby, to wonder how both kids are doing all day, to know I am missing seeing my baby’s milestones while I am sitting at my desk. For now, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Just Chill

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From www.picjumbo.com

Having a two-year-old and a newborn is great, most of the time. Abby is old enough that she wants to be my helper. She enjoys fetching burp rags, throwing away diapers, and other small tasks. Other times, it can be an exercise in seeing how long I can keep my cool. Sometimes I swear Abby tries to find as many ways as possible to do the opposite of what I say.

Picture this: the baby is sleeping, Abby is quietly coloring at her small table while watching a cartoon, and I finally get a moment to have breakfast and a hot cup of coffee three hours after everyone else. Immediately, Abby is drawn to the noisiest toy in the room.

“Do not touch that rattle,” I say, “your brother is sleeping.” Her life’s purpose becomes to get that toy, make as much noise as possible, wake the baby, and deny me a much needed moment of peace, quiet, hot coffee, and a moment to myself. When my attention has turned elsewhere she picks up the rattle, shakes it in front of the baby’s face, gives him kisses, trips on a toy, and knocks over a bunch of other toys. “Leave your brother alone!” I hiss. Keep calm, she loves the baby, she wants to help.

“Why?” She asks innocently, although we have had this same conversation probably about five hundred times. She knows the answer.

“Oscar is sleeping, sweetie. You can play with him later, after he has woken up. Babies need a lot of sleep. I need you to be quiet for a while and leave him alone.” I get up to deposit my cereal bowl in the kitchen sink and come back to find her jiggling his bouncy seat and shaking a different rattle in his face. Ugh!

“Oscar, I love you. Oscar! Here’s your toy! Oscar!” She sings in a loud voice. He blinks and squints and squishes up his face before falling back asleep. “Mom, I see him?”

“Abby, please go sit down, away from your brother, and be quiet!” For about three minutes she complies, but then as if someone hit the reset button she is right next to him again. The color book and episode of PJ Masks forgotten.

“Mommy, me give him hugs?” She piles baby toys onto his lap. “Oscar, hi Oscar!” She yells. Luckily, he turned his head to the side and kept sleeping.

I drop the towel I was folding and pick her up. “Please, let him sleep.” I give her a squeeze and a kiss on the top of her head. “He needs sleep. I know you want to play with him, but I need you to let him be. You find something else to play with for a few minutes. I will finish my coffee and finish folding towels. He will wake up on his own when he is ready.”

I fold all of the laundry and walk around the loveseat to the linen closet, literally five feet away. When I glance at Abby she is focused on the TV and sitting on the couch. While my back is turned, for all of twenty seconds placing towels on the shelf, she has scrambled to his side, is rubbing his head with one hand, and is trying to unzip his sleeper with the other.

“Mom, he needs new clothes. I help.”

“Abby-” aaaaand cue the baby crying.

“Just chill out!” I say, not sure if it is to her, the baby, or myself.

OK, it was mostly to myself.

Getting Ready for my Little Monster: Decorating Baby’s Bedroom

I have been anxious to get baby boy’s bedroom decorated and ready for him to come home to, or as my husband said recently, “nesting like crazy.” Part of it is because I am excited, part of it is because I want it to be done if he were to be born early. My cousin recently had a baby girl born several weeks premature due to preeclampsia, so not having things done or close to done for him makes me feel nervous.

The room has been used for the past two years as a guest room, so we had to do some rearranging and take all of the furniture that was in the room downstairs to an extra room in the basement that we had previously used for storage.

When we moved into our house this room had been wallpapered with a tacky striped paper and a sports-themed border. We removed both and painted the room a greige color. I didn’t want to repaint the room since we had so recently painted it, so we left the walls as they were. I found some cute vinyl decals of monsters on Wal-Mart’s website.

I painted two pictures to hang in the room, based on a similar project I had seen on Pinterest.

I found a cute monster-themed alphabet print in Etsy and framed it.

A fingerpainting that my nephew had made and had given to me for Christmas was already hanging in the room and I decided to leave it because it is colorful.

I couldn’t find any fabric with monsters on it at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby, but found some with a cute pattern at JoAnn’s on an out of town trip. I sewed a valance for the curtains using it. It turned out to be a little long, but it will do. The blue curtains had already been hanging in the room.

 

We brought in the crib and rocking chair formerly in Abby’s room. Before Abby was born I had recovered the rocking chair cushions in gray fleece. The bookshelf was my husband’s from when he was a kid.  I would like to paint it but I’m not sure I will get that done any time soon. I added a couple fabric storage cubes with monsters on them from Dollar General. The other I had and previously used in Abby’s room. The teal hamper I bought at Walmart.

Right now the room is a little bit crowded because the swing and Pack and Play are being stored in there until the baby arrives, then they will be moved to the living room for use.

Did you go through a nesting phase while you were expecting?

Making Friends

Photo by Chiara Pinna. From http://www.unsplash.com.

I have written about this subject before, so please forgive me if it seems duplicative or redundant.  

My husband has friends he is able to call and talk to, go out for a beer with, hang out with, or workout with.  I don’t have any friends like that.  I will say it plainly, it sucks.  

It just feels weird, nay, wrong, to honestly say that I have no friends.  It’s lonely.  It feels pathetic. 

It would be nice to have a mom friend to have play dates with or to be able to say, “hey, my kid just did ____, has your kid ever done that?  What do I do?”  I would like someone to go out to lunch or coffee with, someone to call after I have had a bad day, or to call if I know that she’s had a bad day.  I would like someone to talk to about important things, random things, dumb things.  

When you’re a kid it is easy to make friends.  There are kids in your neighborhood to play outside or ride bikes with.  At school each day you are in classes or riding the bus with the same kids.  If you are on a sports team you are always around the same group of kids.  When you are an adult it becomes different.  How do you make friends after a certain age?  Real friends?

Yesterday I picked up Abby from the local aquatic park where she had been swimming with her fellow daycare kids.  As I was pulling out from my parking spot I noticed the mom parked next to us.  She appeared to be close to my age.  She was carrying a young baby boy and leading a toddler girl.  Wrapped around her waist was a Star Trek beach towel.  I immediately thought, she looks like someone I could be friends with.  We seemed to have several things in common.  But how weird would it be to stop the car, get out, and start up a conversation with this random stranger in a parking lot, “Hey you don’t know me, but you look cool.  Can we be friends?”  I would look like a crazy person. 

So how is it done?  I don’t know.  Honestly, it is a question that has always baffled me, but I never had an issue until after high school. 

When I first started working at my current place of employment sixteen years ago, I worked with a very sweet lady named Kathy.  She mentioned to me several times that she thought I and her daughters would get along very well and she wanted us to be friends.  Finally I gave in and accepted her invitation to come to her house and hang out with them.  The whole evening was totally awkward.  We didn’t have anything in common and struggled to make conversation.  It was worse than a blind first date.  

I have tried to set up a game night at my house on a weekend and invited people, but it never really works.  I tried joining a mom group but there was not much interest and it disbanded.  

I don’t know, I guess I am at a loss at what to do.  

Have you ever felt this way and overcome It?  What did you do?  

A Long Time Away 

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From http://www.picjumbo.com

It has been over a month since I last published anything.  I have been amazed each day to see that my page has still been visited – thank you to those of you who have.  

I haven’t published anything for several reasons.  I ran out of ideas for a while.  I went through a period where I thought maybe I wouldn’t come back… my readership isn’t very high, would anyone really notice?  Would anyone really care?  Does what I write about matter to anyone?  I was ill with bronchitis for over a month and felt too awful to do anything beyond the everyday necessities.  I felt stressed and a little depressed due to work, worn out and exausted from being pregnant and running around after a toddler.  Meh.

But, after much consideration, I decided to return.  My writing may not mean much to some, or most, but if another mom can identify with it, and me, then I feel like I am making a small difference and that makes me feel good.

So I guess you are stuck with me. 

I look forward to updating you on my latest thoughts, what’s been happening with my pregnancy, what’s going on in our family, and more.  Stay tuned!  

Blueberry Banana Breakfast Cookies 

This morning I experimented and created some breakfast “cookies” for Abby.  She loved them and was pretty stoked that she was allowed to eat “cookies” for breakfast.  With no added sugar and being full of fiber, I had no hesitation when Abby asked for more.  

These are a softer cookie, not crunchy.  I can think of other ingredients to add to change them up a little, like raisins, dried cranberries, or mini chocolate chips.  I have a bunch of bananas that will soon be overripe, so I plan to make more and freeze them.

Ingredients 

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 c oats
  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
  • 1/4 c coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4 c blueberries 
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste

Directions 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients and drop by spoonfuls in a cookie shape onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 16 cookies.

Enjoy!

Good Morning 

Good morning! 

Whew, what a rough night.  Abby woke up twelve times during the night, eleven times after I had gone to bed.  Her fever finally broke around 3:00 a.m.and I slept (kind of!) more peacefully after that.

Abby really hasn’t ever been ill too much, so I am still relatively inexperienced at taking care of a sick child.  Last night she had the highest fever she’s had since she was twelve weeks old and had an infection that required a spinal tap and hospitalization.  I was worried, especially since I didn’t know what we wrong.

I’m not sure if it was a stomach bug or her teething, or maybe a combination.  A couple of children at her daycare were ill this week.  At her 18 month well child check on Monday she had molars coming in and this morning she showed me two new teeth had broken through on top.

We’ve been up since 5:00 a.m. and she has been singing and being goofy.  She’s  been dancing and running around like a wild child.  My living room and her bedroom look as though a toy tornado hit them.  I can tell she is feeling much better!

This momma is super tired today… thank goodness for coffee! I don’t know how I would function without it sometimes.
I hope you all have a great day!

A Dark Cloud

Photo by Christian Gertenbach. From http://www.unsplash.com

Bleh.  Today I just feel bleh.  I feel like there’s a dark cloud hanging around.  Maybe it’s the weather and bleak gray winter atmosphere outside.  Maybe it’s just work and feeling overwhelmed by my job responsibilities and ongoing projects.  Maybe it’s housework and all the personal things I would like to do and feeling like there is not enough time in the day or money in my wallet.  Maybe it’s just PMS.  Maybe it’s boredom as I sit in a six hour training, only two hours of which applies to me.  Maybe it’s dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and fear with our country’s current political events.  Maybe it’s just that I am on day three of a continuous headache.  Bleh.