Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jack: 2 Months!

Jack hit the 2 month mark on Sunday! He is definitely awake more and more interactive. He smiles at us. He watches Max play. He also love to look at lights, just like his brother did at the same age! If I remember correctly, light was one of Max's first words lol. Let's hope Jack's will be "mama!"

Like probably all babies, but especially my two at 2 months old, sometimes he is just grumpy for absolutely no reason. Usually later in the day. I have to stop having babies in the winter so that we could go for evening walks and escape the witching hour. Okay, truth be told, sometimes we just do this anyway and it's freezing and kind of raining out. But, it would be easier, ha!

His 2 month pics were amusing. First he wants to hug the giraffe...

...then he wants to eat him!

Despite the occasional grumpiness, he is a pretty cool baby. He is "go with the flow" most of the time. He loves to cuddle. He is relatively patient which seems to be necessary when you are the second child in a house with a tyrant three year old ;) I mean, I'm biased, but I think he is pretty cute!

Eating: He's still not a schedule guy and still a snacker, so I usually feed him on one side every 1.5-2 hours during the day. I'm embracing his flexibility and kind of love the no schedule part. I do hope he will eventually eat a little more at a time so that it doesn't have to be as frequent. He is also a much faster eater than Max (probably because he is eating less at a time) which is great. If he took as long to eat, I'd probably literally be feeding him all day. Though it kind of feels like that anyway!
Sleeping: All over the place. He usually wakes up twice a night, sometimes once. Often there will be a 4-5 hour stretch somewhere in the night, but where is still completely unpredictable. He still does the thing I hate sometimes where he screams and then by the time I get in there (which takes me about I dunno....20 seconds?) he is already back to sleep. I still have his crib elevated a little bit, but I'm hoping to wean off that in the next few weeks. 
Likes: bath time, lights, snacking on milk, cuddling, walks
Dislikes: tummy time, waiting to eat, being tired

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Max is THREE years old!

Max had his third birthday last Tuesday! It's both easy and impossible to believe he has been in our lives for 3 years!

Max is both the sweetest boy in the world and a stubborn three year old tyrant all at the same time. He is incredibly caring; hates for anyone to be sad or hurt. He'll say, "Mama, you ok?" or "Dada, you ok?" Upon hearing Eric's dad was hurt, "oh no! what are we going to do? I have to get GPa a band aid!" Sometimes when Jack cries he will just go over and pat him on the tummy trying to make him feel better. If it takes me an extra minute to come into his room in the morning, he will say "Mama, I was so worried about you!" Often Eric will say to Max "I missed you today!" when he was at work. We thought Max knew what that meant until this weekend when Eric was with Max every single second of the day and then Max said, "Dada, I missed you today!" Ha ha! When I'm feeding Jack, he often asks if he can "sit with me" and then he will sit right next to me or practically on top of me and say "we are sitting together!"

Max loves routine. He has been this way since he was a baby. Some routines he loves include watching a show on his iPad at breakfast (he lines up his monster machines to watch it with him), reading 3 stories at night before bed and having us stand at the door while he takes a sip of his water and hugs his doggies. Then, we say, "see you when the light turns green!" and he likes to say "tomorrow is a HOME day!" He says this regardless of whether it actually IS a home day or not.

Though it can sometimes be a huge challenge to get Max out the door, he does have an adventurous spirit! He loves being outside, whether it's going to the park, going on a hike, going to the beach etc. His recent favorite adventure is hiking up to Watch Tower in Medford which he calls "the castle!" When we were at the Cape over December vacation, he loved going down the boardwalk at Grey's Beach and going to the Museum of Natural History. This time there was a giant whale you could walk through, so I think his favorite part of the whole museum was RUNNING through it.

Max continues to love taking walks to the park, something he has been doing since he was just a few months old. He still likes his old favorites at the park including the slide and the swing (where he likes to get "underdogs" and "super pulls"). His more recent obsession at the park is actually the woods behind the park. He likes to take the toy lawnmower from the park and push it down the path in the woods. Don't even try to make him turn around until he has gone just as far as HE wants to go into the woods. Max found this toy camera (pictured above) at the park a few weeks ago. He decided he wanted to be like his best friend Aunt Caroline. "I take a picture of you! Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!"

Max continues to love watching TV shows, mostly Blaze and the Monster Machines and Paw Patrol. Occasionally he likes to watch Daniel Tiger, especially the birthday episode, and Curious George Flies a Kite or the donut episode. He gets very into his TV shows. His favorite Christmas presents were his monster machines from Blaze and a fire truck with Marshall from Paw Patrol. He can spend literally hours just making up/reenacting things that happen on the shows.
His other favorite form of entertainment is books! He has also loved books since he was a baby. He is really into holiday books with absolutely no awareness of what holidays we should be reading about. Earlier tonight he wanted me to read "Little Blue Truck's Halloween." He loves Pete the Cat, Sesame Street books (Elmo Gets Lost, Bert and the Missing Mop Mix Up...), his many truck books, Llama Llama Red Pajama, The Hungry Caterpillar (which he says "calapittah!"), Ten Apples Up on Top, Where is the Green Sheep, Carl's Snowy Day and so much more. He memorizes books and loves to "read" them with us.

With 2 parents who are teachers, it's probably not surprising Max has a little bit of a teacher in him. He loves telling people what to do, for one thing! When they don't do it (for whatever reason) he often yells irrationally... so I guess he needs to work on his classroom management a bit! He likes to ask us to say things, "Mama, can you say blue?" Then when I say it, "good job!" In fact, he loves to compliment us on the most basic of tasks: "good job turning on the light Mama!" "good job getting me milk Dada!"

The things he gets irrationally upset about include when the iPad isn't working to his exact specifications, getting his diaper changed (yes, we've explained if he'd like to use the toilet this would no longer be an issue!), putting on clothes especially socks, when the "wrong" person helps him or offers to help, when we say no to something he wants or wants to do, when his routine or what he "usually" does changes unexpectedly... probably more if I thought about it. He continues to be a terrible eater. I know "all" toddlers are bad eaters but everyone says that but trust me my toddler is worse. He literally with not eat ONE SINGLE fruit or vegetable. We continue to put them on his plate, and his friends at school eat fruit every day... but no luck with him trying anything. He used to sometimes eat what we ate (turkey pasta, tacos etc), but it's been months since he even did that. He essentially eats Trader Joes fruit bars (all of which he calls "blueberry bars"), chocolate chip granola bars, waffles with peanut butter, pb or sunbutter sandwiches on wheat bread, and most snack foods like Goldfish crackers, Inner Peas, etc. He will also conveniently eat/try almost ANY candy, cake, cookies and ice cream. I'm just praying that Jack will be a better eater so I won't think this is all my fault.

We are obviously a little biased, but we think Max is the coolest three year old out there. He is incredibly enthusiastic about things (loves to jump up and down in excitement) and creative. He's an amazing big brother and can play independently for hours. He LOVES his cars and trucks- he has a million and plays with all of them. It's so much fun to watch him start to really play and have conversations with kids his own age. Plus, there is just nothing better than when he randomly says, "I love you SO much!"

Monday, January 2, 2017

Jack 1 Month- 6 Weeks

Jack is 6 weeks old tomorrow! I can't believe it! (I'll probably say that about every single age with this child because it seems like time is going by really fast.)

It's been a super busy few weeks with Christmas and Jack's first visit to Cape Cod! We had so much fun hanging out with family and even a few friends. Jack loves being held by the many people that love him, so he was on board for all the festivities.

Due to the holidays, Jack hasn't had his 1 month doctor's appointment yet- it's not until next Monday, but I think he's around 8.5-9 lbs right now and starting to outgrow his newborn clothes. His big accomplishment was his move into the crib which I did on his 1 month birthday. I had to make some alterations to the crib to convince him of how amazing it is (I propped it up with a pillow and did some towel rolling under a sheet- don't ask) but he seems to be settled in well. For the first few weeks I had lots of middle of the night debates with myself because Jack would grunt and grunt and grunt, and I'd be like, is he awake? should I feed him? The move to the crib made it so that I don't hear all the grunting as clearly and I only go in when it's clear he is actually awake and hungry.

This past week Jack has been awake a lot more. Sometimes he is quite happy to be awake, and other times he is quite grumpy about being awake. Such is the life of a baby, I guess!

Looks Like:

Eating: Jack is a total snacker, which makes me a little crazy even though I'm a snacker myself. I just am not a fan of being "on call" to eat allllll day long... which is kind of what breastfeeding is anyway but it's even more so when there is no schedule and just small amounts of eating happening all day long. Max was very schedule oriented and he still is now, so I'm hoping this is a sign Jack will be a more flexible toddler? Ha Ha!

Sleeping: Jack goes to bed between 10-11PM, wakes up twice around 1-2am and 4-5am. The past few days he then wakes up around 6 and then will only go back to sleep in my bed at this time, but whatever, survival mode. There is always the occasional bad night, but this is the usual.

Likes: snacking, wearing clothes, walks as long as it's not shockingly cold/windy, his paci, pooping all day long...

Dislikes: gas, diaper changes, sometimes I really don't know why he is grumpy ha!

Big Brother Max Update: 
Max continues to surprise us with how he's handled this transition and what a great big brother he is. Every morning he asks about Jack. He often goes over and rocks his Rock N Play or shows him one of his trucks. The rest of the time he basically just continues with whatever he is doing and doesn't pay much attention to him. I try very hard to not constantly "blame" Jack if I can't do something but every once in awhile I'll say "I have to finish feeding Jack" and he usually responds pretty well. Last week at the Cape we had a couple of outings where Jack stayed at home with my parents including a visit to the boardwalk and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. It was a great break for us to just focus on one child, but I don't think Max even noticed very much. I don't expect this will necessarily continue when Jack is more interactive, but for now I'm thankful for it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jack: 2 and 3 Weeks

Took me a whopping 2 weeks to start slacking on the blog posts, ha. Oh well! I'm testing out actually staying awake past Max's bedtime tonight so I have a little extra time for blogging.

Jack has been busy since I last posted, mostly making crazy noises. He does not cry much, but even in his sleep he is constantly making disgruntled noises. How soon is too soon to move him to his own bedroom?

He had his two week doctors appointment and he was up to 19 1/2 inches and 6 lbs, 12 ounces. The doctor thought he might have acid reflux (based on our description of all the noises and spitting up), but after one night of medicine in which he woke up every 5 seconds to eat, I decided to try out not using the medicine for awhile and see how he does. Don't mess with my newborn sleep, thankyouverymuch.

Jack's weekdays have been pretty quiet- hanging out with mom and dad (til dad went back to work this week), watching his brother play, napping... but his weekend was busy! He visited his new baby cousin (he and Max's first cousin!) at the hospital on Saturday. Then, he went straight to a Christmas party where he was held by Santa for the second time. On Sunday, he went to a baby naming for my friend's new daughter. He rose to the occasion by actually being pretty quiet. His big brother Max wasn't bad either, except when everyone started singing and he said, "everyone, be quiet, you are going to wake up baby Jack!" (Jack was not asleep at all, but it's the thought that counts!"

Jack has also been pretty busy meeting so many important people in his life. He has had lots of visitors and has made some short visits to see his great-grandmothers!

Looks Like:

Likes: making noises, eating, pooping, his rock n play, being cuddled up...

Dislikes: waiting too long to eat, his bassinet....

Feeding: every 2-3 hours day and night basically

Sleeping: loudest sleeper ever, but usually does 1-2 hour stretches between each feeding, so not bad.

Big Brother Max is still doing well. He rebels in his own way, mostly by fighting naps and bedtime, but he is a good brother to Jack. I try to do most stuff for Max first, but when he does have to wait because I'm doing something with Jack he is pretty patient. He also always tells Jack "it's okay Jack" whenever he is crying. It's very sweet.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jack's Birth Story!

Background: My pregnancy with Jack was a lot less eventful than my pregnancy with Max. I still am not a fan of being pregnant, but it definitely helped the know a little more about what to expect especially when it comes to my liver. I did develop cholestasis again this time, but my numbers only reached 18 at the highest (compared to Max’s 144). However, the procedure with cholestasis is to induce between 36 and 37 weeks no matter what the numbers (as long as they are above 10) because numbers can change rapidly at the end of pregnancy and increase the stillbirth risk. I think because Max was living in SUCH a crazy liver environment, he came early on his own and, probably due to the stress, managed to be totally ready to come even though he was only 36 weeks, 2 days. Jack, on the other hand, had to be evicted at 37 weeks when he was not really ready and, well… read on ;)

Monday November 21st 9:30am (yes, this is a multi day birth story…)- Eric and I arrive at the hospital for my scheduled induction. I was anxious about how it would go after my experience of going into labor on my own with Max and having it be a very fast process. At about 9:45am, they checked to see if I was dilated at all and since I wasn’t, they gave me a medicine called Cyotec which softens the cervix to get it ready for labor. You can take this medicine every 4 hours, but when they checked me again my contractions were frequent enough that they didn’t want to give me  more and instead wanted to wait it out and see if I would go into labor on my own. This went on for hours. Eric and I watched Friends DVDs, Caroline came to visit… I continued to have contractions every minute or two, but they really weren’t doing much.

Sometime around 6PM, they decided they needed to help me manually dilate. They do this by inserting something called a foley balloon into the cervix. For some reason this “balloon” thing made me more concerned than any other part of the induction process. We joked a lot that maybe the word “balloon” was bad PR. Anyway, when you are trying to get a baby out for medical reasons, you don’t really get to say that doesn’t sound fun. It took 3 annoying times to put that dang balloon in, and then the only way I could describe it was it felt like I needed to go to the bathroom SO badly, but couldn’t. That lovely feeling continued all night long. Seriously people, don’t have kids.

Tuesday January 22nd

I watched the clock closely for the time when I could finally take that stupid balloon out, which was around 6AM. At that point I was 4 centimeters dilated and they decided it was time for the Picotin. I think Picotin has the worst reputations when it comes to inductions because supposedly it makes contractions hurt more. I’m happy to report I have no idea if this is true because I immediately asked for an epidural. I could tell they were a little hesitant to give it right away but I was already so done at this point and didn’t forget how long it took to actually get the dang pain relief with Max so I was like just give it now. The epidural itself was annoying this time, as they had to stick me THREE times before it was right. By this point I was SO sick of being poked and just wanted this baby to come. My only positive thought was that my own doctor was working that day so I was hoping she would be able to deliver me. This is pretty rare when you go to a huge hospital in Boston, so I was thankful. I also had the best nurse ever who came on at 7am.

I couldn’t feel contractions at this point and the monitor just kept looking THE SAME but thankfully the next time they checked me I was at 8 centimeters. Have I mentioned my undying love for the epidural? My water still had not broken, but the baby’s head was not far enough down to manually do it, so we kept waiting. Eventually they broke my water and then it was time to push. My memory of pushing with Max was that it was really hard, but also not too miserable of an experience (pain relief talking). This time I was just SO DONE before I started that I was like I don’t even care how fast this goes and if I have another tear, just get this baby out. Fortunately, it only took 19 minutes of pushing and he was out.

Since he did not pass meconium, he was allowed to be placed right on me at birth. I held him for a minute but he was not doing a very impressive cry and was “very floppy” (according to the nurses), so they had to take him and see what was going on. I only got one more quick glance at him and he was whisked off to the NICU. Eric followed him and I stayed to get stitched up. I did have another third degree tear, despite my doctor’s best efforts, in the exact same place as before. But by some miracle the stitching process took less than half the time as last time and was far less miserable. Recovery has also been significantly better, so I'm going to credit my doctor for just making this a less miserable process all around. Or, am I just getting used to tearing my body up to have children?
Overall, the experience of Jack's labor and the immediate time afterwards was more challenging in a lot of ways. But, it was also easier having been through it before in some ways. One of the nurses warned me that after Jack came back from the NICU I might have a hard time bonding with him because of the separation. Luckily, this didn't happen and I think it's partly because Jack looks so much like Max to me!

I'll be back later this week with a two week update about my favorite baby!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Just Jack" is One Week Old

*The nickname "Just Jack" comes from Max. We would jokingly call Jack other names when I was still pregnant and Max would go, "NOOOOOO, just Jack!" It also works because with both Max and Jack, everyone is constantly asking if they are short for something and I say "No, just Max" or "No, just Jack."

Jack is one week old today! I'm under no illusions that I'll be able to keep up with the same amount of blog documentation that I did for Max, but I figure I'll at least start out the same while I have a baby that sleeps a lot during the day and a toddler at school. Plus, Jack has had an eventful first week of life!

Just after birth, the nurse called in the doctors because Jack's cry wasn't very impressive and he was "floppy." They hooked him up to some oxygen, and tried removing it 15 minutes later but he was still making a grunting noise so off to the NICU he was sent. I had to stay in my delivery room for a bit, but my amazing nurse (Rachel) brought me down to see him on the way to my postpartum room. I was super overwhelmed from my long and exhausting labor, the NICU was SOOO hot, and I was just not even sure what was actually going on with him. I remember knowing he would be okay, but being confused and overwhelmed about what was actually happening.

On his first night, he had visits from grandparents and aunts and uncles but no one could hold him yet. Luckily the next morning (after 15 hours) he was off the oxygen and I could go downstairs and try to feed him. At this point his breathing was okay, but they were watching his sugar and supplementing him with donor breast milk. 

Later on his second day of life, Jack was able to come up to our room and we were together, optimistic that the challenges were behind us. Sadly, the next morning we received the news that his jaundice levels were borderline so we had to stay in the hospital one extra day so he could go under the lights. I have to admit I was more annoyed about this than concerned because we wanted to be home on Thanksgiving. Plus, Max also had borderline jaundice levels and never needed the lights so... I was ready to be home! 
That night Eric went home to be with Max, so I focused on force feeding Jack so that he would poop out that bilirubin which worked and he was allowed to finally come home on Friday afternoon! 

Since being home, Jack has been hanging out with his big brother Max, mom and dad, grandparents and aunts and uncles. 

Jack at One Week

Looks Like: 

Likes: being warm and cuddled up, sleeping during the day, eating

Dislikes: being cold, getting his hands in the way of eating, safe sleeping surfaces (he doesn't like being all the way on his back and without blankets), hiccups, the goggles he had to wear under the lights

Feeding: every 2-3 hours

Sleeping: a lot but slightly more during the day :) at night he usually has a period of time where he is up a lot and then one longer stretch, no real rhyme or reason to it yet

Big Brother Max Update: 

Max is doing pretty well so far. There are definitely small ways we notice his transition. For example, after the long separation of being at the hospital, Max seems a little more concerned about me leaving the room than usual. For example, he doesn't want me to nap while he is awake and if I do, he wants to come nap with me. On Saturday, he actually stayed silently in bed with me for almost 45 minutes. It was impressive. 

As for his opinion about Jack, I'd say he is more interested in him now than he ever was in talking about him before he came. He asks where he is in the morning and comments when he hears Jack cry usually speculating what Jack wants, "maybe Jack wants..." Some of his good quotes so far have been: 

Caroline: Jack wants to play with you
Max: Okay, let's play chase!
Me: Well Jack can't walk yet
Max: I want Jack to walk! 

Nana: Let me just give Jack to Dada
Max: Okay, Dada, catch him! 

It's definitely exhausting trying to keep Max on his normal schedule and give him as much attention as possible but I think the effort is worth it so far! I'm sure it will get harder when Jack is awake more during the day and when Eric is back at work. 

Next up on the blog will be Jack's Birth Story! It can be summarized as: completely different than Max's Birth Story, ha ha! 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Max at 2.5 Years!

On July 17th Max hit the official 2 ½ year old mark. He is 34 ½ inches and 28 ½ lbs, still hovering around the 50th% percentile for weight and 25th% for height. He is large part most adorable, loving boy in the world and small part biggest devil there is...depends on the day, or the minute, or sometimes even the second. These days he says “please” and “thank you” and “You okay, Mama?” but his most favorite word is “No” and sometimes even “Na na na na na na na NO.”

My favorite part of our days right now are the book reading times before nap and bedtime. He gets to pick out two stories and gets stuck in his favorites for days and sometimes weeks at a time. Right now his favorites at the Cape are, “Blue Hat, Green Hat” and “Ernie’s Big Mess” and some counting books where you lift the flap to see how many. At home, he loves “Lllama Llama Red Pajama” (which he calls “Llama Llama the funny book!”) and his large collection of books about trucks. After we read the two books that he sometimes pushes to three or four, he gives us kisses and hugs. He still has not mastered the art of how to kiss but I’m hoping he never does because right now he says “MUUUUWAHHH” and calls that a kiss. These kisses and hugs are followed by a series of “Love you Mama!” and “Love you Dada!” and “See you when the light turns green!” It’s pretty adorable and I hope I never forget it. In the last week or two he has started to delay nap and bedtime and wake up sometimes at night. We are hoping this is a short lived phase even though he does say pretty funny things when he calls us back!

Max also talks nonstop from the minute he wakes up until he goes to bed. On our trip to Cincinnati he had some funny quotes. First, there was a little glitch with the car seat installation and Max’s seat literally fell over and all we heard from Max was, “uh oh, my car seat broked!” Later he spilled water on me and then asked, “why did you spill water on yourself?!” Finally, he showed his summer attachment to us when we were trying to talk to him about his friends at school and we said, “who are your best friends?” and he said, “Mama and Dada!”

His favorite phrases are:
“We need a problem” (he actually means “we need a plan” but it’s so much funnier)
“Yea, but…”
“Don’t say funny!” (this is when we laugh at him)
“It don’t can’t drive!”
“That’s what I said!” or “That’s what I did!” (he says this after he says or does something, ha ha)
“I want to eat breakfast!” (said at any time of the day, he is convinced this is the only meal)
“Hey Mamma and Dada, how’s it going? It’s going good. How’s it going with you?” (yes, he says the whole part)

Late this spring into the summer his biggest challenge was transition. Almost any time we left the house was a battle even with routine and warnings and even when it was something he LOVES doing. Some days were worse than others, but it was not unusual for it to take us 30 minutes or more to actually leave the house, with more than a few tears (sometimes even mine). I tried many things including making him a visual schedule for his morning routine on school days. It seems to be improving a lot now that we close in on the end of the summer so I guess like everything in parenting, it was nothing at all that I did and instead was just another phase that had to be endured. Now that we’ve entered this bedtime and middle of the night challenge, I’m finding myself missing the difficulty getting out the door if that’s the trade off!

The other big challenge was our little runner. To all the parents out who are smug about parents who use leashes or any other form of keeping their child safe in public, I wish upon you a sprinter like I have. Without any warning at all, Max will just SPRINT away from us with only a quick glance back. Like the transitions, this seems to be improving. He will still run away, but he now looks back and will sometimes stop if no one is following him. Of course this is a dangerous game at times because while not following him, we are letting him get far away, but there is only so much you can do.

Along with some of the challenges, there have been so many great things about Max this summer and getting to spend so much time with him. He is really starting to enjoy some of our outings. I took him twice this summer to a children’s museum in a nearby town and he was completely obsessed with a ball and ramp room. The second time we went, we visited the outdoor discovery playground part and the science museum. I thought the science museum would be over his head but he found more interesting balls to play with there so he didn’t want to leave! Like last summer he continues to LOVE splash parks and pools. This summer his puddle jumper life jacket really holds him up so he’s been able to be more independent in the water which he loves. Yesterday we visited a splash park that had a bubble machine so he would get himself covered with bubbles and then run happily to the sprinkler part to get them all off.

There are even more things Max loves besides outings and books. He also loves animals, including the elephants at the zoo and the chickens at the farm. We saw a rooster and he was trying to have a conversation with it, "chicken! you make that noise again?" Max continues to love his toys, especially any car or truck and he probably owns more than the average child. He likes to count them and invent different games with them, usually involving one of the cars having a flat tire. You can probably imagine his excitement back in June when I actually got a real flat tire and it was the best day of Max's life thus far, followed closely by the day I needed an oil change. Ha.

It's so much fun to watch him grow and change. I love him more than I can possibly put into words and most of the time I really like him too! It's hard to believe we will be starting back again in a few months with a new little guy. We are hopeful Max will be a great big brother! Even if right now he does ignore us when we talk about the baby...