Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Two under two, two months in

Tomorrow is Lana's two-month birthday, and so I'm going to go ahead and declare myself through the worst of the "two under two" storm. Someone else with two children fairly close together told me that, for her, the worst part was being nine months pregnant with a young toddler, and I have to agree. Even on the days when I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, at least I have the energy and ability to run around the house keeping everyone alive. Sometimes the level of neediness is way too high, but it's nothing I can't handle. It's hard in the way a tough class is hard, or a big project at work - you bust your butt for awhile, and it sucks for awhile, but you know the end result is really going to be something you're proud of.

I'm not trying to be all, "Look at me be a super mom!" nor am I saying it's a walk in the park - no way. But it's going better than I expected, and I'm just trying to share the "Wow... So I actually CAN do this!" realization that I've been having. Maybe I'm just awesome (perhaps), or maybe I just get way too anxious about things ahead of time so I'm pleasantly surprised when they turn out to be okay (likely). 

It helps immensely that I have two chill, responsive, independent and inquisitive little girls, who both happen to be decent sleepers (well, night sleepers... Lana is taking after her sister (and me) by turning into a terrible napper, but I'd rather have the night sleep so I can't complain). And, with the exception of a bout of mastitis early on, we've been pretty issue-free. Lana doesn't even spit up. (I didn't even realize there were babies out there that don't spit up!) Really, it's my girls that are making me look good. 

Also, I've had a lot of help. I've swallowed what's left of my pride and accepted any and all help that's been offered. My mom got us through the first three weeks. R's mom takes Julia and/or Lana for almost the entire day one day a week (and watches the girls so R and I can squeeze in a date night here and there). And I hired a nanny to watch Julia twice a week for two hours, so I can spend some one-on-one time with Lana and get a break from Julia's toddler tornado. R has managed to be home almost every night at a reasonable hour, and he's been so helpful with everything (yes, they're his kids too but I know so many women whose husbands either aren't willing or able to help out as much as he does). And I have a small handful of incredibly awesome friends who have brought us lunch, helped out with rough bedtimes, met me for playdates, met me for coffee, and just all around been an awesome support (that's mostly you, A!). And you know what? I don't feel any less proud of what I'm doing just because I've accepted all this help. It'll taper off as time goes on, but Lana will mature, Julia and I will get in a rhythm, and the three of us will have things running smoothly all by ourselves soon. 

Lana's not really clear on who people are right now. I think she knows R and me, but Julia doesn't stay still long enough for her to really get to know her. Julia generally likes Lana but she's spinning in her own orbit right now. Sometimes she is desperate to hold the baby RIGHT NOW, and other times she gets really upset if I'm interacting with Lana at all, even just holding her. But most of the time she ignores her. Or steals her pacifier.

Tandem nursing is going alright. I hung in there with Julia through the pregnancy, with the assumption that it'd get better and be worth it once Lana got here. There are some upsides but they're mainly just convenience things. I'm not getting this magical bonding that I hear about. There are no rainbows and unicorns. Just Julia vaguely irritating me with her rough and lazy toddler latch and her random insistence on comfort nursing at really inconvenient times. The good news is that my supply is awesome, largely thanks to Julia, and Lana is doing great. We actually had to force Lana to accept a pacifier, since she kept trying to comfort suck but couldn't do that without getting a mouthful of milk. I'm hoping to get things evened out around here - get Lana on a schedule and get Julia out of her current needy state - in a few months and then work on weaning Julia. But who knows - two weeks ago I was all, "I'm going to nurse everyone until they self-wean!" Like the last 20 months of nursing, I'm just taking it a day at a time.

I don't have any new photos of the girls together, so here's Lana today, playing with her favorite lion. (Julia loved this lion too. I don't have any idea why but he is like, #1 favorite in this house.)

Why hello there friend.

I've missed you.
Let's chat.

Let's have intense conversation.

Let's joke around.

Let's be totally adorable together.

I love you lion.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Julia - 20 months

And of course my dear Julia is almost twenty months old now too! Robert and I keep looking at each other in disbelief, going, "She's a real little person!"

Julia's verbal language has really taken off since my last update. She's repeating words constantly and putting together two word sentences, mostly in the context of "More ___." (Robert swears she once said, "More popsicle please" but I haven't heard three words together yet.) She's dropped a lot of the sign language but still sometimes uses signs interchangeably or simultaneously. It feels like she's actually understanding less of what I say, but I think that's because I know she can handle more abstract sentences, so I'm upping the complexity of what I say to her. She's doing really well with shapes, and seems interested in counting and colors but I'm not sure she really gets the concepts yet. (I tried to teach her the alphabet but apparently all I did was teach her that all letters are "A." I guess she's not quite ready for that yet.) Pretend play is going well too, which is kind of nice. She can entertain herself for awhile, and even when I do play with her, it's a little bit more fun now. I'd rather spend twenty minutes playing with a dollhouse than stacking two blocks on top of each other.

She's sleeping about twelve hours a day total, splitting that between overnight and an afternoon nap. She's eating three meals a day and one or two snacks. We finally got rid of the high chair so she's on a booster seat at the table - wish we had done that sooner! She can drink from a cup but I still usually give her a lid and a straw. She eats what we eat and loves to ask us for a "snnnnack!" She adores fruit, does surprisingly well with veggies, is fine with most normal foods, and would eat butter all day long if I let her.

She's very interested in the toilet and very much dislikes diapers right now. I wish I had the time and energy to dedicate to potty training because I think we could really make some progress in that department. But, I don't, and I don't want to be inconsistent, so I'm taking her when I can, encouraging her awareness of the process, and keeping my expectations at zero.

Right now Julia loves bathtime, Scrappy, her dolls, her pretend ice cream cones, real popsicles, being outside, playing pretend, and flip flops. She hates not getting her way, which happens arbitrarily throughout the day. ("Julia, please no socks in the toilet." "Julia, please take the makeup brush out of your ear." "Yes Julia, you have to wear a shirt when we go to the store." Etc.) She has her meltdowns - more now that my attention is divided - but she's overall a really good-natured little girl. And she's funny; she makes us laugh and she's picking things up so quickly that it's really fun to be with her. 

The key to getting a laugh out of her:
 stand up above her on the bed, swing the fan around, and let it hit you in the head.

No, I never did do anything about her hair. I love it like it is and she likes bows now so we're all good.

Pretending to take her temperature.

Sweet girl.

Maybe I'm on a roll and I'll do another post shortly on juggling the two of them because that deserves a post of its own!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lana - 8 weeks

Little Lana is eight weeks tomorrow! Wow - that went by fast. Even though it didn't really feel like it during all those nights that we walked in circles in our driveway (and girlfriend doesn't just want strolling, she wants you walking fast), the last two months have gone by quickly. She's definitely getting less fussy, which is a huge help for Robert and I. We're able to put her down earlier at night, with less exhausting fussiness, and we're starting to feel less like zombies. 

But, in writing that paragraph above, it's clear that I'm still not all here. I need more sleep and a little more down time before life starts to feel totally normal again. But, we're close.  :)

Lana is nursing well - about 7 or 8 times a day. She's a really fast eater; totally different from Julia, who would take 45 minutes or more to finish a meal. I timed Lana a few times because I was curious, and it was between 4 and 10 minutes a feeding. Not per side, but total feeding time. She's thriving so it's not an issue, but just makes it clear how different babies can be!

(And yes, I'm tandem nursing Lana and Julia. A separate post on that to come down the road (but don't hold your breath). It's going fine. There are pros and cons but bottom line is I'm not sure I want to nurse Julia much longer.... but honestly, I'm not sure how to get her to stop at this point. I'm going to revisit in a few months when Julia's a little more emotionally even and Lana's in a routine. I don't want to rock the boat right now and it's overall going just fine.)

She's just started sleeping a bit better too. She goes down around 8 or 8:30, sleeps her long stretch (usually waking to eat around 4, but varying as much as two hours in either direction, and sometimes again in the early morning hours if her first feeding was on the early side), and is up for the day around 8:00 in the morning. She's not on any sort of nap schedule yet, but she's doing well with them. I'm working on getting her to take as many of them as possible in her crib, but barring that, I try to have her flat on her back, motionless, and in a quiet place. Of course there are the naps in her carseat but I'm just doing the best I can.

She's social-smiling a lot with me, and even trying out her voice. I can tell that she's trying to gain control of her arms but I don't think she's yet made the connection that those are her hands. 

She's pretty cute. Here are some photos from a very impromptu photo shoot today. (I want to edit them but if I waited for that to post them, it'd never happen, so it's on my list of things to do some year.)

Half smile.

Looking "pleasant" is about the best I can hope to capture on camera. 

The whole shebang.

Staring at the fan.

I may or may not have decided to do this shoot because she had a cute cloth diaper on.

Just like Julia, I whip out the camera and she immediately stares at it instead of smiling at me. Doesn't bode well for future years of Christmas card photos...

But with eyes like those, who's looking at the smile?

And yes, we have a bit of an acne problem...

"This is my good side."

Itty fingers.

Itty toes.
Lots of sweetness and love.