20 Months

20mos-4

This kid is pretty much my favorite thing in the universe right now. I cannot count the number of times a day that I am overwhelmed by gratitude for her very existence. My desire was always just to be a mother, but now I know that what I really wanted was to be her mother.

The last month has brought so many changes in this kiddo. She’s truly growing in leaps and bounds.

20mos-6

There’s a YMCA a half mile from our house. Charlotte has taken swim lessons there off and on since she was 6 months old. We’ve always wanted to become members, but we just couldn’t afford it. Then, last month my brilliant wife called and made some changes to our phone/internet/cable and ended up saving us about the cost of a family membership at the Y. That was pretty much the exact week that our nanny started hinting about how she’d really like to take Charlotte to a class there, but you have to be members for this class. Our nanny doesn’t drive, so options for the two of them to get out and about are limited. They can walk to the park or the library and that’s it. They tried the class and loved it, and we knew it would be good for both of them so we finally bit the bullet and signed us all up.

Now, Charlotte goes to three toddler classes with the nanny every week. On Tuesdays it’s Move and Groove and Thursdays are Sing & Sign and Tumbling Tots. They even hang out at the playground there on days they don’t have classes.

20mos-3

The Y has a heated indoor pool and they offer Family Swim time every day for a few hours. Charlotte despises swim lessons, so we weren’t sure if we’d get her on board for Family Swim, but she LOVES it. She will bring you her swim suit and say, “Swimming?” We took her to the pool on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. She will pull herself out of the pool (from the edge) and stand up at the edge and jump to us. Huge progress for a kid who wouldn’t let go of us in her last round of swim lessons. Plus, the pool wears her the heck out and all she wants when she gets home is a snack and some quiet time. Mama break!

20mos-8

I credit her participation in these activities with the recent changes in her. Catch and the nanny have noticed it too. Her language has absolutely exploded this month. We have our very own parrot now. She repeats everything. She can pretty much ask for anything she wants by name. Outside, walk, snack, breakfast, water—that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On Tuesday morning, she finished her breakfast and said, “All done.” I let her down from her high chair and as she walked away she said, “Thank you mama. I love you.” It was my first “I love you” from her AND she paired it with thank you… MELT.

This morning as she ate breakfast, Rolo was whining. Charlotte looked at him and said, “It’s ok, mama’s here.”

Another favorite is, “Why you do that?” (This one is courtesy of her need to change the channel on the cable box every two seconds. We were constantly saying, “Why did you do that?!” I finally installed a glass door on the front of the TV cabinet along with a child lock!)

Even if we don’t see it happen, we know when she’s hurt herself because she starts repeating, “Okay? Okay? Okay?”

Thanks to her flash cards and our trips to the zoo, she can recognize and name a lot of animals. Dog, kitty, bird, zebra, hippo, turtle, monkey, elephant, lion, dolphin, chicken… the list goes on.

20mos-5

She’s also becoming more social. She’s always been in love with other kids, but now we’re starting to see that she has a better idea of how to interact with them, rather than just standing frozen and staring with a smile on her face. In the pool over the weekend we were talking to a mom with a 9 month old baby and Charlotte asked the baby for a high five. A while later she was playing with a few older kids on the steps. When the boy started swinging the pool noodle around and hitting the water with it, Charlotte expressed her disapproval with his antics. It was pretty damn funny. She couldn’t really communicate on their level, but she made sure she was a part of things regardless.

In one of her classes last week, an older little girl (3-4) was not up for participating and she sat in the back of the room on a bench by herself and pouted. Charlotte was concerned, so she climbed up next to the girl and said, “You ok? It’s ok.” and patted the girl’s arm. The nanny said that Charlotte wouldn’t leave the girl’s side for the rest of class.

20mos-1

She continues to prefer being outdoors to just about anything else. Outside is her happy place.

20mos-10

She has big feelings about her clothes. If it’s not leggings and a t-shirt, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it on her. The nanny and I had to work as a team for about 30 minutes in order to get tights and a skirt on her for St Patrick’s day. (Catch’s aunt brought shamrock tights for her form Ireland last year and they fit this year, so we really had to at least get a picture of her in them—otherwise I never would have bothered!) Dresses, skirts, skorts, jumpers—she’s just not a fan.

20mos-9

Fine motor skills are still very meh. There’s been some subtle improvement, but she’s just not really interested in fine motor activities. The spoon/fork are still kind of a joke, but we continue to try with every meal. Gross motor is still more her jam.

20mos-7

I took a big step forward with weaning, and have cut out her morning nurse. Now, she only nurses at bedtime and if/when she wakes up in the night. It’s been almost two weeks and she still asks for it when she wakes up in the morning, but I just say, “No, baby—how about some breakfast instead?” She usually says, “Breakfast?” and then launches herself from my lap and runs to the kitchen calling, “Waffle! Waffle!” I was pretty sad about the change at first, but I’ve come around.

20mos-2

She is currently working on her 17th tooth and it sucks. She is about 35” tall and a bit over 28 pounds. She’s mostly wearing a 2T, but 3Ts have started making an appearance in the brands that run short. Her feet are between a 6.5 and a 7 and are finally narrowing out a bit so we’re having an easier time finding shoes that fit.

At 20 months, Charlotte is happy, healthy, and so, so loved.

zzZzzzZ Huh?

I am so tired that I probably shouldn’t even be allowed to drive home. I don’t know why this round of teething is hitting me so much harder than the 16 previous rounds, but for some reason tooth #17 is kicking my ass. I can only imagine how Charlotte feels.

Last night at bedtime, she ASKED for Motrin.

I have a really important presentation to give to our executive management team first thing in the morning, and I don’t know how I will string together coherent thoughts if I don’t get some sleep tonight. 4 hours… if I could just get 4 consecutive hours instead of 4 broken hours, I will probably be okay.

Please, universe. Let me sleep. Let Charlotte sleep. I need my job.

Send caffeine.

School

Yesterday morning, Charlotte was in the den watching Sesame Street with me and the nanny. The letter of the day was D and we were sitting at the chalkboard, so we pulled a D magnet out of her box and put it up on the board.

I said, “Duh duh duh dee… What words start with the letter D? Dinner starts with D. Dinosaur starts with D. Dog starts with D. What other words start with D?”

Charlotte looked at me with a smile on her face and said, “Duck!”

The nanny and I practically fell over. This is not something we have ever worked on with her before. We both kind of shrugged it off as coincidence. I told Catch about it on the phone later and she was in agreement that it was a fluke.

Even so, we tried the same exercise at dinner last night out of curiosity.

“Charlotte, what words start with the letter D? Dinner starts with D. Dinosaur starts with D…” Charlotte interrupted, “Dog!”

So–maybe not so much coincidence? I really don’t know. I feel like maybe some of it was just memory from our conversation in the morning, but still–maybe there’s something to it. We’re going to try with some different letters this week and see what happens.

Which leads me to the point of this post: School.

As of yesterday, Charlotte is registered to start preschool full time in a 2 year old classroom in mid-August. Applications were accepted, deposits were forked over (ouch), and I’m pretty sure our beloved nanny cried.

I am caught somewhere between excitement and trepidation.

I think this is going to be so good for her. She needs more stimulation. She needs more socialization. She is very ready for those things.

I feel like she’s much less ready for other things… mostly being away from home all day and fighting for attention in a classroom with way more kids than adults. (1:6 ratio for 2 year olds here in CA)

I know that she will adjust in time, but I think the transition is going to be hard. Hopefully it’s harder for me than it is for her, but I have a gut feeling that she’s really going to struggle initially. She has only ever been cared for at home by us, the nanny or one of her grandparents. I feel like it’s going to be a shock to her system. I don’t think it will be insurmountable–goodness knows that kids go into daycare programs at all different ages for all kinds of reasons. I guess I’m just anticipating some heartbreak and some second thoughts and I hate both of those things.

We are going to try to ease her into the new routine. Catch is going to spend 4 weeks with her in the mommy & me program the month before she turns two. It’s just two days a week for two hours.

Mommy & me will end the Friday before Charlotte’s second birthday, and on that Monday (one day after her birthday) she will move to summer camp in the 2 year old program. She’ll be there 3 days a week for half days. That will be another 4 weeks. Then, Catch will be back at work and Charlotte will start full time, five days a week.

I feel like we’ve worked it out so that the transition is gradual and makes sense. We won’t know how she’s going to respond to any of this until we’re in the thick of things, so until late June, all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for the best.

(The up shot to preschool: So much less $$$$ than the nanny! Not that she isn’t worth every penny, but…)

Photo A Day Project: Days 62-69

I decided to try to take a photo a day with my DSLR for 100 days. Here’s this week’s batch!

Note: So, I skipped a week due to total camera failure, but we’re back at it now that the camera has been replaced. I’m just going to pick up where I left off.

Day 62/March 9: Post preschool open house. She had so much fun, but she’s beat!

100Days-Mar9

Day 63/March 10: Warmer weather meant dragging the water table out of the garage. She was pretty excited to see it again!

100Days-Mar10

Day 64/March 11: First trip to the beach since last summer. She had so much fun. She loved that she could see the ocean from her window on the drive there. “Ocean!” “Beach!”

100Days-Mar11

Day 65/March 12: It was another hot day, so there was watermelon in the back yard while dinner cooked.

100Days-Mar12

Day 66/March 13: She would not stop trying to get this little cup to balance on top of her head. She was not successful.

100Days-Mar13

Day 67/March 14: One shoe, no shirt, and minions on mama’s phone. “Happy!” she says.

100Days-Mar14.2

Day 68/March 15: While mama was cooking dinner, we were singing, dancing, and playing on the trampoline.

100Days-Mar15

Day 69/March 16: She is obsessed with minions. Catch drew them on the wall with sidewalk chalk and it was better than Christmas. “Minion! Minion!” She gave them high fives and tried to pass them the ball.

100Days-Mar16

Night Four

Our doctor visit went as I predicted. The kid is perfectly healthy. She might be working on one of her two year molars, but that’s it. Is it totally insane to leave the pediatrician’s office DISAPPOINTED that your kid is perfectly healthy? It is. I know. I was just really hoping for some explanation for the sleep insanity.

I glanced at the clock at 6:58 last night and had a full blown panic attack. It was bedtime. I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t do it. My heart was racing. I felt sick. She was going to sense my fear. Not good.

I took a deep breath, walked into her room and announced that it’s bedtime. Sleep sack was zipped. Pacifier was secured. Books were procured.

While we read the last book, she got silly. She was hanging upside down over the arm of the chair and giggling up a storm. I was filled with dread.

The book was finished. Catch turned out the light and we kissed her goodnight. I put her in her crib. She fought me. She was mad. She cried and reached her arms out to me. I only got two lines into “You Are My Sunshine” before I gave up. We left the room and closed the door…

And she laid down and went to sleep.

I put on my sneakers and took the dogs for a walk. As I approached the house 20-ish minutes later, I listened carefully, expecting to hear crying. It was still quiet.

She woke up twice overnight, which is not exactly ideal, but both times she went back into her crib willingly so I’m calling it a win.

I’m not convinced that we’re out of the woods yet. All hell could still break loose again tonight, but man did I need that last night. I think another night of screaming would have put me over the edge. At least if it happens again tonight, I’ll be better equipped to handle it than I was last night.

Fingers crossed.

 

Game Over

So, for anyone playing along at home, last night sucked. So much. Our crib hack worked, but that’s pretty much the only thing that went right last night.

Screaming from Molly on Vimeo.

We’re headed to the pediatrician later this afternoon to rule out anything medical–like an ear infection. They’re probably going to act like I’m the crazy mom who overreacts to things, but in all of our sleep trouble, I have never heard my little girl scream like she did last night. I need to know there’s no physical cause before we proceed. Although saying, “before we proceed” makes it sound like we have a plan, which we don’t.

Eff You DST

All hell broke loose at our house last night. 

Charlotte went to bed peacefully. She was sound asleep ten minutes later. Then, just as Catch and I were getting settled on the couch debating over who was responsible for fetching the ice cream, we heard something on the monitor. 

She was up. Totally up. Standing in her crib hurling all of her pacis and lovies across the room, crying and screaming maaaamaaa. 

Fantastic. 

We waited to see how it was going to play out but it escalated big time and we went in. I calmed her down. She nursed for a minute. We decided to do bedtime routine 2.0. Catch read her books and we went through the usual steps. I put her in her crib. She FREAKED. 

We decided to walk out and see how it played out, and as I turned my back to walk to the door I heard a sickening thud. 

My kid had hurled herself out of her crib and was lying face down on the floor screaming a scream that I would love to never hear again. 

I pulled her into the glider and even in the dark I could tell she was bleeding. We moved to the bathroom to try to see. It was her mouth. It appears that she tore her small lip tie. 

We moved to the couch and turned on Frozen. It’s guaranteed to calm her down. It worked. But now we had a problem. We couldn’t put her back in her crib so how the hell were we going to get her to sleep. 

Ove the next 2 hours we tried EVERY trick in our book. We laid in our bed in the dark while she sang every song she knows and literally spun in circles (kicking us as she went).

I finally strong armed her. I held her in my arms so tight that she had to struggle to wiggle. Eventually she sang herself to sleep in my arms. 

Cue the worst sleep in the history of sleep. I got no rest last night and I feel like death today. So does Charlotte. So does Catch. 

When she woke up this morning she went straight for her stroller and watched her Sesame Street from there. She looks hungover. 


I just looked like death. 


I told the office I’m not coming in today. I did not cancel the nanny. 

First thing this morning, my dad helped me hack the crib so we can put her mattress directly on the floor. Pre-hack, there was only 21″ between mattress and crib rail. Now we have 25″. Hopefully this solves the “throwing herself across the room” issue. 


I have no idea what to do with her sudden refusal to sleep. I’m hoping daylight savings time is the problem and she’ll adjust soon. 

The up side is that with the nanny around, I was able to get a ton done at home. I left when Charlotte went (peacefully) down for her nap and I’m enjoying a quiet lunch by myself hoping some me time will keep me from losing my shit tonight. 

Please send sleepy vibes out into the universe for us. Tonight has to be better, right?

The Mom Fail I Totally Wasn’t Expecting

This one’s actually about the dogs!

DSC_0179

Last weekend, I was sitting on the couch and both dogs were in the room. Guys, they smelled so bad. It’s been a ridiculous amount of time since either of them has had a bath. They freak at the groomer, so we have to bathe them ourselves and there are two problems with that:

  1. TIME. As in, there isn’t enough of it.
  2. Our new house has a separate shower and tub. That means we either have to stick them in the tub and try to make that work with only a big cup for rinsing (With dirty tub water. Yuck.), or we put them in the TEEEEEENY tiny shower and kill our backs crouching down on the floor.

But on Sunday last week, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and I lured both of them into the bathroom and then shoved them into the shower one at a time.

I bathed Twix first. It was uneventful, except for my screaming lower back.

Rolo went next. Rolo is kind of a pain in the ass. He refuses to stand in the shower. He sits. It makes it really difficult to wash/rinse his rear area or turn him around. I thought I was done with him, so I turned off the water. Then, while I was squeezing the excess water from his back area, I realized it was still pretty soapy. I turned the water back on and resumed rinsing him. He was sitting so his belly and boy parts were on the floor of the shower. I was rinsing away. He was wiggling like crazy. I yelled at him to sit still. He wiggled even more. I gripped him firmly in place and told him I was almost done. He outright cried. I yelled at him.

It was right around then that I realized that when I turned the water back on, I had turned the hot water ALLLLLLL the way to hot. It was SCALDING. And Rolo’s penis was sitting in a pool of it.

The burn blistered.

Guys, I gave my dog second degree burns to his penis.

If you ever feel like a negligent animal parent, please just keep that thought handy. I guarantee you’ll feel better.

Photo A Day

Photo A Day is Photo A Don’t this week.

After weeks of complaining, my shutter finally quit last Friday. My new camera arrived yesterday and I have barely had a chance to do anything but sit here at work taking pictures of the ceramic pig that holds my pens just so I can play with it.

(For anyone curious, I went from a D5100 to a D5600. I wanted my next upgrade to be a legit upgrade from a DX sensor to an FX sensor, but I did not plan for that to be right now because $. Immediate thoughts: 1. holy autofocus batman (big improvement); 2. smaller/lighter; 3. touch screen seems overrated? maybe?; 4. seems much louder–not sure I’ll be shooting any sleeping babies with this.)

Anyway, I’ll pick up where I left off this weekend.

Hi new friend!

img_4164

WTF PMS

I’ve been feeling really off the last few days. Sad without reason. Anxious. My insomnia has ramped up. I tried to write about it yesterday, but the words just weren’t coming, which is pretty unlike me.

A post in a Facebook group turned a light on in my brain this morning and I quickly pulled out my calendar… It’s been exactly a month since my last period started, which means that fucker is just around the corner. I still feel lousy, but at least I know why.

My post-baby periods have been really rough. The flow is pretty much the same, but the hormones are INSANE. In fact, that is the exact reason I even noted my period on the calendar the last few months. I’ve only had 4 postpartum periods so far, so I wanted to see if I was imagining things or if my recent low points have actually been tied to my period. This morning pretty much confirms it for me.

I never used to have any noticeable symptoms of PMS, but now I feel like I am just one big ball of PMS. I spent some time with Dr. Google this morning and I’m discovering that there are a lot of moms out there posting about having crazy PMS while breastfeeding. So I guess maybe there’s something to this?

I know I’ve talked about weaning a thousand times, and every time I say I’m going to, there’s a shift in things and I decide to keep going.

When she turned one I said I was DONE. Then I weaned off of dom and stopped pumping and I found that once I took the pump and the pills out of the equation, I was actually enjoying our nursing the most I ever have—so I kept going.

Then it was sleep. She only wants the boob at night and I couldn’t take having to be up with her 3-4 times every night. It was killing me. I swore I was done and it was like she heard me and started sleeping better. At this point, she usually only wakes once in the night and I’ve been feeling like I can totally handle that.

Now, it’s PMS. I don’t even know what to do with this. Is it a deal breaker? Maybe? Not?

She’s nursing about 3x a day. Bedtime, middle of the night and wake up. I feel like maybe it’s time to call it, but I’m scared. On the occasions when I’ve denied her the boob, all hell has broken loose. I don’t know if I have this battle in me.

She asks for it now, too. “Boobie?” It’s probably the cutest thing she’s ever said and it’s going to break my freaking heart to tell her no. Also, well—she’s my baby. My only baby ever. I will never have this again. (Cue the waterworks.)

I’ve sort of been hoping she’ll wean herself but I feel like at the rate we’re going, she’ll still be nursing when I retire.

I think what I’ve realized from writing this is that right now—in the throes of PMS that’s making me depressed—is probably not the right time to make this decision.