Monday, June 28, 2010

Chunky Monkey

Hayden turned 2 months old yesterday. Yeah, you heard me right. I said months not weeks. The next thing I know she is going to be 20. It is crazy to me how the first few weeks just creep by and then suddenly time starts going at warp speed. Just about the time I decide that I start manage to keep myself busy enough to consider the virtues of being a SAHM, I will be heading back to work.

At 2 months Hayden is truly the sweetest, easiest baby ever. I kept waiting for sky to fall and the fussiness to begin, but that never happened. She rarely cries. She is sleeps easily. She was most happy to sleep in her crib rather than her pack'n'play when I decided at 3 weeks that I would rather not be awakened by strange baby noises all night long. Falling asleep is never a big production. She even tends to sleep in a 6-8 hour stretch followed by a shorter stretch which makes her mommy most happy and reasonably rested. When she is awake she is happy to just sit and watch the commotion of our household. Or she can hang out under her play gym batting at toys provided that her older sister doesn't steal them. Best of all in the past week she has started flashing the loveliest smiles and uttering the most adorable baby coos ever.

All three of us are quite taken with her. She is such a sweet baby that I almost feel guilty that she requires so little work. If she had been my first baby I would have had the most restful maternity leave possible and sworn that I would have a dozen more just like her. Of course, I had Jillian first who manages to fill any leisurely time I might have had these past few months and reminds me why two babies are plenty. Luckily her passion and enthusiasm for life remind me why colicky babies who turn into high energy toddlers are wonderful too.

We took Hayden in for her 2 month appointment this afternoon. As we suspected she is a very big girl (something that sounds much better at 2 months of age than it would in her teenaged years). According to Dr. M she earns an A for health and here are her stats:

Height: 23" (95th percentile)
Weight: 13 lbs 1 oz (95th percentile)
Head: 16" (100th percentile)

She is bigger than her sister who was closer to the 50-75th percentile range for height and weight. Despite having a large head, Jillian actually beat her there with a head circumference of 16.25". Yeah...that girls head was crazy big...still is. I can't say that I am too disappointed by having 2 c sections with these kinds of head measurements.

Now here is something that is really crazy. The other week when I was cleaning out our office/craft room, I ran across this picture of Jeramy's dad with Jeramy.

Compare that to Jeramy with Hayden.

The resemblance between Jeramy and his dad and baby Jeramy and Hayden is so striking that I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference if it weren't for the age of the photos.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I must admit that I was pretty damn excited when I learned that I would be having two girls. Sure a boy would have been great too. But deep down, I think that I really longed for two girls. My sister and I are two and a half years apart and have always been close. Growing up we were very different children. As toddlers/preschoolers I was bossy and demanding while Jaime was quiet and compliant. In school I was a studious bookworm whereas she was social and athletic. We still maintain many of these differences as adults, but they somehow seem less significant now. I always know that I have her to talk with and confide in no matter what, and she always gets where I am coming from. I can't help but want the same for my two girls.

One of the big questions we get these days is whether Jillian likes her little sister. So far the answer is overwhelmingly yes. Within an hour of arriving home from the hospital, Jillian picked up the word "baby". Since then it has been baby this and baby that, and this past week she has begun saying "sissy". If she hears that baby cry in the morning, she'll say baby until we go pick her up. If Hayden is still asleep in her crib and Jeramy lets Jillian into our bedroom in the morning (he lets me sleep in) she will run to the pack and play looking for the baby. She likes to hold Hayden (with our help of course), and as you probably guessed from the last post pushing her in the baby stroller was a huge hit. She loves pushing her in the swing despite our protests. For the most part she touches Hayden gently, which cannot be said for how she touches the dog. Poor Cujo.

Of course it is easy to love somebody so helpless and cute. Especially when she is a calm baby who does not demand too much of our attention. We'll see how much she likes he sister when she begins stealing her toys.

This isn't to say that the arrival of Hayden has had no negative impacts on Jillian. She has demanded our constant attention and tantrums have been frequent. However, I can't quite separate out how much of this is due to her age and how much is due to her sister. I'm sure it is a combination of both, and I'm sure things will get better over time. Everybody I have met with two under two tells me that the first year is the hardest. Only 10.5 months left...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Parenting Philosophy

It seems like I am often posting pictures of my children doing things that are forbidden in all of the parenting rule letting my 20 month old push my 6 week old in her baby stroller. Or pictures of Jillian (but one day Hayden too) screaming for falling off of something or getting stuck somewhere. I don't know why but I find the crying pictures kind of funny and keep the camera handy so that I can catch those memories before helping my toddler out. As a bonus, Jillian is a fearless child who provides me with ample opportunity for such pictures.

It is not only that I find such pictures funny. But they are also reflect my children learning about life.

In general, I'd say that my parenting philosophy is to avoid intervening and letting my children learn about the world themselves. If I see Jillian climbing on something that she may fall from, I let her do it provided that she would not end up seriously hurt. The rules that I choose to enforce are few at this point and basically limited to biting, pinching and hitting and anything that might result in injury like leaning over the banister above the stairs. If she wants to stand on the couch, fine. If she wants to sit in the window sill, fine. If she wants to pick at her food, whatever. She cannot understand logic at this point, so why bother trying to reason with her on why she should not do those things. My motto is to pick my battles and let her learn through her own experiences. Sure the rules will change more as she gets older, but I hope my general philosophy will remain the same. It seems like there are so many overprotective, helicopter parents out there hovering around their children in an effort to make their lives as pain free as possible. And while that really isn't a big deal when we are talking about learning to climb stairs, it does become a problem when your teenager succumbs to peer pressure to use drugs because they never learned to think for themselves.

I think my relaxed parenting style comes from my mom. My sister and I could punching each other in the middle of the living room, and her only response was to ask us to take it into another room. Ultimately, we had to learn to work things out on our own rather than having our parent do that for us. And really life does not come with some sort of fairness referee which is the role so many parents end up playing. Sometimes you wind up with a jerk for a boss or a co-worker, and you have to figure out how to cope with that. And sometimes life tosses situations that are unfair, and you have to deal with that. You can't go running to mommy or daddy in those situations, although many people in essence do by blaming everybody around them but themselves. I hope my children grow up learning that you cannot change anybody but yourself.

Of course my mom was also unfazed by finding a peanut butter sandwich stuffed in the VCR. Maybe I'm not quite that relaxed...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time to Get Caught Up

One of my goals in the next week of so is to try and get caught up with my blog posts. There has been so much going on, and it is difficult to get online when I am at home given the demands of Jillian, Hayden and even Jeramy. When I am lucky enough to get a little down time I either clean, take a nap or do something relaxing like knitting. I don't want to neglect my blog though. Besides connecting with people, it is how I keep track of important memories.

First of all, Hayden passed her sweat test for cystic fibrosis, so we can set that worry aside. Most likely she failed the initial screen because she is a healthy carrier like Jeramy. She may need to take that into consideration should she decide to have children (when she is much much older thankyouverymuch!), but otherwise everything is just fine.

Overall, I'd say that things are going very well. The postpartum blues and anxiety have passed, and life has resumed its usual busy pace. We've been getting out to see friends, I've been taking both girls to a toddler play time at the local community center, I have tried to keep up on my hobbies like knitting and reading even if it is just a few minutes during the day, and between getting a little more sleep and adjusting to my ever-interrupted sleep pattern I am feel a little more alert during the day. I even managed to back-up all of our photos on CDs...yes, I do lead an exciting life. 95% of the time things go perfectly smoothly. Of course it is the other 5% of the time that stand out in my mind and usually those times involve Jillian's temper tantrums, Jillian's night terrors, diaper blow-outs, teething, endless whining, and projectile vomiting. Good times really.

Jillian just turned 20 months. It is simultaneously a completely adorable and entirely frustrating age. Her language skills have simply taken off, and yet we cannot understand everything that she is trying to tell us. Until last week she had gone through a phase of saying "yeah" and "thank you" to everything which was quite wonderful. But then she learned the word "no" which she says with both head shaking and attitude just to make sure you know that she means it. Daily events which used to go smoothly such as bedtime and diaper changes are now accompanied by screaming and flailing. And if either Jeramy or I For the most part my approach is to ignore the tantrums and recognize the good behaviors (and there is still plenty of good as she is pretty much the cutest and funniest kid on the planet). We have also been adhering to a more stringent sleep schedule than we have in the past mostly due to night terrors which almost always strike when she is the least bit sleep deprived. I find all of this exhausting, and I find it difficult to keep my temper at times more often than I care to admit. I try to keep reminding myself that I am the adult in this relationship and this phase is necessary as she learns independence and will pass.

Luckily all of this is offset by the fun times. She has become quite the little helper from unloading the dishes (gotta pull those knives out quick before she gets to them) to putting diapers in the diaper pail (as long as they aren't new ones) to putting her books away. She can follow simple instructions like when I hand her a clean diaper and tell her to take it to daddy. She also loves Hayden. She loves to hold her (with help of course), push her swing, lay under the activity gum with her, and give her hugs and kisses. She is surprisingly gentle, and given that she loves Cujo but spends much time biting and pinching him that is a little astonishing. We can only hope that continues.

Hayden is growing by leaps and bounds at 6 weeks. She continues to be a relatively content baby and her fussing is more like restlessness and very minor compared to my experience with Jillian. She sleeps the majority of the day with one or two awake periods of a few hours sprinkled in. At night she has slowly been going from waking every three hours to giving me one longer stretch of sleep at the beginning of the night. Last night she slept from 10pm - 4am and then from 4:30am - 7:30am. If this trend continues that would be wonderful, but I've experienced baby sleep regression enough to know not to count on that and simply enjoy it while it lasts. At about three weeks I moved her from the pack and play in our room to her crib. Sleeping newborns are just too noisy for me, and I sleep better when she is at a distance. Of course a newborn who sleeps unswaddled in her crib is a foreign concept to me as Jillian slept in her swing with it swinging all night long, swaddled, with a pacifier and with white noise playing. Quite frankly this is too easy, and thank God for that because with a toddler I think I would go insane if I had another colicky baby.

I'll post more soon about our trip to Mt. Rainier, the impending arrival of a new cousin and fun outdoors. For now I'll leave you with a couple of pictures to show how the girls have grown.