Sunday, January 27, 2013

benjamin & asher: 34 months

I cannot believe these boys are almost THREE!

Right now, Benjamin and Asher seem to be growing and changing quickly.  My mom and I both noticed that they are growing out of their baby faces and starting to look more like little boys.

They are talking much more, and they love to ask questions: "What's that noise? What's that smell? What's daddy/mommy doing? What's happening?  What's that?"  Benjamin's "what's that?" is particularly funny- it sounds more like "wha dot?" Most of the time they are asking questions they already know the answer to.  Last night Asher ran up to me and said, "What's that noise?" I asked him, "What noise?" and he said, "someone's knocking at the door!"  We weren't expecting anyone, but I got up and went to the door, and indeed, Grandpa Nick was there!  Good thing we had Asher's good ears!

Asher is particularly solicitous of his little sister.  Every morning he greets her with "Hello baby.  How's you?"  He likes to hold her and give her hugs.
Asher "carrying" Charlotte

We had parent-teacher conferences last week with the boys' teacher, Miss Wendy.  Wendy's first comment to us was, "they are really different!"  Of course we knew that.  Here were some of the things she noticed about the boys:

Asher is very nurturing and helpful.  He loves to help clean up, and is always attentive to his classmates and their needs.  He sucks his thumb a lot- we think because he is shy.  He's not a "joiner"- he'll watch other people participate in activities but is slow to participate in them himself.  He loves to read books, do arts and crafts, and of course, go to gym class.  Miss Wendy said he can be "competitive" and likes to be the first person in line.  Or ahead of the line.  He runs everywhere, and he's really fast.  We have heard from other classmates of theirs that the gym teacher, Miss Lori, says that Asher is the fastest kid in the whole class.  As the mommy who has to chase him, and who lost him at the Please Touch Museum a few weeks ago, this doesn't surprise me.  She asked that we ask him to use his "walking feet" more often.

At home, Asher loves to help, and he loves to cook and bake.  He is so happy to climb on a stool or chair in the kitchen and help make cookies, or help make dinner.  We made the same cookie recipe twice last week.  It was very easy, and the first time we made it we suspect our household cookie monster (daddy) ate them all.  Asher has a HUGE sweet tooth.  He loves cookies, cake, ice cream, and especially M&Ms.  We have tried to use M&Ms as a bribe to get the kids on the potty, but Asher is having a hard time with it.  He doesn't seem to know when he has to pee, or how to use his muscles to pee when he's on the potty.  So I suspect potty training is still a long ways off.

Miss Wendy commented on how curious and quick Benjamin is.  He is always watching, and he knows where everything is and how to get to it.  I am sure Wendy is annoyed with him, but she made it sound like a strength, that Benjamin is always finding his way into the toys or cabinets to play with what he wants.  Benjamin also loves books and physical activities (those are the similarities!).  Wendy noticed that Benjamin is sometimes a little clumsy, which he is.  He has always been a little more accident-prone.  Part of that is that Benjamin just doesn't pay attention to things around him, and is more internally focused.  He's not a great listener, not because he is being stubborn (although sometimes he is) but because he just isn't paying attention.

Benjamin seems to be almost ready to give up his afternoon nap.  Ugh.  He skips it at least 50% of the time, both at home and at school. Some days this is not a big deal, other days it leaves him crabby and disagreeable.  He sometimes will decide he "no like" something.  Like pancakes.  This means he refuses to eat/do something and if we try to encourage him otherwise, he will get hysterical.  So now we just say, "ok." and ignore him until he changes his mind, which he almost always does.

They have both adjusted well to school, and Wendy said she loves having them in her class.  We're thinking of sending them Monday mornings as well (depending on cost), because I'm finding myself overwhelmed and exhausted on Mondays.  I can handle Monday mornings, but if we then come home and they don't nap, I am at my wit's end!  Charlotte is still in the naps anywhere/very portable stage, but that won't last forever... and I'm dreading its end.

I apologize for the lack of pictures- we packed our camera battery recharger somewhere and can't find it, so we're waiting on the replacement.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Charlotte: 1 month old

One month old today!
We'll see how long I can keep this up with 3 kids...

Charlotte is 1 month old today!  It is hard to believe that a whole month has gone by, and yet I am so tired it is hard to believe it's only been 1 month.
snuggle bug
Awake at the playground

Height and Weight: TBD tomorrow at her 1-month visit.
Clothing size: I am still cramming her into some of my favorite newborn clothes, but she is outgrowing them.  I guess that means she's into the 0-3 month sizes.
Milestones: Charlotte is awake more during the day.  You can see she is starting to focus on things and that some things catch her attention.  I also swear she is trying to smile at me.  She has a very cute smile.
Outings and Adventures: Charlotte's been to the zoo, the Please Touch Museum, the Little Treehouse, Smith Playhouse, Trader Joe's (a lot), the mall, Costco, and slept through a trip to the indoor pool at the JCC.
Routine/Schedule: We usually get up with the boys, around 7 or 7:30.  Sometimes Eric lets me sleep in, and if he does, Charlotte and I will sleep til about 8 or so.  She usually wants to eat around 8 or 8:30, and then will be up for a little during breakfast time.  Then she'll sleep around 9, for up to 3 hours.  Then she wants to eat again, and will be up for a little before going back to sleep from about 1-4.  After 4 there is no real predictability. She might fall asleep if she's in the car, or be up for a long time.  She nurses off and on, a lot.  Around 9 or 9:30 I try to start our bedtime "routine," where Eric will change her diaper and swaddle her while I get ready for bed, and then we'll nurse in bed.  Some nights, she is off to sleep quickly.  Other nights she is up for a while, fussing and nursing.  I would say she is almost always asleep by 11.  For the past several nights, she has woken up at 2 on the dot and 5 on the dot to nurse.  Then she'll go right back to sleep. I am looking forward to her sleeping longer and only waking up once a night.
Favorite food: breast milk
Favorite person: mommy, since she provides the milk.
Favorite book: she has not expressed a preference so I have to assume it is "The Mixed Up Chameleon," since she hears it every night at her brothers' bed time.
Other big news or highlights of the month: She had her first Christmas, got to meet her 4 grandparents and 2 of her 6 great-grandparents. She has nursed like a pro, and slept most of the month.

ETA: at her appointment on January 22nd, Charlotte weighed 11 lbs and 0.5 oz.  She was 22 inches long- both in the 83rd %ile.  Her head circumference was only in the 50s, I guess she is a small headed baby like her brother Asher.  She is wearing 3 month size clothing and we just moved her into size 2 diapers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

let the winter illness begin!

I have been pretty anxious about all the bugs and illness going around. I know there is something to worry about every winter, but this is my first winter with a newborn. We haven't exactly been staying in- the boys get stir-crazy after too much time in the house, and are generally much more agreeable and happy if we get out once a day. So far, Charlotte has been to the Please Touch museum, the zoo, and a playhouse in Fairmount park. No one touches her, but her big brothers touch everything. I am trying to enforce hand washing and sanitizing, but let's face it- someone was bound to get something sooner or later.

This morning, Benjamin woke up and was burning up. Conveniently, my new thermometer had just arrived via UPS the day before, so I was able to confirm he had s fever of 102.6. I asked what hurt and he pointed at his mouth- I had him open wide and could see his throat was very red and swollen. We were able to get into the doctor at 10, where he was diagnosed with strep.

I never thought I'd be so happy to hear it's strep! So easy to treat! So short-lived! So unlikely to be passed on to the baby! By the end of the day today, he already seemed to be feeling much better. He ate a good dinner and was able to fight over the iPad with his brother.

This is my last week off from work, so I was looking forward to the time alone with Charlotte, but at least Benjamin gets to be with his mommy when he's sick. It suddenly struck me that I'm the person he'll always remember taking care of him, and that's a big responsibility. I tried to make him comfortable, with cold water for his throat and Advil, but mostly he slept. We did get some snuggles in on the couch, though . And now I'm just hoping I don't find myself doing the same thing tomorrow or Thursday with Asher!

Friday, January 11, 2013



I feel like a bad blogger, especially if this is supposed to serve as a baby book since I can't remember anything anymore.

We are all still alive.  I have not been feeling 100%- part of it is exhaustion, and I think part of it was a sore throat that just never went away.  Eric had the sore throat, so I think I got it from him.  Just as long as none of my babies got it!  So every minute of quiet or nap time I got, I was trying to rest or nap.  I certainly feel guilty about it, but I know those moments are limited.

Charlotte is 3 weeks old today!  In some sense it feels as if she has always been a part of our lives, and yet she is still such a little peanut.  She is already growing and changing. She has put on more than a pound since she was born, and is in size 1 diapers and outgrowing her newborn sized clothing.  I can see her eyelashes getting longer.  She has good neck strength and will hold her head up and look around more and more.  She still sleeps most of the day, but is having longer periods of awake time.  She makes the funniest faces sometimes.  Her nighttime sleep has been pretty consistently good, too.  Some nights she wakes up twice a night, very rarely three times a night, and there have been a few nights where she only woke up once.  Last night she was up at 3 am, 6 am, and then 8:30.  It's really not bad, but it does make it hard to catch up on sleep when I wasn't feeling well, or when the boys are up at 6:15.

Benjamin & Asher seem to be adjusting relatively well.  Their teacher at school has been great and made a BIG deal out of them becoming big brothers, which I think was fun for them.  The other day they chose to wear their "Big Brother" shirts to school.  Asher is attentive to Charlotte and often wants to help, and give her big hugs and kisses at bedtime.  I make an effort to put her down if they ask, and to sit with them and read whenever we can.  Eric gets up with them almost every morning so that I can get a few extra minutes of sleep, so they are getting special time with daddy, too.

Having one baby is about 100x easier than having twins.  Or maybe it's just doing this all a second time and kind of knowing what I'm doing and what to expect.  But when the boys are in school and all I have is 1 baby, it is so easy.  It makes it easier to enjoy this stage- I remember with the boys feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time.  I still feel overwhelmed- like last weekend when Eric was replacing our front door and I had all 3 kids all weekend and it was too cold to play outside and my parents were out of town and couldn't help...

Charlotte and I are participating in a study at the Monell Chemical Senses center.  It's a study on taste preferences in moms and breastfeeding babies.  It goes on for over a year, but it pays well, and I am always happy to further science.  We had our first meeting there on Wednesday and it took 4 hours!  Charlotte got weighed before and after eating, and she ate almost 3 ounces in a feeding.  What an eater!  Then she wanted to nurse some more and it was too much and she vomited it back up on to the floor of the office.  Whoops.  Her first vomit, in an office.  Then they asked me questions from a questionnaire including, "does your child ever vomit after feeding?" and I had to say yes, even though if they had asked me 5 minutes prior I would have said no.  I just hope she doesn't make a habit of it.

Both boys are talking more and more. I know they are still behind their peers, but they continually make progress and are able to tell us more and more.  Benjamin is hard to understand sometimes, but he does talk more, and talks in sentences now.  I am sure Benjamin could still qualify for speech therapy but I haven't called for an evaluation.  I can think of a million different ways in which I am letting my kids down as a mom... but I don't have the time for someone to come into the house right now, and I am hoping that all progress is a good sign.

That is it for what qualifies as news around here.  We have been given so much from friends and family- people are continually dropping off food and gifts for us.  We are very lucky to have such generous people in our lives!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The end of 2012

I feel very fortunate- 2012 was a good year for us.  There were so many unanticipated surprises for us, like a pregnancy and baby, and a new home.  I could never have imagined we would be where we are today 12 months ago.

I remember driving in the car with the boys one day in January, thinking with happiness about how wonderful our life was, and all the things that might be different by the end of the year.  I have to admit that I did hope that Eric and I would reach an agreement on whether we would have a 3rd... and I hoped he would want a 3rd... but I didn't think I would have a newborn in my arms!

My only real "goal" for 2012 was to get licensed, which while I did not fully accomplish, I did pass the national licensing exam, which is the hardest part of the process.  Now on to 2013- I would like to finally be licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey within the first half of the year.  I think this is very possible!
Presents! on Christmas

We have all been adjusting to life with a 3rd child.  In some ways, it is still easy- Charlotte's needs are very simple and she sleeps a lot.  She is portable and I have already taken her on many outings with the boys, which she has mostly slept through. Yesterday I took the 3 kids out by myself, with no other adult.  We went to the pediatrician for Charlotte: she gained 10 oz since her newborn visit a week prior and was pronounced completely healthy.  We get to skip the 2 week weight check and don't have to come back until she is 1 month old.  Then the boys and I went to Trader Joe's with the babies.  I admit that there was a little bribery at both stops- a lollipop at the doctor and a cookie at Trader Joe's, but the boys were very sweet and cooperative and I was so proud of them.

I have definitely been emotional.  More emotional than I was in either pregnancy and after having the boys.  I haven't cried in a while, but I was crying a little everyday.  First because I could see my boys struggling to adjust and feeling like I had let them down and upset what was a perfectly happy life for them.  Then I cried because I will never get to be pregnant again, and this is my last baby, and I know it will all fly by so quickly- probably even more quickly than it did with the boys, since the boys absorb so much of my attention.  Then I cried about the boys again.  Then I cry at things on TV, which I usually don't do.
home from the hospital with her big brothers

Fortunately the boys seem to be adjusting fairly well.  I think they still think the baby is annoying, and don't like if I give her too much attention, but they are also very sweet and like to pat or rub her back when I am trying to burp her, or will hug her when she's in my arms.
tummy time on Christmas while her brothers opened presents

Also fortunately, she has been a very easy baby so far.  She is eating extremely well, and sleeps well.  We have had 5 nights of her sleeping 10:30/11 to 2:30, eating (a diaper change and nursing takes about 30 minutes), and then sleeping again until 6:30/7.  This gives me 8 hours of interrupted sleep, but it is not significantly less or worse than I was getting before she arrived, when I was waking up several times a night to pee, and having trouble falling back to sleep.  She can already calm herself very well, which is great.  This morning she was up while we were getting breakfast together and I had her in the rock n play in the kitchen.  She watched all the goings-on, and then just fell asleep without a peep of complaint.  Amazing!

Our tree is down, the decorations are packed away.  On to a new year, with many more surprises, I'm sure.  The boys go back to school tomorrow and I will have a couple of days of having just one baby.  I am sure I will enjoy the peace for 5 minutes and then start to miss my guys.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2013, filled with good fortune and good news!