Thursday, August 19, 2010

Annalise at fifteen months

Here I am updating again, even though I said I wouldn't have time.  I actually wrote most of this post a couple weeks ago anyway, and we got Internet the day the movers came, so I'm not missing a beat.  It's been another great month for Annie-Banannie.  She's getting smarter, faster, cuter, and even more squeezable, if that was possible.

She loves going places, and she keeps up so well with Delaney and me.  When I'm going somewhere with the girls, I look for their shoes, and I say and sign "shoes."   She stomps her feet  and does that Butthead-like chuckle as I pick out the shoes.  She plops down on her bum so I can put them on her.  Then she walks very purposefully out the door.  And she hates being left behind, as we found out one morning when Tim packed up Delaney to take her to the store.  She was really upset, and she cried for at least a couple minutes after they left too.  But she had to stay because it was almost time for her nap.

She has more of an interest in shoes than Delaney ever has.  She tries on everyone's shoes, including her daddy's.  But she's partial to the princess shoes, probably because of the cute embellishments.  She pulls them out of the bin and shoves them at me so I'll put them on her.  Then she walks around the room in them like it's no problem.  Tim said, "She walks better in heels than you!"

She's getting so nimble too.  At the house in Quantico, I used to try to hold her hand so she could walk out the back door down the big step.  It was awkward.  But one day I let her figure it out herself.  She held onto the door frame and made that big step without falling.  Smart girl!  She also knows how to go downstairs by herself, and now that we're at the new house that only has one short flight of carpeted stairs, we let her go up and down as much as she wants.  No more gates, woo-hoo!

She tries to talk, but rarely says a word in English.  She speaks fluent baby babble, with tone and inflection that sound so conversational.  I say, "That's really cute, but I don't understand a word."

She made a new sign, her first in a long time.  I was inspired by Kathy and Natalie's signing while we were all together in Pennsylvania, and so I re-attacked baby signing after a months-long hiatus.  She's not too interested in the eating signs, although she'll throw us a bone every now and then with "more" and "please."  I'd been trying to find a sign that really sparked her interest, and I finally found one: "pretty."  I'd been using the sign here and there for a couple weeks, pointing at her in the mirror and saying, "pretty". Then one day after I'd fixed her hair, she smiled and signed "pretty."  I was so pleased, I said and signed, "Yes, you are pretty!  You're a pretty girl!"  I'm teaching her to be vain, aren't I?

After that first sign, she started using some more:  "thank you," "juice," "milk" and "shoes."  But her favorite and most effective way to communicate is still with grunts, whimpers and pointing.  She knows Mama understands what she wants.
She's Daddy's buddy too.  If Tim says, "Who loves Annalise?"  she'll say, "Da-da!"  She plays on the floor with him and Delaney, and if he asks her for a kiss, more often than not, she'll give him one.  We were laughing about it the other night, about how once the youngest is weaned, they can kick me out if they want to.  I'll be obsolete.  My job of gestating and lactating will be finished.  Except none of them could do without me.  They love me too much.

Yes, this month she weaned.  I'm still a little sad, but it was clearly time.  She was only nursing once a day, in the morning; and then, around the time of the move, I seemed to be producing little or nothing.  Maybe it was stress.  Then one morning, Tim got her out of bed instead of me, so I didn't nurse her.  She didn't miss that session, and didn't ask for it, and I decided I wouldn't offer again.  I'm really happy to have nursed her for as long as I did.  It was a real gift to her and me both, and will always be a cherished memory.  She is growing up so fast!

The transition from old house to hotel to new house has been pretty much seamless for her.  We've just kept to our same routine no matter where we are.  She's been sleeping well, and has been as cheerful and mischievous as usual.  She is loving the open access to the stairs, which lead up to the FROG (finished room over garage), about two-thirds of which is the playroom.  I will have to post separately about our lovely new house, and tell you all about it, complete with pictures.  Maybe I'll do 'before and afters'.

Lately at bedtime, Delaney has been choosing their All the Ways I Love You book read by Grandma and Grandpa.  Annie giggles as soon as she sees me pick it up, and cracks up all the way through.  She is so funny and so cute I could eat her up!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Delaney at three years, one month

"Cheeseburgers, cheeseburgers, everywhere I go."  That's a song Delaney made up.  I don't understand the significance of cheeseburgers for her, since we only have cheeseburgers once a month, if that; and she barely touches hers.  But it's such a happy little song, I can't help but smile every time I hear it.

What else has Delaney been up to?  She's finally started to pedal her tricycle around, and I try to encourage her in it because those leg muscles of hers have a way to go.  If there's even a little incline up, she needs a push.  And to think, that tricycle was a second birthday present!

I love this picture Delaney took.  She actually took about six of those, one after another.  Maybe she liked being the one to say, "Sit there and let me take your picture," for once?  Or maybe these little friends just made her happy.  Once, when she saw her tricycle and "princess mobile" next to each other, angled toward each other a little bit, she said, "Look, they're talking."  Tim and I love seeing Delaney's perspective in her pictures.  Some parent's give their kids crayons and markers; we give her the family camera!  Here's another photo courtesy of Delaney.  It's his new Facebook profile pic.
Funny caption, anyone?
She is starting to whine.  A lot.  I thought she was a whiner before, but I really had no idea.  Is this payback for me being a whiny kid?  I have to try really hard not to unravel when I hear that sound.  I can tell it tries Tim's patience too, even though he claims to have endless patience.  (I will give him that he has way more than I do.)  We make her repeat her request in a "big girl voice" and use the magic word.  

As much as I get frustrated when she's whiny and rude, I try to praise her when she remembers her manners or does something helpful.  She is such a good girl when she's not driving me up a wall.  The best!  I guess she's a normal three-year-old.  As my sister Anna says, "Terrible Twos, Tiresome Threes."  Can't wait to see what she says about four!  I am still saying three is easier than two.  I know we're only a month into it, but at least now we can communicate about things in full sentences instead of me feeling like a monkey trainer.  And there is no more poop on the windows!  It just occurred to me that if these kids weren't occasionally wretched, there's no way we could ever put them on a bus and send them to school when it was time.  In fact, there's no way we'd ever let them go if they were nothing but lovable.  We'd keep them inside all day and smother them with kisses and hugs.

[On the subject of the poop story, there was an acquaintance of the family who read my blog soon after that happened, and emailed me that she's "glad my son doesn't exhibit your daughter's naptime behavior."  She has two little sons of her own, and I hope by now she's finally gotten what's coming to her.  "Schwartz is getting his," hee hee.  That's mean of me, I know.  It's OK to have that "glad it's her and not me" feeling, but it's not OK to say it to the mom!]

Delaney is aware of the big changes coming our way, even if she doesn't completely understand.  Sometimes she'll exclaim, "My old house in Virginia!"  Funny, I've been feeling the same way about still being here -- like I'm living in my old house.  Like, why are we still here when we have this nice house in North Carolina waiting for us?  In three days the movers arrive.  I might not be able to update the way I like to, for the next few weeks (sniffle), because life will get a little crazy.  We'll move to North Carolina on the Saturday the 14th, and about a couple weeks later we'll drive to Massachusetts and stay there a few weeks with Tim's sister Karen.  We'll spend a week at Cape Cod.  Finally, we'll get to go to the beach this summer!  I am looking forward to the next chapter of our story, and trying to mentally prepare myself for the stress of transition.

Oh, and one other thing:  As of bath time a couple nights ago, we now know that Delaney wishes to be an only child.  She told me, in a moment of frustration because her sister was getting on her nerves, "I don't want Annie anymore, and I don't want any new babies."  Well, then.

Update:  We had Delaney's three year well visit a couple days later.  She is 35 1/2 inches tall, 25th percentile for her age.  That's an improvement from the 10th percentile last year!  She is 30 pounds, 50th percentile.  Healthy as can be.  The pedi recommends hydrocortisone cream for her excema, which she gets on the back of her knees during hot weather.  It's been flaring up lately.  Hydrocortisone cream is what her pedi from before recommended too, but when I put it on her, she cries and asks for the other ointment (Aquaphor).  The Aquaphor is what I put on several times a day, and it keeps it under control for the most part.  But during a flare-up, the doctors say that hydrocortisone will help a lot.  I tried putting it on her when we got home, but she hated it.  We made her wait about 15 minutes before I put on the Aquaphor.  I sure hope she outgrows this summertime excema soon.  I feel bad for Delaney and her red, itchy skin.  Not to mention our clothes and couch cushions are getting ruined from Aquaphor stains.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

When will I ever learn?

Where do I go when I'm feeling downtrodden and sorry for myself, filled with frustration about things I can do nothing about?  To this lovely blog that is always there, allowing me to share the things that no one else really wants to hear about, but it gives me satisfaction anyway.

I had a great plan.  It was too hot again today to go to the pool, so I thought it would be the perfect morning to go trade in some books at a used book store.  I am worried I'm going to have nothing to read for the drive from North Carolina to Massachusetts, and besides I have too many books.  I went out to the garage this morning while Annie was napping, to where all my fiction is.  I was dismayed to see that Tim had hidden the bulk of it among the many boxes of things we have in there.  But I was still able to put together a pretty good selection of 10 to 12 books in a shopping bag.  I hesitated before throwing in my Hypnobirthing book, less than three years old and with the CD it came with still in the package.  That would be a real find for somebody.

I realize that used book stores are a business, and they are supposed to make a profit.  I know I'm not supposed to be the winner, but I thought I would be anyway, and here's how:   I do not need so many books.  I only need a couple new things to read.  I knew they would take a lot of what I had and give me very little in return, but I was still going to walk away happy with less clutter and something new to read for the excruciatingly long drive up and down the east coast.  Oh, how woefully naive of me.

This is how it went.  I brought my bag of books to the counter, and a surly man took them from me and said it would be awhile.  So I went off happily to browse all the shelves and shelves of wonderful books, reminding Delaney that if she was a good girl, she would get a new book too.

About 20 minutes later, I came back to the counter with my few selections and Delaney's.  And had my dreams crushed.  The woman who worked there handed me back my shopping bag almost completely full of the books I'd brought, saying they'd only been able to take a couple, due to the selection of books they already had.  And I only got $5.80 in credit, bwahahahaha!  The book Delaney had picked out -- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein -- was $7.45, and I paid $1.65 out of pocket for it, and we left.  The end.

My mom and my sister Anna will recall that long ago trip to Plato's Closet, when Anna and I arrived with a bagful of my old duds, and were turned away.  I hated doing the walk of shame back to my car with that trash bag full of clothes, and I think Anna was embarrassed to be associated with me.  We still have a good laugh over my righteous indignation at my perfectly good clothes being picked through and rejected.  That was at least 10 years ago.  How funny that I thought I could still get the last laugh at one of these secondhand places!   At least there is something funny about still having a ton of old books and nothing new to read.

And I peeked in the bag and saw that the Hypnobirthing book, CD and all, is still in there.  The nerve of those people!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

She's back!

I think now it's safe to say that the old Delaney is back.  Phew.  She's back to talking a mile a minute, snapping pictures of us with our camera, and bossing her little sister around.  We had a great day that included storytime at Border's and a walk to the playground.

She even ate 98% of her dinner tonight, before asking to be excused.  It was rotini and half a meatball.  My meatballs are about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.  She's been extra thirsty today too, even asking for water after the playground.  She normally asks for juice.

I know that kids get sick, and are not themselves from time to time.  But before now, I've never seen her in a funk that lasted longer than 24 hours.  It was a little scary.

Monday, August 2, 2010

We want our Delaney back!

If I walk into Delaney's room tomorrow and she's not back to her normal self, I don't know what I'm going to do.  It's like aliens stole the real Delaney and left us with this sad, whiny, not eating or drinking, tired all the time, sometimes feverish imposter.

I think the beginning was Friday afternoon, when we were at the pool, and she told me she wanted to go home at least a half hour before I was going to tell her it was time.  What?  Delaney never tells me she wants to go home.  And her friend Charlie was there, and I thought she was happy.  But she acted like she couldn't bear the cold once she got out of the big pool, and she was just ready to go home.  So we went home, where we all sat down for pizza, which she didn't eat.  That didn't worry me since it's unusual that she does eat it.  But later, she whined and whimpered through the bath time and dressing process, acting like she was too cold.  I wished I could have had a towel fresh out of the dryer for her, but I didn't.  I got her dressed as quickly as I could and tucked her into bed.  She slept fine.

Saturday morning, she had a bit of a fever.  She just laid on the couch, sleepy and sad.  She didn't drink her "yummy drink" (Carnation Instant Breakfast).  I don't remember much about Saturday, just low-grade fever and lots of sleepiness, and not much eating or drinking at all.  I gave her a popsicle at one point, and she ate most of it.  She kept waking up crying, so Tim ended up spending the night on her floor.  I expected she'd be fine in the morning.

Sunday was more of the same.  Sometimes we'd see glimpses of the real Delaney.  Tim said she was fine when he took her to the commissary.  But then she'd go back to being sad.  Everything she said came out a whine.  Anytime her sister came near her, she cried.  All she wanted to do was sit and stare zombie-eyed at the TV.

This morning, I thought maybe she was finally snapping out of it.  She seemed cheerful.  Between last night and this morning, she'd had two cups of water.  She drank her "yummy drink" in the morning.  But after that, no more.  I took her outside to ride her tricycle on the driveway.  She ended up just crying over something stupid like she couldn't move it.  I have offered her so many things today, and she's refused.  We keep asking her "What's wrong?"  "What hurts?"  The answer is always "Nuffing."  For a little while we thought she might be running a low fever.  In the evening, the little girl next door came over and played for a little while, and she went back to her old cheerful self for awhile.  This brought on a tidal wave of mom guilt for me, since I know that I haven't been giving her many opportunities to socialize.  I've kind of given up since we're moving in less than two weeks, even though I sometimes get lonely too.  We wondered if that wasn't the source of the whole sickness, but decided it probably wasn't.  At least not all of it.

I just went into her room again, because she was crying her heart out.  It was probably the fifth or sixth time one or the other of us has been in there tonight.  Now she's OCD about her quilt being tucked into the mattress on both sides now.  I tucked her in again even though we'd both told her before that we weren't going to do it again.  Then I sat beside her bed until she fell asleep on her Pillow Pet, her sippy of water in one hand and a stuffed bunny in the other.

I just don't know what I'm going to do if our old Delaney isn't restored to us by morning.  Tim and I are so stressed out we can't relax.  This is so bizarre.  I tried Googling "sad, sick, lethargic three year old girl," again and again, changing the adjectives to see if anyone out there can help me.  Here are some results I got: "Lethargic three-year-old Pekingese pup," "depressed teen," and postpartum depression.  I guess we're on our own.

Tim has 24-hour duty tomorrow, so I will be coping on my own if she's still in her funk.  It's like a dark cloud has descended on our household.  Her sad eyes make me so sad.  I told Tim that on one hand, I want to give her hugs and kisses, and extra TLC.  Then there are the times I think she's perfectly fine, just milking it, and I want to say to her, "Fine, go sulk in the corner.  I have no more patience for this."

It's been a tough three days.  I'm praying that my old Delaney will be back in the morning talking my ear off while I try to drink my coffee.