Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Timmy at 2 months

I believe last month's post ended with something like, "I can't wait until he smiles at me."  A few days later, he was smiling.  A few days after that, he was cooing.  About a week or two ago he started laughing.  At first I wondered if it was possible that he was really laughing at such a young age.  I was saying, "I'm gonna get you, Timmy," and burying my face in his fat little neck.  He smiled really big and made a, "Huh.  Huh," sound, like an extra-slow laugh.  Since then, he's laughed a few more times.  Sometimes he laughs at Delaney, who he seems to think is the cat's pajamas.  (He might feel the same way about Annie if she didn't always put her face to within centimeters of his, and yell.)  Just this morning he laughed at me when I was talking to him.  Just a soft little, "Huh-huh-huh," not a loud baby chortle.  So cute! I love my happy little man.
I love laying him on the "changing table" (a changing pad on my bathroom vanity) in the morning after feeding him.  I love feasting my tired bleary eyes on those sweet smiles as he looks up at me.  I play with him a little and talk to him when I'm done changing him.  I kiss his chubby, dimpled cheeks.  Then I'm like, 'I hope you understand, I have to plop you down in your chair and ignore you while I shove some breakfast in my face, drink some coffee, and check my email.  (I set my alarm for 45 minutes before the girls get up so that I can enjoy this privilege.)  Just sit there and be your sweet, quiet little self.  Thanks!'  Sometimes he complies, sometimes not.  This morning, he did not.  I was practically begging him to let me put him down while I drank my coffee, but he would not let me.  And he stubbornly held off on taking his nap until I only had enough time to get myself and the girls ready to head out the door.  Oh well.

Here he is with his pal, Delaney.
He is growing fast.  He has outgrown almost all his 3 to 6 month clothes.  I notice when I put him in the car seat, that his headrest needs to be moved up because he's taller.  He's in size 2 diapers now.  At the doctor today, he weighed in at 13 pounds, and was 23 1/2 inches tall.  He is fairly average in size, even though he looks huge to me.

He is getting better at holding up his head, and his core is getting stronger too.  He's no longer a pile of mush.  He likes to stand on my lap and stretch his scrawny bowed legs.  I tell him, "Slow down, Timmy.  What's the rush?  Just stay my itty-bitty baby."  I just looked through some old pictures of the girls, and I see they were doing those same things at the same age.  I guess I forgot how fast it happens.

We still don't have much of a routine during the day, but he's getting a bit more predictable.  He wakes up around 6:30 or 7.  About a half hour after he wakes up in the morning, he starts to yawn and stare into space.  I lay him down, and even on mornings when Delaney has school, he typically gets about an hour-long nap.  He has a few catnaps the rest of the morning, and then in the afternoon, he will usually take a nap that's anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours.  Then maybe a couple more catnaps between then and bedtime, which is 7:30 for him.  Most of the time he sleeps from 7:30 to between 1 and 3 for a feeding, then back to sleep until 6:30 or 7.  Sometimes he'll get up at midnight and 4 instead, so he isn't really set in a nighttime routine either.  I am fine with whatever he does as long as he continues to go right back to sleep after I feed and change him!

He is losing his hair.  I find a lot of his short little hairs on his sheet.  There is a band of hairless scalp around the widest part of his head.  It makes me smile because that is where he rubbed off hair as he moved his head back and forth, going, Where is she?  Where is my food source?  Will it grow back in dark or light?  We'll have to wait and see.

He is starting to show a preference for certain people, i.e. me, over other people.  At our little Bible study the other day, I laid him on the floor and my friend was talking to him and he was smiling at her, cooing, being very social.  Suddenly he got a panicked look on his face, his eyes got huge, and his lower lip came out in a dramatic pout that reminded me of this:
Best pout ever!  Delaney, 2 months old
Then his whole body turned beet red and he began crying frantically.  His cries had such a desperate, high note to them.  He apparently believed that his mother had abandoned him on another woman's living room floor.  Period.  End of story.

What a long way this little guy came in just a month.  I can't wait to see what changes next months holds, but at the same time I want him to stay just like this.

6 months down, 4 to go

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I have a new nephew!

My sister Anna and her husband Robert had their second child, John-Paul Gabriel on September 24 at 3:15 a.m.  He was 8 pounds 9 ounces and 21 inches long.  Isn't that a sweet picture of him and big brother Miles? Time sure has flown since Anna and I were pregnant at the beach!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

September is almost over.  Auntie Karen has already come and gone.  Tim's younger sister stayed here from the 14th through the 19th.  She was excited to meet her first nephew.  Timmy took to her pretty well.  He smiled at her a lot.  When he was fussy, she would carry him around and he would fall asleep.  She discovered that fresh air makes him really happy too.  We took a walk the last night she was here, and she carried him kind of facing out.  It was nice and cool and breezy out, very unusual September weather here.  He was so relaxed and alert, just looking around and occasionally appearing surprised as he felt a breeze on his face.  We joked that the poor kid doesn't even know what fresh air is.  He's been inside in the air-conditioning his whole life.
Karen got off easy this time.  I didn't put her to work like a slave the way I did last time.  But she helped me out so much, occupying the girls, cleaning up the kitchen after meals, and reminding me that it's time to get new kitchen sponges.  She did that when she visited in June too!  What am I going to do the next time my kitchen sponges get old and grungy and Karen isn't here to tell me?  I got a pack of three new kitchen sponges at the commissary today.  They are nice.  They will probably last until our trip to Massachusetts in November.

Aside from a trip to the dentist, Target and Delaney's school, we didn't go many places this time.  For the most part, we just hung around here.  Karen and the girls did a lot of crafting at the table and playing upstairs.  We did go to the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores on that rainy Saturday.  We loved it!  It was small, but just perfect for little kids.  The girls had so much fun.  Delaney kept saying, "Can we see more fish?  Pretty please?"  We walked through twice because she rushed us through the first time.  Her favorite creatures were the stingrays because she could touch them.  In typical Delaney fashion, she got the whole front of her shirt and her pigtails wet, in an effort to get closer to the stingrays.  If she'd tried to jump in, it wouldn't have surprised me.  She even talked me into touching them when I was a little hesitant.  I was charmed by the stingrays, particularly the small ones who seemed to be trying to get our attention, flapping their fins out of the water, and swimming right for our outstretched hands.  Annie was not interested in touching the stingrays, but she liked looking at all the fish.
We all sat down in front of the live shipwreck tank to watch the divers swim with the sharks and all the other fish.  There was a Q&A session with the divers.  Delaney raised her hand and waited patiently for 2 to 3 minutes to get called on.  When the man with the microphone passed her by the first time, she stood up and kept her hand raised.  I couldn't wait to hear what she had to say, and when it was at last her turn, I took video.  I love Delaney!

If Karen had known about all our other house guests, I don't know if she would have come.  We've got giant cockroaches in the kitchen and my bathroom.  We've got fruit flies that started in the kitchen and have pretty much taken over the house.  They are driving me crazy!  I've tried two kinds of homemade traps involving apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar.  These are exceptionally smart flies that know not to go inside.  I've also poured bleach in all my drains.  The Orkin man is coming this afternoon.  I hate bugs, especially when they're landing on the thing I'm still trying to eat or flying into the soup that I'm heating on the stove.  I remember they got bad last fall too.  We can't have anything on the counter at all.  There's also a swarm of ants on the counter behind the fish bowl.  They are loving the Terro ant trap I put there so I expected after 24 hours they'd all be gone, but they are still carrying on.  I've had it up to here with pests in and around this house.  I'm done living in the south and unfortunately, we have two more years of it at least.

Karen is probably enjoying her bug-free condo in Massachusetts and not having to worry what she'll see when she turns the light on.  Hopefully her mother is not being scared away by reading this.  The Orkin man is coming and they will all be gone by the time you get here!  And did I mention, the bugs really don't like the guest room?  

These past few weeks, I've come to the realization that I can not do it all, and I need some help with cleaning this house.  Not a book, not a website, not an app for my iPhone, some real live help.  It was getting to the point where I looked around and wanted to cry, I was so overwhelmed.  I'd go to clean my bathroom, and get as far as my sink before someone needed me.  I was such a grump to the kids.  So I hired Angela, a Marine wife who owns her own house cleaning service.  She is coming twice a month from now until whenever I feel I can get by without her (hmmph!).  She did not have time to deep-clean the entire house the first time she came, so she deep-cleaned half and lightly cleaned the other.  This Monday, she'll be deep-cleaning the half that includes the kitchen and the master bathroom.  I might just cry, I'll be so happy.  From that point on, she'll be able to clean it all in about 3 hours twice a month.  This is a real sanity saver.  I am so grateful to be able to do this, and bonus that I'm supporting a small business owned by a Marine wife.  (When I told Karen about this, I mentioned "small business" at least twice in 30 seconds.  I really like that part, and it helps me feel better about paying someone else to clean my house.:)

I had to take Karen to the airport while Delaney was at school Monday.  Delaney knew about it in advance, but still I worried she'd be upset when I picked her up from school.  She was a little sad, her shoulders slumping and her feet dragging as we walked to the car.  But she understands.  And she felt better when I reminded her that Grandma was coming to visit soon.  These visits help make fall go by faster, which gets us closer to winter, which gets us closer to February, when Tim finally comes home.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If You're Going Through Hell..

Recently, I shared with a friend that there is a song that for me is the theme song of this deployment, this 10-month-long marathon of a deployment.  That is Rodney Atkins' If You're Going Through Hell.  I am not a huge country fan -- usually I switch to the country station when the only other station we have is playing commercials --  but this is one of those songs that lifts my spirits and makes me smile every time I hear it.  Lately, I've been feeling like it's one thing after another, things that I won't go into long, boring detail here.  Sometimes I feel beaten down and exhausted, wondering what else can go wrong.  I also think that reaching the halfway point, while encouraging, has been hard on Tim and me both.  Now that we know how long five months really is, it's hard to be staring another five months in the face.  A lot of stuff happens in five months.  "Well, you know those times you feel like there's a sign on your back says I don't mind if ya kick me, seems like everybody has.."  This song is inspirational and most of all hilarious, and humor helps with everything.

It's not all hell.

Delaney likes to tell me, "You're a lucky mama because you have three kids!"  I am lucky.  They're three good kids.  I've already gotten to where I feel like I've always had three kids, and can't imagine it any other way.  Loading and unloading them on car trips is a carefully choreographed dance that is almost second nature to me at this point.
Having a baby added to the mix is not a burden, although physically, he actually is.  He needs a lot and wants to be held a lot.  But he is a burden that I couldn't be happier to have.  He is a sweet, lovable baby, and he fits so well into our family.  His sisters adore him, always talking to him, stroking his hair, bouncing his chair, and taking him on "train rides" (that are short, slow and supervised by me).  I no longer feel like taking care of the three of them is a crazy juggling act that I can't keep up with.  That said, there are times when I'm washing two little girls' hair in the bathtub while a very angry little man cries right outside the door.  Sometimes he has to wait for a few minutes and that's OK.

Today we went on our first outing more than 5 or 10 miles away from home, and lasting more than 2 hours.  It was a trip to the Neuseway Nature Park and Planetarium 45 minutes away in Kinston, that a moms' Meetup group I belong to was hosting.  I was worried about how it would go, especially if I needed to sit down and nurse Timmy, and needed the girls to stay put.  When I mentioned this to my mom, she told me to talk to the girls beforehand about my expectations.  She said that's what she always did with us growing up, and it worked because then we were prepared for things like that.  Come to think of it, I believe I remember those talks on the way to somewhere.  They may have involved threats.:)  So I gave the girls a pep talk that went something like this: "As long as everyone listens to me, and stays with me, we're going to have a good time.  But if anyone runs off -- Annie! -- we're going to have to go home.  Understand?"

The girls were good listeners and it all went very smoothly.  At first I thought it helped that they were both a little intimidated by the exhibits we saw when we walked into the little children's museum part of it.  One was a gigantic mouth that I couldn't interest either of them into entering, and the other was a human heart that had a tunnel that went underneath the floor and came up somewhere else.  Neither one of them would have anything to do with it.  I tried to get them to go into the room that had traffic lights and things related to driving, but in order to get to it, they would have to walk past a human skeleton.  Uh-uh.
I felt a little foolish but had to laugh at myself when I tried to follow the directions on one of the exhibits.  It was a strange plastic contraption -- a canister at the bottom of a tube that went up and across the ceiling.  The directions said something like, "Write a note on a piece of paper, and send it up through the tube, and wait for a reply."  I wrote a note on the paper and said, "Watch this, Delaney."  But I had no idea what to do with it!  Finally an employee came over and showed me.  It was something people used at the bank to make deposits.  I think I remember sitting in the backseat watching my mom do that, but I've never used one of those things before.  Do they still exist?

There was also a train ride, a show about stars that scared most of the little kids because it was dark, live animals to look at, and a huge playground.  Then we had a picnic lunch and went home.  It was nice, and also laid-back and low budget.  That made it easier for me too.

Later today, I packed the three of them up for a special trip to Walgreens to find something Tim wanted in a care package.  I wandered the aisles, which I'd forgotten are chock-full of things kids love, like gigantic stuffed animals and bouncy balls.  I stood in the aisle I wanted, and the girls were about 10 feet away trailing after me.  The conditions were ripe for an incident of some sort, since no one had had a nap all day.  Annie got a mischievous glint in her eye that I know all to well.  She was ready to make a break for it.  I told her to come back here now, before I count to 3, or I'll put you in time-out.  There was a hesitation on her face, and then as she looked like she might just take off, Delaney took her by the hand and pulled her over to me.  I was relieved and I said, "Thank you, Delaney."  Then I got us all the hell out of there.

Delaney starts preschool tomorrow, and a week from tomorrow, Auntie Karen comes to visit!  The rest of this month should fly by.