Thursday, April 26, 2012

Timmy at 9 months

Timmy has, for the most part, adopted his sisters' routine.  He wakes up in the morning at around 7 or 7:30.  He usually has a morning nap between 9 and 10, and then he has story time and nap time along with Annie at around 1.  He may or may not have a late afternoon nap for about an hour.  He joins his sisters for bath and story, and goes to bed around 7 or 7:30.  He nurses every two to three hours throughout the day, not at any set times.
Getting sleepy
Getting him to go to sleep has never been a problem.  From the time he was weeks old, I just lay him down in his bed and leave.  But for most of this month -- and most of his life -- he's been waking up at around 10 to eat (so I feed him and go to bed), and then again at around 2 and 5.  Or 1 and 4.  When I posted my Day in the Life, I mentioned how well he slept that night.  For the next two nights he's done the same thing, nursing right around when I go to bed at 10, and then sleeping until around 7:30.  I have no idea if he'll stick with this schedule, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts!  I know that even if he goes back to his old ways, this is all a temporary stage.  The girls went through something similar at around his age, and they were solid sleepers within a few months.

What makes the sleep deprivation bearable is having Tim be here to get up with the girls in the morning and make their oatmeal, oversee them brushing their teeth and getting their beds made, etc.  I know he also enjoys the time with them since he has to work long days, and is lucky if he's home on time to eat dinner with us.  So he does all that and leaves, and then I wake up when Timmy wakes up for the day,  usually around 7:30.  Tim also helps out a ton on the weekends.  He gets up with all the kids and lets me sleep in until 9, or even 9:30 on Saturday and Sunday.  I feel like a million bucks when I get some rest.  When Mama's happy, everyone's happy.

He also takes the kids out sometimes, leaving me to to enjoy the peace and quiet.  He recently took all three of them to the commissary, and while I know this is getting away from the subject of just Timmy, I have to share what he told me when he got home.  He told me that as he was pushing the girls in the cart and carrying Timmy in the Ergo, he saw a woman who was there with a friend.  He overheard her talking about her kids, and how hard it is to schedule things when you have kids, something to that effect.  They kept passing each other in the aisles until finally the woman walked up to Tim and said, "Are you alone here?"  Oh my goodness, it's an unsupervised man with three little kids!  He replied, "If you mean, is my wife here, then no."  She then said something like, "Wow, I'm impressed you'd come here by yourself with all these kids."  That made me laugh.  What's the matter, is your big tough Marine scared of a commissary trip with three small children?  And yet, it is true that a man alone with his kids is a rare sight.  I always assume he's divorced and has them for the weekend.  Sad.  But I did get a kick out of that story.
Isn't your wife around here somewhere?
Timmy has always been a cheerful baby, but Tim and I have both noticed that he's happier than ever before.  The fussy period of late afternoon that I mentioned last month has disappeared.  I rarely put Timmy in the carrier around the house anymore.  He is happy to roam.  He likes to peek around the furniture, and laugh when he finds me.  He'll sit with one of the girls' hair things, wave it around and talk noisy gibberish, full of high-pitched shrieks and babbling.  I think it's because he's gotten really good at crawling and is enjoying his independence.  Now he might come over to me, and I'll pick him up for a kiss and hug, put him back down, and he's off again.  And of course, he has me at his beck and call all night long, so what is there not to be happy about in Timmy's world?
Silly Mama, I'm not keeping this hat on!
He is already learning how to stir up trouble.  Riding in the car, he yells again and again just to hear the sound.  Annie cries and says, "I don't like that sound!  It's too loud!"  I turn up the radio and it doesn't help.  Timmy yells.  Annie yells, which only encourages him to yell more.  Delaney joins in because she thinks it's funny.  I turn the radio up again, and it's a cacophony.  Then one day, as we rolled along at 60+ miles an hour and the noise inside the car reached a fever pitch, I put the two front windows down, and everyone was so surprised they all shut up.  Ahh..

I took him to the pediatrician today for his checkup.  He weighed in at 19 pounds 11 ounces, and he's 28 1/4 inches long.  He is still right in the middle of the pack size-wise.  She asked me a bunch of questions about him, such as, does he pull up on furniture?  Yes.  Does he cruise?  No.  Does he use his thumb and index finger to grab things?  Yes.  Does he say, "Mamama" or "Dadadada"?  He says a lot of consonant sounds, but his favorite lately is "Mama.":)  She noticed that he didn't freak out when she began to examine him on the table.  "Any stranger anxiety yet?"  I told her I haven't noticed any -- he still seems to like people.  She didn't say anything.  I'm sure stranger anxiety is an early marker of developing intelligence or something, according to experts.  Don't worry, Timmy, I still think you're smart.

He sucks his thumb a lot, especially when he's tired.  He's my only thumbsucker.  None of the three have ever taken pacifiers either, even though I tried to give them to the girls.  The good thing about thumb-sucking vs. a pacifier is, you can't lose your thumb, it's always attached.  The bad thing about it is, it's always attached, and it will probably be a harder habit to break than a pacifier would be.  But it is so cute!
We love our little guy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Day in the Life: Spring 2012

A Day in the Life:  Monday, April 23, 2012

I've always enjoyed reading Laura's Day in the Life posts at Navigating the Mothership. When she posted the heads-up for Day in the Life this time around, I decided to finally jump in with my own.  I've shied away from it until now because I can't help but think that my chronicle of one day's events would be insufferably boring to everyone else.  I still think that's true, but I'm going to participate anyway because it's fun.  Besides, this "day in the life" project fits in well with my overarching theme.  Right now I've got a cup of coffee and hopefully an hour-and-a-half left of naptime.  So here goes.

4:00 a.m. Timmy yells for me and I drag myself to his room, nurse him, change his diaper, go back to our room and collapse in bed.  This has been an exceptionally bad night, and it's not even Timmy's fault.  I just couldn't get to sleep until 1 for some reason.

7:57 a.m. The noises in the house finally wake me out of my exhausted slumber.  I have no business sleeping in today, but that's exactly what I've done.  Tim has already gotten up with the girls and fed them breakfast.  At some point prior to waking up, I vaguely remember him kissing me goodbye.  Now there's no more time to waste.  This day is starting, with or without me.  I heave myself out of bed.
If I hadn't taken the time to jot this down and leave it on my nightstand, I would have never remembered.
8:00 a.m. Timmy's up, so I nurse him and get him dressed.  I eat my bowl of Kashi Heart to Heart, drink my orange juice, and seek out clothes and shoes for the kids.  We have to leave by about 8:40 to get Delaney to school.  There will be no time for drinking coffee and checking email and Facebook.  If I weren't still in a daze, I'd be panicking. 

8:25 a.m.  I do hair last -- Annie's first, Delaney's second, and mine not at all.  There is no time left.  The way you see me in this picture is pretty much how I looked all day long.  Like hell.  I ran a brush through my hair and put some concealer on to try to hide the shadows.  I know I should wake up early and put more effort into my appearance, and sometimes I do, but it was definitely not happening today.

8:42 a.m. We leave for Delaney's school, right on time.  Along the way, I hear Gotye's "Somebody that I used to Know."  I hear that song every day at least once.  It hasn't gotten old yet.

9:15 a.m.  I'm hosting our little bible study this morning, and I'm happy that Tim and I cleaned up last night.  The house looks nice (too bad I didn't take a picture of that!).  I really enjoy our Monday morning bible study.  It's a great way to start the week.  We talk, laugh and commiserate about all kinds of things while our kids play on the floor.  And bonus, since we're at home, Timmy can take a nap.  
11:33 a.m. I have to wake Timmy up so we can leave and get Delaney.  He was still sound asleep when I went in there.  I hate to wake a sleeping baby!
12:04 p.m.  Annie's been in a grouchy mood for two days straight by this point (Tim says she's PMS'ing), and she is at her worst at noon even on her best day.  I dread preschool pickup with all my heart.  I still resent that the only reason I picked this preschool for Delaney was because of the afternoon carpool that the preschool director assured me would be in effect when I toured the school last winter.  Then, during the parents' orientation this past August, she announced that due to construction of a new church, one entire parking lot would be off limits for the year.  And that would mean no carpool.  

That means that for the entire year, I've been dragging all of my kids in and out of the school twice a day three times a week.  Unloading tired, hungry kids, one of whom is an infant.  Walking across a parking lot.  Going in the school, up the stairs and down the hall.  And trying to dodge other people's tired 2-year-olds who sometimes halt in the middle of stairs or doorways and refuse to move.  (sigh)  Only a few more weeks until we're done for the year.  Hopefully the construction will be complete by the time Annie starts going there two days a week in the fall.  *Fingers crossed.*

During the five minutes it takes us to go in and out of this building to either drop off Delaney or collect her, about 85% of our little mishaps occur.  Here is Annie after she ran straight into the bumper of our car.  I say, "That's what you get for not watching where you're going!" and hustle her in the door.  Oh, for the good old days when you just left your kids in the car when you needed to run in somewhere quick.

12:28 p.m.  I send my tired, hungry girls outside to play while I make lunch as fast as I can.  But they want hot dogs.  And the water is taking forever to boil.  I should just microwave them, but Tim's anti-microwave ways are rubbing off on me a little, and I wait for the water to boil, certain that boiled hot dogs will be better than microwaved ones.  I should know it doesn't matter because they'll only eat three bites anyway.  

12:47 p.m. In the time it takes to make these hot dogs, we're falling apart.  I'm short with the kids.  I'm just so ready to have them down for their nap.  I realize I forgot to eat anything since that bowl of cereal, and now I'm ravenous.  I'm also very tired and my frustration is mounting.  The girls are fighting and Timmy's fussing in his chair.
Those two grilled cheese sandwiches are mine.  Told you I was starving!
1:02 p.m.  At last lunch is over.  I take pictures of the wreckage.
Timmy scrounges up a banana.  Finders keepers!
1:07 p.m.  We're so close to nap time, we can do it!  More meltdowns ensue.  Annie is upset first because I won't read as many pages of her horribly written and tediously long Little Mermaid book as she wants me to; and a few minutes later, because Timmy pulled her hair.  I have no idea why Delaney has underwear on her head, but I'm sure it made perfect sense to her.  I love that the wall quote, "Wake every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen," is in the background.
"But I didn't want him to pull on my hair!" (sob)
1:13 p.m.  I made it!  I nurse Timmy and lay him down, send Delaney upstairs for "quiet time," and catch up on email and Facebook.  The mess in the kitchen is not going anywhere.
My Tot Clock -- $50 well spent
1:24 p.m.  I'm not the only one who's having a rough day, it seems.  I read an email from Tim, filling me in on what I missed while I was catching up on my beauty sleep this morning.  Apparently, Annie pooped in her pull-up at some point during the night or morning.   Then while removing her pull-up, she dropped two  "Raisinet-sized poops" on the floor that Tim had to clean up before rushing off to work.  At least they were solid!  Then he left without his water bottle, and has had nothing to drink all day.  Good times!    

1:30 p.m.  I crawl back into my still-unmade bed and stare at my eyelids for about an hour.

2:30 p.m.  Part two of this day begins!  Refreshed from my nap, I make the bed and attack the kitchen and living room.  I put some laundry away.  I feel much better once I've reined in the chaos in this house.  Then I make a cup of green tea.
3:13 p.m. Annie and Timmy are up.  I feed and change Timmy, give the girls a snack, and send them out to play.  Annie is still grumpy.  I make her go out there anyway, hoping the fresh air will improve her mood.  I bring my tea outside and sit in a folding chair on the driveway.
"Look, Mama, you have mail!"
4:04 p.m.  It's kind of chilly and windy.  None of us is liking being outdoors much.  I declare mandatory fun outside to be over, and the girls watch Dino Dan upstairs in the playroom while I check email again, hoping to see something from Tim saying when he expects to be home.  I am losing what little enthusiasm I had for this afternoon, and it is dragging on already too long.  But he is so busy these days, he doesn't have much time for email.  He's actually happy about that.  Better than being bored on a ship.

4:38 p.m.  The girls have moved on to coloring.  I start on dinner, optimistic that Tim will be home by 5:30.   
5:24 p.m. At last I see the email that heralds Tim's arrival!  Hard to believe I once waited 10 months for him to come home.  I can barely make it through an afternoon now.  Dinner is almost done, and its garlicky aroma wafts through the house.  Life is good again.
5:32 p.m. In comes Tim.  He is a tad dehydrated but otherwise no worse for wear.
5:45 p.m. We all sit down to dinner.  We talk a little about our days, but mostly, we are too tired to talk.  We just eat.  I have a headache right between my eyes.  I just can't wait to get these kids to bed.
6:23 p.m. Tim tells me a story about someone from work while he loads the dishwasher.  The girls are picking up the playroom so there are no interruptions.  I love hearing his work stories.  After dealing with kids all day, I'm fascinated by the foibles of grownups.
6:46 p.m. The kids are in the tub, and the end of this long day is finally in sight.  
6:58 p.m. Bath is over.  Annie "kirks" (the girls' new word for "burp") and up come some diced tomatoes from dinner.  It's just a little bit and she seems fine afterward.

7:03 p.m. Tim is reading the dreaded Little Mermaid book again.  It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so long, and the plot is terrible.  The beginning is all about how Ariel and the new girl, Coral, both like human things.  Then abruptly, the book is all about how Coral is too clumsy to put cymbals together in the orchestra.  It turns out that just like Ariel, she's a good singer!  A-ha!  Sebastian never even had her audition for a part in the orchestra, just randomly assigned her, like 'Here, you look like you should be able to handle a pair of cymbals.'  Ugh.  Too bad it's Annie's current favorite.  Delaney picks one that's short and sweet: In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming.
7:15 p.m. Ah... Kids are all in bed finally.  I'm too tired to even enjoy my free time.  Tim packs his lunch for tomorrow.  The girls carry on for about 45 minutes, and Tim yells at them a couple times to go to sleep.  The two of us park our butts on the couch and watch American Pickers.  No mutual footrubs tonight.  I scarf down a few handfuls of Raisinets and drink chamomile tea.

9:30 p.m. Timmy wakes up and I'm happy to go nurse him because moments before, I'd been debating whether I should wait for him to get up and eat one more time before I went to bed myself.  I am so tired and that headache is not going anywhere.  So I feed Timmy and am in bed by 10.  I end up getting an unexpected gift: 8 straight hours of sleep.  Timmy doesn't wake up until 7 the next morning.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Delaney at 4 3/4

Tim told me one day that he observed Delaney out in the yard (while she didn't know he was paying attention), making a wish.  She gripped a dandelion tightly in her hands, closed her eyes, and said, "I wish for a puppy!"  Then she blew on it, and opened her eyes.   Tim's heart constricted at her fervent desire and innocent belief that that her wish really might come true.  In that moment, he wished it were that easy.  Alas, no puppy appeared for her, with its yappy bark and playful licks.  But Delaney still believes possibilities are just a blink away and sees magic in the most ordinary things around her.  For her, a trip to the dollar store is a dream come true!

She likes to write her name with a super-tall "y".  It looks like a long, crooked pitchfork.  She's really proud of that long "y", and I think of it as her trademark.
She has learned to do some addition problems.  I'm not sure if I have her preschool or Team Umizoomi to thank for this.  She'll walk up to me and tell me, "3+2=5."  I say, "That's right.  Good job, Delaney!"

This past month I realized the girls were long overdue for some new shoes.  Tim brought up something I hadn't thought of.  If Delaney doesn't get lace-up shoes this time around, she could go to kindergarten not knowing how to tie shoes.  At first I shrugged and tried to make the lame argument that shoelaces are going the way of the stick shift.  Obviously, that's not true because Tim and I both wear lace-up shoes, and I have to imagine that 15 or 20 years from now, adult shoes will not be Vel-cro either, just because parents have failed to teach their children the art of tying shoes.
It turns out that lace-up shoes are a little harder to find in toddler size 9 than you might think.  And you have to beware of impostors.  We selected two pairs of lace-up shoes for Delaney from Zappos.  The black and pink Adidas were our first choice, and the white and pastel pink New Balance ones were supposed to be a back-up.  The Adidas turned out to have laces that were only there for looks, and do not tie up but are stretchy.  They were impossible for Delaney to put on because she couldn't get them to stretch far enough, and it was a struggle for me to help her get her feet in them too.  So the back-up New Balance ones that look like your grandma's walking shoes will have to do.  We're done searching for shoes.  Of course, the very next day, we were at a playgroup, and I brought up new shoes.  One of the little girls running around had on a pretty cute pair of Skechers on that also happened to lace up.  But they retail for $45 and all the reviews online say, "Don't buy them, they fall apart after 2 months!" and "These are good weekend shoes, not for everyday use." In our household, we buy the kids only a couple pairs of shoes a couple times a year, and they run them into the ground.  Delaney does not care what we put on her feet as long as it's comfortable.  She'd rather be barefoot anyway.  She's happy with her grandma shoes.

She remains the friendliest child.  She loves people.  She calls out greetings to everyone who passes by our house, and has taught her sister to do so too.  If they're inside, they'll yell out the window.  Recently we were all out walking as a family, and we came across a couple ladies walking dogs.  Delaney asked for permission to pet them, and as we were chatting, one of the women said, "You're the little girls who yell at us when we walk by, aren't you?  I wondered where those little voices were coming from."  Sometimes it's a little embarrassing for me that they'll be standing at the window half-dressed if at all, with their hair a mess, because this is their favorite way to be when we're at home.
To my amazement (and sometimes consternation), Delaney still has no grasp of time, or any of the ways we measure its passage.  At all.  Today, tomorrow, in a few hours, a few minutes, a couple weeks -- all of these things mean the same.  If you tell her we're doing something in 10 minutes, she'll say, "Is that long or short?"  We've had the following conversation a couple times while Tim's at work:

Delaney:  Is Daddy coming home today?
Me: Yes, Daddy will be home in time for dinner, later this afternoon.
Delaney:  Is that after me and Annie sleep together?  By that she means bedtime, because that's when she and Annie both go to bed in their room.  During the afternoon, Annie has naptime alone in their room while Delaney has quiet time elsewhere.
Me: No, sweetie.  Daddy will be home later today, after Annie and Timmy have their nap.  We'll all have dinner together.

I told Tim, "10-hour day or 10-month deployment -- it's all the same!"  That might be a stretch.

The positive side of this is that if I tell her about plans we have for tomorrow, and those plans fall through, she's not upset because whether we do something tomorrow or next week, it's all the same.
She loves to paint, and will paint for hours, until I tell her to go outside and play, and let me have the kitchen back!  I wish Crayola sold their paints in bottles bigger than an ounce or two because they don't last very long in our house.  I just tried a different kind of paint, called Alex Paint and Sparkle.  It's a 6-pack of paint in girly colors, and two of the bottles are some sort of confetti and glitter in glue.  She loves it.  I don't because it stinks.  It claims to be non-toxic and appropriate for ages 3+, but I think it smells like formaldehyde.  PU.  But she will paint with it to her heart's content, and I will keep all the windows open while she does, until it's all gone.

I took her to kindergarten registration about a month ago.  How the time flies.. Delaney is growing up!  It occurred to me recently that I will really miss her when she's gone all day long.  She said to me a few days ago while were driving home from preschool that, "I go to school.. Just like Daddy and Auntie Karen go to work!"  I said, "That's right, because going to school is your job.  Your job is to learn."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We had a wonderful Easter.  I would even say it was the best ever.

Tim's parents flew down and stayed with us from Saturday until this morning.  This was the first time they've seen Tim in about a year.  The girls were very excited to see them, and went with their daddy to the airport to get them.  Timmy has changed a lot since they saw him this past winter, crawling, climbing and babbling.  He was not afraid of them as I worried he might be, since separation anxiety and stranger anxiety are hallmarks of his stage of development.  But nobody told Timmy this.  He was happy to let them hold him and play with him even though he hadn't seen them since January.

We did lots of fun things while they were here.  We went out for dinner, a walk and ice cream downtown Saturday night.  Tim and I went running together by ourselves twice during their visit.  I am running a 5K in a few weeks, and it probably won't be my best ever, judging from my 8- to 9-minute miles, but that's alright.  We spent a lot of time outside with the kids -- walks, bike rides, blowing bubbles, and drawing on the driveway with chalk.  Every spring I forget why I don't like North Carolina.  The grass is green, the flowers are blooming, and it's breezy and warm.

On Easter Sunday, we motivated ourselves to get to 8 a.m. Mass early enough to get a pew.  It's been a long time since I got to sit at Easter Mass, and it was nice.  The kids behaved, and I held an otherwise squirmy Timmy in the carrier, his fuzzy head right under my chin.  I watched him seek eye contact and smile at everyone around us.  I sat there and reflected on how blessed we are and how good our life is.

After Mass, we had a little Easter egg hunt at home.  Delaney and Annie played outside afterward and yelled, "Happy Easter!" to everyone who went by.  Their joy is infectious.  All holidays are more fun with these kids to share them with.  Later on, Tim made a delicious ham dinner.

We went to the circus in Havelock on Monday.  It was alright, but we all got kind of bored after awhile.  We left at intermission.  But the girls got to ride a pony and an elephant, and they were excited about that.  Too bad I didn't get any good pictures.

On Tuesday, we pretended it was Friday, and made our homemade pizza the new way we've been doing for the past month.  It's as close as it gets to a brick oven, and we are duly proud of ourselves.  Tim Sr and Carolyn seemed to like it too.  Afterward we sang 'happy birthday' to Carolyn -- her birthday is tomorrow.  We then served up my ugly but still tasty cake from a box.  I do not claim cake-baking as one of my skills.

Their visit was over far too quickly, as it always is.  We will see them again when they come in October.
Handmade Easter baskets filled with goodies
On the way to church, riding in the back-back of the Traverse.  I love Tim's hat.  He's my cute Irishman.
3 generations of Tim, together at last!
These girls LOVE their bubbles!