Friday, April 29, 2011

By The Numbers

I know you are not supposed to do it, but it is hard not to compare the second kid to the first. Obviously she is our only frame of reference regarding this parenting business, and it is kind of interesting to see how the kids have stacked up in the first couple of months.

Weight: At his 2 month doctor visit, Louis weighed 11 lbs, 8 ozs (which is only like 25% for boys), whereas Norah was 12 lbs, 8 ozs. Since girls are on a different growth scale than boys, that was like 90% for her. Considering she was an entire pound heavier at birth, it seems they gained about the same amount in the first 8 weeks. But I am giving it to her, for rocking the growth scale. WINNER: NORAH

Height: Louis came in at 23 inches and Norah was 22.5. He was a half inch taller than she was at birth though, so this one's a wash. WINNER: TIE

Sleep: Norah sucked at this age. Louis pretty much sucks too. I am giving it to him only because he at least sleeps in the co-sleeper, whereas the only place she would sleep (and it still sucked) was in our arms or in our bed. WINNER: LOUIS

Eating: By this point in time we had nursing down pretty solid, but Norah was never easy. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on supplies and pumps and lactation consultants. I stressed out constantly about how much she was gaining (which clearly was idiotic). Louis cost us a lactation consultant visit, bottles, and 12 billion dollars in formula. Plus, I had to take antibiotics twice because of him. This is a tough one, but I am giving it to Lou because I can keep track of every ounce he eats and that helps me sleep at night. WINNER: LOUIS

Diapers: Breastfed babies don't have stinky poop. I kind of think it smells like buttered popcorn (gross, I know). Formula fed babies on the other hand have poop that stinks. STINKS. Plus it is thick and green and did I mention how much it stinks? Norah never blew out a diaper. Louis does it at least once a day. He's already pooped on or in the bathtub, car seat, changing table, our bed, my hand, his sister's hair, and the living room rug. Plus, he pees everywhere. WINNER: NORAH

Barf: Not even a contest. Norah rarely spit up. Taking care of Louis means I am changing my shirt 4 to 6 times a day. WINNER: NORAH

Disposition: Neither of my kids had colic, thank god. I don't think I could have handled it. Norah was more alert at this age, but also much fussier. She was way harder to calm down and required a ton of rocking, shushing, soothing, etc to get her down at night. Louis doesn't need any of that and unless he's hungry or needs new pants, he's either napping one off or smiling. I think I had a better sense of Norah's personality by this point, but I also could spend all of my time obsessing about her. I haven't fully figured Louis out just yet, but he's a calm and mellow little dude. WINNER: LOUIS

At Lou's appointment I was joking with his pediatrician that second kids always get the shaft because they never get the same amount of attention. She agreed, but also reminded me that second kids also don't get the CRAZY. That's true. In the first 2 months with Lou we have had 1 urgent care visit (which I suspected at the time was totally unnecessary but had to follow the nurse's advice). Alternatively, by this point we had been 4 times with Norah. Way less crazy. Was less.

Louis: Two Months

And just like that, two months have flown by. Louis continues to be our sweet, mellow, barfing baby. He had his two month well baby visit on Monday and is weighing in at 11 lbs., 8 ozs., which puts him at about 25% and 23 inches long, which puts him somewhere between the 25 and 50%. He's kind of a little guy, but a big ole ball of love.

He is really starting to come out of the sleepy newborn stage and loves stroller rides, baths, rattles, and his play gym. He hates diaper changes and being on his tummy for any longer than 15 seconds. Norah is by far his favorite person and he gives her his biggest, gummiest smiles. He is still waking every three hours at night, which is about to drive his parents batty, and I have to change my shirt and his outfit on average 5 times a day (due to the barf), but his chill disposition more than makes up for it.

When he wants something he isn't getting he sticks out that bottom lip like nobody's business.

His hair is brown in the back and strawberry blonde in the front, so we are interested in seeing how it turns out. He has the same amazing dark blue eyes as his sister and I think he favors me looks wise in the same way that Norah favored BVZ at this age. Norah couldn't love him more and we are so thankful that the transition from 3 to 4 has gone so well, at least from her perspective. She tells me every day she is glad he is part of the family.

I couldn't agree more.

Monday, April 25, 2011

And We're Done

Breastfeeding Louis...blah, blah, blah. I am sure everyone is sick to death of hearing about it. We are officially done. I had high hopes of things turning around last week when he started latching on several times a day. It was painful for me, because his latch was still so shallow, but I figured I could power through whatever was going to get him through to a better place.

Fast forward to Thursday night. Let me set the scene. It was about 9:00 pm and Louis was in my lap laying on his Boppy pillow. He had been nursing for the past 45 minutes or so and seemed to be in a relatively good groove. It felt like one million sharp little knives when he latched, but then the pain subsided after about 30 seconds, so I figured his latch couldn't be all that bad. Things were going swimmingly until out of nowhere he pulled off, lifted his head, let out the drunkest hobo burp of all time and then sprayed me, himself, the Boppy, the chair, the floor, and the living room rug with barf. BVZ came running in with towels and flipped on the light, and that's when we saw it.

A baby crime scene. Not only did Louis barf 12 gallons worth of liquid, it was bloody liquid. All his barf was dark pink and there were strings of blood everywhere. Believe me when I say it couldn't have been more disgusting. My first instinct was, well crap, I guess we have to go to the emergency room, but then I wised up and looked at my boob. Which was, um. Let's just say, lacerated. In a big, bad way. We were confident the blood was actually my blood that he had ingested but we called the advice nurse anyway just for reassurance and she confirmed my diagnosis.

Letting him continue to try was out of the question for me pain-wise and even pumping the next day was excruciating. So, we made the decision as a family (well, Norah and Louis didn't really get a vote), to be done. I don't doubt that there are those out there they would continue to try, but after the carnage I reached a point where I could say that I had given it what I had in me to give and I was okay with the extent of my efforts. There is still some lingering pain and on Saturday night I was pretty sure there was the beginnings of an infection going on, but I started taking the remainder of my mastitis antibiotics (I know, I know you are supposed to finish all of them but after a week it just seems like overkill and I like to have a bit of a supply laying around....) and I think it's fine.

Lou hasn't seem to notice and is continuing to put down his bottles just fine. It's reassuring to have made the decision, even though it is not necessarily the one I had hoped for.

Two Peas In A Pod

Yesterday evening I wanted to go on a walk and asked BVZ and Norah if they wanted to go with me. They both said yes. I put on my jacket and shoes, got Lou strapped to me in the carrier and was ready to go. In true BVZ fashion, he:
  • put on his shoes and jacket
  • peed
  • changed a light bulb
  • moved a load of his laundry from the washer to the dryer
  • checked some sports score on his phone
  • updated his Words With Friends games
  • drank a glass of water
  • peed again
  • set some sports event on the DVR
And then he was ready to go. Norah is just freaking like him. In the same amount of time she:
  • put on her shoes and jacket
  • peed
  • asked for another cupcake (I said no)
  • put her babies to bed
  • told me Bear needed to pee
  • changed her shoes
  • checked on her little girls
  • asked again for a cupcake (again, no)
  • asked me to read her a book
  • tried to climb in the exersaucer that is currently in the living room
It literally takes an hour to get out of house with those two and often times it frustrates me to no end how similar they are. Finally I said, "Norah, let's GO, you are making me bananas." And she said, "MOM, for Christ's sake, I am coming!"

I guess she's more like me after all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How I Know She's Mine

Louis was in a milk coma on my lap and Norah came up and said, "Take my dinosaur's picture. Make it look like he's eating Louie's face."

She needed a magazine during potty time this morning. I sent my sisters this picture and Uncle Kiki noticed that Norah was reading an article on Viagra. When she was done she told me the story was "very interesting."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Louis Eats: An Update

When we had Louis' one week appointment his pediatrician said that in her experience, most babies get the hang of nursing by a month old. And if they still don't have it by then, chances are they aren't going to learn because they will be so used to the bottle they will have no incentive to try. As his one month birthday came and went and he still didn't get it we figured this would be the case for him. She was great and encouraged me to keep trying if I wanted to, but also gave me "permission" to stop if I needed someone to tell me that choice was also okay.

I wasn't ready to stop pumping, but I was definitely ready to stop trying the maddening process of trying to get him to latch, and so I did. For the next 10 days or so I didn't even give him the option of trying to nurse and instead we just did bottles. At that same one month mark, Bubby left and I went from pumping 5 or 6 times a day to 3 or 4 times a day. And then 2 or 3. And then 2. And the amount I was able to pump in those 2 sessions took a nose dive. I went from producing well over half of his food to about 10% (granted, he has started to eat a lot more, but still).

We decided that after my 6 week OB appointment I would be done pumping. I hated it, I was producing almost nothing, and it took time away from when I could be sleeping (call me selfish, I can take it, but remember I am trying to stave off the CRAZIES, people). I have to admit, part of my wanting to wait until after my appointment was so that I could tell my OB (remember, she's the one who pumped in the CAR. While DRIVING), that I was still nursing. Totally lame I know, but I am super sensitive about being judged regarding this particular topic. Anyway, my appointment came and went and I chickened out about stopping. Then I said I would stop at 7 weeks, and so last Monday I packed up the pump. Then I unpacked it. Then I packed it away again.

Then I tried to see if Louie would latch. And goddamn it. He did. This kid is killing me. So, since Monday he's been nursing. His latch isn't great, and it kind of hurts. There isn't enough to satisfy him completely, so I have been topping him off with a few ounces in a bottle every time. There are times when he is really hungry (like in the middle of the night), and he won't even entertain the thought of nursing. He refuses one side completely, so let's not even talk about how my poor body is going to look when all of this is said and done.

I am torn between working hard to ramp up my supply (herbal supplements, pumping, etc.) and just sticking with the status quo and figuring what he gets is better than nothing. I admit, I love the freedom of formula. But that kind of makes me feel like an asshole, because this should be more about Lou than it is about me. We'll see how it goes this week and then make a decision from there. It's a day to day thing, for sure.

Regardless, he seems no worse for the wear.

Weekend Warriors

We have been doing our best to get out of the house with both kids. Norah needs the excitement and I need to have at least one adventure a day (I use the word adventure lightly-Target counts as an adventure). I feel totally comfortable getting out with both of them-it's a sharp learning curve, I know-but I save the really fun stuff for the weekend so BVZ can partake.

On Saturday we decided to go to the zoo because Norah has been asking to go to the zoo for, oh, I don't know. A year.

I always forget that the SF Zoo kind of sucks. It's deceptively large. The grounds are nice and spacious (perfect for a kid who needs to run, run, run), but there aren't very many animals and the exhibits/habitats are pretty old school. But, it actually felt great just to walk around in the fog and Norah didn't seem to mind that the actual animals were few and far between.

I thought the giraffes were the coolest thing we saw and apparently one of only two pictures I took.

Norah ate her lunch while walking through the zoo and announced to everyone she passed "and remember, DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS" (thank you, Curious George).

There were penguins and a polar bear. Now, I know it isn't exactly hot in SF, but it seems to me that they need ice. Or snow. Or at least an air conditioner. I don't get how they survive in this climate.

Norah really wanted to see Lions and Tigers, which are now housed in the "Big Cat House"- a building where the animals are behind plexi-glass instead of out in the open like they used to be. We didn't see a single one (maybe they were napping?) and the whole place smelled like the world's most gigantic litter box.

Lou's hat kept slipping over his eyes and we felt like the world's worst parents every time we noticed it.

Norah's highlight was her bowl of dippin' dots, which might be the most vile food product on the planet. She got "rainbow" flavor, which had clearly been in the concession stand since 1992. It didn't even taste like ice cream, more like tiny balls made out of old Slurpee.

On Sunday we met up with the Breslows for a day at the beach. It was cold, rainy and foggy, which is not unusual for this time of year, so we assumed it would burn off. We made our way over the hill and about 10 minutes from our destination Norah announced that her stomach hurt. Typically this means she has to poop. I asked if she had to poop and she said yes. I drove a little faster and all was well until she yelled, "Mom, it really, REALLY hurts!" and then she proceeded to All over her shirt and pants and car seat and floor mat and back of my seat. What is it with my luck and barf lately? Thankfully I had a change of clothes for her because I figured she would get wet and dirty at the beach (typically I don't carry a spare set) and we stopped at a gas station to get her cleaned up and hosed off.

She was totally fine after the explosion, which led me to believe she just got a little car sick.

The weather was decidedly NOT better and we considered packing it in, but 1) we had just paid $10 to park, and 2) both Caleb and Norah really, really wanted to play in the sand. So we threw caution to the wind (literally) and set up camp.

Norah was very much into the sand.

BVZ was into the trail mix.

Caleb and Lucas were into their mom. They were the smart ones who realized that the beach is not fun when the weather sucks.

We stayed about an hour and then headed back to our house for grilled cheese sandwiches. And no more barfing.

Growing Up

This morning Norah told me that she couldn't wait to be a grown up. I asked her what she planned to do as a grown up and she told me: "Drink coffee. Drink beer. Drive your car. Go to the library. Pump milk out of my boobs for Louie."


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cake Pop (Fail)

Norah and I are both mildly obsessed with those Cake Pops from S'bucks. You know, two delicious bites of cake covered in even more delicious candy coating on a lollipop stick. We've gotten them a couple of times when we are out and about and she has turned into a cake pop begging monster. I finally had to cut her off before she got to the point where she believed every trip to Target warranted a $2 treat.

I have been going out of my way to do special mom/Norah projects since Lou has been here, so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone by spending an afternoon making our own cake pops. I found an easy recipe online and we walked to the grocery store up the street to get our supplies:
  • A box of cake mix (usually I am anti-box cake mix, but life these days demands it), and the ingredients that go with it (eggs, oil, water)
  • A can of prepared frosting (see above)
  • Wax paper (we already had it)
  • Candy melts (no dice, so I got a bag of white chocolate chips)
  • Lollipop sticks (no dice, so we lifted a bunch of coffee stirrer sticks from the S'bucks next to the grocery store)
Things started off smoothly and the mix got mixed (Norah is a pro with the hand mixer) and put into the oven.

While it baked we cut up the coffee stirrers to make them the length of lollipop sticks. I had my suspicions as to whether or not they would hold up, but there was no way we were getting in the car and driving to a craft store for actual lollipop sticks. In retrospect, we should have gotten kabob sticks, but whatever.

Vanilla cake out of the oven.

Said cake crumbled in a bowl. I did this part. I mean, I wanted to actually eat them.

Can of frosting (rainbow chip) folded into the cake.

Rolled into balls, and stick added. Our two mistakes here were, well, the sticks. But also, we made the balls waaaaaay too big. There was no way that poor little stick was going to cut it.

Next we melted the white chocolate chips. How do I not have a double boiler? I say that every single damn time I need a double boiler.

Melted chips are still pretty thick.

We attempted to coat the ball in the melted chocolate, but the ball was too big and the chocolate was too thick. Apparently, melted chips are not a good substitute for actual candy coating. We improvised by globbing some on around the stick.

Let's just say they weren't very good. I think Norah's exact words were, 'these are yucky.' I thought the whole project was a wash, but I put them in the fridge anyway because BVZ will eat anything. After chilling over night there were definitely much better. Not great, but edible.

Louis was not impressed with any of it. See how red his eye is? I made the mistake of calling the advice nurse to see if I should be concerned about it. He had a runny nose and infrequent cough (cooties from Norah, I am sure) and a mild viral rash on his chest, so I figured for peace of mind I would get the all clear.

You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. They ALWAYS say to come in and then you feel like a delinquent parent if you don't follow their advice. So, I left BVZ with all of the cake pop clean up hauled poor Lou into urgent care at 7:00 pm for them to give him the once over, say 'yup, it looks viral' and 'watch him like a hawk to make sure it doesn't turn into RSV.'

He's fine. Much better than the cake pops.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Easter Bunny

Ever since Norah started noticing Easter stuff in the stores (so, like the day after Valentine's Day) she's been asking when she could go see the Easter Bunny. He finally got to the mall yesterday, so today we gave into her obsession. The entire way there she kept talking about how she was going to tell him Happy Easter and then tell him that she wanted a Bullseye like Ruby's. I had to break it to her that the Bunny was not the same as Santa and he brings eggs, not presents. I thought she was going to be very upset, but she thought about it for a minute and asked, "are the eggs going to have candy in them?"

I agonized whether or not to get a picture with both kids. On one hand, Louis isn't even 6 weeks old, and the Easter Bunny is wearing a giant furry costume that probably hasn't been washed since 1973. And he has no opposable thumbs. On the other hand, I don't want Louis to look back and be all like, 'um, I had been born by Easter 2011. Where the hell am I in the pictures?' Ultimately, my fear of other kids cooties won out. That and he was asleep by the time we got there.

Norah insisted on wearing these sunglasses. They aren't even hers. I think they were left at our house on a playdate. Anyone want to claim them?

She ran right up to the bunny and gave him a giant hug and wished him a Happy Easter about 300 times. Then she told him, 'I really, really love Bullseye.' I am sure he had no idea what she was talking about.

We then bought BVZ a pair of work shoes at Nordstrom's and went out to lunch. Win for us.

Baby Needs an Intervention

Norah's baby Rapunzel had something black (probably from the park or the floor of a public restroom) all over her mouth. She asked me what was wrong with her and I said she had probably been huffing too much. She then proceeded to ask BVZ what huffing was and I got reprimanded for being the world's most inappropriate parent.

He told her that Rapunzel probably ate too many chocolate chip cookies. That's not nearly as interesting.

New Pictures

I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a new camera that I have only taken out of the bag a handful of times. I am trying, trying, trying to be much better about it and pull it out more often. I know nothing about the camera (one of my goals before Lou was born was to read the instruction, didn't happen), so I am just using it on the automatic setting to get used to the lens, light, etc. I will get better. I hope.

The other day we ran some errands and Norah insisted on dressing up in a dress, sunglasses, hair bow, purse for her, baby, and purse for baby.

Then she insisted on smearing lipstick (ie, cherry chapstick) all over her face.

He's very handsome (and serious).

Norah's baby (sometimes called Rapunzel) has her hair in two pig tails, so Norah has been insisting on "Rapunzel hair" lately. Ruby's mom thinks she looks like Abby Caddaby (I totally agree).

On Thursday, Norah asked if she could get a new Easter dress. I said sure. We went to Target and I pointed out a number of dresses, but none of them were "just right." One wasn't pink enough, one was too green, one had too many flowers. I couldn't get over how cool it was that she had such a strong opinion and could express herself so well, so I totally went with it. Then she asked if we could go to the mall. How could I say no to that? We went to THREE different stores before she found something acceptable.

I think she picked a perfect dress.

Louis loves to play on his sister's bed and thankfully she is happy to oblige him. Notice her socks on her hands? Those would be her mittens, which Bubby convinced her she needed to wear since our house belongs in sub-zero Antarctica.

By the end her hair was pretty askew, but she still looked pretty sweet.