Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29th.

In the spirit of internet oversharing, I'd like to take a moment and recognize the importance of this day in the lives of our family.

August 29th - the day that not once, but twice, we were lucky enough to...ahem... be joined forevermore by our sweet babies. This is the day that the starts apparently align for us, as against all odds we've managed conception twice on this exact same day.

I mean, seriously. What are the odds that you even ovulate on the same calendar day, let alone get lucky enough to make a baby?

And before you question how I know - let's be crystal clear: I KNOW. It's even on my medical record last year. :)

Even though it's a day filled with TMI, and it's a day my children will grow up cringing while we (and by WE, I mean our whole family. Because naturally I shared this with anyone who would listen) make all sorts of jokes about this anniversary, it's actually super special to me. This is the day my babies came to me. The anniversary of being with my babes - both of them.

I can hardly believe it's been three years now since Ellie has come to be. Or one year since Dash. This date always make me get all metaphysical, and wonder why we were so lucky to magically hit on the right combination that led us to these particular people. Or wonder if maybe it wasn't luck at all, but a magical driving universal force that allowed our children to pick us. Or maybe we were just meant to be a family, and there was nothing that could have been changed which would have prevented the union of the four of us. Or maybe back when the universe was but a micro particle waiting to bang, it was already pre-ordained that Eleanor Carolyn and Dashiell Jack Lucas would wait through the millenia until it was time for them to exist as our children. Or maybe they've both lived lives before - who knows how many lives - and this time their lives were entrusted to us. I lean towards a combination of all these things, but either way, today is a day where I celebrate my family.

Lucky indeed!

(PSA: Wanna have another baby? Perhaps give it a try tonight? Maybe the fertility gods work for anyone today!)
9/11/10 and 9/10/12 the above similar picture was taken.  This year, no such thing will happen. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Operation Sleep

Funny thing happens when you have babies: everyone asks how they sleep. As though that's some sort of reflection on the quality of baby, perhaps? Or indicative of how well you parent? Or perhaps the answer will reveal if the child is actually happy, or healthy, or eating properly, or whatever. 

Also funny thing: parents can go on and on about this topic for hours before exhausting themselves. It's true! Read on, and find out. :)

When Ellie was young and I was going back to work (I went back at 3 1/2 months), whenever I'd get asked I'd sort of shirk the answer, which was: "she sleeps fully through the night from 7pm to 6am. Every night." It's a boring answer, and we totally knew it was insanely lucky that our baby slept like that. The response was always some form of "OMG! You're SO lucky and you don't even know it! My baby NEVER slept!" Or, if it was another parent, the answer was "OMG! I hate you!" Both were equally unpleasant. One answer implies that you, the parent, don't know anything about the flip side of the coin, and the other leaves you apologizing and asking for forgiveness. 

For all the haters and people who told us how lucky we were, eventually she decided to mix it up and gave me plenty of nights in which I was up every 45 minutes to an hour, and then went to work in the morning. It wasn't all roses, I promise.

Now that we have Dash, I'd say I get asked this question on average three to four times a week. And here's our situation:

We live in a two bedroom townhouse. The kids will eventually share a room, one in a twin bed, the other in the crib. This will hopefully be soon, but who knows, because Ellie's still in her crib because I'm terrified of loosing any precious sleep to her getting out of bed every three minutes. 

We have/had a bassinet next to my side of the bed. Dash outgrew his original bassinet recently, so it's been replaced by a Pack n Play. 

Dash likes to snack occasionally throughout the night. He also really, really likes to be near me throughout the night. Also confession: he really, really sleeps best when he's on his tummy. I KNOW. I hate it, but.... 

So where does that leave us? 

Ellie falls asleep in her crib after playing with her stuffed animals for however long. Sometimes this is over an hour. Dash falls asleep in my arms and I move him to the bassinet. He squirms around, and eventually settles down. Peter and I climb into our bed, and turn off the light. EVERY NIGHT when this happens, it's Dash's cue to wake up. Wide open eyes, talking, fussing, etc. 

I pull him in bed and he snuggles up next to me. He's asleep within seconds. He's a funny little trickster that way. The three of us fall asleep. 

Dash starts squirming a couple hours later, and if he's on his back, he starts flailing around. He's too big for a swaddle now, but he'd still benefit from it because he definitely still has the startle reflex. When this happens, Peter kisses us on the forehead and sneaks into Ellie's room, where he crashes out on the bed, meant for her. 

Dash is relieved that Dad is gone and sleeps fairly soundly for the rest of the night, squirming only when he needs a snack once or twice more. He never fully wakes up though, and by morning is snoozing soundly

Ellie wakes up around 5am most mornings and wants to snuggle with Daddy. He pulls her into his twin bed and they snuggle til he gets up. She sleeps until 8 or 9, at which point she wanders into my room and stands next to my head with a remote control in her hand, waiting for me to wake up. I have no idea how long she stands there for. When I wake up, with a start, and she asks "Supee-ah? Choo Choo Dee?" (That's of course "Superwhy? Dinosaur Train?").

The whole thing is a bit of musical chairs/beds, but the good thing is that almost everyone is sleeping pretty well, despite me being the only person remaining in their correct bed all night. Seeing as how I'm the one getting the least consecutive sleep, I think that's a fair trade. 

We're on Operation Sleep In Correct Locations around here. I'll let you know how it turns out. Stay tuned, because it's really very riveting. ;)

Dash: Right place, wrong position. But, cute!
Dash: wrong place, better position. Still cute. :)
And because I don't have any good recent pics of Ellie sleeping, I leave you with one of she and I pretending to be sheep. Why not? 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thirty. 30. Thirty.

I never really understood the whole bemoaning birthdays and making a big deal about "big" birthdays. To me, they've always been just another day, the day after the day before, the day you just happen to turn the page on one age and enter the next. With the exception of 16, 18 and 21, not much changes on birthdays.

But. Today I'm 30.

Has it sunk in yet for you? Because it's been at the forefront of my mind for a while now, and it still hasn't sunk in.

I think it's because 30 is just so grown up. When you're in your thirties, you can't pretend to be a "young adult" and you can't pretend to be a "recent college graduate" and you can't pretend to not know better when you make certain mistakes, or treat people in certain ways, or any of that. When you're a kid, you look at someone who is 30, and make no mistakes, that person is a grown up.

Despite grappling with the fact that I'm going to be 30 soon, and being in disbelief that growing up has actually happened TO ME, I can say with certainty that I've never felt so grown up in all my life. In a lot of ways, I feel like I've done some serious aging recently and I'm starting to show it. You can be young and have one kid, but a mother of two kids is a definite grown up. I haven't slept soundly in years, and my body and face feel it right now. A friend of mine suggested we go out and maybe even go dancing for my birthday. There's almost nothing I'd rather do less. Dancing means even less sleep, an almost certain hangover (even if I've only had two drinks), engorgement and/or pumping in the car and worse - dressing myself to "go out". Uh - no thanks. Heels? Not here!

Despite perhaps sounding a bit down in the dumps about entering this new era, I promise I'm not. In fact, I'm pretty darn happy about it - albeit in a bit of disbelief. I made a lot of mistakes in my 20s. I wasn't always responsible, and wasn't always a good friend. I acted in a way that I'm actually ashamed of on several occasions, and truthfully, for the first 4 1/2 years, wasn't that happy. In fact, at a certain point, I was a very depressed person, masking it in all sorts of unhealthy ways. I hit a personal bottom, but - but - things thankfully changed for me.

I think most people probably grow up wondering what their lives will look like. I always wondered if I'd get married and get to have babies. My 20s brought both those things to my life. My 30s will be the first decade of my life where I don't have to wonder about that piece of the puzzle. I will be able to enjoy the best choices I've ever made fully, because I finally have confidence in who I am, thanks to the journey of the last decade. For the first time in my life, I really have a sense of total understanding of who I am, what I stand for, what my likes and dislikes are, and an appreciation for me I haven't had before. So, bring it on, I say.

(disclaimer: my appreciation for this new decade could be slightly elevated due to the FULL night sleep I got last night. Thanks, little friend!)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beautiful Boy

My dear friend Kelli snapped a couple shots of Dash in his great-great grandfather's christening gown. It's a family tradition to do so, one that was I was happy to continue.

 He is so, so beautiful.

For comparison: Ellie on left, Dash on right. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

4 months later

4 months ago we were in the hospital, waiting for labor to get started. In fact, four months ago to this hour (I have a strange recollection for timing. Don't ask why) I had pushed everyone out of the room in an attempt to get some sleep. I was feeling the pressure of running the show, and I wasn't liking it. But, I digress.

Tomorrow our boy is 4 months old! We are in, what I like to consider, the "sweet-spot" of babyhood. I LOVE this age. They're starting to develop personality, the smiles are more frequent and if we're really lucky, we might even score a chuckle out of the little guy. No longer squishy infants, a 4 month old baby is a full-on baby, starting to support themselves more and more, learning their environment, figuring out that toys exist and can be held and heck - even chewed on! Sleep is often getting better around 4 months (often, not always!) and best of all, they aren't usually mobile yet - so no toy-stealing from siblings and no need to be as vigilant as the months ahead will require.

Dash, at 4 months is such a joy for me. I'm obsessively in love with this baby. His smiles are so beautiful, the way he looks at us right now is absolutely endearing and his little talking noises are the sweetest. I'm so lucky.

He is just the best baby. I knew we'd gotten lucky with Ellie - I knew how easy she was and thanked my lucky stars. It appears though that we've managed to win the lottery twice - he's managed to be even easier than she was. He's so content, almost always, and so easy-going and happy. He rarely fusses and when he does, it's almost always a very simple fix. Change of location, change of scenery, request to be picked up or put down. Or milk, of course. The boy can eat, and he shows it: wearing 9 or 12 month clothing regularly, and clocking in at just under 18 pounds (best guess). The kid is big, and strong. I'm so thankful. He still has a bit of reflux, and a bit of a dairy intolerance (growing out of this though - my cheese days are slowly returning). He wakes a couple times for a quick feed (hey - he needs to sustain the body of a small toddler!) and sleeps soundly in between. He does prefer to sleep next to me, which means his dad gets booted from our bed nightly, and while I'd love to sleep a whole night next to my husband, my baby boy is not a bad second choice. :)

He's starting to pay a little more attention to his big sister lately too. Today as he was nursing, his eyes were locked on his sister across the room. She, of course, notices him mostly when he's threatening her domain. Should he dare reach for a toy (any toy) or a stuffed animal (any stuffed animal), she will promptly show him that she's the rightful toy-owner of all toys in the Lacy house. She will remove whatever he's holding and offer him a different one -she likes to be in charge (and I have NO idea where she gets that from!).  He giggled for my mom the other day, and she casually walked up to him and knocked him in the head with her foot, in a crystal clear attempt to get him to SHUT UP because my mom belongs to her, naturally. Despite this - she seems to love him deeply and asks to see him first thing when she wakes up, snuggles with him during "tummy time" and adores taking a bath with him (although she's a bit fixated on trying to pinch his... you know...).  I admit I wanted a baby girl so she could grow up with a sister, but I know now that baby Dash and Ellie will be fantastic siblings.

He weathered his first illness last week like a champ. Despite his fevers and congestion, I didn't have to worry about him too much. A benefit of having such a solidly built baby is that despite him not having much of an appetite, we knew he had reserves stored up for just an occasion. We watched him for signs of dehydration of course, but didn't worry about his overall caloric intake.

4 months in, and I'm more smitten with him daily. Like I told him last night when it was just the two of us (daddy had to work late and Ellie was asleep), "I will always, always love you, I will always be there for you, and you will always be my little boy." I can't wait to see what's to come for baby Dash.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A 30% Chance

Wanna know what I'm thankful for this week? Tylenol, Pixar and our Kindle Fire.

Guess how we spent our week? (hint: we consumed lots of the above three things, as well as made good use out of our health care coverage).

Last Sunday night as we were wrapping up for the day, I had a thought - a premonition. I gave us a 30% chance of going for an unplanned doctor's visit. Dash had vomited a lot all day and my knee was in pretty excruciating pain. I figured they may want Dash to come in for a weight check, so his reflux meds could be adjusted - maybe he'd grown out of the dosage. What I should have done was given myelf a 30% chance of landing in a doctor's office every single day that week.

Monday after talking to the nurse, I found out I was correct in my assumption that they'd want us to come in, so I piled the kids in the car and off we went. My first time with both kids at the doc - thank goodness for Cars on our Kindle Fire to entertain Ellie. Come to find out, Dash has not grown out of his dosage, he was just sick. Go figure - mama's excellent observation really should have caught that.
Miserable baby
Tuesday we went in to get my leg looked at. Verdict: sprained MCL. Again, took both the babes, and again - thank goodness for nurses who jump at the chance to hold a baby, and Cars on Kindle.
She earned Ice Cream for being so good!
Tuesday night Ellie jumped off the mattress on the floor in her room, landed funny on her foot, which immediately bruised and she stopped wanting to walk on it. Fabulous. I spent some time searching for Toddler Foot Fracture on the internet, and in we went Wednesday morning. Verdict: just bruised. Thank GOD.
Bruised & Swollen. 
Thursday I had a pre-scheduled yearly appointment. I took Dash and hired a babysitter for the second time ever (yeah, even with Cars on the Kindle, I'd really rather not have Ellie at the gyno with me...). Came home to an exhausted Ellie, put her to sleep and she slept for 3 1/2 hours and woke up with a fever. Fabulous.

By Thursday night both babies had fevers - Ellie was hanging out really quite high too (in the upper 103 range). Called the pedi to make sure I wouldn't need to take Dash in overnight (remember - fever of over 100.4 rectally is quite bad for a 3 month old baby). They told me to give tylenol and evaluate in the morning. By Friday morning when the nurse called to check in (LOVE my pediatrician's office), both kids continued to have fevers, and she suggested we come on in.

Back to the pediatrician. By the time we left the house (in an absolute panic I might add - Ellie was spiking around 104, shivering uncontrollably and had just had her lips turn slightly blue. Come to find out a cold popsicle and a feverish body will do that) I mentally told myself that I was giving us a 30% chance of going to the hospital in the next 24 hours.Luckily, I was wrong on that one.

Verdict: nasty virus for both kids. Maybe even picked it up at the doctor's office, given our frequency of visits.
One of three trips to the pediatrician
Saturday was the worst - Ellie woke up spiking a 105.4 degree temp (I swear, I didn't even know they could go that high) and after a moment of panic, we somehow managed to keep our wits about us. Tylenol, Ibuprofen and cold compresses were administered, and the 24 hour nurse on call at the hospital told us that her fever had about an hour to come down, or we were to head in. I packed our bags. Luckily, the fever dropped. Then Dash woke up with 101.6 and that wouldn't come down, so again - I mentally prepared us to go in. The pediatrician's office told us we could watch it, and eventually it came down. Toward the end of the day, Ellie started acting incredibly lethargic (for a girl with a ton of energy, this was probably the most lethargic I've ever seen her). Cue, more panic. Thankfully, she perked up eventually.
Sick Ellie
Sick Dash
Did I mention that the kids wouldn't eat anything and on Friday I was spoon feeding Dash to get him some fluids? The bonus is that I have restocked my freezer supply of breastmilk, thanks to the time spent pumping, and when Ellie would take it, she got a good infusion of strong antibodies thanks to "mama milk bottles."

Both kids spent the day being diligently medicated by their parents, and today I'm hoping the worst is behind us. I still can't walk well, but... you win some, you lose some. Also - any guesses where I'm going on Monday afternoon? Yep - another appointment. Pre-scheduled Dermatologist. :) Hoping that's the last of them!

Other things I'm thankful for? Easy to read thermometers, supportive parents, good co-parenting, having a bed in Ellie's room for daddy to sleep in to watch over his girl, Babies documentary, popsicles, juice, vitamin water, humidifiers and netflix. :)

Update: guess where we ended up Sunday night? If you guessed ER, you're correct. One more thing I'm incredibly thankful (besides, duh - my babies and their health)? Potty trained toddlers who will tinkle for a promise of a treat. Best way to avoid needing a catheter is to pee in a cup, thank you Ellie.)