Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday we went on an excursion to the park. Actually, let me back up. Yesterday I told Little Boy we would be going to the park. I did the morning juggle of nursing Baby Brother, getting us breakfast and trying to convince Little Boy to eat something. We played a little, and when Baby Brother went to nap in the swing, I decided to start getting us ready for the park. Little Boy first did not want to put clothes on. Then, after some convincing we came back downstairs dressed to leave, and he has a tantrum about only wanting to leave in the single stroller. "Chico! chico!" I finally have both kids in the double stroller, leave the house, and half way to the park Baby Brother starts crying. Nothing is wrong so I keep going as fast as I can and we make it to the park. I take Baby Brother out and Little Boy starts wandering. He stops to watch the sprinkler and before I know it he pees his pants. Now I wouldn't have minded much since I had a couple changes of clothes for just this occasion, but then he starts to play in his pee puddle!!! He defiantly refuses to stop. He's only about 5 steps away from me, but I am changing Baby Brother on the crooked metal bench and he is just out of reach. I finish with one, change the other and then Little Boy asks for a snack. When he decides that I did not put a sufficient amount in his snack cup he has another fit. "Bamba! bamba!" He proceeds to grab the bag from under the stroller, and run around the park with both the bag and the snack cup, inevitably dropping bamba all over the place and then eating it from the ground. Oy! When Baby Brother finishes nursing I can attend to this mess and offer Little Boy some water. I get the water bottle out of the stroller and then we have another melt down- apparently he wants to drink from the bottle while it is still IN the stroller. I've had it. I load both kids back in, trudge up the hill heading home, and for a little bonus points Baby Brother again starts to cry at the half way mark and until we get home. 

Today when we got up the morning juggle went pretty smoothly. Little Boy came on the floor with me to play with Baby Brother on his play mat. He agreed to get dressed no problem, and despite a few disruptions we made it out of the house in time to get to his gym class. I carried Baby Brother in the Infantino carrier and pushed the single stroller. Class was good and uneventful, and at the end of it I asked Little Boy if he wanted to use the potty and he did. So we went on the big toilet and it was awesomesauce. Then we walked across the street and got bubble tea which Little Boy drank as he sat dutifully next to me while I nursed Baby Brother. He asked to go to the park, but when I told him we needed to head home for lunch he came and sat in the stroller. We made it home, had lunch, Baby Brother fell asleep and went to nap in the swing while we went upstairs and read a story. Then Little Boy laid down, asked for a sheet, and I left. Two kids sleeping at the same time! Life is SO good. 

When people ask me if it is very hard taking care of two kids I generally answer: "No, but it depends on the day". I choose to put out of my mind those trying days, and remember the sweet ones. The good days are so much better than the bad ones could ever be. I have a lot to be grateful for: an infant that is smiley and easy-going, a toddler that is almost potty trained, talking and entertaining us. There's not much more I could ask for at this point. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

State of the Family: 2 Under 2- The Third Month

At this point we have reached a sense of new normalcy. Is it easy? no. But we are loving it!

Baby Brother is doing everything he needs to be doing at this point: growing, eating, sleeping slightly longer stretches, napping worse as he becomes more aware of the world around him, and chatting with us in baby babble. He loves watching his big brother.

Three months in, I can say that Little Boy doesn't remember life before his little brother! He has become very protective of Baby Brother. He is concerned when someone other than M or I is holding him, he makes sure to get a rag to wipe his spit up or bring me a diaper to change him, and he gives him hugs and kisses every single day. Yes, every single day. I tear up just thinking about how sweet he is, helping us make Baby Brother laugh and accompanying him during tummy time.
The other huge progress we've made, is that Little Boy is officially over his regression. I think it peaked just before the two month mark, but at three months he not only went back to telling us when he needed to go potty, we have also been able to begin real-deal potty training!


M is stretched thin just barely keeping pace with everything he has to do for school, while helping A LOT with house upkeep and making time to spend with the boys.

And me. I already detailed my struggle with keeping an MSPI diet separately, but the "I have nothing to eat" is a daily phrase that comes out of my mouth. Inevitably I have to do more cooking than I would have liked (but all the freezer meal we still have left are no-nos for me). I have recurrent back pain from constantly carrying our chunkster Baby Brother (/while pushing Litttle Boy in stroller/ while carrying ginormous diaper bag). My one general complaint, though, is that I have NO TIME. I feel like I am always playing catch-up because there are always things that are pending. My "free time" (post bed time for the boys and very rarely a few minutes when both are asleep during the day) is usually spent doing laundry, or dishes, or making food, or cleaning the bathrooms. Basically all the projects that I would normally take on are just not happening, and decompressing time (like writing a blog post) happens when I should be sleeping. Yeah.

Having two little ones is a constant juggle. I have to keep myself in check. How much attention are each of the kids getting? Who to attend to first when they are both melting down? How to get two kids, and the stroller, and my bag, into the car in the most efficient way with the least amount of crying? How to convince Little Boy to do necessary things (eat, come upstairs, stop making a mess) when I am preoccupied nursing Baby Brother? It is both mentally and physically exhausting. But the moments... those little moments that happen so many times during the day: the smile, the kiss, the babble, the new word, make it so so worth it.

So that's where we are at three months. I don't think I will write another 2 under 2 post because I don't see it happening before Little Boy's birthday next month. But I hope this gives a little glance at what it's like (and why my posts are just barely happening now). I think that mostly the adjustment is similar to anyone having a second child, with the added "bonus" that the older one is less independent so a parent is needed all.the.time. And two in diapers- we're taking care of that pronto! :) I believe (hope) that in the long term, though, the boys will be great friends and companions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Routine: 2 and 22 months

*I don't usually do these routine posts so frequently, but life with a newborn is always changing and I want to remember the mayhem. The days are long but the weeks are short. 
**I wrote this about a month ago but haven't had the chance to look over anything recently.

4:00 - First feeding of the night for Baby Brother + diaper change, swaddle and back to bed. This one takes the better part of an hour. (Throughout the month we phased out the diaper change and began leaving you swaddled).

6:00 or 7:00- Second feeding, it's still dark outside. I forego the diaper change and opt for side- lying breastfeeding in bed. I know there's only a little bit of sleep left for me.

8:00 or 9:00- One more morning feeding for Baby Brother and then I get Little Boy. We come back to our bedroom to change B and then head downstairs: B takes a nap in the swing and Little Boy and I have breakfast, finish getting dressed, and throw in some laundry.

10:00- Time for another changing and feeding and now we can get ready for a morning activity. More often than not we stick around the house: art, water play, and outside wanderings are most common, although sometime we do some cooking or cleaning together. Baby Brother tags along in my arms or the baby carrier. We try to fit in some tummy time because otherwise later on it won't happen.

12:30- Another feeding and changing interrupts what we were doing and then Little Boy has some lunch. Often M will come join us for lunch and take Baby Brother off my hands so that I can take care of nap time.

13:15- Little Boy heads for a story and nap time. This takes quite a long time. He often doesn't want to go to sleep and falls asleep reading a book.

14:00- By the time I'm back it's time for another feeding, and I try to have some lunch myself. Then I have just a tiny bit of time to try to get something done or just sit. Again, I have a kiddo tagging along on my lap or in my arms.

15:00 or 16:00- It's still pretty hot outside, so when Little Boy is up we play indoors for a bit, feed and change Baby Brother and then get ready to go on a walk.

17:00- We head for a nice long walk: sometimes completing a small errand but usually just heading to a park and playing. While we're at the park I get in another feeding and changing so that we can make it back without incidence. (As it's gotten even hotter we've changed this to water play).

18:30- We're back home and M takes over Little Boy for a bit, usually playing soccer together, while I get together dinner. Baby Brother is generally in a baby carrier with one of us.

19:00- Family dinner. As of late I've been menu planning, and since M has been doing most of the shopping we have an abundance of fresh ingredients.

20:00- Bath time for Little Boy and often another mini-feed for the munchkin. M takes care of bath and pajamas and then I go in for story, nursing and bed.

21:00- Bath time for Baby Brother. M and I bathe the kiddo together and then I get him dressed and settle in for his final long feeding, burping, rocking etc. (We've changed this too, and Baby Brother gets bathed first now at 19:30 so that he is sleeping by 20:30 and then I go in to put Little Boy to bed by 21:00 or 21:30).

22:00- Baby Brother falls asleep and I keep rocking him for a little while longer before swaddling with the miracle blanket. I hustle to finish up the most important tasks: putting away dinner leftovers, collecting/moving laundry, and then get ready for bed! I aim to be in bed by 23:00 but it doesn't always work out.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Challenges (MSPI)

When Little Boy was a little baby, namely at around 6 weeks, he had a pretty bad rash and green poop. Some online googling and then a check of the medical literature had us convinced that we were dealing with a food allergy. I started an elimination diet and was relived to see the symptoms going away. Little Boy's egg allergy was quite strong for the first year of his life, when even a bite from a baked good resulted in his rash popping back up. Slowly at around 18 months the rash wouldn't appear anymore, but his immune system was still compromised and he would be quick to pick up any little cold. Just now as we're approaching two years, it seems like the egg allergy is finally going away. 

When I was on that first elimination diet my only hope was that it wouldn't be dairy: cheese is one of my culinary loves. Low and behold, three weeks after Baby Brother was born he started getting extremely fussy. He had gas, and difficulty pooping, and he was spitting up insane amounts. Worst of all though was that I could tell how uncomfortable my poor baby was: kicking, cringing, scrunching his face and twisting his little body in pain. I knew before I even started an elimination diet that we were probably looking at a milk intolerance. Indeed I quickly confirmed a mild reaction to chocolate, full on vomiting in reaction to dairy, and lastly a mild reaction to soy as well. 

It has been about two months since I began avoiding those three things and boy has it been tough! My difficulties have been baking without butter (it's not the same), dessert without chocolate (still craving it daily), Asian food without soy sauce (not to mention finding bread without soy in it), coffee with no milk, and cheese (good on everything and nothing is the same without it). While I don't like complaining I also don't want to sugar coat this: I'm finding it hard to eat a balanced diet with enough protein to feel satisfied,  the dwindled variety makes it hard to be excited for cooking, and breastfeeding leaves me constantly hungey. All those have not left me feeling "good", despite daily walks, plenty of sunshine and seemingly lots of other "healthy" foods. 

If there is a silver lining then it is that my recipe repertoire is expanding as I scrounge to make dairy and soy free meals. The real light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that I accidentally had a couple bites of cheese last week (in a sandwich, after I requested no cheese but didn't actually open to check) and his reaction was much less severe than in the earlier weeks. Now it's a waiting game...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thoughts on Mother's Day

One of the things I love about Mexico is how seriously they take Mother's Day. It is much more than just the Hallmark style holiday I grew up with in the States, where flowers, a homemade card and maybe a gift were the extent of celebrations, with a brunch or breakfast in bed for mom on the years we really made an effort. I feel like here people genuinely go out of their way to spend time with their mothers. It is not uncommon to see a grown son taking his mother out to lunch, or in the case of our neighbors- a mariachi band hired to serenade the mother. But more than that, and I am sure this is partly because I became a mother while we've been living here, it is an appreciation much deeper than the "you're the best" sentiment I grew up with. It is a recognition of mothers as the providers of life, the ones that raise children, guide them and embrace them with unconditional love and support. 

To my boys I say thank you for the privilege that is being your mother. And to all the mothers out there, tomorrow enjoy YOUR day!

Love them!