Thursday, September 22, 2016

Two Months Old!

Sweet Eloise Jane, today you are two months old! This has been such a fun month in that you've started to really smile, coo, and interact with your world. Your face has so much sweetness and expression in it, and you continue to be such a cuddle-bug!

How big? We won't have your official stats until your doc appointment next week, but suffice it to say you are HUGE. You have consistently measured in the 100%+ range with height since birth (your doctor office notates this as 98% when you are off the charts) and you are easily wearing 3-6 month and 6 month proper clothes as well as size 2 diapers (we just broke out the cloth diaper stash- wahoo!). You are also busting your feet out of your Miracle Blanket swaddle. You are as big as Iyla was when she was closer to 8 MONTHS old!

3 days vs. 7.5 weeks!

Flexing those strong muscles

Long legs and arms!

Sleep? Not good. Not good at all. This week went from bad to atrocious, with our first "long stretch" of sleep lasting 2 to maaaaybe 3 hours- then you're up every 1-2 hours all.night.long, often needing lots of time and effort to go back to sleep (one night you were up thrashing those long legs of yours from 2:30-6am!). I think I was spoiled with your sister, who at 2 months was only waking 2x/night in a predictable schedule with a 6 hour first sleep stretch! You tend to wake around 6 times/night right now.... it's rough.

A local doula I'm taking a Mama class with mentioned that babies who were programmed to have accelerated growth often nurse a lot more during the night, and are also often a bit more fussy during those hours due to a sensitivity in their bodies to all that rapid growth. Hmmm.,,,sounds surprisingly like a baby I know!

Eating? You love to nurse all day every day, usually every 1-2 hours. You continue to be a champion latcher, and if you happen to miss the bulls eye good GOD does that HURT. You have such a strong sucking reflex! You are still not a huge pacifier fan, but will take it to soothe when you are tired and no longer want to nurse. However, the minute you fall asleep it pops out again!


*Ceiling fans
*Staring at my painting
*Your big sister (she gets the best smiles from you!)
*Cooing and vocalizing (you make this funny laugh sound where you suck in air and almost gasp!)

One of your favorite things to study came out of my college Painting 101 class

*The car
*The stroller (BOO- likely b/c you are still in your car seat with an adapter)
*Sleeping for more than a 3 hour stretch
*Having anyone but me hold you when you are tired

New abilities?
*Cooing & lots of "baby talk"
*Taking an occasional nap in your swing (to which I always do a happy dance!)
*Discovering your hands and feet (you furrow your brow and cross your eyes while studying them- it's hilarious)
*Starting to purposefully swat at things
*Putting weight on your legs when held upright

 Hand/foot study session

How's Mama?
*Tired... so, so tired
*I've still plateaued at 14-17 pounds above my pre pregnancy weight, sporting a nice life preserver donut around my waist. It's so hard to find time to exercise, though with your newfound ability to take an occasional nap in your swing I HAVE gotten in two modified Ashtanga yoga sessions!
*I am still having issues with my left arm/hand going numb & tingley throughout the day.
*I've had several "creeper" headaches where I don't get a warning with ocular flashing lights, just pain that progresses to a migraine level and hangs around for a couple of days. I always seem to get these on a Thursday- when my chiropractor's office is closed until the next Monday!

Here are a few more photos from your past month:

We just adore you sweet Eloise, and are so grateful to have you in the family! Here's to another month of growth, gorgeous smiles, and hopefully more sleep. 😉

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It Takes a Village

We are on week #2 of BC being gone abroad for a work trip.

How we feel about that. 
Iyla was all for our 2 week long "Girl Party." Eloise? Not so much.

When BC initially told me about his travel schedule, I knew I would have to rally and plan ahead for lots of help, given I'd be rolling solo with a newborn and active 3.5 year old.

And I have to say, thank GOD for family and friends. It's still very, very hard without BC here- the hardest times being morning and bedtime- but I am surviving on the grace and good fortune of help from others.

My sweet mother-in-law Linda flew out to be with us Tuesday through Saturday of last week, which was sooo helpful. She helped get Iyla up and ready for school each morning, helped drive her to and from school, helped with dinner and house chores, and took the reigns with Iyla's bedtime. It was AMAZING (thank you Linda!) and Iyla & Eloise absolutely adored having their Grandma here.

The Saturday that Linda left I invited our friend Andy and his 11-year-old daughter Lily over for dinner. Iyla and Lily are thick as thieves, and played all evening long. Then Andy & Lily helped prep Iyla for her bedtime, getting her into her pajamas and reading stories. It was great for all involved!

Come Sunday, my friend Kelley came and picked up Iyla in the morning to take her and Kelley's daughter Sabine (one of Iyla's best buddies since they were 3 months old!) to the museum and park. Afterwards they returned to our house to play awhile longer- those two little girls just adore each other and play so well, it's the cutest thing! They love to play "Baby & Mama," where one of them is the baby, the other the Mama, and they play act putting the baby to sleep, feeding the baby, etc, over and over and over again. So sweet.

This week I am much more on my own, though my amazing nanny has volunteered to come every evening after her other day jobs to help with dinner and bedtime. I am so lucky! And even more fortunate? She takes care of one of my very good friends' daughter several days a week, and to help me further this friend is letting Veronica leave early on 3 of the days so that she can pick Iyla up from school and then stay through bedtime. So, SO helpful- as any car trip I can avoid with a screaming baby is a happy, happy thing!

 Nanny cam picking up Iyla from school

Sweet Veronica with Eloise

It hasn't all been easy sailing- the girls have definitely thrown in some really fun curve balls while BC is away, to include:

*Iyla falling down our stairs for the first time EVER (and this is a full, long WOODEN staircase). I was sitting on the couch with Eloise when I heard the slip and helplessly watched her tumble down, down, down. Holy HELL was that scary for us both, and thank GOD she was completely fine, save for a racing heart. It could have been so much worse- I hate to even think about it.

*Eloise going through another big growth spurt (like this kid needs to grow any more -ha!). Sunday night saw us up every.single.hour nursing throughout the night, while last night she pulled a "let's stay up thrashing my legs and fussing from 2:30-6am" session, complete with a blowout through her onesie and swaddle as the grand finale. Given I am in charge of getting both girls up, ready, and out the door by 8am daily this week, these long nights make for some not-so-fun mornings.

 Screenshot of our Sunday day/night nursing sessions. Phew!

We are finally in the home stretch, with BC returning late Friday night. It truly takes a village to help with a family, and we will be oh so glad to have ours back together and intact again! 

Until then, let's hope the girls behave (and start sleeping better)....

Ahem. The little one sleeps just fine by day, thank you very much.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Baby Clothes Debacle

It appears I have given birth to both an extremely tiny baby (Iyla was 5#14oz at birth) and an extremely huge baby (Eloise was a modest 7#4oz at birth, but her rate of growth has been astronomical!).

I knew when we were expecting a July baby that the seasons with hand-me-down clothes would be off (Iyla was born in November).... but I didn't anticipate the immense size discrepancy that would also factor in.

The other day I pulled down Iyla's 6-12 month clothes bin with the intention of "looking ahead" for any usable clothes for Eloise, so I would better know what I might need to supplement with. As I began pulling clothes out I was shocked to observe that almost everything would fit Eloise NOW. Then I also noticed that several of the clothes were labeled 3-6 months and got a little annoyed with myself that I'd apparently misorganized the bins (I am a Type A organized planner!) It was then that I realized the reason 3-6 month clothing was in a 6-12 month bin was because my tiny little Iyla Grace was WEARING 3 month clothing AT 6-8 months!

It just amazes me how different these two sisters are already. People tend to say Iyla resembles me (and that would hold true with her petite stature given I am 5'2)- and Eloise definitely came out favoring her Papa, who is 6'4!

Here's a fun comparison shot. That is a size 6 month dress, and on the left you have an eight MONTH old Iyla wearing it, on the right, her eight WEEK old sister Eloise! Crazy:

And a few more photos of each girl respectively in this oh so cute dress:

Iyla was only 13#11oz at 8 months old, and I suspect Eloise is already there!

 My smiley big girl!

At least now I know what I'm working with, and that I'll have to be digging way ahead age wise into the hand-me-down bins. I wonder how long it will be until these two are SHARING clothes?
Genetics are so fascinating!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Heart to Heart Baby (and 7 Week Updates)

It's definitely been a challenge to blog lately. This is due to the fact that there are SO MANY THINGS going on that I don't know where to begin, and SO LITTLE ACTUAL TIME to sit down and compose something, due to what I term my Heart to Heart Baby.

Just what is a Heart to Heart Baby (H2HB), you might ask?

Well, it's a term I made up for our sweet Eloise Jane (who is now 7.5 weeks old). Some might call her a "Velcro" baby, others, a "High Needs" baby... I like the H2HB term better as it has a much more loving connotation. Basically it means that I have a baby who lately is pretty much ONLY content when in Mama's arms and Mama's arms only. And more specifically, chest to chest with Mama- or heart to heart.

It is sweet and cuddly and flattering and OH SO HARD.

One of the hard parts is that Eloise screams every.single.time we are in the car- full out hysterical crying to the point of gasping for air. It's awful to say the least, especially now that Iyla is in full time school requiring daily commutes. I equate this vehement hatred of the car to her being all alone back there, far from her Mama. I've tried adding toys, changing the car seat inserts, playing music, talking to her, and even going so far as to purchase a $30 "shushing" machine (true story). Nothing helps until I take that poor red faced, sweaty and miserable baby out of the seat and put her back into my arms.

The other really hard part is that lately Eloise will not tolerate any one else holding her for more than 10-15 minutes unless she cries herself to sleep while in their arms. This means if I want or need to run an errand without her, I have to accept the fact that she'll be crying almost the entire time I'm gone, and if I choose to take her with me she'll be miserable as well (see paragraph above on the car).

Eloise does have calm & alert periods every day when she is happy to have others hold her. This occurs directly after nursing and lasts for around 15-30 minutes. The minute she starts getting tired all bets are off however, and it is usually only in Mama's arms that she can calm and finally go to sleep.

Evidence of happy times snuggling with others:

I do have to say THANK GOD for baby wearing. My Kinderpack soft carrier has been a life saver, and Eloise pretty much lives in it from sun up to sun down with breaks to nurse and play. This at least allows me to have two hands free to do things once she falls asleep in there. The scope of what I can do is definitely limited, however, and it's a challenge to complete any chores that involve having to bend down or over,. Any time I drop something on the floor I either have to attempt to pick it up with my foot or just sigh and kick it off to the side (sorry BC!).

 This is what a typical night out to eat looks like. Inevitably Eloise will wake up and fuss the SECOND my food comes, leaving us having to pack my meal to go. Dang Baby Radar!

Happy, content girl heart to heart with Mama in her carrier

The other new-to-me challenge with this little lady is her amazing talent for almost daily diaper blowouts. Iyla NEVER had a blowout, and I realize now what a rare unicorn she was in that department (Iyla was also using her baby potty daily at this age, and any time I put Eloise on that thing she screams bloody murder!). Eloise has impeccable timing with these blowouts- her favorite times to let loose tend to happen in the car (and all over the car seat and herself) and any time I'm holding her (all over the baby wrap, me, her, etc.... preferably while out at a restaurant). I've yet to find a diaper that can consistently contain this, and have already sized up several times in the hopes that a bigger diaper will help (it doesn't).

One thing I AM super grateful for is that my H2HB will sleep out of my arms in her Rock n Play at night (which is located in our room right next to me). I do just as often bring her into bed to sleep beside me, as this kid still gets up every 1-3 hours on average throughout the night (with an occasional rare 4-5 hour initial stretch). Bringing her into bed is more for me than for her, as it alleviates my physically having to keep getting up throughout the night!

 An example of a pretty rough (though not altogether atypical) night with Eloise- and this just shows the nursing sessions that occurred AFTER midnight!

We do take some super cozy naps together in the heart to heart position, which are much needed after our long nights. I am eating up those moments as I know they won't last forever.

At 7 weeks old, Eloise:

*Is incredibly STRONG! So, SO strong. Her muscle tone is amazing. Apparently right after she was born the hospital nurses laid her on her tummy and she immediately lifted up her head to look around. They remarked to BC that they'd never seen a baby do that! I wouldn't be surprised if we had a little athlete on our hands.

*She has discovered her hands and stares at them all of the time, often cross eyed. She also is already trying to swat at the toys on her Baby Bjorn bouncer seat, which amazes me.

*In the past week she has started to smile more and it's absolutely heart melting! She has so much expression and animation in her little face- her eyebrows raise and then as she smiles she crinkles up her nose and sticks out her tongue. So cute!

 First baby smiles caught on film at 6.5 weeks

*She has started cooing and it's the sweetest sound.

*She's starting to make much better eye contact and track people when they move about the room within her field of vision.

Smirking at Mama after a record breaking night of NO SLEEP

As they say, the days are long but the years are short, and as with everything in the baby world that's hard: "This too shall pass." As difficult as it can be here in the trenches, I do have a better perspective this 2nd time around, knowing that whatever challenges I face today won't last and will often give way to amazing growth and development. 

It's incredible to me how different Eloise is from Iyla, and I am so appreciating her snugly, affectionate, curious & alert nature, which is beginning to shine a window into a strong, charismatic, opinionated little lady. I am ever so grateful to be on this journey again and have the privilege of watching this precious little person unfold.

Now if she would just sleep a little bit more.....  ; )