Monday, January 28, 2013

In Which I Get Pooped On

I worked all.weekend.long. And as such, Iyla worked much of the weekend as well, poor girl.

Working is for the birds

I had secured BC to watch Iyla from 12-4 Saturday, so I could take out buyers and also get a much needed massage. Then I had another client want to write an offer on a house we'd seen Friday afternoon, so I told her to come by at 10am before I left for my showings. When BC woke he wanted to confirm that I needed him at 12pm to start watching Iyla? I gently said "no, love- remember last night when I told you I now needed you to start at 10am?" I got some serious pickle faces and a bit of grumbling about how his yard & house chores would never get done. This balancing act is rough on us all! To his credit BC has been awesome about helping out as I merge back into the workforce... there just aren't enough weekend hours to get done everything we want to these days.

Then on Sunday my buyers wanted to go back and see a home a 2nd time, telling me to prepare offer paperwork. So Ms. Iyla had to get packed up for the 35 minute drive north... and was none too pleased to have to be present during the offer writing. It was actually quite comedic between my clients' 4 and 7 year old daughters whining & getting bored and Iyla fussing! But we got it done.

I hate writing offers

And here's where Iyla gets me back: on Saturday morning I sat her on her potty as usual and she did a #2 for the 3rd morning in a row (woot!). As I fumbled to try to get a wipe out of the dispenser, I lifted Iyla over my shoulder to have both hands free. She proceeded to pee ALL over me, the floor, and the Pack n Play. 

Touché, my dear... touché.

Then Sunday night I was feeling really exhausted from the weekend and thought I'd try to get Iyla to sit with me while I caught up on some TV (for the first time in a week!). She was sitting so peacefully when I heard the good 'ole rumble that accompanies her filling her diaper. Then two more rumbles came. I honestly didn't want to move since she was so zen & calm... I knew that changing her diaper would break the spell. Moments later I felt a warm sensation emanating from her bottom, prompting me to quickly rise. When I got up I had poop dripping down my shirt & leg & onto the floor. 

Good one, Iyla Grace!

Iyla is 11 weeks old today. After a couple of nights with 4-5 hour sleep blocks followed by shorter 2 hour blocks, last night she did something new: she slept for TWO long blocks! 8-1am, then 1:30-6:30am. It may have been due to the extra extreme fuss fest we had during her nightly witching hours... where she was inconsolably screaming for a good hour or more as BC and I took shifts trying to soothe her. I am SO hoping that the magical 12 week point sees us beginning to merge out of these nightly crying jags!

Iyla's moods can change on a dime... one minute she is smiling & cooing (usually at a ceiling fan or an AC vent)... and seconds later the little pout starts and she begins yelling at us. She is definitely an expressive little lady!

These photos were taken seconds apart

One thing that almost always calms the fuss is a walk. Iyla has a pretty strict 30 minute limit to her walk patience, but those 30 minutes are blissful for everyone present.

Calm waters, calm baby

The November Mamas Facebook group I'm a part of has a weekly "Mommy and Me Monday" photo prompt, where everyone takes & shares their pictures. I had a lot of fun taking a few with Iyla this morning. She was hamming it up in the mirror, charmed by the light reflections. Here are a few outtakes:

We had a lovely, quiet day today, making up for the busy weekend. Lots of snuggles and play time. I took Iyla up to her neglected lovely nursery during her wake times and realized she is starting to be interested in her baby books! And by interested I mean she actually stares at the pages for a couple of seconds before returning her gaze to the ceiling fan. 

I also had some fun at her expense trying on cute hats I've purchased for her.... to discover that most of them are still a bit big:

Really, Mom?

Sam joined in on the action... he loves to be wherever I'm at, and has also adopted the neglected lovely nursery as HIS room, taking to sleeping in its closet at night.

Iyla taking a little 'cat-nap'... ba-dum bum!

It felt so good to have a gentle, quiet day to recharge our batteries. Here's hoping that Iyla agrees, and will reserve her pooping for the potty from now on.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Working Girl

Throughout my pregnancy I really struggled with what I'd want to do work wise once Iyla was here. In my heart I knew I wanted to be her primary caregiver, but I didn't know if that would be feasible financially for us. While Real Estate does allow a bit of flexibility with its schedule, you also have to be able to act at a moment's notice if an amazing new home pops up that fits your buyers' needs, or if you get an offer on a listing.

As usual, things are working themselves out despite all the worrying I did during pregnancy. I was nudged back into the work world a bit earlier than planned, due to having to help my vacationing colleague during the Holidays with my listing that HE was helping ME with during my maternity leave. Then a set of my buyers who I initially met with last summer approached me, saying they were ready to start looking. They made a point to say I could bring Iyla as needed, as they had little ones too and understood the world of a working mom.

So slowly and gently things are unfolding. As it stands now, I plan to take on clients on a case by case basis depending on price range & location. I'll give preference to clients who I already know and have a trust relationship with, who understand I have a little one. New referrals & business I feel I can't personally handle will be referred to colleagues for a referral fee (I've already referred out 2 new buyers in the past month). So far this seems to be working... though it is definitely a challenge! I can't just sit down to shoot off emails at any random time, as Iyla is strongly preferring to be held a lot these days. I have written so many emails one handed- laboriously typing, beginning the messages in the morning & sending them off late afternoon. And getting out for showings requires some creative planning & help from colleagues. I've already paid one colleague hourly to head out to show a house on a weeknight, and am also taking advantage of BC babysitting on Wednesday nights and Saturdays.

On Tuesday I had a company kick off meeting in addition to a closing, so Ms. Iyla Grace accompanied me to work. Here's how we both felt about that:

She slept through the first half of the meeting, but was up in full fuss mode after that. I had to step outside & eventually sit on the office bathroom floor to nurse her.

I had planned to head over to a friends' house between the meeting & closing so I could get Iyla out of the car seat, nurse her, & have lunch myself. Upon arrival to the house she let loose again with a lot of screaming/crying, and for extra fun she peed all over right when I took her diaper off and also had a small spit up (which NEVER happens). Poor girl was really out of sorts on Bring Your Baby to Work Day. Luckily she calmed down for my closing, and I made a mental note not to stack on more than one event per day with the little one.

I've written before about cutting out dairy- something the Pediatrician actually said she didn't think I needed to do. So last weekend I decided to do a small experiment and had a bit of cheese in addition to a whole milk cappuccino (heaven!). Monday & Tuesday I had an insanely all-day fussy girl on my hands, totally out of her norm. Was it the dairy, or just a growth spurt? It is frustrating to not know for sure, but it was enough to convince me to STOP experimenting and lay off the dairy again.

I've been keeping Iyla swaddled throughout the night with no diaper changes this week, so she can get used to a 'through the night' routine. If she stays sleeping until at least 3am we are in great shape, as her first sleep is ALWAYS the longest, followed by bouts of 1-2 hours. So if she wakes at 11:30, we are up every couple of hours until 7am (this happened the night before Iyla came to work with me, making us both a little extra grumpy).

One extremely bright spot this week? BC published a blog entry to Iyla he's been working on since her birth. Reading it absolutely melted me, and I invite those of you interested to check it out:

Ok... back to work now, since Iyla is finally taking a good nap! It's crazy how productive I've become in 1-2 hour increments these days. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Talking With Iyla

Iyla was 9 weeks old yesterday Monday (dang Baby Radar! these posts now take me so long to finish), and had her 2 month check-up. She clocked in at 8 lbs, 9 oz (5th percentile) and 22 3/4 inches tall (jumping up to the 50-75% percentile). Still a long and lean little lady!

 BC as a teen, ha!
Hmmm... where might she have gotten that body type from? He is now 6'4 and I am 5'2, so here's hoping she'll get some of that height (and NOT his teenage fashion sense...)

The not so great part of the appointment? Iyla had to to get her first round of vaccinations. I was SO struggling with doing this- not so much for the administration of the shots, but more for the thought of all those foreign materials going into her pure, innocent little body. I wasn't vaccinated, nor was the majority of my immediate & extended family (due to the religion I was raised in- Christian Science). So it is more 'normal' for me to ebb toward not having them. We also have a lot of Autism in my family- and I know, I know, they have disproved that connection time and time again, but I still can't help having that thought lingering in the very back of my mind.

Anyway, we did the shots.

The nurse was thankfully super fast, and poor Iyla cried really hard when they went in. I nursed her right away which calmed her, and then she slept slept slept the day away. When the poor dear wasn't sleeping she was crying in a "I don't feel good" way I've never heard before, and that broke my heart. I gave her a dose of Tylenol later that night which really seemed to help, and thankfully at her middle of the night feeding she was back to her sweet, smiley self, and has been doing well since (though she has been waking a LOT more during the night). Also? She was a pooping machine the next day- like she was trying to poop out the vaccines. Weird.

How she feels about vaccines

When you have a baby, people love to tell you to 'enjoy every moment, b/c it goes by SO fast.' I am starting to get what they mean. Iyla is in the very beginning stages of merging out of the 'newborn' place of being a sweet sleepy little lump, and of coming more and more into her personality & awareness. She notices more, and is now totally responding to our voices & smiling in response to them. She is starting to nuzzle into me and hold me in a cuddly way vs me just supporting her. And it is happening so fast

A typical daily scene- snuggles & naps in front of my computer

Iyla is also becoming quite the conversationalist. When in a good mood, she will coo in response to our prompts- going back and forth in a sort of baby dialogue. She definitely has a lot to say!

Excerpts from a conversation with Iyla

Today is Iyla's first day as a working girl- coming with me to show a few properties to my clients. When we get home two more of her Aunts will be here visiting (BC's sister & her partner) to love on her all weekend long! Here's hoping all the activity will help her get back to a good nighttime sleep routine... I am one sleepy Mama this week.

Making me work already? Rude.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Two Months Old!

Iyla Grace is 2 months old today! It's hard to believe she's only been on this earth that long-  in some ways it feels like she has been with us always.

How old? 2 months today

How big is baby? I did an unofficial weigh in on our scale this morning- looks like she is just at 9 pounds. We have her 2 month check-up Monday where we'll get her more official stats (and vaccinations- boo).

Baby milestones: Iyla is starting to smile a LOT in response to BC and I- it's the cutest thing. We get the most smiles while she is sitting on her baby potty- she loves it! Speaking of the baby potty, she is still doing great with that- now noticeably grunting when she goes. Hilarious.

Her eyesight has definitely improved, and she is tracking things more and more. She loves looking at ceiling fans, windows, and anything else with distinct light/dark contrast (like a wood door frame against the white wall).

Her legs are getting really strong- she now puts quite a bit of weight on them when held up. And the stretches she does when she wakes from naps are adorable! Add to those some old man grunts & she is almost constantly grounds for comic relief.

She has a pretty predicable bedtime routine now: down around 8:30, up 2x to nurse (usually around 2:30 and 5:30)- then up for the day around 7am. I've been catching a lot of beautiful sunrises lately! I tried transitioning her from her inclined Rock n Play to lying flat in her Pack n Play a few nights ago... and after the 2nd night of her waking up MUCH more often I have her back in the Rock n Play. We need all the sleep we can get around here! I realize at some point I am going to have to transition her back into her crib (and plan on having many nights of less sleep)... but for now I am just going to roll with whatever gets us the most Zzzzzs.

Iyla's current "HOT" list:
*Ceiling fans
*Being held
*Wannanub pacifier
*Her changing table
*Her baby potty
*Her Papa holding her hands
*Her Mama nuzzling her forehead
*Being sung to

Ceiling fan love caught on video

Her not so favorite things:
*Her carseat
*The 5-8pm hours
*Laying on her playmat for longer than 3 minutes
*Tummy time
*Having her neck washed (we call it her 'stink-neck.' Her Aunt Amy jokes that she is cooking up some roux in there.)

My postpartum body: I lost the majority of my baby weight in the first couple of weeks home, and have now plateaued at around 7 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I still have a muffin top, looking more normal from the side but definitely wider from the front. I am able to get into my pre-pregnancy jeans more easily, though they are still a bit tight. I am trying to get out for walks & get back into my Ashtanga yoga practice here at home. I definitely could use some toning up- there is a whole lotta jiggling going on right now!

5 weeks pregnant vs 2 months postpartum

I am about 3 weeks into cutting out dairy, eggs, & soy... and also trying to avoid tomatoes, onions, broccoli, & beans. I'd like to think they are helping Iyla- though she is still having nightly "witching hours," where after 5pm she sometimes breaks into screaming cries for seemingly no reason at all, other than to release the stress of her day. The diet restrictions make it super hard to eat out, as almost everything contains diary or soy! I've been consuming many, many salads with grilled chicken lately.

What I miss: I miss eating whatever I desire. I also miss being able to run out on a moment's notice- for a jog, an errand, a happy hour, etc. BC's sister is in town this weekend visiting, and last night we were planning to all go out to dinner together after she arrived on her 5pm flight. However, when her flight got delayed to 6:30, it ruled Iyla and I out from being able to join, given that is just before her bedtime and the height of her fussy period (and boy did she fuss last night!). I was really bummed to miss out.

Most looking forward to? I am looking forward to Iyla's 3 month milestone, when I hear babies' fussiness tends to get much better. I am also looking forward to continuing to watch her developmental milestones- we are so amazed by this little creature, and so, so in love! Makes all the things I miss totally worth it.

I leave you with Iyla's 2 month photo shoot:

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Daddy Day & Fun With Genetics

Iyla is 8 weeks old today! Funny that she isn't "officially" considered 2 months old until Saturday. Alas, I shall hold myself back from the 2 month photo shoot until later on this week.

Iyla has seemingly gotten into a nighttime routine the past few evenings, where she goes to bed at 8:30, wakes to nurse at 2:30, then is up again around 5:45. For the 5:45 feeding I've been "dream nursing" her- meaning I keep her swaddled, don't change her diaper, & just pick her up to nurse- then immediately put her back to bed. She never fully "wakes" and usually will then sleep until 7am.

Babycakes has been awesome lately at helping out with Iyla - allowing me to head out on weekends to run errands. This past weekend I actually worked! I took buyer clients out to see homes in a north Austin suburb. I go back and forth on my feelings with work on an hour by hour basis- it did feel good to be in work mode yesterday, and I figure I will just take clients on a case by case basis, always checking in with myself on how it is feeling. For now BC can help nights/weekends, and if I decide to dive in more than that we can look into part time help at our home.

One of my favorite things about BC watching Iyla is that he always texts me the sweetest pictures of their time together. Here is what I got this weekend:

Someone loves her Papa time!

A friend recently commented while looking at a photo of Iyla that she resembled me. Most people who meet her say she looks very much like BC (which I think too).... but I am *starting* to see some of myself in her. She looks to have my "moon eyes"- meaning when she smiles her eyes disappear in little half moon shapes. I also think she has my lips. She definitely looks like BC in her coloring, nose, & overall face... as well as having BC's hands and feet. It is so interesting to see how genetics play out with little ones! Just for fun I put a collage together with a couple Iyla pictures & one of BC and I... who do you think she resembles?

We had the first of BC's 6 siblings visit us this past weekend to meet Iyla. It was so sweet to see how much our 6 year old nephew just ADORED her! He informed us that no, he does NOT like babies... but his exceptions are his baby cousin Maggie and his baby cousin Iyla. Cue my heart melting.

In the next month three more of BC's siblings are making special trips to town to meet our little lady, and we can't wait! Those aunties & uncles are going to eat her up. She is one lucky little girl to have such wonderful family (on both sides!) surrounding her.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

I have been intending to write a post for days now, but Iyla's "Baby Radar" is extremely fine tuned. What is Baby Radar you ask? Well, it goes like this:

Baby appears to be sleeping soundly. I use this as an opportunity to:

*Make a phone call
*Use the restroom
*Return emails
*Start a blog entry
*Take a nap
*Start some yoga

Without fail, minutes into any said activity she is suddenly UP, fussing and wanting to be held. It amazes me. It's like a little sensor in her head says "Mama is not paying full attention to me! Wake!" And hence Mama doesn't get a whole lot done other than lots of baby cuddle time (which is lovely unto itself).

I am trying to be mindful of not trying to 'do' too much during this precious time with Iyla. Yesterday I was working to get our home & studio apartment updated on a vacation rental site, and found myself feeling frustrated when Iyla would continually wake... which isn't fair to her. THIS is why I am not sure I can saddle continuing to do real estate while caring for our little lady...  but that is a post for another time.

We had a lovely Holiday with family and friends. This year my family all came to Austin to celebrate, so we wouldn't have to make the drive to Houston. And Iyla got the opportunity to do what all good children should do when they first meet Santa Claus: cry!

And this was her very own Grampy, too! I admit I was the one adamant about someone needing to dress up this year so I could get a photo. Thanks Dad!

I had fun dressing Iyla up in her Holiday apparel. We typically live in onsies & leg warmers on a daily basis, since baby dresses tend to bunch up and be more annoying than anything else. But for the Holidays? Super cute.

With her Mimi

We ditched the hair bow partway through the evening when Iyla started getting fussy. Here's me intervening during her Santa meltdown.

Sweet photo with her adoring Grampy

I did manage to make my annual Christmas cookies thanks to the Moby Wrap, which in general Iyla isn't too keen on. But it did make for a handy apron!

One of the most fun gifts Iyla received was an activity play mat from her Mimi and Grampy. Within minutes of putting it together, Sam seemed to think it had been purchased especially for him:

"Aw, thanks Mimi and Grampy! I love my new play mat!"

 I put Iyla down to check out the new present. Sam wasn't too pleased.

 "But it's MY play mat, Sam!!!"

I even put the play mat on top of my desk to deter Sam from sleeping on it... and this is what I found later on that day. He's a crafty one!

I felt bad for Sam- who has admittedly had a hard time adjusting since Iyla came home and took over his Mama's attention. So I made a special trip out to find him his own new bed, which was met with great success!

It sits at window height, an easy view from where I perch at my desk. He likes to keep an eye on me!

Iyla has been doing really well. We hit some serious fussy patches last week- including two full days of fussing when she wasn't asleep or eating. I took it upon myself to cut out all dairy a little over a week ago, and I am hopeful that her more recent peaceful nature is a direct result. Prior to cutting this out, I could audibly hear her belly rumbling when she nursed, and she also did a lot of grunting at night. I know a lot of it is due to the normal immaturity of an infant's digestive system, but wanted to do what I could to help alleviate the distress while she is in the midst of it.

Another amazing accomplishment in the past week? Iyla is consisting doing a 5-8 hour stretch of sleep at night, which apparently qualifies as saying she is "sleeping through the night!" Amazing. The first 8 hour stretch was Christmas Day night, and since then we've had three 8 hour stretches, and a good handful of 6-7 hour stretches as well. She usually goes to bed around 8:30 (as do I!)- then will wake between 2:30-4:30 to nurse and go back to sleep. If she nurses at 2:30 sometimes she will wake one more time around 5:30. We then rise for the day around 7-7:30. I am liking this new schedule very, very much!

She has also woken up with a dry diaper several times- even after an 8 hour stretch! We then put her on the baby potty, which lately has about a 60-70% success rate. I think she must have inherited her Papa's camel-esque bladder to be able to last that long.

"Why yes, I do have an awesome bladder, thank you very much"

I am hoping to start work on 2013's vision board soon, highlighting the goals I'd like to manifest in the upcoming year. It may take awhile to compile, given Iyla's Baby Radar, and I will update the progress as able in subsequent posts.

Until then, I leave you with our sleeping beauty, who always seems to come up with the most precious poses while she slumbers:

Happy New Year!