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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

AWOL

Yes, I have been totally remiss in my postings for a bit. Frankly, I'm completely drained. Kate, my darling daughter, has become an insomniac. Every night when we put her to bed, she will lay there for a short while before crying. When I go in to see what is wrong she says, "Mama, I just can't sleep."

Yes, she is using pronouns now.  Just yesterday she said, "Mama, what are you making for yourself?" as I was making some lunch for...myself!  And today she said, "You and me!" when I asked her a question for which that reply would make sense...just can't remember what the question was now.  So very tired. Or did I mention that already?

Anywhooo. So. Yes. She is taking about 1/2-1 hour to go to sleep every night. And she's waking at 3am and not going back down. At all. As in, no nap. As in, awake from 3am until 8pm (we put her in bed between 6:30-7pm). And when she wakes at 3am she says the same thing, that she just cannot sleep, that she's really trying but she can't. It's really pitiful. And she can't seem to sleep in her crib or in our bed. All of this means that Lucy's sleep is also suffering. She manages to sleep through some of it but it's still not the restful sleep she should be getting. She, though, will fall back to sleep in my bed so she's at least ahead of Kate in the total number of hours asleep.

In what I thought would be a totally unrelated appointment, I took them to a chiropractor today. I went to an informational seminar at their offices one evening a couple of weeks ago and the doctor was talking about how a misaligned spine can affect everything from your bowels to your sleep. Ding ding!  Kate's sleep is atrocious lately and Lucy's been constipated since we brought her home. She poops about 5-6 times a day but they are all tiny, dry rabbit pellets that only emerge after much grunting and squatting.

I know you are happy for that bit of over-sharing.

Since they were offering a special introductory rate (and if we continue to go, our insurance will cover 26 visits for each family member) I signed us up for an evaluation.  Last week I took them in for an initial evaluation and did not mention Lucy's constipation. As he was checking her spine he asked if she was having any trouble with bowel movements because apparently something was misaligned in that region of her spine. I said yes and he said that adjusting her could help to fix that issue.

So today both girls were adjusted which took all of 5 minutes and caused them no trauma or even discomfort. They loved it and were smiley and happy through the entire visit. Lucy pooped three huge poops afterwards, two of which looked like what a normal poop should look like. But the best part was the change in her personality. We had speech therapy today and Annie immediately noticed how much more focused she was, that she looked taller, and how happy she seemed to be (all without me telling her that we had been to the chiropractor that morning).

Now on to Kate's reaction. She's asleep! She actually fell asleep on Jessica at 3:15pm while Lucy and I were in speech therapy.  This was the text I got from Jess this afternoon...

She hasn't fallen asleep on anybody since she was an infant. She's just not that kind of kid so for her to fall asleep on Jess means she was completely exhausted but also relaxed and feeling secure. She woke up disoriented and crying as Jess tried to put her in her crib but was easily soothed back down in the rocking chair and transferred successfully into the crib. No sound machine, windows open,

it was 61 degrees today!!!

door open. And she didn't wake up when we came home and Lucy went running down the hall looking for her.  Nor did she wake as I went in, turned on the sound machine, got out Lucy's jammies, closed the windows, and later, put Lucy down in her crib for the night.

I don't know if it was the adjustment or not but right now, I'm a believer. We're hoping this early sleep doesn't mean another night of wakefulness but we just couldn't bear to wake her since she has such a sleep deficit. Either way, we're going to bed early again so we can be prepared for the worst.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Girly Girls

Pigtails! Finally!
 
 

Yes, I know the parts aren't straight but threading fine hair on constantly swiveling heads through tiny elastics is a sport I will need more experience in.
 Kate's favorite way to remain attached to me at all times is to pull on my shirt.
Alas, the pigtails were short-lived. They were summarily all pulled out by Kate (she pulled out Lucy's too) and they retired to the window for some snow/people watching.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The day got a bit better

It figures that Lucy would sleep in today, until 6:30am. Oh, how I wish I could have done the same! But the day did get better. I had Jessica scheduled to be from 9-5 because of prior appointments (dentist in a.m. for me and speech therapy in p.m. for Lucy). Turns out Annie needed to cancel therapy and b/c of my lack of sleep I cancelled the dentist. Jessica got here a bit early so I took Kate into her room for some reading and hopefully a nap. She fell asleep around 9:15am and I followed shortly.

This was Lucy's first time being left completely on her own without me or Kate around. She did really well. Kate slept until 11:30 so Jess fed the girls lunch and then followed the normal naptime routine for Lucy. Lucy went right down and was just waking up when I woke up at 1:40pm. Both girls were happy to see me and only a tad bit clingy...what I would normally expect but not the desperate clutching that I had feared.

After a small snack together, Jess took them out for a neighborhood walk down the street and I headed out to run a few errands (Len's birthday is tomorrow so this was on my list of things that absolutely needed to get done today!). Got home at 5pm to find the girls eating supper and happy to tell me about their day.

It will be an early night tonight for all of us. Sure hoping I can figure out what is at the root of Kate's waking. I know she is teething (2 year molars are taking an eternity to come in...). She's missing me a lot--Lucy and I have had a lot of appointments in the past two weeks. I haven't done anything with just her so I am trying to come up with something for this weekend that I can do with her while Len plays with Lucy. I do think her lack of quiet time playing alone in her crib may be part of the cause. Even though she didn't nap most days she did sit and have downtime for an hour. Sitting in front of Caillou and reading with me isn't the same kind of rest. Thus far though, I've been unsuccessful at getting her to do that anymore. Lucy just will not stay in the living room and play alone while I prepare Kate for rest-time like Kate will do for Lucy's naptime. So I end up walking out of their room with Lucy and Kate stands in her crib cries and shrieks and generally gets so wound up that rest is not forth-coming.

Anybody with any ideas out there? Getting her down today was easy as Jess had Lucy in the living room. Sigh. I need a full-time nanny for 1/2 an hour/day at naptime. Right.

1 hour, 50 minutes

That's how much sleep I had last night. I got home from my book club rather late and finally made it to bed at midnight. Kate awakened at 1:50am and is still awake now. Len and I both tried for 2 hours to get her back to sleep but she couldn't sleep and wouldn't sit and play. Rather than risk 2 awake babies I finally just got her out of bed at 4am. Here she is, awake and energetic after only being asleep since 7pm. And no nap yesterday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

So glad last week is over!

Wow. What a tough week that was. Kate awakened every morning sometime between 3-5am and most of the time brought Lucy along for the ride. It was so not fun in any way. But get this. Len took over Saturday night duty since I had a night out at a wine bar with the ladies. I got to sleep in Sunday morning. And so did Len. At least, he got to sleep through the night until 6:15am when Lucy woke up. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS??

And yes, 6:15am is sleeping in at our house now.

So I'm thinking the brutal night waking by Kate is over now that her cold is gone. I took over again Sunday night since Len had to work today. And guess who woke at 4:30am? Me! Anticipating the worst. And the worst happened 45 minutes later when both of them woke up. And they stayed awake. I still have been unsuccessful in getting them to just be in the room together to "rest". Lucy does not "rest". She either sleeps or she cries...LOUDLY.  And Kate just sits in her crib and says "All done!!" over and over again.

Ok. I'm done. Now on to more pleasant issues. We had another birthday party to attend on Sunday, this time for Arnav, who is in our playgroup.
It was held at a play cafe (these places are quite popular in the city, especially in winter) and the entertainment was Mr. Singer, a kid's musician.
 
 
The girls liked him but I think it went on a bit too long for Kate's taste. She wandered over to the bookshelf and proceeded to settle in with a book, right in the front of the stage! Hope his ego wasn't damaged by that diss.
 
 
Yeah. That's what happens when you have two English majors for parents. Reading in the middle of the dance floor. Makes me proud and weepy actually!
She even got Lina to sit down and read with her too!
After dancing came dinner. The girls in our playgroup all sat together...Kate, Lucy, Ava and Lina.
 
A little more playtime after supper and then we got the girls home, bathed and straight into bed.

This week is another busy one. We had wiggleworms this morning as usual and then we met for a small playdate with the local adoption group late this afternoon. Most of the kids were domestic adoptions but it was still nice to connect with other moms who have been through the process. Tomorrow we have our 6 month post-adoption visit with our social worker. No, it's not been 6 months yet but since it is due at 6 months we have to meet a month prior in order to get all the paperwork done. Wednesday is a dental appointment for me in the morning (and Lucy's first time being left with a sitter....). Our speech therapy was cancelled yet again (grrrr). Thursday morning is our usual playgroup and Friday is our last visit by Early Intervention for Lucy's feeding therapy (yay!).

Among all of those things are a few fun events for the adults...I have a book club meeting on Tuesday evening (like I actually had time to read a novel...I go for the wine and girl-chat) and then dinner out with my friend Hema on Wednesday night. Len's birthday is Thursday (holler!) and he has a night out with Lina's daddy, Gustav, on Sunday night.

Last week and this week are pretty abnormal for us--we're not usually this busy but everything seemed to just steamroll into a hot mess made worse for Kate's cold, teething by both girls and lack of sleep. Fortunately, next week looks to be much quieter!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Update on sundry items

1. Lucy's rash is gone. I ended up applying the same ointment I used for Kate's rash on Lucy at bedtime and by the next morning it was gone. So, no trip to the doctor was needed. Still have no idea what it was but contact dermatitis seems to be the logical answer for now since the ointment is primarily prescribed for that. She's allergic to something so now it's a process of elimination to figure out what.

2. Kate's cold is nearing the end. She has still been waking every morning at f*cking 4:30am and then not going back to sleep. And waking Lucy. Fortunately, I've managed to get Lucy back down until sometime in the 6am hour while bringing Kate with me to bed. Not exactly restful but at least I'm prone while I'm with her.

3. Lucy had her physical therapy exam yesterday at Children's. She passed with flying colors. You may remember that our speech therapist noticed a few things and recommended we get her evaluated. We had her evaluated by Early Intervention as soon as we got back from China but she wasn't running then, was not able to walk as far as she can now and did not have her ear tubes. She was evaluated pretty thoroughly (we were there with the therapist for a little over an hour). She climbed up and down stairs, ran down the hall, climbed onto a low exam table, and did a plethora of other challenges involving balance and core strength. She did quite well on everything.

4. Sleep is hard to come by. It's almost 9:30pm and I'm logging off and going to bed. In the meantime, enjoy this short clip of our little monkey in action at the park today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Children's books

I added a list on the sidebar of Kate's and Lucy's favorite reads of the moment (and I will update this as their interests change so check back every now and then if you're interested). I only included their top five as otherwise the list would just be ridiculously long. It's funny because Lucy's favorites now used to be Kate's favorites a year ago. Kate can now pretty much read them from memory and quite often does since we read Lucy's favorites at their bedtime. Kate's attention span lasts through not just one Dr. Seuss book but several of them so I read the longer books to Kate while Lucy is napping. Sometimes I will read them while Lucy is sitting with us just to introduce them to her but always alternate a longer book with a picture book that Lucy has chosen.  All in all, storytime is a MUCH more pleasant activity than it was a few months ago.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hellish Valentine's

In spite of yesterday's cute pictures.  It's 5am as I type this. Lucy is fretting about in her crib and I have to type this in small increments to go back in and keep her from getting so loud that she wakes Kate back up. Yes. Back up.  Here's how our Valentine's day/evening went:

Kate caught another cold this weekend so I knew this week was going to suck as her sleep whittles down to just a few hours at night when her nose is clogged.  So, Kate woke at 4:30am Valentine's day and never went back to sleep. Lucy woke up shortly thereafter. Although both girls said they were tired and wanted a nap, NEITHER OF THEM would take one. I finally removed Kate from the room since she has a history of not napping, which only caused Lucy to scream in outrage. I set Kate up on the sofa with her dollies and books and went back in to try to get Lucy to sleep. Was finally successful in that venture.

For 40 minutes. Then Lucy was up for the rest of the day.

By the time Len got home both girls were spinning tops and not in a good way. We got them into the tub and followed the normal routine. Kate fell fast asleep but Lucy cried and carried on for well over 30 minutes. We finally got our supper around 8pm.

Then Kate wakes at 12:30am. And stays up until 4:30am. Her final hurrah was to let us angrily know that she was NOT HAPPY about being made to sleep at such an ungodly hour. Loud enough to wake Lucy. Once Lucy was nice and awake, Kate lay down and fell soundly asleep. Yes. Yes she did.

It's now 5:30am (it's taken me 1/2 an hour just to get this typed) and I've been in their room every single time Lucy stands up and wails at the railing. I've lost count of how many times that is. She has given up calling for Mama anymore and has shifted allegiance to Daddy in the hopes he will have a different program. Alas, Daddy is asleep so she's stuck with me going in every time she stands up to lay her back down and tell her night-night. Fortunately, with each trip it's longer between interventions by me and her whining is at a lower octave.

And we have a full day ahead. Dentist followup this morning, Jessica arrives at 2pm so I can take Lucy to speech therapy at 3pm. Should be an interesting day. I just hope we all survive as I am the one with the least amount of sleep in this scenario.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How many takes to get a good picture?

Only 5 this time around!
 
 
 
 Finally! Happy Valentine's Day!

Playing together

At long last, the girls seem to have stretches where they play together. Some of the time it looks like this video: no intervention from Mama necessary for things to go along smoothly. In fact, they seem to have their own communication for part of the time. Notice, though, that Lucy still follows Kate's lead when playing. As soon as Kate heads for the additional chairs Lucy says, No, No, No over and over again. Then doesn't seem to know what the next step should be once the chairs are in place. I think she's learning HOW to play by following Kate.

And then there are times like this when things don't work out quite as well for us.

In case you didn't catch it at the end, Kate said, "I'm going to go get another pair." I fully expected her to add to the front of that sentence, "Oh, the hell with it."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rash, Part 2

Now Lucy has a rash...has had it for a few days in fact. Unfortunately it's not the same type of rash that Kate had so we're back to searching for the cause.  It seems to move around her body. Sunday it was primarily on her chest and belly. This morning it was in her groin area as well and by this afternoon her chest had cleared up but her back and chin looked like hell.  I haven't changed any of our laundry detergents, soaps, lotions, etc. since we've had her. Dr. doesn't seem to think it is food related so...stumped.

 
Looks awful though and is itchy so we'll probably be headed to the doctor's office for Valentine's day. That should make Kate happy as she has been talking about him for a week:

Kate: I want to go see Dr. Ettner.

Me: You do? 

Kate: Yes. I think he's cute.

Me: (gulp--um, did my 2 year old really just say that??! I MUST REDIRECT...) He is nice, huh? You get to play with the tape measure and have your heart listened to...

Kate: Yeah. Wanna go see him. Lucy does too.

And then Lucy clapped her hands and smiled. Oh dear. We are so in trouble.
 
 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love Letter, Month 25

Dear Kate,

You are twenty-five months old today. I’d like to start out this letter by quoting all of your most common phrases:

NO MOMMY! (Usually you call me Mama. This is the only time you call me Mommy, as if to emphasize it and call attention to the fact that you really mean no)
No Daddy. (Somehow he is exempt from the extra emphasis…)
No Lucy! (With emphasis again…)
Mama hold you.
Mama stay home with you.
I don’t like (want to do) that.
I can do it myself.
I’m having so much fun!
I’ve noticed a couple of things about these phrases. One is that you are now starting to use pronouns in certain scenarios. No longer do you say “Kate wants that” but rather, “I want that”. 
The other is your growing need for independence struggling against your need to feel secure. Very developmentally appropriate but confounding to live with. You want to dress yourself, feed yourself, go to the bathroom yourself…

On that note, I will mention that you pee and/or poop on the potty every day, usually before bathtime, and you ask to wear your new panties instead of diapers on some days
…but more often than not you end up frustrated. Fortunately you usually ask for help and are quite willing to then accept the help. Unfortunately….

There have been Tantrums. Oh my, yes. The Tantrums. They are spectacular in their intensity. I had no idea you could almost make your head pop off your little neck with your rage. The first time it happened you were fighting nighttime sleep. You had napped that day and thus were not tired enough at your normal bedtime to fall asleep and boy howdy, were you angry with Daddy and me for not letting you:

A. Get up
B. Have some more water
C. Read in the rocking chair
D. Read on the couch
E. Watch Caillou
F. Have a diaper change
G. Watch Sundance on the iPad
H. Play with dollies
I. Eat some more supper
J. Go to sleep in Mama and Daddy’s bed

You went through this list over and over again, all the while raging, throwing all of your night-night babies out of your crib, screaming at the top of your lungs and jumping up and down. (I am still amazed that Lucy slept through this.)  What finally worked that night was to wrap you in a big hug as you stood in your crib and tell you the following:

I know you aren’t tired yet and I know it doesn’t feel good to lay down and try to sleep when you can’t. You want to spend more time with Mama and Daddy. But it is dark outside and Night-Night Kitty, Dolly, Ice Cream Cone and CoCo are tired and want to sleep with you. Maybe you could lay down and cuddle them, close your eyes and help them go to sleep. Mama and Daddy will check on you through the night to be sure you’re all ok. Can you do that? What song should I sing while you are settling in?

And OMG it worked. You requested Baa Baa Black Sheep, lay down on your belly, gathered all your toys and we never heard another peep until morning.
You still have major (and many more minor) tantrums throughout the week. But most of the time you respond quite well to me sitting down on your level and reflecting your feelings back to you. Simply an amazing response from someone your age I might add.

So this leads to the other major change in our house this month. I no longer even pretend to have you nap anymore. You go down much easier at night and sleep a solid 11 1/2 -12 hours without waking. Your mood is the same by the end of the day whether you have napped or not so I have ceded the battle. Funnily enough, you love to "play" naptime with your friends at playgroup. Here you are with Lina and Sloane taking a "nap" on the couch.
Your growing independence has its good and bad sides. In the negative department, you have become much more finicky about what you want to eat (yes, those are beets that you loved on Tuesday and hated on Thursday), 
what shoes you want to wear (rain boots every day rain or shine…), and how I need to be spending my time (Mama sit down RIGHT HERE and play with you!)
On the other hand, I love that you want to help with everything. Your favorite things to do are water the plants, load laundry into the dryer, take things to the trash, and carry the toy box at Wiggleworms. This week, while Lucy was taking a highly unusual 2 hour nap, we made muffins together. You lined the muffin tins with cups, helped me stir the batter and then sprinkled almonds on top of each one. The only part of the process you weren’t as thrilled about was eating them.  Sigh.

All of this growing and changing has also led to more independent play. You will read to your dolls in the living room while I spend 5 minutes putting Lucy down for her nap every day.
You can now spend 15-20 full minutes having conversations with your dolls, feeding them, changing their imaginary diapers, putting them down for a nap (oh the irony…), and putting them in timeout (again, irony).  When you aren’t doing this you are lining them all up in a row with various other toys in a pattern that only makes sense to you.
You are fascinating to watch and even more enjoyable to talk to. Your daddy and I remark every day about what a little person you are becoming. You are so delighted by learning and discovering new things. I hope I can continue to foster that, that your curiosity and love of life grows.
It makes you even more beautiful than you naturally are.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Consistency

Or not.

As Heather asked in the comments on this post, "what happened to the rule about if your hands aren't on it then it's up for grabs?" Yeah. Well. Here's the thing.

I have two children who are at developmentally different stages. Kate is just now hitting the point where things need to be lined up and in order. She spends most of her day lining up various object against walls, cabinets and edges of rugs. This is pretty much what should be happening around 2 1/2 years old but she's starting it early.  Lucy wants to do everything that Kate does even if it's not something she's ready for/interested in. Thus, she makes piles of toys right next to Kate and then, while Kate is off in search of something else to add to her line up, Lucy pilfers from Kate's lineup or just kicks it into a jumble. This leads to screaming.

Lots. Of. Screaming.

And relocating of toys. Kate, when she's not lining things up, spends the rest of her time keeping Lucy from taking stuff/moving it around/kicking the lineup and finally just ends up relocating her stash around the house. These pics were taken on the same day (with two costume changes in-between).

We start in our jammies grabbing as many dolls as we can hold...
Lucy has grabbed the stuffed toys (as an aside, notice that she's looking up? When I ask her to smile for the camera she looks up at the ceiling and grins madly!)
After a few piles and a few hours, toys are switched around and this is the line up next to the entry mat. It's looking a bit Jim Jones/Jonestown if you ask me...
 Except that each baby needed a car.
The video I shot was taken in the kitchen. Then the stash was relocated to the living room, up against the chairs. I didn't get the lineup on camera in time but I did get the relocation shots.
 
Kate set up shop in the dining room next with Lucy hot on her tail.
 This was Kate trying to get Lucy to take the dolls Lucy originally had and go somewhere else.
No more pictures as the situation quickly deteriorated into hair pulling and shoving (by Kate) and biting (by Lucy).  And screaming. Have I mentioned the screaming?

Thus, the rule that I just mentioned had to be amended. The rule still holds most of the time but I had to do something about this type of play. And, of course, it causes a bit of consternation on everybody's part trying to figure out how to maneuver this new ground. Am I going to create a hoarding situation? Maybe. So far I have not.

All I do know is that this parenting gig is a moving target. The job description stays the same (like teaching them to be polite, healthy, mindful, intelligent, and socially responsible humans) but the method for attaining those lofty goals seems to change hourly.

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