Oh man, I have really neglected this blog. I actually started a draft a few weeks ago and then lost itâ€¦and while Iâ€™m frequently on my laptop, itâ€™s usually while nursing and with just one hand availableâ€¦not optimal blog writing conditions. Here are some updates â€“ mainly on the kids front:
Andrewâ€™s gaining weight
Weâ€™ve been on breastmilk only since he was a month. By the time he was 2 months, he was 8lb 7.5oz. Still a small baby (I think heâ€™s officially in the .5-1%) but heâ€™s gaining weight appropriately per the curve according to the pediatrician. Heâ€™s nearly 3 months now and I donâ€™t know how much he weighs but he does feel heavier (or maybe we are just holding him and rocking him so much that our arms are tiring out!) Anyway, itâ€™s made life so much easier now that I donâ€™t need to pump or supplement for nutritional purposes. I still try to pump at least once a day, if I can, just to create a freezer stash for returning to work so that Iâ€™m not too much of a maniac about it in the month before returning. Itâ€™s hard to get much out of the pump right now since he still feeds multiple times at night so I am usually pumping after a feed and get 3-4oz at a time.
We were hoping Andrew would follow in Natalieâ€™s footsteps and be an early great sleeper..and itâ€™s not looking like that at all. Natalie started doing long stretches of sleep (like 8+ hours) at 8-9 weeks and was easily sleeping 12 hours by the time she was 3 months old. Andrew is currently 2.5 months old (knock off a month if you want to adjust since he was preterm) but he still wakes up multiple times at night. Even more difficult is that we canâ€™t for the life of us put him down in the PnP or somewhere else to sleep. Aside from the tanning bed for his jaundice, heâ€™s pretty much slept every single night in our bed, quite frequently in the nook of my elbow. (and it gets even more fun when our 3 year old crawls into the bed at 4am and I have to be half awake to make sure she doesnâ€™t accidentally kick him in the head) One thing where he is similar to Natalie so far is being a night owl and late sleeper. Hereâ€™s a typical schedule, starting in the evening:
5pm â€“ put Andrew in a sling or stroller and walk to get Natalie from school. Heâ€™ll usually fall asleep as a result
6pm â€“ Andrew wakes up. I feed him. He usually stays awake
7pm â€“ Eat dinner. Heâ€™s usually fussy while we scramble around with dinner and tradeoff holding him.
8pm â€“ if Iâ€™m lucky, I can rock him back for a catnap
9pm â€“ heâ€™ll wake up and just be fussy and be cluster feeding for the next few hours. I will dim the lights and seem to get him down but he wakes the minute I put him down. Sometimes Iâ€™ll give up and just head to the basement to watch a TV show with Matt while nursing him at 11pm.
12am â€“ Head to bed. Turn off lights. Stick him on the boob. Heâ€™ll finally fall asleep.
4-5am â€“ Heâ€™ll wake up and do a quick (like less than 5 minutes) feed and fall back asleep.
7:30am â€“ Another quick feed. Fall back asleep.
9:30am â€“ Another quick feed. Fall back asleep.
11am â€“ Another feed but then be awake for the day.
At that point, I can usually get him back asleep around 12:30pm when I go out for lunch and heâ€™ll take a good 2-3 hour nap.
While it sucks that heâ€™s still waking up a lot at night, the cosleeping helps since heâ€™s right there and I can feed him pretty quickly. Itâ€™s honestly the best way for me to get sleep myself.
In a few weeks as I start to prep for going back to work, we may shift to a schedule where Matt can handle Andrew between 10pm-1am or 2am so that I can guarantee get sleep during that time frame just in case heâ€™s up all night. For now, Mattâ€™s on Natalie duty and Iâ€™m on Andrew duty which has worked well.
Being on my own with baby
Baby this second time around is certainly easier than it was the first time. Life is crazy, for sure, with having twoâ€¦but Iâ€™m not as stir crazy as I was with Natalie. Itâ€™s helped that my parents were around a lot (a month in the beginning and than 2 weeks later on)—nothing like good ol homecooking from mom or an extra set of hands to hold the baby to run a quick errand. Iâ€™m just not as freaked out as much by needing to constantly coddle baby or worry about them crying.
Parents are a big help
Speaking of parents â€“ yes, they were around a lot. They came out the day Andrew was born and stayed about a month. Then they came back to fly with me to Canada and upon returning home to Seattle, they stayed another week. Just like with Natalie, they were so incredibly helpful. if anything, merely ensuring that I ate a healthy Chinese meal everyday went a long wayâ€¦but thereâ€™s also nothing like handing baby off to take a shower or to do a quick errand. Iâ€™m also glad that they had the opportunity to hang out with Natalie this summer and participate in fun summer activities, like watching her dig sandcastles at Golden Gardens Beachâ€¦or riding a roller coaster at Remlinger Farms. We canâ€™t thank them enough for all their help.
Natalie as big sister
Natalie has been so sweet as a big sister and she just loves Andrew. Often when I pick her up at school with Andrew, sheâ€™ll declare to other kids â€œlook everyone! Itâ€™s my baby brother! Heâ€™s so CUTE!â€ (she often overemphasizes the â€œcuteâ€ in that phrase with a very loud high pitched scream) When he cries, sheâ€™ll say â€œawwwâ€¦baby Andrew is crying! donâ€™t worry! donâ€™t worry!â€ When he is crying, she feels the only solution is to give him a binky (she keeps pronouncing it â€œPinkyâ€)â€¦but sheâ€™s learned a lot from observing us and will try to rock him if heâ€™s in the Rock n Play or will go â€œssssssshhhhh!â€ from across the room (mimicking the shushing sound). That said, Iâ€™ve been impressed by her big sister powers sometimes. The other day, I had just driven 20 min in traffic with both kids and Andrew screaming his head off. I brought him inside and he was still screaming. I then went to get the mail while Natalie started attending to him. By the time I came back in, he was silent and sleeping â€“ Natalie had grabbed a binky, put it in his mouth and rocked the car seat. I came around the corner saying â€œoh wow, is Andrew aslâ€¦.â€ and Natalie looked at me whispering â€œssshh! Heâ€™s sleeping! Be quiet!â€ Sure enough, she miraculously got him back asleep. I said â€œwow Natalie, thatâ€™s impressive!â€ She just gave me this look like â€œduh, of course. I have big sister magic powers. Booyahâ€
All that said, she IS a big sister and isnâ€™t always full aware that sheâ€™s bigger and stronger than himâ€¦so we are constantly yelling at her to be gentle with Andrew or not rock him so hard. Sheâ€™s in a phase where she pokes his face and says â€œare you my father? are you my father?â€ (I think it’ comes from Finding Nemo) Sigh. Itâ€™s all fun though. And how can you not smile at this?
We knew our only options for Andrewâ€™s childcare was either a nanny or a daycare center of some sort. There arenâ€™t many places that do infant care in our neighborhood and all have waitlists that are months long. A nanny alone would be really expensive but we were hoping to find another family to do a nanny share with.
Lucky us â€“ I responded to a post from a mom on the NE Seattle Moms Yahoo group who lives literally blocks away from me. Our needs in a schedule are really similar and we are planning on doing a nanny share together which I am psyched about! Now we have lots to do â€“ search for a nanny, interview candidates and then get all set up for taxes. The mom in my previous nanny share was a rock star for taking on all the payroll + tax stuff. Iâ€™m going to need to learn from her so that I can do the same for this share. Crossing fingers for finding a great nanny!
Natalie starts Montessori
Iâ€™ve talked about Andrew so much this summer that I forgot to mention one significant milestone for Natalie â€“ she started at Montessori preschool! Weâ€™ve known for awhile that we wanted to remove her from the Chinese bilingual school in Bellevue—while we LOVED all the Mandarin she was learning, it was becoming inconvenient to have her in a school so far from homeâ€¦so we sought out a school closer to home and we were able to get her into a school literally right around the corner from us. She started July 1st and seems to be really enjoying it. We LOVE that itâ€™s mixed age so sheâ€™s interacting with other kids as old as 5. We believe she likes it so far â€“ I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s the school or an age factor but Iâ€™ll tell you this: while at the Chinese school, she frequently had a hard time at dropoff. She would cling onto me and not want to step into the school without me. Iâ€™d have to spend 5 min holding her and then sneak out. It was surprising since sheâ€™s quite social and usually has no problems being dropped off somewhere. Since weâ€™ve started at this school, we havenâ€™t had this issue at all for dropoff.
At the end of August, my parents came back to Seattle to accompany me and the 2 kids for a long weekend trip to Edmonton, to attend my (distant) cousin Marilynâ€™s wedding and for Natalie to be a flower girl for the first time. I wasnâ€™t sure if we were going to go at first because of Andrewâ€™s due dateâ€¦but with him arriving a month early, it became much more realistic to go. I needed that extra month as it took 4 weeks for his social security # to even arrive in the mail! (for passport application) Anyway, so off we went in my first international flight with both kids (which was relatively easy since it was just a 2 hour flight and my parents were on board to help). Hereâ€™s a picture from a brief period on the flight when both kids were asleepâ€”a miracle!
I really enjoyed my first trip to Edmonton. We saw many relatives that I hadnâ€™t seen since I got married (so itâ€™d beenâ€¦6 years) Marilyn was GORGEOUS and the wedding was really fun. Natalie was a CRAZY flower girl running all over the place before the ceremonyâ€¦but somehow, I roped her in and she calmly walked down the aisle when it was her turn (although she forgot to throw the flowers)
The reception was fun and Natalie had a blast dancing. I got to see my cousin Anthony which was awesome and we had lots of good food to eat.
Edmonton is known for its mall which is MASSIVE. Thereâ€™s an indoor amusement park, water park and all sorts of other attractions. On Sunday, my parents watched Andrew while I took Natalie into the waterpark which was a ton of fun. I was amazed to see her be fearless going down some waterslides that started off at 2 or 3 stories high all by herself. She also loved sitting in a tube while we battled the waves in the huge wavepool. It makes me really want to finally enroll her in swim lessonsâ€¦but with ballet + gymnastics already on the dock this fall, itâ€™s hard finding time. Plus, weâ€™ve talked about bringing her back to soccer. sigh, so many activitiesâ€¦
Other random adventures
Aside from traveling to Canada, weâ€™ve stayed at home mostly this summer with baby and only done short little daytrips around the area. For exampleâ€”in July, we picked berries with the Joes.
In August, we had a few day beach trips with the gorgeous summer weather in Seattle. Here I am chilling out with Andrew at Golden Gardens.
In September, we went to the Evergreen State Fair for the first time with the Hallettsâ€”lots of fun with the kids and a really nice fair to attend: plenty to do and not too crowded.