Friday, April 11, 2014

Amy's four month check up

 Amy went to the doctor a week ago. And aced everything. Like I expected anything else.

Weight: 15 lb 8 oz (70th percentile)
Height: 26.25 inches (96th percentile)

So she's pretty tall/long. And skinny. Ish.

Everything else checked out. She's sleeping like a boss. Eating like a boss. Holding her head up like a boss. She's totally winning at life. :) She had to get five (FIVE!!) shots this time, but she handled it fine. "Fine" meaning she cried like crazy and her whole head turned red until she nursed for a few minutes and then she was okay. Then she slept for twelve hours straight that night. Apparently getting shots is exhausting.

In other Amy news, she's still the easiest baby ever. For serious. She's just... awesome. She's happy all day long, smiling at everyone and everything. She's now grabbing things and bringing them to her mouth and is SO thrilled at being able to hold rattles and shake them. I dug out some baby toys for her today and she had a blast reaching for the things I held out for her and grabbing them. Johnny really liked handing her things, too, but he tends to let them go too quickly so Amy dropped them every time. Oh well. Before he knows it, she'll be grabbing his hair and ears and whatever she can get her hands on that he doesn't want her to have. Not too soon, though Amy, mmmkay?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dear Johnny

Dear Johnny,

Yet again, I am apologizing for being late with your birthday letter. This year, though, your sister is my excuse. Her arrival three weeks before your birthday kind of threw me for a loop. You will understand this loop I speak of one day.

For now, though, you are four. You have traveled around the sun four times on this spinning rock of ours. And wow, was this last trip through space a doozy.

Age three was a tough one for us both, to be completely honest. I mentioned in your three-year-old letter that you have your own preferences and personality and are incredibly independent. None of that changed... you just got more vocal about it all. Really vocal. And stubborn, too. You really made it clear this past year that you are your own person and nothing and nobody was going to change that.

You spent a lot of time this year being very particular about how you wanted things to be and how they should be done by everyone around you. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out on which things I should follow your lead and on which I should put my foot down. I remember driving to the zoo one morning and you insisted that we go under a bridge, then over a bridge, then over, then under, etc, all the way to Balboa Park. Unfortunately, that's not exactly possible when driving on the freeway. Cue epic screaming tantrum from the backseat.

There were a lot of epic screaming tantrums this year. And there were a lot of Mommy tantrums as well, though usually internal. For a long time, I had no idea how to respond to your freak outs. Nothing I did seemed to help. Eventually, I just realized that you needed to be pulled closer and feel more connection. I mean, you still wanted to get your blue bowl out "the first time", and there wasn't much I could do to make it the first time again, but you responded better to Daddy and me loving you while you got your feelings out than being ignored.

That was the biggest lesson you taught me this year: Love is always better.

And what an important, yet simple, lesson that is.

So I spent a lot of time and effort working on gently guiding you through life with love and setting limits with love and helping you through your big emotions with love and guess what? It's really helped our relationship. For a while there, we were losing each other. Spending the whole day listening to you scream about the red plate that was dirty or the first time you couldn't have back was making me crazy. And looking at things from your perspective, having a mother that didn't empathize with your sadness over the dirty red plate you couldn't have or comfort you through your frustration over not getting something the first time had to be hard for you, too.

But guess what? We did it. You made me a better person this year in so many ways, as you have every year of your life.

Tantrums notwithstanding, I think the thing I will remember most from this past year is how gracefully you became Amy's big brother. You had already done the big brother thing with Hank, but this time you really got it. And you accepted it. And now you love it. Seeing you love Amy so much is wonderful, it really is. Even when I'm asking you to stop sucking on her cheeks and to get up because you're squishing her a little, just know that I think the love you have for your little sister is beautiful. I really hope that it stays that way.

The smaller, tinier things I want to remember from this year of your life are:
  • How good you've gotten at sitting still and smiling for the camera when I ask you to.
  • Your excitement over seeing your family members. You have gotten everyone's names down and remember everyone from visit to visit. (I will also never forget when you said to Grandma, "See ya, Gail!" It was hilarious.)
  • The look on your face when you ride the bike you got for Christmas. You're pretty cautious at first, but once you get used to a certain course, look out! You will get going rather fast on that bike of yours and the look of exhilaration on your face is priceless.)
  • The stories you make up about your creations. You make structures out of Duplo blocks, couch cushions, Magnatiles, just about anything! They all have functions and you tell everyone about the things you made at home and what they do. Like the really tall tower crane you made out of Duplos. Or the drill truck/tow truck/flatbed truck, also from Duplos. Or the mechanic shop you made from Magnatiles. Your imagination has really exploded this year and it is so much fun.
  • You can't keep your pants on your hips, so your butt crack is constantly hanging out. It's ridiculously cute. Promise.
  • You spent nearly three whole months completely naked. And then somehow that morphed into your ditching diapers. Once you decided were finished with them, you were finished with them. Easy as that (kind of). 
  • You and Hank started sharing a room this year and you completely surprised your dad and me by being okay with the whole thing. You seem to really enjoy sharing a room with your brother. Go figure.
  • Smashburger played a big role in our lives this year due to my exhaustion from pregnancy and also due to your love for their chicken and fries. With too much ketchup.
  • Your obsession with gas, gas stations, and car washes.
  • They way you wear fancy black dress shoes and call them "boots". You correct EVERYONE who calls them shoes. "They're not shoes, they're boots."
There were so many good times with you this year. So many small moments that I will cherish forever. You had so many firsts this year, as well as a lot of lasts.

I love you so much, Johnny. If could have any four-year-old in the world, I would pick you. Every time.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mommy Milestone

I think I'm doing okay at this mom-of-3 thing. No, really, I'm doing fine. Granted, Christmas thank you cards are still sitting on my desk unwritten, there are toys that have been shunted into corners and haven't moved in months, and dinner mostly consists of fish sticks, ketchup (but at least it's homemade!) and the occasional vegetable.

But in terms of patience? And loving guidance? And keeping us occupied? I'm doing fine.

So fine, in fact, that I walked with all three children to Smashburger. By myself. No other adults. Just me and the kids. And it was delightful.

All three kids fit on the double BOB. Amy was in a wrap on me, but wanted to be down after she dozed for a bit.
Then we came home and I put all three kids down to bed by myself. LIKE A BOSS. John was out shooting for the evening, so I did the honors alone. I've done it a few times when John is working late or off to a shooting match, so I've pretty much got it down. Most times, it's not pretty, but it gets done.

Honestly, going from two kids to three has not been horrible. I think there a few reasons why it's been pretty easy for me. For one, Amy's an angel baby. For serious. She sleeps (well, hopefully she'll go back to that after this whole 4 month regression nonsense), she hardly fusses, is always smiley, even when she's only taken a 30 minute nap and has no problem with being in a wrap on me for hours on end. For two, the boys have inexplicably gotten a lot easier recently. Johnny has pretty much stopped running away from us at the drop of a hat and both boys are usually okay with going to bed in the evenings. Granted, wake up time is still pretty early most days (Johnny was up before 5am this morning, ugh), but if bed time isn't a fight, it makes the early mornings almost worth it. For three, I've really lowered my standards a lot now that I have a third baby. As evidenced by the dinners we've eaten this week and the lack of cleaning that has happened in the last four months. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments where I can't look around the house without my head exploding over all the stuff that needs to be cleaned/put away/fixed, but for the most part, I'm getting better at letting it roll.

Thank goodness.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The time Hank broke his arm

Hank broke his arm. Most of you probably know this by now, but I figured I'd blog it for posterity... especially since I completely skipped his whole getting-stitches-in-his-chin experience last year. Oops.

Rewind five weeks. We're at one of the boys' favorite parks. We met up with a friend and her two boys and had a delightful time. Johnny was digging in the sand with his excavator, making sure other kids knew not to get too close to it because it was his. Hank was running around the park and then sprinting straight back when a kid got too close to his front end loader, exclaiming "No! Don't touch my earth-movers!" Even kids who were ten feet away and not even headed in that direction weren't safe from Johnny's and Hank's protective postures. Amy was snuggled in the wrap on my chest, sleeping, as per usual.

We did this for a couple of hours and then our friends went home. I, on the other hand, planned to stay for a while longer with the hope that a long car ride would induce a nap in one or both boys. The boys eventually abandoned their earth-movers, and decided to climb on the play structure there. Hank was hanging from a ring as he has done thousands of times before, but this time, Johnny pushed him pretty hard, and Hank landed right on his left arm.

Unfortunately, I didn't see it all happen. A very pregnant woman was packing up her sand toys and I bent over to pick up a few by my feet to help her out (I was just there and remember looking at sand toys on the ground and debating whether I should just leave them there...) and that's when Hank fell. I knew almost immediately that something was wrong. Hank is a tough kid. He's the kid that whacks his head on something, he says "ow", then shakes himself and gets back up to play. This time, he wouldn't stop crying. His wrist looked a little swollen, but not like you would expect a broken arm to look. However, he wouldn't grab my finger with his left hand and my mommy intuition was going off, so I made a command decision and we left for the ER.

I dropped Johnny off with John and Gail (my in-laws, thank goodness they were able to watch him!) and got John to meet me at Children's Hospital to help with Amy.
In the hospital exam room. He's so tough, this kid. Not crying about his broken arm, but definitely crying about the X-Ray that needs to taken.
A few hours and a lot of tears later, it was determined that Hank had a small, green-stick fracture in his distal radius of his left arm... his dominant arm. He had a cast put on and only asked me to take it off ten or twenty times before realizing that I had promised him chicken strips, fries and a milkshake at Smashburger after we were done. Not bad for a two-year-old with an uncomfortable cast.

He just got it off a few days ago and is doing great. We're still avoiding parks since the bone won't be up to strength for another couple of months and I'm supposed to keep him from climbing too high. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Good one, doc. Hank is... a thrill-seeker, to put it mildly. Keeping him off a jungle gym would be like trying to keep me away from raspberry chocolate truffle cheescake: someone's head would come off in the struggle to get to the prize.

Anyway. That's the story. Not all that thrilling, but we made it through four weeks of a cast without getting it soaked/ruined/broken. I call that a win.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Amy is 2 months old!

My SIL, Lisa, does a cool photo project of her sons every month in the same place so she has images of them growing up on the same couch from month to month.. I'm not going to claim that I'm going to do that, since I'm a huge flake, but I'd like to try. Because it's cool.
This girl. She's stinking adorable. And has more clothes than Kim Kardashian's kid. Okay, that was an exaggeration. But she definitely has enough clothes to wear multiple outfits a day for a month. I'm not one to let such things go to waste, so every time she spits up on her clothes, or the boys smear their food on her, I change her outfit. Because it's fun.

She's honestly the easiest baby I've had thus far. She sleeps a solid six to seven hours at night and is pretty easy to put back to sleep. She takes all of her naps in a wrap on me, which isn't ideal, but I can't spend more than three minutes putting her down for a nap because I can't leave the boys that long. They're... destructive and can do considerable damage in the small amount of time I'm gone. (And in case you're wondering, yes, I've tried childproofing the house, but what I'm I supposed to do about towel rods or light fixtures? I can't really take them down as they are kind of necessary, but the boys have broken a few in the span of minutes.) However, it's kind of nice that she'll just nap on me because she'll sleep wherever we go and can sleep through really loud noises. Like battery-operated fire engines. And her brothers' screaming.

Now, I know that all of that "easy" stuff will change. I'm not naive enough to think that she's going to be easy forever, however it's obvious that she has a really mellow, easy-going personality. She got five shots at the doctor's office last week and she took them like a champ. I mean, she cried, but then was over it about ten seconds after the last shot was administered. She also is super smiley and will smile at anyone who smiles at her for more than 1.5 seconds. The people at our local bagel shop are in love with her. :) Can you blame them?