Thursday, August 30, 2018

Day in the Life August 2018

I've been on my own on weekdays with a 3 month old, 2 year old, and almost 4 year old for a little over a week now, and here's what our real life day looked like in all the mom guilt survival glory.

FYI we usually do some sort of outing but the van was out of commission this week and I learned I am sure not cut out to be a LITERAL stay at home mom.

Some point when it's still dark out to 6:45 am: Remi is on and off fussy and even in bed with me has a tough time settling down. 

6:45am It's time to accept that sleep, for the moment, is over. I hold her in bed and drink cold brew and browse social media. Eric leaves for work just before 7. 

7:15 Baby is finally out. Dalton throws the door to our bedroom open and bolts in yelling "HAVE YOU SEEN MY POLICE DUMP TRUCK?!" Royce is not far behind him, holding out a small jar of crystallized ginger that had fallen off the spice rack for me to open. I give them each a piece. They like it. 

Everyone goes downstairs, except Remi who's now sleeping in the rock and play. We locate the police dump truck in the middle of the kitchen. (Currently, every vehicle gets "police" in front of it and can be used to do police work.) The boys ask for cereal for breakfast and we begin our morning routine of screen time until I feel I am awake enough to parent. 

The very first day Eric began the school year, Dalton suddenly announced he didn't like to watch shows with mommy, only daddy. We watched no shows. Same thing on day 2. I had no idea what to think because I had planned to rely heavily on screen time to successfully complete this two year leave of absence. Thank goodness, on day 3, he decided that "Remi was upset" and she needed to watch his favorite show to cheer up.

Dalton teaching Royce to use the remote. 

Screen time is a always one of the top squares on mom guilt bingo. I'm not immune to the guilt but I've mainly moved past it. I don't stick my kids in front of the tv 24/7, we do plenty of fun non screen activities, so, whatever. We watch a good amount and I don't have any sort of self imposed time limit. I realize kids can learn from tv but let's get real, how much are they really learning from Paw Patrol?

We do only watch in certain spots in our daily routine, to avoid Dalton asking for it constantly and it being a source of meltdowns every time I say no. Before nap and bed we only do one show, because, duh, sleep (and thank goodness for Amazon prime which makes a billion shows with 10 minute episodes). Mornings however, are unlimited. The boys usually get distracted and start chasing each other or something and forget its on before I have to turn it off anyway. This morning they actually brought over books and wanted to all read together!

Much photographer

Plus Royce wandered away and started doing his name and alphabet puzzle so, probably not ruining them with screen time. I'll ruin them some other way.

He can do the whole puzzle himself!

7:30 Remi wakes up for the day and it's time for my favorite part: picking her outfit and getting her dressed! Girl baby clothes are life.

8:00 While she's in her bouncer and the boys are watching shows, I try to not be a total slob and empty the dishwasher. Fun discovery: I left the lemon in my lemon squeezer before I ran it last night!

 8:30 Remi's hour of awake time is up and she becomes quite angry if she isn't napping right away. Swaddle, white noise, snuggles, because we use alllll the sleep crutches here. I tried to do organized naps not in my arms for a total of one day and it was dumb and everybody hated it. The boys napped in my arms for months and I don't think that's ruined them any more than the screen time or epidurals during their births.

Royce is that judgy sanctimommy telling me not to create bad habits. 

Around this nap I lost track of specific times, but we enter the vortex of trying to get everyone dressed, sunscreened, possessing a clean butt, and outside to play.

Somewhere in there she woke up and I probably fed her.

Also in there I made us all eggs.
 The most important part of the morning is where they act extra cute as their insurance for later when they will inevitably do something that makes me want to lose my mind.

10:00ish maybe: We complete several laps around the neighborhood. It's hot AF. Remi is in her favorite nap spot, the ergo. She likes it extra when I'm pouring sweat on her so this morning was her best life.

We play the "stop/go" game (literally just saying stop and go as we go on our walk) in my futile efforts to get Royce to stop running away and disappearing when we play outside. 50% success rate. 

Finally I convince them to sit in the shaded backyard and play with their spray bottles so I can feed Remi and not spontaneously combust.

She hangs out in her bouncer while I make lunch. I loooove how our kitchen looks out to our backyard so I can watch them play while I cook, or in this case, put turkey on bread.
Creeping on them out the window.

You better believe I didn't waste my good Aldi pretzel bread on them.

11:30 They ask to eat outside which I am ALL FOR since there are enough crumbs on our floor as it is. Royce dumps all the sandwich fillings out and eats only mustard soaked bread. 

 12:00 Show before early nap! Usually it's more like 1-2 but we have plans this afternoon. Book, song, and Royce is down in the ten minutes of Dalton's show. The boys share a room at night but that didn't go so well at naptime. Royce really still needs a nap, while Dalton usually only sleeps once or twice a week. So Royce sleeps in his old room/Remi's future room/the "nursery", which is currently just basically an unused crib and clothing storage. We have a comfy recliner in there that Royce sleeps on.

12:15 Book and song for Dalton and BYEEEEE felicia. He plays in his room for quiet time and usually comes out to "go potty" about 45 times, comes out for at least one drink, and then 1-5 random requests like "mommy can you draw me a C after my quiet time?". But overall he plays in his room by himself.

12:30 Remi is actually sleeping on her own! Workout time!

15 minute random Youtube tabata full body workout.
1:00 Zone out, play on my phone, drink my afternoon coffee (cold brew but with creamer this time, I use Pioneer Woman recipe for both). I really thought I was going to use this time daily to clean the house and get organized and take charge of my life far that's not been the case.

1:30 Remi's up

1:45 Royce is up, which also means Dalton's quiet time is over. We play outside a bit and then I get about 4K steps getting everyone in bathing suits to go swimming at our neighbor's pool!

We are so lucky to have the best neighbors! Their pool was 92 degrees so even Remi loved it. Until she got tired and she didn't.

3:45 This is where the wheels began to fall off. Remi was overtired and crying, but wanted to be held, and I needed to change all four of us out of swimsuits. This is also where I could see why people space kids out more so you don't have to do pretty much everything for everyone.

4:00 Get in the car to meet Eric for dinner. Remi is still overtired and now crying harder and I feel terrible for keeping her in the pool too long and also about to hyperventilate with all the crying. We pull away from the house and Dalton loses his mind because him and Royce were sharing grapes and even though he had plenty of grapes Royce got more of the vine. I drive around the block then pull over and break the vine in half while taking deep breaths and trying not to have a nervous breakdown. This settles Dalton down but Remi is still screaming and I'm still using labor breathing to try to get through this car ride. Halfway there she stops crying and falls asleep! This has never happened with her or any of my kids that I can recall. MIRACLE! Life becomes enjoyable again.

4:30 The whole reason we went out for dinner was because a pizza place was having 50% off for teacher appreciation night. Which was ironic, because the restaurant outing that had us swearing off all restaurants for a minimum of five years was a packed Red Robin on teacher appreciation night back in June. We're slow learners.

But this time around was a roaring success. No line, and a huge green area for the kids to play and run around, and we got dinner for all four of us for $11!

It looks like Eric is on his phone here, but he was really just reading a card with the types of pizza.
After pizza, we played outside there for awhile because these children have endless energy.

6:30 Everyone gets home, bathtime for the boys, marathon nursing session/boob catnap for me and Remi. Show, books, songs, bed by 7:30 for the boys. 

7:30 I contemplate trying to get away with another non bath day for Remi, but I can't remember the last time she had one so it feels wrong. She loves her bath and is kicking and smiling like crazy. Until I take her out and then she's pissed. 

8:00 I get her settled down temporarily, or long enough for me to shower anyway. There's something about that swaddled little burrito sucking the pacifier that's just so precious. 

8:30-10:00 Eric and I take turns helping her settle intermittently while we chat a bit and he watches football and I write this post.

10:00 First kid up for the night! It's Dalton with a nightmare. I should probably try to get some sleep before the next wakeup. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Baby update: the fourth trimester

Photo cred: my stepfather - he is super talented!

The fourth trimester is this idea that human babies come out too early. If they stayed in the womb longer their heads would be way too big, so, even though my body gave a hard pass to vaginal birthing, I still say, thanks mother nature or whoever designed this system. However, the repercussions are that instead of merrily galloping away right after birth like a baby giraffe, human babies spend the first 3 months-ish of life thinking they are still a fetus and being mainly pissed off to be out of the womb.

In my experience, this means they just want to be held all the time, which can be easier said than done. The first time, it can be challenging because of stupid know it all sanctimommies, largely internet based, that make you think you are somehow ruining your tiny brand new baby by holding it. Subsequent times, it's challenging because of your other kids demanding attention. This is why my friend's joke they never saw Royce's face for the first 3 months of his life because he basically lived in the Ergo (baby wearing device).

Remington is now 12 weeks and the ultimate mom cliche is TRUE SO TRUE. How did she get this big so fast? While our pediatrician told me that they are only considered newborns for the first month, which was downright disrespectful of her, as she ages out of the fourth trimester, I need to face facts. She's not a newborn anymore. She's officially just a baby.

This seems like a good time to attempt to document some things about the fourth trimester, although honestly the whole thing is such a blur that I can barely remember it, despite it literally just happening. Weird how that works.

People always say babies have their days and nights confused. Is this a real thing? Honest question. In my experience, there's been no confusion, it's just been a 24 hour cycle of the same thing. The difference is that at night I have less patience for it and want the baby to sleep away from me so I can sleep (spoiler: baby don't care what I want). Possibly the baby sleeps a little better during the day because of being willingly held more and walked around and stuff, but day and night are full of frequent wakings and eating.

Passed out in my lap at 3 weeks old.

Weeks 0-3: very angry and confused about being out of the womb. Much crying. Not really getting the whole concept of eating and sleeping being separate events. Nor pooping, for that matter. Example: rooting, suck a little, pop off, doze, eat a little more, doze a little more, poop, diaper change, cry during the whole diaper change because she isn't being held or nursing, repeat 24/7 for 3 weeks. Days and nights are just a constant blur of half asleep (both her and me) nursing, holding, pooping every time she eats, so like 14 times an hour, and crying when (rarely) put down. Hates everything that isn't boobs. This results in hysterical screaming every time she's in the car seat which is stressful AF for the driver.

I put her in the car seat to take a picture on her first day home because she was crying so much at the hospital.

Weeks 3-6 (I think? Maybe only 3-4 or 5 weeks idk.): Sleeping and eating consolidate into mostly separate events. Both still happen around the clock in short intervals, but there is starting to be a little more space in between nursing sessions that yield a full feeding. 

Still very angry at being out of the womb. Rarely awake. If she's not eating or sleeping, she's crying. Witching hour hits hard. Usually several hours of on and off crying before/during/after (my) bedtime, sometimes until like 11pm! The only hope for stopping it some sort of uncomfortable exercise for me, like walking up and down the stairs with her, swinging her in my arms belly down, things like this. Nursing doesn't help because she wants to comfort suck and becomes furious when the milk lets down. Very frustrating when I want to go to bed early because, duh, a newborn is going to wake me all night. Even more frustrating in the middle of the night.  As a first time mom, I would have (and did, since Dalton was similar) panic daily that something was wrong. As a third time mom, while I got really, really frustrated in the moment, I was able to easily diagnose her with being a baby and didn't stress about it.

If I could get to this point, lying down with her, sleeping and not crying, I was happy so so happy.

It is important to note here that I was unprepared for this, because for a middle child, I was gifted a trick baby.

Throwback one month old Royce!

 A trick baby is the kind that tricks you into thinking babies are easy. When given to parents as a first child, often results in smug, know it all, we have parenting figured out behavior. Royce never cried (other than in the car). He just wanted to nurse all the time. This was super easy, because I just snuggled with him, let him nurse, and watched tv or relaxed. There was no walking up and down the stairs at 2am with a crying baby. Every time I nursed him at night, he went right back to sleep. Like literally every time in his entire life. I had no idea this was a thing, because it was certainly not the case with my firstborn. I have a distinct memory of one time, right after I went back to work when he was about 3 months, where he cried and cried for close to an hour, and nothing would soothe him. I was honestly ready to take him to the ER, because he had never ever cried and couldn't be easily and quickly soothed. I love the videos of Dalton's newborn cry in the hospital and knew I had to get one with Royce. But I didn't. Because he didn't cry. So I had kind of forgotten what it was like to have a typical baby that's often pissed off and won't stop crying.

Weeks 6-12: Somewhere in here, probably closer to six weeks, Remi decided to take the pacifier! Hallelujah, diaper changes, car rides, anything where I can't hold her suddenly at least had an option to make them bearable. There is still crying, but not every time. It's becoming less and less. Around 2 months, she's starting to have periods of awake, non crying time. Interactive time even, where she looks at me or Eric, smiles, watches her brothers, and almost starts to feel like a real member of the family.

She still sleeps the majority of her life though.

Rare unswaddled sleeping

Nursing every 1.5-2 hours during the day (and not more, god help me if I try to feed her when she's not hungry, no cluster feeding for this one). Usually every 2-3 hours at night, but, knock on wood, starting to have a longer period of sleep at the beginning of the night. I'm not getting excited about that though, since we are just about a month out from the four month sleep regression. I don't like to talk about sleep because I truly believe in the jinx, but I will say nights are feeling much more manageable. The witching hour is nearly gone.

Napping in her bouncer

Essential baby items, weeks 0-12:
 boobs, arms, diapers, car seat. If you have older kids, the Ergo or some type of baby wearing device. Staircase is helpful to walk up and down with the baby in your arms, but we didn't have one with Dalton and we all survived.

Other random stuff: 

  • She's taken 2 bottles in the last week, and I think 4 or 5 total, and done well! I've been super lazy about introducing bottles because I hate pumping, I hate washing pump parts, and I haven't been ready to leave her until very recently (although I have, for one on one time with the boys).
  • Still in newborn clothes, and newborn diapers. All the adorable 3 month summer outfits we have are likely not getting worn, unless it's still really hot out in November or so. 
  • She loves baths, and has officially been in two pools. Loved the one with nice warm water, hated the cold one (shocking, I know). 

  • That's about it. Babies under 3 months are cute but don't do much. 

    Question: What sticks out to you about your child's/children's fourth trimester? Please feel free to answer if your children are currently any ages 0-50.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Day in the Life-ish

I got some good questions to answer for blog posts on Instagram! I think maybe I will try to do shorter, more frequent posts? No promises.

"Day in the life"

I'm going to hopefully answer this one fully in a month or so when real life begins. The boys are still in daycare at the moment thanks to an extremely generous gift from my inlaws! Seriously I cannot say how thankful I am. Eric is working full time with summer school and then curriculum writing in the afternoons. This is our last day though! I'm so sad to leave our sitter, she's been with us since I went back to work with Dalton when he was 3 months old and the boys love her so much. I attempted to craft her something as a goodbye gift (with a gift card too as a real gift because junk your kids make is not a real gift, sorry not sorry) and it's kind of a pinterest fail but I don't craft.

Here's a general DITL for the sweet life I'm living now with full time child care.

5-7 am: The boys wake up, Eric gets them breakfast/turns on a show for them, I stay in bed with Remi who is usually fussy and wants to be held, so she and I doze in bed together.

"Me fussy? Never!"

7am: Eric leaves for work, I go downstairs, with Remi if she's awake.

Photo by Dalton!

7-9am ish: Watch shows with the boys, play Dalton's favorite new game that he invented "catch car" which is basically tag/hide and go seek with cars, get dressed, drink copious amounts of coffee.

9am-ish: Drop the boys off at daycare

9:30- 5:30: Nursing, netflix, napping, reading, eating, staring at Remi's face in amazement that I created something so beautiful, some sort of 10-20 minute workout, occasionally errands or meeting up with a friend, very very occasionally some sort of housework, make dinner

5:30-7:30: Eric and the boys arrive home, dinner, playing outside, maybe baths, total insanity, bedtime.

7:30-9:30: As soon as the boys are down (all of them, currently Eric is laying in there with them till they go to sleep, not ideal but seems to be the main side effect of the new baby transition so I'll take it), Remi and I go upstairs and I get her in her pjs and the good swaddle that we use for nighttime, and we snuggle in my bed while I eat some sort of dessert. This is usually the witching hour for her, so there's often a lot of me getting up and walking/swinging her. I was trying to watch the Haidmaid's Tale downstairs during this time, but it got interrupted too much with her crying and also I need a break for therapy before I can keep watching because omg. I switched over to Anne with an E.

9:30pm ish: Read until I fall asleep. Sleep until Remi is up to nurse the first time! Eric was able to help a lot more with Dalton at night and usually gave him a bottle for one night feeding which left me with a lot more sleep. Royce was a better sleeper so it wasn't necessary. I could definitely use it this time, but with the boys struggling with sleep, it's all hands on deck and I think I'd rather nurse the snuggly little baby than have to pump and deal with the ones who can argue and negotiate.

That's our current day in the life-ish! Usually once a week I'll do some sort of activity with the boys in the morning and then drop them off just for their afternoon nap, which works great because they take it reliably at daycare and it's generally a disaster at home. Weekends are actually crazier right now because Eric bartends, so he sleeps during the day and I am somewhat solo with the kids. Somewhat because I usually take them out to let him sleep, but he is there and I could wake him with an emergency, like that time Royce locked himself in his bedroom. He also gets up with the boys and dozes while watch shows and makes them breakfast, so I get to sleep in a bit with Remi. He's kind of amazing like that.

I'm also going to use this post to answer another question that isn't going to be a full post: my thoughts on the dock a tot (google it, it's a fancy expensive baby thing). I don't get it? Seems like a super expensive dog bed, but I know people who love it so maybe I'm missing something. I've never even seen one in real life that I can recall. All 3 of my babies have just wanted to be held. They scream when they are put down, no matter how expensive the baby holding device I'm putting them in is. Royce was somewhat ok with it but still only napped while held from approximately month 1-2 of life. The carseat/driving was a nightmare for the first 6 weeks or so with all 3 because it was nonstop screaming and me pouring sweat and having a nervous breakdown. Suffice to say, the solution was just to hold them or wear them, not throw money at more baby holding devices for them to scream in. I've heard rumors of other babies that accept being put down in the fourth trimester, so maybe in that case, the dock a tot is a good invention, but no personal experience.

Did your kids let you put them down as babies? I love hearing stories from everyone!