Monday, August 30, 2010

All Done Hog-Dog!

We tried out the new fire pit yesterday! Daddy is an excellent fire pit builder, but thankfully Mommy is a Girl Guide and actually knows how to get a fire going.

Declan failed to see the appeal.

Talia was right in the action like a dirty shirt.

She was too distracted by the fact we were eating outside to be very interested in her supper, she had about 3 bites and declared "All done hog-dog!"
But she kept running back to her little table for another bite here and there. We did manage to get her attention with the S'mores, though. She was super excited to have a "tweat!" (treat) and especially thrilled to taste the delicious Cadbury chocolate for the first time - "More shock-it, peeeeeeeze!"

When we were talking about putting in a fire pit, Rainer and I were so excited for the kids to be big enough to have wienie roasts in the backyard. I love when a plan comes together, don't you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shine A Little Light On The Situation

Talia has been rockin' the big girl bed for about 2 weeks now.

You may remember we put her in the toddler bed right after Christmas so that we would have a crib for the new baby who was coming in February. She took to it right away, it was no problem at all..... for the first week or two. Then she realized she could get out of it. Anytime she wanted. So we had a few nights of Supernanny Boot Camp and solved that problem. Then I was put on bed rest, and everything fell apart. Rainer had to put her back in bed about 85 times before she would give up and fall asleep on the floor. She started getting up at the crack of dawn and wouldn't go back to sleep. We found her around the house in the middle of the night - once in the dog bed, once in the hallway under the nightlight. What happened to that sweet little girl who slept for 12 hours straight at night, and took every opportunity for a nap? She had turned into a cranky bear overnight. Literally.

After a few days of this, we decided the last thing we needed when we were weeks (or maybe days) away from bringing home a newborn was to disrupt the excellent sleeper that we already had. So we borrowed a crib, Rainer set it up in the big-girl room, and Talia had a 4 hour nap that afternoon, followed by a 14 hour sleep that night.

Maybe me going on bedrest (and Talia suddenly going to daycare full-time) was too much of a change. Maybe she just wasn't really ready the first time. Needless to say, we were not anxious to repeat that experiment.

Still, a few weeks ago we decided it was time. She is really not a baby at all anymore. It seemed weird to put a potty-trained little girl to bed in a crib every night. So we brought the bed upstairs and tried again.

Talia was thrilled.

It's been a little over 2 weeks now, and so far so good. She just started getting out of bed again at bedtime, but the worst night was only 3-4 times before she gave up and stayed put. She is getting up earlier during the week, but I'm pretty sure that's because she hears Daddy's alarm clock go off, or the shower, or something that signals to her that someone else in the house is awake. So that's fine. We had a minor containment issue during naptime yesterday:

but I sort of expected she wouldn't sleep as she had had a catnap on the way home from the mall at lunchtime.

But the last 2 nights have been weird. Apparently at some point she unplugged her nightlight. Then if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she's scared because her room is so dark, and cries her little heart out. I'm not sure what to do about this. I don't want to leave the nightlight in her room, because I don't want her playing with the outlets, unplugging the light - or even worse, trying to plug it back in. But I also don't want her to be scared if she wakes up during the night. There's also a nightlight in the hall, but apparently that's not enough light to keep her from getting scared. The main hallway light will keep everyone else (ie. Declan) up, so that's not a great option. I'm thinking about one of those battery-operated lights that you push on. (You remember the infomercial, right? Perfect for closets and RVs?) Let's hear your suggestions, blog friends.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's A Mama Gotta Do......

..... to get some smooches around here?

We knew Talia was a joker from early on. She started giving big, wet kisses at about 7 months old. By 9 or 10 months, she was swooping in for a big smooch, then turning her head at the last second and laughing hysterically. What a tease. I, of course, thought this was awesome and gave her a big reaction everytime, which only encouraged her.

She's still making me work for kisses at the ripe old age of 2. Here's our conversation most mornings:

Talia: Mommy! I wake up!
Me: Yes, I see that, sleepyhead. Good morning! Do you have a kiss for Mom?
Talia (smirking): Mommy want some kissy?
Me: Yeah! Gimme a smooch!
Talia: Mommy cry!
Me: Boo hoo hoo. Mommy has no kisses.
Talia (smooch): Dere go, Mommy. Mommy kissy.

What a kid.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mmmmm, pizza.....

When I'm home on mat leave, suppers are largely my responsibility. Rainer is pretty good in the kitchen and is more than happy to help out, but by the time he gets home I like to have supper ready. That way we can eat together as a family at a reasonable hour, and he gets to spend as much time with the kids as possible, since he goes from supper straight to bath time and then to putting the kids to bed. (Giant step backward for my feminist side to have a hot meal ready for my husband? Whatever. Someone has to feed this crew, yo. And my husband does all the bathing & tucking in - fair trade, if you ask me!)
Anyway, for 2 or 3 days, starting late last week, Talia would randomly stop whatever she was doing and ask "Mommy want some peeta (pizza)? Mommy cook? Cook peeta?" Sometimes, like at 8am over bowls of cereal, pizza would be the furthest thing from my mind. Sometimes, like at 5pm when I was staring at my weekly menu plan and thinking that evening's supper was the last thing I wanted, pizza seemed like a really, really good idea.

So to cap off a fun weekend (Pool party! Pool party!) we thought last night we would make all of Talia's wildest pizza dreams come true. We tried to set up a pizza party with Auntie, Cuncle and cousin Lanny, but that didn't work out. We usually make our pizza, but we were all tired from a weekend of sun, fun & yardwork, so we ordered pizza from our favourite little place in the next town and Daddy ran over to pick it up. Tally was nearly wild with excitement at the prospect of pizza. Despite what her big toddler belly would have you believe, she mainly eats really healthy stuff. She's a great eater, but doesn't get a lot of processed and/or junky things. She's never quite warmed up to fast food (although she has come around to the french fry lately) and we don't often go out to eat or get take-out.

Rainer and I were looking forward to seeing Talia gobble up her pizza, but the second she tasted her pizza she was all "What's dissss? Ou MY peeta????" - clearly confused by this imposter pizza, when she had specifically asked for Mommy's peeta. Sigh. In the end, she ate the peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Not the stellar performance we were expecting. But I suppose there are worse things than a little girl who spits out pepperoni and bacon, right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Don't Let the Cheeks Fool You.....

As some of you already know, we have had a bit of a scare recently with Declan. Everything looks fine now, but here's the story.

Declan was a pretty little guy when he was born. He had those big cheeks right from the start, but the rest of him was really skinny. When he was born, even though he was right on schedule according to the ultrasound, etc., the hospital insisted he had the tone and feeding ability of a preemie. (They actually said the same about Talia when she was born exactly on her due date, so my doctor thinks that's just the way I grow babies.) We had to supplement him a little bit in the hospital to get his weight loss stabilized, but once we got home he gained like a champ!

He gained over a pound and grew an inch in his first 2 weeks. It was nice to have a baby that grew well, since Talia had slowly chugged along and struggled to gain every ounce until she started on solid food at 6 months. As we continued to have his regular appointments, his growth seemed to slow down a little bit, but he was still doing well - well above the "minimum" weight gain they like to see in little babies.

We actually think he's huge, compared to Talia at this age. He wears clothes that she wore when she was over a year old, after all. The night before his 6 month appointment Rainer and I were talking about how nice it was to have a chunky little guy that always passed the weigh-in with flying colours! I mean, look at him!


We went to the appointment, and imagine my surprise when instead of gaining like a champ again, we realized he lost weight. A bunch of weight. He weighed less at 6 months old than he did at 4 months old. Declan was a measely 12lbs!!!

Our doctor is so great, she did her best to keep me calm while she gave Declan a very, very thorough check-up. Since she is also my doctor and Talia's doctor, she knew our history of Talia being a slow gainer, and had suspected at one time that my milk just doesn't have enough fat. She said she would have been satisfied with that explanation if D had simply started to gain more slowly, but the fact that he actually lost weight was concerning. (Usually she gives us the option of being referred to a specialist if something wonky comes up with one of the kids, but this time she was all "You're going to take him to see Dr. M. My office will call you and tell you when.")

So she sent us home with instructions to fatten this boy up. Easy enough, right? Increased nursing, bottles of formula, solid food. Except once we got home, it wasn't that easy.

Declan had been on solid foods for about 2-3 weeks already. He ate a ton, 3 times a day. So the next step would be to ramp up the solids by offering higher-fat foods. Here's the thing: I. JUST. CAN'T. put butter in the baby's cereal. Just can't. So I emailed the dietician at my work for some other suggestions. Even after I was armed with those other suggestions, you can't just give a baby 6 new things in one day, you have to introduce them one at a time, with a bit of a break in between the introduction of each new food, just in case an allergic reaction pops up. So it will take some time before we have a good rotation of all these new, higher-fat foods.

Next stop, increased nursing. Again, this sounds easy enough. But you're forgetting Declan is one of the McRainer Super Sleepers. I have him on a good routine of waking up, nursing, playing, going back to sleep. 3 times a day he also gets solid foods after nursing. When he's full, he plays until he gets tired, and he gets tired instantly. When he's ready for bed, he's hysterical. He will not nurse, or cuddle, or play around. He screams "PUT ME TO BED AND LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" repeatedly until you do exactly that. Once he's swaddled and has a soother, he calms himself down and is usually asleep before I leave the room. He sleeps for hours and hours, morning, afternoon, and night. So when, exactly, will I squeeze extra nursing into that routine? Never. That's when.

Okay, third method of increasing his calories: supplemental bottles of formula. My first hurdle with this, of course, is getting over myself and giving him the damn formula to begin with. But the boy has to stop losing weight, so get over myself I do. But then I have the same problem as with nursing - when am I going to squeeze in some formula? I would rather he fill up on breastmilk and solids when possible. I don't want to start replacing nursing sessions with formula, that doesn't make any sense to me and will only hurt my supply. So I decided I would do the formula by topping him up with a bottle after I nurse him for the last time at bedtime. Every night we tried to give him a bottle after nursing. Once he took 3 ounces, a couple of times he took two ounces, usually he took less than half an ounce or refused the bottle all together.

So, just to review, that meant that increasing the nursing wasn't really working out, fattening up the solids was possible but would take awhile, and I was sometimes squeezing supplemental formula into him 1-3 ounces at a time. I felt pretty discouraged at this point. I had a baby who seemed happy and content, he slept well, seemed to be eating as much as he wanted to be, but was still losing weight. I couldn't figure out how to get more calories into him. I believe really strongly in the benefits of breastmilk, but could my milk be the problem? Was it time to switch him to formula? Or was the weight loss caused by a much more serious problem, like kidney disease or a tumour?

Then I got the call that the specialist wanted to see Declan on Tuesday - that meant we really had 4 days between appointments, and hadn't been able to do much differently in order to get D's weight up. I braced myself for the likelihood that he had continued to lose weight, and that he would be sent from the specialist's office across the street to be admitted to Children's Hospital.

So imagine my shock when they weighed him Tuesday morning and he had gained weight! Tons of weight! Like, a pound and a half!! I was also super delighted when the specialist came in and said "Really? This is our underweight baby?" Of course, once he had Declan stripped down and pinched him all over (especially on his cute little baby butt) he said "This boy needs a lot more meat on his bones!" He's not where he needs to be yet, and they want to see his weight level out, make sure it doesn't dip again, etc. But he has stopped losing. That is a great sign, which really means it's very unlikely that the loss was caused by a serious problem. Instead, it's more likely that being ready for solids, the 6 month growth spurt, and a possible change/dip in my milk supply all happened simultaneously, creating the perfect storm for weight loss - and it just took him longer than most babies to recover. A slow-to-gain baby, now THAT, I can handle.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Discipline in our house is largely about choices, as in "Talia, you can either pick up these blocks like Daddy asked you to, or have a time-out. Which is it going to be?" (Of course, when she picks time-out, she still ends up having to pick up the dang blocks anyway, which seems like a raw deal if you ask me, but she hasn't figured that out yet.)

Apparently Talia gets a sufficient number of time-outs as I routinely notice her giving her babies time-outs. She puts them in the time-out spot and tells them "Two minutes!!!" - then goes and presses random buttons on the microwave as if she's setting the timer. It's pretty cute.

And as if that wasn't enough to prove she understands how the time-out works, last night at supper she kept trying to reach out and grab my steak knife as I kept moving it further and further away from her. Finally, she looked at me and said very sternly "Mommy! You give knife ME, or TWO MINUTES!!"

She's going to be a great Mommy someday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Go West

2 weeks ago, I was chatting with m'Mama about our upcoming visit to GP. A little girl that I used to babysit is all grown up, she's now a DENTIST, and was having a wedding reception at her parents' farm after getting married in Italy this summer. (Yes, that makes me officially old. I used to babysit a dentist. Sigh.)

Things took a turn for the worst at about this point:

Me: Well, we'll see you in a week from today!
Mom: You mean less than a week.
Me: No, today's Friday. We'll be in sometime on Friday night.
Mom: The wedding is on Friday.
Me: WHAT?!?
Mom: Yeah, August 6th. Friday. You'll have to come Thursday.
Me: Crap.

You see, my darling husband is a busy accountant at a company that has a July 31 year-end. That means his busiest time is the couple of weeks immediately after July 31, which means there was no way he could take a day off work in the first week of August. So I braced myself for a solo trip out to Grammie and Grampy's with my small fries.

Since I was taking the kids by myself, and I'm a lady of leisure who doesn't work and all that, I thought we would go a little bit early and have a visit with Grammie & Grampy. We left Wednesday afternoon at naptime. Since it's a 4 hour trip, and the babes typically sleep for 3 hours anyway, it all worked out. I usually like to stop halfway to GP but with 2 still sleeping kids in the back of the van, I pushed through. Talia woke up around Ste. Rose and Declan woke up around Dauphin. We rolled into town just in time for supper and I was able to get the kids to bed around their regular bedtime, although Declan had a hard night.

I thought Talia would be really missing her Daddy, but the first night all she asked was "Where Nernie? Where Puppy?" (We left the boys home with Daddy - Grammie & Grampy don't have a fenced in yard, and Ernie likes to chase cars, so the dogs are a real PITA when we go to GP.)

On Thursday morning we were up at the crack of dawn. The babes usually sleep through anything, but we were downstairs and it sounded like a pack of elephants was trampling the house above us as soon as G & G got up, so we all got up. We spent Thursday playing with the kids from Grammie's daycare. My healthy little Talia, who makes her own daycare provider pull her hair out because she refuses to eat things the other kids typically love (chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc.) succumbed to peer pressure and ate a chicken finger for the very first time. Well, part of one. Thanks, Grammie. (And she still didn't like it, and still won't be served them at home, so let's hope she's not any closer to acquiring a taste for them, mmmmmmmmkay?) After supper G & G wanted to take Talia for an ice cream, then turned her loose in the sandbox. After a nice bath, she went to bed early, played out from her big day.

Declan, on the other hand, was a terrible sleeper at G & G's house. He hates the playpen. HATES IT. Oridinarily he's the type of baby that needs to be swaddled, given a soother, and left to his own devices to fall asleep - just like Talia at this age, he hates to be rocked, cuddled, etc. When he's tired, he wants you to PUT HIM DOWN and LEAVE HIM ALONE. In fact, he will scream these directions at you until you figure out what he's saying and do it. Except, apparently, in GP. He was too much of a princess for the playpen, too much of a princess for the cold basement, too much of a princess for the warm upstairs...... sigh. Every nap & bedtime was a big fight, he was a lousy sleeper the entire time. At home he usually sleeps 3 hours in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon, and 11 hours at night, so I was NOT used to the fussy little guy that showed up in GP, that's for sure.

By Friday I was pretty tired after Sir Declan's refusal to sleep for the past couple of days. I was nervous about what that would mean for the wedding, because if he was miserable, we would just come home - which would mean my big solo trip to GP was for NOTHING. Nevertheless, on Friday afternoon we all put on our finest summer attire, put the potty in the back of the van, and headed out to the farm.

We had a great time. I don't go back to GP very often, and when I do it's for such a quick visit that I rarely even have time to see a few friends, never mind going to big events and seeing lots of people. So it was really nice to see so many familiar faces. Out of the 500ish people there, it seemed like I knew about 475. When we first arrived, Talia strutted her way through the crowd like she owned the place, and it was fun to watch people's reactions to her. When people saw my little mini-me, some actually gasped out loud and looked like they'd just seen a ghost - they thought they had lost their minds and gone back in time 30 years to when I was 2. It was crazy that people instantly knew she had to be mine, before they saw or recognized me. Once word got out that I was there with the kids, I barely saw Declan for the rest of the night. He was whisked away by a woman I used to babysit for, and passed around the crowd. Someone brought him back for his supper, then someone else took him again. I spent my time chasing Talia around the farm, running her back & forth to the potty in the van, and catching up with people - some I hadn't seen since our wedding, some I hadn't seen since leaving town 14 years ago.

We stayed long enough to see the first dance (Talia tried to get up on the deck to join the bride & groom) and have a good visit, and were back at G & G's by about 10pm. Talia was all wound up and didn't go to sleep until almost 11. Declan, again, was a lousy sleeper and I was up with him most of the night.

On Saturday, I got us mostly packed up while Talia slept in until 11am. We had a nice BBQ lunch and then hit the road at naptime. Thank God Declan finally slept! He slept until we were about 15km from the perimeter, then woke up screaming so I had to pull over and feed him. Talia only slept about 2.5 hours but is so good in the car, just played with her teddy bear, looked at books, etc.

When we finally got home, Talia walked in the house and said "Yay! Daddy home!!!" which is pretty hilarious, since she was the one that was away. But he knew what she meant.

All in all, it was a good trip. I'm glad we were there to see Ashley get married, and it was great to see so many people from home. And now that Declan is finally settling back into his good sleeping routine (11 hours last night! Woo hoo!) and I'm actually recovering from this whirlwind visit, I'm ready to say we'll be back again.