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On Wednesday my college friend and her kids came for the day. They taught my kids that if you hum at snails, they come out of their shells for you. It actually seems to work!

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tiger boy

We have friends who live in Auburn AL and sent us "tiger tails." Casper already had stripey orange and black Hanna pjs, and I ordered Dillo some too, since he looked really goofy with his tiger tail stuck in the butt of red and green Christmas pajamas. Both are now planning to be tigers for Halloween - and there are some really good face-painting tutorials online.
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Dillo is two and 4.5 months now - almost exactly the age I weaned Casper. I've been ready to be done with nursing for at least 6 months now, but he is so not ready. He LOVES nursing. He doesn't ask for it a lot during the day, and if he does he generally accepts the explanation that we nurse at bedtime. (If he does nap during the day, I do usually nurse him down for that.) But he expects to nurse at bedtime, and if he wakes during the night (he increasingly doesn't), and at wake-up. (We have a terrible thing going on right now where he sleeps through until 4:30 or 5, then nurses for as long as I'll let him, then is awake for an hour. If I can wait out the hour he'll go back to sleep for an hour or two; occasionally we get up for the day. The timing is sucky for work schedules, though - this morning he was up from 5-6, then fell asleep, so I had to wake him at 7 and he was a disaster to get ready.)

After I weaned Casper she spent the next six months unable to fall asleep except with her finger in my belly button. Dillo's apparent ready replacement for nursing is going to be putting a hand on my breast and going to sleep that way - sometimes when I make him stop nursing he'll ask for that. I am SO NOT going to have him falling asleep with a hand on my breast for the next six months.

I'm not sure how I'm going to manage this, but it needs to end soon. He's just not going to like it.
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We're back from Athens again. The inspection was good, no real surprises. The closest thing to a surprise was polybutylene pipe in the upstairs bathroom, but the connectors are copper which is good. Just something to keep an eye on. It will need a new roof in about 3 years, which was known, and the front porch needs some serious understructure work and new decking, which was obvious when one stepped on to it. Job interview went well. I'm not counting on getting the job, but I have good hopes.

I think the money is going to come together okay for us to actually put 20% down. Do people feel uncomfortable about me talking about the finances of this house? I know there's a taboo about talking about money, which I kind of like breaking, and I also think it's fascinating to look at the way three factors - family support, thrift, and luck - are letting us buy this nice a house. Kind of sociologically analyzing our own situation. I could write a long post, but I worry that people would take it as bragging. I feel that there's value in talking explicitly about this kind of thing, to de-mysterize it.

Anyway, the kids. Casper said in the car on the way to Athens Thursday night: "Mom, you are all ass." We think that came from the YMCA... also, I am so NOT all ass that it is doubly funny.

(Another funny, I tried on some J. Jill knit pants at the mall today, and I tried a size too small but even so I could tell they were going to be clingy as hell and revealing of every panty line and body bump, so I asked the saleswoman, "What do people wear under these?" and she said, "Um ... underwear?" I think even a thong would be problematic, so it's probably got to be spanx of something horrible like that. So, no.)

Dillo is getting to be such a big boy. At the mall he ran straight in to the play area and even was able to climb on things by himself. he last time we were there, only a couple of months ago, he was too shy and clung to a leg. And this morning we were out to brunch and he sat at the kids' table like a grown-up boy. He talks and talks, not always very intelligibly still. At this age, Casper had full grammatical sentences, pronouns, verbs, and was clear as a bell, so I need to keep reminding myself that Dillo's mumbley two and three word phrases are actually average to above average. Another way he and Casper are different is in their play - she has always been into ordering things and creating scenes with little dolls and bears and eventually making them talk to each other and do things. Lots of lining up toys, arranging them just so when she was almost two. Dillo likes to disassemble and reassemble things, most notably the two Lego Duplo Thomas trains we have. He throws things a lot - balls and silverware - and drives cars and planes and any vehicle. He loves to play outside and begs for playground in this was he and Casper at this age are alike). He "draws" on paper - does seem to know a few colors - and asks me to draw cats all the time. Eating out he loves french fries, won't eat much else at fast food (with all this driving there has been a sad amount of fast food lately). Up and down steps, with a hand if they are steep. A bit cautious physically, but once secure in his ability he is all out. Loves to run, sometimes saying, "Running! Running!"

I really feel as he is approaching two that his babyhood is going. I feel lke our family is changing into a family with two kids, not a family with a kid and a baby. Dillo and Casper deal well together, normal squabbling over sharing stuff, but they also have fun together increasingly.

Kid update

Apr. 28th, 2008 02:29 pm
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Last night Casper finally learned how to operate the mouse, so she happily spent, um, two hours watching Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers on Youtube. I'm glad she's learned how to mouse competently, but now I have to think a little more about the web for her. I should look into filtering YouTube, for example; there was a Chip & Dale fanvid set to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun that included what I think were fanart pictures of the female rodents (are they all meant to be chipmunks?) in bikinis that I thought was a little questionable.

Parenting is hard. Thanks god she can't read yet.

She spent the weekend whiny, whiny, whiny. We decided to give up soccer, as it was causing too much stress for all of us (the coach actually suggested it, and said we could ask for a refund, which I don't think is worth bothering, since she does love the jersey, anyway.) Something's up with that child, and I'm not sure what to do about it. I guess some one-on-one time would help; mr. flea worked most of the weekend, so I was double-teamed. Things I must do: enforce reasonable bedtime, think of some way to extricate ourselves from the candy demands (we are still rewarding poop in the potty with candy.) She told me this weekend that she wants to be nocturnal when she grows up. I told her teenagers are nocturnal but she got confused and now thinks that cheerleaders are nocturnal, which makes her want to be a cheerleader even more. Heh.

Dillo, in contrast, is pretty easy. He naps easily, generally goes to bed easily, has been sleeping better (up only once in the night, fairly often now; had been twice). He loves playdoh and his trains and just going about doing little busy-ness. He's been dancing like a hilarious hoe-downing farmer to the music-making toy my father got him at Christmas lately (video to come). He's a happy, expressive little dude, not much angst. He's still quite shy in regards new places, new people or even just lots of people, and big noises (honking the car horn makes him cry), but this existential angst that Casper's got, he ain't got. It's a delightful age, with the communicating, too.

tweet tweet

Apr. 6th, 2008 07:10 pm
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Recently Casper decided to be a bird, and made herself wings out of a scarf. Dillo copied immediately, of course. This is a very quick video that can't really capture it.


Mar. 11th, 2008 10:52 am
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This cold, and daylight savings time, are still kicking my ass. We woke up this morning with me and the Dillo in my bed, mr. flea in Casper's bed, and Casper on the couch. I'm not sure exactly why except that Casper said her sheets were all wet and sticky so she couldn't sleep in her bed. Monday at school took a lot out of her, and the DST means it's hard to get her to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I am at work and not sure I possess the necessary brain cells to sort the FedEx receipts into numerical order, which you'd think would be a manageable task, no? I did haul some ass last night and get the bills paid and some cold water laundry done so I will have bras to wear.

Oh! Dillo is 20 months today. He's saying more words all the time, very good at communicating, not so good at pronouncing. We've had a temporary lessening of the lying on the floor drumming heels sort of protesting, though since DST we've had impossible nights. We just had to let him cry himself to sleep at bedtime last night. He ate cheerios from a bowl with milk using a spoon with me this morning, sitting on his stool in the kitchen. There was milk everywhere, of course, but still, pretty dextrous. I think he's starting to do that toddler-becoming-two thing where they get less chubby and more long - though he still sort of resembles a Campbell's Soup Kid. I am interested to see how he handles the coming Easter trip to Cleveland, since he is so shy in new situations.
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The other day, Dillo finished his wake-up time nursing in our bed, and mr. flea reached over and put a hand on my breast. Dillo got really mad and started hitting him. (We have been having a lot of hitting - whapping, really, as it's diffuse and not painful - when Dillo doesn't get what he wants.)

Just now I was getting dressed and Dillo was sitting on the bed observing. When I took my top off, he said, "HA!" and clasped his hands together under his chin in an anticipatory fashion.

I can't remember if Casper went though this same phase of absolutely adoring my breasts and considering them hers, but I do seem to find it even more amusing since Dillo is a boy.
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Dillo is still in GO GO GO mode. He gets excited and bounces up and down while sitting - he was very wound up on Sunday night (past his bedtime) and was practically levitating, and also crawling over to Sumi (his birthday twin) and pressing his face into her, which is how he shows love.

He can clap, and also likes to take a toy in each hand and clap them together.

He is increasingly interested in pulling up on things and standing. Not really cruising yet, but I think he will walk sooner than Casper did (13 months).

At day care he steals pacifiers and toys, tries to take finger food from the bigger babies (we've given them the okay to give him finger foods).

At home we hear the smack smack of his hands on the bare floor as he crawls - usually heading for the bathroom, where he likes to play with the bath toys and is fascinated by the metal strip with brads that separates the linoleum from the wood floor.

He'll eat almost anything, though he does not like yogurt and hasn't really gotten into single beans or chick peas. He's rather messy and indiscriminate - he grabs a fistful of cheerios and half of them end in his lap. In contrast I remember Casper as much more focused on individual food items (and by this age, wanting to feed herself and clamming up.) His willingness to eat had made the course of amoxicillin he's on pretty easy to administer.

He's sleeping like the very devil right now. I think the GO GO GO bleeds over into the sleep. He's worse than he's ever been, and that includes newborn. And hungry to a degree he hadn't been in the night - he'll nurse both sides every 3 hours, and sometimes wakes wanting to nurse an hour after I nursed him (and then yells like crazy when I won't nurse him, but I really try not to). We are all tired - Dillo is up by 5:30 most days and mr. flea and I are getting up with him, and Casper is spontaneously getting herself up by 6 often enough (and then still not going to sleep any earlier).

Casper was sent home from school yesterday for throwing up all over the place (I got there and she looked at me and said, "I barfed!") but I think it was probably coughing up yucky phlegm that did it and not a stomach thing, as she was fine the rest of the day. She's had goopy eyes the last two mornings, which I *think* are more congestion and not pinkeye. (Well, they aren't pink.) We've sort of had another phase of teenage melodrama from her lately - some testing deliberate rudeness, some total breakdowns when any little thing doesn't go her way, some jealousy of the Dillo (trying to push him out of my lap, etc.) I think more sleep would solve some of it, but she's a toughie. Last night I was lying with her dozing, and she was still wide awake when Dillo cried to nurse at 10pm.

American Girl sent us a catalog yesterday - our first - and Casper was fairly captivated. She thinks the colonial dolls are princesses.

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I really like this picture of me: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/441873656/

Can you tell I have new highlights? http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/441873648/

Dillo is on the move: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/444202956/ and following...

He's just about crawling. He's slow and clumsy and gets stuck, but heaven knows the will is there, and I think in a day or two he'll be all over the place.

He seems to have suddenly grown a lot. Carter 12 months fit well now; he can still squeeze into the 9 months. Good thing we are almost to summer so I don't have to worry aout the fact that most of his PJs don't fit. The insane fatness of his knees is astonishing me. He actually got some ringworm or something - we're Lotrimining it - in the creases behind his knees.

His sleep has been all weird, though not horrible, although we had WIDE AWAKE from 10-midnight on Saturday. He wanted to play the paci game, in which I say, "Dillo's paci? Or Mama's paci?" and he offers me the paci and I take it in my mouth and he grins and laughs and pulls it out again.

Casper tickles him - too roughly, I think - but he loves it and laughs and laughs.

In less adorable news, somehow he's just not cute (looking) to me right now, and he seems rather clingy and whiny. Can't put him down without him fussing. I think it's a normal developmental thing, but it's a bit wearing, especially after the freedom of these past few months when he's been happy to amuse himself.
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Dillo on his back, in onesie and pants, lying in the boillowy overgrown clover in the yard. Eating it, natch.

It was 85 today - too hot, ick - and redbud is in full bloom, some wisteria and azalea are out, tulips in full bloom to passing, cherries blooming like mad and it looked like it was snowing outside the Whole Foods as a front passed through, Bradford pears are leafing out already. And the green scrim of pin oak pollen has begun.


Mar. 20th, 2007 07:36 am
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I've been remiss in documenting the progress of spring this year. Where we stand now, after several 80 degree days last week followed by a freezing (literally) weekend:

Daffodils fading most places, in full bloom in my yard
Tulips in sheltered locations are out; I have a Turkish tulip in bloom
The unnaturally early iris at my neighbor's house bloomed this morning
Cherry trees seem slower than usual - not really out
Redbud just glimmering
No dogwood signs at all

I am at work briefly to open up and pick up paperwork to do at home, as the Dillo is running a little fever and seems sicker than usual - the excessive mucus has turned into a cough which is making him quite cranky, so I think he needs a little extra TLC. He also hasn't been willing to eat much, so I'll hope to keep him fed by me. Poor sickie. mr. flea and I were discussing this morning how we feel guilty for the fact that he's been sick to one degree or another (though never seriously) for literally two months now. If he weren't in daycare, he might have had one cold, tops.

What have I forgotten to say about him? We moved him to the bigger carseat a couple of weeks ago, but still facing backwards. Still not crawling, but very close indeed. They've been putting him into the other infant class sometimes in the afternoon (when they shuffle the babies so a caregiver can go home early sometimes) - partly because he's easy and flexible and they like him, and partly because he's big and active and likes to watch the bigger babies crawling about. He ate some grains of rice off the high chair tray last night, though, unsurprisingly, found them hard to grasp so there was rice everywhere. He likes to be naked. He *loves* to have his tummy nibbled. Laughs and laughs. Starting to show a decided preference for me - which is age-normal as I recall. Not that he dislikes other people, he just likes me best.

two weeks

Jul. 25th, 2006 01:02 pm
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The boy is embarked on an unexpectedly long nap. I wish there was a pre-signal; I'd have napped myself if I'd known this was going to be a big one and not a 30-minute snooze, but it's too late now - he'll be up in half an hour.

He is two weeks old, and really not that much different from one week. His hair is actually a fairly light brown (when it's clean) and his eyes are clearing up from dark mud to a dark dark blue-gray. He still is an excellent nurser. He's still not a reliable sleeper, but usually gives us a couple of good 3-hour stretches at night and then throws us a 1-2 hour awake period. Unfortunately Casper tends to have a nightmare during one of the long Dillo sleeps - how does she KNOW?

He doesn't take a lot of attention, really. This stage of babyness is, to be unsentimental about it, sort of larval - they eat, sleep, poop and you wait for them to develop into something with a little more personality. Dillo has a temperment - pretty laid-back, more so than Casper, or maybe the parents are more laid back, eh? - but he's basically just an eat-and-sleep machine. Who makes cute faces sometimes.

Casper has taken to picking out his outfits in the morning, which charms me.

I am rather bored, but too tired to take on anything much except minor household projects and The Internets. Had a lengthy dream about work (the Library of Congress reclass, and theft of the contractor's server) last night.
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Dillo is doing well - such a settled, good baby. It is easier the second time. I'm almost, um, bored. His "routine" (two days is a routine, right?) is to sleep lots in the afternoon and early evening, just waking up every 2-3 hours to nurse. This allows me to nap in the early afternoon and play with Casper when she gets home from school. He's rather awake for a while at bedtime (9pm; mr. flea sits holding him while I read to Casper) and then again for a couple of hours in the deeps of the night (yesterday, 12-2 am), and then again in the mornings.

He's starting to peel (this is normal), mostly on the hands and feet and armpits. I cut his nails again today.

mr. flea gets pooped or peed on almost every time he changes a diaper. I have yet to be hit.

Casper had a hard day yesterday - didn't want to go to school ("can I go to work with Mommy? Please please please?"), had terrible trouble getting along with mr. flea at bedtime. (Weaning didn't stop her from being Mama's girl, and apparently neither will big sisterhood). Today a good morning, though - I just sat and nursed Dillo while she read him a book, and then got into her normal morning routine with mr. flea.

Books read:
Mary Balogh, The Ideal Wife (1991?). I had to struggle to finish, as I didn't like wither mani character much. He's practically perfect and entirely lacking in personality; she's a wet noodle and also a fool. They get married.

Julia Quinn, It's In His Kiss (2006). The one about Hyacinth. As with most Quinn, I read with enjoyment up until the point where they had sex, then skimmed the rest of the book. Somehow she always loses me there.
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So, here is the very short birth story:

Monday was a normal day at work, and an evening La Leche League meeting. You may recall my oh-so-presceint post about how Braxton-Hicks contractions mean nothing about when labor will start. I had a little show about 7:30 but thought it might have stemmed from other causes. Starting having more unusual B-H contractions at around 10 - still didn't feel like actual labor contractions, but bordering on painful. They were irregular - 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour apart. At this point I started thinking, "ah, prelabor, which in non-first children can last several days." Went to bed, woken up by a B-H contraction at 1 and talked with mr. flea for almost an hour. Back to sleep. Woken again at 3, and two weirdo B-H contractions later my water broke at 3:20. So I finished packing, and mr. flea called the doctor and Tonya to come over to stay with Casper, and I sat around on the toilet sweating and starting to have real contractions. Tonya came around 4, and we drove off to the hospital under the full moon. Whoops, front door is closed at 4:20 am. Back to car, around back to ER, where they swept us in with great efficiency (yay pre-registration!) and up to L&D. Hooked me up to fetal monitor and I threw up a little (the first and only time - woo hoo) and they're doing the basics of paperwork and so forth. I was having pretty decent contractions but still able to walk and talk and so forth. Overall I was much more aware of what was going on and present this time around. Obviously much less tired and dehydrated. When they first checked I was 8-9 cm and I very quickly was in transition, with shaky legs and urges to push. So we pushed, and I screamed like a banshee (in between screams saying "god this is easier than last time!") and we decided to do another episiotomy, and then at the next contraction we got the boy out. I got to hold him right away and I believe this is a direct quote: "Hello, little one! You are so gross!" The room cracked up. (He was, in my defense, purple and vernixy and bloody - and I said "gross" in a loving tone, I swear!) Seemed very big (he seems so much smaller now). Cried a lot, right off the bat and then when they weighed him and wiped him off (and later, when they gave him a bath he howled and I rolled my eyes some more.) So easy, and I have felt fine from the get-go - only pain is from uterine cramps when I nurse, now nearly gone, and I've had a lot less lochia than last time.

Incidentally, my friends Sunshine (Satsuki) and David had their daughter Sumi Rose just an hour before the Dillo was born. Birthday twins! Sumi's big sister is Lucy (who is herself a birthday twin with Avery Kate, another friend.)

Coming soon: more pictures (download cord is in room with sleeping grandma) and the continuing saga of the evil billirubin, in which much stress worry and hassle but no actual negative consequences for baby, so far.
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A relatively quiet night, after we got Casper to bed at ELEVEN PEE EM OMGWTF. Working out how to manage the night shift, have enough light to see to get Dillo nursing without turning on the lights, that stuff. Finally a little cooler.

In the AM, Casper off to school for Splash Day (swimsuits and mister on the playground), and we emailed pictures to Miss Katrina to show her classmates. Stephanie from her old class is moving up this week, and she gave mr. flea a hug when she saw him. We had a quiet day and got caught up a bit with friends and family.

Then to the doctor at 3 and as I expected, the exact same routine we went through with Casper: jaundice with fairly high billirubin levels but not high enough to treat, but they recommend supplementing with formula, plus a relatively big weight loss already. (The numbers: born 8/10, 8/6 at 24 hours, 7/14 at 60 hours; billirubin 7.9 at 24 hours, 13 at 60 hours, they treat at 16.) We're to supplement with formula tonight and see them again tomorrow. Happily this time we didn't come home and have great spasms of weepiness and parental failure, as we did with Casper. This time it's "I guess my babies lose more weight than average and tend to jaundice, but Casper was fine and it was not as big a deal as we felt it was at the time."

I'm not sure we actually will give him formula; we gave Casper a couple of ounces, but this routine occurred on day 5 for her and she hadn't been pooping (and my milk still wasn't really in). My milk is starting to come in as of this morning and I think Dillo is definitely getting more now; we'll watch for wet diapers overnight and if there's no noticeable change we'll consider formula, or maybe even just water, in the morning. Formula didn't agree with Casper - made her very very annoyed and gassy - we had a horrible night the night we gave her some.

We may bathe the boy-o tonight; his hair is rather greasy. He looks different now, mr. flea says "much cuter," though ivory-eyeballed and given to the wizened old man stinkeye.


Jul. 12th, 2006 05:36 pm
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Well, there's a lot going on:

1. So. Tired. I've had maybe 3 hours of sleep each of the past two nights, in non-continuous segments.
2. Yet, cannot sleep, due to being stressed out about:
3. Is baby okay (having exact same latching issues I had with Casper at first - it is hard to get tiny ones to open their mouths far enough to get a good latch, plus 24 hour bilirubin is on the high side so they'll test again at the ped tomorrow, so I fear we'll also repeat the Casper jaundice not bad enough to treat but resulting in sleepiness and forced waking to nurse and cold washcloth on the feet).
4. Also, it's hot and humid again so I get to be sweaty and worry that the baby is dehydrated. Why wasn't the human body designed so that the milk comes in faster???
5. Casper's a bit of a wreck, and it's stressful and sad-making. A lot of the time she seems fine, but then she'll have a breakdown. And of course she suggested we leave the baby at the hospital.
6. Did I mention I hate being in the hospital? They don't let you fucking sleep, they keep taking away your fucking baby, the food sucks and it's a gigantic paperworky pain in the ass. I was very happy with my care from admittance to an hour after delivery, and then rolled my eyes and huffed in impatience for the next 26 hours until we got to go home. On the plus side, their air conditioning is better than ours. Redoubling the negative, there's no wifi in the entire damned place.
7. Another positive: except for the so tired I have a headache and could die, I feel really great for having had a baby 36 hours ago.
8. My mother's also stressing me out a bit. Such is life.

I want to write up about the amazing speed and intensity but easiness of Dillo's birth, and how he cried a lot at first (unlike Casper) and was all puffy and Winston-Churchill-y (unlike Casper) but after a first big nap spent most of last evening and night awake and alert and all about his fingers, which are slim and looong and hyperextend and he rubs his face and successfully gets one in his mouth and sucks it like a mad thing. (See, if they'd had wifi I would have been writing this at 12am instead of annoyedly waiting for them to return my kid.)

Instead you get tired sweaty worried sleepy baby cranky toddler worries. Sorry. But, there are pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/


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