Friday, March 24, 2017

Quincy, Months 4 and 5

Let’s call this months 4 and 5 even though month 6 begins on Tuesday. We’re combining months now and I would apologize but it’s all your fault. Really, you should apologize to me. Much like your older brother you decided to REALLY embrace 4 month sleep regression (“Why not all months sleep regression, am I right mom?!?!?”).

This is how my babies work:

Months 0-1: get up a lot at night, eat, go back to sleep pretty easy -- no need for bouncing or rocking or holding.
Months 2-3: steadily improved sleep, 7 hour stretches, one wake up to eat, set up foundation of baby lies.
Months 4-5: No Sleep TIL FOREVER. Wake up every 1-2 hours, demand boob like a starving animal. Any resistance = SCREAMS.




With your brother I put off sleep training, afraid of listening to him cry. But when we did it at 6 months it was pretty easy and then he just slept and it was AMAZING. My pediatrician recommends sleep training as early as 2 months and I know a few people who tried this with amazing results. I swore I would sleep train earlier with you -- possibly even before I returned to work. But I didn’t. You were sleeping ok-ish at 4 months and I thought maybe you would figure it out on your own -- no need to push you, no need to listen to you cry! WIN/WIN. Instead… you started sleeping less and less and I went back to work and I got more and more tired and so shortly after 4 months we decided to go for it and sleep train.

It did not go well.

We live in a 2 bedroom Brooklyn apartment and you have been sleeping in mom and dad’s room. The plan has been to move you into your brother’s room once you sleep better… so for now we’re sleep training you in our room. To make things easier on both of us I decamped to the couch.

The first few nights were as advertised -- you cried a bit, it was hard but ok -- you seemed to
improve.  I literally wrote down this note after a couple of nights, “Your sleep patterns have been exactly like Casper’s -- at 3 months you were consistently sleeping 7 hour stretches but by 4 you’re back to getting up every 2-3 hours and so the sleep training has begun. We’re only a couple of nights in but already there is progress and I am entertaining dreams that somehow you will be my easy sleeping child.” Jesus Christ, I’m a sucker.

You never got past crying from 4am onward until morning (6ish). After 4-5 nights of this we decided that you had to be fed at 4. This worked great for a couple of nights -- down at 7, a couple of short wake ups through the night then eat at 4, sleep until 6ish. Then you decided that your meal need to arrive at 2. Down at 7, sleep until 2, cry for TWO HOURS, eat at 4, maybe just get up for the day. It was hell.

I tried to stay strong and let you cry. Certain you’d figure it out. Certain that if we started going to get you all of the work we’d done would be ruined. But when you would wake up for 2 hours I would be up for 3 since it took me an hour to calm down from your being awake. I was, at best, getting 4 hours of broken sleep per night with at most a 90 min stretch of straight sleep. On the night you woke up at 10:30 and cried until midnight and then woke again at 2 I gave up. I felt like the biggest failure ever but we went back to letting you eat whenever which, even though this meant wake ups every 2 hours (or more) was still more sleep than I had gotten in the past 2 weeks.

Happily, after a few weeks, we have managed to wean you off of the 12:30 feeding which combined with a dream feed around 10 has you sleeping from 7-2 and then from 2-4:30…. Which at this point feels like some sort of sleep heaven.


But you do other things besides wake up all night asking for the boob. Cuter things. Things that mostly make up for the bullshit you pull at night.

All of the crying has won us a baby who puts himself to sleep for bed and naps and who naps pretty regularly. This is something I think I never accomplished with Casper so we’ll take it as a small win.

You’re rolling all over the house -- I’ve recently had to rescue you from underneath a chair.

You’ve cut two sharp little chompers -- your bottom middle teeth.

Your brother likes to get right up in your face, resting his big old head on your chest and sing -song, “I just love this boy.” You think he’s hilarious.

Your hunger cues have evolved from pecking my face to opening your mouth as wide as possible and screaming “AHAHAHAH!!!!” When I arrive home from work and you spot me from across the room you are the angriest baby bird.

You want everything to get in your mouth and when something you’ve grabbed it too large to fit you slam it into your own face and scream at it -- so far this approach has not proven successful but you are undeterred.

You love to have my hand fly down until my palm rested on your face and I grab and shake your whole head back and forth.

You have all the rolls that your brother never developed and I’m working hard not to stereotype you as my chunky child.

You remain an easy baby -- despite the sleep challenges --  willing to entertain yourself in the crib or on the boppy or or under your play gym grabbing your guys for upwards of 15 mins.

A few friends with only one child have cautiously asked me if having 2 is a nightmare and I tell them honestly that it’s fine. It's difficult to describe how parenting is now both more complicated and more effort and somehow also easier. You let more things go. You have lower expectations. You let if be your whole life for now. You let the love fill you up and you cry because somedays that isn't enough. But most days it is.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Casper, 3 Years

Lil’ Kanye, Tapper, Wild Man, Doodle, Taperoo, ‘Nuglaroo, Lil' Putz, Big Brother,

Three. Man.

A photo posted by Brianna Klemm (@babbletwit) on


Kid, you are a joy. I mean.... you are also exasperating. You lie immobilized on the ground when you don’t get your way. Between distraction and negotiation we have to budget 30 mins to get dressed in the morning. You insist on log rolling from my bedroom to yours at bedtime and double insist that dad and I walk behind you. We dutifully get in line behind you because we want you to go to bed so very badly and if we step over you we've committed to 15 mins of crying about how you wanted to be first. You have given me new understanding of just how Ritalin gets over prescribed. But you give me so many hugs and giggles and happy tears.

We are a family of many nicknames and you have finally started to participate. You call me "my sweet girl" and you call everyone "You Silly" or "Silly Mo" or "Silly Billy." We are all very silly.
You are a showman, in love with having an audience. You know when you’re being funny and can’t get through a performance without pausing to smirk and make sure everyone is noticing how hilarious you are.
You love building with LEGOs (DUPLOs… shhhhh) and magna tiles, riding your scooter, putting coins into every crevice of our house (especially into "the drink machine" aka the liquor cabinet) and watching videos of marble mazes, domino rallies and Rube Goldberg machines.
You insist on picking out your own clothing and refuse all shirts without pictures on them. You love your Monsters Inc sweat shirt and any and all shirts/underwear/socks featuring super heroes.
You started Preschool in September at Brooklyn Treehouse. You’re one of the youngest kids in the 3s class ("The Stars”) but seem to be doing great. At your parent teach conference we heard about how you’re a leader who the teachers consider the go to for an answer if no other kids will raise their hands. The teachers listed 2 boys as your best friends in class which was a bit shocking as you only talk about the girls at home.


You became a big brother to Quincy on September 29th. I was very worried that you’d be a jealous older brother since you’re such a mama’s boy but you’re surprisingly gentle and loving with Quincy. At the end of my pregnancy when I was too giant to comfortably hold you in my lap or crawl on the floor to play blocks with you we spent a lot of time discussing how when the baby came out I could do those things again. Since Quincy's birth you’ve brought this up over and over again and seem happy to have him outside instead of in. You love to snuggle with us and tell me at least daily how much you love Quincy (parroting me you get right up in his face and whisper "I just love this sweet boy").

I’m a bit hesitant to admit this next bit publicly (and then secondarily embarrassed to admit that I'm embarrassed to admit it.... mama feelings are complex) but I had been allowing you one nurse per day ever since the middle of my pregnancy with Quincy when my boobs were too sore to allow more. In the morning when you would climb into mom and dad's bed to snuggle before getting up you would nuzzle up against me and ask "Can I have some milk-a-mama?" You would then nurse for a minute or two before getting on with the day. As sweet as this was it was making my oversupply issue that arose post Quincy worse and as you approached your third birthday I started talking with you about how 3 year olds don't have milk-a-mama any more. You seemed open to this but if I brought it up in the morning when you asked to nurse you would whine "but i'm not three yet!" Technically true, so I let you keep nursing right up to the morning of your birthday.
On the big day you crawled into bed and snuggled up then said, "can I have...." I gave you a smirk. You smirked back and covered your mouth with your hand to hide your giggles, "I wasn't going to ask for milk-a-mama!" you declared. Then asked, "Can I have some milk-a-cup?" We're now almost 2 months into 3 years old and you have not mentioned nursing again. Even though I'm tearing up writing this I could not have asked for a better, more consensual end to our nursing relationship.

I really wish I could say that your are consistently sleeping through the night but alas most nights you show up in our room at some point and your dad has to walk you back to bed. I feel a certain amount of failure around this but I’m at a loss to solve the problem. Recently, we've been offering up a mega bribes (trips to the toy store, chocolate cake, a movie with mama) if you can stay in bed multiple nights. There has been enough progress that I think this might be working but it's hard to say -- dad is more keen on sleep training you than sleep training Quincy.
You have mastered your scooter in true NYC kid style. You ride as if always in the middle of a very competitive race. Hands wrapped tightly on the handlebars, little foot pushing off with as much force as you can muster, head down to allow for optimal wind resistance. You fly on that thing. It's both scary and exciting and I do a lot of yelling "Ok! Wait for Mama!!!!!"

Over the past year you’ve become somewhat obsessed with pipes. In a new bathroom you love to crouch down to inspect underneath the sink pointing out the pipes and tracing the path of the water. You cannot pass up a drain or a pipe in the wild. Each one must be examined and discussed. “What comes out of this pipe?” “can you put a leaf in this pipe?” “Where does the pipe go?


You went to your first movie in the theatre (The Secret Life of Pets) this past summer. You are an entirely not self conscious viewer and often exclaim your jump up an down shaking in excitement while watching. Over Christmas you got into watching the animated "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and at the beginning when the Whos ride around on their music making machines you can't help but call out "whoa whoa whoa!!! look at that!" over and over again.
You're prime age for Kids Say the Darndest things. Here are a few of your recent zingers:
  • After Quincy spit up on me: "Mom it's all over your arm! It's ok you're tough."
  • While picking up toys as mama watched from couch: "If I was a grown up like mama I would hold Quincy and not pick up."
  • “Mama you've been doing really good listening so you get three presents.”


You don't want to be called my baby any more -- even though it will always be true (big brother or not). You promise that you will always want to snuggle with me -- even though that probably will not always be true. You're a wonderful little guy and a huge huge handful. Everyone I know with kids says that three is the hardest and so far, I fear they are right. But that's ok -- even at your hardest (when you won't stop climbing on me, when you run back and forth through the house making some weird noise at top volume, when you get in trouble and tell me "I don't like your face!", When you won't eat any of the food on your plate, when you hit or bite or throw.....) you're still impossible not to love.




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Quincy, Month 3 (ish)

Quincers, Casper-I-mean-Quincy, Doodle, Junior, Cutie,



It has been many days since you turned 3 months old; in fact you are fast approaching 4 months. Man am I behind - and I don't even have a great excuse. We were at Ama and Pa's for almost 2 weeks at Christmas where I probably could have gotten some writing done. Additionally, Kenesha comes to watch you and your brother 3 times per week even though I'm on maternity leave. And yet... here we are. Late. Likely this is something that I will have to start accepting a bit more as a mom of two.

You are full of giggles and smiles. You love fart noises and when I shake my hair in your face. You are developing a set of deep rolls of chunk on your thighs and arms. You wake up at 6am to talk to yourself so when I awake our dark bedroom is filled with the sounds of raspberries and coos. I am torn between hoping you fall back asleep (so I can do the same) and bouncing out of bed to greet a morning full of baby grins.

You have begun staring down many of your hanging toys as if to telepathically message them with a warning that you will be grabbing them as soon as your little hands start listening to your brain. Watch out! (Update: at 3.5 months toys have been grabbed and repeatedly admonished for not getting in your mouth).

I want to have sleep trained you already but I'm gun shy. Or cry shy.
Listening to you scream in the back of the car a few times during our Christmas trips had me so on edge that I've been wimping out on night time crying. You've been sleeping 5-7 hour stretches and going back to sleep easily which all feels not bad enough to make me buck up and let you cry it out. Certainly you are saving the sleep regression for my return to work in less than two weeks.

I love you my doodle.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Quincy, Month 2

Chunker, Little Happy One, Quincaroo, My Baby,

Your acne has mostly cleared up. Your plugged tear duct must be unplugging because the eye booger situation is much improved. Sadly, your cradle cap is really starting to come in. I think you're adorable. You are a giant baby who is fast growing out of your three month sleepers because you're much too long. The rolls on your arms and legs are deep and plentiful.



You're so happy that you started smiling at 5 weeks and haven't stopped since. You wake up each morning with a grin. You love fart sounds and being on the changing table.

You are easy. Your dad even commented that maybe... just maybe.... Casper was the hard one? After months of worry during my pregnancy that certainly we were due for a challenging baby I'm shocked and relieved to have such a contented little munchkin. At the very least I thought that as a newborn you’d have needs that demand to be filled in short order. Yes, you want to eat when you want to eat, and you need to be changed when poop calls. But you’ll take a pacifier over the boob in a pinch and that poop is only coming on an every other day basis. I hesitate to say this out of fear of sounding like an awful mother but sometimes I forget about you. You’re unformed and quiet and your brother is so loud. You're content to lie in your bed punching at the shadows or to bounce in the monkey seat or lounge on the boppy. You're good. You are my super easy baby.

I feel a little bad that you are not held enough. For you and for me. I fear I should be cherishing what will likely be my last months with a newborn. I nibble your cheeks and smell your sour milk scent in between building giant towers of magnatiles and begging your brother to put his underwear on. I cover your face in kisses and tell you that you're my baby at least once a day. It will not be enough.

I've been going to a mom's group for babies your age (having learned my lesson during Casper's babyhood not to end up alone and isolated all winter). Most of the moms are first timers and my 2 babies make me a parenting guru. I want to tell these ladies that everything they are worried about is going to be ok. They are all so concerned, so frazzled, so strung out. I'm tired (we're finally getting 5 hours stretches of sleep) but I'm not stressed. We're all gonna be fine.

Second babies might be the real joy. I don’t feel the sense of panic over leaving you that made it impossible for me to enjoy even a trip to the grocery store alone when Casper was a baby. I didn't cry during your two month shots. I'm not dreading the return to work in late January. I'll miss lounging on the couch with you but I'll be happy to have Kenesha take over full time diaper duty and spit up catching 3 days a week. This new form of motherhood -- all the snuggling with none of the guilt -- is so refreshing.

Thanks for being my little happy one. You keep up the chill baby vibes and I'll try not to get so laissez faire that I leave you in a bar. Deal?



Thursday, November 03, 2016

Quincy, 1 month

Quincy, Quinca-roo, Quincer, Stretchy, Milkyface, Junior -- Happy one month birthday and welcome to the blog!


I fear that I will not be able to do as much writing about you as I did about your older brother -- you can blame him for replacing my writing time with LEGO time, puzzle time and arguing about eating lunch time.

But back to you. You arrived one month ago via the traditional exit a mere 12 minutes before your scheduled eviction. Everyone was shocked having resigned ourselves to a second c-section. 7lbs 12oz, 21 inches long, perfect.

You came out of the womb looking like your daddy -- so says almost everyone. I imagine it must be true even though I can’t really see it. I was similarly unable to see people’s claims that your brother looks like me. But you have blond hair and eyebrows and a round head so it is likely that a fair bit of daddy genes are shining through.
I’m happy to report that even though you were a real wild man in the womb now that you’re out you are a relatively chill baby. You don’t mind being left by yourself in your crib or bouncer and when you cry it’s almost always because you need something obvious. Mostly you need milk. But it also seems much of your crying is directly related to a need to burp, fart or poop. The cries are often preceded by long annoyed grunts which can go on for hours especially at night. I feel almost as bad for you as I do for my sleepy self.

You are already the king of spitting up. I know this usually peaks around 4 months which is horrifying considering the volume of spit up that you already produce.



Your brother loves to ‘nuggle us both -- sliding in under my arm on one side of me and reaching his own arm over your back as you sleep on my chest. He likes to trace your ears and tell me how small they are. On the day you were born he announced that your name would be Dinosaur Robot and he continues to bring this up a month later, thinking it a much better name than Quincy. He tell me how much he loves you on a daily basis. He also did your immune system the favor of bringing home your first cold before you were even a month old so you have a sad hacking cough that bothers mom much more than it seems to bother you or the doctor. So far so good on that big brother thing.

I am afraid of doing too much comparing of you and your brother but it’s difficult because he is my only other baby data point. So. You are calmer (we have almost never had to take you into the bathroom to chill out to the soothing sounds of the vent). You are fairer. You are less worried over. You are less photographed.  You at bigger (94th percentile for height!).

I am calmer. I almost never get up to check your breathing. I'm less sure that there is a method to baby madness and less inclined to google every whimper grunt or cry. I've learned that most of the time the answer to "Why is my baby _________?!?!?!?" is "Babies: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯"

I am also less overwhelmed and surprised by my love for you. Before you were born I had the usual second time mom concerns that I could not possibly love you as much as I loved Casper or that I would somehow love Casper less. But none of those fears have come to pass. You are both loved equally and more than I could have ever imagined.



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Casper, 2 Years

You have been 2 for over a month now but since we’ve officially stopped counting age in months you’re still just 2 (and this blog post is by no means over a month late).



I write from just beside the fireplace at Ama and Pa’s (aka Grandma K and Grandpa Horst) house on the afternoon of your 3rd (!!!) Christmas. You’ve enjoyed this one most of all. You love playing with your cousins and opening presents and eating pudding (and cookies and chocolates and ice cream and sugar straight from the bowl if we’d only hand you a spoon). And mama loves watching you play (and the occasional nap…) too much to spend a long time formatting this rambling blog post.


You want to do everything by yourself. If I lift you onto the bed I am thanked with enraged screams of, “Self!” If I reach down to carry you up the stairs to our apartment you panic and quickly tell me “by self! by self! by seeeeeeeelf!!!!!” I sometimes hear you whispering, “self, self, self” while playing alone. Practice for the next time your jerk mom tries to assist you with anything? It is amazing how many different ways you can refuse help.


My ears are still your comfort objects -- you grab at them when tired, when hurt, when snuggling. The inside of my ear is often tender and raw from your machinations. In the morning while we lie in bed with Mama on one side and Daddy on the other you like to reach over and hold an ear from either parent. Just in the last couple of days I have caught you fondling your own ear while napping -- independence.


You are just starting to grasp pretend play. Sometimes you toss your stuffed rabbit, Claude, off of the bed and tell me “he crying. need hugs.” After you rescue him from the floor you tell me, “He needs Mama” and then instruct me to hold him and “Mama say, ‘it ok!’”


Recently folks have commented on how verbal you are, shocking given how long it took you to speak, and yet it’s true. You’ve surprised me with what feel like complicated concepts. Asking, about a rock you found on your dad’s dresser, “where it come from?” Bringing me a block that matches the one I’m holding and saying, “this red also.”


You parrot everything you hear which has revealed just how often I use certain phrases. When I finally get Sesame St. streaming on the TV you’ll announce “Oh! There we go!” perfectly mimicking my own inflection. You walked into my bedroom the other day and out of nowhere announced, “Oh, that’s weird.” (It was never clear exactly what was weird -- life itself?)


You’ve started to grasp the concept of jokes -- your main attempt at humor is putting your wub-a-nub (pacifier) in your mouth and then trying to drink milk or water at the same time. You yell, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” and show me this while giggling uncontrollably. You also like to say things that are obviously not true (“Mama’s shoes? No!” while holding your own shoes) and then laugh hysterically.


You’ve also recently realized the power of choice. A favorite phrase around our house is “a different one!!” You ask for different pants, a different show, a different snack. One night  your dad and I were rolling on the floor laughing as you had argument after argument with yourself about if we would read books or put pajamas on first (“read a book! yes!... NO!!!! No book! Get dressed. Get dressed. NO NO NO!!!”). This past week you made an unfortunate discovery. We’ve often used the trick of giving you a choice between 2 items to force a decision but  one evening I asked you if you’d like Mama or Daddy to perform whatever bedtime preparation that we were trying to move along and you replied, “Nothing.” This choice loophole is sure to cobble many previously smooth paths.


You’ve recently started singing songs -- mostly the ABCs (having mastered your letters in lower and uppercase! Excuse my Mama bragging…). We downloaded you an iPhone application that lets you drag letters into their place in a word and you’re ridiculously proficient.


You recognize numbers up to 9 and you can reliably count to... 2. However, you believe you can count much much higher, “1, 2, 5, 6, 9!” Recently when asked to count over Facetime with Grandmom and Granddad you managed “1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10,3,4” which seemed pretty impressive.


In October we took you to Switzerland, France and Spain because you are a very spoiled baby. You saw many fountains. You saw the Sagrada Familia which you knew from a set of architecture cards that your dad picked up at a stoop sale. You’re still talking about it months later -- building block towers and calling them the Sagrada Familia, reminding me of the stained glass inside (red and green circles!).


You are still nursing once in awhile -- most days a quick suckle in the morning but some days none at all. We’ve finally convinced you that milk can be drunk in a cup and at 2 years and one month you are off of the bottle -- this has lead to a small uptick in requests for “Milk-a-Mama.”


When I’m stripping you down for a new diaper you often look up at me and announce, “Little Nakes, coming out!”  You find it hilarious when anyone is naked -- especially me. If you catch me coming out of the shower you squeal with glee, “Mama Nakes!!!” and then demand that I turn around so you can see my “naked booty!”


You love to color and demand that we draw things for you -- recently you’re requesting a fountain, an ipad an octagon and a Buddha.

On 11/7 you used the potty for the first time after peeing a bit on mom and dad’s bed during bedtime story naked time. You have refused to use it again. We have an exciting weekend of potty training/you peeing all over the house planned for 2016.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Casper Speaks

Casper, you were a late talker. At a year you had no words. At 18 months we told ourselves that you were saying Mama and Dada but it was a bit of a wishful parenting leap -- you mostly ran around chanting "bitta bitta" and "minna minna my" which might have been words but we never figured out their meanings. I'll admit here that I was just a little bit worried. Logically I know that talking, unlike rolling or smiling, was something with a huge range of normal. And yet.... what did it mean that you didn't talk when other kids did?

Starting in May, you slowly found your voice. You said "bye bye" and "baby" and very slowly started picking up new words. For a long while, I kept a list.

Words as of 8/7/15
mama
dada
bye (first post mama dada)
baby
me (“memememememe” when you wants something like a bottle of milk (said while hitting the refrigerator) or dad’s iphone)
clock
dump (for dump truck)
hi (Kenesha taught you this on 7/14)
Zayd (for Zayden)
book
up
bus
apple
good (7/21)
dog (7/31)
hot (in reference to the beach sand in CT 8/1)
‘dilla (quesadilla 8/4)
nanna (banana)
poop (early August)
pee (8/7)

Not too shabby. In parallel you worked on your animal noises, mastering moo, hiss, peep peep and aroo (elephant). And mostly, you worked on your letters. You love letters. I blame the subway and books about the subway -- the first letter you learned was "F" for "F" train. At 21 months you know the entire alphabet save W (which I suspect you know but can't say). Often while walking the neighborhood or while riding the train you'll spot a sign and exclaim "A D! A D!!!!!" or quietly grin up at me to whisper "M. M. M."

A couple of weeks ago you and I took our 4th solo trip to CA to visit family (your 10th round trip plane trip!) and the new surroundings seemed to inspire your speech. I quickly lost track of your vocabulary as you sputtered about bears and cows and bugs and rocks. Quickly renaming Grandpa Horst to "Pa" and Grandpa Kay to "Ama" and demanding they take you to the car, to the tractor, to the horse, to the cat. Requesting crackers and cookies and apples and bread and snacks (always "'NACK!!!").

We came home after a week and the words continued to spill forth -- now in groups of two. "More book!" you yell. "Dada off," you demand. Frequently, you name things I had no idea you could identify -- this week alone I've heard toe, couscous, phone, on, light, read, meat, card, pig, goldbug, giraffe, yoga, all done.... Forget accounting for them all I can't even account for today.

Developmentally I believe this is called a leap. Welcome to the other side Big Talker.