Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Quincy, 1 Year

Quinceroo, Milky Face, Incers, Goat, Goose-a-roo, Chunker, Sweetpea,

Happy 1st birthday!

Oh Second Baby, you’ll see here that the writing about you over the past year has been sparse. I promise that the joy, the giggles and the love have been plentiful. It’s not just that somehow two children is more than double the work but that on your second child the newness is less. So much of the blogs about Casper were really, it turns out, about all mamas and all babies.

Your dad and I did get it together to take monthly photos of you in a white onesie so points to us for that! Looking at these I'm struck at how you never really looked like a squishy potato newborn. Even at one month you're a little man.

You are a happy baby but not a goofball like your brother. I'd hesitate to call you serious but we have to work a tiny bit harder for the smiles and you're rarely overtaken by a giggle fit. You can communicate no with a gleefully delivered head shake that seems to say "no way, you fool!" Recently, you started asking for milk by tugging at my shirt only to smirk and shake out an emphatic "NO" after I get the boob out. Hilarious. Your "yes" is a happy full body bounce accompanied by heavy excited breathing. Yes, I want a banana. Yes, I want to be picked up. Yes, I want to go get Casper at school. Yes, I want you to turn my walker around so I can push it at top speed down the hall.

You are figuring out that caps go on bottles, that socks go on feet, that blocks belong in a stack. So little of this knowledge can be executed on by one year old fingers and this is very frustrating. You know what you want and you screech when you don't get it.

You have a fistful of baby tricks: waving, blowing kisses, clapping, peek-a-boo, raspberries. Most recently you’ve learned to point at my nose on command.

Everyone still remarks on how much you look like your daddy. I can’t see it but I have to believe it’s true given the frequency of the comments. You're a big guy -- consistently in the 80th percentile for height and weight. We fear you'll pass up Casper soon (you already skipped over his first 2 pairs of shoes because your feet are gigantic). Your hair is a little bit red and a little bit curly. I'll take credit for the curl but the red is a mystery.

You are a fast crawler able to escape being chased or quickly dart into your brother’s room to get at his toys. You started crawling for real on 6/21 after at least 6 weeks of rocking back and forth on hands and knees and then collapsing into a ball of grief when you failed to make any forward progress. You’ve been standing unassisted for weeks but have not really walked save a few steps that were more like falling forward than true locomotion. I theorize that you’re less motivated to walk because crawling works so well for you but I still suspect you’ll be toddling soon.

You are big eater. We call you Goat because you’ll happily clean up your brother’s (ample) leftovers. You love hummus on a spoon straight from the container no chip or pita or carrot required. You love bananas and applesauce and pancakes and tomatoes.

You were a beast to sleep train. We spent two weeks of March trying in vain to get you to sleep through the night. You’d go down easily but awaken at some point to scream for milk for upwards of 2 hours each night. After 14 nights of even less sleep than I was getting when you insisted on being feed every 2 hours I gave in and returned to nursing on demand through the night. Once I was resigned to it I actually felt better. We had planned to try again when we moved into our new apartment and you into your own room in June. And then miraculously, we moved and you just slept. Night one, through the night, no wake ups. No effort required. Maybe it was the move out of our bedroom. Maybe it was the bigger home and being far enough away on a summer night when mom and dad left the window open in their room and the white noise from outside combined with the distance to drown out your screams. It’s possible that babies in large suburban houses are sleeping through the night only in their parents minds and that truthfully they cry a lot and no one notices. If a baby cries at night and no one hears him did he really cry? No he did not.

Your brother loves you very much. Recently he lunged at an older kid (his second cousin, Jackson) who accidentally bumped you screaming, “You have to be nice to him!!!” He gets on the floor to force you into a hug and coos, "I love him." On long car trips when you start to complain he leans out of his seat with comforting words, (“It’s ok Quincy, we’ll be there soon.”) and even instructs me to get you out first because you’re having a tough time. Very selfless for 3 years old.

You scream when you can't open your shape sorter, when you can't reach the balloon, when you see that there is food on the table and you're on the floor. You climb on everything. Chairs. Your brother’s bed. The step stool. You do not know how to get down from any perch so you swan dive towards the floor unconcerned with the consequences until impact.

For the past year whenever anyone would ask about the transition from one child to two your dad and I would respond, “The baby is easy. 3 year olds are hard.” But the calculus of which child is the hard one has now flipped. It's you. You’ll likely hold this title for at least a few years (maybe until Casper reaches puberty?) and you’re really owning it.

Yesterday when I got home from work you gave me a big hug for the first time. I hugged you back and kissed and kissed and kissed your little face.

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.