Friday, December 30, 2011

Chloe, Three Months

We're officially not in Newborn Hell anymore, hooray!!! Three months marks the transition to Baby/Infant/Small Person With Good Head Control. We're all VERY pleased to be here.

At three months, Chloe is pretty much the most smiley baby I have ever seen. She wakes up smiling, she goes to bed smiling, she even smiles while she poops. The smiles are the only reason I don't lose my mind when she wakes me up three times a night. Who can be mad at this face? WHO? 

Chloe's newest tricks include batting at toys, grabbing fistfuls of my hair, sucking on my cheek when she's hungry, and our very favorite...rolling from tummy to back! Rolling was today's accomplishment and there was much to do about it. Big brother even made up a little celebration dance to cheer her on which might have been the sweetest thing ever. Speaking of, this relationship between brother and baby sister is blossoming each day and I love it so much.

Chloe is still waking up at night far too often for my liking...most nights she's up at least 3 times between 8pm and 6:30am. I'm grateful that the wake ups are short and only to nurse and then she's right back down and asleep before her head touches the mattress. We're working on self-soothing and she seems to be making good progress. I'm hoping she'll naturally drop some of those wake ups and I don't have to start letting her cry but we'll wait and see. I just know I need more sleep otherwise my boss is going to wonder if my brain really did leak out my ears.

Another big transition this month was my going back to work and Chloe starting at her new sitter's home daycare. It's been so smooth of a transition for Chloe that you would think she's been there since day one whereas I spend approximately 7.95 of my 8 hours away hours thinking about her. But we've already been over that and it will get better, so help me god. It's a good thing we all adore her sitter and are really happy that we found her.

I'm so happy we're at three months because the hardest part really is almost over. I can't wait for these next few months when she starts to open up and become interested in her big new world. I know she'll do it all with a big smile on her face.

Monday, December 19, 2011

So that happened

I went back to work today.

Ugh. I don't even know where to start. I got up at a ridiculously early hour to make sure I had enough time and yet I was still late to work. I cried in the car on my way to drop off Chloe at her sitter's house. I cried when I walked out, leaving her in very capable hands, but leaving her nonetheless. I cried while pumping. Twice. I cried tonight thinking about how I have to do it all again tomorrow and the next day and the day after.

The problem here is me and I know Future Me will read this someday and wish she could reach back in time and smack some sense into me. Here is why I know it's all my issue: Chloe's sitter is wonderful and is already loving my girl hard. Everyone at work gave me a wide berth and no one demanded anything of me today. Noah had a crap day at preschool but his teachers didn't press the issue. I'm the delicate flower wilting from the anxiety and stress. I worry about the kids (more so Chloe because she's wee and new and utterly defenseless) even though I know they're fine. I worry about the commute and how to make it as fast as possible so I can get the kids home at a decent time. I worry about how we're going to structure drop offs and pick ups with two kids at two different places and make sure neither is the last kid left waiting(don't ask...this is my own personal, totally unfounded, issue). I worry about pumping and keeping my supply up and how best to store the milk at work. I worry about how dinner is going to get made when I have a loud, demanding three year old and a loud, demanding three month old all wanting something at the same time.

I'm tired just writing that all out. I'm sorry, Future Me. I know it will all be just fine and these things will work themselves out in time and I need to quit the complaining. In the meantime, do you have any advice on how to streamline life with kids while working? One kid was a cake walk compared to this circus.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Holiday Traditions for the Young and Old

Like many families with young kids, we're in the process of developing our own holiday traditions, apart from and including the ones we both grew up with. Christmas, for me, has always been a really special and magical time of year and I LOVE the day after Thanksgiving when houses begin to sparkle with lights and trees appear in the front window. I also love the day after New Years' when I'm so tired of Christmas and ready to chuck the tree out the back door. But the 30 or so days in between are my very favorite.

I hope to pass on this love for the holiday season to Noah and Chloe and convince my husband that his "grinch-y" attitude WILL rub off on them eventually. I think he's starting to come around. I've incorporated some of the traditions I grew up with into our family and have begun some new ones this year that I hope stick around.

1. Our version of Elf on the Shelf. On December 1st, Santa's elf makes his inaugural appearance and so begins the daily morning search for our favorite little elf. Our elf watches out for good and bad behavior so he can report back to Santa each evening...last year, I found that behavior improved immensely during the month of December. The elf is a win-win! (I did suck at moving him around each night after Noah was in bed so I'll have to get better at it. Noah's much smarter this year.)

2. The tree and decorations come out the first weekend in December (so that would be...this weekend! Hooray!). I grew up with a real tree and my parents still buy one for us to enjoy on Christmas Day (RIGHT, MOM? Don't let me down!) but Tim's family did the fake tree and we're now the proud owners of a plastic pre-lit tree. Don't get me wrong, the fake tree is EASY and looks beautiful but I do miss picking out the perfect tree, bringing it home, letting it "rest" on the porch before placing it in its spot of honor in front of the window. Now that I typed all that out I think we'll be getting a real tree next year. I want those memories for our kids because the tree is the pinnacle of Christmas for me. However, this year, what with the new baby and going back to work on the 19th (ARRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHH, BLLLLLEEEERRRRGGGHHHHH) I don't think I have the capacity to deal with a real tree. Fake it is.

3. Buy this year's ornaments for the tree. I've been buying an ornament for Noah each year that reflects his current interests. I think this year's will be a soccer ball since he's started soccer class recently. I also bought Chloe a blown glass owl ornament and the requisite Baby's First Christmas ornament. I plan to pass these all on to them when they have their first Christmas in their first home.

4. Buy one new holiday/Christmas children's book to add to our growing collection. We'll read one each night before much do you want to bet the highlight this year will be Merry Christmas, Curious George?

5. Put up the Advent calendar. I would usually begin an Advent calendar on the 1st but I did not get my act in gear this year to pick one out or make one. I'm putting this on my to-do list for right after Christmas so it'll be ready to go for next year. I'm thinking small envelopes or pouches hung on the tree with a piece of candy, holiday activity or tiny gift inside. Or perhaps I will convince my mother to hand over her calendar from when we were little...for the kids, of course.

5. Cinnamon, cloves and an orange peel simmering on the stove. This reminds me of my house during the holidays when we were small. Love it.

6. Have Noah check the mail each day for new holiday cards. I'll have them hanging from lengths of ribbon in the living room so he can look at them every day and see our friends and family.

7. On the 23rd we'll do our Annual Spot The Awesome Christmas Lights Drive around the neighborhood.

8. Christmas Eve will be spent with Tim's family and then a short road trip to my grandmother's. Since Christmas Eve is a busy day, our evening will be pretty mellow. We'll have the Noah set out cookies/milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. We'll have them open one small gift from us (because the rest of the gifts are from SANTA and SANTA doesn't come until after bedtime...and a glass or two of wine) and then head to bed in their new Christmas jammies.

9. Christmas morning we'll wake them up and head downstairs for stockings and presents and merriment of all kinds. I think I'm going to make homemade cinnamon rolls our traditional Christmas morning breakfast. Growing up we always had a baked apple pancake and since we'll see my parents later that day my guess is my dad will have made one that morning. I won't steal his recipe until they no longer want to host Christmas Day then it's all mine (you hear that Sister and Brother...hands off!).

10. Christmas Day includes a visit with my family and mimosas and a big dinner and more presents. We'll end the day with full bellies and warm hearts and pie. I hope there is pie.

I was worried we didn't have any "traditions" started but seeing this all in writing comforts me. We HAVE started our traditions and they've created a pretty good base to build on. What's your favorite holiday tradition with your family?