Monday, May 28, 2012

One month

James was one month old on Wednesday, but a screwup with our health insurance paperwork made us push back his one-month appointment by a week, which means I still don't know how much he weighs. Phooey. I'm not too worried because he's getting visibly longer and fatter. His stomach has a pleasing roundness and he's working diligently on a second chin. He's clearly about to outgrow newborn diapers, fits into size 1 and when I tried a cloth diaper on him today it was clear that while it was large, it fit just fine. So I don't need a scale to tell me he's gaining well, but I want to actually know how much, darnit.

In any case, I'm holding off on a one-month developmental update until we have his official stats. Since he's only a month old, it all boils down to "becoming slightly less larval." Cute, but larval.


Last Friday, we stopped by the Friends school that is holding the summer camp we're planning on sending K to so we could hand in the registration paperwork. As B ran into the camp office, the rest of us sat in the car and I realized that the group of students running around on the lawn were in fact playing Quidditch. I think K is going to have a great time at this camp.

Heck, I think I'd like to go to this camp.

My main worry is dropping her off the first day. In the past year, the social anxiety K has always had has ramped up quite a bit. When I tried to leave her in the gym for a homeschooler's gym class this spring, I wound up getting called back in to sit with her for the hour it took for her to warm up enough to feel ready to participate. Once she did, she was fine and stayed fine for the next six weeks of classes. So I'm fairly sure that once we get past the first day of camp, she'll be fine. It's just getting to that point. I don't have a lot of hope that we'll avoid any drama the first day because she's already showing anxiety. She started out gung-ho over the idea of camp, progressed to worrying about spiders and thinking maybe we should find another camp that wouldn't have spiders, and then finally to outright refusal to go, within the space of three hours.

We've never had to deal with dropoff anxiety before - K ran off into daycare and preschool with no problem. That left me wholly unprepared to have to peel her off of me and leave her sobbing on the gym floor, feeling like crap. I suppose we should talk to the camp, since surely any camp that takes children down to 2 has dealt with this sort of issue.

Sigh. You would think getting a child just like you would help you know how to deal with them, but no. Not really. Having been a shy and anxious child myself doesn't help at all. If anything, I wind up overempathising and I never know when to push and when to respect her boundaries. I suppose it has helped in that I've never showed her The Wizard of Oz because it terrified me at her age, and I think being the kind of child who got scared easily has helped me judge what movies and books are too scary for her. On the other hand, I mildly bullied her into seeing Tangled in the theater for a second time because the rest of the family wanted to see it and I still don't know if it was the right move. She enjoyed it at the time, but complained about having been scared for a long time afterward. Should I have respected her when she said it would be too scary? Or was it good for her to be exposed to a little bit of scariness? Damned if I know.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So last week, B's aunt called up and offered to help pay for summer activities for the kids. Cool! we thought initially. Swimming lessons for K and help paying for the summer program we had just signed Alec up for the day before. But as we talked, it became clear that no, she meant actually paying for a full summer program for both kids. Oh my goodness. And yippee! It didn't take any time at all to find a four week program for K at a local Friends school that's right on the way to drop Alec off, and as a bonus, one of her friends is going as well. There are longer programs we could send her to, but I think four weeks will be a good compromise between getting her out of the house and giving her some introvert down time for the summer before we start school again.

I'm all agog at the thought that for a month, I'll have three days a week with only the baby. Yippee! I love my children, but I could really use some introvert time myself.


I keep thinking of other things to write as I go through the day, but the sleep deprivation has made them drip right out my ears in the 3.2 seconds a night I'm allowed to lie horizontal. Plus, ever shred of concentration I have right now is going to our stupid portfolio. I honestly think that it's a good thing to require homeschooling parents to prove to the state that they're actually educating their children, but right now I find myself in the bizarre position of actually wishing we lived in New Jersey, where the only requirements for homeschooling are a vague handwave in the direction of your school district to let them know you'll take care of that whole education thing, thanks. Since I'm not sure a million dollar check could convince me to live the same state as Christ Christie, that should adequately convey the degree to which this stupid portfolio is a pain in my ass.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


How you can tell James is a third child:

He's lying in my lap, blissfully asleep with a full diaper. And because he's a third child, I have no intention of waking him up to change it unless he starts developing diaper rashes or decides to protest. Until then, if it isn't bothering him, it isn't bothering me. As an experienced parent, my first priority is always on "blissfully asleep."


B's parents left last Thursday (leaving behind a rearranged basement, some very nice plants in the backyard and our eternal gratitude), which means shit is about to get real around here. B will be home from work for the next two weeks, which will cushion me from the cold hard reality of life with three children for a little while longer.

Life being outnumbered by our children is going reasonably well. We're getting a good bedtime routine down, and except for a stomach bug throwing it into chaos last week, the older children are actually going down pretty easily. The nighttime itself is much dicier - James will often go for at least one extended 5-6 period a night, but it might not always be at a useful time. Sunday, for instance, it was from 4:30 to 10:30. Not exactly helpful, baby.

Yesterday was devoted to figuring out how to get Alec out of the house for the summer. His current preschool has a summer program, but it's full time only, and that feels like a big jump from the two days a week we've been doing. So we checked out the preschool at our church today, which will let us do only a couple days of week on an individual weekly basis and have the advantage of being quite a bit cheaper. I think it will be worth it, even though it will be more driving. It will be good for all of us for him to have time out of the house with well-rested people who have planned activities for him, and it will save my sanity to have one less kid in the house.


As for the oldest kid, we're keeping her somewhat occupied with a minimal schedule of reading and math, and that's more than plenty for the moment. Last week, I had to ask to take over math instruction for the day because I couldn't figure out how to do it. In my defense, our math curriculum is designed to teach problem solving and algebraic thinking, so it wasn't just straight addition and subtraction. But still. Five terms of upper-level college math and a BA in computer science and I was so tired I had to look at the answer manual to figure out a first grade math sheet. Sigh.

I do have a few more things beyond reading and math planned to do soon to round out our portfolio. Do me a favor and bug me to get the portfolio done this week, since I really need to make myself do it while B is home and I still have some time and energy. Bleah.

On a completely different note, we managed to see Avengers last weekend. I think it might possibly have been the best action movie I've ever seen (and the least problematic, which I admit is pretty low bar, but I was pretty happy with how little cringing I had to do). The interactions, both positive and negative, between the team members was fantastic - of course, who would expect any less that great dialogue and character development from Joss Whedon?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One week

We got home last Thursday, after a reasonably quiet hospital stay. Life at home with 3 children is remarkably calm for now, thanks to the heroism of B's parents, who do a fantastic job of keeping the older children occupied and relieve me of the need to worry about their physical needs, allowing me to spend my time on James's physical needs instead.

So how's it going?

Me: not too bad for a week post-surgery. I'm mostly off of narcotics. I'm still pretty tired and weak though, beyond just the tiredness of highly interrupted sleep. I spend a lot of the day on the couch, so it's easy to get illusions that I'm stronger than I actually am. Then today I walked up the stairs twice in relatively quick succession and later went out to Target, and was quickly relieved of any notion that I'm anywhere close to my normal energy levels.

I have all the normal lovely post-partum hormones, but one benefit of this being my third time around is I recognize them for what they are, which makes it easier to ignore them. That doesn't stop me from crying over a broken shoelace though.

Breastfeeding: I almost hesitate to say this, but I think it's going pretty well. We went through the usual first couple days of poor latching and frustration, then the discussion with the pediatrician over the large amount of weight the baby had lost. Like many things, I discovered that once you go through this with your third baby, it's all much less fraught. It also helped that with K and Alec, the problem was that my milk didn't come in until day 5, but by day 3, they were so frantically hungry they refused to try to latch any more. This time, my milk was actually coming in by day three, but James was having the worst time actually latching for any amount of time. So I suggested we try a nipple shield, got one from the lactation consultant, and had an entirely drama-free nursing session that ended with the baby falling off the breast like a swollen tick with a trail of milk drooling out of his mouth. And since then, I wouldn't say it's been easy, but we've been exclusively breastfeeding. He's producing plenty of wet diapers, lots of appropriately colored poop and had gained an impressive amount of weight at his first pediatrician appointment. The thing I could live without is his recent habit of spending ten minutes screaming into my nipple about how hungry he is before finally latching on and getting on with it. My best guess is that he's enraged over the fact that milk doesn't immediately squirt into his mouth the second his mouth gets near my nipple, which kind of sucks because it means I should delay introducing a bottle, since I don't want him to know there are easier ways to get milk. Of course, there's nothing that makes me feel more like handing him off for a bottle like trying to convince a crying, hungry baby to just latch on already, dammit. I know it will get better over time. It's just frustrating to make through to that point.

James: well, he's a newborn, which is to say that he pretty much eats and sleeps, with intermittent crying. He was 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and 21 inches, which is the 20th and 90th percentile for weight and height respectively. He is a long, skinny baby. When I heard his weight, I thought we would have to go out and buy some newborn size clothes, since all of our baby clothes start at 3 months due to our propensity for huge babies. But then I found out his length, and discovered that it doesn't really matter what size I put him in, he's going to swim in them. The only real difference is that in newborn clothes his wrists stick out too.

He has all four limbs, I swear.

At a week, he's already starting to have some alert periods when he's not also eating. He's also had a couple nights where he slept in some longer blocks. The six hours he did Sunday night wasn't as great as all that because he achieved it by cluster feeding until 2am. But Monday and Tuesday, he slept from 8:30 to 2, and then until 7, which is excellent for a newborn. Too bad I had stayed up until midnight waiting for him to wake up for one last meal before bed. I know far too well not to count on current performance guaranteeing future returns when it comes to newborn sleep, but I can even live with what he was doing before, which was eating every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours at night. It's a modest hope for that to continue, but hopefully realistic.

So to sum up: we're surviving, the baby is great and we'll see how things are going in a week when the grandparents leave.

Totally worth the chaos