Three’s company?

7 Apr

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We have always thought we would have more than two kids. M would say we should have four or five and I would laugh and say lets have two and then we’ll talk but I assumed a third would happen. Now neither of us is sure if we want any more. I am completely exhausted with the two I havr and they are both relatively easygoing. I worry about whether there is enough of me to go around- what if #3 was very high maintenance or had special needs? Some days I feel like I am drowning and I know I have it so good. I hate being  pregnant and I feel like I missed and am missing so much of Maxs toddlerhood being exhausted. I worry Marshall will get shafted by being made a middle child.

And yet- there is still part of me that wants one more, to have a big family, to give my kids more than one sibling, something my brother and I always wished for but didn’t have. For now we have decided to wait to even talk about it until Mars turns one. His birthday is three weeks after I turn 35 so the clock is ticking. But first I desperately need sleep. Until then, a pair of beautiful boys will do. 

Go somewhere

6 Apr

Every day Max demands to “go somewhere.” The top of his list is the Science Center, and yesterday we indulged that wish with a trip to the Children’s Museum. The science center is located at the base of the space needle which we can see from various parts of our travels around town, including from Alki beach where we go quite frequently. Max has started telling me we need a plane or a boat so we can travel to the science center because it’s REAL far away.  He got to play for several hours and wore himself out.

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Today we got an early start and went to pike place market. We got there early before a lot of the stalls were open- the market was still waking up, vendors were carting their items in and waiting to find out where they would be selling for the day. I loved the uncrowded atmosphere and the behind the scenes look at the mostly empty market. Max enjoyed running up and down many ramps and took a ride on a toy airplane for sale. 

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We checked out the center for wooden boats too (more ramps to run on!) before heading home for a much needed nap.

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Max loves to be going and doing things and I love when M is home to go and do things with us as I find taking both kids places exhausting and scary- it is hard to chase down a toddler with a baby strapped to you. Still, Max needs more variety- I need to try harder to at least take him to the park more often now that the weather is getting better. Maybe not the indoor playground though. We went there last week and he picked up some kind of stomach bug which resulted in two days of rather unpleasant vomit and diaper disgustingness.

He is getting much more creative in his play, one of his favorite new games is to pretend to make food for me. This evening he told us he was going to the food store in space on his rocketship.

Mars is still so sweet and good. He wants to be cuddled and held by me often, which I love except for it prevents me from getting anything at all done.

I discovered after he wore a shirt I just took out of storage he is really sensitive to laundry soap residue.  I am not sure if that is the sole cause of his rashes (doubt it) but it seems to be a contributing factor. I rewashed all of his clothes with minimal soap and an extra rinse.  Soon I will start adding foods back in- I really am not enjoying this elimination diet! 

4 months

22 Mar

I keep thinking we are done with the four month “wonder week” that keeps babies clingy and fussier than normal but Mars continues to want to be held all the time, preferably by mom. This morning I vowed not to let him sleep in bed with me anymore because for at least the third time I woke up with a very painful stiff neck after sleeping in a funny position due to him being right next to me. But it is so tempting in the night to help him settle by holding him all night. Max was about this age when I started transitioning him away from sleeping with me too.

I finally got caught up on dishes and some laundry today. If I can do lots of cooking tomorrow it will really help. I am cranky all the time feeling like  I am starving.  Mars’ eczema does seem to be getting better finally but it will be awhile before I can reintroduce foods since once he is healed I need to do it slowly, one thing at a time.

Here are my boys both at around 4 months. They look very different to me but everyone else says they looo just the same.

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M buzzed off Mars’ mullet hair today. It does look better and less like a mini Danny Devito but I was a little sad to see it go for some reason.

Treading water

14 Mar

The house is quiet. It is 10pm and I am the only one still awake with the littlest man of the house asleep in my arms as I peck this out on my phone. It was a difficult week. Since I have been back at work I have made a point every weekend, usually on Sunday, to get the house clean and cook food ahead for the week. Last Sunday we spent all day having adventures, first at the children’s museum with friends and then the beach. It was lovely to spend the whole day playing, but I have definitely paid for it in frustration this week.
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What is extra challenging is my quest to discover the cause of Marshall’s eczema.It started on his face but now through diligent moisturizing and dietary changes his face looks better but he still has big scaley red rash all across his back and the backs of his arms and its started to spread down his legs now too. At the beginning of February I decided to cut out dairy and cut way back on sugar for my own health and to help lose baby weight.
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Mid- February was when I realized the extent of Mars’ rash. I cut out eggs and nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant) a couple of weeks ago since my mom is sensitive to those and my friend’s son had a similar rash from nightshades. (Most common causes are dairy, gluten and egg). Then I was making a lot of things with almond flour and noticed he seemed extra gassy so I cut out nuts too and then soy when another friend told me that’s what caused her son issues (I wasn’t eating much soy anyway). So to review I am not eating most grains (a little rice here and there), dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts and soy. It is making me cranky because my food is very repetitive and its impossible to eat out. I pretty much eat beef or chicken, sweet potato and a green vegetable every meal. Also, since I pump milk for work there is a 1-2 week delay every time I cut something out before he stops getting it from stored milk. Dairy has been out long enough that it alone isn’t helping. I am thinking eggs and almonds might be the culprits but I have to wait a couple more weeks to see of he gets better. There isn’t much else to cut out.
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Mars is growing so fast. I am certain it didn’t go this fast when Max was a baby, maybe because he had my full attention and maybe because he was so fussy but I can’t believe my baby is almost four months old already. He is still the sweetest and the smiliest- we call him our lap cat because he always wants to be on someone’s lap.
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Max and I have the most hilarious conversations most days. I am too tired to remember an example right now but he is very imaginative and funny. He also frequently tests my patience in ways only toddlers can.

Too tired for more now. I love these boys so much and yet they completely exhaust me every day.

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Eating for Eczema

3 Mar

I have been stressing about Mars’ eczema.  The internet tells me 20% of babies get eczema—my mom had it as a baby.  Depending on who you believe it either has everything to do with diet or absolutely nothing.  Being a dietitian, I think everything has to do with food.  I cut out dairy a few weeks ago but it has stayed about the same or gotten worse—I hadn’t noticed before a few days ago that he has a lot of it on the back of his arms and his back—maybe it’s been there the whole time or maybe it’s gotten worse, I’m not sure.  I cut out eggs this morning which is tough since I eat those for breakfast every day, but dairy, gluten and eggs tend to be the major culprits and I never eat gluten and already cut out dairy.  Hopefully that will help.  It makes me nervous he might end up being more prone to food allergies or autoimmune conditions (eczema is related to or is an autoimmune condition depending on who you ask).  My parents both have autoimmune disorders (type 1 diabetes, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and rheumatoid arthritis between them) and I worry about Mars being prone to all of those things.  But all I can focus on right now is trying to figure out what I might be eating causing the rash right now. It’s frustrating because every time I cut something out, there is at least a week delay while we work our way through stored milk for work days before it’s actually out of his diet.

In other news, we chose a preschool! Max and I went on a tour of the one closest to our house last Friday while Mars stayed home with his aunt.  We both really liked it and I felt good about it.  It’s by far the most convenient one for ME, and once I saw that he would do well there, it seemed like the best option all around.  I even cancelled a tour of another one this morning because this just feels like the right fit.  We toured in the afternoon when they have the arts activities (one of the focuses of this program).  I saw kids rotating between art class and dance class.  It was organized and free of chaos but they all seemed to be having fun too.  Max was itching to participate.  In fact he sat down at one of the little tables during art time and got ahold of a glue stick and that’s all he talked about for the rest of the day was that purple thing he got on his finger.  He starts in August.  The other two programs were twice as far away with many lights in between to make for lots of driving.  Plus this one has the same length of day regardless of age, so in a couple years when both my boys are there I only have one drop off and pick up time, and with less than two miles drive I stand a chance at keeping them from falling asleep in the car.  Win.

I am just finally getting over a very unpleasant head cold.  I was miserable all weekend, exacerbated by Mars going through a stage of waking up every two hours and being squirmy and not sleeping well from 4-5am everyday.  Oh, and in apparently Max is prepping for the change to daylight savings because he has suddenly started waking up an hour earlier, so by the time Mars and I get back to sleep after his squirm-fest, Max is awake. 

I was too tired to cook ahead for the week yesterday which is usually my Sunday task, so now I need to hurry up and cook some stuff before Max wakes up from his nap. 

everything

26 Feb

P1650556 P1650565 P1650598 P1650614What happened to February?  Somehow almost the whole month has gone by and I haven’t written a single thing down.  Going back to work, trying to eat really really clean, and starting exercising again seems to have eaten up any time I have for blogging.  It’s all a blur.

Let’s see—Marshall turned three months old on Friday.  He’s getting so big!  He is enjoying his jumper now and even fell asleep in it this morning, something busy Max never ever did.  He has enjoyed watching the Olympics with me, his favorite seems to be luge/bobsled.  He gets quite excited.  We are still not only dealing with cradle cap, but other rashes that I fear are eczema.  I cut dairy out of my diet to see if that helps, though we still have to work through some stored breast milk before he’s totally off it.  I bought this shampoo to help with the cradle cap and it makes his rash worse, so that’s not great.  He’s still a sunshiney, smiley baby.

I am having a hell of a time pumping enough milk for work.  Thank goodness I only work two days a week because I spend the rest of the week trying to catch up.   I first tried taking lots of fenugreek which has worked for me in the past, but one of the side effects can be low blood sugar and I was having repeated hypoglycemia, where my blood sugar would drop suddenly and I would get shaky and dizzy so no more of that.  My naturopath recommended another product I haven’t gotten yet, but actually just a reminder to eat more and drink lots and lots of water was helpful.  I always assume I drink tons of water because I used to, but ever since Max has gotten so that he wants to play with and drink out of my water bottle or glass if it is in sight I am not as good about drinking water as I used to be, so I’m working on doing better with that.

Max continues to have new words and phrases every day—my favorite things he says right now are “I like that idea” and when he pretends to talk on the phone he says “hiyo” which is possibly the cutest thing ever in the world. He also likes to announce that someone has an idea “mom has IDEA!” and I say, “what is my idea?” to which he either says “hmm” or “aha!”.  I think this is because often M or I will say “I have an idea Max” before suggesting some fun thing to do, so by prompting us that we have an idea he is hoping something great will come of it.

I started letting him have gluten after he turned two, and have not yet seen any reaction.  Now all he ever wants to eat is a sandwich (meaning an almond butter and jam sandwich).  He rarely wants anything else.  I am not crazy about this but I know all phases eventually pass.  I should probably try to enforce other foods but I’m not sure it’s worth the fight.  In trying to keep his mess contained I have told him he can only eat either in the kitchen or at the table, which means now he only ever wants to eat sitting on the kitchen floor—this morning he ate his sandwich on the floor in the kitchen while I ate at the dining room table.

Sunday we all went to the Pacific Science Center.  It was a great rainy day activity—they had lots of things for toddlers to do and some of the exhibits were brand new while others have been there since I was a kid.  Max enjoyed not only the toddler area but the butterfly exhibit.

I am now catching up on a mountain of laundry, since our dryer was broken for almost two weeks.  Mercifully the (extremely smelly smoker) repair man came on Saturday with the needed part so I didn’t have to wait another week.  M was saying to me yesterday he didn’t think it was all that bad without the dryer for so long.  I laughed.  I didn’t wash anything that we didn’t really need, used disposable diapers and covered the bathroom in drip drying everything else. It was annoying for sure though better than no washing machine!

Eat Cake!

30 Jan

Last weekend we celebrated Max’s birthday with a family party.  We were trying to teach him to say “two” whenever we asked him how old he is.  Instead it would go like this:

“Max how old are you”

“Eat Cake! Mom make some!”

So clearly, the important aspect of birthdays was conveyed.

Speaking of cake,  I have long been the official maker of cakes for all family birthdays for years and years.  I have been using this mix since becoming gluten free, as it is delicious and better than some gluten containing ones (though I am itching to try making some healthier gf ones from scratch, I am also trying to lose some baby weight and do not need to be experimenting with tons of cake right now!) Though I make at least 6 cakes per year, I seldom do more decoratively than put a bit of fruit on it, but this time my little boy was turning two and I was going to try and make him a car cake.

Thank goodness for pinterest.  Although there were some crazily professional ones on there, I found inspiration and came up with something that worked well and wasn’t too hard.

Step 1: made sheet cake (for maybe the second time in my life- usually I make layer cakes)

Step 2: Drew “two” on waxed paper and cut it out as template

Step 3: Made icing—vanilla buttercream for most of it and a bit of chocolate for the “road”

Step 4: dye icing, which I made difficult for myself by using natural dye (artificial dyes are very bad for children).  The dye only came in primary colors and it took a long time to get a decent green (flashback to last year with the same problem).  I also dyed some coconut.

Step 5: I iced around the two in green and added coconut.  Then I carefully removed the waxed paper two and filled it in with chocolate icing using a pastry brush.  Then I outlined it with chocolate chips

Step 6: add monster trucks (I was originally going to do race cars but my “road” looked like mud, so I went with it).

I think it was worth the effort:
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In other news Mars slept 6 hours straight last night!!! I think he just finished a growth spurt so I’m not sure it will happen again but it was pretty darn great.  He’s still such a happy baby, it’s very refreshing.
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Happy Birthday Max

23 Jan

 

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Dear Max,

Today you turn two years old.  It seems like both just yesterday and a million years ago since you were born—it is hard to remember our lives without you in it.  You are such a bright, funny little guy—you fill up the whole room with your personality and charm the pants off just about everyone. 

You talk constantly.  A year ago you had only a handful of words and now you have much more than I could fit in this letter, and you are using 4 and 5 word phrases.  It is so wonderful to be able to actually talk to you and be able to communicate!  You narrate our whole day, telling me what you are doing, what I am doing, asking me what I am doing, where I went (even when you can still see me), what things are called.  You are silly and love to make us laugh. 

You are all about anything with wheels.  Cars, trucks, construction machines, and trains thrill you to your very core.  You play cars all day long, when we are driving around you are ecstatic to see a garbage truck (“gup kuck”), fire truck (“fire kuck!  Makes noise!”) or any sort of work site for construction. 

You are have a deep and devoted bond to your giraffe blankie, whom you have named “Bam Bam.”  Bam bam, as you say, “makes me feel bed” (better).  You make me laugh every day when you suddenly realize Bam Bam is across the room and you shriek “Bam Bam Come ‘mere!”  You ask Dad or me to make Bam Bam hide so you can find him, or help him to participate in whatever game we are playing over and over.   He is your constant companion—you have two and one stays in your bed along with your secondary pacifier.  Every time we go in your room to read a book before bed you rotate blankies and pacifiers even though they are virtually identical.

Your dad is still your favorite playmate.  Whenever he comes in the door from work you frantically look around for a toy or something to show him and then run to see him. “Dad came home!” is what you say over and over.  You play chase and lots of wild wrestling/jumping/crazy boy games every evening together.  He is also a comfort place for you just like I am, and I am very glad that you love and need us equally.

The phrase I hear most often during the day is “Mom hold Max.”  You want to be picked up, carried, held, close to me or Dad all the time. I admit this is equal parts adorable and frustrating, since it is rather difficult to make dinner and hold all 29 pounds of you at the same time.  You tend to be very affectionate and give me lots of spontaneous hugs all day long and sometimes “pet” me as if I were a cat—I find this adorable.    Watching you adapt the past two months to being a new big brother and having to share your mom especially has been an interesting transition.  It’s very hard for you not to always get to be in my lap, but you are coming around and are starting to enjoy showing baby Mars your toys and having him watch you play. 

Turning two and getting a new baby brother all at once is not without its challenges.  There is a reason two is widely known as the “Terrible Twos.”  Though I would not call you terrible, you are a challenge sometimes and have wild mood swings trying to figure out what exactly it is you want, not to mention that sometimes you just don’t get your way and that’s a hard thing to experience when you are a tiny person.  Most of the time though you are a sunshiny, happy, vibrant little boy who makes my world a happy place and I love being your mom, even on days where you give me a hard time.

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

Love,

Mom

Vacation at the mall

22 Jan

I started the week with a very lovely 24 hours, made even more so because I was expecting it to be hard.  Monday M had to go out of town overnight for work (thankfully this happens rarely—before we had kids he was gone twice a month).  This unfortunately interfered with my plan of having him come with me to the kids combined 2 month/2 year well child exam and I took them alone.  As ever, Mars was sweet and happy and mostly slept.  Max was freaked out by the whole thing, even though our doctor is the sweetest person ever and has small kids of her own.  He alternated playing with the toys in her office and huddling on my lap with his face buried in my chest (which was actually rather endearing).  I figured he would not want to sit on the baby scale and spent quite awhile demonstrating the adult scale, how we stand on it and move the squares around to find our weight, even got our combined weights but he wouldn’t let me put him down to weigh just me even.  Finally out of the blue he pointed to the baby scale and wanted to “sit on yis!” so I got his weight after all.  He hated being measured for length, as he always does, and though he consented to having his eyes and ears looked into while I held him the mouth was not going to happen (and we are supposed to take him to a dentist soon.  Riiiiight).  In the end, neither of them got a vaccination, though I thought they both would, because the office had just switched to digital records and she couldn’t find Max’s vaccine record to know what he needed.  Mars is due for the first tdap but that was the one vaccine where Max had a reaction and screamed all night and I was picturing trying to get Max to bed on my own with a screaming baby and ultimately decided to wait.  So I made a vaccine only appointment for them both for a couple weeks from now.  That should be fun.  Both boys are in the 75% for height, Mars 75% for weight and Max 70%.  And both have giant 80% heads.  Mars is a little shorter and a bit heavier than Max was at two months, the latter likely because Max was constantly mad and kicking and thrashing around so he burned a lot of calories, whereas Mars mainly sleeps and smiles for 21 hours a day.

M usually puts Max to bed, or at least does most of the wind down routine.   I was very nervous about getting him to bed alone because that’s around the time of day that Mars gets all keyed up.  I was really tired and decided to try getting him to bed a little early too.  I told Max it was time to go upstairs and read a book.  Not only did he go willingly (rare these days) which was shocking, but then he really surprised me; I asked him if Mars should stay down or come up with us.  He originally said Mars should stay downstairs,  and I was picturing a lightening fast book read with a crying baby in the background.  When we got to the top of the stairs Max turned around and looked down at his brother and said “go get Mars!”  So I parked him at the top of the stairs and turned back around to get the baby.  Then he consented to sit in my lap with baby while we read a book (though he kept telling baby not to kick the book).  Since he never wants to share my lap with his brother, had never called him by name without prompting (i.e. “say good night Mars”) it was the most shocking and adorable exchange ever.  Then he went to bed without complaint.  I texted the story to M and his response was “WHAT?!!! WOW!!!!”

On Tuesday we all got up and Max wanted to read a book first thing.  In his book a bear was eating cereal for breakfast (actually technically the bear was eating just about every breakfast food you can possibly imagine—presumably he was getting ready to hibernate?) and Max insisted he wanted cereal too.  I used to make hot cereal for Max on days I left really early for work because it keeps better than eggs, but I almost never make it now because it doesn’t really agree with me .  Not only did he have a giant bowl of oatmeal with bananas for breakfast but he insisted on it for lunch too.

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Smiley baby loves Nordstrom too

My in-laws came around 9 to play with Max and Mars and I left for a follow up midwife appointment.  After my appointment we went to the mall which is nearby the office and I fed and changed Mars (yay for Nordstrom’s fancy bathrooms!), I had a fancy salad for lunch (also at Nordstrom) and then wandered around and bought myself a few clothes (NOT at Nordstrom) on extreme January clearance because I am terribly sick of wearing maternity clothes, especially pants which keep falling off every time I bend down, but none of my pre-pregnancy stuff fits yet.  We came home just as Max was waking up from his nap, and M returned from his trip not long after, so they all went to the park and I got a shower, put some laundry away and started on some dishes.  Perhaps not a spa vacation, but it was a lovely and much needed break.

Unfortunately all that loveliness was tempered by this afternoon, wherein Max had tantrum after tantrum.  I don’t think I have ever seen him such a wreck– it wasn’t even that he wasn’t getting what he wanted, it was more that he didn’t seem to know what he wanted.  All done eating, no don’t take the tray, mom hold Max, no don’t take me out of my chair, read me this book, no don’t read it, boots on boots off, baby go away, Mom hold Max, Mom hold Max, Mom hold Max etc all afternoon until I reached the very end of my patience right before M came in the door.

In between tantrums, we had some adventures:

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Post bath, insisted on wearing his boots.

 

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Helping make almond flour biscuits, which for some reason he insists on calling “pancakes”

Tomorrow my headstrong little boy turns two– I hope today was an anomaly and not the new normal for two because I’m not sure I can take that level of crazy every day.

A break of sorts

19 Jan
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MY happy boy!

 

Yesterday morning I left Mars for the first time and went to an open house for my favorite of the preschools. I got a little stressed and emotional, not so much because the boys would be with their dad for two hours but because I am going back to work soon and will be leaving them for 10 hours. Max is used to me being gone to work so that I don’t mind as he has a blast with his grandparents, but leaving my not even three month old baby is going to be rough, especially because since we have taken a divide and conquer approach with M mostly taking care of Max when he’s home and me doing 99% of baby care, Marshall really is only MINE still in a way that Max is not anymore. It will be sad to let that special just us time go. On the other hand, I like my job and am not sorry to be going back. I am lucky to be able to go back part-time too—it would be much harder if I was leaving them for full-time work.

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The preschool I visited is still my favorite. Their emphasis is on social and emotional learning as well as teaching independence and love for learning, more so than over rote memorizing of facts. I LOVE this approach. It even combines both the mixed age groups and the individual ages by doing part of the year with a mixed age classroom and then switching to being separated by ages for the best of both worlds. The application is long and my brain is not working, especially because last night after I got up to change Mars in the middle of the night I was wide awake for two hours until he woke up again. I am on my third cup of coffee this morning. I have until February 1st to write all about the inner workings of my two year old’s world and submit it (which I am pretty sure has more to do with them assessing if my parenting fits their teaching style than anything to do with my child). I have two more schools to go to open houses for but I don’t think my top choice is going to change.
In the afternoon I took Mars to a baby shower. I only knew the person hosting the shower and the mom to be, but it was still really fun because we are all moms or about to be moms (also almost all dietitians too) and somehow having young children opens the door to conversation where ever you go. It was really wonderful to have an adult conversation, and Mars was an adorable angel as always and was happy to just look at new people and then sleep on me in his carrier. Everyone commented on how tiny he is, which of course, compared to toddlers he is, but he is already so much bigger than he was a month ago it’s amazing. I am now reminded by what I hate about baby clothes—size management. Every brand means something a bit different by 3 months or 6 months and they outgrow things every 3-4 weeks which means I am constantly either squeezing him into something that is a little small or putting him in something inches too big. And I pulled out a couple things the other day that said 6 months but he had already outgrown, despite still fitting in some 3 month stuff. So aggravating! It is easier after the first year when they start out growing things every 3-6 months instead of 3-6 weeks!

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