Monday, February 22, 2016

Eleven Months

Object in photo appears longer than in reality

My cuddly baby is practically a year. Sniff.

A lucky thing is that the further I get from pregnancy and childbirth, the less I want to go back and do it again. At first, I desperately wanted a third, in a I-know-this-isn't-practical-but-my-heart-still-longs kind of way. Now I don't even want it. But at the same time, I don't want this infancy to end.

She still remains the happiest baby on the block. We went to a friend's house today. A friend she hasn't met before, someone from school. We walked in and I handed the baby to my friend while I helped Calliope with her coat. And Amelie just sat in this stranger's lap for twenty minutes, cooing and waving and looking around.

She's saying "Haaaaaa" ("hi") and waving more and more now. I think she's trying to say a baby version of "peekaboo"occasionally but it's hard to say for sure. She can say sign and say "el-da" ("all done") but rarely chooses to. Likewise, she can sign "more" but rarely does. I'm trying to teach her the sign for "water" now. It's interesting to see her doing all this before a year, when Calliope didn't do any of it until after her first birthday. I was so sure my second child would be disadvantaged by not having all my attention but it seems that instead, she is benefitting from hearing so much talking all the time.

She's crawling a ton and pulling up constantly, though not cruising confidently yet. On the other hand, she loves to push a toddler chair or a stepstool around. I'm not in any rush for her to walk.

Last she got weighed, she hadn't gained anything in several months (but had grown lengthwise) so I'm curious to see her progress at her one year check up. She loves food and eats just about everything -- so different than her big sister, who basically refused to touch food until her first birthday. She's so fun to feed! Today I gave her chunks of peeled grapefruit, something her sister will never try, and scrambled eggs, something Calliope will only recently have a couple bites of... Amelie gobbled them up! She also loves roasted brussel sprouts, broccoli, and roasted chicken. I can't believe I have a kid that will eat regular old chicken! Thrilling. She's definitely not skinny like Calliope was at this age (see above re: food refusal... she also basically refused bottles at this age) and still has some delicious squishiness about her but has slimmed down over the last few months.

Happy sisters

Nursing isn't going as well. I'm really struggling with my supply of late and I'm also realizing that I just don't enjoy it as much as I did with Calliope -- Amelie's latch has always been problematic. Nowadays, she pulls her head back as far as she can until she eventually pops off. Then she relatches and repeats, over and over again. Annoying! I was getting worried about my supply dropping so much that I'd have to wean... but now I can also see the silver lining to that. I weaned Calliope at 18 months so I assumed I'd do the same with Amelie but maybe not. Calliope recently asked for a bottle of milk and I humored her... Well, Amelie saw that bottle and got very whiny. It wasn't even the kind of bottle that Amelie normally uses! I asked Calliope to give her a taste, thinking she wouldn't like it because she's never had cow's milk... To the contrary, she loved it. Oops.

All dressed up for their first Broadway show.
*Notice and appreciate Calliope's tights pulled up firmly above her waistband.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Practically Perfect Day Rose From the Ashes

I bought tickets a while ago to take Calliope to her first Broadway show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, along with her surrogate grammy, Barbara. I booked a babysitter for Amelie a month ago. Barbara made a reservation at a nice restaurant nearby. It was going to be a Very Special Day Out.

And then the babysitter looked at me blankly when I reminded her about our plans. She had gotten the dates mixed up, and had other plans.

And then this morning Barbara texted me that a dear friend's husband was in the hospital with a heart attack and she, Barbara, needed to go be with her friend.

And then Calliope whined about not wanting to go to the theater.

And I got in her face and yelled, "I spent a lot of money on these tickets and we are GOING and YES I am disappointed that Alex cancelled and YES I am disappointed that Barbara cancelled but we are GOING and we are going to have a GOOD TIME." I left out the word dammit.

And she said, "Okay." And got dressed.

And both girls napped in the car on the way to the show. Even though Amelie had already napped that morning (we went to friends' for dinner last night and I thought they understood our schedule, had agreed to it... and set out some food for the kids, finally, about the time I needed to be packing us up. So they were tired). And then I found a METERED parking spot (for up to six hours) a block from Times Square. I mean, what are the odds?

And we got to the show in time, and Amelie barely squirmed on my lap, and both girls were captivated. I was kind of bored, but seeing the delight on their eyes was priceless.

And then we came home and I made scrambled eggs and both girls loved them, a first for Calliope. And it sounds so silly but my mom and my siblings and I all love slow cooked soft scrambled eggs and it seems like such a triumph that both my girls, at last, love them too. It was this strange bonding moment. And Calliope and I have started washing dishes together and it's so cute and funny. She'll scrub a spoon diligently, stick in the drain and remark, "There! Perfect!" She's so pleased to have this new skill because it's something to do together. And despite her slowness and her imperfect technique... it amazingly feels so different to have help with clean up! I cleaned off the table and counters while she washed. Someone to share the load -- what a beautiful concept!

And then Amelie went to nap and I cuddled up on the couch with Calliope and watched cooking shows on the computer. This sounds idiotic but I've never really watched anything with her. It seems like such an obvious thing to do with her but I always try to restrict her screen time so the rare times I allow it, it's usually because I need a break. But oh! It was so sweet to curl up together and watch something we both enjoyed.

Then a workout for me, dinner for them, and an early bedtime for both of them. Not for me, unfortunately. But while staying up too late, I booked a trip to Florida with two other SMCs. That might not be my first choice of destinations ordinarily but a trip with other SMCs... amazing!

So although I was terribly disappointed this morning... I feel like our week of togetherness finally came together. In one [nearly] perfect day. I'm so grateful.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Not a very interesting post but... I wanted to report that I'm feeling better. After a week off from work, spending nearly every day at home. I can't remember having such a quiet week since I've had kids, maybe ever. I've always been a little scared that if I accomplished so little, I'd never get up off the couch again.

It's been heavenly. Without a lot of big goals, I haven't had to rush my kids, well, really Calliope, out the door. We've both lived in our coziest pants. I've mostly been a lot less impatient with her. And I've loved getting to savor Amelie, who is still just the sweetest thing. I'm not sure if it's because she's still really small, but she's still such a baby, my baby, even at a day shy of eleven months. I love just lying on the couch and watching her.

So I think all this rest -- although I've actually only managed eight hours of sleep once -- or at least, time off from a hectic schedule, has helped a lot. I also wonder, in hindsight, if I was detoxing from going off wheat. I didn't eat a ton of wheat before but I've suddenly noticed, in the last few days, that I have had more energy for workouts. And I'm mostly not tired despite sleeping less than I usually do.

Whatever it is, I'm grateful.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

In A Rut. Or Something.

I've been feeling "off" for a while. Like I've lost my groove. A little tired and run down, but not tired enough to be sick. Not exactly depressed, either. But everything just feels tiring. And lately, I'm feeling a little freaked, on a low level, all the time. Because of worrying about future diabetes, and worrying about how much money I am spending. My childcare bills are staggering.

I've been doing great with wheat free. Yesterday I had a couple bites of Calliope's granola bar at the doctor's office because I forgot my own snack and I was suddenly so hungry I was nauseous, but I think that's the first slip I've made this month. My blood sugars have mostly been very good, although a little worse the last couple of days. But zero change in my stomach. If anything, it got bigger. Though I think the arrival of AF may have helped a little in that regard.

This week is our Winter Break and for the first time, I have made almost no plans. I'm always a person that needs to get out of the house and accomplish something. But for once, I think that both Calliope and me really need to not accomplish anything for a bit. I wonder if we will get bored but so far, it's amazing. Yesterday, Saturday, I had to take her to the doctor (sore throat and low grade fever after finishing antibiotics only a couple days prior) but so far, today, we have been inside with no plans to go out. The cleaning lady was here on Wednesday and the laundry's been folded and put away and it's sunny and bright inside and oh so cold outside -- it was one degree out Fahrenheit when we woke up -- and it's all just perfect. Calliope and I made molasses cookies -- her request, instead of chocolate cookies with pink frosting! -- and it was not stressful at all because we had no place we had to go. Lovely. And rare, for us.

I decided to try talking to a nutritionist, and googled "Brooklyn Nutritionist" and found someone who offered a free consultation via Skype. I emailed her for an appointment and we Skyped on Thursday. It was great! She offers two sessions a month, focusing on food but touching of all aspects of life, like work and family and managing stress. And best of all, she sends a care package every month!

The idea of someone taking care of me a little, the working-full-time-SMC-to-two? Wow. Just wow. Worth the price tag. I need something to shift a little. The stress is just feeling a bit too much lately.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Resolution

My January resolutions were:

  1. Excellent dental hygiene. Including no picking at my gum. -- Total success!
  2. Reading to Amelie every day. Err. Maybe 80% success. I forgot to do it tonight because I was punishing her sister. Yup, I'm the anti-punisher but tonight, I told Calliope what she could snack on while I was putting Amelie to bed. From the other room, I heard the cupboard door close. I knew none of the authorized foods were in the cupboard. I came out and found her with her head buried in the couch. I asked, "Calliope, what you are doing?"

    "Sneaking, " she confessed. I was impressed by her honesty!

    I pried the yogurt raisins out of her fist and put them back in the kitchen and told Calliope that the kitchen was now closed and she needed to pick stories for that night.

    I went back to tending to the baby, and a minute later, came back out and found Calliope with her mouth bulging. I tried to make her spit them out but it was too late, she bolted them down.

    So I silently took her to the bathroom, brushed her teeth and used her inhaler, and deposited her in her bed. She didn't say much. Didn't cry or protest, though. I have to figure out what to say to her tomorrow.
  3. No reading at the table. No eating with distractions. -- I'm doing really well! Maybe 95%? Now that I'm doing so well, I let myself slide every now and then. Knowing I have the new habit, I can consciously choose to break it occasionally for good reason.
  4. Keeping the hall table clean and clear. -- Eh, not so good. I'm still trying. But it feels less critical than the others.

    I feel like I never stop cleaning up and tidying up with two kids. It's exhausting. And sometimes, tidying up yet one more thing just doesn't seem like a good use of my energy. So I'm okay with how I'm doing. I wish it was neater, but it's not the most important thing.

And now for my February resolution... Being wheat free. The Wheat Belly book continues to impress me. And since I cut out wheat, approximately on the first day of February, my blood sugars have been better, mostly much better. I've been getting some fasting blood sugars in the 80s! Before they were in the low 100s some days.

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any loss in belly fat just yet, and I think I really need to not have fat sitting around my organs, as it's a big risk factor for disease.

But I'm doing my best. One thing at a time. And with wheat, I can't just cut back. I really need it 100% eliminated. So it's a big change, and I'm doing really great.