the thing about having two

Are you anything like me?  I tend to dwell on the negative.  I don’t do this as a habit in life, just with my kids and our day.  8-5 is such a long day, ya know?  I’m often so done by 5 that I need a perspective change.

(You don’t want to see me at 5…  I have a wonderful husband!)

I’m a glass half-full person, for sure, but I definitely live my days glass half-empty.  When I sit down to blog, it’s usually because I’m frustrated and need an outlet.  Writing helps so much.  I stand up feeling like I’ve vented, and I feel better.  Often I feel that the Holy Spirit tells me something.

I thought I could use a reminder, though.  A reminder of blessing when things are hectic and I’m feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated.  A reminder that these girls are girls to cherish.

So, this post is 10 reminders of what’s so great about having two.

10) Always have one to cuddle.  And, they are SO cuddly right now.

9) Usually one of them is not cranky if the other one is.

8 ) We each have one to share the other. (Sophia and I will play and tickle Abby.  When Abby laughs, Sophia laughs.  It warms my heart to see Abby delight in her younger sister.  Abby and I will watch Sophia.  When Sophia laughs, Abby smiles.  It warms my heart to watch Abby look at her sister with wonder.)

7) They’re each the perfect age.  For Sophia’s whole life, I have caught myself saying, “Sophia’s at the perfect age.  I love this age.”  I would say it one month and then say it again a few months later.  And mean it!  I had no idea that watching and helping a baby grow up would be so much fun.  I had no idea that love would fill me up more and more as the months go by.  I often think that I couldn’t possibly love them more, and a few months later, I do.  So, I find myself saying, “They’re each at the perfect age.” Sophia’s learning to talk and be a “big girl,” and Abby’s learning about her body and the world.  What could be better to watch?  And, I get both at the same time.

6) Two unique personalities to get to know, enjoy and parent.

5) Two souls to watch grow and develop and (hopefully) come to know the Lord.

4) Two beautiful sets of eyes to cherish the wonder and mysteries of their hearts.

3) Two lives to pray for and two journeys to be on with them.

2) Two stories in the making.

1) Two amazing children of God that will make my heart explode with love.

Recent Fun

I have been having so much fun with the girls lately.  Monday night Will and I made Sophia a cardboard house–one that is the perfect size for her to run in and out of.  I knew she would love it, but I had no idea she would love it so much.  She loves running in and out of it, playing peek-a-boo, and doing all kinds of things in it.  It takes up so much space in our living room; I have no idea how we’re going to eventually dispose of it…

It was so much fun to make the box for her and then give it to her.  We made it Monday night while she was asleep and had it as a surprise for her Tuesday morning.  In the morning when we got her out of bed, I said, “Guess what!  Daddy and I have a surprise for you!  Do you know what it is?” Fully knowing that she had no idea.  I just wanted to create hype for the reveal…  Well, she says, “A howsh.  A pway howsh.” I look at Daddy, “What?!” She remembered.  Sophia and I found the box the day before, and I had told her that that night Daddy and I were going to make her a play house.  I hid the box downstairs, but she remembered.  After 12 hours of sleep, she remembered.  Crazy, huh.  Mental note: Do not make promises that you do not intend to keep.  This girl remembers.

Thursday we had the most beautiful day outside: sunny, nearly 70 degrees, a perfect spring day.  We played at the park for over an hour and then went to lunch on a coffee house patio.  It was delightful.  It was refreshing.  It felt like the most special “Mommy and my girls” day out–our first, really.  (Sorry, I wish I had some pictures of this day.  But, it was enough just trying to keep up with both girls…)

Well, Friday night it snowed.  And, Sophia was so excited about it.  She DID NOT want to go to bed.  She wanted to “go owshi and pway wih show.” Today, she called it, “shuh-no.” Must’ve been because I kept sounding it out for her…  Well, today we played in it!  This was her first time to ever play in the snow.  All the other times it snowed, I was either hugely pregnant or Abby was freshly born, and it was super, super cold.  So, we got out her brand new snowsuit and bundled up.  It was fluffy and yummy.  Sophia got cold quickly; so, we rushed inside and made hot cocoa.  Yummy!  Sophia loved her first cup of hot cocoa.

What a nice week.  Thanks Kansas, for you awesomely crazy weather.

Bumbo

WHIE NOW!

Remember how Sophia makes me repeat everything she says?  (Irritated)  That’s the only way she’ll stop saying it…. Well, the past few days she’s been saying the most hilarious thing that we finally figured out, yesterday.  We were able to repeat it back to her, only it didn’t make her stop saying it…

A few days ago we were in Sophia’s play kitchen, and she was cooking and babbling: “Cook, whie now.”

On the way home from church, yesterday, she was saying over and over again, “Da-dee, tea-tar, whie now.” (Daddy guitar right now.)

Yesterday, Sophia was playing with Daddy in the play kitchen and I overheard, “Ima cook, whie now! Ima cook, whie now!” Imagine that Sophia is nearly yelling and she’s spacing out the whie now part.  Imagine in a sweet, yet demanding tone,  “WHIE! NOW!”

Have you figured it out?  It hit me. She’s saying, “I’m going to cook right now.” I hollered into Will so that he could repeat it to her to make her stop.  It didn’t.

We were downstairs later and Daddy was sitting on the couch.  “Ima dit. WHIE NOW!” Later, I hear in the kitchen, “Ima ge dah-ee whie now!” (I’m gonna get doggy right now.)  She’s putting it on the end of everything and she’s saying it over and over and over!  “Iwa milk whi now!” (I want milk right now.) “Bah-ee! Whi now!” (Barney, right now.) “Mine! WHI NOW!”

I’m thinking about how she could’ve gotten this “right now” business…  Yes, of course.  When I’m cooking dinner and she’s whining and pulling on my leg, I often say, “Mommy is cooking right now.  You may go play with Daddy.”  Then, I thought about other things I say, “Come here, right now!” when I’ve already asked her and she’s not listening.

I start to get really self-conscious.  Embarrassed, even.  She is yelling “right now” at the ends of everything that she says.  Now, I don’t do that. I don’t sound like that.

Is she saying it for effect?  Is she trying it out to see what it’ll get her?  Does she understand what it means?

Or, is she just repeating what she’s heard Mommy say again and again?

In the middle of the night, I remembered that when she asked about Daddy Sunday morning, I told her, “Daddy is at church playing guitar right now.”  I always put right now at the ends of where Daddy is.  “He is at work right now.” Or, “He is downstairs on the computer right now.”  I tell her, “Barney is not on right now.”

This developing language thing is FUN-NY!  Our plan is to just sort of ignore it and hope that the yelling with fizzle out.  I already heard her this morning putting “All Tow” at the end of everything.  That would be “All through the town” from the beloved children’s song “The Wheels on the Bus.”

In the meantime, I better watch what I say… and how I say it… 😉

Doggy dress-up

Irritated

Sophia’s driving me batty lately.

Is that okay to say?

She’s always one step behind me… literally… She talks all the time.  She always wants me to repeat everything she says–to make sure I understand, I guess.  But, she’ll say it over and over again until I repeat it for her.  I know it’s been helping her language development and helping her communicate so much, but I’m annoyed.

She’s just so difficult to parent right now.  She wants to do everything by herself.  “I-wa mine!” EVERYTHING. And, she’s so snappy about it.   She asks me to do everything with her, but she will never let me do anything with her. “I-wa mine!” Ugh.  She has to do pants by herself.  Sock and shoes by herself.  Open wrappers and bananas by herself….  Mind you, she can’t.  So, every 1 minute activity actually takes 5!

Warning Mother: Patience is required at ALL times!

Meanwhile, Abby’s eyes are getting red and she’s yawning or getting fussy…  Abby requires right-now timing.  So, what do I do with Sophia when we’re in the middle of something?

How do I begin to encourage healthy independence with Sophia while disciplining poor choices like throwing the puzzle when I try to help her put in a piece or screaming when I do ___________.  After on said episode, i.e. screaming and/or throwing, she always refuses that activity.  How can I help promote good coping skills with frustration and anger and newfound independence?

Ugh.  Mommying is no mindless work.  It takes being on the ball 24/7… always one step ahead.

My patience is worn thin so easily with her.  I find myself getting angry quickly.  One little thing will happen.  She’ll throw a tantrum; I’ll discipline.  She’ll make another poor choice; I’ll offer grace… etc., etc., untill 1:00 p.m. and BAM I can’t take it anymore and I need a break.

By the way, I don’t always last that long.  This morning it was 10:15.  We were playing in her play kitchen, and I had just been talking to her about not shaking water out from her cup.  In fact, we had been talking about it all morning… and for the last few days.  Then BAM!  She turns over a teapot to dump out her shoes and a 1/4 cup of water spills on the floor!  BAM!  What the what!

“Sophia! That’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

She leaves the room… pouting, I think because I yelled at her.  I try to compose myself… She comes back with a towel.

Oh, my sweet girl.  She does have a sweet heart.  She’s just a baby learning how to live in a fallen world.

Abby’s 3-months-old

Newborn parenting this time around

Parenting a newborn is difficult.  Even the second time around.  I’m up early this morning.  I’ve been up since about 1:30 a.m. off and on… I had the stomach flu on Wednesday and have been recovering.  For the last 4 hours, I’ve been hot and cold, tossing and turning with an icky stomach and achey breasts.  The achey breasts is because I made the decision not to wake up Abby at 10:00 p.m. to feed her.  She had a bit of a fever around 7:00 p.m., and I couldn’t bear the idea of disturbing her good sleep.  Well, 10 1/2 hours into not feeding her, and I’m paying for it.  For those of you that know what a “dreamfeed” is, I gave her one of those a few minutes ago and gave up on sleep for myself…  (I thought about pumping, but I fear mastitis.  In 3 months time, I’ve had 7 plugged ducts and 1 round of mastitis… Oh, and Abby won’t take a bottle…)

Parenting is hard, no matter how you look at it.  The second time around I have so much more confidence but still so many questions.  I have confidence that I can read Abby’s signs/cries.  I’m not always bewildered when she’s fussy with questions of “Is she hungry?” or “Is she tired?” But, I am still bewildered with questions like “Why won’t she go to sleep right now when she’s so, so tired?” and  “Why does she keep waking up at 4:30 a.m. when she used to sleep ’til 6:00?”

I’ve been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, and it has helped me the most.  He makes me feel like what’s going on with my baby is normal and that there are steps we can take to help her get more rest.  Only I still have some residual Babywise scars.  I say that because I followed the Babywise model pretty strictly with Sophia, and I found much success.  She slept through the night very early and up to 12 hours well before my breasts needed her to.  I followed Babywise, and I got her on a schedule.  I expected her to sleep when it was time, and I clocked her feeding times.  It worked out well at night, but during the days there was a LOT of crying… and some days not much napping.  That’s just not going to work when I’ve got a 22 month-old to also be parenting.

We got back from a trip to Arkansas nearly 2 weeks ago and Abby was off her “schedule.”  That is, she no longer wanted to nap for more than 45 minutes, and she no longer slept through the night.  She also had 3 evenings straight of crying between 3-6 hours… what one might mistake for colick… I had to take action.  Poor Da-da was coming home to a chaotic household and had to rescue a frazzled Mama by rocking a screaming baby all evening.  We all needed rest and peace of mind in our household.  The action I took was following Dr. Weissbluth’s idea that an overtired baby won’t sleep well, but a well-rested baby will sleep well.  He says that a baby her age cannot be up for more than 2 hours without getting overtired.  I decided to watch her like a hawk for signs of drowsiness and put her down immediately.  What I absolutely couldn’t believe was that after a night of sleeping 14 hours (waking up for 2 feedings), she was tired and ready to go to bed 45 minutes after she woke up in the morning; that is, 20 minutes after she finished breakfast!  Isn’t that counterintuitive? Even to a “seasoned” mother… Ha!  Seasoned. So, I’m struggling with this scenario every morning at 8:15.  She’s only been up 45 minutes, but she’s yawning… put her down?  Is it too early?  I don’t want her to cry too much.

We’ve had so much success.  She finally took a two-hour nap on Tuesday!  I attribute this to 1) my constant evaluation of her sleepy-state and 2) a new, innovate swaddling cocoon called a woombie.  I’m not sure if it’s a miracle blanket, but I am sure that it helps.  Abby hates being traditionally swaddled, but she can’t sleep without it.  Her startle reflex is too great and she waves her arms all around.  The woombie lets her have movement inside the swaddle while still keeping her from waking herself up.  She can still chew on her hands through the blanket, since she can’t get them out.  The first time I put her in it, she giggled and cooed at me!  She went down that evening without crying, and I was choked up with joy.  She’s gone down a few times without any crying and has taken a few 2 hour naps… I’m in love with the woombie, mostly because Abby is happier in it, and I’m going to order another one.  However, that all being said I believe the continued success is a little more about timing than it is about a miracle blanket.  If I put her down overtired and fussy, it doesn’t matter if she’s wrapped in a cloud, she’s gonna cry when I leave her.  I’ll say, though, the protest crying before naptime has been significantly shorter than pre-woombie, sometimes not even more than a minute or two.

Okay, it’s 6:30 now.  I’m going to go make some coffee for my hubby.

big girl swing