Monday, January 30, 2012

4.5


Dear Nugget,
*Today, I sent you off to school with your birthday crown (we added a "1/2" to it with a piece of mailing label) on your head and a bag of applesauce "squeezers" to share with your friends.  At 4.5, you are smart, wiley, imaginative, playful, and above all else - silly.  We love you, dear one!
*This post is a little belated due to the arrival of your baby brother, sorry!

Challenges of 4.5
7.  Sloooowww compliance with adult requests, but just fast enough to avoid a consequence.
6.  Making silly noises that also involve saliva emissions
5.  Complaining for the sake of it.
4.  You've discovered "power play" with guns and swords and the whole shebang.  I am trying to balance my peace-loving heart with the understanding that you need to feel strong and play larger than life.  I remind myself that my 2 brothers loved the uber-violent play as boys but have grown into kind, gentle men, but again, I tell you to please point the imaginary gun at a target and not people.
3.  You are going to be "the informer" soon.  You bemoan others' sad choices aloud, "Oh no, Mommy!  She is smoking, and that's not safe for her body."  "Oh, those friends ran in the parking lot, and that's NOT OK!"
2.  Your separation anxiety comes and goes.  I think I have certain triggers pinpointed - being the last to enter an already-crowded room, recovering from Daddy returning from a business trip, but what I need to know is how to keep my body upright when you are winding your limbs and 50-pound frame around my legs.
1.  You are discovering the world is unfair, and bit by bit, your rose colored glasses and the protective bubble we've built for you will be chipped away, to reveal the world as it is.  Today it is a lollipop in someone else's goody bag but not your own.  Welcome to character-building experiences 101.

Things I Love about 4.5
10.  You recount your dreams to me every morning.  
9.  You like to snuggle up with a book.
8.  You are my little helper - doors, bags, you want to do it all!
7.  You love to play dress up, and I often turn around to see you wearing my headband, Daddy's shoes, and attempting to put on one of Tater's diapers.  
6.  You narrate everything as you are doing it, and you have a teacher's touch.  It always sounds as if you are instructing, passing on your wisdom.  
5.  Watching you be a big brother is incredible.  You have slipped into the role of proud protector effortlessly.  Your little sibs are so lucky to have you to watch out for them and lead the way.
4.  You continue to discover new passions, especially the sciences.  You zealously collect knowledge and factoids and love to surprise adults with your knowledge of jet engines and spark plugs.
3.  Your world is so magical and imaginative.  You start the day by running a fire drill for your lovies, then you put out the fire with your toy saw.  You talk to your cereal as you eat it.  You hold an impromptu dance recital then break to change your baby dolls' onesies before building a marble run racetrack that will be demolished later by monster truck.
2.  You are not afraid to be yourself.  You continue to rock purple jeans and I finally hunted down a pair of long-awaited pink chinos for you.  You wear your favorite colors boldly and you make it work.  You are just as likely to dress and burp your baby doll as you are to smash a Lego jeep into a tower.  I hope you will always be courageous enough to be true to yourself the way you are today.
1.  You are a little gentleman.  You hold doors, you shush crying babies, you deliver napkins, you share treats.  When you find something you don't play with or can't use, you immediately wonder which of your friends might like to have it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's a boy!



I have a little surprise for you.  Actually, he's pretty big.  Meet Spork, our new son!  Don't feel bad that you weren't in the know, we decided to keep it a secret this time and Skype-surprised the grandparents.  I will never forget the look on Grammy and Grandpa's faces!

We have been in adoption planning this month with Spork's wonderful birthfamily.  In fact, while we were waiting to find out if it would really happen, I mentioned that we loved them so much even if they didn't go forward with the adoption plan, could we still hang out anyway?!  But now we are blessed to call them family. Spork is 6 months old, and such a joy!  He is a chunk-a-dunk of a baby with soft brown curls, caramel skin, big puppy dog eyes, chubby thighs, and massive paws for hands.  Don't you just want to kiss him?!


Spork's laugh is an "Eh-eh-eh," sound like Bert from Sesame Street, or as the Nugget put it, "He sounds like a dolphin when he is happy!"  His cry is a very sad almost gasping sound which tears at my heart.  He loves his bottles, splashing in the tub, inspecting everyone's fingers, rocking, tickles, kisses, and books.  He hates getting out of the tub, any activity involving the changing table or being on his back, and having his nose wiped.  He is especially intrigued by Tater and for a brief precious moment this morning, he reached for her hand, and she grabbed his.


It is hard to believe that just a few months ago, I felt I would never fill our nest, but now we are at capacity with the Nugget, Tater, and Spork!  I feel pulled in every direction, and I wish I could sprout more arms like an octopus.  It was trial by fire this morning as Hubby had to attend a meeting and I had to prepare for a visit from Tater's caseworker on our very first morning as a family of 5!  When all 3 children decided to burst into tears at the exact same time, I looked around at my life's greatest blessings and just had to smile before quickly going into triage mode.  I wouldn't change a thing.  Expect light blog posting, while I figure this out and the kiddos all learn a bit more delayed gratification.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tater-phant


Tater makes baby elephant noises.  At first, we thought she was congested, but if you listen closely, you can hear her breathing strong and clear.  The sounds are, "Just for fun," as the Nugget would say.  She toots, trumpets, snorts, and grunts.  We'd been debating what sort of lovie to get her, and the Nugget claimed it should be an elephant, of course.

When Tater naps unswaddled, she brings a fist up to her chin or cheek, Glamour-Shots style.  When she eats, she stretches her long slender legs straight out.  Her hair curls after a bath, but dries straight as a pin.

Tater is a sneezy girl, and she sneezes in threes-es.  She sneezes when she wakes and after each burp.  She has an uncanny way of turning her head just so, so that her sneeze will go right up your nose.

Tater's grip is improving.  She had almost no grasping reflex when she arrived, but now she can seize your finger like a vise.  While eating, she likes to hold her bib with one hand and the bottle with the other.  Her cry is getting stronger too, although she still sounds like a sad, bleating lamb.  She, "Wahs," when she wants to be held, and she, "Lahs," when she's hungry.

The almighty binky is becoming more important to Tater.  I have mixed feelings about binkies, but now doctors are recommending that every baby get hooked on them to decrease the risk of SIDS.  My personal theory is that binky babies drop the darn thing every 10 minutes, forcing the parent to retrieve it.    If no one is sleeping, there is no SIDS risk.  Yay?  Anecdotally, the Nugget was a binky baby (actually he used it until he was over 3), and once he learned how to retrieve it himself, he slept like a log.  So maybe there is light at the end of this tunnel, assuming she stays with us that long.  She has also become a big fan of the sleep sack.

Tater is a tummy time champ.  She can do upwards of 10 minutes, although she usually falls asleep.  She is determined and is starting to hold her head up for a few seconds at a time.  She is small but mighty.

Tater makes a little lemon face when she's alert.  She purses her lips, "Like a fish!" says the Nugget.  She is also starting to bless us with her little gummy smiles, and not just when she's pooping.  Of course, she smiles the most for that big brother.  She tends to pair the smile with furrowed brows, which makes for a very comical effect.

We continue to pray that she lands in the best forever home for her, even if it's not ours.  Loving every minute until then.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Growing Tater

Tater turned one month old last week, and her personality is developing.  She is still a very calm baby, with periods of slight fussiness.  But like any little lady, she's got opinions.  Here are some of them.

1.  Being upright is better than being sideways.
2.  Being held is better than being set down.  And being held with eye contact is the best.  Are you looking at me?
3.  Fleece pajamas are better than cotton.
4.  Lotion is the devil
5.  That Nugget is entertaining.

When she wakes at night for a diaper change and feed, the second I unswaddle her, she paddles furiously with her arms and legs, as if she's swimming.  The backstroke continues, usually accompanied by wailing, while I fasten her bib, and ends with her hands locking down on her bottle.  Speaking of hands, she is trying to retrieve her own binky when it falls out, too.

Tater continues to be very petite, but her joints are starting to show delicious little creases, and her cheeks are round and kissable.  Today, when I held her on my lap, she thrust her feet down and straightened her legs to stand.  She is starting to notice lights and fans.  Her doll-like size continues to draw a crowd wherever we go.  Last night, strangers 2 tables away at a restaurant yelled, "How old is that cute baby?"  The Nugget is always eager to show off his baby.  "Do you want to see my baby?"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pearls from the Nugget

Recent one-liners:
"Now you're laughin'."
"I'm starving right now."
"Oh, man!"  His tone has just the right tinge of disappointment to it.  But he doesn't always use it in context, which makes it all the more entertaining.

Me:  (tucking Nugget in bed for the night) Oh, you are all snug.
Nugget:  And warm and comfy-cozy.

The nonsensical knock, knock jokes are here.  Thanks to Dawa for the inspiration.  I love them.
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Nugget.
Nugget who?
Nugget Table.

The Nugget bestowed Tater with a great sign of affection tonight.  I let him pick out her washcloth when I give her a bath, and he said, "Tater can borrow my Henry washcloth."  Henry was a boy in the Nugget's class, but he recently moved away.  As a parting gift, he gave each classmate a washcloth rolled up into a cute cupcake shape topped with a play cherry.  The Nugget has been glued to his Henry-washcloth since, so it was a big deal for him to loan it to Tater.  He has such a big heart, and we are so proud of him.

The Nugget received 2 dog lovies for Christmas, and he named them both Charlie, after Grandma and Papa's Maltese.

He also received a new puppy memory game.  His favorite cards have little Yorkies in yellow mugs.  The mugs have hearts on them.  So when he flips them over, he declares, "Dog in a love cup!"  Sometimes he gets dogs that, "Are not my favorites."  If he gets a match of an unfavored dog, he will generously give his opponent the cards, "You can have those puppies, because they are not my favorites."

Me:  I think we're all feeling tired tonight.
Nugget:  Not me!  I am feeling playful!

More words deemed to be hilarious:
-Soda
-Whippet - "a little dog with a funny nose"

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Some things I've learned about tiny winter babies:
1.  Put on the socks and booties first, then the pants, so the pants will hold on the footwear.  And the best pants for this are the leggings that taper at the ankle.
2.  Forget the individual mittens, but the flip-over mitts on NB onesies work.  So does a fluffy blanket tucked into the car seat.
3.  Layers are great, because the docs will stress the importance of keeping a tiny baby warm but not overheated.  So 2 onesies, a light cardigan, and a jacket > a snowsuit when you are running errands.
4.  Hats for preemies are kind of problematic.  Save those stretchy ones from the hospital, because they may the only ones that fit for awhile.  I ordered a custom hat from my friend and Etsy artist, Naptime Creations by Sarah, and it's perfect.

Product Reviews
1.  The smallest diaper covers are Bummis Super Brite NB, which will work as soon as baby hits 5 pounds.  Carter's makes some great well-priced preemie clothes, but they are hard to find.  You can order them online though, check consignment shops, Walmart stocks some, or you can do what I did and beg friends who had preemies to loan you some!  Gymboree also has some nice tiny stuff in stores, usually on sale, but it's labeled "up to 5 pounds" instead of preemie.  
2.  I finally understand the sling on the baby tub!  Also the sponge bear is great for laying on the floor next to the tub, under the hooded towel.  So when I'm bathing Tater solo, instead of handing her to Hubby, I can lay her on the towel and wrap her up right away.  Glad to finally get my money's worth out of these 2 items!
3.  I scored a used Babyhawk from a friend, and while I'll always be partial to the Ergo, the Babyhawk is much easier to use with a tiny baby.  No infant insert required, and her head is totally supported without me having to prop her with my hand.  When I have to take Tater to a major grocery run and need the cart space, I take off my coat, put her in the Babyhawk, put my coat back on, and I'm set to go.
4.  Purchased some muslin swaddle blankets this time around, and the difference is amazing.  You can get a snug swaddle that doesn't overheat the baby, and while Tater can sometimes weasel a hand out, she cannot bust out of the thing butterfly-style like she does with the flannel receiving blankets.  I got the Summer Infant knockoff because I had a coupon to BRU, making them way cheaper than the Aden and Anais (but A&A is 4" bigger, so if your baby is big, spring for the real thing).  Also enjoying the Miracle Blanket, which I purchased at half-price from Babysteals.
5.  Very happy with new-ish Johnson's Naturals line of baby toiletries.  Tried the Babyganics lotion after I loved the sunscreen so much, but it have a weird hospital-like scent.  Will use it up, but never again!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Product Reviews: Cloth-Safe Diaper Creams

Now that I'm back in babyland again, I thought I'd share a product review of cloth diaper-safe butt creams. Cloth diapers that are made of synthetic materials, such as microfiber, are not compatible with petroleum-based creams.  The cream will coat the fabric and cause it to repel wetness.  If you use cotton or bamboo diapers exclusively, you can get away with any cream, because it will wash out.  Still, there are plenty of cloth-safe creams on the market, so here we go...

Burt's Bees - This was our first cream, and while it works great, it has a very thick consistency and is hard to push out of the tube.  The cost is moderate, about $7.49 for 2 oz.  ***

Earth's Best - This brand changed their formula maybe 2 years back?  I liked the original and dig the flip top cap, but the new formula tends to separate, so you get liquid squirting out with the cream.  Too messy for me.  Cost good $10 for 4 oz. **

Method - Love this brand, and it even smells good for a diaper cream.  Good consistency.  The only drawback is that the container is a tall rigid bottle that has to be upright in use, so while it's perfect for the changing table, it's not so great for the diaper bag.  Cost low $5.49 for 5.4 oz! ****

Babyganics - I wanted to like this cream, but it didn't seem to help Noodle's diaper rash as much as the others did.  Cost moderate $10.99 for 4oz **

Weleda - Love this one!  It clears up rashes quickly, is nice and thick.  The cost seems high, but you can use less; I can go through 1 tube of this for 3 bottles of Method.  My tube is old, and I was going to put the only drawback was a screw-off top, but I see they now carry it in the flip-cap!  Cost high $12 for 2.8 oz. ****

Calfornia Baby - Same problem as with Burt's Bees.  A very thick formula that is hard to squeeze out of the tube.  But works great on rashes and has a pleasant scent.  Cost high $11.09 for 2.9 oz. ***

Boudreaux's All-Natural - The original Boudreaux's in the yellow tube, is not safe for cloth.  The new green tube is safe, and they also removed the parabens.  I am on my first tube of this and love it.  Cost moderate $9.99 for 4 oz. ****