Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Maya 9.5 months

We wrote this post a bit ago, when Maya was actually closer to 9.5 months in age, but she is now nearly 11 months old! Time flies. This is how long it took me to get the photos off the real camera that I took.

Here's the actual post:

Little Maya has two little teeth on the bottom and is working on the top ones. She's not great at staying asleep when teething, and fevered once because of it, but otherwise it does not seem to bother her. She's been teething since the end of August.

She is crawling for reals and getting around quite proficiently. She started army crawling about two months ago, and for a moment she regressed because we only have hard floors in our current apartment here in North Carolina. Now she's overcoming that and she's entertaining herself by getting into ALL THE THINGS!

Speaking of things Shepherd never did (in addition to her interest in mobility and being entertained without parental attention), Maya wants to eat ALL THE FOOD! I'm fairly certain Shep had no added/refined sugar the first 12 months of his life. That's also because he had like zero table food and was quite content to nurse and never eat anything else. This girl. She grabs anything on your plate, in your hands, anywhere, and if it is food, it goes in her mouth. She also puts other things in her mouth but generally doesn't try to eat non-food items.

Tons of smiling and laughter all the time. She is such a happy baby now. She has always been fairly chill, but now she really emotes and it's fun to play with her. She never really concerned herself with her father but now she (finally!) loves attention from daddy, especially when he throws her and spins her and swings her upside down. She is into rough housing in general, or, given her limited mobility and developing motor control, being rough housed. Her older brother will jump on her, lay on her, push her, knock her over, and, in her mind (not ours), it is great. Though these sessions usually do end with her crying. Often, we tell him "Stop!" And his response is, "Maya likes it!" And, well, can't argue with that? But pretty much everything her brother does is funny. ALL OF IT! Unless she is hungry or tired, he is her clear favorite. She loves it when we chase him and hold her at his level so she thinks she is chasing him, and she has loved this ever since she was big enough to hold up her head, pretty much. She is much more content without parental attention probably because Brother's always around, and he's just so interesting. I've thought even from the time she was a newborn that she was just more content about life probably because she had him to watch. Poor Shep and the humans he had around. No wonder he cried all the time.

Maya is really into putting things into containers right now; it seems to be her thing. I also think she would really love one of those walker toys. She loves pulling herself up on Shep's trike. Unfortunately I got rid of the one we had for Shep and have yet to get one for her. She's getting pretty speedy with her crawling though!

Cheers, Maya. We love having you around.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maya 5 Months

Maya is already five months old and I don't know how that happened. I hear a lot of parents say the first year of their second child's life goes by really fast. I get how that can be the case: you're kind of used to babies, so you're not wondering what's happening every second of every day and worrying about things, and you also have an older child on a different developmental level, so your attention is divided.

There are many ways in which our experience with baby Maya is very similar to our experience with baby Shep. She is like Shep: she nurses to sleep, she doesn't like to be set down, she does not like to be left alone (i.e., she is happier if she can see us when we're not carrying her in arms), and we carry her all the time. She's graduating from the Moby to the Ergo, and she is learning to like it. When dad is holding her, she likes to face out so she can see what is going on, just like Shep. Her way of being comfortable when carried by mom is to be nursing and sleeping and possibly also being outside. This girl likes to be outside quite a bit.

Maya's pretty distractible these days, and hyperaware of her surroundings, which makes daytime sleep a little harder. She won't nurse to sleep just anywhere anymore. She has to be covered up in a quiet-ish area now if I'm not wearing her or lying down with her, whereas before I could just drag her along and she'd sleep anywhere. Tim talks sometimes about how he used to hold Shep while he was sleeping a lot, but she never lets him hold her when she sleeps.

It's kind of interesting to compare. Maya is a much better sleeper than Shepherd ever was. She falls asleep quickly and stays asleep (as long as she is being held), but she probably falls asleep nursing even more than Shep did. I had forgotten that when Shep was a wee, colicky lad, Tim would strap him in the Moby and walk vigorously with him to give me a break, or bounce him, because Dude wouldn't sleep/stop crying. Maya is a non-colicky baby, so I have no urges to pawn her off to encourage sleep times. It's easier for me to just nurse her, usually, but if nursing by itself doesn't calm her effectively, bouncing on the ball while nursing or going for a car ride have been successful. Also Tim happens to just be gone a lot more often and isn't around as much as he was when Shep was a baby. Maya blessedly doesn't scream in the car seat very often. She usually falls asleep as long as the car is in motion, and these days she isn't even freaking out when we stop unless she is just mad about something else. It's a novel and liberating thing to be able to do the car with a baby.

Maya is rolling, more adeptly from back to stomach than the other way around, but can do both all the same. She started rolling a month or so ago and then quit for a while, but now she's back in the game. She likes to try and grab/reach for toys but her coordination and grasping skills are still developing. She's getting used to the world and doesn't freak out when we, say, put clothes on her.

She is starting to interact with her big brother which is delightful to watch. She thinks Shep is hilarious and laughs louder for him than anyone else, but I think she's alternately kind of worried/terrified by him. (Aren't we all.) It's fun to see their relationship grow. They'll be playing together without supervision in no time . . . every parent's dream, right?

Life is stressful with two kids and I'm not really sure we're completely sure what we're doing and how to meet everyone's needs, but Maya is just a peach and we're so much richer with her in our lives. Tim and I were talking about which stages of childhood are best, and I really enjoy the whole dependent infant stage, actually. It's really limiting (maybe even more so considering my style of parenting that I've adopted thus far) and pretty dang boring sometimes, but I like the simplicity and purity of love. Maya's pretty much always happy to see me, I'm almost always happy to see her. My frustration with her is always indirect and circumstantial--if she's crying, I don't hold her responsible for it. It's easy for me to see her as someone who needs me, and to feel good about fulfilling her pretty simple demands. I feel like it's just easier, I guess. As I'm discovering with Shep, that changes with growth: our relationship is getting a lot more complicated, and I'm not sure I'm negotiating that journey entirely well. I miss the good ol' days of pure friendship and harmony, but I guess there are advantages to kids growing up, too. I look forward to knowing what Maya becomes in the future.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Shep's Shibboleths (2)

A couple of times, I have told Shep he can't have two items he requests at the same time. I say, "You can't have both right now, so choose one. Do you want x or y? Which one do you want?" He chooses x, but a couple times he's changed his mind after a few minutes. Instead of requesting y directly, though, he says, "Ask 'Which one?'!" That one took me a while to work out.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Shep's shibboleths

Shep is entering a phase of development where he says weird, hilarious things with a fair amount of frequency. This morning after crawling all over me, he said "Hi, Mom, happy to see you!"

He recently started repeating mild expletives that we use, such as crap, shoot, dang it, etc. Out of a newly-three-year-old's mouth, these words sound awful, so we've taken to telling him "Don't say that word." Last night while playing, he said "Dang it," and then a bit later, even without a remonstrance, he said, "That word."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

birth announcement

Maya 10 weeks


I was surprised at how natural the transition to two kids felt from one. I mean, it’s a bit more chaotic around here and I’m not the mom I was or want to be in some ways, but we’ve never wanted to send her back (even Shep). ;) We like her being a part of our family. Shepherd is always smiley and positive when he talks to her, even if he’s in the middle of a tantrum. At first he asked to hold her a lot but he doesn’t much anymore. Now he says “Hi, baby sister,” or "Hi, little girl" (which sounds a bit creepy) and gives her a kiss and a tickle. He’s not as soft as he ought to be with her yet, so the times where I’ve set her down and let him interact with her have been quite limited. Most of the time I’m carrying her. Lots of times she hangs out in the Moby wrap, and there she nurses and sleeps. She’s getting a little more resistant to being in there now and more particular about how she wants to be held and the positioning when she nurses. She likes to face out more now. If I bounce her on the ball while she’s in the Moby nursing, usually I can get her to be happy and stay in there for a couple of hours, though it's a bit unpredictable lately. She likes being set down sometimes and she likes it best when she can see someone in the room with her. I think I’m her favorite person right now. Sometimes I can see her staring and focusing on me and she smiles sometimes. She’s become lots more of a social smiler. More so in the morning, as was true with Shep, but also throughout the day. She smiles for Tim and me the most—she doesn’t seem to know what to think of her big brother. I think he’s gotten a smile out of her a couple of times maybe, but I think the largest association with his presence may be terror! He is very loud and sometimes he makes her uncomfortable. She sometimes still smiles involuntarily in her sleep. She’s pretty good at holding her head up. She’s rolled from her stomach to her back like twice I think! She’s pretty strong but she also seems delicate overall. I’m not sure how to explain that one, exactly. She’s sensitive but not especially particular, if that makes sense?

She got her first shots ever yesterday (March 9) and it was a rough go of it for a while. Well, she slept at first for a couple hours, and then she was super unhappy/in pain when she woke up. I gave her a dose of Tylenol sort of grudgingly because I hate putting all these things (including vaccines, let’s be honest) in my perfect little baby’s body when she’s so little and has had never ingested anything but the nutrition I’ve given her from my own body, but alas, it helped after several minutes and she got back to nursing and then fell asleep again for another couple of hours. So that was a new experience. I feel like the only time Shep has ever been sleepier than normal is the one time he got sick, like a month ago. Weird. Anyway, I took a bath with Maya later. She only likes the bath if I’m supporting her whole body. She’s sometimes okay to sleep on her own if she’s in a deep sleep already, otherwise she prefers full-body contact. She also sometimes falls asleep rocking or bouncing instead of nursing, so that’s new too. She wakes up more easily if she’s sleeping on her own. We haven’t left her swaddled all that much like we did with Shep. She seems to prefer not to be swaddled for the most part, although sometimes it does help her to stay asleep better. I don’t even wake up much during the night when she wakes up, so I can’t really tell you how often she wakes up. She was getting a good 4 hour stretch at the beginning of the night a few weeks ago, but she might be waking up more now? Or maybe she’s sleeping through the night practically and I don’t even realize it. I couldn’t tell you because I’m just not that conscious for any of it. She still has her mullet; her hair hasn’t really changed much. She likes the car seat as long as we’re going fast enough for her. It’s actually way nicer to have an infant car seat, why didn’t we get one of those for Shep? But they are a huge pain to carry around, I will say that. The instant we slow down or stop in the car, she starts crying as if on cue, unless she's really out and doesn't notice. She hates getting in the car seat.

She is not colicky like Shep was, either. What a blessing that is! I am not sure how I could handle being mom to the semi-volatile toddler that Shepherd is with a volatile newborn as well. Instead, we have a rather predictable little girl. She is such a sweetheart. I’m getting used to dressing girls, too. I put a bow/headband on her for the first time last Thursday and Friday for Whitney’s viewing and funeral and felt like I could handle it. I had tried to do it once before and felt like I just couldn’t take her seriously when she was wearing it. I’d called her Shep several times and just felt like it was weird dressing her in girl clothes sometimes before. I am not sure if she’ll be dressed super femininely while I’m in charge, but at least I can handle more gendered items. I don’t know if it’s because I’m better at parenting babies or if Maya is just an easier baby to parent, but beyond those first 3 days of her life when my milk wasn’t in and she was generally discontent, she’s been fairly consistently happy. There have only been 2 or 3 times where she was crying and I didn’t know why and I couldn’t get her to stop easily. I don’t think I could count how many times Shep was crying for mysterious reasons and we would try everything to get him to stop and nothing seemed to help. In retrospect, I feel like there might have been more of an underlying issue than I realized at the time, but hindsight is hard. It also may have had something to do with the way he was born and the general stress and trauma associated with it. I wish I could have done more for him. It’s odd, kind of, because I have left Maya with Tim for all of 2 hours since she was born and I’ve never left her to anyone else’s care. Shep was a different story. I had him in the nursery at the hospital for a while when he was in the light box for his jaundice because I just felt like there was nothing I could do for him. And I left him with Tim because I felt at my wit’s end and like there was nothing I could do then too. So Tim took him on lots of walks and such. It’s good that it was at a time where Tim wasn’t working and he had finished school. He was around a lot more! He feels like he’s missing out on this fleeting and ephemeral phase of Maya’s life because he’s at work a lot and even when he’s home he doesn’t interact with her all that much. She just likes to nurse mainly and I haven’t even pumped at all this time around. Pumping is hard for me and I have a toddler to nurse off my oversupply (if oversupply is even a problem with me, which I really don’t know that it is) anyway. Boo to the toddler nursing thing, but let’s not get into that. Maya’s stats are remaining pretty much in the same range as they have been. She’s about 10.5 pounds now and has grown a couple of inches too. Her head circumference remains around the 50% percentile, her weight about 30% and height a bit higher, though I can't remember the range. She is such a cute baby too. She’s getting eyelashes now. She has a nice round head and such nice proportional features, imo.

We love our little girl and hope she sticks around for a long long time!