So it’s been a month and a half and I feel like I owe you an update! Sorry. It will be in bullets because that’s the amount of brainpower I live on these days. How about you?
-Jelly is amazing. He’s 4 months old now and so happy. He loves big sister, nursing, baths, stuffed animals, and having his diaper changed. (Really, he just grins and laughs at you while you change him.) He is tolerant of being put down in the bouncer, play gym or bebe pod, much more so than Juju was at this age. He doesn’t like loud noises (he cries the saddest tears of sadness if you startle him) and sleeping without being swaddled. That’s actually all I can think of that he doesn’t like!
-Jelly sleeps mostly through the night with some pacifier replacement. We’re moving him into Juju’s room tonight! It may be a total bust, but we have to try it eventually. I’m going to try putting him down first and then doing Juju’s bedtime routine in the living room before sneaking her in. She is so excited about it! I hope that lasts. She and I painted some wood cutouts and hung them around his crib as a welcome present.
-Juju is hysterical. She makes me laugh all the time. A couple of days ago I asked her to watch Jelly while I brushed my teeth. He was lying on our bed and Juju crawled up there and started to “read” one of C’s books to him– a book called Sh*t My Dad Says. I’m still laughing about that. Juju can sing any song after hearing it once, and makes up her own songs on a regular basis. One night I invented an alter ego for her named “Lootie.” Lootie does all the same things she does– goes to school, has a pink cat, has a little brother, goes to ballet class… She insists on a Lootie story every night, and always exclaims, “That’s just like me!” Ha!
-Juju is also, of course, incredibly challenging. She argues and talks back. A lot. We don’t have any good solutions for this yet. We do time outs and we have her apologize but I wouldn’t say anything works consistently, or, truthfully, that we are super consistent with the consequences ourselves. We’re working a lot on empathy and naming emotions. More freedom and choices, and more “yes” seems to help her behavior, as does having us acknowledge her feelings. C always wants Juju to calm down and control her emotions, but I don’t think that’s reasonable for a three year old. I hold her and let her cry and then we talk about it. Big feelings are scary and overwhelming, yes, but I don’t think that feelings are bad, and I don’t want Juju to either. I’d just as soon she not scream at me, but I get that she feels and angry and frustrated. I want her to learn some tools to deal with her feelings but we’re not really there yet. Enter Dan.iel Tig.er, I guess. ;)
-C is home with Jelly. We keep extending her maternity leave. Initially she was going to take 8 weeks, then 12, and now it looks like we can use some additional state funds to extend her leave under FMLA. That will run out in January and then she’ll either have to go back to work or take a leave of absence. I’m really pushing for her to stay home but she is on the fence about it. She likes being home and I like having her home, but taking a leave of absence would mean giving up her teaching position. She would be guaranteed A job after her leave is up but not necessarily the job she has now. This is unfortunate but is what we have to work with.
Whew! That’s life right now. I’ll try to update more regularly. :)
I’m never going to have time for a real post again so here are a few snippets while Juju lays in her bed and kicks and yells instead of napping and Jelly nap sucks on his paci and cries whenever he spits it out. Parenting!
-I am back to work full time as of three weeks ago. It’s going OK. C is taking our 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA. We decided she’d stay home this time because I make (way) more. She’s been bringing Jelly in every day at my lunchtime which makes me feel like the luckiest working mom on earth. I pump while the kids are at their specials (gym, music or library). My principal also gave me an additional pumping break at the very end of the day. An aide covers my class while they pack up to go home and I pump in a storage closet. (Cue snickers from other teachers when I exit the closet with a bag in hand at 3:00 p.m. every day.)
-I have been much more emotionally balanced than I was with Juju. I don’t cry on the way out the door, and I’m mostly able to concentrate on work when I’m there. (Which is good because I am freaking busy.) Two is definitely a ton of work but C and I have such an awesome partnership and truly share in the workload 50/50. We’re almost always in agreement about parenting choices and can mostly manage to step back when we’re on overload and let the other person take over for a bit. Compared to most of my straight friends with young kids we seem to have a much better balance.
-I am able to keep up and also freeze a bit for Jelly. Hurrah! It’s so great to not be stressing about production all the time like I was with Juju. I think my freezer stash will probably end up depleted when Jelly goes to full time daycare in November– a daycare provider isn’t going to be as conscientious about holding him off for me as C is. We’ll figure it out though.
-Speaking of which, I haven’t a clue where we’ll put him in November. Juju was with grandpa but he has some health problems that will prevent him from watching a baby full time again. He might be able to do a day or two per week and we’ll maybe piece it together with some friends who have small kids at home and are willing to take on a sweet, wiggly little charmer of a boy. Hope so, anyway.
-Jelly is the most darling, happy little thing. He has this shy little retiring smile that just turns me into a puddle of mush. He’ll be three months next week and is around 15 lbs or so. Big boy!
-He is sleeping decently– maybe a 5-6 hour stretch at the beginning of the night and then 2 hour blocks after that. He starts the night in the co-sleeper but always ends up in our bed. I mostly love it but am going to start a modified cry-it-out plan with him next weekend. We did this with Juju starting at three months. I’m going to move his cosleeper over behind the dresser where he can’t see and hear me as much, and I’m going to do a week of letting him cry for 5 minutes before going to pick him up, then a week of 10 minutes of crying, then a week of 15. It’s intense and hard as hell but I ABSOLUTELY believe that this is why Juju is such a wonderful sleeper. She still sleeps 12 hours at age 3– 6:30-6:30– and while she might have been a good sleeper to begin with I definitely believe sleep training her early made all the difference.
-Juju is at Montessori preschool full time. Sometimes C drives her and sometimes her grandparents pick her up. C’s mom is a teacher at the school so even though Juju isn’t her class she’s around family a lot which I love. I miss her wonderful home daycare from last year (they don’t take babies or I’d send Jelly there for sure) but am glad Juju is around lots of kids and getting all of the great exposure that comes with Montessori. We’ll keep her there though kindergarten. They also have a toddler program that begins at 18 months so Jelly can attend next year too. I pick Juju up around 4:00 every day and zoom home to feed the starving baby.
-Juju’s behavior has been a struggle since Jelly was born. I have been trying to say yes to her more when it’s reasonable to do so. This helps a lot but there is still a lot of melting down at ‘no.’ She stopped napping the very week Jelly was born. We’ve made peace with it and now have her lie down in her bed and listen to stories for an hour (spar.kle sto.ries are awesome) and then play in her room for maybe 30-45 minutes or so. On the rare occasion she does nap she’s up forever at night so it’s no longer worth it. Naps, I sure miss you.
-Juju starts ballet next week and is completely over the moon about it. She requested black ballet slippers and has been wearing them (along with a pink tutu swimsuit, red leggings, and a ladybug headband) constantly for the past week. Right now she’s up in her room listening to Celtic harp and dancing around in that ensemble with her pink stuffed cat. She continues to be amazing beyond anything I ever could have imagined, both of them are. Sometimes a get a little weepy thinking that C and I created this family together and loved these little humans into being. It’s pretty awesome.
Just shy of a month into this parent-of-two gig and, whew, things are so different this time already. For starters, the boy eats! He nurses without and cajoling or compression or nip.ple shields! I haven’t even had any pain since like day 4! I absolutely feel like I have hit the breastfeeding jackpot. I read this article today with much head-nodding. Particularly her opinion that “breastfeeding is an extraordinary privilege.” Yes, it is. I am so glad to be having a different experience this time.
Jelly is a fast and efficient nurser, usually feeding from just one side for anywhere from 5-10 minutes. He does cluster feed some in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings as well but it’s pretty manageable. Usually after 4-6 feeds in a row he’ll conk out for a couple of hours so I don’t mind the cluster feeding so much if I can keep that in mind.
These days Juju is sleeping in her room, Jelly and I are sleeping in my room and poor C is on the fold out couch. I am trying to keep Jelly mostly in the cosleeper but he’s a good little cuddler and I don’t have much willpower at 2:00 a.m. so it’s been a little tricky to stand by my principles. We did great last night however. Down at 7:30, dream feed at 10:00, nurse at 1:30 and straight back into the cosleeper (after vomit and poopy diaper change, of course), nurse at 4:30 then back into the cosleeper even though he was the cutest little cuddly thing ever, up for the day at 6:30. Not bad for a 26 day old baby.
I started pumping once a day around 2 weeks. It is amazing the difference in building a supply with a pump and building one with a nursing baby! I am getting 5-6 ounces in a 10 minute pump! That would have taken me a half hour with Juju, if I even was so lucky as to get that much. C is doing one 2 ounce bottle per day which frees me up to shower or pick Juju up from day camp, and I hope ensures that Jelly won’t have any problems with the bottle when I go back to work in early August. (Crap. So freaking soon.) I have already been able to freeze a decent amount too. I doubt my supply will be as good pumping at work without my sweet baby nearby but I’ll take it while I can. I will probably add in a second pumping time in a couple of weeks to build up more of a stash. I don’t want a ton of oversupply but I do like the security of a stocked freezer.
OK, both of the kids seem primed to wake up so I’d better cut this off. Before I do: Jelly is amazing and wonderful and sweet and squishy and just covered in baby acne, poor thing. Juju is precocious and smart and really testing us these days but is starting to come around some, we hope. She loves Jelly very much but is definitely taking some frustration out on C and me. Which is OK and expected, but exhausting. We’re happy and tired and overwhelmed, just like all parents of newborns everywhere. The end.