Zach's grandma said it best when she told us, "You have a beautiful family. Kinda loud, but a beautiful family." How right she was! And we sure love our loud, crazy, fun, active, silly, loving, chaotic, beautiful family.
We generally attend church at a larger church, where Staley goes to the nursery while we go to 'big church'. Today, however, we joined my parents at their small church. Their church does not have a nursery, so Staley sat with us throughout the entire service. Armed with books, coloring, and snacks, Staley did a wonderful job of sitting still and staying (relatively) quiet.
Staley really enjoyed the singing during the church service. When we were singing, Staley wanted to stand and hold her own hymnal while trying to sing along. After the first hymn, we sat down. Staley kept her hymnal open, placed her finger on the words as if reading them, and began to sing 'Reflection' (which is a song from the movie 'Mulan.') It was so cute, but after singing several stanzas with no indication of being done soon, I had to tell her that singing time was over. And although we might not actually find that song in a church hymnal, I love that she was wanting to be an active participant in the service. We might just need to spend a little more time at home singing hymns rather than princess songs before our next visit.
Last night was the worst night I've experienced in my history of parenting. Staley has been sick over the past week and has had a few restless nights of sleep and poor napping. Yesterday she didn't nap at all, so we decided that an early bedtime was necessary. Adelie also spent most of the day yesterday awake, so we figured that we'd all be in bed early for a good night's sleep. Boy, were we wrong!
Staley went down without a fuss at 7:30 and fell right asleep. Adelie ate at 7:30. Zach and I settled on the couch for some NFL draft coverage. Adelie decided that she didn't want to go to sleep after eating, but instead started to fuss. Zach took her in the office to use some music and dancing to try to induce sleep. A few minutes later, Staley began crying upstairs. I went to check on her, and she was inconsolable. She wasn't talking or answering questions, but was rolling around on her bed and crying. I tried talking to her, asking what was wrong, offering her a drink, holding her, rocking her, lying with her, checking her temperature. After 15 minutes with no luck in calming her down, I went downstairs to find Zach. He was holding a fussy baby who just wanted to eat. We traded kids.
Adelie remained awake until about 10:00, fussing and eating about every 45 minutes. Staley was awake until 10:30, finally requiring cuddling on the couch for a Dora episode to calm her down. Adelie then slept for a rare 6 straight hours. Unfortunately, as our infant daughter let us sleep, our 2 year old daughter didn't. Staley went to sleep again around 10:30 after watching Dora, but awakened every 30-40 minutes throughout the night, crying. We could generally calm her down and get her back to sleep in about 5 minutes, but her sleep came in short, fitful bursts. She could never tell us what was wrong. Finally, at 4:00 a.m., we decided to give Staley some Ibuprofin. Staley then fell asleep and slept until 7.
Rocked by the rough night of awakening to one sad, sad little girl and not being able to determine the cause of her sadness, I called the doctor first thing this morning. The verdict? Double ear infections. Very bad double ear infections. The kind of ear infections that would cause enough pain to awaken a child continuously throughout the night. And although I don't want Staley to have this, I was relieved that there was a reason for Staley's rough night that has an easy fix. And now my sick little girl and my awake-all-day-yesterday infant girl are both napping soundly. I think I'm going to join them.
Time flies!! Adelie is already one month old. She is growing quickly, already weighing about 10 lbs. She has outgrown her newborn clothes and her newborn bathtub insert. I've had to move the straps up on her carseat. She is still in newborn diapers only because I am trying to use them up. It's hard to believe that she has already changed so much in just one short month.
Likes: Adelie likes eating. (She generally wants to eat every 1 1/2 to 2 hours during the day when awake.) She enjoys baths, diaper changes, music, dancing, walks, being outdoors, and car rides. She is most smiley in the mornings and generally more fussy in the evenings, so we'll be glass-half-full people and attribute that to liking mornings. She prefers her swing to her bouncy seat, and seems to enjoy play time on her playmat. (Although when fussy, being held and walking around is her preferred position.)
Dislikes: Being hungry, cold, or tired. She is also not fond of being strapped into her carseat when it is not moving.
Skills: Adelie's skill set is relatively limited. She can drink from a bottle, lift her head up for short periods of time on her tummy and when upright, flail and kick at her playmat toys (and hit them relatively often), suck on her hands/fingers, and pull her own hair. She is a pretty good night time sleeper, sleeping anywhere from 3-5 hours at a time with the very rare 6 hour or 2 hour stint. She is generally mellow as long as she is well-fed and well-rested. And her smile can't be beat. Our life is fuller because of Adelie.
Take a 2-year old little girl. Sweet, loving, wonderful little girl. Give her a low-grade fever, hacking cough, and runny nose over several days. Mix in 2 consecutive days with a nap of less than 45 minutes, a full day of playing outside, a night of restless sleep with multiple wakings, and an early morning wake-up. What do you get?
...crying because I put an ice cube in her water and she wanted it 'warm.'
...crying because I needed to change her diaper.
...crying because I couldn't carry her and her infant sister at the same time.
...crying because I took the wrong heart dress out of her closet.
...crying because she wanted her tray on her booster for breakfast.
...crying because she was done eating and I didn't get her out of her booster quickly enough.
...crying because she wanted me to play upstairs with her while I was downstairs feeding her sister.
And my favorite...
...crying because her hair was in her eyes (and sticking to the snot that was running down her face from being sick and crying.) I pushed her hair behind her ear and told her that I'd get her a bow to keep the hair out of her face. More crying. Why? She didn't want a bow because Rapunzel doesn't wear a bow. REALLY?????
I looked at the clock. It was only 8:30, and I was already worn out. What's a gal to do? Call Uma, of course. Staley's Uma came over and played for an hour and a half. With Uma's help, my morning drama queen became her laughing, giggling, happy, playful self. And after Uma left, Staley ate a good lunch, wanted to snuggle and cuddle for music and books time, and then went down for an early nap without any fuss. Here's hoping it's a good one.
Adelie has been a smiley baby since birth. She smiles in her sleep. She smiles when she eats. She even smiles when awake, although nothing I could categorize as a voluntary smile. Well, she must have enjoyed her Adelie day with me yesterday because Adelie's first official first...
First Voluntary Smile-April 19, 2013
Adelie gave me several big, open-mouth smiles yesterday when we were talking and playing together. Of course, I didn't have my camera handy so you'll just have to imagine cute gummy baby smiles. I can't wait to see more!!
Today is Adelie Day. Zach took Staley to Bloomington with him this morning, and she is spending the day playing with Aunt Melissa and her cousin, Liam. So Adelie and I have the day to spend together, just the two of us.
My original plan was to take pictures of what we did and do a blog post in pictures of our day together. The problems with this plan?
1. We don't do much.
2. What we do generally takes both of us, leaving no one to take pictures.
Instead, here is our day so far...
6:00 a.m. Adelie wakes up to eat.
6:30 a.m. She goes back to sleep.
7:30 a.m. I get up to say good-bye to Staley.
7:45 a.m. I contemplate showering and getting a few things done before Adelie wakes up again. Instead, I fall back asleep.
9:30 a.m. Adelie and I wake up. She eats.
10:00 -11:00 a.m. We sing songs, do finger plays, read books, do tummy time, play on the floor with toys.
11:00 a.m. Adelie gets tired of playing and eats again.
11:30-12:15 We go downstairs. More floor time, more tummy time, more singing. Adelie gets tired and fussy.
12:15 Adelie eats again and falls asleep.
When Staley was a baby, these were my days...every day. I had forgotten how mellow these days were. I had forgotten how much of the day I spent on the couch with a sleeping baby on my chest because I couldn't bring myself to put her down. I had forgotten how I came to crave conversation because all my daytime conversations were very one-sided. I had forgotten how 'play time' was fleeting and directed by me. I had forgotten how quiet the house was.
My days are different now. I don't get to sleep in until 9:30. I don't get to give undivided attention to Adelie. I don't spend hours on the couch with a baby on my chest. But I also don't crave conversation because it's a constant. I am not always the directer of play time, but rather an active follower and participant. Our house is no longer quiet.
Life with two changes things. I sometimes feel guilty that Adelie spends more time on the floor or in her swing or in her bouncy than Staley ever did. I wish I could give her the undivided attention and individual play time on a regular basis that I was able to give to Staley. But I love that my days are full. I love that Staley wants to help with Adelie and play with Adelie and gets so excited when Adelie is awake. I love that Staley wants to comfort Adelie when she's fussy. I know it's only a matter of time before Adelie gets excited about her big sister and wants to watch her and play with her and keep up with her. I know that the attention and love and stimulation that Adelie gets from Staley will outweigh the fact that she doesn't always get my undivided attention. And I know that, when I do get an Adelie day, I will cherish the time. I will give her my undivided attention. I will soak in the quiet. And I will spend quality time on the couch with a sleeping baby on my chest.
I would love for him to have beautiful spring day to enjoy a morning run, ride his motorcycle to work, and go for a family walk after dinner.
In reality, it's cold and rainy...and probably will be for days.
I would love for Zach to come home to a piping hot, home-cooked meal of his choice on the table.
In reality, I'll probably be pulling a pre-prepared meal from the freezer to heat up and opening up a can of fruit and some freezer veggies when he gets home from work.
I would love to coordinate a surprise birthday party for Zach with all his friends and family there to wish him well.
In reality, coordinating a simple trip to the grocery store is difficult for me at this point.
I would love to give Zach a big, extravagent gift that will surprise and amaze him.
In reality, he'll be getting a budget-conscious and practical gift like running socks and a new work belt.
I would love to plan a date night to take Zach out for a nice steak dinner and go see a movie of his choice.
In reality, we'll probably spend an hour together watching TV on the couch while I feed a baby.
I would love to promise Zach a nice, restful night of sleep.
In reality, he'll probably be pulling 3 a.m. diaper duty and awakening to a 2 year old 7:00 wake-up call.
I would love to promise Zach a lifetime of support and love in our marriage partnership, two little girls who think he hung the moon, and a home full of love and laughter.
In reality, that's exactly what he'll get. It's not exciting. It's not extravagent. But it's our reality. And our reality is good!
Why is it raining?
Why doesn't Elliott like the green jello?
Why is that child in the grocery store crying?
Why is Liam sick?
Why is that truck driving by our house?
Why is our neighbor playing in his backyard?
Why is that dog barking?
Why isn't the neighbor's cat outside?
Why is the thunder in the sky?
Staley is curious. She is inquisitive. She wants to know. And what is it that she wants to know? Why???? I didn't know there were so many 'why' questions that could be asked in a given day. I didn't realize that there were so many questions that I wouldn't know the answer to. And I certainly didn't plan on having to explain things like weather systems, germ transport, and animal psychology. Because honestly, I can't. And, unfortunately, my 2-year old daughter wants to know 'why?'
Staley is two. All things considered, she's a really easy two year old. She is happy and fun and sweet and generally compliant. She is so good to Adelie with no real signs of jealousy. She picks up her toys, usually eats what's on her plate, goes to bed without issue, and entertains herself well when I am otherwise occupied. Tantrums are not a big issue. Sharing and playing nicely with others comes very naturally. So what's the issue?
Getting dressed. Staley wants to pick out her own clothes. I'm generally fine with that, but she wants to wear the same outfit EVERY day. Her twirly princess dress. Specifically her 'I love to twirl' twirly princess dress. If it's dirty (or still hanging in the laundry room, which it stays quite often these days), then finding an alternative is tricky. Staley has a closet full of cute clothes. Yet she finds it difficult to narrow down her choices and my 'helping' choose an outfit, narrowing her choices, or just picking something generally ends in tears.
I am sympathetic to I'm-hurt tears. I can empathize with I'm-scared tears. I-don't-feel-well tears and I'm-really-very-tired tears are understandable. But two year old things-aren't-going-my-way tears and I-don't-want-to-wear-that tears...I'm so over them.
My happy girl in a twirly dress
My other little girl who will wear anything I put on her without issue.
I did it! I know it's nothing to brag about. I know it's not an uncommon feat. I know millions of people do it everyday. But I'm still going to admit...I'm proud of myself.
Today was my first solo flight as a mother of 2. Zach was home for the first 2 weeks of Adelie's life, and then my parents helped me out for the first few days this week. But today I was on my own. We were all up, dressed, showered, and fed by 10:00. (Not amazing, but we did all sleep until 8, and I was pleased that I was able to fit in both a shower and breakfast on my first solo day home.) We even ventured out to the library and the grocery store. Sure, I may have broken the quiet-in-the-library rule with a crying baby and true, I was out in the community in my stretchy pants with no make-up, but I was able to safely get 2 children out of the house, into the library, through the grocery store, and back home with no major issues. And it felt good. A shower, a grocery trip, and two napping children is enough for now. Home alone with 2 kids and no catastrophes: mission accomplished.
Zach: "After nap today, you get to go to Olivia's birthday party. And it's at the swimming pool so we'll get to go swimming at Olivia's party."
Staley: "Will there be cake?"
Staley: (incredulously) "In the pool???"
Naming a child is hard. Before Staley was born, Zach and I had talked at length about baby names and finally agreed on one boy's name and one girl's name. We still like our boy's name, but coming up with another girl's name proved even trickier the second time around. The reasons for this trickiness?
1. Zach really wanted another Bear's related name. I scoured the Bear's web-site, poured over Bear's history, and ultimately determined that there just wasn't another girl's name (other than Payton, which wasn't my favorite) that could be linked to the Bears. Zach's contribution? Mika Ditka. (Needless to say, that one got vetoed.)
2. I prefer more original names. As we discussed names, I was consistently referring to the Top 100 name lists (showing the 100 most popular names in the U.S.) If a name was on the list, I preferred not to use it.
3. Zach didn't like many of the names I came up with, but also didn't really offer many options of his own. And the options he did offer weren't necessarily viable. (Refer back to #1.)
So where did Adelie's name come from? It started with my graduate school roommate who had a little girl several years ago and named her Adlih (which I assumed was pronounced ad-lee). I always thought it was a pretty, original name and it was on top of my girl's name list. Zach liked it too, although we had decided to pursue a variation in the spelling. As we were discussing various ways to spell the name, I decided to google it and see what came up. As I was perusing one of the many baby naming web-sites looking for an Adlih or Adley, I came across Adelie. A French name meaning 'noble', I thought it was so pretty and so different (not even in the top 1,000), yet similar to the name Zach and I both liked. I showed Zach and we both agreed that we liked Adelie even better than our original name choice. And so, a mere week before our Adelie was born, we discovered her name.
Cate was a much easier decision. Zach's mom is named Catherine and we had determined long ago that our little girl would have a middle name that honored her.
Naming a child is a big job. I wanted the names for our children to reflect both individuality as well as a link to family. And I think that Staley Jeanne and Adelie Cate accomplish that...unique names for our unique little girls.
Staley's birth story was one of waiting, wondering, waiting some more, inducing, laboring, pushing, and ultimately c-sectioning. A scheduled c-section is a much more controlled and calm story to tell.
Adelie was scheduled to be born on Monday, March 25 at 4:00 p.m. We dropped Staley off at Uma and Papa's, coaxed her to give us hugs and kisses before running off to play (no separation anxiety there), and headed over to the hospital. We arrived at 2:00, weighed in (seriously, why is that necessary??), and settled in for some pre-surgery fun. We soon determined that my nurse must be in orientation based on the number of questions she asked others, the number of times other nurses checked in with her, and the number of times she attempted to start my IV. For the record, I have great veins. Truly outstanding veins. If I thought it would be relevant, I'd put it on my resume. Through years of giving blood, infertility treatments, and pregnancies, I have given out A LOT of blood and never has anyone ever had to stick me twice. Ever. Well, unfortunately my little nurse orientee was not so masterful with the needle. Blaming my 'thick skin' and my 'many valves', she stuck me twice (while painfully wiggling the needle around to find a good spot) before informing me that the hospital rule was that she was only allowed to try twice before calling in someone else. (Thank you, OSF!) The second nurse started my IV with one stick, no pain, and one eye closed.
After my IV was started, we just waited. I was hooked up to a monitor keeping track of baby's heartrate and my contractions. Zach really enjoyed watching the monitor and informing me of when I was having contractions. (Oh, so helpful!) Doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists all came to visit, I signed papers, and around 4:00 they wheeled me down for surgery. There were some difficulties getting my spinal block in place (pushing and poking with sharp radiating blasts down my right leg), but they finally got it placed and the show was about to begin.
Zach came in and we were under way. As Adelie was being born, there were several comments about how big she was (making me wonder if I was having a 10 lb baby and ultimately feeling shocked when she wasn't even 8 lbs). All in all, it was only about 5-10 minutes after starting that Dr. Croland held up a crying baby and said, "Dad, stand up. Do you want to see what you're having?" Zach stood up and announced, "It's a girl." I cried. Adelie cried. Zach walked over to watch Adelie's assessment, cut the cord, and bring me over pictures.
Welcome to the world, Adelie Cate.
After Adelie was checked out (no concerns) and cleaned up, they brought her over and I got to hold her for a few minutes before she was taken to the nursery and I was taken to the recovery room. Apparently Adelie screamed and cried for the whole hour she was in the nursery getting assessed and bathed. While in the recovery room, my nurse orientee once again pulled out her needle and attemped to draw some blood. No IV starting. Just a simple little blood draw with my perfect veins. She was once again unsuccessful, but she did successfully give me a nasty-looking arm bruise. Sweet girl, but maybe she should pursue a different calling.
After Adelie completed all her newborn nursery requirements, she was then brought to the recovery room where I got to hold her, nurse her, and cuddle my new baby. According to Zach, it was the first she had stopped crying since being born.
My new love
I can't help but feel so blessed that God has given us two healthy, beautiful, amazing girls to care for. I couldn't love our little family more!
With any big life change, there is an adjustment period. An incredibly big life change, like a new baby for example, requires a bigger adjustment period. We are all experiencing that.
Adelie is adjusting nicely to life outside the womb. So far, she is a mellow infant. She eats well, sleeps well, and has long (in infant time) periods of contented wakefulness.
Because Staley has been the sole center of our universe for the past 2 years, her adjustment period is a bit more extreme. There have been more tears. More sassiness. More not listening. More resistance. More acting out. Basically, there has been more of Staley acting 2. However, the hard part is that her 2 year old-ness comes in short bursts and then she returns to our loving, sweet, fun, giggly, compliant little girl. And although there may be some mild jealousy about her baby sister, she is still so sweet to Adelie.
The other morning, Zach overheard Staley talking to Adelie. Adelie was sitting in her bouncy seat and Staley leaned over and said quietly, "I hope you love me."
Today Zach asked Staley, "Do you know who I love more than anyone in the world?"
Staley: "The baby."
Zach: "I do love the baby, but I was talking about you."
Staley: "I am sharing."
Zach: "What are you sharing?"
Staley: "My Daddy."
Zach: "You're sharing your Daddy with Adelie?"
It's a big adjustment for Staley. Sharing our time. Sharing our attention. Sharing her world with someone else. At 2, that's a lot to take on.
Zach and I have had plenty of adjusting to do as well. Adjusting to caring for two little ones. Adjusting to determining how to deal with 2-year old behaviors when time out is still a fascinating game and immediate consequences are hard to come by. Adjusting to feeling our hearts break with Staley tears and struggles, and feeling our hearts swell when looking down at a peaceful sleeping baby and cherishing the warm hug and sweet words of a two-year old girl. Adjusting to the knowledge that now, instead of just one baby girl that we love more than anyone in the world, we have two. And what a wonderful adjustment that is!