Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winston is five months

WOO, this past month was a doozy y'all. The day Win turned 4m, we left for Mexico, were home for two days before heading up to VA and then down to FL after just 3 days at home. My poor baby was a trooper (they both were!) but I can't over exaggerate how much I was looking forward to being home the whole month of December. And, with that stability, the hopes of getting my boy's sleep back on track were certainly fueling that excitement. So what's hs up to at five months (and 4d)?

Sleep: shew, he's a mess. Therefore we are all a mess. He started rolling back to belly a few weeks ago, which meant we had to stop swaddling. DISASTER CITY, POPULATION: 4 EXHAUSTED ECKERSONS. Lordy, he was startling himself awake every 30 minutes for the better part of the night. After 4 nights, I said eff this noise and borrowed Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit and it made a huge difference (thanks Sally !!). That, combined with the fact that we finally found a paci he'll take, made for the best nights we'd had in awhile. However, as the weeks have gone on, he's become more and more dependent on us coming in to replace the paci and give him his lovie back. Not for every sleep cycle, but some nights it feels darn close to that. The good news is that he's able to put himself to sleep for naps and has even done it at bedtime a handful of times, so I know he's capable of putting himself back to sleep too (at least in theory) and I'm hoping he'll figure it out soon. 

Eating: he eats once most nights around 4am, and normally throughout the day upon waking up from naps (he's still taking 4x 30min naps most days). Weight gain is great, despite apparent re attachment of his tongue and lip tie (which has caused some pain for me but doesn't seem to be doing him much harm). I am doing a mild dairy elimination (again?!?!) to see if we can get to the bottom (pun intended) of the blood in his stools. We haven't started solids yet, despite a recommendation from our Ped to introduce rice cereal - I just don't feel like he's ready. 

Activity: in addition to rolling both ways, he scoots all over if he's on the floor or in his crib. He's trying to sit up and can go a minute or so before needing to use his hands or toppling into in the boppy pillow. He's starting to show a preference for certain toys, and loves rattling things and crinkly paper. Car rides are getting slightly more tolerable, as long as we time it correctly. 

Clothing: he's wearing some 9 and even 12 month pieces, though mostly 6m stuff. I love seeing him in London's Christmas onesies, although they barely fit him (and he's nearly a month younger than her when she wore them!). We've recently gotten a couple of adorable monogrammed pieces as gifts, which of course I love. And I went through all his "future clothes" bins this weekend - the dude is stocked until he's 2, I think!! We are so blessed with handmedowns (thanks Carla!!). He's still in size 2 diapers but only because I'm stubborn and want to use them up - we might skip 3s altogether for overnight, they're really way too small but I only have a few left!

Firsts: he went on his first carousel ride, train ride, and met Santa for the first time at the pullen park holiday express. Such a fun night with our little family and some dear friends. 

Weight: he's 16'9" (or he was, a week ago) and 50th % for weight, YAY!!! Despite throwing up SO much still, and all of the latch / tie issues, he's still gaining on a great curve so I am incredibly thankful for that blessing. His most recent height report was 82% I think. Still definitely charting tall & lean but he's filling out and couldn't be cuter. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winston is four months

The past few weeks have been so busy and honestly pretty tough, so I'm very delayed in Win's four month update. But a lot has changed since my last post, and unfortunately not much is for the better. 

Sleep: completely unpredictable. On a good night, he sleeps 6:30-3, then up again around 7:30 for the day. Sometimes also at 5. Sometimes also at 9 and midnight. I'm exhausted. The four month Wakefuls hit us early and we have not recovered. Granted, we've been traveling pretty much nonstop for 2+ weeks, so I'm hoping he'll recover some now that we are home for the month of December. Naps are still almost never longer than 30 minutes but he goes down pretty easily most of the time as long as he is swaddled and rocked and has his paci. Our goals for the next few weeks are breaking the swaddle (he is still double swaddled at night) and doing some gentle sleep training. 

Eating: we are off the nipple shield, hooray! However the pain has been slowly getting worse, despite my pediatrician saying there are no teeth in our near future. Not sure if it's his chronic congestion or gas pains that cause the pulling and tugging and chomping, but it's not super fun. But his weight gain is great and he's over 15lbs and 50% (length is 80%!). We've switched him to Prilosec and it seems to help with his discomfort from the reflux. Giving daily probiotics and gas drops as needed. 

Firsts: Winston celebrated his first Halloween as Tigger and went Trick-or-Treating with big sister. He was baptized, attended his first state fair, has started riding in the Ergo, and took his first trip to SC to visit aunt Kiki and meet uncle Ryan. he got to meet some of his Eckerson family in Florida for thanksgiving and some of his Harris family in Virginia, including his Great Grandmother (Ben's Nana Jeanne) and Great Grandfather (my Grandpa Herb). He also, unfortunately attended his first funeral when we tragically lost my Uncle Sean last week. And he had his first overnight (4 nights actually!) away from mom & dad while we were in Mexico. 

Activity: still not rolling back to belly, but he's getting close. He is very interested in his feet and sucks on his fists all the time. He loves crinkly books & toys, bright colors, black & white, and his tiger lovie from Aunt Kiki. He's starting to enjoy his jumperoo, exersaucer and bumbo seat. Doing better in the car seat, though still cries if there's an adult sitting next to him.


Clothes: starting to move to 6m and even outgrowing some of his 6m one-piece outfits due to length. But he is still too thin for some 3-6m pants, so outfits are a challenge. Size 2 diapers but likely moving up to size 3 for night time diapers soon. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What motherhood looks like the second time around

Something happens when the second children are born amongst a group of friends. It's a play date that once would've been sharing anecdotes and coffee and quietly nursing your babies, but now is a series of unanswered questions, trailing off sentences, and utter exhaustion from managing toddlers who don't quite want to share yet. It used to be easy to offer advice, share a meal and help with house chores when a friend had a new baby. Now it's "welcome to the jungle, buddy" as you take turns wiping snotty noses, popping pacis in your mouths after they fall on a floor that hasn't been swept in ... Days? WEEKS? Who can really be sure. Neither of you even know what day of the week it is, or how many times the baby woke up last night, or how many weeks old he is. You're drinking too much caffeine - lukewarm at best, leaving a baby crying in the bouncy seat to take the 2yo to the potty, and wearing at least 2-3 bodily fluids - not your own - at any given time. 

But something magical happens when the second babies are born, and all of the moms start caring for all of the kids, regardless of who birthed them. You start doling out industrial size buckets of animal crackers and bouncing a newborn in each arm and not apologizing for bringing unsliced grapes. And there are a lot of tears, from the babies who can't be held as much as their older siblings and the toddlers who have ALL OF THE FEELINGS, and the overtired, overworked, overtouched mommies. But somehow, someone always has a free arm to stop your two year old from running in the parking lot or hold a pacifier in the baby's mouth while you pee for the first time in 6 hours. 

It's really quite lovely to watch, as each new second baby is welcomed and each new mom of two manages her own terror with the promise that she CAN do it, because look at all these moms who already are! There's so much grace given for moms of two, so much less judgement. And so much more coffee.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Dude is Three Months!

One fourth of a year. Wow ... It feels so different than it did when London was 3 months, I think because I knew I was going back to work. While he still seems very young developmentally, the weeks have just flown by this time around. 

Sleep: still doing 7.5+ hours almost every night - we even got 10h recently!! He's going down around 7:30pm these days, the same time as London most nights. Sleeps great in the crib at night and doing better for naps. I have to be vigilant about not letting him get overtired or else getting him to sleep is really tough. Sometimes still napping in the swing, out of ease / necessity. He seems to nap every 1.5-2h for about 30 minutes, so we are developing a routine which is very much welcomed in my book. Thankfully he still naps well in the carrier and occasionally can be transferred to the stroller or carseat if he falls asleep in my arms while we are out. Unfortunately needs to be rocked for naps and cannot be laid down even remotely awake - something I'd really like to work on. The middle of the night wake still takes a long time but at least it's [usually] only one time!

Eating: still using the nipple shield for most feedings, though I try to offer it without at least once a day. He is pretty inefficient at moving the milk without the shield so he gets frustrated quickly. I have about 40oz to go for me to feel comfortable with my Mexico stash, and exactly a month to do it - time to get serious! 

Quirks & Habits: he wants to be holding my finger while falling asleep, and grabs at the skin on my chest while he's in the carrier or cuddling. He is such a cuddle bug, although he doesn't sleep soundly if he's sleeping in arms or next to me (or anywhere, for that matter; he's very squirmy and grunty in his sleep). 

Firsts: we took Winston to his first wedding and he was a dream! Slept through the ceremony, flirted with the ladies, napped in the sling and never cried. We even kept him up past bedtime so we could enjoy the after party and he was smiling and cooing in his stroller. Amazing what a different baby he is these days! He also has taken his first stroller rides and likes the aprica but not so much the double stroller. He visited the beach for the first time and I left him with daddy for the first time (to go to a baby shower, it figures!). 

Weight: last I checked, he's well over 12lbs - yay! He's even getting little thigh rolls. Up to size 2 diapers (though they're still a little big). 

Activity: he's not rolling back to belly yet (thankfully, I'm not ready to stop swaddling!) and doesn't roll belly to back all the time. Still seems to enjoy tummy time, his bouncy seat and the rock n play. Still hates the car seat! He smile, talks and coos a lot, but hasn't given us a full-on belly laugh yet. 

Clothes: he's moved into 3-6m though the pants are often huge so we haven't packed up the 0-3 pants quite yet. Thankfully the weather is turning so he's able to start wearing his cute hoodies and long sleeve onesies. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's ok if you don't love it all the time

I went in for Winston's two month checkup a few weeks ago, scheduled with precision to allow me enough time to run through the Starbucks drive-thru after dropping London off at preschool and still arriving ten minutes early (a feat that never happens with two young kids and a chronically late husband). After the standard weight check (11'10 WHAT WHAT!!) and brief questions with the nurse, our pediatrician greeted me the way I imagine she greets old friends. She's warm and candid and actually remembers stuff about me and my kids. We complimented each other's hair (hers, darker and mine, shorter) and talked about our parents. 

And then, she asked how I was doing. Not in a "postpartum depression checklist" sort-of way, but in a genuinely concerned way that is a rarity for me to hear as a new mom of two. I told her the truth - that I was OK - and quickly, guilt overtook me for not giving a canned response about how full my heart was with this new baby, so I added in that Winston was sleeping pretty well at night, so I had a lot to be thankful for. Her response was like a breath of fresh air for my weary mama soul: "just because you have a lot to be thankful for doesn't mean you have to be happy all the time." 

Winston is a tough baby, I'll be the first one to tell you that. But being a mom is tough even when your baby is "easy". And being a mom to two is even tougher. Kudos to all of you who do this three or four times because I just don't think I'm cut out for that. Yet I know that I am blessed to be at home with my littles, while other mamas have to tear their hearts into pieces each morning at the daycare drop off. And as the sleepless nights with the newborn turn into early morning wake up calls with the toddler, and as they take turns crying (or sometimes, in unison, for a lovely little chorus of ear torture), and as the laundry and dishes continue to pile up... It's hard not to let my mind wander about whether it'd be easier to go back to work. To wonder if maybe I wasn't made to be a SAHM. To feel so guilty about not enjoying every little waking moment with these tiny terrorists. 

I know in my heart (especially after I've had a cup of coffee) that I love staying home with these two and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But now, when things get really tough and I feel guilty for not fully appreciating the fact that I get to be a SAHM, I'm trying to remind myself of this:

Just because you know it's a blessing doesn't mean you always feel blessed by it. 

And that's ok. And it's ok to want to throw in the towel or start drinking at 2 some days. It doesn't make me a bad mom; on the contrary, I think it makes me a better one, because it forces me to take a minute and breathe deep and not strangle anyone. A day where I don't strangle anyone? I call that a win. 

So, for those of you who are struggling to be thankful for staying home with your kids - whether you're willing to admit it or not - it's ok. Tomorrow will be better and one of those little psychopaths will ask to cuddle with you on the couch, and you'll thank your lucky stars you get to spend your days looking after them. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Winston is two months

Two and a half actually. But who's counting. I honestly have no idea how many weeks he is at this point, so at least non-moms are spared of having to do the math when they ask how old he is. 

Sleep: I really cannot [should not] complain. He does 7-8h when I put him down for the night, almost every night. We try to have him in bed by 8 or 9 which means I normally sleep from 10/11 to 4/5. And we just transitioned to the crib after his pediatrician encouraged us to try it at his two month appt. he seems to have no issues and was obviously ready to make the move this time around - Awesome sauce. Unfortunately, his wake-ups still often take awhile but I've stopped changing diapers at that time, so that helps some. And he is an early riser, so he's normally back up 2h later for the day. Naps are a whole different [sad] story. He rarely sleeps more than 15min at a time unless he's held. I try nursing, swaddling, white noise, paci, rocking. I try putting him in the crib, the rock n play, the swing. He either wakes up immediately upon being put down or 10-15 minutes later and we repeat the whole song & dance 2-3 more times until I give up and let him be awake. 

Eating: nursing is going very well, all except for the fact that we are still using the nipple shield and he is an extremely noisy eater; put those two together, and discreetly nursing in public is just not possible. Oh, and he wants to eat constantly / very frequently. But my nipples have finally healed and he's obviously transferring milk well. I'm down to only pumping once a day and not even every day; mostly to prepare for our trip to Mexico in November. I had previously cut out all dairy due to an apparent milk protein sensitivity, and did that for about 1.5m but his pediatrician doesn't feel like it's helping enough to make it worth it , so I'm slowly reintroducing in small quantities. I have noticed a difference in his demeanor since starting him on Zantac for reflux (about a month ago) but he still spits up a ton - he's just not as bothered by it now!

Weight: my peanut is now 11lb 10oz and in the 43%!! Such huge improvements from when we were panicking at his 2w checkup. 

Height: I think he's destined to be tall & thin like his daddy; he's 23 3/4" and 75% for length. 

Activity: he still enjoys hanging out in the rock n play so he can be moved from room to room. He has to be around people constantly. Hates the car seat though he seems to be getting just a tiny bit better about being able to sleep in it (which I have to wonder is reflux related and thus being improved by the right medication dosage). He likes the play may for short periods and doesn't mind tummy time at all. Starting to tolerate the bouncy seat, swing and bumbo. Loves the mobile! He started scooting around his crib at night which I'm a little nervous about, but not rolling yet. 

Firsts: he took his first trip to virginia (which was miserable considering he cried almost the whole trip there and back) and met my dad for the first time. He also took his first flight and did AWESOME. So awesome that people around us complimented how well he & London did. We flew to Pittsburgh so he got to meet the "Erie Elwells". He had his first outing with dad - to the beer store, of course. I've still not been away from him for more than 15 minutes [hangs head]. And most importantly, he has started smiling definitively (around 6w) and coos / talks a lot. He is a very happy baby for about 15 minutes at a time until he gets hungry or his tummy gets upset. 

Clothes: it's almost time to dig out the 3-6m clothing because my tall boy is starting to outgrow his 0-3 onesies! They either barely snap or pull down on the neck, and let's be real, a scoop neck onesie isn't so flattering on a little boy. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Winston is One Month

Poor kid. I just don't even have time to shower, much less blog. But I want to make sure I keep record of his first year just like I did for London, so here's a snapshot of Winston Dare's first month. 

Sleeping: right around a month, we started getting some 4h stretches of sleep which quickly turned to 5h. When I think about the nights that he was up every 25m, 5h straight is amazing! That's what London was doing at this age, too. It makes such a difference. I just need to do a better job of going down when he does! We normally do Jammies  & swaddle around 10pm and he'll sleep until around 3, then it takes a long time to get him back down (sometimes almost 2h) and then he sleeps another 2-3h. There's a skylight in his room and I think that may contribute to his morning waking, because he seems to do better on days when it's cloudy or raining. He is sleeping in the Rock 'N Play, which I hate. We were so big on only ever letting our kids sleep in their crib, but he spits up so much that he needs the incline. At least he's in his nursery - he is the noisiest sleeper ever so there is no way we could room share. Naps are a total crap shoot with this kid. Sometimes he falls asleep nursing and I'm able to transfer him to the couch / bed, or even the RNP, but rarely. He sleeps to prefer belly sleep for nap, which means I basically have to stand there and watch him the whole time. Car naps are a rarity and even more so that I'm able to bring him inside and stay asleep. He looooves to sleep in the ring sling - thank God for a sweet friend who loaned it to me because the kid lives in that thing! The days when he does nap midday (not on me) I try to kid a 30 minute nap while both kids are asleep. So needless to say, my house chores are being really neglected these days!

Eating: we are still using the nipple shield for all feeds, but are weaning away from the bottle so I'm thankful for that. At 2w our schedule was: nurse, bottle feed, nurse, bottle feed, pump - it took about 1.5h and I did it every 2.5h. Exhausting!! We are quickly moving to just using the bottle for bedtime feeds to make sure he's well fed before sleeping. I returned the hospital grade pump (that thing is awesome!) but I'm going to try to pump once a day most days, to help stock up for our trip in November. 

Weight: At two weeks, he was down to 7lb 6oz but had grown almost an inch to 21.6" long. We began the pumping / bottle feeding regiment that day and he started gaining weight immediately. We got his tongue & lip clipped shortly after that and his weight gain continued! A few days shy of one month, he was up to 8'12, a full pound over his birth weight. 

Activity: getting some sleep smiles, but not as much as I wish and no sleep laughter. I swear he's smiled while awake though! He enjoys and does well with tummy time, and has great neck strength - we're working with the chiropractor to make sure it stays even. He puts up with a ton of kisses from big sister and loves to be worn in the ring sling anywhere we go. He's been to church and out to dinner, to Marbles kids museum, library story time and parks. 

Clothes: he's already outgrowing the newborn onesies because of his length - gonna be tall & thin like his daddy! He's worn several things that belonged to London, a sleeper that was Tyler's, and even an outfit that belonged to Ben! London loves to pick out his bibs and insists he wear shoes. Poor kid, at least he'll be stylish! I do try to put him in bins every day because of all the spit up, poor darlin. 

Here's hoping the second month gets a bit easier, these were a tough four weeks! But I love this sweet little man and I can't wait to get to know him more.