Monday, December 30

Roman - Seven Months

Well this one is sort of close to on-time. I was determined to get back on track after his six month update was so late because I'm afraid I'll be tempted to just give up altogether, and then Roman would never know how he developed or grew after 6 months. Wouldn't that be tragic? I must press on. The world needs to know of my second-born child's monthly progress.

So here we go. This is some of what went on between months six and seven:
  • He got his first tooth! That's fun right? No, it is absolutely not fun. Where can I get myself a baby who pops out teeth like it's nothing because both of my children have acted like someone is cutting off their limbs with a dull pocket-knife when they get a new tooth. I mean, I don't doubt that it's a little painful and irritating, and maybe there is room for some whining and fussing, but come on boys, man up! No, really, I'm not that heartless. I do hate that it bothered him so much, and I offered plenty of soothing remedies (Tylenol with codeine anyone?). Then the bottom right tooth in the front finally made an appearance. The left one is on its way out too but will be featured in one of the following monthly updates because it didn't show up before the 7-month mark. Anyway, one down, five hundred thousand more to go.
  • While we're on the topic of manning up, it occurred to me this month after Brock and Roman both got the flu (or something like it) and then Blaine got sick a week later, that I have three males in this house. Three males. My female friends all know what it's like when a man gets sick. And I realized this month that they are all three probably always going to get sick at the same time. Yes. This will be fun.
  • Moving on from my pity party. Roman is eating three meals of solid foods a day now and started some finger foods like Puffs (the slightly more palatable, significantly less messy cousin to the Baby Mum Mum), Cheerios, and crackers. He started doing really well with his pincer skills (yes, I had to double-check that it wasn't supposed to be "pincher," but "pincer" is apparently the correct spelling) by the end of the month. 
  • He also gets really impatient now when it's time for his food. We can't put him in the highchair unless everything is ready to go because he starts screaming and throwing a fit. He basically yelled at Blaine the other day because the food wasn't moving from the container to his mouth quickly enough. 
  • Night sleep started going really well at the beginning of month six, and for a few weeks straight he was sleeping from about 7:30 pm to 6:30 or 7 am every night. I was so excited, but as Charlie Brown so eloquently puts it, "Whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens." He got that flu virus thing I previously mentioned and has been out of whack ever since. It could also be the other tooth trying to come through. He's been waking between 1:00 and 3:00 every morning and won't go back to sleep until I feed him. So that's been fun.
  • His naps have been great though at least. He usually takes 3 a day, sometimes only 2 if he starts the day later, and they each generally last about an hour and a half. 
  • He started being able to sit up really well without any assistance this month. He is still pretty stationary in whatever position we put him though; he's not pulling up or trying to crawl or anything like that yet.
  • He loves Piper (the dog) and squeals at her very excitedly whenever she comes into his line of sight. She mostly keeps a healthy distance from him since he likes pinching (interesting, it's not "pincing") her eyeballs and trying to rip her throat out.
  • He has learned how to pitch a fit now when you take something away from him that he wants. Funny how you don't have to teach babies this skill.
  • I still kept the dream feed all month, so he nurses about six times a day usually, but he seems to be moving toward a 4-hour schedule so that will eliminate one of those sessions, and hopefully we can also drop the dream feed soon. 
  • The 6-9 month size clothes are fitting much better now, and he's wearing size 3 diapers (size 4 at night). Side note: I love the Garanimals clothing brand (despite the fact that it's only at Walmart). Every piece of Garanimals clothing that Roman has had as a hand-me-down from Brock has seemed to be in the best shape of all the hand-me-down brands, and I also like that they fit longer than other brands because they run just a little large. He can still wear the 3-6 month size in that brand, but the 6-9 months size isn't too big either. And they're really cute clothes. And they're cheap! I am not getting paid for this endorsement, mostly because no one really cares about my opinion, but if this blog post makes its way into the path of any Garanimals Incorporated employees, I'll gladly accept your offer of free clothes.
  • Roman loves blankies just like his brother. I make these little satin/flannel combination blankies (here's a post I did on them back when Brock was tiny), and both boys are soothed by them for some reason. 
  • With Roman's increase in solid foods, he started having some problems with constipation this month. Brock had the same issues if I fed him too many servings of bananas or apples, but his usually resolved itself with a helping of prunes. Roman has had a little more trouble though, so we bought some Miralax and give him a teaspoon or so in his solids every few days so he doesn't get so painfully stopped up. And that's probably more than anyone ever wanted to know about my sons' bowel movements.
  • We started Roman on a daily iron supplement (per the pediatrician's recommendation) this month to prevent any iron deficiencies since breastfed babies sometimes don't get as much iron as formula-fed babies. We had to do this with Brock too and found that liquid iron is really gross. It smells metallic and tastes even worse. But if anyone else happens to be in the market for infant liquid iron supplements, I found this brand on Amazon and it's great. Cheaper and a larger size than the ones at the store with the vitamins, no nasty smell, not a dark, staining liquid, and it doesn't taste bad. 
  • Roman loves the bouncy, jumper seat thing that you can hang from the doorway, the Johnny Jump-Up toys. He gets so excited when we put him in it, and he'll just hop and jump all over the place. It's one of my favorite things.
  • Finally, I noticed this month that I've lost track of how many weeks old Roman is. You'll note in this post that I didn't use weeks to mark out any of his milestones. That's because I barely know what week it is on the calendar, so I am no longer aware of the specific number of weeks Roman has been alive. Months seem to work just fine though. 
Oh, one other thing... Look how happy this little boy is. I think I talked a lot about his grouchiness in this update, but that really isn't the norm for him. He's a smiley, friendly fellow the majority of the time.

Sunday, December 29

Roman - Six Months

He's seven and a half months old. I'm posting his six month update. It's clearly not getting any better. Poor Roman.

At his six month checkup with the doctor, he weighed 17 pounds, 3 ounces and was 27 inches long. So he gained a little over two pounds and had grown an inch in two months.

These are some of the things he was doing between the fifth and sixth months (they really are... I had written them all down at the time because there's no way I could remember now what he was doing a month and a half ago. I'm even looking at some of these and thinking, "Oh, I forgot he did that." This explains why people end up having multiple children... long-term memory loss):

  • I was giving him oatmeal cereal once a day by about mid-month. He tried sweet potatoes at 23 weeks, then squash, carrots, peas, green beans, peaches, and all the rest that are left after that. He loved solids from the first bite. I guess that may be an advantage of waiting until they're a little older to introduce them. They're ready and there's not as much refusal because they want it and can eat it well. I still took it really slow though and only gave him a little of each food once a day just to let him taste them and make sure he wasn't going to have any reactions to them (he didn't). I wasn't enthusiastic about starting the whole solid food process because it was just something else to add to my slightly overwhelmed mental list. But it went well and by the start of the sixth month, he was eating solids 3 times a day.
  • We introduced a sippy cup with water at about 22 weeks. Of course he kept trying to drown himself and nearly choked on the overflow multiple times, but hey, that's how they learn right? 
  • He finally figured out how to roll from his stomach to his back (only to the right) at 23 weeks and the next week figured out both ways. We had some horrible sleep interruptions for a couple of days during this whole learning process, but once he figured it all out, his little empowered self went back to the regular routine.
  • Somewhere around mid-month, he started reaching for me or for Blaine when one of us was holding him and the other approached. I like that milestone because it makes you feel really validated and you can say things like, "Yes, it's clear that you like me so much better than your daddy and want to come to me, don't you?" Just kidding. I never say that. I prefer, "Look Daddy! He's reaching for you. Hurry, take him so I can go back to stalking my friends on Facebook."
  • He's still very entertained and amused by Brock. In the car, he has started peeping his head around the edge of his carseat to watch Brock, which cracks Brock up and makes him belly laugh, which makes Roman chuckle, which makes Blaine and me look at each other lovingly and think how amazing our two little sons are and how perfect our life is, and then the record scratches and Brock starts being a maniacal toddler again and Roman gets tired and starts screaming, and we're back to reality. I need to record this.
  • I tried dropping the dream feed a couple of times this month, but he wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to eat if I don't do it, so I'm just keeping it for now.
  • This is literally what I wrote down about the time change that month: "Time change - kill me" Clearly, it didn't go so well, and I was not a fan. We apparently survived though, so that's something. And I think it actually only took about a week to adjust, so I might have been a little overly dramatic, but I just really like my sleep.
  • He got his first cold this month, which isn't too bad considering he went 6 months without getting sick.
  • Sometimes he rolls around in his crib so much that he gets himself kind of jammed up in the corner so then he gets really angry and frustrated and can't solve the problem. And I'm like, "Well, screaming and crying about it isn't going to help the matter." But he hasn't learned to be reasonable yet, unfortunately, so I just have to help him roll back over.
  • We introduced him to Baby Mum Mums at the end of the month, which he loved because it was something else to eat. If you are not familiar with Baby Mum Mums, they are just some kind of baby finger food that I think might have Asian origins and that are ridiculously overpriced and resemble communion wafers or thin slices of styrofoam (in taste and appearance). My favorite thing about Baby Mum Mums is the little bullet-point on the front of the box that says, "Great taste, No mess." LIES... so much lies. They're a sticky, soppy, messy mess waiting to happen. Be warned. 
  • I noticed this month Roman has less sensitivity to sensory things than Brock did. Brock never liked to play with my hair that much and Roman likes to eat it. Roman loves to grab Piper and pet her and Brock wasn't as interested in touching her. The sunlight doesn't seem to bother Roman, and it always seemed to hurt Brock's eyes. Just interesting little things that I thought were common to all babies when Brock was little but that I see now were actually more unique to Brock.
  • Last thing. He finally took a bottle from Blaine at 25 weeks. That's terrible. Poor Blaine was so frustrated and upset that Roman would never take it from him, especially because he would take it from the next door neighbor's cousin's uncle who he'd never seen before (not really, but almost), but wouldn't take one from his own dad. Not sure what that was all about because we had tried it since he was a newborn, and he just refused until this month.
And the pictures...

Saturday, November 9

Roman - Five Months

This is Roman's 5 month post. Yes, Roman is actually 6 months old this month. Yes, I'm just now posting last month's update. I sat down to post this a couple weeks ago and got distracted because it said my blog layout design would be expiring soon unless I wanted to purchase it (which I did not), so I spent an hour trying to find a new, free design instead of posting the update. I was a little sad that there weren't as many cute options out there anymore, but this will work for now.

Another thing I'm sad about. My wonderfully fantastic $500 digital SLR camera that I got for my birthday four years ago is starting to malfunction. Something is wrong with the shutter release, and all the pictures are dark. It worked just long enough for me to get Roman's 4 month pictures taken for my last post and then gave me its "I. Just. Can't. Go. On." speech. So starting this month (or, well, last month) I'm having to use my phone to take Roman's monthly pictures, and they just aren't the same quality.

Oh well, life goes on... The chunky monster is still growing and changing whether I write it all down or not. I do keep up with his little developments throughout the month. It just takes me a while to sit and put them all in a readable format. So without further ado, here are were some of Roman's fun facts between months four and five:
  • He started trying to roll over from his back to his stomach at the beginning of the month and then accomplished that feat at about 20 weeks, which of course disrupted his sleep and made him angry when he would wake up. Apparently, this is why I should've been doing tummy time all along. Since I never really made him do it at all, it took him FOREVER (ok, maybe more like 2 weeks) to get used to being on his belly. I love that they are compelled to roll themselves over even though they absolutely hate it and don't want to be in that position. They just have no control over their little bodies, which is irritating even to me, so I'm sure it is super frustrating to them.
  • He rolled from his stomach to his back a couple of times, but couldn't really get the hang of it. I practiced with him a lot during his wake time and made him just roll back and forth until his eyeballs started looking a little dizzy (not really), and I think that helped him develop some muscle memory for it. 
  • Around about week 18, he started taking a long time to fall asleep; he would just lie in the crib talking to himself. One day during a nap he laid in there quietly chatting and cooing and babbling for an hour and 20 minutes. I just kept waiting and waiting for him to drift off, but he was on a roll, so finally I moved him to his swing and he instantly fell asleep. This seems to happen every few weeks or so, and I'm thinking it's probably a developmental thing because it seems he'll learn how to make certain new sounds or noises, and it's like he keeps himself awake practicing them.
  • We stopped putting him in the woombie at 19 weeks since he was starting to roll and since I realized from looking back at my posts that Brock was out of it by 18 weeks. He actually did great without it! I was so nervous because he had been sleeping well, and I just knew it was going to mess all that up, but I think it actually helped him because he wanted to self-soothe by sucking his fingers. Once he was able to put his fingers in his mouth, he started sleeping longer. By the third night, he slept from 8:00-7:00.
  • His routine is much more inconsistent and erratic than Brock's was at this point. Brock was an amazing sleeper and by 5 months would take several 1.5-2 hour naps every day and would sleep 11 hours at night without any waking. Roman will take great naps some days and other days be fine on just a few short catnaps. Some nights he'll sleep straight from 8:00-7:00, and other nights he will wake up early around 5 or 6 a.m. like he's starving. I would say 4 out of 7 days usually have a regular, consistent pattern, but those other 3 days he usually throws me some kind of curveball. He is going to be the child that defies my OCD, Type A, schedule-oriented personality I guess. 
  • He kind of, sort of reached for me a little bit at 19 weeks while Blaine was holding him. Probably, if I'm honest, it was more just like he leaned toward me and his arm automatically lifted up, but it was more than he had done up to that point, so I clapped for him.
  • After we dropped the woombie, he started using his fingers as a soothing instrument. He still hasn't enjoyed a paci at all and just won't take one, but he played around with some different fingers and then seemed to finally decide he liked a combination of his middle and ring finger the best. So it always looks like he's giving the "Rock on" sign when he's self-soothing (see picture below).
  • He tries to do sit-ups when he's laying at any sort of incline, and he can pull himself forward some. He's nowhere near the point of getting into a sitting position though.
  • We took the newborn sling out of his bathtub this month since he's sitting up a little better and steadier now.
  • He started wearing size 3 diapers sometime that month, and 3-6 month clothes are a little snug on him, but he's not quite big enough for most of the 6-9 month sizes yet.
  • At 20 weeks he started nursing for only about 5-7 minutes total, which made me nervous because I feel like that can't possibly be enough. According to my scientific research (translation: many Google searches), this can be normal at his age because they are more interested in what's going on around them, and some babies become a lot more efficient nursers at this stage. I remember Brock significantly decreasing his time too, but I didn't have my precise nursing timer apps back then (how much changes in 2 years) so I wasn't aware it was such a short amount of time, I think.
  • I wanted to hold Roman off until closer to 6 months to start introducing solid foods, mostly because I'm lazy and didn't want to add that component into our daily routine. I introduced foods at about 17 weeks with Brock, but I was excited to do something new with him since he was a first-born, and it's old hat this time around. I did, however, let Roman try some oatmeal cereal at 20 weeks, and he loved it. I didn't start giving it to him consistently though, just a couple of experiences with it at the end of the month.
I think that's mostly all the developments for the fifth month. And here are the pictures. This first collage I loved because it shows the progression of him sitting (kind of) to falling over and lying down. He likes to wiggle around so much that he can't stay sitting up for very long.

Thursday, September 26

Roman - Four Months

Roman is four months now. Actually, Roman is a little over four months now. I'm about a week and a half late, but that's just going to be the norm I think.

He had his four month checkup last Monday and now weighs 15 lbs (a 2.5 pound gain from his two month checkup) and is 26 inches long (a 3 inch gain). The change in length kind of shocked me because it seemed like a lot. He's growing well and, as evidenced by the pictures, is clearly getting enough to eat too.

These were some of the things that went on between the third and fourth months:
  • At about week 14, he suddenly started going down for naps and bedtime much easier. He would cry very little and sometimes not at all when we laid him down. I looked back at Brock's 4 month post and this happened the same week with him. So apparently, if you are putting them in the same place to sleep and doing the same type of routine for the first couple of months, it starts to click for them at about 14 weeks.
  • He would go down easily to sleep, but his naps were not very great from about the 12th week to the 16th week. He would wake at about 40-50 minutes into every nap, which was frustrating because then he would want to eat much sooner than the 3 hour mark, which would just kind of throw the whole day off. I struggled against it for the first couple of weeks, changing his awake time and adjusting things to try to figure out what the problem was because it felt so chaotic. Then I looked back at a sleep log I had kept for Brock for a couple of months (yes, I kept a sleep log; yes, I am that kind of person; yes, I probably do have issues), and I realized that Brock had sleep problems around the same time, waking early from naps and not sleeping like he should. I looked up some info online and found that this period is kind of a developmental shift for their brains as they become more aware and more capable of doing certain tasks, so it often affects their sleep. Realizing it was just a phase helped me mentally cope with the frustration of him not sleeping, and I decided we would just start moving him directly from his crib to the swing when he woke early because sometimes he would finish the nap out in the swing. It also taught him that it was kind of pointless to wake up early because he wasn't going to get to play yet. Everything started getting better around 16 weeks though, and even though his naps are still nowhere near as consistent or as long as Brock's were, he generally gets at least three one-hour naps and then usually a longer one in the afternoon. 
  • He can stay awake for about an hour or a little more before getting fussy and tired now.
  • At night, he's been sleeping from about 8:00-5:00 (with a dreamfeed between 10-10:30 where I feed him without really waking him up) so he goes about 6-7 hours with no feeding. Probably once or twice a week, he will still occasionally wake around 3 or 4 am, and I try to let him cry it out back to sleep but usually have to end up feeding him because he's stubborn. This is another area that is different from Brock because at this point Brock was going from about 8:00-7:00 every night and very rarely woke in the night for feedings. Brock loved sleep a lot more than the average baby, so that may be why he did so much better. Blaine says we let Brock cry more than we do Roman, which may also be true... Roman seems so much younger to me than Brock did at this age, so I'm not as concerned about making him do things that I made Brock do at the same age (sleep without a swaddle, sleep 12 hours without a feeding, etc). This is probably a significant benefit of being a second-born.
  • He can sit up with support now, like propped up on the couch or in a chair. He likes to sit in the living room with us in the evenings and just watch everything that's going on. He also tries to do sit-ups all the time, even just when he's laying flat. The pictures up above show what happens when I try to sit him up straight... he leans forward and then falls over sideways. I love the one in the top right corner. This happens all the time; he just falls over and then is stuck there until someone helps him, and most of the time he doesn't even mind; he just waits patiently on someone to notice.
  • He's chewing a lot on his fists and burp cloths and anything he can get in his mouth, which made me wonder if he is teething. It seems like I can kind of see his two little bottom teeth under the gums, but I'm sure it will probably be six more months of pain and restlessness and fussiness before they pop through. I'm convinced that teething is a torture tactic devised by Satan to make parents lose their minds. He also gags himself all the time with his fists and fingers, then looks around like, "Who just stuck their hand down my throat?!" 
  • Around about week 13, he started nursing for only 10-12 minutes total. Up until this point, it was usually an average of 15 to 20 minutes, but he just refuses to eat for very long now. I'm assuming he's getting what he needs, so I don't really stress out about it.
  • He had some projectile spit-up episodes again in week 14, and that's when I noticed that they seem to coordinate with the times that he's going through growth spurts. He usually eats more during a growth spurt, so maybe he just takes in too much and then vomits it all up. Classic binge and purge it seems (not that I would know anything about the purging part myself... I always stop after the binge step).
  • He's in 3-6 month size clothes now but by the end of the month has gotten just about too long for those. He's in size 2 diapers during the day and size 3 at night (since they hold more and prevent me having to change him before morning).
  • He's gotten a lot better with his arm control. He plays with objects hanging down from his playmat, and he can hold and play with the O-ball now (one of my favorite toys for babies). Dr. Smith acted impressed with him being able to hold a tongue depressor and move it to his mouth because apparently moving objects to their mouths is something they don't really do until closer to 6 months. I'm pretty sure if he is advanced because of that skill, it's only because he's a fatty and is trying to eat everything. Even with the better arm control, we're still swaddling him in the Woombie swaddle for now because his hands still have a mind of their own (see the gagging issue mentioned above). I watched him one day with his arms out of the swaddle, and literally, his fingers start poking him in the eyes or his hands flail around or he starts to doze off and his fist inserts itself into his mouth, and he will get so angry like someone else is doing it to him and keeping him awake. It's bizarre to me that controlling your arms is a skill we have to learn (and that it takes so long!).
  • He's taking a bottle much better now (at least once a week at church and occasionally a couple times during the week). Those contraband latex orthodontic nipples really seemed to do the trick. He still won't really take any other kind.
  • He's doing a lot of cooing and making lots of noises. He loves to talk, which surprises me with as much noise as his brother makes. But I guess he wants to contribute to the conversation too. He's also learning how to blow raspberries, which I always think is cute... until they do it for 30 minutes and get themselves all soggy with drool.
  • He can roll onto his side but not all the way over yet. He will lay on his belly for a few minutes now before getting upset, and he can hold his head and part of his chest up. I didn't make him do tummy time practically at all for like the first three months, so I'm glad to see that I didn't totally damage him, although he does have a spot on one side of his head that is flatter than the rest. Oh well, he'll just have to keep his hair long.
I think that's mostly it, and I'm sure that's mostly stuff that no one other than myself might care about. I just like having a record of it all. And now for the fun part, pictures! 

I love this face 

Always very amused by his crazy big brother

Apparently, these monthly posts will show Brock's growth too unless I start taking Roman's pictures while Brock is asleep. It was harder than it should have been to get just a few pictures of Roman by himself. 

Brock showing "Bubigi" (Luigi from Cars) to a very fascinated Roman. I'm pretty sure Brock was also in the middle of saying, "Bubigi" when I snapped the picture.

And then the monthly pictures... I can't really see much of a difference between the third and fourth month pictures. He looks like he sits better in the 3 month, but it's only because of the whole leaning forward thing that I mentioned he does now. I looked back at Brock's 4 month post, and he has almost the same issue with those two pictures. Just interesting to me :)

Friday, September 13

Lessons from the Terrible Twos

I am fairly certain that the specific events, situations, and phases we experience in life help shape the type of people we become. I have written before (here and here) about times that I believe God has used my current circumstances to teach me lessons and make me more like him. I really believe that the different seasons we go through (whether they are hard times, big milestones, new adventures, joyful moments, or just everyday monotony) are opportunities for us to improve ourselves, to grow, and ultimately to learn more about God and his relationship to us.

Winter is nothing, in comparison ;)
The trial joyful venture Blaine and I are living through right now is toddlerhood. The terrible twos are upon us and are threatening to break us at every turn. I thought I hated the newborn phase... that is a cakewalk. Give me thirty newborns over one 2 1/2 year old any day. 

No. Not really. Don't give me thirty newborns. Ever. Please. 

I just went into a really dark place thinking about multiple newborns at one time.

Anyway, I digress. I knew today wasn't going to be the best of days when Brock woke up at 6:40 this morning. The child used to sleep til 9:00 every day, but once his brother was born and he moved to a toddler bed, he now apparently wants to wake before the sun rises every morning. I was prepared for a difficult day. I was not prepared for a day filled with epic proportions of the terrible twos. Whining and screaming and crying (a little from both of us) and disobeying and defying and flipping out for no reason at all. That's what our day has looked like. And all of it before nap time! But during, quite possibly, the one peaceful moment we had at lunch time, I had a little revelation that kind of grew and grew in my mind (and eventually turned into this blog post).

A little voice said to me, "You are often like this toddler, Shelby." Not an audible voice. I'm not crazy (I don't think). Just kind of a thought that popped in there. I have been praying for patience and wisdom and calmness all day long, in my head and out loud. I have been praying for the past three weeks that we would love Brock well even through this difficult phase, that we would guide him and help him learn, that Blaine and I would be slow to anger and compassionate and understanding but consistent and right in our discipline. I swear it seems the more I have prayed, the more I have been tested and my patience has been stretched to impossible limits. But today, I looked at my defiant, disobedient, overly irrational, emotional little toddler and got a small glimpse of how I might look to God.

These are the things I want to say to Brock as a toddler or as a grown man, the things I want him to understand. But each one of these also seemed to be a truth that God wanted me to see about myself and about who he is. So these are the lessons (for Brock and for myself) from the terrible twos:

  1. I am far more patient and merciful toward you than you deserve.    If you were not my child and if I didn't have this deep, abiding, unconditional love for you, I would probably tolerate a lot less of this nonsense and willful disobedience. My mercies are new every thirty minutes in my responses to you. There are some moments (like when you threw the tantrum of all tantrums because I put a shirt on you) that the only thing that keeps me calm and reasonable and not murderous is the fact that you are my son and I care deeply about you and love you more than you know.

  2. It's okay to have bad days; It is not okay to treat others badly on your bad days.    Not every day is going to go well. Frustrating things will happen to you that you can't control. You may not feel great every day. Sickness, sadness, and crappy stuff will come. And I don't expect you to always have a happy face painted on. I don't expect you to fake your emotions and pretend you feel something that you don't actually feel. I want you to be real and genuine. But you do need to understand that you are not the only person in this world. You are not the only person in this family. There are others who have needs that must be met, even as you are having your bad day. There are others who need you to show mercy and compassion and patience toward them, even if everything isn't going your way. And there are probably others who are having much worse days than you are. So, on those bad days, stop focusing on yourself and see what you can do to make someone else's bad day better.

  3. Patience and whining do not go together.    We tell you all the time to be patient. Sometimes I can't give you something the very moment you ask for it. Sometimes there are preparations that have to be made (like when I have to find a clean cup to put your milk in) or things that have to be put together (like that awful toy that I thought would come out of the box looking like it did in the picture but took an hour to build) or situations that are more urgent than yours (like your baby brother screaming his head off because he hasn't eaten in three hours). In these times, when you can't have what you want right when you want it, please know that patience is going to do a lot more than whining will. If I tell you to be patient, I want you to know that I have heard your request and I am going to act on it, but in the meantime I need you to wait contentedly and peacefully. Wait on me without whining or complaining or questioning or being angry or pitching a fit. Wait for me to get you what you need, and wait with a good attitude because if you are whining, you are not being patient.

  4. My discipline comes from my love for you.    I know you feel like you get in trouble for everything (please refer back to number 1 though for the truth). I want you to know that I care about you and I love you and those are the reasons I create rules and boundaries and why you receive discipline. My love for you makes me want to help you learn how to be a good person, a loving person, a person who other people enjoy and want to be around. My love for you makes me persevere in my efforts to discipline you rather than handing you over to a pack of wild animals to fend for yourself. Sometimes the discipline is to develop your character (like when you have to share your toys with others). Sometimes the discipline is to correct your bad or wrong behaviors (like when you get a spanking for screaming at your parents). Sometimes the discipline is to teach you new things (like when you have to sit still and listen to instructions before you get to do something fun). And sometimes the discipline is to protect you from harm (like when I tell you not to stand in that chair that is looking wobbly and precariously close to falling over). The discipline is for different reasons at different times, but I want you to know that it always comes from a place of love and care for your well-being.

  5. Your way isn't always the best way.    I know that's hard to understand. I know you think you've got it all figured out. I know you don't always want to do things the harder way, or the not fun way, or the tedious, boring, tiresome way. But sometimes the way I tell you to do things is better for you. It's a better plan, even if it doesn't look as appealing or as satisfying as what you have in mind.

  6. You can trust me and my intentions for your life.    On the differences between your way and my way of doing things, I want you to be able to trust that my plan is for your good. I know you would rather eat five bags of gummy bears for dinner than anything I put on your plate, but I need you to realize that I know a little more than you and that I don't want you up at midnight puking sticky, half-digested gummy nastiness all over your sheets. I want something better than that for you. If I don't allow you to do something, it's generally because I am looking out for you. If I tell you not to run through the house with that butter knife, it's not because I don't want you to ever have any fun. It's because I don't want you to lose an eye when you inevitably trip over the dog or run into the kitchen cabinets. I have the best of intentions for your life, and you can trust that I am looking out for you.

  7. You don't have to worry.    When you are hungry or tired or cold or sick, I feed you and give you a chance to rest and provide you warm clothes and get you medicine. When you have a need, I have always done and will always do my best to fulfill it. Remember last week when you didn't feel well and I held you and comforted you and gave you ibuprofen? Remember this morning when you said you wanted breakfast and you didn't have to worry about whether or not there would be food to eat or whether I would actually give it to you? Well, keep those things and all the others in your mind when you start to get upset and impatient and distressed about something you need. I always do my best to take care of you, and you have no need to worry.

  8. I love you.    This is probably not even necessary to say since it has been mentioned in just about every other lesson above, but I'm going to repeat it one more time in case you didn't get it. I love you. You are a part of me. You stole a serious portion of my heart when you were created almost three years ago, and you continue to amaze me every day with the things you learn and the person you are becoming. Everything I do for you, every action I take, every lesson I teach you, and everything I give or withhold or take away is done out of a deep, incomprehensible, unimaginable love I have for you. You are mine, and I want you to know that although I am not always pleased with your behavior and I am sometimes exhausted and frustrated by your inability to do the right thing or remember the lesson I have tried to teach you 2,000 times already, there is nothing you can ever do to earn or lose my love. You are and always will be my child, and I love you.
I am, by no means, remotely close to being as patient, merciful, wise, just, and good as God the creator of the universe, but if I can feel these things toward my children (even in an imperfect, limited sense), how much more are they likely to be true about God the creator of my soul and very being. Now, I need to try to start acting less like a toddler and more like an obedient child who brings honor and glory and joy to her Father. 

Interesting, refining process this whole parenthood thing can be.

Monday, September 2

Conversations With a 2 Year Old

Brock's verbal skills have really been fascinating to Blaine and me over the past month. He has been a talker from kind of an early age (this was him saying some of the alphabet at 17 months), and it has always been neat to me to hear him learning new words and new rules of language. Over the past few weeks though, it seems like his speech has become so much more grown-up. It's nothing for him to string together a 10-word sentence now, and we can practically have whole conversations with him. It has been really interesting to us because it's like we occasionally get a look into his little mind. Sometimes he just gets stuck in repeat mode though and will only copy what we are saying, which is a little frustrating because it goes something like this:

"Do you need to go potty?"
"Need to go potty"
"Is that a yes or no?"
"Yes or no"
"Brock, do you need to potty?"
"To potty?"
"Ok, go sit on the potty, Brock"
"Noooo, Brock's not need to go potty!"

Aside from those episodes though, we've heard some interesting little sentences lately. I wanted to post them to the blog, one, because I think they're pretty entertaining, but also because I really want to remember what his little toddler self talked like (in case his little teenager self says much less endearing things).

Sometimes we will ask him to pray before bed or before our meals. This is how that goes:
"God, fanks for today, fanks for the food, fank you for Mommy and Daddy and Roman and Brock and Piper. Fanks for play. Amen"
He prays the same thing every time (thanking God for the food even at bedtime). I also like how he thanks God for himself. And that last one, "thanks for play" took us a while to figure out. We thought he was thanking God for the time he got to play or something, but after I blessed the meal one night, we realized what it was he was trying to say: "In Jesus' name I pray"

While eating a snack together in his room one afternoon:
"Mommy, eat the cheez-it!"
"They're all gone."
"Mommy, eat the cheez-it!!"
"We ate them all Brock. There aren't any more in the bowl."
"Mommy! Go downstairs and get some more cheez-its out of the box."
Oh, I wasn't aware you had figured out how that works.

One of my least favorites:
"Hey Mom, Brock's poo-pooed in da floor! I get a BIIIIIGGGGG treat!"
No, son, I'm not sure you've quite figured out how this works yet.

Blaine and I like to ask Brock on random occasions who loves him, and he'll usually go through a list, "Mommys wuvs you; Daddys wuvs you; Jesus wuvs you; Romans wuvs you; Pipers wuvs you" (he always adds an 's' at the end of everyone's name for some reason). This was how it went the other day:
"Hey Brock, who loves you?"
"Tow-maters wuvs you"
We're very into the Cars characters right now.

While having a discussion about how to act around other people:
"Brock, when someone says hi to you, say hi back. If someone is talking to you, be nice to them. Don't say, 'Mommy, Mommy, Mommy' over and over. It makes you seem like a weirdo."
"No, I not a weirdo."
"I know you're not, but when your family or your friends talk to you and you just say Mommy and hide behind me, they might think you're a weirdo."
"No, Mommy, I not a weirdo. Weirdos at church."
Hmmmm.... that is not where I saw this conversation going.

Upon finding a store receipt in the floor:
"Hey Mommy! Here's your twenty-hundred dollars!"
No clue where he got that, but every receipt he finds is "twenty-hundred dollars"

Blaine has always told Brock that blood was just cherry juice, I think in an effort to lessen the fear that comes from a busted lip or scraped knee. The other night at dinner Blaine was trying to explain to Brock why he needed to sit still in his booster seat:
"Son, if you keep rocking forward like that, you might break the strap on your chair. Then if the strap breaks and you're throwing yourself forward, you're going to either fall out of your chair or fall forward and hit your face on the table, and either way there will probably be a lot of cherry juice."
"Oooh, cherry like a ICEE! Can I have a ICEE?"
Blaine always gives him long, detailed explanations and then shakes his head in dismay when he realizes what Brock takes away from them.

"Mommy's gotta eat Roman" when I have to feed Roman

"Look Mommy, Roman's dripping" when Roman spits up

"Hey little brother. Did you sleep good?" when Roman wakes from a nap

And finally...
"Hey Mommy, Brock's making milk. Vooo-tish, voooo-tish..." as he sticks one of my breastpump parts to his stomach and pushes his belly out. (Vooo-tish is a robot/machine noise he learned from his daddy's plethora of sound effects)

I can't wait to see what else we hear from that mouth in the future.

Tuesday, August 27

Roman - Three Months

No doctor appointment this month, so I'm not sure how much Roman weighs or how long he is now, but he's definitely gaining and looks like a little like this guy

Here's some of the stuff that was going on between the second and third month:
  • He started wearing 0-3 month size clothes at the beginning of this month (or around the end of the 2nd month, I can't remember), but he's really about to outgrow those. I had to get out the 3-6 month sizes and wash them up for his little fat self. He seems to be growing at a faster rate than Brock did. Or maybe I just let Brock's clothes get uncomfortably small before I moved him up to bigger sizes. Who knows. 
  • Roman also moved up to size 2 diapers this month. A word on diapers: I thought that I preferred Huggies over Pampers and have even mentioned this to a few friends who are expecting babies. I remembered Brock always having explosive poops that would go up the back (and out) of his diaper when he was wearing Pampers. This doesn't happen with Huggies because they have a little tab across the back of the diaper that kind of catches the poop (which indicates this must be a common problem with babies). I also feel like Huggies are more absorbent with pee. However, I am finding with Roman that Huggies diapers leak really bad around the leg openings and Pampers are much better at holding it in down there. So we apparently need some kind of Huggies/Pampers hybrid that will combine the best of both worlds. I also came to the definite conclusion this month that I could not do cloth diapering (not that I was ever really unsure, but ya know). Brock is potty training and has done pretty well with it, but he did have a really large, messy number 2 accident in his underwear a few days ago. Blaine and I were both cleaning it up, and I was gagging and trying not to be grossed out about picking it up after it fell out of his underwear (how do you take them off without it going everywhere?!). As I was standing there holding the dirty underwear as far away from myself as possible and trying to determine what I should do with it now (spray it with a hose? put it in the dirty clothes? soak it in the toilet?), I just decided we could buy more underwear and this was not worth salvaging, so it went in the trash. Yes, I know, that is so ridiculous and wasteful, and this is the reason that our landfills are overflowing, and I'm so selfish not thinking about the future generations and all that. I'm sorry... I just don't like dealing with poop. If I can't flush it or wrap it up and throw it away, then I don't want to know about it. 
  • Anyway, back to Roman... he became super social this month. He constantly talks and coos and makes all kinds of vocal noises. He will stop nursing just to babble, like he all of a sudden thought of some great story he needs to tell me about. It's one of my favorite things. Brock didn't really get vocal until closer to 4 months and even then it wasn't constant, but Roman is a little chatterbox.
  • A few times this month, he woke from his naps happy and talking rather than screaming for food, so that's kind of fun.
  • This is not a very Mom thing to say, but I think Roman has gotten a lot cuter this month. He's outgrowing the odd alien newborn features and starting to look more like what the movies show newborn babies looking like.
  • He's gaining more arm control and likes to stuff blankets or burp cloths in his mouth with his hands. We're still swaddling him, but we started using the Woombie swaddle during the second month because it gives him more wiggle room. I had tried using it from birth, but with both of my boys, I had to wait til closer to the one/two month mark before we really liked it. So we used the velcro swaddles or just blanket swaddles first then graduated to the Woombie. I tried swaddling Roman with one arm out a couple of times this month, but for now he still sleeps better with them both in.
  • The projectile vomit/spit up has stopped I think. He hasn't done it in a while. In general, he is spitting up less frequently too, though it's still on a daily basis. Gas doesn't seem to bother or affect him as much now either.
  • We've still been having problems with short naps this month. We experienced the 45 minute intruder a lot, which is something I learned about here. I think he had a growth spurt in the middle of the month because he was wanting to eat more, but then he just kept waking early after it was over. Figuring out a good amount of wake time has helped some (usually no more than 50 minutes to an hour), but we haven't quite gotten it perfected.
  • He found his fists and fingers and started chewing on them a lot this month. It makes a big, soggy, drooling mess, but there's no stopping him. I should also mention that he has always disliked the pacifier. Other than the first few days after he was born, he absolutely will not take one. I have tried over and over to get him to accept one, but it just makes him angry and he gags on it, so I guess we'll probably have another thumb-sucker.
  • While Brock all of a sudden started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks, Roman has been slowly extending his night sleep over time. At 12 weeks, he started consistently sleeping 6-7 hours a night with no feedings. Brock was more abrupt about it, so that's what I was expecting with Roman, but he has been more gradual. 
  • This month Roman started to show a little more interest in and fascination with Brock. He's becoming more aware of his surroundings and all that's going on around him (which makes it fun to feed him), and he seems to really like watching his brother. Brock loves to put on shows for him too, so it works out pretty well.
  • I'm really happy that we have another pretty content child. Right now he is even better than Brock was because Brock was always really happy only until he got hungry or sleepy, then there was no consoling him. If someone is holding Roman, he is pretty much content and happy even if he needs to eat or sleep, and if he has been fed and had his nap, he'll just chill wherever you put him. This probably means we should stop having children because there's no way we can get lucky and have a third good one.
I think that's mostly all that has happened over the past month. Some of the boring details I'm recording are for my own future reference because there have been things with Roman that I couldn't remember whether or not Brock did too, so I'm just writing it all down now (in case we are dumb enough to try our luck on that third baby). 

And now some pictures...

Brock was insistent on getting in the chair with Roman while I was trying to take Roman's 3-month picture. Once I took a few of just Roman, I let Brock get up with him and these are what resulted. 

This is the "Staring off into space in opposite directions" shot...

This is what happened when I told Brock to put his arm around Roman...

This is what happened when I said, "Say cheese..."

This is what happened when I told Brock to give his brother love...

And this one just happened spontaneously...

Finally, the monthly photo comparison...

Tuesday, August 13

Cell Phone Photo Dump (2nd Edition)

It's probably hard to believe if you're my Facebook friend or Instagram follower, but I don't actually post EVERY picture I take of my kids. I do post a lot, but I try to limit myself to only a couple a week and only the most amusing ones because I know that no one else really cares how long my toddler's hair has grown or how chunky my 3 month old is now. Anyway, I was clearing off some space on my phone tonight and found a few little gems that I wanted to save but didn't want to leave on my phone and didn't want to overwhelm my friends' Facebook news feed with. So to the blog they go...


Brotherly affection... This will probably only last a short, short time unfortunately.

All swaddled up
Pondering deep philosophical thoughts while watching Yo Gabba Gabba or Pocoyo

I love this one. His cousin Anna has a baby doll stroller and then this little miniature baby stroller. She was pushing the normal-sized one and he grabbed this one and started following her. A video would have been funnier, but this was all we could get.
This one and the one below go in the "Monkey See, Monkey Do" series. He loves imitating his dad. Blaine was doing some special kind of push-ups with his legs on the couch so Brock went to the stairs (in the background) and put his legs up to do his own version of the push-ups.
Blaine, for whatever reason, laid down in the driveway one afternoon and Brock ran over to do the same.

He likes squishing himself into Roman's car seat, along with his buddy Pocoyo.

This one is a little hard to see, but I peeked in Brock's room one day during his naptime and he had fallen asleep sideways with his whole body on his pillow (note his feet sticking out through the slats of the safety rail). Also, he apparently covers his face with his blankie to sleep now.

I feel I should point out that I am completely aware of the unbalanced ratio of Brock pictures to Roman pictures. This is not (as Brock may try to claim in the future) due to the fact that I like or love Brock more. It is simply because Roman does little else but sleep for about 18 of the 24 hours in each day, and when he is awake, he doesn't have quite the variety of photographic moments that his brother does (meaning all he really does is just lay there and smile on occasion). But no worries, I love you too, my little second-born.