Sunday, May 31, 2009

5 months of this...

Friday marked the 5 month "anniversary" of Blake being diaper-free. Not of Blake being potty trained unfortunately!

In the last month, we've made MAJOR strides on actually completing the potty training mission!

In early May, we noticed something that might serve as a major incentive to staying dry - the achillies heel we'd been looking for!!! Blake regularly was asking to do 3 activities, that are not high on my list of things to do: play-doh, moon sand, and painting. (Mostly, these are low on my list due to the amount of work and clean-up that I do!). But since we were looking to motiviate Blake, I figured I could either clean up these activities or clean up pee accidents!!!

So we started an incentive program (gawd, I sound like the HR rep I used to be!) involving Potty Points or Potty Dollars. Each time B peed in the potty he got 1 potty point (hubby printed out some home made potty dollars to give him). Every time he pooped, in the potty, it was worth 2 dollars. An accident cost the same amount. The reward, trade in potty points for time playing play-doh or moon sand. Each dollar is worth 5 minutes!

I'd say it made an instant impression. The day we started it, he went potty a bunch of times, and got a bunch of points. Late in the afternoon, he traded in points for 20 minnutes of moon sand time. He was ECSTATIC!!! However, at that point he had no potty points left (he'd spent thme all) and he'd gotten what he wanted (moon sand) so after dinner, he peed in his pants! Darn kid....

So we modified the rules, and said that he had to always keep a reserve of $2, so he could still pay for an accident. After a few more successful days, we also doubled the fines ($2 for peeing in pants, and $4 for pooping). For the next 10 days or so, he'd rack up his money, trade it in for play-doh time, and have an occasional accident. We thought we were making progress....

And then suddenly, last Friday started a string of 6 dry days in a ROW!!! AND, as if that wasn't enough, 6 dry NIGHTS too!!! Holy cow!! We apparently have finally gotten through to this kid! After waking up dry a few times, we started giving him $2 if he could stay dry at night too. Friday & Saturday have seen 1 accident each, but the difference... B has been NOTICEABELY upset about the accidents and really sad to give up his potty points!!! Woo Hoo!!! And, a double bonus, he's willing to go potty and goes when he needs to on his own, vs. being told!!!

The icing on the cake for B and me, Trev still isn't dry at night. (He'll kill me when he's older and sees I wrote that on the internet!). So now that Blake is regularly staying dry, T is a little upset, and trying his hardest to stay dry then too!!

So....either we found the right strategy, or it just took 5 months, but either way, we might be totally potty trained soon!

No Dairy for Izzy

The rash in the early stages....

And today....
(If you click on the photos, it will open a bigger copy.)

It's amazing to me HOW big an impact taking dairy out of my diet has made. A HUGE impact. Aside from the visual evidence, my daughter's personality has totally changed. She's a much easier, happier baby now. No senseless, endless crying and no out of control gas. It makes me feel terrible that I was causing her all that pain! It also makes me wonder if "colic" is actually babies who have allergies of some type??? Hmm...

She has a well-baby check scheduled at the Dr in a few weeks, June 17th I think, so we'll update the Dr then on what we've been through and learned. I'm curious if there are any tests to confirm this 'diagnosis' as I've heard differing opinions from other parents/friends/medical personnel.

I'm not sure it's really worth putting her through any major testing (and the associated pain) since it's pretty obvious to me that she's better now. Hubby suggests waiting til the rash is fully clear (and gone for a week or so) and then having me eat some milk and cheese to see what effect it has. But I'm not too keen on dealing with a crabby baby or making her skin itch we'll see if we try that approach!

Friday, May 22, 2009

F-R-E-E that spells free...

I think this has been two of the busiest weeks I can remember (which isn't saying much!) and it's not over yet. At some level I have no idea why it seems so busy, since looking at the calendar doesn't show much different from normal. The boys have been in school same as usual, and we've had some appointments here and there, but somehow I feel like there has been NO downtime, and therefore no blogging time! Maybe that's the effect of a third child!!

Two Saturday's ago, Trevor started t-ball. This year he's on the Red team, and is one of the oldest since the league is for 3 & 4 year olds (and he'll be 5 soon!). He's much more excited about it this year, knows what to do, and is having a good time (other than when he finds out we won't let him wear his Crocs during a game!). He's a good hitter, tries to catch the ball, knows how to run the bases, and has a great arm. He definitely can throw, but now we just need to teach him how to throw TO someone...vs throwing it as far as he possibly can (which doesn't make him popular with the coaches). So he's played 2 "games" already, and we've got 3 more to go! Blake chose not to play this year, although he could have, so he and I (and Izzy) hang out and watch the games. Not sure if he'll play next year, it doesn't seem to hold any excitement or interest for him. We'll see!

This past Friday we went to Lambs Farm with a friend. It's a great local place with a farmyard full of animals, a train ride, a carousel, mini-golf etc. And it's cheap!!! The 3 kids (my two and their friend) had a great time enjoying everything and definitely making it worth paying for the day pass which allows unlimited turns on everything!! Trevor and A played mini-golf, but Blake said he didn't want to. He, however, followed them around the course, while I sat and fed Izzy. About 3 holes in, A's mom gave Blake her ball so he could play too. And my stubborn, bull-headed child, played his own version of mini-golf...

He walked to the far end of each hole (i.e. close to the hole) and threw the ball at the hole. If it didn't go in (which it NEVER did), he went around to where it landed, and rolled it towards the hole, repeating this process until it went it. Then he'd move on to the next hole and repeat the whole process. The entire time, he wanted NOTHING to do with a golf club!! Meanwhile, T & A continued to play 'proper' (at least in their minds) mini-golf and just worked around him if he was in the way! It was too funny!!!

On the Izzy front, there have been interesting developments. A few days before my last post, as Izzy neared 4 weeks old, hubby and I realized she was still a little bit jaundiced. We wondered if it was a big deal since she was almost 4 weeks old, so we called the Dr's office. They basically weren't worried for a number of reasons: 1) it wasn't past her shoulders, 2) she's EBF (exclusively breast fed) and it sometimes takes up to 2 months to go away in EBF babies, and 3) since she was wetting/messing the standard number of diapers she's getting adequate nutrition so not to worry.

In the days after we talked to the Dr, the jaundice seemed to clear quite a bit. To be replaced by a rash all over her face and neck. No rash below the neck...interesting. Hubby also commented that she seemed to be very gassy, much more so than we remembered and it seemed to cause her quite a bit of pain. So off to the laptop I went, and spent lots of time researching various things. In the end I came to the conclusion that it was very likely that Izzy is sensitive to the dairy in my diet. And let me say here, that I LOVE dairy. In a single day I'll easily drink 2 large glasses of milk, eat at least 1 yogurt, and have about 3+ servings of cheese. And in the week prior to the rash, I had all that plus and ice cream sundae nearly every night!!

So as of last Sunday (8 days ago), I have had NO dairy. And suddenly Izzy seems to be much happier, and her rash is clearing up considerably. The rash got to the point that she was so dry and flaky that I thought touching her ear would cause it to break into a million tiny pieces... it was just SO dry. She had these red welts that started out looking like baby acne, but then became more like open sores. Lots of Aquaphor later, she's looking (and feeling, I think) much better. I'll try and find some photos to post of her a week ago, and her today but to hubby and I there is no denying how much better she looks. Add to that, the lack of gas (or at least considerably reduced amount!), and her improved personality (much less crying endlessly for "no reason"), and we think we've got it figured out. So now I just have to figure out how to get my calcium and protein without dairy, and wonder how long this diet adjustment needs to last!

But for all those who read this and wonder, why not just switch her to formula to avoid all these problems....the benefits of breast milk still outweigh that in my opinion, so it's worth the change in my diet. Of course, there's the financial side of things, i.e the fact that breast milk is FREE! And I've read there are many cases where formula doesn't solve the problem as many of them have milk proteins in them which is basically the same thing!!! So, no I'm not planning to stop nursing, thanks for asking!

On the note of free, you know your child (Trevor in this case) watches too much television, when they learn how to spell from a commercial, and can recite it word for word!!! This is T's favorite...

Actually, aside from this word and commercial, he is doing TONS of spelling lately. Lots of three letter words (pop, car, cat, bus) and just enjoying spelling a lot. He'll use one of his alphabet toys to help him figure out what sounds a letter makes, and suddenly come up to me and spell something! Of course, this also means that when Hubby and I try to talk about giving the boys a "B-A-T-H" or putting them in the "T-U-B" he knows EXACTLY what we are saying! He's not really into reading at this point, but spelling is now way high on his list, second only to math!! It's exciting to see how excited he is about learning!!

We've also had a few appointments at the elementary school for Trevor. In February they held a Kindergarten screening. Not surprising to me, the results came back that Trevor was pretty smart (i.e. ready for kindergarten in their words!), but that he had some speech issues. So we've been doing follow-up meetings about this. One meeting involved me giving the school my consent to test him (sure go ahead) which took about 30 minutes! Then I had to go back and give them a complete family history so they knew what they were dealing with. Needless to say, the history was pretty boring (no medical issues, no divorces, etc) and nothing that explains why he says "foon" instead of "spoon", he just does!! And last week, he had to go and spend an hour with the speech therapist for her to do "further evaluations". Next week, I get to go back for a final followup to see what type of "intervention" they recommend for him.

Tomorrow Mam-gu comes to stay for 4 days! We're heading to the airport after school tomorrow to pick her up!

And this week is the boys last week of school! I finally told them that Miss Carol is closing the school and for a moment Blake thought that meant he would not have to go to school next year! Ooopsies! So now I'm hoping to get them to make good bye cards for all their teachers, and I have to find time to get teacher gifts before Thursday!! Aaaugh!

I may have found a feasible preschool for Blake for next year, and we found out Trevor will be in AM Kindergarten in the fall... so some issues are resolving themselves, while new ones appear regularly! Ah, life with 3 kids....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Iz you is or is you ain't my baby?

Seriously, she's a month old already!?!??! Where has the time gone!

We've learned alot about Miss Iz in the last month...
  • She's a decent sleeper - she'll go for one 5 hour stretch at night, and then it's back to every 3 hours she wants to eat.
  • She likes to eat and eat and eat, from about 6 pm until 10 pm so that she can sleep for that 5 hour strech without waking up! So my evenings are spent on the couch, trying to blog/surf with only 1 hand!!
  • If she falls asleep while you're holding her, good luck putting her down - she'll wake right up! Good luck getting her to fall asleep if you're not holding her! So, that means I do a lot of holding of a sleeping baby!!
  • Trevor adores his baby sister, and tries to hold and hug and kiss her CONSTANTLY. So, if she's sleeping in her bouncy seat, he'll go up to her and love her, and promptly wake her! Which then results in me holding her to get her back to sleep!!!
  • Blake is really starting to love her, and might be loving on her like Trevor does soon. At the moment, he likes to watch her while someone is holding her so he doesn't usually wake her up!! Yay!
  • Daddy's singing is one of the few things that will calm her down!! However, it makes the rest of us crazy, so we're never all happy at the same time!!
  • Like the boys, she's a social child. She's usually sleeping or content any time we're out in public (such as the coffee shop), even if she should be starving (and therefore cranky/crying). But at home, sometimes she's cranky even if she's just eaten!!!
  • She can't stand being in a soaking or dirty diaper for more than about 5 minutes (once it's REALLY dirty), and she'll let you know it and keeps letting you know until you fix it. Therefore, once again, we are using 'sposies overnight (I know, I NEED to try making some fleece liners for the diapers so she can't feel the wetness so much!). While this is somewhat annoying right now, I'm trying to keep perspective that it WILL (positive thinking) make potty training MUCH easier!
  • At a month old, she's still comfortably fitting into "Newborn" size clothes. In fact the pants, would fall right off her if she wasn't wearing a big ol' cloth diaper! No idea when she'll "pack on the pounds" and start fitting into her 0-3 month clothes. The irony here to me, is that she was the same birth weight as Trevor (well, 1 ounce more in fact!), and by 2 months old he weighed 11 pounds and was wearing his 3-6 month clothes. And yet, he has ALWAYS been in the bottom 5% for weight. I really don't see her gaining 3 pounds (and a few ounces) in the next month.... so where will she be on the charts?? Looking at the CDC growth chart, she should be 11 pounds at 3 months (and just over 8 pounds today) to stay on her current curve, so we'll see!!
  • As we discussed names for Miss Isabelle, something in hubby's strange little mind kicked in, and he started singing this song. And now, he sings it ALL the time to Miss Iz!!
  • Finding that song on YouTube, led the kids to come see why my laptop was singing, and then they saw the link to this related song, which they now DEMAND to have my play every time I open the laptop!
So, I think that covers the one-month status update on Miss Isabelle. Now I'll just double-check this document and hand it in to my 'supervisor', so he can see what I've been doing for the last month!!! (Ooops, I wrote "status update" in the previous sentence and it made me think of my "real" office job from years ago, and how many monthly status updates I had to type and submit! Sorry)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When it rains....

Given the weather in the last few weeks, with a title like that I could actually be talking about the weather. After all, the storms that blew through here last night were pretty loud and rough!

But I'm not talking about the weather... Usually, life around here is pretty quiet, predictable, and generally uneventful (or as much as it can be with 3 young kids!). And I'm quite content with the quiet life we lead. Last week, the drama started to unfold, with the announcement of the closing of Blake's preschool for next fall. That was more than enough drama for me, as now I have a new task of finding a preschool that I like and that fits in with the rest of our life.

But yesterday, more drama... I have a new boss. Or more specifically, my boss is no longer with the company. The reasons, while not really important here, are totally bogus. Why is a new boss drama? To be honest, I've been debating returning to my job for a while. In fact, for most of my pregnancy, I debated if I would return to my job. Don't get me wrong, I really like my job, and LOVE my boss. I work for Market Day, and love that profits from the food I sell, go back to the school to help education. I also love the products, and find it easy to sell something I love. And, I work from home, doing a lot of the work when it fits in to my schedule, and that lets me be a mom during the day, and do my work after the kids go to sleep.

So why debate returning to work? Lots of reasons, like how young Izzy is (I didn't work until Trevor was 5 months, and Blake was 9 months), and how hectic life with 3 kids is going to be, and how irregular my work schedule is (some days I'm gone for 2 hours, others for 6...that's hard to plan around for a nursing newborn!). I've been watching want-ads for ages now, to find another job that would work for me... which is a tough bill. After all, with the flexibility of my current job (i.e. doing lots of work after the kids are in bed, and not paying a sitter) it's hard to beat my current "hourly" pay rate. Add to that the awesome-ness of my boss, who will do pretty much anything for me or any of the others who work for her, and it's a little hard to find a "better" job. But now the boss is gone.... my motivation to go back after maternity leave is GONE! I have no motivation to work now....

Oh yeah, money. I guess that should factor into the return to work equation. Especially since, if I go back in June, then in late June, July & August, I get to claim "under-employment". Claimed through the unemployment department, but for a "lack of work" (since most of my work is in schools, lots of it disappears for the summer). So I get paid from unemployment the difference between what I usually make during the school year, minus whatever actual earnings I've made during the summer. It's a VERY sweet deal....getting paid when you're not working! So, I was planning to go back the first week of June. Now I'm seriously re-thinking that.

Then today, the third "drama" event unfolded. Hubby's car (formerly my car) that is 9 years old, has been leaking some kind of fluid for a while. When he drove home earlier this week, he told me something smelled like it was burning.... great! So we took it to get looked at today, and it needs some major transmission work that will cost at least $1500... maybe more, depending on what they find out. The car is only worth $2-3 thousand anyway, how much do I really want to spend on it? And it will be there for at least 3 days! Joy, happy, fun. We just bought a new car...we really can't afford 2 new cars at once (and I really don't like buying used cars!).

So that's the drama as of late. It seems bad news always comes in three's. So I hope we're done for a while around here. I guess some of the drama has be "solved". I really should keep my job, at least through the summer and until I find a new one, so that I can earn some money towards fixing the old car or buying a new one!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Izzy in Pictures

Some wonderful random photos of my darling daughter from the last week or so, demonstrating her wide range of facial features..

"Nothin' in here, Mom"

"I'm sweet and innocent!""Ha ha, Blake, I got your Elmo!"
"Just me and my brother...what little hams we are!"

"What you talkin' bout, Willis?"
"Yup, I'm cute and I know it"

"Hmmm, I'm not sure about that one... I'll have to get back to you"

Oh yeah, snoozin' at the park.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Who Moved My Preschool?

The end of this month, marks the end of Trevor's time in preschool. In August, he'll start Kindergarten at the local elementary school. While this transition is one I'm not really ready for (seriously, my 'baby' is ready for the school bus and kindergarten!!!), it is one that I have known is coming. We've been planning for it and talking about it, because Trevor is a planner... he needs to know about change WELL in advance.

In January, Blake started attending the same preschool. Since he turned 3 at the end of December, I felt it would be good for him to start school while he and Trevor could be there together. For 6 months they would both be there, and a large part of me thought that would help Blake transition into going to school. After all, for 1.5 years he's walked into that building 2 or 3 times a week to drop T off, and he knows the teachers and place. So, for the last 5 months they've both been going to school there... and they've both been loving it and thriving and having a grand time.

Because it's a Montessori school, they spend part of the school day together in the same classroom, and part of it in separate classrooms. Part of the Montessori philosophy is putting mixed-age children together so they can learn from each other, and this is one of the things I really enjoy about Montessori schools. I also love that the activities they do while at school are referred to as 'work' - to give them the value and importance that our daily jobs are given (rather than 'play' which isn't always given the meaningful status it should have for a child); and I love that the materials they work with are quality materials, and not a duplicate of all the plastic crappy toys we have at home (not that you can't learn with plastic toys, but it's nice to have something different).

Well, now we've got a new transition to prepare for. Blake will not be back at the Montessori preschool, because she's closing the school. I found this out this morning when dropping Trevor off at school. To say I'm upset is only the tip of the iceberg. There are all of 4 teachers at this school, and I've come to know each of them pretty well and really like and trust them (the latter of which can be hard for me, as a former teacher!).

So, now I must begin the quest for a new preschool. Ugh... it was hard enough the first time around, and I think this time will be harder. First of all, there are few preschools in our area, and the majority of those I know of, are parochial schools. Not our thing around this house...sorry! When I searched 2 years ago for a school, I was interested in trying to find a Montessori school, but I also looked at other schools. Given the last 2 years , I REALLY want to find another Montessori as I think it has done phenomenal things for T (and B could really REALLY benefit from it...possibly more than T has). But there are only 2 or 3 others that are close enough that I can consider, and given that it's May (and registration started in March for most schools) will I find one with any openings? And, oh yeah, it has to fit in with the rest of the family's schedule which next year involves Trevor riding the bus to 1/2 day kindergarten, but I don't know (and don't find out until August) if he's in AM or PM kindergarten to know what his bus schedule is! So how do I plan around that?!?!?

And so my choice of schools for Blake may come down to, what is close enough, has openings, and doesn't conflict with Trevor's bus schedule for Kindergarten. I guess choosing based on staff longevity, teaching philosophy, and my comfort with the school/staff will have to come 2nd to all that "important stuff"!! Oh, and at some point I have to tell Blake that he won't be going back to see Miss Carol in the fall... I wonder how he'll deal with this transition? He's not exactly a predictable child, so I won't try to guess!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Baby Houdini

Thursday, Izzy had her 2 week check-up with the pediatrician. I'm glad to know that she's almost back to her birth weight... she is now 6 pounds 13 ounces. Everything else checks out just fine. She's still got some jaundice, nothing major, that a little sunshine can't fix. If only we could get some sunshine round these parts (we got her in the sun today!).

Her measurements put her in the 75th percentile for length, and 25th percentile for weight.

Grandma has come by to visit quite a bit, and usually finds Izzy sleeping. But at least once, Izzy has shown her that, at least for the moment, Mommy trumps Grandma! But based on how things are with Grandma and the boys these days, that might not last too long!!!

In the 2 weeks we've been home, we've learned a bit about little Miss Iz. She's like her mama, she's always cold...and doesn't like it! So, once we figured that out, and added an extra blanket to her "burrito wrap" at night, she sleeps much better!! She'll go 4-5 hours when she first goes down without waking up. She's also started "cluster feeding" in the evenings, so I'm hoping that will help her sleep longer at night without waking up.

Izzy is getting a few nicknames here and there. Miss Eyeballs (anytime she has her eyes open!), Miss Marvelous (thanks to an adorable onesie), Miss Iz, and some others. One particular nickname deserves some explaining -"Houdini" as she is now known, can escape from the best of "burrito" wraps! She loves to have those arms free and waving around! Blake gets VERY upset at you if you call her anything besides Izzy or Isabelle. Trevor thinks all these nicknames are hilarious and calls her various things all the time. However, he doen't want her called Izzy at the moment. Why? Becuase right after she was born a new kid started at school, and his (yes, his) nickname is Izzy, short for Isiah. Oh the confusion!

Finally, she lost the remnants of the umbilical cord at about 10 days old, so the other night she got her first bath! Of course, both boys needed front-row seats to this event, and were very ready to help..... if only Mommy would let them! Izzy didn't mind her bath too much... she didn't like the moments of being naked before we got her in the warm water. Once she was in the water, she was okay with the whole process and we sudsed her up good and rinsed her off. We got her wrapped up in her new cute towel (thanks Erin & Sabrina!) and she seemed happy to be dry... at least until she peed everywhere! Then she was mad that she was wet again!!!

And in the last few days, we've even gotten some play time in.

And yes, Trevor is still in LOVE with his little sister. Blake is coming around, he likes her more and more, watches her more, but doesn't want to hold her yet!