Thursday, October 30, 2014

His Ship and Sailing the Seven Seas

Patrick, our champion sleeper, has begun to resist naps and bedtime. He knows that Sadie is still up and being in his crib wasn't all that much fun.  Then a gift for his birthday arrived from our family and Paul rented a truck to pick it up from the store (because none of us realized how huge it was going to be so I'd told them just to ship it to the closest location and then got a call from Paul saying "the box is like six feet long and won't fit in our mini van...") and it arrived last night.  Of course I immediately began snapping pictures because apparently I can't stop instagraming photos these days:



Paul opened the box outside since it wouldn't fit through our front door and then began the process of carrying everything up to Patch's room and assembling it.  It took a while, during which time Patch watched Paul from his crib while shouting down the hall into our bedroom "James!  Wake up!" because apparently his brother needed to join in on the fun.

Finally I took all the kids back downstairs before the finished project really started coming together, which meant at bedtime Patch, who had been muttering about "ships" downstairs, got to come up and do his bedtime routine before going into his room and seeing this:


The sheets are actually part of the present Paul and I got him for his birthday, when I found out he would be getting this bed... so he got two of his presents a little over a week early.

And did he love it?

I think the answer was a resounding yes.  Here's a little video I took of him after bringing him up for bedtime:

video

And a few more pictures because... I just can't keep the cuteness to myself!




And bedtime was made easy after he got into his bed.  He turned off the light and closed the door.  I went downstairs and waited for Paul and Sadie to get back from karate... and then I heard a blood curdling scream.  I rushed upstairs, threw open the door, worried about what kind of trouble he might have gotten into outside of a crib, and found... that he had managed to unscrew the giant plastic screw keeping the wheel in place and was hysterical over it.  I managed to get it back on and tighten it and a disaster was averted.    He went happily back to sailing the seven seas.

About half an hour later I peeked in and found him laying on the yellow plastic part of the bed below the wheel, smiling sleepily and another hour later I found him sound asleep with his head down on the mattress below the wheel, and covered him up with quilts so that he would get cold during his adventures.

I have to say, even as a grown up, my bed seems much less neat right now!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Hardest Number...

The second most asked question that I found myself answering when I was pregnant this last time around was "does it get easier when you have more than one?" 

The most common question, which I still hear almost 100% of the time whenever I run into the store with James while Paul and the kids wait in the car, is "So, this is your first?" which is usually followed by a shocked look when I say "Oh no, he's our fourth!"  But that's not the subject of this post, so I'll focus back on the second most common question.  

It was posed to me in the back of a plane by a flight attendant and comes up in various forms while I'm waiting for Sadie at her various activities.  It comes up when people ask her about how she likes having a younger sibling and she launches into the entire history of our family and how old each person is and usually ends quite proudly by talking about how she is the biggest sister and the "babies" are four, almost-two and 'zero'.  

Of course (as always) I can only answer from my personal experience.  I've heard a lot of people say that three is the hardest number.  A few have told me that four is.  

My personal experience however, was that one was the hardest adjustment  for me to make, and was by far the hardest number to juggle.  Each time we welcome a new baby, and once in a while in between, Paul will look at me with a slightly haunted expression and say "do you remember that first week?  I think we slept like five hours altogether..." and I'll nod and remember how jealous I was when he went back to work that first month because he had overnight shifts where he was "only" carrying for a house full of court-ordered teenage boys and they at least slept a little more than our newborn.

Nothing has compared to those first... eighteen months.  She was our refluxy, colicky, ear-infection prone baby that once nursed for seven consecutive hours (shrieking when I tried to stop her), and who woke to eat every hour for the first eighteen months of her life.  In hindsight, and after watching Patch before we figured out his dairy allergy I would say that she likely already had her wheat allergy and that that was a big part of the problem.  

At the time though, I thought that she was just how babies were.  I'd never changed a diaper before she was born and for all the books I had read I had no practical knowledge of babies.  

Three babies later I can now say "not all babies are like that."  Mae was our easy baby.  I had to fight her to wake up to eat the first night after she was born, and quite a few nights after that.  Newborns can't sleep through the night, I tried to tell her, but she didn't listen.  Maybe it was her low registration of all things sensory already coming through even then (I did call the pediatrician in and tell him something was wrong, she slept too much, while he looked at me like I was insane), but she was the easiest of babies.  

When I was pregnant with Patch I worried quite a bit over "what kind of a baby he would be."  I'd grown to like my sleep.  Would he take after his biggest sister and stay up all night, screaming if he was put down for a moment?  

Instead he followed in Mae's footsteps. He became more fussy at two months, but this time I followed my instincts and insisted on tests until we discovered his allergy and he quickly went back to being the happy, relaxed baby he'd been when we came home from the hospital.  

Enter James.  He isn't our easiest baby.  He might be a little more fussy than Patch even.  I'm already beginning to suspect allergies and possibly reflux (although I imagine there's a good chance that will go away if an allergy is found and eliminated).  But he's still a hundred times easier than Sadie was at this point.  I'm not sure if that's because we're used to having babies and all that entails (I think that's a little piece of it) or if he's just easier in general, but either way, there it is.  I slept eight hours last night, which was more than I was sleeping before he was born, so I really can't complain.

Of course, I guess the question has less to do with individual babies and more to do with how it all fits together now that we have four.  Maybe the biggest part of it seeming easier is that all three kids get along and have built in playmates.  At least that's how it has worked out so far.  And you can already see them eyeing the latest as potential playmate #4 (Patch comes to the door of the kitchen and calls for "Buddy" to come and play... he'll be disappointed for a bit longer I'm afraid...).

When Sadie was tiny her go to playmate were the grown ups in the house and let's face it, it can be hard to keep up with the amount of energy most two year olds are blessed with.  These days their first choice of playmate is each other.  And they actually enjoy playing together.

Two days ago as I was putting James down in his bassinet I saw all three of them racing back and forth through the living room together at a full sprint.  Sometimes they dance or hold hands and spin. There's usually a lot of action and laughter and their volume can be a bit too loud, but it's also sort of wonderful.
 
Their main expectation for me these days, other than food and other basics, is no longer rough and tumble play, but snuggles.  While I'm nursing James it's not unusual for me to have two or three kids cuddled as close as they can be (and almost always at least one).  I'm just not as much fun as their brother and sisters, but I am a nice soft lap to snuggle up against.  They've got it figured out.  

And Sadie has become quite the little helper.  When the other three fall asleep she helps pick up toys and then cuddles with me on the couch where she has a treat and we watch a movie she's picked out.  Sometimes James is with us in his wrap and sometimes he's passed out in his bassinet.

I guess my answer to the question for our family is that it has gotten easier.  The hardest part, I found, were those first months where the shift in focus went from inward to outward (and from sleep to none at all).  When Sadie was tiny I couldn't have imagined four of her, even though we were hoping for a large family.  I wondered how moms with more than one did it... not realizing that my one was in many ways more work than the four I have now are, even with special needs thrown in.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Two Weeks (and what color is his hair?!?!)

It's hard to believe that it's already been two weeks since James arrived.  The last fourteen days have flown by in a blur of cuddles and diaper changes.  Nani and Grumpa have returned home to California (their time here after the c-section definitely made the recovery much, much easier than last time) and I've started figuring out how to do things like put the kids to bed on nights when Paul works, with minimal lifting since I'm not supposed to lift anything more than 12 lbs until six weeks have passed.  It's pretty much an impossible request around here, but I try to follow it when I can.

Patch loves his little brother, who he's started calling "Buddy" and each morning he gives him about a half dozen kisses before climbing up on my lap next to the little guy to relax.

Maggie is fascinated with his tiny little fingers and toes and loves touching his tiny chubby cheeks while giggling.

And Sadie is the one who can almost always make him stop crying.  If he's crying in the car you'll hear her little voice start to sing a lullaby and suddenly the crying will stop as James listens to his sister's voice singing a made up song about loving him.  She relishes being the biggest and the one who is able to hold him on the couch when some toddler related disaster inevitably comes up throughout the day and I need two free hands to come to rescue whoever it is that has gotten themselves into trouble.

In other James news, we still can't decide what color hair he has.  Sometimes it almost looks light brown.  Other times it looks like a bright golden color.  And the pediatrician said "A red headed baby!" when she walked in the room, so sometimes his hair definitely looks red.  It almost always looks red in pictures, even without any editing or filters to adjust the lighting (which I almost always have to do since the lights in our house tend to be on the dim side).





Now to get a jump on our first day starting back on school again.  It's going to be interesting seeing how this goes... I think James is going to be spending a lot of time in the Moby wrap.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hospital Photo Shoot Pictures are Here!

James' pictures arrived from the little hospital photo shoot and of course I have to share them with you this morning, while I rush to get the kid that really, really needs an OT eval ready for her OT eval.  Hope you enjoy his grumpy little expressions as much as I do!









Tuesday, October 21, 2014

James Ignatius' Baptism

Today, at eight days old, James Ignatius was baptized.  I always feel so relieved once a baby has been baptized and today was no exception.  Actually to be honest I get more anxious to have each baby we've added to our family baptized as soon as possible... which means that while I was still in the hospital I was asking Paul to call our priest's secretary and make an appointment.  

We were also blessed to have amazing Godparents for this little guy.  Some of you may know Jacqueline from Journey Narrative (one of my favorite blogs!).  We first met Jacqueline and her husband Matt when we lived in Florida and while the hectic schedule of law school has meant that we haven't seen as much of them as we've wanted to since both of our families moved to the same area.  

They were the first people we thought of when we began talking about Godparents.  And it made my entire week when they accepted the responsibility of being James' Godparents (she's even more of a rock star because she had surgery this past week, got out of the hospital yesterday and was still here tonight with her beautiful family!)!

James was not the easiest going baby during his baptism.  In fact, he cried through almost the entire thing.  He paused twice in his wails, once when the water was poured over his head and then again when the chrism oil was applied to his head. Then he went back to letting everyone know that he had a healthy set of lungs and that he wanted to exercise them.


Patch was Patch.  Have I mentioned that he has a serious case of the "no, no, nos..." these days?  He does.  Which meant when the priest went through the baptismal vows he enthusiastically shouted his favorite word to every, single question.  As in "Do you promise to reject Satan..."

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!"

Mae. on the other hand, was so over the moon to actually be inside the main part of the church that she giggled through most of the baptism.  It definitely wasn't the quietest event ever held within those four walls.  Thankfully our priest is really great and started off by saying that they don't expect baptisms to be quiet!

And James' most definitely was not.

Now to share some of my favorite pictures from his big day!






Now to cuddle with my no-longer-pagan Snuggle Bunny!

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That (and a Baptismal Gown that Fits!)

Even with all the extra hands helping around here I'm still not quite getting the hang of taking it easy.  Although there has been lots of time to cuddle with this guy:


Yesterday started with a speech eval for Sadie which went well.  They found her use of language and comprehension was good, she just needs some practice with saying certain letter combinations and they want her to have a hearing testing (which I've wanted for a while but just haven't gotten around to scheduling with all the other appointments), which will be up next on my to do list for doctors-to-be-called this month.  

And she thought it was terrifically fun.


In the afternoon the whole family stopped by Daddy's work for pizza and then headed to the park where the sky was threatening to rain for the first fifteen minutes and then finally opened up and poured shortly after.  It still gave Patch time to drive the cars around and find all the little cars and trek all over the playground pulling them to one spot so they'd all be together.


James didn't even realize that we were out and about.


And as you may have guessed, Mae picked her own outfit.  Sofia and Dora for a winning combination.


After Sadie's ballet class it was home where I was finally brave enough to try on James' baptismal gown for his big day.  It was perfect.  Especially with the super soft hat that his biggest sister made for him:


Tonight is his baptism.  I can hardly wait!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

James' First Weekend...

Tomorrow I'm going to spend the day reminding myself to take things slow... to rest... to heal.

I'm not very good at doing those things... even after major abdominal surgery.  

There are just so many things that I want to be doing.  And there are so many fun activities this time of year that are so much easier to do with my parents visiting and so we've been spending a lot of time out of the house enjoying a beautiful Michigan autumn... my goal for tomorrow is not to go out looking for fun activities, even if I really, really want to in the morning when I have the whole days worth of energy still saved up and ready to spend.  

Still, this weekend was full of memories and I came away with quite a few pictures that I couldn't wait to share.  

So here is James' first weekend of life in pictures!

Patch is smitten with his baby brother.  He loves to lay next to him and pretend to be a kitten and meow at him.

James thinks it's all pretty silly.
James had his first doctors' appointment on Friday afternoon. He'd gained two ounces since the night before.

On Friday night Sadie had an AHG meeting.

It was pretty wonderful because it was the first meeting for a brand new troop started at a local Catholic Church.

We were both pretty thrilled when we heard about it!  And she had an awesome time!

On Saturday James and I accompanied Mae to her swim lesson class and got to see our little mermaid in action.

She had a great time!

After that we headed over to the draft horse show at State.  Mae spent the rest of the weekend perfecting her horse sounds.

James slept through everything.

Sadie was definitely a fan of the horses.

On Sunday we took the kids to Boo at the Zoo for a hayride and fun seeing the animals and all the other kids walking around in costume.

Our pumpkin was joined by a Ninja Turtle, a mermaid and a butterfly.

We got in a typical family picture (or six).

And Grumpa wrangled a fussy Patch who changed his mind about whether he'd rather be up or down every ten seconds.

The butterfly costume was definitely a hit.

Then finally it was home to rest...

Before Mass.  Around bed time Paul and I took James to his very first Mass.

As you can see he was very excited!

As with just about every activity this weekend he slept through the whole thing without making a peep!
And that was James' very first weekend in pictures!  A week ago tonight we were gearing up to go to the hospital!  Oh how the last seven days have flown by!