Friday, February 22, 2013

Is poop my every other word?

We are on, um, I think the 8th time or so of Elliot pooping in his pants, without even one voluntary effort to resume his daytime routines of being completely potty trained. It is going on 2 weeks now. I'll admit-I've been less than compassionate and patient at times, and have read a lot and called the pediatrician for reassurance. It takes all my efforts to do as advised-let him poop in his pants as much as he wants with no reaction from us, only mild encouragement. His words are exactly, "I'm doing everything I can to hold my poop," and "I want to only poop in my pants because it feels good." And yet he will apologize. I went back to pull ups at one point but was advised against that too. This is all just shitty.


Meanwhile, Leah us starting to look like she's months old, not 6 weeks! She's growing very fast.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Leah at 5 Weeks Old and Looking Back


 This is Leah at 5 weeks old. 

Grandma and Grandpa Papczun visited a few weeks ago when Leah was about 3 weeks old.  Lots of snuggling with Grandma and reading with Grandpa!

 Early on, we thought one way to get Elliot on board was to include him as much as possible.  He got to feed her one day and was very into it!  He beamed with pride.

 Leah at 1 week old.
 Aunt Maryann came right away- the first weekend we were home.  She brought food and plenty of things to entertain Elliot. 

 Comparing sizes.
The photo from the trip home from the hospital.

Grinning and Regressing?

Photos are first, therapy session spew below!
These are the 1-day-old photos from the hospital shoot.  We didn't have these with Elliot, and since we have less of Leah than him, they're nice to have.

The night we spent alone in the hospital when Pat went home to be with Elliot- this is how she let me take a shower.

When Elliot met his sister for the first time.
Hanging out at home one day, at the two week mark or something, I think.

Leah is 5 weeks old today.  She blessed me with the first noticeable, seemingly genuine grin today as well.  She cooed and ahhed and was in a great mood.  I found myself kissing all over her little cheeks a lot today.  I feel like a mother bear, nuzzling a lot, taking in her scent, rubbing my nose around her face. 
We've decided, though, that she's become a monster at night.  For the first few weeks, the jury was out.  We'd have good stints and some rough nights, but overall, I was optimistic.  Then, it seemed, the routine has eased into her getting pretty darn fussy by about 10pm, and staying that way despite all our efforts until 12a or 1am.  At that point, after a full day for both of us, and Pat facing an early morning with teaching the next day, we are exhausted.  I found myself last night laying her in the bed and walking away from her screaming, reporting back to Pat, "She's wearing me down."  Alas, the life of a newborn, yes? 

Her preference is to sleep in what my aunt has dubbed the "lima bean stage position"- legs all tucked up, nuzzled up to your neck, a little ball of warmth.  This is wonderful except when it becomes the second leg of the night- not such good sleep for me on the couch with her like this from 4a-7a.  But not horrible either.  Many nights she ends up in our bed, which isn't our first choice or how we planned to do it (Elliot did well in the bassinet at the end of our bed), but it seems the minute you lay her down in her own space without another warm body near, she gives you about 5-10 minutes until she bubbles over again and we audibly, collectively, sigh.

I did my research to remind myself of the famous 5 Ss that are supposed to trigger the babies to calm instantly.  I did about 4 of them at once last night when the fussing started hard at 10p, and she did zone out.  Then, she konked out asleep- magical, wow, we thought.  Nope, she was back up in a flash.  Around 11pm, I strapped her on me in the Moby wrap and paced the hallways- she fell asleep good enough for 3 hours or so and I was able to transfer to our bed for a bit.

Of course, she sleeps well during the day. On her own.

Everyone asks me how Elliot is adjusting.  I felt like we were doing well and would say so.  He's been relatively kind to Leah and interested.  He's given himself the name of "Elliot Flower."  He loves repeating her name and told me today that we should call her Rose, not just Leah. I'll never forget the moment when he looked at me in awe and said softly, with self-realization, "I love her."

Any aggression towards her is what we expected, as his world has been turned upside down. Nothing major on this front- an arm pull here, taking her blanket there.  He loves to steal her hat off her head, mostly because I tell him not to.  The first day or two we were home, he rubbed his face against her head, and then we realized he had just started pushing harder and harder with his head until we noticed... We laugh now but we were nervous then!

He often nuzzles up to her and says, "She's so cuddly!  What's cuddly mean?"

However, we've had a very rough rut lately with his tantrums. For about a week and a half, it was meltdown after meltdown, with all our tricks not working. We questioned if we were doing anything right. Mealtimes were the worst and we seemed to go into battlemode in spite of our parenting philosophies, automatically. Mealtimes have always been a super challenge for us and for Elliot, and it ebbs and flows.  Sometimes we make progress and sometimes we regress.  We seemed to be regressing. 

This rut was fueled by a variety of things, we figured.  Elliot is outgrowing his full-3-hour naps and only gets them every couple days now.  (There's no medium, it's three hours or none.)  We've had visitors almost non-stop because of the new baby, so he has a new audience to test out every week or so.  Bedtimes have been inconsistent because of visitors and the new routine.  He no longer has the peer group that he had with the babysitter from last fall.  Of course, we have to blame our parenting too- we're tightening up with the discipline, but that in itself is an adjustment on top of everything else.  We had tried very hard to be positive but he needs the law laid down now. Or is it our harshness lately that spurs more harsh reactions from him? The answer depends on who you ask...

And, the last piece of the puzzle is that we attempted to wean him off of the Miralax that he's been on since his rectal prolapse last summer. He's been doing pretty well with the vegetables and the grain fiber is plenty.  Well, a few days off the Miralax and he had one or two hard stools that were painful.  (I just cannot believe how many times I talk about poop.)  We immediately went back on the laxative.  But the damage was done.  He was traumatized.  Now, he refuses to go, shaking with fear that it will hurt.  He holds it and holds it, even though the last 4 or 5 have been soft and easy, but he is unconvinced.  He will say out loud, "I am doing everything I can to hold my poop in." He'll prance, moan, whine, sit on the toilet multiple times for too short of lengths, and panic when any progress is made and bail.  Expectedly, we've had two days of dirty pants and lots of drama.

In all his discomfort, tiredness, and hunger at times (and I am sure this is a direct response to Leah's arrival), Elliot's started becoming much more mommy-clingy as well.  Just add it to the list.

Any one of these regressions- mealtime battles, sleeping patterns, using the toilet- is understandable with a new member of the family arriving or simply the constant visitors.  But altogether with the adjustments we're all making and I don't know that I should be saying that he's adjusting well!

We tell Elliot here and there when we explain things that we always love him, even when he's making bad choices or being mean, and he seems fascinated by this fact.  He now asks for the reassurance- "Do you still love me?"  Then he reciprocates with "I still love you, Mom, even when I'm bad."    

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Highlights from the end of 2012...

Since I dropped the ball on updating this blog on a regular basis, here is a synopsis of the last half of our 2012.  Hopefully Leah will force me to jump back on here often and keep things more updated from now on (this is where I grabbed all my information and photos for Elliot's 1 year album... so I need to do the same for the little girl!  I'm not recording it elsewhere.)

July- we had a wedding reception in Ohio for a family friend.  Tried for a quick family photo since we were all dressed up.  Elliot had a blast running around, dancing. 

 August- Took an almost 3-week trip to LA, Portland, Seattle. The above is how we *jokingly* dealt with our antsy toddler on the flights.
Fabulous time, but everything is in slow motion with kids.  Lots of hiking and visiting friends.  Some times were hard with no-nap-days, meltdowns, lack of routine, etc.  It was great to be able to stay with friends and family, though.
 My mom overlapped with us for part of the Portland leg, and visited Seattle with us. We did a fly-by of Mt. St. Helen and it was awesome.  So neat to read about the eruption and to see the crater.  Elliot still talks about this volcano 6 months later...

 We met up with Gina and Sophia (old Chicago friends who moved to Seattle 3 years ago, and were moving to Germany within a couple of weeks of our visit).  We spent about a day and a half together.
 Elliot became enthralled with the street performers, which are very abundant in the NE.  We would have to pull him away.  He was mesmerized.
 We took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island to walk around for the afternoon.
 Sophia is 4 and Elliot and her hit it off right away, sharing things from the backpack as we took breaks in parks.
 Another street performer captures Elliot's attention.  This is the first Starbucks.  Line was enormous to get a coffee.
 This was the moment the kids met- they took hands right away and bonded.  So cute.

 And more performers to watch...
 Back in Portland- more street musicians at the farmers market.
 We got tons of hiking in but Portland also has great plazas with fountains to run around in.
 At the science museum.  The lady was showing Elliot how Play Dough is a conductor.
 Just one of many hikes.  Mind you, I was 4+ months pregnant.  So between Elliot and me, we really slowed Pat down!  We did accomplish 3 hikes that were 5+ miles each.  Not bad.  Pat took one day to do a major hike on his own and got two big mountain biking treks in with Brad.  We had some major tantrums/meltdowns along the way, but the best days were when we were all out in nature.  He loves being outdoors.

 We had asked Brad to locate a car seat and a bike for us- Elliot loves riding his bike and we thought 2 weeks in Portland would require some bike riding.  Brad found one, but it was too big.  We found the same bike Elliot has in Chicago at a Walmart for $40 and jumped on it.  It was pink, but we were helping keep Portland weird, by some people's standards (but really not by Portland standards).  Anyway, this is Elliot riding his bike through the fountain pool in the middle of the city.
 Uncle Brad got out multiple remote control helicopters.  Elliot was in awe.
 One day we went to the coast-- it was an 80-degree heat wave in Portland.  The coast ended up being 50+ degrees and rainy- and we did not pack any jackets for any of us!  Not smart.  We attempted a hike since we had driven out there- Elliot was wrapped in his blanket and we just dealt in our shorts and t-shirts.  Made it 1.5 miles and called it quits.

 Uncle Brad treated Elliot to a massive play day at the top of Mt. Hood- in the summer, there's an entire adventure park up there!  We rode the ski lifts together and then took these sled-like carts down a 1 mile chute.  Elliot loved it- no chance for a photo, though.  Then, inside one of the structures was a giant play gym for kids- it was heaven for Elliot.  I couldn't get him to leave to eat- it became almost 3pm and we had to drag him out.

 Yes, go-carts for 3 year olds!  He did ok, running off the track quite a few times though.  It was hilarious to watch.  There were also mini canoes and swings for kids, then bungee jumping, mountain biking (which Brad and Pat did), tubing down chutes... fun stuff!
 Swim break during a hike.

 There were so many great waterfalls.  I can't track which hike was which at this point.
 Ah, the beloved magical bunny (strapped in here to Elliot's seatbelt) was lost along the way.  We still talk about what adventures he may be having...
 LA was the start of the trip.  This is Elliot joining in on the "TUUUNNNNNEEEEELLLLLLLL!!!!" that everyone yelled every time we went through a mountain.  We stayed with Alejandro, Anita, and their two boys, Tom and Sam (4 & 5, I think, at the time). 
 Elliot and Pat trying to look presidential.  This was the Reagan Library- we got to go inside the plane.  Pretty neat to see.
 And this is inside Alejandro's plane!! He has a small plane and let the kids sit in the cockpit.  Elliot's face captures his joy.  There were also rides on the golf cart.  (That's Tom behind Elliot.)

 Joining in the super hero cape wearing.
 We had one day at the beach.  It was rough- 3rd day with no nap, all outta whack, and a battle over no lunch.  I ended up sitting the car for most of the beach time with Elliot.  It was not pretty, but eventually we got to play in the sand.
 One afternoon was spent at a farm with activities for the kids.  They had a blast and that's exactly what an afternoon like that is about- pure fun for the kids.  We did manage one night out for the adults- Anita and Alejandro were so sweet to organize their sitter for all the kids while we went to dinner.
 The carts took rides all the way around the field- quite significant, felt kinda strange to let them go on their own like that, but we managed to wander away for a coffee.

 And the pony rides were a hit.

 September- Rally during CPS strike- both Pat and I were on strike.  Elliot went to the picket line every single day with us, in his red attire, riding his red bike with his red helmet- he fit right in.  He was always ready to scream with a fist in the air on demand and got lots of attention.  (Strike lasted 7 school days.)

October- the Miners visited from OH.  Elliot wanted so badly to do whatever the older boys (Nicholas, 10, Will, 6) were doing. 

 October- Pumpkin carving time!  A big one this year- and Elliot's attention span required 2 nights to get it carved.  
Elliot was convinced that his toy saw worked great on pumpkins.

Many afternoons out and about on the scooter.  Thought he looked especially older in this one.
This stool has become his pretend house.  I get yelled at for sitting on his roof.
Random fall sunset at the lake.
 Leah in her Halloween attire! ;)

Trick or Treating on Harper Street with Lucas.
December- Playing with stickers at the Advent Festival at church.
 Jam session with Lucas.  I love the intensity here.