Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Signs

When Raina was in the 8 - 12 months stage, she chose some interesting ways to communicate. When she was lonely, she'd lift her arms. When she was hungry, she'd crawl over to the high chair and rock it back and forth. And when she was done eating, she'd throw the remainder of food onto the floor. Plus, she cried.

At a certain point, we tried baby sign language, expecting it would take multiple weeks for her to learn the basic concepts we wanted: "more" and "all done." She had those mastered in two days, and the entire family was happier as a result.

Lola is now 6 months and, while it's a little earlier than we began with Raina, we decided to start teaching her the word "more."

I tickle her, ask if she wants more, and give the hand sign. Eric chomps on her belly, she squeals with glee, he asks if she wants more, and gives the hand sign. In this situation, when Lola sees the hand sign, she immediately smiles, stretches out her arms, and arches her back, thereby offering up her belly for further abuse.

Unfortunately she does the exact same thing when we ask her if she wants more cereal, or more bananas, or more milk. And she looks very disappointed that a spoon of bananas is coming her way, instead of a big round of giggles. Clearly, Lola has learned the "more" hand sign, but she thinks it means "tickles."

We're going to have to do a better job in the future.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Baby Vampire

Lola has four teeth (two each on top and bottom) and she spends all her available time chomping on things. Mommy's shoulders. Samantha's legs. Bowls and plates. All her toys. And, of course, on herself. Lola frequently has little bite marks covering her hands and fingers, which is cute and probably painful. Today I looked down and her hands were bleeding! She obviously had bitten down too hard and cut through the skin.

What was Lola's response? She just stuck the hand back in her mouth and kept chewing and sucking.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Long-Lost Daughter

I admit it, I did not want kid #2. Eric and I disagreed for a long time about having another child and, while it was my personal choice to bear the child or not, it had to be our communal choice to have one. Eventually, I said yes -- all the while worrying what would happen to my body, my sanity, and my relationship with Raina. I love my daughter dearly and I couldn't imagine loving another kid as much. (I know, everyone says that and people say "It'll work out fine!" but I had no confidence.)

It didn't take long for our relationship to change, though. I was pregnant and, therefore, sick, sleepy, uncomfortable, grumpy, and not fun. No longer could Raina sit in my lap, and I couldn't sit on the floor to play with her. Little cuddling, little reading together, little playing -- it should be no surprise that I quickly lost the "favorite parent" status and Eric claimed it.

I sincerely hoped that the situation would be better after Lola was born, but it actually got worse. Because she nursed, Lola continuously was tethered to me. Raina and I tried to do things together while Lola nursed, but it was erratic at best. And with making dinner and diapers and running the house and my back injury, I barely had time for anything or anyone, including my older kid. Mostly, Raina waited for Eric to come home each night so someone would pay attention to her.

And then Eric went away for a week, Raina started MICDS, and school began for me. I expected life to be chaotic (and it has been) but something absolutely joyous happened as a result: I regained a relationship with my daughter. Just spending the extra 30 minutes in the car each day is 30 more minutes than we had before. She and I hang out before school, and I visit her during the school day for a quick hug. We talk with each other, we tease one another, we enjoy one another. For the first time in months, I feel like I am a decent parent to her again, and it is wonderful.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rough night

The Whomptons hosted a bunch of people last night, which meant we spent the majority of Saturday furiously cleaning the house and cooking, cooking, cooking. We had a fun time and the girls were great: Lola happily watched all the people and Raina joined in the Bunco gaming. Both kids went to bed later than normal, but went to sleep easily -- even with all the ruckus upstairs and downstairs. It seemed too easy ....

And it was. Lola woke up at 9 p.m. And 10. And 12. And 2. And 4. And 4:45. None of these were "happy and jabbering to myself" waking up occurrences; all were "crying out suddenly like something is seriously wrong" instances. Finally we gave in and Eric took Lola to the couch, where they spent the remainder of the morning sleeping together.

Why, oh why, was she up so often? This morning we found the answer: her top two teeth broke through her gums. Poor kid. She seemed much happier this morning; I hope most of the pain is over for her.

Lola goes to school

Lola started daycare on Monday and it was a rocky beginning. Lola cries when 1) she's hungry and 2) she has a wet diaper. We tried to make that clear to the daycare workers, but they didn't fully believe us. They changed her diaper once every three hours (instead of the ~45 minute interval we use at home) and seemed unfazed that she cried hysterically when the bottle was empty (which meant she was still hungry). Raina reported to us that Lola cried a lot on Monday and we believe her. Every subsequent day was an improvement, though, and Lola seemed very content when we picked her up on Friday. She was sitting up by herself, enjoying music time, and grabbing another baby's hair. Fun!

A pediatric nurse owns and operates Lola's daycare and she runs it like a school. Each age group has its own curriculum and Lola's age group (4-6 months) is working on trunk strength. So Lola did lots of tummy time, which I'm sure she enjoyed, and lots of sitting up, which was new for her.

The owner and I were talking and she demonstrated how the teachers actively help the babies develop the trunk strength. She put Lola in a sitting position and waited for Lola to get stable. Then she pushed her gently so that Lola rocked around, thereby using her core muscles to stay upright. When Lola became stable again, she was pushed from another direction. I watched this happen for about three minutes before Lola descended into a big crying mess and then they moved onto something else.

It took just one week of this and now Lola happily sits and plays for 15-20 minutes at a time, and she can reach forward to grab other toys and return to her upright position. Glorious!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Daddy's a smart one!

Raina, Lola, and I were driving home from daycare and Lola started her happy squeals. I told Raina that Lola was excited to go home and see Daddy.

Raina: Daddy's a smart one!
KSW: Oh, really? Why do you think so?
Raina: He had TWO daughters!

I laughed a lot. I agree, he was smart to have these two daughters.