I haven't had much time to sit down and pound out a real blog post. I've had intentions of doing so, but what can I say. It's the holidays, there's been sickness, there are two kids who need me all the time, etc. But anyway, I thought it was time for an update of sorts.
Simon: Simon is six weeks old today, weighing in at 12 lbs 14 oz and 22.5 inches long. He's up over four pounds from his birth weight and is proving himself to be a quick gainer like Charlie was. He's a big boy, in the 90th percentile for weight, 75th for height, and 85th for head circumference. Simon has been socially smiling since last week but has been smiling unintentionally (that's my guess, anyway) since birth. He is also starting to track objects with his eyes, and he randomly makes little cooing noises. He's been lifting his head like crazy (another thing he's been doing since birth) and in general is just a really wonderful baby. Unlike Charlie, he doesn't have a witching hour where he cries constantly during certain times of the day. Instead, he screams quite a bit in the car (not always, but more often than not). I jokingly asked Roy last night if a screaming baby could cause PTSD, so frazzled was I after a 20-minute car ride in which he screamed the whole time. Despite the screaming fits, he really is a pretty mellow kiddo, and I'm fairly certain he will grow out of the screaming in the car.
As far as sleeping goes, he's okay at it. He sleeps either swaddled in his car seat (which is odd, considering how much he screams in it while the car) or in bed with us, usually unswaddled. We've tried other things, but this is what works for now, and I'm fine with it. He gets at least one good nap in a day, but like Charlie, he takes a lot of little cat naps here and there. If I'm lucky, I can get him and Charlie to nap at the same time each day, but my own napping abilities have gone down the toilet since he was born. He does pretty well at night, waking up either two or three times. Obviously two is better, but I can handle three, too.
Simon is a champ at nursing. This is something I feel exceedingly grateful for. Formula feeding was not an option this time around. For one, I simply didn't want to do it, and for another, it's so much cheaper to breastfeed. Even though our nursing relationship was interrupted when he was a week old, he went right back to the breast a week later - no latch, supply, or nipple confusion issues at all. I was (am) so freaking happy about that. It simplifies things so much to just be able to whip out my boob and put him on it. No need to make bottles, carry around formula and other feeding supplies in my already stuffed diaper bag, or anything like that. I love it. My plan is to breastfeed for at least a year, and at that point, I'll evaluate and see how we both feel about continuing on into Simon's second year.
Handling a newborn the second time around is so much easier. I'm so much more relaxed and have been able to just sit and enjoy my baby instead of worrying all the time. Every single day is a challenge, for the simple fact that there are two little people to attend to, but I'm doing it and I feel good about how things are going.
Charlie: Charlie is still his adorable and lovable old self. Gaining a little brother hasn't changed that. He's got a great vocabulary and just recently started speaking in understandable two-word sentences. (He was probably doing the two-word sentences before, but let's face it, I don't speak toddler.) He's almost 30 pounds now and is busting out of the diapers that he's been wearing for over a year. (He and his brother are both big boys and will likely stay that way.) At his 18-month well check, the doctor said he looks great but mentioned that one of his feet turns in a bit when he walks. It's nothing I'm really concerned about, but the doctor will check it again when Charlie turns two.
Today I caught Charlie trying to climb out of his crib, so it looks like new sleeping arrangements will be coming in the near future. And speaking of other new things, Charlie has begun acting out a bit in response to Simon now being the baby and probably also because he's approaching the age of two. Lots of tantrums and even some hitting and biting. I still don't really know what my discipline style is, and I haven't developed a consistent way of dealing with tantrums. (Do I ignore him? Tell him to stop? Hold him because it's obvious that he's feeling really upset? Put him in time out?) I'm not a spanker, that's for sure. I have lost it a couple of times and yelled at him, but that doesn't ever feel right to me. I have resorted to saying "No" a lot and explaining that hitting and biting are not okay. Perhaps I should start cracking the "how to deal with your challenging toddler" books.
Despite this maddening (but normal) toddler behavior, Charlie is just so much fun these days. Everything he does (except for the aforementioned maddening toddler behavior) is just so damn cute. He adores his little brother, and I can't wait to watch their relationship grow.
Christmas: Christmas was .... exhausting. We had three Christmases over the course of one day, which is kind of ridiculous. It was a good day but not the shiny sparkly magicfest I loved as a child. But it hasn't been that in years. I think I expected this year to be different because of the kid factor, but no.
We weren't really going to do gifts under the tree this year. Instead we were going to fix up our back patio as a play area for the boys and make Charlie a play kitchen. Both of those things had not happened and Christmas was rapidly approaching. So on Christmas Eve, I jumped out of bed and went shopping. I was bound and determined for us (especially Charlie) to have things to open on Christmas morning. In the end, I'm glad I did that, because it was really fun to sit around and open presents. Charlie didn't really get the concept, and Simon decided to projectile vomit while we were opening presents, but it was still a good time. (The play kitchen has been delayed until Charlie's second birthday, and the play area outside is in progress.)
In the end, if you add up gifts from us plus grandmas plus other family members and friends, the boys got a lot of loot, and now we are trying to figure out what to do with it all. I know for sure we are going to start doing a rotation thing, where we switch out toys to keep things interesting, as well as donating some. My general rule for acquiring new things is when something new comes in, something old goes out. It's easy for me and Roy to do that for our own stuff, not so easy when it comes to the boys. Damn, I hate that Christmas is such a commercial holiday.
Goal for next year: more handmade gifts, less gifts bought from big corporations like Target. I love Target but almost everything there is made in frickin' China. Better yet, I'd like to figure out an alternative to the traditional Christmas gifts. We just don't have the space for all this stuff!
My mom's visit: My mom flew in on the 19th and flew out today, and it was a good visit save for the stomach virus she caught while here. She had full disclosure that the boys were sick before coming, but I still don't think either of us really expected her to get sick. Well, it happened, and I feel terrible about it. We kept her quarantined in the living room for a couple of days, and everything worked out fine, but still, ugh. Speaking of that stomach virus, I still haven't caught it! And I hope to continue to avoid it.
Anyway, my mom spoiled us while she was here, treating us to dinners and groceries. She bought Roy a new battery for his laptop and a new coat, paid for an expensive pair of shoes and haircut/lowlights for me, and treated the boys to the ultimate Christmas gift: a playhouse for their play area outside. Awesome. It was so nice having her here; I loved seeing her interact with the boys. It sucks that she is so far away and that the kiddos get such limited time with her. Perhaps someday we will all be closer together.
Me: Well, I'm doing pretty good. I mean, I'm tired, but overall I'm in good spirits. I lost all the pregnancy weight very quickly and put on my pre-pregnancy jeans once my incision felt healed enough. I'm still not cleared for exercise or anything, and I'm not supposed to be lifting Charlie, but I have no idea how I can possibly avoid picking up my own kid.
The skin on my stomach is still pretty loose, and I have a few more stretch marks, but nothing major. I guess in general, my whole body could use some toning up, but I have made it a goal of mine to stop criticizing my physical appearance so much. After all, this body has grown two perfect little boys and is the sole provider of nourishment for one of those little boys right now. This body handled two labors and two major surgeries and is still kickin'. This body deserves my respect, so I'm going to try my best to stop talking shit about it.
Now that I'm not pregnant, I find myself wondering what the next step is. I didn't realize how much of a holding pattern I was in until I was home after Simon was born and found myself wondering, "What's next for me?" There have been so many changes over such a short period of time, and in many ways I'm ready to just sit back and enjoy and not make any big decisions. But let's face it, there are big decisions to be made. I still have goals and dreams and things that I want to do. While my family is my world, I am still an individual, and I still have this desire to make all my dreams come true. I've got a post brewing about all this, naturally.
In the meantime, though, both boys are sleeping (at the same time OMG), and therefore it's time for me to go take a shower.