8.20.2014

My Take on Going from Two to Three Kids (part one)

Well, I'm not quite six weeks into the whole having three kids thing (an old pro! Ha!) but I've been meaning to update a bit on the transition from 2-3. I was totally obsessed with reading blogs of moms who had three kids when I was pregnant and constantly looked for posts like these. That was probably me trying to look into a crystal ball to see how it would all play out for our family. Would adding another kid mean pure and utter chaos at all times? Would moving from man-to-man defense to a zone defense turn out to be really difficult? I posted a prediction about how stressful three kids would be, after the survey from Today.com circulated.

So far? The transition has gone really well.

Like I said in that 'prediction' post a few months ago, I feel like anytime you add a member to your family your personal experience will largely depend on the personality of the baby. If the newborn is colicky, won't sleep, won't eat, or is generally just high needs then the transition is going to be really freaking challenging. Porter is turning out to be quite laid back, is a good sleeper, a great eater, and has been incredibly kind to us. SO FAR (how many times can I use that phrase in this post?). So his content demeanor has made the transition an awesome one for us at this point.

But aside from the incredible gift of a happy/healthy baby, there are a few things I would highly recommend for anyone preparing for another baby. First lifesaver for us? Accepting allllllll of the help offered by friends and family. Especially this third time around, there is no shame in my game of making this a 'village' of helpers instead of trying to be supermom by doing it all alone. My mom and dad came to visit for four days when Porter was born, and having them here plus my awesome in-laws meant that childcare during my hospital stay was not a source of worry for us. My mom came back for another seventeen day visit when Porter was two weeks old. I know, I know.....totally freaking amazing, right? Having her here to entertain Truman and Cecelia while I tended to Porter, to help with the basic housework, to pull meals together, to watch Porter while I took T and C places in the van....it was all priceless. Memaw came for a few days during my mom's stay and another set of eager helping hands is just another reason why the early transition has gone well. We are beyond fortunate to have family that is willing to help, I know!

In the same vein, we are still sending Truman and Cecelia to Lori's during my maternity leave, but just two days per week instead of the usual three days. Having the days at home with JUST baby Porter is really important to me. Those hours spent with my third baby as my sole focus are seriously so special and cherished, because mister P is usually not the center of attention when his two siblings are running around the house. And it's really a win-win because Truman and Cecelia need that routine of Lori's house, they love seeing their friends and having a life outside of me and Porter...even if it's just for a few hours, two days per week. So if you can make daycare or a sitter happen for the siblings in the early weeks of a newborn baby, do it!

Plus, we are lucky enough to have a lot of amazing friends who have brought us yummy freezer meals when they've visited Porter. Normally I would decline having help for our dinners but it's been really appreciated and unexpected, since I feel like doing this for the third time means I *should* be an old pro and not need as much assistance. Sure, I can still throw together a half-hearted meal on my days with three kids along but freezer meals from friends are a total bonus. I have been trying to bring meals to my own friends who have a new baby so maybe this is just a nice case of karma coming back to me now that it's my turn;)

Besides accepting all of the available help offered to you after baby comes, I would also say that having realistic expectations helps tremendously. I had no idea what to expect when I was pregnant but I tried to keep my standards pretty low. If everyone is fed, relatively happy, and feeling loved then it's a win. Housework, to-do lists, showers, and remembering to brush my own teeth are all just extras at this point;) It really does help to have perspective on how quickly the newborn phase will speed past us, since we have done this twice before. So Porter has a rough evening and won't stop crying? Well, I'll do my best to take it all in stride because it won't last forever. I'm feeling stressed out by the three loads of dirty laundry exploding from our chute? I'll just have to do my best at tackling them one at a time when Porter allows me to set him down for two minutes. Soak it in because these kids will be starting school in no time (cue the water works over Truman starting Junior Kindergarten in less than two weeks!!).

Now, remember how I said the transition will depend on the personality of the baby? Well, the personality of the bigger kids is also a HUGE factor....maybe even more important than the newborn in our case. Here is where I say that it's not all puppies and rainbows over here ;)

Hands down, the hardest part of having three kids in this house is my two year old firecracker. Miss Cecelia's personality was highly underestimated when I anticipated her becoming a big sister. She's always been independent, seems mature beyond her two years, and didn't want help with ANYTHING prior to Porter's arrival. I figured she would remain in her own little CC world, oblivious to Porter's need for me, but holy cow. I was wrong!

Cecelia is incredibly sweet with Porter, never showing any aggression or attitude towards the baby. She is obsessed with helping me change every single diaper, she loves to turn on and off my breast pump, she (and Truman!) ask to hold Porter a few times per day, and they randomly smother him with kisses regularly. They obviously love Porter SO MUCH and want to be involved in his care so I have even more helpers in this village (ha!). But Cecelia has had a bit of a rough transition and it's all focused on me right now. It's really hard to see my girl so upset with mommy, crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason, refusing to use her words to communicate with us. Her emotions are heightened to the point that if I tell her, 'No, you cannot have chocolate for breakfast today but maybe after dinner for a dessert,' she will lose.her.stuff. Sobbing, falling to the floor, and she will demand 'carry me, mommy,' more often than not. It's really fun to nurse Porter while attempting to diffuse a two year old crisis with my nonexistent third hand. She needs to be held and carried and needs 100% of my attention much of the time. Exhausting, for sure, and obviously impossible to keep her happy while also keeping the boys alive at the same time.

Maybe this has nothing to do with CC becoming a big sister and everything to do with her being two years old. And an emotional little girl;) Because Truman was 27 months old when Cecelia came around, and she is 25.5 months older than Porter---same spacing, but holy man. Truman NEVER had meltdowns like this when he transitioned to big brother! At least, not to this degree. I will say that CC seems to be mellowing out a little bit with the Mommy-Mommy-Mommy-Carry-Me-Mommy! stuff. We are doing our best to keep her included and give her praises, show her how much we love her, and I've been trying to spend some time with JUST my girl whenever possible. It's just a phase, it's just a phase, say it with me now....it's just a phase.

I don't mention much about Truman's transition to being the oldest of three because if anyone is a pro with this stuff, it's our big boy. He has his whiney moments but truly seems unfazed by the adjustment to three kids. Mostly he just loves Porter, loves and puts up with Cecelia's antics, and is my big helper especially in the van. I'm really glad we have his car seat in between the other two kids because Truman can reach Porter's pacifier and will replace it for me to help with what little soothing P will tolerate in the car seat.

Another thing I wanted to mention in the 'really freaking HARD' section of this post? Parenting three kids alone in the evening hours. I would gladly have them all day long every single day instead of managing them in the hours from 4:30-7:30pm. It's just a rough time of day for everyone and all four of us seem to hit the wall, needing Nate to hurry home and help us pull it together. Making dinner (even freezer meals!) while wearing a crabby baby, trying to hold a raging two year old, and tending to a very particular four year old is no walk in the park. Dinnertime in general is just a madhouse on the evenings when Nate isn't home until later. Some nights are better than others, of course, but this is when I feel totally owned by mothering three little ones. Thank goodness for baby carriers, wine, and the promise of a new day in the morning.

Anyway, things have gone really well at this six week mark of having three children. Once Truman starts school things may change. Once I return to work things will certainly change. As all three kids get a little bit older, things will change again. So I will try to update on this topic a few more times if possible because I'm not naive enough to say, 'Everything is AWESOME!' and leave it at that;) Things are mostly awesome but there are some challenges, too. And yet (total cliche alert!), I would not change it for anything and I'm thoroughly enjoying these kiddos of mine. All of them. Three is a lot of kids but three is an awesome number, too;) 

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Love teaching my crew the art of a group selfie. Truman's annoyance? Cecelia's new smile? Porter's face in the last one? ALL OF THESE CHILDREN are hilarious and I still can't believe they are ours.

8.18.2014

Moms Make it Work: Julia | Part-Time Working, Canadian Mom

Today on the Moms Make it Work series we have another Julia (yay!) who is a blog reader that emailed offering her story. Julia is in Canada, works part-time as a Pediatrician, is married to a full-time OB-GYN, and has one adorable daughter named Sophie. When Julia emailed me she mentioned that she'd like to shed a bit of light on working part-time, and how it's seen as the 'holy grail' for a lot of moms when it comes to balance. Favorite quote of Julia's: 'Working part-time does sometimes feel like I get the ‘best of both worlds’, but there is also a significant risk of feeling like I am not living up to expectations on both fronts because I am spreading myself too thin.' This sounds a lot like how I feel---doing a lot of things, but none of them WELL. Jack of all trades, master of none...or something like that. Anyway, I 100% agree, and hate to complain about my own part-time job, since it really is a fantastic balance for me and my family. But it's not PERFECT as no situation claims to be, and that is the entire point of this series. The grass isn't always greener, but we all 'make it work' and there are still so many positives in all of our situations. I'm sure you will enjoy Julia's post as much as I did!

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Hi! I’m Julia - I’m a mum, part-time pediatrician, and live with my husband Graeme and 2-year-old daughter Sophie in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have been following Julia’s blog after stumbling onto it just before my daughter was born, right around the time when Cecelia made her appearance. Like many of you, I have really enjoyed following her posts (and am constantly envious of her family’s renovation skills) but have especially loved this series. When she asked for more volunteers to share their stories I was keen for the opportunity if I could fill a need. There is a little part of me that has always wished I could keep up a blog, especially as much of my family lives quite far away, but through writing this post I definitely have reaffirmed that I could not do this on a regular basis – it took me waaay longer than I thought (and I am much too wordy when I write)!! I truly admire you blogging moms who figure out how to document things in such a coherent way. On that note, I hope you are all able to get a little enjoyment out of my “I’m trying to be a blogger” guest post… at the very least you can just skim the pictures of my cute kid.
 


My background story: career/schooling and how we got here…

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I'll spare you the lengthy story of my long schooling 'career' (I'll save the rambling for a little later in the post...) but suffice to say that while living it, it did not always seem like I was on the step-by-step path to being a doctor, but looking back that's sort of how it went. I moved up to Edmonton (a city 3 hours north of where I grew up) for my undergrad, which I came out of 4 years later with a Bachelor degree in Physiology. Then I ended up staying here for 4 years of medical school, during which I met my husband Graeme (we got married during my 4th year) and as he was already in a residency program here, this is where I completed my 4-year residency in Pediatrics. Lucky for me the Peds program at our university is very very good, and we have a fantastic children's hospital where I spent most of my time, so it was not at all a compromise to stay here. Graeme was 2 years ahead of me in med school, but his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology was 5 years long, so we ended up finishing just one year apart (this luckily also meant we were studying for our big exams in different years - I can't imagine doing that at the same time!) 

Graeme and I got married in 2008, and soon after I finished med school. We lived the hard-working life of a resident couple for 3 years, through his exam year during which I was also Chief resident, and then through my exam year, which was his first year in practice. Throughout this we knew we wanted to start a family, and after a rough and disappointing early loss of a first pregnancy in 2010, it took us another year to get pregnant with our Sophie. In the end, everyone thought we timed things perfectly (ha! Right…): I studied for my licensing exams during my pregnancy, flew to Ottawa (exams for all specialists across Canada have a component that has to be done in Ottawa, for us a 4-5 hour flight away) at 33 weeks pregnant, and then was able to start my maternity leave 2 weeks before the end of residency. I had 4 weeks off to prep before Sophie made her appearance in July 2012. Seriously, I have lost track how many times I thank my lucky stars looking back that I was able to finish residency before she was born. 2014-06-15_0001

Now, I'm sure you have all heard about our amazing maternity leave in Canada: 12 months of maternity/parental leave (meaning job security and employment insurance (EI) paid out to you during this time), and many jobs (including my residency training position) include a 12-14 week top-up pay to between 80-90% of your salary. Yes, we are a lucky bunch, and I am blown away by how you are all expected back to work so early. But regardless of the policies in Canada, the reality is that doctors who have babies rarely take longer than 3-4 months of maternity leave before returning to work, and often less. One benefit of taking maternity leave while still in residency was that I was eligible for my year of EI pay - once you become a practicing physician we are technically 'self-employed' and no longer pay into EI, which means that for any future maternity leaves I will not be eligible for the year of (at least some) pay. Plus, once one becomes a practicing physician you have usually built up a practice of patients for whom you need to find a locum doctor while you are on leave, a reason many colleagues give as to why they return to work when they do. But the other side that I heard so often when asked "how much time are you taking off?" (I was always adamant I was taking a year) was the response "don't you worry you'll forget it all/get rusty/lose all the things you just studied so hard for?" Ummm, yes, thank you for pointing out the obvious to an emotional, stressed-out preggo/new mom... But luckily I also had some trusted colleagues who told me that yes, I would feel rusty coming back, but many people do (and the knowledge will always be there to brush up on) - it's the skills that will stick with me. So I welcomed my year 'off' with open arms, and dove right in to new motherhood.
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Despite being adamant that I wanted to take a full year off of work (and being very thankful that financially that was a possibility for our family), I knew that I would have to return to work at least somewhat. I had times when I wanted to stay-at-home full time, but I knew deep down that I could not let my skills and knowledge that I had spent so much time, money, and energy learning over the last 12 years slip away. I also felt that I owe it to the public to use those skills – my spot in medical school or residency could easily have been used for someone else who would work to serve the public good, I needed to be able to feel like I was doing my part too. This is balanced by the realization that these young childhood years (or should I say “mamahood years”) are short (even though some days seem unending) and being a mother was truly what I always wanted to be. This role defines me more than any other, and working full-time (which for a physician is easily 50-60+ hours/week) right now is something I know I would regret later. Luckily with my husband working full-time, I have the freedom to find a work situation that ticks both those boxes: I work two days per week, and the rest of the time I spend my days with Sophie. We have a part-time nanny who we (and Sophie) adore, and for the last (almost) year we have had a nice little groove going on. My husband does work a lot – generally full days during the week with at least one or two nights a week working late or on call – meaning at the hospital overnight (and truly, completely useless the next couple days at home as a ‘good night’ on call means maybe 1-2 hours sleep, and he often works the next day), and about one weekend a month on call. But we are learning more and more what we need to do in our ‘time off’ to feel balanced, and he is learning to say no to certain things in his job. We are very thankful that what he does enables us to have the life we live.
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In no way do I feel like I am “doing it all”, and there are often times I feel like I am dropping balls ALL over the place (work/life/friends/relationship/home…), but here are some snippets of how we’ve been making it work…


The best parts and the most challenging parts:

The best parts are definitely the weeks where things balance out and I feel like I truly get the best of both worlds – my time at home with Sophie, going to swimming lessons and music class with her, going for the occasional playdate with other mums, and feeling so on top of things when our meal plan works out and most meals get prepped during naptime. Another definite ‘best part’ is having our nanny, who truly makes me a better mother. She comes 2 ½ days per week – the two full days I work and she is here for 10 hours, but the extra day (usually Mondays, which makes Mondays SO much better!) she comes for a few hours, vacuums the house (while I take Sophie to music class) and then watches Sophie while I go run errands. She also cleans kitchens/bathrooms while Sophie naps, so I always come home to a clean kitchen and a pretty tidy house on those days, which is absolutely golden. I often want to hug her when I come home. 2014-06-15_0004



Yes, working part-time is often revered as the ‘holy grail’ of motherhood – just enough time to be away from home, feel like an adult, and just enough time to do the daily routines and fun outings with the kidlet(s). And I am so.very.thankful that I get the opportunity to have my hands a little in both. But there are definitely downsides that aren’t always so apparent to others. I want to explain a little here – please don’t take this as me whining about a wonderful situation, the reason I want to write these down is that in many of these guest posts there are mothers in both the full-time work/full-time at home situations that use the ‘part-time’ as their ideal, and I hope that by speaking a little about the down sides, some of you may be able to find more joy or contentment in your current ‘full-time’ situations. 


While I am incredibly lucky to have found very understanding and supportive colleagues, when I started working I realized it was the first time in my life that I have not been able to give my all to something. Throughout my schooling, and especially in my 12 years of post-secondary training (crazy how long it was looking back) I was very good at pushing myself to ‘do my best’ in what I was trying to accomplish. Sure you do some things on the side (everyone needs distractions/hobbies) but when it came down to it I could apply myself fully to one aspect of myself, which was usually my training/career. Right after my exams were written, I was on maternity leave for a year – and I took full advantage of feeling 100% like a mum. I lived and breathed Sophie, and while some friends and family reminded me that I needed to ‘keep doing things for me’, for the most part I felt like this was for me – I had wanted to be raising a babe for so long, and other than a couple dinners out with friends, I was very happy applying myself fully to Sophie (and of course decorating the nursery, shopping for baby clothes… etc ) Did I succeed in ‘doing’ all the things I wanted to during that year? Of course not (I still have not finished, or started, her “First year photo book”…). 

When I started work it was truly the first time I had to juggle two different worlds – or two different versions of ‘me’. I enjoy what I do when I’m in clinic, the care I can provide to children and their families, and even as the ‘rusty’ feeling I had when I started does fade, I know I COULD be much more knowledgeable in many areas that would help my work. There are so many things I should read or brush up on, but only spending 2 days at work (Tuesday/Fridays, so not consecutive), I feel like my time needs to be very booked up with seeing patients (and the paperwork that comes with that). Even though I have 3 full weekdays “at home” – when I’m home I want to spend my time with Sophie, and during the times that I would have to read (naptime and after bed), those get filled up with things that are needed for my “stay-at-home” hat… making dinner, tidying the house, laundry, and home things that I try to make time for like organizing and “home-making” (I always have a list of projects going, not always so successful at finishing them all… but there’s always something on the go). 2014-06-15_0005

And that brings me to my other biggest challenge – while I have a wonderful husband who is an amazing father to our little girl, when it comes to the work/SAH stuff… he just doesn’t get it. Yes, we are a team and he contributes SO much to day-to-day raising our toddler (he is great with her, often does bathtime and now a combo of bedtime whenever he is home, and picked up a lot more cooking duties when she was an infant), he does not fully understand or value having me stay at home with Sophie rather than work. He supports my decisions, both morally and financially, but he does not understand the aspects of why I stay home rather than earning a very good income if I worked those extra days. That being said, we have a strong relationship and very much value each of us finding our ideal work/life balance, but I think because of the above I feel the need to ‘produce’ certain tangible things from my days at home (such as meals and “keeping the home”) which sometimes I succeed at, and other times I fail miserably. And I say it here for all of you out there who feel a bit of the “he just doesn’t get it” pressure – making a home, and keeping a home, is time-consuming. Even if our husbands (or wives) don’t understand the ins and outs… we’re still doing a good job. And we still love them, despite that. 


Working part-time does sometimes feel like I get the ‘best of both worlds’, but there is also a significant risk of feeling like I am not living up to expectations on both fronts because I am spreading myself too thin. Part of that balance exists in everyone’s life (especially parents), regardless of the full- or part-time roles we have, and I learn so much from hearing others stories here about similar juggling situations on how you make it work. 2014-06-15_0006



How we do meals/groceries:

I do feel like we have a pretty good groove going on in the last 6 months with this. Because we have our nanny come for a few extra hours on Mondays to help with some housework and then watch Sophie, I use this time to go sit in a coffee shop (and enjoy a latte and finish it all in one sitting!!) and meal plan for the week. I plan meals for each weekday – I try to keep meals for work days (and only get home right at 6pm) very easy or something that our nanny can prep and I can whip up in a few minutes – meal salads, eggs+toast/omelettes (we have a “Breakfast for dinner” night usually once every 1-2 weeks), or something I can make the night before and just reheat. For days that I will be home with Sophie, I try to find recipes that I can mostly prep or make while she is napping (usually from 1-3pm) and pop in the oven or on the BBQ before my husband gets home around 6. Then I make my master shopping list, and I get to grocery shop in peace. My husband does occasionally cook, and he is pretty good at it, but because his days often run late, it is usually on the weekends. One task that I despise? Doing dishes… I am very thankful that Graeme generally does them after dinner every night he is home. And for the days that he is on call or away in the evenings – we plan something very easy (and I load as much as possible into the dishwasher). 


A note for moms reading this with infants: IT GETS EASIER! I distinctly remember thinking when Sophie was 4-6 months old “am I EVER going to be able to cook a meal again?” – even when I would try to plan to have the groceries we needed to make a certain recipe in the house, as I was trying to put a meal together Sophie wanted to nurse or was really fussy/clingy. I was lucky that my husband did do quite a bit more cooking until our daughter was about 8-10 months old, then I was slowly able to find a better schedule as to when to prep/make dinners (ideally NAP TIME). 2014-06-15_0007

How we do cleaning:
 
As I alluded to before, I am so so so thankful that our nanny does some cleaning for us. Prior to having her, we did have a cleaning lady come once every 3-4 weeks to do a deep clean of the house, but then when our nanny started and she was able to get a lot of the (quiet) cleaning done while Sophie napped, we ended up asking her if she wouldn’t mind coming a couple extra hours a week to do the big stuff (vacuuming, etc) and we no longer needed the once monthly clean. I definitely think that if there is any extra cash in your budget for someone to clean every so often it is money very well spent, as I count it as time I am buying myself to spend doing something fun with Sophie (or for myself) that otherwise would be spent cleaning. Plus I am a slow cleaner… I’ve just accepted that. That being said, tidying the house is something I do struggle at keeping up with – I have always been someone who puts things into piles to tidy them up, much to my husband’s unhappiness. It is also much more difficult to keep things tidy in piles with a toddler around the house – nothing stays where you put it. Over the past year I have tried very hard to find a ‘place’ for everything that comes into our house – especially in the most used areas. All the toys in our living room/Sophie’s room have specific places to be put away, which we generally do after the little one is in bed (as most of you mention, to avoid having her coming behind us and undoing it all). I am still working on finding ‘places’ for everything in our den and downstairs area – which often becomes a repository for things that I need to put away: clothes/toys that Sophie has outgrown, paperwork or things I need to read for work that I don’t want to put away or I’ll forget about them, projects I’ve half-finished (again, don’t want to put them away or I’ll forget about them!) My husband does not love this side of things, but hey, we all have to live with some things we don’t love, right? I’m working on it…  2014-06-15_0008



Is this our ideal situation?

At this point in our lives, I would say we are pretty darn close. If I were to be able to choose my ideal I would want to live closer to my parents (who are 3 hours away) and my sisters (who both live in Europe), and to have my husband feel like his work/life balance is a little more manageable. But overall, I don’t think I could dream up a better day-to-day flow than we have now. Just maybe to request more hours in a day or needing less sleep??

Do I see a career change in the next 5-10 years?

This is a tough question for me, mostly because to be honest my career as a pediatrician would have likely looked a lot different if we did not have kids at this time (I enjoyed doing a lot more inpatient and NICU). But it is completely my choice to put my motherhood role first, and I do not feel like I am losing out. I knew when I married my husband that because of his work as an OB, and because I wanted to be a mother and stay home part-time, that my pediatric career would take a back seat. I am happy to be able to be a good clinic pediatrician, and when my own children are older I may get back into the inpatient/intensive care settings, but I know I would likely need some more training to brush up my skills in those areas before I would feel comfortable going back. So for the next 5 years – hopefully status quo, but after that, I guess we’ll see. 2014-06-15_0009


Thoughts on “mommy guilt”

I’ve thought quite often about what “mommy guilt” actually is, and I think I can pretty reliably say that I’m not very affected by it – with one caveat. When it comes to what we do with Sophie and the life she lives (with us or spending time with our nanny) I don’t feel guilty because I know that kids with multiple strong, safe caregivers in their lives do very well and I know our nanny also provides Sophie with opportunities that I could not give her (one among many: she speaks to her in Spanish, and Sophie understands completely and has many Spanish words). I feed her a healthy diet, we make rational, safe, well-thought-out decisions for our child, and she is surrounded by love. The caveat is that I do think I was somewhat affected by the feeling that there was so much I wanted to do with my baby as she was growing up and I missed the ball on a lot of them – taking hand/foot prints while she was tiny, documenting her baby book or a blog, keeping up on all the pictures we take, (and now that she runs from the camera or wants to look at the back of it) not taking enough pictures. The more I thought about those things, I realized that they were all things that I had put on myself. Sophie does not care that those things were or were not done, and I know that I have enough pictures that she’ll be able to look back on her childhood us growing as a family. Once I realized I was not letting anyone else down, I have been able to give up the feeling of guilt and be happy with ‘good enough’ in that area. And when I get some extra time to put a few more hours into organizing photos and making photo books, I’ll do it. But I don’t let myself feel guilty if it does not get done until tomorrow, because no one was expecting it but me. 2014-06-15_0010

Tips on how we make this work:

The best tip I was given by a mother about being a mother, was to give yourself grace. Things don’t always go as planned, we don’t always react/act how we would like or how we thought we would, there are wonderful moment/days and there are days where you can’t believe it’s only 8/9/10am because you still have to make it through another 12+ hours of this craziness. But after all… this too shall pass… whether it’s a cranky babe who refuses to sleep, or the dinner that did not get made, or the house that looks like a bomb went off – years, heck, even weeks from now we won’t remember those things, we will remember the good parts. It’s important to keep sight of the bigger picture, thank your lucky stars your kids are healthy enough to be little rascals (or little terrors…), and don’t forget to hold on to those precious moments when they let you kiss them, cuddle them, or when they are just too sweet for words.

{Thanks, Julia! Find the rest of the MMIW series here}

8.15.2014

Porter | Five Weeks

Notables from this past week:

Porter is smiling already!! I turn to mush when I see that gummy grin and love this milestone since it feels like, 'Hey, this kid might actually like me a little bit.' It's nice to feel loved by this little creature who is so loved by us! It seems early to see smiles at 4-5 weeks but I'll take it...never gets old.

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He's still sleeping the same at night, up twice usually and back down without much fussing. I'm going to try using the co-sleeper instead of the MamaRoo now just because carrying the swing up and down the stairs every day is a hassle. And it's probably time that Porter starts sleeping relatively flat, I guess, but I sure hate to mess with a good thing. So we'll see, I promise nothing and still don't think P will sleep in a swing until high school either way. Daytime naps range from epic 3 hour stretches to just cat napping all day long for 10 minutes. Still looooooves to be held or worn for all naps and he's pulling the 'my eyes pop open as soon as you put me down' trick, no matter how tired he must be. So any nap that lasts more than 5 minutes in the swing or the Boppy is a big success in my book. If I held him or wore him all day he might sleep non-stop, he seriously loves it that much, and swaddles really help him snooze, too.

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(got a Wubbanub pacifier and he loves it! So do I.)
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Still nursing well but I had my first clogged duct last weekend and wanted to die from the pain. I actually thought it was quickly turning into mastitis (would have been my fourth time total with the Big M) but somehow I massaged the clog out and forced Porter to eat non-stop in addition to pumping. Something worked, thank goodness, but I sort of forgot how painful the clogs can be. I wish I knew what caused them for me----nothing really obvious, that's for sure.

I guess he's eating maybe every 2-3 hours during the day but I'm not tracking it at all. I'm trying to pump each day but many times the hours slip away and I just can't seem to work it into the routine consistently. Meh. Whatever. Not a huge priority at the moment, I suppose.

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Porter still has acne but it's a little better this week and so far he doesn't have cradle cap. I know I'm severely biased but I think still think he is the most beautiful, handsome little fella out there---even with his pimples! He seems to be changing by the day, and is really coming into his own. Definitely not Truman's clone anymore! He's all Porter and it's fun to imagine what he'll look like as he gets bigger.

The best comparison I could do for 5 weeks---totally different, right? T v. P.
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It's still pretty early to report on his personality but overall he seems extremely content and happy, especially if we are holding him/carrying him around. He will stare at windows and ceiling fans for a few minutes if I have to leave him alone but usually that doesn't last for long, and then he's like, 'Where did everyone go? I'm lonely! What am I supposed to do when I'm awake?' or something. P-man is not too crabby in the evenings anymore, and I find that we can usually fix the fussies with a swaddle, nursing/pacifier, and being held. SO much easier than a few weeks ago. He still screams as if the car seat is a torture device but the last two times in the van seemed a little less traumatizing. Allll about walking everywhere we can because the Ergo is 10000x more pleasant than the car seat! Bath time is hit or miss and he seems to love diaper changes for some reason---but really, he only freaks out in the car seat and sometimes if he's been awake/soaking it all in for too long and becomes overstimulated. Love this happy baby!! Even if he is cross eyed at times and this picture is a little blurry.
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Before he let us have it for putting him in the seat
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We haven't even had to use our secret weapon for our previous fussy babies: Dave Matthew's 'Two Step' and the iTunes visualizer were both in heavy rotation for Truman and Cecelia at this point. I still laugh when I think about Nate putting the co-sleeper directly in front of the TV at the duplex, blasting DMB, with the psychedelic visualizer flashing from the screen...such a hilarious sight to see my baby blankly staring at the boob tube at one month of age. But it worked to calm him down, and you better believe we will pull out all of the stops again if needed!

(at his one month appointment---no shots but even that didn't make him too angry. The car ride to and from did, of course).
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Now that my mom is gone and it's just me with the kiddos during the day, I can see that Cecelia is going to be the most 'needy' child and the one who demands the most of my attention. Porter is easy compared to his two year old sister right now! But that's another post for another time. ;) I know this could change and hopefully it's just a phase but having three kids in general is not particularly overwhelming for me. There have been so many awesome moments when I feel like, 'I totally have this Mom of Three thing!' I mean, I was even brave enough to bake cookies with all three kids alone----bold move, indeed. I only had to raise my voice three times which is insane.
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 But when Cecelia is inconsolable for some unknown reason, Porter needs to nurse, and Truman is whining about me providing him with the incorrectly colored drinking cup it's reeaaalllllly challenging to maintain my composure. Especially when it's been an off day for all of us and then the evening comes and we are all just OVER IT. Luckily there is plenty of coffee in the mornings, cold beer in the evenings, tomorrow is a new day, and kids are incredibly forgiving when mommy briefly loses her freaking mind.

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So yeah, it's going pretty well so far with three kids and no other adult helpers during the day! A few rough patches here and there of course, but I'm typing this while two out of three kids nap, after a fun morning with this crew, and it's a Friday. So life is (currently) good;)


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Life with three! Baby wearing and refereeing brawls in the bathtub.
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First time to the Wisconsin State Fair also deserves it's own mention in this post. He slept 99% of the time we were there so he missed out on some great people-watching and didn't even get to see his first cream puff. Sad.

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Attempted cloth specifically for this photoshoot. Will have to re-do it at some point because P was not happy about showing off his dipes. And CC's legs are obscenely long!!
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And also, tummy time is seriously hilarious. Fatigues in about 10 seconds. Heavy head!

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(Truman took this one and Porter's little hands under his chin make me laugh)
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Because I don't remember anything about the early weeks with my other kids...
Cecelia at 5 weeks: she was spitting up huge amounts and was growing quite a bit, almost ready for 0-3 month outfits. Porter has not been a big spitter at ALL which is really appreciated and he has been in his 3 month outfits for a solid few weeks already. She was 10lbs 2oz at her check up which is just a little less than the boys, and I remember being shocked by that since CC seemed to much tinier than Tru! I had just done my first two nights alone with both kids, since Nate was out of town, and I survived with the help of my in-laws in the evenings. I think I could probably handle all three kids alone overnight now, too, since those 4:40-7:30 pm hours are already the WORST and I am on my own with those twice per week anyway. I didn't write about her nighttime sleep but I have a feeling it was pretty similar to the two wake ups Porter is boasting right now, too. And then it got really really horrendous so I just hope Porter doesn't follow suit with that sleep regression stuff.

Truman at 5 weeks: I was still forcing the kid to wear newborn clothes for some reason and I forgot about his little fall from a bouncy seat before this! He was just getting his acne and my mom had just left from a visit, so I was feeling kind of down about everything---specifically like I was NOT good enough at getting Truman to sleep. HA! He was on the verge of smiling, was sleeping really well with two wake ups around 3 am and 6 am (woah, even better than P), and I was kind of shocked at how often I had to nurse Fatty McGee. I was just coming to terms with feeding on demand and letting go of the concept of a 'schedule' with anything in life. Ah, to have just one child again with the energy to overanalyze it all.

So that's it! My boy is rocking the 5 week mark, for sure. And this post goes to show you that even though I thought there were nothing to report, I still managed to make this lengthy in words and included tons of pictures. Go figure.