What’s up, doc?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Baby B had her three-year check-up first thing this morning, and I have to say that things went very well. We had the first appointment of the day (do that on purpose…I LOVE getting right in), and she was weighed on the big scale (31 pounds) and they measured her height for the first time there (37.25 inches), both at the 50th percentile.

We went to the exam room and she had to undress, and they gave her the option of staying in her undies or wearing a paper gown. As the paper gown looks like a dress, she quickly chose this option, prancing around the room and singing while waiting for the doctor to come in.

The nurse took her blood pressure for the first time (she’d had it done before at some specialist visit, but this was the first time at the pediatrician). I forgot to ask what normal is for this age, but hers was 78/50. (A web search revealed that normal for a three-year-old should be under 105/60.)

I had to answer the series of developmental questions, which I wrote down this time so I’d remember them all:

*Can your child name at least one friend? (yes)

*Can your child throw a ball overhand? (yes)

*Can your child explain what is happening in pictures? (yes)

*Does your child help you brush their teeth? (yes)

*Does your child put 2-3 sentences together? (yes)

*Do other people understand at least 75% of what your child says? (yes)

*Does your child know if he/she is a boy or a girl? (yes)

He asked about her eating (still pretty picky, though maybe a little better than before), but noted there are no concerns with it since her growth is still where it should be.

He said her teeth looked good and asked if we’d taken her to a dentist yet. We haven’t, but we added her to our dental insurance this year in preparation, which he said is perfect because he recommends going for the first time between ages 3 and 4.

He asked if she’d been doing well healthwise in the past year…I laughed and said, “Yeah, except for the broken leg. And the multiple bouts of pneumonia. And multiple ear infections leading to a second set of tubes. And the swine flu. And the roseola right after that.” He agreed that had been quite a year and asked if at least the past few months had been okay, and I was able to say that she’s been nice and healthy since the roseola in mid-November. Fingers crossed that it continues for a while.

He asked how she was doing with potty training, and he was pleased to hear that she’s been 100% day trained since June and has started waking herself up at night to go potty, as he said he usually doesn’t expect to see them night trained until age 4 or 5. That’s actually something I hadn’t mentioned here yet because I didn’t want to jinx it, but for the past couple of weeks she’s been waking herself up around 11 or midnight to go to the potty (we take her because she’s pretty out of it, but that’s not a big deal because The Husband is usually still awake then) and then goes right back to sleep. The idea of having her night trained is very exciting because it means that she’ll be able to maybe go to Connecticut this summer to spend the week alone with The Husband’s dad and his wife. (That’s their request, that she be 100% potty trained before we do that.)

At past appointments she has generally been sitting on my lap when they’ve examined her eyes, mouth, ears, etc., but this time she said she wanted to sit on the exam table — and she did it with me sitting in the chairs halfway across the room instead of right there with her. She did flinch a little when he looked at her ears (a touchy spot ever since she’s had ear issues), but she cooperated well in the end. He asked her to take several deep breaths, and she did exactly as she was told when she needed to. He then asked her to lay down on the table, which again in the past has been an issue, but she did it without a second thought. He did say that her vulva looked a little red, probably from not wiping well, but that wasn’t a surprise since this happens for her maybe once a week. He said it’ll get better as she gets better at wiping but that for now it’s not unusual to expect.

She had no shots at her appointment this time because we’ve done all the previous ones on schedule and did not have to catch up with anything. He said she’ll have four shots at her four-year check-up, though we may split that into 2 and 2 because of the “trauma” factor. We  have plenty of time to decide that, though.

Baby B got dressed, we folded up the paper gown to take home (she was all over that idea when he said she could take it with her), she picked out her stickers at checkout, and I took her to daycare before coming into work.

All in all, a great appointment and a wonderful start to the day…and our fourth year!

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Wordless Wednesday: One…two…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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Free to be three

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I’m glad whenever I can share her laughter

That funny little girl.

Slipping Through My Fingers, ABBA

From a tiny, helpless baby to a curious, blossoming young girl.

From indecipherable cries and seemingly endless diapers to hearty laughs and emerging independence.

From being the new member of the family to one that fits perfectly in every way.

She is my daughter.

And today she is three.


Get in mah belly!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yesterday Baby B and I were in the car, and I was explaining to her what a birthday is (because it occurred to me that I’d never really told her what that means exactly).

“Three years ago, you were in my belly. You were so little then, and you were growing and growing, then it was time for you to come out of my belly. And the day you came out is your birthday. That’s why we have cake and presents…to celebrate when you came out of my belly.”

She thought for a moment and then said: “Please don’t put me in your belly again. I am not food.”


Two in review

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

As we’re on the last day of Baby B’s two-year-old year, I thought it might be a good chance to take a look at the past year. You always hear about how “terrible” age two is, but was it really that bad?

She learned her numbers (1-20 reliably and a few beyond) and her ABCs, as well as countless songs.

She went through power struggles with putting on her coat and getting in her car seat last winter, both of which were eventually resolved so that neither task is difficult now. (WHEW!)

Her language has exploded even more, to the point that she can easily converse with adults (who usually understand what she’s saying).

She made big milestone leaps by becoming potty trained and moving out of her crib into a real bed.

She has lost a lot of her baby fat and has become quite tall and slim. (This she does not get from me!)

She finally had her first haircut!

She broke her leg, which of course wasn’t a highlight, but she really showed us how she doesn’t let even something like that hold her back.

Her picky eating, while still not great, has gotten much better over the past year. Or maybe we’ve become better at letting go and allowing her to make the choice to eat or not. Either way, it moved from being a main issue to virtually a non-issue.

We took a number of big trips with our two-year-old in tow, including Gatlinburg, Maine,  Denver, and Oklahoma, as well as numerous small day trips — and she did GREAT with each one, whether flying or driving. Two seemed to be the best age to travel (so far).

She endlessly tested our patience and her boundaries, which I won’t lie…it’s been challenging at times. But the good that has come out of it is that The Husband and I have developed some techniques for dealing with such behavior, and I think our team approach has helped. When I know I don’t have the patience to deal with something at that moment, I just say, “I can’t do this right now” and leave the room until I’m much more calm, then go rescue The Husband once he’s been worn down and needs to take a break. Refreshed parents are much better parents.

On the health front, we had a few more cases of pneumonia, a bad outbreak of roseola, recurring ear infections (again), and swine flu for all three of us. Certainly not among the year’s highlights, though she did have tube surgery again, so hopefully those will continue to help in that department.

We found an awesome babysitter and have made more of an effort to get out for fairly date nights. I don’t feel bad about taking this time away from Baby B, as I think it’s crucial to our marriage and to our family’s overall well being. Certainly worth the cost.

Her imagination and creativity have soared to new heights, and we spend much of our time now in Baby B’s fantasy world — or playing some new game she’s invented.

My overall grade for age 2:

A-

Looking back through my posts from the past year in order to make this post, I constantly found myself smiling a goofy grin while remembering all the great times we’ve had this past year. It’s been an amazing year, and I know so many more great things await us in the coming year.

Were the twos really not as terrible as people say, or did our approach to age two help us focus on the fun moments as opposed to the inevitable battles? I can’t say for sure which is true, but I can say that despite hearing from many parents that age three is even tougher than age two, we still plan to charge ahead and find the fun moments in life. We’ll undoubtedly have many challenges throughout age three as Baby B develops even more into her own person, but something tells me we’ll make it through just fine.


The positive side of seeing negatives

Monday, January 25, 2010

I’m generally a pretty positive and optimistic person, so despite the frustrations of trying for (Very) Mythical Child #2, I’ve found many advantages — both serious and a little lighter — to it taking longer than expected and having a little bigger age gap than we had planned between kids.

*Don’t need to worry about whether we’ll need a double stroller. We’ll just have to clean the cobwebs off the single stroller we’ve got stored somewhere. In the garage. I think. (Still just not stroller people.)

*Three words: BREAK FROM DIAPERS!

*No stress about getting the first kid potty trained before a second kid comes along. Been there, done that, sent the postcard.

*We don’t need to make a decision about whether to get the first kid out of the crib in time to use it for a second child.

*We will have less overlap with both kids being in daycare at the same times, so although the overall cost will be the same, we won’t be shelling out the money for two kids at the same time for nearly as long.

*When I’m pregnant next time, the first kid will not need to be carried as much as if it had happened sooner.

*The first kid will be much more self-sufficient and much more able and interested in helping with a baby. She’ll also be able to understand explanations of some things and we’ll be able to (to a degree) reason with her.

*I was able to let my body heal from pregnancy. I was even able to have time to let my body be my own again before turning it over to another child.

*Right now I’m unlikely to hear, “Was it planned?” — which so many people with kids two years apart or less tend to hear. Of course, that could backfire if it takes longer and there’s an even bigger age gap than what we’re currently looking at. Moms with a big age difference between the kids tend to get asked that question too.

*It could be a good thing to be far enough apart in age so that they each have their own friends as they’re growing up. My sister and I were very close in age (18 months) but we were three years apart in school, so I always thought it was nice not having to share all of our friends. Of course we had some common friends (especially in our neighborhood), but school friends were pretty different for us.

*My company offers 6 weeks of paid leave (short-term disability), and any time off beyond that comes out of your vacation time. Last time, I ended up with 3 weeks of unpaid time off, which I don’t regret — the time off was worth it — but it would have been nice to have that time paid. So ever since I returned to work nearly three years ago, I’ve been banking as much of my vacation time as possible. (I haven’t taken a full week of vacation since our  honeymoon in July 2005.) I’m at the point now of having 5 weeks of paid time available right now, so by the time I get pregnant and deliver a baby, I should have the remaining 6 weeks to complement the short-term disability, plus a little extra to play with. For that reason, we are hoping to plan a week-long vacation sometime over the summer. If Mythical Child #2 had been here by now, it’s unlikely that we would even have thought about doing that.


Independence days

Thursday, January 21, 2010

“Don’t do for children what children can do for themselves.”

As I’m wrapping up Positive Disciple A-Z and beginning Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, the sentence above really grabbed my attention.

I think it quite succinctly summarizes one of the main approaches that The Husband and I take to parenting. As Baby B has gotten older and moved through the toddler years, we have been taking tiny steps back to allow her to do things for herself. We are certainly available if she would like to ask for help — or ask for ideas on how she can do it herself — but she’s showing us each day that she’s capable of performing more and more everyday tasks, so we allow her the opportunities to do so. Without the opportunities, she does not have a chance to learn.

It is not my job to rescue her.

It is not my job to make sure she’s happy 100% of the time.

My job is to make sure she has developed skills to properly deal with the challenges that will be thrown at her as she grows up and then adjusts to life as an adult. Adults who always need to be rescued? It seems like there has to be a better way.

If we swoop in and rescue her every time she struggles with something, how is she ever going to learn how to do things for herself? How to deal with challenges, big and small? How to tackle disappointment, which is inevitable for everyone?

As part of this thinking, we have started giving Baby B some additional responsibilities around the house. It is her job now to feed The Dog at dinnertime. She must use the toilet all by herself (and can ask for help if she needs it). She now removes her plate from the dining room and places it on the kitchen counter for now (at some point she’ll also be responsible for scraping her plate into the trash and putting it in the dishwasher too).

I feel like giving her these tasks helps empower her — shows her that she can do all these things for herself — and that in turn leads to more confidence that will allow her to try new things on her own. We give her the opportunities, and she follows through.

I think it also helps The Husband and I when we’re trying to see what kinds of things Baby B is capable of doing  and what kinds of goals to set for her. We aim high, but not too high…though we use those currently out-of-reach tasks to figure out what we work on next. Obviously she can’t do her laundry by herself at this age, for example, but why should we not show her how it’s done, let her help us with it, and make it a goal for her to do her own laundry sometime in the future? I know some adults who still had Mom doing laundry for them post-college, which is fine if it worked for their family, but I can say that I don’t want to be in that position 20 years from now.

My little baby isn’t such a baby anymore, but is that really such a bad thing? We’re helping mold her into someone who can tackle life without being dependent on others. No one ever said it was an easy job, but it’s one I know will be worthwhile when she’s a confident, capable, and put-together adult.

Well, assuming we didn’t screw up something else along the way. 🙂


Wordless Wednesday: Hand painted

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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Full disclosure

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am pregnant!

Oh wait. No, I’m in fact not pregnant. My bad. Sorry for the confusion.

I’ve been very not-pregnant for the 12 cycles we have been trying (clearly unsuccessfully). I have kept our journey to conceive A New Baby quiet because I wanted to have that moment of surprise where I got to share the news with the people who read my blog and they would be completely caught off guard by the news. However, since we’ve officially reached the point of secondary infertility, I’m finding that there are things that I might want to talk about in this area, just to help keep my head clear and feel support, and that moment of surprise was becoming a little less important.

When trying for our first child, it took three cycles of active trying, then I miscarried. I became pregnant with Baby B after a two-cycle break and then five active cycles of trying. So when we began trying in February 2009, I did not expect it to happen in the first month (unlike what it seems like happens with everyone else when they go for child #2), but instead I thought it’d take a good, normal, average five, six, seven cycles and then I’d be “in a delicate way.”

Yeah, um, not so much.

After months of using OPKs to pinpoint ovulation (charting doesn’t work well for me because I wake up too much during the night), I saw that ovulation came late for me, and my luteal phase (LP) was on the short side at 9 to 11 days. Not so good for supporting a baby.

My annual OB/GYN appointment was in early October, and at that point we’d been trying for nine cycles and I saw the ovulation issue, so I brought it up with my doctor. My insurance has zero infertility coverage, so I told him that we wanted to start taking steps to look into what was going on but that we were financially restricted in what we could do since we’re entirely out of pocket. He sent me for a 7dpo progesterone test, which revealed that I did ovulate, but it wasn’t as strong as they’d like (all of which I figured).

He sent The Husband for a semen analysis, which turned out to be within normal range for the most part. Nothing alarming, at least. The doctor said usually his next step is an HSG to make sure my tubes are clear, but he felt okay skipping this step for now since it seems more like an ovulation issue than a tube issue and since that would be a big cost to us.

I began Clomid the next cycle (in October, cycle 10) in an attempt to get an earlier and better ovulation. I did not ovulate earlier, but my LP did extend to 13 days, which was unheard of before. Unfortunately, that cycle did not work.

Cycle 11 was Clomid again, and this time I did ovulate earlier and my LP was at 13 days again. Not pregnant.

For cycle 12, I was bumped up to 100mg of Clomid, and I ovulated earlier and ended up with a 16-day LP. Not pregnant.

All of these cycles have been with ideal timing, including when both The Husband and I had swine flu — yes, we had to take care of things when we both felt like we were dying. I can’t say it was one of the highlights of our marriage, though it gives us a good chuckle now in hindsight. Would have been nice if that effort had resulted in a pregnancy, at least, but no such luck.

So now we’ve just started lucky cycle 13, the fourth one on Clomid. If this cycle does not work, my ob/gyn wants me to come in to meet with him again so we can discuss a plan going forward. I’m not sure what it will involve yet, but I’m ready to take some further steps forward. He had previously mentioned insemination, so I suspect that might be where we go next. The Husband has an HSA as his health insurance, and he’s able to use his money for any medical expenses, so we could use that money toward IUIs if we go that direction (it just doesn’t count toward his deductible, which means it doesn’t count toward reaching his out-of-pocket maximum). But still, it’s better than not having that money available. It’s not a lot, but it should cover a few IUI cycles, at least. If we have to go beyond that, we’ll have to figure out our options.

Thankfully the past year has passed fairly quickly thanks to enjoying our time with Baby B, but it’s hard to believe that we’re here a year later with nothing to show for it. Month after month of starting over, only to end up back at the same place as before. Quite like being on a treadmill (which, have I ever mentioned here, that I hate treadmills?).

I think I’ve dealt with things pretty well so far — it really does help to have Baby B and The Husband as a distraction — but it does get frustrating after a while. We waited until we were ready to have another child. Then there are all these people who have oops pregnancies or who get pregnant within the first month or two and freak out because they quickly realize, “We didn’t think it would happen so fast. We’re not ready!” No one ever said that life was fair, but it’s hard to see any bit of fairness in that. (My three nieces were all conceived in this way. Two of them were oops babies, then the third is a result of my sister and her husband “not trying but putting it into God’s hands” — their words — and oh look at that, pregnant the first time trying, er, not trying.) We’re being responsible, yet the people who are not as forward-thinking get the complete family they desire. I have no regrets that we didn’t start sooner — it was important for me to be in the right place to try again — but I’m ready for our turn.

So I might not get to make that out-of-the-blue pregnancy announcement moment now, but I know that whenever it does happen for real, there are still people who will be plenty excited for us (and of course we’ll be excited too). Perhaps even more excited in some cases, especially if they’ve gone through similar issues. All we can do now is keep putting one foot in front of the other, control the things we’re able to control, and wait for good luck to come our way.


100% chance of showers

Monday, January 18, 2010

We started doing showers with Baby B pretty early on, mostly in an effort to get her used to the falling water and the experience that is quite different from a bath. We’d been using both methods of getting her clean until maybe 6 months ago when she suddenly started hating showers and refused to take them with us, so we didn’t push it and just went with baths since we were still meeting the goal of getting her clean.

A few times recently, Baby B has come into the bathroom when I’ve been taking a shower and she said, “I want to take a shower with you!” Each time it had not been a good time for her to do that with me, but I told her that maybe we could try that later.

So last week she asked again, and at a better time. She said, “I want to take a shower.” I said, “Sure, I’ll go get ready,” thinking I would take a shower with her. And she said, “No, all by myself.” I asked, “Are you sure you want to do it all by yourself?” She assured me that she did. We’re all about letting her do things by herself when she’s ready, so I told her I’d let her give it a try. I honestly expected she wouldn’t like it because of the water falling down and getting into her eyes or ears (she hates both of those), but I trusted that she thought she was ready, so I allowed her to try.

But within seconds of getting in the shower, she had walked through the water and was giggling with sheer happiness mixed with undertones of pride. She was really digging this shower-by-herself thing.

So that’s what we’ve done the last three times it has been bath night. Which I guess we should call shower night now. I sit in the bathroom with her and read a book and talk to her while she takes care of cleaning herself first with the shower curtain open a little so I can see her and then for a few minutes when she asks to stay in there with the curtain closed all the way.

So far she’s done great with taking control of her showers, and I really like being able to empower her to do these types of things for herself, not just because it gets me out of the work (bonus!), but because it will help her gain confidence and want to do even more for herself (and isn’t that the ultimate goal in parenting?). I really try not to mourn when she “doesn’t need me anymore” and instead celebrate the steps she’s taking toward independence. It’s a long process, so each of the victories along the way is worth cheering.


Wordless Wednesday: Earning her keep

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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These are a few of her favorite things

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just a snapshot of some of Baby B’s favorite things right  now.

Favorite color: pink

Favorite clothing: dresses, dresses, dresses!

Favorite undies: Little Mermaid (though she just calls them her mermaid undies; she doesn’t know the Little Mermaid exists yet, so she doesn’t realize it’s a character)

Favorite movie: Tinkerbell (any of them)

Favorite book: Horton Hatches the Egg

Favorite weekend lunch: grilled cheese in the toaster oven and any chips

Favorite veggie: carrots

Favorite other foods: cottage cheese, hummus, any fruit, cereal in milk

Favorite pet: The Dog

Favorite song: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

Favorite art activity: coloring

Favorite way to help Mom and Dad: cooking

Favorite game: hide and seek

Favorite bath toy: spray bottle

Favorite playground equipment: slide

Favorite phrase: “I know, but…”

Favorite made-up name: Nokolokolo

Favorite stall tactic at bedtime (tie): “I have to go potty.”  “I need a hug and a kiss.”


Wordless Wednesday: Too much Christmas cheer

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

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State of the blog

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On days like today, when a good topic doesn’t come to mind immediately, I sometimes (very briefly) ponder either ending this blog or drastically cutting back the frequency of my posts, which I generally try to make about four to five days a week at the very least.

In fact, sometimes I fantasize/daydream about the amount of time I would get back in my day if I didn’t have to dedicate some of that time to blog-related tasks.

But then I get that anxious feeling — and I’m not by nature an anxious person — and start nearly convulsing at the thought of life without this extraordinary record-keeping tool. No, it doesn’t detail every minute activity of our family life, but it’s still a good way to record my experience as a mom as I’m going through it.

Although I still haven’t gone back and read my blog from “cover to cover” (so to speak), I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to look for a specific post to remind myself of a detail that I’m sure at the time I thought I’d remember forever. How fleeting the memory can be sometimes.

It helps me work out frustrations.

It helps me keep a few close real-life friends up to date.

It helps me keep some things in perspective. (Isn’t it funny that something that seems like such a big deal at the time suddenly doesn’t seem that way when you put it into written word?!)

So writing is what I will continue to do. And if it turns out I can’t think of a topic on a particular day, then I just skip that day and don’t feel bad about it. My blog is primarily for me, and that’s just the way I want to keep it.


Catching up

Monday, January 4, 2010

I had a nice little break from blogging over the rest of the New Year’s weekend, but since I’ve taken a step back, I feel like I’ve got so much to say now — yet can’t think of how to start! I’ll just start typing randomly and see where it gets me.

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One of Baby B’s favorite phrases right now is, “Don’t worry.” As in: “Don’t worry, I’ll feed The Dog.” Or: “Don’t worry, I won’t fall off the bed if I’m jumping.” Or: “Don’t worry, I’ll pick out my clothes.” I like to respond with, “Oh, don’t worry…I won’t worry.”

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It looks like Baby B really has dropped her naps for us on the weekends. She has napped one time for us since early November. She still does quiet time in her room, but I already miss the days of an uninterrupted nap. 🙂

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Baby B has resisted bedtime at night lately, so The Husband built her a fort out of pillows and blankets on her bed, and she sleeps in there now (and often reads in there during her quiet time). I bet it’s even warmer in there for her, which comes in handy right now when we’re experiencing single-digit temps at night. We’ve never really done bedtime in a conventional manner (reading stories with her snuggling on our laps? ha! rocking her? not since she was a few months old), so why should this be any different?

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I’ve started reading Positive Discipline A-Z, and so far I think it’s a book that fits with our general philosophy and will give us good reminders as we delve into the preschool years. I’ll be picking up the version of the book targeted to preschooler behavior as soon as it’s returned to the library. I like that the approach encourages you to be firm but kind and to empower your children to make their own choices. One thing it brings up is that it’s not our job as parents to fix our child’s problem; it’s our job to give them the tools and skills needed to solve their problems on their own. I also like the approach’s view of timeout, which fits very well with how we use it — that it’s not a punishment but a means of taking a break from a situation so you can collect yourself and then deal with it more effectively. I’m also partial to the thinking that with tantrums, we don’t need to react to the tantrum itself (frustrating as that behavior may be) but instead focus on finding out the reason behind the tantrum and instead working on that. So far I’ve not read anything ground-breaking and it’s not going to turn our parenting approach completely upside-down, but it’s good to see something where we agree with most points and can use it as a reminder of things we could be doing better right now. I’m looking forward to reading the preschool-targeted book when it comes in.