When I think about the fact that Drew will be FIVE months old next week, it truly boggles my mind.
Three kids is every bit as wonderful and insane as I imagined it would be.
There are days that come together nicely, where I fall into bed at night with a deep sense of accomplishment and contentment.
There are days where nothing seems to come out right and I collapse in bed, usually on the verge of tears, or just so darn exhausted that I don't have the energy to cry.
Fortunately, the older Drew gets and the longer I have been back at work, the former days are starting to greatly outnumber the latter. And, even more encouraging, is that even the days that aren't so great aren't bringing me to my knees in quite the same way anymore.
Going back to work was TOUGH. I could write volumes on how hard it was. The first day, I stood in the shower and cried. The first week, I didn't bother putting on makeup before leaving the house, I just brought my cosmetic bag with me and put it on after I had stopped crying. Each day, the tears got less and less, and I just kind of put my head down and soldiered through it. Now that I have been back at work for two months, including one week-long business trip, I can say that it has become much easier. And though it was tough on me, the kids were fine.
I don't know how I would do it without a nanny. Though there are some hiccups with having a nanny, and we went through a bit of a rough patch with Mary Poppins, things have evened out lately. The benefits of having someone come to us every day and be on our schedule clearly outweighs any slight negatives. I simply cannot imagine having to herd up three children and get them to daycare in the morning and look any sort of put together or decent myself. And it is also nice that since I don't have to get them up and ready, I still often have time to make them breakfast and sit and talk with them before having to leave.
Will is four and a half, which means that he is so mature in some ways. He can get himself a drink and a snack. He can let the dog out. He can sweep the floor. He can dress himself head to toe. He can clear this place. There are times that I look at him and cannot believe what a great big boy he his. He is an AMAZING big brother to Drew. I can't have asked for more from him in that department. He is so helpful, bringing a toy, bouncing his chair, making him laugh, shushing him gently when he cries. This morning, he fed him some bananas and even did the whole "here comes the airplane" bit.
He has also developed more than a bit of an attitude. Maybe a bit isn't an apt descriptor. He can be. . . well, very challenging. His angry outbursts and constant whining had me concerned, as it seemed so much MORE than I saw in other kids his age. This winter, our pediatrician referred us to a behavioralist (at my request). The consensus (from our pediatrician, the counselor, his preschool teacher, and my parents) is that he is a perfectly NORMAL little boy that is on the sensitive, smart, and stubborn side. So we have been working with how to parent him more effectively.
Emma Grace. Oh, sweet, incredible, amazing Emma Grace. From the moment that girl came out, she has been EASY. I have always worried that I will jinx it by saying so, but so far, she just makes parenting look simple. If she had been by only child, I'm afraid I would have been an insufferable mom, thinking, "What's so hard about parenthood?" Of course, she hasn't hit the teen years yet. I have a feeling that shall be my waterloo with her.
In the meantime, she is sweet, funny, smart, and just plain fun to be with. She had a bit of an adjustment to being a big sister, but even that was relatively mild. She mostly just wanted me to do everything, but she was always very sweet with Drew. As I type this, she is in the bath with him, and is shaking a rattle and holding his hand, and talking to him. I wish I had a camera. She loves stuffed animals and would have a thousand if we'd let her. She has quite a few as it is. She adores ponies, Hello Kitty ("Kitty Herro"), and. . . her binky.
Well, so that is the only thing about Emma that hasn't been easy, and even that is probably more my fault than hers. We should have taken it away at a year, or 18 months, but she just loved it so much, and was sleeping so well, and . . . now here we are. She is two and a half and shows NO signs of wanting to give it up. We have talked with her about giving it up and the reaction has NOT been pleasant. If I have to be honest, there is a huge part of me that doesn't want to force the issue. First of all, because she IS such a good little girl, I hate taking away something she loves so very much. Secondly (and selfishly), there just hasn't seemed like a good time to rock the boat. I anticapate a rough Binky Breakup and a shortered night and nap sleep, and I just haven't had the energy to face that. Both Will and Emma have been sleeping so well and Drew was a bit of a rough start. And now he is sleeping better, but his naps are still a bit of a mess, and even the sleep thing isn't a guarantee from night to night.
Ah, my cuddle-bug Drewbie. Otherwise known as Drewbalicious, Drewster, the Big D, and Drewbles. There has never been a little brother so doted on. He is the biggest flirt you will ever meet and his smile and laugh are incredible. He weighs in at eighteen pounds, ladies and gentlemen, and has rolls upon rolls of delicious baby chub. He loves to eat, take tubbies, eat, lay around naked, eat, stand in his exersaucer, eat some more, and did I mention EAT. He makes my heart swell with happiness, our family complete, and I cannot imagine our lives without him.
The sleeping thing has been rough. When he was about three weeks old, he did a few nights of seven hours, making me think I had hit the sleep jackpot again. It turns out that was kind of a cruel teaser. From weeks four through twelve, he refused to sleep until at least eleven or midnight. And then it was up every hour to hour and a half all night. A two hour stretch was a luxury. I was exhausted, especially after I returned to work when he was eleven weeks old.
Week 13 was when he started sleeping better and there wasn't a darn thing I did differently. But he still has a very late bedtime. It is unusual to get him down before ten, and eleven is far more common, and sometimes, it is still midnight before he is settled. Both Will and Emma had a 7:30/8 bedtime by this point, so this night owl behavior is a bit of a shock to my system. After he goes down for the night, we are usually blessed with at least a six hour stretch, and there have been some eight and ten hour stretches in there. But the late bedtime is still a challenge. We did CIO with Will, and I think we'll do that again in a month or so if his bedtime is still this late, but I keep hoping it will resolve on its own. He is taking a morning nap on his own, in his crib, going down drowsy but away. He will fall asleep for his afternoon nap in his crib, but still has to be transferred to his swing to finish the nap off. So naps are actually going pretty well, and he is getting (for the most part) an eight hour stretch, so I don't really know if I can expect much more from him at this point. I have been fortunate with my first two and their sleep habits, so it was really my turn to get a true non-sleeper, so I can't complain too much.
We started solids with him right at four months and he took to it like a champ. This is not really surprising, as all of my kiddos have been READY for their solids. We chose pears as his first solid (since our pediatrician had recommended a bit of rice cereal in his bottle at three months to see if that would help with sleep) and he ate one and one half containers at his first attempt. That must set some sort of record. Thank goodness I make my own baby food, or I'd have to get a second job to keep us in Gerber.
He still hasn't rolled over in either direction and his tongue still sticks out more often that I think is normal, but his head control seems on par with normal. He stands up in his exersaucer without issue and can reach for toys and tries to hold his own bottle. For the time being, we are waiting to see what happens with his muscle tone. No serious cause was identified, and some babies outgrow it, so we are just hoping that is what it is. We'll follow up at six months to make sure there isn't anything we need to be doing. He still has his heart murmur, but it hasn't given us any issues. I am glad we know that it is benign, as we took him in to the walk in clinic the other day with a virus, and the doctor seemed a bit alarmed by how loud it was. It was comforting to be able to tell him that we know about it and have been seen by a pediatric cardiologist and all is well.
Besides going back to work, I am feeling okay. I am not happy with my body. I gained forty pounds with Drew and started the pregnancy ten pounds heavier than with my previous pregnancies. The result was that the scale almost hit a very scary number I'd rather not think about. And even after losing thirty of my pregnancy pounds, I still am only five pounds lighter right now than I was when I gave birth to Will and Emma. I really need to lose about twenty five pounds to be happy, though I'd take a solid fifteen right now. I haven't figured out how to fit in exercising into my daily schedule quite yet. When I am done with work, I want to be home with the kidlets, not at the gym, and it hasn't really been warm enough to take long walks with them. Plus, I can't expect Will to walk at the pace and length I need to bust off some of these pounds and shape up, so again, it's time with them or time for work out and I choose them. I am hoping that when the weather gets nicer, we can get out more, and when Drew starts going to bed earlier, I can go the gym after everyone is in bed. I also need to work on cutting some calories, but when I did that ealier, it really impacted my milk supply. Now that I am pumping so much, I can see how much and what I eat impacts my milk.
Speaking of pumping. . . UGH. I have gotten used to it, I suppose, and definitely learned some tricks along the way. But I still don't like it. I had to let go of the very real fact that I am not going to be able to pump enough to meet his needs. I have to live with the fact that he gets between one to two bottles of formula a day. It was hard at first, but the stress of trying to keep up with him actually made my supply go down. I found that when I just let it go, I actually pumped more.
So, that's where we are right now. As you can see, updating my blog has fallen way down on the priority list, but I am still here and checking in on all of you when I can find the time.