Posted on December 8, 2008 by Sarah
Before Tess was born Delwyn predicted that Rose would learn more words out of necessity. No longer would we be hovering around like a charades team trying to guess what she wanted.
How right she was! Rose has definitely started saying more words lately, starting with a week or so ago. She was sitting her high chair while Chris was giving her lunch. She clearly wanted something – there was lots of pointing at the bookcase and “muuuhh! muuuuh! muuuuuh!” Harry Potter? A biography of Phil Spector? What about Edward Tufte? No, no, and no. Exasperated, she said, “Ball!” (Her ball was on top of the bookcase, quarantined there because of her habit of trying to give the ball to Tess. Dangerously.)
Strike one to necessity!
Yesterday at the park there were the remnants of a party. Bits of cake mashed into the grass and balloons tied to everything. Rose climbed up the playground hill to the nearest balloons, and took in a close inspection. “Ball?” she said. “No, Rose, that’s a balloon.” And balloon was the word of the day for the rest of the day. Ball-ooooon.
Filed under: Talking | Comments Off
Posted on December 7, 2008 by Sarah
Yesterday I said to Chris, ”Thank god humans give birth to babies and not toddlers.” At the time Rose was kicking up a storm in the back seat of the car because we hadn’t brought her ball with us. Shrieking alternating complaining. My point was that if we’d given birth to Rose as a toddler we would have freaked out completely and wondered why we were doing all of this. Fortunately, we started with Rose as a baby. And now we have one baby and one toddler. One day at a time.
But don’t get me wrong – if I was to calculate a ratio of ‘things are better than I thought they would be’ versus ‘things are worse than I thought’ it would be about 3 to 1. If I forget about breastfeeding for a second (and I can’t) life as a family of four is grand. We’ve already fallen into a rhythm of family life that is more than do-able. We’re getting enough sleep to feel sane (or is it that we’ve simply got used to less?), and for the last few nights we’ve even managed to squeeze in a couple of episodes of the show we’re watching on DVD right now (In case you’re wondering – the retooled Battlestar Galactica – it’s ace!). Rose is definitely taking a lot of our attention. She’s still quite needy, because she’s a toddler as much as it’s because she has a new sister. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Tess is incredibly calm and in some ways that’s the most difficult thing about her. She isn’t demanding so we have to do a fair amount of defence on her behalf. I have to make sure that she wakes up for enough feeds and that she’s getting regular amounts of attention from us. Rose is very interested in her baby sister. She calls her “bubba” and checks in on her regularly. You have to be careful because she sneaks into our room to look at her, but looking involves poking her in the forehead as well. We’ve had moments of anguish (they’re not really presenting themselves as jealously, though). A couple of times Rose has seen me cuddling Tess and just burst into tears and been beside herself.
The major dark cloud is breastfeeding. I’ve made a lot of progress and now I’m up to breastfeeding Tess for about 30 minutes at a time. However, it’s not all over and it’s still a huge amount of work. She’s often fussy or sleepy and I have to patiently re-attach and burp her to try and get her to breastfeed. This often takes 30 minutes or more. Sometimes I just have to give up and give her the feed by bottle. Also, she is refusing to attach to one side, so I’ve been using breast shields on that side. I don’t like them and neither does Tess. Feeding Tess takes about 7 hours a day, which is a hell of a lot of dedicated time when you have a toddler as well. Nothing about it is easy. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about going to bottles only. There’s only one reason why I haven’t: Chris. I couldn’t do all this if he was there beside me encouraging me (“How is Tess doing?” “Look how well she’s doing!”), and reminding me of why we’re doing it, and just generally being a shoulder to cry on. I have learned something very valuable about all of this. Absolutely no woman should be judged on what she can and can’t do when it comes to feeding their child. We all know that breastfeeding is best, but sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world.
Filed under: Breastfeeding, Rose, Tess | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 4, 2008 by Sarah
I was just waking up from my afternoon nap. The house was quiet. Baby and toddler, sleeping. My mind was doing the anxiety shuffle. I had mentally pulled out the deck of cards marked “issues most troubling me”, and I was flipping the cards around seeing which one would freak me out the most.
The issue of having to look after two kids under two next year was definitely freaking me out. I played with the idea in my mind, consciously trying out ideas. Me, sitting at the beach with the girls. Watching Rose show Tess how to climb ladders at the park. Every time I tried to conjure a reassuring image of a wonderful state of harmony with two small girls my mind kept bringing a more scary image to the fore. Getting two screaming children buckled into the car as people stared. Two kids refusing to take their daily nap. Having a horrendous Monday knowing there were going to be four more days before the weekend.
I decided to take action, I would get up and have something to eat. I opened the bedroom door to find Chris standing less than a foot away, hopping from one foot to the other as if he was standing on a hot plate.
“What’s going on?” I said.
“You’ve got to call Michelle!” he said.
“Michelle? Who? Wha..?”
“Michelle… from the childcare place! Call! I was in the bathroom! Didn’t hear the ring!”
The message on the answering machine provided a bit more clarity. The coordinator of the childcare centers at the university where both Chris and I work had called – there was a place available for Rose next year! (We’ve been on the waiting list for two years – since Rose was in utero.) I couldn’t get on the phone fast enough! When I talked to Michelle we discovered that we’re being offered a two-day-a-week place (Wednesday and Thursday) starting in January. The orientation is next week. Yippee!
Now I’m sure that there will be aspects to Rose being in childcare that will be less than stellar. I’m thinking of the six months of ill health that her friends have gone through when they started. Conjunctivitis, tonsilitis, nits, gastro, etc. There could also be a lot of tears and anxiety on the little one’s part. But right now? I couldn’t be happier!
Filed under: Childcare | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 2, 2008 by Sarah
We woke up this morning and realised that today was my original due date. But here we are, nearly four weeks on from Tess’s actual birthday! How weird to consider that had things gone differently I might still be pregnant.
The other great thing is that Tess rewarded us last night with a four-hour sleep. That’s our first four-hour sleep in a month! Yippee!
Filed under: Birthdays | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 1, 2008 by Sarah
To the uninitiated babies seem pretty generic. They do generic things (feeding, sleeping, crying and those-actions-not-named-that-require-nappy-changing). They move in generic ways (waving arms, lolling about, etc.) They even look fairly generic (big heads, small puny bodies, unfocused eyes). But slowly they become individuals. And that’s what’s happening with Tess.
Tess is a very long baby. She has remarkably big feet for her size, long legs, and both of us think she’ll be tall. Rose is tall, too, so I guess I’ll be the outnumbered ‘short one’ in the family. Tess has dark eyes. In the hospital I couldn’t make out whether they were brown or blue. They’re definitely blue, but still very dark. Tess’s hair is fair, and her eye lashes and so forth are fair too. Her lips have quite a different shape and definition to Rose, they’re less full have more of a defined shape. I’m not sure who she looks like more, me or Chris.
As for personality, Tess is very calm and placid. She has no fussy periods day or night. She puts herself to sleep easily, and is quite happy during awake times looking about. She already knows to watch out for her big sister; when Rose comes over to give her a kiss or inspect her hands or feet Tess often flinches. Rose is remarkably gentle with Tess, but she’s still pretty rough! Tess is already quite strong when you put her down for “tummy time”. She can hold her head up and moves her legs like she wants to crawl. The best times with Tess are just after a feed. She studies my face and I, hers. I feel like I can see her inner person through those eyes, and while I can’t quite define it, I can see it clearly.
Filed under: Tess | Comments Off