Friday, October 9, 2009

The Second Month - or - September

A monthly update on just one child is a bit more difficult than I had expected. So at the risk of throwing the universe out of alignment, I'm going to change things up a bit. Conveniently for me, (you know she planned it this way) the itty bitty baby chose to be born on the first of the month. So I'll keep doing the "monthly updates" but they will be for the actual month and for both kids, if not the whole family.
The second month, September, was a bit easier than the first. I could finally put her down on occasion without the screaming. She sleeps big chunks of the night - sometimes - and someday she'll do it in her own room! She's at 9 lbs, 8 oz. but seems so much bigger. I spent the month working from home with her, going in to the office for a bit here and there. I would take her in with me, put her in her sling and wear her at my desk and around the office. It worked out very well. She would sleep and I would feel like I was being productive. Everyone in the office thought it was absolutely adorable that she would just curl up and snore-hum while I worked. She was the novelty of the month. Working while at home was not quite as easy. I didn't leave her in the sling so she didn't do a whole lot of sleeping since she would only sleep while held. But I mastered the art of balancing her on my lap, in my arm or on a pillow on my lap while I worked. I also found a new addiction while I was working at home. Our house is so quiet that I would turn the TV on for background noise. My family is always watching NCIS while I am there and there were a few marathons on while I was at home so I'd turn it to that station - turns out it's not so bad. Needless to say, I'm now an NCIS junkie.  
Madeleine was still going to day care those days (hey, if we have to pay for it, she's going!), so it was just the two of us. It was nice. But I was excited to get back to work so that the real world would have some consistency and routine. I loved the time I had at home with her. I could do it for real if that's what was going to be our lives but given that I knew it was temporary and work was back and forth with having to go in at random times, it kind of took its toll. So at the end of the month, I went back to work for real and her Nana came to visit for a couple of weeks to watch her before we put her in day care.
It was amazing how fast the time went. The four weeks of maternity leave flew by in the blink of an eye and then, in one breath, it was like September was over and it had been eight weeks and life had to start again. While it was a little chaotic and annoying running up and down the mountain at random times, it was a nice transition back into the real world. And like I mentioned earlier, the month was easier. She mellowed out a bit and we got the knack of things a little more. Like a semi-predictable feeding and eating schedule, the best way to hold her, how to play with her, how to survive through the night when neither one of us sleeps, how to help the big one get dressed while the little one is eating or being held those kinds of things.
We also discovered a solution to the ear-plugging Madeleine tries to do to drown out her screaming baby sister. In the car, anyway. Our car DVD player came with headphones (she calls them her speakers), so Dan dragged them out and gave them to Madeleine. Now, every time we get in the car, Miss Monster "demands" her speakers be on her head. Hey, it works. One screaming kid is bad enough. Now we just need to figure out a fix for when we're in the house.
I had expected a little more drama from Madeleine in the beginning. It didn't start until the end of this second month. When her Nana got here and started doing things for her that Mommy usually does, I think it occurred to her that Mommy was already not doing nearly as much as she used to and now even less since Nana is helping, so she's been quite the dramatic three-year old with the "I want my Mommy." It may be what I had expected but it certainly is difficult. The feelings of guilt, of frustration, of impatience, of inadequacy, it's hard to cope knowing you're indirectly disappointing your child. And the idea that I am rewarding her with my attention when she just whines and whines drives me absolutely crazy. So I've made a very intentional effort to redirect and try to focus on the positives and the happies and give lots of attention for that before she has the meltdowns. I don't want her learning that misbehaving is the only way to get attention, or the best way. Ha. Good luck, right?
This month has given us lots of firsts - with the baby and as a family. We had her first smile. Which I am putting down for the record books as the weekend we were in Vernal and she was totally flirting with her Uncle Chad. She would grin from ear to ear while he would play with her. He would walk away and she would stop. He would come back and so would the grin. I would say that's pretty deliberate and official. So that was September 12 (yes, that's more for me to be able to remember than for you to care about). And she's been smiling like a crazy person ever since. Seriously, the kid smiles ALL the time. It's adorable. Especially with the dimples.
She went to her first wedding. Stayed in her first hotel room. Took her first "trip" (that wasn't to Vernal). And went to her first National Park. All at the same time. My brother got married in Moab (more on that later - Miss Monster was a flower girl!) so we drove down for the weekend for that. Not only were some of those the first for the baby, they were firsts for Madeleine and I as well. We'd never been to Moab before, we'd never seen any of the arches or anything. That was great to do with my entire family. Madeleine loved it and I had a pretty great time as well. (Not sure about Dan, but he didn't seem completely miserable at any point.) I will post more about that in its own post but I just wanted to note that for Elena, she did pretty stinking awesome on her first trip. I don't count the trips to Vernal because those are just a fact of life, and well, she screams the whole way there every time.
That was another thing we "figured" out - if we want to travel, we have to do it during the day. When we leave for Vernal, it's usually after work on a Friday. Well - that's the time of night she's up and awake and wants interaction and to NOT be stuck in her car seat for three straight hours. So she screams and screams the whole way. We worked it out, traveled to and from Moab during the day and it worked perfectly.
The only other "first" I think is worth mentioning is that she had her first day without Mom during this month. And she was a champ. Much more so than I apparently. I did just fine Madeleine's first day of day care, I went back to work with no problem whatsoever. This time was a little harder. I don't think it helped that in dropping off Madeleine that day, she absolutely melted down and wanted her Mommy worse than ever. That was heart-wrenching given I'd just left the other one for the first time too. But it got better. Kind of. I miss both kids this time around a lot more than I would have imagined. I was always completely comfortable that I worked and Madeleine was in day care all day - she was LEARNING. But now, for some unknown reason, it's harder. I just want the day to end so I can get home to my kids. Even though once I'm home with them, I spend the entire night just trying to get them to quiet down and chill out. I guess you just can't win. That's the story of parenthood. Right?

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