Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life with a Toddler

It's so interesting to see how Lucas is changing from a baby into a toddler. Other than the walking, which is still hesitant but getting more confident by the day, he's also branching out into throwing tantrums and being a picky eater.

The tantrums mainly stem from being forced to give up a desired object, or transitioning from an activity he really wants to do, like crawl into the street. I mostly try to ignore them, although it's hard when you're in a public place where other parents can see you! His don't last more than a minute or two right now, though.

The picky eater thing I am also trying to ignore. I am determined not to be a short order cook mama -- so I give him about 3-4 choices of food per meal, including one item he definitely likes assuming he is hungry. Once he refuses an item, I give it a break for a few minutes and try again. When he's refused all the choices, meal time is over. If he hasn't eaten much or anything, I offer food again about an hour later and he'll usually be interested. No fighting, no tears. It's very low stress for all involved, and clearly my Biggest Boy isn't going to starve to death anytime soon if he skips a meal or two.

I was right on target with his one-year stats, though. He weighed 25lbs 9oz, and was 32.25in tall at his appointment last week. That's 93rd percentile for weight and 97th percentile for height, the first time his height is greater than his weight.

Our daily routine these days goes something like this:

5:30-6:30am: Lucas is up for the day. We nurse and then get up and I watch the news for a bit while Lucas plays around in the living room.

7:00am: Breakfast time for both. Usually I feed Lucas first and then me, although sometimes we eat together. Then more playtime.

8:00am: We head out on a 30-40 minute walk or run around the nearby school and park. Fresh air for Lucas and exercise for me, win-win!

9:00am: Back from our walk, we start winding down for morning nap. Quiet play in the nursery, followed by books, milk, and sleep. He's usually asleep around 9:30.

11:00am: Wake-up from nap, change into play clothes, prep lunch for both.

11:30am: Lunch time!

12:00pm: Usually we head out the door for errands, park dates, Gymboree, or other outside the house events around this time.

2:30pm: Start winding down for afternoon nap. Hopefully Lucas is asleep by 3:00pm.

4:00-4:30pm: Lucas wakes up and we play in the backyard until Brandon gets home from work.

5:30pm: Dinner time for everyone! Eventually, depending on what everyone is eating.

6:45pm: Bathtime for Lucas, followed by jammies and books.

7:00pm: One more nursing session and then bedtime, in theory, although he generally doesn't fall asleep until 7:30 or 8:00.

He's still getting up at least once per night, often twice, occasionally three times, but it's mostly manageable. Our days feel a lot busier than back when I was counting the minutes until Brandon got home when Lucas was a newborn!

Here are a few recent photos!

Playing on our new piano

Birthday Biggest Boy!

Mom outing to a fun community garden/nursery

He loved the sandbox

Silly heart.

Aww, no more party in the back. Baby curls are gone!

Before rocking it out at Gymboree

Next up, First Baseman Lucas!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lucas's Birthday Party

On Saturday, we threw a small party for Lucas's first birthday. I had an elaborate party all imagined with a Teddy Bear Picnic theme. I even had a Pinterest board all set up. But as usual, my imagination far exceeded both my motivation and my budget. So we just threw a few quilts on the back lawn and grilled some burgers and hot dogs instead. It was great!

A few of Lucas's little "friends" his age came with their parents, and we enjoyed chilling in the shade for a while watching the babies play with the toys I put out. Once the shade disappeared, we headed inside for cupcake time. Lucas didn't get as excited about the cupcake as you might expect, but he'd had a full lunch as well as bites of his Gram's lunch, so I think he just wasn't particularly hungry. He ate/smashed about half of it, more than enough to give him a pretty spectacular sugar rush for the rest of the afternoon.

He got pretty spoiled by his family in terms of presents, too. I was pretty proud of my gift -- a plastic wading pool filled with a variety of plastic cups, scoops, squirt bottles, and bowls to use as a makeshift "water table" this summer. He loves it! We've gone out every day since his birthday to splash around in the afternoon, I think we'll get a lot of use out of it. Brandon got him one of the giant stuffed dogs from Costco. Lucas is a bit wary of it but it is about three times his size. My parents got him a summer membership at Gymboree, as well as a dump truck, and he got a pile of sand toys from my sister that are a big hit even without the sand. Add to this a bunch of presents from Brandon's family and his extended family on my side and you get one very spoiled little one-year-old!

Lucas had a pretty good month prior to his birthday. He's started walking a few steps at a time, which is exciting and adorable. He gives kisses now, possibly the cutest thing ever, and can drink from a straw. We've started weaning slowly and he seems to be adjusting to it just fine - jury's still out on my adjustment, though. I'm not sure on his weight or height, his one-year appointment isn't until next week.  I'm estimating that he's around 25.5 pounds, and maybe 32 inches tall? We'll see how accurate that guess is later.

Here are a few photos from the party and a few others from April/May.


Trying out the new "swimmy pool"

Mama snuggles at the party

Birthday party SuperBaby

Learning about puzzles during month 12

Silly almost-year-old baby

Trying out the big kid pool at the YMCA

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lucas's Birth Story

[This is mostly copied-and-pasted from my old blog, with a few additional comments and photos added.]

On May 9th, the day before Lucas finally chose to make his big entrance, I was five days past my due date and bound and determined not to be pregnant anymore.  I had spent the day trying a bunch of different natural induction techniques: squats, galloping, walking, spicy food, a swim, acupressure. In the process I had neglected to take my daily nap. So of course, my water broke about ten minutes after I got into bed. 

They tell you only 10-15% of pregnant ladies have their water break before contractions begin. They also tell you that it's much more likely to be a trickle than the sitcom-style flood. But apparently Lucas has his mama's dramatic streak, because as I told Brandon after coming out of our bedroom, "My water just broke . . . everywhere." Contractions began immediately after, about 5-6 minutes apart and 1 minute in duration. We arrived at the hospital around 11:30pm. 

My water had broken but I was only 2cm dilated, so the doctor wanted to start me on Pitocin right away. I thought this was a bit odd since I was already having regular, strong contractions. She offered to give me two hours to see if I would start to dilate on my own.  I took her up on it, and they took me up to my labor and delivery room. It was about 1:30am when my two-hour countdown started. Contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point. Although I was hoping to be one of those moms who barely notice them, mine hurt like a son of a bitch! Brandon was already doing a good job coaching me as we moved around the room and bounced on the birthing ball. We tried walking the halls as suggested by our birthing class teacher, but after my knees collapsed on me during a particularly strong contraction, Brandon requested that I stay confined in my room. 

Towards the end of the two hours, I started to feel myself getting exhausted to the point of shaking. After they checked me (dilated only to 4 cm at this point), I made the decision to get the epidural so I could conserve some strength for pushing after a night without sleep. This was the best decision I made during the labor experience! Getting the epidural was not scary, and the anesthesiologist even complimented me for remaining so still during a contraction and jokingly suggested that they use me as an instructional video for future moms. He did have to give me a "basketball player sized" dose because I was still in pain after the initial dose, but then the pain faded away and all I could feel was some faint pressure. It also left me with some feeling in my legs so I wasn't totally paralyzed and could even move around a little. I was instantly calmer and pain-free. I was never opposed to an epidural, mostly just worried about the "snowball effect" of interventions that can lead to a c-section if an epidural slows the progress of labor. Luckily this didn't happen to me so I got all the benefits without any of the scary side effects I was concerned about.

After getting the epidural, I was able to doze for about 4 hours and Brandon slept in a chair in my room. I was worried that an epidural would slow down my dilation, but luckily that turned out not to be the case. When they checked me again at about 8:30am, I was fully dilated and ready to push!

The first hour of pushing went great, and the nurse told us that I was progressing quickly. Then things started getting more difficult. My progress slowed and while Lucas was doing just fine, the nurse started worrying that it was taking so long. Around hour three of pushing, I started feeling really tired and hopeless. Brandon was a fantastic, engaged coach throughout, and the nurse that came in to cover for our original nurse on her break did a much better job encouraging me to push in the most effective way. I did not scream or curse, which I'm quite proud of, although I did at one point chuck a clammy wet washcloth from my forehead across the delivery room when Brandon failed to remove it and replace it with a new, cold one. 

Finally, the doctor came in and she suggested that she could give me an episiotomy and use the vacuum to help me since we were well into hour four of pushing at this point. I managed to get baby's head to crowning on my own and then, with two more pushes assisted by the doctor and vacuum, Lucas arrived in the world to a chorus of four nurses and a doctor exclaiming, "Oh my God!" "He must be at least ten pounds!" He was born on May 10 at 12:26pm, at 11 pounds 1 oz and 21 inches long.

They put him on my chest right after he came out. He was all squirmy and bigger than I thought he would be - I remember thinking about how fat he seemed. It was the most amazing moment of my life to date. They cleaned him up a bit while he was still on me (and me too: he pooped on me right away), and encouraged him to cry a bit harder to clear the remaining fluid from his lungs because his breathing was a little junky. Brandon cut the cord and we just marveled at him for a bit until they took him to the other side of the room to clean him properly, weigh him, and check everything out. He hardly cried at all when he was with me, but piped up a bit with the nurses. They brought him back to nurse and he latched on like a champ right away. 

We stayed in the delivery room for a couple hours. I got all stitched up (Second degree tear as well as the episiotomy). They brought me some food (thank goodness, I was starving by this point!) and sparkling cider with two glasses. And then we were parents. Forever.

Welcome to the world, Biggest Boy!

Meeting Dad for the first time

Brandon is thinking, "Holy #$&!! I'm a dad!"

Hanging out with Mom on Day 1
One of the few times he left our arms during our stay

About to head home!
Lucas, a year later

Monday, May 6, 2013

My neighborhood is so cute.

Our new neighborhood is so cute. It's the first place I can remember living that has that old-school neighborhood feel. Many of the families on our street have owned their houses for more than 20 years, and now have multiple generations and extended family living in them as well, so there are lots of people and lots of kids. Most of them hang out in their front yard rather than the back, so there's always lots of bustle and goings-on outside, and lots of waving as you come and go. Last night some of the kids across the street were sent over to ask for a spare onion, and we had one to give. I thought it was adorable, haha. I'm sure they probably think Brandon and I are very stuck-up, but we are trying to be as friendly as our shy and reserved natures allow.

I've been going on a walk or run with Lucas nearly every morning after breakfast, which has been great for me and I think he likes the fresh air too. There's a perfect loop around the nearby elementary school and park that seems to be between 1/2 to 3/4 mile long, so I go around three times and I'm set. We go about the same time every day and see a lot of the same people -- old man with gorgeous dog, smile-y couple exercising, handsome man walking to work, man in wheelchair chilling on his front driveway. I really feel like I'm a part of a community (Lady with jogging stroller). It's fun!

Updates have been sporadic lately, I know. I've been spending my occasional free minute working on Lucas's digital baby book. It's turning out so well! I'm using Shutterfly. My mom helped out by uploading a ton of photos for me to use. I'm feeling so nostalgic as we approach Lucas's birthday and as I'm going through all the baby photos from the last year.

I'll be back on Friday with Lucas's birth story and probably also some sappy reflection on his first year in our lives and photos from his birthday party. My Biggest Boy is in his final week of baby-hood! I'm still claiming the baby title until his actual birthday, even if he's technically "toddling" a bit now.