Wednesday, March 28

The most excitement this cul-de-sac has seen in years

Not long after Milo was in bed and Olive had conked out (in her crib, by the way, at an early reasonable time), our carbon monoxide detector went off. Four quick beeps followed by five seconds of silence. Loud beeps, I might add. Unbelievably, the babies did not even stir.

Andrew and I weren't sure what to do, though. Could we possibly have CO in the house? After messing with the detector, taking the battery out and putting it back in, the alarm was still sounding. We didn't want to just ignore it, so Andrew called 9-1-1 while I went upstairs and put on real pants instead of the oh-so-attractive leggings I was sporting for bed.

We had opened all the windows and turned on the attic fan to air out any carbon monoxide that might be present, but the 9-1-1 operator told us to shut it all so they could get a better reading. We were, of course, welcome to evacuate the house if we were worried. But with sleeping kiddos (who were still sleeping peacefully, I checked), we decided to wait indoors.

A few minutes later, a huge fire engine showed up and three fully suited-up firemen came to our door. They checked our furnace, our water heater, and our fireplace. They checked to be sure no car was running in the garage. They took readings all over the house. Thankfully, they found nothing. Our CO levels were just fine. It looks like we just have a peice-of-crap monitor. One fireman surmised that the monitor had come loose from the wall outlet, causing the alarm to sound. But it's come loose before and sounded a different alarm (nonstop blaring). But who knows? We were just relieved to not have a bunch of poison gas in the house.

As the firemen were leaving, I commented to one that it was a shame our two-year-old wasn't awake to see the fire engine; he would have loved it. The guy said, "Oh well, maybe next time." I sure hope there isn't a next time. But if there is, then yes, I hope Milo is awake to see it.

Wednesday, March 21

My baby is not a baby anymore

My little man is two years old today. Part of me wonders where the time has gone; how could these last two years have flown by so quickly? But a bigger part of me thinks, how can Milo only be two? He's been part of my life forever, hasn't he?

I'm so lucky to have this guy. He's amazing, so sweet, so funny, so cute. Let me tell you what he's been up to lately.

He has started quoting lines from the books we read, when we're not actually reading them. "Ohhh, call captain," he says (which translates to "'Hello,' calls the captain." from 10 Little Rubber Ducks.) "One Fish (pause) Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss!" he says. "Stuck in mud!" refers to the dump truck from Little Blue Truck. "Stan back, everybody," he quotes from a fire engine pop-up book. And he knows immediately when I start quoting a book. "What's this?" I say to him as I hold up a strawberry. "Sawberry," he replies. "Is it a red, ripe strawberry?" I ask him, and he begins to smile slyly, like he knows he's in on the secret. "Better watch out," I say, "or the big, hungry bear will get it!" (From The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry, and the Big, Hungry Bear)

Milo also has been singing more songs lately. He adores "Wheels on the Bus" and the Hot dog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He's into "Itsy Bitsy Spider," always starting with the line "wash sider out."

Milo is getting really good with his letters and numbers. He can almost spell his name, though he typically leaves off M and starts with I-L-O. He "writes" the letters as he spells them, though they're really just marks on the paper. He can recognize nearly all the letters, but doesn't know them in order. He can count to ten and beyond (we've heard him go as high as thirteen, I think), but often gets the numbers in the wrong order. He is convinced he has eleven fingers, so thank you, Dr. Seuss, for that.

He has finally figured out most of his colors. Occasionally he still calls red things orange, and sometimes gets in a funk where everything is black. But mostly you can ask him what color something is and he gets it right, or, even more awesome, he just names things with a color descriptor. Like, "Thassa my yellow screwdriver." or "Essa blue hammer."

He's pretty good with pronouns, except when it comes to "you" and "me" when referring to Milo. We point at a picture of him and say "That's you!" and he points at the picture and says, "That's you!" And there's just no good way to correct him to say no, "that's me" because that is like telling him the picture is not of Milo but of Mommy. Sometimes he also says "my" when he means "I," like "My brush my teef!" or "My eat it!" Frankly, it's adorable.

Milo loves to do things by himself, but he gives up pretty easily on some tasks. Taking his socks off or pulling his pants up and down, for instance. We encourage him to try, and he does, but very quickly cries "Help me!" and gets frustrated. He can pull his shirt off over his head and he's getting better at brushing his own teeth. All in good time, I suppose.

Milo can be very polite and very impolite. "Hi, Oliff, how are you?" he asks. Then at dinner: "My need more water!" he demands. He fairly readily gives hugs and kisses, though he's quick to tell you no if he's not in the mood. When he burps, he says "Buuurrrp!" Charming, no?

Milo adores bathtime and would stay in the tub all night if we let him. Andrew taught him how to blow bubbles in the water, so Milo is always sticking his face in the water and blowing bubbles. Makes me kind of nervous, but I guess it's a good thing for him not to be afraid of getting his face wet. Milo does not like getting lotioned up after a bath, and his only motivation for holding still for lotion is that he will get a paci when it's all over.

Yes, Milo still loves his paci. He only gets it at bedtime, naptime, and diaper changes. Now that Olive is here and has her own set of pacis, Milo is extra tempted. But so far he's been great about giving Olive her paci and not sticking it in his own mouth. I've only seen him do that a couple times.

Other skills: he is learning to drink from a cup, has pretty much mastered the straw, is learning to walk on a balance beam, is getting faster at running and better at climbing stairs, is excellent at identifying animals and animal sounds and learns new words after only hearing them once or twice, and he has excellent dance moves.

Words can't describe my love for this child. Truly, he has my heart forever.

Wednesday, March 14


Olive first rolled over from her back to her front when she was just three days old. It had to be a fluke; surely the weight of her massive head propelled her over. But yesterday she rolled over from back to front three times. Not a fluke. The third time I was ready with the video camera. (Which was something I never managed to be with Milo, no matter how many times I tried. I do have many, many videos of him crying and NOT rolling over, however. So I call this a win for the second child!)

Tuesday, March 13

All Smiles

There is nothing in the world like a smiling baby. And with those dimples, my Olive is about the most adorable baby in the world.

Friday, March 9

Olive's One-Month Update

Remember how the first time I didn't get Milo's monthly photo/update posted on the 21st was when he was 22 months old? Yes, well. I missed Olive's very first month. Poor second children. Always getting forgotten. In my defense, I didn't exactly forget to take her photo and get something posted. It was more that it hadn't even occurred to me to take a monthly photo.

Forget I said that. I don't think I'm helping my case.

But of course I'm guilty of not taking nearly as many photos of Olive in her first few weeks as I took of Milo. And as a secondborn child myself, I should be standing up for her rights. So, Olive, I promise you, Mommy is going to try to be better. And so I present the first (of many, 24 at least) monthly update.

Olive, I have no official stats on weight and length to offer, since you do not have your next check-up until you're two months old. I do know that you are outgrowing your newborn cloths at an alarming rate, and that it royally ticks you off when your pj's are not long enough for you to fully stretch out in.

Olive does not like to be swaddled and hasn't since the first couple days of her life. She much prefers to have her arms free and usually sleeps with them up by her head. She also does not really care for her paci, though it does calm her down and get her to sleep from time to time. She easily relaxes when being walked around and patted on the bum, and she can sense the minute you sit down no matter how hard you try to emulate the motion of walking.

She gave me her first smile yesterday, right at the one-month mark. I was tickling her face and making funny noises and she looked me in the eye and smiled as her arms flailed about. I'm hoping it was a real smile and not just a reflex. She has adorable dimples and I can't wait to see them more often.

Olive has had her first bath in the bathtub, and it was not her favorite thing. She just looked cold the whole time, despite the space heater and my efforts to continually pour warm water over her belly and arms to keep her toasty.

She has had a cold the last few days, and sleeps really well on her belly. It's a real shame that sleeping on one's belly is no longer acceptable, because I think she'd be happiest in that position. We have laid her on her belly for brief periods of time while she naps, though always checking on her frequently. I would never ever forgive myself if something happened to her while she was on her belly.

I'm actually growing quite fond of her. I'm not one of those people who instantly bonds with her child the moment she lays eyes on her or hears her cry. It takes me awhile to connect. Of course I loved her from the start and felt fierce protective emotion when it came to her time in the NICU and her overall health and well-being, but it takes me longer to start to really just like her. I hope I am not sounding like a terrible mom, but that's just how it is for me. But now that I've spent a month with this lady and am getting to know her better, there's a love for her that is never ever going to go away.

I adore my new family of four. Olive is the just-right addition to fill up our house and our hearts.

Wednesday, March 7

Oh, newborns

I had forgotten how much time it takes to take care of a newborn baby. Like, all my time. Every day. It leaves very little time for blogging. In fact, as I quickly type this, I am listening to the screams of a baby who has just gotten her first cold and does not like it at all. I have been attempting to soothe this baby all damn day, and I need a little break. So while she is within arm's reach, I am attempting to ignore her for a couple of minutes.

And, wait, what's that? Is she going to stop crying and fall asleep already like she should have done HOURS ago? Knock on wood, I'm going to ruin it if I speak of sleep too soon. Oh, the snores of a baby with a cold. Cute and sad, all at once.

I remember Milo's first cold. I was a hot mess because I was certain he was going to stop breathing at any moment. Somehow he (and I) made it through that first snotty night and it was much easier from then on. But I am rambling. I intended to use my blogging time to update you on life with a newborn. So here goes.

Olive is four weeks old today. She likes being snuggled, being warm, laying on her tummy (occasionally), sucking on her paci (occasionally), and being clothed. She does not like getting her diaper changed, taking baths, or having her clothes off. Things are getting a little easier, though she doesn't have much of a routine to speak of. It's still a complete crap shoot on whether she'll be awake, asleep, or hungry at any given time of day. I am often asked two things: 1) Is she a good baby? My answer? Of course. But she's a newborn, and they are kind of inconsiderate jerks. 2) Are you getting any sleep? The answer to this is simply "Enough." Obviously I'm tired; I haven't slept more than about four hours straight in several weeks, and it's usually closer to three hours. But that's just par for the course, isn't it?

Just two days after we brought Olive home from the hospital, Andrew came down with the flu. He was really, really sick. I'll spare you the details, but he was pretty useless at childcare for about three days. So I, still healing from giving birth and in a lot of pain myself, was taking care of both kiddos, at least the evening and night shifts, as Milo was going to daycare during the day. And Milo had not yet adjusted to life with a new baby, and he was not sleeping well at all. He was clingy and cranky and on top of dealing with having a sister all of a sudden, he missed playing with Daddy, too. I think that first night of Andrew's flu I slept about three hours total, if that. I basically detested my husband for about 72 hours. But he got better and I got over it. But that was week one. It had to get better from there.

Weeks two and three were good on the whole. Milo was still not sleeping; he typically cried for 30 minutes to an hour before finally falling asleep each night. He absolutely did not want Mommy and Daddy to leave him. Thankfully by week four he was getting back to normal, going to bed without a fuss and sleeping through the night. As for Olive, she often had an awake time between 9ish and 11ish, which was pretty lame. Right about the time we finally got Milo down and were desperate for a little rest, Olive started up with the crying and the neediness. Man, newborns... (see paragraph 4, question 1 answer) But on the whole, we really can't complain, because she didn't actually scream the entire time, as long as she was being walked around and cuddled. I think I recall Milo as a newborn, and he just flat out wouldn't be soothed, no matter how he was held, swaddled, rocked, etc.

We had Olive's newborn photos taken last weekend, and seeing the proofs made me notice just how red her hair is. Of course it looks reddish to me, but when I look at her, it seems darker than it did in the photos. I just might have a mini-me for a daughter. Andrew's probably in there somewhere, I imagine. Jaime Russell, our photographer, did a great job. Check out her website here:

Olive moved to her own bedroom and her own crib just two nights ago. She's doing fine in there, and I am sleeping better. It's easier to fall back asleep after a nursing session when I can't hear every snort and wheeze and sigh.

I'm sure I have more to say, but I'll wrap up for now. My laptop battery is dangerously low, and if I don't publish this entry now, it could be weeks before I get back to it. Because life with a newborn is just like that.