Saturday, October 21, 2006

10/21/06 Katrina goes to Bobbi's

We all went to Bobbi's this morning before Gabriel's gymnastics class, our first time as a family of five! Katrina slept through this momentous occasion. Just as well, because Dave and I had our hands full keeping the boys under control.

An old nemesis has crept back into my life: headaches. One incredible thing about pregnancy is that it kept my chronic headaches at bay, but yesterday and today I've been fighting what I call "irrational sleepiness." My concentration is shot, and every head motion makes me feel like I'm going to fall asleep. It's a precursor to a severe headache, with all the weird sensations before the pain sets in. The absolute best way to cope is to sleep it off, but it took until 3 in the afternoon before I was able to do so today, between Katrina and Julian conspiring.

Gabriel went with Dave to Belmont to pick up more doors for our remodel. Since Katrina has been born, I've been increasingly stressed and upset about our house, for several reasons. One, I've been watching a lot of HGTV and seeing nicely finished and decorated homes and feeling very tired of being surrounded by such temporary fixings. Two, I have a lot more energy to care now, and want to do things like bake cookies which only reminds me how bad our kitchen is. Three, a new carpenter started the day before Katrina was born, and he's not nearly as good as the guys our general contractor has sent before, and it's stressing both Dave and myself. Even though I've never been into "decorating a nursery," I'm really starting to resent not being able to if I wanted to. I have a baby and two little boys; dealing with carpenters (and one who needs a lot of guidance I'm not qualified to give) is too much right now.

This afternoon as Dave and I walked around the backyard and upstairs, he carried a content and curious Katrina around. She was actually awake and happy during that time, a nice welcome moment. Later in the afternoon, I had a heck of a time just making Julian a simple sandwich. I managed to get her to sleep so I could get Julian down for a nap, but I hate how impatient I get with his putzing around. Knowing that baby could interrupt me at any moment is stressful, and there was a chance I'd have to abandon the nap preparation process at any moment. I know I got through this when Julian was a baby, but how?!

Katrina didn't think much of hanging out on the floor in the family room while I tried to clean up dinner, either. But it was worth a shot.


Friday, October 20, 2006

10/20/06 Katrina's stats

Katrina and the soft stuffed bear Beth's bigger than she is! But she liked looking at it, though really, she was wiggling and looking around at everything.

Today was Katrina's 2-week checkup. She was at the pediatrician a week ago for a weight check, and was 6 lbs 14 oz. Today hopefully she'd be back up to her birth weight of 7 lbs 2 oz.

I explained to the nurse weighing her that genetics weren't in her favor for having recouped her birth weight yet, but then a big surprise: 7lbs 8 oz! That's 10 oz in a week, unprecedented among Doudna babies. Furthermore, her length is up 1-3/4" from when she was born just two weeks ago. Indeed, her face has filled out and head has visibly grown. Also, she's keeping Pampers in business with her business, so it looks like any feeding concerns I had in the beginning have been resolved.

So, today her stats were:

7 lbs 8 oz (25th %ile)
20-3/4" long (75th %ile)
36.4 cm head circumference

We had a little more happy-baby-fun-time today than usual, but never when I need it. I wish I could set her down for just 5 minutes without her screaming, just so I can pour cereal, tie a shoe, zip a jacket, give a hug, or do any number of things little boys need from Mom in the morning. (Actually, these days, Dad does most of the morning stuff, but it helps him a lot if I can manage to just get shoes on.)

The boys are at Tonya's monthly sleepover tonight, perfect timing for Dave and I to go out and celebrate his birthday with a longtime tradition of his: Benihana. For birthdays, they do a little singing, blowing out a candle, and then take a photo. Katrina slept through our entire dinner!

Speaking of sleep, she slept pretty much all day long, with a few happy times after waking up on her own (I didn't let her sleep more than 3 hours at a time, a strategy Dr. Loeb supported). I hope that doesn't mean her awake time comes tonight.

Another bath victory: she was full-on wailing the newborn WAH-WAH-WAH as Dave was getting her ready for the bath. But as soon she was immersed in the warm water, she calmed right down. Then for over 10 minutes, she just looked around and was very relaxed, including when I washed her hair and then floated her around. Goody!

Night report: Katrina woke up pretty much every 3 hours, though at 5am wouldn't go right back to sleep after nursing, so I lay with her and held the pacifier for her. Not too bad. Very sweet, in fact, though I get stiff lying in one position that long. But that's a far sight better than dancing her around the living room at 3am!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

10/19/06 The boys get some Mom time

I was all set to sit down and blog happily about a good day, when the evening had to intrude.

First, today is Dave's 40th birthday. Happy Birthday! Middle age suits Dave, as he's always been a bit curmudgeonly. And I say that with the greatest affection.

This morning, I spent some time with Julian before music class, then went to music class. I considered blowing it off, as I have a lot to catch up on and had arranged for him to be at Tonya's all day, but my lack of one-on-one time with the boys has really weighed on me lately.

First, Julian had to play with a very soft bear that Beth brought for Katrina.

I'm glad we went to music class, Julian had a great time and sang the songs in the class all the way home. On the way to class, Julian was singing a song he made up: "I am a pizza."

Katrina, who stayed awake for about 45 minutes after each wakeup last night (urgh), managed to sleep through the utter racket of music class though!

After music class, I took Julian to Tonya's, went home and had lunch and talked to a carpenter, then picked Gabriel up from Kids Inc. I'd considered finding him a playdate today, but again thought he needed some home downtime and some mom-alone time, if baby would permit that.

Gabriel was great, singing a storyline about trains while building a track, then let me take a much-needed nap. He helped me wrap a present for Dave, cutting a very straight line in the wrapping paper, cutting the ribbon, putting scotch tape down just so.

Then I set him up with a Stacey-inspired project while I tended to Katrina, of cutting bits of wrapping paper and ribbon and pasting them to a piece of paper. He really liked this project and very proudly showed me his work. I imagined he'd do a more random collage sort of thing, but I keep forgetting who I'm dealing with! We had some hot chocolate, sat and talked, and overall had a very nice afternoon together.

Then it was time to pick up Julian. When we got home, Katrina was awake, tired, and not happy. No chance at all to get started on dinner, which meant the boys started falling apart fast, with Julian being the primary perpetrator. He still screeches a horrible high-pitched sound when he's mad, which now means an instant trip outside. I had to confiscate toys, grab them apart from each other, scold them for throwing, kick Julian out, all with a fussy baby on me.

Meantime, I tried to soothe Katrina by dancing her around in the pouch, which calmed her for a very short time.

And Julian has suddenly gone way backward in his pottying. Sunday, watching Thomas, he peed on the couch and didn't tell us. Then Tuesday at Tonya's he did it again, then again today when I picked him up. At home, he had another accident just an hour later!! I got to take care of that with one hand and crying baby on me too.

The good news in all this is that I'm far more physically capable now than I was even a week ago. I found myself trotting down our porch stairs today, and later, going upstairs two at a time, carrying a kicking screaming Julian. Being able to stand up and dance a fussy baby around for half an hour without my postpartum rear end throbbing in pain is also a huge improvement. I still have a ways to go, but I'll be ready to start exercising next week. Yay!

Finally the boys settled down and conspired to set up a play bed right in the kitchen (I think because I had to put a pajama top on Julian after he wet his T-shirt), so they were good while I was making dinner. But Katrina still wouldn't let me off the hook -- everything I did while making and eating dinner was in quick 10-minute snippets between her needing more attention.

Then Julian spoiled what should have been a nice, if brief, birthday celebration for Dave, getting himself sent to his room for the rest of the evening. Which meant, no cake! Boy was he bummed about that. I hope this lesson sinks in, but I have my doubts.

Gabriel, meantime, was great, and sang Happy Birthday with me (though I was very sad that Julian wasn't with us). I couldn't sit down with Dave and Gabriel for cake though, since Katrina called once again. We never did get to open Dave's gift that Gabriel had so proudly helped wrap.

I'm still sorry Julian was such a pain tonight, but glad I had a lot of good one-on-one time with both boys today, especially Gabriel. I don't want Katrina to grow up too quickly, but things will be a lot easier when she can be awake and not demand my full attention and both my hands too. Just a few minutes here and there of being happy so I can throw some frozen food in the microwave would be a big help!

After an afternoon and evening of waking up soon after falling asleep, and waking up tired and cranky every time, I gave her a bath and she settled right down. It was the calmest bath she's had yet, and Dave got her to sleep afterward, which is why I'm able to write right now at all.

Still, despite the hectic and demanding evening, at least it has a semblance of normalcy, and can only get better from there. I'm so grateful and excited to be physically recovering and regaining strength and energy to deal with all this. I have to. There is no other way.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10/18/06 Katrina in flowers

Another textbook night, mostly. Wakeups every 3 hours or so, and right back to sleep afterward. Yay baby! OK, there was a little "happy baby fun time" at 6am, meaning, awake and alert, but not crying. A few times today I got 10 minutes or so at a time of Katrina just looking around calmly. Good, 'cause when she's crying, she's pretty hard to hold. Newborns are so floppy, they take two hands to hold.

Betsy gave us an adorable sleeper/blanket/cloth matching set, with purple flowers. I'm really not big on the whole cute-girl-clothes thing, but this really is pretty. I do like nice patterns on fabrics and scrapbook paper, after all. Katrina looks adorable in it, but also the blanket is a nice heavy one and great for a tight swaddle. Which she still gets out of. (Thank you Betsy!)

We finally FINALLY got some decent shelves in the garage! After months of bugging this carpenter for a time and date, he built us some fabulous heavy-duty storage shelves in the garage. The lowest shelf is deliberately high enough to store bicycles, strollers, shop-vacs and any number of large, awkwardly-shaped things, underneath.

My closets are done in our bedroom too, and most of the construction stuff is out of our bedroom. This weekend, we'll try to move all the upstairs furniture into that room. Yay! Though baby will make that difficult, at least now that I'm not pregnant, it's not impossible. A trip up the stairs doesn't wipe me out for hours now (though walking around Target today said that I'm still a long, long ways from normal).

Another wonderful dinner from another wonderful mom friend tonight. I've been saying I have no family support here, but I do have amazing support from my Las Madres mom friends -- some of whom I don't even know very well. I hope I can return the favor someday, these ladies are really marvelous.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

10/17/06 Katrina's routine

Day by day, a routine is gradually emerging. Katrina's best sleep time seems to be all morning and early afternoon, which I'm gently interrupting by waking her every 2-3 hours to nurse.

This morning we had a nice breakthrough: some awake happy time! I set her down in the bouncer and she looked around for about 15 minutes, listening to me and her brothers bustling about, getting ready for school/Tonya's. Eventually she got sleepy and nodded off.

In the late afternoon, she's awake more, and I try to extend awake-happy times as possible by entertaining her. Today's "entertainment" was going to pick up Gabriel at Gavin's house for another playdate. Stacey is amazing, she's taken Gabriel two weeks in a row now, and today had another kid too. Her fabulous house in Los Altos has a studio in the back, a perfect play area for the kids. Gabriel wasted no time diving into Gavin's GeoTrax train set.

Unfortunately, getting him to leave was a problem; he wouldn't pee, put his shoes on, or thank Stacey, and ended up hurling commands and insults at me as well. I talked to him about it later, and he claimed to be sorry and said he wouldn't do so again.

In the late evening after dinner, I try to keep Katrina awake and happy and give her brothers some time to see her. Tonight she tolerated the bouncer again for about 15 minutes! Then I give her a bath, only to establish the habit and in theory because the warm water should be soothing (though I waited too long tonight and she was too tired and cried hard through the whole thing).

After the bath, it's pajamas and "bedtime," meaning, I put her in the bassinet, lights low, noisemaker on (to mask kitchen sounds), brothers upstairs.

Tonight I actually put her down with eyes glazed and crossed, but open, and she went to sleep on her own! I'm trying not to nurse her to sleep, partly because it hurts like all get-out right now, and partly so that she learns to fall asleep on her own from the very beginning and we don't have a painful transition later. I also can't handle having her in bed with us right now, as it's still difficult for me to manuever myself lying down.

So, no (or little) falling asleep on me, and no sleeping right next to me in bed. This should avoid problems I had with the first two that truly detracted from my baby experience...but at what cost? I do so miss those warm moments. There's nothing in the world like going to sleep and waking up surrounding your sweet baby, touching them during the night, feeling them breathe. Or is there? Being alert and rested to enjoy your baby during the day is pretty good too.

Last night was a textbook night, with wakeups every 3 hours, nurse, then right back to sleep. Let's hope for more of that!


Monday, October 16, 2006

10/16/06 Three in a car

Today I picked Gabriel and Julian up from Tonya's with Katrina, and put all three of them in the car for the first time! Then took them home and had all three alone for about an hour while I prepared dinner. Fortunately, Katrina slept through all of that. Still, it was a momentous occasion.

The night report: so-so. We had a few hours of waking up soon after going to sleep, lots of crying. From 12pm - 1am, I danced her around the living room, and she calmed down for brief periods during that, but eventually wouldn't be consoled at all. Then I tried (again) lying down with her and giving her the pacifier, and she settled down after a while. I fell asleep too, but not comfortably, and didn't really get to stretch out and sleep until 3:30am, when I moved her to the bassinet.

One thing I'm doing very differently is not letting the baby sleep all day. I wake Katrina up every 2-3 hours to nurse (if she doesn't wake up herself) during the day. The intent is to coax her long stretches of sleep to be at night, but I'm finding other benefits too. It gives me little stretches of the day when I can be fairly confident she'll sleep, such as if I have to take another kid to the pediatrician, or prepare dinner. (Note that I don't say "make" dinner, because my wonderful mom friends have been showering us with premade homemade meals!)

Tonya commented today that Katrina has such a serious look about her. I know exactly what she means, and it's almost eerie. Katrina's facial expressions -- the studious furrowed brow, the focus, the pout, the whistle-face, and the attraction to ceiling fans -- all carbon copies of her older older brother. She doesn't do these things nearly as long as Gabriel did, in fact happy alert times with me are pretty short and rare, but she's still so much like Gabriel it's a little nerve-wracking!

Two baths in a row without any significant crying, except the getting in and out part. Now that I can really immerse her, she likes it when I go so far as to take her out of the bath seat and just float her around the water. Good, 'cause we're a water family around here.


10/16/06 Gabriel goes to the pediatrician

Gabriel has something on his face that we at first thought was a scrape, but not only didn't it heal, it gradually got worse and worse as days passed. He kept wiping the back of his hand across it, and now it's on his hand!

So I took him to see Dr. Loeb today, but it's no big deal. Some sort of "contact rash," not contagious (or we'd all be covered in it by now), treated with hydrocortisone or a prescription steroid cream if necessary.

I had some time waiting in the doctor's office to just sit and talk to him. It wasn't about much; he still says a lot of nonsensical things, but especially with a new baby in the house, it really struck me how far we've come. He's a regular little kid now. I really need to spend more time doing that, just sitting and talking to him.

Gabriel actually comes home with "homework," believe it or not. It's not really homework, there's no deadline, and no penalty for not doing it. The intent is to get parents to sit and help their kids with a minor project and reinforce the skills they learned at school. This week, the homework helped him practice his scissor skills (last week was Scissor Safety Week), by first coloring a skeleton, then cutting out the pieces, then pasting it to a piece of construction paper. Old hat for artists like cousin Aidan, but we don't do a lot of that around here (and should do more). Gabriel is very meticulous and careful -- and slow -- but does a neat job and really enjoys the "hard work." I don't know, is there a future scrapbooker here?!

I'm encouraged by my daily improvement, so trying to ignore the fact that my body is a long ways off from rehabilitation. My lower back being forced into the position it was for so long really took its toll, and I still can't stand for any real length of time yet. My abdomen is still pretty tender, in new ways every day, but I can lift things (like an infant seat with a not-quite-7-lb infant in it!) now, and get up out of chairs easily, curl up on the couch, and even wash dishes (oh joy).

Gabriel asked me today when we were talking in the doctor's office if I can run with him yet. I told him no, but soon, and when I do I'll run a lot faster! It's in sight: running and chasing and piggy-back rides and tickling. And baking together. Who knew I'd miss those things the most.


10/15/06 Katrina's penguins

Drat, lots to say but outta time, baby awake again. Last night was OK, but it's not looking good for tonight, lots of every-half-hour wakeups.

Katrina with a very funny look on her face wearing an adorable penguin onesy from Spain! Can you believe those skinny ankles though?!