Saturday, November 04, 2006


Hospital nursery photos.

Gabriel (left), Katrina (right), both barely 24 hours old (Julian never made it to the nursery).

Pretty goofy! But there's some resemblance -- to each other, though not at all to themselves now.

11/4/06 Life improves, sleepless

Instead of being up until 2am, last night I was up from 2:30am on, until about 5:30am, with more wakeups and tummy troubles. Then she was on and off all morning, but took a good solid snooze in the afternoon. More and more calm time today, and soothing activity actually works sometimes. Yay!

Look at this beautiful hand-knit overall outfit Bonne Maman brought Katrina (she didn't knit it though). Or can you? This photo session got way screwed up -- why are these pictures so grainy?! I must have messed up a setting on my overall setting-free new camera. Wah, 'cause some of these shots are SO cute.

I wish I'd been more alert today though. 2 hours of consecutive sleep, once a night, doesn't do that.

At least I got to take the edge off with short snoozes while Bonne Maman played catch with Julian. And we had a relatively relaxed afternoon while Julian and Katrina both took long naps (no contractors on Saturday, yay). I'm starting to wonder how I ever survived without Mom here! Thanks Mom!


Friday, November 03, 2006

11/3/06 The difference an hour makes

Wasted. More emotionally than physically I guess, but creamed nonetheless. What do you do with a baby who has you "on" for so many consecutive hours?

At times, you can hear Katrina's stomach churning from across the room, and her stomach feels taut. Poor thing. I do everything I can think of to release the gas, but all it does is make her cry more. Ironic that she has all these stomach troubles after all the gastric ills I suffered in pregnancy.

Despite starting off the day wasted from an intense evening and night, and a hectic morning from dealing with the electricians, it turned into a nice relaxing day. And all because I was able to go to my follow-up appointment with Dr. Teagle (for my "ooky" surgery incision, in her words) by myself. Mom stayed home with Gabriel and a sleeping Katrina, and I had a whole hour without constantly being on the alert for baby sounds and movements. That completely revived me, and I had a lot more energy today for the usual Katrina contortions, which were fortunately far fewer than yesterday.

Part of what made the day so easy was that Julian was at Tonya's all day, since construction upstairs makes his naps impossible. Also, with the boys together, there's a good chance I'd need to send Gabriel to his room, which I just can't do when there's a compound miter saw going in there.

And sure enough, Gabriel was sweet, delightful, funny and just great to have all afternoon. Bonne Maman read him a book she brought for him, and she noticed that he's very interested in learning to read it himself.

We actually had a lot of Happy Baby Fun Time today, including a nice walk with an awake calm baby in the stroller, and Gabriel bopping along with his beloved Teddy Bear. Later, Mom took Gabriel on an errand as I started preparing dinner. Katrina sat quietly in her infant carrier, looking around and listening to Julian and I singing made-up variations on "Jimmy Crack Corn," and then fell asleep! That was some nice time alone with a darling Julian (who hasn't been all that darling lately).

Mom is definitely seeing first-hand the dynamics of two boys -- brothers close in age -- and understands we multiple-boy-moms' lives a lot better now! Though the boys often play great together, and they clearly mean the world to each other, for us, life is far more enjoyable when they're apart.

While waiting at the doctor's office today, I thumbed through a Parenting magazine, and came across one of the most inane "tips" I've ever heard: for those days you're particularly pressed for time, give your kids dinner in the bath! Oh yeah, brilliant!

11/3/06 (Happy Birthday Aunt Stephanie!)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

11/2/06 Katrina, awake

Tough evening capped off an overall good day. Baby tied up my entire evening, pretty much from dinner-making on. I got stuff done, but in quick 5-minute spurts during brief naps or crying sessions. We did have about 20 minutes Happy Baby Fun Time in the bouncer during dinner though. Finally at 2am she went to sleep for real. I wish holding her comforted her.

The day was fun though, despite a hectic morning dealing with contractors and other remodelling things. Bonne Maman came to music class, which Julian loved. And Katrina was awake and mostly happy during that time too.

We had to take Gabriel to the pediatrician for an ear check, then went to Whole Foods to grocery-shop. All three kids were asleep in the car by the time we got there, so Bonne Maman stayed with them in the car while I shopped!

We managed to get in a little photo session today too.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

11/1/06 Bonne Maman visits

Another tough evening, but good night, with only one easy baby wakeup.

I asked Tonya to keep Julian all day today, since electricians upstairs make his nap impossible, and he's missed a nap for two days now. And it shows. He's been a real pest lately.

Before going to see Dr. Teagle today about my poorly healing surgery incision, I stopped by Learning Game and got some maze, connect-the-dot, coloring, and magnet books for the boys. Score! Gabriel spent the entire afternoon quietly coloring and working on mazes, with one red crayon. He didn't even pull his trains out.

But when we picked Julian up, he was clearly glad to see his brother, his energy level skyrocketed and he wasted no time instigating trouble, though later both boys tackled their new coloring books peacefully.

Katrina slept ALL day, though I woke her every 3 hours to nurse. Then I took her to SFO to pick up Bonne Maman! She woke up after we got home, and her grandmother got a good dose of Katrina-land (WAH-WAH-WAH after sleeping all day, being fed, and with a clean diaper). She calmed down after the bath and Dave got her to sleep pretty easily...for now! Let's hope for another good night.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

10/31/06 Happy Halloween!

A packed day, and I welcome it, since I'm physically able to do that now. In fact, the day started with a quick warm-up workout at the Y, where I discovered I could ride the recumbent bike a lot longer, and lift a lot more weight, when I was pregnant than now!

Dave commented tonight that it seems our garbage is constantly full now. I told him that's because I'm so much more productive! I'm actually cleaning up around the house now, getting rid of things in the fridge, going through those months worth of magazines, culling toys...amazing how much you can get done 10 seconds at a time while bouncing a baby around.

Then I took Julian and Katrina to Gabriel's pre-K, minutes too late to see their Halloween parade. But I did get pictures of his class, and then the whole school (well, the older kids)

After picking Gabriel up from pre-K, I actually dared to take all three kids to Trader Joe's. Eeps! But it worked out well. I gave the boys each one Trader Joe's sack to carry, and put various light items in the sacks, and they took their carrying jobs very seriously. Katrina slept the whole time.

I'm finding that these sorts of things (a grocery outing, a trip to brother's school) are a little more possible and predictable when I make a point of nursing baby every 2.5 - 3 hours. When I'm at my wits' end and nurse her after just 2 hours, she consistently doesn't nurse well (a bad thing when battling thrush) and cries afterward anyway.

Once again, a great afternoon despite Julian's not taking a nap (too much construction upstairs, and he resisted a living-room "campout"). We also took some photos of all the kids lying down, at Gabriel's request: he wanted to see how much bigger he was than everyone else! They both insisted on being next to the baby for these pictures.

But the no-nap thing was OK, the boys had an early dinner and we went trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I took a fussy Katrina in the Baby Bjorn, which basically worked. It was nice to reconnect with our neighbors -- I haven't talked to any of them even since being pregnant! So un-community-like, even though we have very nice neighbors, and some have kids exactly the same age.

Yesterday evening was tough; lots of baby crying and waking up 10-20 minutes after falling asleep, and being inconsolable inbetween. I think she's just tired, so I'm now trying to get her calm, then put her down, maybe give her the pacifier and stroke and rock her, then let her fall asleep on her own. When she wakes up and cries, I pick her up, try to calm her down and go through the whole thing again. Last night it was about four hours of this, with nursing every 2 hours or so. But then we had a great night and she only woke up once and went right back to sleep after nursing.

Something tells me I'm not the only mom relieved Halloween is over. It was fun, but now I'm ready to put costumes, parties, parades, and piles and piles of candy to rest for another year.


Monday, October 30, 2006

10/30/06 A surprise day

So many things went well today I don't even know where to start.

Katrina slept like a textbook baby last night, waking up every three hours, nursing, and going right back to sleep (except once when I had to hold her for about half an hour sitting up).

Gabriel woke up at 5:30am (urgh!) but played quietly, and then Julian joined him around 6:30am. And they played together without a single fight or Julian crying until about 7:30! They still got in trouble for throwing a ball indoors, but at least they were cooperating.

Once the boys were off to "school," I was able to get some pressing things done, not the least of which was get another Diflucan prescription for what I'm pretty sure is thrush returning. My nursing pain had been diminishing, but has picked back up the past few days, so I'm glad to get some medicine for it again.

Katrina had lots of awake happy moments today, though they often involved some work. Still, she let me have breakfast while she sat in the bouncer and looked out the window.

I experimented with getting some closeups, but it's very hard with a baby so young there's no way to get their attention and their movements are very jerky.

She was also content to lie on our bed (in our upstairs bedroom, finally!) and look around while I took care of a few things upstairs. These little moments of her being calm while I zoom around throwing in one load of laundry, folding one blanket, putting away one stack of little boys jeans, are a huge help.

But how would I do in the afternoon, with both boys home? And construction going on in all rooms upstairs, so no way to get Julian to take a nap in a usual place?

Incredibly, it went really well. I tried to get Julian to "camp out" in the living room for a nap, but he was too distracted and got up after about half an hour. Still, it was enough time for me to get a take-the-edge-off short snooze myself.

Then the boys spent the entire afternoon doing very basic things: Gabriel colored for hours. Julian dumped cards out of a box and put them back in one by one. Gabriel played with a puzzle.

Julian cut his preschool "project" (a sheet of paper with Halloween images he'd colored) into tiny little bits. (I had no idea he was so good with scissors!).

Gabriel too cut out a "dark pink" house he'd colored at pre-K, with his usual meticulous attention to detail.

I made pumpkin-bread muffins with the boys, to bring to Gabriel's school tomorrow for Halloween. It's so nice to be able to bake again! And all afternoon, Katrina slept, and the boys quietly concentrated on their projects and barely fought at all. What a relief!

Before dinner, I got some nice awake-baby time, though once again I had to work at it. I sat with her and put her on my knees and bounced her around while Julian and I sang to some Music Together songs. Then I tried wrapping her up and just setting her down in the bassinet -- she was acting tired. I had to pick her up twice and calm her down, but ultimately I was able to set her down and she went to sleep on her own. That was very encouraging, having been able to do it without a lot of crying.

oh dear, but now we're having a hard time getting her to sleep. well, it was still a good day. such a contrast to the angst of yesterday.

(happy birthday cousin Remi!!)


Sunday, October 29, 2006

10/29/06 A nice picture

Incredibly, Paul was able to get a good photo the day he visited with his new Nikon dSLR camera. A real challenge since Katrina was all fuss then, and I'm not much of a model either! Paul is also expert at post-processing in Photoshop, and it shows.

I love this picture. Another so-so moment turned into a nice memory by a photo.

10/29/06 Mom reflects on life

Last night gets a 6 out of 10. Katrina woke up a lot, but pretty much went back to sleep after each wakeup and nursing, though a few times I had to jiggle her in my arms for a while. Then I fell asleep sitting up holding her, and got two separate hours of sleep that way, which is never really restorative sleep. Still, that's a far sight better than pacing her around for hours.

I still can't believe it when other people talk about how exhausting a baby is, waking you up every three hours at night -- and they're talking about babies that go right back to sleep! I'd be thrilled with that "problem!"

Today I took the boys (and girl) to another Halloween party, a nice small one due to space limitations in the house, but wonderfully decorated and thought-out. I love these events, and love hanging around with other moms and watching the kids play...but on the drive there, I saw a couple of motorcyclists on sportbikes, full leathers, cruising with one hand on hip, in that "ah I had my ride, now I'm just hangin'" sort of way I remember so well, and I was overwhelmed with sadness. I am so far removed from that life, one I loved and thrived in. It set me off.

Now it seems my life is void of joy. I'm constantly on edge, always feeling strained and stressed, unable to concentrate, and unable to find comfort in the small rewards that make full-time mom life fun.

What fun? I have a fussy baby who at any moment can derail my day with hours of crying. My patience with my backtalking shrieking boys is nil, and all I say to my resigned husband is barking an order here or there. I'm supposed to cherish every moment, since it all "goes so fast." I'm supposed to adore my children, be awash in warmth and gratitude for my idyllic life. I hit the jackpot after all, three healthy vibrant children, a loyal reliable husband who I love, a nice big house, basic financial soundness...all we're missing is the picket fence.

Even the girl thing stresses me out, irrationally. I sort of wanted a girl the second time around, but now I feel like it will split up the family. Silly, and premature, I know. And of course, I have what I have, and there are so many wonderful things about having a girl, though for me that will come later. Much of what people say excitedly about having a girl relates to things that have never meant much to me (clothes, cute things). It almost seems a waste for a computer-hacking motorcycle-riding wannabe-carpenter mom to have a beautiful baby girl. So far, all I have is a fussy crying unhappy baby.

Then there's the guilt. Guilt for not being overjoyed with my perfect life. Guilt for being annoyed at the boys all the time. Guilt for not completely loving my baby at all times. Guilt for dreading hearing her wake up. She's just a 3-week old little creature with a troublesome gastric tract, poor thing, none of this is her fault.

Rationally I know how to cope with this -- I should, since at 43 I have plenty of experience pulling myself out of dark moods. I know this baby phase won't last forever. I know that the pain from the surgery incision will go away eventually (a constant mood-drainer). I know that a regular exercise routine is essential to mood stabilization for me. I know I'll get regular, predictable sleep again, someday. I know that I'll have wonderful, warm happy moments with Katrina, and all the kids together. I know that someday, I'll ride again.

Meantime, today at the party, I talked to another mom of three (girls), whose youngest was 10 months old. And she related to and confirmed every negative emotion I've been feeling. She assured me it does get easier as the third gets older, that joy does creep back in, that guilt dissipates and that you do start to feel like yourself again. That helped so much, I felt so much better. When you're overwhelmed like this, the first thing you lose is perspective, and having some injected from someone who's just stepped out of the cloud is a huge help.

And so I'll take photos of everyone appearing to have a great time, and later I'll forget that at the moment, I was tense and in some or other form of pain. It helps a lot to be in a good, happy situation, surrounded by genuinely happy people. It rubs off. I am very lucky to have so many wonderful friends.

Gabriel and Julian had a grand time at the party today. A battery-powered tractor -- with trailer! -- was a real score for Gabriel (and he was actually OK about getting off it for other kids' turns, at least that I saw).

Julian liked a little razor scooter and even sort of was able to ride it, to my surprise.

But the real fun came from a play well. First, it was about pumping water.

Then somehow it devolved into throwing water at each other, until all the boys involved were completely soaked. Somehow Gabriel and Julian managed to be the most soaked, Julian especially (apparently he got a pumpkinful of water dumped over his head by his older brother). We had to borrow clothes just to get home!

There was plenty to see and do at this beautifully decorated and entertaining party, though Katrina mercifully slept through most of it, and mostly looked around when she was awake.

Actually, she's been asleep pretty much since we got home, minus wakeup time for feeding. I'm grateful to have a break from WAH-WAH-WAH, but dreading it coming in the middle of the night again.

Tomorrow starts a new week: the boys will be home every afternoon! But, Bonne Maman is coming Wednesday night, so it still won't be a completely normal week. I'm determined to stick out November and December with all three all afternoons, then ramp up childcare again in January if I'm really struggling. But Katrina will be older by then, and hopefully she will find awake life a little more fulfilling. And hopefully I will too.