Thursday, May 19, 2016

All By Myself

:: cue Celine Dion's "All By Myself" ::

Last Sunday was the last day of Adam's 1-month paid paternity leave. 
On Monday, he went back to Big Law Firm World where work hours are unpredicable, 
sometimes an easy 9-6 
but even more often because a 9am-midnight or later. 

Paternity Leave was AWESOME. 
A total dream. 

I legit did not cook a single meal. 
Not one. 
Between our Blue Apron subscription and his grilling skills, 
we ate well with plenty of leftovers. 

This week marked the great new challenge of 
Emily Staying Home Alone With 2 KIDS

I wasn't afraid, per se, 
because as I've written before about parenting
I figure if millions of mothers prior to me can figure this out, 
I can too. 

Plus, I have the additional benefit of Aaron staying in daycare Mon, Wed, Fri mornings (8am-noon) and then my sister coming in on Tues/Thurs afternoons to help. 

So really, what could a mother complain about? 

Here's how the first week went: 

Monday = BLISS.  

Oh my!  Such bliss! 
Aaron was in daycare for the morning. 
I took a 3 mile walk with Oliver in the wrap, 
then paid a visit to my coworkers. 
After pickup, BOTH Aaron and Oliver took luxuriously long naps. 

There is no more beautiful simultaneous photos than: 

 Sleeping baby 

Sleeping toddler. 

What more could a mother want? 

After they woke up, they were BOTH pleasant and enjoyable. 
The weather was gorgeous, 
and we sat outside playing baseball and bubbles. 

 I texted Adam: "All days will be like this, RIGHT?" 


Tuesday was still decent, but by lunchtime, 
I was totally OVER the silly toddler antics. 
I was so happy for naptime (er, "quiet time" in his room, since he didn't nap) 
and then my glorious sister arrived and even baby-wore Oliver so I could have some freedom. 

Wednesday was a little less awesome. 

Today I was starting to lose my mind a little. 

This morning, Thursday morning, Oliver was fussy, 
Aaron's antics were at an all-time high, 

The zoo opened at 10am and we were there at 10:01am. 
Oliver was asleep in the wrap, 
and Aaron got to work off his 3-year-old-ness with a bunch of other equally annoying children. 

It's not that either child is being bad. 
No no no. 

Aaron has his typical 3-year-old-isms. 
Not just tantrums (which we've avoided recently - KNOCK ON WOOD) 
bu rather little quirks that have no other word than annoying. 
Sometimes 3-year silliness is hilarious. 
And sometimes it's f**king annoying. 
Sometimes I don't want to answer stupid questions, 
or repeat myself 5,000 times because he didn't like (or listen to!) my answer the first time. 

Oliver, well, he's generally the easier one. 
Except for this: 

Oliver ONLY wants to be the wrap. 
MAYBE once a day I can get him in the swing for a nap. MAYBE. 

I have learned to do EVERYTHING in this wrap. 
Make food. 
Eat food. 
Load the dishwasher. 
Clean up the floor. 
Put Aaron to bed, including bath. 
Take off my makeup (this still needs practice to perfect). 

Yes, the wrap has wonderful bonding properties. 
Every study out there shows baby-wearing is insanely healthy
for both baby and mom alike. 
But sometimes... well, I'd like to go for a damn run. 
By myself. 

Overall how goes the first week alone? 
I'd give it a solid B+. 
I'll get it eventually. 
Just in time to go back to work, haha. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Newborn Memories: Week 2 and 3

I wish I wrote down more things from the first few weeks with Aaron. 
I wrote down our 1 week update
which is funny because it was mostly 
"baby nurses all the time" (still true for Oliver) 
and "hey we finally got him to nap in the crib
(LOL LOL = see below.) 

How about some updates on Oliver week 2 and 3? 

I'm still bleeding. 
Not a lot, but oh how I hate menstrual pads. 
I should stop soon since I'm EBFing, 
but I have no memory of the timeframe Aaron. 

I'm off the pain pills. 
I took myself off Percocet after about a week (it was giving me nightmares), 
and then weaned off Tylenol & Advil regime a few days later. 
As of 2 weeks, I'm pain-pill-free. 
The pain is basically gone, 
but occasionally a particularly long laughing fit will hurt my incision. 

I have lost about 15 lbs (of 30 gained) and seem to be stalling. 
I was losing a pound a day and then SCREECH... stop. 
Now I need to actually start watching what I eat (LOL) 
and maybe get my butt off the couch again (LOL). 
Maybe if it stopped freakin' raining every day, 
I could finally go out and walk. 

Oliver sleeps about 2-3.5 hour spans at night. 
He's relatively consistent, which I LOVE. 
I am fine with little sleep as long as it's consistent
He tends to sleep as such: 
Last nurse at 10pm. 
Nurse at 1am. 
Nurse at 4pm. 
Wake-up nurse at 7pm. 
Each nurse being about 20 minutes max. 

Oliver still sleeps in the Pack n Play next to our bed
and it's the BEST DECISION EVER. 
With Aaron we were all "oh he's going to sleep in his crib
and that was stupid first-time-parenting-goals. 
Sleeping next to me alleviates the "is my baby alive?" anxiety. 
It means I go back to sleep faster after nursing. 
And I can sometimes comfort him just by reaching out and rubbing his head. 

I'm getting pretty good at the Solly Wrap
but just like with Aaron, 
Oliver only likes it if I'm actively walking around. 
This works for grocery shopping, Target, and house hunting, 
but doesn't work for just getting stuff done around the house (e.g. laundry!). 

Passed out in the Solly wrap at Wegmans

Our biggest battle with Oliver is GAS. 
I burp after every nursing session (even in the middle), 
and it still builds up to uncomfortable levels. 
We've tried simethicone and it helps a little. 
Someone recommended gripe water and I guess we'll try that soon too. 
One evening I made the mistake of having 2 glasses of wine while actively nursing, 
After that, I try to leave the adequate 2-hour spacing between wine + nursing, 
which is not easy since Oliver wants to eat ALL THE TIME. 

Aaron is still sweet with Oliver
and still calls his exclusively "baby brother." 
It's adorable and I can't stop loving it. 

While we're talking about Aaron, 
he is FINALLY getting back into his nap routine. 
A week after Oliver was born, 
we moved Aaron to 3-days-a-week, mornings-only daycare. 
Aaron responded with a one-week nap strike which was delightful
He would stay in his room for the required 2 hour "quiet time" 
(more like "noisy play time") 
but the real toll was his disposition as he was exhausted 
and prone to even MORE meltdowns than the standard 3-year-old. 
But as of Saturday, Aaron is napping again. 

Paternity leave is BLISS. 
The one benefit of Big Law Firm world is 1 month paid paternity leave. 
It is bliss. 
Absolute bliss. 
Adam does all the daycare pick-up, drop-off. 
Adam cooks delightful dinners thanks to Blue Apron. 
He takes Aaron out for little outings on Tues/Thurs mornings, 
like going to the driving range. 
It's a win-win for everyone. 
Aaron gets much needed 1-on-1 time. 
Adam gets quality daddy-son time. 
Oliver and I get some quiet time.  
Again, win-win. 

In other news, we celebrated our 5-year anniversary on April 30th
Aaron went to Monthly Kid Swap for the night, 
and we took Oliver to our favorite local spot for a delicious dinner of apps, 
to-die-for desserts, 
and wine/beer. 
Of course, Oliver gained SO MUCH attention from fellow patrons. 
A 2-week-old baby is basically celebrity status. 

Overall our daily schedule goes something like this: 

6am: Aaron is up the second his "Ok to Wake" clock goes green. 
Adam takes Aaron downstairs for chill time. 

7am: Oliver wakes up, we nurse, 
and chill in bed with visits from Aaron and Adam. 

8am: Aaron goes to day (if Mon, Wed, or Fri), 
or prepares to go on a morning adventure with Daddy. 

Shower (my #1 priority - how moms don't shower blows my mind). 
Maybe an outing to Target or grocery store. 
Sometimes an appointment or two. 
Or maybe just hang around the house doing little projects. 

If at daycare, Aaron gets picked up. 
If not, this is when we're wrapping up lunch. 

Aaron naps. 
Sometimes Oliver naps too and sometimes he clusterfeeds every 30 f**king seconds. 

Maybe another outing. 
Maybe more chill time. 

5pm: Dinner. 
Blue Apron, grilling, or leftover. 

6pm-7:30pm: Aaron bath and required "crazy time" pre-bed. 
Somehow Aaron's bedtime has been pushed way back to 7:30/8. 

Zone-out couch time. 
Maybe a beer or two. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Baby Names Part 2

I LOVE hearing why couples chose a particular name. 
 I wrote about our thought process with Aaron's name here

This post is all about Oliver Harold Cole. 

We always knew we'd use the middle name Harold for my dad, 
just as we had used Adam's dad's name for Aaron.
The middle name was a no-argument immediate agreement. 

Before pregnancy, 
my top baby boy name was Ethan
But by the time I was pregnant, 
I'd lost my enthusiasm. 
Ethan was way too similar to Aaron. 
And if I was confusing Aaron and Adam, 
then Aaron and Ethan would be a total disaster! 

My next proposed name was Oliver
I owe it to this blog here for my love of the name Oliver. 
Despite my general dislike for nicknames, 
I had a certain fondness for the nickname "Ollie." 

Unlike the name "Aaron," 
which Adam immediately jumped on, 
Adam was not sold on Oliver.

Very early on - like week 4 or 5 - 
Adam insisted we go through the top 100 baby names. 
Such a horrible exercise for an exhausted first trimester preggo woman. 

Options later discarded: 
- Robert - Too likely for nicknames.
- Chase - eh, not sure about 1-syllable first with 1-syllable last name
- Caleb - I loved the alliteration with Cole, but Adam didn't care for the name 
- Owen - all I think is Owen Wilson 
- Ian - Seems like an "old" name 
- Henry -again, felt "old"
- Oscar - ... the grouch? 
- Preston - cool, but ... eh 
- Keegan - awesome alliteration sound with Cole, 
but inconsistent spelling would drive us nuts

Adam has a tendency to classify names as "strong" or "wussy." 
For example, I like "Aidan" (again, too close to Aaron) 
but Adam classifies it as "wussy" name. 

Hunter was Adam's favorite "STRONG" name. 
I was NOT impressed. 
What kind of a name is Hunter? 
Felt like a cave-man style name. 
I hadn't known any Hunters in my life to give me any other perception. 
But over time, the name grew on me. 
More and more and more. 

Redeeming qualities of Hunter
1. Easy to spell.
2. Does not lend itself to nicknames. 
3. Awesome alliteration with "Harold" 

When I think alliteration, 
I think of alliteration with "Cole" 
but the more I said "Hunter Harold," 
the more I appreciated the alliteration. 

By the time I went for my 13 week sequential scan visit
where I found out this little one would be a boy, 
we were 100% settled on Hunter Harold Cole. 

Problem was... I just didn't love it. 
I kept thinking I'd come to love it over time. 
Logically, I had no argument against it. 
When people asked about the name (we don't share in advance), 
I'd sigh and say: 
"Yes we picked one but I don't love it." 

Finally, late in my 2nd trimester, 
I brought it up to Adam: I still loved Oliver

My only argument for Oliver:
"It's just FEELS like it belongs with Aaron. 
Aaron and Oliver. 
Aaron and Hunter. 
Aaron and Oliver sound better." 
Adam again resumed all his reasoning's against Oliver: 

1. NOT two-syllables 
2. Inevitable nickname: Ollie 
3. How the hell do you spell Ollie? 

Truth was that I didn't love Oliver enough to fight for it. 
So I just let it go. 
I didn't bring it up again, 
but over time a funny thing happened. 
Adam brought it up. 
We'd be driving somewhere and 
he'd casually mention: "I'm kind of warming up to Oliver." 
My response: "Oh" 
(Silence, followed by new conversation topic). 

He kept bringing it up more and more. 
And finally it got to a point where he said: 
"I think I like Oliver better. I agree it flows better with Aaron. 
Hunter is a very 'new' name, while Oliver, like Aaron, has been around forever." 

And that's when we started telling people we switched our baby name 
(not that we ever told them Hunter, so it didn't matter.) 
This was probably around month 8. 

For the remaining months, 
I didn't feel like we had "settled" on a name. 
I was so skeptical that we would end up changing the name at birth. 
Even when I was recovering in the ICU (birth story here), 
the nurses asked the name, 
and I responded with: "I think we settled on Oliver." 

2 weeks in, 
we hardly refer to him as "Oliver" or even "Ollie." 

Ironically, we spend our whole time referring to him as "little man" 
or Aaron's favorite "baby brother." 
We'll see over time if he develops into Oliver or Ollie or just Little O. 
Little O is kind of my favorite right now, hehe.