Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Brother

Dear Stephen,

How did you grow into my 2 year old boy right before my eyes? Yesterday, you were playing in the little pool at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and I was telling Grandma how you have grown so tall and stretched out. You're no longer my baby Stevie. You're my little boy Stevie.

You have been quite the big brother to your new little sister too. When Lydia was born, that was the first time we spent nights away from each other. And really, that was the first time we spent days away from each other too. You don't nap well other places, so I was worried it was going to be a rough weekend while we were at the hospital. You surprised us though...and thrilled us. You still didn't nap super well, but you did sleep quite well at night in a new place at Grandma and Grandpa's. Grandpa said you woke up and fussed a bit the first night. He told you to lay down and go to sleep. You did! When you visited us in the hospital, you were a bit unsure of the place. (I think you get that from your Dad...hehe) You really didn't want to stay long. It was a bit bittersweet for me. I missed you and wanted to be with you, but I was so relieved you were always ready to leave with Grandpa and Grandma with barely a wave goodbye! I know, they are so much fun! You always have such a great time with them. You didn't have many thoughts about your baby sister when you saw her the first time. You let out a few "words", touched her for a second, and then turned your attention to the umbrella stroller Grandma brought you in.

We gave you a book of different trucks, boats, trains, planes, etc. You sat up with me on the bed and looked at the book. That was exciting until you noticed the iv in my arm and tried to pull it out...while I was looking at your book. You also wanted to press the buttons on that monitor too! Yup, we think you're a toddler boy!

You came again the next day, Easter Sunday. I think you were even more less than thrilled to be there that day. You and Daddy took a "man walk" together. Hand in hand, you walked to the freezer to get some special ice cream. Daddy said you talked the whole way (in your own language of course). You shared that chocolate goodness together back at the room.

The day we came home from the hospital, we went to Grandma and Grandpa's to pick you up. You, Nathanael, and Rachael were waiting for us outside with balloons! (And oh you love balloons.)

You were wearing your beloved green boots!

You certainly have a way of always making me smile...and chuckle, you cutie!

On our ride home, you didn't give your sister much of a glance. (Now that I'm thinking of it, you did give her one glance. Sort of, "Who are you?" And that was it.) And that first week or so, that was how it was. You just accepted her.

As the days passed though, you wanted to get more involved. And if she cried, you wailed along with her. Thinking the pacifier would cure any cries, you would try to help by giving her one. If one worked, for sure 2 would work better.

The pacifiers were also pretty funny to stick on your fingers. And, I'll be sure to share this with your future wife: You were interested in the whole nursing deal with this baby sister of yours. You would often lift up your shirt and inspect what was under there. (You did this a lot through the day...even at church.) I thought for sure you were going to try to nurse her one day. Didn't happen. You were also very interested in the pump, and any time I would pump, you wanted to sit on my lap and play with the dials. I didn't encourage that. (I can hear you now, all grown...gross, maybe, but as a toddler, quite hysterical) You would take spare parts that were drying on the counter and put them under your shirt...making us both laugh out loud!

You often go over to your sister and give me a panic because you appear to be trying to pick her up. However, those are your loving hugs. You like to sit next to her on the floor and touch her feet and her hands. Those are so funny to you. In your own way, I'm quite convinced you say, "Lyddie." When we first brought her home and she would cry and you would become so concerned, we would say, "Tell her, 'it's ok, Lyddie.'" Now, when she cries (and you don't), you melt my heart and say, "It's ok. It's ok." And she just loves you. She lights up when she sees you, and you love it when I say, "Stevie, she's looking at you! She's saying, 'Hi, big brother!'" Lydia is going to learn from you, Stevie. We hope she picks up on your joy and reflects it too.

At Lydia's first Dr's appointment, just a couple of days old, you stood right by her carseat with one hand on the handle, gently rocking her. You watched as others walked by with pride and a protective spirit. You never let go of her seat. Dad and I were so proud of you. We hope you continue to love your sister, that you two grow in friendship, and that you will continue to seek to protect her (even though we think she'll be a tough cookie hanging around you). You might not be the baby of the family and an only child anymore, but you will always be my only Stephen, my little Stevie and my big Stevie (and I'm sure, eventually, Steve.) You're becoming quite the little man already, and what a privilege and responsibility it is for me to be a part of that growing and training process. I'm so thankful to have these little boy years with you...even moreso now that I see glimpses of who you'll be when you're grown. I love you so much, Stevie.

Love always,

This little girl

...I think looks like her Daddy (others tell me differently). a girl of many names, Lydia, Lyddie, little Lyds, Baby Girl, Bids... not much of talker...yet, anyway. She just gives a couple of coos and sighs here and there.

...has been sleeping consistenly for the past week and a half 9 hrs to 11 1/2 (Whoa baby! Except last night, of course, was less than that average.) going through a growth spurt!

...still has some unhappy days with some happy ones mixed in.

...spits out the spit up stuck in her mouth. I would do the same, little girl.

...takes a pacifier but not always.

...has some smile! Sometimes, it's quite the cheeser!

...thinks her brother is quite entertaining. quite patient with her brother's "help" with her. (The swing does quite well on it's own. Thank you, Stevie.)

...should have been born with a crash helmet and pads for her brother's "help" and "love."

...has me smiling whenever I say, "little girl"

...will be 3 months old on Saturday! dearly loved!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sleep and Stumpers

I wish I had more time to write (because I don''s a long post of thoughts smushed togeher). My days are just busy and filled to the max with my 2 kiddos. I have so many memories I want to record and remember of these days with a 2 year old and 2 month old. And, I will admit, there are times I'm hoping some days go quicker. Some things are evening out or getting better.

Lydia had been sleeping about 6 or 7 hours at night when we switched her to her big brother's room at exactly 2 months. Boy, did we backtrack a little bit, haha. We had a few long nights, and after one, I looked at Matt and said, "Let's place bets. How long do you think it will take for her to get back to her old sleeping habits she had while in our room?" I figured we may as well have fun with it, and whoever won would receive their prize and we'd be getting more sleep! What a win, win! Well, don't you know, it only took a couple (a few?) more nights, and she was back to sleeping like she had been. So, all in all, maybe a week. That's not so bad. I guessed 3 weeks (really hoping for shorter...but didn't want to be too disappointed or something if it took that long, haha) and Matt had guessed 2 weeks. He was closest, so he wants TGIFriday's takeout. It's definitely a win, win all around!! I know I wanted tips before we started the transition, so in case you're wondering, here's pretty much what we did:
Most of the advice given me was to put one down before the other. It sounded good, but just didn't really fit our routine, but if it works for you, wonderful! I'm sure when they are older, they will need different bedtimes anyway. We give Lydia her bath first, pj's, and then I begin nursing her (my babies are long nursers) in the rocker in their room. Stevie and Daddy are meanwhile wrestling or playing and getting all that extra energy out (while I jokingly remind Daddy we're trying to wind him down before bed!...But really, he does fine.) Then Matt gets Stevie in the tub/shower, pj's, milk and story or 2, prayers, kisses from me, and he gets put in bed with lights out. At this point I'm hopefully wrapping up on side 2 with Lyds. Stevie usually watches or plays with his stuffed cow or hams it up or...if we're lucky he'll snuggle in (but he never falls asleep till I leave). I will share more about his bedtime antics another time hopefully. Then, I put Lydia down when she's done. If she's awake, I turn the aquarium on (that no longer bubbles from rough big brother). They both ooh and ahh over it...and then when it's over, we begin our routine of settling them with her pacifier, etc. a couple times...sometimes only once...sometimes not at all! If she's asleep when put down, well, they do just fine. At first I tried to really zoom in when Lydia would wake up at night to eat. I realized Stevie wakes up no matter what, haha, so I try to get up and go in a little more safely ...aka, more awake, haha. I change her quickly, feed her, and put her back down...if it's still dark. Stevie tends to think that if it's light out, it's time to be up for the day. In those times, I just take Lydia right out of the room to feed her and hope Stevie will go back to sleep. Sometimes, he does. I'm hoping in time, he will get used to those noises and just sleep through it. For nap, Stevie has the room all to himself for now. Because his night sleep is interrupted, I want to be sure he's getting good naps...when he's able to with a quiet sister.

The 2nd night of our transition, I really began to love the idea of the kids being together in the same room. Our house pretty much requires it for now, and we knew this would be coming...and I also fiured that in time, the kids would come to love it. I just didn't realize how much I would love it. We have our family time in their room right before bed! We're all there, winding down, reading/hearing stories, and doing bed time prayers and kisses. I think this will be the perfect time for our family devotions too! It is just such a special time, and our kids are totally used to it already.

Now, Lydia has been sleeping 8 hours on average, gone a couple 9'ers, 1 10, and get this, 10 1/2 last night!! She even slept longer than her brother (who used to be a solid 11-12 hr sleeper, but since his sister has arrived, has been woken much earlier, haha.) This Mama is thankful! I'm a better mom with decent rest, so I'm thankful this is going much better!

Now the stumper: My sweet little girl often has miserable days. I am quite convinced it's some sort of tummy trouble and often gassiness, some colic? She is starting to have some better days mixed in, but we are stumped on the rough days...and we've tried a lot. Stevie didn't have these issues, so it's new for us. And, I'm being honest here, it is so tiring. Add on top of that how Stevie doesn't like his sister crying, and he cries right along with her while she screams...our house has some loud days. (And he thinks the pacifier will cure when she doesn't take it or spits it out, well...) I just keep in mind that it won't last forever, and I hear 3 months is a magical time for fussy babies...and that's just around the corner! And she's calling "my name"...gotta go!