Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Hard Day's Night

Two nights ago Mr. B almost slept through the night. Well, assuming that I didn't imagine it in my Extra Strength Tylenol-induced delirium and assuming that you consider "though the night" to be anything over 4 hours. No, we're not lighting the world on fire just yet but it was a night for the record books nonetheless.

For everyone who told us that baby #2 wouldn't be a good sleeper since we were spoiled and Miss H is and always has been an excellent sleeper, I hope you're proud of yourselves because, yes indeed, you were correct! While overall B is a very easy baby, sleeping for long stretches is not his forte. The kid likes to eat. Every two hours. All day and all night. Don't make him wait any longer unless someone (and their eardrums) wants to get hurt.

Well, I'm not sure if he was having an unusually good dream (most likely about his favorite thing, milk), if his wild sister wore him out during the day or what suddenly changed but, out of the blue, he decided that he could go about 5 hours between feedings.

As misfortune would have it, I have not had a bad migraine in several years but happened to get one in the wee hours of that night/early morning. The timing of his long stretch of sleep coincided perfectly with my throbbing, nauseating, sleep-robbing headache. While B slumbered away, I lay in bed wondering if I should go to the ER to rule out a brain aneurysm and pondered if somehow I had received a nail gun to the head during the day without noticing.

The next morning I found myself with a very chipper and refreshed little boy, an energetic toddler ready to take on the world and a headache that was still lingering but that had improved enough that I realized I might indeed live to see another day. I was optimistic that Mr. B's fantastic sleeping would repeat itself again the next night and that, sans migraine, I could actually enjoy and appreciate it. However, as luck, life, the naysayers or whoever is in charge of these things would have it, the next night he was up every 2 hours eating all night long yet again.
I'd like to say that I enjoyed our one night reprieve from the constant feeding but unfortunately it's just a blur.

No matter how many bags I have under my eyes and how many times I've seen the clock hit 2:30 and 4:30 am these past few months, there is no denying that there isn't a cuter alarm clock. Mr. B is our happy little soul and, if I didn't get to see his smiling face every few hours, I might not know what to do with myself anyway! Soon enough he'll be grown and then I'll be up all night wondering where he is, who he's with, what he's doing and hoping he's making responsible choices. My mom says that the worry starts when they're in the womb and never ends. I'm starting to think that the same can be said for sleeplessness!

While You Were (Not) Sleeping

For the first few nights that H went to bed in her toddler bed, she stayed in it, never got out and was patiently sitting in bed and waiting for us when we finally heard her stirring and went in to retrieve her the next morning. One of the benefits of having a house with all wood floors and not a single square of carpet is that we can hear EVERYTHING downstairs so we knew that indeed she hadn't set foot out of her bed.

However, around night number three after moving out of the crib, we soon began to hear rustling noises and the pitter patter of little feet on the floor after we tucked her in for the night. When morning arrived, everything was in its place, her room was tidy and it didn't look like she had touched a thing so we had no idea what she was doing during her late night adventures.

By about night five of the toddler bed, we heard loud crashing and banging sounds coming from her room when she was supposed to be sleeping. It wasn't the heart-stopping crashing sound of a kid falling out of their crib (which will forever be ingrained in my memory) but, instead, sounded suspiciously like books falling onto the floor. However, again the next morning, everything was tidy, in its place and the books were all on the shelf.

Yesterday at nap time she brushed her teeth, we closed her blinds, turned out the lights, turned off the radio and I tucked her into bed like I always do. However, I had just closed her door when I heard the pitter patter of quick little feet, the occasional banging sound and a sweet little voice that sounded eerily like Miss H. This continued on for the entire "nap". She wasn't upset and never opened her door so I assumed that she must be enjoying herself and thought some quiet, relaxing time alone was probably good for her and mommy both.

A bit later, I went in to get her and this is what I found:

I was ready with camera in hand just because I really wanted to catch her red-handed and figure out what kind of mischief she was making. As you can see, she was sitting in her bed (she had also turned the radio back on and was listening to music) with a toothbrush in her mouth and two more toothbrushes sitting next to her and a brush, hair ties, pretend cell phone, a few toys and a encyclopedia all in bed with her.

She had also been busy moving books out of her bookcase and onto her rocking chair:

It looks like our nap days may be over but she sure seemed to enjoy herself nonetheless! With a brush, hair ties, "phone", toothbrushes and an encyclopedia in hand, no telling what kind of adventures she's planning!

Monday, January 25, 2010

And She's Off!

Miss H loves to dance. Well, if you call this "dancing":

It doesn't matter what kind of music we play, her "dancing" style doesn't change. She will go round and round just like this for hours on end as long as the music is playing!

Note the stocking cap that she is wearing (which happens to be mine). It has become somewhat of her trademark fashion item. When I was about this same age, I decided that I was going to wear a Christmas bib. I wore it for weeks on end despite the fact that I was way too old for a bib and regardless of the fact that it wasn't the holiday season. I figure that I eventually stopped wearing the bib so hopefully she will eventually (preferably before summer) stop wearing the silly hat!

We have often wondered what sport or activity she will decide to participate in when she is older. Will she play hockey like her dad? Will she swim or run like her momma? Will she golf like her Papa? I think we may have our answer. Girls just wanna RUN!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Looking on the Bright Side

Fortunately, H has always loved her crib and slept very well in it for the past 25 months.
Unfortunately, she decided that she needed to get out and jumped/climbed/fell out during nap time last week.

Fortunately, she was not hurt badly despite the fact that she landed REALLY far from the base of the crib (suggesting she probably either tried to soar like an eagle or she skidded for a while after she hit the ground).
Unfortunately, she did almost scare her poor parents half to death.

Fortunately, she showed no sign of serious head trauma despite getting a big goose egg on her forehead.
Unfortunately, she complained of pain in her wrist and, after taking her to get x rays, we confirmed that she did indeed have a very minor fracture.

Fortunately, she was a very good girl for the entire visit to the doctor and took the whole thing in stride and recounted what happened again and again and again, emphasizing the "boom!" when she hit the ground and then laughing hysterically.
Unfortunately, she had to get a little splint for her wrist and it did not come in pink (yes, she asked).

Fortunately, we bought her a Dora the Explorer toddler bed that she loves. Even more fortunately, she has slept like a champ in it and has adapted very well.
Unfortunately, she correlates her giant leap and the subsequent big bang with getting a new bed as her "reward" and, when people ask if her arm is okay, she says "Yes, and I even got a Dora bed!"

Fortunately, we have amazing friends who have done everything from offer to hold Mr. B while H was getting her x rays to bring Miss H gifts to offer to keep both kids while I nap!
Unfortunately, we are at the end of our rope and we have hardly had time to breathe, not to mention sleep.

Fortunately, that is why God made coffee.
Unfortunately, one cup is not enough!

Fortunately, Miss H is one very tough cookie and is no worse for wear.
Unfortunately, she is a daredevil like her momma and we have a feeling this won't be her last fracture.

Fortunately, we are choosing to look on the bright side and we are so thankful to have such a fun, happy, adaptable little lady who has transitioned so well into her new bed.

My mom wished a stubborn, independent daughter upon me many times during my childhood. It does seem as if H is following closely in the footsteps of another little girl who sustained her first broken arm (while also attempting a flying stunt) as a toddler...

Proud to be an American!

This morning we took B to the embassy to get his US citizenship! Since I am a US citizen by birth and lived there for many years after age 14, our children automatically qualify. Of course since he was born in Canada, he is also a Canadian citizen!

I think it is such a privilege and honor to get the right of citizenship bestowed upon you. In addition to neat things like being able to vote in elections and being able to run for public office, citizenship enables you to hold a passport and enter/leave that country at will, apply for certain jobs and schools reserved for citizens and opens up so many other doors. We made sure to get Miss H's dual citizenship when she was an infant and we are so glad that we did!

After arriving at the consulate, which is technically considered US soil, I immediately noticed that it smelled like corn dogs. Not exactly the typical smell of my homeland but intriguing nonetheless. Security was fairly quick and painless and we were taken upstairs to a room where we waited with many other people who needed to talk to the officials and officers. Since I am American we received a special ticket that put us at the "head of the line" so we weren't waiting with all of the other non-citizens hoping to get their US visas (and there were a lot of them!). When we were called up to the desk a few minutes later the workers were cheerful and friendly and, within a few minutes, we were taking B's citizenship oath on his behalf (while he is a loud baby, he can't solemnly swear for himself just yet).

It was fairly anti climatic and, while I kind of hoped that fireworks would go off, we'd be given a little flag to wave, the "Star Spangled Banner" would start playing in the background and someone would run out with a platter of good 'ol American food like burgers and apple pie for us, in reality none of that happened. The officer thanked us for coming and told us that we were done. Plain and simple.

I have vowed to teach my little dual citizen babies all about the United States, starting with lessons about college and NFL football, Target and Sonic. You know, all the really important stuff! Now the lucky little tykes can do everything from run for President (yes, you are allowed to run for President if you are born outside of the US to a US-born citizen), travel to Cuba and compete on an Olympic team for either country to celebrating two Thanksgivings, Boxing Day and Presidents' Day. The possibilities are endless and we think the US is lucky to have our fantastic little guy as its newest citizen!

You're My Boy, B!

Here is what is new in Mr. B's world:

* He has started making "razzing" sounds, which basically means it sounds like he is blowing bubbles with his spit. Very sophisticated.
* When we lay him down on his back, he instantly rolls to his stomach. Then, he moves his arms and legs like he's trying to swim. Holly tells us "Mr. B is swimming! He's doing the front float!"
* The separation anxiety has started and he throws a fit if I'm out of sight, even for a few seconds. Actually, he prefers to have a boob in his mouth 24/7 but he will settle for being within sniffing distance.
* He is also going through a growth spurt and eats every hour on the hour all day and night. I have a new found appreciation for dairy cows. Spending your entire life lactating would be hard work.
* B laughs when we laugh, when he's happy and when we tickle him. We must be pretty funny people because he spends a good portion of his day (when he's not nursing) laughing!

He is still the happiest baby on the block and he is growing up before our eyes! The next chapters in his book- "Learning to Sit Without Falling Over" and "Adventures in Crawling"!

Being a Big Sister is a Full-Contact Sport

We jokingly call Mr. B "our little linebacker" because he's such a hefty boy. Well, apparently Miss H decided that if he's a linebacker then she wants in on the football action too! While she is usually very gentle with him (save for the two separate incidents where she has intentionally tried to kick him in the head), lately she has decided that it is better to lay ON him than next to him and that it's better to do CPR-like chest compressions than to pat him gently.

Watching our two kids interact with each other is one of my biggest joys. I love getting Miss H up in the morning and taking Mr. B in her room with me and hearing her say "Good morning mommy! Good morning Mr. B! How did you sleep, little buddy?" It is so much fun to read with both kids in my lap and listening to Miss H try to explain the book to B. It makes my heart melt to see Mr. B look at H and give her a big, toothless grin.

However, it makes my heart skip a beat when I look over and see Miss H laying on Mr. B as she says "I'm hugging B!" I have to try and hide the panic in my voice when she pulls books off her shelf and throws them on him and says "Here's a book for you, Mr. B!" Luckily Mr. B has lived up to his "linebacker" nickname and usually just brushes off the tackles and jabs and, thankfully, 99% of the time Miss H has nothing but good intentions when she invades his personal space.

We're trying to tactfully and gently teach H that no one likes a pushy, aggressive girl and to let Mr. B know that being stuck under an older lady is no place you want to be. Very important life lessons indeed!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Toddlers are weird. Yesterday and every previous day in her life, Miss H disliked bananas. She never liked banana baby food and she has never liked whole, cut, diced or any other kind of bananas. She didn't like the taste and she didn't like the slimy texture in her mouth or on her fingers. Magically, out of the blue, she woke up today and decided that she loves bananas! As I was peeling the bananas for a batch of muffins that I was making, she looked at one and asked for a bite. I offered her a small bit and she said "I'll hold it and eat it" so I handed her a large piece. She finished it and asked for the rest of the banana and then another and another! All in all she ate three bananas, three more than she has ever eaten in her entire life!

Yesterday Miss H had no interest in potty training. Every day we talk about "big girl panties", how much fun it would be to use the potty and how it would be so neat to get to push the button to flush. She could have cared less. Miraculously (thank you, patron saint of potty training) she woke up today and wanted nothing to do with her diapers and insisted on using the potty all day long! Granted, I did bribe her a little bit and she did sit on the potty for about 2 hours straight just waiting to eliminate in anticipation of her reward but she did it nonetheless! She insisted on taking her tights off and putting them back on by herself and, as we flushed some excrement down the toilet she said "Bye bye, poopy turd!" and waved to it. She is one funny kid!

Yesterday Miss H spoke in short phrases and often gave one word answers. Today she started speaking in full sentences about 85% of the time. When I was baking in the kitchen, she got out the hand mixer, handed it to me and said "Here's the mixer mom! I'm going to help you!" Then she laid down next to Mr. B on his blanket and said "Mr. B's awake! Good morning Mr. B! How are you today?"

Yesterday and every day prior Miss H refused to speak when we handed the phone to her and played mute. Though she jabbers all day and pretends to talk on the telephone when no one is there, for some reason she always clammed up when we give her the phone with a real person on the other end. Well, today I handed her the phone while I was talking with Hubby at work and she said "Hi daddy! I love you!" and proceeded to have a conversation with him. She did the same with my mom later in the day.

I'm not sure WHAT happened to my baby girl overnight! Maybe the ice cream she had for dessert last night had special super powers or maybe it was her New Year's resolution to speak in sentences, eat bananas, talk on the phone and get potty trained. Whatever it was, our baby girl is growing up before our eyes! This is such a fun age and every day is an adventure. We can't wait to see who the Body Snatchers have in store for us over the next few weeks and months!

Christmas in New Mexico

This year we celebrated Christmas in New Mexico, often referred to as "The Land of Enchantment". It was enchanting indeed and we had a jam-packed week full of friends, family, fun, relaxation and everything required for a great vacation. A few highlights of the trip included:

* Taking the kids to the Albuquerque Aquarium. It is a wonderful place for kids of all ages and Miss H LOVED it! The last time we went she was sick and slept through it but this time her eyes were as wide as saucers and she didn't want to miss a single minute of it!

* We were so happy to be able to partake in our annual Christmas Eve tradition of going to eat at El Pinto, a fantastic New Mexican restaurant, and then attending the Christmas Eve church service! Dinner was delicious and nothing reminds me of Christmas like luminarias and good Mexican food. The church service was called Carols and Candles and, while it turned out to be much longer than expected, Miss H was very patient. At one point during the service the lights were turned off and candles were lit so the whole church was illuminated by candlelight as we sang "Silent Night". When the song was over and the lights were turned back on, H yelled "They're on!" and everyone burst out in laughter. The kid certainly does know how to put a smile on everyone's face! Mr. B was a bit fussy during the service but no one seemed to mind. As my dad said, he was just providing sound effects for the story of baby Jesus' birth!

* We were able to see my friends Jenn, Kim, Erin, Melanie and Agatha and my mom's dear friends Diana Z., Diana B. and Bill and Ruth. We were also lucky enough to get to see my cousin Karla who was visiting from Houston and my Aunt Libby and Uncle Milt. We know we missed getting to see so many other very special friends but, as it usually does, the visit went by so quickly. We promise to see everyone we missed during our next trip!

* Hubby and I got to go on a "date night" and Granny and Papa kept Miss H! We were going to leave Mr. B with them too but he has been going through a growth spurt and needs his milk cow with him almost constantly so he was our chaperon. We had dinner at a very nice, cozy restaurant called Casa Vieja in Corrales and it was excellent! Afterward we went for dessert and coffee at Flying Star, one of Albuquerque's best dessert spots. It was such a treat to get a night out and we are already anticipating our next visit to Albuquerque so we can do it again!

Huge thanks to Granny and Papa for all of the hospitality and for chasing the kids, making us meals and spoiling us so we truly did feel like we were on vacation during our stay! We love you so much and it was so special to get to spend the holiday with you.

¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!

P.S. Huge thanks to Uncle John, Aunt Susan and Cousin Pamela who provided many of the outfits that H is wearing in these photos! You have great taste and you make sure that we have just the right outfit for every occasion!