Wednesday, July 11, 2018

4th of July Highlights

It's been a week since the 4th of July holiday but I wanted to share some of the highlights from my time at the lake! I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have but I tried my best to capture as many as I could!

- Watching Paul interact with my nephews and niece. He was particularly enamored with my nephew Matthew, who is 10. They had a bit of a mutual admiration society going on. I was surprised how excited Matthew was to see Paul. I guess all summer he's been asking every week when he could see Paul. Paul absolutely lit up when he was being held by or interacting with Matthew!

Matthew wanted to hold Paul the way Phil does! Matthew really likes Phil and clearly wanted to interact with Paul the way Phil does.

My blue-eyed beauty!


- Seeing so much family, including my aunt, uncle and cousins from California and my grandma. My Grandma got 2 opportunities to hold Paul during our time at the lake as she was at my parents place on the 4th and my aunt and uncle's place over the weekend.


I hope I look this good at 95!!

- Handing Paul off to my mom every morning. Paul did not sleep well at the lake so I was very glad that my mom willingly took care of him each morning so I could get an extra 1-1.5 hours of sleep! It was also nice to have her watch him while I pumped. Pumping + watching a wiggly 4-month old is challenging at times! My mom absolutely adores Paul so this was a win-win situation as she can't get enough of him!

- Finally getting to hear some laughs from Paul. We've gotten some little bursts of laughter but this was the first time he gave me some true giggles! Best sound ever!


- Eating delicious home-cooked food. I failed to take any pictures of the meals we ate but trust me when I say I ate very well. I think my favorite meal was grilled crappies (pronounced crop-pee for those not familiar with this kind of fish). It's a delicious, mild white fish. My BIL caught some on Saturday that he cleaned and sent home with us which was so nice of him!

- I got to see 5 of my 7 nieces and nephews. It amazes me how fast they have grown up - especially my Godson James who will be 14 (!!!!) later this month. He has matured so much over the last year and now he has this deep voice and broader shoulders. Gone are the days of burping and telling fart jokes at the dinner table! I know many of you probably wonder how I could miss that phase but it's just crazy to see how quickly he has grown and changed. But he is the nicest young man and I told him multiple times over the weekend that he's a perfect and terrific kid.

- Seeing Phil on Saturday morning after being apart for 4 days! I know he appreciated his uninterrupted sleep, especially since he had a super busy week at work with long days. But we sure missed daddy and he missed us, too. Plus he was all on his own while we were gone as Oscar went to his mom's for a couple of weeks.

What was the highlight from your Canada Day or Independence Day celebration?

Maternity Leave Goals Review + What's Next

Just like that, today is my last full day of maternity leave (sob!). I won't lie - there have been plenty of challenging days during my leave, especially in the last month+ when Paul started to take catnaps which meant I spent so much of the day putting him to sleep. But even though there were challenging/frustrating days, I am still sad to see my time at home with him come to an end. That said, I *think* I will do ok with going back to work. I say think because I don't really know what it's going to be like until I go back to work. I think it will help that I love my job and co-workers. I am nervous about how little time I will get with Paul during the week as he'll go to bed between 6-7 and I'll get home around 5... but I'm reminding myself that his bedtime will get pushed back as he gets older. And this will force us to really make the most of our time with him on the weekend.

Our smiley little guy

Paul has discovered his feet. They are his favorite thing to play with these days!

I'm going to miss this little guy so much!
Months ago I set some goals for my maternity leave so I thought I'd review them!

1. Swap out maternity clothes for pre-pregnancy clothes = complete. I not only swapped out my maternity clothes. I also moved my dresser and all my hanging clothes from the guest room to mine & Phil's bedroom as the guest room is now Paul's. This was a big job but I got it done a couple of weeks ago and it's really nice to have all of my things in my bedroom. I didn't think that my clothes would fit in Phil's closet, but I've paired down my wardrobe quite a bit, especially since many things don't quite fit yet.

2. Lose my maternity weight = incomplete. This was probably an unrealistic goal to set but it was something I had really hoped to achieve. I still have about 8-10 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose but I don't know that I will lose them until I am done pumping/breast feeding. I'm not eating perfectly, but I'm eating pretty well overall and I'm trying to exercise 3-5 times/week. But the weight just doesn't want to budge. I'm trying to be patient with myself and I frequently remind myself that this is a season of life and I won't always look the way that I do. It helped to buy a few new items for work, though. I didn't want to buy a lot more clothes as I'm hoping this isn't my new weight but I definitely needed a few more pairs of pants that fit well and were flattering as my super fitted pre-pregnancy pants did not look good or make me feel good about how I looked.

3. Clean out the rest of our kitchen cupboards = complete. This was harder to achieve than I thought it would be as I put it off until the last 6 weeks of leave and then Paul started to take micro naps. I managed to clean the remaining cupboards this week while he was playing on his activity mat. It felt good to clean out the cupboards as I don't think some of them had been wiped down since Phil moved in 4 years ago!

****

Several have asked what we are doing for daycare for Paul so I thought I'd give a little "what's next" update. I return to work tomorrow and my first week back is half days before returning to work full time. His daycare spot doesn't open up until July 23rd so family and a friend will be watching Paul for the next 1.5 weeks. Phil is working from home tomorrow and Friday so he can watch Paul in the afternoons when I am at work. Having him watch Paul the first 2 days will really help with the transition. Plus, we are in the midst of sleep training and the first week is really important so I am glad Phil will be with him so we can adhere to the sleep plan.

Paul's daycare is a Spanish Immersion daycare that is located between our house and downtown where we work. Our plan is for me to do drop off and Phil to do pick up. We will see how this goes. The stretch of freeway between our house and downtown is a DISASTER as they are doing a major renovation project so we are going to *try* to still take the bus to work. There is a bus stop a couple of blocks from daycare so I will park our car, drop off Paul, and take the bus. If we needed to go back to daycare mid-day (like if Paul got sick) we could take an uber. We will see how this goes, though, and adjust as necessary. I think we will probably drive to work for the first couple of weeks as we are adjusting to our new schedule, but I’m really hoping it works well to take the bus because traffic is so awful right now but they have special lanes and exits open for buses so that would make the commute shorter.

I'm pretty nervous about how hectic our mornings will be between pumping, feeding Paul and getting ready but we'll find our groove. I'm going to have to get up at 5 am so I'm worried about how long the days are going to be but I keep reminding myself that countless other women have figured this out and I will, too. Pumping just makes it a little more complicated (if I was nursing I would just nurse Paul when he woke up which is much easier logistically).

Send us some good thoughts tomorrow and in the weeks to come as we adjust to our new reality! And I'd love advice/words of encouragement from other moms who have been in my shoes!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Baby Paul: 4 months

The 4th month of Paul's life was another more challenging month, all because of sleep. He hit the dreaded 4-month sleep regression when he was around 3.5 months. During this regression, the baby develops adult-like sleep cycles. Us adults might not realize this, but we awake after our sleep cycles but it's so brief that we fall back to sleep without even realizing we are awake. But when babies wake up from a sleep cycle, they don't know how to get themselves back to sleep. We had a couple of nights where Paul was up every 1-1.5 hours for most of the night and every 45 minutes towards the end of the night. It was EXHAUSTING. Additionally, he started to take really brief naps - like 25-30 minutes! 4-month old babies can only handle about 90 minutes of awake time, so when Paul takes short naps that means I spend all day putting him to sleep as he could take 4-5 naps during a day. I also no longer had any idea when his long nap of the day would be so I wasn't able to really get anything done during his naps.


I know you want to take my picture but I'd rather chew on my sleeper!

He doesn't sleep well but he sure is cute!

I'm really hoping that his sleep improves in the next couple of weeks as I return to work in about 1.5 weeks. I'll be working half days in the afternoon for the first week and then I go back full time after that. Paul's daycare spot doesn't open until 1.5 weeks after I return to work so he'll be watched by friends and family for those first 1.5 weeks. I'm hoping that aids in the transition but I know it's going to be hard no matter who is caring for him!

Here's how his 4th month shaped up.

Growth:

- Paul weighs 11 lbs 13 oz (1st percentile), is 24" inches long (6th percentile) and his head is 44 cm (98th percentile). He gave us quite the scare at his 4-month appointment. His doctor was slightly concerned that his head circumference went from 85th to 98th percentile so she ordered an ultrasound to make sure there wasn't any fluid in his head. Luckily we were able to get in that afternoon and she called with the results around 4pm - his head is just fine, it’s just really big!! But it was quite the stressful day! Other than worrying about his head, she was really happy with how he's doing with developmental milestones and thought he was a really social, charming baby. He's definitely very small for his age but she isn't concerned as he's following his curve and meeting all his milestones.

- He wears size 0-3 month clothes but is getting a little bit long for some of them. He wears cloth diapers except overnight when he wears a size 1 disposable diaper.

Loves:

- his daddy! Phil gets the biggest smiles when he comes home from work each day. We usually put Paul in the boppy lounger between us and he just smiles and smiles and smiles at his daddy. It's so sweet.

- his activity mat. He probably spends at least 30 minutes under it throughout the day. He can grab toys and now that he's rolling and more wiggly, he can spin himself around 90-180 degrees.



- being sang to. He will stop crying as soon as I start to sing. It doesn't matter what I sing. I often make up songs. Maybe he will take after his mama and love music!

- playing with toys. Now that he can grasp things, he's more interested in toys so I picked up a few new ones for him last weekend.




- laying on a blanket so he can kick his feet and play with his toys. Oscar is getting a bit more interested in him and Paul has started to notice her, too. Oscar still keeps her distance, though!



- the swing at my parents lake home. We don't have a swing at home and after I saw how much he liked it at the lake, it made me wish that we had one but it's not worth getting one/borrowing one from a friend at this point since he'll likely outgrow it soon. He loved looking at the toys that hang over the swing. When we'd put him in the swing, he'd look up right away even before we moved the toys above him. I think it's pretty cool that he knew to look for them before they were there!


Dislikes:

- He still has a touch of stranger danger and will stick out his bottom lip and start to cry when a new person tries to peer at him in his car seat. He seems to do better with new people when we are in our house, though, as long as he isn't overtired. A new/unfamiliar place + new people is a bad combination!

- He doesn't like tummy time anymore and he can escape tummy time by rolling over.

- He's still adjusting to sleeping on a flat, firm surface. We moved him from the rock-n-play style bassinet into the halo bassinet this past month and it was a pretty rough transition. But he was outgrowing the rock-n-play bassinet so it was time to make this move. He transitioned into a mini crib over the weekend, so there have been lots of changes for our little man lately.

Firsts:

- He sleeps in his own room now. We moved him into the guest room around 3.5 months. I know it's recommended to keep him in your room for 6-12 months but the guest room is so close that it's almost like he's still in our room as we can hear any peep he makes.

- He learned how to roll over the day he turned 3 months but he got better at it over the course of the month and can roll over much more quickly/with less effort.

- He also learned how to roll from back to stomach but he doesn't do this very often. Most of the time when he rolls from back to stomach, one arm gets stuck under him! He rolled from back to stomach in his sleep once last week so I am glad we had already transitioned him out of the swaddle because swaddles aren’t safe once they start to roll to their stomach.

How do I get my arm free?

- We had our first outdoor play date with his buddies Gus and Anja (we didn't get a picture with Anja). Gus was way more interested in Paul than Paul was in him. Gus (who is seriously the happiest baby) kept grabbing Paul's hand which was so cute. Paul seemed a bit oblivious to the fact that there are other babies besides him. Ha. Gus and Paul are only 5 weeks apart (7 gestationally) but they are on VERY DIFFERENT growth curves!


The beautiful blanket we brought to the park! My friend Mandy's mom made it for us. It's perfect for this cat-loving family!

***

This month presented some challenges but it was also fun to watch him grow and change. It's so exciting when he learns something new like how to roll over or how to grasp toys.