Monday, March 28, 2011

hello sunshine

Things may be starting to look up after a pretty tough week.  That last post about our weekend?  That's kinda what all of last week also felt like.  It rained almost non-stop, which sucked. The dreary weather turns my mood gloomy.  I also have a 3 year old who has lots of energy.  The few times that it did dry off and then sun peeked out, I couldn't convince D to leave the house. Ugh.  Quinn was also not in the best of moods a lot, and then he also decided the awesome sleeping we've been enjoying the past month or so? That's old hat. Apparently it's WAY more fun for him to wake up every 2 hours (or even more frequently, one particular night).  I'm telling myself it's a growth spurt or developmental milestone or something temporary that will hopefully end soon.

It is shocking how much the weather (and lack of sleep) affected my mood.

We've since had a few days of sun, and the weather forecast looks promising.  I've made a point to get outside for at least one good walk on the days that I can.  I've been taking Quinn out on the Bob stroller, which he likes ok (tends to cry for a few minutes, then either quiets down & watches everything as we walk or just falls asleep).

I'm trying to really work on my frame of mind.  It's easy to get really frustrated and depressed when I focus on all the things that feel so difficult right now (why is my baby waking up so much all of a sudden; D seems tired, too, are Quinn's wake-ups affecting him as well; will D ever potty train; I hate feeling like I'm missing out on my older child's current awesomeness bc I'm too busy dealing with my baby's neediness; etc).  I'm trying to instead take each moment as it comes, focus on the positives, and just get through this.  The days are oh so long, but I know in retrospect the months will feel like they flew by.

It's late, and I need sleep.  Photos and all the other things I prefer to do on the actual computer will have to wait for another time, I guess...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Montessori Post-- Montessori And Attachment Parenting

I've been wanting to explore this topic for a while, and finally got around to writing a coherent post recently.  I know I have many Attachment Parenting-minded readers, and also many who identify with or are at least interested in Montessori, so I would love to hear your thoughts (there's already a fascinating discussion going on in the comments... and for once that it not a euphemism for an angry debate! ; )

Here's an excerpt from my post:

I have always wanted to raise my children in a Montessori manner.  I want them to attend a Montessori school and even created a Montessori-inspired home environment. Taking the Assistants to Infancy course was not an option for me before having children, so I did the next best thing by reading books such as Montessori from the Start for guidance. I am far from perfect, but I l think I have done an OK job of weaving the Montessori philosophy into my parenting style.
Since my first son’s birth 3 years ago, I have also gravitated towards Attachment Parenting. Yet, I have started to question: are these two philosophies compatible?

Click here to read the full post and comments so far.  While you're at it, there are also several other wonderful posts up discussing creativity in the Montessori classroom, how we handle praise, and the seemingly-random but fascinating way that children can go from one starting interest to discover information in many different areas/subjects of learning.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

weekend recap

That last post is laughing at me now.

Zach and I spent the weekend in a blur. Me nursing and rocking Quinn in frequently-unsuccessful attempts to get him to sleep (or, more accurately, to stay asleep once I set him down), Zach caring for Donovan and trying to tackle neglected household chores like washing the dishes and running the vacuum. Occasionally we'd "take a break" by switching kids. I did manage to set up Quinn's bedroom, mainly rearranging existing furniture and moving a few items in and out of the room. A task that probably only took about 30mins-1hr of combined time, but when attempted in stolen fragments of 5-10 available minutes here and there ends up taking the full weekend to complete. It feels like we're working full-tilt just to accomplish the most basic of daily tasks. It didn't help any of our moods, either, that it rained all weekend long, and that the forecast calls for more rain all through this coming week.

I know it will get better. The weather will improve, Quinn will become more enjoyable and self-entertaining, and taking care of two kids at once will become (I hope) more about playing with both kids together as opposed to constantly evaluating whose competing needs need to be met first. But for kinda feels like we're just treading water sometimes.

(And of course I feel like an ass for bitching about this stuff while people in Japan worry for their lives and mourn the loss of all their possessions not to mention loved ones; as the Middle East revolts against their oppressive dictators; while many women would do anything to have two beautiful, healthy children to complain about. I struggle between trying to maintain perspective, and giving myself permission to acknowledge the frustration and exhaustion that I feel as a parent.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

turning point?

Quinn hit the 3-month mark a little over a week ago.  And I dare say, I think we have hit a turning point.  Sure, today was pretty horrible, what with all the screaming and spitting up and multiple wardrobe changes and everything.  BUT there's been an overall trend towards more happy periods, and that's really awesome.  Suddenly I notice that Q's locking his eyes on us (me, D, or Zach depending on who's being more interesting at the time) and just watch and follow us wherever we go.  He's also started playing with toys, actually reaching for hanging toys on his playmat and bringing them to his mouth to chomp on.  This had lead to him being able to play happily on said mat for 15-20 minutes or even more.  It's a pretty awesome difference, and really it makes perfect sense-- the world must really get much more interesting once you're actually to, you know, do stuff.
He's also started laughing.  Not that often, but when he does it is AWESOME.
He's growing like crazy still.  Today I dressed him in a 6-12 month outfit, and it actually fit kinda well.

Donovan continues being his own super-awesome self, as usual.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cloth Diapering 2.0-- diapering 2 kids

I've been thinking about writing a follow-up post on what it's been like adjusting to cloth diapering two kids, and then I saw MamaPSU's cloth diapering blog hop and figured this was as good a motivation as any to sit down and type something out.

As a quick recap (full story here), I only started using cloth last June.  D was 2.5yrs old, and I expected him to potty train any day (HA!), but I'd finally managed to convince Zach to give cloth a chance, and being newly pregnant I wanted to figure things out and find a rhythm before our lives got all turned upside-down by a new baby in the house.  We were already using gDiapers with the compostable inserts, so we switched to cloth inserts-- first gCloth, and when they proved to not be quite absorbent enough, decided to go for g-flappers (I still use my gCloth stash, but doubled up or with a half-insert added).
Quinn in his g's
D has been in cloth during the day since last summer (we use a disposable diaper at night).  In the first weeks after Q's birth, my mom kept up the cloth diapering with D and I put Q in disposables (partially for ease and partially bc of The Rash That Would Not Go Away But Ironically Did As Soon As I Finally Switched Him to Cloth).  When, at 3 weeks, my mom left, I felt completely and totally overwhelmed and decided to cut out everything that was not essential in order to simplify daily life as much as possible.  This included putting both kids in disposable diapers.

Interestingly, though, this didn't really simplify my life that much.  Q was going through a ridiculous number of diapers (a 40-diaper pack lasted, um, 3 days?), but was also growing so fast that I didn't want to buy them in bulk and end up with lots of outgrown extras.  So I felt a constant stress at trying to remember how many diapers we had left, what size they were, and when we needed to buy/order more.  And then there was the trash.  OH DEAR LORD.  The ridiculously large amount of dirty diapers that filled our trash cans was, frankly, a bit disgusting.
thinking about crawling?
Donovan at about 7 months old, right after we first started using gDiapers. As a side note, this pic looks SO MUCH like Quinn to me it's almost a bit frightening.
So after 2 weeks I switched them both into cloth (using disposables at night, though, for needed extra absorbency).  The washing is a slight pain in the ass-- I have just about enough diapers to last almost 2 days, but to keep the wash loads manageable for our (front-loading) washer I tend to wash about every 1-1.5 days.  Q is a heavy wetter, so I tend to have to change his diaper every 1-2hrs during the day.  D occasionally has stink/ammonia issues with his diapers, but that's usually resolved with some oxi-clean or vinegar added to the wash.  It's not effortless, but neither were disposables.  I am looking forward to D potty training (at some point please??) and going down to just 1 kid in diapers, but again I think I'd be feeling that regardless.  
Quinn rocks the FuzziBunz
Today gDiapers are still the majority of our cloth diaper stash, for both kids.  I have 7 FuzziBunz diapers (which I use primarily with Q), 10 g-flappers, I think 18 gCloth, several half-inserts, and I think 8 gpants each in the Medium (Q) and Large (D) sizes (I could easily get away with fewer pants, though-- in fact have been for 2 weeks since I sent half my gpants off to have the velcro replaced with snaps and have yet to get them back *grumble grumble*).  I'm still quite happy with our g's, the one down-side of them is the velcro gets old after a while (the pants that Q's using now were used by D for a year or more) so I'm looking forward to getting back the pants with snaps and seeing how it goes with those.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Walking through Midtown, Pt 1

Yesterday afternoon Zach and I took advantage of Lala's baby-sitting/grandmothering and went for a long walk together while she minded the kiddoes.  We wandered through different streets in Midtown, stopping by the Old Soul coffee shop about halfway through.  At some point I think I'll have to make a photo book of the houses and sights here, as they really are lovely. I fear I don't quite do them justice.  So glad we "discovered" this great little seceret of Sacramento.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

six word sunday: Fall in December, Spring in February

These are pictures I took on December 6.  Three days later, Quinn was born, and they've stayed hidden away on my hard drive since then.  I finally got around to looking at them this weekend.  It's amazing to see these and remember what everything looked like here just a few months ago... The colors were incredible!  (at least for someone who's never lived somewhere with proper seasons)

I love that California seems to be "winter-optional."  We went straight from our late fall, with all the gorgeous colors and piles of leaves for toddlers to run through, to an early spring where flowers are already blooming everywhere.
These are from our backyard (picture taken several weeks ago).  I should take another long walk through Midtown and capture the other signs of spring but haven't quite found the time yet... ; )

Thursday, March 03, 2011

a balancing act

Tuesday was a bit of a rough day.  Quinn was being pretty high-demand, which meant having to tell Donovan "no" over and over... "Sorry, I can't play cars with you right now..." "Sorry, I can't read you a book..." "Sorry, sweetie, I can't get you a snack right now, give me a few minutes..."  We had two synchronized meltdowns, with both kids in tears at the same time and me unsure of what to even do.  Then it was nap time, and D asked me to read him The Lorax (which is, you know, kind of a long story).  I suggested reading only part of it, because Quinn was already starting to fuss.  But D got upset (understandably) and insisted on reading the whole story, and I just couldn't tell him no yet again.

So I laid Quinn down in his bed (there was no way I would've been able to hold him and read the book at the same time), shut the door, and listened to him cry as I quickly read through The Lorax with Donovan.  By the time I got back to Quinn, he'd finally settled down and even, just then, fallen asleep.  And I, of course, felt awful.

Parenting two kids, I'm finding out, is a constant balancing act.  It feels like someone is always getting their needs or wants ignored, pushed aside, waiting for "later."  And right now at least, almost 99% of the time that "someone" is Donovan.  Why? Because he's older.  He can understand the situation.  He can understand that when I ask him to wait 5 minutes for me to get him a snack, that I will (eventually, probably) get to him.  Quinn doesn't even yet understand that I continue to exist while not in his line of sight.  And, Donovan is patient.  He has been incredibly patient, able to wait his turn and occupy himself with his toys (and, when needed, a DVD) while I take care of his more demanding, zero-patience baby brother.  That he has been so patient and understanding is wonderful, and also a curse at it means he does get ignored so much more of the time.  If he were more demanding himself, I'd probably split my time more evenly ("the squeaky wheel" and all that jazz).  I worry that all this wears on D, that one of these days he'll snap or feel resentful of his brother who takes up so much of Mommy's time.

Over the past year or 2 I've been more drawn to the "Attachment Parenting" style of parenting, which, at its core, is about responding to your child's needs as much as possible.  That was easy enough to do with one child. I don't know how to do it with two.  I figure it'll get easier when they're both a little older, when they're both a bit more independent, when Zach and I can take the kids out individually on "dates"for more one-on-one time, etc.  But then again... will it?  I hear parents of 2 (or more) older kids and they seem to still have a lot of the same struggles, in slightly different but perhaps even more complicated ways-- multiple children who each have very different desires that each need to happen at the same time.  I guess at least once Donovan starts preschool there will be that much less time that I have them both to myself, which will help matters, too.

I think I hear Quinn, guess nap time's over....

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

random updates vol 15

Aah, a few moments to myself. Zach's in the shower, both boys are in bed, which is where I should be headed myself in just a minute.  It's been a longish day, with not one but TWO synchronized meltdowns with the kiddoes, one of them within the first hour of waking.

Zach's parents were here for a week (left last Wednesday) and between their visit and weekends, it's like I was "rusty" on dealing with both kids at the same time again.  It was definitely nice to have them around to not only entertain D part of the time, but also hand off the baby between feedings sometimes and get to do, you know, other stuff.  Without a baby in arms.  I'd almost forgotten what that's like! ; )  My mom is flying in Saturday, though, and staying for TEN! WHOLE! DAYS! So that will be pretty awesome.  We may actually make some serious attempts to give Quinn a bottle of breastmilk while she's here.  We've only tried it once before and it didn't go terribly well, and really after the experience with D not taking bottles I won't be too surprised if Q doesn't either, and I also won't be too upset about it since my expectations are set so differently this time around.

Funny how so much of parenting, and how easy/hard/unfair something feels, comes down to expectations. 

But, anyway.  Zach's been heading off to work super early (um, 5:30am) this month, to take part in an online training course for something-or-other. It's made mornings tough, but he's also been coming home earlier (today was at 4pm) so that helps make up for it.  

I added to my babywearing collection this week-- a woven wrap and a ring sling, both from the BabyEtte Etsy shop.  I'm liking them so far, I think I prefer the new wrap to my Moby (feels lighter, should be nice for warmer weather).  I've been experimenting with back carries, especially now that Q's holding his head up pretty steadily, and had mixed success.  Sometimes he'll scream and not stop, other times he looks pretty content back there.  several times he's spit up in my hair during the wrapping process.  Ironically, I'm not sure that wearing him on my back will be much of benefit on the days I also have D at home, since the things he tends to want to do with me (reading, playing with cars on the floor) are still tough to do while holding a baby (even on my back) who requires near-constant movement.  But, once I have it down I should be able to get more housework done, at least on the days D's gone.  Also, I think Q naps better/longer when worn, so there's that. 

Zach took D to the snow on Sunday, and took this self-portrait:

And lastly, heart-meltingly cute baby:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...