Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two years ago

I've been thinking it was today, but when I looked it up saw that it was actually yesterday - two years ago, that I checked into the hospital in Ithaca with symptoms of pre-eclampsia. I was there for 3.5 weeks until Valerie was born, wiggling and weeping with her worried little monkey-face. She was so small!! And has been turning our lives upside-down ever since. I love her so much.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just for the record...

I love rainy days, and I LOVE having my own office away from home... one small compensation for Terry being away is I have use of his office space.

And V. slept 10.5 hours straight last night! So why am I so groggy that I left my wallet at the coffee shop this morning???

Monday, April 19, 2010

Single Mom-ing Begins

Terry is out of the country for the next 3 weeks, and I'm relaxing in the support network of friends and family. It's been interesting to see V. handling the change. For a week leading up to his departure, we let her know he was going to be gone for a while. I think this actually made her kind of anxious because, being not-yet-two, she doesn't have a very clear sense of time, so she wasn't sure when he was going to be going away. Once he actually left, she seemed a lot more settled, although Sunday morning she was certainly in a MOOD during the time when we normally hang out with Daddy, and he wasn't there - seemed sad and out of sorts.

The main place this anxiety (as I'm diagnosing it) showed up was, of course, her sleep. Terry's last 2 nights here were awful. She resisted bedtime for two hours +, then did her night-waking thing for 2+ more hours and slept in til late. But the first night he was gone, she went down more easily (just 1 hour) though she still did a 2.5-hour waking. The second night, last night, she actually slept straight through! I was ECSTATIC. Even though she woke up for the day at 5:30 a.m., I'd gladly take that anytime over being up with her from 2:00-4:30 a.m. or whatever ungodly hour she chooses.

It has also helped me to hear from her doctor that she's not being willful when she kicks her feet and slaps her hand against the mattress in the middle of the night; she's trying to soothe herself back to sleep and cope with her feelings of insecurity. So instead of getting mad at her I'm able to just be there with her and try to soothe her as well as I can. Rubbing her feet seems to help A LOT, and a friend who does reflexology suggested some pressure points that stimulate seratonin. We've also found that gently massaging her hands calms her down, and I've heard that this specifically helps alleviate negative emotions like anger and anxiety/stress.

Our one untoward event so far was Saturday night; she hadn't eaten much lunch and I think she was pretty hungry at dinnertime. I made some of her favorite foods - rice and beans with shredded cheese, and green beans. The problem was, she ate too fast and didn't stop to chew her green beans, which caused her to gag, which caused her to throw up a little, which then led to throwing up everything she'd eaten since her nap. :-( We got cleaned up though, with a minimum of fuss (I was very proud of myself for staying calm and containing the mess pretty well). After I got her into her clean jammies she ate a bowl of applesauce and some plain white rice with some milk, with no problems. Poor little thing.

Other than that it's been pretty smooth sailing. It's been cold but sunny out and she just loves running around in the yard, in the flower beds, in the neighbor's sandbox. It's great to see her so happy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

23 Months, 2-year check-up

Yesterday Valerie had her 2-year check-up, which we did a month early because we had questions about her sleep issues. Rather than have an extra appointment, we combined the two.

First, the stats:
25 lbs
33 inches
50th percentile

We were surprised that they didn't measure any change in height from our last appointment 5 months ago, because she's been outgrowing her pants and is also able to reach things she couldn't reach before (doorknobs, stuff on top of the table). We were also surprised she hasn't gained more weight - only 1.2 lbs - because she really feels heavier. Maybe our house is shrinking and our arms are getting weaker!

As for the sleep, basically the doctor said that it's a phase she's going through, that she'll eventually outgrow... in a couple of YEARS. Probably. Oh Dear. Their advice to parents is to do whatever is easiest for getting her to sleep, try introducing or encouraging a comfort object (she's more or less abandoned the toothbrushes in favor of kicking her feet against the mattress, which is very annoying to us), and just be as consistent as possible with not only the bedtime routine but her daily routine as well. Sleep disturbances are linked to feelings of insecurity, and routine and ritual help her feel secure in knowing exactly what is going to
happen next (of course this is also constantly tested by her growing desire to be in control).

And he said we're probably in for a real storm when baby brother comes along, not
to mention moving to Albania... He said it will be important for Dad to spend a lot of time with her around the time of the birth, she'll like that.

Finally, we're going to cut back on her screen time. I added up that she's been watching 2-3 hours of Elmo a day most days - a little bit with the sitter, a little bit with us, a little bit with Grammy - it adds up. The recommendation is maximum 30 minutes a day. Boy she's not going to like this...!

In good news, she's been napping pretty well and really enjoying playing outside. Here are some pictures of her in front of our house - I'm not sure if she's smelling or kissing the flowers but it's pretty adorable either way!

Friday, April 09, 2010


Easter Sunday dress:Good Friday, our daffodils were at their peak:
She had so much fun running around on the grass at the arboretum, looking at ducks and turtles:
In our back yard:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Sunday

I will have to upload my pictures soon because I got to dress up my little living doll and take her picture with ducks and daffodils. I don't dress her up too often because she kind of HATES IT... and her new red shoes match nearly nothing else that she owns. But she's still cute. And I can crop the shoes out of the pictures if need be :-).

She loved the music at church but was very confused by the non-standard service - no children's time? WHAT?!?!?

The real (mis)adventure, however, happened in the late afternoon. And had nothing to do with Easter.

Since before the last big snow, our '89 Accord has been sitting in the driveway, undriveable. Apparently a certain member of the household (not the male one) didn't close the driver's side door all the way after driving the car the last time, and the battery was dead. So this gorgeous spring day seemed like the time to jump-start the car.

Yay, it worked! So we spontaneously packed ourselves into the car for a little drive in the country to charge the battery up again. Unfortunately, at the first real stop light (in Bridgewater, for you locals) it died, just past the intersection, on a low-grade uphill. I jumped out to switch places with Terry so that he could push the car into the gas station that was handily right next to the intersection, but because of the slight hill he couldn't take his foot off the brake. But, also because of the hill, I was able to give the car a little push and roll it easily backwards into the gas station.

This scenario resulted naturally in a truly tragic missed opportunity for a fabulous MAN OF THE YEAR photo shot - visibly pregnant wife pushes stalled car while husband relaxes behind the wheel!!! Toddler looks on, bemused! When one of the gas station attendants ran over to help me, Terry felt led - for some odd reason - to lean out the window and try to shout out an explanation about how he couldn't get out of the car - whatever. I don't think the guy heard him.

So then Terry went to call his dad to come rescue us while I ran across the street to the fast food place to get V. something to eat. There was a bit of an interlude while a passing friend stopped to give us a jump start, Terry drove across the street, and the car died again in the fast food parking lot. Then we just waited for Vern to come get us - and follow us home.

It was actually kind of relaxing sitting and waiting, watching V. stuff herself with french fries (look mom, BOTH hands!). But the relaxation did not last long.

We were on the way back, Vern following close behind, when ONCE AGAIN the car stalled at a light, right next to a big poultry plant (the Dayton Cargill plant, for you locals). Vern jumped us again, and we made it all of, oh, half a block, before the car quit for good. Just as we passed, what do you know, a fire truck that had just arrived with lights flashing. We coasted onto the shoulder, looked to the right, and saw ominous white smoky clouds of who-knows-what rolling across the ground, coming from the plant towards the road. Vern pulled up behind us just as a fireman strolled over and told us we couldn't stay there. Yeah, it really didn't look like a good picnic spot.

So Vern got in the van, we got into neutral, and he pushed our car with his car down the road. And then the wheel locked and we started drifting into the left lane... well, we got that corrected and eventually limped into the parking lot of the Hair Corral, where we left our car to eventually get towed.

It might be time to say goodbye to this old car.