Mother’s Tea, Round Two

Piper had her Mother’s Tea last Friday, a few days after Ellie. It’s quite a different format in the toddler classroom than the primary classroom. The kids helped the teachers make cookies with jam in them and they squeezed the lemons for the lemon tea. We sat on their tiny little stools and had tea with them, played outside in the water trough, did some work and then did circle time. The kids made us these adorable keychains with their pictures in them, which I hung in my car.

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The kids do this little dance individually after circle time before they go outside:

Doctor Appointments for Both

Today was the first time I took the girls to the doctor together. I figured it would be easier to kill two birds with one stone and by golly I think I was right. It was a bit to manage, but now that Piper can understand and listen a bit, I don’t have to be so hands on. It was Ellie’s 3 year check up (yes, I know it’s a couple of months late) and Piper’s 18 month check up.

First, Ellie stood on the scale and weighed in at 36 pounds, in the 80th percentile. Her height was a half inch from 40″, putting her in the 75th percentile (although I could have sworn the nurse said 95th…tomato tomahto).

Piper laid in the baby scale (in a surprisingly compliant way) and weighed in at 22 pounds, in the 50-75th percentile. Her height is 32.5 inches, in the 75th percentile. Both girls are normal, happy and healthy, so I was very happy. The one part I was a little nervous about was the shots. Not so much because I can’t handle shots (because I can), but because if one totally melted down, odds were the other one would too and what a fantastic mess to work through. I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s those little things I think about.

I was surprised when the nurse came back in with the shots that Ellie said she wanted to go first. Before, when the doctor came in I asked Ellie if she wanted to go first or if she wanted Piper to go first and she said Piper. But when the nurse came in with the shots, she was ready to go. I explained to her earlier in the day that I put her Supergirl underwear on because she was going to need to be a big strong girl when the doctor gave her medicine later because it might hurt a little bit. I told her that the medicine would make it so she didn’t get really sick later on. When she sat on my lap I said “Are you ready to be a big strong girl?” and she said “yeah.” I told her to look and me and give me a big smile. The nurse gave the shot right as she smiled and presto! No tears. Yay!

At this point I think to myself that if Piper cries, at least I was one for two. Piper jumps on my lap and I ask her if she’s ready to be a big strong girl. She says “yes” and doesn’t cry either. I feel like I should buy a lotto ticket today!

  

Progress, Evolution & Perspective

I frequently see posts on Facebook or articles out there about “the right way” to parent. Guidance is the friendly way to define these tidbits. Guidance is always helpful. I appreciate so much the guidance I’ve received in my life. But I find some of the guidance out there seems to come with a grain of judgment. It’s as if I’m not doing it right if I don’t take the guidance. And when I say “I”, I really mean “we.” I have a bone to pick with this guidance. I have a bone to pick because I truly don’t think there’s one right way. I truly think everyone ought to do it the way that works best for them.

Most of my friends and family know I have a few things I am stubborn about when it comes to raising our kids: 1) I do everything within reason to give them balanced organic meals full of vitamins and the right fuel for their bodies, and 2) I do everything within reason to keep them away from screens. These are “my things.” And every parent has their things, things that are highest priority that they don’t waiver on when possible. I know some parents prioritize manners. I know some parents prioritize sleep training. I know some parents never raise their voices at their kids. I obviously value those as well, but they’re not “my things.” And that should be okay. I shouldn’t feel guilty about that and if you give your kids fish sticks and french fries and stick an iPad in front of them at dinner you shouldn’t feel guilty either. We’re all just operating under what we value to be the most important things for us and our families and sometimes the most valuable thing for our families is some sanity for ourselves…can I get an amen?

It probably sounds so cliche but I really do wish there was less guidance in the world and more understanding. We should all feel comfortable sharing our learnings, but we should all feel comfortable taking in other people’s learnings. No one person knows everything, except for maybe Gandhi and Oprah. Lord knows I’m not perfect when it comes to these things, but I am working and striving toward it.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now and spend a few moments focusing on the progress of my peanuts. Piper, oh where to start with Piper. Piper is such a little wild child. She goes and goes and goes until she absolutely stops. She climbs up everything – in fact, today when I picked her up from school she was literally climbing up the baby gate. I’m pretty sure if I wouldn’t have grabbed her off it she would have made it over. She also loves to climb up all the bars to the top of the jungle gym platform at school. She’s visibly proud of herself whenever she accomplishes anything or gets something she wants. She’s getting her lower molars in and tonight at dinner she kept saying “ice.” Whenever she would say it I took a piece of ice out of my ice water and gave it to her, to which she replied with a larger than life smile and bounced up and down. Speaking of up and down, her new favorite thing is to stand up while yelling “up,” and then squat down while yelling “down.”

Her sister then joins in and they both go up and down together. Piper recently learned how to “kiss” and she is blowing kisses all the time. Brian says it’s because she likes the sound it makes. I also think she just really loves to be hugged and kissed. When I kiss her it makes her so happy and content it’s amazing. She doesn’t want to get in her car seat, really ever, so I just hug her and kiss her pretty much nonstop for a little bit and she seems to calm down enough for me to buckle her in. The most innocent and beautiful thing is to see how Ellie interacts with her now. When Piper makes the kissing face, Ellie blows her kisses and when they’re close enough to make contact they actually kiss. It’s so sweet and pure. It’s also great to see them play together so much. Now that Ellie’s in a different class with older kids it seems like she’s maturing exponentially. It’s hard for me to believe Ellie’s going to be 3 years old in less than a week. I remember when she was born it felt like 3 was an eternity. It’s funny how kids change so much so quickly and it’s also funny how they change us so quickly. Here are a few pics of the girls and their silliness.

With her water bottle from Santa that Ellie has now bogarted.

With her water bottle from Santa that Ellie has now bogarted.

She loves her giant teddy bear!

She loves her giant teddy bear!

Vroom

To a baby at school, Harper

Ellie Reading to a baby at school, Harper

Ellie's first day of "skiing" was mostly composed of eating snow

Ellie’s first day of “skiing” was mostly composed of eating snow

She can't resist climbing into our bed at night and I can't resist taking a picture I'm sure she'll despise when she gets older:)

She can’t resist climbing into our bed at night and I can’t resist taking a picture I’m sure she’ll despise when she gets older:)

We made it a Year!

When we first found out we were pregnant, Ellie was still pretty young. We were definitely excited, but we knew it was going to be tough. With Ellie, getting to one year was such an accomplishment. We felt like we crossed some sort of imaginary “finish” line and we had been officially broken in as parents. The dynamic starts to flow and the hiccups become easier to navigate. So when we found out we were pregnant with Piper, I looked at Brian and said “we just have to make it to a year.” And now we’re here! It’s pretty crazy now to think how incredibly fast the last year has gone by. So much growth has occurred with our girls in the last year and honestly I think on a frequent basis how amazingly blessed we are.

I told someone at Piper’s birthday party that having kids is somewhat like being a teenager again in that one moment you feel like you want to scream and the next you’re so in love you can’t imagine life without them.

Speaking of Piper’s Birthday, we absolutely had such a blast. We had a pumpkin theme for the party, which was executed via much googling and pinteresting! It was so fun to have friends and family over. Piper had a blast. She’s such a ham and it was truly the first time I had faith someone was going to be watching her. Amazingly, it was true. Here are a bunch of photos from the party.

I just like to crawl into things Piper and her giant Teddy Bear Nana, Papa and Piper Tish and Piper Ry and Bri Jen & Lacie Tutu and the girls Piper, Mom and Dad Kathy and Brian Mom and Dad Yuuuummy! Sofia and Nicholas Hadley and Carly Finola and Piper Ellie and Ara Ty and Brian Parris and Heras Emmalynn Cake Time Mmm…Frosting Lucy Piper and Ara Tucker Fam + Jen Piper Ellie and Finola Wrestling Piper and Mom Jen and Wyatt Stella on Giraffe Emmalynn and Jenna Ara Hadley and Mom Piper Smiles

Nala drawing

Picasso in training

As if that weren’t enough photos, we also took a pic of Piper to complete her monthly photos during her first year. Brian is definitely excited we don’t have to struggle with a very active independent Piper to get a decent still picture of her anymore and I’m just mostly in love with how much this picture truly emulates our emotion about making it to a year. Now, if time could please slow down, we would be very grateful.

Piper's One Year Old!

Piper’s 11 Months

Piper turned 11 months last Thursday, while I was in Austin for work – tear, sniff, tear. Before Piper was born, Brian and I talked about nursing and I was pretty adamant I wanted to do everything I could to nurse until she was 1 year old. Now that she’s 11 months old, when I got home from Austin, Brian asked me if I was excited I was almost there. After a day or two of that setting in I started to get really excited that I’m ALMOST THERE! In a few weeks, I’ll have an hour+ back every day and we won’t be washing pump parts every other day. I won’t have to pack an extra bag for work every day. I won’t have to pack a bigger suitcase when I travel for work just to house my pump parts. I won’t have to have the hotel deliver a fridge and arrange for everything to be put in a freezer when I have a later flight. I can go on a diet and not be scared about my production. I can stop taking Fenugreek!!! But…enough about me…

Piper’s 11 Months old and I can really hardly believe it. She’s such a fun little girl. She’s started wanting to go down stairs (gasp), so we’ve started holding her hand as she goes. She has started bending her knees every once in while, but most of the time we’re confident she would have fallen if we weren’t holding her hand. That’s how babies learn though and every time she’s about to fall but we save her, I can tell on her face she’s learning from her mistakes.

I can’t imagine being more in love with our little girls. It’s so incredible how much joy I feel watching their progress and their personalities. Of course it’s incredibly difficult, exhausting and sometimes stressful, but what’s the cliche?  Oh yeah, nothing good ever comes easy. Ellie has gone through so many different stages as a big sister. In the beginning she was slightly ignorant, then she became a little jealous, and now she’s mostly excited to play with her sister and “guide” her to do certain things with her. She loves to show Piper how to use the toys and she takes her around the house doing all the fun stuff like washing the windows and calling to Max. I can just imagine them when they get a little older, and even when they become teenagers and young women. Of course every parent wants their kids to be bosom buddies. I’m sure there will be times of that, but also times of conflict. All of the good and the bad is what really makes a relationship stronger and I truly don’t want our girls to have a perfect relationship, just a true, genuine and strong one.

This month, my Grandma Geri was in town, so we took our Piper pic while Ellie and Brian celebrated Nana’s birthday. I combined all the photos so we could see the progress throughout the months. Here are a few shots from the night.

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Piper’s 8 Months!

One more month until the doctor says she should be sleeping through the night! I don’t think I can wait that long though so I’ve sought the council of a sleep doula who is putting together a program for us. It seems the problem is the association with feeding and sleeping so we’ll change our bedtime routine stat.

As far as development, Piper is humming right along. We’re pretty sure she says “hi” and “mama” now, based on the context of the words. She’s also standing on her own and she’s taken one step after standing a few times. She’s such a funny character – when she wants something she grunts really loudly. She’s started drinking some water and if we give her some and she wants more – grunnnnttt. If we give her food and she wants more – grunnnnttt. The other night we had some amazing salmon, so I rubbed some between my fingers to break it apart and she was devouring it! We did the same with egg yolk and she really digs it. She’s super sleepy in the below photo, but sometimes they can’t be perfect, eh?

Piper's 8 Months

Piper’s 7 Months!

Piper turned seven months and she’s just been going going going. She is one of those babies that’s very engaging, very smiley, very excited and very on the go. In fact, she will seldom lay on the changing table long enough for us to change her diaper. Most of the time we can lay her down to take it off and wipe, but then we have to stand her up to put a new diaper on and put her clothes back on.

She’s progressing quite quickly as far her mobility goes as well. She loves to pull herself up on anything possible. She went through a phase for a week or two of not being able to hold herself up once she got up or crawling so fast she would run into stuff. That was a very difficult couple of weeks because no one likes Piper bruises. It seems that time has come to an end though. Every time she pulls herself up she stays up and she knows how to let herself down more gently. She’s also letting go sometimes and standing for a few seconds, which is very exciting. While no parent wants to hover, I find it very difficult to not be ready to catch her when she’s exploring like this.

Piper’s also been experiences the same “teething” Ellie did around this time. I put “teething” in quotes because there aren’t actually any teeth. Ellie was the same way – there are spurts of massive salivation, gnawing on pretty much everything, some fever and discomfort. It’s no fun at all, but we’re done with the most recent teething event, so nothing to complain of for the time being.

Piper’s still not sleeping through the night, although she has gone for long stretches. She sometimes won’t wake up until 3:30 or so, which means 7-8 hours of straight sleep. The problem is, it’s straight sleep for her, but not us, since we don’t go to be until 11ish usually.

Ellie’s also still joining us in the middle of the night every night. We pretty much gave up on trying to take her back to her bed because it just caused us to lose more sleep. So instead we get kicked and woken up by crying almost every night. Oh the joys of parenting. I know I’ve said it before, but it really is all worth it. To see these cute little faces every day, to see them giggle and grow and play and sleep is totally all worth it.

7MoPiper