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:

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:)

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 9 Months

This post is actually a week or so late unfortunately, but with good cause. Last Thursday we trekked over to Cle Elem for the Heras/Parris wedding, came back Sunday and then Sunday night I flew out to London for work. I got back on Friday, so things have been a little crazy busy. As a sidenote, traveling for that long internationally when you’re still nursing is quite the experience. I packed a ton of pump parts and a scrub brush, but it’s not particularly easy to execute pumping and cleaning in a foreign land. Then when I got to security, TSA at Heathrow told me I couldn’t bring my breast milk on the plane with me since my baby was not with me. This was the 4th time I’ve traveled since going back to work and I’ve never been told that. Additionally, I had done my research and there is nothing on the TSA website that lists that as a requirement. Lastly, why would I have a ton of breast milk if my baby were with me? It just seemed crazy, but not having worked through this rationale in my head at the time I was just upset because I didn’t want to lose my milk. I ended up being able to check it all, so it all worked out in the end, thank goodness!

I made it back from London in one piece and one of the first things I asked Brian when I got home was if Piper had a tooth yet. I could feel swelling and nubs in her mouth right before I left, but Brian said no. I stuck my finger in her mouth to feel around and sure enough she did have a tooth! Here are some of the other notable developmental milestones Piper has hit:

  • She walking quite a bit now for pretty long distances at a time
  • She eats pretty much everything we do, but we put everything she eats in a chopper
  • We think she’s said four words other than “abba” – “mama, dada, hi & Ellie”
  • She loves to play peek-a-boo
  • She loves to clap
  • She loves to wave

9 Month Report 9 Month Scale

At her 9-month checkup the doctor was optimistic about Piper. There wasn’t really anything of concern. They poked her foot to get a blood sample to test her iron levels and everything was right where it should be. The only thing that’s challenging for us right now is still the sleep thing (more to come in another post about sleep advice from our sleep doula) and the fact that Piper’s a total busy body wiggle worm. It’s incredibly difficult to change her diaper or change her clothes because she’s just moving about all the time. As you can see from her nine month pic where her headband is around her neck, the girl plays with everything…

Piper's 9 Months!

 

Piper’s 6 Months

I realize this is a bit late, but the photos are all from when Piper actually turned six months, a couple of weeks ago. The last few weeks have admittedly been pretty exhausting. Right before Piper turned 6 months Brian went to China for a week. The next week I did a 19 hour day, flying to San Francisco and having meetings all day and then flying back. The week after that I took a red eye to Toronto on Wednesday night at midnight and then I flew back that Friday night. Then came Mother’s Day weekend and the time to sit down and compose a post for Piper’s six month birthday has really not come to fruition until now.

We had Piper’s 6 month appointment on May 5th. She weighed in at just over 15 pounds.

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The doctor was visibly impressed with her strength and muscle tone. When she pulled herself up on the table I think he had to double check that this was her six month appointment. As I have mentioned, I’m pretty sure she’s some sort of super human, especially considering she’s not really that thick of a babe. Here is her checkup card with all the specs.

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All that writing at the bottom is because after the nurse administered the vaccine, the doctor came in to tell us that she administered the wrong one. This has been something that has crossed my mind before; I’ve always wondered if this happens. The nurses and doctors are just running from room to room, giving tons of shots in a day. I was thinking it’s crazy they don’t mess things up. Fortunately for us, it doesn’t sound like it was a very serious mistake. They administered a Pediarix instead of a Pentacel, which basically means that because it hadn’t been 8 weeks since Piper’s last Hep B, she will have to have an extra Hep B in her series and we have to get a Hib next time. The obvious question is whether this is very bad or not. It sounds like it’s not. The next question is whether it’s grounds to explore other doctors. I started the exploration via a benefit at work called Expert Medical Opinion, so we’ll see what their guidance is. Our pediatrician came very highly recommended from our prior pediatrician, as well as several other parents, so it would be sad to have to find someone new. Regardless, I will always check the labels of shots going into my children’s bodies moving forward.

Here is Piper’s six month photo – just a super happy active clam. We are really starting to see her personality come out and she just wants to play nonstop. She really can’t sit still at all. She’s a very laid back baby, in that not much gets to her. But being confined definitely is one of the few things. She is a woman on the go and can’t nobody hold her back. She’s just awesome. Again, now if she could only sleep through the night…do you see a theme with my requests? Sleep, that’s really all I want. “Pretty please,” as Ellie would say.

This lady is on the go...

This lady is on the go…

 

Piper’s 5 Months

Tonight’s photo shoot for Piper’s five month picture was definitely the most eventful thus far. To start with, I’m miserably sick. I reluctantly started an antibiotic yesterday, so hopefully I’ll be good as new soon. Piper’s been sick for the past four days or so, but she is definitely doing a lot better now. I’d knock on wood and say she’ll be 100% by the weekend. Ellie seems like she might be getting sick and I think Brian is just sick of everyone being sick and sick of knowing he’s likely next to be sick. 

It took me about 20 minutes to find the dang SD card to shoot this picture, which was honestly a nightmare of a time. How is it that there are likely 6 SD cards somewhere in the house and I cannot find one that will work? There are worse things in the world, people, I am aware. But when your head feels like it’s waterlogged and you have the energy of a turtle, looking for an SD card and doing a baby photo shoot with a toddler on your tail is quite trying.

Alas, the photo was taken and all is well. After I took the photo of Piper, Ellie hopped in the chair and said “Mommy take a picture of Ellie now.” So I have a cute little picture of Piper, freshly bathed with a hot pink bow on her head and a fun picture of Ellie, sans bath with my least favorite (but her favorite) pajamas, with two headbands 80’s style – and she couldn’t be more happy!

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Ellie is such a little love bug. I can tell already the type of woman she is going to grow into and I know I’m going to be so proud of her. As a toddler it can be challenging. The most important thing for me is finding the right way to talk to her to get her little two year old brain to understand and respond accordingly. For the most part I think we do a good job, but there are definitely times I feel like a bad mom. I think I’m be pretty abnormal if I never had any of those moments. I just do the best I can and give myself a break when my best isn’t “good enough.” It reminds me of sports really, continually striving to improve, but accepting defeat when it happens. 

Piper is so crazy happy it baffles me. She’s been sick and all she does is smile smile smile. I love it so much; it just warms my heart to see her smile. She’s also very motivated. She’s been up on her hands and knees rocking like crazy. Sometimes she rocks so hard she falls on her face. And then she just gets right back up, excited to try again. She also does this thing where she gets up on her toes and her hands. I’m not sure where she thinks she’ll go like that, but I’m sure she’s having a lot of fun. She also has fun eating and constantly tries to grab for her spoon, thus flinging food in multiple directions. Piper loves grabbing her toes and putting them in her mouth and she’s now also grabbing her ears. I think Piper is going to grow into one of those people who’s super chill and relaxed, but when it comes to the things she cares about, she’ll throw a fit.

I like to make hypothesis about their personalities, but the truth is I don’t know how they’ll evolve. All I can do is love them and try as hard as I can to support them in becoming true to themselves.

Piper’s Four Months!

Piper turned four months old on Sunday, so we did her typical monthly photo shoot (see below). Today we went to the doctor for her four month checkup and everything looks good. She’s doing great developmentally and growth wise. Here are her stats:

Height: 25″/75%

Weight: 13 lbs, 7 oz/25-50%

Head: 16″/25-50%

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Developmentally, she is rolling (see previous post) and Ruoyun said she scooted about five feet yesterday, but I’m not sure if that was assisted or not. It’s a very exciting time to see all these firsts! Honestly though, the only thing we’re really hoping and praying for is the day she starts sleeping all the way through the night.

Our doctor also gave us the green light to introduce foods. He said waiting until six months is really a thing of the past and they’re starting to find evidence that introducing foods earlier, around four months, may actually be beneficial for food allergies, etc. He also said sometimes when parents wait until six months the baby has lost interest in solids, but that’s not super common.

We had a vaccine today at the doctor appointment and it was so fabulous! Oh, is that an oxymoron? I know it’s weird, but I nursed her while they gave her the shot and she didn’t wince or cry. It was wonderful. I hope she doesn’t get a fever or have any side effects. When we dropped her off at her daycare, Ruoyun told us she would give her some massage today – that makes me so happy!

Here is her four month photo and a compilation of every month until now:

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