Kate As of Late – March 2017

Like most moms, the documentation of my youngest child’s growth and development is greatly lacking as compared to her older siblings. I have tons of photos of her, but there’s been no nicely bound book printed (to be fair, I’m 1+ years behind on that for all the kids). I started one of those baby milestone calendars (actually, two), but I don’t think any stickers were added after the first few months as the calendars got lost into the piles of papers that comprise our life (important tax receipts, school/daycare notes, bills to pay, etc.).

The more I’ve thought about this, the more my mommy guilt has grown. I know it’s not reasonable to think that I’m going to get caught up on my printed photo books (I mean I hope I will, but let’s be realistic, it’s not happening in the next month or two). So I’m setting a new goal; one that I can apply equally to all my kids and is hopefully more in line with my available resources. I’m going to schedule time on my calendar each quarter to write a blog post about each of the kids spotlighting the great (and not so great) happenings of the past few months. Hopefully that will allow me at some point to look back, and in better clarity, remember these moments and attribute them to the right kid (because sometimes even that’s a bit tricky!). And since Kate’s not had one of these posts written about her yet, she’s where I shall start.

  • My meatball. Kate’s in Toddler One class at daycare and is well liked by both her classmates and her teachers. So well liked, that they’ve given her a nickname – Meatball. I’m not 100% sure how this name came up. It’s possible that it’s due to her adorable chubbiness, but it may also be that she loves meatballs…? I don’t honestly know, but never the less, it’s stuck. I had considered dressing her as a meatball for Halloween this past year but thought maybe that was taking it too far. I don’t want her to look back as a teenager and have a complex about it.
  • The tides are starting to shift. Loveable, go-with-the-flow Kate is beginning to develop her own personality. We’re starting to see a bit of her temper flair as she’s playing with the boys. She’s not quick to cry, but she’s a fast draw with a slap and isn’t afraid to hit anyone that she thinks deserves it. When Kate does cry, you know she’s super pissed. And it’s not exactly a cry, it’s an all out, hold-my-breath-so-long-people-start-to-get-concerned blow up. She’ll turn bright red and throw herself backwards as she’s having her melt down. Even if it means she’s throwing herself into a wall, or back onto a concrete floor. I’m sure this one will get even worse before we get through this fun little phase.
  • Kate’s talkative. But at the same time, not exactly talking. She knows several words and uses them when she wants to. Mostly what you hear from her is babbling. She’s just talking away, but it’s not understandable. Yet. At this point her vocabulary is pretty large: mom, dad, brother, Alex, Leo, dog, cat, ball, milk, more, yeah, no, cracker, sit, etc. She’s able to repeat almost anything you ask her to say.
  • A tomboy, sort of. I can’t really tell if Kate’s really going to be a tomboy, or if she just doesn’t realize there’s so much girlie stuff out. I wouldn’t say we’re actively keeping her from girlie things (well, except the whole Disney princess concept), but with older brothers around, she’s just naturally surrounded by their toys and watches cartoons that I’d consider to be gender-neutral (Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and Mickey Mouse Club are mainstays in our household). Kate loves her baby dolls, and can be seen carrying one around the house by the neck on a pretty regular basis. But she’s also quick to play with one of the hundreds of balls or grab a big handful of dirt from the back porch.
  • Hat girl. Well, bucket hat girl. Well, bucket girl, really. Kate simply loves to wear the Mr. Potato Head bucket around like a hat. She’ll put it on and walk around the house all morning/evening without a care in the world. I’m just glad she hasn’t insisted we wear it to daycare. Yet.

My New Normal: The Morning Routine

I’ve been back to work for nearly two weeks now, and I feel like we’re starting to fall into a routine. Things aren’t quite as I had expected, but it seems to be going well, so I’m willing to roll with it.

I start my typical day anywhere between 4 and 5:30 a.m. Technically my alarm is set to go off at 5:15. But if the baby (or Alex) is up earlier than that, and Tony was up at some point for a mid-night feeding, I try to run interference. I want Tony to be able to sleep as late as possible since he has a long drive to and from work each day. If by chance Tony got to sleep all night because my mid-night pumping session lined up with Kate’s mid-night feeding, I’ll let Tony take the first shift and try to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.

After the crew is awake, the circus begins… Vitamins for the boys. Milk for Alex. Nurse the baby. Get everyone dressed. Help Leo with breakfast. Find breakfast for Alex that won’t end up all over his shirt/face/pants or in his hair. (You’d be amazed, this kid can make a mess with almost anything.) Tell Leo to brush his teeth and get his shoes on.

All the while, I’m attempting to get ready. The boys are pretty good about playing in the living room as long as one of their cartoons is playing in the background. (Their current favorites are Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Miles from Tomorrowland.)

leo_and_alex_wait_for_the_busAt 6:55, we go outside with Leo to wait for the bus. This is probably the highlight of my morning. I get to talk with Leo about the things he’ll be doing that day and can sense his excitement for school. I also get to witness the love the boys have for each other and their sister as we go through several rounds of hugs and kisses saying our goodbyes.

As the bus nears the house, Leo runs down the driveway. I yell, “Love you, Leo. Have a great day!” And then Alex will follow up with something similar. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face to hear him yell, “lov oo!”

Then Alex, Kate and I head back into the house to finish getting ready. I usually have to do another round of diaper changes and finish getting myself ready. At that point we’re ready to start transitioning to the van. (That process by itself is usually three or four trips between the van and the house.)

If I’m lucky, we’re pulling out of the driveway by 7:30 a.m. (I’d say that’s probably actually only happened three times.) Usually it’s closer to 7:45, which means we’re at daycare just after 8.

Daycare drop off with Kate has been smooth. I carry her carseat and bag in, drop it off and give them the morning briefing.

alex_and_kate_at_daycareAlex on the other hand is like trying to herd a cat into the bathtub. It’s not that he doesn’t want to go to daycare, he’s just not been a big fan of it since he’s moved up to Todd 2. Every single step requires strategy and patience. Somedays I have him hold the keys and unlock the doors as we go into the center. Other days he’s my helper and proudly carries the baby’s bag for me. Every day I have to align myself between him and the day care center’s flower garden so that Alex doesn’t wander through it. And then once we’re inside, I have to stick to his right so he doesn’t take off down the long hallways to other parts of the building or run into the church’s sanctuary.

Ultimately I role into work between 8:15 and 8:30, and I pretty much already feel like I’ve already completed my first major accomplishment for the day.

Goodbye, Maternity Leave

me-and-my-babiesTomorrow marks my first day back to work after my maternity leave with Kate. It’s a bigger deal than when I returned to work after I had Alex, because I know this will be my last maternity leave (at least, that’s the plan).

Part of me is excited to get back. Seeing my friends. Getting back into a routine. (Figuring out what our new routine looks like… .) Diving into client projects. Re-focusing my efforts on taking jhP’s digital to the next level.

But a bigger part of me than I had anticipated is sad.

I didn’t have much trouble taking Kate to her first day of daycare. (She started on Monday.) She’s going to the same daycare the boys have always gone to. I know the staff there so well, it almost feels as though she’s staying with family.

The sadness comes from the thing that’s made me sad the entire maternity leave – knowing that all these are experiences are happening for the last time. Holding a tiny baby close. Watching as they start to wake up and experience the world around them. Their first smiles and sounds. Their first blowouts. It’s the last set of firsts I will get to experience, and it’s been really hard for me to come to terms with. Honestly, I’m not really sure I’m even there yet.

I’d love to have a forth child, I also know I really don’t want to be in my late 60’s as they’re getting married and starting a family. I want to be like my parents and Tony’s parents and be able to help them as they take those first scary steps into parenthood (each time they do it). To help with meals and cleaning and giving them the reassurance that they’re doing a great job. All the things our family has given us over the past few months.

So if you see me tomorrow, and I look a bit down, just remind me I will get to experience this stage again. But it will be doing it through the eyes of my sons and my daughter as they get their turn.

All About Alex – September 2015

alex-and-the-mustachIt’s hard to believe my little guy is two! It seems like it was only a few months ago when he was a tiny baby making little old man faces. Now he just puts on the occasional mustache when he wants to look like one.

  • Hotdog! A few months back we started watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the mornings before daycare. Alex has become a big fan. He loves to “dance” when the hotdog song comes on. For the most part, his dancing consists of stomping around the front room and attempting to sing along with it. He’s not able to actually say all of the words, but his bellowing is mostly on-pitch. It’s pretty cute.

    He’s now also become a fan of Paw Patrol. Needless to say our mornings before daycare are pretty cartoon-filled. (At least it keeps the kids somewhat entertained so I’m able to get ready for work.)

  • Just Like Brother. Alex wants to be just like his big brother so everything Leo does, Alex is quick to follow. Leo starts playing with something, Alex wants to play too. Leobrotherly-love goes somewhere, Alex goes too. Leo picks his nose or jumps off the couch, Alex
    picks his nose and jumps off the couch.

    You get the picture.

    It works out great for me when I need to get Alex to cooperate. Leo seems to understand for the most part, so he’s pretty quick to help.

    The only downside is Alex is pretty upset each time Leo goes to his dad’s house. Every morning Alex will wake up and look over at Leo’s bed. When Leo’s not there, he’ll ask, “Where’s Leo?” over and over. It’s sad, but it makes me appreciate how well they get along together. I know he’ll understand the situation a little more as he gets older.

  • Baby Love. Man oh man, Alex loves his baby Kate. I’d been a little nervous about how he would handle having a new baby in the house and having to share attention, but he’s been great. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a bit of a bull in the china closet, so we have to make sure he doesn’t squish her too much. He loves to give her hugs and super drool-filled kisses. At daycare drop-off. At bedtime. Whenever he walks by her. It’s pretty constant.Alex is also infatuated with her tiny feet and holding her hand. He loves to look at herbig-brother feet, and then compare them to his. And he likes to push his finger into Kate’s little clinched fists so she is hanging onto it. I have a feeling they’re going to be best friends (and enemies) real soon!
  • Crayons For Coloring. Only a few short months ago, Alex couldn’t be trusted around crayons. He might spend a few moments holding them, attempting a crafty_alexscribble. But as soon as he thought no one was looking, the crayons would end up in his mouth. Fast forward to Saturday morning when Leo was at the table working on some homework. Leo spent a full hour coloring and drawing on construction paper and never once put anything in his mouth. I consider it a win! Not only did his teeth stay white, he actually sat down and did one thing for more than five minutes – that’s no small feat in our household!

Flying Solo: Part 4

Yesterday and today have been pretty good. I attribute a lot of that to an unanticipated phone call from Tony yesterday. He was checking in to see how we were doing and let us know they were moving campsites because they hadn’t had much luck seeing/hearing any elk yet.

The icing on the cake was the text messages I received last night and earlier today. The new campsite Tony moved to had just enough of a cell signal to send and receive text messages. It seems a bit silly, but it was so nice to be able to have a brief text conversation with my husband.