Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Opal 11 - 14 weeks

Still exhibiting the newborn "fencing pose"

Look at that round gumdrop head!
Sweet delicious hands and arms - her favorite treat lately
Hello jolly!
Good thing the days are getting longer, because maybe now we won't keep taking these pictures with the yellowish overhead light on giving a lot of them a weird tint and a looming Daddy shadow.  Always keep improving!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring break, soy vey

Last week was kind of hectic.  Nic's been having to stay later at work, and I've been trying to exercise more (who needs a gym when you've got two flights of stairs you can go up and down twenty times), so I don't have much time to sit down and write.  Another thing that made last week not so great is Opal's gastro doc told me I have to give up soy now.  At first I was really upset because soy oil and soy lecithin are in EVERYTHING.  But then I talked to the nurse a few days later to ask if I should reschedule the April follow-up appointment, and she said lecithin and oil don't have soy protein, which is the potential problem, so it's not as bad as I thought at first.  Takeout and restaurants will be difficult but not totally impossible.  So we retest in four weeks.  I tried quitting last Wednesday, but this morning after some internet research realized that these weird little guinea-pig-treat-like sunflower seed nuggets I've been eating may actually contain soy as they have "modified food starch" in them.  So today is my first real soy-free day.  That is, if I don't mess up again!

All the kids are home for the week for spring break.  Well, if you can even call it that what with the steady and slowly accumulating snowfall we've had all day.  The big boys are very into some sophisticated Lego building.  Just today Eli made an Olympic swimming stadium, Wolfie made a zoo habitat for a snake (of course), and then Eli made a Lego Franklin Institute.  And they insist on doing "Lego interviews," which is me recording them as they describe their masterpieces.  They're also doing stuff with the jenga-like wooden blocks Santa brought this past Christmas.  It's great to see them working so well together doing such imaginitive play. 

Another thing I enjoyed seeing recently - the boys competing to make Opal laugh.  Eli was dancing around naked before a bath and Opal was watching him and started laughing, and he got so excited and proud, insisting he was the first person to make her laugh (not true, but I sort of let him have it).  Then after he bragged to Wolfie, Wolfie came in and tried to get her to laugh too!  Even Zeb got into it! 

Opal has been trying so hard to "talk" lately.  She always has to be staring directly into a person's eyes at all times, and then in the afternoon and evening she'll just start gooing and gurgling at you.  And if you do it back, you can go back and forth for quite some time.  One big milestone reached last week - she rolled over!  I forgot how angry they get the first couple of times they do it!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Look what the leprechauns left!

More precious than a pot o' gold!
Didn't get a chance to take pics on St. Patrick's Day itself as we were still recovering from the torture slog that was the Baltimore Aquarium, but I couldn't not put up a picture of Opal in this outfit! 
The clover tutu was actually purchased long before I was even pregnant with Opal.  Why did I buy this, you ask, when I'm not Irish and my kids are only one eighth?  Well, after Jennifer Garner used and thus popularized my old first choice girl name Violet back in 2005, Clover became my top choice name for a future daughter.  So a few times over the years, around St. Patrick's Day, if I happened to be in the kid's clothing section and saw something really cute in the girls' section with clovers on it, I'd get it.  I figured it didn't matter what size it was because if her name was Clover she could wear stuff with clovers on it at any time of the year. 
Well, once I was actually pregnant with a baby girl, the name Clover lost its appeal for various reasons.  So now Opal is going to be disproportionately representin' on St. Paddy's Day for a while to come!  Luckily, this baby-sized skirt actually fits her at the right time of year!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Warning to all mid-Atlantic state parents

The Baltimore Aquarium does NOT, I repeat, does NOT allow strollers.  Visit at your own risk.  This may be my last post for a while as I will probably be in an upper body cast for the forseeable future due to the immense arm and shoulder strain of hauling around a certain loveable tiny creature nonstop without rest all day.  That is all.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Toddlers are still preeshuss

I know I've been complaining a bit about Zeb on here lately, and he is working through the terrible twos still, no doubt (like how he woke up last night at 2:45, then again half an hour later; how does a three month old sleep better than a two year old?).  But the kid is still a little heartwarmer, that's for sure.  He had a cute day today.  First he was very helpful, wanting to carry all the baby barf rags in the laundry as soon as they got barfed upon and also closing the bathroom door in the hall upon request several times.  He kept saying "Be right back!" 

Then I gave him a small bowl of Kix (I think his appetite for Kix correlates to his behavior for the day - the hungrier for Kix, the more cheerful he is - because he hadn't been hungry for them in a few days).  He insisted on using a big person spoon to eat them, which of course led to a bunch of Kix all over the table.  So I asked him to put them back in the bowl, and he said "Okay!" (he always says that when you tell him to do something that he intends on doing, making him sound extremely agreeable) and put them back.  Then once they were cleaned up I said, okay now put them in your tummy.  So he lifted up his shirt and attempted to stick one right in his belly button!

Another cute thing he has been doing is he tries to impress Wolfie by yelling out "Tornado!" knowing that Wolfie loves tornadoes.  Wolfie, meanwhile, I recently turned on to old episodes of "The Crocodile Hunter."  I hope he starts doing an Australian accent.

Eli was impressive today in that he dressed in head to toe green completely on his own, which I think was suggested by school but not written down anywhere.  Have I mentioned the huge Lego airport project they have going on in the basement?  I got a good look at it today and Eli gave me an "interview" on it, and it's really impressive.  I love how Eli and Wolfie are working together and getting along now.  Hopefully now that I've said that Eli won't start refusing to sit next to him again! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Three months already?!?!

I heard "Isn't She Lovely" in the car after dropping off Wolfie yesterday, immediately started crying and then was weepy for the rest of the day.  Because three nonths ago today I went from this:

to this:

and time has gone by so fast that she already looks like this!:

I love this squishy googoo moogoo so much!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Flower show and daylight savings

Daddy took his girls to the Philadelphia Flower Show Saturday.  It was supposed to be a surprise last Sunday, but I came down with that awful cold last weekend.  The theme was something British, so as expected the displays were split between royalty/English garden themed and pseudopsychedelic Beatley stuff (Eleanor Rigby-esque umbrella stuff and yellow submarines abounded).  The big displays were cool but it was so crowded that you could barely see them and there was also always a solid row of people taking pics of them and thus it was hard to get a good shot.  Plus, I kind of felt like a dork, like a kid with a stamp card and if you stop at each booth and get all the stamps you get a prize.  Everyone is a photographer now, and I feel like the prevailing attitude is if you don't take a picture of it then it doesn't count, but the need to constantly document everything takes away from experiencing it in the moment. I say this as a confirmed luddite, but realize the hypocrisy of writing this in my photo blog which was started for the precise reason of capturing the fleeting moments.  Digressing!

My favorite displays were the pictures made of flower and plant pieces. These you could get a good picture of! 

Of course the prettiest flower at the flower show was:

We browsed the sellers' area for only a tiny bit as Opal was getting cranky.  The hot product of the year seemed to be miniature terrarium displays.  We bought a little do-it-yourself kit for one, which includes a tiny little guy or gal to reside in the miniature world.  I don't know which one we got yet as we haven't opened the box yet.  I hope we remember to put it together before the moss it came with turns to a crunchy brown dustball.

The drive in was horrendous, the traffic just awful.  Whenever we haven't been into the city in a while, I always feel guilty that we're not taking advantage of it, but the truth is between traffic and then finding and paying for parking, it might as well be as far away as NYC.  Yeah, I guess we should try the train or whatever, but I just don't see it being feasable with all these little kids.  I don't see carrying four kids' worth of crap around with us all freakin' day, then wrangling all of them both ways on the train and not being able to escape to the car and leave at a moments' notice.  So really we take as much advantage of the city as is comfortably possible, which is to say not much.  One of the main reasons why I'd like to live in or right outside of a smaller, more accessible city.

Zeb has really been studying the Toddler Book of Dick Maneuvers.  Despite going to bed extremely late on Saturday, on Sunday he woke up screaming and tantrumtastic at 6:45AM, which would be bad enough.  But it was the first day of daylight savings, so it was really more like 5:45.  Then he never took a nap that day, but rather used his new dirty trick escape maneuver that we'd managed to avoid so far with the older boys, and I'm not talking about literally escaping, which he has also done.  I'll spare you the details.  Despite the rude awakening and toddler thunderstorms, we managed to have a pretty good day.  We took the new skateboard attachment on the stroller for a spin on a trip to the playground.  Zeb enjoyed it, but I'm still nervous about using it when it's just me and him and Opal.  Now that the weather is getting better, though, I'll have to get over that nervousness if I want to ever take walks during the day when I'm home alone with them. 

When we got back, Nic and I watched Argo in the afternoon while the kids watched Leslie Nielsen's Mr. Magoo.  We popped ourselves some popcorn, with olive oil of course.  Nic reminded me that we still have that "blue" (black) popcorn from Eli's sixth birthday, which was the season of him being obsessed with atypically-colored produce ("look up purple carrots, Mommy!"). 

So it was a decent, if exhausting, weekend.  The only thing we didn't get done that I wanted to get done was going to Whole Foods or Wegmans to get more dairy-free stuff for me.  I think it's going to be a few days before we get adjusted to the time change, though!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why must cows squirt their teats into everything?

Warning - this post may contain excessive graphic baby poop talk.  Reader discretion is advised.
Oh, hello!  I'm baby Opal!  I'm having a glorious day!  But just for fun, I've decided to start making my diapers a terrifying event for you, and not for stink reasons (because they still just smell like overcooked vanilla pudding)! 
When I was pregnant with Opal, whenever I'd think about which kid she'd most resemble, I would always picture her as a wild, wiry female Woog.  Wolfie is an amazing kid (and I am not one to overuse the word amazing), so it was a pleasant prospect, even though I did kinda hope she'd look a dot more like me (Wolfgang is pure Nic's family in the looks department).  And sure enough, she came out looking an awful lot like Wolfie.
But on the flip side of that thought was the worry that if she did look like Wolfgang, would she end up having the same problems he had with his poop when he was a baby?  At two months old, Wolfie's poop's turned from normal baby mustard to jellied green grass clippings which were sometimes tinged with blood.  I can't remember how often they had blood in them; I only recall seeing it once and having it test positive once.  The green color and texture was what I mainly remember.  Anyway, we ended up having to take him to a bunch of specialists who blamed both oversupply of milk (the ladies can make milk, that's for sure) and sensitivities to food in my diet.  The culprit is usually dairy, so that went first, but shortly after I was forced to avoid soy, beef, nuts, and seafood.  I remember soy being the killer, because that crap is in EVERYTHING.  Nothing ever made it better, and towards the end of Wolfie's first year his weight started veering towards the bottom of the charts, which was scary since Nic and I and Eli were all very fat babies, so we had to supplement with formula.  Today Wolfie is fine as far as we can tell, and his guts are actually somewhat gifted from what we can see, but at the time it was exhausting and scary.
So imagine my feelings when on President's Day (six days after she turned two months old) I open up Opal's diaper and find a few tiny but unmistakable red streaks contained within her usual stinky gift.  Off to the doctor we went.  After a few visits where they said maybe it's something more minor followed by more blood-flecked diapers, they made me go off dairy and make an appointment with a CHOP gastroenterologist.  Going off dairy is a lot harder than I remember it being, but I think I was only off dairy for like a week with Wolfie before seeing the gastro in Florida who made me go off everything else, so I guess I didn't remember it that well.  So I was really nervous the doctor here would end up making me do the same thing, but we had that appointment yesterday and she said it can take up to four weeks for the dairy elimination to take effect and the guts to heal, and it's only been ten or eleven days.  So I'm still only off dairy for now, then we have to mail in a card smeared with poop (lucky mailman) for them to test once it's been four weeks, then we have a follow-up appointment at the beginning of April. 
The doctor really didn't seem very concerned at all since Opal is still gaining weight and apparently lots of babies have this dairy sensitivity and outgrow it (Wolfie obviously did, his diet is 50% cheese at this point), but I'm still worried and feel sad for my poor little girl.  Nobody wants their baby to poop blood, even if it's only a tiny bit!  At least it still LOOKS mostly normal, knock on wood.  I hope this makes her all better!  In the meantime, I'm also avoiding beef since the first two incidences of blood happened after I ingested some beef, and I didn't realize until then that although my diet was redolent with beef five years ago, now I barely ever eat it, so maybe that aggravated Woog since I did eventually have to quit it.  And I skipped soy milk and went straight to rice and almond milk, since dairy-sensitive babies also frequently have soy sensitivities, and I thought maybe if I don't start taking in a bunch of soy in the form of soy milk and just keep it incidental in my diet, maybe I won't have to eventually quit it altogether. 
It's actually snowing today.  It was supposed to snow a lot on Wednesday (tail end of Winter Storm Saturn this time), but it never did, but now it is.  It's not a ton, but it is sticking.  Early March weather is so random here.  I don't remember last year, but I know in early March 2011 when Zeb was a baby it was bone-chilling freezing out, but then I remember two years before that it was in the low seventies the first week of March and we were all wearing short sleeves.
Anyway, if anyone is reading this, keep your fingers crossed and send some positive vibes etc. that Opal is just sensitive to dairy and that she gets all better soon!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

On my ooooooooowwwwwwn (kinda sorta)

Well here I am, almost at the end of my first week mostly on my own at home with a two and a half month old and a two year old.  Despite coming down with a pretty bad cold on Saturday that I'm still fighting (maybe my body thought if we could get sick, we could keep the help around longer), I'm managing okay.  Though, oh my gosh Zeb, could you BE more terrible twos?  He is so much more of a two year old than the older boys ever were at that age.  Everything is "MINE!  THAT'S ZEB'S!" and, in case you couldn't tell from that quote, everything is screamingly demanded.  He's starting to scream for a sippy cup at bedtime and naptime, and first thing in the morning when he wakes up (which was 6AM today, thanks buddy).  Good thing he only ever gets water in those.  Also he's starting to demand KIX!  MORE KIX!  Toddlers seem to be designed to run on dry cereal.  At one point Wolfie's diet was like 88% Special K.  I started calling it Wolfie Chow.

We did have fun this week, though.  We've been hanging out in the big boys' room a lot, rifling through their clutter bins.  I made up a couple of games.  There's "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Zeb" where Zeb gets into Wolfie's bed and I sing "Twinkle, twinkle little Zeb, take a nap in Wolfie's bed."  Then he calls out other peoples' beds he wants me to sing that he's taking a nap in.  First it was Eli, then Daddy, then two grandparents, then next came Leo!  Sally came after that, then various other family members and friends.  The next day he added in some farm animals.  Then there's the game where Zeb hands me the various elements of this soft toy shabbat kit I got back when Eli went to synagogue preschool (challah, candles, wine and goblet) and I say the associated prayer and then bop him with it.  It's a good game to do one handed as Opal is balanced on my hip.
Opal so far seems to be enjoying/tolerating being carried around while I focus more on Zeb.  She doesn't have to stare intensely into my face all day, who knew?!   I was surprised at how the house didn't fall apart like I thought it would.  Okay, the floors are gross and we're behind on the laundry, but there actually seems to be less clutter.  And I know Eli is glad things are getting more back to normal.  When I asked him if he was glad about it, he said "Don't have a fifth kid, mommy!" 

We made good on our promise to take Eli to the Franklin Institute planetarium this past weekend.  Well, we actually took all the kids.  It was our first outing with all six of us, first time with all four of them in the car together.  Check out these nerds:

Actually since we also briefly went across the river to Cherry Hill to check out this gem and mineral store Nic wanted me to go to, it was also Opal's first trip out of Pennsylvania!  The planetarium was all right, not really as cool as I remember it being.  I think the kids weren't that impressed either.  The consensus was it was pretty much like an IMAX movie.  They still liked it, though.  Well, Nic had to take Screamy McToddlerface out fifteen minutes into the half hour show, so it was just the big boys and me with Opal precariously on my lap and munching my overexposed boob.  Good thing it was dark, right? 
Then afterwards the boys insisted on doing the giant heart, aka the bane of cardiophobic mommy's childhood.  Imagine you're a kid who has frequent nightmares of beating hearts, then imagine you go to a science museum where the famous main attractions is a gigantic floor-to-ceiling tunnel-filled fiberglass heart, inside an internal-organs-pink room vibrating with the sound of a beating heart and filled with creepy freeze-dried animal and human hearts (they're not there now but they used to be, oh yes they used to be).  I can't even remember how much nervous terror diarrhea that room caused me as a kid, but I think it must have been a lot.  Anyway, I'm no longer phobic of hearts or the room, but I'd still rather not have a sleepover there.  The kids enjoyed themselves, though.  Wolfie and Eli ran through the heart over and over while Zeb messed with this fake vending machine that has a cartoon that judges you for the poor dietary choices you make.

Can't you imagine this thing closing in around you and shrinking and making you be stuck inside a body for eternity as it pulsates around you?  No?  Just childhood me then?
Soda is bad, mmmkay?

All the while I was reminiscing about the last time we went to the Franklin Institute, which happened to be right before I found out I was pregnant with Opal.  I remember feeling so nervous and hopeful that I'd be pregnant, and here I was returning almost a year later with the positive results!  A funny thought I had in the Franklin Institute bathroom last weekend that shows how often I dress myself versus the baby - I was pulling up my leggings and saw there was a hole in the crotch, and I thought to myself "Oh, that's okay, I'll just buckle my onesie on the outside next time."  Yup.

But for me, the highlight of the trip had to have been when we got home.  Zeb was sporting his usual toddler snot moustache, enhanced from the cold weather and having a brief tantrum over dropping his toy on the floor repeatedly on the way home.  So when we got home, I'm getting out of the car and I open the back door to get the kids out, and I see Eli leaning over with his finger extended, slowly magnetically drawn to the snot moustache of his oblivious brother.  When contact was made, I burst out laughing and could not stop.  I was like "Eli, what were you thinking???"  He said indignantly "WHAT?!  I wanted to see if it was REAL!"