Maddison

month 4

Yep, only a month late. Again, written around the right time and just waiting on photos. Dear Maddison,

You are now 4 months old. We would like to tell you that you that you are about the size of a four-month old, but you passed that a little while ago. Instead, we have a six month size kid. Don't worry - Mom is only a little dissapointed that you are completely outgrowing all the cute summer clothes that she had saved for you.

Monkey Butt

This month you took your first out of state trip and handled the bus, train, and plane like a champion. As long as you were fed and had a place to sleep, we had no issues. And you are not picky about sleeping locations.

On our trip you slept overnight and napped on the floor of hotel rooms, at a baseball game, in several restaurants, walking around downtown Minneapolis, and driving across the interstates of Minnesota. Yep, when we travel, we get around.

At the ballgame

We are happy to report that you are back to sleeping through the night much more consistently. You still don't sleep for 10 hours at a stretch, but we'll take 10 to 5 after the waking period that we went through. Both your mom and I would like to thank you for returning our sanity (especially your mom).

You're becoming more aware of the world around you all the time. Recently, you've discovered that your hand are those things on the ends of your arms that sometimes hit you in the face and you even have a little control over them. When you sit on my lap, you will gently feel my shirt, my face, and you are reaching out to your jungle gym animals more and more all the time.

This looks fun

And as you look and experience everything for the first time, you're also starting to let us know that your personality is in there as well. You've been smiling for a while, and recently you started to laugh. The first time we heard it was when Mom laid on the floor and lifted you up and down over her. We weren't sure if it was laughing or crying, but based on continued experience, it was indeed laughter.

You seem to be more of a "Hey, your antics are mildly entertaining to me" type of laugher, and we still do double check to see if you are unhappy. We should know better, because if your are scared or someone you don't know is a little too loud and in your face, your bottom lip comes out, your eyes get big, and let out a little whimper. Don't worry, it doesn't happen too often.

At the zoo

I have to admit, we don't approach each new stage of your development with quite the wonder and amazement that we had for Brooklynn. Up to this point, it's been more of a "Oh yeah, that's what babies do" reaction. But that's been great. We all enjoy watching you grow and develop, and the fact that it all seems to be going so smoothly is just icing on the cake.

And no, you didn't get any icing from your sister's birthday cake. Sorry, you're not quite big enough for that yet. Thanks for not minding too much.

I see you

Love, Dad

month 3

Editor's Note: Yes, this was written when she was actually about three months old. Yes, I know she'll be five months in a couple days. The pictures were a little behind. Dear Maddison,

You are now 3 months old. Congratulations on completing the first 25% of your first year with us. Just, think, do this about 71 more times and we will be asking you to leave the house.

I see you

Don't hurry too much, as we really like having around. Especially during the day. The night, that's a different story. We still like you, but I think we are seeing you just a little too frequently at oh-dark-hundred. We thought we were going to completely luck out with you and have a baby who started sleeping through the night at two-months old and carry on throughout her first year.

It lasted about three weeks, which was just long enough for us all to get used to sleeping. It hasn't impacted me nearly as much as it has your mom. She's the one who hears you first. She's typically the one who gets up with you as well. In fact, there are times that I wake up thinking that we had a good night only to find out that you were up.

Concerned

We'll get some combination of naps, food, and burping all figured out to help you get back to a consistent sleeper. We just discovered that you like a pacifier to help you drift off to sleep. This alone has been wonderful. I had been in charge of putting you down at night which involved bouncing and rocking. Two bounces for each rock in one direction. I counted the rocks just to pass the time. If you are really tired, sometimes you go down in less than 200 rocks, but if you are little restless, it has taken upwards of 750. On the plus side, my calf muscles have never looked better.

You are starting to become and excellent smiler and object tracker. If we cross your line of vision, your voice eyes light up and your mouth makes a big toothless grin that fights for space between your cheeks. And no one makes you smile quite like your sister.

I love my sister

She sits by you on the floor and plays with you. You don't play back with quite as much activity as she would like, so she will lay on top of you and put her face directly in front of yours. And invariably, your hands come up into her hair and latch on. She whines and tells on you that your were pulling her hair, but we haven't got it in us to put you in break.

She doesn't really mind, because, in her words, that's just what babies do. Your sister actually loves you very much and is a little protective of you. When you go to school with Brooklynn and mom for drop off in the mornings, Brooklynn will stand guard by your car seat to make sure the other kids and germs don't get you. And at your two-month doctor appointment when you got your first shots, Brooklynn informed us that the nurses you gave you the "pokes" were naughty.

Tiny hands

You only cried for a little while and short round of food made everything better. You are developing right on schedule and on the upper end of the growth curves. That just means you have plenty of rolls and wrinkles. Your mom would like to make sure you enjoy it now, because that type of physique is only adorable on a baby.

Just keep reminding us to wipe the milk from under your third chin, unless of course you are planning to save it for a midnight snack and sleep through the night.

Standing

Love, Dad

backlogging

If anyone is keeping track, I'm just completing pictures of Maddison for when she was 1-3 months old. Yeah, a little behind, considering she is fast approaching her 5 month mark. Still, 37 more pictures up than were done yesterday[1. We won't mention the fact I still need to start memory books for Brooklynn from when she was a baby.]. As much as I have felt stressed out about the time constraints and issues dealing with two kids, it's still pretty great to have them around. Especially when they are happy and good with each other.

Showing her the ropes

coordination

We're hanging in there. Feels like a whirlwind hit this household over the past 6 weeks. Now that we have a chance to stop and catch our breath, we realize that Rhiannon heads back to work in less than a week. August, here we come. Giraffe and zebra outfits with matching headbands. Does Rhiannon now how to select ensembles for our children or what?

Couching It

4th aborted

Colorado has been having some pretty heavy damage from wild fires recently. While we have had a little break from the string of record-high triple digit temps of last week, it's still been hot and dry. As a result, pretty much the entire state had a fireworks ban, so our 4th of July was relatively low key. We had some family over, did some BBQ, and went to bed to the sound of silence rather than pops and bangs. We also found out that fingers are basically a delicacy around these parts.

Fingers are good

just keep smiling

Over the past week we've had our yard severely impacted by hail, stayed up way past our bedtime a couple times (both our choosing and not), and we've been dealing with a baby who has seemingly forgotten how to sleep. Yes, nothing really earth-shattering. Many people have it worse.

Still, at the end of the day, Rhiannon and I have been looking at each other and wondering where does our time go.

So, we'll take our advice from the youngest member of the family.

Just keep smiling.

Happy kid

month 2

Editor's Note: This letter was actually written when she turned two months old. That was about two weeks ago. We've just been waiting on the graphics department to catch up a little[1. Shoot, that's me too...]. Dear Maddison,

You are now two months old and threatening to outgrow your 0-3 month clothes faster than we anticipated. At your doctor appointment, you tipped the scales closing in on 14 pounds, which is more than adequate for someone your age. I won't say you are too big, because your mother and I love your chubby cheeks and rolly-thighs.

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It really is amazing how much I forget from the last time we had a baby in the house. I thought that last month was really fun, balancing you in my hand when you fell asleep laying on my chest. That pales in comparison to the eye contact you are making right now. We talk to you while you lay on the floor and sit in our laps, and you look back. Your eyes track one way, then to the other side, and all of a sudden you find one of our faces. Your eyebrows shoot up, your eyes open up wide, and you look right at us.

I think your expression can best described as a "Hey, there's someone else here too!" type of feeling, and it's wonderful to know that your in there. And when you do find us, you smile when you see our faces, especially your big sister. Something about her makes you light up whenever she comes to sit by you, at least when she isn't trying to smother you with hugs and kisses.

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Maybe you know that every evening when she is going to bed, she asks that you be laid down beside her so she can kiss you goodnight. With your current schedule, you are typically crying for some food when this occurs, so I can't say for certain if it makes you happy or not.

You eat a lot, at least in your mom's opinion. I mean, you don't get to be your size right now without eating once in a while. She says that it sometimes feels like all she does during the day is feed you (which you need), talk to you so you smile at her (which she needs), and take a little break during your frequent short naps (which you both need). And poof, another day down.

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While it does seem like you eat a lot during the day, you just recently started to sleep through the night. One night last week you went for nine hours straight without waking up. Last night, your sister was in our room over 10 times while you slept all night long. Maybe you can give her some lessons at how to stay in bed.

I suppose it would help if we could wrap her up burrito style the way you enjoy. Your mom is getting pretty good at telling what is bothering you right now. The past weekend when you started to cry, I asked her what might be wrong and she said you were probably getting tired. I tried to bounce you to calm you down, and when that didn't work, I wrapped you up in your sleeping blanket. 5 seconds later and you were out.

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You like to be wrapped while sleeping, but when you're awake, you like to move. You kick your feet around, wave your arms, stick out your tongue, and just recently you've found that you have these wonderful things with you all the time that are perfect to nibble all the time. Those are called your hands. They are located at the ends of your arms, and I'm sure they'll come in useful for other things as you get older, but for right now, chewing is their number one function.

Don't think that just because you are immobile means that you are stuck at home all the time. Three days a week you drive over and help drop off your sister at daycare. Sometimes you go out shopping afterwards, and sometimes you come home for a snack. We get you out to the playground when it's nice. You don't seem to interested in the slides or climbing walls. You're more concerned if the wind is blowing in your face or the sun is shining in your eyes, but I imagine it will be all too soon that you will be trying to run after your sister.

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Just know that no matter how big you get and how much you try to run off and be independent, you'll always have two parents who love you very much and are very happy you've joined us.

We can probably work on not going through the diapers quite as fast though, right? You're back in the cloth diapers which means dad gets to make sure they're all clean every couple days and I'd appreciate it.

Love, Dad

couching it

Hey, look everyone. We still have kids that are growing. They even coordinate. It's like they're sisters or something. Sisters

If you haven't been to flickr recently, click through the link on the image. They've changed their layout[1. Yeah, it might be a little late compared to some other photo sharing options, but it's better than nothing.].

it's always nap time

Maddison has been on a schedule were she is up a little later than we would like. This leads to us being up a little later than we would like, which means the adults in the household are feeling a little sleep deprived. The children however, have plenty of time for naps[1. I've been encouraging Rhiannon to nap as well while she's home. Yesterday she finally took me up on it.]. I think I'm going to start sleeping on the living room floor more often. She makes it look comfortable.

photo

(Thanks to Rhiannon for the picture.)

heat wave

I know we haven't been quite as hot as some of our family that lives north of us, but we've been in the 80 degree range for the past few days. Since I grew up in North Dakota, people assume that I should be well acclimated to the cold, but summer is probably my favorite season. Long, warm[1. I like hot days too, with the caveat that I don't have a lot of outside work to do and it is still tolerable at night.] days. Plus, Maddison has plenty of warm weather clothes to wear, both new and hand-me-downs from her summer-born sister.

Over the bush

month 1

Dear Maddison, You are now one month old. You've gone from a "small" 8 and half pounds at birth to closing in on 11 pounds. Your double chin is filling in nicely and you have the makings of a third down there. On the days when it's nice and you have been in dresses, your roly-poly thighs get to make an appearance.

DSC_6852

You're very strong for someone of your size. You are starting to hold on to your mom's hair and dad's shirt collars quite firmly, enough that we have to make sure to pull your hand away before we move you. When you lay on your tummy, you can lift up your head enough to look all around. You don't like it when we put you like this and eventually, if left there, you will put your head back down and sigh, as if you are accepting your fate until someone comes along and moves you again.

You like to be moved, to be held, to be bounced, but you also will lay down and go to sleep all on your own if you are tired and calm. And, like your older sister, being carried up and down the stairs is about the most reliable way we've found to calm you down when you're crying.

DSC_6659

I'll try to refrain from making comparisons to your sister on every topic. We haven't prepared for you in nearly the same way. We didn't read all the books. We didn't take the prenatal classes or make sure that everything was purchase and prepared months ahead of time. I barely made it to the hospital in time for your arrival.

You might conclude that we didn't care enough to do all the preparation and you are getting a lesser childhood because of it, but that is not the case. In fact, you probably have calmer and much better prepared parents than your sister every dreamed of. We know that you will cry from time to time and spit up and that you will manage to leak through the occasional diaper onto your clothes.

DSC_6551

This doesn't phase us. In fact, when you got both poop and spit-up on your mom in the span a few hours one afternoon, we thought it was more entertaining than anything else. (She did go shower after that, so it wasn't appreciated. Maybe in the future you'll refrain from that sort of behavior.) It's a good thing you like baths, because you tend to get a little dirty from time to time. We're doing our best to keep up with that, but please stop trying to drink the dirty bath water.

I said that I will do my best to not compare you to Brooklynn, but I can't tell you about your life without mentioning her. She loves her baby sister so much. When I pick her up from school each day, one of her first questions is "Where's Maddi?" and then she demands to hold you. We help her put a pillow on her lap and lay you down.

DSC_6586

She tries to hug you and kiss you and hold your hands and feet and shove her fingers in your mouth because you "like that" all at once, and you squawk a little bit and look over at us as if to ask why we are letting this monster treat you like this.

All I can say is get used to it. From what your mother tells me, sisters have to deal with each other for the rest of their lives. As much as it seems like Brooklynn is trying to harm you, we're pretty sure that she really just doesn't know how to handle a little person that doesn't talk to her yet. She gives you a hug and kiss every night before she goes to bed and of all the people in the house, she's probably the most concerned one when you are crying.

DSC_6715

In short, Maddison, you are very loved in this house. Probably more than you care for. There are times when you get fussy and angry and it turns out that all you really want to be is to be wrapped up, put down, and left alone for a little while so you can sleep in peace.

Let's hope that sort of problem is the worst of your issues as you get older. Thanks for joining us. It's good to have you here.

DSC_6963

Love, Dad

little by little

The week did get better. Still a lack of free time, but as much as I may complain, Maddison would like to point out that she can't talk and doesn't have a website to voice her own opinions on[1. Yet.]. Just hanging out

That look? That's the look of judgement.

From a one month old.

surviving

I had something good planned to finish up for tonight, but tonight turned out to be the worst night of parenting that we've had[1. And it was not the younger one giving us issues...]. Ever.

So, here's a blurry photo of the two girls snapped with a cell phone, a picture of Maddison chewing on Rhiannon's shoulder, and one of Brooklynn pretending to take a nap on a volleyball in the back yard. Enjoy.

Friendly

Shoulder tastes good

New nap spot

it's alive

We had Maddison's two week appointment last week[1. A little delayed due to our doctor being out of town.]. She's 9 and a half pounds and 20.5 inches, up a pound since birth an a half inch longer. Just like Brooklynn, she's above the 90th percentile for weight, but unlike Brooklynn, she isn't that high for length. Rhiannon will attest to the fact that Maddison eats, a lot.

The Double

All of that eating combined with a slight lack of lengthening out means Maddy is rocking one heck of a double chin. It's ok. She's a baby.

venturing out

I was outside the other evening trying to finish up a few projects and I also had Maddison with me. The best thing about a baby? For the most part, they stay where you put them.

Unattended

Just because they were "safe" and not moving doesn't mean that the baby's mother will be thrilled when she finds out you put her child down and got grass all over the blanket.

sister time

When I pick Brooklynn up from her school after I finish work and head home with her, she usually has two concerns. The first is if she was a good enough girl that she gets a treat. The second is if she can hold Maddison when we get home and see her. I can hold her

Yeah, we're working on getting those switched and eliminating the need for a treat entirely. Still, we're not going to complain about having two great little girls.

cozy

We try to wrap Maddison up and put her down when she sleeps, just to get a little break and to get a few things done around the house. Still, there's something about half wrapping in her in a blanket and letting her sleep in my arms that's very calming to me. Cuddly

maddison's story

From the "list of things to do but the items on said list may take longer than the 5 free minutes I currently have", one of those items is to write down the timeline surrounding the period when Maddison chose to join us. It's been a work in progress for more than a week at this point, during which I have attempted to appease family members with little daily snapshots from our life with a newborn. Today I'm in the mood to cross something off of some list, so the entire story is presented as follows.


Brooklynn was a scheduled induction two days past her due date. That one was mainly an insurance issue due to Rhiannon's benefits changing on July 1st. Since Brooklynn up to that point had shown no interest in joining us in the real world and ended up being a decent sized baby, we figured that it probably wasn't a bad thing we did a little prompting.

As I mentioned earlier, Maddison was measuring ahead of schedule by about 3 weeks. Knowing that Brooklynn measured right on track and still ended up a hair over 8 and half pounds, this was a little concerning[1. I think Rhiannon was more concerned than I was, and rightfully so.].

Our family doctor and the OB all agreed it would be best to schedule an induction around 39 weeks if Maddy hadn't already come on her own, so we made arrangements. Brooklynn would stay with a friend that goes to her daycare. We would do the induction on a Friday so that would mean a Friday night sleepover and no need for the other family to get her up and going on a work morning.

If Maddison did come during one of the earlier weekdays, Brooklynn could still get picked up or dropped off as needed. And if we had an absolute emergency during the middle of the night, our next door neighbors offered to help us out until we could get everything straightened out.

It all seemed so simple. We had been through an induction before. Rhiannon went in the night before for the "ripening" medication with the actual labor inducing Pitocin and an epidural to be administered around 7 am the next morning. For Brooklynn, Rhiannon got her first hours of pain-free sleep during that day and I mainly hung around the hospital keeping an eye on the monitors until things progressed far enough to start pushing late in the afternoon.

We both hoped that things would go a little bit faster this time around[2. Famous last words.]

On Thursday night, we had supper at home. I commented to Brooklynn that this was her last family meal as an only child, but I don't think she had any idea what was going to happen the next day. We didn't make a big deal about her baby sister. Instead we focused on how much fun she was going to have at her sleepover the next night after school.

After she went to bed a little before 7:30, our neighbor came to hang out just in case she woke up while I took Rhiannon to the hospital. I carried up the bag for her, and after being waved through to the maternity floor by a couple ladies sitting at the main entrance, we checked in. Apparently the hospital lacks a little in internal communication, because we were actually supposed to check in downstairs, but we were quickly taken to the room where Rhiannon would stay.

After she changed into the hospital gown, I went to check if a nurse was coming in soon. The nurse at the desk turned out to be responsible for Rhiannon's room and said she would be in shortly to see us. I explained that I was taking off, and I saw the look of "What kind of husband are you leaving your wife alone overnight" cross her face until I finished by mentioning that I was going home to stay with our toddler.

I headed home. Brooklynn had stayed asleep the entire time. Our neighbor headed back to his house next door and I did a little cleaning up in the kitchen so we could come home to a relatively neat house. I made sure my phone was not on vibrate so it would wake me up if Rhiannon did call during the night and got a solid night of sleep[3. Rhiannon and I figured out this was the first night that we have spent apart since before Brooklynn was born.].

I was just getting out of the shower around 5:20 on Friday morning when Rhiannon called.

She was already progressing toward labor when she checked in on Thursday evening, so they gave her the lowest of the four possible dosage levels of the starter medication. At some point early Friday morning, she started feeling real labor contractions. With the timing of the epidural with Brooklynn, she had never actually felt any contractions, so this was a first. Her reaction:

They hurt.

She called the nurse a little before 4:30 to mention that they might want to think about getting the epidural for her before 7, and shortly after that call her water broke. We knew from the 38-week ultrasound that there was a little extra amniotic fluid, and Rhiannon said that she could confirm it by the amount of bed sheets and towels she went through. The anesthesiologist arrived and, working around the contractions, placed the epidural.

So that's what I heard a little after I got up. Rhiannon was farther along than anticipated. We briefly discussed the option of dropping Brooklynn off at her friend's house early that morning since the house was closer to the hospital than daycare, but instead decided that I would still take her over myself. I hoped to get going a little early.

All week long, while Rhiannon was home, I had been taking Brooklynn to daycare. And almost every morning, she would ask where her mommy was. I explained that Mommy was still sleeping because baby sister made her tired, and this usually was a satisfactory answer. On Friday morning, I didn't close the door to our bedroom, so Brooklynn realized as we headed downstairs that Mom was not still sleeping. Mom was not in the house. And things spiraled from there.

I didn't get out the door early. I barely got out the door on time and it felt like I hit every one of the stoplights along the way. Rhiannon called again at 6:45 expecting to hear that I was getting close to the hospital. I was in the middle of trying to get Brooklynn calm enough to leave her at daycare. The fact that Mom wasn't home had upset her and thrown off her whole morning, so even the talk of her exciting sleepover wasn't enough to settle her down.

Her doctor had come in to check on her, noticed that the baby was responding to the contractions showing on the monitor, asked where I was, and said she was going to change clothes.

I have to give Rhiannon credit. I was 15 minutes away when she called, she had a doctor telling her that they would wait as long as they could (but no guarantees), and she still sounded pretty calm. If anything, the fact that everything was moving so fast probably helped her not get too worked about everything.

I drove faster than I should have. I turned right and flipped a quick U-turn to skip a longer light that I just missed. I called Rhiannon when I was a few minutes out to check in and asked her if I should just come up to the room right away and not bother bringing in the rest of our overnight bags. They were still waiting for me, and yes, please come straight up. I pulled in the parking lot, grabbed my camera, and jogged in to the hospital.

The nice part of dropping her off the night before was that I knew exactly where I was going. I walked into the room and the doctor, who had been waiting for me, said we would get started right away.

For Brooklynn, the epidural was a little strong. Rhiannon couldn't really feel anything from the contractions, didn't have any feeling to push against, and one of her legs was completely asleep. They don't let you eat anything, so she had also gone an entire day without food.

With Maddison, the epidural was better. She had just enough feeling that there was no pain but she could tell when to push. It was still 7 am (I made it when I was supposed to...), so she wasn't really that hungry yet, it didn't take nearly as long as the second time around.

Three "pushes". 10 minutes of real work, and about 12 minutes after I walked in, we had a new baby. If they wouldn't have been able to wait for me, there is a good chance I would not have been there.

As rushed and frantic as you might think I would have been, everything seemed very calm and relaxed. It took me two tries to cut through the umbilical cord with Brooklynn. This time, just one simple snip and it was done. Been there, done that.

Maddison ended up two ounces lighter than her sister and 9 days earlier in the schedule, so it was good we got her out when we did. It did appear that she was coming sooner rather than later. No cone head shape. Relatively little crying. And we had the whole day to just hang out with our new baby.

We never did send Maddy down to the nursery. Aside from one time when they took her to do vitals and blood sugar testing, she never left our room. We didn't need any formula to supplement her.

Brooklynn came on Saturday morning, full of exciting news about her sleepover[4. Which, from all reports, went very well.] and thrilled to see her baby sister. We told her the name we had picked out earlier in the week and she was firmly of the opinion her sister would be called Allison. Maddison is less than impressed with Brooklynn overall. Brooklynn likes to be right in her face, touching her head, grabbing her hands. Maddison looks around as if to say where are the non-clumsy large people and can they hold me again?

Brooklynn loves her baby sister. We love both of our girls. Everybody is home, healthy, and sleep deprived.

And in the end, everything worked out. Easiest 12 minutes of my life.

checkup

Maddison had her first officially scheduled one week appointment. She weighs about the same as she did a week ago. Half inch or so longer. And very well rested. One Week Checkup

So well rested that she couldn't even be bothered to wake up at the doctor's office. In fact, she slept the entire afternoon away to the tun of about 3.5 straight hours. This included driving over to pick up Brooklynn after her school day and stopping to get supper on the way home.

Now, 2 am in the morning? That's the time to party. Turns out our newborn is more of a college student schedule than anyone else in the this house would care to deal with.

balancing act

So, things are a little more hectic around here than maybe I anticipated. Between going outside to enjoy the nice 70 degree weather with Brooklynn after supper, trying to finish up a couple tasks at work, and helping Rhiannon out with feeding and otherwise tending to Maddison... Here's your daily dose of baby. I think it reflects a little on how I'm feeling. (Also, isn't it amazing that babies can sleep like that?)

Balancing Act