Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Week 2

Week 2 has been much the same as week 1 except I'm starting to feel the drag of fragmented sleep a lot more.  Man it sucks to only sleep 2-3 hours at a time.  I can't believe I've been sleeping like that since Noah was born and probably will continue to do so for at least another week or so.  Ugh.

All this crappy sleep is making me into a super crabby person, and sadly, I think I've been taking it out on Judah the most.  I feel awful every time I recall how cranky and short-tempered I am with him.  How I get so quickly annoyed at his antics.  How I grit my teeth and stiffen my neck and count the minutes until he finally goes down for a nap.

But honestly, the kid can be really hard to handle with a full tank of sleep and energy.  I don't know if I should attribute his oppositional behavior to the 'terrible twos' or if it's just part of his personality (because honestly, the spouse is one of the MOST oppositional, autonomy-seeking people I know)--but whatever the reason, it is grinding me down people.  Grinding.  Me.  Down.

They're so sweet before they turn into little toddler monsters.

EVERYTHING must be challenged.  NOTHING can be agreed to without first whining, running around, yelling 'No!', etc.  In fact, the very act of suggesting something triggers Judah's defiance and makes him want to do the exact opposite.

And of course we have to set boundaries and check unacceptable behavior.  So there are an endless string of time-outs threatened and given and given yet again.  It is exhausting.

But Judah is exhausting even when he's not behaving badly.  When he's just being a normal, regular kid, he is constantly talking, asking, questioning, inquiring, telling us what to do, telling us what he would like to do, telling us his random observations, talk talk talk talk talk!  I turned to the spouse the other day and said, "Gosh, I really miss the time when Judah didn't know how to talk."

But Judah doesn't just talk, he yells.  His 'normal' speaking voice is just so very loud.  And the kid, like most 2 year olds, repeats himself endlessly.  Just the other day he was delighted to find out that his rubber snake glows in the dark (thanks Lauren!).  And he just HAD to shout out his discovery no less than 16 times.  Do you know how annoying that is?  Let me try to simulate it for you...


"That's nice Judah."


"Yes Judah"








"How many times are you going to say this?"


"Stay still, I'm trying to put on your diapers."


"Stop moving."


"I know"


*silence--counting in my head*












*oh thank God it's over*

See what I mean?  See what I have to endure every minute of every day?!  You add some really crappy sleep to the mix and you get super-cranky-mommy.  But I do feel awful about it.

So every day after I put him to bed, I tell myself to try to be better tomorrow.  I have to be more patient.  To smile more at him.  To give him longer cuddles.  To love him even when I don't like him.

Judah has a fun outing with dad and gives mommy a much appreciated break!

And to make the spouse take him out of the house more for some father-son-only time!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Whobody Wants Some Money?

Sometimes Judah says things that are so endearing I actually end up adopting his sayings (even though I know I'm sometimes reinforcing bad grammar--oh well, yolo).

Judah-ism #1 (said around 1.5 years old, has stopped saying it for awhile now but it was so cute): My do it!
Translation: I'll do it myself.

Judah-ism #2 (said around 2): Hey, noooo!
I just love how he has to say "hey" before he says no.

Judah-ism #3 (said recently): Whobody...?
As in: Whobody wants some money?
Judah says this while throwing a fistful of fake coins in the air.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Week 1

It's been over a week that Noah's been around so here's a quick update on how that's been.

The first thing the spouse and I noticed about Noah is that he looks almost exactly like Judah.  So much so that we kept calling him 'Judah' in the first early days.  That evolved into calling him 'Ju-ah' in an effort to remember his name was Noah.  Every time I looked at Noah, I felt like I was in a weird sci-fi movie where there was some wrinkle in the space-time continuum and I got to have my first baby back as my second baby.  Looper baby!

Which is which?  They're like twins separated by 2.5 years!

But that's pretty much where the similarities stop.  Anyone who's familiar with my account of Judah's early baby days know that it was pretty much hell...or as the kids say these days--a hot mess.  Even as early as Day 1, Judah showed his very vocal, expressive nature.  Change his diapers--WAAAAAAAH!  Change his clothes--WAAAAAAAH!  Put him down in the bassinet--WAAAAAAAAAH!  Put him in the car seat--WAAAAAAAAAH!  You get the idea.

Noah on the other hand has been pretty calm and quiet about everything.  I remember how anxious I was taking Judah to his first peds visit when he was 4 days old.  He cried during the car trip.  He cried during the visit.  He basically never stopped crying except when I was nursing him.  Noah, on the other hand, didn't make a peep the entire time I took him to the peds, even though I woke him up in the middle of a really good  nap, his head flopped over the entire time in the car seat (poor guy), and I didn't nurse him at all.  He was amazingly calm.  My angel baby.

My sweet, handsome little man.

No, Noah is not the problem.  Judah, on the other hand...

He's generally pretty accepting of mommy taking care of another baby, but he's definitely going through his own journey of jealousy and anger.  Poor kid.  He'll let me nurse Noah, but then insist on having a milk bottle  while being rocked in my lap, just like a baby.  He even insists on laying on Noah's nursing pillow while enjoying his milk bottle.  I can't tell if Judah's being more clingy since his clingy-ness level has always been a 10 out of 10.  But a few nights back he did tell me "I hate the baby" and often says "Mommy, I'm a baby!"

Judah has a rare moment of affection for his brother--when he's not consumed with jealousy.

But generally, Judah isn't that annoyed at Noah probably cuz Noah spends most of his day sleeping, as a proper newborn should (unlike newborn-Judah who maybe only slept 12 hours each day, ugh).  And there's always daddy to play with Judah and take him out of the house.  Thank God for paternity leave!  I'm going to be really really sad when it's over.

For me personally, week 1 was all about getting over physical postpartum aches and pains.  For several days I could barely move an inch due to the stitches and bursitis in my right hip.  Just to shift my bottom on the couch felt like a monumental task.  And the engorgement--oh the oh so uncomfortable over-producing engorgement.  Moooooo.

But overall, the adjustment so far has been pretty smooth--thanks mostly to Noah's accommodating nature.  I'm finding myself feeling so much more "present" this time around.  With Judah the early months were a total blur of stress and exhaustion.  But with Noah, everything is lucid and I really am cherishing every moment I spend with him.  Maybe because he's calm.  Maybe because he's probably my last baby.  Maybe because I'm calmer this time too.

And I know how quickly they grow.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Noah's Birth Story

Noah’s birth was like the classic textbook birth—perfect in every way (but definitely not to be confused with painless)!  Although I had already gone through labor with Judah, I still had no idea what to expect with Noah as Judah’s birth was induced.  This time, my body did it all on its own—from start to finish—and it was awesome (but again, definitely not to be confused with painless).

Me and Judah on the day Noah was born--Judah's last day of being my one and only.

After lumbering around like a giant ogre for 2 weeks, my cervix was still only 0.5 cm dilated on Noah’s due date.  Argh.  I forced myself to take a 45 minute walk (despite a persistent pain in my right hip due to bursitis) the day Noah was born, hoping that would help jump start my labor—guess that worked!

Around 3 pm my body evacuated all the food in my tummy to make way for the baby (it was not pretty, let’s just leave it at that).  Around 6 pm my mucus plug completely fell out and I had bloody show.  And around 9 pm I felt my first crampy contractions.  At first they were mildly uncomfortable and pretty far apart—15 min, 12 min, etc.  But by 10:30 pm they were definitely getting into a good 7-8 min pattern.

Of course my first thought was—oh crap, I just put my toddler down for bedtime!  I’d hate to wake him up on a midnight run to the hospital (40 min away) only to have the nurses tell me to go home cuz it was false labor.  The logistics of labor are infinitely more annoying with a toddler in tow!

So I called the OB on duty and she told me (and I quote)—Okay, you don’t want to come in and get checked?  Then you can just have your husband deliver your baby!

I responded with annoyed silence for about 10 seconds.  Man, OB’s can be cranky and sarcastic.  I prayed that she wouldn’t be the one to deliver my baby (spoiler alert—she was!)

When the contractions got to be very consistently 5 min apart at 11 pm, I told my spouse that it’s show-time.  Operation Deliver Noah was officially underway.  Go!  Go!  Go!  (Yes, I talk to him like we’re on a SWAT team).

We finished packing our half-packed bags, dropped our sleepy toddler off at his old nanny’s house (an hour away) and swung back to the hospital around midnight.  My doula (aka labor coach) came in while I was in triage and I waited forever for the nurse to come and check my cervix.  At around 3 am someone FINALLY checked me only to find that I was a disappointing 2-3 cm.  Only?!  What?!

Before I go on, let me say a word about doulas.  Doulas are awesome.  If you want to attempt an all-natural, epidural-free birth, I kinda think they are indispensable.  My first doula was super experienced and the crème de la crème of doulas (read: I paid a buttload of money for her services).  I really didn’t think she did that much for me so this time I decided to cheap out and hire a massage therapist who aspired to be a doula but has never been hired by anyone for that purpose (read: I paid ¼ of what I did for my first one).  I figured the thing I wanted most during labor was someone to massage me and give me pressure at the right points anyway, so might as well hire a massage therapist!

In the end, I realize there still is value in hiring a very experienced doula.  Sure it’s much more expensive but she will be able to coach you through a lot more verbally and knows different positions you can try out to help the labor along.  Although I got an awesome 7 hour massage from my 2nd doula, she really couldn’t help me with pain management in any other way and her lack of birthing knowledge almost caused me to have the baby on the floor without the doctor present!  More on that later.

Anyway, from about 3 am to 5 am my contractions started to get a lot more painful—probably an 8 or 9 on a pain scale of 1-10.  Whatever jokey, smiley disposition I had was quickly eroding and I was starting to get really worried that I wouldn’t have the energy to push this baby out after pulling an all-nighter.  I was getting really tired.  Tired of the whole darn thing.

When I asked them to check me at 5 am, it was REALLY disappointing—just 4 cm!  All that time and pain and I had only progressed one measly cm.  (Btw, for those who don’t know—10 cm is the magic number when the cervix opens enough that you can actually start pushing the baby out).

But I was a little heartened by the fact that last time, it only took me 3 hours to go from 4 cm to 10 cm.  So maybe this time, it would also go quickly now that I had reached a solid 4 cm.  And I was right.  From that point on, everything took off like gangbusters.

The contractions started coming on stronger and faster—every 30 seconds one of those mofos would rip through me like a bat out of hell and send me whimpering and begging for mercy from the blinding pain.  On a pain scale of 1-10 I’d put them at…oh, about a 20.

After a couple of these bad boys I was pretty much ready to throw in the towel and get me a freaking epidural.  As I said during labor (my last semi-witty remark before I lost all sense of humor)—sh*t just got real people.  But some masochistic part of me kept saying—one more.  Just one more.  If I can just hold out for 2 hours, maybe that’s all I need for my cervix to reach 10 cm.  Just 15 more minutes.

The first hour was hell.   Each time a contraction came I felt like a very small child facing a rising tsunami of pain head on.  There is nowhere to hide.  There is nowhere to run.  The only way through it is, well…through it.  Right down the middle of the line of fire.

And that tsunami came and came and came.  Every time it crashed over my head, wracking me with unspeakable torturous pain, I vowed—never again.  This is for SURE the last time I’m ever going through labor without pain meds.  The motto of the Jewish holocaust rang in my head the whole time—NEVER AGAIN!  But I believe my exact words, each time, was—F*CK!  F*CK!  F*CK!  F*CK!  F*********CK! (which is the only time I’m allowed to swear near the spouse's sensitive ears).

And then 2 hours went by and my urge to push became unstoppable.  Typically you shouldn’t push until the nurse checks you and says that your cervix is dilated enough to start pushing.  But my stupid labor nurse kept repeating her uninformed mantra to me—if you don’t feel pressure all the time then you’re not ready to push.  That’s pure b.s.  People, never fall for that.  I felt pressure only when I had a contraction and believe me, IT WAS TIME TO PUSH.

The nurse refused to check me even though I told her IT’S TIME TO PUSH LADY.  I guess she didn’t believe that I could go from 4 to 10 cm in just 2 hours.  Anyway, at some point your body doesn’t care what medical professionals say—it’s just going to do what it was designed to do.  And I was involuntarily pushing hard with each contraction.

After a couple of those hard pushes I remember yelling—I NEED TO GET ON THE BED!  NOW!  (I had been sitting on an exercise ball the whole time cuz it felt better to be vertical).  But suddenly I could feel something different—like a little head making its way down the pipeline.

And then that silly nurse came and took one look at the head coming down the pipeline and said—whoah, baby’s comin’!  WE NEED A DOCTOR NOW!  Five more minutes and 3 more good pushes later, baby was out for good.

Of course those last 3 pushes were accompanied by the longest most inhuman screams that ever erupted from the depths of my being, but finally, it was over.  It was all blessedly over.

That my friends is the look of pure relief.

And there was my squirmy little creature, who looked shockingly like his older brother at the same moment in time.  My perfect, red-faced, hairy little creature.

And now, writing this account a week later from the comfort of my own home.  I’m starting to forget.  Was the pain really that bad?  Was it really all that awful?  Would I really never do it again?

How quickly bad gives way to good. 

How wholly is pain swallowed up by joy.

How easily we forget momentary afflictions in the face of lasting glory.

Friday, January 18, 2013

When Judah Met Noah

One of the most precious things I own--a 2 minute video of Judah meeting Noah for the very first time in the NICU (Noah had jaundice).  I love the look of worry and distress on Judah's face when he says "He's crying!" at the 57 second mark.

Judah meets Noah from El Bebo on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Little Noah

Dear Noah,

Before you were even born I already felt a lot of mommy guilt.

These precious shoes are one of the only special things Noah got just for him (not a handmedown from Judah).  You can order them on my friend's etsy site: Little Pear Company

I wasn't as "good" during my pregnancy with you as I was with your brother.  I exercised a heckuva lot less (okay, like none really). I ate a lot more crap (specifically top ramen, spam and brownies).  And was generally constantly exhausted running around after your brother, among other things.

Life was so busy and hectic I didn't even take you to most of the OB check ups I was supposed to have.  I postponed taking the gestational diabetes test for at least 3 months, and thankfully, found that we were in the clear.

And I'm sorry you're never going to get anything of your own.  You will always be wearing your brother's old clothes.  Playing with his old toys.  Using his old gear.  And standing in the shadow of every milestone he reaches first.

Even your name doesn't have quite the parental pride your brother's name has.  We loved Judah's name the second we thought of it.  We thought it fit perfectly in every way and locked it in instantly in our hearts and minds.

Your name...not so much.  It was acceptable.  Inoffensive.  But not something we really wanted to commit to...but it's growing on us.

But I certainly liked your name a lot more when I found out it means "rest."  Oh please, please live up to that blessed word.  Please be the opposite of your older brother!

And to be perfectly honest, the main reason we wanted to have you is for the sake of your older brother.  We wanted him to have a buddy for life--someone who will be there with him long after we are gone.  We wanted him to understand how to love and share everything with at least one other person.  We wanted to make sure we didn't spoil him too much with time and attention.

Anyway, suffice it to say, you are not getting the primo treatment your brother got (pun intended).  You are not our first boy and we'll always have less time and attention for you because of that simple fact.

But if our attention is divided, know that our love is not.

Our hearts felt and continue to feel the same infinite weight filling every fiber of our being the second we saw you that first miraculous moment.

And although you will never be 'first', you have something much better than Judah ever will--the joyful proud love of your older brother.  

He kissed you every morning and every night while you were in my tummy.  And he continues to do the same now that you are born.  He wants nothing more than to protect you and make sure you are well cared for and has a whole box of toys that he put aside just for you.

He thinks you're the best--he says "My dai-dai going to hit all the other babies"--okay, so he's a little violent, but his money is on you!

So welcome to our family, little Noah. Know that our love for you is second to none.

Friday, January 11, 2013

50 Shades of Toddlerdom

I've totally fallen off the blog-wagon lately so this is my catch-up post.  Warning--it ain't gonna be pretty.

There are literally hundreds of topics I've wanted to blog about but will probably never get to because my due date is TODAY and although the baby's probably not coming today, it will be a comin' soon and my life will end (for at least 2 months).  And so will my will to blog.

So, before I completely let things slip away in the sands of time, unrecorded for posterity, here is a completely random short list of stuff I wanted to blog about.

(1) Major mommy fail--I am my kid's own worst potty-training enemy.  Judah's been ready for underwear for at least 6 months now.  He always tells me "poo-poo coming" and goes wonderfully in his potty every time.  BUT, when he tells me "pee-pee coming" I reply "Just go in your diaper."

Sorry Judah--you look so proud but these will just have to wait!

I know, how bad am I?!  I have no real excuse except that I'm lazy.  It's really hard to get up from the floor or couch when you're in the 3rd trimester.  I hate helping him get dressed again after bathroom trips cuz he's SO wiggly.  And, the main reason--I hate public restrooms.  Sorry Judah--mommy doesn't want to take you to the nasty bathroom at Target or the mall or anywhere really.

When I told this to his pediatrician she literally said this--Great!  You can just send him off to college in diapers!

Hmmmm...someone loves sarcasm.

(2) The co-sleep creep--How we almost became co-sleepers.  The main reason I haven't blogged for a while is because I haven't slept well for the last 10 days.  Because for the last 10 days Judah started to crawl into our bed to sleep with us.

For his entire life he has slept in his own room but suddenly the dude decides he needs to run out of his room at 4 am and crawl in with mommy (probably because we just transitioned him from his crib to a real bed).  At first we tolerated this because most of the night was over and no one wants to roll out of their warm bed in the freezing cold and set off the worst alarm noise ever known to mankind--a shrieking toddler.

But then 4 am became 2 am.  And 2 am became midnight.  And before you know it, Judah refused to start out his bedtime in his room.  Being the passive conflict-avoider that I am, I was ready to give in to his demand to co-sleep except for the fact that I felt like a total zombie every morning.  Being woken up 4-5 times a night by a toddler whining for you to "pat" him back to sleep is just not viable.

And so we bit the bullet and sleep-trained him YET AGAIN 2 nights ago.  Judah cried long and hard and said some things over and over again that will always make me die a little inside every time I think about it--Mommy, where are you?  Where is my mommy?  Mommy I crying!  Mommy, can you pat me a little bit? But in the end he gave up.  Or as the spouse so horribly puts it--we broke his spirit!

No, but seriously, I'm so thankful for the advice and stories of other mom's experiences.  Made me feel like I wasn't the most horrible parent in the world and that I was actually doing the kid a service--teaching him how to soothe himself.

But part of me can't help but wonder if I'm scarring him for life with all this sleep-training...

(3) Candyland--the ultimate personality test.  A thoughtful friend bought Judah his first board game over Christmas--Candyland!  I had fond memories playing this with my older brother growing up.  Okay, that's a lie--I have one traumatic memory of playing this with my older brother when I was around Judah's age.

I just remember being super rage-pissed when my brother won the game and flinging the board upside-down and causing all the hundreds of pieces to go flying around the room.  My brother was so annoyed at my hulk-smash reaction that he vowed never to play that game with me again.  And we never did.

Judah, on the other hand, had a completely different mentality than me at his age.  When we played the game Judah decided he wanted to make up his own rules.  Even though I got to the castle first and he acknowledged that "mommy won," he quickly moved himself into the castle in his next turn and declared that he had won too.

That's my look of bewilderment mixed with subtle fear.  I don't know what to do with rule-breakers.

And forget taking one card at a time from the top of the pile.  Judah would go through each card until he found the special ones that he liked--the ones with a picture of a candy or pastry on it.

The entire time I kept saying "No, that's not how you play the game Judah" or "You're not following the rules Judah" and "You're playing the game wrong!"  And believe me, Judah understands the rules (because he largely followed them the first time we played), he just subsequently decided to ignore them.  He wanted to play the game his own way.

And that's when I realized--this child is nothing like me.  I am a goal-oriented, rule-abiding, authority-loving follower (and sometimes rage-a-holic).  My toddler is a rule-smashing, authority-ignoring, goal-reorienting drummer of his own beat.

I am and have always been a sheep.  While he's more like...his dad.

Heaven help me.

(4) Lastly, I leave you with one of my favorite memories of the last week.  Judah opened his sleepy eyes one morning in bed with us and smiled like an angel.  With my heart bursting with love, I said "Judah, you are my special guy."

And without missing a beat Judah replied "And you my special lady."

Awwwww, can't you just hear the angels in heaven weeping with the tears of a hundred unicorns?

I know, you're welcome.