After a long drought, rain is softly falling outside today. What a relief for our parched land here in California. We still need several more days of rain to reverse this drought, but my heart is thankful for what the Lord has given us for today.
This is a busy season of life for me, and I’m thankful for it. I may only have fifteen minutes to write today before someone needs their diaper changed or spit up wiped from their face. That’s okay. I’m so grateful to be home with our kids right now and to be have the honor of training their little hearts at this young age. Some days are unbearably long (why do babies get the fussiest and why do toddlers throw the most tantrums during the time of day when parents are the most exhausted?) but the glimmers of progress give me encouragement to keep on going.
Rachel is 8 weeks old today and Josh is approaching 20 months. Despite many thoughts and ideas running through my head lately, I find that little babies make my head a bit muddled and I am unable to write coherent pieces to save my life. So, in lieu of the well thought out blog post I wanted to write, here are the highlights from the last month:
Breast Milk Jaundice: About a month ago, I noticed that Rachel had a much more yellow hue to her skin one evening. I sent this picture to her pediatrician and asked him if I should be worried. I explained that she was nursing great and growing out of her clothes.
He had me get labs drawn and a weight done and this little girl of mine went from 6#9 oz at birth to 9# at 4 weeks old! She definitely was not dehydrated. Her bilirubin labs came back pretty elevated for her age, at 11.3 (1-2 is normal at 4 weeks old). Her pediatrician called it breast milk jaundice (sole breast milk use can be hard on the livers of some babies thus causing jaundice, and no, this isn’t related to the cholestasis I had while pregnant) and we started a long journey of repeating labs to make sure it was coming down. After 5 separate lab draws, we finally got signed off by her pediatrician last Wednesday when her level came down to 5.3 and her direct bilirubin came down to 0.6 (the direct bilirubin had been 0.7 for two weeks and they were not satisfied with that). Glad to be done with breast milk jaudice! Rachel’s skin tones are now back to normal.
As for feeding and sleeping schedules, I hate to blog about it because I know that for the mama who is up all night with her baby (or even toddler) it can be very discouraging to hear how “So and so is sleeping through the night!” at some ridiculously young age. I know it broke me to hear that other babies were happily sleeping through the night early on when Josh just wouldn’t sleep for more than 4 hours at night for what seemed like months (after we sleep trained him life got much better, but until then I was never sure that he wasn’t hungry at night since he had never once slept the whole night. It was a vicious cycle I got caught in). I thought that since Rachel was born a month early, we’d be stuck feeding every three hours at night for a while. But that just hasn’t been the case. She’s routinely sleeping 7-7.5 hours at night and has been doing so for a couple of weeks. She eats every 2.5-3 hours during the day. I’m enjoying it so much! That being said, please… if you’re reading this and you’re exhausted because your baby just.won’t.sleep please don’t despair (like I did) but just hold onto the fact that it’s only for a season and that you’re very much not alone!
Toddlerhood and Activities: It’s been a rough ride here with Josh since Rachel came home from the hospital. It was much more difficult and prolonged than I had imagined. The days are getting easier with this little guy now, thankfully. He’s finally accepted the fact that Rachel isn’t going away, and likes to say “Baby! Baby!” over and over again. He isn’t always very kind to her, but I see him occasionally going out of his way to help her.
One time Rachel threw up several times in a row in her car seat and I was out of burp rags within my reach. At the same time, I couldn’t leave her because the spit up kept coming and I had already changed her outfit twice! At one point she looked like this and I wanted to cry but laughed instead:
At this point, Josh ran over to the other side of the room and grabbed me a burp rag and handed it to me. I had never asked him to do this before, so I was pleasantly surprised!
Another time he got in trouble for throwing something that almost hit Rachel in the head (if I had not stopped the object from flying through the air in time, it would have hit her). He sorrowfully took the pacifier out of his mouth and tried to put it in her mouth so as to say “I’m sorry!” Although I told him he could keep his pacifier, that was especially fun for me to witness knowing how much he loves it.
We’ve done a few new activities in the past few weeks. We haven’t gotten to as many as I’d like, but hey– that’s life with a newborn, I guess! I am always looking for inexpensive new ideas to keep Josh busy. If you have any ideas, please send them my way. I’d love it!
Scooping Beans. I bought bean in bulk for cheap and put them in this heavy dutch oven that even I can barely lift. I put it in an empty plastic container we had sitting in the garage and then gave him measuring cups and whatever scooping utensils I could find sitting around. I think this activity cost $4 for the beans, and he LOVES to pour them from container to container. Also, he’s pretty meticulous about the beans and whenever some fall out of the large plastic container, he carefully picks them up and returns them. It cracks me up because he’s not meticulous about much else.
Coloring: This kid still puts everything in his mouth. I tried coloring with crayons but after a while he just wouldn’t obey and was eating the crayons constantly. So I’ve shelved that activity for now. Not sure when we’ll try it again. Maybe after he has all his teeth?
Water Play. I took 4 plastic cups and a pitcher of water and let him have at it in the backyard. To my surprise, he couldn’t have cared less about the water. All he wanted to do was stack the cups! This isn’t a wintertime activity, and even on this fall day I used warm water and he still got a little chilled.
Play-Doh! He wanted to eat this too so direct adult supervision was necessary. 🙂 He had a fun time playing with it! We’ll definitely be doing this activity a lot.
Pots & Measuring Equipment. This wasn’t a big hit. He mainly just wanted to chew on the syringe I let him play with. He enjoys pulling the plunger out and pushing it back in.
For Halloween, we went cubicle trick or treating at my husband’s work. It was relatively quick (which was nice since Josh had a meltdown when we got there) and there were lots of nice families who came. Josh was a lion for Halloween and since Rachel was in the front pack, I skipped doing a costume for her this year.
Lastly, some more pictures from the past weeks!