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Being a big brother is hard

New motherhood is hard. I think anyone can tell you that. As I prepared to welcome our second child, I looked forward to life with baby. After a couple years of tantrums, power struggles and general toddler challenges, the idea of a baby who just eats, sleep and poops, doesn’t mouth off and generally aims to please seemed like a walk in the park. And while he hasn’t been the easiest baby, he has lived up to my expectations and then some. Getting through the early days of babyhood the second time around has been much easier. What hasn’t been easier, however, was figuring out how to do this while juggling the needs and high flying emotions of my 2.5 year old.

All the preparation in the world – books, conversations, countless viewings of Daniel Tiger’s new big brother episodes – none of it could have prepared Colin for the shock of big brotherhood. Mostly because sharing is so challenging for toddlers, and with a mother who has been home with him nearly full-time for over 2.5 years, suddenly having to share her attention has been tough.

During Asher’s first month, Colin was still on a big brother high. He was thrilled with the attention that came with being a big brother – our wisest friends brought him gifts, everyone showered him with praise when he would be a big helper, and he flaunted his “big brothers rock” t-shirt with pride. He would wake up each morning and ask excitedly, “Is baby Asher still here?” and rush to his room to give him a kiss or sing another rendition of Rockabye Baby.

Back when big brotherhood made Colin smile
Back when big brotherhood made Colin smile

But the allure slowly faded. Colin’s excitement shifted to a sentiment of general disinterest. Babies aren’t particularly interesting, so I understood his disinterest, but what emerged in the wake of the excitement was budding resentment  He would ask, “when are you going to take care of me?” as he noticed that Asher’s lack of self-sufficiency meant that I had many tasks surrounding baby care: feeding, burping, changing diapers, rocking to sleep. Colin’s relative independence frustrated him, and in turn, he began protesting tasks he would ordinarily do on his own: walking up and down the stairs to our apartment, taking off his shoes and jacket, feeding himself lunch. “Help me!” with heavy emphasis on the “me” became a frequently used phrase. Suddenly, Colin’s already weak ability to entertain himself independently fizzled to nonexistence. He wouldn’t even walk across our apartment from room to room without me by his side.

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The Fastest Way To Blow Your Shoe Budget

I am not a “shoe fitting” kind of person. K has been in the exact same style of Target sneakers from size 5-8 with a pair of 9’s waiting in the closet. I switch him to the next size up when I have trouble fitting his foot inside – no sweat, no professional opinions needed, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Of course, I had these very low-effort expectations also moving forward for D.

Then, D’s early intervention therapist recommended that I take him to Shoe Train, a local store that has a great reputation for shoe fittings. She thought he would benefit from their professional opinion, since she noticed that he walked pretty flat-footed and with his right foot pointing out. I intended to ignore this advice (again, I’m not a shoe fitting kind of person) but then I felt bad – what if this was something that could really benefit D and I was ignoring it to be a lazy cheapskate? So off we went.

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It’s hard to capture him turning his foot out in pics, but this shows it pretty clearly – look how in-line his left foot is with his leg, and how sideways his right one is! 

We were lucky to get there soon after opening on a weekday and had the store to ourselves for a bit. One of the clerks came over, saw D in the stroller, and asked if I knew that he had low tone. Although this was sort of an annoying first thing to point out about D, I agreed and said that he’d been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We then talked about why we were there (the OT recommended) and he asked to see D walk around in his socks. Thankfully D needed no encouragement and happily took off around the store. The clerk pretty quickly assessed that he was rolling his ankles inward (so, compressing his arch), which he thought may also be contributing to his right foot turning out.

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What to Buy at the Old Navy Sale

I just bought a ton of summer clothes from Old Navy for the kids because everything is on sale through 5/4, you get an extra 35% off with the code LOVE + free 2-day shipping, and 8% cash back with ebates (they usually only offer 2%)! We’re finally going to have a streak of warm weather after a rather chilly spring, and I can’t wait to break out the summer clothes. These are my favorite picks for girls and boys!

old navy girls1) tiered halter dress  |  2) chambray dress  |  3) eyelet trim sundress  |  4) plaid sundress  |  5) sleeveless denim dress  |  6) chambray romper  |  7) lace-trim denim shorts  |  8) jersey playground shorts  |  9) embroidered chambray skirt  |  10) pull-on denim skirt  |  11) white denim jacket  |  12) denim vest  |  13) chambray top  |  14) striped peplum tank  |  15) crochet trim top  |  16) racer-front tank  |  17) faux patent sandals  |  18) gladiator sandal  |  19) embroidered yoke dress (girls)  |  20) embroidered chambray shift dress (girls)  |  21) floral maxi dress (girls)

Lately I’ve been buying Olive dresses from the girls’ section, which starts at size 5. She’s 3 1/2 and 38 inches tall, and I usually buy 4T clothes for her. The XS sizes in girls’ are a little big, but kids always grow a lot over the summer, and she’ll be able to get 2 years’ wear. I love Old Navy’s dresses and shoes for girls, and I stocked up on a bunch of those playground shorts for Olive to wear under her dresses and skirts.

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My Birth Story: A Blessing at Home

I guess I am just meant to carry my babies a little long, because this one, like her older sister, took her time to make her debut. I ended up going into labor and having a baby girl on Tuesday, April 21, 9 days past my due date.

I was itchy and impatient for this birth, something I didn’t necessarily feel as much with my first. This pregnancy was uncomfortable and I was ready to be all done. It also didn’t help things that I had a couple of “false starts” where I totally thought I was going into labor only to be completely wrong. Our midwives told us this was very common with subsequent children…it’s the body’s way of doing some of the work beforehand, like muscle memory. While it was interesting to hear this, it didn’t really help make it easier when happened to me!

O N E  W E E K  B E F O R E  D U E  D A T E

On Wednesday, April 5, one week before my due date, I was at the grocery store and started having painful contractions, causing me to stop and close my eyes and breathe through them. I kept shopping and the contractions continued the whole time. The drive home was the same but when I got home and sat down, they piddled out.

3 D A Y S  A F T E R  D U E  D A T E

Then around 1am on Wednesday, April 15, 3 days after my due date, I felt a trickle then another then another. It was enough to wake me so I got up. When I did, I felt more trickling and once in the bathroom I discovered my underwear and pajama pants damp. I woke Missus Scooter and told her I thought my water had broke. Having not experienced water breaking before, I didn’t know if this was what it was like. She texted the midwives and they asked how much fluid had come out and what color it was. I estimated it was less than 1/4 cup and it was clear. They said to go back to bed and wait to see what happened. Missus Scooter and I were so amped up we just sort of laid there for a long time. Finally around 4am I fell asleep. Missus Scooter rearranged her schedule Thursday to be home with me, both of us sure I would go into labor. The trickling continued throughout the day but there was never any volume to it. The midwives were not concerned.

5 D A Y S  A F T E R  D U E  D A T E

On Friday morning, I began to get nervous. What if my water had broken but labor was not starting? The midwives seemed to think it was a high leak in my outer bag and weren’t worried, but I was. We went to see them to test the fluid to determine if it was amniotic. When we walked into their office, I burst into tears. I had no idea I was that anxious. The testing revealed it was not amniotic fluid and we spent 30 additional minutes talking about my state of mind and my fears in general about the birth. We left and I was feeling much more settled.

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Iron Deficiency in Pregnancy

Iron deficiency is something that over half of women will deal with at some point in their lives. For me, the anemia hit as a teenager; I was put on an iron supplement as well as a birth control pill in order to control my cycles, and prevent me from losing so much blood each month. For many, this is when iron deficiency first rears its ugly head; your periods start, they’re a little out of control, and your body can’t keep up with the deficit. For many, this is also resolved by a few months on an iron supplement.

In my case I assumed my iron deficiency was under control and my doctor stopped following up. I stopped the iron once in university, and turned to coffee to control the tiredness. I never really thought about my low iron again, until I was pregnant with Little Oats.

When I hit third trimester with Little Oats, I was absolutely exhausted all the time. I had awful headaches, I couldn’t focus, and I felt really foggy. I assumed this was just typical third trimester (in the blazing hot summer). However, routine third tri blood work revealed that not only was I anemic, but my ferritin levels were at a 3. Normal levels for women range from 12-150 ng/mL, so this was really concerning to my midwives (especially for someone about to deliver a baby and lose a lot of blood).
In a drastic attempt to increase my ferritin levels (the protein that helps with iron storage), I started a high-dose iron supplement formulated for pregnant women. I also began adding dark leafy greens, red meats, beans, and fortified protein powder to just about everything I ate. Combining my iron-rich meals with vitamin C also helped increase iron absorption; take your iron supplement with a glass of orange juice to help this, too.

Thanks to my constant monitoring, my iron and ferritin levels came up a fair bit (to about 15-20 pre-delivery). I stayed on my iron supplement until about eight weeks postpartum, when I ran out and really didn’t see a doctor to follow up.

With this pregnancy, the exhaustion hit almost immediately. Again, I assumed it was typical pregnancy exhaustion, until the familiar headaches, fogginess and inability to concentrate began to show up.

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Fighting the Fours

A while back I read Mrs. Wagon’s post about The Fabulous Fours and thought oh how wonderful to have something to look forward to. Fast forward to now, at the tail end of four, and I can say four has been anything but fabulous for us. For what it’s worth I will say Drake never went through really difficult moments when he was younger. We never had the terrible twos (I actually loved two), and I was scared for three since that’s when Juliet was born; I was worried it would cause all kinds of jealousy and issues, but we sailed through three fairly smoothly. So I guess it was inevitable that we would eventually hit some rock hard spots, and four is when it all really came to head.

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My sweet boy; what a rough year we have been experiencing and still you lighten my world

I can’t pinpoint when or why four became so much more of a challenge for us, but now that we’re in the thick of it, I admit it really has been a rough year. We have been dealing with a lot of whining and complaining that eventually melts down in to full out disobedience and screaming. I don’t always handle the situations the best, and there have been times when I swear the neighbors can hear all the shouting that is coming from our house. What’s been even harder is that when I see my sweet little boy turn into this screaming, not listening, arguing little monster, it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart when I yell back. It hurts my heart that after the all the tears have ended (on both sides), he still wants a hug and to snuggle and say he is sorry. It hurts my heart that after he is finally asleep and I sneak a peek in his room, he still looks like such a little boy.

In the back of mind, I can’t help but wonder sometimes if some of the issues we are running into are atypical. I know it’s normal and common for four year olds to have break downs over what seems like the simplest, silliest, and most irrational things. But I think there seems to be something more when it comes to some of Drake’s breakdowns.

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Our Favorite Lego Duplos

Charlie and Olive are Lego obsessed! Their other toys don’t get nearly as much play now, so we recently sold their play kitchen and all their trains and tracks. Legos are the number 1 toy when kids come over for playdates!

We’ve had the basic square/rectangle Legos since Charlie was a baby, but they never got as much play as our Melissa and Doug wooden blocks and our Magnatiles. Then for his 5th birthday Charlie received mostly themed Lego sets as gifts, which took Legos to a whole new level. Olive became obsessed with the little pieces, but they were too hard for her to put together, so we bought her a couple of Duplo sets (Legos for the younger set). Having these themed sets has absolutely fueled their passion for Legos and ramped up their imaginative play! My only regret is not getting on the Duplo train when they were younger because they’re really great for kids 2+.

There are so many different themed sets, though most of them are geared more towards boys. And with the success of The Lego Movie, it seems that Legos are more popular than ever. Even many dads we know are really into building them — the ones for kids 6+ are not that easy to build!

legos

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