Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Smile

Macie had a bad day yesterday. Subsequently, so did her mommy! It started with the 4:30 am grunting, and didn't get much better. Mac rotated all day through cycles of eating, a few minutes of happiness, followed by crying herself to sleep (only for about 30 minutes, max), and then waking up crying and hungry. And these were 2 hour cycles - we didn't make it to 2.5 hours between feedings all day! I'm trying to rationalize it as a growth spurt!

By the end of the day, she was exhausted. Put her in the car seat to go pick up Ivie at school, and by the time we got home at 5:15 pm, she was sleeping. Slept in the car seat until I took her out at 7:30 pm to feed her and put her to bed. She ate well, and drifted quickly off to sleep, not waking until 12:30 am (almost 5 hours again!). Back to sleep afterward, waking again at 4 am. As I got out of bed for this feeding, I wondered if it would follow in the same pattern as the night before. With the post-feeding 2-hour grunting session...

After Macie finished eating, I swaddled her up in her blanket (she LOVES to sleep swaddled) and sat back down on the glider with her. This is one of my favorite things to do. She's so cute when she's got a full belly and is falling back asleep. And it's also the best chance I have of getting "the smile."

Let me describe this smile to you... It's too early for a "real" smile (I think those come around 4-6 weeks?), but if the real one is anything like the fake one, we're in for a treat as Macie grows up. As she starts to drift off to sleep, her eyes flutter and roll slowly back into her head, and her mouth makes sucking motions as if still looking to eat. Then comes my favorite part. Her entire face (including her eyes) breaks out into a grin, with a dimple only on the right side. The smile lasts for several seconds before fading as she falls to sleep. Precious.

I wish I had more words to describe this. But all I can say is that, in an instant, this one smile erased a full day of frustration. Much as I envision it doing in the future!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sleep (or lack thereof)

The past couple of weeks has been quite a transition period in the Herman house. All 4 of us are getting used to new sleeping patterns! Though Macie and I spend the wee hours of the night alone together in her room, Dale and Ivie, too, are adjusting to middle-of-the-night awakenings. Macie is in a bassinet in our room for now (though I will probably move her to her crib in a week or so), so each time she wakes up hungry, Dale wakes up, too. I say that, but I'm actually pretty sure that he sleeps through it every once in a while. He's got quite a knack for sleeping through noise, including a few times when Ivie has cried out (and he's "in charge" of Ivie during the night now, since I'm feeding Macie). And though we try to be quiet as we walk to the nursery, sometimes Macie feels the need to let out a scream just as we pass Ivie's door - resulting in a stirred toddler (not a good thing, particularly for a sleeping daddy!).

Macie has decided that she will sleep GREAT from 9:00 pm'ish until the ~4:00 am feeding. She even slept from 8:15 pm until 12:45 am last night. 4.5 hours! She even gives in and goes back to sleep after the midnight feeding. But at 4:00'ish, something inside of her flips a switch. I don't know if it's because she's having problems burping and can't relax, or if she's just had enough sleep. But when I lay her in the bassinet, she will "act" like she's sleeping long enough for me to crawl into bed and pat myself on the back. Then the grunting begins. Not crying, not screaming. Grunting. And just loudly enough to keep us awake. But it doesn't really sound like an "I'm in pain, please pick me up and soothe me" grunt. Rather, it's an "I'm teasing you - I might drift off to sleep at any point" grunt.

So I leave her alone with her grunting, thinking that any second she will fall asleep (and then I can, too!).

Last night, well, that didn't happen. From 4:30 am until 6:30 am, Dale and I laid in bed listening to off-and-on grunting. At 6:30, I finally got out of bed and took her to her room to eat. Eating always seems to work.

So the moral of the story is that we all continue to learn more about each other every day (and night). Word has it that Mommy prefers to learn about Macie during normal waking hours... Someone feel free to slip that hint to Mac...!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clifford's Puppy Fun

Ivie has a lot of Clifford books, thanks to her cousins, Luke and Rodgers. One of them is entitled "Clifford's Puppy Fun", and it's a Lift-the-Flap Book. Almost every night at bedtime, it's one of the several (ranging anywhere from 3, when she listens to me, to 20, when she doesn't!) she chooses for us to read.

Almost every page has Clifford (as a puppy, not yet the "Big Red Dog") hiding somewhere in the scene. Of course, by now, Ivie knows every hiding place on each page (while I sometimes still forget!). And she DOES NOT want me to be the one to uncover Clifford! So as we turn the pages, her fist immediately goes to the flap under which Clifford is hiding, so that she can cover it up and protect it from me! Then, as we turn the pages (as if she's playing along with me), she will let me read the page, which ultimately asks "where is Clifford?", and follow-up by uncovering EVERY OTHER flap on the page. Then, as I act shocked that we haven't found him yet, she will finally, right before I've "given up", take her fist off the flap hiding Clifford and flip it up. And then look at me like she's a star.

Which, of course, in our little corner of the world, she IS!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Growing Like a Weed (and a quick blurb about Tummy Time..)

Macie had her 2-week doctor's appointment this morning. She weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds: 21 ounces more than her last visit at 2 days old (when she was already back to birth weight at 6 pounds 11 ounces). Before we left the doctor that day, she (Dr. Dunk - great name for a basketball-loving family!) told us that they like to see infants gain an ounce a day. Macie must have heard her and decided not only to step up to the challenge, but to blow it out of the water!

On a different note, Ivie ABHORRED tummy time. I swore, back then, that I would start it sooner with my next child, as I was convinced it was because I waited so long to start with Iv. Well, apparently that's not the issue. At just under 2 weeks old, I started tummy time with Mac yesterday. The doctor said that 3 times a day, 10 minutes each time, was sufficient. So I was determined to make it... About 2 minutes into the first attempt, Macie was crying so hard that any human being with feelings (including her mother!) had to give in and pick her up to soothe her. We then tried it on the boppy (a bit easier, since her head is already elevated). She made it 3 minutes this time before going nuts. Progress. But, in total, we made it 5 minutes yesterday. And today has started off no better, unfortunately.

We'll keep at it, but it appears that Herman babies would rather be chillin' on their backs than fighting to lift their heads. Neck strength, in their opinions, is overrated...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eyeglasses and Umbilical Cord Stumps...

I'm sure all of you are wondering how these two things could possibly be related. They're not! Just two different stories about Ivie that I have to blog about today.

This morning, while I was feeding Macie (Doesn't that seem to be a trend? So many funny things happen while I'm feeding Macie!), Ivie walked into the room with my glasses. As she put them on and started walking around, I was reminded of what it used to feel like to put on my dad's glasses (or anyone else's, for that matter, whose prescription wasn't "right" for me) and try to walk. You all remember doing that? When you look down at the ground and it seems like it's a mile away?

So Ivie started to walk toward the hallway, looked down at the ground, and stopped on a dime. She then began taking very cautious baby-steps, as if her feet were going to fall off the earth with each step. It was fun to see her reacting to this phenomenon in the same manner I'm sure I did as a kid.

During potentially that same feeding (they all run together), Ivie drifted over to the glider and caught a glimpse of Macie's umbilical cord stump (which hadn't yet fallen off). You can imagine that for a kid who only knows what her OWN belly button looks like, this was semi-traumatic! What was the long black thing hanging out of Macie's belly button?!? Ivie immediately began to whimper and say, "Macie belly button HURT me!" (meaning, in Ivie speak, that Macie's belly button must hurt HER, because it certainly looked like it should hurt!).

For the next couple of hours, Ivie was intrigued by the belly button. Any time she got close to Macie and saw it, she would back away and whimper, saying something incomprehensible about her belly button hurting and running to her daddy for comfort and reassurance that Macie wasn't in pain.

Thankfully for all involved, Macie's cord stump fell off this afternoon, just hours after Ivie noticed it. When I showed the "normal" belly button to Ivie, she breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. All is again right with the world...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Home Alone, Ivie Style...

Last night, we returned home from our weekly Friday pizza outing at Alfredo's with the Beales and Barkers. It was 7:30 pm, which equaled bath time for Ivie, and, on this night, dinner time for Macie. So Dale and I both headed upstairs, me with Macie, and Dale to run Ivie's bath. As he headed up the stairs, Dale hollered, "Ivie, come on upstairs, it's bath time!". A few minutes later, I'd started feeding Macie, and the door to her nursery was open, so I could see the happenings in the hallway. After a couple of minutes, Ivie had yet to venture up the stairs.

Dale was in the bathroom with the water running, so I yelled in to him, "Do you know what Ivie's doing downstairs?". He said, "Ah, just messin' around...". A couple of minutes later, she came upstairs and got happily into the bath for Daddy. She then let Daddy read books with her and put her to bed (which she generally isn't accepting of), while I finished up with Macie.

After Ivie was in bed, Dale headed back downstairs. I followed shortly thereafter, with Mac in tow. After putting her down and walking into the kitchen, I heard Dale calling me from the family room. As I walked in and saw the look on his face, I knew that something was wrong... He said, "You remember when you asked me what Ivie was doing down here alone?". He then pointed at the keyboard on his laptop, which had been left, unfortunately, within Ivie's reach. Looking down, I saw how she had filled her time...

Ivie had snapped off pretty much EVERY key, and Dale was trying to put it back together. GREAT. Who knew that a 2-year-old could figure out how to take keys off of a laptop?!?

Suffice it to say that we started our Saturday morning with a little "chat" about how Mommy and Daddy's computers are off-limits, and that it's not acceptable to pop the keys off... Ivie responded that she was "looking at pictures" (on the screensaver), and then continued to try to mumble an excuse that didn't make sense to either of us. But I think our point was made, as she solemnly looked at Dale and said, "Sorry, Daddy!".

How can you be mad at THAT?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"My Friends" and the Quickest Outfit Change Ever

I've gotten a request for more stories about how Ivie is reacting to being a big sister. Ask, and you shall receive. You know who you are. :-)

Yesterday, I took Macie with me to pick Ivie up at school. When we arrived, we first went to the nursery so that Macie could meet her soon-to-be-favorite people (other than her parents and big sister!). I introduced Macie to Miss Marie and Miss Joan. Sadly, Miss Linda had already left for the day, so that introduction would have to wait...

After then stopping by to see Miss Brenda and Miss Keisha in the toddler room, we headed to Ivie's room. When Ivie saw me in the doorway, her eyes lit up. Not much better than that feeling, and I get it every day when I go to pick her up. It never gets old to see the pure excitement on her face when I arrive (which is why I much prefer pick-up to drop-off!).

But after I opened the door and she saw Macie, the smile got even bigger! She ran to the door and opened it wide, saying "I want show my friends, I want show my friends!". So we walked into the room and all the 2-year-olds came running to the door to see Ivie's baby sister. The look on Ivie's face was priceless. She was SOOOOO proud of her baby sister! She stood right next to Macie in her car seat and watched her "friends" look at her as only toddlers can look at babies. Miss Freda frantically tried to keep the kids from touching Macie, which is quite difficult when there are 10 of them and 1 of you! Ivie, knowing that she had permission to give Macie kisses whenever she wanted, took full advantage, walking around the car seat to get just the right angle for the forehead kiss. She then went back to protecting her baby sister from the hands that kept trying to touch her.

Suffice it to say that Ivie's taking to being a big sister very well. She even shared her Elmo toothbrushes with Macie this morning, which, to those of you that know Ivie, is no small feat. "Sharing" is not one of her favorite words, much less a practice that she enjoys or ever even takes part in! But she happily took the toothbrushes and put them in the bouncy seat with Macie this morning, securing them safely under Macie's arm and the blanket (so they wouldn't be in danger of falling off).

So that's my Ivie story for the day. I had another one I fully intended to write about, but "new mom" brain has kicked in and I've forgotten it. Hopefully it will come back to me for a future blog...

Just a quick note about Macie this morning. I believe she set a world record for the shortest amount of time that a human being can spend in an outfit. After her mid-morning feeding, I got her dressed (as she was still in her pj's). Though her outfit was too big (they all are right now, as she hasn't even grown into the 0-3 month clothes, and I'm definitely not going out to buy preemie stuff that will fit only for a week!), I decided to go with it and picked her up to walk out of the room. In hindsight, laying her head against my chest (prime burping position) wasn't the best idea, given that she had just finished a fairly large meal... 2 seconds after picking her up, the contents of her tummy were all down her outfit and my shirt. GREAT. So off to the bathroom we went for Bath #2. This time I used soap! She hated this bath worse than the first, if that's even possible. Probably because her belly still wasn't back to normal. I guess her eyes are already bigger than her tummy!

My parents left this morning, by the way. So Dale and I are officially "on our own" now with a helpless 8-day-old and a stubborn toddler. Going to be interesting, but Mom will be happy to hear/read that I've successfully started a load of laundry on my own, thanks to the aforementioned outfit mess! Speaking of, better go get it switched to the dryer...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thumb and Bath

2 blog posts in one day! Can you tell my parents are still in town helping us out?!? :-)

Macie had a milestone day. As much of a milestone day as a 6-day-old can have, that is! This evening, she found her thumb and was sucking on it like crazy. It was not a coincidence that it was time for her to eat, so she used the closest thing she could find to hold off without screaming. So far, she's not much of a screamer. Which makes for a happy mom (and big sister as Macie and I walk past her room quietly in the middle of the night for the late-night feedings!). Of course, as I noticed the thumb-sucking, Daddy was simultaneously walking down the hall toward us. I pointed out that she had "found her thumb," and the orthodontics salesman in him immediately pulled it out of her mouth and said, "We don't want her to do that!". He already has her future braces on his mind!

After the thumb-finding and 7 pm feeding, it was time for Macie's first bath. Not sure if you can call it a bath, since I didn't use soap. But she was naked, lying on the sponge bath mat, with a wet wash cloth being run over her. That qualifies for a bath in my mind! She handled it about as well as a newborn handles being naked and cold. But we kept it short and sweet and had her wrapped up in a towel before she knew it.

So thumb-sucking and first bath. All in one day. No wonder she's worn out and crabby, crying herself to sleep on Papa's lap as I type...

Macie's Arrival

Well, Ivie's at "school", Macie is taking her morning nap, and my inbox is down to one screen. So I think I'll try to get in a blog post of the happenings surrounding Macie's birth.

Tuesday night (9/9/08), for those of you who know us well, is Moe's night... Kids eat free, for goodness sake! We also were excited to have friends in town (Joanne and Rick) that were willing to brave the Moe's madness on kids' night to eat with us. Now THAT is a symbol of true friendship!

Before we left home, the Braxton-Hicks contractions I've been having for weeks started to feel a bit... well... stronger. Remembering that labor with Ivie started during the middle of the night and I was able to go back to sleep for 3-4 hours, I figured I could make it through a couple of tacos. And I did! After returning home, the contractions continued. So I hopped in the shower (as much as a 9-month prego woman can hop!) for what I hoped to be my last pregnant shower. Those were definitely getting old!

After the shower, the contractions slowed down. I started wishing I hadn't taken the shower! By then, it was 10:30 pm, and Dale and I began the discussion as to whether or not we should call Michelle, our friend who had generously offered to come over at any time during the night to stay with Ivie if we needed to go to the hospital. Deciding that it would be better for her to START sleeping at our house at a reasonable hour (as opposed to having to wake up at 2 am!), we gave her a call and she came straight over. Thank goodness for wonderful friends - we owe her BIG-TIME!

After getting the car seat situation figured out (thanks for your help, too, Danny!), Dale and I headed to the hospital at 11:45 pm. I remember the time not because I looked at the clock, but because at midnight, as we pulled into the parking garage at the hospital, I had the WORST contraction yet. It did me in, I think because I hadn't had one in a while. And when that happens, the next one kills ya!

As we walked into the hospital, we passed several hospital employees (given away by their scrubs). They gave us knowing smiles. Dale, at this point, and also as we waited in triage for the doctor, was skeptical. He thought that maybe we'd come too early, and we were both hoping that we wouldn't get sent home. I, for one, was NOT going home. The contractions were hurting, but I knew that with Ivie I'd had to walk the halls for a couple of hours before I was dilated enough for them to admit me. So I anxiously awaited the doctor's arrival. It's one of those times where you can't WAIT to have your cervix checked. That feeling only comes around at the late stages of pregnancy, folks!

When the doctor came in for the check, I held my breath. But let out a sigh of relief when she said I was 5 centimeters dilated. YEA! But then, with my next breath, I asked them to send for the anesthesiologist! I needed an epidural. Immediately.

As I walked to my room, the anesthesiologist met me in the hallway. Another YEA! She got to work as soon as I got settled in the room, and I patiently (yeah right!) waited for the requisite 15 minutes to pass (before the epidural was to "kick in"). 15 minutes came and went. My left side felt no pain. Ahhhhh. Sadly, the right side was making up for it. The 2nd-to-worst-case-scenario had come to be. The epidural only took on one side. So back came the anesthesiologist to re-position the catheter and give me another dose. By now it was probably 1:30 or 2:00 am, though I didn't look at the clock (was in too much pain!). Needless to say the second dose didn't work either, unless you consider a numb foot and lower leg "working". Clearly, I was out of luck.

Now when we started with the epidural, the nurse said that I shouldn't feel "pain" from the contractions, but that I would at some point feel extreme pressure and the urge to push. Since I was feeling the pain, it was a bit hard to decipher between "pain" and "pressure". But I was convinced it was both! So, at 2:30'ish, I asked the nurse if she wouldn't mind checking to see if I was fully dilated. She checked, and announced in amazement that I was fully dilated and only had the bag of water between Macie and the world. (Note: I apologize if this is getting too graphic, but I want to have this in writing someday when I forgot how it all went down... Dale will most likely pull this blog page out when I begin to consider the idea of wanting a 3rd child!).

The nurse called in the doctor, who gave me 2 options. We could either break the water, or we could wait and let it break on its own. Now which of those options do YOU think a woman in severe pain is going to pick?!? BREAK THE WATER IMMEDIATELY.

At 2:40 am, the doctor broke my water and the pushing began. And ended 3 1/2 contractions later. 3 1/2. I know that sounds weird. You always hear that you wait and push with contractions, as that is when the most progress is made. As I wrapped up the 3rd contraction, I was, to be honest, really tired of Macie causing me so much pain (though through it all I still loved ya, sweet pea!). So I asked the doctor if it was feasible to push when I wasn't having a contraction. She said, "sure!", so I did. And Macie entered the world at 2:48 am. Hence the 3 1/2 contractions. Not a better feeling in the world, I'm sure all moms will attest.

So that's the story of Macie's arrival. Aren't all of you glad that it lasted only 2.5 hours in the hospital? Can you IMAGINE how long this blog would have been if it had been 18 hours as it was with Ivie?

By the way, as I wrap this up, I made sure to make fun of Dale for his earlier thoughts about us going to the hospital "too early". It's a good thing we didn't stay home for another hour! Macie might have been born in the elevator... Or on the front lawn... Or in the parking garage...

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Ivie loves grapes. Now, admittedly, I'm not the world's best eater. OK, that's the understatement of the year, and everyone that knows me is laughing at me for even saying it. But I DID read in one of my parenting magazines (I'm only about 9 months behind with them right now) that in order to encourage your children to develop positive eating habits, you should keep healthy snacks at their level in the fridge.

So I've started with grapes.

Now, I use a fairly large tupperware container for these grapes (takes a pretty big one to hold all the grapes that you have to buy in the plastic bags at the grocery store!), and I put it on a lower shelf where she can reach them. For those of you concerned about choking (since kids under 3 aren't even supposed to HAVE grapes, and, at last check, Ivie's only 2 1/2), I cut them in half after cleaning them and before putting them within her reach. And we keep a close eye on her when she's eating them. So I think she's safe.

This morning, when we returned from church, Ivie enthusiastically stated, "I want grapes!". Happily, I said, "OK, you know where they are!", and gave myself a pat on the back for getting her to eat grapes instead of the chips I was about to eat (come on people, I'm going to have a baby any day - I can splurge on some Doritos, right?!?). So Ivie ate a handful of grapes and moved on to her puzzle. Fine, at least it's progress.

After lunch (which was bologna sandwiches and peaches for us all), she was back to the grapes. Grabbed the tupperware container, and her sippy cup of milk, and settled in on Daddy's lap in the living room for some pre-nap Finding Nemo time (we don't do a great job of limiting television on the weekends, particularly when Daddy LOVES that she will cuddle with him and watch for an hour!). Much to Daddy's chagrin, I was back to working on my blog page (sure is fun to include links and videos!).

I woke up from my nap before Ivie did, so I took advantage of the golf tournament (which Dale was happily watching on the couch) and talked him into letting me go out for a bit of shopping. Alone. Probably the last time I'll do that before Macie (or after, for that matter)! As I walked into Target, I sent Dale a text to check in on Ivie's status. Apparently she was just waking up. And then, 15 minutes later, I got another text from him that made me laugh out loud. He said, "Wait until you get home to hear about this POOP!"

Suffice it to say that I think Ivie had too many grapes. When I got home and saw the sheer thickness of the diaper (Dale had saved it for me for proof), I checked out the tupperware to see just how many she'd had. Seriously, folks, she probably ate 60 grapes today. And that might be an understatement - I'm not good with spacial comparisons. Let's just say that the remaining grapes don't even cover the bottom of the container any more.

Someday I'll probably read that grapes, in excess, cause some sort of disease. In fact, I could probably find that now if I google'd it. But for now, all I know is that they can certainly be the cause of one heck of a poopy diaper. "By far the worst in 2.5 years," as Dale elegantly described.

I'm glad I was out shopping!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My First Blog...

Well, Macie has officially decided that she's going to stay in utero longer than Ivie. Doing her own thing. Not sure if that's a sign of things to come with her, or what! At this time in my pregnancy with Ivie, I was heavily in labor, about 6 hours, I guess, from one of the happiest moments in my life. She was FINALLY in my arms instead of my belly! And what a great feeling THAT was.

But for now, with Mac, we just wait... We DID go out for Mexican tonight (thanks, Bandido's!) with hopes of stirring up labor with the old wives' tale of spicy food. We'll see how it works.

Just starting out with this whole blogging thing. Figure it's a great way to make permanent all the hilarious things that the kid(s) of the Herman clan do. You know, all those things that you say "I should write that down so I don't forget that it happened!". Well, here we go. Let it begin...

Today, for example, Ivie, out of the blue, started singing Jingle Bells. She hasn't heard that in, say, 9 months or so, but she was giving us a medley of Jingle Bells, Wheels on the Bus, and Jesus Loves Me. Random? Yes. Surprising? Not for this kid!