Tag Archives: 2 kids

She Says… A Blended Approach

Remember when I said that Emmett didn’t follow in his big brother’s footsteps in terms of loving food? Well he may not have been interested in the very beginning, but he certainly is now! Apparently I just wasn’t giving him what he wanted.

Mashed up stuff? Eh. It’s ok. But big things he can feed himself? YES PLEASE.

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I think we may have a baby led weaner on our hands. (Haha, “weaner”).

A week or two ago I was eating a banana while holding Emmett and he nearly jumped out of my arms to grab it from me and stuff it in his mouth. I offered him a piece to see what he did with it, and much to my surprise, he was actually really effective at gumming it to pieces. He even swallowed a few without gagging.

I read a bit about Baby Led Weaning back when Owen was little, and offered him some little bits and pieces and chunks of things to feed himself when we first started food, but he wasn’t really into it. He really just wanted me to shovel the mashed up stuff in as fast as I could. Emmett’s fine motor skills are more advanced than his big brother’s, though, and he seems to really like the “take charge” approach when it comes to his food.

The banana experience must have taught his little mouth a few things about how to macerate and swallow, because since then, he’s been game to try just about any food, mashed, chunked or clutchable in his chubby little hands. He’s not eating a lot, but at this stage “eating” is really just about tasting and experiencing anyway, not actual caloric intake.

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So we’re doing a blended approach. Some homemade mash, some little tiny bits of things on his tray, and some big things that he can practice sucking/gumming/holding to his mouth. He’s really good at getting all sizes and shapes of food into his mouth. He’s had (and liked) avocado, sweet potato, apples and peas. He even likes teething on cold red peppers. I always mix things together to make weird, strangely yummy combos like sweet potato and apples so each meal is a bit different.

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I think we’re ready to try some more foods, and to start to incorporate spices like cinnamon and cumin, like I did with Owen too. I’m thinking carrots and green beans next. I don’t really remember when we started proteins like beans and tofu with Owen, but maybe that is on the horizon as well.

What were/are your baby’s faves?

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She Says… Family of 4

It’s no secret that my lovely husband is good with a camera. As a result, we have an abundance of gorgeous photos of our family. However, they all have one thing in common: they don’t include Benjamin. I make a point to turn the camera around on him once in a while, and while I’m not half-bad as a photographer, I’m nowhere near a professional. And then, of course, the pictures are lacking another important member of our family (me!), so they are still not complete.

Enter my talented, professional photographer friend Elizabeth of Elizabeth Horne Photography. She takes amazing pictures.

She came over a couple weeks ago to capture the beginning of our little family of 4.

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I can’t even begin to pick my favorites. I love them all.

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She captured that twinkle in Owen’s eye, and his nonstop rambunctiousness. I know firsthand how hard it is to catch this kid being STILL for even a second, which makes these images even more impressive.

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Emmett’s scowl cracks me up. He makes that face a lot — such expressive brows!

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Brothers being brothers.

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Me and the boys. It’s still a little surreal to say “the boys”.

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A rare, sweet, quiet moment with just Emmett.

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Any attempts at a family photo were foiled (enhanced?) by Owen’s hilariousness. I must say, though, I love these even more than a “perfect” one with everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. That’s our family, in a nutshell.

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Case in point.

Welcome to the craziness, Emmett.

 

She Says… My Secret Weapon

Enough tooting my own horn yesterday. You wanna know a secret? I have a trick up my sleeve.

I finally found the one activity that will keep Owen occupied completely, 100% independently.

He adores puzzles, and he’s excellent at them, but he still likes someone to sit next to him and chat about each piece and pretend that he doesn’t know where they go even when he does. He loves playdoh, but again, he can’t seem to do it without someone else to play with it with him (and, since there’s gluten in it, it requires extensive clean-up that an adult needs to help with). He’s never been one to look at books by himself. He has a hilariously creative mind when playing with Legos/blocks, but he still prefers to bounce ideas off of, ahem, someone else. As I’ve said before, he’s an extravert to the extreme, and it seems he has trouble doing anything without talking about it. Out loud. Which can get… exhausting.

A few months ago Owen’s teacher at school mentioned that he is excellent at circle time and when they listen to “tape stories”. You remember those cassette tapes that you probably listened to as a kid where someone reads a story aloud and you turn the pages? Apparently they do these a lot at school and Owen will sit perfectly still, criss cross applesauce, and listen to a whole story. And then he’ll request another. And another.

I had never seen him do anything so quietly, so I immediately went searching on Amazon for the modern day equivalent (CD stories… obvi).

When Owen met Emmett for the first time, “Emmett” gave him a present. It was a HUGE Curious George book with 7 different stories in it, and a set of 5 CD’s where they are read aloud with page-turning sounds. The stories each take 10 minutes or so to listen to. Owen will sit, mesmerized, next to me on the couch when I nurse and listen to 2 back-to-back, which gets us almost the entire way through a nursing session (without relying on tv). He turns the pages himself when he hears the sound. All I have to do is start him off on the right page.

It’s brilliant, really. Curious George stories are a little dated (we’ve had lots of discussions about what a pipe is and why people are smoking them on every page even if they are bad for their bodies…), but timeless. The audio CD’s have musical sound effects and background music and are really well done. Owen sings the songs and repeats the phrases and knows almost every story by heart now. He talks about them afterwards and asks really detailed questions about why the characters did what they did.

And I get to nurse in peace. Right there next to him. Thank you, Curious George!

What’s your secret weapon to keep your child occupied while you do what you need to do?

She Says… Home Alone

It was quiet here yesterday for the first time since Emmett was born.

  • Benjamin was working
  • My mom (who stayed with us for the last 6 days helping out) had gone home
  • Owen was at school

It was just me and the little guy.

The first time this happened with Owen I remember feeling a bit panicked. What if something happened? How did I go to the bathroom or shower? What if I couldn’t get him to stop crying? What would we do all day? This time, it just felt… peaceful.

Yesterday I kept a list of what we did (since I distinctly remembering feeling like I hadn’t gotten anything done when I was home with Owen as a baby).

6:30am: He “woke up” (and by woke up I mean I opened the windows and considered it morning, despite the fact that we are up every 2-3 hours around the clock), right when Owen does. It’s Owen’s 3rd birthday today (!!!) so I made Emmett wait to nurse so we could go in and sing Happy Birthday. Emmett wasn’t too thrilled with that idea, so I ended up nursing while singing and  then Benjamin got Owen ready for school while Emmett and I finished up. Emmett and I said goodbye to the boys.

7:15am – 8:30am: Emmett chilled in his chair while I had breakfast and he dozed off while I started a batch of homemade yogurt and cleaned up the mess from the somewhat hectic evening with both kids.

8:30am – 9:00am: Before I knew it, it was time to nurse again. This time we watched the Today Show and I not-so-secretly loved all of the royal baby coverage.

9:00am – 10:00am: Quiet awake time for Emmett, and then his first at-home sponge bath. I kind of forgot how to do this around the (gross) umbilical cord but I got the job done. Of course as soon as I toweled him off, he peed everywhere.

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10:00am – 10:45am: Emmett was exhausted from the bath so I popped him in the Moby wrap for a nap and vacuumed our whole first floor. The sound of the vacuum soothes him, and he seems to love being jostled around, just like he was in the womb.

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10:45am – 11:00am: Spent time staring at his beautiful face while he woke up and stretched out after our vacuuming session.

11:00am – 11:30am: Nurse again.

11:30am – 12:45pm: This time instead of having some awake time after nursing, Emmett nursed himself into a milk coma and went right to sleep. I took advantage of his full belly and put him in his chair while I showered, folded laundry and ate lunch.

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Nurse again. This time, between waking Emmett up, a mayjuh diaper incident, waking him up again, and then a long nursing session, it took nearly an hour.

2:00pm – 2:30: Quiet awake time. Emmett looked around and bobbled his head while I carried him and patted his back and babbled about what we were doing. By 2:30 he was getting twitchy and was ready for another nap.

2:30pm – 3:15pm: Emmett sleeps in the swing while I wrap Owen’s birthday presents and go through the mail we had been ignoring from the last week.

3:15pm – 4:00pm: Nurse again.

4:00pm – 5:00pm: Ice cupcakes and prep for Owen’s birthday.

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At 5 Owen came home from school and we began Emmett’s slow decline to bedtime. He is seriously cluster feeding at night from around 6-9pm, which is slightly inconvenient because it’s the only time I get to spend with Owen on school days, and also coincides with dinner time. Though, really, is there ever a convenient time to be chained to the couch nursing a starving little animal? Tonight we had some help from the grandparents who made dinner and Owen was entertained with birthday presents for the most part.

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The cupcakes made the night.

 

A happy birthday to my first born and a successful first day home with Emmett. I realize the sleepy newborn days are fleeting (and I’m in for a LOT more awake time, likely fussy awake time, in the coming weeks), but so far I like the way this maternity leave feels.

She Says… Brotherly Love

Please excuse the non-blogging while I thoroughly enjoy falling into the newborn abyss. The rabbit hole of diapers and nursing and snuggling this tiny little person who has joined our family.

I’m exhausted. But it couldn’t be a lovelier kind of exhausted.

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After a day and a half in the hospital, Benjamin and I were ready to bring our little guy home to meet his brother. Since Owen was at school during the week we didn’t try to pick him up early and force a hospital “meeting”. It seemed like a recipe for disaster on many levels. Instead, we opted to come home Thursday morning so we could get ourselves settled at home before picking Owen up from school to meet his little bro.

To say he was excited is an understatement. Apparently he told everyone he saw at school (teachers, students and parents alike), “MY BABY CAME OUT!”.

Almost immediately, Owen smothered Emmett with kisses (and ubiquitous daycare boogers). I tried to give some helpful tips like, “Just the top of his head and his hands and feet, maybe not right up in his face…” and “Ooh! That’s enough hugging! I think Emmett is all hugged out…” while also trying to not stifle Owen’s enthusiasm for meeting his baby brother.
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Schnitzel has been on his best guard-dog behavior as well. When I’m nursing he sits at attention at my feet, ready to protect us from intruders. And when Emmett cries, Schnitzel is usually at his side even before I am. He’s the best nanny ever.

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There was no shortage of kisses. Owen even said things like, “Hi cutie pie, why are you crying? What’s wrong, sweetie?”. He’s going to be such a sweet brother.

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After a few minutes of baby doting, the novelty wore off and Owen said, “Mommy can you put Baby Emmett down so we can play?”. Ha.

And just like that, we were a family of 4. Just doing a puzzle. Hanging out. It just felt… right.

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Whenever Emmett squeaked, Owen ran over and patted him (gently, most of the time) and wanted to pick him up. We certainly have some rules to learn about what is allowed (touching the baby’s feet and head gently) and what is not (picking up the baby by his head), but at least I know that it comes from a place of love.

I keep trying to remember that as I reprimand Owen for manhandling the baby.

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We’re adjusting to the new morning routine too. It’s hard for Owen to understand why I can come in and wake him up sometimes but not others. But he’s doing an awesome, awesome job adjusting. In fact, I’d say we all are.

And those “quiet” moments when both kids are happy and hanging out together are worth every one of the loud or frustrating ones.

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On Sunday we went out to ice cream to celebrate Emmett “coming out” and Owen becoming a big brother. Ice cream makes everything better.

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Brotherly love is a powerful thing. I feel so fortunate to have two beautiful boys to share it.