Friday, February 16, 2007

Ahh... newborns....toddlers....preschoolers...

OK... It's two weeks tomorrow since our little baby boy was born. Babies do create a lot of upheaval. On the whole, it has gone well. It is also a bit grueling. My husband and I have lost more sleep than we would like. But, we are getting more sleep than many new parents. We have a good sized baby who sometimes sleeps 4-5 hours at a stretch. We know enough to count our blessings. The girls like their new brother (of course he mostly eats and sleeps right now). But there have been some problems, too. A few days after getting home from the hospital, baby boy stopped eating well. That was about the time my milk came in all the way so we figure that it was related. After struggling for a few days to get him to eat, we were concerned and took him to the doctor. He had lost nearly a pound and a half. That's a scary thing for a newborn. Thankfully, the problem only seems to be an eating issue and he is recovering his weight quickly now that we have started feeding him from a bottle.

Then, just as that problem was getting solved, our two year old came down with some unknown virus that had her with fevers, sneezes and coughs. So, we are now dividing our labor. Daddy takes the baby and Mommy takes the two year old. The four year old has been having to fend for herself a bit more, but Mommy is dealing with her too. We are also doing a lot of hand washing to try to minimize any spread of this thing. So far, only the four year old has come down with it and it seems to be a milder version. the two year old seems to be improving, too. She didn't have any fever today as far as I could tell. She is also acting more like herself and playing more. When she was in the middle of it, she just wanted Mommy to hold her.

So, with all of this happening, it is hard to get a handle on what is normal, what is new because of the baby, and what is just new. Tonight, for instance, the older kids have been getting up out of bed every five minutes. In the two year-old's case, I know it was because she had an extra long nap today. In the four year-old's case she is suddenly claiming to be scared of the dark. I have noticed that she has been talking about things being scary more in the last few weeks. But, I can't say this is a baby thing. I think it is just that she is getting older and she is starting to key into more of what is happening around her, noticing things that are scary and remembering them more. She also suddenly decided that she wanted shorter hair. We gave her a 24 hour waiting period before we gave in to her wish to make sure it was something she really wanted. Her Daddy is mourning the loss of his girl's long hair. I gave her a chin length bob (just like her two year old sister's) and it looks quite cute.

Next monday starts life with my husband going back to work. I hope the kids are markedly improved by then or my life will be very difficult. I haven't done much in the way of homeschooling during the last couple of weeks, but yet I see that our daughter has been learning anyway. She has definitely been learning about babies and how one takes care of them. She has been reading to herself a good bit and drawing a lot. I've noticed some new things in her drawings and she is gaining even more coordination so that she can use her scissors fairly well and is well on her way to mastering tape. She has started to help her sister some as well. She will draw pictures for her sister to color. She will help her dress in princess clothes if Mommy or Daddy isn't available for that. She brings her sister tissues when she cries and needs a wipe (sometimes when she caused her sister to cry).

The two year old has been learning a lot, too. She is talking a lot now. She is forming more complete sentences than she did just a few weeks ago. I still have trouble understanding a few of her words because of her pronunciation, but can usually figure it out if I catch the context. In some ways she is more advanced in some ways than her sister was at that age (she is more independent, more social and more active). In others she is a little behind (Her sister knew her alphabet, numbers, shapes, and 50 states by shape at age two which is just a little freaky), but still well within normal for a kid her age. She has just recently gotten interested in puzzles, books and drawing. She has been hooked on the Baby Einstein video about shapes and has nearly mastered them (the difference between a rectangle and a square doesn't seem to register with her yet, but circles and triangles are easily identified).

So, although no official homeschooling has been happening, I am satisfied that the girls are still learning. But, we will need to get back into the routine soon. Also, the oldest girl has made progress with her potty training to the point that she has earned rewards for major accomplishments. These rewards will have to be worked into the schedule too since they are special classes. So far she has earned a dance class, an art class, and swim lessons. But, she still has yet to earn the trip to the zoo. It mystifies me how a child can learn to poop in the toilet, pee in the toilet, do the whole bathroom routine by herself, and yet still not be able to tell someone that she needs to go use a toilet. We consider it a major accomplishment that she has had only one accident in the last three weeks. But, we are still telling her to use the potty at certain times. When she complains about not wanting to be interrupted, I remind her that I will stop telling her to use the potty when she starts telling me when she needs to use it. I'm hoping she will develop the habit of no accidents to the point where she no longer is willing to endure accidents should they come.

All in all, it has been a busy two weeks. We are tired. The house is a mess. The family is somewhat presentable. I am recovering nicely. If I had a few days to enjoy some stability of routine, I might feel like being a mother of three isn't so bad. Well, that's a long post to make up for two weeks silence. Goodnight.

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