Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Bond

My mother-in-law is a very good amateur photographer.  She recently sent us her pictures from when she and my father-in-law stayed with us the two weeks after Chloe's birth (which oddly was only about 3.5 weeks ago - seems like she has been here forever... and it seems like forever since I've had a good night's sleep... aah - breastfeeding). Anyway, she really captured some good moments of the bond that is slowly growing between Evan and Chloe (I think more on Evan's part than Chloe's) so I thought this would be a good time to address how Evan is responding to the "intruder."

This is where we started.  After about a day or two of being at home, Evan realized that Chloe wasn't going anywhere so he started to investigate.  There was a lot of poking and prodding and some "accidental" hitting that occurred.  He even go so interested in her bouncy chair (formerly his bouncy chair) that he pulled out the part he is playing with in this picture and tried to "hand" it to Chloe.  Needless to say, that piece has not been put back in the bouncy chair.

Then he found out he could get praise and attention if he was nice to Chloe and gave her kisses.  Here we are about to kiss her (notice how thrilled Chloe looks).

And here we are post-kiss.  Again, I think Chloe's face pretty much says it all.

After a couple rounds of practice, Evan really caught on to the whole kissing thing and Chloe put up with it.

They even had a whole bonding moment where Evan held Chloe and apparently pointed out her belly button. 

But it seemed like the initial interest was beginning to wane (you can tell by his face that he isn't so engaged anymore) and Evan went on about his life.

Then his grandparents left and it as just Brian, Evan, Chloe, and I and Evan couldn't escape Chloe.  He has since started to approach her with much more interest and not necessarily for adult praise.

Here is how Evan now interacts with Chloe:
  • I refer to Chloe as "Chlo-Chlo" (which is such a big surprise considering I have Bubba, Lu-lu kitty, Bel-Bel, and I'm sure many repetitive syllable names).  Evan has started to call her "Co-Co" and will come into the room calling out her name.
  • While I'm breastfeeding (which deserves its own post on how obsessed Evan is with breastfeeding.... even though he wanted none of it as a baby) Evan comes over and gives Chloe his finger to hold and will even push down on my breast to make sure she gets enough milk.
  • When I go to burp Chloe, he will help me pat her back (and he is actually really gentle about it).
  • The other day while he was blowing bubbles he tried to get Chloe to blow bubbles (at least he is sharing).
  • He no longer hits her (accidentally or not).
And seriously, who blames him. Wouldn't you want to hang out with her?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Many Faces of Chloe

I would like to share with you my daughter (And as an aside... she is totally my daughter.  I mean if someone showed up at my door tomorrow and said that Evan was switched at birth I wouldn't even blink.  But, if someone said that Chloe was switched I wouldn't believe it... not even a little bit).

The "I'm not getting up no matter how hard you try" face

The "Leave me the heck alone" face

The "I don't really like you or what you are doing right now" face

The "You know I'm just humoring you until I can find a way out" face

The "I'll escape at my first chance" face

The "This man is not so bright" face

The "I'm happiest when left alone" face

And just to make my life interesting... here is one of Evan's most common faces:

The "Life is pure joy" face

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Family Weekend

So, Friday afternoon, when the babysitter left, it was only Brian, Evan, Chloe, and myself.  And while I had some trepidation about how we were going to handle things and if my incision was going to play a role in all of this, we did pretty okay. 

On Friday Brian took over watching Chloe so I could spend some quality time with Evan.  He and I just played together.  And then he went to sleep and Chloe decided it was time to wake up.  And she was pretty much up for most of the night. 

On Saturday Brian was kind enough to take Evan out to breakfast so I could have a few hours of sleep (since Chloe decided to go back to sleep in the morning).  Then we decided to try our first family outing.  Piedmont Park, a gorgeous urban park where Evan and I often go for the playground and ducks, had just opened an interactive fountain.  It was a gorgeous day and Evan had an abundance of energy so it sounded perfect.  We packed up the diaper bag for the two kids and took off to the park.

When we got there, Brian and Evan went in to the fountains (Evan is the little man in the orange muscle shirt and Brian is the big man in the green muscle shirt):

And what was Chloe doing while Evan was having all this fun?

Enjoying being outside while Mommy obsessively made sure not one beam of sun touched her skin.

After the water park we stopped for something to eat and then Evan and Chloe slept most of the day away.  Evan and I again had a chance to bond over dinner while Brian watched Chloe.  Saturday night Chloe decided to sleep more than the night before but still was up more than I would have liked.

This morning (Sunday) Brian again took Evan out so I could have a little more sleep.  We then decided that since it was super hot out we would head off to Hippo Hop (an indoor blow-up playground). 

Brian (who you can't see in the photos but he was playing) and Evan had a blast playing:

And what was Chloe doing?

And Mommy spent the morning making sure that no little unwashed hands touched, or even got near, my as-of-yet-not-immunized little girl. 

This afternoon, after only a 30 minute nap, Evan was still ready to go so Brian took him back to the interactive fountains while I spent the afternoon with an awake Chloe (yay, maybe this means she will sleep at night - let's not hold our breath), did some laundry, and cleaned out the fridge.

And now Brian and I are completely exhausted.  This newborn and active toddler thing is not so easy... but we survived and the nanny starts tomorrow so I can get back to the business of healing and Brian can get back to the business of saving the children of Georgia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We're Still Here

Maybe not fully awake but we are still hanging around.  I just wanted to give you all an update of what has been happening in the Castrucci household.

We went back to the pediatrician this week and Chloe has gained back all of her birth weight.  This basically means my boobs have been pediatrically (so not a word) approved and she is eating like a maniac.  Continue breastfeeding on demand (which means mostly at night since she never seems very hungry during the day... lucky me).

So, besides feeding, and dirtying her diaper, what else has Miss Chloe Bear been doing:

Yup - sleeping.  Sadly, she has been sleeping more during the day than at night but we are slowly getting longer and longer waking periods. Although I would rather her waking periods were from 12p - 4p rather than 9p - 11p.  I know at some point in his life Evan had to be a sleeper as well but I must have blocked that out... in fact I think I blocked out the entire newborn period.  I'm not really a newborn person.

And I think Chloe has figured that out:

Here is my little innocent peanut giving me the finger.  Yes mom, this appears to be the mother's curse.  A little early in her development don't you think?

And what about my little man?  Besides the fact that I still spend way too many waking moments thinking I have completely made him believe that I no longer love him and that I've replaced him with something new (because you know, he is the only child in the history of the world who has had a sibling introduced into his life) he seems to be adjusting well.

Here he is "pushing" his sister in her swing (ignore the giant fat cat on the side table... the camera adds 10 pounds you know):

And here he is a few minutes later deciding that the pushing was boring:

My in-laws leave tomorrow and the nanny doesn't start until Monday so Brian and I have a few days to actually be a family of 4... and I'm not sure we are ready (which is just really pathetic since most people don't have the luxury of a nanny to ease the transition - I know... and I'm in awe of those people).  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One Week Later

Chloe Marie Castrucci
May 5, 2011
7lbs 12 oz
19.5 inches long

Chloe is one week old today. 

We started here:

(sorry for the graphic nature but it's the truth)

And here we are now:

As usual (see my blog posts about Evan's birth), we had some minor complications at the hospital.  While Chloe has been a champion breastfeeder from the very beginning, she did lose more than 10% of her birth weight in the hospital (she got down to 6lbs 15.1oz).  This is the magic number and we started a crazy feeding routine and supplemented with formula.  Thankfully it all worked out.  She went to her pediatrician yesterday and is back up to 7lbs 6oz.  The discharge pediatrician also thought that Chloe had a minor case of jaundice (and she must have some serious diagnostic skills because no one else saw it).  Nothing ever came of that.

The only thing of concern, and by "concern" I mean something that is really no big deal at the moment but will have to be followed, is that they found a grade 2 heard murmur.  She was diagnosed with a mild pulmonary stenosis.  The pediatric cardiologist did a fabulous job of explaining all of this to us.  At the moment it just means she will need to followed by a pediatric cardiologist monthly for the first year of her life since this is the time where significant change can occur if it will, and then periodically after that.  At the stage it is right now it won't interfere with her life at all.  I made our first appointment for June and was informed that the appointment could last up to 2 & 1/2 hours.  Yeah, this is something I'll really be looking forward to.

At the moment Brian's parents are in town helping us with Chloe and Evan while I recover from my c-section.  They leave next weekend and then we will have a nanny come and help for about 6 weeks.  Even though I feel this surgery went more smoothly and my recovery is much faster, I appreciate any and all help.

So, here is the lowdown of week one:
  • Chloe has surpassed her brother with her breastfeeding mastery.  I'm, however, still working on it.
  • Much like her brother she doesn't see the need to wake up to feed so my job is to remind her how important nutrition is.
  • She is a very quiet baby unless someone is doing something she doesn't like.  Then, as soon as that aspect stops, she is done crying. 
  • She has a very good set of lungs.
  • She has confused her nights and days.  This is probably the most annoying part of her first week so far but once we figured that out, we are working with her to turn it around and I'm sleeping more during the day.
  • So far her brother doesn't seem to mind her.  Evan gives her kisses when she is sleeping in her lambie chair.
  • Evan also steals her pacifiers and sometimes hits her while he is trying to "pat" her hair... "accidentally" hits her.
  • Surprisingly to me, the most difficult part of this whole first week is that I can't "parent" Evan the way I'm used to.  As in, the other night he woke up upset from a bad dream and I had to wake up Brian to come in with me because I can't pick up Evan or even hold him to soothe him.  This is way more my issue than it is Evan's but the feeling hasn't gone away yet.
And how is Evan handling all of this?  You tell me:

(Evan, in only his diaper, playing in his kitchen - a Christmas present that Grandpa Rocereto just put together for him)

(Evan in his backyard pool that mommy bought him just before the arrival of Chloe)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tomorrow is the Day

Yes, I missed a day.  But give me a break.  I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but I'm pregnant and having a c-section tomorrow so I'm a little preoccupied.

Anyway, on to the final thing I'm looking forward to (with excitement and trepidation) - Evan as a big brother.  I watch him with random babies (those that haven't invaded his home) and he lets them crawl all over him so that's a good sign.  But then he means to touch their arm and has a Lenny moment from Of Mice and Men and knocks them over as he pushes them way too hard.  That isn't such a good sign. 

All of the waiting will soon be over as Evan will officially become a big brother tomorrow but won't really have to act on it until I'm home from the hospital (hopefully on Sunday).  Until then, I think he likes the re-appearance of some of his favorite items:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Countdown (3 days to go)

It's been a long day so let me make this one short and sweet.  In 3 days I'm going to have a little baby girl and what I'm looking forward to is getting another opportunity to watch a little person explore the world.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Countdown (4 days to go)

This is what I'm most looking forward to:

(Evan - 3 weeks old)

Don't know what this is?  Then this sight must be as rare for you as it is for me.  This is a sleeping baby.  In fact, this is a human being who sleeps more than he is awake. 

At the moment here are the sleeping patterns of the people in my life:
  • Toddler - granted, he does sleep 12 hours straight at night but I find myself praying that he will sleep 1.5 hours for his nap.  This is a little man that will just run in circles if there is nothing entertaining him at the moment.
  • Husband - with work piling up and the imminent arrival of something that will take even more time away from an already stressful job, Brian has taken to sleeping less and less every night.  Last night he didn't make it to bed before 3:00 AM.
  • Me - well... I guess I nap a lot.  I can't really call random increments of 2 hours sleeping.  Last night I slept on and off until 2:30 AM and then fell back asleep for another on and off hour or two around 4:30 AM.
So, do you understand why a creature that sees sleep as an important and necessary part of life will be more than welcomed in to this household?  Even if she doesn't sleep through the night? Because really, at this point, what's the difference?