Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oh the places I've pumped

When I was pregnant with Theo, I knew that, unlike with Sophia, I would be returning to work shortly after having him, thus requiring me to be an active pumper. I have two pumps - one for home and a smaller, more portable one for work.

I have chronicled the amount of my stash of liquid gold in previous posts. Pumping takes dedication and, in talking with fellow working moms, a sort of creativity is required  amazing to keep our supply up.

I found that traveling for work, while not all that frequent, added a whole new level of experience for pumping. As anyone who does so can attest, your schedule is not your own. At least in the confines of my office, I know when and generally, where I can pump.

I thought I'd outline the places I've pumped over the past year, more for my own posterity than for anyone else's. And don't worry, there aren't any pictures.

Top 4 most common:
1) My house (duh)
2) Work - the "Pumping Office." Because I sit in pod-land, this is a room that was to be an office but during a transition and after I made a bit of a fuss of the lack of space for pumping, turned into a "first dibs for pumping moms" room. Has made for some close accidental encounters with co-workers.
3) Work - the 5th floor bathroom - the "office" room isn't always available. I made due with pulling a rolling desk and chair into the bathroom to do what I needed to get done. People always comment on all the "stuff" I seem to lug with me to the bathroom.
4) My former office - my last job was at Marian Court College - a gorgeous mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. My office was a former third floor bedroom with 4 window seats. Sigh...

Top 4 oddest:
1) My car. This was also one of my most frequent when I was commuting to Marian Court. I miss my buddies on Rt. 16. I'm sure they don't miss my draped, multi-tasking self. It's very useful and easy once you have a system.
2) The bathroom at Rue 57 in New York. After a client meeting. Clean, door locking stalls. No complaints.
3) The bathroom in our NJ office. Motion sensor lights. Having to get up and make enough motion hanging half way out of a stall to get them to turn back on. While attached.
4) Airport bathrooms. Not odd in themselves, but just somewhere I'd recommend avoiding if you can. I felt especially bad when I was in a family restroom at Logan and a woman was furiously knocking on the door saying she needed to use it to breastfeed before getting on the plane. She left before I could unhook and pack up.

I'm not going to miss the bulkiness of carrying "Don Ho" around with me or the time suck in my schedule, but I will miss the mental break it gave me for 20 minutes in my day.

Sophia the Big Girl

It is funny to compare and contrast the growth and development of Sophia and Theo. With him, it feels like leaps and bounds every day/every week. Now, at over 3, her development still happens, but isn't quite as drastic on a daily basis.  It is often tough for me to remember that she is, in fact, still my little girl. I often need her to be a "big girl" to make things easier, but I treasure the moments she wants to curl up in my lap.
Give her a donut and glass of
 milk & we've got a successful
Conference Call
Lately it seems like she's realizing Theo is here to stay and that he gets the good "baby" treatment. Her demands to be picked up have increased ten-fold and her desire to be the only one in our arms "Put Theo Down!" is a common refrain can be taxing to say the least. Things she used to do in leaps and bounds - climbing in and out of her car seat, running up the stairs, etc. - seem unthinkable to even attempt, which makes everyone equally exasperated, (especially when one of us is exceptionally exhausted or running on fumes.)

Really, I'm not part Wildabeast!
After a recent highly frustrating night Dave (who is so good at taking a step back. Not always one of my best characteristics) reminded me that This Is Fun.

"Fun?" I replied, "How is this Fun? She's cranky, I'm cranky which, in turn makes you cranky. I'm not able to give Theo any attention that I feel like he deserves. But you think this is Fun?"

Everyone is having FUN!
"Yes," he responded, "It's fun, because she's little. She needs us. She needs us more than we give her credit for. And soon enough, she's not going to need us. She's not going to climb on our laps or beg for the same Mickey book again. It's not going to be forever - not the whiny needy part or the sweet, snuggly part. So take it and have Fun with it."

See - this is fun! 
So, after a few snarky "This if FUN" comments by me amidst some tense moments, I started to realize if I said it, I could start to believe it. And things did start to become more fun. Now, I'm not kidding anyone if I said it was always fun. I still get cranky when she dawdles when we're trying to get out the door (an especially big pain point) but we're getting there.

Every night that I put her to sleep, we have a song routine. We start with "Twinkle Twinkle" and then I sing her "Good Night Baby" which is a made-up song based on one of her playgroup songs "Hello Baby (or Goodbye Baby) depending on the need" with made up lyrics that rhyme. I've sung this to her many hundreds of times.

Last week, as I started to sing the first line, "Good Night Baby..." and out of nowhere, she interrupted me and said, "No, Mama. Sing 'Good Night BIG GIRL'". I almost burst into tears, but I did it. It was hard switching the lyrics on the fly, so when I messed up, she sung over me "Good night Big Girl." So now it's good night to my big girl Sophia - who really, is still so little.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The End of the Helmet

The helmet became part of our lives back in September. We knew Theo had a flat head from all his sleeping (good boy!!) but it was pretty bad - his profile was starting to look like that of Stewie from Family Guy. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but he clearly had plagiocephaly (flat head) and his head was measuring in at 103%.  Our pediatrician confirmed we should get an appointment with the Dr. at Children's Hospital and he too recommended a helmet as course of action. While considered cosmetic, the biggest impact was in the future if Theo decides to play sports that require a helmet. Because of the way his head was shaped, he'd need a helmet in a bigger size to accommodate the width of his head, but it would be loose front to back, thus not offering protection from contact. 

For reference, 100% is a round head - which isn't actually the ideal - most people  have somewhere in between 90-92%. So 103% was far off from where we needed to be. The folks at Nopco said we'd be good if we hit 92% but that it would be tough to get it all filled back out. He had to wear the helmet 22 - 23 hours a day. He would get a break in the morning and one again in the evening. 

In September, Theo was fitted and measured for his helmet. Here he is getting fitted for his helmet. The prosthetists at Nopco Burlington (and at Children's) were awesome. We had such a great experience. 

We were a little uncertain how the 23 hours/day were going to work for him. The time off was really for wiping down the helmet with alcohol cotton balls & sanitizer and letting it air out a bit. (By the end, despite our diligence, it really did smell like hockey equipment & his hair had an interesting tinge to it.) Because of the length and amount of hair Theo has, we had to wash it every night and make sure it was dried before popping the helmet back on. 

But he was a trooper. It became the new normal for him with in a matter of days. It was actually great - as he learned to sit and crawl, we didn't have to worry about the nasty falls on the hard wood floors that were inevitable. 

It also provided extra warmth on those chilly days! Best of all, it was the ultimate protection from cranky big sisters. :) 

We had check ups with our rockstar prosthetist Katie every two weeks. This was a bit of a pain, but because he was growing so much during this time, we had to make sure the helmet had all of the proper adjustments to give him a good chance to round out. Dave and I divided and conquered on the appointments, which made it doable. Katie could predict his upcoming growth spurts as well, which was awesome knowledge to have.                            
I was initially worried about what other people would think or say. But throughout the entire time, people were nice, inquisitive (but very respectfully so), and commiserated. The best was when an older person mentioned their grandchild had one too!

Sophia would often wear her bike helmet in solidarity with him, which was adorable. She liked to point out the animals on the helmet (we actually got it more for her to like it because, well, Theo certainly couldn't see it!)

There was one time we were in Trader Joe's that Sophia mentioned in her loud toddler voice, "Mama - that baby has a helmet...Just Like THEO!" I saw the mom react to the first part of the statement and then smile when she heard the end and saw Theo and I close behind. 

Finally, after 5 months of wearing the helmet religiously, Katie, gave us the green light for removal. Theo's head measured out at 90.2% - far beyond our expectations.  There is a still the tiniest "dent" on his back left that basically only Dave & I can feel/notice because we're hyper-aware of where he started and how it changed. Overall, we are so thrilled with how it turned out. We got scans comparing the before & after that are in his baby book and are fascinating to see. Here's our happy, helmet free man! 

11 months of Theo (almost a full 12!)

Two of my favorite shots from this past month. Hard to believe that cute, naked butt is 11 (well, almost 12 months) old but he is. The shot on the left was taken amidst a rough patch of being sick. The pucker is not one of kisses, but the pre curser to an unhappy wail. Alas, without context, it looks really cute!

Theo has grown leaps and bounds this month. The biggest developments:

  • Teeth! He's got 4 on top and 2 on the bottom. Man those things are sharp
  • Food - The boy eats, eats, and eats some more. The best thing is he will eat whatever I put in front of him and wants to feed it to himself. No ifs, ands or butts. I can't tell you how magical and easy this makes dinner time. I also feel license to be more creative with food for him. I just wish I had had the same attitude with Sophia. Live & learn...maybe she'll pick up some of little brother's habits?
  • Mobility - He is scooting his little heart out and boy can he cover ground (much to Sophia's dismay.) He loves getting into her puzzles and towers which offers some entertaining moments and clear moments of sibling mangling...

He tries to pull up a little, but doesn't have much interest in it. We'll get there. Standing is fun if someone props him up and there is a magazine he can tear at.

He still doesn't put the effort into rolling from back to front. When I go in to his room in the morning, he's generally still laying in the exact same spot I left him about 11 hours before. With the blankets nestled on him and looking adorable. Once this past week he clearly rolled because he was sitting up quite bothered that no one was around to play with him. So he CAN do it, he just chooses not to.
  • Games - he's all about peak a boo and getting better about finding his nose when you ask him. (We generally settle for the generic nose/mouth area.)
  • Sleep - still sleeping up a storm. He's been sleeping later in the morning which pushes the whole schedule even later throughout the day. I think that morning nap will be deleted in the not too distant future (2-3 months) so we can actually get out of the house as a family on weekends.
My little man is getting so big! He gives the best sloppy wet kisses, snuggles down on me when he's really sleepy and has such a full belly laugh that it's infectious. I'm so lucky.
How are you? 

Who, me??