Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Out of my babe's mouth

I think it's hilarious when I hear complete or nearly complete sentences come out of Xavi's mouth.  He has always been very verbal.  That doesn't mean that the words coming out of his mouth were intelligible by me or anyone else.  BUT I am confident that they do make sense to him.  He knows what he is saying and right now, that's all that matters.

Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, I left him playing for 2 more minutes with his trains while I got some water.  He came out of his room looking for me, gave me a toothy smile and asked "what're you doing?".  I almost died.  So stinking cute.  Yesterday after nap he kept exclaiming "oh GOSH!" and I almost choked.

When I put him down to sleep tonight, I left his room and stood outside listening for any rustling of covers that indicates he is making a run for it.  I met him at the door and he asked me before I could ask him "what do you need?".  Guess he's heard me say that a time or two.  Also earlier today he was playing with trains on the neighbor's dog (no not a typo) and he told them to "lie down"...repeatedly and quite sternly.  Guess he's also heard me say that a time or two as well.

Another recent exclamation wasn't clear at first but once I figured out what he was saying, I couldn't stop laughing.  Thomas was falling off of the track and Xavi yelled "cinders and ashes!"....which is of course Thomas' catch phrase.

Xavi runs Diesel 10 off of the desk and it falls behind this cardboard box I have there.  He yells "Where 'd did he go?" and laughs until I find Diesel 10.  I usually look under the boots and shoes first even though it's the 116th time we've played this game.

I have been working with him on learning to relax when he gets all worked up since he was 18 months old.  He gets frustrated pretty fast over stuff like the youtube video loading too slowly or me not understanding what he is saying or waiting for me to pick him up as we load up the car.  So I quietly remind him to "relax" and mime taking a deep breath.  In the last few months he has started to remind himself saying "relax" to himself as he is winding up.  Now that one?  I'm pretty proud of...hopefully it will come in handy down the road of life.  We all could use a cue to "relax"...I know I do!

When Nico wakes up from nap, Xavi hears him on the monitor, looks at me and says "oh! baby cryning!" and takes off running for the bedroom door.  I follow his little stomping feet into the room after he slams the door open (none of our doors work properly, so he can get almost all of them open.  I don't even bother to close the bathroom door anymore...sometimes surprising any guests!  HAHA, not really, well, except for Debbie but she knows why.)  And he pulls himself up on the crib rails trying to peek in at brother.  So I started to lift him in to cuddle with Nico.  He's gotten to be such a good big brother.  Not quite as rough as he once was....unless he's pinching Nico's chubby cheeks.  But they are sooo pinch able!

Nico has grown so fast in the last few weeks.  I swear he's almost doubled in size before my very eyes. Much "stockier" than Xavi was, he has linebacker legs and a good strong bum on him.  He's going to need all the edge he can get as he is already trying to keep up with his big brother.  I had so many 6 month size clothes ready for Nico to wear but he's stretching out of them as we speak.  aack!  slow down baby, you're not a big boy yet!

He rolled over at 3.5 months (same as Xavi) and is quite a pro now. He likes to watch Xavi play with his trains.  Today, while Nico was having floor time, Xavi brought out his special Thomas blanket, gorilla, and doggie to share with brother.  I was making dinner or I would've taken a photo.

We are making so many memories right now but I usually don't have an extra hand free to take as many picts as I used to when it was just Xavi and my big belly.  I'm trying to store them up in my brain but since it's so fuzzy, I'm also doing my best to juggle just a little bit more and get the shots I need.

Oh and the sleep post?  I'm going to have to update AGAIN because apparently teething DOES DEFINITELY cause night wakenings.  Ahem, dr. sleep genius!  Ah well, I have vowed to stop reading those books before and I'm on my way to vowing to quit yet again.  Bear with me folks...I've still got my training wheels on.  "RELAX" mama, you know "what are you doing?"  Now go "LIE DOWN!" while the babies are asleep.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sleep Please! Follow up

Whoever out there is praying for us...please keep it up!  The night I posted my initial pray request for more sleep, Xavi slept from 815 until 530am!!  He was NEVER done that before...or since...but that is ok because that one time was enough to show me that A.  the prayers helped and 2. he can do it!!!  And that someday that will be our normal.  A real true miracle!  Thank you.
This is what good nap hair looks like!

I'm reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy kids" and it is very interesting.  Now Mario teases me all the time for all the books I read on everything from organization tricks and relationship stuff to self improvement/self help and baby stuff.  And I always tell him that since I was a little girl, I've loved to read and the love affair continues.  SO whenever I come face to face with a circumstance, problem, challenge, or interest that I am unsure of how to solve, I turn to books.  Others might take a class or look it up on the internet.  I get a book.  Some have more answers than others.  Some get skimmed and some get read more than once.  Some get halfway read then put down with the intention to try again, to glean something from the pages...but alas, there are a lot of resources out there and if it doesn't speak to me, I usually move on.

In most of the books, I gain a few takeaways that I tuck away for the next time I need it.  I rarely will take every suggestion word for word like a robot, but to be honest, I do like step by step advice.  I am quite literal and I usually follow a recipe when cooking.  I like dance lessons where they give me the steps to memorize and then when I am comfortable, THEN I can feel the music and let go a little bit more.  Some of that may be a lack of confidence.  Some of that may be my natural stiffness (thanks Dad). Some of that is just definitely me.

So in this book that I am reading, he gives me some good specifics on how to help my babies (and me) sleep better.  AND it seems to be helping.  AND it seems to be raising my confidence in other areas of parenting.  AND it makes me happy.

Every time I am able to put Nico down for sleep time, AWAKE! successfully, I feel like super mom.  It is so liberating and so empowering.  How does a simple thing mean so much?  Well, I was never able to put Xavi to sleep awake and even if I had him sound asleep, his sleep intervals were so short and he was so sensitive to noise, etc etc...that I always felt like I had done something wrong, ate something wrong, said something wrong.  Xavi is obviously a different baby than Nico and I don't regret how I've parented him.  But I'm happy to learn new skills that are helping my babies and me get better AND get more sleep.

Now of course, I hope I am not jinxing myself (keep us covered with your prayers) but the core message seems to be...our kids are over tired, over stimulated, and over "activitied" (my word not his).  They may also be over "held" when it comes to sleeping.  Bottom line is that babies need much more sleep than we give them opportunity to do so. More sleep = happier, healthier babies.   I learned that from Nico because he would often be fussy until we put him down..THEN he would relax.  Xavi was always the opposite.  He needed, wanted to be held ALL the time.  And I did.  But he still cried.  He still didn't sleep well.  What was I doing wrong?

Sleep fosters more sleep and sleep deficits fosters irritability, hyper activity, and lack of quality sleep.  Move the bed time earlier (6-8pm).  Protect age appropriate nap time:  2-3 for babies less than 9 months old, 2 until a year or so, and then 1 until 3-4.  Naps need to be in bed, stationary, not on the run.  Awake time needs to be less than 2 hours, especially in the morning or else they can become overtired. Babies cry at nap or bed time when they are over tired.  If you can catch them at that "magic" moment, crying will be limited.  During awake time, be awake!  Be outside in the sun and wind, exercise and play.  Don't expect the baby to really flourish if he is expected to follow your schedule, your life with minimal sacrifice on your part.
getting sun and fresh air during our awake time

There are of course things that don't ring true and set off my mama radar.  He basically discredits any other reason for awakening (except for ear infections), including diet and teething (WHAT?).  He does advise shutting the door at night and not opening it again for any reason until morning.  He basically bashes attachment parenting. He offers other options but isn't very enthusiastic and obviously goes for the "well, it works"defense of letting a baby cry for as long as it takes to get them to sleep at night.   Thankfully, so far the longest Nico fussed for was 10 minutes.  And we did it!  He slept!

The first time I put him down awake was by accident.  Xavi came crashing into the room while I was trying to get him down.  I quickly put Nico down before Xavi could jump on top of us and shooed him out.  I came out too to get him busy with something else, fully expecting that I would have to go back in to get him back to sleep.  Except there wasn't another peep!  We did it!  He fell asleep after I put him down awake!  I did it!!  Yay!

Sleep is as important, if not more so, as good nutrition, exercise, and a positive mental/emotional outlook.  We do need to help our babies sleep and sometimes that is "letting" them sleep and making it a priority to establish healthy patterns.  AND mamas need sleep too.  This mama is getting happier with every good night sleep. I'm so thankful for new skills, new info, and new hope....and for books, too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Enough for two

When I was pregnant with Nico, I couldn't fathom loving another baby, or human being for that matter, as much as I love Xavi.  And other moms would assure me that Yes, I would!  That I would have enough love for both of them.  That my heart would grow.  That although I might love them "differently", I'd love both my kids the same.

I remember getting a bit annoyed at their replies and what I took to be as a flippant reply to a genuine and deep fear of mine.  Nico was after all NOT planned (by us) and the timing wasn't great.  Xavi is more than a handful on his could I overcome that plus have enough love to cover everyone?  Is it possible to love more than one person that much?  I remember thinking that it would take a miracle.

To start, let me say that I love that quote about when a child is born, so is a mother.  When I had Xavi, I was "born again".  Everything changed for me.  Priorities.  Goals.  Expectations.  Lifestyle.  and my Heart.  My heart doubled and nothing was/is scarier than the vulnerability this mother's enlarged heart gained.  

Xavi and I have a strong attachment.  Our relationship has always been intense and together we've been through some tough and challenging times.  We traveled extensively together.  We miss each other immensely when we aren't together.  We are learning about life together.  And being "new to the job", he's (hopefully) forgiving me all the mistakes I make and have made.  I've never loved someone like I love Xavi.  He has a great smile and laugh and it lights up my day.  He can also make me really mad.  He can make me really tired.  He can make even simple things like getting dressed or changing a diaper hard.  And I had no idea how in the world I was going to be able to give time, attention, and love to any other being, let alone his little brother.

Nico has dark, sparkly eyes and looks at me out the corner of them, with a slight smile on his face...having a private joke.  Only I get it, too.  He was probably about 6 weeks old when he first looked at me and seemed to say "I'm in love with you."  Now, he has a look that is just for me and it says "We're in love. Right mama?".  He is a little charmer with other people but I know he follows me with his eyes and is always tracking his mama.  And I can honestly say that I now know what those other moms were talking about now.  His little smiles and flirty looks warm me from the inside and although we may not yet have the range of emotional intensity yet (he isn't a two year old yet), I stare at wonder at this little being that brings me such joy.  It IS almost impossible to understand and believe until you actually experience the phenomenon.

My heart has now grown again and the vulnerability is just as scary the second time around.  Now I have two little bodies and hearts that I am not only responsible for, but that I am equally in love with.  Perhaps the love is a little different for each as some moms reported, but equal just the same.  It's a miracle and I'm still learning everyday how to manage the vulnerability, to let go, and to love without fear.  And I'm consciously learning how to love each boy each day; finding the time to pay attention, to connect, to laugh, to coo, to tickle, and to get down to play.  It takes a bit more effort now but I definitely have more than enough love for two.  It's one little miracle I'm doubly thankful for.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Papa's Christmas Visit

A picture tells a thousand words and I have about 40 pictures I wanted to put on this post...of course, not one of them is of the 4 of us.  grrrr...I can't believe I didn't manage to do that one thing.  And i was trying so hard to capture all the little memories...someone do that for me next time you visit, please? I didn't put all 40 pictures, nor did I caption all  as some don't need explanations.  Like this...

My favorite moment?  Aside from all the special little moments combined, it was when Xavi first saw his papa after more than two months.  As we waited for the train to deliver papa to us on December 15, Xavi and I played on the picnic table watching the waves crash on the beach below.  Nico was sleeping in the baby carrier.  As the train's horn sounded, we watched it come as we do every time the train comes through San Clemente.  We watched it pull up and unload passengers.  I saw Mario, pointed and asked Xavi "who is that?"  He looked and first whispered "papa", then louder "papa!", then he climbed off the table and was running! towards him.  My heart almost exploded and my eyes filled with tears.  Then just as he was within arms reach of Mario, he had second thoughts and turned and ran back to me.  I laughed and tried to catch it on my phone.  I could almost feel Xavi's heart swelling with wonder and joy.  There is nothing quite like seeing my child filled with joy.  Or seeing my husband after so long without him.  Relief filled me knowing that he was home.  
 Then they had to stop chasing each other to watch a garbage truck...some things haven't changed.

I'm pretty sure Mario stored up the moments with his boys in his mind and the feeling of their warmth in his heart.  It was hard to catch it all but I tried...

We were treated to guitar and harmonica concerts, and had family dance parties.  

 We went to the beach even though it was a bit cool.  Xavi didn't seem to mind as he played and played while papa surfed.

Mario and I almost couldn't wait for Christmas to give Xavi his present...a train table with wooden Thomas the train engines.  I won it on eBay and we picked it up together.  On Christmas eve, we set it up in the living room so that he would see it as soon as he woke up.  
 The first moment with his new 6 am.

And 7 hours later, with only short breaks for other presents and some sustenance...he was still playing with his new train set.  And still in his Christmas jammies.  

 I got the boys matching Christmas jammies...too cute.
 And Nico showed off his mad balancing skills...standing up for papa.  Another athlete in the making?
Diego got some love during papa's visit as Mario is so good at loving him too.  Me?  I scored a beautiful silk robe, new boots, and a purse...exactly what I wanted/needed.  Oh and I got some love too:)
 Nico scored a few new toys as well like this wooden pop up ball...for now, his favorite is still watching brother play and yell around him and well, just looking out for mama.
 I love this face, the eyelashes, the hair, the mouth, the laugh...he brings me such joy.

 Xavi and I took afternoon wagon rides/walks while papa hung out watching football while brother napped.  I was thankful to have some special one on one time with my beautiful and rapidly growing little boy.

On our last day together, New Year's Eve, Mario and I got to surf in the morning.  It happened to be less than 40 degrees that morning...the water was in the 50s, and so it felt warm in comparison.  And the surf was less than epic.  But it was our moment and I enjoyed sharing it with him.  I also needed him to be there to help me get out of my wet suit since my fingers stopped working all together.  That afternoon, we caught the last bit of sunshine and the year's final sunset as a family.  We hiked the boys down to our favorite secret surf spot at Trails and threw rocks in the water while papa surfed.  It is those simple, beautiful moments that I have stored up in my heart and that give me hope for the future and for Mario's return in June.

2012's last sunset
 Pure Beauty.  Pure love.

God speed Papa.  We are waiting for you.