Friday, February 25, 2011


We have a membership to the Philadelphia zoo, and we tend to go fairly often. One of the things I like about having a membership is that not every animal is "on" every time you visit. So, if the polar bears are sleepy today, you don't worry about it too much, and keep wandering until you find an animal that's being more interesting.

Yesterday, the polar bears weren't swimming, the giraffes and otters were off-exhibit, and I was starting to wonder if any of the animals were having a good day when we came to the lions. As we approached, the juvenile male and the adult male were having a bit of a scuffle. Cool! A lion fight! Now that makes for a fun zoo trip!

Once we got to the viewing window, the juvenile (I'm guessing at their roles) was put in his place, and he shuffled back to the cave where the females were.

"Mom! Dad is picking on me!"

Junior went to the back of the cave and hid, while mom came out to confront dad.

"How many times have I told you not to pick on Junior? Hey, look at me while I'm talking to you!


"Let's see how much you like being nipped on the ear!"


"Listen, woman.


"That boy needs to learn to stand up for himself."


"Don't interrupt me! This is MY pride, and I will rule it as I see fit!


"Besides. He started it."



So, I finally sorted through Dorothy's drawer and purged the too-small clothing (again). I gotta say, I am looking forward to the "not outgrowing clothing on a weekly basis" age. Mostly because I am too lazy to sort through her clothes often enough, and tend to just dress her in whatever is sitting on top because it just came out of the wash.

In this week's purge, I found several of my favorite outfits from Valerie's baby days, and I sadly moved them directly to the too-small box. I also found the cute "little sister" outfit that my in-laws bought for Dorothy when she was born. I had stuck it in the bottom of the drawer, because it was so huge, and wouldn't fit her for ages.

The hat was too small, the pants were almost too short, and the top just fit. Oops.

I tried to do a "sisters" photo shoot, but we'd all had a long day, and the girls weren't feeling overly cooperative.




Oh well. Maybe I'll get a couple more wears out of the little sister onesie, and maybe even another photo-op.

And I bought a bunch of hangers so cute outfits stop getting lost in the bottom of drawers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Four Months Old!


Dear Dorothy,

You are four months old, now!

Okay, let's get the practical matters out of the way, first. You need to stop growing so fast. Really. I just dug out the box of Valerie's 6-9 month clothes, and half of it is already too tight on you. I got out the boxes of 12 month clothes, but I just can't bring myself to put my four-month-old BABY in them yet. Besides, they are mostly summer clothes. So please, slow down a little, okay?


This month was a hard month in many ways, but also an awesome month in many other ways. The biggest event of this month was the day after you turned three months old, when we took you to CHOP to have your cleft lip repaired. You were so good, and so sweet, and it was so hard on me to see you sad, drugged up, and in pain. You wouldn't eat for 28 hours, and that day just seemed to last forever. But you have bounced back so amazingly well, it's hard to believe that it was only a month ago. Just the other day, you were making very distinct "p" noises, and it suddenly occurred to me that you probably couldn't have made those noises before the surgery. It was pretty neat to see positive results so soon.

The day after the surgery:

Nine days after the surgery:

One of the hardest things following the surgery was the elbow restraints you had to wear in order to keep you from pulling out your stitches. One of your favorite things in the world is chewing on your hands, and you would look at your hands with a look of confused betrayal as you moved all the right muscles, but the hands wouldn't come to your mouth. I remember the look of triumph on your face after they took them off and you could chew again, and the sideways glance you gave me as if to ask, "Really? You're not going to stop me?" I do feel a little bad though, because I think your lip looked better before we took the restraints off. It's more puffy, now, and I think it's because we're letting you chew on your hands. Or maybe because you fell on your face during tummy time the other day.

Trying very hard to bend that elbow:

We also had another stomach bug this month. That was no fun. It was our third of the season, and while you managed to catch very minor cases of the other two, this one hit you a bit harder. I almost wish I had taken pictures of your diapers, because I honestly had never seen so many different colors in baby poop before. Who knew babies could poop in neon and teal? You were such a trooper, though. There were only a handful of times when you were inconsolable, and as I rocked you, desperate to calm you down and having no idea what to do for you, I had a flashback to the early days with Valerie, and how I felt like that ALL THE TIME. Don't tell your sister, but even when you're sick and miserable, you're an easier baby than she was most of the time. I don't know how much of that is you just having a different personality, and how much is just me being more relaxed this time around, but either way, I'll take it.


Valerie loves you so much, and you really love her, too. When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she asks is where you are, and if you have already gone down for your morning nap, she's so disappointed that she can't see you. She loves to tickle you and make you laugh, she wants to hold you all the time, and she is learning how to be gentle with you. Sometimes she might hit you, or give you toys that are choking hazards, but she means well, and she really does love you. You never have to have tummy time alone, because she's always right there beside you. And frankly, it was pretty hard to get your monthly pictures taken today, because she wanted to be in all of them. I'm really enjoying watching my two girls develop a friendship even from this early age. And I'm sure I'll be reminding you both of this many times when you're 10 and 12 years old and fighting like cats.


My cousin Allison came to visit this month, and you really enjoyed having her hold you. We ended up canceling our trip to Ottawa for Winterlude, due to illness. I'm sad that you missed this chance to meet your Vermont cousins, and to see Grandma and the Ottawa cousins again, but I think it was for the best. Hopefully, we'll be able to make up the trip in May for Tulipfest.

Developmentally, you seem to be doing pretty well. You're not rolling over yet, but I'm not worried. You seem to be channeling that energy into growing and talking instead (much like your older sister did). You're trying very hard to participate in our conversations, and it's really cute. It's very easy to make you smile and laugh, and Valerie and I make up silly songs all day long for your amusement. You love watching people, and if anyone other than me is holding you, your eyes follow my every move. You really do love your Mama. (That's okay, your Mama really loves you, too.)


You continue to be a really good sleeper, too. (Although I am a little afraid to type that, because I'm convinced that I will jinx it, and the four-month-sleep-regression monster will attack the minute I click "publish".) You take about three naps a day, and you sleep for one long stretch and two medium stretches most nights. I don't have to get out of bed to nurse you anymore, and I've started taking a clean diaper or two to bed with me so I can change you in bed, too. You sleep about two feet away from me in your side-carred crib (which has one side removed and is attached to my bed so that I can scoot you over to nurse you without picking you up). You actually seem to sleep better most nights with this little bit of space between us (except when you're not feeling well, when you like to be cuddled right up next to me). Some nights, I just lie there watching you sleep for a little while before drifting off, memorizing your creamy skin, your fuzzy hair (with the little tuft at the back that hasn't fallen out), your soft lips, your peaceful expression, the slow rise and fall of your chest.


The only times you ever really get cranky are when you have to poop, and when you need to sleep. I've mentally tattooed a reminded on your forehead that says, "If you can't figure out what's wrong with me, I probably need to sleep." When you get tired, I change you, take you upstairs to our room, swaddle you, nurse you if you're hungry, then hold you in a cradle hold and pat your back until you're almost asleep. Then I set you down in your crib, and you watch me leave as your eyes glass over. It's really surreal, because when people used to tell me to put Valerie down when she was "drowsy but not asleep" I thought they were crazy. But it totally works with you. You tend to wake up happy, too, most of the time. I recently put a mobile on your crib, and I know you're awake when I hear you giggling and talking to the animals in your mobile. I'm not sure how long we're going to keep swaddling you, but it's working right now, and I'd hate to mess with a good thing.

It's been a roller coaster of a month, with surgery, illness, snow, and a few gorgeous park days right at the end to round things out. Frankly, I'm pretty worn out from it, and I'm hopeful that next month will bring more calm days. But I'm glad I took the time to reflect, because there really was a lot of good, too. Thank you for being a jewel in my life.



Thursday, February 03, 2011


Valerie went to sleep late last night. And woke up early this morning. So, even though she hasn't been taking naps very often lately, I was sure she would take one today. I even managed to get Dorothy to sleep at Valerie's nap time - the holy grail of two-kid parenting.

I tried to lie down and take a nap myself, but Valerie wouldn't stay down. Every few minutes, it was something else. "I have to go peepee in the potty," "I dropped my cup and I can't reach it." I was tired and starting to get fed up. I gave her some books, and told her to stay in bed and read. It worked for a few minutes, then she was up again. After about an hour, I decided that she could just play quietly by herself while I rested my eyes. I knew I wouldn't sleep, because I would be mentally analyzing every noise to piece together what she was up to, but it would be better than nothing.

Then it got quiet. Which usually means trouble. So I went to check on her. I opened the door to discover that she had emptied out both sock drawers.


"What are you doing?"

"I'm looking for my socks!"

And then I started laughing. I had to.

"I think you found them."


Dorothy would be waking up soon anyway, so I might as well give up on the nap. I grabbed the camera, and we had an impromptu photo shoot.




And we played hide-and-seek (when did she get to be old enough for hide-and-seek?). And I even got to rest my eyes for a minute by hiding in the bed.


I think, sometimes, you have to be firm as a parent. And other times, you just have to roll with it, or times like this will slip you by. She won't be two forever. (Thank goodness.)


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Three Months Old!


Dear Dorothy,

You are three months old, now!

Actually, you are almost 3 1/2 months old, as I am once again late with my letter. I have a really good excuse this time, though. The day after you turned three months old, you had surgery to repair your cleft lip, so we've been a little pre-occupied. But that's a whole other blog post I haven't gotten around to writing yet.

But let's go back in time in my brain and pretend I am writing this letter on January 20.

Three months old!

I knew today would be my last chance to do a photo-shoot before your surgery, so I took a lot of pictures. I know you will still look adorable after your surgery, but I've become rather fond of your face with the cleft, and I wanted to capture it one last time for posterity. Three months will seem like such a tiny portion of your life one day, sooner than I'm ready to admit, but right now, three months is your entire life.




You continue to be a very happy baby. You started laughing early this month, and your sister and I love singing you songs and making you giggle. Your favorite song is "If you're happy and you know it," so we tend to add lots of extra verses to keep it going. You love watching us make funny faces and make funny voices. You've also started to enjoy tummy time, ever since Valerie started to get down on your mat and play with you. It's really cute watching the two of you read and play together.



The first half of this month was pretty busy. We spent Christmas at Nana and PopPop's house, then we traveled to Bergen to visit the Keith Davis clan for New Years. Grandma met us in Bergen, too, and Auntie Trish, April, and Jakie. Even your Uncle Jimmy, who lives in Alaska, met us in Bergen! It was a fun trip. We made a few side trips while we were there, to visit Mommy's friend Aaron for his birthday, and the McMaster clan on New Years Eve. We even got to visit Mommy's friend Nicki, and you got to meet Zenaida, who is only two days younger than you.

With PopPop on Christmas morning:

With April:

With Uncle Jimmy:

With Zenaida:

The second half of the month was pretty boring. We went to the zoo, then we all got another stomach bug (probably from the indoor playground at the zoo), and then Mommy got paranoid about you being sick for the surgery, and we all went into self-imposed quarantine for the rest of the month. The only fun thing we got to do during the second half of the month was a combined birthday party for your Mommy and Daddy, but that was just with the family. Being in quarantine was no fun, but it worked, because you managed to stay healthy enough for your surgery.

In a dinosaur egg at the zoo:

Showing off your standing skillz at the birthday party:

The biggest milestone this month was that you managed to consolidate your many morning catnaps into one, solid, morning nap. That was nice for a little bit of stability, and occasionally, Mommy is even able to do some dishes or take a shower in the mornings, now. You're still letting me get a pretty good amount of sleep at night, usually sleeping for two or three longish stretches. Your gassiness has gotten better, too, so we can usually stay in bed and nurse lying down for one of the night-time nursing sessions. That's really nice, because Mommy is a big fan of staying in bed at night.


You've also started to take notice of toys this month. You still like looking at faces more than toys, but you do enjoy looking at your toys, and spend a lot of time talking to them. It's very cute. You love to talk, and I swear I can make out words on occasion. Like "Hi" and "Valerie" (okay, maybe it was more like "ah-uh-ee" but both Valerie and I thought it sounded like her name).


You're a bright and beautiful little girl, and our family is blessed to have you.