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Wednesday
Feb102016

My Mo is three years old 

Almost a month ago, Mo turned 3. I just re-read the post I wrote about her turning 2, and I can't believe all that has happened since then. First of all, I had just had a miscarriage and really turned to Mo to mend my heart. And now I have a 3 month old baby and Mo is a big sister! Second, Mo has really transformed from a toddler to a kid in the last year. Three seems so young, I think in my mind I lump that age in with kids still emerging from babyhood. But in reality, three is well past babyhood and on the verge of adolescence! 

So while a year has brought on incredible changes, many things have remained the same because Mo is still the true essence of herself. Her personality developed early on and has changed only in small ways that reflect her age. The things I wrote about her last year are still mostly true. So let's review.

Is Mo still resoundingly happy?
Yes! She has moments where happy is the last word I'd use to describe her, but overall she loves life just as much as she ever did. She's up for anything anytime, and so it's easy to turn the most mundane things into an adventure. "Mo, do you want to go get groceries with me?" "YAAAY!!" "Mo, should we go switch the laundry?" "YES!!" It was actually really sad that when Drum was born, she started to rebel a little. She would actively not listen to us or do the opposite of what we asked, which was a relatively new behavior for her. It was sad because I know it was unnatural to her, and she was only doing it to get some attention from us. She was accustomed to involving us in all her many adventures, and now we were suddenly preoccupied with this needy little creature, and the only way she knew to get us back was to force us to pay attention by running in the other direction when we asked her to come here and get her PJs on! She's mostly grown out of that already, and now she's busy showing her brother how to get the most out of life.

Does Mo still love people?
Absolutely! This is one of my very favorite things about her. I was a painfully shy child, I hate social interaction, and with the perspective of an adult and a mother, I strongly hoped my children wouldn't be cursed in that way. So far, so good. Mo is happy to talk to anyone and everyone - nobody is a stranger. And nothing gives her more joy than to be around her people, the people that love her and that she loves so much. After Drum was born, we had a pretty steady stream of visitors and helpers. Every day when I'd pick her up from daycare, she'd ask "Who's at our house today?" She was in heaven with so much consistent company, and when it started to slow down, she was terribly disappointed. Mo also loves to go to daycare because she basically gets to spend the whole day hanging out with her friends at a big party. For Mo, daycare is such a blessing. There's no way she'd get as much out of her time (both socially and academically) if she had a stay at home parent or a nanny of some sort. 

Does Mo still have and love a million stuffed animals?
Yes, but now it's more like 2 million. Everyone has figured out that stuffed animals are Mo's thing, so they keep bringing them into our house. And we don't stop it because Mo loves every single one. While her collection has grown exponentially, she still has two favorites: Pump and White Puppy (often referred to as Pump and Pup or Puppy and Pumpy). This is what I said about them last year in a list of her favorite things: "Pump, the pink blanket she got at birth and took a liking to awhile ago; Foofoo or Puppy, the little scrap of a stuffed animal she got on her first birthday and has loved every since." These two have remained solid for over two years now, and she rotates through other lovies du jour. Currently she's liking the stuffed Care Bear (Cheer Bear because of course) and the My Little Pony (Rainbow Dash) trinkets she got for her birthday. Speaking of My Little Ponies, she's recently obsessed (thanks cousin Scarlet for introducing her) and even though she says Rarity is her favorite, I think Mo is kindred spirits with Pinkie Pie. If you are familiar with MLP, picture Pinkie Pie in human form and you pretty much understand Mo.

Is Mo still pretty affectionate?
Yep. While I was pregnant she become ultra clingy and wanted to be glued to me at all times. It has simmered down a bit, but she still likes to be near me and Mike a lot. The other day Mike laughed and said, "Mo has no sense of personal space." I looked over to find her plastered against him on the couch. She wasn't interacting with him, she was playing a game on the tablet, but she wanted to be as near to him as possible. She has also started this adorable thing where she grabs the sides of my head and pulls me in for a kiss. And she always wants to hold my hand going up and down the stairs even though she doesn't need the support. She's often too busy to be tied down with cuddles, but when she slows down, she wants to be physically touching someone. I think it recharges her battery.

Does Mo still mean the world to you?
I mean, come on... 

A few other things about Mo at age three:

  • She is an incredible conversationalist. Everyone describes her as "chatty" and that's an understatement. She is a non-stop talker, and her vocabulary and ability to articulate her thoughts blows me away.
  • She is learning her letters. I don't know when kids typically start to recognize and identify letters by name, but for a minute I was worried because she didn't seem to get it at all. I worked on the letter M with her for months and it never clicked. Then suddenly it did and now she recognizes M O S E L T Z consistently and several other letters sporadically. She can also spell her name verbally, and she can sort of write MOS. The funny thing is I taught her how to write those letters by explaing it was "up down up down, circle, squiggle." So for a long time she would call M "up down up down," O "circle," and S "wiggle." Sometimes I still have to remind her those aren't the actual names of the letters. Oops!
  • She is fully potty trained and has been since the summer. She still wears pullups when she sleeps but most of the time she wakes up dry. I'm just not interested yet in investing energy into making sure she doesn't drink too much at night, and on the chance she does pee, I don't want to deal with changing her sheets. So, pullup it is!
  • She loves her baby bro. At first she was pretty indifferent, but lately she has taken an interest in him and I think that will only grow as he becomes more and more enthralled with her. Sometimes she'll call him Drummond (or Drum or Baby Drummond), but mostly it's Brother, Baby Brother, Bro or Baby Bro. Yesterday her friend at daycare was admiring Drum when I picked them up, and Mo protectively said "That's not your baby. That's my baby!"
  • She got her first haircut just before she turned 3! It was literally a millimeter off the ends to get rid of some split ends, but it felt momentous.
  • She enjoys books, coloring, painting (loves painting!), puzzles, board games, random shows we find on Netflix, stickers, candy, singing, playing house, eating snow, and generally being a nutball!

Happy third birthday crazy girl!

Mo bandaid eyes

Monday
Feb012016

Monthly Drum Photo - Three

When I first took Drum's 3 month photo, I wrote his weight and lenth wrong. I switched them so instead of 16 inches and 26 pounds, I wrote 26 pounds and 16 inches. I did the whole "photo shoot" without realizing it, and I died laughing when I realized it hours later. Can you imagine a 26 pound baby that's only 16 inches long? Gross. And then I had to do the whole shoot over again.

So first, the real 3 month photo:

3 months - outtake

And the mishap:

3 months - outtake

This has been a big month for Drummy. He's become so much more aware and interactive. He loves to look at stuffed animals - laugh at them, talk to them, and try to reach for them. He also fell in love with a balloon Mo got for her birthday. If I need to steal 10 minutes to do something, my best bet is to lay him on the floor with that balloon floating above him.

Drum balloon instagram

I think he may be going through a slight sleep regression. We never experienced this with Mo. She was a bad sleeper until around 12 weeks when she started sleeping 8-9 hours pretty consistently and she's been a rock star sleeper ever since. Drum was doing 5-6 hours, sometimes even longer, and now it's not uncommon for him to wake up every 3-4. I hope it's just because he's growing so fast. He's still in a rock 'n play in our room. It's still working well for all of us, so we have no plans to change yet.

His naps have not changed much. We still hold him for all his naps, but we recently started swaddling him and that seems to help him stay asleep longer. For a minute we thought maybe we should try harder to get him out of our arms for naps, but then we thought, "Out of our arms? No!!" That will happen on its own soon enough and we'll be longing for the days he used to snuggle with us. So we ignore the messes and the million things we need to do, and we just hold the kid whenever we can.

Drum sleeping

Sorry for the cleavage. And the dark circles. Geez.

He's now wearing 3-6 month clothes, and in some cases even bigger. Yesterday I put a pair of 12-24 month socks on him and they fit. Today he's wearing 9 month pants. He loves to stare at his hands and balls them into a blob of fingers in front of his face for close examination. When he gets sad, before he cries, his bottom lip sticks out. It's the saddest thing I've ever seen, and the second that lip comes out, I melt in a pile and scoop him up. 

Drum has been very smiley this past month, and his big gummy grin gives us so much joy. He has started to notice Mo more, and she loves to get a smile out of him. I think their relationship is going to blossom as soon as he starts to laugh at her antics. He's just now discovering his laughter. A few days ago he accidentally giggled when I was putting his shirt on, and today I was flowing raspberries on his neck and he laughed over and over. It's the most glorious sound!

Drum smile

So the biggest things this month are daycare and digestion. He started daycare two weeks ago by going two days for 3 hours, just to sort of practice. Those days went great. He even took independent naps, which is to the credit of daycare magic. The next week (last week), he went three full days and it wasn't great. He was suffering from digestion issues, which meant he didn't eat well, didn't sleep well, and didn't feel good. Those things snowballed all day, and by the time I picked him up, he was pretty miserable. Bringing your kid to daycare for the first time is hard enough. Knowing he's miserable and you're not there for him is enough to break your heart. And it did. I hated work last week. Hated it.

Drum daycare

His digestion is something he's struggled with since day one. When we were still in the hospital we noticed he was gassy, and it has only gotten worse. We've tried everything we can think of, and it has never gotten better. The doctor says it sucks but he's fine, and his digestive system will mature eventually and it'll all get better. One day. In the meantime, on top of gas that makes him scream and cry, he isn't pooping. He went from daily poops to once a week for no apparent reason, and even though I know it can be normal for breastfed babies to poop that infrequently, it doesn't seem normal for him to be so clearly miserable. It's a long boring story, but we've tried to get help from his doctor's office and it's been nothing but frustrating so far.

So if you have experience with a gassy baby who really needs to poop, I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Drum eyes instagram

Edited to add this photo of a side by side of Mo and Drum at 3 months:

3 month outtake Drum Mo

 

Thursday
Jan072016

Monthly Drum Photo - Birth, One, Two

I'm woefully behind on uploading photos since Drum's birth. I finally got caught up through his first few weeks, but I still have over 1,000 pictures on my phone and hundreds more on my camera. But I took a little time recently to look through the first three monthly photos I took of him - birth, one month and two months. 

This is my babe a few days after he was born, the day we brought him home (it should be noted that it took me two weeks to find the time, energy and wherewithal to take Mo's first photo, so the fact that I got Drum's done the day we brought him home says a lot about the differences in my post-partum experiences. More on that another day.):

Drum newborn

I can't believe how much he changed between his birth and his first month photo. It was happening before my eyes, but I didn't see how dramatic it was until I compared these photos.

1 month

His face filled out so much! I totally guessed on his weight here though, and in fact we had an unexpected visit to the doctor a couple days later and he was closer to 10.5 pounds. He definitely grew fast, and continues to do so!

At two months, I tried to weigh him with me on my bathroom scale, which often gives strange numbers, but it might be more accurate than the first month. He hasn't had his two month appointment yet, so I don't know for sure. But I think it's clear he's growing rapidly, and that he's big for his age.

2 months

I also think it's fun to compare him to Mo at each stage.

Newborns:

Untitled

Mo was almost a whole pound lighter than Drum, and an inch shorter. She looks a lot darker here, but I think that's a trick of the light. But she really did have more hair than him, which later fell out.

One month olds:

Untitled

Poor Mo, she looks like an old man in a baby's body! Drum grew into his face a lot faster. Mo was still about a pound and an inch behind Drum at one month.

Two month olds:

Untitled

Mo's face started filling out, and she kept more hair than Drum did by now. Overall, I think they look very similar, definitely siblings! According to my measurements, at two months, Drum has 2.5 pounds and 1.5 inches on Mo.

The first 8ish weeks with Drum were tough. He was almost never content and took terrible naps. I would spend 45 minutes getting him to sleep, then he'd wake up after 10 minutes and we'd start all over again. It was physically and mentally exhausting. I told several people that I legitimately thought I was going a little crazy.

Around 7 weeks someone told me that for most babies, the peak of fussiness comes around 7 or 8 weeks, and I held on to that like a life preserver. I needed it to be true! And slowly but surely he has improved. He falls asleep for naps more easily, though I still usually have to hold and rock him the whole time, and he stays asleep longer. Sometimes. Fortunately he's a pretty good night sleeper. Pretty early on, he started sleeping 4-6 hour streches, and recently he gave us a couple 8 hour nights. At this point we can usually count on around 6 hours before he wakes up to eat. Only problem is for a long time he started his nights around 11:30 or 12. We've been trying to shift that earlier in preparation for my return to work, and right now we've got him going to sleep for the night around 10:30. He sleeps in a Rock n Play by our bed. We tried to get him a cosleeper, but he immediately wakes up and fusses if we lay him down anywhere but the RnP. When Mo was this age, she was sleeping in a flat bassinet, and we had just moved the bassinet into her room. But she was a loud sleeper, which meant I never slept if she was in the same room. Drum is more peaceful once he gets to sleep (at night, not for naps), so we'll probably keep him in our room awhile longer. At least until he's truly sleeping through the night.

He also has gas issues. It used to be a really big problem - he'd be inconsolable, and we'd have to spend a great deal of time working out the gas. He still gets gassy, but it's a lot easier to resolve. We recently started him on probiotic drops, and I hope that helps a lot of the problem over time.

During his happy moments, he smiles a lot - big open mouth, crinkly eye smiles. He likes looking at and talking to stuffed animals that we hold up for him, and his favorite person is me. Of course. Followed by Mike. He doesn't pay much attention to Mo because she doesn't pay much attention to him. When people ask how she feels about him, I answer "indifferent." She'll bring him a paci or a blanket once in awhile, but mostly she ignores him. Soon enough he'll notice her and find her hilarious, and she'll eat up every second, and then they'll be best buds.

Wednesday
Jan062016

Returning to work after maternity leave

I'm going back to work next week.

That wasn't the original plan. The plan was to take 12 full weeks off, meaning I'd return on January 25. I'd have two and half more weeks off, then return full-time, starting on a Monday and working a full week straight out of the gate. As that date drew nearer, I started to panic a little. It seemed so... drastic. So abrupt to go from 12 weeks off to BAM! full time. So earlier this week I proposed the idea of using my last 10 FMLA days over the course of four weeks. I quickly pulled together some logistics, and now I go back to work part time next week.

Drum won't start daycare quite yet. He'll stay home with family while I'm at work the next two weeks, and then he'll attend daycare three days a week for two weeks before starting full time after that. 

I know this is the right decision - part of me is even eager to return to work - but I also have a pit in my stomach about the whole thing. I would feel that way no matter when I returned, and it would likely be worse if I was returning full-time and sending Drum to daycare full-time right away.

This is a better plan, it lets us both ease into things a little bit, but damn, I feel sick about it.

Sunday
Dec202015

How Drum got his name

I wish I had a more interesting story about Drum's name, just like I always wish I had a better story about Mo's. When you give your kids uncommon names, people assume there is a good story to go with it, but what it boils down to in both cases is simply: we liked the name. 

But for all you name nerds, here's a little more about how we landed on Drummond. 

When you have a daughter named Moselle, you can't really follow that up with something like William. William is a great name (I know several little Williams, including my nephew!), but it is in a completely different vein than Moselle. Your second child really cements your naming style: Which way did we want to go? What was it about the name Moselle were most important to us?

When we named our first child, I determined my naming preference was to find names that were a little unusual without sounding made up. As we've lived with a Moselle for nearly three years, I've found that almost nobody has heard it before, but nobody seems to think it's ridiculous or phony. I wanted to land on that same note with the next name.

Mike and I didn't even talk about names until after we found out the sex, and then we only visited the topic every so often. Mostly I thought about names, and then occasionally presented them to Mike. Eventually we got our list down to five names: Levon, Ansel, Tennyson, Cormac and Drummond.

Levon and Ansel were names that I had liked for a long time. Mike was never crazy about either, but liked them enough to let me hang on to them all the way to the top five. But neither made the cut to the top three. The three names we took with us to the hospital were:

  1. Tennyson - This one started as a joke. When we used to ask Mo what we should name Baby Brother, she would always, without fail, answer "Tennis." One day Mike suggested that we name him Tennessee and call him Tennis. It was a joke, but made me think of Tennyson, and then we both realized we actually liked that name.
  2. Cormac - This is the only name that carried over from our list when Mo was born. It has long been Mike's favorite name, so much so that I started to resent it because he had it on a pedastal that no other name could measure up to. But it's actually a name I originally suggested years ago because I do really like it, so it was a real contender.
  3. Drummond - This came to me a couple years ago when I saw the name Drummer somewhere. It sparked the name Drummond for me, which never left my head.

When considering these three names, there were a few things we were hoping to accomplish:

  1. Nickname - We didn't want a good nickname because we believed all names should come with nickname. But we use Mo even more often than we use Moselle, and it's such a perfectly fitting name for her that it seemed to set up a precedent. We wanted a name with an equally easy and cool nickname. Tennyson had a lot of nickname potential (Ten, Tenny, Sonny), but nothing that felt natural to us. Cormac would have lead to Mac, which we loved. And Drummond lends itself easily to Drum, another good one.
  2. Last name compatibility - We needed something that could work with the last name he'd receive, a hyphenate of my and Mike's last names. It starts with a Z, which ruled out named ending is -s, -z or -x because it makes for awkward pronunciation. 
  3. Middle name compatibility - The tradition in Mike's family is to give the first born son his father's name as a middle name, meaning our son's middle name would be Michael. Fortunately, that's a really easy name to work with.
  4. Frequency - Moselle has never been in the top 1000 in the U.S. and I like that about it. I like that the name exists, you might even hear it somewhere, but you're not going to hear it often. I wanted the same for my son's name, and all of our top three met the criteria.

One thing we didn't really take into consideration was the meaning of names. It's just never been important to us. But for those who are interested, Drummond is a Scottish name that means "at the ridge." I do enjoy the coinicidence that Moselle means "from the water" and Drummond means "at the ridge." Those two things seem to fit together somehow.

By the end, Mike's rankings were: 1. Cormac 2. Tennyson 3. Drummond. Mine were: 1. Drummond 2. Tennyson 3. Cormac. When the baby was born, we pretty quickly nixed Tennyson - it just didn't feel like his name - but we were completely torn between the other two. After about 15 hours of visitors the day he was born, during which he was just Baby Boy, we found a moment to discuss his name. We went back and forth for about an hour, testing out both names, weighing the merits of each. In the end, I told Mike my preference. I asked him if he thought we could have a son named Drummond, and he replied, "I think we already do."

We wrote it on the white board in our hospital to test it out, and texted the name to our family with the disclaimer that it wasn't official yet, and we were going to sleep on it. We woke up feeling good about it, and later that day we signed the birth certificate and it was official!

IMG_1596

He's been Drummond for seven weeks now, and we love the name. For my family, it conjures memories of summers at my grandparents' cottage on Drummond Island. We didn't name him for the island, but it's a happy connection. We call him Drummond, Drum, Drummy, Drummer Boy, Baby Drum, Drum Drum. Sometimes I sing Little Drummer Boy to him when I'm trying to calm him. I also like that his initials are DMZM while Mo's are MDZM. 

After decades of collecting names, it feels strange that I am most likely done naming children. I wonder what my 15 year old self would have thought about the names I ended up using. I think I would have been a bit surprised, but mostly impressed.

Moselle and Drummond. Mo and Drum. Mosie and Drummy. Mosie Girl and Drummer Boy. Motown and Drumstick. 

Mo and Drum