Monday, September 26, 2005

Excuses, Excuses

Wow. It’s been a month. I hope you’ll forgive my inability to update lately. But I’m sure you’ll agree that I’ve had some pretty good excuses!

We moved into our new apartment. Let me tell you, I was useless. Completely useless. We had 100 degree weather the entire time. I was 35 weeks pregnant and huge. I had a 2 year old to take care of. I was just completely useless. If not for our wonderful, wonderful family and friends, Erick would’ve had to move us completely on his own. But we are now all settled in and enjoying our much bigger apartment with our much cleaner tile and carpet, much bigger living room, a huge third bedroom and our new backyard! Ok, we haven’t utilized the backyard yet actually (we want to replant the grass first) but the rest we’re using and loving.

One of the downfalls of moving was that we had to wait until mid-September to get our DSL up again. I don’t know why. SBC, whilst a very large company that provides very high-tech services, apparently has caveman capabilities when it comes to processing orders. So we were on dial-up for several weeks. Obviously, I did not bother to update my blog in that time because dial-up is a whole level of hell not even mentioned in the Bible.

And then the ultimate excuse for not having time to update – KYLA was born (see our pregnancy journal for the story).

So without further adieu – I will now give you my first official update as a mother of two:

McKenna: She started preschool this month! What a totally bittersweet moment that was for me. Well, I should say that the days leading up to it were bittersweet. I was fighting off my hormonal need to have a good cry about it just about every day. I felt like my baby girl was growing up too fast and that there was no way she could possibly function without me for four hours a week. I kept visualizing that she would be there crying for me, feeling abandoned. But as it turns out, no….she really could care less that I’m not there. She goes on Thursdays from 9am-1pm. On her first day, I took her to her class all by myself because Erick had to work. I was afraid I’d cry my eyes out all the way home. Fortunately, I was having some pretty intense labor pains that day so that really distracted me.

When we got to class, she went right to the play-doh table while I put her belongings in her cubby. I knelt next to her, asked for a kiss and hug and explained that I was going to leave but I’d be back right after school and we would watch her Princess Tea Party dvd. She was very excited about that. I told her that Miss Elaine would help her if she needed anything at all. She said “Otay.” Then I asked her for another kiss and she said “No”. She was much too busy playing and I was obviously cramping her style. So I said goodbye to the teacher and left, not wanting my need for a billion goodbye hugs to interfere with how well she was taking to the idea of being left at school.

I was SO excited to get to pick her up that afternoon. When I got there, she was happily playing with other kids and had paint smeared on her face from their daily art project. I was so glad to see that she was still enjoying her time, even four hours later. And even more happy that she came running up to me squealing “Mommy!!” and giving me a huge hug. We talked the whole walk home about how they sang songs and read the cow book, how they went on a nature walk and had snacks, how they painted bears and how they played with toys. She could not have done any better. And the following week, she did just as well.

A few other cute noteables:

* She comforts her baby dolls the same way I comfort her if she wakes at night. The other day I saw her put her baby doll in her bed and close the bedroom door on her way out. A few minutes later she makes a mock crying sound and goes running into her room. I peek inside and she is hugging her dolly close, patting her back and saying “Shh, its ok. Mommy’s here. Mommy’s here.”
* She loves to sing the songs from the Disney Princess movies. Erick and I can always hear her singing “I’m Wishing” from Snow White (she even repeats the echos). Whenever she's in the bath, she takes a purple bucket that she has, fills it with water and sings while looking into it, as though its her wishing well. She likes it when I sing along with her to “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella. She likes to sing “Something There” from Beauty and the Beast with big, huge arm movements. She has the story of Snow White practically memorized. We read it almost every night and she says a lot of it along with me. I have got to videotape it one night.
* She is the most loving big sister I could possibly imagine. She wants to be with Kyla at all times. She holds her (with our help of course), helps us hold the bottle, gets us things we need to care for Kyla, and gives her about a thousand kissies and nose-nuzzles a day. She adores her. It used to be that when McKenna got up from her nap she would come right to me. Not anymore. Now she goes right to Kyla and says “I missed you. I missed you Kyla. I missed you.” She likes to make sure that Kyla always has a baby doll or a toy of some kind with her. For months Kenna talked about how she would share her toys with Kyla. All through the hospital stay she kept asking to go home so she could share toys. And sure enough, the very moment we walked in the door, McKenna ran and found a small toy and brought it right to Kyla. She truly loves to share her toys with her “sissy”. Well, at least for now she does = )

Kyla: We are totally loving having a second daughter! My lord this little girl is a sweetheart. She is so cuddly. I don’t think any of us can get enough kisses and snuzzles from her and she loves every second of it. She gives so many of those newborn comfort smiles that it just seems like she’s already a happy little girl. I mean, I realize that smiles at this stage are not intentional. But because they’re often a reflex signaling comfort, it shows us just how content she is by how often we’re seeing that sweet smile.

So far, we’ve had a couple of very minor health issues. Right at birth we found that she had a blue-ish bump right under her eye, near the bridge of her nose. We waited a few days to see if it would go away, which it didn’t so our pediatrician sent us to a Pediatric Opthamologist. Erick and I were scared to death. Not only did we not know what it was, we were scared how they would need to treat it. Everyone was guessing that it was a clogged tear duct but they also said they’d never seen one so big or bruised looking before. It really worried us. The opthamologist seemed fairly confident that it was mucous clogging near her tear duct and that massage twice a day would clear it up. So we’ve been doing that as well as the antibiotics he prescribed. Erick and I were concerned when it seemed bigger and harder last night. But we went to bed with prayers on our heart and in the morning, the bump was completely GONE! We were so thrilled! Thank you God! If it hadn’t cleared up then the opthamologist was going to need to insert a tiny wire probe to clear it.

Also, around day 2 after Kyla was born, the nurse noticed that she might be slightly jaundiced and told us to keep an eye on it at home. Sure enough, the whites of her eyes turned yellowish. We called the pediatrician who sent us directly to the lab that night to have her tested. The people at the lab were completely like stooges. They didn’t know how to do the test, didn’t know which of my kids was the 3 day old infant (I know McKenna is small for her age but c’mon!), and one of them told me I’d definitely have to take Kyla to the hospital and leave her there. Really insensitive considering we didn’t even know if she had it much less if it was severe enough.

We waited for several hours and finally got a call from the doctor at 9pm that night that Kyla was jaundiced but not dangerously so. We were to make sure she ate every 3 hours and to watch for all the warning signs. We went in for an appt. a couple of days later and they said it looked like the jaundice was on its way out and that no further tests were needed (thankfully).

So those two things were occupying a lot of our time and worry in the first week. Kyla is still in that sleep-all-the-time stage so it hasn’t been too difficult yet. Erick is home for 2 weeks so he and I have been trading off the night feedings. She wakes up about every 3-4 hours to eat, just like clockwork and very textbook. She’s having more awake time lately and fusses very little while she is awake. I don’t know if that’s just her personality or if that fussy period is looming up ahead. I’m prepared for it if it comes though. I feel like I’m bracing myself for a long leg of a marathon.

A few cute noteables:

* Kyla is my little swaddle baby. McKenna hated to be swaddled but Kyla loves it. I love how cute her little face looks peeking out of her blankets like that.
* I LOVE how if I put my face close to Kyla’s she tries to suck on my cheek or my nose. I pretend like its kisses, even though I know she’s just looking for milk.
* I LOVE that if I rub my nose on her cheek, she almost always smiles.

So there you have it. My first update on BOTH of my girls. I love that…”my girls”. I am just on cloud nine having two daughters. It is absolutely true that your heart expands so you can love two. You always wonder how you’ll be able to love another like you love your first. And then that moment comes when you hear that first little cry and you instantly think “Oh, so that’s how it works. My heart just grew a thousand times bigger.”

As for Erick and I – I am grateful to have such a helpful husband. He has shared in all of the work with both girls and even encourages me to take extra naps or sleep in. He’s such a gentle and loving father to his daughters and truly, truly enjoys taking care of them. When he’s giving Kenna her bath, I can hear how much fun he is having while they play “tidal wave”. When he’s rocking Kyla to sleep, he is the one who seems most content with their snuggle time – as though she’s the one bringing him comfort and peace. He’s always been very good about being a co-parent and sharing in the responsibilities. But the wonderful thing is that I know he does it because he enjoys it and not because he has to.

I’m feeling fantastic. I couldn’t believe it. Day 5 post-partum and I didn’t even feel like I’d just delivered an 8 ½ pound baby. We’ve been out and about just about every day – the mall, the park, running errands. I feel totally fine. So much so that we’re taking the girls to the zoo tomorrow and to Disneyland on Friday. I can’t wait. And I’m so glad I already feel so well! I’ve already lost 24 pounds and I have just 18 more to go for my goal weight (pretty good since I haven’t even started a workout-routine yet). I am so happy to be able to get down on the floor for a tickle-match with McKenna and to be able to hold her close again without having a huge belly in the way. I’ve missed that so much these past few months!

Ok, I think I’ve gone on and one enough. I had a LOT to update. I’ll close with a LOT of pictures. I do plan to do a monthly picture page of Kyla, like I did for McKenna. So check our website around the 17th of the month each month to see the latest. But I’ll continue to post some of my favorites of both girls here too.

McKenna and Lukey on moving day:

Does she look like an Auntie's girl or what?

Auntie's artsy pic of Kenna:

McKenna is all ready for her first day of school:

And returning home, so proud of her art projects:

Project #1 - painting a bear (her class animal) with coffee grounds:

Project #2 - painting a bear with red paint and accessories:

I'll share more pictures of Kyla's birthday in her monthly pics. But here are a couple that were fun highlites of our time in the hospital:

After delivering and finally getting to see McKenna for the first time all day....we're sharing Mommy's hospital food:

"I missed you Daddy":

Meeting Kyla for the very first time. Have you ever seen such a proud big sister?

The next day, Erick brought Kenna to the hospital for a visit and she made sure to bring a baby doll for her and one for Kyla:

My two beautiful daughters, getting ready to go home:

Daddy is now wrapped around TWO little fingers:

Already best friends:

Kyla giving "kissies" to Kenna:

"Don't even think about taking my pacifier"

The girls having their first tea party:

They're inseparable:


I just realized we'll need to take some more pics of her now that her little bump is gone. ; )


Victoria Lewis said...

Wow, your daughters are BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations!

Jen said...

your girls are adorable! so glad to hear things are going well with having two- it truely is such an amazing thing to see how much your love two kids can share so quickly :)

Patti said...

Oh Shannon! Kyla is beautiful. I'm practically in tears at McKenna behaviour. She is adorable! What a great big sis to be SO eager to share her toys.


Elaine Chaney said...

Okay, McKenna is SO great with her little sister! That's the most well adjusted 2 year old I've ever seen! Good Job on TWO CUTIE PIES Mom AND Dad!