Saturday, November 10, 2012

September, October, November

Everything from the last 3 months (well, almost).

Bennett turned 3 (note the "B" & the "3" pancakes)!


Got treated to Chick-fil-a for his birthday lunch. Bennett heaven= 1-chicken finger meal with a fruit cup & a chocolate milk & the Chick-fil-a playplace

With all of our track lighting burnt out (4 bulbs in the space of 2 weeks?! and our kitchen was being remodeled the next week, so I was too cheap to buy replacements), I made his cake practically by moonlight.

The ONLY thing on his birthday list was a "train birthday cake." How can you deny such a simple request?
 
Surprise birthday party!




We had friends at this party. Just no pictures of any of them...

Got to ride in a real Jeep... WITH the TOP OFF. (Thanks Josh & April)

Got all the candles on the first try. So big. 



At 3 years old, Bennett:

-Is 36 lbs. 38 in.
- Knows his alphabet & all the sounds the letters make
-Can count to 20
-Can sound out easy words if you can get him in the right mood (takes a lot of conentration-- he's sounded out "mat" and "dad" before). 
-Still loves cars/trucks/trains/planes
- Great at playing by himself-- really great imagination
-Favorite movie is Cars (really REALLY likes Cars 2 but now he always says we're "taking a break from Cars 2 because they try to kill Lightening McQueen and killing is wicked.")
- Loves Starfall.com
- Loves the "Friend" magazine (has been able to name the Prophet and Apostles by picture for over a year)
- Is a GREAT big brother & loves his little sister & truly is NEVER mean or rough with her (really, not even once)
- Has been potty-trained since March
- Occasionally wakes up very disoriented at night needing to go to the bathroom. He doesn't know what's going on, and won't get up and go, so he just sits in bed (loudly) calling for us. (most of the time, he goes to the bathroom if he needs to in the middle of the night just fine!). This has made putting Elsie in his room quite daunting (I REALLY don't want him to start screaming and wake her/scare her)... sooooo she's still in my closet a la baby Harry Potter....
- Has a hard time settling down to go to sleep at night (active imagination/endless talking/singing), so after months of trying different rewards/threats with varying (and short-lived) degrees of success, we finally put an hour's worth of classical piano music (BORING) on an ipod for him to listen to as he goes to sleep. Worked like a charm (for the last week at least... we'll see if it holds).
- Is getting his first allowance. He has been asking to buy a lot of things at the store lately, so we decided he could earn some money.  He gets $1/week (in dimes, so he can pay tithing and put money in a mission piggy bank).  His chores are setting his place for dinner, clearing the table (everyone's place), throwing away Elsie's diapers, and cleaning his room every day. He got paid for the first time today, so he has 70 cents to spend (probably on candy in the check-out aisle).
- Can do everything "by himself," thank you.
- Is an absolute joy in our family. 


Meanwhile, this one's been growing.  4 month stats are 26" long, 17 lbs! 95th percentile all around!  


She's my beauty. Clearest skin & cutest, softest, hairless head. Looks just like a girly version of baby Bennett.

Enjoying fall riding his new bike!  Pretty timid at first, but he's cruising now. No matter how big the fall, there are no tears, because "his helmet protected him."

Curious George & our chunky banana

Forgot to take the picture before Bennett was out of his costume.





video
Random video.

All in all, we're doing well! Elsie is still a handful. She still would rather do almost anything than sleep during the day, but the past week has actually been ok (she's almost 5 months old...).  She almost always wakes up before an hour is up for naps, but this past week, she's at least gone back to sleep if you give her the binky. Not my favorite habit to get into, but I'll worry about it later.  It's better than having her be SO cranky from constant 40-minute naps, and letting her cry doesn't work (she can cry FOR.EV.ER) to get her to go back down right now. Sooo BINKY it is!  

I find myself in "just do whatever-it-takes" mode with Elsie a lot more than I ever did with Bennett.  Sometimes it is really frustrating because I think about all the "bad habits" she might be learning, or I wonder if I should be more... the only word I can think of is strict (that already sounds crazy... strict! She is a BABY). She was quite colicky (long sidenote: I had been hesitant to call her that because I know other babies who were worse, but I just read a definition that says colic is when your baby cries (or you have to actively be soothing them to prevent imminent crying) for more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, for 3 weeks in a row. She DEFINITELY had that. Almost every waking minute of every day was spent soothing her. She was quite malcontent til about 3 months. Then she started having small periods of contentment most days), so I always wondered if there was more I could be doing or something I could be doing differently to make her happier. It was really disheartening and made me feel like a really bad Mom.

I remember one day talking to Justin one day and telling him that I knew it sounded crazy, but I felt like if I was really a good Mom, I would know what the "right" thing to do was in every rough situation.  I would know if I needed to let her cry, cuddle her, try to get her to sleep longer, just let her get up & try next nap, try to make her eat more, give her a bottle instead of forcing breastfeeding (she is still a wild nurser). I really wanted to do the "right" things, no matter how hard they were (who doesn't want to make the right decisions 100% of the time?).  I also seemed to feel like the "right" thing was always the harder decision than I was making. Like if getting her up from an early waking in a nap was easy, then surely it couldn't be "right."  Somehow I'd be reinforcing a bad habit.  If giving her a bottle rather than nursing a wild thrashing baby was easy, then somehow it wasn't "right."  Justin said that just doing my best was the "right" thing. But I often felt like that was just the "easy" thing, and somehow I should be doing something more difficult/miserable to "fix" the difficult/miserable things I was experiencing. 

I know this makes no sense, and I know was it was ROUGH. And rough on me meant I was sometimes too short with Bennett. Not fun for any of us (good thing Bennett won't remember).

I have finally realized (well, the sane part of me always knew... I guess I finally accepted) that her crankiness wasn't caused by anything I was or wasn't doing.  Now we do what it takes to keep everyone happy, and worry about problems when they arise. (future self with 3rd baby looking back at this blog posting desperate for help--she is only NOW beginning to develop a regular routine.  A far cry from Bennett....). 

I recently read somewhere that you should live in the "now"-- don't spend time worrying about what "could have been" or things that "might happen" that you have no control over. It is wasted stress! None of those "could haves" will, and most of those "mights" won't either. I always knew that, but reading it recently really resonated with me.

This was very journal-esque & boring.  I mostly write it so that if I ever have another baby (ha!) and find myself  holding a screaming baby frantically looking back at my blog for any trace of how easy my life was at this point with Elsie, I will be able to read this and remember that it was hard with Elsie for a long time. But also that she is happier now, and I am happier now, and we all survived it and love (LOVE) having her in our family.


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