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January 2010

Mama Break

28/365 : Mama break

Churros, good  from my Year in Photos.

I packed up Alixe and went out for a mama's coffee break today. On the way home I found a great book shop that had a wonderful selection of children's books. Must remember to go back with Max.

And I really love texting. I helped a friend decide on a dress today via text and sometimes one word texts are so good because you know you're on the same page with that person you're writing to.

Being out most of the day just proved to me that I need to get out more. Today was gloomy but it felt great getting out and stretching my legs and seeing people. Bring on Spring. I am so over Winter now.


L'Herbe Rouge

1 bis rue d'Alésia

Paris 75014


In front of the camera

26/365 : in front of the camera

I really don't like to be in photos. Something about seeing all my imperfections doesn't appeal to me. Instead I take photos of my family and stay behind the camera as much as I can which you can clearly see from all the photos I post on my blog. :)

A part of the reason why I wanted to do this year in photo was to work on doing more self portraits of just me. Not me and my kids, though they are a big part of who I am today I have a lot of work to do on myself and I am hoping taking these photos will be a good way to motivate myself.

So, I've been inspired by a new blog to get myself back in front of the camera again. Maybe you'll play along too... if you do, let me know I want to see. :)


17/365 : My children

It still amazes me when I refer to Maximilien and Alixe as my children. Hearing myself say it in conversation makes me smile immediately.

I love love LOVE watching my children together. I love watching their simple interactions. Alixe is completely fascinated by Max as he is of his sister.

Today it was just the three of us and it was the first day where I didn't feel any anxiety taking care of both of my children. We lazily woke up this morning and stayed in our pjs all day long. Had pancakes and pizza for breakfast (since we woke up late). I played with Max and waited for Alixe to show me signs of a nap. I immediately put her down so that Max and I could curled up together in our bed for a nap. Unfortunately, Max work up after only an hour of sleeping (usually he naps for three hours!) and wanted to watch Toy Story. Since Alixe was still asleep and I wasn't ready to get up from my nap, I cuddled Max close and whispered stories in his ear until he fell asleep again. We snoozed for another hour until Alixe woke Max and I with her bleating goat sounds. We laughed so hard at how funny it sounded and I layed there in that moment cherishing it. 

Just hanging around...

Bisous

Little Rewards

14/365 : Little rewards

After the crazy night Alixe put us through last night (6 hours of no sleep from 10pm to 4am) we got this today:

A REAL SMILE. And a laugh!

As much as I am tired and want to throw in the towel these little milestones bring me so much happiness and I crave them.

Speaking of milestones, Maximilien is pretty much potty trained now. He only wants to wear his "culotte" and we have to talk him into wearing his pull up at night for bed. He has done poo and pee outside of the house without any problems. And he wakes up in the middle of the night when he needs to go to the bathroom. This has been the highlight of my week.

I went to see the doctor today and got a clean bill of health. He asked me when I'd be having baby three since the factory is ready to be in service again. I just kinda stared at him and shook my head and told him to ask me again in about 5 years.

I'm disappointed that I am so tired these days. I had intended after seeing my doctor and him giving me the green light on exercising to get started on working to getting myself in shape. I can get into my pre-pregnancy jeans already but need to lose another 20lbs to be where I want to be. I had intended to start tomorrow! But I am too tired. My arms and legs ache from the fatigue. I have migraines and my appetite is poor because of lack of sleep.  So, instead I have new vitamin regiment to follow (to keep me from getting depressed) and I will put off my workout plans for a while.

I'm not feeling too sorry for myself though... Alixe is smiling and laughing! And Max is using the potty ALL BY HIMSELF!! These are the things I will think about when and if I get to sleep tonight.


Fatigue

12/365 - Fatigued

I think we are starting to figure things out with Alixe. It had been a long month and half since her arrival.

The time I spend in the shower is probably the most quiet time of my day.  And I don't get to take a shower everyday! I am sure the mamas out there can relate.

All I wanted to do today was go right back to bed after my shower this morning... wishful thinking from this tired mama.


In search of comfort

Jan 9 - In search of comfort

Maximilien was in a very melancholic mood tonight. He came back from spending the night at his Mamoo's house asleep in his stroller. That was a sign to me that he had not slept well at nap time today.

I transferred him from the stroller to our bed knowing very well that he'd wake up and want to be somewhere he felt safe. "Mommy et Daddy's lit" is probably one of the safest places for a little boy his age. He woke up in tears and clutched on to me for dear life. I just sat and held my baby and waited until he felt better.

Well, better didn't come and he started to cry and hold on to me. I decided that it was PJ and ice cream in bed time with Toy Story to keep us company. I fed Alixe put her in the swing and she fell asleep (for once!). And I had the rest of the evening to devote to my boy.

I've been transitioning myself into this role of mama to two. Frankly, I've been afraid to take care of both kids alone. Fatigue causing a lot of the fears inside me but tonight I just decided no rules, forget dinner and I asked myself what do we need? We needed ice cream, pjs, movies and hugs. Though, we did eat some broccoli before ice cream because Max loves broccoli like it's candy.

Taken from my Year in Photos at Flickr.


Alixe, One Month

Dear Alixe,

I'm a little late with your one month letter. You'll have to excuse me because I've been up very late every night for the past month partying with you. Yes, you... The baby who does not sleep. The baby we call Grunty McGrumpyPants. Or Vomita when you eat too much. You've had a very productive first month of life considering your lack of sleep. You met your brother, Maximilien, who is completely smitten with you. And you seem to be fascinated by your brother. You seems to really enjoy his stories he tells you after his long day at the creche. Often you are wearing your GrumpyPants and when he comes into the room and says, "Bonjour, Alixe!!!" your eyes open wide and stop eveything you are doing. 

Brown eyed girl

In all honestly, my biggest fear was that Maximilien wouldn't be prepared for your arrival. But in all reality, it was your Mama who wasn't prepared for your arrivial. I had in set in my silly Mama mind that you were going to be just like your brother. Big eater, big sleeper. You are a modest eater and do not sleep at all. Modest eater meaning that you don't pig out when I feed you like Max did. Though somehow you managed to gain 1.8 kgs and 4 cm in height. The doctor was shocked when I told her you were only a month old. Looking at you, you look like a four month old. But you act like a one month old in every way. Especially, when it comes to sleeping. But I'm learning to deal. I have come to terms that I won't get any sleep and not to count on getting any sleep if you are awake which is like most of the day. I try to busy myself by cleaning the apt and doing the endless laundry that you are happily contributing to. But sometimes I need sleep and these are the moments that are the hardest for me because this is when you want to be awake. We are trying a combination of co-sleeping, the five S's and lots of contact with Mama. And sometimes we get lucky (like right now!) you decide to sleep for a while. Everyone keeps telling me that this is a phase... let's just hope that is really is.

I am thrilled to say that you look a lot like me! I would hope so since you're my daughter and if you looked like your dad you'd be very, very hairy and I'm not sure that you'd be so happy about that. Your eyes are brown and you have a darker complexion than your brother. You have attributes that are very much yours but you also look a lot like your brother. Don't worry, your brother is a good looking kid...

Maximilien et Alixe

Maximilien (2007) and Alixe (2009), both 4 days old.

I am looking forward to the coming months of your development, Alixe. I am anxiously awaiting for your first REAL smile. Though, we've had a few smiles lately but they always precede a nice big fart so we can't officially say that you are smiling yet. But since you're so big for your age, you can easily hold your head up for several moments at a time. I put you on your stomach and you pick up your head with such ease. And often when when we hold you, you push up with your legs and stand a few moments with all your weight on your legs. One thing is for sure, you are one strong little girl. 

Jan 7 - I adore

So, lack of sleep aside... I'm so happy that you are here. I feel like our family is complete and know there are many beautiful (sleep filled) days ahead of us.


Hands

Jan 5 - Hands

Hands.

Maximilien is obsessed with holding my hand. I admit that I love it. I loving holding my son's hand as we walk together. He grasps my hand when we cross the street. In the apt, when he wants me to come and play with him, he grabs my hand and says, "Come Mommy, come with me...". When we sit together and read or watch tv he is always holding my hand. Since Alixe's arrival he's been having a hard sleeping at night. I think this maybe his way of saying to us that he needs a little more attention. Usually in the middle of the night he crawls into our bed and comes and cuddles close to me. He always takes my hands into his and says, "petite carresse, Mommy?". A little cuddle? I say yes and he gently caresses my hands and rubs them against his cheek like it's his favorite dou dou.

The funny thing is, I used to do this to my own mother's hand when I was little (and as a teenager and young adult, I admit). My mother's hands were the softest things in the world and always brought me comfort. When I'd lay with my mom, I'd always hold her hand and like Max, rub the back of her hand against my cheek.

I couldn't believe how quickly the emotions welled up last night. As Max fell asleep, I quietly weeped missing my mother. I miss her immensely but I especially miss the simple gestures like hugging her or holding her hand. Holding her hand was one of my most favorite things. And for this to be one of my son's favorite things to do brings me so much happiness and sadness at the same time.


Sleep

Jan 4 - Sleep

Ah, sleep. Such an elusive thing at our house at the moment.  But we're getting better at coping with the lack of sleep. It's been a huge learning experience for me this time around with Alixe because with Maximilien I didn't even have to think about sleep at all. He just slept all the time. Alixe needs help falling asleep and then staying asleep. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am learning her cues for when she's sleepy. And now that I am feeling healthier and stronger there's a lot of baby wearing going on.

I love this photo because a) she's asleep and  b) the cute thumb tuck she is doing. She's always done this since she was born and I saw a 3-D shot her her hand when I was in the US last summer and she was doing it then too. Every once in a while she'll pop her thumb out and it will find it's way into her mouth and that's even cuter. Maybe she'll be a thumb sucker like her brother. 

This photo is part of my Year in Photos that I am doing this year. May seem crazy that I would commit to a huge project like this but I feel like it's just what I need to keep my sanity intact. I try to find a moment in the day for myself to take my camera and snap a photo. I plan to print each photo from this year and make it into a photo book for myself. I will share bits and pieces of my year in photos here on my blog but won't make a habit of it everyday. I wrote a bit more on my January 1st photo the reasons why I want to do this. If you're curious you can read about it here.  But feel free to check out the set I created on Flickr of my daily photos of 2010. 

By the way, Happy New Year! I hope 2010 is starting off well for everyone. And I just realized that my daughter is one month old now! I owe her a letter. So, I will get working on that one. So much to write about and she had her first doctor's visit and you won't believe how big she is now. I'll share it all in her one month letter very soon.


The Fourth Trimester

Recreating the womb. Alixe & her 4th trimester

I had heard about this concept of the 4th trimester but didn't pay much attention to it when Maximilien was born. I can clearly see now how EASY he was as a newborn. He was pretty much textbook. Had his moments of crying when he needed to blow off steam before settling down for a good night's sleep. For a newborn anything more than three hours is a good night's sleep. For Max, I would have to wake him up to feed him or else he'd sleep for 6 hours if I'd let him. Alixe,on the other hand, doesn't sleep for more than a hour, maybe two hours during the day and at night (her nights start at 2am) she will sleep maximum 3 hours. And this is progress we've made over her first month! Before this she'd sleep for 30 minutes to an hour at a time and wake up and stays awake after that. She's the most awake baby I've ever met.

Well, you can imagine what toll the erratic sleeping of my petite fille has taken on her parents. Julien is faring better than I am since he can sleep through anything. I, on the other hand, am physically in tune with Alixe to the point that when she starts crying and I can hear it (not be in the same room) my breasts start to leak with the anticipation that she needs to feed. TMI, I know. :)

In the midst of desperation and massive searching on Google and asking on Twitter for any advice or new ideas I ran across Dr. Harvey Karp's website for his book The Happiest Baby on the Block. With in minutes of reading about his theories and the behavior of newborn babies, I held Alixe in my arms and was like, "This is my baby!". He talked about the fourth trimester theory and how some babies still need the extra three months of comfort, jiggling and constant noise that the womb provided for the first three trimesters. I immediately got my hands on the video and the book. Thanks to the reviews on Amazon saying that if you are sleep deprived the last thing you want to do it read a book so they suggested watching the video and complementing Karp's theories with the book later when you're sanity has returned. I've already read through more than half the book and so far we're making good progress on the sleep process.

Upon watching the video with Alixe in my lap, I followed along Karp's advice and techniques and IMMEDIATELY Alixe took to these manipulations. I have to say, the first time I saw him settle down a baby using the five S's, it brought me to tears. I simply couldn't believe it.  The five S's as Karp calls them or The Cuddle Cure. And boy, did they work! for Alixe Julien watched the video and immediately after wards took Alixe and applied the techniques and we were able to calm our screaming baby within minutes instead of hours like before. The first time we were successful of calming Alixe we looked at each other and felt like we were the best parents in the world. 

I now understand why my little girls needs to calm down and get herself to sleep. She needs a combination of swaddling, swinging, laying on her side, shushing and sucking. The photo above is her falling asleep with only the use of three of the 5 S's. This is progress because when we started the calming techniques she needed all 5 S's and she needed them loud and hard. Since we've started The Cuddle Cure, Alixe now can stay asleep for more than a couple hours during the day and at night she is starting to stretch her nights a little longer everyday. 

As I type this blog, BOTH of my kids are napping. Mama feels like a million bucks. Time for a shower and a second cup of coffee!

For those of you who are curious, the white cushion that Alixe is sleeping on is called Cocoonababy by Red Castle.