Posts in September 2018

Next Steps

My fingernails are the longest they’ve been since perhaps my wedding day. I’ve always had a nervous habit of fidgeting with my nails, and it got worse when I started playing guitar in high school because I bit down the nails on my left hand for easier fret fingering. Though I don’t play guitar much, I kept that nasty habit. But on maternity leave, I haven’t stress-bit hardly at all.

The last seven weeks have been filled with joy and adjustment. Wes continues to be helpful (“Mama, you already fed her on that side.”), and Steven has taken on or completed household projects every time I turn around.

I’ve developed some new skills as well:

  • Multitasking with one arm (while breastfeeding). I’m proud of my abilities to shuck corn, make dinner and set the table, feed the dogs, and yes, even use the bathroom while feeding Maisie. I don’t know why I don’t just use a carrier more often, which would make tasks that much easier!
  • Wearing spit up and sweatshirts. I notice these things while sitting in the parent pick up car line at Wesley’s school. I’ve also gotten good at configuring the best time to arrive at school with the least amount of idle waiting.
  • Reorganizing areas of the house. You should see my linen closet! Steven remarked on the Day of Kitchen Cabinets, “It’s like someone actually thought about where things should go.” I take that as a compliment.
  • Stocking the freezer. I’ve discovered how much I enjoy prepping freezer meals for a rainy day. We’ve eaten so well during the last couple months – starting with meals provided by friends the first weeks, and now with these Shattuck family-approved make-ahead meals (many of which are crockpot simple!).
  • Sorting clothes. Gone are the snug-fitting shirts and pants in Wesley’s closet. Maisie has a solid wardrobe for her first 9 months, all organized by size and season. I’ve also gotten good at dropping off bags of donated clothes to various places!
  • (Not) Looking sleep-deprived. Maisie is pretty good at sleeping once she finally gives in, but she can fight it for hours. Thankfully I can usually get enough rest to have a functional day ahead, but I can also call upon a tip given to me by a makeup artist friend: white eyeliner on the top lid makes you look more alert.

It hasn’t been all peaches and rainbows, however. This pregnancy and birth were relatively easy and uneventful, but the postpartum recovery process has been more difficult than anticipated. After initial breastfeeding issues and several infections, I’m not 100% recovered. I’m still fighting off a lingering staph infection, and it’s really frustrating. Some days I could do little more than watch reruns of The Office.

There were (and sadly, still are!) times where I felt like a senior woman who complains to friends and family about her aches and pains. Thankfully I’ve been well looked after and my body seems to be slowly healing, but it has made my big plans for traveling and visiting throughout leave go abandoned. Not to say I/we haven’t done anything fun!

Earlier this month we joined Steven on a day trip to Chicago. He was scheduled to speak at a conference on a late Saturday afternoon, so we bundled up the rental car, caught our familiar train from Hammond, and toted a stroller around downtown Chicago. We visited Millennium Park and the Bean before Steven had to get ready.

 

The kids and I spent the afternoon at Navy Pier and the Chicago Children’s Museum, which was so much better than expected. We had just enough time to walk back to the conference hotel (ugh, that walk was the worst because it happened during Maisie’s prime feeding time), walk to the station and board the train back to our car. We arrived home just before midnight. Steven: “We could do that again.” Maybe a near-future day trip to visit some museums?

Both Steven and I have volunteered in Wesley’s classroom on separate occasions this month. It’s the best way to see how the Spanish immersion experience plays out, and it’s amusing to observe how your kid does and interacts with others. Wesley was thrilled to show off his baby sister to his classmates, and she was Miss Popular at recess and the lunch room.

Our first date night occurred last week! Steven got us great seats to Andrew Bird’s limited symphony tour, Time is a Crooked Bow, as my birthday present earlier this year. The show did not disappoint. I joked with a friend (who generously watched the kids for us!) that I started leaking breast milk from sheer excitement.

We’ve also had entertainment at home during these past few weeks. Maisie has reached an interactive milestone and has been smiling and cooing at us in recent days. At bath time the other night, she was so happy that we all took turns making faces to get the best smiles out of her. We likely looked ridiculous, all three of us gathered around her, talking and giggling in high-pitched babbles. She loved it!

I’m unsure why the video recorded on its side:

I return to work this week, and I’m starting to fidget with my nails again. For good reason: this is the busiest week of the year as the Indianapolis Walk to End Alzheimer’s is happening on Saturday. I have missed the entire fundraising event season and feel very out of the loop. I’m anxious to jump in and be a part of things, contributing to a mission I love and believe in.

But I also believe in my mission to contribute to my family’s needs. Maisie was a gift to us, and it’s my turn to give her my time and service. After this event season wraps up, I’m stepping away from my job to be at home for the foreseeable future. We are in a more stable position than when Wesley was born, and though it’s not something I ever thought I’d do, it’s time for me to take on a new position at home.

This decision was made with lots of influence and encouragement from Steven and Wes. I pretty much blame them for this newest adjustment. Though I have to admit, I’m looking forward to experiencing Maisie’s milestones and spending the holidays together. In January our family will re-evaluate my options, and I may return to the work force in a part-time position if something fitting becomes available.

Though my nails will be bitten to the shreds in the next few weeks – from health concerns, returning to a busy work environment and then leaving it all behind – I find I’m not nearly as anxious as I might have been. God has provided a blanket of peace in which I’m deeply snuggled. There is joy in my heart. All is well.

If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.    – Psalm 94:18-19

Posted: September 30th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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Resident Baby

As much as she resembles her big brother, little Maisie definitely has her own preferences and personality.

During the last month, we have adjusted to a new normal. We have watched this new person “wake up” from her days-long newborn slumber and start to recognize voices, focus on objects and faces and give us a handful of teaser smiles. (We can’t wait for the real reactionary ones!)

  

Maisie has met and spent time with a lot of people in the last 5 weeks. She appears to enjoy hearing chatter and conversation and has demonstrated her own version of FOMO – she won’t sleep if she hears fun dialogue around her! Once she IS asleep, however, she is extremely difficult to wake.

I can’t successfully wake her to eat every 3 hours, and at first we were a little concerned about her weight. We went to the pediatrician three times before she started to gain a few ounces, and now she’s up a pound from her birth weight. But she doesn’t have nearly the appetite Wesley did. I felt like he nursed every 45 minutes for the first 3 months, and that’s probably not an exaggeration by much.

It’s been fun to reminisce and compare notes to our previous experience.

Wes Maisie
Birth Stats: 8 lbs; 21″ 8 lbs, 1 oz, ; 21″
One Month Stats: 11 lbs; 22.5″ (75th percentile) 9 lbs, 2 oz, ; 21.5″ (38th percentile)
Swaddling: Mandatory Indifferent
Pacifier: Indifferent Indifferent
Feeding: ~1 hour; cluster feeds ~3 hours; cluster feeds at night
Sleeping: Sleeps most of the day & 4-5 hours at night Difficult to fall asleep but sleeps for 4 consecutive hours
Tummy Time: Screams bloody murder Tolerates
Baths: Dislikes Dislikes
GI: Limited gas and spit up Poops so much; lots of burps

Wesley has discovered a few things about his sister, too.

“She likes when I talk to her.”

“You say you’re feeding her, but it’s really drinking milk.”

He thinks he taught her some of her baby reflexes, and it’s too cute to correct him. “Mama! Look! I taught my baby sister how to grab my finger!”

Our family walks are even better now with a little one in tow, and she stops fussing when we’re on the move – either on foot or in the car. Except for a very long 45-minute walk around downtown Chicago last weekend during her prime cluster feed time. Whew, that was rough.

Also rough? Her inability to stay asleep until just about midnight. She cluster feeds from 7-10, usually dosing off several times. But once I lay her on her back, she promptly wakes up and fusses to nurse until she falls asleep again. The cycle continues for several hours, and I’ve caught up on my reading. Thankfully once asleep, she and I get a good 5 hours in before she wakes to eat again.

She tried a bottle for the first time last week. It took a few minutes to get the hang of it, haha.

All that food comes out en force, and she stained so many onesies before I realized it was time to move up a diaper size. She’s still wearing newborn onesies, though sleepers and some outfits are becoming snug. I sorted through the 0-3 month clothes this week and pulled out a few new items to add to the rotation. And based on a friend’s suggestion, I put the extra newborn size diapers and the outgrown sleepers aside for doll clothes. Brilliant.

I took a few photos when she turned one month old. Admittedly I haven’t taken nearly as many as I did of Wesley. Poor second child (or “second born” as Wes likes to say).

We love our little pimple-faced, skin-peelly Nugget, Stink Pot, Fuss Bucket, Little Miss, Maisie Girl.

Posted: September 20th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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