Friday, November 2, 2012

January 2012

I don't remember at exactly what age Abby began to sit still and be read to, but it's clear from the pictures that I took of her at 14 months that it was around that point that she really got into the whole process, and began requesting multiple books a day.

She couldn't say "read," yet, but she knew the sign, and would  sometimes perform it  (to the best of her ability).

Most of the time, though, she would simply grab a book, and climb into someone's lap with it. Or, throw it in our general direction before climbing. That was always fun, since she often (and still does,at times) hit me in the face with her selection.

She also continued to advance in ingenuity...

... and general mischief-making. Especially once Tom and I got braver about letting her wander past the general scope of our living room.

She additionally developed a streak of independence, insisting on doing certain things herself, like holding spoons. Delightful as it was to see her growing and learning...

... it never failed to result in quite the mess.

On the afternoon of January 18th, after weeks of labor and unparalleled levels of stress (on my part), her litle brother Michael was born. You can read his birth story here, if you so desire.

I brought him home the very next day, eager to get back home to Abigail. Though she'd visited me briefly in the hospital, it was a tough environment for her to be in (hard, cold floors and many things she couldn't touch), and the travel back and forth was wreaking havoc on her nap and feeding schedules. I was also feeling pretty fantastic anyway, having had a quick and relatively easy delivery.

The only bit of recovery I found to be more difficult the second time around was the post-partum cramping. A nurse had warned me that it would be worse after my second baby, but I had no idea what I was in for. To be honest, I don't remember any notable cramping (I had some, but it was mild) after having Abby, but on a couple of occasions I resorted to the Tylenol with Codiene, that I had filled at the hospital and never intended to use, to get through the first three days after giving birth to Michael.

One other thing I learned from Michael's birth experience is that there are pros and cons to leaving the hospital after just 24 hours. As much as I am going to miss both of my babies at home this time around, I am going to take the extra day, because it's logistically easier for working in Baby's follow-ups just after birth, and it will give me just a little more breathing room between being handed a new baby and being thrust into the responsibility of taking on all that that entails without the help and support of friendly hospital staff. The food and sleeping situations are not ideal at the hospital (though sleep doesn't get much better at home for the first few months, anyway), but I think it will be a worthwhile trade-off.

This being our second baby, Tom and I were up for visitors right away. Auntie Lisa stopped by on the 20th, when Michael was just two days old.

You can see from the background of the photo that Abby was already back to "business as usual."

The following day, we all enjoyed a visit from Aunt Ali and Uncle Joe.

Abby was, of course, on her very cutest behavior.

She also took an immediate liking to the water jug that I brought home from the hospital. (And to Michael's binkies- if you'll notice, it's one of his that she has in her mouth in the picture above.)

As for Michael, it was hard to tell quite what she thought of him, initially. She seemed excited by him from the start, but I don't know how much she understood about what his presence meant in terms of permanent change within the dynamic of the family. What did take a bit of time was teaching her how to touch and handle him properly, but I got started on that right away, because I wanted her to form a bond with him. And she did.

(January 25)
(January 24)
(January 25)
January 26)

Little Michael was just busy getting to know the world, and he spent a lot of time doing it. Unlike his sister, who spent the vast majority of her first week (or two, or three) with her eyes closed, he had several wakeful periods a day, eyes wide open in wonder and astonishment.

Here he is, at five days old, checking out his daddy...

... and showing off some Tai Chi moves.

He even let me prop him up for a posed picture later that day.

Unfortunately, much of that first week was pretty stressful, as well. Because I'd left the hospital before Michael could get a follow-up there, I had to make a trip out to the doctor to get it done, at which point the doctor who saw him was already fretting about his lack of weight gain. What followed were two more doctor visits within the next few days for weight checks, and a bit of pressure to supplement with formula, which I really did not want to have to do. Ultimately, though I did offer one bottle (which Michael spit up after two hours anyway), I elected to nurse on-demand instead, and Michael managed to make exceptional gains once my milk came in (which unfortunately took four days, though it was still an improvement from the five or six it took for Abby). I was able to finally breathe a sigh of relief after that- at least, until the reflux troubles started at about three weeks in...

Oh, how I love that newborn eye color. Abby's were a deep, icy blue tinged with grey. Michael's were more of a grey-green. Now they appear to be primarily brown, but I wonder sometimes if the green will creep back in, as happened with mine when they turned from brown to hazel back when I hit puberty.

(January 24)
(January 27)

January 28th must have been the day that the umbilical stump fell off (though I remember it taking far longer than 10 days) because that's when Michael got his first bath at home. He wasn't pleased about it, though he handled the experience much better than Abby did.

And afterwards, he slept like an angel.

For a time, anyway.