Friday, July 8, 2011

Abby Dabby

I've been writing this post in my head for 5 weeks now, but have just gotten around to putting it down in words. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about my sweet Abby. Before I do, let me talk about Emma for a minute.

Emma is the best big sister in the entire world. She adores her baby "sisser." She lights up every time she sees her and has NEVER shown aggression or jealousy when Brad or I are with Abby. It's like they have always existed together. With that said, we have taken lots of care to make her feel included and indulge her whenever she wants to "hold it" or kiss on Abby so that she doesn't feel left out. I have fallen more and more in love with Em as I have seen her become a big sister. I've been SO impressed with her acceptance and happiness with her new role. As much as I wanted a baby, the main reason that I wanted Abby so badly was for Emma. She may not understand now, but she will one day.

Now onto Abby. We often call her "Abby Dabby" and Emma's version of that is "Abby Abby." She's got plenty of nicknames already.

She is an OK sleeper. Some would say great. She sleeps great when Mommy's holding her! She sleeps 3 hour stretches at night, and is falling back to sleep right after eating during most wake-ups now. She has had the occasional 4-5 hour stretch, but it's been rare, and I've feared she was dead on more than one occasion! Luckily, she sleeps in the co-sleeper, just beside my bed. Her Daddy doesn't deal well with a lack of sleep, but he's getting better at it. He is awesome - when she wakes up, he gets her, changes her diaper, and hands her to me to feed. When she's done, he re-swaddles her and hands her back. It is SUCH a help!

We often put her down around 11:30-12 at night (after we've given both girls baths, put Emma down at 9:00, and then showered ourselves, finished cleaning up, etc.) She typically wakes around 3-4, and then 7-8. As sleepy as I consistently am, I am actually getting more sleep than I did when pregnant with her!

She's a snuggle bunny. She seems to form perfectly to the curvature of my body - whether over my shoulder just in the crook of my neck, or into the bend in my arm. She's just precious to hold.

She's started to make lots of eye contact, and smiling is just around the corner. I can feel it!

The poor girl has developed TERRIBLE baby acne. It started on the day of her 1 month check-up and the doctor told me that it's caused by her hormones from my body that were left over from pregnancy. The poor girl looks like she's about to go to prom. Brad says she needs Mama to call and get her some Proactiv. ;)

Speaking of her appointment, she's a growing girl! She was 8lbs 0.5oz! That's up from 6lbs. 13oz at her last appt! I'm one proud Mommy. Emma was over 10lbs at her 1 month appt, just to compare. Wowza.

She loves her paci. She uses the same kind Emma did, MAM. She doesn't particularly like the swing, but seems to enjoy her bouncy seat. She sits in it when we eat mostly. She PREFERS to be in my arms, but settles for the bouncy. ;)

She's the most laid back baby I've ever seen. She's SO happy and content. I had no idea how high-maintenance Emma was as a baby (and STILL is!) until we had Abby. I think that's best though. God knew what he was doing. If we had a laid-back baby first, and THEN Emma, we would have died. As it was, we just adored every single second, even of the crying, not knowing it could be any other way.

She's a great eater. She's breastfeeding solely, and is awesome at it. She hasn't had to supplement with formula since the day of her last pediatrician's appointment when she was about 10 days old. She caught on SO quickly once my milk came in, and we really never had any issue. Whether that was because I was more relaxed this time around, or because she was just brilliant, I may never know. I was prepared for the nightmare that it was the first time around. Emma and I had a HARD time. She would scream at the top of her lungs when I would try to latch her on, and we would both cry together. It has never been a source of stress for either one of us this time around. A blessing!

We've pretty much graduated to completely cloth diapering Abby. However, Brad still uses disposables at night. He says that he is pretty much asleep while changing her overnight, and it's just a little less complicated to use disposable. We're nearly out of those though, so he'll convert pretty soon! She's still in newborn diapers, though she could use a size 1 now. She is still wearing newborn clothes, and probably will for awhile. 3 month clothes swallow her. My friend Amber saved our butts with the clothing - she let us have several of her daughter's newborn outfits. We barely had ANY with Emma because she was in 3 month clothes nearly from the start.

I have a really special bond with Abby. I had an incredible bond with Emma as well, and still do. However, Abby and I are on the same wavelength. Emma and I often butted heads (on nursing, sleeping, swaddling......lots of stuff) and still do! I think I'm gonna be in for it when she's a teenager!

Abby and I have just never gone there. We agree on things. We just are, existing on the same plane. She's very "go with the flow" and relaxed. Being with her physically relaxes me. There's no stress, no rush, no sense of urgency. Just calm. I have known what her cries meant from day 1, and she's really not had much reason to cry because I SWEAR I can read her mind. My mom told me the other day that we reminded her of a mother monkey and her baby. I was only SLIGHTLY offended, until she explained. When she looks at me holding her, it seems so natural. Like you would never see one without the other. That's so true. It's like I physically NEED to have her near me. It's very strange, and probably something only understood by another mother.

I think a very real part of this connection is because of all that we went through together. I was pregnant for ALL of the bad stuff with my Dad. Finding out the chemo didn't work, trying his last round of oral chemo drugs, getting sick. All of it. She was literally what kept me going. I couldn't sink completely into the depths of my sadness and grief because I HAD to keep going. I knew that Abby would suffer if I gave into that. I often wonder what effects my sadness and grief DID have on her. Is she so relaxed because I was such a wreck for 9 months? She was with me when I held my Dad as he took his last breath. She was with me when I literally clung to his casket. Did she know? Did she have a clue? I think she must have.

I think God knew what he was doing when he made her look just like her Mama. This girl looks SO much like my Dad. She has his mouth, chin. It's a daily reminder that he's never completely gone because he lives on in my girls. And my goodness, he would have eaten her up.

I know that it's going to tear my mom up, but I have to post this picture. It's of Emma and Dad. I know that he would be doing the exact same thing right now if he could.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Emma's 2!

I'm pretty late in posting about this, but I guess that you can say that we're quite busy these days. My spare moments to upload pictures (or even to TAKE them!) are few and far between, and I prefer to spend them with my girls.

Emma turned 2 on June 22nd, but we decided to celebrate on Father's Day. This year I planned a tiny little party for her. With a newborn at home, and a girl in the midst of the terrible 2s, a big party just wasn't a smart idea. We had Brad's parents and sister and my mom over to grill out. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and had lots of great sides.

Emma's favorite part? Her Elmo Airplane cake! The girl is obsessed with airplanes. She's also obsessed with Elmo, so it was a perfect combination. All of the attention was on her, which was exactly as she wanted it! She had the best time. She got a trampoline from her grandparents, and my mom got her a toddler slide. She was in hog heaven.

Of course we couldn't let her actual birthday go uncelebrated. We had her favorite meal (jambalaya!) and cupcakes on her special birthday plate. This was the first year that she was able to blow out her candles! She's so proud.

Ever since her birthday she's been saying "happy birthday Emma!" and asking to "blow" out candles. I, of course, have been giving in and lighting candles for her to blow out after her Daddy and I sing to her. I can't help it - the bashful grin that she gets afterwards just melts me.