Bet you thought the monthly updates would stop once she turned two, didn't you? Wrong! Although they might not be as detailed, but I still want to be able to record all the fun things about Riley each month, since she's still changing so much!
This month Riley's imagination has really taken off. She plays pretend with her little Mickey Mouse figurines. She helps me come up with stories and think of different scenes and scenarios. Her most recent works of her imagination have to do with a "biiiiig crocodile." One day she all of a sudden told me she was "a little bit scared of the dark" and that "a big crocodile was coming through the front door." First she said he was going to try and bite her, but then it evolved to he's going to eat her pizza and share her toys. She's totally fixated on this crocodile at the moment, she mentions him multiple times each day.
She says some incredibly funny things lately that literally stop me in my tracks and make me laugh. For example, the other morning, she was snuggling in our bed since she had come in to sleep with us in the middle of the night. We were all laying there peacefully, and she suddenly sits up and says "Oh mama! I have a good idea! How about we go in the lounge and watch a TV show!? Okay!" And off she went. Or my next favorite. She will all of a sudden drop everything and say "Need to do a poo poo on the potty!" So we run and go sit on the potty, and then she either says (1) "We're all out of poo poo" or (2) "Uh-oh. The poo poo is stuck! How about I walk around for a little bit..."
This month she's really really found a love for music. She can sing SO many songs, and she LOVES listening to music on our computers or on an ipod. She likes wearing headphones and picking out songs. Her faves include ABCs, Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.
She's memorized even more books, and will just randomly bust out reciting them... her most recent one is "hop on pop"... all of a sudden she just rambles on, "all ball, we all play ball, all fall, fall off the wall, we see, we see a bee, we see, now we see three" and on and on... She also LOVES Go! Dog, Go!, we read it pretty much every night. And she gets MAD if I try and read a book that she has memorized because only SHE can read it! She states very clearly "NO mama, no can do that!"
She loves her little brother so so much. She is almost always by his side. BUT. This month we had our very first incident of her hitting him. Now, it wasn't actually in anger at HIM, she was just frustrated and wanting to smack the nearest thing, which happened to be her brother. Other than that, she's been just amazing. Snuggling him, kissing him, patting his head. Every time he wakes up she says "Good morning baby! You had a nice big sleep!" She brings him toys, and helps him grab them when he drops them. She likes when he grabs her, and doesn't mind when he pulls her hair, she just calmly says "uh-oh, baby's got your hair!"
She LOVES other kids. If we're at the playground or out in public and she sees other kids, she always says hi, and wants them to play with her. She might say "hi girl, you can use the slide! go down the slide!" One day she was out with Mark and there was an 18 month old boy playing with her on the fire truck, and apparently they were giving each other cuddles and holding hands... then at the end, the baby grabbed Riley's lion hat, and for WEEKS Riley kept re-telling me "baby took your lion hat off! No baby! No can do that! Didn't like that!"
The biggest change this month? We are officially pacifier free, and have been for weeks now. And you know what? It was no big deal. She did ask for it for the first week or so, but there were no major tantrums, and she has pretty much stopped asking entirely, even though Jackson sometimes uses her old pacifiers. We have totally weaned her from the paci, and I couldn't be happier! Although it does seem like the last little piece that makes her a baby! :( My big grown up little two year old! No paci, no diapers, in a big girl bed!
Some more current fave things: baths with mama, tickles, tickles, and more tickles. Peanut butter sandwiches, marble mazes, jumping, ABC puzzles, throwing things, showers, playdoh, painting...really the list goes on and on and on.
Other funny things? She loves to say "Mama or Daddy? MAMA!!!!" when she wants me to read her stories, or me (rather than daddy) to do something for her. The other day we pulled all the pillows/cushions off the couch and put them on the floor in the lounge, and she stopped and said, "hey... it kind of looks like a trampoline... it's a pillow trampoline!" She talks non stop- words are constantly flowing out of her mouth. There are so many other funny things but it doesn't do them justice just to write them down, I really need to get them on video. Many many videos coming soon. :)
Jackson turns 6 months in 2 weeks. And he is changing daily, turning into such a big boy.
Jackson's eczema has been up and down, but at the moment is not looking good at all. A few weeks back I saw a naturopath, who had some good recommendations, and since then I have started on a completely dairy-free diet, and a (mostly) wheat-free diet. I say mostly wheat/gluten free as I still have the occasional wheat snack. I thought things were improving and I was pretty excited we may have found a solution, but then BAM it got worse again. Now, I've read that anything that triggers an immune response can cause an eczema flare-up, so the fact that Jackson is pretty sick could be what is causing his eczema to be pretty bad at the moment. Immunizations can also cause flare-ups and he just had his 5 month shots last week.
The above pictures were taken a few days ago, and since then his cheeks have turned bright red, his skin is dry and red and itchy, and he is CONSTANTLY trying to scratch his face and head. The combination of his cold and his eczema has led to some terrible sleep and a very sad and overtired baby during the day. As a result, he does not want to be put down. He's pretty much only happy if he's being held, or sitting in his bouncer. I actually don't like putting him in there for very long, but at the moment it's the only way I can put him down for more than 2 seconds! Although he thought bubbles were pretty fascinating... that bought me about 10 minutes while I gave Riley a bath.
Now back to sleeping- for a few weeks he was up CONSTANTLY. I was lucky to get 30 minutes out of him. We have since started swaddling him again and putting him in his rock 'n play rather than his crib, figuring keeping him slightly elevated will help with his cough, and keeping him swaddled will keep him from scratching. Now we're back to some fairly decent stretches, although it's pretty hit or miss. He's usually asleep for the night at 5:30 or 6, and is up for a feed around 10 or 11. He rarely sleeps that whole time, usually requires some rocking back to sleep in there somewhere. Then sometimes he's up for HOURS in the middle of the night. I'm hoping that after he comes right from this cold that he'll settle into some better sleep patterns, but that might just be wishful thinking.
Other things- since he's been sick and not wanting to be put down, he's decided that he hates tummy time, and has made no progress on trying to sit up, but he can stand with us just holding his fingers. He prefers to be sitting upright or standing and trying to jump constantly. The boy goes NUTS in the bouncer, he's as happy as can be in there! In fact, one day we decided to take advantage of a decent winter day and play in the backyard, so we brought his bouncer out and he was as happy as can be.
As we get closer and closer to the big 6 months, we get closer to starting solids. I was pretty adamant about not starting solids until 6 months, but today we were all sharing an apple, and he was going nuts trying to grab it, so we let him gum it and suck on it. The boy LOVED it. But you know who might have loved it even more? Riley. She couldn't stop smiling and shouting "he's EATING it!!!" He would drop it, and she would help him get it back in his mouth.
I'm thinking of going with the baby led weaning approach with him, mostly because I can't stand the idea of having to steam and puree foods, and it will be so much easier than spoon feeding him. Problem is, we don't have a high chair for him at the moment. Guess I still have a few weeks to figure that out. We're going to be pretty strict about what foods we give him as I worry a bit about food allergies, but we'll start with some pretty basic ones so hopefully we won't have any issues.
He still doesn't have any teeth but I can feel his 2 bottom ones right under the gums. Sort of dreading having those little chompers come in since he has started biting me while nursing already, and it hurts with no teeth, and I know all too well how much it hurts WITH teeth!!
Oh yeah, forgot to mention naps. Up until 2 days ago, he slept no longer than 40 minutes. Every. singe. nap. If the timing worked out, sometimes I could get him and Riley to nap at the same time, and then after he woke up 40 minutes later, I could bring him in bed with me and nurse him to sleep for another hour or so. But the stars don't always align like that, so mostly he was taking a bunch of cat naps during the day. Then all of a sudden yesterday he busted out with an hour and 40 minutes sleep. Twice. No interventions required. Then today he had an hour and a half sleep, but then two of his standard 40 minute ones. So who knows what tomorrow brings in terms of naps. :)
Oh yeah and? He still LOVES his big sister. Big time.
So that's the latest on our little Jack Jack...
We're living in the land of the never-ending sickness. Apparently it's going around. Riley has spent the last week looking pretty awful...
But, fingers crossed, she seems to be coming right FINALLY. The little guy, on the other hand? Not so good. He's been crying more than he's been sleeping so far tonight... he's all stuffy and he's got a cough and it's just so so sad especially since there's not a whole lot we can do for him but hold him and rock him and hope he feels better tomorrow. Wow that was a long run on sentence. But let's hope he feels better tomorrow because I want to see this happy face again:
I do actually have a lot of meaningful posts in the works. Posts about sleeping and potty training, tantrums and getting rid of Riley's paci, and her current favorite toys at the age of two. But I've got a sick toddler, a teething baby, and coherent sentences are hard to form, much less type out. So I leave you with this:
My last post was a little bit of a downer, but our trip wasn't all bad! It started a little rough, but once we got into the hotel and got all settled down, we packed up and headed off to the local aquarium. But not before stopping to feed the little guy in the parking lot while Riley needed to urgently use the potty RIGHT THIS SECOND.
Do you know how hard it is to take a half decent photo in a super dark aquarium while chasing a toddler and trying to also look after a baby? Yeah.
At this stage Riley wasn't too sick/feverish, BUT it was about 3pm and she hadn't had a nap, so she was a little... fragile, let's say. But she sure had fun! She loved seeing all the fish, pointing out the different colored ones, and would say "wow that's a really really big one!" over and over again. She got to hold a starfish (she was stoked about that one), and was super excited to get to see all these animals from her "sea animals puzzle" in real life! Seahorse, octupus, stingray, shark, etc... Although she was disappointed there was no dolphin. :)
Jackson started out in the stroller, but was absolutely fascinated with every single thing around him. He was the happiest little guy, just looking around, taking it all in. Overall it was a really fun, totally successful trip. We probably could have stayed a lot longer but I didn't want to push our luck with a napless toddler and overstimulated little baby!
The following day we stopped at a butterfly farm right near the airport. The place was actually really awesome, and I think Riley WOULD have enjoyed it if she was not feeling absolutely miserable. Literally right as we arrived there was the beginning of her miserable-ness. She spiked a fever, only wanted me to carry her, and just was not doing so hot. Needless to stay, we didn't stay very long. We did stay long enough for her to get scared by a HUGE butterfly flying right at her, and she thought it was going to bite her. I finally convinced her that he wasn't going to bite her, it just wanted to look at her, so for the next 30 minutes she went around chanting "he's not trying to bite you, he's just looking at you!"
There were also baby alligators, HUGE crocodiles, and a bunch of different tarantulas. But at that point Riley was in a total feverish trance, so we had to go. But they clearly made an impression on her as she mentioned the crocodiles multiple times today!
Speaking of today... Riley was feeling slightly better, although at one point her fever was up over 103 again, but mostly hovered around 101.5. She went through waves of feeling pretty good and being in good spirits, followed by being miserable and clinging to me like a little koala. Around 9:30am she basically climbed into my lap and fell asleep, so I transferred her into our bed and she slept there for about 3 hours. Poor little bug.
I hate it when she's so sick. Although I must admit, the extra snuggles are always welcome. And always love an excuse to stay in pajamas all day long!
Thank goodness Jackson seems to be feeling alright. He was a trooper today, just hanging out, trying to roll over, trying to eat everything in sight, drooling up a storm, and about to sprout his two bottom teeth.
His eczema also seems to be improving, although sometimes it's hard to tell. We saw a naturopath the other week, and I got some good insight from her, started taking some probiotics and some fish oil supplements, and I've changed to a completely dairy free diet. Next step is going wheat free as well, so I've slowly started phasing out wheat from my diet as I didn't want to do such drastic changes cold turkey. It's pretty tricky making sure I'm eating the right stuff since I'm not used to this kind of diet, but hey, for this little face, I think I can manage.
Sometimes I still can't believe how much Jackson is turning into a real little person. Manipulating toys, looking at everything, grabbing everything in sight, yelling out when he's frustrated or wants attention, staring at me with his gorgeous blue eyes, bouncing like a crazy person in his bouncer....
Oh yeah, and? The big news of the day? We sold our house!!! Hooraaaaaaay! That's a huge stressor we can check off the list, thank goodness. One step closer to being back to the US! Now on to the next task... selling our stuff, and deciding what to pack up and ship back to the US! Oh yeah, and crazy thesis writing for my oh so over-worked and over-tired husband. October can't come soon enough!
Well, we had our first "vacation" with the two little ones this weekend. And I use the word "vacation" very, very loosely. Basically we had to report Jackson's birth to the US consulate up in Auckland (45 min plane ride up north), and also apply for a US passport and social security number, and we had to actually do it in person rather than by mail. I could've just gone up by myself (with Jackson), but we decided to make a mini vacation of it and go as a family. We had plans to go to the zoo, the aquarium, do some swimming, stay up late and watch movies in bed in our hotel room, etc.. Well, I won't give you the play-by-play of our trip, but all the following things happened:
-Riley had her first day EVER without a nap
-it rained, canceling zoo plans
-we forgot Riley's beloved "gray gray" (pink blankie) at home
-Jackson screamed bloody murder for what seemed like forever in the car as we couldn't find our freaking hotel and i just about lost my mind
-we lost one of riley's minnie mouse toys somewhere along the way
-jackson had his worst night of sleep so far
-i forgot some forms/evidence for our appointment at the consulate- luckily it was no big deal
-had the wrong size passport photos- had to get them re-printed the morning of our appointment
-we heard multiple times in the car "hurry hurry daddy i need to do a poo poo on the potty!" Number of poops? ZERO. But we sure got some smiles as we stopped at a McDonald's, a cafe, and a random gas station and sprinted in with our toddler demanding the nearest toilet!
-I left all the swim stuff in the hotel dryer. Including Riley's brand new cloth swim diaper.
-Riley spiked a massive fever at the airport/on the plane, and was absolutely miserable. Right at the same time Jackson was super tired and hungry. Two sad babies on the plane. Riley only wanted mama, Jackson could only be fed by mama... which baby do you let cry? The sick or hungry one? Riley was so sick that she basically passed out in misery while laying on me.
-Took Riley's temp when we got home, thought her fever had gone since she was feeling much cooler than on the plane... 103. Shudder to think what her temp was on the plane.
-Riley's cough takes a turn for the worse, we say a little prayer it's not croup, and snuggle her to sleep for the night.
-Crawl into bed to get some sleep. Cue Jackson waking up. Write this blog post while nursing/snuggling with him.
There were good parts too. I even took a few pictures. But for now.... sleep. At least for some.
Sick mama, sick (and very much awake) baby, daddy STILL working. Riley will be awake in less than 2 hours.
But he's not crying, so there's that....
I had this idea ages ago to make a quilt out of some of Riley's old baby clothes. I'll admit it, I have a TON of little girl baby clothes. So many clothes that I felt totally comfortable cutting up a whole bunch of them, since we still have boxes and boxes left in case one of our future children is another girl. Now, when I originally had the idea of making this quilt, I didn't actually plan on making it MYSELF. I don't sew. I didn't own a sewing machine. So I looked up how much it would cost to get someone else to do it for me. I was looking at spending at LEAST $100, probably closer to $200, and I wouldn't get any say in the actual design and it all seemed pretty pricey to me. Which of course is silly, since buying a sewing machine isn't exactly cheaper, but whatever...
In the end, with a sewing lesson and some help from my mom, I learned how to sew, and managed to put together this little beauty...
I'm in love. Like, so much in love, I almost didn't want to give it to Riley. :) The idea was I was going to make it for her for her 2nd birthday, but I just didn't get it done in time. In fact, I hadn't even started it before she turned two. But anyway... All the clothes are ones that she wore in her first year of life, and I can remember her wearing every single one of them (aside from the pink and white polka dot fleece blanket). My original plan was to only put special/sentimental clothes in there, but I quickly scrapped that idea because (1) I didn't have THAT many sentimental clothes and (2) I couldn't bear to cut up her coming home from the hospital outfit! and (3) I wanted it to look pretty and sort of coordinate.
Now, it's not perfect. And if you look too closely, you can see the imperfections, a few missed stitches, some inaccurate measuring on my part, etc... but I (with some help from my mom) made it, and I absolutely love it. Oh, and Riley likes it too. And I love that she walks around saying "mommy made that blanket for you!" (we're still working on correct use of pronouns). I'm totally making more of these, at least one for each baby, probably 2 or 3!!
Now I'm feeling totally inspired and have a list of like 20 things I want to make/sew. I can be a little over the top sometimes.... :)
Riley loves reading, Jackson loves listening... they make the perfect pair. Video courtesy of my mama. :) Oh and um, don't mind the little, err, interruption partway through... :)
When my parents were here they stayed at a local hotel for a few nights, which just so happened to have a large trampoline on the property. Someone I know and love was very VERY excited about this.
Yes, I got on the trampoline, but after a while she realized I wasn't quite as fun as daddy, and told me "mama can get off the trampoline." Right.
Because only daddies can double bounce their two year olds so they go flying in the air. Obviously.
We have got to get this girl a trampoline... only one with safety netting. :)