1 month!

Iella turned 1 month old this week!  This was also the week she was supposed to be due, which is funny.  Iella had grown so much in the past month.  She can hold her head up for a couple of minutes at a time, and a couple of times has even lifted herself up on her elbows while laying on her tummy.  She has been smiling since she was a couple of days old, and has laughed in her sleep a few times.  She is starting to get really interested in what is going on around her and if I hold her in a sitting position she will start turning her head everywhere trying to look at everything around her.  She loves to cuddle and if we are laying in bed she will scoot over as much as possible so she is cuddled right up next to me.  I love her so much and am so grateful for her.

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How my mom feels

At Mingli’s doctor’s appointment he got a couple of his vaccines.  After dinner recently this came up because Mingli wasn’t feeling well and my mom mentioned that it might be because of his shots.  My family is mostly pretty anti-vaccine, and some of them didn’t even know I was getting Mingli vaccinated, so instead of this being just a little comment it turned into a whole discussion about vaccines.  It was mentioned that President Roosevelt was in a wheelchair because of polio, and my mom said that yes, he was in a wheelchair, but he didn’t have autism (she firmly believes that vaccines cause autism).  Her tone sounded like she thought being in a wheelchair was preferable to having autism.  This was really hurtful to me, because she knows I have been diagnosed with autism, and even more so because she knows that we suspect Mingli has autism.  It felt like she was saying that she would prefer I was paralyzed than be the way I am.  It felt like she was saying that having autism was this awful thing.  I know many people feel this way, but to me autism is just part of who I am.  I have worked hard not to feel broken because of the things that are difficult for me, and it was hard to hear that my mom might still see me as broken.  More than anything I do not want her, or anyone, saying that kind of thing around Mingli.  If he gets diagnosed I never want him to feel broken.  I want to help teach him coping skills, but I want to teach him that his brain is just wired differently, but that is the way God made him, and God made him that way for a reason.  I just feel sad that my mom feels this way, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Independence

I have been thinking a lot about what we expect of babies.  I have heard a lot of advice about what I should be doing with Mingli and now Iella, and some of the advice is things I should be doing so my babies can be independent.  I do not believe in letting my baby cry, I co-sleep, and I do other things that I have been told will lead Mingli and Iella to being too dependent on me.  This has made me doubt my parenting style.  Recently, however, I have realized something.  Babies are supposed to be dependent on their caregivers.  They cannot feed themselves, they cannot do anything if they are cold, hot, wet, or hurt.  They need us.  Why do we expect independence from babies who cannot even hold their own heads up yet?  I’ve decided that infancy is a time of attachment, where I will be with my babies and make sure they knows I love them and that they can trust this world.  Toddlerhood is a time of growing independence.  Mingli has entered this phase and I have begun teaching him how to sleep by himself, make his own food, dress himself, and start developing the skills he needs to be truly independent.  My kids will learn these skills only after they has learned that I will always be there for them, that I love them, and that if ever they needs help I will always come.

Tot school

For tot school today we read Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs.  After I took Mingli’s dinosaur costume from Halloween and we danced around the kitchen listening the the song We Are The Dinosaurs.  This wasn’t planned, but it wasn’t good weather so we couldn’t do our planned activity.  It was a gross motor activity, so I decided last minute that dancing was a good substitute.

Next was a counting activity found here.  I wrote a number and the corresponding number of circles on each card.  We used a cookie sheet and some magnets to put on each of the circles.  Mingli counted as we did this and identified some of the numbers.  As we were starting this activity Ebo came and joined us.  After doing some counting we let the two kids just play with the magnets, which they had a lot of fun doing.

 

After that we did another gross motor activity.  Mingli got a bunch of balls for his 2nd birthday and I got them and helped the kids practice throwing the balls into a basket.  They loved this, and after a while we started throwing the balls to each other, then they just started playing with them.

Getting adjusted

Lately I have been trying to get more done during the day.  Up until now I have been resting and recovering, which has been really nice, but I am trying to get back into real life.  The problem is I will have a huge to do list at the beginning of the day, then feel like I am super busy all day, but when I look back at the end of the day I can’t figure out what I have actually done.  I’m realizing that this is part of motherhood.  With just one child I was actually able to accomplish things, even though it wasn’t as much as I wanted, but now that I have 2 I feel like keeping them alive and fed is all I do all day.  Part of that is having a newborn.  Iella is still so little, and she was early, so it is expected that she will need a lot of attention.  Mingli is little as well, and he also still needs a lot of time and attention.  I am working on settling into a rhythm that will work for me, and until then I am so glad to have the help of my family.  Kaanas has been trying to help, but isn’t able to much.  He had a little more than a week off work for Iella’s birth, but then between the time I was in the hospital before the induction and then the time Iella was in the NICU Kaanas only had 2 days off with Iella home, so he wasn’t able to help me adjust to having 2 kids instead of 1.  I also was never given time to recover after Iella was born, because less than 24 hours after she was born I was discharged and went to the children’s hospital that Iella was in where I had to sleep in a chair, do a ton of walking, and overall just wasn’t able to focus on any of my needs.  My family has kind of filled in the gaps and let me have some time to recover and helped me figure out having 2 kids, and I am really grateful for it.

It has still been a tough transition, though.  One night Kaanas was working, my mom wasn’t feeling well, my siblings were at a church activity, and my dad had gone to bed because he was leaving for work at 4-5 in the morning not not getting home until at least 7 at night, sometimes as late as 10.  This meant that when it was time to get Mingli ready for bed I was the only one doing it.  It was my first time doing the whole bedtime routine by myself, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.  I got Iella’s little bath seat and put that on the floor so she could sit in that while I gave Mingli his bath.  As I was getting Mingli in the bath Iella started crying and acting hungry, so I quickly got Mingli settled, brushed his teeth, washed his hair, and then just let him play in the bath while I sat in the bathroom nursing Iella.  A couple of minutes in Mingli decided that it would be fun to use his boats to dump water all over the floor, which meant bath time was over, so I had to stop nursing, but Iella, who was now screaming, back in her seat, and get Mingi out of the tub.  I quickly dried him off, got him dressed, and put him in his crib, then sat in his room nursing Iella while reading stories to Mingli and hoping Shand, who Mingli shares a room with, didn’t come home.  I am ok nursing in front of other girls, but I don’t use a cover so I really don’t want to nurse in front of my 12 year old brother.  Typing it out doesn’t sound that bad, but it was super stressful at the time.

I am slowly getting the hang of this, and loving my new life.  Everyday I am so glad I have both of my kids, and the more I settle into my new normal the better it becomes.  It is much harder than I thought it would be, and some days I feel like crying, even with help, but it is wonderful.

Halloween

We didn’t do a ton for Halloween this year.  Mingli is still young so didn’t really know what was going on.  Kaanas had to work, but we decided that me and my dad were going to take Mingli trick or treating.  Kaanas got to do the trunk or treating, so he was ok missing the trick or treating, especially since we really thought Mingli would have a lot of fun.

Once my dad got home from work we got Mingli all dressed up and ready.  He seemed to remember the trunk or treating, so he was actually excited when we dressed him up and gave him his bag.  I never could get him to say trick or treat, but he had fun going from house to house and dragging his bag behind him.  He had the most fun at the houses where he was able to pick out his own candy instead of just having candy put in his bag.  Although his favorite part was when we got home and I let him pick out 2 pieces of candy to eat.

One house was so funny.  They let him pick out a piece of candy, then told him to get another, then another.  By this time Mingli seemed to think he was just supposed to take all the candy, so before I could grab him he reach out to grab a 4th piece of candy.  The person handing out the candy thought this was really funny and told him he could have as much as he wanted.  I did stop it at 4 because I didn’t want him taking all the candy.

Even though we weren’t out long it was a lot of fun.  Mingli wasn’t ready to come back, but he really didn’t need more candy, and I knew that he would start getting tired soon.  I love that Mingli is getting old enough to start enjoying the holidays, because they are a big deal to me.  Holidays are going to start getting more and more fun.

A newborn

I have noticed a few changes in Iella lately, in her eating habits, her sleeping habits, and a few other things.  I realized that she is acting more like a typical newborn.  For example, she is now eating every 2-3 hours instead of every 1-2 hours.  When I started thinking about it, it really makes sense.  If I was still pregnant I would be 39 weeks right now, which is about when she should be born.  It makes sense that she is starting to act like a newborn, because that is what she is supposed to be.

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