Our little girl has bright blue eyes like her brother but they are more inset like her daddy's so hard to catch in photographs at times. But I caught a few glimpses of her baby blues yesterday when she was wearing this most adorable dress from Auntie Amy... a little southern smocked action going on amongst the deep pink polka dots.
Definition of cute.
She really does light up our lives. Plus she broke out saying "mama" a few times so that makes me all mushy inside.
I have been reduced to bribery in parenting. Eli doesn’t eat at daycare. He’ll eat snacks all the live long day, but he will not eat a meal. I don’t even think he tries things. Yesterday they had chicken strips and fries. WHAT KID DOESN’T EAT THAT? And now it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy because he’ll say “I don’t like the food at Constances.”
Constance is the name of his daycare provider. Isn’t that a great name?
I’ve bought a special book that I told him he gets IF he eats at Constance’s house. I’ve had it for weeks.
To be fair, he is NOT a superstar at eating lunch or supper for us either. It’s very hard to get him to try something. We want to have the expectation that he has to at least TRY everything but if he doesn’t like it, that’s okay and he can eat what he does like on the table. But just getting him to try something is so hard now. Part of this could be that we have been living at Greg’s parents and have been more lax with him. Plus Grandma and Grandpa get to spoil him some, that’s their right. And we aren’t going to make Constance battle Eli and his strong will towards eating. We’ve gotten him to try things by bribing him with dessert… somehow that doesn’t seem smart…
But sweet Eli, he’s a little carb fruit monster and it needs to stop! Seriously. Cereal, crackers, toast, rice = love. Fruit of any kind, yogurt, granola = heavenly. Praise God for avocados, he will eat them along with some other random foods. SNACKS are his favorite. MEALS are death.
I don’t get it. He loves spaghetti and will eat adult-size portions. But if I make ravioli or lasagna or something that’s basically spaghetti but a different look? It’s like pulling teeth to get him to try it. Sometimes I’ll say “it’s cheesy spaghetti” and then maybe he’ll try it. I don’t get what is going on in his brain.
Any parenting wisdom to get our used-to-eat-anything boy to be more meal-friendly? I’d say we’d eliminate snacks but when he’s at daycare two-to-three days a week, I can’t control that. And dang-nabit, I’m not going to let mom guilt over Eli not eating have me stop working part-time. There has to be a way to get him to be a better meal eater or at least a try-er. Eli is often SO CRANKY at night because he’s not eating enough good food. And it’s not like his snacks are pure sugar either. He doesn’t often get sugary stuff from us, rarely has juice, he really doesn’t like meat (unless it’s spaghetti or tacos), he has a love/hate relationship with cheese, loves hummus with pita chips or cucumbers, does some veggies well sometimes and others never ever… it’s just hard to figure him out.
Perhaps, along with potty-training, this will just be something to tackle when we are in our own house again. We can let him go hungry if he won’t eat a meal (and we’ll listen to the extreme whining that will inevitably follow). I’ll also get back to sneaking vegetables into muffins and all that fun pinterest baking. And I’m pretty sure when Annalee gets older we can manipulate him with “oh, look at Annalee eating the green beans… go Annalee!!” and he’ll be all jealous of the attention. That works, right?
My sweet girl slept through the night of the 17th. I woke up the morning of my birthday one happy mom. Glorious!
Then my dear husband brought me breakfast in bed (he told me that I once told him I wouldn't like breakfast in bed because of crumbs...but now I must be more lax because I told him it sounded lovely!). Then my Dad came into town and stayed the whole day! We ate at a local diner (knoefla soup!). They gave free kuchen for my bday (which I gave to Greg) and they gave Eli a free cookie just because he asked.
Eli: "Can I have a cookie?"
Lady: "For you today it's free!"
Me: takes cookie, gives Eli one bite then sneekily eats the rest with Grandpa. I mean, come on, it was right before nap time!
Eli was exceptionally sweet that day. He does this thing where he comes up to me and says "I love you, mama" with a hug. Pretty sure it would melt even the hardest of hearts. And later he told me I was the best ever in the world, complete with the circular hand motions he does to show something large. Love that boy.
My dad made my favorite meal that night. Walleye (he caught in Canada the week prior), boiled potatoes, corn. So, so good.
Later I was taking pics of the kids and accidentally took one of just me that showed my hair looking super red! No gray! It's coming more and more and I do not anticipate the day I'll start dying it. May I make it another year plus!
Oh Annalee, how you light up a room with your smile. If you turn out to be timid, quiet, introverted and inclusive, we will surely all be surprised.
Some Annalee-isms to record:
When you pick her up she automatically tries to turn around to be facing forward. I've rarely worn her in my moby wrap thing 'cause the only way I ever used it with Eli was baby snuggled up facing me. She does not go for that. Greg puts her outward facing in the Bjorn when he washes bottles and she is happy as a clam. She has to know what's going on.
She puts up with big bro quite well. He often will run up to her full speed ahead and near smack her... he has much affection for her. There is much hugging and petting. And she takes it very well. She lights up when she she sees him each morning.
Annalee must be watched much more closely than her brother ever was. She will get into anything. She will chew on cords. She ate paper last week. If she doesn't end up in the ER by the time she's 3, I will be surprised and extremely grateful. When she learns not to put everything in her mouth, that will be a nice day.
She eats like a champ. I have much mom guilt over not making her baby food from scratch but she doesn't seem to mind Gerber. She opens up wide when the spoon is coming at her. Not a huge fan of peas but I can usually get a few bites before she utters her disgust. She loves peaches. And mum mums.
Since I stopped pumping a few weeks ago (oh yes, there was great rejoicing), she's been doing fine on formula and my frozen milk (which we probably have a month supply or more of). She is gaining weight still so I think the transition is fine. She sees a bottle and gets VERY excited. She grabs that thing and plops it in her mouth with a surprising quickness. She also has been holding her own bottle this last month!
16lbs, 12ozs is her current weight at 8 months plus a week. With short legs for sure.
She takes a soothie binkie still at night but not as fervently. Sometimes at naps she doesn't even use one. Other times is a must. Go figure.
I let her sleep with a muslin blanket now and she seems to like to finger it but it's not a must have either. I think she sucks on her lips (like Greg did when he was a baby) for soothing.
This girl never gets read to. I feel really badly about that. Her brother still gets 20+ minutes of story time before bed, but Annalee has no calm time. She goes from happily, active playing to "I'm ready to eat and go to bed people, hurry up."
She goes to bed around 7:30 - 8:30pm and wakes up usually around 10 to eat, then sleeps until 7am or so. This has been fairly consistent the last weeks. It is much better than life before we slept long stretches.
She has begun to really babble. Sweet, sweet, to hear most of the time. Occasionally we comment "was that Annalee?!".
Our littlest entertains herself much better than her brother ever did... she can play/crawl/explore for long stretches without our input (as long as she's in a baby proof area, of course).
Annalee still loves her Grandpa better than all else but the rest of us are loved and get her attention too (even Grandma!). She doesn't give out her smiles excessively but she usually has a smile for Grandpa, she is always aware of where he is in a room.
She wishes she could walk, this sweet girl. Her favorite thing is to have someone hold her hands and help her walk along. She pulls up and climbs things... and gets stuck sometimes. The other day she tried climbing up the stairs to get to her bottle on the second stair. I am bummed that Eli's mail walker toy is in storage because I know Annalee would devour it.
We had to put the baby gate up because she can move from one side of the room to another in a few seconds flat.
I played horsey with her on my legs last night and she giggled out loud with pure joy.
Ketia is her Haitian daycare lady and Annalee likes her but she really likes Ketia's oldest daughter that's home from school now. She always is holding her when I come and Annalee smiles lots for her. Annalee also plays with her cousin Alexia at daycare and they've seem to come to a mutual understanding of each other (and we hope that means they will be friends!).
Annalee is looking more and more like her daddy, I think. She's already wrapped around his finger.
I call her Missy Moo Moo. No idea why.
She still sleeps in the storage room but I sure hope that's not the case two weeks from now!
Again, this girl is loved and a joy to her mom and dad and overly affectionate big brother: "I wuv you Annawee".
It still stings. Deep down. Not like a bee-like sting. More like that chronic neck ache that you just get used to living with.
Today I looked up from my desk at work to see a little red-headed girl from behind, walking to the door as she talked to her mom. I subconsciously calculated that she's a bit taller than Eli but still not kindergarten age which made me think she's got to be around four. And I felt the sting, the knowledge of who is absent in my life.
I think about Maelee less than I did before. I know there are a variety of reasons for that. We are away from South Carolina where our lives were when we were anticipating her. Our home with her room, with the memories of wailing in its emptiness, that home is now somebody else's home. Our boy who was his big sister's little brother has become the big brother. And we have a daughter to put on those pink onesies and smile for the camera. And we are busy and tired and still not settled.
Add the fact that time does ease (not heal) wounds and all this makes sense. Though I caught myself feeling guilty, like I wasn't missing her enough or replacing her with Annalee. But that's not true. I still miss her piece in the puzzle of our family. I still ache but the ache is more fleeting, more easily subsided. That's a gift - no way could I grieve so heavily and still function on earth. But it's also sad in its own right... the nearness to suffering, to the truth that this is not all there is, the hope for eternity... that has all also lessened.
So I'll take these fleeting Maelee moments because it will remind me of God's goodness to us in getting us through those awful first days. I will welcome that sting, knowing my life is so full that a brief interruption will be just that. It will remind me of her, of my sweet firstborn who had to have been a happy medium of her two siblings. Maelee. She existed and I always want to remember as vividly as time will let me.
Saturday we drove to Dickinson to see Chris and Lilli as well as my aunt and uncle. It was a laid back, low key fun family day.
Lilli and Eli are becoming very close. She bosses him around and baby's him and he follows and soaks it up. We'll be seeing even more of her as they transition moving to Minot this summer. When we left Saturday, Eli bawled. He just loves the fun that happens with them.
My Auntie Ruthie took these two to the park and took some cute photos!
How cute are they?
My mom grew up near Dickinson and my grandparents lived there until their deaths. We spent many holidays there growing up. Besides my aunt and uncle, all family has moved on from there and there is definitely a part of me that's sad they aren't still all there for me to visit now that I'm close. If only I could have had a close relationship with my grandparents. I should have made an effort before.