Saturday, September 11, 2010

school pictures

valentina had her picture taken this week at her preschool program. we selected this new outfit - a gift from grandma lori when she visited last month. she is a girlie girl no doubt. loves her tutu's, trying on new outfits, gazing at herself in the mirror and baby dolls.

she adores her new sister and often hears her cry before i do when waking from a nap. i wonder when they will start to beat each other up as siblings do. in my case, i liked to punch my sister in the arm and back. she used her long fingernails to scratch me and pull my hair. there were some pretty gruesome battles. its a miracle we ended up so close as adults. we laugh about it now.

i took maxima for her one month check up yesterday. she now weighs 4.25kilos or 9.3 pounds. she's gained weight steadily since birth and weighs more than valentina did at this age. she's longer too, blond and generally peaceful. i feel the same bond and love for her as i did with her sister - no effort, its just there.

i practiced yoga twice this week for the first time since the birth. it felt so good to move my body but it was a terse reminder that i have a long recovery to go before a return to a 90 minute ashtanga practice. my ego wants to squeeze back into my pre-pregnancy pants but i know its rushing it. breastfeeding is going well but it certainly sparks the appetite.

i keep thinking of something my friend jenny said to me shortly after valen's birth when i was struggling with breastfeeding - that 'the best mom is a happy mom'. i know it to be true now and am trying to find that balance without the guilt. as a yoga teacher from san francisco who had two beautiful homebirths, one might assume i would also advocate the attachment parenting model - nursing on demand, co-sleeping, wearing your baby etc. i do see the value in each of those practices but for me, with this child, it's not happening. a few days ago i started maxima on a routine of nursing, wake time and sleeping that has had a profoundly positive impact on her and the rest of the family. it works for us and for me. i am a happier mom and a better mom with the predictability of her cycles and more rest. she is sleeping a bit longer at night too - 3 1/2 hours at a stretch sometimes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

postpartum news

wow - how did two months pass without a post? well, the final month of pregnancy and the first 3 weeks with a newborn and 21 month old are i guess reason enough.

lots of friends and fam are asking 'how are you?' 'how are the girls?' my husband asked me recently 'is it easier this time around?' for him, it was a simple yes or no answer but of course its not. some things are easier like knowing how to handle a dirty diaper, crying infant and all of the little things that go along with caring for a newborn. we've been there done that so the stress of not knowing isn't an issue like it was with valentina. harder - finding the energy and time to give to valentina when maxima isn't nursing, crying or sleeping. dealing with daily tantrums as she adjusts to a world where she isn't the center of it and where mama can't hold her exactly when she wants. it's been heartbreaking but i know its a necessary break. valen has developed a sweeter bond with her 'papa' who now does her nightly bath and bedtime routine.

i am too vain to post a photo of myself today. so, imagine it. my eyes bloodshot red from very little sleep (maxima nurses every two hours at night), nursing tank top stained with breastmilk on one side and infant spit up on the other side. yoga pants and slippers on - my uniform the last 3 weeks. showered - its my one new mom indulgence, though it feels more like a necessity with the night sweats i endure from hormones flowing out of every pore. on the positive side i gained 10 fewer pounds with this pregnancy so getting back to pre-baby body doesn't seem that far off. i've already shed about 20 pounds.

the days fly by in a blur of nursing, soothing, sleeping cylcles. i am trying to get out of the house once a day - usually to pick valen up from her preschool program and walk home. that little bit of air is keeping me sane. i am breastfeeding exclusively and it is going well so far. a few hiccups in the beginning but this time around production has not been an issue and maxima latched on right away. because she is well fed and/or due to a calmer temperment, she doesn't keep me up all night crying. she nurses, burps, poops and usually returns to sleep for another two hours. everyone said that nursing would be easier this time and 'they' were right.

maxima is different than her sister. although her personality has yet to reveal itself, i can already tell she is more mellow. with valen we spent nearly every night the first 3 months rocking/bouncing/shushing/jiggling her to a calm state of mind and sometimes sleep. we were exhausted and i cried so much from sleep deprivation. i am not exactly well rested now but a few hours of sleep at a time, a few times a night is a huge difference. after a thermos of mate in the morning, i can actually feel normal and refrain from bitchy stares for awhile. this is progress.

valentina is adjusting, albeit slowly. the morning after maxima was born and valen met her for the first time, she leaned down from her father's arms to give her sister a hug and unprompted said 'i love you'. it doesn't get sweeter than that. she enjoys helping with baby care so i always include her in the diaper changing event. she hands me the diaper and the cotton for cleaning. then she throws the diaper in the diaper genie. she changes the diaper on her baby dolls now and imitates me soothing her sister - rocking them gently against her shoulder cooing 'it's ok, it's ok'. this is a wonderful age for us to witness. valen is full of fantasy play now. she play bakes banana cake and broccoli soup (two of her fav foods), reads books to her baby dolls, dresses and undresses her barbies, sweeps the floor with her mini broom and calls her friends on the phone. she's speaking mostly spanish but has about 300 words in english too. often she mixes them together as we do 'dame la broom'.

hugh started a great new job as general counsel for an sf based company the week maxima was born. we are lucky to have viviana - our housekeeper/nanny/right hand to help out. i told her she'd get a 50 peso bonus if she could get maxima to accept a pacifier this week. she had it on the second day. i know she's learned a thing or two from the nine children she's reared so we are in good hands.