Saturday, 28 December 2013

A Quick Catch-Up and then Tubby Time!

I am really kicking myself for not updating my blog more consistently over the past six weeks but man, newborns and Christmas do not mix even if they do provide some great photo ops:

Oh, and because having a newborn six weeks before Christmas is not crazy enough for us here at Shenanigans Inc., there was a new job for Mr. Level-Headed (hallelujah for paychecks and medical benefits!); yet another, and completely unexpected, flare-up for Baby Girl (grrrrrr . . . oh how I HATE colitis!); and an ice storm, which knocked out our power for forty-eight hours. Seriously, I wonder what life would be like with just a little less excitement. By noon on Christmas Eve, after spending about thirty hours in the cold and dark, with still far too much to do for Christmas looming before me and no means of being able to get it all done, I stood crying over the kitchen sink and thought for the first time in the six weeks since we have had Leif:

Maybe I really cannot do this.

Just then, my kids walked into the kitchen, and I felt ashamed of my momentary display of weakness, but I had had enough. I was done. Elliot hugged me and assured me that everything was going to be alright. Then Baby Girl started barking out orders (she is so much like her mama!):

Mom, we are going to Nanny's. Boys, start packing everything up. 

And they did. Within an hour, we were warm and cosy at Nanny's house, and I was sent to the spare bedroom for a much-needed nap with Leif. When I woke up, I felt much better. My optimism and energy had returned, and we were able to enjoy a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family and friends. 

Last year, after a picture-perfect Christmas filled with homemade goodies and handmade gifts, I sat in my living room surrounded by nothing but the Christmas tree lights and the stillness of a late December evening. In spite of how beautiful and magical our Christmas had been, my heart hurt. With tears in my eyes, I quietly pleaded with Heavenly Father for this to be the last Christmas I had to spend without my baby, my Thing 4.  For some unknown reason, that prayer, at that time, was answered, and so this Christmas, as crazy, as overwhelming, and as disorganised as it was, I tried to cherish every moment of it. I tried to keep it all in perspective and remember what a blessing it truly was.

THERE . . . we are all caught up, and now we can focus on how precious this little monkey is.

Tubby Time with Leif

If you have not had the pleasure of spending a good chunk of time with my little man, you may be shocked to learn that he is one royal, fuss mudget. He grunts, groans, whines and fusses all day long. This now infamous picture of him at Costco, pretty much sums up Leif's persona:

The Crank Meister

But there is one time of day when Leif is in his element, when he is happy and carefree, and that is tubby time!

In the tub, he practises his feats of strength and kicks up a ruckus. He splashes and squeals. This morning he discovered that if he squirmed down enough to put his feet up against the end of the tub, he could arch his back and push himself up out of the water. What a kid! I think my dad may be right: Leif's fussiness is simply a display of his frustration over the limitations of his six week old body. All he wants to do is run and play with  his big brothers, and I guess the tub is where he can train his body to do just that.

Don't worry, Leif. I fear it won't be too long now.

Monday, 2 December 2013

A Boy and his Penguin

This post is not sponsored by Toys R' Us, but it should be. Let's talk.

Leif and I are overwhelmed by how many people have so generously given him and I presents recently. Many friends have dropped off yummy meals and treats for our family. We have had two showers, where lots of friends and family have come out to help us celebrate Leif's birth, and gifts are continually rolling in on a daily basis. Thank you, everyone. We truly appreciate it.

As much as we love all of our gifts and as useful as all of them have been, the one gift that stands out the most is a tiny, penguin nightlight that my aunt, Marjorie and cousin, Laina, gave to me. I had scanned this nightlight when Emily and I were registering for our baby showers at Toys R' Us for no good reason other than I thought it was adorable. Well, as cute as the  penguin is, it has quickly become our favourite night time accessory. First of all, the penguin is tiny and operates on batteries, so I can move it to where ever I need it at night. Secondly, it operates on a timer, so if I happen to fall asleep before turning it off, it turns itself off after twenty to thirty minutes. I use it to give me a faint light when I am trying to get Leif to latch on for nursing, I use it as a flashlight when I am changing his diaper in the middle of the night, and most recently, it has become Leif's little buddy while I am changing his bum and trying to settle him down.

You see, not  only is the penguin nightlight the cutest and most portable nightlight ever, but it is also highly entertaining because the light can changes colours in a very slow succession if you hold onto the button for a moment or two. Avery discovered this trick, and I must say it is very cool. So, the other night Leif was particularly being impatient while I was trying to change his diaper. That boy wanted to nurse, and he wanted to do it that very moment; however, he had just let off an explosion in his pants and I really did not want to give it time to seep out onto his cutesy, tootsy jammies. Feeling desperate, I turned the penguin's light show on, and Leif immediately settled down. This was the first time he had noticed something other than our faces, and he was quite interested. He calmed right down, and began cooing at the penguin. It was too precious! Needless to say, the penguin light show has become a regular event here at Shenanigans inc every evening around 1:30 am.

Then, two nights ago, the penguin helped Leif achieve a monumental accomplishment. As the two of them were in the midst of a deep, philosophical discussion, one that could only be understood by a plastic, inanimate penguin and a newborn baby boy, Leif managed to muster up all the control his tiny body is capable of and very slowly and consciously stretched his right arm out to touch his new black and white buddy on the belly. I froze. In the blink of an eye, I witnessed my baby boy growing up. My heart rejoiced for him, and then it broke a little. Babies grow up way too fast! Thankfully, almost on cue, Leif became his spastic, attention-deficit newborn self again, flailed his body away from the penguin and settled his attention back on me.

There's my baby boy!

I scooped him back up into my arms and gobbled up his chubby cheeks.

No matter how big you get or how many cool tricks you can do, you will always be my baby boy, Leif . . . 

and mama will always love you!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Three Weeks of Leif

In the past, I have always viewed the first six weeks of having a newborn as a stage that I just had to get through before I could truly enjoy my baby. I hated it: the hormone drop, the leaky boobs, the fussy baby, the constant nursing, the crazy newborn poop that can sneak its way through the tiniest sliver of any opening and make a mess of the most darling itty bitty outfit, the sleepless nights, and all the adjustments that have to be made to acclimatize this new little being to the world and to the family! Not to mention, newborns are so flimsy and wobbly that they always made me nervous. I never felt like they were safe, even in my arms.

But then Leif came along, and wow, has my opinion changed. I am cherishing every moment of his newborn stage. I am soaking up his flimsiness, his insatiable thirst for nursing and even his super poops. I look forward each evening to our late night rendezvouses, where it is just the two of us nursing by the faint light of his penguin night light and being serenaded by the gentle snores of Mr. Level-Headed. It is the most peaceful time of our day! But, then again, Leif makes it pretty easy to enjoy him. He is not a fussy baby (unless of course there is a shower being hosted in his honour), he only wakes up twice in the middle of the night to nurse and always goes back to sleep easily. He loves being held, but he also does not mind being laid down in his crib to snooze. In fact, he always takes a two to three hour nap in his crib each afternoon. To top it all off, Leif is just a runt of a thing, weighing in at a whomping 7 lbs 3oz when he was born, he is my smallest baby by far, and I relish the fact that he is still able to wear all those adorable newborn jammies.  I don't think my other babies ever wore anything smaller than a size three months. 

I cannot give Leif all the credit, though, being a seasoned veteran of motherhood, I am much more relaxed this time around. I am in not such a hurry to get everything done, and I understand that as labour intensive as the first six weeks are, babies grow up quickly and they have to be enjoyed. Also, having the three older kids around to assist me has been a ginormous blessing, especially since Mr. Level-Headed is so busy at the moment trying to finish up this session of courses. I can shower, I can eat, I can clean up, I can nap, I can run out to the store for just a moment without bundling up my baby, whose disdain for the car and the car seat are his only two flaws, because there is always someone anxiously awaiting their turn to hold him. My kids now do laundry, empty the dishwasher, make meals, change diapers, and rock babies like nobody's business, and for the most part, they have been doing all of these things with very little complaint. Like one friend of mine exclaimed after seeing how helpful the kids were at a recent field trip to the Huntsman Aquarium:

Every mom with a newborn needs a teenager to help them!

It truly makes a difference. When Avery came home from the hospital, I swear I cried almost everyday because it was so overwhelming having three munchkins under the age of six in our home. Bringing home number four, though, has been an entirely different experience. It has been blissful and very, very easy.

Hours after he was born:

Midnight chats with mom in the hospital:

Heading Home:

A  heart-t0-heart with my big brother, Avery:

Mom's favourite picture: "Ol' Stink Eye!"

My first time in AppleCheeks:

My sassy side:

Feeling stripey!

Go Patriots!

Okay, so this may be mom's favourite picture.

Comic books with my brothers:

Early morning conversations with mom:

Leif is definitely our bonus baby, and we are enjoying every moment of his newborn-hood.