Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joy-bringers

Often throughout the day I experience with Laney what I couldn't with Luke at this baby stage: Pure joy. In no way does that statement mean I didn't experience joy with Luke or delight in him in countless ways. It's just that with Luke, those sweet moments were always bordered with concern and clouded with the unknown. Is his color okay? Is he breathing faster than usual? When's his next feed? And did I write down how many cc's he took? Please don't let him spit up. We have to refill his meds. Wait, why is he sleeping longer than usual? Please don't let him get sick.

I could never turn off my "heart defect" brain with Luke. And to a degree, that was okay. I was given him by God to be his mom and his advocate. I needed to pay attention. But there is something so breathtakingly pure about mothering this time around. Making Laney laugh is just about making her laugh. Watching her grasp toys and touch my nose is simply about delighting in her development.

My heart so much doesn't want to put these two experiences in "good" and "bad" boxes, because through each, I am learning exactly what God needs me to. There was no way we could have seen the depth of God's care for us without walking through the hard days of Luke's diagnosis, birth, and life. This is what I call sorrow-joy. At the same time, we could never have known the fullness of God's goodness and generosity without the gift of Laney's health. This is happy-joy. Joy can be found in both because God is using both sorrow and happiness to deepen our trust in Him.

So although I am careful not to generalize Luke and Laney's babyhood, it is impossible not to notice the differences.

It was different for me yesterday when I caught myself feeling excited to see the number pop up on the scale at Laney's 4-month appointment. (14 pounds 11 ounces by the way. Chubby Wubby as Luke sometimes calls her.)

It is different for me to drive into work on Thursdays, hoping Laney does well on the bottle, but knowing she'll be just fine if she refuses it.

Her first cold was radically different for me compared to Luke's. Luke's first cold was shortly after his Glenn and we almost had to readmit him because of fluid build-up in his pleural space. I can honestly say not once have I counted Laney's respirations during this cold. And honestly say how nice that is.

How incredibly different to hand Laney over to a friend or family member without asking them to scrub their hands and then proceed to douse them in Purell first.

Can you call this second time around easier? Maybe. Less stressful? Yes. But better? No way. In the same breath I praise God for my children's perfect hearts.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Seriously?!

It's how I felt when Roger and I celebrated our ten-year anniversary this August. Ten years? Seriously?! And now I'm feeling it again as little miss Laney-bug turns four months old today. Roger and I were watching her on her tummy this morning, wiggle around to get a touch closer to her toy, then roll over, marveling that soon this little girl will be crawling, and eating solids and driving. Okay, that's still a ways off, thank goodness, but you get my point! She is growing up and is so not my tiny baby anymore. We haven't had her four-month check-up yet, but I am guessing this babe that came out so tiny is creeping up on 15 pounds. She has changed a lot in four months, but not in this area. The girl loves her milk!


She nurses about every two to three hours throughout the day, but can go anywhere from six to nine hours at night without waking. She had about a week where she was sleeping 8-9 hours each night (and the bald spot on the back of her head to prove it), but last week decided to start requesting that 2am feeding again. She is at an age where she is quickly and strongly developing opinions and one opinion she is voicing is anti-bottle. She'll take in when need-be, but she doesn't love it. Bless my husband, he has put hours into helping her take the bottle these past two weeks as I prepared to go back to the office part-time. When I did go back on Thursday, she took three bottles! Not without a little fuss, but she didn't starve! No, no worries about this chub starving.


I love nursing this sweet girl. I love how she grabs onto my shirt when she nurses and how I can see the imprint of her ear on my arm when she's done. I love rubbing her wrist wrinkle and how she almost always falls asleep towards the end of a session.

Many mornings, she is now waking up happy and babbling instead of with hungry tears. I listen to her through the monitor for a few minutes until my favorite part of the day: Her huge gummy smile as soon as I come to pick her up. She makes you feel like a million bucks, even with bed head and bad breath. She is generous with her smiles, but makes you work for her laughs. Her first belly laugh was due to her Papa Pat. She must have a good sense of humor because he is a funny guy.

Laney is not interested in "baby" things. She won't tolerate the cradle hold and is much more content sitting big-girl style in the stroller rather than in her car seat in the stroller. She loves to see what is going on, which may be part of why she still doesn't like being in her car seat. I think I'm going to try putting a mirror back there where she can see herself. Now that she is able to grab at toys, having a toy hanging from her car seat handle has helped diminish the tears in the car (ours and hers!)

Much of her day is one big startle reflex, as brother comes roaring in and out of her space. He is so loud and I'm shocked at how well she tolerates it. I often hear Rog telling Luke, "Get out of her space, dude!" But I truly think she has given the most smiles to her brother.


You have brightened our lives, Laney-girl. We love you, love you, love you!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bikin' and Sittin'

This summer was a summer of milestones for my little man. First swimming lessons, first time putting his head under water (and subsequently first time needing ear drops for swimmer's ear), first time attending VBS, and first time riding a "big boy" bike.

My mom bought him a sweet Buzz Lightyear bike for Christmas, but it wasn't until this summer that he could finally coordinate the pedals. He would always get stopped and stuck because these pedals brake when pushed backwards. It was a pretty big deal when he finally got it and he was so proud of himself. Lately, his favorite thing to do is ride his bike in our cul-de-sac with the neighbor kids. And here are the bumps and bruises to prove it.



Look at this kid go!

video

Laney-bug isn't bikin' yet, but she's got the sitting thing down pat!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pre-K, baby!

First day smiles!
He really didn't want me to take his picture, but too bad, buster!

I just dropped Luke off for his second day of Pre-K. Most of the morning is excitement, excitement, but right as we are getting into the car, nervousness edges out excitement. But then Miss Brenda rounds the corner to take her class back to the room and love wins out over both nervousness AND excitement. Luke's face is pure joy when he sees his teacher. I picture the slow-motion scenes in movies when she comes into Luke's view, where the angels sing and a halo of light surrounds Miss Brenda. His first love, perhaps?

When we told Luke he got to have Miss Brenda again for a teacher this year, he couldn't stop jumping. "Really? I really get Miss Brenda? You're not teasing me? Really?" It was pretty darn cute. I was secretly glad he got our beloved teacher again as well, since it has made the start of the year not nearly so nerve-wracking for me.


Luke goes to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9-11:30am. After I drop him off, Laney and I hit the gym, or Starbucks, or both and get some quiet time at home together. The poor girl never gets peace and quiet at home with a 4 year old brother.

My baby boy is growing up. Next year he'll start kindergarten and then in a blink of an eye, perhaps he'll follow his Auntie Andee to UCLA? He looks good in blue and yellow, don't you think?