Mom Life

A Random Awesome Saturday

TL;DR – Daniel and I didn’t have a plan for today until around 10AM, but everything turned out really well and I’m all for fun happenstances.

This week went by really fast, and it certainly feels like the final stretch of my maternity leave as my to do list keeps growing and Daniel and I have to finalize a “plan” for child care once I am back at work. “Plan” is in quotation marks because we’re going to try to have my mom help, but she’s a bit rusty and unsure of herself, which makes me a little nervous for my 4-month old- though it certainly helps that both Daniel and I will not be too far away.

We’ve settled on somewhat of a routine as a family of four (which I fully expect to change as Chloe keeps growing and we adjust to her developments)- Monday to Friday, Olivia goes to school, I’m with Chloe, and Daniel helps out with the baby when he can. Unlike our experience with Olivia at this age, where we couldn’t stick to a routine and every day felt different because we didn’t really know what we were doing, I do feel like we’re in a good groove with Chloe. I follow EASY – eat, activity, sleep, and your time – for each 3 hour cycle during the day. Per The Happy Sleeper, I try to put Chloe down to sleep at the 75-minute mark so she could be asleep at the end of her 90-minute wake window. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and if she wakes up early from a nap we usually have to wear her, but I feel a lot more confident about being able to recognize sleepy cues, how to put baby to sleep, and how to work through her protests. Chloe and I stay in a lot because I like being able to put her down in bed for her naps as opposed to having her fall asleep in the stroller. The one time we went out this week was to the library, which was nice because it was 55 degrees out that day, but generally it’s too chilly in New York in December. So on weekdays, my day is usually to wake up at 7AM, go through four 3hr cycles with Chloe, and in between I try to get some work done, read, and check in on Olivia through the photos and videos her school sends. My husband and I check in with each other whenever he’s not in a meeting, talk about Olivia’s school pictures, and he plays with Chloe, mostly by making her laugh. Towards the end of the day, my husband picks up Olivia from school, and Olivia gets about an hour of overlap time with her sister before I have to put Chloe to bed. During that hour, Daniel cooks. Then I do my bedtime routine with Chloe, put her to down in her crib, and join Daniel and Olivia to eat dinner, though they’re usually finished by then. We have a little bit of family time and then Daniel takes Olivia upstairs to sleep while I do dishes and have some alone time (like right now, where I get to type out this blog post). Finally, I try to sleep by 10PM and then the next day we do it all again.

Weekends are much more unstructured in terms of activities we do with Olivia, but it’s truly so nice to have full family time on the weekends since Olivia spends a lot of time at school. I love how mature Olivia has become- even though I initially wanted a smaller age gap between Olivia and Chloe, what we have now is absolutely perfect because there’s no jealousy, Olivia kind of has her own life with her school friends and teachers, Olivia understands and follows instructions really well, and she loves to help out with her baby sister. On weekends we like to go out because we love sharing experiences with Olivia and making new memories together that way. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy, and it’s even better when it’s free. Last week, we went to a tree lighting at a local plant nursery and then had the most amazing home-cooked dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. This weekend, one of Olivia’s classmates’ mom invited us to join them at a children’s museum that just reopened, but the tickets were free and sold out before I got to it. So as of Friday night we did not have a clear idea of what we would be doing, but I ended up finding a Winter Festival happening nearby and I sent it to Daniel before I went to bed.

This morning, we decided we would take advantage of a Seamless promotion to order takeout for lunch, then head to the Winter Festival. Unfortunately, we were unable to find parking at the event, so we decided to skip it as Olivia said she wanted to go to the library, and I found a library nearby. I stayed with Olivia at the library while Daniel took a sleeping Chloe on a stroll. Olivia and I found a puzzle at the library so we started working on it when I heard a very familiar voice. Lois, who ran the daycare center where Daniel and I met, just happened to be looking for books at her local library, and I was able to catch up with her. Olivia’s first school experience was actually at Lois’s school when she was 2 years old, but Olivia was so shy and totally seems to have forgotten her time there already (so crazy! That was just last year!). It was really nice to chat with Lois, then Daniel came back with Chloe and she was able to meet the baby. We had an interesting conversation with Lois about school options for Olivia, because we are looking to get Olivia into a dual language program, and she warned us about needing to be able to help her out with homework. We hadn’t consider that before, and it doesn’t change our minds about the program, but it’s very good to know that we will also need to work on English with her so she doesn’t fall behind.

After the library, we stopped by Bibble & Sip, which just opened an outpost in the area last month. Bibble & Sip is a bakery that makes delicious cream puffs and other goodies with Asian inspired flavors. I used to work around the block from the one in the city, and I once met my friend Cindy there as she was telling me how great it’d be for me to work at her company, Juniper Square. Random fun fact- my sister-in-law was going to purchase the house that Bibble & Sip’s owners lived in (she surmised it was their house from the company products she saw in the basement). I bought a matcha chocolate chip scone, matcha white chocolate cream puff, and earl grey cream puff, and we took a quick drive to my mother-in-law’s house to snack, and also for me to feed Chloe. No one was home so we just chilled for a bit. Chloe started getting restless an hour after she woke up, so I held her to sleep in the family room and Daniel hung out with Olivia in the living room. They found a Netflix show based on one of Olivia’s favorite books lately- Go, Dog. Go! which was a fun coincidence. I felt really good about being able to put Chloe to sleep rather quickly and without too much drama. Even though I was holding her to sleep (since it was her last nap of the day and I knew it wouldn’t be long, plus we were not home), I felt like we did the sleep dance really well as Chloe only had to “tell” me she was tired (by crying) once, I knew what she wanted, and when I held her with the pacifier she closed her eyes very quickly and fell asleep. Definitely patting myself on the back here for being in sync on communication with my baby.

Before we left, my mother-in-law actually came home, so it was nice to say hi and let her know we were coming back the next day. At the library I learned there was a (free) craft event happening 2 minutes away from my MIL’s house tomorrow, so we are going to do that, and we wanted to discuss our upcoming cooking channel with her as well.

We got home at a good time as I like to have Chloe in bed by 7PM. I fed her, we did our bedtime routine, and I put her down in her crib. I know they say babies love routines, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it too. Just so nice not to have to think much and still have the outcome happen as expected. Tonight was actually really interesting because typically I put Chloe down and then have to go back into her room to replace the pacifier a couple of times before she falls asleep, but tonight, she actually put herself to sleep without the pacifier (!!). I paid attention to the type of noises she was making, as I’ve learned not to help unless she was actually crying, and even though the pacifier had fallen out, Chloe was only whining and talking, so I left her alone and viola – she ended up sleeping without my intervention. I am so happy about this as it’s very in line with what I was reading in The Happy Sleeper. It’s almost like Chloe read my mind about what I was reading and then decided to show me she could do it. I have no idea if it’s second time mom experience, Chloe just being a good sleeper, or both, but absolutely no complaints from me!

When I came back downstairs, I let Daniel know that Chloe was very good, and he said that Olivia was very good too with her dinner. Olivia is definitely going through something where her taste buds are opening up again. We introduced solids to her by following baby led weaning, and she used to be a great eater, but as she got older she ended up only wanting rice, noodles, and chicken. She typically doesn’t eat what we eat and Daniel has to make special meals for her every night for dinner, but lately Olivia has been so receptive to different foods. After she helped me make my salad for dinner tonight, I offered her some and she actually had spinach(!). It was served with cherry tomatoes and croutons, which she likes, but I was so surprised she liked the spinach too. Again, no complaints and I hope she keeps it up!

While Olivia has been very close to being a dream child (she is thoughtful, funny, kind, smart, helpful, and listens to us for the most part; we can reason with her through her tantrums), the two things Daniel and I wish she could improve upon are her eating and sleeping habits. Sure, Daniel and I screwed up her sleep by co-sleeping and laying with her to sleep, but we thought we could talk her through better sleep habits as she got older. Last year she did have a week or so where she slept on her own, but then she got sick from school and we didn’t go back to trying to improve her sleep habits as I got pregnant and Daniel started sharing Olivia’s room because it was quite comfortable for me to get the bed to myself. Daniel’s starting to try to teach her better sleep habits now, so here’s to hoping Olivia can be influenced by Chloe’s good sleep patterns and learn to sleep on her own. My goodness, how much time we’d back!

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