Susie's Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Hi, I'm Susie. You can find out all about me, or just read my journal.

[No comments] Last First: Arthur is one! My little king. On his first birthday, he also had his first haircut, which he took like a champ. He also learned how to go down the stairs while we were in Utah for thanksgiving. He's growing up.

Arthur likes balls, cars, touchy-feely books, biting things, and ripping paper. His favorite foods are bananas, string cheese and anything in a pouch. He loves those pouches. He only drinks a couple ounces of milk each day, and it's hard won. He takes two naps, sometimes short, sometimes long. He sleeps at night from about 6:30-6:30.

Arthur is interested in the world around him. He thinks animals, and sienna, are fascinating. He smiles at everyone, but will only go to mom or dad - or Maggie! He's started making sounds like "a-dad" and "a-mom" that may or may not actually mean what they sound like. He laughs easily. He loves Disneyland and still enjoys meeting his friends. He pretty much likes anytime we are out and about, riding in the stroller or car, and seeing the world.

His main annoying trait is clinginess. And of course I worry that he doesn't eat well.

[No comments] Family of Six: I am feeling the effects of having a family of six. Today I did five loads of laundry. And lots of dishes. I used to run the dishwasher every other day, but it's closer to every day now. When we were in Utah, I did a load of laundry every day. We make a load of laundry every day. On the bright side, we packed pretty light!

Happy Boy: Dalton cheered when he came home from school and saw me making pretzel dogs. He also cheered for the Chipmunk Adventure movie Sienna was watching. And excitedly told me about the snack he ate. He is so optimistic most of the time, as long as he isn't "bored."

Baby Vacuum : 4 stages of vacuuming with infant.

0-1 months. Vacuum provides desirable white noise. You can vacuum in baby's room while sleeping and she won't stir. Unfortunately, it makes you bleed every time so no vacuuming gets done.

1-3 months. Vacuum wakes baby up. Getting baby to sleep is so difficult that no vacuuming gets done.

3-9 months. Baby is scared of vacuum and insists you hold him while vacuuming. This is impossible. No vacuuming gets done.

9 months-2 years. Baby thinks vacuum is a friendly pet and follows close behind. So close that you when you pull the vacuum back, you may run over baby. No vaccuming gets done.

No More Rides: The kids didn't have school today, so I took them to Disneyland, where we met up with my cousin Laura. They were pretty whiny. Starving to death at 10:15 etc. Maggie was bored and wanted to leave. We had fast passes to Hyperspace Mountain. She said, and I quote: if we go one one more ride, I will kill you.

Habits: Sienna has developed a nervous tic. Except it's the other kind of nervous (not nervous system) and it's more of a tick tock than a tic. She makes a clicking sound when she's nervous, like talking to an adult, meeting a character at Disneyland, or speaking in front of people - she did it at the primary program after saying her part! It was funny and also really cute.

Lately she's been sighing as she breathes. Taking constant big deep breaths for no reason. The internet has convinced me it's just a habit and she'll grow out of it, just as Maggie did with throats clearing a few months ago.

First Freckle: Arthur got his first freckle a month or two ago, just above his right hip. It's pretty cute.

: Poor Arthur is sick. He's got the saddest little wheezy cough, and is breathing like a poor thing. Hopefully it's at it's worst. Nothing like not being able to do anything to make your baby feel better. He's pretty happy as long as he's being held at least.

Tuesdays Alone: Our neighbor and I swap kid-watching days every week. I watch her 2 year old for an hour on Wednesdays while she volunteers at the school and for 3-4 hours on Thursdays while she ice skates. She watches mine for 4-6 hours on Tuesdays for my volunteering and whatever else I need to get done. Today I volunteered for reading groups, voted, found a pair of jeans at Old Navy that fit me very well, picked up my sewing machine, at lunch at Taco Bell, and took my time looking through Halloween clearance at Target. It was a great morning. It's definitely nice to have some alone time, and also nice to tick off lots of errands without hauling kids in and out of the car. I don't mind shopping with them, but the in-and-out is annoying.

Also today was Running Club for Maggie and Dalton, during which I took the younger two to Trader Joe's and the nearby park. Then we had a quick dinner and piano lessons. The kids spent the evening sorting their Halloween candy to leave some out for the Switch Witch who will be bringing them a toy tonight.

Caramel Pie: Sienna thought the process of pumpkin carving very curious. The whole time John was scooping out the innards, she kept asking "are you making caramel pie?" over and over.

All Done: I've quit pumping and Arthur is drinking up the last few bags of breast milk from the freezer. I thought I'd try nursing him one more time. He laughed.

This is Halloween: I keep waiting for John to mix up his nightguard with the glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth sitting on the bathroom counter.

Feetie Nen: Watching Sienna put her feetie pajamas on may have been the highlight of my day. There was a lot of turning around, and an adorable face plant at the end.

The primary program was also today. I was surprised how well Sienna did since she refused to even go up for Mother's Day and Father's Day. She sang some of the songs and sat relatively still. She even went up and did her part, with a nervous "tick tock" sound of her tongue at the end. It was adorable and hilarious.

Maggie, The Lion, and The Witch: When I discovered Maggie was rereading Rainbow Magic Fairy books, I got out the Narnia series, told her what it was about, and gave her the first book to read. She trudged along for her daily reading, with the promise of a movie at the end. Today she finished, and she told me she read four chapters today. She's finally excited about a book! We started the movie tonight, and she asked me to get out the next book for her so she could read it when she wakes up.

[Comments] (1) On Strike: One day while nursing, Arthur bit me, I yelled, and he has refused to nurse since. That was nearly three weeks ago. The whole experience has been very distressing. I was surprised at my intense emotional reaction to it. And worst of all, I've had no support. Either none of my friends have gone through this, or it's one of those things, like miscarriage, that people don't talk about.

Five friends with babies off the top of my head. One didn't occur to me, and I'm annoyed at her. Hah. One uses formula for her convenience. One pumped exclusively after a months-long battle with thrush, mastitis etc. One was only able to nurse for a week, having a breast reduction previously. And one was unable to nurse. So not much help.

The internet assured me that most nursing strikes end after 2-4 days, though anecdotal evidence showed otherwise. The pediatrician, the most supportive person I talked to, told me he would just suddenly start nursing again. I tried all the tips online, no luck at all. He is also cutting upper teeth (theoretically, it's been weeks), and had a cold in the meantime. All strikes against us.

I've been pumping three times a day (he was nursing four) and trying to get him to drink from a cup. After two weeks, I introduced sippy cups. I think we're maybe up to half of what I pump. I would not be surprised if he's losing weight, and he's always hungry.

So here is what not to say. "Maybe he's just done." He is Not. Just. Done. Literally every person I talked to said this to me, except the pediatrician (the only person who knew what she was talking about). That is the very definition of Not Supportive. This is MY baby. I have over five years of breastfeeding experience, I have weaned three babies and I can tell, he wants to nurse, but can't or won't for some reason. (I say this in present tense, but I think it likely the sippy cup has ruined it forever). He signs for it. He is just as upset as the break in our nursing relationship as I am. Maybe even more so, since he has also lost his food source. But I don't know what else to do.

Clearly, I am very upset about this. I nursed Sienna until maybe 26 months, and she was sad when I finally cut her off. I was hoping to have that wonderful, long-lasting experience again, but it may not be meant to be.

This experience also served as a reminder that we all have Stuff. Maybe you don't wear your trial on your sleeve, but that doesn't make it any less important, difficult, or significant. We all have stuff, keep that in mind when making your judgements.

To Sum Up: I spent two hours at the pediatric ophthalmologist with a sick, teething baby, on day 10 of a nursing strike. That is all.

Rule Bound: Maggie at Mt. Hood, was quite upset that we said Dalton was 7 so he could go on the zipline. "I feel like going back up there and telling them Dalton is 6."

She also refused to enter the McDonald's play place until John came in because it said she needed a parent. John: "The first thing she did was read the rules."

Jack, the Pumpkin Pie: Sienna watched The Nightmare Before Christmas today and sang "Christmas Everybody sing to the pumpkin pie!"

Merf: Wow, it's really easy to fake enthusiasm over text. I just forced myself to use an exclamation point instead of a period. Instant perceived joy!

: Sienna, singing Let it Go: The frozen crackers all the way down!

Actual lyrics: spiraling in frozen fractals all around.

Mid-Life: When I turned 30, I made a list of thirty things I had accomplished in my 30 years. I remember starting the list several months earlier in Goa, in the resort pool, alone at night, John back in the room with the (two) kids. I'm in a different place now, physically of course, and in many other ways.

35 is probably mid-life for me. I think I am done with accomplishments. I made four wonderful children, I just need to finish them off, and that's all the mark I plan to leave on the world. The next 35 are for fun!

10 Thing That Make Me Happy:

1. Long conversations with John
2. Tickling my kids
3. Being at Disneyland
4. Traveling somewhere new
5. Exploring the outdoors/hiking
6. Playing board games
7. Eating really good food
8. Snuggling
9. Singing along
10. Finishing a project

Sacrament Thoughts: Someone in Utah should, instead of participating in an MLM, market a portable baby-proofing cover for hymn book pockets.

I felt like a space age parent feeding two of my children food from pouches at the same time.

Too Splash: More Sienna Zootopia funnies.

She went on Splash Mountain with John for the first time yesterday (yay 40 inches!). She said it was "too splash" and now she is telling me about how Judy Hopps (the rabbit character from Zootopia) was stuck. Also, she calls her "Hopps Hopps" ("Officer" Hopps).

Little Hustler:

John quoting Nick Wilde in Zootopia: "It's called a hustle, sweetheart!"
Sienna: Don't call me Hustle!

[Gummy shark]
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