Sunday, February 5, 2017

Declan: Four Months

Dear Declan,

You're four months old today! You bring us such smiles, if only because we see YOUR huge smiles!

We used to say that your brother was a baby of a million facial expressions--those eyebrows!--but you are all about that smile.

And it never gets old.

The stats this month: you are 18 pounds and 27.5 inches--unofficially (90th percentile for weight and 95+ for height). (For comparison, Marshall was 17 pounds 7 ounces and 26 inches at this age.) 

The big change this month was that I went back to work (more on that in another post), and now Daddy is staying home with you for THREE whole months. You have handled the change like a champ, and Daddy is absolutely awesome as a stay at home dad! You two are clearly bonding (I'll admit I'm a little jealous, even if I'm thrilled for you to get this time with Daddy), and it's awesome to see your relationship grow.

(Marshall is still going to day care full time, although we did have a week of illnesses that stuck Daddy with both of you for several days, which is NOT easy even under the best circumstances! We had to call in Gammie's help for that one!)

You are becoming more aware of and excited about your big brother. You look for him when you hear his voice and seem to smile just looking at him.

He loves you quite a lot, too. He often crawls down next to you to cuddle or hold your hand. It makes me so happy.

Sometimes you're too little to play with Marshall, but you seem to enjoy watching what's going on around you.

Once, I had to run out of the room during story time, and when I came back your brother had chosen a book and was reading to you. There aren't enough emoji hearts in the world for how I felt at that moment.

Eating is going great! I was very nervous about going back to work and keeping up my supply, but I have a pretty ideal situation with a private office and coworkers who have been there. Luckily, things seem to be going well on that front so far, and you have been willing to take a bottle. You and Daddy have it down pretty well now, and you usually eat 8-10 ounces during the nine hours we're apart each day. Also, I don't have much of a commute, so it helps that I can sometimes get away with only pumping twice and just make sure to feed you right before I leave and right when I get home. 

I definitely prefer feeding you myself, and I think you agree! :-)  Here, you got hungry while we were out on a family hike, so we made it work. 

Speaking of being out and about, we do our best to make sure you get good naps in during the day. It's not always easy, especially on weekday mornings when you and Daddy have to take Marshall to day care. Usually you wake up around 6 or 6:30, and then you hit the road with Daddy around 8. Already you'll be super tired, and then your nap is often interrupted or cut short by the trip upstairs to bring M into school. Plus, car naps are never awesome anyway, so mornings are generally tough for sleep. The rest of the day is usually smoother, and Daddy is great about making sure you get plenty of sleep.

By evening, you're all tuckered out, and you've set a pretty consistent bedtime of 6 pm(!). In some ways, it's nice, because one of us will put you down while the other makes dinner and hangs out with Marshall. Then we get some quality time with M at dinner, bath, and bedtime before you need to eat again about 10.

Night sleep is going well; you sleep 3-4 hours at a time. We moved you out of the cosleeper because you're too huge, and now you sleep in our portable crib, the Joovy Room 2. It takes up a ton of space in our room, but it's nice that we don't feel pressured to move you out of our room before any of us is ready (especially Marshall, who isn't ready for a big boy bed yet). You also often fall asleep next to me and snuggle, which I LOVE. 

Second child syndrome: We forgot a change of clothes for you (to be fair, we were just running to the store) and had to MacGyver it with your brother's jacket and a blanket wrapped into "pants." 

You are also starting to giggle and laugh! It's such a precious sound.

And that really is killer. You smile with your whole face, so that even when you aren't quite smiling yet we can still tell when you're about to. 

Are you kidding me with those arms?

You rolled this month! Two days ago, you rolled back to tummy. (You rolled tummy to back a month ago, but then decided it wasn't for you.)

Thrilled about it, obviously.

 You're definitely a chill, happy kid. We rarely see you get worked up. You occasionally get upset when you're overtired (and we have had a few ROUGH moments during those times), but otherwise you just like to be around people. Or by yourself. Doesn't seem to matter.

 Likes: Daddy, big brother, Mommy (maybe not in that order?), looking around, grabbing your toys, people smiling at you, watching Marshall play, music and singing, being outside, reading books, especially with fun voices with Daddy, Scout (who snuggles up with you and Daddy when you eat from the bottle), playing peekaboo, getting your cheeks pinched, having a fresh diaper.

 Dislikes: being cold, especially after a bath, being tired, going into the room for nap time.

Declan, we love every moment with you. Your happy, sweet smile reminds us to slow down and just enjoy the moment. You make my arms hurt when I hold you because you're so huge, but it's absolutely worth it to snuggle your pudgy body and keep you close a little longer. I don't know if you'll always be a cuddler, but I am going to take advantage while it lasts! Thank you for bringing us so much joy. You are absolutely irresistible, and we love you so much!

Washington, D.C.

My rock star of a husband won a huge award at work, and his company invited us to attend a fancy reception in Washington, D.C. to celebrate! We worked it out so the kids could join us, and my parents offered to tag along, too, so that we could enjoy the evening and then sight-see together. So in mid-January, we headed off to our nation's capitol!

Marshall's second trip requiring a plane (the first was Hawaii last year)! He was more excited about the shuttle bus to the airport than the flight itself... But he did great on the flight. He didn't nap, which was a bummer, but he handled sitting for five hours really well!

After a great night of sleep (and room service! so fun!), we met up with my parents for a fun day in the city!

Natural History Museum

Showing us how giraffes drink

Air and Space Museum

That night we got all dressed up and headed downstairs at the Willard Hotel to attend the awards dinner. So fancy!

Dinner was amazing: salmon topped with crab for me, filet for Terry

And here's more of the gorgeous hotel, where we will likely never be able to afford to stay again :-)

The next day was all about monuments and historical sites!

We brought our umbrella stroller for Marshall for the trip but chose to just carry Declan in the Ergo/K'tan. It was definitely smart to have the stroller for Marshall (that's a LOT of walking for a little guy), and it ended up working out well to be so portable. If we hit a staircase or area without easy stroller access we could easily fold up the little stroller, which would have been much harder with our giant BOB jogging stroller. Also, we didn't rent a car (just rode Metro and walked), so we skipped bringing car seats, though I do wish we had had a car seat for Marshall for the flight, just for peace of mind.

My favorite monument :-) 

One of my favorite moments of the trip was letting Marshall try his first hot chocolate! We asked the coffee shop to make it cooler for him, and they made it perfectly. This sweet boy loved it!

If I look tired, it's because I am. Traveling with a toddler and newborn is stressful, even if it's worth it and super fun! Keeping it real, folks.

Since we traveled east, we mostly kept the boys on West Coast time, so they were going to bed around 9:30 pm or so each night. It worked out great that we didn't have to hide out in a dark hotel room after the boys went to bed, because we were ready for bed ourselves at that point.

Also, we had hoped Marshall would enjoy sleeping in his own big bed, but I think it was a little upsetting for him. He did okay the first night, but for the third day's naps we offered him the crib (where Declan had been sleeping) and he eagerly accepted--and slept MUCH better. So then we just put Declan with me, Daddy got his own bed, and Marshall took the crib. Whatever works!

Another highlight of the trip (unpictured) was a fun dinner out with my parents on the last night. We all enjoyed a delicious meal, Terry felt especially proud of himself for getting an overtired Declan to sleep, and we all had a fun time chatting.

On the way home: SO MUCH TEA, and I'm loving these Biscoff cookies they give out on planes now!

The boys dozed off for an hour or so during the flight. Again, five-hour flights with little ones are stressful, but worth it.

Special thanks to Terry's company for treating us to most of our trip and for a fun excuse to visit D.C. It also made us feel a little more brave about potentially visiting the East Coast again soon! Plus, huge thanks to my parents for coming with us to watch the boys on our big night. It was a great trip!