Ellie Likes to Write Letters

We continued our morning routine of Ellie crawling into bed with me so I can snuggle with her for 10 or so minutes before we get up.  She really wanted to snuggle for much longer, but I explained that we were short on time.  I brushed her hair and helped her get dressed.  She was pretty clingy this morning and did a lot of crying.  She didn’t want to leave me.  She knows that this morning routine means I will eventually leave her at school.  Once there (and once I’m gone), she’s totally happy.  But she still doesn’t like the idea of me leaving.

Ryan packed her lunch (sandwich, yogurt, watermelon and grapes) and water bottle and we went on our way to school.  Ellie wanted her morning photo by the sign and then we walked to the back of the school to take off her outside shoes.  Once inside, we put away her lunchbox and water bottle.  The director tried to help with this, but Ellie was adamant about doing it herself.  We chatted with the director and her husband about the website and the photos I took for them.  They seemed very pleased.  They have a few other photos that they want on the website that I didn’t take, so I’m going to edit those photos for them.  This way, the photos all look consistent.  It was time for us to go, but Ellie wasn’t having that.  She held onto me and cried again.  I gave her all the hugs and kisses…but then it was time to leave.  She cried and cried, but she was fine once we left.

Traffic wasn’t nearly as bad today, so we got home in record time. It was 8:30, so straight to work for me.  And Ryan had to pack the van for Dragon*Con.

On the way to pick up Ellie, we chatted about the upcoming road trip to Atlanta.  Ellie is such a good sport.  She’s been taking road trips since she was 4 or so months old.  We’re so lucky to have a kid who is adaptable and pleasant when traveling (and when not traveling, lol).  When we arrived at her school, Ellie was sitting on her nap mat and trying to sing another student to sleep.  She doesn’t take naps, so I guess she was trying to help everyone else nap.  I heard my name, “Mama?  Mommy?  MAMA!!!”  She occasionally calls me Mommy now because that’s what the director calls mothers.

During school, Ellie worked on her letters.  They worked on writing letters and picking out pictures of things that start with that letter.  Her teacher said she’s doing a great job and that she has an amazing attention span for her age.  They also rolled a 3 sided die and would pick out the corresponding quantity of strawberries for the number they rolled.  Ellie also got to do some connecting of dots.  She ended up drawing a vase.

We left school and she put her shoes back on.  She wanted to shovel rocks for what seemed like a lifetime, but we eventually re-directed all that energy and got her to leave the backyard of her school.  She wanted to take her end of school day photo by her favorite section of rocks.  And then another photo by the sign.  She looks so adorable in the below picture…but she also looks like she’s about the throw a rock at me.  I was prepared for anything.  :D

All in all, Ellie had a great day.  She was excited to go home, though.  And she was very upset when she thought we left her Batman flip flops or Spider-Man lunchbox.  Seriously, kid.  It’s like you don’t know us at all!  :P


Ellie Loves School — But She Also Loves Mama

When Ellie woke up, Ryan carried her downstairs and she crawled into bed with me.  We snuggled for a while, but then it was time to get up and get ready for school.  I brushed her hair and helped her get dressed.  She wore her khaki skort and a navy blue polo.  She chose a new pair of Batman socks…and her favorite blue shoes.  One of her friends had a birthday party during lunch today, so we only packed some fruit and a water bottle for her.

We drove to school and all seemed well.  When we got out of the car, Ellie wanted to take her morning photo, so we posed by a street light this time.  As we trotted into the backyard of her school, so she could take her shoes off, she still seemed fine.  We walked up the stairs, went inside and put away her washcloths, lunchbox (still Spider-Man so far) and water bottle.  We chatted with the director of the school about some photography she needs done…and as we were about the leave, the waterworks started.  ”No, Mama!  Please don’t leave!  Mama, noooooo!”  And she jumped into my arms.  I told her she had to go to school, but that I would be back after lunch.  She still cried.  The director of the school helped sit her down by the toys and as we left, she screamed and cried and gave me the saddest face ever.  We walked toward the front of the school and the director’s husband (he’s the one working with the design company for their website who gave us more specifics about the photos needed) met us by the front door and told us to quietly come inside the school.  All we could hear was Ellie playing with her friends and laughing.  Once we were out of sight, she calmed down and went back to business as usual.  Mir, the director’s husband, told us a story of when his first son went to school and a similar thing happened.  It was before camera phones and that kind of instant communication we’re all so used to…so when he left the school and his crying son, he just sat at work with a pit in his stomach, because he didn’t know if his son was better yet.  He wanted us to see…or, well, hear, that Ellie was already better, so we wouldn’t feel bad.  It was a lovely gesture.

When home, I got to work and had a lot of emails to answer and paperwork to complete.  Yada yada.  But then, I heard my phone buzz…and the school director sent me pictures of Ellie eating pizza at the birthday party.  See, Ellie doesn’t like foods that get her hands messy.  She gets frustrated.  Also, she’s a pretty healthy eater…so, pizza isn’t really something she’s ever tried.  They cut up her pizza into small enough pieces so they were bite sized and easy for her to pick up and hold.  And she really liked it.  (In the car on the way home, she said, “Mama, I ate pizza!  Yum!”)

We went back to the school during my lunch break to pick up Miss Ellie.  They were finishing up story time when we got there.  Once Ellie realized we were there, she walked over and took us to her classroom.  They worked on continents again today, so the first thing she did was take me to a puzzle map and tell me where Africa was.  And then she pointed out North America.  She also worked on more shapes, letters, numbers and sorting skills.  I’m sure she did even more, but that’s all she told me about.  Her teacher, Ms. Cheryl, took photos of the kids today, so I was able to see what Ellie did.  I loved it!  And, of course, Ellie started a little bit of adorable trouble.  Every time one of them would write a letter, she would tell them to all raise their arms and say, “We did it!”.  She does that a lot at home, whenever she’s particularly proud of herself, so I’m not surprised she told her new friends all about this fun tradition.  Apparently, they did this 6 or 7 times — for 6 or 7 different letters.  And the teacher got photos of the entire thing!

We talked to the director about hosting some fun events

After she showed us what she learned today, she wanted to sing and dance and play with all of the toys.  We let her sing for 5 or so minute, but then it was time to head back home.  We took her end of day photos with her sitting on the rocks.  She sure does love rocks of any kind, lol.

She goes back tomorrow, since we leave for Dragon*Con on Wednesday night.  I bet she’s going to be excited to wear a different color polo.  (MWF is navy.  TTH is maroon!)



Baby Ellie, Week One

I arrived at Dell’s at 1030AM. When I got up to the 4th floor, I called from the phone on the wall in order for them to buzz me in. They asked me for a passcode, but I didn’t have one. They told me I had to get the passcode in order to be able to enter. I was about to call Ryan when Ellie’s nurse came to get me. She said I sounded frustrated — but I think I was just exhausted and anxious. Walking to Ellie’s nursery was surreal. It was as though I was a person dying of thirst who was walking toward water — I have this biological drive to get to her as quickly as possible.

I walked into her nursery and they put Ellie in my arms. We snuggled. They told Ryan and I they’d get the Lactation Consultant (LC) for us — she was there fairly quickly. We worked on breastfeeding right away for at least an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. The LC showed me three holds that might work for Ellie and I. Ellie’s nurse also had to teach us a number of parenting skills. :D After that, they told us they could transfer us into a family room, but it took 2 or 3 hours, so we ordered some lunch and ate it in the cafeteria. Ryan’s Daddy and sister we at the hospital, but they went out to lunch, as well. By the time we were done, Ryan’s Daddy was back and already with Ellie. We went to get Ryan’s sister so she could see Ellie.

Once Diana left, Daddy came back in and we waited for the family room to become available. They transferred us into the new room and Ellie was no longer attached to a bunch of machines — which was nice. She still had her IV, though, which looked uncomfortable. She also got to sleep in a crib! Ryan’s Daddy stayed with us for most of the evening and brought us some food. Peter and Callie visited, as well, and brought us some cottage cheese and french dressing for my salad. We spent the night with Ellie. It was a rough first night because Ryan was so tired and I was very physically weak, but we survived, as did Ellie. At 3AM, they re-taught us our parenting skills. Dell requirement. They weighed Ellie and she was 7.75lbs.

I kept pumping and breastfeeding. They were concerned about Ellie’s weight loss, but it was totally within the normal range for a newborn. I think Dell is so used to dealing with babies who are much worse off than Ellie — they made bigger deals out of a few of the normal newborn things. They also didn’t have newborn diapers, which I found odd. When I woke up, I couldn’t move any of my limbs. The doctor told me that I would feel like I had been in a bad car accident. She was right. That morning, Ellie had the best BM she’d ever had! She wasn’t peeing as much as they’d like, but that is common when transitioning a baby from formula to breast milk. I wasn’t pumping much colostrum yet and I kept getting extremely nervous. That day, we bathed Ellie for the first time. She still was a tad messy! And boy did she not like that! Ryan’s Daddy came back and we just spent the day talking, resting and feeding Ellie. She got the last of her antibiotic treatments that day and we were told there was a chance she would go home on Sunday.

Sunday morning, the nurse checked on her. They were still concerned about how much she was eating and how little she was peeing. The LC came in to check on us and gave me a goodie bag of breastfeeding supplies. They checked her hearing and she passed with flying colors. The nurse came back again and let us know that we were cleared to go home. We automatically started to get all of our things packed up and put in the vehicles. They gave us a bunch of paperwork, including some items that we needed to give to her pediatrician. We got her dressed up in her reindeer costume and took a boatload of photos. Ryan had to put air in Baby Car’s tires, so Ellie and I traveled in Daddy’s truck. We learned that Ellie loved traveling in cars. Once home, Daddy and I had a hell of a time figuring out how to remove Ellie’s car seat from the truck. He joked, “How many Aggies does it take to remove a car seat from a truck?” Obviously we never tested this — but it took more than the two of us! I figured out how to remove the car seat from the base and we brought Ellie isn’t the house. Claudia decorated the outside of the house with some baby-related balloons, which was nice.

Daddy stayed to help Ryan clean the house, since it was still a disaster from Thanksgiving. I tried to console our cats, which left me an emotional wreck. Baby Tigger missed me so much that he found a pair of my shorts from the laundry and dragged them under the couch to make a bed with them. This was the first time he had to sleep without me right there — holding him. I cried and cried for a while. I never really got to handle the emotional rollercoaster that was labor and delivery through Ellie’s discharge. But, things got easier. I pumped that night and finally produced something. Not milk yet, but it was better than the NOTHING I was producing. We learned quickly that Ellie was not a back sleeper…and so began our lives with a little person in the house. Oh, and a rambunctious kitten, as well.

On Monday, Ellie saw the doctor. She was 7.47lbs. She lost a little weight. They checked her for jaundice, as well. Test came back within acceptable range. Otherwise, the doctor said she was very healthy. I got a call from the hospital and found out I made an error when I filled out her birth certificate form. See, Ryan and I would joke around a lot about Ellie being my baby and him not having any proof that she was his baby. Well, when I was filling out the form, he and I were chatting on the phone. I joked around about checking “YES” to wanting a paternity test done. And…I accidentally did check yes, lol. They called to confirm that I wanted the test — to which I died laughing. We spent the rest of the day trying to get into a feeding and sleeping rhythm. I also was able to pump a little more — not milk yet, but colostrum.

On Tuesday, we went to the vet with Tigger. He doubled his body weight in the three weeks we had him and he got a clean bill of health. He was able to start his shots — and was so good through the process. Ellie was great, too. She handled another busy day of traveling around like a pro! We took a walk to the grocery store and got some food essentials, a big boy litterbox for Tigger, since he was finally strong enough to climb into one, as well as some toys for Tigger. I was so exhausted by the end of this day. My body was so sore still. Ryan took a long nap with Ellie and Tigger while I got to decompress a tad. I was asked a really awesome question by Ellie’s godmother:

So, what is the coolest thing about being a new mom? What is the part that surprised you or you did not expect?

Coolest: You have this perfect amalgamation of you and your partner who not only makes you feel like a rock star, but also needs you more than anything right now to survive. It’s an amazing feeling. Knowing my breast milk is what she nee…ds to live…it’s kind of crazy.

Surprised: How natural it is to have this brand new creation. How natural parenting is, really. And that we’re able to pretty much keep things like they were before…we just have another partner in crime. :)

Didn’t Expect: To fall in love with my baby. People say that and you think it’s cliche. But…it’s totally true. You look at your baby and you can’t even imagine what it was like before they were there…nor do you want to because life without them just wasn’t as awesome.

Ellie had a rough night on Tuesday. She was very gassy and we had to learn how to deal with that and calm her down. Thank jeebus for Little Tummy’s from Auntie Jen. Ryan took her for a car ride and that calmed her down a bit.

On Wednesday, we were brought some soup by a friend. That started a wonderful treat by our friends and fellow mama’s — bringing us a meal most days so we can have a bit of a break from the daily chores. I finally started pumping milk — and was overjoyed. Being at home really helped my pumping and feeding. I was much more relaxed. We gave Ellie her first at-home bath. She cried quite a bit until we gave her a binky. She slept around 5 hours this night — a great night of sleep for a newborn!

On Thursday, Ellie had her first photo shoot. It lasted around 4 hours and she only woke up once for a feeding. We were told Ellie was the top 2 best baby this photographer ever worked with! We got some of the most amazing photos from this shoot. Ryan’s mom came into town, as well. She was a godsend! Once back home from the shoot, we introduced Ryan’s mom to the newest addition. And then, we got ready for another doctor’s appointment. Ellie weighed in at 7.57 — weight gain! They checked her for jaundice again. She got hungry during the appointment, so we took a 30 minute break to feed her. Everything, otherwise, looked good. We made an appointment for her two week check-up and then headed home. We came home to another dropped off meal from a local mama and got ready for a really rough night with Ellie. She was overtired from her long day — and we broke from her routine — so she was hard to get to sleep. But, we managed.

All in all, Ellie’s first week was a lot of things. A learning experience, a rollercoaster of emotions and the best week of our lives!