Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quinn: 2 Months!

Holy Smokes - Quinn is two months old - actually two months and one week. I'm not entirely sure how that happened -where did the last two months go? I realized he was indeed growing when suddenly the newborn prefold diapers were no longer quite big enough and the Carter's NB-sized onesies became a challenge to snap closed. Everything just seems to be happening faster this time around. I guess it's because Lily is here, filling up the days with her 2-year old exuberance - it's like I blink and Quinn is bigger, older, different, yet again. I'm terrified that one day I'll look away to put on Lily's shoes and when I turn back Q will be dressing himself for his first day of kindergarten.

So far Quinn is a little guy. At his two month appointment he was 9lbs 10oz. He's been on the same growth curve since birth - so his rate of growth is totally fine. He's just little. He's around 9th percentile in weight, 14th percentile for head and 25th for height. I'm mostly just excited that we're nearly large enough so that I'll stop meeting 1-week olds who look like they could eat him!

My head is small, but oh so cute!

After 2 months of (somewhat) steady observation, here's what we know so far.


  • a nice leisurely meal: Q's not one to rush himself, he likes to take his time.
  • his jeh jeh (big sister): Q really enjoys smiling at Lily. I love when she yells from the back seat - "Mommy! Quinton's smiling at me!"
  • the 1812 Overture: Gordon hums this for him, while doing laps around the kitchen island to settle him down
  • the sound of our kitchen hood fan: a favorite trick of G's for settling him down to sleep
  • riding in the mei tai
  • the cradle swing: thanks Auntie Lindsay! (he's asleep in it right now...)
  • taking a bath: unlike Lily, Quinn really seems to enjoy this. Gordon thinks it's because he's got the temperature right now. Too bad we don't have time to give him more of these!
  • spitting up, especially on Mom: and for some reason I've developed a hole in my brain regarding the use of burp cloths. I never use them. Just this afternoon I tried to use one - put it on my left shoulder. But then got up and shifted Quinn to my right shoulder. THEN he spit up all over me. Dumb mommy or mischievous baby? You decide.
  • watching Mommy: lately his eyes are always on me, and it's adorable. Just today he was in the mei tai watching me with a beaming smile. It was so cute I went and grabbed the point and shoot to try to snap a picture. Totally backfired - the minute my face disappeared behind the camera he went to pieces.
  • being held: really Quinn's preferred state of being is in someone's arms - who can blame him?
  • Sleeping on my tummy: ugh I KNOW right? this one makes me crazy. But he SLEEPS, and just ugh!

I like Tummy Time


  • the carseat: and as far as I can tell riding in the car. Occasionally he'll tolerate it - or sleep through it - but usually he cries, the whole time. It's very sad and generally maddening. Our trip to NJ at the end of the month should be a real hoot.
  • the stroller: also, not a fan, see Likes: riding in mei tai and being held.
  • being squashed or otherwise abused by his jeh jeh: umm yeah - good times, that.
  • being interrupted during a meal: usually courtesy of his big sister
  • losing sight of Mommy: he seems to cry when I go out of his field of view now. It's kind of sweet, but also probably contributes to the car issue.

Things that don't impress me much:

  • vaccines: I was all nervous about vaccine day and Q - he didn't seem that affected. He sort of cried a bit and then was all, "whatever dude". Lily, she cried so much that *I* ended up in tears!
  • the bouncy chair: I wouldn't call it a dislike, but bouncy chair, Quinn is just not that into you

And... some more 2-month pictures!

With my Jeh Jeh

Why, hello Mr. Octopus!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good Night, Sleep Tight... well just SLEEP!

Bedtime, naptime - such bittersweet times of the day. Theoretically these are times when the little cherubs are getting what they need - lots of good sleep for developing bodies and minds - and the adults are getting what they need - some time to themselves before passing out from shear exhaustion in front of the Sopranos or something. Lately however, these have become times of strife in our house.

Since Quinn is only 3 months old (I know right?? THREE months!) we don't expect much from him in terms of a nap/bed schedule. I'm mostly just thrilled that he's been going 4-6 hours between feedings at night lately - so yay Quinn. No, this is a post all about our dear Lily. As I started reading this I remembered writing a bedtime post not so long ago - so I just went back and re-read it. It's been almost a year since then, but sadly not much has changed and well, I guess it's gotten worse. Coupling Lily's blossoming vocabulary and negotiating skills with the emotional strife that follows the appearance of a new baby brother.. and well... ugh - disaster.

(I started this post a while back, but never got around to finishing it - however, I do want to capture the insanity, so I'll try to pick it back up)

The main issue has been getting her to JUST GO TO BED. The elaborate ritual just gets more and more elaborate and then is followed by a number of call-backs that can last well over an hour. One of the things we tried was to write down ALL the steps of the bedtime routine and post it on her wall. That way we could ALL (read: Lily) be sure that everything was done and there'd be no need for the calling back. While doing this exercise we realized that there were FOURTEEN steps, that's right - FOURTEEN:

  • clean up
  • potty
  • wash-up/bath
  • brush teeth
  • pullups/PJ's
  • read stories
  • get blankets - the colored one! (knit by Auntie Dory's Mom Linda)
  • get animals (choices change night to night - ugh)
  • get water
  • talk about our day
  • goodnight song (in which we sing to people in New Jersey, Fall River, Somerville and sometimes Canada depeding on her mood)
  • CD player
  • door medium - Lily has decided that closing the door is no longer OK, so it has to be "medium": not too open, not too closed.

(I know - I'm missing some.. the list is at home.... I'll have to check later)

Even after doing all this we often get called back. Sometimes she calls by actually calling our names, but most times she just sort of fake cries until someone shows up. The lists of requests have included (but are not limited to):

  • more water
  • take my water away
  • move this animal off the bed and put him/her elsewhere
  • remove this animal/toy/random item from my room completely before I freak out
  • put the green blanket on BEFORE the colored blanket, then the pink blanket on top of that
  • don't leave me alone in here (my personal favorite)
  • I want to sleep on the floor
  • I want to sleep on the bed AND the floor AT THE SAME TIME
  • open door more
  • close door
  • be quiet, don't talk to Daddy, so I can sleep

I wish that I had actually written this post right after a particularly bad naptime/bedtime incident, as originally intended. At that point my emotions about the situation are much more on the surface. Lately things have been going better, so I'm not as close to JUST HOW INSANE it was driving me. In general I've surprised myself with the patience I'm able to muster up when dealing with a difficult Lily situation. However, the bedtime thing has nearly broken me - especially lately given the lack of sleep that comes with a brand new baby. When she is "supposed" to be in bed at 8PM and we're still dealing with shenanigans at 9:30 I want to just poke my eyeballs out with a hot spoon. It's like she's stealing the few precious "adult" hours of my day and sucking the life out of me at the same time. Not fun.

I am glad to report though that it is getting better. I did some online "research" and found some helpful posts at Ask Moxie that made me feel much less alone. It seems that it's not actually all about Quinn's arrival - 2.5 is a common age for yet another sleep regression. After poking around online we ended up trying to push bedtime a little earlier and actually had some success with it. I think the trick is that giving her lots of time to get through the routine - instead of starting at 7:45 and rushing her through stuff - leaves her feeling more secure and puts a better close on the day. It's lose-lose the other way since we may have her in bed at 8ish, but will then spend the next hour reassuring her that yes, we still love her by responding to her crazy requests.

That said, I am positive that Quinn does affect the balance here as well. Since he's still so little and eats at least once during the night we have been keeping him in our room. And when Lily goes to bed, Q is generally being held by one of us still. I KNOW that she feels unsettled at being alone in her room while Q has us all to himself. A common complaint as we leave her is "but I'm all alone in here". One time I told her "you're not alone, Mommy and Daddy are right outside the door". She looked at me and said "But I'm alone on MY PILLOW, Mommy". Ugh - can't argue with that!

We had a small breakthrough on the Quinn front last week - the night before heading down to New Jersey for a little vacation. I had packed the kids up during the day, but still had my own packing to do in the evening. So instead of putting Q to bed in our room - we decided to try putting him down in the crib in Lily's room (soon to be "the kids" room). I was pretty nervous about the whole idea, but Lily was SO PSYCHED. She went to bed with no trouble, turned herself around so that her head was closer to the crib and then told me "you can go now".

Filled with trepidation, I left the room - wishing for the first time that we had a video monitor. I did walk by the room once and caught Lily out of bed trying, clinging to the sides of the crib, peering in. It wasn't quite the vision of my nightmares - the one in which she's scaling the crib with a knife between her teeth and a pillow clutched in one hand - but I went in and got her back in bed anyway. I told her that if she got out of bed again that Quinn would have to go back to my room. That's all it took - we never heard from her again and they both slept happily in there for three hours until Q coughed himself awake.

Although they didn't last together all night - we are optimistic that soon, they will be sleeping in there together and we will have a small portion of our lives back. I'm sure the sleep issue isn't solved, but it seems that a little more patience on our part, some advance planning and the slight balancing of the field has all contributed to make bedtime a *little* easier - for now!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Ah summer - although we've had precious little of it around here so far... we DID manage to get in strawberry picking before the season came and went in a rainy blur. The day of the Strawberry Festival at Land Sake's farm in Weston turned out to be one of the few sunny breaks in an otherwise very wet and dreary June. So we jumped in the car and met our friends Hector and Jeanie and their son Grant. The weather was quite nice, not too hot and no rain!

Here's Jeanie, hard at work. She's a serious strawberry-picker:

for contrast, Becky, Quinn and Hector - hardly working

Lily got involved this year, proudly carrying around her own berry container - and eating the ends off of every one in there...

Grant took his job as Jeanie's QA quite seriously

Strawberry smiles

The two-handed strawberry carry

Oh look - another picture of me not picking anything. At least I'm carrying the baby around. (I did actually pick all those berries I'm carrying, I swear!)

Quinn sacked out in his favorite spot.

To top off the morning Lily got her first face painting. She requested a "blue smiley face".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Why's Have It

Ah the famous "why" stage. Looks like we're in it. And it's both infuriating and adorable at the same time. Lily has this cute way of making a statement and then adding why to the end - kind of like this:

Lily: "Mommy, you just dropped the spoon on the floor. WHY????"
Me: "Because I'm clumsy sometimes"
Lily: WHY????
Me: "Because I was born that way"
Lily: "WHY???"
Me: "I don't know, ask Grammy"

Lily: "Mommy, Quinton just spit up. WHY????"
Me: "Great question honey, let me know when you figure it out so I can curb the laundry problem around here"

Lily: "Mommy you forgot to get the CD from the car. WHY???
Me: Because I forget alot of things now
Lily: "WHY???"
Me: Because I have two kids
(this one is tied with "i don't know" for the "phrases I use most to end the whys" award)


When I was much much younger my Dad introduced me to an animated movie called The Point. Apparently my Dad's fraternity used to enjoy watching it. Reading the quote by Harry Nilsson on Wikipedia pretty much confirms Gordon's suspicion about what kind of activities may have accompanied viewing of this video, but I digress. Anyway, it's really a wonderful little story about a boy named Oblio who is the only person in the "land of Point" without a point on the top of his head. I loved the soundtrack as a kid and now Lily is really enjoying it too. It's currently the CD of choice in the car so we listen to it ALL THE TIME.

All in all it's a pretty short running album. There are a number of songs by Harry Nilsson with story narration in between. Just recently Lily's gotten really into the story part. She often calls out from the back seat with lots of questions about what's going on, like:
"Oblio has a pointed cap? WHY?"
"Arrow fell into a hole? WHY?"
"Oblio has no point? WHY?"
It's actually kind of fun as I get to explain more of the story to her.

A few days ago we were driving and listening to the Point. Gordon and I were talking about something, when we heard from the back seat:
"Mommy, they're (incomprehensible toddler-speak)? WHY?"
Try as I might I couldn't understand what she was asking - and I hadn't been paying attention to the CD so there was no figuring it out. Lily got really frustrated with me so I finally apologized and told her that I was talking to Daddy and didn't hear the CD so I couldn't answer her question.

Her response:
"Mommy, next time don't talk to Daddy! Listen to the CD!"
I smiled to myself and said OK.

The next day we were at the same spot in the CD and ended up in the same situation. I was talking to Gordon, missed the narration and couldn't answer her question. This time she got REALLY worked up:
"Mommy! Last night (Lily speak for anything in the past) I told you not to talk to Daddy. Listen to the CD, I said. WHY did you talk to Daddy? WHY?"
So, yeah - we're pretty much done for. She's already calling me out for stuff and keeping score. I had no answer to this one - all I could do was keep myself from laughing and apologize over and over again.

Eventually that part did come on again when she and I were alone in the car. Turns out she was asking me about the "winding path". I explained to her what winding meant and she seemed very satisfied, for a minute. Then she said something like:
"Last night you didn't listen to the CD again and I said don't talk to Daddy! So then you went back, but this part didn't come on again. WHY?"

I have a feeling it's going to take awhile to live this one down....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Red Egg Party

In Chinese culture there is a 1-month celebration for a new baby called a red egg and ginger party. We had one of these for Lily at her Uncle Gabe's house in New Jersey right around her 1-month birthday. This time around we decided to have the party in our neck of the woods instead. The decision to do it this way was made before Quinn was born based on the fact that we'd have two kids this time and didn't really know how my MG would be post-partum on prednisone instead of imuran. Turns out my health wasn't an issue, but given Quinn's complete hatred of the car we were SO glad we asked everyone to come to us instead. I can't imagine what driving 6 hours to South Jersey would have been like with two sleep deprived parents, a screaming infant and a stressed-out toddler.

The party was held a little after the one-month mark since Quinn was early and arrangements were made before his birth. Gordon's parents and Goo Ma (his aunt) came up along with Gabe, Que and the girls. Our condo was quite full for the weekend! Hopefully I'll get to post a little about the fun family visit we had too.

Another benefit of having the party in Boston is that we got to invite my side of the family as well. After some taste-testing with friends we found a venue in Chinatown that was convenient, had parking and of course offered yummy food. We had about 25 people there to celebrate Quinn's arrival: our New Jersey family as well as my parents, brother and a number of my Mom's cousins (they are really like aunts and 1st cousins to me). My family enjoyed the novelty of the Chinese traditions and everyone was very happy to meet Q and welcome him to the family.

Gordon and the kids - all dressed for the occasion

Liza, me and Eric

Ma Ma and the Guest of Honor

Q's yummy Chinatown cake

Quinn and his first hong bao

A true MasterWong family picture

Side note - a funny story from the day.
Also: why I love Somerville
Also: why my poor daughter is sort of in trouble with me as a Mom

Gordon's Mom had agreed to take care of outfits for both Quinn and Lily. So in prepping for the event I had totally crossed clothing off my list of things to worry about. When Ma Ma arrived she showed me the outfits that she got for them and they were perfect (of course). I thanked her and forgot about the clothes again. The morning of the party I was in the shower and feeling slightly stressed about getting the four adults and four children in our condo out the door on time. Suddenly I realized that Lily had a single pair of summer shoes - these. And while GREAT for playing outside at the playground, they were not going to look super with her fancy outfit.

So - I panicked - searched the closet to see if *maybe* I bought a pair of cute sandals on a whim one day (umm... no). Then I called my neighbor Deborah thinking that her daughter Ivy - who is only 5 months older that Lily and better dressed - might have an old pair of cute sandals. Sadly Lily's feet are much smaller than Ivy's, so that didn't work. The Deborah offers, well sort of insists, to drive to Target and buy Lily some dressy shoes. Five minutes before we were ready to go, she shows up at my door with the PERFECT pair of shoes for the occasion.

Clearly we have the best neighbors ever and I need to get my act together regarding this whole fashion thing!