Tuesday, October 15, 2013

16 Month Update

Cora Landry is...
  • "so smiley!"
  • "so expressive"
  • "so independent" (her teacher)
  • "a monster!" (her dad talking)
  • A HANDFUL (me!)
I remember saying I could never imagine this calm baby ever being anything but sweet :)  We love our little ball of feelings!  We love how she looks like she's just gotten a cattle prod in the back whenever she sees us.  We love how simple things (seeing her water cup, her blankie, her brother) make her dissolve into smiles and excitement.

We even love her alligator tears.

This has been a month for talking.  She's added new words (ball, outside, book, truck, chicken, night-night, hot, teddy), but mainly she is just spending more time talking.  A lot of her words sound the same, but her facial expressions, pointing, grabbing, and head shaking help clarify.

This month has also erased my worry that maybe because Jack loves to read so much she might not.  Reading has climbed the list of her favorite things.  It now bounces above nursing at times (i.e. she cuts night-time nursing sessions short because she wants to read another book), but still falls below her blankie, which is her all time favorite thing.

A favorite Jack-Cora activity is to get a fire book (which we have about 40 of) and "read" it together looking for "DOG-gies."  It's very convenient that their interests align ( fire books have fire dogs on nearly every page.)  Cora will be a fire dog for Halloween and Jack will be a fireman (for the third year if you are counting).

Cora no longer seems interested in coming home with me when I arrive at school!  She lights up when she sees me but gets mad if I try to pick her up. She's almost always at the sand table and is a sandy mess to take home.  I felt a slight twinge the first time she pitched a fit to come home, but I'm really happy she is loving school so much. 

We are about to drop the second nap all together.  We were at two naps half the time, but Cora has started sleeping later and it started getting hard to get her down twice.  For now, I'm keeping the Tuesday morning nap as that helps her catch up on sleep between her school days and it gives me a little time to do things like write this blog since Jack is at school on Tuesdays.

She's still nursing a solid four times a day.  She typically wakes between 5 and 6 and will now nurse and go back to sleep until we wake her up between 7-7:30.  Nursing three times would fit better into our daily schedule but I'm not quite ready to drop the fourth feeding.  With four nursings, I don't think twice about not offering cow's milk, but I think when we drop to three, I will, so we're going to hang onto it a little longer.  I really love nursing a toddler because it's such a magical calming aid.  Cora can be over-tired or upset and will immediately relax when she nurses and is fully restored to a happy child when she's done.

She's busy, cute, full of energy, opinionated, smart, a stinker, and such a beautiful little girl.  We are a lucky family to have her!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Division of Labor

*Disclaimer: Jacob has read and signed off on this post.

I know couples in all walks of life, in all parts of the world must struggle with the "division of labor" in their household.  I'm thankful I live in the 21st century as I would have lasted about 60 seconds in the 1960s.

But I've realized that it doesn't matter how enlightened your marriage, raising kids and earning a living are taxing jobs, and that's when they stand alone.  When you add in the necessities: procuring food, preparing food, keeping a clean household, washing clothes...WASHING CLOTHES... and then the niceties on top of that, it gets a little insane.

Life's not always engaged-in-Hawaii perfect :)
Jacob is an amazing dad and husband.  In our kitchen, we cook and clean evenly (he's more of a chef, I'm more of a cook).  Bathtime and bedtime are also shared roles. He handles all of our big picture finances (investing, managing our accounts); I use mint.com to analyze our monthly spending.   But, it doesn't make sense for us to split everything.  We each have strengths: he is a master gardener: I know we have basil, but don't know which plant it is.  He takes care of all of our car issues; I went a year once without getting gas.  On the other hand, I'm the details queen. I know where everyone will be at all points of the week and I plan meals, tasks, pack bags, etc. to ensure we are all where we need to be with what we need.  Jacob gets stressed out just looking at our diaper bag (too many pockets.) I handle all laundry duties; I make breakfast.

More Hawaii-era love

So the reality is that we both contribute a lot to this family.  But I will admit I struggle with the equity of it all on a day to day basis.  I can go from a rational, calm, loving wife to a raging b...east if Jacob gets home at 6:45 instead of the 6:15 we'd "agreed" upon.  It's like we exist peaceably in our give-and-take, but when things get jarred, even by a minor incident, something that resembles resentment flares up and I start hashing things out.

Busy, but child-free Seattle life
For example, Jacob recently asked which days Cora goes to school...  I just stared at him.  And then I let loose.  How can you not know when she goes to school?  She is OUR child, not MY child.  Why should I be the only one thinking about where she is when.  In hindsight, I realize how yelling is only going to make him defensive and since neither of us backs down easily, a comment escalates into an argument.

With a cool head, I realize the problem is not with our division of labor.  We both do a lot; we are both great parents with our own parenting styles.  The problem is that we let ourselves get so swept up with everything going on in life that we aren't spending enough time interacting as friends/adults/a couple and so become these feisty co-parents, co-household CEOs, who feel the need to always emphasize our own contribution to the operation.

We're working on it.  Maybe we should take a page from these two:

Don't let the cuteness fool you - they're not always this sweet to each other :)