Sunday, February 26, 2012

Junior Mommy

In our preparations for Carver's arrival, we've acquired piles of baby boy clothes from several sources. As part of our nesting phase we went through nearly all of them this week attempting to consolidate our inventory. That's always a fun thing to do because it makes this whole thing seem more real, and we get to imagine what the little sport will look like wearing certain outfits. Avey got into the spirit too, by trying out select items on her sheep:
 She will, no doubt, be an attentive mommy's-little-helper: probably overbearing at times. She's already shared with us plans to put Carver in dresses, feed him bottles, paint his nails, and so on.
How lucky the little guy will be! As long as he doesn't come out of it warped somehow, he'll have fond memories of his childhood. And we'll have lots of embarrassing pictures and videos archived for future important moments.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Different Planes

This week I spent some time preparing for the first exam in my Applied Multiple Regression and Correlation Analysis class. As I attempted to retain the material, I thought I would talk about it out loud during dinner. I turned to my daughter and said, "Avey, did you know that a residual is the vertical distance between the regression line and a given data point?" Avey, not one to be outdone, replied, "Daddy, did you know that Alvin says 'duh' on Alvin and the Chipmunks?"

Although her little factoid was not among the pieces of information I needed to know for the exam the following day, I was glad to learn something.

Avey's mind often works on a completely different level than mine, I've noticed. While I find myself trying to come up with ways to survive another day, she is usually hard at work trying to make the day as carefree and blissful as possible. Maybe I could learn a little from her while she learns a little from me.

* * *

Kira began work this week, meeting with her first two clients! It's an exciting thing to begin a business, even though the preparation is like a job by itself. We entrepreneurs have a lot to learn still.

Avey came down with a rough cold, spending half of last night up coughing. When she woke up this morning, she announced, "I'm all better!" Even though she's in good spirits, she is still hacking up a storm.

Carver has been resting comfortably in Kira's tummy, although it must be getting tight in there; he is competing with her intestines for elbowroom and, judging by the frequency and force of his jabs and kicks, he is determined to win that battle!

I passed the week spending lots of time with Avey and trying to get ahead on schoolwork. I can't say I got very far with the latter, but I enjoyed the Daddy/Daughter time. And it just so happens that I aced that Regression exam!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Looking Back

Tomorrow will mark exactly 5 years that I've been documenting the events in our family, and some of my thoughts on life, parenting, and such, through the medium of this blog. In that time, we've moved more than I'd like to remember, celebrated more birthdays than I care to recall, and experienced countless moments of insight, humor, and contentment in our little family. It has been quite the journey! In many ways, I cannot believe that it's already been 5 years, and in many others, I cannot believe that it's been only 5 years. Avey's milestones have been passing by like sand passes through the neck of an hourglass. Thank goodness we'll have the opportunity to remember Carver's precious moments in the same way. When I think of doing this for another 5 years, and probably longer, I'm excited to see what kinds of events and anecdotes lie ahead of us. Truly, there is no adventure greater than family!
We've been keeping busy with the preparations for the little guy's arrival. I put the crib together last weekend, we sorted through some boy clothes (generously donated by Kira's older sister and a woman here in town), I've been working on getting a backup plan for my school and work obligations, and we are still working on arranging furniture and making plans for every possible scenario that might face us when he comes.

As if we weren't already up to our ears, Kira will also accept her first client in Texas this week! While it will be a small challenge to our schedule once Carver joins us, we believe it will be a nice chance for me to get some time with the kiddos and get Kira out to keep her skills fresh and focus on something other than child problems for a while.

Avey continues to express her excitement for a new (subordinate) member of the family. She often relives what it is like to be a baby in her play, but assures us that she will be all business when the boy arrives. She seems to have his days all planned out with bowel movements and hair-pulling, which is more-or-less accurate.

She recently decided that she will marry a doctor, and she will be a painter for a living. When I shared her joy at this decision, and assured her that all of her practice has helped her artistic skills develop tremendously, she concurred with my assessment by saying, "Yeah, I already know how to do smiley faces!" After all, even Michelangelo had to start somewhere.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Countermeasures

As Carver will be the second child to join our family, we are somewhat more prepared than we were with Avey. We have a better idea of what sleepless nights are like, the frustrations that come with nursing, the necessity of moving our breakables and assortments of poisons to higher ground, and so on. However, in many ways we are also tackling new and frightening territory. For one, Avey has grown up over the last 4 years as the sole proprietor of our time, energy, attention, and possessions. In a few weeks, she will suddenly find each of these divided and, most likely, lopsided in Carver's favor, as newborns tend to demand. Kira and I have been acutely aware of Avey's sensitive nature since shortly after her birth, and thus have been cautious and thoughtful in preparing her for the new addition/competition.

We try to stress, above all, the great influence and wonderful skills Avey can impress upon him. Rather than saying things like, "Won't it be fun to have a little brother?", we try to phrase it in ways that make it more about Avey's role, such as, "Avey will make such a good big sister!" We encourage Avey to think about the kinds of things she can teach him, the ways that she can help Mommy, and the fun things that Carver will probably do to interact with her. We have had several discussions with her about how new babies need a lot of attention, and she seems ready and waiting to be a second little mommy. We're even preparing a Big Sister Kit for when Carver comes home from the hospital, to include a blanket just for Avey to wrap him in when she holds him, a binky just for her to give him, a "Big Sister" t-shirt, and we plan to have a birthday cake for Carver so that Avey can have a treat.

Through these steps we hope to avoid some of the feelings of jealousy and resentment that so often accompany additional children. We want Avey to feel just as much an equal participant in Carver's rearing as Kira or I, and to understand that we each will have different duties.

We'll see how it all pans out. She may loathe the boy, try to usurp Kira's role as mother, vary between the two extremes, or anything in between. So far she repeatedly expresses her excitement for the first time Carver poops enough that it leaks out of his diaper, and describes ad nauseam how Carver will pull my hair, and how hilarious it will all be.

They are sure to clash on some things, but we are confident that we can survive them all. Whether Carver and Avey can is yet to be determined.