Lennie's Eleventh Week

Our baby was 12 weeks old yesterday, and today it occurred to me that I would love to have a more detailed record of her life than the baby calendar that I update religiously. I’m going to try to write an entry each week. I hate that I didn’t start sooner, but this having a baby stuff is exhausting.

Let me start by saying that it hasn’t escaped my notice that my interest in blogging Lennie’s life coincides with her shift from technically sleeping through the night, defined as sleeping six consecutive hours, to really sleeping through the night, sleeping for eight hours or more. I can’t help it; I’ve always required a great deal of sleep, and she only recently started allowing me what I really needed. Last night was her third night of eight hours of sleep, for the record.

Friday:

So what did Lennie do this week? She started the week by catching her first cold. She and I went shopping with a very congested Ella and Karen on Friday. Our destination was the Carter’s outlet in Pigeon Forge, but we dinked around for hours before we got there. Lennie had a blow out in the very first store, ruining the adorable outfit I had picked out the night before. I changed her in the dressing room floor of the second store, a fancy children’s clothes boutique that nearly made me want to go to church just for an excuse to dress her in those beautiful dresses.

I carried Lennie through the pre-lunch stores in her baby sling, feeding her on demand as usual. Karen assured me that no one could see what I was up to. We went into a leather goods store that smelled amazing as we walked by. We ended up buying Ella’s Grandma Jan a cute purse with a J on it.

Soon enough the babies were pitching a fit to be fed and changed, and Karen and I were hungry, so we found a restaurant and called my mom’s friend, Cathy, to join us. Cathy lives in Gatlinburg, and she’s closer to me than any of my actual aunts, but she hadn’t made it to Knoxville to meet Lennie yet. She’s busy with her own three kids, ages 15 to 9 or so, but they were in school, so she made it for lunch. She brought me flowers and loved the baby. I had planned to ask her which baby she thought was mine, but I was feeding Lennie when she arrived, so it was pretty obvious. When Lennie finished eating, Cathy held her and played with her. Lennie laughed and really enjoyed the visit.

After lunch, we made our way to the Carter’s outlet because time was running out. The whole purpose of the trip was to outfit Lennie for her next growth spurt, but we spent the morning shopping for ourselves instead. Lennie screamed almost the entire way to Carter’s. I ended up scrambling into the backseat at a traffic light. I wedged my butt between the two car seats and tried to console both babies. (Ella was doing a bit of sympathy crying.) It worked, and Lennie fell asleep just before we arrived. Karen and I decided that it would be smarter to run in one at a time to do our shopping while the other mommy stayed with the babies in the car. I ran in first, and I don’t think I’ve ever spent a hundred bucks faster. Lennie’s good to go until summer, and the most expensive thing I bought was $7. Not bad!

Saturday:

My Uncle Tim, his wife, two daughters, and son-in-law came over for dinner and Trivial Pursuit. We were so busy talking and playing with the baby that we never got to the game. I actually got to eat my dinner while it was hot because we passed the baby around. At one point my cousin Frankie was finished and I wasn’t, so I told her it was her turn to hold the baby like doing so was a horrible chore. She was thrilled, of course. Frankie might as well be one of my little sisters. I was, for lack of a more precise term, her live-in nanny the summer she was 10 and I was 18, so I get to boss her around and make her help out just as if she really were my little sister.

My actual little sister Abbey and her fiancé Andy stopped by after Abbey left work. They’re fixtures around here, which I love and encourage. I actually wish we had a mother-in-law apartment so she could move into it. It’s ridiculous, since we fought like cats and dogs, or well, actually like sisters, when we had to share a room as kids, but I love her. She’s a weird combination of my best friend and my first daughter. I would have said first child, but Willem is older than her, and I sort of feel like his mom too. Poor Lennie, that sort of thinking makes her my fourth daughter and sixth kid. Scary!

Sunday:

We went to a book club meeting. Lennie was great during the socializing time. She cooed at Anne L. and generally brightened up the room, but as the meeting started she got fussy. That was a first for the group, and I should have realized then that she was starting to feel bad. I fell asleep leaning my head against the pillar in the middle of the room with Lennie in the sling in my lap. I haven’t done anything like that since the time when I was 8 months pregnant and left the meeting to sleep on the table in the hall. Michael L. and Charlie caught me that time, and I was embarrassed, but Michael didn’t say anything about my nap, and Charlie moved to Canada last month. I suppose that when I nodded off I should have realized that I was starting to feel bad as well, but I did not.

Abbey and Andy invited us to play football with Andy’s family in the afternoon. Andy’s family, which is nearly as big as ours with five siblings, does something athletic every Sunday afternoon. We’ve gone before, but this was the first time since Lennie’s birth. They said to invite Dave and the kids if we wanted, so we did. At the beginning of the game, Lennie was asleep inside with Andy’s mom and aunt, who promised to come get me if she woke up. Abbey promised that they didn’t mind and that they might actually like having enough babies to go around since they generally have to share Andy’s neice, Chase. When Lennie woke up, I brought her outside and played with her and Ella on a blanket while the daddies played. Daryl and Dave offered to help out, and I let Daryl help when the girls got fussy and Zac got tired of playing in the tree house with Chase’s big sister because he had had twice as much playing time as Dave, but I was enjoying seeing the babies together on the blanket. Ella frequently grabs Lennie’s foot. It’s really sweet to watch.

Monday:

Lennie was fussy most of the day and felt hot around four o’clock. I took her temperature, and when she had a fever called her pediatrician’s office to ask how much baby Tylenol to give her. I wasn’t particularly worried, just wanted the correct dosage for her age and weight, but the nurse said to take her to Children’s Hospital because of her age. She would have needed to go to the doctor’s office, but it was closing too soon for that. When Daryl got home, we took Lennie to the emergency room, where she was looked over. Shockingly enough she had a cold and needed baby Tylenol. For this they scared me to death with talk of spinal fluid checks for meningitis! I love the medical system! I guess it’s better safe than sorry, but the result of that seems a bit ridiculous sometimes.

Tuesday:

Abbey came over after class to hang out with us. She had taken some pork chops out of her freezer to cook, but when Andy ended up working all week, she needed a reason to make so many. Daryl grilled them, and they were great. We made a plate for Andy, who stopped by after work to eat his. After dinner, Daryl was holding Lennie in the kitchen while Abbey played with her and I did the dishes. Abbey discovered a dimple on Lennie’s right cheek. It’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. It’s out a centimeter or so from the right of her mouth and a little below her bottom lip, and it appears when she grins. It trembles a bit as her grin revs up, but it’s definitely there. I couldn’t stop cooing at the baby when I saw it. Daryl almost pulled a muscle trying to crane his neck around to see it.

Wednesday:

Nothing particularly interesting happened on this day, so I’ll just summarize some general developments.

Lennie has started trying to sit up when she’s on her back or in a seat. She looks like she’s doing crunches. She has also started getting fussy when she’s sleepy. She’ll cry and cry, which is unusual for her, and it turns out that the trouble was that she needed a nap. Another new trick is that she’s really sucking on her hands now. I’ve been a bit worried about how little she uses her hands to grab at things, but she seems to be coming around. She is starting to react to toys more, and the Happy Apple is a favorite. I put it between her legs when she’s propped up, and when she starts kicking and it starts chiming, she loves it. Finally, Lennie now refuses to take a bottle, even though her bottles are always breast milk now. She only wants her milk straight from the tap. I sense a picky eater in my future.

Thursday:

Lennie is 12 weeks old!!!!! I took the standard picture of her in her red chair to chart her growth. She’s getting so big that I can’t imagine what I’ll do when she’s not a baby anymore. I know I’ve said we should only have one baby, but she makes me want another. My heart breaks a little when I imagine her not wanting me to cuddle her anymore or her not needing me anymore. I can’t help thinking how nice Karen has it having a boy and a girl. Zac and Ella are so sweet together. Then I think about Lennie not having siblings to lean on when she needs help, as I’ve leaned on mine just this week. Of course, thinking about my siblings also reminds me of Fleda’s mishap of today; I’ll write more about that in a minute to preserve this entry’s chronology.

Today was a big day for another reason as well. Lennie stayed with a babysitter for the first time other than the time I was in the emergency room when she was three weeks old. Both times she’s been without Daryl or me, she has been with Abbey, but I think this time counts more because we planned ahead. The two were alone for about two hours, and Lennie did pretty well. I went to a meeting about teaching home-bound or hospital-bound kids. I might take a kid who isn’t contagious for the extra money and the mental stimulation as long as doing so doesn’t put too much of a strain on Daryl. He’s been insanely busy lately, and I’d hate to add extra child-care responsibilities when he’s already giving up sleep to fulfill his programming responsibilities. I won’t even consider taking a student until his schedule has calmed down a bit, but I needed to go to the meeting anyway if I thought I might want to teach a home-bound kid this year.

After the big day, I had a hard time sleeping, so I was lying in bed at nearly 1:00 AM trying to fall asleep when my cell phone rang. I’d left it in the living room, and it stopped ringing before I could even decide whether I wanted to answer it or not. I lay in bed debating whether or not I should bother to get up, but I finally decided to after telling myself that I’d hate myself if Abbey was stranded on the side of the road in the remnants of Hurricane Ivan, or if Fleda or Bo needed me for something, or if Willem and Victoria were having trouble with their baby, or if a thousand things were happening. I’m a worrier from a long line of worriers, as should be obvious by now.

Anyway, I got out of bed after a couple of minutes of mentally beating myself up, and discovered that the call came from Fleda and Bo’s house. I called back, and my step-dad, Terry answered. He told me that he had been calling all the numbers on their caller ID because he couldn’t find Fleda, who was supposed to have gone to the football game that night to play with the band. He thought that the game had been canceled, but had no way of finding out at one in the morning, and he had run out of people to call. And people make fun of worriers! I would like to say I didn’t panic, but that’d be a lie. I was picturing her lying raped and dead on the side of the road and couldn’t think very clearly, but I finally decided that Abbey might have an idea. I called her, and she called Ashley to see if Ashley had the phone numbers of any of her still-in-high-school band buddies. Meanwhile, Terry discovered a detailed note from Fleda explaining that since the game and the next day’s school was cancelled due to flooding from the tiny bit of the down-graded hurricane that made it to Knoxville, she was going to spend the night with her friend Heather. Spending the night with Heather is fine. Leaving a note about doing so is fine, so long as Terry knows early enough to go get Fleda if spending the night isn’t fine. Unfortunately, she left the note on the stove instead of in the usual spot on the clock, and he didn’t look for a note until he had already been driving back and forth to the high school to meet the band bus, which should have arrived not long after 11. He’d only been worried for three hours because she was supposed to be at the game. Fleda has a cell phone on the way, and I gave her a major guilt trip in addition to whatever Terry did to ensure that this never happens again. I definitely can wait for Lennie to be fifteen. Having a fifteen year old daughter is scary.

Anyway, sometimes having siblings isn’t so great because the people you love can scare you to death. I guess Lennie will be okay either way.

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