Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!

Caroline's sleepless nights continue, and it's starting to take it's toll.

It's like deja vu all over again! I feel like I'm back in the first months of parenthood again.

Thursday night / Friday morning was the worst.

Caroline wouldn't take her normal "go-to-sleep" bottle at 8:30 p.m. She then proceeded to stay up until 10:30 p.m.

Attempts to put her in her crib resulted in ear-splitting howls.

From 10:30 to 11:30 she slept for an hour -- but then woke up crankier than ever.

I tried to feed her repeatedly, but to no avail.

I tried teething rings -- no.

Took her temperature -- normal.

The only thing that would console Caroline was me holding her and walking around the house.

From 11:30 p.m. to about 1:30 a.m. we walked around the house.

And around, and around, and around.

Terri had to work at 6:00 a.m., plus I was already in the battle for the long haul, so I stuck with it.

Finally, at 1:30 a.m., with Caroline still whimpering and crying every time I tried to put her down, I tried a bottle of warm formula for about the hundreth time that night.

I held it out for Caroline, and she refused it.

I held it in her mouth again. And again. And again.

Caroline finally took pity on me.

She took it. She proceeded to drain it in under five minutes.

Blessfully, she fell asleep.

I put her in her bed.

I slept on the couch to keep watch over her (via the baby monitor).

Caroline woke up a few more times that night, but I mangaged to get her back to sleep without much problems.

I went to work that day having gotten about three hours of sleep.

I was so tired, I forgot to shave!

Thank goodness for caffeine.

It's not as easy as it seems to get Caroline to sleep!
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Monday, February 20, 2006

Baby Mozart vs. Kool & the Gang

All the baby books swear by it.

The experts all endorse it.

But why do my girls cry when they hear it?

I'm talking about "Baby Mozart".

You've heard it. If you're a parent, you have at least one CD or DVD of it, either by gift or purchase.

It's basically Mozart, but "modified" for babies. It's slower, or played with cute instruments, or shortened.

[Click here for a sample of Baby Mozart music]

It's supposed to help with kid's development, and make kid's smarter.

During the first few months of life, the girls would listen to it, but weren't really into it.

They were always more devotees of Sesame Street (click here for the story about that, "The Horror, The Horror").

Now, at six months of age, Katherine and Caroline don't go for Baby Mozart at all.

More to the point -- they hate it.

When it's played, they fuss.

They cry.

They just don't like Baby Mozart!

No, what the girls really like is:

Kool & the Gang.

Kool & the Gang
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Yeah, you heard me.

Kool & the Gang -- that soul/R&B/funk band from the 70's and 80's.

Any Kool & the Gang song is guaranteed to elicit a smile from Katherine and Caroline.

They start waving their arms and legs wildly.

The beat just seems to appeal to them.

[Of course, having Daddy dance around like a fool when Kool & the Gang come on the stereo doesn't have anything to do with them liking the music, I'm sure!]

We won't give up on the classical music to be sure.

We will continue to play Baby Mozart, just in case it does make kids smarter!

But for this week, at least, in the Lim household, there's a Celebration going on:

(Click here, and sing with me, feel free to dance, or at least hum along!)

"There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you."


Caroline groovin' to the sounds of Kool & the Gang!
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Katherine dancing to the music!
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Baby Dreams & Early Morning Musings

Caroline has been having trouble sleeping the past week or so, reverting to waking up once or twice a night. Previously, both she and Katherine had been sleeping through the night.

We can only guess about what Caroline is dreaming.
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Tonight, for example, she's woken up two times: Once around midnight, and now -- 4:30 AM.

Caroline in general is more restless in her sleep than her sister.

Caroline will fuss, suck on her arm, and whimper or cry out in her sleep.

Most of the time, she will settle herself back down after only one or two cries.

Sometimes, however, she needs to be picked up and walked around the house before going back to bed.

At least once a night the past week, she'll want a bottle, after which she'll usually settle back down to sleep.

I often wonder what Caroline could be dreaming about with only six months experience in her life to draw on?

I imagine she is dreaming about the trauma of the birthing process.

Or perhaps she has had her favorite toy taken away by her big sister? (Click here for that story).

Maybe she is worried about being left alone, or not being held by Mom or Dad.

Whatever the dreams are, Caroline is usually pretty happy once you pick her up -- that is, IF you pick her up.

The key, of course (as most parents will tell you), is to avoid the temptation to pick her up IMMEDIATELY.

If you pick her up immediately upon crying, she never learns to settle herself back down.

In fact, many times, Caroline's whimpering or crying lasts only seconds, and then she settles down into an even deeper sleep.

If we pick her up, she will almost always wake up and start looking around.

And if she gets used to being picked up whenever she cries -- God help me and Terri!

Of course, it's not an easy thing, to lay in your bed or sit in your living room while your baby cries out in her crib.

Our general rule is five minutes.

If Caroline has not settled herself down in five minutes, we will check on her.

Depending on the level of crying, or other intangible factors, we will either pick her up, or give her another five minutes.

Ten minutes is usually the maximum. At ten minutes, we'll pick her up, no matter what -- after all, ten minutes of hearing your baby cry is like ten YEARS in parent-time!

And of course, we now know how to differentiate certain cries which warrant being picked up immediately.

There are just certain cries we've learned which mean, "I am not well, and I ain't playing around!" In those cases, we pick her up immediately.

All of this, of course, is subject to the realities of life.

Some nights, Terri and I have more will-power than Caroline, and let herself cry herself back to bed.

Other nights, we turn to jello at the slightest cry, and jump to pick her up quickly.

There are no hard or fast rules -- it's all part of the fun of being a parent!

A good night's sleep ensures a good day's play!
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Katherine, for the record, sleeps pretty much all night, like a log!

However, one thing that has intrigued Terri and I about Katherine is her hair.

She has wavy hair.

In fact, when it's wet, it's pretty much tight curls.

Our grandparents had wavy hair, so it's not a complete shock to see her hair.

However, it is pretty uncommon for Asian kids to have wavy hair, so it's fun to see.

Here are some gratuitous baby photos:

A photo of Katherine: Just because it's cute!
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Katherine: Our curly-haired girl!
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Friday, February 17, 2006


Katherine has been on the verge of crawling for several weeks now.

For at least the last two months, she's been able to roll over at will, get her butt in the air, and move short distances, but nothing that could really be called crawling.

Until tonight.

However, when it happened, it wasn't the Hallmark moment you see on T.V.

On T.V. when a baby crawls for the first time, they are gleefully crawling towards mommy or daddy, while the other parent videotapes the historic moment.

In Katherine's case, Terri and I had been encouraging her to crawl toward us for a few weeks now, but she's never shown much interest in crawling towards us.

I guess she figures, "Why crawl towards them when they'll just come pick me up?"

Tonight, Katherine crawled, but not towards me. I was sitting and holding Caroline.

Terri, unfortunately, was working.

Katherine was on her stomach, looking around. I saw her fixate on an object a short ways from her.

It was a Costco water bottle.

The allure of the Costco water bottle!
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When I'm watching the girls in their bedroom, I always take a bottle of water into the room with me, and set it on the floor by the dresser drawer.

Tonight, for whatever reason, Katherine locked onto the bottle.

However, she was a good three feet from the bottle.

Without any advanced warning of what she was going to do, she began to crawl towards the bottle.

It wasn't the smoothest crawling I've ever seen, and it was punctuated with quite a bit of grunting, small cries, and not a little drooling, but slowly and methodically, Katherine used her arms, feet, and knees to "soldier crawl" on her belly over to the water bottle.

Once she got to the water bottle, she proceeded to play with it.

Of course, being excited by seeing my eldest daughter crawl, and wanting to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I did what any good father would do.

I took the bottle away from Katherine.

Then I grabbed my video camera, placed the bottle a few feet from Katherine, and filmed her crawling once more.

This time, I let Katherine keep the bottle!

Click here to watch the video described above. (Must have Windows Media Player)

Katherine: Won't crawl to Mommy or Daddy, but gotta love that water bottle!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Seats, New Rides

As adults, we're lucky to get a new car every eight years or so. For babies, the wait for a new ride is much quicker.

At the six month check up of Katherine and Caroline, the doctor had some news for us.

"The girls are getting longer," she noted. "You'll need to start thinking about getting them out of their car seat carriers and into a new car seat."

The girls in their soon to be obsolete car seats in October
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When the girls were born, they barely fit into their car seats. Now we need to think about getting them new car seats? Time sure does fly. Soon we'll be shopping for cars with the girls!

Terri is handling the search for a new car seat. Meanwhile, I'm busy playing with something that I've been impatient to put the girls into since they were born -- the double jogging stroller.

I've always enjoyed running, so I've been eager to share my love of running with the girls.

The weekend after the girls were cleared for a new car seat, I strapped them into the jogging stroller and took them for a quick spin around the block.

The girls, not sharing Daddy's excitement, promptly fell asleep!

The next day, however, I took them out to one of my favorite paved running trails.

I started off slow -- walking, not running. The girls seemed to enjoy it.

Katherine especially kept looking around. Up at the trees, at the other people that we passed on the trail, even at a small stream besides the side of the trail.

Caroline also looked around, but was content to chew on the safety strap holding her securely in her seat!

I walked the girls two miles up the trail, then turned around and came back. The last mile, I decided to run, just to see how thy reacted.

Again, the girls didn't share my excitement in the moment -- they were sound asleep when I reached the car!

Running with Daddy
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Monday, February 13, 2006

Sibling Rivalries

The girls are becoming so much fun. They each have a personality uniquely their own.

They are also starting to become more aware of one another, and are definitely interacting -- in some ways good, and in some ways not so good.

This photo is a great example:

Sibling Rivalries
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First, notice that the photo is blurry. I was laughing so hard when I took this photo, my hands were shaking.

As you can see, Caroline is crying -- Katherine is laughing.

Now, notice that each is holding a toy. Caroline is holding a set of plastic rings. Katherine is holding a "Whoozit". The Whoozit is one of the girls' favorite toys.

Now, some background to this story, to understand the context of what this has to do with emerging personalities and sibling rivalries.

In the minutes preceding this photo, I had moved the girls to their high chairs in preparation for the noon feeding. I move the girls one at a time, and then give them a toy to play with while I prepare their bottles and cereal.

I moved Caroline first, and gave her a toy. Then I sat Katherine in her seat, gave her a toy, then went to the kitchen to prepare their food.

From the kitchen, I can keep an eye on the girls, but obviously my attention is focused on getting their food ready.

Thus, I didn't really look closely when I heard Caroline start crying. I glanced over, to be sure, to make sure she wasn't sliding out of her seat, but she seemed fine, so I kept on preparing their bottles. Beside, it's not unusual for one or both of the girls to cry a bit when they are impatient for their food.

Caroline kept crying, so I worked faster to get their food ready.

Finally, I had their bottles ready, and so I moved over to the girls.

As I pulled up my chair next to them, Caroline kept crying. That was strange, because usually the site of their food sets her laughing and smiling.

That's when I looked closer.

I saw what you see in the above photo.

Then it hit me.

I had given Caroline the Whoozit. Katherine had gotten the plastic rings.

I looked at Katherine, who was now holding the Whoozit. She smiled, laughed, and sucked on the arm of the Whoozit.

That's when it hit me -- Katherine had taken the Whoozit from Caroline, and dumped the crappy plastic rings with Caroline!

Caroline continued to cry with indignation.

I know I may not have done what the parenting books suggest you do, but first I laughed until I cried, and then I took the above photo.

When the kids are older, I will discipline such sibling rivalries. But for now, I will keep on laughing!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Six Months Old

Today the girls are officially six months old!

In celebration, they each ate three table spoons of single grain rice cereal mixed with formula. Mommy and Daddy celebrated with the Molten Chocolate Cake at Chili's.

Chili's Molten Chocolate Cake - Happy 6th Month Birthday, Katherine & Caroline!
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Katherine and Caroline had their six month check-up earlier this week, and all is well.

Katherine is 14 pounds, 10 ounces, and 26 1/2 inches long.

Caroline is 13 pounds, 3 ounces, and also exactly 26 1/4 inches long.

Happy Birthday!
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This has been a long week, and apologies for not posting.

Last Sunday, I got sick. Really sick. Flu sick.

Happily, the girls did not get what I had, but it was no fun in the Lim house this week.

Everyone's okay now, though, so more photos and stories later today, hopefully.