Fred’s first outing and other nice things…

Well, we survived week 1 of Richie being back to work! There were some mental moments, but we did it! And as a reward, we had an absolutely lovely Sunday. Richie was off work the entire day and we took Fred out on his first recreational outing (he’d been out and about for his and my doctor’s visits, but those don’t quite count). We set out just after 9 am (to avoid the crazy heat and sun!) and headed for one of our many local playgrounds. The one we went to is nice and shady, so it was perfect for a little baby. It was also the first time Liam’s been to a playground for ages, and I was so so happy watching him play and have a good time. He was up the stairs and down the slide over and over again and he seemed just delighted to be out. Fred did not enjoy the buggy ride to the playground, but once we got there, he was fine. He had a bit of a feed, looked around a bit, and then slept most of the time. It felt great to be outside and there was just a bit of a refreshing breeze, and it was shady and not so hot… basically, it was perfect. We all took naps when we got home too, which were much needed, and that was pretty freaking great too! I think Fred and I must have slept for nearly 3 hours back in our room, nice and cool with the fan on. Ah, it was lovely.

Today Richie was back to work, but with a slightly lighter schedule than last week, so the day felt really relaxing. I got Fred in his wrap this morning so I could have some breakfast and a cup of tea (essentials so I don’t turn into a walking zombie), and then later Fred chilled out on Liam’s big bed looking at a book and I actually got to read and play with Liam for a bit. He invented this little ‘game’ of pretending to eat the food or food looking objects he sees in the pictures in his books. Today there was a picture of some cupcakes on one page, so he wanted me to scoop them up with his play fork and feed them to him. Then he went over to his little potty in his room and pretended to spit it out. This was repeated about one million times. Then he found a page with a picture of the sea with fish and seaweed and such things, so he would point out different things for me to scoop up and feed him, especially the colourful seaweed. Again, this was repeated about a million times. But it’s cute to see his imagination developing and I enjoy his creativity! It just felt so good to spend some time focusing almost completely on Liam for at least a few minutes.

Anyway, it’s getting late and I still have to shower and hang up some laundry! Time just goes too quickly and Fred fell asleep a bit later than he has been, so my ‘freetime’ has been cut a bit short tonight. I better be sensible and get to bed soon!


Two weeks old…

Well, Fred is two weeks old today! Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo to post, but then again, he looks pretty much the same as he did in the previous two posts, so there you go.

Richie started back at work this week, but not full time thankfully! I’m glad he has the schedule he does, which means he takes care of Liam first thing in the morning so I can get a bit of extra sleep with Fred, and then he’s home for a number of hours in the middle of the day, so we have lunch together and get a bunch of things taken care of, like Liam’s bath, a bit of dish washing, cooking, etc. Just the essentials at this point, but I really don’t know how I’d do it if Richie wasn’t here!

So, I have some time with my two boys in the morning and in the evening, and it’s been interesting. Talk about a learning curve! Yesterday Fred seemed to be cranky all morning and I could hardly put him down for a second, but luckily Liam was in a pretty good mood and was happy playing by himself. And then last night was nice and smooth, Fred fell asleep in my lap and Liam went to bed very easily. Today was the reverse. Morning went much better, but evening was a bit messy. I did have my first Moby wrap victory today, which made me really happy! It was a bit cooler this morning, so I decided to give it a shot on my own and managed to get Fred in there comfortably on the second try. He was probably in there for 20 or 30 minutes, which meant that I could actually DO SOMETHING! Liam and I danced to Bob Marley, I got to feed myself breakfast and give Liam a late morning snack, and I even got to make a much needed cup of tea! And Fred just had a nice snooze and it was all snuggly and wonderful. I’m so excited for the weather to cool down more in general and I want to have him in the wrap ALL THE TIME! It feels so nice to have him close, and it feels amazing to be able to actually do a few things while holding him! It made such a difference even just to have that peaceful half hour this morning and get those very small things done. I tried to put him in it again this evening so I could throw together a bit of dinner for Liam, but I wasn’t so successful. Fred was already a bit fussy and he just didn’t take too kindly to me trying to get him in there. Plus I suppose it was a bit hot still, so maybe that was part of it. Anyway, I think I’ll stick to putting him in the wrap when he’s already peaceful for now, until I’m really used to the whole thing.

Anyway, the evening was a bit mental with a fussy Fred, and it made me feel like I could really do with at least two more arms. Trying to juggle a discontented newborn while feeding Liam was a bit tricky, but we managed. I was feeling a bit frazzled getting things ready for Liam to go to bed, but in the end, we managed it and I suppose at this point, that’s the main thing. It wasn’t very gracefully done, and we skipped brushing Liam’s teeth, but oh well. I know it’ll get easier and at the moment I have to just take every minutely small victory I can get and feel good about all the things that go right instead of setting my expectations too high. Also, I know that many a person has had more than one child to look after and somehow managed to survive, so I shall take comfort in that!

Welcome Frederick!

Holy cow, I don’t know how it happened but our new baby is almost a week old! We welcomed little Frederick Seneca Morkan on 7 August at 5:00 am, Istanbul time. He weighed 3.84 kilos (about 8 lbs 7 oz) and was 51 cm long (almost 21 inches). He took to breastfeeding almost immediately and has been an eating machine ever since! So far, he’s very peaceful and easy going (just like his big brother!), and we’ve had a pleasant week getting used to being a family of four. Liam is taking things in his stride and is doing a great job as a new big brother! I’m so proud of him! I have so much to write about, but I don’t know how long I’ll have the two boys sleeping, so I’ll get to the photos because they’re the most fun (Richie’s ventured out to get Fred’s birth certificate today, so this was my first time putting Liam down for his nap, while also taking care of Fred. I feel like it was a great accomplishment!). I’m working on writing out Fred’s birth story too, so hopefully I’ll be able to post that up soon! But for now, some photos from Fred’s first week, and a couple silly one’s of Liam from this morning thrown in for good measure…


Doula visit, plans for baby’s arrival and a few brief outings…

Well, I see it’s been two weeks since my last post, so seems like time for an update.

The first thing that comes to mind is that last week we had our June visit from our doula. She went over various massage techniques we might use for labour, etc., so that was quite relaxing and enjoyable. I bought this DVD a while ago and loaned it to the doula. My doctor had recommended it before Liam’s birth, but we didn’t really have enough time then to learn the massages, etc., but it was something I knew I wanted to try if we had another baby. I’m hoping the massage will help as a natural pain management and with keeping me calmer to make the whole process a bit smoother. We’ll see! You never know how these things will go, but it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared!

We’ve also been trying to figure out what exactly we’ll do with Liam when the whole labour thing kicks off and we have to go to the hospital etc., and I must admit it’s been weighing on my mind. We have a few friends we’re sorting out baby-sitting plans with, but people have jobs and other commitments, so it could be a bit hectic. Luckily, our doula suggested a great plan to help with this! She’s just moved to a new apartment really close to the hospital we’ve chosen, and also quite close to our doctor’s ‘headquarters’. So, we discussed me heading to her place early in labour, where it’ll be quiet and relaxing and she’ll be there for support. That way Richie can stay at home longer with Liam, which will make things easier in a general way and also make it easier for whoever will be coming over to watch Liam. I really want to ‘stay home’ longer this time (by which I really mean, just not go to the hospital so early this time), but our small apartment with a busy little toddler won’t exactly be the most relaxing place for me to get into the birthing ‘zone’. This fact became especially apparent when the doula was going to begin the massage demonstration on me, and then Liam pushed her away, climbed in my lap and then wouldn’t let her touch me. Then Richie put on a DVD to distract him while her and I escaped to another room and shut the door to hide from Liam for a bit, but when he realized we were missing, he just came bursting through the door and that was the end of ‘relaxation time’ for me! So, yeah, going over to her place sounds like a much better and more realistic option. I’ll be close to the hospital so we won’t have to worry about travel and timing so much, and then when it gets closer to delivery time, Richie can come join us. This plan has made me feel much MUCH more relaxed about everything. Once again, doulas are amazing!!!!!

In completely unrelated news, we’ve finally managed to venture out with our little potty-training guy! I know, it’s taken us ages. He’s been doing great at home and is pretty much completely independent with it when pants-less. We’ve started more practice with shorts on, and him telling us when he needs to go, but this still involves watching him really closely and being on-hand because he hasn’t got the pulling-the-pants-down on his own thing yet. He’s started trying to pull them up, which is something, but it’s still going to take him a while. However, he’s getting better about telling us when he as to go and so I’m happy with our progress. But, before this whole potty training adventure began, we were used to getting out a lot, so I think it was finally starting to make me a bit stir-crazy! Thank god we’ve got the garden to go down to, but it’s just not quite enough. So, on Saturday we just took a walk with Liam in his buggy, stopped by a couple of shops for a few things and then headed home for some garden play-time. He peed before we left and then held it until we got home to his potty, so it was a small success. And yesterday we actually went to a local cafe for tea and dessert (it being father’s day) and it was great! We tried out Liam’s new travel potty and it worked great! One reason why I wasn’t brave enough to venture out with him before was that he was REALLY resistant to us prompting him to use the potty and would kick up a huge fuss. But in the last few days, he’s calmly gone a few times when I did prompt him to go, so I felt a bit more confident taking him out knowing he’d just sit when we arrived and before we left if necessary. Anyway, the little potty is amazing and I’m really happy with it! He sat and went potty no problem and we had a lovely time at the bakery with no accidents.

Okay, I started writing this post about a week ago! Aaaah, I just haven’t been able to find time to sit down and write these days! Richie is putting Liam down for his nap at the moment, so I’m just going to hurry up and finish this thing finally. Anyway, we just got back from a nice Sunday breakfast at the same local bakery mentioned above. It is so fun to be getting out again and still no accidents! We had quite a feast this morning, and it’s been like this for a while, but I still just think it’s great Liam’s at an age where he can just eat what we’re eating. Richie had some spinach and meat borek (pastry stuff) and I got a Turkish breakfast plate, so Liam had bits of everything we were eating. He sat in a chair like a big kid and it was great. I was so happy to get out the door this morning for such a relaxing outing! It is strange how much of a morning person I’ve become, getting up at about 6am most days and actually enjoying getting out or getting things done before 11am. Especially now that the hot weather has arrived, I love that fresh coolness in the early morning hours, before the daily non-stop sweating begins! Okay, I think I’ll stop here because I feel that soon I’ll just start to ramble. Hopefully I’ll get to post more frequently again now, at least for the next few weeks. It’s so much more fun to be able to keep up with the writing thing on a regular basis! I’ll try to post a few photos later too!

Summer cravings, baby anticipation and thoughts about the future…

I think this is going to be a ‘random thoughts’ post, just to put that warning out ahead of time. Beware of unexpected nonsense and half-baked ideas!

First of all, I’ve been having ‘American things’ cravings. I want to go to a baseball game. I want to have a barbeque and eat hamburgers and bratwurst and potato salad and CORN ON THE COB slathered in copious amounts of butter. I want to go camping or at least hiking in a foresty national park. I want to sit in a grassy back yard and possibly play in a sprinkler. I want to go to the beach. You get the idea. I think because it’s summer now, BUT we’re staying home so much and not really doing our normal Istanbul summer stuff, as a replacement I am really missing all the summer associations of home. It’s funky and I don’t really know what to do about it. This is just going to be a summer of not much being out and about, which I’m okay with, but it’ll feel sort of weird to be missing out on the usual going to cafes and sitting outside drinking tea for hours and all that kind of thing. And, lets be honest, probably most of it comes down to food and I just really want yummy summer food. And a nice cold beer sounds pretty great too.

I think I’ve also started getting to that impatient phase of pregnancy. I have two months to go, which sometimes feels like a long time and sometimes feels like no time at all! We’re doing all this home-related stuff to get ready for the baby, and hopefully soon we’ll have the new crib and things will pretty much be set up. I’m glad we still have some time before the new little guy arrives, but part of me just wants to get to the end and have him here already! I’m anxious to start this whole new chapter in our lives, but then again, I also want to be in the moment now and enjoy this relatively calm time with Richie and Liam before everything changes and gets a bit crazy for a while. Especially for Liam, I want to make the most of these next two months and just have fun with him and fill him up with lots of extra lovin’ before he has to deal with the big adjustment of sharing us with a new baby. But it’s hard to be in the moment when there’s just so much to think about and look forward to. My brain is a bit split in two. If I’d just settle down to do it, I think some yoga/meditation would be great for helping me calm down my overloaded mind and just bring me back to the present, which is really what would be best. Must try harder to do that.

I’ve also been thinking a bit about the medium-term future, in relation to jobs and where we’ll live and how we’ll live, etc. I haven’t been thinking about it loads, because obviously the first priority is just to focus on this baby-having thing, but I think precisely because we’re having another baby, I can’t help but be thinking about our future and wanting to have some clearer plans or ideas about what we’ll be doing in the next couple of years or so. I’ve actually been thinking about researching some ‘work from home’ options, although to be honest, I have no idea where to start. I still have teaching as the most likely and most sensible job for me to go for, but at the same time, I don’t want to have a rigid plan that entirely depends on one single job option. If there were some sort of job I could do from home, especially if it was something I could begin while we’re in Turkey and didn’t tie me down to one location, it could be really useful as we try to  transition back to Ireland (or the US). Plus, childcare is just so expensive, working from home for a few years could certainly have financial benefits. PLUS, I just hate the idea of putting my kids in day care. It’s certainly not a judgement on anyone who has to or has chosen to do so, but I just find the idea of handing my tiny kids over to some strangers in a day care to be one of the most soul crushing and depressing ideas ever. Maybe it’s because I was raised by a stay-at-home-mom, I don’t know. I may have to get over that at some point, but if it were possible, I’d love to avoid it. Anyway, work from home… perhaps something education related or maybe editing. I honestly don’t know, but it’s just something I’ve been casually thinking and wondering about.

Well, I think that’s enough of me rambling about this and that. It is a bit therapeutic to put it in writing rather than just leaving it to float around aimlessly in my head!

Adventures in potty training…

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, mainly because the last week and a half have been almost entirely dedicated to potty training, and I haven’t had any energy for such indulgences as writing and thinking in the evening. Also, I enjoy photo posts the most, but since Liam has been running around mainly with a naked butt, I haven’t had much opportunity for internet-appropriate photography!

I don’t want to bore with excessive details, but I think so far potty training is going really well. Far better than I imagined, actually! The first day was ‘clueless’ day, but even then he was quickly catching on to what was going on with the whole bodily function thing, and we successfully got just about everything (at least partially) in the potty. Day 2 was more of the same, but with much more awareness and even some self-initiated potty usage. Day 3 and 4 we attempted to add shorts, to practice reading his signals and to basically see how he’d communicate with us about pottying, since he doesn’t know how to pull down his trousers himself yet. Since he’s so young, we knew he’d need lots of supervision and support with this, but it was kind of just to see how things would go. There was some success, some mess, some confusion and difficulty for Liam. Day 5 was a return to naked butt time and HEY PRESTO a whole evening of entirely self-initiated potty going!

Turns out he is WAY ready for all this and (so far) has been completely using the potty on his own. We even gave up prompting him much or ‘making’ him sit on the potty. We remind him a bit, just saying ‘here’s your potty when you need to go peepee or poopoo’, but if we try to actually get him to sit, it just causes crying and wriggling and often no actual pottying anyway. Once we trusted him to take the initiative, things have been going so well! I’ll still qualify that with a ‘so far’ because I don’t want to jinx things and you just never know with toddlers from one day to the next.

So, for now we’re spending all our time at home, just making sure this phase of the potty training experience is as relaxed as possible and to make sure Liam has it completely down pat. We’ve also had completely dry naptime diapers since Day 1 of potty training and the last couple of nights he woke up completely dry too! Amazing. We’re making more use of our garden downstairs now, so we don’t have to go too far while all of this is new, but so we still get some outside time. We bring down his potty and he wears shorts for the time he’s out there, and it’s been a good, stress-free practice dealing with all this and him being clothed. He’s getting more aware of what’s happening and communicating a bit more clearly when he needs me to help him go. Overall, we’ve been very successful down there too and he’s peed in the potty each time for last few days.

I know every parent has these moments, for various different achievements of their children, but for me this is definitely one of those things that makes me feel so impressed by my little man! I thought he was ready to potty train, but I didn’t think he’d catch on so quickly and be doing so well and be so independent about it! I feel really happy for him too. It’s hot and I think he’s delighted not to have a hot ol’ diaper on and to be running around with a fresh breeze on his buns! Also, he looks so proud of himself when he used the potty. And I think all of us are really glad not to have those wrestling match diaper changes anymore. He’s so quick, just hopping on the pot for a quick pee and then off he goes again, no hastle, no laying down for a change, hardly any stop to what he’s doing. It must feel great!

So, basically, that’s been occupying most of my braincells. I did, however, muster up the energy to make another animal-thing for Liam’s room. This time it’s a gazelle. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, although, it looks kind of funny next to the lion I previously made because it’s bigger. So much for scale! Luckily, Liam isn’t the harshest critic and has seemed to turn a blind eye to my artistic shortcomings. We’ve also been doing more home rearranging and all that. Little by little we’re getting rid of all the unnecessary junk we’ve had around forever, and we’re getting this place ready for Baby No 2. It’s exciting to see things slowly coming together and I really think the whole apartment is looking much better this way!

And finally, here’s a video. He’s been having so much fun playing with the hose and soaking himself in the garden! That noisy thing that elicits the ‘oh wow!’ is a truck driving up our hill.