October photo update!…

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What has turned into a Liam update…

Well, again, it’s been weeks and weeks since my last update. Crazy how the time flies!

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So, first of all, Liam turned two over a month ago! My little baby is now a two-year-old! Boy oh boy do I love that kid. He’s just the sweetest thing, and we’ve had such a great two years with him. He’s still a very snuggly guy and likes pinching our elbows (and my flabby belly!) as a sort of comfort thing while he’s snuggling with us or laying down to take his nap. So, he’s still pretty snuggly overall, but he’s also turning into a bigger boy who doesn’t want his mom kissing and hugging him all the time. Boo for me! Now sometimes he pushes me away, or if I kiss him and he didn’t want me to, he’ll wipe it off rather emphatically. Sigh. I knew it would happen eventually, but it’s kind of bittersweet, him starting to outgrow all my mushy mommy loving! I guess I just have to tell myself it’s better than him growing up to be a big mama’s’ boy, haha! On the flip side, I was just thinking that a few times recently, he’s given me a hug and sort of stroked my cheek very gently, like I do to him a lot. I saw him do the same to Richie today too. It was such a loving gesture!

He’s talking more and more, still just words, but slowly but surely, he’s figuring out the whole language thing. Just the other day, he finally referred to me as ‘mama’! It was a major breakthrough and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. For ages he’s just called both Richie and I ‘dada’, but two or three days ago he was pointing to a photo of Richie and called him ‘dada’ and a photo of me and said ‘mama’! Yippee! I have finally had a name/title bestowed upon me!

Liam is still being a great big brother. Any time he sees Fred’s pacifier/soother laying around, he picks it up and tries to give it to him or wants us to give it to Fred. He gives him hugs and kisses, touches his face or head very gently and will sort of snuggle up next to him for a minute and say hi to him. It’s adorable. I hope they’ll be great buddies with each other when Fred ‘grows up’. It is such a heart warming thing to see Liam being so kind to little Fred. It’s the best.

Liam is currently glued to Richie pretty much any time that Richie is home. Boy does he love his ‘dada’! Since Richie’s been home all this week for Kurban Bayram, I have actually started missing Liam and feeling like I’ve hardly had any real time with him, apart from giving him some of his meals. Today was great though because I put Liam down for his nap and got to snuggle with him and after lunch I took him up to the playground for a bit, and we got to hang out for a while in his room even while I was holding Fred. It was lovely for me, feeling like I got to ‘reconnect’ with him a bit. Now that Fred’s a bit older, I’ve decided we have to make more of an effort to get Liam out to play just about any day the weather is good. The last couple months have been tough for him, I’m sure, with all the changes, and he’s been cooped up in the apartment too much. I was so happy today watching him have fun at the playground. He loves climbing up the stairs and going down the big twisty slide, exploring everything and going up and down on the see-saw. There were some very nice bigger boys (maybe 9/10 years old?) at the playground today and they were talking to him and going down the slide with him. It is such a nice feeling to see other children being so kind to your own kid and feeling like he’s being validated by those other kids, if you know what I mean. It’s just really heart warming to see him so excited to play with the big boys and he was just cracking up laughing with one of the kids in particular. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but Turkish kids are so amazingly kind to younger kids. I’ve especially noticed it with boys here. I really hope we can teach our boys to be as kind and thoughtful with other younger kids when they themselves are big boys. It’s just so lovely to see and it’s one of the cultural things I absolutely love here in Turkey.

Hm, what else. Well, we’ve started having story time in the evening before bed, which has been great. I’d been relying on films a bit too much in the evening, especially when adjusting to taking care of Liam and Fred on my own in the evenings when Richie’s at work and dealing with dinner and bedtime, etc. But Liam recently got some lovely books from both of his grandmothers, so it’s been a good excuse to start reading before bed instead of watching movies. So far, sometimes Liam lays down to listen, but sometimes he’s in the room, but bouncing around or playing with toys during the story. But that’s okay; at least we’re all together interacting and not staring at a TV screen. And quite unexpectedly, Fred LOVES story time. My mom sent over some Dr Seuss books for Liam’s birthday and they have quite boldly coloured pictures, some even with the black, white and red that small babies are said to like best, and Fred will just lay there and look at the pictures for ages, his eyes wide, kicking his legs and looking all intense and excited about it. It’s so cute! I really never thought a 2-month-old baby would be so into story time!

Well, anyway, I’m sure there’s more to tell, but that’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m too tired to post photos tonight, but hopefully I’ll get some up tomorrow.

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!

Dancing Liam and wiggly Fred…

Well, I’m still working on writing Fred’s birth story, in case you’re wondering. But in the meantime, I wanted to write a little update. We’ve all had a really great week and a half of life as a family of four. Richie’s been home from work, so it’s made the transition go very smoothly. Richie’s spent most of his time with Liam and I’ve spent most of my time with Fred. Liam is handling everything really well, has been in great form and is as cute and lovely as ever. Fred is adorable and squirmy and does his job as a baby very well, i.e. he eats and poops and sleeps and snuggles. I know some people find the newborn phase a bit dull, because newborns obviously don’t really do much or interact a whole lot, but I love the snuggliness of it all! It’s fun to just have a tiny baby to hold and kiss and look at all the time!

So far he’s pretty peaceful and sleepy during the day, and nights have gone smoothly. Usually I wake him up still after he’s slept a few hours to nurse him, and sometimes he wakes up on his own to feed. It’s obviously not a regular thing yet, but there’s a sort of loose order to the night time waking-feeding thing, so that’s good. He had his one-week appointment on Wednesday, and he’s already gained back his birth weight, plus 200 grams! I’m not really surprised because my milk came in really quickly and he eats like it’s nobody’s business! I think the only unpleasant thing is that it’s so freaking hot and humid now, sometimes it does make it a bit difficult to be holding a baby all the time and sometimes I just think Fred is too hot! But we’re just staying pretty inactive, sitting in front of the fan lots and trying to stay as cool as possible.

Well, that’s about it for now, but here are a couple of videos of the boys!

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!