Posts Tagged ‘Alexis’

June 19, 2018

Peas in a Pod

Can you tell which child is which? Answer key at the bottom of the post

“Who does she take after? Nicole or Alexis?” Was a frequent question right after Dana’s birth, followed by “Did they all have this much hair?” The latter question was much easier to answer – yes! – as for the former? Alexis maybe? I remember studying Dana’s face from the hospital recovery bed, trying to see either big sister in her features. Dana’s face was rounder like Alexis’, but her hair resembled Nicole’s. She simultaneously resembled both of her big sisters, and neither of them at the same time.

My three kids as two week old newborns

When friends and family asked a few weeks after birth, I’d tell them that Nicole had the most hair of the three, Dana second and Alexis’ third. That’s what my memory lead me to believe. Seeing them side by side I think Dana might take that crown.

Now that Dana has filled out a little there’s no question she’s a near carbon copy of Nicole. If I wasn’t the family photographer, I’d swear I wouldn’t be able to tell some of those photos apart. And I used to think Nicole and Alexis looked so much alike as newborns! Ironically, everyone tells me Dana looks like Nicole whenever we’re out and about. I don’t see the similarities as clearly between 5 year old Nicole and baby Dana, though I do find there baby pictures nearly identical.

Dana’s personality is still starting to show, so it’s hard to say which one of her sisters she will take after there. So far she seems to be a mellow baby, like big sister Alexis. She’s perfectly content to hide out and nap in the ergo during weekend outings, and rarely cries. Although she can’t stand to hear anyone else cry (a phenomenon I don’t remember with either big sister).

I’m pretty amazed at how early sisterly love takes hold.

Alexis still hugs and kisses Dana every chance she gets, first thing in the morning, after breakfaste, before leaving for school… Even if it’s only been a few minutes since the last hug and kiss. Dana adores the attention, even when it nearly knocks her over. The other day at dinner she got so excited when Alexis walked past her on her way to the bathroom, waving her arms and doing the happy baby dance. Alexis turned to her and said “I go poo and pee, then I give you hug and kiss! Okay, baby?” It was pretty adorable. She tells me all the time that “I like Baby Dana.”

Nicole can often be found sitting next to a fussing Dana, singing or dangling toys to entertain her. She tells me she loves the baby, and the baby is so cute. I’m surprised baby cuteness would register to a not quite six year old, but it really has! She loves showing off Dana whenever the two of us pick her up from camp, referring to Dana as “her baby.” Not “her baby sister”, but “her baby.”

Watching their relationships develop with each other is my favorite part of being their mom.

So which child was which? Top left: Nicole, Top right: Dana, bottom left: Nicole, bottom right: Alexis.

April 25, 2018

Mommy’s Helpers

After a rough couple of nights I was feeling particularly exhausted. Nicole and Alexis were watching a movie and Dana was playing in her activity gym with Domingo. I had a rare opportunity for a much needed nap and opted to take it. As I was lying in bed, waiting to drift off to sleep, a noise caught my attention. I opened my eyes to see Nicole standing besides me. She was setting a mini charms lollipop on my night stand for when I woke up from my nap.

Ever since we brought Dana home from the hospital, Nicole and Alexis have been super excited at the prospect of being mommy’s special helpers. That excitement has not waned over the months. Nicole loves to bring me food and water as I rock the baby, to the point where she took it upon herself to bring mommy a treat for me when I awoke from my nap.

Alexis wants to do everything she sees Nicole do, happily fetching toys, burp clothes and diapers. She gets upset if we ask Nicole for assistance too many times in a row before asking her. She’ll throw her arms up around her chest, puff up her lowerlip and say “no fair! You always ask Nicole and not me.”

Both Nicole and Alexis come running if they hear Dana start to fuss. They like to help calm the baby by “shushing”, singing and dancing for her when she’s upset. Dana responds well to their attention, which both of the girls enjoy greatly. If Dana has a preference in this house, it’s not Domingo or I (unless she’s hungry. We like to joke that as far as Dana is concerned, my name is “food”.)

We do have to be careful because three-year-olds are not always known for their inside voices, and gentle hands, though she tries mightily, but Dana doesn’t seem to mind. I think she enjoys the attention, even if it’s a little rough at times and she’s effectively being tackled by a big sister hug. And it’s been very helpful for me. With my arms full I can’t always reach that burp cloth, and nursing mom is always hungry and thirsty.

November 25, 2017

The Big Wonderful Three

Who’s turning three? This girl!

I still can’t believe this sweet, beautiful girl, who gives giant kisses and takes any excuse for a hug has been a part of our family for three years already!

We celebrated Alexis’ birthday the weekend after Thanksgiving with family still in town. It’s amazing what the kids remember year to year. Alexis has been talking about her “Princess cake” she was going to get on her birthday for a couple of weeks now (even though, like years past, neither kid cared to eat it!). But it didn’t dawn on her that she was going to get presents until Nicole pointed it out to her the night before her party. She also appeared to forget about the big foil balloon. It may not have been important to her last year, but this year she was all about the big balloon.

We were super proud of our three year old who choose the occasion to show off what a big girl she was. Both Domingo and I were surprised she willingly napped before the party. Some of the party guests arrived as lunch was finishing up, just before nap time. Six months ago there would have been tears and protests as she was carried upstairs for nap just after guests arrived. Today she happily greeted them with a hug before telling them it was nap time and her party would start after nap. My big girl also impressed everyone with her sharing ability. She received both a Rapunzel and Ariel barbie dolls, and handed the Ariel doll to Nicole while it was still in the box so the two could play together. She also received Shimmer and Shine bracelets that play songs from the cartoon. Rather than wear one on each wrist as intended, she gave one to Nicole so they could each wear one.

It was an amazing day. I just wish I was able to get better pictures of the birthday girl. Alexis also enjoys “teasing” mommy when Mommy has her camera. It started last summer. If you asked her to say smile for the camera, she’d gladly comply, but facing whatever direction she was facing. If the back of her head was towards the camera, she’d say “Cheese!” without turning to look at you. Back then it was because she didn’t understand, now it’s become a bit of a game. So there was a lot of smiling while looking to the person to the left or right of me. Normally I can catch her off when her gaze shifts to me momentarily, but this time I had the added issues of still getting used to the settings on my new camera and the controls aren’t second nature yet. I forgot how to change the focal point, so I’m relying on Auto-focus which sometimes doesn’t do what I want. At least I did manage a couple really cute ones, and sometimes looking off camera adds to the photo.

I’m so proud of my girls and how big they’re getting.

October 17, 2017

Unicorn Sandwhich

Yesterday when picking Alexis up from daycare she immediately wanted to be held, burring her head into the crook of my neck. I felt the warmth radiating from her and just knew she had a fever. The thermometer at home confirmed: 102.4. She would be staying home today, even though her temperature was back down. Daycare rules.

What ever was brewing last night seems to have blown over. She slept reasonably well, all things considered and her fever is gone. She’s energetic, and her usual happy self. The only indication that she may not be feeling well was a reduced appetite. She eat only a few bites of her morning cereal when she can normally eat a bowl and a half. A few hours later she was asking for gold fish like a champ.

Since my little tropper seemed to be doing so much, but had to stay home anyway, I was looking for ways to make our impromptu Mommy and Me day a little more special. After all, big sister just had a bunch of them, and she got go to the movie theater!

One of my ideas: Unicorn Sandwhiches. Sprinkles have about 2-3g of sugar per teaspoon, depending on the brand. A pinch can be estimated to be, what, a 1/16 a teaspoon? Not enough for the added sugar to disrupted a vulnerable stomach, but enough to add a bit of excitement.

Alexis eat about 3/4ths of her sandwich. Not as much as I was expecting, but she loved the sprinkles and asked if we could have more Unicorn Sandwiches on the next home day.

February 28, 2017

“Moo” and Other Things

Six-ish months ago we made the decision it was time to start weaning Alexis off of her binky. I fallowed our dental insurance advice to poke holes in her existing binkies which would break the suction and reduce the sucking satisfaction Alexis received from them, allowing her to break her binky habit more gradually.

The first time Alexis put the modified binky into her mouth it slid right out. It started slipping out of her mouth at night time as well. I’d sneak into her room to find Alexis holding her binky in her hand rather than keeping it in her mouth. Things were going according to plan. Until…

Alexis learned to bite down and chew on her binkies to keep them in her mouth. She ended up chewing through a few binkis. We ended up replacing them twice, before it became clear that we needed to take the next step. Enter the Binky Fairy.

For the uninitiated, the Binky fairy works by having the child gather up all his/her binkies. At some point when the child isn’t looking the binky fairy turns the binkies into toys.

The Binky fairy helped Nicole kick her binky habit, though there were a few rough nights. Nicole was more attached to the binky than Alexis when it was time to give it up, and there were a couple nights where she’d wake up in the middle of the night having forgotten about trading it for toys.

I had learned from my mistakes. We sang the “bye, bye, binky” song (or at least the refrain) while she gathered up the her binkies and put them on the ottoman for the binky fairy. The fairy replaced them with a new bath time toy, and new night time snuggle buddy, and owl she named “Moo”. That way when it night time approached we could easily keep reinforcing the idea that she traded her binkies for fun new toys.

Despite all that she didn’t 100% grasp what was happening. She asked for her binky during bed time story and cried “Alexis needs it!” when I reminded her that they were all gone. Fortunately the tears were short lived. I reminded her about Moo and she was content to hold him during story time instead. I was surprised that she did not ask for a binky when she awoke in the middle of the night!

The next day Alexis asked for her binky again, and again I reminded her about Moo. There were no tears, but she held Moo to her face, frowned, said “don’t like Moo” and tried to hand him back to me.

“Aww, Moo likes you!” I said, wrapping Moo’s wings around her in a big hug. That did it. She grabbed tightly and lied down with a huge grin on her f ace. So far she’s been asking about the Binky, but other than that first few minutes of that first night there have been no tears, only questions.

February 20, 2017

Mommy Naps

There are few things in life as perfect as a child sleeping in your arms. The way they snuggle into you as they find that perfect position, as though no matter how hard they try they can never be close enough. They way the go from squirmy to still as the sleepies take over and they drift of to sleep. The rhythmic breathing. The warmth of their little bodies. Tiny head resting in the crook of my neck. Fine baby hairs tickling my chin smelling of baby shampoo. Rocking a sleeping child is one of my favorite mommy moments.

This stage doesn’t last nearly long enough. Blink and it’s over.

I was caught off guard when it ended with Nicole. She was a feverish two and a half year old, used to napping in her bed but would take a “Mommy nap” whenever it was offered. This time she couldn’t get comfortable. I remember the way she cried when she couldn’t fall asleep until I lied her back down in her bed and sat next to her. I had had my last mommy nap with my first born, and never knew it.

So here we are with my youngest, two years and three months old. She’s not quite at the point of giving up naps, though she’s spent nap time in the crib waiting out the bunny clock before. Her nap days are numbered, as are her mommy naps. She’ll struggles to get comfortable in my lap, struggling to find a position where her feet don’t get squished against the cushions. But she still asks for Mommy naps, she still wants them, and I’m happy to oblidge. Who am I to say no?

I’m soaking in these moments while they last.

January 11, 2017

More Alexies

Despite this being my second go around, I’m still constantly amazed how quickly language developes. Just a few months after our last ‘Alexies’, we have a whole new round.

Goldfish for Dinner
A constent topic of conversation in the car on our drive to and from daycare is what’s for dinner. (It doesn’t help that there’s a McDonalds on our route, and Alexis recognizes their sign.) The other day we were driving and Nicole asks what’s for dinner.

Nicole: What’s for dinner mommy?
Me: Fish!
Alexis (hopeful): Gold fish?

Nice try kiddo.

I knew we’d hit the why phase with Alexis, but I kind of expected it to happen a little later when it was easier to understand her toddler-speak. Often she’ll say a long string of sentences of which I understand only a few words, and then ask “why?”. If I say I don’t understand, she’ll repeat the same syllable sequence, syllable for syllable of which I still only understand the same few words.

Other times our “Why” conversations usually go a little differently. I present to you an actual conversation with my two year old.

Alexis: Alexis wants Donalds (McDonalds)
Me: Not today. We had that yesterday.
Alexis: Why?
Me: Because you asked for it yesterday.
Alexis: Why?
Me: I assume because you like it.
Alexis: Why?
Me: Probably all the fat and sugar in it.
Alexis: Why?
Me: Fat and sugar is yummy.
Alexis: Why?
Me: … that’s a good question.
Alexis: Why?

Alexis Funny
Alexis is definitely a little goof, and she knows it. Sometimes she’ll start laughing for no apparent reason. I’ll ask her what’s so funny and she’ll respond “Alexis funny!”

Alexis do it
A very common phrase around here is “Alexis do it!” She’ll insist she be the one to request a new song from echo. Only Echo doesn’t quite understand that “echo, ay luv is open door-ah” translates to “Echo, play ‘Love is an Open Door'” in toddler-speak. I’ve gotten into the habit of making the request when Alexis’ request fails. She scream “no, Alexis do it!” and then repeat her request when echo is thinking. Then, when Echo starts playing the song she beams with pride saying “Alexis did it!”

Recently we had a meltdown over a band-aid coming off in the bath tub, including tears down the cheeks. Nicole tried to cheer her up by hugging her, when that didn’t work, Nicole pretended to sympathy cry. Alexis came to a dead stop, said, “No, Alexis do it!” and then resumed crying at the top of her lungs.

She did not understand why we all found it so funny.

November 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Alexis!

In what I’m sure will be our yearly tradition, we celebrated Alexis’ birthday with Family the weekend after Thanksgiving. I cannot believe how fast time is flying.


This was the first year of including Alexis’ in our giant number foil balloon tradition. Nicole was very excited for the foil balloon, and wanted to be the one to give it to Alexis when she awoke in the morning. Alexis ended up rather indifferent to it, preferring the small latex helium balloons, but she was willing to pose for a few photos with it. That worked out well for Nicole who not so secretly wanted a turn with the balloon.

For the party itself we opted for the simple approach: balloons, cake and family. I’m all about the easy peasy at 2nd birthdays, apparently.

We made the mistake of opening presents first. Present #2, Scout was followed by #3, a giant cookie monster stuffed animal. Her arms were full and she was not giving up either for anything. Not even temporary so she could open more presents. We ended up setting the remaining presents aside for another day, much to big sister’s chagrin.

Alexis blew out the candle with help from big sister. She declined of piece of cake, however, pulling her bib off and hoping out of the chair before the first piece was cut. Somehow she managed to escape inheriting my sweet tooth, and there were new toys to be played with. I tell Domingo this after every party, but we really need to look into getting the girls angle cake or pound cake. Neither is a fan of frosting.

The party ended with our second “great balloon release” (released inside in the stairwell). The balloon release was a huge hit on Nicole’s birthday, and likely the girls’ favorite part of Alexis’ birthday. The each took turns cutting the strings on the helium balloons and sending them up to the ceiling.

And, in case anyone is under the mistaken impression my kids are always cooperators, I present our funniest out take. Our little goof.


October 6, 2016

The Bunny is Magic

Toddler sleep has historically been a bit of a challenge for us. Alexis was at the age where things all went to pot with Nicole, so we’ve been fearing another long bought of terrible sleeping.

Things weren’t horrible, but they weren’t great either. For the most part there where at least a few good nights a week, giving us hope to cling to. Then, Alexis was struck with a week long cold. We figured her sleep would return to normal after she kicked her cold. It didn’t. We thought maybe she just needed a few more days, than a week, maybe a couple of weeks. Alexis was now waking up 4-6 times a night for a week straight, and sometimes those ups would last for an hour. She was clearly trying to sleep, but when she didn’t fall right back asleep she’d call to us for another drink of water while she waited, followed by another call shortly later for a diaper change.

That lack of sleep is a killer. Because her night time sleep was so bad she was often tired and cranky during the day. Little things that usually didn’t bother her before would cause a crying fit. Being overtired affected her naps as well, and created a feedback loop of exhaustion. Of course mom and dad were frayed a little thin as well.

Recent experiences have lead us to believe that Alexis understands much more than she can communicate. We decided to give an OK to Wake Clock a try, even though she was sub 2. Let me tell you that OK to Wake clock is pure magic!

Alexis has a thing for bunnies right now. Her favorite stuffed animal is the bunny from Pets. She loved having her own bunny clock, just like big sister Nicole. We made a big deal out of saying good night to the bunny every night. (Alexis still says goodnight to it and not to me!) Every time she’d wake up in the middle of the night I’d gently remind her that the bunny was sleeping when I went in to check in on her, and we’d say goodnight to it again when I left the room.

It took a bit over a week before the number of night time wakings started to decrease. For two or three weeks she’d just wake up once a night. Then sometimes never. The past week she’s slept through the night in it’s entirety. This morning I heard her on the monitor calling “Bunny sleep, Bunny sleep!” which is her way of saying “Look at the bunny clock!” (It had just woken up.) With her night time sleep finally in a good state, she’s also napping better than she has in a long time. She’s back to her happier, more carefree self. She’s even eating her vegetables better.

Of course, this could just be confirmation bias again, but I’m optimistic.

September 17, 2016

Camera Ready


Who is this child, and what did they do with my Alexis?!

Alexis has long been my child who merely tolerates the camera. She’ll cooperate for me, provided I don’t over do it. But others? Nope. Her last round of school photos were a complete bust. She started crying the minute the she was brought into the room, so the photographer had her sent back to class without attempting a single frame. I admit I was more than a little bummed about that. This is the same studio that did the vintage style photo for the playroom, and I was looking forward to an updated version.

Rather than just be bummed, I decided to reach out to the JCPenney’s photographer we had success with. I called up and asked if they could do a similar vintage shoot. I also needed an updated family photo for our living room. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

That was last Friday.

The beginning of the session wasn’t promising. Alexis clung to me and cried when I tried to have her just stand by my side. But by the end of the session a transformation had taken place. Alexis was eating up all the praise she was getting for holding a pose and smiling, and the photographer kept doting on her for being so cooperative. It created a bit of a feedback loop and my camera shy little girl was behaving much more like her camera loving big sister than I ever remember her being. It was especially amazing because the photographer was giving her complicated directions I wouldn’t expect a two year old to be able to understand, but she did and happily obliged! She not only posed as requested, but held the pose for the photographer.

Today I got out my camera and asked Alexis to sit in the chair so I could take a picture. She posed herself (though this is one of the poses the JCPenney photographer had asked for), and held it long enough for several snaps. I shot Nicole next. Once Nicole was done, Alexis climbed back up into the chair with her teddy bear, ready for found two.

Before today it’s been four weeks since I last picked up my camera. I had been feeling rather uninspired. Now that I have two eager models I will have to make up for lost time!

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