Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

It took us over a week to come up with this baby’s name but we have one, we finally have one! My husband favoured Gabriella but I was just stumped. I literally did not have one name that called out to me. I did not have any big favourites or names I had always wanted to call my daughter. I think the emotions of the pregnancy and then the quick post birth admittance to the NICU didn’t allow me to get my head wrapped around naming our girl.

For a full week she was just ‘baby’. We tossed around different names and my husband even bribed the nurses and staff at the hospital with buttery croissants if they voted for Gabriella. I love the name but it just wasn’t HER name. My requirements were that it should be something classic that went with Benjamin and Josephine and that you could make a few short names out of one long name.

Let me tell you, no matter how much it doesn’t bother you that your baby has no name, it bothers A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE. Almost to a comical level when they ask you in exasperation once again what her name is. Apparently people love to get all the details in a very prompt manner. Everyone gets a name eventually and I wasn’t going to feel rushed with choosing her name.

Once she was out of the NICU and out of phototherapy, I was able to spend more time being with her hanging out skin to skin in my hospital room. It was during that time that I was really able to start connecting with her. I knew she wasn’t a Gabriella and our other names on the short list didn’t fit her either. We had tossed around Beatrice, Beatrix, Jessa, Abigail and even more.

When we got around to the idea of Elizabeth, a name we had tossed around casually, my husband said he liked it but it suited her with a gentle S instead of a Z. That was it. I loved it! It totally fit this tiny girl and it went with the flow of the sibling names. We are still working on what her nickname will be, we are just letting that fall in place and so we call her Elisabeth for now. Our sweet baby Elisabeth.

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Back when we had Ben we were sort of taken aback by the fact that he became jaundice about 24 hours after birth. He hated being under the photo therapy lights and treatment was difficult to balance between his cries of misery and getting enough light exposure. Then we had Josie  and we felt like total pros and asked for her to be tested for jaundice at the 24 hour mark. Like we had predicted, our second baby had jaundice too. However, she didn’t mind being trapped in a warm box with a eye mask on.

I felt pretty certain that baby #3 would also need treatment for jaundice and I was not at all surprised when at the 24 hour mark she needed phototherapy. This wee girl was super chill under the lights and probably the easiest one when it came to soothing and leaving alone in the box.

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Her nurse made a little nest on the bed and she felt comforted surrounded by a ledge of rolls as she kicked and wiggled. It was funny to watch her hanging out in her photo therapy box. Man this girl can wiggle!! I knew she was a mover and a shaker from when I was pregnant, as she flipped positions all the time and would often lay side ways instead of head down. I even had a few fretful moments when she turned breech. So, watching her under the lights was interesting as she did the exact same thing. I’ve never seen a newborn move as much as she did.

On her last full day of treatment Ben dropped by after school and absolutely adored staring at her. We let him put his hands through the side doors and he counted her toes and rubbed her hair and was just in awe of his tiny sister.

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Today we waited patiently for yet another blood test to come back to tell us that her levels of bilirubin had come down enough for us to take her home. Things settled down enough for her to come home and we couldn’t jet out of the hospital soon enough! We’re going to be keeping a pretty strict feeding schedule so that we can work on getting rid of the leftover bilirubin in her system. Lucky for her and for me, she nurses like a champ and my milk is pouring in (and all over the bedsheets).

 

As I rest up in the hospital (side note: totally ‘old fashion’ style as baby is nearing 6 days old!) I’d love to share the next guest post from blogger Laura of the hilarious and insightful blog Navigating The Mothership. Her post makes me feel like I can do this mother of 3 gig!

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It’s inevitable that parenting styles and philosophies will shift a bit as you add more kids into the mix. As a fairly tightly-wound fussypants-type (rule one: know thyself and thine lameness), this parenting shift has been a wonderful thing for me. I am a better person for having gone through some challenging times as a parent, even if the learning curve felt brutal in the moment.

Many articles, surveys, and blog posts like to insist that three kids is the ultimate hardest number of kids, which…sigh. Oh, how I loathe you, parenting “advice” (*cough* assvice) articles that promise harder futures to those in the young children trenches. Giving a blanket statement that three kids will be the hardest – harder than one kid, harder than two kids, harder than four kids – is ridiculous. Boo hiss, I say!

Everyone’s situation is so inherently different and even within each family it will be different every time a new baby arrives. What kind of baby (or babies!) are you dealing with? I can pretty much guarantee those with a decent sleeper are having an easier time adjusting than parents who are up all night with a inconsolable baby. What other life circumstances are going on?  There are so many factors that make up life: physical, mental, familial, financial..and add in the current state of employment, your housing situation – or even current weather! – and things might get harder or easier. One baby can be crazy hard. Four kids might not be so hard. It all depends and it’s all relative.

Going from one to two kids was what rocked my world and brought me to my knees. I have heard that for some going from no kids to being a first-time parent was what really challenged them. I bet my husband would pick zero to one kid as the biggest shift he experienced as a parent. And for others I know that two to three kids was what left them floundering. But for me? My life circumstances lined up to make that transition from one to two the hardest. Managing a nap-dropping two-year-old and a very physically active baby (plus a handful of health problems, among other things) was the hardest year of parenting for me. Give me the past year of parenting a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a baby any day! Even now, as we are in the midst of a true sleep debacle with our youngest – complete with spousal fights at 3 AM last night over how to fix the problem – I still prefer the level of stress of right now over the stress I felt with “only” two kids. (And fear not, we made up by 8 AM the next morning as this is not our first sleep problem rodeo. The ability to laugh at our sleep-deprived crazy is a well-honed skill.)

While I am reluctant to share parenting wisdom given my relative newbie status as a parent, I think I know enough to say this: parenting will feel “easier” and more enjoyable once you get past your own parenting tipping point. The Today show referred to it as the Duggar effect (“once you get a certain critical mass of kids, life seems to get a bit easier”) and others might snidely call it giving up but I think it’s a more complex and nuanced process. Getting past the tipping point has to do with realizing that you can only control so much and that bit that you can control is often a shockingly small amount. And once that is realized and accepted, parenting and life feels more manageable.

Being past the tipping point means I find I can enjoy parenting so much more and roll with the punches far more effectively. Standards have not been abandoned, but they have been lowered.
Expectations are generally kept as low as they can go, but I am not without hope that it might go smoothly. You pick your battles and do your best. You know that most of the parenting mistakes will come out in the wash and at the end of the day all you need to do is show your kids you love
them. I like how I parent better now that I have three. Sure each kid gets less of me now that there are more siblings in the mix, but the bit they get is a happier and more relaxed me.

This is not to say that now that I’m past the tipping point I could add in a fourth or fifth kid and it would be no big thing. NO INDEEDY, that is not what I am saying. We have no plans for another baby but if that were to somehow happen, I still think I would navigate the challenge more adeptly than I did adding baby number two. Life is not easier with more babies, but the role of parenting feels easier. An
internal shift has happened which makes the external stuff less shocking.

So hear me parents who are expecting number three and fearing the worst: you might be very pleasantly surprised at how smoothly that new bundle of joy gets added into your lives. Prepare yourself for some tough and tiring days – because you know they will come – but prepare yourself to enjoy the magical gift of perspective. It will let you rise above the bad times (um…mostly) knowing that “this too shall pass” and it will let you settle in and enjoy the sweet moments because you know that those too shall pass.

We have made it one year into parenting three kids and it has far exceeded expectations. I absolutely adore having a third child – and I say that as someone who was once on the fence. I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed getting to do the baby thing one last time. It was a flawed and glorious time and we lived it fully. I am excited to watch the future unfold in the same way: flawed, glorious and full.

You can find me on my blog at Navigating the Mothership. I whine excessively on Twitter (I am working on that) and I also Instagram regularly.

It’s been a bit of a busy week over here! Last Friday I went to the hospital and was told my induction was going to be bumped up from the following week to that day. That morning I said goodbye to my big boy and off he went to school, had breakfast with Josie and headed into the hospital to have a baby. Things unfolded in their own way and on Saturday evening I had the baby. Unfortunately after a couple hours of skin to skin and breastfeeding, our sweet little babe  needed to go to the NICU for some extra care.

I was so caught up with the whirlwind of the baby being in the NICU, plus the recovery from birth and my own health issues, that I was just not in the frame of mind to have the big kids come for a visit. All of a sudden it was Sunday and then it was Monday and it had been 4 days since I last saw them.  My only focus was trekking from my hospital room to the NICU and feeding my baby.

Tuesday came and it was time for me to see the other kids and for them to meet their baby sister. Things were settling down with both of us in the hospital and I was seriously missing those big kids so much. We made a plan that after school they’d come for a visit and meet the baby. It was truly love at first sight and the oxytocin in the room was flowing!

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Ben was beyond smitten with this tiny newborn and he had all the right big brother moves. The only person who really has had a big shift in roles was Josie. She is no longer the family baby and has moved up in ranks as a big sister and also the middle sister. Luckily she was pretty impressed with her new credentials.

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I love how this new family member fits right in, like she was always meant to complete things. She is the perfect little sister and her siblings are especially besotted with her arrival. We can’t wait to bring her home and hopefully that will  happen Wednesday or Thursday. It’s been a long week since I first arrived in the hospital last Friday but it has been more than worth it.

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She’s here!Baby ‘Cupcake’ Firmani, Born April 11, 2015 6:54 PM, 6 lbs 5 oz.birth-0001 birth-0003 birth-0004

I’d love you to meet my next guest blogger in my mini series about adding baby #3 to your family. Michelle Gadd is the voice behind the blog Elasticpantcity and welcomed her own baby #3 last year. I remember standing with Michelle at a blogging event last June and told her how I was ‘on the fence’ about having a third baby. She said to me, ‘if you are on the fence it means you will have the third baby’. Well, here I am! Ready to read ALL of Michelle’s advice!

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That saying two’s a company, three’s a crowd holds sway when your family composition consists of three little boys five and under. It is busy and crowded in our bed, bathroom, and couch and everywhere in between.  We have one bathroom and just today there was a never-ending potty train that included both parents trying to do their business.

Where the saying breaks down in its application of truth is in the negative connotation of three’s a crowd.  Our little crowd is the soul of our family, the cause of belly laughs, the application of forgiveness and grace and sweetness personified.

My husband and I thought we were tired with two kids but adding a third created a whole new level of fatigue. Even so there has never been a moment of regret. At least once a day, even after a sleepless night (Yes, he still doesn’t sleep through the night!) my husband and I look at each other and say, “He is sooo cute. I can’t take it.”

A baby in the family brought out the nurturer and protector in our oldest son.  Our middle son (the baby of the family until that point) had the hardest time adjusting. He was territorial and started giving us trouble at bed and naptime.

Slowly but surely he has adjusted and become his little brother’s champion.  He’s the fastest to run into the baby’s room to greet him at the end of naptime (or unfortunately, sometimes in the middle).  He is the sibling to track his little brother’s activities and give me the warning signal when the baby might be in danger.

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Now that the “baby” is 16 months old the boys are learning to play together. They know exactly how to push one another’s buttons but also how to make each other roll on the ground with laughter.

The family dynamic is beautiful, occasionally frustrating and always busy.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to hit the hay at 9 PM to make sure I can survive another day or that I could sit down more often and read a book but the truth is two’s a company, three’s even better.

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Go get social and follow Michelle!

http://www.elasticpantcity.com

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www.twitter.com/elasticpantcity 

My husband keeps asking me if I’ve packed my bag for the hospital yet. The answer is no, not yet. Apparently he is all packed up and has charged his camera gear and is ready to go! You might remember from my other two births that my husband loves birth photography and has a major soft spot for capturing newborns. I’m glad that ‘his’ bag is packed and now I really need to get on top of mine.

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My firstborn at just a few days old.

 

We don’t know what the sex of this baby is so we have lots of neutrals available for sleepers and newborn clothes. It’s a good thing that I absolutely adore a newborn in white because I don’t really love yellows and greens as neutral newborn clothes.

Inside my hospital bag for this baby: 2 different outfits for the baby to wear, including the one they will wear home. I absolutely love newborn nightgowns for the ease of changing diapers and also because newborns love to scrunch their legs up and have their feet close together, much like they did in the womb. I’ve got one baby nightgown packed that Ben and Josie both wore.

Since we plan to do lots of skin to skin, we don’t need a bunch of extra sleepers packed along. That makes things a bit easier all around. However, the baby does have a new white sleeper that I found at the Gap awhile back. If you love white like me you will know how tricky it is to find white newborn items!

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The mandatory items we bring to the hospital in our baby bag!

 

All of our babies have worn the same white knitted going home ensemble. A soft knitted cap, booties and little tiny baby jacket. My mother in law made them when we were waiting for Ben to arrive and both Ben and Josie wore it home. I love having these small traditions to welcome in our newest family member.

Even more with the family traditions is the orange cashmere blanket that each baby uses. Back when I was pregnant with Ben, my husband and I were traveling around Italy and one afternoon while we were shopping in Florence he picked out a soft tiny baby blanket from Loro Piana.

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Our little Josie all wrapped up in the family baby blanket.

This blanket keeps getting passed down from one sibling to the next and every night they get to use the blanket from newborn life to toddlerhood. Josie just gave it up when she moved from the crib to her bottom bunk bed. I remember thinking how costly it was when we first bought it, but considering how much wear it has had over 6+ years, it was well worth it.

Now the lamb in the photo is just a token really, another family tradition that we continue to do. When Ben was wee he got a lamb that he loved and took everywhere. It even is adorned with a fuzzy white moustache that he placed on it when he was 3. When his sister was born he brought her a fuzzy lamb and she sleeps with it nightly. So, it was obvious that the siblings would get the new baby their own lamb!

The baby’s hospital bag is all packed and now I should get even more on top of things and pack my own bag! Nearing 37 weeks of pregnancy and have maybe 1-2 more weeks of pregnancy left before I have an induction of labour for type 1 diabetes. Things are happening over here people!

 

 

You guys!! It’s April!! I can’t believe I am here and pregnant after such a crazy stressful pregnancy. I remember being told I’d be lucky to get to 30 weeks and tomorrow I will be 36 weeks. Amazing.

While I finish off the last weeks of growing this special baby, I’ll be featuring a few of my favourite bloggers who all happen to be a mothers of 3. First up is local Vancouver blogger Bianca Bujan of the blog ‘Bits of Bees’. I asked Bianca to give me some inside scoop on how to survive the first year with 3. Thank you so much Bianca!

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The fact that I’ve grown and popped out three kids does not, in any way, make me an expert. That being said, they are all still alive (as am I), so I must be doing something right, right?
I promise that having 3 kids is more rewarding than it may appear to onlookers when I’m out in public. While it may sometimes look like I’m merely “surviving” life with my triad of tootsies, I can honestly say that I’m enjoying the chaos that comes with having a bountiful brood.
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Being a mom of three is like being part of an exclusive club. We’ve survived the first-time mom conundrums, we’ve done double duty with 2 kidlets, and have made that risky decision to dive into the ‘more kids than hands’ territory that many parents of 1 of 2 kids fear.  Maybe that’s why 3 is becoming the new 2 – because we’re kind of superheroes.
As I approach the final months of my first year as a mom of 3, I thought I’d share some of my learnings with Andrea who will soon be joining ‘the club’. Andrea delivered my firstborn, so I figure I owe her any pieces of wisdom that I can share before she leaps into the world of 3. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Divide and Conquer. Have you ever tried to carry a bag of sugar, while walking a goat and pushing a wheelbarrow? Having 3 young kids with you when you’re out and about is kind of the same thing (at least, at first). My advice: whenever you can, split them up – leave 1 or 2 kids at home with your other half when you have some running around to do. Family time is important, but so is keeping your sanity – you can all do something together when you get back from the store.
Time Out For Mommy. This is important for any mom – regardless of how many children you have. If you don’t take time out for yourself every once in awhile (even just a long uninterrupted shower, or a massage, or a quick pedi), you will burn out. It’s better for you, and it’s better for them too.
One-on-One Time. With more kids fighting for your attention, it’s even more important to make sure that each one feels truly special. Do something with each child that they truly enjoy, just you and him/her. They will appreciate having your undivided attention (even if only for an hour or so), and will be easier to live with as a result.
Let Baby Cry. I’m not saying that you have to let your sweet little cherub ‘cry it out’ (because to each their own), but if you’re in the middle of listening to one of your other littles tell you a story, or you’re helping them with something important, don’t run off the second you hear a peep from your babe’s mouth. Waiting another minute or two to finish what you’re doing with  child #1 or #2 won’t harm your baby, and it will show them that they are important to you too.
You Can’t Do It All. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. If the laundry piles up, let it go. If you just don’t have time to make a fancy dinner, order in. Don’t over schedule yourself, and don’t for a second be down on yourself for not being able to do everything. Remember, you’re a superhero, but you’re not invincible.
Ignore The Stares. There’s something about seeing a mom on her own with 3 children in tow. For some, it’s like witnessing a car accident right before their eyes, and they can’t look away. I say chin up, and ignore them. You never know, they could be staring because they’re envious of your new superhero status.
Find Your Tribe. Last but not least, find your tribe. If you know other moms who have 3 kids, band together! Have play dates, share your stories and lean on each other for support/advice. Surrounding yourself only with moms who have less children than you can make you feel a bit like an outcast at times (because new moms and new moms-to-two have their own struggles, and each experience is just different).
I hope this helps! Good luck, and enjoy every moment.
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 Bianca Bujan was recognized as one of VancouverMom.ca‘s Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers in 2012, and enjoys sharing advice, quotes and anecdotes from a career mom of three through her blog Bits of Bee. By day, Bianca creates buzz for small businesses through content creation, content marketing, social media strategy and brand development through her own business, Bee Communications. In her spare time, Bianca enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family in the beautiful surroundings of BC’s North Shore where she calls home.

It’s no secret that this has been a really hard pregnancy for me since the first few weeks of finding out baby #3 was growing. I’m sure some of my girlfriends also feel like it’s the worlds.longest.pregnancy, especially those that have been there for me since day 1. There has probably been over a thousand text messages exchanged about this pregnancy since the early days.

Over the last 8.5 months there hasn’t been many days where I’ve felt like my old self. I’ve been consumed with severe nausea and vomiting that had me crawling from the bed to the bathroom. The bleeding, oh the terrible bleeding, that left me a stressed out basket case. That was horrific on its own.  Then the stress that there were issues with the baby…and on and on.

I’m 34 weeks right now and the nausea and vomiting is history and the baby is doing amazing and we have been down graded from being high risk for a few different reasons to just being high risk for being a type 1 diabetic.  To keep things interesting my own body is taking a beating and my blood pressure is starting to creep up.

Back in 2008 I was induced with Ben at 36 weeks for high blood pressure and Josie came at 38 weeks, another induction for blood pressure that was creeping up and type 1 diabetes. Compared to the late pre-term birth of Ben, I was happy to have a baby at 38 weeks and I really noticed the differences the extra 2 weeks that pregnancy had on the baby.

On Friday afternoon I saw my OB and surprise surprise my blood pressure has started to creep up. Really, I am not surprised at all and it was only a matter of time. Especially with this ridiculous placenta of mine that has been causing issues from the very start. Yes, placenta you may be helping my baby grow but you are also a bit of a jerk. My placenta is also anterior which means it is in the front by my tummy so I feel movements differently.

I almost can’t wait to meet this placenta of mine eye to eye. It has been a terrible trickster from the early days with the crazy bleeding. This placenta is the reason behind all the extra doctors visits and crazy amount of ultrasounds I’ve had and the high level of surveillance. They called it ‘placental insufficiency’. I won’t be burying this placenta under a rose bush or making it into capsules or a placenta smoothie. Instead I will be shaking my fist at it!

In the world of type 1 diabetes, this placenta is also requiring a RIDICULOUS amount of insulin. Like so ridiculous I don’t think I’ve had a patient taking this much insulin before. At 34 weeks I am almost taking double what I took at the same week of pregnancy with Josie. I can eat a lettuce leaf and require a big shot of insulin, how crazy is that? I am taking so much insulin each and every day that I had to get special insurance coverage and my endocrinologist had to call them to tell them it was a legit dose.

‘No, she is not selling insulin on the streets. She just has a really funky placenta that requires the most ridiculous high dose of insulin.’

This week I’m starting extra surveillance of me and the baby, to make sure that my wonky blood pressure isn’t effecting either of us. I feel so very aware that at anytime I could be told ‘NOW IS THE TIME TO HAVE THE BABY’. I could be going in for a routine fetal monitoring session and leave days later with a baby on the outside.

As a planner this does give me a tiny bit of panic, but I’m really trying to go with the flow and realize that in pregnancy we have no control over many many things. We don’t get to write our story before it’s over and we don’t get to narrate it as it develops. We are really just along for the journey.

I feel the need to pack some kind of hospital bag despite only being 34 weeks and I feel like I need to organize a bit more baby stuff in prep for the big arrival. However, the real beauty of having your third baby is that you realize all of these plans really don’t mean much. Having a gorgeous fully stocked nursery is not mandatory for taking a newborn home. Neither is having the best packed hospital bag or all the gadgets you think you need for the first 3 months.

 

My day! A little baby monitoring followed up by a 'just in case the baby comes early' pedicure!

My day! A little baby monitoring followed up by a ‘just in case the baby comes early’ pedicure!

 

The relaxed hippie inside of me says, ‘Relax lady! You’ve got your boobs, a spot for the baby to sleep…you’re golden’. So, I will try to tune out my pre planner voice and just go with the flow. If only I could figure out what to do with my 2 kids and 1 crazy dog, if I do have to have the baby early, I really could be all sorts of relaxed!

 

 

 

Spring Break

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March 16, 2015 // Parenting

It’s the second week of Spring Break for us over here and I can’t believe it, but I’ve just got ONE kid with me right now. My older sister who lives on Vancouver Island offered to host Ben for a bunch of days and nights for some Spring Break cousin fun. She has 2 school aged kids who are also on Spring Break (plus her own baby who doesn’t sleep). I did not hesitate at the generosity and packed up Ben’s little suitcase.

Having Ben staying over with his cousins has been amazing. Not just for the obvious benefits for me, ummm 1 kid at home, but also knowing that he is getting up to some fun stuff with his cousins instead of watching me slowly walk down the street at a snails pace or watching me literally heave ho to get up off the bed. Last week we were walking down the city sidewalk and Ben turns to me and says, ‘wow mum, you sure are getting even slower these days’. It’s true and I’m not denying it.

I will be frank, having just 1 kid around when you’re all big and pregnant feels like the biggest treat ever. It’s funny though, I don’t remember thinking life was an easy ride when it was just Ben and I was 8 months pregnant with Josie! I guess it is one of those retrospective parenting things because life is feeling pretty sweet these last few days. Often when I’ve felt overwhelmed I would think in amazement at all the pregnant mothers out there who have more than 3 at home already. Seriously ladies, how do you do it? Seriously, tell me.

Having just Josie means that our days are lot different than when it’s both the kids. Finding activities that are cool for a 6 and a 3 year old to do together on Spring Break can be tough as their interests are different. I’ve found it’s easier to get a 3 year old to tag along on your day to day errands than a 6 year old. A 3 year old doesn’t seem to question the boring factor when you are grabbing groceries or heading to the pharmacy, they are just excited to be with you.

The first day that Ben was out of town Josie would not stop asking when he was returning. It was pretty adorable how much she missed her big brother and a little bit eye rolling as the two of them had literally been wrestling and hitting each other moments before we drove Ben to the ferry for his Spring Break adventures.

Josie wanted to save bits of her snacks for her big brother and she would randomly sigh and say, ‘…but where is Ben? When is he getting back?’. A good 24 hours later and our little lady was JUST FINE with being the only kid around. In fact, she adapted so well to her new role and totally stopped asking where her big brother was.

She learned that she was able to pick whatever Netflix show she wanted without hearing a 6 year olds opinion about why it was lame. She went and touched all of his Hot Wheels without getting into trouble by him and she danced and danced in the middle of the living room to silly songs that only she loves.

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By day three Josie was lapping up all the parental attention and, for what seemed like a very long time, pretended to be a puppy (thanks Paw Patrol!). There was no big brother to tell her to stop barking or to yank away her ‘dog toy’, AKA her homemade fairy wand. Since it entertained her we just let her go with it and so so she did… until she collapsed into a fit of giggles.

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Just a couple more nights of Josie enjoying being the only child and then it is back to life with a big brother. Soon enough this little girl will be a middle sister and life will be even more different. So, for now we just enjoy the giggles! So many giggles.