1 Year

My little Lucas B,

It’s happened. You’ve turned a year old. I’ve spent this past week reminiscing what my life was like just before you arrived- how excited I was, how scared I was, how I had no idea what it was going to be like to be a mom FOR REAL. I fondly remembered my labor story (it feels like it was yesterday) and kept posting photos or memories from that night on my Facebook page about being in labor, my water breaking, and your final arrival at 7:32 AM on my our birthday. I also got out some of your old clothes to hang up as a decoration for your party. I can’t believe you were ever that small now. It’s been an emotional week, to say the least. It’s also been crazy busy getting ready for your parties, but I’ll get to that later.

This past month we spent a lot of time outside, as it was finally getting nice out. You are an outdoor child. You LOVE to be outside. It’s your favorite place in the whole world. Backyard, front yard, park, wherever: if it’s outside, you want to be there. Now that you’re bigger (sob) and crawling all over the place on your own and pulling yourself up steps and whatnot, the park seemed like a good place to take you. You love to swing and have even learned how to slide. Those swim lessons really have paid off in the getting you to wriggle your butt off an edge thing. Just like you’d wriggle off the edge of the pool and lean forward for me to catch you, you’ve learned to do the same with the slide to go down. You love it; you get scared at first, but then you laugh and giggle and shriek with glee to do it again.

We’ve also spent some time inside, as it is springtime and has also been very rainy. On days we can’t go “ow-sigh!” we go to the Children’s Museum. We’ve been with our Trinity group, with Daddy (and saw the new dinosaur exhibit with the first mummified dinosaur), and we even took Brianna and Brady with us once with the help of your babysitter (and my friend and former student) Amber. Every time we go, we see new exhibits we hadn’t been to yet. When we went with Amber and the kids, we had more room (read less crowds) to explore exhibits we had seen, saw new exhibits we hadn’t seen, and ended the day with ice cream and a trip to the park. We also traveled with Amber to see Aunt Vickie and Uncle Brad down in Evansville. Dad and I took you to the zoo, and we saw the dolphin show this time and all the animals were actually out and moving about! The lion was right next to the fence. It was incredible to be so close! We also went up to Michigan to say a final goodbye to my childhood home. On that trip, we also crossed off an item off my life list and went to Xochimilco in Detroit for dinner. Daddy bought you a huge cookie at the Mexican bakery down the street, and you dug into it greedily as if we never feed you (which lately feels like all we do). You also walked with Great Grandma K’s walker while we were in Michigan, and got to meet your Grandpa D’s new puppy, Jack. Feeny and Jack were playing and went by you like a whirlwind of teeth and nails. Feeny knows to be careful by you, but Jack doesn’t, and you got scratched somehow by Jack on your hand. It’s left a scar. I hope it’ll go away, but I don’t think so. I felt so awful; you were so upset. At first, I thought the dogs had just startled you because it didn’t even look like they’d touched you as they went by, but you kept crying even after I snatched you up, and then I saw the scratches on your hand. As soon as I ran your hand under cold water, you stopped crying and pointed to the faucet and started babbling. Still, I felt awful.

That experience didn’t tarnish your love for dogs (even Jack). You love to stand and bang on the sliding glass door at Feeny as he stands out on the back patio. Feeny just looks at you with annoyance as if he wished you could just open the door instead of taunt him. You can’t open the door, but you sure do try. You even ring the bell like Feeny when you want out! You’re getting into everything now, pulling yourself up to drawers and cabinets and the furniture and walking along the furniture (especially the couch) with ease. I keep waiting for you to step away and take your first steps, but you haven’t. You come to work with me every Wednesday night until Daddy gets off of work and comes to get you. I’ve had to keep you in the pack’n’play or in the Lillebaby carrier on my back most of the time because when I let you down to crawl you get filthy because you crawl into the nooks and crannies behind the shelving! Sometimes I look forward to when you can walk because you’ll stay a little cleaner that way (right? maybe? okay so I doubt that, but I can hope).

Your hair is finally long enough to mohawk a little bit. It still is this mysterious shade of strawberry blonde- reddish in certain lights but otherwise pretty blonde. Your top two teeth came in at the beginning of the month, together of course, just like your bottom two did at Christmas, and I see more working their way through on the bottom. I think you like the way the teeth feel because you love to stick your tongue out all the time now and will shoot your tongue in and out of your mouth quickly as if testing your teeth on it. I swear, you hang your tongue out of your mouth more than the dog does. Now that you have four teeth, you’re more adventurous with what foods you’ll try. You’re pretty much still eating two to three pouches of purees a day, but you’re also eating whatever we give you off of our plates. We went to Bonefish Grill once, and you ate goat cheese, marinated chicken, pesto and olive oil on bread, and au gratin potatoes in addition to your food. You’re like a bottomless pit. I’m beginning to understand how expensive it might be to feed you when you’re a teenager. We’ve also tried self feeding this month. You’re so messy, but you’re trying so hard!

You have figured out how to pull yourself to standing at everything- the side of the bed, the couch, the coffee table, the chairs in the dining room, and you especially love standing at the windowsill and looking outside. Sometimes Feeny joins you; it’s pretty cute. My favorite, though, is how you will now crawl to me and pull yourself to standing in front of me, holding onto my legs. You’ll tug at my pants and reach your arm up to me to be picked up or to crawl onto my lap when sitting on the couch. Then when I do pick you up, you’ll bury your head in my chest and snuggle me before wanting back down to continue playing and exploring the room. It’s like you’re just checking in. I love it. You also crawl quickly to the window when you hear the birds chirping or a truck going by to see if you can see them. You like to point to the fence in the backyard and say “burr?” for “bird?” It makes me so happy to see you understanding so much. It’s crazy how quickly you pick up on things. You might also have absorbed some Shakespeare this month because Aunt Kyla and I have been reading Julius Caesar together via Skype since she has to teach it next month, and I’ve already taught it before. You mostly ignored me when I was doing that, though, and played with your toys.

You’ve also begun pointing to everything, especially the cloud mobile above your bed, which you apparently just discovered existed. You giggle when Dad or I lifts you up to it to touch it and make it spin. You do the same thing with the red emergency cord to the garage door out in the garage. Of course, since you’re pointing, we’re giving you the words for what you’re asking about. You’ve become pretty good and repeating us when we do this. Your first word other than momma, dada, and baba (Feeny) was “book”. You make your English teacher momma so proud. You also said “pool” “ball” “bubbles” “blue”  when repeating me or Dad. When Grammy came to visit the week before your birthday, you learned how to wave (first time was to the manager at Famous Dave’s BBQ) and say “byebye” “balloon” (at church when we did a balloon release (I know, poor sea creatures) “go” and “outdoors” or “outside”. You may not be walking (like all of your friends, even the younger ones), but you sure are talking!

Grammy came down the week before our birthday to help watch you while I got your party stuff done and to also help me with party stuff. She was also here for Easter, so you got TWO Easter baskets! On your very first Easter Sunday, we tried out a new church. It was invigorating, not too big, not too small, not pushy at all: just the way I like a church to be. You got a basket full of goodies including a pinwheel, chocolate bunny, peeps (which you loved playing with but wouldn’t eat), two new Lalabye Baby diapers, plastic dog figurines, a megablocks character, popsicle makers, and some Easter books. Grammy handed you a foil wrapped Lindt bunny from the bucket of goodies she got for you, and you bit into it right through the foil! You seem to enjoy chocolate as much as I do, so much so that we’ve had to hide the bowl of Easter candy so that you don’t point at it and yell for it at breakfast! We don’t like giving you a lot of sugar, so we’ve been helping you with most of your Easter candy.

Yesterday, this was my Facebook post: “Lucas said “hippo” “apple” “diaper” and “done” today, clear as day. He learned how to climb the stairs last week (thanks Emily- I blame your son). His top two teeth are through as of last week, and he’s currently cutting three or four more right now (poor kid). Finally, today he stood by himself without holding onto anything, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be taking his first steps any day now. It’s like he realized he’s almost one and decided to grow up in a hurry.” So basically, you’re a toddler now, minus the toddling. We spent our birthday with Grammy at the Children’s Museum and shopping at the mall. We lit a candle and put it in the top of one of your squeeze pouches for fun at dinner. I wanted to cry all day long out of joy at how big you’ve gotten. Grammy bought you everything under the sun and also a pair of walking shoes from Stride Rite for your chubby size 4 feet. They make you look too old!

I remember last year when I was still trying to figure out this whole mom thing; I was so unsure, so insecure, so worried all the time. Now, I have mad mommy skills. I feel more confident and slightly less worried most of the time, though I still feel like I’m winging it most of the time (who doesn’t?). I can say, I am a diaper changing ninja. I forgot to leave a nighttime diaper ready for Daddy to put on you one night when I was at work, so he used a daytime one. I just snuck in and changed you and put you back in bed, and you never woke up. Sometimes I can get you from carseat to crib without waking you too, though that is more rare nowadays. Regardless of my new mommy skills, my biggest success is that we’ve made it to a year, and you’re happy, healthy, and only a little worse for wear with a little bit of a flat spot left on the back of your head and a scar on your hand from Jack. You’re babbling and talking and moving around like crazy, learning new things every day and continuing to amaze me and make me feel like I have no idea what I’m actually doing because I really teach you very little compared to what you teach me and teach yourself.

I never knew how much I could love someone who doesn’t actually talk to me. I never knew how deeply satisfying it is to feel so incredibly needed for survival, to be someone’s safest place in the entire world, to be someone’s mom. I love this job. It is by far the most satisfying thing I’ve ever been in my life. I love being a teacher. I love being a wife even more, but being a mom is everything I love being all wrapped into one. I think I’ve done a pretty okay job so far, and I hope to continue to do better for you and by you. You’re the most incredible miracle, my little Lucas, and I’m so happy you came into our lives.

I love you. Happy Birthday, Batmo.

Love,

Momma

 

11 Months

*I’ve run out of storage space and don’t want to buy more for the blog so there will be no photos on my monthly Lucas posts anymore. Sorry.*

Dear Lucas Baby,

This month, you were so “helpful” when I was cleaning out my boxes of stuff from my childhood. You loved digging through the boxes and the trash bag of papers and tearing things apart and attempting to eat every picture and piece of paper you got your little hands on. You also love being pushed around in the box top by Daddy. He drives you around and makes vroom vroom noises or flies you around in it like a magic carpet. It’s pretty cute. You’ve also discovered how to go up and down the stairs a step or two. You never go farther than that, yet, thankfully!

At the beginning of your 11th month of life, you and I spent our first two nights away from each other while I was at MommyCon in Chicago. What is MommyCon? Well, it’s kind of like ComiCon but with nerdy moms learning about breastfeeding and babywearing and new baby gear and cloth diapering etc. It was so refreshing and exciting, and I got a ton of free and fun baby gear, including an organic cotton Lillebaby carrier and tons of MotherLove products to try! Your birthday buddy, Collin, also spent the first two nights away from his mommy because Emily went with me. I got to see my oldest friend Emily too because she lives in Chicago. We went out to a bar owned by Toby Keith that was too noisy and filled with scantily clad bartenders. It was fun, but I was ready for bed by 1am! The conference was so informative and fun and exciting. It was a blast until we had to drive home through a blinding snow and ice storm. It took us for-ev-er. I was so happy to see you when I got home. You woke up to nurse within ten minutes of my coming home, and I was so glad to get you back in my arms. I missed you the entire time I was gone, and I was jealous of all the mommies who got to snuggle their babies at MommyCon, but I was glad to get a break and learn new things and bond with other new moms.

You had sinus issues again this month paid with more fevers. They seem the plague you like they do me- all throughout the winter. Sorry about that. You also have developed spots of eczema on your legs- really dry scaly spots. At your 10 month check up, they said it was no big deal. I used some of the MotherLove Green Salve on your eczema spots, and they cleared right up. The sinus problems took about a week to resolve. We napped a lot together that week because you wanted to snuggle constantly.

We began swim lessons this month, and you love the water! You are learning to scoop your hands in the water by reaching for floating toys, getting comfortable in the water by singing songs like all around the mulberry bush (and I pop you up in the air on “POP! Goes the weasel!”) and the wheels on the bus. We also sing twinkle twinkle while you float on your back, practice jumping in off the sides from a seated position, putting a ball through a basketball hoop, and kicking through the water! You are a fish. You LOVE every second of class and even the before and after rinse off in the showers. You do NOT, however, enjoy the drying off and getting dressed part. You shiver despite my efforts to be quick and put you in warm cloths, and it’s so sad!

This month you went with me to a job interview. We ate at McCallister’s beforehand, and you kept tooting and then laughing about it. You were cracking me up and put me in a great mood for my interview. (I got the job too!)

We took pictures of you in your cloth diapers this month, and they turned out so great! There’s a picture I love where you’re talking to Daddy on the speakerphone of my cell phone, and you’re looking at the phone so intently. Daddy went out of town for the week in Las Vegas for the CON[struction] conference. We talked to him on the phone a lot while he was gone. The last night he was there, I got desperately sick with a stomach flu. I somehow took care of you until he got home. I’ve never felt so close to death before. I’d go through labor twenty times over than to feel like that again. You were sick at the same time, and we were miserable together. I’ve never felt so helpless and unable to even move in my life. Daddy came home as soon as he could and rescued us. A few weeks later, Daddy got it too, and we quarantined him upstairs in the bedroom and took care of him.

On March 12, I said, “Well, that’s that.” I got a call from my principal that morning asking if I’m coming back next year. They’re losing a lot of staff and are going to a recruitment fair on April 23, so he wanted to know if he needed to fill my position as well. I talked to your dad, then called my principal back and told him I was staying home, at least until all my kids were in school. I was so sure of that decision. I didn’t waver. I didn’t question. I knew I wanted to stay home and watch you grow. My old students left lovely messages for me on my teacher Facebook wall. One student said, “You were one of the most influential teachers for me. You taught me a lot about literary works as well as helped me develop my own writing. I know how much you struggled with ‘teaching the test’ and I always admired how you kept going and kept making it interesting. But you didn’t stop with just teaching me English. You taught me how to be more invested in the world around me and more active in my community locally and globally. You helped foster and cultivate an awareness in your students that I know we still carry with us. I wear my FreeThinkers shirt proudly and remember all the great discussions we had. I also remember getting to talk to you about my personal life and feeling like I could trust you not just as a teacher but as a friend. _HS is really missing out, but Lucas is extremely fortunate to have a mother like you.” Cue the water works. My students have always been my “kids,” and I love them, but I’d rather be there for one you than a hundred of them. <3

You love to pick on Feeny, yelling at him, laying on him, taking his toys and waving them around, crawling after him, pulling yourself up to standing using him as your stable object, even biting him! You two seem to have a blast together. Feeny is so careful with you, mouthing the toys so gently when you are trying to take them away from him, watching you before rolling over, racing around the room without ever getting too close to you as you laugh and laugh and laugh at his ridiculousness.

We’ve had a lot of fun with friends this month, hosting playdates with our moms-group friends (with paczkis for Fat Tuesday- it was the largest turn out for a playdate that we’ve hosted, yet), having birthday buddy playdates, going to the Children’s Museum with our moms-group friends, our Trinity friends, with Daddy, and another time with Lily and Evelyn. No matter how many times we go, we always see something new! It’s awesome! I’m so glad we have a membership there! We also went to the zoo for the first time (I touched a shark!!!), attending Landon’s 1st Birthday Party, and even surprising Auntie Alicia for her birthday at school with tulips and brownies and lunch from Subway. You’re so wonderful at traveling and visiting and going to new places. You willingly try pretty much any food I put in front of you too. This month, you gained a new appreciation for spaghetti. I gained a new appreciation for soapy washcloths to use on your food-stained face. Daddy has trained Feeny to come running when the Oreo bag is opened. You’ve begun to do the same thing since he started giving you pieces of cookie! He also gives you little bites of marshmallow, which you also love, and I gave you a paczki to dig into on Fat Tuesday. It was blueberry. You were a mess. You loved it. You mainly played with it and ate the blueberry filling! You’re so vocal lately too, all kinds of shrieks and babbling fill our house all day long, especially when you’ve napped well. You say “momomomomom” and “dadadada” very clearly, and you’re still calling Feeny “Ba!” You love to pull yourself up to the mirror in my room and say “baby” because I always say, “Who’s that baby?” when we look in the mirror together.

You’re crawling all over the place (including following me to the bathroom where you fling the door open and closed like a game) and pulling yourself to standing like a pro- even at high heights like mine and Dad’s bed. I keep waiting for you to walk, but you still haven’t even tried. All your friends are already walking, and I look forward to seeing you take your first steps!

Love,

Momma

10 Months

Dear Lucas Boy,

Today you are 10 months old. This past month of your life was filled with sickness and your ever enduring energy and smiles despite that illness. Even when you clearly felt awful, you still wanted to sit and play with your toys and with Daddy and me. Also this month, we went to another friend’s birthday party, the Indianapolis Home Show,  up to Michigan to Crystal Mountain resort to go skiing with Daddy’s side of the family, and then after skiing went up to Suttons Bay to visit your Great Grandpa D. The crazy snowy weather continued this month until the end of the month when we got a few random very warm days, which we took full advantage of by going for walks outside in the fresh air- a wonderful change from the stagnancy of the sickly indoors that we’ve been stuck in most of the month.

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You had goopy, puffy eyes the day after you had a blast at your friend Ellis’ birthday party at Gymboree, and from that day forward, you, then Dad and I, were extremely sick with sinus problems, congestion, coughing, fevers, plugged ears, and lack of appetite for almost three weeks. I was constantly chasing you to wipe your nose. I’ve never felt more like a mother than those weeks with snotty, crumpled up tissues sticking out of my pockets at all times.

IMG_5329 IMG_5328I’m pretty sure that before you got sick, you were well towards 23-24 pounds and pleasantly filling out the 18 month size clothes we just moved you up to. Once you were done being sick, you only weighed 21 pounds-mainly due to lack of appetite. You only threw up a few times, it was always from there being so much drainage in your stomach that when you’d cough while laying on your back while sleeping, you’d upset your stomach. Now that you roll around so much in your sleep, we knew we could no longer solve the problem by laying you propped up on a pillow in your bed for fear of you suffocating, so we rolled towels and propped up one end of your pack’n’play bed from underneath the mattress so that you were inclined while you slept, and that helped tremendously.

We were all sick when we went up north for skiing, so I stayed in the house with you most of the time, only going out a few times in the afternoon and once at night on the last day there. On one of the afternoons I went out skiing with Daddy, I returned to a very unhappy little boy. You had a high fever and were beside yourself with feeling awful. Daddy and I gave you medicine for your fever and your congestion, I nursed you to sleep, and then we took turns laying next to you while you napped in our big bed to keep an eye on you and track your fever to make sure you cooled down. You slept for three and a half hours. When you woke up, you were like a different kid. You were still sick, but your energy had returned, and you didn’t get a fever like that again.

IMG_5392 IMG_5390 IMG_5394 IMG_5397 IMG_5398 IMG_5399 IMG_5441Mimi suggested ice pops to help you get some fluids since you weren’t keen on nursing as much except before naps and bed, and you loved them. You also liked drinking water out of a real cup, even though you make a huge mess when doing that because you get your mouth full of water and then blow raspberries and let it dribble out everywhere. You do the same thing when drinking from a sippy cup too, although you were doing that less and less as the month went on.

IMG_5221 IMG_5219Thankfully, Aunt Crystal and Uncle Mark brought up your cousins’ nebulizer machine (I didn’t have the foresight to think you’d need yours and had left it at home) and we had your pediatrician call in a prescription for the albuterol to use with the machine and an antibiotic in case your ears became infected. You had some really scary sounding breathing going on, like your chest was rattling, and you were wheezing too, which the nebulizer helped to cure. I was so worried that you had pneumonia, but you didn’t. We took you to a walk-in clinic when we got to Traverse City and had you checked out just in case. The doctor there was very nice and told us that you just had an upper respiratory infection that was probably viral and would go away but to keep taking the antibiotic just in case it was bacterial since that couldn’t hurt.

One of your favorite events during the ski trip, since you didn’t get to go swimming in the pool or sledding as we had originally planned, was taking a bath in the huge whirlpool tub. Daddy added soap, and the air jets made so many bubbles that I had to join you in the tub and hold you on my lap so that you weren’t up to your eyes in suds! You loved it!IMG_6635We were still sick when visiting my Grandpa D, your Great Grandpa D, but were feeling a lot better than we had been by the time we got there. We were still having sinus issues and coughing, but the fevers were gone and the general fatigue and yucky feelings had subsided. We spent a lot of time hanging out in the house playing on my quilt in the living room and watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, since I can’t stand watching Fox News (Great Grandpa’s favorite) or discussing politics with Great Grandpa. We’re both very stubborn and on the opposite ends of political ideals. We argue a lot, but I love him regardless of his grumpy old man perspective. He said when I was nursing you, “You’ll stop that nonsense when he gets a few more sharp teeth in there!” He said it jokingly, and I know he didn’t mean any harm by it, but I’m just glad I’m confident enough in our nursing relationship and what I feel is best for you to have not been upset by it. I know that breastfeeding you has been far from “nonsense”. We also got to spend an evening with my Aunt Dawn and Uncle Steve, eating pizza and watching more of the Olympic games. It was a restful few days, and we stopped and stayed the night with Mimi and Grandpa on the way home since it’s such a long trip.IMG_5404 IMG_5425 IMG_6640 IMG_6649 IMG_5409 IMG_5431 IMG_5429 IMG_5433 IMG_5466 IMG_5436 IMG_5422 IMG_5410 IMG_5444IMG_5370Before the ski trip and before getting sick, we went with our friends Matt and Emily to the Indianapolis Home Show at the fairgrounds. Daddy and I took turns wearing you in the Lillebaby carrier on our backs as we walked around and saw all the displays and toured the centerpiece home. When it was time to nurse you, I found a comfy seat on a bench in one of the Amish furniture displays and discreetly nursed you in a cradle hold position while Daddy and our friends sat across the aisleway in an outdoor furniture display. While I was nursing you, one of the Amish business owners came over to the bed directly next to where I was sitting and began selling it to an elderly couple, answering their questions and pointing things out about the furniture. I don’t know if they noticed what I was doing (if they did, they didn’t react very noticeably) but they were so close to us that across the aisle, Daddy and our friends were cracking up at the whole scene. I sat there calmly and let you finish nursing, and then Daddy came over and held you while I carefully put myself back together. It was quite a memorable nursing in public experience!

Also before the ski trip, the weather was turning nasty again, and tons of snow had been forecasted to be dumped on us the day before we were supposed to leave for Wabash on our way up to skiing. So, Daddy worked in the car, and we drove up the day before just as the storms were starting. While we were at Mimi and Grandpa’s, you began crawling forward for the first time after a water bottle Daddy had left on the floor. You were awkward at first, kind of sticking your one leg out straight as you moved it forward, but you quickly got the hang of it.IMG_5197 IMG_5346 IMG_5459 IMG_5643 IMG_5624 IMG_5615 A week later when we got back from up north, you were masterfully cruising the house, pushing on every door, crawling under or behind each piece of furniture, getting into the dog’s food and water, and checking out every room, especially the office where Daddy keeps all his cords (your favorite). You love to get into things you’re not supposed to, like tearing the fake grass out of the basket of the fake plant or trying to pull plugs from sockets. You love anything with a cord. You quickly learned that if you got up on your knees and put your hands on the office door, it would click open. I had to move a heavy box of stuff against the door inside the office so that you can’t get in there! You are the cutest little thing to watch crawling around. You do so slowly but with such precision. You’re quick when you want to be, though. If I go to the kitchen for something, before I get what I came in there for, I can turn around and see you crawling after me. It warms my heart to see you follow me like that. You also will crawl over to me and tug on my pant leg or reach up onto the couch to try to pull yourself up to me when you need a diaper change or want to nurse or snuggle. However, much as I anticipated last month, you chase after Feeny the most.IMG_5646 IMG_5496 IMG_5469 IMG_5468 IMG_5460 IMG_5139 IMG_5138 IMG_5347 IMG_5473IMG_5476  IMG_5634 IMG_5638 IMG_5644 IMG_5642 IMG_5670You are obsessed with the dog. You crawl after him, underneath him, over him, and to sit beside him or lay on top of him. You prop yourself up on your knees and hang on to his back or side with both hands grabbing great fistfuls of fur and laugh and giggle and bounce up and down. You tug on his ears, jam your hands in his mouth, poke him in the eyes and nose, grab at his feet, play with his tail, and all the while, Feeny just lays there and lets you. He clearly loves you too. He is the best, most tolerant dog I have ever seen. You’ve fallen in love with Feeny and won’t leave him alone. He still just stands or lays or sits there and lets you pull on him, only gently correcting you when you really hurt him. I’ll lift you up and set you on his back, and you lean forward like a little jockey and grab on with both hands to the fur on the side of his neck, and he just lets you bounce around on him, having the time of your life, laughing and giggling and shrieking with excitement to be riding your Feeny. You call him “Bah” which I think is because we say “good boy, Feeny” all the time. It’s pretty darn cute.IMG_5596 IMG_5597

The only downside to this obsession is that you’ve begun to act like Feeny too- putting dog toys and bones in your mouth. I had to pull pieces of rawhide out of your mouth that you had found in the carpet. (I swear; I watch you like a hawk, but you’re so quick when you find something you want. I know when you’re quiet that I had better come running to see what you’ve found.) You even grabbed the other end of Feeny’s sock ball in your mouth to play tug of war when he had the tennis ball end in his mouth! You love to grab Feeny’s rabbit and wave it around in front of him and shriek so that he notices that you have it. He’ll come over and playfully and gently grab one end of the rabbit and gently tug it from you. Then he’ll go across the room and lay down with his rabbit. You’ll crawl after him and take it away again. It’s pretty funny. You’ll also sneak up to the couch when he’s laying there and pull yourself up to grab at his feet or face. I’ve also caught you two playing with your pink straw together. You waved it around and whacked him in the face with it while cracking up, and he pretended like he was going to eat the straw. You’re best friends. I love it.IMG_5510 IMG_5349 IMG_5355 IMG_5606 IMG_6465 IMG_6456 IMG_6458You’re already pretty adorable, but this month you started to squint your eyes and wrinkle your nose when smiling, like you’re trying to wink with both eyes. I don’t care how grumpy someone is, if you were to give them that look, they’d definitely smile. In fact, we had to go to the BMV a lot this month to get the title fixed on my Alero so that we could sell it. While we were at the BMV, you kept make strangers smile and laugh at you with your silly looks and giggles. You weren’t “that kid” at the BMV; you behaved so well, were fairly quiet, and made even the grumpiest of old men smile at you. You’ve also taken to sticking your tongue out of your mouth all the time, especially when blowing raspberries, which you do when you’ve decided you’ve had enough to eat- spraying me and everything around you with veggie puree. Yum.IMG_5145 IMG_5147 IMG_5151 IMG_5184 IMG_5185 IMG_5274 IMG_5307 IMG_5314 IMG_5380 IMG_5651IMG_5159 IMG_5161 IMG_5449 IMG_5602 IMG_5620 IMG_5690My favorite trick of yours this month was that you learned how to clap. You smile and clap when we say “Yay!” You’ve figured out that if you keep clapping, we will continue to say “Yay!” and clap along with you. You’ve also become very entertained by a pair of 3D movie glasses that look like sunglasses, which Grandpa D sent home with you along with your very own remote (sans batteries). You love to chew on the glasses and think it’s hilarious when we put them on you or better yet when Daddy puts them on. It’s stinkin’ adorable.IMG_5582 IMG_5583 IMG_5585 IMG_5217 IMG_5216We got to hang out with our Trinity group this month. You and Kinsley played with Maddie’s Duplo blocks and kept taking toys from one another. Kinsley was hilarious because she was so adamant about keeping a toy from you that she stuck both arms straight backwards to keep things out of your reach. You knocked her over (by accident) and she pulled you over by the back of your overalls. Nobody cried, so it was pretty entertaining.IMG_5317 IMG_5316 IMG_5318 IMG_5319You’ve tried a lot of new foods this month. So far, you’ve tried the majority of fruits and veggies available in purees, eaten several flavors of puffs and yogurt drops, eat yogurt every morning with me, and recently have begun to eat off of my plate a little at meal times. We watched the Olympics and the Today morning show in Sochi a lot this month while sharing our morning yogurt, and we’ve begun eating breakfast downstairs on the couch instead of in bed upstairs. I’ve given up trying to get you to sleep past 7. It’s helped get you back on a better napping schedule at 8:30/9 and again at 1:30/2.IMG_5276 IMG_5225 IMG_5461 IMG_5603

We met our old realtor for lunch and met Daddy for lunch one day, both at Panera Bread. There you tried my mango smoothie (you couldn’t get enough and would go “EH! EH! EH!” when you wanted more) chicken noodle soup, asiago cheese focaccia, and lunchmeat turkey. You’ve tried roast beef from Arby’s, mac’n’cheese, chicken pot pie, mozzarella cheese, Aunt Rachel’s potato soup, and Mimi’s chili soup. Daddy even gave you a piece of nutty buddy bar, and I almost had a panic attack. I hadn’t been planning on giving you any peanut butter related food until after you were a year old for fear of you having a reaction! You didn’t have a reaction, but you also barely had any of the food.IMG_5248 IMG_5304

You love Gerber puffs. You crack me up when you eat them because you put several in your mouth at once and then squint your eyes while you mush them up. You like the sweet potato puffs, banana puffs, and strawberry and apple puffs, but my favorite are the blueberry puffs because they taste like blueberry muffins.IMG_5600

Yesterday, the weather was a balmy 50 degrees, so we went to a nearby park and walked with our friend from birthing class, Tonya, and her son Xander. Later on, Daddy and I took you and Feeny to the car wash to wash the van, and we took you to Mimi’s favorite place- Dairy Queen. You’ve not had any issue with the dairy you’ve tried so far, and DQ’s soft serve is only 5% butterfat, so I figured you’d be okay with trying it, and you were. You tried tiny bites of Daddy’s strawberry sundae and ate the ice crystals at the top of my slushie. I think you were as excited about it as Feeny was; he gets his own soft serve when we go.

We had chances at the beginning and end of the month to play with friends. Before you were sick, we watched Ellis for a few nights while her mommy worked since her daddy was out of town. You two would pass toys back and forth to one another and splash in the tub together too. She wears a pacifier attached to a clipped on ribbon, and you kept trying to yank it off of her to get the pacifier in your mouth. I don’t know how moms of twins do it. It was exhausting having both of you to care for at the same time! I often wonder what it’s going to be like when you have a brother or sister some day. I don’t know how we’ll be able to give such undivided attention to you both during bedtime routines. I also don’t want to imagine what our living room will look like with two kids worth of toys in it. You already make the living room look like a disaster area all on your own. You love to pull toys out of containers, so I’ve saved several big containers to store your toys in for you to be able to do just that. It’s your favorite activity- emptying all the containers and then emptying all the cloth bins of toys on the shelf.IMG_5261 IMG_5267 IMG_5259 IMG_5269 IMG_5284 IMG_5303 IMG_5140 IMG_5280 IMG_5341 IMG_5657

We had a huge play-date at our house on one of the super ultra cold days at the beginning of the month. Let me tell you, play-dates are to mommas as snow days are to teachers. I love impromptu get-togethers, and having all those babies and mommas around to socialize with when we’ve all been quarantined to our houses due to the weather was such a nice change of pace. At the end of the month, we were desperate to get out of the house again once we were both feeling better. We went to a play date at Miss Ella’s house, where you pulled yourself up to standing at the Mega Block table and chased after Rachel’s little dogs. They had long hair and were (thankfully) extremely tolerant of you grabbing handfuls of their tails and dragging them backwards to you. I had to chase after you most of the time to keep you away from them, poor things. You also rocked on a blue rocking horse toy that Uncle Justin used to have when he was little, and you really enjoyed that, just like you love to ride on the Winnie the Pooh tractor at Mimi’s house. I’m excited to get out more as the weather improves and take you to the zoo and the Children’s Museum this spring with our friends and with Daddy.IMG_5252 IMG_5231 IMG_5230Grammy came to visit for a few days and brought all my old boxes of stuff. We went through it together; you ate my old drawings and crumpled up my old pictures. Grammy watched you while Daddy and I went out for a belated Valentine’s Day dinner at Ruth’s Chris and a tour of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, which was really really cool and a very thoughtful idea on Daddy’s part. I tried lobster in an appetizer at dinner and got violently ill in the middle of the night that night. Daddy was fine, so maybe it was the sriracha sauce in the lobster voodoo. Beware: maybe you can’t have that either. On your first Valentine’s Day, Daddy and I gave you a card that had a list on the back of all the things I love about you (everything). Grammy gave you a card too and two new pop-up books. Unfortunately, you love the pop-up books so much that you have already torn the head off the dinosaur on one of the pages. You frequently drag the books out and look through them. Daddy and I are trying to teach you to follow the instructions of “lift the flap…” (“Wow! A bunny!”) “Now, turn the page,” to keep you on task so that you don’t linger too long and try to destroy the pop up animals. It’s not working very well.IMG_5480 IMG_5485 IMG_5518 IMG_5517 IMG_5488 IMG_5568 IMG_5580 IMG_5565 IMG_5562 IMG_5673I’ve mastered getting you in the carrier on my back by myself. I sit on the couch and scootch you forward against my back while I wrestle with the straps and tuck you in to make sure you’re secure before checking out our success in the mirror and making adjustments. This has made housework much easier. You’re not even afraid of the vacuum when I wear you like this. I got the majority of the house clean this week thanks to babywearing!IMG_5671

This next week we begin our Mommy and Me swim classes, and next weekend, you and Daddy are going to have the first weekend together without me. I leave Friday night for MommyCon in Chicago and come home late Saturday night. I’m not sure how well you’ll sleep for Daddy, but knowing how you’ve been in the past when Dad’s been on night duty, you’ll probably sleep all night for just that night and then wake up as soon as I get home on the night I return.IMG_5330

My former student, Amber, babysat for you while I went to the endodontist this past week. I was nervous leaving you because I had put you down for your afternoon nap before leaving. Just as I’d feared, when you woke up and Amber was there instead of me, you were not happy. Once she got you downstairs to where Feeny was, though, you calmed down and happily attacked him and cheered right up.IMG_5226

I’m already planning your first birthday party. I’m thinking we’ll do a Dr. Seuss theme. We’re having it at Gymboree and then having only our family members back to our house for dinner. How has it already almost been a year? You’ve grown so fast. Time seems to just slip away when I’m sleep deprived, I guess! I wouldn’t trade our past 10 months together for the world, though.IMG_5215 IMG_6429 IMG_6428 IMG_6443 IMG_5499I love you more than I could ever say. Daddy does too.

All our love, our little tornado,

Momma

9 Months

Luuucas,

This is going to be the longest letter ever because we’ve done so much this past month! You had four Christmases, tried a Gymboree Play and Music class with your friends Miss Ellis, your birthday buddy Collin, and Miss Lily (where  I learned that you hate swinging in the parachute and that you love bubbles), went to your friend Jacob’s birthday party, helped me take photos of Miss Kinsley, had a Trinity get together, and survived the “Snowpocalypse” from the Polar Vortex that hit this winter. We were out of bread at the grocery stores; temperatures hit -40 with the wind chill; the power went out, so we got to try out our fireplace (which you sneaked up to days later and played in the cold ashes before I caught you), and we had tons of snow and ice and major wind along with the below zero temperatures. Thankfully, our new friends down the street were kind enough to plow out our driveway with their 4-wheeler. Needless to say, we stayed inside a lot.

IMG_5082 IMG_5100IMG_6289 IMG_4993 IMG_4914 IMG_4807 IMG_4781 IMG_4780IMG_5732 IMG_5728IMG_4784IMG_4823  IMG_4842 IMG_4845We celebrated your first Christmas with just Daddy and I before we left for Michigan. I had a lot of fun setting up the gifts under the tree and preparing for Santa with you. Grandpa D sent you a beautiful green wagon for us to use this spring at the zoo and our other outings, so that was the showcase object beneath the tree. He also gave you a cute Tigger outfit. I’m trying to follow the Want, Need, Wear, Read rule for your gifts. I love that concept, and I think I’ll apply it to your birthday as well. You received a special Build-A-Bear from me named Toodles (a name from the book Peter Pan, which I used to read to you while you nursed when you were a newborn), new socks, a “The Force Is Strong With This One” onesie from Daddy, a Rex ornament, cookie cutters, finger paint, brushes, and paint cups in your stocking, a new Melissa and Doug puzzle, squishy squeaky blocks, a push popper, and your Quiet Book. Daddy completely surprised me with beautiful diamond earrings, and you got Daddy some new “waffle” thermal shirts and some new movies. Feeny got a new hedgehog and rabbit, since Charlie had torn the head off his old rabbit. He was adorably overjoyed at the new toys and immediately began pouncing around the room with them. You enjoyed riding around the living room in your wagon and ripping and attempting to eat the wrapping paper the most.

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Once we got to Michigan, we spent a lot of time decorating Grandpa D’s house for Christmas, including decorating the tree and sorting through the decoration boxes. We spent some time visiting with my friends at Grandpa’s house and also over at Kyla’s house. We also spent some time at the hospital because Aunt Kate had a minor stroke! It was so scary, and she had to get a lot of tests done, but she’s okay now. We brought her a Muppets themed seek and find book and a Woody from Toy Story Pez dispenser in the hospital, but she was so tired and sick from not being able to eat anything that she didn’t even get to enjoy them until a few days later. You were a great help at cheering her up in the hospital. The nurses and doctors liked seeing you there too; you’re such a flirt. When she was home, you and Aunt Kate napped together because she was instructed to rest a lot, and well, you rest a lot anyway.

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Your second Christmas was with Grammy. We went to her house Christmas Eve after Daddy and I ate dinner with Grandpa D at PF Changs, and we opened gifts with Uncle Justin and Aunt Kate. Grammy went overboard on your gifts and got you ornaments, books, clothes, a special plate and cup set for Santa, a really cool Boon night light, and a music set complete with maracas and a bell stick, which you love very much and play with all the time. You were fascinated by Uncle Justin’s beard and thought he was pretty funny. We got some cute photos of him holding you. I think that was only the second time he’s ever held you apart from just after you were born. Now that you seem less breakable, I think he was more comfortable with the idea. Aunt Kate fought Grammy for time holding you and loves to carry you around and say “Teen Mom” and pretend you are hers. She and her friend Jeana call you “AP baby” because you’re so smart and love to make you laugh.

579245_10152086665998703_1505598907_n 936636_10152086670723703_110184152_n IMG_4644 IMG_4627 IMG_4624 IMG_5908 IMG_5906Christmas morning we spent with Grandpa D, and he took us out to breakfast at Leo’s Coney Island. First, a special visitor came to see you- Santa! You were fascinated with Santa’s beard, just as you had been with Uncle Justin’s. When we got to the restaurant (after Daddy was pulled over for driving into an exit only street but thankfully didn’t get a ticket) you flirted with the waitress and spent much of the meal on Grandpa’s lap being entertained by taking off his glasses and trying to eat them and playing with your teething beads. Grandpa gave Daddy and I gift cards to Amazon for Christmas, so I got myself a really nice photoshop program called Lightroom and Daddy bought accessories for his XBox One. We spent the evening of Christmas Day at my Aunt Pat’s with your Great Grandma K and some of my cousins, Grammy, Aunt Kate, and Uncle Justin. We ordered Chinese food and had fun seeing everyone for the first time since my baby shower for you.

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Your fourth Christmas was with Mimi and Grandpa B, Aunt Rachel, Uncle Eric, Aunt Crystal, Uncle Mark, Uncle Aaron, and your cousins Cale, Andrew, and Collin. You had finally gotten better from your awful sickness last month, and your cousins were all sick! I was so worried you were going to get sick again, but thankfully you didn’t. Unfortunately, because they were sick, I didn’t get to play with them much or cuddle Cale. You had a wonderful time opening gifts again, trying to eat wrapping paper and any gift that we opened. Mimi and Grandpa B spoiled you rotten with clothes, new Melissa and Doug puzzles, books, a new sippy cup, a Thomas the Tank Engine tooth brush, and an awesome zoo membership to the Indianapolis Zoo! Uncle Aaron and you cousins Andrew and Collin got you some new toys (including a xylophone which you love to play with every day) and a “glow worm” seahorse that plays music and lights up on his tummy. We also went to the B family Christmas party at Great Grandpa B’s house where you played with Daddy’s cousins kids and got a squeaky elephant named Kiki (like your Sophie giraffe) for you to chew on. I got a wonderful surprise from Mimi- she had finished my jean quilt for me by assembling the layers! Daddy got some tools, and we both got new movies. The car was stuffed to the gills on the way home! We are so, so blessed and have incredibly generous family all around us. I was so glad that we got to see so many of our friends and family at Christmas time, but we were glad to get home and celebrate New Years just the three of us. You fell asleep at your normal 7PM bedtime, obviously, but Daddy and I stayed up and watched the ball drop.IMG_4786IMG_4704 IMG_4717 IMG_4719 IMG_4756 IMG_4762 IMG_4764 IMG_4715 IMG_4716 IMG_5931 IMG_5942 IMG_5967 IMG_6068This past month, you’ve been doing a lot of growing into your personality. You are no longer satisfied with simply playing, but you have preferences among your toys and preferences of who is nearby and how close they may be. For example, if I hand you a toy you do not want, you do not even bother to put it in your mouth but simply set it down and pick up something else. If Daddy comes home from work and calls out, “Hey, buddy!” and I try to pick you up, you get frustrated and a little angry until Daddy comes and picks you up.  More often than that, Daddy or I will walk out of the room, and you get upset and start your panicky whine like, “Hey! Where are you going? I am in here!” In short, you’re getting more needy and clingy compared to the independent little boy we’ve had so far.

IMG_4905 IMG_4821 IMG_4813 IMG_4811You even have developed a new noise to accompany this needy behavior- a high pitched panicky whiny noise like “heh! heh! heh!” combined with panicked short little breaths to indicate your stress as you flap your arms at your sides. Usually we can figure out what it is that you need and help you calm down, but there were a few nights where you woke up distraught and couldn’t go back to sleep and just wailed and wailed and wailed. Eventually, I brought you into bed beside me until you calmed down and nursed for a bit, and then when you fell asleep, I moved you back to your crib, which we’ve had to lower because we found you sitting up in your bed one morning looking like you wanted to crawl out!

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I call this “The Little Mermaid” pose.IMG_5055 IMG_5057This sudden clinginess is textbook separation anxiety, so I wasn’t really surprised by it. Besides, you’ve really become a master of your environment lately, so it only makes sense that you need us to reassure you more. The more you can move around, the bigger your environment becomes, and the more you need Momma and Daddy to comfort you and assure you that you’re still safe and still nearby us. You get around quite well for only being able to go backwards. You have this sort of tumbling act you do by rolling over to one side or the other onto your hands and knees and then going backwards. You will also back up into the splits and then further into a sitting position, and when you do kind of go forward to grab something you want, you either end up in a bear walking stance and go backwards onto your bottom with a thud or forward onto your face, neither of which you enjoy. You like to stand too. You’ll hold onto the pole of your bouncer and pull yourself up, and the same goes with side of bathtub.You’ve also discovered how fun the curtains are to play peek-a-boo with- a game I’ve tried playing with you for a while, but you only now have begun to show interest and amusement in it.

IMG_4912 IMG_4928 IMG_4927 IMG_4922 IMG_4944You’ve even become more mobile when in the tub, rolling onto your belly, trying to nose dive into the water (after which you get VERY upset), and reaching for your reflection in the tub faucet. You kick your legs and splash, splash, splash with your hands now too. We’ve had to remove all of the candles and container of pebbles and such from the edges around the tub because you’ve tried to eat them or pull them into the tub with you. That’s your favorite thing to do now: empty containers, seek the contents of drawers to unload, unstuff bags of items, pull books off of shelves, etc. You also received a barnyard peek-a-boo flap book in the mail from the book exchange I participated in and have eaten the door off of the pig pen page. All this movement and grabbing things and eating things have led to a new nickname: Destructo-baby.IMG_4839 IMG_4830 IMG_4825You’ve mastered backing up under things like the coffee table, DVD cabinet, the ledge of cabinet in bathroom, your little rocking chair, and our big bed. I take pictures of you when you get stuck and share them with family because you aren’t bothered by being stuck (for a while anyway) and well, it’s funny because you always look so surprised to find yourself under the bed or half under the chair. Usually, if I say, “Uh-oh! Stuck! Lucas! What are you doing under there?” you’ll smile at me and sometimes laugh as if to say, “I dunno!” You also like to back up onto things to sit on them. Then, you get mad that you can’t pull them out from under you. Sometimes you tug really hard at whatever you’re sitting on and end up knocking yourself over. You’re quite the clown.

IMG_4778IMG_4894 IMG_4982IMG_5045All this movement has made it more difficult to do things like showering because you won’t stay put while I’m in the shower anymore! I knew this was going to be an issue when one day I was rinsing out my hair in the shower, and in that amount of time, you had disappeared from the rug in front of the shower all the way into my walk in closet! I’ve figured out that if I put my jean quilt on the floor, toys on the quilt, your kick’n’play piano thing in a place that blocks you from backing up to the toilet, and you on the quilt in view of the shower door, I can usually keep you entertained long enough to take a shower. Much to your excitement, you’ve taken these opportunities to figure out how to open and shut the drawers in the bathroom cabinet and devoid them of their contents. One time you opened the drawer so far that your legs were stuck underneath, and you got very upset. In trying to get you to learn your limits, I didn’t rescue you but encouraged you to keep calm and figure it out, and you did by closing the drawer. It’s really hard for me to not swoop in and save you all the time, but I know it’s important to let you learn your limitations and also learn what you are capable of-even when it’s a little scary for me. You seem to have no fear. Don’t worry, though, I’m always nearby keeping an eye on you.

IMG_4860 IMG_4858Another reason I suspect you were so clingy this past month was that you were working on cutting teeth. Your first two teeth finally came through within three days after Christmas. You got your wish! “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…” I thought it was going to be so weird seeing you with teeth when you’ve been nothing but gums for so long, but it’s not. You’re adorable. Plus, they don’t really stick up much, and thankfully you haven’t bitten me too many times when nursing (although even once was enough- youch!). The only times you’ve bitten me were when you were annoyed that I was trying to get you to go to sleep or take a nap. When I didn’t let you go back to nursing afterward and gave you the pacifier instead, you quickly learned not to do it again. Thankfully, we’ve not had any other issues with nursing. You had a tight latch last month (I think because we were transitioning to eating more solid foods) but that has resolved itself.

IMG_4903Our morning routine has changed a bit since you have become an earlier riser. You now enjoy waking me up at 7am (sometimes earlier) after having gotten up at 10:30, 1:30, and 4:30 to nurse. This whole eating all night long thing is really getting old. I would really appreciate it if you’d learn to love sleep as much as I do, okay? Anyways, because you are up all night long and then wake up so damn early, I’ve instituted a breakfast in bed kind of routine. You wake up. We go downstairs, and you play for a few minutes in the living room while I slice strawberries or pour granola and get yogurt from the fridge. Then, we go back upstairs, and I nurse you for a little while I pump. You then play with your basket of toys in bed while I finish pumping, and we both watch some PBS (you like Thomas the Tank Engine and The Cat & the Hat, and I like Peg + Cat and Martha Speaks). Once I’m done pumping, we share a container of yogurt and sometimes fruit. Then, we snuggle in, and you nurse some more side-lying, and we take a morning nap together for a few hours. Unfortunately, this has screwed up our morning/afternoon nap schedule, and so I am totally winging it as to when you need to nap in the afternoon now. I’m hoping to get that fixed soon because you were so much happier (and slept longer) on a nap schedule, and so was I.

IMG_4768IMG_6197IMG_6256 We made our first solo trip to Michigan (meaning without Daddy) in order to help clean out the basement and clean out the house. My parents got divorced this month, and my dad is selling the house. It really makes me sad that you’ll grow up not seeing my family as a whole entity, that you’ll not get to have any memories in my childhood home, that I’ll have merely a few memories of bringing you to visit my parents together at my childhood home. I thought I’d be able to walk you around my block, take you to the park across the street from my neighborhood, teach you how to swim in the pool, and ride bikes with you down my street. At least Daddy will get to have those kinds of memories with you at his childhood home. No matter what, know that despite the separation, your grandparents have never stopped loving you. In fact, I’d venture to say that this whole catastrophe has made them appreciate and love and treasure you even more. They both loved getting to spend some time with you while we were there.

IMG_5134We drove part way in the morning right after you woke up for the day and were ready for a morning nap (so around 8 AM), and we stopped to nurse at a rest area and then again at Applebee’s for lunch. You ordered yogurt and charmed all the ladies in the booth behind us with your smiles and silliness. It was rough traveling so far just the two of us, but we finally made it by around 2 PM. You helped your Great Aunt Debbie, Grandpa, and I clean out the basement and pack things up, and some days you stayed with Grandma while I helped pack up and sort the basement at the house. You scared the crap out of me when I turned to pick up something that you’d thrown, turned back, and you had straight pins in your mouth that you had pulled out of nowhere! Thankfully, I was able to carefully snatch them right out, and you didn’t get hurt, but holy moly! I truly understand the “I turned my back for a second” thing now.

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One of the great things about cleaning out the basement was that we got to snag some of my favorite childhood things like my dad’s beautiful old box kite, some old pipes (including a corn cob pipe for when we make snowmen together next year- this year I just made one by myself in the front yard while you and Daddy watched from the window) the Saltines cracker tin, a blue Bell jar, and a ton of children’s books. I’ve enjoyed getting to share with you some of my old favorites like Mop Top, A Weekend With Wendel, The Bearnstein Bears Series, David’s Father, 50 Below Zero, The Paper Bag Princess, Pigs!, Underwear!, Thunder Cake (my most favorite), Strega Nona, and  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day- one of Dad’s favorites to read to you other than The Lorax, The Saggy Baggy Elephant (which he has read to you since you were born and practically has it memorized -“You do look like us!”) and Horton Hears A Who. We still read with you every single day, and you continue to enjoy it and pay attention most of the time. It astonishes me and makes me so happy. I really hope you continue to love reading!

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Also while we were in Michigan, you enjoyed playing with my friend Jenna (who made you that beautiful blue, green, and gray quilt you have), Grammy, Aunt Kate, Charlie, and Grammy’s friend and her grandson, while I helped load the trailer full of Aunt Kate’s stuff. We even got to visit with my friend Stephanie and her daughter Julia for a little while. It was so cute watching you two interact. Julia was very hesitant about you, and you were completely oblivious to any issue at all and would gently take things from her, which concerned her greatly. You even very calmly and sneakily grabbed a handful of her beautiful curly hair (which we had to pry from your iron grip) but she didn’t even cry about that (she has a big sister). Eventually, she became more comfortable around you, and me, and kept asking for more of your Gerber puffs, which we have just started eating this month.

IMG_5133You’ve done pretty well with eating the puffs, though sometimes you shove too many in your mouth, forget to chew, and gag a little. You’re learning. Usually I only give them to you around mealtime. Now that we’re pretty consistently feeding you purees once a day, we decided to see how you’d fair with a sippy cup. You did sip a little bit of water, but you couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. Then, Dad gave you some cran-grape juice watered down, and you suddenly were the master of the sippy cup (for a little while anyways). Mainly, you show little interest in it except to shake it around or bang it on your tray, so we’ll try again next month.

Our drive home was insanely bad. It had been snowing pretty crazily the day we left, and it ended up taking five hours to get to Wabash alone (it normally takes only 3ish), so we stayed with Mimi and Grandpa for the night. It took us another three hours the next day to get home because there were drifts over the roads from the snow blowing across the flat and empty fields. It also took us a bit more time because we stopped to look at a minivan on our way home, which we ended up going back to buy the following weekend.

IMG_5137 IMG_5136We also made a trip to Ohio this month to look at a minivan. We drove the Alero there and stopped at a car wash before heading to the dealership, thinking we’d sell the Alero and get the van. We pulled up and told them which wash we wanted, and then Dad rolled the window back up, and we waited for them to flag us forward onto the tracks. Suddenly, the car was surrounded by Hispanic employees all holding vacuum hoses, all staring at us. We just sat there confused for a few awkward minutes before the guy knocked on the window and told us to get out! This was an old fashioned car wash place where they included vacuuming and cleaning out the inside of the car in the price. So, we were paying like $12 for a wash inside and out- what a deal! We told them no need to do the inside of the car because we didn’t want to get you out in the cold weather, but they told us we had to get out anyway because they drove it through the car wash, not us. So, we got you out and they cleaned the entire car, inside and out. It was a great deal and such a funny experience. We ended up not getting the van at the place in Ohio because the bank was closed and they wouldn’t accept our paperwork for the loan because they hadn’t worked with that bank before. They seemed shady too, so it ended up working out that we got the van from a place up in Fishers instead from a very nice, very reputable guy.

IMG_5196Feeny is elated that we’ve bought him a minivan. He can now travel with us when we go away for the weekend. I thought he’d want to lay down in the back since there’s so much room, but the stinker likes to sit on the seat behind yours, which you very much enjoy, or on the pilot seat behind the driver so that he can breathe his stinky breath all over me as I drive. I’m so glad we have a bigger vehicle so that when the weather finally breaks we’ll be able to take Feeny to Brown County or to other parks closer to us. I’m hoping that we can meet Daddy after work at Brown County State Park sometimes to go hiking too. It also makes it SO much easier to get your car seat in and out of the car. Now that you’re bigger, I can also just get you in and out of the car instead of moving the car seat in and out every time. This is especially nice when you’ve fallen asleep because it’s easier to transition your seat from vehicle to house without jostling you around so much. However, I just recently saw an article about a baby who suffocated in his car seat from being tangled in the straps, and that scared the crap out of me about letting you sleep in your car seat anymore. However, as one of my mom friends pointed out to me, that baby was left in a partially buckled seat, alone, in a room by himself. Whenever you fall asleep in your seat, I always have you five feet from me in the house, I tilt the seat backward so you are comfortably reclined, and I check on you constantly. Usually for short trips, you don’t fall asleep in the car because you’re napping enough during the day. This is usually only an issue if we’ve been somewhere (like a playdate or to the store) and we are getting back in the car near to naptime.

IMG_5170 IMG_5234 IMG_5001You’re still not sleeping through the night. Heck, you’re still not sleeping more than four hours at a time (at most). You’re waking up to eat, so I can’t fault you for that, and you do go back to sleep fairly easily most of the time. There have been a few times where you’ve just howled with rage at being upset that you’re tired but can’t go to sleep, and why are we putting you to sleep? You don’t want to go to sleep! You’re so desperately exhausted! How will you ever fall asleep? Am I asleep? I’m awake! RAAAWR!  This continues until you finally give up and end up passing out in my arms. Sometimes you play this fun little game where you pretend to be asleep, and then as soon as I lay you down, you howl with anger all over again. Sometimes you do this three or four times before I finally say, “Nope. Can’t do this anymore,” and I tap in your dad to try to get you to sleep while I calm down. I’m pretty sure those nights were from either teething, being overtired from having a bad napping day, or possibly having nightmares (though I can’t imagine what those would be of).

IMG_5002 IMG_5004Regardless of your inability to stay asleep for very long, putting you down for bed has still been pretty seemless. We did change it up this month a little. Daddy reads you a book; then, while you’re nursing, Daddy reads us a book. We’ve been reading Marley & Me, and we plan on reading The Art of Racing in the Rain next. It’s nice because Daddy and I get reading time, and you get to fall asleep to the sound of Daddy’s voice. You started rolling over onto your side to sleep this month, which means hopefully your head will start rounding out in the back. Right now, it’s incredibly flat. Your pediatrician isn’t concerned because your fontanel is still open up top, meaning your head has time to reshape because the skull hasn’t fully closed yet, but I’m going to ask her about it again at the next appointment. I worry you’ll have to have a helmet to help reshape your head, but at least if you do, you won’t hit your head on anything while crawling anymore! You’ve also been rolling onto your stomach while sleeping, which scares me to death. I’m so paranoid that you’re going to suffocate yourself that I sneak in and feel where your face is to make sure it’s not into the mattress. I know we’re past the major months when SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) occurs, but it still makes me paranoid. It was so much easier to check on you when you slept in the co-sleeper next to me because I could hear you breathing. I can’t hear you breathing over the monitor. The thing that does comfort me most is that we can see you on your video monitor, and I know that you can roll from side to side and from back to belly and belly to back with ease. You move around in your sleep, a lot, and usually wake up with your sleep sacked feet poking out of the slats of the side of your crib.

You are so close to crawling forward. I just know that this next month is going to bring all kinds of new adventures for you once you’re even more mobile. I know it’s time for Daddy and I to really baby proof and invest in some baby gates! Poor Feeny needs to watch out; once you can go forward, I have a feeling you’re always going to go straight for him! He usually is laying right next to wherever you are playing, and he is so tolerant of you. You pull on his ears and pull out his hair and lay across him, and he just lays there and takes it and kisses you in the face. He loves you so much and is the best dog we could ever hope for with you. You’re going to have to learn to not be so rough with him!

IMG_5024 IMG_5032 IMG_5040 IMG_5041 IMG_5070 IMG_5074 IMG_4964 IMG_4960 IMG_4957 IMG_4956 IMG_4954 IMG_4948  We’re going skiing next month too, which means another long trip in the car. We’re also going to visit my Great Grandpa D again up in Suttons Bay after skiing is over, and I know he’s going to be delighted and surprised to see how big you’ve gotten. I can’t believe it myself most days.IMG_6255

I love you so much, bubbie.

Love,

Momma

8 Months

Lucas B,

It’s two days from Christmas, and you’re 8 months old. Just typing that makes me want to cry. Every day, you look more and more like a little boy instead of a baby. This month you’ve learned how to clap, how to pull the boxes from the shelf to find more toys, how to dump out/push over said boxes or any container, continued to figure out scooting backwards, saw a heavy snowfall for the first time (all on December 5th), and played in the snow for the first time (the 6th). You added to your repertoire of “mamamamama” and “dadadada” (which you whisper like “tatatatata”) with “bababababa.” This is interesting because we don’t use the word “baba” to describe anything. I think you just like making that noise. Impressively, your pterodactyl noises have increased in volume and pitch lately; something we thought impossible! You especially like to screech when excited about something or when you are tired and excited about something. You’re growing so quickly! You’re already in 12 month sized clothes!

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You also had your first serious illnesses- croup and bronchitis- and have had to use a nebulizer to help you breathe more easily. You were wheezy and congested and croupy and yet smiling most of the afternoons. You hated the nebulizer in the doc’s office and tolerated it better when we used it at home, but you’re over it after about three minutes, and we needed to have you breathe in the vapors for 10 minutes, so it’s a struggle to keep you entertained until you’re done. Feeny has been a big help, coming over and letting you tug on him or pet him to keep you calm. Mainly though, we just hold you and try to comfort you the best we can while you cry. One of the nights, you just whimpered and cried and couldn’t fall asleep until we gave you Tylenol, cleared out your nose, sat in the steam in the bathroom, and rocked for an hour. Dad and I have been taking turns at night best we can, but you usually want to try to nurse as part of your comfort, so I haven’t gotten much sleep. When you did sleep for 8 hours straight, I kept waking up, afraid you had died in your sleep. It’s terrifying being a parent. I worry about you when you’re well, and I’m paralyzed with fear when you’re sick. I keep thinking- he’s so wonderful; I’m so blessed; surely, this can’t last. So, you being sick was really hard for me. If it weren’t for your Daddy, I’d go completely nuts. He’s been such an incredible help. We truly are a team when it comes to caring for you; that period of illness has really proven that.

IMG_4523At your first Thanksgiving you tried regular mashed potatoes and seemed unimpressed. You did, however, eat the entire pouch of Plum Organics sweet potato, mango, and millet mix. You also enjoyed sitting amid the hundreds of toys in your cousins’ play room and trying to eat a whole new array of inedible objects that don’t belong to you. You were so busy with everyone around you that you didn’t nap well at all while we were there, but you did nap all the way home without a hitch because we went through your usual bedtime routine and then got you in your car seat and left. This is not unusual for you- the not napping when we are off schedule, but I wish you were 3 months old again and able to sleep anywhere with anything going on.

IMG_4279The other day on our way out of the grocery store, we were in line getting our groceries rung up when you were incredibly fussy and just wanted to be held. I was bagging groceries in our reusable bags, and Dad was putting items up on the belt. I didn’t have my carrier with me, so I did the next best thing I could think of- distract you. I handed you a bag of M&Ms. Surely, the waxy coated paper bag would resist your drool long enough to get the groceries rung up, in the cart, and to the car. Surely, you weren’t strong enough to open the bag on your own.

This is the part where I smack myself in the head and say, “DUH.”

You were happy as a clam gnawing on the bag and drooling everywhere. We got the groceries in the car and you in your car seat, despite some choice angry yells and shrieks when we had touched/moved the bag of M&Ms to get you strapped into the seat. So, we left you quietly chewing on the bag of M&Ms and headed for home. Then, when we were stopped at the stop sign on the way out of the parking lot, I heard *rrrriiip* *clatter*. I jumped out of the car and buckled myself in the backseat to find you sitting there, chewing on one dissolved end, while the other dissolved end had opened and spilled the colorful contents all over your lap and in your car seat. I was afraid you’d discover the candy and try to eat it, so I quickly saved your life and ate them all. You’re welcome.

I let you continue to chew on the bag until we were a few minutes from home because I didn’t want to listen to you scream in protest for very long, but I had been getting concerned about whether or not you were ingesting the bag. When I took it away from you, I discovered that you had, in fact, opened that end of the bag as well and had been sucking melted chocolate through the hole! So much for not giving you sweets yet, you stinker.

We visited Santa at the mall earlier this month, and you just kept looking up at him like, “Who are you?” You weren’t scared or happy, just confused and a little tired looking, even though we took you right after naptime on purpose to make sure you were comfortable. We tried for a few minutes to get you to smile, but you were just staring ahead or around without interest. Oh well, we can try again next year. We still got a cute picture out of it. That mall Santa is my favorite- he’s very authentic looking.

Watching your amazement as we put up the tree, lights, and ornaments was wonderful. The look on your face was like, “Ooooooo! Ahhhhhh!” and you kept reaching and reaching for everything in front of you. We gave you some of the cloth ornaments to chew on while we decorated the tree, and eventually I strapped you into the Lillebaby carrier on my back so that I could keep my hands free and yours out of the way while still keeping you close. That was the first time we’d used the carrier in that way, and you seemed to enjoy it very much. If only I could get you in there on my back without Dad’s help; that would make doing chores during the day much easier when you’re fussy. You also still love to be worn in the wrap on the front. I made dinner the other day while wearing you the entire time, including unloading and loading the dishwasher. The only time I had to take you out was at the end when I needed to fry the chicken in the pan. You tend to just observe when I wear you, not grabbing at things I’m doing, though sometimes reaching a bit, and I didn’t want you to get hurt when I was so close to the stove.

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IMG_4288I have loved sharing the magic of Christmas with you. We listen to Christmas music on Pandora during the day and watch Christmas movies on abcfamily in the evening. Every morning when you get up, we go to my and Dad’s room to nurse and pump, and then we walk downstairs and turn on all the Christmas lights. You love looking at all the different ornaments on the tree and listening to the noises some of them make. When we turn on the tree, the Star Wars ornament plugged into the lights goes off, and we get to listen to R2D2 and C3PO talking and battle noises from star ships for a minute or so- you love it. Then, you sit and play while I make myself breakfast, and then we play together until you’re tired (rubbing your eyes, yelling at your toys, fussing a bit). Then, I’ll take you up for your morning nap.

We’ve found a very calm routine for naptime so that you (usually) peacefully follow along and go right to sleep. I change you, give you the pacifier, sit you on my lap and put on your sleep sack. You then snuggle in and nurse, holding onto your blankie with your top arm, and tucking the bottom one around my side. We are still using one of your Aden and Anais muslin blankets because it is lightweight so that I don’t have to worry about you smothering yourself in your sleep when you inevitably throw it over your face, as you always do. Once you’re dream nursing, I unlatch you and gently roll you out of my arms onto your bed. You pull your blankie up next to your cheek and drift off again. Sometimes you wake up and will shift around, but you always shake your head back and forth and fall back asleep. Your morning nap is usually 45 minutes and your afternoon one is usually an hour and a half; though, if you’re teething or didn’t sleep well the night before, you might sleep for two hours. This is a huge improvement from two months ago, when you would only nap when you were so tired you couldn’t keep your eyes open anymore and would fall asleep in the car.

Your favorite things to chew on are plastic water bottles, paper of any kind, the remote, the phone, our cell phones, and spoons- pretty much everything we don’t want you to have. I bet at some point you will try to chew on Feeny, but it hasn’t happened yet. I got a replacement for my phone cover, and so I gave you my old Otterbox. You love it. In fact, the company sent me the wrong one and let me keep it too; so, you have two “phones” to chew on. You have two teeth SO close to coming through on the bottom. I bet you get them for Christmas!

IMG_4352When we took you out in the snow, you kept laying yourself on your back and blinked your eyes into a squint as the snow fell on your face. You smiled a little too; I think it tickled you! We didn’t stay out for long, but you didn’t fuss about the cold either. You weren’t shy about reaching out and feeling the snow on the railing when I gave you the opportunity. You’re so fearless. That attribute worries me a little as we venture into the realm of crawling and walking soon!

IMG_5693 IMG_4397 IMG_4389 IMG_4392IMG_4550I love you, boog.

Love,

Momma

7 Months

Dear Little Lucas B,

Your hair has grown so much lately, and it’s so downy soft, like the tufts on a baby chick. It seems longer above your ears, so when you wake up with bed head, you look like a mad scientist or Albert Einstein! Your eyes are still blue, like a deep cobalt sometimes and a rich Capri in the sunlight. Your legs are still chunky, but the rest of you seems to be stretching out. You also are a master at grabbing things, picking up tiny objects with your pointer finger and thumb in a pincer grip, smacking things (namely my face), and waving around your toys.

ImageIMG_3781When you were an Ewok at Halloween, you were hilarious with the way you’d grab your spear and wave it over your head. You also patiently waited in our arms as we walked you around for Trick’or’treating at the campground in Brown County State Park, where we met up with your cousins, Aunt Crystal, Uncle Mark, the 4 B’s, and my Aunt Vicki and Uncle Brad, cousin April, and her boyfriend, Justin. We had family photos taken that day, and we stayed inside on Halloween because of the tornado-like weather. We carved pumpkins, and you loved sticking your hands in the gooey basket of seeds and into the cold pumpkin itself. Trick’or’treating was postponed to the following day because of the weather, and you helped Dad and I hand out candy to the kids while wearing your Frankenstein hat. Stephanie and Kinsley joined us for our Murdered Mexican Meatloaf Man dinner, and we got some cute pictures of you two together. It’s crazy how long ago that seems now because you’re changing so quickly, learning new things every week, it seems.

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We also got to visit with Grandpa D when he came to visit earlier this month. We took him downtown Indianapolis to the War Memorial Museum. It was gorgeous in the upper room. You seemed to be in awe as much as we were! We also went out to eat at a Moroccan restaurant, where you cried and wanted to be walked around the entire time. I didn’t get to eat much of my food while it was hot, but it was still delicious. You were just over tired, didn’t want to nap, and wouldn’t nurse because you were overtired and didn’t want to nap. I walked you around in their enclosed outdoor space so as not to bother the other diners with your frustration. It was very cold outside, so we bundled you up snug to ride around in your stroller. You were totally fine with it, and I was surprised. Apparently, you don’t mind the cold like you minded the heat this past summer.

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My favorite thing about this new age with you is how much more you laugh or giggle at things, especially at being tickled. My second favorite is how much more you’re babbling and talking to us. You seem to say “Da-da-da-da-da-da-da”, but you’ll whisper it softly like it’s a secret. The other night, I went in to your room to nurse you, and you looked up at me in the dark, smiled, and said, “Mamamamamamama.” Be still my heart. I almost cried as I hugged you. I don’t even care if it’s not intentional or understood, you call out “mamamamama” when you’re upset or want to be picked up. That’s me!

IMG_3800My favorite new trick of yours is that you will stick your tongue out. It’s the cutest thing, and it makes Dad and I laugh every time. One day, you just started doing it- just like everything else you’ve learned how to do. You’re constantly surprising us with what you’re capable of physically. You also learned how to blow raspberries on purpose. Grammy D has a great little video of you sitting on the couch repeatedly blowing raspberries, stopping to yawn, then continuing to blow raspberries.

1458485_10201560302783263_1711933743_n You can now roll from back to belly, but like your belly to back roll, you don’t like to do it unless you have to. You have also figured out how to purposefully scoot backward while on your belly, how to rotate while sitting on your bottom, and how to lean over while sitting to get into a ready to crawl position. However, in this last trick, you can’t seem to figure out how to fully move your bottom foot into the right place. You will rock back and forth while in this position, looking like you’re revving your engines and getting ready to take off! Oh, how I CAN wait for that to happen. You are quite quick to grab and eat everything in sight as it is.

More than once, I’ve had to dig around in your mouth with my fingers to fish out the hunks of paper you’ve attempted to ingest because you were too quick to dissolve a receipt from my hand at Sam’s Club or the paper on the table at the doctor’s office. Speaking of which, when you do have something I don’t deem safe or ingestible, and I take it from you, you immediately start to cry that “eeeeehhh heh heh heh heh hehhhhhhhh” whiny, “BUT I WANTED THATTTTT!!” cry. I tell you to get over it and give you something else to play with, but you’re not always so easily consoled. This is not my favorite new trick of yours. Neither is the back arching you’ve begun when you don’t want to be held or don’t want to be sitting where you are at any longer.

IMG_5169You’ll be sitting on my lap and will want to get down to do something else and will arch your back and try to slide off my lap, as if you can just plop down and take off on your own. Usually, I will sit you down in front of me on the floor and let you sit there. You sit and look around confused like, “Hmmm..I don’t know what I thought I was going to do. Pick me back up.” You’re still rather independent about being left to play with your toys on the blanket and ABC foam mat. Your new favorite thing to do is to bang two objects together or onto a surface in front of you to see how much noise they make. Ironically, loud noises also seem to frighten you. You’re now afraid of the vacuum and me when I blow my nose- both very inconvenient fears. You seem more sensitive when you’re tired, though. There are days when you are clingy and fussy, usually when you haven’t pooped in a while or when you seem to be teething.  You tend to go every few days now, up to 4 days have gone by, though. Then, Dad starts treating you like a ticking bomb, and we always joke (half seriously) “NOT IT” when you do need a diaper change.

You still have no teeth. I keep thinking: I’m going to look one day, and magically, you’ll have several. Honestly, I’m okay with this. I don’t like seeing you in pain, and I am a little afraid for my body when you are teething and nursing at the same time because I’ve heard your latch can change a bit. In fact, I think I’ve noticed it becoming more shallow lately because I’ve been sore. Regardless of your lack of teeth, eating solids has become a lot more commonplace for you.

Your first food was a wedge of avocado, which you found very slippery but enjoyed playing with it, mushing them between your fingers and the tray, and trying to nurse it. We also gave you some baby oatmeal mixed with breastmilk as your first spoon fed food. You grabbed the spoon and tried feeding yourself! We were impressed and very happy with our decision to have waited until you were 6 months old. Now that it’s the end of the month, you eat purees in the morning and evening and sometimes in the afternoon. You love the purees but still seem hesitant on the chunkier foods like applesauce or the thicker homemade baby food I’ve made you like sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Your favorite, hands down, is the mango puree. The other foods you’ve shown the most interest in are the odd combos (like mango, pear, and spinach, or blueberries, banana, and parsnip). So far we’ve only done fruits and veggies and very few grains, like the baby oatmeal and some combos that included things like buckwheat or millet. You’ve become so inclined to try to grab the spoon to feed yourself that we’ve started to trick you by distracting you with your own spoon while we use one to feed you. This was a recommendation from my friend Haley, and boy am I glad we tried it. Mealtimes have been cut in half and you stay happy the entire time!

IMG_5184 IMG_5248 IMG_3775 IMG_5251 IMG_5236 IMG_5232 IMG_5220You LOVE to gnaw on things in the mesh teether- frozen breastmilk cubes, frozen blueberries (you stained your eyebrow, fingertips, and bib purple), and I look forward to trying more frozen fruits in the teether soon. We also put bacon in the teether to see how you’d react, but I think you found it too salty and didn’t care for it much. I also let you chew on a wedge of my apple the other day, and you really enjoyed that as well, though I was surprised at the chunks you kept breaking loose! I’ll have to try that in the teether next time for peace of mind. I’ve decided to really limit the oatmeal to only once every few days until the box is gone, and then I’m not buying any more. You go on pooping strikes and seem to have a difficult time with it stopping you up for days on end. So  much for Grammy’s touted, “He’ll sleep all night if you give him cereal,” mantra that she’s tried to convince me of since you were only a few months old. Ha! On that note, you have been sleeping MUCH better this month. Seriously, it’s like night and day…

After enduring weeks of you being up every hour and a half, nursing for a bit each time before conking out again, I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I mustered up the courage and asked Daddy to go on night shift duty, and we moved you into your crib. I knew that if we moved you into your crib and I had to be the one to go in and console you in the middle of the night, you would want to nurse and would get very angry if you couldn’t. So, Daddy went on night shift. The very first night, you only woke twice and went to bed quickly when he gave you the pacifier (something I’m glad we waited to use as a tool until now, and ONLY at bedtime/naptime). You’ve had a few nights since then where you’ve had a really hard time staying asleep, and on those nights, I’ve found Daddy sleeping on the floor next to your crib in the morning. If that doesn’t show how much he loves you (and me), I don’t know what does. Other nights, you’ve slept 7-8 hour stretches without a hitch and then will nurse and go on to sleep another 4 hours! We’re hoping those nights become the norm! I had said before that I hoped you’d be sleeping through the night by Thanksgiving. I’d say we’ve met that criteria as much as possible for now! I think your bedtime routine has really helped stabilize things. We bathe you, put lotion, a nighttime diaper, pjs, and a fleece sleep sack on you, then I nurse you while Daddy reads you several books. You fall asleep to the sound of his voice, all wrapped up snuggly in my arms while nursing. It’s blissful.

IMG_3805You’ve also improved your napping length and quality during the day. I’ve been able to watch you more closely to see your sleepy cues before you get too over tired. My mistake before was watching the clock and not you. I’ve since learned my lesson on that. If I can get to you before you’re cranky, you go down without a fuss and sleep longer. The same is true for bedtime. We figured out that 7 was too late to take you up for a bath, so we moved it back to 6:45. You’re asleep by 7:15/7:20 now. To think that you used to go to sleep at 10! You also wake up a lot earlier, but you’re still getting 12-13 hours of sleep a night and 2-3  hours during the day through 1 hr or 1 ½ naps in your crib! If only mommy could get herself to sleep earlier, things would be peachy! However, as soon as you’re asleep, I’m usually doing all the things I couldn’t do during the day while you were awake (laundry, dishes, this, etc).

IMG_3802I can’t believe it’s already almost Thanksgiving, let alone Christmastime. There’s so much magic and family and joy to share in the next month together. I’m so excited for Santa to visit you this year! I hear he’s been preparing quite the pile of presents for you. I also hear he’s been wrapping them in front of you, but you only care about eating the wrapping paper. I have a feeling that we’ll see the same kind of behavior at Christmas!

Love you to the moon and back,

Momma

6 Months

Oh my little Lucas boy,

I cannot believe you are already half a year old. You’ve gone from limp noodle, light weight, stare ahead at nothing and do nothing infant to a baby with chubby cheeks and thighs the size of big, fat, tree trunks who can sit on his own, rotate on his belly, and roll over. You still have the same sweet, sincere, curious, observant personality that you’ve had since day one, and you still love to nurse and snuggle with momma all the time (thank God). You are a master at grabbing things and putting them in your mouth. Sometimes you get so excited that you miss two or three times before making it. Daddy joked yesterday that he was going to start exploring his world that way. We laughed at the idea of someone at work handing him some sort of engine part and Dad immediately shoving it in his mouth before looking it over intently, turning it end over end before shoving it back in his mouth (the way that you do with EVERYTHING). I’m amazed that you haven’t hacked up a hairball with all the Feeny hair you pull out of the dog and the carpet in big fistfuls (no matter how often I vacuum) that you try to shove in your mouth. Luckily, I usually catch you before you do. Maybe this means you’ll have no allergies from all the dog hair you’ve ingested? Gross.

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You’re so much more active all around. You love to reach up and touch the condensation and coldness of my glass of water and will “help” me drink by pushing on the glass when I tilt it up to drink from it.  You reach forward and snatch my plate or bowl and hold onto it with your iron grip as you bring it to your face to taste test. Let’s talk about that grip you have because seriously I don’t know why someone hasn’t labeled their brand of sticky-whatever adhesive as “BABY GRIP- IT’LL NEVER LET GO. EVER.” I feel like I have to pry your fingers apart to get anything out of your tiny hands. You’re unnervingly strong! You pick up toys that I think are way too heavy for you to lift with such ease, like this sealed, plastic, cylindrical container I filled with M&Ms after you death gripped a bowl of them at Grammy’s house. You like to shake it and look at the colors, but it’s a lot heavier than your other toys; yet, you toss it around like “it ain’t no thaaang”. You like to sit on my lap and lean forward and slobber and “talk” onto my kneecap or lay in my lap and smack your free hand against my chest while you nurse as if to say, “HURRY UP! I’M HUNGRY!” When you rest your face on my kneecap or put my knuckle in your mouth or hold a toy to your lips, you often say, “Ohhhhhhhhhh” in this deep sweet little voice. You also babble quite a bit sometimes when it’s quiet. Sometimes you wake up babbling, and you like to babble to Daddy when he plays with you. It’s the happiest sounds aside from your laughter. You just sound so serious and content, “Oohhhh…eeeooohhhhheeaaaahhhh. Ohhhhhh.”

I can also leave you to play on your own in the living room for a little while, which has been nice for chores. You just sit on your ABC foam mat surrounded by toys, picking and choosing what to play with for about 10 minutes at a time while I do dishes in the kitchen or fold laundry or stuff diapers sitting nearby on the couch. This also means that I get to use the bathroom by myself for the first time since before you were born without worrying about you crying or suffocating yourself without my watchful eyes on you. You’d think all this extra motion and activity and brain growing exploration of new sights, sounds, and textures would make you more tired at night, but OH, no….

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We have had some major struggles with sleeping this past month. I’d been letting you go on your own schedule, and you sort of put yourself on a consistent 1 and 4 and 7 nap schedule, but 7 was too late to nap, and then you wouldn’t go to bed until 10, which meant we weren’t getting out of bed in the morning until 10/10:30. While I reveled in the idea of sleeping in til 10 every day, I knew we had to set a more reasonable bedtime for you. Plus, you weren’t always sleeping the 6 and 4 hour stretches with one feeding in between anymore. We had several long nights of waking up every hour or half hour just wanting to be held. As soon as I’d pick you up, you’d immediately stop crying and fall directly back asleep. As soon as I’d lay you down again, you’d begin crying within ten minutes or so- just long enough for me to fall back asleep barely. I’m not sure if it’s teething or bad dreams or separation anxiety (which you show no signs of any other time) but you were really having a hard time of it. You also kept pooping in the middle the night, which is also unusual for you and frustrating for me because then I’d have to walk you down the hall to change you, and you’d wake up even more. One of the nights, Mommy “lost her shit” from sleep deprivation, and when Daddy blearily asked me where I was going (when I was walking you to your room to be changed for the second time that night) I told Daddy that I was going to flush you down the toilet. Daddy said, a little worried, “You’re joking, right?” Of course I was joking, but at 3AM that’s the limit of my sense of humor. Okay? You still enjoy being worn and will often fall asleep when snuggled up with me, and if you’re fighting sleep, I can usually pop you in the carrier to get you to let go. We co-slept at Papa’s when we visited this month because it was so cold in the front room, which ended up being a really awful habit to break when we got home, resulting in a few sleepless nights. However, I borrowed Good Night Sleep Tight from my cousin to try and learn how to sleep train you, which is what we are embarking on this month to get you and I (and Daddy) more uninterrupted, quality sleep. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to let go and let you sleep all the way down the hall all by yourself in your crib or not, but we’ll see.

You also are still doing some very silly things, like raising both legs up in the air and then smashing them down into the mattress whenever you’re restless or tired and trying to stay awake or when you seem to have gas. You love to lift both feet up and grab at them with both hands now, especially when I’m changing you, and whenever you do this, you look at me like, “WOW! Look at this! Look what I found!” This is a nice change from wanting to reach down into your diaper to see what prizes you’ve left me. In the morning, you still like to relieve yourself by standing or squatting in my lap. I’ve tried putting you on the potty chair during that time, but you want to be able to move around, stand up, sit down, etc when going and wouldn’t go when sitting on the little potty I bought at IKEA for $10 (a steal). You always smile and look proud of yourself once you’ve finished filling your pants. You also smile now when you toot. You have definite control of your eyebrows and make the funniest faces of being perplexed or surprised. Your most recent activity is laying your head back on the floor, closing your eyes, and shaking your head “no” over and over. You get this huge grin on your face when you do it and open your mouth too. I was a little worried at this at first and videoed it to show Grammy to make sure you weren’t showing seizure activity signs or anything, but she said it was normal and that you were just doing sensory exploration- seeing what it felt like to move your head with your eyes closed.

You sit on your own for very long periods of time, only falling backward or forward when trying to get something out of reach or throwing your arms out in surprise or excitement about something. You often fall flat on your face and kind of melt into the floor onto your tummy and then roll yourself onto your back. You’ve also rotated 360 on your belly trying to grab at different toys. You haven’t gone from back to tummy yet, but you’re close! I’ve also seen you fall forward into what looks like a crawling position, but you usually flatten out to lay on your stomach instead. You LOVE to stand and will even arch your back and squirm your way off my lap to stand on the floor. You can even stand holding one of my fingers for a few seconds.

You’re really teething hard now, chewing and drooling, soaking your bib or shirt, and waking up in pain and crying. Sometimes the Camilia is enough, and other times we have to give you Tylenol. You had a slight fever of 99.1 one evening around mid October, and earlier that day when we were at the Ethnic Expo, your gums on the bottom were trickling a little blood. I still don’t see of feel anything coming through yet, though.

We started babysitting three little boys on the other side of town twice a week, and you love to watch the 17 month-old run around and play, and the four and six-year-old boys love to care for you, especially the four-year-old. He loves to hug you and call you “little guy”. “What’s this little guy doing?” “What toy does this little guy want to play with?” “I think this little guy is hungry.” You didn’t nap well the first few weeks we went, but you seem comfortable enough now to nap for about an hour when we are there.

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We went to Michigan to help Grammy move her stuff out of the house and into her apartment. On the way there, we stopped for the night in Wabash to see Mimi and Grandpa. Halfway there, you woke up in the car in the dark and cried until we got to Elwood (because I was not about to stop along the side of the road in the pitch black near the corn field, okay?) about ten minutes away. I pulled into the very first place I could (a bank parking lot) and changed you and nursed you. I put you back in your seat, and you started crying again, so we drove a bit down the road and then walked around the Elwood Dollar General Market for an hour to wear you out enough to finish the trip. You seem a bit weary when we get to either grandparents’ house, but warm up quickly and will now even smile really big when any of them open their arms to you. You’ve also begun to kind of reach out one arm as if to say, “Okay, you can hold me.” We also spent time earlier this month in Wabash for your cousin Andrew’s 2nd birthday. Everyone was impressed with how well you could sit already! We’ve also been up to Michigan for your Godmother Val’s wedding and have spent some time with Kinsley, Maddie, and Auntie Alicia and Auntie Stephanie. Maddie tried to wrestle with you, and she loves to hug you and play with you. She’s rather forceful with her love, though, so we have to watch her carefully! She will grab you by the back of your shirt collar with both of her hands and yank you into her hugs. You don’t mind at all, but we don’t want you two bonking heads or anything.

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You love when I rub my face on your belly and will laugh and giggle, and you’re very ticklish on your feet, thighs, neck, and back of your head or along your spine when I gently run my fingers there. I love how you kind of “heh-heh” in a deep voice as if to say, “hey! that kind of tickles!” with this huge grin on your face. You do “warm up” laughs. We love to tickle you and make you laugh when you’re laying down on your changing table in your room, whether it’s in the morning or at night before or after your bath, which we recently started doing more than once a week. You also have graduated to the big garden tub in our bathroom. You sit on your Blooming Bath like a little frog on a lily pad and splash and grab for the yellow duck or foam monkey. You don’t cry at all when we rinse your hair or get water in your eyes, though we do try to avoid that, and you even have stopped fussing at how long it takes me to dry you off and lotion you up after your baths. I think you kind of enjoy it now. It’s all very helpful in getting you to relax before reading books with Daddy and then bedtime.

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You are the happiest little boy when Daddy comes home from work. He walks in and says, “Hey, buddy!” and you break out this huge smile, even if you’re nursing at the time. I love watching Daddy laying on the floor next to you playing with your toys or reading you Five Silly Monkeys and using the hand puppet to illustrate. Whenever you’re tired of Mommy (and believe me, it happens after we’ve been together all day long and you’re well fed) you’ll refuse to sit still, then willingly sit with Daddy (you turd). You’ll also laugh for Daddy when he makes the Donald Duck noise at you, but you’ll give me a “What do you think you’re doing?” when I try one of Dad’s tricks to make you laugh. You and Daddy get time together alone every Wednesday night while I go to water aerobics with Brooke. I know that Daddy enjoys it, but my favorite time is the weekend when all three of us can have a lot of time together.

We went to the pumpkin patch at Apple Works this month, and you picked out a pumpkin and got to feel leaves and grass for the first time, which is why you’re looking down in so many of the pictures I have of you with your pumpkin. You sat there tearing the leaves up and pulling grass out of the earth with avid fascination. We also traveled a bit this month when we took Feeny to the vet in Columbus and then walked around our old neighborhood and through the park. I sat on Feeny’s favorite bench to nurse you thinking there wouldn’t be anyone around (because there wasn’t) and then the entire cross country team came jogging along! I think they saw us, though, because they veered onto the neighboring sidewalk. We did go mall walking a few times before Brooke had to go back to work, but we haven’t been able to make a mom’s group play-date for a while due to scheduling conflicts and babysitting.

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You’re going to be an Ewok for Halloween! My cousin Chelsea made your costume, and it is phenomenal. She even made you a little spear out of foam and a broom handle! You love to chew on your spear, and you wave it around like a warrior Ewok when you have it in your hand. I bought the bear-shaped snow-suit from Carters for $15 and she embellished it with the hood, fur, and even toes! It’s excellent. I can’t wait for you to show it off! I’m also excited to carve pumpkins with you and let you stick your hands in the gooey innards of the gourds. I’m also excited to start solid foods with you this month, though I’m a little leery of the output!

So many exciting things to look forward to in the next few months with you, my little boy. Hopefully they include first words, crawling, and better sleep! I’m also excited for all the holidays approaching- also all firsts for you!

Love you, my little Ewok,

Momma

5 Months

Dear Rolly-Poley Lucas,

You turned five months old this past week. I can’t believe we’re almost to the half a year mark. I can still remember your birthday like it was yesterday, and I marvel at the tiny little skinny boy in the pictures from your first few months. You are no longer that tiny little newborn but a thriving, chubby-cheeked little boy. This month, you have successfully learned how to more efficiently grab things and bring them to your mouth, to roll over from your belly to your back, to scoot yourself a little bit on your belly, and to sit up on your own (with a watchful spotter because you still teeter totter and fall down). We’re still cloth diapering and exclusively breast-feeding, and I’m looking forward to letting you learn how to eat solids next month! I’m thinking I’ll start you with avocado and go from there. It’s hard to plan for that since there seem to be so many differing opinions and rules about what to allow you to have before you turn one. I want to (obviously) avoid anything that might cause you to develop food allergies.

Family members have been asking if we’re feeding you solids yet and seem anxious to sneak you foods you shouldn’t eat at any age (ice cream, gummy bears, pop, cookies, the good stuff…) but I haven’t seen you reaching for my food or giving me any signs you are ready to try yet, so I want to wait until 6 months. For now, you’re still nursing happily about every two or three hours, and you nurse yourself to sleep. Despite recommendations to not allow this habit, it’s my favorite time of day with you sometimes because you get all snuggly and hug me while you nurse. You have gotten more picky about which hold I have you in when you nurse. Sometimes you want to be held like a football, other times you are perfectly content with the cradle hold, which I finally mastered this past month. I’ve also finally figured out how to nurse you while side laying, which means we both get extra sleep in the morning while we snuggle, and you nurse. I’ve sought extra support with nursing by attending Breastfeeding USA meetings, but we’ve only been able to make it to one so far because they’re only held once a month. I’m happy to say my enthusiasm for breastfeeding seems to be positively influencing other new moms, as I’ve become quite the cheerleader for working through nursing issues. I love helping others in this way, and I’ve definitely given serious thought to becoming a lactation consultant.

You take a bottle like a champ, which is great because Dad and Grandma D have both had several opportunities to spend quality time with you this past month. While I kayaked with Val for five hours up in Lewiston and then took Aunt Kate to get her first tattoo (and I got my second), you stayed with Grandma D and Daddy. After that very long day of warming bottles under hot water in the sink, Daddy caved and bought a bottle warmer. Then, Daddy watched you while I waitressed at Oktoberfest with my cousin April, and Grandma D watched you while Daddy and I went to Val’s wedding at the Detroit Zoo. I miss you terribly when I have to be gone from you for so long, and I especially hate pumping while I’m away from you. I looked pretty silly floating down the river in my kayak using my hand pump…but I was able to educate a lot of her bridesmaids about the crazy neat benefits to breastfeeding! I also confused the other couples at our dinner table at Val’s wedding because I had been gone for so long in the bathroom. Luckily, Daddy didn’t just let them wonder and told them I had gone to pump!

You have been teething a lot more, but no pearly whites have shown up yet, just a ton of drool. Sometimes you go through two outfits a day instead of just the one because you’ve soaked the front of your onesie. I guess I’ll have to start putting bibs on your daily, which is such a bummer because they cover up your cute outfits. (It’s such a tragedy; I know.)

You’re still the master traveler in the car as long as you get to sleep or as long as you are fed and changed right before we leave. We went to Toasty Baby and the Scholastic Warehouse sale up on the north side of Indy to do some shopping, just the two of us. We’ve also gone up to Michigan for Val’s bachelorette party over Memorial Day weekend and stopped in Wabash on the way home to see Dad’s side of the family. We also traveled all the way up to Michigan for your Godmother’s wedding at the end of the month. You did very well on these trips. When you start to get fussy in the car, Dad or I will sing to you. Sometimes, the hills will be alive with the sound of music for about twenty minutes because it keeps you calm when I keep singing. I actually have to look up lyrics sometimes for inspiration on what to sing to you. Otherwise, you get the only verses and chorus I know repeated as many times as necessary to get home.

We’ve been getting out of the house a LOT more this past month. Other than going to that Breastfeeding USA group meeting and venturing to the North side for shopping, we’ve also been making it a habit to go mall walking with Brooke and Harrison on Wednesday afternoons. I’m sad that she’ll be returning to work soon, and we won’t have that time together anymore. We’ve also gone to Mallow Run winery together for a picnic lunch with you two, and we plan on joining them in the 5K Wine at the Line next weekend (to walk). We’ve also joined a moms group that meets up at different places once a week. So far we’ve been to someone else’s house, hosted at our house, and met up at a park for a picnic this past week. I love that you’ve gotten to interact with kids close to your age. I think it’s helped you want to develop new skills so you can keep up with them (like sitting up, for instance).

At your four month check up (which occurred about two weeks after you turned four months) you were determined to be a healthy 16 lb 1 oz little boy, and you didn’t even cry when they gave you your vaccines! I wonder if it’s because your thighs now resemble tree trunks- the cutest, whitest, rolliest tree trunks there ever were. I’ve also discovered that they are quite ticklish, and my favorite noise of all time is your laughter. You make this deep throaty giggle when we tickle you, and often let out your pterodactyl sounding screech at the end of a good laugh.

You’ve been letting loose with figuring out your voice, lately, especially when you get tired or hungry. You’ll lay or sit there playing with whatever toy you are gumming to death and will just screech and yell and talk and get angry at whatever you are holding until someone picks you up and feeds you or changes you or snuggles you. You’ve also taken to grabbing my face when I talk or hold you closely. You love to wrap your fingers in my hair or the hair of whoever is near you, and you often try to eat it as well. Everything you can get your hands on ends up in your mouth. I used to be so paranoid about making sure your toys were clean, but I’ve kind of given up on that. As long as we are at home, if it falls on the floor, I’ll brush it off and hand it back to you.

You rolled over by yourself for the first time this month, and I got it on video! You’ve only done it one or two other times since then, but I think that’s mainly because you’ve taken more interest in learning how to sit instead. When you did roll over, you looked at me like, “Woah, what just happened?” and then broke into a big grin when I said, “Good job! You rolled over all by yourself!” The other time you rolled over was when you’d been sitting and sort of fell forward into a face plant, which turned into unfurling onto your stomach, and then you rolled over onto your back from there. It was quite impressive.

You’re still not sleeping through the night, but I’m okay with it. You’ve seemed to embrace this whole “four month sleep regression” and were getting up every hour and a half to two hours for about a week. Finally, you’ve begun to space your sleeping out further to three or four hour stretches again. In fact, last night you even slept for six and then four hours. Can I hardly wait for the day when you sleep 12 hours without issue? Sure thing. Will I miss you wanting to snuggle with me and nurse in the middle of the night? Probably. Am I okay with tending to your needs as you communicate them to me regardless of convenience? Absolutely. I’ve decided to embrace the parenting mantra “This too shall pass,” because everything you do (or don’t do) is a short lived phase in the long run. You’re growing so quickly and changing at the speed of light. Keeping that in mind helps me relish those tiny, wonderful moments more often and to brush off the frustrating ones when they do crop up.

If I have learned one thing as your mother, it has been patience. I never thought I would be able to hold a screaming baby and wait patiently for him to realize that I’m no longer trying to nurse him (when I offer to nurse you when you are getting fussy and that ends up not being what you want, you get royally pissed off) or that he’s really okay and that life is good when you let go and give in to the nap (when you’re super fussy and want nothing but to be held and walked around outside), I remember when you were only a month or two old and would cry without reason in sight, I would panic and feel super anxious and have no idea how to help you. I learned how to keep calm so that you would be calm. I learned how to see your crying as communication rather than punishment for guessing wrong at what ailed you. You are changing so much, but I realized this month just how much I have changed too. One thing that has grown exponentially is how much I love you and how much I love about being home with you.

I love how much I can comfort you now, just by smiling at you or holding you when you are frustrated or upset. I love how big of a smile I get when I pick you up out of your co-sleeper in the morning or when I play with you on the floor in the living room. I love how you look around for Daddy when you hear him come in the garage door after work each day. I love listening to you talk to yourself in the morning when you wake up happy (which isn’t every day- it’s a rare gift). I love how you respond to the sound of my voice or the sight of me, like when Daddy sits in the recliner and will hoist you up in his arms to peek over the top at me sitting behind him at the table. I love how you begin to smile when Daddy swings you towards me with a “choochoochoo” noise or when I take a deep, loud breath before munching on your neck or your belly or your feet. You are such a joyful baby, and I’m so glad I get to spend so much time with you to see and hear that joy each day.

Love,
Momma

4 Months

Dear Growing Baby Boy,

It’s halfway into your fifth month, and I’m only just now finding time to write while you sleep in the co-sleeper next to me. Reason? You are awake all. the. time. You nap maybe two or three times a day for about 20 to 30 minutes, half of which are spent sleeping in my arms, and you usually have one longer nap for about an hour or two, the majority of which also spent in my arms. I’m not complaining. I could watch your sweet little face sleeping and feel your snuggly little body curled up against mine all day long- those are the fleeting moments when you are still my tiny, little baby and not a growing, 15-pound, little boy. However, that’s why I haven’t had the time to write. The house is generally a wreck, and not much gets done until Daddy gets home and takes over playing with and holding you. To be honest, I’m totally okay with that, and so is Daddy. We’d both rather spend our time making you giggle and watching you learn than clean the house. Besides, we rarely have visitors, so why worry about the clutter? It gets cleaned up when we know someone is coming over or on the weekend when we have more time to devote to it. It’s just not high on our priority list right now. You are.

I never knew how much you could change and grow in one month. It amazes me how you just do something one day that you weren’t doing the day before, how you can go from being kind of aware to totally aware of who has you or who is in the room. You used to stare right at Feeny without much recognition, and now your eyes follow him around the room, and you reach for his face when it gets close. If you are crying inconsolably there are really only three things that help you to calm down immediately: 1. walking around, especially towards the sliding glass door or a window where you can see into the yard, 2. walking outside or sitting in a chair on the front or back porch, and 3. finding Feeny. That poor dog has it coming when you become mobile. He’s so patient with you as you grab at his face and stick your hands in his mouth or scrunch your fingers together making fistfuls of fur. I think you two will be best buds… eventually. He still follows where you go and will lay down near where you are. His favorite place is to camp out in front of your crib, even though you’re rarely in there, or in front of your co-sleeper at night. You used to startle awake when he’d shake his head and flap his ears, sounding like a helicopter taking off, but you’ve now grown accustomed to it and no longer wake when he does it.

You’re a pro at taking a bottle now, which was a good thing for Dad and I on our anniversary. You stayed with Grandma D at our house and drank 12 ounces in like 6 hours while we went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, ate the best steak ever at St. Elmo’s, and had drinks with millionaires at The Eagle’s Nest at the top of the Hyatt hotel. Grandma D also came to visit you later in the month and watched you while Daddy and I saw The Butler at the movie theater. We also took you to Nashville (Indiana) to go shopping, and I felt pretty accomplished and brave because I changed you and nursed you outside on a bench. Daddy watched you for me for a few hours one night so that I could do a Wine and Canvas event with my friends Alicia and Stephanie. I know he feels a lot more comfortable caring for you by himself than he did a few months ago, especially since you take the bottle better than you did a few months ago.

You’re teething still every once in a while, but not as badly as you were at the end of your third month. You like to drool, a lot, and love to suck or chew on your blankets and toys, especially the ears of your monkey toy. When you do get overly fussy and seem to be in pain, we give you Camilia or Hylands teething tabs, and that seems to help right away. We have not yet had to give you any other medications, and I feel pretty good about that. The freezy gel hand shaped teether and the freezy cloth watermelon teether also seem to help when you get particularly chewy with your toys or my fingers. I still haven’t seen any teeth ready to pop through yet.

You haven’t really cared much about your feet like your friend Kinsley does. I try to get you to notice them and want to hold them by touching your feet to your hands or your cheeks, but all you do is smile with a wondering look on your face and then go about your business. You also don’t seem to care much for rolling over. Daddy and I keep working with you to get you to roll from front to back or back to front, but you could care less. You get about 3/4 of the way there and then decide to roll the other way. We’re not worried though. I’m sure you’ll roll over any day now with absolutely no prompting from us. That just seems to be how you do things. You are doing a fabulous job of reaching for toys and grasping them and pulling them towards you or putting them into your mouth. You love to grab Daddy’s nose or fistfuls of my hair when I lean over you to kiss you or blow raspberries on your belly, and you love to laugh and giggle and smile! Daddy and I try so hard to make you laugh and smile all the time, and you usually grant us our wish and make us laugh too!

We finally decided that we needed to stop swaddling you in case you did roll over. I eased you out of it, worried that you’d not sleep as well, but you’ve done just fine. You’re still in the swaddling blanket bag, but I don’t swaddle your arms in next to you anymore. One of my favorite moments (that I don’t get to experience very often) is when you wake a little in the morning, you seem to enjoy when I reach over and hold your hand, and you’ll fall back asleep. In the past few days, however, you’ve been up almost every two hours or so to nurse and go back to sleep. (They say a four month sleep regression is normal, but that doesn’t make it any less exhausting.) So, we usually spend our mornings snuggled together and doing side-laying nursing so we can get some more sleep. Instead of getting out of bed and getting moving at 8:30 or 9, we’re now getting out of bed at 10:30 or 11, but you know what? It’s okay. We don’t have anywhere to be before noon anyway (or anywhere to be in general most days).

Not going back to work was so weird for Mommy. We even went in on the first day after school got out to see what my classroom looked like (not mine) and to visit with my boss and my friends. It was just so bizarre to have missed that feeling of the first day of school. I want to somehow be involved still, but I don’t see how that’s possible. I miss seeing my after school club kids and seeing and talking to my coworkers and bosses. I miss meeting my students and being silly with them and being passionate about literature. I do not miss the grading or the paperwork or the parent phone calls one bit. Regardless, I think I miss it because it was my life for four years. You and Daddy are my focus now, and I know that I am where I need to be. It’s gotten easier as the weeks have gone by to not even think about school. I can’t imagine how my friends juggle work and their family time. I’m glad that I don’t have to do so.

We went up to Wabash to visit Grandpa and Mimi B and to go to Aunt Rachel’s baby shower where you met the B side of the family for the first time. You hadn’t met a lot of Daddy’s cousins or aunts, and they just loved you and your chubby little cheeks. We even got to show off your cloth diapers to one of his cousins and explain what I know about them. Mimi and Grandpa loved having you visit, and Grandpa loves making you laugh and smile. You were content to sit with him during the evening when you had been fussy for us! You sat with Grandpa most of the evening before Rachel’s shower while I made a hippo watermelon, monkey honeydew, and a tiger cantaloupe. We also got to see Grandpa and Daddy and Uncle Mark knock the old silo down. I was afraid you’d cry, but you didn’t. Your cousin Andrew cried and then said, “again!” which of course we could not do, but he and Collin did enjoy watching the rapid fire photos I’d taken while it fell. We celebrated their good work by going to Mimi’s favorite: Dairy Queen!

I know it’s weird to notice this, but you make the greatest face when you poop -a sly little smile like you just snuck a cookie from the cookie jar or something. You kind of raise one eyebrow and do a little smile out of the corner of your mouth, which then breaks into a big smile as if you are so pleased with yourself. I’m happy that you haven’t had any problems in this department. You’re usually like clockwork, three to four times a day: morning, noon, and night, but you can’t seem to help but poop in a couple of your very fluffy and comfortable diapers as soon as I put them on you.

You are a lot more ticklish than you used to be. You’re ticklish under your chin on your left side and sometimes also under your arms or on the bottoms of your feet. I love kissing you all over and making nom nom nom noises into your neck when I’m getting you changed and dressed in the morning. That’s when you seem to be in the best mood and the most ticklish. You still love getting naked, any time, and always have the biggest smile for us when we get you undressed. I see a lot of nudity around this house in the future on your part. Thank goodness most of your diapers are snaps and not aplix.

You were baptized on August 4th at the Mt. Auburn Methodist Church. Grandpa and Mimi, Great Grandpa B and Aunt Ruth Ellen, Grandma and Grandpa D, Aunt Kate, Alicia and Tony, Stephanie, Cal, and Kinsley, the 4 B’s, Brooke, Tyler, and Harrison, and your Godparents Kurt and Val came to the service and the luncheon afterword. Actually, Val drove all that way to be there for your baptism and then had to go right back home afterward. I still can’t believe she drove that far all in one day! She loves you so much! The baptism itself was great, and you didn’t cry at all. However, I think what most people will remember about the occasion was the sermon the preacher gave. He mentioned pornography and then later on in his ramblings used a banana to illustrate the different layers of Jesus. It was weird and unusual, and I’m still annoyed that it happened. Like, thanks for picking THAT sermon for the day my entire family and most of my friends are there to witness the baptism of my son. Super. It did make me laugh, though, when the preacher picked up the banana, your cousin Collin perked up and said, “What’s he doin’ with that banana?” From the mouths of babes…

My friend Claire came to visit us right after your baptism, so we took her to the State Fair. You slept for the first part of it but were awake the rest of the time, looking around, starting at all the lights and people and listening to all the new sounds. There was a Lactation Station set up by Indy Breastfeeding USA at the fair, which made it even easier to keep you happy in the heat. It was an air conditioned mobile home trailer! It was pretty neat, and I got to meet some other moms and babies while nursing you.

You had to get your second set of shots, and you cried, but you didn’t have any ill effects from them, thank goodness. You haven’t been sick since that first cold a few months ago, and I’m so glad. I was worried I was getting sick at one point this month, but my antibodies in my breastmilk must have protected you because you never caught it. Our nursing relationship is better than ever. You’re a pro at latching all on your own, in the dark, with your eyes closed- a feat I never thought would be possible in the beginning when we were struggling so much. It doesn’t hurt at all anymore, ever. The little phase of biting down when you were done has dissipated (thank God) and I even fall asleep most of the time you’re nursing at night and wake up when you’re done and lay you back in your co-sleeper. I’m having a bit of a hard time getting used to the fact that you don’t need or want to nurse every hour and a half now. You go 2-3 hours during the day now without wanting to nurse, and that’s so weird for me since you were so frequently nursing before. In fact, if I offer and you aren’t hungry, you get PISSED, like inconsolable crying for a while, like, “HOW DARE YOU OFFER ME FOOD?!?!”

Our biggest venture yet was to visit my Grandpa D (your Great-Grandpa D) in Sutton’s Bay up near Traverse City. It’s normally a 7 1/2 hour drive, but with you it took about 12 in total, but we stopped for the night in Benton Harbor on the way there and Kalamazoo on the way back to make it easier on everyone. We took you to Frankfort beach to see the lighthouse and to dip your toes in Lake Michigan for the first time. I thought you’d be upset because the water was so cold, but you were totally fine with it! You also got to meet your Great Aunt Dawn and my cousin Nick while there. We spent a lot of time just hanging out at Grandpa’s house, but we also walked around downtown Traverse City and Sutton’s Bay. I found very nice shop owners who let me nurse you in quiet areas of their stores (a back hallway in a kid’s store, she even brought me a chair, and the dressing room in a saddle and horse tack shop). I think Daddy was impressed with my boldness to ask people if they minded my nursing in their stores. I loved watching you and Grandpa interact. He thought you were hilarious and wonderfully sweet, and you accommodated him accordingly with your smiles and laughter and serious faces. I got some great pictures of you two together, and I’m so glad we were able to visit with him and get to introduce you two.

You still love bath time, and I actually got to take you swimming a few times before the pool closed for the summer. Casey and I took the girls and you to the Franklin pool together once, and we’ve gone with Brooke and Harrison and Maddie and Alicia too. Daddy came with us once as well, and we not only had you splashing in the splash park area with the other little kids, but I wore you in my mesh water sling and walked around with you in the big pool too. I was amazed that you didn’t cry. You liked it. I think all those water aerobic classes from while I was pregnant with you must have influenced your love of water! I was always careful to keep you covered or wearing sunscreen, and luckily you didn’t burn at all, but I did. Oops. I’m hoping to take some baby swim classes with you this winter to keep you used to the water. Brooke and Harrison are going to join us!

One of my favorite new things that you do is babble. You talk to me every day. Even though you’re normally a pretty quiet and serious little guy, you often babble and coo so sweetly or find your voice by shrieking like a pterodactyl when with Dad or I. You usually have a lot to say when playing with your kick’n’play piano gym or when bouncing in your bouncer. I love that you are getting vocal. You also love it when I sing to you. On our long road trip to see my grandpa, I sang you to sleep several times while in the car. I exhausted my knowledge of choir and church and Christmas songs, and I eventually went to looking up Disney song lyrics on my phone. Your favorite seems to be the “Tuppence A Bag” song from Mary Poppins or “Baby Mine” from Dumbo.

I’m sure that by next month I’ll be able to say you’re rolling around, and the month after that will probably bring news of you crawling or scooting. I can’t believe how quickly you are growing and changing. The only things that seem to have stayed the same are your sweet, loving, happy, yet curious and serious demeanor, your bald, flat-in-the-back, little head, and your bright blue eyes. I never knew I could love someone so much in the way I love you. Keep thrivin’, my little baby.

Love,

Momma

3 Months

Third month
Dear Lucas,

This third month with you has been full of new sounds and behaviors from you, but mainly you are still the happy, curious, engaged little boy we have fallen in love with.
We started out your third month finishing up packing up and cleaning out my classroom together. You would sleep in your stroller or ride in the Lillebaby carrier while I packed up my desk or books or files or pulled posters and tape off the walls. We usually worked for about four or five hours before calling it quits and going home to rest in the recliner while watching episodes of Friends or the Ellen Degeneres show at 3pm. I had to have my keys turned in by July 1, so we got everything done and out (with Dad’s help) the weekend before. It was really sad for me to leave that room for what felt like the last time for a long time, but I know staying home with you is the best and right choice for our family. It’s just going to take me a little while to get used to the fact that I’m not going to work outside the house anymore for at least a year. I’m still trying to figure out who I am now that I’m just a mom and wife instead of also being a teacher and a mentor and a coworker in a professional setting. I’m not sure yet of who I am as your mother, but I’m sure you’ll show me and find new ways to keep me busy enough.

We have done a lot more traveling this past month, and your willingness to sleep in the car for the majority of the time has not wavered much. You are still an excellent travel companion. We spent the Fourth of July and that following weekend at Grandma and Grandpa D’s house for Aunt Kate’s graduation party. I was a little nervous that all the firework noises (and there were several loud noises both in the weeks previous to and following the Fourth of July because apparently people buy fireworks for no reason except for annoying their neighbors (especially Feeny)) would wake you up, but you, true to form, just snoozed on through, even when they were being shot off right in front of the house! Grandma D also bought a pack and play for you to use when at her house, and we had forgotten your sleep sheep, so we used the sound function on the pack and play there. The “cricket” sounds were Dad’s favorite, and they seemed to keep you calm even when rockets were booming outside.

Surprisingly, though, you do startle more during the day than you did before. Feeny’s barks didn’t used to make you jump, but now they do. In fact, I abruptly burped a rather loud and deep sort of satanic sounding burp the other day while I was holding you in my lap, and you not only jumped but also stuck out your lip and began to whimper! I had to hold you and reassure you, “oh, buddy! It’s okay!” So that you didn’t full on start crying! It seems that with being more sensitive to noises you also have realized how much comfort you get from being held closely and have therefore remained a snugglebug. You often reach down into my shirt to rest your hand on my chest, or you grab onto the top of my shirt and tug on it (both new nursing cues also including how you will arch your body sideways until suddenly you have squirmed to chest level and begin rooting). You also so sweetly rest your hand palm first with outstretched, relaxed fingers on my chest while you nurse instead of having them balled up the way you once did. You have much better control of your hands and arms now and will purposely grasp my hair when I carry you snuggled up against my shoulder, almost as if you were using it to stabilize yourself. You remind me of a little monkey when you do this. You also have been grabbing at your shirt and pulling it up and reaching for your butt when I change your diaper. Your new tricks also include wriggling your body from laying up on my chest until you have scootched all the way down into my lap. You always look so confused as to how you got there. You’ve also mastered laying on your tummy and holding your head up to look around at your mirror toy or anything else we hold in front of you. I’ve been trying to get you used to the movement of rolling over, but you have shown no interest in trying it on your own yet.

During the graduation party, it was extremely hot both inside and outside the house except for in the bedroom where we were staying. You were passed around to several people who had never met you before, like my Godfather and his family, my friend Jenna, Dea and Mikayla, Jeff and Karen, my cousins Chris, Jackie, Suzanna, Charlotte, Chelsea, and tons more of my aunts and uncles and family friends. You were a happy camper, quietly observing everyone and getting hungry throughout the day about every hour or so. This worked out well because I was on snow cone making duty, so Dad would walk you around and then bring you to me for a break. We’d go upstairs in the cool, quiet room and nurse, and then we’d return to the hot, loud, chaotic environment for another 45-60 minutes or so before retreating back upstairs again. It kept you happy, me rested, and also gave Daddy breaks to get food and drinks for himself. You also bounced (oh so gently) in the bounce house with Aunt Kate and Jeana.

We also tried dipping your feet in the pool at Grandma D’s house, but you shrieked loudly in protest! Apparently, 86 was still too cold for you! While sitting on the deck watching Daddy swim, I noticed that your ears smelled funky. I discovered that I had not been washing behind them thoroughly enough, and you had gunk piled up back there probably since we brought you home from the hospital! I thought I’d been getting you clean when I scrubbed your head with shampoo, but I must have been missing your ears since I had been trying so hard not to get water in them for fear of giving you an ear infection! Needless to say, I used a washcloth and scrubbed behind them and made them nice and clean!

You are a much noisier but visibly happier boy these days. You now smile at both Dad and I and will even smile for strangers. Your grandparents are also very good at getting you to smile. You spend a good portion of the morning talking to me or Dad and smiling and even laughing more often than before! You laugh far more for Daddy than me, but I’ve found my own ways to make you laugh recently too. Daddy still spends time with you when he gets home from work with you propped up on his lap resting against his drawn up knees. He has discovered that if he takes your feet and uses them to push the air out of his air filled cheeks that you will crack up and smile at him. You LOVE to be naked and get especially excited when we undress you to change your diaper or change you out of your pjs in the morning or into your pjs at night. I have gotten in the habit of leaning in and kissing your jaw and tickling your face with my hair while I’m drying you off during a diaper change, which always produces big, open mouthed smiles from you and little giggle noises. The other day, I nom nom nomed on your jaw and made kissy noises, and you outright cracked up for me! Your laugh is my favorite noise in the whole world. You don’t let us hear it all the time, but when you do, my heart just fills to the top!

You grunt, whine, talk, yell, and cry a lot more than you used to. Sometimes you wake up from a nap and seem disoriented and start to cry immediately as if you are upset that you woke up and want to go back to sleep (but you never do). The last week of our third month together began a series of behaviors including excessive drooling, chomping, irritability, frustration, and crying, which I believe to be attributed to teething. Grandma D was visiting when this all started to progress, and she was really good at getting you to be calm and fall asleep when you’d fight it with all your might. I felt helpless and frustrated that my normal go to things (nursing, rocking, rubbing your back, singing/humming) weren’t helping you when you seemed so frustrated. I learned to stay calm, let you chew on my fingers or your watermelon teether, and walk you around, which seems to help you the most. I also started giving you Hyland’s teething tabs or Camilia (at the recommendation of your Aunt Crystal) when I felt that you were really out of sorts or in pain, and those seem to help. I’m really not looking forward to this whole teething thing progressing, but I’ve stocked up on Camilia and some new cooling teething toys to hopefully help you. I tried freezing breastmilk into the mesh teethers, but it’s still too cold for you to care for it. It has distracted you for a bit though when I’ve tried giving it to you. At this point, I’ve not seen any teeth, but I’m guessing everything is moving into place to make an arrival some time next month.

You have started napping for 1.5 hrs in afternoon, but during the rest of day you only take little 20-40 minute naps, and you sleep for about 5-6 hours straight at night. You had me fooled one week by sleeping 7-9 hours a night every night for almost a week, then changed back to getting up after 5-6 hours to eat. You’re still eating every 1.5 hours or so, except during that long stretch during the afternoon when you’re sleeping, and in the evening, you sometimes cluster feed if you’re fussy from teething. We’ve nursed in so many public places now I can’t name them all, but the ones I’m most proud of are at the optometrist’s office (while I was in the chair having my eyes examined, no less), at the dentist’s office, and outside on a bench in Nashville when Grandma and I went shopping. I have to say, I haven’t gotten many dirty looks from people when they see me feeding you. Usually, they just look away and keep walking. I also changed your diaper on that bench in Nashville (don’t worry, I used a cushy changing pad on that rough, wooden bench) and had a woman compliment me and thank me for using cloth diapers!

Speaking of cloth diapers, we seem to have hit our stride with our washing routine. I like to grab the pocket diapers and inserts and sit next to you to stuff diapers while you play on your activity mat. Daddy installed the diaper sprayer, and I bought a Spray Pal (best purchase ever) so that I could start spraying your poopy diapers that you explode in, that way the leg gussets get fully cleaned when I wash them. We haven’t run into any issues with them yet, and I hope that we won’t! I do still wish I had a clothes line, but the darn HOA won’t approve me for one, so drying racks will have to do for now. They are pretty darn cute hanging up outside regardless!

We visited with my cousin Chelsea and our friends down in Columbus at their big house a couple weeks ago. They have an indoor pool that is heated, and while everyone was swimming, we sat on the side, and I dipped your feet in the water. This time, you did not shriek. You seemed to like how warm the water was. I bet you would have liked being carried around in the water, but I hadn’t brought my suit. Besides, I don’t think your skin would enjoy the chlorine much, as you still get pretty dry pretty easily. After swimming, we all headed out to the county fair. It was HOT, but you remained sleeping in your stroller for about forty minutes. When you woke up, you were NOT happy, so I found the air conditioned building where I could nurse you.

I told your dad we’d be right back, but you were so upset over being hot that it took you forever to nurse! You kept squirming and crying and nursing in little spurts until finally you were satisfied. Well, I hadn’t told Dad where we were going exactly (because at that point I didn’t know where the building was until I asked someone for directions) so he had gone out looking for us and found us just as we were finishing up. Apparently, you had been nursing for almost 30 minutes, and he was worried! We left the fair shortly after that and have not taken you out in the heat of the summer for any long length of time since. In fact, when went to our local county fair, we went on a cloudy, rainy, cool day, and you slept the entire time!

You are growing like crazy both lengthwise and widthwise. You are out of 3 month clothes and into your 6 month sizes. You grew too long for your swaddler, so we had to get a bigger one. Daddy still calls you his marshmallow man, and I even had a onesie made up with “Daddy’s Marshmallow Man” on it. Many people comment on how big you’ve gotten, especially your chins. You’re just so squishable and kissable with your chubby cheeks and sweet little smile, but trust me you are not too big! When I weighed you a couple weeks ago you were 13 pounds 5 ounces! When we took you for your two month check up, they said you were perfectly healthy and in the 45th percentile for height and weight and only the 10th percentile for head size. Daddy seems concerned that your head is rated as small, but I don’t think it looks too small at all.

The saddest thing ever was watching you get your shots at your check up. You were so upset and so confused as to why we were purposely causing you pain, it just broke my heart watching you cry, especially because you didn’t react right away. I watched the recognition of pain (something you hadn’t felt probably since birth) appear on your face and the tears well up as the screaming and crying began. I felt so lucky that I was able to calm you quickly by nursing you, but I’m absolutely dreading taking you for your next round of shots in August. We decided to do the extended schedule so you didn’t have to get as many shots at once, but it means you have to get them more often. I’m not sure what is worse, but we’re doing what we think is best for you. If you ever got sick in a way I couldn’t help you and it was because I hadn’t vaccinated you, I’d never forgive myself. So, I’m sorry that you have to get shots, but it’s for the best.

One thing that hasn’t changed with you is that you still love being snuggled warmly after a bath. You still love bathtime, but you want your towel warm from the dryer when you get out. We tried not doing that once, and I doubt we’ll try it again for some time because you were NOT happy. We’ve created a spoiled little boy in that regard! You also love to be held while you sleep. I think you’d probably sleep longer if I held you the entire time that you napped, but when you sleep is the only time I get things done around the house! Sometimes in the morning, if I haven’t gotten enough sleep during the night, I’ll snuggle you up to me in bed, and you’ll fall right back asleep because of the warmth of my body. I’ve also figured out how to do side lying nursing this way too. We both get more sleep in the morning this way sometimes. I’m too paranoid to have you sleep next to me at night though, only for those short, morning naps every once in a while. In fact, I frequently have nightmares about Dad rolling over on top of you while we’re sleeping, and I wake up grasping at the covers looking for your little body to move you out of the way, but you’re always asleep in the co-sleeper where you belong, thank God.

You love to play on your Kick’n’Play Piano Gym activity mat. You lay underneath the arch full of toys and look at yourself in the sun mirror while you flail your arms (mainly your right, though I’ve been working with you to move your left too) to smack the elephant holding a ball or to grasp the ring the frog is holding, all the while you bang your feet into the keys on the piano at the foot of the playmat to make it play music. You seem to have gotten the hang of grasping at things instead of just flailing your arms about listlesly. I’ve seen you purposefully reach for my chew-bead necklace when I dangle it in front of you. You also seem to like the concept of peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake now too, though I think you mainly just like being sung to while someone moves your hands or feet around.

My favorite sight each night is seeing you propped up on a pillow next to Daddy watching intently and listening quietly as he reads you books. Daddy always seems to pick Dr. Seuss books, but he has also pretty much memorized The Saggy Baggy Elephant too. I’m amazed at how much you seem to feel comforted and quieted by listening to the sound of our voices reading to you.

You’re growing so quickly and changing so much. I’m so glad I get to stay home to see these changes as they happen this year. I love you, Bug.

Love,

Momma

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