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.
We 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.
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.
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.
Christmas 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.
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. This 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.
You 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!
I call this “The Little Mermaid” pose. This 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.
You’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. You’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.
All 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.
Another 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.
Our 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.
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.
We 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.
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!
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.
You’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.
We 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.
Feeny 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.
You’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).
Regardless 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!
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.
I love you so much, bubbie.