18 Months

My little monkey, Lucas,

You’re now 18 months old- that’s a year and a half! This past month you’ve had a great time expanding your physical capabilities of climbing and running and bouncing. We took advantage of your free sessions at Wright’s Fundamental’s gymnastics gym a couple of times this month, and you couldn’t get enough of it. You ran up and down the long trampoline, swam and sat and jumped into the ball pit, climbed the rock wall, balanced on the beam, put rings around the traffic cones, and crawled through the big tunnel tube. We even played with our friends Ellis, Landon, and Briggsley there one time and went out for an impromptu farewell lunch afterward to O’Callahans to say goodbye to Landon and his mommy, Megan, because they are moving to Texas. We’ve also gone to Orange Leaf a few times, and you love to run around and sit at the different tables and climb up on the big orange couches. You’re constantly trying to figure out how to scale the furniture at home too. I once found you sitting on the open door of the dishwasher! (I have to keep it locked now!) You are also still an avid TP decorator in the bathroom when I’m in the shower, running to and fro holding on to the length of toilet paper and strewing it about like party streamers. (I have to take it off the dispenser and hide it up high now!) Unfortunately, along with this high energy has also come pushing/tackling.

I’m convinced you picked it up as a result of the older kids at the park who pushed you down when you said hello. It was haunting and heartbreaking. You walked up all smiles to this 2-3 year old little boy and just stood there staring at him, and he walked over and pushed you down, like knocked you flat on your back. I was shocked! I picked you up and dusted you off, the other mother profusely apologizing and scolding her child, and I told you, “He knocked you down! That wasn’t very nice. You’re okay, though. Let’s go find some other friends instead.” You didn’t cry. You didn’t even seem phased at the time. We walked off to go find someone nice to play with on the other side of the playground. This sort of thing happened a second time, at a different park, different kid, and the next day, I saw you push someone else for the first time.

Of course, I am usually one step behind you and am able to grab hold of you before you completely push the other kid down, but it’s been rough having to watch you like a hawk and swoop in for pushing intervention, reminding you each time, “No thank you, sir! We don’t push! It’s not nice to push our friends. We need to be gentle. Nice touches with our hands, please.” Unfortunately, when you get tired, you tend to be more rough, so if I don’t get you away from your friends or from the park soon enough before nap time, you start getting silly and pushing and tackling left and right. You even get rough with me when you’re tired: poking me in the eye, grabbing my face, pinching my arm, etc. When you get like that, I remind you that it’s not nice to poke/grab/pinch, and I redirect your hands to be gentle and point to the areas on my face and name them out loud and then do the same and have you point to your face. It seems to redirect your sillies into something productive, and you calm down. You can identify eyes, mouth, and nose. I feel so proud for teaching you that. Dad is usually the one who teaches you new things.

We went to your 15 month check up this month (you were 17 months at the time, but apparently they’re behind) and you would not be still! You raced around and around the waiting room, grabbing magazines and books and toys and whatever else you ran by as you said loudly “uhhhhh uhhhhh uhhhhhhh” as you ran, your voice bouncing with your steps, breaking into giggles when Daddy or I tried to snatch you up. Once we got back to the room, you didn’t slow down. You were left in your diaper after being weighed and measured (you grew 2 inches since you turned 1 and weighed 23.8 lbs) and I think being mostly naked made you even more crazy. You climbed up and down and danced on the steps next to the exam table and then would run up and down the exam table on the paper as if it were a runway. You even gave me a crazed giggly look before attempting to jump off the end of the table! Thankfully, Daddy was right there to keep you from doing so! When Dr. C came in to do your exam, she couldn’t help but laugh at your energy and antics. She said you were CLEARLY not stunted in your development. She said everything was great, even your iron level check had come back in a normal range (thank goodness because it was low at your last appointment) possibly due to your new love for scrambled eggs and cheese omelets. She said we should be hearing cohesive and clear sentences by the age of 2, which I don’t think will be a problem. You don’t have to go back next month for your 18 month check up since your 15 month one was so late (at 17 months old), so now we don’t need to return until your 2 year check up in April. It’s hard to believe you’re already 1 1/2.

Your hair up top has suddenly become very long! It’s fun to spike it up into a mohawk. Unfortunately, it’s also gotten long over your ears and down your neck. So, with great reservation, I had you get your first haircut this month on the 26th. I couldn’t bare to take you to it, so Daddy did while I was at work. You went down the street from my work to Cookie Cutters. You played on the playscape before your appointment and tried to play the video game system set up, and you held a car and a truck in each hand while she cut your hair. Daddy said you giggled and scrunched your head down and raised your shoulders up when she used the clippers to buzz the back of your neck. I have a little lock of your hair as a reminder of your unkempt baby hair that had been growing over your ears and down your neck in thick, little, fluffy tufts of white golden blonde. You look like such a toddler and not a baby now. It kills me.

We’ve had a lot of fun times with Maddie this past month. She hung out at our house all day, and you’ve gone to her house for a few hours at a time this month. You two play so nicely together despite how “in charge” she is of everything. You just let her direct you, and when you ignore her directions and do what you want, she gets exasperated with you. It’s so funny to watch you guys. The only time you would get mad at her is when she’d carry something around so that you couldn’t have it: your Elmo, the farmer figurine, and even your entire barn! I caught on to what she was doing, and we talked about it. She started sharing more after that.

You say “apple,” “popcorn,” “pumpkin,” “trees,” “cheese,” and sometimes “water.” I taught you how to say “please” by asking you to say it before giving you a mini M&M. You’ll point to your chest when you say it, so I don’t know if you think it means “for me” or not, but at least you get the concept! The first time you said “pumpkin” was when Daddy and I took to you AppleWorks to take our family picture and go to the pumpkin patch. I was astounded how well you parroted me and then continued to apply the word appropriately as we saw more and more pumpkins in different areas of the farm. We saw goats, alpacas, chickens, and ducks. You enjoyed walking around and seeing the yellow leaves on the trees with Daddy. We got a great impromptu family photo taken too (by a stranger who was nice enough to snap a few for us), which will be used on our Christmas card this year. You loved riding on the “tractor! tractor!” back to the pumpkin patch, but it was so cold that day that you were quickly cranky towards the end of the trip.

We went to visit Mimi and Grandpa together by ourselves for a few days since we didn’t get to go down for your cousins’ birthdays last month because you developed fevers and vomiting the day before we were supposed to leave. Well, the night we left our house, you broke your arm. I was upstairs gathering last minute items to throw in the car, and you were downstairs with Daddy. Daddy was sitting in the recliner when he heard you trip and fall over the baby gate into the kitchen, landing on your side. You started crying, and I called down asking what happened. Daddy said, “He tripped. He’s alright,” because up until that time, you’d always been okay. What was weird is that you usually don’t cry when you fall. When you do, it’s short lived and then you’re fine and running again. This time, you cried and screamed and cried and screamed until I nursed you, thinking you were overtired. You didn’t nurse for long, so I figured you were just tired, and we needed to get going so that you could fall asleep in the car. You continued to cry as Daddy got you in the car and were still crying when I drove near the McDonald’s near our house. I knew something wasn’t right and kept envisioning you had broken ribs or something from falling on your side, so I pulled over and tried nursing you again for a little bit. You weren’t having it, but you also weren’t crying. So, I started feeling all around your legs and knees and undid your pjs to look at your ribs and chest. I felt your neck and head, but I could find nothing wrong. You were using your arms and hands just fine, so I never thought to check those. I put you back in your car seat, and you cried for a little while and then fell asleep. About a half an hour from Mimi’s, you woke up and cried until we got there. Once you started playing with Grandpa, you seemed fine.

We had a heck of a night, up every hour with the screaming/crying. I didn’t know what was wrong! You had a great day the next day, riding the four wheeler with Grandpa, playing with your cousin Cale, exploring the corn going from the dryer into the auger, riding in the combine, and playing with Grandpa and Mimi. You had even napped okay, though not for as long as usual, but you were very sensitive, crying whenever you fell or were bumped into by your cousin. I saw you chewing on your hands and chalked it up to teething. That evening, your Aunt Rachel and Uncle Eric took you to get you undressed and into the tub with Cale, and you screamed and cried the entire time. I got you washed and out of the tub as quickly as I could and into the room to get you in your pjs, thinking you were just worn out from the bad night before, short nap, and busy day. When I grabbed your arm to pull your arm through the sleeve of your pjs, you started crying again, and I knew it was a pained cry. I inspected your arm and wrist and didn’t see much except some bruising on your wrist. I brought you out to say goodbye to your cousin (you two kept laying your heads on one another as a hug- it was too cute) and told everyone I thought maybe you’d hurt your wrist. As soon as I said that, you raised up that hand and waved and said “bye bye,” so I said, “Well, maybe not!” You had a terrible night again that night (I now know because you’d roll over onto your arm at night).

The next morning as you sat the high chair eating breakfast, I went to roll up your sleeves and noticed how swollen your left forearm was. I said, “Barb, come look at this. It’s really swollen isn’t it? I think he broke it.” She looked and felt your arm too, and indeed, it was. Suddenly, everything made sense. You had broken your arm the night we left, and I didn’t even know it! I kept beating myself up for not knowing, for not trusting my mommy instinct that something was really wrong! I felt awful. I called the nearest urgent care to make sure they had x-ray facilities, and they did. We got you dressed carefully and went to the Huntington RediMed. You, of course, kept running around in the waiting room as if nothing was wrong, until you fell and started crying. You did really well at the visit except when they did x-rays. Mimi came in with us and helped position your arm; she’s been an x-ray tech for a long time- what a handy skill to have at that moment! You cried and screamed during the x-ray because, of course, it HURT! You nursed a ton when we got back to the exam room after that, which helped to make it all better. They concluded your forearm had bent and buckled; it was fractured. They put your arm in a splint and wrapped it with an ace wrap and put it in a sling. You were so still and quiet while he did that, fascinated at watching him wrap your arm; Mimi and I were amazed.

You seemed much more stable after your arm was stabilized. You slept on the way from the RediMed to North Manchester, exhausted from the ordeal. We walked around North Manchester’s fall festival, and we got to see and pet Daddy’s Uncle Darryl’s cows. We ate soup and a giant elephant ear for lunch, yum! Boy, did you love that! You liked the giant chalk art on the ground but were confused as to why we wouldn’t let you pick up the chalk and color on the pictures too! Your favorite part was crawling into the little straw filled FFA petting zoo area where there was a calf, some pygmy goats, and some VERY tolerant and loving kittens. You loved the kittens best. It was the first time a cat (other than Susanne’s cat, Basage) had let you near it! The little white and orange kitten snuggled up in your lap and purred. You pet him nicely (though I had to redirect some rather enthusiastic pats at first) and even laid your head down on him to hug him. You’re just so darn sweet. There were also teeny tiny beagle puppies that you got to see. I held one up for you to see and touch, and you seemed fascinated by how small he was. You said “woo woo!” (your bark for dogs) and I said, “That’s right! It’s a baby doggie!” You repeated “baby! woo woo!” You pet him very nicely, very gently, and you even tried to kiss him! You’re killin’ me, Smalls! We finished out the event with a horse drawn carriage ride with Mimi and Grammy (who came up for the afternoon, just to see you, and had joined us at the festival).

When we got back from Wabash, I made you an appointment with a pediatric orthopedic specialist up in Indianapolis. We were recommended to Dr. Barrios by our friend from playdate who’s daughter had broken her leg earlier in the year. I’m so glad we went because he was awesome- thorough, informative, and his staff was very sweet and quick. The nurses, especially, were wonderful with you, calling you “sweetie” and “honey” and “sugar” and doting on you with stickers! You did NOT, however, enjoy getting the actual cast. The guy who did it was wonderful and did a great job, but you were not a fan of having your hurt arm held straight while he put on the cast. I pulled up Sesame Street videos for you to watch while he put on the cast, and it only half kept you entertained. Afterward, you nursed for a little bit to calm back down before we checked out and scheduled your recheck in four weeks. Once the cast was on, you didn’t seem to be bothered by it except at night. We think you kept bonking yourself with it while tossing and turning while sleeping because you had a couple red marks and didn’t sleep well your first night with the cast. We wrapped your cast with a few fleece pieces and then your soft wrap to keep your arm from being a bludgeon while you sleep. You look like Megaman, but who cares if it keeps you safe and comfortable at night?

You’ve been teething A LOT with no actual teeth popping through yet. However, your molars have been on the verge of busting through for weeks and weeks! When we took you in to the pediatric dentist, she pointed it out then and again at your check up a month later. When you’re teething, you’re cranky at night and up a lot to nurse for comfort. The hardest part, though, is that you don’t want to eat much. I was getting worried about your protein intake because you won’t eat meat most of the time, so you were mainly getting protein from peanut butter and dairy (and breastmilk). Then, I tried giving you egg and cheese omlets: ding, ding, ding! You love them! You’ll eat an entire two egg omelette! I’ve also discovered a neat little trick to get you to eat an entire bowl of oatmeal: I put frozen blueberries in it, which cools it down and thaws the berries. You’ll then mine through the oatmeal to eat the berries and finish up the blueberry stained purple oatmeal too! You LOVE fruit. We went out to breakfast with Grammy this month, and you ate an entire plate of honeydew, cantaloupe, and pineapple with a fork! Thankfully (and sometimes not so thankfully), you’re also pretty good at being vocal about what you DO want to eat.

You have discovered how to find the snacks in the pantry (bunny fruit snacks had to be hidden) and have memorized where I put things on the counter (like the cookies above where the dishwasher is). You also still enjoy climbing into the refrigerator to point to the drawer where the “cheese!” (which sounds like “cheeissss!”) is or to ask for the oranges on the second shelf down. You’ve also discovered where the apples are and have also requested GoGurt and popsicles from the freezer! I need to put a low hanging bin in the pantry with your choice snacks in it eventually, but I’m worried you’ll overindulge that way…

Your newest funny tricks would be squinchy eyes, where you squint really hard and then and smile and laugh and then do it again, and playing new games with Feeny. You lay on Feeny while watching tv or movies and love to play peek-a-boo with him in my bathroom by closing the door on him until he pushes it open again and you close it on him again. You think it’s hilarious. You’re becoming much more purposeful in intent when playing with your toys, too. You purposefully put toys in the driver’s seat of your tractor and drive it around!

We went to see our friend Brady perform his music at a showcase at the Franklin McDonald’s. You ran around and danced and had fun walking up and down the concrete parking blocks as if you were on a balance beam. We also went on an outing with our playdate friends to Waterman’s Farm, where we went on a very wet and rainy hay ride out to the pumpkin patch to pick out a little pumpkin, saw a pumpkin eating dinosaur robot, and played on tractors! We also went on a trip to the museum with our trinity friends Kinsley and Maddie. You loved the carousel so much this time that you wanted to go on it twice! We also went to Brown County with Amber and hiked around to see the beautiful fall colors. You loved running around the trails and also being carried by Amber in our Beco Soleil, and you thought it was funny watching Feeny bound up and down the trails, too.

Also this month, I won a cloth diapering meme contest on the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog. I won a new Grovia diaper cover and set of inserts! They are my favorite brand and type of diaper to use when we are out of town, and I’d really wanted the citrus color, which we don’t carry at the store where I work. Speaking of work, your new favorite thing to do is to watch Frozen and to play with Matchbox cars. You even know which drawer we keep the cars in and will run to it and point and say “car car!” You love getting to play with new toys every time we work!

I’m excited to celebrate Halloween with you and hope you enjoy trick ‘ or ‘ treating as much as I always have! Unfortunately, I think it’s going to be very cold that night, as it was last year. We’ll see!

Love you, my little goblin,

 

Momma

 

17 Months

My Lucas B,

You’re 17 months old, and this past month has been full of changes! On August 28, you did something that just absolutely broke my heart. You nursed, unlatched, and said “Bye bye” and waved to me, then pointed to your crib. I laid you down, walked out, and you put yourself to sleep. That was the moment I realized I no longer have a baby; I have a toddler. Since then, you’ve done that several times but not every night. Most nights, we bathe you, read books, feed you/nurse you, and then lay you down, and you roll around, talking to yourself until you fall asleep. Some nights you still fall asleep while nursing and are asleep by the time I lay you down. Either way, you’ve continued to be excellent at falling asleep for both nap and bedtime.  Staying asleep is still a problem. However, this month, you began dropping your 10:30 wake up, only waking up at around 3:00 AM and sometimes also at 6AM, but you’d nurse and go back to sleep until 7:30/8:30. Waking up once at night is SO much better than twice. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it would make for me, but it really did. Suddenly, I felt alive again! I had energy! We could go do things! I actually felt like cleaning the house! We had a lot more outings this month than last, probably due in part to that new energy.

We went to the fair with Daddy and your Godfather, Kurt, on our way up to Wabash for the weekend. You enjoyed seeing all the animals and eating corn on the cob and milkshakes. We did the “Little Hands on the Farm” activity (where you had to collect fake farm foods and milk a pretend cow and such), which you were probably just a smidge too young for, but you enjoyed it anyway. After the fair, we went up to Wabash to visit with Grandpa and Mimi, and you got to ride in the tractor while Grandpa planted radishes as a cover crop! You were so excited! Daddy says you just kept saying “tractor! tractor!” during the ride. You also love riding on the 4-wheeler with Grandpa or Daddy, pointing and making engine noises the minute you get out in the back yard. You also love the sand table Mimi has set up out back. It took you a bit to understand the wind blowing the sand back in your face when you stood on the wrong side of the table, but we helped you figure it out.

We’ve been able to spend a lot of time on outings with Daddy this month. We went to Craig Park to walk for a bit one time while Daddy got his haircut, and you played in the sandbox with a little girl who was doting on you and so, so sweet to you. She offered you a scoop to play with in the sand, and you picked it up and shoveled the sand INTO YOUR MOUTH. BLLEEAAACCKKK!!! I guess you were just applying that whole eating with a spoon concept! We went with Daddy to Apple Works, and you pet goats for the first time (boldy so), and we went to the Franklin pool with Daddy on exactly the same day as last year! It was fun to take a photo this year and compare the two. We also got to go to one of my favorite fall events: the Columbus Scottish Festival. You tried a Scotch egg with me (a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep fried served with a dijon mustard sauce) and rumbledethump: a mix of mashed potatoes, cheese, and cabbage, and loved it all. You also enjoyed the pipe band and the bounce house, which you tried for the first time, and though you had a hard time keeping on your feet, you still enjoyed it, laughing and giggling when you’d get knocked down and bounced around.

Our biggest outing this month was a trip to Chicago. Daddy and I got to see Garth Brooks in concert, while you and Amber hung out at the hotel. You hated the elevator but loved running up and down the long hallways and riding on the luggage cart in the hotel. The next day, we toured Chicago by walking Navy Pier, eating pizza at Giordonos, exploring the Shedd aquarium, and napping on the way to Michigan, stopping only to wait out a storm and eat dinner at Big Boy. We stayed with Grandpa D, and you got to ride on Grandpa’s new riding mower and received a new tractor shirt and a little combine toy! You stayed with Grandpa and Amber while Daddy and I went to my friend Staci’s wedding and reception up in East Lansing. The next morning, we went out to breakfast with Grandpa, and you ate chocolate strawberries for the first time (of course you loved them). On our way home from Michigan, we stopped in Wabash to play with your grandparents and cousins and play on the farm (and ride four-wheelers and admire tractors).

We also got to spend some time with Mimi at our house this month. We went to the zoo and saw the new orangutan exhibit. You got to be right up against the glass on the other side of a huge orangutan! You pointed and said “hoo hoo hoo!” and then got scared when he started moving around. We also went out to lunch at Panera, and Mimi gave you an entire cookie! Your face was priceless. We also have spent quite a few play dates with our birthing class buddy Xander and his parents. We went on a trip to the Children’s Museum, to the park, and out for ice cream. I love how the older you get the more things you find to enjoy at the museum. I know it’s a place you’ll continue to enjoy for a long time to come, too. You also went to The Commons playground for the first time, and while you very much enjoyed it, I know you’ll love it more when you can climb up the suspended playscape. You’ve also been able to play with our neighbor Paxton a few times. I love how you will run to the fence between our yards and hold onto the fence “talking” to him. Once, while you were playing in their yard, you climbed into the kiddy pool, so I took of your clothes and left you in your diaper. Paxton’s daddy asked, “Is that some kind of baby speedo or something?” I had to laugh! I was like, “No, it’s just his cloth diaper,” and then explain because he’d never seen one before.

You’ve become even MORE picky about what books we read, and Daddy is no longer reading a “big” book to us while you nurse to sleep, since you no longer nurse to sleep. Your new favorite book is a huge ABC flip book. Your favorite pages are “K for kiwi fruit”, “L for lion” (you rawr), and “E for Elephant” (you pffftt). You also pick out The Very Best Daddy of All quite often. Your movie tastes have changed too. You still love Toy Story but have been watching Frozen and Monster’s University on repeat. We downloaded some Daniel Tiger apps on the iPad for the trip to Chicago, so you’ve been playing those every once in a while too. Your favorite part of the apps is the part where they sing you the feeling songs because it’s just like watching the show. However, even when the tv is on or a movie is playing, you don’t just sit and watch for the entire thing. You’ll sit and watch for maybe ten minutes and spend the rest of the time playing until a song comes on; then, you’ll dance. I love how you will stop whatever you are doing when a catchy tune comes on and just start bopping along. You get down with your bad self often, even when Sesame Street comes on and the theme song plays or the yogurt commercial with the pop music starts playing. You must get that from me, as I danced most of my childhood and all of my teen years too. Not that Daddy doesn’t have rhythm, he totally does and is a great dancer himself. I’m not embarrassed to just start dancing whenever, though, just like you.

You continue to torture and love Feeny every day, riding him like a horse, climbing all over him, chasing him with your popper or push mower, bringing him toys to chew on (which I quickly take away from him, else he destroys them), laying on Feeny’s bed, giving him hugs, laying on him while you watch movies, and using him as a step stool to climb up onto the couch or chair. Feeny has learned that when Daddy shouts, “Clean up on Aisle Lucas,” that he needs to come running to clean up any crumbs from your meal in your seat or on the floor under your chair, else he miss his chance. Sometimes he doesn’t have far to run, though, because he’s learned that if he stays put during mealtimes, you’ll throw him food when you’re done eating; you stinker! Clearly, you two are two peas in a pod. When Feeny goes to daycare sometimes, he often spends the entire next day hiding out upstairs to get some rest. When he reappeared in the office the other day, the first thing you did was run and bend down and give him a big hug. Your compassion for Feeny (most of the time) is just astounding. You love on him so much, and it’s so sweet to witness.

You’ve surprised me with new antics this month. Once, while I was taking your picture in your high chair, you smiled and said “cheese!” I can’t remember when I’ve ever asked you to do that, so it really took me by surprise! You must have picked it up somewhere else! You also started doing this goofy squinty eyes thing and then will just start cracking up about it. I remember when your Aunt Kate used to do that. You’re getting into everything still, trying every drawer and getting into the pantry. I’ve had to move all the cleaners to the shelf above the washer and dryer, and Dad has installed a gate between the kitchen and living room (no more dog water for you!) and cabinet latches everywhere. Once, while Dad was watching you while I was at work, I received a picture of you sitting on the kitchen floor, a broken bag of macaroni noodles in front of you and shells everywhere, with the caption, “Someone wanted mac’n’cheese for dinner.”

You also love to climb up into the fridge and ask for snacks, and when you get hungry, you run to the fridge and point to what you want, “cheese!” You also know where each snack item is, like the cheese in the first drawer or the mandarin orange cups on the second shelf, which you can’t reach but will point to enthusiastically with an “Ehhhh! Ehhhh!!!!!” You also know the popsicles and GoGurt are in the freezer. You use a fork and spoon much better now. I think you like the “game” of trying to stab your food with the fork and successfully bring it to your mouth, something you struggle with when using a spoon. You also discovered the best way to get the last bites of cereal out of the bowl- by picking the bowl up and drinking out of it! You tried barbecue sauce for the first time and loved it, but you got huge red marks (temporarily) on your face from it (probably because there’s chili powder in it). You love eating apples (whole, of course, if I chop them up, you have a fit) but will only chew them up and hoard them in your cheeks like a chipmunk before spitting them out all over the floor. You tend to do this with anything you have to do a lot of chewing with, and I don’t know what your deal is with that.

You get clumsy when you get tired, and the other night while I was at work, you fell into the coffee table. Your tongue was black and purple where you’d bit it; your lip was busted, and I discovered the next day that your front tooth had chipped off! I had to make a pediatric dentist appointment to have your tooth ground down so it was smooth. I’m so glad we took you to a specialist in pediatric dentistry. They were so good with you.

We walked back into the exam room area, and the entire wall is windows. On the ledge are tons of stuffed animals of popular Disney and tv characters. You beelined for Woody and Buzz and carried them to me, trying to say “Buzz!” (Toy Story is still one of your favorite movies). I was so impressed. When it was time to check out your teeth, they started by brushing them for you, and we sang your tooth brushing songs like we do at home, “Brush ’em, brush ’em, brush ’em, with your new white toothpaste, brush ’em, brush ’em, brush ’em, it’s better for your teeth!” (from the movie Grease but modified) and “Brush, brush, brush your teeth, brush them front and back, on the tops and on the sides, get rid of the plaque!” (to the tune of Row Row Your Boat) They were impressed at how calm you stayed while they checked out your mouth and brushed your teeth while we sang to you. I was impressed with how well they held you down so firmly but so gently and that they joined in on the singing!

They said your teeth looked great, aside from the chip, which they filed down smoothly. They were impressed that you brush your teeth each night and that you don’t generally fight me to brush them for you too. They said you didn’t need an xray, but we have to keep an eye on the tooth in case the root dies, and the black mark on your tongue where you bit it didn’t appear to have any tooth fragments in it and was healing well. We have to go back in a month or so for a recheck and to get your first cleaning done. Your favorite part of the experience was playing with the My Little Pony toys in the waiting room and then the Little People skyway garage toy upon checkout. You were very unhappy and didn’t want to leave that toy, so I’ve made a mental note to put it on your Christmas list.

You have a few new words this month: “moo” when you see a cow, “baa baa baa” for a sheep, “car car,” “dump truck,” “truck,” and “doctor.” Sometimes you repeat intonation and words by parroting but not always. My all time favorite new thing you do is yell “DUUUUCK!!” and throw your hands up in the air in exasperation. It’s from the book Giggle Giggle Quack (one of your new favorites) when the farmer discovers that the duck has been giving phony notes (that say things like let the animals watch movies and eat pizza) to their caretakers while the farmer’s on vacation. The first time you did it, you came into our room in the morning and said it as you were leaving the room. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Regardless of the size of your vocabulary, you communicate astoundingly well. When the cicadas were being extremely loud one time while I was putting you down for a nap, you pointed to your ears and asked inquisitively “Hmmmm?” for me to explain what you were hearing. You shock me with how smart you are.

I’m looking forward to the changing leaves and Halloween fun with you this fall. I’ll be sad to see the nice weather go, though. We’ve had so much time out at the playground at the park this summer. They’ve begun construction there for the new local pool, so there’s lots of construction equipment around near the playground. You couldn’t be more thrilled, and I’m excited that we’ll have a pool closer by next summer!

Love you, baby,

 

Momma

16 Months

My VERY independent boy,

Today you are officially 16 months old and a full blown toddler!

This month started off with attending Daddy’s cousin Adam’s wedding to Whittney. You had a booty shakin’ good time in a stinkin’ adorable outfit… until you face planted on the concrete and started bleeding from the mouth. You quickly recovered, though, and went right back to dancing and having a good time, and kept trying to throw yourself off the dock into the pond before we would catch you (thankfully, we always caught you before you got too far). I got to put you in my favorite new accessory of yours: a pageboy hat. You’re too stinkin’ cute in hats. Seriously. I reused that outfit from the wedding for the rest of the summer, including when we went to the mitten a week later.

We went to Michigan this month for Grandpa’s birthday and to go to his housewarming party and the airshow at the Yankee Air Museum. While we were there, some Japanese filmmakers video taped you  running around and looking at the planes and said you were going to be on a Japanese version of 20/20! I have no idea if we can ever find the footage, but it was pretty crazy nonetheless. My cousin Michael, Great Grandpa D, Claire, and your Great Aunts, Debbie and Dawn, came for the airshow and party too, so it was great to get to see them as well. I love how Great Grandpa will shake your hand and say “How’d ya do? How’d ya do? How’d ya do?” You think he’s silly. Aunt Kate’s band played at the party, and despite how unbelievably loud it was, you wanted to be RIGHT UP FRONT. I only allowed it for a few seconds because I was afraid you’d damage your ears. You were a dancing fool, loving the beat of that drum. Unfortunately, our trip to Michigan also coincided with the death of my cousin Mitchell. We left you with Daddy because you were napping, and Grammy, Aunt Kate, and I went to the funeral and met up with you and Daddy at the wake at Great Aunt Pat’s house, where you met some of my cousins and family for the very first time. It was so weird for me that you hadn’t met some of my cousins yet, but I guess living so far away has been the reason for that; we don’t get many visitors.

“Fiercely independent” is your new name, especially with feeding yourself. God forbid if I try to break something up into bite-sized pieces before giving it to you or pull a handful of crackers out of the bag BY MYSELF. You must assist in all that is involved with eating. You’ll take bites off my food sometimes, but you mainly want to hold the sandwich (or whatever) and eat it by yourself. You eat GoGurt, apple juice juice-box (on the rare occasion you get it), and applesauce all by yourself. You continue to be a food mooch and a cookie thief, and you attempted to eat a dishwasher pac from under the sink (someone left the cabinet lock off) so that I had to call poison control. Thankfully, you’d only taken a small bite and then dropped it and spit it out. I still had to rinse your mouth out with water and get you to drink lots of water. It was a heart-stopping moment for me, but I did a nice job of not panicking. I think part of your curiosity with biting different things has been part of the teething you’ve begun again this month.

You’ve been teething a lot, which means lots of cuddles, Tylenol, and Pixar movies. You love Toy Story best. You’ve also started to really enjoy Curious George and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. We saw the “event of the season” when Daniel got a baby sister, Margaret, and you were glued to the tv for those five minutes that the baby tiger was on there, all snuggled up on my lap. I have treasured those calm moments of snuggling with you in the chair because they’ve been far and few between lately. You’re always go, go, go! You’ve also been growing lots of hair the past month- no longer a little bit bald. It’s fine and soft and extremely blonde. It has finally lost that gingery look it’s had since you were born. Most of all, your physical capabilities have skyrocketed this month. Suddenly, you’re not only walking but almost running from place to place. You climbed up and went down the baby slide all by yourself at a play date the other day, insisting that I not help you. You scare me to death, but I let you try anything before helping you. I try to not help you until you ask for it too, but you often like to get into trouble.

To say you enjoy doing things you probably shouldn’t be doing would be an understatement. You like to pick up and turn over the dog’s water bowl and splash around in it/stick toys in it. I’m forever getting you out of the kitchen so that you don’t make a mess. You’re extremely inquisitive, so most cupboards now have locks or latches on them, especially the dvd cabinet, which you love to empty when it’s left open. You love to empty the pots and pans or cooling racks from the cupboards or the drawer of my measuring cups and spatulas. You carry them into the living room and bang them together or on the table. I’ve just chalked up anything in that drawer to needing to be washed before I use it because I know it’s been on the floor, in your mouth, or probably stuck in the dog bowl. You have discovered your ability to climb on top of things: the couch, the chair, the bed, the steralite tote in front of the window in the office on which you like to dance and look out the window from, and mainly the dog, whom you use as a step stool. (I’m serious, and he LETS you!) Your obsession with your “BA!” has not wavered.

You now say “woo woo!” for “woof woof” and point to the dog when he barks or point in the direction you hear dogs barking and will mimic them. You love to point to dogs while we’re on our walks and bark and wave at them too. You also wave and say “bye bye” in your tiny, sweet, little voice to everyone as soon as they walk away from you. You won’t say “hi” or wave hello yet, though. So, when people say hi to you, you just kind of stare at them blankly, which confuses them, to which I have to explain you don’t know that word yet. You also go and point to the door and say “owsigh!” for outside. You love to sit on the front porch on the stoop and eat popsicles or play with chalk or swing in your swing. Lately, you’ve been venturing more out into the yard (both front and back) and exploring how far you can wander before I scoop you up so you don’t cross the road. When you play inside, you love to play with your Little People farm set and will hold up your farmer figurine and say “grah-pa!” (grandpa) because Grandpa B is a farmer! (You’re SO smart.) You’ve also mastered a new animal noise that Daddy taught you during bath-time: “ppfffttt” (raspberry sound) for an elephant! You are like the elephant eye-spy master; you find them everywhere and make that noise and then point them out to me! Once, we were at storytime at the Southport Library, and you kept pointing to this little baby and making your elephant noise. I was so confused until I saw what you saw: a teeny, tiny embroidered elephant on the baby’s bib! You were also very impressed when you got to see a real elephant at the State Fair!

We volunteered at the State Fair Lactation Station this year with our friends Emily and Collin, and you did very well at not running off. You were in tractor heaven, as they kept circling the circuit right in front of our tent all day long. There was also a big display of John Deere tractors that we played on and looked at while there. Your favorite word is “tractor!” which you say more than anything else. You kept saying it while we walked around at the fair because you kept seeing them everywhere. We didn’t do much exploring that day, though, because I wanted to wait until Daddy was with us at the end of the month.

One of my favorite sights continues to be you and Daddy at bedtime reading books together. You just snuggle in and lay your head against his chest as you sit on his lap, and he reads to you. You read two books together before he hands you off to me to nurse. Daddy used to pick all kinds of Dr. Seuss books; The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, and The Sleep Book are his favorites. However, you’ve become picky about what he reads to you! You now pick out books! Your favorite (which Daddy and I can both recite by heart now) is I’m Dirty- a book about a backhoe loader cleaning up an abandoned lot full of trash. Daddy does a great job exaggerating the sounds and excitement in the book, and you’ve begun copying his engine noise “Rrrmmmmm! Rrrrrmm!!” and will make that noise when he gets to a particular page or when you’re playing with your trucks/tractor toys.  I have a feeling you might be an engineer or a farmer someday, something where you can play with and work on trucks and big machinery.

I love you, my little farmer,

Love,

Momma

15 Months

My sweet baby boy,

You are fifteen months old today, and you took your first steps this month. I’d like to say you walked to Daddy or I, but you didn’t. You were walking with assistance from Amber (our friend, my former student, and your baby sitter) pushing the popper toy that you love so much. She let you go, and you continued to take a step or two unassisted! To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, we brought you into the kitchen and had you try walking to Amber, and you did! Then, you walked to me! Later that evening, you walked to Daddy! You’ve been cruising full speed ahead ever since. You fall quite a bit but rarely cry about it. You just get up and keep on going. You have wonderful perseverance. It took you a while to get the hang of standing up in the middle of the room on your own, without holding on to anything or anyone, but you finally did it. The first time you did was on a trip to Orange Leaf, out on the patio! You (and we) were so proud!

My favorite sight lately is you toddling down the sidewalk as if you’re going for a stroll around the block (which you enjoy doing very much). You love drawing with “alk” (chalk) now and will bring it with you on your walks, marking the ground every so often. You also hated the walkers at my work until you were able to actually walk. Now you love sitting in them and cruising around the store in them at full speed, mostly backwards. You also like to grab Feeny’s leash and “walk” him around the house, which he so kindly allows you to do.

Speaking of Feeny, your love for him continues to grow, and you continue to climb all over him and lay on him as if he is your own personal beanbag. You said “dog dog” a few times this month, but then that was replaced with your previous “BA” for Feeny. You know who we are talking about, though, if we ask you to go give Feeny a hug. It’s adorable.

You also know what we are asking of you most of the time, and you, in turn, have begun asking us for things (even though you don’t usually have the words to tell us)! You will bring me the Elmo dvd to be put on, and you point to the TV and say “Xbox!” You’ll be rather upset the day you discover not all TVs work this way. One morning, you requested your Elmo movie by pointing to your cup with Elmo on it and then saying “Xbox”. When I didn’t understand at first, you tried again and then pointed to your box of Elmo veggie crackers and back to the tv. I asked, “Do you want to watch Elmo?” And you said, “Yeah!” and shook your head yes! (See what I mean about how you find ways to communicate so well, even without words!)

You are a huge food mooch, often from Daddy, which makes me laugh because he doesn’t like sharing food, but he always shares with you. You also share with me most afternoons for lunch. We had turkey, ranch, and avocado nachos the other day, and you loved them! You can follow simple instructions like “put the ball here” or “throw the ball” or “can you put it in the bucket?” You will also bring me things sometimes if you know the word for them. You also ask for “tractor tractor” videos on Daddy’s phone or country music videos. You’ll sit with Daddy and watch them, all snuggled up together. It melts me. While you’re pretty good at following directions, you also have a bit of a stubborn streak in you too.

You can be rather choosy about which instructions you want to follow, especially when toilet paper is involved while I’m showering. You’ve “decorated” the bathroom several times.  You even climbed up on the toilet using the case of toilet paper next to it! A few weeks later you climbed up on the side of the tub using the faucet for leverage! Scared me to death! You also like to steal tampons out of the bottom drawer of the cabinet and run off with them gleefully giggling as if you’ve just stolen treasure. You always look at me like, “Mom, why have you hidden these great drumsticks from me all this time?” I can’t wait to tell your future girlfriends that story. You also think it’s funny to blow raspberries on my chest and bounce your face off of my chest saying “bah, bah, bah” as you do so. You crack me up daily!

You have become quite the chatterbox, jabbering all the time, and you have a few new words and sounds this month: “duck,” “tractor,” (your favorite- you even say it very slowly sometimes, pronouncing every syllable carefully “trraaaaaacttorrrr”) “alk”for chalk, and “hoo hoo hoo!” for monkey noises and a guttural “kkkkkk” sound for lion. Daddy points the animals out to you in the tub and you respond with their noises. You also suddenly seem to have more hair! You’re wearing 24 month/2 T clothes, love your water table and baby pool, especially when I let you be naked to enjoy them (though that often incites you playing with yourself while you sit in the pool: something we remind you is only allowed during bath time or in private, although we doubt you understand that instruction yet). My least favorite thing you love to do is play in the water and then go sit in the dirt. It’s your favorite activity, and you find it hilarious. You don’t care about being dirty or gross.

You’ve also begun to become curious about the toilet. Maddie has stayed with us a few times this month, and she’s potty training. So, you’ve wanted to sit on your potty chair a few times, and we’ve even tried sitting you on it naked so that you could attempt to use it but with no success. I’ve had to say, “Don’t play with your penis; leave it in the potty.” Obviously, as soon as your diaper is off, that’s the first thing you want to do. I have a feeling that will be our biggest obstacle to potty training! I’m not stressed about it though, you’re still super little. I love that you’re getting more interested in the concept though. It’s just the tip of the iceberg of your blossoming independence.

You’re starting to really feed yourself with utensils, which is incredibly messy, but you’re determined to do it! You’ve gotten extremely independent, fiercely so. This isn’t more apparent in anything else than mealtimes. Now, you eat breakfast on your own every morning and usually attempt to do so at lunch and dinner too. You love blueberries more than any other food, except maybe mandarin oranges, and are also a cookie monster and a cookie thief! You love chevre (goats cheese) and bread, and you eat oatmeal or yogurt most mornings. You were so funny trying corn on the cob for the first time on your own. It was so slippery! You loved it though, and what a great teething food! You also are getting very sneaky about getting into food that’s left unattended- like trying to open the pretzel bag Dad leaves on the coffee table. While your nutrition is going well, your sleeping still remains a struggle.

You slept through the night ONCE and probably never will again. (Gosh, I hope that’s not true, but that’s what it feels like.) You’re still up nursing two or three times a night- 10:30, 1:30, and 4:30. I keep having to remind myself that you won’t be this little forever. You won’t need me (or want me) like this forever. While it feels like it’s taking FOREVER to sleep train you, we are making progress. This is what you need right now, and that’s okay. I’m just very tired, which was why I very much looked forward to getting away at the end of the month.

Daddy and I went to Cincinnati to explore and go sky diving for our 4th anniversary and were rained out. We still had a great time, and you stayed with Grammy at had a great time with her as well. We’ve had a lot of time with Grammy this month. We even took you for your first time in the toy aisle at Meijer. You were amazed at how many “tractor! tractor!”s there were! Grammy bought you a little lawnmower to push around, which has become one of your new favorite toys, and an automatic dump truck. You seem to be accumulating a lot of toys. I’m going to have to weed some out soon! What’s funny is that you will take EVERYTHING out and then not be interested in any of it until it’s put away again. Even funnier, you would rather be outside or out and about doing things than staying at home and playing.

We’ve spent a lot of time with family and friends this month. The Banka’s stopped by with Jeana for a brief visit one afternoon and had lunch with us. On the Fourth of July, we shared a meal with Alicia, Tony, and Maddie, and you and Maddie had a one sided water fight with the spray bottle. You both found it hilarious and were soaked by the end. We visited my cousin April and swam in the lake near her apartment, went to my former student Allison’s wedding, installed a swing on the porch for you, went to Alexis’ birthday party, went to an optometrist appointment with me (yeesh was that “fun”), went to the library for the first time (you were amazed at all the books and the fun chairs they had), had trinity play dates at the splash park, Mallow Run winery, and also went to the Children’s Museum a few times when it was too hot outside. We’ve also been going to the Franklin pool and enjoying time outside as often as possible. You’re still a fish and love the water.

My second favorite moment from this month (the first being your first steps) was when you saw your friend Jacob’s baby sister Emily for the first time. You were so curious, so gentle, so loving. You gently touched her head and laid yours down on her to “hug” her and said “bee bee”.  I was a puddle on the floor.  I can’t wait to give you a sibling to love and play with, hopefully soon.

Love you,

Momma

14 Months

My Lucas B,

You are 14 months old today, and the past month has been filled with new foods and travels!

You finally had your one year check up on June 9th, and we finally got the Star Wars room! You were incredibly active, crawling around the room, climbing up and down the steps to the table, crawling back and forth on the table like a runway, jabbering, and being silly! Dr. C said she is not worried about any part of your development! She said by the time you are two, we should be hearing full sentences from you. That seems like such a far cry from what you can do now, but you do already communicate well. She also told us not to worry about weaning you from a bottle so quickly but to gradually introduce the sippy cup at nap and bedtime when Dad watches you, and she continues to support us breastfeeding, which is a huge support and relief. You did have a borderline low iron check, though, so we’ll have to have it rechecked again.

You enjoy playing peek a boo out of your tent with Daddy or I, and you especially love to play that game with Feeny, who bounds around excitedly when you pop out at him. You just laugh and laugh and laugh! He seems to enjoy it as much as you do! You also like to listen to and sing along with ‪‎Joe Nichols‬ on Daddy’s phone when he plays music videos for you, be pulled around in your little blue wagon and your big green wagon around the block. You have enjoyed your water table so much the past few weeks, sharing it with friends during large group play dates and also with Maddie when she came to play. You still love watching Daddy mow the lawn and will bang on the window and yell for him while he mows! I have a feeling you’ll be doing that a lot this summer.

You’re so incredibly sweet and happy almost all the time. You’ve really become my little Linus lately. You love to carry around your blankies and snuggle them, and you still must have one at naptime and bedtime to fiddle with the tag as you nurse and fall asleep. You really love to be silly with us now, too. You giggle and laugh like crazy when Daddy blows bubbles at the dinner table while I pretend to be worried about them attacking me saying “Oh, no! Oh, no!” Pretty much, whenever we say that at any point (bath time, play time, etc) you start cracking up! You also recently have begun stealing Daddy’s (clean) underwear out of the laundry basket (after I’ve folded them) and putting them on your head like a hat. You’re quite the clown!

You like frozen yogurt. We went to Orange Leaf, and you left with a tummy full, and I left with an injury from you sticking a little spoon shovel in my eye! You’re really getting the hang of eating yogurt on your own in the morning; you make quite a mess, though, and you even like to fling it at Feeny! You tried shrimp and ate steak, chicken, chicken fried rice (by the fistful), and mushroom and onion soup at Benihana when Grandpa D took us out for dinner while we were visiting Michigan. You spent quality time with Grandpa D while I taught my friend Kate about cloth diapers and carriers, and you stayed with Grammy while I went to my friend Staci’s bachelorette party in Lansing. You played drums with Aunt Kate and played with new toys and went to a graduation party with Grammy where she fed you your first sucker! You wouldn’t sleep well for her, though, and were wide awake when I got home at 1:30AM. This worries me for next month when she watches you while Dad and I go on our anniversary trip to Cincinnati.

We got a new carrier, one I’ve had my eye on since MommyCon back in March. I got a great deal on a Beco Soleil at work. Daddy carried you in it on an impromptu hike in Brown County. I fell in love with him all over again seeing him carry you. There’s just something about a man who wears his baby! We also went to Big Woods Brewery for lunch, where you ate lots of breadsticks and pizza and insisted on trying root beer, which you immediately spit out all over the place with a terrible look on your face (probably due to the carbonation). We also explored downtown Nashville, and I not only nursed you while sitting on a bench outside, I also changed you. I no longer have any qualms about caring for you in public. I am fearless. I am a badass breastfeeder, and you have a shirt that proclaims it, too.

We found a church we like at Easter last month and have continued to attend. You do well in the nursery, never crying when we leave you! This morning at church, the ladies in the nursery told us they were amazed at how smart you are. They said you were clearly going to be a gifted and talented child because you are already so great at communicating. I guess you even pointed to the table there and said “snack” because you wanted some Cheerios!

We painted special project for Grandpa B by making handprints of our family’s hands. You ate the (non-toxic) finger paint and made a huge mess with it; you loved it. We also made Daddy something for his second Father’s Day. We made him special book to write in for each holiday when we’d normally buy cards for each other. We created fun drawings and cut outs depicting your handprint on a family tree, the books you two love to read together (The Lorax, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Horton Hears A Who, There’s a Monster at the End of This Book), a picture drawn by you, and we bought him a new weed whacker and some new undershirts.

We went to Evansville to visit Aunt Vickie and Uncle Brad with Amber. You played piano, tried walking with new push toys, and floated around in the pool in a boat float for a little while until you became scared of it; then, you enjoyed stepping up and down the steps into the pool, surprising yourself when the water got too deep! You love to swim and be in the water! You enjoy it so much, I bought you a kiddie pool to play in at home. We’ve also been on several pool trips to the Franklin pool with Amber, our trinity friends, and your birthday buddy and his sister, Alexis, and momma, Emily. You practically dive in head first when I get you into the water! You have no fear! You also don’t get upset when water dumps on your head from the splash park portion of the shallow pool. You easily want to walk up the steps (with guiding hands still, of course) and go down the slide by yourself or down the big slide with me (no mean feat, I tell you). We also went to the “Touch A Truck” event in Franklin. You liked sitting in the driver’s seats of an Army truck, school bus, crane, dump truck, tractor, combine, and some other huge vehicles. You found the firetruck fascinating and weren’t scared when horns and sirens went off, though you did jump at first.

We also attended Kinsley’s 1st birthday party, had a great time at the pond over Memorial weekend up in Wabash (riding on the tractor, Gator, and playing in the pool with your cousins, and snacking on your toes on the way home- a new pastime of yours), enjoyed a few days with Aunt Rachel and your cousin Cale when they came to visit (bathing together, playing at the Children’s Museum at the new China exhibit), and you finally met our new little neighbor boy, Paxton. He’s only a month older than you. You just jabbered on and on to him while playing at the water table until Paxton started crying! I have no idea what you said, but he didn’t like it!

You’re becoming quite the toddler (minus the toddling) and it makes me so sad and so happy at the same time. Where did my baby go?

Love,

Momma

13 Months

Lucas B,

The week of our birthday was insanely busy with getting the house cleaned and your cake made and the food made and the decorations made and the planning and the ordering of balloons and making cupcakes and checking rsvps and and and ahhhh! I never appreciated how much work my parents put into my birthdays as a kid. Now, I understand that I should have! It’s a ton of work! At the balloon store, I turned to Grammy and said, “thank you!” All the planning was worth it though (just like with anything else, great preparation = great success) because both parties went very well. The week before, our friends Emily and Colin came over quite a bit to do birthday party decoration crafting with us, since Colin and you and I all share a birthday, and Emily was preparing for Colin’s first birthday bash too! We made some pretty cute Very Hungry Caterpillar signs (chips! fat caterpillar!) and decorations, and we did a Dr. Seuss theme for your party because they’re still yours and Daddy’s favorite books to read together.

I themed all the food around Dr. Seuss books (Green (deviled) Eggs and Ham, goldfish, fishy marshmallow pops, red and blue fish gummies, pixie sticks for clover stems, truffula fruits, etc) made you a red and turquoise cake topped with our friend Susanne’s recipe for buttercream icing (a difficult recipe for me because Susanne is a professional pastry chef, but the results were delicious), did red and turquoise decorations and set out all your Dr. Seuss books, made a special banner and a special door sign just for the party (and I hate crafting because it takes so darn long- I worked on them while you napped mostly), I even ordered a special Lalabye Baby cloth diaper in Cat in the Hat print and a really cute outfit from Etsy with a Cat in the Hat tie for you to wear. It was a Pinterest inspired party for sure! I even custom made your invites using our Mac computer and also made your thank you cards too. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it! Next year, I think we’ll have both of your parties at home, though!

We also had The Great Cloth Diaper Change the morning of your party, which I had to work because our store was hosting. I was so excited to participate in “the change” this year since last year you were still in utero when we went. It was fun! We were late to your own party at Gymboree thanks to traffic and naps post Great Cloth Diaper Change and such, but it was all okay.

You had a great time playing with your friends and digging into your cupcake and opening gifts. My cousin Chelsea and her daughter Frances and my Aunt Jan and Uncle Dave even came down for the occasion. Aunt Kate and even both my parents came too, despite their recent divorce and the awkwardness that ensued with both in the same room. Mimi and Grandpa B drove down, and Uncle Aaron even came into town a little early to be at your party! The rest of your aunts and uncles and cousins couldn’t make it due to work or other obligations, but maybe they’ll be there next year. Your Godfather, Kurt, and babysitter, Amber, also made it to your birthday dinner and to watch you smash through your cake. You loved it! You were spoiled rotten with gifts. You got an RC car big enough for you to ride in, a metal pedal plane, a water table, clothes, bath toys, other toys, a Little People barn and tractor and animals, a little wagon, a wooden push toy, and a handmade hooded towel among many other great gifts! You are set on entertainment for the summer and many years to come! It was so much fun to have everyone around to celebrate your first birthday and an entire year of successful parenting for your dad and I. The next day, we went to Collin’s first birthday party. You played at the park and in the ball pit and ate lots of food like barbequed pulled pork, fruit, veggies, and a cupcake! It was quite a party weekend, and by the end of it, we were all exhausted.

I’ve been doing Shutterfly books for you instead of keeping a written baby book. I worked tirelessly on the last one I did, thinking it would arrive in time for your birthday party, but it arrived two days after. Still, I’m very pleased with how they’ve been turning out. I know you probably won’t care about them as much when you’re older, but I bet your future wife will. They take hours and hours to put together: sorting through hundreds (literally) of photos and shortening these letters to you into bullet pointed lists for each month, making the layouts not look too busy or crammed but getting the most use out of the space available so that each book isn’t 100 pages long; it’s a lot of work. I want to put our home video footage of you together onto a disc for your first year as well, but I haven’t done that yet. I know that will take forever too. I have, however, done an animoto video of you using your pictures and one video clip. I pretty much cry anytime I watch it. I can’t believe you were ever so small or how quickly you’ve grown and changed; as a result, baby fever has hit hard. Who knows when you’ll finally get a sibling, but I’m hoping within the next year.

You’ve spent this past month playing with all of your new toys, especially walking with your new push toys, riding in your RC car, and playing at your water table now that it’s nice outside. I’ve given you a few measuring cups to use with your water table, and you like to scoop out the water and dump it on the ground or put it in your kiddie pool. You also love to ride around the block in your wagon, “help” me with laundry (usually while pantsless- your favorite way to be), and play with your barn, swinging the stall doors open and closed as they sing music and you dance! Your favorite one is “Baaa baaa baaa sheep like to say! Baa baa baa it’s time to play!” You get on all fours and rock back and forth to the beat of the music, shrieking and laughing or simply smiling.

You’ve also ramped up your obsession with Feeny this past month, following him around, playing with his tail when he’s laying still, crawling on top of him and sitting on him like a cowboy on a pony. We had to keep you two apart for about a week after Feeny was neutered and had his teeth cleaned. He had to wear the “cone of shame” (Dad and I joked we should stick him in the yard for better reception) and you were fascinated by that, but we didn’t want you to hurt him while he was so sore and tender and vice versa. It was difficult keeping you two apart! You taunt him relentlessly by taking his collar and jingling it, making him think he’s going to go for a walk. This was especially cruel when he wasn’t supposed to be doing anything but resting. Still, he continues to lay near you and keep an eye on you, as always. Once he was feeling better, you two started playing this game with your new tent where you pop out at him and he freaks out and barks and gets into playing stance. You crack up and hide back in the tent for a few seconds before popping out again. It’s adorable. Feeny has also learned that if he sits next to your chair, you will willingly throw food at him, on the floor for him, or let him lick your messy hands and face. There have been several mornings where I’ve had to not only clean off your face, but Feeny’s head as well.

You tried cows milk, finally. You didn’t like it. Momma’s milk is better. You did, however, like the graham crackers I gave you to try with it. You’re also still nursing, but only before naps (twice a day), before bed, and ALL. NIGHT. LONG. You’ve been teething A LOT lately (2 more teeth this month) and so therefore neither of us has gotten much sleep at all. I keep reminding myself, this too shall pass. It always does. There have been days when I’ve felt so desperate for sleep, though, that I consider napping while you play, but I’m too scared you’ll get hurt or something while I’m sleeping regardless of how well I’ve baby proofed. We’ve even installed gates because you’re adamant about climbing the stairs and getting into the drawers and the dog’s water in the kitchen. You’re constantly on the go. It’s exhausting.

I started a Make Meals At Home (MMAH) challenge for myself this past month because we’ve been spending way too much on fast food and dining out. Therefore, you got to try a lot of new foods and some foods whole that you’ve only ever had in purees. Steak fajitas, layered tacos, pesto alfredo tortellini, beef roast with carrots, potatoes, and green beans, salsa chicken, and more. We also took Daddy out for his birthday to Cheeseburger in Paradise, where you loved eating fries and playing with the colorful beaded necklaces they were giving out for Cinco de Mayo. You’ve also begun eating yogurt and Cheerios for breakfast most mornings. You think it’s hilarious when I lick and stick the Cheerios onto your head.

We went to the mall playground (a place I swore I’d never take MY child because of all the gross germs) and promptly left as soon as we heard a little girl coughing with a croupy sounding cough. Thankfully, you didn’t get croup, but a week later, on the day we left for Michigan, you did get sick with a high fever for days on end. On the first day we were there, Grammy and I took you to the Detroit Zoo because you were feeling fine in the morning. By the time we got to the tigers, we realized you were feeling miserable again and had a fever. Thankfully, I had remembered to bring medicine with me. It was dreadful. You couldn’t sleep and wouldn’t sleep unless in my arms. You cried and were fussy a lot. You were burning up so badly I rarely had you in clothes for the four days it continued and put cold wash cloths on your head and neck to cool you down. It took forever for your fevers to subside even with medicine. Even then, they only went down to 99 from the 102 or 103. It was so scary, I even took you to the emergency room to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious than teething, but they said it was just a virus. I hated giving you medicine so frequently, but I was so terrified that you would have febrile seizures; thank God, you didn’t. We alternated ibuprofen and acetaminophen as often as we needed to.

We came home from Michigan and I was surprised with beautiful flowers and an awesome Mother’s Day journal with entries from you and Dad. I can’t wait for that journal to be filled over the years. It’s such a great idea! A week later, Dad surprised me with a beautiful necklace with your name on it- a gift that didn’t arrive on time for Mother’s Day. There’s a space for our next baby’s name too. I thought I was pregnant this month (had positive tests but then the following week they were negative) but apparently I’m not. I keep reminding myself that everything is on God’s time, not mine. I know you’re going to be an awesome big brother when the time does come, though.

Some nerdy crunchy momma moments from this month include this FB status: “On a deck chair at the pool, on a couch in the inside waiting area of a car wash in Ohio, on a bench at the Indiana State Fair, and on my desk in my classroom: the oddest places I have cloth diapered (and nursed) my kid!” We beat last year’s Guinness World Record at the Great Cloth Diaper Change with 8459 changes and 18 countries involved! I bought a few new Lalabye Baby cloth diapers, which have become my new favorite- to the point where I’ve been selling off your BumGenius diapers to fund new Lalabyes. Finally, your picture made it onto the Happy Family Brand’s Instagram account and another of your picture’s made it as the cover photo for the Spray Pal webpage!

“What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.” I love that quote, and it’s held a lot of truth this month. We’ve spent a lot of time with good friends (including Indianapolis City (Farmer’s) Market with Haley and Jacob, and zoo trips with your birthday buddy and also one with Amber to see the new orangutan exhibit), spent time cleaning out clutter, and I spent some time reminiscing on my past by reading through old notes and such while cleaning out my boxes of stuff from home. My dad, your grandpa, moved out of my childhood home, and I had to come to terms with the fact that I can never “go home” again to that house. I’m choosing to be positive though- choosing to be happy. It’s a hard thing to do, certainly something I didn’t learn how to do until I became an adult. It’s an important lesson, though, one I hope you embrace.

Love you, little one,

Momma

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

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