Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Growing Boys

I feel like I should save some of this for Jack's eight-month letter in about a week, but so much has been changing for the boys lately.

Eliot had his three-year well visit the other day.  I'm happy to say that he is on track with everything.  They even gave him a vision test, which he did well on.  I'm pretty relieved about that because I got my first pair of glasses when I was six.  Chris's vision is perfect, but it is still something I know I will need to look out for with the boys.

I'm always just slightly concerned about Eliot's weight because he is such a skinny little dude.  He eats decent and what I call "moody," but the doctor said his weight (and BMI) are absolutely fine.  And he's still rather tall too.

Part of the reason for the visit was to fill out some forms for school....  This fall, we will be enrolling Eliot in preschool.  He will be three years and eight months.  It seems a ways off, so my brain is OK with it, but they're already starting applications.  This way, Eliot will have two years of pre-school before kindergarten.  I want to give him every advantage I can.  He is smart, creative, imaginative, and so sweet.  I am hopeful that pre-school will help him to blossom socially and intellectually in ways that I find limitations.  It will break my heart to say good-bye to him and send him off into the cycle of "schooling" that will continue for the next fifteen years (or longer since he will be going to college--no arguments).  It won't be easy, but it will be so good for him.  And it's only three days a week for three hours.

Something just happens to babies after six months.  Maybe it is the inevitable mobility.  Maybe it is some cognitive developmental milestones.  I don't know all the way, but Jack has become Jack lately.  He has clear interests.  His personality is so clear.  And he looks like such a big boy.  No wonder:  he is mostly wearing 12-month clothes.  I was going through some of Eliot's old shorts....  The 18 month shorts fit Jack so much better than the 12 month shorts!  Ah!

Jack has always loved baths.  I usually give Jack and Eliot a bath together.  Then I take Jack out to get him dressed while I let Eliot continue to play.  Well, tonight Jack crawled from the den, around the corner, down the hall, and into the bathroom in attempts of getting back in the tub with Eliot, giggling all the way.  He did this three times....  He is just crazy about water.  So cute.

It isn't always easy being the best that I can for these two boys.  Most of the time, they both need something at the same time and I feel pulled in various directions.  Oftentimes, one of them is upset about something.  Sometimes they're both upset at the same time.  I try to find the right balance.  I try to not get tired or impatient or discouraged.  Getting out and about more often has helped a lot, even if getting out results in Jack crying because he's mad about cars existing or Eliot is upset because he wants to stay home to pet the cat.  I think we're all cooped up....  And the sun coming back has been awesome too.  I love watching them together.  I love sharing the world with them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


In six days, we leave for Florida.  I cannot wait.  Eliot is so excited to go to Disney World.  We will get to see some family.  And Chris is looking forward to seeing palm trees everywhere.  More than anything, though, I am just excited to be warm.

I just keeping thinking that after we get back, we will be moving along into spring with warmer days and fun adventures ahead.

I think about last summer when it was hard for me to go to the beach--I always felt nauseous in the heat.  I remember being two weeks from my induction date and feeling.so.big and ready to be done.

One of Jack's first outings was to the bay to see two sea turtles released.

I didn't want to take Jack to the beach too much and expose him to the heat, so we spent most of our days in the backyard hiding beneath a poolside umbrella while Chris and Eliot played in the pool.  And maybe we seemed pretty silly to plant palm trees, but I have to say...  Being able to feel like I am out someplace tropical or at the beach made me feel so much better while I was adjusting to a new baby and not really able to get out of the house much.  If we felt cooped up or overwhelmed, I just let Eliot go play on the pool steps (and Chris swam with him every.single.day) and I could pretend that I was at a resort.  Palm tree therapy.  Really, it should be a thing.

I can't wait for beach trips this year.  It doesn't even necessarily have to be warm enough to swim.  I love just letting Eliot go run up and down the beach and dig in the "big sandbox," as he calls it.  We were pretty spoiled this fall and winter and got a few warm beach days in.

Last summer was a little more... complicated... being very pregnant and having a newborn.  Not "bad" necessarily.  Just complicated.  This spring and summer, though, are going to be that much more amazing.  And I can't wait.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life Lately

I mentioned to Chris last night that I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day.  Every day has basically the same premise and challenges and it is all about how I respond over and over.  The same arguments at breakfast, the same fights against boredom, the same dishes, the same bedtime routines.  And then when it is all done, I do work and hope the house grows a little less cluttered each day instead of more.  I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining.  I think it is just more difficult in the winter.

We have had some differences day-to-day.  We've had an unusual amount of snow these days.  We went out in the snow just long enough to snag a few photos since it was so cold.  Jack was indifferent to the snow and Eliot grew pretty frustrated when snow got in his socks.  However, he did have fun helping Chris to shovel.

About a week ago, we welcomed a new kitty into our home.  Our house without Neko has been so quiet.  I couldn't think of a better way to honor her than to adopt another shelter cat.  We visited with many cats, but this one-year-old at the shelter seemed perfect for us.  I can't believe how sweet she is....  The boys just love her and she lets them play with her.  She cuddles with us at night, and sleeps in our bed.  She is getting along with the dogs well enough.  They've reached a bit of an understanding, but I'm sure they will all grow into friends.  After changing her name many times, Eliot agreed upon calling her Cricket.  I'm sure that I am just projecting this onto Cricket, but shelter cats (to me) seem like they have an extra measure of gratefulness that I have not found in other cats.

Jack is continuing to change before our eyes.  He is crawling great now.  For a while, he was crawling backwards, but he is going straight on forward now.  He grumbled about pureed baby food for a while; now he loves to feed himself puffs, mum mums, and steamed vegetables.  He tolerates some pureed food too, but I'm glad he is eating more solids these days.  He is really working on those top two teeth, yet I'm not expecting them anytime soon.  He seems to teethe for a long time.

Other than that, I've tried to keep busy and creative.  Setting up a "dinosaur train" in the hall, forts made of sheets, and "fishing" from Eliot's top bunk.  Chris and I did some painting in the house--and really need to finish up.  I have a date set for my dissertation proposal defense and I've kept up my work for my job, which makes me feel super productive and happy.  Winter isn't so bad....

And I'm counting down the days until our Florida vacation:  12 days left.  When we come home, it will be March and one step closer to spring.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dear Jack: Seven Months

Dear Jack,

You are now seven months--closer to a year than your birth.  I look forward to you growing more and more, but I love you as our little baby too. 

You are so curious and interactive with everything.  To see something is to want to eat it, which is surprising because you don't actually like to consume anything but my milk.  You try to eat biscuits and mum-mums since they are finger foods, but you are not into pureed baby food.  Eliot was the same way, and, man, I wouldn't like pureed food either.  We are still nursing, which is longer than I nursed Eliot; however, it isn't because I'm super disciplined or anything.  We have no other choice, really!  You won't take bottles!  We got you to the point that you will drink a little from a sippy cup, so I was away from you for the longest time yet recently.  I thought of you the whole time, Jack.

You are growing and developing well.  You weigh about 18 pounds.  You wear size four diapers.  Your 6-12 month pants are quite tight and fit well in 12 month sleepers.  We recently moved you out of your infant carrier and into Eliot's old carseat.  You look like such a big boy, and I think it fits you better.  You are eager to crawl, but aren't quite there.  You scoot around, crawl backwards, and can crawl a couple of "paces" before falling on your belly.  You "pivot" around and get most places quickly.  You hate getting stuck on your belly and cry.  You'll get there in no time, I'm sure, and then we won't be able to stop you!

You seem extra clingy and fussy lately.  It looks like your top two teeth are trying to cut through, so I blame that.  Your bottom two finally cut through after three whole months of teething.  Goodness...

When you aren't fussy from being hungry or tired or just wanting to be held, you are super happy.  It is easy to get you to smile for photos.  You laugh easily and are so ticklish.  You want to grab my buttons, face, hair, food as I'm trying to eat, and everything you can.  You are so happy to explore.

You had your first snow this month.  It was so, so cold, though, and we didn't stay out long--just enough for a couple of photos.  You were ready to come.inside.fast.

Every day, I thank God for you.  I thank God that you are healthy, happy, strong, and growing.  You bring us so much happiness and joy.  Oftentimes while I am feeding you, you stop and look up at me and smile.  Moments like these with you make me feel like the most important person in the world.  Thank you for loving me.  I love you too, little baby.