Friday, September 26, 2014

Dear Jack: One Year, Three Months

Dear Jack,

You are such a sunshine baby. You are always so happy and laughing. You were cutting in four molars and an incisor all at once, but now you are feeling much better. I love how you engage with each of us in the family, including the pets, in a special way.

You are absolutely nuts about your brother. You adore him. Everything he does is hilarious to you, and I'm happy to say that any sharing squabbles you two used to have rarely come up as an issue anymore. Instead, you play together great and he loves making you laugh as much as you love laughing at him.

You are way more adventurous than I remember your brother being, and you are so proud of yourself when you do something you aren't supposed to. You climb on toys and chairs and stairs and everything. In the bath, you throw all of the bottles down and try to climb up the shelves. When I fuss at you, you just smile and sit down. Such a stinker. However, you also get your fair share of accidents out of your antics. You fall and hurt yourself at least once a day.

You are a horrible eater. HORRIBLE. I can't even get you to eat crackers. What in the world? You live mostly off of baby food packets (ones with banana), yogurt, and strawberry milk. You continue to growth and thrive, and I keep on offering new foods and the same foods, just as I have since you were five months old. The doctor says you'll grow out of it....

You are wearing some 18-month clothes and some 12-month clothes. The 12-month clothes are tight,, but some 18-month clothes look baggy on you. It's a tough balance. At your 15-month appointment, you weighed 21 pounds and were 31 inches tall. Catching up to Eliot all the time.

Speaking of catching Eliot, you love to chase him and pull on his shirt. He lets you do this, but sometimes he goes too fast and you fall. When you find him laying on the ground, you are quick to tackle him. And he lets you.

Lately, your speech has been all centered on "ball". I know you can say other words, and you do sometimes, but you just love to say "ball". It started with the dogs.... You started calling them "ball," which I figured was from playing fetch so much. And then you started saying it for everything. Silly boy. You used to say "this" for most things, so I'm sure you will grow to like another word as your vocabulary is always growing and changing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Coming of Fall

I'm not too excited about fall happening. I always want endless summer. It's not that I mind fall so much as I dread winter. The seasons should be summer, fall, summer, spring. Or if winter could just ease up after New Years.... Because the holidays are nice. I say this every year....

The only thing I am excited about for fall is new clothes for the boys. Their summer clothes are getting too tight and their fall clothes would be too hot right now--and, of course, I'm not going to buy new, larger summer clothes for just a few weeks. Sigh.

Clothes, in fact, have me thinking a lot lately. I gave away the rest of Jack and Eliot's clothes that Jack had outgrown. As I dug through Eliot's old clothes for Jack, I find myself putting shirts on him that Eliot wore when he was almost two. It doesn't seem that long ago that I put them on Eliot. How can Jack be growing up that fast? And when I went through Eliot's clothes from last winter to see if they still fit (and I was sure that they would), the sleeves are all far too short on Eliot! I mean, sure it has been almost a year, but he hasn't seemed like he has grown. I guess he really is getting older.

Love these babies and their blond, blond hair.

Eliot seems like such a four-year-old. His birthday is still four months away, but it is getting closer. He has requested a Godzilla party. And Jack seems to be more like a year and a half. He's so much more involved in everything these days. They're such a pair of boys lately, not babies.

Well, in an effort to get myself excited for fall, I have been looking over photos from last fall and the good times we had. I mean, I really do have good memories from last fall, so maybe there is something to look forward to.

Here is what I hope to do this fall:

-pick pumpkins and carve them
-bake an apple pie or crumble
-go for a hayride
-throw a "Summer in September" birthday party for Chris
-cook pumpkin soup with a fresh pumpkin
-decorate the front of the house (with a harvest theme, not scary things)
-go to the Hunt Club
-visit Lynchburg
-defend my dissertation (October 6 at 11:00 am!)
-climb a mountain
-go for a walk at the Botanical Gardens
-have a bonfire
-go trick-or-treating with Eliot as Godzilla and Jack as Mothra
-celebrate Thanksgiving with family

Dear Jack: 14 Months

Dear Jack,

You are a year and two months old! I tell your dad that you seem like a big boy in a baby's body, yet at the same time you are looking more and more like a boy too. You love to run around the house and play rough. You chase the dogs; you wrestle your brother; you tackle me; you play sports.

You are the sweetest little thing. You love to cuddle, just not for long because you always have something to explore. If your dad or I leave the room, you chase after us either laughing or crying. In fact, I'm pretty sure you are a big time daddy's boy because you always want to be around him even more than me.

A few weeks ago, I weaned you the rest of the way. We nursed for over a year. I'm proud of our accomplishment! Sometimes I feel sad about it, but I think you are happier, even, because you don't come up to me crying like you used to (begging to nurse). You are eating better now too. Well, you were up until a couple of days ago when your molars really started to bother you.

Sometimes you are such a dangerous little guy! You do way more climbing and get into far much more mischief than I remember your brother seeking out. You climb on chair, tables, the stairs, up high on toys.... You do these crazy things and look at me with the biggest smile. You know you're not supposed to. Heck, you stand in the tub and smile at me. I ask, "Are you all done? Ready to get out?" You just plop right back down and then do it all over again.

You seem to understand so much more these days. Your speech grows as well. You say ma, dada, dog, ball, bear, bye, boo when playing peek-a-boo, vroom for cars, and quack for ducks. You love dinosaurs the best, but you really started liking bears recently too. You like cars and trucks, especially noisy toys like firetrucks and police cars. You pretend to talk on the phone. You try to water the plants with a hose. You play soccer, football, and basketball with your brother. When Eliot has soccer practice, you watch from the bleachers and want to play so badly. I'll get you in soccer classes too when you're older, buddy. You want to be a part of everything we do, like pretending to cut grass with your dad.

Jack, I love you at this stage. You are sweet, fun, coming into your own, and so adorable. I had forgotten how much fun babies are at this age. I know the "terrible twos" are right around the corner, which will still be fun in its own way, but for now, I'm holding on to today.

Friday, September 5, 2014

From a Toddler to a Boy: Pre-School and Soccer

We have finished our first week of preschool, and even though it was only two days due to Labor Day (Eliot goes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), I feel like we really accomplished something. I have to say that I love this new stage that we've entered!

Eliot obviously hasn't been a toddler for a while, but I feel like we've stepped into a new world of him being a big boy. He's doing such big things. When I look at him, he doesn't look like a three-year-old; he seems like a four-year-old, which he will be in about four months (eek!).

Monday morning, we got up and I made breakfast. We took our time getting ready, and I felt sick to my stomach with nerves. I was afraid he would cry when I left. I was afraid he'd have accidents since he was in a new place. I was afraid he wouldn't eat.

Eliot was nervous, but excited. His teachers are really sweet and I felt at ease leaving him there. Then I took Jack to my mom's house to be watched so I could work. I went home and worked for a while. The three hours went by quickly and it was time to get the little guy. I walked in and saw him sitting on the floor with the other kids. When he noticed me, his eyes lit up, he ran to me, and he gave me the biggest hug. I was so glad to see him. His teacher said he did well! In the car, he sang songs they sang, said they made handprints with paint, and told about how he was the leader of the playground (not sure if I believe that one all the way--he might have thought he was the leader). All of my worries were put to ease. No accidents. He ate his snack. No tears.

I wanted to make it a special day for him, so Chris and I offered to take him to lunch. He just wanted a slurpee and a donut. When we got home, he lay on the floor with Chris and cuddled. He is such a sweetheart.

Later that evening, it was time for his first soccer practice. We had a super busy day. He did really well as they worked on passing, dribbling, and kicking goals. I'm not saying he was a soccer star (I mean, he is three), but he did great listening to directions, which was my biggest concern. The team had to pick a name, so earlier in the week I had told him to try to think of a team name. At first, he said Godzilla. I told him that the other kids probablyyyy wouldn't like Godzilla like he does. His second suggestion was Dinosaur. When the coach asked for name ideas at practice, he yelled, "DINOSAUR!" Two of the other boys agreed while a girl teammate wanted to be The Ballerinas and another boy wanted to be The Thunder (which would have been so cool too). In the end, they decided to be The Dinosaurs. Ha.

On Thursday, Eliot slept until almost 8:00 am, which is crazy for him. He was worn out. We relaxed around the house and played for a while. In the afternoon, we had lunch at Panera and bought some more soccer shorts for Eliot. After such an eventful Wednesday, it was nice to re-group. In the evening, though, Eliot started saying that he didn't want to go to school the next day. He said he wouldn't have fun.

Come morning, Eliot still insisted that he didn't want to go to school. I wasn't liking this change and worried that it was here to stay. When it was time to get him dressed, though, he went along with it and didn't complain at all. I dropped him off and he didn't say anything negative. When I picked him up, I got another big hug, which made me so happy. The teacher said she wanted to take him home with her and that he was very sweet. It's true. He's so kind and affectionate. Eliot sang me more songs and told me about his day.

Eliot hasn't been a baby for a while, but now that is doing such "big boy" activities, I feel like it is an affirmation that he is growing into a great kid. Sometimes working from home, I feel like our days lack structure that most people are used to. We have so many possibilities every morning, and I have worked hard to establish a clear time for Chris and I to work (sometimes taking turns) while also taking care of the kids. It's a balance between work and fun that we must re-visit from time to time. With Eliot in pre-school and doing soccer, he has more activities to keep him entertained. It's only been a few days, but I love how he has grown more independent and can do things without me around all the time. I like having these events to look forward to. I love watching he become an individual while also playing with kids his age.