Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jack: Month Six

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Dear Jack,

I simply cannot believe that half a year has gone by since you entered this world.  Time has gone SO fast.  In contrast to the first 3 months where I was sort of happy those were behind us, the last 3 months have just gotten better and better and now we're entering that golden phase of babyhood where I just want time to stop so I can just memorize every inch of how you are right now.  The way your hair smells after a bath.  The little high-pitched squeals of happiness when I smile at you.  The giggles when I tickle you.  The way you grab fistfuls of my hair and hold on around my neck when I carry you downstairs in the morning.  Even the way you take annoyingly short power naps where I put you down extremely cranky and 30 minutes later you wake up and it's like your smile tank has been refilled.  I just love you, plain and simple.  Like I'm crazy in love and constantly amazed that you are mine.

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Sleeping:  I keep waiting for the sleep regression that Nora went through to hit us hard with you as well, but so far (knock on ALL the wood)... you are like a dream baby sleeper.  Maybe it's because you've never needed (or seemed to even want) us to rock you to sleep, or feed you to sleep... you just want to be put in your crib with your pacifier.  I hold your hands for usually about 5 minutes and you are out.  That's it.  You have been sleeping from 8pm-6:30am pretty consistently, with maybe a few days in the past month where you woke up earlier and then went back to bed (this was during a cold so I think the coughing was waking you up).

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You still have no real nap schedule and you take mostly 20-30 minute naps, which isn't ideal; on the other hand, you are pretty easy to put down for a nap (I just put you in the swing, sad you're getting close to outgrowing it!), and you still take lots of these short naps in a day (probably 4-5).  Not sure when or how these naps will coalesce into 2-3 longer naps but hoping it happens naturally and I don't have to do anything in particular!  We will see.

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You are still rocking the Magic Sleep Suit but it's starting to get a little small and I've been thinking about trying the sleep sack soon instead.  A little scared that won't go well though.  If it's terrible I'll just buy the 6-9M Sleep suit and put off the inevitable transition!

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Eating:  You were immersed in new foods this month!  Aside from cereal, squash and green beans (which you tried last month), we've added sweet potatoes, avocado, peas, pears, bananas, and carrots.  Like most babies you definitely have a sweet tooth and the bananas and pear were your favorites so far.  You disliked green beans and truly hated peas.  We'll have to work on those green foods. :)  You definitely lost the tongue thrust fast and are a really good eater... even fairly neat, as you don't spit that much out (unless it's peas, which you spit pretty much all back out at me).

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You still love your bottles but the amount has leveled off, though you are still drinking 35-37oz per day.  Since you are getting cereal now I stopped giving iron supplements.  You are still on prilosec, but I feel like the reflux might possibly be getting a little better? (dare I jinx it?).  I still get spit up on me at least 1-2 times per day but that's down from like 10 times per day so it's an improvement. :)  I hope as you get closer to sitting up things will improve even more.

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Weight:  Not sure (your 6 month appointment isn't for another 2 weeks, sad!  I will update your weight here though when I get the number).  A quick weigh on our scale at home suggest you are like 17 lbs- ish?  Maybe a bit more than that?  It's hard to say but I will say the infant car seat is feeling mighty heavy these days.  Still, I'm not quite ready to go to the convertible seat yet (maybe once you start sitting up well) so there will be a couple months still of the infant seat.

Diaper Size: Size 3.  Fitting good!

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Clothes Size:  Sort of in an awkward in-between size phase, though every day I find more 6M clothing that no longer fits and I pack it up.  Some 9 month stuff seems to fit well now, but in others you still seem to be swimming in them (you are still a bit short for 9M sleepers and things).

Milestones/Firsts:  First Halloween!  I think I sufficiently annoyed you with multiple outfit changes and lots of photos.

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You've been working hard this month towards sitting up but you still have a ways to go I think before you'll be able to sit unassisted (you're only 4.5 months adjusted age!).  Still you do lots of baby crunches and leaning forward when you are sitting in our laps.  You like to sit up in the boppy and play with toys.

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You still roll from belly to back but not the other way... you've been working on twisting over to your side.  I wonder whether you will sit before you are able to roll that way!

So many squeals and happy sounds from you this month.  Lots of laughs when I tickle your belly.  It is super cute.

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Likes/Dislikes:  You really are such a happy baby and like pretty much everything.  Your sister already had a lot of, ahem, strong opinions about stuff at this age so it's very different to me!  You like baths, babywearing, riding in the carseat (you pretty much always fall asleep), jumping in your jumperoo and playing in the exersaucer.  The only thing you don't really like at all is tummy time!  Still not a fan after all these months.  You like people to hold you and pay attention to you and there is a lot of protesting when I set you down to go do something.  Oh and if you finish a bottle and are still hungry, you dramatically wail like we must be starving you, until we get more.

Speaking of your sister, you like Nora a lot- you love when she talks to you and gets you toys.  It's very sweet.  I'm excited for when you can play together!

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I was comparing photos of you and Nora at about the same age, and it's kind of crazy how much you look alike.  Definitely some differences but I think sometimes you are like little twins, 3 years apart (Nora is on the left, Jack on the right):

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Happy 1/2 birthday baby boy! I love what a sweet and cuddly boy you are. I can't believe we're halfway to your first birthday!  We are so blessed to have you in our family.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mommy-Daughter Day

Now that Nora is old enough to have an attention span longer than 5 minutes (haha), I really wanted to start the tradition of having one day a year that just her and I go out and spend together and do girly stuff.  Especially with all the transition in her life this year, and often being told to play by herself while I tend to her little brother, I figured she deserved some spoiling.

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This year, I decided to take her for her very first pedicure.  I wasn't sure how she would do, but it was pretty hilarious to watch!  She was giving the pedicure lady a serious side-eye for most of the treatment.  Then she kept looking over at me and giggling, as if to say, "What is this weird ritual we are doing where some person I don't know rubs my feet?".  But overall she did well through the whole thing, and despite getting pretty wiggly by the time they finally got to painting the toes, she ended up with a really cute pedicure.

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Next we went next door to Barnes and Noble, where we hung out for a little while and I told her she could pick out one thing.  She found a Bubble Guppies book that she wanted.

Finally we headed to House of Commons in Downtown Denver for lunchtime tea.  She's been really into pretend tea parties but I wasn't sure how she would handle real tea.  We didn't do the full afternoon English tea or anything because I don't think she's quite old enough yet to really appreciate all that, but we ordered a pot of tea to share, one sandwich, and a scone with clotted cream and jam.  It was fun!  She even liked the tea, once it had cooled down enough (i.e. to room temperature, she doesn't like things at all hot).

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I think she felt very special and happy to have my full attention for the day (Jack was at childcare- I had the day off for the holiday and Nora's preschool had an in-service day).  She really was on her best behavior and I feel lucky that she's my daughter!  Looking forward to this hopefully every year. :) 

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

A quick addition....

I meant to also share some somewhat happier photos of my little shark in the post yesterday!  (This is what happens when you blog at 11pm at night...)

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Obviously photoshopped (poorly), but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to put my shark in the ocean:

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A very late Halloween Post

I already shared some photos of Nora and Jack in their costumes at the pumpkin patch, but we also had lots of fun on Halloween Day.  Nora's school had a little parade and party, which was pretty cute, though Nora looked kind of nervous during the parade, like she was wondering whether she was supposed to be doing something in particular.  My mom and Kevin also came to see her and her classmates all dressed up:

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Nora in her classroom at the party:

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After her party, we headed home to get ready for Halloween.  Unfortunately traffic was terrible that evening with everyone trying to get home early, so we had to wait awhile for all our guests to arrive.  My mom and I had caramel apple vodka and apple cider drinks (rimmed with cinnamon sugar, yum!) and Kevin and I took Nora out for an early round of trick or treating (along with Uncle Myron who had shown up by then).

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 She did great this year!  Very excited about the whole thing.  One person had some kind of scary noise that went off when you walked close to their door and that freaked her out a bit.  And she was definitely scared of some of the scary masks that people had, but probably not as much as last year- she seemed to better process that it's all make believe.

My sister and dad finally made it through the bad traffic to our house and then we all went out trick-or-treating again during prime trick or treat time (Kevin nicely volunteered to stay home with Jack).  Our neighborhood is so awesome for trick-or-treating- there are literally hundreds of kids out walking the streets, and people come from other neighborhoods to trick-or-treat here.  Lots of people go all out in decorating their house.  It's really cool.

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We came home and our pizza delivery still hadn't been delivered- I called and they had lost the order!  Luckily they said they would comp us the whole meal and it should be there soon.  So we had more drinks and answered the door to all the many ToTers coming through- we went through about 300 pieces of candy in 1.5 hours!

It was a super fun night.  I never have really enjoyed Halloween as an adult because I'm not big into dressing up, but with kids it's so much fun, and it's also fun to have family close to come over to drink and eat and be silly. :)  (we really missed my little brother though- it's his birthday on Halloween!).

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

A couple of weekends ago, we ventured out to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO.  Kevin's aunt and uncle had told us about it and while it is way out in the boonies, it is really worth a trip!  The Sanctuary rescues large wild animals from circuses or situations in which (stupid) people thought they could raise a tiger/lion/bear for a pet.  They try to provide huge areas for the animals so they have much more room than in a zoo.  It's neat!

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One of the coolest parts about this sanctuary is that they have built a high walkway that goes above all the animal pens, so you can look down into the fields below and search for the animals. They said this also makes the animals feel less threatened.

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When the animals (which mostly seemed to be tigers) arrive, they are initially placed in smaller pens because most of them have spent their lives in small cages and it would be too overwhelming to go into a giant pen with other tigers right away.  There were probably easily a dozen tigers in these pens!  Sad that people are so irresponsible to try to make these guys pets.

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One nice feature is that they have frequent signs talking about the different areas, as well as stories about where the animals came from. This pen had two tigers in it (it's the next step up from the single pen), and lots of water pools.

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Stopping for a snack. You can actually bring your own food to eat which would have been a good idea, as it ended up being close to lunch time and the snacks they offered were not very good.

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I loved how they built cat-tree structures out of very large objects. Some of these cat trees were super impressive and I wondered if the cats ever actually climb on them!  This lion was just sleeping on the ground- lazy, like our cats at home.

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Nora had fun though I think we pushed her attention span a little bit... towards the end she was fading (and Jack got fussy because he was hungry, so we had to hang out for awhile while he drank his bottle). If we had gone without kids, I feel like I could have spent hours there looking at the animals and watching them. The black bears were fun to watch too.

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For those who live in Colorado or visit, I would definitely give this place a try! It's a very unusual and interesting experience.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3.33 years

Her little voice.  I wish I could just capture it in my memory and replay it whenever I need a pick me up.  I wish I could remember exactly how it is now forever and ever.

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She says "flowder" instead of flower.  "Yellow kitty" instead of "Hello kitty" (we've tried to correct her on this, but she gets mad and insists that it's Yellow Kitty).

For some reason I never expected such imaginative play to start as early as three.  But this girl is already creating magical worlds out of thin air.  She'll read books and make up entirely new stories from the pictures while weaving in sentences that she's memorized.  She'll direct entire scenarios with us playing different characters, and her favorite question lately is "Will you play with me?".

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Three has been such a wonderful age for such funny ideas to come out of her mouth.  She makes me laugh out loud at least once per day.

[I'm pretending to be a cat]
Nora: Nice kitty, meow-meow.
Me: Oh, is my name meow-meow?
Nora:  No, it's Eyeball.

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[a favorite activity, making meals for us from her pretend kitchen]
Nora: Here's some ice cream, mommy!
Me: What kind of ice cream?
Nora: It's pink with envy.  [those who have read Pinkalicious might get this reference]

[Nora is playing with a weird little alien toy]
Me: What is his name?  Is it Mr. Yellow?
Nora: No.
Me: Is it Alien guy?  Is it Max?
Nora: No.
 Me: Is it Banana?
Nora: NO HE DOESN'T HAVE A BANANA FACE.
Me: Oh sorry.
Nora: His name is Rocks.

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[seeing the snow fall for the first time since last winter]
Nora: It's snowing, mama!  That means Santa is coming!  We're all getting presents!

 Nora:  Let's go! Vamonos! [too much Diego and Dora, me thinks]

She has lots of very practical ideas about what she wants to do when she grows up.  We ask her what she wants to be when she grows up.  She'll say, "When I get bigger, I'm going to ride a bike by myself!" We've also heard 'cross the street/go to the grocery store/go on a walk... by myself'.  Apparently she's desperate for some independence, haha.

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She is such good big sister.  Fetches Jack's pacifier whenever he drops it, or gets him a toy if he's fussing.   She observes everything I do and I can tell because she re-enacts it all with her doll.  She'll give her a bottle and burp her (sometimes even throwing in a burp sound), show her how to roll over, pat her gently on the back and take her for stroller rides in her toy stroller.

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Her little heart.  Oh how I wish I could protect it for always.  The other day on the playground, these girls who were 2-3 years older than Nora were playing make believe.  Nora went up to then and tried to join in.  So confident and friendly.  One of the little girls told her, "You can't play with us.  I don't even know you, why would I want to play with you?" and the other little girls immediately started closing her out of the circle.  On the way home, Nora tearfully asked me, "Why didn't they want to play with me?"  And I just know this is the start of years of little heartbreaks and social crises.  I pray for her self-confidence and inner strength.  I pray we raise her to know these cruelties are a reflection of them and not of her.

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She is so polite and so loving.  "May I be 'scused please?" she asks every night when she's done with dinner.  She will tell me multiple times per day out of the blue "I love you so much, mommy".  She'll say stuff like, "Thank you for taking the peel off my apple, Daddy."  Or, "This food is delicious, thank you for cooking it!" Just all on her own.

I soak it up.  Yes, she has plenty of tearful and rageful three year old moments each and every day. She has an endless supply of energy and it can be entirely exhausting. But overall?  I just love this girl. Tantrums and all.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Meditation

I haven't done one of these in a long time, but I heard this poem on a podcast I listen to and it spoke to me.

The Writer
by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of her house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
 
I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.