My pottery shop went "live" yesterday. It is going to have incredibly humble beginnings, but I'm excited that it is now a public dream and it truly does feel like the start of something ...,,,
The 12 weeks of summer vacation were so sweet. With both boys excited for little adventures and outings, we started the summer by making a bucket list of activities and places we wanted to seek out and embrace. Afraid of getting into a routine of just slow mornings and lounging, I tried to tackle one item a week so there would be a good balance between "get out and be busy days" and "sip coffee and settle in days." With only 24 hours left of my summer being a "stay-at-home-mom" with my kiddos, I am feeling nostalgic for the warm, long summer days we shared. It hurts so much to return to the rigid school day schedule after savoring this time together as family, but this summer there are no regrets or "I wish we hads." We carpe diemed the Sh*t out of our summer together and I am happy to look over the memories we captured as our trio explored together. If only I could get paid to just have time home with my family, that would be the life! I know that once school starts on Monday, it will feel fresh, and good, and exciting to be back on campus, but tonight I want to halt time and stay in this summer sunset longer. What was on the bucket list?
Beach Days... yes, multiple!
Lunch with David
Get a pottery wheel
Hopkinton State Park
Ashland state park
Running in a Fountain
Roger Williams Zoo
Riding bikes (my only picture of them on wheels)
Visit to Long Island
Have a kickass birthday party for Henry
Duck boat ride
Savor our family
Which items didn't get crossed off this year?
Castle Island, SoWa, Provincetown, Mass MoCA, Portland Day Trip
Not bad! We almost did it all, but I am glad we stuck to picking from our list. The boys loved hearing about the different places we could visit and would fall in love with one location and then want to go back and visit over and over again. This might be a fun little tradition to embrace and to maximize our time together and our explorations of this beautiful region of the country we get to call home.
Sitting here on the red eye back is not fun. Owen screamed for twenty minutes while thrashing about like a tuna fish hauled out of the sea and slapped onto the deck. The whole scene was quite horrifying for us. Although, thankfully, Henry remained unalarmed while he watched some shows and snacked on chips during Owen's epic airplane meltdown. Finally little man gave up the ghost and passed out on the floor between our row and the traumatized passengers in front of us. Henry graciously put himself to sleep and no joke slipped on his complimentary night mask and out he went. And I drank a mini bottle of champagne and stayed wide awake for our cross continental journey. Because at any moment the situation could turn and I needed to be ready to pounce on any screamer! But the now few minutes of silence before we begin our initial descent has me reminiscing about our SoCal adventure. Every time we visit, I just want to pick up the fam and move out to this coast. It is just so darn beautiful, tropical feeling, and the amount of fun we have with our family slipping into their daily lives for a few days is always beautifully awesome. We were out in the sun everyday exploring SoCal and trying new things with the boys from a visit to Legoland to ocean kayaking and SUPing, we tired ourselves out but enjoyed every minute of the family time. The kids fell even more in love with their cousins and I know they will be missing them super hard until we see them again in November.
Yesterday we snuck off to a little carnival in the next town over. We had driven by it for two days and the boys looked longingly at the lights and spinning metal. It was a really good choice to go! They loved it. While most rides were geared toward the older, more adventurous, and less prone to nauseous rider, there were 6 the little boys could do. They bounced and twirled along happily, although the little roller coaster gave them a bit of a scare. But their favorite ride of all was zooming down the super slider on a burlap sack. They both surprised me so much with what they were willing to try. They had both had their eye on that slide and I hesitated thinking there was no way they would climb the tall ladder let alone go down the slide itself. They proved to me that as a parent my job may be to keep them safe but it is also important to get out of their way so they can step out of their comfort zones all on their own! The night ended in ice cream and those are the best nights.
Auntie K was an excellent auntie. H loved singing his repertoire of baby tunes with her, rolling around on the floor with her (showing off his new move of sitting independently), and snuggling and laughing with her. After a week of us, I am sure K is excited to be back to life without baby chaos but she definitely enjoyed the chaos while here! I am really looking forward to our next visit and restarting the series: 'Drinking with Baby.' No one mixes into our life here in Boston as seamlessly as Auntie K, but every time she goes, it breaks our hearts!
"Where is he?" David asks as we stare at the baby monitor at 2AM. Quickly, we scan the cam from side to side. "Ah, there he is, all the way up in the corner," I sigh, relieved. Henry might not be fully mobile but he is definitely not still any more! It might take him a long time to creep across the crib but if you miss the process (because you are catatonic between feedings) his positional change seems tremendous! This nightly movement has been dubbed "creeping to the corner." Each night, we lay the wee one down in the center of his crib on his back. It is a textbook transition. But this little guy has his own agenda these days and patiently creeps and drags his squishy body up into the corner of his crib so his face is smushed up against the rail as though he were trying to smother himself. And of course, he flops onto his belly. In this dangerous pose he slumbers sweetly and sticks his bum up for good measure! This, combined with his new talent of re-binkying himself, has helped lengthen his sleep cycle. I cannot help but laugh in the middle of the night while I watch him search for his binky in the dark. His little hand glides over the sheet searching for it, finding it, and then through a process of trial and error he is able to get the binky into his mouth correctly! Hooray!
Since mobility is the theme of the month, awake-Henry is also actively scooting himself across the floor. He can now lock his arms and hold himself upright in a "crawling pose" and when on his belly he can do a fancy 360 spin. He rolls across his play mat and across the room, so turning your back on him to grab something or do something quickly is no longer an option. He is able to hold himself upright in a sitting pose for about 30 seconds and really wants to master this skill. Lying under the canopy of his play mat is frustrating for him as he would much rather sit up alongside his baby gym in an seated assist. He is our adorable, floppy gymnast as he tries out his new moves and we spot him throughout his day! This spotting includes watching him stand and hold onto various low items around the house. Henry likes to grab onto the coffee table, his bookcase, and the couches. But it will definitely be a little while before he can do this without a helping hand. Lastly, my latest favorite Henry move is the crunch out of the car seat. He clearly knows that when the buckle to his car seat is unclasped, it is time to come out. He immediately locks his arms and crunches forward with all his might in an attempt to bust out. I cannot help myself from laughing at this adorable attempt.
There have been so many firsts this month, including a whole lot of laughter. Henry finds yawning to be hilarious. Do you want to snap a great shot of the little guy with a sweet smile? Then just start yawning at him. He literally cannot contain himself. He also laughs when he sneezes! When I sneeze, he cries but when the sneeze is self-generated he laughs and laughs and laughs. If you nibble his belly while changing him, he bursts out laughing and cannot contain his delight as he flies about the house as an airplane in the arms of his dad! And then there is the owl puppet. Henry loves this fury little toy. He watches it swoop and fly and dive bomb him for belly tickles. This is where we hear his heartiest laugh!
Did you know Henry eats? Well, sort of. We started noticing that when we ate in front of the little guy he started to fuss or stared at our food with his mouth agape. The signs were becoming clear. This boy was ready to start some solids. David assembled his high chair and we tried the first meal: peas. The green mush did not go over well. Henry batted our hands away and made those baby faces that all babies make with their first bite of solids. We were excited nonetheless, because at least he tried it and we would just have to introduce it again some other day. Bananas have been a recent hit! He eats almost a sixth of a banana which is a lot for someone so small. No more batting the food away, he eagerly opens his mouth for a spoonful and even cried out for more! Watching Henry explore food is hilarious and awesome. I can already see this is going to be fun...and quite messy. I am hoping to start BLW (baby lead weaning) once he is about six months. A number of my mommy friends are doing it and they love the experience.
Lastly, every parenting article about sleep suggests establishing a sleep routine early and sticking to it. We followed this advice but it never seemed like Henry cared for it. Sometimes he would cry through a bath or fuss through a book. He seemed always to want just to nurse and sleep. Finally, this month it all clicked for him and you can tell he "gets it." He splashes and plays in the tub and he squeals when we lay him down to put on his pajamas and halo sleep sack. As soon as we pull the books out, he gets quiet and focuses on each and every page. His favorite bedtime stories are Dear Zoo and the Going to Bed Book. It is amazing to see how he anticipates the different steps of his sleep routine. Then David kisses and cuddles him before it is time to nurse. With the lights out, the nightlight on and his tranquil turtle playing softly in the background, Henry and I rock on the glider together while he nurses. This is going to sound super sappy but sometimes in this setting with my drowsy little boy I cry a little because it is so overwhelmingly sweet and cozy. He holds my hand and looks up at me and I tell him how much I love him and how special he is to daddy and me and how we are so lucky to have him in our lives. Then prying myself away I lay him in his crib.
- Snuggles are constant. Henry loves to snuggle. He can lay and cuddle in your arms all day. He loves to sneak into the nook of your neck and play with your hair and just be held nice and close. Gosh this is my ABSOLUTE favorite!
- Coy smiles happen every day. He gets this light in his eyes and just cracks the sweetest smile at you even from behind his binky.
- Mobility is growing. This kid is ready to be on the move.
- Henry arches his back when you try to change him, because really diaper changes have been too easy these past four month, ha! And, he tries to roll and roll away from you.
- He loves to scratch fabric in order to hear the sound it makes, he especially loves scratching the netting on the side of his pack n' play and the arms of his glider while nursing.
- Rolling is a skill we see practiced. You cannot lay him down without him rolling right over.
- Art cards for babies from Wee Gallery are vastly entertaining these days.
- Puppy pets are a must. He loves to get close to them and reach out his hand to touch their backs and heads. Who needs TV when you have four puppies to watch wrestle about the house? They entertain Henry for hours.
- Henry tried some arts and crafts this month. During our mommy brunch, he made Christmas trees with his feet. Afterward, I tried to make turkey hands to send to our family and friends but this was a Pinterest fail.
Tis the season to be thankful! As we head into the holiday season, there is so much to be grateful for. 2014 has been a very very good year for our family. We have grown in so many ways and owe so much of our happiness to those who loved and supported us. David and I are so appreciative of our family and friends. Their constant presence this year truly helped us tackle the learning curve of parenthood. From cooking meals, to late night phone calls, to helping fold laundry, to Skype dates, to holding the baby, and checking in on us, we were never isolated as new parents and found instead a warm and welcoming community. This has been truly invaluable. And, I am so thankful to my parents who have uprooted themselves to Massachusetts. Their close proximity is an act of complete selflessness. Having my parents near to us is such a gift. It is the ultimate gift to a new family. Not only will we be able to spend more time with them each week but Henry receives constant love from his mema and pepa as they care for him during the week. I know that this family care is unique and amazing and I am SO SO thankful that they have chosen to provide this for us and for Henry. Since I cannot be with him during the day, I know that my mom and dad are able to give him everything I would love to give. There is a great sense of comfort provided. There are so many pros and cons to the various care options for new babies. And so many studies reflect how babies grow and thrive in each of these settings. For us, this is the right fit and we are so thankful that my parents are equally excited about it. I am really looking forward to this new year with family nearer.
Perhaps we will have to make a few more for grandparents for Christmas?
This month has been full of noise. Henry is all about practicing his noises and testing out his vocal chords. After a hearty long nap, he can he heard cooing, babbling, and shrieking in delight. He loves to makes sounds like, "ah," "agoo", "ma," and "ha." He is also "laughing" a bit more too. No longer thunder without lightning there is a laugh now. He especially loves to be tickled under his arms and at his sides which often leads to little squeals. His voice just melts my heart and then when he and David are on a roll of making each other laugh, I could burst. Seriously, there is no faster way to make me swoon than watching those two together. Be still my heart!
And then there is all the singing. Henry loves to listen to music and singing. While most people would be pained to listen to me croak out a show tune, Henry is my biggest fan. He can sit in his bumbo chair or bouncing seat for up to thirty minutes or so just smiling and smiling as I sing at the top of my lungs with gusto a variety of Disney songs that I seem to know by heart. Henry's favorite songs though are "The Ants Go Marching" and "Proud Mary." For the ants song, he loves to bounce side to side on your knees and he likes a deep octave, think Barry White. For "Proud Mary," he likes being held standing and he gets a little funky with the beat. We only ever make it through this part of the song
"Left a good job in the city Workin' for the Man every night and day But I never lost a minute of sleepin' Worryin' 'bout the way things might have been
[chorus] Big wheel keep on turnin' Proud Mary keep on burnin' Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river"
But Henry loves it and I cannot stop laughing whenever David busts it out. Then there are the evening dance parties at our humble abode. From Michael Jackson to Al Green to Journey, Henry loves to be held while we dance about the house. Even Mema gets in on the fun! Tonight for example we did an homage to motown before bedtime. It also helps that we are starting Henry early with pseudo instruments. He is all about the shaker eggs during these music sessions and can even hold one on his own and "shake" it a bit.
His hands never cease to amaze him these days. Everything he can grab goes straight into his mouth and he holds tightly to rattles, toys, clothes, necklaces, etc. etc. And when he falls asleep he holds his hands together over his little chest and slowly, slowly his hands come apart and in super slow motion find their way to the bed beside him. I love watching this little activity over the baby monitor. You know Henry is asleep once his hands make contact with the mattress.
Aside from all of these little-person growth triumphs, October has been a very busy month as we introduce him to Fall treats and savor the beautiful crisp weather. So far Henry has been pumpkin picking at Volante Farms, attended Wee Reads at the Sudbury Library, gone to a Halloween celebration, met new friends (like Erin and Bill), spent time with baby friends, attended a costume party, baby shower, and a few tiny tot swim classes. These swim classes have been SO fun. Each Sunday at 11:15AM we meet up with some friends in Sudbury and do the open swim time for littles. Henry is not sure how he feels about swimming. The first time in the water he was as stiff as a board as we helped him glide through the water. The second time, he was grumpy for the first ten minutes then we got some laughs and smiles out of him. One thing is for certain after each swim session, the little man crashes for an epic nap!
Ah, and that gets us to his sleep schedule these days. Finally we have hit our stride again when it comes to sleep. Henry takes a morning nap around 8AM for about an hour, then an afternoon nap for about two hours, and an early evening nap around 4PM for another hour. Then it is bedtime at 6:30, late night snack at 10PM and even later night snack at 2AM and then up for the day at 6AM. While this isn't exactly sleeping through the night the schedule works for him and me and I love snuggling his little sweet self in the middle of the night while we rock together on the glider. Luckily once he finishes his nursing he goes straight to sleep. He is wearing 6 months clothes now. And as always, I am just so lucky to be this little one's mom. I love him so much and miss him all day long when I am off at work.
This month Henry is
- Starting to sleep on his side
- Loving his Zutano Booties
- Mad about his Jumper
- "Talking" up a storm
- Starting to laugh and squeal when you tickle him
- Mesmerized by singing
- Loves dance parties
- Dresses up for Halloween
- Looks at pictures of his family in a little photo album we made for him
- Rolls around like a professional
- Nibbles on everything
- Enjoys sucking on apples
- Loves to hold his hands and to hold your hands
- Swims (sort of)
- Shakes his musical instruments
- Plays with puzzles
- Loves looking at himself in the mirror
I am not sure what Henry's first Halloween will look like exactly. Since it falls on a Friday, David and I will both have to work during the day. Once we get home, it might be either too late or too cold to take the lion man out. Of course, if these two concerns do not present themselves, then we are aiming to taking the little lion out on the town (for at least a few minutes) to "trick or treat." It will be funny bringing him by our neighbors homes or bringing him over to close friend's. If nothing else, he will don his little costume and we will observe the holiday through photographs! I am sure Henry is psyched about it! Regardless of how we celebrate on October 31, Henry was able to spend a little afternoon with his friends recently at a pumpkin festival in costume! It was adorable seeing his little buds dressed as a strawberry, cow, and astronaut. And, of course I loved seeing their parents as well. It is nice being a part of a little group of moms to share stories, insights, goofy moments, and, most importantly, to watch our babies grow up, thrive, and begin to reach out and "play" with one another. It is such a fun part of mommy-hood. To me, this was our Halloween celebration!
In the middle of night when Henry chirps and squawks, the dogs cock their heads to the sound, confirm that the little man is being addressed by one of the humans, and return to slumber as best as they can. Just like the humans, they have not had one restful night since July. Yet, they remain ever present. They come to bed each night and brace for the restlessness. They warm the bed on chilly nights and occasionally lick an exposed leg or hand to remind us that they are there and there they shall remain. In the wee hours of the night, when I am awake with my little owl, I know I am not alone since their half-watchful eyes and their always ready to secure selves remain close by.
When I am frustrated that they are crowding the bed while I try to nurse Henry, a short "move, move, move" and Bella lumbers over to the end of the bed in order to make space for this unapologetic newcomer and her sometimes distraught and disheveled adult human . During the day when we aren't always able to take them for walks, they head out back and make do with the yard. They romp about and play with each and return to the house and maintain their quiet, watchful place. When Henry is on the floor flaunting an interesting toy, they don't rush ahead for it, they lay beside him, sometimes steal of lick of his little hand or of his toy. But, they know these are not their toys and instead wait for this little human to grow up into the boy who will chase them about the house. As a result of their condition, the dogs play a long waiting game. They wait for David and I to pet, cuddle, and play with them, they wait outside a lot longer these days while we wrangle the little man inside, they wait and wait for Henry to grow up. They are truly beautiful, wonderful, amazing pups. They have proven that despite their world being turned upside down by this pint size new ruler of the home, that they are calm, loving, patient little beasts.
According to the app "wonder weeks," Henry has just completed his stormy week. As he turns 3 months old, his body is focused on learning smooth transitions: coordinating his limbs, focusing his eyes, developing speech, and processing his surroundings. Since this is so much work for a little one, the app marks it as "stormy" because babies can be often quite fussy. Thankfully, Henry has been his usual jovial self. Yes, this time period may have affected his sleep which up until last week was merely Henry not sleeping at all. But, aside from the lack of sleep (which has gotten MUCH better) Henry has been a super curious, playful, and happy little guy. We joke that his laugh is like thunder and lightening. Right now he opens his mouth wide to give a hearty chuckle but there is not a sound. Perhaps like thunder, his laugh will soon follow his toothless smile. At lunch on Saturday, David had to change a blow out diaper and said that he heard the first true hearty laugh out of the little man! I am waiting patiently for a repeat performance.
This month marked my full return to work and Henry's daytime care turning over to Mema's capable hands. Mema and Henry are doing great together. Each morning my phone buzzes with picture updates, as Mema reads stories, plays on the mat, feeds and swaddles him for naps, and helps Henry practice rolling over. I love coming home and asking Mema, "How was your day?" and she replies, "Oh it was wonderful. We did all of our activities together." At the same time, it is hard being away each day. Leaving in the morning continues to rip out my heart and I still cry most mornings on the drive in. The consolation is knowing that Henry is having a wonderful time at home with Mema who loves him so very much. Under her supervision, he has started to really respond to conversation and is determined to roll over. A few "accidental" rolls have occurred. Then finally last night, while I was working my epic long night on campus, Henry did it. He rolled, and rolled, and rolled for Mema and Pepa. This left us all in a little panic. We were planning to wean Henry from his swaddle this weekend but had to do it cold turkey now that he could flip himself over. He must have been ready for the release of his arms during sleep because he slept great despite the new sensations and freedom.
The best part of this month may just be the sounds that Henry makes. He loves to lay down and stare up at you and just coo and shriek and babble. I know he has to grow up but I wish I could just savor these moments longer!! This may just be my most favorite month yet, really. His little personality continues to develop and he is such a flirt! He practices his grin, coy smile, and even his frown. And while he obviously cannot speak yet, these expressions really do fill the home. It is not a far stretch to imagine him chatting at the dinner table.
Henry is starting to grab and reach for things and this includes holding onto your clothes as you cuddle and sway him. He loves playing with his rattles, although sometimes he gets carried away and whacks himself in the face. And, he loves watching the dogs play. Right now we have four dogs in the house: Buster, Bella, Daisy, and Blaise. Each of these little beasts wants to be near Henry at all times. While this can be a little frustrating since they don't quite understand their own strength, it does come from a place of curiosity and Henry is equally curious about these fuzzy creatures who like to stick their wet noses on his cheeks. With a little assistance, Henry pets each of his furry friends.
His morning and evening routines seem to be developing as well. My alarm goes off at 5AM and I head into the shower to get ready for work. By 5:30AM, Henry is awake and David plays and cuddles him in bed until I finish. Then I take over from 5:45-6:00AM and play in bed with Henry while David showers and gets ready. Then around 6:05AM we all head downstairs. My mom joins us and makes coffee for the adults while David plays with Henry in the living room. I pack up my bags for school, eat some breakfast, and then snuggle the little guy so David can do the same. We usually have 15-20 minutes all together in the living room before it is time to said our goodbyes for work. At night, recently, Henry has started his bedtime routine at 7PM with a bath. Then it is pj time, reading, snuggles, a fresh diaper, a last meal, a little swaying and down for bed. While he doesn't sleep completely through the night the new pattern is to sleep until 12:30AM and then get up again around 3:30AM and then 5:30AM. And, our little man is about 15lbs and 25.5 inches and barely fitting in size 3 months!
This month Henry is:
- All smiles
- Cooing, babbling, and shrieking
- Using his tranquil turtle to help him go to sleep (and David and I love it too, it is SO peaceful!)
- Has changed swaddles , these seem to be a little stronger than the summer swaddles we originally used
- Plays with his rattle and rocket ship from Bannor Toys
- Sits in his Bumbo Seat
- Loves reading. We have started to read the Biscuit books
- Loves seeing his friends
- Takes strolls in the park
- Enjoys brunch on Sundays
- Can be in the Ergobaby without the infant insert and doesn't only sleep in it now
- Showing signs of laughter and rolling over
- Takes a bottle like a champion (Dr. Brown all the way!)
- Has discovered his hands and feets
- Loves to chew on your hand or his hands
- Is starting to drool and blow bubbles
- Grabbing and grasping for things around him
Really, I just wish I had enough energy to observe our situation more. With Henry, we have discovered that if we observe him and really watch his cues, we are usually able to "crack" the code. Unfortunately, I am just SO tired. It wasn't so bad after the first week of sleep deprivation but now heading into our third week of inconsistent sleep, I feel it in my bones. My mind is in a perpetual cloud. Things hurt that I never knew could hurt so badly, like my lumbar, my neck, and eyelids. Yes, my eyelids actually hurt, probably because those eyelid muscles are working so hard to keep my eyes open, right? In the middle of the night when Henry cries, my initial thought is, "Whose baby is crying?" Then once the sleep fogs lifts a bit I realize where I am. But, it is always so funny to me that I forget in my delirious sleep state.
It is amazing how many "second winds" you get in a single day. Just when I think I cannot stop myself from falling head over heels to the ground for a snooze wherever it is I am standing in that moment, then a surge of wild energy hits. Clearly, it is this wild energy that has sustained parents throughout generations of sleepless babies. But you have to be careful about this energy. It fades as quickly as it arrives and while it fades you may find that your mind, thoughts, and speech, which seem sharp one minute, turn to mush the next. Sitting with my advisees, I ask, "Who attended the leadershit conference this year?" Laughing their heads off, they ask, "What!??" and I reply, "What?" Yup, I had no idea that my mouth had forsaken me and in trying to retrieve the correct vocabulary misfired swapping a "t" for a "p". There I was thinking I was asking a clear question and starting up a nice dialogue when in fact my body was shutting down and there was nothing I could do to stop it!
Even David is walking around in a zombie-like trance. One minute he is awake on the couch cuddling Henry and the next he too is resting his eyes. So what do we do? Seriously, what do we do? Yes, this phase will pass and as my friend noted: David and I will get accustomed to living and operating "light and lean." But, I wonder if the issue stems from Henry's swaddle a.k.a. his sleep crutch. He might be in limbo right now. He seems to still want to be swaddled in order to fall asleep but he also is fighting against the swaddle. His startle reflex is still very apparent though and leaving his arms out free wakes him. I think we need to wean Henry from his swaddle and get him to a place where he can fall asleep without his baby straight jacket. And.....we need to practice this whole, "lay baby down while sleepy and not asleep" so that he learns how to put himself to sleep and isn't also dependent on swinging and swaying. So fellow parents, can you have mercy on the weary and share your sleep tips or advice?