Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Harry Joseph, Twelve Months Old

Dear Harry,

Happy Birthday, baby boy. So many changes in one year, little one. You've really turned into a little boy right before our eyes. This month, you have had many firsts: your first steps, your first outdoor concert, your first trip to the beach, your first time staying with your auntie, uncle and cousin while Mama and Daddy work, your first taste of ice cream. You still have no teeth, but we hope they are coming soon, because you are a miserable drooling mess right now. For future record, here is what you are like at one year old. I'll try to remember all your favorite things. Next week, I'll post the story of how you were born.

You charm everyone you meet with your dimples and your giggles. You are the Mayor of Foster Street, waving at everyone and everything you see all over the neighborhood. You will wave at things all day long. It's your hobby. Everywhere we go, people comment on how happy and handsome you are. We agree! You are tall for your age and everyone says you are going to be a big boy. We think so too and I think I will like having you and Daddy reach things on high shelves for me.

Your favorite food is goldfish crackers (though you love all food and love feeding yourself) and your favorite books have pictures of kitties and doggies. Your favorite toy is the guiro we bought you in Maine. You have learned how to make the right sound with it and you like to hand it to other people so they can try. You love music of all kinds and will stop whatever you are doing to dance a little bit when you hear some. Sometimes you will conduct the music by waving your arms and shaking your head. You love bath time and bubbles. You love animals of all kinds and you love other babies and kids. You love going to the pool and the playground mostly so you can see other kids. You can sign "more," "milk" and "all done" very clearly and you love letting us know what you want. You can say "Mama" "Dada" and "K-K-K" which means "kitty" (or pretty much any other animal). You also make a little sighing sound for "meow." You can point out our eyes and noses when we ask you, but we'd prefer if you wouldn't stick your fingers in them.

Getting you to slow down and rest is still a challenge. The world is just so exciting and you don't want to miss a minute. We take the sleep whenever and wherever it comes - if it comes at all. But waking up to your smile makes it worth the exhaustion. In the morning, when you crawl over to Daddy whispering "Dada-da-da-da," I'm pretty sure that makes his day. I know it makes mine.

There is so much I want to say to you, but it all comes down to this: your Daddy and I love you more than we ever thought it was possible. Our lives will never be the same. You have made our hearts grow. You have opened up a whole world for us. We can't wait to see how you continue to grow and change this year. Time has gone by so fast. I know that at 6 months, we had no idea what would come to be by 1 year. I now cannot imagine what you'll be like by 18 months. Whatever comes, I'm looking forward to the ride.

All my love,

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Milky Musings

As we approach the end of Harry's first year, I find myself reflecting on our nursing relationship.
Several people have asked me if I'm looking forward to weaning him or if I'm tired of nursing him. A year ago, I would have thought so. I thought it would be weird to nurse such a long time. I joked about the "Nipple Nazis" and the "Hippie Mamas" who nursed their walking, talking toddlers and how that would never be me. I believed the old wives' tale of "if they're old enough to ask for it, they're too old to have it." Funny how things change, isn't it? Now, I can't imagine NOT nursing him. I'm not alone, either. More and more mothers in this country are practicing child-lead weaning. This article has more information on extended breastfeeding and its benefits. Here is some information on weaning after a year: link.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I'm planning to continue nursing past a year. I have no plans to wean him completely yet, and I'd like to follow his cues. We have started "pump" weaning him this week. I've been off work with no pumping since 6/26, and do not plan to start up again. By eliminating the midday feeding now, it should be easier to have him day-weaned by the fall. He'll learn that he gets milkies when Mama is home and he gets other food with Daddy. He loves his solids, so milkies will no longer be his main source of nutrition. But I can't see us giving up sleepy-time nursies or comfort nursies anytime soon, and I don't mind one bit. In fact, I'm proud that I can still offer him immunities and comfort into his second year, and maybe beyond. Yes, it can be tiring being the "mommy binky" but rest assured, he won't graduate from high school needing to be nursed to sleep. I'm pretty sure he'll wean before he graduates preschool (though, talk to me then). This has worked well for us so far, and has produced a thriving, outgoing, joyful boy. We couldn't ask for more.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Here are the highlights and lowlights of our recent trip to Maine for hubby's gig with the Portland Symphony.

For the faint of heart: Be warned that this story contains baby poop details! It is one of the perils of reading a parenting blog.

For those veterans out there: Keep track of the night time poops detailed below and remember that we were supposed to be here for 3 nights, so I brought 4 overnight diapers. He almost never poops at night - he is a lunchtime pooper and only ever once a day. Plus, these were the last of the overnight diapers. I had bought a new package that I left in Newton, foolishly thinking we had no need for them.

Day 1: Left late (getting out the door is slow with a baby) and couldn't make a rest stop. Hubby's bus was to leave at 5:30. Harry cried for the last 20 minutes of the ride and was visibly shaken when we arrived. No time for dinner, but Harry did manage to poop shortly after we changed him for bed. He crashed out at 5:00 only to wake at 6:00 and stay up until 9:00. I'll spare you my room service debacle during that time, but it included really poor timing (almost had him back to sleep) and Harry's first (accidental) taste of bacon. He pooped again before going to bed and I tried to bathe him, but the tub stopper was defective. He slept well, but I was restless because I was nervous co-sleeping in a different bed. I kept waking to check on him. Overnight diapers used: 2

Day 2: We took Harry to Old Orchard Beach. We had taken him to the ocean at 6 weeks old, but we just walked and he slept. This time, we went on the sand and actually brought him to the water. He LOVED it. Every time a wave came, he squealed with joy. He kept signing "more" and just had a grand old time. Afterwards, we went to lunch at Governor's restaurant and he got a balloon that he kissed with his blueberry applesauce face. In the afternoon, we rested and then walked around Portland. I bought a new baby sling and a special toy for Harry. (We had decided that he and I would take the train home on day 4, rather than waiting for the concert to end and then drive late at night.)

He crashed at 5:00 again and I was sure I was in for it again, but by 8:00, he was still out. He was wearing a Gdiaper that was not set up for sleeping and would surely leak. I was afraid to change him and wake him for the evening, but I bit the bullet and put him in an overnight diaper at about 8:15 and got him back down. Hubby got home at 10:30 and Harry stirred. Then, Harry pooped. Another quick change and he slept through from 11:00 until 5:00! Overnight diapers used: 2

Day 3: LL BEAN! Well, Harry hated LL Bean. We forgot the baby carrier and he was not in a stroller mood. So we traded carrying him and pushing the stroller. He had more fun in the Starbucks down the street. We had better luck in Carter's and Oshkosh, plus a fun "learning" toy store. Heading back to Portland, Harry melted down. It was nap time and he didn't want to nap. We put on AM 730 (sister station to our favorite AM 740 back home - same announcer) and he settled into a nap. We attempted to go have lunch at our favorite seafood joint, Newick's, to find it gone. Torn down. Strip mall in its place. Sad. So, we went to Hannaford's got lunch and headed to the local park. Best. Idea. Ever. There were swings, slides, kids, dogs, and a splash park. If you haven't taken a kid to a splash park, you are missing out. Harry took right to it and got soaked. It was pretty awesome.

After drying off and resting at the hotel, we tried to find a quick, early dinner. It was surprising how few places around here have high chairs. We ended up doing Mexican, but it wasn't really kid friendly. Back at the room, I was ready for the 5:00 conk out. He pooped in the late afternoon and we were now out of overnight diapers and were doubling Gdiaper liners. I got him ready for bed and he crashed at 6:30. He stirred at 8:30 and went back down. Hubby came home and the pooping started. First a small one. We changed him. 10 minutes later - a big one. We changed him again. He was crying by then. Poor little guy! By this time, I'm thinking he must have a tummy bug. 3 times in 8 hours is a lot for him.

Day 4: Remember the train idea? We were all set. I was packed, bought the ticket online for the 12:50 train. We had a good morning and came back to the room for naptime. Harry and Daddy napped. I got organized. We had the special toy ready, snacks, books, the last 3 disposable diapers. I loaded up a double Gdiaper for the trip so I wouldn't have to change him until we got home, unless he pooped. But, why would he poop? We got in the car for the 10 minute ride, printed my ticket in the station and sat down. Harry was fussing, so I took him out of the carrier and I smelled it. Poop. I peeked - a diaper buster. Luckily hubby was waiting with me. We went back to the car and it was the king of all poops. If he was starting this now, there was no way I was getting on a train with him. I only had two diapers after the one we put on him and I couldn't afford to risk it. We got back in the car. Of course, he was fine after that, but we had to book another night's stay to avoid crazy logistics after the concert. First thing we did after the train station? Bought diapers. I'm waiting to see if we have another late night visit from the poop fairy.

Some quick highlights:
  • Harry took several steps unassisted, several times. (Step, step, step, Boom! Step, step, step, Boom!)
  • When watching the Food Network with me, I asked him "Is she making something good for your belly?" He started slapping his belly and laughing. Hilarious!
  • His signing is taking off. He knows how to do "all done" (and says "DA!" and shakes his head when he does it) "more" and "milk" and just started doing "twinkle" for "Twinkle, twinkle little star." We went into Stonewall Kitchens today and he saw all the food and frantically signed "MORE" all over the place.
  • His love of music is really showing. We bought him a toy guiro and when we play it for him, he really gets his groove on.
  • He loves to pretend to feed us! Finally, WE get to eat instead of him.
It's our last night. He conked out at 7:45 and is still out. We're meeting a friend for breakfast and then heading home for Harry's first Fourth of July. We hope to drive during nap time. Please pray to the gods of poop that we make it home without incident.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Secret Language of Babies

We are in Portland, Maine this week for hubby's gig. Whenever we see another baby, Harry gets really excited. He waves hello with both arms (and really his whole body). The funny thing is that other babies do the same thing. Amid all the other people and things to look at, they recognize another of their kind. Their body language is amazing. I wonder what they would say to each other if they could speak? I think it would have a lot of exclamation points.