Saturday, November 21, 2009

Says You: Update

Fun pronunciation guide to Harry's speech at 28 months. (A few more added, 11/25)

Back-u-beaner: vacuum cleaner
Dut Buster: dust buster
Water-a-can: watering can
Lawn mowder: lawn mower
Dorge: George (i.e. Curious George)
Pood: food
Leaf bowder: leaf blower
A-bate: bass (i.e. Daddy's bass)
iPah: iPod
M-num-m-num: M&M's (bribery tool!)
Moobie: movie
Docker: doctor
Duckter: conductor
Dukin Donit: Dunkin' Donuts
Nana: banana
Carming: Carmen (our cat)
Hottie: sorry
Hahdee: Harry
Cared: scared
Lemon-Aidan: lemonade
Whoa-mee-dee: rosemary
Open-ador: open the door
Vidideo: video

I know there's more. He talks all the time these days. Such a huge change. He'll resort to grunting and pointing when he's tired, but mostly it's like having a tiny echo around here. Good times.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All You Can Eat

Nathan is at that stage where everything in the world is DELICIOUS! Nothing is too metallic, or fur covered. One would not want to miss out on something TASTY just because it wasn't FOOD! Nutritional value be dammed! You never know where you might find something nourishing. Places such as...

Harry's Little Red Racer Wagon!
The cat bowl!
That door jamb!
Mommy's pajamas!
All over the carpet!

Luckily, he is only scooting backwards, but he is fast! And determined! To taste everything! So, don't stand still too long, unless you want to be savored. You might be just the snack he is looking for!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Harry & Nate Update, October 2009

(This is going to have to be the new format around here. I simply cannot get enough time to write two separate updates one their "monthdays" anymore. If there is anything major with either one of them, I'll try to do a separate post. But, I have to face facts that my computer time is extremely limited these days.)

Dear Harry & Nathan,

We are getting into the swing of our Fall routine. The days are jam packed from one end to the other. I'm up and out the door by 6:30 every morning and home by 4:30 every afternoon. Most days I don't get to see you guys awake before I leave, but sometimes, Harry hears me moving around and calls out "Mama?" and I get to have a quick snuggle before I go. It's been hard to separate from both of you, but particularly Harry, as he understands more. On Monday morning this week, he was up and trying to prevent me from leaving my tugging at my blouse as I buttoned it up saying, "Home!" I think he thought if I didn't get dressed for work, I could stay. It always slows down my routine to have to stop and get juice and toast for you, Harry, but I love those early morning moments, when you are still sleepy-eyed and bed-headed. You are always more willing to snuggle at that time of the day, before your energy kicks in.

Nathan, however, you are nearly always ready to snuggle. You are a snuggler by nature. I get to snuggle you all night long in bed and listen to you snore and talk and laugh in your sleep. You are happy to be held by just about anyone and you love to just look around and smile. Last week, everyone came to work with me early one morning (due to car trouble) and you smiled at everyone you met. You are not to be outpaced by your brother, however. You are already on all fours and rocking, threatening to crawl even earlier than he did. You were rolling across the floor earlier too - by 3 months. Rolling, however, is for chumps, apparently. You love nothing more than to scoot your self backwards across the room now, leading to several occasions of your parents looking into the living room and saying "WHERE'S NATHAN?!?" only to find you behind a chair or potted plant.

As much as I hate leaving both of you, I love our evenings together. I get excited driving home just thinking about your smiles when I walk in the door. Harry has been having a lot of trouble with my absence and wants Mama TO. HIM. SELF. at the end of the day. He cries and tells Daddy to "Take Nate!" when it's nursie time. He runs to me saying "Up! Up!" and practically jumps in my arms. 2 year old love is intense and physical, I tell you. Harry wants to be in contact with me at all times, being held, hugged, kissed or holding hands. It's so sweet. I wish I could bottle his affection and save it for when he is a sullen teenager.

The best part of the evening is after bath and jammies, we have "Double Snuggle" time. We all pile on the couch under a blanket, I nurse Nathan and Harry sits on Daddy's lap and we watch something on TV. Lately, it's been "Punkin Moomee" (It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) but sometimes its "AH AH!" (Curious George) and we might introduce the Muppets (this one is pronounced correctly, for some reason). I wish we could get Harry to settle using books, but he needs the visual stimulation of a video to focus him and keep his body still. He's been that way from day one. After our video time, I give Nate to Daddy and take Harry to bed where we snuggle to sleep using my iPod with some soothing music and video. (As of last week - no more driving to sleep! Hurrah!) Then, it's back out to nurse Nate down and try to get ready for bed and the next day.

I cannot describe how happy you both make your parents. You are both so amazing, I have to stop myself from gushing about you to anyone who will listen. There is a song that captures these days very well for me (well, except for the last line)

If they asked me, I could write a book
About the way you walk, and whisper, and look.
I could write a preface
On how we met
So the world would never forget.

And the simple secret of the plot
Is just to tell them that I love you a lot.
And the world discovers
As my book ends,
How to make two lovers
Of friends.

I could just go on and on about every little thing you both do. About how you make us laugh and smile and gawk. We are exhausted and exhilarated every day. I feel so lucky to have both of you (and Daddy too!) and love watching you both grow and change and become yourselves. So, I'll stop there before I write a book.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quiz Time!

Here is a hypothetical situation for you.

Suppose your baby is having trouble sleeping, unless held or otherwise pressed against his mother. Suppose his mother works full time and has a long commute and is very stressed out by this, but is doing her best to accommodate the baby's needs. Suppose your older child has been plagued by sleep troubles his whole life, making the subject of sleep quite fraught with tension, to begin with. Take a moment to imagine that.

So, given that, let's say, on this particular night, the baby's mother has been holding said baby in her arms and nursing off and on for 3 hours. It is 9 PM. Let's say, in an effort to remain sane, she reached for her iPod and accidentally wakes the baby. Let's say that the baby waking is kind of the last straw and makes the mother give up and want to get ready for bed, since she has to be up at 5:30 anyway and will most likely be up nursing several times before then. She is visibly frustrated. So, the mother then gives the baby to YOU and asks you to hold the baby while she gets ready for bed, which will take no more than FIVE MINUTES.

What would you do? Would you,

A. Hold the baby for five minutes.


B. Hold the baby for 2 minutes, think that the baby has gone back to sleep and try, despite your knowledge of the above situation, to put the baby in the crib in and effort to "help" the mother get some free time, thereby waking the baby and possibly the older child (due to screaming baby), and thus unleashing the wrath of the mother upon you.

Take your time before you answer.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Harry Joseph, 26 Months Old

Dear Harry,

Above is you wearing your favorite accessory, your "a bike" helmet. You always say "a bike" instead of just "bike" which is quite adorable. And you can spot one at 100 yards. Or on a package of yogurt, or in a magazine, or a billboard. You will be saying "a bike" and by the time we figure out where you saw it, it's gone. They are everywhere. We got you a lovely tricycle for your birthday and you were having none of it. You wanted "a bike". So, after a few weeks, we broke down and got one with training wheels (though I wish we had done a balance bike). You still want all the other kids' bikes (and toys and balls) but you do think your "a bike" is pretty cool.

Speaking of kids, you just LOVE the big kids on the next block. You say "kids" like "geds" and you drag us to the front door saying "Ged! OK!" wanting to walk over and see if they are out playing. The youngest ones on that block are 6 years old and they are all very nice to you, but it proves to me that we need to help you find some friends your own age. You are doing a drop off playgroup for EI and have done well. Tomorrow, we are going to your "Future Classmates" playgroup for the first time. I hope we can get some social outlets going for you. I think you will love going to school. As it is now, you ask for "Goop (group)! Go? Go?" nearly every day.

One of my favorite moments in recent days came from you figuring out the concept of "all gone" or "all GA!" as you say it. You have discovered your pockets lately, after I showed you you could put an acorn in one on one of our walks. You were wearing a hooded sweatshirt with pockets one day that had pants that matched, but had no pockets. We were playing with your piggy bank and you had taken off the sweatshirt when you suddenly got the idea to put the coins in your pocket. You pulled at your shirt and pants looking for a pocket for a moment. Then you looked at me in bewilderment and said, "Pocket all gone!" It was priceless.

On the other side of things, we have had a big adjustment this week with my return to full time hours. This was also my first time having to deal with a long commute during rush hour from our new house. On a good day, it takes 45 minutes. With traffic, 90 minutes. This means that I have to leave home at 6:30 AM, before you wake up. This makes Mommy very sad. I have cried on my way to work every day this week. First, I miss you SOOOO much. Second, I really, really miss you. Third, and I just figured this out today, this is the first time, since switching careers from teaching/playing to library (The playing is on hiatus for now. No time.), that I really felt like I had joined the "rat race". That I had really left the old Bohemian freelance days behind me. That I am the breadwinner. That I work Full Time. Capital F. Capital T. It has been true for a while, but now, having two kids, living in the suburbs, leaving at 6:30 AM every day, it has really sunk in. And it is hard. Harder than I ever imagined. I have always worked and always wanted to work, but I was not prepared for how hard it would be to leave my children. I always assumed I'd just go back to how things were before. Not true. My priorities have shifted, as has my world view. It's staggering, really. I know it will get easier, but I will always, always regret not being able to be home with you more. Especially during these early years.

So, please give Mommy extra special hugs when she comes home every day. I need them just as much as you do. Maybe more.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Nathan James, 4 months old

Dear Nathan,

I cannot believe that it is the end of your first summer. The weather has turned cool and it is time to break out the footsie pajamas. We didn't get to do a lot of summery stuff this year, but that's OK. We had plenty of fun just being with you and Harry at home and around the neighborhood.

You are doing lots of amazing things, Nathan. You figured out how to roll across the floor within the last week. It looks like our days of having a stationary baby are over. I remember how your brother started doing that around your age and then he NEVER STOPPED MOVING. You may be different, but we will be ready this time. You are very smiley and you have even started giggling. It is very contagious, I tell you. You light up a room, baby boy. Your parents are, understandably, smitten. Your brother, surprisingly, is pretty enamored of you too. When you see him you start grinning and several times a day, you get bombarded with special Harry-loves. He thinks it is funny when you blow bubbles and coo.

You are having a rough time sleeping, though. You tend to cat-nap during the day for 30-45 minutes at a stretch and you are having trouble going for longer stretches on your own at night. We can still usually get 2-4 hours before I bring you to bed, but some nights, you just need to be held until my bedtime. I remember the 4 month sleep regression well from the first time around; though, that time it went from bad to worse. With you it's gone from great to just OK. I really shouldn't complain, but you have spoiled me. I'm hoping that we can get back on our routine within the next few weeks.

You are still huge and getting bigger by the day. I had to break out the 12-18 month sizes, since the 9 month outfits cannot accommodate your height. I'm going to have to take a trunk full of clothes to the consignment store and see if I can make a trade. You are burning through Harry's old clothes faster than I can pull them out. You are easily 28 inches at this point and quite likely close to 20 lbs. We'll see at your appointment next week.

Not much more to say, except that we are so happy to have you around. It is such fun to watch you develop and to watch your relationship to your brother grow. I think we're going to have a good year. Fall is here, Halloween and Thanksgiving are coming, and we get to see it all through your eyes. I can't wait, Nate.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Harry Joseph, 2 years, 1.5 months old

Dear Harry,

Mama is very late with this post because I can barely keep up with you! You are so much fun to be around that I hate to spend time on the computer while you are awake. Plus, you rarely let me do silly things like check my email, never mind write a blog post.

You are talking up a storm these days! You say new things every day and are using words to ask for things and tell us stuff. It is so fun to hear you talk! Your new speech therapist is awesome. She works with you on things you like, like rhythm and movement. You have said things for her that you had never said for us before. She got you to say "Mommy" by using a drum and beating the syllables. (You sometimes call me that now, which is so sweet!) You started a new EI playgroup last week and it too was awesome. Much more hands on than our previous groups. In fact, the services here in our new town are just leaps and bounds above where we lived before. You have your 6 month reevaluation this week and I'm hoping you don't test out because I think you will really start to blossom with more help.

Your current obsession is the lawn mower. You love it. You hate it. You fear it. You talk about it all the time. We bought you a toy one and you like to mow around the house. We made a game of having you chase us with it while screaming and now you just run around with it screaming. It's hilarious. I think Daddy should do that while mowing the lawn just to freak out the neighbors. You like to say "vroom, vroom" and then ask "Dada?" Then I say, "Dada, mowing?" and you say "Baby" and I say "Baby mowing!?" and you laugh and shake you head as if to say, "Mother, that would be ridiculous." It's your favorite comedy routine.

You also love your new bike. We bought you a tricycle for your birthday and you were having none of it. You wanted a real bike. We caved after several weeks of hearing you say "Bike? Bike? Bike? Bike? Bike? Bike? Bike? Bike?" and trying to steal bikes from the 8 year olds on the next block. The trike will be good for Nathan's first birthday. You love your bike helmet almost as much as your bike an you wear it everywhere. Not a bad thing for you, my little road runner.

2 miles from our new house is the Children's Discovery Museum. My work ID gets 2 of us in for free, so we have gone once a week for a few weeks. There is a train room and a "ball" room where you can set off chain reactions, a water room and much more. You love it and call it "Rarr rarr!" because there is a giant dinosaur out front, who you imagine must roar. So, every time we pass the "Dino House" you have to pipe up with "Rarr rarr! Go? Go?" When we pass by, you inevitably let out a very sad sigh. Even though it makes you sad, I am so happy to hear you using your voice to ask for things. And it is so great that you are aware enough of your surroundings to see something you like and to have the skills to ask for it and express your disappointment. It shows a whole thought process and complex comprehension. So, even though I can't say yes to all your requests, keep asking, Pumpkin Bear! You are doing so well!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Nathan James, Three Months Old

Dear Nathan,

I cannot believe how the time has flown by! I know I missed posting your letter last month. Forgive your overtired mom. It's hard to keep up with everything going on around here. We've been doing work on the house and I returned to work. Those two things alone have been enough disruption that we can't seem to get into a normal routine yet. I know we'll hit our stride. You are such a "roll with the punches" kind of baby that it doesn't seem to bother you a bit!

The first thing everyone notices about you is that you are HUGE for your age. Really, it is staggering. At your 2 month appointment (at 10 weeks old) you were 15 pounds, 9 ounces and 26 inches long. That is very large, Nate. Like 9-12 month size, large. At three months, you are easily another inch and another pound bigger. You can hold your head up very well and have rolled over a couple of times. All those good milkies are helping you grow big and strong. You make Mama proud!

The other thing everyone notices is how laid back and social you are. You love to "talk" to us all the time and you are very interested in people. You are very content to hang out and observe the goings on around here. You are even starting to laugh real baby laughs. You have your cranky times, but it is usually one of three things: hungry, wet or tired. Oh, and sometimes gassy. You are a champion spitter-upper. Since you don't seem to mind (and you are gaining well) it is more of a laundry problem, as they say. Poor Daddy's shirts are all "blessed" by your milky burps. Good thing the new family room rug is beige.

You are such a sleeper, Nathan James! I know I wrote about it before, and since then you have had a rough patch, which we believe was a growth spurt. But even in your rough patch, you have been easier than we've seen around here on your brother's good days. You still give us a good stretch alone in the crib and then you come to bed with me until morning. You are still able to go to sleep on your own from a drowsy state in different situations. Your naps are all over the place and a bit too cat-like (read: short) but you have done a few long ones, on your own in the crib. We forget that you are still so young - only 13 weeks, really. There is a lot of time for you to pull that together.

We just can't get enough of you, Nate. Even Harry loves to come kiss and rub your head. You are very nice to put up with all of that. It's so sweet to watch you develop your very own personality. You make us smile and laugh. Even when you are attached to me for hours at a time, and I can finally put you down, I'll start missing you a little while later. I love waking up to your happy little face cooing at me in the morning. Your large size reflects the size of your heart. I can tell already at 3 months old. So full of love and joy and so ready to spread it around. Shine on, little man!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mom Knows Breast

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week!

It seems that nursing mothers cannot win. It is widely accepted that breastmilk is the perfect food for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it. The World Health Organization recommends it. I know, in reality, many women cannot breastfeed for a variety of reasons. I know that many women choose not to breastfeed, for various reasons. It is a great thing that formula exists for those that need it. That is not what I am here to discuss.

As the mom of two breastfed babies, (the oldest self-weaned at 16 months and the youngest is going on 12 weeks) I have been surprised conflicting information and recommendations that I have seen from health professionals. Both my OB and my GP (also my sons' current GP) wanted me to give bottles of formula to the boys for various reasons, the main one being jaundice. Upon further research, it was completely unnecessary. I wish I had been firmer and refused both times. It went against my instincts.

Nathan's bilirubin numbers were high at his first doctor's appointment. His doctor suggested supplementing to flush him out. I thought that formula was harder to digest and would take longer, but since she was the doctor, I did as I was told. (I was right: breastfed babies poop MORE, hence flushing out faster. This was confirmed by a pediatrician in my nursing mother's group, who was appaled at the advice I received.) Giving Nathan the bottle interfered with our nursing during the first 2 weeks. My nipples were torn to shreds due to our difficulty latching. Once we eliminated the bottle, he took to the breast like a champ and I was able to heal. In fact, we had trouble getting him back on the bottle (breastmilk) for my return to work. He's now doing great at the breast and bottle.

Harry nursed SO much, that I was told by many, including his former doctor, that he was too hungry and I couldn't provide enough. I was told that he needed solid food to be satisfied because he was a big baby. I was told it would help him sleep. Everything I read told me otherwise. Infant's digestive systems are not ready to accept solid food until at least 6 months. I held off until 5.5 months, and started with cereal to see if he would take less pumped milk and if it would help him sleep. It did neither and he didn't really like it. I wish I had stuck to my guns. He was gaining and doing fine. We now know that Harry nursed a lot because of sensory issues, not hunger, so my gut was right. Nathan is even bigger than Harry and I've already been asked about starting solids. Ummm, yeah. We're not doing that. First of all, he is HUGE. Doesn't that tell you he's doing well on milk? Second, he's only 12 weeks old! He's nowhere near physically mature enough, despite his size. Third, he sleeps great, so that myth is just that...a MYTH. In fact, this time around, I hope to try Baby-Led Weaning.

I remember Harry's former doctor saying in a condescendingly surprised tone that "I must have good milk" when I told her he was exclusively breastfed at 2 months. Those kind of comments belie the attitude of many healthcare professionals. "Breast is best" but they still pitch to the lowest common denominator. They don't expect you to stick to it. They like formula because it is an exact science and can prescribe exact amounts and combinations. An ambivalent attitude from a doctor can undermine a new mother, especially when her family is not supportive or knowlegable about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is hard and a new, nursing mom needs support and encouragement from everyone around her. If it turns out that formula is medically necessary, that is all well and good, but it is sad to think of all the mothers who quit because they didn't get the help they needed.

I'm very happy that this time around, Massachusetts has a law to protect breastfeeding moms. Every little bit we can do to make it easier is a step in the right direction. (And for you naysayers who say nursing in public is immodest, you have never seen me - or most women - nurse in public. I show less skin than most teenage girls while nursing.) I'm proud to have provided for Harry while he needed it and am just as proud to do the same for Nathan. With Nate hitting his 3 month growth spurt this week, we will certainly be doing our part to participate in World Breastfeeding Week!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Post-Traumatic Baby Disorder

Anyone who has read this blog, or knows our family, knows that Harry has not been the easiest child in the area of sleep. He was constantly nursing around the clock and would not stay asleep when transferred from arms or car seat. When he did sleep, it had to be in our arms or up against one of us - never in his crib or alone. There was no such thing as "bedtime" because it was just 2-3 hour blocks around the clock. I could never tell anyone how many times he nursed at night because he nursed all night long. When I went back to work, it was even worse. He would suck down all the bottled milk during the day and then nurse 12 hours straight when I got home. There was no "letting him cry" because he wouldn't cry. He would just be awake. If he did get upset, there was no calming him without nursing. For daytime naps, Daddy had to walk for 2 hours at a time, twice a day to keep him asleep. It was very intense.

At age 2, it is still a daily struggle to get him to sleep. We have discovered that it is most likely due to some sensory processing issues (i.e. sensory seeking behavior) and are actively seeking help for him. We hoped as he was able to communicate more it would get easier, but that has been delayed due to his lack of expressive language (most likely due to sensory issues as well). Once he is asleep, however, he is really out and stays asleep for 11-12 hours and will now stay asleep through a transfer from arms or car seat. That is a HUGE leap forward that only happened when he self-weaned at 16 months. The trouble then became getting him to sleep without nursing.

Needless to say, it has been a gigantic source of stress for me and hubby. Every night we wonder what we are facing. Is it going to be a battle? How late will he be up? We tried so many methods of getting him to sleep. Some would work for a while and then suddenly never work again. Some never worked. We don't let him nap because he will be up late and it throws him off for days. Late afternoons are dangerous times to take a drive because he will fall asleep, so we are like prisoners at that time of day. He needs 3 things in order to distract him enough to fall asleep.
  1. Physical confinement and/or deep pressure massage
  2. Visual stimulation
  3. Audio stimulation
Our current strategy is driving him in the car for 10-15 minutes. The car gives him all three things. He even asks to go in the car when he's ready to sleep. Until we get working with an occupational therapist, this is what we will do, unless it stops working.

So, in the midst of all this came Nathan. Oh, Nathan! May this not come back to bite me in the ass, but I never knew such sleep was possible from a child so young! Nathan goes to bed! In his crib! At almost the same time every night! And sleeps 6-8 hours! He then wakes for a feed and sleeps another 3-4 hours with me! And he has put himself to sleep! Without nursing! In fact, he will spit out the boob and just happily drift off! And then! Lets us put him down!


Nathan is truly healing my wounds. For the first time in two years, we have "bedtime" in the house. We can pretty much count on both boys being sound asleep by 8 PM. I'm still pretty jumpy with the baby monitor, but I'm slowly feeling more relaxed. I was never able to be calm when Harry was asleep because I knew it was a precarious state. It's taken 2 years for him to be solid and then we added a newborn, so I figured I'd be back to square one. But Nate sleeps better at 11 weeks than Harry did at 16 months. I just went back to work (albeit summer hours) and it has not had the same effect on Nathan's sleep like it did for Harry.

I swear this is going to come back to haunt me, but I feel like I've been in survival mode for so long and I'm finally getting some respite. Having even a couple of hours to yourself at the end of the day is such an amazing thing, not to mention long stretches of sleep at night. It's been a long time since I had anything resembling anything like this. I know there will be setbacks that will make me want to tear my hair out and run away from home, but I feel like we are headed in the right direction. If this all goes to hell in the next few months, I'll have to come back and read this and remember the glory days of bedtime.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monster Baby

First post in a series. Maybe. We'll see.

At 10 weeks, 3 days, Nathan had his 2 month check up. He is 26 inches long and 15 lbs. 9 oz. That is HUGE. On the Carter's size chart that is 9-12 month size. I know he'll slow down eventually, but wow. The milkies are strong with this one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Can Say...

At 24 months, here's what Harry is up to on the language front.

Real Words (pronunciation in parentheses, if applicable):
Kick (Git)
Ball (Dee)
Done (Ah Da)
Night-Night (nigh-nigh)
Please (bee or ming)
Mumu (our cat's name)
Rain (reng on nang)
Cookie (diddy)
No (always said as "no-no-no")
Bow (as in cello bow)

Sounds that mean stuff:
Bleah (as in "Gross!!")
Shh (fish)
Buh-Buh (bubbles or bunny)
Brrrr (ice cream, ice, cold or outside)
Prrr (kitty)
oof-oof (doggy)
deet-deet (birdy)
dit, dit, dit (1, 2, 3, counting or numbers)
Ah-ah (monkey or apple, depending on context.)
Sllllurp-ahhh (drink)
Puh-puh (duck - This actual sound is hard to describe. It is more like he opens and closes his lips to make a slight popping sound.)
Sniffs (flower)
Bit-bit (Frog - said in a very low strained voice)
Moo (sounds like boo)
Watermelon (Another tough one to describe. It comes out like bulbuhbulbuh, but he is wiggling his tongue back and forth 4 times.)
Banana (similar to Watermelon, but hard to describe)
Toot-toot (imitating trumpet)

Signs (real and made up):
Water (can also mean tub)
Ball (signs dribbling)
TV (signs like pressing the remote)
Baseball (swings arms)
Cello/Bass (signs like bowing)
Hat/helmet (also can mean outside)

I know there are more. In fact, as I have typed this he has said more, including 2 new ones (frog and rain). I will add to this as I remember or as he adds to his vocabulary. All of these are on top of the jargoning and babbling that is is doing All. The. Time. So, I guess we have made progress since starting Early Intervention. He still does not imitate new sounds and still has things he has said once and then never said again.

Nathan, at 2 months, already coos conversationally, meaning if you say something, he answers back, almost imitating the pitch. Harry didn't really do that. He gurgled and giggled. I'm curious to see how Nate progresses differently from Harry. It's really fascinating to watch.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Joseph, Twenty-four Months Old

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin Bear!

As I write this, you are (finally) asleep in your room with Brahms 1 on the radio. I am in the family room of our new house, enjoying some Cappuccino Fudge cake (not your birthday cake, but some left over from company this week) and listening simultaneously to the frogs outside and your brother's baby monitor. All is quiet. I hope it lasts.

You had a great day today. French toast with presents for breakfast (baseball PJs and a "Twilight Turtle") with a sport themed table that will stay up until your party this weekend. We went to a music class after that, but you were overwhelmed by the noise and people and spent it covering your ears. We left early and got a nice tea and fruit plate at the cafe before our walk home. After lunch, we went to the park and then came home to play with some friends (bigger boys - your favorite!) in the yard. Then...your tricycle arrived! Daddy built it and took you out for a spin before going to get pizza. After bathtime, you had a birthday cupcake with a "2" candle and watched a bit of "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". Then it was the regular bedtime battle, but I won't dwell on that on your birthday.

For the record, here are some of your favorite things at age 2:

(or DEE! as you still call it)




All caps and a million exclamation points cannot express your enthusiasm. You still don't have many words, but you express yourself with your entire body. Signing by kicking (soccer), swinging your arms (baseball), pretending to dribble (basketball), and waving your hands in circles (bike) with all your might. Running, well, that is self explanatory. You just run off. We are trying to teach you "safe" and "not safe". No real luck with that yet. Meanwhile, we got you a kiddie harness, or "leash" so you can walk and be independent, but be safe. I just ignore the stares. You love it and it's more exercise than the stroller.

You have your tantrum moments, but you are just the happiest little boy I've ever seen. You are very friendly and are quick to try to give hugs to other kids, which is sweet (though not everyone likes that). More than anything, you just want to play with other kids. I hope we can find some groups out here in the suburbs. Early Intervention hasn't kicked in yet, but maybe we can get something going there. We are doing a gymn class once a week and you LOVE that. You are allowed to climb and roll and run and jump. You like to run to the middle of the room and clap, just like the teacher does. You'll be running the class if you keep that up!

You've done so well with the changes we've had around here. First Nate, then the move and then I'm about to go back to work. I'm very nervous about that and also very sad. I miss so much time with you already because I'm tied to Nate by the nursies. I feel like I missed so much time while I was pregnant too. I promise to carve out some Mama-Harry time soon so we can make up for all this. As your brother gets older, we'll all be able to have lots more fun together.

I cannot believe you are two, Harry. So grown up, but still my baby. Always my baby. I can't wait to watch you blossom this year. We've come so far and we have much fun ahead of us. Sleep well, birthday boy.

All my love,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It came to me in a flash, as I knew it would. I needed to give this blog an overhaul with the addition of Thing 2 (i.e. Nate).

I've read a lot of infant sleep literature in the past two years and "Drowsy But Awake" is a term they use in a lot of infant sleep books. They always way to put your baby down when he is "drowsy but awake". With Harry, that was some mythical state. It did not exist. I felt "drowsy but awake" for much of his first year, but he was either AWAKE or ASLEEP. Nothing in between.

Then, Nathan arrived. I have seen him put himself to sleep from a drowsy state with no interaction from anyone. I was amazed. He has his awake, fussy moments (and days) but I have such low expectations when it comes to baby sleep, that anything resembling normal is icing on the cake.

So, the blog will take a different turn. I am cooking up a birthday post for Harry, but I realize I missed both monthly updates this time around. I think we'll just hit the "Reset" button and start fresh with Harry's birthday tomorrow. I'd like to add some posts about homeownership and some musings on music. We'll see if I can keep up. Until then, I remain "drowsy but awake".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Time

I've fallen off the blog, here. With a toddler, a newborn and the move to our new house, it has been difficult to find a spare moment when one of the boys (hubby included) or the cats doesn't need something from me. When I do get online, it is usually on my iPod, which is OK for typing email, but not blog posts. That is the main reason I missed Harry's 23 month letter, but I promise to make it up for his birthday next week.

There is much to write about, such as how I must be the snugly-est person around, because I make babies who don't like to be put down, or how my milk makes babies really fat and delicious, or how we can't get Nathan to take a bottle, or how he prefers to sleep on his tummy (which scares me), or how we have way too much furniture, yet not quite enough of the "right" furniture for this house, or how weird yet nice it is to be in a suburban neighborhood, or all the plans we have to fix up this place, or how sweet it is when Harry gives Nate "kisses", or how we are starting Occupational Therapy with Harry for his sensory seeking issues, or how his speech seems to increase in volume when Nathan is asleep, or Harry's obsession with basketball, or how my hair is taking on a life of its own, or how my maternity leave is passing waaay too quickly. But there is little time. Sad to say, I will have more time once my leave is over.

Until then, posting may be light. After that, I plan to expand on more topics than just motherhood, but I need to figure out a blog title that suits me. It will probably come to me in a flash during a late night nursing session, but I'll be darned if anything could tear me away from sweet, snugly, night time nursies.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nathan James, 1 Month Old

Dear Nate,

I know. Second children get the shaft. Your first letter and I'm two days late already. Who knows if I'll even get to finish this today. Let it be said that two children under age two is not for the faint of heart. You are a pretty easy baby, but your brother makes up the difference by being (ahem), shall we say, less than easy.

However, you have done several things in your first month that Harry never did, including weighing in at 12 lbs, 2 oz at four weeks. First, you spent nearly two weeks peeing all over Daddy whenever he would change you. Harry rarely did that. Second, you actually pooped ON the changing table, which we had never experienced before. Also, you have flipped yourself from your tummy to your back, twice and today got yourself from your back onto your side and were looking like you were going to go all the way to your tummy. You kind of just hung out on your side, but I can tell you won't wait too long before you start rolling. Other firsts include putting yourself to sleep. We always thought the term "drowsy but awake" was a myth. It didn't exist in this house, anyway. You have proved that it does and more than once, you have woken yourself up only to gracefully fall back to sleep on your own. Huh. I didn't think babies could do that. You are showing us lots of new things.

On your one month birthday, you outdid your brother with the most amazing poop blow out we had ever seen. We were at a park play group for Harry and you were happily snoozing in your car seat on the stroller. You had been saving up your poop for several days, as breastfed babies do, and I knew there would be a doozy coming. Well, as I sat chatting with another mom, I heard a "rumble" come from your nether regions. At first, you were fine, but you quickly started to fuss. I picked you up, wrapped in a blanket (it was a cool, gray day) and very quickly smelled something. I opened the blanket to see poop on it. Then, I saw it on your legs. Uh oh. I set up the stroller as a changing table and got to work and quickly saw that this was the diaper buster to end all diaper busters. It was everywhere: up the back, down the legs, up the front, on the outfit, on the front of the diaper, the back of the diaper, on the blanket, on the pad. I didn't know your colon could hold so much. You get the idea. I quickly enlisted your father's help and we got the outfit and diaper off of you. The highlight was Daddy lifting you up over his head, naked, screaming and covered in poop like that scene from "Roots" or "The Lion King". Half a package of wipes and a new onesie later, we were all cleaner, but still a bit sticky. I nursed you back in the car and put you in the mei tai carrier so we could finish play group. We got home and gave you a major scrub down. You slept really well after that. We joked that we should have just dunked you in the toilet and flushed. Either that or we could have turned on the sprinklers at the park and held you over them. Man alive! That was a lot of poop! No diaper could have contained that mess, and it just happened to be your first time out of the house in a cloth diaper, so we got to carry the mess home. I should have taken a picture to give to your prom date.

Anyway, Nathan. Little man Nate. Natey, Natey, sweet potatie. My Grizzly Bear. Grizzle. Griz. Clark W. Grizwald. My little Whopper with Cheese. You fit right in around here. We're glad you decided to join us. We've started to see hints of your goofy grin already and can't wait for you to emerge from your nursie, newborn phase. We'll keep the baby wipes handy and expect the unexpected. Welcome to the family, baby boy.


Monday, June 1, 2009


Stay tuned for monthly letters on the 11th and 16th of the month. Meanwhile, must tend to the craziness around here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Harry Joseph, Twenty-two Months Old

Dear Harry,

The picture above sums up the last week or so. Your brother, Nathan (you can call him Nate), arrived on Monday, May 11 at 12:57 PM and so began a new chapter in our lives. You are no longer an only, but will always be our oldest child. I can't wait to see how you two grow to love one another. Mama and Dada love you both more than you will ever know.

There is so much going on with us right now, both good and bad. I simply can't write it all right now. It's too overwhelming. Let me just say that one of my favorite parts of the day is when you curl up next to me in your bed, all calm and still, and put your hands on my cheeks while I hold you close and sing you to sleep. It is quite possibly the sweetest thing in the world and makes everything else go away for a little while. Thank you for that, Harry. Mommy really needs it right now.

All my love,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Harry's Greatest Hits

An article on NPR about music and newborns got me thinking about music we have played for Harry since he was born. Being musicians, we like things that are off beat and not necessarily kid-related, but on the other hand we've found many great recordings of kid-friendly tunes in unlikely places.

Harry always responded well to music of all kinds and it usually soothes him to sleep. I remember playing Horowitz encores for him at maybe 4 months old and just watching him lay quietly and listen. Later, we started using an old-timey AM radio station to put him to sleep. They played everything from Big Band to 80s techno and it would knock him right out.

We also had a couple of iPod play lists that worked really well for a while. One was an hour long play list of very varied slow-ish songs with artists ranging from Paul Robeson to Carole King, a lot of which are lullabies, but not all. Another was called "11 up and down" started out with 30 minutes of upbeat tunes followed by 30 minutes of slow tunes and that worked for a long time. In between play lists, we depended on music from the "Baby Loves Jazz" series. "Charlie Bird" was particularly effective in the car and Hubby and I re-created it a capella at least once when we forgot the iPod adapter. (Even the two of us singing is better than a screaming baby, I promise!)

These days, Harry loves anything with drums or just plain old Mommy singing one of his favorite tunes. I have a few regular lullabies in rotation, including "Hushabye Mountain" (guaranteed out in 1 run through) "Stay Awake" (reverse psychology anyone?) and "Baby Mine" (Hmmm. All from Disney movies?). We also sing some nursery rhymes, the alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinke. He lets me know very physically and vocally if he is not in the mood for a particular song by covering my mouth and saying "DA!" (his word for done).

When Harry was younger, though, we sang a lot of made up words to famous tunes. Here are a few favorites.

B-B-B-Baby! (Sung to the tune of "K-K-K-Katy")
B-B-B Baby!
Beautiful Baby!
You're the only b-b-b-boy that I adore!
B-B-B Baby!
Beautiful Baby!
You're the only b-b-b-boy that I adore!

Other verses included M-M-M-Mommy, D-D-D-Daddy and K-K-K-Kitty with some made up words for the 3rd and 6th line that I cannot remember. Possibly "M-M-M-Mommy loves her b-b-b-baby boy" or something similar.

Baby Can-Can (Sung to the tune of the "Can-Can" by Offenbach) This one is a form that can take many verses, depending on the situation.
1. Harry, Harry Joseph Steinberg
Was a little baby
And he liked to cry and cry and cry and cry and
Harry, Harry Joseph Steinberg
Was a little baby
And he liked to cry and cry and cry

2. Harry, Harry Joseph Steinberg
Was a hungry baby
And he liked to nurse and nurse and nurse and nurse and
Harry, Harry Joseph Steinberg
Was a hungry baby
And he liked to nurse and nurse and nurse

And so on. Other verses included:
Sleepy baby...liked to nap
Busy baby...liked to play
Stinky baby...pooped and peed
Happy baby...liked to smile
Silly baby...liked to laugh
Fussy baby...liked to whine
Lovey baby...liked to hug (or kiss, or both)

Twinkle Baby
(Sung to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle")
Harry Joseph, I love you.
And your Daddy loves you too.
It is time to go to bed.
You must rest your sleepy head.
Harry Joseph, I love you.
And your Daddy loves you too.

I suppose we'll have to come up with some new ones for baby Nathan, but we may be too tired to be creative. Time will tell. I know we will just keep singing, though. I swear there is something instinctual about singing to your child. And really, infants don't care what you sound like or what you sing. So, while it's interesting to read the NPR article and all the comments (including mine somewhere in there), the best thing for a newborn to hear is its parents voices. As long as it's coming from Mom and Dad with love, it's the perfect sound.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Harry Joseph, 21 Months Old

Dear Harry,

What leaps we have made this month, pumpkin-bear. At the risk of jinxing everything, I'm going to come right out and say it. You are on a bedtime routine.

Video (Curious George, your hero and constant companion.)
Lights out w/music and photos on iPod, then songs from Mama.
Asleep in under 15 minutes.

We've been doing some techniques with you after discovering that you may be what they call "Sensory Seeking". You crave activity, motion and stimulation and that keeps you from being able to settle your body. One of our Early Intervention workers suggested using squeezing massage and big bear hugs to help send slow-down signals to your brain. To that, we added my warm scented rice bag for you to have in your lap during your nighttime video. It has helped you relax enough to realize, "Hey! I'm tired!"

The next thing we did was warn you that "After George, we go night-night." For a few nights, that lead to screaming as we brought you to your room. We were firm about keeping you in your room and told you "All done. Bed or chair." when you would go screaming to the door. There were a few really rough nights. Twice, I gave in to more video after you would not calm down. Each time, you were asleep in minutes. Another night, you kept finding toys in your bed and I just got angry. I left you screaming with Daddy for 5 minutes while I calmed down. When I went back, I apologized to you for getting mad and took you to the rocking chair. You snuggled in to sleep in under 5 minutes.

Now, more often than not, you say bye-bye to George when the show ends (sometimes a smidgen tearfully, but not really crying) and let us carry you to your room where we do our thing. Your bedtime has become more and more consistent and we can depend on you sleeping through most nights. Once you are out, you are really out. Daddy still sleeps with you, mostly so I can hog our bed and not be woken if you do wake up. (You are working on molars, after all.) Let's be realistic, though. I'm your mom. I usually wake up 60 seconds before you wake. The other night, I was able to sneak in and give you teething tablets before you woke up all the way. But we know that your baby brother is going to upset the apple cart soon, so having Daddy with you is a good preventative. It won't be like we are taking Mommy away from you at night.

Speaking of which, this is my last monthly entry with you as an only child. I know you are too little to remember what it was like to have Mama and Dada to yourself, but for us it will be bittersweet. You've become our world and your world is about to change. I expect it will be very tough going for a while, but I know we will work it out. By the time your brother is 6 months old, you will think it has always been like this and so will we. Just like Daddy and I cannot remember or imagine life without you, we will all feel like that about Nathan soon. We have a busy month ahead of us, sweet pea. Go easy on your parents, if you can. We're doing the best we can.

All my love,

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big difference

Harry's word for cookie is "diddy" and has been pretty consistent for about a month. He knows what cabinet we keep them in and will ask for them at snack time. We try to limit them to organic, healthy cookies (No Oreos yet. We're not militant, but the poor kid just got his teeth. We'd like to keep them for a while.) and he only has a few at a time, but he loves them. So the other day, when he watched me empty the contents of his full diaper into the toilet, pointed and said "Diddy! Diddy!" I just hoped he wouldn't try to dive in after it as I flushed his poor "diddy" away. You really don't want to mix those two things up.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hungry Harry

For breakfast today, he had:

3/4 cup Calcium/Vitamin D fortified OJ
1/2 cup applesauce mixed with 1 tablespoon baby oatmeal
1/2 cup watermelon slices
2 slices of French Toast with syrup

It must be growth spurt time again. The boy ate more than his pregnant mother this morning. Soon, I'll have three boys like this, counting hubby. Yikes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Harry Joseph, Twenty Months

Dear Harry,

I didn't forget you this month! It is just that I have been with you 24/7 for the last 10 days. You were "helping" me at the library all last week and this week has been crammed with EI appointments and other fun things (house hunting!). I am home with you today, on the last day of Spring Break and so far, you have peed and pooped on Mommy & Daddy's bed. Both were diaper accidents (The pee was a faulty overnight disposable, but the poop was my fault. Mommy is clumsy changing you these days!) and we will be spending the afternoon washing linens. Good times!

You have had some fun firsts this month. You got your first haircut. You were getting very, shall we say, "fluffy" around the edges. As cute as that was, you hate having your hair washed, so it had to be cut. You screamed and squirmed and screamed some more, but it looks adorable. I think it is going to come in thick and curly now. Who can resist a little boy with blond curls?

You had your first ice cream cake for Daddy's birthday. You didn't like the crunchy cookie center (are you my child?) but you LOVED everything else about it. As you can see from the photo above, we had to throw you into the tub pretty quickly after that. Next day, when you pointed to the picture of a cake in your alphabet book, you looked at me and said, "Dada?" Yes, we had cake for Dada. And it was good.

You also have what might be your first lovey. At playgroup the last two weeks, your friend O has brought her Curious George doll. You love that monkey more than anything and kept taking it from her. We decided you should probably have your own, so we went to the Curious George Store in Cambridge to get you one. The store is hard to navigate with a stroller, so Daddy took you outside, while I explored. I found just the right one and bought it. When I took it out of the bag to give it to you, you got the biggest look of delight on your face. I wish I could have captured that on film. I'll never forget it. Since then, George has become a pretty regular presence around the house. He gets carried around, taken on walks, hugged, fed, put to bed and told stories. You have two other "friends" (Pooh Bear and Philly Joe Giraffe), but I think George is starting to edge them out. We'll see. You are nothing, if not unpredictable.

I'll write more about our EI (Early Intervention) adventures separately, but suffice to say that you are doing well so far. We should be starting a speech group shortly. I'm glad we are getting this started before your baby brother arrives. It will be nice for you to have your own thing to do that gets you some personal attention. That, plus some warm weather for lots of outside play will do you a world of good, while we have a newborn around.

You are now demanding I put the computer away, so I'll close by saying that you just get more and more fun to be around. Your boundless energy and cheerfulness are great to have around, despite the diaper accidents and tantrums. (I didn't get to those, did I?) We can't get enough of you (except at bedtime) and just love you to bits, little boy. I've got to go get you to stop banging on the furniture, so until next time, big hugs and kisses!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Early Intervention Adventures

On the advice of his pediatrician, the SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) at our developmental playgroup and friends and family who have been through it, we had Harry evaluated for Early Intervention, due to his lack of speech. At 18 months, he only had two words (still the same at nearly 20 months now). He has many sounds that mean things to him and a TON of signs, both real and made up, but no real spoken language.

In every developmental area in the evaluation, gross and fine motor, social and emotional interaction, perceptual, cognition and self care he scored above his age level. Then, there was communication. He scored 18 months for receptive language, which is age appropriate, but 11 months for expressive language, which is a significant delay. They loved all of his signs, but those did not count towards his evaluation, which in a way is good. If they had, he would not have qualified for help.

He qualifies for 6 months of speech therapy, which is all play based and happens here at home. He can also attend a weekly group with other children his age. They want us to continue using his signs with him and introduce more so that he has a means of expression until the verbal ability kicks in. And it will kick in, they assure us. At the end of 6 months, we will reevaluate and see where we stand.

In addition to working with the SLP, we are going to work with the Social Worker to try to give Harry (and us!) some tools to aid in getting him on a routine. Since he was born, this has been a HUGE struggle. He is very high energy and very "spirited" and we have a lot of difficulty getting him to unwind and sleep, especially since he weaned. His communication problems do not make it any easier. From what I understand, this is a common problem with children who have speech delays. Given the tools and some language progress, we hope it might become easier for us to work with him towards some sort of bedtime (!) routine.

We're looking forward to getting started. I have to work through feeling like I've failed him as a parent, even though I know that is irrational, since lots of kids go through this. I'll get over it. I know this is a step in the right direction and I know he will be fine. I really can't wait for him to be able to tell me what is on his mind, beyond animal sounds and made up words. I know someday, I'll be saying, "Harry, can you stop talking for a minute? Mommy needs quiet." As the SLP at playgroup said, "I can make them talk, but I can't make them stop talking." Though, right now, that sounds like a very appealing problem.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Some Monday Thoughts

I think my cats know that, if they wake me up at any time past 5 AM, I cannot get back to sleep and then I will feed them.

Something about this pregnancy makes it physically impossible for me to get out of the house without something on my clothes.

I feel sad when I leave for work and Harry is still asleep. Sad, and a little jealous.

Leaning over to scrape snow and ice off your windshield, while standing on a slippery driveway, when 5' 4" and very pregnant, is not a fun way to start your commute.

Having a moving truck block your parking spot at work sucks, until you realize that it means you get to take a closer spot. WIN!

Something about this pregnancy makes it physically impossible for me to wait until noon for lunch.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Harry Joseph, Nineteen Months Old

Dear Harry,

Once again, the month has flown by. I was just getting used to you being a year and a half old and here we are a month later. You've spent most of the month working on your indoor soccer skills. You are getting pretty adept at kicking the ball up and down the hall. You run so fast when you do this, it looks like your feet aren't touching the ground.

It's been very cold out and we haven't been able to get out much. The few nice days we've had have been spent stomping in slushy puddles with your boots. It's tough to find things to do when it's cold. Visiting the pet store is is usually good for 30 minutes or so. The grocery store is a regular outing. You love to point out all the food and say "Mmmmm!" We haven't ventured to the library lately. The last couple of times we went, you were not thrilled. It might be time to try again, though.

Speaking of the library, you know the sign for library and do that when I leave for work (if you aren't crying - have I mentioned separation anxiety?). You've been to my library a couple of times lately while Daddy has rehearsal and you have gotten to do a few new things. We visited the instrument library and borrowed a toy percussion instrument that made some great noise. You also got to spend some time playing a real piano. It was funny how you played one finger at a time instead of mashing the keys, like I expected. Mostly, you want to go visit all the rehearsals. It is hard, because you want so much to get down and party once you go in. I have to hold you back, and that is no easy feat! You just get so excited to see live music.

We bought you a "band in a box" last week that has lots of little percussion instruments and you've had a fun time making noise with those. We have even been able to reintroduce your cello a bit. For a while, you were quite rough with it and we had to put it away. You have lots of favorite songs on my/your iPod and have different "words" to request them. It is fun to watch your face light up when the song you've asked for starts.

We are still waiting for you to start talking. You make lots of sounds with the correct pitch and inflection, but you do not have the correct syllables. We know you can understand us, because we have to be careful what we say around you. To see what is going on, we have scheduled an Early Intervention evaluation for this month. We're curious to see what they say. Meanwhile, we love to listen to your silly babbling sounds.

I have a feeling that these next months are going to fly by just as fast. We are getting closer and closer to the birth of your little brother. You have no idea what is coming, but that is probably just as well. You are young enough that you will most likely not remember ever not having a brother. We are going to try to enjoy this time with you as a family of three, before the chaos of life with a newborn sets in. I know it will be rough for all of us, but I know, in time, it will be everything we've hoped for. Until then, just keep up being yourself and bringing us all the joy and sleepless nights we can handle.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Can I just say...

That ticker at the bottom of this page is starting to scare the hell out of me. How did this pregnancy get into the last trimester so quickly? I still have days where I feel shocked at the fact that I am even pregnant at all. Then there are the days and weeks where I know that I'm pregnant, but the end result seems like the far and distant future - think flying cars and teleporters. Then, I look at my pregnancy ticker and see that I have 88 (!?) days left.

Don't get me wrong. I am excited and curious to meet this new baby boy (Nathan James, by the way). It's just that I still look at Harry and think he was born yesterday. With that pregnancy, I was able to obsess about every detail, put my feet up and plan ahead. I felt like I was pregnant forever. With this one, I'm running around full speed trying to keep up with life and it is just flying by.

Granted, we are fairly well prepared for what is coming. After all, we just did this two years ago. We have everything we need, we know (for the most part!) what to expect. We are sure to be a bit more relaxed about things this time, but still it's coming at us with the speed of a runaway train.

Some people have told me that the switch from 1 kid to 2 is easier than the switch from 0 to 1, precisely because you know what to expect. You've had the life changing, mind blowing experience that is adding a newborn to your lives and lived to tell the tale - plus make a new one. I hope they are right.

I'm trying, in my slower moments, to imagine the possibilities of an easy going baby this time. One who sleeps! Because, what are the odds that we would have two high-needs, spirited boys in a row? Right? (RIGHT?!) And I'm trying to imagine a birth where the doctors weren't fearing for both of our lives. One where I would get to hold my new boy right away, while he's still warm and nurse him in his first minutes, instead of having him whisked off to the NICU while I'm laying there bleeding, not knowing when I'll see him again. Because that is what a new baby offers: a second chance. A chance for things to be different. Still marvelous, awe inspiring and frightening, but different.

The biggest difference with this baby is that he will have an amazing big brother who can teach him all kinds of things about the world. A big brother that put his parents through parent boot camp and made us work for every victory. Who taught us a million tricks and is sure to teach his brother a million more. I'm sure Harry will have plenty of feelings of jealousy after being our one and only for his whole life. But I can't wait to see the love in Harry's eyes and the adoration that I'm sure Nathan will have for his big brother. I can't wait for our family to be complete. I just wish that life would slow down a little bit so I could enjoy it a little more.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How sweet it is

The other night, I was exhausted and went to bed at about 10. Hubby decided to stay up for a while and I guess Harry stirred somewhere around midnight. Hubby went to him as Harry started crying. That woke me and I went in to Harry's room to find them laying down on Harry's bed, Hubby snuggling Harry and trying to comfort him. I lay down next to them and Harry crawled over to me and lay down. He put his hand on my face and fell asleep. We pulled pulled up the blankets and the three of us slept there, blissfully, until the morning.

If co-sleeping is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Harry Joseph, Eighteen Months Old

Dear Harry,

You are a year and a half old today. How is that possible? I just don't know. You continue to startle and amaze your parents on a daily basis. You understand so much that we already have to spell certain words, like "s-n-a-c-k" and more specifically, "p-o-p-s-i-c-l-e". Daddy and I will be talking to each other, thinking that you are engrossed in what you are doing. I'll mention that I need to preheat the oven and you'll make a beeline for the kitchen and press your face up against the oven window. Impressive.

So, you know that schedule we had going during my Winter Break? (It's detailed in the previous post.) The dream schedule? The one that matched the rhythm of your day and made us all so happy? The one where you knew the routine so well that you were actually following the clock for about 10-14 days? The one that was so easy to get back to after a day off? Yeah, it's done. As soon as I returned to work on January 5, you refused to go to bed early. No more 7 PM bedtime. You have not gone to bed earlier than 8:30 PM (still with no nap!) on any day that I've gone to work. I had a day off due to weather and you went down at 7:30. I was home on the weekend: Saturday was 8:00, Sunday was 7:00 (like our dream schedule). Monday? Back to 8:30.

I will not lie. It really brought me to my knees. You know how they talk about the "Cry it Out" sleep method? I am beginning to think that they mean the parents do the crying. I have shed more tears over your sleeping than you ever have. The thing is, you are sleeping more at night (a couple of mini wake ups, but nothing big) and you are moving towards sleeping alone all night (which is also more about training me than you). Everything is moving in the right direction. Getting you to sleep is just harder then I would like it to be. I was afraid of this when you weaned. That was my ace in the hole: I could always get you to nurse to sleep. It's why I kept doing it. I was afraid we'd never sleep again if you stopped. And then you stopped. We keep trying different things to get you to bed and each one will work a few times, then stop. You keep us on your toes, little one!

But enough about sleep. I know it is your least favorite topic. Let me catalog the things you love at 18 months. You are full of passions, Harry! Here are a few of them:

Old MacDonald in any way shape or form. You love to yell "Eeya Eeya Eeya!" any chance you get.

Books. You love to take our fingers and do "point and say" with your books. You point our fingers, we say what it is we're pointing at. You make lots of sounds while we do this. Some are your versions of words, some we can't figure out. It's fun to watch you "read" to your Pooh bear, pointing and saying "dadoo, dadoo, dadoo."

Balls, or "Deee!" We don't know why you say "dee" for ball, but you have for a long time, no matter how we correct you. You love to play ball, look at pictures of balls, see other people playing ball. It doesn't matter if it's football, basketball, baseball or soccer. It's all "Deee!" and it's all good.

Cooking. I cannot cook while I am home alone with you because you are SO interested in what I'm doing. Christmas day, I was making a roast beef and I put it in the oven while you and Daddy played outside. It smelled pretty good when you came in and I heard you at the bottom of the stairs saying, "mmmMMMmmm!" (You say that a lot!) You ran up to the kitchen and wanted to look in the oven and couldn't wait to see what was cooking. Problem is, you hate to wait for things to cook. It takes too long!

Other passions that have continued are music, dancing, kitties, doggies and playing outside. Too bad the current temperature is 6 degrees. It's hard to get out these days. I long for the Spring and Summer when you can run around the yard playing ball and blowing bubbles. I cannot believe that I will be the lucky mother of two little boys by your birthday this year. I look so forward to seeing you two grow up together and to watching you teach your brother about the world. Maybe he can give you some sleeping lessons, though? I've got my fingers crossed.

All my love,