Monday, October 31, 2011

A Letter to My Child(ren)

When I found out I was pregnant with Gavin, I started writing to him in a journal.  I wrote to him about once and month, updating him on his latest accomplishments, world happenings, etc.  I still love to look back on it and see how he's changed, and even how I've changed as a parent.  I hope one day he will, too.  Now that we've got another little one coming, I thought two journals would be a little much, so I thought I'd write to both of them once a month in a letter series here instead.  Here's the first letter:

Every time I write to you lately I’m saying “when did you get SO big?!”  But it’s just the nature of your age right now, I think.  You’re growing so fast that I don’t think I can even capture it all from month to month.

Your language has exploded even more.  We have full conversations now with back and forth banter and giggles (p.s. I love that you have my sense of humor).  You’re even “reading” your favorite books to us.  Almost every day on the way to school you bring Eight Silly Monkeys or one of your mini nursery rhyme books and recite it to me in the car.  I hope your love for language now extends into a love a reading later.  Your word nerd Momma has her fingers crossed.

You tell us all the time “I a big boy!” and “I do it by myself!” and show us you can do just that with little things like swinging on your tummy in our backyard, kicking at the ground beneath you to propel yourself  “super high.”  You’re growing less cautious (which makes me worry!) when it comes to climbing and jumping.  The first time I saw you scale your swingset’s six-foot rock wall by yourself, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  But you turned around with a huge smile and said, “I did it, Mommy!”

You haven’t lost your sweetness, and I’m hoping that’s stuck on your for life.  If a character is sad on TV, you blow them a kiss.  When I lost it one day because Abner is getting old and tripped over his water bowl for the second time in an hour, spilling water all over the kitchen, you came and sat with me as I mopped up the floor and said, “It okay, Mommy.  I here.”  You gave me kisses and hugs and said, “Now you feel better?”  Almost every night at dinner, you say “Thanks for cooking dinner” to whomever placed dinner in front of you that night, even if it was just our favorite take-out.  You’re so polite, and I love that about you.

You’ve also had two pretty big milestones this month.  We took the front of your crib off to make it into a “big boy bed” for you and you’ve done great.  Only once did you get out of your crib before we told you it was okay.  Now you wait for us to come get you every morning.  And just last night, in your own words:  “I poopie in the potty!”  You were so excited and proud of yourself, and so were we.  We’re going to start some real potty training in the next couple of weeks—you’re very interested, and want to be just like your friends at school, so I think the time is right.

That’s it for this month.  But that was a lot!  I’m so proud of the big boy you’re turning out to be, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve next.

I love you more,

I finally felt you kick this month, and it's made things so much more real.  I'm already almost halfway to meeting you, and I couldn't be more excited.  

Tomorrow is THE sonogram.  The one where we'll get to see you moving, your little heart beating, and find out whether you're a boy or a girl.  We're hoping you cooperate and show us the goods.  I can't wait to talk about names for you and figure out how we're decorating your room.  We've been waiting to do any of that until we know.  Maybe I'll drink a bottle of orange juice.  That seemed to work to get Gavin moving, so we'll see how it works for you.

The books all say you're the size of a bell pepper now, and it still amazes me that we'll be able to see so much detail, even at that size.  Keep growing and moving, little bean.  I can't wait to see you tomorrow!

I love you more,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Kick in the Bladder

I've been waiting for this.  I actually told someone two days ago that I was sure I'd feel it this week.  I was 17 weeks with Gavin when I first felt his kicks, and sure enough, this little bean is right on schedule. I like this about his or her personality already.  

Speaking of the his or her thing—we find out the sex next Tuesday.  I am equally excited, nervous and sad.  Like Megan, there's just something about the time of wonder and daydreaming whittling down that is unsettling.  Our lives could take two totally different directions based on next week, and I can imagine it both ways.  

A little boy to wear all my favorite outfits from when Gavin was a baby, brothers hanging out together, confiding in each other, becoming the best of friends.

Or a little girl to dress up in frilly things and hair bows, be protected by her older brother, and girl talks when she's older.

Either way feels like some kind of loss, though either way is really a win.  And I know when I lay on that table and see little arms and legs thrashing, a tiny heart beating, and I’m told everything is perfectly perfect—that’s all I’ll really care about. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Gavinisms—The Musical Edition

Gavin loves to sing.  And when I say loves, I mean he sings All. The. Time.  He sings at dinner, in the car, while he's playing, when he's taking a bathyou get the idea.  So, I thought this month's Gavinisms could include his own lyrics to two of his favorite songs.  Enjoy!

“Skip to My Lou”
            Skip, skip, skip to lou,
            skip, skip, skip to lou,
            skip, skip, skip to lou
            skip to lou my diamond.

            Fly in da butter, shoo fly shoo
            fly in da butter, shoo fly shoo
            fly in da butter, shoo fly shoo
            skip to lou my diamond.

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
            Take me out to da ball game,
            take me out to da crown.
            Buy me penis and crack-a-jag,
            I don’t care if ever get back
            Cuz it’s roof, roof, roof
            for da home teen,
            if they don’t win it’s a shade
            Cuz one, two, free strike out
            at the ole ball game!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Go Mizzou!

Though I'm not an MU alumnus, I do consider myself an honorary tiger.  It was my school of choice, the school I'd pictured myself attending, the school I still wish I'd gone to, the school I would have attended had it not been for the huge scholarship UMKC offered me.

Life is funny that way.  Because of the money I saved, I was able to purchase my first home right out of college.  I might never have dated and married Ryan, and we might never have had these 1 1/2 kids we love so much.  I would have taken the journalism route instead of creative writing, and might not have this awesome job I get to go to every day.

Do I regret not going to a big campus school?  Sure.  But I wouldn't trade where I am now for anything.

Fortunately, Ryan, Gavin and I got to show our MU pride and visit the homecoming parade this year.  It was the 100th anniversary of homecoming at Mizzou (where, by the way, homecoming was invented).  We had so much fun, and a little bit of that regret is now in the past.  And who knows...maybe there's a future tiger in our family.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Toddler (and not-so-toddler) Transitions

Gavin sometimes has a hard time with transitions. We’ve learned to offer several warnings during playtime before we move to bathtime.  And we always talk about what he’s going to do at school when we’re in the car on the way there.  If we forget, or we’re too rushed, we end up with a limp noodle on the floor begging for “one more minute” of whatever activity we were doing before it’s time for something new.

This weekend was full of transitions and Gavin did great even with a seemingly endless number of planned activities. 

We went to the zoo Saturday morning with friends Rachael and Livvy.  Grandma Clifford joined us, too.  Appropriate, considering Clifford the Big Red Dog was there that day.  Gavin and Livvy ran through the entire zoo, racing each other from one exhibit to the next and climbing on every rock that came into view.  He fell asleep in the car as soon as we hit the highway. I don’t remember the last time that happened.

 Saturday night was dinner at Stroud’s with Grandpa and Nana Green, and Uncle Adam and Aunt Jahlynn. Gavin gobbled down chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, but surprised me when insisting, “I don’t like gravy.”  Somewhere, I’ve gone wrong.  Thank God I still have several more years to shape his tastes.  He spent the entire meal in the restaurant high chair.  He hasn’t sat in one of those for more than a year.

Sunday morning was our fall family photo shoot and Gavin spent the hour shouting “cheese” and playing in the autumn leaves (photos to come soon).  I spent the hour wondering who stole my baby and replaced him with this kid who is just So. Freaking. Big.

Our visit to the pumpkin patch later that day is where I realized Gavin isn’t the only one who has a hard time with transitions.  I was the one with a lump in my throat when I told him to “watch out for the babies” playing near him.  And it was me who teared up when I took the annual photo of him and Ryan in the pumpkin patch sign.

Now, I do have to take into account that I’m pregnant, and therefore hormonal, but I keep going back to this thought that next year, it won’t be just us at the zoo or the pumpkin patch.  We’ll have this other little person—a baby—as a part of our family, too.  It’s going to be a HUGE transition.

And something tells me Gavin’s going to do better with this transition than me.  Maybe it’s his little voice repeatedly reminding me: “Mommy I not a baby.  I a big boy!”

So right now, I’m appreciating those “baby” things he occasionally does, like falling asleep in the car or sitting in a high chair, because in five-ish months, he won’t be the baby anymore.  In five-ish months, we'll be a family of four.