Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Letter to My Boys

You are now my big preschooler, and most days, you're totally proud of it.  For the first week back to school, you were so excited about the "Rainbow Room" and being a big kid, and riding the bus, etc., etc., until you realized that this wasn't just a temporary thing and you were going to be there all year.  The excitement quickly turned to apprehension, heavy with "I miss my old room and my old teachers." Thankfully, the new teachers' excitement to have you there has helped ease you back into looking forward to going every day, and being excited to tell us what you've been up to while you're there.  So far, you've ridden on the bus to the library several times, made home-made applesauce, and learned about the letters A, B & C, among other numerous activities. You've been most excited about your "helper job" every week and so far, I think the "teacher helper" has been your favorite. It's made you feel important and needed and I love that that's a part of the curriculum.
A completely unrelated, yet adorable photo of you in our first rain after the summer drought.
While you've been more helpful at school, it seems you've regressed a bit at home and want more help from us in things you were routinely doing yourself, like getting dressed and undressed, picking up toys, etc. I think it stems back to your baby brother a little bit and for the moment, we're glad to give you a little extra help and attention as it's needed.  

Daddy and I also took you to your first Royals game this month. You'd been begging to go all summer so we left Bennett with Grandma Jan and sat in some incredible 5th row, 1st-base-side seats. You were enthralled for about the first inning before realizing what a very long game baseball is. We all still had a blast though and introduced you to the frosty malt, which made it all worth it.
I've missed spending my days with you since you started back to school but have loved hearing all your school stories tainted with excitement and wonder and pride. I hope you love school just as much as your geeky Momma did. So far, I think we're off to a good start.

I love you more,

You, my little roly poly are a lovable little ball of sweetness. Almost literally. Your chubs get more delicious with each passing month, though I think you're finally starting to plateau as far as weight goes. Time to start solids, I guess. :)

You've always been ticklish--it's how I got your first laughs out of you months ago, but now, Daddy and I torture you frequently because you are so easy to tickle. Your back, your thighs, your neck, your tummy--all of it's ticklish and the cute little squirmy giggles you let out just keep us coming back for more. I do apologize on both of our behalves, but we just can't help ourselves.

You're drooling nonstop and chewing on everything lately, and I keep waiting for a tooth to peek through, but so far, nothing.  Which, frankly, is a good thing. Let's get a couple more months of toothless nursing in before I have to worry about you chomping down on me instead of your teethers.
The chewing on "everything" also includes those adorably fat fingers.
You're also babbling a lot and frequently say "ma ma ma" though Daddy says it doesn't count because you don't know what you're saying yet. (FYI: Screw that! Mommy wins!) We've also heard "ba ba ba" and "va va va" but no "da da da" yet. Gavin's also hoping for his name soon, too. You've apparently got a lot of work ahead of you.

The vocabulary's not quite there yet, but your motor skills are getting more advanced every day. You're a pro sitter now, rarely losing your balance, and you're scooting and army crawling to get to any toy within your reach. You got your legs under you this morning, but you weren't quite sure what to do once you got there. I know it won't be long so I'm cherishing these last moments of non-mobile baby time. You even tried pulling up on the ottoman the other day, and to that I say, "Slow down! Let's move one step at a time, kid."

Once you started sitting up, your fantastic sleeping through the night pattern disappeared and you're waking up multiple times a night again.  We're slowly trying to get you back to your old nights of awesomeness, but with all the changes going on right now (daycare, starting solids, possible teeth, etc.), I have a feeling it will be a while until we're back on track. So for right now, I'm trying to enjoy the middle of the night cuddles, but also praying they don't last too much longer.

I thoroughly enjoyed our last few weeks of "just us" time before I started back to work, and you to daycare. They were wonderful, and full of cuddles and giggles and moments I will forever covet. I missed you this week, and worried about you constantly. Though your first couple of days at daycare were hard, and full of tears and not wanting to eat or sleep, you seem to be finding a groove and by Friday, your teachers were boasting about what a great day you'd had.
You have, of course, already caught your first daycare sickness and I had to stay home with you mid-week due to fever. I originally thought it was just because of the vaccines you'd gotten the day before, but by Friday night, you'd caught the same croupy cough your brother had the previous week. One steroid shot later and you're quickly on the mend.

I can't wait to see what you've got in store for us this month, my man.

I love you more,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Gavinisms

Thinking about Ryan's accident:
Gavin:  "I wish Daddy didn't have a cigar."
Me:  "What do you mean?"
Gavin:  "Cuz he had a bad accident and now he has a big cigar on his belly."

The morning after his first Royals game:
Gavin: "We watched the baseball game last night."
Me: "Yes, we did.  Did you have fun?"
Gavin:  "Ya.  I like watching belly button hit the ball."
Me:  "You mean Billy Butler?"
Gavin:  "Ya.  He was really good."

After noticing Gavin had been in the bathroom a long time:
Me, from the other room:  "Gavin...what are you doing?"
Gavin:  "I'm just chilling out in here."

On my first day back to work:
Me:  "Today is my first day back to work.  I'm gonna miss you guys."
Gavin:  " gonna be right fine.  And Bennett's gonna be right fine.  He has lots of friends to play with."
Gavin, to Bennett:  "You're gonna have music time and movement time.  Daycare is fun.  Don't be sad.  But you can't come to the Rainbow Room for big kids.  You have to go to the baby room."

After a fart at the table:
Me:  "What do you say?"
Gavin:  "Excuse me (laughing)."
Me:  "That's not funny."
Gavin:  "It sounds funny in the bathtub.  That makes you laugh."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Photo Fun

Last week I realized that photo shoots are kind of like parenting. It's much harder with two children.

If one's smiling, the other one is not. If one is looking away, the other one is sure to be giving the brightest, most adorable smile imaginable. If one has an acceptable expression, the other will surely flash a cheeseball smile.

But even when I thought there was no way my ornery, fussy boys could pose for a single good shot, my friend Jaime can always capture the sweetest faces on film.  Evidence below: Bennett's a little "old man who's lost his hearing" in this one, but what can you do?
He had to live up to the tie, I guess.  
Check out Jaime's work on her Web site.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Watch Bennett Grow--Six Months Old

Official Doctor Stats:
Weight:  19 lbs., 7 oz. (83rd percentile)
Height:  26 1/4 inches (45th percentile)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maternity Leave Blues

I've felt this day sneaking up on me for a while now.  I've watched it out of the corner of my eye and tried to ignore it more and more as it inched closer.  But here it is.  Already!  How did that happen? How did six entire MONTHS of maternity leave slip by me at such a relentless pace?

I'm an emotional contradiction today--excited to go back to a job I love (with other adult people--yay!), nervous about how Bennett will do without me, thankful I've been blessed by such a long leave, heartbroken that it's already over.

I keep getting the question, "Is it harder this time?" and I don't really know how to answer.  It's just as impossible this time as it was with Gavin.  I'm leaving one of the people I love most in this world with people who don't know how to make him laugh, and that he likes to be sung to when he's falling asleep, or that he sometimes prefers to suck on a finger instead of a binky.  I wonder what milestones I'll undoubtedly miss because I'm not with him, and if he'll think I've abandoned him. That's the hard part.

But it's easier, too.  Because this time I know I'm a better mommy when I work.  The stay-at-home gig just isn't for me.  I appreciate time with my boys so much more when I'm away from them during the day.  And this time I know and love and trust the women taking care of Bennett like they were members of my own family.  After all, all of us Wecare moms affectionately call them the baby whisperers.

It's easier because this time I know Bennett will be okay.  I'll be okay.  We'll all be OK.

Still...I will forever miss these first months when I got to spend my days studying the slight curve of Bennett's eyelashes, the way he sucks his lip when he sleeps, the scrunchy face he makes right before he cries, and the 1,001 other little quirks that make him the perfect little man that he is. Because nothing can replace warm baby snuggles and open-mouthed kisses.

I wouldn't trade these past six months for anything.

It's easier this time.  It's harder this time.  I'm ready.  I'm not ready.  I'm excited.  I'm heartbroken. Sounds a bit like a metaphor for motherhood, right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time Machine

This is my last week of maternity leave and my constant prayer has been for time to slow the hell down. Six months have passed by in what feels like six minutes and I can't help but feel as though the little moments I wanted to savor seem to be slipping through my fingers.

I've been focused on specific moments I want to remember--like the warmth of Bennett sleeping on my chest, or his joyful, unexpected giggle.  I want to put them up on a shelf somewhere and cash them in later, when years have passed and these days feel like they're from another lifetime. Unfortunately, time doesn't work that way.

Occasionally, though, we get a very rare "re-do," and time reverses for a bit to remind us how precious it really is.  Last night, I was lucky enough to get one of those moments with my oldest.

Gavin was a little stuffy yesterday with what we thought was allergy-related sinus stuff until he woke up three hours after bedtime with a croupy cough and fever.  We tried a hot shower, cool air, a humidifier, etc., but as soon as he'd lie down, the coughing fits would start again.  The only way he could get any sleep was to be upright, so I held my long-legged, lanky boy in our living room recliner until he fell asleep against my chest, just like he did when he was my baby.

For a moment, my first born got to be my baby again, and I knew my prayer for time to slow down had been more than had been one-upped.

We've got plenty more memories to make in this family, and that's what I'm going to focus on. And if we get to take an occasional trip back in time...well, that's just icing on the cake.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pinterest Project

Gavin's been in a big boy bed for almost a year now.  He's got the full bed, the non-baby comforter, the grown-up kid books, etc., but the baby pictures that hung on the wall of his nursery were still there, just waiting to finally be updated with more appropriate "big kid" decor.

I couldn't ever quite find the perfect thing to fill that space until I saw a craft project this summer on Pinterest.  I instantly loved it, and knew Gavin would have fun creating some artwork himself that he could hang up in his room.

The original inspiration came from a blog link through Pinterest, but I personalized it by using contact paper instead of tape so I could make rounded shapes, i.e. Andy Warhol-style smiley faces.  I taped off the squares, cut out the smiley faces, and let Gavin do the rest.

Painting the blue square.  He was meticulous about getting all the "white spaces."
Ripping off the contact paper after the paint had dried.

I probably should have gone to the store and purchased red finger paint to match the other artwork a little more, but we already had the purple on hand so simplicity prevailed.
I think it turned out nice anyway, and Gavin was pretty proud to hang it up when it was done.  He's already invited several guests to "come upstairs and see my painting."  All that pride for only $10 and a few on-hand supplies.  Not too shabby.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Baby's First Blog

I was attempting to write a blog post today when a certain someone rudely interrupted with this:

cgcv          ntfgvcc v hggnvb vn hnvb jnSx Ωhhytrh4e\g[\=]\escvcc bbyg gg  bnb hjn                  rtghb nhb

I can't be positive about what he's trying to say here, but my guess is "Momma...stop blogging and give me more milks please...yay for boobies."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First of Many "First Days of School"

Yesterday was Gavin's first day of preschool, and as mothers do (or at least as my mother always did), we took pictures to commemorate the event.
It's the first of many pictures in the coming years, and I hope he'll tolerate holding a sign for most of them.  If not, the adorable smile will make up for it.  And when that gives out, at least the "I don't want to take this photo" face makes a pretty amusing photo.

Yesterday, I felt the full force of these past three years fly by me when I saw him standing at the top of the stairs at his preschool.
Granted, we still walked through the same doors we've been walking through for the past three years, but yesterday was different.  Yesterday was his first day in the "Rainbow Room."  It was his first official day of preschool, the first day he played on "the big kid" playground, the first day he wore a backpack, the first day he didn't cry on his first day.

Yesterday he was one year closer to school school. little guy became one of the big kids.
My big kid, honking his nose at me to say goodbye.  Some traditions die hard.  Thank goodness!