Happy First Birthday, Bobby Bear!

On Saturday morning, February 18th, I awoke to a sunny stream slipping across the peaks of Heavenly Valley mountain and through the wall-length window of our vacation rental bedroom.  Ahead of me was full day of launching myself on skis down the back bowls of Kirkwood in the gorgeous 40+ degree Lake Tahoe weather, but my mood was ever so slightly melancholy.  A year ago on that very day I gave birth to my littlest angel baby and now he’s 1.  For the last twelve months I have tirelessly nursed and pumped, hugged and carried, changed diapers and bathed, clothed and tickled, fed and taught, awakened and rocked.  And though I have continued to pump twice a day while on a well-deserved vacation because I am still not quite ready to stop nursing, Bobby is at home with his Nana Sue and his Grandma Gale drinking cow milk, going down slides at the park, walking all over the place, and sleeping through the night (something he has not done since he was about 6 months old).  His infancy is now just a recent memory and I can’t help but mourn this milestone just as all mothers have before me.

I do not feel bad about being away from Bobby on his first birthday as I will be home to celebrate in no time, and his co-grandma babysitters have taken such phenomenal care of him while we’ve been away.  However, as I did when Jack turned 1 as well, I spent the day both proud of the spirited child Bobby has become and disappointed that his absolute dependence on me has shifted.  I love you, little man!

Three Amazing Years

A week ago at bed time Jack and I got to talking about the origin of the knitted blue afghan that covers the foot of his bed (and often him) during his evening slumber.  I explained it was his special baby blanket, handmade by a best friend of his Nana.  I then opened his baby book to show him pictures of himself as a tiny baby, fingers curled through the purposeful holes of the very same blanket.  He was surprisingly delighted to linger with me amidst the pages of his carefully documented infancy; discovering that he too (not just his little brother) was once helplessly the size of my forearm.  We looked at pictures of his Mommy’s enormously pregnant belly, his first plane ride and first bath, then peeked into the envelope holding the locks from his first hair cut.

And now my precious man has, on this very evening, turned 3 years old.  I wish I had more words than the parental cliche “it goes so fast”.  But I can still feel his tiny 8lb 3oz wrinkles in the curve of my elbow.

Happy Birthday to my funny little monkey.

Birthday Snuggle

Naming Conventions

Around this house, it’s much more fun to refer to things by their code names (most of which are made up by Jack)

  • Messy gra-ola bar (he skips the N) = Sweet & Salty peanut granola bar.
  • Squishy juice = Capri Sun.
  • Jogging juice = Gatorade.
  • Tomatoes = fruit snacks.  This one isn’t new, but for some reason it stuck.  His treat for going poo-poo on the potty.
  • Itchy cream = Jack’s Aveeno eczema cream that we apply after his bath to moisturize and prevent [much less frequent now, thank goodness] outbreaks.   The other night Jack came out of his room after we put him to bed and said, “Mommy, I need some itchy cream.”  I went in, rubbed some relief into his elbow creases where he’d been scratching, after which he sighed and stated, “okay, I can sleep now.”
  • Bumpy road = the gravel road we often cruise on the way to town, just for fun.
  • “It’s on the moon” = “it’s lost”  If we can’t find a toy, Astronaut Jack likes the idea that it has relocated somewhere amazing.
  • Puzzle magazines = Jack’s subscription to National Geographic Kids.  He’s obsessed with the picture find games and I’ve often found a magazine between his head and his pillow when I check on him before going to bed myself.
  • Bobby snacks = learning-to-eat-food that Jack also likes to consume simply because Bobby does.
  • Lips = Chapstick.
  • Mosquito Biter = crane fly.
  • Pond = breastfeeding pillow that Jack likes to clasp into a circle and then jump into, pretending it’s a body of water.
  • Team shirt = the UVA football jersey I brought home for Jack from my recruiting field trip to Charlottesville.  He’s barely taken it off since.
  • Magical healing cream = Neosporin.
  • Streaking shoes = Jack’s new sneakers that arrived by mail and that he insisted he had to try on after he was already dressed in his footie pyjamas.  As such, we removed his pyjamas and let him slip barefoot into his fresh kicks with only a diaper.  At which point Daddy suggested streaking the neighborhood and removed Jack’s pull-up to let him jog au naturel down the sidewalk under the moonlight wearing, quite literally, only a pair of sneakers.  Jack could not have been happier and has referred fondly to his new shoes by this name ever since.
  • The red store = Target.  The blue store = Costco.
  • Sticky jam = jam (any flavor).
  • Poop car = the matchbox cars he earns for taking himself to the potty and dropping some base.  He informed the woman behind us in line at Target where we went to buy Halloween “Boo bags” and replacement vehicular incentives that the 10-pack of Hot Wheels were his “poop cars”.  She looked at Jack inquisitively until I explained, and also informed Jack that he didn’t have to tell everyone  what his nickname was for his potty training bonus.

Birth Control

Being a parent can be as trying as it is rewarding.  Below, may I demonstrate my children and their uncanny range of dramatics.  From sobbing over luke-warm steak to making giggly poop jokes.  From screaming for some breast milk to laughing insatiably over the same giggly poop joke.  You just have to keep breathing, deeply, and letting the rainbow-hued lines of window crayoning all over your off-white master bedroom carpet (or splotches of white super glue all over your newly installed black, rubber, basement office flooring) be what your child intended them to be.  Self-expression.

 

Scooting, Crawling, Talking – 5 to 7 Months

Seven months old last week, my little Bobby Bear (actuarially, he’s now trending to 1 instead of 0).  Yes, already.  Happy, giggly, lovey, squirmy, vocal, bouncy, curious, tickly, strong, blue-eyed, beautiful baby boy.  He’s grown so ridiculously fast since my last posts from a 5-month old, toothless infant cooing happily like a rooster in his crib;

to a 6-month old, 17 1/2 pound, 27 inch little boogie boy (he just loves a good dance party and thinks Mommy is pretty darn funny when she does some raving in the kitchen) with 2 bottom teeth and army crawling decisively around in circles on the basement carpet;

to a chatterbox of an energetic 7-month old who prefers standing to sitting (in fact, he just pulled himself up on the couch today by crawling up a pillow) and being held on Mommy’s hip to jumping solo.  When he’s happy, which is most of the time, Tickly Bobby will charm you with his flirtatious, coy, dimply little grin.  When he’s upset (about, say, being put down for two minutes while Mommy prepares his bowl of homemade purees), the universe will know.  From the moment he exited the womb, we’ve never been concerned about Screamy Bobby‘s vocal chords (just ask the lady in Target who accosted me for letting my child scream for a few minutes while I made my way to the checkout line, as she was certain something was wrong and he needed to be comforted, and implied with her caustic remarks about my nonchalance that I was a terrible mother for not doing so).  Thankfully, it doesn’t take much but a hug to make the shrieking stop.

At 7 months, Bobby is flourishing.  He’s already said his first word “Hi” and possibly a few others (I’m convinced I can hear “Mama” through his wails as he follows me pleadingly across a room; “Jack” when the boys splash in the bathtub together; and a girlfriend mentioned she was sure he said “Dada” and “Doggie” while she babysat him last weekend).  He responds to his name and also his brother’s name (if we call “Jack”, Bobby will search the room until he sees his idol).  Although not the sleeper his brother was at the same age, he still gives me a solid 10-11 hours at night and wakes up in his crib content to coo (or, in Bobby’s case, moan like a satiated camel) for long stretches of time (usually long enough for a shower) with his little blue bear and doggy before we peek in and brighten our day with his morning smiles.  He’s still nursing full time, which I adore and plan to continue as long as he doesn’t bite me, lift my shirt on his own, or shout the word “mine”.  He still barfs perpetually, but poops infrequently.  He switches between breast and breast milk in a bottle without flinching and my freezer stash remains intact.  Bobby also eats everything I give him.  I’ve managed to make all of his food, save some baby yogurt and one jar of Gerber meat just to introduce him to it, and he’s now a master at spoon feeding and rice cracker mess-making.

Like most 7-month olds, Bobby puts everything he touches into his mouth.  He also diverts his attention from toy-to-toy quite rapidly unless it’s something extraordinarily delicious like the ears of his brother’s favorite brown dog, or his Lamaze moose.  He passes his toys from hand to hand and pounds them on the table when he’s sitting up.  He’s also more compact and more mobile than his brother was, which frightens me into thinking he might be walking within the next two months.   After Jack started walking at 9 1/2 months and was running by 1, Kent and I swore we would discourage our second child’s mobility.  But Bobby just does it anyway, darnit!  He was rolling at 2 months, scooting forward at 5 months, crawling (essentially…he still prefers his chest on the ground even though he is fully capable of lifting it) and sitting on his own at 6 months, crawling over obstacles (like, Daddy) and pulling himself up to standing at 7 months.  It’s amazing to watch his determination and the way he curls his toes to dig into the carpet so ferociously.  I’m grateful for the Ergo to get my baby cuddle time, because Bobby is the strongest, squirmiest little thing who does not enjoy sitting still.

What’s amazing to me is how much different Bobby is from his brother.  When I look at Jack I often feel like I am gazing in a mirror and I’m smitten with the fruits of my own reflection.  When I hold Bobby to my chest and he stares up at me with those piercing blue eyes, I continuously fall in love with a pint-sized copy of my husband.  I adore them both equally, yet so differently.

Big Help

As his independence grows, so does his ability to contribute.  Dishes, making his bed, dressing himself, pouring his own milk, mowing the lawn, filling the recycling, bringing in the trash bins, closing the garage door, buckling his own seatbelt, closing his own car door, climbing everything…  You can never start the lessons of responsibility, respect and creativity too early.

And despite his traditional jealousies, Jack adores helping with his little brother.  Feeding him, making him giggle when he’s antsy, pushing his stroller, giving him toys to chew and relieve his sore gums.  99% of the time Jack comes to my bedside when he wakes up in the mornings, but from time to time I catch him standing by Bobby’s crib, chatting with his little brother after sunrise (or…climbing his furniture).

Army Ranger

What happens when you get a group of lifelong Army Ranger friends together with their families and have them all descend upon your house for a long weekend?  17 people sleeping under one roof and several more joining for the water slide party.  Chaos, laughter and Jack who has not stopped asking me when we’re going to Nebraska…

 


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