Tag Archives: 7-9 months

She Says… Nine Months

Emmett Blemmett (Owen’s favorite nickname, which sometimes turns into “Emmett Blemmett Kemmett Chemicals”). Chubby Wubby (the nickname that comes out of my mouth most often). Bonky Bonks (your earliest nickname, still hanging on, due to how often you use your head as your third arm and bonk your face on things). Mr. Delicious (your nickname at school that is more perfect for you than I could have ever imagined). Emmett-y.

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Nine months in and nine months out.

Well, as any parent will tell you, it’s actually more like ten months in. And anyone who had to work hard to get pregnant or stay pregnant will tell you it’s actually a whole lot longer than that. But it’s pretty amazing to think that nine months ago you were 7lbs and 14oz of wriggling, snuggling, suckling newborn deliciousness. And 9 months before that, you were but a tiny bunch of cells beginning to join together and multiply. And now, here you are, crawling as fast as your big brother can run, pulling up on tables and couches and anything your little hands can grab and babbling and squealing and waving and blowing raspberries all day long.

You are so full of joy. You are OUR joy. I’ve never met a kid as happy and content as you are. Sure, you have your cranky moments, like when you are tired or put in the car without getting a bottle first. But the rest of the time? The rest of the time you are happy to be wherever, as long as we’re nearby. You’re happy to play with whatever, as long as you can put it in your mouth and teethe on it. You’re happy to eat whatever, as long as you can giggle with your brother from your high chair while you do it. You’re happy to be with whoever, but you’re beginning to have a strong preference for Daddy, me and your favorite teachers at school (you’ve developed an adorable sense of stranger danger around others!).

You impress us every day by eating everything, from soft, mushy bits to hard, crunchy chunks to pieces of food as big as your hand… all with no teeth! Almost 10 months old today and still no teeth. You certainly haven’t let it cramp your style, though. You chow down on everything you’re given (current faves: broccoli, green beans, grilled chicken, veggie or bean burgers, tofu, Cheerios, toast with hummus, rice cakes with peanut butter), but you love MEAT the most. I’ll fill your tray with fruits, vegetables, meat, whatever and you will pick every single teeny tiny piece of meat off that tray first. Thankfully you eat just about everything and reliably knock back every bottle. Your cheeks don’t lie; you love to nosh. I don’t have a CLUE where you got that (hint hint!).

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You crawl, your cute little diaper butt swaying, to follow your brother wherever he is, all day long. I am happy to say he adores you just as much as you adore him. Your face erupts in a grin as soon as he is in your view.

Your little giggle (either one, loud “HA!”, which makes us all hysterical, or a running, “Heh heh heh heh”, like a slow clap that gets everyone around you doing it too) is infectious. You are so roly poly and adorable everyone who meets you wants to hold you and squeeze you. You’re so perfectly squeezable. I know that walking is on the horizon for you (though I’m wondering if you’ll hold off on that milestone for a few more months since you are such a superfast crawler), but I have to admit, I’m holding tight to the stage that you are in now. You are just… baby perfection.

Every night after our busy day and slightly rushed dinner time and hilarious bathtime with your brother, I relish bedtime with you. I zip you up into your fleece “bag” (wearable blanket); we call you our cozy little caterpillar when you wear it. Daddy makes you a bottle and Owen comes in, half-pajamaed and talking a million miles a minute and kisses you on the head before whirlwinding out of the room. And then they are gone. And it’s just you, me and the sound machine. And we rock and you drink and I sing and I breathe you in. You gaze at me and pull my hair and squeeze my arms and hands with your chubby little fingers. You giggle when I say “Night night book?” and lunge for the book pile. We read, you babble along with me and you try to eat the book. Then you rest your head on my shoulder for a split second, and then crane your body backwards for your crib. Ready for bed. I don’t think I’ll every forget your sweet little round face shining in the dim light, grabbing your lovey and cuddling it to your face while your twinkly eyes gleam and smile at me as if you say, “Goodnight Mommy! Love you! Now get out and let me sleep!”.

You are flexible, content and easily amused. I cannot wait to continue to get to know you as you grow. To see what type of toddler you’ll be and what type of preschooler and if these words still seem so “you” in high school and beyond. One thing is for sure, now and forever: You are loved. You are loved so hard in this family and nothing will ever change that. You make me want to have a million more babies, if they are all as sweet and wonderful as you. Or no more babies at all, because how could I ever love another as much as I love you?

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You have stretched Daddy’s and my hearts bigger than we ever thought possible. Nine months ago, and nine months before that, and forever onwards from here.

Love,
Mommy

 

She Says… Easter Bunny Dreams

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I’ve always been a little bit on the fence about creating and maintaining the myths of things like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up believing in all of these, and more, and I don’t think that I’m any worse for it. But there is something… strange… to me about telling your kids lie after lie to keep up this farce.

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To Benjamin and I, Santa is worth it. Santa is the pinnacle of the magic of the holiday season. The Tooth Fairy we haven’t decided about yet (we have a few more years before that milestone hits), but I’m thinking we’ll spin that imaginary web as well. But the Easter Bunny? That one just seems downright strange to us. A gigantic bunny hippity hopping into your house and delivering a basket? Perhaps no weirder than a dude in a red suit coming down your chimney, but Benjamin and I agreed that it seems unnecessary to lie about this one too.

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At our house, Easter baskets are from Mommy and Daddy, and the big bunny who we happened to see last weekend is just a person dressed in a costume for Easter.

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I think the whole “person dressed in a costume” conversation is why Owen insisted that he wear his frog costume after the Easter egg hunt (see below). Perhaps in our effort to keep Easter a little less lie-oriented, we confused Easter and Halloween. Ha!

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Maybe if Owen was a different kid, one who reveled in stories of make-believe or didn’t try to “figure everything out”, we might have been more likely to tell him some tall tales. But this lie just seemed like more work than it was worth.

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Nevertheless, Owen and Emmett were both tickled to come downstairs and find their baskets. We opted not to do an egg hunt at home, since we always go to Grammy and Grampy’s house for the hunt in the afternoon, so we had a nice, quiet morning playing with Easter toys in matching monster pajamas.

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In the afternoon we had a nice early Easter dinner with part of Benjamin’s family and the boys did the annual egg hunt. I think this is the last year Emmett will be placated with “finding” just one egg on his own. Owen is going to have some competition next year!

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Owen loved being just like the adults this year, with his own little pre-dinner mocktail and blazer/tie combination (that he picked out himself, without fussing at all).

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He even asked Grampy to put on a tie so they could match (copycatting again!).

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You know, just like the adults… with a frog suit on.

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Easter Bunny or no Easter Bunny, we had a sweet day celebrating with family.

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And everyone was pooped at the end.

 

Side note: Apparently we’ve really gotten our money’s worth with Owen’s “fancy clothes”. That red tie was featured on Easter 2012 (HOW CUTE IS LITTLE OWEN!) and the blazer on Easter 2013! I think they’ll both need to be replaced for 2015, but perhaps Emmett with be big enough for the tie by then…

She Says… Brotherly Love

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As one of four kids, I know the joy of outnumbering your parents. I know the silliness that ensues when your parents leave you alone long enough to come up with a hilarious (and likely dangerous) new game. I know the late night giggles and inside jokes and choreographing dances together on the back porch.

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I know the yearning to be bigger and do the “big kid things” my older sister and brother could do before me. I know the pride of getting to do those “big kid things” before my little sister. I know the way good news grows exponentially with each sibling that I tell. I know the way each one can comfort me and support me, in their own way, when I need it the most. And I know the way that sibling relationships can blossom into real friendships in adulthood.

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So I always knew that I wanted to have more than one child.

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In fact, anyone who knows me in real life has probably heard me say that I am one of those crazy women who adores being pregnant and loves the baby stage so much that I would have a million kids. Ok, maybe not a million, but certainly a few more than we have now. (Of course there are lots of things that come into play when planning a family, so our family may very well be complete with these 2 wild and crazy, beautiful boys.)

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Watching Owen and Emmett delight in each other and grow up side by side, hand in hand, for the last 9 months, has been even more powerful than loving each of them individually. They are greater than the sum of their parts. They will have each other in a way that neither Benjamin nor I will ever be able to match.

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Emmett is still a few months from saying any intelligible words, but no words are needed for us to know how he feels about his big brother. His adoring gaze says it all. His little chuckle at everything Owen does. The way his eyes dry and his face brightens when Owen makes a silly face, no matter what caused his tears.

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The way he tolerates (and even enjoys, despite me saying, “Emmett doesn’t like that! Please stop”) Owen’s manhandling and bear hugs and not-always-so-gentle-pats on the head. The way he crawls after Owen, his little diaper butt swaying as quickly as it can, to get all up in his brother’s business. He’s the peanut gallery. The sidekick. The wrestling partner.

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Owen dotes on his little bro in a way I could not have even imagined. I knew there would be love, but I expected frustration and impatience and jealousy. I knew there would be hand-holding and head-kissing, but I expected hitting and pushing too. I knew there would be times that they would play together, but I didn’t expect Owen to ask for Emmett almost all the time. To call for him when he’s crying, because he wants to give him a hug. To proudly pull his friends over to show Emmett off, even though they’ve met him a hundred times before. To comfort Emmett so sweetly and gently when he is sad.

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It nearly bursts my heart.

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Sure, there are surreptitious elbows to move Emmett out of the way and sneaky toy grabs when he thinks I’m not looking. There are times when Owen will plop himself in my lap simply because he can tell that Emmett is headed in that direction and he wants to claim his turf. There are times when a sweet, brotherly hug stealthily turns into a body slam… and not in a good way.

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But those times are fewer and farther between than I ever thought would be the case, especially with an attention-hog like Owen. And hey, those times build character too, right? For both kids.

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There are many things that Owen got that Emmett didn’t. The classic and unavoidable lot of the second child.

But there’s one thing Owen didn’t have until Emmett came along.

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A brother.

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And I’m pretty sure that is the best gift we’ll ever give either one.

She Says… Latest Favorite Baby Product

Day 16 of partner-less parenting, but we’re making it through. We’re so ready for Daddy to come home (soon! soon!). The bliss of the first 11 days wore off a little over the last week while we weathered a stomach bug for Emmett and some rough behavior from Owen. But my mom visited for the weekend, which meant entertainment for the kids and two more helping hands for me. Hooray for Moms! A wonderful time was had by all.

One of the products that has saved me (and Emmett) during the many solo bathtimes over the last few weeks is a new bath seat.

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(Side note: No one is paying me to say this… I just really like this seat and all of my friends in real life were interested in hearing about it, so I thought you might be too.)

Since Emmett was born we have been using this angled seat. When he was tiny I used a foam pad to keep him from sliding around and bathed him alone, but as soon as he was a little sturdier (12 weeks, I think), we started double bathtime with Owen. It’s a lifesaver when there’s only one parent home in the evening, and it has turned into one of my (and the boys’) favorite parts of every day.

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At 8 1/2 months, Emmett is obviously sitting like a champ these days (and crawling, and pulling up, and standing, and practically cruising already — SLOW DOWN, BABY!), so he could just sit in the tub like Owen. Except that Owen likes a ton of water “like a pool” so he can practice opening his eyes underwater, and, let’s be honest, doesn’t always follow directions like “no splashing!” or “don’t pour water over Emmett’s head!” or “NO TIDAL WAVES.”. So just putting him in the water is, uhh, a bit dangerous.

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I got this Keter Bath Seat on Amazon (that is my affiliate link, so I’ll get a few shiny, copper pennies if you order through that link). It’s currently on sale for $30, but it is usually $79 (WAY too expensive for what it is).

I ordered it immediately, not thinking about the fact that it was sold by an outside seller, as it was not available through Amazon at the time. As someone who is used to my Prime shipping, I am always appalled when I can’t get my item immediately. When I got the shipping notification, it said it would be delivered some time between March 15 and June 15. Umm, seriously? A 3 month window? So I went to return the damn thing because I don’t think I’ll even need it in June and was just looking for something to keep Emmett’s face out of the water while his brother tries to drown him (in good fun!) every night in the bath. And they told me they couldn’t cancel it because it was already on its way. ON A BOAT. Finally it arrived but was mysteriously marked as Registered Mail, which of course I wasn’t around to sign for at exactly the right time, so I ended up having to go to the post office to get it.

Lame.

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But now that it’s here? I totally love it. Emmett does too. Now he’s no longer face-first into the water because his big brother is teaching him how to swim like a fish. (Kidding, obviously. I would never leave him unattended in the tub!)

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If you need something like this but don’t want to spend 30 bucks, my dear friend Nancy Holtzman also clued me in that you can use an empty laundry basket once your baby can sit well! Genius!

What’s your favorite new product that makes your life easier with kid(s)?

She Says… 8 Months

Emmett-y. Bonky Bonks. My smiley little buddy.

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This was a big month for you! All of a sudden, it seems, you are a mover and a shaker. While you used to be content snuggling into my lap, now you are ON! THE! GO! A day before you turned 8 months you figured out how to get your knees under yourself in crawling position (a skill you had been working on for weeks). You straightened your legs and jack rabbited forwards right onto your face. Not to be deterred, you got right back up and did it again. And again. And again. And boom. Now you’re crawling all over the place.

Lookout world. Emmett has arrived.

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It seems that your personality is blossoming right along with your gross motor skills. You are expressing yourself in all different ways now. You coo and gurgle and grunt and shout. You have already figured out how to match your brother’s insane volume level! I think we’re going to need earplugs soon. You will shout, and Owen will imitate you, and then you will imitate Owen, and before I know it we’re all shouting and laughing. You guys are HILARIOUS together. Partners in crime, for sure. But perhaps we should start to learn the difference between an inside voice and an outside voice.

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You blow raspberries like it’s your job. All day long, every day. Blowing raspberries and giggling your little “huh, huh” laugh. Your teacher at school told me that yesterday you were laying on the floor with one of your friends, doing your little Emmett chuckle, and she was cracking up at you. The two of you just sat and laughed, you laughing at her and her laughing at you, for several minutes. Adorable. I hope you always keep your sweet sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself. It will serve you well, my joyful little darling. For there will be many things in your life that will make you want to stop smiling and never laugh again. But the truth is, in those moments, the best thing you can do is keep smiling. Keep laughing. Keep your head afloat. And they will pass. They always do.

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Now that you are moving, your relationship with Owen is changing too. You’re no longer the little blob that he pats on the head as he walks by. You are all up in his business — even if I put you across the room, you lock eyes on him and whatever he is playing with and you gather your strength and crawl straight for him. Lately we’ve been saying, “Ahh! Attack of the Giant Baby!” when you start beelining for him, your eyes twinkling with delight. Your favorite game is crashing towers that we have built with blocks, or getting whatever Owen is playing with and putting it right in your mouth. So far I haven’t seen any frustration from Owen regarding your new mobility. Mostly encouragement. When you crawl, he claps his hands and says, “You can do it, Emmett! Crawl!”. When he does something silly now, like put a toy on his head and balance it, he’ll say, “Watch this, Emmett!”. You giggle obediently. You giggle all the time when Owen is around. You are the best audience that little extrovert could have ever asked for. He’ll entertain you and hand you toys and tell me what he thinks you need when you are crying. “I think his teeth hurt, Mommy.”.

And you are always the most engaged little peanut gallery when he dances and sings at the dinner table. You shake your head side to side bobbling along to his crazy songs. You love it. You love him. And we love you.

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Let’s be honest, though. Amidst the brotherly love fest, there are also many times of not-so-gentle touches and accidents. Oh brothers. We have a long road of “accidents” between the two of you. Owen went to the ER last week after falling into the bookshelf at school. The next day (during the photo shoot for this letter!) he tipped you over into the side of your crib and you hit your head. The next day he made a tidal wave in the bathtub and covered your face in water. None of it was on purpose, exactly. You guys are just boys. Rough, tough boys. I love that about you. But let’s try to stay out of the hospital for the most part, mmmkay?

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You have surprised me by preferring to feed yourself rather than me feeding you. Owen could not control his body to feed himself at your age (or just preferred for me to feed him like a baby bird), so I assumed that you wanted to be fed mash as well, just like your big bro. But no. I was wrong. All you want to do is eat what the family is eating, and you want to do it all yourself. So after I wrapped up our appointments with the GI specialist and the allergist, we started giving you little bits of EVERYTHING (except milk — you’re still allergic to milk) on your high chair tray. Your fine motor skills are impressive and you can get just about anything from the tray into your mouth. Little bits, big chunks, long things you hold in your fist and gum into submission. You’re a fantastic eater. Every day I feel like I need to give you more and more and more food. Your favorite foods at the moment are whole peas, green beans, broccoli, green grapes, bananas & oatmeal and Cheerios. Oh you LOVE those Cheerios.

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Oh Emmett. I love watching you grow into yourself. Getting to know who you are under your fuzzy blonde hair, deliciously chubby cheeks and thoughtful blue eyes. I see the twinkle in your eyes and know you are mischievous and daring. I see the way you are insistent and determined, practicing new skills over and over again. I see you exploring your voice and I love every squeak and shout and babble. I see your lip quivering and your brow furrowing when I disappear behind a door. I am always coming back, little one.

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It is quite clear that we delight in you and you delight in us. We love you so much, Emmett-y.

Love,
Mommy

She Says… Raising An Olympian

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Since Owen still couldn’t go to school on Friday (he only had a teeny tiny patch of the rash that Emmett had all over his body, but since I knew what it was I was NOT going to send him to school and spread it to his friends), we decided to hightail it out of town for a little mini-vacay to Grammy and Grampy’s house in New Hampshire.

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The mountain air does a body (and mind) good.

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Usually we drive in the afternoon and I spend a lot of the drive stressing about if Owen is sleeping or not, and what do we do about nap when we get there, etc. This time we decided to leave as early in the morning as possible to capitalize on Emmett’s morning nap and so we didn’t have to worry about Owen napping in the car at all (and if he fell asleep, I’d count it as his nap anyway since we are working on reducing nap time little by little for him). As it turned out, it was a brilliant move and everyone was pretty happy the whole way. Definitely our most successful drive yet (THANK GOODNESS for a baby who actually *likes* riding in the car… it is such a change from what Owen was like as a baby that it shocks me every time).

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It was a weekend of skiing and enjoying the (hopefully) last of the snow! Saturday we went cross country skiing.

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Owen did great, but proved that enjoying cross country skiing is likely something you have to grow into… “I don’t want to just WALK everywhere, Mommy!”.

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He was a good sport and gave it a really good try (his balance is quite impressive for a 3 year old!), but it wasn’t his favorite activity.

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Grammy and Grampy were generous to help share the kid-duty. Grampy continued skiing with Owen and Grammy watched Emmett for the morning so Benjamin and I could get a few hours of solo (duo?) skiing in. It was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever seen; conditions were perfect and the sunshine felt like a warm spring day.

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Sunday we went downhill skiing. THIS is Owen’s favorite. The kid is a SPEED DEMON and prefers to go straight down the hill, skis parallel, and not slow down or stop.

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We joked all day about how we had to take lots of pictures and video for the “Raising an Olympian” video they will undoubtedly need to make when he is an Olympic skier.

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Once again Benjamin and I got a few hours of kid-free ski time. It was so much fun to be out being active together.

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As with many of us, Owen’s favorite favorite part of the ski weekend was the apres ski. Aka hot tub time.

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He practiced dunking and swimming and jumping and splashing. Dude is so ready for summer when he can actually do those things for real. Weirdly, it seems like he somehow learned to swim (or at least greatly advanced his skills) with absolutely zero practice since last summer. We practically had to force him out.

An added bonus of the weekend away was that the time change passed us by without any issues at all (we were all so exhausted that everyone slept well at night, and our days/naps were all a bit different from our home routine anyway). Though it’s only been a couple days, we have definitely used the time change to our advantage and the early morning waking issue seems to be eliminated. No jinxies!

Now we’re back. Laundry is going. Kids are BOTH at school (and fingers are crossed we actually get a full week with no sick days for any of us!). Bodies are recharged and ready. It was just what the doctor ordered.

She Says… Small Victories

Can I get a woot woot?

I feel like a rockstar when I can get dinner made at naptime (thank you, turkey enchilada casserole!). I’ve showered today. My hair is blown dry. The littles are peacefully napping (for now). Owen and I even got to the dentist this morning (please ignore the fact that it’s been a year since we went last and consider this a win…)! This is all even more amazing since yesterday Emmett was diagnosed with a CRAZY contagious rash all over his body and Benjamin was working half the weekend.

Let’s back up.

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I have been trying to make us dentist appointments for about, oh, a year now. And by “trying” I mean I had a reminder set in my calendar that I kept looking at and thinking, “Oh! Time to call the dentist!”, but then getting sidetracked by anything and everything before actually doing so. We went last back in January 2013, which meant that our 6 month follow-up put us EXACTLY at Emmett’s due date. Well, anyone who has had a baby (and probably anyone who hasn’t) can tell you that dentist appointments aren’t usually high on the list of priorities once the wee babe pops out… so it took us another 6 months to actually get there again. Ummm, oops. The grandson of a pediatric dentist should do better, eh?

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At least our visit was a huge, cavity-less success.

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Benjamin’s dad is my dentist (why yes, I DO still see a pediatric dentist…) so Owen gets to see Pop when we go. Even more incentive to keep up with our appointments! O hopped right up in the chair next to me, put on the cool shades he was offered, and chatted it up with all of the hygienists while they flossed and cleaned and counted his teeth. He could not have been happier or more at ease in the office. Hallelujah that he did not inherit my fear of all things teeth-related!

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He “played dentist” with everyone and loved getting to hit the buttons to move my chair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if any readers live in the Boston suburbs and need a pediatric dentist, check these guys out. I realize I’m biased, but I am always impressed with how they treat Owen when he is there. (Bonus: There are 2 adorable pictures of Owen blown up on the wall!).

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Everyone wanted to meet Emmett too, but alas, he was quarantined at home.

On Saturday I noticed that Emmett was shaking his head around and acting kind of fussy. In the afternoon he woke up with a temp and all of my Mommy signals were screaming “Ear infection!”, so I made an appointment with our doc for Sunday morning. When I put him to bed on Saturday night I noticed two small red dots on the backs of his shoulders. He is constantly battling eczema and has very sensitive skin, so I made a mental note about it to ask the doctor about it on Sunday. I know some viruses can come along with a rash as well, so figured that’s what he was fighting.

When he woke up in the morning, his arms and trunk were covered with what appeared to be boils or crusty sores. GROSS. The doctor confirmed my ear infection diagnosis, added on a symptom of blisters on the back of the throat and then called in 2 other docs to take a look at the weird rash. It looked like chicken pox, but the distribution wasn’t right. Long story short we figured out what it was (very contagious) and started treatment right away for all three things. SAD BABY. He hasn’t been eating or sleeping well, and won’t let us put him down. Can you blame him? Poor guy is exploding with an itchy rash all over his tiny little body! Benjamin was traveling all day Sunday (I survived the day without him!) but got home just in time before I had to handle double bedtime with a screaming baby. Phew.

I’m just counting on my magical Mommy immune system to get me through this one without boils all over my body too, because I’m not going to not touch or hold my sad little guy. In the meantime I’m bleaching and doing a constant rotation of laundry in hot water and anything else I can do to stop this awful infections from spreading to other members of the family.

Uhh, anyone want to come over and play?

She Says… The Evidence

His little body bounces out of the car after school, shouting “BLAH BLAH BLAH” at the top of his lungs while simultaneously showing me how high he can jump (“almost as tall as Mount Washington! Sixty five fifteen forty high!”). He asks about 75 questions in 1 minute without waiting for answers… and then asks a few questions later, without pausing, why I haven’t answered him yet. He leaves the door to the garage wide open, icy cold air seeping into our cozy house, strips his coat off and throws it on the floor. Seemingly impervious to the cold air, he drops down to the floor right in the open doorway (blocking anyone else from entering the house, even the person carrying his chubby little brother in the astonishingly heavy carseat), pulls his shoes off without unvelcroing them and tosses them into the air in a celebratory fashion, laughing no matter where they fall.

That’s only kind of what I meant when I set the expectation that we all take off our shoes and coats right when we walk in the door.

He races through the kitchen in his paint-stained sweatpants and undoubtedly rainbow shirt (no matter how many other shirts he owns, anything rainbow is going to be the favorite) with a twinkle in his eye, asking “Do you wanna see how fast I can run?”. There is no answer other than yes.

He flings open the doors to the toy cabinet in the living room and starts pulling things out. “Do you wanna play Candy Land? …or cars? …do you wanna play with me? Who can play with me?”. The questions come rapid fire and I do my best to dodge the ones that will make him upset and distract him with the answers I can give remotely while I balance the baby on one hip and attempt to get dinner started on the stove as quickly as possible.

He shoots tiny toy cars all over the kitchen floor (“wanna see which one wins?” and “look how far they can go!”) and then abandons them to ride his plasma car around our first floor. Thank goodness that our house has a circle for running and riding. He whizzes past me making silly faces and silly sounds each time he comes through the kitchen. I echo them and a new game is born. I am relieved it appears to be one I can play while still using two hands to make dinner and keeping one eye on the baby.

I stick the baby in front of a cabinet full of water bottles and let him go to town pulling them out and sucking on them, one by one, before he tosses them into the middle of the kitchen. Ignore the fact that they will all have to be washed once this little display is over. I don’t want to put him down after a day spent at school (no, all I want to do is nuzzle my nose into his chubby neck and breathe in his delicious baby smell), but I have to capitalize on the rare calm moments when I can. Yes, this is as calm as it gets around here in the evening.

Making dinner is like an obstacle course, leaping over pointy cars and rolling water bottle tops. Owen has finished riding his car, leaving it somewhere between the front door and the kitchen to undoubtedly taunt the dog (who is terrified of the wheeled creature he is sure is out to get him — and with Owen behind the wheel, he might be right). He writes his name in scrawly, rotated letters on the chalkboard that sits in our front hall for whenever the artsy feeling strikes (“Mommy! Come see what I wrote! O-W-E-N!”). He wipes his chalk dust covered hand on my pants and starts building a maze to roll little tiny choking hazards marbles around in. I run back in the kitchen to flip the salmon I have miraculously gotten in a hot pan with some oil and salt and pepper.

The baby bleats like a little lamb as he is stuck on his tummy, surrounded by water bottles and travel mugs and plastic cups. A miniature beached whale swimming in mid-air, his arms and legs flailing in a valiant attempt to move his body forward. He’s so close to crawling we can taste it, but he just can’t figure out how to get those knees up underneath him. Though I know it will open up a whole new world of challenges having a mobile baby, I think it will also ease some of the tension of having to carry him everywhere. The kid can’t stand not being in the action. And with a 3 year old as active as mine, the action is always a moving target.

In a blur of portioning salmon and microwaving frozen vegetables and stirring some rice I prepped before I picked the kids up from school, dinner is served. And after another 10 minutes of cajoling Owen to wash his germy little preschool hands, we sit. Everyone is calm and quiet for 1 minute while the first bites of food are keeping their mouths busy. Then Owen is popping up and down from his seat, bringing different toys to the table “to watch us eat”, the baby is frustrated that he can’t get the little green bean pieces I’ve put on his high chair tray into his mouth, and refuses the mashed up sweet potatoes I’m offering out of spite or stubbornness or just being done with the day after having spent the last 9 hours at school. We shovel our food into our mouths and before we know it, it’s bathtime.

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Completing bathtime with two energetic little boys is nothing short of a miracle. It is like a hilarious comedy show meets Olympic-level fitness test. They strip down naked, clothes strewn around the room like crepe paper garlands, and we all laugh and sing during our night time routine of countertop dancing. Teeth are flossed and brushed. Feet are scrubbed and faces are washed. Boys are pajamaed. Baby is bottles and Owen is read to, and finally, it’s lights out.

I always marvel at the quiet once Owen is tucked into his bed. The silence is deafening. Benjamin does the dishes while I wander through our house, picking up the evidence left behind from the whirlwind that is a day at home with two crazy boys (or even the 2 hours between school and bedtime on school days).

The clothes hanging around the bathroom. The piece of chalk on the floor. The abandoned plasma car. The cars stuck under the kitchen cabinets. The errant marble hiding in the corner. The drool-covered water bottles strewn around the floor. The tiny little sneakers in the middle of the hallway. The coat, arms inside out, still on the floor.

Sometimes this evidence feels like a weight on my shoulders — the mess I am constantly cleaning up. But then sometimes I can see it for what it is.

Little reminders that my boys are still so little.

That I am lucky to have these shoes on the floor to clean up.

That I am lucky to have these little messmakers making my life so full and busy.

And I am thankful that I have so many reasons to be exhausted at night.

She Says… 7 Months

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My sweet baby-who-is-quickly-feeling-like-not-so-much-of-a-baby,

You are SO MUCH FUN right now. Seriously. You’re the best. Your chubby cheeks and toothless grin and sparkly gray-blue eyes make everyone around you smile right along with you — your joy is contagious. You still have your characteristic easygoing way about you, but recently we’ve seen more and more of another side of your personality. You are driven and focused and determined.

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You practice new skills like rolling (which you rock at) and grabbing (everything) and getting food from your fist into your mouth over and over and over again with the determination of an Olympic athlete. You love to pull hair right now. Especially mine. Especially when I leave it curly and I’m giving you a bottle and you gaze into my eyes so sweetly and dribble a little milk out of your mouth so that I let my guard down, and then BAM! you grab a fist full of what you had been twirling so gently a moment before and PULL. HARD. I wrangle my hair out of your clenched fist, and we start that little dance all over again. You’re sneaky. And strong. And you have hilarious timing.

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Speaking of rolling, you are a rolling machine. You’ve actually developed this amazing ability to maneuver yourself all around a room to get your hands on whatever you want. Most kids do this with crawling, but your preferred method is a carefully planned out series of rolls and pivots. It’s quite impressive and I’m so glad I finally got a video to show you one day. I have to imagine that crawling is just around the corner for you, my active little dude!

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The other day Owen and I ran upstairs to get him a pair of socks and came back down to find that you had rolled yourself right out of the living room and into the kitchen, and you gazed up at us, giggling and proud, with one foot in the dog’s water bowl and gnawing on a magazine. Watch out, Mommy.

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You are growing like a little weed these days. And it’s not a wonder — you down over 35 ounces of formula (that’s a LOT) plus three solid meals of food a day. And recently daycare started asking me to pack snacks because you were hungry. HUNGRY? Must be all that rolling you’re doing. Favorite foods at the moment are peas, corn, sweet potatoes, blueberries and bananas. The only thing I’ve found that you really don’t like is butternut squash. You’ll still eat it, but you make a scrunchy face and spit most of it back out.

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Due to your ongoing tummy issues and some weird rashes and hives, we’re seeing an allergist and a GI specialist. Currently my instructions are to introduce you to as many new foods as possible in the next 4 weeks, so here we go! I’ve been on a baby food making extravaganza and our freezer is filled with different concoctions. I love mixing and matching your meals and I’m excited to branch out into different grains and textures and flavors in the coming months. I’m so glad to see that you seem to like food just as much as your brother and Daddy and I.

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Your brother. Oh, Emmett. I can’t even put into words how much you adore your brother. And how much he adores you. The two of you are obsessed with each other. I can already see the incredible connection that the two of you have that has nothing to do with Daddy or I, and it makes my heart sing.

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At dinner Owen loves to entertain you by making silly faces and shaking his head around. Physical comedy seems to be your thing at the moment and just about anything Owen does that involves climbing/jumping/twirling/dancing/running elicits the most delicious belly laughs from you. You also have the uncanny ability to laugh whenever he says something silly. It’s like you can understand every word he says. He’ll tell us a story and make a joke, and you’re ALWAYS the first one laughing. It is precious.

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He can’t get enough of you either. He asks me to bring you up in his bed so we can all “pretend to sleep” together and he loves to hand you toys and make you put them in your mouth (which you do, every time). He shakes your head around and bobbles you so forcefully I’m still constantly saying, “Gentle hands!” and “Owen, Emmett doesn’t like that, please stop” and you are constantly making a liar out of me by laughing your little butt off at whatever he’s doing.

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Though I know there are wonderful things on the horizon for you, I wish I could bottle this age and keep it in my pocket. You are just… delicious. Jolly. Sweet. Easy.

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Every day I look forward to waking you up just because I get to hold you and squeeze your beautiful baby chub and cover you in kisses. I can’t wait to see more and more of your personality as you grow. What you’ll be like. What you’ll do with your life.

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We’re so lucky to have you, Emmetty. Bonky bonks. Blemett (Owen’s favorite). Chubs.

Couldn’t love you any more if I tried,
Mommy

She Says… The Happiest Place on Earth

Nope, not Disneyland. Well, at least not for me. Err, not that I would know. I’ve never been there. No… better. Land of simple and smart design. CHEAP simple and smart design. Land of wandering through interior spaces and wanting to live there. My own personal Disneyland.

IKEA.

You may think I’m joking. But I’m not. I LOVE Ikea.

We needed a few key pieces for our new house so we set off on an excursion to go pick them up. But anyone who has been to Ikea (especially with me) knows that there is no such thing as “running in and picking up one thing” at Ikea. It’s pretty much a day-long trip, what with wandering through the rooms and discussing design choices and examining products and drooling over all of the cheap things (that tend to really add up) in the Marketplace. Oh, and the meatballs. You HAVE to try the meatballs with lingonberry sauce. Divine.

So we did something we rarely do (but this was an emergency!). It was our last weekend in our current house before we move, and it was our last chance to get any furniture we want to have at the house on move-in day. So we threw naptimes out the window and set off on our trip. Well, not exactly. We discussed doing that, and then I vetoed that plan and decided we should let Owen have his morning nap (his longest and most reliable) and then go after that. Lucky for us, Owen seemed to know that an Ikea trip was in his future, because he napped terribly and woke up early in a grumptastic mood, so it was the perfect time to plop him right in his car seat and let him finish his nap on the way there. Decent morning nap (x2)? Check.

We brought the stroller so he would be comfy for our day of Ikea strolling, since I knew I could only keep him happy in a cart for so long. That was a great decision, as he was happy as a little clam for the entire day! Seriously, we couldn’t have asked for a better shopping companion.

We even got our meatballs. (Well, Owen had baby food that we brought with us… Benjamin and I had meatballs). Even the high chairs at Ikea are cute! The whole store is so family-friendly. I told you I love Ikea.

Owen even had his first taste of their delicious vanilla soft serve.

The only challenging part was at checkout when Benjamin had to go get something we forgot and I was left with an antsy baby, a stroller and 2 carts to push (one full of furniture and REALLY hard to steer, and one full of little housewares like curtains and towels and a few adorable wooden toys for Owen). Instead of getting us all into a serious traffic jam, Owen and I played at the checkout until Daddy returned. We entertained everyone waiting in line :)

Then we loaded everything up into the car. The little darling had been cooped up in the stroller for most of the day (except for a few times when I let him cruise along furniture in beautiful Ikea rooms), so I wanted him to have a little “playtime” before we got back in the car. It was hard to contain him in the loading area so I popped him in our empty shopping cart. He was talking up a storm! See?

(P.S. I know you are not supposed to leave a child “unattended” in the back of a shopping cart, but please know that Benjamin and I were only an arm’s length away and had our eyes on him at ALL TIMES).


I think Owen loves Ikea just like Mama. He was an absolute angel this time around, but I fear the days of him being happy in a stroller for several hours are numbered. Any tips for entertaining little climbers when they need to be in a chair or stroller but want to be running around?