Dear Little Mister:
High five-- you are five months old today! Actually, you are five months and some change as I am writing this over the course of a few weeks. Winter of 2015 is no joke! Seriously kid, I wonder if one of your first words is going to be any of the following: snow, shoveling, ice, white, cold, leak, repair, shit! We have been inside a lot and have gone on "walks" around the house where we stop at each window to look at the view. There is a lot of snow, ice dams, and people using snow blowers or shovels to clear driveways and cars. Daddy has gotten more tone as he is outside a lot to try to get ahead of the snow.
Over the past few weeks, we had to shuffle our sleeping arrangements. Our original plan was for you to share a room with your sister. We thought things were going well until you stopped sleeping through the night. We came up with a plan B which was that you would sleep in the guest room in a pack and play. This was going well until we had a major leak in our guest room ceiling. We have yet to have a week in February with no snow predicted, so the ice dams we have been trying to break and melt are not going anywhere for awhile. We will likely be without that room for a few more weeks. Big sigh!
You are a champ at being flexible or rather you can wake up multiple times a night no matter where you are sleeping. We put you back in your sister's room and you are waking up a lot. She comes to sleep in our bed if she gets up while one of us sleeps in her bed in the same room as you. I told your Dad that I wish we had splurged for a fancier mattress for her as my back hurts when it is my turn to share a room with you :) Both Daddy and I feel so cranky when we hear you crying in the middle of the night. After a few minutes of snuggling with you, seeing you smile, and watching you relax completely as you go back to sleep, I feel happy again. I also know that I am lucky for this opportunity to be your mom and help you thrive.
With all the snow cancellations, I appreciate our weekly outings so much more. I was not sure how much you were getting out of our weekly book babies adventure as you are by far the youngest. However, when we returned after a snow break, you started smiling and babbling as soon as we got into the room. You were all smiles to the other babies, parents, and the librarian. I wanted to cheer too because being out of the house felt so good! When we returned to yoga, you were all smiles and cute noises to the teacher, the other moms, and the other kids. When people were talking and not looking at you, you protested which just made everyone laugh. Without realizing it, we have made a community. Even though I do not really talk with the other parents or kids much, you and I are part of something bigger. I want you to have connections and feel delighted when you see people, no matter how old you become, and I am going to try to socialize more to make that happen for you. You may find this hard to believe, but sometimes I feel shy and overcome with the challenge of making new friends. However, I am committed to taking small steps and being brave for you. I started with small talk at book babies. After yoga last week, I went out to lunch with two moms and their kids who are just about two weeks older and younger than you. We had so much fun!
You are able to sit in your bumbo seat which has opened up a world of possibilities. Suddenly, you can sit on the floor while we are sorting clothes, folding laundry. You help me fulfill my dream of having a cooking show while being an attentive audience as I describe the process of cooking dinner. You also enjoy looking at yourself in the mirror. It is so fun to watch you admire yourself and laugh hysterically when you see your reflection.
You are starting to reach for things and people. You are making your preferences known by either babbling or lunging yourself towards an object. We noticed that you have started reaching for your sister when she is close to you. Once you get her shirt, hair, or arm, you start babbling and then laughing hysterically. She enjoys performing for you-- jumping, singing, talking, screaming, all for the chance to see you smile and hear you laugh. She is not the only one. You are rapidly acquiring an adoring public, including your dad and me, who all work hard for the chance to make you happy. Even though I have accomplished a bit in my professional life, my biggest achievement is making you, your sister, and daddy happy.
I love you!
In my constant desire to get food on the table, I seek out recipes that sound yummy and are relatively healthy. I also look for things which are easy to cook and do not require hard to find ingredients. One of my favorite places to get recipes is from the Splendid Table. I hardly get to listen to the show anymore, but I still stay in touch through newsletters and twitter. Recently a recipe for Chickpea Sloppy Joes came through; as I scanned the recipe, I almost started to drool. All of my criteria were met; plus, the recipe promised only five minutes of prep time. I have learned the hard way that it takes me longer to prep than most recipe recommendations; I am a slow chopper. As I was cooking this recipe, I also realized that I get interrupted a lot. I had to stop to feed the baby, play with the preschooler, or take a nap while I could :) What was supposed to be five minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cooking, ended up taking me most of the night. I am still counting it for the Getting Food on the Table Resolution because Partner and I did eat it for dinner. The food was so yummy and still held up the delicious flavor the next day.
Two things I would love suggestions or ideas for how to improve: (1) How do you power through a recipe with little ones under foot? I try to get the kids to help, but I am nervous about chopping near my daughter as she tends to get into everything. (2) How do you chop faster?
Dear Little Mister:
On January 11, 2013, your dad and I went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday. Your sister was spending time with one of her favorite people. Your aunt was in labor and we were excited for the arrival of our nephew. We were also hopeful because I had not gotten my period yet (we will talk more about how babies are made and where they come from later) and were hoping that I was pregnant. We came home to your sister happily asleep. We were hanging out on the couch and then heard our nephew arrived. We were so excited to welcome the new addition! Even though it was his day, we wanted to extend the baby fever and I took a pregnancy test. We were thrilled that it was positive and when we looked up the due date and found out that it was the day before our daughter's birthday, we laughed. We decided to wait to tell people so that our nephew could enjoy being the new baby for awhile.
A year later, we returned to the same restaurant. Instead of being seated in the romantic couple section, we were in the family area that was bustling with the noise of excited kids and filled with bright lights. You were asleep in your car seat for almost the entire meal. Your sister was home with her favorite baby sitter. We had all celebrated your cousin's birthday earlier in the day. We marveled at what a difference a year makes. At the start of my journey to meet you, I had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead. In a year where my self-esteem took a lot of hits, your arrival and existence is a shining star.
I am so glad to be your mom for many reasons; the one that I keep returning to over the past few weeks is that I am thankful for the chance to go through the newborn and infant stages again as I know how quickly they pass. I have said some version of this in almost every letter I have written and sorry for being repetitive. Even with that knowledge, I must confess that I sometimes feel hopeless and frustrated with long nights and exhausting days. Even at my worst, you still fill me with gladness with your sweet smile and contagious laugh. Here are some of my favorite things about you and the last month:
- You have started smiling when you see me, your dad, and sister. We just enter a room and you light up. Your dad especially seems to have an incredible super power.
- As I am preparing to nurse you, you sometimes slam into my breast as if to say, "Let's get this show on the road." You will sometimes open your mouth wide and go for my nipple which does make latching easier.
- You are drooling A LOT and enjoying putting your fingers in your mouth. You stick your fingers into your mouth and then look at your hands like, "You are AMAZING!"
- When your sister reads you a book, sings, or tells you a story, you seem to pay full attention. Sometimes, she says, "Look at that smile" to which you grin bigger and then my heart expands.
- You appreciate my performances. One of my dream jobs is to be a 90s rap artist. There are many reasons that this dream is not being fulfilled, among them is that the 90s are over. I still want to nurture that skill and I am supposed to be talking with you a lot during the day. I have taken to performing for you when we are home alone. You are such a good audience. You smile and laugh at my enhanced lyrics and what I regard as my stellar dance moves.
- You are starting to sleep through the night. While this is still not a regular occurrence, I am deeply appreciating a glimpse into the future with more sleep.
- We have been practicing having you sleep in your sister's room with mixed results. You alternate between the crib in the room you share with your sister (in theory because we have not really put up any decorations for you and all the signs of your existence in that room are in the crib) and the pack and play which is in the guest room. The most exciting and (a little) sad part about these changes is that you are no longer in the bassinet. We also had to take the napper out of the pack and play, so that you have more room to stretch.
- When you are concentrating or looking intently, you look like your grandfather. It is still surprising and startling to see a picture of you and look at your face and see my dad. Your dad says that he sees his grandfather in you as well. One of my favorite things about kids is how you connect us to our families in surprising ways.
Finally, I want you to know that I admire your courage. You are so brave in social situations. Over the past month, we have gone to baby book times, birthday parties, and people's homes. Each time, I have anticipated that you are going to be shy and just want to snuggle. Instead, you surprise me both with how energized you become and your desire to watch everything. At your well child visit, the doctor was impressed with how attentive you were as we discussed your progress. The nervousness I have in some social situations or trying something new gets diminished when I am with you. Being your mom makes me feel empowered.
You are so small and yet are truly mighty.
I love you!