Wednesday, August 30, 2006

He IS a genius!

Yesterday afternoon, Connor was playing in a pack-and-play that had several toys in it. I said to him "Could you please hand me a ball?". He picked up several of the toys in the crib and rooted around a bit - all the while looking away from me - until he found both balls that were in the pack-and-play. At that point, he looked up at me with a big grin, one ball in each hand, and gave them to me. Clearly, he is gifted.

And...I LOVE Connor's new nanny, and he seems to love her to. On her first day, she was in the playroom with the new child we share a nanny with and Connor was in the sitting room with me playing. At one point, he decided he would see what was going on in the playroom. Not only did he crawl down the hallway by himself - without insisting I follow - he entered the playroom and joined in the play, with nary a glance back. Given that Connor is not the most accepting of new people, I consider this a miracle. She also was able to get him to take a nice morning nap and even commented that Connor was EASY to put to sleep - another characteristic I do not associate with my child. Whatever spirit has possessed my baby seems to be doing fine though, so hopefully it'll last.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

A hair-do of his own

Connor is one handsome devil these days! I lost his brush amidst all of his other million things, and I guess this was the end result! Luckily, I found the brush this morning before his 1 year old photos were taken. Not having it could have been tragic.

Connor is also getting much more adventurous these days. Yesterday, when we went to Ed's office to meet him before heading to the Sculpture Garden for a jazz concert, he ventured completely out of sight of both Ed and me. He sat about 5 feet away for a few seconds, and then came crawling back. He seemed very proud of himself. He later taught his friend Zoe how to eat dirt. Her mom was very appreciative of the new skill he shared. Hopefully he'll be able to teach her many other great skills in the near future.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Saying good-bye

This afternoon, we said good-bye to our nanny. She's been with us since the end of January, and has definitely grown to be an important part of our lives. The day after the other family we share her with told her the news (Connor was at home with my family the day they broke the news), Olimpia came to our house and cried, telling us that Connor was like a grandson to her. Luckily, she agreed to babysit him every other Friday which I think is making lemonade for everyone. Ed and I will now have a regular night out (HINT TO OUR FRIENDS READING THIS IN THE AREA), Connor will still get to see Olimpia, and Olimpia will still get to see him. Because she's had so much experience getting him to nap, I figure she'll be able to get him to sleep at night. Hopefully, anyway, because going to bed late doesn't make him wake up any later, but it does make him a bit out of sorts the next day.

When Olimpia first started taking care of Connor, he looked like this:

Now look at him!

He was fairly impressive this afternoon. He walked to her, showed her where his belly was (his latest trick), pointed his index finger in response to the question "how old are you?", and put his hands on the top of his head when I asked him how big he was. She was quite impressed with our little repertoire.

Ed put together a new shelf for Connor's growing toy collection, and he spent the day putting items in the baskets on the shelf and taking them out. Hopefully he will continue to be inspired on the putting things in side of life.

Our new nanny starts on Monday! Hopefully everything will go smoothly. I've been talking to Connor about the change every day this week, but who knows what he actually understands?


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Parenting tip from Ed #1

Now that Connor is a year old, I think Ed and I are both becoming more confident in our parenting skills. Not that we don’t mess up regularly (something that makes us grateful that many qualified therapists exist), but we’ve sort of got a groove going and Connor seems to be a pretty happy kid on most days.

In the beginning of this adventure, I think Ed tended to ask me questions about what he should do as in “Do you think this diaper is too tight?” and “When do you think he’ll learn how to sleep?” and “Do you think he likes me?”. I tried to pretend like I knew what was coming and what was best, confidently answering each of Ed’s queries while secretly trying to stay one chapter ahead of both Ed and Connor in the book “The Complete and Authoritative Guide: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5”, a book approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When I would tell Ed “I think you should [insert random thing I wanted done]”, Ed would generally hop to it.

Yesterday, it was clear things had changed. After lunch, I asked Ed why he hadn’t bothered to clean off Connor’s face when he washed Connor's hands, pointing out that it was much harder to clean it once it had dried up. Ed replied confidently “No it’s not. Eventually it [the food on Connor’s face] dries up enough that it crusts off. It’s not worth the hassle of trying to wipe his face.” So there! (For those wondering, I went and washed his face myself.) I await with baited breath the next parenting tidbits Ed has to offer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy twelve month birthday!

Dear Connor,

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should tell you on your first birthday. It seems like such a momentous occasion, and yet, it’s not all that different of a day to you. Mims, Pappy, Aunt Linda, Uncle Bill, Anna, and Emily have come to visit. And when the big day arrived, we set up the splash pool, threw on swimsuits, and had a PAR-TAY, complete with a cake that looked like a shaggy dog and ice cream served up by your Pappy. You were not terribly impressed with the ice cream, but you did enjoy about a Tablespoon the next day when we went to Coldstone Creamery before hitting the pool at the Holiday Inn – which your cousin Emily says is the nicest place to stay.

For a while, I thought I would stop this online journal once you turned a year old, but then I realized I wouldn’t have a public outlet to mock your father anymore, and that made me a little sad. Actually, it’s your fault that I’m keeping the blog open. You keep insisting on changing each month and doing more and more amazing things that simply must be recorded. Plus, if I killed the blog now, the folks who check in on you regularly might not get any sleep wondering if you had gotten your top teeth yet, had your first taste of ice cream, or gotten drunk and passed out on the driveway. (Who says I have no idea what’s coming in the future?)

I decided to give you the brief version of how you came into this world, just in case I’m ever hit by a car and forget. Or, more likely, you successfully head butt me into submission and I’m left lying on the ground completely dazed! All I can say about that is – what a way to wake up on vacation. You nailed your daddy last week!

On Thursday, August 11, 2005, I went to my regularly scheduled appointment with my midwives. As tended to happen often, Marsha was the midwife your dad and I saw. We joked with her about being ready for you to come, we asked her how big she thought you were, and other random questions. She told us that there have been studies done and the mom is actually the best predictor of how big the baby is. And, that would prove to be true as I guessed your weight to the ounce less than 17 hours later. There were no particular signs that you were about to make your entry into the world, and in fact, I had planned my workload very carefully so that I would finish a project before you arrived – which I assumed would be one week later than your due date, putting your arrival at August 26. After all, what kid of mine would be early, much less a WEEK early? I went to bed around 11:00 as was usual at that time, and at 1:00 I woke up. Apparently we were in the midst of a meteor shower and I, along with three other Birthcare clients went into labor. Who knows if the two are related?

Anyway, your dad woke up, wondering what I was doing, and I explained to him that I had either just peed all over myself (something that was a distinct possibility at this point in my pregnancy) or my water had broken. Thankfully for my dignity, it was the latter. I started having contractions that were short, and not all that painful. We called the midwife and she gave us suggestions on how to slow the contractions down, noting that they were too fast and likely not all that productive. True to form, your father asked if it was all right if he went back to sleep and I labored out in the living room so as not to disturb him too much. We were, after all, preparing for the fact that it often takes about 24 hours from start to finish.

We checked in with the midwife a couple of times, and by 7:00 I had decided that you were coming soon as the contractions had become noticeably more painful and further apart – about every five minutes. It was time to call in the professionals. My scheduled birth assistant was on vacation and her back-up had a client go into labor. This all turned out to be fine as Erin showed up around 8:00 and was able to get another super fabulous birth assistant to my house by 9:00. Prior to calling the birth assistant, Erin started an IV with antibiotics (I could still move around freely), and your dad showed an amazing sense of grace by nearly ripping the thing out of my arm. Nice move. Really…I’m just in LABOR here! At 11:00 I felt the urge to push and before noon, you were in my arms, gazing at me from my belly. I announced “he’s perfect” before seeing that you were a boy and before you bothered to take your first breath. The other three folks in the room looked on waiting to hear your first beautiful cry. Your dad was fabulous, keeping me very well hydrated throughout the labor. Seriously, Connor, I drank like 2 gallons of Gatorade, if not more. The fluids alone are a reason to stay at home to have a baby. You came on an even numbered day, and as you might as well know, your dad and I have a penchant for making decisions based on games of chance. We had decided that if you came on an even numbered day, you would have his last name and if you came on an odd numbered day, you would have my last name. When filling out the birth certificate, your dad offered to not honor the deal and give you my last name (I had just given birth with no pain killers!), but I foolishly agreed to honor our original bet.

Within a couple of months of your birth, I was overhead saying that labor really wasn’t all that bad, which just goes to show how delirious from sleep deprivation I must have been. And that, my friend, is how you came into this world. I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe I would make your dad feel guilty for sleeping while I labored through the night. But there’s always time for that later. Like when he’s reading this post and thinking about how everyone else reading this post will wonder what the heck he was thinking asking to get sleep while I prepared for the birth of his child! They will also note that I must be the kindest person in the world to have granted the request.

Now the news on the homefront. This month, you discovered the art of clapping for yourself, clapping for neighborhood dogs, and clapping at the Nationals game when others around you clap. You also perfected the art of standing up – unassisted – while at the same time drinking from your sippy cup, or clapping, or generally looking confused about how you ended up on two feet instead of on all fours. You’ve lost plate privileges (something that happened after you dumped your plate on the floor for like the millionth time and then looked longingly at the contents on the floor, and then showed me how you could look THROUGH your semi-transparent plates at the ceiling fan above the dining room table – a trick your father taught you).

Lately, you’ve been concentrating a bit on this whole talking thing, developing a LALALALA that can be sung out loud and a TATATA that is so amazing it has to be whispered. You have also added a “p” sound and most possibly a “k” sound – though this last one happened so fast it wasn’t clear if Daddy heard you correctly. Most things are still announced with a firm “DAH!”, but you know it makes me smile when you string together a nice series of MAMAMAMAMA. However, I’m not so happy about the NANANANANA that you learned from your 3 year old cousin that you’re happy to use in context. It’s sort of annoying.

You have also become expert at pushing a toy shopping cart at Lydia’s house, cooking blocks in the toy kitchen, and cruising around in your very own red slug bug – a gift from your Aunt Heather and Uncle Rick who saw how much you enjoyed Katie’s pink version at the beach. We play a game called “crash” where whomever is pushing you nearly runs over another person, who hops out of the way and makes a funny sound. You laugh, Connor, how you laugh. This game, like many others that inspire you to laugh from your belly was invented by your dad.

I’ve weaned myself from the breast pump so I am no longer pumping milk, but you are still nursing every chance you get. However, it's about time an actual cow loaded with articial hormones takes over this job. My body is tired. I’m hoping you lose interest in the next couple of months – which might just show what an optimist I am. If not, we may be one of those pairs of people at the park where the four year old kid walks up to his mama and demands to nurse and she complies as the kid lifts her shirt, takes a nip, and goes back to playing. This would horrify your Aunt L. But she’s from Kansas, and lots of things horrify her. You will learn this if your dad and I die before you turn 18 and she becomes your new mama. All I can say is, give her hell.

And Connor, all of these things are so amazing, I can hardly believe I’m part of them sometimes. Seeing the world through your eyes creates such joy, it makes me sometimes forget about how hard this year has been at times - but I will try and remind you about how hard it was when you are older but too young to contemplate bringing grandchildren of mine into this world, and I might just make stuff up if I have to. Who says your mama can't tell a good story?


Wednesday, August 9, 2006

First encounter with sugar and he's such a brute!

Ed and I made a huge rookie mistake, one that we hope we won't repeat for quite some time. Because we were with Ed's whole family, and it was only a week before his actual birthday, Ed and I decided to let Connor have his first encounter with refined sugar. We chose a chocolate cupcake.
Naturally, Connor loved it (because really, would it be possible for a child of mine not to adore chocolate?). The mistake came in choosing the timing of the encounter. He had the cupcake at the conclusion of dinner. This is too late in the day for him to have sugar, apparently. He woke up around 1:00 and was so wired that he would not lie down next to me. It was also over 90 degrees and there was no AC in the lakehouse, so when I went to take him out on the screened in porch, we ran into Ed's dad trying to catch a few zzzs. Eventually, I was able to contain him in an overstuffed chair where I held him and he nursed. After about an hour, I was able to toss him back in the pack and play and get a little sleep. We will be having cake EARLY in the day on Saturday when we celebrate his actual birthday.

I also learned that Connor is a brute. His cousin Katie is just a few weeks younger than him (so we also got to celebrate her birthday at the lake). One afternoon, Connor was playing his game where he bats a ball and then chases it, bats it again, and crawls after it again. Katie got in the middle of the game deciding she would like the ball. She took off with it and Connor took off right after her. She would stop to check on his progress and he would then tackle her. It was really quite funny. The two of them had Ed's mom, Ed, and me in stitches. They repeated the game a few times that weekend. Now I wonder if he spends his days tackling Lydia!


PS: When Ed dropped Connor off with the nanny today, he promptly tackled Lydia. Apparently our nanny calls this "hugging". So that's what he was doing to Katie (though it looked an awful lot like tackling to the untrained eye).

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week

101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child

Wednesday, August 2, 2006


The lake seems to be treating Connor fairly well. That – and his cousin Katie’s pink slug bug! Connor enjoys swishing in the water and using shovels and hands to dig in the wet sand. He and Ed can make quite a mess. Connor was very excited when his cousin Alisa came up to him on the first night here, so his cousins Anna and Emily better get ready to have a lot of fun when they come to visit! Katie and Connor have exchanged punches and I’m proud to say that both of them can hang on tight to a toy if threatened with removal by the other one. They also enjoy chasing after each other’s cups, seeing who can get the most cheerios, and following each other around. Hopefully the two of them are not plotting to do something evil when they babble at each other.

He spent much of the day chasing people around in the pink slug bug – and he even drove it over to the park where he was able to crawl around an old wooden train. This park was akin to the sorts of parks that Ed and I grew up with. Lots of metal that gets really hot in the sun and on face, don’t seem all that safe. Not at all like the brightly colored plastic playgrounds sprinkled throughout our neighborhood.

This afternoon, after seeing both Katie and Alisa held by their grandparents and seeming to have a fun time, Connor crawled right up to his grandpa and let himself be carried around throughout the house – and even outside and by the lake. Let’s just say both Ed and I were very surprised, and think the little man might have turned the corner on this separation anxiety. Of course, it might just be because it was a terribly odd day. Connor slept in the pack-and-play from 10PM – 2AM and then slept in my bed until AFTER 9:00 this morning. Ed and I were both up and able to enjoy a bit of breakfast before Connor decided to make an appearance. That’s the way to vacation!