Monday, November 27, 2006

My kid, skinny?

We had the belated 15 month visit. Three shots - ouch - complete with one bruise. Note to Dr. G. I know my kid is skinny and does not appear on your growth chart. But do you know how happy he is?

On the bright side, we weren't issued our typical 'penalty appointment' - so at least I get to wait 3 more months before I hear my kid is skinny, again, for the bazillionth time. And...at 8.6 kg, he is ABOVE the 3rd percentile on the World Health Organization growth chart that was normed for breastfed babies. So in my book, he's fine.

Elaine

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dance Party!


What a weekend! Connor now can do some sort of dance reminiscent of the shuffle. And he’ll do it on command when someone calls out “dance party”. If you look closely, you can see his feet as they skip about in this photo.

And…get out the baby sign language books. Connor totally gets that words can have signs. He’s already learned more and does an elephant motion when I get to the point in Sandra Boynton’s book when the elephant goes “snore”. Tonight we tried introducing bath.

Today he showed that he just might be my child after all. This morning, when we were getting ready to go to the zoo, I asked him to go get his shoes. He decided he needed a new pair of socks, and rather than just grabbing the first two he found, he carefully went through all five that were in the box and selected two matching ones. I was so proud. I’m not confident this is a skill his daddy possesses.

Speaking of five, he has FIVE teeth now. Number five is rather large, so it’s probably been there a few days. Hard to get a good look in there, and it’s never a good idea to stick a finger in there to check. I noticed Connor chewing on his fingers a few days ago, and suspected a tooth was imminent.


He’s also quite fascinated with silverware these days, and is either trying to help Ed eat or gouge his eye out. I’m hoping for the former because I can tell already it’s going to take more than my pair of eyes to keep track of Connor as he grows.

Elaine

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Parenting tip from Ed #2

Ed: Connor and I had so much fun playing yesterday afternoon. He loves sliding off the roof of the house.

Me: (as I’m trying to keep from driving off the road): Do you really think it’s a good idea to teach our child how to slide off a roof?

Ed: It was only the roof to the playhouse, not the real house.

Me thinking: Because, apparently it’s OK to fall a little over five feet?!?

Ed: clarifying as I type this “He understands. He knows when it’s safe and when it’s not safe. He’s smarter than you give him credit for.” (note smirk on Ed’s face)

Me: You’re in charge of all emergency room visits.

Ed: My dad reads this, you know.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Happy 15 Month Birthday!

Dear Connor,

Today, you turned 15 months old. And as I look back, I feel like I can finally say to you “Connor – you’re getting it” and by “it”, I don’t mean sleep, but I do mean a whole lot of other things. Nary a day went by this month when I didn’t have to stop and do some sort of double-take as you displayed some new form of comprehension. And on occasion, that newfound knowledge was used for good rather than evil.

First, those animals. Not only can you make the sounds you made last month (sheep, cow, cat), you’ve added horse “neigh”, dog “ruf ruf” or panting, and snake “ssss”. You can identify each of the barnyard animals in a puzzle you received from Teo just last week (a gift from the Big Birthday Bash the moms group held) and you’re really trying to say a lot of words – like Pappy, hippo, and Bella.


You also seem to understand so many things around the house. Last Saturday, I taught you where your shoes belonged. Sunday, your dad asked you where you shoes were and you quickly went to retrieve them. You will also put them away, if asked. Since the shoe storage seemed to be going well, I also showed you where your coat belonged (a little hook in the hall closet) and on Monday, when Emma got ready to take you to the park, she asked out loud “Connor, where’s your coat” never expecting to get an answer from you, and you promptly went right to the closet door, opened it, and showed her your coat. Boy was she proud! And then Thursday morning, your dad and you were playing with the Turtle peek-a-block builder that Uncle Mike gave you and I said “Connor, show your daddy that there are four more blocks you can build with inside the alligator” and you turned around, opened up the gator’s back and retrieved those four blocks. Our mouths dropped in amazement. We’re getting right on those applications for college, because we suspect you’ll be heading away from home any day now.

You also figured out that dog with the string – and he is among your most loyal friends now, yapping at your heel as you walk up and down the hallway, around the couch, through the kitchen, back down the hallway, to the playroom – and then repeat. On occasion, you’ll turn a little too sharply and the doggie will fall down, but you’ll either call for assistance or pick it up yourself.

Overall, this was a crappy weekend. You caught some sort of bug and we’ve gone through a lot of cloth diapers wiping your nose. You did seem to enjoy getting out to the zoo, and it was quite marvelous when we saw the young elephant swimming in the water playing with an enormous ball. A sloth bear also came right up to the window to say hello to you. There were times today when you were just miserable, but other times we thought you had turned a corner. During one bright spell we went to a shoe store and you are now the proud owner of a pair of shoes with hard soles. The first time I put them on you, you picked up your feet as if you had bubble gum stuck to them, carefully walking around the store in very exaggerated fashion. The saleswoman said this was totally normal. In almost no time at all, you were walking like a little man. Another milestone crossed – real shoes.

And finally, Connor, I knew it was just a matter of time – but yesterday, when nothing seemed to be feeling right, and I was holding you and trying to somehow transfer the pain you felt to me, you reached out for your daddy. And like other times before, your daddy gladly took the load, only this time, it was really clear that all of your faith had been put in him. This is one of those beautiful milestones, Connor. You’ve made it perfectly clear that when the chips are down, you know you have two parents who would do anything for you, and you’ve learned to lean on each of them to figure out what will work the best.

Love,
Mama

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Monday, November 6, 2006

Great Grandpa M 1911 – 2006

I’m pretty sure my grandpa (Connor’s great grandpa) would agree - ninety-five years is a long time to live. When he was born, the average life expectancy was around 50. Now, it’s about 78. Either way, he beat the odds – and with remarkably few interventions. To put how old he was when he died last Thursday into perspective - he began life before the crossword puzzle was invented (1913). Until he was 9, when he skinned his knees, his mother couldn’t give him a Band-Aid to make it “all better” (invented in 1920) – let alone a Band-Aid with colorful characters to distract him from the pain. He didn’t have to fear getting a ticket for parking at an expired meter until he turned 21 – and though we never discussed it, I’m fairly certain he never received such a ticket. Just not his style.

My grandpa lived through the Dust Bowl (he was in his early twenties) – and relayed stories that enthralled Ed when we visited in 2001. It was the summer we got married and a few weeks before we were scheduled to head home for a post-wedding celebration, my grandpa called to see if I would be paying him a visit. This is the first - and only - time I remember my grandpa calling me. Long distance costs money, you know.


The first canned beer was made when he turned 24 – but the marketers certainly had someone beside my grandpa in mind when they came up with this. According to the biography my grandpa sketched out some time ago, he tasted beer exactly once, and considered it a mistake. Same goes for tobacco. For those who knew me in my pre-mom days, you might be wondering if it is possible that I am genetically related to this man. My father assures me I am.

When my grandpa turned 27, the ballpoint pen was invented – and here is finally something that caught his fancy. He used to have a pegboard with probably about 100 (maybe more) oddly shaped pens fastened onto it that hung so that anyone heading down the basement stairs could see it. I remember one particular pen shaped like a hammer. I suspect the collection went to the dumpster when he moved out of his home 4 years ago, along with the car license plate he was issued that bore the same number as his house one year – 1202. The license plate hung on the garage.

When my grandpa turned 29, Dairy Queen came into existence, and thankfully for my sister and I, there was one about 3 blocks away from my grandparents’ home. During the summer, we would walk there and get ice cream cones for a dime. ParTay!

Super glue was invented the year my grandpa turned 40. And that’s a bummer for my dad. Family legend has it that my dad’s tricycle once broke in two as he was heading to see my grandpa. This magical substance perhaps could’ve extended that ol’ trike’s days. But then again, maybe something more along the lines of welding was in order.

The year I was born, my grandpa retired. I only hope to have so many years not ensconced with fluorescent lighting.

I remember the motor home my grandparents used to travel in, his bolo tie, and the year we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant for Christmas and he wore a red shirt with a purple KSU sweatshirt, and of course, the tie. It still makes me laugh. My dad has never been a slave to the latest trends, and I guess he comes by it honestly.

My grandfather, always the stalwart Republican, proudly claimed to have never voted for a Democrat. I don’t remember my exact response, but I do remember I was in college and less likely to exercise the tact I now exercise in situations like this. Let’s just say, it was clear to him I did not share his political views, and I do not regret that honesty. And here’s the lesson, Connor. Don’t be afraid to tell someone the truth – unless that means telling your mama you’re voting for a Republican. By the time you can do that, I'll be an old woman and you're unlikely to convince me of the folly of my ways.

Connor met his great-grandpa on two occasions. The last visit we were there, Connor seemed impressed by the wheelchair and was delighted that there were several photos on a shelf he had access to. And of course, Connor had no trouble finding them. It’s a little too bad that Connor hadn’t been introduced to sweet things yet, because my grandparents seemed to have lots of sweets at their retirement home. My sister once told her kids that they were going for a “visit” – not a “buffet”.

I can only imagine how crazy some of the things invented in Connor’s lifetime will seem to me – and who knows which ones I’ll make use of. Perhaps the sweetest thing I can tell you about your great-grandpa, Connor, is that he stayed married to the same woman for 73 years. That’s one hell of a commitment. You can’t just invent something as enduring as that.

Elaine

Friday, November 3, 2006

What we won’t be telling the college admissions counselors

After Connor’s birth, he was given Apgar scores of 9 / 9. He lost a point at both birth and 5 minutes after birth because the tips of his fingers or toes were a bit blue. The birth assistant and midwife discussed the second score a bit – and the birth assistant argued for a 10, but in the end, Connor got a 9. We assured our midwife that we would never let any college admissions counselors know he hadn’t received a perfect 10, so it should be OK.

Little did we know, that was just the first (of perhaps many) things that will go in the file of “things not to tell college admissions counselors”. Another recently cropped up. My parents gave Connor a dog that you can pull on a string and as you do that, it yaps a little bit. My dad proclaimed Connor was really smart because when Connor was seated, he understood that he needed to give the dog a good yank to get it to yap. We’re starting to question that proclamation. Though Connor has witnessed both Ed and I demonstrating how one can walk and hold onto the dog’s string which will cause the dog to yap behind the walker, Connor doesn’t seem to get it. Instead, he does things his own way. Can we say "takes after his dada!"?

Elaine

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Baby 1, Parents 0

My dad once told me “the trouble with kids is, they’re smarter than you think they are”. While he was no doubt referring to my sister, I can see his point. Connor continues to grapple with language development, and while he has quite a few consonants, a fair number of animal sounds, and some vowels – he doesn’t typically put them together in meaningful ways (to Ed and me, anyway). A few days ago, he started saying “da da” and patting my chest when he wants to nurse. As far as I can tell, this “da da” is not much different than the “da da” he uses when referring to Ed – and while Freud may have something to say about this, I’m too tired to think about it. Rather than giving him a new word for nursing, I figured this one was OK because being out in public and demanding “da da” seems better than screaming across the playground “gimme some boob, woman!”.

Looking back, I can’t help but think Connor’s clever side was kicking in. A few days ago, at the very early hour of 5:15, Connor stood up in his crib and shrieked “DAAAA DAAAA” in such an alarming way as to cause both Ed and I to lunge out of bed and into his room. We both presumed there was a dragon in his room that needed all the forces of a dad to conquer – and I was going to provide back-up, in case a distraction was needed. Upon my arrival, it was very clear what Connor wanted. He was very eloquently using his “new” word. Tricked again. Maybe I ought to give him a new word after all.

Elaine

PS: Apparently Connor had been building up to this trick for a few days, and only needed the satisfaction of using it once, because last night, my blessed angel did not wake up until 6:40. Now that Mom, Dad, and baby are all well rested again, we’re a much happier bunch. He also took me seriously when I told him it was time to clean up. Not only was he trying to put the blocks in their basket, he tried to put himself in there too!

More Halloween Photos


Here he is...Connor in all his glory in the annual Halloween parade. As you can see, he was a gardening bumble bee - because he can't leave the house these days without his trusty wheelbarrow. He was hamming it up with the kids before the parade, saying "buzz buzz" on command and checking out the other kids. I still can't tell if he likes his costume, or if he just tolerates it, but he does seem to understand it.

Last year, his Grandma purchased this costume for him - and it was intended for carrying around a baby. This year, I cleverly took out part of the bottom seam, creating leg holes. Connor's nanny thinks we might be able to get another year out of it - it sort of depends on how broad Connor gets - but I'm not above trying to extend the life of the costume another year.

Connor started out sort of in the middle of the pack, but then he had to go back and check a few things out. This, coupled with his inability to walk in a straight line meant that eventually we were the end of the parade. But there was still plenty of cider and popcorn waiting for us when we got to the big rocks (the official endpoint), and that was plenty of excitement for Connor.


Elaine

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Happy Halloween!


Last night, Connor and I went to three homes to get the goods. We really only went out because one of my neighbors has three cats that Connor loves, and she kept telling me to come by on Halloween. We did - and we enjoyed playing with the cats at least as much as Connor enjoyed pulling candy from her bowl and putting it into his bag. Note: Cuteness counts! He could've gotten away with emptying the whole bowl into his bag if I'd given him enough time. I have photos of the big neighborhood Halloween parade, but didn't get them off the camera last night. Luckily, my friend Laurie sent this photo from a few days ago, so you can at least see how cute he is in his Halloween costume!

Note, no bee outfits for Ed and me this year.

Five!


That is the number of peek-a-blocks that Connor can stack up before they tumble. I presume my dad, the engineer, must have been helping him develop this skill when they were together. After five, Connor's arm gets in the way and tends to make the blocks tumble. Ed's comment "He can stack blocks? I can't wait to knock them down!". Watch out, little man.