Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Does this ever get old?

Among Connor's favorite activities is proving he can fit in very small spaces, particularly when I tell him he does not fit. For example, if he needs in the kitchen and I have the refrigerator door hanging open, rather than saying "excuse me", he squeezes his body between the dishwasher and open refrigerator door and exclaims "I do fit, Mommy!" when I tell him he needs to let me know he's coming. He'll also hang out behind my bedframe (getting stuck and scared once), under the table, and pretty much anywhere he wants to be. Unfortunately, he declines to use his special skill for much good. For example, last Friday night Ed and I had our Supper Club over for dinner which required I put the leaf in the table. The leaf is stashed under my bed, rather deep, as it turns out. Connor is the only person who has a shot to fit under the bed, so I asked him if he could fetch it. He showed me that indeed, he could get to the leaf, but he flat out refused to move it. Instead, after telling me he had reached the table leaf, he scooched his little tushie all the way back out with nothing in hand, telling me "I don't want to, Mommy" (words I hear more than I prefer, I might add). So I struggled with a broom and eventually moved the table leaf to where I could grasp it.

He may be small, but he has grown. The first photo was taken in January of 2006. Notice, if you will, the BLUE eyes that he possessed at that time, in contrast to the brown eyes he now has. At the time, he thought hopping in the pot was great fun, and didn't even seem nervous that the bowling ball he was carrying around in place of a head was wobbly enough to smash into the side of the pot if I wasn't careful.

He was equally happy to pose for the photo below, only this time, he had the wisdom to confirm the stove was OFF before he would go in the pot, because I guess he realized we'd been feeding him an awful lot of candy, ice cream, and yogurt recently just to fatten him up so he'd make a real nice stew.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Party, party

At least one member of the family is passing out on a regular basis with an empty bottle beside him.

In our house, we call this college prep.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

This morning, I ran downstairs for a few minutes to grab some clothes. After getting to about the kitchen, it occurred to me that I had left Helen propped up on my pillow and Connor bouncing around on my bed. I hurried my pace and when I got back to my room, I learned there was no reason to worry. Connor had decided to lay down and snuggle in tight with his sister. Both were smiling when I got back.

I'm such a lucky Mom.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Four Months!

Dear Helen,

Yesterday, you turned 4 months old and you know what? You are still ON the growth chart! You weighed in at 11 pounds 1 ounce, which is roughly the 5th percentile. You are just shy of 2 feet tall (25th percentile) and your head is also in the 25th percentile. Compared to your brother this means you are fat, short, and small headed. Which is to say, the pediatrician gave us no grief about you and it was a totally pleasant visit. Well, right up to the point when the nurse tried to test your hearing, anyway. You have yet to pass your newborn hearing screen in your right ear - and when the nurse put the little probe in your ear you completely freaked out, looking up at me with a face that clearly said "tell that strange person to get that stupid little plastic thing out of my ear this instant" and in case I didn't understand you clearly enough, you screamed - LOUDLY. Then came the shots. Ouch! But, you weathered these shots a lot better than your brother ever did. We gave you Tylenol before and after, but other than a slight sleep disturbance last night (which could have been caused by any number of things), you seemed to be over the shots shortly after getting them. Thank you, Helen, I appreciate this.

This month, you made great strides in the rolling over department - and though you do it frequently when your head and body are propped on a pillow, you have yet to perform the feat without this assistance. However, when I roll you over you are expert at lifting your head up so that your face doesn't end up planted in the rug and you move about so much with both your arms and legs flailing that it seems that soon, you just might accidentally move yourself.

The most remarkable thing I think of right now is that you talk nonstop. You have your blabbering, your squealing, your funky little inhale noise - and really, Helen, it is so completely charming and funny and it makes me laugh often. Connor seems to dig it too and if someone repeats one of your sounds back to you, it seems to provide you with even more joy which makes you make even more of your funny sounds. You often squeal when I walk into the room and that is a very endearing thing, indeed.

Your two cousins from the Midwest came to meet you this month and I can say with some certainty - except for the screaming in the car - they adore you. On their visit, we all went swimming (you actually just got to put on the cutest little swimsuit ever and hang out in a sling or on your aunt's lap), we went to the zoo and the building museum, and we took lots of photos. You were pretty much a champ - and except for the first night when you and Connor were trying to collectively see how little sleep I needed to function, you were an excellent sleeper.

By writing this next accomplishment, I know I am totally jinxing you, but it is so amazing that I simply must record it. You regularly sleep at least 6 hours and one night, you slept NINE. That rocked.

Time is swiftly passing, these days. I saw baby Mia (3 weeks old) tonight and I could hardly remember you being as small as she is, though you certainly were that small at one point. I'm trying really hard to hang onto memories.


Happy 30 months!

Dear Connor,

This month, you officially turned 2.5. And you introduced me to the proverbial "terrible twos" and as of this writing, I can say "we made it" - and there were a few moments this month when I wasn't sure I would be writing this post.

This month, our au pair moved in and all in all, the transition has gone better than expected. Which is to say, you definitely like her and want to include her in your life, but for at least the first couple of weeks, you ran the show more than she did. Last week, I wised up and called in reinforcements to keep you attended to while your sister learned to drink from a bottle. Vickie brought Teo over and the two of you had a standing playdate which you will continue for two more days this week. After that, I'm hoping the au pair can handle the job. If not, childcare woes will be back in the forefront of my mind.

Our friend Fiona gave you a series of books, one of which is titled "Mr. Bossy" and you have decided to emulate him with force (which is not at all endearing). My mom is probably reading this thinking "you get what you deserve".

Most nights you sleep great (thank you), but this month you have had the occasional disturbance and wow, Connor, has that been hard. To be fair, you were sick, your dad went out of town for a couple of nights, Mod moved in, and I went back to work. That's a lot for you to deal with. But Connor, it's not just that you wake everyone up (except Helen who seems immune to your fire siren wails), but one night this month when your dad went in to see if you were crying because you had a bad dream you wailed "I don't want Mommy to go back to work". Game. Set. Match. I laid there in my room across the hall as my heart broke into two pieces motionless, hoping your dad had some magic answer (he was silent). So there I was at 4AM, holding back tears, wondering if I should really be going to work. And I guess all working moms have this dilemma at one time or another, but I haven't had to seriously work through it yet, so I guess my time is now.

Your memorizing has become a bit freakish at times. One morning this week, you recited "Make Way for Ducklings" which is not a short book - and then you asked me to read it to you backwards, which I did, and then you did the same. That is just weird, dude.

I've been trying to figure out how you will spend your days next year, and being that we live in a place with way too many kids for the spaces available in preschool, I was hit with the stark realization that I had to get you on a list now if I had any hopes of finding you a spot next year. But, your dad and I decided that under no circumstances would we be sending you anywhere 5 days a week, and the good folks that run most preschools around here decided that anything less than 5 days a week was unacceptable. I did find a couple of 'schools' with fewer than 5 day programs but I gotta tell you, Connor, I toured one last week and the experience was nothing less than jarring. You see, when we first started going to the Waldorf parent-child program, I thought it was pretty odd. Everything is made of natural fibers and there are simply no plastic things in the room. There are old tree stumps to move around and climb on, sticks to build with, wooden playstands that turn into houses, and no toy would ever seem right with a battery in it. Coming from teaching at a few traditional pre-schools, I thought "whoa - where is the joy?" but now that I've seen you in the classroom once each week since you turned 2, I get it, and I love it. When I toured this new preschool with all its bright colors and plastic toys, and a COMPUTER!, I thought it was so overstimulating that it could not possibly make for a good environment, and I pivoted right out of there and needless to say, that's not where you'll be spending your days. This is somewhat strange, given that our home is full of brightly colored plastic, but it's not full of lots of kids, so it doesn't seem nearly as chaotic as that traditional classroom. I was even somewhat put off when the tour guide proudly announced that on inclement weather days they have this nice gym you can go to. And so I asked "they don't go outside in the rain?" and she continued proudly "oh never!", as if you would surely melt. And that made me sad, because some of our really fun times at parent-child class this year have been when Mrs. T. spots a worm in a big puddle and when you and Fiona splash so much that water goes flying everywhere. It just doesn't seem right anymore to trap a kid inside when there are puddles to be splashed in just outside the window.

We tossed around the idea of getting you an age exemption and sending you to Waldorf school 3 days a week next year, but after talking it through with the teacher and then your dad, I have finally decided that we will have another year of parent-child next year (one morning each week) and if a spot opens up at a coop run by the county, you can go play there once or twice each week.

You totally threw me for a loop when you accompanied me on our visit to Liz's studio to get Helen's 3 month photos taken. You were such a ham that she ended up taking more photos of you. Now I have to decide which ones to keep!

And, while you have always imitated dogs regularly, you now simply bark "ruff" whenever you don't want to answer a question. I guess if I spoke "dog", I could decipher what you want, but I don't, so I have to repeat my question - sometimes several times until you speak my language.

As always, your eating is up and down. When Mod first arrived, you decided to convince her you didn't need to eat lunch, but I ended that one day. And, I have to give you credit, on three consecutive days you tried a new food (or an old one previously declared "yucky") and added it back into your diet. Way to go, little dude.

Your dad has finally agreed with me that you have some minor mental health issues. Perhaps not more than any other toddler, but they're there. I often tell folks you have OCD - but I think your dad thought I was joking. Until, on several occasions, you have gotten nearly hysterical because there's A PIECE OF FUZZ IN THE WATER and you make your dad fish it out before you would dare to get in the tub. And, oh my god, get everything out of the sink because it might go down the drain. And Mommy, can I see what is in the sink? And can you please reassure me repeatedly that nothing we care about will go down the drain. At one point, your dad asked me "do you think something is wrong with him". My reply "yes!" But your quirkiness is a part of what makes you our beloved little guy.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

All's quiet on the eastern front

I was a little nervous about bedtime tonight. My sister and her kids left for home this afternoon. This meant it was me and au pair at bedtime. Helen nurses to sleep (though she does drink from a bottle these days!) which means either I need to get both of them to sleep or Connor needs to be helped by Mod. They both go to bed at the same time these days, so I decided I would try for Helen a bit early and take care of Connor a bit late, knowing that he was unlikely to allow Mod to put him to sleep if I was in the house. And you know what? The plan worked. I read a couple of books to both of them and Connor asked "Could I please play for just a couple more minutes, Mommy?". "Yes, Connor, I think that would be fine. I'll go ahead and put Helen to bed, and you can either play out here quietly or in your room and then I'll come read books to you and sing you a couple of songs." He played for just a couple of minutes, came out to the chair Helen and I were in and made another book request, I read the book as Helen nursed, he then asked for his bottle and by the time I got Helen in bed, he was almost asleep. He had tucked himself in (after telling Mod he wanted Mommy to read to him) and was lying there, cute as can be. I went ahead and read another book to him in the dark and sang him a couple of songs as he finished his milk. Haven't heard from him since. Helen needed one minor adjustment (because she got stuck on her shoulder as she squirmed around) but has also been asleep since I headed downstairs.

So, after that first night of Ed being gone, things have been pretty good. But I think next year, Connor will be all to happy to hit the slopes with his Daddy.


Friday, February 8, 2008


Ed headed out of town for a long weekend with his dad skiing, so my sister is filling in as the second parent in the house. And, it's a really good thing because Connor decided to go completely insane at bedtime, which made me go completely insane, and after Connor's nuttiness woke Helen up for the third time, I'd had enough so I sent Connor downstairs - screaming and all - to my sister. She calmly kept telling him that as soon as he was quiet he could go upstairs, but rationality was not his strong point this evening. Eventually Helen went to sleep so I could deal with Connor. And, after a few more rounds, we had a do-over bedtime, played some monkeys on the bed, and now, all is quiet. I am clearly not meant to be a single parent. Do not be fooled by the innocent look on the child's face below.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Professional Photos

They won't be up for long, but here's a look at a few photos taken by local photographer Liz Vance. She's been taking photos of Connor since he was 3 months old.