Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy First Birthday Malcolm!

Dear Malcolm -

What did we do without you!? You are a ray of sunshine, a bit of laughter. You're funny, you're fun, and you fit so well into our family. It's been a year since you were born, a year since I met your tiny, beautiful, bruised face. A year since another little person has been out in this world carrying my heart with them everywhere they go. Looking back on the pictures and videos I took from the year, I found many from your first few months where I would record 5+ minutes of me just talking and staring at you. Those lazy maternity leave moments between just the two of us of you cooing and me trying to get you to smile. Oh how I miss my tiny newborn Malcolm, but I love the you that is right now. It's all my favorite. You are brave and brazen and ready to do whatever your brother does. You love to run away from me and look back with a big grin on your face to make sure I'm following. You do things you think or know you shouldn't and then look at me with a satisfied smirk, waiting for my reaction. I love watching you figure these things out. You like to cuddle with blankets, you like to jump on the bed (with my help), you like to scale things you shouldn't, and open cupboards and drawers and just explore! You love it when I carry you facing out and we chase Eliot through the house and collapse somewhere all together. I wish I could get that smile on camera, your wispy hair blowing up in the breeze, laughter and pure joy on your face. These are moments I wish I could bottle up forever. You can say "hi," "uh-oh," "dada," and of course, "vroom." You may have said "mama" but you weren't looking at me. Mama's can wait. Your laugh is contagious. I cannot believe how much love I have for you.You're in a needy stage right now. A stage I remember with Eliot at about the same age. A stage where I cannot even put you down to make dinner without you putting your head on the floor and crying in frustration. I hate doing it to you, but dinner must be made. You've started to throw little tantrums sometimes, head on the floor and laid full out, or throwing your head back and screaming. Tantrums are so cute at this age, they won't be in about a year so I'm enjoying it while I can. Not that I delight in your frustration, but I delight in the fact that you have an opinion and that you are developing normally. You are my second son, but you are your own person in every way. I don't know why I expected another Eliot. You are Malcolm, you are your own you, you do things like you and only you can. I love getting to know you more every day. Happy first birthday my little peanut. I look forward to many more.

Music by Devotchka, The Winner Is

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

11 months with Christmas thrown in for good measure


 
Couldn't get these boys to stand still for anything.
 
I will cherish this picture forever. This is what Eliot looked like all night.

 Christmas pajamas!
 

 Nice family...
 That's better. 

Malcolm is walking! He took his first steps this month, then a few days later decided to walk from thing to thing and gets the biggest, proudest smile on his face when he is walking. He is so...unstable! It's so different to have a 3 year old running around to accidentally knock into him this time. They have so much fun together though. Malcolm loves following Eliot around and sometimes Eliot even looks at Malcolm as a playmate, and not just a destroyer of whatever toy he's set up. Although I do call him "baby godzilla" because he does like to destroy whatever he touches. It's not cute if you're 3 and enjoy things like Legos and train tracks and things that are easily destroyed. Sharing is still an issue, and Eliot still gets angry when Malcolm is around sometimes. Eliot told me that he likes when Malcolm is sleeping, because then he can just play. But the day before he was asking if Malcolm could put on his boots and come play out in the snow too.

Malcolm is a good sleeper, loves to eat on his own, and is very busy. He's always exploring something. His latest favorite is the bathroom, where he likes to throw open the cupboards and play with things like a humidifier and tampons. I'm pretty sure he's said Dada and meant it. Pretty sure. But he says Dada a lot, so who knows. For sure his first word was "Vroom." Just like Eliot's. These boys and their cars. He finally got some teeth - 2 are in and 2 more on the way. It's fast and furious around here.
 
Eliot had his first Christmas program at preschool and surprised us all by being the absolute star of the stage. He was funny, he was right in front, and I think he loved the attention. We had multiple parents come up to us and say how funny he was. At one point the kids were singing about sharing, complete with a hand motion showing how to share. Eliot screams out (have I mentioned how loud he is?) "No, mine!" Every time they said "Share." He had the crowd roaring. I asked his teacher if she set that up...nope! He ad-libbed that. I think that was one of my favorite days ever, it reminds me of how surprising parenting can be. It humbles me to think of the talents and needs that my kids have/will have that I feel so unprepared to help them with! Two of the biggest introverts in the world may just have made an extrovert...god help us.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

10 months...counting down to a first birthday here already




 
Malcolm is fully mobile. Malcolm is trouble the way his brother never was. He's curious, he's the reason baby gates and cabinet locks and all those safety implements we never really needed for Eliot were invented. He likes to laugh. If you start laughing at him he'll laugh right back. He's smart - he knows when to get out of the way of the big kids. He gets himself stuck in places. He tries to eat tiny pieces of who knows what on the floor. He insists on eating dinner with us. If someone is eating, he better be eating too. He makes a vrooming noise when he's pushing cars on the floor. He's funny, he's got a great laugh. I am enjoying the heck out of this little guy.

Although I have to say lately Eliot has gotten pretty darn brave.
 
This month I had to wean Malcolm. I'm having some health problems, but this post isn't about me. I nursed Eliot for 19 months. I am an emotional mess about having to wean Malcolm. I miss it. He has adjusted just fine. But babies are traitors. Since Chris has been providing most of his care, Chris is the one he runs to. It's awesome, those two, how much fun they're having. I miss our relationship but it is special to see Chris and Malcolm have such a special relationship. I hope to be better soon and keep up with these kids a bit more.

They're together and fuzzy and just putting up with us for a minute.
I forget about these moments sometimes. Good thing I have a camera.
 
Eliot is doing awesome. He loves preschool, tolerates daycare, and loves his grandma and his cousin Trenton. He can be rough with Malcolm sometimes. He takes toys, pushes, and screams at him. I'm not sure why he's so angry sometimes. We rarely yell in our house, but he's so angry lately. Ah well. I hope for a special relationship between Eliot and Malcolm. Maybe it's too early for them to get  along much, but it's mostly screaming when someone's taken a toy.

Eliot is so excited for Christmas. He really gets it this year. He helped us set up the tree, he's got an advent calendar he talks about all the time and he's really looking forward to presents! He's been having some trouble sleeping alone lately so I've been spending lots of nights in his bed. He's funny - and I think he's a bit of the class clown at school. His teacher is always talking about how funny he is. The other moms say their kids talk about Eliot all the time...Eliot almost never talks about school. Sometimes we hear about one friend, but he's very quiet about school to my dismay.

 
Everything is moving so fast, I'm having trouble keeping up with this blog! I write these posts and never find time to publish them because I haven't added pictures. I need to make more time!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Eliot


He sleeps with his yellow construction hat. And a stuffed toy he calls baby jaguar and he still uses a pacifier. He’s almost 3.5 and he’s not potty trained. He’s headstrong and testing limits and can be mean and rude and dear god sometimes I forget that he is still such a baby. Sometimes I’m so hard on him. Sometimes I give him the silent treatment because I don’t want to yell at him. Because I’m angry. Because I want him to know I’m angry. He screams for a while. Repetitive, wants something, doesn’t matter what, just wants to win, just wants me to hear. Then he starts repeating “Be nice to me mama.” I still don’t talk. I can’t. I’m just so angry about the way he acted and angry that I have to be consistent with my punishment because dammit I wanted to go to Target and get a cookie too but he didn’t listen and I took it away and now we can’t go. How old am I? He sleeps with a construction hat and a stuffed toy he calls baby jaguar. He still uses a pacifier. He still wants me to lay with him when he goes to sleep.  He asks me to turn on his turtle light when I leave so it’s not so dark. He’s just a baby. Why do I want to yell at him like an adult? Actually I want to yell at him like I would never yell at an adult. Sometimes I want to be ugly. Sometimes I am ugly. When am I being too hard on him and when do I need to enforce even more? What do I let go? How am I going to let him go? “I like holding hands with you mama. I need a hug.” He’s still my baby. I’m trying so hard to be a good mom. He’s still a baby, but comes incognito as a teenager when I least expect it. But because he still needs to hold onto baby jaguar. Because he still needs to hold onto my hand. I will take more deep breaths tonight and not be ugly. I will hug and hold hands and be patient. I will be creative and find ways to make doing what we need to do fun and possible. I will love the stuffing out of that little boy for the rest of my life and I will not miss even an ugly moment of 3.5 because I won’t get it back.

 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

9 Months Old!


Oh, are we ever mobile

 Friends?
 
 Oh mom, that's funny.
 
And they are outta here. Gotta be fast in this house.

I think the theme of this month was movement and mouthing. Because holy crap suddenly Malcolm is everywhere. Which involves gates and latches and barriers and eyes in the back of my head. Because cords are so interesting and anything that fits into his mouth is so tasty, and the dog bowl is so much fun to play in mom! He seriously squeals with glee any time he sees it on the floor and literally beelines it for the dog bowl. Malcolm also developed quite the personality this month. When you tell him no and start to chase him he laughs so happily and starts crawling in the other direction, all the while looking back to make sure you're trying to catch him. Oh this game is fun now, but once the kid can run we're in big trouble. He's liking solid foods more now and can handle some actual solid foods. Otherwise he's our happy, relaxed Malcolm. He's so mobile it's scary compared to Eliot, but he still has not cut one single tooth. Malcolm is close to standing on his own, and loves to push toys that he can walk with. 9 months. Goodness the time goes fast.

 

Eliot is smart, and funny, and preschool is just about the greatest thing ever in his world. He loves his teacher Mrs. Potter and loves going to school. He is getting better at his colors and can usually spell his name. His drawing is becoming much more representational of actual things (like a head, some legs and eyes). It's so cool to see him learn new things. Trick or treating blew his mind though. He was spider man (and did something weird with him mouth the entire time he was in the costume - see picture). We had to let him down easy and tell him that Halloween was only once a year...but that Thanksgiving and Christmas were coming up soon so that's should tide him over. Then it's a long, dark winter until this little boy's 4th birthday. Emphasis on the long.



Friday, October 18, 2013

8 Months and First Day of Preschool


Eliot for comparison now...goofball

What a happy baby!

 
 
So Malcolm is a mover and a shaker and a busy, busy guy now. His hands are always busy doing something, and if you put him on the floor in a room full of toys he will amuse himself for hours. Literally. He can crawl, get from a sitting position to a crawl, and get from the floor into a seated position. He's everywhere. He loves the dogs water bowl, so now Daly is horribly dehydrated half the time. He loves Daly and Eliot too. He also has a little temper. If there's something he wants and he's not getting it he makes this little angry noise. It's pretty cute actually. His chattering has switched from mamas to dadas. Of course. He's almost never crying, so content, as long as his hands are busy. He's a huge fan of baths too. You know what he's not crazy about? Food. Huh. He's definitely not his brother!

I think I've been talking about Eliot starting preschool for almost 6 months now. And he finally did it, he's finally in school. It's been a little traumatic for me. It's a lot, this new schedule, for him too. He seems to be enjoying it though, it wears him out a ton and makes him really hungry. He's also not one to chatter on about what happens - so I just get snippets of what may have happened. They talked about germs. He rode on a tractor. They made handprints. His teacher's dog is silly and eats balls. The first day of orientation I was holding his hand through the parking lot. When we got to the sidewalk he said, "You don't need to hold my hand any more, mama." Oh buddy, I know. Damn this growing up thing is breaking my heart. And he's still a baby! You forget about the letting go part. I get so wrapped up in the day to day baby-rearing that I forget they'll grow up and leave and I won't see them much and I'll need to fill all this time with my own wants and needs. I look forward to it and I'm so sad at the same time.

We pulled back on potty training Eliot. We had him in underwear for about a month and he was doing pretty good I guess. Or we thought. But he had never once told us he had to go to the bathroom. We had to beg and cajole him in there every hour and he would go, and keep his pants dry until the next time we begged and cajoled. If we were late in getting him there he would just pee his pants. If he had to poop he would just poop his pants. And finally he was sitting there with his head in his hands and feeling so sad he hadn't kept himself dry and I just called it off. We're going to wait a month and try again. So back to diapers and he could care less. I wish he cared a little more but Eliot is not one to like change. He's my son after all...
Eliot is a little sensitive to noise - he loved riding on the tractor once we found some ear protectors!


Showing off his super hero cape.

Standing next to a real live Frank!

Letting go...

Little overwhelmed.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Malcolm is 7 months and other things that blow my mind

My baby!! Is on the cusp of becoming not a baby! I call a timeout. Just let me languish here for a moment with a baby and a preschooler.

Wow! Eliot had a lot more hair at 7 months but Malcolm started out with more hair. This is interesting to nobody but me.
 
HA.




So is there some switch that flips at 6 months and these previously lumpy babies develop little personalities? I'm loving it. Malcolm has the happiest personality. He's so...well...happy! Lots of smiles and giggling and talking from this guy. He is so very very awesome. Malcolm is sitting on his own for small periods of time now. There's no sign of teeth yet, but lots of chewing and a definite preference for 2 specific fingers to suck on. He hates purees, loves whole foods (bananas, apples, watermelon, anything he can suck on and pretend he's also a 3 year old boy), but is still a pretty gaggy little guy when he eats. He's an easy baby, really only cries if he's hungry or tired, and has begun spending the first part of the night in his own crib. He's there from anywhere from 3-6 hours. I'm easily impressed considering Eliot was my first child and the most difficult sleeper ever. So way to go Malcolm! I think the thing I want to remember most about Malcolm at this age is his awesome smile. It's so pure, so completely all-encompassing, and so freaking cute.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Eliot, while still totally adorable and in possesion of my heart, can be somewhat sassy lately. He's trying out his future teenage attitude and he's quite adept at it. He's starting preschool on the 9th and I'm just...just...so very nervous and excited and I really really hope he likes it. Of course it's a milestone. Every year after this we will have a beginning of the school year, every year until he graduates high school and hopefully college after that. Twenty more years of school kid, it's a long crazy ride. Eliot is very well-spoken, hilarious, is a talented dancer, and loves all things that move. He's also pretty well potty trained! We're still dealing with accidents here and there, and daycare has him in a pullup (which makes him lazy and not remember to go to the bathroom) but he is doing AWESOME!! I'm so proud of him. I forget to tell him often enough sometimes. I worry I'm not being a good enough parent a lot, he can be difficult and I can lose my patience. He loves his little brother though, can't wait until they can play together someday soon.

This 3 year old is the master of the cheesy grin:

 
 
But sometimes you can catch him truly happy, like at the fair on a ride....
 
 
In larger family news, my mom had a cancer scare. It's not, not cancer, totally benign, which is totally awesome. But damn. Just the thought. The thought of my family's mortality....I can't even tell you. My mom is the glue that holds us together. I talk to my mom almost every day. I cannot imagine a family gathering, a family function, a life event, a regular day without my mom.  I still need my mom. More than I can say, more than I had previously thought about. And we came together during this scare like I've never seen. We covered almost every minute with my mom. It felt like a big family wall, a wall against this thing, this cancer that we all felt was so surreal and so fucking real and scary at the same time. We stood together and said "not her." Not now. But it remains surreal, it remains a scare, a story, a blip. Thank god. But it's a reminder of what is sacred, of how none of us is promised another second. We went back to "normal" pretty quickly once we found out the news, but I still remember. For now I'll take it as a lesson. I love these fragile people around me and will try and appreciate them more, to soak them in as much as I can while I can.

Love this lady like crazy: