Once again, the picture fell on a night where Will isn’t feeling great, so I wasn’t super hopeful for anything spectacular. I mostly just wanted to get one of him not crying. We eked out a little smile, so I’m going to call that a success. Also, this baby is a tiny version of his dad. Those cheeks are 100% his.
Today you are 4 months old! How did you get so old already? It hasn’t really gone fast, it just sounds so old, so not new. And like so many things are on the horizon soon.
I probably said this last month, but this month you seemed to really wake up. You started noticing toys and people and the cats and you follow them and grab things and you’re just like a person now. Your hands don’t have minds of their own most of the time and you can be pretty precise with your reaching and grasping. I mean, you still hit yourself in the face on the regular, but now you can also very accurately hit me in the face when you want to. You also found your feet and you are very careful to make sure they are there every opportunity you get. It’s 2am and you’re only like 2% awake, but your hand is holding your foot anyway, just to be sure it hasn’t gone anywhere.
You are delightful. I mean truly, really delightful. You are joy personified, you are happiness in the form of a 14.5 pound boy. You coo and squeal and squeak happily all day long. You smile if anyone even kind of catches your eye and if we’re not looking at you, you’ll whimper, fake cough or squeak until someone looks so you can smile at them.
You found your voice this month and have taken to yelling at all of us a few times a day. Mostly it’s happy but I’ve gotten the angry what for a few times. I could listen to you do this all day long.
You continue to be an easy sleeper at home and a favorite baby at daycare. We went to visit the preschool at your daycare this month (which we’re moving your brother to January 1st) and one of the preschool teachers commented that you looked like William and I confirmed it was you and asked how she knew you since you’re in the infant room. She laughed and said, “everyone knows William. He’s the happiest baby.” My heart about exploded. I’m so happy you’re happy there and that so many people love you.
Your likes this month include: mom, dad, Eli, your feet, your blanket (well, any blanket, you’re not picky), the swing, the elephant on your floor gym, o balls, snuggles, baths and being lifted in the air.
Your dislikes this month include: the car when it’s not moving quickly, when daycare dares to serve you bottles that aren’t precisely 98.6 degrees, having your snot sucked out, having your nose wiped, boogers in general.
I have to tell you, I am really, really enjoying your babyhood. I don’t know if it’s because you’re a super easy baby or because I am in a good place emotionally and psychologically, or a combination therein, but oh I just have the best time every single day I spend with you. I still miss you so deeply when you’re at daycare and get practically giddy when I get out of work early and can come get you earlier than usual.
Last week you were sick and your dad was out of town so I got to stay home with you while your brother was at school. I had forgotten how much I loved our one-on-one time and even though you didn’t feel good, we had such a nice day together. We napped and snuggled and just had the best recovery day together. I miss our time together and I’d like to think you do too.
I can tell there are big things coming soon- rolling, sitting, eating, and I’m just so excited to see you do them. I’m so excited to watch you change and grow and become more yourself and less generic baby. I want to hear what you like and dislike. I want to see you bond with your brother and see who you really are, besides the sweetest little spirit in the world.
Happy four months William. We love you and can’t wait to see what next month brings.
Thanksgiving was last week and for the umpteenth year in a row I had planned to write something here but I didn’t. This year it was because I was busy in the best way- enjoying my life.
Seven years ago (it was 7 years on Thanksgiving Day), I had brain and spinal surgery.
My husband and I were talking about it on thursday and I think I didn’t realize what a big deal the surgery was at the time. I was so miserable with headaches, dizziness, nausea and weakness that the idea of something going wrong just didn’t have room in my mind. It had to work, had to make my life better because I had big plans. And thankfully, the surgery was a success.
The weeks, months and years after the surgery weren’t what I expected. The headaches came back, there were more MRIs than I can count, there were lumbar punctures and long discussions that all ended in puzzled and frustrated neurologists and neurosurgeons. We knew the problem, low intracranial pressure, but there was no cause and no treatment. While my family looks back upon my surgery as one of the scariest days, I look back on the years where my head hurt constantly and where no one could help me and those were far, far scarier than facing a scalpel.
The headaches improved dramatically when I got pregnant with Eli (increased blood volume and intra-abdominal pressure = increased intracranial pressure) and again with William, but when I’m not pregnant, the headaches are still an issue that I grapple with. The difference is that they don’t stop my life anymore. I’m not dizzy, I’m not nauseous (most of the time). I can work and care for my kids.
On the list of things I’m thankful for, my health is very near the top, if not the first item on the list. I am incredibly fortunate to be healthy, to be able to function just like everyone else in spite of my medical history. This surgery didn’t give me the immediate relief I’d hoped for, but it gave me back my life and gave me a future. It allowed me to have two beautiful boys and to be able to chase after them, lift them and play with them without pain. It allowed me to go to school and start a career that I deeply love.
This post may be a few days late, but I wanted to take the time to say that I am so very thankful for the life I have, for my incredible family who has stood by me through everything and for my future, which looks blindingly, beautifully bright.
Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends.
About three months ago, I sent Eli to preschool in pull ups and with a bag of pull ups because we’d gotten a note that we needed to send more diapers. I told the front office that this was entirely because our diaper shipment wasn’t coming for 2 more days and we were out of regular diapers and these were all we had, NOT because we were potty training (though we always told them it was fine to let him sit on the potty), but somehow the message didn’t trickle down to the afternoon teacher.
Since Eli was wearing pull ups, that afternoon when all the kids got up from nap and went potty she sent Eli with them. And somehow, my child who had asked to sit on potties a THOUSAND times and never produced any output, peed. He did it two more times that afternoon before I picked him up and twice more at home. I was totally shocked.
And ill prepared. I had a newborn and no desire to potty train. And so we waited. Eli continued to request to use the potty all the time and I obliged whenever possible. There were days where he would stay dry literally all day long completely of his own desire, without me asking him if he wanted to go at all. There was literally never a child more ready to be potty trained and never parents with less of a desire. But finally we had a free weekend and we decided it was time to do it. To actually potty train. To seize the moment and his interest and get it over with. His preschool teachers were thrilled, we were terrified.
And so, we potty trained.
The first thing I learned in this adventure was that anyone who says having two kids in diapers is harder than having one newly potty trained and one in diapers is a lying liar. Even a kid who is ready to be potty trained still requires very, very close monitoring all damn day. And when you don’t closely monitor them, sometimes they sit down and pee in the side storage compartment of the lego table. TWICE. And as I have learned from his hilarious attempts at independence, even seemingly simple potty tasks like putting on one’s own underwear require parental assistance.
It’s been almost two months and he’s doing fabulously. He literally has had 2 accidents at home in 8 weeks and has been accident free at preschool for 3 weeks now.
I think if anything, this experience showed me that Eli continues to be Eli. He has always been a kid on his own timeline. We tried to transition him to a crib in his own room when he was 6 months old and it was a 4 month long nightmare. When he was ready and when in a setting he liked (a mattress on the floor), he not only slept, but slept through the night for the first real time and never looked back. We tried to transition him off the bottle at a year and it was awful. Then shortly before 2, he requested a straw cup for milk and not a single bottle has been used since. Every time we try to pick an arbitrary deadline, we fail, but when we listen to Eli, that’s almost never the case.
Truly, Eli has been the perfect first child for us, because he has taught us how to be parents. He helped us understand that there is a time to push and a time to wait and listen for readiness. He doesn’t make the decisions (much to his great frustration), but his readiness is always a factor in our plans.
I always kind of imagined that we’d parent with lines in the sand. Ditch the bottle at 1 year, toddler bed at age two, potty train around 3. But we have quickly learned that picking our parenting style before knowing the child we will parent is ridiculous. I’m not sure who Will will be, but I finally understand that even if I don’t know exactly what to do as a parent, listening to my child will never be the wrong first step.
Today you are three months old! This has been a long month and I feel like you’ve grown and changed so much in such a short time. You have always seemed older than your chronological age, and this month has been no exception.
This month you started making your likes and dislikes known a little better. You still go with the flow so much of the time, but we’re starting to see more of you and less generic infant opinionlessness. You like to be held on your side, not on your back. You like Nuk pups (pacifiers), not Soothies. You greatly prefer my left boob to my right boob. You like the elephant on your floor gym the most and will turn your head to find him whenever we set you down.
This month you’ve also really taken to Hal, your owl blanket. When you’re taking (supervised) naps we give him to you and you love to rub him on your face to fall asleep. It’s so sweet. Someday we’ll let you have him at night. Maybe when we set you free from your swaddle. So not until I have to. You also like to have him in the car and tend to chew on the corners, which is gross, but it makes you really happy.
You attended your first USC football game (homecoming!) this month and while you slept through a big part of it, you seemed to have fun (until the ride home, omg). The other big first was your first Halloween. You were dressed up as a sheep. You ripped 80% of the cotton balls off within like 10 minutes, but you were still really cute.
You started daycare this past week and for the most part you did well. You smile at your teachers and nap pretty well, but of course it only took three days for you to come down with a cold. And oh, you are so pathetic. You sniff and cough and cry and it is heartbreaking. Like, if you could speak and asked for a pony, it would already be here.
I think it’s most sad because when you’re healthy you are simply the best baby. You only get up once a night and then go immediately back to sleep until I wake you up around 7:30am. You take 2-3 hour naps every afternoon. You smile and coo and just let us mess with your schedule and drag you everywhere. And all the while you’re just so happy to be there. If there’s someone there to smile at you, everything is great.
That is, until 7pmish. You still have pretty significant witching hours, where only mom will do. Your dad and I went out to a fancy dinner for his work last weekend and you stayed with Aunt Claire and Grandma T and you were NOT a happy camper. I think the combination of it being nighttime, them trying to make you drink out of bottles and your mom being gone was a perfect storm of sad. You survived, but you were displeased.
Your likes this month include: mom, dad, aunt Claire, the cats, Nuk pacifiers, Hal, milk (left boob > right boob > bottle), baths, your swing, snuggling.
Your dislikes this month include: gas, boogers, vaccines, car rides when you’re hungry, being hungry in general, when your brother screams.
My first day back to work I didn’t cry at drop off. I stayed strong, but all day I ached for you. I wanted to hold you and feed you and see your smile and it was so tough to play with other kids when all I wanted to do was play with you instead. I finally got to pick you up at 5pm, loaded you in the car and burst into tears. I missed you so very much, I can barely even put it into words. It was like I was incomplete all day and when I finally got you back I was just overcome with it all.
You are just such a delight and people stop all the time to tell me how sweet or cute you are. And they’re right. You are just the best. I joke that you’re the best baby, but truly, I cannot imagine an easier or typically happier little dude. I feel so incredibly lucky that you’re mine. I still can’t believe that the toughest part of having 2 young kids isn’t having a 3 month old. Your brother, at least on some level, loves you very much, by the way. And I hope that someday having the two of you close together will be as big of a blessing as it can be a struggle these days.
I have a feeling that this next month will be another big month of change. You’re very close to rolling, very close to laughing and will be getting into a routine with daycare. Every single day I wake up and I’m just so happy I get to play with and love you and your brother.
Happy 3 months William. We love you so much and can’t wait to see what next month brings.
Today Eli is two and a half. I think of all the aging milestones so far, this is the one that snuck up the fastest. We went to look at a preschool last week (in the city we’ll be moving to this summer) and I realized that Eli only has two more school years until kindergarten and my heart about exploded. My first baby. Except he’s not a baby anymore, not at all. He’s got long, thin legs and speaks in sentences. He’s out of diapers and wears shoes with laces. He’s shed his last few vestiges of babyhood and all that remains is boy.
Two has been such a completely unique experience. It seemed like his development from baby to one year old was seamless, no major differences, just a linear progression of his personality. Nothing about two is linear. One day he is the easiest dude, following directions, easing from one activity to the next. And the next day, you see this flicker in his eyes that seems to say, today I’m going to make things difficult. And he is EXCELLENT at making things difficult when he wants to.
But even on his most difficult days, he’s still just the coolest kid ever. He is polite to a fault, through very little encouragement on our part. He’ll be choking on water and will try to say “excuse me” every time he coughs, even though he’s literally choking. He says please and thank you without prompting even when throwing a fit, which yep, happens pretty regularly.
He suddenly has preferences and they’re strong. He only wants to listen to certain songs or play with certain toys. Only wants to color with specific colors. It’s like he’s awake now, no longer just doing what we ask or recommend, but what he really wants. And he has an independent streak at least a mile wide. Our bedtime routine now involves him helping with every step, which has resulted in just a tremendous amount of wasting of lotion, hair products and toothpaste.
While he is still a sensitive and occasionally worried toddler, his fears have become fewer and more logical. He doesn’t like loud noises and can now tell you exactly what’s bothering him. A few weeks ago he got panicked and looked at me and said, “I scared!” and I asked him what he was scared of and he thought for a minute and said, “I scared of the choo choo train!” We were right next to the train tracks and it was loud and it just seemed like such a grown up expression and awareness. The vacuum is still is nemesis, but hell, the same could be said for me.
While he is very verbal and mostly comprehensible, we’ve hit the pronoun confusion stage and I have to admit that it might be my favorite thing. He fell off a chair at Disneyland and a lady asked if he was okay and he looked at her and said, “I bonked your head!” His new thing is to walk around in my high heels (often naked) and he’ll yell, “I like your new shoes!” while walking around. It’s great and hilarious. Or it is right until he yells “I wanna clean your butt” in public. It’s a little less great in those situations.
At times I want to freeze the clock and keep him this age forever because he’s just so incredibly fun and at other times I can’t wait to see who he’s going to be at 3 and 4 and 30. I am so fortunate to spend my days with this kid and I can’t believe how fast 2 and a half years have gone. I can’t believe how much he’s changed and yet how his head still fits perfectly on my shoulder and how his hands, though much larger, still look just like they did the day he was born.
It’s still surprising how much my love for him grows and how having William hasn’t zapped up any of the love I had for Eli. It’s as though my heart doubled. There are days where I look at my two boys and I am just floored. How did I get so incredibly lucky? I’ll never know the answer to that, but I am grateful each day for them and that I get to be their mom.
They say the halves are harder than the whole, but as for me, I can’t wait to see what 2.5 has in store for us.
Yes, it’s been 5 days since Halloween, but frankly, I’m impressed with myself for being even this timely. It’s not that William can’t be put down, he actually does fine with it, it’s that I go back to work next week so I don’t want to put him down for even a second. And typing, for me at least, really requires 2 hands.
Anyway, a few months ago, we asked Eli what he wanted to be for Halloween. Unsurprisingly, his response was “I nuh know.” (I don’t know) So we started suggesting things. All responses were met with a no and finally we gave up letting him have an opinion. We knew he would need something he could recognize and without any uncomfortable parts. Plus, we wanted Will’s costume to fit with Eli’s.
Finally, I had a stroke of brilliance. Well, one that you’d only understand if you watched the How to Train your Dragon movies, which we have, about 1089834587 times. And so Eli was Toothless, the dragon from HTTYD and Will was a sheep. For those who haven’t seen the movies, the dragons eat the sheep in the original and play games with them in the sequel. We were amused. Both boys’ hats are from Etsy, as was Eli’s costume. I made Will’s and he destroyed it in about an hour.
Also, Eli was not going to have a black nose, but after Addie (who went as Minnie Mouse) and Aunt Claire (who wore a Mickey Mouse t-shirt) colored theirs, Eli announced it was his turn and I couldn’t turn down his very reasonable request.
Good times were had by all and Eli has asked to go “trick or treaty” about 200 times since Friday. Can’t wait until next year!
We went to Disneyland on Sunday and about halfway through the day, we sat down for a snack (fine, ice cream, we sat down for ice cream). Eli got into a chair and sat down on his knees and when I went to push the chair in, he started to fall. Notably this was the second (of THREE) falls from chairs that day (gravity, man) and I did what any mom would do- I lunged to catch him.
I got his arm, saved him from a head on concrete situation though his butt made pretty good contact and as soon as he remembered there was ice cream to be had he was totally fine. But then I realized my mistake. While I saved Eli, I completely mashed William, who was in a carrier on my front, against a metal chair. He cried and cried (but is fine) and I felt absolutely terrible.
And before I carry on, just let me say how much I love having two kids. Love love love. But…
That moment at Disneyland, to me, is a great picture of having two kids. Not feeling terrible, but feeling like you sacrifice one for the other A LOT. Eli is newly potty trained (more on that another time) which means that Will gets put down a hundred times a day so I can assist the pulling pants back up and butt wiping that has to be done. William is a ridiculously refluxy baby and I have to disengage from Eli not just to feed William and change his diapers, but to change his clothes 3-5 times a day so he doesn’t smell like puke all day. It’s just, at this age, there are very few times where I can satisfy the needs and wants of both at the same time.
And the guilt, oh man, the guilt is crazy. I know both boys are fine, this doesn’t keep me up at night or anything, but I do feel badly about things a lot. They are clothed and fed and have all their basic needs met, but it’s the extra stuff I used to be able to do that I can’t anymore.
Like last night, all Eli wanted was for me to go outside and play with him. And I really, really wanted to. But Will was overtired and hungry and then I had to start dinner. So I kept having to put Eli off. I got Will down, I did a little dinner prep then I played outside for 2 minutes before Will’s eyes peeled open and he started crying.
Will Eli remember I didn’t play outside with him one time or will William remember that I mashed him against a chair? Of course not. And that is hugely comforting to me, I just hate the idea that either of them feels like the other is more important.
It’s a tough balance. We survive each day with minimal difficulty. Everyone goes to bed having done all the things that need to be done and usually relatively happy, but I often feel like I’ve run an emotional marathon, even on days when we barely leave our pajamas or stay in the house all day. I know the boys will probably both be better off for having to learn some self-sufficiency and for having each other, it’s just tough in the mean time.
I love these boys so very much and I feel beyond lucky all the time, not just to have two kids, but to have these two kids. These two wonderful boys of mine. I know that the guilt will diminish over time (at least to an extent) and that things will get easier. I just know this is a part of parenting I wasn’t expecting and maybe by writing it out someone else will be better prepared, or if we have another child (waaaaaaay down the road) I can look back and see that we’ve done this before.