pretty mamma

18 months

One of my favorite of our recent exchanges, which are becoming more like mini conversations as you begin to string words together into half sentences:

I had taken you upstairs after dinner to brush your teeth, and you spotted my comb on the vanity counter.

You: “Hold it, hold it.” That’s your way of saying you’d like something, stat.

I grabbed the comb for you, and you ran it through your hair a couple of times. Then you ran it through mine a few times, took a good look at your handiwork and stated, “Pretty Mamma.”


Me: “Awww, thank you, Sweet Pea.”

You: “Welcome.”

You’ve become very polite: You say “welcome” any time one of us says thank you. You also say “welcome” when you mean “thank you,” but the sentiment is there. We’re very proud of this new habit of yours. You’re also pretty good at remembering to say “peas” if you really, really want something.

Some other recent things that have absolutely floored me:

  • You can count to 20 (skipping a few numbers here and there, but still).
  • When you see the framed postcards of Verona as we’re traversing the stairwell, you say “Nonno’s.” I have no idea how you know this. It’s like you’re a sorcerer.
  • You can differentiate shapes and colors, and you’re getting to be a whiz at puzzles and shape sorting.
  • And this one made laugh: Tonight, we were looking at a board book about the beach, and I taught you “bathing suit.” You interpreted this as “Beebee’s soup.” Haha! Not quite the same thing.

You’re just getting over your nth illness of the calendar year, and we’re not even through March. This time, you were diagnosed with a sinus infection and pinkeye (shortly after I recovered from the same strange, goopy combination), and at least we’ve been able to treat them with actual effective medicines. The past few times it’s been “just another virus” and we’ve all had to suffer through it.

This past weekend, before the goop hit a fever pitch, you joined me at the salon for your first haircut. You sat on my lap, and Daddy distracted you with iPhone videos and cookies while Connie, my hairstylist, transformed your mullet–adorable as it may have been on you–into a decent style with a shape. You tolerated it until the clippers came out, and then you went ninja on her (also reserved for nail trimming and anti-pinkeye eye drop application). She maybe cut the front a bit too short for my taste, but it’ll grow back quickly, I know. Already, it looks way thicker to me. I’d like to avoid cutting your hair too frequently because I think toddlers with Beatles-esque mops are the cutest ever.

This weekend, we’ll be celebrating 19 months of YOU (along with 37–eek!–years of ME) and also bunnies and spring. We’re not really doing Easter this year, since Mimi’s working, so instead we’re going to go hunt eggs on a farm. The weather’s going to be sunny and spring like, and all of a sudden the world seems pretty again.


turn, turn, turn

50 weeks

It’s been a bit of an emotional week for me.

Early in the week, I learned a former colleague of mine–someone with whom I’d worked closely on specific projects but had left the university several years ago–died suddenly. She’d just turned 40 and leaves behind a little girl who’s getting ready to enter kindergarten.

Nothing hits me in the gut anymore like hearing about a child who’s lost a parent or a parent who’s lost a child. And when it’s someone I know, well, it feels like I might literally double over from the impact of it. I try not to generalize these things–not to think that because it’s happened to someone else, it will necessarily happen to us. But it’s hard to put it out of my mind. So I squeezed you a little bit tighter this week, slowed down to appreciate fully the moments we’ve spent together, especially the quiet, cuddly ones right before you go to bed when you allow me to tuck you into the crook of my arm, still, and rock you in the glider and Eskimo kiss you.

This death has also reminded me, once again, that Daddy and I really need to secure life insurance and draw up a will. I hate thinking about these things in the same way that I hate financial planning. I’d much rather just pay someone else to do it for me, but it will require some level of input from me, one way or the other, and I need to stop procrastinating to ensure you’re protected.

While I was processing the systemic shock of learning that someone I’d known relatively well had died, I got the news that your Aunt Danielle delivered a gorgeous, 6-pound-5-ounce, healthy baby girl on Wednesday. And so while the world lost a wonderful, kind, gentle human, it has gained one as well. Her name is Elisa, and I know you and she and her big brother Anthony will spend many afternoons playing together. I haven’t had a chance to meet this newest peanut yet, but I’m hoping to get over to see her and her mama this week. You’ll have to stay home, unfortunately, but you’ll get to know her soon enough.

I’m thinking a lot about your Aunt Danielle and how she now has two kids where once there was one. I can’t imagine this. I mean, not only can I not imagine having another baby, transforming our family of three into a family of four with an entirely different dynamic, I can’t imagine starting from scratch at this point. Here, on the eve of the very last week of your first year, it feels like we’ve come an exceptionally long way from where we were a year ago, battling to keep it together through murky, sleep-deprived weeks and struggling to get anything done between feedings. I quite like where we are now–it seems to me like a giant prize for sticking it out through the early months–and I’d be so reluctant to upset the beautiful balance we’ve achieved. (I’m pretty psyched to report that I’ve gone out for girls’ nights two weekends in a row! Daddy very graciously stayed home to take care of you, and you didn’t miss me at all.) I guess I’m not ready for another baby. And maybe I never will be.

In the meantime, your strength and independence continue to barrel forward as you check developmental milestones off your list. I’m attempting to catalog them here, but they’re coming almost too quickly for me to stay on top of them.

  • In addition to saying “mamma” and “dada” quite proficiently and appropriately now (my favorite is when Daddy or I walk into the room, and you spin around to greet us and say, “Mamma!” or “Dada!” as if you haven’t seen us in months), you’ve got a small vocabulary that we are able to decipher but may not be entirely comprehensible to the rest of the world. This includes saying “round and round and round” while pointing to the ceiling fan; making “eee-eee-eee” noises when seeing or pointing to a picture of a monkey; saying “one” and holding up your index finger when asked how old you are; saying “no no no” and wagging that same finger; saying “bye bye” (I heard this crystal clearly the other day when we left daycare) while waving; saying “quack quack” (but really it’s more like “ka ka” when playing with your toy duck); roaring when seeing any other animal, whether it roars in actuality or not.
  • You’ve got a second tooth! It just barely appeared a few days after the first did, but it’s completely caught up, and now you’ve got two nice, consistent central bottom teeth.
  • You’re cruising like a champ, and you’ve begun climbing. At some point, I’m sure you’re going to figure out how to climb out of your crib or over the gate. But for now, you satisfy yourself by climbing over low objects that are anywhere in your way, and you treat the living room like your own personal obstacle course. You also let go occasionally while holding onto a toy to stand on your own. We’re waiting for you to begin walking, which may be any day now or perhaps a couple of months down the road.
  • You climb the stairs like a little wind-up toy–you’re so fast! And you giggle like a maniac the whole way.
  • You can put the shapes in your shape-sorting toy, trying each shape in various different shaped holes until you get the right one. I am beyond impressed.
  • You’ve gotten to be somewhat pickier about your food, showing real preferences for carbs (shocker) and sweets (double shocker). You also love your steak grilled and slightly pink. You’ve started turning your head if we offer food you’re not interested in, and you’ll also shake your head and wave your arms to indicate you don’t want to do something or you don’t want to play with a certain toy.
  • We’ve finally said goodbye to your baby bathtub and have started bathing you in the big tub. You love it! You have so much more room to splash and play with toys, and you like swirling the bubble-bath foam around.

Next weekend is your much anticipated (by us–you have no clue) first birthday party, and the planning has hit a fever pitch. I’m both excited and nervous, since we brilliantly planned it right during your afternoon nap time. But the big cake and your little smash cake are ordered, and I’m dying with anticipation of you going face first. (I hope you do!)



putting the ‘p’ in exeriment

20 weeks

When Daddy and I first found out you were (er, are) a boy, I was–I’ll admit–taken a bit by surprise. A boy? What was I going to do with a boy? I’m a girl. I only know about girl things. I don’t have a brother, I grew up–for all intents and purposes–without a father and we only have girls in this Next Generation of our family, save one lone XY carrying the torch. So I had a lot of learning to do, and I’m still very much on the upward slope of that learning curve.

But one of the things I learned very, very quickly is that boys don’t pee in the same direction as their mamas. They pee straight up. In fact, Daddy and I sometimes (and only very affectionately, I promise) call you Old Faithful. In the bathtub, you’re often more whale-like than Guppy-like. I’ve learned to move with lightning speed when racing to cover an errant stream, and I’ll do so with anything I can think of–a diaper, a wipe, a magazine, my hand–lest you spray down much of the surface within a 12-inch radius.

In the last two weeks, you’ve begun rolling back to tummy, and since you’re now more than capable of rotating yourself, you put yourself on your tummy to sleep. In the mornings, I find you face down and tushy up, dreaming away with a cheek pressed hard against your crib mattress. I have no problems with this (after all, I’m an avid tummy sleeper), but you have become no match for your overnight diapers. Given your tummy sleeping and the direction in which you pee, you’ve been leaking significantly out the top of your diapers and soaking yourself through by the time morning comes around. I feel terrible about this; you sleep so soundly that it doesn’t seem to bother you at all, but no one should have to sleep in their own pee. And no parent should have to change that ridiculously tight fitted sheet every day.

So we’ve begun the Great Pee Experiment. (When I first came up with the title for this post, I chuckled because if you read it quickly, “exeriment” becomes “excrement.” But we all know excrement is by no means funny. Stop laughing.)

Thanks to some help from the Interwebs, where we learned this is far from an uncommon problem, we developed a tiered strategy for combating the leak:

Step 1: Turn the overnight diaper around so you’re wearing it backwards, since diapers (allegedly) are more absorbent in the back.
Observations: It’s difficult enough putting a diaper on you frontwards. You squiggle and squirm and pull your knees up to your belly and kick the bottom of your changing pad, and I’m lucky if I get a snug, appropriate fit on the first attempt. Usually, I have to adjust several times once I’ve got it somehow secured. Putting a diaper on backwards requires some sort of sorcery and a good half hour. Nevertheless, I managed to get it in place. It was a shot in the dark certainly, and …
Result: FAIL. You were wetter in the morning than ever before, clear up to your armpits.

Step 2: Go with a size up for the overnight diaper.
Observations: This is slightly more involved than Step 1, as it requires acquiring something you might not have on hand. We, quite luckily, have had a small package of Pampers Swaddlers Size 3 diapers tucked away since before you were born. (Thank you, genius shower gift.) I thought you might swim in this size, but honestly, they were none too small. Size 3’s are sneaky. Whereas the other sizes you’ve been in so far–Newborn through Size 2–indicate a relatively small weight range (Size 2’s, for example, run 14-18 pounds), Size 3’s are supposed to fit 16-24 pounds. You may still be in Size 3’s when you’re a year old. I noticed there was ample room for absorption, however, and I held my breath.
Result: SUCCESS. I picked up and squeezed a dry baby this morning, which is endlessly more pleasant than picking up and squeezing a damp, squishy one.

Here’s to hoping our success continues.

Had we not had success with Step 2, we had two additional steps planned:

Step 3: Insert diaper doublers or booster pads, essentially giant maxi pads that offer a double layer of absorption when added to the diaper. These, of course, add cost to the whole operation.

Step 4: Attempt to contain pee with a breathable plastic diaper cover like the disposable ones that Gerber sells or the nice, reusable, adorably decorated ones that Thirsties sells (note perfect, Guppy-appropriate theme!).

Luckily, at least as of now, we haven’t had to go these routes: A dry you makes a ha[pp]y me.