Saturday, June 27, 2009

Six Months

I just went back and read what I wrote here when Charlotte was six months old (see here). I know it's odious to compare your children, but I couldn't help think how different, and yet how similar, parenting is this time around. Sam is a few pounds heavier than Charlotte was at six months, and about an inch and a half taller. He has one tooth, whereas Charlotte had two (although that second one of Sam's is about to bust through). He has a pretty respectable head of auburn-blonde hair, while six-month-old Charlotte was bald as a cue ball, save that one, three-inch-long curly strand at the crown of her head. Sam has rolled over a few more times than Charlotte, and has rolled over back to front in addition to front to back. Sam has sat unsupported for a few seconds at a time, which is well ahead of Charlotte (in all fairness, she probably could have done it. It just wouldn't have occurred to me to, you know, set the baby down every once in a while).

Other things are different, too. We're short one great-grandparent after losing my Grandpa Deur in April 2007. We're plus two aunts, both conveniently named Katy/ie (thanks, ladies!). But the most significant difference is in Jeff and me. I think we're both substantially more laid-back as parents this time around, more confident. We can't give Sam the undivided attention we gave Charlotte--and he's none the worse for wear. And, of course, Charlotte's a sibling in this new family equation, and that has changed so much, too.

Sam at six months is a delight. Most of the time he sleeps wonderfully--typically two naps lasting from 1.5-3 hours each, a 7 p.m. bedtime and a 6 a.m. rise-and-shine with (usually) one feeding wake-up between the hours of 10 and midnight. I would make some minor tweaks (always waking up at 10 p.m. for his night feeding, for example, and a slightly later wake-up time), but for the most part I am much MUCH more well-rested than I was when Charlotte was this age.

And he wakes up happy almost every single time, cooing and sucking his fingers in his crib. I can hear an untranscribable sound over the monitor when Sam's awake, a kind of scootch-scootch-scootch sound that heralds the fact that Sam's doing his horizontal Riverdance move, kicking his legs rhythmically while his arms and torso stay stationary. When I go in to get him from his crib, he smiles with his entire chubby little person, arching his back and wrinkling his forehead and chortling with pure glee.

He eats some baby food now, and tonight partook of prunes with a gusto I didn't know anyone could have for prunes, lunging at the spoon with enthusiasm. He chews constantly on his fingers, his bib, his shirt, my shirt, my fingers, his sister's fingers ("Sam's eatin' on me!" she shrieks), anything within reach. If you catch him in a big smile, you can see that little glimmer of white, that faint razor-sharp pearl of a first tooth, and the slight swelling next door indicates number two is on its way.

He's suffering from the classic second-child troubles: I haven't updated his baby book in quite a while, and haven't even started his birthday photo album. There are probably about a third as many pictures of Sam (which is completely unfair, because he is just as photogenic as his sister) and those I do take are often shot from the hip instead of carefully composed.
But he's not short on attention, on love, on doting sisters and parents. He's got that in spades.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Charlotte's birthday weekend was loads of fun. It featured vast quantities of buttercream, balloons, and spontaneous renditions of a song Charlotte calls "The Tractor and the Mower." The temps were soaring and the humidity was high, but we all sweated through the outdoor birthday party happily. The buttercream also sweated, unfortunately. (Still delicious). The night before Charlotte's party, our water heater broke. We all (and that includes my visiting parents) enjoyed "pioneer baths" Sunday morning, involving trips from the stove to the tub with pots of boiling water. After the party we took cold showers. Invigorating! Fortunately, the problem was fixed Monday and we could all return to our indulgent, Western ways.

We had Charlotte's birthday party on Sunday, but her actual birthday was, of course, Tuesday, and I wanted to do something special to commemorate her actual day. Now that she's three, she knows the difference between just a boring, regular day and a celebration, and I didn't want her to feel short-changed. So we went to Chuck E. Cheese's.

When I mentioned this fact in my status update on Facebook, many people applauded me for my bravery or expressed surprise at my (I assume) stupidity. I think people must have either different impressions of Chuck E. Cheese's (henceforth CEC) than I do, or bad memories there. Because it was rad! Some of my favorite birthday memories are my brother's and my golden birthday parties (the seventh and the eighth, respectively) which we celebrated at what was the equivalent of CEC at the time, Show Biz Pizza.

Charlotte was understandably overwhelmed by all the flashing lights and bells and whistles, but after we ate our pizza in the presence of a giant animatronic rat, she was ready to participate. But to be honest, I think my parents, Jeff and I had as much fun as she did. Skee-ball, people! Did you know you can still rack up 32000 points on skee-ball when you have a six-month-old strapped to you in a baby bjorn? It's true! I let Sam deploy the button on one particular game, and he won 34 tickets! Jackpot!

At one point, as my mom and I stood in front of a machine, feeding tokens in hypnotically, she turned to me and said, "I don't think we should ever go to Vegas." Heh.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Three years ago, right about now, I was informed that I was still only dilated to about 5 cm after several hours laboring both at home and the hospital. I was momentarily disappointed but Jeff hauled me out of bed and I alternated walking laps around the room and bouncing dementedly on the giant inflatable labor ball.

That helped, because two hours later I was fully dilated. Of course, Charlotte wouldn't emerge for another three hours after that, because what's more fun than making your new mom push for three hours!? Nothing, that's what.

I remember with absolute clarity the moment Charlotte was born. With this pregnancy, we had elected not to find out the baby's sex ahead of time. I had written in my birth preferences that I wanted Jeff to announce the sex of the baby after he/she was born, but Jeff balked (he later admitted that the umbilical cord blocked his view) and I was the first of us to see as they flipped her up onto my stomach. "It's a girl!" I said. "Hi, Charlotte! I knew it was you." And I did, the whole time. She stopped her quiet squalling and searched around when she heard my voice. Her eyes found my face and time froze.

Oh my word, look at that chubby newborn face!

I should probably have lots of lovely poignant things to say on the occasion of my daughter's third birthday, but all I can keep thinking is "I can't believe it! I can't believe she's three!" and it's true. I really can't. I mean, wasn't she just like this:

and this:

and this:

a second ago?

(I swear, she was awake sometimes. Like this,

How did she get like this

so soon?
Happy birthday, baby girl. You changed everything. I'm so glad you're here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I haven't been writing much lately, because I just haven't been inspired. The only things I can think of to write have to do with either: 1. adorable things my children have said/done, and while I know Charlotte-isms are one of this blog's more popular features, I don't want to come off as a family circus-cartoon knock-off; 2. political and/or social commentary that I decided long ago is going to be off-limits on this blog, because while I'm more than happy to talk about my nipples here, political matters are just too personal, apparently.

So I think I'm in the summer blogging doldrums. No wind of inspiration stirs to lift my writing sails, so I stagnate. And write hokey metaphor.

Each day around here is pretty much the same: wake up at the all-too-early hour of anywhere from 5 a.m. (if Sam's feeling extra sprightly) to 6:30 a.m. (if we're lucky). Feed Sam, who's usually chatty and smiley when he wakes up. Laugh at Sam's funny bellowing voice. Vow to capture Sam's funny verbalizations on video one of these days. Beg Jeff to get up with Sam and allow me a couple more hours of sleep. Once I do get up, the day unwinds with a series of naps and wake-ups/feedings for Sam and snacks/meals for Charlotte, along with playtime and books and walks to check on the garden. Occasional errands, trips to the library. Sneaking away to check my email while Charlotte reads to herself. Then suddenly it's 5 p.m., dinnertime, bathtime, bedtime. And I'm somehow worn out from all that inactivity, and can usually only summon the energy to watch a pirated movie on my computer or read a chapter or two in my latest book. Then off to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So, everything's fine. My daughter is turning three in just over a week, and every morning she wakes up asking if it's her birthday party day. I got her a present I'm super excited about. My son will be six months old a few days after his sister's birthday, and where has the time gone? Really, where?

Pictures and videos and such coming this week. But until then, I'll be dropping anchor in quiet waters for a while.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

-holds my hand on a walk of any length, even from the dining room to the kitchen.
-usually has sticky hands these days.
-calls the refrigerator "Mr. Cold."
-likes to be present for Pooh's diaper changes and wake-ups.
-calls her brother Pooh Bear.
-is my constant helper.
-has questions about everything. Everything.
-is teetering on the brink between toddler and little girl.
-goes to sleep entirely on her own, sleeps through the night, and wakes up happy almost every day. (What a change from a year ago!)
-has grubby feet and a new shin bruise or two at the end of every day (she has her mother's complexion for sure).

-wakes up happy, cooing and shrieking with joy, about 90% of the time.
-is cutting his first teeth, quite droolily.
-has the most genuinely happy smile I've ever seen.
-follows his sister's movements like a flower follows the sun.
-has moisture rashes in his neck folds and in the folds behind his knees, places that rarely see the light of day.
-still has blue eyes, with a brown streak in the right eye.
-is now most definitely a blonde.
-loves to be in his exersaucer.
-has started baby cereal (verdict: meh).
-has not offered a repeat performance of rolling over (Charlotte was the same way).

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

This morning, I was sitting on the bottom step as Charlotte stood behind me, giving me a "scratch massage" by rubbing her hairbrush on my back. My bra strap caught her brush through my t-shirt a couple of times, and after the third time she stopped and grabbed the neck of my shirt, pulling it back and nearly choking me.

"What are you doing, Charlotte?" I asked, laughing.

"I'm lookin' for your bras. Are you wearing bras?" she replied.

"Yes, I'm wearing a bra," I answered, still laughing.

Jeff overheard the whole conversation, and interjected, "Charlotte, that's like the kind of thing I did with my babysitters when I was a kid."

"What!?" I said.

"You knew that!" Jeff said. "I've told you that before."

"Uh, no!"

"Yeah, I had one particular babysitter...I said, 'Hey, do you wear a bra? Cuz I wear a t-shirt,'" Jeff said. "I was hoping she'd engage me in a frank conversation about bras."

"Didn't happen?"

"No, sadly."