Thursday, November 03, 2016

Quincy, 1 month

Quincy, Quinca-roo, Quincer, Stretchy, Milkyface, Junior -- Happy one month birthday and welcome to the blog!

I fear that I will not be able to do as much writing about you as I did about your older brother -- you can blame him for replacing my writing time with LEGO time, puzzle time and arguing about eating lunch time.

But back to you. You arrived one month ago via the traditional exit a mere 12 minutes before your scheduled eviction. Everyone was shocked having resigned ourselves to a second c-section. 7lbs 12oz, 21 inches long, perfect.

You came out of the womb looking like your daddy -- so says almost everyone. I imagine it must be true even though I can’t really see it. I was similarly unable to see people’s claims that your brother looks like me. But you have blond hair and eyebrows and a round head so it is likely that a fair bit of daddy genes are shining through.
I’m happy to report that even though you were a real wild man in the womb now that you’re out you are a relatively chill baby. You don’t mind being left by yourself in your crib or bouncer and when you cry it’s almost always because you need something obvious. Mostly you need milk. But it also seems much of your crying is directly related to a need to burp, fart or poop. The cries are often preceded by long annoyed grunts which can go on for hours especially at night. I feel almost as bad for you as I do for my sleepy self.

You are already the king of spitting up. I know this usually peaks around 4 months which is horrifying considering the volume of spit up that you already produce.

Your brother loves to ‘nuggle us both -- sliding in under my arm on one side of me and reaching his own arm over your back as you sleep on my chest. He likes to trace your ears and tell me how small they are. On the day you were born he announced that your name would be Dinosaur Robot and he continues to bring this up a month later, thinking it a much better name than Quincy. He tell me how much he loves you on a daily basis. He also did your immune system the favor of bringing home your first cold before you were even a month old so you have a sad hacking cough that bothers mom much more than it seems to bother you or the doctor. So far so good on that big brother thing.

I am afraid of doing too much comparing of you and your brother but it’s difficult because he is my only other baby data point. So. You are calmer (we have almost never had to take you into the bathroom to chill out to the soothing sounds of the vent). You are fairer. You are less worried over. You are less photographed.  You at bigger (94th percentile for height!).

I am calmer. I almost never get up to check your breathing. I'm less sure that there is a method to baby madness and less inclined to google every whimper grunt or cry. I've learned that most of the time the answer to "Why is my baby _________?!?!?!?" is "Babies: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯"

I am also less overwhelmed and surprised by my love for you. Before you were born I had the usual second time mom concerns that I could not possibly love you as much as I loved Casper or that I would somehow love Casper less. But none of those fears have come to pass. You are both loved equally and more than I could have ever imagined.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Casper, 2 Years

You have been 2 for over a month now but since we’ve officially stopped counting age in months you’re still just 2 (and this blog post is by no means over a month late).

I write from just beside the fireplace at Ama and Pa’s (aka Grandma K and Grandpa Horst) house on the afternoon of your 3rd (!!!) Christmas. You’ve enjoyed this one most of all. You love playing with your cousins and opening presents and eating pudding (and cookies and chocolates and ice cream and sugar straight from the bowl if we’d only hand you a spoon). And mama loves watching you play (and the occasional nap…) too much to spend a long time formatting this rambling blog post.

You want to do everything by yourself. If I lift you onto the bed I am thanked with enraged screams of, “Self!” If I reach down to carry you up the stairs to our apartment you panic and quickly tell me “by self! by self! by seeeeeeeelf!!!!!” I sometimes hear you whispering, “self, self, self” while playing alone. Practice for the next time your jerk mom tries to assist you with anything? It is amazing how many different ways you can refuse help.

My ears are still your comfort objects -- you grab at them when tired, when hurt, when snuggling. The inside of my ear is often tender and raw from your machinations. In the morning while we lie in bed with Mama on one side and Daddy on the other you like to reach over and hold an ear from either parent. Just in the last couple of days I have caught you fondling your own ear while napping -- independence.

You are just starting to grasp pretend play. Sometimes you toss your stuffed rabbit, Claude, off of the bed and tell me “he crying. need hugs.” After you rescue him from the floor you tell me, “He needs Mama” and then instruct me to hold him and “Mama say, ‘it ok!’”

Recently folks have commented on how verbal you are, shocking given how long it took you to speak, and yet it’s true. You’ve surprised me with what feel like complicated concepts. Asking, about a rock you found on your dad’s dresser, “where it come from?” Bringing me a block that matches the one I’m holding and saying, “this red also.”

You parrot everything you hear which has revealed just how often I use certain phrases. When I finally get Sesame St. streaming on the TV you’ll announce “Oh! There we go!” perfectly mimicking my own inflection. You walked into my bedroom the other day and out of nowhere announced, “Oh, that’s weird.” (It was never clear exactly what was weird -- life itself?)

You’ve started to grasp the concept of jokes -- your main attempt at humor is putting your wub-a-nub (pacifier) in your mouth and then trying to drink milk or water at the same time. You yell, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” and show me this while giggling uncontrollably. You also like to say things that are obviously not true (“Mama’s shoes? No!” while holding your own shoes) and then laugh hysterically.

You’ve also recently realized the power of choice. A favorite phrase around our house is “a different one!!” You ask for different pants, a different show, a different snack. One night  your dad and I were rolling on the floor laughing as you had argument after argument with yourself about if we would read books or put pajamas on first (“read a book! yes!... NO!!!! No book! Get dressed. Get dressed. NO NO NO!!!”). This past week you made an unfortunate discovery. We’ve often used the trick of giving you a choice between 2 items to force a decision but  one evening I asked you if you’d like Mama or Daddy to perform whatever bedtime preparation that we were trying to move along and you replied, “Nothing.” This choice loophole is sure to cobble many previously smooth paths.

You’ve recently started singing songs -- mostly the ABCs (having mastered your letters in lower and uppercase! Excuse my Mama bragging…). We downloaded you an iPhone application that lets you drag letters into their place in a word and you’re ridiculously proficient.

You recognize numbers up to 9 and you can reliably count to... 2. However, you believe you can count much much higher, “1, 2, 5, 6, 9!” Recently when asked to count over Facetime with Grandmom and Granddad you managed “1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10,3,4” which seemed pretty impressive.

In October we took you to Switzerland, France and Spain because you are a very spoiled baby. You saw many fountains. You saw the Sagrada Familia which you knew from a set of architecture cards that your dad picked up at a stoop sale. You’re still talking about it months later -- building block towers and calling them the Sagrada Familia, reminding me of the stained glass inside (red and green circles!).

You are still nursing once in awhile -- most days a quick suckle in the morning but some days none at all. We’ve finally convinced you that milk can be drunk in a cup and at 2 years and one month you are off of the bottle -- this has lead to a small uptick in requests for “Milk-a-Mama.”

When I’m stripping you down for a new diaper you often look up at me and announce, “Little Nakes, coming out!”  You find it hilarious when anyone is naked -- especially me. If you catch me coming out of the shower you squeal with glee, “Mama Nakes!!!” and then demand that I turn around so you can see my “naked booty!”

You love to color and demand that we draw things for you -- recently you’re requesting a fountain, an ipad an octagon and a Buddha.

On 11/7 you used the potty for the first time after peeing a bit on mom and dad’s bed during bedtime story naked time. You have refused to use it again. We have an exciting weekend of potty training/you peeing all over the house planned for 2016.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Casper Speaks

Casper, you were a late talker. At a year you had no words. At 18 months we told ourselves that you were saying Mama and Dada but it was a bit of a wishful parenting leap -- you mostly ran around chanting "bitta bitta" and "minna minna my" which might have been words but we never figured out their meanings. I'll admit here that I was just a little bit worried. Logically I know that talking, unlike rolling or smiling, was something with a huge range of normal. And yet.... what did it mean that you didn't talk when other kids did?

Starting in May, you slowly found your voice. You said "bye bye" and "baby" and very slowly started picking up new words. For a long while, I kept a list.

Words as of 8/7/15
bye (first post mama dada)
me (“memememememe” when you wants something like a bottle of milk (said while hitting the refrigerator) or dad’s iphone)
dump (for dump truck)
hi (Kenesha taught you this on 7/14)
Zayd (for Zayden)
good (7/21)
dog (7/31)
hot (in reference to the beach sand in CT 8/1)
‘dilla (quesadilla 8/4)
nanna (banana)
poop (early August)
pee (8/7)

Not too shabby. In parallel you worked on your animal noises, mastering moo, hiss, peep peep and aroo (elephant). And mostly, you worked on your letters. You love letters. I blame the subway and books about the subway -- the first letter you learned was "F" for "F" train. At 21 months you know the entire alphabet save W (which I suspect you know but can't say). Often while walking the neighborhood or while riding the train you'll spot a sign and exclaim "A D! A D!!!!!" or quietly grin up at me to whisper "M. M. M."

A couple of weeks ago you and I took our 4th solo trip to CA to visit family (your 10th round trip plane trip!) and the new surroundings seemed to inspire your speech. I quickly lost track of your vocabulary as you sputtered about bears and cows and bugs and rocks. Quickly renaming Grandpa Horst to "Pa" and Grandpa Kay to "Ama" and demanding they take you to the car, to the tractor, to the horse, to the cat. Requesting crackers and cookies and apples and bread and snacks (always "'NACK!!!").

We came home after a week and the words continued to spill forth -- now in groups of two. "More book!" you yell. "Dada off," you demand. Frequently, you name things I had no idea you could identify -- this week alone I've heard toe, couscous, phone, on, light, read, meat, card, pig, goldbug, giraffe, yoga, all done.... Forget accounting for them all I can't even account for today.

Developmentally I believe this is called a leap. Welcome to the other side Big Talker.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Casper -- 18 Months

The Speroo, My Milky Face, Doodle.

At officially 1 and a half years old you are silly and sneaky and serious.

After over a year of baby yoga you can now do a mean downward dog. You’ve also picked up a move called “toes to your nose,” and the answering of ringing foot phones (enjoy it while you’re still this flexible, kid).

You recently started pointing emphatically at your empty plate to indicate that more food (usually snacks) is needed.

You’ve figured out that things can be hidden under our furniture -- you love to use your downward dog moved to search for stray toys under the couch. Or to shove your sandals, which you have developed an irrational hatred for, under Mom and Dad’s bed.

Pacifiers are now only for naps and bedtime, a transition that was surprisingly easy to make. However, nothing is funnier than finding a paci during waking hours and showing it to mom before popping it into your mouth and running away squealing. You love to run away. Though our apartment is small and you usually find yourself trapped in a corner you have begun to master circling the couch or dining room table to evade capture.

You have developed a deep love for coloring and we have accumulated stacks of abstract creations that I will have to learn to part with.

You like to point out everyone that you’re hanging out with -- meals around the table are peppered with finger pointing and roll call, “Mama, Daddy, and who else?” giggling you point to yourself, “and Casper!”

It has been weeks since you woke us up in the middle of the night. After a tough winter with my bed full of wide awake baby and one painful night of sleep training (AGAIN) (shout out to Grandma Kay for the phone support that night!) you are, again, a baby who sleeps well. Please let it stick this time.

You have fallen into a toddler eating cycle -- 2 days of voracious consumption followed by 5 days
of refusing everything save bananas, milk and snacks (crackers, yogurt drops and dried fruit). Nothing angers you like being offered milk in a cup. Milk is for bottles. Water is for cups. This rules shall not be broken or cups will fly across the room propelled by your rage.
You are talking, finally. You said your first word besides “mama” or “dada” on May 2nd when you shouted “byebye!” from your stroller. A week later I caught you staring at a baby and mouthing the word “baby” to yourself. After watching for a moment I asked, “Do you see that baby?” and you yelled and pointed -- “baby!” You say “moo” for cows and “peep peep” for chicks. Kenesha taught you to raise your arm like a trunk and “arooooo” like an elephant. After over a year of reading the Subway book you can say “F!” to greet to F Train like a true Brooklyn boy.

You are still a little guy, finally breaking the 20lbs mark this month. You seem perfectly chubby to me right up until I take you out of town and you go from having a big round cloth diaper booty to a skinny little butt that won't even hold up a pair of 12-18 month pants.

You have lots of baby tricks these days. You can "do a little dance" by spinning around in a circle. You stomp your feet. You "do a jump" (which mean you bend your knees and sit in a squat for a bit before standing up quickly and throwing your hands in the air -- I have yet to see your feet leave the ground). You do hand claps and foot claps.

You love to play hide and seek. Like all toddlers you are the worst hider. You pick the same spot over and over again. You make no attempt to not be seen. You laugh super loud the entire time.

You have started to get angry when daddy hugs me. You spot us cuddling from across the room and run over whining to hit daddy's hand. You are not comforted when we tell you that daddy loves me too. You do not find the option of a group hug acceptable.

You have learned to climb. Yesterday I was using the stool to get a can from the top of the shelf and found you perched right behind me (*Gulp*)

You don’t want to hold my hand when walking down the street. You shake your head and squirm and physically try to peel my hand from yours. You walk ahead of me as if pretending already to be on your own. Right now you have a purple bump on your forehead and a scrape on your knee as if to prove to me that you are a little boy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Casper, Months 13 and 14

Dear Squirm-bot 5000,

As you get older, I get lazier (or is it more tired? Hard to say.). Welcome to this decade's answer to laziness -- the listicle!

Things Casper Can Do

Walk. Like a penguin. Like a baby fawn. Like a drunken sailor. Like the most efficient and ridiculous version of all three of these things put together

Refuse food. Smirking, nose in the air, mouth clamped closed in a thin line, uttering a dismissive and bemused “uh,” as you turn your head away from things that just yesterday you devoured.

Find specific books and bring them to an adult to be read.  A cute trick that sadly enables never-ending afternoons spent reading books that I’m fast getting sick of.

Find a way to shove shapes into the right holes in your shape sorter toys even though you for sure do not know your shapes. You know that things can go into the holes and that if you twist them around and try all of the holes probably what you are holding will fit in somewhere. Trial and error plus determination are powerful tools.

Things Casper Loves

Baths. So much so that I have to not bring them up until the water is ready in order to avoid tears of impatience. So much so that I have to physically restrain you from clambering over the side of the tub to dive face first into the water/dry bath tub.

Books. I should be one of those parents who brags about her child’s love for reading but mostly I’m one of those parents who occasionally helps certain books go missing because she simply cannot read about lame-o Winter Friends for a 45th time in one day.

Empty carbs. Just like everyone else.

Knocking down towers of blocks and screaming a loud and proud “Eeeeeeeee!!!!!” It’s rare that I can get even 3 block on top of one another in this house before destructor swoops in.

Rolling off of the changing pad in the middle of a diaper change and toddling your naked butt all over my house. Giggling the whole time and looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re being chasing.

Bananas, yogurt drops and graham crackers. All of which have to be hidden in the cupboard with our glasses -- you’re on to the pantry and the wonder is holds.

My ear. Months ago when you started having a hard time going to sleep we tried to introduce a small stuffed bunny named Claude as your love-y. At night we all say good night to Claude and then he cuddles up with us before bed. And then all night long you ignore him. There is little love for Claude. But as soon as I pick you up, when I rock you, when you're tired, when you're crying... you little hand paws at my face, pushing my head to the side, creeping crawling up to my ear. You knead the lobe and trace the outline with your fingers before grabbing on and settling in for a snuggle.

Things Casper Hates

When Mama leaves. Even my morning bathroom break requires reassurance that I’m coming right back.

Having a fever and being forced to go sledding. (In my defense I didn’t *know* you had a fever until later and then I felt so bad that I let you sleep in the big bed with mom and dad all night).

Napping in his crib. Currently banned from life. Big bed 4EVER!!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Casper, 1 Year

Is it considered bad mommy practice to start a blog post with an expletive? Oh well. One Year! FUCKING ONE YEAR!

I feel like there is no way that one whole year could have passed since your birth and yet…. everything you’ve done, all of your changes, have happened in just this one year. Time is in fact relative.

You have grown from squishy blob to little man and this month has been a testament to you becoming a “you.” 

Your arms must be tired from all of the pointing and grunting you do everyday. “Take me to the pictures of the animals in my room.” “Take me to the books” “Take me to see your wedding photos,” you demand.

You have new nicknames after months of consistency. They honor the little boy that you are becoming. We call you Disast-a-roo. We call you Trouble Machine. We call you Big Walker.

You understand words now. You will clap on command. You know who your puppy is (a big red Clifford dog that you make out with most mornings). You know when I am saying “No,” I can tell because it makes you laugh and laugh and laugh. You squeal with glee when I mention a bath or puppies or milk (in that last case the squeals are often followed by somewhat embarrassing attempts by you to get the girls out ASAP).


You wake up with a plan. You need to check out everything. You need to take the toys out of the toy box. You need to bang the cupboards. You need to pull the leaves off of the plants and empty the diaper bag and take your books off of their shelf. You are everywhere. You are a very busy baby. Or, I guess, a very busy toddler.

Also: You toddle. Starting on October 29th you began taking a few quick drunk stumbles from your perch against the coffee table to my arms. You quickly took so many first falls that for weeks you refused to take any more steps. But by Thanksgiving your nerve was back and you were suddenly wobbling 5-10 steps back and forth between your dad and I. You’re still clinging to the furniture but, when properly motivated, you’ll chance a stroll.

You are easily excited and unable to contain your glee. When you see your baby doll or when I offer you a graham cracker you prance about on little dance-y feet, the joy taking over your legs.

You love books. Or, perhaps, you love turning pages. Your favorites are Moo, Where’s Spot and (a forever favorite) Carry Me. These are good stories... but they have become a bit tired around our house. Dad and I try to introduce you to new options with limited success.

You have become a big giver of kisses. I get a few. Dad occasionally gets one. But most of your smoochies are for the characters in your books. The kitties in Good Night Moon have been bathed in spit. The other babies in Carry Me are often greeted with a squeal and an open mouthed kiss (your dad thinks you have a thing for a certain brown little girl who appears being carried in a sling). I once caught you making out with the picture of a motorcycle.

You still don’t have any words to say beyond mama and dada but even without official words you are quite a talker. You argue and complain when you don’t get your way. You squeal and squeak when you spot doggies on our walks. You’ve started crying to show anger and frustration rather than just to express your needs. When I won’t let you climb stairs or if I refuse to sit down and read a book you scream and wail letting me know exactly how big of a jerk your mom is.

Two lesser milestones were also met this month. Firstly, you broke the screen on my iPhone. This is a marker in the lives of all modern Brooklyn babies and I like to brag on the playground that you managed it before one year. The other moms are jealous; I can tell. Slightly more embarrassing and much more hilarious, one night, naked before bed, you reached down between your legs, hunched your little back over as far as it would go and tried (over and over again) to put your penis in your mouth. No amount of tugging or contorting proved successful. Welcome to the disappointment of being male. Your dad shed a few tears for you (in between the guffaws).

Your birthday was bigger than we had planned. Both sets of grandparents and your Uncle Grant insisted on making the trip to celebrate with you. You surprised us all by being a quite delicate cake smasher -- poking at the frosting with one tentative finger and using your advanced pincher grasp (three cheers for Baby Led Weaning!) to sample tiny morsels of the chocolate cake that Gillian made for you. Later in the day you circled the room stealing cake from everyone’s plates.

This year has been so different than I imagined and better than I had hoped. You are an easy, happy, lovable guy; exactly the kind of baby who tricks you into having another (we shall not be fooled so easily!). Your dad and I love being three. We love having you as the center of our family. Happy birthday my little Casperoo.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Casper, Month 11

11 months is a weird little spot -- so overshadowed by the looming end of your first year. But this month has been its own little bundle of highs and lows. You're fast outgrowing baby-dom and it leaves me desperate to savor it. I often feel panicked that I have not captured enough of the baby you (though a quick glance at my gigs of pictures would indicate otherwise). I am torn between forgetting what my baby was like and excitement over meeting my little boy. I try to be in the moment. And so here is this moment, 11 months.

Back in month 7 we sleep trained you. Silly dad and I thought that was it -- you were trained, you went to bed, you slept, you woke up in the morning. It was bliss and we were so proud. So sure that we had cracked the baby sleep code. Such naive newbies. Some other mother wrote in her blog that she had thought that she had beaten the sleep training game and then was shocked to discover that she only passed the boss on world 1. We arrived at a new level this month and it is like one of those bullshit underwater levels in Super Mario. The ones where you have to flap Mario’s arms at just the right speed to keep him above the stupid fish floating near the bottom but below the dumb flying fish ready to gulp you up at the surface. And just when you think you’ve found that perfect balance you run into a column of those mystery bubble that push you upwards and slam you into a jellyfish -- then you’re fish food. Many nights this month I have felt like fish food.
As with most things baby I’m not exactly sure what was going on with you. It could have been teething, it could have been the discovery of object/mommy permanence, it could have been a bit of hunger since the world is often too interesting for you to focus on nursing during the day. But I think the main problem was that you have figured out how to pull up to standing in your crib. This makes sleep protests so much more dramatic. In addition you have really upped your screaming game. Gone are the infant mews and fusses. Now we have howls worthy of horror flicks. You don’t know how to talk yet but somehow you’ve managed to communicate expletives that would make a sailor blush. Many times at the beginning of the month we gave in and brought you into our bed where everyone could sleep -- me with a baby foot in my face but it (mostly) beat trying and failing over and over and over to put you down. Whatever the core issue eventually mom and dad brought the sleep training hammer back down on you and we cried it out together and now, again, we all sleep all night (separately).

Remember last month when I said that you loved me most of all? I had no idea. You love me more. Or, rather, you hate not being with me. Unfortunately, loving your mom the most does not mean you are always happy when you are with me or that you greet me with only snuggles and compliments about how thin I look. It means that you are a royal asshole whenever I go to the bathroom alone. It means I sometimes have to hold your hands while dad changes your diaper. It means I scream the words, “I’m RIGHT HERE.” from every corner of the apartment in a futile effort to stop the whines. I’m flattered, I guess. I love you too.

You started properly crawling at the beginning of the month. You prefer a lopsided creeping motion with one foot pushing off behind you and acting as motor. Between this and your brave cruising between the furniture, you are everywhere. There is a lot of falling. This is the month that you can look back on should you ever worry about childhood bumps to the head having caused permanent damage. To make matters worse you managed to make real your dream of diving head first off of mom and dad’s bed. No obvious damage is visible at this time but I will personally look back on that moment one day when, as a surly teen, you forget to take out the garbage for the fifth time in a row. It was cold comfort that you took this moment to whimper out a sad "mama" for the first time.

In the war of Casper vs the baby proofing you are losing.... but just barely. Despite vigorous tugging and banging all but one of the cupboard locks has held (you can now access the pots and pans, if we had to lose a lock that was arguably the least necessary one). You did end up victorious in the battle of the corner covers -- none remain on the coffee table or the entertainment center. There is something poetic about turning around to see you crawling towards me with something that we bought to protect you hanging out of your mouth like a chew toy.

You’re much more vocal this month. You’ve become a bit of a mimic -- willing to play little call and response games with your screams or lip smacks. You’re saying Dada with meaning. As mentioned above, you also, seem to be saying mama… but there is no glee in it. “Dada” is for laughs, for silly screams, for prideful babbling. “Mama” is only to be used when sobbing. Beyond actual words your nonverbal communication is blossoming. You can whine with intention to let us know when you want to walk, when you want a cracker, when you don’t want to be held. You've developed an impressive back arch to say, "I do not want to be in the stroller, I do not want to be held, I do not want." You've also become quite the little smoocher - offering wet kisses to me and dad and your reflection in the mirror and all of your stuffed animals.

You’re finally really into books. You’ll sit still through multiple stories and tolerate a diaper change if you can hold a book aloft in your two little fists gazing up the pages. You like to caress the faces of all of the characters, you like to help turn the pages.  

You remain a happy little guy. When we took you in to get a flu shot the nurse pronounced you jolly which seems especially apt given your ever growing Santa-like belly. You love bananas and can easily put away a whole one grabbing slice after slice and using both hands to shove it into your mouth. You love kicking balls, walking with your walker, animal noises, Grandpa’s dried pears, drinking water from a sippy cup, hiding under the blankets in my bed, when daddy gets your hinny, when I sing “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, shake your bushy tail,” and when I steal your paci (this is, perhaps, the height of comedy).

Onward we go to even bigger milestones.