Monday, December 21, 2009

Monthly Update: 11

Dear Foster,

Today you are 11 months old.

This month has flown by! We traveled to Florida for Thanksgiving and then spent these last few weeks getting ready for Christmas.

Your first Christmas is four days away. Holy cow!

We actually had the tree up before Thanksgiving. Your daddy was excited to get this party started, so to speak, and boy have you had fun with that tree!

There are no longer any decorations on the lower half. It didn't take long for you to figure out that those GLASS balls and cute little decorations come off! So each time you were able to reach one, we relocated it to a higher position. Now you simply tug on the lights, the whole time shaking your head "no". You know it's a no-no, but you do it anyway.

As your grandma would say, "You little imp!"

Meanwhile, you have started to stand independently. Granted, it's only for a few seconds at a time, but I believe that I have had several heart attacks watching you rise from sitting to standing all by yourself. Two such occasions occurred in the bathtub! I mean, really. Really? Are you trying to kill me? Porcelain tub, wet water, slippery soap suds, your little fragile head, need I go on? [Insert deep breath here...]

Oh, and while I take a deep breath, let me tell you about how you imitate me taking a deep breath! I never realized how often I do that until you started copying me. But, it's refreshing, isn't it? Calms the nervous system.

Lucky has become your favorite pet. You still like the cats, but the dog? He has become king! "Ga-ga, ga-ga, ga-ga!"

You love it when he licks your fingers while you're sitting in the high chair. He has only one motive, you see, but you think it's all about you, and you laugh and laugh and laugh.

This month you have learned how to fuss. I thought about starting this post with, "Dear Fusster", but that wouldn't be fair. It's not like you fuss all day, just most of it.

Oh, that's not what you want to eat? What can I get for you, your highness? Oh, you don't want to eat. You want to play. Fine, play. And, while you play I'll make a phone call. Oh, no? I'm not allowed to make a phone call? What's that you say? You want me to sit right here and play with you? Okay, I see. I must sit right here and play with you. Or at least watch you play. Or at least pretend I'm watching. But, whatever I do, I am not allowed to get on the phone. Or wash dishes. Or check email. Or eat. Because...wait, what's that? You want to eat now? Oh, I see, you want what I'm having. [Insert deep breath here...]

When we returned from Florida we began the "cry it out" thing to try and wean you from your Four o'clock in the Morning feeding. Thankfully, it worked. I think it took about three days. But, but! Now you're stuck on 5:30 AM.

What is it with you and waking at the (butt) crack of dawn?

So, now we let you fuss until 6:00 AM. We figure that Six o'clock in the Morning is an acceptable time to rise and shine. 6:30 would be better, but we don't want to press our luck.

At 6:00 AM I stumble into your room to nurse you and when you're finished we go back to my (and your daddy's) bed. It would be lovely if you would lay down and cuddle with us, but instead you climb us and the headboard. You romp and laugh. You point out all the snow flakes on our flannel sheets. You grab our noses and scrape our teeth. You do all of this until you're at the end of your rope, and threatening to jump off the bed if we don't put you down on the floor already! Then, your daddy takes you back into your room to change your diaper, and our day officially begins.

Two things that narrative brought to mind...

One, you can point to my (or any adult's) nose, ears, eyes, and teeth now. You say GA for nose, I for eye, and TH for teeth.

Second, you do not cooperate during diaper changes anymore. Where'd my sweet baby go? Oh, I'm just kidding. You're still very sweet, but diaper changes have become an Olympic sport up in here.

I try to distract you with a toy first. When that doesn't work we move to personal hygiene items (i.e., comb, diaper rash creme, etc...), and when that fails we resort to hazardous materials (i.e., knives, matches, etc...). No, not really. Sometimes, though, we give up and let you romp around naked for a little while.

Like after your bath when we're trying to get your diaper and your pajamas on. We call it your "freak out" time, because you literally go a little crazy with your naked self.

You pull the pillow off the rocker and throw it around. Then you throw yourself on it. Then you remember that you have toys over there and so you crawl over there to get them. But then you remember that you have blankets on the other side of the room, so you leap over there to climb on those. And then you remember that you forgot to bring the pillow along with you, so you crawl as fast as you can back over there to get that pillow. And, oh my gosh! Your daddy and I just nervously giggle as we watch all of this. Usually, though, you end up hitting your head and start to cry, so we jump on the chance to cuddle and then slap a diaper and some pj's on ya. BAM! We win.

All of that to say, what a whirlwind month this has been! Goodness. Gracious. Sakes. Alive. My little baby is almost a year old and I've got to start planning your first birthday party! [Insert deep breath here...]

Merry Christmas, my dear. "I love you more than there are stars in the sky and fish in the sea." — Nicholas Sparks



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Monthly Update: 10

Dear Foster and Four o'clock in the Morning,

Today you are both ten months old.

In some ways it's been a long ten months...ahem, that would be you, 4 AM.

But, in other ways, these past ten months have flown by. I mean, seriously, Foster, you are already talking. TALKING!

The first word out of your mouth every morning at, you guessed it, 4 AM, is ba. I don't know what ba means. Probably the same thing that ga means. You use both for the words that you can't say yet. But, you have some real words too.

Por ejemplo, you can say mama, dada, baby, bye, gaga (for doggy), k-k (for kitty), KA! (for car), ku (for truck & duck), ka (for book) & K-GROWL-K (for clock).

Everything else is either ba or ga. And, I mean EVERYTHING else. I say shoe, you say ba. I say cup, you say ga. Shoe, ba. Cup, ga. Let's call the whole thing off!

This month you began pointing, shaking your head no and waving. You don't know that shaking your head no means no. You just do it to get me or your daddy to imitate you. Or, because you're imitating us.

You do, however, know to wave when we say hi or bye. You do it with gusto too, using your whole arm!

Speaking of waving, I'd like to wave goodbye to Four o'clock in the Morning, once and for all.

I thought we had both already said goodbye to him (her?), but, apparently Four o'clock in the Morning is BFF with Four Teeth Coming in AT ONCE!

Let's call them that, shall we? Four o'clock in the Morning and Four Teeth Coming in AT ONCE!

I don't know what to say about those two, except, why? WHYYYYY?

Foster, you were sleeping so well. I was sleeping so well. And, your daddy was even starting to snore again.

Here's a funny story about your daddy...

He does not wake up in the middle of the night very well. I mean, he wakes up to your cries, of course, but when he does, he's useless. Wakes up confused. Has no idea what's going on.

What? We have a baby? And, he's crying? Why? What am I supposed to do?

I would just go to you myself, but when I walk through the door all you see is a big boob. And, you scream until I nurse you, which is what we're trying to avoid here. (For crying out loud, you're ten months old, you do not need to eat in the middle of the night!)

Okay, so this morning you wake up at 12:30 AM. We let you cry for a while. I get up to use the bathroom and when I return your daddy is still lying there. So, I ask him (in the nicest tone I can muster at that ungodly hour) if he's going to check on you.

The aforementioned line of questioning ensues and finally your daddy begrudgingly gets up and goes in to give you Orajel or Tylenol or your lovey or WHATEVER WORKS!

You quiet down, but as usual, only for a few minutes and then I have to go in and nurse you to get you back to sleep. (No judgements from other mothers please. You know you've done it!)

So, you go back to sleep until 5:30 AM and this time I let you cry for about 15 minutes and then nurse you and put you back down until 7 AM.

This story has a point, I promise.

Come to find out, your daddy was so confused at 12:30 AM this morning that he thought he had to go in and give you diesel. Yes, you read that right. Diesel! As in oil. You know, fuel.

Anyway, we believe this premature waking thing is being caused by Four Teeth Coming in AT ONCE!

We have no way to know for sure, but your daddy says that when he goes in at Four o'clock in the Morning or before, you are gnawing on your hand or the crib or your lovey. And, we can finally feel three of the four teeth that we could previously only see. AND, you had a mild fever yesterday. It was your first.

Four o'clock in the Morning and Four Teeth Coming in AT ONCE! don't seem to bother you during the day, though. You're busier than ever.

I don't get anything done when you're awake because I have to watch you like a hawk. You. Do. Not. Stop.

The other day we were on the floor playing and all you did for at least half an hour was pull up, plop down. Pull up, plop down. Pull up, plop down. Your little butt was even red from all the plopping!

You're a busy, happy baby boy. And I'm a tired, but thankful mama.

Your favorite toys these days are your cars and trucks. I'm not sure if they're your favorite because you can kinda say them, or if you can kinda say them because they're your favorite. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (The chicken, duh!)

When I take you on strolls through the neighborhood you talk the whole time, pointing out all the cars and trucks. I'm not sure what to call vans and SUVs, so I just call them what they are. I'm sure you're thoroughly confused.

We're leaving for Florida this week and I'm looking forward to you meeting my family again. You're so much more fun than you were at 11 weeks when we traveled there last time. But, you're also more opinionated, so I'm dreading the 10 hour trip in the car, I mean KA!

But, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and in honor of the release of the Where the Wild Things Are movie, this year, more than anything else, I am thankful for you. You are a healthy, happy baby boy, and, I'll eat you up, I love you so.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monthly Update: 9

My Dearest Foster,

Today you are nine months old. That's nine with a capital N-I-N-E!

You think you're grown. In your mind, you're a big boy now, thank you very much, and I am to be at your every beck and call.

You're still the Happiest Baby on the Block, but you make it clear who's boss around here, and at this stage in your life, it's very rarely me.

These days when I put you on the floor to play and turn around to walk away, I immediately hear, "ma, ma, ma, ma..." Here you come crawling after me. I turn around to reassure you, but you won't have it. You're not satisfied until I pick you up.

At the same time, though, you're becoming more independent. A week or so ago I walked into your room to get you out of your crib and you were STANDING UP! Standing up and smiling. Like, hey mom! Look at me all big and stuff. I can pull to stand now. I bet you can't do this. What d'ya think?

Well, I'll tell you what I think. I LOVE that now, when I come to get you out of your crib, you stand up so that you can reach me. It's no longer me reaching down for you. It's you reaching up for me and smiling at me and being as delighted to see me as I am to see you. It's like, all of a sudden you've become Oedipus.

I'm not a very likable person sometimes (okay a lot of the time), but you really like me. All the time. You never seem to get tired of me. I mean, I get tired of myself. But you? You greet me with the sweetest smile and you cling to me as if your world would fall apart without me. You hear my voice and start to say, "ma-ma-ma-ma..." And, you laugh at all my jokes. Only I can comfort you, and I cherish being able to.

Unlike Oedipus, however, your daddy is your hero.

Every afternoon we wait for him to come home. We stand at the front door and watch. As soon as you see his truck pull up, you start to go crazy! Your hands and feet flailing in anticipation. Of course, your daddy hams it up on his way up the front walk and you grin and shriek in response. Once he's inside, it's all I can do to keep you from jumping out of my arms, so your daddy swoops you up and kisses you all over.

Foster, I don't think I see you THAT happy all day long.

Your new found independence has made mealtime easier, because now you can finger feed yourself, and you love to do it. Just the novelty of it, I think.

One day this month I made the mistake of giving you bite sized pieces of cheese to feed yourself and for the rest of that day your hands smelled like butt, I mean cheese. It was disgusting. I kept checking your diaper, frantically looking for the poop that must have escaped.

Is it in your hair? On your clothes? Between your toes? For crying out loud, what is that smell? Then finally, I sniffed your hands and realized. Oh. Cheese. Ugh. So, I wiped and wiped and wiped your little hands. All to no avail. Only a bath, with soap, got rid of the smell. (Hey, I'm a poet and didn't even know it!) (Forgive me.)

This month, your favorite word is "ba". Not "ba-ba-ba...". Just "ba". You say it every time you hear or see something, anything, everything. I'm not exaggerating. It could be a dog barking or a leaf on the ground. Anything that interests you is now "ba".

You're still an average size little fella. 50th percentile since birth. I guess that's to be expected given that your daddy and I are average size people and were skinny little kids. My dad, your Papa, used to make some joke about me not being able to get wet in the shower 'cause I was too skinny. (I can't remember how the joke went. I must have blocked it from my memory.) But, despite your average size, you've got the deltoids of a MAN. I'm not even kidding. Your deltoids are bigger than mine, and I've been working out!

Your daddy and I think you're going to take after both of your grandfathers and be a strong dude. His dad, your Grandpa, played football in college and then became an Army Ranger. And, my dad played football in high school and went on to compete in power lifting competitions. Strength is in your blood, my man.

For now, though, you're just average. Right in the center of the growth chart. (I bet if they had measured your deltoids you'd be off the charts!)

I look forward to this next month with you. You've already brought me so much joy, and from what I hear, it only gets better.

We've got your first Halloween to look forward to, and you bet I'm gonna dress you up. Don't worry, you'll be the Cutest Baby on the Block.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Monthly Update: 8

Dear Foster,

Today is your eight month birthday, and what a difference a month makes!

You are now sitting up independently and army crawling. Your daddy calls your crawl "The Zombie" because of the way you drag yourself across the floor. Pulling with one arm, pushing with the other. Your left leg dead weight, your right leg doing all the work.

Sometimes you crawl toward me saying "ma-ma-ma-ma...", your newest word. You say it to refer to me and to get WHAT you want, WHEN you want it!

"MA-MA-MA-MA!" DO YOU HEAR ME? I WANT DOWN! I WANT UP! I WANT THIS! I WANT THAT!" And the list goes on and on.

Your other favorite word, and I use the word "word" lightly, is a cat call and it is purr-recious! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I have a habit of calling the cats with a high pitched, fast paced, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty...." roll of the tongue. And, you've picked up on it.

Every time you see the cats, you start to squeal in the highest pitch voice you can muster. Every time. Problem is, the cats have picked up on it too, and as soon as they hear you, they make a run for it! In the oppposite direction.

Unfortunately, this month you caught your first cold, and boy, was that a hard week! It started with you not wanting to nurse at all during the day. AT ALL. Then, since you weren't nursing during the day, you began to wake up every three hours at night to nurse. This happened before we knew it was a cold and of course, I was panicking!

You've always eaten solids like they are going out of style, and the week of your cold, you maintained that skill. But, I know that ounce for ounce, breast milk is much richer and better for you. And, like all the books say, it should still be your main source of nutrition.

I tried to explain that to you, but you wouldn't listen. "Ma-Ma-Ma-Ma! I don't want breast milk! I want oatmeal! I want chicken! I want green beans! I want applesauce! I want what you're having!"

You get that honestly, though. The "I want what you're having" part. That's the way I am. I think I want one thing to eat, and then your daddy gets something else and what d'ya know? I want what he's having! It drives him nuts. But, I digress.

So, we head off to Destin for Labor Day weekend, and you develop a runny nose and turn into the sixth Dwarf, Sneezy. I was just a mess over this. My baby has a cold. How did he catch a cold? What do I do for him? Wait! Is it a cold, or is he teething? Oh no! What if it's neither? What if it's an ear infection?!

Lucky for me, your daddy is a laid back guy and we were with the Whites who have four children and know a thing or two about sick babies. So we gave you Tylenol throughout the day and treated you to a warm bath each evening. We also made sure you didn't miss your naps. I'm a stickler about those naps. And then, we just went with the flow. Well, I was more sucked along by the current and tossed about by the waves, but still, we survived.

Once we returned home I decided to teach you to sign "more" during mealtimes. But, so far you're sticking to your guns. You have your own way of saying "more" and that is to BANG on the highchair tray and say, you guessed it, "MA-MA-MA-MA..!" I swear, sometimes it sounds like you're saying "more". Even your daddy thinks so.

The most recent skill that you've developed is finger feeding. It takes both of your little hands to get those bite sized pieces of food from the tray to your mouth, but as soon as you get 'em in, you start clapping. It's the cutest thing ever. But, I feel bad because I think you might be confused with signing "more" and clapping. Sorry about that.

Your highchair tray isn't the only thing you bang these days. You bang everything! And, after eight months, you've finally taken a liking to rattles and books. Yes, you bang both of them, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Every night before bed we read a bedtime sing along book. Each page has a pretty picture, the words to a bedtime song, and a symbol. I press the button that matches the symbol and then sing along with the music. You have discovered the pictures and now look at them while I'm singing. Sometimes you even touch the pictures, as if you're asking me to tell you about them. The songs are very short, so if you seem real interested in the picture, I tell you about it when the song is over.

Some nights we don't make it all the way through the book because you're so sleepy. You let me know when you're all done by flipping over onto your back and getting into nursing position. Of course, I'm happy to oblige.

Breastfeeding you has been one of the greatest joys of my life and I had no idea that it would be so wonderful. I don't think I can put into words how it has bonded us, but now I understand why some mothers don't stop breastfeeding when their baby turns a year old.

I had always planned to wean you when you turn one, and I probably still will, but there's a part of me that secretly hopes we can hang on to that bedtime feeding. It could be our little ritual. Our chance to remind each other that no matter what has happened during the day, no matter how disobedient you've been, or how impatient I've been, that we still love each other and need each other, and can't live without each other.



Friday, August 21, 2009

Monthly Update: 7

Foster, today you are 7 months old. I cannot believe it. It seems like just yesterday we brought you home from the hospital. You are such a delightful little baby and nothing like what I imagined you'd be at 7 months. I'm not sure exactly what I thought you'd be like. I guess I just never expected you to be so happy.

This is actually the first update I've ever written to you, but since you're seven months old and since I'd like to do this each month, it seemed more appropriate to go ahead and call this Monthly Update: 7, rather than Monthly Update: 1. Seven is a good place to start, though. I've always liked that number.

Before I forget, I got this idea from Heather Armstrong of fame. She writes a monthly newsletter to her daughter(s), and I've always thought it a great idea. I doubt that my writing will be as eloquent or funny as hers, but here goes...

Right now you are supposed to be napping, and in between fussing you break out with "ba-ba-ba-BA-BA-ba-ba-BAAA-BAAA-ba-ba..." So, I guess that's the highlight of this month, the ba-ba-ba-ing. You say it in the cutest voice I've ever heard. My favorite is when you pop off my breast and look at me with a slight grin, "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba..." Like we have an inside joke. In many ways you are still a newborn to me, but in others you are already a little boy. A little boy about to go off to kindergarten, and I'm not ready.

We started you on solids at 4 months, and you love them! You will eat anything and everything! I think you'd prefer to eat solids than nurse, unless of course it's 4 a.m., then you'd nurse for hours if I let you. I talked to the doctor about this and she said it's very common for babies your age to become more interested in solid food than breastmilk, much to your grandma's and my chagrin. Poor Grandma has to really work at getting you to take a bottle when you stay with her. Other than that, you're her little angel. A charmer, she calls you.

With me it's more that you're distracted than not wanting to nurse. You're all, What's that? That, over there? Oh yeah, that's a ceiling fan! There's one in every room. I love staring at that those things. And, and! I want to pull those chains. Please. Pleeaase? Can I pa-lease pull those chains?! Oh wait, what's that? That thing? That teeny, tiny thing that no one else would ever notice? Oh yeah, that's a pair of nail clippers. I must hold those nail clippers or I will lose my mind! Give me those nail clippers! If you don't give me those nail clippers, I will get them myself. Just watch me! And, the squirming begins. The arching of the back commences and the nursing is over.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is your favorite song. Whenever you start to fuss your daddy and I sing it. I sing melody and he sings harmony. You love it! You instantly smile that sweet smile of yours. Your whole face lights up when you smile. You have a twinkle in your eye just like your daddy.

This month you learned how to roll from one end of the room to the other, scoot on your belly and clap. When you clap you look like Paula Abdul on American Idol with your fingers spread wide and your palms slapping together. Every time you start to clap, your daddy and I say, "Yay!" and clap too. But, that concerns you and you stop clapping altogether.

You are almost sitting up independently, but not crawling yet. I'm in no rush for you to learn either skill, though. I want you to stay a baby forever. Last night you woke up at 3:30 a.m. to eat and after you nursed you let me hold you against my chest and rock you. You were awake, and you NEVER let me rock you while you're awake. If you're awake, it's go time! YOU MUST NEVER BE ROCKED OR READ TO DURING WAKING HOURS. That is the rule. But, last night you were content to be rocked. I wish it had not been so early in the morning, but because of the hour I felt like I should put you back to bed and go back to bed myself. I missed you instantly.

For the past couple of months you have taken a liking to our pets. Your favorite seems to be Pumpkin, the most elusive of the three. She doesn't really give you any attention, but whenever she crosses your path, you react as if you've just won the lottery! You shriek and smile and start to squirm for me to put you down near her. Minnie, however, is just okay. You get somewhat excited when she comes around, but your fascination quickly evaporates. It's just as well. I think the feeling is mutual. Then there's Lucky. He is the only pet that can crack you up with his antics. His antics are rare, though. He's somewhat reclusive these days, what with all the storms this summer. Your daddy and I try every day to get him going; snorting, snuffing, barking, running, jumping, etc...all in an effort to hear you laugh. The sound of your laugh is chicken soup for the soul.

Your daddy is the master of getting a laugh out of you. You almost never laugh at me. I try and try to tickle, shake, rattle and roll you, but nope, you save Mr. Giggles for your daddy. You literally light up when he comes home from work. It's as if you know, it's playtime! You and your daddy play so rough sometimes that his beard scratches up your little face. The redder and more irritated your face, the more fun you've had.

I was talking to my Nana, your great grandmother, on the phone last night, and told her that I think I spoil you by holding you too much. I explained that I even have to hold you while I vacuum because you're all of a sudden scared of it. I start to vacuum and you start to cry. It's a new cry. A scared cry, and it breaks my heart. I really don't mind holding you, though. I know that soon and very soon you are not going to want to be held, so I treasure every moment of having you on my hip, of holding you close and being able to kiss that sweet head of yours. That sweet head that I swear smells just like fresh baked cookies.

Foster, I will hold you whenever you need to be held and I will rock you as often as you want to be rocked. You are my precious ba-ba-baby-boy and I never knew how much I'd love you.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And Here I Go Again...

on my own. Going down the only road I've ever known. Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone. And, I've made up my mind. I ain't waistin no more time. But, here I go again.

Seriously, though. I've tried this blog thing before and let it drift away. I just didn't think it (or I) was that interesting. However, I'm going to give it another shot because I'm a mom now, and even if I'm not that interesting, my baby certainly is!

But, before I get ahead of myself and start writing all kinds of interesting stuff, I think I should explain why I'm calling this blog, Mommio Andretti. In short, it's the most recent, and in my opinion, the best nickname my husband, Scott, has ever given me.

Apparently I drive fast. And, if truth be told, I have a little road rage. When I was a teenager my parents used to tease me about taking turns on two wheels. My mom even called me Mario Andretti. My husband didn't know any of this when he recently started to tease me about my driving. The only thing he knew was that when he was in the back seat with our baby boy, he feared for both their lives. I guess he never noticed my fast pace or quick turns from the front seat. I dare say that he did notice my road rage, but rather than a nickname, I got a lecture.