I am so blessed to come from a long line of moms. This Mother’s Day this basic reality overwhelmed me on Sunday. As I sat on the glider in Henry’s nursery snuggling my baby, I thought about the many mommies in my family who similarly caressed, loved, and cherished their little ones. I am so grateful to these women for having the courage and compassion to raise their daughters and sons. Surely there were difficult moments and harder circumstances but because of their capacity to be selfless and loving, I have this amazing opportunity to be a mommy myself. My mom, my grandmas, their moms, and on and on and on were all here in this moment, rocking their babies, loving their babies, and thinking about what the future held for their babies. It is a true blessing to be Henry’s mother and to continue this cherished existence. On Mother’s Day, I hope we think about those mothers who came before us, those mothers around the world who are doing their very best to care for their families, and those women who may not be mothers yet but who are mothers nonetheless.
Happy Double Digits! Woot Woot!
It feels like just yesterday this little guy was born and now we are staring straight ahead to his first birthday in just sixty days. Madness; this is just utter madness. How is Henry already ten months old?!? It is funny how the school year’s end stills seems so long away and yet Henry’s birthday seems too soon. I remember a year ago at this time my belly was swollen with baby and I was nervously anticipating the labor and delivery to come. We were attending birth classes and installing our car seat and imagining what it would be like to have our baby boy join us. We hypothesized and theorized this future. Our expectations were wrong. I never knew just how much life would flip like a switch and how much I would come to love this truly blessed existence of motherhood. Our little family is the best part of every moment of every day for me. But enough of this, I will have a chance to write more about my reflections once we get to that finish line of one year! For now, what is important is to share everything that this little dude has be up to and into.
This month was all about visiting family and friends! It kicked off with Henry’s first Easter celebration. At brunch with family and friends, H dined on an assortment of yummy delights from eggs to scones to pancakes and bacon. He ate heartily while enjoying the company around him. It was then off to California for an extended weekend with my brother and his family. I noted in my previous gushing post that we had the BEST time and are eagerly awaiting our return to that West Coast kind of living. This month Henry also visited with some new faces in New York. We drove down to see my extended family at a little party and topped off the visit with a chance to hang out with Colleen and to meet baby Marcella (my oldest friend’s newest addition). If that were not enough, we are soaking up as much time with our friend Amelie and her parents before they become expats this summer. Their current location near Jamaica Pond makes strolls in the fantastic weather descending on Boston ideal. This full month ended with our first birthday party for Annabelle and it was such a fantastic event! It really made me a bit sappy to think about how all of our baby friends are growing up so fast!
Henry has also been super chatty this month. His repertoire of sounds is constantly evolving. While he is a bit reticent with new people, he is quickly starting to warm up and babble away. When he sits in his highchair for dinner he loves to have long conversations. He babbles to his daddy or me and then pauses for us to respond and then babbles again. He changes his tone and cadence and is really imitating dialogue. It makes me so excited for the next few months. Some of his new sounds include (but are not limited to): dada, mama, hi, ta ta, pa pa, ha ha, doh doh, dog, ga ga, goo goo. What makes this all even more exciting is that he can also identify people now. When we ask, “Where is Mommy,” “Where is Daddy, ” or “Where are the doggies,” he looks right to the person or pups in question. Each morning when he wakes up he immediately starts calling “dog dog dog” and wants to see his pups and pet their heads. In practicing his sounds he has either intentionally or accidentally begun to whistle. With lips pursed, the little whistle sound comes forth and is so surprising. When we first started to hear it, we both thought, “Who is whistling?” or “Do you hear that whistling sound?” and there he was crawling about and whistling his way through the house.
After a long hiatus development has begun again on the smile project! Henry’s three bottom teeth have now been joined by his top front teeth. Despite the teething concerns that inevitably come with the arrival of each new chomper, these came in with little pomp and circumstance. After two nights of mild discomfort, his little teeth broke the surface and are working their way down. He is now eating more and more thanks to this development! He has not shied away from a single meal or delicacy we have shared with him. This month’s new foods and food experiences included: Indian buffet, pizza, bacon egg sandwiches, steak, almond butter, fish and chips, blackberries, pineapple, thai fried rice, ice cream, and brussel sprouts. Henry is a brussel-sprout monster! He can devour a full plate of these baby cabbages before you can blink your eyes! Dining al fresco has been such a new treat as well. Since the snows have melted, Bostonians have eagerly spent sunrise to sunset out of doors. And we are no different in our desire to be soaking up the fresh air and sun!
While he hasn’t taken that first solo step yet, Henry is definitely inching closer to that day. Some of his favorite activities include walking by pushing either his elephant toy or his little activity cart. He walks his cautious little self around and around the downstairs. It is one of my favorite things these days. The little elephant push ride sings this silly song that goes, “I love to go a walkin’ with my best friend every day,” and around the corner here comes Henry with the biggest grin! He stands with the tiniest bit of assistance and can walk barely holding onto your hands, but he is not quite ready for his solo step. David and I are really excited for that moment though…whenever it happens.
Henry is really into:
- Imitating everything you do. If he sees you kissing, he opens his mouth for a sloppy kiss. If he sees you doing raspberries on someone’s belly, he leans over and tries to do it too. If he sees you eating, you better have food for him. If he sees you turn a stacking toy into a trumpet, he grabs it and babbles into the “trumpet” too.
- Sleeping through the night!! Sleeping through the night is no longer the rare chance night time experience but it is now the standard. From 7PM to 7AM, Henry is far away in slumberland.
- Drinking water. From cups or with straws, Henry has mastered drinking water sans bottle. He even prefers to avoid his bottle at baby school and drink his milk via cup. We have found both the munchkin 360 cup and munchkin straw super helpful. Both of these cups have helped him practice this skill to transition from bottle to cup and straw.
- Waving and clapping. Henry loves loves loves to wave and clap. He cannot contain himself! It is especially sweet and apparent when I bring him to the commuter rail to pick up Daddy and he waves and claps for each passenger disembarking the train.
- Tucking in. Henry has a “tell” for when he is ready to sleep. When you give him a hug, he puts his head on your shoulder and then tucks his arms in underneath himself. This tucking-in is so darn sweet. I cannot take it! My heart melts each time as he presses close, tucks in, and nods off.
- Sucker fish. It is hard to wrap your little baby mind around kissing. What exactly is kissing? To H right now, kissing is opening your mouth super wide and then sealing it onto mommy or daddy’s cheek, chin, or mouth and then sucking hard. It is reminiscent of the bottom sucker in a fish tank. He loves to give his sucker fish kisses and even though it might sound gross or weird, I sort of love getting them!
- Playing with toys. I say this because now he no longer immediately puts every toy in his mouth. Instead of playing being another name for salivating on toys, playing now means playing. H pushes his cars around his room, stacks bowls, and passes toys back and forth to you.
- Towel Cuddles. After a splash in the tub, Henry loves to laugh and squeal as he is wrapped in his towel. Then we hug and hug and hug while he belly laughs and my heart melts every time.
How do I get back to SoCal? Seriously, though if I could pack up the family, blink my eyes, and find myself permanently resettled in Southern California my dreams might have come true. First, the people draw us in. My brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew spend their sunny, warm days in a truly beautiful setting. These people are the salt of the earth type. If they weren’t already family, I would probably stalk them into a friendship! From the minute our airplane’s wheels touched down, they took great care of us. Being with them, exploring with them, lounging with them, playing with them, and enjoying them made the weekend. Henry had the time of his life with his little cousins and cuddling with his Auntie and Uncle. The goal of the weekend was to share some quality family time and keep those moments out-of-doors. After our brutal New England winter, David and I feel like apocalypse survivors: Are there other humans out there? Is it safe? What is that bright yellow globe in the sky? From backyard cookouts to long strolls along the water, to watching beachy sunsets, to visiting petting zoos and all things kid friendly, we truly soaked up the best of being with our family and the SoCal weather.
The flights to Cali were long. While we may feel like “seasoned” family travelers this trip still proved we are bit of a novice team not quite ready to win the Amazing Race. Inbound we were focused, playful, and in control of the situation. Henry played, laughed, and overall did well getting over to the West Coast. Interestingly the most well-behaved, adorable little boy sat behind us and let Henry read some of his books and play with some of his toys. It was kind of this weird idyllic co-parenting experience between rows 30 and 31 on that airbus. The way back…not so much. A weather delay followed by a mechanical delay made our flight two and a half hours longer than expected. H was not a happy camper. Before the wheels lifted on our connection back to Boston, he was DONE. A constant nagging sound emanated from his throat and filled the cabin around us. He could not be distracted nor was he interested in sleeping. Ironically in front of us, a family of 3 also struggled to keep the peace and quiet. Our kids had decided to make a pact of discontent! Rows 30 and 31 were the epicenter of every other passenger’s worst nightmare. But, hey we all made it safely home and isn’t that really all the matters in the end?
Enough about the crazy travel. That was a mere blip on the screen of this epic weekend. How all of this happened in one weekend is shocking! Isn’t it crazy how three full and warm days can trick your body and soul into thinking it was on a two week hiatus? After we landed, we were immediately greeted by the many embraces of our family. We settled right in with one another and adventured throughout the afternoon catching good food and glimpses of the beach through the early afternoon. We ended the evening at home in the yard while the kids played and we sipped wine and chatted about all sorts of things. Henry slept like a champion despite the time change and this allowed for all of us to be at our best. We were rested and refreshed for our second day. It started with some great playtime. The California littles were SO good a playing with their baby cousin. They included him in everything, shared with him, and taught him along the way. Watching my child play with my brother’s children was a gift. I could not help but project into future playdates and visits.
On top of all this fun, we also drove down to San Diego to be a part of my dear friend, Sarah’s wedding. Gosh what a beautiful ceremony, cocktail party, and dinner scene! I was not surprised in the least that these nuptials were the most fun and romantic ever! Sarah and Jesse are some of the coolest, most genuine people I know and their wedding was a true testament to their awesomeness. They married in their botanical Garden of Eden backyard and shared their home, good food, and happy chickens with all of their guests. No exaggeration, their vows were some of the most beautiful promises I have ever heard exchanged at a wedding and it was SO fun to be witness to their love. They deserve simply the best!
So what did we learn while on our California dreaming weekend? A lot.
Southern California is a utopia of beautiful people, beautiful weather, beautiful food.
Neighborhoods are manicured resort towns that beg visitors to pitch their tent permanently.
I miss my brother, sister-in-law, and littles SOOOOOOOOOOO much. Seriously, it KILLED my heart to say to goodbye.
Henry is crazy for animals particularly of the petting zoo variety. Let’s just say he tried to lick one too many chickens out there.
Henry & the littles are going to be fast friends while growing up and I cannot wait to watch it!
My bro and sis-in-law are really cool people, whom I love as family and friend.
Cheeseburgers, fries, and special sauce are all you need to eat every day.
There is nothing wrong with 3 or 4 cups of coffee in one day when shared among good company.
Projecting movies and watching them 4-across in bed is a hilarious way to spend time together #bestideaever
I am obsessed with Costco fig bars…must get Costco membership stat!
Henry is a wild man at weddings, tearing off clothes & dancing, waving, and shouting at guests. He will inevitability be a wedding crasher we presume.
You can never have enough Disney princesses or clip-on earrings or dresses.
Savor every second because these visits are short and truly are the very best of times.
Every parent waits for the day that the baby sleeps through the night. And I have to admit there were so many times in the wee hours of the morning while I nursed Henry and my head bobbed and weaved from sleep that I would have given anything for one perfect night of uninterrupted sleep. My fantasies since motherhood have all included this dream of perfect sleep. There I am in my pajamas pulling back the covers, getting in under the snugly sheets, closing my eyes, and the next frame of this fantasy is me waking up on my own with just a hint of sunlight streaming in on my face! AH! The beauty of a full night of sleep was tantalizing and taunting. I knew what it was. I had been to that promised land of sleep prior to the days of Henry. Would I ever get there again? The days of motherhood are very short but the nights can be so long. Really I should not complain, Henry has been a very good sleeper for a baby. For the first four months of his life, he was capable of stretches of 2, 3, 4, and sometimes even 5 hours of sleep. Technically 5 hours of sleep is sleeping through the night. But from 6PM-11PM wasn’t ideal for my sleeping. Then there was the dark time of unswaddling that left us with 2 hour stretches on a good night. This was a temporary blip and we settled into a nice pattern of sleep for the next few months of bedtime at 6:30PM, a nursing snack at 10PM and then again 4AM and a wake up around 6:30AM. This was sustainable and pleasant and even though I still pined for my uninterrupted night, this was doable. At 9 months on the dot the 10PM feeding faded away. Left with only my 4AM wake-up, I was sleep drunk most mornings and started to panic. Oh no, what will I do when Henry no longer nurses at night? Despite the “hardship” of waking up, once I am in his nursery, settled into our glider, holding my baby in my arms, and caressing his face while he nurses, I am on the moon. The sweetness nourishes me and I feel more like a mother in this moment then in any other of the day. I was not ready to lose this. But I was not the one to decide. Henry is now (fingers crossed) sleeping through the night entirely. From 7PM to 7AM, his rest in undisturbed. And don’t get me wrong, it is amazing to sleep. I love being reacquainted with my bed, sheets, and slumber. But, but, but I miss our quiet moments at night, our little snuggles that belonged only to us. I miss this part of mommyhood at the same time that I am ready for the next phase. Sleeping through the night (STTN) is beautiful but it also means Henry is growing up and there is no stopping that!