and an “out take” because it is so darn cute and funny!
According to the app “wonder weeks,” Henry has just completed his stormy week. As he turns 3 months old, his body is focused on learning smooth transitions: coordinating his limbs, focusing his eyes, developing speech, and processing his surroundings. Since this is so much work for a little one, the app marks it as “stormy” because babies can be often quite fussy. Thankfully, Henry has been his usual jovial self. Yes, this time period may have affected his sleep which up until last week was merely Henry not sleeping at all. But, aside from the lack of sleep (which has gotten MUCH better) Henry has been a super curious, playful, and happy little guy. We joke that his laugh is like thunder and lightening. Right now he opens his mouth wide to give a hearty chuckle but there is not a sound. Perhaps like thunder, his laugh will soon follow his toothless smile. At lunch on Saturday, David had to change a blow out diaper and said that he heard the first true hearty laugh out of the little man! I am waiting patiently for a repeat performance.
This month marked my full return to work and Henry’s daytime care turning over to Mema’s capable hands. Mema and Henry are doing great together. Each morning my phone buzzes with picture updates, as Mema reads stories, plays on the mat, feeds and swaddles him for naps, and helps Henry practice rolling over. I love coming home and asking Mema, “How was your day?” and she replies, “Oh it was wonderful. We did all of our activities together.” At the same time, it is hard being away each day. Leaving in the morning continues to rip out my heart and I still cry most mornings on the drive in. The consolation is knowing that Henry is having a wonderful time at home with Mema who loves him so very much. Under her supervision, he has started to really respond to conversation and is determined to roll over. A few “accidental” rolls have occurred. Then finally last night, while I was working my epic long night on campus, Henry did it. He rolled, and rolled, and rolled for Mema and Pepa. This left us all in a little panic. We were planning to wean Henry from his swaddle this weekend but had to do it cold turkey now that he could flip himself over. He must have been ready for the release of his arms during sleep because he slept great despite the new sensations and freedom.
The best part of this month may just be the sounds that Henry makes. He loves to lay down and stare up at you and just coo and shriek and babble. I know he has to grow up but I wish I could just savor these moments longer!! This may just be my most favorite month yet, really. His little personality continues to develop and he is such a flirt! He practices his grin, coy smile, and even his frown. And while he obviously cannot speak yet, these expressions really do fill the home. It is not a far stretch to imagine him chatting at the dinner table.
Henry is starting to grab and reach for things and this includes holding onto your clothes as you cuddle and sway him. He loves playing with his rattles, although sometimes he gets carried away and whacks himself in the face. And, he loves watching the dogs play. Right now we have four dogs in the house: Buster, Bella, Daisy, and Blaise. Each of these little beasts wants to be near Henry at all times. While this can be a little frustrating since they don’t quite understand their own strength, it does come from a place of curiosity and Henry is equally curious about these fuzzy creatures who like to stick their wet noses on his cheeks. With a little assistance, Henry pets each of his furry friends.
His morning and evening routines seem to be developing as well. My alarm goes off at 5AM and I head into the shower to get ready for work. By 5:30AM, Henry is awake and David plays and cuddles him in bed until I finish. Then I take over from 5:45-6:00AM and play in bed with Henry while David showers and gets ready. Then around 6:05AM we all head downstairs. My mom joins us and makes coffee for the adults while David plays with Henry in the living room. I pack up my bags for school, eat some breakfast, and then snuggle the little guy so David can do the same. We usually have 15-20 minutes all together in the living room before it is time to said our goodbyes for work. At night, recently, Henry has started his bedtime routine at 7PM with a bath. Then it is pj time, reading, snuggles, a fresh diaper, a last meal, a little swaying and down for bed. While he doesn’t sleep completely through the night the new pattern is to sleep until 12:30AM and then get up again around 3:30AM and then 5:30AM. And, our little man is about 15lbs and 25.5 inches and barely fitting in size 3 months!
This month Henry is:
- All smiles
- Cooing, babbling, and shrieking
- Using his tranquil turtle to help him go to sleep (and David and I love it too, it is SO peaceful!)
- Has changed swaddles , these seem to be a little stronger than the summer swaddles we originally used
- Plays with his rattle and rocket ship from Bannor Toys
- Sits in his Bumbo Seat
- Loves reading. We have started to read the Biscuit books
- Loves seeing his friends
- Takes strolls in the park
- Enjoys brunch on Sundays
- Can be in the Ergobaby without the infant insert and doesn’t only sleep in it now
- Showing signs of laughter and rolling over
- Takes a bottle like a champion (Dr. Brown all the way!)
- Has discovered his hands and feets
- Loves to chew on your hand or his hands
- Is starting to drool and blow bubbles
- Grabbing and grasping for things around him
I left home this morning at 6:30AM and will sadly not return until 9:30PM. This extra long day of work loomed before me and has created an intense amount of stress for me: How would Henry do without me for all of this time? Will he have enough to eat at home? Will he have an effective sleep routine? Will my parents, who are home today, be all right? Will they have enough to eat? Will they need a break from caring for the baby? Will they be able to take care of the dogs? Will the dogs be all right? Will the dogs go bananas without us for all those hours?
These are just a tiny fraction of the questions, hesitations, and concerns I have about today’s incredibly long day away from home. Every year we prepare and stay at school for Back to School Night. Every other year, this has been one of my favorite evenings. I stay after school and have dinner with friends and then get to meet the parents of my students in a casual setting as they mill about the building. Tonight though is different. Now with Henry home I am a bundle of nerves and feeling very fragile about this long stay away. When I take a moment to really think about him home without me all day I feel like crying and when I come home the little man will be asleep. It hurts my heart to know I will have missed his whole day. But, alas it is the nature of the beast that is today.
Since I couldn’t physically be there with the little man and my parents today, I decided I could at least cook them a nutritious, belly-warming meal. Through dinner, I would be able to “be there for them.” And, in this case what is more comforting than a warm plate of pot pie? I hope that in lieu of my presence this meal will keep them “sustained” and will give me a small bit of peace of mind heading into my long night on campus. And really, it is just one night, right?
That food truck festival left me craving banh mi sandwiches. Seriously, it is crazy how yummy that sandwich was. I can still taste it if I close my eyes, mmmmm. Anyway, instead of pining for it, I decided to try to recreate it. And of course with this goal in mind, Blue Apron has the same recipe as one of their meal selections. While I don’t subscribe to the service right now, I headed out to the grocer to buy the ingredients and whip it up. What ensued was hilarious.
Overall the recipe was super simple. Since it is a sandwich you sort of create an assembly line for the eaters-to-be. First, I prepared the cucumber and carrot salad then the mayo then the slaw then the toasted breads. Once each of these was lined up in their serving bowl on the kitchen counter, I turned my attention to the chicken. Now the issue with Blue Apron is that they send you spices in the perfect amount. While I can copy their recipes, when it comes to the proportion of spices I have to wing it. We love a good spicy meal so I was quite heavy handed with my “copied” spice blend. I covered each piece of chicken with the blend and started to cook it up in the pan. Suddenly, Henry was sneezing and sneezing in the living room, David started coughing, my mom started to sneeze and cough. Then it hit me and finally all four of the dogs started to sneeze! WAY TOO MUCH PEPPER got into the air. We were all suffering from this effect, eyes watering, and sneezing uncontrollably. I turned on the vent and opened a window but the sneezing continued. We were very skeptical at this point about eating the sandwiches but found that they were actually quite delicious, if a bit too spicy. Thirty minutes after the meal we were still sneezing and Henry continued to sneeze even through his bath! Clearly, the next time I make this we will use about 10% of the spice I originally thought was necessary. And yes, I do plan to make these again sneezing or no! Hopefully I can convince the rest of the family to trust me again.
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 P Cucumber
¼ Head Red Cabbage
4 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
2 Banh Mi Rolls (we used sub rolls)
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Bánh Mí Spice Blend (Chinese 5-Spice, Galangal, Lemongrass Powder, Smoked Paprika & Cayenne Powder)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and cut the carrot into thin matchsticks and cut the cucumber into thin circles. Thinly slice the cabbage leaves . In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce and mayonnaise. Completely coat the chicken in the bánh mì spice blend (this is where I went a little too crazy!). In a small pot, combine half the rice vinegar, ½ cup of water and a big pinch of salt. Heat to boiling on high. In a large, heat-proof bowl, combine a dash of the sesame oil, the carrots and cucumber. Once the pickling mixture is boiling, remove from heat and pour over the carrots and cucumber. Cover and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, remaining sesame oil, half the hoisin-mayonnaise sauce and the remaining rice vinegar. Toss gently to mix and set aside. In a medium pan, add chicken and cook. Slice the bánh mì rolls in half lengthwise. Place the sliced rolls on a small sheet pan (or directly on the oven racks). Toast 3 to 5 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and warmed through. Assemble sandwich to your particular liking and enjoy!!
Things have been a bit hectic here. My parents moved in while they await the completion of their home 6 miles away. And, we are helping them sort out a bit of paperwork and some home-selling bumps! In order to give everyone a break from the whirlwind this has presented, we decided to take a little short break on Saturday morning before having to dive back in.I don’t know why but everyone seems to love food trucks! The meals are cheap, trendy, and delicious. Not to mention the trucks always seem to have the cutest names like Chubby Chickpea, Insane-wiches, or Tipsy Taco. On Saturday our suburban community gathered on the common for the Metrowest Fest: a food truck festival combined with live music, bounce houses for kids, and a craft fair. The weather could not have been more perfect. When the sun came out it felt like a warm Summer day and when it hid behind the clouds a cool, crisp Fall breeze came through. The event started at 11AM and was bound to be a zoo, so we decided that since we have our little man it would be best to drive over and find parking early. We arrived around 10:45 and the whole space was ours for the perusing.
Instantly my parents knew that they wanted to check out the Lobstah Roll Truck. We were their first order at exactly 11AM. It looked delicious and my parents confirmed that indeed it was just as tasty as it appeared.
David is super lucky. At work each day of the week, one of these scrumptious food trucks parks at the end of the road by his office. So while all these places were new to me, they were old hat for him. Bahn Mi is a truck that David always raves about so I rushed there.
The sandwich was FANTASTIC! I seriously could eat it everyday. The meat was tender and the sauces nuanced. The bread was toasted perfectly and I only wish I had another one!
We also sampled truffle fries, limeades, bacon grilled cheese, and calamari before we decided that we needed to take a little breather and walk around the craft fair. By then, it was starting to fill in and we were so happy we were able to see our friends: Joe, Nikki, Christine, Carl, Maryellen, Dan, Jill, Jordan, Karyn, Ernie & Annabelle there too!
David climbed the steps of the football stadium to take this above shot, do you see us?
But before we headed home completely full, we stopped at Frozen Hoagie for a sweet finish to a delicious morning. Now some of us are napping as a result of this food fest.