thankful

Tis the season to be thankful! As we head into the holiday season, there is so much to be grateful for. 2014 has been a very very good year for our family. We have grown in so many ways and owe so much of our happiness to those who loved and supported us. David and I are so appreciative of our family and friends. Their constant presence this year truly helped us tackle the learning curve of parenthood. From cooking meals, to late night phone calls, to helping fold laundry, to Skype dates, to holding the baby, and checking in on us, we were never isolated as new parents and found instead a warm and welcoming community. This has been truly invaluable.

And, I am so thankful to my parents who have uprooted themselves to Massachusetts.  Their close proximity is an act of complete selflessness. Having my parents near to us is such a gift. It is the ultimate gift to a new family. Not only will we be able to spend more time with them each week but Henry receives constant love from his mema and pepa as they care for him during the week. I know that this family care is unique and amazing and I am SO SO thankful that they have chosen to provide this for us and for Henry. Since I cannot be with him during the day, I know that my mom and dad are able to give him everything I would love to give. There is a great sense of comfort provided. There are so many pros and cons to the various care options for new babies. And so many studies reflect how babies grow and thrive in each of these settings. For us, this is the right fit and we are so thankful that my parents are equally excited about it. I am really looking forward to this new year with family nearer.

arts & crafts

On Saturday, we hosted a little Mommy & Baby Brunch at our home. It was fun setting up Henry’s toys downstairs and thinking about how to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. I wanted the “play date” to be relaxed and a space where moms could connect while babies wiggled about and played together. It was exactly that! The moms I met when Henry was two weeks old are a fantastic group of supportive and fun women. I truly enjoy their company. Their insights, questions, and joy about motherhood are enriching! And, their creativity set us up for some fun arts & crafts that morning too.

Perhaps we will have to make a few more for grandparents for Christmas?

henry adam: four months

The days are long but the months are short! Is it really four months already since our little man joined our clan? I cannot believe it! When I look back at pictures of newborn Henry, I am amazed that he was ever that tiny (and, yes, I know he was never really that tiny but still you know what I mean).  Here is a picture of Henry our first night and next to it is a picture of him in the same bassinet last week. Despite a little razbliuto for my itsy bitsy newborn, I love exactly where we are right now. Another mommy blogger I follow keeps saying, “This is my favorite month” when writing about her son’s growing up, and I know exactly what she means. It is amazing to witness this little one’s constant development into a little boy. He really just melts my heart and I continue to fall deeper for this one.

This month has been full of noise. Henry is all about practicing his noises and testing out his vocal chords. After a hearty long nap, he can he heard cooing, babbling, and shrieking in delight. He loves to makes sounds like, “ah,” “agoo”, “ma,” and “ha.” He is also “laughing” a bit more too. No longer thunder without lightning there is a laugh now. He especially loves to be tickled under his arms and at his sides which often leads to little squeals. His voice just melts my heart and then when he and David are on a roll of making each other laugh, I could burst. Seriously, there is no faster way to make me swoon than watching those two together. Be still my heart!

And then there is all the singing. Henry loves to listen to music and singing. While most people would be pained to listen to me croak out a show tune, Henry is my biggest fan. He can sit in his bumbo chair or bouncing seat for up to thirty minutes or so just smiling and smiling as I sing at the top of my lungs with gusto a variety of Disney songs that I seem to know by heart. Henry’s favorite songs though are “The Ants Go Marching” and “Proud Mary.”  For the ants song, he loves to bounce side to side on your knees and he likes a deep octave, think Barry White. For “Proud Mary,” he likes being held standing and he gets a little funky with the beat. We only ever make it through this part of the song

“Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the Man every night and day
But I never lost a minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

[chorus]
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river”

But Henry loves it and I cannot stop laughing whenever David busts it out. Then there are the evening dance parties at our humble abode. From Michael Jackson to Al Green to Journey, Henry loves to be held while we dance about the house. Even Mema gets in on the fun! Tonight for example we did an homage to motown before bedtime. It also helps that we are starting Henry early with pseudo instruments. He is all about the shaker eggs during these music sessions and can even hold one on his own and “shake” it a bit.

His hands never cease to amaze him these days. Everything he can grab goes straight into his mouth and he holds tightly to rattles, toys, clothes, necklaces, etc. etc. And when he falls asleep he holds his hands together over his little chest and slowly, slowly his hands come apart and in super slow motion find their way to the bed beside him. I love watching this little activity over the baby monitor. You know Henry is asleep once his hands make contact with the mattress.

Aside from all of these little-person growth triumphs, October has been a very busy month as we introduce him to Fall treats and savor the beautiful crisp weather. So far Henry has been pumpkin picking at Volante Farms, attended Wee Reads at the Sudbury Library, gone to a Halloween celebration, met new friends (like Erin and Bill), spent time with baby friends, attended a costume party, baby shower, and a few  tiny tot swim classes.  These swim classes have been SO fun. Each Sunday at 11:15AM we meet up with some friends in Sudbury and do the open swim time for littles. Henry is not sure how he feels about swimming. The first time in the water he was as stiff as a board as we helped him glide through the water. The second time, he was grumpy for the first ten minutes then we got some laughs and smiles out of him. One thing is for certain after each swim session, the little man crashes for an epic nap!

Ah, and that gets us to his sleep schedule these days. Finally we have hit our stride again when it comes to sleep. Henry takes a morning nap around 8AM for about an hour, then an afternoon nap for about two hours, and an early evening nap around 4PM for another hour. Then it is bedtime at 6:30, late night snack at 10PM and even later night snack at 2AM and then up for the day at 6AM. While this isn’t exactly sleeping through the night the schedule works for him and me and I love snuggling his little sweet self in the middle of the night while we rock together on the glider. Luckily once he finishes his nursing he goes straight to sleep. He is wearing 6 months clothes now. And as always, I am just so lucky to be this little one’s mom. I love him so much and miss him all day long when I am off at work.

This month Henry is

  • Starting to sleep on his side
  • Loving his Zutano Booties
  • Mad about his Jumper
  • “Talking” up a storm
  • Starting to laugh and squeal when you tickle him
  • Mesmerized by singing
  • Loves dance parties
  • Dresses up for Halloween
  • Looks at pictures of his family in a little photo album we made for him
  • Rolls around like a professional
  • Nibbles on everything
  • Enjoys sucking on apples
  • Loves to hold his hands and to hold your hands
  • Swims (sort of)
  • Shakes his musical instruments
  • Plays with puzzles
  • Loves looking at himself in the mirror

lion man

I am not sure what Henry’s first Halloween will look like exactly. Since it falls on a Friday, David and I will both have to work during the day.  Once we get home, it might be either too late or too cold to take the lion man out. Of course, if these two concerns do not present themselves, then we are aiming to taking the little lion out on the town (for at least a few minutes) to “trick or treat.” It will be funny bringing him by our neighbors homes or bringing him over to close friend’s. If nothing else, he will don his little costume and we will observe the holiday through photographs! I am sure Henry is psyched about it!

Regardless of how we celebrate on October 31, Henry was able to spend a little afternoon with his friends recently at a pumpkin festival in costume!  It was adorable seeing his little buds dressed as a strawberry, cow, and astronaut. And, of course I loved seeing their parents as well. It is nice being a part of a little group of moms to share stories, insights, goofy moments, and, most importantly, to watch our babies grow up, thrive, and begin to reach out and “play” with one another. It is such a fun part of mommy-hood. To me, this was our Halloween celebration!

dogs & babies

It has been said that a dog is man’s best friend, and “a dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” In our house, this is incredibly true. Since welcoming Henry into our lives, we have not been the best puppy parents. Henry’s needs have constantly come before our own and before our pups. He has laid a fog over our eyes in which we see only his little self and his little needs. And despite this negligence, Buster and Bella have been unflappable in their love for their less then mindful pack leaders. They continue to be love and loyalty personified.

In the middle of night when Henry chirps and squawks, the dogs cock their heads to the sound, confirm that the little man is being addressed by one of the humans, and return to slumber as best as they can. Just like the humans, they have not had one restful night since July. Yet, they remain ever present. They come to bed each night and brace for the restlessness. They warm the bed on chilly nights and occasionally lick an exposed leg or hand to remind us that they are there and there they shall remain. In the wee hours of the night, when I am awake with my little owl, I know I am not alone since their half-watchful eyes and their always ready to secure selves remain close by.

When I am frustrated that they are crowding the bed while I try to nurse Henry, a short “move, move, move” and Bella lumbers over to the end of the bed in order to make space for this unapologetic newcomer and her sometimes distraught and disheveled adult human . During the day when we aren’t always able to take them for walks, they head out back and make do with the yard. They romp about and play with each and return to the house and maintain their quiet, watchful place. When Henry is on the floor flaunting an interesting toy, they don’t rush ahead for it, they lay beside him, sometimes steal of lick of his little hand or of his toy.  But, they know these are not their toys and instead wait for this little human to grow up into the boy who will chase them about the house. As a result of their condition, the dogs play a long waiting game. They wait for David and I to pet, cuddle, and play with them, they wait outside a lot longer these days while we wrangle the little man inside, they wait and wait for Henry to grow up.  They are truly beautiful, wonderful, amazing pups. They have proven that despite their world being turned upside down by this pint size new ruler of the home, that they are calm, loving, patient little beasts.

henry adam: three months

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