Gah! I could just eat this little baby up!! Seriously, he is just the softest, chubbiest baby in town and he is starting to just beam and smile and laugh. Yes, he is starting to laugh and loves to be tickled and these things all melt my heart. It all finally feels like he has been part of our family forever and not some little baby house guest. I am not sure if it is because he is the second or if it is his personality but Owen has become a chill baby. We have started to notice that he enjoys taking his time with his toys, with his tummy time and with his play mat. Ever feeling the need to stimulate and provide for my little one, I was moving him from one thing to another. But, while I might be “bored” with a particular infant activity, he was not and let out some little cries to tell us to slow down and let him take his time. I like this kid, a slower pace is just what we all could use.
One of our favorite pastimes is sitting Owen up on our knees and just smiling and cooing at one another. We literally could do this for hours. He watches my face so intently and I swear he is trying to mimic my mouth and sounds. Brown, deep eyes stare back at me while I chit-chat with my newborn all morning long. Being entertained is the name of the game this month. No longer is he willing to just be, he wants to explore as best as his little baby body can by grasping at toys on his play mat, batting at the low hanging rings, and beating his little fists against his tambourine. His hands are truly magical right now to him and he clasps them in front of his face and looks at them with awe. I keep telling him that they will continue to amaze him as he cooks or engineers or designs later on in life. And just these last two weeks he has started to lock his knees to stand and he loves this position even if he is a little wobbly.
At Owen’s two month check-up, his pediatrician noticed that he did not turn his neck to the left past neutral. I had not noticed this inability. Was it because I was distracted with having two children? Was I not paying close enough attention? Was it because he is so chubby I could not see a neck? It killed me to have missed this. But the pediatrician assured me that this happens often. He was diagnosed with torticollis, or baby stiff neck and we were sent to Boston Children’s Hospital to do a few physical therapy visits. Going to that hospital with a child with something as minor as torticollis was a powerful lesson in gratitude. As soon as we arrived in the parking lot it became clear that this was a special place but also that there were very sick children here. I am so thankful and feel so blessed to have two boys who are healthy and I pray for the health of those children we saw as we walked into our PT appointments. The therapist was also a new mom and she spent a lot of time with us cooing at Owen while giving him little baby massages. He was smitten with her and did all of his exercises without a fuss. At home we followed the exercises and massages and we are now one appointment away from being discharged. Owen was a very agreeable little patient as he worked out his neck stiffness.
This month was also our first encounter with a little sickness. One day I took the boys to an indoor play place and then we all got sick. Henry and I battled the oh-so-lovely pinkeye and Owen was working through some gut issues and having blow-out diaper after blow-out diaper. My mom and dad even came running over one afternoon when I got down to my last diaper and Henry was napping upstairs barring any run out for more. This sickness coincided with Owen deciding he hated his carseat, like his brother, and cried any time we clicked him into the Rav4. By the end of this week, I was exhausted and turned the boys over to David. All I could think about at the end of the day was Game of Thrones and the line, “My Watch Has Ended.”
Now I don’t want you to think this month was all hard times because it most definitely was NOT. This month was actually FULL of great moments and amazing memories. It was a busy one too as I finally felt fully confident taking out the two boys every day and sometimes twice a day to soak up the beautiful Boston weather. At the beginning of the month Owen was christened. It happened on Father’s Day which meant that we had two wonderful celebrations in one. My brother and his family flew in from California, David’s mom and step-dad drove up from Maryland, and my bestie flew in from Wisconsin. On the day of his christening our friend took photos of our whole gaggle of people in a nearby park. And now we have some wonderful full family shots to remind us of this moment and this time. We toured around Boston and Henry took his first swan boat ride while Owen drank some milk in the shade of a willow tree. Visits to local lakes, library readings, farmers’ markets and playgrounds filled our days and we celebrated Henry’s second birthday with a big cookout. Owen even stayed up late one night to attend a summer concert in the park. He was so chill wrapped in his blanket listening to Rock and Roll music that I think he might turn out to be an audiophile.
Goodbye, reflux. We are D O N E with you! This meant more sleep for everyone and less laundry for momma. With this new development we were able to move O into his own room and he settled nicely into sleeping in his crib. The hardest part of this transition was the empty bassinet next to my bed. I love having babies and want to fill my house with them, but Owen will be our last baby and that empty bassinet was hard to sleep next to and hard to come to terms with for me. If I could, I would have at least one more, but I know why Owen is our last baby and I know that this is the right choice for our family but I know that that bassinet had to get out of the house so that I could look forward to life with my two little boys and not sit saddened by the end of the baby making chapter. Thankfully a good friend is having a baby in December and it feels good to know that while no more of my babies will be in that little bedside crib, more babies will be rocked in it. Once Owen moved into his own room, he no longer had to listen to the pups or his daddy snoring and his sleep became more consolidated. There was even a week (yes, a whole week where he went to bed at 6:30PM woke up at 2AM and then woke up at 5:30AM for the day!), where he technically slept through the night. Right now our sleep looks like: bedtime at 6:30PM, feeding at midnight, feeding at 2 or 3AM, up for the day at 5:00AM, nap at 6:30AM, nap at 9:30AM, nap at noon, nap at 2PM, then bed at 6:30PM. His naps are usually around 1.5-2hours in length. And he eats like a beast the second he wakes up. For a little sumo baby who has plenty of reserves, he wakes up as though he has been starved half a year!
Owen is weighing in at XXX and is comfortably wearing 6 month clothes and loves being carried around in his Ergobaby to parks, the grocery store, and on any other adventure we cook up for him. I am excited for when he can turn around and face out because he loves to look at the trees and his perspective will be so much nicer then. Maybe next month.
Two years ago, a tiny (well not really) little naked boy lay on my chest and I met my son. He was so sweet, soft, fresh, and cried loudly for quite a number of those first minutes. I knew him and didn’t know him at all in that moment, but I loved him instantly and held him tightly while the room buzzed around us. Henry made me a mom, he made David a dad, and he made us a family. We left the hospital a few days later excited by and deeply frightened of the new level of responsibility that commenced. While the first days and weeks and months were a blur of diapers, nursing sessions, and naps, they were beautiful and I love looking back on those memories. I wish so often to go back to those moments to cuddle him longer and smell his newness again.
Henry is now 731 days old (2016 is a leap year!) and each one of those days was filled with laughs, adventures, tears, and playfulness. Each day I am reminded to let things go, put down the to-do list, and to just live in the moment, to get down on the ground and dig holes with my bare hands, and to just see the world a little more lightheartedly. When I caught myself saying “don’t go into the stream with your shoes on,” I had to pause and think, does it really matter if his sneakers are wet? And let him charge into the water to play and let his toes wrinkle. The days may be long at times but the years are short and savoring Henry’s childhood is my joy. This past year has brought about tremendous growth and development in Henry’s personality! His independence is growing by leaps and bounds. He wants to dress himself, feed himself, and climb in and out and over everything. He beams with pride when he accomplishes something like finishing a puzzle and claps with glee when we tell him how proud we are of him. Yes, he has tantrums and yes there are a lot of “no’s” but these do not take away from his sweetness. They are glimpses into the young boy he is growing into and I love the many sides of him.
Talking non-stop everyday and trying to copy songs on the radio fills our car. He loves to sing along to Adele, One Call Away by Charlie Puth, and Lost Boy by Ruth B. He delights in making us laugh and tries so hard to be a little clown. He is an observer of social settings and waits to let his hair down. But, once he does, he gives of himself openly and fully. It is a trait I hope he continues to nourish. He loves his little brother and constantly asks “What Owen doing?” and rushes in to kiss him or caress his head (we are still working on sharing toys with him, haha). Before bed he sings the ABC song while snuggling his Maggie Dog and rolling back and forth under his blue crochet blanket. Trucks are probably his favorite toys. Garbage trucks, cement mixers, bulldozers, and pick-up trucks entertain him for hours. He grabs his teddy bear and dances around the house when it is family dance party time. When he spies a puzzle, he plops down and gets to work. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and Henry loves to eat almost anything except carbs. While he is not a fan of macaroni and cheese or pizza, he loves his broccoli, chicken, berries, avocado, steak, yogurt, fruit leather, and eggs. When he feeds me cheerios, my heart melts as we sit side by side on the couch. When I shout, “Emergency Henry a blow out,” he drops his toys and runs to grab me a diaper for Owen. He is super cautious. Little hills and slides at the playground require some handholding before he will go it alone, and he is a stroller kid preferring to lounge with his sippy cup while being pushed around. A little chef in the making, Henry sits with me in the kitchen during dinner prep and runs away stealing a pot to “cook” up a storm in his playroom. Henry wants so badly to communicate in full and complete sentences and if a word escapes him he makes up a gibberish filler and smiles ear to ear. After naptime, he needs a snack and cuddle because he is a bit of a crank but who could say no to all of his hugs? He calls himself peanut and Owen nugget and gathers books by the armful. He could read all day long and has a bin of books for the car that he gobbles right up.
Everyone says “Oooo the terrible twos” when I say Henry’s milestone birthday is upon us, but I am not nervous for this year. I cannot wait for it! I cannot wait to watch him play more and more with David and to take little adventures with his daddy. I cannot wait for him to play with his brother and to protect him and teach him. I cannot wait to see what he finds fascinating, what he wants to do, and who he continues to become. I hope he continues to build friendships, connects with others, remains curious, playful, independent, empathetic, excited, inquisitive, and seeks love, knowledge, and experiences with others around him. I want all the good things in life for him but also know that as he continues to grow he will need to learn how to confront, cope, and rebound from the things that happen in life that aren’t so great. But being this little kiddo’s mommy is the best role in life and I am so lucky and blessed to have it. He makes David and me want to be better, stronger, and healthier so we don’t miss a beat with him. Gosh, we love him!! He is full of mischief and his side smile proves it. It is going to be quite a year this year two, terrible or not, here we come!