Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things: Miles - 32 months

Our first entry of Kids Say The Darndest Things (KSTDT)...and it went exactly as I anticipated.

My little wall flower got camera shy, and I knew it was going to be pulling teeth to get him to talk when he said "kitchen" to my first question: "How old are you?"

Pronunciation goes out the window, and he assumes that coy little boy face. Timid, nervous, not really knowing what he is saying because all he can concentrate on is the white camera shoved in his face.

But at 2, his shyness is sooo cute. And I hold on to hope that he'll grow to adopt the courage to do things like complete the obstacle course in elementary school PE (alligator pit and all--Westy-b folks, remember the "stick of butter" pad we had to swing over with a rope in Ms. O'Shaughnessy's gym class?), and ask his crush to dance at a middle school town hall dance. (Although, I may have to hold his hand all night if that girl denies him in a blaze of attitude, and rushes to the bathroom with a gaggle of girlfriends to balk over little Miles Linus having the nerve to embarrass her in public and blemish her chances of becoming the first female president. I know this, because at times, I may have been that girl. And his name may have been Anthony Small.)

video

And yes. I'll wet down his cowlick on dance nights. Again, at two it's called "personality." At 12, it's called "asking for a shove into the lockers."

I hope to do this again at his 3rd birthday in a few months. Make an honest woman out of me if I forget, okay friends?

(In case you just tuned in to my programming, I'm attempting to tape my children answering a standard list of questions throughout the first years of their life. Totally swiped from another Mama. Genesis explained in previous post - R-rated Oatmeal.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

R-rated oatmeal

You know it is going to be a long day when you wake up with "sad clown eyes." That's how Eric and I affectionately refer to smudged mascara on my face.

First, it's nothing but a small miracle I apply the stuff each day. And let me say I am in love with my Tarte mascara, but just the mention that a copy of Steel Magnolias within a 5 mile radius, and it starts weeping onto my cheeks. It is usually spread down my cheeks as a result of me rubbing my eyes at night.

What-do you have conjunctivitis or something? No, unless this is the first post you've ever read on my blog, you know exactly why I rub my eyes a lot. Their names are Miles and Felix, and even though (praise jeebus) they are both sleeping through the night, I have 2 years of sleep to catch up on. And you know it's a 1 to 3 ratio. 1 night of sleeplessness requires 3 full nights of sleep to make up for it--no, I really do think there is some empirical evidence on that.

I usually remove the sad clown eyes at night...but I was working until 10:59pm last night. (Well, and the last hour simultaneously chatting with my other preemie mama SM.) Eric sleepily bid adieu more than an hour earlier, so I crept into the room late night and had the internal debate:

"You know, you really only have energy to do one personal care activity right now. Sad clown, or teeth brushing?"

Easy choice. Especially given my track record from last week. I even grabbed the foaming SLS Tom's because I knew the foam would make me feel cleaner, and someone has to make a dent in the $36 worth of toothpaste we have stock piled in our closet.

But that meant I woke up as an even sadder clown (with clean teeth). Eric, at breakfast, "You have major sad clown action this morning."

That's code for--what a week. You better wipe that off and reapply before you rush out the door to make it to PT by 8am. If not, you know they will make Felix go for a few extra weeks if they think you don't wash off your make-up every night. Smudged mascara clearly screams "questionable home environment!", and they'll pretend his tort neck isn't quite perfect so they can monitor him--rather YOU--regularly, and they'll make notes in pen in his chart that you cannot see except for the words "worried" "mom" "unstable."And you know it's serious when they use pen...

Now THAT'S some exaggeration. But I have to concoct a story like that so I get motivated to clean it off when I am just so plum tired. I already knew I was going to have to use my lunch break to take a shower because I decided to bounce with Felix when he got up for a good 15 minutes (it WAS a ripe 5:53am) instead of jumping in the shower. Looking back, I feel like the hot shower would have been a better option than the quad exercise. But Eric was comatose and it takes him a good 20 minutes to rouse, and Felix either needs to be rocked, entertained, or changed upon waking. (Of note, I think he wakes up early from pooping--anyone know how to stop him from doing that? Beggars cannot be choosers, but 6:20 would be so much better than any time beginning with 5.) At least I have great legs...I just need the shower to get them shaved.

Okay, and HOW does a profane breakfast treat come into play, Ali?

Stay with me. This is what happens to my brain by Fridays some weeks. I already wrote my friend a thesis on sippy cups this morning. 

When I am in sad clown mode, I tend to be at such a point of exhaustion, that I get creative, verbose, inquisitive, stupid...or all of the above.

Kids say the funniest things, as you read from my past post. And the latest and greatest is that Miles uses profanity in his attempt to talk about breakfast. He has a packet of TJ's oatmeal every morning with dried fruit sprinkled throughout. Not only is he still just casually dating prepositions, but he is certainly not even close to a monogamous relationship with accurate pronunciations. (But we'll take it!) Banana is "bee-mahna", yellow is "wellow", and oatmeal is "a-hole."

"What do you want for breakfast?"

"A-hole."

"Make sure your oatmeal is not too hot before taking a bite."

"Daddy, my a-hole not hot! It cool down!"

"Miles, take medium sized ones [bites] or tiny ones. No big ones."

"I eat big one with my a-hole." 

Nothing like that kind of humor at 6:30am. Every.single.morning. (If I haven't lost you know, this could push you over the edge!). Luckily, we are too tired to laugh, so we aren't reinforcing him by making him think he is making a "funny." The kid can say "oat" and he can say "meal," but when he combines them, it turns ugly.

As I was in the prime of my sad clown inquisitive phase, and hearing Miles unable to really grasp accurate pronunciations, I wondered out loud to Eric:

"Do you think if a Chinese family adopted Miles at this age that he could learn Chinese easily? Do you think he would have problems with pronunciations in their language? Would he remember English?"

And at this, Miles screamed "CHI-NAAAA!" Which I already knew he wanted me to paraphrase the entire Knuffle Bunny Free book over his swear word breakfast. (But I opted for Knuffle Bunny Too because the story is a little shorter, and recently we've needed to work on the "sharing" lesson prominently featured in that edition.)

Eric gave me some scientific answer that was too early for me to process, but I do remember him saying something about brain elasticity. I just thought about how I used to think Miles spoke Mandarin, and maybe it would give him a leg up. 

I entered into the sad clown creative side and thought, "I totally need to regularly video tape Miles answering a standard list of questions to see how his language and his voice changes over time."

Well, the truth is, it wasn't so much creativity as it was hijacking another friend and mommy blogger's idea and updating it with technology. TG recently posted a list of questions she asked her daughter, and her answers. And she said she would ask her again in a little bit to see how her answers changed. Clever! I've already forced my toddler into saying things that I think are cute, but now I can pretend that there is a reason beyond my own entertainment--documenting growth and maturity! And with it on video, I have record of it forever. (I still love hearing a tape of me at about Miles's age when I was screaming "HEART HEART HEART" and my brother said the pledge. When my mom got to "one nation, under God..." he spoke up and said, "No, Jesus!" in a little lisp. We didn't have Flip cameras in those days, but the library of audio tapes we recorded are priceless.)

I hope tonight I can create our first entry. I have a feeling his answers will be "ummm..." or "Judy." (That's his imaginary friend...another story, another post).

So, here's my list so far. I cannot get too long because he'll lose interest, and inevitably say "I SEE?" when I start filming:

What's your full name?
And then I'll probably ask some more family names (brother, mom, dad, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc)
What is your favorite color?
What do you want to do for work when you get old? (not sure he knows what a job is)
What's your favorite book?
Who is your favorite friend?
What is your favorite animal?
What is your favorite food?
Where do you go to school?

I may have to ask him what he eats for breakfast...of course, if I want to put it on the blog, I will thoughtfully reconsider.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

The night Felix decides to sleep 11 hours straight for the first time, Miles gets up twice.

I spent 1 hour jammed into the corner of a toddler bed, holding a 2 1/2 year old's hand (by request), and another hour curled up on a chair in his room.

And earlier in the night I fell asleep on the couch and completely skipped out on brushing my teeth, so adding to my discomfort in Miles's room was that I couldn't stand the taste of my own mouth. I kept moving my tongue around the "sock teeth" hoping that they would magically clean themselves so I could stand a fighting chance of getting some sleep. But I was trapped...holding a toddler's hand with my head plastered against a sheep headboard with death breath.

And to boot, we realized that the $36 we spent on a massive shipment a bunch of tubes of
Tom's of Maine, Cool Peppermint, Wicked Fresh toothpaste from Amazon DOES contain SLS (sodium laureth sulfate), unlike the Tom's Natural Clean and Gentle we had previously been using. (I knew the foaming paste was too good to be true.) Generally, this is a no biggie, but we are trying to keep this chemical out of our house completely, especially in the toothpaste realm due to Eric's sensitive mouth and history.

And Eric informed me this morning that he wants to move up the ultrasound scheduled on February 5th to explore the fetus in fetu in his "leg pit" (that's my anatomical description) we diagnosed him with because it was getting bigger and starting to hurt. Okay, so we know it is not a fetus in fetu, but last year when we joked about his little "c" being "cancerous," it turned out not so funny. So, we thought joking that this lump was a developmental abnormality in which a mass of tissue resembling a fetus forms inside the body, was a better bet. (I've already double-dog dared him to say to the ultrasound tech, "just tell me it isn't a fetus in fetu, please!") I wouldn't be surprised if we could get a series on Discovery Health out of it and fill our children's college funds.

Humor can be both a wonderful and misappropriated tool for dealing with anxiety. Sometimes, the alternative just isn't pretty. From Thanksgiving to Christmas in my head and heart wasn't pretty. Note to self: I am NOT wonderwoman...and I CANNOT pretend that I don't need to process life's obstacles.

But in the spirit of being positive, Felix started saying "Hi!" when he walks into a room. He can now add that to his limited repertoire of words: along with "MaMa" "DaDa" and having every animal make the noise "Woof!" And he is taking off with his walking...and started signing "please" this weekend. So far, we only have "more" and "all done" perfected, but I'm happy that "please" made it into his hand vocabulary so early.

And the weaning from nursing and reducing my pumping to hand pumping has gone swimmingly! No clogged ducts to report. And Felix may cry before naps and bedtime, but it is pretty short lived.

And I decided to stage a comeback with my car singing and pulled out old mix CDs from 02-04. I know that you are thinking "a CD? What is that? Should I find some and get a spot on Antiques Roadshow?" Too bad my car won't play cassette tapes. Oh, I just went there. And it's a toss up between me and my sister-in-law Tracey, who made more mix tapes in middle and high school. I have fond memories of sitting an entire weekend in my house with my fingers primed on the "play" and "record" buttons of my boom box, waiting anxiously for "More Than Words" to start playing so I could get it on tape...

My mix CDs are pretty bangin', and even though I felt like I was cheating on a boyfriend by putting it a gem from 2003 in my car this morning instead of listening to NPR's Morning Edition as I've done every AM for years, I couldn't be happier finding the latent "thug" in me while I rocked out to Tupac's "That's Just the Way it Is." (Funny side note, one of the lyrics is: We aint ready to see a black president). And no matter how morally depraved John Mayer has proven himself to be in the past few years, his "3x5" just makes me feel good.

And last night Eric and I laughed so hard at bath time, I think he almost birthed his fetus in fetu. I totally lost half of the 3 blog readers I have when I recounted Miles's parroting the abortion conversation, so I won't lose the other 3 of you letting you know what Miles said, but e-mail me if you want the full details. I figure, if you have my e-mail, we are close enough that I can tell you the whole story and you won't unfriend me on facebook. :)

And we finally purged a whole lot of "stuff" we had either through a Craigslist sell, or a donation to Goodwill. We already are not "stuff" people, but combing through our attic and eliminating items that serve no purpose but to take up space, felt great. And Miles even got in on it as he carried a mug into the donation center. We tried to explain to him what donating meant. I may have taken it too far by saying, "and some people don't have clothes and beds, so we are giving them the clothes you grew out of, and other people may give them their beds so they don't have to sleep on the floor." Miles's response was "people sleep on the floor?"

Maybe that is why he got up last night...maybe he's afraid of being naked and sleeping on the floor.

And let's not forget: Felix slept from a little before 7:30pm until almost 7am.

It may not happen again for another year, but for this Monday, let's just marinate in life's possibilities...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

WWYBD?

What--you haven't seen the WWJD companion bracelet: WWYBD?

Of course not. Because I clearly made it up, and unfortunately, Jesus cannot help with this one...

What Would Your Breasts Do?

(Did you really just go there right after mentioning Jesus's name? Yup.)

Here's your innappropriate pun for the day: Felix doesn't suck. He bites.

I've mentioned it before, but Felix is a "sink your teeth in and grit your fangs around until your teeth touch and your Mama bleeds" biter. And it's not out of anger. I'm pretty convinced he thinks outside of feeling good on his gums, it's funny. Funny until Mom winces, screams, and rips you off...along with a chunk of tender flesh.

(You are welcome for the graphic visual.)

With the erruption of teeth #7 and #8 FINALLY underway, I was hoping that the biting would subside. Shoulders, legs, Miles's back, my chin...his mouth does not discriminate, and hasn't slowed down. (He's dubbed the "people eater" at childcare!) It is like this visceral need he has when he is excited. The bite is always preceeded by a smile, so it is hard to get angry at him, but it hurts. And telling him in a stern voice as I put my finger over his mouth "NO BITING" has done nothing but incite laughter. So now I do the gentle cheek squeeze (you know, making him the "chubby bubby face") and say "NO BITING." It hasn't helped, either. (Help?)

And I don't have a lot of tissue to be donating to his mouth; child #2 is already responsible for downgrading the mammary jungle gym to the size equivalent of 2 baby swings and a toddler slide (read: TINY). So, last night I stopped nursing at Felix's one (and mainly only) night waking.

Instead, I do what I call the "booty truffle shuffle": hold him in this horizontal fetal position where he sticks his bum out, and I cradle his neck, totally excacerbating his "tort neck." I'm pretty confident the position is what he was in during his 35 week vacation in my uterus as he has always managed to contort into the position from birth. It's just a little more awkward now that he is 1. And then I bounce and hum. I usually count to 111, and then do it again if he hasn't settled. And my thighs BURN. It's a ritual that I'm not thrilled with (collapsing onto the spare bed, popping him onto the boob, and falling asleep for 10 minutes while he nursed was FAR easier--until he realized he could bite in the middle of the night, too.)
And now I am grappling with what to do at bedtime and upon waking as any time he's offered, he will bite.
Peeps, it *hurts.* And I think I did some psychological damage again 2 nights ago when I yelped as he drew blood. He can't help it. Apparently we have a recessive vampire gene in my blood line.

But I think we're coming to the end. If you had told me I would pump longer than breastfeed, I would slap you in the face.

But my body cannot handle the biting anymore.

Miles lived to nurse...
Felix nursed to live...

And now that he thinks he is 1 going on 3, he's pretty much told me he's done. I knew we would probably never make it to 18 months like with Miles because Felix didn't do hours of comfort sucking. He was efficient. Pop on, pop off, get on with life. Too many people to see, girls to court, and other soft surfaces to bite.

And it was like once he hit 1 year, he read some sort of toddler manual that was like, "okay, today you take your first steps. Stop nursing like a baby, and start saying 'Mama' and blow kisses."

He doesn't really like bottles, either, never has. He is a "I want what HE has" kind of kid (ie, Miles's Tilty cups), and has been on his own Tilty cup for months. It makes the drama of "how to wean from breast and bottle" a whole lot easier...

...but will I go into mourning. A little over 1 year is a long time to breastfeed--part of me wishes it was longer. But I had to have an intervention between my mind, heart and nipples, and the truth is, pushing it and finding solutions to get him back nursing withough biting would purely be an attempt to satisfy my needs. His are pretty much already met.

Outside of December 2009 (I stopped nursing Miles on Thanksgiving 2009 after it sent me into the hospital with preterm contractions), I have been nursing since May 2008 when Miles was born. Folks, that's a long time! And even though my nursing relationship with Felix and Miles have been really different, they have both been so satisfying.

If we don't have any more children, the idea of never nursing again kind of makes me sad. Really sad.

(Anyone need a wet nurse? Just kidding!)

So, that's what I am contemplating and starting to grieve. At least Felix is making it easy and not really complaining.

And I still have a freezer full of milk that I can give him to provide the antibody benefits. And I've decided to pump one time a day still to give him a little extra Mother's Milk to get through cold and flu season. But I think I'm going to ditch the equipment, and go with mother nature's tools--the hand. I'm a hand expressing extraordinaire. Fewer parts to clean.

So I guess it really doesn't matter WWYBD, because mine have already made the decision: to remain intact. I don't blame them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Say what??

One week on lock down in Atlanta's icy tundra has made my boys go a little batty. Felix is just generally a bull in a china shop, and tornadoes through the house, scaling everything he can get his paws on. And biting. Hard.

Miles and Eric have started talking crazy.

Last night Eric and I rented The Social Network from RedBox for our date night, and then at 4am in the morning, after I slunk back into bed from Felix's late night snack, Eric said:

"This might be a dream, but I may have just deposited a billion dollar check."

Sweet!

And many of my facebook friends already saw this one, but Miles's gem from the day:

Mom while changing Miles's poopy diaper a minute ago (read: potty training is going nowhere fast in this house): "Miles, what happens to food when you eat it?" 

Miles: "Food goes in your mouth, go down your throat, into your tummy, and come out as poop!! Don't eat poop. If you eat poop, you go to doctor...gorillas eat poop."

And then when he woke up from his nap and I told him Dad was running, he told me that he saw animals on his run. When asking him what animals he saw, he said "camels, reindeer, and a gorilla."

Luckily, with that billion dollars, we can outfit the Atlanta roads with as many camels, reindeer, and gorillas as Miles's heart desires.


Please, let the ice melt. Fast.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5K Birthday

From 1/11/11: birthday times 2
As Eric puts it, I'm a 5K times ten. (He just corrected me, and said I'm π x 10^1--that's for Studs).

And Eric is the big THREE ZERO!

The best part of sharing a birthday, double the love. The worst part? Who does the dishes? I tried to ask Miles. But he just asked for cookies and presents himself. Felix wanted to operate the dishwasher, but he can't quite reach the sink to do the manual labor. 

We celebrated THE birthday of all birthdays: 1/11/11. And it was spent in our pajamas. Snow day #2 here in Atlanta! Unfortunately, I'm still working full days remotely, but there's nothing like two kids pulling on your legs when you are trying to type up a report.

(You'll notice the little creature at my legs as we tried to take our picture with our camera's timer.  Why we waited until over an hour into both kids naps is beyond me. Right as Eric set up the tripod, Felix woke up...and wasn't happy as you'll see in photo #2.)
From 1/11/11: birthday times 2
From 1/11/11: birthday times 2
Please, you think you could get away without a goofy photo? I now have to trump Eric's "half tongue" with my clam shell maneuver.
From 1/11/11: birthday times 2

We've received SO many well wishes, but I have to say, I captured the best one on film tonight. (Felix needs to work on distinguishing ASL "All done" and his wave)
video

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First steps

I dare you not to smile.

(Miles felt left out, so we now have to practice walk with him, too).

So glad Mahna was able to catch Felix from his first steps!
video

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dear Felix...

Dear Felix (aka “Bebix” or Miles’s chosen moniker: “Feces”),


I always struggle feeling saddled with the blog imperative to write out milestone posts (“today you are 3 months old, and here is litany of your accomplishments!”), or compose a virtual birthday letter to a child who cannot speak, let alone read.

Although, I wouldn’t put it past you to operate our dishwasher…while we are pretty convinced Miles will assume a profession as one of the Village People (that is, if the token Indian could just turn into a hair dresser), I wouldn’t put it past you to go into appliance repair and moonlight as a clandestine minor league baseball player, not admitting to your MLB-phobic mother how you secure your extra pocket cash.

But here I am…doing the same thing I did for Miles when he turned 1. Maybe it’s because I feel guilty we aren’t throwing you a huge 1st birthday party. Maybe it’s because we only purchased you 1 gift—a toy fire truck that there isn’t a question in my mind Miles will commandeer the second it is opened, even while he readily admits that it is “Feces fire truck” when asked. (He’s already taken it out of the pantry and tried to play with it in the packaging.)

It’s not that I don’t want to put in the effort; it’s that I fear this will turn into some claptrap document that in no way intimates how much love I have for you, or that I can honestly sum up an entire year’s worth of living. Thankfully, I have a whole year’s worth of posts for you to reflect back on--it’s just a matter of me turning this into a real live document/book for you some day.

Let’s get real. You’re first year of your life was...awesome. And I use that word not in the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure way (by the time you read this, that movie will be analyzed in your college “’80s movie classics” seminar), but in the “the universe is awesome” kind of way. Overwhelming. Miraculous. I look back at the events and am even a little slack jawed that we got to where we are without too many casualties.

And way to set the tone by flying out of the birth canal in 10 minutes. No really. It was like God’s grand plan to make my pregnancies worth it—limited labor and drug-free, fast deliveries. Granted, you did some damage to the terrain on the way out and had a busted eye to prove it, but thank you sweet baby “Bebix” for your birthing moxie. (Seriously, both my boys made it such that I never had the opportunity stew over epidurals, even though as you were both on the way out, I think I demanded a heroin injection right after I screamed something about not wanting to poop during delivery, and if the head doesn’t come out completely, we are pushing it back in and I’ll scalpel my own abdomen.)

What’s both fun and unnerving about having more than one child is that you quickly realize that you are not the expert you knighted yourself as after your first baby crested the 2 year mark. Heck, there are times I feel feckless, scared, and contemplate, “did I really do this before?” While everyone says “don’t compare your children,” the reality is that you do pit one against the other, merely as a point of comparison…and soon I realized so much of your life has been “Miles never [gave love bites that left bruises] [crawled that early] [obsessed about toilet seats and dishwashers] [threw himself against any soft surface and laughed] [intentionally scaled any collapsible item in the house] [nursed a wet wash cloth as vigorously as his mother].” Translation: you are such a dynamic and individual child with your own set of preferences, skills, and very distinct personality traits that makes this parenting thing even more fun…and at times, I won’t lie, nauseatingly trying. Case in point: changing a diaper. While the equipment is very familiar having another boy, you are THE HARDEST BABY to change. I don’t know where you get your flexibility or MacGyver troubleshooting skills to release you from any diaper hold I put on you, but so often diaper changes are peppered with 3 minute intermissions of me chasing around and wrestling a crawling, screeching, naked bottom around the house. (Note: that’s also a self admission that I do not change Felix on a changing table/bureau any longer. I decided early on that his naked twist and retreat maneuver is far easier to battle when he’s on the floor or a bed rather than a piece of furniture from which he can swan dive off of.)

I will never forget the gorgeous “tan” you had early in life, which landed us at Children’s Hospital a grand total of 4 times in 1 month to get your heel prick bilirubin test. And there was the urging of the on-call pediatricians to give you formula, but I trusted my gut (and kellymom.com) and kept breastfeeding. It was a defining “Mommy moment” when you just know what you are doing is okay-when your gut trumps $100,000 in medical school debt and a pediatric board certification.

And what about that bout of colic? Let’s skip that song, shall we?

And then the moment that changed the trajectory of our year, and as each month has passed, spread a thick layer of anxiety on my soul to where the end of 2010 had me stripped of my strength and confidence as a good friend, wife, and mother…my prayer for you is that you will never remember your Dad’s battle with cancer. It wasn’t the longest or most trying of all cancer battles (and please God let it be over), but it all exploded right when you were born. Instead of spending my maternity leave focused on getting acquainted with you, my energy shifted almost completely to getting Dad help. I don’t regret it because it is what needed to be done--I would do anything for your Dad--but I carry with me sadness that I cannot really emotionally access the first few weeks/months of your life. And in truth, I’m angry. And I am only now starting the process of grieving the bonding time we missed—grieving your being cared by an emotionally distracted and fractured mother who is only now putting in motion the work necessary to deal with all that our family endured. What’s left to say but I’m sorry. Luckily, we had a community of loving arms in family and friends who made sure you were cared for when I wasn’t there--the same legions of people who rallied around us during my complicated pregnancy with you!

But let’s settle the score in one area during those first few months: I certainly was there each night when you got up 11 zillion times. Yes, I counted. 11 zillion. And the one promise I made to myself was that as distracted as I was with Dad’s battle, I would not give up on breastfeeding or pumping—as long as you didn’t give up on me. I can now add pumping in the garage at Emory while Eric was getting his neck and tongue sliced and spliced as one of my “fun” places to pump—right up there with the back of my father-in-law’s minivan during a house hunting trip while Miles was still in the NICU. As aggravating as pumping in a poorly lit, dirty parking garage was, it allowed me to feel like I was still sacrificing for you and caring for you the best way I could. And here we are—at one year, still exclusively breast milk fed and pumping. (Although, we did just test you with a new cocktail of breast milk and organic whole milk, and you took it like a champ!)

In fairness, the breastfeeding wasn’t always easy: repeated clogged ducts, and there was that 2 day strike you gave me after you bit so hard that I suffocated you with my breast and scared you from nursing (and hopefully from underage hanky panky). Oh, the guilt. I thought I scarred you with my breast—how do you explain that when you get older?

Mommy guilt is pervasive…and at your 4 month appointment, when I felt like things were going swimmingly (well, beside that sleep thing…11 zillion, remember?) I walked out of the office with a baby who had a double ear infection, diagnosis for torticollis and a referral to physical therapy for a year. Ouch. I cried the whole way bringing you back to childcare. I had never dealt with an ear infection! Weren’t you supposed to be pulling on your ears or screaming bloody murder all day? I had no idea! And a double one to boot. If anything, it is a testament to your lovable personality more than it is to my negligence or idiocy. At least that’s how I rationalize it. You were the happiest ear infected baby during the day. And at night, sleeping always stunk, so I had no idea it could be a result of an ear infection. And the torticollis, that is just a testament to my mini uterus that likes to take, say, Miles’s foot and your head, and just jam them against the placenta or something, long enough to warrant a year’s worth of PT. At least you can rock the Kinesio tape; don’t baseball players use that?

And you gave me my foray into antibiotic administration to the young. We tried them all with zero success—except for the penicillin derivative that gave you an attractive facial rash. We finally made the decision to get you some ear tubes. Watching you go under anesthesia was like a scene from Schindler’s List. Okay, I know that sounds like inappropriate histrionics, but it really was heart wrenching. A gas mask, a screaming baby I am being told to hold down. But then when you got wheeled back into the recovery area, you were lying on your back, looking as peaceful as ever. (It was a novelty to see you sleeping on your back because, well, Mommy committed the sin of all sins and put you on your tummy to sleep pretty early on.) While multiple other ear tube babies were breathing off the anesthesia and waking up in hysterics, you just woke up 10 minutes later while getting your blood pressure taken, looked at me, and smiled. The nurse told us to get a lottery ticket on the way out as we were one of the few lucky ones with a baby who wakes up in a state of delight. You did puke Pedialyte on Dad in the elevator on the way home, though.

Felix, you are an utter joy. You have a kinetic personality that drives the ladies crazy. You already idolize your brother, but even sweeter, he is starting to idolize you. It’s not true that when your subsequent children pass milestones it doesn’t resonate as brightly as it does with your first child. The day you first crawled plastered a week long smile on my face. The first time you used the sign for “more” had me looking up age restrictions on Harvard applications. Your taking 4 steps into the arms of your Mahna this week had me weeping on the way to work when I played the image back in my head. I love it all…I love each new stage and each new accomplishment.

Your eyes are endless pools of wonderment and possibility—every picture we have of you, I find myself drawn to your eyes. There are so many nights I get lost in them when you nurse (and you perform rhinoplasty on me, or do a thorough dental cleaning). And there is something special about seeing myself in your face like I have never felt before. It’s hard to explain, but I sometimes feel like I am getting to know myself as a baby as I look at you often and say, “you look just like me as a baby.” You are my first baby with rolls I had to clean, and also the first to leave visible sucking and bite marks on my body when you get really happy and excited (or when you are teething). The way your face lights up when you see me makes every minute of anxiety and stress in life worth it. I have in my head this delightful sound track of all of the interesting babblings you make—not decipherable at this point, but expressive. You have a belly laugh, that combined with your head tilt and a round of applause that you seem to give every ten minutes, douses our house in excitement an enchantment. You have a wonky eyebrow, crinkly right ear, and a mess of crooked teeth that make you even more imperfectly perfect. The best way to describe you is delicious, chewable…divine. (Many mothers will recognize I’m not going cannibal, it’s just how you describe your connection to a “yummy” baby.) As much will power as it takes me to still get out of bed every night anywhere between 2am-4am when you moan out for my "breastaurant," someday I will miss the moment each night I know your mind is undressed and safely back to whatever dream world you came from…your warm cheeks against my chest, hands both tucked between your belly and mine…and I carry you quietly back to your crib, whisper “I love you” in your right crinkly ear, and make another imprint on my heart.

Happy Birthday my love,
Mommy

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010: Pictorial Retrospective

What...A...Year

Full of miracles, heartache, surprise, and lots of resiliency. I've already put into words so much of what has happened through a year's worth of posts, so I thought it would be more fun to take the journey of 2010 through pictures. Most are repeats. Some are graphic. Others just hold a special place in my heart.

Here's hoping 2011 is even more miraculous, with fewer premature babies and no cancer.

January 2nd, 2010 - 35 weeks 3 days pregnant
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective

January 4th, 2010 2:34am
From 2010 retrospective
10 minutes later 2:44am
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Jaundice baby comes home
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
SNOW!!
From 2010 retrospective
Danielle Bryson Photo Shoot
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMug
From 2010 retrospective
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Oh, what is this? It's just oral cancer.
From 2010 retrospective
Wearing the Team Heintz jerseys...just to garner some strength for the battle ahead
From 2010 retrospective
Reasons to fight: some really cute kids.
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Day before surgery spent where else? The track.
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Ugh.
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Recovery
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective


I'M TWO!!
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
The "Run In" with the princess castle on a Daddy play date
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
First Day of School!
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Torticollis
From 2010 retrospective
First Hotel Stay!
From 2010 retrospective
Mommy Daddy wedding date night
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
First train ride
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Potty Time!
From 2010 retrospective



Learning to crawl
From 2010 retrospective
First Girlfriend
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Halloween
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
Thanksgiving
From 2010 retrospective
Christmas (see two posts previous for lots of pictures)
From 2010 retrospective
From 2010 retrospective
And back to the classic Ali and Eric kiss...
From 2010 retrospective

The loves of my life...


From End of October 2010
From End of October 2010
From Christmas 2010
From Christmas 2010
From First Day of School