A at 10 Months

A was 10 months old September 30! I didn’t post then because the boy in question has been battling a fever for two-three days now. He’s sitting beside me happily munching on pears so, thanks, ibuprofen. Hopefully we’re all good again soon!

Stats:

He was 21 pounds at the clinic last week! I did not pay attention to any of the other measurements. #secondchildproblems He has at least eight teeth, four on the top and four on the bottom, and may be growing more but nobody wants to stick their finger in his very bitey mouth to confirm it.

Nicknames:

M calling him ‘boy’ has transferred to Matt calling him ‘boyo.’ Aside from that he’s got some variations of his name happening — Abrummy, A-bums, A-boom.

Temperament:

SO MUCH HAPPIER. My goodness. He can move around fairly freely now, and his stomach has adjusted to solids, so he’s less angry in general. Now he’s a smirking baby instead of a screaming baby. When he gets mad he still can shout at top volume, but instead of that happening all the time, it’s reserved for situations like falling over, not being allowed in the kitchen, or not being picked up immediately after waking up.

Skills:

He started crawling fully with hands and knees (vs. army crawling), then started pulling himself up confidently. Now he cruises more than anything. He will stand holding onto something lightly with one hand, but hasn’t attempted to stand without support yet. He likes to dance, is signing ‘more’ (though it may just mean ‘food’ to him at this point), and says a few consistent words: mama, baba, num num.

Eating:

Still a wide variety of food! There’s not much, if anything, that he doesn’t enjoy. He is starting to have preferences, though — if there are a few things available to him, he has his favourites. He also doesn’t like it if other people are eating something different than what he is eating, and he wants to use a fork or spoon if he sees others doing it. Now that M comes home  from school and has a snack, he also expects an afternoon snack and will get quite mad if it doesn’t appear! Sometimes she shares hers, which is pretty cute to see.

Sleeping:

I long for the day when I get to sleep again! Between teeth and illness, his already poor sleep is even more poor. Twice in the past two-ish weeks, he’s kept me up ’till 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. which has been… not fun. He consistently naps in the morning, but the afternoon nap is cut short by having to grab M from school, and then nighttime is very, very hit and miss. Add in M’s apparent lack of need for sleep, and I find myself wondering what I did in a past life to get kids who don’t sleep! 😉

Clothing:

He’s in some 12-to-18-month clothing and the 6-12s and 9-12s are just about maxed out. I saw the weight limit on one 6-12 piece was 22 lbs. so that makes sense! I just washed a load of his next size up and dude definitely has a lot of plaid shirts for fall. I’m getting him used to socks but he still hates shoes and hats, so things could get interesting when winter arrives.

Loves:

His sister, music, a tug-along snail toy and baby glowworm hand-me-down from M, chasing the cats, major splashing in the tub, opening and closing doors and drawers, visiting new places and seeing new people, scavenging for food everywhere.

Doesn’t Love:

Having to lay back for any reason, especially diaper changes — we are firmly in the wiggle phase here. Having his noise cleaned, getting kicked out of rooms via baby gate, being put into the car seat if he’s tired.

Things to Remember:

Over the Labour Day long weekend we had Matt’s brother, his wife, and their daughter (four days younger than A!) at our house, which was a blast, especially seeing the babies play.

He had his first mini-daycare experience; I took him to a mom’s group where they have childcare for babies over six months old for the hour-long meeting, and I wasn’t sure how he’d do, but he happily played and the caregivers later told me that he was super cheerful, wanted to keep up with all the big kids, and REALLY wanted to eat the snack. Seeing him connect the ‘more’ sign was neat, and it didn’t take that long to teach him!

Mom and Dad:

Trying to slow things down and relax our pace, for everyone. It’s a lot of haste and hurrying with M needing to get to and from school, and extracurriculars, and appointments and plans (you should have seen our September calendar!) so we are aiming to focus on positive interactions, working at our kids’ pace where we can, and not being busy for the sake of busy.

Looking Forward To:

This illness being over, for one. We have family photos coming up this month, which will be nice — we have no formal photos with A outside of my belly! And of course, Halloween. M chose our family theme again and kids in Halloween gear are always adorable, especially babies and their first costumes.


Dear A,

Before my eyes your babyhood is falling away, and the little boy version of you emerges more and more each day. I suppose we don’t really realize when the last baby moment is until it’s gone. I don’t want to keep you as a teeny baby, of course, and I love seeing this almost-toddler personality develop, but even though I’ve been through this before I’m still amazed at how fast it happens.

A few days ago I scrolled through photos from your birthday up until now and marveled at how much you’ve grown; how your entire body used to fit in my arms with room to spare, how your tiny eyes were swallowed up by your chubby baby face. I ached a little bit for those days of just sitting with you for half the day, while you snoozed and ate and snoozed and ate. But these days you make me laugh with your antics, and you astonish with your abilities and the way you keep discovering new things. I like seeing the world through your eyes.

You are a delight, always.

Love,

Mama

Five Years

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. I always find myself reflecting on the traditional gift for anniversaries: five years is the wood anniversary.

Marriage & the Wood Anniversary

Wood is interesting. It’s very strong, relative to its weight — meaning it can bear a lot more than it looks like it can handle. If you take care of it, it will last for ages. It’s durable. It’s renewable. It can be refinished, if it gets messed up. A five-year-old marriage is much the same, I think: it’s still young, with a lot of life left in it, and though it may have a few dings and scratches, it has strength on its side.

What can two people accomplish in five years? A home, a car, two kids, an existence that keeps sprawling outward.

That’s the other thing I find fascinating about trees. They grow up, and out, and down. As their branches stretch and their leaves reach skyward, their roots dig deeper. A strong, healthy tree, rooted safely into a solid foundation, can not only withstand the elements, it can harbour the seeds that grow entire forests.

 

In five years of marriage thus far, I don’t think our roots have ever truly been threatened. Our leaves and our branches have shaken and swayed, and we’ve lost a few (metaphorical) limbs. But if we’re a tree, we’re one that renews and replenishes itself, with the right care and conditions.

Perhaps I’m not sentimental enough — I got my husband an anniversary card featuring a photo of goats, for example — but I see today as another building block. The more of these we stack up, the more our lives take shape. If we do it right, we are the two names that sit at the top of the family tree one day, able to look out at all we put into motion.

We're the names at the top of the family tree one day, looking at all we put into motion. Click To Tweet

And all of this, from choosing to love. From continuing to choose to love, on the good days and the bad days and everything in-between. From bending and not breaking. From swaying with one another in whatever direction needs it most. Five years and five years and five years and onward.

Here’s to onward. <3

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Remembering [Remembrance Day 2012]

The school gymnasium wasn’t large enough to hold our entire population — the student body included kindergarteners all the way up to high school seniors — so those of us in the higher grades sat in bleachers in the cafeteria, overlooking the gym. From my vantage point, the elderly men and women sitting on the stage looked small. Every year they told similar stories of noise, terror and shock, of waiting, of worrying, of injuries physical and emotional, of triumph and freedom. Every year, their numbers dwindled.

For three years now I have stood near the cenotaph in a nearby village and documented the small ceremony of remembrance, honouring twelve soldiers who left their homes to fight for peace and never returned — a small number, maybe, but not in proportion to the population of the day. Every year, they close with God Save the Queen and I realize that I still don’t know the words. I never had to learn them.

I am lucky to have never experienced war. I am lucky, too, to have heard vivid memories of war, recounted by veterans. I am lucky to have known people who did experience war, so that I could hear from them, in their words, what it was, and why it should never happen again.

As I have been doing with many things lately, I wonder — what will this be like for my children? What will they know of war? Will it be an old, strange concept, something that happened long ago in history? There will be no veterans from the World Wars left to sit on the stages of their schools. Will it be less important, because they won’t have the ability to imagine it happening in their own country?

All I can think of is the repatriation of a Canadian soldier I attended. How a massive aircraft managed to be silent, how a huge congregation of people waving Canadian flags managed to be sombre, how it stuck with me that day and still sticks with me today. That is, I think, what I will share with my children, when the time comes. That is my modern-day context for war, for terror, for worry and waiting.

As always, I am so, so thankful to live in this country. I am thankful for peace, and the people who bravely won it for us. I will not forget them, and I will not forget those who continue to make war something that does not happen on my home soil. And I hope, fervently, that the rest of the world will one day be able to remember war through stories, instead of experiencing it firsthand.

Halloween Lessons from Beetlejuice and Lydia

I know, I know, Halloween isn’t until tomorrow. But like many grown-ups, Matt and I celebrated on Saturday. We dressed up in our finest and headed to a costume party at Kat and Bob’s house. It was our first time really celebrating Halloween together, and I learned a few things while we were having fun.

1. Everyone knows who Beetlejuice is.

We decided (I decided) that we should be Beetlejuice and Lydia, dressed up to be married. I thought it’d be really funny what with us being newlyweds. Amazingly, Matt possesses the innate ability to do the Beetlejuice voice, without thinking about it or practicing. Everyone loved him.

2. Nobody knows who Lydia Deetz is.

I, on the other hand, got a lot of I don’t know who you’re supposed to be. Even when I pointed out that Matt was Beetlejuice and I was Lydia. I guess people forget that part of the movie…

3. Don’t trust ASOS.

Part of the problem was that my dress wasn’t right for the costume. I ordered a lacey red dress from ASOS at the beginning of October, fully expecting it to arrive with plenty of time thanks to their estimation of an eight-day shipping time. When it wasn’t in my mailbox by Friday, I asked when I should expect it, and I guess I have to wait until November 2 for it to even be considered late. Thanks, ASOS! Now I have a ridiculous dress that I am never going to wear, coming to me some time after Halloween.

Anyway, I wore my bridesmaid’s dress from my sister’s wedding, namely because it’s red. I actually really like the dress in real life, which leads me to my next lesson.

4. Black spray dye is a terrible idea.

The dress straps? Dyed black. My face? Dyed black. Everything in the bathroom? Dyed black. I need to do some serious scrubbing to get the floor clean. I should have probably just worn the cheap wig I bought, even if it did look awful.

In order to make my hair do what I wanted it to do, I had to tease it, then pin it all up, then hairspray the bejeezus out of it, then spray it black, then hit it with half a can of hairspray yet again. You can imagine how fun it was to take that out after imbibing a few rum and Cokes.

5. Men can do things last-minute and have it turn out wonderfully.

I started planning this costume in August. I ordered my dress early. I bought Matt’s wig and makeup and my gloves online. I bookmarked movie stills for inspiration.

Matt went to the Salvation Army the weekend before Halloween and bought a $3 suit that fits him quite nicely (and it’s a high-quality suit to boot). He looked better than me.

6. People in costume doing every day things — hilarious.

Beetlejuice feeding the cats. Beetlejuice scraping the ice off the windshield. Beetlejuice going into the convenience store and complaining that that Coke costs too much. I feel like Matt should be Beetlejuice all the time.

Bonus Lesson: Cards Against Humanity is even better in a big group.

We got a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity going and it was probably one of the best setups we’ve had for it. I think there were seven or eight people playing, so there were way more funny card combinations than usual. I love that game!

Did anyone else dress up early? Did anyone else win Best Female Costume (aww yeah — I guess my costume wasn’t that bad!)?

Marbles the Cat, Autumn 2012

Marbles is known to be a skittish cat. He immediately velcroed himself to us when we picked him up at the shelter, and displayed no signs of nervousness — until one day, we had house guests, and he tried to jump through a second-floor window. We’ve since discovered that he’s a bit of a scaredy-cat, especially around strangers, and especially outside. For the longest time, if either one of us so much as looked at him while he was out of the house, he’d go flying off into the trees and we wouldn’t see him until the next day.

The cats are on a new schedule for going out. We let them out first thing in the morning, they usually come around for lunch, and then they’re out again until we get home. I know that having semi-outdoor cats increases the risk that they’ll get hit by a car, but they’re smart about staying off the road, and really, they love being outside so much that we’ve decided their quality of life is probably bettered for it.

Anyway, since we started them on this new schedule, Marbles has been hanging around the house a lot more. I’m not sure if it’s because he doesn’t get fed in the morning so he’s hungrier, or because he’s not outside when dusk hits, but he’s been a lot more relaxed about letting one of us pet him every once in awhile, or sitting on the deck without freaking out if we open the door.

I was really surprised, though, when he came running up to me last week while I was sitting in the backyard with my camera. I heard a jingle and figured it was Maggie, but when I turned around, there was Marbles, positively gleeful to see me.

He really would not leave me alone. If I stopped petting him for ten seconds to try to take a picture he’d jump up on my legs and flat-out throw himself onto my face, desperate for attention… until he spotted something behind me and ran away.

Fickle kitty!

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