A is One

A year. A year! How has it been a year? This boy who once fit into the crook of my arm, squishy face folded into his soft and warm body, hands clenched tight and eyes shut against the onslaught of the world… he stands, he claps, he smiles and laughs a laugh that is bigger than his body. It breaks my heart and thrills me all at once.

Stats:

The biggest change: we have one new tooth, not a moral (I don’t think) but one of the upper teeth beside it. It took forever to come through and is just starting to look like an actual tooth now.

Nicknames:

M has taken to calling him Mr. Cuckoo Face. She saw a photo of a baby on my phone and inquired, “Is that Cuckoo Face?” so I think it stuck. Her in utero nickname for him was Dump so I guess Cuckoo Face is better.

Temperament:

He is a happy boy, unless he’s tired. When he’s tired, but interested in what’s going on around him (like in the nursery at playgroup) he tries hard to keep engaged and cheerful but the slightest things make him wail. And lately he has been displaying true hangry behaviour — it’s easy to tell when he is hungry, which he must get from his mama. The one other big stressor for him is having something taken away from him or out of his hands, whether it’s something he shouldn’t have or not. He throws himself to the ground and shrieks, which makes me nervous for future tantrums!

Skills:

His skills have exploded in many ways this month! He stands without holding onto things now, but has to be tricked into it a bit — we clap our hands and he claps back. He has started imitating some noises, faces, and movements, and thinks that sticking out his tongue while saying aaaaaaah is hilarious. He took a few shuffling steps without realizing but has yet to really walk. He says yay, Dada, Mama, Poppa, a rudimentary version of M’s name, his own renditions of water and banana, and said ‘kitty’ one time. I’m sure he’s saying other things that we don’t quite understand yet.

Eating:

He still seems to love most foods, though he recently repeatedly spat out pieces of curried chicken pot pie. He particularly loves fruit of all types, dates, and yogurt. In terms of nursing he is still at it fairly frequently, night and day, and shows no signs of disinterest (which will be fine to manage, because I’m staying home still!). He also has a new affinity for water, but he’s not that interested in cow’s milk.

Sleeping:

Getting a tiny, tiny bit better now that that tooth is through. He’s up two to three times at night, and naps are spotty.

Clothing:

Nothing new! He still hates boots and socks. Most of the time he’s just in a diaper until I have to leave the house because he’s so wiggly to get dressed, and he is still a super messy eater.

Loves:

Pushing things around the house, clapping, happening upon a cat at his level, pulling apart paper, laundry, and wipes, music.

Doesn’t Love:

Getting dressed, getting cleaned, anyone other than me arriving in his room when he’s crying at night, having things taken away from him, having to share with M.

Things to Remember:

A fun pre-birthday visit with his Poppa, meeting Santa for the first time (no tears!), the hilarity of him shoving various objects around the house in circles, the morning he woke up cheerful and played in his crib alone until we got him, for the first time ever.

Mom and Dad:

I am officially self-employed which feels like entering into new territory as a parent! I’m nervous but hopeful that it will work out. And I never did find childcare for A, so I don’t know what the heck I would be trying to pull off right now if I had gone back to my old job. We’ve been having fun with A, and M, and that’s what I’m trying to keep in my sights through the holidays.

Looking Forward To:

More Christmas fun! A loves the tree, and pulling on ribbons on gifts. And of course, all of the big changes that will be coming for him now that he’s a year old and out of babyhood proper — walking, talking, and more of that sweet personality developing.


Dear A,

What a year it has been with you. I can hardly remember what it was like before you — it seems so distant and foreign and strange to consider our three-person family. You have fit in so perfectly that it feels like a different lifetime when you weren’t here. I’m glad you came to be with us. 

You love us as much as we love you, as far as I can tell. You delight in spending time with your sister (even when you two struggle with sharing and getting along, thanks to being two stubborn personalities together!). You love when your dad comes home, and most of the time when I open your door to retrieve you after a nap, you’re beaming at me. 

We think you might be a musician when you grow up. You can’t help but dance and wiggle to any melody or beat you hear, and instruments are one of your favourite things. I always find you perched by your dad’s guitar, strumming the strings and looking around to make sure we heard you.

Whatever you are going to be, I know that you are going to be great at it, if you keep true to your sweet, strong, vibrant self. I’m so happy I get to see it unfold.

Happy first birthday, baby.

Love always,

Mama

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A at 11 Months

A turned 11 months old yesterday!

Stats:

As usual, I’m not sure. He weighed in at 10 kg (22 lbs) when I had to take him to emerg for strep and a double ear infection, and that was earlier this month, so he has to be more than that now!

Nicknames:

Abrummy, mostly. Even M has started with that.

Temperament:

We’ve been battling illness for most of the month — the previously mentioned strep and ear infections, and now a brutal cold. So he’s been grumpy. He’s happy when he’s out and about and doing things with people, but when it’s just him and me, he lets his grouchy baby out. He is also seeming frustrated with things; I think he’s just old enough that he knows exactly what he wants but still can’t quite get at it, especially when it’s something someone is eating, or a closed door.

Skills:

He’s still cruising versus standing without support, and I would be surprised if he jumped that far ahead before his first birthday, but who knows! He started clapping this month, and will wave bye-bye (which looks more like slapping me in the chest, but whatever). He yells “ADDA” for Matt every morning, and we discovered at our AirBnB rental last weekend that he can climb stairs.

Eating:

He loves pickles and oranges. He has the hang of straws now, so he’s been drinking water, and particularly enjoyed a Booster Juice smoothie in Winnipeg. We haven’t really committed to giving him cow’s milk yet. He’s still nursing but he can handle much longer periods of time without breastmilk, which is good because he never really took a bottle.

Sleeping:

Nope. And now his daytime sleep has turned sour, too. I am very tired.

Clothing:

The same things he was wearing last month, with the addition of snowsuits now that there’s a foot of snow on the ground! I just ordered him his first winter boots and he’s going to have to get over his hatred of shoes.

Loves:

Shoes. He knocked over the shoe rack in the AirBnB trying to get at them all! He is still very social and loves new people and places. He likes to get into things — his sister’s room, the snack cabinet, underneath tables and behind chairs. He makes music with all of his instruments, loves to dance, loves YouTube videos of OK Go, and has recently taken to smashing M’s toy kitchen pots and pans together to make his own beat.

Doesn’t Love:

Crawling through snow, though he was pretty happy to sit in it! Diaper changes, getting his constantly booger-y face wiped, having to sleep.

Things to Remember:

We had a fun trip to Winnipeg with the four of us, M’s “very best friend” and her mom, and A had a blast just hanging out at the AirBnB with Matt! He did fantastically in the car seat, too, even when we split up for the ride back and he was solo with Matt. We didn’t have to stop to feed him which was a welcome change.

How happy he is when he hears the FaceTime sound on our phones. He knows he’s going to see someone he likes!

Mom and Dad:

I am super sick too, and struggling with being so tired all of the time, but I’m still enjoying my time with him, of course! The days feel like they fly by and I can’t believe he’s almost a year old. Matt is able to take on more of an active role with him, now that he’s not so reliant on breastmilk, and I think that’s been nice for the two of them.

Looking Forward To:

Halloween tonight! He’s going to be a baby unicorn and M is insisting that he will collect candy, too. We’re making birthday preparations, too, and celebrating his (and M’s) a bit early as a joint party. My dad is visiting soon and it will be good to get more family together. And… maybe… sleep? At some point?


Dear A,

I just put you down for a nap and it was a struggle at first — you flipped and flopped in my arms and couldn’t decide what you wanted. I knew you were tired, but unlike your sister before you, I wield no magical nursing powers to force you to sleep. You can resist it, where she couldn’t. I remembered that last night, your dad sang to you after I fed you and you were out within minutes, so I creaked out a few terrible off-key songs with my germ-ravaged, congested voice, and watched as you blinked slower and slower until your lashes touched your cheeks and your mouth fell open.

That’s love, right there — mama’s horrible songs make you feel safe and relaxed enough to sleep. One day you’ll be telling me not to sing in the car, I’m sure, but for now, it’s exactly what you needed. I want to eat up every single one of these moments. I hope we can always lean on one another for what we need, especially for love.

Always,

Mama

A at Nine Months

Wow this month flew. I blinked, and it’s almost September. The weather is turning, the leaves are falling (although that may have to do with the utter lack of rain through August), and A is babbling with purpose, almost crawling with his hands AND knees, and pulling up on everything!

Stats: 

Hi, bad mama here still doesn’t know. We have a nurse practitioner appointment this month though, so maybe I’ll know what he weighs and measures… next month. 😉

Nicknames: 

Nothing new — A-bum (what he calls himself), Abrummy, A-boom. None of which I would call him in real life outside of home!

Temperament:

He started this month as a pretty grumpy guy, but has cheered up for the most part as we’ve rounded the tail end of August. He’s happiest in the morning still, and when people are actively slathering him with attention! He gets quite offended, for example, if the gate between the living room and kitchen is closed. He wants to be part of everything.

Skills:

Getting closer to actually crawling — he’ll go a few paces on hands and knees now, before dropping to his belly for the army crawl. He’s pulling up on a lot of things but doesn’t quite trust himself to stand up fully, for the most part. He’s got great manual dexterity, is super fast at moving around, and loves to ‘play’ instruments like the bongo drum and xylophone, and using shakers/maracas. He also loves to dance! He’s making lots of noise, and saying more syllables (his favourite is a loudly pronounced “BA!”).

Eating:

Everything. Dude likes to eat. He can put away a shocking amount of food! We’ve been shying away from bread/grain based foods and trying to ply him with fruits and veggies to help with digestion, and at our nurse practitioner’s suggestion we’ve been heavy on pears, apples and prunes lately. He LOVES berries, pears, and prunes!

Sleeping:

Not very well — so nothing new, really. Except naps have gotten worse and he doesn’t go down very easily at night anymore. One day he’ll sleep. Until then, I won’t.

Clothing:

Pushing the limits of the nine month-sized clothing, though he didn’t outgrow them before his age did, this time around. He’s comfortably in 9-12 month clothes and has a good stock of 12-18 month waiting! I actually put him in a Joe Fresh one-year-old sized tank a few days ago and it fit perfectly. He’s got lots of comfy sweatpants and leggings for fall (I still can’t stuff him into jeans successfully) and whole rack of adorable plaid shirts. <3

Loves:

Any kind of attention or social interaction, especially with his sister and his dad! He likes being outside, going for walks, eating, and bath time (unless he’s tired). Still trying to catch those cats. He loves playing with all kinds of toys, listening to music, and making music of his own.

Doesn’t Love:

The car seat if he’s tired, when the food on his tray is NOT the food he wants, diaper changes if he’s expecting literally anything else to happen.

Things to Remember:

We started this month off with some local town festival fun — A was mostly too young to really understand a lot of the events (though it was a great week for M!) but he had fun being towed around in the Thule, and especially the grand finale street dance which we closed out with him stroller-dancing with glee. We also travelled to a wedding this month, where we all got to see family and A didn’t set foot on the ground for a good eight hours because everyone wanted to hold onto him! We hosted my dad and our niece, too, and it’s always nice to have family around to see him as he gets older. That also included a great day at the fair with his Auntie and Uncle!

Mom and Dad:

I’m feeling a bit rejuvenated in a way — I feel less anxious about the next few months, and am enjoying those incoming autumn/back to school vibes that make me want to get stuff done. I think Matt is still feeling slammed for time, but in a general household sense it’s less daunting. I would still like to sleep, though…

Looking Forward To:

What the next few months hold! M is off to school next week so it’ll be just A and I, and he’s not quite old enough for a lot of the structured activities, and it doesn’t make sense to go to them without M (like story time — is a nine month old gonna get anything out of that? I’m not sure.). So, we’ll be finding a new routine again, which sounds refreshing to me!

Dear A,

Summer is quickly fading to fall — that was it, your first summer! It went by quickly and I don’t know if we adventured enough, but I suppose it’s all about quality, not quantity. You’ve splashed in lakes and pools, snacked on all kinds of ice cream and fruit and grass you pulled from the ground, made your voice heard across the province and grown faster than the weeds in our neglected garden.

What will our next season hold? I’m not sure. You’re getting bigger and stronger and I think you’re going to stand up and walk one of these days. One thing I know for sure is that you’re going to go back to being my sole sidekick, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and I’m excited to see what we can get up to. You and your sister are going to miss one another, maybe, but that means a greater emphasis on weekend family fun, which I think we’ll all enjoy.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to see you learn and explore every day — so let’s keep going!

Always,

Mama 

A at Eight Months

Stats:

I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but he’s still (barely) fitting in his infant seat!

Nicknames:

A-bum (that’s what he kind of calls himself), Abrummy, A-boom-boom; M still calls him ‘little guy’ and also ‘boy’ which is a little bizarre.

Temperament:

He’s been a bit more cheerful over the last month — seeing a lot of people and doing a lot of things makes him happy, and he also finally got those pesky teeth out of the way for now. That being said, for the first week after we got home from vacation he was non-stop screaming, and he’s spent several afternoons generally losing his mind, so he’s still all over the place emotionally.

Skills:

So many! He started sitting himself up on vacation, which turned into army crawling fairly quickly. He’s still just dragging himself around at high speed, rather than using his legs to really crawl, but dude is definitely on the move. He’s also pulling up on stuff, and we had to put his crib down to the lowest level because I found him standing in there hanging onto the edge. He’s into everything and anything!

He also started babbling in earnest this month, and seems to respond to/say some words — namely, his own name (“Abum”), mama (“mumma mumma mummaaaaaa”), boobie (“ba ba boo boo ba ba” etc.). He also does this “wub wub wub” thing when he’s excited.

Eating:

Lots! He put away an adult sized portion of crepes recently, loved mashed cauliflower, is super into avocado and bacon and berries. He’s nursing still, a few times a night and a few times during the day.

Sleeping:

Eh. When we went on vacation he slept hard through the night for the first week or so, but we were cosleeping. Then it started to turn into waking up once or twice, and though he easily moved back to the crib when we came home, it’s harder to get him to nap (two or three times a day) and he wakes up several times through the night.

Clothing:

Somehow there were still six month sized things in the closet which I discovered with much hilarity when I tried to cram him into things. He’s into 6-12, 9-12 month clothing, and basically lives in shorts and t-shirts and onesies because it’s way too hot here for all of the cute little plaid shirts I got him.

Loves:

Trying to get cords, shoes, and other off-limits things into his mouth, grabbing M’s hair, playing with her toys on the playmat in the living room (especially dumping blocks and chewing Barbie hands). Eating, swimming, and exploring the world around him.

Doesn’t Love:

Not being immediately picked up at night, getting buckled into any kind of baby transport device, when toys/objects are taken away from him.

Things to Remember:

Our vacation of course! He got to try, see, and explore a lot of things, meet a few grandparents for the first time along with other family members, and learn how to handle his car seat for longer periods of time. He also went swimming for the first time, in pools and in lakes, this month, and he loves it. Our first family bike ride was fun, and he did well in the Thule being towed behind Matt. Hearing mamamamama was something I’d like to remember, too!

Mom & Dad:

The usual — tired, happy, amazed at how quickly it’s all going. I’m sad that summer is almost over!

Looking Forward To:

Honestly? Not much, hah! I like this stage, and this time of year, and the way things are. As summer fades away, A will get older, M will be in school, childcare (or our lack thereof) is weighing on me and my maternity leave ending makes me sad. I wish I could freeze time for a bit!

Dear A,

It’s been so fun having this last month with you — we had a lot of dedicated family time, with you and me and M and your daddy, and I really enjoyed all that we did together. Your zest for life shone through all month, whether you were splashing in a pool, shoving fistfuls of sand into your mouth, learning how to lick ice cream all too well for an eight month old, or finding your voice and letting us hear it in its full glory.

Seeing you grow and change is thrilling, as much as I’d like to slow it down. It’s fun to imagine what you’ll be like as a one year old, a teenager, an adult. Whatever you choose to be, I think you’ll be a good one, if you put all of that intensity you possess into it. I’m glad I get to watch it happen, now and in the future.

Always,

Mama

A at Seven Months

So. This guy actually turns eight months old… next week. BUT I HAVE A GOOD REASON TO BE LATE, hah. We were out of town for the last two weeks, just got home, and I finally unearthed M’s tablet so that I could write this while she’s occupied. I’m going to try my best to write it based on seven months, not what’s currently happening with A (because he’s changed a lot in one month!).

Stats:

Just over 20 lbs. at his appointment before we left town! His head is 18″.

Nicknames:

Abrummy, “A”-bear, and M calls him Little Guy. Oh, and M and I sing “A” Beluga to him instead of Baby Beluga.

Temperament:

Dude had a lot of teeth on the go this month (two came in on the bottom, and then we discovered he had four more coming through on the top) so he was pretty angry, to be honest. As usual, the best temperament was in the mornings, right after he woke up. Sleep must be restorative to his patience, I think, because he’s chipper when the sun comes up!

Skills:

At this point he could sit up without falling, most of the time, but could not get into that position on his own. He was still mostly laying on his stomach instead of trying to move his body while on the floor/bed, but would scootch backwards, mostly by accident. His manual dexterity improved for feeding himself, and started babbling a bit.

Eating:

Handling most foods well — he didn’t really like eggs when he tried them, but he discovered a passion for plums. Also, upon being introduced to Baby Mum Mum rice rusks (because I needed something to tide over his immediate frustration at being sat down without food and these are easy), he quickly became obsessed with them and can recognize the package. He was eating using a little booster chair with a tray on top on top of the table, but his chubby legs and animated eating style made that awkward so I bought a new high chair and mealtimes became much easier! Still nursing fairly frequently at this time, too.

Clothing:

Into the summer stuff, which is cute! Little baby shorts and sun hats are adorable. The 6-9 month and 6-12 month clothing fits best.

Loves:

When a cat walks by, especially if it gets in grabbing distance. Mum Mums. The exersaucer because it involves standing up. Plums! Socializing, particularly with other babies.

Doesn’t Love:

Getting his face wiped, the end of mealtime, the five minutes between breakfast and being nursed down for his morning nap, any time his sitting skills failed and he fell down.

Things to Remember:

His first plate of spaghetti (all the sauce, everywhere), the first few beach visits he had, how thoroughly he loved the traditional food event at the hospital for National Aboriginal Day, relaxing on the front lawn all together.

 

Mom & Dad:

Me, a bit overwhelmed as usual, and busy with packing and prepping for our trip. Matt was pretty busy at work this month so it was another one that flew past, both in and out of home.

Looking Forward To:

At this point we were looking forward to our big trip to see family! A turned seven months old on the road, but there was still a lot of travelling to do and people he was going to finally meet, which was nice to have upcoming. That was really the big thing on the horizon between six and seven months.

Dear A,

Trying to look back at when you turned seven months old is a challenge, because you change so quickly and you are already an entirely different baby! That month is a bit lost, in a blur of time with Poppa and M, getting ready to travel, and working to figure out how to balance everyone and everything.

In all honesty, though, I’d rather look back than forward — when I think about how much time has gone by in your life already, and how much you aren’t a little baby anymore, and how soon I will have to go back to work and not have my days with you, I get that chest tightening anxious feeling. I went through this with your sister, and I know that we will survive it, and I don’t want to preemptively miss you, but I enjoy you so much and it’s hard to fathom how different it’ll all look, soon enough.

I appreciate and love every day with you, and watching you grow and change is a privilege.

Always, 

Mama