Saturday, April 28, 2007

Get a haircut, you hippy!

Well, actually my son is, um, blessed with "old man" hair. It's wispy and he rocks a mean comb-over when it grows out. He has been sporting some kick ass Farah Fawcett a la Charlie's Angel's flips over his ears lately too. I've noticed a marked increase in the number of "What an adorable little girl you have!"'s in recent weeks. I have to believe it is the free-flowing girly locks he's got going on.

Here are some pictures from the last month to demonstrate the "problem areas", if you will:

Notice how it grows rampant down the middle of his head and tapers to almost nothing on the sides--is Ethan really David Letterman's love child? This hair would certainly support that theory.
Good God! I can't even begin to comment on all the things happening to his hair in this picture.
Please note the wing above his ear. There's another one just like it on the other side. He could fly from here to Timbuktu on those suckers..

So today we took our otherwise gorgeous child to get his first professional haircut. Sigh. We brought him to the children's salon, Cartoon Cuts. Let me tell you, their trick is to overload the kids' senses with music, DVDs, and giant green elephant hair dryers--this way, the kid is so overwhelmed by what's moving and singing around them that they hardly notice the razor sharp scissors doing their thing inches from their eyeballs. And thank goodness for that.

Ethan sat in the big boy seat and never flinches, freaked or flipped out. Huge relief. We think it was mostly due to the fact that most of the time he was busy watching some baby get his hair cut (um....E, that's YOU in the mirror, mkay?) A

Anyway, here are some pictures of the process itself and then a couple of my very handsome, unmistakably boy, boy...

Hey there, ladies. How you doin'?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Since we're getting all nostalgic...

Today I took Ethan to the park with a couple of my mommy-friends (as an aside, how long do I have to know these women before I can simply call them "my friends"? It's a weird delineation between the women I knew before I was Ethan's mama and the friends I have made since, and by and large, because of him. Doesn't mean I like them any less, but I always feel compelled to identify them beyond just "friend". Weird.)

As I was saying...we went to the park. The same park that Husband & I took Ethan to several months ago when he was just a wee lad.

Okay, maybe not so "wee" considering that onesie still fits. It's tighter, but it fits...

Today, the swings were far more the stuff that giggly childhood fun is made of.

One hand on the wheel, one out the little man is the king of cool

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ode to a Snugride...

One thing I am discovering about parenting is that it's not always the standard milestones that pull at your heart strings. It is the things you don't expect to move you that really sneak up and kick your emotions in the ass. Yes, it is exciting to see your baby roll, smile, crawl, and cruise for the first time. Thrilling, even, in a "thank god he's meeting his milestones" kind of way, plus it's very cute, right? But who would have thought that going up a size in clothes or diapers would result in a mommy dissolving into a mess of tears and giggles?

Today you took your last ride in the infant car seat. We went to Home Depot to get flowers for the yard and the poof! It was gone. Your snugride is now taking up space in the livingroom until we decide what to do with it next. It looks so small now.

The carseat we brought you home from the hospital in. You had to be able to sit in it for 1.5 hours without any breathing problems before they'd let us take you home from the NICU. We were terrified about how tiny you looked in it, even with the head support and receiving blankets rolled up around you.

May 12th, 2006--working hard on your carseat test

Clearly exhausted after acing your carseat test--we get to bring you home! You can't tell from our faces, but we're scared shitless!

Bye bye to the carseat we first took you apple-picking in. At the time you were going through a pretty fierce "I hate my carseat phase" and would scream non-stop when forced to endure the agony of sitting in it. Thankfully you slept most of the way out to the country and only fussed for a bit in it.

You took your first road trip to see Grammy & Grampy in South Carolina in the Snugride. It was the day after your 6 month shots and you magically slept almost the entire 8 hour trip. The ride home we weren't so lucky and you screamed from Richmond all the way back home. Even your plethora of "carseat flair" didn't distract you from your mission to rattle mommy & daddy with the high pitch of your protestations for 2 hours straight. Stubborn little man.

Ah, the flair...

And let's not forget the countless trips to Starbucks.

Dude, that latte's as big as yer head!

This was the carseat we took to Honduras! Packed it up, put it on a plane and toted you to the city, to the beach and back again in it while we were on vacation. You jet-setter, you.

And now, it has served it's purpose and is waiting to be hidden in a closet somewhere (like there *might* be space for it). Just like the clothes you've outgrown, the receiving blankets and burp cloths we no longer use, your carseat is a part of your past now. What a tiny little life to have already started gathering a "past", but there it is.

Daddy installed your Roundabout while you played in your jumperoo on the porch with me. I was potting some plants and just mindlessly said, "Oh, why don't you install the carseat?" to daddy, without even thinking about how momentous an occassion it is for you to go from your infant carseat to your toddler seat.

As I write this, it is hitting me that you are not my itty bitty baby anymore. I love that because you are so amazing--each day you learn something new, your personality grows and you are so much damn fun to be around. But I hate it because each day that passes I realize you are slipping away from your babyhood. "Time flies" just rolls off the tongue thoughtlessly; but when it applies to your baby, it takes on a whole new meaning. This year has gone by in a blur (and not all of it sleep-deprivation induced) and I wish I could do it again, and remind myself to be more mindful of every moment that I get to share with you.

In an hour or two you are going to take your first ride in the new seat. I have the camera ready, little man, because even though it's not in book of milestones, this is a big day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

It Ain't Easy Being Green...

So my big boy has decided that being spoon-fed by mommy is for pansies and he is now almost 100% self-feeding. While this is a wonderful milestone for us and I'm thrilled to see my little man gain independence and confidence, I am also staggered by the absolute disaster zone he can create anywhere and anytime he is given the opportunity to try to get food in his mouth.

Today we had an adventure with avocado for lunch and then dared to go out in public for dinner. I am pretty sure there is a picture of our entire family behind the counter of the Silver Diner that says, "Do not seat or feed this family. Icky," due to the large portion of Ethan's "child size" macaroni & cheese dinner that ended up on the floor underneath his high-chair. We are now in the habit of leaving massive tips for all our restaurant servers because waiting on us involves a lot more house-keeping than it should. Oh well.

Here are some lovely shots of Ethan relishing his lunch date with avocado...

Please note that mommy & daddy are dumb-asses: they gave me an avocado, but no bib. Smooth...

I'm not blowing kisses; I've got a chunk of avocado stuck to my hand...
Avocado fangs...
mmmmm, delish!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Tale of Two Teethies...

So they're here. The bottom two choppers have popped and made their presence known (mostly to my boobs). I have spent the last week or so shamelessly chasing Ethan around with the camera, making it my primary goal in life to capture these two teeth in their infancy. I have so many blurry, over-exposed pictures of my son's nose and chin that all I can say is thank god for digital cameras because we're talking rolls and rolls worth of wasted film, people.

So here they are. You might have to squint to see them, but they are there...

Well, hrm...they are really tough to see with the picture at that size. I guess you'll just have to trust me. I know, I'm the Mama...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Catching a Wave...

So yesterday Ethan learned to wave. Well, that's not entirely true. For months Ethan's been waving--at himself, at my boobs while he nurses, at the floor. You get the picture. He'd move his hand in such a way that could be recognized as a wave, but the waving was always done at inappropriate times and most often to inanimate objects that were neither coming nor going.

I've been practicing with him, always waving "hello" and "goodbye" to him when I walked into or out of a room. I've waved to other people to the point of looking like a lunatic. All the while, patiently waiting for that adorable pudgy hand to reward me with a quick little open and close. Well, yesterday that reward went to the cashier at Old Navy. Yes, as she ooh'd and ahh'd at Ethan and waved furiously at him, the stinker giggled, lifted his hand and waved in her exact direction as though he'd been waiting to meet her all his life. Mama was just some woman pushing the stroller at that point--he was in full-on flirt-baby mode and total stranger lady got his first wave. Le sigh....

Of course then he began to wave at everyone we came into remote contact with at the mall. He waved at waitresses, kids at other tables, and the crazy lady in Gymboree (she is a whole other topic. How do you react when people are soooo enthusiastic about your child that you fear they will follow you home?!)

He even waved at people who didn't notice him or even worse, who noticed him but didn't wave back. Oh, let me tell you; little riles the mama bear in me like someone snubbing the glorious edible cuteness that is my child. A few weeks ago at playgroup, a three year old clocked Ethan upside the head with a toy truck and I was only mildly more peeved at that than I was yesterday when Ethan joyfully waved at a lady in the mall and she didn't bother to return his salutation. I composed myself and kept walking, but now I say, stranger lady in the mall: "What?! My kid isn't cute enough for you?? You in so much of a hurry to get your big old butt to Cinnabon that you can't take a second to validate all his hard work and effort, not to mention the fact that he is incalculably cuter than your kid, and wave back at him??!! Bitch."
There, that felt good.

So Ethan is now a waver. It is adorable and he is so proud of himself. It amazes me to watch him learn not only how to do things, but to figure out the when and why of those things.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's Just Casual...

So, if you ever venture over to my other blog, the one I started in january and have posted in exactly 4 times, you'll know that I am on a quest to lose many, many pounds of Sarah. To that end, I have started going back to the gym. Ugh. I should just stop the post there because "ugh" pretty much sums up the entire experience.

I'm not going to talk about how I got winded after 5 minutes on the elliptical trainer set to level 3, because that's just too embarrassing (and I'm going to save weight loss and all that misery for the other blog). I am going to talk about my gym's "casual child care center" and the anxiety attacks that fueled my first two visits.

When you see the words, "casual child care center", does it instill confidence? Does it sound to you like a facility staffed by trained professionals ready to be accountable for the well-being of your child while you whip your feeble body back into shape? Hm. Me, neither. The girls who work there seem nice enough, in a "casual" sort of way. They are babysitters, not day care providers, but I don't think they're even really strong babysitters. Ugh. Instead of repeating a mantra of "I am woman. I am strong." on the treadmill, I find myself repeating, "Don't hurt my baby. Don't hurt my baby." It doesn't make for a really satisfying workout.

The room is massive with a McDonalds style "Play Place" in the middle of it and a television constantly feeding little minds an endless diet of Disney movies (yes, Ethan, all girls should have massive boobs and a one inch waist-line--make sure you burn that ideal into your subconscious so you can perpetuate insecurities in your future girlfriends).

On a positive note, there are some good toys and I've watched watched the babysitters clean them off with sanitizing wipes, so even though he might fall to his death from the Play Place if they aren't paying attention, he will be germ-free. (cut to mama hyperventilating into a brown paper bag).

So my dilemma is this--I NEED to work out. My body is begging to work out and get fit. I have never been able to do that on the pavement. I need to be in a gym, with machines and skinny people motivating me through pure ire and jealousy. This time I might even need some big knuckle-dragging muscle-bound trainer to tell me I'm fat and whip me into shape. But I cannot concentrate on my workout when I am wondering if Ethan is being trampled by a bunch of toddlers during Disney intermission or if he's crawled into the tube of the Play Place, never to be heard from again. (breathing into the bag....breathing into the bag).

I comfort myself by telling myself I am an overprotective, paranoid stay-at-home mom who doesn't have any experience letting others care for her child. That the interaction with others is good for Ethan and better that I learn to let him go a bit now than have a total nervous breakdown when he goes to kindergarten. I remind myself I am only one syllable from the loud-speaker away from him if he melts down.

But still, there is something about the name "casual child care" that just makes me feel like they are daring me to gamble with his wellbeing by leaving him there for 45 minutes. Ugh.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Eleven Months

Unbelievable, little man. In a month you will have been here, making us laugh and making us insane for an entire year. Sometimes your daddy and I still look at each other in wonder and say, "I can't believe we have a kid!" I mean, in what universe were we prepared for this?! That's one thing I've learned over these past eleven months--there's no way to prepare for the maelstrom that is babyhood. I have stood in front of the wall of books at Borders and Barnes & Noble trying to make sense of how and when a baby sleeps, when "they" say babies should roll, crawl, walk, speak, bang objects together, say "mama"--all of it just sneaky ways for the experts to make a quick buck off the clueless and terrified masses of new mamas and daddies. The learning is in the experience, not in the books, little man. Shhhh...don't tell your future teachers mama (the teacher) said that.

You are quite the mover and shaker this month. You started the month picking up the pace on your crawling. At first you were only willing to crawl to the closest possible toy and screw the rest of it. Now, you set a goal, whether it's a foot away or across the room and poof! You're off! You are in uber-curious mode these days--nothing holds your attention for more than a few seconds. One toy is only a momentary diversion from the next. Fortunately I can still woo you away from the stairs by banging on the plinky plunky bongos you got from Barb & Ryan for Chrismukkah this year. You see, we have baby gates for the stairs and doorways. We just haven't installed them yet. Minor detail.

Two major developments this month--you FINALLY left your days of gummy goodness behind and you have two teeth! Of course, they are taking eons to come in. We noticed the bumps and the split in the gums two Saturdays ago. And then the joys of hardcore teething kicked in--the fussiness, the "don't put me down; don't leave the room; HOLD ME! HOLD ME! HOLD ME!" of it all. Good times, my friends. Let me say these three magic words--Hyland's Teething Tablets, or as we refer to them in our house, Baby Ambien. Two of three of these under the tongue and 20 minutes later---limp, sleeping baby. It's my favorite recipe right now, folks. It wears off pretty fast, but by then the edge is taken off, he's groggy, and it's easier to convince him not to start freaking out again. That way he is able to get a little of sleep before the ache in his gums comes a'knocking again.

As happy as I am that you have some teeth, I have to say they aren't doing anything for our nursing relationship. Let me say this--my boob is NOT a chew toy, little man--stop treating it like one! Perhaps if you didn't find my saying, "No! Don't bite mommy!" so amusing maybe we could fix it, but you just giggle when you inflict pain on me. Not one of your most endearing qualities, I have to say. Not endearing at all. So we will see; I hadn't planned on closing down the boob cafe for awhile, but when you bite the boob that feeds, you make a strong argument for weaning.

It's okay, though, as you've started a new love affair with organic whole milk. You are now taking 2-3 ounces of it with each meal and a couple in between. I guess you are never going to be one of those 8-ounce bottles, 4 times a day babies. This may account for the fact that at 11 months you are just tipping the scale at 17lbs. But I am relieved that if indeed I have to shut down my little breastfeeding operation, you will be well taken care of by the cows.

Onto our other big development. Cruisin'! Well, technically you just cruised once today, consisting of two steps, from the little blue IKEA stool to your Fisher Price work bench, but it was cruising. And that means, walking can't be that far behind, can it? I shudder to think. You started by rocking back and forth as though you might actually be able to get from one spot to the next by sheer force of will. That didn't work. So then you were up and down on your tip toes for a few minutes, like you were desperately trying to remember what movement you've seen me use to get from one place to another. Then finally, one foot came up, slid over and came back down. I thought you might fall into a split for a second, but the other leg came up and moved closer to the first. A STEP! Followed by another and then a very graceful butt flop ended your first cruise. Very impressive, little man.

Now, I've had something on my mind and I want to get rid of it before your first birthday so I can just revel in the joy that is being your mommy from here on in. The first few months of being a mom were really tough for me and I'm so sorry that I wasn't always as good of a mommy as I wanted to be. You have a magnificent daddy and he really did so much when you were a newborn; I didn't really participate as much as I could have when you were first with us. I was overwhelmed and terrified of how tiny and helpless you were. I was lost in my new identity and afraid to ask for help. I cried a lot. I hid a lot. In my lowest moments, I wished this all away and for my old life to come back. Ugh. I hope you never read this. But if you do, I hope you realize that it wasn't YOU that I was hiding from or afraid of, or wishing away. It was my own feeling of unworthiness, of inadequacy.

I am so sorry that I missed out on those times. I am so sad that I can't get those hours and days with you back. I look at pictures of you as a newborn and my heart aches. I wish I had gotten help for my post partum depression earlier so I could have been more a part of those first months when you were so fragile and new.

Ahhhhhh, it feels good to get that off my chest.

So what does the next month hold in store for us? And the months after that? I can only imagine. I imagine that you will continue to amaze me with your charming personality and the new things you learn how to do. Every day is an adventure, little man.

Last swim class--check out my form! All I need is a float and a margarita.
Baby, you can drive my car.

These rings MUST go! They are ruining the entire feng shui of the table. Seriously.

Ethan's first trip to the tidal basin during the Cherry Blossom season (and opening day--Go Sox!)
See you next month, internet!