Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mobile Moments, 6/24-6/30

Looks like it's time to say goodbye to June, and hello to summer... Let the lazy days begin.

Bad teething day.
Showing off the boo-boos from her (imaginary) shots. Mia was the actual recipient and inspiration.

Abby shares her love of reading with Mia.

Mia feigns amusement. Clearly, she needs more practice.

Lonely Sunday morning.

Breakfast with Papa in NJ/looking so grown-up.

Abby's first "swim" (after a significant amount of coaxing).

Coming home.

Overheard this week:


"Mia's poop looks like guacamole. Mia's green poop has guacamole all over it. Abby's brown poop looks like sauce."  (Not the loveliest imagery, but you've gotta give her props for descriptiveness.)


Repeating after me as we read through a book about yellow objects: "Chick."


In response to several raspberries applied to her bare belly: "Heh. Heh. Eeehee!"

We have our first giggle, Folks (as of last night). Coming soon: the Belly Laugh.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What Constitutes a Full House?

One thing that I will never get used to in this life is how striking are the indelible changes every time I take a moment to compare my current perspective to one that existed before. It's no big secret to me that experience will alter the way I view the world, but somehow the realization of the utter foreignness of "what came before" washes over me though it's never happened previously.

It still floors me when I think back to the way I viewed the world before having kids, as opposed to after. Still puzzles me when I consider how tough taking care of just one seemed to me before I had two. Still amuses me to consider the comparative simplicity of a "normal" day prior to having three.

Now that I have three, only three will do, it seems. It's not the first time I've gone down to two or less children for a period of time, I suppose. When I've done it, however, I've been away from home and out of my comfort zone to begin with. The longest span I've time was for the two-day trip I made to Pittsburgh, PA with Mia about a month ago.

This time, it was Tom who took off on a short trip- to Long Island, NY- with Abby. Oh, the difference it has made.

Breakfast was quiet, and comparatively boring. It lacked the soundtrack of Abby's ceaseless chatter and the vibrant interplay generally to be witnessed between her brother and herself.

As Abby was putting her feet up on the patio of her Nana and Papa's house...

... Michael was disinterestedly picking at his cheese omelette.

While Abby explored her grandparents' family room...

... Michael sat despondently on the loveseat downstairs, observing Mima as she picked up the playroom. Though he had no words to tell me so, it seemed that I could read in the sad confusion on his face how much he missed the company of his father and sister.

I missed them too, and I marveled at how- despite the presence of my mother and two small children- the house seemed suddenly empty to me.

Long naps for Michael, Mia, and myself solved most of the morning's woes; we all woke refreshed and ready to take advantage of the special time that we had together.

Michael was cheerful through lunch, and focused his attention on his Mima, instead of the empty seat across the table from him. I elected to do the same.

During our afternoon excursion to the local park, it was initially tough to coax a smile out of him...

 ... but it wasn't long before his sense of adventure kicked in, and whatever stray concerns he may have had were tossed to the side for awhile.

Even as I watched my son circle the park, and checked on my littlest daughter in the carrier, I couldn't help but wonder what my oldest might be up to, so many miles away. Likely she was deep in her own adventure at the beach house on Point Lookout.

Sure enough, I soon got another update from Tom to confirm. As Michael was proudly gripping his well-earned sippy of water like a treasured trophy...

... his older sister was riding a tricycle for the first time, along a narrow sidewalk far away.

My heart ached at the sight of the tiny picture on my phone. How miraculous that I could get a glimpse of my daughter's experiences this way, and how incomprehensible that it took the combined efforts of my husband's and my two phones to tell the story of my whole family's day.

The sky is dark now, and my children, in whatever places they may be, are surely all sound asleep, as they would be even if all were home. And even though Tom ordinarily keeps his vigil with me in the living room in the hours between when the last child goes down and we decide to turn in ourselves, I've had a night or two where I have lagged behind. Tonight should feel just like that, but it doesn't. The house is no more silent than it would be in that scenario, but it's infinitely more vacant, somehow.

It can't possibly feel the same as it should when I know that I will pass through my bedroom door to retire in an unoccupied bed; when I'm certain that in the morning I will have only one child to collect from the upstairs bedroom.

I'm by no means alone, but my house is not full. Tonight, I'll be dreaming of tomorrow evening, when it finally will be again.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Michael in the Middle

I worry sometimes about the hard road that Michael has ahead of him, being the middle child. Apart from his teething difficulties, in some ways he's also become the easiest child- not as aggressively defiant as his older sister, and not so dependent as his younger. In the hustle and bustle of it all, I fear that he is forgotten at times, introspective and quiet as he is (except when he's trapped in a chair at the table- you can't miss him then).

Even on the blog, I feel that he gets snubbed all too often. I probably don't mention him now nearly as much as the other two. He's not yet verbal, so I can't quote him on a near-daily basis like I do Abby, and at over a year old, I felt that documenting him on a monthly basis like I do Amelia would be excessive (and near-impossible to execute, anyway).

However, stuff has been happening with him, and I don't just meant the usual mischief that he gets up to every minute. He's growing and changing like the others, but in his own quiet, subtle way.

The most exciting development has, of course, been his recent foray into verbal communication. However, like everything that he sets his mind to, he's taking it at his own pace, and adding words slowly and steadily every couple of days. As of today, I've heard him utter Mama, Dada, read, more, bye-bye, Papa, kitty, and yeah. He's only used half of those more than once, but he's gaining confidence and has been willing to at least attempt the pronunciation of a new word here and there.

All the while he never ceases to impress me with his capacity for comprehension. My transition-easing heads-up to Abby that we'll be eating lunch soon sends him running for the gate. Verbal commands and requests are frequently heeded. And as we read books together, he's beginning to be able to point out objects on the page, upon request. Just this afternoon he blushed deeply amid his private standing ovation for successfully locating the newspaper that Big Bird was holding in Murray's First Book of Words.

Add to that his creative use of non-verbal communication, which he is constantly improving upon. He regularly shakes his head to indicate disagreement, a cue that Abby did not pick up on until she was much older. He also points and gesticulates, and will sometimes go so far as to grab a hand or finger to place it where something needs doing. He also claps, high-fives, and has just begun to blow kisses.

However, he's making strides in other ways as well. He's become an expert climber, and though he can't jump yet, is quite the little dancer. His signature move is a stomping of one leg against the floor as he giggles and waves his arms around. He's also taken a liking to the rocking toys that he previously shunned, particularly Rody the pink horse.

He's also been (mostly) expanding his palate. Though he can be quite the picky eater, depending on his mood, he's an adventurous one as well. He may not be willing to eat a known quantity that he's tired of, but he'll almost always give a never-before-seen morsel a try.

Recently, he's taken a liking to corned beef, so I made him a sandwich for lunch one day. Of course, he elected to eat the meat out from between the slices of bread.

Additionally, ever the independent eater, he's taken an interest in mastering the spoon. I caught him the other day, doing a not-half-bad job of it.

He's still having trouble getting the food onto the spoon, but- I have to say- he has very good form when it comes to bringing the spoon to his mouth.

Oh- and in case you didn't know- he's also a super hero in training.

He may be stuck in the middle, but he certainly can't be overlooked for long. Not my little man.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Turning it Loose at Three Months

I've run out of interesting ways to say, "Where did the time go?" If, indeed, I ever had any. Therefore, I will decline this time, but inside I'm still wondering how on earth we got to three months already.

There have been no major milestones reached in the past month. Though Mia is gradually discovering her hands, she's still not consistent about using them, and I'm still waiting impatiently to hear that first giggle (any day now, I'm sure). She's been flirting with sleeping through the night (she's done it three times now), but I've yet to see it happen two consecutive nights in a row. However, her growth and progress cannot be denied. Every time I hold Mia, I'm surprised at her sturdiness and her weight. When I dress her or change a diaper, I'm amazed at her interactiveness and length. She now moves with more fluidity and grips with impressive vigor. My memories of her as a newborn are already slipping away from me like floating seaweed on the tide, even as I struggle to contain them.

Believe you me, I've struggled. I've fought. My failed attempts to recollect her siblings' experiences in detail  have served as a forewarning of what I stood to lose in a very short time. However, I suppose I hoped that I could forestall it this time- that somehow the force of my will and the knowledge of the dearness of each moment would hammer every little sensation more deeply into my consciousness. If only I could have found some hidden crevice in which to safely stash the smell, feel, sound, touch of her. Somewhere to gingerly wrap it all away to be brought back out again and gently reminisced over.

Already, I walk amidst the ghost-like echoes of my memories, doomed to watch the slow decrease of their opacity day-by-day. Of course, without the change there would be no growth. I know this. I re-learn it every day. It's bittersweet every time.


This much I've learned in her three short months: Mia's going to be a challenge to photograph every time. It's tough to gain her attention, and nearly impossible to make her smile. I had high hopes at first, though, because when I first put her down she was very animated, and seemed drawn to the window across from her, which kept her gaze focused upward.

Not more than two photographs later, her fingers were in her mouth.

She seemed pretty determined to keep them there.

Even after I gently pried them loose, she brought them back up near her chin.

I chuckled a bit to myself in my frustration as I watched her do it. After all, I've been hoping for weeks that she'd hurry up and learn to find her hands, since she won't take a pacifier but she will suck on her fingers to self-soothe. Wish granted, in the most inconvenient way, of course.

In desperation, I brought in a little prop. She can't yet hold it, but I thought she might grip it accidentally for long enough to keep her hands away from her face.

It worked- for about a second.

Finally, her focus shifted- to her feet. Small improvement, but at least she was no longer partially blocking her face.

And how could I blame her? Those are some pretty nifty toes.

However, once the hands went back to the mouth, I knew I'd have to seek assistance.

Enter Tom. At first, he got an impressive look of surprise out of her.

Then, she started to look a little freaked out.

But eventually she started to come around.

Wait for it...

There's that smile!

It was all downhill after that, but I kept clicking anyway.

A bit later on, when she was in a better mood, I tried again to catch a smile or two. This was what I got.

Methinks I've got another teething baby on my hands.

I did have one last chance to catch her in the act of "happy."

She made it all the way through dinner in her "big girl" high chair. Though she won't be taking meals in it for another three months, I thought I'd try it out on her and see if she'd find the new perspective interesting enough to distract her from the fact that she was sitting apart from me (I had varying degrees of success trying this with each of her siblings). She seemed to.

She looks so very small, sitting in that chair. One more thing to cherish, while I can.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My, How He's Grown

Now that my brother Michael lives in Texas, I don't see or talk to him nearly often enough. In fact, prior to last weekend, I hadn't seen him in person since his wedding, in April of 2011.

It was at his wedding that he first met Abby, but he was so nervous around her that they barely interacted. And so it was that though I have pictures of Abby on the plane to San Antonio...

... and even one of her attempting to eat the reception tablecloth...

... I have no pictures of her with her Uncle Michael, apart from a shot my sister took of him and me dancing together while I pushed a sleeping Abby in her stroller.

Apart from being anxious to finally meet my first and only nephew when they all came into town this past weekend, I was excited about seeing him meet an older, very different, Abigail. I've also been keen to introduce him to my Michael, who resembles a mini hybrid version of my two brothers as babies. What I found really interesting about the short visit that our families had together, however, was watching him with Mia.

Now that he's a father himself, his baby fear is no more. In fact, he seems to have tapped into a previously unknown "baby whispering" talent, of sorts. The couple of times that he took a fussy Mia into his arms, she was happy as a clam before too long.

How about that? My big brother- he's all grown up now.