21 Months

Dear Baby Ike,

As of this last week you are 21 months old, and hurtling headfirst toward your third year.  I’m not sure you completely grasp the concept of a birthday, but we do often have a little rote-memorization conversation geared around it:

“How old will you be on your next birthday?”

“TWOOO!”

“Right.  And how old are you now?”

“None.” [holds up one finger]

“Yes, one.”

“Old!”

“Yes, one year old.  What happens on a birthday?”

“BIRTHDAY CAKE!”

So we’re definitely looking forward to that.

I rarely capture a decent photo or video of you when you are anywhere but trapped in your highchair these days, so I try to get at least one video every weekend.  The rate of language acquisition for this stage is still a bit mind-blowing to me.  You can name all the letters of the alphabet, can count to ten (and then to twenty, sort of – you’re clearly a bigger fan of some numbers than others), name almost all of the shapes in your shape-sorter toy, and are much more confident about identifying colors than even a month ago.  It’s crazy to me.  I don’t know why, but every time you display a new bit of knowledge, I’m all, WHAT IS THIS TODDLER SORCERY?!?

A few weekends ago it was actually warm enough to play out in the backyard for more than a few minutes, and as you ran around throwing a tennis ball for the dog, offering him sticks, and sniffing/hand-mulching last summer’s dead black-eyed Susans, you started chanting “GOOD ENOUGH.” For several minutes I wondered how I’d already set the bar so low…then I also heard a refrain of COOKIE, COOKIE, COOKIE and was thankful you were only quoting that particular monster’s most famous song. Phew.

Your assertion of independence is showing up right on schedule. Every task or activity is a split between HELP ME (still sounds more like HOLD ME at this point, but I definitely know better) and NO! IKE DO IT! Your love of books continues unabated, and your affection for Sesame Street has morphed mostly into a constant begging for TEEVEE ON so you can watch the ‘songs.’  One awful-weather weekend of this never-ending winter I made the (genius?) mistake of searching for Sesame Street songs on the You.Tube app on the X.BOX rather than just pulling up full episodes on Net.flix.  There have been more cold, gross weekend days this winter than I would like to admit during which we went through the loop of these favorites more times than we should have:

But it’s hard to have many regrets about it yet.  When TEEVEE ON is not an option (which is way more often than you’d prefer – screen time what?), you’ll quickly resort to requesting MOMMY SING, and hahahaaaaaaa mommy is no vocalist, but you still get a kick out of my Bruno Mars or Elvis Costello. I’m particularly proud of my Usher, frankly.  We’ve also watched some of the new Cosmos series with you – while it’s not entirely age-appropriate, it’s definitely Mama-approved TEEVEE.  I think you’ve picked up on that, because when we won’t let you have YYYOOOO-TOOOB, you’ll inquire about second-best NEIL?  It’s hard for me not to give in to that!

Lately you also love asking for TUMMY (tickles) and CHASE IKE and most recently ZERBITS (belly raspberries). Sometimes a combination of the three is the only way to get a clean diaper on your butt.  We recently introduced potty chairs, but you rarely have any interest other than disassembling them or perhaps sitting on them fully clothed.  You’re much more interested in the BIG POTTY (until you slam the seat or lid down on your own fingers, of course – that seems to be a lesson you need to learn the hard way more than once, somehow).  We’re in no hurry yet, but I remain hopeful that some extended naked time this summer will change your mind about the whole deal – probably famous last words on my part, but we shall see.

Some of the things I end up putting in these letters are more to remind myself, years from now when I can’t believe I’ve forgotten when you first did this or that or stopped doing the other thing, than things you’ll probably ever care about:  you still nurse here and there, pretty much only before sleep, on evenings when I am home for bedtime and/or weekend naps. Your separation anxiety seems to come and go and take on different forms these days.  This past weekend I spent Saturday night out of town, and your father reported that you were pretty pissed I wasn’t there on Sunday morning, even asking him to NURSE (just wouldn’t have been the same, I know, but I applaud your sense of egalitarianism, young man).  If you wake up in the middle of the night, which isn’t often anymore, you’ll usually ask for CUDDLE these days rather than to nurse.  So while I don’t have any particular cutoff point of weaning in mind (yet), I think we may be nearing the end, an idea which is bittersweet for me.  I never thought we’d go much past a year, but there doesn’t seem to be any pressing reason to wean, either (I quit pumping at work around 16 months).  I’ve been making a fairly conscious effort to give you plenty of Daddy-time lately (to not gatekeep, since there has never been any need nor any benefit – though I’ve seen lots of families do that, I didn’t always have a name for it), since when we are both home he sort of gets the cold shoulder from you at times, me being the “anchor parent” for now.  I think it’s helping, though it may just that we’re nearing the end of the phase, or at least the worst of it – you spend Wednesdays with him rather than with Grandma now, and this morning when I left for work there were no tears, just kisses. But you do still have a canine-like dislike of ‘strangers’ on your home turf(s).  When an appraiser came to Grandma’s house one day, you were terrified, and when a friend of your father’s stopped by this weekend while I was gone, the same reaction.  FREAKED OUT.  But you love to go out and see other PEOPLE!  And CHILDREN!  If we had more any money to spare I’d start you in preschool now, but sadly it’s going to have to wait a bit.  I recently found out that a local children’s museum also operates a preschool, and can’t quite stop lusting after the idea, despite the tuition being RIDICULOUS not exactly affordable for us.  It would be SO COOL to send you there, even for a short period of time.  Right now it doesn’t seem possible, but…a few years ago, neither did YOU, and that worked out pretty well, didn’t it? (YES, YES IT DID.)

Love,

Mama

 

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Daddy makes COOOOOOKIES (oat-a-meal, in Ike-speak).

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From back in November, at your Uncle Mikey & Aunt Steph’s wedding (ringbearer – box full of Cheerios only).

A crazed grin is better than no grin ‘tall. (Photo credit to your ‘Aunt’ Jeni)

One Point Five

Dear Baby Ike,

This month you had your second half-birthday.  Eighteen months!  This holiday season has been quite a whirlwind, and you have reached such a fun stage in your development. I apparently didn’t use much of my vacation time all year, so I ended up being done with work for the year a week and a half before Christmas; having all these days to spend with you has been ridiculously fun thanks especially to the explosion in your speech.  So many new words, many of them quite hilarious (to me, anyway).

To back up, we traveled to your paternal grandparents’ home in Alabama for Thanskgiving last month.  This was your second trip down there, but this time we drove during the daytime instead of overnight. I was skeptical that you’d be able to handle that much time restrained in your car seat, as you are normally very busybusybusyalldaylong exploring and playing and being generally on the move, but you actually did great.  We only stopped a few times each way, and you were fairly content to babble to your stuffed buddies or snooze or whatever you were doing back there for such long stretches of time.  I was amazed (and grateful).  Your grandparents of course had a ball playing with you and letting you show off all your new words and skills.

Christmas was, well, everything a toddler could want, I think.  You love the trees, pointing them out to me each morning anew and waiting for them to be lit up.  Only a couple of ornaments have been obliterated, one of which appeared to have been gifted to the dog (I’m sure he thanks you).  We didn’t go see Santa this year.  I couldn’t bear the idea of paying money to subject you to an almost certainly upsetting stranger-hairy-dude’s-lap situation for a photo op.  You are fairly adept at opening presents, though, so perhaps next year you’ll be game.  I don’t plan to push it; we’ll just have to see what you think at the time.  Your favorite gifts have probably been the various basketballs, baseballs, footballs, etc.  Every time you come across one (we really need to sort through and weed out our toy collection!) you exclaim BAW!! as if it’s the first time you every saw it.  If it’s a basketball you pick it up and request a lift to the ‘hoop,’ which we try to oblige whenever possible.

I had been trying to keep a list of particularly amusing words as you started using them, but I’m sure this will be woefully incomplete, as your language has taken off at lightning speed.  Most start off as a bit of a puzzle, of course, until I hear them a few times at least in the right context, at which point I usually catch on.  Like BECK-OHH.  That one stumped me for a bit; at first I thought you’d picked a favorite piece of heavy equipment from one of your books at my parents’ house, but then you said it as we were getting ready to drive home, and it dawned on me:  ohhhh, BUCKLE, not backhoe.  Yes, we have to buckle up! Before we can drive HOOOMMME.  You always say, ‘Home, Mama.’ Yes, drive home with Mama.  So it goes like that.  You say something a couple of times, I scratch my head and ask what that means, I eventually get it, and then we add to the conversations we’re now able to have. I love both being able to understand you and how you relish being understood.

The Sesame Street obsession is in full swing.  Your favorites seem to be Bert and Ernie, plus Elmo and now Murray.  At the end of every episode when he reviews the letter and number of the day, you are usually jumping the gun to beat him to saying PEACE!  We are working on the accompanying hand gesture, but I admit that I find it a little too charming for your own good.  Too often I let it convince me to allow one more episode, especially since you now can ask so politely, tacking ‘please’ (peathe) on to your request for ‘more’ (mow).  Huzzah, we have rudimentary manners!  Including ‘thank you,’ though it sounds like little more than ‘tee too’ at this point.  Context means a lot right now, certainly.  I even got a ‘sorry’ (sowwy) after you chucked your Bert and Ernie figures at the floor instead of putting them back on the coffee table as requested.  You gave Bert a smooch and apologized to him.  I died.  Anyway, yes, Sesame Street is your thing right now, and I admit to loving it, too.  You get super excited for Abby Cadabby (Abby-da), Oscar (Otter), Big Bird (Bird), and Mr. Noodle (Doo).  I get super excited to see you so excited.  And so chatty.

Let’s see…what else do you like to talk about these days?  You’re quite good at identifying many body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, cheeks, chin, head, hair, knee, feet/tootsies, toes/piggies), my favorite of which right now has to be elbow (EHW-BOWWW).  I’m not even sure where you picked that one up, other than perhaps me lamenting that you have peanut butter or applesauce or yogurt or some unholy mixture of two or more all over them after a high chair session.  In addition you enjoy identifying the dogs’ tails and paws. Also…animal noises!  You know the doggie (BOW WOW WOW), kitty cat (meeowww), sheep and goat (baaa), horse (neeeiiighh), donkey (eee-awww), cow (merrrr/mooo), etc., etc., etc.  It blows my mind daily how much you now know and can communicate.  Even a few non-concrete concepts, like empty (eee-pee-tee) are popping up.  I may be easily impressed at this point, but I am impressed nonetheless. Some of it is so silly, like how you call milk ‘moo juice’ (thanks to Grandma for that one).  When I say that it’s cold outside, you say ‘brrrrr,’ and you know that if we go outside you have to wear a hoodie (perfect prononciation on that one – hoo-dee – ridiculously cute).  I would swear that today you were telling me I was boring (burring?), but hopefully that will turn out to have a better translation soon! Maybe even tomorrow (mowwow), in the morning (mooorning), when you wake up ‘HAPPY!’

Food continues to be fun.  You name almost everything you eat anymore, and haven’t gotten too picky yet.  Weirdly I can hear a difference between the word berry when you use it for blueberries (buwwy) and strawberries (bawwy), which reminds me – you can pretty much recite The Very Hungry Caterpillar:  all the fruits, most of the Saturday foods, including pickle as of today, and you seemingly randomly interject POP! (out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar) on most pages.  Where was I?  Oh yes, food.  Thanksgiving proved you love turkey, though strangely you do NOT like mashed potatoes.  No tragedy; perhaps you just need to learn more about gravy first.  You like all kinds of pasta (pat-a, or as Grandma calls them, ‘ronis), every fruit we’ve tried (we should plant an apple tree, you run to the fridge screaming for apples at least five times a day), and more vegetables than I’d hoped, including sweet bell peppers of late.  When a blob of applesauce hits the high chair tray rather than your mouth, we say SPLAT (bat) and you giggle because what’s more fun than making a mess?  Maybe only feeding the dog (ugh, we are working on that).  When you’re done you rip off your bib (beeb).  Well, if I’m lucky you wait until you’re done, toss your leftovers to the dog, and start chanting NONONONONOOOO, DOGGIE.  Mixed messages, much.

You’ve started recognizing some letters, some colors (orange, in particular), and several shapes, which we practice while we crayon scribble.  It’s surely only exactly age appropriate, but it still freaks me out a little.  You are getting so big, so fast, something I ask you to explain every time I pick you up (how did you GET so big??).  Before long you’re going to be reading to me instead of the other way around. You started saying your own name in the past couple of weeks (EYE-DAC/EYYYDE), along with all the other things I meant to remember. You LOVE taking a bath, and demand bubbles every time you see running water.  Brushing your teeth is still a struggle, but your Uncle Jim built you a learning tower for Christmas, which has helped a lot already – we still have to finish and paint it but are already using it in the bathroom in the meantime, and you love it, and ask for LEARNING! every time you pass the bathroom.  Sometimes you just chant Mommy, mommy, mommy, and I can’t help but tell you yet again, Yes, I am your mommy.  I LOVE being your mommy.

Love,

Mama

October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Despite my high hopes of having written something other than Dear Baby Ikes by now, I’ve…not.  I can’t even remember if I wrote anything at all last year on October 15th, but without going back to check, I suspect not.

I don’t feel the need to retell my story of loss here today (though I should recreate an About page or the like).  Suffice it to say that four miscarriages over five years or so makes for a very long story to tell. I do tell it when it seems to be the right thing to do, but this year it doesn’t feel like it’s my own story that weighs heaviest on my mind. Stuff has been rather…ugly, lately.  Not only for me; a friend’s marriage and a long-term relationship between two other friends both fell apart recently, with no solid indication in either case whether there’s even a chance for them to be put back together. Humpty Fucking Dumpty. That’s not what this day is actually about, of course, but for me that kind of grief touches very close to the sort grief with which I do have more experience. I’ve written previously here and there about the impact of my losses and how I did and didn’t deal with them on my marriage.  I’m not sure I have much new to say about it now, and while I logically know I’m not the only one who probably seems to struggle more than most (at least it seems that way to me), I will never be one to spout platitudes about how it only made us stronger, closer, better as a couple.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to look back with more perspective and see it that way, but I guess I’m still not far enough removed. Someday, I hope.

I always hate this time of year, anyway, mostly because my first miscarriage happened in September, but the way the changes in the daylight and the trees and the seasons always coincide never fails to leave me with a months-long hangover of remembered grief.  Last year I felt a little bit better equipped than usual to cope.  Having a baby will do that, at least in my super-scientific sample size of exactly one.  We even took Ike to the gathering at a local park organized by a local Face2Face group (find one in your area here).  He’s older this year, obviously, and the 7 pm International Wave of Light gets dangerously close to interfering with his bedtime, and he’s got a new tooth coming through, so I’m not going to try to take him to the park this year.  For other reasons, too, it simply is not as appealing to me right now.  The healing vibe has faded, through no fault at all of the organizer or the group, but for me…I just can’t do it this year.

What I have been able to do of late, is reach out and make connections with a couple of women I ordinarily am not very close with, who now unfortunately have their own history with pregnancy loss.  These are more real-life more-than-acquaintances/Face.book friends, but not members of the online ALI community, so in reaching out I did have a bit more trepidation that they wouldn’t be open to talking about it, that I’d end up hurting feelings more than I would be able to help. Thankfully that wasn’t the case in either situation, and both seemed somewhat relieved or at least touched and not hurt that I’d brought up the subject seemingly out of nowhere.  Their stories aren’t mine to tell; I could probably do so making them anonymous, but that isn’t really the point I want to make today.  I find it quite hard to articulate the gratitude I have for the ability to reach out and make those connections.  Like we often say, it’s not a club anyone wants to join, and there is of course nothing about their losses that actually makes me happy, but I am so very glad to have felt brave enough to reach out and offer to just listen, if nothing else.  It’s not something I could have ever done without having lived my own bit of hell. The community of ALI bloggers has been an unending and ever-present source of support when I’ve needed it (and hopefully I’ve been able to lend support back as well), and it felt rather amazing to take the risk and extend that support rather spontaneously to women who probably have no idea that an ALI community exists.  Paying it forward, I hope.

So that is my take on October 15th this year.  As you remember the babies that aren’t here with you or with your loved ones, look around and take the risk of reaching out.  Bet that saying something is going to help someone much more than saying nothing.  There will be many names on my mind this evening as I light my candles, and while I’d never wish for the list to grow, I hope that those grieving can have the tiniest bit of comfort knowing that they aren’t the only ones who will never forget.

Fifteen Plus

Dear Baby Ike,

More than two weeks ago already, you turned fifteen months.  I’m clearly having just as hard a time keeping up with these letters to you as I have keeping up with you these days.  You are very much on the move.  The pitter-patter of your still fairly tiny feet sound off at a pace that I suppose qualifies as running.  I can put you down in one spot, turn my head for just a second, and then have to guess which direction you went.  Usually, if we haven’t taken care to put Dexter’s water bowl up out of your reach, you’ll be found in the inevitable puddle.

At your fifteen month checkup with the pediatrician, you weighed in at 22 pounds and three ounces, and were measured at 30 inches tall, which again puts you right in the middle of the pack for weight, though on the shorter side.  Your head circumference is still on the higher end of the curve, which makes it very tempting to dress you up as Charlie Brown for Halloween.  All we’d need is a yellow tee shirt and some electrical tape!  While you still don’t have much hair on top of your head, you have sprouted some length in the back.  Business in the front, party in the back, baby-mullet style.  I already don’t ever want to give you a haircut, but your father will likely prevail before I let you look like too much of a flower child.

Really, I should find you a little doggie costume for Beggar’s Night, as that is still your favorite word, followed closely by ‘birdie’ and ‘apple,’ which sounds more like ‘ahh-puuuw.’  I can’t get enough of it.  When we read the Charley Harper ABCs book we borrowed from the library, you’ll chime right in on B is for BIR-DEEEE and D is for DAGG-EEEE. You find much joy in putting Daddy’s baseball cap on my head, which serves as a great distraction during the diaper changes you’ll hardly hold still for anymore.  You’re picking up more and more words every week, including ‘hat’ and also ‘head,’ which you’ll throw your hands onto when asked where it is.  You also say ‘cheese’ (kee) and ‘keys’ (dee-dee) and probably at least seven other words that I am forgetting right now.  Oh yes, PEE.  We hear that with regularity during diaper changes. You call every infant or kid, and some adults too, in photos or random product packaging, ‘bee-bee’ (baby).  When you see pictures of me and your dad you point and exclaim MOMMY and/or DADDY.  I’m a little sad to have Mama fade into Mommy already, but you still bring Mama back every once in a while, for which I’m ridiculously, sentimentally grateful.

It takes you a little while to warm up around new people or those you don’t see very often, but sooner than later your curiosity takes over and you’re all explorer, checking out what you can get into if we’ve taken you to a new place.  As we move further into toddler territory, I know that we need to set firm limits on a lot of things, but I hope that you will keep that overwhelming curiosity at the same time.  I love watching you discover the world, giving names to things, and seeing your face light up at our excitement as you start to say those names out loud.

Next month you’ll be the ring bearer in Uncle Mikey and [almost technically legally finally] Aunt Steph’s wedding.  Your tiny suit arrived last week.  I’m torn on whether to look further for dress shoes for you or to just let you rock the black and white sneaks you already have that are probably almost close enough to fitting to work.  I honestly have no idea how you’ll react to a church full of guests looking at us (I will accompany you as the Flower Maid – a hybrid of bridesmaid and flower girl) and oohing and ahhing over your cuteness.  Around the house or out and about you will sometimes take my hand and lead me over to show me something, but I don’t necessarily expect that to work well on the spot.  I’m searching for some much lower than I’d normally wear heels, because I expect I might end up having to pick you up and walk you down the aisle. Hopefully having Daddy at the other end will help; you can always steal the show taking off running toward him.  I just hope that if you do become the center of attention it’s not for thrashing or screaming or earnest fussing.  As long as I don’t try to brush your teeth during the ceremony, we probably won’t cause too much chaos…though those may be famous last words!

The next letter I write to you here will be for your half-birthday.  I can’t wait to see how much you change between now and then.  I know it will be a lot, but as the months go by, I find I can never quite imagine the amusement (and some frustrations, of course) you’ll provide for us next.

Love you so much,

Mama (hanging onto that as long as I can!), better known now as Mommy

Photo credit to your Aunt Jeni

Stopping in to see all the ladies at Aunt Steph’s shower.

Lucky Thirteen

Dear Baby Ike,

First, even though you are now a near-expert in the art and science of toddling, I declare that I will continue to call you Baby Ike (Toddler Ike really has no ring to it, sadly) for as long as I can get away with it.  I’ll try not to use it too often just to get under your skin when you’re a teenager, but I will never say never.  It’s fun to imagine you at thirteen years of age, but for now you are thirteen months, as of last week two weeks ago.  I do hope to continue writing you these letters, though it will probably happen with less frequency as you continue to get older.

So yes, you are definitely becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby every day.  You walk unassisted from one end of the house to the other in the most charming tiny-drunk-person fashion I’ve ever seen (bias:  showing).  You would much prefer to feed yourself than let us spoon things into your mouth, though you will still occasionally tolerate apples(auce), because they are your long-standing favorite. Sweet potatoes and carrots, though, have been shunned, and we do need to work harder at continually offering green vegetables, lest you end up as picky as your father.  You have been introduced to cows’ milk, and are taking to it just fine from what I can tell.  You do continue to nurse, and I am so happy that we made it to the one year mark and beyond, but I am bracing myself for the day when you’ll decide you’re done.  I am in no hurry, only hoping it will be a gradual process and I’ll continue to be able to appreciate the quiet moments we’ve had throughout our nursing relationship as it winds down.  I’m sure I’ll be sad when it’s over, but I’m hopeful we’ll find plenty of new ways to share closeness and cuddles.

I am pretty sure that you attempted to say the word “apple” (AAHH-BUH) the other day, along with “ball” (BAH) and “book” (BUH).  I still have no idea what “MEEE-NU” means, but I can at least surmise that it must be lots of fun for you to say and play around with variations on the theme; we hear it and things that sound almost like it an awful lot.  Most, if not all, of the animals that you see are declared “DOGGIN!” and you eye me with suspicion when I tell you that they are actually sheep or horses or cats, not doggies.  You may be earning yourself a new nickname with that tendency; your Uncle Mike pretty much just calls you Doggen.  I die of cute when I hear this.

Last Friday we (Grandma and ‘Aunt’ Jen and I) took you to the Columbus zoo.  Of course you fell asleep just before we arrived, so in order to let you try to get a decent nap we ended up clicking your car seat into the stroller as if you were a teeny-tiny still, rather than wake you up to put you directly into the stroller.  This was not the best configuration for you to see much, so there was much lifting you out to see the animals and luckily I had also brought a mei tai carrier, so we alternated between the two all day.  You were pretty much a champ all day long; we didn’t leave until around five pm, and you crashed hard in the car on the way home.  Hopefully next year we can go back while the larger animals like the giraffes and elephants are there, or maybe to The Wilds where they apparently were that day.

In the carrier at the zoo

Your top two teeth are finally starting to work their way in.  These two are being a bit rougher on you than the first bottom two were.  It seems like most babies your age have several more already, so I’m not sure whether to be grateful that yours are spacing their arrivals out more, or worried that you’ll end up losing them slowly, too, like I did as a kid, and some will end up needing to be pulled in order to put braces on adult teeth coming in behind the baby teeth that won’t want to fall out.  We have a long time before that will become clear, though, so for now I just hope that additional teeth will help you want to explore more foods (you really may turn into a Cheer.io, I fear). All I know for sure is that your smile is about to be even cuter, though I wouldn’t have ever thought it possible.  I am still completely in love with your dimple and I get ridiculously excited when I manage to capture it in a photo.  On Sunday we took you to a local park for more baby swing action and also let you play around on some of the playground equipment as there were hardly any other kids around. As we stood at the edges of the platforms to make sure you didn’t toddle right off, it was hard yet fun to imagine that you’ll soon be stomping around and climbing and jumping and we won’t always need to be right there next to you while you explore.

It’s so fun getting glimpses of the world through your eyes.

Love,

Mama

(photo credits to ‘Aunt’ Jen for the above shots)

Bonus Instagram playground pics:

Things. Wait. Nope, just a thing.

It’s been embarrassingly long since I wrote anything here other than the monthly letters to Ike. Not cool.  I must appear to have forgotten why I ever started this blog to begin with.  Not true, but if stereotypical mama-loves-baby blurbs are all that ever show up, I can’t see how I can expect anyone to believe otherwise.  I won’t make excuses, but I hope I can get into a better habit of doing brain dumps here, if nothing else.  

Things I’ve thought about writing about, but haven’t:

  • Let’s just start with the TMI, if there is such a thing.  My period came back.  A while ago.  The end of May, I believe?  I did make a point to note it on my phone calendar, so…nope, guess I dreamed that.  Fairly normal, other than the next one following three weeks later rather than four.  Then what I thought was a third followed only two and a half weeks after the second, but really I just had spotting for five or so days.  Very not normal for me, and way too reminiscent of the beginning of my…third? yes, third miscarriage.  So uncomfortably reminiscent that I bought a pack of peesticks.  Then I thought, how fucked up is it that my first thought is not ‘I wonder if I’m pregnant,’ but instead ‘I wonder if I’m having a miscarriage’.  Seems kinda fucked up to me, but what the hell do I know.  I admit I hoped to see a second line, even a squinter.  I squinted.  Repeatedly.  The next morning, too.  Definitively negative.  There is still one more test under the sink, but I am trying to refrain from thinking about how much I weirdly kind of like peeing on sticks.  Not that even the positive ones ever meant much in the way of outcome, statistically for me at least. I don’t know where I’m going with this, exactly.  We are definitely not trying right now, but then again, I have presented at least one narrative in the past that could possibly indicate that I don’t know how birth control works.  I do know how it works.  I swear.  Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and I thought this was another one of those times, but it appears not.  I never have mid-cycle bleeding, but there is no use wondering if that could have been a chemical pregnancy.  So what if it was?  Well, it does sort of make me want to buy a drugstore cheapie OPK to try and determine if/when I am ovulating.  You know, for science.
  • I would could should bang out another few bullet points, but I think instead I shall opt for a shower while I have the chance.  Must come back for more, and soon.

One Year

Dear Baby Ike,

Last week you turned one. One! A whole year has passed since I spent seventeen hours in labor on Father’s Day and then, finally, in the wee hours of the next morning, you were scooped up out of the water and placed into my arms for the first time. I look back at photos from that day and am still so thankful for and amazed at your safe arrival.

You are moving quickly away from babyhood toward toddlerhood. You can take a few steps on your own, though you still prefer to hold onto someone’s fingers for support so you can cover much more distance. You are still experimenting with all kinds of sounds verbally, stringing together your babble in ways that sound remarkably like actual conversation. Everything is a doggie, which still sounds more like “doggin” for now.

All of your grandparents and aunts and uncles were able to come to your birthday party, which we had on Father’s Day, and was wonderful. It wasn’t fancy or themed or at all elaborate, but it was full of love, which I hope is how you will also someday remember your childhood. You received many gifts of toys and cute clothing, for which I do plan to write thank you notes on your behalf. Hopefully I will have you do the same in a few years, carrying on a habit that my parents developed for me (I don’t claim to be 100% consistent, but I try!).

Somewhat sadly, yet hilariously, you were far from enthused with your first birthday (strawberry cream) cake. It may have just been that by that time if the afternoon you were past due for your second nap, but you wanted nothing to do with it, and were quite offended at our trying to get you to taste it. I had to go to the viewing for your aunt’s father-in-law the next afternoon, and while I was gone your dad and paternal grandparents gave you a second opportunity with a chocolate cupcake. You were highly suspicious, especially after touching the hot wax from the candle (Daddy felt awful for not getting it out of your reach quickly enough), but then Grandma had the brilliant idea to stick a few Cheerios in the frosting. This eventually enticed you to dig in, as Cheerios remain one of your most favorite things, and the resulting chocolate baby-beard exceeded all my hopes for messy cake-face birthday photos.

I am writing this from the road, as I had to go out if town for work for four nights this week, and I have missed you fiercely since the second we pulled out of the driveway. I know your father has taken great care of you, but I am so anxious to get home and at least see you. You will probably be asleep when I get there, so I will stop myself from waking you up to squeeze and snuggle you, but it won’t be easy for me to wait until you wake up to refill on Ike cuddles.

We’ve come a long way, Baby Ike. I admit to not really being ready to see you leave your babyhood behind, but I know that for every single thing I will miss about the tiny you, I will fall in love anew with multiple toddler things as you hurtle toward being a big kid. I’m sure we’ll have our share of frustrations and tantrums, but I promise to love you more than you could think would be possible, through all of it. Happy belated birthday, honey. May your second year be even sweeter than your first.

Love,
Mama