Twice Around the Sun

Dear Baby Ike,

Wednesday of last week was your second birthday.  If I am to believe the subject lines of Baby.center.com emails, this means you are now a preschooler!  But let’s be real – Mama will keep calling you Baby Ike, at least on occasion, as long as she can get away with it.  At the same time, you are certainly becoming a true big kid in some ways, so I will compromise and try to come to grips with the fact that you are at least solidly in the toddler range – technically you most likely will not start any kind of preschool program until next year, so I can for now at least semantically justify the procrastination of using that next categorical designation of tiny human.

Most of the time now you refer to yourself as Ikey, a nickname which grew on me more quickly and more fiercely than I anticipated.  When Grandma first started calling you that I honestly wasn’t sure how much I liked the sound of it, but coming out of your own mouth it seems 100% fitting.  All the other things coming out of your mouth, which are way too numerous to even attempt to quantify at this point, are nothing short of astonishing.  For barely two, you are quite verbal. You want to know the name of everything (WAT’S DAT!) and spend a lot of time identifying things and people you’re quite sure of (DAT’S MOMMY. DAT’S A TEEVEE!).  You repeat lots of new and old phrases every day, earning your moniker of Little Parrot (IKEY’S A WITTWE PAWWOT), and your sentence constructions and emphasis and expression never fail to impress me (WAT’S GAMPA DOIN’ OVER DERE?).  We’ve only had a handful of incidents (so far, anyway) in which you repeat somewhat unsavory things you overhear Mama or Daddy or one of their friends saying – the best of which had to be the time at Aunt Jeni’s house when the XBOX remote’s batteries died, meaning we couldn’t set you up with yet another episode of Daniel Tiger or Super Why.  You immediately declared this injustice to be BULLSHIT!  Nice use of context, I guess?  I don’t think anyone even tried not to laugh.

Your love of reading and books continues; you can pretty much recite the entirety of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and the expression you use for each turn of events kills me dead every time.  As much as I try not to let you insist and win on reading AWWWWWW DESE BOOKS before every bedtime, I’ll always let you sneak that one in before lights out. I need to enlist someone to help me get it on video soon, before your pronunciation goes up another notch toward proper – it’s already making me nostalgic for the time when the remotes were MEAT-MOTES and you didn’t have the S sound down pat yet.  Even Gamma and Gampa now sound more like Gramma and Grampa, though the Rs are still a bit W-ish.  I have, however, developed my own private conspiracy to keep you saying rhino-nocerous.  I have to think and say it very slowly to get it correct myself anymore.

You’re solid on the ABCs, colors, and basic shapes, and most of the numbers up to but not quite including 30!  I’m not sure you get the numbers concept nearly as much as you do letters (N. E. T. F. L. I. X. – DAT SPEWWS NETFWIX!), and you usually try to skip over 14 through 16 or 17 to get straight to 18, with a similar pattern through the 20s, but I’m still pretty astonished that you seem to have absorbed so much, so fast.  Sesame Street FTW?  Speaking of the Street, we had your birthday party on Saturday, and the word of the day was FUN.  In no particular order:

016 IMG_0699 IMG_0656 IMG_0633 IMG_0724.JPG (2)010 IMG_0607 IMG_0609 IMG_0610 IMG_0611

Like last year, you were more interested in the fruit on/in your cake(s) than making a big messy cake-face, but at least this year we did not have to resort to putting Chee.rios in the frosting just to entice you to take a bite.  I’m pretty sure you had a great time.  A few of your friends were able to come, and you all had big fun playing in the pools and running around in the yard and in and out of the house.  You stayed up waaaay past your normal bedtime, and showed off some of your new imaginative play skills (pretending to be a dog and barking, which sounds remarkably like Dexter, at the window and the front door – when asked what you’re barking at, you reply DA MAIWMAN). You definitely have an independent streak, which I love to see (IKEY CAN DO IT AWW BY HIMSEWF!), even when it means slowing the progress of some tasks or activities to match the viscosity of molasses.  You’re also starting to show more of your imagination in playing with toys, feeding blocks to the caterpillars (because they’re VEWWY HUNGEE, you know) and prompting me to feign sadness (MOMMY SAD!) so you can give me kisses to cheer me up (you bet I’m a sucker for that game!).  I started asking you to “Guess what!” a while back, and answered for you with “I love you,” which you’ll now say back most of the time. That is, when it’s not an Everything is No (NO EVERYTHING NO!) time of day.  If it’s time for everything to be NO! then you say NO WUV YOU instead, but most of the time I can turn that into Mommy Sad and still get a kiss (tricky Mama!). Sometimes it morphs into I WOOF YOU, which I guess is Dog for the obvious?  You haven’t really explained, you just laugh (DATS FUNNY!), but it seems like a fairly educated guess, and perhaps your first pun.  We practiced a couple of those last night, and while I’m somewhat doubtful that you really grasp the concept of jokes with words yet, you definitely do enjoy it when DAT SOUNDS FUNNY!  Or, now, DAT’S PUNNY!

You also got your first haircut last week.  I was rather loathe to dispense with your natural, spiral-curl rat-tail, but even without it some curls remain.

Before

Before

After, without much humidity

After, without much humidity

During

It’s already been a great start to summer with you, Ikey – I’m so looking forward to the rest of it, and to everything that will follow.

Love you much,

Mama

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

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:

Eleven

Dear Baby Ike,

Yesterday you turned eleven months old.  Without looking back at my past ten letters to you, I’m willing to bet that the second sentence in each one has something to do with my disbelief that another month has flown by.  I suppose it should go without saying, but it continues to be remarkable to me, every single month.  It’s very hard to believe that next month we will celebrate your birthday, but the calendar doesn’t lie, and I can’t wait to see your first cake-covered birthday face.

The speed at which the days and weeks go by is not the only fast thing around here these days.  At approximately the speed of light, you went from all army-crawl scooting to short spurts of halting hands-and-knees crawling, and now to full on, full time crawling as if you’ve been doing it forever.  Plus lots of pulling up to standing and now cruising from one piece of furniture to another, testing your balance, holding onto our fingers and walking from one end of the house to the other.  You’re a pretty good sport about the bonks on the noggin that will happen most of the time, and you don’t mind falling on your butt from standing at all.  I thought at first it was due to the extra cushion from the prefold diapers, but you’ve done it many times during naked baby time (airing out the butt to try and get on top of some diaper rash) now, too, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether you plop down on the diaper or just your cute little baby cellulite covered tush.  The toys that used to occupy you for good chunks of time are much more often now cast aside in favor of whatever you may find somewhere else, simply because you can take yourself there now.  And you do, all the time.  We finally got a little weary of trying to head you off before you take a dip in Dexter’s water bowl and moved it to the counter.  Now we just have to remember not to dehydrate our doggie.

Speaking of doggie, I am pretty sure that you did.  Just yesterday we stepped outside the front door to look at the clematis blooms and Dexter was sitting on the back of the couch (as he does when someone goes out front without him – we are not the best dog trainers, for sure).  You noticed him there and I could swear that you said DOGGIE!  That one hasn’t been repeated clearly yet, so it may be a fluke or my imagination, but we have started to get lots of in-context Dadas and some Mamas (I wonder if you’d say it more if I didn’t coach you as much).  There is a monkey-with-banana decal on the wall above your changing table (which you now FREAK OUT every time we go near – not loving diaper changes AT ALL these days), and as I try to distract you with it, making monkey noises (dignity?  don’t need it), I asked you what a monkey eats – does it eat a banana? And you replied, ‘ANA!  That one has been repeated pretty clearly a few times now, though I’m honestly confused on what qualifies as a first word.  Must it be intelligible by anyone other than your father and me? I’m guessing so.

I was just starting to get concerned that we haven’t seen you wave bye-bye or clap yet, but yesterday your Aunt Jen came over to watch you for an hour or so while your father and I went out to do some stuff and we returned home to you waving bye-bye.  High five, Aunt Jen (context will come, I’m sure).  Still no clapping, but you do give fives (high, low, and mid), you still raise your arms up to answer Sooo Big when asked how big Baby Ike is (if you’re in the right mood, of course).

We’ve been trying to spend some time outside as often as possible now that the weather is finally staying pretty nice most of the time. Just sitting with you on a blanket in the shade under the Japanese maple in the backyard is probably my absolute favorite thing to do right now.  You alternate between turning random pages in your books and watching birds as they fly around the yard from tree to tree.  You are not yet a big fan of the texture of grass, though.  You touch it willingly, but then make a scrunchy EW face and give a little shudder, not unlike your reaction to the taste of green beans.  When I picked a blade that had gone to seed and twirled it around and tickled you, though, you thought it was hilarious.  This morning you were so interested in the cable guy climbing the pole in the corner of the neighbor’s yard that you held my hands and walked barefoot through the grass for several feet, apparently forgetting that you dislike touching it so.  Won’t be long until you’re all over the yard all on your own, not holding onto anyone or anything.

You’re still somewhat in the stranger/separation anxiety stage. Thankfully you are so happy to be with Grandma that every workday morning doesn’t involve tears upon my departure, but you often shyly lean into the shoulder of whomever is holding you if someone you’re not familiar or comfortable with approaches you.  As with all these phases, this too shall pass, and I am not ashamed to admit that I quite enjoy those snuggles, knowing you feel safe with us and will turn right to us for comfort when needed.  You do have your social moments, of course.  When we went out to eat with Grandma and Grandpa for Mother’s Day, we waited in the bar for our table to be ready, and as Grandpa carried you around to see all the things while killing the time, you got very smiley and played up your cuteness for at least one pretty girl.  When we get the timing right (soon after a second nap of the day and not too close to bedtime), you’re a delight for an early bird dinner out.

Your eating and drinking skills have advanced way past the days when I called you Stinky Milk Neck (pincer grasp, check; sippy cup, check), but now I can call you Stinky Feet Ike – when I pick up a foot and sniff it, make an EW face and tell you it’s soooo stinky! you laugh and laugh and laugh.  I’d do it all day long if it wouldn’t get old.  We try to keep baths to when they are absolutely necessary so as not to aggravate the few spots of eczema still hanging around, so they may indeed be stinky sometimes, but I often catch a whiff of your lingering baby smell and wish it could stay forever.  A couple of months ago a friend of mine came by as we were getting you ready for bed, and as she leaned in to give you a smooch on the cheek she asked in surprise how you could still smell like a newborn baby.  I’m not sure exactly how that works, but if I had to guess I would say it’s mostly due to you still breastfeeding, which I’m very happy about.  I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to keep that going, but I will surely be sad when you begin to smell more like little boy than little baby.  I wish I could bottle up that scent and keep it close forever.

Love you so much,

Mama

Let me out!

Way Back Machine Memory Jogger

The title above is the subject line of an email my dad sent to me and my siblings a few days ago, and it is definitely apt.  The email contained two links to You.Tube videos of this crazy song, apparently from the 70s, that we found absolutely hilarious as little kids.  What can I say?  We are a bunch of weirdos.  Memories like this from my childhood are one of the many things that make me hopeful that we’ll be able to give Ike a sibling someday in the not-too-awfully-distant future, so he can have someone to share giggles and peals of laughter with, creating memories with his own family’s strange silliness.  Not to say that I’m really anywhere near ready to start taking action now toward that end, or even soon, but it serves as a reminder not to wait too long, either.  It still feels like a greedy thought to imagine another baby coming into our lives, and I don’t assume that it will definitely happen, but I am hopeful enough to allow myself to think about it from time to time.  I love the idea of Ike having a little brother or sister with whom he can someday look back on the funny things they remember from childhood.  He needs someone else who’ll “get” how weird his parents are, and thus are probably going to make them.  I would rather there not be a huge age gap between siblings, so they’ll be able to relate to one another (though I’m sure not always) but again, I know that we certainly don’t always get our druthers when it comes to family building.

Here is the video that gave me such a flashback/flash-forward (skip to the two minute mark if you want to go right to the song – but the first two minutes do contain some supreme oddness that I think is worth watching!):

Fish heads, fish heads,
Rolly-polly fish heads,
Fish heads, fish heads,
Eat them up, yum!

Fish heads, fish heads,
Rolly-polly fish heads,
Fish heads, fish heads,
Eat them up, yum!

In the morning,
Laughing happy fish heads,
In the evening,
Floating in the soup!

{Chorus}

Ask a fish head
Anything you want to,
They won’t answer,
They can’t talk!

{Chorus}

I took a fish head
Out to see a movie,
Didn’t have to pay
To get it in!

{Chorus}
They can’t play baseball,
They don’t wear sweaters,
They’re not good dancers,
They don’t play drums!

{Chorus}

Rolly-polly fish heads
Are never seen drinking cappicino
In Italian resturaunts,
With Oriental women, yeah!

{Chorus x four}

Yeah.

(Link)

I am still laughing at “they don’t wear sweaters, they aren’t good dancers….”

What oddball things from your childhood would you like to pass along to your own child(ren)?  Do you share certain things with your sibling(s), if you have them, that instantly have you laughing, but would make no sense to anyone else?

Seven Months

Dear Baby Ike,

I hardly know where to start this month.  You turned seven months old this past Friday, and while I know this letter won’t capture anywhere near all of the amazement I have in your development in the last month, I need to get it posted now or before I can blink you will be eight months already!  You are doing so many new things and there aren’t enough hours in the days for me to properly sop up all your deliciousness and also function as an adult human.  I gladly sacrifice the functioning part, frankly.  A lot of the time I know I am leaving a lot of quasi-important, household-y things completely undone, but for the most part I don’t care at all.  It’s quite difficult to convince myself that I should do anything at all instead of hanging out with you, feeding you, playing with you, or snuggling you.  This often means that I also neglect to do things like cut your fingernails and toenails, because I have such a hard time forcing myself to do something that I know will frustrate you and make you upset (and yet I’m also loathe to try doing it while you’re alseep, because I know you need that sleep and I don’t want to wake you up accidentally!)  Good thing Grandma is happy to help out on that task as well.  Otherwise you’d have talons probably literally inches long sometimes!

Going to work five days a week makes me feel like I am missing SO MUCH of your cuteness, which is getting dangerously cuter by the day.  Grandma got some awesome pictures of you in the bathtub at her house the other day, and I can’t wait until she sends them to me. I love it when she gets her camera out so I can feel like I get to catch up on at least a sliver of the fun you have with her all week. You really do keep her on her toes, and you’re not even actually mobile yet.  I know she loves being with you so often (but she could probably stand it if you gave her a break with a real nap now and then).

Speaking of sleep, we have been mostly cosleeping for a while now (three months?  I don’t even know anymore), as it seems most logical that neither of us has to really get up out of bed to have your dream feeds.  I know I should probably be working harder to get you used to sleeping in your crib, but again, it’s very hard to care right now.  It seems silly to put effort into putting you down for the night farther away from me than you need to be.  You will only be small for a short time, and this time of being a baby is getting shorter all the time, so I don’t think I will look back and regret being able to cuddle you close after you drift off to sleep.  Waking in the night with you can be exhausting, but I treasure it at the same time.  A couple of times now you have woken up in the morning and fussed for a bit without actually opening your eyes first, and then you eventually open them, continuing to fuss a little, not realizing that I am right there in the bed next to you.  When you do notice that I’m there, your face breaks into the biggest, most joyful smile I have ever seen, and my heart bursts into a million pieces right there on the spot.  It makes me long for the technology of a camera implanted right in my brain so I could simply blink and try to capture that feeling and never ever let it go.  I suppose I might get the same kind of smiles coming in to pick you up out of the crib in the mornings, but it’s so nice to be able to lay my face down right next to yours and just drink in the sweetness that is you.  I have never in my life been this close to being a morning person, but you really do give me endless things to look forward to, day after day.

You’ve now tasted several different solid foods:  avocado, sweet potato, green peas, and bananas (I feel like I may be forgetting one right now).  At first you didn’t seem to really be liking the tastes of these things, if the hilarious faces you make are any indication, but you do like the act of eating, grabbing the spoon and putting it in your own mouth.  I think you’re slowly starting to actually like the food itself, at least sometimes.  Next on the list to try are pears and apples, and who knows what else.  There are still many, many tastes that will be brand new to you; it is so exciting to me to think about seeing your face and reaction to new foods.  I am also relieved that you’re still nursing.  Now that you’re not exclusively breastfed, I will admit to living in a little fear of the day that you decide to wean.  As thrilling as it is to watch you grow and develop, I am nowhere near ready to be done with your babyhood.  Thankfully we still have a little ways to go!

You continue to add different sounds to your repertoire of baby babble.  Lately I hear a lot of “buh-wuh” and “bwuh” though I don’t think it means anything in particular yet.  Still lots of MEH and MUH, sometimes repeated so it gets awfully close to ‘Mama,’ which I of course love to hear.  The more I hear you making recognizable sounds, the easier it becomes to picture you actually talking, though that is still a ways off yet.  I can imagine your little voice singing songs and telling jokes and asking for things that you want and telling me what you think about all kinds of things, and I just can’t believe how lucky we are that we get to have you in our lives, doing all these normal things that to us will be clear strokes of genius, every time.

You’re not crawling yet, and I haven’t seen you roll from back to belly yet either, but in addition to rolling from tummy to back you now also scootch in circles when we put you down on your belly, so you’re definitely working hard on the pre-crawling skills.  It’s starting to become more concretely imaginable that we’ll be chasing you all over the house soon – we have a lot (read:  ALL) of babyproofing yet to do!

I love you so much, my little Sugar Butt.  I never thought I would be the kind of mother to make up ridiculously obnoxious nicknames for her kid like that, but you have really turned me into a different person, and I absolutely love being that goofy, baby-obsessed mother that I never thought I’d have a chance to be.  I’m definitely a great big silly fool for you, Isaac.

Love always,

Mama

Six Months

Dear Baby Ike,

Yesterday you turned six months old, and on Monday you had your six-month checkup with the pediatrician.  You now weigh a whole 17 lbs. and 9 oz., and you’re 25 and a half inches tall.  You’ve done so many new things this past month, I can hardly keep up!  You really love it when we make a zzzzipzzzipzzzzzzip sound as we zip up your sleepers (snaps are seriously inferior for getting-dressed entertainment).  You’re sitting up on your own now, which threw me for a loop because I expected you to roll over before you sat up – wrong, Mama!  You clearly do things on your own timeline, as all babies should.  Just the other day, Grandma said that you rolled over in stages, starting on your belly, then hanging out on your side for a bit playing with a toy, then eventually flipped the rest of the way over onto your back.  And this morning you did it without all the pauses between stages, twice in a row.  You tolerate a whole lot more tummy time before you get mad about it these days.  You’re almost mobile…which is a whole new world of parenting for your father and me.  I doubt we’re ready, but as always we’ll try to catch up quickly.

You’re babbling all kinds of sounds now, becoming quite the little conversationalist.  I’ve heard Gs and Bs and Ws and Ms and many more.  You still love doggies, and get so excited when Grandpa and Maggie do their little obstacle course in which he lies on the carpet and she runs around and jumps over him, and you don’t mind when Dexter tries to make you his popsicle.  Your squeals of delight are the best music my ears have ever had the privilege of hearing.  You love to stand on our laps and jump and jump and jump up and down, laughing and yelling.  I know there’s a Jumperoo in your future, thanks to your Grandma on Daddy’s side.  She and Grandpa are coming up from Alabama on Saturday, and I know they cannot wait to see you. Skype is great, but they don’t yet know the force of your current cuddles since you’ve gotten so much bigger than the last time they saw you.

For quite a while now you have shown keen interest in food when you see people eating, recently adding a sort of practice chew to your repertoire  but we held out and waited until yesterday to give you your first solids – starting with avocado.  I think that you did like it, because you kept eating it, but the faces you made were hilariously indicative of displeasure all the same, complete with an emphatic and perfectly-timed blehhhhh sound at one point that cracked everyone up. You are too hilarious right now, sometimes I can hardly stand it. This eating thing opens up a whole new world for you to explore, and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be one of the people who get to guide you through it.  I have so much fun with you; I still can’t get enough of your chubby little smiles and sweet little snuggles.  I’m sure I’m probably forgetting some milestones (oh!  passing toys from one hand to the other – I didn’t know that was kind of a big deal, but apparently it is) but suffice it to say that you continue to amaze me with every little thing you do.  I know that most people probably will not agree because they think the same of their own babies or the babies in their lives, but I’ll tell you a (not so) secret:  we think you’re the best. baby. evah.

Love,
Mama