Monday, July 28, 2014

Bowen :: 2 Years Old

Bowen :: 2 Years

Stats: 30.5 lbs, 34 inches! Growth spurt! He actually jumped from the 20th percentile growth curve to the 50th. Holla for average height! He’s wearing 2T on top and 18 months on the bottom. 

Eats: Still almost anything, although some occasional bouts of pickiness have shown up. Yesterday I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said “Hmmm…how bout…. Chicka lay?” (Chick-Fil-A.) Nice try, buddy! His favorites are yogurt (obsessed), grapes, peanut butter sandwiches, strawberries, turkey meatballs, corn, chicken and ketchup, pita and hummus, watermelon and blackberries. He will not eat cheese. I don’t get it. 

Sleeps: Usually 7:30ish to 7:30ish, with a 30 minute swing in either direction. He’s been up later a little more often, but doesn’t sleep in so I try to stick to earlier bedtime. I switched lunch to before nap which pushed his nap back to about 12:30/1:00-2:30/3:00. It’s usually 90 minutes, but I sometimes get the nice two hour stretch. 

Milestones: Runs and climbs, runs and climbs. He’s a hundred miles an hour. He’s AMAZING at kicking a soccer ball - he can chase it all around the yard. He’s also got a pretty decent throwing arm (and occasionally remembers to “throw to hands” instead of faces. Eek.) He can do the stairs by himself now but he still prefers to hold a hand. He has a million words. Seriously.  He speaks in sentences - “I need help,” “I want a snack,” “I not sleepy.” He sings songs - I’ll catch him singing Twinkle Twinkle or Wheels on the Bus to himself in the car sometimes. He requests his favorite songs - Sweetheart (Ho Hey), Hot Dog and Bamboleo (?!) are top three right now. He tells stories about things that happened in the past and has an amazing memory.  He repeats things I say constantly, like “oh my goodness!” and “how nice!” My favorite is when he’s doing something “naughty” he’ll go “You s’posed to do dat?” to himself. He’s started doing a lot of pretend play - pretending to talk on the phone, holding up fake food and making “chewing” sounds, etc. 

Loves: Trucks, trucks, trucks. Anything with wheels. Particularly construction vehicles. Going to the playground, the Y and the pool. Playing on the porch and in the grass. Zoey and Eli. Reading books - favorites right now are a Curious George book, Happy Baby, the Pookie series, Is Your Mama a Llama and 12 Little Race Cars (memorized this one). Kicking a soccer ball. Throwing balls. Running. Hiding from mommy. Coloring. 

Challenges: Timeout for hitting. He’s a regular visitor. He, fortunately, seems to show remorse and when I go to get him out, he says (and signs) “I’m sorry mommy” and is very loving. He usually only hits when we’re playing around and he gets excited or when he’s overtired, but malicious intent or not, I’m trying to curb that as quickly as possible. So, boom, straight to TO. (Two minutes in a chair facing the wall in the dining room. So far, knock on wood, he’ll stay there.) Generally trying to avoid power struggles: if I can offer him a choice, it’s usually better. Instead of saying “We need to go upstairs and change your diaper,” to which he screams no and runs and hides, I try to say “ We need to go upstairs and change your diaper - would you like to walk or would you like mommy to carry you?” (He usually says walks but keeps standing in there… then I start counting to 3… then he runs to the stairs… it’s a work in progress.) There’s at least one meltdown per day. It’s white noise now. When he does something he knows he was supposed to, he tells me “Good boy, issen ears” which is his version of “Good boy, you used your listening ears” which I must say a hundred times a day. 

Sweet Bo, you’re two! How is that possible? In some ways, I’ve been rounding him up to two when strangers ask or when signing him into the Y nursery that it doesn’t feel weird to say he is two… But on the other hand, when I think about holding that little baby in my arms in the hospital room on the first early morning, watching the sunrise and the morning commute on Silas Creek Parkway, I think to myself “that can’t possibly have been two years ago.” As someone wise said, the days are long but the years are short. I try to remind myself of this when I’m standing on the stairs for what seems like an eternity while someone tests out every railing (“not safe!” for the wobbly one, “this one’s safe!” for the rest) or think I’ll never make it past this stage of having to avoid getting kicked in the chest for every diaper change. Reminding myself that it won’t feel very long before I’m a middle aged woman with teenagers looking back at these years helps me to immediately grasp how precious these days are - how sweet his tiny voice is, how quick his little impish smile is, how snuggly he is when we are reading books, how his tiny hands gets lost in mine still and how his little round belly still pokes out over his diaper after a full meal. As spirited and challenging as he can be, he shines when he’s praised or when I catch him being good - “good boy issening, mommy” and comes running to find me when he’s done something he’s proud of (like stacked up all his trucks in a line) and says “you can show me, mommy! show me!” when he wants me to see it. Love the pronoun swaps! He’s started saying “I love you” unprompted (“I yuv you”) and tells me every night when I’m tucking him in “I need a hug. I need a kiss.” While I was getting dressed for church the other day he came in and told me “Mommy, you look pwetty.” He’s such a sweet, sweet kid. And so social! This boy loves nothing more than having everyone’s attention on him and is quick to figure out ways to make everyone around him laugh. He is definitely not an introvert like his dear mama. It is amazing seeing his personality emerge and getting to imagine the little person he is growing up to become. I wish I could bottle up some of these moments so I knew I would remember them always, but it’s also so fun to see his world get more and more expansive each day. 

Happy Birthday, Bowen boy. We are just so lucky to be your parents and love being with you as you burst through this world with a huge grin on your face, a monster truck in one hand and a handful of ya’ya’s (cheerios) in the other. XOXO

Monday, April 28, 2014

21 Months

Bowen :: 21 Months

Stats: 28.5 lbs, 31 inches. Still wearing 12-18/18-24 months although the pants don’t have to be rolled anymore - sometimes I have to yank them up as his little baby belly has started to disappear as he gets busier and busier!

Eats: Just about everything? His favorites are still yogurt, waffles, turkey meatballs, corn, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, edadmames, peanut butter, raisins. He calls every meal a snack - pronounced “snock” and asks for “a couple ya-ya’s (cheerios) and raisins” at every meal. 

Sleeps: Mostly 7pm-7am or bedtime has crept up to 8 sometimes recently… and it’s about 50/50 if he’ll sleep in til 8. Naps 12:00-1:30/2:00 so we’ve gotten the nap a little later in the afternoon. All he needs to go to sleep are puppy blanket, puppy and ee ee. He finishes the song I’ve been singing him since he was a baby (Powder Blue) and then yells BYE BYE to me. Occasionally he’ll ask to “rock rock” and I always oblige - it’s so rare that he wants to cuddle and I can’t pass up the opportunity.

Milestones: Huge improvements with toe-walking. His physical therapy has gone well and he’s mostly flat-footed now, with occasional tiptoes. He still wears the brace at night and naps to keep his ankle stretched but he can now squat, balance and crawl up stairs with much greater ease. He’s starting to do the stairs with railings but still gets a little timid about that. He kicks a soccer ball, throws and loves climbing on the playground. He talks NONSTOP. So much talking. I love his sweet voice. He can count to to ten and sing most of the ABC’s - still called the “ahh-bee-cee’s.” He dances and sings whenever music is on and can name an astounding number of songs within the first few notes. He’s just started to run, and I love the way it looks like his top half of his body is disconnected from the bottom half.

Loves: All trucks and anything with wheels. Everything is a car and he finds roads everywhere - the edge of his plate, mommy’s leg, the top of a table. He loves books and will happily go through every one of his bookshelf. Top favorites right now are the Pookie books (Sandra Boynton), Go Dog Go, the “Digger book”, the “Chuggy truck book,” the “happy baby book” and an ABC’s book. Waffles, muffins, yogurt, raisins. Zoey and Eli and going to the Y. Saying hello to everyone. Playing on the porch (“pooch”) and in the grass (“gas”) and blowing bubbles. Going to the playground (“pee-gound.”) Belly raspberries. Wheels on the Bus and the Muffin Man. Coloring. Particularly with purple crayons. Watching videos of himself on my phone. Playing “out-tide.” 

Challenges: Enforcing the rule that I have to carry him across the parking lot of the Y. There’s usually screaming. Or basically anytime he wants to walk/run, and I have to pick him up to get him somewhere. It can take us a good ten minutes to get up the stairs sometimes, and if I finally just scoop him up to carry him up there: the world has ended. Whining. There’s definitely a whining stage happening right now. Not over anything in particular, more just like anything he requests seems to come out in a high-pitched voice that would send dogs running. Random meltdowns. Fortunately, he’s definitely improved with the hitting - whether he’s just moved on or actually listened to us is debated. He does walk around the house saying “no hitting Bo” so at least I know he’s heard us… We’re also getting slightly better with dinner times, or at least, it’s warm enough outside where he can go play on the porch when I cook. I’m amazed at how just playing outside in general - at any point during the day - seems to do wonders for this kid’s mood. We couldn’t be more ready for spring to be here. We’ve had my mom here a lot these last 3 months since they bought a house in Winston (!!!!!!) so I’m not entirely sure if there have been less challenges in general or if I’ve just been able to have more breaks and don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did at 18 months. 

Somewhere along the line, my little baby disappeared and this little boy showed up. All of a sudden, I have a house full of cars and tractors and soccer balls and golf clubs and I roll my window down whenever I pass a fire engine so he can hear the siren. We have so much fun with this little boy. He is curious and playful and social and loving. He is a good little boy, and knows what the boundaries are - and tests them within the appropriateness of a toddler, of course. He has the sweetest demeanor and loves to give his friends hugs and kisses. He and Zoey leave the Y daycare holding hands and walk all the way out to our cars like this every time. He is so social, and I swear our days are better when we get out and about at least once. (Sometimes a challenge for his introverted, homebody mama - but fortunately, even a trip to Target can act as a happy hour to this kid who just wants to SEE people and interact.) I can’t believe we’re closer to 2 than we are to 1 now - I don’t know where this last year has gone. The rare moments when he asks to rock rock and will curl up into my chest, I just try to freeze time and preserve the memory of those 29 lbs curled up in my lap (barely fitting) and the soft feel of his little blonde head under my chin. I remember myself, in those moments when he’s whining hard because I won’t let him watch “baby videos” on my phone, that these moments won’t keep and one day I will yearn for the sound of that tiny voice asking for another round of wheels on the bus. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Year in Review

Past years: 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’ve never done before?
Parented a toddler. Zip-lined. Organized my photos. Started a work at home job. 
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never make resolutions, I usually make a list of general wants (things like “a healthy, happy baby” or “lots of travel opportunities.”) Looking at my list for the start of 2013, I would say most came to fruition. I’m a big believer in writing things down and letting them go. :) 
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I foresee this being a long answer for the next few years of my life while all my friends are in baby-making mode... Let’s see: Wino Emily had her second, Cameron, in February. Our best buds Anne and Locke welcomed their first in June, Elijah or as Bo prefers to call him “Baby Li Li.” My dear friend from book club, Anna, had her first, Bennett in June (on the same day as Eli was born.) My high school friend Krissy had her first little boy, Jamie, in September and high school friend/grad school roommate/psuedo big sister Jen had her second, Tobin, in November. 
4. Did anyone close to you die? Matt’s family lost a wonderful soul at the end of the year, his mom’s father, or “Pa” as he was known to all. I’m so fortunate I had the chance to know him, because he was so important to Matt and I’m thankful I got to witness that relationship. Matt grew up next door to his Nanta and Pa, who have been sweethearts since they were 17, and they helped raise him. It was a heavy loss for his family. We also sadly said good-bye to our sweet Buddy in August
5. What countries did you visit?
We didn’t leave the country this year but we got plenty of domestic travel in again: Phoenix in February, Park City in March, Garden City Beach (SC) in April, Rochester in June, Topsail Beach (NC) in June, Asheville in July, Rochester in August, Boone in November. 
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
I honestly can’t think of anything! Last year I said sleep and bless my sweet Bo, he’s been a great sleeper this year. I feel totally fulfilled in every other area of my life. Pinch me!
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 23rd - said good-bye to sweet Buddy
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Advocating for Bo to get him started early on physical therapy. Scoring a new job that is work-at-home, flexible, pays well and is interesting work. 
9. What was your biggest failure?
Lots of little moments where I failed to parent at my best because I was tired or impatient. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
One brief stomach bug right before Utah but otherwise, a healthy year for all of us. Grateful for that! 
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought it (used!) in 2012 but my BOB has been one of my best investments. We’ve put lots of happy miles on that guy. 
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My dear husband who has turned into a wonderful daddy - who works hard so I can stay home with our little one, but always jumps in to play or help me out with Bo. Also, both sets of grandparents who have been so engaged and part of Bo’s life and so willing to take over parenting duties so we can escape on our many little trips. And lastly, my dear tribe of mommafriends, some who live nearby, some who live in my phone, who are always ready to lend a hand or an ear to support each other through the many interesting moments of parenting littles. 
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I’ve ceased watching a lot of news because it just depresses me, and because I’ve found when something truly big happens, I’ll learn about it anyways through Facebook, Twitter or just conversations. Every year I grow more frustrated hearing about the mass shootings that happen all over our country and frustrated that politicians aren’t representing the requests of american people to change gun laws. I hope I see that change in my lifetime. 
14. Where did most of your money go?
Target and student loans 
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Ben Folds Five, Guster and Barenaked Ladies touring together. (And they were amazing!). Bo’s first steps. 
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Wheels on the Bus 
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder?b) thinner or fatter?c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier… I’ve grown more and more content and grateful with each passing year. b) Thinner!!! Finally back in pre-baby clothes. c) Richer… thanks to some aggressive payment plans, we’re starting to see a dent in student loans and husband has been one year out from residency and making a real salary. So, financially, richer. In every other way of interpreting that though, much, much richer. Our family life is full and happy, we have everything we need, we have our health - we couldn’t ask for more. 
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Meditated. Wrote. Blogged. 
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Judged. Gossiped. Read Facebook.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas with my family at our house and watched Bo learn what “presents” meant. We traveled down to Charlotte a few days later to spend Christmas-belated with my in-law’s family and did a low-country boil at my sister-in-law’s house. 
21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
More and more every day. 
22. What was your favorite TV program?
How I Met Your Mother, The Mindy Project
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
Conversations with God, The Gifts of Imperfection
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Lullaby station on Pandora. Great to fall asleep to, great to write to. 
26. What did you want and get?
A healthy, happy toddler. More sleep. More travel. Debt reduction.
27. What did you want and not get?
A house in my favorite neighborhood (Eventually…) 
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Pitch Perfect (obsessed!!!)
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
31 - we had a few friends over for margaritas and a cookout
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have seen my book reach more people (which would require me to do more work marketing it… I know.)
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Oh hello, old clothes! I missed you! (Returning to a pre-partum wardrobe. Regretting selling a favorite pair of jeans on ebay.) 
32. What kept you sane?
Matt, gratitude journaling, dance trance, running with the BOB, wine, porch mornings
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Brene Brown. I want a coffee date with this woman and pick her brain.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Guns. Food industry. Chemicals in our shampoos and soaps. Feeling like consumers have to do all the work because we can’t trust businesses to look out for us.
35. Who did you miss?
My grandparents. Akanksha. Anna. Winos. 
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Do my friends’ new babies count? 
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Happiness is not about arriving at big moments in your life - although some of those moments will be extraordinarily happy when you do arrive. It’s more about the quiet, day to day contentment and gratitude for the life you currently have. This summer was hard for a couple of reasons that I wrote about before, and I could feel a quiet, pervasive sadness in my chest for a couple months. But despite that, I still felt a greater sense of hope, contentment, peace and optimism that it would be okay. I read this post by one of my favorite writers/inspiration-givers Danielle LaPorte in early 2013 and when this sad period hit, it came back to me. “This is why we practice.” This is why I practice gratitude, meditation, prayer. This is why I exercise. This is why I connect with others. So that when the hard things do show up, I’m not running on fumes to deal with them. I’m not writing this nearly as eloquently as she did (of course) but hopefully the message will convey.