Three Things Thursday {Little Bit of Life}

I don’t know about you, but this time change has caused nothing but problems this week. Grumpy, emotional kids and a husband working late every day, has made for an exceptionally trying week. It hasn’t been all bad though. Here are three things that have made my week.

  1. Ella has been in ice skating lessons since the fall. She has loved it and is super excited to participate in the annual ice skating show next month. Monday we had the pre-show pictures. I still cannot get over this adorable kid.3395_10102678455635423_8306562227290657710_n
  2. Anderson has blossomed into a kid, basically overnight. I swear the minute he turned 2.5 years old, he decided he was ready to really talk. He is now talking and singing up a storm. In music class and in our early childhood class, he is answering questions and singing along loudly. When I laughed the other day and said, who are you? He just looked at me and said, “I’m AJ mommy.” Yes, yes you are.12694889_10102620219116873_3252754204973665080_o
  3. Ella is really into St. Patrick’s Day. I think it’s just because she loves holidays. I put her in charge of helping me decide on things she wants to do to celebrate. First she wanted to make leprechauns which was easy enough. Then she found rainbow cookies on Pinterest. 11313056_10102682218888833_2943611067533248874_oTwo hours later, here we are. I’m never making them again, but both kids were so excited and appreciative. It was worth it.

It’s really the little things that brighten my day and week. Training has also been awesome, so that update to come!

A Motherhood Milestone

Five years. It’s been five years since I began my motherhood journey. For the past five years I’ve been pregnant with and/or nursing one of my children. For the first time in these past five wonderful, exhausting, sometimes stressful years, I’m not pregnant or nursing one of the kids. That’s right, a month ago, I finished weaning Anderson. For the first time in half a decade, I have my body all to myself.

Much like when I weaned Ella, I have such mixed emotions. It’s almost as if I’ve been going through the stages of grief as the final weaning process unfolded.

When Anderson turned two in August, he was still nursing 3-4 times/day. Josh started being less subtle with his hints about it being time to wean. When I looked at Anderson, he still seemed like my baby. Maybe it was the lack of hair and teeth, both very slowly coming in, or the fact he wasn’t as verbal as Ella was, but he was my baby. My last baby.

He didn’t need to wean and he didn’t want to. With his dairy allergy, he wasn’t/isn’t drinking milk, he basically subsists on peanut butter, bread, fruit and graham crackers. He still needed my milk. It was working for us so I brushed off the suggestions. It was our time together in the quiet of his room where Ella couldn’t steal my attention away from him.

As the next few months passed, I slowly started to limit when he could nurse. Wake up was the first to go. I’d distract him by taking him right to the table for breakfast. He’d give me his pouty, I’m upset face, but chow down on his blueberry waffles. Once that was going well, post-nap went. Very very slowly, we were working our way towards twice a day: pre-nap and pre-bed.

As I took away feedings, I was kind of sad. It was less time that I had for us to be with just each other. Anderson was becoming more clingy, but handling the lack of nursing pretty well. The most difficult session was definitely to come.

Before bed was his favorite time to nurse and our longest session. There was something calming and peaceful about us sitting together in our chair in the dark. Every night, our routine the same. Just the two of us cuddling and singing. Cozy under his blanket he would look up at me, smiling, our breathing in sync. When he was done, he’d stand up to put his head on my shoulder, laying against me if I were the most comfortable pillow he’d ever felt, as I got up from the chair to tuck him in.

A month ago, I nursed Anderson for the last time before tucking him in for bed. That night I assured him we’d read books, cuddle, and sing songs before I tucked him into bed at night. He’d still have his one-on-one mommy time though he wouldn’t have mommy’s milk. He asked me why several times, but settled into bed after that final session saying “night, night.” I left his room feeling proud of myself for nursing him so long, a little bit sad that my baby was no longer a baby, and excited not to feel quite so chained to the house at bedtime.

The next few nights were a little rough at bedtime, but he’s stopped asking to nurse. Instead of asking to nurse, he requests water with ice. For the first few weeks he was clingy, unlike he’s ever been before. I think he was craving the closeness that nursing provided. While frustrating when I was trying to cook dinner or fold laundry, I love that he still wanted to cuddle. There is only so long that kids want to cuddle and I’m taking full advantage.

With sleepless night (mostly) behind me and diapers very slowly phasing out, it will be interesting to see what this next phase brings. I almost don’t know what to do with myself. It’s a very strange feeling knowing that I’m done with pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s freeing but also a little sad to realize that a major phase of my life has come to a close.

All About Anderson – 18 months

We are on the downhill slope to two years. I can hardly believe that my baby is getting so big! He’s now 32 inches tall and just over 25 lbs. He’s around average size except for his head. He must have a very big brain. Luckily it is fairly proportional to the rest of his body. He finally has teeth! His first two came in around 16 months, the second two about 17 months and the last two came just days before 18 months. Which was about the time I actually started working on this post. oops.

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Anderson has a big few months. In early December we went to Disney World and the beach which were probably the highlight of his life thus far. It’s a Small World was his favorite ride. He pointed and squealed with delight at all of the colorful little people. At the beach he ran right to the water, enjoying it splashing over his feet. Getting all the way in was hit or miss.

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Not long after we returned home it was Christmas. The candy, the presents, the ornaments – toddler’s favorite things. His favorite pastime was taking off all the ornaments he could reach and throwing them saying ball. It must be quite confusing why you can throw toy balls and not similar looking ones from the tree. He liked opening gifts more than he liked what was in the packages.

Anderson is developing quite the personality. He loves to laugh. In fact, I think it’s his favorite thing. He laughs all the time, mainly at Ella. It cracks me up hearing them giggle in the backseat of the car as we drive around between various activities. We’ve started an art class which he’s really enjoying. Last week we painted with his feet and he thought it was the best. No longer does he resist getting his hands and feet dirty, though when he is done, he holds them out for me to wash as he says ‘all done.’

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He is also really into music. He will request Raffi just as Ella did. He dances around and has even started trying to sing some. He asks for spider (itsy bitsy) as he does the motions, says ei-ei-oh for Old McDonald, and pulls my hands saying row, row for Row Row Row Your Boat. I’ve even gotten him to do the motions for Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I’m glad that he has a love for music.

He is starting to speak more and more every day. He’s not as verbal as Ella was, but that’s no surprise as she often speaks for him. I’m also not nearly as consistent with noting new words. I think we’re up to about 35 or so, but only 20ish are used regularly. In the past few weeks he’s also begun putting words together, night night, hi dad, bye bye, all done/gone, etc. I feel bad because we don’t read to him nearly as much as we did to Ella partially because he rarely sits still and partially because its hard to get him to focus with Ella around. He is finally interested in books so I try to find time for just the two of us, free from distraction, to read.

When he cannot say what he wants he just grabs our hands to take us to what he wants or shows us what he’s trying to do. He loves wearing hat, gloves and his coat, though once we’re home he wants everyone’s coat off immediately. He picks out the shoes he wants to wear and will bring me socks and shoes to put on every morning.

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What he lacks in speech, he makes up for in physicality. This kid never wants to sit still. Climbing is by far his favorite activity. Couches, tables, chairs, stairs. Anything and everything. We have to be very careful in watching where he is. he has a pretty good arm when he throws and even catches his ball now.

Just as much as he loves to show his pleasure, with lots of hugs and kisses, he is quick to throw a fit. He scrunches his face and wails a bit, sometimes throwing himself on the ground. Luckily we can redirect him and the tantrum rarely lasts long.

He just cracks us up. He is so different from Ella and very much his own person. Every day he seems to learn something new – a new word, expression, phrase, emotion. It’s so amazing to watch.

All About Anderson – 15 months

I completely missed Anderson’s one year update and here we are at 15 months.

AJ 15 months

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Anderson is just under 25 lbs and is 26.5 inches tall. His chunky legs are slimming down thanks to all of the running around he does. He is constantly on the go. Running, dancing and his favorite, climbing. I’ve never seen a toddler climb so much. I cannot turn my back for a second because he ends up in places like this.

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Other than climbing his favorite things are balls, crackers, anything he can push or ride and books (though he doesn’t like to read them as much as flip through and then throw them).

Halloween was fun because he was totally into trick-or-treating. He squealed as he walked down the street in his lion costume to get candy for his little pail. He dumped out and put the candy back in for a good half hour when we got home. He’s going to be all over it next year.

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He is so much fun and so sweet, though has seemingly inherited a quick temper. His tantrums are my favorite. I have to try hard to not laugh. He used to throw himself back on the floor hitting his head. He learned that hurts so now he will fall to his butt, slowly lower himself down to the floor, then cry and kick. I have got to get it on video.

All of a sudden he can communicate his wants, needs and displeasure when something doesn’t go his way. He signs milk, more, please, eat, and sometimes, all done. He has started talking too. The things I can hear clearly are: momma, dada, Ella, ba (ball), more, do (dog), hi, buh bye, ow, ot (hot), boo (book) and bubble. It seems like he’s getting more verbal every day.

He loves to play especially pretending to have tea with Ella, ‘wrestling’ with daddy, playing peek-a-boo and sweeping. I have to hide the brooms otherwise he’s walking around the house with one all the time. Just trying to earn his keep I suppose. He also really likes to try to do things himself such as putting on his socks or shoes, brushing his hair and putting his jacket on.

We moved Anderson to the HandySitt at the big table which he was really excited about. He now gets his own plate and silverware. He seems to be a natural with a spoon though it gets a bit messy still.

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When it’s meal time, I can tell him to go to his big boy chair and he will run to the chair and start to climb up as I bring his food over. He’s good at following simple directions like that, as well as throw this away (loves that), get your socks, etc.

Sometimes he eats a ton, but lately, thanks to teething (he still only has two teeth), he’s been wanting to nurse more than usual. His gums are white where his top two teeth are trying to break through. His favorite food is peanut butter. I waited until about a month ago to introduce it and he loves it. Like mother like son.

Anderson is a lover. He will walk up randomly to Ella and give her kisses and hugs. His favorite time to do that is during her dance class. She’s happy to indulge him. He also LOVES to kiss and hug Lucky. He’ll be stingy with Josh and me, but Lucky and Ella, never. He does love to cuddle. I think his favorite spot is with me, of course, since I give him nice warm milk. He’s definitely a momma’s boy. We’re in the throws of separation anxiety which means when I even say I’m going to leave, tears start.

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When Josh gets home though, he’ll yell Dada and run to him with open arms. Josh face lights up. It’s so cute.

This is getting a bit long, but I feel like I have so much to share about my sweet boy. My cuddling, giggling, loves his family boy. My loves to give kisses boy. He’s growing so fast and while I love watching him develop, I’m not ready for him to be a toddler.

My Baby Is One

My sweet baby boy turned one on Monday and obviously loved his birthday crown.

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I am honestly astonished at how fast his first year flew by. It seemed the anticipation of his birth far outlasted this past year. When I groggily woke up to his cries for me around 2 am, picking him up and pulling him into bed with me, I got choked up thinking how much he’s grown and changed.

At a more reasonable hour Josh and I did a little birthday decorating around the apartment (ugh, we’ve now spent three birthdays here). When Anderson woke up and I brought him into the living room to say good morning, he gawked at the decorations, pointing and trying to grab the streamers. He loved it.

He, Ella and I enjoyed blueberry pancakes and some Disney tunes as we waited for his birthday banana cake to finish baking before running a last minute errand to Target. It’s almost as if he realized he could get away with most anything on his first birthday. He ate up his favorite lunch (mac and cheese) before settling in on my lap for a little pre-nap nursing. The apartment was so quiet with Ella in bed and Lucky snoozing on his bed. It was just the two of us, looking at each other, studying each other’s faces, just as we had exactly a year prior.

A sly little smile crossed his face as he doozed off momentarily. Of course as soon as I put him in his bed, he woke up and protested any form of napping that did not include me. I gave in, taking everyone for a walk when the rainy weather cleared.

We had a little family celebration. There was another favorite meal of his (grilled cheese, carrots and blueberries), cake and gifts.

I took my time putting him to sleep that evening. Extra cuddles were necessary for me and for him. I just need a moment longer to hold onto my baby who is growing faster than I thought possible. It feels like he was just the slightly red and bruised baby who was awaiting a name, that I met on a cool summer morning in August.

Maybe it’s the difference between having two to focus on rather than one, or maybe the months are going faster – but time needs to slow the hell down.