Archives for category: Babies

I always hope and expect that the holidays will be something beautiful and peaceful, more swan or dove than ostrich. This year, sadly, we could dub this season the holiday of the ostrich.

On December 20th, Baby Boy needed a doctor’s visit after having a fever for a day – and then his fever was 103.9! Ear infection. Amoxicillin.

Abbreviated in-law visit.

Christmas at home!

On December 26th, Preschool Girl needed a doctor’s visit after complaining of a sore throat. Strep throat. Amoxicillin.

Even once her spirits improved (after skipping dinner that night and being in bed at 6:00), she still had a cough that didn’t go away. Attempt to head off for family visit…and resulting ER visit. Croup, symptom of some virus. Breathing treatment, no impact. Scary, but, as we were told, she’s old enough that she can still breathe, even with the swelling, so we don’t need to worry. But of course, we worry. It IS scary. And it still isn’t gone. At the worst of times, it sounded like she was snoring when breathing in and breathing out, and a coughing or crying jag made it seem like she was gasping for air. Once, she even threw up.

Not to be left out, Baby Boy added a whole-body rash to the mix – probably a reaction to the amoxicillin and not really anything to worry about, either, the ER doctor reassured us. Oh, good. A polka-dotted child.

Return home instead of continuing on. No my-family Christmas. Sadness.

During all of this, to add to the fun, Matthew’s had a virus, too. Happy holidays!

Yes, we’re ready for the new year, if for no other reason than to leave this bout of illness behind. Thank you, 2013, for bring us Baby Boy and making us a family of four. We’re grateful. I hope that 2014 brings healthiness and adventure and lots of cozy friend and family time, both for us and for you out there, reading these words on your screen. And while I’m at it, I’ll hope for many nights of good sleep, too. Why not? Even birds have to roost sometime.

Blocks, plastic and rubberwood. Books, Swedish (with Pettson and Findus) and American. Moomin slipper socks and other games, toys, ornaments, and odds and ends. Representations of the love that we have for one another. Not necessary (the gifts, that it – love IS!), but nice.

Lots of the world celebrates the birth of one child (“Where is Jesus now?” my toddler girl asked, and I told her that he died a long time ago, and how could I tell her more now?), and we celebrate his birth, too. We sang, we ate, we opened presents. The tree in the living room still glows, a shining testimony of our celebration.

And because it is the time to celebrate coming into the world, I also celebrate the birth of my two children, my best gift, and my luckiest. Merry Christmas, sweet ones. Merry Christmas. I hope that you will always be surrounded by the warmth of real love. What better gift could anyone hope for than that?

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Last night, life went back to normal when Matthew returned home after 3 1/2 weeks of slightly crazy European travel. “I still think about him,” my toddler girl said at one point while he was gone. I’m glad.

Here’s a quick list of what’s happened in the interim, since last writing, in a way that is functional but sadly lacking in style:

Baby Boy actually has TWO bottom teeth, not just the one we thought. He saw his first snow. He began to crawl then pull up and he seems to like food now (he’s tried everything from lima beans and garbanzo beans to puffs and other cereal – wheat-free – and fruits and peas). Last weigh-in, December 4th, he was at 21 lbs., 6.2 oz. He wears 12-month-old clothing, and with his cloth diaper bum, that is sometimes a stretch!

Toddler Girl discovered the letter “l” with no fanfare a’tall. From the library, we checked out Liesel Moak Skorpen’s All the Lassies, a book about a boy who wants a dog but instead gets a lot of other small pets along the way. It ends with a nice surprise and is a fun book to read aloud. “And what does he name the turtle?” I asked, as we read it a second time through. With an exaggerated curve of her tongue to her top teeth, she enunciated, “Llllassie.” And one more little girl thing was gone. She still says “dezhen” for “seven,” among other things, so there is still plenty of little girl charm. “Magnificent!” as she said when she heard her brother had fallen asleep the other night.

Life does seem pretty magnificent now, in fact.



In a small birthday gesture for himself, Baby Boy’s first tooth (bottom left) rose to salute him in celebration. Hooray, and happy (seven month) birthday!

My daughter, who switched into a single bed three nights ago to accommodate her near-crawling brother who can no longer safely sleep on our shared bed and needed the crib-turned-toddler-bed-turned-crib, is now huddled in the top right corner at the head of the bed, taking up approximately 1/6 of the mattress. No pillow, no stuffed animals, no sheet to cover her. God love her. I know I do.

We survived an unexpected doctor’s visit yesterday (Baby Boy was beside himself, crying and screaming and inconsolable, for hours – nothing was apparently wrong besides being extra tired, and today has been a far better day), and today, we had a lovely trip to the swimming pool. Sister LOVES to swim, with floaties, and Brother has the crazy little-babies-kick-in-the-water thing going on. It’s some instinct, I tell you – I’d both love to and be terrified to let him try to swim in the water. We ate ice cream and hot dogs and Baby Boy smiled a lot. Baby Girl was enormously happy herself. She cracked us up on the car ride home, at one point, repeatedly saying, “Hola,” like “Diego’s daddy said.” With each syllable overemphasized and repeated until the sounds lost nearly all meaning, we laughed. Undeterred, she said, “I’m teaching you!” to her daddy until he repeated the sounds back to her. “That’s Spanish talk!” Ah, that girl.

And then, getting ready for bed tonight, we had a super sweet moment. “I love you!” I said to Baby Girl.

“I really, really love you a lot,” she said, and my heart swelled and pounded and did a flip or two (I guess it was at the pool on the diving board).

Then, apropos of what I don’t remember, I said to Baby Girl, “I’ve seen you every day of your life!” I’ve slept away from her once, for one night – when Baby Boy was born – but I still saw her each day. 

“No,” she said, with certainty.

“Yes, I have!” On this one, I felt sure. The furthest away I’ve ever been, drive-time-wise even, was an hour and a half, and that’s just been once, and just last month. I’ve been with my girl a lot.

“No,” she went on, “we will die. At the end, we will die.”

Oh. Yes, I’ve seen her every day of her life, and while at some point that will cease to be true because of sleepovers and trips and college, at some other point, that will cease to be true because I (please, let it be me before her) have ceased to be. 


What does she see when she looks at the world?

What does she see when she looks at the world?

Today we returned home from a week at the beach, and today, Baby Boy is 17 weeks old.

And today, he learned some new tricks. While holding onto my fingers, he pulled himself from sitting to standing, using his own strength and not my lifting. He’s learning the Happy Baby pose in yoga – he started grabbing his own toes! And, in that same vein, he began grabbing other objects, too – books, stuffed animals, what have you. Before, he’d just look with interest while apparently thinking, “It’s a shame that there’s no way for me to touch this interesting toy held only inches from my face.” Ah, little one, but there is! And now, he can, and he does, and he will continue to do so.

And just like that, much more of life is within his reach.


Sometimes life is funny, like when baby boy poops explosively, just when I thought I was going back to sleep. Comic timing, that one. He got some on the sheets, just for good measure. Or when baby girl talks about her alter-ego (not imaginary friend), I – and we are a part of her imaginary world with alternate names, too. (I am Computer, and her brother is Rice. Nice, solid name choices.) Sometimes life is a heart-wrenching (at least to me), like when baby girl was so excited to share particularly delicious mango with her daddy, who just happened to be in another room changing baby boy’s diaper. In her joy, carrying the bowl of mango to him, she tripped, and the dish, spoon, and mango all rocketed out of her hands. “I didn’t mean for that to happen!” she sobbed, as battlefield mango littered the area around her feet, never to reach its intended target. Or two nights ago, after having watched Dumbo in the afternoon, I was putting my girl to sleep. All on her own, she brought up the movie. “Dumbo’s mama picked him up in her trunk and rocked him to sleep. Why not did he go to sleep?” That part gets me every time, Dumbo cradled in his mother’s trunk. Sometimes life is surprising, like when baby boy’s diaper was dry from about 9 p.m. Saturday night until sometime after 4:30 in the morning. Sure, we changed his diaper two or three times in the interim – it’s just that he waited until then to pee, then we put his same diaper back on him. Wow!

What? You didn’t find this all riveting or worthy of  a hearty chuckle? Oh. You’re right. If this were a sitcom, there’d be a lot more funny – I’d probably be fired as a writer. The beauty of a blog, though, is that you can’t be fired. So my reruns won’t be anywhere: that’s OK. With a three-year-old and a nearly three-month-old, I know there are lots more episodes to come (and some of them won’t involve tantrums). And if things don’t seem funny, well, maybe I’ll just add a laugh track.


She laughs.

He smiles.

He smiles. And we’re all happy.


Today, Baby Boy is two months old (and a sweet charmer). As with big sister at this age, we’ve read several books: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (also Baby Girl’s first book, as charming on this read-through as the previous), Here’s a Penny by Carolyn Haywood (a sweet nod to adoption – who knew?), and Soup and Me by Robert Newton Peck (two boys who bring trouble and sometimes surprising sweetness to their small world in rural Vermont).  He also got the better part of The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man by Lloyd Alexander (brief but entertaining in the ways the cat misinterprets human interaction, once he becomes a man).

The book count will only increase. It seems like that’s what happened with our number of children, too: we count them, and we know there are only two. However, having a second child seems to have added, oh, an extra two or three children. How can one plus one equal three or four? Come to our house. We’ll show you. If only I had an extra arm to hold both (“two arms!” my daughter protests) or to hold one and still cook dinner (sometimes, the sling or Ergo is highly protested…most likely at an inconvenient time)!

Number of books read to baby and number of children, both increasing. Who knows how many we’ll have by the time he’s four months old? We may just need a new house to fit them all.

Today, baby boy is seven weeks and one day old.

And he smiled.

Not a smile in his sleep as he dreamed of being offered a bounty of breast milk, not a smile because he’d created a gift for us in his diaper – an original piece of abstract art – but a smile. A real smile. Our communal glow must have lit up the living room, we were so happy and charmed. And there was cooing. Cooing!

Matthew and I, we’re in love. Of course with each other, naturally with baby girl, and now with baby boy. There’s a lot of love – and now there are smiles, too.