Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baby Signs at Last!

Bruce gave us a great gift this Christmas! He started using baby signs.

We started teaching him baby signs when he was 5 1/2 months old to give him a way to communicate without whining or crying. Not surprisingly, his first sign is "milk," but now that we've caught on to him actually using them, we're noticing more signs, like "all done," and "down."

And we have noticed that he is more eager to use baby signs now that mommy and daddy actually understand what he's trying to tell us.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sweet baby, Sleep.

Bruce fell asleep on his Gir-cow* the other day, providing me the perfect opportunity to snap a shot of him in a Santa hat. Isn't he adorable? It's such a peaceful, still moment.

Even such angelic stillness has it's amusing side. The photo below cracks me up. It's my budgie-boy, lying all-catawampus!
Hushed moments like these don't go by without saying, "Awwww!"

Bruce's sprawling slumber reminds me of a stanza from a Christmas poem written by George Wither. The poem is called "Wither's Rocking Hymn" and I include only the part that jumps to mind:

Sweet baby, sleep, and nothing fear, for ...
[several lines have been excluded]
Be still my babe; sweet baby, sleep.

The full poem may be viewed here.
* Gir-cow - a cozy, plush mat that looks like a cross between a giraffe and a cow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Shining Star is 10 Months Old

Wow, two days ago Bruce turned 10 months old. It has been more difficult to get good snapshots of the little tike in all the holiday bustle, but here is a recent one of him in his new hand-knit sweater from Grandma (who we lovingly call Mère-Mère). Those adorable little star buttons make me want to just squeeze and smooch him! You'll notice that he is still orange -- not unlike the planet Mars or maybe even Alpha Centauri. A slightly orange star, but a star nonetheless.

You'd think as congenial as he normally is, Bruce wouldn't have chosen to outgrow his third nap right in the middle of the holiday rush. (He's never been a long napper. In fact, I call him the "King of the 30-minute nap.") But even three, short, 30-minute breaks are better than nothing when you're desperately trying to keep your sanity (sense of humor?) while keeping your house in order, cook meals, walk dogs, and attend to any outdoor chores or errands that need to be done. All you moms out there, let me hear you say,
"Yeah! You got that right!"

Interjecting a small tangent into this tapestry of late-night thoughts -- I watched a movie today (Thank you, Mr. TiVo Inventor-guy!) called The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio starring Juliann Moore. It was quite a good "strong-woman movie" and offers new stay-at-home moms a bittersweet perspective on what life was like in the 1950s. Based upon a true story (taken from Terry Ryan's memoir of the same name) it is a tale of a 50's mom who excels at writing prize-winning ad jingles. 'Nuf said. If you have seen or set your TiVo so that you will see it, drop me a line and tell me what you thought of the movie. I now return you to my regularly scheduled train of thought...

For some unfathomable reason, Bruce wakes up around 1:00 a.m. bright-eyed and ready to play for three hours. Augh! It's more exhausting than his two-hour feedings were when he was a newborn. So, I've been playing around with his nap schedule, trying to find a balance that lengthens his two surviving naps (morning and afternoon) and encourages him to sleep through the night. No, let me rephrase that last bit slightly. By "encouraging" I mean that I've started teaching him to learn to go to sleep by himself without nursing if he wakes up in the middle of the night. It has been exhausting, those nights when he's awake for that "oh-dark-thirty" three-hour stretch. I'll write more on that later...

I better get to bed, in case tonight is another marathon "oh-dark-thirty" night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

First Snow and Speeding Toward Christmas

Earlier this week we had our first snow and it was glorious! What made it all the more enjoyable is that it lasted a whole day before melting off. Normally the first snow of the season melts almost as soon as it hits the ground. The most anyone can do is gaze at it from a cozy window and be grateful for the brief pause it brings to our hectic lives. That, and be relieved that we don't need to break out the snow shovel quite yet. The only breaking out that was done at my house was to break out mugs to enjoy a steaming cup of homemade cocoa. And isn't that a fine way to usher in the snowy season?

Since Bruce isn't allowed chocolate, we introduced him to snow by giving him a snowball to play with in his high chair. Here is a photo.
Is it just me, or does it seem absolutely impossible that we are already hip-deep in "holiday bustle?"

I got my first Christmas card in the mail today -- isn't it great? I can't tell you how much I look forward to receiving personalized notes from family and friends. Yes, in this age of Internet instant-eity, quaint ol' Christmas cards still float my boat. (Even if they are becoming outmoded.) I don't care.

And just to demonstrate my Internet savvy, here are a few amusing links on the topic of Christmas cards. It took me all of 3 seconds to find them. Thanks, Google!

Christmas Cards Make a Comeback
Interestingly enough, this news article for the Trinidad and Tobago Express suggests that Christmas cards are making a comeback, while this snow-bound Scrooge holds a hilariously more humbug-ish view. (If the links are broken, email me and I will send you print versions.)

A Scottish news woman writes of forgoing all the giving in favor of a "Do It For Yourself" Christmas. Isn't it curious how the festive spirit falls flat in the face of a wind chill factor?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dreamin' Up a Doozie...Ha-Ha!

Thanks to Miriam for her fun title! I owe you one.

Ah, the innocence of babes. My darling (if somewhat still yellow-skinned) boy Bruce has been working on cutting his first tooth, which means low-grade fevers, an alternately runny/crusty nose, mouth tenderness, high-pitched whining, and buckets upon buckets of baby drool. But he's also concentrating hard on learning to walk, testing out his latest high chair discoveries (how many more times can I throw [baby spoon, toy, block, etc.] over the side before mommy stops picking it up?), honing his rad comm skills and formulating opinions about the big issues in his world. (To eat or not to eat what's offered on the spoon, THAT is the question!) He's a busy boy.

The other night, as my husband and I were catching up on TiVo'd episodes of Heroes, a blissfully sleeping Bruce talked in his sleep for the first time. He has laughed and moaned in his sleep before, but never uttered dreamy baby-jabber. He said, "Da da ba waaaaah." Oh, it makes a mommy proud. (What was he saying, I wonder?)

He has started responding back to our questions and statements to him with purposeful jabber, if not clear words. Sometimes I swear it sounds like he's saying, "no" or "woah" or other easy words. But he's pretty much got the elocution down pat. What he lacks in diction he makes up for in finger-pointing. So it's a rather exciting time for us parents as Bruce communicates his wishes, wants and needs through early sounds and gestures (not the old reliable method, crying).

Speaking of finger-pointing as a language skill...

Walking through the mall on a window-shopping trip recently,Todd and I giggled to ourselves as we watched Bruce gazing at all the holiday bling and sparkle. He rode wide-eyed through the mall in his stroller with both index fingers in permanent point, as if to say, "Whatever the next marvel is, I'm ready for it." Maybe he was pretending to be a gunslinger in the Old West? Nah, he's too young to be playing Billy the Kid. But it sure does get him whatever he wants.

Bruce's Orange Period

Pablo Picasso had his blue period. Bruce is going through what I will call his orange period. Years from now I may look back fondly on my boy's hatred of green veggies and passion for sweets. Right now, all I see is an orange cast to his normally pale, but perfect complexion.

The photo on the left was taken at the beginning of October. What a deadly little charmer, eh? The photo on the right was taken three weeks later -- "Lil' Crockett" looks decidedly more orange.

My Baby's Skin is Orange This web article describes what is going on pretty well. Basically, a harmless build-up of beta carotene is turning Bruce's skin orange. So we've been battling to get more green veggies into the boy to counteract the discoloration. So far, he's toned down from orange-tinged to more yellow-ish, but he's not yet back to his normal pink-cheeked color.

9 Month Milestones
Bruce has discovered the joys of playing with the toilet paper roll in the bathroom, the dogs' water and food bowls, etc. Lots and lots of chaos and mayhem to be had and it takes 100% diligence to keep him out of harm's way. Yes, the days fly by as Bruce finds new and exciting ways to keep himself busy. His experimentation with the doggie door is an excellent example. I'm not sure which is more intriguing, his fascination with the flap or his curiosity about putting things
(like his head?) through the flap.

Has it really been 9 months since I heaved my super-sized self into the car for the drive to the hospital to have Bruce induced? It's hard to believe that he has officially been "out" as long as he was "in."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Live in a Barking Madhouse!

The baying of my two beagle-mixes, Julie and Ginger, is really blowing my hair back these days. The din is driving me completely barking mad! It doesn't take much to set off a canine clamor, be it birds in the backyard, someone at the front door or suspiciously catlike bits of debris wafting by in the Autumn breeze. Notice how even Ginger is wincing at the sound in the above photo?

And the outbursts nearly always wake the baby. (Bruce used to sleep right through the barking, no matter how noisy. But he's been a much more restless sleeper for the past couple of months.)
Now don't get me wrong. They're such wrass-elly, wascally wabbits and I 'wuv' 'em to death! But sometimes I think they'll be the death of me or at least my sanity. Especially after the umpteenth time their rowdiness disturbs Bruce's slumber. First-time moms definitely need their down time.

Tribute to Jerry Dupuis

Todd's stepfather (the man in the blue jacket, front right in the photo) passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on November 17, 2007. He was a sweet, sweet man and a great, great dad. I only had the privilege of knowing him for a few, short years, but I know how much he loved my husband and family. He always took time out for us. He was 100% genuine and such a generous man. I am thankful for him and his influence in Todd's life.

Jerry's death is all the more sad because he never got the chance to meet Bruce. I'm sure it would have been love at first sight for both of them. I like to think that Jerry watches over Bruce now from his eternal rest. Farewell Jerry, you are greatly missed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Upside to Downsizing

Since giving birth 9 months ago I've lost 60 pounds.

Why is this remarkable? I gained 35 pounds during the pregnancy. Aside from breastfeeding, I've done nothing to lose the weight. I even eat sweets. (Yeah, I know.
I'm losing points now.) As an act of contrition, I promise to lay off the cookie dough and snack pack pudding for, say, the next three blog posts.

But seriously, breastfeeding rocks. I think everyone should do it. Even men. [Har, har, har.]

Breastfeeding, though, isn't always a walk in the park. It's hard. Those first few weeks aren't blissful, beautiful, or stress-free. But once mom and baby get in sync, the benefits far outweigh the pitfalls. And I've lost 60 pounds! That's something to get excited about.

Watch out world, here he comes!

Bruce turned 9 months old yesterday. Gosh, I just love him to pieces. He's such a cheerful, easy-going child (as in, "he's so chill"). We've been noticing for about a month now how he loses a bit more of his baby face each day. It's changing into a soon-to-be-a-toddler face.

He has been mobile for about a month; it amazes me how, after starting to crawl, he quickly learned to pull himself to a standing position using supports (furniture, door hinges, mommy and daddy's pants legs). After one week, Bruce advanced to couch creeping. At any moment I expect him to launch off at full tilt toward something he really wants to explore.

He's growing up so fast!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fiddleheads ... A New Hope?

This morning I was taking a long, bubbly soak in a warm, relaxing tub when a wool yarn ad in a knitting magazine caught my eye. A fiddlehead? Oh, the humanity!

Leave it to those quirky New Zealanders to attach iconic meaning to an unfurled fern frond. They seem to have elevated (perhaps even ennobled) the fiddlehead, calling it Koru, a Maori name symbolizing new life, strength and peace.

Lofty qualities for a tightly curled, swamp-weed. (Have they ever tasted one? Blech!) To me, fiddleheads are a god-awful, green sprout best left to mature in the muck. My in-laws, however, gorge themselves greedily on them any chance they get.

If Koru symbolizes new beginnings, growth and nurturing a loving relationship within a family, I think I can make room for it in my knitting bag. But not on my fork.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lettuce Be on Your Heads

After a brief flirtation with the idea of posting when a former boss announced I would be authoring a video blog, and various friends saying I "really should start a blog," I've decided to take the plunge.

Let it be on your heads (you know who you are) if these musings fail to enlighten or entertain. You put me up to it. What follows is a log of my life, such as it is.

I'm a first-time mom with a ridiculously cute baby boy to dote on, who I will call Little Sprout.

Doesn't he make a great garnish? He's a deadly little charmer with disarming, deep brown eyes AND he's a good sport about wearing salad. So expect to see more fun photos of him in future posts.