Eighteen Month Checkup

Little Man had a rough night last night. He got a stuffy nose and couldn’t seem to stay asleep. Then, after breakfast, we had to go to the pediatrician for his eighteen month checkup (though he was officially eighteen months three days ago). Aside from learning how much he is growing (95th percentile for height!), this was probably the worst checkup for all of us. He only needed one vaccine and the flu shot, but I think he is at the age now where he knows what’s happening, he just doesn’t understand why. It was also the first time I had to be the one to hold him while he got the shots. Once I started getting him dressed again, he seemed fine, probably because he knew we were finally leaving. We walked all the way to the car with his head resting on my shoulder.
Once home, it was like nothing had happened other than occasionally pointing to the dots on his legs. He played in his kitchen and had some milk before taking a long nap through lunch. He ate a really good lunch when he woke up, and we went to play downstairs before daddy got home. Yesterday, he learned to move his riding car back and forth, so today I got some of it on video. He was making car noises while pressing buttons and driving around the basement. The best part was when he pressed a button that played music, and he started dancing while still sitting on the car. When we played in the basement after dinner, he clapped along to the songs. I love watching him do things like that. I feel like I can take in every aspect, his small, delicate baby hands, the smile on his face. It just makes me want to give him a kiss.
The pediatrician commented today how expressive he was. He was laughing and trying to kiss her ladybug pin. I got to fill out a questionnaire about how he is growing, and I felt proud to answer those questions. Does he know at least ten words? Lady, he knows so many, we lost count months ago! And today while reading, he added another random one… Map! Love my smart little guy.

Dance Like No One Is Watching

We had a lazy day today, full of play at home for Little Man. It was a time for him to recuperate from the new experience of sharing mommy and the busy day we had yesterday. There were many cute moments, as always, but my favorite came around lunch, as we played in his play area near the kitchen.
Little Man started doing his new dance, stomping his feet up and down, banging his head, laughing. I joined in, and he laughed harder. Soon, daddy joined in, and Little Man lost it. There we were, the three of us, dancing crazily around the dining room. But we didn’t care how silly we might look. We were having a great time. Little Man was loving that we were dancing together, and I loved seeing him so happy. It’s those little moments that mean everything.

Slide Again

Little Man woke up at his normal time this morning, and after making an absolute mess eating blueberry pancakes, he played in his kitchen. I joined him on his rug. I sat watching him for awhile, since he gets really into the pretend play (later James and I watched as he made a full meal). He grabbed the phone, held it up to his ear, and said, “ewwo.” He started walking around the room, babbling into the phone as if he were holding a conversation. I’m pretty sure I died from the cuteness.

After a long morning nap, we had a fun-packed day planned. We drove down to Ticonderoga Farms for a picnic hosted by James’ work. We waited in long a long time for a hot dog for Little Man, but we ate some other pretty good food while standing there. Little Man had a couple cookies… which might explain why he barely ate half his hot dog. We walked around the farm, scoping out some goats along the way to the pick your own pumpkin patch. We were supposed to get our own pumpkin as part of the picnic, so we headed in to find one for Little Man. We picked out a small-ish one, and James took it off the vine. Little Man touched it, though he didn’t seem that interested. We walked around, checking out more animals, including free-running roosters and some ducks looking for food. While Little Man seemed somewhat interested, we could tell he was getting tired from being in the sun. But, before we could leave, we had to do the giant slide.

Daddy took Little Man up the steep hill, to the top of the slides. He picked one of the biggest. I was at the bottom to take a video. As he sat on daddy’s lap, flying down the slide, it seemed quiet. But at the bottom, I heard him let out a giggle. He jumped up laughing as we asked if he liked it. He started walking back to the slide, laughing. Then it was my turn to take him. As soon as he sat on my lap, the giggling started. We pushed off, and I will say it was pretty fast. But Little Man wasn’t scared; he had a blast. In fact, he made daddy take him two more times, and was very upset when we put him in the car. (As an FYI, we did not get to keep our pumpkin, apparently they are only for children under 2, so we get to go somewhere and pick one again!)

After a short trip to the store (where I got the longest, sweetest hug ever), a failed attempt at a nap, brief playtime, and dinner, we all got dressed in our workout gear. Little Man wore his soccer jersey, which was fitting, since we were headed down to the soccer fields to kick around his brand new ball. We walked on to the field, and I could already hear Little Man panting in excitement. He chased around the ball, kicking it a few times, but mostly picking it up and throwing it. It brought such a smile to my face to watch him run around the field. He was so happy! He was even happier when a girl his age came running on to the field. He ran over to her (twice), and they looked as if they were about to hug. Instead, they stopped two feet from each other and just smiled. He was having so much fun, even when he was falling (since it was soft turf). He would just stand up and brush, or shake, the grass from his hands. He loved to yell, “GOAL!” as he threw the ball. He kept trying to get it all the way in so it hit the net. He also really just wanted daddy to kick the ball. After nearly a half an hour of running around the field, I asked if he wanted to go home. He was now sitting on the ground inside the goal. He nodded. Daddy asked if he wanted a bath. He nodded again before getting up and heading back to the stroller. The walk back was a quiet one. Watching him run around, I still see the clumsy little year-and-a-half old boy, but a part of me feel like he’s growing so much faster than that.

When we got home, he was so worn out and tired that his bath was pretty tame. We splashed and played with bubbles. I slapped my hands together, sending some flying, and he got a huge kick out of it. He tried it and got some on his nose, which made him laugh. As I rocked him to sleep, I got another sweet hug before putting him in his crib. He was out shortly after that, and I don’t blame him after such a busy day!

Seeing Green. And Blue.

After breakfast this morning, Little Man was playing as I finished my coffee at the kitchen table. He came over to me and wanted in my lap. Once up, he pointed at the bookshelf in his play area. I asked if he wanted to read a book. He nodded. I put him down and he ran to get a book. We read it, and as I finished I asked if he wanted a different one. He ran to get one. After we finished the second book, he sat there staring at the back page, almost as if waiting for something. I asked if he wanted to read it again. He nodded emphatically. I laughed, gave him a kiss, and opened the page.  He has been nodding a lot for a few days and it is adorable. He nods at almost everything I ask him: is he hungry, does he want to go play upstairs, does he like the pasta. Sometimes I think he is just humoring me.

Our second day of work was a little rougher than the first. Little man took a nice nap in the morning, but after a rough night of sleep, I am not sure it was enough. He either needs to keep up two short naps a day, or start napping one long one in the afternoon. But, it might not happen until he is used to the strange surroundings. So, while we still had fun, there were definitely many moments of frustration for the two of us. Hae got a big kick out of Little Man again, and this time, she even made him laugh. But, it seems the jealousy finally broke through today. We were reading a book in Hae’s room, and I had her on my lap. I moved her to one knee and asked Little Man to sit on the other so we could all read together. As I started reading he kept looking at her and slowly inching his way to the center of my lap, making sure she had no room there. Then, when his shirt brushed her hand, she grabbed hold. He looked at her and tried nudging her out of the way with his shoulder There were several moments when I was holding or paying attention to the baby when he would point at her, point at me, and whine. If that’s not clear cut, I don’t know what is. I told him he is still my baby, and he has to help me take care of her. It was hard to see him that way, and I could see his frustration grow with each hour (not to mention he was tired). Next week we go to our regular schedule, and I hope with time he settles in to a routine. I have to keep telling myself it’s only 15 hours a week!

After a tiring drive home, we had a quick dinner and went to Little Man’s first “Battle of the ‘Burn.” It’s where the two high schools of Ashburn (therefore, the ‘Burn) play each other in football. We went two years ago, but I was pregnant and uncomfortable, so we didn’t make it through the whole game. Since this one was set to start at 7:30 pm (Little Man’s bedtime), we knew we wouldn’t make it long. We sit on the Stone Bridge side (go Bulldogs), mostly because our friend has kids there, and James did his teaching hours there, so I dressed Little Man in blue. Technically, we are in Broad Run district, and might not even be living in Ashburn by the time Little Man gets to high school. Plus, with the way they pack them in like sardines around here, there should be at least four more by then! Both schools are really good at football, so it is pretty insane. It is the only game they sell tickets for, and we had to park blocks away.

On the walk to the game, Little Man was giggling at the girls walking behind us. He also saw a cute dog. The woman with the dog asked if he wanted to pet him. She asked a couple times actually, and when we finally stopped, I found out why. Another Iowan! We are everywhere! She had noticed Little Man’s hat. As we started walking again, he was really laughing it up with these high school girls. They kept saying how cute he was, and he was eating up all the attention. After finally getting to our seats (saved by our friend luckily), Little Man was dazzled. He pointed out all sorts of things that drew his attention: flags, cheerleaders, the bulldog sign, the same girls walking past us again. He kept shouting “GOAL!” and clapping before the game even started. As we waited for the game to start, I had Little Man stand on my legs, facing me. He would look up at the people, grab my head, and give me a hug. So sweet! On the first possession of the game, a Stone Bridge running back took off and came close to the end-zone. A play or two later (too many people to see anything), and they scored. James was holding Little Man, trying to show him, so he shouted “Touchdown!” Everyone around us screamed and cheered. Little Man looked at me with the biggest pout on his face. Then started crying. I took him, soothed him, and gave him his binky. He calmed down after a bit, and when the clapping started again, he clapped along. We ended up leaving after the first quarter since it was already 8pm. At least we got to see some live football this season.

It was pretty much straight to bed as soon as we got home. Little Man was laughing and playful even as I rocked him to sleep. He always likes to point out my eyes and nose, then sticks his finger in my nose so I make a huffing noise and a face. He giggles. I go in for a kiss. This time, as I went in for the kiss, he grabbed my neck, pulling me in close for a hug. We sat like that for nearly a minute. I’d feel his little fingers pat my neck gently. I had tears in my eyes. I rocked him some more and he pulled me in for one last hug before falling asleep with his hand on my face.

First Day on the Job

After starting my job search by looking for something I could do while telecommuting (too competitive), then looking at nights and weekends (not enough hours for the employer), I finally found something that would be great for us, and I wouldn’t spend any time away from Little Man. Nannying. I found an awesome family that actually enjoys the fact that I bring my son along. It is a bit of a drive (30-40 minutes depending on traffic), but everything around here is like that, and they worked with me to make it easier (less days but more hours). I watch a four month old girl (I’ll call her Hae on here) three days a week. After a slight setback with her first cold, we started today.

I knew things would be difficult on the first day or so. Little Man had no idea what he was getting in to, so I tried to get him to nap in the morning. I am trying to move him to one nap a day in the afternoon, but I knew today would not be the day to start. Unfortunately, he must have known something new was happening, because he didn’t nap. We headed out early, and luckily hit no traffic. I took him out of the car, and we walked to the door together. We got shown the ropes before getting down to work. Hae is a pretty laid back baby, and she’s young, so there isn’t much we can do together other than lay on the floor and look at toys. It must seem pretty boring to Little Man, but he seemed to entertain himself for a while playing with all her little toys. He also got a big kick out of her playmat with a keyboard. He started blowing raspberries while walking around holding a rattle, and Hae started giggling. She loved all the silly noises he made.

Around the hour mark, it hit me. I was feeding Hae a bottle, and Little Man got up on the couch next to me. He had his book and started reading. After a few pages, he tried handing it to me. When I told him I didn’t have a hand to take it, he tried tossing it in my lap. I tried holding the bottle with my chin, but Hae wiggles a lot when eating. When I told Little Man he had to wait a minute, he tried getting in my lap. My heart broke when I told him he couldn’t right now. Almost eighteen months to the day (tomorrow), I have had Little Man to myself every day. And he’s had me to himself everyday. For eighteen months we’ve played while laying on the floor. We’ve read books with him in my lap. We’ve cuddled and snuggled. He never needed to worry about me not being there. Until today. I almost started crying. It seems such a silly thing, but I couldn’t help it. I kept reading in to every movement and worrying if he (or me) would be okay. Eventually, I told myself, it’s just for three days a week, and not even the full day. It will get better.

It was also the first day, which came with other dilemmas, like napping. Hae doesn’t really nap, and Little Man hasn’t been in the afternoon. With all the excitement and being in a strange place, it made napping a nightmare. I think Little Man was scared. When I put him down in the crib, he would just start crying, saying, “mama!” Of course, I couldn’t make him nap after that. Luckily, Hae ended up taking a cat nap for about a half an hour. Little Man had a snack, then I turned off the light and had him lay on my shoulder. It didn’t take long before he was out, but he woke when he was put down. So, barely ten minutes later, when Hae woke, so did he. It made for a rather stressful and tiresome last couple hours. He was tired and testing limits. As things started to wrap up though, he started playing with the keyboard playmat, and even laid on the floor next to Hae and me when I asked him to. Aside from testing limits in a new house, I noticed so many things he does well. He picks up toys when I ask him to, and even puts them away. He goes up and down the stairs on his own when I need him to. He holds my hand when asked, and sometimes waits for me just in case I might ask. He may try to leave my sight, but when I ask, he comes right back. I’ve got a great little guy.

On the way home, he didn’t sleep. He read his book and pointed out trucks. When we pulled up to the house, and I opened his door, he was still reading. I asked if he wanted to go see daddy, and he responded, “daddy,” in a whisper. When we got inside, he ran to give daddy a hug, then ran to his kitchen. He missed his toys. He also seemed to miss me. As we were about to eat dinner, he kept running to me, saying, “mama,” and hugging my legs. After dinner, as we played, he kept coming over to give me hugs and kisses. Daddy told him that maybe he was just appreciating me more.

Of course no nap all day meant an early bedtime. He struggled to fall asleep and I have had to go in twice and rock him back to sleep, so I am hoping I can get a nap in before we go tomorrow. I know the first day is the hardest, and there were definitely moments that I worried I couldn’t (or didn’t want) to do this. But, I know I’ll get better at navigating the two of them together, and it will get easier as they get older. And I know Little Man will have an easier time of it, too. I just have to remind myself that I am lucky. I get to work with my Little Man!

Showing Off

I have always said Little Man is a smart cookie, but I usually play it up as most mothers say that about their kids. He loves to talk and hold conversations (he must get that from his dad, hehe). He is inquisitive, constantly pointing to find out what things are, and often asking, “what’s that.” Heck, he even tried to correct me when I tell him what certain things are, and I am amazed at how he can associate the two (like the bug and the sun I talked about). Today, he said “heart” and “book,” not in the same sentence, but he does love books!

He showed off some of his skills as we ran errands. At the vet to pick up Gimli’s food, he giggled at a cute puppy in the waiting area. He pointed and said, “dog.” I praised him and asked what a dog says. “Woof woof.” He spotted the dog behind the counter and said “dog” again. This time when he “woofed,” all the ladies heard and cooed at him. He smiled and looked down, spotting the cat on the calendar sticker on the counter. He pointed. I asked what the cat says. “Meow.” More cooing from the ladies.

At the chiropractor, I brought Little Man in the stroller. He made an “ah!” sound as soon as we entered the lobby to listen to his echo, and the woman behind the desk commented that she heard us coming. She hadn’t seen him in a while, so she came over to talk with him. He was reading a book from the car, but kept smiling and giggling. Another woman came over, and he went into full flirt mode. As we all chatted, I pointed to some things in his book, and he called out what they were. “Car.” “Umbrella.” “Tree.” “Fish.” I asked him where things were, and he pointed easily. Ball. Bubbles. Cat. Bike. Too many to remember now. The ladies were amazed, and one of them said something along the lines of his mom doing well. He said, “mama!” excitedly, pointing at me. I was beaming with pride.

Goodbye. Hello!

After lunch, Little Man and I headed to the library for musical storytime. We were early, but I discovered a few weeks ago that they have baby Legos and other toys to play with as well. I thought this would occupy him before storytime started, and I was right. He immediately wanted to go to the Legos where an older girl was playing. He would come over to me and show me some blocks, or just give me a smile, before running to play with something else. He liked the puppet animals as well, and he liked the older boy who was playing with some of them. Both of these kids were probably around 5. He tried building off the girl’s stack of Legos, though she didn’t seem to want his help, and I actually saw her take some of them from his hands. He would try to play with some of the puppets, but the boy would try and hog them all, then when his mother told him to share, would literally throw one at Little Man’s feet (to both moms’ credit, they were trying or didn’t see some things). Little Man played it cool. He didn’t care if they didn’t share everything, he was just excited to be playing. It was then that I began to worry about him getting older. I think he’s a strong boy, but he’s also sensitive and sweet. I just don’t even want to think about him getting to school age yet!

In storytime, he was a ball of energy, sometimes a little too much, but I enjoy watching him have such a good time. He loves to wave the streamers around, and even bounced around to the songs this time. Later, we went to the store, and he kept smiling at everyone going by. If someone said goodbye, he actually waved when they could see him, when he usually waits until they are out of sight. When we got home, we started walking up the sidewalk, and I pointed out the dogs in the window. He pointed and laughed. I said to say hi to the doggies, and he waved at them. I think I died from the cuteness.