Tonight may be a short post, since Little Man seems like he’s in the mood to co-sleep. He woke a bit ago and doesn’t want to be left alone in the pack and play. He’s doing his sweet monkey cling, and despite knowing it will be a fitful sleep for both of us, I really do love my snuggle time.
We went to the Mississippi Valley Fair here in Davenport today. I hadn’t been in over ten years as far as I recall, so I was interested to see how it’s changed. Lucky for me, it really hasn’t. The fairgrounds built better buildings, but everything looked the same. Even the rides were mostly the ones from when I was a kid. The weather was beautiful, in the 70’s, but the sun was strong, so it felt a little warm when we weren’t in the shade. We spent most of our time eating, and Little Man spent most of the time amazed. He seemed to just take in all the sights and sounds (and there were a lot). He really liked watching the high rides fly up in the air. He’s point when one flew up and shout out to get our attention. Those are the ones mommy never goes on!
While mommy and daddy waited in line to pet a baby tiger, Little Man walked around with grandma and papa. They found an air conditioned building where there were baby animals that had just hatched. There were chicks and ducks, but Little Man really liked watching the tiny baby quails through the glass. We only stayed a couple hours, since that is pretty close to Little Man’s limit. He seemed to enjoy it, even if there wasn’t much for his age. If we were more patient people we could have tried to get seats for some of the animal shows. Maybe it just means we need to come back around fair time in a couple years when he can really get the experience!
Grandma and Papa put Little Man down for bed tonight, and grandma told me later that she can see why I say it is my favorite part of the day. He’s my little snuggler. While I missed my evening routine with him, I did get some snuggles at naptime, and somewhat unfortunately, some more just a bit ago as he woke in the night. While I used to snuggle him like a baby, he has started a new trend. It just might be my new favorite, though, they are really all my favorite. He starts by laying snuggled in my arms, facing me, like usual. Then, he flops onto his back before deciding that’s not comfortable. He then flips onto his other side, his back to me, and his head still resting on my arm. I snake my arm over his belly and rest it on his little butt. He loops his arms around mine and clings tight. If I move or make like I might get up to put him in his crib, he squeezes my arm tighter. Sometimes, he’ll even gently rub my arm, as if I am in the one needing soothing. I could lay there with him forever.
I love this new kind of baby monkey clinging. He does it when he wants picked up or to get my attention as well. He’ll tug on my pants of clutch at my leg to let me know he’s there and needs me. Someone please tell me this never stops, because it is so precious.
Today, the family headed to the Putnam museum for the kids to explore. Little Man wanted to get down and see things on his own, but it wasn’t really made for his age group. It was a really neat hands-on experience, so it was easy to get him to look around and take it all in. Since we didn’t have a stroller, we took turns carrying him through the crowded area. When we first walked in, we sat him on a pulley system where you are supposed to pull your own body up. While I held him steady, papa lifted him up. Little Man made sure to help by holding on to the rope. In the sea zone, I finally found enough space to let him walk on his own. He sat with Isabel and played with felt sea animals, watched the fish in the aquarium, and looked at papa through the window bubble of a submarine. He stepped into the bubble when he saw papa’s face, but he seemed leery of getting too close. The bubble shape must have thrown him off a bit. We continued to explore the prarie area where the kids went up in a tree and played with puppets. Little Man took that as another opportunity to wander around. He followed Isabel down a hallway laughing. As he turned a corner, he saw a stranger, laughed really hard, and turned to run the other way. He “moo’d” at the buffalo and loved the birds they had on display. His favorite part might have been the stuffed animals in the mammal exhibit. He loved pointing at the polar bear family. So much so that when we left, he kept reaching for new people to hold him so they would take him back in the exhibit.
One thing that struck me was how small he still is. He is practically running, though occasionally a little wobbly. But seeing him around his cousins and the mass of kids at the museum was a gentle reminder that while he is growing quickly, he’s still a baby. I just have to keep savoring every second I can and remember this on days when he seems to be growing too fast.
This morning, daddy and I were getting Little Man changed in our room at grandma and papa’s house. Little Man decided he was done and tried to shimmy down off the bed. He had done it once before, though it is a little higher than the couches and chairs he is used to. When his feet are about a half a foot from the ground, he clung to the bed. He started shaking his head “no,” as he dangled there. Apparently, he didn’t realize how close he was to the bottom, so he didn’t want to risk it. That makes me proud!
The afternoon was spent with the entire immediate family at Aunt Sasha’s house. It was great to see everyone, and especially to see everyone together. Little Man spent most of the time following his cousins and Uncle Dustin around the yard. They were playing bocche ball, and he thought he was big enough to join. He walked around throwing a heavy blue ball, trying to catch up to the others. Later, someone gave him a bat, and I was shocked when he only managed to hit one person with it. Before the party was over, he took the watering can in the front yard and watered the flowers (if there had been water in the can). Of course, after “watering” them, he made sure to pick large chunks of the plants off and hand them to Sasha. On the way home, Little Man was half asleep. He had such a big day, he was clearly ready for bed. This also means he gets picky about the music, and made the saddest frown when a song from Frozen was coming through the speakers.
It really is amazing how big this family has gotten. So many kids. It makes me sad sometimes to think that we are the only ones far away. He won’t get the chance to grow close with his cousins. It’s a little heartbreaking after seeing how he’s been the past week. I am trying not to dwell on it too much since we still have five more days until we leave. We still have a lot more memories to make!
Today seemed a day of constant reflection. Watching Little Man and seeing how much he has grown even more just this past week in Iowa. He’s walking around like a pro, talking constantly, and pointing at everything to find out what it is. He is even trying new words. As we went to lunch, James and I looked back at him in the car seat, and it just hit us. He looked like such a big boy, looking out the window with his feet crossed. The faces he makes are no longer that of a baby. I watch him play around grandma and papa’s house, and there are moments when I could cry. It’s hard to explain, but I just look at his sweet face and I am hit with such love and amazement.
His new game today is to point at people over and over as I tell him who they are. At lunch, it was back and forth between me and daddy. At lunch, it was me, daddy, papa, and grandma. He would switch it up, I think purposefully trying to trip me up. My favorite is when we would ask where’s Anthony, and he’d scrunch up his face, point to his nose, and laugh.
Little Man has started making a very silly face. He scrunches up his nose, opens his mouth so you can see his teeth, and breathes in and out quickly. He uses it like a laugh, and today he used it often.
We went to dinner up in Clinton at a restaurant Papa has been craving. It was a little bit of a drive, so on the way, Little Man had a fig bar. When we sat at our table, he had some breadsticks. The manager must have noticed me giving him bread, so they brought out a plate of fruit and a cheese stick. He at all five grapes, all five blueberries, then annihilated the string cheese. When our meals arrived, I gave Little Man some chicken, thinking he probably wouldn’t eat much, if at all. Instead, he ate practically a whole chicken tender and a handful of fries. I am pretty sure he could have kept going, but I was afraid his stomach would explode! It seems all that constant walking is catching up to him in yet another way.
Speaking of constant walking, he hit the milestone I was just joking about the other day. This morning, as he played after breakfast, he walked over to the animal figures. He took out the kangaroo and placed it on the ground. Then he got out the baby kangaroo and sat on the floor. He sat there for a couple minutes, playing with the kangaroos. He bounced them up and down, one at a time, then together. He hopped them all around, and I was amazed at how well he knew what the animals did. I also found myself wondering what he was thinking as he was playing. Was he imagining real kangaroos in the zoo? Was he picturing me as the mama and him as the baby? It ‘s fascinating to think about, yet frustrating that I will never know.
Cousin Isabel also taught Little Man a new word today while we were driving home from Clinton. He said “apple,” which comes out almost like two words: “app” “le.” She did it by showing her iPhone, but later when I showed him a real picture, he knew it. He amazes me more and more each day.
After lunch, we start to head down to the basement to get ready to go to the park. Since we really only go down there to sleep, Little Man must have thought he was getting a nap. Daddy was holding him as we walk toward the stairs, and I glance back to see a frown on Little Man’s face. I remind him that we aren’t going to bed, just getting changed. As we start down the steps, his frown deepens. It gets sadder and sadder the closer we get to the bottom. Once in the bedroom, before I can even begin to reach for his clothes, he lets out a whine. His mouth opens wide, his eyes close, and he lets out a “wah!” A literal “wah.” Clearly a fake cry, so I start laughing. He does it again, and I can see daddy holding in his laugh. He does it again, and I am laughing hysterically now. One more time, and daddy can’t contain his laughs any longer. Little Man looks back and forth between us, a pout on his face, but as he goes to let out another whine, it turns into a giggle.
We took a nice walk around Vander Veer Park. Little Man enjoyed watching the ducks, especially when we came across a mama with her six babies. Later in the evening, his Great Aunt Kathy and Great Uncle Lon came over for dinner. Little Man immediately took to Lon. He kept bringing him the foam football to play catch. I had him show off some skills, pointing to body parts and picking up animals once I named them. I asked for my Eskimo kisses, and he came to give them. It seems I found a trick to always get sweet kisses! After mine, he went to Lon to give him some, then Grandma and Grandpa, and finally Kathy. Such a lovey boy. Once again, he was non-stop playing. I have been joking that his new milestone will be when he can sit and play for longer than thirty seconds. He was walking around so much, that a little before bedtime, he reverted to crawling. His legs just couldn’t take any more!