Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Monster in the Closet and Other Terrifying Tales

Happy Halloween!

Spooky cookies from my knitting group Halloween potluck

And now for a scary story -

Up until now, the boy hasn't really phased by anything - loud noises, animals, strange people who stick their fingers in his mouth at Target (yes, that actually happened), but recently he has begun to show that he is vulnerable to more than a lack of food or snuggles.

It turns out we have a monster in the house; it lives in the closet, but sometimes it comes out to terrorize the floor and anything on it, including little boys.

Yes, that's right, I'm talking about the vacuum. Yesterday, I was vacuuming the living room while he was playing in the entryway; I looked over to check on him, and he was sitting, staring at the vacuum with his lower lip jutting way out. Then he tried to crawl to me for comfort, but lo and behold the menacing beast outsmarted him and was even closer than before, resulting in further lip jutting and a few tears. Needless to say I unplugged the beast and picked up my scared little boy.

We had some snuggling and some nursing, and then I took him over to the vacuum for a closer look. He looked at it tentatively from the safety of my arms. I tapped/banged the vacuum a few times in a few different spots and called it "silly vacuum" to show him there was nothing to be afraid of. He followed suit with the banging and smiling, but the minute I turned it on again, the lip returned. I will keep trying to get him used to it in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, I gotta say his sad face was pretty cute. Truthfully, I don't see him sad very often, which makes me realize that I've got one happy little boy on my hands.

We encountered another newly discovered and conquered fear earlier this week at the park. On one of the climbing things, there is a tube made of a metal mesh with large holes. He has crawled through the tube before with no problem, but tonight he sat at the opening, looking at me on the other end with a bewildered look on his face. Then we realized he kept looking at the ground through the mesh. We had him put his hands on it, and he wouldn't put any weight on them. Then I crawled through the tube from his side, and at the other end, I put my hands in and banged the tube to show that it was, well, there. He cautiously put his hands in the tube and then slowly crawled toward me, amazed, I think, that he didn't fall to the ground. It may have also helped that Daddy went underneath and made funny faces from below.

This pic is from a month ago, but it's the only Halloween related one I have

We didn't end up doing anything Halloweeny today, but we did go out to lunch with an old friend where Wiggle ate some french fries and had his first taste of chicken. Tomorrow, C will finally be done with his Darwin festivities, and we will have some time together as a family.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Imp" - ressive Accomplishments

So, yesterday Wiggle turned 9 months. When he was 8 months, I felt like it couldn't have been that long, he couldn't be 8 months already, yada yada yada. Now, at 9 months, he seems so much like a little boy and not like a baby, that it makes total sense that he's 9 months old.

He has a whole new bag of tricks as of late. He just started playing peek-a-boo by actually holding something over his face, waiting for you to ask where he is, and then pulling the big reveal. He'd been pulling things away from our faces to find us for ages, and he also had hidden by alternately standing and crouching next to the coffee table to play, but holding an object to hide himself is new.

Also, that standing thing I mentioned in the last post, it's not a fluke. He still does it mainly by accident when he's so involved in looking at or eating a toy that two hands seem necessary. When he realizes he standing on his own, he generally gets startled and falls onto his butt, but he keeps on doing it more and more everyday.

Another new thing is that he can get down from the bed on his own. When he crawls to the edge, I say "remember, feet first," and he turns around and slides over the edge on his own. The first few times he would look at me when I was saying it, but now he just goes about his business, and I don't even have to say it every time. I think I will try to see if it works on stairs too.

But how is his mood, you ask? He has been all imp, all the time. Just call him Mr. Wiggle Mischief. He climbs, pulls things down, bangs things around, puts everything in his mouth, and can now evade capture by hiding under the dining room table and escaping out the other side when I move a chair to reach him (I think he learned that one from the cats). All with a big mischievous grin on his face often accompanied by much giggling and snorting. Overall, he's a lot of fun, even if he is a lot of work.

Also, in spite of his impishness, now that he understands things and is more independent, it feels like we can actually work together, even if it means we are doings separate things. When I move around the house during the day, I can wave him into next room, and he will come after me. If I don't call to him, he will just explore on his own. Sometimes when I'm trying to get dinner together before C comes home, I can give Wiggle a bottle, put him in his bouncer in the super-reclined position, and work in the kitchen while he feeds himself. Now, he won't stay there for long, but it generally gives me enough time to drain the hot pasta, cook the shrimp, wash the onions off my hands, etc. On good days, it even allows me to wash a few dishes.

One area I wish we had a little more distance from each other is the bathroom. He is hyper-fascinated by the whole room and everything in it. He goes crazy if I close the door, and I don't want to put him in his crib each time I have to pee because it's very important that he thinks of his crib as a place he likes and not as a prison. Plus, I would prefer, for my own mental health, not to associate relieving myself with crying babies. What I need is a magic toy that only comes out when it's bathroom time and will keep him occupied from pants down to hands washed. Any tips from the moms out there? I will try any and all advice.

I would say that in this picture Wiggle is only about one quarter imp. Full imp is very hard to capture because as you would imagine, an imp doesn't stay still for pictures. Plus he uses the time that Mommy has her face turned toward the camera to cause more mischief. Perhaps a wolf suit is in order?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Things have been pretty crazy lately. Not bad crazy, but hectic crazy. On Sunday, I went to what was scheduled to be Wiggle's last swim class, but luckily we are actually going to have one more since the instructor missed the first one. I promise to have C come to the make-up class, so we can get some pictures of Wiggle getting his swim on to put on the blog.

After class, in the locker room while I was putting on clothes, and Wiggle was escaping under the dressing room door to go pow-wow with a classmate, I realized what a fool I was not to get pictures on the first day. I had been telling myself that we didn't need to get pictures The First Day because each class would be pretty much the same, so who cares, right? Wrong.

What was my rookie mistake? Yes, the classes were pretty much the same from week to week, but Wiggle sure wasn't. Admittedly, most observers wouldn't notice his improvement on actual swim skills, but I had not factored in how different it would be to have a 7-month-old splashing the water and a 9-month-old doing the same thing. Let me tell you, it is a world of difference. But again, there will be pictures. I promise. Come hell or cold, chlorinated water, there will be pictures.

The whole swimming thing got me thinking about how much Wiggle has grown, and that got me thinking about having another baby. Hold up. Don't spit your soda just yet, I'm not ready for another one right now or even in the near future. But I do want there to be another one, and enough time has gone by now, and Wiggle has gone through enough changes, for me to realize how fleeting each of the previous stages were. I don't want to sentimentalize too much, and I know that when my second one is tucked up under my chin during that first wonderful, albeit sleep-deprived, month, Wiggle will be there too, coloring all over my new white bedspread*. But I still do want another first month, another whole set of firsts.

Now I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, I am completely loving the right now I have with Wiggle everyday. It's just that some of the time it feels like the days just run into each other, one after the next. And then there are the days like today.

My dad told me that when I was a baby he used to think that elves came in and replaced me with a whole new version every night because that's how much I would change each day. Since I am with the babe most of the time, I only get glimpses of that same feeling, but sometimes something happens, and it just hits you. And tonight? While we were waiting for his dad to come home from work, and Wiggle was singing and banging his wooden spoon on the windowsill, and then he turned around, and he was standing? On his own? And he just kept standing as he waved his spoon around and grinned his impish grin at me? It hit me, hard.

The little boy is growing up a little more every day, and while that is the ultimate goal, of course, a very tiny part of me is already sad that he won't always break into a wide smile every time he sees me, or give me big, sloppy baby kisses on command, or even snuggle up close when he is tired or sad.

Right now though, I will go to sleep knowing that in the morning when he wakes up, he will be waiting for me with plenty of kisses.

*True story related to me by my mother. And yes, I was the guilty party.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Brief History of a Weekend

I can't believe how fast time is flying right now. Every time I turn around another week has flown by. Last weekend, C's mom, aunt, and brother came into town for a brief Wiggle-hugging convention. On Friday, we spent time around the house watching Wiggle do amazing things like dance (swaying back and forth to music), play "So Big!" and patty-cake, and just generally be irresistible. Grandma R and Aunt M bestowed a ton of loot on the boy. He is now entirely outfitted for winter with fleece and jackets galore. He's worn a couple of the things so far, and everything looks great.
On Saturday, we went to Target and picked out a new big-boy carseat (another generous gift from the grandparents). We just installed it yesterday, and it fits him so much better. The shape of it is different too, so he doesn't seem as isolated even though he is still facing the backseat. He looks like he's chill-axin' in an easy chair, instead of looking like he's strapped into a torture device. The downside, not to this particular carseat, but to all of the larger ones, is that they are, indeed, larger. We already had to have Uncle B meet us places on public transit because we couldn't fit everyone in the car, and now I think we will only be able to have one adult in the backseat with Wiggle. Next year in our new digs, we probably won't have the benefit of public transit at our disposal, so things will get trickier. Maybe I'll wait to worry about that one until I find out where we will be roosting for the next couple of years (Istanbul, anyone?).

On Sunday, we didn't get together until the late afternoon, but then we did some shopping around town before having a delicious dinner in Greektown. We have only ever eaten in Greektown once before, which seems insane when I think about how often we drive through it, but all the restaurants seem the same, so I can never choose between them. This time we bit the bullet and chose one ahead of time, Greek Islands, based on some recommendations from friends. It was fantastic; we will definitely go back. C and I shared moussaka and grilled octopus for our meal and some beets with an eye-opening garlic sauce as an appetizer. Wiggle enjoyed the octopus and the beets with the garlic sauce, but the moussaka appeared to leave a bad taste in his mouth, literally.
C and his brother.

B and his lovely companion, K.

Grandma R is telling Wiggle all about the lights overhead, while Aunt M flashes a smile for the camera.

The weekend flew by, and even though they were here for three days, it felt like we only got to see them for a few hours. I really wish that our families lived closer to us, so we could see them more. Maybe when we eventually move someplace permanently and buy a house, we will find one with a coveted "mother-in-law" apartment (for use by both sets of parents, siblings, aunts, etc, of course). Well, I can dream, can't I?

And for those junkies out there, don't think I would leave you hangin'.
Here are some money-shots of Wiggle playing with his new toys (more of the booty that appeared out of the Mary Poppins-like bags of Grandma R). Actually, she sent the telephone a couple of weeks ago, but it is his current fave. The whack-a-mole-esque hammer and nails, what we affectionately call "the screaming monkey ball," and the Disney/Hendrix guitar complete with whammy-bar are also big hits with the boy.
"Don't mess with me man. Can't you see I'm busy playing?"

"Hmmm, who should I call first?"

"Mommy, can you turn the music down? I'm on the phone."

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Couple of Gifts

Here are a couple of pics of Wiggle with gifts from the fam'.

Wiggle relaxing with his dad wearing some Jayhawk socks from his Uncle B. He's worn the socks a bunch, but I just hadn't snapped any photos with them, and I thought they were super cute all the way pulled up like that.

Here Wiggle and C are enjoying a book that Grandmother J bought him from a place she called "the hemp store in Taos." I guess it also could have been "The Hemp Store in Taos." Either way, check out the title. And I thought Chicago was Obama-crazy. It's a great piece of memorabilia and, of course, the title is true!BTW, Wiggle is feeling much better today. We skipped swim class this morning because the water is generally fairly cold and chlorine never helps a cold, but we went out to Costco and Trader Joe's this afternoon and he was in a great mood, if still a little snuffily.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Going Viral

It's here - the little boy has his first cold. We came home from running errands today and his throat started sounding a little hoarse. Right now he is sleeping upright in my arms. He is super stuffy and glassy-eyed with a slightly elevated temperature (no fever though), but otherwise he is in pretty good spirits. We put a couple of rolled up blankets under his mattress to elevate it which I think is helping him sleep somewhat, but it's gotta be frustrating to have your nose running and not know how to blow it. I'm hoping if he gets a good night's sleep, he'll feel a little better in the morning.

Something Old, Something New

Do you like Wiggle's cool blue shoes? Notice something different about them? They have laces instead of velcro. That's because they are C's from when he was a babe in arms, courtesy of Grandma R. Thanks, Grandma!

This was his first wearing of them. They are still a little big, and he has a little trouble maneuvering in them because they are a little heavier than newer shoes. Also, he hardly ever wears shoes since kids are supposed to learn to walk better with bare feet, so they sometimes take some getting used to. Now that the weather has turned cooler here though, I wanted the shoes as an added layer when we go out, plus they are super cute. I think I'm going to knit him some, not so little, wool socks for the winter too. I just love the shoes, and he loves them too, although mostly to eat. You gotta love a nice rubber sole to chew on.

He's also sporting a new sweater from my mom. I like it so much, I kind of want one for myself. He has received several compliments on it already. It is also cute because it has a hood, and when I put the hood up, he tries to take it off by pulling it forward as hard as he can. He reminds me of a kitten trying to get out of a bag that's over its head by backing up. We help him as soon as he gets too frustrated, but I have to stifle my giggles at the huffing and puffing that goes on during the attempt.

We went to our second music class this week. Only a few people showed up - our first encounter with the effects of childhood sickness and how quickly it spreads, but it was still a lot of fun. Now that we have the CD's and we listen to them everyday, he recognizes the songs and gets excited for certain parts. We also bought some musical instruments from Land of Nod this weekend. They turned out to be bigger than we orginally realized , so he can't play with all of them by himself (the triangle's metal rod was immediately confiscated), but he loves the cymbals and the tambourine and can maneuver them both fairly well. He also shakes the maracas and the clapper, but he is not allowed to walk around with those due to the slight chance of impalement.

He has also started dancing a little. He sways to music, but if you draw any attention to it, he immediately stops. I will try to get some video of it, but even grabbing the camera generally makes him stop, so it will take some doing.

In food news, his favorite now is cheese, by far. Cheddar, muenster, swiss, he likes it all. He even had a piece of heavily-flavored sage cheese from the supermarket sample bin and loved it. He also eats organic, no-preservative hot dogs without the skin, peas, steamed carrots, and avocado. He isn't really taking a spoon these days, so his diet has become slightly more limited. If he can't feed it to himself, he isn't interested. Another interesting food he tried and liked, balsalmic vinegar. Another supermarket sample, I put some on some bread thinking he wouldn't like it, but what the hey, right? He took it and ate it like he wasn't at all tasting something new and unusual. He's pretty awesome.

His newest trick is alternately feeding himself and and his dad his food. Does he ever try to feed me? No, never, just Dad. I think it's cute that it's special between them. Plus, I get my fair share of half-eaten, smushed things to eat just picking up after him, so I don't really feel cheated.

That's the week so far. This weekend we are going to a cool toy store in Oak Park, and Wiggle is having his first official playdate. Well, that's only technically true, as the kids will not be able to play together at all - his date is only two months old. But it's still the first time we are getting together with another set of parents intentionally that isn't part of a group thing. I'm looking forward to it.