Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dear Sabine: 4 Years Old

Dear Sabine,

Dear Sabine, Dear Sabine.....  Of my three kids, I have the most trouble buckling down to write about you.  You have such a dynamic personality.  Not to say your siblings don't, but there's just change so fast from one minute to the next.  I have an idea of how I'm going to start, but by the time I make it to the computer, the dominating force has become something completely new.  I don't even know if that makes sense, or if it will even make sense to me five minute from now.  Maybe it's your age, maybe it's because you're the middle child, maybe it's just You.

I've said a lot lately that you have a Jeckle & Hyde personality, and that is certainly true.  You'll be this completely sweet creature, so loving and charming, a switch goes off, and you're a creature of another nature.  I think maybe you take after Daddy with your moods.  You each have two moods, one is preferable, and I have no idea how to access them.  You look like me though.  And I really like that.  All you kids look a lot alike, but Jacob and Summer definitely resemble each other, while you are a mini-mommy.

At this point in time you have a favorite person in the world, and it is not me.  That is crushing to me.  It is Daddy.  It's been like that for a long time, and I'm sure you guys will always have this special bond, but I remain hopeful that it's an age thing.  I remember when Jacob was your age, there was a time period when he wanted very little to do with me.  He outgrew it, and I don't remember much beyond that.  So I hope you outgrow it someday and come back to me a little.

It's scary for me though, because you are, like I said, a middle child.  I spent a lot of energy this past year (and even before Summer was born) feeling guilty about that.  By watching you kids I can start to see just how the dynamic with my brother and sister was formed, and I can see that the way I react in certain situations is because of my experiences in my family of origin.  I consider this a phenomenon of sorts.

I find it exciting and so very interesting that I get to watch your dynamics and relationships form, and through watching it, I gain so much insight into my own place in the family, and in the greater community.  This is something that is really important to me, something I look forward to experiencing more in the future.  I feel lucky that I've been able to bring this level of awareness to my parenting experience, because based on conversations with other parents I know, I don't think this is something very many of them have consciously voiced like that.

Up until this point in my post I haven't really written too much about you.  I guess I find it easier to warm up by talking about the ways you have changed me.  I used to read these posts back to myself before I wrote another one so that I could 'keep track' of things I've said or 'pick up' where I left off.  I know better now though.  I know I'll be more honest in my writing, and if things are unknowingly repeated then it will serve to emphasize that part of your being.  See there I am writing about myself again.

Dear Sabine:  You are a maelstrom of energy.  Be it good or bad, your energy, your moods, your words come out loud and resonate long.  You have a strong, stubborn spirit that gets you in to trouble in our house, but will serve you well in the world.  You've always been maternal, like a little caretaker.  I can remember saying that about you before Summer was born.  You'd do little things for Jacob to take care of him, or look out for him.  You'd report on what he was doing, maybe boss him a little bit, as if you weren't five years younger than him.  Now you tell him you're going to put him in time out if he does such-and-such a thing to you!

All you kids are stubborn, just as me and my siblings are, but I have to say that as this point it's looking like you may be the most stubborn.  If I have to discipline you in some way, say you have to sit in time out for a few minutes, when I go to get you out of there, you won't talk to me, you won't move, you just stay there on the step like that's where you wanted to be all along.  Sometimes you'll be in a mood, and maybe we know what it is you want (but we need you to say it aloud), or maybe we don't know what it is, but if you don't feel like talking, then you're not making a peep.  This is in stark contrast to your Other Mood, the one where you Don't Stop Talking For Anything.  Or if we're eating dinner, and there's some kind of after-meal treat.  Well if you don't want to eat any more of your food, there's no tempting you with ice cream or whatever.  You just sit there watching everyone else enjoying it, and act like you never wanted it to begin with.

You do eat a ton of food.  Mostly you eat a lot in the morning, and then you eat a 'second breakfast', and then you're hungry again before lunch.  But then at dinner time we can hardly get you to eat a few bites.  You're really skinny, to the point where Daddy and I are getting a little worried.  But you are so, so active.  You take gymnastics class all year long, and after about a six week pause for summer vacation, you've just started to tell me you really miss it and can't wait to go back.  So we'll do a few classes in the remaining weeks of summer.  You've watched a lot of the olympics with us these past couple weeks.  We let you stay up late to watch the gymnastics because we think, you never know...

In the past few months you've started to express a strong liking for the color pink.  I am not so happy about this.  For maybe the past year we've been clashing over the clothes you wear.  It's not that I don't like the things you wear, but I want you to wear all the clothes you have in your closest, and you would prefer to wear the same favorites day after day.  This is just like your brother was and still is and I think to myself, "Again??"  I would love to have a kid who just lets me dress them.  And the accessories!  You've always loved accessories.  Currently you wear your watch, your soccer band and your silly bands.  Sometimes you like to wear sunglasses, but not so much a hat lately.  You used to always love to wear your John Deere baseball hat.

You can't wait to start playing soccer and t-ball.  You're very good at mini-golf for a four year old.  Pretty much any sport you play, we realize you're awesome at.  You've got a six-pack of abs that I am so jealous of.  You come up with the funniest things to say, without even trying to be funny.  You really impress MamMa and Papa with the things you say.  I don't have any great sound bites at my disposal right now...I'll have to think of some and put them in the comments section later.

You have certain routines and things you like to make sure to see when we're on the road.  When Daddy leaves for work in the morning, you like to give him "A hug, a kiss and a high five."  It's the only proper start to your day.  In the car, you love to always spot horses.  You've got to see some horses at some point on our ride.  You coined the phrase Cars On Top for the big car carriers that we see headed to dealerships.  OJ and yogurt are still your favorite drink and food, respectively. 

Of all your favorite things, music is your favorite favorite thing.  If you could, you'd have music on all day long.  Thanks to Sabine, we all have every single current country song committed to memory.  This was one of the first things I learned about you when you were a baby, that music calmed you, or just in general that you loved music.

At some point early this year, I developed the tantrum deposit box and placed it at the front door.  For a while I'd say it worked, and for a bit we were without huge tantrums.  Then the tantrums came back, and they last a long time and it really sucks.  The only good thing I can say about the tantrums is that when you're not having one, I don't really think about them that much.  And boy do I wish you could stop napping.  You'd love to stop napping, I would really love to stop having you nap, but there's just no way we can get away from it on most days.  Without a nap, that Other Mood comes around.  The mood where everything turns to eggshells and everyone's main goal in life is to not step on one of Your Eggshells.  It takes you between one and three hours for you to fall asleep for a nap, or to fall asleep for the night.  Even when you're exhausted.  When I have some spare time (ha) I will try to fix your sleeping problem.

For all your stubbornness and bravado, you are a little softy inside.  There's lots of things that you're afraid of and lots of ways your a so sweet.  Soon we'll be selling this house, the one that you kids were born into.  I'm afraid you're not going to remember the place where all of your life up until this point has happened.  That's a subject for another post.

 A couple weeks ago I was laying next to you in bed, reflecting on the time gone by and thinking about the day you were born.  My most clear memory of that day was when they handed you to me.  I looked in your eyes and I thought, oh, I know you; you're the one I was waiting for all this time.  I hope no matter how much times goes by, that I can still have those moments where I look in your eyes and know you belong to me.  And I hope you know that I'll always wait for you.



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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby feet!

Summer and I worked on a little Fathers' Day greeting for Daddy.

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Dear Summer: 9 & 10 Months

Dear Summer,

      Yesterday you turned 10 months old!  Today I am sitting here on the couch with you asleep in my lap and I decided to look through some pictures of the day you were born.  Daddy asked what hat he was wearing when you were born, so that's how I ended up getting into the pictures.  In case you're wondering, it was his Yankees hat.  By the way, you're going to be a Yankees fan.  I'm sorry.

       The last time I visited this blog was when you were turning 9 months old.  I got as far as jotting down ten different things about you at that age before I was called away for a whole month.  I wrote the following things (with my current thoughts on the matter in parenthesis):

~ You love to pull the strings on Daddy's sweatshirt (when Daddy is holding you he is usually wearing his hooded sweatshirt, and you always go for his strings, putting them in your mouth and playing with them.  Sometimes at night when you're asleep in bed with Daddy I have to go around the bed to tuck his strings into his shirt so they don't get wrapped around your neck or anything).

~ Give kisses now (you were starting to give little open mouth kisses when I said "kiss" but I think that's kid of disappeared.  You do smack your mouth a lot, either for fun, or to tell me you want a drink or a bite of something in your mouth).

~ bbbb....ddddd (I guess you were making those sounds?)

~ Baby yoga (you started doing what we call Baby Yoga, on your hands and feet with you butt in the air and head pointed down.  If you were on the bed doing that, I'd flip you right over into a forward roll and you would crack up.  Come to think of it, you're not really doing Baby Yoga so much these days).

~ Cruising (you, you've been cruising on the furniture since about 8 months old.  You're getting ready to walk now.  You'll be standing there against the furniture, and then you take your hands off and just stand there on your own, thinking about walking, and then after a few seconds you drop down and rapidly crawl away.  You are fast!  And you climb everything.  If you're crawling around on the floor and there's something that's about 6-12 inches high, you'll go crawl over it just for the challenge of it.  You climb up the stairs in our house, all the way to the top, with someone behind you, of course.  You started this about 9 months old.  I'm teaching you how to go down the stairs, and I think you're getting it because yesterday you got down from the couch by yourself).

~ Putting things in your mouth (for the longest time you didn't mouth inappropriate things or put things in your mouth and I was so grateful for it.  But you picked it up in an instant and haven't stopped.  You hold something up and shake your head no and do your quacking thing "dah dah dah dah dah" or something like that, but it's high-pitched like a quack).

~ Clap your hands and shake your head when you hear music - "dancing" (You love music.  When it comes on you stop what you're doing to clap and shake yourself around.  Speaking of clapping, that's something that started in the last month.  You picked it up quickly and looove to clap whenever someone else is clapping or if you hear the word 'clap').

~loooove baths (So very much.  You love the water.  Splashing, smacking, putting your face in it, catching it, dumping it.  You go nuts in the bath tub, so much so that you crash all over the place and are constantly banging your head).

At 10 months old you've been saying hi and bye to people with a breathy 'H' sound and your right arm flapping wildly in the air.  You love to play peek-a-boo!  It started out with your hands at your temples with a blanket (or shirt, or hat, or cloth) clasped in them and you totally got the idea.  But now you'll do it even if you don't have an object in your possession.  You pull your hands up and there's your face for all the world to see, then your hands go down and we pretend something big happened anyway because it's still flipping cute.

Diaper changes continue to be a pain because you do not want to lay still on your back and all you do is flip over and scream to get away.  If Daddy or I are changing your diaper, and we're both home, we usually ask the other one to come help hold you down.  Sometimes I have Jacob help me.  Speaking of him, he loves you so much.  Sabine does too.  She is so jazzed to be a big sister, and you're more into her than you were in the past.  You love he hair and touching (smacking) her face.  Jacob takes really good care of you.  If either if your siblings are around, you want to be where they are, doing what they're doing, or at least watching every move they make.

You've become quite a good eater recently, eating a lot and eating really healthy foods.  You seem excited about all the new flavors and tastes and I'm really, really happy about that.  You still nurse, and get so excited to do so.  Nursing has always sort of been your 'reset' button.  You need to reconnect with me that way, and the you can go back your business in a much better mood.

No teeth for Summer yet.  We're kind of surprised because both Jacob and Sabine got their first tooth right after they turned 9 months.  But you were also a lot smaller than them at birth, so maybe your clock runs a little differently.

Even though you don't have teeth growing in yet, you hair is starting to get longer.  Some days you have little curls that form on the back of your head!  Your hair...I can't tell just what color it is, maybe because it's not long enough yet, but it seems like it may be blonde, for now, at least.  Whatever it is, it's cute!  And your lashes...that's one area in which you do take after your siblings.  You've got those long, dark, curly eye lashes that they both have, and people are noticing them a lot lately.

Just like when you were a tiny baby, you're still trying to get somewhere.  When you are with other people, you're always trying to get back to my arms.  You've been really clingy lately.  Sometimes you just need Mommy, but other times once I get out of sight, you're fine.  Still, other times you surprise us and let some special person hold you for a very long time.  When you're in your high chair, you're trying to get out, and you usually succeed in pushing through the straps and standing up.  Even though you love to be in the action, I've noticed the ability you have to entertain yourself quietly for a long time just playing with something on the ground.  But all bets are off if your adult walks out of the room.  You give a little screech/squeal that means for us to get back here and pick you up so you can go along for the ride.

You play around on the floor when we're all home, mostly the kitchen floor because that's where we always seem to be.  You go from room to room and take your time exploring things.  You have your own things and make your own messes.  When we all run around chasing each other, tickling and tackling, you're right there with us.  You're one of us, but you're your own person with your own looks, a tiny head, a tiny toosh, a little bit of light hair with a little curl in the back, a soft belly that I love to kiss, a signature move (back arch with arms above your head) that you were doing inside of me all those months ago.  You would think that my looking back at those pictures from the day you were born would cause me to sigh and exclaim, "Where did the time go!"  But they don't.  They make me feel like it was a million years ago and that you were always with us, and that the people in those pictures were simply coming home to one another at the end of a long day.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dear Summer: 6 Months

Dear Dear Summer,

      You have lived long enough that I have already started to forget things about you.  For instance, I can remember the words I would have used had I written this post back when I meant to, like at 4, 5 and 6 months of age.  But I can no longer remember that baby.  You're just so amazing, that your current accomplishments are constantly trumping what you did a few months ago.  You are a person, and you are changing and no matter how hard I try, you cannot remain the tiny baby that you are and that I want to keep you as. 

When you turned 4 months old is when I started this post.  I had the words in my head for a long time and they were going to start like this:  Dear Summer, You are the most wiggly baby I know!  Because that was the one most outstanding thing about you.  You spent more time wiggling than anything else (including sleeping).  Everyone around me finally understood what all the complaints where about when you were waiting to be born.  You simply did not stop moving when I was pregnant with you.  You moved so much and in such a way that when people asked what I was having, I told them I was having an octopus.  You moved so much that I would lay awake at night (curled up on the floor) sobbing.  It was a slow form of torture.

So when you were born, and immediately, all the people close to us finally understood that you were a baby clearly on a mission to get somewhere.

At 6 months wrote this about you:  It is not clear yet just what your mission is, but as of a couple weeks ago, you are one step closer to accomplishing it because you have started crawling.  Now I know that your brother also crawled at the same age as you, and Sabine was crawling right at six months, but for some reason you just look so funny going all about the floor and your hands and knees.  Maybe because you're just so teensy.  Like your brother and sister, you are a peanut, but I think you may be the teensiest of  my babies.

Then  I stalled out with a combination of writers' block and an inability to garner 5 minutes to myself.  So I wrote a bunch of notes that I hoped would help me to remember the things I wanted to write about when the mood struck me and I learned the secret to stopping time.  So these aren't going to make sense to anyone else, and I can only hope that in the future I can decode them enough to remember what I was getting at, so, in all their unedited glory, here are some of your 6 month notes:

Your most favorite thing in the world to play with is paper.
Up until now you hadn't really tried to mouth anything.

crawling like a maniac.

you are a rip - last night in bed you were awake for an hour while Daddy and I just laid there 'playing dead'.  this is so hard to do because you are so cute, but you were making that blowing noise that you do with your mouth and smacking Daddy in the face and generally just trying to get his attention.  Then you came over to me and tried out all your moves.

You love being around people.  Some of your crankiest days are the ones where it's just you and me at home.

You love to nurse and only nurse, you will not take a bottle.

They say that a baby's cry is biologically designed to be just annoying enough to make the parents want to take actions to stop it, not run in the other direction.  Well, my dear, you sound like a dying cat when you cry and you sure are lucky Nature made you cute because otherwise...

spit up machine!

runny left eye

fresh milk demands

love paper

song to go to sleep

crawling, pulling up to standing

loon call, hawk cry

So now you are going on 7 months (in 6 days) and I have come back to the computer, with my tail between my legs, to finish this letter.  Having three kids is really hard.  It is not like having two was.  The ante has been upped and your father and I are experiences the consequences.  But we are also having a grand time.  You are such a fun baby.  Your face lights up when you see us come into the room.  You love your brother and sister.  Jacob takes care of you just like you were his own kid.  Sabine tells me all the time how much she loves her baby sister.

Daddy and I talk about how you're a combination of Jacob and Sabine.  You look just like Jacob, but you have the same body as Sabine.  And as far as personality characteristics, you're all a lot like each other.  You're a tiny peanut like them (13 pounds at 6 months), yet full of energy and movement.  You're active and happy and a really bad sleeper (but that is your parents fault, most likely).  You love playing in bed with us when you wake up in the morning.  You love nursing and being held.  You hate your carseat and you hate being changed - whether it's clothing or just a diaper, you do not like to be still and we have to hold you down.  You kick your legs like you just discovered them.  You like grabbing things with your hands and then shaking them around.  Things that make noise are fun for you.  You've just started making some "dadada" babbles.  And you are a people watcher.  MamMa calls you nosy little baby.

I could go on and on, but since you're asleep on my chest in the Moby wrap and I want to go to bed with you, I'll just leave at this:  I love babies so much and I am having so much fun with you; everybody is.  There are so many people who love you and we're going to have a fantastic time watching you become who you will be.  I didn't know I was waiting for you, but now that you're here, I realize our family is complete.



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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Watermelon Incident

There's always a surprise when I upload photos now...Jacob helps himself to the camera when I'm not around. And here is what I find. You have to look closely to see what this is, and at first glance it will appear that the watermelon is simply resting on the couch, but I promise you, it is not. That is the coffee table with a blue waterbottle (top off) on it, and then a whole watermelon balanced on the waterbottle. WTF? 

So I had no idea that this episode even took place until I saw the photo evidence. What was going through Jacob's head, and where the hell was I when this was happening? Oh right, I have three kids now so this is just what it's going to be like...complete chaos all the time.

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