Friday, April 24, 2009

The kitty has fat fingers!

The first of two Easter egg hunts.

Adam and his godfather, my brother Shawn. They already have a special bond.

By the second egg hunt, Adam knew what was up. He was on a mission.

Adam is 20 months old now and weighs about 23 lbs. He’s walking and talking and it seems like a million years ago that he was a 7 lb. 10 oz. newborn. A newborn that did nothing more than sleep, poop, and eat.
And eat.
And eat.
He ate every two hours. Once I returned to work after my three-month maternity leave, I pumped twice a day, regardless of how busy my workload was, because if I didn’t, Adam would starve at daycare. I hated the pressure of being his sole source of nourishment.
And it was annoying lugging that breast pump around, even though it was disguised to look like your run-of-the-mill backpack. The male editor of our magazine once asked me why I was carrying two workbags and I told him he probably didn’t want to know. Most men—especially those without children—get squeamish at the words “breast pump.” Those who have seen a breast pump in action are even more traumatized.
I nursed Adam because it was so good for him (all-natural ingredients), it was free, and it was convenient (always the right temp and no bottles to wash!) but I was ready to be done by the time I decided to wean him, at six months.
We bought some formula and lo and behold, he drank it. I figured ‘Heck, this weaning thing is gonna be a piece of cake!’ After about a week, he broke out in hives, so we brought him to the doctor. Dr. P tested his blood and turns out he’s really allergic to cow’s milk (there’s cow’s milk protein in regular formula) and slightly allergic to eggs. We tried to switch him to soy formula, but he went on a Formula Strike, so I was forced to breastfeed for another long month.
When I was done, I was DONE.
Just the other day someone at work asked me if I was still nursing, and to be honest, the thought of breastfeeding him at his age just seems, excuse me for sounding like a total prude, but dirty. I know it’s recommended/encouraged that you breastfeed for a year or more, but when your kid is able to ask for your boob, or crawl up on your lap and unbutton your blouse, then—in my opinion—it’s time to wean. I keep thinking of the British YouTube video I saw of two elementary-aged girls still breastfeeding. Their mom thought it was the most natural thing in the world. The older daughter, she was probably 10, was so big she had to lie down on the couch to access her “snack.” I remember her saying in a lilting British accent, “We call the right one Milksie because it makes more milk!” (oh, spare me, nicknames for her mom’s boobs?!?) and the mom laughing about the fact that her girls got mad at her whenever she wore a bra.
Needless to say, that whole video was very disturbing.

I need to change the subject.

About the photos: We had a good but busy time Easter weekend. On Saturday we celebrated our niece April’s 16th birthday in Forest Lake, and since my sister Mary and her husband Ben and the kids were coming, my parents had an Easter egg hunt for the kids. The weather was beautiful and everyone was in good spirits. I can’t believe my niece is 16!
We stayed overnight in Forest Lake and celebrated Easter with my mom’s side in the afternoon (Easter egg hunt #2). It was nice to see my grandma, who has been in poor health for awhile now. I don't see her that often since she lives about two hours away in Rice Lake, Wis. She’s 80 and the last of my surviving grandparents. We used to be much closer until she started dating Mel, a crabby old man who seems pissed off at the world. She must’ve been lonely and wanted companionship, because I don’t know what else she sees in him. I didn't realize how frail she was until she came into the house using a cane. It broke my heart.
Later that day we went over to Aaron’s mom’s house in Coon Rapids and spent some quality time with the “crew.” I lucked out with his family and fortunately get along with everyone. Adam was in his element eating dirt and following Grandma everywhere she went.

Adam didn’t walk until he was 15 months old—a very late learner—but he talks all the time. Aaron likes to joke that while Adam’s daycare buddies were learning to walk, Adam was sitting there, watching and learning new words. He was soaking it all in.
Two nights ago he was sitting in his high chair, watching a squirrel up in a tree and he got all excited and announced, “Squirrel up der! Jump down! I go get it! Jacket on. Ok?” Whenever he wants to go outside he’ll say “Jacket on. Ok?”
It’s crazy that I can actually understand his train of thought now.
He speaks in actual sentences: “Where Mama go?” “I don’t want to.” “Oh man!” “You do it.” “I want to get down.” “I want more.” (That one comes out sounding like I wanna-mohz).
He says “MOVE” when we’re doing the dishes together and he wants to run his spoon under the water. I’m trying to teach him to say “my turn” or “excuse me” instead but somehow I don’t think he will, although he is polite enough to say “bless you” after you sneeze.
When he gets mad, he shouts “BYE!” and then chucks whatever he’s holding. It’s like this total act of defiance. He will throw every stuffed animal out of his crib when he doesn’t want to sleep. I always know when he’s up in the middle of the night because I hear the thud, thud, thud of stuffed animals hitting the ground before he starts crying for me. The worst is when he starts wailing and says, “Mama, I wanna get down, PLEASE!” If he didn’t throw that please in there, it would sound more like whining—which is easy to ignore because it's so irritating—but the please brings it to a whole new level of pleading (one I can’t ignore).

He wants to be outside all the time. Doesn’t matter if it’s freezing-ass cold out and his nose is running like a faucet, he still wants to be outside—looking for rocks, dogs, or birds or playing with his ball. Lately it’s become a struggle to get him into his carseat, too. He doesn’t want to sit in the car, he wants to play outside. On our 15-minute drive home from daycare yesterday he told me he wanted to “get out RIGHT NOW and GO WALKING!”
Patience may not be his greatest virtue.

He loves playing in that germy little play area at Maplewood Mall. He’s in his element when he’s able to watch the bigger kids run and scream and play. Sometimes he forgets where he is and will stop in his tracks to stare at them. This is very annoying when it happens at the top of the slide and other kids are behind him, waiting to get down. He has been compared to Aaron in this respect. (We don’t call his dad “starin’ Aaron” for nothing!)
At the playground, he likes to slide down the slide head-first, arms in front of him like Superboy, or crawl on anything that’s crawl-able, or swing higher and higher and higher.
He's not scared of heights or speed or large plastic horses or going around in circles. I know this because I took him on the carousel at the mall and he was beaming the whole ride, especially whenever we passed my mom and Aaron, when he would wave and shout "Hi Daddy! Hi Grandma!" and then laugh like a maniac.

He has ingested dirt on more than one occasion. How can dirt taste good?

He has been to two Wild hockey games (and managed to sit through two of the three periods, thanks to his newfound interest in popcorn), and can identify basketball and baseball games on TV. He has a pint-sized basketball hoop in the house and plays ball with Aaron at least once a week.

Before you give him too much credit for being a boy’s boy, he also likes to play with my makeup while I’m getting ready in the morning. He’ll take a makeup brush, open my bronzer, rub it around, sweep it across his forehead, smile, and announce, “MY MAKEUP.” (Hey, at least he’s not playing with my tampons anymore.)

What did Adam remember about our visit to Como Zoo early this spring with Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Shawny (who, by the way, he adores) and April? Not the monkeys, the tigers, or the penguins. He remembered the giraffe and the zebra and their “poopies!” I blame myself for pointing this out. I blame the daycare kids for laughing and encouraging that response.

He likes to make funny faces in the mirror with me, he will perform his pacifier trick on command (he puts it in upside-down and twirls it around without touching it with his fingers. This is harder than it seems. Both Aaron and I tried to do it and couldn’t figure it out. Yes, both Aaron and I put a pacifier in our mouth and attempted to spin it. We are not beyond that behavior), and he still likes to turn his plastic bowls into hats after he’s done eating. (messy, messy, messy) He also likes to wipe food in his hair. I have to give him a bath nearly every night because of this.

His latest expression is saying, “Well, hi” when you walk into a room. He also made me laugh recently when he announced “The kitty has fat fingers!” when talking about Pip (so that’s what those paws look like to a toddler!) and just the other day, when a bus pulled up in front of our house to bring the neighbor kids to school, Adam’s mouth dropped open in his typical animated manner, he looked at me, exclaimed “BUS!” then added in an amazed tone “PEOPLE ON IT.” I don’t know if he thought all buses were empty or what, but the fact that there were kids on it really threw him for a loop.

He likes looking at photos almost as much as I do. Could this be a genetic trait? He’ll bring the flip photo album over to me about once a week, climb up on my lap, then ask “Who’s that?” while we look at our friends and relatives and identify each and every one of them.

Seeing as how he has voluntarily given himself time outs, I’m thinking that he doesn’t consider them to be any sort of real threat/punishment. Just last weekend he put himself into a time out. When Aaron told him that he wasn’t being naughty and didn’t need to stand in the corner, he walked up to the dining room table, slapped it, then promptly went back to his spot in the corner.

We have regressed with the whole sleep thing and are (once again) having issues. What I wouldn’t give for a whole night of uninterrupted sleep …

He is OBSESSED with Aaron’s mom. She’s like the Pied Piper. Whenever she’s in a room, kids gravitate toward her and follow her around like lost puppies. I have never seen anything like it. Ever. It’s amazing. They’re spellbound in her presence.
“Gramma-gramma-gramma-GRAMMA!” “Where Gramma go?” “I want Gramma. I miss Gramma. I WANT GRAMMA!” I am invisible when Grandma is around, which, most of the time, is perfectly fine with me. I mean, I get it. She’s Grandma. He’s supposed to be crazy about her. That’s part of the Grandma “gig.” Plus it gives me an opportunity to catch up with Adam’s Auntie Amy or Auntie April or Uncle Josh or Josh’s sweet girlfriend Anita—all of whom I love. But sometimes it’s kind of, I don’t know, hurtful that he prefers her over me. No one wants to be second-best, ya know?

We regularly see his cousins Max (exactly 2 months older than Adam and about a foot taller), Morgan (three weeks older), Lane (4), Logan (almost one) and Kayla (9) on Aaron’s side; April (16), Eva (7), Leo (5) and Lou (3) on my side; and his little friends Greta (2) and Sadie (9 mo) who we make a point of seeing fairly regularly. He has many little friends in our lovely state as well as Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Colorado, Texas, Kentucky and New York.
His circle of friends will expand when my friend Karla has another baby this fall and my friend Amy gets knocked up after her wedding this spring. I can’t wait for Amy to experience the joys and pains of motherhood along with the rest of us girls. Megan, Karla, Amy, Tonya and I have been close friends since high school—we’ve experienced first kisses, first boyfriends, first (crappy) jobs, first “real” jobs, and everything that comes along with finding good men and marrying them—so it’s only fitting that we get to experience parenthood together, too.

Adam’s favorite foods are hot dogs, hamburgers, FRENCH FRIES, strawberries, oranges, grapes, crackers, fruit snacks, and waffles. He eats chicken and turkey and fish and pork, but prefers red meat over white. He eats corn and broccoli and carrots but isn’t crazy about beans or squash. We have to bribe him to drink his soy milk (he’d have juice 24-7 if we let him). He tried some whip cream the other day, smiled his big Cheshire grin, then proclaimed “I LIKE IT!” We’re still too nervous to give him straight cheese or milk, but we’re slowly introducing milk products into his diet. So far, so good.

Aaron and I were in Wisconsin this past weekend for my college friend Sara’s bachelorette party and another college friend’s tenth anniversary party on Saturday—and while we had fun hanging out with the adults (and drinking lots of beer)—we really missed Adam. On Sunday, when we picked up the little squirt from my parents’ house, his face lit up like the sky on the Fourth of July. “Mama! Daddy!” he yelled from his high chair. “Mama! Daddy! HOLD IT!” (Hold it = hold me in Adam’s world). I guess I didn’t realize just how much I missed him until I saw his adorable little face. When I unbuckled him from his high chair, he announced “Kisses,” grabbed my face and planted a wet one on me. It was a very touching moment. He wouldn’t let me out of his sight that whole night and would yell “NO, MAMA, HOLD IT!” if I attempted to set him down. (My arms got very sore.)
These days, I hold him whenever he asks me to because I know he won’t be small forever. I dance with him whenever he asks me to because I know that will change one day, too. I have to appreciate this phase while I can. In the blink of an eye, he’ll be in another stage of development—and this phase—with that sweet voice and those high-pitched giggles and a never-ending vocabulary of new words and that hilarious “big-boy” swagger where he swings one arm dramatically as he walks, these pieces of Adam will be part of his past.
Time slips by so quickly. I felt that way at my 10-year high school reunion, and again at my 15 last summer. I think I was a little bit in denial about aging, but when I got to my last reunion and looked around the room and realized that my high school acquaintances—the people who were also victims of bad 80s/90s fashion trends, those who sat next to me in class and on the bus to away meets, friends from elementary school slumber parties and junior high dances—are a bunch of balding, beer-bellied, wrinkled adults AND THEY’RE MY AGE, it was a major reality check. We remember what Michael Jackson looked like “before.” We made friendship bracelets for one another. We traded stickers. And now many of us have kids. Some have been divorced (some multiple times). Many have lost grandparents; some have even lost parents. Some are still very trendy and some need serious makeovers (Clinton? Stacey? An intervention, please?)
I guess I realized then that time doesn’t slow down for anyone, regardless of how young you feel ... it will always keep marching on, whether you want it to or not. With every passing phase of Adam’s development I feel a twinge of sadness that he’s growing up too fast, so I try to live in the moment as much as I can.