Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dear Norah, Month Nine

Dear Norah,
This month seemed to bring with it a significant change from one stage to the next, marked most significantly by your ability to crawl. While you scooted or rolled to get what you wanted previously, it was like one day everything clicked. And just like that, off you went. And, so began the stage in our lives where we live with bedroom and bathroom doors closed to limited your “wondering” space.

With this new-found mobility has also come your ability to get yourself right in the middle of your brother’s toys, especially toys that he is playing with at that moment. You love to be involved with what he’s involved with, much to his chagrin. You watch much of what he’s doing even when you’re not near him and you still love to laugh when he does his silly songs or dances.

We visited the Children’s Museum this month and your mobility opened up new doors for you there. There are two dedicated “baby” areas that feature soft spaces for crawling and exploring. You.loved.it. You crawled all over the place and weren’t intimidated by the other babies who were larger, louder or faster than you. Thankfully your Auntie Shann went with us, so one of us could spend time with you and the other with Graham as he explored the “big boy” areas.

Nearly every evening we go on a walk around the block before dinner, and normally you would be pushed in the stroller. This month, you graduated to the wagon and you wouldn’t be happier about your new ride. Graham typically rides his bike, but on occasion when he rides in the wagon with you, you are entertained from start to finish. You love looking all around and taking in your surroundings as we walk.

During your ninth month, mommy and daddy went away to Nashville for a quick weekend trip, marking the first time we’ve slept left you overnight. Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie Shann came over and stayed with you and your brother, and according to them, you were the perfect child. I’ll believe that because you’re pretty perfect for us, and with your wake-ups down to just once a night (yes, still!), the night times are a little more manageable too.

You are stable enough sitting up now to take baths with your brother and baths are one of your favorite times a day. You love being in the water and playing with the countless toys that somehow end up in the tub each night. Thankfully you haven’t figured out how to crawl around in the tub yet, so you are pretty content to be in one spot splashing in the water around you.

Each month as you grow closer to a toddler and further from an infant, I am amazed to watch your new developments, both big and small. You light up our hearts with happiness.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dear Graham, 48 Months

Dear Graham,
48 months. Forty-eight months. I can easily remember when you were 48 days. Or 48 weeks. I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that you are no-longer-a-baby-or-even-a-toddler four year old.

Ever since I can remember babysitting for kids, I remember hearing about the terrible 2’s. I braced myself for the second year of life and let out a sigh when it passed without being much harder than your first years. In hindsight, I should have been saving my energy for your third year of life.

Not that you were terrible or bad or shocking, it’s just that three brought on a new all-consuming personality that never gives mommy or daddy a moment of peace. Don’t get me wrong, your inquisitive brain is one of my most very favorite features about you. But I have answered the “why” question 1.278 million times over the last 365 days, and that doesn’t even count how many more there would have been if I hadn’t provided the end-all answer of “Because God made it that way.”  You are wonderfully curious and your keen ability to remember nearly everything I’ve ever told you has led you to increase your knowledge even more rapidly. It’s almost as if I can see the synapses of your brain firing away as you think of the next question to ask.

Of course with this newfound sense of discovery comes more independence that you like to exert, especially when you don’t want to do something that mommy or daddy is asking you to do. We have long given you “choices” in an effort to teach you are responsible for the consequences of the choices you make in life. In your third year of life you started telling us that you, “didn’t like our choices.” You also didn’t like for us to see or hear you doing something that you knew you weren’t supposed to do, so you would tell us “I don’t want you to see me daddy” or “You’re not supposed to know that mommy.”  When I replied that mommies know everything, I clearly wasn’t prepared for the question of “who is flying that (random) airplane that I see in the sky?” When I replied that I didn’t know because it wasn’t daddy, I was told that I “know everything.”

A few months into your third year, we brought your sister Norah Claire home. While it certainly rocked your status quo world, you did a great job adjusting to sharing the limelight. You made an adorable song for Norah that you would sing to her in the early weeks: “You’re my sister, yes you are. You’re my sister, yes you are.” (Poetic? Maybe not. Adorable? Times 1,000.) You LOVE touching her head, something that has continued to this day. We joke that Norah’s first word will be “gentle” because of how many times we’ve told you to be gentle with her. You adore making her laugh and as she’s gotten a bit bigger, you like to interact with her and her toys as well. Watching you as a big brother is a part of parenthood that I wasn’t prepared for when we expanded our family, and yet it makes my heart swell every time I see you lean over to give her a kiss.

We started playing more board games in your third year and apparently you don’t like to lose. Like ever. You are uber-competitive, making up your own “rules” to Candy Land and other games to ensure you win. Your ultra-competitive spirit wasn’t helped by the fact that the Florida State Seminoles’ football team went undefeated during your third year, in what was really your first year of comprehending the game and its winning-or-losing ways. You love to tease your Uncle Troy, the family’s token Gator, by telling him “The Gators will never win! Never!” and your new favorite, “The Gators smell like poop.” (Oh, poop. Potty humor reared its ugly head in the third year and you loved figuring out ways to interject the word poop into whatever conversation was going on.)

Also during your third year, the movie Frozen came out. While we didn’t see it in the theaters, we have it at home and we have probably watched it 100 times. You adore Frozen, you know all the words to all the songs, and you even know Elsa’s moves to the song Let It Go, which you like to replicate in our living room. Frozen has taken all kids your age by storm and you have been no exception.

During the last year you have been going to school all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays as your mommy adjusted to working part-time from home. After never shedding tears during your nearly three years of going to day care in Texas, you had a rough start to transitioning to school here. For the first eight weeks you would cry at drop offs, even though at pickups the first thing you would say was, “I had a great day!” Once you finally adjusted to the routine, you have really enjoyed your teachers, classmates and the school.

Graham, the love that you have brought into our lives over the last four years is immeasurable. You are funny, witty, incredibly intelligent, protective, tender-hearted, energetic and loveable. Your first four years have taught us so much about life and love and family, I can’t wait to see how you continue to grow and shine. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Dear Norah, Month Eight

Dear Norah,
I’ll start with my favorite development for the month: you give kisses. And not just any kisses, huge, open mouth aimed straight-for-the-cheek kisses. They are sloppy, slimy and oh-so-wonderful. Your kisses are one more way for your sweet personality to present itself and I can’t get enough of those open mouthed kisses. 

With summer weather upon us, we have been spending more time in the pool and have enjoyed a couple of trips to the beach. Your first few trips were fairly easy, as you would stay in one spot. Now, you scoot and roll and reach and twist and pretty much do anything but stay in one spot. It’s made keeping you on a sand-free blanket under an umbrella a little more challenging. You love the water and enjoy being held in both the pool or the gulf. While we put the same baby sunscreen (60 SPF) as we do on your brother, you began to sport quite the tan. Apparently you have skin like your daddy that tans very easily.

You are also big enough to be able to swing on the infant swings at the park. While I have to repeatedly explain to your brother why you can’t go “high” yet, you love the gentle pushes and have a huge smile plastered to your face the entire time you swing.

I haven’t mentioned in a while the fact that you are a pacifier baby. And you finally figured out how to put your pacifier back in your mouth in the middle of the night. While it hasn’t stopped your twice nightly wakings, it has provided you with some self-soothing techniques that I can only hope will soon transition into meaning more sleep. As a result of your newfound skill, your crib features no less than four pacifiers to guarantee one is within your arm’s reach at all times. Also this month you have started doing a new "trick" where you simply lean forward from a sitting position to sleep. While I'm happy you're so flexible, I'm pretty sure there has to be a more comfortable way for you to sleep.

You have become more vocal this month, probably because you are beginning to realize that it’s the only way to compete with your brother, who talks all the time. Your squeals, screeches, coos and aahs are now more frequent and at a higher decibel.

I can’t tell you how much love I draw from your sweet smiles, burrowed cuddles and genuine happiness. You are perfection in so many ways.