Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break

Dear Alex, You and Daddy are visiting Oma & Granddad this week whiel Daddy's on spring break. I still have to work, so I'm sitting here home alone without either of you. What did I used to do with all this time?! I had a snow day today, so I cleaned up a bit and just sort of hung out. You've been talking up a storm lately. You've been working on lots of 'b' words - boots, book, bat, ball . . . in addition to your favorites like uh-oh, gato, up, down, mama (finally!), dada, Bubba. You're signing more too - in addition to 'more' 'milk' and 'all done' you can also do cheese, baby/doll, please, banana (often signed when Nana's trying to teach you to say her name!), water, eat, bed. You also try to say "Llama llama" but it comes out like 'blither blither" (picture just making gibberish noises with your lips) and is so funny! You LOVE being outside. Coming inside is seen as a major tragedy, unless you're hungry. You freely walk around campus like you own it, waving and saying "hi!" to everyone you meet. If they go by you without acknowledging you, you turn around and wave "bye!" You will throw a fit if we don't let you go where you want to go, like in the street. You haven't learned the word "safe" yet. Your family ADORES you. You don't often cry around them. They totally spoil you, and you take full advantage of it. I love you, little girl. And I miss you, even though I feel like I should be reveling in my freedom a bit more. (There's a snowstorm on, so it's not like I can go out anyway.) Have fun at Oma's with Daddy, and I'll see you this weekend. Lots of love, Mama

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New words, new skills

Dear Alex, You've been having a pretty fun time as a little toddler. You've learned to go up and down stairs not only quickly but also upright - no more crawling up for you! You'll hold on to the wall and slide your hands up while taking steps up. You don't go too slowly either, which just amazes me. Motivation to learn something definitely accelerates your learning! Over Christmas you saw your cousin, aunt, & uncle again, and got along with your cousin reasonably well. She took it quite well when you stole the toys we was holding, but if she resisted, you got VERY shrill and angry, very fast. You worked together best when she pushed you on the scooter toy Oma got you. You also loved to take ornaments off the tree to play with! You have four teeth on top and two on the bottom now. You have been saying, or at least trying to say, a lot of the words we use with you a lot - all done, gentle, down (done?), dada, gato, woof. Every time you hear music, your face lights up and you begin to bop up and down. You favorites are the themes to Kindergarten and Gilmore Girls. You also like Elizabeth Mitchell and the Nields. Very often now you'll pick up a piece of cloth around (a blanket, piece or clothing, dishtowel, etc.) and walk around with it, waving it like a banner. Sometimes you'll have one in each hand and look so pleased with yourself and the world. You have a TON of energy. You're happy when you're full, rested, and not teething. Sleep still is not going great. Daddy has been much better than I have been in getting you to go to sleep, but you still don't sleep through the night and wake up around 4 times a night, wanting something to drink. (I don't blame you. It's dry and too hot in our bedroom, but a humidifier is a pain to hook up and get going night after night in the maze of mattresses that is the bedroom, and Daddy disagrees with me about the heat.) I've been really really busy with work, and I miss you like crazy when I'm away. I feel like I'm away a lot, doing work. I'd rather be with you, even if I'm exhausted. I've cut back on working out so we can be at home for more time, not with me chasing you around the gym. They love you there, but I don't consider it quality time for you and me. In response, you've become a Daddy's girl. So, I'm feeling guilty that I'm not spending enough time with you and worrying that you'll resent me working so much. Everyone in the family continues to be completely and totally enamored of you. Your Papi posts pictures of you on Facebook every Friday night when he gets home from spending the day with you. When I come to pick you up at daycare and you come running over with a huge, excited smile on your face, I know you haven't forgotten me, or gotten resentful that I'm away so much, and I smile back because I am so, so happy that we're together again. We have a few hours to be together until we have to go to bed. Even if, in those few hours, you throw tantrum after tantrum and exhaust me and resist bed like we're trying to kill you instead of help you get some rest, even if what I need more than anything in the world is a shower and a couple of minutes with free hands to get my shoes and coat off, I'm happy to be there with you. Because I'd rather have you crying at my feet because I put you down for three seconds than not there at all. After waiting so long and trying to hard to have you, you're finally here. We finally have you with us. And that's worth more than a few minutes of sleep any time. I love you so much! Love, Mummy

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy First Birthday!

Dear Alex,

This has been the best year of my life. You are such an amazing kid. I know my writing to you hasn't been as regular as I've wanted, but I've been too busy having fun with YOU! A year ago, you were a tiny thing with weight and nursing struggles and now you're a huge almost-toddler with screen and music obsessions. I find it weird that I don't have much to write - we've had a good time, you're growing and changing, I'm so happy to have you in my life.
I will mention some milestones, but beyond that, life continues to be busy and overall a good time.
You had your family birthday party at Bubba's house the Saturday before your actual birthday. You got lots of presents and first taste of ice cream cake. Great-great-aunts and uncles were there in addition to your regular family.
The day after your birthday, you cut your first tooth.
Your friends party was yesterday, the Sunday after your birthday. Kids to play with! More cake! Presents!
You are moments away from taking your first steps. You'll reach and/or pivot without going down, but for now you'd rather crawl and stand up or push something across the room than actually take those steps.  That's okay with me. You're a champion crawler and climber, so it works for you for now.
You still love love love music and TV/ computer/ phone screens. Whenever you hear music, you immediately turn to find the source. Lately you'll start bopping up and down with it too, which is adorable. 
You call anything you like 'da-da'. When you're upset, you'll say 'mama-mama'. Your favorite word is 'uh-oh'. You can sign milk but not much else. We're working on 'more' and 'all done'.
Sleep is still not your friend. You want to be eating at the same time, preferably in my or Daddy's arms. In the last few nights, we've seen a slight improvement because we've been filling you full to bursting of food before bed. You'll also reach out for the bottle (or me) and soothe yourself back down that way. Getting some sleep is feeling better than being sleep-deprived. Sometime soon we'll have to help you find some other ways to self soothe. Right now I'm counting it as a victory that you can find the bottle and not need me quite so much to get back to sleep.
You are a wonderful kid. I can't wait to see what these toddler years bring. (Hopefully not more banana-nachos. You offered me one of those a couple of weeks ago, and one was plenty.)
Love you to the Moon and back,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Half Birthday!

Dear Alex,

Today you turned 6 months. Nana, Gramma, and Papi came up and we went to a concert at the Eric Carle Museum. We came home and had cake and chocolate covered strawberries. (Well, you had Apple/Apricot baby food.)

You can sit up on your own most of the time and stand up if we help you balance.

You've just learned to roll from your back to belly but don't do it all the time.

Yesterday at the pool (at 6.5 months) you attempted to eat the toes of a 4-month-old you'd just met and pulled the hair of a 2-year-old and made him cry. (You were actually a bit of a bully.) You frequently, now, swat your hands toward other babies in either self-defense, greeting, or attack - I can't tell which.

Inquisitive is a good name for you. It best describes you all time time - you want to see everything that's going on. You're aware, alert, and observant.Right now, as I type, you're watching your Daddy stir his oatmeal and you're attempting to grab some - even though it's hot and you'll cry if you succeed. You often put the wrong end of the spoon in your mouth instead, but you think that tastes pretty good too.
You eat pretty much anything we put in front of you, whether it's edible or not. But really, you love food. (Daddy describes you as a goat because you'll eat anything). You want what WE are having. (Jarred baby food is just meh, but you see my scrambled eggs and it's all "GET IN MY MOUTH!") Your palate isn't so discerning yet. For example, you drink partially-thawed milk and ignore the chunks of ice. Everything must be touched. When we carry you around (and you loved to be carried), you reach your hand out to touch everything.

You hate having your face wiped. Your hands aren't that bad, but you cry most times we try to wash your face.

You sleep about half the night in your pack 'n' play by yourself, and then you wake up and cry, and we take you into our bed. You're still wearing your hip brace at night, which impedes your movement, but occasionally you'll flip yourself over in it but not be able to free your bottom shoulder, and cry. Once in a great while you'll sleep all night, but it's pretty rare. During the night (when you have the brace on) you sleep on your back with your hands either up near your face or straight out from your sides- you hog the bed! You like to be touching both of us, or at least me. I'm on your right, and Daddy's on your left.

You've been to your first Pride Parade, in Northampton. (Papi and Gramma came too.)

Your eyes right now are mostly hazel (light brown/ green) with hints of blue/grey around the edges. YOur hair is a sort of strawberry-blonde color.

You LOVE people. You smile at most everyone, and occasionally still do that pretend-shy thing - hide your head from them for a moment, then look back at them smiling.

You say 'mmmmmmm!' to express displeasure. You can also say 'boo boo boo' and 'mamameeeee' and are beginning to make raspberries - very softly and not very often though. When you're happy you make the cutest little cooing sound. You're also starting to shriek - it's getting louder, and it's funny. Since birth, you've sort of gotten "huffy" first before you cried, and you still do - you start breathing really hard and fast then go "heh heh heh" for awhile to fuss before you get to a full-out cry. Lately you've changed that up once in awhile like it you fall and bump your head or wake suddenly out of a sound sleep - then it's just a blaring wail. But those get turned off as soon as you're picked up, cuddled, and (if you're not okay yet) nursed.

You've been sitting up for awhile now, and you're getting better at keeping your balance. you can even sometimes balance yourself with a hand if you tip over too far to one side. (You still toppled over backwards this morning and cried until you nursed, though, so you're not an expert yet.)

This past week, when Daddy's been on vacation, we've been looking for daycare providers for you, as I'm going back to work in a few months. We found two excellent ones - one that would teach you Spanish and one that will feed you wonderfully healthy, organic food & teach you yoga & about nature. We're leaning toward the healthy one, so if you are having trouble learning Spanish, you can blame it on this decision. We figure we'd rather have you liking veggies and caring for the environment than being bilingual by age 2.

You're starting to copy people now, and you can do "high five!" with Daddy. I'll blow a raspberry to you and you'll stick out your tongue. I'll say "Mummy" or "mamamama" and you'll go "mmm!!" In a happy way.

You like to drink out of our water bottles. You'll get water out of them by sucking, and not be able to swallow it all, so it dribbles down your front.

You've gotten over your intense dislike of the carseat (again) and have started playing and/ or falling asleep in it. When we get to our destination you're either fast asleep or wide awake but silent. I don't often hear your talking to yourself back there, but when I do, I love it. You don't really converse with me yet, even though I talk to you frequently.

You are a cute baby. No really, you are. We were at our friends' house (Connor's family - at his 1st birthday). Micah doesn't hold back his opinions, and he said that most of the time you tell people that they have a cute baby just to be polite, but YOU (Alex!) really ARE a cute baby! You get that a lot, actually. Women tear up and say that you make their uterus hurt because they want kids (or more kids) now that they've seen you. You get comments that you look like a little elf. In a good way.

The early intervention specialist said that we should practice putting objects in front of you and cover them with a cloth, but that just makes you lose interest. So, we're not sure if you get the object permanence thing yet - I'm thinking that you don't, because you cry as soon as I leave a room.

You're laughing more lately. Not a LOT, but much more than before. Usually it's because we're burbling on your belly, but last week it was because I was playing peekaboo with you with a big sheet. You LOVED it, but you haven't really liked peekaboo before or since.

You're 14 lbs, 2 oz and about 25 inches long. Your head comes above Daddy's knee and you feel heavier to pick up.

We're headed off to Oma and Granddad's for Memorial Day this weekend. Packing for you gets easier every time - no need to bring a swing or a ton of extra onesies this time. No pump, either, which is going to be nice!

You're getting fussy to nurse (again), so I'm going to sign off - it's not that long till your seven-month post, anyway. I'll get you caught up then if I've missed something.

I love you!
~Mummy (& Daddy)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Five months

Dear Alex,

Five months sounds like such a big baby! You're really still a peanut, though. You're about 12 pounds and 23 inches, which is on the extreme bottom of the growth curve. But you're alert and happy and otherwise pretty healthy.

You've rolled from your back to tummy once or twice at Oma & Granddad's, but not at all since then. You've been doing crunches to try to sit up but don't have the balance yet. You don't talk often, but when you do, it sometimes sounds like words (hi, hello, hey, mama) Your grip is strong when you decide to use it (usually on my skin!). When given a doll, you'll most likely go for the hair or head and try to put it in your mouth.

Sleep is sort of getting better - you'll go down more easily after you're changed into jammies & brace and read a story (and fed and swaddled), but you'll usually wake up a few hours later ready to nurse - fine, because you come into bed with us then, but then you're up to nurse a couple more times before morning. If I have to be up early, it's pretty rough! But it's nice having a bedtime routine now.

You hate baths. And showers. You scream like we're hurting you, even after you're out and being toweled off, and you look at us like "why did you DO that to me?!!" So you don't get baths very often.

We spent spring break week with Daddy's parents, and went into Boston and had fun with them. You ate solids much more than before, including half a banana (mashed up) and sweet potato. When you like what you're eating, and we're not giving you another bite fast enough, you yell and cry until we give you more! Mostly you get whatever we're eating that's safe for you to eat, mashed up.

Your brace is only on for "nights and naps" now - except you won't wear it for naps. If I try to put it on you, you'll wake up from your nap and not go back to sleep. So we're just doing nights for now. I hope it'll be okay in 2 months when we go back for your next visit!

Tomorrow we're seeing Daddy's parents for breakfast and my family for egg-coloring because this weekend is your first Easter! I doubt you'll be very impressed with the egg coloring, as there's not much eating involved with it, but I'm sure you'll like seeing your family and all the attention you get from them.

We have a couple of swim diapers and a rash guard T shirt for you for swimming/ summer if you're interested in going in the water. I have my doubts, but Daddy's going to try anyway.

This last month has been so wonderful with you. I look at you every day and am so thankful for you. You're so happy and cute and enjoyable! That doesn't erase the hurt from the years before you arrived, but it makes the payoff of having you so much sweeter than if you were a difficult baby!

I love you. We waited for you for a long time, and we're so glad you're finally here.
So much love,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Four months

Dear Alex,

I can't believe it's been four months since you were born. It seems like such a short amount of time - four months. But it feels like you've been here a lot longer than that. You've grown and changed so much since I first saw you as a tiny little thing in a yellow hat in the operating room!

Right now, you can roll from your tummy to your back and from your back to your side. Your eyes are changing from blue-grey to a rainbow - amber/green toward the pupil and dark blue-grey toward the whites of your eyes. Your hair is light brown with undertones of red. If you end up with green eyes and red hair I am going to be very surprised and very excited! More likely you'll have brown eyes and brown hair like me, though.

Your hip brace is able to be removed for several hours a day now, and that makes many things a lot easier. The car seat, for one. And holding you. Side-lying nursing with it is still awkward because you either have to lie flat on your back and turn your head or have one leg dangling up in the air.

You've started doing this pretend-shy thing with strangers (even Gramma & Papi) where you bury your face in my/ Daddy's shoulder for a moment then look back at the other people and smile really big. It's adorable and a total act. You're not a bit shy!

I like to see you interacting with other people. Your smile is just so cute. YOU are cute! I smile at you and you smile back. Sometimes you reach your hands out to me. Very often in the mornings you'll look toward where I am in the bed if I've gotten up and your Daddy's holding you. He says you "know where the milk comes from"!

Speaking of milk, nursing is going pretty well. You nurse often but still take a bottle when it's just too much touching for me, or I can't be there. Sleep is another issue, though - after doing great with sleep for almost 4 months, over the past week or so you've been waking up more and nursing more at night. This is normal, but it's still leaving me very tired in the mornings!

Lately I've been really enjoying you and happy with how you're growing (although I wish it wasn't going by so fast!) Playing with you is so much fun. You make cute noises and smile and try to nom on the toys. I'm trying to get you to learn to roll from your back to tummy, with or without the brace, but so far we've only gotten you to your side before you get stuck.

You are awesome and I am so, so, so happy you're part of my family!
Lots and lots of love,


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Transfer Day!

Dear Alex,

I'm watching you across the room from me, asleep and swaddled in your swing. You're just adorable. But a year ago, I was lying at home in bed at this time, "recovering" from our third IVF transfer and wondering if this one would take. I'd already nicknamed you Flash and put your first picture on the fridge to encourage positive thinking.

We got bundled up and drove through the snow to the IVF lab about 30 minutes away, and I watched Whose Line is it Anyway? on Daddy's laptop after we'd checked in and changed into hospital gear. Your Daddy drew a clown nose on himself in green pen to make me laugh - we were doing everything we could to help me relax and laugh. I knit - I forget what, but most likely it was socks. I believe I promised all the nurses socks if it worked. All the medical staff were super friendly and nice, and everything went very smoothly. I got bundled up in warm blankets and wheeled into the procedure room. There were bright lights and several people. I remember thinking that I didn't really want to do this again, that it wasn't particularly comfortable or enjoyable but that if it worked it would be worth it. And that's what kept me breathing - the hope that it would work.

There was lots of lab/ administrative stuff, like having to check my name and birthdate several times over. The actual transfer was fast and "textbook". In the previous transfers I'd had a great view of the ultrasound screen, but I only got a peek this time at the flash on the screen as the embryo (you!) was ejected from the syringe and deposited in the middle of my uterus. After a short wait to let the lab check that the syringe was clear of embryos, I was wheeled back to the waiting area to rest for awhile before packing up. (I also remember getting up and using the bathroom before my time was up, as they made me drink a bunch of water to help with ultrasound visibility. I wasn't too worried about it "taking" or not just from getting up that once.)

I spent the rest of the day resting in bed or on the couch. And the rest of the week waiting and wondering and looking for symptoms.

I am so glad that you are finally here. You have been an amazing kid so far and I don't think you'll ever really know how happy I am to have you in my life.

It's been an awesome year!!