Monthly Archives: July 2010

A little bit of this and that

Back to the questions!

R (Nutella’s sister) said: …maybe updates on how his verbal skills are improving or a post about the places you would like to travel with him as he gets older. Are you going to take him camping in the rain like we did growing up?

Just shy of 15 months, Curly does not say a whole lot. In the past few months, we have heard the following: hi, bye, apple, all done (‘a-duh’), banana, dog, book/ball (both are ‘bah’), up (his new favorite), mama…I think that’s it. But they are all very inconsistent and we excitedly jump up and down when he says them. We have been doing baby sign language with him since forever, and shortly after one year, he began signing some things back. He can sign ‘more’, ‘milk/juice’, ‘eat’, and ‘all done.’ Daycare has also taught him to sign ‘please’ which we spot him doing from time to time. Sometimes we have to prompt him to sign to us, sometimes he does it himself. He still resorts to banging on the table most of the time to let us know he wants something. Our little caveman.

We are totally fine with his communication skills at this point. We’ve read that it can take boys longer to produce language, and even if it’s not a gender issue, it’s still fine for him to do what he’s doing at not-yet 15 months. We’re hoping he’ll be much better closer to 2 years.

As far as places we’d like to travel with him…we’ve already brought him to some of our favorite cities, and we have a cruise planned for December during which we’ll experience some places that are new to all of us, and a couple we’ve been to before and can’t wait to go back to. We love traveling, and though it’s very different with a child on board, it’s still exciting and fun (and exhausting!) There are so many places we’d love to go to that we’ve never been to before, so if we manage to make it, those trips will include him. Our top 4 are Greece, Italy/Rome, Hawaii and Alaska.

I’m sure we’ll do a camping trip when he’s older, but hopefully it won’t be in the rain!

Where to?!

Every day another door

I never mentioned it here, but I got laid off on June 29.  Then on July 5, a job I had applied for in April finally came through.  So I was off work for only 2 weeks (1 was our already scheduled vacation).  The 6 days between jobs was scary and I hope never to go through that again, but I’ve come  out on top and I’m thrilled about the new job.  I’ve been there since Monday and I’m very hopeful and excited.  It also happens to be with the same (very large) employer that Strawberry works for and we have been able to carpool. It’s not something we’ll be able to do every day unfortunately, because my job has odd hours sometimes.  But it is very nice when it works.  I feel challenged and appreciated and so far, I like it.  I do have less time on the internet during the day, so my blog reading/commenting has suffered.

In the week before I started the new job, Strawberry took a morning off so we could all go apply for Curly’s passport.  We’d done the pictures a few weeks ago, had all the paperwork printed and filled out and we arrived at our local post office at the 9:00 am opening time.  Only to be told that the passport office didn’t open until 10 and then closed for lunch at 11:30.  Well, there went our nice little plan of taking Curly to daycare at 9:30 and enjoying a leisurely brunch before Strawberry headed into work late.  Curly napped at home until 11 and then we rushed back to the post office.  And were told that the passport processor had a family emergency and was gone until after lunch.  There was one other person in the office that could process passports but she was on her way out.  So we LITERALLY begged her to take us in, showing her that we had all the paperwork prepared, photos taken, necessary photocopies made and 1 year old in arms.  She must have liked kids, because thank goodness she took us back.  The whole process took 10 minutes and she gushed about what a good boy he was the whole time.

Oh, and for all you parents out there getting ready to do passport applications?  Keep a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate because the original has to go with the passport application.  And you just may need a copy of it should you be starting a new job and needing to enroll your child in your health insurance.  And certified copies cost money and require either a trip to your local government office or additional payment to a 3rd party processor. Just sayin’.

Under the Sea

Life is moving along swimmingly. I realize we have a few unanswered questions from our ‘ask us a question’ post a while back and we’ll get to them, promise. The leftover ones require quite a bit of thinking, and some touch upon posts that we were meaning to do anyway, so they’re taking a little longer to attend to.

That said, this past weekend we met up with the lovely Love + Love family on a field trip to the aquarium. The boys were certainly interested, although Curly’s attention span for all things is never long. Still, we had a nice time and managed to have lunch as well before parting. A couple pictures appear below.

Toddlerhood is proving difficult, as expected (and wonderful at times, too). Curly’s personality continues to blossom, but those Terrible Twos (which start at One by the way) rear their head often. Taking away things he’s not supposed to have make him scream, trying to hold him when he wants down is like wrestling an eel, and as already mentioned, his attention span for anything is way short. However, he’s got an amazing sense of humor with a contagious laugh, is trying so hard to learn new things, and can be sweet when he wants to, even if it’s not often enough for us! He has become a pretty good walker these past couple weeks and chooses his new mode of transportation most of the time. It both delights us and keeps us on our toes as we have to follow him everywhere. Not looking forward to his learning to run!

Ergo is the way to go

Grabbing a snack

Checking out the jellies

I don’t think it surprises any of us when people ask if they’re twins!

Protected: How I spent my summer vacation

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Beach baby, give me your hand

Aaaand we’re back!

The beach was outstanding. Once Curly got over his dislike of the sand, he actually had fun at the beach and tried all sorts of new bad-for-him foods. But hey, it’s vacation and that’s part of what it’s all about.  We went shopping at the outlets, enjoyed the company of friends and family, road bikes, spent hours on the beach, and visited the boardwalk. We were lucky to have had perfect weather, a balmy 10 degrees lower than the heatwave back at home.

As for having a 14 month old at the beach, some things were easier than the first time and some things were harder. No longer is he willing to nap just anywhere, so our days were centered around getting him back to the house for a nap in the afternoon, typically a 2.5 hour chunk of the day. While he is quite happy to eat new foods and sit in a high chair at a restaurant, his attention span is very short so much of the time, either Strawberry or I would have to get up from the table and walk him around so the other one could finish eating. He was, of course, a lot more ‘fun’ this time and seeing him really take in our vacation activities was a joy. And lucky for us, one set of grandparents were with us so we were able to have a few date nights thrown in.

Here are a couple pictures, but we’re going to do a protected post a little later that show all our faces.

So much for the water shoes staying on

Our dog likes the beach, too

The only way he would willingly touch water

You and me and baby makes 3

We are off to the beach tomorrow for a week. We did this same trip last year when Curly was 2 months old. At 14 months, it will be a LOT different and we’re hoping he has a good time and doesn’t get too upset when his thumbs, which must always be available to suck on, get covered in sand. So we’ll be out of commission next week and will return with tales of our adventures and some pictures.

Snoozing on the beach 1 year ago

Now for a new question…

From Lez : I would like to know, especially since Strawberry wasn’t sure about the whole kids idea, how has having Curly changed you as a couple?  Do you still have eh-hem…..alone time 😉 Did having Curly bring you apart as a couple at all?

My first instinct is to say that no, having Curly in the picture did not change us as a couple. We still love, respect and rely on each other as we did before. We still have fun times together, including eh-hem…alone time. We are in most ways the same people as before, the same couple as before. But on second thought, that’s not entirely true. Becoming parents has changed us. Before, we mainly thought about ourselves and each other. Now, nearly every decision is guided by what’s best for our son. That includes trivial things, like what to make for dinner (can Curly eat it? how long does it take to make?) to medium things, like going out on a ‘date’ together (can we find a sitter we trust? can we put him to bed first?) to larger things, like switching jobs (can we live comfortably on the salary now that we have a child? what are the benefits, especially for him? how will daycare work?) We’ve found that we must consult each other and think things through even more so than before. We have to function as a couple on a deeper, more intense level…sometimes on a more mundane level as well.

I say this a lot, but those first few weeks were really difficult. Curly was a very sensitive, very ‘high needs’ infant and had typical infant issues like reflux and gas pain…was not the best nurser…and kept us awake all. night. long. for the first couple weeks. Taking care of him then was the hardest thing we’ve ever done, but it brought us closer. We leaned on each other, cried on each other’s shoulders, celebrated wonderful moments, held one another up, and as suspected, were able to see firsthand the kind of responsible, caring, strong people we believed each other to be. We also saw one another really crack and fall apart under pressure…from sobbing, lamenting loss of freedom, having a short temper, and feeling depressed or not good enough. We saw the best and worst in each other and ourselves and have come out on the other side loving each other as a whole, for better and for worse. Our particular sets of neuroses thankfully get along well.

I think there are two very important components that can tell you how you may be changed as a couple after having a child. The first includes your dynamics: How are you as a couple now? Do you share responsibility or at least split things up equally? Can you depend on each other? Do you know what is important to the other person, and in knowing so, strive to make them happy? Can you handle each other when you’re under a lot of stress? How do you communicate? How do you resolve differences of opinion?

The second includes the temperament and personality of your child (to be). We got a child that is not ‘easy.’ He is demanding but independent. His cries are piercingly loud and he needs routines to feel comfortable. But he is a fantastic sleeper and eater. Basically, this means that during our days together, our focus must be on him and in making sure his needs of the moment are fulfilled. When you have an infant, this of course is very typical. Although I have seen people whose babies  are hungry and will gnaw at toys for a while instead of shriek and tantrum at the first tummy growl. I have also seen babies who will stay put when they’re on the floor and not insist on getting into everything, and fast. What kind of child you have will color how difficult your days are. And what kind of sleeper you have will really effect things, too. Dealing with sleep deprivation makes everything worse. We were zombies for a while, but only a short while. Instituting a strict 7pm bedtime (he couldn’t stay awake longer anyway) gave us lots of time to unwind and focus on each other, plus get done the things that needed to get done. And I think that’s a huge component of functionality. As hard as things felt during the day, we knew we’d have our nights to ‘relax.’ If you don’t get a good sleeper, what’s your plan? Will you split night wake-ups? How do you feel about ‘crying it out’? How important is sleep to you?

These past 14 months have held high highs and low lows for us, but it was important for us to make our relationship as much of a priority as our son. We’ve definitely taken advantage of sitters for date nights, we’ve still celebrated important occasions, and after the few weeks that were needed for recovery from birth, we’ve maintained the same level of physical intimacy as before. The boy has certainly added pressure to our lives and somewhat limits the kind of focus we can give each other daily, but we’ve adapted and I truly believe are stronger and closer than ever.