For George, month 16.5

Dear Georgie,
I never wanted to call you that, but yet that’s what we call you, every day. You’re our “puddin’ and pie” as we say. You are impossibly stubborn and courageous. You want to be at the highest point of the room at all times. If you are not scaling a chair to stand on the table, you are sitting on top of the train table, eating the snacks you demand via sign, and you will angrily look at me and sign/say “No no, down” because you know full well that you aren’t to be up there. You just truly do not care.

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You feel ALL the feels. All of the emotions, you go with them fully, and I love that about you. This morning after we’d finished off breakfast and I was cleaning up the kitchen, I put on some music and Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen came on. Daddy made a comment about how that song wasn’t really appropriate for kids to listen to, what with the “Mama…I killed a man…” lyrics. I just laughed and moments later we are all watching you headbang to the best part of that song. No one else was in the room, you just felt the beat and went with it. You like to go fast, feel everything, dance, run, climb, explore, all of it. Your strong will and ambition to do these things makes it difficult to be your parent right now, but it also makes it awesome.
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if you are that way NOW, at 16 months old, I can not WAIT to see what you’re like when you get older. You make us smile so hard and laugh so hard, and George- we are very tired.

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You mostly sleep, but you do occasionally wake up with very lound yelling/crying. I can’t figure out if it’s your teeth, or a bad dream, or what, but you wake up super angry most nights at least once, usually 2-3 times. You’re getting better about going to sleep at night time and naptime most days, but you still love your bottle, and I’m so reluctant to get rid of it because you love it so much.

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You have 6 teeth, and the only fruit you will eat are bananas and watermelon. You really only like bread-like things, and macaroni and cheese. You will also eat yogurt. You are a strangely picky eater, but as long as we have bread and Pirate Booty puffs, you’re pretty satisfied. You have curls on the back of your head that are getting long, and I should probably cut them but I just love them and I’m afraid they won’t come back.
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You absolutely LOVE Mickey Mouse. You call him Hot Dog. We bought some books this weekend with Mickey in them and they have kept you occupied all weekend long. You are so interested in them. You still also play with your barn toys and any kind of ball you can find. You absolutely adore Simon, and your favorite thing to do with him is run, shriek and wrestle. You are 100% physical and feeling boy. I love the tenacity you put into everything you do, even if it’s a shit fit you’re throwing because we won’t let you eat crayons. We still love who you are, and are so excited to be a part of your life to watch you grow up.
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You are my special baby boy. I catch myself oohing and aaahing (still) over your cheeks and chin, and belly. I will be so sad when those parts of baby melt away as you inevitably grow up. For now I will keep working on my patience, and enjoy each moment of your baby and toddler-ness. You have made this family whole, kiddo. Thanks for joining the show.

I love you more than you will ever ever know.
Mama

It’s March

For the record, I would write more blog posts but I’m tired. Because that sleep training has been going on since my last post– IN JANUARY–and George didn’t sleep through the night until three days ago. March 6th in fact. So George, if you’re wondering where your letters are, for those months that I missed writing to you- just assume that I more than made up for the love letters with constant visits to your room, rocking and holding and nursing and trying to figure out how- for the love of all that is good, to get you to sleep.

I’m still not convinced he has it down pat, but he’s slept OK (not great) for 2 of the last 3 nights so I’m calling it a win.

All Ohio winters are long and cold. March usually is too- but we only recently got a taste of spring with the high today being 55 and it felt amazing. 



There is still snow and mud everywhere, the grass is dead and gross looking. I haven’t seen any green sprouts of anything yet, but it was finally warm enough that my boogers didn’t freeze in my nose this morning so I’m going to assume spring is around the corner. And should be here by May at least.

Both boys have been doing so much. Simon has been doing y-tribe and swim lessons again at Ohio State.



 George has started talking more, and throwing more fits and really getting into everything. George likes to climb, and put things in his mouth, and run. He is either perfectly happy or perfectly pissed. 



His hair has gotten longer and I accidentally snipped off his baby curls when trimming his hair a few weeks ago. It made me sad that they’re gone. George still just loves his brother and most days Simon loves him back. 



Simon has been doing really great in school- reading really well and showing an interest in math and really loves music class. We’ve got him signed up for t-ball this summer and Kids’ Club for childcare, and we think we might be heading to SC twice this summer- once in June and again in August, if we can manage to maintain our vacation time so we still have enough to cover all the school breaks we need coverage. 



volunteering at the valentine’s day party



 We have some other fun overnight trips to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh planned, and Gabe and I both are excited to have “retreats” on a weekend coming up. He will go off with buddies to TN and I’ll be heading out with some mom friends to Hocking Hills. We both need a break! Soon we’ll have a break for the two of us, too– I think. Our anniversary is coming up at the end of March so I’m sure we’ll get a date night or something, too.

I know this sounds disjointed and strange- the update is long overdue and we are tired as all get out. THe Daylight Savings Time thing Sprung Forward saturday night and I’m still catching up from all of that. Hopefully over the next few days we’ll get our new groove with more daylight hours in the evening. Things are good to great with us– just living and loving life with two fun little boys. (And one big one.)DSC_0646

Sleep “training”

I don’t like calling it that, George, but that’s what they call it, and that’s what we’re doing. You are 1 year old, and for the last year we have rocked you to sleep. I nursed you almost every night, but on the very very few nights when I didn’t, someone fed you a bottle and rocked you and rocked you until your perfect eyelids closed and your lower lip was sucked into your mouth, in and out, in and out, in peaceful slumber.

We would lay you down in your bed, asleep, and you would wake up over and over again all night long, presumably upset because you were no longer being cradled in someone’s arms and being rocked. And when you would wake, I would zombie walk to your room and hold you and nurse you until you fell back asleep, and then I’d place you in your crib to sleep again, until you woke again, and so on.

But now, I am in the hallway outside your bedroom, on night two of what they call “sleep training” – otherwise known as parental torture and probably childhood trauma. I got a book at the library called the Happy Sleeper. And it tells me to go in and “verbally comfort you” every five minutes. So I have stopwatch. I have a book. I have this computer. I have anxiety. I have a glass of wine. And I am listening to you scream angrily on the other side of this door, wondering why I have forsaken you.

There’s supposed to be a phrase we repeat, exactly, word for word, each five minutes that we go in to “comfort you” without touching you. THe phrase I’ve chosen is, “It’s time for sleep, I love you, goodnight.”

You are NOT amused. You are the as far away from Happy as I’ve ever seen you. You are angry. And you are not sleeping.

The book tells me that you are screaming because you are protesting change, not because you think I don’t love you anymore. The book says that you will appreciate the “sleep wave” of me going in and reassuring you by saying the same thing each time. But instead you stop screaming and reach for me, and it is breaking my heart sweet boy.

But you have to learn how to fall asleep on your own or else we may never be able to take a vacation again. You need to know that, although I wish I could, no one will cradle you forever, and at some point you’ll have to make yourself fall back asleep in the middle of the night when you wake up at 2, 3, 4 and 5.

I wish I didn’t have to do this, because I feel awful and terrible. And there isn’t enough wine in the world to numb the pain associated with hearing your baby cry. Last night I sat outside your door listening to you weep in your sleep after you’d fallen asleep crying.

This part of parenting is so hard. Everyone says it’s the right thing to do. I know that I have to do it because I am tired. I worry about you. You have to learn.

But I am sorry. I’m so sorry to make you cry and yell like this, George. I hope you don’t remember and talk about it in therapy as an adult.

Just know that I am sitting outside your bedroom door, broken hearted and almost crying myself, drinking a glass of wine and wishing I could make everything better for you all the time. But this is the first of many times that I’m having to step back and say, “I’m sorry buddy- you gotta figure this out on your own.”

I do it because I love you. Please don’t cry much longer.

1 Year, for George

Dearest George,

Oh my we have made it! You are 1! You still do not sleep much. You are a wild man, a pistol, and so very interesting to watch grow. You are so smart, and starting to talk and sign more and more everyday. You are generous with kisses and love to be held. You’ve been walking for months now, and are starting to get faster and faster. You want to keep up with Simon. Only he can make you laugh that belly laugh that’s contagious and amazing. The way you look at your brother is just awesome. There’s love shining both ways there, and it makes me so happy knowing you have each other.

Nonni and Papa came up a week before your birthday, so we celebrated a little early with carrot cake cupcakes and opening presents. You love the new airplane they got you, and we were all so excited to watch you taste the cake. You weren’t that impressed.

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George is not a fan of carrot cupcakes.

Your baby sitter also had a birthday party for you later in the week, where they sang and ate cupcakes and you got a cool present from them, too.

Then on your ACTUAL birthday we had cake AGAIN and sang and you got even more presents! So, whoever says having a December birthday stinks because of Christmas- well that’s a load of bull. Because instead I think people are just more willing to celebrate more often. And the decorations of having twinkly lights and gingerbread houses in the background make it extra special.

I can’t believe what a whirlwind this year has been. The scary moments when you’ve been sick and I took you to Urgent Care or the ER..The number of times we had to dose you for reflux and how many times I”ve been vomited on. I’ve gotten pretty good at determining what to do when this happens. I even keep extra old towels under your bed, in case this should happen on any given night.  Since you are a weird sleeper, you often end up with us in the wee early hours of the morning. This morning from about 4:44 until 6:15 I fought you with sleep. You bounced between your dad and I like a pinball, talking and rolling around. You are getting a top tooth  finally, I can see one sliver of white coming through the gums and I am assuming that’s why you have been extra whiny and drooly lately. You are so incredibly cute though, we will forgive you for it this time. DSC_0342

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We were really lucky to have Nonni and Papa take you overnight to a hotel party with Simon, so I got to catch up on sleep for a night, which was amazing. I’m confident that some day we will all sleep a nonstop 7-8 hour stretch, but it doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. When you cry at night, and I go in to comfort you, your head in the crook of my elbow is so much bigger than ever. You are a legit toddler, topping the growth and weight charts in usual Geig fashion. But when I look at your little face, getting comfortable in my arms, I am overwhelmed with how lucky I am to have you in my arms and in my life. You make me laugh every day, and you bring such a great vibe to this family.

DSC_0370You love music. You like to push buttons on music things and dance. Or, you like to steal my phone and carry it around while it plays Pandora music stations. You sway your head side to side and bounce up and down to dance. You have the biggest grin when music comes on- whether it’s bad rap or rock and roll- you love it all.

It’s been a long time coming but you’re finally starting to eat some finger food, though you’d just as soon survive on yogurt bites and Cheerios. You’re not a fan of cold anything- fruit, cheese, etc. We’re working on getting you using a sippy cup, but for now you just slam it around and chew on it. DSC_0306

You say “mama” “dada” and “alllll done”. “All done” is your favorite phrase and you use it often. You love to wrestle, be tickled. Your tricks include “So Big!” and “peek-a-boo” — even though you just hold one arm up when you do either trick. You toddle around this joint as if you own the place. You walk up to every gate and shake it as if to say, “HOW DARE THEY TRY TO KEEP ME FROM THAT AREA?” You are constantly pulling grown up books off the shelves. You take everything out of the pantry and the cupboards. You love books of all kinds and bring them to us all the time, as if you want us to read them to you. But as soon as we start to read them, you turn around and walk away. Usually you just bring us more books. You are a real piece of work little boy. You are so handsome, and funny and fun to be around. We are always just waiting to see what you’ll do next. We love you so much, and are proud of every single little thing you do. Thank you for being ours’, little boy. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. DSC_0359

All my heart,

Mama.

Kindergarten Teacher Conference.

Last night we had our first Parent Teacher conference for Simon.
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Simon’s teacher has been teaching for 24 years. She is very kind but firm, and incredibly knowledgeable and on top of things. It is quite clear she knows what she’s doing, and Simon really loves her. I knew she was no-nonsense in the first interaction we had with her at the initial orientation, and I was worried that she didn’t appear to be as touchy-feely as some of the other teachers that were at that meeting. As it ends up, my nervousness was uncalled for (go figure) and she has been a great match for Simon this year.

Gabe and I sat in the hallway, after talking briefly with two sets of parents who have sat through other orientations with us- first preschool two years ago (when George was just a glimmer in my eye). “Weren’t they just three years old?” one of the moms asked. “Yes!” I agreed.

We were given his writing journal and some classroom books to peruse as we waited. The teacher was running late, but we didn’t mind. There was artwork to look at in the hallways and I loved looking through his writing journal. Right now, it is filled with pictures of him doing things- climbing on the monkey bars, playing with his friend Max, and going to a ptrnm (planetarium) with his daddy.

The other morning, when I would not let him wear sweatpants he could pull up above his knees to school, he angrily told me he was going to write a sad face in his writing journal about me.

I looked for an angry face in the journal but didn’t find it. (Instead he wrote a love letter to his daddy, but that’s okay.)
“My dadeluvsme” it says.

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When we finally got into the room, the teacher offered us some candy and a seat in the tiny little chairs. Gabe made a joke asking about the weight limit, but she thought he’d be fine. We sat nervously crouched and the first words out of her mouth were, “Simon is such a sensitive boy, and reminds me so much of my Adam.”

Simon is such a sensitive boy. He is.

She relayed a story from that day, stating that the students were having a rough time during Read to Self time, and she had to ask a few of the boys to go back to their seats. Simon was one of those boys. She said as she continued on working with the other children, she looked back at Simon, who had two giant alligator tears running down his face. “I felt so bad, ” she said. But obviously, he needs to listen and follow rules like everyone else.

Simon is such a sensitive boy.

She then told us about his reading, and showed us on a chart how far he has improved in just three short months of being at school. She says, “He knows every letter sound!” as if that was a surprise. She is happy with his progress academically, and showed us some ways we can work on math at home. Counting and adding and games for the ipad and computer. I grimaced a little when she told us his reading level and suggested things that I consider Screen Time, but all in all the report was wonderful, his teacher is wonderful.

“It is easy to tell how Simon is feeling, just by looking at him.”

I love that Simon feels things so greatly. I also worry because it is easy to be heartbroken when you are such a sensitive person. I know this from experience.

Simon is such a sensitive boy. I hope he grows into a sensitive man.

I just love the little person he is becoming.

With all of the fits and fights and frustrations that come along with the push and pull of parenting…

I am so proud to be his mama. So very very poud.

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Dear George.

Georgie. Last night you took your first real steps. You’ve been standing up and taking half-steps for about a week now, but last night you deliberately walked 8 steps. Eight! I counted them! It was amazing.

Did we capture these moments on camera? No.
Did we capture them on video? No.
In the year 2014 does everyone have a phone with camera and video capabilities in their pockets? Yes.
Why do I not have these moments documented for posterity?
Because I was watching you and willing you to do it so hard with my brain, I didn’t want to move to get my phone. AND because I’m pretty sure I have so many other photos of you taking up space on my phone, that there is no room to add more at this time.

So instead, I had to memorize the moment in my head. And it was a pretty awesome moment, kid. Pretty awesome.

I love you, sweet barfy boy.

Mama.