Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nail and Snails and Puppy-dog Tails

We have been spending our week in South Dakota celebrating Christmas with my family, and it has been an incredibly tumultuous trip. We flew out a few days before Christmas, and since it was Isaiah’s first flight, I packed one heck of a carry-on bag. It was filled with food and juice and books and toys and treats and diapers and every other type of baby paraphernalia I could fit in. He slept the entire flight. Whatever, though, I would much rather be over prepared than under prepared.

When we landed, my family got a chance to coo over Isaiah, which was much overdue since we hadn’t seen them in much too long. Then it was a simple drive home, which wasn’t of course simple at all because my college degree wasn’t good enough to figure out the car seat. Finally, though, we got to the house and Isaiah met Sparky the dog. It was love at first sight. Isaiah squealed in delight and stayed up way past his bedtime just playing with the puppy. Sparky was a little afraid of Isaiah at first, but it soon became mutual adoration. Later, I realized that Isaiah and Sparky were destined to become best friends because of all the things they have in common. They are both very cute and sweet, they both love Elmo (Sparky has his own Elmo puppet he sleeps with,) they both move around on four legs, they both love cheese, and they both give very slobbery kisses.

In fact, Sparky and Isaiah became so attached that Sparky designated himself as Isaiah’s bodyguard. Once when I was tickling Isaiah, Sparky became quite concerned that I was hurting him, so he came over and gave me the evil eye. Once I had stopped and Isaiah crawled away, Sparky brought over his own Elmo toy and dropped it at Isaiah’s feet. Now that’s love.

Isaiah had a wonderful Christmas day. He loved opening presents and playing with wrapping paper and being surrounded by fun new toys and people who love him. He got so good at opening gifts, he even tried to open Michael’s. His favorite present was a singing, dancing penguin named Gloria. Every time she sings in her cutesy high-pitched voice, Isaiah breaks out this goofy grin that makes him look like a teenager in love. I wouldn’t be surprised if Isaiah’s first word was “Gloria”

After a while in South Dakota, Isaiah’s sleeping schedule began to suffer, and that combined with a bad cold and the arrival of tooth number seven resulted in some crying boughts. One in particular really bothered me because there was nothing I could do to comfort him, and he cried for almost a half-hour. Finally, Michael got him to fall asleep by cradling him while he walked up and down the stairs. The bouncy movements combined with Michael’s deep, calming voice were exactly what Isaiah needed. It made me so grateful to have such a wonderful husband.

Before we left, Isaiah got his first bad bump on the head. He had a close encounter of the foos-ball-table kind, and he left a big bruise right on his eyebrow. I spent the night trying to put ice on it as I nursed him to sleep, and although the swelling went down quite a bit, it was still a noticeable reminder of what happened, as well as a foreshadowing, I think of all the bumps to come once he starts walking.

I was very sad to leave, since I miss my family so much, but I realized that by the end of the vacation, Isaiah needed his home and routine back. I packed another gigantic carry on bag with even more baby goodies than the one before, and Isaiah slept from take-off to landing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The first day of Christmas

Isaiah has now had his first taste of Christmas, and I think he likes it. We celebrated Christmas with Michael’s family early because we will be in South Dakota with my family over the 25th. Isaiah had a wonderful time trying out all of the furniture in Rod and Lesley’s house to see if it was good for standing on, and he even chose one large cardboard box full of ornaments as his favorite to pound on with his little hands. I think he’s going to be a drummer in a rock band when he grows up. He even stops drumming every once in a while to engage in some head bobbing, and screaming.

When it came time for presents, Isaiah seemed pretty happy that I was actually encouraging him to rip paper. I’m not sure if he will then assume that I want him to rip apart all of the paper that he finds, but I’m not too worried because he already does it anyway, so it’s not like we’re regressing. Then, when he realized that there was a toy inside the box he wasn’t even sure which one to choose. Paper or toy…it’s a pretty tough call. He did eventually choose the toy, though, which ended up being wise because I would have simply taken the paper away when he began to eat it. Isaiah loved everything he got, and has been playing with his toys and wearing his cute clothing ever since. I thought it was a perfect Christmas to start off with (we’ll be celebrating three times this year) because it was small and cozy and laid back so he wasn’t stressed out or over stimulated.

After the Christmas celebration, we went to our friends the Goldbergs to celebrate Charlie’s birthday. Isaiah had a wonderful time eating cake and pounding on the piano keys and squealing at the cats and the dog and just generally being the center of attention. He really does enjoy people, and I think it will be so odd to watch him go through stranger anxiety. Right now he will happily go to anyone who looks friendly, flirt with any girl in eyeshot, and entertain a crowd without a second thought. If his personality remains the same at all, he is going to be quite the party animal when he grows up.

Isaiah has also begun to creep along the couches, which he seems to enjoy doing. He doesn’t really seem to have a destination in mind. He just side-steps down the couch one way, and then back up the other way. Sometimes if there is something interesting on the floor, he will squat to touch it, but then it’s back to the main task of pacing.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Barriers are for wussies

Isaiah is becoming an expert stander. He can push himself up to a stand on almost any piece of furniture in the house, or even a toy or box that stands six inches off the ground. He plants his hands on the box, shoots his teeny butt up high in the air, and then slowly raises his torso to an upright position. He doesn't even need to hang on to things for balance much of the time. What a smarty. Now, though, Michael and I need to find yet another way to rearrange our furniture so Isaiah isn't in such danger all the time. The bookcase heavy laden with things ready to topple down, the bed that seems to be way too high off the ground, the last remaining outlets that I haven't covered yet, everything dangerous seems to be calling to Isaiah. One of the smartest things I did when we moved in, though, was to put only baby-friendly things into the cupboards that Isaiah could reach, such as tupperware or pots and pans. All of our cleaning supplies are in the pantry on a shelf I can barely reach. I figure that when Isaiah is taller than I am, he should be mature enough to handle toilet bowl cleaner. Then again, I'm very short, so that may be much sooner that I originally anticipated.

Michael and I have also constructed a crude barrier out of pillows and blankets between the living room and the dining room. Our reasoning is twofold; one, the carpeted living room is softer for falling down upon than the hardwood dining room, and two the Christmas tree is in the dining room. Soon, though, I will ship off many of the tempting packages that are sitting under the tree, and then hopefully it will be less of a draw. Actually, I'm glad he notices and likes the tree so much, because really that's the entire point of it.

I'm not sure how useful the barrier will be soon because Isaiah is beginning to climb right over it. It wouldn't be such a problem except for the fact that once he climbs on top of it, he descends face first into the floor. Poor little guy. Apparently, barriers are going to be more of a yellow light than a red light for Isaiah. I guess it's good that I'm learning this early on.

Oh, and for anyone who worried, Isaiah's swollen, purple gum around his tooth healed just fine. Michael and I were very careful not to let Isaiah bump his mouth on anything, since he probably didn't realize his gums would be extra tender, and then one morning, the painful looking lump was gone and we could see a sliver of tooth coming through.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Giving Thanks for my baby

Isaiah has finally become aware of the Christmas tree that has been up since before Thanksgiving. He didn't care much about it for the first week, but then I put lots of shiny, wrapped presents underneath and let him touch some of the delicate ornaments. Now, my entire day is wrapped up in keeping Isaiah from eating gifts or pulling the tree onto himself. I'm so glad he loves it. I am already getting excited for Christmas and all the traditions we will have as a family. I am singing Christmas songs to Isaiah every day and dressing him up as a Santa baby, and even donning the Santa hat myself so he can pull it off and put the puff-ball in his mouth. We have read the story of Jesus being born at bedtime every night, and I'm thinking about baking a birthday cake for Jesus later in the month. Part of me feels a little silly for doing so much this Christmas even though Isaiah won't have any memories of it when he's older. My hope though, as he looks at the bright sparkling Christmas tree, is that he will grow up with the feeling that this world is beautiful and magical, and that he is loved very much.

Thanksgiving went extremely well, which was a surprise since Isaiah woke up early that morning with a fever. We were very worried because he usually doesn't sleep well when he's around lots of people. He's too interested in being a part of the action. We celebrated with Michael's family and got to visit with so many people we haven't seen in quite a while. Isaiah was passed around and got plenty of 'oohs' and 'aahs' from everyone. He got to see a few cats up close and he read lots of books. As predicted, he didn't sleep, and we paid for it on the drive home. We had a two and a half hour drive, and Isaiah cried for much of it. He still had a fever, hadn't had his regular naps, was stressed out, and didn't nurse well all day, so we pretty much expected the crying. Still, it was a terrible experience to have him in the car seat crying inconsolably. I feel so bad for mothers why have to undergo that ordeal on a regular basis, because it makes you feel so helpless and horrible. I knew what he really wanted was to be held, but we had already stopped twice, and we had two extra passengers, so we felt like we just had to keep going. Finally, though, he cried himself to sleep in the car, and when we finally arrived at home, Michael and I snuggled with him all night long. By the next morning, he was as right as rain. The next day Laura and I went to to hit some sales, and I bought him an adorable little Christmas outfit. That night he modeled it for some girls I had over and they were all properly smitten.

Isaiah has worked up to the next step of cleaning my floors. Before, he just crawled around and tried to eat every little speck of food or dirt in the carpet (which he still does) but now he also like to use my Swiffer carpet sweeper. He's fascinated with pushing it around and watching me push it around. He chews on the handle and bounces it off the floor. It makes me wonder if I'm going to have one of those helpful little toddlers who wants to do chores with me to be sweet, but in reality it takes five times as long when he's helping, but I always say yes anyway because it's so beautiful to watch him.

Isaiah attended his first party today. Our little friend Collin had his first birthday party today, and it was a ton of fun. Michael and I were a little worried about Isaiah on the way there because he hadn't taken a morning nap and we didn't know how long he would last. In the car his eyes looked drowsy and he was a little crabby. Once we got there, though, his eyes popped open wide and he was just a little party animal. It figures. After all several of his favorite things were at this particular party: people, balloons, other babies, more people, and people. He even got to eat a little cake with frosting. I have a feeling his vegetable dinner tonight just isn't going to taste quite as good. At the party I realized that Isaiah's first birthday is only two months away. Everything has rushed by so quickly, and I feel that I am being left in the dust. Every milestone is something I am so excited for and yet still dread just a little because I feel I'm not ready. Isaiah, I'm so proud of you for growing up, but must you do it so quickly?

He is getting his sixth tooth in right now, and this morning Michael and I noticed that his gum is swollen and bruised looking right where the tooth is coming in. It looks so incredibly painful, and light it might just start bleeding at any moment, but Isaiah is as content as ever. Every time he smiles his sweet little smile, though, all is see is a big purple lump. Poor baby. Hopefully, though, his tooth will come through quickly and his gum will recover.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Isaiah Robot

My secret plan that I have had ever since Michael and I started dating is now coming to fruition. I absolutely love cats, and I have always wanted to own a cat as an adult, maybe even two. Michael, however, is allergic to cats and consequently doesn't care for them that much. Despite all of my many schemes and different ways of pleading he has yet to concede and buy a cat for me, so I have been counting on my future children to help out. My secret plan is that they will all love cats as much as I do, and with the group of us begging and giving Michael puppydog-eye looks, he will give in and get a cat. Luckily for me, I didn't even have to train Isaiah to like cats, he inherited my love for them right from the get go. Our friends, the Goldbergs, have two cats Isaiah has interacted with a few times. He is fascinated by their whiskers, their tails, their eyes, everything. Those cats are so patient with him, too. One of them even docilely laid down next to Isaiah while Isaiah pulled on his fur. Then, on Sesame Street, Elmo did a little special on cats. Isaiah grinned the whole time and squealed at the T.V. He waved his arms and kicked his legs, and made me such a happy mom. Look out Michael, you're outnumbered!

A small part of me has wanted that irobot Roomba for quite a while. It's the tiny vacuum cleaner that scoots around on its own and vacuums without you having to lift a finger. Isaiah must have sensed my desire for one of these because he has become my own little Roomba. He crawls around on the carpet and diligently finds every tiny piece of lint or spilled popcorn or dirt and picks them up for me. Unfortunately, he then eats whatever he finds, so I find myself slowly crawling after him much of the day, constantly picking tiny pieces of garbage out of his fingers before he can get them into his mouth. I don't even get much respite if I vacuum more often and have dirt-free carpets, because Isaiah has learned to pick out actual pieces of the carpet and pop them into his mouth when I'm not looking.

Isaiah is now an expert at pulling himself up on furniture and standing. He doesn't even need a piece of furniture every time. He will sometimes just put his hands on the floor and then straighten his legs out until his tiny little bottom is sticking up high in the air. Then he slowly moves his hands closer to his body until he can get to the point where he pulls up with his upper body into a standing position. Then he immediately falls because he had no balance. Still, it's pretty impressive to watch. His favorite thing to use as a standing support is an upside down laundry basket, but he can also easily use a dining room chair I have covered in padding and blankets, or the couch, or even my leg. The cutest thing is that when he stands up, he nods his head up and down like a little rockstar. It's wonderful to see how proud he is of himself. Yesterday, he even stood for a few seconds without support by the powers of his own balance. His downfall was when he decided to wildly wave his arms back and forth just for the fun of it.

I have discovered that Isaiah is now fascinated with little spaces. Most kids are, but I didn't realize it began this early. He loves to be in little caves that I make out of blankets, or under and upside-down laundry basket. His goal for the past few days has been to fit himself under the couch. Unfortunately, he can't even fit his head under the couch, but he keeps trying. He's certain there is a wondrous, magical world under there, so he's not giving up. The other day I made a little blanket cave for him on his bed right before nap time. We read stories under the blankets, and I pretended to not be able to find him until he shouted out to me. It was a blast. It got me excited for future blanket forts in the living room and games of hide-and-go-seek. Sometimes I forget that I don't just have a baby - I have a fun little boy waiting to grow up and share years of play with me.

Michael and I are trying to get Isaiah to go to sleep in new and exciting ways. Mainly, not nursing to sleep. I don't really mind nursing him to sleep 90% of the time. But it would be nice to have another option once in a while. Also, it would be nice for Michael to experience Isaiah falling asleep for him. So, a few evenings when Isaiah was very, very tired, Michael put on the sling and walked around with Isaiah in the dark listening to Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics. The first time he tried it, Isaiah fell asleep in his arms like a little angel, but we haven't had the same success again. I know it takes a lot of work and consistency, but I also know how frustrating and sad it must be for Michael to hold the baby he loves so much and listen to him cry because he just wants to nurse to sleep. I'm so thankful for how involved Michael is with Isaiah, though. Right now I can hear him upstairs singing in a ridiculous falsetto voice to Isaiah, and he's been giving Isaiah baths almost exclusively lately. He's so good at playing with his son and comforting him and feeding him and giving me a good, long break when I've had a rough day. The other night, while he was squirting Isaiah in the bathtub with his rubber ducky, Michael said he couldn't understand why some fathers wouldn't want to be involved in their kids' lives. "I mean, don't get me wrong, you're a lot of work, buddy," he said to Isaiah, "but what else could I spend my time on that's as good as you?"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Milk please

Isaiah can talk! No really - he can say something in sign language, and I'll give you one guess as to what it is. It's his absolute favorite thing in the world - milk. He signs "milk" so expertly, opening and closing his fist just like milking a cow. I've learned some very important things from Isaiah just through his ability to say this single word. Namely, I've learned that Isaiah thinks about milk more than I had ever imagined. One afternoon Isaiah was napping when I heard him stir on the baby monitor, so I hurried into the room to get there before he woke up completely. Before he even opened his eyes or began to call out to let me know he was awake, his little chubby fist shot up into the air, and he began to sign "milk." He also signs "milk" while he is drinking milk, when he wants to be drinking milk, when he has finished drinking milk, when milk is on his mind, when he is happy which reminds him of drinking milk, and when he thinks milk might be a good conversation starter with a stranger.

I also thought Isaiah had signed "potty" the other night. I was trying and trying to get him to sleep, but he wouldn't submit. Suddenly, he sat right up in bed and started patting his diaper, our sign for "potty." At first, I was bewildered as to what he was doing, but then I realized it was the potty sign and excitedly took him into the bathroom. As soon as he sat down on the toilet seat, he started crying angrily at me (I guess it was pretty cold compared the his warm pajamas) and looked at me as if to say, "Mom - why would you bring me into the cold bathroom and sit me on this cold toilet for no good reason." Apparently, he was just signing "I'm awake, Mommy, and there's no way you can make me go to sleep." I guess I didn't realize that looked remarkably like the sign for "potty."

Isaiah also says a few verbal words, such as "hi" and "dada" even a "mama" once in a while. I like to pretend he knows what he is saying even though it's pretty apparently he doesn't. He often impresses strangers by saying "hi," though. "Hi!" Isaiah will brightly say to ladies at the supermarket. "Well hello," they reply, waving their fingers in response. "Milk!" Isaiah signs back at them. This makes Isaiah look exceptionally smart and me a very impressive looking mom, so I don't tell them he is talking about milk and not waving. I just let them be impressed.

Even though Isaiah usually doesn't say "dada" in Daddy related contexts, he definitely knows why Michael is. When Michael gets home from work and I hear the back door opening. I get Isaiah ready by standing on the couch so we can see Michael the first second he comes into the living room. Then, when he pops his head in the doorway, Isaiah shrieks in delight, waves his arms, and jumps up and down while smiling and laughing. There is no better way to elevate your self esteem than seeing the pure joy from you baby at seeing you.

Speaking of Michael's job, he just accepted a great new job as a full time designer with a company he loves. We went out Friday night to Olive Garden to celebrate the good news. Isaiah was very well behaved and spent much of the evening turning many waitresses into puddles of baby love. He got so much attention in the restaurant, I was very thankful he is too young to let it go to his head. We were seated near a table of ladies who watched him all night, and another couple came over to tell us how adorable he is. I have to say, he did look pretty cute that night. I had packed baby food for him, which he enjoyed, but the waitress also brought a plate of fettuccine without any sauce for him to play with and nibble on. Let me tell you, Isaiah with a piece of fettuccine hanging out of his mouth is a sight worth seeing.

Isaiah has begun pulling himself up to a stand on pieces of furniture. It's so exciting and nerve wracking to watch him use all the strength in his pudgy arms and shaky legs to wobbly stand, knowing that he has a better chance of falling than balancing, and to nervously watch his tender head bob dangerously close to sharp corners of chairs and tables. I hold my breath every time he tries, ready to run up to him in case his smacks his chin on the chair leg or plops too hard onto the hardwood floors. When he actually makes it, though, and stands on his own. He is so proud of himself, and he lights up because he knows he has just accomplished something very neat. He usually wiggles so much in delight that he falls right down again, but it's a good start.

As we sat in Olive Garden, I noticed a few older women who I'm sure were mothers, and possibly even grandmothers looking at Isaiah and at me. The look on their faces was one I have seen so many times since Isaiah was born. Enjoy it. They silently tell me. Enjoy every moment with your baby. So often I have been told that "it just flies by," "they grow up too fast," and "it seems like yesterday." It's easy to let each new admonishment to enjoy the present slip by as a cliche. But I know already that he has grown so quickly, and while I enjoy every new day, I miss yesterday. I want to cut out all of the unnecessary busy work in my life, and all of the buzzing distractions so I can slow down and concentrate on my baby. Everything he does is so amazing, every green speck in his blue eyes is so dazzling, every step he takes away from me is so exciting and heartbreaking, and so I try to enjoy every moment. I know I will one day be one of those older mothers, and hopefully even an older grandmother, telling new moms to enjoy it.

Isaiah woke up with a cold in the middle of the night Friday night/Saturday morning around 4 a.m. At first, I didn't understand why he insisted on nursing at that time of night and why he wouldn't be consoled, and I was rather frustrated at being awakened at such an awful time. As soon as I heard his sniffles and choked breathing, though, I felt terrible for even being frustrated. We walked around the house a while until the mucus was bounced out of his throat, then I nursed him while sitting up in bed so his could sleep in an upright position. That seemed to help a lot. The next day, he was very pleasant even though I know he didn't feel good at all. He's such a good sport when he's sick. He makes me look like a cry baby in comparison. How did such a tough and mellow baby come from me? I'm pretty blessed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Elmo Slippers

Isaiah has needed a little more mommy time this past week or two. I don't know if it's because of a new tooth coming in or because he is just going through a separation anxiety stage. However, when, in the past I have been able to set him down for a while to play while I clean, he doesn't really like that anymore. He has made it perfectly clear that he wants to be held by me, played with by me, touched and tickled by me, and completely focused on by me. Is this draining? Nope. Truthfully, it's been great. I love spending all day with my sweet little guy and knowing that I can be there when he needs me. This is why I stay home with him - not so I can have clean blinds or an organized shoe closet, but so I can hug him all day long and crawl around with him and let him know that I am there to take care of him and keep him safe. I am so grateful every time he lets me know he needs me, because I need him right back.

Isaiah has begun to really like rice cakes. He also has apparently decided that I would like to eat rice cakes with him. Unfortunately, I don't really care for soggy rice cakes and someone else has slobbered on. But since he offered so sweetly, I thought I should at least feign interest. So, I nibbled on his sticky little fingers and smacked my lips and said "mmm, mmm." He wasn't fooled, though, and continued to try and give me more rice cake. Finally, after he realized I wasn't going to take his rice cake the easy way, he pulled open the top of my shirt and dropped the rice cake inside. Problem solved. Except, of course, for the chunk of soggy rice cake in my shirt.

I read the blog of another mom of a baby whom I have never met. I really enjoy hearing about how her little girl is growing up and the challenges and joys she faces. It struck me yesterday that we have so little in common. She lives down in California, is around ten years older than I, seems to have very different political and religious beliefs, and of course she is a complete stranger. Yet, we both love our children so dearly, and we have both experienced the heightened fragility and deep emotions of motherhood. So, despite our differences, I feel very close to this woman so far away, and in turn I feel a strange closeness to all mothers I see around me. If I see a woman in the grocery store with a baby in her cart, although I know nothing about her, it's a good bet she feels the same ineffable love for her child that I feel for mine. It's also wonderful to remember that my mother (and father) felt this love for me and that Michael's parents felt this love for him.

One last note: Isaiah falls more and more in love with Elmo every day. We bought him Elmo slippers, and he is so happy when he wears them. He pats Elmo's nose, pulls on his fur, taps his big, plastic eyes, and constantly turns around when he's crawling to make sure Elmo is following. Sure enough, Elmo is always right behind Isaiah.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


We went up to Buffalo for Halloween this year so Grandma and Grandpa Walz could show off their cute little caterpillar to all their friends. I love Isaiah's Halloween costume so much. It's so cute to see him inch around with little caterpillar legs and caterpillar bumps on his back. I would also mention how cute it is to see him scoot about with his fuzzy caterpillar antennae, but he never keeps them on. Some caterpillars are bald, right? Actually, he kept his hat on better than I expected, which was fortunate since it was so very cold.

I decided it would be appropriate for me to dress up as a butterfly to complement my little caterpillar, although apparently it has been suggested by some that I am too old to play dress up. Nonsense! Halloween is one of my favorite nights in this country because a bunch of stuffy, busy, serious Americans take time to throw one gigantic, nationwide costume party for no good reason. I plan on celebrating as long as I can. I also plan on using my children to vicariously celebrate by putting them into adorable costumes and taking lots of pictures of them. (See pictures included as evidence.) Michael dressed up as a burrito because you get a free burrito from Chipotle if you dress up as one on Halloween. He had a tin-foil cape and hat and shoes, and a heart on his shirt that said "I Love Chipotle." He received quite a few funny stares as he walked down the hallway at work, but the payoff was worth it when he received a round of applause at Chipotle along with his free burrito and soda.

There are many more photos of Isaiah in his caterpillar costume as well as Michael in his burrito costume on

Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Work it, baby!

I had a tough night this week. On Saturday I was trying to get Isaiah to sleep. He had stayed up late on Friday and I didn't want to make it a habit, so I was determined to get him to bed on time. Isaiah, however, had other plans. He fell asleep but woke up again after 10 minutes, completely refreshed from his catnap and ready to nurse. So, we nursed and nursed and nursed and nursed. I was getting so very frustrated because all I wanted to do was get out of bed and spend some time with Michael before it was time for us to go to sleep. Finally, after two hours of laying in the dark with Isaiah nursing and me wishing to get up, a thought ran through my tired, cranky head. I am sick of this. I am sick of getting pinched with tiny, sharp fingernails, sick of having my bladder kicked every morning, and sick of being sucked on by a tiny, albeit cute, milk vampire. But oh, my sweet Isaiah - I will never be sick of you. Your sweet, soft skin, your toothy smile, your eager hugs, your beautiful eyes. No matter how many hours I have to nurse you at night, no matter how many sinks full of your dishes I wash. I will never, never be sick of you. You are my little love, and worth every minute of trial.

Isaiah has begun to develop a rather interesting sense of humor. He thinks it's hilarious if I tickle him under his chin with my nose. It's even more funny, though, if I trick him into looking up so I can get to his unguarded little chubby neck. So, as he sits on the potty every morning to do his daily morning deed (he's astonishingly regular) I snap my fingers above his head or hold up a shiny object. Then, when he least expects it, I nuzzle him and he giggles with delight. Of course, he knows exactly what's going on the whole time he's looking up, and sometimes he gives it away with a premature smile or chuckle. So I'm not sure who's tricking who.

I'm trying to give Isaiah three regular meals a day. The transition from exclusive nursing up till now has been pretty slow and steady. After reading a baby cookbook recently, though, I realized how much he could really eat. Not just fruits and veggies cooked a little too long and pureed to oblivion, but cheese, meat, rice cakes, textures! Oh joy! Honestly, Isaiah's meals are much more exciting for me than for him. It's a good thing he puts up with me. Oh, and his new favorite food is organic yogurt with apples and oat cereal. Mmmmm.

Isaiah's charms were put to the test this week. I went to the Hennepin County District Court Service Center to contest a parking ticket we got for expired tabs. I figured we had half a chance because we had actually purchased new tabs but they were sent to our old address. Unfortunately, I went to the wrong place at first and ended up being a half hour late for my appointment with the clerk. At that point, I assumed there was no chance they would waive the fee for us since I had stood them up. But as soon as I got there, the woman at the help desk saw Isaiah in his cute little overalls and waved me to the front of the line. Then, I got in with the clerk right away who thought Isaiah had the most beautiful eyes and was such a good baby. Isaiah smiled at him and batted his long eyelashes while in my head I cheered, Work it Isaiah, work it! The ticket was cleared before I had even explaining the entire situation. Yes!

Isaiah has been wrinkling up his nose a puckering his lips a lot lately. All at once, he looks very angry and like he has just smelled old fish. I'm not sure if he is doing this because he just learned how to make a new facial expression and wants to practice, or if his nose feels stuffed up, or if he's angry, or if he's is smelling some old fish I can't smell. Whichever the case, he usually thinks it's pretty funny if I make the face back at him and snort a little.

Isaiah's Halloween costume is done, and while I really want to post a picture of him in it, I think I should wait until Halloween so everyone can get the full effect. Just be's adorable.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tickle Me Isaiah

Isaiah now has four teeth which you can see in some adorable pictures we have taken. It's amazing how so few teeth can change his face so dramatically. One of his favorite pastimes is feeling his new teeth with his fingers or his tongue or his cheeks. He will suck his cheeks in like a fish and look all around, wondering why I am laughing so hard. He is also figuring out how to use them to eat some very soft foods, like cantaloupe or Daddy's fingers. Actually, he doesn't bite much at all. Usually he only does it when he's very excited and forgets to be gentle.

I am amazed at how deliberate his actions are these days. Just today he was playing with Michael on the bed, and Michael had a ball balanced on the bridge of his nose. Isaiah knocked it off, and then he picked it up and tried to put it back on again. He has also began handing me things he think I will enjoy playing with, such as soft little toy sheep or shiny beads or dirty socks. He must have watched me doing laundry and reached the wrong conclusion. Nevertheless, I am always smitten by the fact that he wants to give me something, so I take the dirty socks happily.

Isaiah is also getting very proficient in moving around. He doesn't crawl on his hands and knees yet, but he's up on his elbows and knees. To be honest, I don't think he needs to be moving any faster than he already is. I have enough trouble keeping up with his. We have removed all the objects from every bottom shelf in the house and replaced them with stuffed toys. I have had to put cabinet locks on and have double-checked all of the sockets to make sure they are baby-proofed. Our home isn't going to get mistaken for a bachelor pad anytime soon.

I got called out the other day by Michael because of something I was doing without even realizing it. Every time Isaiah would get hurt or very upset and Michael was holding him and comforting him, I would take him out of Michael's arms to do it myself. Oops. Here I have one of the sweetest best husbands and dads in the world, and I pull a move like that. It's amazing how strong the urge to hold Isaiah is, though, when he is crying. If I hear or see him crying and he's not in my arms, I get fidgity and upset right along with him. I honestly didn't even realize how much I was taking Isaiah away from Michael until he gently pointed it out. It's like I become a mom-zombie (a mombie?) and I can't think until my baby is happy again.

Isaiah is doing so many new things everyday. About a week ago he began to think it was really funny when Michael or I would purse our lips together and make a 'camel spitting' sound. Then the other day, he did it himself, and he looked to us to see if we would laugh. He also gives more hugs and is mimicking our words. As we crawled into bed one night, Michael said, "Having Isaiah is like having a new toy everyday."

We broke out the warm clothing for Isaiah a few days ago and were surprised to find he still fit into his snowsuit. We bought the snowsuit from an auction while I was still pregnant thinking it would fit early on since it was labeled as "up to 3 months." Well, Isaiah is eight months old, and not exactly a small baby, so I'm not entirely sure what the manufacturers were thinking. I'm just happy we can get some use out if it because Isaiah + Snowsuit = Pretty Darn Adorable.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Eight Months of Cuteness

Isaiah loves me oh-so-much. I can tell because his sweet little face lights up the moment he sees me in the morning, and his beautiful little eyes shine with love for me all day long. If I am out of sight for a little while, Isaiah will squeal with joy when I come back into view, and if I come over to pick him up, he will bounce up and down with his legs and hold out his arms to say "Hooray, my mommy is going to hold me." I am so blessed to have two boys who make me feel so beautiful and loved. Thanks Michael and Isaiah.

This last week on Facebook, I got a comment from an old high school friend whom I hadn't spoken to in years. "you're a mom???? oh man.. i remember the days in govt. class when you were telling me that you were never even going to get married..." I couldn't remember saying that, but I'm sure I did. I do remember in high school thinking that being married (much less having children) was such a far off thing that it was difficult to grasp. Kind of like trying to imagine living in a Kenya...with flower pots for feet. It was imaginable, but not very realistic at the time. Reading that comment made me realize how very long ago high school was and how different my life is now. It's odd to realize I'm growing up. (Although I still don't admit to being a grown up yet.)

Isaiah is beginning to really like Sesame Street - especially Elmo. I had the T.V. on the other day while we were playing with the Stack-o-Rings, and Isaiah would glance up once in a while to Ernie or the Count, but he was much more interested in how much of the blue ring would fit into his mouth. Then, Elmo came on the screen and started singing about how much he likes his crayon or something, and Isaiah immediately dropped the blue ring, stared enraptured at the screen. He screamed in delight, bounced up and down, and even tried to clap his hands. It was pretty cute because he can't clap at all. Mostly, he just waved them around. I took a ton of pictures of him just sitting there staring at the television because I loved watching him enjoy something I know I loved as a little girl.

We also watched Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood the other day. Actually, I watched it while I held him and rocked him to calm him down for his nap. It was a very surreal experience because I hadn't seen Mr. Rogers in so long. Then he began to talk to the kids about how much their parents love them, and he sang a song that ended with him saying that one day "you will grow up and sing to your children too." It was very odd to think that I might have heard Mr. Rogers sing that very song as a child.

Isaiah has been boycotting naps recently. I don't understand why because he likes napping, as far as I can tell. He will get very tired right around 10:15 on the dot, and I will take him potty, rock him and hold him, and put him down for some nursing and a nap. He usually falls alseep beautifully in ten minutes max, but then after I am gone, he wakes up in 15 minutes flat and starts playing. I have tried nursing him again, laying down with him for looooong stretches of time, leaving him in his bed to wear himself out, keeping him awake until 11:00, but his morning naps just aren't consistent anymore. Unless, that is, I hold him on my lap for the entire nap and let him grasp my thumb. Then he sleeps like a baby. I've realized that I can fight this (and probably lose since I can't force him to sleep when he doesn't want to) or just work with it. So, I now have quiet times for myself in the mornings from 10:30 until lunch most days where I just read a book and drink tea and let my baby sleep in my arms where he feels safe and content.

Michael got a new digital camera for his birthday, which isn't until October 3rd, but we were both very excited for the camera, so it has already been opened and used quite a bit. Of course, every picture (and one short video) feature Isaiah. I actually took a quick inventory of all the 500 or so pictures we have taken in the past eight months, and I think I could count nine that
didn't have Isaiah in them. Actually, that's kind of cheating because Isaiah is in the background of two of those. What can I say, though? Isaiah is more beautiful that anything, how could we not take hundreds of pictures of him. I really hope we are as good about taking pictures of our subsequent children, because I know that there are often twice as many pictures of the first baby than the rest of the kids, at least.

Isaiah is just about to break out some brand new top teeth to go along with his bottom teeth. I can see the white lines underneath the gums, and any day I expect to be able to feel the sharp little razor edge of one poking through. Even though he isn't fussing or complaining, I feel bad because his gums do look a little swollen. He's such a trooper. Oh, and he is eight months old today.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sniffles and Snuggles

My two boys are upstairs playing right now, and again I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have them both. I can hear Isaiah giggling through the vents as Daddy does something silly, and I remember the silly things my daddy did to make me laugh. He used to let me walk up his legs while he held onto my hands and then I would flip over onto my feet again. He also made big towers with me with special tubes you could roll marbles down, and we would watch the marbles descend together. He made snowmen with me in our backyard once even though I was too cold to finish after the head and I just watched him through the sliding glass doors. Michael remembers his dad playing "post office" with him and his siblings and laughing while trying not to get "stamped." How did we get so blessed? So many kids grow up without a dad in their lives, but our families are full of wonderful, invovled fathers. Thank you so much to our dads (and our moms of course) for giving us so much love, so that now we know how to love our baby.

We have all been sick this week with some sort of cold. My best guess is that our bodies were all shocked by the thirty degree drop in the temperature that occured early this week. No kidding - seventy-five to fourty-five in a matter of days. Isaiah was the first to contract the sniffles. I didn't really pay to much attention to it until it was bedtime, and then I realized that he couldn't lay down horizontally because the mucus would plug up his nose, so for several hours that night, I sat on the couch so that Isaiah could lean diagonally on me and sleep. I actually got some sleep that way too, but I wound up with a crick in my neck as a result. Then Michael got sick, but he had a nasty cough to go along with his cold, and finally I got a little sick, but not nearly as badly as my boys. I mostly had a sore throat, fatigue, and a headache. The one good thing about everyone being under the weather is that we all wanted the same things - warm liquids, early bedtimes, and lots of blankets. So for the past few days we have been doing a lot of snuggling and drinking tea (or milk for Isaiah.)

I am still unable to get a picture of Isaiah's teeth to put up. He is so good at covering them up with his tongue; you can almost forget they exist. That is, until he bites your finger with them. You really don't forget after that. He also makes new noises and faces because of his teeth. He sometimes puckers up like a fish or sucks on his tongue, and he says "da da" more often. Also, this morning he started making little trumpet sounds. He kept it up for a while because he enjoyed watching me laugh at him.

Well, I think I have found the food Isaiah dislikes the most. Garlic mashed potatoes with butter and herbs. We were having dinner the other night, and Isaiah didn't want to eat his carrots. He kept eyes our plates with steak and the aforementioned potatoes. Since I couldn't give him the steak, I put a teeny bite of potatoes on his spoon. Oh my goodness. He made a shocked and disgusted face, squeezed his eyes shut, and shook his head and hands and whole body in dismay. I think he thought I had fed him rat poisen. I felt awful, but I had no idea he would hate them that much. I mean, I liked them. After he recovered from the bite, though, he ate his carrots very happily. So, I guess it all worked out.

Lastly, Isaiah is getting better at scooting/crawling every day. He gets himself up onto his hands and knees now to go forward, but he usually flops down onto his belly and just scoots because it's faster for him at this point. We're planning on dressing him up as a caterpillar for Halloween this year because it will be so adorable to watch him inch around.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Isaiah has teeth!! Two teeth, to be more precise. Two sweet, adorable little teeth on the bottom, sharpened and ready to bite. I would love to include a picture of Isaiah with his two cute little teeth, but apparently his teeth (unlike the rest him) are camera shy. In fact, it took a whole day and countless tries for us to be able to see them after we were able to feel them with our fingers. On Thursday, August 31st, Michael was holding Isaiah in the evening and decided to massage his gums because that sometimes helps with fussiness in teething babies. Then, he called me in because he could feel the sharp little bumps of a tooth poking through. We tried so many times to look into his little mouth, and to feel his gums with our fingers. Looking back, I realize that all the poking and prodding was a bit of an invasion on his privacy, but we were so excited we couldn't help it. Isaiah refused to let us see them that night, though. He didn't want to open his mouth unless it was for a pear-juice-popsicle, and even then, he covered his lower gum with his tongue. So, we were out of luck until the next day when we tricked him into letting us open his mouth for a split second or two.

He really was a very happy baby all throughout this teething experience. He didn't have sleeping problems or any excess crying or a fever or anything. I don't know why so many parents insisted on telling me stories of unimaginable horror. Some parents really relish frightening younger parents with awful stories of screaming babies and unmanagable toddlers. I know that many parents have had difficult experiences in the past, and I truly do sympathize, but to see the glee on some veteran parents' faces as they describe with gory detail what is sure to come your way is rather unsettling. "Just you wait," they say with maniacle grins, "until he talks back to you." Or, "just wait until the terrible twos," or "the nightmare of potty training." (I really depressed that storyteller when I informed her that I was already potty training Isaiah, and that it was going just fine.) According to these parents, there will always be some horror beyond horrors waiting for me when it comes to parenting, no matter how old Isaiah is. "Wait until preschool, when he'll learn swear words on the bus." "Just wait until middle school, when he will be embarassed by the very sight of you." "Wait until he's a teenager and gets caught up in sex, drugs, and rock n' roll." Unfortunately for these doom-bearing parents, I'm not afraid of the future years with my little boy. Maybe Isaiah will swear like a sailor when he's 6, cease talking for three years when he's 12, and pierce every available body part when he's 17. Then again, maybe he won't. Either way, I love my little Isaiah, so bring it on.

We had a wonderful Labor Day weekend with my family. It was, of course, too short of a visit, but still a lot of fun. It's always so beautiful to see my parents and Andy doting on Isaiah. It's also a good reminder to me of how precious he is, because they marvel at the things I have gotten used to, like rolling over and sitting up. I'm very glad Isaiah is so confortable with them, too. We didn't have any trouble with him being nervous or shy - he knew they were his family right away. I know Isaiah will go through separation and stranger anxiety sometime, but he's such a little people person, it's difficult to imagine right now.

Also this last week, we were able to see the Walzes during one of our trips to the Minnesota State Fair. For those of you who haven't partaken of the state fair, it's sort of our version of Mardi Gras. The big difference is that in Minnesota, most people are good, midwestern Lutherans, and they only wild side of Mardi Gras they do is the eating. So, basically, it's a gigantic eating festival with every imaginable thing fried and put on a stick and a few side attractions such as art and carnival rides. I was carrying Isaiah around in the sling when I decided to get a turky drumstick from a vendor, and I was only two bites into it when I realized there was no way Isaiah was going to let me have it all to myself. I let him gum the meat (this was actually pre-teeth,) and he really seemed to love it. We didn't have a camera, which was a bad move on our part, but we got a cute picture on a cell phone camera.

Isaiah enjoys gnawing on almost anything he can get to his mouth, but nothing more than his toes. "Oh toes!" Isaiah's big bright eyes exclaim each time he sees them, and into his mouth they go. It doesn't matter where he is or what he's doing; when he sees his toes, it's the only thing on his mind. Whenever he sits on the toilet, I have to hold him steady with one hand because otherwise he would topple head-first onto the tile floor in an attempt to eat his toes. When we're in the car and I hear grunts coming from the back seat, rest assured Isaiah has manuvered himself with Gumby-like capability to defy the 'five point harness system' of the state-of-the-art carseat and get his toes into his mouth. At least he has ten toys he will never misplace now.

A list of the things Isaiah likes (and doesn't like) to eat will show his unpredictable, descriminating tastes:

Milk - good
Juice - good
Banana - bad
Avacado - good
Turky leg - good
Peas - bad
Toes - good
Plums - good
Corn - bad
Soap from the bathtub that I can't get out of his reach quickly enough - good
Pears - good
Green beans - good
Carrots - good, then boring, then bad
Infant cereal - good
Infant cereal mixed with applesauce and a little cinnamon - very good
Pickles - good
Fudgsicle - bad
Nectarine - good

At least the good outnumbers the bad right now. I still haven't figured out how soap tastes better than the peas I keep trying to feed him, though. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Photo Bonanza

For all of you who like the pictures of Isaiah better than anything I have to write on this blog (you know who you are) - this is your lucky day! There were so many pictures that we took in the last week or two that I wanted to include, and I couldn't choose because they are all so cute. Also, Michael put an entire series of photos of Isaiah in a cute green outfit on I highly recommend going there because every single picture is adorable. Plus, there are several older pictures of Isaiah up as well.

This past week, Michael and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary! We were married August 16th, 2003. We had a wonderful dinner at Olive Garden while Grandma and Grandpa Walz and Uncle James took care of Isaiah. We had a great time eating slowly and talking to each other leisurly. We both agreed that it was so It's amazing to think we have been married three entire years. Then again, we've gotten quite a bit accomplished in the past three years. Michael switched from one school to another, graduated, and got a job as a graphic designer; I graduated from the U, we have moved three times and, of course, we had a baby. I'm guessing we have packed ten years of living into our three wonderful years of marriage. Talk about life in the fast lane. (I'm pooped.)

Speaking of pooped, Isaiah sits on the toilet himself now. Michael and I bought an insert-type thing that sits on top of the regular toilet seat to make it small enough for toddlers to sit on. It has handles, which Isaiah holds onto for balance, and it also has a spash guard, which the box advertised as a "deflector shield." We had a good laugh at that. It's so nice to be able to sit him down on the toilet instead of hold him above it. He's heavy and squirmy, and I just knew I was going to drop him in sooner or later if we didn't come up with a better solution. It's also perfect for cute pictures because the "deflector shield" covers up any indecency. What a handy deflector shield.

Isaiah not only sits up on the toilet, he sits up on the floor and in his high-chair. The only time he tips over is when he wants to grab something tantalizing that is off to one side. Then he pitches one way or another with no regard whatsoever for the hard ground or his delicate head. The doctor was quite impressed with his sitting control when we brought him in for his checkup. He had to get another round of shots, which was terrible, but he's all done with immunizations for six months. Everybody hates it when Isaiah gets poked, though. The nurse looks like she's going to cry, I'm about to cry, Isaiah is crying, and poor Michael is left trying to hold everyone together. I'm very thankful he didn't have to go to work that day, because Isaiah and I both need a lot of moral support. We have recovered now, thankfully, although Isaiah did have a low-grade fever the day after shots. He took a four-and-a-half hour nap that day snuggled on my lap. It was incredibly sweet, but I really had to go to the bathroom by the time he woke up.

According to the growth charts, Isaiah is in the 50th percentile for height and 55th for weight. That's absolutely amazing to me because he looks huge. Even the doctor said he didn't look like a 50% baby. Other people who have had children look at Isaiah and guess that he's 9 or 10 months old, and they always laugh when I say he's only six and say "what a healthy baby." It's a very nice comment for them to make, but I wouldn't mind even if they just said "what a fat little guy." I know it, and I like it.

Michael and I have started trying baby signs with Isaiah. The basic principle is that babies are able to use sign language to communicate long before they have the coordination to speak vocally, so parents simply introduce a few signs that babies can use until they are able to form words. Some researchers say that babies who learn to use signs actually develop larger vocabularies in the long run because the neurons associated with language development are connected earlier. Whether Isaiah will actually have a larger vocabulary or not, Michael and I are just excited by the prospect that we could know what he wants more easily. We've introduced the signs, 'mommy,' 'daddy,' 'milk,' 'sleep,' 'potty,' 'juice,' book,' 'bath,' 'more,' 'all done,' please,' and 'thank you' so far, Isaiah hasn't really noticed that we are signing as we talk to him, and we don't really expect anything to come of it for another three to six months, but it's still fun.

Actually, Isaiah has decided that his new way to communicate is through humming. Michael and I can't figure out exactly what the appeal of humming is, but Isaiah loves to do it. He will sort of bite down on his lower lip and smile as he hums a single note (sometimes a variation of two) for several minutes. I have a theory that he might be imitating me saying "mmm" as I feed him. I don't know why I do it, it's not like saying "mmm" or "yum" will make him more interested in the food, but I feel like I'm being proactive about it. He's actually eating more and more these days, and he's willing to try so many different foods. He has decided that he loves plums now, and if it takes me more than half a second between bites to get more onto the little spoon and into his mouth, I get impatient hums of protest. He's also keen on pears, avocado and green beens, and he's beginning to accept peas. This morning I decided to feed him some homemade applesauce along with his cereal, and he was pretty apathetic toward the mixture. So, I decided what the heck - I would spice it up a little, and I added just a pinch of cinnamon. He made the most delighted hums for the rest of the meal. My little gourmet.

I continually find it difficult to explain how much I love Isaiah, or how it feels to be a mother. I know that countless other mothers have felt the same way, and I probably don't need to go to such pains to try to describe it, because other parents reading this already know. Still, though, I have a great desire to put my feelings into words, to make them clear and to remember them vividly. I just wanted to end with this excerpt from an article Peter sent me on large families. The author (a mother for six) describes the way I feel so well.

(W)hy do we have children at all? So much is against the whole enterprise. Children cost too much money. They cost too much of ourselves. Children undo us. They show us how much and how little we're made of. They come, it often seems, only to break our hearts. And we let them. We invite it all. We admit perfect strangers through our doors and decide before we even know who they are to love them wildly, without condition, for as long as we live.

How do we account for this behavior? In the end, it is possible that our desire for children is a longing not to benefit ourselves, but to sacrifice ourselves; not to replicate ourselves, but to escape ourselves. For me, this longing hit at 28, while I was tunneling into the heart of the Congo on the back of an expedition truck. Suddenly, I was unutterably weary with my own small life and my endless requirements for fulfillment. I wanted the freedom to give my life away. I wanted an intimate, lifelong, indissoluble relationship with others, the kind of life that simultaneously sucks you dry and sustains you. I guessed that it would take nothing less than an infant to pry open my death-grip on self-determination. I did not know when we started our family a few years later that each birth would deliver into my arms an immeasurable weight of vulnerability and terror, but I guessed that parenting would bring a profligate, extravagant, others-centered life. As it has. But there has been a kind of death involved, make no mistake. "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed," Jesus taught. "But if it dies, it produces many seeds." My ambitious dying life is far from over.

Monday, August 14, 2006

First Crush

If anyone reading this now currently has a crush on someone, you will probably understand the feelings I'm describing. Otherwise, you might just have to think back to when you were completely infatuated with someone. I remember getting rather giddy and giggly when my crush was around, and I remember always hoping that he would notice me, or smile at me, or come over and talk to me. I remember not wanting him to leave and go home, and I definately remember acting silly. Now, much to my delight, I am Isaiah's very first crush. (Actually, I think I share the title of honor with Michael.) He grins whenever I enter the room, and actually screams with delight when I hold him. He wimpers when I set him down, and he full out cries if I leave him, even if only for a moment. If he wakes up in the morning, and I'm not there, he's heartbroken. But when he wakes up in the morning and sees my face or Michael's, he breaks out his most heart-melting, purely joyful, achingly beautiful smile for me to start my day with. And I absolutely love my baby's crush on me. I love it even if it means I have to distract him with 80 toys and PBS in order to get a quick bathroom break, and I love it even though I know it will go away. I know that someday, Isaiah will have a girlfriend (with his eyes, I don't think I'll be able to keep them away with a pointy stick), and one day a wife for him to be completely infatuated with. I know that my glamour will fade fairly soon in his eyes, and that of all the girls he notices, I probably won't even register on his radar as being a female. That's alright, though, because for now, Isaiah only has eyes for Michael and I, and I can always cherish the fact that I was his first crush.

This week included many more adventures in food. I started using the food grinder that some friends had given us, and I got to make baby-food plums, green beans, and pears with it. I was really excited to give Isaiah the plums, which was the first thing I tried with the food grinder. I had five plums in the fridge that I had let get extra ripe so they would be very sweet. Then I boiled them and peeled them and ground them up for my own sweet little plum. He hated them. He made the most hilarious sour faces you've ever seen. He would squeeze his little eyes shut and pucker his lips and shake his head a little. Then he would swallow, think for a minute, and open his mouth for the next bite. Eventually, though, I added some apple juice to sweeten them up a little, and he stopped making the sour faces. Then, a few days later I decided to go for the first green vegetable. Rod and Lesley (aka Grandma and Grandpa Walz) had given us some delicious garden green beans, which I just knew Isaiah would love. So I cleaned them extra thoroughly, boiled them until they were tender and perfect, ground them up, and measured them into tablespoon portions. Isaiah really hated them. He kept making gagging faces and spitting out the bites I gave him, and after the second spoonful, he refused to open his mouth anymore. I didn't know if I could try to season them with anything to make them better tasting for him. So, we'll just try again in a few days and see if he's changed his mind.

We also fed him some canned pears. Although I would love to feed him fresh fruit all the time, I thought he might like canned pear slices because he always wants to hold his own food, and he could gum these quite easily. So, I ground some up to feed him with a spoon, and I also gave him his own slice. We have a winner! Isaiah loves pears - hooray! He grunted at me if I took too long putting the next bite into his mouth, and he would open his mouth as wide as possible like a little baby bird. Maybe I should season green beans with pears. Hmmm.

Isaiah is working very, very hard on crawling. He can get up onto his hands a knees now and try to wiggle himself forward. Earlier today, he wanted to get to Uncle James' blue hair gel, so he huffed and puffed and worked and grunted to get up onto all fours, then he actually moved...backwards. Poor little guy. His face was pure heartbreak as he saw his object of desire get further and further away. But he was determined, and he kept working and trying until eventually I couldn't stand it and brought the bottle of hair gel over to him. Success! (Sort of) I really think he's going to get the hang of it soon, though. He's really working hard. He has prettymuch figured out how to sit by himself. Every once in a while, though, he starts slowly tipping over to one side, and he doesn't really try to stop himself. He just goes. I always catch him so that his head doesn't get bonked on the floor, which is probably why he doesn't mind falling.

He also seems to enjoy biting. More specifically, he enjoys biting me...very hard...when he's supposed to be sweetly nursing. He doesn't have any teeth yet, but it still hurts a lot. I don't know what I'm going to do when he get's his first tooth and gives me a real bite. Actually, that's not true. I know exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to yell ouch, and then I'm going to give Isaiah to Michael for half an hour so I can curl up in a ball and cry. Not looking forward to that. I just don't know how to stop it from coming. Now, when he bites me, I say 'ouch' and then I don't let him nurse for a few minutes to try and show him that biting equals no food. It's not working, though. If anyone out there has any suggestions, I want to hear them. Help me please - I'm scared!

(Pictures will come soon, I can't get them to upload from the camera and my heroic husband is very busy keeping Isaiah happy.)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Splish Splash

I am so thankful for Michael. Michael is such a good daddy to Isaiah, and such a good husband to me. Without him, I just don't know what I would do, and I know that Isaiah wouldn't be getting all that he needs. Lately, Isaiah has been loving up on his daddy an extra amount. When Daddy comes home from work, Isaiah screams for joy. When Daddy leaves for work in the morning, Isaiah cries unless I distract him with a toy or a song. And when Daddy plays with Isaiah, he giggles and laughs so hard his little belly jiggles all over. It's pretty beautiful to watch. Isaiah especially likes the game where Michael woofs and growls like a big dog. He just cracks up everytime Michael makes the noises. We concluded, unfortunately, that if a vicious dog were barking and growling at Isaiah, he would only giggle in return.

Isaiah also loves the game where Michael picks him up by his legs and lets him dangle upside down. Sometimes Michael will even tickle Isaiah's exposed, upside-down belly with his nose, which sends Isaiah into delighted shrieking laughs. I just can't make him laugh in quite the same way. I try to do the same things Michael does, and all I get are pity giggles. It's not that Isaiah doesn't enjoy my company - I know he's incredibly attached to me, and I love our relationship. I just think he has established that Daddy is the funny one. It's so sweet to see his adoration for his father. When he sees Michael after some time apart, the look in his eyes in unmistakable. "My daddy is my hero." I know, Isaiah - he's my hero too.

Isaiah has recently become worried when someone leaves the room, or even his line of sight. If I put Isaiah down to change his diaper, he'll often wimper a little because he worries that I'm going away. And if I have to walk a few steps out of visibility range - oh no! It's always fine again the moment I return to his side, but it's interesting to me that he gets anxious about this. It's not like I leave him alone that often. I'm almost always in the same room as him, and he even sleeps snuggled next to Michael and I. However, along with this newfound anxiety has come an adorable, endearing trait, though. When he sees me again, he holds out his arms for me to pick him up. Oh - be still my heart; my baby wants me to hold him. Sometimes, when I pick him up again, he wraps his chubby baby arms around my neck and squeezes me in the sweetest hug, and he even slobbers on my cheek in an attempt to kiss me. There is nothing more in the world that I need.

We took Isaiah to a little wading pool down the street from us. We are so lucky to have the great facilities we have near us. There is a beautiful walking path around the lake, and great little playground, and this pool that only goes up to my shins at the deepest point for neighborhood kids to play in. We slathered up Isaiah in lots and lots of sunscreen, put a hat on to cover his head, and stuck him in a sun-shaded floaty device. No tan baby for us! Sadly, Isaiah hated the pool at first. He cried when the water touched his feet and didn't want to get in at all. After a few minutes of gently sprinkling water on him, though, he let us dip his feet, then his legs, then his belly in. After that, he really seemed to enjoy it. His entire goal was to lean down and drink the clorinated water, of course. But with our combined efforts, Michael and I managed to stop him most of the time (or at least part of the time.)

He is continuing to grow at a tremendous rate. He hasn't been able to fit into 3-6 month clothing for a week or so, but I kept in his dresser for a while anyway because I hate putting it into storage. Everytime I have to put away clothes that are too small, I start crying, and I feel really dumb. Finally, though, I sucked it up and started putting them in the 'too small' box. This time, though, I didn't cry at all because I was talking to Isaiah and telling him that we were saving these clothes for his baby brother to wear one day. It was actually a little exciting to think about that. Hopefully Michael is alright having a dozen kids.

We tried another food for Isaiah last night. It turns out Isaiah doesn't like avocado any more than he liked banana. I really thought he would because it's so mild. Nope, more disgusted and confused faces. Oh well, though, we'll just keep trying new foods until we find a good one.

Model Fools

For the thousandth time, someone told me that Isaiah is so cute he should be a baby model. I, of course, agreed wholeheartedly because I honestly do think he is the most adorable baby who has ever lived since the beginning of time. I know that some of my opinion is clouded by the motherly bias, but you can't deny his cuteness. So, I thought about it for a little while, and decided that baby modeling might be a fun way to start saving up for Isaiah's college. Lucky for me, there are several major corporations headquartered in Minneapolis that employ baby models, including Target, Huggies, Lifetouch, and Marshall Fields. Along with those are several modeling agencies. Since I didn't know where to start, I called Target headquarters and got the names of the modeling agencies they use from their advertising department. Then, when I was looking those up in the phone book, I also found one called "" I thought this might be worth checking out as well, so I jotted down their number.

When I called, they immediately put me through a phone interview asking about Isaiah's hair and eye color, if he has any marks or blemishes on his face, and if he is shy or outgoing. Then, since everything sounded good, they asked both Michael and I to bring Isaiah in for an appointment on Saturday. We were pretty excited because we thought this could be a fun opportunity for Isaiah. When we got to the office that Saturday morning, we were seated in the waiting room. Michael asked me if we would have to pay anything for the agency's service, and I told him that to my knowledge, any company that charged an upfront fee wasn't very legitimate because good agencies only take commission.

We got into the office - Tony Guy's office to be precise - and he declared Isaiah an absolute doll. He said that he was almost positive Isaiah could get jobs because he's so cute and in a really good age bracket. Then he explained that child models will make $85 to $100 an hour for print ads, and thousands of dollars for television commercials or appearances on soap operas. (Apparently there is quite a demand for babies on soap operas.) Then he said that would be willing to have his picture taken, send that out to modeling agencies in the Twin Cities, put it on their website, and make all the callbacks for us that are needed. That deal sounded pretty good to us until he mentioned that it would cost $600, plus there would be a commission fee of 15% to and 15% to the modeling agency. There was a stunned silence in the room, but only for a moment, because Tony Guy expertly filled the void with more talk, and asked us about where we were from and how we met and if we wanted more kids. He kept talking as he handed me the contract to read, making sure Michael and I didn't have a moment to talk to each other. Michael, at one point, asked how we could do it ourselves. (After all, we could just have his picture taken ourselves and send it to places, and we already have a website or two for him.) Then Tony Guy talked some more about how that wouldn't really work very well and asked us lots more friendly questions. I told Tony Guy that this wasn't really a good time for us to shell out $600, and so he drafted up a payment plan that split it up over three months. He kept talking about how Isaiah would be covered by this for five years including pictures (which isn't true at all because we would still have to pay the $20 sitting fee.)

Throughout all this, Michael wasn't saying anything and nodding politely, probably too shocked to do anything else. I was also nodding politely, not having any time to think between Tony Guy's friendly banter. I finally asked Michael what he was thinking, because I honestly couldn't tell, and I didn't know what to do. Unfortunately, often when I ask Michael what he's thinking it's because I want him to lean a certain way. This time, he thought I was asking because I wanted to sign the contract. So, he said "I guess we could make it work." Then I figured that he wanted to do it, so I said that I guessed we could make it work too. Then Tony Guy smiled and big smile, and we signed the contract.

As soon as we walked out the door, we looked at each other and realized that we had been smooth-talked into something bad, but luckily there was a clause in the contract that we could cancel within three days with written notice. So we got home, typed up the written notification, sent it off, and cancelled it on our credit card.

We feel pretty silly that we got duped into something so obviously shady. There was nothing about the office or the headshot book or the contract or Tony Guy that made us feel good, and we're still a little confused as to how we signed the dotted line at all. But we did, so silly us. At least we got it all straightened out.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

This week started off with a fun wedding in Wisconsin we drove to. Once again, Isaiah was an angel in the car, and it was a wonderful chance to spend some time talking with Michael while Isaiah looked out the window in back and babbled to himself. The latest sound he has enjoyed making is "Who...Who..." We had a great time at the wedding, and the bride (my former roommate) said Isaiah was the most perfect baby she had ever seen. Those comments make me so happy you would think people were calling me perfect and beautiful.

Isaiah also figured out how to jump in his Johnny Jump-Up. Hooray! We got a little jumping recorded on camera before he noticed Daddy holding the camcorder and stopped jumping to stare at him. I had to distract Isaiah again with a bright red box held up high so that he would jump for it. I kind of felt as though I was holding up a piece of cheese for my little dog, Sparky.

Isaiah really loves all kinds of physical play, not just jumping up and down. The other day, Michael was swinging him upside down over his head while I got ready in the bathroom, and Isaiah was laughing his little head off. Suddenly, the giggling stopped and moments later, Michael opened the bathroom door. I looked at him in alarm only to see one of the biggest spit-ups ever. Michael had it in his hair, in his eye, down his neck, and on his shirt. Of course, being the loving wife I am, I laughed really hard and got the camera. Luckily, my husband has a good sense of humor as well, and after good a shower and a clean shirt, he was as good as new.

Isaiah has also been showing more and more interest in all of his toys. It's so much fun to watch him play with all the cute little things he owns. It's also really interesting to see how toys have changed since I was a kid. For instance, when I was a little girl, I distinctly remember having a toy plastic rotary phone that went briiing when you dialed a number. Now Isaiah has a toy plastic cell phone that rings, has a busy signal, makes a ten-digit dialing noise, beeps, says hello, flashes a green light, and sings four different songs. No, I'm not kidding. Yet, despite all the advances in baby toys, babies seem to have remained the same. This morning, I was playing with Isaiah on the carpet, and I had all of his fancy, flashing, singing, beeping, wiggling, high-tech toys around to entice him. He went for the crumpled ball of paper and played happily with it for half an hour. If only we could all keep our lives that simple.

We tried, Wednesday night, to feed Isaiah some mashed up banana in his cereal. I had assumed that just plain rice cereal was probably getting a little boring and Isaiah would appreciate the extra flavor. I couldn't have been more wrong. The grossed-out faces Isaiah put on were hilarious. At first, he looked shocked, and he didn't even move his mouth or tongue for a few moments because he wasn't sure what to do. Then, he looked absolutely disgusted as he began to "chew" the mush, and finally, when he had mostly swallowed it, he looked confused as to why we would put such a thing into his mouth. But after each bite filled with shock, disgust and confusion, he saw the bowl filled with the banana-cereal and opened his mouth wide like a baby bird begging for more. Then we went through the roller coaster of emotions again. He never cried or made a truly sad face, though. I just think he was baffled as to what was in his mouth, and I'm pretty sure he's not the world's biggest banana fan. I've heard that babies' tastes can change frequently, though, so I might try banana again in a week or so to see what he thinks at that time.

Isaiah can now roll over from his back to his stomach to his back to his stomach to his back again. He figured out the full roll one evening and just looked at us so nonchalantly, as if he had been rolling around from day one. I actually watched him roll half-way across the room to get to a toy, and I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm so proud of my strong, smart little boy for figuring out how to roll around. Now, though, all I can see are dangers in our house. Isaiah could roll off the bed. Isaiah could bonk his head on the coffee table legs. Isaiah could roll over to an outlet and stick his fingers in it. I'm considering investing in miles of bubble wrap and making our place 100% padded.

Gone are the days when I could set Isaiah down with a toy, go to the bathroom, and come back to see him playing with the toy in the same spot. It's not just a possibility that he will roll and wiggle around, it's a guarantee. Rolling is his new favorite thing to do, and he does it at every possible opportunity. Now every morning when Isaiah wakes up, instead of staring up at the curtains and cooing, he kicks Daddy in the back until he has enough room to roll onto his stomach, and then he wiggles until I get up. I'm not even a little surprised, though. He has been exercising his legs for months, and it's pretty obvious that he goal has been to move as much as he can. I'll just have to get in better shape so I can keep up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Going out...of my mind

Last week Michael and I got down to business getting Isaiah on a regular schedule. We've never really felt the need for putting him on a nap schedule before, and I've always let it be a rather organic agenda. As long as he continued to get enough sleep throughout the day and night, I was content to let him take his two or three naps whenever he needed them, and get to bed whenever he was tired. Lately, though, I realized that I would need to be a little more deliberate about the whole thing, because he was beginning to get to bed at erratic times, and he wasn't sleeping for long enough stretches during the night. So, I figured I would try to have him wake up around eight or eight-thirty (which he always does anyway,) take his morning nap around ten-thirty, his afternoon nap around three-thirty, and have him in bed by eight. What a nice plan on paper. What actually happened most days was a half-hour nap at ten, an hour nap at noon, another half hour nap at three, and a biiig long nap around five, which left him too refreshed to go to bed at eight.

I finally am starting to get it down, though, and apparently Isaiah still needs three smaller naps during the day instead of two long ones. Even though the nap times vary a bit from day to day, we are getting him to bed and waking him up at consistent times, which is the most important part to me.

We also tried going out on our first date without Isaiah this last week. Michael and I both wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean, so I began pumping milk four or five days ahead of time and storing it for our big night out. Uncle Peter agreed to watch Isaiah, and we decided to go as early as we could so we could be back for his bedtime, if possible. We decided to go to the AMC inside the Mall of America because it was a short drive should we need to run back home for any emergency. Unfortunately, Uncle Peter couldn't get off work as soon as we had hoped, so we would only be able to make the 6:45 show. Then, when we got to the theater, we realized they had posted the time wrong in the paper and it was actually a 7:15 show. I had already called Peter in the car on the way to the theater, but I figured I should call him again to let him know of the later showing and make sure once more that Isaiah was fine. He was just fine, of course, but I was still very nervous.

The movie was great, but halfway through, I called Peter again to check in. Isaiah was still just fine, so I went back into the theater and watched the rest of the movie with enjoyment. When it was done, I made Michael call because I figured Peter probably thought I was already insane. Unfortunately, this time Isaiah was crying and had been unhappy for a half-hour or so. Although it had been smart to go to a theater that was a short drive from home, it had been less smart to park in a ramp that could only be accessed through a department store, which had closed for the night. So what do I do as a rational, sane human being? I begin sprinting through the Mall of America in my heels looking for an exit. I'm sure everyone I passed thought I had shoplifted and was trying to outrun security, such was the look of horror and guilt on my face. As I was running, knowing how strange I looked, a thought occurred to me: I am no longer an independent woman; I am attached and bound to Isaiah and completely under his control. We finally got to our car (it took so, so long to get there) and we raced home. The entire time, Michael reassured me that this would not permanently scar Isaiah, that he was only crying because he was tired, that Isaiah wasn't hurt, that Peter was doing a fine job. All I could think of, though, was that I was a terrible mother and an idiot for choosing such a long movie for our first night out.

Finally, we arrived at home. I raced out of the car in my bare feet (they were quite sore from running around the mall in heels,) and sprinted through our back door expecting to hear those heart-wrenching little sobs. Instead it was completely silent. I found Peter in the living room watching the news with Isaiah fast asleep on his lap. Peter smiled and said that Isaiah finally just tired himself out and fell asleep. I felt so relieved that he was no longer crying, yet so awful that Isaiah had to fall asleep uncomforted. While Michael and Peter chatted in the living room, I walked back to our bedroom, sat down on our bed, and burst into tears. I cried for a solid five minutes before Michael brought sweet little sleeping Isaiah in so I could snuggle with him in bed. He slept in my arms, and I smelled his soft head, and I knew that we were both fine.