Tuesday, December 18, 2007

T.V. Tirade

Before Isaiah was born, I had definite ideas about the kind of parent I would be. We would do lots of crafts that encourage cognitive development, we would have a plethora of fun physical and educational activities laid out before us for each day, and we would watch minimal TV. Oh, and my house would be pretty clean and organized too. So, like most people with no kids, I was a great parent. Now, however, I have slipped upstairs to write while Isaiah watches Sesame Street and chores are left undone. We don't do many crafts at all (Isaiah isn't really into them when we try anyway) and since it's freezing outside, we haven't taken a trip to the park in quite a while. Although Isaiah is watching TV at the moment, I really do keep it at a minimum, but not because I am a supermom. We barely watch any TV because the kid's programs on are exorbitantly annoying. Seriously - the annoyance factor in kid's programming is just excessive. I can't even stand to have most of them on even when I'm in a different part of the house. And, instead of growing more tolerant over the months, I've grown progressively less tolerant. For the time being, there are two shows I can stand on PBS - Curious George and Sesame Street (and I have a feeling my magnanimity with the latter stems greatly from my love of Sesame Street as a child.) I'm also okay with several DVDs, such as Baby Einstein or Peter Pan, but we watch those sparingly so I don't begin to hate them as well.

While the fact that other shows are so excruciating probably makes me a better parent, I don't understand why they have to be so bad. I'm also happy to know I am not the only parents with these rather strong feelings to this supposedly benign programming. I recently found a poll on a parenting website asking which PBS kids/Nick Jr. show was the most annoying, and over 7,400 parents had cast their votes and voiced their opinion in the comment section (often with sentiments that would not have been appropriate for PBS kids to air.) For those of you who think I'm a terrible human being, let me give you a brief synopsis of a few shows.

Teletubbies are four extremely odd creatures who speak in an inane form of 'baby talk' and sing things like "Hat, hat, hat haaaaat" or "Quickly, quickly, quickly, quiiiiiiickly." They also have rather annoying names that I can't remember completely but are something like "Tinkle Winkle" and "Tipsy Dipsy." Then there is Caillou. This is a show about a four year old boy who learns a discovers things in the world every day. Unfortunately Caillou is one of the whiniest little boys I've ever seen, and his cutesy voice has literally made me cover my ears at times. The narrator's voice is also rather grating, and the theme song gets stuck in my head and sinks its teeth in for days. Also, he's bald - not a huge deal, but it seems like they could have drawn a few hairs on a four year old boy. There is also Barney, who I don't even feel the need to describe because his annoying tendencies are pretty well known to most people. Honestly, I feel as though I would be alright with these programs (except Teletubbies) if they aired a half-hour episode every month or two, but every day is too much. Once a week is too much. Never is often enough for me. They make me happy not to have cable and access to even more of these shows.

Isaiah has become quite a parrot of Michael and I, and he's getting extremely good at it. Now, before he answers a question such as "What do you want for breakfast?" He will put his fingers to his chin in his little thoughtful pose and sound off a big, long, pensive, "Hmmmmmm...." before invariably answering "fruit snacks." It may be the same answer every time, but he's really thought it through. He has also begun saying "bow-chicka-wow-wow," which I credit my husband for entirely.

We have begun quizzing for our trip to South Dakota. We will look at pictures from other visits with my family and go over Grandma Carpenter, Grandpa Carpenter, Uncle Andy, and Sparky (the dog.) He has the people down pat, but he's still a little confused about the dog, which makes sense because he hasn't seen Sparky in a year. I trust Sparky's feelings won't be hurt, though, since Sparky seems to have trouble remembering his own name from time to time. I have also begun preparing for the 9 hour drive. We plan to leave at 5:00 a.m. sharp so that Isaiah would have two to three hours of sleeping time at the beginning of the drive. We are also counting on an hour or two nap in the afternoon. During the awake time, though, I have planned several thousand different activities in the hopes that four or five will be big hits. Actually, momsminivan.com recommended a different activity or snack for every 15 minutes of a trip, which is what I did. I have 18 activities and 18 different snacks for Isaiah to choose from, plus we have a portable DVD player, which was an early Christmas present from my parents. To be honest, I'm actually really excited to see what Isaiah thinks of all the fun things I planned for him. We bought a special tray that can attach to his carseat to give him a playing/eating surface, and I have some fun little new toys I bought from a thrift store along with jingle bells, magnets on a cookie sheet, a foam build-a-snowman kit, plastic homemade snow globes, and rolls of 1,000 stickers.

We have already celebrated Christmas with Michael's family, which was so much fun. Last year, Isaiah didn't quite understand the concept of new presents belonging to him or even of unwrapping, but this year he totally got it. It was so much fun to see him unwrap a gift and get really excited about it. It took quite a while because we stopped to let him play with his toys before moving onto whatever was next. I realized that I am so much more excited for Isaiah to open his presents than I am for myself. I'm sure people will give me wonderful things, but there is just no chance I'm going to be as cute as Isaiah when I open them. Plus, I get to play with all his toys anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Lament for Mothers

Four days ago an old friend of mine, Dan, was shot in the neck while at YWAM in Colorado. He has since undergone surgery and is recovering, but two of his friends did not survive. Dan is an awesome guy. Although I haven't gotten the chance to see him much since high school, and we only knew for a very brief time through mutual friends, I always thought he was especially fun and nice (and cute) and he stands out in my memory as the guy who quoted "Biodome" at parties.
After the initial shock and dismay of hearing my friend had been shot, my thoughts immediately turned to his mother. I thought of Isaiah and of my unborn daughter kicking inside me, and I unwillingly thought of how it would feel to raise my precious children, to know and love them for 24 years, and to hear some boy had shot them for incomprehensible reasons. It's unbearable.

So, daily and nightly, we have been praying for Dan (Isaiah calls him "Dan Man") and for his mother, as well as for the mothers of all the other people who were shot in this two-part incident. They need a strength I know I do not posses, and God-willing, will never have to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I need a mommy

I have been sick the past three or four days, and I've decided that you're never too old to need your mommy. Usually, I can pop a couple of DayQuils and go on my merry way with a cold, but since I'm pregnant, I have been trying natural remedies. It makes me glad I live in an age of overabundant medications. I've been alternating warm and cool compresses on my head to try to relieve a sinus headache, drinking lots of tea, and downing a teaspoon of honey every now and then to coat my throat instead of cough syrup. I miss the drugs.

Luckily, Michael was able to be my caretaker on Sunday, he made me soup and grilled cheese for lunch and made sure I got plenty of liquids and rest. Isaiah has also been extremely cooperative and sympathetic in letting me rest and recover. I know I'm not being a five star mom, but he doesn't seem to mind as we snuggle on the couch and watch Disney movies all morning. In fact, there are aspects of my being sick that I think Isaiah positively enjoys. Since I'm trying to be gentle to my stomach (and I can't taste anything anyway) I have been making buttered rice for lunch. I add a small mountain of Parmesan cheese to Isaiah's, and he's in heaven. He's started asking for cheesy rice for breakfast and dinner too. He also really enjoys the fact that I'm way too exhausted to do any household chores, so I just hang out with him all day long, plus I snuggle with him for the entirety of his nap.

Of course, there are also the downfalls, Isaiah is gravely disappointed in the lack of voices to go along with books we read. I am lucky if I can use my own voice for an entire story without coughing, let along Oscar the Grouch or Leo the Lion. There was also the stinky diaper incident of yesterday. Isaiah pooped his diaper sometime midmorning, but my sense of smell is absolutely gone, so I had no idea. A few times during the morning, he came up to me, pinched his nose, and said "Stinky." I thought he was just being funny, so I did it back to him, which usually amused him enough to drop the subject. When I did go to change his diaper before naptime, though, I realized that he had been wearing a dirty one for who knows how long. I felt terrible, but I was also glad I didn't have to smell a thing as I changed it.

I have been enjoying longer conversations with Isaiah the past few weeks as his command of phrases continues to grow. It's really nice to be able to know what he's thinking as he plays and interacts with the world. I've noticed he's beginning to become concerned with the health and safety of others. Whenever Isaiah falls down or runs into something, I will ask him if he's okay, and unless he's actually hurt, he will respond with an enthusiastic "Okay!" So when we were watching America's Funniest Videos this past Sunday, instead of laughing when someone fell down or got clobbered by an unstable Christmas tree, he asked if they were okay. He was especially concerned about the kids, and frequently asked
"Baby okay?"
"Yes Isaiah," I would reply, "that baby is okay."

Another fun conversation happened today when Isaiah went into his closet and pulled out a baby nightgown my mom had sent for our coming little girl.
"Baby clothes!" he said proudly.
"Oh yes! Isaiah that's a nightgown for your baby sister."
"Ohhhhh," he said in a sweet, mothering type voice, "Cute."
Then he began to pet the nightgown as if it were a kitten.
No kidding it's cute, Isaiah - I can't wait to see you be a big brother.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Terrifying Blessings

As the air begins to change and hold the crisp scents of autumn mixed with musky pine and wafts of smoke, I find myself growing hungry for tradition. I am naturally a sentimental person, but my memories of the season are especially laced with emotion. Without prompting, I remember the delicious anticipation of Thanksgiving - the buzzing kitchen and clinking silverware. I remember spending the Friday afterwards transforming our house into a Christmas wonderland. Dozens of boxes hauled up from the basement were opened to reveal angels, wise men, holly, and Santas, each holding years of memories in their figures. Thinking about the countless memories I have of Thanksgivings and Christmases past makes me wonder what memories Isaiah will form. Last year he was only 11 months old at Christmastime, but I hoped that the excitement and beauty of the season would leave an abstract impression on him that would carry through the years. This year, I am even more eager to solidify family traditions so that next year he might vaguely recognize them. I found family devotionals to do during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I hope it will be fun for Isaiah to learn about baby Jesus being born as we talk about his little sibling being born soon too. I also hope that looking at pictures from last year will help him anticipate the traditions we will repeat again this year.

This week I have been marveling at how well I know my little boy. This came as a revelation to me because he has begun really stringing his words into more phrases and sentences, and Michael and I are the only ones who can correctly interpret them. (Well, at least we are right as often as we are wrong.)

Some of the things that only Michael and I know are that when a word starts with the letter 's' and is followed by another consonant, Isaiah will put the 's' and the end of the word. So "sticker" becomes "tickers" and "snuggle" becomes "nuggles" (not to be confused with "muggles" who are non-magical people from the world of Harry Potter.) We also know that Isaiah doesn't like to have a blanket covering his knees on down while he is sleeping or falling asleep. We have to be certain to dress him in fuzzy footed jammies because even when he is in a deep sleep, if we pull a blanket over his legs he will reach down a pull it back off or kick in a frustrated manner until we remove it. One of the most important things only we know about Isaiah is that when he is tired but fighting the urge to sleep, there is a spot on the inside of his ear, right near the entrance to his ear canal that we can gently rub with our fingers and it puts him to sleep like magic. It's so cute to see his blue eyes roll closed and to hear his breath become deep and even within seconds of touching that magic ear spot. It makes me feel like a really good mom to know my little boy so intimately.

Finally, I have to talk about our catastrophic event that happened this past Friday. Isaiah and I were in a pretty major car crash. Our car was completely smashed in the front and totaled, but everyone in both vehicles is alright. Isaiah bit his tongue and was very scared when it happened, and I was just as frightened to hear him crying so loudly. He recovered within minutes, though, and didn't have any lasting pain. I was also just fine, and I was thankful the airbag didn't deploy because it would have hit my stomach. Just to be safe, Michael and I went to the hospital that evening to check on the baby and make sure everything was alright. We had two ultrasounds done, and saw that our baby was happy and healthy. We also learned that we are going to have a little girl! Seeing our daughter kick and hiccup inside me was an amazing miracle at the end of a pretty harrowing day. We came home to Isaiah and told him he was having a sister, which he happily repeated, but didn't really understand. The brief scare of either of our children being seriously injured followed by the relief that they were both alright reminded Michael and I of how precious our family is and how blessed we are.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


This past Wednesday was our first Halloween in our new home and neighborhood. Isaiah dressed up as a lion and stayed in costume - and in character - all day. He really liked the attention he received from everyone for being all dressed up, and he happily demonstrated his roar to anyone who asked. In the evening, we went trick-or-treating to the houses up and down our street. (The houses that had their lights on, that is.) We found out that our street is sort of lame on Halloween night; at least half of the homes had no lights on, so we just skipped them. Isaiah didn't need a pillowcase full of candy anyway, and he had fun. Luckily he's too young to know he got royally ripped off. Next year we will either go up to Buffalo again or to an organized event like the Mall of America's trick-or-treating night. The neighbors we met were very nice, and Isaiah also had the bonus of meeting several neighborhood dogs. He got to eat a package of M&M's after we finished the rounds, and then he helped pass out candy to other kids.

The M&M's were obviously his favorite part of the whole night, and he still tries to sneakily get more whenever he can. Luckily he's not really that sneaky. When we were eating dinner tonight, Michael was feeding him a spoonful of corn. Isaiah paused before he accepted it and casually suggested that Michael substitute "um-nums." Sorry buddy, better luck next time. M&M's have also found their way into the stories we read throughout the day. I was curious to see what would happen if I let Isaiah read a book to me instead of the other way around a few days ago. He opened the first page and identified the animal.
"Cow...MOOOOO!" Then the next page,
"Baa baa sheep!" Then the next page
"Um-Nums!" Nice try, but it was a dancing pig.

His imagination is astounding to me. I love learning what he is thinking about, and I'm realizing that his world is way more fun than mine. His toy trains don't just run around and say "choo-choo;" they get tired and take naps. His stuffed animals are acquiring names and all the coasters in our house have magically become cookies (or pancakes, depending on what Isaiah says they are.) Yesterday before Isaiah's nap, we were reading The Very Busy Spider. On the first page is a horse, and when I asked Isaiah to tell me what the horse said, he obediently answered "neigh neigh." When I turned the page, though, and asked Isaiah what the cow said, he paused thoughtfully. Finally he answered,
"Grass, yum yum!" and then pretended to chew some cud.

Wow! Where did that even come from? It was so cool to know that this little boy who had this whole amazing world inside his head was my own. It's so much fun to be Isaiah's mom. He still astounds and enthralls me just as much as he did when he was brand new.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hopes, Dreams, and Nightmares

So I haven't posted in nearly five months, but tonight I was lying awake in bed and I realized that I needed to write down what was happening and what I was thinking if I were to get any sleep. (Also, I had to get up and pee since I'm 16 weeks pregnant now.)

Isaiah, Michael and I have had such fun these past few weeks - even more fun than our normal weeks, which aren't half bad either. We have gone to an apple orchard, visited with friends every weekend, and just yesterday we raked up a giant pile of leaves in our backyard and jumped in them. Okay, Isaiah jumped in them and Michael and I took pictures. Isaiah is repeating everything I say, which makes me glad I don't swear, since my phrases have come out of his little mouth at rather interesting times. Today after Isaiah woke up from his nap, I wanted him to come downstairs with me so I could fold laundry while we played. He was pretty cooperative and happy to come down as long as he could bring his cow flashlight, which happens to be a favorite toy of the moment. Once he got to the top step, though, he decided that was a fine enough place to play with the cow and he didn't need to come down any more steps. So, as a means of persuading him, I took the cow and hopped him down four of five steps so that Isaiah would follow. To my surprise, though, instead of going after that cow, Isaiah just looked at me and emphatically said "No touch." This is the phrase Michael and I use for things like stove knobs, hot irons, and delicate electronics. I guess he really understands the meaning. Since he almost always complies when we tell him an item is a 'no touch' I figured I should show him the same respect and kept my hands off. Another thing he loves to repeat is "YES!" He even does the little arm movement - like a 'kaching' sort of fist into the air. He will run from room to room shouting "Yes!" for no particular reason. He also says it when he gets a snack he really likes and when he poops on the potty.

We've been practicing saying "trick-or-treat" for Halloween tomorrow. Isaiah will be going as a lion, so he already has the sound effects down. I figured since he likes to repeat me "trick-or-treat" would also catch on pretty well. However, when he knocks on a door, he prefers to ask if anyone is home, so that's probably what will end up happening. If I do get him to repeat after me he usually just says "Treat treat!" I guess he doesn't want to leave the option open for something other than a treat to go into his bag. It makes sense when you think about it.

With all the extra fun happening and the daily doses of joy Isaiah is giving me, I often end the day thinking that life is pretty close to perfect right now. I love that I am able to spend so much time with Isaiah, and he has gotten very good at playing by himself when I need to do chores. He usually prefers to help me with them if he can. His idea of help is pretty adorable, but it's slightly less helpful than one might imagine. He's particularly good at unfolding clothing and hiding socks, but he also likes to cook. It's fine as long as he doesn't get his hands on any real ingredients. He usually makes soup, which he and I will taste test for seemingly hours until he knows he has it just right. He brings the bowl to me and holds it up for me to slurp, "Mmmm" I say and hand it back for him to slurp. This goes on until he has shaken enough salt (a wooden block) into the bowl and then tastes it and nods, "Mmm hmm."

I'm worried that I will miss out on these things when our new baby comes along. I vividly remember sitting with Isaiah in the rocker when he was only a week old. I was nursing him again before I had even buttoned up my shirt from the previous nursing and thinking that it would be nearly impossible to do this with a toddler running around needing my attention. Now that I am months away from that reality, my opinion hasn't changed much. I honestly don't know how I will do it. I understand that Isaiah will simply have to share me more than he does now, but I don't really want that any more than he does. I love to give him all my attention - to play with him all morning until we snuggle together for his nap. I also want to be able to drink in my new little baby the way I could when Isaiah was born. I would hold him for hours and just watch him as he slept and breathed so sweetly in my arms. But how will I do that with this baby? I'm worried I will break Isaiah's little heart when he sees me holding his little brother or sister and not being able to hold him too. I'm also worried it will break my heart.

I honestly am so, so excited for this baby to come, but I feel like the Grinch right now - my heart needs to grow a couple sizes in order for this to work. I remember that it had to do the same thing when Isaiah was born and I discovered that to love Isaiah fully, I didn't need to love Michael any less. I just hope and pray there is more growing room for my heart. My prayers for Isaiah are that he will have patience and understanding with this baby and with me as I learn. Truthfully, I'm slightly terrified, but I know that I will probably stumble through it, just as I have with Isaiah.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Goodbye baby

Oh how I've missed my baby boy! True, I have been spending the majority of my hours every day with him just like always, but for the past three weeks, I haven't been able to devote as much of my energy and attention to him alone. As a result, I feel as though I've been away from him and I need to spend extra time with him now to get reacquainted.

The past three weeks have been full of craziness, especially compared to our regular little schedule of playing together at home or the park most days. We've had four doctors' appointments three wedding and/or baby showers, a retirement party and no less than 14 visits to the VA hospital to see my grandpa who had surgery there. My mom and grandma were also in town for a week to be with my grandpa, so of course I had to share Isaiah with them, which I was happy to do. I'm so proud of how well Isaiah has done with all of the abnormalities in our schedules. He has been a bright spot for everyone during the hospital visits, stoically endured the cold and fever that came as a result of his recent shots, comforted me when I became overwhelmed, and made it through the majority of days on a single nap.

Now that we have some time to spend together again, I've noticed that he has matured so much in the last three weeks. He does fun new things now like saying even more animal sounds and FINALLY saying "momma." More so than that, though, he's becoming less of a baby and more of a little boy in ways I can't explain. Last night after he had fallen asleep, I crept into the room and laid down next to him just to look at his face, and there he was - my little grown up boy. I could almost see his adult face, and I could tangibly feel that we had really begun the journey where he leaves me behind along with the other trappings of babyhood. I know, though, that the journey, despite the bumps along the way, will be sweet, and that I am privileged to be able to watch him grow and change and become a man whose mother I am already proud to be.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sweet Parenting Dreams

Tonight Michael and Isaiah and I had an incredibly fun time playing before we put the little guy to bed. We were all playing in our room after Isaiah had taken his bath, and I was chasing him around on the beds and tickling him. Then in the crevice between our bed and Isaiah's, I found the "Wild Animals" book, which had been missing for a few weeks. Since I was supposed to be calming Isaiah down for bed instead of winding him up, I decided to read it to him. I was absolutely floored to discover Isaiah knew almost all of the animal sounds in the book. It turns out he had been listening to me the entire time and quietly remembering how to make each animal sound. He even did the same motions I did when I read the book. He pretended to be galloping when I pointed to the zebra; he stuck his arm out like a trunk for the elephant; he wiggled his hand like a swimming fish; he even opened his mouth big and wide for the hippo and pretended to eat my arm. It was pretty darn cute. He made monkey hoots and lion roars and tiger growls and crocodile hisses and giraffe chomping sounds and rhino snorts. I am so proud of him.

Then because I was so impressed by his knowledge of the animal kingdom, I decided to have him point to things to see what he remembered. He got his head and his ears, which I already knew he could point to, but then he pointed to his nose when I asked, which he had never done before. Then he proceeded to point to his feet when I asked, and then his daddy and then his mommy and then his tummy, and then his mouth. Then I asked him to give his mommy a kiss, AND HE KISSED ME! He did it for Michael, too, when I asked him to kiss his daddy. We both got such a rush from our little boy kissing us so sweetly that we made him kiss us three more times before we just began playing again. We ended the night by tumbling around on the bed pretending to be horses and then turning out the big light and just having the camping lantern on, which fascinated Isaiah to no end. Then we turned that light off as well and snuggled together as Isaiah nursed to sleep.

I kept thinking that this night was the kind of night parenting dreams are made of. The sweet moments of Isaiah's snuggles and the beautiful sound of his laughter seem almost delicate as a memory. I don't want to alter nights like this in my mind or let the vividness diminish. I just want to preserve these times perfectly because I know that for years I will think back to tonight and feel content remembering how very right the world felt when Isaiah drifted off to sleep in my arms and Michael breathed steadily beside me.

I am so blessed to have Michael - the perfect husband and father for our family. I was reminded the other day of how wonderfully we fit together. I have gotten into the habit of making mildly amusing/highly annoying noises throughout the day in order to entertain Isaiah. The problem is that when I'm around other adults, I sometimes forget to stop it. So it was one afternoon that as I was putting on Isaiah's pants, I was humming "My Ragtime Gal" to him. Actually, I wasn't humming it. I was singing it by way of making annoying nasally "waa waa" sounds at the top of my lungs. I "waa waaed" my way through the first verse when I realized the Michael, who was in the next room, must be so annoyed with me he was on the verge of tearing off his own ears. So I stopped singing. But then, I heard Michael pick up where I left in the song in the same nasally "waa waas" without a trace of annoyance in his voice. It made me feel really good to know I have a husband as dorky as me. It's as if we were made for one another.

Of course, that means Isaiah doesn't have a snowman's chance in hell of being anything other than dorky like his parents. That's alright with me too, though. In my opinion, if you aren't at least a little dorky in some area of your life, you're probably kind of boring.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Atomic Fireboy

This has been yet another adventuresome week with Isaiah. He has learned a few new words, his favorite of which is "shoe." Every morning the highlight is putting on his shoes.

"Isaiah, we have to put on your shoes." "Shoe!" "That's right, your shoes" "Shoe!" "Yep, now what goes on your little foot?" "Shoe! Shoe! Shoe!"

He also likes it when I put on my shoes or let him play with my shoes or when I say "sure" because he thinks I'm talking about shoes. I didn't realize my love of shoes would rub off quite so quickly. At least I have a very happy shoe-shopping partner, though.

He has also begun to really get into brushing his teeth. Every night when it's tooth brushing time, Michael and I sing the Raffi song about brushing teeth that goes,
"When you wake up in the morning, it's a quarter to one/and you want to have a little fun/you brush your teeth/ Ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch...."
Now whenever we get out the toothbrush and toothpaste, Isaiah pretends to brush his teeth with his finger and makes the "ch ch ch ch" sound. The other day, he got a hold of my hairbrush and did the same thing.

We went to the Mall of America the other day and I bought a dress at American Eagle. Little did I know they sometimes give you candy when you buy clothing there. Maybe it was my prize for having a really cute kid or something. Whatever the case, the saleslady put a little box of jawbreakers and two little boxes of Atomic Fireballs (basically red-hot cinnamon flavored jawbreakers) into my bag when I wasn't really paying attention, so I didn't even know they were there. Later, though, I was browsing at a booth in the middle of the mall, and Isaiah was bored, so I let him play with the American Eagle bag. After a minute, I heard a rattle and saw little red balls rolling across the floor. I turned to Isaiah and saw that his mouth was stuffed with no less then five Atomic Choking Hazards...I mean Fireballs. So I had to go digging in his mouth to get them all out before he inhaled them. I fished around until I felt satisfied that I had gotten every last one and then threw the candies away and chalked it up to a novice mom moment. Fifteen minutes later, though, Isaiah spits out a tiny, sucked down Atomic Fireball that he had been happily sucking on the entire time. He must have grown some kind of secret pouch in his cute chipmunk cheeks that he hid it in. You win this time, Isaiah, but next time I'm packing a dentist mirror.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fun Shui and other stories

It has been so very long since I last posted. Once I got out of the habit of posting, it became much more difficult to get back into it because I knew I would not be able to write about everything Isaiah had done. Well, now it's been almost two months since I have given updates, and of course I will not be able to write about everything adorable; I probably won't even be able to remember everything that has happened since March 1st. I can certainly, however, give some highlights of what Isaiah has been up to.

Shortly after I last posted, Isaiah began practicing his own unique form of feng shui. He loved rearranging the kitchen chairs all around the dining room. It didn't take long to realize this was more than a game to him. If I moved a chair back to what I thought was it's correct place (next to the table,) Isaiah would move it back exactly where he had put it. In front of the baby gate, perhaps, or behind the couch. I finally stopped putting the chairs back unless we were actually sitting down for dinner because I knew they would only be scooted across the floor again moments later by my little feng shui guru.

Isaiah has also begun to say a few words. He says "uh-oh," "baby," "wow," "hi," "boo," and "meow," which was his very first word. He began saying "meow" when we would read his kitty cat book, but he quickly expanded to saying "meow" any time he saw any animal that looked remotely like a cat. Dogs, bunnies, squirrels, birds, and sometimes other babies all received enthusiastic "meows." I also happen to believe Isaiah says "mama," but Michael thinks he's just babbling. We have agreed to disagree and move on.

Isaiah has also gained a lot of confidence walking and wants to walk everywhere, all the time. He also thinks he's so good at walking that he can walk backwards (which he does quite frequently while giggling because he's so pleased with himself) or sideways while looking behind him instead of where he's headed (which he also does while giggling until he invariably trips.)

Also during the absence of my blogging, my parents and brother visited us for Easter which we spent with them and the Walzes. Isaiah had a wonderful time with his family despite the fact that he was teething and going through a short phase in which he was afraid of random objects like balloons. He loved being the center of attention and getting Easter presents.

Isaiah's most recent phase has been a little preview of tantrums. He gets frustrated because I don't let him run into the street or eat a penny, and he begins to cry and kick his legs. He gets over the "mini tantrum" pretty easily, though. All Michael or I have to do is hold him and tell him it's going to be alright and he calms himself down in a minute. Still, it was surprising the first time it happened. I suppose now that he has a little more control over where he can go and what he can do, he's going to run into more places he can't go and things he can't do, which would be frustrating for anyone. I'm just thankful he is so easily calmed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Say hello to my little friend

Isaiah and I have been having so much fun together these past two weeks. It's amazing to watch him grow up every day, and I'm realizing now that I didn't just give birth to a baby - I gave birth to a little friend. All day we play together and dance together and snuggle together. There are so many things he does that make me laugh, and I'm apparently just as hilarious to him.

In the car, I will turn on the alternative radio station and bob my head to the music. Then, when I take a peek in the rear view mirror, Isaiah will be bobbing his head to the music too. I can't express how cute it is to see a little baby rocking out to 'Beck' or 'Nine Inch Nails.' At home, Isaiah will play games with me for hours, covering up his head with a blanket and popping out when I say "boo," or lifting his arms up high when I ask, "How big is Isaiah?" He will toddle across the room and bring me toys he thinks I might like, such as a fuzzy giraffe or a book about sea creatures. Sometimes, he is even content to sit next to me and 'read' all by himself while I read a few chapters of my own book. (It's really adorable to watch him turn the pages of a book while he babbles to himself, so I often just end up watching him read instead of reading myself.)

Shortly after Isaiah was born, my aunt told me that every day is more fun than the last. I thought that was a very sweet and sentimental thing to say, but I took it with a grain of salt because it seemed impossible. Honest to goodness, though, it's true. It is so much fun to watch him walk around, becoming more sure of himself with every step. It's incredibly fun to feed him the same grown-up food Michael and I eat instead of pureed versions. It's fun to watch him imitate Michael and me, and it's immensely satisfying to watch him grow into his own personality. Every day makes me excited for the next one to come.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So far away, yet so close

This week, Isaiah has become more independent of me in so many ways. Thankfully, though, he still lets me snuggle with him most of the time when I need it. Sometimes he even initiates the cuddle time, which makes me so happy my heart grows three sizes.

Isaiah has been practicing his walking and babbling and independent playing. Our days have become pretty routine with an early morning trip to the bathroom where Isaiah sits on the toilet while I sing to him or play with his toes or read him books. Then we go into the living room where Isaiah chooses which games he wants to play and I act as a human barrier closing off the dining room and kitchen. Ironically, the game he usually wants to play is "Do everything humanly possible to get into the dining room and kitchen." He has other toys he likes to play with too, though, and recently, he has been very happy playing with them all by himself. I have found myself just sitting on the sidelines watching him play with blocks, or push his truck, or even sit down with a book and turn the pages on his own. He still loves it when I play with him, but he doesn't need it as much anymore. It's actually very fun to sit back and watch him explore his toys. I feel like I can see his brain developing every day.

I remember being able to walk around the house with little baby Isaiah in a sling and just hold him close to me all day long. I read entire novels in a day because Isaiah slept in my arms or laid still and stared up at me. Now, though, if I hold him for more than a minute, he squirms to get down so he can walk around and play. He wants to move all the time, and he's just a playful, active little ball of energy. It's so much fun to be his mom, and when I miss being able to hold him for hours on end, he gives me a little taste of it once again. When I sit close to him as he plays, he will lean up against my stomach, rest his head in my lap, or wrap his arms around my legs. And when he's shy, nervous or tired, he will hold on to me tightly and bury his head in my neck. I can only hope that as much as he grows up in the years to come, he will reserve a little part of himself to be my baby.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Happy Birthday

Isaiah's birthday party has come and gone, and it was a ton of fun. Sure, we happened to have it on the coldest day of the entire year, but it was all warm and fuzzy in our home. Awwww!

We had only done a small celebration on the night of his actual birthday with chocolate cupcakes. (I got the messiest cupcakes I could find and just let Isaiah go wild.) Then for his birthday party we did an actual cake for everyone to share. We decided to keep the party fairly small since Isaiah wouldn't remember it anyway and too many people might be stressful. (For both Isaiah and me since our living room is tiny.)

Isaiah really seemed to enjoy every bit of it. He of course loved the guests as well as being the center of attention. He thoroughly enjoyed the balloons and the cake, and he really liked opening presents. He had gotten very adept at present-opening over Christmas, so he just ripped right through the paper. I think the small party was just stimulating enough for him without being over-stimulating, and that night he slept like...a baby. Actually, he truly did sleep like a baby because he was teething, so he woke up a few times. I don't know why that phrase is supposed to mean sleeping soundly. Babies wake up in the night, people! The next morning, though, he had tooth number eight to start off his new year. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What a difference a year makes...

Today is Isaiah's birthday, and it has been an amazing day. I have been able to watch Isaiah bless people all day long with his beauty, happiness, and innocence. I feel like God has given me a glimpse of the amazing things he will do through Isaiah's life.

We began our day by going to the Mall of America because I wanted to buy Isaiah's some books for his birthday. We got there before the stores opened so I could walk a few laps around and window shop while Isaiah rode in his stroller. After we had walked for a while and the stores began to open, I stopped to sit on a bench and play with Isaiah for a few moments. Soon a young girl came up to me and began to smile at Isaiah. She was shy for only a little while before she began to talk to me and told me she was pregnant herself. She said she was scared because she didn't have a job and she wasn't sure what she was going to do. She said that she didn't have anyone to talk to about how scared she was or about all of the changes going on in her life. Isaiah flirted with her and giggled while she played peek-a-boo with him, and I could see her apprehension changing into excitement. She told me she was also having a boy and that she had always loved children, and I told her I was sure she would be a great mom. I don't think she needed me to tell her that, though, because of the instant bond she had with Isaiah.

Later that day, Isaiah and I were in a waiting room reading some of the new books he had gotten for his birthday. A Somali woman came up to us and began to play with Isaiah. After a while she asked me how old he was and his name. Then she told me she had a daughter who passed away when she was Isaiah's age. I had absolutely no idea what to say, but the woman seemed content to just play with Isaiah, who showed off some of his wobbly walking skills and flashed her quite a few dazzling smiles. She laughed at the thin, sparse hair that stuck up on his head and touched his soft cheeks, and before we left she gave him a quick hug.

I was so touched that my baby could bring so much joy to people who need it in ways that an adult could never do. I feel my own anger, fear, stress, sadness and pettiness melt away when I look at Isaiah on a daily basis, and now I'm lucky enough to know that I can share my most amazing gift with other people in need. There is some kind of ethereal beauty found only in the face of a baby.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Toddling along

Isaiah took his first steps all by himself this week. He had taken single, unaided steps before now, but after he took one, he would slowly sink his butt down until it was safely resting on the floor and then crawl the rest of the way. He had also spent many previous hours walking behind his push-a-truck-thing that my parents got him for Christmas. In fact, we spent one entire afternoon walking up and down the hallway and around in circles in the living room while I pretended to chase him even though I was just holding him p by the back of the overalls. He loves being chased.

But now (as of January 25th) Isaiah walks by himself. He will walk anywhere from three to ten steps at a time, depending on how fun the toy looks that you are tempting him with. Michael and I spent one evening running the poor little guy ragged by standing him up and then holding my cell phone up in the air so he would walk to it. Back and forth and back and forth. Isaiah didn't seem to mind at all because he will do just about anything for my cell phone, plus we cheered and clapped our hands for him every time he walked. The funny thing was, he didn't seem to realize he was walking at all until we were a good ten minutes into the game.

So now that Isaiah toddles, I am wondering if I am supposed to call him a toddler. When is the cut off for being a baby? When he turns one year old? When his car seat can face forward? When he grows some hair? When his mother is ready? I'm pretty sure it's not the last one, because then he probably wouldn't graduate into toddler-hood until his mid-twenties.

We visited the Conservatory yesterday to look at the orchid show they had. For a short while (about three minutes) Isaiah sat in his stroller, but he really wanted to get down and move around. So we let him out and held his hands as he walked up and down the rows of people. He didn't want to stay still for a single minute, so we kind of ended up cutting in line quite a few times, but no one seemed to mind. They were all very polite and commented on what a cute little guy Isaiah was. Isaiah was pretty proud of his walking skills and showed his repletion by shrieking happily at the top of his lungs to everyone who looked at him.

He also made a very cute friend named Robin. She was about three or four, and she came right up and started talking to Isaiah. He was absolutely smitten. He flirted and smiled and giggled at her, and I got a bit of a preview of what my coy little buy will do around girls when he's older. I just have to say - watch out, ladies, because he's good. Robin was absolutely adorable too, and at one point when I said to Isaiah, "Say 'Hi Robin!'" Robin obediently said, "Hi Robin!" Then she looked at me and said, "Hey, his name's not Robin." I tried to explain that I was telling Isaiah to say hi to her, but I completely understand why she got confused. After all, there was no way he was going to actually say hello to her, so I was being the silly one, not her. Thanks Robin!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


This weekend, Michael and I bought party supplies for Isaiah's first birthday. We decided to go with a penguin theme from the movie Happy Feet since Isaiah loves his singing penguin so much. I now have a dilemma, though, because I had already chosen an adorable choo-choo train cake to make, but it really doesn't fit the theme anymore. Anyway, as I faced the reality of Isaiah being nearly one year old, I began to reflect on how much I had changed in the past year. So often, I only look at all of the changes Isaiah has gone, through (and there are a multitude of them) so it was rather shocking to realize how different I am now.

I am much less selfish than I was before Isaiah was born. I am less protective of my time and more willing to give up "me" time for time with Isaiah. Although, this isn't as altruistic as it may seem; there aren't many things I can do with my time more fulfilling or enjoyable than being with my baby. I am still just as protective of my time with my family, and I need some time with just Michael and Isaiah and no one else every day. I am also less concerned about what other people think of me. Honestly, it doesn't really matter if I go out looking like the Wicked Witch of the West because I know Isaiah (and Michael, for that matter) think I am incredibly beautiful, and no bad hair day can change that.

I am, in fact, more confident in quite a few ways. Despite several mistakes and mishaps this past year, I would consider myself a good mother, and if I can accomplish that I can take on quite a lot of what this world has to throw at me. Some days I feel very grown up for having gotten so far, but there are other days when I feel like I'm just a little girl playing house. I'm not sure I can handle all the responsibility of raising a person in this world, and part of me just wants my own mom to come in and take care of it all. But that's a gift Isaiah has given me, too. Because of him, I have come to understand more fully how dependent I am on God. I know there is no way I can do my job without him holding me in his arms. I also have come closer to understanding how much God loves me. Michael and I were talking to one another and agreed that although we love one another deeply, the love we have for our child is different - less selfish perhaps, or more protective. We know that we both love Isaiah in a way he will never be able to return, and we wouldn't expect it of him. Having Isaiah has given me so much. He has allowed me to mature into an adult, and I still get to be a child with him every day.

As long as I can remember, I have assumed I would be a mother and have always wanted to be a mother. Actually being a mother, though, is more wonderful and heartbreaking than I ever would have imagined. I love Isaiah so much it hurts, and this past year with my treasured baby and my beloved husband has been the best year of my life. Thank you, Isaiah, for giving me so much.

Oh, and I solved the problem of the birthday cake - I'll just pretend it's the Polar Express and that I'm a birthday-theme genius for thinking of it. (Hey, if I can't really be a genius, I should at least be able to pretend once in a while.)

I won't go without leaving some updates about Isaiah has been changing. He now goes to sleep at night without nursing. More accurately, I nurse him and then hand him to Michael before he falls asleep. Then Michael rocks Isaiah to sleep and tucks him in. Michael is quite the pro at this, and Isaiah has picked up on it more easily and quickly than either of us thought. Even though it sometimes cuts into Michael's free time at night, I think he likes the trade. He gets to spend more cuddle time with Isaiah, and he enjoys being able to get him to sleep more quickly than I can.

Isaiah has also taken the next step towards walking. My parents gave him a large toy truck he can push and walk behind, and he loves to play with it. One afternoon he walked around in circles in our living room until he literally dropped to his knees in exhaustion. Every time he walks past someone, he flashes a proud little grin that just makes my heart melt.

Finally, Isaiah has really learned the concept of playing games. One game he loves is to be chased down the hallway. He'll start crawling towards the door, and then either Michael with call out "Isaaaaaiahhh!" That's when he knows it's on. He wiggles and crawls and shrieks and laughs as we pound our feet on the ground and catch up to him. If we take too long getting to him and tickling his feet, he will turn around and look at us as if to say, "Hurry up, slowpokes, I'm getting away." Another game he loves to play takes place at the dinner table. He has veggie puffs (sort of like Cheerios) that he enjoys eating, and sometimes he likes to feed one or two to me as well. It's pretty cute because he sticks his entire hand in my mouth to put in the veggie puff, and sometimes gets distracted by my tongue, which he then tries to pull out. The game I'm referring to, though, is when he offers me a veggie puff with a sly look on his face. Then he puts his entire hand inside my mouth but doesn't drop the puff. Then when I'm about to close my mouth, he whips out his hand and eats the veggie puff himself. Then he laughs at me and does it again. As long as we do this game with veggie puffs I'll be fine, but if we start doing it with M&M's, I might get a little cranky. Nevertheless, I love seeing his little mind work as he thinks of his schemes, and I love having a preview of the little rascal I am going to have on my hands.