First Halloween

I suppose it’s silly, because I know you’re too young to relish in the excitement of this holiday, but I’ve been looking forward to Halloween for weeks. I couldn’t wait to put you in your elephant costume and take you out. What exactly we would do with you once you were in your costume was a point of contention for your dad and I. He thought it’d be best to stay home and have you help pass out candy; this would enable you to stay warm and be able to play or crawl around at your leisure. But we hardly ever get trick-or-treaters, and so his plan would result in nothing more than a dressed-up normal evening at home. I wanted to go out, either trick-or treating around the neighborhood or to one of the planned community events. In the end we did the latter, attending the Munchkin Masquerade on Pearl Street Mall with Greg, Kristen, and Isla-as-a-cat.

Emma and Isla = Elephant and Cat

Elephant eating leaf

It was so fun. You love people watching and you just seemed so interested by all of the people – adults and kids alike – in so many different costumes. We loved seeing the originality of the costumes, and were especially impressed by the families with themed costumes. I noted to Kristen that I was proud of us for having gotten you and Isla dressed up and to the event; I couldn’t even imagine having the energy to imagine and create costumes for the family. Maybe next year; if I start brainstorming now I think I can pull it off.

Family fun on Halloween

Tricky Eating

We’ve been dutifully introducing new foods every four days or so. Today we introduced you to eggplant and you ate it all. However, you seem to slowly be becoming less of a hearty eater. You have never shut your mouth and turned your head in refusal of food. But you are becoming increasingly distracted and bored with the whole eating process. You focus for a little while, but then you start looking around, reaching for things, standing up, pounding your hands, spitting your food out, or any number of other distractions. Your nana mentioned today that you like to have something in your hands when you eat, and so I’ve started giving you a spoon or cup to hold while I feed you. I’ve discovered that this works great. You open your mouth to insert whatever object it is you’re holding, and I quickly swoop in with my spoon and get some food in there before you’re able to close your mouth. It’s a little tricky, but it seems to be working.

Standing and Sleeping

Your sleep schedule has been a bit off over the last couple of weeks. You’re so focused on standing that often times you’ll be asleep in my arms but the minute I lay you down you roll over, pull yourself up and start crying. It’s as if your body is just automatically going through the motions of standing, even when you’re half asleep. It’s crazy because I’ll go pick you up and it’s like you’re instantly back asleep the instant I hold you in my arms. A few times you’ve gotten to standing but not been crying; you just sit there and babble to yourself happily. Last Thursday morning you did this, and I decided to just let you be and keep an eye on you on the monitor. You stood for a while, maybe 20 minutes, then finally sat down. As I was watching and listening to you, I could tell that you were getting more and more tired. Your sounds were become less excited and less frequent, and your motions were slowing. Then, I saw your head bob forward and you fell asleep, sitting up, but then suddenly jerked back awake. You did this a few times and then finally lied down and fell asleep. And this morning a similar thing happened. You were on the floor, standing and holding on to your nana. Your dad was outside raking leaves and you were entranced watching him. And the next thing we knew, you were asleep, with your little head resting on nana’s knee. You’re so active and alert; you just don’t want to miss anything.

Not sleeping in Chicago

Time to Head Home

This morning we were lucky enough to run into the Stephans (and the Patchetts– the newlyweds) at breakfast. I was thankful that we got a few more minutes to chat with everyone, and they were happy to get to see you again. Matt and Gretchen and your cousins joined us all for a bit and then we said goodbye to everyone to get ready to head to the airport.

Breakfast with Aunt Nancy and Cousin Emmett

Ann Marie drove us there and she was so sad to see you go; she loves you so much. Although you didn’t sleep much on this flight, you were in a much better mood than the flight on the way out, ending our trip on a great note.

Wedding Fun!

Your sleep schedule is a bit off here, and you’re not sleeping very well either, probably on account of being in a strange place and also as a result of your stuffy nose. You’re waking frequently in the night, and also waking around 6 am. We’ve been snuggling with you and playing with you in bed, and you fall back asleep around 7 and sleep until 9. This is nice for us, but sure has caused us to sleep away the mornings of this vacation. That’s ok though, I suppose that is what vacations are for – relaxing and catching up on sleep. Anyway, we all went out for breakfast then came home and took another nap. Neither you nor I are feeling very well, and so we thought we’d get in a quick rest before the wedding. Unfortunately we awoke with about 30 minutes until we needed to go, so we had a mad dash of getting ourselves ready and then you ready really quickly.

Posing before the wedding

But we made it to the church on time and had such a fun time watching Kim and Brandon get married. Emmett was the ring bearer and was so serious and focused. Then came Alex and, after a morning of primping with the big girls, she looked like a little princess. She dropped all of the flower petals in about the first third of the walk down the aisle, then stopped, and looked around at a loss of what to do since she was out of flowers. She paused for what seemed like ten seconds, than her focus returned back to the front of the church. I’m not sure if someone there prompted her to continue walking, but all of a sudden she sprinted the rest of the way down the aisle. It was adorable.

The Newlyweds!

Before the ceremony started you were a bit fussy and you were very vocal, so both your grandma and your Aunt Gretchen nicely pointed out that there was a mother’s room in the back of the church where we could take you. Your dad took you there and Uncle Matt and Jackson were already there. It was perfect for you two; you were able to play and make all the noise you wanted. I didn’t get to see your interactions, but your dad said you two did great together. He was worried that Jackson would be too big to play well with you, or that the age difference would be too much and he’d be bored quickly. But he had what seemed like a virtually endless supply of patience with you, putting up with you pounding on him and poking at him, and at one point even tackling him. He just watched you and observed, never once getting upset. I guess one learns a lot of patience from having to constantly deal with two older siblings.

Playing nice with Cousin Jackson

Not playing nice

Next was the cocktail hour, and you continued to amaze me with your lack of trepidation in noisy, chaotic social settings. Numerous people stopped me because they wanted to meet you and visit with you, and you just took it all in. The party soon moved into the ballroom for the reception, and it was set up beautifully. I was so happy that they’d decided to do the cake cutting and speeches first; I knew I’d have to leave shortly to put you to bed and I was glad we didn’t miss these moments. My favorite speeches were Cousin Ali’s and Uncle Denny’s. They were funny and personal, and of course they both made me cry. Denny talked about when Kim was a little girl, and she liked to pretend that she was a princess. She’d pretend that her dad was her prince, and they lived in this blissful fairytale land. He talked about how now Brandon is Kim’s prince, and his words made me think forward to a day when someday your daddy will be giving a similar speech after giving your hand away in marriage. And of course this thought brought tears to my eyes.

Fun during the reception with Cousin Ali

Kisses and love from Ali

Wedding fun with dad

Girl’s Day

Today your dad golfed and you and I had a girl’s day with Ann Marie. We went for a nice walk, did some shopping, had lunch, and took you to a playground. You were not interested in the equipment, and in fact you barely even enjoyed the soft, cushy surface, and instead focused your attention on picking up rocks and leaves. You also enjoyed watching all the kids running about. I did manage to take you down the slide and it was your first ride down a big kid’s slide. You seemed impartial about it.

Fun with leaves

Ann makes you smile!

This evening your dad and I attend Kim’s rehearsal dinner and Ann Marie watched you; this was the first time we’ve left you with someone other than nana and papa or the nannies. She had lots of fun playing with you, and I think you had lots of fun with her too. She loves you so much and I know she really enjoys getting to spend time with you. And she is so great with kids; she’s creative and goofy, smart and patient. We’ll have to figure out a way for her to babysit more often!

Can I Have a Different Seat?

This afternoon we officially became ‘those people’ on the plane with a super fussy baby. The flight was at the time of your nap and so I’d hoped that you’d nurse and then fall asleep, but instead you nursed and then became unable to fall asleep and, therefore, really fussy. The seatbelt sign seemed to be on for three-quarters of the flight, and so I wasn’t able to just get up and walk around with you, which I’m sure would’ve helped you settle. By the time the seatbelt sign did come off, you’d finally fallen asleep. But not before the lady sitting next to us asked to move seats. When we landed and were waiting to get off the plane, a woman in the row in front of us made the comment, “At least we know she has healthy lungs.” I cannot dispute that.

During the flight

After we landed in Chicago, Ann Marie picked us up and drove us to the hotel. We arrived right when grandma and grandpa arrived, and they were being welcomed by Uncle Denny, Aunt Nancy and Cousin Kim. We all had some appetizers and drinks, and everyone was so happy to finally get to meet you. Nancy and Kim had bought you some toys, and even though you were fussy and sleepy on the drive there, you seemed to find your second wind once the toys came out; you played and crawled and let everyone hold you. It’s so nice to be here in Chicago with everyone from your dad’s side of the family.

Testing Bounds Already

Nancy mentioned to me today that you are starting to understand that leaves and grass are not for eating. She’s been working on this with you for a while, telling you ‘no’ or ‘yucky’ or other words of dissuasion whenever you bring these objects to your lips. Today she indicated that in the last couple of days you’re trying less and less frequently to eat them, but rather just enjoy picking them up and examining them. She did say, though, that today you picked up a leaf, examined it, and then brought it close to your mouth and looked at Nancy for her reaction, as though you were testing her and wanting to see her reaction.

Little Kewpie Doll

When I got home this afternoon I could tell immediately that your nana had been having fun with your hair. She’d put some water in it and created a big curl in the middle and on top of your head. I cannot deny that you looked pretty cute. She’s having so much fun playing with your hair, and is anxiously awaiting future days when you’ll have long locks to play with. You two will have endless fun playing dress up and discovering new ways to do your hair. But so far she’s been a little limited.

Nice hair!

Your hair tends to fall to the right, and that’s how I usually sweep it so it’s out of your face. One day when I got home she’d parted your hair down the middle, but also created bangs. You looked so goofy. She’s also tried to put a barrette in your hair, but to no avail since your hair is too short and fine to contain it. Today she told me how she used to tape little yarn bows in my hair when I was little. When I asked how she got the bow out without hurting me by pulling out my hair, she nicely said that I didn’t have very much hair and it wasn’t really a problem. I think that’s why she’s having so much fun playing with your hair!

Missing My Snuggle Buddy

You aren’t much of a snuggler anymore. I remember back in those first few months you’d fall asleep on me more often than not. At that time you fell asleep virtually every time I nursed you, and in fact I’d have to work to try and keep you awake to ensure you’d get a good feeding. I remember that before I’d feed you and hunker down on the couch, I’d gather up everything I might need for the next hour or so (phone, remote control, water all nearby) and then I’d nurse you. Inevitably you’d fall asleep and I had neither the desire nor the willpower to move you off of me and place you down in your bed. You’d sleep on me for literally hours a day.

Snuggles in the early days

Now you are so active that I can barely contain you. Often when I try to hold you to me you wiggle and squirm so much that I have to put you down for fear of dropping you. The only time that you are snuggly is when you are very sleepy. Therefore it is almost me exclusively who still gets some snuggle time with you. When I nurse you at night or before naptimes you either fall asleep while I’m holding you or else you’re so relaxed that you let me hold you and rock you while we read a book together. I certainly relish this quiet time together and I know these moments will become less and less frequent as you continue to grow and become more active and independent.