Friday, October 4, 2013

Dad, Booze, and Other Things Drake Says

My son's first word was "Mama". Naturally. Thankfully. He said it before he was even a year old.
That was followed shortly by "ball," pronounced more like "baw." Then came "Nana" and "Baba" and "hi" and "bye."
And then that was kind of it for quite awhile. He used those words consistently and frequently, but didn't latch on to any others until about two months ago. That's about the time he started using "hep me" any time he wanted something, and was successfully taught how to say "tant tu" when it was given to him. He also melted hearts when he waved and said "nigh nigh" on his way to bed.
So that's 11 words. Some of which he was saying in two word phrases. And he still hadn't learned to say "Dad." It's probably not hard to imagine that my husband's feelings were a bit hurt. I worked on it all the time. I pointed at Justin's pictures when he was away at work or school and said repeatedly, "Dad! Daaaadd. Daddy!" to which Drake would respond, "Mom!" Flattery aside, I felt kinda guilty about it.
So I think I was every bit as excited as Justin when Drake just decided to start using "Dad" all on his own over Labor Day Weekend. We were on our trip out to my brother's farm for his wedding, and I guess Drake just decided to show off for all our friends and family. He also started saying "apple," which now stands in for all varieties of fruit and vegetable.
Since then, it seriously has felt like he has added a new word almost every day. I honestly can't keep track of them all. I wish I had written this post two weeks ago. I'm going to do my best to think of them all and start keeping a record.
Drake's 21 Month Vocabulary:
Mom or Mama
Ball (still pronounced "baw")
Help me ("hep me")
Thank you ("tant tu")
Goodnight ("nigh nigh")
Boots (which he loves to wear - he brings them to me and says "booze! booze!")
Juice ("deuce," which stands in for all beverages)
Cheese ("teece")
No (this one is not Mom's favorite)
Ew (when he has a dirty diaper)
Eye (he points to them in books and on the faces of his toys. He can also point to a nose, mouth, cheek, chin, forehead, ear, and eyebrow when prompted, but he has yet to say any of those himself.)
More (sounds more like "moi")
Boom (do sound effects count? He says this one when he throws things.)
Me and Mine
Yummy ("Nuuuuumy!")

He understands:
Kiss (and if you're lucky, he'll give you one, "mmmaaaww!" sound effect and all)
Drake ("Isn't he clever, Mr. O'haire? He responds to his own name!" Quick! What movie? ;))
Book (he'll run and go get you one to read)
Hungry (he'll laugh and run to his high chair if he is)
Lovey (his snuggle buddy since the day he was born)
Come here
...and a lot of other phrases. I feel like his understanding is really quite amazing. I say full sentences to him and feel as though he gets the point. These are just the ones that I know for sure get the appropriate response.

I feel certain I'm forgetting some, but that is a pretty good start.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's in a Cry? {All Parents are Bi-Lingual}

It's 5:34 a.m. and the cry peels through the monitor. After nearly two years of the midnight call, I don't exactly startle out of bed. I slowly blink away sleep, but my body weighs heavy on my mattress. I lay there for a moment listening to the sound of my crying son and then whisper, "Baby? What do I do?"
It's decision making time.
You see, my son has essentially two different midnight cries. One sounds like, "WAAAAaaa..AAAaaaahh.... WAaaahh...... waaah.... wa......," which translates roughly to, "HEY! I woke up alone! I guess that's normal, but I don't really like it.... Mom?... Hello?... ZZzzzzzzzzzzzz." The second type of cry sounds more like, "WaaaaEEEHHHH! WaEH! WA! WA! WaaaaaEEEHHHH!" and means essentially, "Something is wrong! (Examples: "My teeth hurt!" or "I'm cold!") And I'm not going back to sleep until it's fixed!"
It is up to us, The Toddler Translation Division - otherwise known as "parents" - to decipher the sounds and proceed accordingly. Is he in pain or just protesting? Should we give it a moment or go check on him? He may fall back asleep... Should we try a bottle? Does he need medicine?
And then there are nights like last night, which present their own unique challenge. Our toddler may choose to practice his range of expressive abilities, resulting in something like this: "WAAAAaaaa....... WaEH!... WAAaaaaa... WAAaaaa... WaEH! WaEH!" Our best intelligence at this point understands this to mean, "I woke up alone! Oh, and my teeth hurt, now that I think about it. OWIE! But I am really tired... maybe I'll go back to sleep... NO! This hurts!! I don't like it! FIX. IT. NOW!! But I am really tired...."
In such a case, choosing the proper course of action becomes a matter of blind chance. Was that "tired"...? or "wired"...? If you take the time to fumble around for your pajamas, stumble upstairs and prepare a bottle, he very well may have chosen sleep by the time you reach his door. If, on the other hand, you choose to let him sort it out on his own, this could last all night. In which case, no one is getting any sleep. It's roulette. 50/50. Red or black. Dumb luck.
Last night, I chose to fumble and stumble. I bet a trip upstairs and ten minutes in the rocking chair that my son really did want to sleep. I won. The payout: me and my bed for three more hours.
Being bi-lingual is good, but being lucky is awesome.
That was two nights ago. In the small hours of this morning, my husband was not so lucky. Sorry, honey.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Boldly Going Where a Big Boy Goes

I know these aren't the highest quality images. Sorry about that. But all I had at the park was my phone, so they will have to do. Because it was too cute not to share.
My son was in an adventuring sort of mood during our park outing the other afternoon. He went in and on and through everything he could reach, and surprised Mommy a few times with just how far that could take him.
I looked down at my phone for just a moment, and looked up to find that my son had climbed up the metal stairs on the big kid playground equipment. Whoa. I didn't know he could - or would - do that. This is the kid that still wants to hold my hand when we walk down the front steps. Needless to say, I kept my eyes peeled on him from then on. I try hard to adopt the motto of "letting boys be boys." Or letting kids be kids, for that matter. Yes, he will fall sometimes. Yes, he will get hurt. But that's life. That's how we learn. But that doesn't mean I don't have a natural tendency to panic. So I talked to him about how big and strong he was and smiled at him and clapped for him, every bit as much to calm myself as to encourage him. He managed to catch me by surprise one more time when he quickly and confidently walked over to the big boy slide and slid down. My heart jumped into my throat as my arms instinctively reached toward him. I pictured him face planting into the gravel at the bottom, but thankfully there were no injuries. I was sure he was gonna be freaked out by how fast and how far he went, but there were no tears. He loved it. He laughed and ran straight back to those big, metal stairs. These pictures are from round two. There was also a round three, and four, and five...
After he finally tired of the slide, he decided to explore the park a bit more. I ran around after him as he discovered hidden corners behind bushes and under picnic tables. And then we found the big puddle. My little boy lit up as he stomped through that thing, soaking his jeans with his big splashes. What glorious fun.
We ended our outing on the swings, a nice lazy way to round out a neighborhood adventure. Don't you just love his relaxed and calm manor in this picture? Such a big boy, just gazing at the sky...
I'm such a sucker for this kid.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Everybody Needs a Break

My brother got married two weeks ago today. Crazy.
But that's not really what this post is about. (Though I should tell you about it! It was epic.) It's about the break we took on our drive out to Oregon for the wedding.
My son really did a fabulous job on our 13 hour road trip. Very few complaints. But at one point in the afternoon, you could tell how desperately he wanted out of that chair and to move around. Honestly, don't we all on road trips? We adults just suffer through, but a baby in the car means everyone gets what they want because the baby was smart enough to insist on it.
We spotted a park along the river in Kennewick, WA and it seemed like a good place to stop and stretch our legs. In fact, it was the perfect place to stop. It had one of those little water parks intended for smaller kids. A pad of concrete and a few fountains is all it takes to entertain a toddler.
I wasn't sure if Drake would be interested - he's been a little wary of water at times, and it did take him a while to warm up to it - but it wasn't long before he was sopping wet and happy.
Baba was the only one who could convince him to leave. He sure loves his Baba.
Afterwards, Drake decided it was his turn to drive.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Appropriate Consequences

 Drake is beginning to explore his boundaries. Naturally. But geez. This momma does not feel ready for it. And I'm really debating with myself on the right way to deal with it.
I was spanked when I was a kid. Don't freak out. I have great parents and they were always very deliberate and calm about the way they disciplined us. I was not "beat." I was told why I was in trouble, and then given two or three swift swats on the butt. And I survived just fine. Some would say great. I was a pretty good kid and an un-rebellious teenager. I have no violent history and I still have a great relationship with my parents. Same is true of both my brother and sister.
I always assumed I would follow suit when it came to raising my own children. Sometimes it's necessary. The only way to get through to a child, right?
But then I read this article about American children and it really resonated with me. They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. And I see it in my son. He is smart. He understands what I'm saying to him.
I also read this article about toddler discipline, and the idea that any of my children might learn to associate love and pain horrified me.
I had spanked Drake once already when I read that article and it felt horrible. He was throwing a fit and I swatted him once on the upper thigh, and instantly regretted it. The look in his eyes..."Why did you hurt me?!" absolutely slayed me. I scooped him up and rocked him and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over. I'm sure the whole thing confused him more than anything. I think I've pretty officially decided I don't want to do that again.
But what do I do instead? The notes from our last well child checkup at the pediatrician said to try not to use words like "no" and "don't" and instead tell them what you do want them to do.
So when Drake started throwing all of his cheerios off of his high chair this morning, I started by saying, "Drake, I want you to leave your cheerios on your tray." I repeated that twice after a few more landed on the floor, him looking at me all the while.
Since that wasn't working, I tried a stern voice. "Drake, I'm serious. Leave your cheerios on your tray." One more cheerio gets slowly pushed off the tray, eyes locked with me.
I stood up with the thought in my head that I was going to swat his hand, but within the few steps it took to get to his chair, I had reminded myself that I didn't want to do that. I was mentally fumbling for what I needed to do instead. Take him out of his chair. Turn off his cartoons (he could care less). By the time I set him on the floor, I decided he needed to help me pick up the cheerios. I explained to him what I wanted him to do (he has helped me pick up before) and he did it, for a second. He picked up 5 or 6 before he decided he still wanted to eat them and started shoving them in his mouth. Then he found a toy that was exciting and ran away giggling. I tried to call him back, but knew if I forced it I would be guaranteeing a fit. So I let him go.
I'm not sure if I won or lost today. Maybe that doesn't matter. But surely he's supposed to learn something, and I'm not convinced that even happened. sigh
I would love any thoughts or advice from other mothers, but please, be kind.

*Note: this is obviously not a current picture. It's from exactly one year ago. Do you ever decide to just click through random picture folders on your computer? I did that this morning and found this. I thought it was appropriate to the topic.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Barbie with a Booty

I don't know if I'm just noticing these things more because of how much they have been on my mind lately, or if I'm just being shown what I need to see, but I have seen and read so many inspiring things on the subject of women's body image in the last few days.
Remember how I said I could go on for a long time about how industry benefits from women's self hatred? Well, this guy did. His name is Alok Appadurai, and he and his wife started A Beautiful Body Project. Their mission is to promote a new standard of beauty - one that is based in reality. His wife takes pictures of women's postpartum bodies and leaves them just as they are. No Photoshop. No airbrush. They are publishing a book of the images they have taken so far, and I want it. I want to display it on my coffee table for all my guests to see. I want it to be a part of my children's lives. I want them to see these images and know that they are beautiful and strong and real. The poem Alok wrote - Milking Millons Off Women's Self Doubt - is powerful. I strongly encourage you to read it.
Have you heard about the guy who 3-D printed a Barbie based on the average American woman's body? I think it's amazing and so, so frustrating at the same time. Why has it taken so long to do something like this? Why hasn't Mattel done it themselves? We've known for a long time that Barbie has an impossible physique, why can't we just change it? Either way, I love Real Barbie. I think she kinda looks like me. Or I look like her, I guess. Just minus the blonde hair. Who among us has been able to say that about the Barbie we grew up with...?! I want this new Barbie for my daughters.

I have so much more I could show you, but I think I'll lay this subject down for a while here on this blog. Check out my Pinterest board True Beauty for more inspiring images of real women and links to other people taking a stand.

Friday, August 16, 2013

these are the moments...

Our poor, sweet boy woke up sad this morning. He's been teething again, and I think the discomfort woke him up before he was actually ready to be done sleeping. Sleepy and sad, he needed some cuddles. I was, of course, happy to oblige. I scooped him up with his blanket and his Lovey and joined Daddy on the couch. Daddy wrapped his arm around us both and said, "Good morning, family."
There it was, Emily. The moment to hold on to. Moments that will be gone before I know it. Moments with a sweet, chubby little boy in a diaper. Moments in the quiet morning with just Mommy and Daddy and Drake. Moments when life feels complete and perfect.
Five minutes later, his diaper rode up without me realizing and he peed all over me and the couch.

Monday, August 12, 2013


So, uh..... this is just the teensiest bit late... And by teensy, I mean 8 months. Ahem. Yeah....
I really have been wanting to post these pictures of Drake's 1st birthday since, well, Drake's 1st birthday. And he may or may not be 20 months old already. :} But life gets in the way and priorities get mixed up and excuses get made.... blahdy blah blah.
But here they are now, still as cute as ever. Except for the fact that now they almost make me have a panic attack because, you guys, my baby is SO much bigger than this now! How can this be just 8 months ago?! Parenthood is insanity. High paced insanity.
Speaking of which, his 1st Birthday was an airplane theme. We chose planes because his daddy is going to school to be a pilot, so it's a major part of our life, and because his first year flew by. And now here we are closer to 2 than 1 already... I'm not gonna cry...

The Birthday Boy...
 ...with his beautiful Nana Amy...
...and his cousin Ashton.

                                                                 We set up a photo corner...

 ...and I think the adults had more fun than anyone else...
 .... as evidenced by my Mom and her wonderfully silly fiance, Kyle. :)
Papa Rick and the two youngest.
 The party table...
 ... and our fleet of party favors.
 My [second attempt at my] first birthday cake...
 I was pretty proud of how it turned out (despite the misspelling).
 We were so grateful to have so many wonderful friends and neighbors come celebrate with us.

 Cake time!!

 As you can see, the birthday outfit did not survive the cake...

 The bigger kids played Pin the Propeller on the Plane...

there are a lot of giggles when you accidentally walk towards the wrong wall... :)
 ... and then it was present time!

 Do you see the wonderful rocking horse Kyle made him? I may or may not have accidentally broken it later that night... :S But don't worry, it's ok now! Kyle fixed it.
 It makes my heart so happy to remember how much my Little Man is loved.
Drake and his beautiful Auntie B.

Nana Cindy's necklace is soooo pretty!

Drake and Best Friend Jaime.
 Thank you to all our wonderful friends and family who made my boy's 1st Birthday such a special day. Ready to do it again in 4 months...? Oh geez, I think I'm gonna be sick....

(ps - now I know why I put this off for so long! That just took me nearly 8 hours across 2 days to edit and format all those pictures! Phew!)