One Point Five

Dearest, Darlingest, Alex:

Today marks the day that you are no longer a baby. You are officially a toddler.

Exactly 18 months ago you were born. You were tiny (well, relatively, you ginormous-newborn you), completely unable to do anything for yourself, and you melted my heart the second I saw you.

Since you were born we have had good times and bad. You went from never sleeping, to sleeping 11 hours solidly every night, to, again, never sleeping (let’s work on that never sleeping thing, okay?). You went from uncontrolled and jerky movements to running and jumping to your heart’s content. You went from making nothing but a few gurgling noises to having an ever-expanding vocabulary. You went from nursing exclusively to eating anything and everything that is put in front of you. You went from 9 pounds and 12 ounces to at least 26 pounds and from 21 inches to at least 35 (we will know when we go in for your 18-month check up in a few days). You went from just barely being able to hold your head upright to walking up and down steps (sure, they are tiny steps but it still is impressive!) like a normal person.

While I have been referring to you as a toddler for some time now, I’m sure that I will forever and ever call you my baby.

I love you baby boy. Happy One Point Five!

18 month photos

Why I’m a Sucker

Saying “no” to Alex is easy for me most of the time. He wants to play with knives? No. He wants to push over our speakers? No. He wants to eat a stick on the ground? No. But sometimes he makes it impossible.

We end up going to Target a lot. And I mean a lot a lot. To keep him entertained I either open up a box of crackers or let him play with a small toy until I am finished. We always return the toy right before we check out, and he always gets upset when I have to take away his crackers in order to pay for them.

Today we went straight to the back of the store to look at the larger toys, and what did I have to hear? “Elmo! Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!” over and over and over again. He spotted the Elmo toys. I immediately regretted the decision to walk down that aisle.

I picked up a stuffed animal Elmo (who is also a puppet) and handed it to him. “Elmo! Mama! Elmo!” He was so very excited.

We were grabbing a few items here and there, and I was all set on putting Elmo back before we left. But then Alex suckered me.

“Mwah!” He gave Elmo a kiss.

“Mwah!” He gave Elmo another kiss.

He hugged and kissed Elmo again and again.

He held Elmo up to me and asked, “mwah?” until I kissed Elmo.

If you saw some woman kissing Elmo at Target the other day? That was me. Kissing Elmo again and again.

“Mwah! Awww. Elmo!”

So, I bought Elmo.

I’m a total sucker.

Alex and Elmo

My Little Man

When kids are little, gender is not much of a thing. It can be almost impossible to tell whether a baby is a boy or a girl, a lot of their toys can be for either gender, and at young ages their activities can be pretty similar. They all cry, they all poop, they all like to shake rattles and eat.

But Alex has been a boy for a while now.

Sometimes he greatly enjoys the “girly” toys. He loves the baby dolls at the toy library because he can point at them and call them “baby.” Sometimes? He picks them up and gives them a hug. But after he hugs the baby doll, he is going to throw that thing as far and as hard as he possibly can. Or bang it again and again on a hard surface. Or try to tear it apart.

After his destruction of the baby doll, he may enjoy pushing around the super pink baby doll stroller. He loves that thing. But after he has pushed it for a bit, he decides that it is the perfect storage space. He piles everything he can find into it. And then he tries to pick the whole thing up and carry it around the room, piling it on top of something else.

When we are at home, sometimes he is very sweet and cuddly with me. He will run over from whatever he is doing just to get a kiss. On the rare occasion that he is like this I cherish it. He puts his head on my chest, says, “mama” in his very sweet high pitched voice, asks for kisses, and gives me a nice pat. But then he makes sure that I know that he is big and strong, a boy through and through, and he hits me. Or bites me. Or growls. Or runs away and starts saying “vroom!” again and again while he plays with his trucks and cars.

So, maybe I should train Alex to growl when someone mistakes him for a girl when we are out. Or maybe I should just get his hair cut again.

Always with the tongue...

Mommy Confession

I have a confession.

I’m sick of being a stay at home mom.

There. I said it.

I have been unbelievably lucky to have had the ability to stay home with Alex for the past 17-and-counting months. If I hadn’t had such an amazing support network I would have had to forgo finishing my Smith degree, find a crappy job, and send Alex to a crappy daycare. I would have had to wait, who knows how long, to be able to start a real career. I wouldn’t have been able to finish my last few prerequisites in order to go to nursing school. Truly, this has been a marvelous experience. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

But I am ready for it to be over.

One of the reasons I have become so quiet on my blog is that I have been struggling. Struggling every day with Alex. As much as I love the kid, we are having more bad days than good lately. He is a toddler; full force, screaming, hissy fits, nonstop terror, toddler.

He fights me over everything. He is insisting on his independence, while at the same time still being too young to do most things himself. If these are the terrible twos, I’m horrified for what happens at three.

I am ready to have someone else watch him from 9-5 every day. I am ready to see the smile on his face when he sees me at the end of being away from me all day. I am ready to not be kicked, slapped, scratched and bit multiple times a day. Do you see all of his teeth? They hurt.

I was prepared for some level of terror. I knew that if I was the one with him all day every day, he would act out the most with me. It was natural. And I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, so I was prepared. My desire to be a stay at home was not because I had anything against the idea of having a career, or because I didn’t have any out-of-home related passions, but because I love kids. And I love Alex more than anything in the entire world. But I think he is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life, too.

To make the transition, Alex is now attending a small home day care once a week. Every Tuesday morning, I drop him off at 9 and pick him up at noon. He is with five other children, ranging from one to four in age. He loves it.

When I picked him up today, he said, “Hi, Mama!” with a huge smile on his face. He was thrilled to see me, and I was unbelievably excited to see him. My morning was spent reading blogs and drinking tea (although I should have been studying), and his was spent learning and growing with other children.

We are ready for a new phase.

Alex eating banana

The Illness That Wouldn’t Die

First, Alex got sick. He had a fever, a constantly running nose, and was a very unhappy camper.

Then, Zach got sick. And I was feeling a little under the weather, but nothing terrible. Zach was worse than Alex had been. Delirious, nauseous, and obviously very ill. I thought I had missed most of whatever it was.

Then, I got sick. Really sick. So sick that I couldn’t move without getting more sick, and probably was about to dehydrate myself in a serious manner if I hadn’t been able to keep down some gatorade last night.

Now, I still feel awful. My head is fuzzy, my throat is still sore, coughing makes me gag, and while I can keep some food and drink down, I haven’t been able to eat or drink much without feeling nauseous.

At least I lost a few extra pounds this week.

Climbing UP the slide, naturally

Adventures and Crying

Alex and I had an absolutely wonderful day on Wednesday. Aside from the early morning shock of finding out that he has the ability to climb out of his playpen, the day couldn’t have gone better.

We went back to the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library after lunch, where Alex was able to run around, climb on everything, and, as he is prone to do, choose a favorite toy that is not really a toy. His favorite toy that day? A child-sized broom. He loved that thing. We probably walked around the whole place a dozen times while he pushed the broom into every corner and made sure that every. single. person saw him with it.

When the time came to leave, I decided that with the amazing mood that Alex was in I would use that time to continue my search for the perfect brown boot.

We went to the mall (the mall that Burgh Baby suggested because of its young-toddler appropriate play area), which is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence for us during this bitter weather. I didn’t find boots, but Alex enjoyed the play area tremendously. He climbed, slid, ran, jumped, and banged like a mad man.

As we were getting ready to leave, we took a quick break to eat a snack in one of the lounge areas in the middle of the mall. There were mostly elderly men sitting there, but there was one woman who I felt staring at us as we sat down and I started giving Alex his crackers.

This woman was wearing all beige, including a beige purse, and walked over to us with her walker. She looked at Alex and then at me.

“He is beautiful.”

I thanked her, and we chatted about how old he was, what I was doing with my time and how I liked being a mother. She was watching Alex the entire time. She eventually told me that Alex looked almost exactly like her grandson did as a baby. She said her grandson had the same hair and big blue eyes. Alex’s chubby cheeks were very similar, and she couldn’t believe how much it felt like she was looking right at her baby grandson.

Apparently, her grandson recently died. He was 26. He left behind a newborn daughter, wife, and four generations of family that can’t believe he is gone.

At the end of her explanation, she looked at Alex and told him that he was going to have a great life. She said anyone with cheeks like his is going to do great things. She thanked me for allowing her to sit with us for a while, and said that it was the best she has felt since she lost her grandson.

It is days like that when I am reminded how wonderful life is. How amazing Alex is. How lucky I am.

And she is right. With cheeks like his great things will surely come.