James at 3.5 Years

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Another late update.

James was 3 and a half in early September and in true middle child fashion, his update never happened. Sorry buddy, but from one middle child to another, you’ll get used to it.

Dear James,

My little baby boy.

You are feisty, you are loud, you are devastatingly handsome, and you are wild and crazy. You couldn’t be more different from your sister at this age.

Your true loves include trucks, trains, Star Wars, MagnaTiles, Iron Man, selfies, riding your bike, the police, swimming, wrestling, Legos, and pretending to shoot things. You love peanut butter, jelly, rice cakes, cereal, and little other food. You love “cozy pants” and refuse to wear any pants that have buttons on them. I fight you on this, but I get it, no one loves an elastic waistband more than your mom. You fight with Reese daily, but when she gets home from school you light up. You are doing so well with your new little sister. I know you notice the extra time I have to spend with June, but you never direct your frustrations at her. You are only jealous that she gets to wake up in the night to eat.

You continue to be my biggest challenge in the parenting department. Sorry son, but it’s true, we usually go to battle an average of three times a day. The terrible two’s have reappeared as the threatening threes (as in me threatening you 24/7, and you threatening my sanity.) You are the sweetest boy ever about 75% of the time, but the other 25% of the time you will cut a b. You regularly tell me that you are never playing with me again, throw toys, stomp your feet, melt to the floor and turn to rubber, and then minutes later reappear asking for some crackers. I usually avoid taking you to places like the mall and the grocery store because you are getting bigger and stronger and I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to throw you over my shoulder and get the hell out of there when the need arises. The need usually arises.

You go to the school twice a week from 9-1 PM and it is everything to you. You love getting your backpack and your lunch box and going off to school just like Reese. Despite said behavior at home, you are an angel at school.

You would take a nap everyday if we had time for it. You love your midday snoozes and you still love to cuddle with your mamma. Lately you have been waking up scared in the middle of the night but your Dad can usually get you right back down. Going to sleep at night is another story. We put you and Reese to bed around 7/7:30 and for the next hour (sometimes more), you can be found laying in the hallway, busting into Reese’s room and being a general annoyance, calling to Andrew and I for water, hugs, tuck-ins, complaining of phantom injuries, etc. Oftentimes you appear in the living room doorway because, “I just had to tell you something.” “Something” is usually an arbitrary question about Star Wars, or a request to borrow our phones.

We are so proud of your kindness to other kids and your fierce independence. We love seeing you in your element at swim class, and watching you race on your bike like a maniac. We know you will be a wonderful big brother, and hopefully will become a little less of the stereotypical “little brother.”

We love you sweet James, more than you will ever know.

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Reese at 4 Years

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Early this morning I heard the sound of small feet running down the hall. Then a faint knock at my door. When I opened it, I found you,  bleary eyed and crazy haired. You looked up at me, not fully awake, and said, “Am I four?”

For you, I’m sure it has seemed like a long road to four. For your Dad and I, it has been the blink of an eye.

You have become so smart. Too smart sometimes. You are kind. You are creative. Your imagination is wild and crazy and it is one of the best things about you. You make us laugh so much.

You are girl through and through.

A couple of week ago when you were supposed to be in rest time, I came upstairs to find you in my room, standing in front of my mirror, holding an eye lash curler against your face. You said, “My eyelashes were flat, and they needed to be up.” Oh. My. God.

School is your favorite. Your teachers tell me that drawing and painting are your favorite things to do. Every day when I pick you up I leave with armloads of your masterpieces.

You can now dress yourself, put your shoes on, get your own utensils and placemat for mealtime, clean your room (kind of), spell your name and your brother’s name, and you know the lyrics to most top 40 hits. Every day you need me a little less.

You love your swimming lessons, but you won’t go all the way under water until I get you goggles. I will get you goggles, but I know you will hate them.

Recently, you have been asking to take ballet, but I suspect it is just for the outfits.

You go to bed around 7:30 each night even though you never seem tired, and you have finally stopped coming out of your room 762 times after we put you down. Although I do kind of miss hearing your ridiculous excuses to delay bedtime, including, “I can’t get my shoes on and my ankle is twisted” or, “my waist hurts.”

You love Frozen, Sofia the First, Curious George, Frances, books, dressing up, eating, dancing, baking, drawing and your grandmas.

So yes, my love, today your are four.I know we will blink again and you will be 24. So please slow down, but don’t change anything else.

James at 18 months

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18 months young.

Our boy is walking, running, jumping and CLIMBING like a maniac. The other day I found him standing on the kitchen table jumping up and down. Always with this grin.

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The current phase is beating the crap out of his sister and sometimes, out of me. He has discovered hitting and he uses it whenever something is taken away from him, or when he’s tired. So basically he is hitting 80% of the time. The other day at the playground another mother said “he is just so cute!” just as he started trying to climb up another boy. I picked him up and he slapped me in the face. So cute!

Despite this new fun phase, James is a snuggler, and when he’s being nice, he loves his sister to death. Often giving kisses and hugs. I think they are kisses and hugs; they are definitely more aggressive than one would imagine hugs and kisses should be, but they usually don’t end in tears so, yay!

He likes other kids and especially, older girls. Whenever we are out somewhere where there are other kids, he beelines for the girls who look to be about Reese’s age and either hugs them, or holds his arms up to them, asking to be picked up.

He is a sleepaholic. He still takes two, two-hour naps a day. He goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 and he usually wakes around 9. He has slept till 10:30 AM on more than one occasion. Please stay this way forever.

He is still big and beautiful. A big, beautiful beefcake with the most adorable curls. He literally has ringlets in the back of his head and I won’t get his hair cut because I’m afraid they will cut off the curls and his hair will grow back straight.

He likes most foods but favorites are graham crackers (when he sees the brown packaging he starts hyperventilating), corn, bananas, applesauce, Kix, pizza, chicken parm and sweet potatoes.

Jamers is ALL boy. He loves running and jumping and throwing and crashing stuff together. Trucks are his favorite, particularly tractors.

He has a few words, definitely not as many as Reese had at this age but he babbles all day long. He says, “tractor”, “car”, “mama”, “dada”, and “dirty.” All with a Boston accent, “tracktah!”IMG_4122IMG_3196IMG_4138

Bedtime is my favorite part of the day with James. After stories and some milk he puts his head on my shoulder and lets me rock him to sleep. This is something Reese never let me do, she was always trying to wriggle out of my arms. When we’re done rocking, he allows himself to be put down awake and sometimes sits up in the crib to wave goodbye to me. And everytime he does it, I just die.

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James Eli At One Year

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The slowest yet the fastest, the most challenging and the most life-changing year of my life. All at the same time.

I spent a lot of James’s first few months wishing that he was just a little bit older. Just a few more weeks and he won’t be nursing every three hours. Just a few more weeks and he will be sleeping for longer stretches, and so will I. Just a few more weeks and he will be eating solids and maybe sleeping more. Just a few more weeks and I can set him down and he’ll be able to sit up on his own. Just a few more weeks and he’ll be sleeping more….. This all sounds familiar. Have I said this before?

Since day one, James has been a joy when he is awake. Easy going, adaptable, smiley. Sleeping has been a struggle and he is just now (like literally days ago) sleeping through the night. The sleep deprivation that I always pictured coming with motherhood came. And everything seemed harder.

And now he’s one year old and it won’t slow down. Tomorrow he will be asking for the car keys.

At his one year appointment he weighted in at 21.64 lbs, the 59th percentile, and measured 28.5, the 24th percentile. So he is definitely one of us.

James is a tough guy. He’s Jimmy Mac and he lives in the red house on the cah-nah (corner.) He doesn’t take shit from anyone. Including his sister. Ya heard?

He gets dragged to a lot of Reese’s older kid activities (it doesn’t end here James, take it from someone with 2 older siblings) but he doesn’t seem to know he’s the youngest one there and he will grab that train from the 4 year old like it’s no thing. Gangster.

He eats all of everything. Chicken parm is his favorite, and he prefers it with a side of pasta. Heavy on the sauce.

He loves to look out the window and watch the cars. If he hears a honk, he will immediately point to the window, demanding to be brought over and see what the fuss is about. On most days, when he wakes up from an afternoon nap, about 4:00 or so, we stand in the kitchen, moving from window to window until he’s seen it all.

His favorite thing to do is walk with his cart. He looks like a mad grocery shopper. He goes back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, pausing only in the doorway, where he yells until someone comes and helps him over the little bump that separates the rooms. Reese relishes in this task and races over to him yelling (way too loudly) “I’m comin’ James!”

He crawls (a combo of an army crawl and a normal crawl on all 4s) at the speed of light. Any time a door opens, he bolts towards it, and sometimes I can barely stop him in time.

His life goal right now is to climb the stairs freestyle.

He says “dada” and “touch” and something that sounds like “this and that” but we aren’t sure.

Since Andrew and I went on vacation he has stopped nursing, and also started sleeping through the night.

His sister is the love of his life, but he is also very aware that she is the taker of toys and someone who needs to be dealt with with caution. Smart boy.

He loves banging things together.

He can clap and wave goodbye.

He has 5 teeth and I think he is one of the few men who can pull off buck teeth.

He is handsome as ever. I am his mom so I know I’m biased, but come on.

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Reese at Three Years

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Three years old as of November 29th.

Sometimes when she wakes up in the middle of the night and I see her silhouette in our doorway, I can’t believe that that little person is our baby.

We celebrated three years with a birthday party at an indoor playspace near our house with pizza, cake, family and a bunch of her little friends. She had a blast.

She is asserting her independence fiercely and readily. She is suddenly very into clothes and most mornings include an argument over what she will wear. My suggestions of jeans and shirts are met with tears and wails of “those aren’t fancy!” I was hoping we had skipped this stage because, I must admit, I loved picking out her clothes. Now I just have to deal with the fact that while I would love for her to look like she stepped out of the pages of a Boden catalog, she would rather look like she’s a regular on Toddlers in Tiaras.

Ironically though, she hates actually wearing the clothes. Once her outfit for the day is selected it stays on for 20 minutes or so, then she strips down to her underwear and refuses to put anything back on. At first I thought I should fight this, but I have decided that this is a battle I will not pick. Now the rule is, you must always have underwear on and if someone is coming to our house, or we are leaving our house, you need to be dressed. Otherwise, do your thing.

She loves eating but still eats only a small variety of foods. I now understand the whole kid/food battle thing that I am constantly hearing about. There was a period of time where I dreaded dinner because we started enforcing the “I made it, you’ll try it” rule. It helped a little, and now she is used to it, so she knows she has to try things but there are always some dramatics involved (gagging, choking etc.) This, along with the fact that we now all eat as a family, has broadened her horizons a bit. She shows interest in what Andrew and I are having and will sometimes ask for a bite. After starting this, we discovered that she likes soft shell crab sushi (obviously the most expensive roll on the menu), but she is still a PB&J girl through and through.

She still does a 2 hour “quiet time” in her room (in lieu of a nap, which she stopped taking long ago) and sometimes I stand outside the door and listen to her playing. She runs around and narrates her actions in the third person and it is hilarious. Sometimes she’ll run by me saying, “she ran into the kitchen to get her snack.” I think she is constantly living in some sort of story that she is writing in her head. I would love to read it.

Reese is the Laurie Berkner Band’s number one fan right now. She listens to the CD everyday during her rest time and when she goes to bed at night. She also asks detailed questions about Laurie daily. “What color is Laurie’s house?”, “Where is Laurie right now?” “Does Laurie know me?” Stalker alert.

Swimming lessons are the only scheduled activity that we do and it suits us. I’m not big on schedules and it is nice to have flexibility in our day, especially when I am toting a nine month old around with me.

We haven’t had her three-year checkup yet so I don’t have her stats but she is now 35 lbs and I can tell that she is starting to stretch out. She continues to talk my ear off all day, every day, and anything I say is still met with a “why?”

She has fully embraced her role as big sister and loves to use it to assert her assumed authority over her brother. She makes sure he doesn’t get any of the toys that are “too little for babies,” which equal all toys.

In September she will begin preschool and I’ll no longer have my girl with me everyday. Let’s not talk about it.

Here she is on vacation this summer, asleep with her brother who was in desperate need of a bigger bed. And one more below that; in all her glory at her third birthday party.

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Reese At Two Years And 8 Months

 

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Reese will be three in November. We are in the midst of the terrible twos. I agree that two can be terrible, but it can also be hilarious and fun. When kids start talking and conversing with you, you learn a lot. You learn what they really think about the way you look, the things you are doing, the clothes you are wearing, the way you talk, etc. Reese does not hold back and if you’re having a bad hair day, girlfriend will let you know.

Her first love is still all things food, but currently, other obsessions include Calliou, Curious George, Laurie Berkner, swimming, and princesses.

Two has been fun because we can do more things that she can truly appreciate. She can hang for a full day at the beach, the zoo, a kid’s museum etc. No more paying big bucks for tickets to the amusement park where she sits in the sandbox for 2 hours!

She now actually likes playing with other kids. Especially older girls. Whenever we go to the playground she asks if there will be other kids there. When we get there, if there is an older girl there she immediately runs up and says “Hi, I’m Reese, what is your name?” If they don’t answer, she asks again. If they try to leave, she follows, and asks again. She has her father’s persistence and her mother’s social skills.

Reese takes swimming lessons once a week at the YMCA and she LOVES them. It was here I learned that she has also become fearless. If I don’t have her hand in a death grip when we walk to the locker room at the end of class she will try to jump into the deep end of the pool. Every time. More than once she has slid down the kiddie slide into the pool before I was at the bottom to catch her.

She talks nonstop. Mostly to ask questions. Her favorite question is “why?” “Why is that man eating his lunch?” “Why is that girl playing on the swing?” The worst is when she asks questions about people who are within earshot as if they weren’t there at all. “Mom, why is that man talking to the girl? Why does he talk like that? Why is he holding that? Why does he have those glasses on? Where is his Mom?”

Reese’s speech is great for the most part but she still hasn’t mastered her S words yet so it sometimes takes us awhile to understand what she is talking about.  Poon is spoon, tairs is stairs, etc. My favorite is cream instead of scream.

No new news on the potty front. Should it be taking this long?

Relations with James are improving. I have caught her telling him, “It’s ok James”, when he’s crying and the other night she even asked me if we could move James’s crib into her room.

Every day is still something new and when I look at James I am reminded of how much they change in such a short time.

So we are soaking in all that two has to offer; the terribleness and the hilariousness.

 

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Meet James

Here’s our boy.

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We are smitten.

James is proving to be a lot like his sister was at this age; very easy-going, pretty quiet, but super happy. I have a fear that I will forget him somewhere because he’s so quiet. He smiles, laughs and loves baths and hanging in his bouncy chair. He eats like the rest of his family, voraciously, and people always balk when I tell them he’s only 3 months old. That’s my boy.

He has a complexion I am envious of. Some of his father’s Ecuadorian roots have overpowered my own pasty white genes, and he has the most beautiful olive colored skin.

He adores watching his big sister.  This literally melts my heart.  Reese’s presence alone can stop James’s rare tears and her voice brings a smile. These feelings are rarely reciprocated but he doesn’t seem to mind.

Right now, at almost 4 months old, he sleeps pretty well. He usually falls asleep in his bouncy chair downstairs, then around 8:30 or 9 I move him to his crib where he will sleep until 3 or 4. I nurse him and put him back to sleep in the co-sleeper in our room until 6 or 7.

The first few months were tough. Really tough. Not because James was a difficult baby (we were blessed with two fairly easy babies so I know I shouldn’t complain), but because the two of them together kicked our asses. And we had lots of help! I remember dying for James to be old enough to sleep more so I could get 4 or 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep in a row. Now I feel like his first few months have come and gone much too quickly. Someone asked me when we would start him on solid food recently and I thought, “Oh my god, is he almost ready for food already!?”

Not my baby!

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Thirteen Month Update: Us as Parents

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And now an update on us after 13 months of parenting.

On occasion, we’ve had a few mishaps which made us question our parental abilities. There was the time that Reese fell out of the bottom of the stroller as we were wheeling it down our steps because she hadn’t been strapped in, an incident with a bee while on a walk that caused me to briefly run away from the stroller, leaving Reese, so I could save myself from the bee; or the time Reese was being “changed”and the dirty diaper was put back on her instead of a clean one. I could go on. But I won’t. Mainly because I am too afraid of what people will think of us.

We are still learning and I feel like we will always be learning; no matter how many kids we have or how old they get. Most days, I still think it’s pretty hilarious that I am somebody’s parent, and I don’t think it will ever stop feeling like a job for which I am severely underqualified.

We have been parents for thirteen months and sixteen days and our list of questions is long. What do we do when Reese starts hitting us? How do we teach her to share? Is there a way to get her to stop chucking her food and her cup around the kitchen? What’s with the biting??

Things I do know: we have a healthy, beautiful daughter who smiles, laughs, gives lots of hugs and kisses and seems to have a thing for us. This makes me think we are doing something right.

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Reese at 13 Months

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At thirteen months old, Reese is showing us something new every day. Her steps are getting steadier, her words are getting clearer (and louder) and we are getting a glimpse of our girl’s personality. We are beginning to see a sassy/mischievous side to Reese that is delighting us and scaring us at the same time.

At 23.5 lbs she is strong and sturdy and has a belly that would make any baby jealous. She has six teeth (4 on the top and 2 on the bottom), is 29 inches long and still has a crazy big head with dark hair that I cannot wait to get into pigtails.

Here’s what she’s been up to the past couple of months.

New tricks:  Walking everywhere, giving kisses to everything (the man on the Quaker oatmeal container is a favorite), making animal noises (we’ve got the cow and the lamb down pat),  pointing at the TV and screaming “Elmo” (not our favorite new trick),  pretend answering the phone (putting her hand immediately to her ear) whenever we hear a phone ring anywhere, telling us “no” while hitting us in the face (also not a favorite), mimicking things we say with the same inflection/tone we use (this one doesn’t happen very often, but is absolutely hilarious when it does), and incessantly asking for whoever is not there (when Daddy goes somewhere she immediately begins asking for him and then takes your hand and leads you around the house to look for him.)

Favorites: All food (although I still can’t get her to eat meat!), but particularly rice and lentils, BANANAS, crackers, sweet potatoes, oatmeal with raisins, Cheerios, grapes, Elmo, babies, books, and her talking teapot

Words: baby (with a French accent), mama, dada, nana, no,  “cruck-a” (cracker), bath, and “myyyyyyyy” (Miles.)

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9 Month Update. One Month Late.

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On Friday I took Reese to the Pediatrician for her nine month appointment. I was a little late. About a month late, but unfortunately that is how we roll these days.

Trying to balance work and home is always a struggle and in an attempt to schedule the appointment on one of my work-from-home days, it ended up being closer to her 10 month birthday.

This is what I learned.

Our not so little cherub is 22 lbs 8 oz and in the 96th percentile for weight (yea gurl!), 28 inches tall and in the 56th percentile for height (seeing that I spent my life in the 10th percentile I am psyched about average!) and off the charts for head circumference (big brains!)

She is crawling, grabbing, pulling herself up on her crib/ coffee table/pack and play and can walk her little toy shopping cart all by herself…. for a little while. Andrew and I think she will walk any day now, but really, what the hell do we know.

She loves, loves, LOVES other babies. She shows this by aggressively pointing and loudly grunting at them. It cracks me up every time. Other loves include books (particularly Goodnight Boston, and Elmo’s Guessing Game of Colors), bouncing in her bouncer, pushing her carts, and riding (and falling off of) her “bike.”

She says “mama” and “dada” and I swear she said “basketball” the other day.

She is eating just about everything. Bananas are a favorite and usually when she finishes one we have to throw the peel away immediately or she will continue to point at it and reach for it, asking for more.

In July, her two bottom middle teeth came through. No other teeth yet.

Overall, she is right on track and developing  like a normal, healthy baby. Another clean bill of health from the doc makes us a happy fam!