Uncle Phil’s Overalls

In Uncle Phil's Overalls
[Taken 24 Oct 2012 |1/60 sec @ f/3.8 | ISO 200 | 22mm | bounce flash]

Grammy and Granddad sent Connor a box of vintage 80’s baby clothes that used to belong to Connor’s Uncle Phil. Baby fashion shows take a while, so we still have most of a box to try on, but the red corduroy overalls fit perfectly. (The shirt underneath, not so much.)

Dear Connor: Month Thirteen

Dear Connor,

I wasn’t sure if I would keep writing these monthly notes to you after you turned one, but Mommy’s worried that she’ll just let Life pass us by and forget to remember all the little things you do. Mommy and Daddy have a baby book for you, but sometimes we forget to write important things in it right when they happen, and Mommy has to go back to what she wrote here or other places on the Internet to remember exactly what happened when.

So, here we are. You’re 13 months old, and you’re always on the go!

Joy In Motion

You’re walking a lot more steadily than you were a month ago, when you’d just managed to get your feet under you. Mommy and Daddy bought you your first pair of shoes at Target, and you’re starting to get the hang of walking in those, too.

Lots of things have changed with your routines this month, but none of them seem to be bothering you much. You’re eating more solid food, and drinking whole milk instead of formula, per your pediatrician. Daddy started giving you solid snacks during the day instead of just bottles, and he started putting you down to nap in your crib instead of in your swing. (Not only was the motor broken, but you just didn’t fit anymore. It was almost comical.)


Mommy also modified your bedtime routine so that we don’t give you a bath every night; this way, the next time a babysitter gets to put you to bed, you won’t be thrown off if there isn’t a bathtime. Instead, we jump straight to brushing your teeth, then change your diaper and give you a massage with lavender baby oil, then get your jammies on, then book, then bottle, then bed.

You don’t say very many words — “Uh-oh” is the main one (when you drop something, which happens a lot), with the occasional “hi” and “bye” — but you do a good amount of signing. You’ll sign “more” a lot of the time (although I think you mean “want” sometimes), and you clap for “all done,” and you’ve started signing “eat” when you’re hungry. You also like to wave hello and good-bye, although sometimes you don’t get the timing quite right on those. You also wave bye-bye for bedtime — to say good-night to Daddy or Mei Kitty. Mommy showed you the sign for “milk” and some other foods, but you haven’t picked up on those yet. Mommy’s trying to think of other signs she should introduce to you (and Daddy), like “tired” (although you’re like Mommy and don’t like to admit when you’re sleepy).

Since you’re such a big boy now, you’re sitting in the big-boy car seat that Uncle Pete and Aunt Dee bought for you last year. We also bought a big-boy car seat for the other car, and Daddy had a much easier time installing that one than the first.

Infant Seat to Convertible Seat

And since you’re not in the infant carrier anymore, we bought you a new stroller, since the old stroller was only really handy since the baby carrier snapped into the top of it. It was really large and bulky and hard to get in the trunk of the car, but the new one is much lighter and smaller.

New Stroller!

Starbucks trips have gotten interesting since we started bringing you in without your infant carrier. You want to run around and get into everything, like the curious little boy you are. So, Mommy and Daddy have been doing a lot of drive-thru Starbucks lately, and your fan club at our favorite location hasn’t been getting to see you quite as often.

We’ve taken you other places, though! Before we got your new stroller, we took you to the Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green to meet Marlee and her parents, Eric and Jessica. We didn’t get any pictures, but you played with Marlee at Grounds For Thought, and had a great time.

We also took you to the International Festival at the mosque in Perrysburg. Mommy and Daddy enjoyed some Lebanese food and Arabic coffee while you hung out in your stroller and checked out all the people.

Connor at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo

You’re getting to be such a big boy, but you still have quite a ways to go. Soon, though, you’ll have more words, and you’ll be able to do more things for yourself. It would be so easy to wish away these toddler days and look forward to the time when you’ll be even more interactive than you are now — but I know I would regret it. So, for now, Mommy’s trying to put down the smartphone and be actively present when she has special time alone with you.

Who’s my little squigglebug?


Diana v. Poison Ivy

I seriously don’t remember the last time I got poison ivy, but I know I’ve had it at least once before. Elementary school? Who knows. At any rate, I certainly didn’t expect to get it in my own backyard.

It was about a month ago, before Connor started pulling up to standing and attempting to walk. Used to be that we’d rarely go out in our backyard, thanks to the annoying dog next door who barks at everything and everyone — even us. This particular evening, though, I decided, “To hell with the neighbor dog! We’re going outside to enjoy the weather!”

So we did. I brought a big green blanket outside and spread it on the ground, plopped Connor down on it, then plopped myself down next to him. Of course, Connor made a break for the open grass, and I was fine with that. He played with weeds and sticks and leaves and whatever else he could find, and I took pictures.

playing in the yard

(And video.)

After a while, Connor got bored and made for the bushes. I wasn’t keen on him getting into the years-old mulch under the arborvitaes, or getting stuck back by the chain link fence behind the trees where I couldn’t reach him, so I followed him and scooped him up and called an end to Outside Playtime.

I didn’t realize at the time that I’d stuck my right arm through this:

Fast forward to the next morning at work, when I found myself scratching at a mild rash on my right wrist. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized what must have happened, and by then, I assumed it was too late to do much of anything but ride it out. I know now that there are other options, like steroid shots and over-the-counter topical washes and lotions — but at the time, I figured I’d just see how bad it got.

Oh, boy.

First, it cropped up on my right wrist and right shoulder, since that’s what had actually touched the ivy as I reached through it to grab Connor. Then, since I hadn’t realized at the time, I managed to spread it to my chest and my other arm and my right knee. But it kept going (I’m assuming it’s because I didn’t change the bedsheets that night or the night after), and I got little spots on my torso, as well.

The itching was fierce. Aaron suggested I take the antihistamine he had on hand for his seasonal allergies — that was a major lifesaver. Eventually, Aaron insisted on getting me something topical to put on my rash, and he picked up some Ivarest lotion. It did help, but by then the damage had been done. The rash on my wrist was oozing and disgusting, so I covered it with a giant bandaid — until it got too large to cover, after which point I just started wearing long sleeves to work in the middle of summer. The rash on my chest was red and nasty-looking, as well, so I wore blouses with rather high necklines — also not a normal summer fashion trend for me.

It took three weeks for my rashes to completely clear up, and I still have pinkish spots in places — hopefully it’s just new skin, and not actual scarring.

So, how is it that we hadn’t noticed until now that we have poison ivy growing in the backyard?

Truth is, we had.

When we had our tree trimmed a couple years ago, the tech mentioned to Aaron that a particular vine growing up our tree was poison ivy. Since we rarely used the backyard, and hadn’t planned to have any kids, and since Aaron is one of the few percent of the population who isn’t allergic to poison ivy, we took little heed.

After the fact, Aaron sprayed all the ivy and other weeds with extra-strength weed killer, and that seems to be taking care of the problem… for now. As for me, I started playing with Connor exclusively in the front yard, and changed the plans for Connor’s birthday party to be indoors, just in case someone were to find some poison ivy that’s not quite dead.

Poison Ivy – 1, Diana – 0.

Dear Connor: Month Eleven

You’re almost a year old! Not a little baby anymore, but not quite a toddler yet.

Every new month is full of new milestones, and this month was no exception. You really got the hang of pulling yourself up onto the furniture, and you became quite the speedy crawler, so Mommy and Daddy bought baby gates to keep you corralled in the living room.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Dear Connor: Month Ten

It’s like something clicked in your brain this month, and everything started making sense.

First, you became a champion sitter overnight.

Champion Sitter!

Then, you figured out crawling.

Exploring the Unknown

Then, you pulled yourself to standing for the first time.

Look, ma!

Not only that, but you finally started cutting teeth! One of your bottom teeth has made it through the gums, but isn’t all the way out yet, and one of your top teeth has just finished breaking through. You’ll be getting another top tooth soon — before long, you’ll look even less like a little baby and more like a little boy.

You’re still not so into solid food, but you do like your purees. We introduced you to peaches this month, and you’re a big fan! You’re not quite ready for finger foods or things that need any chewing; they get onto your tongue before you chew/gum them properly, and you gag on them. Someday soon, though.

You’ve started showing a preference for things being a certain way; you fuss when we take a toy away from you, or when you hold your arms up and we don’t pick you up, or when a routine doesn’t go exactly the way you expect it to (like getting fetched from your crib or the swing as soon as you see Mommy or Daddy, or not getting fed as soon as you see your bottle).

We did some fun things this month! We spent an afternoon walking around Bowling Green (where Mommy and Daddy went to college, and where we lived when we first got married), and we took you to the Waterville Community Garage Sale (but we only saled for an hour because it was so hot outside), and we took you to the park for the first time, and we all drove up to Michigan for a Fourth of July BBQ with friends.

You’re growing up so fast! Slow down, won’t you, please?


Almost Ready to Crawl

Almost Ready to Crawl
[Taken 19 June 2012 | 1/30sec @ f/3.5 | SB-600 flash, bounced | ISO 200]
Four days after this photo was taken, Connor figured out that whole crawling thing. Now he’s successfully getting into everything — mainly the cat’s toys.

Dear Connor: Month Nine

This was the month of being social with friends and family!

Connor and Grammy

Grammy came to visit in May, for the first time since you were just two weeks old. She showed up before Mommy got home from work, and Daddy said that you were excited to hear her voice — until you realized that she wasn’t me! Then you got confused and freaked out for a minute, but were plenty happy by the time Mommy got home.

We went out and had plenty of fun times — at the zoo, at the park, and at restaurants — but Mommy should really write more about that some other time, in detail, with lots of pictures.

Mommy and Connor at the Zoo

Jason and AaronMommy and Daddy took you up to Michigan to meet our friend Jason and his fiancee Colette. They live in New York City, but were visiting Jason’s family in Michigan over Memorial Day weekend, so we made sure to get together, since they hadn’t met you yet, and we hadn’t met Colette. We all had lunch at the Cracker Barrel, and had fun catching up about everything from babies to Japan trips to jobs to restaurants in NYC. It was a good time!

That same weekend, Mommy and Daddy went on their second-ever date night without Connor! You fell asleep for Missy at 8:00pm, which is really early, so she got to hang out and read books until Mommy and Daddy got home at 10:30pm. For the two hours you were awake, though, you loved hanging out with Missy as much as last time. And Mommy and Daddy enjoyed getting to go out for sushi and then watch The Avengers.

Mommy and Daddy also took you to your first Old West End Festival this month. Actually, Mommy and Daddy only really go to the garage sales, not the festival itself, so you got to go garage saleing for the first time, too. You got to meet our friend Traeonna, who hadn’t seen you since you’d been born, so that was fun for everyone. She’s a redhead, too, so Mommy asked her some stupid questions like, “Do you think he’ll stay a redhead?!” Since, you know, all redheaded people are experts in genetics. Mommy’s silly.

You love being in your stroller and seeing the world around you… but, as usual, you eventually fell asleep.

Connor asleep by the records Connor asleep while Daddy buys us water

After your stroller nap, we hung out on a bench outside the Art Museum, where you got to crawl and stand on grass for the first time. You always love being outside, but you especially loved being on the grass.

Connor outside the Art Museum

After dinner that evening, we all went to The Sheets’ house for a Baby S’mores Party! You and Daddy had gotten to have a Baby Taco Party with Mark and Harper at San Marco’s earlier this month, so we continued the baby party theme. All the babies and all the grown-ups (and even the doggie) had a good time!

Baby S'mores Party!

Other stuff that happened this month…

Mommy had her first Mother’s Day! You and Daddy got Mommy a gift certificate to a local spa. Mommy’s planning to get her nails done and her feet all sparkly soon.

We’re introducing you to new foods slowly but surely. Tilapia and sweet potatoes, plus some organic pre-packaged foods like cherry/apple and broccoli/apple purees. You seem to like them, for the most part.

Still no teeth, and you’re still not crawling yet. You love to stand up while holding on to Mommy or Daddy’s fingers, though, and you roll around like crazy, and you rock back and forth on all fours. The doctor says we shouldn’t worry about the crawling unless you haven’t started moving around on your own somehow by 10½ months, and that we shouldn’t worry about the lack of teeth until you’re a year and a half old. So, plenty of time for both. No worries!

Your favorite toy right now seems to be the Totoro rattle that Erika got you for your baby shower. Mommy and Daddy like to give it to you while we’re changing your diaper, since another of your favorite things is to roll over while you’re on the changing table, so we need to distract you from doing that.

You love to meet new people, and everyone always comments about how happy and talkative you are. You’re not saying any real words yet, but you love to babble and smile and giggle. We have the feeling you’re going to be quite the talker once you have some words…

You’re such a cutie, and we love you so much, little dude.

Connor Closeup

Breastfeeding Is Hard

When I was reading up on breastfeeding before Connor was born, the general gist I got was that breastfeeding is hard. Or it can be. Sure, it seems like it should be straightforward — whip out boob, baby eats — but there are so many things that can go wrong. I knew moms who had trouble breastfeeding, but I also I knew moms who loved nursing and did it with barely any problems at all. I was convinced that, since it’s such a natural thing, I would take right to it. I wouldn’t have any latching or supply or dietary issues. It couldn’t possibly be that hard.

I was wrong. Breastfeeding is hard.

Mommy and Connor in recovery