1 Year, 2 Months, 1 Week, 3 Days

Henry and i have made our last shift for awhile now and i'm hoping that will help to get Henry back into better sleeping habits. Last night started out great with a bedtime that included 0 fuss. Unfortunately, somewhere around 1 am Henry came into bed with me and i can safely say that neither of us had a very restful night.

If i was a sleep researcher instead of a tired mom, i might have been amazed at how active Henry is in his sleep. He cycles from laying on his stomach with one arm thrown around Ralph-- legs extended; to knees tucked under his belly with Ralph as a pillow; to lying on his side-- sucking his thumb and hugging Ralph; to lying on his back-- crying out for me.

He's got a bit of a cold and it seems worse the past few days. He's running a slight temperature and has a really runny nose. Other than being tired and a bit clingy though, i think he's quite a trooper.

We got over to the beach around noon and after exploring a bit, Henry took a peaceful nap while i unpacked. Then we got his little pool filled with water and after he woke up, he had fun splashing around and playing with this water toys. I'm hoping we had a breakthrough with his sun hat. Somewhere around 10-11 months he stopped tolerating hats. This wasn't a big deal until the summer when the suns rays become the thing us fair-skinned people have to actively take cover from.

He has one sun hat with a chin strap and that's the only one we could ever keep on him. Today he had it on while he was in his pool and kept trying to take it off. The sky was pretty overcast so i decided to let him take his hat off (he was already slathered with SPF 50). A few minutes later the sun came back out and he was squinting at me and started pointing at his hat. At first i just told him no, that he didn't really want his hat back. But he was pretty insistent and clear, and when i put his hat back on, he left it for the rest of the time we were outside.

So, hopefully the lesson that wearing a hat helps shade your eyes when it's really sunny will stick. I'm not holding my breath, but it sure would be nice.


1 Year, 2 Months, 1 Week, 1 Day

Well we are on vacation, so i think i might be off in my counting of days. I'm not sure what happened to my sweet boy, but we've had some sleep battles of late. I mentioned how we went through an adjustment when we first got here last Sunday, but things had calmed down to the point where yesterday Henry put his hand next to his head and signed "night-night" while pointing at his crib.

Fast forward to last night and 1.5 hours of trying to get the little tyrant to bed. I finally just let him cry mad, mad cries until he fell asleep. He didn't do much better for his morning nap but i'd like to think based on his afternoon nap performance that now he knows i at least mean business. I did try to get him back on more of his "schedule" so hopefully bedtime will be less eventful than last night. It's not good when i'm just waiting for Henry to fall asleep so that i can get to bed myself.

Otherwise, we've had a wonderful day. Henry and Coby dog have settled into a pretty good repoire and Henry has mastered taking the pine cones out of the big stone jar and putting them back again. I think he's almost figured out that Oma and Opa's house has a circular track between the kitchen, dining room and living room.

We're back to Gran and Nonna's tomorrow and then off to the beach on Sunday. We're really looking forward to some sun and sand, although Henry and i will be hunkered down under the umbrella with the SPF 50 on, if you need us...


1 Year, 2 Months, 5 Days

Henry has had lots of chances to make new friends on this trip. After spending a couple days with the Bane kids, he had a fun time visiting our friends' in Arlington and playing with their 3 year old's fire trucks and buzz lightyear accoutrement. He was a bit blase about their 2 month old baby girl, but she didn't get in his way and he stayed clear of her.

We met up with an online friend today at a neutral, indoor play spot at Tysons' Mall. My understanding was that it was even more of a zoo before i got there, but crazy is an understatement. Henry had a ball and was completely wide-eyed watching the other kids run, ping off of gigantic flowers and other fantanstic garden shapes, and fling themselves on to the soft banquettes that surrounded the whole area. Henry was pretty content just to hang out in the two feet square area in front of where i was hunkered down with the bags. By the end of the time we were there he was exploring to the nearby flowers. In the meantime, my friend's daughter was running circles around the play yard. Obviously not walking slows him down, but it's so obvious that temperament plays a big part with Henry as well.

He's pretty happy to explore at home when he's in safe surroundings. At my parents in the evenings he galavantly ventures from living room to kitchen into the bathroom and back. He crawls around and has a ball and isn't shy about poking his nose into all manner of cracks and crevices. When he's on new territory though, you can just see the gears churning as he sizes things up and soaks all the activity in.


1 Year, 2 Months, 3 Days

I wrote a nice long post last night and then lost it just as i was spell checking. After that defeat and a long day i gave up and headed to bed. So, with a little downtime while Henry naps i thought i would try again.

I wrapped up my meetings yesterday afternoon, headed up to collect Henry from the Bane's household and trucked him and a ginormous duffel bag on to the metro. I tried to beat rush hour, but no such luck. Henry was a bit tired and hungry and, did i mention cranky, so the train ride wasn't a whole lot of fun. Especially the part when we were so crammed in there i couldn't really do anything to try to soothe him. But, the train started to empty and all the moms came over to coo and then the ride was done.

Gran and Nonna were very happy to see Henry again and had lots of fun toys to open to keep him entertained during our visit. Sinead and Aidan went out of their way to show Henry a good time at the playgroud yesterday, so we'll have to hit one of our own to keep up his swinging skills!

We are planning to see a good friend and her new baby girl this afternoon and hope to have pictures of all our recent exploits soon!


1 Year, 2 Months, 2 Days

I think hopefully Henry is settling in to this traveling thing. He went to bed easily tonight, and by all appearances took two good naps today and was just a happy camper all around. I got a chance to introduce him to some of my work colleagues and he charmed them per his usual self. I brought him down while everyone was eating lunch, so we made a quick round and then headed back upstairs. Henry hadn't eaten lunch yet and he was practically lunging at everyone's pasta and sandwiches.

Henry is really getting better about pulling up on all kinds of things. You can tell he's in the early stages of trying to stand on his own. He'll be sitting in front of you and will push his legs to standing but only have your leg to hold onto. He hasn't figured out how to get the rest of his body up at that point, but i think that skill will be coming soon.

He's also getting more adventuresome with taking a hand off something for a second or so as he transitions from one piece of furniture to the next. It's really amazing to watch. He's come such a long way and so much of his progress has been in just the past few weeks.


1 Year, 2 Months, 1 Day

Henry and i are roommates again. He's improved greatly from his early days of old man grunts and grumbles, but he's still not a heavy silent sleeper. He moves around rustling his bed clothes, sighing and moaning off and on throughout the night. I'm a fairly light sleeper, so that alone would normally be enough to keep me awake or wake me up. Pair it with a horrendous night getting Henry to sleep and every grumble or cry makes my heart race and raises a sweat on my forehead.

There's a lot to catch everyone up on so i'll take a second and fill in the details. Henry and i father's day morning at home with JT as we tried to coax Henry's nap schedule into something that would best line up for our afternoon flight. We scored a major victory on that one by somehow getting Henry to take one long nap for 2.5 hours. He woke up about 30 minutes before we had to leave for the airport. Because of the additional sleep he was much, much better on the flight than last time. I still had to be a source of constant entertainment but he was averaging at least 5 minutes per activity than last time's 10 seconds to 1 minute. I could tell he was tired by the time we arrived but we were met by Gran and Nonna and whisked away by car to our hotel. It took awhile to get the mini fridge, crib and milk delivered, and for us to dig into the delicious deal they brought with them, to celebrate my Father's Father's Day.

I had hoped the room would have a little alcove or something but no such luck. When it was clearly past the time for Henry to go to bed i tried to put him to bed in his crib that i had pushed into the corner. No dice. Now that he can stand-up, he promptly did so and can just see over the side of the crib. He knew we were there still hanging out eating and having fun, and he wasn't about to miss any of it.

So, i let him get back up and play while my parents were still here. Once they left i tried to quiet Henry down, get him to take some milk and start to chill. I think at that point he was just too far gone because he pretty much immediately started shrieking and continued for what seemed like a solid hour. I tried just leaving him there to cry while i turned on the shower and stayed in the bathroom. Crying. I tried laying him down, giving him Ralph and rubbing his back. Crying when he inevitably started trying to stand up and i wouldn't let him. I tried taking him out of the crib and holding him to calm him down-- no more crying but now lots of chattering and pointing as he thought he had earned a reprieve. At that point i started cycling through the options again and huddled in the bathroom on the phone with JT for some moral support. Mind you this was not sweet fussing, this was screaming in our hotel room in the middle of other people bedding down for the evening. By the time i made it to patting his back and singing, he gave up and went to sleep.

He did better tonight, but i think that was helped by the mondo nap he took this afternoon after a busy morning spent playing trains and blocks with Aidan and Sinead.

Hopefully i'll have some fun pictures to share soon!


1 Year, 1 Month, 4 Weeks, 1 Day

I went away for a few days and i feel like i hardly recognize Henry. Well, it might not be that dramatic, but he certainly developed a lot of new skills while i was gone. A huge victory was signaled by Henry suddenly "getting" how to drink from a sippy cup. He's been drinking out of one since he turned a year old, but either he had to lie down to drink from it, or we had to hold it like a bottle for him. He can certainly hold on to it and manage to pull liquid from the spout but holding it and tipping his head back far enough was a skill that eluded him.

No more! Tonight he was on the kitchen floor playing around and JT put his cup down next to him. He reached for it, picked it up with both hands and tilted his head back like his neck had a flip-top hinge on it.

Until recently Henry did very little displaying of physical prowess in his crib. He would crawl around a little when he woke up, and very, very infrequently we would find him actually sitting up when we went to get him after a nap. JT reports that several times in the past couple days, when he goes in to get him in the morning, Henry's standing up in his crib and ready to give JT a big hug.

On the not so cute front, tonight he took turns biting JT and i. He would give us a really big hug and then as he was rubbing his face in our shoulder, take a chunk out. He clearly wasn't trying to be hurtful, but those teeth are sharp, and that's not exactly the kind of behavior we'd like to enforce.

We're all scrambling around trying to get everything in order before Henry and i head off to the beach with a short detour that involves actually working! Sorry i don't have any new pictures to post, so i'm going to include our professional 1 year photos.


1 Year, 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 5 Days

I know the shift has been happening gradually for several years, but it just dawned on me that the way I like to spend my time has dramatically shifted in the last 10 years. When I was in high school and college, weekends and free time were for *doing*--getting out, going to shows, movies, what have you. I always felt like if I wasn'’t juggling a jam-packed social and event schedule, I was wasting my time. Living in the DC area, there was a ridiculous amount of offerings each week, and IÂ’m glad that I tried to take advantage of many of them.

Thankfully, by the time I moved to Chicago and had to start over at building a base of friends, my social demands were a little lighter. I was content to take a few classes, get out for walks, go out to dinner and have at least 1 firm plan a weekend. Even that proved difficult when I first got there, because I only knew 2 people other than JT, and he was studying all hours in the law library. Not having any plans made a weekend feel unbounded, and not in a good way. I knew I had finally established myself and made Chicago my new home when I lost the panic with which I viewed my social calendar.

When Henry arrived and I was off for maternity leave, time lost all meaning. Days and nights mingled, weekdays and weekends were defined only by whether or not JT was home with us. Slowly we overtook our role as parents and we were able and interested in adding back some activities, outings and plans with friends. I knew I was enjoying my weekends and had a sense that things were in good balance, but this past weekend put a clear view on how much downtime, or just hanging out at home is now valued as much as plans.”

With just a few days in Chicago before Henry and I are out of town for work/vacation for a few weeks, and a bathroom and kitchen remodel to begin while we're gone, we had a serious number of visits to kitchen/bath supply stores to schedule this weekend. Add-in normal weekend chores like shopping, laundry and cooking, and preparing for my work-trip this week, and we had the kind of weekend that made me happy at some point, but now left me feeling drained.

It felt like from sun-up to sun-down on Saturday and Sunday we ran errands, did chores, hung out with Henry, made decisions about remodeling, prepped for trips, etc. It wasn't exciting, it was exhausting. Next weekend might not be any better, but I'’m sure to keep this in mind when we get back from vacation and get back into our 1 or 2 items per weekend. That leaves plenty of time for lolling on the couch in pajamas on Saturday morning while Henry throws all the circulars from the paper all over the floor, and strolling to our local taqueria for an early dinner. Combine that with a get-together with friends and you've got the perfect weekend in my opinion.


1 Year, 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 1 Day

If anyone comes across a good source of bibs that snap, please tip me off. Henry has been pulling off his bibs for awhile now but the only one that seems to foil him is the ONE that snaps. Unfortunately that's only one out of 16 meals a week he eats at home in which his clothes don't get absolutely smeared.

I've been feeding him peas and corn for dinner that heat up with some butter. By the end of dinner he looks like he's ready for the South of France, all glistening and oiled. Makes for a slippery baby but one that's ready to be scrubbed down in the tub.

Tonight we sat out in the backyard, after we all got home. I brought a blanket out for Henry and he was very appreciative. When he sticks his hand in the grass he makes this face as if he's overwhelmingly disgusted by the very existence of the green shaggy stuff. Once he's up and standing on it he does better-- he no longer looks like the Karate Kid.

I'm going to be out of town at the beginnig of next week. I'll try to post some periodic updates but i can't promise i'll be able to do them every night. It may be a taste of things to come, as the week after that Henry and i leave for a 3 week vacation. I'll have computer access so i'll try to keep some posting up from the road, but it might not be as consistent as i try to be at home.


1 Year, 1 Month, 3 Weeks

We had a handyman in the other day to tackle a whole bunch of small projects that have made our house that much more enjoyable. This happily coincided with the delivery of some new chairs we picked out for the living room, so i'm got two pictures shameless pictures to share of Henry showing off both our chairs and the new dining room chandelier. Aside from how beautiful the chandelier is, i think i'm most excited that we finally got clothes rods installed in Henry's room. I know longer have his clothes "hung" on a picture propped up against the wall.

I've decided that aside from mama and dada and noooo which Henry used to "say" a lot but hardly ever uses anymore, his first real word is "woof." Of course it's not dog, it's woof, but he know exactly what he means and technically he's correct. We hear the dogs in our neighborhood barking frequently and now when Henry hears them he looks all around, points toward the sound and says "woof" really excitedly. I happily say, "that's right, that's the dog, can you say dog?...DOG" He throws in a few more "WOOF, WOFFs" and is off to something new.


1 Year, 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 6 Days

When i went to pick Henry up from Ms. Brenda's today, i went in to show her Henry's new PT exercises. She had to get all the kids that were there situated with books for book time and while she did that Henry quickly lost interest in just me. He scrambled to be put down and made a beeline for the kitchen center. He was so busy playing with the burners and trying to shove whatever he could in the microwave.

Brenda said that he's quite territorial about that toy. When other kids try to play with him at it, he pretty much pushes them away and guards the whole surface. She said his favorite part is to take blocks and other smallish items and shove as many as he can in the microwave and then hurridly close the door so they don't escape.


1 Year, 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 5 Days

Brenda said that she thinks Henry was trying to say "baby" today. The new little girl was there today and Henry was very interested in here. Brenda said he was constantly pointing at her when she was being held and saying something that started with a "ba" sound.

He's like that with a lot of things-- pretty good at communicating, and you can sometimes make out the first syllables of words if you're giving him the benefit of the doubt, but not exactly a poet yet.

He does understand quite a few words and it's amazing to watch him make new connections every day. Tonight during his bath we had the bathroom window open. The dogs next door were lazily barking and Henry perked up his ears and started looking around to figure out where the barking was coming from. He clearly isolated it as coming from the window and even made a sound that i'm pretty confident is his "woof, woof" sound. I've heard him use it before when looking at pictures of dogs and it sounded pretty convincing tonight. When he was all done with his bath, i took him outside to see the dogs.

At first he was just happy but when he pointed and one of them barked he exploded in excitement and used his dog sounds all over again. Then it was off to bed to rest up for more adventures tomorrow...


1 Year, 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 4 Days

We had a busy but relaxed weekend and are just getting things in order for a hopefully productive week. Henry had swimming lessons on Saturday and things seemed to click a little more with him this class. We got there a few minutes late due to bad traffic so we had to get in and wet in a hurry, but after a couple minutes he was splashing on his own, babbling away and leaning forward to "jump" towards me when he's sitting on the side of the pool.

Henry makes a lot of sounds that still don't seem to mean much. He does have a few words which include mama, dada, no, something that sounds very much like more, and his favorite, "Whoa!" He uses the last pretty much constantly when he's excited, surprised, or just interested in something. Every action or reaction he witnesses or causes seems to elicit this response. It's a good one and i hope a smooth transition to "neat" which seems like an excellent exclamation for a little one.

This afternoon we went over to our friends' place for a casual dinner. We hung out in the backyard and all the kids got to play around. Helen is taking steps now, but the uneven terrain of the grass made it difficult. Henry was happier on a blanket, but did seem to make some progress at accepting the feeling of the grass on his hands and feet. He had a ball playing around with Carys and especially appreciated all the fruit and cheese she shared with him!