15 Months, 1 Week, 6 Days

We're home again and survived what i think of as our "last flight." I'm sure it's not really the last time we'll travel with Henry, but i do swear it's the last time i fly alone with him without buying a seat. That said, he held up pretty well on this trip. He was really sleepy and of course didn't actually sleep but did spend good chunks of time snuggled in my arms sucking his thumb and cuddling Ralph. These reveries were interspersed with spastic yelling fits, but generally he returned to the quiet snuggle position when done.

Thank god for packing light. I only had a suitcase that i could carry-on and Henry in his stroller. This allowed me to go standby on an earlier flight when my original flight was delayed an hour. We had to go to Midway which involves a transfer on the train, but we got home and got Henry some dinner and he's off to bed. I'm about to follow, as i think his cold is catching up with me. Somehow i lugged my camera along on the trip and didn't take any pictures.

So, here is a picture of our kitchen. They have all the cabinets in and the ovens are installed. I think the flooring is coming soon which will be really nice. We're allowed to actually put stuff in the cabinets and after we do that and the flooring is in, I think we can actually allow Henry back in the dining room/kitchen/sun porch. That will make a pretty big difference, to have that much more space. Of course i'll have to vacuum every afternoon before Henry comes home, but that's a small price to pay for letting him explore.

I think Henry is getting closer and closer to taking some of his own first steps. He's been letting go and standing on his own for a few seconds at a time and this morning pushed up to standing without holding on to anything. Ever since he started crawling, he's been making such steady progress, that our weekly therapy sessions are really not too bad.


15 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days

The kitchen is moving along and so is Henry's cold. He still felt a tiny-bit feverish this morning but his cough is starting to loosen-up, so we're hoping that a reasonable night's sleep will allow him to go back to Ms. Brenda's tomorrow.

We are all very, very much looking forward to getting back to some semblance of our routine. They made progress in the kitchen, getting the rest of the basement jacked up and the subflooring all in. Tomorrow the base cabinets and some of the plumbing happens and then on Friday the tile gets put into place (half of it so that we can have a path through the kitchen to get upstairs).

Having Henry around when i'm trying to get work done has been really difficult, but it's also fun to see how much he's exploring and really starting to test his boundaries. Telling him no doesn't really work anymore. He looks at you, raises one eyebrow and smiles really widely while just repeating whatever brought the first no.


15 Months, 1 Week, 1 Day

As if there wasn't enough drama around here already, today i took Henry to the Dr. and he was diagnosed with croup. I guess it sounds worse than it is (a viral cough) but the poor guy has been pretty under the weather since yesterday and running a low-grade fever. His cough absolutely sounds terrible and he had a really hard time napping today. I don't know that it will be much better tomorrow while they're working in the kitchen. We just absolutely can't wait for Brenda to re-open on Thursday, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that Henry's fever is gone by then so he can go back.

They did demo the kitchen today and are pretty much set to start laying the floor tomorrow. Here's an in-process picture and a picture of the dining room as it's been re-purposed into our makeshift kitchen. Henry didn't feel like posing for any pictures tonight and the kitchen is in no shape for him to be in. Once the floor is down, we'll see if we can't get a shot of Henry exploring the new space.


15 Months, 1 Week

I've neglected to tell you about Henry's eating issues. With all the tantrums and walking and shrieking going on i almost forgot to mention that he'll barely eat anything anymore. He seems to have gotten really picky about foods at the same time that he's just not very interested in food.

The only thing that he absolutely never turns down are corndogs for crying out loud. He'll usually eat bananas and peaches and crackers but even those can get thrown to the floor if he's not in the mood.

This morning he refused to eat anything which we thought was just part of this phase, but then he went on to develop a slight fever and a bad cough. I spoke to the nurse at the Doctor's office in the afternoon because his cough sounded so terrible. They listened to his symptoms and said that it really sounded like a virus that would run it's course. So, he's been taking Tylenol regularly to keep his temp down and that seems to help. When he's very hot he's pretty listless and alternates between just lying on our chests and crying. Poor guy.

We're hoping he'll be able to sleep okay tonight and he'll start to get over this pretty quickly.

By the way, there are more pictures up in the current link under the 14 month category. Somehow all the pictures didn't get uploaded last time which i discovered when i went to order them for myself. So, you should see plenty more from our beach trip!

15 Months, 6 Days

Just to catch you up a bit, and make sure you really know the score around here, Henry has found his voice! He has taken to shrieking A LOT. He seems to do it when he's excited, when he's frustrated, when he's tired, when he's mad, and sometimes just because he wants to hear his voice.

It's not a great phase to be going through now that our kitchen is all packed up in boxes and is set to be demolished on Tuesday. Going out to eat is not easy, and the thought of getting on a plane on Friday is downright bone-chilling. I hit Target today and tried to buy a bag-full of cheap toys to keep him distracted. I'm going to try to make it to the dollar store between now and Friday so that i have a little more ammo.

His other new (and more pleasant) skill is that today he started walking with his walker by himself. The arc of the walker started with Henry wanting nothing to do with it and actively crying when you tried to see if he wanted to stand with it. This morphed into a small interest, but Henry would only actually use the walker if you were holding on to him with BOTH hands, and even then his attention span was pretty short. Today Henry just walked over to the walker and started using it. I still help with his steering skills (mainly getting turned back around once he's hit a wall) but otherwise he's off on his own.


15 Months, 3 Days

I returned from my overnight trip to Michigan last night and was fairly exhausted by the time i got home. Henry was just hunky-dory but fought going to bed. His naps have been all over the map lately so bedtime has been affected as well. We thought maybe he was ready to transition to one nap a day, because his afternoon nap was only lasting an hour instead of his normal 2. The day i just tried to keep him up in the morning and have him take one long nap in the early afternoon backfired. I put him down at noon for his nap and he only slept about 50 minutes and then was firmly up. He slept for another hour in the late afternoon. Today i went back to the mostly normal schedule and he took long naps both morning and afternoon. So who knows.

Henry took what i guess you would say were his first steps on Tuesday. We sat a couple of feet apart, stood Henry up and had him walk to the other person. Sometimes he held on to your finger until the last step and took that on his own and sometimes he took 3-4 steps on his own before falling down. He probably did this a half dozen times or so and then made it clear he wasn't interested anymore.

I have gotten him to start walking while just holding on to one hand or a finger. At therapy this morning he was going nuts with the walker which until recently he was very wary of. He was much more adventurous than last week and his therapist said that he looks very stable and strong and that he just has to expand his sense of security.

H threw several tantrums this evening. It's not the first time i've seen them but it i'm not sure i've ever seen so many over such absolutely trivial stuff-- especially when he truly didn't seem overtired. It took multiple strategies to get him to calm down and chill out enough to go to bed.

Now i'm just clearing out the last of the stuff in the kitchen because they come tomorrow for the first day of demolition.


15 Months

Well, we had day one of our temporary daycare arrangement and it worked out pretty well. JT watched Henry until 8:30 when he went into the office. Henry hung out with me outside while i had an appointment with my physical trainer and then went down for a nap. I worked while he slept and then our friend Phil, watched Henry until about 11:30 when he had to leave for bridge. JT came home a little after 12 and watched Henry for the rest of the afternoon.

Tomorrow should be a little more straightforward, JT until 8:30 then me until work at 9 and then Phil for the rest of the day. We're really hoping the heat wave breaks tomorrow (down to 88!) because we're dying here.

At Henry's latest PT appointment, his therapist gave us some strategies for getting him to walk while just holding on to one of our hands, to stand-alone and to take bigger risks moving from furniture piece to furniture piece. Essentially if you entice him with something appealing enough he's able to do all three but they clearly test his limits and make him uncomfortable.

I think he could easily take a step or two (or three) on his own and fall down and try to get back up and so on, but you can just tell he's working on mastering the feeling before putting himself out there. So we keep working on encouraging him and are so excited for all of his progress.


Last day as a 14-month old

We made it through our first heat wave weekend, but there's not much immediate relief in the forecast and now we have a childcare crisis to weather as well.

First the fun stuff. Henry and i spent the day with our good buddies out in Oak Park. We spent a good portion of the time at the pool by their house. The kids had a blast and it was the most fun Henry has ever had with the water. Today was a scorcher so the pool was busy, but it wasn't too packed and they had a really nice sized baby pool. We hung out in the water which was cool but not freezing like our backyard baby pool and once Henry commandeered Helen's baby float he was off and running-- literally. The deep end was 1'6", so he had no problem pushing himself around as if in a water walker. He got the biggest kick of out being so mobile and was just exploring the whole pool, spinning himself around, and trying to share others toys. We spent several hours there and thanks to my dutiful sunscreen application and re-application (and the bathing suit Henry wore which looks like a full wet-suit) no one got burned!

We found out at the beach that Henry's skin doesn't like something in the special baby sunblock that i bought for him. It was supposed to be hypoallergenic and tear free, but it caused him, to break out in a flushed rash all over his body for two days after i used it. Since then i've used two normal coppertone formulations (after a spot test) and haven't had any problems. Go figure.

So the quandary we're in all started when we got home tonight after capping the day with dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant. I had a message from Brenda, and i could just tell from her voice that something was terribly wrong. Her father passed away this morning and she's going to be closed until the 26th while she helps her family with the funeral arrangements and is with her family. I feel absolutely terrible for her and her family, and my thoughts will be with them as they try to sort through this.

When i first heard the message i thought she was saying she was CLOSING the daycare effective the 26th, but once i listened to it a few more times and had JT listen to it we confirmed it's just closed until the 26th. That still presents a challenge for us, but at least a temporary one.

We're looking at a couple of different options of patching daycare together. We'll have to see what we can work out.

All of Henry's 14 month pictures are up on the new site (or will be by midnight or so when they're finished uploading!)


1 Year, 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 5 Days

I promised to fill you in on adventures from our vacation. One memorable 4th of July involved Henry's first sand dive. We had been to the beach a few days before the 4th, and Henry was making progress accepting the sand. He had finally managed to look slightly happier than completely disgusted as he put his hands in the sand and played around.

I had just finished feeding Henry some applesauce. He was sitting in my beach chair, while i stashed the empty applesauce container and looked for a wet napkin. The next thing i know Henry has stood up and pushed on the back of the chair so that he did a face plant in the sand. I picked him up and his entire face was absolutely covered with sand and he was trying to spit out a mouthful of sand so thick it looked like he was eating a mess of graham crackers. Amazingly he kept his cool while i did my best to get his face wiped off.

It didn't help my composure however, that the family just behind us was giving a very loud play-by-play. "Oh no, the baby fell in the sand. He's got sand in his Mouth! Oh the poor thing!...."

In the days leading up to this Henry was wont to freak out over very minor grievances, then on the 4th, major sand dive and not much of a whimper. Amazing these kids, they always keep you guessing.


1 Year, 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 3 Days

Today will certainly be marked as "eventful" on my calendar. We started with what i hope is the last of Henry's specialist appointments for a good long while. This appointment was with the neurologist and was to make sure that there wasn't any neurological basis for the physical delays Henry was diagnosed with ages ago. Because it took so long to get an appointment, the underlying issue has actually resolved itself. Henry now moves his right arm freely, doesn't seem to have any difficulty extending it and uses it as often as his left arm.

The neurologist confirmed that Henry looks good and is developing well. He thought the PT's approach to continue therapy until Henry starts walking was sound and didn't recommend a follow-up visit unless we notice something taking a turn for the worse. After getting Henry's full history he thought that because of my "precipitous" delivery (i.e. very fast) there was strain put on the right side of Henry's trunk and arm. Although he said that only about 25% of precipitous deliveries have any repercussions, the combination of Henry's stomach problems and lack of tummy time and his laid-back demeanor all contributed to his latebloomerness. But as we've all noticed, Henry seems to be coming along just fine on his own schedule and we're pleased as punch.

Then i worked like crazy to dig myself out of the vacation-induced hole i'm currently in. Then around 5:30 i got a call from JT telling me that he had just gotten off the blue line and that there had been a fire but he was okay and would call me back in a minute. I pieced together the details over the next half hour or so from tv and calls with JT. A subway train's last car derailed and there was some kind of electrical fire. I wound up going to pick JT up and was a little shocked to see his face and especially his mouth covered with soot and his clothes and hands all black.

I assumed he was on one of the first cars (hmm, am i an optimist or what) but it turns out he was on the very last car. A lot of people walked out of the tunnel on the ledge to the side of the train but JT and a few other people walked all the way to the front of the train, trying to move as quickly and calmly as possible and then about 400 ft more to a set of spiral staircases to exit the tunnel. Once they were in the tunnel though you couldn't see anything because of the dark and all the smoke. He said they just kept feeling along the wall until they got to to the stairs and then went out to safety.

They treated people at the scene for smoke inhalation and any other injuries but JT said he felt fine. We talked with our Dr. tonight and she told us what to watch for in terms of the smoke inhalation getting worse. He amazingly seems fine and we were happy to be able to just order dinner tonight and watch the All Star Game.


1 Year, 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

Today was Henry's first day back to Brenda's in 3 weeks. You could tell that daycare was all just a distant memory when i dropped him off this morning. He got a certain look of remembrance as we were standing there at the door waiting for Brenda to answer. But once she did he was a little hesitant. She was so excited to see him and he was intrigued by all the kiddos absolutely going crazy with shouts of "Henry's here, Henry's back, hey, guys Henry's here!" But you could tell he was a little overwhelmed as well. I kept my goodbye short and she said after a little clingyness he adjusted right back and had a ball getting reacquainted with all the kiddos.

By the time i picked him up this afternoon i think it was like he never left. He gave me a big smile when i came to get him but he was contentedly standing at the little bench looking so big in comparison and happily playing with some other kids. Brenda and i talked about the differences we've noticed in 3 weeks and besides getting bigger and his hair getting longer, we both noticed how he's just so much more physically active.

Although the physical development is the main thing that stands out when i compare what Henry was like before we left to what he's like now, there is definitely an emotional component to things as well. He's physically able to get around more surely and quickly (!) and he has the wherewithal and excitement to explore new things. This has led to things like stair climbing and trying to dive off the bed and climbing up on Dad and then quickly rolling down off of him.

We had a few VERY early morning wake-ups from Henry while we were on vacation. With the understanding that he was slightly off his game and that there were other people to consider who like to sleep past 5 am, i brought Henry into bed with us. I did this once or twice on really bad nights while we were away and it allowed me to get at least a little more sleep. By the end of the trip however, Henry had decided that being brought into bed with us meant playtime. Basically for 30 minutes he would go from stomach lying thumb-sucking sleep position to all fours and chattering in .06 seconds. I would push him back down, rub his back and say night-night-- over and over and over. One morning i realized the futility of my efforts when after springing to his knees Henry scampered up the pillows i had propped against the wall and flung himself over so that he could roll down like he was at the dunes. At this point, Jt thankfully got up with Henry.

There are new pictures up. You'll notice that all the pictures up through 12 months are on one link, and all pictures going forward are on another. Don't ask-- it's a long story involving AT&Ts inept take-over of SBC.



I promise, really, i'll start filling you in on the details from the beach. In the meantime (while i get all my photos downloaded and culled), i thought i would give you a little update that happened today-- not even over the last 3 weeks.

After coming home to absolutely bare cupboards (i tried to make lunch for myself out of a butter sandwich if that tells you anything) we went out for a late lunch once the hunger had made us light-headed. The waitress took a real shine to Henry and along with several packs of saltine crackers, she brought him a small cup of water with a lid and straw.

We've tried off and on for several months to get Henry to drink out a straw. I know other moms that have done it with great success, but we couldn't quite figure out how to teach him.

This afternoon i just held the cup for him and put the straw near his mouth. He grasped it with his lips, sucked and was vaulted into the ranks of the straw-abled.



We're very close to being back home again. Henry and i left the beach today and dropped JT off at the airport enroute to my parents house in NoVA. Henry and i return to Chicago tomorrow afternoon after one more airplane ride.

While we did a little shopping today i bought a whole bag full of little trinkets and doo dads that Henry hasn't seen before to pull out for the plane ride. I crumpled up tin foil, wax paper, and plastic wrap and tied everything to the handle of a kitchen utensil, so that when Henry tires of an individual toy, he can throw it and i won't have to go digging under the seat behind me to find it.

We had a really wonderful vacation and i can't wait to get home and see if a lot of Henry's new developments remain constant or mutate once he's back on home soil.

I'll be happy to let the night wakings and naptime protest screams go, but i'm curious to see if the stair climbing, adventuresome exploring, and kitchen cabinet opening transfer back to our abode.

I'll give you more detailed updates on our week at the beach, including a full-expose of Henry's sand diving stunt in the next few days. Now i'm going to go to bed to be ready for Henry's daily 6 am bugle call.