8 Months, 3 Weeks/ 2 Years, 8 Months

Henry has been cracking us up lately with his references to people. "Who's that white guy?" "What's that big red guy do-ing?" are familiar refrains around these parts, and it took awhile to figure out that he generally describes people by the color of their clothes. Pretty much everyone is a "guy"-- from the car in front of us to the frosty the snowman inflatable in someone's yard. He has been experimenting a bit with "girl" and "boy" but they haven't made it into everyday speech yet.

The new thing i think he's actively working on are the days of the week and time sequencing. He has been using the all-purpose "last week" or sometimes "last night" to mean anything that happened more than 10 minutes ago. Sometimes it's in the range and sometimes its a gross overestimate, but after all, the key aspect of indicating something happened in the past is being communicated. Now he's moving up to using actual days of the week and some percentage of the time he a) gets it right and b) knows which day comes next-- very impressive in my book!

Henry was so excited to host all of our friends for a Christmas party on Saturday. JT made a buffet feast and Santa Claus even made an appearance. Henry wasn't scared at all and was pretty excited with the Christmas monkey and coloring book and crayons that Santa gave him. He asked repeatedly "where the red guy go" after he was gone and he showed some big excitement at the prospect of writing him a letter.

We're counting down the days until our families start arriving this Friday!


Remind me next time...

So next time i start to tell you that Silas is sick and then "oh my god, he isn't sleeping, what do we do?!" that this is just what Silas does. Frankly it sucks, but he gets sick and then sleeps erratically for 3-5 days. Then he re-emerges and reverts back to his happy-go-lucky pretty good sleeping self. This doesn't make it any easier when we're in the throes of the wailing, but if i could just keep front and center that it will get better, and typically in just a few days, i think i wouldn't freak out so much. So i'm harnessing the power of my readership (small as that may be) to remind me of this important trend.

Whew, now that we have sleep troubles out of the way for awhile i wanted to finally update you on the fun we had last weekend. Kerala came over to play for a few hours on Saturday and the kids were all happy to play together during the 20 minutes they were all awake at the same time, and happy to oblige us with naps so that we were mostly fielding the two kids we're used to.

Sunday we headed to the Pendletons and the kids (and Tabitha!) made gingerbread houses. We've done this for two years with graham crackers. With the little ones getting older and more capable, (who knew how well they could wield a pastry bag) we might just have to step it up to real gingerbread next year. I've never witnessed so much candy inhalation in such a short time. I don't care what the experts say, Henry was literally running from one end of the house to the other by the time we got home, trying to come down from the sugar high.

We've been enjoying opening a few gifts that have arrived this week. Of course we're saving most of the gifts (and all from family that will be with us) for actual Christmas. I'm pretty sure however, that the boys will have more than their share of presents on Christmas morning. Doing one or so a day is fun because Henry gets completely excited, but also has time to absorb and integrate the new toy into collection. Plus, it allows us time to work on thank-you cards little by little. (Kai you did say thank-yous were okay once they came from Henry right :)



The full effect of being a full-time working mother of two small children hit this week. I have a work deadline this week for a written report which is a great professional opportunity for me but which requires chunks of time that i can sit down, concentrate and write. Those chunks have been in short supply since Silas was home sick with me Monday and Tuesday.

He went back to daycare today and i *think* he's better. He just has a bad cold and a cough that at least is improving. Although he gets tired pretty easily he's pretty good during the day-- little cough, clear mucus, etc. He also goes to sleep really easily and quite early. Then about 30 minutes after he sweetly drifted off to sleep, he wakes up screaming and is largely inconsolable for the next hour. He'll calm down momentarily if you pick him up, sing to him, turn on his birds, etc. But it just seems to take about an hour until he can calm down enough to go back to sleep. It's definitely breaking my cool and making me feel so badly for him all at the same time.

I don't know if it's just that he's particularly miserable and I should try to console him no matter what (even though he drifted off to sleep easily less than half an hour before), or if he's gotten into a bad habit of not being able to get back to sleep at this time (the overnights have been going okay without too much intervention from me.) It's always hard to hear your baby cry, but it's absolutely gut wrenching when you know he's not feeling better and you don't know if you're doing the right thing.

I think if someone put this question to my hypothetically i would say it's a no-brainer; if the baby is sick you comfort them and don't let them cry. But in reality it doesn't seem that simple. If sleep is the best thing for him and when i'm holding him he doesn't fall asleep and continues to periodically cry, is it better to just leave him in the crib to cry really hard but fall asleep quickly? This is the stuff that isn't in the parenting books and gives rise to the whole "every child is different" adage.

This post has largely been for me but it's helped me realize i need to put a call in to our Pediatrician. I don't think he needs a sick appointment, but i need guidance on how to handle this situation.

Otherwise we're just trying to keep the adults healthy (JT and I are both dealing with a mild cold), keep the house from total disintegration, prepare for a Christmas dinner party for 8 adults on Saturday, and march through the scrolling Christmas check-list. "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"


8 Mos, 1 Week/ 2 Years 7 Months

Little Silas is sick. He and Henry were both congested over the weekend and Silas had a pretty rough night last night. Everything was running clear and he actually seemed happy and normal this morning so i bundled everyone off to school. Around 11:30 i got a call from Brenda that Silas was clearly not feeling well and had been inconsolable for about 30 minutes.

He fell asleep in the car on the way home and fell right back to sleep when i transferred him to his bed. He slept about an hour, and when he woke-up i was wondering if maybe Brenda was being overly cautious-- he was smiley and happy and didn't have a fever. But, after even just a little time wore on, it's clear he's not feeling well. He's cranky and snotty and doesn't have a great appetite. He's back to bed for another nap which hopefully will be a long one and i think we're shooting for an early bedtime as well.



My Father talks frequently about how i was constantly asking why as a child. I remember this actually but associate it with being a little older-- at least old enough to have memories. Perhaps i started my career even earlier which is what young Henry is doing. As are most things, it's much harder to deal with his incessant requests now that we're living it rather than hearing a tale about our distant childhood.

The issue is that i want to give Henry answers that attempt to quell his original question. I don't want to speak down to him but i don't want to give too much more information than he's able to comprehend. I want to be reflective about my answers instead of just saying "because that's how things are." At root i want to encourage this questioning and not squelch his curiosity or have him just accept everything as presented. The problem is that Henry doesn't always follow-along in this same congenial spirit.

A recent exchange:

H: I want to play outside in the snow.
T: It's too cold tonight Henry. We'll play outside later when it's warmer.
H: Why?
T: Because now that it's winter it can get very cold and if you're out in the cold too much you can get sick.
H: Why?
T: (attempts to explain how while germs make you sick being cold can lower your resistance)
H: Why?
T: We don't know why, but we know it happens.
H: Why?
T: Because Doctors study these things and tell us the answers.
H: Why?
T: Let's sing a song.
H: I want to play outside in the snow...


First REAL Snow

Today we trumped the little bit of snow we got over the weekend with a couple of inches of very fluffy snow that Henry had a ball playing in yesterday evening in front of our house. He's been excited for snow ever since it started getting cold and i told him that now that it was winter we might have snow. Unfortunately tonight there is more snow, but it's so cold that he couldn't stay out more than a few minutes. I saw a family down the street packing up sleds and kids into the car and i was thankful that i don't know where the local sledding hill is and my kids aren't old enough to ask to go sledding-- all in due time of course.

We're excitedly counting down the days until Christmas and our family comes to visit us in Chicago. I'm making an advent calendar and have managed to stay within a day of the actual date on the calendar. I have to double-up tonight since JT and i enjoyed an awesome dinner out last night and i didn't get my assigned ornament in for the day.

Henry has been periodically making art projects at school and bringing them home. We've started displaying them in the kitchen and i thought i'd share a few with you, as well as some random "toy arrangements" i've happened on and been impressed with.


First Snow-- and Ice

This weekend we had the first snow (and ice) of the season. It didn't snow a whole lot-- probably about 1/2 in. But it did stick, and it was snowing while i was trying to get all the leaves vacuumed and mulched up. I got the majority done and discovered that our leaf blower acts as an underpowered snow blower in a pinch. By about 4:30 the snow turned to ice and then somewhere around midnight it turned to rain. We did go over to Corey and Troys' in the evening and had to let Henry experience first hand why the ice storm wasn't great weather for playing outside.

We've talked about snow and how we will be able to play in it this winter so he was excited and then disappointed when actually he couldn't play in it this time. I didn't feel too badly for him though because he enjoyed playing hide-n-seek with Troy (who he calls "Troy-ee") and getting to play Troy's piano as well. That night was amazing because both boys went down to sleep effortlessly at there house and didn't make a peep until we woke them to go home.

Speaking of sleep, i haven't mentioned it because i'm afraid i'll jinx the phenomenon, but we're going to have to start setting an alarm. Since Henry was born we've only set an alarm the handful of times one of us had to get up really early in order to make a flight. Otherwise, you were guaranteed that somebody would wake you up. For the past several weeks though, both kids have been sleeping until 8. Silas usually wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 but after i feed him he generally goes back to sleep until 8. It's actually made the mornings crazy though because we wind up just not having enough time to get everything done. So, while i hate to look the cosmic gifthorse in the mouth that has bestowed children on me that enjoy sleeping in, i fear tonight an alarm must be set. A moment of silence will be set at bedtime in our household tonight.