Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Moe (22 Months)

Christmas is just around the corner, my love, and I’ve been so busy getting ready that your letter is a few days late. But you are 22 months old now, and it’s been a wonderful month.

I know that next month, your letter will be full of how much you enjoyed Christmas, but the preparations and anticipation have been so much fun with you. We have a wonderful wooden advent calendar that we’ve been enjoying. Every day, you ask us to take it down from the mantle and you open a little door and I take out a tiny little wooden ornament that we hang on the little wooden tree. It took a few days for you to understand that we only open one door, once a day, until Christmas. That’s our mantra now, and you have no problems accepting it. But we'll see what happens December 25 when you're out of doors!

Santa also sent you a video message through Portable North Pole, and you absolutely loved it. Santa said your name, had photos of you in his big book, and knew that you’d worked very hard this year to always listen to your parents. He confirmed, through a fantastic machine run by his elves, that you are indeed on the “nice” list. You have enjoyed watching that video every day since Santa sent it.

I also did something crazy and baked cookies for us to decorate. (There is no doubt that I love you, my sweet boy. I don’t attempt to operate an oven for just anyone.) You had a great time decorating the cookies with icing and sprinkles, but you voiced your rather negative opinion of my culinary skills. Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark were over, and Janine asked you, as you munched thoughtfully on your gorgeous cookie artwork, “Is that a good cookie?” You turned it over, looked at the rather burned bottom, shook your head and said, “Nuh-uh.” Thanks, baby.

Last Christmas, while lovely because it was your first, was hard for me because I was weaning you and was very hormonal and emotional. This Christmas, you are making the anticipation and wonder and magic so real, and I love you for it so much.

You are very playful and fun. You love to play the “whoa” game, which started at day care with Robin’s oldest son, Noah. All you had to do was tap his chest gently, and he’d fall backwards, saying, “WHOA!” Now we play this at home. You love to “push” us over, and sometimes we pull you with us. You love wrestling on the cushion in the living room. We had to make sure you understood that Granny, who was recovering from eye surgery this month, was off limits for the “whoa” game. That took some time.

You still love your bath, but you have started crying whenever we have to do the “business” part where I wash your hair, face and body. You’d much rather be left to play and resent that when I’m washing you, you can’t do what you like. When you’re not resisting being washed, you enjoy playing with your colour-changer hot wheels (I give you a container of cold, cold water to dunk them in), you like pouring water from one container to another, and playing with your watering can. (Once it got too cold to play at the water table, I brought all your water toys to the bath tub!)

We have had some lovely outings this month, as usual. We had a fantastic playdate with your buddy Koen. It’s wonderful to bring you there – you are so at ease, and you and Koen really like playing together. They have some awesome toys, and Mommy and Jen are good, relaxing influences on each other. It’s great for all concerned.

We brought you to the annual Mochitsuki – your second time! Last year, you were mostly in the Baby Bjorn, but this time you had a ball at the kids’ craft table. The Magoos joined us this year, which was especially lovely. You and buddies Mistlegoo and Trick walked around the banquet hall by yourselves (they took very good care of you, even if Granny was freaking out at the independence I was giving all of you), you enjoyed the food, you watched the rice pounding, and loved the colouring table. It was a great experience for everyone. We really can take you anywhere.

We’ve had several visits to Grandpa Reg on Saturday mornings. We show up, play in his room for 45 minutes or so, and then we drive him to the Perley to visit Joan. You love playing with the extra (unplugged) telephone he has, and we always bring your little green tote bag of toys. We call it your bag of tricks. I pack it the night before, so you never know what you might find in there. Having said that, you can always count on there being crayons. You love to colour in your steno notebook (nice thick pages that resist tearing when they get wet with drool). Robin notes that while the other kids tend to stick with one colour, you use them all.

Another Saturday tradition is our walk with Uncle Mark, Aunt Janine and Zaphod. We walk around their neighbourhood without a stroller now, and while you enjoy it very much, we often have some conflict about staying between me and the curb. Luckily, the streets aren’t busy, and there are lots of little pedestrian pathways we can explore. At home, you often resist holding my hand when we cross our street, and that results in a bit of a meltdown because it’s non-negotiable. I love being outside with you, but I sometimes dread the power struggles. You don’t understand why you can’t roam freely down the middle of the street.

Mealtime at home with you is still interesting, but overall, you do really well. You can feed yourself pretty much anything, including soup and fruit sauce. You even stack your dishes to let us know when you’re done eating! You sit in a booster seat now, instead of a high chair. You drink from a cup at the table, instead of a sippy. You’re growing so quickly. Sometimes, you are so impatient to get your food, though. You holler for it from the dining room, and Daddy says he feels like he’s on a crazy cooking show called Iron Daddy. We often tell you, “Just be patient! Just hang on!”, but words like this are lost on a toddler.

You’re such a helpful little boy. You are fantastic at putting away your toys, and you bring me your snack dishes when you’re done with them. If we ask you to put something in the laundry hamper, you do it happily. We’re enjoying this wonderful stage while it lasts. :)

The words are coming fast and furious, too! One Sunday a few weeks ago, it was like something clicked in your head. The two of us were on our own that day, and I had no witnesses, but you said “animal crackers,” “please,” “thank you,” “be right back,” “cheese”, “milk” and “snuggles”. I was flabbergasted. And now you say many of those things regularly. Robin reports that you are really verbal at day care, and we’ve noticed it at home, too. Even if we don’t know what you are saying all the time, it’s clear you’re talking and have things to say. Although, you often say “no” or don’t say anything at all when you mean “yes”, and that can be frustrating.
One really funny thing happened this month. More and more often, you’re awake when I leave the house in the morning. One morning, you clearly didn’t want me to leave. But instead of whining or crying, you sat in my lap, stroked my hair and cheek, snuggled me gently and gave me lots of hugs. After a few minutes (during which my heart was melting – you’re so sneaky!) I told you it was time for me to go. You stood up, grabbed my lunch bag, and ran away with it into the living room. Sometimes, you are just way too smart.

You are so loved at Robin’s, it’s hilarious. When Daddy drops you off in the morning, all the kids wave and say hi, and Alex is usually trying to get your boots and snowsuit off before Daddy has even put you down. They just can’t wait to start playtime with you. You all hit a playgroup every morning, and you love the gym time at Featherston. You and Alex ride the plasma car together. You’re getting very good at circle and story time. One day last week, they bought in musical instruments for everyone to try, and you had a blast. The other day, Robin took you to Alex’s school Christmas pageant, and you clapped after every song.

We’ve introduced you to some Sesame Street, including, most recently, some classic videos on Youtube. You love Grover’s “Around, Over, Under and Through” and “Near and Far”. There was also a sketch of him falling off a camel that had you killing yourself laughing. It was great to see.

You are so much fun. I don’t think we could love you more… and then suddenly, we do. Even with the stubborn-two-year-old-impatient-independence thing going on, you’re amazing and snugly and sweet and funny and I don’t think you’ll ever really understand how wonderful it is for us to have you in our lives. Thanks for being so awesome, Pookie. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Moe (21 Months)

Hi, sweetie. You're 21 months old, and I can’t get over how awesome you are.

Your speech is developing slowly but surely – your words are getting clearer and clearer. It’s just a matter of getting you to say them. You dislike being coached in anything, so you really need to be totally engaged before you’ll take that extra step and say a word. If we ask you, “Can you say (insert word here)?” the answer is always a firm “NO”. (That’s one word you have no problems with, by the way.) But you’ve said “Lightning McQueen”, “Blue Lighting”, “Cookie”, and “Yogu(rt)”. (You also love to say “Blech!”, which can be discouraging if it is in relation to a meal I have just put in front of you.)

You are very independent, and things have to be your idea for you to do them. We used to look at your Big Book of 300 Things, and I could ask you, “Where’s the (insert word here)?” and you’d happily find it for me and point to it. But now you want to do the pointing and you want me to say the words. I’m trying to find a compromise because I’d really like you to say the words, too!

You do love to sing. You sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Twinkle, Twinkle, The Alphabet Song, and The Wheels on the Bus. You do the hand gestures where appropriate. It’s very sweet to hear you singing to yourself – you carry a tune well, so we always know which song you’re singing!

You give wonderful hugs. You always have a hug for Matisse and Alex at day care, and when we visited Aunty Kimmy and the boys, you happily gave Noah a hug, too. That was a lovely visit for everyone – you loved playing with the big boys, and they kept offering to give you all their toys! If I hadn’t stopped it, you might have come home with a dozen new cars. They are so generous.

We had a great Halloween together, little man. We worked very hard on getting you used to your costume, and you embraced it fully for an evening of trick or treating. We did a few houses on our street, visited Grandma’s house, and then went to Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine’s where Aunt Janine took you to see her neighbours. Everybody loved your costume and you were the sweetest turtle I have ever seen. You did so very well, not protesting at all about the shell or the head cover. Granny, who worked very hard at making your costume, was very gratified. She felt it was well worth all her hard work.

We had some other lovely outings this month. You and I hit Parliament Hill with our friend Jane and her partner Brutus. You loved exploring on your own, and especially enjoyed climbing up and down the stairs at the Summer Pavilion. We have visited Grandpa Reg twice in his new digs. You behave very well there, although you are fascinated with his clock and his waste paper basket. Daddy and I both had a day off with you on a Monday a few weeks ago, so after a haircut, we took you to the Aviation and Space Museum. You enjoyed playing in the children’s studio and loved the play structure behind the museum. We liked it, too, because it was just the right size for you and very clean. It was also a lovely day, so you were able to play out there for as long as you wanted without getting cold. Granny and I took you to the Science and Technology Museum yesterday, and you had a nice time there, too. You liked riding in the antique car and walking through the digital network tunnels.

It hasn’t been all smiles, unfortunately. You took a pretty bad fall in Robin’s driveway a week or two ago and landed right on your face. You bit into your lower lip very hard, scraped your chin, bruised your cheek, and rattled your two front teeth. Your lip was bleeding on and off for a couple of days, and I can still see two white marks inside your lower lip where the teeth went through. You also caught another cold (you and Daddy both had it – only Daddy’s turned into strep throat!) at the beginning of the month, and right now you’re recovering from what we hope is a 24-hour stomach flu. That last one made for a long Lysol-filled day. Phew.

But through it all you are sweet and kind and loving. You share your snacks freely, you are generous with hugs, you wave and blow kisses to say goodbye. I spent a day or two in Waterloo at the start of the month for work (and to visit Aunt Marsha and Uncle Gavin), and I missed you so much. I missed the way you put your arms around my neck and rest your head on my shoulder. I missed the way you keep pressing the bathtub drain closed when we try and let the water out of the tub at the end of your bath. I missed the way you guffaw when Daddy kisses your belly. I missed the way you immediately start to dance when I sing “Mommy Loves Moe”.

You love your ride-on toy. You ride it everywhere around the house, from room to room. You still love playing with your cars, but lately you’ve found a new way to play with them. You love to balance things on other things. Cars on each other, a block on a car, a car on a train… you shout in triumph when you can get it to stay. It’s fantastic. You’ve really gotten the hang of your shape sorting blocks in the last week – you hardly need any prompting to find the right shaped hole. For the most part, you’re an excellent listener… unless we’re outside. You really don’t like being told what direction to walk in, and your hearing becomes very selective if I ask you to walk a different way. But overall, you do listen well, as long as it’s in line with your goals. :)

Let me tell you a bit about your Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark. Oh my goodness, you love them so much. You see them pretty much every weekend, and you smile whenever we mention their names. You give hugs freely to them, they make you laugh, and you love your doggy Zaphod. And honey, they love you, too. It is so wonderful that we’re continuing the tradition of “chosen family”. They are so proud to be your aunt and uncle.

We’re watching less Curious George these days, because we noticed that you were starting to express yourself a lot like George! Although it’s wonderful that you can communicate so well non-verbally (it certainly makes things easier for us and for Robin), we do want you to speak with words. So we only watch Curious George before bed. We’ve introduced you to Sesame Street, although we turn off the episode when Elmo’s World comes on because Elmo makes Mommy and Daddy kind of stabby. You also enjoy most episodes of Mighty Machines, and still like the Backyardigans.

Pookie, we love you so much. You can be exhausting, stubborn and mercurial, but more than anything, you are FUN. You make us laugh, you have a great sense of humour, you are loving and kind, you adore exploring, you yearn to do everything yourself, and you still have the best freaking eyebrows I have ever seen on a toddler. We love you. Keep developing into the wonderful little boy you are.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dear Moe (20 Months)

Hello, my darling. You’ve had another very busy month - I almost don’t know where to begin.

We have greatly enjoyed the changing of the seasons. Fall has brought us your footie pajamas, the joy of gathering choke cherries and dropping them one by one down a sewer grate, picking up leaves and stowing them in the bottom of the stroller, and your complete and total refusal to wear a hat. It brought us a wonderful morning at the Farmer’s Market, lots of time walking outside and exploring, and two little pumpkins that sit on our front step. You say hello and goodbye to them every time you pass them. Granny has been working furiously on your Halloween costume, and it looks fantastic. We just have to get you to wear it! You love how soft it is, and you like cuddling it, but we haven’t gotten you INTO it yet. It will come. You’re going to be a turtle.

You have become so much chattier this past month. We know you’re speaking in full sentences, we just don’t know what they are yet. You have learned to hoot like an owl, roar like a dragon (like in The Paperbag Princess, when the dragon burns down 50 forests), and so also say “Lightning” for Lightning McQueen (although it sounds more like “Ning”.) Robin even reports that you have said “yucky” to tell her that you have a dirty diaper. And you have the best new babble ever - you say, “jubba jubba jubba jubba”.

Yes, let’s talk about Lightning McQueen. Months and months ago, your Grandma bought you a little Lightning McQueen matchbox style car. In the last month, you have suddenly adopted this car as your security blanket. You always like to walk around with a car in your hand, but more and more you have shown your preference for Mr. McQueen. I have to admit that he’s a pretty swanky car, and he has eyes, so maybe that’s the attraction. (The only other exposure you’ve had to him is sitting in the Lightning McQueen car at Chiquicuts when you get your hair cut.) Bathtime isn’t any fun without him, and you’ve taken to sleeping with him in your crib now. (We are drawing a line at ONE car in bed - I don’t need your crib to turn into a parking lot, with cars hitting the floor throughout the night.) We didn’t intend to let you bring cars into bed with you, but one day Granny was putting you down for a nap and she couldn’t pry him out of your hand! You slept three hours that afternoon. We now have two Lightning McQueens, and one more tucked away in the closet in case of emergency.

You are definitely almost two. You want independence like it’s a drug. You love to climb things (we frequently have to remind you that couches are for sitting), you want to do everything yourself, and you get very, very frustrated when that doesn’t work out for you. But you are slowly learning patience (if you’re not too tired). We have had some epic meltdowns, and Daddy and I know there will be more. But we do our best to calm you down (often, you’re just overwhelmed by your own crying), or at the very least, pick you up off the sidewalk before you hurt yourself. Sometimes, you just get really excited, and when that happens, you tend to start throwing things. You find this hilarious. We’re really trying to curb you of this, especially since you pegged one of the little girls from day care in the eye with a puzzle piece.

You still love your bath. For some reason, you recently decided that you were done with this business of always standing in the bath, and now you only sit and refuse to stand to let me wash your bum. So Daddy has to lift you up, which you love because you can kick at the water. We have a deal that you can stay in the tub until the water in gone, and you really won’t get out until the bitter, bitter end. You also know how to close the drain once we’ve opened it to let the water out. You show us that there is still water in the tub by splashing your hands in it, even if it’s the shallowest puddle. It’s lovely that you love your bath so much.

You also love going to Robin’s. You come home zonked and dirty and very happy. One of the things we love about Robin is that she writes us these daily reports that tell us all about what you did that day. Her comments about your development are fantastic - for the most part, they confirm what we already know. Here are a few examples:

“Moe is wonderfully enthusiastic and responds so readily to everything he sees around him. He is very curious about how things work.”
“Moe is very easy to care for. He is naturally easygoing and listens beautifully. He is not fearful and seems willing to take physical risks, climbing and exploring and seems quite engaged with the other children in day care.”
“Moe loves to examine each puzzle piece and is careful with putting them back in their places. He is a methodical child. He organized bunches of crayons in groups (he tried drawing on the chairs).”
“Moe is perhaps the most insatiably curious boy I have ever met.”
“Moe’s sense of humour is very developed!”

We’ve had some wonderful fun this month. We had a great morning at the Farmer’s Market with JD and Evan. Our walk with Zaphod and Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine has become something of a Saturday morning tradition now. We went for a great walk in the Arboretum. You had a lovely play date with your buddy Koen - it was doubly fantastic because we got to hang out with his parents, who we love. We can pretty much take you anywhere as long as we respect your limits and listen to your needs.

I spent three days in Brockville at the start of October for a course. Before I left, I recorded a little video of myself singing our song, “Mommy Loves Moe.” Daddy played it for you six times that first night, feels it helped you cope with the separation. You still ask for the video now.

When I got home from Brockville, it was just in time. I hadn’t been home a full day when you came down with a terrible fever. It was an ear infection. You had only just gotten over the one you had in September. Moe, it was so sad to see you suffering. The fever gave us one very tense night. Your whole body was so warm, and you were trembling with the chills from the fever, and at one point your lips were even blueish. But we nursed you through it over the course of one long, exhausting Thanksgiving weekend. We had to cancel our plans to go to Toronto to visit Tia and Tio, and it’s a good thing we did. You had a bad reaction to this round of antibiotics, and were a miserable little boy for a good many days. The infection affected your balance really badly, and it was very hard to see you struggling to keep upright, or crying in frustration when you couldn’t stand up from sitting. When you developed a rash, we took you to the doctor again and she gave you a new prescription. You tolerated that one much better, and are now totally back to your normal wonderful self. Over the course of that weekend, we took you to the doctor twice, called Telehealth twice and brought you to two walk-in clinics (only to leave because of wait times). We’re all glad that’s behind us.

There’s a new toy in the house that has been a great success. We bought you a little push car off of Kijiji. You can sit on it and use the steering wheel while powering it with your feet, or stand behind it and push. You love it. Come spring, we’ll get you another to keep inside the house and this one can go outside. You’ve become very adept at steering it, and are proud of how easily you get on and off.

Your letter this month is a little late because we had such a wonderful weekend together. Today was especially fantastic. We met Grandpa and Debi for breakfast at O’Grady’s, where you flirted with the waitress and with Debi. Then we headed to Jen and Albert’s for your play date with Koen. We all had a wonderful time and left feeling like we’d had a mini-vacation. After your nap, Granny and Grandma both came over and you were showered with love. And you ate a good dinner and went to bed without issue, snuggled up with Leary the Otter and Lightning McQueen.

I know the next months won’t always be easy as you navigate the waters of what you can and can’t do. But it’s never hard to remember how incredibly lucky we are. You are so very easy to love, Moe. We can’t imagine life without you, nor would we want to. Keep being so full of awesome.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dear Moe (19 Months)

Oh, sweet little boy, what a crazy month it’s been. You started day care, you got a cold (which turned into an ear infection), you have a mouthful of new teeth, and you fell down the stairs from the back deck. It’s been a challenging time, to say the least, and you’ve weathered the storm with great patience.

The biggest change has certainly been day care. We did a three-day transition over a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; on the Friday you did almost a full day. It was not easy for anyone involved. It broke our hearts to leave you there, sobbing and reaching for us, and when I picked you up on that first day, after only a few hours, I found you red-eyed and weepy. For the rest of the day, and much of the weekend, you were incredibly clingy and didn’t want me out of your sight. It seemed for a while that you were only happy sitting in my lap. (You even got miffed if I’d uncross my legs because then you’d be on the floor and not on me.) Your sleep also really suffered.

The second week went much better. You did three full days, and when Daddy dropped you off on the third day, you toddled off to play with the cars without so much as a backwards glance. When we pick you up, you are generally filthy, tired and happy. We couldn’t ask for more. You’ve bonded well with R and the other kids, and when we ask you in the morning, “We’re going to go to R’s today, ok?” you nod with enthusiasm and say, “Yeah!”

Of course, the transition took its toll on all of us, despite it going as well as could be expected. Your little brain was so busy processing everything (including a daytime schedule that involved a busy playgroup, a whole new environment, and new people) that it wasn’t surprising when you got a runny nose. Your eczema also got worse, but you recovered from that pretty quickly. The runny nose came with a ridiculous amount of drool, so we figured you were teething, and you were. But then you got a fever that just wouldn’t quit, and you became miserable and listless. I knew something was wrong when you sat down in the bathtub. You haven’t sat down in the tub since you’ve been able to stand on your own. We brought you to the doctor and found out you had an ear infection. This is your second day on antibiotics. We see an improvement already - this evening you were almost back to your wonderful, laughing self. Now if we could just get you back to sleeping through the night...

Despite everything, we’re really happy with R as your day care provider. She’s warm and loving, and keeps you very busy. Right now, you’re there with B (2 years old) and M (18 months old), along with A (R’s 5 year old son, who is in afternoon kindergarten). You spend a few hours every morning at a playgroup where you can interact with lots of kids, play with some fantastic toys, and do circle time. You also get park time(where you get yourself happily full of sand), lots of rides in a fantastic 5-person stroller, indoor home play, outdoor home play... the list goes on. You have yet to nap there successfully; I think it will be the last thing that comes. You clearly enjoy yourself when you are there, and that makes us very happy.

Even in the short time you’ve been going to day care (and you’ve only been there three days a week), your communications skills have increased. (For one thing, you can now answer questions in the affirmative, which helps us a LOT.) R noted, as we have, that you love figuring out how things work, and that you have excellent comprehension skills. You know what the words mean, you’re just not saying them. She said you may turn out to be one of those kids who suddenly starts speaking in full sentences. It wouldn’t surprise me one little bit, sweet bean.

Yes, I did mention that you had a fall down some stairs. It was on my watch, and I felt terrible. I had you out on the back deck, but I hadn’t checked that the gate was fastened securely, and it wasn’t. I came inside for 2 seconds to grab something, heard you crying, and came out again to see the gate gone. I have never moved so fast in my life, Moe. And there you were, at the bottom of the stairs, sobbing your heart out. You had a scrape on your forehead, but were mainly badly scared. You recovered after lots of cuddles and some Tylenol. I’m not sure if I’ve recovered yet.

Lots of fun things have happened in the last month, too, sweetie. We have had successful outings to the Farmer’s Market, Chapters, St. Laurent, two museums, and a Greenbelt nature trail near our house. We’ve spent lots of time playing out back in the green space as well as in the driveway and other parts of the condo’s common area. We are constantly amazed at how “portable” you are - we can really take you anywhere. As long as we respect your needs and limits, you do super well.

You still love to dance, and it’s wonderful to watch you. You dance with your whole body. I’ve heard you singing, and reading to yourself. You love books - right now, one of your favourites is The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munch. (You love it when the dragon runs out of fire, and when Elizabeth tells Ronald that he’s a bum.) I bought you Goodnight, Gorilla, and it’s part of our bedtime routine now - you always ask for it. You are also still a huge fan of Mighty Movers, a book that is all about things that go. You’re all about cars and trucks and trains and anything with wheels, really. You love to walk outside and explore. You’re getting much more comfortable with dogs - you love Zaphod, and R has a tiny Lhasa Apso puppy named Pom Pom. I took you on a long walk with Zaphod the other day, and when we were done he stared longingly at you and wouldn’t go into the house until you were safely in the car, and you waved at him beseechingly. It was adorable. You love your doggy, you just wish he’d get close enough to pet without invading your personal space. Sorry, honey, that’s just not how doggies work.

Let’s talk about your relationship with your grandmothers. Oh, my goodness, you are such a lucky boy to have two grandmothers who love you so much and live so close by. They both teach you things, take you on outings, and love you so very much. Grandma is your rowdy playmate. She will chase you, laugh with you, give you plenty of kisses and hugs. Granny is quieter, but you have this amazing connection with her. You have seen her pretty much every day of your life. The day care transition was hard on her, too.

Hopefully the next month is easier on you, darling. (And on us.) We’ll spend this next month getting you used to your new routine, supporting you, reassuring you, and giving you all the love in our hearts. But then, that’s nothing new. You’re so very easy to love, little Moe. Your Daddy and I often stare at each other in disbelief about how lucky we are. We couldn’t ask for a better son. Keep being so fantastic.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About Moe and Probably a Bunch of Stuff You Didn’t

(I sent this email to Moe's new day care provider today. It seemed like something worth keeping, if only to capture what he's like right now.)

I'm experiencing a bit of anxiety about the upcoming transition, and it would make me feel better if I could send you this email all about Moe. It's more for my benefit than for yours - but you can take or leave the information as you see fit. I know he'll do fine, it's me I'm worried about. ;)

I don’t expect you to DO all these things, but it may help you during the transition to know what we do so you know what Moe expects. If you can incorporate any of these things into your routine with him, that’s fantastic. If not, well, at least you know what he’s used to and what he might be trying to tell you!

Outdoor Play
Moe loves to play in the sand – it’s his favourite part of the park. We’ve had some trouble with him throwing sand (less at others, mainly at himself). We tried immediately leaving the park when this happens, but he’s so easy going that he doesn’t mind. So we started doing an in-park time out. This has been pretty effective. We also warn him when we get to the park that we’re going to play nicely and not throw sand, or else he’ll get a time out.

Before his nap, which is usually after lunch, Moe is given a sippy of milk. We typically watch a show on Netflix – usually a 15-minute episode of Curious George, which gives him the time to chill out a bit and get prepared for nap time. Then we go upstairs, change his diaper, and put on his naptime music. We cuddle for a minute or two in the rocking chair, (with his soother), and he goes into his crib with his blanket and a stuffie.

Moe doesn’t have many words, and the words he does have, he uses sporadically. He communicates a lot by pointing and a few signs (when he points at something and then moves his hand back and forth, he wants it). I’m hopeful that spending time with other children will help those words come. Could you let us know when there are new words? :) Once we know what's he's said, we can encourage him to say those words again.

Because we can read his signals fairly well, Moe has been pooping on the potty most days for a month or two now. (Some days we miss the boat entirely, and that’s ok.) I generally know if he needs to go because he looks sort of uncomfortable and often tries to go hide behind something, like his toy garage. Or he kind of grabs at his diaper. We ask him, “Moe, do you need to use the potty?” and he grabs a toy car and heads for the bathroom without a backwards glance. He sits on the toilet on a reducer seat. He likes to look at books while he’s sitting there. (He also LOVES to play with himself. He’ll do it at any opportunity – the bath, the diaper table, the potty. I’ve given up the fight and we don’t discourage it as long as a) he’s not peeing on himself, b) he’s not hurting himself and c) we’re not in the middle of a messy diaper change.) Someone is always sitting by him while he’s on the toilet, and sometimes we hold his hand if he’s struggling with a big poop. We have no plans to take him out of diapers until he can really communicate with words, but the pooping on the potty has been a good experience for both of us! Moe tends to get a bit constipated if we aren’t careful, so when we pick him up, someone will likely ask you if he pooped today. *grin*

Moe’s only confirmed allergy is eggs. He gets a rash. He has been able to eat some baked goods that contain eggs, but nothing super moist (like a muffin). Basically, as long as eggs aren’t in the first half of the ingredient list, he’s generally ok. Things to watch out for: egg noodles, pancakes, French toast, moist muffins, sugar cookies, etc.

Moe has made huge strides in self-feeding in the last few weeks. He can feed himself spoon-fed stuff like sticky rice dishes, stew, and apple sauce. He's great with a fork for things like melon, broccoli, etc. And, obviously, he's got finger food down pat. We're trying to teach him that if he's done with something he should give the dish to us and not toss the stuff on the floor. (It's a slow process.)

Moe gets milk twice or three times a day, but other than that he gets water. He doesn’t get juice. I’m aware that we can’t keep this up forever, but I’d like to keep it going as long as we can. If you can keep his sippy filled with water until it becomes a problem (i.e.: he figures it out and asks for juice), that would be great. We really want him to love water and be ok with drinking it when’s he’s thirsty. If you do end up giving him juice, please water it down as much as humanly possible.

Moe is super affectionate, so please don’t hesitate to stroke his hair and give him little hugs. He’s used to getting lots of affection throughout the day.

Other Stuff
Moe loves pressing buttons, figuring out how things work, and playing with cars and trucks and things with wheels. He loves books and story time. He loves to dance, he loves music and singing. He adores the water – puddles, the water table, hand washing, bath time. We’re trying to teach him to be gentle with plants and animals. He loves to touch flowers, but knows to touch them gently. He’s a crazy mixture of sweetness and affection and seriousness and determination. I hope you fall in love with him, too.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear Moe (18 Months)

There's no denying it now, sweetie, you're not a baby anymore. At 18 months old, you are most definitely a toddler. And it has been quite a month – one of the most eventful you've had in a long time.

It was an eventful month because we all went on our first big family road trip together. We rented a cottage in Wells Beach, Maine with Granny and Grandma. It was a long drive, and you handled it like a trooper. We tried to give you as many chances to get out of the car as possible, and you kept yourself amused with stuffies, cars, books and music. You were a total champ, and we were so amazed at how easy the trip was with you. You're an excellent travel companion, sweet sir.

You enjoyed Maine very much, but you didn't sleep very well there. Nobody did, really. It was five people in a small two-bedroom cottage. You and Daddy and I were sleeping in the same bedroom. You got more and more comfortable as the days went by, but by the time you found you way, it was time to go home.

It was so wonderful to share the Wells Beach experience with you, Moe. Granny and Grandpa Will took me there many summers when I was a little girl – as young as you are now! - and for some of those summers, my Granny and Grandpa were there, too. Your Daddy and I rediscovered Maine together three years ago, and we were eager to bring you there. It was everything we could have hoped for.

You love playing in the sand. For you, the beach is all about the sand. For me, it's all about the ocean. Imagine my face when I brought you to the beach for the very first time to show you the ocean, and after 9 hours of driving, all you wanted to do was play on the staircase down to the beach! I think the waves scared you a bit – they were noisy, and somewhat unpredictable. But as soon as we found you a little tidal pool to call your own, you were a happy, happy boy. Sand, water, and a couple of trucks were all you needed to play for hours. It was the first time you'd seen wet sand... and it was awesome.

We had a few power struggles that week – in the cottage and on the beach. We ended up driving 45 minutes to find a Walmart where we could buy a toilet lock. There were a number of meltdowns in the cottage over things like not touching the oven, not banging cupboard doors at 7:00 am (we were on the second floor of a two story cottage – people were sleeping below us), and OMG stop touching the TV. And on the beach, we repeatedly struggled with wearing a sunhat and the throwing of sand. (We're still working on that one when we hang out at the park. We've tried the “throw sand and we go home” rule, but you never seem to mind leaving! You're very adaptable. So now we try an in-park time-out. You may be getting it now, but it's slow going. Your hearing tends to be rather... selective.)

Overall, though, you were a gem. We went to Perkins Cove in Ogunquit and walked part of the Marginal Way. I bought a lobster roll at Perkins Cove and you tried lobster for the first time. I sure didn't get much of that lobster roll! I've never seen you eat anything like that before. You were double fisting it, working so hard to swallow fast enough to put more in your mouth, begging me for more. You would have eaten the whole thing if I had let you. (Oddly, we offered you some again when Granny bought a lobster later in the week, but you weren't interested. Maybe you'd filled your lobster quota.)

We took you to the Kittery Factory Outlet Stores, and you outdid yourself. We kept you occupied by letting you play on the coin operated ride-on toys, and keeping the stroller moving so you were always looking at new things. (Someday, you'll figure out that those ride-on toys actually DO things if you put money in them, but so far, we're good with just climbing on them.) Little man, you did well at those outlet stores. Between us and your grandmothers, you have a good haul of clothes for the fall. T-shirts, pyjamas, a pair of crocs, a lovely blue ball cap... the list goes on.

We went for walks around Wells, we watched the waves at high tide, we played on the cottage lawn, and played on the beach every day. We chased seagulls, filled dump trucks with sand, made roads, and dug holes. Some days, you didn't go any farther than 3 feet from the stairs to the beach. Other days, you would walk and run and make use of all the space available to you.

Days at the beach meant sunscreen and sand, which meant being bathed several times a day. We figured out pretty quickly that showers were the way to go – and you LOVED them. The water would run down your face and you would laugh and laugh. It made it very easy to get you cleaned up after a hour or two at the beach. And it was lots of fun (but very wet!).

We took you to the Wells Beach Lobster Pound, which I remember visiting when I was a little girl. The tanks were too high for you to see into, and we didn't want to let you out of the stroller for fear that you would put your hands into the tanks like they were a water table. But a very nice pound employee took a lobster out of the tank and put it on the floor in front of you! I don't know who was more stunned – you or the lobster. The lobster started backing up right away, and I think you would have, too, if you hadn't been in your stroller.

All in all, it was a lovely week. But you were very, very happy to be home, and your sleep improved right away (thank goodness).

We did a lot of other things this month, too! You and I met your Daddy's cousin Josee for lunch at O'Grady's, and you proved that we really can take you anywhere. You showed us that you can take Daddy's hand and walk through a store with him. You were a model in a photo shoot for my workplace annual report. You learned how to put your face in the water (both in the bath and in Uncle Ted's pool). You figured out how to stop the water from going down the bathtub drain. You still love to dance, and now use your whole body, not just your feet. You love to climb your step stool (or anything, for that matter). You can happily look at a book on your own, and put your books back on your shelf when you're done with them. You can carry your snack to your bench. You love your stuffies, particularly Leary the Otter (inherited from me) and Buster the Dog (from Jiff and Kim). You love eating watermelon. You love watching Curious George. You make a hilarious sniffy face, and a great frowny face. Your eyebrows still get compliments wherever we go.

You are fantastic. You are determined, affectionate, funny, expressive, chatty, sweet, intelligent, curious and adorable. You've been such a wonderful baby, my love, and you're the most amazing toddler. It's been so lovely watching you grow and learn and develop into your own person... and we're still just starting. We love you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear Moe (17 Months)

My sweet, sweet sweetie, you are 17 months old today. That is almost a year and a half, and it’s hard to believe. We have had a lot of fun together this past month, and you’ve made some awesome leaps and bounds in your development.


You’ve started talking, and it’s fantastic. Your first word, other than “mamama” and “dadada” was “car”. You tend to say it twice, “car car”, like the song Car Car by Elizabeth Mitchell. It’s one of your favourites. You have also said “hug”, your own version of “Granny”, “Grandma” and your own name (all of which kind of sound the same), and “yeah”. You love the song Mercy by Duffy, and sing along to the chorus, chanting “yeah, yeah, yeah”. You also love to sing along to John Lithgow’s version of “I Had a Rooster” and you sing “doodley-doodley-doo”.

The day after you said your first word, I was telling Grandma what strides you had made that day. I told her you had said “car”, “hug” and “yeah”. She turned to you and asked, “You said ‘yeah’?” and you looked right back at her and said, “I said ‘yeah’.” It was your first sentence, on your second day of talking!

You are getting more and more comfortable in your own skin, little sir. You love to walk backwards (probably because it cracks us up) and you can now sit very proudly by yourself in your red egg chair. The other day you sat down and happily swivelled for about two minutes. Now that you can get in and out of it on your own, you love that chair.

We have always said that we wanted to make music an important part of your life, and we’re succeeding. You often ask for us to turn on iPod player. In fact, you are now asking for specific songs, and not just music in general. If we sing a bit of a song to you, you want to hear it on the iPod. And while you used to be quite content to hear a song once and then listen to the rest of the playlist, now you often want to hear a song again. And again. And again. (It’s a good thing Mommy actually likes the song Yeti Stomp by the Backyardigans, little man.)

You really enjoy playing with crayons. You like to draw, but you also love to line the crayons up and look at all the different colours. I’m proud to report that we’ve only had to scold you for putting a crayon in your mouth once or twice.

Cars have been your favourite toy for some time now, but we recently introduced you to your train set, and that’s been a lot of fun. You aren’t sure what to make of the magnets in the train cars (why do the cars sometimes stick together and sometimes won’t stick at all?), and you like helping me build the track almost as much as you enjoy dismantling it all. The kit we bought has over 100 pieces, but right now you only have access to a few cars and the tracks. We’ll eventually bring down the other pieces when I can be sure you won’t put the little bits in your mouth.

We had a magical Canada Day together this year. As per tradition, we spent the day at Uncle Ted’s house. You swam in the pool for about an hour in your jaunty new lifejacket. When we got you out of the pool, you enjoyed wandering around in your shark robe. You looked like a little boxer. Uncle Ted set up the slip and slide, and you very happily played with the water tub while everyone else went tearing down the slide. Your Daddy got some great photos of you.


Uncle Ted and the Pool Filter

I was one of the first to go down the slip and slide, and the slide wasn’t terribly wet yet. You were sitting on Daddy’s knee, and you watched me run, jump, and stop halfway down the slide. Everyone in the yard went, “AWWWWW” and laughed at my expense, and you, gallant little boy, burst into tears. I asked, “Why is my little boy crying?” and someone answered, “He’s sad that you’re a loser who couldn’t make it down the slip and slide.” We have great friends. No, really.

Decked out for Canada Day

We have said goodbye to bottles forever, Moe. It only took a day or two, but you made the transition from bottle to sippy cup at bed and naptime very easily. Now the routine is easy – before nap or bed, we watch an episode of the Backyardigans while sitting on the floor cushion together, you drink your sippy of milk while you watch, and then we go upstairs and after a short cuddle, you go into your crib and go to sleep. There were a couple of nights when you cried because you weren’t getting a bottle upstairs, but I cuddled you and agreed that change can be hard, and you resigned yourself to it and went to sleep without any more fuss. I’m so proud of what a good sleeper you are. We worked really, really hard to teach you to fall asleep by yourself, and it’s paid off for us all in a big way.

Let’s talk about your ankle, my love. The back of your right ankle has been giving us trouble for months and months now, and we reached our wit’s end. There’s a crack in it surrounded by eczema. If you wear shoes, it gets worse. If you don’t wear socks all the time, you scratch it to bits. We have found you in your crib with your sock off and your fingers bloody. It’s horrible. It has meant that you can’t play at the park – you can’t wear shoes, and you can’t play in the sand without shoes with an open wound. Dr. D. prescribed some antibiotic cream, but it did nothing. We didn’t know if we should put cortisone on it because the skin was already so weak. So she sent us to Dr. L., who gave us a really strong steroid ointment for it and a regimen of specific instructions. That was Monday. It’s Wednesday today and your ankle looks better than it has in weeks. I’m very hopeful that if we keep this up, you should be healed well enough to play on the beach in Maine in August and finally wear shoes again. I was getting very concerned. I want you to enjoy the ocean as much as you can, and I’d also like you to get some wear out of those shoes we bought you before you outgrow them!


You have become very adept at using the potty. You have used it many times now with great success. (We’ve had to put a towel over the tank to hide the flusher handle, though, or else you will flush repeatedly and forget why you’re on the toilet in the first place.) You don’t seem to mind spending time on the toilet, which is fantastic. I am optimistic that when you’re able to ask to use the potty and we can toilet train you in earnest, it will go fairly well.

You are hilarious and have a great sense of humour. You make us laugh every day. You constantly amaze us with how quickly you learn new things. You know your mind and you know how to tell us what you do or don’t want. And we’re working on getting you to tell us those things in a polite way. You have learned to blow kisses and to ask nicely for “more” of something. You are sweet and loving, affectionate and kind. We had a really successful play date with your buddy Koen where you both shared well, played nicely together, and waved goodbye to each other at the end of the morning. Koen’s mom and I were both flabbergasted and delighted.

Reading with Uncle Luc, Aunt Kimmy, Noah and Caleb

Keep being such a wonderful little boy, Moe. We love you so much it’s insane, and we’re not the only ones. Granny and Grandma are crazy about you, your aunts and uncles genuinely seem to enjoy spending time with you, and our friends and neighbours are enchanted by your smile. You are growing into such a great little person.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear Moe (16 Months)

Oh, my sweet love, you are 16 months old today. And you are so much fun, it’s incredible. You are a sweet, playful little boy who loves to be busy, laugh and explore.

We’ve kept very busy over the past month - we’ve tried to take you on a special outing every weekend. This has included Touch a Truck, where we spent a very rainy morning with Granny and Bambi in the parking lot at Lincoln Fields exploring different vehicles. You got to sit in an enormous tractor! But you were most interested in the Red Cross van, which wasn’t part of the exhibit, but the Red Cross workers were nice enough to let you explore the outside of the van. You liked the Red Cross symbol especially.

For the first time in 12 years, Daddy managed to get the Saturday of the Great Glebe Garage Sale off! We had a nice family outing with some of our friends, and you were super patient while we wheeled you through the crowded streets of the Glebe. We came home with a finger puppet for you (a giraffe), one for Daddy (Yoda), and a lovely Pooh Bear picture book.

Granny and I took you to OC Transpo for Doors Open Ottawa. You were very excited when we let you walk around on your own, but not impressed when you weren’t allowed to go everywhere you wanted. You got to walk around a Double Decker bus and an old vintage bus. You liked sitting in the OC Transpo mini-bus (you were very interested in the candy canes that had been in there since the Santa Claud Parade - no, we didn’t let you eat them). But it was the mulch in the landscaped areas around the parking lot that made you happiest.

Yesterday was Father’s Day - Daddy’s second. It was a lovely day by all accounts. We went to the Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park for the first time - what a fantastic place! I think we’ll be going there again on Sunday mornings. But wow, we’re going to have to set a budget. It was so easy to spend a lot of money - but it was a special day, so we went a little wild and got some nice treats. Everybody wanted to give you a a sample. You tried a few types of sweet bread (we bought the apple one for you), some chicken lime curry (you liked it, so we bought some), a small piece of shortbread (you looked confused) and Mommy shared an egg-free donut with you (you were all over that). Wow. No wonder you were kind of hyped up from the sugar.

Right now, it’s all about finding things you’ll eat. Some meals go better than others. You won’t touch stew anymore, which is a shame, since it was such a staple for us for a long time. You’re also not a fan of green things. Right now, we rely a lot on sandwiches, pizza, and hummus. You’ve tried a smoothie (we’ll have to do that again soon - we just need to pick up more yogurt), you like hearts of palm, you’re a fan of mushrooms, you like strawberries if they are sweet, and you enjoy oranges. If you don’t want something, you make it very clear. A lot of mealtime involves you testing our reflexes to see if we can catch the food before it gets flung on the floor. (You are especially fond of chucking your sippy cup onto the floor with such force that if it hits my foot, I howl in pain. Thanks, baby doll. I love you, too.) You are getting quite adept at feeding yourself with a spoon, but you still need a guiding hand or else things get a little crazy. You like to paint your tray with the spoon, burrow into the food dish with such exuberance that it goes everywhere, and push the food off the spoon with your fingers.

I know you need to explore to learn, so my challenge right now is finding that middle ground. I want you to be free to explore and learn and experience new things, but I also want to keep my sanity. We’re walking this new ground together. I suspect this will be a lifelong thing. I’ll keep working at it if you do, sweetie.

Playtime with you is a lot of fun. You’re now playing with Hot Wheels and you love them. They work so well on your car ramp! We try and spend time every day out in the backyard, whether you are playing with the water table, with your cars or in the kiddie pool. When you hit the park now, you’re no longer interested in the swings. It’s all about the sand. You also like the slides. And I caught you feeding your puffs to your giraffe finger puppet the other day, which was adorable and showed that you like pretend play. I’m going to try and nurture that a bit more if I can. I’d like to get you a set of play dishes – we’ve borrowed a few from the toy lending library and you’ve really enjoyed them. Perhaps it’s time to find one for you to keep at home.

You still love your books, which makes us very happy. You have a great vocabulary – you know a lot of words and can point to things when we ask you. You can identify some shapes and colours, lots of animals and vehicles, as well as everyday items. But you aren’t talking yet. I’m trying not to worry about it – you make lots of noises and like to babble away. You are good at communicating your desires. You’ll get there in time.

You are great at walking – even on grass and on sand – and you can run, too! You also like walking backwards and turning in circles, which always makes me smile. (So much of what you do makes me smile.)

You have been very Mommy-centered for the last little while. You like me to stay nearby and protest if I walk away (even if it’s just to get myself a drink of water or use the bathroom). I’m flattered, don’t get me wrong, but getting things done can be a bit challenging when you’re like this.

One Sunday a few weeks ago, you just weren’t yourself. You cried a lot, very suddenly, and just seemed very insecure all of a sudden. It turned into a very cuddly day. We took it easy and spent a good chunk of the afternoon together on the floor looking at books, watching TV, and generally being gentle with ourselves. I was sorry you weren’t feeling your best, but was wonderful to have you sit in my lap, stroke my arm with your hand, and have you rest your head on my shoulder.

We often take the porch swing cushion and put it on the living room floor with your brown blanket when it’s time to chill out a bit. That’s where we sit when we watch The Backyardigans together. Sometimes you sit quite still with me, giving the TV your full attention. Other times you like to flop around on the cushion and roll and laugh. Either way, we have a good time.

We try really hard to treat you with respect. And lately that means giving you warnings before we change activities. We’ve started telling you that you have two more minutes of something, then one more minute. It doesn’t mean you don’t cry when we move on to something else (getting out of the bath, coming in from outside, getting back into the stroller or the car), but I think you cry for a shorter period of time.

Overall, you’re buckets of fun. You love being chased, you love to be picked up and thrown around, you love to dance. You have the best chuckle in the world (although you’re losing your fantastic baby cackle, which makes me sad – we’re going to have to try and get video of that), you’re developing a great sense of humour, and you have the sweetest smile. Everybody wants to coax a smile out of you, and they feel very rewarded when they do. Your aunts and uncles are madly in love with you. When Uncle Ted and Uncle Mark heard there was a wasps’ nest under your play table, they were at our door in 15 minutes with a can of wasp poison. Aunt Janine wants to cuddle you to bits. Our friends generally seem to enjoy your company, which is wonderful because it means people come to our house to play with you! (We’re going to try and get you over to other people’s houses more – it’s been so rainy on weekends that we haven’t been able to get to Uncle Ted’s pool, but I’m going to try and make that happen for you next weekend if it works out.)

We love you so much. You make our days sunny and bright, you make us laugh and smile, and we just adore you to bits. Your grandmothers can’t get enough of you, and you charm strangers with your beautiful eyes and expressive eyebrows. Keep being such a fantastic little guy. You’re not a baby anymore – you are definitely a toddler. And it’s wonderful. We loved meeting Moe the Baby and we are really enjoying getting to know Moe the Toddler.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dear Moe (15 Months)

What a lovely and busy month we’ve had, my darling! The weather hasn’t been fantastic, which means that there have been more than a few days that you didn’t get outside, but you’ve been kept busy with visits to playgroup and different museums.

We really hope that you’ll become a museum lover. Mainly because we think museums are a fantastic way to combine fun and learning, but also because it’s the field in which Mommy and Aunt Natalie work. We have a membership for the Science and Technology Museum, the Agriculture Museum and the Aviation and Space Museum. You hit Science and Tech on a regular basis - the five and under play area is perfect for you, and you love touring the exhibits and pressing buttons. We’ve also taken you to the Agriculture Museum more than a few times - you love seeing the animals, but the tractor exhibit is what has really captured your heart. Granny took you there and she said that when you saw the size of the tractor wheel, your eyes nearly popped out of your head. We’ve also done a lovely family outing to the Canadian Children’s Museum, but I think it will be another six months to a year before you can really enjoy that one.

We spent Mother’s Day at the Agriculture Museum, actually. Aunt Natalie has been visiting for a few weeks, so it was lovely to include her in our family outing. Both Granny and Grandma came with us, too. You enjoyed seeing the cows and got to pet a baby chicken!

"Seriously? You're going to let me touch it?"

One of the greatest things about taking you to the Science and Tech Museum is that now you’re walking up a storm and it’s a great place to just let you roam. You walk with great confidence, you’re getting much steadier, and you have even tried running a few times. We got you some lovely shoes for the summer from Kiddie Kobbler, thanks in part to a gift certificate from Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark. Having those light but well-fitting shoes has helped you quite a bit. You’re still not terribly sure of yourself on grass, but that will come.

You love to throw and chase your ball, you build wonderful towers with your Mega Blocks, you love playing with your cars and driving them over any surface you can find, and you LOVE playing with water. The weather has been poor this month, but we did have a couple of gorgeous hot afternoons where you were able to play on the deck. We’ve got it all set up for you with a play table for your cars, a gate, a chair for Mommy, and your water table. You loved playing in the water! I brought you to Uncle Ted’s for the afternoon yesterday and we filled the beer bucket up with water and gave you some toys and you kept yourself occupied for two hours. You were especially interested in the hose.

Water Table

We all got sick this month. Daddy got it, then you got it, then I got it. Granny even got it. Grandma seemed to emerge unscathed, somehow. But it was a terrible cold, and you weathered it as best as you could. It’s very hard to see you sick, little Moe. Eating and drinking were very difficult because you couldn’t breathe through your nose, you weren’t sleeping well, and you generally felt miserable. But we’re all back to 100% now, thankfully.

You’re a big flirt. You flirt with people at the park, with people you see in stores, with guests who come to our home. It’s adorable. You smile and giggle and generally melt hearts. You also started giving me and Daddy kisses, which was awesome. You did it for a few days but haven’t done it since. I hope you pick up the habit again. You still give excellent hugs.

You love it when we sit on the floor and you can stand behind us and hide behind our backs. You love it when Daddy carries you up the stairs super fast, chasing me. You love (thanks to Jeannie) to point at us with both your arms outstretched and your head cocked to the side. You love making the pinching motion with your fingers in the car. You love music, you love dancing, you love it when we sing.

We had a long discussion about whether or not we’d get you a toddler harness. We had decided against it for now, but when I brought you to Walmart to get a new baby gate, you suddenly pointed at something on the shelf and squealed. It was a monkey that you could wear on your back! As soon as I took it down from the shelf, you freaked out and wanted to see it so badly. I gave it to you and you hugged it. So I bought it. And you love to wear it. And although we don’t use this feature, there is a “tail” we can use as a leash should the need arise. It’s a nice compromise. Right now though, you just love wearing your monkey.

Now that the weather is nicer and you can play outside on the deck or in the yard, you’ve been seeing a lot more of your neighbours. A (who is about 4) lives next door, and her mom runs a day care, so there’s always two or three other kids there, too. There’s a little boy and girl who visit their aunt down the street, so they like to play with us, too. And there’s T a few doors down - he’s 3 or 4 and is tons of fun. His little brother E is only 7 months old, so right now you’re the youngest who isn’t a babe-in-arms. The other kids love your play table, and for the most part, are very nice to you. You see them playing outside and ask to go join them. It’s a nice part of the afternoon. Usually, I get home from work, get changed, and we go outside to play until dinner.

I think we’ve found you a day care provider, sweetie. Starting in September, you’ll be going to play at R's house for 3 days a week. After a month or so, we’ll make it 4 days a week. We really like R, but we especially like that she’s warm and affectionate (because you are too) and that she incorporates music into her day, because you love music. You’ll be going with her to a school playgroup in the mornings, too, which I think is a great place for you to spend time.

Your eating skills are improving all the time. We can put the plate on your tray and you’ll eat your finger food without dumping it. We can fill a spoon with food (if it’s relatively thick and sticky, like stew) and you will take the spoon from us and put it in your mouth. You like to drink from a regular cup now, too. We only put a small amount in the cup at any time, and we find that you’re more careful with milk than water. Water is often a free for all - you’ll load it into your mouth and then spit it out because it’s fun. You still take a bottle before bed or nap, and you also drink from a sippy cup when we’re on the go. We’ll eventually get away from the bottle and replace it with a sippy, and we’d also like to get you to brush your teeth somewhere between the milk and bed. We’ll get there. Right now you brush your teeth after each meal (while sitting in your high chair, chewing on the toothbrush) when we remember. You have so many teeth now that it’s getting more important for us to remember to give you the toothbrush! And we sing the Toothbrush Family song, which you love.

You have the best smile, the most awesome laugh, and the sweetest face. You are kind, gentle, determined, are great at problem solving, and are generally a ton of fun. We love you so much. Keep being amazing - you’re so good at it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Some Advice

I have several friends struggling with infertility right now, and today one of them told me that their boss called a bunch of people into his office and announced his wife's pregnancy. 

"I wasn't expecting that," this person said. "How do you deal with something like that?" 

My reply to this question: 

OMG, you try not to throw up.

I had a mantra. I would tell myself, "I'm happy for this person. I'm just really sad for me." And that feeling this way is OK. And I would put on a brave face for 2 minutes, walk up to them and congratulate them heartily, and then back off and say, "I'm sorry, I must run. Congratulations again!" and get the hell out of dodge. Or if it's a big group, just discretely melt out of the room.

And then go find some ice cream. 

And then you take your ice cream and go for a walk and cry. Because someone has just emotionally kicked you in the stomach and that's what we as humans do when that happens. You cry at the injustice and the unfairness and the why-the-hell-is-life-like-this.

And later, when it comes time to celebrate this man's good fortune, you send me $20 and I go and find some children's books, and I wrap them for you and buy a card, and you sign the card and give it to someone who will be attending the shower and you SEND YOUR REGRETS. Because torture is against the Geneva convention and attending a baby shower is torture for people coping with infertility.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dear Moe (Bonus)

Congratulations, sweetie. You got up your courage and embraced walking today. Daddy says you were super proud of yourself, squealing and laughing and flapping your arms in glee.

I'm very proud of you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear Moe (14 Months)

My darling, you turned 14 months old yesterday. I’ve been back at work for two months. Somehow, this past month has been even harder than the first month back. I think it’s that you are just so much fun to be around.

You have become incredibly affectionate in the last month. You love to give hugs, you love to receive cuddles, you love to put your head on someone’s knee and have your hair stroked. You love it when I lie down on the floor and you come up to me and lay down on my belly and we cuddle. It’s fantastic. And you don’t discriminate – you hug your Daddy, your grandmothers, and your aunts and uncles. Trust me when I tell you that it makes everybody’s day. Uncle Jay compared it to being shot in the heart with a rainbow. In fact, you hug Saskatchewan Bear less and less because you’d rather hug people.

We read books together every day. You particularly enjoy the First Mighty Movers book – you love pointing out the cars and trucks, and when we get to the police car, you go to your speedway and grab your police car to show that you know they are the same thing. You like My Nose, My Toes and Me, and are getting better and better at identifying your own body parts. You know your mouth, your belly and your toes, and you have been known to also identify your eyes and ears correctly. No luck with the nose yet.

You’ve done some nice little road trips this month. We took you to visit your Great Aunt Carol and Great Uncle Kevin in St. Zotique, and you did super well. You visited your Grandpa in Kemptville, too.

We also did a morning drive to Ogdensburg with you, where we hit Walmart to pick up a few special toys. We got you a water table for the back deck, as well as a ball for outside and a bright yellow metal Tonka dump truck. You had never seen one before, but as soon as we took it off the shelf you screamed in delight and begged us to let you hold it. We play with it with you in the driveway. (Side note – our driveway is very slanted. Granny’s is a safer place to play when dealing with toys with wheels and a little boy who isn’t 100% sure on his feet.) When we go on wagon rides, you insist on bringing the Tonka truck along. I caught you cuddling it the other day.

You’re down to one nap a day now, and it’s been a long process, but we’ve finally moved that nap to after lunch. You generally nap from about 1pm to 3pm, and it works well for everyone. You sleep well at night, for the most part, generally getting up once for a diaper change. I can’t fault you for that.

You’ve had a cold for the last week, which has meant that the nights haven’t been as great as usual. Unfortunately, I was in Waterloo for the weekend when you came down with the cold and your Daddy was on his own with you. Then HE got sick, too! But you were both troopers, and you’re getting less sniffly every day. The key is to keep you well hydrated, and to ignore your cries of distress when you see us coming with a Kleenex. We’ve also gone back to giving you a steam room at night when you wake up congested – we haven’t had to do that in ever so long. But it seems to help you.

My trip to Waterloo was a lot of fun, but it was my first time away from you for an extended amount of time. I missed you terribly, but it was good to get away and recharge my batteries a bit. We both had some separation anxiety, but things are back to normal now. It didn’t help that you were coming down with a cold at the time, you poor thing.

You have ALL kinds of teeth now, small sir. At least two up top, and I think three on the bottom. (It’s difficult to say; you’re not a fan of having your teeth checked.) After so long without any, it’s very strange to see teeth in your mouth!

Let’s talk about eating. You’re a good eater, you aren’t picky, and you enjoy your food. But mealtime is still pretty challenging. You like to be able to play with your food, and we’ll let you, if you’re eating at the same time. But if you stop eating and just keep playing, well… the spoon or the sippy cup gets taken away and the tears and recriminations begin. You like to use your spoon, but not to feed yourself. You used to bring it to your mouth, but now you’re all about using it to burrow into the food and to fling it up, bringing food with it. This is why there’s a tarp under your high chair now. Sometimes we feel like we should be wearing the tarp.

You have become a lot more verbal in the last week. I suspect that words aren’t far away. To date, you do “mamama” and “dadada” with some consistency, and you make fantastic lion noises.

You have a wonderful sense of humour, sweet son. You like to tease us with a very cheeky “will I or won’t I?” smile. It might be when you’re about to pop something in your mouth, and then you suddenly stop and smile. Or when you’re about to drop your bib in the hamper (a job for you that is going very well), and you leave it hanging there with a cheeky smile.

You’re motor skills are improving, too. You can put your discs on and off the wooden pole with great ease. You can make your wind-up train go, and you love pressing the buttons on your phone.

You took your first independent steps with Grandma shortly after I wrote your last letter. I was very gratified to have been there when it happened. But then you didn’t take any more! You won’t do it when we ask you to – it’s as those you’re scared – but we’ve caught you walking unassisted a few steps at a time when you are busy and don’t notice that you’re doing it. Otherwise, you’re cruising all over the place, or walking with our help – but you don’t need two hands now, you can do it with just one a lot of the time.
I took out some toys from the Toy Lending Library, and it’s been fun to watch you play with them. One is a rocking horse – you enjoy it, but don’t like being on it for long. I don’t think you like feeling “stuck” somewhere. The other is a set of toy pots, pans and plates. You have a great time with those.

We realized the other day, to our great dismay, that you can totally reach the outer six inches of the dining room table. We have some work to do. I’m hoping to get a lot done this weekend – we need to get more of the house ready for you. As Uncle Ted puts it, the babyproofing tide keeps rising!

Your Tia and Tio sent us a lovely gift for you. It’s your very own chair! You tried it at Sean and Jeannie’s and really liked it, so we wanted to get it for you. But Tia and Tio beat us to it! It’s red, and it’s set up like half an egg. It spins and has a canopy that you can pull down. You like sitting in it for a little bit, but you LOVE standing in it. I think we’ll be putting a stop to that, as my heart can’t take it.

We’ve started hunting for a day care provider for you. We’re hoping that you can start part time care in September. It will be good for you to play with other children every day. I’ll tell you, sweetie, I don’t think anyone out there is good enough for you, but we’ll work hard to find the best person we can.

We love you so much, little Moeling. You make us laugh every day. You’re just so much fun to be around. Our time with you is the best part of any day. Keep being so wonderful.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dear Moe (13 Months)

Dear, darling boy, it’s hard to believe its only been one month since my last letter. So much has happened that I’m not even sure where to begin.

Well, let’s start with your birthday party. We had some wonderful people here to celebrate with you. We found a great bakery that specializes in egg-free cupcakes and we were really pleased with how delicious they were. You were, too! You ate your first cupcake with great gusto, and behaved very well for a little boy who was hopped up on sugar and who hadn’t napped. I was proud of you.

Cupcake Face

You continue to make great strides in your physical abilities. When I wrote your last letter, you had just figured out how to climb one or two stairs. That lasted about a day and a half. You very quickly figured out how to climb the whole flight. You are so pleased with yourself - you laugh and smile and stick your tongue out in glee while you work your way up. You were less impressed when we installed a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs.

You are free-standing all over the place. You cruise the walls, the furniture, and anything you can get your hands on. And you finally discovered your walker! You love roaring around the main floor - you became very adept very quickly (within a day or two you went from a sort of drunken stagger to moving with a great deal of control) and I’ve even caught you driving with only one hand. It won’t be long before you walk. I’m even willing to bet that it will happen before I write your next letter.

Very Proud One-Handed Walker-Driving!

And my darling, it finally happened. Just a few days after your first birthday, you got your very first tooth. It’s slightly to the left on the bottom jaw, and boy did you ever work hard for it. Your little puffs go “crunch crunch” now when you eat them! I’m sure more will come in soon - you are still drooling like a St. Bernard. Some days you go through a bib an hour.

You’re also starting to vary how much sleep you need. Some days you only end up taking one nap, other days you still want two. Right now two seems to still be the trend, so we’ll keep that schedule until you let us know that it’s time to change it.

You are such an affectionate little boy, Moe. You love giving hugs and cuddles - both to the people you love and to your dear Saskatchewan Bear. There are other stuffies you’ll hug, like Humphrey the Camel, but no one compares to Saskatchewan. It’s heartwarming to watch you.

You are fiercely independent. You increasingly don’t want help with things and strive to do them yourself. You always impress me with your ability to quickly get over your tears after a fall or a bump. You got your 12-month vaccine in your arm this time, and didn’t cry at all. You just sort of yelped indignantly, but got over it very quickly.

You love finding little hidey-holes for your toys - in the couch, under the furniture, or tucked behind things. What stuns me is that you remember where you hide everything! You can identify a lot of your toy fruit and vegetables - if I ask you to pull a certain one out of the bin, you can. You still love to take off your socks, but now you try and put them back on. It’s adorable - you sort of place them over your feet and pat them as though you’re trying to get them to stick to your feet. Another thing that you are able to do, and which we are asking you to do daily, is to put things in the laundry hamper in the living room. You are able to crawl to it while carrying a dirty bib or some socks, and place them in the hamper. Daddy calls you our little “hamper monkey”.

We have a number of music cues throughout the day. We sing a song when we brush your teeth (or tooth, I guess, since you just have one). We also have a bathtime song, and you’ve had naptime music and bedtime music for a long time now. You love to hear us sing, and sometimes sing along. You roll your hands (the action for the “Roly Poly” song from playgroup) to ask for a song. We sing Old MacDonald and look at your farm animals, we sing through meals, and we sing in the car. Also, you love to dance to any music you hear.

You haven’t found your words yet - in fact, you’ve gotten increasingly screechy in the last month. But you can now say “mamamama” consistently, and you seem to be talking about me when you say it, which is pretty awesome.

You got some lovely toys for your birthday, and particularly love your new keyboard, your farm animal puzzle and your Bubble Wash. You also got a red wagon from your Grandma and today we took it for its inaugural trip. I think we’re going to have some great times with that wagon this summer!

Our goal has always been to raise a little person who loves reading, and you’re off to a great start. We read books together every day - I’ll choose three and you decide how many of them we’ll read and in which order. Usually we read them all. You were so enamoured with the book Heads by Matthew Van Fleet. It’s a great touch-and-feel book with pull tabs and textures. You especially loved the burping hippo - you make the burping noise, which is hilarious. But one day when you were reading it with Daddy and got a bit too excited and ripped that poor hippo’s head off. You were stunned, and tried to fix it right away. You pressed the hippo head onto the page, trying to get it to stick. You tried it on a number of different pages before you seemed to understand what had happened. I’ve since fixed the hippo head, but it’s very fragile. Also, other parts of the book are damaged - not due to your overenthusiasm, but because you read that book four or five times a day for a month or two. So now you’re not as likely to bring us that book to read. But I suspect Daddy may get you another copy - or a copy of its companion, Tails. Other books you love right now include Where’s My Sweetie Pie?, My Nose, My Toes and Me, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

You pretty much won’t eat jarred entrees any more. You tasted Daddy’s Lamb Tikka Masaala, and that was it. You eat all kinds of finger food - there’s very little you can’t eat, as long as it doesn’t have eggs in it. We found a great recipe for egg-free pancakes for you, and you loved those. And we confirmed that you can eat chicken now, so that opens things up quite a bit. Feeding time can still be quite challenging - it can turn into a real power struggle. You want to hold the spoon, but you won’t bring it to your mouth. You’d rather use it to get your hands into whatever food is in the bowl. Sometimes I feel like a limp rag at the end of the meal.

First Taste of Sushi

The biggest change that has happened in the last month is that I went back to work. My first day was Family Day, the day after your birthday. It was very, very difficult to go from spending all my time with you to only seeing you for a few hours a day. But I try really hard to make those few hours count, and I love spending the whole day with you on weekends. I’ve been working a compressed week, which means I work an extra hour each day and then I get every second Friday off to spend with you. I get up at 5:20am, start work at 7:00am, and get home around 4:45pm. It can get long, but it’s worth it for that extra day with you.

Right now, you spend your weekdays with Granny or Grandma. Daddy takes Wednesdays. Knowing that you’re with people who love you and know your routine has made the transition at bit easier for me.

You have dealt with the transition with your usual flexibility. You stopped sleeping through the night for the first three weeks, but you seem to be getting back into the swing of things. Other than that, and some separation anxiety during that first week or two, you’ve been just fine.

Moe, you are so much fun. Daddy and I can’t get over how much we love to spend time with you. We live to make you laugh and smile, we love watching you figure things out, and it is just such a privilege to share our life with you. Everybody loves you - you’re sweet and fun and easy-going. It’s so fantastic to watch you grow into such a lovely little boy. We love you so much - you’ll never know how much. I don’t even think that we understand how much we love you.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Official!

We're calling it. First tooth. Sprouted last week. Breakfast puffs now make a "crunch crunch" noise!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So, How's It Going?

People have been asking me this question a lot lately. I went back to work on Monday. It's Wednesday.

How is it going? Well, I enjoy the people I work with. I enjoy the work that I do. But it has been very difficult to go from seeing Moe for every one of his waking moments to spending only 2.5 hours with him in the evening, during which time he needs to be fed and bathed. I miss planning and going on our daily adventures. I miss being there when he wakes up in the morning, and from his nap. I miss the way he crawls over to me to recharge. 

I got home yesterday, and I swear he was miffed at me. I may be projecting. 

I'm not sure what circle of hell this is, but I'll let you know when I figure it out. 

So, how's it going? Not fucking well. 

But I'm a brave little toaster with tons of toaster-bravery experience, and I'll get through this like anything else.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dear Moe (12 Months)

I’ve kind of been dreading writing this letter, my love, because I didn’t want to make it real. But it’s true. You’re going to be one year old on Sunday. Holy monkey. This year has gone by so very, very quickly.

Before I get into more sentimental musings, let me tell you how far you’ve come in the last month. In the last four weeks alone, you have managed to learn to pull yourself up to standing (and get back down again with grace and style) and cruise the furniture. We’ve caught you free standing for a few seconds here and there. And the other day, you were playing by the stairs and suddenly your feet weren’t on the floor anymore - you’d managed to get up one stair. 

Moe and Rolipop

You are the king of the main floor. The whole place is childproofed now - gates at the top of the stairs and in both kitchen entrances. We’ve set up a fantastic play area for you with all kinds of lovely toys. And you go right for the electrical sockets, the laptop and the DVD player.

You are still a very happy little boy, for the most part. You’re taking a real interest in your surroundings. You noticed and love the Peter Ellenshaw postcard in your room - I put it in there one day and you saw it right away when you woke up from your nap. I’m thinking of ordering you a Peter Ellenshaw poster for your room. We finally put up your wall art (you know, almost a year after you were born), and you love it. You like looking at the pictures and at photos on the walls around the house. And a few weeks ago you started something new - you noticed the framed photo of Boo in the living room, and every day you ask to say hello to it. (We bring it down to you and you point at it and say things to him.) You also love your Disney snowglobe - part of getting up from your nap is watching it play a few times.

You still love music - your Daddy has been introducing you to classical music. You love grooving to Vivaldi and Corelli, but aren’t so keen on the Germanics. You enjoy the funk and jazz he plays you, too. And you still adore dancing with us.

Your new favourite thing to do is to crawl all over me while I lie on the floor. You put your little fingers in my belly button, you snuggle up to my belly, and you crawl all over my legs. You still do the “Mommy Recharge” when you play - you’ll just crawl up to me if I’m sitting on the floor or the couch, come for a little snuggle for a moment, and then go back to playing.

We hang our Christmas cards from little festive clothespins on a string along the banister. Over the holidays, you enjoyed looking at the cards so much. We’d take one down for you every day, let you touch it and play with it. But now that the holidays are over, it seemed so bare. So I made you another clothesline for cards - we’ll always have some around, whether they are for Valentine’s Day or Easter or a birthday. Now you know you can always look at your cards.


When we go on our afternoon adventure, and it involves the car, you always smile at me as I look behind me to pull out of the garage. I think you like going out in the afternoons. Sometimes we go to playgroup, or to visit a friend, or to a museum. Or we go run an errand and get some groceries. You always seem to enjoy our adventures, whatever we do.

I’ve been trying to go to the playgroup at the Ontario Early Years Centre as much as possible over the last few weeks. I want you to play with other kids as much as you can. Plus, I want you to already be comfortable there so it’s easy for Granny or Grandma or Daddy to bring you. You don’t currently excel at the circle time, but you’re learning. First, you saw circle time as so convenient because all the good toys were suddenly free. Then, you saw it as your personal time with the educator, and you’d crawl up to her and sit in her lap while she tried to lead the songs. If we keep taking you, you may eventually sit still. Maybe.

You’re a very gentle little boy. You can be trusted with pets, like Zaphod, Murray and Missy Bean. You still need to be supervised, obviously, but you’re so good to them. You pet them gently. You’re also fairly gentle with other kids, but you don’t understand why it’s ok to pull yourself up using Mommy or Daddy but not the 11-month-old at playgroup. And you still go for the eyes. *grin*

Moe Pokes Zaphod's Nose

You love playing peekaboo around corners in the house. You enjoy being pushed around on your car - it won’t be long before you can use it with the walker setting. You like to sit by your book cupboard, open the door, and choose books to look at. Sometimes we look at them together and sometimes you just want to look at them by yourself.

Book Cabinet - Upper Shelf

You still have no teeth. But the teething has escalated - I didn’t think it could, but it has. At one point, you refused to eat. (That has NEVER happened before.) We ended up feeding you little bits of frozen fruit, and that helped. You can feed yourself finger food now! And you love to! It’s wonderful to see you putting puffs, cheerios, cheese, toast bites, bits of mushrooms, grapes, potato and more.

Your nose has been running for more than a week now, you poor thing. It’s made things difficult for you. I thought it was teething related, but it may have been a cold. We brought you to the doctor and she confirmed you had no ear infection or chest congestion, which put my mind at ease. She also noticed that your fingers were in very, very rough shape. Between the eczema and putting your fingers in your mouth, they had become so raw and cracked. We had tried band-aids and polysporin, but apparently that wasn’t the thing to do. She prescribed a cream for them and after just a few days we’ve already noticed a big improvement. That makes us very happy.

She also gave us some recommendations for bath time - we’re to bathe you every day instead of every two days (when possible), keep the baths short and not too hot, and rub oil on you before drying you off. Bath time isn’t the fun time it used to be for you - you hate having your head tipped back to rinse your hair (since you won’t do it of your own accord, we have to force you) and you want to stand up in the tub all the time. But you do love being in the water!

We have a small celebration planned for your birthday, with some of the people who love you best. We’ve invited a few of your friends that have known you since the early Well Baby Clinic days, and your Aunt Natalie will be in town to celebrate with you, too.

Big changes are coming, little dude. I go back to work the day after your birthday. Granny, Grandma, Daddy and I will be taking care of you, with Granny doing the lion’s share. I know you’ll be very happy with this arrangement. After six months, we’ll find you a day care spot where you can play with other kids, too. But I am going to miss you more than I can even describe. So I won’t - not right now. I’ll tell you about that in a separate letter.

Do you have any idea what this past year has meant to us, little man? Your Daddy and I expected that being your parents would be fun. We never dreamed it would be this much fun. You bring joy into our lives every day. We love sharing our life with you. Every day, we tell you how awesome you are. And you are. Even when things are difficult and you’re not having the best time, you’re still amazing. You amaze us with your patience, your sunny disposition, your laid-back attitude and your fantastic laugh.

Moe's First Haircut

We say that our family mantra is “We want to be invited back.” And you’ve never let us down - everywhere we bring you, you are well behaved and sweet. It helps that we try to read your signs and leave before things turn ugly. But so far, we’ve always been invited back.

We knew from the moment we first held you in our arms that you would change our lives. We didn’t realize that in the process, we’d become better people. Thank you, we owe you so much.

Hybrid Fruit