Friday, May 10, 2013
I was just reading the letter I wrote to you last year, and it’s amazing to me how much has changed, but how much has stayed the same.
A year ago, I told you that you were a study in contrasts, and that still holds true. You are either an absolute delight or an incredible terror. There is little middle ground. There are days that my heart feels so full it could burst, and days when I cry in defeat. You are an incredibly bright child, and your dad and I love you so much.
When you were just a little over 1, we moved to Indianapolis. We have been living with your grandparents ever since, waiting for our house to sell. Whether that was the right decision or not remains to be seen, but I will say that your grandparents love having you here. Your Pop (your name for Grandpa…we think you shortened it to the last syllable…you call Granddad “ANNDAA”) had a very, very major surgery at the start of April, and if nothing else, having you here when he came home from the hospital was really wonderful for him.
You are walking, talking in single words and short phrases (mostly commands—get up, get off), running and climbing. You are a rough and tumble boy. You are constantly covered in bruises and scrapes. You regularly needs band-aids. You love being outside and on sunny days will think nothing of spending 3-4 hours or more a day outside. At Grandma Jo and Granddad’s, I think you would spend every waking moment outside—their yard is just so much fun to explore. You love your bicycle, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and running. You like to go for walks up the side streets (you do not like your stroller, you prefer to walk yourself). You love dogs, not just Ollie and Keegan, but every dog you see. When the school bus drives by, you scream, “BUS” over and over again. You got to get on a bus at Tamara and Perry’s house a few weeks ago, and you were thrilled. You love goats, kind of randomly. They are your favorite at every petting zoo, and you love the goats at Grandma and Granddad’s neighbor’s house.
You are a big fan of computers. You like YouTube (specifically any video with Pete the Cat and the Pigeon from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and a select handful of music videos) and you like to watch things on Netflix. Your favorite tv shows are Sesame Street, Sofia the First, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, and Word World. Sometimes you like some of the other shows on Disney Jr, but not always. You pretty much get to watch 1-2 tv shows a day, so sometimes you go weeks without seeing one of your shows, which makes you more excited when you see them. You have figured out how to use the Kindle Fire and my smartphone. You have 3-4 apps you play with on each. Your favorites are a coloring app and an app that teaches counting.
You know your alphabet (not singing it in order, but you recognize every letter) and regularly count to five. You know a few shapes, and you can name several basic colors. You like to read your books—you still love Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. They have been favorites for several months. You like books that have lots of pictures, like the “100 First Words” or “100 First ….” because you can practice naming things. You love your alphabet puzzle. I caught you tearing the flap out of a lift the flap book last week, which I really thought you were over.
You can throw a walloping temper tantrum. Like whoa crazy. You have an ear-splitting scream and a mind of your own. You are starting to respond to correction and time outs, but it’s a long process. You obey your dad far better than you ever obey me. You respond to him quickly and obediently, after fighting me for a long time. We have been working on being consistent with you, and I think it’s helping. It’s also super important for you to sleep well…your sleep very much dictates you personality. You are exploring you world, and testing your boundaries, and doing the very things that a 2 year old is supposed to do.
Sweetheart, we love you so much. I cannot even begin to explain to you how much fun we have with you. I want for you to know that Daddy and I love you so much. Baby, just know that we aren’t perfect parents. We mess up a lot. We try our hardest, and pray for wisdom…and forgiveness. Liam, I just want you to grow up to know Jesus as your Savior. I want Him to be the most important thing in your life. If we do nothing else, I pray that we, through God’s grace, are able to point you to Him.
We love you,
Mommy and Daddy too
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Tomorrow is Liam’s second birthday. I have no idea how that happened…I mean, I do, but it’s crazy to think that my sweet baby is now a two year old. Of course, his attitude is totally that of a two year old (terrible, anyone?), but in so many ways, he’s still just a sweet squishy baby too. Does that make any sense at all? I didn’t think so….moving on.
For his birthday, I had watched Liam and observed and tried to figure out what would bring him the most joy. Three months ago, I would have guessed that we would be having a train party…or Sesame Street. Then he got really into Super Why. But in the past month or so, it’s been robots that have made up the bulk of my boy’s obsession. Or bots, as he calls them. There are two Sesame Street episodes that have robots on them, and I cannot tell you how many times we have watched them. I was trying to pull up Amazon Instant Video on our Roku using my phone the other day, and decided to try the voice feature. As I was saying, “Amazon Instant Video,” Liam reached in, grabbed my hand, and pulled it down to say, “bots,” in his sweet little voice. I could not stop laughing…and in that moment, I decided bots it was for his birthday. So I did what any modern mother would, and turned to Pinterest. The following are a few of the pins I found to help guide me in my robot party planning:
This robot head cut out is super cute. My sister and I made a robot to use for Liam’s party on Saturday, I just need to find a box to wrap it around. The blog this came from had a super cute robot party that I loved.
I loved this—Pin the battery on the robot. This party looked like it would be awesome for an older child…so if Liam likes robots when he’s six, I will definitely be coming back for more ideas.
And you had better believe I planned my party menu around what I could come up with robot sounding names for, like this picture from Celebrate Magazine
hadmysisterdraw made some robot coloring pages, and found some cute stuff for favor bags. And I found some seriously sweet, bright things to use for Liam’s decorations/plates/etc. I tried to not go too over the top, and to keep costs down, but to keep it cute and fun too. I will try to post on Monday the details from the party…I am looking forward to it!
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Picture is from last June, but shows why Ollie has to go away during meals…he’s too into Liam’s food. Also…can you believe how little Liam looks?
Every time we feed Liam, we have to remove Ollie from the situation. For months, I have been pulling a small morsel off of Liam’s plate, walking it down the hallway, and tossing it into the computer room of my in-law’s house so that Ollie will chase after it to eat it, and then I close the door and lock him up so Liam can eat.
Tonight, I was struck by it. It started with me laughing a little. Every single day, multiple times a day, I can trick Ollie into getting locked up for just a crumb of food. It first it was funny to me. He could have access to Liam’s whole plate if he just resisted the morsel he was given. But he cannot. (Also….obviously he wouldn’t really get Liam’s food…he’d be more likely to get in trouble). That one moment of temptation costs him the opportunity for so much more.
And it hit me. I am Ollie. I can be easily led astray by a morsel. I see a small bite, and wander off course to chase it. I miss the reward God has, I miss the bigger picture, because I am too stuck on the small bite. For months, I have been allowing myself to be stuck on a small bite….to wonder why things are the way they are, but I have been missing the reward, the big picture. I know I do this often. I know it down deep.
But in this instance, I see that the small bite is our house….I focus on the part where it hasn’t sold, where we don’t have our own home, where we have no personal space, and nothing is the way I want it to be. And I miss the reward. I don’t relish the fact that my mother-in-law can watch Liam so I can go to the bathroom for 45 seconds of alone time. I don’t enjoy watching my son play with and love his grandparents who missed so much of his first year of life. I don’t recognize what a reward this has been. I have reached a place where I realize that while I still desperately want a new house and my own bed, I do know that I will miss being here when we eventually move out. We have been so blessed, and I don’t want to take that for granted. I don’t want to focus on my one small bite and miss the whole picture. So tonight, I want to focus on the whole picture, and thank the Lord for what He has blessed us with.
Friday, March 1, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Liam is doing new things on a nearly daily basis right now. His language, his motor skills, everything, are just increasing at a crazy rate. He’s learning things that I don’t even know how he’s learning. I can’t count the number of times I have looked at Andy and said, “Did you know he can do that?” Here are few off the top of my head:
-He can climb anything. Stairs are no trouble. Chairs, stools, counters. He’ll climb them all. He really likes to try to go across the three stools at the island…the three stools that are about 8 inches apart from each other. Yeah. Not happening. Yesterday he climbed onto the island to try to get a toy that his grandma had put in the light fixture (I don’t know why…that was never going to end well).
-He can repeat a crazy number of animal sounds. Quack is his favorite. His stuffed dog Scout that he sleeps with does a whole, “Can you guess what I am?” then makes an animal sound, then says the animal name and asks him to do said sound with him. He repeats Scout every time. I can hear him playing with that and repeating sounds when he’s going down for a nap. He also has a Baby Einstein book that has animal sounds, and he repeats those and does a hand motion for several. His dolphin is hysterical. I’ll try to get it on video. Yesterday he picked up his monkey finger puppet and started making monkey noises, then tried to feed the monkey his banana. And when I asked him if he was eating dog food (he was…he was supposed to give it to Ollie, took off and hid to eat it himself) he responded, “Woof.”
-He is starting to learn the alphabet. I’m sure this sounds crazy. But he really can recognize like five letters of the alphabet. He has this Leap Frog Letter Factory toy, and you put each of the letters in the slot one at a time and it sings a song about them. He will pick up letters, say the name of them, then put them in the toy. He can do a, I, o, y, e, and sometimes p. He pointed out the D on Andy’s parent’s vintage Coke machine the other day (it says ICE COLD on the bottom). And today on Sesame Street they did the alphabet slowly, and he repeated most of the letters as they said them. And sometimes on Word World and SuperWhy he shouts out the letters when they come on screen.
-He is saying a lot more. Most of it is incomprehensible, and a lot of times he uses one word for opposites (off means off and on, hot means hot and cold), but he’s picking up new words. He answered the telephone the other day (we didn’t know it….) and the lady who called said he said “Mom, telephone.” I didn’t know he could say telephone…but Andy’s mom heard him say t-fa or something like it before that happened.
-He is learning how to manipulate. This one is crazy to me. I can tell when he wants something from me because he will give me a kiss or a hug, or snuggle up sweetly, then go and try get/do what he’s not supposed to do. Yesterday I told him he couldn’t have popsicles (Andy’s parents eat sugar free popsicles and a part of me dies inside every time they give Liam one….please, give my kid artificial food coloring and sugar free chemicals, awesome)(oh, and he won’t eat the homemade fruit popsicles I make for him because he’s developed a taste for the fake ones, more awesome), and he started to throw a temper tantrum. Then he stopped, walked over to me, wrapped his arms around my knees to give me a hug, and smiled. When I said, “Thank you for responding so nicely.” he then walked back to the freezer and tried to pull it open to get his popsicle. So. I only got a hug because he thought he’d get something for it. Nice try. Didn’t work.
And I’m sure there is more…but he’s waking up right now, so it’s time to go.
Friday, February 15, 2013
I have been reading a book this week, and in it, I have made a startling discovery.
I was really, really sick when Liam was born.
I knew it. Sort of. But not really. See…I knew I had a fever, and I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed. But I was so focused on not being sick, on enjoying the first days of being Liam’s mom, that I kind of let a lot of it slip over my head. I lied to my mom. I minimized what was going on, and kind of minimized it to myself. But the book that I am reading has brought about a sobering reality.
In this book, which is a painful memoir of a year that no one should ever have to experience, the author’s daughter went into septic shock after pneumonia. She was in a coma for weeks, and took a long time to heal. But the mother’s accounts of the first days in the hospital sound so like the days after Liam’s birth. She was lethargic, her fever was spiking to 103 and 104, and so many other little things. And I realize how very blessed I was that our small town hospital figured out how to treat me so quickly.
I was really, really sick.
But it could have been so much worse.
I have been googling septicemia tonight…and fungal septicemia (which was what was on my discharge papers), and it’s scary stuff. My sister has alluded to it before, but I really didn’t know. I really didn’t want to know. I skipped my annual exam with my doctor after Liam was born because I didn’t want to talk about it. My child will be two in under three months, and I haven’t been to a doctor since I was released from care after his birth (my follow up exam). I probably need to get on that. I will have to find a new doctor, of course, and get my records transferred. Because I probably should talk about it with a medical professional.
Monday, February 11, 2013
If you know anything about Andy, you know that he tends to live more dangerously than I. Not that he’s into skydiving or extreme sports, he just lives life at a much faster and louder pace than I do. When we first started dating (9 years ago…) it wasn’t uncommon to see him leap over a parking meter or flip over the side of a railing. It was just what he did. He’s not quite like that anymore (the whole growing up, getting a job, having a kid thing slows some of that down), but he’s still more of a daredevil at heart.
If you know anything about me, you know that I am an introvert who sometimes pretends to be an extrovert. Social situations wear me out. I love them. But I need to recuperate for a day after them. I’m awkward, and I get clammy and nervous and convince myself that people are only nice to me because they feel sorry for me, or they just want to be polite. I can talk a mile a minute and make you think I am completely self-possessed. I can even keep up with Andy in a conversation…we can be a pretty witty pair when the time is right. But it takes a lot of out of me. I’d just as much like to be curled on the couch, or hiding in bed…or just plain alone. Like to the point that last week I asked if for my birthday next year, I can go to a hotel and just be alone for a day/night (I was a little high on the drama last week…I also told Andy I wanted a YMCA membership not really to work out, but more for the free childcare while I took a shower).
That brings us to Liam. This delightful creature who is half Andy and half me. I have often said he is so much more Andy than me. He operates at Andy volume. He operates at Andy speed. He thinks it’s hilarious to leap off the couch and land on his face, or to tip over in a box and bonk his head on hardwood. He likes to climb tall things and move at fast paces. The more dangerous and exciting, the better for Liam. I don’t understand it. But in the past few weeks, there have been a few instances where I realize he’s a lot me too. Sometimes, after a particularly intense play session, he’ll go off in a corner and read a book by himself. Or put together and take apart his Duplos for 20 minutes at a time. This weekend, he was in high gear while playing with friends (the three daughters of our friends…ranging from 5 to just 2 weeks older than Liam), but after we had been at their house for a few hours, I watched Liam leave the group. He played hard. He pretended to be an extrovert. But it wore him out. And he wanted to be alone. I watched my sweet boy step back from the group, and go to the playroom and play by himself for a while. I asked him if he wanted to read with the girls, but he was content to be in the quiet for a few. So I stepped back and let him. Because I get it. Sometimes it’s best to be quiet with yourself for a little bit. I want to be sure to watch my sweet boy, to recognize these things in him. To see that sometimes when he’s throwing a tantrum, it might just be because he needs to be alone for a few minutes. I do it. I did it three times last week. And in our future home, I want to give him a space that can be his hideaway. Because I was the girl who read books on the floor of my closet snuggled in with pillows, a sleeping bag, and stuffed animals. And that boy does seem to be 50% me.