Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daniel went to daycare for the first time today. They have the kids ease in for a couple of hours a few days before they start for real. He was there from 8 to 10 a.m. this morning--long enough for me to treat myself to a pedicure. Too bad it's cold and dreary again-no sandal weather in sight! Anyway, Daniel did just fine--had a bottle and a very short nap, came home and ate again before settling in for an almost three hour nap. Sleeping is hard in a room full of busy babies, but amazingly, they do it. There were two sacked out in their cribs when I got there and two more playing on the floor. I remember being freaked out when Edward didn't sleep at first at daycare, but he got the hang of it and so will Daniel.

The picture above was a recent bath about which Daniel seemed to have a pretty strong opinion. I was in the other room getting ready to get him dressed and I heard John laughing uncontrollably. Daniel did not let go of John's shirt until we pried his fingers away to move him to to the towel.

My sister Nora captured this shot of me with both boys--definitely planning to get prints of this one for my desk at work! Edward would object to my use of the term "boys." When he hears me speak of them collectively, he corrects, "No, Daniel a baby. I big boy." Edward's verbal acuity took a turn against me the other day when he was not happy with my enforcing the time limit on playing Clifford games on It was time for his nap so he had some juice and went whining to his room. As he climbed into bed he moaned, "I need paci, teeny blanket" (his two sleep aides.) Then he added, "I mad at my mommy." Wow, that's tough to take from a two-year-old! But he let it go and we had a pleasant afternoon after he woke up.

Daniel has been getting more expressive too--lots of smiles and some different cooing noises. It's so fun to sit close to him and watch him react to your changing facial expressions. He also appears to be on the road to thumb sucking. He often shoves his whole fist in his mouth and licks/sucks until the hand moves away. He is not yet aware that he controls that hand and could easily bring it back after it departs. John was holding him the other day and he was actually licking his hand like an ice cream cone (Daniel, not John--John wouldn't waste the energy unless there was actual ice cream involved.) We'll see if this all evolves to thumb sucking once he gets control of his appendages. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I love the idea of self-soothing. On the other hand, you can't tell a kid to leave his thumb in bed the way we do with Edward's pacifier. Time will tell.

Over the weekend, Edward enjoyed some TV basketball with the NCAA tournament in full swing. He doesn't pay attention long and soon was rooting around in the front closet, where he found John's basketball shoes and tried them on. He's surprisingly adept at walking in our shoes, and it never fails to amuse us.

We had a tragic event in town this week as a man killed his wife and four children before taking his own life. A member of a prominent local family, he was facing trial in April for embezzling more than half a million dollars from the bank he worked for. No one will ever know why he thought this was his only option. So many people are left grieving and wondering. Although we didn't know them, this story intersects with ours in a very small way. They were members of my church, and a funeral for the family will be held Saturday morning. We were supposed to have Daniel's baptism then. Since we have family (including Daniel's godparents) coming from out of town we couldn't just postpone a week, so we were able to arrange with the priest from the Newman Center at the UI to celebrate the sacrament there.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter! This morning after church we managed our first family photo since the hospital. Not bad considering our living room light leaves a lot to be desired, and we had the camera on a stool with the timer set. It's a good thing we snapped it when we did, because within 15 minutes of this photo, both boys had to change clothes due to diaper failure--or, more accurately, overload. It was just as well, since it's a perfect day for lounging around in sweats--cold and snowy, just like the Easters of my childhood in which my new spring dress was almost always covered by my winter coat. Luckily, when I say "snowy," I mean only flurries, not the 14+ inches my sister and her family are digging out in Milwaukee. Honestly, I don't think I could have taken it. We finally have grass in sight, and even if it's a muddy mess, at least it's not snow!

My other two sisters escaped from Chicago's snow (not as much as Milwaukee, but more than here) and came for a visit on Friday and Saturday. We had a great time! Edward doesn't really understand about "going home" because he keeps asking for "Aunt Nora, Aunt Bridget." They were brave enough to come with us to the Easter festivities at the mall, which included live bunnies and an Easter egg hunt in the indoor play area. This is the "other mall"--the one that's usually much more tame. When we arrived, the line for the egg hunt was all the way down the mall corridor. We visited the bunnies first and then realized that the line was only because they hadn't started letting anyone in the store for the egg hunt. Once it started moving, it wasn't as bad as we had initially thought. The play area is actually a business, which consists of mini-golf, video games, and a huge play structure akin to those found in fast food restaurants. If I'd known how much Ed would love it, I would have gladly paid the $4 admission more than once this winter. Sadly, I didn't even know it was there. But yesterday, admission was free and they had two separate egg hunts, one for older kids and one for kids under 4. Edward "found" two eggs, but quickly discarded them when he figured out that holding them was impeding his climbing. Daniel, on the other hand, was unimpressed.

The Easter bunny visited our house while we were at church, so Edward arrived home to find this "basket" waiting. Why would a boy want a basket when a dump truck holds goodies just as well? Actually, this is part of my "nothing comes in the house unless it's disposable or consumable" mantra. This truck is meant for outside and will reside there once the weather cooperates. All but two of the eggs held 'Nilla wafers or Teddy Grahams. Leave it to Edward to pluck as his first choice one of the two that held jelly beans. After we saw what a mess this was creating, John subtly grabbed the other and spirited it away. Edward still dribbled his way through one egg full of jelly beans and then happily chowed on the other stuff. We think he's getting his two-year molars, as he's been a bit grumpy and walking around with his hands in his mouth all weekend. This also might explain (partially) the jelly bean slobber.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One month from today, on Saturday, April 19, Team Kenyon will be back on the move for the March of Dimes March for Babies. This is the new name of the event we've participated in for the last three years, raising both awareness and funds for the fight against prematurity, which has touched our family so deeply. Once again we'd like to invite our friends and family to join us in Iowa City or to find out when your own town is having its walk and lace up your shoes.

We're proud to walk each year in memory of Will and in honor of Edward and Daniel. We and the March of Dimes appreciate whatever support you can offer, whether physical (by walking with us or in your own hometown), financial (by making an online pledge toward our fundraising goal) or moral (by encouraging us to get up and get moving in preparation for the 10K walk.) Clicking on the Team Kenyon link above will take you to my fundraising page where, if you scroll to the bottom, you'll find links to donate and/or to register to walk with us or in your local WalkAmerica event. Each walker has to have his or her own page so John has a separate fundraising page.

I'm not kidding about the need for moral support. We'll need to do some serious training after being cooped up all winter. I took the double stroller out for a spin today, and it was definitely a wake-up call. We only went four blocks to the park, but I have to say it was a challenge to push 40 pounds of boys (plus the 20+ that the stroller weighs, even though I chose it because it was one of the lightest models available!) With any luck this weather will hold and we'll have some great afternoons for strolling in the next month plus a nice sunny day for the walk.

Here's a bit of Edward in action at the park; Daniel slept in the stroller the whole hour we were there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2008!

I took a lot of grief in 2006 for this thigh-licious St. Patrick's photo of Edward. Daniel is no slouch in the thigh department, but I believe Edward wins the all-time prize.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

This week marked a return to the great outdoors, as temperatures remained above freezing and even approached the 50s in the afternoons. Each afternoon, we bundled Daniel into the Baby Bjorn carrier and got Edward into his boots, and a few times his snow pants--not for warmth but for dryness. We took walks around the block that lasted up to an hour, and Edward spent a lot of time splashing in the puddles of melting snow. In some cases the puddles were so large and so deep it was more like wading. Even the boots and snow pants weren't fully up to the challenge. Wearing them enabled us to stay out longer, but he still had to change socks and pants when we came in. A small price to pay for a refreshing change of pace. Daniel didn't seem to mind, falling asleep for most of each excursion. Yesterday, John and Edward even went to the park for a little while. They came home muddy and wet, but happy. Or, at least Edward was happy!

For indoor fun, we recently took out the play mat that had been stored away since Edward outgrew it. Daniel seems to like it and since Edward can't fathom a toy in his living room not belonging to him, he has gotten in on the action a bit too. We have to remind him to be gentle next to Daniel and not to use him for leverage when he tries to get up. It's a work in progress. We also attached the aquarium activity bar to Daniel's bouncy chair, so that makes TWO toys that are Daniel's, not Edward's. We are trying to explain that there is no need to turn on the sounds when Daniel not sitting in the chair or is sleeping in it!

At Daniel's two-month check-up, the doctor asked if he was "smiling responsively." We've seen the occasional smile, but couldn't say for sure that we'd ever actually coaxed one out of him. She also asked about "vocalizations," but other than "he grunts when he's trying to poop," we couldn't answer definitively. What a difference a week makes. Grandma and Grandpa came for dinner Saturday night and Grandma had him smiling and cooing up a storm. It's hard to get a picture because of the camera delay, but this one gives a pretty good idea of Grandma's "baby whisperer" skills.

In other developments, Edward has started getting himself out of bed without waiting for one of us to come get him in the morning or after his nap. At first we thought we'd just adapt. After all, we'd had a four-month honeymoon since we moved him from the crib to the twin bed. It's about time he figured out he didn't need us to get in and out. However, we're reevaluating our "do nothing" approach after a 5:50 wake-up this morning when the doorknob rattled and Edward came toddling into our room from the office. Those who know the layout of our house will understand our alarm, as this approach meant he'd left his room, wandered through the living room, kitchen and office, and then found his way around to our room. We didn't hear a thing until he opened our door. So now we're working on reminders to "call Mommy or Daddy when you wake up" and we'll see where that gets us.

The shamrock shirts are washed and ready for the big day tomorrow. Whether we'll manage to capture photos before they are stained beyond repair is an open question. Watch this space and find out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Turns out Daniel is not so sleepy after all. He woke up to eat around 2 p.m. and afterward was happy enough for his two-month photo shoot. For a glimpse of his life as the hand-me-down kid (as well as for brotherly comparison) check out Edward at two months. Clearly the chubby cheek genes are dominant in our families!
Daniel is two months old today. Where does the time go? He went to the doctor where he weighed in at 12 pounds and measured 22 inches, which puts him in the 58th and 26th percentile, respectively. He got three shots and an oral rota virus vaccine, which is new since Edward was this age. (He's only two and he can already say "Back in my day, we didn't have these fancy rota virus vaccines!") Needless to say the shots were not well-received, but he seems to have gotten over the affront because except for a brief feeding interlude, he's been sleeping since we got home two hours ago. The doctor told us to expect him either to be more sleepy or more fussy than usual. Fingers crossed for the sleepy reaction to continue!

We should not be surprised at Daniel's expansion, for regardless of the delivery method, he greets each meal with gusto. He's been spending more time awake and enjoying his playmat, which is great because it apparently makes him tired enough at night to carry through a six-hour stretch. We don't always get that much time between feedings, but it's good to know he can do it.

Daniel took his first road trip this weekend to Chariton, Iowa, to meet his great-grandparents. He was a very good traveller--sleeping in the car (about two hours each way) and being alert but not fussy while we visited. Edward was also very good on this trip, providing a running commentary on the various types and colors of trucks on the Interstate (he refers to semis without trailers as "broken trucks") and also the number and color of cows and tractors on the rural road between the Interstate and Great-Grandma and Grandpa's house. He insisted that Great-Grandpa sit next to him at lunch (during which he ate mostly jell-o.)

We're looking forward to some 50-degree days this week and hoping to say good-bye to the snow. A walk around the block before dinner last night demonstrated that only two stretches of ice still impede the path. It may soon be time for the bike to emerge from the basement, and I'm guessing we'll have a few muddy park excursions as soon as the snow clears. (At least once when John has told him it was too snowy to go to the park Ed's response has been "Daddy shovel it!")

Monday, March 03, 2008

Yesterday the mercury topped 50 and John and Edward went out to splash in puddles, build a snowman (who would promptly melt) and throw snowballs (which Edward continues to think is absolutely hilarious--especially when John faked being knocked over by the ones Edward threw at him.) We also had several dump trucks and diggers in our neighborhood working to scrape the impacted snow/ice from the street, but John said Edward didn't want to watch. I think perhaps it was too loud and too close for his comfort. However, these city workers are our heroes for the day as they managed to clear the roads down to pavement, which we have not seen in several weeks. The thaw/freeze cycle had created such a mess that it was basically like driving on unpaved country roads.

However, our spring fever was short-lived as we knew that rain was on the way and would be followed by snow. The rain started just before dinner and included some lightning and thunder, which Edward wasn't too sure he appreciated. We tried to keep the mood light, repeating, "I like booms!" and reminding him that the lightning and thunder were outside and he was inside, but he was still uneasy. Later when there were more booms as John was reading his bedtime stories, Edward actually flung himself against John's chest and grabbed on tightly to his shoulders. I told him when he went to bed his eyes would be closed and he wouldn't see the lightning anymore. He immediately closed his eyes and continued clinging to John. He went to bed without a fuss though and must have fallen asleep right away because the thunder continued for a little while longer, but we didn't hear from Ed.

This weekend we took out the big box of the next size clothes for Daniel. This box contains clothes up to nine-month, so lots of short sleeves and shorts/rompers--a welcome promise of warmer days to come. But the 3-6 month clothes are still cozy sleepers and long sleeve onesies. These are still a bit big, but not for long. Some of the 0-3 clothes will soon be history, and while it's exciting to see Daniel grow so well, part of me is sad to say good-bye to these tiniest things. That includes the penguin hat, but no matter how far we purge and share hand-me-downs, that's an item that must remain in the family archives for the next generation.

On the subject of hats, we had some laughs with this one that Edward decided was not just for Daniel (who can't really wear it anyway since it doesn't fit in his car seat!) Edward needed quite a bit of help squeezing his big noggin into it, but luckily fleece is stretchy and he had fun roaring like a dinosaur. Actually, he doesn't need the hat to justify the roaring, but it was a good combo.

Roaring is part of one of Edward's "songs." Actually, it's about the only part we can understand. He sings a few unintelligible words then says "dinosaur, RAARRRR!" Sometimes he just sings the "dinosaur, RAARRRR!" part. Sometimes he wakes up from his nap and sings to himself for a little while without calling for someone to get him up. This is highly entertaining. He has learned a few songs in a Kindermusik program that is offered at his daycare and will spontaneously burst out with one of them at any given moment or mealtime. Since he only sings some of the words, we're often left guessing and can only offer abstract praise. Singing along is impossible. I did pick up on one of his fragments though and recognized an song we used to sing in day camp, "Bringing home my baby bumblebee." As you can see in the video below, Edward is mostly into the "OUCH! He stung me" line. Something vaguely approaching "Won't my mommy be so proud of me" occasionally goes with it.

We've been trying for a few weeks to capture video of Edward singing his ABCs, but he won't often do it on command. Last night at dinner he started singing and the camera was in reach from the dino hat photo shoot earlier so I just grabbed it and hoped he'd keep going. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that he liberally edits the alphabet--ironically, skipping 'E' most of the time. Lest anyone accuse us of being hyper-academic parents who think early childhood skills lay the groundwork for future Harvard admission, I have to say that we did not teach him the ABC's. We read Dr. Seuss's ABC's and he has several toys that play/sing the song. Maybe they also do it at daycare, but we did not sit and drill him. Harvard is out of the question anyway--there's no way we'd ever be able to afford it!