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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


It's Official

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

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.

Redbook Article Musings

This is a fascinating article that raises interesting points. It also made me really grateful that I have a boy.

Sexualization of Young Girls - Media Effects on Young Girls, Redbook Magazine

I think that in this area, parents of boys have it easier than parents of girls in this area, for sure. But having said that, I work hard to make sure that he's exposed to positive role models of both genders. I am more inclined to show him an episode of Backyardigans where Uniqua is part of the Harbour Rescue Team, rather than the episode where she and Tasha are mermaids.

People have chuckled that I am actively avoiding introducing my son to the Thomas the Tank Engine show. But I feel so uncomfortable about the show - it has very, very few female characters. Sure, there's Emily, the new female engine. But even on the website, compare how Emily is described with how some of the other engines are described:

"Edward is the No. 2 blue engine who is a good friend to everyone. He is one of the older and wiser engines on Sir Topham Hatt's railway."
"Henry is the No. 3 green engine. He is a long and fast engine. He tends to be a little high-strung and a bit of a worrier."
"Emily is a beautiful emerald green engine with shiny paintwork and gleaming brass fittings."

Nothing about her personality - just that's she really pretty.

Other female characters include Annie and Clarabel, "Thomas' faithful coaches".

It sounds silly, and people may laugh. But I want my son to grow up with the knowledge and men and women (and boys and girls) are equal. And I feel that even now I can take steps to imbue him with that knowledge. And if that means being super anal retentive about what I let him watch on TV or what messages I send him through the books we read together, then I'll be super anal retentive. (We are the proud owner of two copies of The Paperbag Princess - the original, and a simpler board book.)

I'm also choosy about how I dress him. I try to pick onesies and shirts that could be worn by either gender - nothing that has overly masculine sterotypes. I don't dress him in clothes that are covered in footballs or soccer balls. He likes cars, so he has some car clothes. But he also has a onesies that say, "Give peas a chance" and "I never met a cookie I didn't like." Either of them could be worn by a little girl.

And yes, we push the Star Wars. But let me tell you, we'd be doing that if we had a girl, too. *grin* Star Wars isn't gender related. It's a way of life.


Feb. 3rd, 2011

Moe likes to take his socks off while on the change table. He pulls on the toes until... BADOING! the sock comes off. He especially likes to do this with the "other" foot when I'm putting his socks on, but I digress.

Yesterday, he pulled his socks off and flapped them around while I was changing his diaper. He was super squirmy. He tossed the socks around. I got him all diapered up and dressed, and went to retrieve the socks. I could only find one. My mom was there and she turned the change table upside down, but we only found one sock. Whatever. I put another sock on him and put him down for his nap.

But it bugged me. Where was that second sock? I knew it was driving my mom crazy, too.

Cut to two hours later when a sunny little boy wakes up from his nap. Time to change the diaper again. I open it... and there's a very wet sock in his diaper.

I stared at him incredulously. "Seriously?"

He laughed at me.