New Mama Musings

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Puppy Dog Tails, Indeed

Henry is too little to go trick-or-treating, but since I had a dog costume I bought off a friend last year I stuck it on him today. He went out in his stroller with his daddy and sister Maddy, who scored extra candy "for your little brother."

If this had been a real attempt at a costume I would have painted on a black nose and whiskers and found some black sweatpants and sweatshirt. But I think he looks pretty cute anyway.

Here he is, trying to get used to the floppy ears that kept falling in his face:

Hanging out near the street, with a stick (scary!):

And asleep in the stroller, tuckered out by the end of daylight savings time and watching all the big kids in their costumes:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Little Park

Henry and I went to the "little park" again today. I try to get us there after lunch every day, even though my inclination is to stay in our nice temperature-controlled house until next summer rolls around.

Henry really loves running through the park in search of woodchips, though, so it seems cruel to deny him. Here are a few photos I took today:

See? I wasn't kidding about the woodchips.

Here he is, running around. With a stick. Yeah, I'm a bad (or is it good?) mama.


Woodchip fetish momentarily assuaged, we head for home.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just a Perfect Day

I had such a lovely time with my boy today.

He woke up before the sun, which was very un-lovely, but then my husband didn't have to leave until later than normal so we all sat down and had breakfast together.

After Daddy left for work Henry and I went to the American Council of the Blind Thrift Store, where I found this toy for $1.97:

and the woman in line ahead of us asked all sorts of questions about Henry and commented on how happy he seemed.

After that we went to our local health-food co-op, where the manager talked to Henry and said what a happy little guy he was, and the woman in line behind us did the same, and our favorite cashier, who always asks Henry, "And how is my lit-tle friend today?" rang us up.

Then we went home and had ravioli and oranges for lunch. It was Henry's first time eating an orange, and he seemed to enjoy it.

When we were done with lunch we bundled up and went outside for a walk. As I was buckling Henry into the stroller and putting on his mittens (another first -- and he kept them on the entire time!) we saw a small plane circling our neighborhood. We waved to the plane and it tipped its wings back and forth in reply. We watched it circle around a few more times before starting our stroll.

About a block away from home we saw a backhoe cruising down the street. I stopped and turned the stroller to face it and as I was pointing it out to Henry, the driver waved at us.

I couldn't help but think what a friendly, fascinating place the world must seem to you when you're one year old. I'm so lucky to be able to experience things through Henry's eyes.

At the park (no playground, but enough woodchips, sticks and leaves to satisfy any toddler) Henry had fun running around and bringing me treasures. I threw some maple seeds (helicopters) up in the air and we watched as they twirled back to the ground.

After we got home we napped together; playtime followed. Then Daddy came home and we had dinner.

All in all, just a perfect day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Good to Be the Mama

I have a confession to make: sometimes I ask Henry, "Where's your mama?" just to watch him turn around, look straight at me, and poke me in the face with his index finger.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Stripes of a Different Color

These are Henry's winter shirts, acquired either free as hand-me-downs or cheaply at a thrift store (where I buy anything in good shape and sans sports logos or animated characters). All this to say I did not go out of my way to choose one style over another.

Notice a theme here?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fourteen Months and Some Change

About four weeks ago, at thirteen-and-a-half months old, Henry had his belated one-year check-up. Once again my boy is off the charts for height. He measured at 33 inches tall; the average for his age is 30 inches. No wonder he towers over all the other one-year olds (and even older kids) at our playgroup. My boy, a giant among toddlers.

When he's around, all doors must be closed. This does not please his claustrophobic mama when she's in the closet, picking out his clothes for the day.

His obsession with trucks continues. If I ever have a problem motivating him to keep climbing the stairs, all I have to say is, "Let's go find Truck Book!" (yes, it has a name) and he's back on task. He likes to point to each picture and yell, "ES!" until I say what kind of truck it is. Sometimes, if I'm not paying attention, the "ES!" will rise in pitch until his voice cracks.

The only thing that could compete for his interest in trucks are flags. If there's a flag around -- even an image of a flag -- he'll spot it. I really had no idea there were so many of them out there.

He cracks us up on a continual basis. The other day we had the TV cabinet open and he kept looking over at it, knowing he wasn't supposed to touch it, but so, so curious. Finally, while maintaining eye contact with us, he took several sideways steps toward it, acting all nonchalant. We burst out laughing and he seemed tickled that we found his actions so funny.

Another new trick of his is to stomp with his left leg only. While standing up he'll lift his left leg and stomp it down, repeating several times in a row. It brings to mind the horse trick of stomping once for yes and twice for no. (Not that I'm comparing my son to a horse or anything.)

The upside-down baby routine has begun, too. He bends over, puts his hands flat on the floor, and looks between his legs. The little girl I used to nanny for did the Downward Facing Dog pose at this age, also, and I thought it was the cutest thing ever. Sorry, G., but I think this might be even cuter.

His innocence just breaks my heart. A few days ago, when I was trying to get something done and his whining was making my headache that much worse, I cracked and yelled at my sweet little guy to "stop it!" He paused, looking stunned, and then burst out laughing. I'm sure someday I won't be thankful for this, but I was so glad he found my outburst funny, and so incredibly sorry for having yelled in the first place.

His nighttime wakings are as frequent as ever. Maybe more so, if that's possible. The other night he woke up sounding terrified, crying as if from a scary dream. I wish I knew what makes him wake up like that, and I wish I could take the sadness away.

He hasn't learned to vocalize any new words, but he certainly understands just about everything we say. I have to be careful not to tell him what we're going to do too far in advance, because he'll hear "take a walk" and want to do it now. He makes his desires known as well. When I lay down near him to do some stretching, he takes my head in his hands and tries to push me back up. When he wants to nurse he lifts up my shirt; when he's all done he pulls it back down.

He does make one new noise, though it's not a word per se. Ask him, "Henry, what does a cow say?" and he'll jut out his chin, purse his lips, and say, "Mmm."

Sometimes he's shy with strangers, giving them a blank look or putting his head down on my shoulder when they try to talk to him. Other times, though, I'll be writing out a check at Target and hear the cashier laugh, looking over at Henry in time to see him making flirty eyes (head tilted back, eyelashes batting) at her.

An expression we see more often, though, is the furrowed brow. His scowl conveys suspicion, concern and disapproval all at the same time.

He's figuring out the phone thing, I think, or at least he knows what it is he's supposed to do with it. The other day I answered the ringing phone and Henry immediately picked up the flat part of the laptop's power supply cord and held it to his ear.

I recently stumbled across a blog by another mama, who said that spending the day with her daughter "is like having a best friend with me 24 hours a day." While I'm guessing most best friends let you go to the bathroom by yourself, I'm feeling more and more like this statement applies to my life as well. Henry is becoming such a fun little guy to hang out with.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

House Hunting

My husband paid me a very sweet compliment the other day. He asked what was going on with my blog since I hadn't updated it recently, and when I replied that I've just been busy with other things he said, "I miss it." Aw.

I have been busy with other things. I could never be a (happy, productive) working mom, because I can't even manage to maintain a blog, cook meals regularly, update our budget, and check books out of the library all at the same time. Right now the endeavor that's occupying the majority of my time (and thoughts) is the search for a new home.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a 1920's Tudor with arched leaded glass windows, an artificial fireplace, crown moldings, built-in bookcases and china cabinet, hardwood floors, and a brick two-car garage. Everything was in pristine condition, and it was on a nice quiet street close to a wonderful park and a charming shopping district.

We hesitated, partly because it was the first house we'd looked at, partly because it was in a suburb just north of the suburb we thought we were looking in, and partly because we figured we had a few days, at least. And we were too late, by only a few hours.

We're still set up as the next offer in line should the first one fall through (could you all pray very hard that this happens?) but it doesn't look good. We're kicking ourselves, because the more we look the more we realize that this place was a steal.

We also looked at a house with very similar features in the suburb to the south. It would need a lot of work, but we'd be willing to do that for the right price in the right location.

However, we took a walk around the neighborhood today and ended up deciding to pass. There are a lot more rental properties in this area, and although at first I loved that it was a smaller community, I'm now realizing that with small comes more proximity to busy streets.

The good news is that the more we look, the better we define what we really want. We're now thinking this suburb to the north is the better location, and we're looking more closely at how the neighborhood feels. We were mainly focused on being on a more liberal, educated, and "hipper" part of town; now we realize that narrowing that down further to the right street is important too.

So...we continue to look, and to try to get our current home ready for the market, and I continue to let other things slide because apparently I inherited my mother's propensity for being easily overwhelmed. I sure hope Henry takes after my husband in that regard.

P.S. Right after I published this blog entry my husband asked to see it. As he scrolled down he said, "Oh, no, this is a word one?"