Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Boy Wonder

On August 23, 2010, this sweetness came into the world . . .

. . . a little guy at 6 pounds and 8 ounces . . . but big enough to change our lives forever.

And then on August 23, 2011, this happened . . .
Did you blink? Because you may have missed something if you did. The swaddling and cooing and sweet little gowns are all gone. There's no more bassinet and the bottles have been put away. No more Bumbo chair, no more lamb swing, and no more exersaucer cluttering the den. There's no homemade baby food in the refrigerator and no more frozen packets of milk in the freezer.

Wilson McLain Darby has turned a year old, and he is no longer a tiny little baby. I have to admit that this is quite bittersweet for his mommy. What is it about boys that is so different from girls? I can't quite put my finger on how to explain what I feel for this little guy. He seems to trust me and rely on me a little more than Mimi did. He needs to be snuggled longer and for me to be more patient with taking away the bottle and the pacifier. He wants to go to bed earlier at night and begs for two naps during the day. And I am more than happy to oblige.

This little guy has stolen my heart and he and his sister bring more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined. I'm happy to take care of them and watch them play and learn and grow each day, and there isn't much (except the occasional date night with their father who I rarely get to spend any time with) that I think could make me more content.

Mack's first year has flown by much more quickly than his sister's. There is a good chance that he is my last baby, so I have tried to hang onto every moment for dear life . . . but I have no control over time. He did everything before I was ready -- he slept through the night, sat up, crawled, ate solid food, climbed the stairs, and grew faster than I wanted him to do. I think all of these things occurred at a normal age, but it was all too soon for me. Not once can I remember saying, "Things will be easier when he starts to _____." Nope, I wanted to keep each moment as long as I could.

He started out as a sweet, relaxed baby who was easy to please. His smile and laughter have been contagious from the beginning, and I assumed he would be my easy child. BUT he has proven me wrong and turned into quite a wild little monster. He is only taking a step or two at a time, but that isn't slowing him down. This is what happens when I turn my head:

He's infatuated with the remote controls and knows we keep them on this little table.
Not like that stops him or anything.
This is why I can do absolutely nothing in the kitchen and have boycotted cooking for a while (that is until the Crock Pot Girls reminded me of my slow cooker that has actually been getting some use this week). He knows how to push down the "child-proof" levers to open the cabinets under the sink also.
I know that whenever I hear Mimi saying, "Go Macky! You can do it! Don't worry, Mommy. I helping him," that I need to be extremely worried. Thankfully my camera was on hand and I snapped a blurry shot of them racing -- the kid flies up stairs. Yikes. And, yes,we have pulled out the baby gate now.
He likes to climb in the bottom of this table and hang out.
Just a list of a few things to remember about my little Bubby at age 1:

1. He eats anything and everything. Kiwi, mango, peanut butter sandwiches, bacon, and anything else we throw in front of him. His favorite is fruit -- watermelon, grapes, strawberries, and bananas. He hates Puffs. Although he will eat peas, he loves to pretend his hands are windshield wipers and sweeps them off his tray while squealing with delight. Honestly, I would do the same thing with peas if someone tried to make me eat them.

2. As of this past Sunday, the bottle is gone. I've been trying to transition to a sippy cup for months, but he would only take a sip and hurl it across the room. He would sip on them a little during meal time, but refused to replace his "bottle times" with them. I've tried at least 6 different types of cups and someone finally suggested the cheap take and toss ones. They worked like a charm. But I am still warming his milk just a little . . . I know, I know . . .

Mimi giving him one of his last bottles. Yes, they giggled the entire time.

3. We still have the pacifier, but he only gets it at naptime and bedtime. As soon as I enter his room, he smiles at me and throws it across the room. He doesn't always get it at naptime, so I don't think it will be too difficult to take away . . . but I'm not in a big hurry to see it go.
4. He crawls like a maniac. If we're at the park, he will actually crawl on his hands and feet to avoid hurting his knees. One little boy commented that he looked like a spider monkey :). He took his first step a couple of days before his birthday, but since my mom was the only one who witnessed it I didn't think it should count. I got to see his next step a few days later, and, oh my goodness, he was so proud of himself. The most he has worked up to is a side step and then forward, but he's in no hurry because he crawls so quickly.
5. He has seriously strong lungs and screams so loudly that people stop what they're doing to make sure we aren't killing him. And he does this out of joy. As my neighbor recently put it, "It sounds like someone is pulling out his toenails," and it indeed does. We were recently at a neighborhood restaurant, and he was having a grand time and squealing his little blonde head off. The mean old bats at the table behind us kept giving us the stink eye and shaking their heads, so as I was leaving I looked them in the eye and said, "Oh my, is everything okay?" Believe it or not, they actually turned away. They were just jealous that their table wasn't as fun as ours.
6. He has a few words: Muhma -- Momma. Dada -- Daddy. Aye -- Hi. Buh-buh -- Bye. Anna -- Banana. He also says something that sounds like "tuck" for truck and "bok" for block, and he even says "Elmo" occasionally because Mimi has so many stuffed Elmos. Honestly, he isn't a big talker and would rather smile. And squeal.
7. At his pediatric check-up he weighed 22 lbs. He is in the 50-75th percentile for height and 25-50th for weight. He seems really big to me and looks really tall, but I guess that's because his sister was always so little (She's in the 50th percentile for height but only 10th for weight). The little guy wears a size 4 shoe and usually a 12 or 18 month in clothes. And in case you're wondering, the shots were extremely sad for me, but Mack was okay within seconds. Also, he has 9 teeth -- 4 on top in the front and 2 top molars, and the other 3 teeth are on the bottom.
8. Mack is mischievous and very much a boy. I always assumed that since Mimi was so wild that there's no way another child could be into more than she was -- even if he is a boy -- but I was so, so wrong. Mack is curious about everything. He wants to tear his toys apart and throw them and climb over them. He barrels through the den and doesn't stop to see what is in his way. If Mimi is building a block tower, he can't get to it fast enough to knock it over. If she's reading a book, he fights with all his might to steal it from her so he can rip out the pages. On the other hand, he is extremely tough and can take it when Mimi climbs on his back and puts him in a head lock. If another child at the park accidentally (or on purpose) steps on him, he just looks up and smiles most of the time.
9. It has been fun to watch how Mack plays with all his toys a little differently than Mimi did. It usually didn't take her long to figure out how to put things together, but Mack is more concerned about taking things apart. "How can I rip the doors off the school bus? Can this barn hold my weight? What will happen if I throw this block?" I can normally put him in the floor with his sister and he will look over and explore every toy. His favorites are anything that makes music. He loves to press the buttons and then smiles and bounces up and down. He is a little obsessed with a pink Disney princess guitar, and I have to hide it in Mimi's closet because I've heard the Beauty and the Beast song so much I want to pull my hair out. Because he's a boy, Mack likes
cars and trucks and trains. He also likes blocks -- at least knocking over blocks. He loves playing in the big red Cozy Coupe and pushing his sister around, and he also has a few other riding and push-toys that he's begun playing with more. The little guy also loves any Little People toys and will crawl around with them around the house.

10. Mack really loves his sister. And she loves him, too. This is all I could have ever hoped for, BUT I know they are partners in crime. Together they open the cabinets and pull everything out and make a mess and scream to the top of their lungs. She throws her pillows off the bed, and he rolls around in them and encourages her. He throws food off his tray, and so does she. She looks at Clint and says, "Thhhpppttt!" and spits all over him . . . and Mack does the same. And then they both laugh hysterically. But when they're in the stroller, Mack puts his little foot on Mimi's legs, and she pokes her hand through the side to tickle him and make him laugh. She tries to give him a toy when he's sad, and she loves for him to dance while she sings. I'm so glad he has her as his big sister . . . even though they will give me lots and lots of gray hairs when they're in high school.
And I'm not the only one in love with this little peanut . . . his Daddy seems pretty smitten, too.For Mack's birthday, we just celebrated with the fam at home and enjoyed a fantastic cake from Bittersweet (you must try this place!) sent from Clint's family. Mack thought the hat and candles were fun and was in love with the cake.

He laughed.

He even fussed a little.

And Mommy took him to Little Beans to play for a while.

We had a birthday party for both my August babies a few days later, but that post will have to come at another time . . . some little blonde thing needs to go to bed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Most Fun

So I've slacked a little more than I thought I would on the blog since I've been staying at home with Mimi and Mack. There are a couple of reasons for that:
1). Two little ones keep me extremely busy and on my toes at all times with their shenanigans and demands. They wake up demanding food and milk and cartoons and diapers changed and bathroom time and the playground and tea parties, and it doesn't stop until I get them in bed at night. High maintenance little boogers.
2). I have been having the most fun.

Absolutely the most fun of my entire life. Well, kindergarten was a lot of fun for me, but other than that I can't possibly think of a better time in my life. This might have been the most difficult year in my life with the addition of a second baby, the move to a new city, going back to work and traveling daily, and the crazy overactive thyroid making me bonkers, but I think the insanity is over. So I am sitting back and letting life happen. And life is a lot of fun right now.

I thank the wazoo out of my hubs for making this possible for me -- so, so grateful that I am able to spend all day with my little ones watching them learn and discover. Now don't think that I lounge on the couch while they quietly play blocks on the floor. Uh-uh, not at all. I can't remember the last time I actually sat on the couch other than to put someone's shoes on. It has gotten easier as they've gotten older but it's definitely not easy. Luckily I'm a fairly patient person and don't mind going with the flow. I have my moments where I just want to walk outside and scream (and if you heard one from my corner recently I'm pleading the 5th), but most of the time I try to remember that they're babies. I can't expect them to understand all their rules or be able to figure things out for themselves.

Although I'm having a lot of fun with these little guys, I still have to force myself to be just a little selfish and do what I like, which over the past couple of days just happened to be going through photos of my children . . . and blogging about them. Obsessed much, Jeri Anne? Anyway, during their naptimes I decided to not do laundry or clean but to go through the hundreds of photos I've taken this summer and put just a few on this random post. So here you go . . .

1). I don't get to sew as much as I'd like to, and part of the reason is that it absolutely can't be done while Mack is awake and even sometimes when Mimi's awake because she likes to pull and poke and push buttons. Occasionally I'll let her play along, and Clint just happened to grab the camera and snap a couple of pics.

2). Morning cartoons.

3). Post-nap Mimi. It's a little punk-rock, don't you think?

4). Mack loves his pacifier. He only gets it at naptime, and sighs with relief when he sees it.

5). There was a time when I questioned my having Mimi and Mack so close together in age. Both in diapers, both needing to sleep in the crib, both fussing and crying to get what they wanted. Ugh, it was a little tough for a few months. And then this happened . . .
. . . and this.

That's right, folks. They actually like to play together now! Hip, hip, hooray!


If Mimi wakes up from her nap first, she usually asks, "Mommy, where's Macky? Can you wake him up so he can play with me in my room?" Ooh, how I love it. She's fairly gentle with him most the time, but he has been tough when she hasn't. I only try to intervene if they are actually hurting each other, and I'm trying to teach Mimi to give him a toy to play with if she's really attached to whatever she's playing with and isn't in the mood to share. It seems to be working okay.

6). Little sticky-up hair in the back makes him look like a fuzzy baby chick.

7). The kid will eat anything I put in front of him. Absolutely anything.

8). Aagh! Water!!

Maybe it's not so bad . . .

Aw, what the heck.

Little Bub.

9). Could watch the little guy sleep all day. He won't fall asleep in my arms anymore and practically jumps out of them to get into his crib. He loves to sleep (moms with newborns hate me right now). He will sometimes sleep from 6:30 at night to 7:30 in the morning and then take one or two 2-3 hour naps during the day. I'm too cheap for a video monitor, but I think he probably wakes up and plays with whatever stuffed animals I've thrown in his crib for a while before he actually yells for us. We can hear him "talking" to them. But I snuck in and caught him waking up after a nap one day. . .

10). Meemers with her Teddy Bear. I was afraid TB might be on his last leg because his poor little head was coming unraveled, but no need to fear because her Shug sewed him back together . . . and he has a funny little skinny neck now. But Mimi has unconditional love for him.

11). Can you say Clint Darby, Jr?
12). Sweetness, mmmmm, I can't get enough of him. I know it's hard to believe from this photo, but he is a complete bulldozer. The boy was built to destroy everything in sight . . . or to at least try to eat it.

13). Sorry, girls. I'm afraid those blue eyes might break a few hearts.
14). Repunzel in her tower and the prince climbing up to save her . . . all while chomping on her paper crown from Dollar Tree.
15). I love a tutu but adults who try to sport them get put on What Not to Wear. So I'll just let Mimi have them for now. She wore this one in Wiggleworms (a music class) this week and announced that she was a ballerina. Another girl tried to show her up by explaining to Mimi that she was a "Princess with a Ponytail." Mimi said, "Well, okay. But I'm the Ballerina Princess . . . now you wanna play ring around the rosies?"
16). Mack has finally learned how to play basketball. He puts the ball in and music plays and fun lights go off -- isn't that what it's like in the NBA?

Happy 3rd Birthday Comeover

It has happened! My little baby girl has turned 3 YEARS OLD! Geez, Louise, why did it have to happen so quickly? The night before her birthday, Clint and I tucked her in and told her how three years ago we were getting ready to go to the hospital to welcome her to the world, and then we went on with the story. She seemed to be pleased with this history lesson, and then she asked Daddy to leave so Mommy could read her a story. Three years old = S.A.S.S.Y.

Three means "big girl" in Mimi's world. "Mommy, I not a baby. Mimi's a BIG GIRL." So in return I get to say, "Mimi, please don't whine. I thought you said you were a big girl," and "Mimi, please don't throw your peas on the floor. Remember that you are a big girl." I'm seriously using all this to my advantage, and she seems to be cool with jumping on the "Big Girl Bandwagon." Since Mimi has been sleeping in her big bed downstairs, we have tried every method in the world of getting her to stay there, but the only trick that works is for one of us to lie down with her until she falls asleep. This is really, really sweet time since she's a little snuggle bunny, BUT it means we usually fall asleep with her and will stumble up to our room in the middle of the night. On Monday night (her bday was Aug 1), I let her know that since she is a big girl, then she can finally fall asleep by herself. The new rule is that Mommy and Daddy will read a book and snuggle for a few minutes, but then we are going to leave the room. And she has totally seemed okay with this. The first night Clint and I were so excited that it worked . . . and then he put in headphones and played on his computer while I read a book. Ha! Talk about some quality time spent together! Last night we had a pretty fierce storm, and I was concerned that we might have to break the rules. After the book, I asked if she was okay with me leaving, and she quickly nodded her head and waved bye to me. Awe, she didn't need me. So I guess I need to jump on the Big Girl Bandwagon today.

I'm trying to allow her to be a little more independent, yet I am giving her more rules. That's what it's all about anyway -- with freedom comes responsibility. She can walk by the stroller, but if she's lagging behind or attempts to walk away then she immediately goes in the stroller. She can sit in a big person chair at a restaurant, but if she tries to get up or is being unruly then she must sit in a high chair. It takes more effort from both of us, but she is responding to it really well . . . at least most of the time.

Since both Mimi and Mack have August birthdays, we will be celebrating with a party later in the month, but we wanted to do something small just for Mimi. We explained this to Mimi and let her know that after her nap just a few neighbors would come over and eat cake, so she named this her "Birthday Comeover." And she woke up from her nap with just as much enthusiasm as a girl should have for her Birthday Comeover (not to be confused with a "comb over" or a "hangover").

She opened a talking princess card and a Sit and Spin (oh muh gah, I love those!) from her Top and Shug, and she has already mastered balancing on top of the thing. I guess it is her toy and she can play with it how she wants.
Clint and I went against our better judgement and decided to get our little artist an easel with a chalkboard and dry erase side. Oh my word, was she jumping for joy or what?

The easel proved to be a hit with our sweet little neighbor Calvin . . .
. . . and with both our little monkeys. Mack only ate about half a crayon and some chalk, so he should be okay.And then came the coolest cake EVER -- a peanut butter and jelly cake from Clint's family. How awesome is that? I could tell Mimi had been practicing blowing out the candles because she did it in record time.

Our youngest little neighbor, William, also made an appearance. Mmmm, little sweetness. Love him.
So as the festivities were winding down and everyone was returning to their home, um, across the hall or down the stairs, I walked over to the den to make sure Mimi thanked them, and then, GASP, I saw it. I should have taken a photo, but I couldn't quite think that this might actually be funny at some point. Mimi had drawn a mural all over the rug. ALL OVER. With a dry erase marker. I let out a little shriek and dropped Mack and the last of my neighbors inched out the door before witnessing a meltdown. But there was no meltdown. At least not from me. Mimi realized that she had done something wrong and immediately hugged my leg and cried. I let her know that it's okay but we must discuss the rules if we are going to color. I mean, how was she supposed to know that the old rug wasn't part of her canvas? He he. Honestly, I was really hoping that she had completely ruined it because I hate that red rug. Oh well, I guess I'll need to buy some oil-based paints for her 4th birthday . . .

Happy 3rd Birthday, Miss Mimi! We love you!!