Archive for September, 2009
15 months

This September marked Holden’s entry into the “terrible two’s” of early toddlerhood (yes, he is only 15 months old, and yes, he throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way!)  This was also an action-packed month for us.  We did a lot of traveling around Vermont and kept pretty busy.  September is my absolute favorite month in Vermont, and I always try to live it up and kick off fall the correct way (i.e. lots of fall hikes, cider donuts, and sightseeing!)

We ended August with saying farewell to our exemplary nanny Laura.  Holden undoubtedly misses spending time with Laura and his buddy Mallory:


And although he misses his girls, Holden is settling into his new daycare routine rather nicely.  Dropping him off in the morning isn’t as aversive for him now that he has been going to his respective daycare places for 2 weeks.  The last time we dropped him off at the daycare center, he seemed eager to run around and interact with everyone.  We also found out that our pediatrician used to send her daughter to that daycare, which made us feel even more confident about our decision to send Holden there.

At the beginning of the month, we kicked things off with some very late season blueberry picking.  Holden had fun playing peek-a-boo with Rob in the middle of the berry farm:


We celebrated the marriage of our amazing friends Adam and Sue on September 6th.  Rob was their wedding photographer and did a truly amazing job.  It was a beautiful ceremony (it was on the top of Mt. Philo–our sledding area during the winter months).  The reception was held on a boat out on Lake Champlain.  What an amazing day!


We also attended the South End Art Hop in Burlington.  Holden doesn’t seem too interested in the paintings or sculptures, but LOVES the live music.  He danced for about a half hour, and got special shout-outs from the lead singer of the band.  Have you ever seen such utter glee in your whole life?


Holden went on his first hike when he was only 8 weeks old—but now that he is 15 months old, he can actually participate in hiking!  We took him to a very easy trail, Centennial Woods.  Holden loved it:


We also took Holden apple picking.  This was his second apple picking experience.  He was only 3 months old during his first apple picking excursion:


Just look at the difference a year makes:


Holden loved wandering the orchards.  He was a little confused about the apples, though.  At first he would point very deliberately at the clusters of apples on the trees and say “Baww.”  Then he would pick up an apple and throw it purposefully at the ground, fully expecting it to bounce:


By the following day, Holden began to correctly call them “apples,” apparently convinced that they are not toys intended for throwing.  While at the orchard, Holden got his first taste of cider:


And had his first (and second) cider donuts:


We rounded out the end of September with Holden’s second hike, along a portion of the Long Trail (I did have to carry him up a good portion of the trail because it was so steep):



And here is our boy proudly exhibiting his “new bed” that he sleeps in (or attempts to sleep in) each night:


Holden’s 15-month pediatrician appointment revealed that he is 33 inches tall (93rd percentile) and 26 pounds heavy (71st percentile).  He is trying so hard to be independent right now—which is both fun and painful for us to watch.  He wants to be able to do so many things on his own but lacks ability in so many basic areas (e.g. fine motor skills, language).  And there is no way to explain to him that these abilities will come with time—patience is not in his repertoire.

He is attempting to say more and more words every day.  Some new ones are:  bus, balloon, Bella (our friend’s dog), tree, apple, and pretty much any animal noise you ask him about (e.g. What does a pig say?  What does a cow say?)  So basically, Holden can snort, moo, hoot like a monkey, and replicate the demure meow of a kitty.  Holden insists on trying to eat with a fork and spoon, even though he’s not skilled with these yet.  I imagine he has been getting experience with these at daycare and that is why he has been so insistent on using them at home.  Previously we had not pushed utensils on him at all since his fingers were working out just fine for him (and us).  But man, once he gets exposed to something at daycare, he feels fairly compelled to bring those experiences home with him.

He surprises us all the time—sometimes we just look at each other and ask “Where did he learn THAT??”  We keep a humidifier in his bedroom (mostly to provide some ambient noise to facilitate sleep) and if Holden pushes the button and sees that it’s not turning on, he checks to make sure it’s plugged in.  Really?!  No one explicitly showed him that the humidifier has to be plugged in to work.  He just watched us (I guess) and inferred that the unit needs to be plugged in.

We are also trying to teach Holden some basic concepts about cleaning up after himself.  At this age, kids LOVE to think they are helping out, so why not use that for all it’s worth?? If I need to keep Holden occupied while I’m cleaning, I hand him a dustpan and small hand-held broom.  He loves to “sweep” and looks so proud when I tell him what a good job he is doing (I have a mighty good poker face).  And as part of his bedtime ritual, we get Holden to pick up his books and put them back on the shelf.  Sometimes he picks up his books without needing to be reminded, but that is pretty rare—usually we have to tell him to put his books back on the shelf.  He dutifully complies with our request and is so proud of himself after we tell him that he’s done a good job tidying his room.

We are having a satisfying (yet completely exhausting) time with our little buddy.  There are so many experiences we can’t wait to share with him, although we are doing our best to savor each moment we have with him as they come.

Get up on the right side of the bed

I am really way too exhausted to be typing anything right now, yet I feel if I go to bed without blabbering away I’ll end up recycling my thoughts quietly in my head over the next 2 hours instead of sleeping like I should.

This past work week has been a special trip to hell for both Rob and myself.  I am glad it’s almost over.  I have to go to the lab briefly on Saturday morning, but it almost doesn’t count as work because it will be quiet and I won’t have to talk to anyone.  Work is only work when you have to put up with other people.

This week concludes Holden’s second full week in daycare.  He is slowly adjusting to being away from me, although that first week was hard on us all.  I feel like I am missing so much from being separated from him, even though I dedicate my evenings to him completely.  I actually feel like I could see myself becoming unfamiliar with his rhythms and preferences, to the point of not knowing him quite the way I should.  This really bothers me.  I am used to spending so much time with him; I can anticipate meltdowns, cries of joy, bursts of activity.  As he grows and changes, I will be less able to anticipate these things.  I will know Holden less.  I really miss taking him to the park and watching him run around.  I miss playing ball with him.  I miss taking him for walks and stopping every person out with his or her dog so Holden can squeal with joy:  ”Diggy!!”

Maybe I can drop down to 4 days a week at work during the spring semester.  It wouldn’t be a huge change, but it would give us a little more time together.  I have been making every effort to have dinner prepared the night before so all I need to do is throw it in the crock pot the next day—that way, we can give Holden our undivided attention instead of having him whine and pull on our legs as we make dinner.  I try to run errands and go grocery shopping after he has gone to bed, so that his precious weekends with us aren’t filled with mundane trips.  He deserves quality time with us.

Even though it’s important that I make this time with Holden a priority, I also feel like I am neglecting myself.  I don’t exercise the way I should.  I recently (tonight, actually) gave up on the prospect of taking a knitting class through parks and rec.  I just can’t seem to justify it when Holden needs me so much more.  Some days he is away from us for TEN HOURS.  That’s a really long time!  It must feel like forever to him.

During the first week of daycare, Holden’s sleep suffered.  We had expected this to a degree.  He was really inconsolable at night—he would thrash and kick and scream.  He was up every hour and nothing seemed to calm him.  Out of desperation, I decided we should dismantle the crib.  We put Holden’s mattress on the floor, and stuck a body pillow between the wall and his mattress.  This was one of those times that experimentation really paid off—Holden LOVES his new sleeping arrangement.  It turns out that he decided he was done with the crib (so glad we didn’t waste money on buying a brand new one!)  At Holden’s daycare the kids all sleep in sleeping bags on the floor, and I think that may have inclined Holden to prefer sleeping on the floor at home as well.  He has more autonomy on the floor—he can get up in the morning and go straight to his bookshelf and read to himself.  He can get up and start playing music.  He doesn’t have to cry for us to let him out.  He is proud of his new bed.  He rolls around on it and dives onto it after getting a running start from across the room.  He piles books on his mattress, then gingerly sits down next to them, methodically going through one after another until he has culled through his impressive pile of farm animals, dinosaurs, and juggling monkeys.  At night, he is still waking up 3-5 times, BUT he settles quickly and easily when we go in to tend to him.  I LOVE laying down with him and rubbing his back until his breathing eases up and I know he is asleep.  Sometimes I linger listening to him sleep.  Sometimes I fall asleep myself.  Always, I wake up grateful that I still know enough about Holden to have these experiments work.

Healthy, healthy

We’re Number One!

fun stuff

H. rocking out to a band during Art Hop ’09:

heading down the road

Berry Picking (Sep. 1, '09)Tomorrow, our little H. starts his first full week of daycare.

I have no illusions that this is going to be easy.  H. has spent most of his time with his Mama for more than a year now.  This has been good for him.  And I believe that it has been good for Amy and for me as well.

It’s sad that this time is going to end.  But we never believed and so never planned for it to last forever.  That said, it stuns me how many radical shifts we will go through (have already gone through) to get this into place.

It will be good for Amy (that’s Dr. Chess to you) to get back to work.  And I also think that it will be good for Holden to be around more kids his age (though he’s too old for the infant room and still maybe not developmentally advanced enough for the toddler room but let’s not digress too much) — to socialize and to learn and to play.

We’ve got a decent plan for the full five days of coverage.  It’s still not ideal (note that I didn’t say “perfect”) but it will do.  We are comfortable with these choices and I think that’s what matters the most.

All that being said, it will be weird to think of Holden being away from his Mama all day.  But at least we’ve fallen into a lot of good rhythms as a family, especially when it comes to bumping around Vermont to do fun things like berry picking and hiking and swimming in the lake…

So here’s to more of those capitalized Weekends.