Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mom, I want to crawl

Now that William is a Busy Baby, he doesn't like being cooped up. The office? Don't even try to put him in there. The crib? Only if it's actually time to sleep. The play yard? Hmm. Well, sometimes it's okay. But only if he's in the right mood for it and you don't leave him in there too long. And the stroller is only acceptable for a finite amount of time; the days in which William would easily fall asleep while riding around seem to be over.

Here's an example of how William conveys that he's not pleased with me for putting him somewhere where he can't crawl around:

Oh, the betrayal, right? You're just lucky that I haven't figured out how to make and link in a sound file. Your computer and your ears would never be the same again.

William's much MUCH happier if he's able to do this:

Of course, he may be happy when he's crawling madly around the house, but it does create all new problems. My eardrums might not ring from the ear-splitting screeching, but I do constantly have to intervene to rescue certain things from the curious grasp of my son. I am walking around like a hunchback, leaning over to turn William around and send him in a different direction.

And every person who has spoken to me on the phone this week has heard me say the same thing at least twice during a conversation:

"William, that's the kitties' food. William, that's not for you. That's for the kitties. William, stay out of the kitties' food. William, do not eat the cat food!"

During my conversation with Nancy a few days ago, William actually managed to get a piece of cat food into his mouth. Nice. Well, I guess it didn't hurt him. Cat food is pretty high in fiber anyway, right?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hunting for Easter Eggs

When I was a little girl, I absolutely adored hunting for Easter Eggs. For weeks leading up to Easter, I used to beg my mother to hide eggs for me. Mom gamely complied for awhile, hiding the eggs all over our living room and dining room. But after about the fiftieth time each year, she would grow a little tired of it. We had accumulated so many plastic eggs that she would more or less toss eggs around the living room and then tell me to go "find" them. It didn't make any difference to me! I still loved picking them up and putting them in my little basket.

I've got a couple of years before I have to sign on to Long Term Egg Hiding duty. But I did take William to his very first Easter Egg hunt at the local park today. His class at the Y sponsors a big egg hunt each spring, and every child was promised at least ten eggs. We, the moms, had to provide the plastic eggs in advance, and the organizers filled them with...stuff. (I haven't opened any of the eggs yet, so I couldn't tell you exactly what's in there.)

Like Mom, the organizers mostly just scattered eggs around the lawn next to the playground, but all the kids loved it anyway. I carried William around and we picked up some eggs together. Then I'd let him drop them into his basket.

Then William got to play with his eggs, which of course was Big Fun.

I think this is my favorite photo from the egg hunt. I think it should be titled something like "Eureka, I have found it" or "Ode on an Easter Egg."

Here's a shot with the bunny that was William's prize. Every boy needs an Easter Bunny, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Busy Baby Syndrome

BBS is in full force at Chez Larson-Wyckoff.

That's Busy Baby Syndrome, for those of you who are't acquainted with a baby who's discovering all the cool stuff that's out there to explore.

William is quite possibly the busiest baby I've ever encountered. If he's not pulling up on the coffee table, he's trying to score a few pieces of the cats' food to sneak into his mouth. Or he's banging coasters on the coffee table. Or pulling up on the trash can. Or clanging together any two things he can get his hands on, just to see what noise they make.

He's always always on the move now, too.

It's so funny! Splat, splat, splatsplat. You hear that, and you know it's the sound of William making a mad dash down the hallway, usually after one of the kitties. That's the noise his little palms make when he madly slaps them down on the floor as he crawls. He gets faster every day. And he always looks so pleased with himself, like, "Check me out! Look how fast I'm going!" Splat, splat, splatsplat. And heck, I guess I could use the exercise.

Another funny thing that William's doing now is something he started doing, out of the blue, in Nashville. He waves and says "Bah bah!" Now, I assume he's trying to say "Bye bye." But the way he says it, stretching out the second syllable, it sounds like he has an extremely thick southern accent. "Bah bah!" he drawls, like a little old southern man sitting on his front porch. "Bah bah!" It couldn't sound any more southern if he dipped the words in cornmeal and fried 'em up in a skillet. I mean, he should be wearing seersucker when he says it!

And here I was all worried that my California son would never be a real Southerner.

By the way, here's a couple of good glimpses at both the first tooth and the second one, which is en route:

The preceding pictures were taken as William stood behind the coffee table. You may notice that there is nothing on the coffee table. I finally gave up trying to rescue things from the busy little hands that were always reaching for them. It was a losing game. Losing game for me, anyway. Now, the only things that live on the coffee table are some of W's books and, of course, the coasters that he loves to bang together.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Back at home in the desert

We're trying to settle back into some semblance of a normal routine, now that we're back home in the Stumps. It's always a bit of a shock to adjust to the time zone changes, plus cope with the lingering exhaustion. William usually has a few off-kilter days and nights before he completely readjusts, although his sleeping seems to have adjusted better this time than it usually does.

But I did have to take William to the doctor this morning, due to some wheezing. He seems to have gotten a cold and sometimes he wheezes when he gets sick. He didn't even want to nurse or eat breakfast this morning because he was so congested. Heck, he didn't even want to crawl around, so I knew something was wrong. Poor kid. But at least he didn't get sick while we were in Nashville. He seems to be doing better already, too.

Here's a funny anecdote. David is trying to teach William how to roll a ball back and forth. William hasn't quite caught on to the concept yet; plus, he'd rather crawl after one of the cats than sit still and play with a boring old ball. But David is patient. So tonight, David was working on the ball rolling thing, but William was not terribly interested. Instead, William was intent on ripping a card out of a catalogue that was lying on a floor. He delightedly waved it around for a minute, then crawled up onto his daddy's legs and proudly handed him the card, as if to say "This! This is what I want you to get for me! This right here!"

It was a subscription card for Oprah magazine. William kept presenting the card to David, then crawled over to show it to me. He didn't care about the ball, but a subscription to Oprah magazine! That's what William wants! Who wants to play with a ball when there are new articles to read?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Our new house-to-be


We are back in the desert again, home from our big house hunting blitz in Nashville. I would like to offer up a prayer of thanks to the Airplane Gods who made it possible for us to have a separate seat for William on both flights. (He's just getting too old and wiggly...and strong...for us to hold him on our laps for an entire flight.)

William had a good time in Nashville, to put it mildly. He turned 11 months old. He had his Mama Dee and Grandaddy Aaron at his beck and call, and he got to chase around their cat, Tigger. And he also got to hang out with both his uncles.

With Uncle John:

With Uncle Mark:

Oh yes, and he got his first taste of real Southern cooking. We let him have some of the amazing biscuits at the Loveless Cafe. No, I didn't give him any of my fried catfish or fried okra, but he's got time.

Incidentally, he'll get the chance to eat a lot more biscuits in the future because we bought a house just a few miles away from the Loveless Cafe. Yes, we are officially homeowners now. After slogging through about 40 houses--actually, it was more like sprinting through 40 houses, since we did that in about three days--we found a winner. Here it is:

It's a four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house with a wonderful big fenced-in backyard where William can play, run, skip, hop and jump until he falls over from exhaustion. The owners are even leaving us the big fabulous swingset, and I can't wait for William to be able to use that.

Also, frankly, I am relieved. We were pretty sure we'd find something on our househunting mission, but it's nice to know that we really do have a place to live, come July. David and I really feel like we saw every possible house on the market in our price range, and this is the winner. It's in a big, new, clean family-friendly neighborhood with a community pool and good schools. Yeah, we're moving to Suburbia, but frankly, we are now the kind of people who do that. (No minivan yet, though.) I know, I know, I've always envisioned myself as the kind of person who lives in the hip, older neighborhoods, but you know what? We looked at houses in those neighborhoods, and they just weren't what we needed or could afford right now. This house has room for us to grow, for us to stash our three zillion books and DVDs, for me to plant roses and maybe even grow some tomatoes. There's space for a guest room, so that all of you can come see us (read: see William) and not have to sleep on the sofa in the living room. It's going to be good.

And William likes his new house. There's a room on the second floor that's decorated with a choo choo train theme, and it's going to be perfect for William's new room. We took him to see it, and he felt right at home.

Random other photos from the trip:

Playing with Daddy:

Posing with Mommy:

Friday, March 16, 2007

Play date

Oh boy. The second best part of a good playdate is having a whole bunch of new toys to play with! Case in point: the ball pit at Jake and Jadyn's house!

The best part, of course, is getting to hang out with your buddies. Jake, whose third birthday will be the day after William's first birthday, and Jadyn, who will be one at the end of May, have been friends with William since he was just a few weeks old. Actually, we met Jake and his mommy Jennifer before Jadyn was even born. So it's been fun for the two moms, the two Jennifers, to watch our kids grow up this year.

It's hard to believe that these two were tiny little babies just a few months ago:

Jadyn and William are becoming Big Kids!

You know the old saw about how kids grow up so fast? I guess it's a cliche because it's so true. It seems like yesterday that William was just a tiny little thing with his clothes dripping off his skinny little legs, and now he's this strapping 22-plus-pounder who chases the cats on his hands and knees. It seems like yesterday that Jadyn was just born, and suddenly she's on the cusp of walking all by herself.

And here we are, already trying to make plans for first birthday parties. Isn't that crazy? How did that happen? Does my mom feel like she just turned around and suddenly her little girl was a mommy and she was a grandmother? Does my mother-in-law feel like she just had two little boys sprawled out on the floor in their pajamas, watching Saturday morning cartoons?

When you're little, the time passes soooo slooooowly. I remember that feeling so well. How many more days 'til Christmas? I'd want to know. Then I'd try to count them, and the days just lagged. It seemed like it took eons for me to turn 16 and be old enough to drive. Then suddenly, I went off to college. And then time somehow speeded up. I once read in a book the following sentiment about having a new baby: "The days and nights may be long, but the months are short." It made sense to me. Now that the days and nights aren't that long anymore, the months are even shorter!

Before I sign off for tonight--we have an early start tomorrow--I have to share this photo of William. I bought bunny ears, thinking about making him wear them to an upcoming Easter egg hunt, and they're so hilarious that he's going to have to wear them. May I present Easter Bunny William!

Yeah, yeah. I'm sure one day, William will want to file that photo under the "Mom, what were you thinking?" category. But he's too young to argue with me, so I'll just enjoy it while I can. And maybe I'll dig that photo out to show his prom date, too.

March Madness William

We've survived Pi Day and we were "beware" of the Ides of March. Now William would like to officially encourage everyone to enjoy March Madness:

The real reason that William is suddenly so excited about basketball is that he can now actually say "ball." I guess he started saying it on Wednesday--right in time for the annual NCAA basketbally tourney. It sounds more like "Ba!" but he uses it to signify the ball, so it counts. It definitely counts.

Daddy dunks on William:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Whew. Well, I'm nearly fully recovered now, you'll all be glad to know. My lovely wonderful husband came home from work early yesterday and took over William duty, allowing me to take a long lovely afternoon nap. When I woke up at dinnertime, William was taking a long nap himself*, allowing David some time to decompress on the couch. Everyone wins!

A good night's sleep last night helped, too. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: a good night's sleep can fix so, so many things. I still feel a little weaker than usual today, but I'm definitely in much better shape than I was this time yesterday. Now I just hope that David doesn't come down with this same bug. Especially since we are going to Nashville on Saturday to begin the Great House Hunt. And I dearly hope to avoid passing along this little bug to my in-laws again. We've given them the plague once this year. I sincerely do not want to do it again, and I'm sure they would agree!

*Photo of William, refusing to wake up from his own long lovely afternoon nap yesterday:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sick. This time, it's me.


That's the noise I would make if I had enough energy to make a noise. I was up all night, throwing up. William threw up around 7 p.m., but then he seemed to feel just fine. I started to feel bad about 30 minutes later but didn't have to race to the bathroom until around 10. I was actively sick until about 3:30. Then I did the lie-in-bed-and-feel-awful thing until David got up for work.

The good news is the baby's doing great. No more repeat episodes. He seems to be feeling fine and hasn't been sick since. He's in his office, watching some program with monkeys and tree frogs on PBS. I don't normally park my young child in front of the TV and then collapse on the sofa, but I think it's okay to make an exception today. And if it's not, well, too bad!

David's hoping to escape the clinic early today and come home to take care of me. Man, it was easier to be sick before I had a small boy to care for, too. I feel so bad that I have exactly zero energy to spend on him this morning, though. The only reason I'm able to type here is because years of writing have left me able to more or less type in my sleep. However, I'm going to cut this short. I think I'm going to try to confront a piece of dry toast now. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Time change

We have survived the shift to Daylight Savings Time. Well, I say that, but we haven't had a full day and night yet. William woke up at a fairly ordinary time this morning, regardless of DST, but then he went back to sleep again after nursing. And he slept for a long time. So then his afternoon nap was later, and he didn't get a second nap.

This is actually the fourth time in about a week that he's skipped the last nap of the day for whatever reason, and I admit I'm getting scared. I'm not ready for him to go to one big nap instead of two smaller naps. I'm hoping it's a fluke. I really am hoping. I know that it's common for many toddlers to take one long nap in the afternoon, but William is not a toddler yet. Yet. He's a crawling maniac now, but he's not a full-fledged toddler.

But I guess I should pay heed to the mantra that all mamas should know: if you don't like something, just wait. It's like the weather in New Orleans. If you don't like it, wait five minutes.

Right now William is out in the living room. He is objecting to his play yard. I sat in there and played with him for a little while, but now he's mad that he's in there alone. All alone! Nothing but tons of fun, colorful, age-appropriate toys to keep him company! Poor sad thing! The horror! I mean, doesn't he look tortured and miserable?

Seriously, I think he may be getting tired. He's cranky that he's having to entertain himself (never mind that he's actually good at entertaining himself), but I think part of it really may be exhaustion. Or something close to it. Even with sleeping late and the long nap, he's still accustomed to having a nap before dinner, and he didn't get it. I'm trying to let him go a little longer before his last feeding and bathtime, but it may just not happen.

In fact, David's calling to me now, suggesting we feed William. William just answered with a "Raaa." I'll take that as a "Yeah, get with the program." Nighty night.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Warming up

All of a sudden, it got warm here. It's been in the 80s here the last few days. I'm hoping it's just a warm spell, and that we still have a bit of cooler weather left.

At least it is still pleasant, so we can still go to the park!

Of course, as it warms up, I need to be vigilant about putting sunscreen on William and making sure he keeps his hat on. Have you ever tried to put sunscreen on a wiggly baby? Wow. I think that the only thing more challenging might be trying to brush the cat's teeth.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More crib standing

William is so active that it can be hard to get a good, in-focus picture of him these days. One of the baby books describes this as "busy baby" syndrome, and man oh man, is that an accurate description.

This morning, I wanted to capture a few images of him standing up in his crib, now that he can do it without help.

But it wasn't easy. He can see so much more from this new vantage point that he just gets super excited. Waving and chatting and grabbing for things.

It is fun, however, to watch him enjoy himself so much. He's just so pleased with himself that you can't help but smile back at him.

But wow, it's starting to really hit home that William won't be a baby much longer. He's on the way to being a toddler...and then a little boy....and then a big boy....and then...okay, I need to stop that train of thought. I'll get sniffly if think about that.

I know I've been saying for months now that he's "growing up" but seeing him doing things like crawling and standing really make it start to seem real. I'm trying to savor the moments that I have with him as a baby, since I know these days are numbered. I try to kiss his sweet soft little cheeks and neck every single time I pick him up. And when I brush his baby-fine hair back off his forehead, I try to commit to memory exactly how it feels to do that. I'm trying to memorize his hilarious giggle, the one that rings out when he's really tickled about something, like when we kiss his tummy or hold him high above our heads like he's Superman (or as we call him Super William). He's just such a sweet little baby that I don't want to forget all these things later, when he's too busy to spend a couple of minutes snuggled up with Mama. He's almost too busy to do that now!

But I'm also delighted by William's obvious excitement over doing new things. There is something almost indescribably adorable about watching him tentatively crawl across the living room rug, with his little diaper-padded bottom shuffling behind him. Even as we are trying to intercept him and prevent him from pulling out all the wires from the stereo or grabbing books off the coffee table, I have to smile at the expressions on his face. All that stuff that used to be inaccessible is now within his reach, and oh boy, does he love that!

So I guess it would be fair to say that I am relishing this time--but it's also a tiny bit bittersweet. Want to know why I take so many photos of him? I never want to forget what he looked like at a certain age. Even though I know I won't ever truly forget, I know that memories can get a little hazy after awhile. I always want to be able to look back and see William's face at two months, seven months, ten months. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

Monday, March 05, 2007


We seem to be experiencing breakthroughs all at one time, instead of spacing them out.

Last week, David found William's first tooth. Last night, we noticed William starting to crawl, really crawl, forward, instead of just employing his usual hybrid method of transportation. This morning, I discovered William standing up in his crib; he had gotten up to a standing position all by himself.

It's like William saved up all these milestones for one big week!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hangin' out and standin' up in the crib

How much fun would your life be if all you had to do to entertain yourself was grab hold of the window blinds and shake really really hard?

Sometimes William wakes up in the morning and finds ways to entertain himself until Mommy or Daddy comes in to get him. This morning, David and I listened, via the baby monitor, to William kneeling in his crib and shaking the blinds for all he was worth.

I will admit that these pictures were staged. William is not quite able to get himself all the way into a standing position on his own. He can do it with a little help, though. I think it won't be long until he can do it by himself.

Especially since he's discovered that he can grab at his Red Sox mobile:

Or gnaw on the crib rail, in time-honored baby tradition:

Friday, March 02, 2007

Finger food

Here's what William looks like after dinner.

Not too bad, huh? No, he's not really orange. That's leftover dinner. He still has residual lasagna and green bean stains all over his face, but at least there are no sizable chunks of cracker, cheese or other random food that might have fallen into the pocket of his bib. I figure, we're doing pretty well if there's no visible food in his hair.

Yes, William has arrived at the stage where he wants to feed himself. "No, let me do it, Mommy!" he seems to be saying when he bats my hands away. If he's upset and grousing about his horrible life, nothing cheers him up quicker than the sight of me shaking the box of Cheerios over his high chair tray. Cheerios are the No. 1 best baby food ever, I've decided. If Cheerios had that much power over adults, I think we really would have world peace.

But while it's great that William does want to feed himself and is thus acquiring important skills, it means that feeding him is becoming a much slooooower process. And a messier one. And one that requires some agility on my part. Have you ever tried to maneuver a spoonful of mushy baby food into an active baby's mouth while successfully dodging the active baby's flailing arms and hands while they were trying to stuff Cheerios/pears/animal crackers into his mouth? There's a good reason that William has a huge lasagna stain all over the front of his pants tonight. I won't even get into the small leftover chunks of turkey sticks that were mashed into the seat of the high chair after lunch today.

And I'm forever picking up the Cheerios. Off the floor, out of the highchair, you name it, I've found Cheerios there. I even found one in his diaper the other day. They are his favorite, and no meal is complete without them. I should write fan letter to the Cheerios people. Really. I mean, I knew Mom fed me Cheerios as a kid and that I loved them, and hey, I even still eat them now, but I have all new respect for them now.

Here's a typical day of food in the life of William. Of course, this is all subject to change, as we introduce new foods:

Breakfast: Cheerios on the tray, of course. And a big bowl of oatmeal or mixed cereal with fruit. Usually the fruit is a jar of baby food fruit served with a spoon and a flourish, but sometimes I give him some fruit cocktail out of the can to eat with his hands. Sticky, but satisfying.

Lunch: A starter of fresh Cheerios, drizzled artfully on the high chair tray, always. And until we switched over to Stage 3 baby food a couple of weeks ago, William was usually eating two jars of Stage 2 foods at lunch, or one jar and a container of Yo-baby yogurt. Oh yes, and a couple of Ritz crackers and some cheese. Now it sort of depends. The other day, I gave him a Stage 2 container of green beans, plus a container of blueberry yogurt, but then today, he had half a Stage 3 jar of carrots and beef, plus half a Stage 3 jar of green beans. A couple of days ago, I fed him a veggie chicken jar and half a jar of the Gerber Graduates green beans--they're actual small pieces of green beans, like canned green beans. They're pretty unappetizing, although not as much as the pureed kind. William was underwhelmed. But he did eat them with his fingers. I told him that he'd probably like the fresh, non-mushy kind that his daddy and I eat, but he needs some more teeth before we debut those. Today, I gave him some of the aforementioned turkey sticks, and man, oh man, were those a hit. First, I dutifully cut them into small pieces so he could pick them up and eat them. Then I got lazy, handed him a stick, and said, "Go crazy, Kiddo." And that was the real joy for him. He could make a whole new kind of mess, woohoo!

Dinner: Usually half a jar of Stage 3 veggies and most of a jar of whatever Stage 3 entree I dig out of the cabinet. And no dinner would be complete without, you guessed it, some Cheerios. I am going to try to start serving more finger foods, though, and just resign myself to an uptick in laundry.

He'll basically try anything if it means he gets to eat it with his hands. So far, so good. The only thing that seems to please him more than feeding himself is if he gets to eat some of my food. Guacamole from my chicken fiesta salad proved to be especially popular.

The good doctor says this is all perfectly normal. Er, the William insisting on feeding himself part. (And probably the Cheerios obsession part, for that matter). "This is what they do," he said, commenting on babies William's age who only want to feed themselves. "I'm actually surprised he didn't do it sooner."

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to start wearing an apron when I feed him...or serve him the food that he attempts to feed himself. Might as well try to keep one of us clean, anyway.

By the way, we do clean William up eventually. Here's a quick photo that I took of him after his bath tonight. Note that David's sweater is soaked. Note that William does not seem to be in any danger of starving to death, if his thighs and belly are any indication. And well, it looks like William is still a little peachy-colored. He has a fondness for those sweet potatoes and squash, so he just gives off a nice healthy Vitamin A glow.