Thursday, July 29, 2010

Solid to speak

Look who got to eat some tasty rice cereal on Wednesday night!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes, we allowed Andrew to have his first dalliance with solid food. Well, if you can call runny rice cereal "solid." I'm sure it's violating all sorts of laws of physics to refer to it as "solid." It barely stays on a spoon.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Is this the universal baby "I don't know about this stuff" expression or what?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Actually, this might be a better example:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yeah, look at all that delicious rice cereal just oozing down his chin. Nummy.

We made Andrew the same promise that we made William: it really does get better than this. Really. And soon. Sure, maybe pureed peas aren't the creme de la creme, so to speak, but there is some good stuff coming. I mean, Cheerios are coming in a few months. I still eat--and enjoy--Cheerios to this day.

We're going to have to start working on the sippy cup soon, too, though. I need to refresh myself on the boot camp techniques that worked with William and see if Andrew will buy into them, too.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mama Lou

My grandmother, Louise Huntley Moore Larson, passed away this morning. She was 92.

She had major surgery earlier this week, and she just never was able to bounce back. She held on for awhile, but ultimately, it was just too much for her. She died around 11:30 this morning in her hospital room in Vicksburg, with my grandfather by her side. And my uncle, aunt, mom and brother were there, too. Unfortunately, my dad was en route, so he wasn't there; however he'd been with her all week, so he had had a chance to be with her when she was still conscious.

You've probably heard me refer to Mama Lou before, and of course, there are pictures of her on this blog. She got to spend time with William a number of times.

He attended her ninetieth birthday party, and she was present for his baptism. I just wish that she'd gotten the chance to meet Andrew, too...especially since some of us think he resembles Grandaddy Bill.

I'm still feeling sad about her passing away, so I'm not going to write too much more about it right now. I'm just going to tell a short story about something that happened when I was a little girl.

I was probably about three years old, and I went to stay with Mama Lou and Grandaddy Bill for a few days. One day we were going somewhere, so Mama Lou put me in the car. But somehow I managed to lock the doors while she was still outside the car. So she stood there, staring at me in disbelief, while tugging and pulling on the car door. She tried to coax me to unlock the door, but either I didn't understand what she was trying to get me to do, or I didn't want to. She was upset, and then I got upset, and then we both sat there, on opposite sides of the glass from each other, and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed at each other. Grandaddy Bill eventually came and saved the day.

We've laughed about that story countless times over the years, especially a couple of years ago when William locked me and David out of the beach house. I'm sure it wasn't that funny at the time, but it got progressively funnier over the years, like many family stories do.

Mama Lou had not been in very good health these last few years, and there were times when her memory would fade in and out. But when she was feeling good, she was still the same old Mama Lou. I talked to her a couple of months ago about Andrew, and she sounded weak but otherwise the same as I've always known her to sound.

I will miss her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's roll

I know I'm not supposed to compare my sons. I know, I know, I know. They're totally different people who will do things on their own timeframes when they're ready, and it doesn't matter if they do things alike. Blah blah y blah.

But let's face it. We all do it, even if it's just in benign ways. For example, it doesn't matter to me if Andrew does things at the same age that William did things, but part of me just sort of expects them to be similar anyway. So it still took me a little off-guard (in a pleasant way, of course) when Andrew suddenly decided to start rolling over yesterday. William rolled over for the first time shortly before he turned six months old, but Andrew won't even be five months old until Saturday. And yet, there he was, rolling onto his tummy, right there in front of me. "Hey, he's ahead of schedule!" was my first thought. Ahead of William's schedule, sure. But I guess Andrew figured he was ready, and his schedule is the only one that matters to him.

Actually, it was kind of funny. I put Andrew down on his quilt in the front room. He was lying on his back. William was sprawled out on the floor next to him, playing with his iPod. Then I left the room to go check on the tomato sauce that was simmering on the stove. When I dragged myself back into the room a few minutes later, Andrew was somehow on his tummy.

"Hey, William, did you do that?" I asked my elder child, gesturing to his baby brother. "Andrew's on his tummy. Did you help him roll over?"

"No," William said, still glued to his iPod. "He did it himself."

"Are you sure?" I asked again. "He was on his back. Are you sure you didn't help him roll over onto his tummy?"

"No, Mommy," William said again. "Andrew rolled himself over."

Because William, like many four-year-olds, can be a little bit of an unreliable narrator, I was still skeptical. I flipped Andrew back onto his back and sat down at my desk. A minute or two later, Andrew casually rolled over onto his stomach, and I squealed in delight. William looked up from the iPod and began to smile and laugh at Andrew, too. We both made a big old fuss over him, and I rolled him back onto his back to see if he'd roll over again. And good-natured baby that he is, he indulged us again. I even got him on video once.

And of course, y'all know me. I had to text my family, post it on Facebook and generally use modern technology to make a nuisance of myself, letting people know about my genius baby who can roll! over! all! by! himself! (See? Here I am, doing in here!)

Later on, he rolled from his stomach to his back, too. I haven't captured that one on film yet, but he was practicing some more this evening, so perhaps that will come soon.

My only concern: this doesn't mean that he's going to crawl earlier than William did, too, is he? Because that would be very inconvenient. I'd kind of like him to stay stationary for awhile. Because of course we all know that kids are all about being convenient for their parents.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mom, why don't you have more pictures of me?

The boys, all dressed up for church yesterday:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yep, we all went to church yesterday. Diane came out here to drive us in the minivan, since I still can't drive. I'm grateful to her. I'm getting tired of this whole broken ankle thing, though. It's been five weeks, folks. Five looooong weeks.

Anyway, I had to take a few pictures of the boys in their nice clothes, particularly Andrew, since I have already fallen into one of the best-known traps of the Parent of More Than One Child. You may also know it as the "Mom, why did you take so many more pictures of my older sibling?" phenomenon.

Oh sure, I had great intentions of being the exception to the rule. I started out strong, too. I took dozens and dozens, maybe even hundreds, of photos in the first month or so after Andrew was born. I even put a bunch of pictures from Andrew's first six weeks or so into an actual album. I mean, wow, right? I didn't put photos of William into an album for, er, years.

But then inertia set in. Plus, the broken ankle kind of hobbled the whole effort (no pun intended...mostly). Every time Andrew was doing something cute, I'd be stuck on my butt, wondering if he'd still be doing that cute thing, whatever it was, by the time I hoisted myself up on the crutches, hobbled into the other room to get the camera (it was always in another room), limped back and then managed to get the camera out and ready to take photos. Boy, I'm panting a little bit right now, just remembering how much effort it took.

I did get lucky a few times, of course. But mostly, it was a challenge that even I, the shutterbug ordinaire (can't call myself a shutterbug extraordinaire...gotta set myself some goals, you know), couldn't overcome very often. Plus, there are only so many pictures you can take of a baby in a stroller in the same place in the same room. Although you have to admit that the ones I took last week really are amazingly cute. Right? Right??

I even took Andrew to Sears to have a portrait taken. No small task, given that I also brought William along, ostensibly to help baby-wrangle but mostly because I didn't know what else to do with him. But then, just like my mother had to do 30mumbleyears ago with me and my little brother, I ended up inviting William to be in the photos with Andrew. Okay, but I should get a pass on that. The pictures of William and Andrew together are gorgeous. They really are. And I got some good solo pictures of Andrew, too, so it wasn't like there are only pictures of the two of them together.

Anyway, now that I'm more mobile, I am renewing my vow to take more pictures of Andrew so that he doesn't whine, in 20 years or so, that I have so many more pictures of his big brother than I do of him. I probably will still have more pictures of William, but I'm going to try harder to make sure the discrepancy isn't too great.

But really, I can't resist taking some photos of both boys together. I just can't. They love each other so much, and it just makes me happy to see them like this. Those are the sorts of moments that make this parenting thing all totally worth while.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reading time

Remember how I read "Charlotte's Web" to William after the baby was born? I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to read something else out loud to William, but I hadn't found the perfect book yet. I tried to read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" to him, but it just didn't appeal to him. I'd have thought that a book about a boy who wins a trip to a candy factory would definitely appeal to my sweet-toothed kid, but apparently not. (Too weird, maybe. The book, I mean. Not William.)

Well, as it turned out, the answer presented itself recently. David bought the new Lego Harry Potter video game for the PlayStation, and William was enthralled by it. This was no shock, given his long affinity for wizards, magic wands and castles. A boy who goes to school in a castle! Sign him up! But as he and David played the game, it occurred to me that William had no clue who all the characters were or what was happening in the game. I thought he might like to hear the story so the game would make more sense.

So I pulled out the first Harry Potter book and made myself hoarse because every time I finished reading a chapter aloud, William wanted me to keep going. We sped through that book, which is over 300 pages long, in just over a week. He immediately demanded that we start reading the second one as soon I finished the last page of the first one, in fact.

Yes, a fair amount of the story is going right over his head. But he's thoroughly enjoying it. He definitely understands that Harry and his friends are the "good guys" and that Voldemort is the "bad guy." And he's already asking how they defeat Voldemort. I'm like, "Um, don't hold your breath. That's in the last book, about 4,000 pages from now, kiddo."

I admit that I was a little hesitant at first to begin reading the Harry Potter books to William because a major part of Harry's story revolves around the fact that Voldemort killed his parents when he was a baby. (I'm not giving anything away here, am I? You've had a dozen years now to read the first book, so I won't feel too bad if I spoiled it for you.) I fretted that that was too scary for a four-year-old. I mean, it's one thing when a talking spider dies in a book. It's a whole other thing when a little boy's parents are murdered, you know? I didn't want him to worry that something is going to happen to his own parents. But William seemed to understand that it's just a story. He's always had a pretty sophisticated (for his age) grasp of the concept of something being "pretend" or "make-believe." And the fact that I keep repeating, "It's just a story now, okay?" probably reinforces that, too. He nodded in understanding when I explained that Harry's parents loved him so much that they protected him from Voldemort, and that seemed to satisfy him. He didn't seem to extrapolate from Harry to himself, which was a relief to me.

William also has announced that he'd be in Gryffindor, not Slytherin, because he would rather be like Harry, not like the Slytherins because they're "the meanies." Good call.

This was only maybe the second time I'd reread "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" since William was born. And it's funny how, as I was reading aloud, I kept having these thoughts that had never occurred to me before. I felt like Mrs. Weasley, fretting over how Harry's relatives never gave him enough to eat--the poor starving little boy. And they didn't even fix his glasses or give him a birthday cake. Sniff. And when we reached the scene where Harry sees his mom and dad in the Mirror of Erised, I actually had to pause for a minute and collect myself. William may not get upset about the poor little boy who loses his parents too much because he has no real context for that. But as a mother, I could barely stand the thought of this boy missing his parents so much and not even being able to remember them. I need to remember what I keep telling William, I guess.


Sniff. I really am getting to be an old softy, aren't I?

Not to be left out, Andrew's been doing a little reading of his own:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

As long as the pages taste good, it's all fine with him!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I'm sorry. I can't hear you through all the quiet around here.

Oh, the noise. The noise!

Right now, the silence in my house is deafening. I'm sitting here in my makeshift study, and the baby's asleep in the stroller in the family room. I just sent William out with his Dee Dee to see a movie. The cicadas were tuning up outside a little while ago, and the air-conditioning was humming, along with the dryer. But everything is quiet and still now, save for my fingers, snapping along on the keyboard.

Hear that?

That's the sound of nothing! Nothing at all! Isn't it glorious?

I'm especially grateful for the quiet right now because it means the baby is getting a morning nap. I've heard for years about how it's so much harder to guarantee naps for your second child because you're always having to yank them up for a nap and throw them into the car so you can go pick up your older child. But as it turns out, being housebound doesn't really guarantee a nap for your second child either. Not when the older, noisy first child is home, too.

Because what happens is like this:

I feed Andrew from the comfort of my armchair in the family room. I notice that he's nodding off, so I lurch sideways and deposit him as carefully as possible into the stroller. I recline the back of the stroller so he's more or less lying down and pop his binky into his mouth. His little eyes close.

An instant later, William, who is upstairs in the playroom, receives some type of sonar-like message that hey, his little brother is asleep! He immediately abandons his quarry of Legos and races downstairs to the family room. He gathers speed and noise as he runs, like a steam engine. By the time he reaches me, he is whooping at a decibel level illegal outside of most rock concerts.

I bare my teeth quietly at him and hiss, "Ssssssh! Your brother is sleeping!" And William, to his credit, does stop hollering. For about three seconds, that is. Then he begins growling and yelping as loudly as he can, almost like he can't hold back the noise that has gathered inside him. He does this in irregular intervals, while I hiss and chastise him through gritted teeth, in the interims.

The baby, of course, can't sleep through this. His eyes fly open. He wriggles sideways and begins mewling. He's tired. He desperately needs a nap. But he cannot resist the powerful urge to see what his beloved older brother is doing. He cannot bear to miss out! He begins to fret. And so we miss the window for that nap.

Not today, folks! Well, maybe later today. But not for now.

Ah, silence.


The Very Serious Andrew:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Seriously. I wonder how much longer he'll actually fit in the Bumbo seat. Look at those chunky little legs!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Fourth of July, 2010 style

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. As a friend of mine posted on Facebook today, I am extremely grateful to be living in a country where I can vote, worship as I choose, pursue happiness and voice my opinion. I don't have too much trouble at all with that last one, as of course you all well know by now!

I was trying to explain to William what Independence Day is and how it got started, but I don't think I did a very good job. He just thinks about it being a giant birthday party for our country with fireworks, and I guess that's just fine for a four-year-old. We can get into the American Revolution when he's older. Unfortunately, given my broken ankle, we won't be doing anything particularly exciting for the holiday. I just can't imagine going to a fireworks celebration out in the community with a broken ankle, let alone with a baby and a broken ankle.

Speaking of the baby (and you knew I would!), I wanted to also note that this is our first Fourth of July as a family of four. Andrew is now a little more than four months old now, and according to the pediatrician's office, he weighs 16 pounds and 3ounces and is roughly 26 inches long. That's about the 75th percentile for both. Pretty good sized boy I've got here, huh? I put him in the Bumbo seat to take his picture this morning, and I realized that he may not fit in it for too much longer.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic