Saturday, February 26, 2011

The birthday boy and his cake

On Wednesday, William and I picked out a Sesame Street birthday cake at Publix, and the cake came with a free "smash cake" for Andrew to have all to himself. We picked them up this morning, along with a Sesame Street balloon, and prepared for Andrew's first birthday party, which we had this evening.

And what would a first birthday party be without a camera, right?

Here, Andrew was thinking, "Here I am, all cute in my birthday bib and crown, mugging for the camera! Hi, Mom!"

But then I put the cake in front of him, and I could practically hear him thinking, "Vot? Vot ees dees theeng? Vy ees she putting eet in front of meeeee? No! NOOOOOOO!"

(He doesn't always have a bad German accent in my head, just so you know.)

And finally, Andrew grudgingly gave the frosting a try. He seemed to like it. The cake, maybe not so much, but the frosting was a qualified success. There was no euphoric "CAKE!" moment like William had when he was eating his first birthday cake, but at least he was interested. I should note that this is the kid who would rather eat cold green peas from the fridge more than almost anything else on earth. He'll casually throw Cheerios and banana pieces onto the floor, but he almost never tosses peas onto the floor.

Of course, then he started flinging handfuls of icing and cake off the highchair tray and onto the floor. All done.

He liked his present from William more than the frosting, though.

And he liked playing with his daddy the best of all.

Needless to say, Andrew was plumb tuckered out by the end of the evening.

(I had to use a nice down-home folksy phrase like "plumb tuckered out" because he was just so darn cute that it deserved that type of phrase. Don't you reckon so?)

Onward toward William's fifth birthday, I guess. I have an almost-two-month breather to get ready for whatever that ends up being.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Andrew turns one: a retrospective

How did my baby boy go from this....

Image and video hosting by TinyPic this, in just twelve short months?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Hard to believe it's been an entire year since the cold February morning when David and I went to the hospital in anticipation of our second son's birth. I remember lying propped up in the bed in the labor and delivery room and watching the snow fall outside my window. I remember looking over at the warmer across the room and thinking, with a shock, "Oh my God, there's going to be a baby on that in a little while. My baby!" Andrew ended up being born by c-section later on, at 6:31 p.m.

And here he is, a year old. I can't believe it! In some ways, and I know this will sound weird, he seems younger at one year than William did. Is it because I still have William around, only now he's nearly five and does nearly-five-year-old things that contrast so sharply with what a one-year-old does? Maybe.

Regardless, I'm delighted that Andrew is one. I feel like I made it over a major hurdle. I kept my child alive until at least his first birthday. Woohoo!

On Easter:

Super Brothers!

Last spring, in a dressing gown made by my friend Betsy:

On the Fourth of July:

Playing with Daddy:

With William at Grandaddy Bill's house last October:

Pumpkin Baby:

Andrew and William conferring over when they think Santa Claus is going to arrive:

In the bathtub last week, wearing a foam letter on his head, courtesy of William:

This morning, in his birthday shirt, if not his birthday suit:

Happy birthday, big guy. I'm so glad that you came to join our family.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy birthday to two very important women

Happy early birthday to my mother-in-law, Diane, and to my mother, Judi!

Diane's birthday is Monday, February 21, and Mom's birthday is Tuesday, February 22. No, despite intense lobbying, neither was able to convince a then-in-utero Andrew to be born on her birthday last year. (His big day is Thursday.)

One reason that Diane is very special to me is because she alone of all my family members reads what I write. My grandmother, Mama Lou, also used to read what I wrote. She even subscribed to the newspapers I wrote for. But of course, she is gone now. But I am not writing into empty space. Despite being very busy, Diane always reads all my blogs and she often even makes comments on them. It's nice to know that someone out there not only cares that I have written something but takes the time to read it and say something about it. Something thoughtful and nice, even! (Hint, hint, Mom and Daddy. And David. And John. And...)So thank you, Diane, and have a most deservedly happy birthday!

Mom may not read what I write but she did at least help build the foundation for helping me learn to read and write--and to love doing so. When I was a little girl, she used to drive me around to all the public libraries so I could check out my favorite books. Over and over. We drove to the Homewood library to get the Lotta Crabtree biography, and we drove to the Vestavia Hills library to get the Amelia Earhart book and all the books in the Carolyn Haywood "B is for Betsy" series. We went all the way downtown to the Birmingham library to get some random ballet books that I don't remember too much about now except that I really loved them 30 years ago. Thanks, Mom, for humoring me and encouraging me to love the written word. Happy birthday to you!

Here's a photo taken after we celebrated Diane's birthday with dinner and cupcakes this evening. See, everyone's happy! Well, everyone was happy and William was full of cupcakes and icing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Andrew just said "Mama!"

And he said it to me! I mean, I think he said "Mama" deliberately and he actually meant me when he said it!

Could I use any more exclamation points?!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Andrew on Food

I'm learning that it's absurd to expect Andrew to be even the slighest bit like William.

Case in point: Andrew and William hold radically different positions on a matter of utmost importance. Food.

For example, cheese. On Friday night, I cut up a few cubes of cheese and dumped them onto Andrew's high chair tray. He immediately began swirling them around on the tray with both hands, knocking several pieces to the floor. After awhile, he gingerly tasted one piece, then spat it out and dropped it on the floor. He commenced swirling again. Eventually, he tried a different piece, worked it around in his mouth for a nanosecond or two, then dribbled it down the front of his bib. More swirling. You can see where this is going. A little while later, I was grimly hunched over, picking up all the bits of cheese off the floor from under the table and high chair.

Contrast that with what William would have done at the same age: he would have gobbled up every morsel of cheese as fast as he possibly could, then gestured wildly for more. Then he would have snarfed up the second helping of cheese and looked around for even more.

I know. It's taken me this long for the light bulb to finally flicker on. Hey, wow, they really ARE different!

Andrew seems to be a pickier eater than William, but he also seems to eat less food in general, even the food that he really likes.

Of course, I wouldn't say that Andrew is a picky eater, per se, at least not yet. He'll eat any and all baby food, from the green beans to the prunes to the meats. He loves his crackers, his Cheerios, toast, chicken sticks, bananas, bits of sweet potato and yogurt. He loves to hold a Ritz cracker with both hands and nibble it up, like a little mouse. And while he didn't care for avocado chunks, he was more than happy to eat mushed-up avocado on a spoon. He even gobbled up some smushed peas from my plate at dinner, picking them out from between pieces of canned peaches.

Speaking of canned peaches, he's admittedly lukewarm at best on canned fruit. But I'm wondering if that's a texture issue more than anything. David pointed out, quite correctly, that canned fruit can be a little slimy--or at least extremely slippery. When the weather warms up, and the seasonal fruit improves, I wonder if he might discover he really likes pluots, strawberries, and watermelon.

I guess I've just gotten spoiled by William. William ate with gusto from the time he started eating, and he's never looked back. He eats supreme-style pizza, with the onions, green peppers, pepperoni, sausage, and olives. He adores sugar snap peas, green beans, and broccoli. He's never met a fruit he didn't like. Of course he loves all cookies, cake and ice cream, even the more unusual flavors like pumpkin. He's very easy to please, in fact, when it comes to food. He can nearly always find something the he likes, and he tends to enjoy the vast majority of what he eats. Pretty much he'll eat anything except for lettuce. And who's going to insist that a four-year-old eat lettuce?

So William may be the outlier. And Andrew's more likely to be a typical kid, when it comes to food. He may not be as picky as his Uncle John, who up and decided out of the blue that he didn't like cheese when he was three years old and has not voluntarily eaten cheese in the 30 subsequent years. But he may not be a human garbage disposal like his big brother.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Super (Toilet) Bowl

My witty husband posted on Facebook yesterday that it wasn't really Super Bowl Sunday here; it was more like Super Toilet Bowl Sunday.

That's because William, bless his heart, had the stomach flu. I guess it's a good thing we hadn't planned to invite any friends over to watch the game.

We should have known something was up when he turned down pizza at lunch. He asked for peach yogurt and then only ate a few bites. Seriously, that's like alarm bells going off, and neither David nor I picked up on it. I guess we're out of the habit.

There was a time, though, when I would have noticed right away. When he was about Andrew's age, there was this one day that William was starting to get sick. I called David at work in a panic. David knows that I rarely ever call him at work, so he almost always takes my calls. Cautiously he asked me what was wrong.

"William's sick!" I bellowed.

Calmly, David reassured me that he might be sick but he'd probably be fine. He sounded relieved that nothing appeared to be emergently wrong.

"No, you don't understand!" I shouted. "He won't EAT CHEESE!"

"Bring him RIGHT IN!" was David's panicked response.

But there we were yesterday, not even thinking anything about William handing off that slice of Cowboy Pizza to David. William turning down pizza. Yeah. That was so obvious that I am smacking myself in the head for not realizing it right away.

William's Sunday School teacher and my friend Kate emailed me today to let me know that he had briefly mentioned feeling sick during Sunday School yesterday morning. But nothing came of it at the time, and he'd already probably exposed everyone in the vicinity to whatever bug he was carrying.

I Lysol-ed the hell out of everything in the house, not including David and Andrew. I cleaned the fixtures in the bathroom and the toilet seat every time William went near them (which was often). When he wasn't actively being sick, William lay on the couch, still and wan. It would have broken your heart to see him. He usually idles at such a high speed, and he was so sick, it was like someone had flipped a switch and turned him off.

Anyway, William bounced back just fine. He about drove me nuts today. No, I told him, you can't have yogurt-covered raisins. Yes, you can watch "The Empire Strikes Back." No, you can't have yogurt. Yes, I will read the volcano book to you. And will you please stop hugging and kissing on your little brother?

Andrew, knock on wood, seems to be doing just fine. Did I mention that he has two teeth now and adores Ritz Crackers? William is now calling him Ritz Cracker. Yes, that's a compliment; William adores Ritz Crackers. And he ate about 100 today.

Thursday, February 03, 2011