Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear Bo, The things you say...

Your language has just exploded this month.  You will try to say anything we say.  You are really into repeating things you hear now (uh-oh).  You participate and respond to the cartoons you watch when they ask questions.  And you are really stringing words together.  I wanted to remember some of the things you are saying and doing right now:
  • You know your letters.  We have some cookies that are shaped like letters and numbers, and you always shout out the letters when you eat them.  You like to watch Super Why and identify the letters.  When we're driving, you'll point out letters on signs.  You've even started to make the sound with the letters (you do this in speech class).  If you see an E, you'll say "E!  Eh-eh". 
  • You know your numbers.  You like to count, but the counting is always the same: you skip one, and say two twice.  No matter how many there is of an item, you point and say, "two-two-two" until you've "counted" them all.  
  • You're really into matching.  You love the Dr. Seuss matching game you got for Christmas.  If we're looking at books, you'll find two objects and say, "Tree.  Tree.  Two trees!".  My favorite is when you see a lady or man in a book.  Every lady or man is a "Mommy" and "Daddy".  You'll point at the Mommy and point at me and say "Two Mommies!"  You're seemingly able to find two of everything at all times.
  • You are really into Toy Story, or as you call it, "Woody-Buzz".  You recently started saying "Ken and Barbie", which never fails to make me laugh.
  • You're a huge Cars fan these days, too.  But you seem to be indifferent towards Lightning McQueen (or as you call him, "A-Queen"); you're a Mater fan (or as you say in two distinct syllables, May-Ter").  Daddy bought you a small Mater, and you're obsessed.  You take it everywhere and talk to him.  You like to hide him under your blocks then say "May-Ter?  May-Ter?  Where are you, May-Ter?".  Then you'll lift the box and grin, pick him up, and say "Ooh okay, May-Ter?"  If you drop him, you always ask if he's okay.
  • When you burp or toot, you announce it, and then say "scu-mees".  
  • Every time you go potty, you flush and say, "Bye-bye poo-poo" whether you've done that deed or not.
  • "Oh, no!" is a favorite phrase.  This weekend I took the toys out of your sandbox to wash them off and laid them out to dry.  When you saw your sandbox was empty, you said "Oh, no!  My toys!"
  • I rarely shop in town so I order a lot on the Internet.  There's always something being delivered to the house it seems.  Last week the doorbell rang, and the nanny opened it to see who it was.  You looked around and said, "Hmm.  No box!"
  • You like to say "Hmm" a lot like you're really contemplating.
  • You're into saying "Bye" to things, especially when we watch cartoons.  "Bye, Guppies!", "Bye, Mickey!", "Bye, Thomas", "Bye, Nick and Cat!" are commonly heard.
  • You are so into vehicles-----trucks "big trucks", tractors, cars, bikes, motorcycles, trains ("choo-choos"), airplanes.  You name it.  You like to make their noises, shout when you see them, and you like telling us what colors they are on the road.  You're also into telling them "bye!".
  • You love to be tickled.  We hear "Tickle, Daddy" and "Tickle, Mommy" over and over again.
  • You love to play with/kick/throw balls.  I love when you say, "soccer ball".  It's awesome.
  • And of course, my favorite is when you say love you "wuv-ooo"!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Bo, Your second gym awards ceremony...

How can it be that this is your second awards ceremony at ADGC?  Wasn't it just yesterday we were having your first?

And you were playing with tiny balls on the small trampoline?

Instead of big balls on the big trampoline?

You have loved gym class.  You went with the nanny each Wednesday, and it's neat to see how far you've come.  You are a jumping machine, like the climbing wall, love, love, love to run as fast as you can across the trampoline, and, of course, you're always game for playing with whatever balls are lying around.  Perhaps your favorite part is getting stamps at the end of class though.  

Miss Lynn presented you with your ribbon, and you were happy to take it from her.  

It's impossible not to sniffle when I think about her giving you your award last year...


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dear Baby Girl, A weekend at home...

Another week down, Baby Sister.

Daddy was out of town this weekend so it was just you, me and Big Brother this weekend.  I dropped him off to play at Parents' Night Out on Friday night, and you and I went shopping for your room.  I found some darling lamps and a few other things. 

Things are going pretty smoothly with this pregnancy, but I'm starting to get tired in the later afternoons and evenings.  I'm also super annoyed by one of the side effects of this pregnancy...nose bleeds!  I had a ton this weekend and early this week.  I don't remember having a nosebleed ever before this pregnancy.

We saw you last Thursday.  You're looking less alien-like and more little girl like.  In some of the pics you looked like your brother (which makes me happy because as you may know, we're over the moon for him).  You have sweet lips and chubby cheeks.  You even looked like you have some hair.  Your heartbeat was 148bpm, and you weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces.

Here's what you're up to {29 weeks}:

You weigh about 2 1/2 pounds and are a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. Your muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and your head is growing bigger to make room for your developing brain. To meet your increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your hardening skeleton each day.
These were my prayers for you:

That we'll have plenty of shopping adventures together and girl weekends when Big Brother gets bigger and goes on boys' weekends with Daddy.  That you're growing just like you're supposed to and stay in there until at least 36 weeks.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear Bo, A Mommy and Me weekend...

Daddy went fishing with his cousins this weekend so we had a Mommy and Me weekend.  I didn't take a single picture with my camera, but my heart took a plenty.

I dropped you off to play at Parents' Night Out on Friday night.  You love it there.  Every time I pick you up, they tell me how much fun you have and how happy you are there.  One little girl about a year older than you took it upon herself to "take care of you" while you were there.  Her name was Hannah, and you keep saying "Bye, Hannah" every time we pass by the church now.

You have decided it's fun to wake up at 6am sharp now so Saturday you greeted me bright and early.  You laid on "Daddy's pillow" as you kept calling it and tried to be quiet so I could snooze a little longer, but in the end, your desire for milk and Cat in the Hat won out so you sat on me, kissed me, and whispered, "Cat".  I obliged. 

We played outside a lot on Saturday, and you took a great nap.  You like us to lay with you at nap time, and Sissy is making me tired these days so I slept with you for about an hour before I got up and got a few things done. 

Sunday was another 6am day so we were more than ready in time for church.  You love your teachers and Bible class.

I kept thinking this weekend that I'm sad our one on one time is coming to an end.  I'm excited to give you a Baby Sister, but I know that you'll become more dependent on Daddy now, and I just love our special relationship.  I soaked up every second with you.  I just love...
  • How you'll be playing but all of the sudden realize I'm not beside you and run to find me, and when you do, you'll hug my leg and say, "Hi, Momma".
  • How you pull my arm around you when I lay with you at nap time and snuggle into me.
  • How your chubby fingers play with my nails when you sit in my lap.
  • How you turn on the charms with a big ornery grin when you know you're doing something you shouldn't.
  • How your favorite phrase this weekend was, "Oh, no!"
  • How you think it's funny to burp and say, "scu mees".
  • How you flush and say cheerfully, "Bye poo-poo" every time you go to the bathroom in the potty, whether you've gone poo-poo or not.
  • How you drop everything when you hear a siren ("amblance"), a motorcycle, a truck, or an airplane (you say these right on), yell their names, and do not stop until I acknowledge that I've heard them, too.
  • How you make a car noise every single time I put on your "Cars undies" (your pullups) at night.
Mimi and Pop stopped by on Sunday on their way home from a weekend trip.  You love them both, but you are a Pop's boy.  You kept giving him hugs, and he had to be the one to take you to wash your hands with "Elmo soap", to swing you, and carry you to the car.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dear Baby Girl, We celebrated Mother's Day this weekend...

We had such a good weekend together as a family of four.  I couldn't help but think of what it will be like next year with a 10 month old.  Your brother was really getting fun at 10 months old, and I imagine your little personality and mobility will be on a roll, too.  

I've been having some contractions and cramping, so much so that I wondered if we should go out of town on Saturday, but there's really no pattern, and they've subsided through the week.  I'm anxious to see if anything has changed when we go for our sonogram on Thursday.  Things started falling apart with your brother's pregnancy at 30 weeks so I keep holding my breath for that marker to pass.  We'll get a high resolution ultrasound, and I can't wait to see how you've changed and get more pictures of you.

Your GranNana sent another box of dresses from your cousins.  They're sizes you'll wear when you're older, and I had fun oohing over them and packing them away. She also sent the sweetest pink day gown with rosettes on the sack portion and a matching hat.  So sweet.  Can't wait to doll you up in it!

We thought we were decided on your name, Rebecca Tally Zanowiak, but now I'm having my doubts.  I kept calling you Rebecca or Becca, but it just didn't seem 100% like your name.  So now we're still milling over names, and these are still the frontrunners:  Rebecca, Allie, Kate, and we've also added Morgan to the list (which I found on the Jones family tree).  Bo pronounces these:  Beeka, Owee, Ket, and Morget.  If I could get away from family names (but I'm not convinced I can), I would vote to name you Avery or Emerson.  Daddy would name you Aspen.  We'll see where we end up.  I hate not having your name picked out; mostly because I want to order a monogram for your room and monogram your diaper bag and some bloomers for you.  I suppose that will all have to wait...

Here's what you're up to this week {28 weeks}:

By this week, you weigh two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measure 14.8 inches from the top of your head to her heels. You can blink your eyes, which now sport lashes. With your eyesight developing, you may be able to see the light that filters in through my womb. You're also developing billions of neurons in your brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.

These were my prayers for you:

That your eyesight and brain develop as they should.  That you stay inside the womb as long as possible.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Dear Sis of Mine,

*I have a ton of posts in the works to catch up on, but I couldn't get this one off my mind so I'll back fill the rest soon.

I've been going through closets and drawers making room for Baby Girl.  I've sorted through TONS of pictures.  These were obviously from years past since I rarely print pictures anymore; I just keep the digital images.  As I went through them, I found a TON of my oldest niece, Brileigh Kenzi.  I mean...A TON.  Some I had taken, some my sis mailed me.  There were so many.  She was the chubbiest little thing.  She was the first grandbaby on my side (now the oldest of a dozen), and she was (and is) adored in every way.

I feel comfortable saying that no one adored her more than me.  I have always been silly over babies, and I was thrilled when she arrived.  She arrived 6 weeks before my wedding (sorry about that, Sis!).  I lived in Lafayette, LA then Houston during my sis's pregnancy and Brileigh's infancy.  She was born late at night, and I was asleep, but I remember telling my mom she had to call me.  She woke me up with a phone call to let me know she was here safe and sound.  Sis didn't share the name before the birth, so it was exciting to learn her name.  My middle name is Leigh so it was fun to hear that was part of her name spelling, too.

I didn't see Brileigh until I traveled home a week before my wedding; she was 5 weeks old.  I bought her outfit upon darling outfit, purses, toys, books.  I loved buying for her.  When I would go on trips, I always brought her something back.  When I traveled home for visits, I never showed up empty handed. 

After Brileigh, there were 3 more born on my side then a lull before 4 more were born in a row.   I felt the same excitement when each of them were born.  I bought gift cards for their mommas to get new maternity clothes with each pregnancy, sent congratulations cards, planned family pamper parties, and had the best time buying for those sweet babies.  Every single time a new baby was added, I bought them the book "Guess How Much I Love You" and inscribed it.  I made it my project to make sure they had holiday shirts with each passing holiday...Christmas, Valentine's, name it!  And it was important to me to not show up empty handed when I saw them (I lived away from home so I didn't get to see them too often).  The next 4 were born, and it was tough to keep up with purchases, but never tough to keep my adoration level up. 

As they grew out of the baby stages, into fun little girls and boys, I tried my hand at "experience" gifts.  I took them to see High School Musical, Peter Pan, and Annie.  I painted nails, read books, told stories at bedtime, and was generally, the "fun aunt" who swooped in every couple of months to treat the kiddos.  I feel sure I had more fun than them most of the time; they are some of my favorite, favorite memories (and thankfully, we're still making them).

{High School Musical 2008}
 {Annie Weekend 2008}
Not very often...

But on rare occasion...

I would allow myself to wonder...

"Who will do this for me and my kids?  Can my siblings possibly love my children as much as I love theirs?  Who will send me a congratulations card when I'm pregnant, or get me a gift card, or spoil my babies?  How could they have time to do all that when they're raising their own kids?  Won't they all be so over it by the time I join the ranks of a new parent?"

I was the last of my siblings to have kids.  While they were starting and raising their families, I was working, going to law school, taking a ton of trips, and generally just doing whatever I wanted.  Sure, I was mixing in fun purchases for their kiddos and planning fun things for them to do, but mostly I was doing a lot of stuff for me.  Admitting that I asked myself those questions during those pre-child years makes me cringe now.  I admitted the same to a friend, and she said that I shouldn't be so hard on myself because "you can only know what you know."

And now I know...

That loving their kids was important.  That showing that love through treats and trips was fun and appreciated, but what I could have done and should have done, was loved those kids' parents better.

I was right about the answers to some of my questions, but it turns out that being right meant being wrong.  It turns out I inflated what all of those things meant...I did the best I could with what I knew at the time, but now I know better.   And I certainly wish I would have known then what I know now so I could have done better.

Now I know...
  • How important it is to show up
  • How important it is to listen
  • How important it is to not judge or persuade, but to just love them right where they're at
  • How important it is to check in often
  • How important it is to cheer them on

Bo was born on a holiday, and I knew it would be difficult for family to come see him for awhile.  Not only did they have their own little flocks to tend to, but it was a holiday weekend, and bad weather on top of that.  Imagine my surprise, when my sis and her little family surprised us at the hospital.  She showed up.  I didn't see Brileigh for 5 weeks.  I don't recall how long it was before I saw her second born, Kamryn.  I wised up and showed up at the hospital when her third, Brody, was born.  But it bothers me now that I didn't show up for the first two. 

Nursing was a huge obstacle with Bo.  Oh, my stars.  Those early weeks were so difficult.  My sis successfully nursed all 3 of her kiddos.  She became my personal therapist/cheerleader/question hotline.  Some days, she would have me call her after every nursing session just to talk about how it went.  A lot of times, she'd just be on the other end listening to my sniffles.  She listened.

When we went home for Christmas when Bo was just a month old, she took care of Bo at night so I could sleep.  Oh, blessed sleep.  And when we went to visit her when he was just a couple of months old, she did it again.

During the MSPI debacle and sleeplessless of the first 7 months, she checked in on me all the time. Sometimes I'd sniffle.  Sometimes I'd be happy as a lark.  But all the time, I was happy to have someone to share my thoughts with.

When we were at our wit's end, she invited us on vacation with her family and let us escape for a weekend, helping us to break out of the cycle of feeling like "it will always be this way."

When I peppered her with questions about sleep training, and feeding schedules, and now potty training, she laughed at my neuroses, but always answered.  Understanding my personality is hugely different than her own, she never tried to change my mind or my method, she just let me go off on some neurotic tangent (still does) and answered all of my questions.  She just met me where I was at and didn't judge or try to persuade.

There has been no bigger cheerleader for Bo in our recent potty training efforts than my sis.  I text his success and get "Whoo-hoo!" texts back.  I get texts checking on his progress.  I continue to pepper her with questions, and continue to get those questions answered.  When I wonder if I'm doing it right, she seems to read my mind and sends a "Great job, Momma!" text.  She's not only his cheerleader; she's mine.

Along the way, by not making me feel like I was doing things the "wrong way", and by not trying to change my mind when I was being hyper sensitive and hyper scheduled about things, she helped me find my way and develop confidence as a mother.  I'm a lot less stressed about Baby Girl's arrival for a couple of reasons, but many have to do with the confidence she's helped me develop. 

What makes me sad is realizing that I wasn't there when her first two entered this world, that I never offered to stay up at night so she could get some sleep, that I don't remember celebrating with her over many of their milestones.  That while I thought buying cute outfits and taking the kids fun places was being a great aunt, what she really needed was a great sis:
  •  to just show up, 
  • let her get some sleep,
  • to check in,
  • to listen, 
  • to be her cheerleader,
  • to say "good job, momma" over and over again until she believed it.
So while I was right about some of the answers to my questions, I was wrong about all of the important ones.  I have no doubt my siblings love my kids just as much as I love theirs.  And instead of it being a disadvantage to start my family last, I've learned that it's really an advantage.  Drawing from years of experience, they are able to love and support me in a way I didn't know how to love and support them when they were starting their families.

No one does a better job of loving and supporting me that than my sis.  So Sis, twelve years overdue..."Good job, Momma!"  I'm your number one fan.  I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day.