Alexander’s been having bad dreams lately, and he hasn’t quite figured out that what happens in his dreams isn’t actually happening. This is understandably tough for a sensitive little guy like Alexander.
His dreams cover a broad spectrum of scary stuff, from monsters, to dinosaurs, to not being able to find Mommy and Daddy when he needs us. In one dream, he was driving my car, pulled into the garage, and something bad happened (maybe he crashed into the garage? The details weren’t clear). He was calling for us to come help him, but we didn’t come. “So next time, when I have that dream,” he told me earnestly the next morning, “and I call for you and Daddy in the garage, make sure you guys come, okay?” Oh. Oh, Buddy. We would if we could.
Bad dreams have been a hot conversation topic at bedtime lately, and the other night, Alexander asked if Tim ever has bad dreams. Tim told him that he doesn’t have bad dreams very often, and when he does, it’s usually about something silly, like going to work without pants on.
As their conversation progressed, Tim started suggesting ways Alexander’s friends (the stuffed animals who sleep with him) could help him out if he had a bad dream: “Clifford is as big as a house, so no dinosaurs will mess with him. If a dinosaur is trying to get you, Clifford will come save you.” Or: “If a monster is chasing you, Dog-Bear can come protect you. Monsters will stay far away from Dog-Bear.”
“Yeah!” Alexander chimed in. “And if you have a bad dream, I’ll bring you pants!”
You know, I don’t think Tim’s had a bad dream since that night. He’s been able to rest easy knowing Alexander’s got him covered.
At nine months old, Emily…
…is bound and determined to climb stairs, and has zero sense of self-preservation. She’s constantly lunging in dangerous directions: down the stairs, off the couch, out of my arms, out of her chair that I put her in for her monthly picture. Mama’s gotta have quick reflexes these days.
…is not so much a fan of the sleeping. Lucky she’s so cute.
…still has no teeth, and has no interest in any food more solid than a puree. Put one of those dissolving baby puffs in her mouth, and she immediately sticks her tongue out, gagging and spitting. She won’t put anything in her mouth except her fingers, which makes me think we’ve still got awhile before any teeth show up. For a couple of days, though, she thought it was fun to chomp on our dining room chairs, which lead to this adorable photo op:
…enjoyed her first Christmas very much.
…especially all the crinkly wrapping paper.
…thinks hats are both delightful and hilarious.
…thinks one of the best things in the world is crawling around on the floor with her big brother. They crawl all over the house together, and she laughs and laughs.
…is still crawling and pulling up to a stand and cruising and saying “Mama” and being generally adorable.
(I had to catch her face inches away from the floor about 3 seconds after getting this shot. See note above about her complete lack of self preservation.)
I’ve always loved Christmas, but it just gets more and more fun when you add kids into the mix, doesn’t it? Emily is obviously pretty clueless about the whole thing, but Alexander spent the entire month of December buzzing with excitement about all things Christmas.
He loved decorating the tree, and spent many evenings draping his ever-present pile of blankets from his bed over various parts of the house, declaring “I’m decorating for Christmas!” He’s also very insistent that all Christmas trees must have stars on top. Whenever we see a tree with an angel on top, or even a pine tree outside with only lights, he’ll note, “Oh, I guess they forgot to put a star on top of that Christmas tree.”
He watched a ton of Christmas shows and learned (well, mostly learned) a bunch of Christmas songs this year. His version of “Jingle Bells” is delightful (Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all da way! Ash-ee-urr dinnda oneeeuuuopen sleigh, hey! ), but his abridged rendition of “Frosty” is my favorite:
He wasn’t timid at all about meeting Santa this year. Our neighborhood hosted a Story Time with Santa event where Santa came into a room full of kids right at the end of a reading of Frosty the Snowman. All the kids noticed Santa around the same time, but no one was too sure what to do. Alexander, no longer our shy little guy, took the lead by marching right up to Santa and giving him a great big hug. Once A. broke the ice, the other kids were quick to follow suit. It was adorable.
He was excited about getting presents from Santa, of course, but he surprised me with how excited he was about giving presents to other people. We got Emily a book from us/Santa, and that was it since she’s a baby and doesn’t really need anything. But then a week before Christmas, Alexander asked me out of the blue, “Mommy, can I give Emily a present for Christmas?” I’d already finished shopping and didn’t want to go back out to the stores, but I wasn’t about to discourage Alexander’s spirit of giving. So I suggested we go down to the basement and pick out one of his old toys from when he was a baby that he could give to her. “Oh, yes!” he exclaimed. “Can we do that right now?!” I need to remember on future gift-giving occasions that he’s old enough now to understand and have an opinion about what gifts he gives to people.
Alexander couldn’t get enough of helping me wrap presents. He helped me with almost everything I wrapped, and wanted so badly to wrap more when we were visiting my parents the weekend before Christmas that my mom picked a decorative box that’s been on her end table for a few years and let him wrap it up for my dad. And there have been several nights, even now that Christmas is over, when I’ve gone upstairs well after his bedtime to find him sitting up in bed, wrapping his stuffed animals up in blankets. “I’m wrapping presents for my children. I’m playing Santa!” he explains.
After Alexander expressed a desire to ask Santa for “All the toys!” we spent a lot of time discussing the fact that Santa would probably only bring him one or two presents. He could not believe his luck on Christmas morning, then, when in addition to the one present plus stocking stuffers from Santa, he had more presents from Mommy and Daddy and Grandmas and Grandpas and cousins. “I get another present?!” he exclaimed over and over again. And, with the exception of some fun dump truck socks that Santa really thought he would like but were met with mildly disappointed confusion, every single present he opened was followed immediately with a delighted cry of “Whoa! It’s just what I wanted!” (He’s since come around to the dump truck socks and asks to wear them every day. I guess they just weren’t as exciting a present to open up as all the other goodies.)
We spent Christmas morning at our house, just the four of us, for the first time this year, and it was so much fun. I’m loving figuring out our own family traditions, not to mention seeing all the joy and magic through Alexander’s eyes. It’s only going to get more fun from here as Emily grows up and starts figuring it all out, too. I can’t wait.
At eight months old, Emily…
…legit crawls, and she’s quick.
…pulls herself up to a stand, and sometimes takes a few tentative cruising-style steps.
…lights up whenever she sees me.
…says “mama” when crawling toward me, and does it often enough (and not when crawling toward anyone else) for me to think she probably knows what it means. First word!
…snuggles up close, nuzzling her head against my chest when if I’m holding her and someone asks her, “Do you have your mama?” It’s as if she’s saying “Yeah, I’ve got her right here. Life is good.”
…loves stealing toys from her brother, and wants to be wherever he is all the time.
…grins from ear to ear when her brother gives her goodnight hugs and kisses, even if she was fussing and grumpy a second earlier.
…wraps her arms around Alexander to hug him back whenever he gives her a hug.
…sometimes sleeps through the night, sometimes doesn’t, but when she does wake up, it’s usually only once per night.
…gives slobbery, gummy kisses.
…still has zero teeth.
…had her first taste of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving and let us know in no uncertain terms that she hated it: tears, gagging, lots of drama. Oh, Emily.
…loves pulling the dogs’ hair and splashing in their water bowl.
…won’t leave the Christmas tree at daycare alone, but so far hasn’t paid much attention to ours.
…is still my Very Best Girl.
Emily is seven months old!
She started sleeping in her crib this month, and, overall, she and I are both sleeping much better with her across the hall instead of right next to me. She still sometimes wakes up at 2am, but…well, look. I’m not going to talk about it for fear of jinxing it. Suffice to say that most nights she doesn’t wake up at 2 am. It’s really nice.
Emily is completely in awe of her brother. The other night he was dancing around the living room, and she laughed and laughed the whole time. And just look at this picture. The way she’s reaching out to take his hand and looking up at him with such admiration. Have you ever seen anything sweeter? No. No you have not.
She crawls! Not fully on her hands and knees yet; it’s more of a belly drag, but she gets around. She’s using her new-found mobility to help herself to whatever toys she wants to get her hands on, which usually happen to be the toys she sees Alexander playing with. Alexander’s not a huge fan of this development. We’re talking a lot about sharing these days.
She’s also using her mobility to be extra dramatic (and, okay, also a little hilarious) (but still heartbreaking) in the evenings when absolutely nothing is okay unless Mommy’s holding her. As soon as I try to cook dinner, here comes Emily, dragging herself across the floor to me, wailing pitifully the whole time. She’d make an excellent extra in a zombie movie.
In less dramatic news, check out this picture from Alexander’s birthday party. While all the other cousins were running around like crazy, my 6-year-old niece, Audrey, sat down to read books to Emily. It was such a sweet moment, and you could tell Emily totally loved it. One of many reasons I’m so happy our kids get to grow up around a bunch of their cousins.
I don’t really have a paragraph to introduce this next photo. But look at my sweet girl! She’s so pretty! And her post-bath curls are the very best!
The day she turned seven months old also happened to be…wait for it…
You know we couldn’t let a baby’s first Halloween go by without putting the baby in a pumpkin, right?
We even let Alexander join in the pumpkin-sitting fun.
Both kids were quite a bit happier on the outside of the pumpkins.
Is that not the most adorable kids-with-pumpkins photo you’ve ever seen? Can you even believe how lucky I am to have these kids?
I don’t have height and weight stats because this was the first month of her life Emily didn’t have to go to the doctor. On months when she didn’t have well checks, we had to take her in for her eczema, but not this month! It turns out Dairy-Free is the way to be. Since I’ve gone off dairy, her eczema has improved drastically. I still miss cheese a lot, but since adjusting my diet is so obviously helping her, I only spend about 70% of my waking hours counting down the months until I can eat cheese again (rather then the 95% I spent previously).
Look at this kid. She’s the best little girl. The very best.