Emily’s Eighth Month

At eight months old, Emily…

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…legit crawls, and she’s quick.

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…pulls herself up to a stand, and sometimes takes a few tentative cruising-style steps.

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…lights up whenever she sees me.

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…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.”

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…loves stealing toys from her brother, and wants to be wherever he is all the time.

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…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.

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…sometimes sleeps through the night, sometimes doesn’t, but when she does wake up, it’s usually only once per night.

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…gives slobbery, gummy kisses.

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…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.

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…loves pulling the dogs’ hair and splashing in their water bowl.

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…won’t leave the Christmas tree at daycare alone, but so far hasn’t paid much attention to ours.

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…is still my Very Best Girl.

Emily’s Seventh Month

Emily is seven months old!

Grandma

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.

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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.

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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.

See also: Planking

Other skills include: Planking

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.

Costume Pals

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.

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!

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The day she turned seven months old also happened to be…wait for it…

Halloween

Halloween!

She borrowed her brother's mask for a few minutes.

She borrowed her brother’s mask for a few minutes.

You know we couldn’t let a baby’s first Halloween go by without putting the baby in a pumpkin, right?

She was not amused.

She was not amused.

We even let Alexander join in the pumpkin-sitting fun.

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Both kids were quite a bit happier on the outside of the pumpkins.

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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).

Seven Months!

Seven Months!

Look at this kid. She’s the best little girl. The very best.

Three

Birthday Cake

It doesn’t seem possible, but Alexander turned three over a week ago. He’s three feet, 2 inches tall, 33.8 pounds, and ridiculously fun. His favorite things right now (in no particular order) are Super Why, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, puzzles, soccer, and his baby sister.

His least favorite thing in the whole world is getting his hair wet. No matter where you are in the house, you can always tell when he’s reached the hair-washing stage of his bath, because the entire house echos with wails of despair.

He give the best hugs. The very best. He’ll throw his arms around my neck, squeeze tight, and whisper “I love you, Mommy.” His hugs are one of my favorite things in the whole world.

Reluctant Selfie

To celebrate his birthday, I took the day off work, and we dropped Emily off at daycare so we could have Mommy and Alexander’s Day of Fun. I assumed he’d be really excited to spend a whole day not having to share my attention with Emily, but 3 minutes after we dropped Emily off at daycare, he said despondently, “I really wish Emily was here.” I explained to him that we were going to do lots of things that it would be hard to do if Emily was with us, and I managed to keep him happy, but he still asked multiple times throughout the day, “Can we go pick Emily up now?” After going out for pancakes, playing at 2 parks, reading books at the library, playing a round of mini golf, and taking a good nap, we picked Emily up from daycare about an hour early, and I swear it was the highlight of his whole day. He was so glad she was with us to finish celebrating with presents and ice cream after Tim got home. He’s such a sweet, loving little guy.

SuperWhy

We got him a Super Why costume for his birthday, and he’s worn it just about every day in the past week. We also scouted eBay for some no-longer-in-production Super Why action figures to sit atop his birthday cake at his party last weekend. Apparently we’re Those Parents, who will do what it takes to hunt down our son’s favorite characters in toy form, even if they’re no longer being manufactured. (We didn’t pay a ridiculous amount of money for them, though. We’re not Those Parents. Not yet.)

Family

Alexander’s birthday and subsequent party were a great success. He’s such a great little guy, and he is still cracking us up on a daily basis. Here are a few of my favorite recent Alexander-ims:

“Those cars are going to the hospital because they have baby sisters in their tummies!”

To the dog: “Ben, inside voice, please. Or you can go outside and woof as loud as you want.”

“I’m old enough to go to work! My legs are long like Daddy’s! So can I go to work?” (Answer: No, you’ll just have to play today. Sorry.)

“Dinglehoppers are just like forks!”

About the sunset: “The clouds turned pink! But red is my favorite color. So why didn’t the clouds turn red?”

Talking to my mom about the Halloween decorations in the neighbor’s yard: “Grandma, do you like ghosts? Well, those are just pretend ghosts, so you don’t have to be scared of them.”

Every morning on the way to daycare, he and Emily jabber at each other in the back seat. She’ll make a noise, and he’ll repeat it back to her, over and over. Sometimes they both giggle. It’s adorable.

I said to Emily, “Are you my little girl?” and Alexander jumped in with “No, she’s my little girl!”

When the dog sniffed a toy he was handing to Emily: “No, Smalls, that’s for my baby Emily!”

“Oh, Emily. I always wanted an Emily like you. When I didn’t have Emily, I was sad.”

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Tim and I are having tons of fun raising this kid. We’re so lucky to have him.

Emily’s Sixth Month

Beautiful

Emily at six months is a delight. She’s eating solid foods like a champ, reliably sitting on her own without toppling over for long stretches of time, and trying like crazy to crawl (not quite there yet).

Love

She adores her big brother, the dogs, me, and her daddy…except in the evenings, then she only likes me. If Tim is holding her and she sees me across the room, she fusses until I come get her. It adds an extra level of difficulty to things like cooking and eating dinner.

Just Us Girls

Emily is getting really good at grabbing and playing with toys, and she’s started letting us know when she’s bored. I keep having to remind myself that sometimes when she’s fussy it’s not because she’s hungry or wanting to be held; sometimes all she needs is a new toy to investigate, and she’s happy as can be.

Goof

She played on swings for the first time this month, and it was a big hit. She loved it, highly recommends, would go again.

Swing

On a less fun topic, we’ve been struggling to keep Emily’s eczema under control for several months now. Her pediatrician suspects she may have a bit of a dairy allergy, so I went off dairy this month. I joke that I knew parenting would require sacrifice, but no one ever told me I’d have to give up cheese, but…it hasn’t been easy. Turns out 95% of my favorite recipes rely heavily on cheese and/or cream, and cooking without dairy products has resulted in some pretty disappointing meals so far. However, eliminating dairy from my diet does seem to be helping; Emily’s eczema flare-ups are less frequent and less severe these days. This is good news, even though being dairy-free is no fun for me.

Baby Jeans

Turns out I’d do anything for this little girl, even if that means giving up the most delicious food group for a few months.

6 months

At her six-month check up, Emily weighed in at 15 pounds, 4 ounces, and she’s 26 inches tall (not counting the hair). We all love her to pieces.

I’m Totally Going to be a Soccer Mom, Aren’t I?

Tim and I aren’t sports people. We don’t follow sports; we don’t have favorite teams; we have no interest in fantasy sports leagues. We enjoy watching the Olympics, and Tim will often half-watch the Super Bowl so he can participate in discussions about it at work the next day, but that’s the extent of our sports interest. Because of our complete indifference toward sports, we always assumed we’d end up with kids who wanted to be on every sports team possible. That’s how these things work, right?

Earlier this summer, we had the neighbors over for a barbeque. Their elementary-aged son, Ethan, is an avid soccer player, and it just so happened that Alexander had recently brought home a free soccer ball from a neighborhood event. Ethan started showing Alexander a few soccer moves (techniques? skills? I don’t know the terminology), and the two of them played happily together all evening. (Don’t even get me started on how great it was that this older boy entertained our two-and-a-half year old for several hours. We have good neighbors.)

Ever since then, Alexander will periodically ask whether Ethan’s coming over to play soccer again. I’ve mentioned to Ethan’s mom that if Ethan would be interested in letting Alexander come over and kick the ball around, it would make Alexander’s day, but Ethan is often busy playing with friends his own age (completely understandable). Still, the fact that Alexander still brings it up says a lot about how much fun he had playing soccer with Ethan a couple months ago.

Last weekend, on a whim, Alexander and I took his soccer ball to the park, planning to kick it around in the field a bit. We ended up spending a solid 45 minutes running back and forth across a big, grassy field, taking turns kicking the soccer ball. Alexander would kick it, yell, “your turn!” and then, nine times out of ten, he’d sneak in and kick the ball out from under my feet before I could take my turn. If I told him to kick the ball a certain direction, he did. He ran with the ball, kicking it with every step (I think that’s called “dribbling”?), and only rarely missed attempted kicks. I know nothing about soccer, and I’m certainly more than a little biased, but the kid seems like a natural.

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Oh, and — minor detail — the entire time we were kicking that ball around the field, Alexander was laughing and giggling and grinning ear-to-ear, positively bursting with joy.

I’m a major sucker for seeing my boy so happy, so as soon as we got home, I started looking up toddler soccer programs. I found one that allows kids to try their first class for free, so we took Alexander to his first soccer class (practice? lesson?) yesterday morning. He was a little nervous at first. When we drove up to the facility, he asked, “Are you guys going to stay with me?” It’s a parent-participation class, so we assured him that one of us would be right there with him the whole time. At the beginning of class, Alexander’s uncertainty about being in an unfamiliar situation was palpable. While everyone stood in a circle and did stretches, Alexander stood motionless, shaking his head when Tim encouraged him to follow along with the coaches. I watched from the sidelines and hoped he’d warm up to the situation and start having a good time.

Next, the coaches lead some running drills, which Alexander participated in, though he was still a little hesitant. Then, the soccer balls came out, and all of Alexander’s uncertainty went straight out the window. He kicked his ball across the field, grinning and giggling the whole time. He spent the remainder of the hour enthusiastically participating in all the games — kicking various balls, racing to sort a pile of multicolored bean bags into buckets of matching colors, and chasing the coach while he dragged a bag full of soccer balls around the field. Just like our day at the park last week, Alexander could not stop laughing and smiling. When class was over, he protested loudly, “But I’m not ready to go!” He only agreed to leave the field when we promised he could come back and play again next week.

And that’s how Tim and I, two non-sports-loving people, came to sign our son up for a full season of soccer lessons. Seeing Alexander having the time of his life out on that soccer field melted our hearts. (It also didn’t hurt that after soccer he ate a great lunch — “All that playing at the exercise place made me very hungry!” — and took an excellent nap.) We all had a good time at soccer, and I kind of can’t wait to take him back next week.

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