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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.”
Tim and I are having tons of fun raising this kid. We’re so lucky to have him.
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).
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.
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.
She played on swings for the first time this month, and it was a big hit. She loved it, highly recommends, would go again.
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.
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.
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.