Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sophia's 4th Birthday - A big day in the City

To say Sophia was extremely aware of her birthday this year is an understatement. She had a countdown going and, for the final 3 weeks before her actual day, kept asking if she could bring cupcakes to school TODAY. 
Birthdays were always big in my house growing up. Some of my best memories are of times I spent with my mom and dad on my birthday. I could have whatever I wanted to eat and we always had a special day planned. 
This year, Sophia was particularly enchanted by the Make Way for Ducklings Book, as well as taking the Subway. So we built the afternoon around that. 
The morning was all about school, where I got to parent help and bring in cupcakes. It was great to see her in action at school with her teachers and friends. The cupcakes were a big hit, mostly because they were chocolate, but also because the simple recipe made them very friendly for kids, even those with allergies. 
After school got out, Sophia & I hopped on the T to head downtown the Charles street. 
But the first order of business was to get some Mac n Cheese. So, lunch at Figs it was! Great food for everyone. 

It had been raining earlier in the day, but we dried off during lunch and made our way down to the Garden. First order of business was to say hi to the ducklings & Mrs. Mallard. By this point, they had "shaved" their playoff beards and were back to normal. 
Next stop was into the Garden to feed the ducks. I had baked a loaf of bread for the occasion. (It sounds really good - usually by bread doesn't rise and is pretty painful, but this one actually stuck - lucky ducks. 

 Sophia was just ecstatic to watch the ducks eat and flat all around. It was pure joy to watch.

 Apparently, smiling big smiles isn't cool for four-year olds to do anymore... Sigh. It's like Blue Steel or something...

 Final stop of the day was to get tea. It felt like a very fun and grownup thing to do. We headed to Panifico for a cup of tea and, when the women heard it was her birthday, they brought her a special cupcake with a candle.

After a long day, we made our way home for hugs and presents from Nonni.

With that, I proceeded to pass out on the couch in exhaustion. Man, was that a busy fourth birthday! I can't wait till next year.

The Seizure

On Friday, October 18, I got one of the most dreadful calls ever while I was at work- Lidiana called to tell me Theo had had a seizure. We had been texting about giving him some tylenol because he had spiked a little bit of a fever. The next thing I knew, she was on the phone and passed it to our neighbor downstairs, who is a NICU nurse. She had brought Theo right down once she realized what was happening. She said it was likely just a febrile (temperature induced) seizure, but he should be checked out. They drove him over to Children's, where I met them after what felt like the longest cab ride ever. 
When I heard, about 80 different things were running through my mind. My frame of reference for seizures was mainly through my colleague, who's young son suffered from them so badly that they were performing a left-hemispherectomy the following Tuesday

I called Dave en route to the hospital and made arrangements for Sophia to be taken care of. Thank god for her school director and teachers. They usually let out early on Fridays, but they agreed to hang with her till we got everything sorted at the hospital. Dave was able to run back across the river, get Sophia and she hung out with our neighbors till we got home - I'm so thankful for our village! 

 Dave met me at the hospital - I just snuggled Theo who was just wiped out. But it was just good to hold my baby. On top of the seizure, it was almost 1 and he hadn't eaten and was definitely exhausted. Luckily, the two of them were just able to zone out for a bit while we waited for him to be seen.

His temperature was up and down a bit while we were in the waiting room. He had light fever when I had left for work that day, but nothing of note and his spirits were normal, so I didn't think twice.  After what felt like forever, he finally was taken in to see the ER doctor. She was fantastic as, was Lidiana, who relayed the full story of what she had seen/what happened. I think that was the hardest part through all of this for me - that I didn't know firsthand what had happened. I'm thankful for Lidiana's quick thinking and love for my son. Still, it was tough as a mom. The Dr. said there were somethings about the way the seizure was described that she catalogued as irregular (Lidiana could only confirm that one side of his body seized - both may have, but she remembers seeing one side specifically). With that info, they wanted neurology to see him.

After another long wait, we got into see neuro and they thought he looked ok but the irregularities had them recommend a follow-up EEG. At least we could go home.

 Here's my happy boy after a long, tiring day - doesn't look like someone who just spent the day in the hospital?

And here's a shot from his EEG a few weeks ago. They scheduled it during his nap time as they needed to image the brain sleeping and then awake. There are 24 nodes on his head tracking what he's thinking. He was such a rock star through the process - not something I want to go through again, but Theo is a rock star in my book. And the best news was that it came back all clear. The neuros chalked it up to a temperature induced seizure, which up to 10% of kids under the age of 6 have. This could be the only one he ever has, or he could be more inclined to have another. Let's just hope this is the only one.

And back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Halloween Fun

Halloween has quickly become a family favorite here. Sophia decided early-on in the year (probably before the end of summer) that she was going to be "Minnie Red Riding Hood." I looked online for the costume, but quickly found that the pre-schooler version was a small version of the hooker-looking adult version. Yup - complete with pleather tie-up bodice. All set with that!

It actually worked out great, because my mom sewed the most beautiful fleece cape for her, which looked amazing and kept her very warm. The other bonus - we could dress her in whatever underneath the cape!
 It was only fitting, then, that Theo was The Big Bad Wolf.
I found the fuzziest costume online and well, he didn't look very bad, more adorable and snuggly. Better yet, he was warm, though the night turned out to be in the high 50s, so the poor guy ended up wearing just a diaper & t-shirt underneath!

Both kids were all about getting candy - we traipsed around our new neighborhood with a bunch of friends from our current neighborhood. It is just getting to the point where the kids are somewhat self sufficient - at least the first edition are - and can move along at a good pace and really enjoy the process!

 Theo got into it - he wouldn't let anyone hold his candy bag, for fear of missing out. He also went 2 fisted into most bowls and while I tried to reign him in for just 1 or 2 pieces, people kept telling him, "Oh you're so cute, take what you want." Great - more donations to bring to work :)

Here's a shot of the whole crew, including: Astronaut Doggie, Dinosaur, Red Riding Hood, Fireman and a distracted Wolf!

 More shots including our neighbor who we met up with at the end - Spiderman!!

 And finally, after having the velcro of his diaper getting caught on the inside of the costume all night (causing a few malfunctions) we finally stripped him and let him wander around getting some air.
It was a good night!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My little girl is getting bigger every day

Somehow 3 years old has felt both the longest year as well as the shortest. Sophia has sprouted up what seems like 6 inches and has become a master of the imagination. 

She can conjure the most amazing stories from end to end, and draw you in to building "Dunkin' Donuts" for her Mickey characters with her blocks or tucking her doggie into bed and going through the entire bedtime process for him. 

She also has gotten faster than anything. I'm fairly certain, when she is so inclined, that she could beat most kids in a 50 yard dash. She just takes off. She's playing soccer on Saturdays now and it's great to watch her just run, kick and have fun. (the other half of the time, well, she just wants to "hang out" and play with the little kids around her.)

Drawing and creative stuff has never been our strong suit. That's one of the reasons we were so excited about her preschool. Creativity and arts are the focus - so is making sure they get outside everyday to play, no matter the weather. I'm amazed at the change in her drawing and handwriting - she is starting to write her letters (she can write MOM) and some pretty good stick figures (she drew a picture of her in her carseat!) 
She's also able to verbalize so much more and understand her feelings. We've really tried to work on express that she's actually frustrated, hungry or tired, rather than throwing a temper tantrum (though no fear, there are plenty of those still!) The other day, she came home from school and after a bit of a fit, she shared that one of the little boys at school didn't want to play with her. It broke my heart, and she was clearly still bothered. It was definitely the first time she had put something like that into words. But she said that she and another girl played and had fun. The next day, when she ran home, she said that L played with her and clearly, all had been forgotten. 

We're entering a whole new time of dynamics, relationships and feelings. I can't wait for this next journey. 

Gone looking for my sister...

For his whole life, Theo has been kicking around with Sophia. So this September was certainly a change in his world when Sophia headed off to preschool. They've settled into a comic, normal sibling routine. She provides him with the obligatory sibling rivalry, occasional bludgeoning, and a fair bit of hugging and snuggles. 

Her first day at school, he walked around with a magnet with her picture on it for the day. It was so adorable to watch and showed me how much he really needs to get buddies he can pal around with. He started playgroup last week and is getting into more activities at the park. My goal is to make sure he has a least a few friends of his own in time for his birthday in February! 

For me, though, it's bonding moments like this, though - sitting watching and helping me cook! - that shows how special a sibling relationship is. Everything she does, he has to do too. Whatever she eats, he wants too; if she gets her shoes in the morning, he runs to get his too.

First Day of Preschool!

Sophia started preschool at the Agassiz school in September. It's a fantastic co-op in Somerville that is creative, nurturing and loving. We're especially thrilled about the creative piece, as it's not exactly our strong point! She'll be there for 2 years and then Theo will head there for the next two.

We're almost equally thrilled that the school is walking & biking distance to the house. Every day, Dave drops her off and she rides her bike home in the afternoon, zipping along. 

She had two "first" days - the first one (pictured here) is her visit day - where she got to meet all the other new kids in the group (the OG) and play for a bit - there was only 1 other new child. Her real first day was the following day. Dave was responsible for drop off. While I really wanted to do it, it was easier, both logistically and emotionally, to have Dave do it. 

Drop off was a complete walk in the park - I credit this to Sophia's independent spirit, a lot of prep work and a bit of luck. Dave dropped her off in her classroom, gave her a hug and off she went to play, without even a look backwards. And I don't think she's looked back since.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Has anyone seen my baby?

In less than a month, Theo has gone from contented crawler to full blown walker, explorer and borderline shenaniganizer. I couldn't be happier and neither could he.

His latest party tricks include:

Words - or at least lots of indicators and sounds that are becoming words.
His short list includes:
"Woof" when pointing to a dog
But he can most certainly make himself known and understood. He also follows instructions extremely well. (except when it comes to not throwing food. sigh...still working on that one!)

Swimming Beach Baby: Put this boy on the beach and he'll play for hours and find his way to the water in less than 5 minutes. Kicking, splashing and just having fun. I can pull him around on a boogie board till he tips over and he'll pop up, ready for it again!

Tooth brushing - this child loves brushing his teeth. If he's within a 10 foot radius of his toothbrush, he goes right at it. We have to make him trade it in at night for his owl. But at least he'll have shiny clean teeth.

Snuggles: I've never met a fiercer hugger and snuggler than Theo. He just lights up and hugs the life right into me.  Morning, noon and night. He's still a fierce sleeper though, coveting both of his naps, but able to power thru if he misses his morning siesta.

Stubborn: as all get out. When he wants to walk and in what direction he wants to walk, he goes. We have some serious work to do when it comes to holding hands in parking lots, etc. Luckily, he is still small enough for me to pick up and haul away. He also is starting to stand up for himself with Scout. This will make for some interesting times in the coming months and years.

Curious: A boy in a field. Just taking it all in. My sweet love Theo.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

17 Months and couldn't be happier

It's rare I hit a monthly "birthday" on a blogging day, but today is Theo's 17 month "birthday". At some point I will stop acknowledging the months, but I think that doesn't happen till he turns 2.

With his newfound walking skills, he's a man on the move. He went from not walking, to his first steps on a Wednesday night to walking on the soft sand that weekend! Clearly he was ready physically, but mentally, had to get there.

He's got 8 front teeth in and 2 molars mostly in. Poor guy, those things are taking their sweet old time. He is a trooper, but man, those have to hurt!

He's also working on the words. It's interesting when the second child begins to speak. I've become so accustomed to Sophia's full and rather extensive vocabulary, that I forgot that baby speak starts as exactly that.

Theo's had the Mama/Dada words for awhile. But he's not particularly interested in using them. We had a mad range of gestures and he made it pretty clear what he wanted and we got it. There was minimal frustration. He can go completely quiet for awhile, especially with new people or if he's tired. Only recently has he really begun to chat it up.

The two big advances he's made with language are

1) Picking up more sign language. This has been propelled by Sophia being re-excited about it (we have the Baby Signs book and she loves reading it). Anything Big Sister does, little man has to do too!

2) Actual verbalization. Again, I was forgetting and expecting "real" words to come out, so my guess is there have been more of these happening than I realize or have noticed, sadly. The other night at dinner
he was intent on dipping his cracker into his Tzatki sauce. I had been doing it and handing it to him and he blurts out "IDOIT!" When I handed him the cracker to do it, he just smiled, dipped, and ate. So very cool.

It's amazing to watch the development from a whole new angle. My little snuggler is growing up.

Those moments...

During our vacation this year, we enrolled Sophia at a 1/2 day camp for a week with her friend Ainsley. We figured it would be good practice for pre-school coming up this Fall.

The Pennfield School is an amazing, green, grassy place in Portsmouth, RI. Ainsley goes there for pre-school during the year so she has a lay of the land. Sophia was thrilled to be spending days with Ainsley at her school and everything went great the first day. Drop off was smooth, pick up went great and she talked about playing and having fun. She also said she missed me, which was super sweet.

On day 2, I walked Sophia in to sign her in. She ran out to the playground and was looking for Ainsley, who usually arrived earlier than us (we're notorious for our lack of promptness!) I saw her over by one of the structures with 2 other little girls playing. I urged Sophia over there but she was in that middle space between me and the 3 girls. I had that small moment of panic that I could clearly see echoed on Sophia's face. What is Ainsley didn't want to play with her today, what if she blew off Sophia and just hung with the other girls? I knew Sophia would go meet some other kids, but Ainsley was her person here. I just kind of stood to see how it would shake out.

After about what felt like minutes (but was probably only 20 seconds) Ainsley looked up, ran over (with the 2 other girls trailing behind) and yelled "Sophia!!" grabbed her hand and said, "Let's go Play!" and they ran off to play.

And I took at deep breath. Images of middle school and high school had clouded into my head. I wasn't ready for Sophia to start entering girl land. I refuse to be that intervening mom and I know Sophia would have been fine and found other buddies, but I'm thankful for Ainsley and their friendship.

The Thick of it...

There has been a very popular blog entry going around recently called "The Sweet Spot" - if you haven't had a chance to read it you should. I teared up when I read it, hiding behind my sunglasses staring at my phone. It's beautiful, wonderful and, some place I feel very VERY far away from. Especially these past two weeks.

If you didn't know, Sophia is 3.5. 3.5 going on 4. Or 14. Somedays I can't tell (Most mothers of teenagers tell me it's definitely 4 because she hasn't started to slam doors yet. Sigh...) I've known of the 3.5s grossly outkicking the drama of the "terrible two's" - I'll say for us, the terrible two's weren't really terrible at all. In fact, for the most part, I didn't notice them.

But 3.5. Oh my. It's. Kicking. My. Ass.

Sophia and I have had more knock down, drag out matches in the past two weeks than I think we've had throughout her entire time on earth. Sometimes, starting first thing in the morning. Or, my favorite, right when I walk in the door from work. And then, of course, the "I don't want to go to bed" ones. (I really do understand the "Just go the F*&% to sleep" book now more than ever.)

It's an emotional rollercoaster. In other relationship space in life (boyfriend, sibling, parent, etc.), friends would either a) Run an intervention for you or b) get you a lawyer. But here, all we can do is commiserate about the verbal and emotional wearing down, tactics for survival and, find the occasional joy in sharing the future for happy mothers of newborns. (Who, no doubt, are thinking the same thing as I did when Sophia was 1 - my kid will NEVER act like that. HA..)

My personal favorite was this interaction early one morning last week:
Me: "Sophia - time to go potty - your pee pee needs to go to the pool!" (A tactic we've had to employ up one wake up, otherwise this child will seriously hold her pee from 8pm thru 10am. My bladder hurts thinking about it).
Sophia: "Ok"  - heads to bathroom and stares at the toilet like it's a foreign object, not something she's been intimately connected with for the past year.
Me: "Pull down your undies and pants and hop up"
Sophia: "Mamamama - I CAN'T. It's soooo HAAARD!"
Me: "You can do it. Just hook your thumbs around the fabric and bend down."
Sophia: "It's TOO HARD!!"
Me: "Seriously?"

So...yeah. My other favorite is that "My legs aren't working right. I keep slipping" as she throws her body to the floor. One might appear concerned with this one, except that it mirrors Theo's new walking style.

But we'll get through it. And into the Sweet Spot soon enough. Luckily, I am rewarded with a few of these magic moments:

Hunting for Airplanes in the Rain

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

We were lucky enough to spend the Fourth of July in Newport again. One of my favorite holidays and celebrations of all year - mostly just to get the kids all dressed up and to see fireworks! 

First stop - the Bristol parade - the oldest 4th of July celebration in the country!

With much fanfare, that included a visit from Mickey and Minnie (clearly the highlight for Sophia) the parade was a huge success. 
It was a hot one, which, in Rhode Island, means only one thing: 
Ice Cold Dell's Lemonade!

Sophia insisted on wearing her finery the next day too - 

For the first time, Sophia was able to stay awake and watch the fireworks over Newport harbor. She was a little scared of the loud noises originally, but the wind blew the sound in the other directions so she was able to enjoy! I even taught her "Oooo, Ahhhh" the traditional 4th of July refrain. :) 

Next year, Theo will get to enjoy the evening spectacle too!

Theo's First Steps

I had always heard that second children did things on their own timetable, mostly because they don't have the undivided attention of parents like the first. That couldn't be more true in Theo's case. Between getting a late start on core strength because of his helmet and just the general insanity of life, we haven't spent as much 1:1 time helping him with walking. These past two weeks on vacation have let us really focus on getting him up on his feet and building his confidence. Prior to this, he could squat, pick up things, surf on everything but just wouldn't take an independent step.

But tonight he took his first series of steps - 16.5 months old.
Sadly, blogger won't let me upload the video, but here is a link to it on Facebook!
I'm always proud of my little man, but I'm just ecstatic at his new found skill and it makes me realize even more the importance of treasuring these moments.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lucky to have neighbors!

We are so lucky to live on our little dead-end street. Between the kids and families in the condo and across the street, we truly have a village to help us all raise our kids. Often, I come home afterwork and the kids are out and begin to congregate in one of the yards, at the park  or in the driveway.

The day of the manhunt in Boston for the Marathon Bombers, everyone was stir crazy from being cooped up. Around 4:45p, I get a text "Want to come over. We'll order pizza, make margaritas and the kids can at least thump on each other instead of us." Done. Out the door and across the street we went for some sanity on an insane day.

If it's a Friday, and the weather is nice, then it's usually drinks & dinner across the street at our neighbor's great deck and yard. The kids run around and tire each other out while the parents get some catch up time. We bring our meat to throw on the grill and then everyone pitches in a little something else.

Some nights, to keep the kids rolling on somewhat of a schedule, things end up like this!
Glowsticks in the bathtub!

This past Sunday, after Dave & I completed the Tough Mudder, we were exhausted. 
Tough Mudders! 
We had pre-planned with our neighbors to do dinner at their place as we knew we wouldn't be very capable parents after 12 miles and 20 military style obstacles (oh - and a 90 minute drive home after!) We brought a bunch of food over and they had some ready to go too. We ate well, the kids played in the kiddie pool and we got ready to dive into another week!  

Thank god for our neighbors!

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is always one of my favorite days. Not because of the celebration of me (though that is fun) as a mom, but rather the great time we get to have together as a family & with friends. 
We started the tradition of running the local Mother's Day 5k in town each year. We try to get as many people we know doing it. Dave will push the double stroller with Sophia & her buddy Frances: 
 and I get to run on my own. This year, I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my two little munchkins and a card from Sophia she made in school.

But before the adults race, the kids run a 1k race. Here are some shots:

Zac, Sophia, Frances & Ronan - the neighborhood posse

Read to Race

Crossing the finish with Dad! 
 And then, after the race, snuggle time with my kiddos. Hooray for being a mom.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with a brunch back at our place (including homemade donuts!) and then a nice massage on my own at the spa. Ahh....what a day!