Ugh. WHY do I wait so long between posts? Well, I know, it’s because there’s no shortage of other things to get done. But now it’s going to be another super long post! It’s amazing how much can happen in three weeks and how hard it can be to remember things that happened less than three weeks ago.
Sam keeps growing! He’s a little bigger than Ari at his age and now wears clothing sizes 3-6 months and 6 months. He’ll be weighed at his 4-month check-up in a few weeks. He’s been tolerating tummy time for longer periods, holding himself up on his forearms, and he rolls from his back to his side. In the last week or so, he’s also figured out how to suck his thumb pretty consistently, and he’s better at grabbing toys and bringing them to his mouth. He seems pretty easygoing and doesn’t usually fuss or cry unless he’s tired and past due for a nap. He’s also been smiling, laughing, and squealing a lot! Now he will smile when I kiss him, which really makes my heart swell.
Since my last post, they’ve both been going to daycare/school three days a week, except for one day Sam missed when he had a slight fever. I had great aspirations for completing a million projects with so many days to myself, but of course reality is falling short! It seems like the days evaporate quickly in appointments and just keeping up with basic housecleaning, as well as getting them to and from school and having to pump milk for Sam once or twice during the day, but I’ve gotten a little bit extra done, like keeping up with my photos and sorting and getting rid of clothes.
Ari has been feeling some sadness about not being in his old classroom anymore, and missing his old teachers, but he also loves his new teachers, and he has most of the same classmates. One of his teachers has a music degree and they’ve been bonding with songs. She tells me that he makes her laugh all day and that he’s very entertaining with all of his songs and stories. One day she showed me a picture of him lying in a mud puddle with a huge grin on his face, and she said he’d been lying there splashing around and shouting gleefully about how he was a pig in the mud! They had to change all of his clothes but I’m glad they can laugh with him and not just get upset. I think it’s pretty great, for a kid in the city, that he comes home dirty and scratched and bruised from playing outside.
Ari gets sad when I have to say goodbye in the mornings, but he cheers up when he sees that teacher, and she will go with him to the window to wave at me, and by that time he’ll be grinning. One morning, we got there and the teacher was playing a game with another student, pretending to leave her baby with her and saying, “I’m going to work!” Ari was clinging to me and when I told him I was going to leave him with [teacher’s name], he said sadly that she was “going to work.” We had to explain to him that she was just pretending, and that her work was being there with him!
Another of Ari’s teachers is so patient and sweet, and when I pick him up I often find her playing a little game with him or reading him books in the “meadow” behind the school. One day, there were in the meadow and he was climbing their beehive structure, and she was coaching him to be able to climb by himself instead of just holding him, and rather than saying, “Good job!” she would say something like, “I can tell by the smile on your face that you are feeling proud of yourself!” which is the kind of praise that we’re taught to give kids now, so I appreciated that.
In the baby room, the teachers talk to the babies carefully, too. Instead of saying, “Good for you, you grabbed the ball!” they say something like, “I see you have the ball now, I wonder what you will do with it? Oh, you’re rolling the ball!” And when I pick Sam up at the end of the day, I see him smiling and laughing with someone who is cooing and interacting with him.
Ari has been learning some new songs that count down to teach subtraction – also they’re adorable! I don’t think he gets the words quite right, but for one he sings (to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), “Five balloons up in the sky, way up high, see them fly…If one should pop and quickly drop, how many would I spy?” Then it repeats with four balloons, and so on. Another is a more rhythmic rhyme: “Five little muffins in the bakery shop, you know the kind with the nuts and the honey on top…Along comes a child with a penny to pay…takes a muffin and runs a-way!” At first he needed help figuring out how many were left with each verse of the balloon song, but now he pauses and thinks about it and usually starts the next verse with the right number.
We’ve also noticed that he’s getting a natural sense of addition – for instance, when he knows he can pick three books at bedtime, he’ll say, “I want one dinosaur book and two library books.” The first time he did that we were startled, but now it seems so natural it’s hard to remember that it’s actually a developmental step, and that he couldn’t do it before!
Ari also loves to make references to books, TV shows, and songs. One day I commented on how he was placing his puzzle pieces one after another, and he said, “I’m doing one after another, like Frog and Toad ate one after another cookie!”
Speaking of eating… It’s less of a struggle recently! Ari seems to have a big appetite and will eat his meals and snacks. I’m not as worried about fruit and vegetable intake, because he loves the tomatoes from the garden and will eat as many as we allow him to, and sometimes he’ll “be a bunny and eat a carrot” or “be a dinosaur and eat a tree” (broccoli). He’s a lot more curious about tasting new things, too. A. got some blue cheese and Ari wanted to try it, and he loved it and has continued to request and savor it like a treat. He also enjoyed a chicken dish at an Indian restaurant, tried parsley from our garden, and some other new things I don’t remember.
Meanwhile, Sam has started to pull away and grin at me frequently while he’s nursing!
So, going back to the day after they started school, right after Sam turned three months old… We went to the science museum (OMSI) with friends in the afternoon. In the morning, I had to take a picture of Sam in his outfit. The tie-died shirt was Ari’s but it’s a great color on Sam, and I love those gray Zutano pants because they’re tapered so they don’t flop around and get bunched up when he’s kicking his legs.
For his morning nap, I tried swaddling him like they do at school, using the Wubba Nub lion pacifier that I send to school with him and the duck lovey I’m trying to get him attached to – and I was able to get him to sleep on his back in the bassinet! I’m trying to keep things somewhat consistent between home and daycare to make naps easier for everybody.
More play time…
For the afternoon nap we all crashed together in my bed. Then I got up and left the two boys sleeping like this, with me checking on them frequently:
Ari offered Sam a toy to chew on:
On the second day of school for both of them, our good friends from San Diego were in town and stopped by to visit. We decided to keep the kids in school so as not to disrupt the routine just as they were getting adjusted to it, but that meant they didn’t get to see our friends, which was sad. However, we had a nice grown-up lunch downtown and a trip to Powell’s on the Biketown bike share bikes, all of which I enjoyed!
Later, Sam started grabbing toys and bringing them to his mouth:
During the weekend, I got my hair cut and left A. on his own with both boys. Then I took Sam with me to the hospital so I could sign up for my upcoming work shifts. It was fun to see some people at work but I’m still sad about going back! I’m also nervous, because I’ve been away for so long.
We thought Sam looked funny sleeping all afternoon in this shirt:
Later, a trip to the neighborhood park – I walked there with Sam and A. and Ari met us there. You can see them in the background on the bike.
I love Sam’s face in this picture:
Other days the following week, home with both boys:
I’ve noticed that Ari has more control when he’s drawing now. He asked me to do the line on the left side of the big H, but he drew everything else.
Another evening at the park when A. met us there after work:
Ari was laughing and saying, “He’s standing!”
The first school day of the second week of school, it was hard for Ari to say goodbye. We took Sam to his class first and left him there awake and happy (during the first week, I would take Ari first and then go nurse Sam to sleep in his class), then we went to the “great room” where one of his teachers was doing an all-school sing-along. I stayed there with Ari and thought he would have a great time, but he looked distressed and at one point I heard a high-pitched scream and looked down and realized it had come from him! So we went out in the hall and talked and then went back. Then I went with him and his classmates to his classroom and stayed there a while, then finally had to leave him crying in his teacher’s arms. But since then, even if he’s been reluctant for me to go, he usually cheers up when he goes with his teacher to the “goodbye window” and we wave and blow kisses to each other. However, every morning he talks about his old classroom and says he wants to go there and that he misses his old teachers. Then he also talks about his new teachers and says he likes them, too.
Sam playing with his little gym:
We made some changes to our sleeping arrangements and bedtime routines in mid-September, but I’m going to write a separate post about sleep!
A.’s brother visited at the end of the second week of school, and was a great sport about tagging along for kid stuff!
On Sunday after he left, we had a babysitter for Ari and we went on a tour of ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units, or tiny houses) with Sam and met up with friends in North Portland. It was fun!
The first day of the third week of school, Sam had a mild fever in the morning, so I kept him home and he went with me when I took Andrew to the vet for his annual check up and when I went to a couple of other appointments and lunch with A. downtown. He’s still a little enough baby to be easy to take places! Anyway, Ari and most of the rest of his class, it seemed, had runny noses and Sam got one too, then A. got a bad cold and stayed home from work one day. Now there’s a stomach bug going around the toddler and baby classrooms. Ugh – here we go!
The next day, playing with his gym again:
On my second day home with the boys that week, Ari got really into playing with the “baby brother” of the two Build-A-Bear monkeys we were gifted. He called him “my baby Sam” and talked to him sweetly, shushed him when he said he was crying, fed him from the bottle, changed his diaper, and rocked him, sang to him, and put him to sleep in the bassinet! I had planned to get Ari a baby doll, but then he didn’t seem interested in playing with any of his dolls that way, so I didn’t. But he loves pretending to be “a parent” to the baby monkey!
Using a sock as a wipe for a “poopy” diaper:
Sam likes the monkey too, and they will lie side by side in the bassinet:
Then, for the second time ever, Ari wanted to hold the real baby Sam, and he said, “shhh”:
Then he wanted to take the baby monkey to the playground, and as we walked out the door he told him, “You will like it! We can go on the slide, and the swings, and the see-saw!”
We ended up meeting up with our friend and neighbor and her daughter and walking to Kenilworth Park, which is not too far way but I’d never been there. It was a nice shaded, quiet park!
Andrew needed a walk so he went with us. Fortunately there weren’t too many people around!
The following weekend, I got out my good camera and took some photos. I should use that camera more often! I really like the way the pictures turned out – so clear! Also, I love this outfit. The shirt/onesie is from one grandma (my mom), and the pants and jacket are from his other grandma! So it’s from both grandmas and it looks great on him.
He’s started sucking his thumb!
Smiling with Daddy:
New sleeping arrangements – our mattress on the floor and the crib mattress next to it:
We went to Kenilworth Park again – in the car this time – with A. and Andrew, to throw the ball for Andrew on a big grassy hill there.
I think Andrew has mellowed a bit. In the background of this picture, you can see him enjoying some attention from a woman at the park:
The next day (Sunday), Ari gathered all of his little animals to tell a story, then we had a pretend picnic:
In the afternoon, I was feeling desperate to go see the ocean for some reason (I think it had to do with listening to ocean sounds on the baby sound machine lamb!), so we took a spontaneous – and late! – trip to the coast! We went to Seaside, for the first time for all of us, I think. The drive was an hour and a half each way. We got there at 4:30pm, played on the beach until the sun set at 7, then had fish and chips for dinner and got home at about 10pm. Ari stayed up late for dinner because he’d napped in the car on the way to the beach, then he fell asleep again on the way home and we transferred him, sandy clothes and all, to his bed. They both slept amazingly well that night and the next, so I slept pretty well too!
I’m glad we made the trip to the beach. It was a warm day, in the low 70s at the beach, and probably the last warm weekend day we’ll have this year. I’d forgotten how annoying it can be to get sand everywhere, especially with a three-year-old dumping sand over your head and down your shirt, but it was worth it! But man…diaper changes on the beach are a challenge! Sam of course had a blowout poop so I had to change his whole outfit (wishing I’d packed more than one extra outfit!), and while I was trying to get all the sand off his butt, he peed all over himself (and me) and then the sand blew on him and got plastered to his skin again. But still – good times!
Ari was whining about not wanting to go to the beach, then he started walking down the path and squealed, “Rocks! There are rocks at the beach!” Then, “There’s sand everywhere!” Then this:
And the little dude was quite content:
The water, of course, was COLD!
I was holding Sam with one hand here, but he does support himself a little bit in a sitting position by leaning over forwards and putting some weight on his hands. He seemed really interested in the sand!
Ari was using a molded plastic toy to make crab shapes out of sand, then he would lift up the mold, shriek, “Ack! It’s a crab! Run away!”, then run around in a giant circle, come back, and say, “Oh! It’s just a sandy crab!” Then repeat.
Ari was excited about my “tricks” when I did cartwheels and handstands:
He and A. did tricks too:
A. made a little seat for Sam:
I think Ari is pretending to be an animal in this picture:
When the sun was setting, the light made all of our hand and foot prints stand out and we found my hand prints:
And made new footprints:
A selfie before we left:
Ari pretending to be an elephant in the long grass as we walked back to the car:
The next day it was almost 90 degrees in Portland, so I got to dress Sam in this adorable romper. It was Ari’s and hasn’t had nearly enough use because it’s been too cold during the months that it fits!
Nap time later – I think he had fallen asleep pretty much on his own, sucking on the pacifier, and I was so excited that I had to take a picture:
Ari wanted to set up his new rhinoceros toy with a ladder, then with a little person figurine to climb up the ladder, then he ran to get this book so that we could read the page that matched the scene he set up and he could act it out while we read:
It was probably our very last hot day this year, so we met A. downtown after work to play in the fountain:
Wow, September has been a great month around here! I’m so glad I got this extra month off of work beyond the standard 12 weeks for FMLA (because Oregon law is 18 weeks, which I didn’t know when I had Ari!). I remember reading that Dr. Sears, I think, strongly encouraged women to stay home at least four months if they could, because three months is just when it starts to get easier and more fun. It’s definitely been that way for us!
Now I head back to work in one week, and I’m sure the frequency and length of my posts will dwindle at that point, because I’ll want to spend my days off either playing with the kids, sleeping, cleaning, or cooking! It’s going to be tough – we’ll see how it goes!