Sunday, March 28, 2010

Springtime Thoughts

As much as I enjoy the activities, tastes and smells of Autumn, I tend to crave the renewal of Spring each year. I find motivation and meaning in the annual rebirth of nature. Watching the birds come back and hearing them proclaim the season is always such a mood lifter for me. With each brave little crocus shoot coming out of the earth, my heart soars with promise. The daffodils, hyacinths and tulips never fail to bring a smile of my face. I even relish in the smell of Spring - that wet, boggy and new scent promising the summer to come.

After a long winter, I have this response each year and I've said all this before, but this year it is a little different. In addition to all the experiences I typically look forward to, this time around I get to see the outdoor world though a new set of eyes. Milo has really been enjoying the Spring weather and we have both enjoyed visiting parks and exploring the backyard. Each stick, piece of mulch and blade of grass is new to him.

As he grows up, I hope to keep instilling in him this wonder of nature and the change of seasons. This built in marker of time and change has always been an important influence on me and I look forward to sharing that with Milo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Birthday Fun

For the last week, we have been celebrating birthdays around here. In fact, I am just now polishing off the last of the cake. It's been a great season of celebration.

Last Tuesday, on Milo's actual birthday, we went to the zoo. It was a gorgeous spring day and the weather was perfect for a stroll around the grounds. Chris took the day off and my parents met us there. Milo went on his first carousal ride and seemed to enjoy it (I held him for half of it, but he held on in wonderment for the first part of the ride). We stopped by to say hello to the gorillas and the manatees. It was such a nice afternoon.

That night, Milo had his first cupcake. I used this recipe to make the goods and they turned out really nice. Milo loved it! I made the mistake of handing the cupcake to him with the paper on it. He was none to happy with me when I had to pull the liner out of his mouth.

On Thursday we met my family for dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday. We met at a Greek restaurant and Milo enjoyed the yelling of OPA! (he also was really into the gyro).

I did not make the liner mistake on Saturday at his actual party. This time we ordered a cake and some cupcakes from an actual bakery. Milo had not had frosting before and loved it! The party guests were amazed at his cupcake eating prowess.

Saturday, was again a great day weather wise, so we could play outside which freed up a little space in the house. We had gone back and forth about the size of party we wanted to have and ended up with a little affair which I think was perfect. Milo knew everyone at the party and had a great time crawling from person to person for hugs. He was quite the little host and enjoyed all the attention.

First birthdays only come around once. I'm so happy we took the time and effort to celebrate our little man's graduation from babyhood.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dressing a Toddler

Upon Milo turning one this week, the e-mails I had been receiving entitled Your Baby: Week # now have the subject line Your Toddler: Week #. It seemed a little soon to make the switch seeing how some experts don't label a child a toddler until they are walking (which Milo is decidedly not). Regardless, having this pop up in my inbox reminded me of the troubles I am having dressing this not-quite baby, but not really toddler either.

I know girl clothes are cuter than boy clothes and that people buy more clothes for girls than for boys, so I can in some ways understand how there are three racks of "boy" items in stores with the rest of the space being devoted to pink princess crap. In other ways, seriously, they're all kids why aren't there more gender neutral items?

More practically though, I really like Milo to still have at least one layer that is a onsie. Since he's not walking, I like the snaps to hold the shirt in place while he's crawling all over and being picked up. Also, he's often rashy on his stomach and back and I like the protection the onsie offers. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer onsie options the bigger he gets.

Call it the hippie in me, but I also really prefer and usually insist on all cotton for Milo's clothes (mine too, come to think of it). Why are the older kids items more often made with synthetic fabrics? The chemicals, the questionable flame retardants, the itchiness; ugh, ugh and more ugh. I don't want these next to his sensitive skin.

The final problem I have with toddler boys clothes are the asinine sayings and images on them. All too often I see shirts emblazoned with negative words such as here comes trouble or little monster. Words have power and I don't want to dress Milo in a shirt that could negatively impact his behavior or how others view him. If it's not the words, it's the images. For me, commercial characters are usually out and I certainly don't seek out licensed gear. I, also, am not a fan of the camouflage, the John Deere or the other motorized vehicle type images.

So when I take away all those criteria, the shopping options are limited. There are some things at the Gap I like, especially their basic items, but again I would prefer the majority of the clothes didn't scream GAP. Land's End has great, hard core basics that I am sure I will turn to in the future, but for now, Milo is a tad too small for most of their clothes. I super love Mini Boden items, but I can't afford dressing a messy little boy who needs changed often in their outfits. Pretty much every place else (Kohls, Carters, JC Penney) I've learned to avoid, because it usually ends with me leaving in a huff.

Am I being too picky? Any other thoughts on where to shop my not quite baby, not quite toddler?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

12 Months

Happy Birthday Milo! The first year of having Milo as part of our family has been quite the ride. There has been a lot less sleep and a lot more laughing. There has been a lot more laundry and lot less fretting over the inconsequential. It's been pretty great.

Writing this post, it is really hard to update the last month's progress (which has been the point of this series) rather than compare the little person we have now to the strange almost bird-like newborn we brought home around this time last year. My mind keeps going back to last year at this time (where with me 60 pounds heavier, Chris and I had just left for the hospital) and how much has changed since then.

However, quite a few things have changed since just last month too. Milo's babbling is starting to sound more like words. He has the cadence of speech down now. He just needs to fit in recognizable words. Both my Dad and I have heard Milo say "Cat" and he does say "Dada" in relation to Chris, but otherwise I'm at a loss for what most of his conversation is about. Usually with lots of pointing and vocalising, he gets his point across - at least enough for more Rice Chex to land on his tray. He knows the meaning of a lot more words now, which means for the first time he can follow simple directions - hands on the head, fishie face, hug.

Milo continues to crawl on all fours now, having one day a month or two ago decided to leave the army crawl behind. Several people have told me how much they miss his one-armed army crawl, but I think his butt-wiggling crawl is pretty cute too. He is just now starting to stand on his own (without support) for very brief amounts of time. He can also squat (when holding on to something) to pick up a toy. I guess walking won't be far behind.

With the nicer weather here in the past week, we've been able to play outside which Milo thinks is the best thing since Cheerios for breakfast. He loves playing in the mulch and scooting around my parent's deck. Now, that the chill is back in the air, he looks out the windows longingly.

Today for Milo's birthday, I'll be trying to make vegan cupcakes, we'll head to the Zoo and Milo will have lots of hugs and kisses. Last night before bed we told him today would be a day to celebrate him - the way he laughs, the way he points, how he gives hugs and most of all how happy we to have the little guy in our life.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

At Play

Today I watched Milo playing in a whole new way. In the past playing has mostly meant putting items in his mouth or banging things together. Playing has also meant someone else making the voice or actions for a toy and him laughing.

This afternoon though, Milo took all the shapes out of his sorter and put them into his new super-cool Lego in training block wagon set. One by one he would take the shapes out of the sorter and ferry them across the room to drop them into the wagon with the blocks. Once all the shapes were gone, he looked around the room to make sure he didn't miss any. Then, again, one by one, he picked out all the shapes from the blocks and put them back in the sorter. Other than name the colors of the shapes and or blocks, I just sat back and watched. It was so interesting to me to watch the cognitive functions going on during this play session.

This little man is growing by shapes and blocks every day and it is so fascinating to watch that happen and be part of the discoveries.

Monday, March 1, 2010

At Home

It's been almost six months since I quit my job to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. There are ups and downs to this gig, but on days like these I know I 100% made the right decision. It's not because Milo is being such a delight today that I am so thankful to be home with him today. It's because he has actually been a little bear all morning. There were multiple meltdowns and plenty of pulling up to my legs to pitifully whine. This isn't so much normal behavior for my typically smiley little man and I know something is a little off with him. That is why I am so glad that I am the one here to pull him close to me and have his little face burrow into my neck. I am so glad it is me who can sit with him on my lap and read a book. Little man needs his mommy to help him feel better and right now it is my job to help him feel his best. It doesn't pay well, but it is a pretty good job to have and does have some remarkable benefits.