the Little Man

Greetings!

My new baby, who shall be known on this blog as “Little Man,” or LM for short, is six months old today.  And it’s time for me to start writing about this marvelous baby – as well as other topics – on my trusty blog.  It’s good to be back!  🙂

The Little Man is, by far, the happiest baby I’ve birthed yet.  He is unbelievably cheerful almost all of the time.  He is very content, curious, and alert.  I can’t tell you how many times since he was a newborn that people at church have commented, “What an alert baby he is!”  He watches whatever is going on around him, looking very serious as he does so.  With so much to see at church, he typically doesn’t smile very much, leading some members to think he is a very serious baby.  But, he’s not really serious.  He’s just serious about his “work,” which right now consists of taking in the world around him.  Once he’s back at home, his smiles and cheerfulness return in full force, and we all adore him.

Little Man is not quite a perfect baby, although he’s pretty close.  His biggest imperfection has to do with his sleeping habits.  He gets enough sleep, but he comes by it a bit unusually.  For the first 3-ish months of life, LM didn’t go to bed at night until at least 11pm, if not midnight or later.  He wasn’t fussy, he wasn’t grumpy, he wasn’t colic-y, and he didn’t act tired.  He was just … Very Awake.  Smiling, happy, cheerful — and awake.  It meant for a lot of late nights for me, but also a lot of movies watched!  Thankfully, we finally seemed to have solved this problem.  I’ve really strived to make his going-to-sleep process the same every time, which means I always nurse him in the same rocking chair.  Also, while he’s usually in the room during our bedtime prayers with Lyd and Jujubee, he’s noticing more that these same prayers happen every night.  I think all of this is helping him to realize that it’s now time to sleep.  The other thing that has helped is that as soon as the girls are off to school every moning, I go in and wake him up.  I think these various routines in our family are helping him to figure out his sleeping a bit more.

Unfortunately, while LM’s naps are very predictable, he reliably naps for 45 minutes only.  Just like Dr. Weissbluth says, LM gets tired after about an hour and a half to two hours of being awake, and we have a routine that puts him to sleep fairly quickly and easily.  But, he sleeps for only 45 minutes.  No matter if he’s nursed before napping or not nursed, whether his room is darkened or not, he naps for 45 minutes at a time.  I seem to remember Lyd being the same way at this age, and thankfully, she did grow out of it, eventually becoming a fantastic napper.  So, I have hope that LM will eventually change his napping habits, too!

Once in a blue moon however, he will nap longer.  One of the most well-timed instances was on Valentine’s Day, when LM inexplicably napped for 3 hours!  I considered that nap my Valentine’s gift from my baby.  Over the last week or two, these long naps happened a bit more frequently, which makes me think that they’re connected to the few times when I’ve given LM a bit of solid food.  Unfortunately, while his taste buds and tummy like the solid food, the rest of his digestive system does not seem to share the joy.  We have a six-month checkup with the doctor next week, and I’ll ask the Dr what he thinks about LM starting solid food.

But, other than those slight biological issues, I have no complaints about this new little boy.  He loves me, he loves his family, and as long as he is where the people are, he’s almost always happy.  (We often sing the line from the song “Part of Your World” from Disney movie The Little Mermaid — “Wish I could be, part of your world…”)  He even rarely fusses over a messy diaper!  He’s gotten a touch of diaper rash at times because I miss the fact that he’s sitting in a mess.  Silly boy.  🙂

JJ and I have said more than once that if we could be assured that all of our future babies would be this happy, we’d have a dozen more kids.  My Little Man really is such a sweet boy.  We couldn’t have asked for a better baby than him.

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a born comedienne

My 4 3/4 year old daughter Jujubee is SO funny.  🙂

JJ and I have seen her born-comedienne-ness for a while, but there are plenty of times when we are re-reminded of just how funny she is – and how strong her innate drive to BE funny runs.

She is so good at funny faces, funny rhyming words, funny gestures, and funny expressions that she often keeps the three of us – me, JJ, and Lyd – helplessly laughing during mealtimes.  She also knows when she’s got a good joke going, and she keeps a straight face while she attempts to build on the joke.  Sometimes her attempts are not particularly successful, but she is so committed to her joke that it still keeps us laughing anyway.

It’s been at least a year since we first realized that Jujubee had this inherent desire to be funny.  At first we thought she just had a good sense of humor, but as time went on, we realized it was more than that.  We realized that, to some degree, this has to be genetic, that it was nature, not nurture.  It didn’t take us too long to realize that it probably came from JJ’s mother, who was a big practical jokster in her younger days.  His mom was known for making silly rhymes, jokes, and for just being an all-around Very Funny Lady.  JJ and I decided that Jujubee must have inherited her desire to be funny from her grandmother.

It truly is innate.  Jujubee’s desire to keep a joke going, to build on a joke, and the fact that she gets so much personal delight out of making the rest of us laugh is something that we never taught her.  That desire is pure Jujubee.

So, it was no surprise that yesterday at lunch, as I stopped laughing long enough to say, “That’s enough Jujubee.  Time to eat your lunch,” that she responded, “But I want to make people laugh!”

Yes, she sure does.

big news

I haven’t been blogging much lately.  There’s a reason for that.

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I’m pregnant.

🙂

I’m at the end of my first trimester, and while everything has been going fine, I’ve been extremely tired.  I’ve also had lots of food aversions, which have made deciding what to make for meals most difficult.  Thankfully, Downton Abbey has gotten me through many a meal prep and a meal consumption.  If I don’t have to think about what I’m doing – or eating – then it doesn’t bother me as much.

Lyd and Jujubee are very excited.  We told them at Christmas, as one of their last Christmas presents.  JJ and I wish we would have thought to have the video camera ready to capture the moment, as Lyd’s response in particular was quite dramatic.  They’re both delighted, and we have all agreed as a family that we don’t care if the new baby is a boy or a girl; God will send us just the right baby for our family.  I’m so glad I don’t have to decide the gender of the new baby!  I don’t know how I’d ever choose.  🙂

While I haven’t been blogging here much, I started a pregnancy blog to document my pregnancy.  If you’re interested in that blog, please feel free to email me for the address.  I plan to keep most of my pregnancy-specific talk on that blog.

I had an ultrasound yesterday and got to see how much the baby has grown.  It was amazing to see the little one waving arms around and kicking legs – and then realize that its crown-to-rump length is only 4.7 cm!  After I got home, I drew a line 4.7 cm long on a piece of paper, drew a circle for the head and a circle for the abdomen on the line, added little stick arms and legs, and held it up to my belly.  Yup, that’s still a pretty small baby, although it’s right on target for its age.

I’ve got a long way to go yet until the end of August, but so far everything is going well, and I’m thankful for that.  This pregnancy has been a long time in coming.  I’ve prayed and waited and prayed and waited for this baby for a long time.  It was a wonderful early Christmas present to discover that I was pregnant, and now that the baby has made it this far, it seems pretty likely that I’ll have a new baby by the end of the summer.  What a blessing that will be to our family!

heat, glorious heat

Over the past few days, the weather here has changed from 80’s and sunny to 60’s and rainy/windy.  So, for the first time since we moved into our new house, we turned on our heater.  It works great, which was a relief.  🙂

But more than that, it is such a delight to have a warm house!  When the heater turns on, the whole house gets warm!  It’s lovely!  After living for ten years in a house that NEVER GOT WARM all year, and got even less than warm in the winter, this is amazing!  Despite the colder weather, I’m still warm in my house!  It’s unbelievable.  🙂

On top of all of this, we have a (we are told that it’s) working fireplace right in the middle of our living areas.  It’s a double-sided fireplace, opening to our living and family rooms.  Maybe we can even have a fire in the fireplace this winter, and I bet that will help keep our house warm, too!  I can already picture sitting by the fireplace in the evening.  Maybe I’ll finally dig out my old crocheting or cross-stitching projects to work out.  That seems like what one would do in front of a fire in one’s own house.  It’s so exciting to imagine the possibilities!

I loved living in our old house for many reasons, but my biggest reason for NOT liking that house was that it was cold all. the. time.  Even on hot summer days, it was still cold (except for upstairs where the bedrooms were).  But our new house is warm!  Wonderful!

Can you tell I’m excited about this?  🙂

fun in Kindergarten

Since I’m in the midst of a five-week teaching stint on Tuesday and Friday mornings, it has worked out that Jujubee is going to Kindergarten on those two mornings.  To say that she loves it would be an understatement.  She LOVES it!  She is so good (I wouldn’t let her go to school in this “extra” sort of way if I wasn’t reasonbly confident that she would be well-behaved), but in all actuality, she is REALLY, REALLY good.  According to her teacher, she has blended into the Kindergartener’s established routine seamlessly.  She plays well, shares well, and while she doesn’t know as many letters as the other kids, she is learning.

Proud Momma Story: The Kindergarten teacher did Beach Day not too long ago, and as part of that, the students had to fill out similie sheets.  Here’s hers, with her answers in bold.

I went to the beach today.
The sun was as hot as macaroni and cheese.
The sky was as blue as playdough.
The water was as cold as cheese.
I swam in the water just like a fish.
I played in the sand and built a sandcastle.
While I was digging in the sand, I found a rock.
I love to run on the beach like a seagull.
I had fun at the beach.

Next school year, Jujubee is going to be in the 4 year old Kindergarten program at our new church’s elementary school.  With her late September birthday, she won’t technically turn four until after the school year starts, but with the state of California’s odd rules, that won’t be a problem.  I’m sort of sad to have both of my kiddos in school, but after seeing how much she LOVES going to Kindergarten and how good she is at it and how she is already getting more independent in a good way, I am positive it is the right thing for her.  I believe that there are about 6 or 7 kids currently enrolled in her 4K class for next year.  I asked the principal if they will cap the class, and he said they will cap it at 12 kids.  That’s a good number.

She’s an amazing little girl, my Jujubee.  Last weekend, on Mother’s Day, I was telling a friend about Jujubee’s birth story, specifically how close we came to losing her as she was being born.  After she was born, I was worried that she’d have some amount of brain damage due to the lack of oxygen.  However, God is merciful, and not only did she enter this world alive, her brain is completely and fully functional.  In fact, the kid is brilliant.  I am SO incredibly thankful to have this little girl in our family.  We are ALL thankful for her.  I don’t know what we’d do without her!

So, even though I’d love for her to stay little forever, I’m so proud of how she’s growing up.  She’s doing just fine in Kindergarten now, and she’ll do just fine next year, too.

gifts of love

My daughters both gave me love-filled Mother’s Day gifts that they made in school.  (Yes, Jujubee now goes to Kindergarten two mornings a week.  I’ll explain that in another post.)

Lyd’s teacher had her students copy down a lovely Mother’s Day poem, and while Lyd copied most of the words correctly, it was cute to see the few words that she misspelled.  But her handwriting has improved SO much over this past school year!  And she LOVES to read.  Just like her mother.  🙂

Lyd’s teacher also had the students create three oragami-style flowers, which were lovely.  Her teacher suggested that the students spray perfume on the flowers to make the flowers smell like real flowers, and I knew something was up when I came home that afternoon and Lyd reeked of perfume.  🙂  Obviously, being a mother of a child who has a hard time keeping a secret, I knew something was up anyway, but that perfume was hard to miss.  With her dad’s help, she found a box, put her flowers in the box, and gave it to me along with the poem on Mother’s Day morning.  She was so proud of what she had done!  It was so precious.

Jujubee’s teacher had, among other things, had the kids write down characteristics of their Mom.  Here is hers, with her answers in bold:

All About My Mom
Her name is Emily.
I call her Mommy.
She is 44 years old.  🙂
She is a little bit tall.
She works at the garden.
Her favorite foods are zucchini and broccoli. (???)
Her favorite color is blue(true, and favorite colors are a big thing in our house right now!)
I like it when she plays toys with me.
I don’t like it when she colors with me.
My favorite activity to do with my mom is sweeping up the outside.

Obviously, she’s three and a half, but for some her her answers, strange as they were, I was surprised she even remembered them!  I haven’t worked in my garden in months, and when I do go in I never go with Jujubee.  The last time I swept up outside, we did work together, but again, that was at least two months ago.  And I think she misunderstood the second-to-last item, because she LOVES it when I color with her.  Anyway, it was cute.

But the SUPER cute part of Jujubee’s Mother’s Day gift for me was how she gave it to me … and gave it to me … and gave it to me, over and over.  She was incredibly proud of what she had made, which included a handprint and a drawing, and she showed it to me many times, saying, “Momma, look what I made for you!”  I must have been given her gift over ten times during the past weekend.  It was really darling.

I’m glad my girls love me, I’m glad they want hugs and kisses and snuggles from me, and I’m so proud of how they both are growing up so beautifully!  I am a blessed mother.

love, laughter, and joy

Despite being still SO tired (I was up with Jujubee from 2-4 a.m. last night), I was reminded today of how I wouldn’t give my little girl up for anything.  If having her means I have to deal with less-than-ideal amounts of sleep for a while, I’ll take it.

Because I do love my girl.  I love that girl so much.

She has a lot of my personality and spunkiness, with a good dose of my husband’s sense of humor thrown in.  She is funny – and she knows it.  She routinely cracks the rest of us up at the dinner table.  Her laugh is infectious, and her ability to substitute words in for other words in songs (something she learned from Music Together) is limitless.

In a recent Kids Sing class, we sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It…” with each child naming something they do when they’re happy, and then we all sang about it.  When it was Jujubee’s turn, she thought for a moment and then said, “Do a somersault!”  In 7 years of teaching Kids Sing classes, that was the first time I’ve had a student come up with that substitution!  And her fellow students loved it!

Tonight at supper, she started singing “C is for Cookie” (which we haven’t sung in months – how did she remember that?) except she changed it to “P is for Pepper.”  Pepper is the name of our cat.  She did it in such a cute way, and then, with a twinkle in her eye, she confused something about the song on purpose.  JJ and I couldn’t help but laugh at her; as she laughed back at us in triumph.

A few nights ago, JJ got the girls singing the song “Feelin’ So Fly Like a Cheesehead,” and it didn’t take long for Jujubee to start substituting other things, such as “feelin’ so fly like a plate,” or “feeling so fly like an apple,” or whatever else her eyes fell upon.  Some of them turned out pretty funny, too.

And when she soberly announces to me or my husband, “I have a problem!” (or as she pronounces it, “I have a pwobum!”) it’s often hard to take her just as seriously as she is taking herself.

She has always been, and continues to be, a good sport about being sick, although she doesn’t like being sick.  Hopefully this time we’re going to get rid of the crud in her lungs for good.  More on that tomorrow.

She also is very able to entertain herself for long stretches of time.  She’s starting to move into the realm of imaginary play, and now rather than just paging through books or playing in other ways, I hear her making up stories with dolls/Barbies/whatever is close at hand.  It’s pretty neat.

We stopped at Trader Joe’s today, and she was happy to get a child-sized cart to push around the store.  She did a great job with it, and as we checked out and her cart was unloaded, she walked on her own about 30 feet away to put her cart back all by herself.  I could and did watch her the whole way, as did the lady behind me in line.  She remarked positively on Jujubee’s behavior, and I confess to experiencing a bit of Mommy Pride in my little girl.

It’s too bad that Jujubee has recurrent health issues like she does, but her cheerfulness, helpfulness and general happiness haven’t been dampened by the experience.  She continues to be a huge blessing to each member of this family, spreading love, laughter and joy wherever she goes.

I’m so thankful for my little girl.