Happy 1st Birthday, Beau!


 Dear Baby Beau,

One of these days we’ll have to stop calling you that, but it’s been your nickname of choice this past year.  Last night you weren’t quite ready to fall asleep and you didn’t want to be alone, which happens fairly often these days at bedtime. I went into your room, picked you up out of your crib (and your lamby lovey, which is actually a lion, but we’re pretty attached to “lamby” as a name too apparently) and swayed back and forth as you snuggled in.  You prefer that the adult rocking you stands (no sitting!) which I don’t mind except that my arms are already too short to hold you in most positions.  Most nights you stay awake until I can’t hold you any longer and I have to put you down, but last night you fell asleep in my arms, which is the sweetest and so good for my heart.

I am sure that before you will be able to read this you will have heard your birth story. Several times.  It is one that we have had a lot of fun telling this year, and we wish that we had recorded all the listeners reactions.  It is still the coolest, best thing that your papa and I have done together.

My water broke in the middle of a dinner party attended by a good friend and two people we had never met.  Yes, my immediate thought was that maybe I could just hang tight for hour, until everyone finished their dinner (which your dad was serving at that moment) before the contractions got too strong. Within a few minutes I knew I had to tell the strangers that my water had broken (no one noticed the pop! or me saying ouch!), and I excused myself from the table, asking everyone to finish their dinners. After that everything happened so fast. Our poor guests could hear how much pain I was in and they quickly started cleaning up.  Your dad was on the phone with his parents to come down, Bridget to come over to watch Asa, the doula, the midwives, and the two times he came in to check on me, I begged him to dig his fists into my back during the next contraction to ease the pain.

While he was getting everything in order to leave I was mostly on my own, not quite comprehending how fast everything was happening, how close together the contractions were.  All I knew is that I couldn’t handle that amount of pain for more than two hours, and I was cursing my decision to deliver with midwives (drugs please!).  Bridget arrived, our guests left, I could hear Asa crying “mama!” and your dad was doing his best to get me off the floor and into the car to the hospital. I finally pulled on a dress, stood up, said hi to Bridge and walked to the car.  It was when I stood up that I knew we were not going to make it to the hospital, and standing next to our giant SUV I refused to climb inside.  I said to your papa, “Judd, I can feel the baby’s head, it’s going to be two pushes and he’s going to be out. Yell into Bridge to call an ambulance.”  Your dad, to his much deserved credit, was so calm throughout this.  He did as he was told, and in the midst of it all was thinking about how to best to get a grip on a slippery baby.  You were born just as I predicted, 2 pushes later, and 40 minutes or less after my water broke.  You let out the quietest cry to let us know you were okay, your papa announced that it was a boy, we heard the sirens on our block and knew we just had to wrap you up and wait a minute for help.  By that point Bridget and Asa were outside too. Asa was pretty excited about the firetrucks. We joke about our accidental home birth, outside in the rain, with our son watching. Life certainly doesn’t go as planned sometimes!

Since that night you have changed our world, Beau.  It’s no surprise to us that you are happy as long as there are other people around (and miserably sad if we try to leave you alone in a room even for just one quick second).  You are incredibly active and strong, always eager to be doing all the things that you see us doing – but you are a cuddler too.  For the first 3 months of your life you lived in the carrier, sleeping on my chest. Now that you are crawling you often crawl over to sit in my lap, and the other day when I got home late from work you jumped out of the bathtub so that I could hold you.  You are fast and loud and funny, an adventure seeker and a source of energy for our whole family.  You are so in tune with people, which has amazed me the most this year. I have seen you play jokes on people and play games you have made up.  I love watching you interact. You are observant but always, always moving. (I can’t tell you how many times I have chased you around the house trying to get a diaper or pants on you!) You learn by trying things, and most days you seem to have no fear (with plenty of bumps and scraps already to show for it).

Beau Linus, you are a gift.  Happy 1st Birthday!

Love,

Mama

Professional photo credit to Janice Cui.

Beau: Week 43

   

Early July was a busy time, but I missed two weeks! I did get some sweet photos of the boys with their uncle around this time, so at least there is that. 

Beau really started to eat everything. He has a good appetite and will try everything we put on his plate. He has started dancing (while sitting down) and enjoyed his first trip to the pool. He’s really up for anything, this boy. Beau jokes around with us now and has been showing off a big goofy, nose scrunch smile (see below). 

Photo credit to Asa again for the black and white photo. 

    
    
    
 

Beau: Week 40

   

Have I mentioned that we’ve nicknamed Beau “Mayhem?” These pictures illustrate it perfectly. Look at how proud of himself he is! The hardest part about Beau getting into everything is finding space for Asa to work on things without Beau getting his little baby fingers into his games. Someday they will play together, right?

Beau went to his first Pirates game this week and had a great time. He was charming all the fans around him.

    
    
   

Beau: Weeks 38 and 39

   

At this age Beau is becoming more mobile. He’s a very fast crawler and does not appreciate being kept out of certain places. Any time he hears our bathroom door open or the front door he races to get through before the doors close again. When he does sneak into the bathroom I know because he stands at the toilet and drums the seat (eeww!). He can also walk while pushing push toys, always with a big smile on his face. 

Beau is still waking up once at night, something that I hoped might go away when I went our town for a few nights but alas, this baby is set in his ways. 
    
    
    
    
    
   

Beau: Weeks 36 and 37

  
I am posting all of these so late, it’s worth clarifying that these pictures are from early June! 

Around that time Beau really started to babble a lot more often. We also had a nice rhythm for a little while of Asa sleeping in late so we’d get some one on one time with Beau in the morning. He started enthusiastically eating small pieces of solid food. 

We are continually impressed with how strong Beau is. Even when not steady on his feet he could hold himself enough to reach down and pick things off the floor. And of course he’s still always moving – most of the pictures I take are a blur!

   

    
    
    
    
    
   

Beau: Weeks 34 and 35

 
My notes from this week say “Beau is pulling himself up on everything!” which I know includes things like the couch, Asa’s table (with the sharp corners!) and the back of my legs while I’m standing trying to put Asa’s shoes on.  Hopefully we get through all of this without too many head bumps.  Beau has two top teeth coming in – one of the big middle ones, and one next to that.  He’ll have such a lopsided smile for a bit.

We started giving the boys baths together (which for us, means adjacent small tubs in our shower) and this is notable for two reasons: 1) it’s super cute and 2) we finally (since November!) got Asa to take a bath and sit down in the water instead of just getting clean through “water time” of standing water play in the shower by using brother peer pressure.  I hope this is something we can take advantage of for a long time.

We also went to Bermuda with Tom and Madeline over Memorial Day weekend.  It was a celebration of Judd finishing his graduate degree in Urban Planning (hooray!).  Was had a lovely time, and the Beau did great on his first flight, even though the airline tried to bump him off and then our direct flight ended up having a surprise connection in Charlotte.  We learned in Bermuda that Beau really has a quick hand and a far reach when it comes to knocking breakable things off of tables.  He also really started crawling on his hands and knees, not just the army crawl.

Beau also got his first ear infection this week, when we got back to DC.  Poor guy, but a total trooper (who doesn’t mind taking medicine , thank goodness).

   
             

  

        

Beau: Weeks 32 and 33

  
I have been warned several times that second children (and third and fourth) all start reaching their mobility milestones sooner than their older siblings, but these weeks have been pretty incredible.  The pace at which Beau started really becoming mobile has really amazed me.  At week 32, he figured out how to sit up from crawling, which means he is fully mobile, and he also started pulling up, on his own, on select pieces of low furniture.  Active boy!  It’s always surprising the first time you find your baby standing when you left him sitting!  Soon after he learned to pull up in his crib, which is super cute, and especially heartbreaking when he doesn’t want to sleep and you find him standing in his crib, crying and probably unable to get down on his own.

There have been a few signs this week that Beau will love breaking our house rough housing.  He’s figured out splashing in the bath and can’t get enough of it.  And it is clear that he wants in on Judd and Asa’s before bed wrestling sessions.

My favorite moment from these two weeks is when one night Asa, as he was settling in for bed, woke up Beau, who had been asleep for an hour already. My gut reaction was to panic that now it would take Beau forever to fall back to sleep, but we let them be for a bit. Soon enough we could hear the boys playing together, and 45 minutes later it was quiet. The first of many night time, room sharing, brother moments, I’m sure.

   
        

   
             

Beau: Weeks 30 and 31


A few highlights from these weeks:

– Beau is TALKING.  Making new sounds, experimenting with his voice, loudly most of the time, as usual. I forgot just how sweet baby talk can be.

– Beau now knows the difference between his baby toys and everything else, and he makes it clear that he wants a) whatever Asa is playing with and b) anything that is a choking hazard.  And when he doesn’t get these things he let’s us know he is unhappy (throws head back, cries, the whole bit)

– Now that he army crawls, he’s started venturing off the main living room carpet.  I clearly remember the first time he proudly worked his way from the living room to the boys’ room, where Asa and I were.  He had a big, big smile on his face when he scooted through the doorway.

– For the longest time Beau would wake up around 5 or 5:30.  He was not up for the day but he was clearly not going to fall back to sleep on his own in the crib, so (path of least resistance) I would nurse him in our bed, hoping that he would fall back to sleep and I could get a few more minutes of sleep.  WELL.  This stopped this week!  Beau is still an early riser, but more like 6 – 7am, which I can handle.  Most days.

– The other sweet thing about Beau waking up later is that for the first time we woke up to hear the boys playing together in their room – talking, laughing.  My heart totally melts.  I love those sounds.  I also am also amazed how early these sibling friendships form.  They already have a world and language of their own!

– He’s starting to sit more, instead of just playing on his belly.  It’s nice when he stays still for a little while!

– Beau has a few games: peekaboo, of course, and he also gives kisses.  He plays hard to get with our daycare provider, teasing her that he doesn’t want to go to her (and smiling the whole time).


        

Beau: Weeks 28 and 29

    Wow, I’m nearly a month behind posting all of these.  Beau was 28 weeks on April 8th!  It’s time to post two weeks at a time to catch up.  I have been taking the pictures on time and jotting down notes here and there, but as I expected, this project is a bit harder to keep up with the second time around.  I am all too aware of how quickly I forget all of these early moments.  With Asa I felt as though we were always waiting for him to do the next thing, and with Beau I’m always a step behind, surprised that he’s already [insert milestone here].

Well, back during Beau’s 28th and 29th week, his first and second teeth came through, just a few days apart.  We knew that first one was on its way – he was not a happy camper. In true baby fashion he’s been chewing on everything he can get his hands on. With the spring weather, Beau is finally getting some time outside.  For how active he is, he is content to sit and watch from his stroller seat for a surprisingly long time. His sleep is still pretty hit or miss but he’s a star eater!  He is a fast scooter.  When I was taking the 29 week photos on the bed Beau would flop on his belly and race towards me, and more importantly, the iPhone, in the blink of an eye.  These photo shoots are getting challenging!

          

   
             

Negotiation

  Judd wrote the following for a class this semester about negotiating with Asa.  I loved it and wanted to share. (And I promise I didn’t write the last sentence.) Asa is doing and saying so many great, exciting things lately – I’ll try to get a few more posts up about him soon. 

Negotiation

There is one person in my life with whom I am consistently forced to negotiate more than any other; we go toe to toe on a near daily occurrence. He’s a formidable opponent: sharp, stubborn, emotional, unpredictable, and irrational. He can be at turns charming or terrorizing, sometimes even resorting to physical violence. He has few weaknesses and little to lose, which is what makes him so dangerous to underestimate. There are many opportunities for disagreement between us, but there is one subject above all others that consistently sparks his ire. He is my two-year-old son, and that subject is bedtime.

It is a familiar scene to those who have children, or those that have watched hijacking movies. The situation turns from one of mundane civility to absolute bedlam in sheer moments. You think everything is under control, but then a madman appears and tells you he has other plans. Diverging from the hijacker’s playbook, he choses dinnertime at home as the platform of choice to issue his demands, which are: 1. THERE WILL BE NO BEDTIME, and 2. MORE CHEESE. When I politely remind him that bedtime occurs everyday at the precisely the same time, he responds by writhing against his highchair restraints and turning apoplectic. I try to entice him onward with bath time, which he used to love, but he reminds me that he’s still abstaining from bathing. I think he started the bath strike with the idea that without a bath, bedtime could not logically follow, but he’s long ago forgotten his reasoning and now just doesn’t bath out of habit. I’ve adapted by cleaning him head to toe with wet wipes every night. So I think of other incentives: books.

“You know,” I say, “if you get ready for bed, we can read books. Go pick out your two books.”

“NO BOOKS!” he says, but I know he really does want books, so I remind him of some of his current favorites, and that if he hurries, I’ll still let him pick them out on his own. But if he dillydallies, I’ll pick them out—a prospect he does not relish. This tactic works fifty percent of the time. If he continues to delay, I’ll threaten to cut out a book from the lineup, or on really bad nights, both books. Usually though, he counters with: “THREE BOOKS!”. When I reiterate my position—only two books—he counters again. “NINE BOOKS!”

“No, just two books.”

Inevitably, he brings me three books. “Twee books!,” he says, holding up his fingers. He’s learned to select the books from his collection that are the most advantageous for buying time. Most nights, it includes a Where’s Waldo?-style book that has few words, but maximum opportunity for pointing to many, many things, and of course, The Bible For Kids, which is long as *#&$ and requires lots of explanation. The third book is a wildcard—his book du jour— and if push comes to shove (not literally), he is more than willing to forsake Waldo or Jesus.

Finally, I get him in PJs and in bed, which can easily be derailed by the urge to: play with old crusty Play Dough, quench a sudden thirst by slowly sipping an ounce of milk, or decide he’s finally ready for potty training at 8:30pm on a Tuesday. Once I patiently wait for these whims to be satisfied, I tuck him into bed, go fetch him when he runs away, tuck him in again, turn the lights out and firmly shut the door. If everything goes reasonably well, he is not screaming or stripping himself naked in the dark at this point

My son has taught me much about the art of negotiation (and I must say at the outset that my wife is much better at it than I).