30 January 2010


I think it may have snowed last year after Eamon was born, but of course he was too young to enjoy it. It's snowed once already this year: a paltry 1/2 inch that I pointed to from the window and said, "See? That's snow." It melted before we could really even get a chance to go outside in it.

But THIS...this is SNOW. So far, we've had about 6 inches today. And even though we didn't have any real snow gear (other than his winter coat, curtesy of his grandmother who thinks about things like that), we took him out for about 10 minutes. Mostly, he just enjoyed watching the dog run around.

24 January 2010

Food Fight

Look, ma! I can fit six Chex in my mouth at once! (also, I just threw 2 pieces to the dog)

First of all, ever since he learned the sign for “eat,” Eamon walks around making that sign all day long. Please do not be fooled into thinking that we never feed our child—chances are that even though he’s pretending he’s starving, he actually ate 5 minutes ago.

And he’s not really that hungry. Okay, so he goes through growth spurts where I swear he eats as much as most adults, but during the first few days when we actually were just excited that he had started communicating and fed him whenever he asked—he really wasn’t really hungry even though he was signing that he was. Usually he just wanted a specific food, and usually either cereal or graham crackers. If we gave in and fed him those things each time he asked, he never wanted the things he needed to eat, like meats and fruits.

May I have some more, please?

But we are happy that he suddenly wants table food. In Eamon’s never-ending quest to stay a baby as long as humanly possible (despite the fact that he looks about two years old), he’s only just started reliably eating table food. Before, he either wanted Stage 2 pureed things or formula. Don’t think we didn’t TRY to give him table food—we gave it to him ALL THE TIME-- things that we KNEW he liked when they were pureed, so surely he should like them chopped up very small, too. But even though we tried at just about every meal, most of the food went to the dog (He’s sneaky about feeding the dog, too. He waits until you look away for a second and then surreptitiously just sort of hangs his hand down and drops the food. Except then he blows his cover by clapping because he thinks its funny).

But we are happy to announce a turn-around! Eamon has suddenly realized that table-food can be GOOD and it is better to FEED YOURSELF after all! He is now reliably eating: turkey sticks, hamburger, French fries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, steak, flat bread, soy-yogurt, various cereals, and graham crackers (note: not all at the same meal).

But it’s hard. Both our families have a history of allergies, and Eamon definitely has some food sensitivities. The worst so far is egg, which caused actual welts and a really upset stomach. He also appears to be sensitive to milk, tree fruits, grapes, and legumes (though thank God not wheat or soy). His reactions were all variants on rashes and upset stomachs, though nothing life-threatening.

The rascally rogue known as Blackberry Beard will steal your heart. And your berries.

So we have to be careful about what we feed him, and really don’t introduce more than one new food a week. It can take awhile. And I understand his initial resistance to eating table food: some of the table foods made him sick afterwards, unlike formula, so formula must have been better, right?

He’s also growing at a phenomenal rate, and needs a ton of protein to sustain that growth. He’s a tall kid, and though he has a healthy layer of baby fat on him, he’s pretty slender overall (he may not look it during the winter when I dress him in multiple layers of fleece, but reference the bathtime photos). He’s also a pretty active boy who only has his front teeth, which means that 1) he needs a lot of protein, and 2) he doesn’t have the patience required to sit still and chew all the hamburger/steak/turkey sticks he would need to remove formula entirely from his diet.

BUT ANYWAY…the point is that finally last weekend, we went out to a restaurant and were able to order off the children’s menu. We have turned the corner on the food front, which I suppose means we need to start having family dinners now. Hmm….
He was signing for food after finishing 8 oz of formula. He was not hungry.

14 January 2010

Baby Steps

Unlike my husband, I am a bit...competitive. Not necessarily with other people, but against myself. If there's a top score, I want it. If it's possible to get an A, why would you want to get a B? In school, I never cared what other people got, but would rage bitterly over a grade like a 97. I missed three points? Why did I miss three points?!

But being a parent...isn't like being in school. Eamon is not a "project," and I've had to accept that I just don't have control over some things, like when he will roll over or crawl or walk. (And when you're a control freak like I am, this is a tough realization indeed.) He's a big kid, and they tend to do things more slowly, and he's a boy, and they tend to do things a little more slowly than girls, too, and he's Eamon, who also tends not to do things until he's positive he can do them more or less perfectly.

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn as a parent was to stop.checking.the.milestone.chart.already. When I was home on maternity leave with Eamon, and had a bunch of time, I checked constantly. Then over the summer, I looked all the time, too, since I was a teacher and had a lot of time off. I was determined to find out that he was an uber-prodigy, and eagerly awaited for him to start writing Petrachan sonnets when he turned 7 months old.

Eventually, however, I came to realize that those milestone charts? They weren't helping. Because Eamon hadn't read them. He didn't know he was supposed to be sitting up by a certain date, or rolling over by a certain month. I was only making myself crazy when the "advanced" date passed us by...and then those rare times when the "average" date passed us by, too...

This isn't to say that he's behind. He's not, at all. And on some things, he is above average. Others, he's just average. He has great mechanical skills, and he's the only one year old I know who will look at something he knows he isn't supposed to touch (like an outlet), stop, think, decide not to touch it, then crawl away and clap for himself. Sometimes when he doesn't even think we're watching him! What kind of one year old has self control like that?

But other things...he is content to stay a "baby" a little longer. Because here's the thing: Eamon does things in his own time. For instance: walking. Eamon has been able to stand without holding onto anything since Thanksgiving. Over Christmas, he took his first step and promptly fell flat on his face. He cruises like a pro, but was afraid of taking another step. He's always been cautious that way: he doesn't stand up unless he knows he can get safely back down, he doesn't open drawers unless he knows he can get them shut again without crushing his fingers in them. He's a pretty careful kid.

Well, today, he took three steps for my mother. He did fine, didn't fall or anything, but didn't go very fast and was still pretty wobbly, so I think (and I could be totally wrong, because who really knows) that he decided to test it out again, realized he still didn't have particularly good balance, and decided to go back to something he knows he can do well: crawling. In a couple of days, or a week, or a couple of weeks, or maybe even a couple of months, he'll try it again and he'll have better balance and eventually he'll be confident enough to actually start running around everywhere.

And you know what? That's okay.

He'll get there, and I am finally coming to the realization that nowhere on his application to Stanford or Harvard is it going to ask the date he started walking or how many words he could say by 12 months of age.
And someday, I might even be okay with him not going to Stanford or Harvard, but like Eamon, I'm taking things one step at a time.

06 January 2010

One Year Check-Up

Eamon Wolfe, vital stats:

Head: 18 inches (75th percentile)

Weight: 22 pounds, 9 oz (50th percentile)

Height: 31 1/2 inches (90th percentile)

Ie, pretty much where's he's been...

Basic milestones checklist:

Pulling himself to a stand unassisted: YES

Walking with or without assistance: YES (with assistance)

Says "mama" or "dada" for correct parent: 1/2 YES ("mama" only)

Eats solid foods: YES (though lately, attempting to regress to mostly formula diet; more on the whole feeding issue later)

Points to identify objects he wants: YES (just this week, whew!)

Waves "hi" and "bye": YES (last week--good job, there)

Says at least three words: NO

That last one was the only one I had to check NO on, and it was a little heartbreaking. I felt I had to give the little guy some credit, however, so I wrote in (I don't think write-ins were technically allowed, but whatever) that he does sign all the time now. And by now, I mean in the last three days. He's been signing "more" for a couple of weeks, but just recently started signing "eat," "drink," and even learned "milk" at the doctor's office.

In fact, as I was talking to the doctor about how to wean Eamon off the bottle, we kept saying the word "milk." We weren't talking to Eamon, but nevertheless, he perked up because he knew the word and started signing it. I told him that no, he wasn't getting milk right then, so he started signing for drink, and after getting a negative answer for that, he signed for eat. So maybe he was trying to prove something to the doctor just like his mother.

But it proves that Eamon is becoming more and more aware of what is going on around him. His communication center has definitely turned on, whether he's actually forming words or not (he can make all the sounds...he just doesn't put them reliably together into words). We have always played some baby sign language videos for him because he liked them and would sit still for them, but recently, he's actually been watching them. Like, learning from them.

For instance, yesterday he grabbed his turtle night-light and started opening and closing his mouth like a fish. I was terribly confused until Aaron pointed out that the "turtle" and the "fish" segment are right after one another on his My Pet Signs video.

Okay, so he's still got some ironing out to do.

But in the meantime, we all need to start being careful what we're saying around Eamon Wolfe, because suddenly...he's listening.

Meanwhile, the obligatory PHOTO YEAR-in-REVIEW:
December 29, 2008 (1 day old)
January, 2009
December 30, 2009

02 January 2010

First Christmas(es) and Christmas Firsts

I thought it was important to write about Eamon’s first birthday sort of near his first birthday, but now it’s time to go back and recap Christmas, post pictures, etc..

Eamon had a great Christmas. True, he didn’t understand exactly what was going on, and in the true spirit of one year olds everywhere, thought it would be more fun to eat the wrapping paper than play with any of his presents. For a long time, he was sort of intrigued/frightened by the Christmas tree, but then his fear turned to all out desire to rip off the ornaments, therefore resulting in very little time actually around our Christmas tree.

We had our first Christmas on December 24 with my parents. My mom came over early in the morning to help me with the turkey (I made a turkey for Thanksgiving last year, and though it was pretty good, the skin wasn’t very crispy), then left and both my parents came back around 3:00. We had dinner around 4:00, then opened presents and played with said presents until Eamon’s bedtime.

The one picture where it looks like he is opening the presents.

On the morning of the 25th, real adventure began. We loaded up Eamon and a carful of stuff and then drove about 3 hours to our second Christmas in Severn, Maryland, with Aaron’s side of the family. In stark contrast to our December 24 Christmas (5 people, total), there were at least 30 folks wandering around this Christmas party (Aaron’s side of the family is BIG). Eamon LOVED playing with his cousin, Lucas, and various other second cousins (or whatever you call children of Aaron’s cousins). Unfortunately, he was very overstimulated by the time we left at 7PM, and screamed much of the drive to Ocean City.

Chillin' with cousin Lucas at Christmas

We drove to Ocean City because Aaron and his sister had this idea that in order to bring our children closer together, we should start doing Destination Christmases, where we go places and hang out together for several days. This year, we chose Ocean City because it wasn’t too far from anyone (about 3 hours from us and 3 hours from his sister’s family, the Molloys). We had a really cool 3 bedroom suite, complete with a full kitchen and two full baths. The unfortunate thing was that the rooms weren’t as big as the hotel had made them out to be, so our room was rather cramped with a queen sized bed and Eamon’s rented crib shoved up against the closet.

First foray into BIRTHDAY CAKE!

NEVERTHELESS—we had a GREAT time. The hotel resort had a fabulous lobby, complete with heated indoor pool and ice skating rink. More interesting than anything else, however, were Eamon’s cousins, Elise (age 3) and Lucas (15 months). Eamon LOVED having a surrogate brother and sister for the weekend. I don’t know whether Eamon will be a good big brother, but he would certainly make a great little brother.

Swimming with Lucas, Aunt Meredith, Daddy, and Oma

Even more fascinating were all the things that Eamon started doing while around Elise and Lucas. He started verbalizing even more, making more sounds. He also started “walking” when you hold his hands, instead of simply going all jelly-legs when you try to hold him up (he’s more than happy to stand on his own, but prefers to think he doesn’t need any help).

Oh the splashing you can do with THREE people in the tub!

He also had another big first step—literally. On his birthday, December 29, Eamon Wolfe took his first ever step without holding onto anything towards his Oma…and then fell flat on his face. He wasn’t hurt, and his Oma was right there to mostly catch him. Nevertheless, he was a bit startled and hasn’t tried it again since. He will, however, take steps between things now, as long as he knows there’s something to grab on the other side.

His latest endeavor, however, has been with making more sounds. For awhile (like, at least a couple of months), he’s been making the sounds, “Mamamamamamama.” But for the most part, they didn’t mean anything, and he did it all the time, whether I was around or not. But lately, he’s only been making his “Mamama” sounds when I am around. Then, on New Years Eve, as I was putting him to bed, he looked right at me and said, “Mama.” I still didn’t get too excited, until I was holding him and playing the Mama/Eamon Game (you know, where I point to me and say “Mama” and then I point to him and say “Eamon”, and be quiet, it’s a great game if you’re one year old). He took his bottle out of his mouth and also said, very clearly, “Eamon.”

Well, now. He had NEVER put those sounds together before. And I couldn’t help but think that it was far too much of a coincidence that he said his name DURING the Mama/Eamon Game. So, even though it’s been 2 days and he hasn’t said “Eamon” since, I am still deciding that he said his first words on December 31, 2009. I’m going with “Mama” as the first word, which means that all subsequent children will have a lot to live up to. Way to wreck the curve, Eamon!

Elise, Uncle Marty, Aunt Meredith, Opa, Elise, Oma, Mama, Daddy, and Eamon Wolfe