Monday, June 30, 2014

3 months!



These last three months have flown by!  Alden is definitely beyond the newborn stage.  He is now in size 3 diapers.  He's closing in on 16 pounds (or is there already... I don't really weigh him very often or accurately).  I'm pretty sure he's 26 inches already.  I'll get his official 4 month stats at the doctor at the end of this month, but those are my guesstimates for 3 months. 

He smiles, coos, tries to grab at objects and is spilling out of his carseat.  This child is so long!  It's crazy. 

Alden also has started rolling over.  Not just front to back.  He did that some time ago.  But, also back to front.  He prefers to see the world from his belly.  I'll place him down on the mat on his back, turn around, and turn back and he's on his belly peering around with a look of total accomplishment on his face. 



Six years ago this month, Kai was also rolling over (although, it was front to back... but, remember, she was only 3 weeks adjusted at that time). 

Kai rolled from her back to front on September 7 (I just looked... ahhh, the joys of keeping a blog to chronicle these things!)  That means she also mastered the skill just before she hit the 5 month mark (or the 3 month mark, using her adjusted age)

My babies are early rollers.  They like being on the move.  I personally find babies that move around a bit terrifying and stressful.  I had rather hoped to enjoy another month of being able to plop him down on his back and not worry much about what he could get into.  That said, I love how he is so intent on mastering these skills and so pleased with himself when he does it. 

Wonder if this means he'll be crawling at six months?  Kai commando-crawled at 8 months (6 months adjusted).  So, I guess that could be right around the corner.  Guess we should start thinking about baby proofing again.  How do you baby proof a house with a six year old who loves nothing more than tiny little objects like legos, beads, silly string, little action figures and balls?  Guess I'm about to find out!




Saturday, June 28, 2014

You Get What You Get

Kailey and I have had many conversations lately along the lines of "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit".  Oh, and you say "thank you".  Especially when you're getting something you really want. 

Kai has been in a bit of a "can I have..." phase.  She wants things everywhere we go.  Every once in awhile we'll get her a treat and, more often than not, it just goads her on to ask for something else in addition.  For instance, when we were at a play that Deb's granddaughter was in, Katie got her a wand.  Kai immediately asked for a crown as well.  Of course, one might say they go together, but it bothers me that she can't just say thank you for what she's getting.  We've had many conversations about this. 

Tonight, I told her, "OK, Kai.  I'm making you noodles."  She said, "thank you!"  Progress!!  But, then she said, "what kind of noodles?"  I told her I was making tortellini and she said, "oh.... do we have..." and then she trailed off.  After a moment she yelled, "nevermind!  I can handle that.  Thank you."  Two thank yous and assurance that she can "handle it".  Double progress!

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Unrelated to the title of this post, this evening Eric and Kai were fixing up a little owie that Alden got (probably didn't need fixing up, but Kai likes to fix up injuries).  I asked what they put on it and Eric said, "wound cleaner", as he held up the bottle.  Kai asked what a wound was and Eric explained it was an owie and went on to say, "so if you hear about a wounded animal, you know it's an animal that has an owie."  Then Kailey replied, "we're all wounded animals sometimes."

So poetic.  And so true.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Car Rides

I love listening to and talking with Kailey in the morning on the way to school.  Yesterday, it was me listening to her make up a song.  Alden was fussing a little bit, so she started singing to him.  It went something like:

"Alden, don't cry.  We don't know why you cry.  Maybe you need a diaper change.  Maybe you need fed.  Sometimes you're tired.  We never know.  Because you don't talk.  So we have to guess.  But, it's hard to guess. Because you don't talk.  So, mommy or daddy could change your diaper.  Or mommy could feed you.  Or you could go to sleep.  Try going to sleep.  Go to sleep.  Close your eyes.  We don't know what's wrong with you.  It's so hard to know when you don't talk.  All you can do is cry and hope that we guess right."

It went on and on like that.  It did seem to calm Alden down.  He kept his expressions of displeasure to grumblings rather than the full on wailing that has become his signature trait in the car.  Seriously, he hates cars.  Poor baby.

I actually made him his 4 month appointment with his usual pediatrician, in Oakland.  But, then I realized I should just switch to Sacramento because how cruel to make him endure 3 hours in the car for 15 minutes at the doctor. 

Of course, I switched his doctor and now we have no idea what we're doing with the house (the buyer whose offer we accepted has backed out... so, now we're back to square one).  So, that may have been premature.  I hate real estate.

Anyway, the other Kailey interaction was this morning.  She said to me, "Well, I guess it's going to be another tired day."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I mean I'm really tired so it's going to be a tired day.  Like yesterday."  She replied.

"Aren't you sleeping enough at night?"  I asked .

"Yes.  But, I'm growing.  Growing kids get tired."

I guess that's true. 

Someday, Alden and I will have these conversations while driving about.  That is, if we can convince him between now and then that cars are not horrible torture chambers. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happy Baby

A few recent videos of Alden.  He is such a happy baby!

 

And some recent pictures.



 
 
An update in photos and videos is better than no update at all!  His eyes are sooo blue.  Maybe even more blue than Kailey's, which is saying something.  Hers are multiple layers of blue. There are speckles of dark and light blues.  Just beautiful.  His are a piercing blue.  The brightest of blues.  Also quite beautiful.
 
I'm off to a camp field trip with Kai (and Alden, of course).  More soon! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summertime

It's been a long time since we lived somewhere that has a true summer.  When we were in D.C., we got a taste of summer.  Hot, muggy summers that made you wonder why anyone would choose to live in a swamp.  We would stay holed up in the one room of our house that had a window air conditioning unit, waiting for the summer months to pass.  It wasn't the heat that made the D.C. summers so unbearable.  It was the humidity.  And the cicadas that would buzz incessantly making you feel like you were going slowly insane.  I really disliked summers in D.C.

It appears that Sacramento summers are different.  It's hot here, for sure.  The other day as we were driving back from Oakland I looked down at the dash and remarked, "that's weird -- what is that number?  It says 108.  What does that mean?"  And then I realized that was a temperature reading.  It wasn't even officially summertime on that day.  And it got to 110.  D.C. never got that hot (well, almost never).  And yet, the heat is D.C. was so much worse. 

Sacramento's heat is a dry heat.  And, it's almost enjoyable.  Feels like how summer should be, even though I have very little experience with this type of summertime weather.  Kailey, who prefers to wear as little clothing as possible, is in her element.  

We've been making the rounds of the splash parks (it's a thing here -- parks with water features so kids can cool off.  Reminds me a bit of the summer vacation we spent in NYC just going from one fountain to another so Kai could splash around).  We've hit two so far and will try a third park today. 

And, the other day, we went to a party at the American River for Eric's work.  Kai had an absolute blast swimming in the river, running around with the other kids, and playing in the dirt.

We also tried out the Sacramento zoo.  Overall, the zoo was a bit disappointing. But, they had a great animal show and also let the kids feed the giraffes. And, they have an animal hospital where you can watch the doctors perform the procedures on the animals -- pretty cool.  Kai especially loved that as she continues to be interested in all things related to owies and to medical procedures.  When we were at the river the other day, this boy that she was playing with got stung (she developed quite the crush on this kid -- he was 16 and she followed him around like a puppy.  It was really quite adorable).  Anyway, he got stung by a bee and Kai loved getting out the first aid kit and helping him out.  Who knows what she'll be when she grows up -- but, so far, this interest in medicine has been consistent throughout her life.  I never have been one for owies and other gross things -- but, Kai can't get enough of them.

I think this is one aspect of Sacramento that has a clear leg up on the Bay Area.  Our summers in the Bay Area were not really summers at all.  Oakland would get warm, but rarely above 80.  And, when we lived in the sunset, it was downright cold.  Summertime never really felt like summertime.  We'd have to drive through the tunnel to find the heat.

Here, we have long, hot days filled with water play, parks, trips to the ice cream parlor, the zoo, and the river.  I'm looking forward to more time at the river and camping trips.  Once we have our own place, I'm sure we'll get a kayak or a canoe.  And, Tahoe is just a short drive away.  So many summertime activities right at our fingertips. 

Kailey said this morning, "I'm glad we're moving to Sacramento.  I wish I could still go to African Dance.  Maybe I should tell Courtyard about the great class I took and see if we can have African Dance at Courtyard."  I thought that was a wise suggestion. 

It's hard to leave the Bay Area.  I especially miss the proximity to the ocean.  But, I am starting to like some things about being here.  Watching Kai enjoy the summer is probably on the top of my list.



Oh, and Alden seems to like it too!

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Update in Pictures

There's been a lot going on lately.  I need to get better about writing more frequently. But, I'm not going to feel guilty about the lack of posting in Alden's first 3 months of life given that during that time I was working on a major budget item, moving to Sacramento, getting our house ready to sell, and trying to be a good parent to both our newest member as well as to Kailey.  It's been a lot.  Somehow I've managed to take the occasional photograph, which is really the only way I can remember much about what has been happening in our lives!  
 
Kailey is loving being a big sister.  She still tries to soothe Alden whenever he is upset, which isn't very often.  She plays with him all the time and talks to him constantly.  It is really cute.  



 


Alden is an extremely happy baby.  He is so charming.  He almost never cries.  Just when he's hungry and he grumbles a bit when he is tired.  Oh, and he cries in the car.  He hates the car.  All the trips back and forth between Sacramento and Oakland have ruined him for the car.  Luckily we've been doing less driving this week.  But, most all of the time he is just all smiles.  He breaks out in the biggest smiles any time he catches someone's eye.

 
 

When not smiling, he has big expressions.  One of my colleagues described him as having "a lot of face" because he has these big eyes, mouth and nose... they all fit together just fine, but it makes for these looks that are a bit unexpected in one so young. As an aside, Alden has met ALL of my colleagues because I've been working so much.  He has been to 4 hearings in the Capitol. He's been to high level meetings between me and the head of the Department of Social Services.  He doesn't know it, but he's met several Senators and Assemblymembers.  He's well known in the Capitol for one so young!  None of which would be possible if he weren't such an easygoing baby.  He is just happy to be along for the ride (unless that ride is in a car, of course).   Last night he started doing this belly laugh when Kailey was entertaining him while he took a bath.  She was so pleased with herself for being the first person to make Alden really laugh.  He'd been doing a kind of half laugh for awhile, but this was a full on belly laugh.  It was hysterical.  Too bad I didn't capture it on camera!

 


 
 
 
 
 
Kailey has come to the end of her kindergarten year.  I am so glad it is behind us.  Once school was over, she finally opened up about not liking her teacher much.  She asked us why he yelled at her so much more than the other kids and also said, "I don't think he liked me."  She told us he was mean.  And, since she is finally done with him, we agreed with her.  He was not a very good teacher.  We told her not all teachers are like Mr. Thompson and that we hoped next year she'd have a teacher that was much better. 
 
I am really proud of Kailey for weathering the last year and keeping her spirit.  It wasn't easy on her and she did great.  I took a picture of the sentences she wrote to keep herself on track after the incidence with her classmate this spring.  She looked at this every day to remind herself to keep her cool.  On the last day of school she said, "can I just be friends with her again?  It was just an accident and I think we can try to play together again." A reasonable request for sure, but one that her teacher and the other parents had refused to let happen.  The whole thing was just so screwed up and the way the adults around her handled the situation was so wrong. Kai was stigmatized for months because of a couple of run-ins with another child, one of which was most surely an accident.  But, she was never allowed to make amends and try again.  I'm proud of her for sticking with it and for understanding that there was another path. 
 
 
 
 
Luckily, she had a lot of other classes and so got exposed to many other teachers.  Her favorites were African Dance and drama.  And her end of the year performances in each were such fun to watch. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kailey has been great during this whole process of moving. Children handle change so much better than adults!  She helped Eric with the roofing.  She helped with packing.  And, ever since arriving in Sacramento, she's been up for anything.  She's easily making friends at her new school (she's in the summer camp at Courtyard so that she can meet the other kids over the summer).  Yesterday we were at a park and she made 4 friends, as she informed me as we were leaving. 
 
I feel unmoored being in Sacramento.  I don't have familiar places that I know to shop or hang out, beyond the places I go for work.  And, the people I know here are all work people -- they aren't really friends at this point.  So, it's been hard to settle in.  Made harder by the fact that we are, truly, unsettled.  We are living in someone else's house and waiting to see what happens with our house in Oakland.  I have one foot in each of my lives and I don't like it. 
 
But, there are a few things that have made it better.  The first is my sister.  I am so glad Katie came down for a month to help us with the move -- I really could not have gotten through the last month without her help.  She played with Kailey and made the move fun for her.  She packed up our Oakland house, since I was in total denial about having to pack and move.  She loaded and unloaded our moving truck.  She researched storage pods and helped to set up the best deal for getting half of our stuff into storage.  She spent an entire day on her hands and knees scrubbing our decks to prepare them for staining.  She organized the house cooling party.  She was amazing. 
 
The second was our kids.  Moving with children is, in so many ways, so much harder than moving without kids.  Everything is a bit slower with them.  As we would pack up, Kai would find forgotten treasure and spent as much time unpacking boxes as we spent packing them.  Alden, of course, had no sense of what was going on, but had his own needs to be attended to, slowing down the process.  But, what occurred to me is that having these two people in my life also made the move so much easier.  We are moving for them -- so that we can spend more time with them and less time in a car driving back and forth between our home and our jobs.  And, their ability to keep a smile on their face and a sense of adventure throughout (of course, that applies more to Kailey), was motivating to me and inspirational.   We aren't living where I want to live yet, but Kailey calls our temporary home a castle and watching her embrace and enjoy the place that I feel is just a holding cell reminds me to have a more positive attitude.  It was a hard couple of months, for sure.  But, it's also amazing how much we can do together when we set our minds to it.   

 




 


And so, we're settling into our new normal in Sacramento.  Hopefully I can post more frequently for awhile and capture a bit more of these early months as a family of four.