Monday, March 30, 2015

The long-awaited brother bath

I mentioned in this post that Theo still uses a baby bath tub even though he has long outgrown it.  The reason behind this was that he just freaked out in bath tubs.  First at my parents' house, then Sara's, and then finally once when I attempted it at our own house.  I knew he was getting too big for the baby bath, but I was dreading the meltdown that would eventually follow a switch.

Well, I'm very happy to report that he is now bathing in the big tub!  And I can take zero credit for this.  It was Eric alone who was willing to give it a try and thanks to his efforts, we have put the baby tub back in storage.  Apparently all he needed was a lot of bath toys and basic baby distraction methods.  Well done, Eric.  I salute you.

After Theo made the switch to the big tub, it wasn't long before I suggested a brother bath!  This is the stuff that embarrassing childhood photos are made of!  I could not wait.  Lucky for these boys, any embarrassing bits were thoughtfully cropped out of the photos by their dad when he took them.  I still think they're pretty great though.





Saturday, March 7, 2015

Happy birthday, Eric!

Eric's birthday is less than a week after Theo's, so it's fair to say that T stole some of his dad's thunder being born when he was.  He did come 10 days early, after all.  He just haaad to have the first birthday of that week, didn't he?  However, Eric has handled it all quite well and turned another year older with style and grace.  And BBQ.  Pecan Lodge BBQ, to be specific, and in Texas you must be specific.  Pecan Lodge has earned a rep for being the best barbecue in the city, if not the state.  Neither of us had ever been, but it had obviously been on our to-do list for a while.  So, when the birthday boy made it known that he wanted PL BBQ, we honored his wishes.

The boys' excitement was palpable. 

We went early (arrived at 4:30) and the line was a little long, but it moved fast.

Since we were extremely excited about all the delicious choices, we decided to get all the meats they offered.  Ribs, sausage, brisket, burnt ends and pork.  Don't judge us.  We planned on taking home leftovers!  We also ordered mac n cheese (ostensibly for the boys, but neither of them ate any (even Theo!?!)), fried okra, peach cobbler and banana pudding.  I'll let you soak it all in.  This was an order for 2 people, yes.  Everything's bigger in Texas, you know.




My favorite was the burnt ends.  I'd heard about these things on various TV shows - my mouth has watered at the mere thought of them - and these didn't disappoint.  Rich, flavorful, not very fatty, but not dry.  The mac n cheese was delicious, although I guess the boys caught on to the green chiles mixed in.  Emmett saw the bacon on top and immediately began to whine.  He loves bacon.  But he does not love mixing food.  I guess it was too much for him to handle.  I still can't figure out why Theo didn't eat it, but he refused several bites and I'm tired of thinking about why. 

The desserts were extremely good, too.  Possibly my favorite part of the meal.  Eric and I were both a little disappointed in the meal as a whole, though.  Nothing wowed us.  The ribs and brisket were a little fatty for Eric's taste (and mine).  We had pretty high expectations.  They weren't met, but it wasn't a bad meal at all.  In fact, we enjoyed our time there and even ate outside and enjoyed some nice (if not a little chilly) weather.

Me and Em with his bull-friend, whom he hung out with for most of the meal.  Please note my two boxes of leftovers.

A cool robo-skeleton-astronaut sculpture.
We enjoyed our evening out celebrating Eric.  The area, Deep Ellum, seems like a cool place to hang out, and plenty of people much cooler than us were doing just that.  We loaded back up in the car and headed home to put Theo to bed and make up some Easy Mac for Em.  Then Em helped Eric open presents (duh) and we ate leftover dessert from PL.  It was a glamorous birthday, to be sure.  That's the only way we know how to do.  34 years looks good on you, dear!  We love you.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Theo's first birthday party

To celebrate Theo's first birthday, I decided that the best way to show him we love him was with food.  Sure, I put up our homemade Happy Birthday banner and some balloons and I even broke out the party hats.  But I put the majority of my focus on the food, namely the cake.  

You might remember (it's been almost five years so why would you?!) that Emmett did not really go for his cake.  At all.  He cried when we suggested that he eat a piece.  I think a lot of kids balk at the notion of eating their first birthday cake, surprisingly.  Something about Theo made me think that he would be different.  ;)  Yes, here is a kid who might actually be willing to eat some cake.  

Our go-to cake place since moving to Dallas has been Nothing Bundt Cakes.  Decadent cream cheese frosting.  Moist, flavorful cake.  Cute decorations, too.  It was a no-brainer.  I even got Theo (and Em) his own mini double chocolate cake.

Theo's birthday fell on a Sunday this year and my parents were in town to help us celebrate.  In fact, Parker and Kathryn were in town, as well, for a mini-vacation and an Avett Brothers concert, so they came over, too.  We had a small little brunch for the birthday boy, and although he slept through the adults eating their brunch, when he woke up he got everyone's full attention as he ate.  He had to get used to that!  He was a little apprehensive about all the fuss and wasn't a fan of the party hat, so we made do with a hat-behind-the-head shot and got on with the meal.


He eventually got used to all eyes on him and started eating.  I made a Western Egg Bake (which he loved) and cheese grits (which were too spicy for him) and bacon.  Theo ate some fruit, too.  Once brunch was over it was time for cake!


Theo studied the cake seriously at first and kept circling it with his little hand and pointer finger out.  It was like he was searching for the best bite (atta boy!), but he finally settled on a piece on the far side from him and cautiously brought it to his mouth.  Obviously, he enjoyed it (I mean, that cake is delicious).  But, he didn't go to town on it or anything.  He had a few bites, then it sat there, so I took it off his tray and gave him four or five more pieces and that was it.  Definitely not the "smash cake look" some kids achieve on their big day!


This is about the messiest he got that day!


 After the cake it was time to move to Emmett's favorite part of the day - presents!  Emmett loves presents and was hell-bent on "helping" Theo open his.  I guess that's what older brothers are for, right?  Theo didn't really mind.  He was more interested in the crinkly paper than a silly old box anyway.


Theo received a new wagon, a trike, a mini basketball hoop and some bath toys.  Plus, a plethora of cars.  This dump truck was a huge hit right away (as you can see by the look on his eyes) and it became even funnier when Kathryn said that the boulder in the back looked like a meatball!  How fitting. Theo and his meatball truck coming through!  Perfect.


"Hey guys did you see the huge meatball in here?!!?!?!"
It was a lovely little celebration for a sweet little boy.  Happy birthday, T-Bone!  We love you!

All the photos can be seen in the March photo album.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

12 month check-up

Flirting big time.

As with most childhood birthdays, this one wasn't complete without a trip to the doctor's office.  Theo was weighed and measured; eyes, ears, and mouth were checked out; and he was given a few shots.  Typical well-check and thankfully, all is well with this big boy.  Obviously, he's still large and in charge and breaking weight and height records with every check-up.  The nurse who was with us told me that her two year old was about 28 pounds...but not as tall as Theo.  #beastmode

Weight: 27 lbs. 8 oz. (95th percentile)
Height: 33 in. (over 95th percentile)Head circ.: 46 cm (45th percentile)


 Aside from dominating two-year-olds, here's what Theo has been up to for the past 3 months:

The biggest milestone that he passed was learning to walk!  It took longer than I had predicted (and he walked later than Emmett did), but by the end of February, just shy of his first birthday, he took his first real unassisted steps.  



He was nearly a pro at it most likely because he'd been spending the past 2 months pushing his elephant walker around like a walker getting a feeling for his feet.  



When he finally got the courage to let go, he was a natural.  He had already conquered going upstairs, but the last piece of the puzzle was going down the one little step into our living room.  Well, one day he finally did it and was quite pleased with himself.



He will follow big brother anywhere.

Happy little eskimo baby.
In the last 3 months Theo's teeth have finally popped and it was torture for everyone.  Theo had a constant runny nose and off-and-on fever, plus he was extremely clingy and would only be satisfied if I held him while standing.  Don't know if you've ever tried to hold 27 pounds of baby for very long but it ain't easy.  Like I said, torture.  Lots of crying, lots of Tylenol, plus it took forever for those boogers to come in!  He has a total of 4 teeth now and none of them are fully out yet.

One more thing to come with teeth was his obsession with grinding his top and bottom teeth together.  It not only made a lovely sound, but it probably forced the teeth back into his gums for all I know.

First donut - he was a fan.

I leave him alone with his dad for a diaper change and he ends up looking like Clint Eastwood.
Theo has been babbling like crazy but still hasn't said any true words yet.  He does say "mama" and "dada" but I don't think he knows it's me and Eric.  It's more of a babble sound like "bababababa" which is his preferred word of choice.

A new favorite toy on a warm day.
He loves to crinkle paper and will go for any stray book or magazine.  You have been warned.

Not such a fan of the baby gate to the kitchen, but don't worry he can pry the bottom loose with minimal effort.
Since getting his teeth he's taken to gnawing on the rails all around his crib.  Seriously, there are tiny teeth marks like he's a little beaver.  At least that wood is keeping him regular.

Freshly bathed and extra cute!
Theo has done this one cute thing for a while and I don't think I've written it down yet... 
We leave his blankie and binkies in his crib so that he only gets them when it's nap time or bed time.  This was mostly done so that we could try and prevent a binkie obsession (like Emmett had for a while), but it had the additional side effect of creating an immediate signal for sleep.  Even if he is crying when I get him up to his room and he realizes it's nap time, he gets those things and he settles down in an instant.  You hand him his blankie and his mouth is already open for that binkie.  And (here's the cute thing), when he gets his binkie he starts to babble a little and it comes out as, "goy goy goy goy" over and over.  It's just the cutest little nonsensical thing in the world and we love to hear him say it.  

Sorry to interrupt, sheesh.

No fear on the baby playground at Klyde Warren park downtown.
Maybe as an effect of having an older brother who has shown him how to play with toys, Theo will roar when shown a dinosaur or character figurine.  In the beginning I thought him to be quite smart but then one day he did it with a car and then a horse so I had to re-evaluate my initial prognosis as baby genius.

Snuggling with brother...or potentially just lost his balance. :/

"Look ma, no hands!"
Everyone knows Theo loves to eat, but did you know that unless there is food on his tray from the get-go, he will refuse to be set into his high chair?  It's true!  He will keep one leg one top of the tray (a la Captain Morgan) to stop himself from being lowered into the seat and it is infuriatingly effective.  I can't get him in there on my own, which is how I discovered that if I put food on the tray he will gladly sit down.

Theo likes to try different hairstyles in the bath.
Theo loves bath time and enjoys when the water pours out of toys onto his hands.  As you can see in the pic above, he still sits in a baby tub.  He is at max capacity.  Hell, he is well over that, too.  But every attempt at a bath without that baby tub has ended in tears.

He straight up stole my snack and felt no remorse at all.  Rude.
That about sums it up although I'm sure I'm forgetting things.  What a year it has been.  He will go back to the doc in another 3 months and I'll be sure and let you know what weight records he breaks. ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Month by Month: Twelve


So, this is it.  The end of a monthly chronicle of your first year.  And, in re-reading the letters I've written to you and looked at the photos I've taken of you, one thing is clear: you are happy.  I have written it so many times and in different ways, you may be thinking, "Mom, I get it." However, it's more than your perpetual smile and sweet little cackle that constantly flows from your mouth.  It's more than your good-natured attitude about almost anything that comes your way.  Your happiness is contagious.  To put it simply, you have made us happier than we ever thought was possible.

Your big brother adores you.  He's been waiting a long time for you to be able to play and laugh with him and you're just now getting there.  I watch you two tumble around and I can't help but smile.  Emmett's favorite game to play with you is "I'm a rock," which is when he tucks himself into a ball and puts a blanket over himself.  Your part, which you relish, is to climb over him again and again.  This game just sort of formed itself, because you love to watch what your brother does and when he went under that blanket the first time, you were gonna let him know that you knew exactly where he was!

Emmett calls you "Feedore Jackson" and although I'm not sure why he decided he needed to be so formal, it is quite endearing and gives you a sense of gravitas that most one-year-olds don't really have.  From giving you special names, to drawing pictures that he tapes up in your room, to telling everyone he sees that you are his brother, "Feo," it is obvious that he loves you beyond measure (as long as you aren't playing with one of his toys).

As for your dad and I, we just marvel at you.  Our first baby was essentially nothing like our second, which is hard for parents who think they've got it all figured out. ;)  In your own sweet way, you've shown us that smiles can be given out at any time of the day, even to complete strangers.  You make us laugh with your cock-eyed grins and endless appetite.  You are such a joy to us, and you fill our family with love and light.  We love you, Theo.  Happy birthday.

Love,
Mama

PS. See all of Theo's 12 month photos in the March photo album.
PPS. Emmett at 12 months.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Baby led weaning update

Hamming it up for the camera (9 months old)

When I decided to try baby led weaning with Theo I was cautiously optimistic.  I read the book written by the two women who formally brought the idea back to the mainstream and felt like I fully agreed with what they had to say.  I also read lots of blog posts from moms who'd tried it successfully.  But the kicker was that I didn't have much to lose.  I'd already tried it one way with Emmett and I knew that I needed to do something differently.  Now, as we are nearly six months into the BLW method, I'm prepared to call it a resounding success!

Any time we are with other people while Theo eats I always see the same, wide-eyed, mouth-agape stares while he picks up whatever is on his tray.  People laugh incredulously at how he grabs bite after bite, hungry for more.  He is a terrific eater.  He has no fear when it comes to food.  He often eats the same thing Emmett does at restaurants and typically eats more of it.  

I wrote about our beginning phase of BLW about 5 months ago.  After that post, we entered a very messy, exploratory phase with things like casseroles, spaghetti and yogurt that get everywhere no matter how good of an eater you may have.  I used to clean up tons of food off the floor.  I'd have to wipe down his entire high chair and cleaning his face and hands was no easy task.  There were days when I thought what I wouldn't give just to sit him in his chair and put a couple Cheerios in front of him and call it a day.  Yes, the mess does get to be annoying/never-ending.  But in the end, that messy part doesn't last too long, maybe 3 or 4 months.


Noodle casserole (8 months old)

Spaghetti (8.5 months old)

Curry with rice (8.5 months old)

Momsie's spaghetti (9 months old)

Tacos, deconstructed (9 months old)

Now, at 11 months old, we've entered a new phase of BLW that is less messy and more fun.  Theo has favorite foods and stuff that he doesn't like.  He's tried every single thing that I've ever put on his tray!  I know a lot of parents can't say that about their kids. I certainly can't say it about my firstborn. ;) I really think that the BLW approach gave Theo all the control with his food.  I wasn't shoving a spoon in his mouth, telling him what to eat and when to stop.  He could pick foods up, feel them, squeeze them, rub them on his tray, his face, whatever.  It was HIS choice and I think that makes all the difference.  He loves to eat (and it shows)!  


Mango hair styling gel (10.5 months old)

Yogurt bite beauty mark (10.5 months old)

For posterity's sake, here's a list of Theo's favorite foods and foods that he just doesn't go for.

Faves:
Raspberries
Anything in pasta sauce (rotinis are an easy grab)
Macaroni and cheese
Oatmeal
Bean and cheese burritos
Yogurt

Doesn't like:
Tomatoes
Carrots
Big pieces of meat (he'll eat shredded meat mixed in with things)


Mid-bite of a clementine (11.5 months old)
For those wondering, Theo was completely weaned at 11 months.  At 9 months he dropped the mid-night feeding.  At 10 months he dropped the lunch feeding.  At 10.5 months he dropped the dinner feeding and then two weeks later he dropped the morning feeding.  I basically just skipped a feeding session and replaced it with food and I never met any resistance.  It was very easy, especially near the 10 month mark when he was essentially only nursing from one side for about 5 minutes at each feeding.

Long story short, I highly recommend trying baby led weaning!  I've already passed my book along to Kari who is going to start with Connor in just a few weeks.  Hopefully this post will shed some light on the method and our success with it.  Happy eating!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Month by Month: Eleven



The top picture in the collage above?  It is you all the time.  Always with the mouth hanging open this month.  Maybe you like showing off your new tooth?  Perhaps it's a time-saver: with your mouth always open an ear-piercing shriek can be delivered in mere fractions of a second.  Or maybe you are so busy learning new things that you don't have time to close it?

And you have been busy observing and learning this month, Theo.  You understand that when I say "no-no" you are supposed to shake your head.  Obviously, keep doing whatever bad thing it is you're doing, because mastering the head shake is the key objective.  So far it looks more like you're trying out to be a human bobble head, so keep practicing (it's pretty adorable).

The other trick you've learned this month is to get down low on your belly to look under the couch for things.  One day you saw a toy go under there so you crawled on over and down you went, pulling yourself forward so you could grab it.  I must say I was pretty impressed.  Even more so because your brother had just asked me to get him a toy that had fallen off the very couch he was sitting on.  Either way, well done to you for your resourcefulness.  Please keep developing this trait.

I must also address the walking...rather, the non-walking.  I would've bet money that you'd have been walking by now.  You are pretty steady when you walk with our hands helping you.  You do a great job when cruising, and I've seen you take a step or two between grab-able objects.  But almost all attempts to get you to walk to us have failed.  I say "almost all" because you did take about 4 or 5 steps to me one day early this month but you have not repeated it.  Honestly, I think you are too fast of a crawler to worry with walking.  Walking will be a slower option by far and if I know you, you aren't very intrigued by the option of slowing down.

That option sounds pretty good to me, though.  Because how did we get here so fast, bub?  This year is a big blur to me.  I've already forgotten the midnight wake-up calls, the screaming fits for no reason, the huge messes made at your high chair.  All I see is this baby who's not so much a baby anymore and isn't slowing down into toddlerhood.  I've got one more month to soak in all the baby stuff.  I know you'll be one step ahead of me as you turn one, but I'll always be behind you, buddy.

Love,
Mama

PS. For all the photos of eleven month old Theo, visit the February photo album.
PPS. Emmett at eleven months old!

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