Friday, January 20, 2017

Thoughts While Trailblazing


The trails that my brother and I once blazed on horseback have become overgrown in the six years since we last rode them together. Now covered in wild grass and young chapparal, I can only barely make out the path that was once so plain. 

Never one to let a difficult route stop me, I set out--with my baby wrapped to my chest and my dogs crisscrossing in front of and behind me. By mixing bits of the old horse trails with rabbit trails and fresh, uncrossed ways, we lay out a new, albeit haphazardous, pathway.

It seems fitting that I should do this with my son. It feels romantic, in a way, to show him these pieces of my childhood. He is my legacy and the start of a new generation of children who will explore these mountains. It is one of my greatest wishes for him to cherish the world we inhabit and come to know the wilderness that surrounds us.

The sound of mud squishing beneath my boots and the nearby panting of my dog is so familiar. It invigorates in me a sense of wonder and, even though I've traveled through these fields and ravines hundreds of times, I feel like an explorer discovering new lands. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bananas, Blech!


Today Bruce tried solid [mashed up] food for the very first time! Actually, it's the second time. The first time was on his half-birthday, but he was sick that day and acting miserable, so I'm not counting it. 

The food of choice for today was bananas. He hated them! At least I think he hated them. He gagged multiple times and made a face with each spoonful I stuck in his mouth. Most of the time he wouldn't even let me put the spoon in his mouth; instead, he blew raspberries at me and looked away. 

I must admit I'm surprised at his reaction. I thought he would be more interested in food because he watches me intently while I'm eating and shoves everything he gets his little hands on into his mouth. 

But persistence is key! During his second banana session, he started opening his mouth every so often for bites. Granted, he still made a face like I was feeding him dog food (actually, he would probably like dog food) but he was accepting it! Hurray, Brucey! Hurray, mom!

In the end, he was still more interested in banging on his highchair (that his Papa used when he was a baby!) than anything else.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bruce Tuolumne // three months old


Dear Bruce Tuolumne,

We did it, buddy! We made it out of the fourth trimester. Honestly, I don't understand what the big deal is about "the fourth trimester." Maybe because I was expecting the worst and preparing to be a total mess of a human being, but it wasn't horrible. My time with you has been beautiful. I am thoroughly enjoying watching you grow, even on the days when you're clingy and I'm exhausted. The days may be blurry, but they're beautiful nonetheless.

You have become quite the chatterbox. Once or twice you and I have had to leave the classroom during Sunday school, not because you were crying, but because you were talking SO LOUDLY. Your adorableness is incredibly distracting from the lesson. Honestly, though, you are my favorite person to talk to -- especially after your naps. You're always very chatty, and I love to ask you about your dreams (whether you dreamed about unicorns, or hippos, or flying through the air) and you always answer with smiles and babbling.

You love to curl your legs up into your chest then kick them out like a big frog. You think this is especially fun when you're in the bath. You will sit in your tub, totally calm and staring at the ceiling, when suddenly whoosh! there go your legs. Over and over this goes, sometimes accompanied by your arms spread wide. It's hilarious considering how you're usually so mellow and slow-moving. I wonder if you startle yourself when it happens because your eyes get huge and your mouth opens wide.

You love to grab. You grab everything. Your blanket, toys, my clothes and hair. Once I was taking you out of your swing and you grabbed on to one of the toys hanging from the mobile. Your dad had to help me pull you off because your grip is so strong and I couldn't do it one-handed. You've recently discovered your feet and you love grabbing them, too! I just happened to be taking a picture when you grabbed your toes for the first time (see here). I watched and waited for a week after I noticed you reaching your hands down your legs until they finally made a connection. At first, you rarely grabbed them, and when you did it was only for a few seconds, but now your hands and your feet are practically inseparable.

I'm having a difficult time swaddling you these days because the moment I lay you down your hands find your feet and they won't. Stop. Moving. I have to pin your legs down with one arm, then wrestle each of your arms in one at a time with my other arm. I would give up on swaddling but you still need it. Unless you're deep in sleep, you stir a little every time I lay you down in bed and if you're not swaddled you'll wake yourself up with a flailing arm or (surprise surprise) by trying to grab your toes.

Tummy time has finally become semi-enjoyable for both of us. You like it when someone lays on the floor and talks to you, you can hold your head up well, aaaand you learned to roll over! I'm not sure how that happened since I rarely put you on your tummy because you hated it so much. Necessity breeds demand, I guess? Anyway, it's not consistent yet. Some days you roll over right away and keep rolling over each time I put you back, but other days you shove your face into the ground and angrily grunt like you have no idea how it's done anymore. So, I don't know what's going on there. You're confusing sometimes.

All confusion aside, Bruce, your third month has been my favorite so far. You are a joy to be around! You rarely cry, you're always smiling and giggling, and you know exactly who I am and that is a special feeling. Your sweet personality is showing more each day and I'm so excited to see it develop further! Sometimes I forget that you're only a tiny baby because you are a huge part of my life. My world is consumed by you and I couldn't be happier about it. Daddy and I love you, baby boy.

Bruce Tuolumne // two months old


Dear Bruce Tuolumne,

Just like that, another month has gone by since you joined this world and became my whole world. Once in a while, I'm asked if it feels weird to be a mom. It doesn't. Being your mom feels more natural to me than anything I've done before. The joy you give me is beyond compare.

On the very first day of your second month, you locked eyes with me and smiled for the very first time. And you haven't stopped since! You smile whenever you see me or your dad and every time I feel like my heart is going to burst; I wake up every morning excited to see your smiling face. Speaking of faces: you have the best! There is one face that you've been making since the day you were born, where you just stare at everyone as if you're thinking, "You're all a bunch of weirdos!" 

You still love to wave your arms around like a crazy person but your movements have become much more fluid (your fists don't slam into your cheeks when you sneeze anymore) and I trust you enough to give you a rattle without worrying that you'll smack yourself in the face with it. Your favorite thing to do when you're laying on your back is to extend your arms straight out in front of you with your hands balled into fists. I grab your hands when you do this and say, "Superman!" and Papa likes to "fist-bump" them. Either way, you love it, and you show your love by smiling and gurgling whenever anyone touches your hands when you're in that pose.

When you aren't stretching your fists out in front of you, you're sucking on them. Actually, there's usually more gnawing than sucking. And while you're gnawing you're also making all sorts of grunting noises. It's the cutest thing! You're such a boy. You also like sucking on your fingers, specifically your pointer finger. You stick it so far into your mouth that you start gagging and I have to pull it out to prevent you from choking. Silly baby.

You take a pacifier now! Praise. The. Lord. I think the most trying part of our first month with you was that you didn't like any of the pacifiers we gave you. No matter how much your dad and I tried, you couldn't seem to figure out the dang things. Until we finally found the miracle paci! It has a stuffed kitty attached that you love to grab, even though you sometimes knock the kitty with your waving fists and pull the pacifier out.

You were blessed this month and did so well! I was nervous that you would cry through the whole blessing because you can sometimes be particular about the way you are held, but I didn't hear a peep out of you. The men who were in the circle said that you were completely relaxed and just let your arms hang by your sides, which, if I think about it, is what I should have expected all along. You're always very mellow.

We bring you to church now and on the first day you slept straight through all three hours! Even with all of the people peeking and oohing and ahhing over you; I was amazed because you're still not the best napper but when we got home and took you out of your car seat you slept for another whole hour! I wanted to wake you up because I was worried that you wouldn't sleep well that night, but dad stopped me and you slept as well as you always do once bedtime came.

When you were born your ears were flat against your head and the tops of them were crinkly. I thought they were going to be that way forever until Aunt Amanda mentioned something about them not fluffing up yet. Well, I can now say that your ears have fluffed and they are incredibly cute. I am completely obsessed with you. I love watching your body change and seeing all of your features develop. Your thighs have gotten so chunky, your fingers are chubby, and your eyes are slowly lightening into the prettiest shade of blue.

You still love to stare at lights and windows but, more than anything, you love to be outside. I bring you out in the mornings and evenings into Nana and Papas front yard, lay you on a blanket under the trees, and you enjoy watching the branches sway in the breeze. If the dogs are around they try to lick your face but I only let them lick your feet. You haven't shown any interest in the dogs and cats yet.

Oh, little bear. I love your big, open-mouthed smile. I even love your frowny face; it makes me laugh even though I never want you to be sad. I'm excited to see the person you are becoming, and I'm trying my best to be the mom you need. I love you, baby bear.