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, December 23, 2016

Bruce Tuolumne // six months old



Dear Bruce,

Happy half-birthday! 

At 12:23 am on this, the 23rd day of the 12th month, you turned six months old! I suppose your half-birthday will always be extra-special because the date is the same as the time when you were born. When I went into labor with you, your dad and I thought it would be so fun if you were born on our anniversary, but you decided to wait until just after midnight in order to have your own special day. Of course, we don't mind. We're happy you're here, and the more days to celebrate the better! 

Bruce, your sixth month has been so so so so fun! You're still waking up a million times each night, but we're working on that and it's getting better. You've stretched your sleeping times from one hour to two and a half, or sometimes three hours at a time. It's a Christmas miracle! What a difference that extra hour makes. But I'm going to stop writing about it because I don't want to jinx anything. 

We finally moved you out of your bassinet. It's about time, too! You were barely able to fit in there. There were only a few inches left between you and the sides, so dad and I painted your hand-me-down crib and set it up in a room all your own. The first night spent in your crib was business as usual with you waking up every hour. But the second night was horrible. You woke up every time I tried setting you down and would only sleep in my arms. I think we only slept four hours that night, maximum. Luckily that has been the worst of it.

You learned to sit up while we were at Grandma Nancee's house for Thanksgiving and now that's the only position you want to be in. You love being able to look around at everything and everybody. You are incredibly social and you have zero separation anxiety. If somebody wants to hold you, you go right to them without looking back.

You are still the happiest baby I've ever met. All it takes to make you smile is someone talking to you. Even when you're upset, you still try to smile and end up going back and forth between smiling and frowning in the sweetest show of emotion.

I take you out to see our dogs every day and you love to grab their noses and giggle while they lick your face. I'm glad that you aren't scared of them, especially Buddy. He's always been my favorite pup and I love that you can know him. Aunt Whitney lent us one of Reagan's bouncers and you love to stand in it by the back door and watch the dogs walk around, and see the windsock wave in the breezes. Outside is still your favorite place to be. Too bad it's been freezing cold recently. These days the back door is often as good as it gets.

The next best place to be, in your opinion, is in the middle of the kitchen while someone is making food. You love the high energy and activity of that setting and, of course, you love being the center of attention. I receive comments constantly about how adorable/happy/friendly you are. I love it! I love how much you love people.

Until recently, dad has been your favorite person, but now it's me! I love that, too. Finally some recognition for all of the hard work I do. Still, nobody is quite as good at getting you to laugh as dad is with all of his silly songs and crazy sounds.

We love you, little bear cub! We couldn't have asked for a better baby. 

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.

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