Happy birthday, Henry

Happy birthday, my joyful, determined, funny two-year-old. I love being your mom.

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Away

I’m on a plane waiting to take off on my first trip away from Henry. I’ll be gone six days. Wish me luck. (Please.) (Thanks.)


22 months

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Henry turned 22 months this month. We are closer to 2 than to 1 now. In fact, I’ve just started calling him a 2-year-old. He looks like it. He acts like it.

Looking back at my 18 months post he is so different. There’s now very little overlap in his “stats.” It’s equally bittersweet and fascinating.

At 22 months:

Favorite foods: Pancakes, waffles, french toast, french fries, dried fruit, yogurt, Trader Joe’s cheese rocket crackers, raisins, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, Mommy and Daddy’s cereal.

Favorite books: Anything with a train, construction vehicle, or emergency vehicle in it. Any and all books about anything. But particularly lately Where Is the Green Sheep, Good Night Central Park, and Red Wagon.

Favorite toys: 2 train, matchbox truck from Gangy, wooden cars, bucket of blocks (not the blocks inside – the bucket), laundry cart, microwave stand, baking utensils drawer.

Favorite activities: Reading, vacuuming, brunch, playing with his train and truck (always together), visiting family, dancing, singing, making a mess to clean up (cleaning up is the goal), putting on lotion, watching “Bigger Bigger,” running to the window every time a vehicle with a siren drives by … and we live near a hospital. AND PLAYGROUNDS.

Words: I’m going to stop listing the words. Every day his school report checks off “talkative.” Though I will announce that he says “excavator.” We were just as surprised as you are.

How Henry currently makes us laugh: Well, “excavator.” Singing himself to sleep. Figuring everything out. Knowing what he wants and doesn’t want. Closing the toilet lid and putting the safety lock on if we forget to do so when he goes in for a bath. Pointing out his penis every time it’s exposed. Calling Uncle Neil’s song “Bigger Bigger,” singing along to “Bigger Bigger” and getting really upset when we don’t play it eight times in a row or every five minutes. Always being excited to hear an “ambeeants” [ambulance] or see a subway train. The feelings he feels. How well he repeats words. Wearing my boots and successfully walking in them. Telling us he has poopy in his diaper and being right sometimes.

And now for the pictures:

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Neglected updates

Diapers

Photo by Lori Ann.

Photo by Lori Ann.

I once chatted about diapers and what route we might take: reusable, diaper service, or disposables. I was still pregnant at the time. Well, 22 months later, I’m letting you know what we did. Sorry to have kept you up at night wondering for so long.

For Henry’s first three months, two of which both Tim and I were home, we used cloth diapers. My awesome friend from Sarah shipped us a big set of extra-small Fuzzibunz that she used with her first child. About every two to three days I’d head to the laundromat and throw the stinkers (though at that point Henry’s poop smelled like buttered popcorn thanks to breastfeeding) in a washing machine and bring them home to air dry by the window in the sun, which helped us save money on dryer cost and keep the white diapers white.

This was a really great setup … when we were both home and the diapers still fit Henry. Then we went back to work. Henry went to school. We started using disposable diapers full time. Cloth diapers, though cheaper in the long run, seemed like a big expense when we looked at the $100+ cost for a set of 12 all-in-ones, and day care required disposables anyway. The two to three visits a week at the laundromat, even if just for 40 minutes, was not fun anymore after going back to work full time and waking up multiple times a night to feed my baby. Affording the diaper service stayed just out of reach. We now buy Seventh Generation disposables in bulk.

I don’t have the energy to give a full-on diaper review other than to say they work for us and keep Henry’s bottom (and hopefully somewhat the earth) un-irritated and the poop and pee off the floor. That cloth diapers or the diaper service didn’t fit our immediate budget and were hard fit logistics-wise does not mean they aren’t completely valid options or that the expenses aren’t worth it. We pay a little more for the Seventh Generation than we would for a more “mainstream” brand, but buying in bulk helps. And we can’t leave Henry in a Seventh Generation diaper for 12+ hours a day like you can with some of the other brands (which sounds like a bad idea anyway), but the overnight diapers are pretty sweet. Speaking of overnight:

Henry’s first night sleeping in his own room

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Total nonevent. I was so tired the first night we put Henry to bed in his own room that I almost forgot it was Henry’s first night in his own room. He woke up once or twice, but went back to sleep easily. Now he sleeps through the night from about 7:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Our bedtime routine has changed a little since he’s gotten older, and now that he’ll entertain himself with singing and talking to his hippo (and in anticipation of the post-crib, big-boy bed) we are trying to sleep-train him with a toddler clock that turns green when it’s OK to get up. It’s a slow process, but we’ve started early. Fingers crossed.

I’m sure there are other ignored promises of news I’ve made on this blog, but these are the two I could think of. Don’t remind me of any others.


Thing That Should Happen:

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This week’s New Yorker cover illustrates an exact conversation Tim and I (and, clearly, others) had the other day as I bounced Henry over solidified snow piles, slipped on blocks-long sheets of ice, and, yes, plowed through thick new snow (just without a plow).

Thank God for the sweet jogging/off-roading stroller my co-workers pooled together and got me. It’s been used almost every day of Henry’s life so far. In New York, we walk. Even in the snow. 

We’re starting to let/make Henry walk to more places with us, but a 3 mile daily commute is still a bit much for a 22-month-old. So he stays warm under his stroller cover and we slog. (And sometimes take the subway when it’s really cold, but I much prefer walking.)

When Tim saw this week’s cover he said: a snow plow would be more effective. But probably much less safe. So kudos to Otto Steininger for this week’s cover. We take total credit for the idea.


Thing That Should Happen: Toy Libraries

As I passed the library this morning on my walk to work I thought, “It would be great if the library also lent toys.”  What we don’t need in a small apartment (or even if we lived in a huge house) is a bunch of unplayedwith toys in a box/on a floor/under a couch/jammed in a closet taking up space. We could play with them for 14 or 21 days and give them back to the library! Which has lots of space! And we can renew the ones we like!

Turns out my idea isn’t even a little original:

USA Toy Library Association
The Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library
Toys Go Round
Los Angeles County Toy Loan Program

Or, for a fee, you can rent toys:

Sparkbox Toys (U.S. based subscription service)
Pleygo (U.S. based subscription service for Legos)
Baby’s Away (U.S. based supplies and toys)

There are other local rental companies in the United States, and this option is available worldwide. This Travel Mamas post has a comprehensive list.

Maybe we’ll try one out …


Empathy

In this video, Dr. Brené Brown explains the difference between sympathy and empathy. Some people are naturally empathetic. It took motherhood for empathy to become a regular, even if unwelcome, practice for me.

 

 

(Via Cup of Jo)