Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Party Animal

On Saturday we celebrated Nick's 1st birthday with a party at The Little Gym. It was a really nice party. The staff on hand for the party did a great job decorating and facilitating the activities. The theme, as you know, was Sesame Beginnings, which seemed to please Nick. Except for the hat. He really didn't like the hat that went with the decorations.

What are you looking at?

All of Gabe's friends showed up, so that was great. He had a wonderful time, which helped take away some of the issues with the party being for Nick. The best part was the moon bounce, as it was at Gabe's party last year. Nick was excited to join in on everything too. It was cute, when we played with the bean bags he climbed into the bin and tried to claim them all.

The Elmo cake that my MIL made was wonderful. She did such a great job. Nick LOVED it. We served cake from Costco to everybody else (after all, who would want to eat cake a baby dived their hands into?). I think Nick preferred the pizza to the cake. He really likes pizza. Especially when we offer him a whole slice. He hates to be left out of anything.

I'm so glad the party went well. Nick got a lot of nice toys (the Playskool Busy Basic Ball Popper is a favorite with both boys). Now we need to start planning Gabe's party. He wants a bowling party, which I think is really cool. We'll probably invite the same small group of people and have a great time at it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nick

Today is Nick's 1st birthday. And while I am saddened by how fast the past year has gone, I am excited that he has reached this milestone. I watch him toddle along with his newly acquired ability to walk and I think back to my new baby who couldn't go anywhere. He's so excited to be able to walk, and yet I miss the wonder that was rolling and crawling and standing. He's growing up so quickly.

We had a party at my in-laws tonight, which was nice. My MIL and Gabe made Nick a little cake with blue-green frosting and then cupcakes for everybody else. We have a nice picture of Nick diving his hands into the frosting, but ultimately becoming bored with being sticky. And of course we had Chinese food for dinner, which is very common for birthday meals. Our favorite place is right up the street from my in-laws.

Tomorrow Nick will have his one-year check up and this weekend he will have his party. Oscar and I finished all the gift bags last weekend, as well as ordered the balloons, so all we should have to do is pick up the balloons and cake and bring everything to the party. The Sesame Beginnings theme is very cute, and certainly more appropriate for Nick than my original choice. I hope he has a good time at his party. After all, you only celebrate your 1st birthday once.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Would You Like Cheese With That?

Gabe has started a new, very annoying habit - whining about anything and everything that he does not like or agree with or want to do. Even if doing what he is asked will get him something he wants. The entire time I was getting ready for work this morning, he had something to whine about.

"Please take your pajamas off and throw the pull-up away."

"I don't know how. I don't want to. You do it."

"Please put your socks on. Remember the writing goes on the bottom."

"I don't know how to put the writing on the bottom."

"You can't lie down on the bed, I need to make it."

"But it's already made, Mommy."

It was a very long morning. I love him dearly, but was quite happy to drop him off with my MIL and escape to work. An hour of that was more than enough, especially before I had my morning coffee.

Gabe is definitely becoming more defiant. He has had difficulty listening to requests to do or not do things for quite some time now, but he is adding to his repertoire. Everything from whining, to escalated tantrums, to no, to I don't want to are used in an attempt to change our minds or get his own way.

It is not helped by an almost-one-year-old who wants to get into everything. Locking up the cabinets really wasn't something we had to do for Gabe. I mean we locked up the dangerous stuff just to be safe, but he really wasn't interested in emptying the contents of drawers and cabinets. Nick, on the other hand, most definitely is.

Our kitchen was a mess this weekend, thanks to Nick, with some help from Gabe, as Oscar and I attempted to do homework and prepare lunches for the week while the boys played. All of our Tupperware got taken out and spread over the kitchen, add to that some pots and pans, large spoons and spatulas... and it was hard to walk without tripping over something.

Still, they had a good time playing, and it allowed us to accomplish things with little interruptions. Unfortunately we never accomplish as much as we would like to on the weekends. Too much to do and too little time to do it in.

I am really enjoying watching the friendship blossom between Gabe and Nick as Nick shifts from baby to playmate. Gabe still has his moments where he wants to be left alone by Nick, but mostly he loves having him around. And Nick just adores Gabe, although he does get jealous when Gabe is getting affection and he isn't. Nick loves to be cuddled and to cuddle. He regularly "attacks" Gabe in an attempt to hug him. And every morning as soon as he hears that Gabe is awake, he will go crawling into Gabe's room to attention him. It's wonderful.

Their relationship is what Oscar and I had hopped for, and the biggest reason why we decided to have a second child. We wanted to ensure that Gabe had that relationship. It's also one of the reasons we are so torn on having a third.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Facebook Users Anonymous

The first step is admitting you have a problem. I am addicted to Facebook. I like reading the updates of people's statuses. I like learning about new groups. I love how many old friends that I've connected with. And don't get me started on the apps and games. Plus it is another way to connect with Oscar, which is nice, since our lives are so busy. However, I have a habit of spending way too much time logged in, which is an issue when I have homework due.

When I'm not on Facebook, I am being amazed by the advancing abilities of my children. Nick is almost walking. He's taking a few tentative steps on his own, but nothing that can really be considered walking. He still prefers crawling over anything, occasionally with the very amusing bear crawl. His pointing ability has improved, we can usually figure out what he is referring to within a couple of guesses if he's pointing to something that is not nearby. And then there is his vocabulary. He can say hi, hello, bye, buh-bye, mama, dada, dog, ball, that, there, and yum.

Gabe is doing amazing things too; however, at three and a half his learning is not at the rapid pace of a baby. He is able to mostly get dressed on his own. He's great with the computer, he needs a little assistance to turn it on and to open applications, but once he's in a game he has great control of the mouse and knows what to do to play the game. The educational games we have for him are really helping his vocabulary, as well as his ability to recognize words. His ability to say words that he used to struggle with are also improving.

He's getting so big, but I still see him as a baby, and while I know it is important to ensure that he says words correctly, like noodle instead of noo-noo, it's hard not to feel a little sad when his babyisms disappear. The doubling of a word's first syllable was very common for Gabe when he was learning to speak.

In a week Nick will be one, and that makes me very sad too. Of course, I am excited by this milestone he is achieving, but I wish it hadn't arrived so quickly. It doesn't feel as though it has been a year. It seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital waiting to deliver him before being rushed in for an emergency c-section instead of the scheduled induction. And the long hours I had to endure while I waited to finally be able to hold my baby.

He's changed so much in the past year, and we've learned a lot about who he is. I know there are many more wonderful years ahead, but this will be his only first. In the next year he will shift from being a baby to being a toddler. And as much as I look forward to watching him grow, I wish I could have a little more time with my baby.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Work It

Nick's balance has been rapidly improving; he no longer stands up only to fall on his bottom. He can now stand for extended periods and even stay standing when set down on his feet. He's also improved his ability to cruise around using furniture or toys with handles and wheels. He has also started to do the funniest thing when crawling. In the past week he has started bear crawling. So about half the time instead of crawling on his hands and knees, he'll crawl with his feet flat on the floor and his bottom up in the air. It is really cute, and shows how anxious he is to be walking, he's just not quite there yet with his confidence in his balance.

Gabe is also doing great. He is really improving his ability to dress himself and put on his own shoes. He still needs a little help making sure things are the right way, and then struggles with buttons, zippers and shoes that have straps or ties, but he is getting much better. His eating at meal-times is also improving. Oscar, my MIL, and I are all making an effort to cut down on his snacking between meals so he will eat more of the healthy items offered. We are also trying to introduce new foods that are similar to ones he already likes, in an effort to add variety to his diet.

Invitations for Nick's 1st Birthday Party should be going out by the end of the week. We just need to print off the address of his party to put it in all the invitations. Oddly enough there was no place for location on them. Just a line for who the party was for, the date, the time, and how to RSVP. We still need to buy the supplies for the cake, but we have all the decorations and party favors. Oscar bought those when he bought the invitations. The Elmo cake will be for Nick and I think we are just going to order a Costco sheet cake for everybody else. Costco makes great cakes.

This past weekend Oscar and I joined a local gym. He has wanted a place where he can play racquetball and find people to play basketball with, as well as a swimming pool and weights, so this seemed like a great option for him. They also have a spa, cafe, and on-site childcare with good hours. Plus, they offer children's swim classes for a reasonable additional cost, which is less than what we were paying at the nearest rec center for Gabe.

In the near-term it won't be that conveinent for me to use, but I am planning to try and get to a class most Saturdays. Eventually we will live closer to the gym, since it is near where we want to buy a house, and I can use it more often. Gabe seemed to like the childcare. We let him stay while we went on the tour of the gym and he was. In fact, he would have been happy to stay longer. I'm glad he is having a better time being away from Oscar, my MIL, and me. He has a habit of being very shy with strangers.