November 26, 2009
I planned a big post for Halloween. I even took pictures of Beckett in his costume specifically with this blog in mind. But as you can see, the post never happened. You know what did? Life, work, and the annual art sale. I have run this sale for six years, and I still emerge from the haze and stress at the end of November, rub my eyes, look at a calendar and say 'sweet jesus, it's Thanksgiving!?'. Every single year.
Beckett did fine on the costume dry run we had done a few weeks earlier. However, after a day in the city and a pathetic excuse for an afternoon nap, he lasted thirty seconds and cried so pitifully that we had to take it off. Poor little guy. Oh, and I have a bone to pick with our neighborhood. I thought that moving to Brookline would mean hoards of cute little trick-or-treaters and lots of candy-giving. Indeed it does not. We had one sad little infant in a dragon costume with a drunk mother. Oy. I had even done research about which was the most coveted Halloween candy (gummy anything) so if you like sour gummy worms, let me know. We have bags of them.
So fast-forward three huge developmental weeks and we're at Thanksgiving. Since Halloween Beckett has learned to sit up on his own, is pushing backwards on his belly, and started eating vegetables. Well, he's not exactly eating them. It's more like screaming, gagging, screwing up his lips, and grabbing furiously for the spoon before I force any more into his mouth. So far neither sweet potatoes or green beans are a big hit but I refuse to allow my child to be a picky eater. So we will continue to offer it and hopefully one day, he will just eat it. Because dammit, sweet potatoes are good!
He has also developed a deep affection for his little rubber giraffe, Sophie. He absolutely loves Sophie, and spends many contented hours chomping happily on her legs. And as he grows, so do the toys. He no longer wants to lay in his baby gym, but instead would rather sit and play with toys placed in front of him. So we took the bars of the gym and set up a little play space for him in the kitchen. Sadly, almost all of the pictures taken of him in the last two weeks are of him in this exact spot, with different outfits on. I really should vary it up a bit.
Jim's parents came over, as did one of his climbing buddies. Beckett's highchair was pulled up to the table, and we sat around eating delicious food, feeling thankful, and mostly just watching Beckett. That kid can draw a crowd, and he's really starting to understand it. He finally, finally! smiled wide for the camera, which he never, ever does.
I really love Thanksgiving. What can possibly be bad about a holiday centered around food, family, and feeling grateful? I've written about it before and I will say it again. I feel so grateful that I could burst. We have a beautiful, healthy, happy, hilarious, sweet son. I have a husband who sent me to the movies while he cleaned the house on Wednesday. I have parents who are supportive, interesting, and for whom I have not only love but genuine affection and the utmost respect. In a really tough economy, both Jim and I have good jobs. We live in a place that sometimes feels like heaven for its beauty and ease of lifestyle. We have a cadre of friends who truly make up the fabric of our family.
Nothing will put it all in perspective like a baby. Our wonderful life isn't just Jim's and mine. It's Beckett's too, and that makes all of this wonderfulness so much more important. I just hope that it doesn't take him having his own child to recognized it, and that he grows up to be a grateful, appreciative, and thankful person.
October 28, 2009
It is officially, unequivocally, one hundred percent fall in Boston. Everywhere I look the trees absolutely blaze with color, and the crunch of leaves beneath our feet is constant and satisfying. We can fight it or we can accept it, and I've chosen to accept it. It makes it easier when you live in a beautiful place like Brookline and you have a fireplace. Roaring fires make winter seem pretty okay.
This is our first fall in Brookline. Last year at this time I was in the sick-as-a-dog part of my pregnancy and we had just found a beautiful little condo on the hill above Washington Square. We were considering a move but in no way ready to make a commitment. A few weeks later, when Jim was in California, the real estate agent called to say that they were pretty sure they'd have an offer by the end of the week. Trying to find Jim in the canyons of California wasn't easy and there was definitely moments of panic. But we did it. We bought our dream house in Brookline and finally, after seven years of weak, barren, grey autumns, we moved to Brookline and got this.
Wow. How lucky are we to live here? I think that exact thing almost every single day.
It took me three times longer than usual to walk Beckett to daycare yesterday because I kept stopping to take pictures. He looked especially cute in the new coat Grams bought him, and the hat that we love but that keeps disappearing and reappearing on the sidewalk, in the backyard, car, and most strangely, the bathroom. It is currently missing and I have a sad feeling that it's gone for good.
But the big news this week is that we started Beckett on solid food. Hooray! I have been anticipating and dreading this moment since Beckett was born. I have always been a neat eater, so I get a little grossed out by the messy, food-in-the-hair, chewed-up-bits-of-meat-mixed-with-saliva eating that is inevitable with small children. I also have to admit that I'm not really psyched about the changes that will come in the diaper arena either. And although Jim and I would never consider ourselves food people, we do like to eat good food in the company of our friends and family. It is an important part of our family philosophy, and I am eager to make Beckett a part of this. So on Sunday night, we pulled out the new highchair, plopped Beckett in it, mixed up some organic brown rice cereal with a little milk and fed it to him.
That night he slept like somebody with a belly full of goodness, for nearly 12 hours. We plan to stick with the rice cereal for the next couple of weeks, and start introducing veggies just in time for Thanksgiving.
October 12, 2009
Almost my entire extended family lives in southeastern Virginia or southern Alabama. We took Beckett to Alabama when he was just six weeks old, so he met a good part of his family over the summer. This weekend's trip was part two of the Beckett-meets-the- Crum/Roane family saga, and more important in one way - he got to meet his great-grandmother.
My father's mother, Grandma, passed away just before Beckett was born. And my paternal grandfather, Grandpa, over Christmas the year before. Until two years ago, I was lucky to have three living grandparents, who despite not having seen as frequently as I would have liked, were an important part of my family life. Now I only have one grandmother, Granny, who lives in a retirement community in Newport News. We took Beckett to see her every day that we were there, and as you can see from the picture, it was love at first sight for both of them.
But since this is a blog about firsts, and Beckett's in particular, I should mention all the amazing things that Beckett did this weekend. Even though it wasn't his first car trip, plane trip (although he was awake for this one), or wedding (Jim's brother got married in August), it was Beckett's first time in a church. We discovered that he truly hates organ music, which he demonstrated with piteous sobs every time the organist would begin to pound out a tune. Subsequently, his first time in a church was pretty short-lived, and we spent the majority of the ceremony in the car singing 'itsy bitsy spider'. Um, can we talk about the weird hypnotic powers of that song? It stops Beckett in his tracks. I still haven't figured out what we're going to do about his Christening other than to bring earplugs.
Although it was 90 degrees in Virginia on Friday, we came home on Sunday to a cooler Boston. The leaves are brighter and the air has that perpetual fall smell of wood smoke. I finally broke down and turned on the heat, because it was 62 degrees in the house this morning. There is a tenderness to this time of year, and although I feel a little sad for the coming winter, I force myself to get excited about the little things - like seeing Beckett in his winter hat, which is just too cute for words.
September 26, 2009
It was 33 degrees in Brookline this morning, and it's still only September. After having one of the most miserable, wet, and cool summers on record, I can't say that I'm completely ready for this. I really do love living in a place that has seasons, but I have to say that a pretty hot summer makes the shift to brisk, crisp mornings that much more welcome. I don't really feel like we had a summer at all, so part of me is anticipating the long, cold, Boston winter with some serious dread.
However, this will be Beckett's first fall, and the first in our new home. And because he has become so alert and observant, I really enjoy watching him experience it. On our way to daycare last week, Beckett gazed out the car window at the changing leaves, his blue eyes (although they're turning more green every day) peeking solemnly out of the hood of his brown sweatshirt. I am excited to go apple picking, and I want to can some homemade apple sauce for November, when Beckett will start eating solid food. There is much to look forward to with this beautiful and bittersweet time of year.
For a kid who refused to go to sleep while there was a shred of light in the sky, Beckett has taken to his new earlier bedtime like a champ. Subsequently, his recent 4 am wake times have been a little tough. Lately, we've been pulling him into bed with us for the last hour or two, snuggling and dozing together. Our bedrooms are in the basement level of our condo, and the space has become noticably cooler and more dry. We'll need to pull out the sleep sacks again for Beckett, who now squirms up to the top left corner of his crib every night to wedge himself into the warmth and comfort of the bumper. Apparently the bumper on the bottom right, bottom left, and top right are just not nearly as comfortable. No matter where you put him down in the crib, you will always find him in the top left corner come morning. Weird, right?
Jim celebrated a birthday last week (I won't say which), and he got a card from Beckett in the mail, sent by his daycare providers. It was decorated with a rainbow of little foot prints, and said "Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you! Your son, Beckett".
Sigh. Too bad I don't have a baby book, but this card is definitely going in the Ikea box.
September 18, 2009
A friend recently said to me that the first year is the 'longest and shortest of your life'. So far, I completely agree. Long because every minute of the last four months has been remarkable, indellible, and new. Short because it seems like yesterday that we were in the hospital, the three of us cacooned together in that little room. I can hardly remember what Beckett looked like then, so in that way it feels as though it's been an eternity. At the same time, the days are a whirl of breakfast, bottles, tummy time, dropping off at daycare, work, picking up at daycare, reading, bathing, feeding, bed, maybe dinner, washing bottles, and finally, sleep. I believe it when people say that it goes by too fast. It has already gone by too fast.
The four month mark really is amazing. Beckett is smiling and giggling, squeaking and shrieking with more vigor every day. His expressions are more nuanced, his urge to communicate more emphatic. Instead of spontaneously screaming for food/sleep/diaper change, he starts off slow - a little whine, a jut of the lip, a warning. Sometimes he looks at me with an expression so complex, I almost expect him to talk. He is also more physical. He bats balls and grabs things and pulls his favorite toy (who we affectionately call Doodle) into his little mouth. He grunts and strains to stand up in my lap and reach for the keyboard on the laptop. We went out and bought him one of those doorway jumpers last weekend, and he is really getting the hang of it. This morning he pumped his legs like a pro, laughing and smiling at his independence.
Beckett rolled over from stomach to back a few times around the one-month mark but has only done it a handful of times since. That is, until he hit four months. Now he's rolling over like maniac, although I can't say that he loves it. Yesterday he pushed up and fell back like a tree falling in slow motion - tiiiiimbeeeeeeerrrrrr!!!! - and knocked his head on our hard kitchen floor. I can't tell if he screamed because he was hurt or surprised, but it was probably a little bit of both. We'll practice that on the carpet or the living room rug from now on. I tried to get a video of him doing it later that night, but he flat out refused to perform for the camera. Instead he just looked at me, grinned, and drooled.
Life has been crazy lately in the Day household. Jim starts his new job soon - one that requires an enviable commute of a short walk down the hill. No, he's not working at our local Starbucks. I am in the midst of a very busy but exciting time at work, and feel like I spend most of my time vibrating from too much caffeine, energy, ideas, and a predictable annual need to organize organize organize. Because of this, I am trying to be even more vigilant about documenting Beckett's firsts and keeping up with this blog. I am also trying to figure out how to pull together a Flickr account, where we can store more photos, and which will be linked to the photos on this blog. Stay tuned!
September 12, 2009
I turned thirty this summer. For a big milestone birthday, it actually went by without a lot of fanfare or personal trauma. Most of the time I feel good about thirty. Having thirty years of life under your belt gives you a certain amount of respect. I actually do know what I'm talking about. Why? Because I'm thirty.
Turning thirty made me think about a lot of things, not the least of which is that it has been more than twenty years since my family left Brooklyn. Although Jim and I make at least a few trips to my former hometown each year, and my familiarity with the 'hood is pretty good, I haven't actually been a resident of New York since I was eight. So given the long stretch of time that we've been in Boston, it is pretty extraordinary that we are still connected to the mother's support group that my mother and three other women began when I was just a few months old.
For those of you who don't know this story (and because there are absolutely no strangers reading this blog, I imagine that most of you do) my parents moved to Brooklyn from Virginia in the summer of 1979, just days before I was born. My mother didn't know anybody, but like most people in New York City, she walked everywhere. And eventually, through various hilarious chance encounters on the sidewalks of Brooklyn, she met three other women and began a mother's support group. All of the babies were born in the summer of 1979, and despite (or perhaps because of) many personal and cultural differences, we are all still very close friends.
My ideal vision of new parenthood has always revolved around this romantic notion that I too would have the same experience. That Jim and I would meet several other like-minded, interesting, diverse couples with babies exactly the age of our child. Like my parents, we would celebrate holidays together, throw joint birthday parties, help each other babysit and organize annual picnics. We would support each other as parents, but also as friends and professionals. Because we're nearly the first of our friends to have a baby, my vision isn't exactly a reality. But that's okay, because Beckett has a special place in this world. He's the leader and the example. He is the first grandchild in both Jim and my families and he is the first of his generation in our extended "New York family".
In July, my best friend Nora (one of the four original 'babies') and her husband Dan invited all of the families to their beautiful Brooklyn home to celebrate Beckett's arrival. We camped out in her little backyard, enjoying the mid-summer sunshine and fabulous food, everybody taking turns holding Beckett. Most of the time, he slept in Nora's old pram, which her mother had pulled out and cleaned just for the occasion.
Later, in the kitchen with Nora's father, we marveled and sighed at the enormity of this milestone. Later that night, we met up with friends for dinner, taking Beckett on his first dinner out. We strolled by the little house where my family used to live, just down the street from Nora's, and we took pictures of Beckett and I standing next to the stoop. It seemed important to capture the moment, a new generation standing in the same place that my mother and I stood 30 years ago.
This past weekend one of the families threw a party for us in Brooklyn to celebrate our thirtieth birthdays. Once again, we enjoyed the late-day sun in a Brooklyn backyard. I listened to the mothers tell the stories of how they met for what seems like the thousandth time. Although I've seen a few new mothers strolling past my house, I have been too shy to chase them down the street, or strike up a conversation in the coffee shop. I have a new appreciation for what these four women did to give each other support during this magical but mystical time. So as much as it was a celebration for the babies in our thirtieth year, I think our mothers deserve a little recognition. Without them, we probably wouldn't have remained friends, particularly after my family moved back to Virginia, and then Boston. It is because of them that Beckett will not only have his blood family, but an extended family in one of the most exciting cities in the world.
Thank you mom, Betsy, Sally, and Laurie. We love you all.
September 8, 2009
I'm all about firsts lately. After going to a first birthday party for our good friend's daughter last week, I couldn't help but think about how much I've enjoyed watching her experience the first year of her life. I feel honored to have been part of it. I loved watching her grow from a mewing newborn to a hilarious little person. All this celebration (and exuberant cupcake not-quite-face-planting) made me think about our son Beckett's first year, and that we were already a quarter (actually, almost a third) of the way through it. How in a span of just a few months, how many firsts he's already had, and how many we have already forgotten.
I'm not really good at the whole baby book thing. The keepsakes of Beckett's birth, the little hat they gave him to wear in the nursery, his social security card (complete with envelope - his first piece of mail!) are in a cardboard Ikea box in the closet of our den. The intention, of course, was to put them in some sort of album or scrapbook. But everything I've ever wanted to put in a scrapbook usually ends up in an old duty-free bag at the bottom of a closet. I'm sentimental until I have more important things to do, when a very organized, obsessive-compulsive, label-making demon possesses me. Then the plastic duty-free bag with the ticket stubs from our trip to Thailand ends up in the trash.
So despite the fact that I never intended to start a blog, I've started one. I hope that our family and friends will check it periodically. Even more so, I hope that I will maintain it properly. Because it is really for our son Beckett, who despite being the star of the show, won't remember being in it.
To Beckett, I hope you enjoy these firsts as much as we will.