Filed Under (Year One (Eric)) by Kel on 07-06-2007

One of the most important things I want to teach Eric is to live without regrets.

This is something that my parents instilled in me without my even knowing it. It starts with “you can do it” and it ends with, well, you doing it even without any external encouragement. I’ve always been the kind of person that, when I see something, I go for it. Some would argue I go too quickly, but better to jump early than not jump at all.

I think that’s why I let Eric learn so much on his own, by his own discovery. I give him mostly free rein in the bathroom while I’m getting ready in the morning. Of course, I watch him, but if he goes to pull the toilet paper or open the cabinet door I just watch at let him. The look of pure discovery on his face when that cabinet door opens is something to be seen, he’s truly mystified by the fact that it opens, there’s something in there, and he did it. He climbs a couple stairs up and I stand by and let him find his way down. And what do you know, he eased his way right back down with no trouble, then looked up at me with this huge “I did it!” smile. No regrets.

I’ve got one. 24 years and a single regret, that’s not bad, but it’s a recent one and I’m still kicking myself in the pants no matter how often I try to logically justify the choice. It may even have been the right choice, but I regret it all the same. It mocks me every day too, it’s not one fo those things you can just avoid and ignore. John says I won’t be regretting it for long – but for someone that lives without regret, it’s been 10 months and that’s a heck of a long time to regret something. It’s firmed up my will to teach Eric not to regret, and I guess that in itself makes it worthwhile – though still a tough pill to swallow.

That’s all right, though, because that’s another part of the no regrets thing: taking the bumps and bruises along the way. You get up and dust yourself off and keep going; that’s what life is all about. They’re cliches for a reason: whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Eric has this thing about wanting to stand up with his hands on my chair when I’m at the computer. It’s his way of saying, “Hey, Mommy, I’m tired of playing by myself – what are you doing?” This is cool, and I love when he comes to say hello. However, he’s a baby. He doesn’t look up before he stands up, and that invariably ends up with him knocking his head against the keyboard tray. Then it’s all bad, he makes this awful face and starts to whimper and cry – and then promptly does it again. I just ruffle up his hair and tell him he’s all right, because he is, it’s very light and he’s more frustrated that he couldn’t go where he wanted to than he is hurt. He grins and finds a different place to rise.

No obstacle you can’t overcome.

So add that to the list of values I hope to instill in my child: if you see a chance, take it. (Isn’t that a song?) Nobody got anywhere by waiting for things to be handed to them. Today, Eric, the bathroom. Tomorrow, the world!

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Filed Under (Year One (Eric)) by Kel on 31-05-2007

Somewhere along the line, I totally forgot to stick to the “one new ingredient every 3-4 days” rule.

I didn’t mean to. I kept to it fairly religiously all through fruits, veggies, and even the beginning of meats. I made sure that everything I gave Eric had only one ingredient he had never tried. For allergies, you know – that way, if there is a reaction, you know exactly what caused it. And then, suddenly, caution went to the wind and I’ve just giving him whatever. I don’t even know how it happened – there was certainly no conscious decision.

I think he just kind of grew into it, and I did too. He hasn’t shown any signs of reaction to anything, and he’s starting to eat what we’re eating, which means all sort of stuff that I can’t even begin to know what’s there or not. It’s working for us, too. I mean, he’s picky as all get out, but nothing’s went badly for him and I’m a lot more laid back about food now that he’s eating some of it and I’m not obsessing over ingredients lists every time I go to feed him.

I’ve also, I think, starting taking more of a toddler mentality toward food. I blindly walked into this whole food thing with ideals of happy fruits, veggies, and meat, all properly portioned, perfectly balanced diet – thinking, like some crazy person, that he would go from baby food to eating exactly what I was, only in smaller quantities. Right. No one ever claimed I was smart, or even wise, when it came to this parenting thing. I try to get him fruits and veggies – veggies generally in baby food form still, since I can’t find a single vegetable he’ll eat that isn’t pureed – as much as possible, but right now he’s all about the carbs. He’s on what is almost a breakfast diet: pancakes, muffins, fruit, applesauce, oatmeal… Not by my choice, though; no, that’s just what he’ll eat. He doesn’t like pasta, doesn’t like tomato sauce, so right there all the spaghetti-o’s and chef boy r dee things are out. No mac n cheese for my son, crazy boy. No chicken noodle either; we had some pieces of bread soaked in soup, that’s about as close as he’ll get, and he wasn’t even too keen on that. He does like cheese though, so lots of grilled cheese style goodness, and yesterday I discovered his love for chicken nuggets. Thank goodness. I was starting to worry that we had a vegetarian on our hands!

It’s like a whole world of food hidden away from the grown-ups. Chicken nuggets and pancakes, with a side of cookies animal crackers.

And yogurt. He really loved the yoplait kids yogurt I picked up yesterday, at least until it warmed up. That stuff turns nasty as soon as it warms up; I tried some, figuring I’d finish it off after he stopped eating it. Ugh, heck no. No wonder he went back to the chicken nuggets!

I picked up some string cheese too, I think that’s going to be my experiment tonight. Oh wait. I should be waiting 3 days, giving him chicken nuggets every night, to make sure he doesn’t turn into a giant hive. Or should I be giving him yogurt for 3 days? I’m so confused.

I’m fairly sure this is why I stopped worrying about it.

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Filed Under (Year One (Eric)) by Kel on 17-05-2007

We have a big, giant stick. All right, it’s less of a stick and more of a long but thin dowel. Eric found it under the futon one day and it has become his toy of the week. Now, some might raise an eyebrow at this, but it’s too long for him to poke anything out with, not at all a choking hazard, and hey – he thinks it’s hilarious to swing it around and poke and whack stuff with it.

Eric also loves our cats. Specifically, he loves to tackle them. He’ll chase them around, lunge after them, tackle them, and start whacking and pulling and petting. He’s generally in love with them, even if they’re less than enamored with him and occasionally even scare him to get away. Tippy doesn’t put up with it very often. Ralph does; he’s too dense to know better.

So what happens when Eric takes both of his favorite toys and combines them?

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Filed Under (Year One (Eric)) by Kel on 24-04-2007

My, how the time flies. Honestly, if I hear one more “I told you so” about how quickly time goes I’ll probably scream, but it is true. Once those first few months passed, it’s been picking up speed, and it shocks me some days to look down and see how big Eric has grown – especially in height! He is one long boy now, I settle him in my lap for his bedtime bottle and he’s all legs and arms flopping everywhere. He doesn’t react much when you say his name in general, but if he’s crawling around and I squat down with my hands out and say “Eric” he will turn and make a bee line for me with this huge smile. He likes to pull up on my legs too, stand there with one hand on my pants or skirt and bounce up and down. He’s quite the ham, my son – but is that any surprise, really?

It seems like every week we have more of a big boy and less of a baby. He is all about exploring right now; it’s about 50/50 as to whether he will tolerate being in his playpen without anyone in there keeping him company, but if you put him on the outside he’s happy as a clam and getting everywhere. He discovered the bathroom today with me following him, he loved the sound the toilet lid made when he smacked it. Finger food is another big one for him, the ability to feed himself if big even if he can’t eat a whole lot that he can stick in his mouth yet. We’re still working on the whole chewing thing – he’s getting his two top front teeth in, that may help a little – so it’s a lot of Puffs for snacks and even the ladies at daycare have noticed how much he loves those things. He’s getting braver when he pulls up, he’ll let go with one hand and use it to wave around and reach and smack; he hasn’t let go with both yet though, we aren’t that brave.

He does, of course, have a new ear infection. We discovered it thanks to the “eye boogers” a few weeks ago and he’s finishing up his medicine now. Of all the ways I can tell he’s feeling a lot better, the biggest one is that he’s back to babbling and screeching – and he does screech, an ear piercing sound that cuts right through my skull and makes my recently operated upon teeth literally ache. (Thank you, wisdom teeth removal!) He’s got his d’s down, there is plenty of “dada” in our house, though never actually TO dada. He’s given a couple of “mamas” as well, but again, never to me. I think it’s the sound but not the word yet, but hey, it’s a step!

He’s doing a lot more riding like a big boy too. The carrier is almost to the end of its course, and more often he’s sitting in the cart or in a high chair when we’re out and about. Our favorite is the car shaped stroller things at the mall. I had run something out to the car and came back in to see him sitting in front, one arm over the side, the other hand on the wheel turning it like he was cruising for chicks or something. Oh, to have had a camera! Once again, my son the ham. He’s got every lady at daycare absolutely in love with him, good for him, iffy for mommy and daddy who get to deal with our spoiled boy every evening. He’s sleeping through the night again though, so we can manage!

He’ll be 9 months old a week from today. That’s pretty crazy. It’s been a long 9 months in some ways, but compared to the 9 months I spent pregnant it’s been nothing at all.

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Filed Under (Year One (Eric)) by Kel on 08-04-2007

Apprently, 8 months is a very needy age. I think he might have another pair of top teeth coming in, though it’s so hard to tell before they actually break through considering how close to the surface they’ve always been. The result is a baby that doesn’t play on his own well and really, really needs help getting to sleep some nights – and days, for naps, too. If someone is down on the floor with him, though, he’s in fine spirits. He doesn’t even necessarily want someone to play, just someone to be there so he can tackle them every now and then.

Eight months, according to his doctor, is when we can start with the meats and cheeses in baby food, so we’ve been trying out a bit of a change to supper time. So far, the macaroni and cheese he tolerates, but only sort of. I don’t blame him … that stuff in baby food is nasty. He is, however, a fan of chicken. Chicken and apples, chicken and broccoli, chicken with sweet potatoes and rice, chicken noodle, doesn’t matter, he’ll gobble it all down. After the initial struggles with cereal, he sure has turned into a good eater! We’ve started puffs too, little melt in your mouth finger foods that I find myself thiefing every now and then too. The banana ones are OK, but the strawberry apple are pretty good. He has no problem getting the stuff into his mouth, though once it’s there sometimes he isn’t quite sure what to do with it yet.

This whole food thing fascinates me. But then, we all know how much I love food.

My current rave of the day, however, is the sling that came in the mail Friday. I absolutely love my Snugli – it was awesome when he was smaller, both facing in as a newborn and out once he was a little older. Unfortunately, we went to the home and garden show a few weekends back and I’m surprised I didn’t come out of there in traction. My baby boy has become a moose, and wearing him like a backpack killed both my shoulders and my back. I was much disappointed, not to mention a little disturbed as that was my plan for getting us through Renaissance festivals this summer – toward the end of the season, he’ll be walking, but a back up plan never hurts and strollers in those things are painful.

My mom bought me a sling last weekend. It showed up on our doorstep Friday, and when we went to the mall yesterday John mentioned the stroller and I said I wanted to try it out. Wow. It was surprisingly easy to figure out (though, OK, it took a minute or two). He looked comfortable, he got sleepy and snuggled in and chilled for the most part. We got some smiles and playing too, so he definitely wasn’t uncomfortable. And me? 45 minutes later, I’d had to shift it on my arm from time to time but that was it. No back ache, my shoulders were totally fine, the worst part of it was that it was hot in the mall so me in my fleece jacket got hot.

I’m sold.

I can’t wait to try it again.

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Filed Under (Year One (Eric)) by Kel on 26-03-2007

So, at his 6 month checkup, the doctor said that the next teeth we could expect would likely be the two top ones. Apparently, this was not specific enough for Eric. He has, indeed, gotten two top teeth – saw em this evening after a particularly crabby boy bout! Rather than the two top, center teeth like most babies get, he’s gotten one on either side of center. Vampire fangs!

In other news, I’ve discovered the first toy that almost makes me wish we had a girl. Almost. Those who know me will be surprised to discover that it’s a Barbie. It is, in fact, Pooper Scooper Barbie. (No, that isn’t what they call it!) She has a dog. The dog has food pellets. That he eats. Then, you pull (or is it push?) the dog’s tail and he poops them out. And they’re magnetized, so Barbie can pick them up with her Pooper Scooper. No, I’m not lying. That is HILARIOUS.

I mean, check out this advertising description and tell me it isn’t priceless: Tanner, Barbie’s dog, eats and ejects waste from her body. At this point, Barbie can pick it up with her scooper, and then Tanner will eat it again– just like your real dog!

This amuses me too much.

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