Reese at Five, James at Three Years

DSC_1617 (2)DSC_0219

Our little people are now three and five. There is nothing baby about them at all, and they both get mad when I say they will always be my babies. But they will.

DSC_0112

Reesie turned five on November 29th and we celebrated with her favorite sushi roll, fried ice cream, and a party at the YMCA a few days later.

DSC_1487

My dearest Reese, there was a time when the Happy Birthday song brought you to tears but this year you reveled in it. You weren’t even mad when I dropped your birthday cake on my lap on the way to the party and we served a leaning, lopsided, chocolate mess, half of which was smeared across the front of my jeans.

You still love art and can spend hours coloring in your room. You like your alone time, and you are like me in that way. Some days you ask to go to rest time so you can have some time to yourself. Your kindness is what I am most proud of. You get along with everyone, and I have never seen you being mean to another child (not counting your brother of course.) I can see the hurt on your face when other kids are being left out or not treated fairly. You are ULTRA sensitive, which is frustrating for me at times, but you do you. The other day after a particularly rough afternoon for me, I didn’t say a word in the car on the way home from the YMCA. I felt like I needed 5 minutes of silence and if I didn’t get it, I would explode. You started to cry and said that you know I’m sad and when I’m sad you feel sad. My heart officially melted and then we all went and got munchkins.

You take swimming lessons and gymnastics classes once a week.  You have come so far in swimming. You can swim up and down the pool without your floatie and you jump in the deep end like it’s no thang. You like gymnastics but complain that it makes you hot and tired. Spoken like a true athlete.

You are in school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can write all of your letters and numbers, your full name, and some short words. You love reading books and have memorized many of your favorites. You love The Magic School Bus, Shimmer and Shine (ugh), Batman, Legos, and dress up.

You are helpful and can do so much by yourself now. You help me everyday and are learning the hard lesson that because James is younger, and has bigger, louder tantrums (in public) he often gets what he wants. Ok, he always gets what he wants.

You are not shy, which I love. You talk to anyone you meet and tell them all about where we are going, who we saw yesterday, and exactly what mom said when she spilled the coffee this morning. One Sunday morning when I was away and your dad took you to church, you turned to the family behind you and said, “My mom’s at a bachelorette party.”

DSC_0148

 

DSC_0264

James turned three on March 5th and had cake and ice cream with his grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.

DSC_0286

DSC_1558

DSC_0222

Dear Jamesie, you still love trains, trucks and cars. Trains especially, and riding the commuter rail with your dad is a favorite activity. You are obsessed with puzzles. You love cheese. Your best friends are Reese’s friends and their siblings, all of whom happen to be girls. Whenever we show up for a playdate, the girls say “The boy is here! Run!” Poor you. This will all change one day, I promise.

You now sleep in a “big boy bed”, you are almost completely potty trained, and you talk nonstop, but I feel like you never get a chance to finish your thoughts because someone who will remain nameless, (Reese), is always cutting you off. You take swimming lessons with me on Wednesdays which you love. You are a great swimmer but just need to work on following the teacher’s directions, or any directions for that matter.

The terrible two’s have segued into the even more terrible threes, and you are constantly challenging me. You are a runner. You run away at any opportunity you have. There are few opportunities though because I walk around holding onto you by the hood of your coat, as if it is a leash. When I don’t have a free hand your sister takes over as hood holder. I don’t know what I’ll do when the weather changes.

You are a cuddler and I hope that never changes. I hope that you never stop saying “bathing soup” (bathing suit), and I hope that you hold on to a little bit of that mischievousness as you get older. Just a little bit though.

Happy third birthday my sweet little hellion.

DSC_1336

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boy

 

img_6570_phixrReese has taken to calling  James “the boy.” As in, “the boy is chasing me!” or “Uh-oh, the boy is awake.”

The boy is her one true frienemy. When he’s asleep she is looking for her playmate, but when he is awake it is a never-ending battle for something. Anything. The cover to the yogurt container, for example. One stick from our yard that is covered in sticks. A piece of lint off my shirt.

The boy is currently on a tour of bad behavior and is making sure he doesn’t miss any stops; the YMCA? Check. The library? Double check because he also peed on the computer chair.Target? Check. Market Basket? Check. He throws, he hits, he kicks, and he shouts, “Gimme that train!”in a voice that sounds like it came from a 400 lb trucker.

But he also has this face so it’s hard to stay mad.

img_6326_phixr

img_6757_phixr

Potty Talk. Again.

IMG_6469_phixr

The Elmo potty is back in our lives and I feel like the manic laughter is even more annoying this time around.

I was still working when Reese was potty trained so I missed a lot, but I am a firm believer that she went when she was ready, and there probably wasn’t much I could do to change that. James had started telling us more and more that he needed to be changed or he had a poop in his diaper, so I took this to mean that he might be ready. I decided one week when we had no plans, and the weather was nice, that I would let James run around for a couple of days diaper free and see what happened.

One of my friends swore by a method that she had used to train her son, who at the time, was almost 3. It’s 2 days of no pants or diaper, and then 5 days of just pants, no underwear, and then they start wearing underwear full-time.

For two days, minus bedtime and nap time and a few quick trips out where he wore a diaper, he ran around the yard, free as a bird, going potty wherever he pleased. Anywhere that was not the potty, that is. Then after that, I started putting him in his shorts with nothing under them, hoping for the best. He still went wherever he wanted, and a few times made it to the potty. He actually had remarkable skills and was sometimes able to poop right out the leg of his shorts, without even soiling the shorts at all. The days where he wore his shorts, but not underwear or diaper is when I think it really started to click. He realized right away that his shorts were wet and didn’t like that at all, and I think that’s when he started to recognize the feeling he got when he had to go.

There are lots of messes with this method. We stayed outside as much as possible but I still felt like I was constantly cleaning up messes for the first two days. I tried to keep James out of the one carpeted room we have, but that was his preferred place for number 2’s. What makes it even harder is that whenever he was distracted (i.e. watching TV), he would go without even noticing it. So, you really have to follow your kid around all day and can’t even leave them for a minute. This method also requires lots of wine at night so be ready.

Now, two weeks later, he is in underwear for most of the day and today is the first day we took him out with underwear. I do have to sit him on the potty every now and then because he doesn’t always tell me. So if it seems like it has been a while since he went, I will sit him down and see if he has to go. He wears diapers whenever he is sleeping, and he still has accidents, and struggles with going #2 for sure. I’m pretty sure that he holds in #2 until he is in a diaper. Then he can really let loose.

I forgot to mention that anytime James went in the potty, he got an M&M. This is a sure-fire way to get my kids to do anything. I would give Reese an M&M too, so she was super invested in James’s success.

FullSizeRender (13)

 

James at 18 months

DSC_0634

18 months young.

Our boy is walking, running, jumping and CLIMBING like a maniac. The other day I found him standing on the kitchen table jumping up and down. Always with this grin.

IMG_3912

The current phase is beating the crap out of his sister and sometimes, out of me. He has discovered hitting and he uses it whenever something is taken away from him, or when he’s tired. So basically he is hitting 80% of the time. The other day at the playground another mother said “he is just so cute!” just as he started trying to climb up another boy. I picked him up and he slapped me in the face. So cute!

Despite this new fun phase, James is a snuggler, and when he’s being nice, he loves his sister to death. Often giving kisses and hugs. I think they are kisses and hugs; they are definitely more aggressive than one would imagine hugs and kisses should be, but they usually don’t end in tears so, yay!

He likes other kids and especially, older girls. Whenever we are out somewhere where there are other kids, he beelines for the girls who look to be about Reese’s age and either hugs them, or holds his arms up to them, asking to be picked up.

He is a sleepaholic. He still takes two, two-hour naps a day. He goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 and he usually wakes around 9. He has slept till 10:30 AM on more than one occasion. Please stay this way forever.

He is still big and beautiful. A big, beautiful beefcake with the most adorable curls. He literally has ringlets in the back of his head and I won’t get his hair cut because I’m afraid they will cut off the curls and his hair will grow back straight.

He likes most foods but favorites are graham crackers (when he sees the brown packaging he starts hyperventilating), corn, bananas, applesauce, Kix, pizza, chicken parm and sweet potatoes.

Jamers is ALL boy. He loves running and jumping and throwing and crashing stuff together. Trucks are his favorite, particularly tractors.

He has a few words, definitely not as many as Reese had at this age but he babbles all day long. He says, “tractor”, “car”, “mama”, “dada”, and “dirty.” All with a Boston accent, “tracktah!”IMG_4122IMG_3196IMG_4138

Bedtime is my favorite part of the day with James. After stories and some milk he puts his head on my shoulder and lets me rock him to sleep. This is something Reese never let me do, she was always trying to wriggle out of my arms. When we’re done rocking, he allows himself to be put down awake and sometimes sits up in the crib to wave goodbye to me. And everytime he does it, I just die.

DSC_0722

James Eli At One Year

019

The slowest yet the fastest, the most challenging and the most life-changing year of my life. All at the same time.

I spent a lot of James’s first few months wishing that he was just a little bit older. Just a few more weeks and he won’t be nursing every three hours. Just a few more weeks and he will be sleeping for longer stretches, and so will I. Just a few more weeks and he will be eating solids and maybe sleeping more. Just a few more weeks and I can set him down and he’ll be able to sit up on his own. Just a few more weeks and he’ll be sleeping more….. This all sounds familiar. Have I said this before?

Since day one, James has been a joy when he is awake. Easy going, adaptable, smiley. Sleeping has been a struggle and he is just now (like literally days ago) sleeping through the night. The sleep deprivation that I always pictured coming with motherhood came. And everything seemed harder.

And now he’s one year old and it won’t slow down. Tomorrow he will be asking for the car keys.

At his one year appointment he weighted in at 21.64 lbs, the 59th percentile, and measured 28.5, the 24th percentile. So he is definitely one of us.

James is a tough guy. He’s Jimmy Mac and he lives in the red house on the cah-nah (corner.) He doesn’t take shit from anyone. Including his sister. Ya heard?

He gets dragged to a lot of Reese’s older kid activities (it doesn’t end here James, take it from someone with 2 older siblings) but he doesn’t seem to know he’s the youngest one there and he will grab that train from the 4 year old like it’s no thing. Gangster.

He eats all of everything. Chicken parm is his favorite, and he prefers it with a side of pasta. Heavy on the sauce.

He loves to look out the window and watch the cars. If he hears a honk, he will immediately point to the window, demanding to be brought over and see what the fuss is about. On most days, when he wakes up from an afternoon nap, about 4:00 or so, we stand in the kitchen, moving from window to window until he’s seen it all.

His favorite thing to do is walk with his cart. He looks like a mad grocery shopper. He goes back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, pausing only in the doorway, where he yells until someone comes and helps him over the little bump that separates the rooms. Reese relishes in this task and races over to him yelling (way too loudly) “I’m comin’ James!”

He crawls (a combo of an army crawl and a normal crawl on all 4s) at the speed of light. Any time a door opens, he bolts towards it, and sometimes I can barely stop him in time.

His life goal right now is to climb the stairs freestyle.

He says “dada” and “touch” and something that sounds like “this and that” but we aren’t sure.

Since Andrew and I went on vacation he has stopped nursing, and also started sleeping through the night.

His sister is the love of his life, but he is also very aware that she is the taker of toys and someone who needs to be dealt with with caution. Smart boy.

He loves banging things together.

He can clap and wave goodbye.

He has 5 teeth and I think he is one of the few men who can pull off buck teeth.

He is handsome as ever. I am his mom so I know I’m biased, but come on.

IMG_2874

DSC_0520935

 

DSC_0461

IMG_0231

DSC_0562

 

James At Six Months

DSC_0423

 

DSC_0251_022

James2

The smiley-est baby ever. Everyone gets a smile, even his sister as she’s grabbing all the toys away from him. It’s the greatest thing ever.

Nicknames include Jamesie, Jamers, Jamesie Jones, Jamerino, and the occasional Jimbo.

At the six month mark he is 20 lbs strong and 26.5 inches long; the 34th percentile for height and the 88th for weight. Strangers still comment on his girth on a daily basis. We started food around 5 1/2 months and although he still seems to prefer nursing, he loves pureed apples, squash, bananas, peaches, plum,  pears and sweet potato. No teeth yet.

James is easy-going, happy, a great eater, and content to being dragged around on errands, to playgrounds, walks etc. He can hang anywhere and even lasted for a few 6 hour beach days this summer. My only complaint– he is not a great sleeper and the sleep deprivation is slowly killing my soul. He still wakes 2 and sometimes 3 times a night to nurse. At his six month checkup the doctor suggested giving him some rice cereal right before bed. Um, have you seen him?? I don’t think the kid is starving.  More on this soon.

He is on the move. Through a combination of rolling and army crawling he can get around as much as he pleases.

Reese is still his favorite person in the world and the only one who can draw fits of laughter straight from his belly.

I’ll say it again –this is going by much too fast. I feel like I just gave birth to him and now he’s moving around my living room floor all by himself. I know the day he no longer wants to be held in my arms will come much too soon, so we are doing a lot of that these days.

 

James6

DSC_0391

James4

James3

DSC_0216_020

james1

 

 

And Then There Were Four

FebMarch2014 092_phixr

I am happy to announce that I am no longer pregnant.

James Eli was born via C-section on March 5th, 2014 at 1:55 PM and has been charming the pants off us ever since. Isn’t he a handsome devil?

We are tired, busy and tired. Some days we don’t shower. Did I mention we are tired?

Big sister is warming up, ever so slowly, to her new little brother and we think they may be friends one day. Recently, she has begun showing genuine concern when I enter a room without James in my arms. She asks “What happened to James?”, and sometimes her tone sounds accusing.

Big changes happening in our house and once I stop using my “spare” time to eat, sleep or shower I will fill you in.

In the meantime, here are some pics of our first day with our beloved baby boy.

James 2 009_phixr James 2 018_phixr James 2 023_phixr

James 2 051_phixr