Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

Not to get all sentimental on you, but here's the truth: I am regularly overwhelmed by the love I feel for my children. This feeling arises many times, different times, times when I least expect it, times when they're acting like little banshees, and all I can do is shrug, or they can't sleep because they have a stuffy nose, and I rock them to sleep but don't leave right away because I love holding such a sweet, peaceful little boy. I figured since it's the truth, I might as well record it here because most importantly, should they ever choose to read this blog, I want them to read those words. Just in case they didn't already know (though they better!)
Hi, Macy! Mind if check out what's in your mouth?

Cousins! (I know what you're thinking and yes, this was the best shot I had.)
Calder has made absolutely incredible strides in the past year. G-tubes and nasal cannulas, uncertainty about when he would really start to talk and questions about his gross motor development are all a distant memory from decades ago. Only occasionally am I reminded of the little boy we worked so diligently with on skills that now with Beckett I take for granted, and it's usually when I see him doing something that consumed our therapy routine for weeks, something seemingly simple, like jumping with both feet. I can't help but let a little smile creep onto my face when I see him jump now; I'm just so darn proud. Calder "graduated" from his final therapist -- occupational -- at the end of June, and even then I was learning that he could and would do things for himself if only I'd give him the space.

Go Bucks.
Bath time is the best time!
Chillaxin' with the fam in Kiawah.

Aw. Beckett so does not look like this any longer!

Beckett is Calder's polar opposite in so many ways but looks up to his older brother like only a little brother would. Calder gets great enjoyment out of snatching things out of Beckett's hands, and when he's really focused, he's taken a page out of mom's playbook and strategically lures Beckett's attention away with another item immediately before making the swap. Wonder how much longer that will work. Beckett is simply as sweet as can be. His disposition is twenty times calmer than Calder's; whether or not that lasts when he's three is yet to be seen. Is there some jealousy? You betcha. But there are multiple times a day when Calder sporadically squeezes Beckett in a big bear hug that can only mean love, or plants a gentle kiss on his head. Beckett's kisses for Calder are a little more clumsy and not nearly as well placed and oftentimes turn into a face-plant onto Calder's head when he loses his balance, but Calder is amazingly tolerant. In short, they're adorable.

Beckett took his first couple steps at exactly 14 months on August 14 but it's more or less stopped there, with just another step or two. He knows he can cruise with the best of them when holding onto at least one adult hand, preferably two, and he holds on for DEAR LIFE. He's got a nice mouthful of teeth but we're still waiting on most of what he needs on that bottom row, which isn't a comforting thought when considering our sleeping patterns. He's been spouting off words since June, inaugurating his vernacular with the word "balloon" -- which, if you are Beckett, is actually pronounced "boon." (Hey - which coincidentally rhymes with Calder's first word: moon.) Since then, he's also picked up the words bird, water, apple juice, up, bonk and a few other goodies (in addition to Mama and Dada, of course!)

Can you see that smile on Beckett's face?

Beckett nursed until just a couple weeks before his first birthday. The cessation was almost certainly more traumatic for me than it was for him. Let me just say that yes. It is possible to solely provide breastmilk til the child is one through pumping. Been there, done that. But dang! Who wants to do that? Nursing was considerably more convenient and more enjoyable. After not being able to nurse Calder, I entered this breastfeeding relationship on my tip-toes. I didn't get my hopes up, I prayed I'd make it a year, I kept my fingers crossed. When we finally got into smooth sailing, I dropped my guard, and *BOOM*! He came down with hand, foot and mouth. For the first week, Calder was sick, too, and I took nearly the entire week off to be with them, even though our nanny continued to brave the household as well. (Believe me, it was necessary.) Those first few days of being ill, he was nursing wonderfully. But it must have been when the mouth sores set in that he said, sorry, Charlie. And that was that. I joined our local La Leche League listserv, I poured over the Internet (my trusted Kellymom), I read magazines, and everywhere I looked and everyone I talked to said that anytime before 12 months especially, and even longer, it was almost certainly NOT self-weaning. So I tried all their tips (within reason) but after that, I only coaxed him into nursing one more time and that was that. Of course, other than recovering from an illness Beckett was perfectly fine with it all and turned back to bottle feeding once his appetite returned really quiet quickly. And I thought, well, how do ya' like that. I'm offering you this major piece of me, this perfectly good nourishment that, quite frankly, EXHAUSTS me, this "liquid gold" (as they say) and you're turning me down? Excuse me, what? But, that's how it was, and after about two, maybe three weeks, I was over it, too. I pumped for another two months, then said sayonara to the pump. I didn't mind reading this mom's perspective, either.

After a summer of splash parks and beaches, sand and pools, Calder is three, Beckett is one and Kraemer is 25 (oh - or do men give their real ages?) We threw a small little bash the weekend before last to celebrate the birthdays of all three, and if you were there, you know that Calder was a wild child. Yes, that's partly his personality and partly a product of him missing his nap. And actually, partly a product of our valiant attempt to start him at school. Yes, attempt. After one week, we made the decision to pull him out. Day One was a success. Kraemer and I both dropped him off in the morning, and he sat bravely on the mat, tightly squeezing his penguin stuffed animal with hopeful eyes while the children around him wailed their heads off (Calder still brings that up to me) and Kraemer and I waved goodbye. Day Two, not so much. Kraemer dropped him off crying, and we learned later he did not stop screaming for another 15 minutes. Day Three was a repeat. When I picked him up that afternoon, he saw me standing at the door, and though it was dismissal time, the assistant made him wait two feet from me (believe me, she KNEW I was his mom), and I could see the anguish on his face, and his lip tremble. Within 20 seconds he'd burst into tears. And this is when I'm picking him UP. Day Four he got off easy because I had to take him to the doctor in the morning, and as we drove home, he asserted sweetly but strongly that he wanted to go find Nina and Beckett on the Hill wherever they might be and join them. I knew he missed them. 
On Friday morning, he told me, again very sweetly but matter-of-factly, that he did NOT want to go to school. Over the last few days I'd ask him once in a while why he did not want to go, and twice he told me it was because they took his penguin. I'm guessing they must have only been allowed to have their animals during nap time, but I never asked. He also told me it was because he wanted to go to Eastern Market, which, again, I'm sure is because he missed his partner in crime and nanny. And here's what I told myself: HE'S THREE. You know what? Heck. He isn't even supposed to be three. I don't know how long I get to do this adjusting thing (yup, only til two in most scenarios, and yup, we're past that - you can call me out on it), but if he were born on October 23 instead of July 2, he wouldn't even be eligible for school in DC this year. Kraemer and I had been saying since we registered him in early spring that we'd play it by ear, and by Monday morning, when he told me again that he did not want to go, I felt we'd played it all sufficiently. So the lucky guy is back home, living out the dog days of summer at the zoo and such with his best of buds.

This summer has been fun-filled. Between a trip to Destin with the Lovelace clan, a jaunt to Cincinnati and a trip to Kiawah with the Andersons, there hasn't been a dull moment. In fact, we kicked it off with a move - only a few blocks, mind you, but hard work just the same! Fortunately for us, we've scored more lovely neighbors, a front yard, a back yard and a little more space on the inside. We're looking forward to enjoying a nice fall in the new home!


  1. Hi Taryn - I received a few pieces of mail addressed to you and your husband at 129 E. They look like they may be wedding invites, so I feel bad writing return to sender on them. Let me know if there's a better way to get them to you. I did a quick google search of your names and found this blog - hope it doesn't seem too out of the blue! - Megan

    1. Thanks so much, Megan! My husband says he got your FB message and responded there. We really appreciate it!