25 April 2011

Year 1X in review

last post about dexter being a one year old. promise.

just wanted to summarize the first year as something separate from her birthday celebrations and the "X files" entries. i wish i had made note of a few more things from "the early days" because it would have been interesting to compare more directly to now, but the me from the "early days" would probably give me the "red hot daggers stabbing you in the eyes" look if i went back in a time machine to ask her to take notes...

birth weight: 8lb 1oz
12 month weight: 22 lbs

(one day old; 2 months old; 3.5 months old)

(6 months old; 8 months old; 10 months old)

(one year old. thanks for the outfit auntie jo)

number of teeth: 8
shoe size: 5
clothing size: 18 month

nicknames acquired over the year (all these listed were used with at least some regularity): monster, dex, dexter doo, doo, doodle, doodletown, doo dexter daddles, the baby, the kid, big the kid, dexington [dexter from dexingsville dextilvania], diddley-oddily-oodily-oddily-iddly-oddily-exter, wild monkey wiggler from the sea, my lady, miss, cheeks, cheeky monster, stinko, diapo, toots, pee pee the kid, calamity jane, CJane, helen keller, milko, cheese(y), cheesy charlie, mayor mccheese, beauty, beautiful, beaut, beautibul, regular beaut, irregular beaut

favorite go-to foods: mushroom/cabbage pierogies, applesauce, blackberries, pureed squash/pumpkin/sweet potato, plum, apricot, bread, kamut puffs, dates

new friends born:
madelyn (barish), claire (emmett), sydney (ohara), piper (stepke), della (westra)

new friends to come in 2011:
lady meisner, baby celini, mister guzman/dede, baby eaton

trips taken:
new brunswick: to visit fundy national park
new york (nyack, albany): to attend amys wedding and visit family
michigan: to meet friends and family
florida: to meet family and celebrate the holiday
brooklyn: family and friends

favorite (modified) kids song: the farmer in the dell
(our lyrics...i recognize the insanity of our version)
the farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell, hi ho the dairy-o, the farmer in the dell
the farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife, hi ho the dairy-o, the farmer takes a wife
the wife cuts the cheese...
the mouse snorfles the toots...
the cat eats the mouse...
the dog chases the cat...
the flea bites the dog...
everyone gets the plague...
everybodys dead...
the farm is quiet...

a typical dexter day (as a 12 month old): up at 9a. walk around while momma eats. read books. go out for the morning. come back for lunch. and then back out if weather permits. nap from 2-3:30p. play outside or at library. read books until dinner is ready. eat dinner. bath (sometimes). play with papa. read books. bed at 10p.

**in a year of difficult challenges, i am happy that a few things went well for us. i list these as something i am proud of for us, as a family, but not as something that i feel makes us superior.**

things avoided (dexter):
- soother/pacifier
- formula
- disposable diapers

things avoided (me. due to nursing. and actually, all were avoided during pregnancy too):
- medication (this includes meds post-birth. i honestly cant remember how my brain was broken enough in those early newborn days to refuse the advil that would have reduced the pain and swelling in my nether region. there is not really anything to be proud of about that choice, but whats done is done.)
- caffeine (it has never really worked for me anyway, so this one was easy to avoid)
- alcohol (as you may know, i wasnt a big alcohol person before, so, again, this was rather easy for me)

thank yous:
- dexter. thank you for being you. for your curiosity. for your persistence. for your charm. i was so happy to finally meet the little monster who had been kicking around in my belly for so many months. you gave us a run for our money much of this year, but you have spunk and a personality im sure we will grow to appreciate more and more in the coming years. you gave me new eyes for the world and im so glad they get to see your beautiful face every day.

- dave. thank you for being everything. you powered through this year like a champ. on top of maintaining a busy post-doc load involving meetings, publishing papers, program coding/debugging, applying for future jobs, and getting pulled in a million new research directions you also had to work on being a dad. the diapers, the burping, the rocking, swaddling, bouncing, walking, shhhh-ing, the holding, the bathing, the playing, the loving. you also cooked, cleaned (you know...on occasion), ran errands, took care of the cat. and you worked from home as often as possible for the whole year. you became an amazing father. as expected. and watching it unfold was wonderful. dexter is going to benefit more and more each year from what you bring to the table. she is so very lucky.

- family. thank you for your support and love, for us, and for dexter. thank you for traveling near and far to see us and for not complaining about it. i know its hard to be far apart for most of the year, but we thank you for taking the time to stay connected by calling, emailing, and snail mailing. it makes a big difference. and thank you for letting us find our own way on the parenting path. we never had to deal with "well in my day..." or "you should do..." all we heard were words of encouragement and the occasional suggestion if we were directly seeking advice. we have felt so lucky to have this kind of support, and dexter will be able to draw from that support through the years. she is lucky to have you all.

- friends. thank you for being our extended family. coming from a small family, as a kid, i always wondered what it would be like to be a part of a huge, close-knit family. i wonder no more. we have friends going strong from childhood, college, grad school, past jobs, frisbee, france, and beyond. we can go months without contact and years without visiting but we still have close connections with so many people. and dexter has benefited from all of you. many of you kept the postal workers busy this past year by sending wonderful gifts of clothes, books, and more. some of you were even able to come visit. and all of you brought joy to us when you found the time to call, email, comment on this blog, IM, facebook, etc. it seems that dexter will be able to find many people willing to open their homes to her as she gets older and continues to explore the world. we are so very grateful for you and your love.

24 April 2011

Happy birthday bunny baby!

easter weekend for everyone else was X weekend for us.

Xs birthday happened to land on easter this year which turned out to be fun for everyone. we got some miraculously nice weather and spent most of the time just dinking around doing whatever X wanted. which was perfect.

saturday we started by grocery shopping (a favorite X activity) and then packed up for a picnic in shubie park. we hadnt been there yet and wanted to check it out. there is a nice little beach among a wooded trail with a river and bridge nearby, so there was a lot for X to see in a small area. there were also a LOT of dogs, which are an obsession of hers.

we munched on lunch while she explored. it turned out to be hard to get her interested in eating because there were so many things to explore, which was a little stressful, but we managed to get some food in her. and when she found the beach and raced toward the water all thoughts of food were far, far away. she is clearly still a water girl. we tried to help her play in the water/sand without freezing her butt off, but we eventually had to move back into the woods and try to make her forget about the beach. and she was quickly distracted by the dirt, the leaves, the rocks, trees, sticks, etc.

we ended our trip to shubie at the playground. swings, rocks, and a teeter-totter. all very fun. and randomly, we bumped into a mom who i hadnt seen in like a year. we chatted and the kiddos put things in their mouths. good times. then it was nap time, so we packed up and headed home. i think the park was a big success.

(having fun on the swings with papa)

after the nap, we hung out around the house and enjoyed some down-time before getting ready for dinner at isabelle and djordjes (two of daves colleagues). they had invited us and one other couple with a child over for dinner. X was go-go-go trying to explore every different thing in their house, so it wasnt exactly a calm social event but we had a nice time. the other couples little girl was older and she tried reading books to X (which she normally would have loved), but X was just too interested in exploring. isabelle had gotten her a sophie giraffe because isabelle is french and had loved having a sophie herself when she grew up. X also received a string of colorful prayer flags from bhutan (isabelle and djordje had recently done field work there) to hang from our ceiling. win! we had a nice dinner but had to leave early because X needed to get ready for bed.

back at home, once X went to sleep dave and i got to work hanging up Xs new presents. we had two strands of prayer flags (i had actually also bought a strand myself from the local hippie shop) and a beautiful navy and gold paper star lantern. i had also picked out three mylar balloons for her: a "happy birthday" one with butterflies, and two silver stars. our gifts to her were a sack of wooden blocks with letters, numbers, and pictures printed on the sides and a blue kickball with green polka dots. we arranged the blocks and ball on her playmat before we went to sleep.

(Xs birthday message)

in the morning, she got to have a similar experience to the ceiling surprise of winter solstice. she was pointing and turning her head back and forth. the star got her so excited it seemed like she was trying to shout the word, but it came out "tar. tar. tar." once she calmed down from the excitement of the ceiling hangings, she picked up her ball and carried it around the house for a while, and then later came to rough up the blocks, throw them, stack them, bounce them, etc. so i think she accepted her new things pretty well. it was fun to watch her take it all in.

(a 2 minute video with what i will claim are 3 instances of her saying the word "star." this is what X looks like in the first minutes after waking up, she wobbles more with her walking and has lots of dreadlocks in her hair. this video may bore you, if so, you know you can always watch it to cure insomnia.)

once we had eaten breakfast, we decided we would check out the easter egg hunt going on over at the seaport market. the temperature was actually rather warm despite the grey misty morning it was turning out to be. we walked along the harbourfront to the market and let X run around. at the farmers market there were lots of little kids for her to watch and we also got to spend some peaceful moments on the rooftop terrace. and it was there that we got the impression that the sun could win out and burn the clouds away to reveal a truly gorgeous day...

(birthday girl in a dress from grandma and aunt megan. also sporting a silk wreath i had bought to kind of be her birthday crown; on the boardwalk with papa)

and it happened! after nap time X got the best gift halifax can ever give: a nice day. a slight breeze, full sun, perfect temperature. heck ya! i took her over to the park across the street to kick her ball and play while dave prepped dinner. once dinner was roasting in the oven, we piled in the car and went to point pleasant park.

(chillin with her ball after nap time)

the entire city, and then some, had the same idea. but that was fine! if ever there was a place to see and be seen, the waterfront of this park was it. it was kind of fun. we stopped at the beach first and plopped X in the sand. she normally likes to walk on the sand toward the water, but playing in it for the sake of playing in it...not her cup of tea. i think the sand texture freaked her out. so, we went back onto the gravel path with the rest of the crowd. she walked all over and eventually slowed down to the point that we offered her a ride in the stroller. we had had it in the trunk of the car all winter and thought "meh, maybe we'll bring it along and see if she will agree to a ride in it." and i think she was just tired enough to give it a try.

it was something different for us. X was safe and quiet in her chair and dave and i had a chance to hold hands, talk, have a nice, calm stroll. it felt very strange and very lovely. i look forward to more of that in the years to come. this lovely stroll lasted about 15 minutes before X decided she was done with that. so we let her run around again before we headed home.

(being goofy; family shot!)

back at home, dinner was ready to come out of the oven. dave had slow roasted two lamb shanks and made wax beans and potatoes. we normally arent lamb people, and with our encounters with lamb shanks at restaurants, we definitely arent usually lamb shank people, but we had taken a chance. and MAN was it a winner. the most tasty, moist, flavorful, fall-off-the-bone meat i have had in memory. even X was convinced to eat some! we had a nice dinner.

and then we pulled out her cake. during nap time we had made her a dairy-free blueberry coffee cake. it was loaded with a fruit she loved, was low in sugar, and didnt have any dairy in it to irritate her. it was a really good option for us. we sang to her, she was entranced by the candle, and was rather dainty in eating her piece of cake. then we cleaned up and let her finish the night just playing with her new goodies. it was such an awesome way to celebrate her first year. although a party with friends and family would have been one way to have fun, we made do with what we had and had a really nice time. i will always have good memories of it and i hope that next year we can have a similar success, perhaps with a party!

(presenting the cake with a candle. indeed, she still has dinner all over her face; the "after" shot of the cake. not too bad)