Dear Buddy Boy: you’re one!

Baxter Boy, Buddy Boy, Baximus Maximus, Bam-Bam,

We already have a slew of nicknames for you, and it’s been the fastest year of my life.  I’m writing this on the eve of your first birthday, and remembering back to that day a year ago when you joined our family.  It certainly has been a whirlwind…on fast forward…with a lot of chaos.

When I found out I was pregnant with you, I felt a strange combination of shocked and scared.  My other baby was still a baby, and here we were, going to have another baby!  But the moment you made your speedy and extreme entrance to the world, and when I heard Dad say “It’s a boy!”, I felt such an intense elation.  I didn’t know how much I wanted a boy until I heard Dad laugh those beautiful words in the hospital room.

‘We did it’! I kept thinking.  ‘We did it, together, and now I have a son!’ The “we” was you and me…we made it through an exhausting pregnancy and a fast and scary delivery–and now you were here to complete our family.  We were instantly more full, as though we didn’t know we were missing you until you actually arrived.

“Yeah right”, you’re probably saying to that last statement.  “Moms have to say stuff like that”.  But you needn’t take my word– the sheer proof of this is Charlotte’s instant and unending love for you.  From your first week at home she has looked after you, comforted you, brought you diapers and toys and eventually snacks and teething rings, and made you laugh more than any of us combined.  When you cry, she says “Oh, Baxter’s crying”–not a complaint, but empathy–and she looks for ways to help.  When you laugh, she aims to make you laugh harder.  And when you try something new, she is your biggest cheerleader.  “Oh, THERE you go!” she exclaimed when you fell to your knees, but got right back up.  “Are you feeling better Baxter boy?” she asked this afternoon, when you woke up from your nap with a runny nose.  She has to be able to see you at the dinner table, so that she can show you how to do things, and see if you like the new foods you try.  And SHE was the one who deemed you “Bam Bam”, because you’re “always banging around on things”.   She’s your protector.  And her wholehearted acceptance–no, overwhelming love–for you is the surest sign that you have made us complete.

You are a determined little monkey, and you don’t do anything cautiously or quietly.  I’ve never read anything about the circumstances of one’s labor and delivery being an early indicator of  their personality.  But for you, Bam Bam, the way you entered the world was the exactly the way you live in it each day.  You are fast, you jump feet first into anything new, you’re loud (for a little guy), and you don’t take no for an answer.  You’re a risk-taker, you work hard at things, and you are not shy to make your needs known.  I have never seen a baby do such a fast army crawl, or take to eating finger/table food as quickly as you.  Your current favorites are macaroni and cheese, salmon, anything orange, and bananas.  You eat at least one “monkey food” every single day, and more if we let you!

But this, my Buddy Boy, is the side you don’t show to everyone: you are sensitive.  You need some comfort and contact amidst your chaos.  You’ll be busily ripping the playroom to shreds, but after ten minutes you’ll crawl around to find me, bury your face in my knees, and give a big deep sigh.  Sometimes it doesn’t last, and you’re back to the mayhem in another 30 seconds.  Sometimes it does, and you lay comfortably in my lap to clap my hands or fiddle with my cheeks.  I love these moments.  I love them because you interject cuddles with craziness, and those cuddles are often reserved just for me.  You may not always stop to hug your mom, but you used to.  And it makes my day, every single time.

So, Bax, you are now one.  Leaving babyhood, and becoming a toddler.  People say it happens before your very eyes, and they are right.  I blinked, and you went from a blob to a boy.  You’ve made us all laugh and you’ve made me lighten up quite a bit in the past year, so I can only imagine what the next one will bring.  I can’t wait to see you take your first steps, start to talk with us, and grow into your very big personality.  I know you’ll do it all with that mischievous little twinkle in your eye, blowing your raspberry spit face at us.  And we’ll laugh right along with you!

Ready with big cuddles anytime you need them,



Baxter is 11 months old!

I’m actually posting Baxter’s 11 month pictures in a timely fashion!  Gasp!  But that’s because we’re basically all quarantined at home today due to hand-foot-and-mouth disease that is running through our house hold.  Yuck.  High fevers, nasty rashes, no appetites…it started with Charlotte, went to Bax, on to Fred, and I’m ok…so far.

In any case, we have to stay away from other children, so we had plenty of time for photos today!  Between ten and eleven months were a BIG change for Baxter:

  • Still has only two teeth, and weighs in at 16 lbs. 6 oz, or in the 1%.  Tiny peanut!
  • Finally figured out how to crawl on all fours instead of his inchworm/army crawl.  He can crawl over/under/around/inside/outside anything that presents an obstacle!
  • Is slowly starting to cruise on furniture, but really cruises with his push stroller toy.  The boy is fearless.  FEARLESS!  He will push that thing like a bat out of hell, fall, and get up and do it all over again!
  • Babbles more and more, loving to make different tones with his voice, and plenty of yells
  • Grunts a little gremlin grunt and blows raspberries at anyone that will look at him
  • Thinks Charlotte is the funniest person on the planet.  On a recent trip to the beach, she repeatedly threw Dad’s flip flop at his face, and he repeatedly cracked up.
  • Did his first sign!  Signed “more” when eating, and uses it sporadically.
  • Has a definite word/sound for Dad.  “DA!  DAAAA!” he will shout upon seeing Fred.  Still no consistent “mama”.
  • Loves Pippa and gives her lots of hugs
  • Went on his first family camp trip to Sebago Lake for a week with my family.  Baxter loved the water, the beach, crawling around the house, playing with everyone, the food…basically everything except sleeping.  Which he did not do much of.  He preferred to cry his brains out each night, prompting Fred and I to take him home a day early and let everyone else have some peace and quiet!
  • Favorite foods are applesauce, avocado, pasta, watermelon, fish (sometimes), and crackers

Baxter is ten months old!

Highlights from 9-10 months (how did we get another ten month old???  Time moves faster with each month!)

  • Favorite activities include ‘planking’, rolling away from diaper changes, and army crawling like a wounded soldier all around the house–especially to chase Charlotte or Pippa
  • Still has just two bottom teeth
  • Eats huge meals!  Shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, toast with peanut butter or hummus, applesauce, yogurt with raspberries, oatmeal, banana are the current favorites
  • Took his first overnight trip to visit Uncle Ted and Aunt Nina in Michigan: 2 days to get there, a few days at their house, and 2 days to get back.  He was an absolute rock star in the car, hardly fussing and sleeping most of the drive!  While there, he started to try/practice climbing stairs, and he and Charlotte played together for the first time with a bucket of new toys.
  • Distinctly says “Da!’ for Dad, and he used to say “mama” but it has since disappeared.  He also has a particular shriek/scream for Charlotte that I can’t even replicate here!  He is starting to babble more and more each day.
  • Went for his first swim in Sebago Lake.  We put him on a beach towel, he caught sight of the water, and he army crawled it right into it!  He loves splashing, flailing about like a fish, and especially taking baths.
  • Favorite activities include playing in the sandbox (and eating fists of sand), rummaging around in buckets full of toys which he can empty out, throwing things, army-crawling with things in his mouth, and generally eating/tasting/licking anything he can get his hands on

Baxter is nine months old!

My little man is now closer to one year than he is to the newborn phase.  I just remarked to Fred the other day that Baxter’s first year is seeming to go by so much faster than Charlotte’s first year did!  We are busier than ever, and the minutes literally slip away when you are ‘on’ 12hours a day.  There is no time to check email, sit down for a quiet moment, eat something in peace, or even go to the bathroom alone.  Every minute revolves around some little person and their intense needs.  Come 8pm, Fred and I barely have enough energy to talk to each other, and sometimes just relish the quiet.  But it’s all worth it when you have a little man that laughs a giant hiccuping belly laugh when all you do is look at him.

And yes, Baxter is a little man: “Baximus Maximus”, “Baxter Boy” or “Honey boy” as he’s known around here.  The sweetest moment I have seen in their relationship was just this morning: Charlotte was trying to watch The Jungle Book movie, and Baxter was sitting 6 inches from her screaming and whining for a solid 6-7 minutes.  She finally just reached over to him, rubbed his head, and said “ohhh Baxter Boy, are you sad?”  He calmed at her touch, and they both went on watching the movie.  What tenderness and care–and endless patience–she has for her brother!

The big changes between 8 months and 9 months:

  • crawling!  well, more like army-crawling-inching across the floor.  the boy has some strong arms, and the front of his clothes are getting all frayed from being dragged across every rug, hardwood floor, grass, and driveway on our property!
  • can pack away a LOT of food!  tonight he ate fistfulls of salmon, a whole bowl of applesauce, some mashed cauliflower + potato, and finished it all off with 1/3 of a banana.  and THEN went directly upstairs to nurse!
  • is starting to pull himself up on anything he can find
  • loves Pippa the cat–whenever he hears her in the room, he must find her and inch on over!
  • he babbles a lot, and says “mama” quite often…but I’m still not sure if it’s intentional or not?
  • By the way, now that he’s mobile?  There is NO HOPE for cute, stationary monthly photos anymore.  The shots below are the best we could do!

Missing my Auntie

A couple weeks ago, we lost my special Auntie–Aunt Karen.  Lately during my quiet drives to school, I’ve found myself thinking of her and missing her quite a lot.  One morning I thought to text her a video of Baxter crawling, because she’d love it.  Another morning I realized that it’s Memorial Day weekend, and for nearly every year I can ever remember, I watched the parade and ate lobster with auntie.

Both of these thoughts made me sad, and feeling a little empty.  It’s hard to lose a part of your support system, and especially when the nature of those supports has grown and changed over the years.  During my childhood, Aunt Karen was my second mother/cool friend/special aunt.  It was exciting when she came to visit, and she came for everything!  Halloween, school concerts, track meets, Sunday afternoons.

When I got a little older, she painted my nails before every school dance, took me to my first concert [Alanis Morrissette], and chaperoned my 8th grade social because I wouldn’t let my parents within a 100-foot radius.  When I was in college, she’d drive to Brunswick once a month and take me out to dinner–just to have some family time, off-campus, a break from the dining hall.

In adulthood, and especially motherhood, I didn’t see her as often.  But the little ways she still reached out and supported my children were immeasurable–finding the perfect “speedy” turtle outfit for Bax after his speedy entrance into the world; sending a book about special Aunts that she wanted Charlotte to have; recording a book for both Charlotte and Baxter with her voice reading the story…so that they may always know they had a great Auntie that loved them; planning a 2nd birthday train party for Charlotte when she couldn’t attend the train party at our house–and made sure that she found the best, most colorful, and most interesting train books to add to Charlotte’s shelf, knowing that she is such a little reader.  And above all, always letting me know that she loved me, believed in me, and was thinking of me.

My best recent memory of Aunt K was that she was sitting right beside me (eating lobster!) at the moment I went into labor with Baxter.  The contractions started slow and mild, and between each one she’d squeeze my leg, remind me to eat, or refill my water.  “I don’t know if I’m REALLY in labor” I kept saying (HA!)  But she seemed to know.  And she quietly helped get me the things I didn’t even know I needed.  A few hours later, when everyone came to the hospital, it was a crowded and overwhelming room.  Aunt K took Charlotte by the hand, and they went on a quiet walk down the hallway.  She just knew that Charlotte needed a quiet moment and some special attention.  That was what she did best–knowing what everyone else needed, and making it happen.

I wish I could tell her that I miss her, I love her, and I always thought I’d have the chance to say goodbye.  When someone is dying, you never really know when the end is coming.  And I messed that one up.  I had stuff I wanted to say, and things I wanted her to know.  I’d been feeling pretty rotten about this, until I saw this quote shared by my Aunt Lauree (Karen’s sister).  It doesn’t change the circumstances, but it does give me a little lighter heart and some peace with the reminder that we can–and should–still talk of her, laugh, and love her.

Death is nothing at all.  It does not count.  I have only slipped away into the next room.  Nothing has happened.  Everything remains exactly as it was.  I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.  Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.  call me by my old familiar name.  Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.  Put not difference into your tone.  Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.  Laugh as we always laughed at the things that we enjoyed together.  Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.  Let my name be ever the household name it always was.  Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.  Life means all it ever meant.  It is the same as it ever was.  There is absolute and unbroken continuity.  What is this death but a negligible accident?  Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?  I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.  All is well.

-Henry Scott Holland

I love you Auntie.

Aunts at Christmas

Baxter is 8 months old!

Holy cow….Baxter is actually closer to 9 months old, and I’m just getting around to posting the pictures.

What a little man he has become!  Just after he turned 8 months he started crawling (sort of an army crawl, inchworm move and he’s fast!)  He continues to love his solid food and feeding himself–sometimes I’m amazed at how much he can pack away!  Some favorites are toast with peanut butter or hummus, fish, string cheese, scrambled eggs, and applesauce.  His sleeping is fiiiiinally going well–it was a long road to get to this point!  Two predictable naps a day, bed by 7pm, sometimes a 5am wake up to feed, and then back down until 7am.  Repeat.  This boy sleeps a lot!  But that’s probably because when he’s awake, he never. stops. moving.  Never!

He starting to babble more and more, and with intention!  We can’t tell what he wants to say, but it’s evident that he wants to participate, knows how to get attention, and has a full range of sweet, mad, frustrated, and happy sounds.  Oh Bax!  We love you!

Happy (grand)mother’s day!

In honor of mother’s day, I thought I’d go back a couple weeks to a very special vacation week, where we had visits from not one…not two…but all three great grandmothers!  All within one week!  Memere came first, all the way from Fort Kent on a bus by herself.  She and Charlotte got to watch trucks and tractors run wild around our backyard, as we had our living room jacked up and a new patio installed.

Nana came next, also on a bus all by herself!  Baxter thought Nana was pretty hilarious, and she and Charlotte read tons and tons of books.  It took Charlotte no time at all to warm up to Nana, and climb into her lap for some reading.  Nana even helped babysit while Fred and I took care of some business!

Finally, Bunna came to round out our week.  Charlotte, Nanny, and Bunna went to get Charlotte’s very first big girl haircut.  She looks like such a little girl now, and I am missing her long blonde ringlets.  Bunna joined us for take out supper at home, where Charlotte demanded that Bunna sit right next to her.

We are so lucky to have wonderful family nearby, and I love it when the kids get to visit and make memories with them.