Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Banana Cannon

Dean has started eating "real" food the last few weeks. It is hilarious. We were letting him taste various things for a few months, just to open up his palate to a variety of flavors. He immediately decided he loved ALL food and has been dive-bombing for our plates ever since. He has now had sweet potatoes, prunes, peas, carrots, rice cereal, apple juice, bananas...um, I think that's it. He loved everything but peas. Good taste in my opinion. I have decided that I want to make his food, not feed him canned baby food. Call me organic, call me cheap. I got the book, Super Baby Food, which was recommended by everyone I knew. It is FULL of info. Fairly overwhelming, but it's really getting me excited about this new stage. I got a small food processor and a slew of fruits and veggies to ship up. Tomorrow we try avocado.
I think that the best part about all of this is the experience of feeding him. He's getting better, but still pushes some of the food out of his mouth. He is constantly wanting to feed himself, which doesn't work too well. Actually, I'm not sure that I'm any better at feeding him, than he is at feeding himself. I have starting stripping him down to just his diaper and a bib before feedings to minimize the amount of laundry we rack up each day. He ends up with whatever he's eating in his hair, up his nose, across the forehead, down the arms, on the legs, and all over the high chair. He's so happy doing it all that I don't care how much mess he makes. Plus, we have 2 dogs that are happy to clean up any messes that come into their territory (the floor).
Dean doesn't have any teeth yet, but has the drool of a teething baby. He's learned to do all kinds of tricks with this constant stream of drool. Add the food into it and we have a banana goo cannon! Once it gets warm enough, I'm going to move our eating area out on the porch and just hose it down every few days. Actually, once it gets warm enough I hope to move all of our daily gear outside. I'm ready to be out with the birds and the sun again! Of course, I also have to get Dean a big hat and kiddie tarp to protect his pale, redhead skin. Poor guy. We're still hopeful that he'll get my skin, but it's unlikely. He'll be the little boy at the pool swimming in a hat, long sleeves and pants. Cute, eh?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Disappearing Dimple

Dean has this little dimple in his upper left cheek. It doesn't show up when he smiles, but when he cries or pouts. It's adorable. He is the cutest crier. The saddest thing (other than the fact that I take pictures of my crying baby because i think he's cute) is that his dimple seems to be disappearing. Does that happen? Is there anything physical that we hold onto through our whole lives? We obviously don't keep our baby hair, we lose the chubby cheeks (eventually), our arms finally grow long enough to reach the top of our heads, our skin gets rougher and rougher every day...what do we hold on to?

I found this letter that I wrote to Dean when he was a month old:

Every day I mourn the day before it…the hour before it…the minute before it. Every smile is new. Every expression has new life in it. Dean, the rate at which you develop and change is astounding. I’m afraid that if I don’t spend every second with you, that I’ll miss out on something. I want to be the first thing you see wake up, and the last thing you see when you go to sleep.

I miss the way you would snuggle up on my chest, your legs curled up so you were just a little ball. The way you wouldn’t sleep at night unless you were there. That was quickly replaced with a crib in another room and a full nights sleep. Which is better?

I love the way your belly gets so swollen when you eat, and how you smile when you are falling asleep. I love how your whole face opens up when you smile, and you squirm with joy. I love the expression on your face when you have just discovered something new and the look of determination when you are trying to repeat a movement. I love how you stick your tongue out at us when we do it to you, and how you laugh when we make kissy sounds at you. I love that you know who I am and the sound of my voice. I love being your mom.

I wish I could slow down time and keep you in this stage a while longer. I want to absorb every little bit of you right now. I want to write it all down so that you can know how happy you make me and how much I love you. I never dreamed that I would be able to love someone as much as I love you. God blessed us with an amazing child, for which we are very thankful.

2 weeks old

I don't want to lose the dimple.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So many new talents!

Dean seems more and more like a little kid and less and less like a baby.

He is...
  • sitting up on his own (for the most part at least)
  • incredibly tactile for having tiny little hands
  • feeding himself his bottles
  • addicted to his pacifier
  • putting himself to sleep 2/3 of the time
  • taking 2 big boy naps a day
  • wearing two-piece outfits more than onesies
  • still not crawling, but rolling front to back and back to front and sticking his booty in the air
  • sitting at the table in his high chair while we eat our meals
  • starting to eat baby food (and making GREAT faces)
  • learning new ways to spit or cover every inch of a room in slime
  • riding face forward in the Snugli
  • too big for his little bathtub
  • best friends with his dogs and makes sure to grab their faces and squeal every day
  • really enjoying his new friends, and even holds hands with his "jogging partner" Rowan in the stroller
  • getting redder and redder hair, but we're hoping he'll have tough skin
  • discovering the joy of dirt in your hands and mud between your toes
  • quite a manipulator, but can make my heart melt every time he smiles at me
  • learning that Daddy is the best playmate a guy could want
  • a huge flirt with the ladies
  • not a fan of apple juice

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Family Dreams

Last weekend we took Dean up to DC to visit my brother-and-sister-in-law, Zach and Lauren. Zach works for the Peace Corp in Panama and is in DC for 3 weeks training new volunteers (is this right Zach?). We took advantage of them being in the country and drove up for 2 days. We made this drive around Christmas time to visit family and discovered that you just have to be patient when traveling with a baby, and expect that it will take much longer than anticipated. Normally Josh and I drive 3+ hours straight on car trips. Not so with Dean. The normally 5 hour trip, takes about 6 or so hours. Dean is pretty funny in the car. Sure he has is screaming moments, but those are fewer and farther between these days. Usually he just sits back there and sings to himself, tries to eat his toes while strapped in, talks to his toys, or looks at himself in the baby mirror.

So we piled all of our gear into the car and headed up. Our plan was to put Dean's pack-n-play in the bathroom or closet so that he could sleep in peace while the 4 of us hung out in the hotel room. We even had our room upgraded to make sure there was enough room. Amazingly there was none. The first night we spent whispering and trying not to make any noises, but Dean kept waking up anyway. The next night we were smarter. Now, no one can report me to Social Services for this. We set a laptop up in the room and took one with us down to the common room a few floors below. We used Skype as our baby monitor and were able to hear and see Dean. It worked really well! I recommend it if you are ever in that situation. Dean slept like a log and we were able to play cards and make as much noise as we pleased.

Due to the long car rides we were only really in DC for one full day. We woke up, greeted by a heavy gray sky, 35 degree temps, and rain. Lovely. Lucky for us we had a car with us, although it didn't help a whole lot considering parking in the city. After a long leisurely breakfast, we decided to see what the Holocaust Museum was like. Those of you that have been, you know how intense it is. those who haven't, plan on spending most of the day if you ever go. I was skeptical of how Dean would behave for those hours inside, but again he surprised me and was GREAT! He spent an hour or so in the Snugli, an hour or so asleep in Zach's arms, and a few hours being passed around and shown the sights. All of the things to look at really kept him busy. Like I said, he did GREAT!

We spent our remianing time, eating as much as possible, talking over coffee and tea, discussing plans and dreams for the future, and describing our experiences so far as parents. We explained that so far we don't really feel like parents, as much as caregivers. We aren't really parenting yet, as I understand the word.

It was so fun to see Zach and Lauren playing with Dean, feeding him, helping to put him to sleep. Thank you Lauren for helping me with the "bath" in the sink that was too small for Dean to sit in. I love to think about Dean growing up with his aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Every interaction seems to trigger a memory that I have of summers at the lake or on the Bay. Josh and I are always recounting some adventure we had with our cousins, or vacation at our grandparents' houses. I hope that Dean gets to have beach trips with his cousins getting a rash on his stomach from riding the waves all day, or experiences a lake trip where he never takes his swim suit off except to go eat at Julia's Talleyhouse, or gets to go out on the Bay with his great uncles and swim in the not-too-salty-not-too-fresh water of the Chesapeake. Maybe he'll get to go hike the jungles of Panama with Uncle Zach, or hike the mountains of Guatemala with Aunt Elizabeth. Maybe he'll go to Cooperstown with Uncle Mark and Deeda, letting them recount their own trip years ago, or maybe he'll stroll the streets of Europe while Jim tells him about the different buildings and where the people from his history books lived years ago. I hope he gets some of Deeda's musical talent and that the 2 of them can play a duet at the Christmas Eve service. I can envision the days fixing things at the farm with Dave and the cookie baking with Grammy. I can't wait to see the adventures in the woods that he goes on with Zeeba, or the dance lessons that Uncle Joel gives him. There are so many things that he is going to do and see withhis family. I love sitting around and thinking about them and wondering what he'll be like. I can already see his sense of adventure and wonderment at the outdoors.

I've included some pictures of Dean with various family members. I'm embarrassed to say that i have a million pictures of Dean, and very few of him with anyone. I don't even have one of Mark or Zach with Dean! If you have any pictures of him, send them to me please.

Grammy (2 months)

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Barricklow (4 months)

Zebah (6 weeks)

Deeda (6 weeks)

Great Granddaddy and Patty (4 months)

Grandpa (2 1/2 weeks)

Aunt Elizabeth (5 hours)

Uncle Joel (5 hours)

Uncle Jim (4 1/2 months)

Aunt Lauren (4 1/2 months)