Monday, August 25, 2008

Month 18: My Heart

We are on our second family vacation to San Diego - this year, we're with our friends and their one year old daughter (Ava, Daniel's lady love).

Tonight, Daniel crashed early - today was a big day for him - his first real day at the beach. (Last year, it was cold and he was sick, so it didn't count!) Today he and Ava played in the sand for hours (you can only imagine the places we had to clean later to get all the sand out!)

He's growing more physically affectionate every day, something I have been hoping for for a long time. He now enjoys resting his head on our shoulder when he's sleepy, and giving spontaneous hugs. Sometimes Fernando and I sit on the floor, a few yards apart, and Daniel runs back and forth, throwing himself into our arms for "mama hug" and "dada hug".

Tonight we heard him and Ava giggling on the couch while watching Veggie Tales. We peeked around the corner and witnesses the cutest event in history. No exaggeration. They were leaning on each other, back and forth, to rest their heads while they watched the movie. All of a sudden, Daniel leaned really far and wound up with his head in her lap. He just laid there, watching the movie, and Ava giggled furiously and put her hand on his head. It lasted only a few minutes (Ava began protesting) but it was adorable.

At 6:30, he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer, and I put him down for the night. As usual, I rocked him on my shoulder, singing quietly and patting his back. He went right down, but awoke an hour later with a cry. I went in to check on him, and he wanted "up up up". After a few more songs I realized he just wasn't ready to be alone. So I tried something that has never worked before - I laid down with him. He was curled up on my shoulder, with one leg over my stomach, and he didn't move a muscle... just laid there quietly, hugging me tightly. We laid there for a good twenty minutes - singing quietly, him snuggling in even more...

I don't think my heart has ever hurt that badly. This love is the most bittersweet emotion I have experienced - pure joy and pure ache at the same time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Month 17: Danielle

Ok, I admit it. I would love a daughter. Don't misunderstand me - I adore having a son. It's light years more fun than I ever imagined it would be. And there's nothing more special than a Mommy/Son relationship. But a few events this week illuminated my growing desire for a daughter.

Event #1: Our trip to Michael's. Daniel and I had a few free hours to share, just the two of us. So we ran a few errands and ended up at Michael's Arts & Crafts, wandering down the dress up aisle. (Poor judgement on my part, I know). The pink items were simply too tempting, and before I knew what had happened, Daniel had on neon pink star sunglasses, a pink feather boa and was waving around a fairy princess wand. (To be fair, he didn't seem exactly thrilled...)

Event #2: Dress up time with Mommy! We were doing laundry and hanging up clothes in the closet. Daniel somehow (mysteriously) ended up wearing my green belt wrapped (twice) around his waist, my white loafers, my favorite hat and my tiny orange purse. This time, he had a ball. Lesson learned however, and instead of scarring my son for life, I think we'll just look forward to the adoption of our daughter!

We took our first trip to Goodnight Pediatrics on Friday, as Daniel's cold turned into a respiratory issue that made it extremely difficult for him to breathe (read: wheezing like he was dying). Once we arrived, they confirmed that his oxygen levels were very low, and gave him steroids and two breathing treatments on the spot. At first he resisted the machines (loud and awkward) but by the end of the second treatment, he sat very still while we read to him (loudly).

Once we were home, we continued giving him treatments every few hours as instructed, and allowed him to watch Veggie Tales. He now runs for his red pillow, sits down, reaches for the machine, holds his own gas mask on for the complete treatment (approximately 20 minutes). He is statue still the entire time - it is beyond precious. We aren't sure if he has learned that breathing is easier with the mask, or if he really just loves Veggie Tales that much.

The staff at the Urgent Care said they'd rather not call it asthma at this age, but instead called it Acute Respiratory Disease. Childhood asthma runs in both sides of our families, so I wouldn't be surprised if he does end up with the full blown thing. For now, we know to give him treatments whenever the wheezing starts, and to keep an eye on him when he has a cold.

One last thing I was going to share ... last week, I opened the garage door and was carrying Daniel to the van. I took a deep breath of outside air and said "good morning world!" Daniel, through his oh-so-cool aviator glasses looked up at the sky and said "hi!" This has become a daily ritual now, along with his nightly "bye bye..." as we walk inside.

His enthusiasm for life is contagious - I have never had more fun than living through a one year old!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Month 17: Perfection on Legs

This week was deadline week at work. My largest annual project - a magazine publication (which I adore) - keeps me at the office for 15-18 hour days. I love the project, but I don't love the time away from my family - from Daniel.

He changed so much this week while I was gone. New words, new motions, new games, new everything. My heart hurts for what I missed, and as melodramatic as that sounds, it couldn't be truer.

He is so smart - so incredibly smart. Handsome. Hilarious (what an incredible sense of humor). He's brave and adventurous. Silly and sweet. He is so much more than I expected.

His new word of the day (as of this morning) is "potty". What's funny is that he pronounces it perfectly - carefully - almost with a British accent. "Pah-tee". It's strange to hear perfect pronunciation because all of his other words are far from perfect. The other new and perfect word: "elmo". I was changing his diaper, handed him a fresh diaper, and he says "elmo ... cookie". I look on the diaper and low and behold, there's Elmo and Cookie Monster right there on the diaper. Monster still sounds like "mommer" but we're working on it.

He has fallen in love with showers. He'll even help us strip off all of his clothes just so he can join us in the shower. He loves splashing, and playing with the bowls and nesting cups we keep in there for him. This picture was taken right before a shower began... those sweet little cheeks are so perfect.
He's going to be an amazing brother. Last week we had friends over for dinner. Their little girl (younger than Daniel) was sitting on the floor when Daniel noticed her and walked over. We halfway expecting him to be too rough with her. Instead he walked over, bent down and said "hi..." in that sweet voice of his. He then sat down, got on all fours, crawled over until his nose was almost touching her nose, and kept saying "hi... hi... hi" - waiting for a response. Every time he handed her a toy, she dropped it, and he picked it up and gave it to her again. And again. With endless patience.

I love playing with him physically - tickling - wrestling - hugging - chasing. Fernando constantly encourages me to just relax, get silly, and throw inhibitions to the wind (which is great advice while playing with a toddler!) Sometimes I lay on my stomach and it only takes Daniel a few seconds to notice. He runs over, climbs on my back, plops down, grabs my shirt for balance and yells "Go!" And Mommy-Horsey takes off. He shrieks with joy as we gallop through the house, stopping at every mirror, as nothing delights him more than the sight of himself on Mommy-Horsey.

This morning, he discovered my belly button. (He discovered his last month, with the help of Daddy. He also discovered other parts - if you say "where is your pee-pee?" or "where is your penis?" he will bend all the way forward to see past his belly, and reach up and poke it! Totally hilarious). But I digress. This morning, I was laying down and with one hand he pulled my shirt up over my belly button and with the other he jabbed his finger into my belly button. He loved the reaction he got, and loves getting tickled in return.

He. Is. Too. Perfect. For. Words.