Monday, December 5, 2011

Going Mobile

It is now December. I feel pretty lousy, considering I didn't really blog much about Thanksgiving, or what has happened over the past couple weeks. But if you take into account how busy you keep me, and believe that we have spent plenty of time with family, you can excuse some of it. We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I stuffed myself on several turkeys over the course of a few days, and since you started solids you got to eat sweet potatoes and a few other goodies that coincide with the holiday.

That being said, I am proud to announce that you have recently begun scooting! Now, instead of rolling all over the place, you can make a beeline for whatever target you like. This typically consists of wires, shoes.. oh you know, anything you can get your hands on that's *not* a colorful toy. It began on November 30, and was a moment you shared with your father in the bedroom. I heard him telling me how you were making your way from one point to another, but it didn't really dawn on me exactly what was happening until the next day when I saw it for myself. I cannot believe you have crossed this milestone so suddenly. I feel like I was caught completely unaware! But I am so pleased for you, though now you get extremely angry when we remove you from danger, or return you to our sights. Oh, the misery of having boundaries!

Below: You and your 11 month old cousin, Annadee. She's already a full fledged crawler, and you will soon be too! (November 2011)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Today I am giddy with joy. I am pretty polite about expressing myself, so if you ever find yourself wondering if I am cold hearted or uncaring, just know that it's in there somewhere.

Beowulf has been missing for about a month now.. at least he was. Two night ago he made his first appearance. He ran up to the door, and then away, but I had such a good look at him. He circled around throughout the night several more times, each time running away. He was scared of me, and people in general. A friend of mine suggested that he had gone feral, and that I would have to trap him, but I didn't have the heart. Your father left food out, and I took it as a blessing just to have seen him. He was alive, he was well, and that was good enough for me.

Last night, he returned again, only this time, Draco corralled him! I saw Draco chasing him our way, and then Beowulf was in our midst... so close and yet too scared to come near. That's when your father handed me pieces of sandwich meat to lure him towards me, and it worked! I began tossing the meat to him, and gradually tossing it closer and closer to myself, until he was eating out of my hand. Then, I picked him up and brought him inside. I think even he was happy to be back, for he remembered everything. As I was laying with you and your father in bed, I heard a little meow, and Beowulf appeared and demanded we pet him. Then, he snuggled with us all for the evening. He remembers everything, including where the food and litter box are, and has been especially affectionate now that he's home. He keeps laying beside you as well, and you can't keep your hands off of him! You keep grabbing his fur, you're so excited to pet the cats and it's so cute. I try to help you learn how to pet them gently, but at times you get carried away and just grab as much fur as your little fist can hold.

Our plan is to at least get a good collar for Beowulf, so that if he does run off, at least people will know he has a home. However, with Thanksgiving looming so close, this is one extra thing I have to be thankful to the Gods for. Just think, at Thanksgiving you will be enjoying tasty food right along side us! Of course we will give some turkey to the cats, and while you may not get to have turkey, you still get to eat with us. As of your birthday you have officially graduated to two meals a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. You can hold your sippy cup with a bit more of a grip now. I should also mention here that you are very independent. There are times when  you just refuse to nurse, but you are hungry and will take it from the bottle. You still like to be held, but you enjoy being able to look around freely while you eat in my arms. I don't mind at all really, though pumping can be an annoyance. I still breastfeed you at night and when trying to get you to nap. So I would say that your eating habits have been your biggest milestone lately, other than just being able to sit up better. You still cannot crawl, and just kick your feet when you are anxious to get somewhere. You do roll all over the floor, if that counts for mobility. Eating is a perfect theme though, given that Thanksgiving day is just around the corner!

Below: What a pair! Ya Harley, hanging on the couch at his house. I like how you are both holding remotes. (November 2011)

Cesar's Stats

It's time for a six month update! As before, some of these things I’ve taken motherly/creative liberties with, which I’ll mark with *.  

(October 2011)

Age: 6 months
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Brown
Weight: 21 lbs.
Height: NA(Blame your father, who forgot the measurements)
Sign: Taurus
Chinese Zodiac: Rabbit

Favorite Color: Orange*
Favorite Animal: Monkey* (as decided by your Grandpa Harley)
Favorite Toy:  George the Monkey for sleepy time, Graco Car Walker
Favorite Food: Avocados, Banana
Favorite Activity: Rolling around, putting everything in your mouth! When mommy and daddy hold you upside down, or take your arms and swing you in the air.. you really are a monkey!
Least Favorite Activity:  Naptime
Likes: Playing "Mexican Airplaine!" with daddy, Trying to pet the cats, Getting attention from ANYONE
Dislikes: Being inside for too long, laying down for too long

You are a fantastic eater! We gradually introduced food from varying sessions, to every mid morning, and now have started you on two meals a day. You like to hold your own sippy cup, and you sometimes just demand a bottle over the boob. You are very independent, but there's a mama's boy that lingers in there. Most people say you are ahead for your age. I'm not sure about that, but you are extremely alert all of the time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Baby Fat

 Above: A couple of guys just hanging out. It's you and Grandpa Harley! I think this is such a cute shot. (November 2011)

"'Tis not the season for dieting," is my motto for these holidays. I've been struggling with body image a lot lately, well my entire life to be perfectly honest. I have loads of extra baby weight, but at this time I've decided I'm not going to worry about it. Not when I have limited time. Instead I plan to give myself a makeover, inside and out. I want to take care of myself a little more intensely (without sacrificing time for you, naturally) and work on my personality. Sometimes I miss the way I was, and I'm not referring to my "before baby" time. In fact, I am inspired by you. When I look at your smile, or when you laugh, it makes me so happy. You are always receiving compliments for what a happy little boy you are. I am so proud when people compliment you, but what really amazes me is your lack of concern. You don't care if people think you are too fat, or too thin, or too active, or too lazy. Your milestones are the least of your concerns. You have no desire to meet anyone's demands and if it should just so happen that you learn to sit at the "right time" its in no way because you are striving to please anyone. I love that. I admire that.

I don't particularly miss my younger years. Not because I had a terrible childhood or because I was robbed of playtime, but because I can't go back to that and I don't know if I would want to. I'm used to the person I've become. I've lived many good memories but also many embarrassing, irrational, hormonal times that were very awkward or difficult. I think it's silly when adults say they wish they could go back to those times... do they really feel that way? I feel happy to be the person I am, and sometimes I look back on who I was an shake my head, but I feel like I've achieved something now. Still, what I do miss was my blind confidence. That time before appearance meant so much. I just thought I was pretty, and I lived that way. I dressed how I wanted to, and I acted like I was as pretty as a movie star. I don't know what changed. I can name a few possibilities but overall I think it was just many things over time that dwindled that confidence. I started realizing how important the numbers on a scale were, and that I was way over the max. When I was younger, I didn't really care about those numbers. I just dismissed them because when I looked in the mirror I was so pleased with myself I thought that losing the weight would be easy, and in a way, it was. I'd like to get a little bit of that back.

And what's more important, is I hope you never lose that about you. I am certain you will to some degree, that's just the nature of things. But I hope you don't obsess over it, or torture yourself. I hope you can eat a cookie of mine here and there and find them delicious, something to indulge on a nice winter's night with a hot cup of cocoa. Tonight, I'm baking sugar cookies. It was my first time, but I made stars. I topped them with icing I made, a bright orange color, and red crazed designs. They don't look very professional, but for a first time, I think they made for fantastic practice. I'm so proud of all the cookies I've made lately. I have plenty of dough frozen as well, which means less work later. In the meantime, you are still eating avocado and banana as well as hummus. Food right now isn't a big priority for you, and you're still having a bit of trouble sitting up. You do quite well for a time and then you lean and topple over. Also, you've been extremely cranky lately. I think you might have begun teething again, though there's nothing that I can see just yet or feel.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A visit to VincentWorld

Women, Cesar. Heck, women, men.. it doesn't matter really. Gifts for whomever you chose to buy them for are a symbol of the care and thought you put into another person. There are a variety of "types" of gifts. They range from gifts that are meant to be a joke, otherwise known as 'gag' gifts, to trinkets that are souvenirs, to gifts that are specifically chosen as representations of deep love. They can be as extravagant or as simple as you wish, and expense really has nothing to do with it. A gift, whether it costs a pretty penny or is handmade, is only worth as much as the receiver will value it.

So now I'm going to tell you a funny story. When I was younger I learned a lot about my mother mainly in that there were very few things she actually desired. She was more of a gift giver than a receiver so one Mother's Day I paid very close attention to what she might like. The holiday came closer and as usual, my father was last minute about it. He's a wonderful man, your Grandpa Harley, brilliant really. But also very last minute about gifts. We jumped from store to store in search of a movie I told him mom would want. Love Potion #9. A romantic movie, but one she wanted. If I had been older I would have realized that store hopping probably wasn't as fun or as practical for my father as it was for my brother and I as children. Eventually, my father settled on a new idea... Highlander. I told him it was wrong. I told him there was no way. He rationalized it. He told us that he remembered she had seen it once and liked it, and that was that.

As I child, I was all too proud to vocalize my victory. To announce that the look on my mother's face translated her disappointment was overkill, but I didn't know any better. I just knew that I was right. It probably hurt my dad's feelings a lot. Then again, since my mom's feelings were hurt as well, so it probably evened out quite nicely. Of course, I won't bother to tell you about the time my dad got my mom coffee pots on three consecutive holidays.. though I like to bring it up whenever I can. He's definitely gotten better these past few years, but it still makes for some hilarious stories.

So please, take note, but laugh when I tell you that your father is ridiculous. Sometimes I like to say that he lives in VincentWorld. In VincentWorld, things are much different. I don't talk nearly as much and my opinions are vastly different. This is why I had little expectations when your father left to Mexico, and promised to bring us back his usual trinkets. I asked for a bottle of liquor, but he insisted he was going to get one anyway, and that he would bring me back something else... so expectations rose a tiny bit. Then, he told me during a phone call he had gotten me something that I was really going to like... and my expectations rose a bit higher. First thing I pictured was a little skull from the recent Day of the Dead celebration... something like that. I could add it to my Halloween collection for next year. Your father has this silly little rule going on that he "doesn't buy girls jewelry," so that was out of the question. Okay, I get his rule. I don't like it (somewhere in the back of my mind, a little voice squeaks, "but I'm not a girl.. I'm... I'm special, aren't I?").  But just because you have that rule doesn't mean you get to slack off and buy whatever! So are you ready for the funny part? Your father presents me with a little toy guitar. I felt so bad, because my thought process told me that you are the kid, you're the baby, so when he said he had something for you also, I immediately thought he was trying to trick me, that he was going to pull out something beautiful and pretend like he had switched the gifts around. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Above: Your present and mine. You got a little sombrero, and that's my guitar which I donated to you. Honestly, I wonder if he just bought you the hat and guitar and forgot about me altogether. I'm joking of course. (November 2011)

I'm sure I looked a little confused when I said, "Um, what am I supposed to do with this?" Of course, naturally I was scolded for being unappreciative, but in my defense I couldn't help it! I gave you the guitar instead, and at least you got some great use out of it. I'm really glad you like it, because I would have felt just awful if no one were around to appreciate it. And please, honey, it's not that I didn't appreciate what your father was trying to do. I just sometimes wonder if he knows me as well as I think he does. On a funny note, I was so upset that I had to count all of the other reasons your father is so wonderful, and as I did I found that I was less and less hurt and more amused by the audacity of it. Your father is terrible at gift selection, but it just means that I have to be specific (insist on that bottle of liquor!). There's no use in letting one flaw cancel out ten great qualities that your father has about him. I'm certain that in VincentWorld I really liked the gift and it was all I'd ever wanted and RealWorld Amanda probably hurt your dad's feelings by the recoil reflex that was beyond my control.

So that's my funny story for you about your father and I for now. At least he returned in one piece, and that is something I am extraordinarily grateful for.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Placing the blame...

Your father left for Mexico today. I hope he is alright. He called me last just after crossing the border, but we weren't certain he would have service in Monterrey. I'm going to assume that he does not, but come Sunday I will be anxious to hear back from him. I get a little worried because of all the violence in Mexico. It's mainly attributed to all of the drug related activities, and tourists aren't really targeted because of this, but accidents happen. Vincent is so confident and sure. I tell him to be safe and that nothing had better happen to him.

That leaves  you here with me, and incidentally, you refuse to go to sleep. I had this idiotic vision that I would get you to bed around your normal time, then I would have a few hours to watch a movie and enjoy myself. Well, aren't you the cruel one! You decided that you just won't fall asleep! So, I've decided to blame your father tonight. After all, if he were here he could put you to sleep with his magic. It's that passive calm he has about him that works so well with you. But no, he decided to go enjoy his vacation time, to make the most of it! Meanwhile, I am here trying to entertain you.

Of course, I hope you realize that was completely sarcastic. It's a game your father and I play. We try to decide whose fault it is whenever something goes out of whack. Sometimes we blame each other, sometimes we blame you (typically when we've decided to have a momentary peace treaty), and other times, we all gang up together and just blame the president (Obama). Life, after all, is all about where to place the blame. It's a cool lesson you will learn soon enough. Everyone wants to blame something or someone when things don't go according to plan, and it may be you sometimes even when the fault does not lie with anyone at all. We try not to take it too seriously, which is why we took up this charade. Blame is sometimes so overrated, especially since most of the time it doesn't alleviate the situation, it just gives us a target for anger. So... that's my lesson for today. In the meantime, you are crying again, so I am off to see if I can't get you to sleep again.

Above: You and your father, wearing matching WWE shirts hailing the wrestler known as The Rock. What a cute pair! (October 2011)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Monkeys love bananas!

Above: In your crib! With pirate PJ's! It all matches. As you can tell, your crib is open on the front. That is because it is set against our bed so that we can all sleep together. (October 2011)

 Your father has been on vacation since Saturday. I hope we aren't too boring for him, though I really haven't been doing what I normally do either. Usually, when he goes to work, I go about my day, which includes cleaning, entertaining and teaching you, and trying to find a bit of time to enjoy myself. I suppose since he has come on vacation, I have sort of jumped onto that bandwagon with you. I figure it's the best I can do, seeing as a stay-at-home-mother I really don't get vacation in the same sense at this time. So I've been very lazy about my duties and about reading to you. We've been watching TV, pigging out on the spoils of candy from Halloween, and just in general having a lazy time of it.

Still, that doesn't mean I'm a complete slob. I've done laundry, and after Monday I reluctantly removed the Halloween decorations and began the packing process. I really don't have anything for Thanksgiving, but I don't mind that so much since Yule is fast approaching right behind it.

Your father may or may not go to Mexico after all. Things sort of went up in the air because he lost his wallet, and had to go about getting all of his items replaced, which can be a big hassle. He hopes to go, but if so it will be for maybe a day, which isn't much. I feel bad about it because I now he loves to travel, and with Mexico so close it was one of his favorite getaways. I hope he doesn't get frustrated about not going. I try to encourage him to go whenever he can, but one day just doesn't seem like much fun, especially since he wants to take a bus there and that will take hours just for the travel time. One day I hope we can take a family vacation somewhere together, and I hope someday, when you are older and mature, he will take you south of the border as well.

In the meantime, today you tried banana. I ate most of it, but your father mashed up a nice little bit for you. The nice thing about letting you eat sparingly right now is that you aren't having to eat jarred up, processed baby food. We can share bits of fresh things with you, and somehow I find that so much more appealing. You enjoyed banana very much, just the same as you did avocado and hummus. You get a terribly ugly loo on your face at first, and then you become excited and start crying for more or grabbing the spoon and shoving it into your mouth!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Havoc done.. onto Thanksgiving!

I meant to blog yesterday, but I became so wrapped up in the day I was unable to. Anyway, Cesar you were very well behaved last night! First I'd like to say that we had a nice, easy morning. While you have taste tested a few things here and there through the course of your early life, the past couple of days you have actually had a few bites, as I figured we are about to introduce solid food, so rather than bombard you with it all at once I would casually introduce you to bits. First was avacado. It's so hilarious whenever you try new foods, because your faces scrunches up and your eyebrows become knitted in a look of disgust. Then, you begin to get happy, and reach for the spoon eagerly. At once point you grabbed it and wrapped your mouth around it without anything on it! It was so exciting. You have been so anxious to try table food, just like "big people" which to me says you're ready for some samplings. Yesterday Vincent took us out to a restaurant where you tried hummus, and boy did you love it! I was so pleased. I think the best thing about having a child is watching them share new experiences with you.

Above: Family photo! Your father (Alberto Del Rio), yourself (Stewie Griffin), and myself. I was supposed to be Hera, but I failed to acquire any peacock decor. Your aunt Miranda said she thought of Athena when she saw me, so that works as well! (Halloween 2011)

Anyhow, before we left to the fairgrounds of Helotes, where my father was, we left out offerings for the dead on the doorstep. One was a small bowl of wet dog food and cat food for lost pets, and the other was for humans. My mother told me I should share what I enjoy, so Vincent put out popcorn (I eat popcorn nearly every day!) and added peanuts... the peanuts just seemed like a good mix. I lit a small votive candle in a safe glass with water and we departed. I'll have you know that by the time we got back all of the pet food was gone, and this morning, all of the popcorn was gone so there were only nuts left, and the votive had burned completely down.

The fairgrounds were busy, bustling with loads of costumes. Most of the events were for older kids. They had FOUR bouncy castles, and hay rides (Vincent calls them "hick" rides) and little fun things. I think when you get a little older you will have much more fun. The stimulation made you very cranky, but that was ok. I imagine from a baby's perspective such an explosion of people and activity and colors must be very overwhelming. But it was worth it to have you see your grandfather and share a bit of your first Halloween with him. Your father also had a good time. There were two small boys dressed as wrestlers, who immediately recognized who he was (Alberto Del Rio) and they got all excited and their father asked for a picture of them together. It was very awesome and made your father's night.

Then we proceeded over to your Grandmother Melinda's house. We said hellos to the family, but I wanted to go Trick 'R Treating as well. Hey, the best thing about breastfeeding you is that you can enjoy the candy... if I eat it! So away we went. We just went about the block, but we hit a few houses. It is heartwarming to see that there are still houses proudly handing out candy, keeping the tradition alive. We even came to a house that just had a bowl of candy and a sign reading, "Take the candy, leave the bowl." Well, at least they were kind enough to leave it out! It's a good idea in case Vincent and I ever go to a party or something if we have a house. Anyhow, you had a much nicer time Trick 'R Treating because we walked so much, and you had so many compliments on just how cute you were. I don't think you made a very menacing Stewie, but that's alright.

After that we went back to the house, where everyone was hanging out, drinking, and having an overall good time. I even had a beer, but just one so that I could drive us all home safely later on that night. As soon as we came home I was beat. You crashed out, and then your father and I followed suit just shortly after. I'd say, for your first Halloween, it was splendid. I saw so many costumes! From a skeleton dressed dog, to Strawberry Shortcake, to werewolves and ghouls!

Now, the next holiday is Thanksgiving. Today I have been taking down decor from All Hallow's Eve and packing the little bit of it up. I'm not certain what we will be doing for Thanksgiving, but by then you will be eating some solids, so it's quite perfect timing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Fantasy Realm for the Night

Above: Your Aunt Miranda put her beanie on you, and you wore it! You are more receptive to dressing up than I previously assumed you would be. You even put on sunglasses before, which surprises me since you had to wear those dark eye covers strapped down when you were a newborn. (October 2011)

Halloween costumes are such a big part of the tradition! People believe the tradition of dressing up began because on Samhain it was told that fairies, ghosts, and other supernatural beings were out and about on this night, when the veil between the world of the dead and the world of the living is at its thinnest. Food and drink were left out to placate these spirits by homeowners so some say that this evolved over time into the idea of Trick 'r Treating. Or perhaps, others also say, the idea of wearing costumes derived from those that wore costumes in order to scare away the ghosts and ghouls by dressing up just as foul, or to protect themselves by "blending in" with the creatures of the night.

In any case, it's a big part of the holiday, and VERY important to me. I don't take costumes lightly. My mother always made our costumes or gathered the supplies from thrift shops. I didn't always appreciate that as a child, watching all of the other kids get store bought costumes. That is, until Halloween night. Then, with the finished product, I would boldly go about asking for candy and soaking up all of the compliments I would get for my original costume, while all of the other kids wore costumes that were cheaply made and falling apart. I hope I can do just as wonderful a job. I want to ask for a sewing machine for Christmas, so I can start honing in my skills, and because I do enjoy sewing! But in the meantime, I can hand sew, and I think we are creative enough to get by without. I have your outfit all set. Since you are so small I wanted something easy, that wouldn't require you to have to wear anything too special. Also, we didn't want anything typical, so Stewie, a character from Family Guy, was our favored choice! We found the red suspenders and yellow shirt at the thrift shop early on, and little shoes. I also found a small, stuffed Brian (the dog character who always accompanies Stewie) at the shop. So you're all set!

My mother was a big help for my costume. I'm still not certain what I would have been without her, but then, I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason! She found a costume for a Roman Goddess at a shop. It was only two dollars! It's perfect, and she sent me gold jewelry of hears to wear. I intent to work on some gold hair pieces to complete the outfit, and I will be Juno! Roman Queen of the Gods, known as Hera to the Greeks. Don't turn up your nose... she's beautiful, and in truth, I'd be really scared if she turned a negative eye to me! Hera/Juno was known to be a patron of marriage and women, but she was also known for her vengeful nature towards anyone who embarrassed her. Many stories involve her thwarting heroes or punishing someone.

And your father, of course, will be Alberto Del Rio! Today we found a suit at the shop. It was as if it was meant to be! I thought for sure he would be looking for ages, because often nice suits are hard to find. But he found a black suit, the jacket with the matching pants! They have tiny red stripes as well, which matches the shirt he was going to wear. Next, we had to go belt hunting. That was the most expensive piece of the outfit that could not be made. We ended up going to three stores before we found a child's WWE championship belt. It just barely fits him! And it was twenty dollars and so cheaply made.. but hey.. your father is so excited, and it really completes the outfit. I just told him we were NEVER going to get rid of that belt for how expensive it was! Lastly, Alberto wears a white scarf with gold letters embroidered. Here's where I get to get creative. We found a white cloth at the shop.. I've had to cut it lengthwise to make the scarf, so I'm having to arrange the trimming, and I bought gold paint to write the letters A and R which are at each end of the scarf.

My favorite thing about costumes isn't even that I expect mine to be the best. I really get involved because I ADORE seeing everyone dressed up. It's almost like a reunion of characters from all across worlds have come together and are meeting. It's my favorite part of the Halloween experience. I feel like I'm in a fantasy realm, watching a variety of characters interact. For this night everything is possible. You can meet or be your hero! You can be frightening, or ugly, or crazy and you are welcomed into another world. You can't be certain who you may come across! It's so phenomenal in that sense. I just love that each of us are something different and unique to us. Your cousin Oscar is going to be a fireman, and Annadee is going to be a cute little fairy bug. Your Aunt Miranda is going to be a black cat, and hopefully Aunt Kellie dresses up as well! I heard your Uncle Oscar won't, which is totally lame! I always feel a little bit of disappointment for those who don't dress up, especially when their excuse is, "It costs to much." Ridiculous! In any case, I'm really looking forward to taking a ton of pictures!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh to be Spoiled, errr Loved

So much has happened lately! To begin with, I am grieving just a bit. It's day four, rather, it's the END of day four since Beowulf disappeared. We started opening the windows to air out the house in this beautiful cool weather. Vincent and I had been discussing the cats going outside. Now that they are neutered and vaccinated, we thought it was a pretty good idea. The problem was these horrible collars. While the intention is noble, the design of a breakaway collar is cheap and a waste for consumers. The darn things came off the cats without so much as a tug. So now, Beowulf is gone and not returned, and if anyone sees him he has no collar. Here's my main worries: Beowulf is skiddish. He's nervous. I'm afraid even if someone does try to feed him, he will run away. Also, I wouldn't feel bad if I knew he was gone because he didn't want to come back. I feel bad because I'm worried something happened and he simply cannot come back. I'm having a hard time with it. I loved him and he was my "cuddle monster" for around five years. He loved you as well. I could hold you up to him, and you would throw your hands into his fur and grab. He'd just let you do it. One time you even grabbed a hunk of his facial fur, and he pulled your head to his wide open mouth. He just let you! I had to make you let go, saying, "Hey, you can't eat the kitty!"

I also have become ill. I lost my voice, which has never happened before. It was strange in a way, to be bound by silence. I felt as if there was a bit of enlightenment to be had, or a lot. Mostly though, I was grateful to you. My raspy attempts you found hilarious. You laughed and were very well behaved for the most part.

On Friday your father took us to meet Alberto Del Rio. As you know, your father is a wrestling fanatic. I keep trying to convince him to dress up as one of his favorites for Halloween - Alberto. Alberto is the current WWE champion, and he's a "bad" guy. He's known as the Mexican Aristocrat and this latest Pay Per View was here in San Antonio. Your father was so excited. I love seeing him really into something, and if you're anything like it I will be so pleased. He gets so animated, and I can almost feel the excitement emanating from him when he's on the verge of something great. So it was this past Friday, the day I lost my voice. It was a last minute thing really. We were at a thrift shop, getting you a high chair and a new car seat. By the way, might I also add that I am extremely proud of us! Your father paid just fifteen dollars for a high chair I chose and a car seat he found. They needed a bit of cleaning up, but they cleaned up very nicely! Anyhow, while at the shop your father said Alberto was signing autographs at a shop downtown according to his buddy. So away we went. Boy were we lucky! Just minutes after we arrived they closed off the line for autographs. We were at the tail end! You were so patient and calm. I realize as a five month old you have no clue for the famous, the rich, the poor, or the unknown. I love that in children. You just accept people for the happiness they bring you. Still, it was a treat that your father was so happy to share with you. He prides himself on telling you that at just five months old you've seen every pay per view, the first being aired the very day you came home from the hospital! Also, that you have been to a local wrestling show, and now that you actually "met" a big time wrestler. It really makes me smile, and I hope that even if your interests change over time that you value how much your father wanted to include you in his little passion. Personally I think Wrestling is just a nice soap opera, but what really makes me enjoy it is the memories we make. Your father says you are so spoiled when it comes to wrestling, because he never got all these perks, but I know it's his way of sharing a favorite past time with someone he loves. Anyhow, despite the long wait, Alberto was quiet and fairly nice. At least, that's what I gathered in the split second I had with him. My mind was so scattered I was hardly looking at him! I was far too busy trying to perfect the moment for your father and you. First, your father had his autograph and photo with you taken. Ever the conversationalist, he made a few remarks and the wrestler laughed! Then, it was my turn. I kept looking around to try and get moving, and I managed to focus for a split second to say, "C..," then I looked around to see where Vincent was and who had the camera, and then refocused, "Can I have your autograph?"  I don't know if he was expecting something more, or if he was just waiting for me to watch him sign the paper, because he just looked at me until I asked, then nodded. He looked like he had experienced a long day and was run down already, but he did seem nice enough. Your father was so very excited! He told him, "Way to take out Rey Mysterio!" which made him laugh, and then on his way out he shouted, "Be sure to take down Del Rio.. oh.. I mean Cena!"

Below: Your father and Alberto Del Rio.. and you, Cesar! Too bad his entourage wanted the line to move along so fast. I wasn't allowed to take the picture, so this rather annoying blonde woman just clicked away and that was that. Still, you are adorable as always. (October 2011)

On a side note, I'm sorry I haven't had much of a chance to discuss Halloween in this post. So much has happened! You've begun to sit up on your own very well. You still cannot rise to a sitting position from lying down, but if I sit you up you can hold yourself up for a nice amount of time while playing with your toys. That, to me, is a HUGE milestone. You accomplished this on the 19th. You're father let you try on your own and we sat around in wonder. Naturally, I had to take a dozen photos. I was so proud. Watching you grow is the most amazing thing I've witnessed, and I'm really looking forward to your first Halloween. I found a small stuffed Brian toy to go with your Stewie costume. I am going to be a Roman goddess. My mother was kind enough to send me a beautiful dress! And your father.. well I personally think he looks plenty like Alberto Del Rio.. I keep encouraging him to dress up as the wrestler! It would be simple enough. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Carving!

Today was a full day for us. First, we ventured out with your Aunt Kellie to the park. We took a walk with your cousin Annadee, and then we went back to her house where we saw your Uncle Oscar and your cousin Oscar. After that we all went to the park and your Uncle Oscar assisted you in going down your first slide! It was a small slide, and he held your hands up while you laid back and just guided you down. You didn't seem to quite get the slide at first, you had the funniest look of confusion. The third time you actually put your feet down and your uncle had to tell you, "You're stopping yourself!" Not that you understood, but it was cute none the less.

This evening we carved your first pumpkin! Your father did the carving, while I gutted them out so I could bake the seeds. Jack-O-Lanterns are a timeless tradition for Halloween. I read an Irish tale of a man named Jack. Jack was a trickster and a drunk. He liked to play his little pranks on anyone and he tricked the Devil into climbing a tree. When the Devil was in the branches he hung a cross on the trunk and the Devil was unable to climb down. When Jack died, he was not allowed into Heaven because of his cruelty, but when he went down to Hell the Devil would not allow him to enter either (some say the Devil wouldn't let him enter because he held a grudge, others say it is because Jack bargained with the Devil, allowing him to come down from the tree if he promised that he would never allow Jack to enter Hell) . So Jack wandered as a lost spirit and confused by the darkness he asked the Devil how he was to navigate. The Devil tossed him an ember which Jack placed in a hollowed turnip, a food he carried with him everywhere and that became his lantern. Most any food could be hollowed, but over time it became a pumpkin. Regardless of how this all came to be, carving a pumpkin is a typical thing for most households. Jack O Lanterns are believed to ward off evil spirits.

 Above: Your father tried to show you the little pumpkin we were carving for you so you could feel it. You went straight away to trying to eat it! (October 2011)

It makes me so happy we can all do this together, even if you will not remember. I think the good feelings we share WILL carry over throughout the duration of your life, so I try to bear that in mind always. The universe is a blend of energies. I believe in little things, like warding off evil... I think most people do even if it's only a little. However, I also believe that when bad things happen, it is part of life and you must bear these terrible happenings with grace. You have the power to turn these energies into something positive. So don't always feel like the world is against you if you are having a bad time. Please try to stay strong. Do what you can to avoid negativity, but when it is unavoidable you must work your hardest to transform it into something positive. Your father is very good at this. He takes most bad news with a sense of ease, like no matter what happens it doesn't seem to phase him. I am not so peaceful as that. I throw fits or get upset, though I work to overcome it. I hope that you do not inherit some negative view of the world. It can be hard, but you can often times take more than you think. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Return of the Butterflies

Samhain is said to have began as a Celtic tradition. Samhain translates to "summer's end," which was a pivotal point in their calendar year. It is believed that on this night, the veil between the world of the dead, and the world of the living, is at it thinnest.

That being said, variations of Samhain are found throughout many cultures, even those that recognize Halloween as more of an American practice. Your father, Vincent, is making plans to visit his cousin in Mexico just after October 31st since he has vacation at that time. Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead, or Los Dias de los Muertos (Oct. 31- Nov. 2). This is a joyous time of celebration and reverence for lost loved ones. An old Aztec belief that butterflies carry the spirits of their departed ancestors still carries on. In the fall season, scores of Monarch butterflies return to the oyamel fir trees of Mexico.

Today I watched my first horror movie of the season. Since you were teething I rocked you to sleep and left you in my arms while I watched the movie. It was recommended to me by my friend, Patricia and was called The Baby's Room. It was classified as a foreign film from Mexico, and featured subtitles (which I prefer to dubbing). So you could say we had a Mexican themed spook day! You slept soundly throughout most of the film, which I am thankful for. Your tooth has not broken through yet, and I can definitely tell by the way you cry. You are currently in a decent mood after your nap and you're sitting in my lap while I write this. I wonder sometimes if you will go to Mexico with your father when you get older. Right now there is a lot of violence going on. It worries me that Vincent goes, but he assures me that it is mostly drug cartels who are lashing out against specific people. He says that while the occasional tourist is hit, it is extremely rare. This is because the tourists bring welcome money, and really have nothing to do with the trafficking. Still, it unsettles me. I wonder if you will have the confident attitude of your father and how much I will worry about you. As I look upon you now, I think that yes, one day you will be a great man, but I will always be able to envision you like this.

Below: Your father pushes your stroller down Broadway street here. The street was closed off for a fitness event, and loads of people were biking, walking, and even rollerblading down the long stretch. We, on the other hand, were picking a place to eat!  It is funny for me to think that one day you will be walking alongside him, and someday you might even be taller than him! (October 2011)

Friday, October 7, 2011

City Witch

Above: Me and you! I am not very photogenic, so it is rare I take pictures with you, and because no one has a camera around, it's typically me taking the pictures. None the less, This is the most recent photo of us. You have grown so much and I am so proud! (P.S. In the window the words read: MORTALS BEWARE... for those passing by!)

Tis the season to reconnect with the Gods! A time for spooky apparitions, being grateful, and merry happenings. We begin with Halloween, or Samhain. It is the holiday that, for modern day people, signals the time when our nights grow longer, and for parents it is a time for passing down the traditions our families gave to us. I love Halloween. As a child I was proud that my family spent so much effort into making it special. Even as my parents began their separation I remember them coming together to ensure that Halloween was still a hit. Over the years Halloween has lost its allure for many. I can't put too much blame out there, because I recognize some of the fears that people share. In an era when people don't know their neighbors, when children are snatched up or killed, it can be a little alarming. Even when I was young there were dangers. After Halloween we would go home and my brother and I would dump our collections on the table, awaiting inspection. Any candy that looked suspicious was thrown out. If the wrappers looked loose, or the candy appeared untrustworthy for any reason, it went into the trash. Because of the fears we have for our children, Halloween has dwindled down to a night of parties for adults, and most children end up going to designated "safe" environments to Trick or Treat.. environments such as schools or malls where the candy is given out by store owners or teachers. I can only hope that one day Halloween will make a come back, that people will come together and decorate their houses with a vengeance. I think in a time when we have so many safeguards kids should soon be out again. Cell phones are in the hands of younger and younger children, who can call if they feel unsafe, and I would not want you to go without a few friends on your side. And there is the added plus that the people in my generation long for the return of Halloween. Well, we can only hope. In the meantime, we live in an apartment, so to begin with we won't be spending Halloween here. Still, I have put up decorations! I am trying to get into the spirit.

It was just the other day it dawned on me that we were in October and no longer in September. I scolded myself for not paying attention! This time last year I knew I was pregnant with you. Still, I watched scary movies aggressively, lounging on the couch and enjoying the spirit of the spooky season. Here we are, the first week of October having passed, and I have yet to watch a single horror movie.
We have had a little bit of a setback because you are teething is my only excuse.I am proud to say your second tooth has finally made its appearance. Thank goodness, because you're having a rough time of this. Every day you have been crying, sometimes waking up wailing. Finally, today I saw it. So I guess another three days and the tooth will finish cutting through.

With all this in mind, I have dedicated this blog to the City Witch in me, to assist in getting me in the mood for Halloween. Hopefully, if all goes well, I will dedicate the blogs throughout this month to various Halloween traditions or ghoulish tales!

What is a city witch, you ask? Well.. it's a person who recognizes that even though we live in a city there is still magic all around us. A city witch does not consider herself powerless simply because she does not reside in nature. Instead, she embraces that the Divine force still exists all around us. Nature is ever present, bursting through the cracks. One has only to look at old sidewalks to find the earth has shifted their seemingly indestructible cement, that grass pokes up between the lines. It is never ending, its spirit lurking in the darkest corners, even existing in the recesses of humanity. She understands that the earth does not belong to her, and that she must not take it for her own. However, she also must understand how to coexist with the civilization around her. In this regard, I think living in a city poses an even greater challenge for the mind of a city witch than it does for a natural witch. For a natural witch the need for this particular balance of peace within oneself is not as strong. It is easy to say, "I will use no one, I will be self sufficient, and I will exist with nature only." It is a great burden to say, "I will exist between two forces both natural and man made. I will have the luxury of technologies, but I must not be too greedy about it. I will have to work within the system for the good of my family but I must always be appreciative of what I have and respectful of where it came from." So remember, my son, there is a great force all around us. It is both dark and light, and when I pass on I will become part of it, and so will you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In defense of the clean mom

I've been noticing a lot of posts lately on the social networks. They go something like this: "Dirty dishes mean your belly is full. Messy floors mean you've had lots of space to play.." or "A good mom has sticky floors and happy kids." For the most part, they can be summed up by saying that because the house is dirty, it is a reflection that dear mother cares about her kids, ensuring that the happiness of their childhood comes before all else, including the housework.

While I am certain these posts are not a personal attack on myself or anyone else, but rather, a noble defense of the job that is motherhood, I find myself feeling a little bad. So... because I keep my home clean does that make me a bad mom? It shouldn't. For the record, I don't think a "good" or "bad" mom can be defined by the things you can see. It's not something you can check off on a list.

There are times I put you down and let you do your own thing. You have your excersaucer now, a favorite, and when you are there I can get some things done. Or, when you are napping. When you take your big nap is the best time to get large projects done. Occasionally you squeal. Am I a bad mom because I don't come running to your aid? I am against the Cry It Out method, but I'm not against giving you a moment to consider whether or not you are actually in danger or upset. I like to think I understand your cries now, and at your age there are times now when you startle yourself, or become frustrated, and your initial reaction is to cry. Sometimes you squeal, and by the time I come to your side, you are laughing.

Below: You are so happy in general. I love it. However, I'm also a mom who knows how to say "No!" when you bite. It made you cry today when I did, but you hurt me for the first time since the arrival of your tooh! Biting while nursing is not allowed. (September 2011)

Cesar, there are times you are unhappy. Right now you are teething. That tooth, by the way, is very nearly through... there's just a hair of gum stopping it! You're miserable though. Today I was certain that if someone were to walk by they would think I was murdering you. Yet, upon closer inspection, they would have found me, at my wits end, rocking you, offering you teethers, allowing you to nurse as you please, and letting you nap when at last you had found some relief. For the most part though, you are an extraordinarily happy baby.

In the end, can someone walk into my home and check off what makes me a good mom? What would this checklist look like? Who would design it and who would have the final approval to say, "Yes, I am an expert and a good mom should meet all these requirements." I may not be the best parent, but who is? Everyone is going to have parental issues on some level. There's no perfect way you see, and we can all be considered guilty of poor parenting if the choice is left up to the right parties. I am lucky that I have the life I do. I am a stay at home mother at this time. I am grateful. Some parents are single fathers and mothers. In some cases both parents have to work. There are lots of reasons that could be tossed at me as to why a person can't keep their home clean. It doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that I like to keep my house clean, I have the opportunity to. I hated when people would tell me while pregnant that I was going to have to learn to live with a dirty house. That I would have to just "let things go." I hope you are a happy person Cesar. I want you to know that I DO make time for you. I love you so very much. When you read this, know that you are my priority. I just like a clean house too. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Front Teeth

So at the last visit to the pediatrician we had a bit of an upset. Turns out that your initial newborn screening had an "abnormality" on the thyroid test, meaning we had to return to the hospital the very next day to get blood drawn from you so they could run additional tests. I'm not too worried about it overall. I'm a little annoyed that no one brought it to our attention earlier, but beyond that, I imagine that it's just a fluke. After all, you hadn't established a food supply and you were already under all sorts of injury and stress. Your follow up screening didn't raise the doctor's eyebrow, however, it was a different pediatrician across town and this new doctor doesn't have those results. However, my mother does have thyroid problems, so I don't judge the doctor too harshly for wanting a further test. In fact, they wanted to do a complete newborn screen again. I'm sorry, but I took you back the next morning and let them draw blood. I though they would prick your foot, but I was completely wrong. On nurse held your arm out and the other drew the blood. She was nice about it, yet since you can't see the vein she stuck you with the needle, then had to move the needle around to find the vein. It was a horrible experience... much worse than the shots by far. In fact, the band they used to strap around your upper arm was tight enough that it caused lots of little bruises to appear down your arm from where the little vessels had popped.

This being said, I was right there with you. I held you while they took the blood and held you close after it was over. Since then I have not heard from the doctor, and again I don't worry. No news is good news as far as I'm concerned. You have recovered nicely, going about your ways... except for one, small change.

Above: I am so very happy that I managed to get pictures of your baby smile. Bubble gum tongue, soft pink gums, it is a profoundly special feeling I have whenever you smiled for me! (September 2011)

As a testament to just how presumptuous doctors are, I feel the need to first tell you that the pediatrician was so very adamant that you weren't going to get your teeth for another few months. Well, I woke up on Saturday morning to discover that your first tooth was working its way through! It explains why you have been so very fussy. Why you have not been sleeping well, sometimes waking up in a fume of tears! Yes, it all makes sense now, and I feel that once again I underestimated my instincts. I should pay more attention to them. You have been teething all along, and at an alarming rate! Now your first tooth is coming in! It's the front, bottom left tooth. I hope it cuts through soon, for it seems to cause you discomfort greatly. It's very nearly there, and it's Monday now, so I expect that tomorrow or the day after you should have it through the gums completely. I am so excited, I don't know why. I loved you without teeth, and actually wasn't looking forward to the day you got them, however, now that it's actually here I'm ok with it. I suppose it's because it means you are healthy and growing, and progress like this is not the kind one wishes to hinder. You are growing up, and there's no stopping it. It reminds me to enjoy the time I have with you, because you are always changing and each phase is special.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Take a shot!

Today was your four month appointment. Which means, another round of vaccinations. Yuck. I personally am not really all for them, but Vincent is and here we are in a big city, with lots of other sick kids running around, and you will be going to public school... so if I have to pick my battles I'll save this one for another day. Sooo.. your shots. I was so worked up over them, especially after your last round at two months. You were looking up at me, so happy and entertained, and then the needles went in and you started screaming. It was a dreadful feeling, one I wasn't eager to repeat. So.. I hardened myself for this. I meditated on a saying in one of my Buddhist mothering books, that mothering is the practice of bonding and letting go. While the saying refers to the aging child, I applied it here as well. As mothers we only ever want to see our babies happy, and if given the opportunity I think most mothers would spare their child any discomfort. A mother's bond makes it so that she wishes for no pain, to protect and love her little one, forever. It is a noble, but futile effort. Occasionally, pain is a doorway to growth, it is a necessary force, a reminder of what pleasure means. Does this mean that I think it's good for you to be in such misery? Of course not... but practicing mothering means that I have to take the good with the bad and face these things head on. I walk this path with you, in my own way. You do not belong to me, nor I to you, as the saying goes, but because I want you to flourish, in this particular scenario you will experience pain. I, as a mother, will be there for you. I will hold your hand and be beside you.

And boy were you wonderful! The first needle went in and you actually grimaced, but let it go. The second one went in, and you started screaming. You screamed and cried, and once it was over, I took you up into my arms and you calmed down. What a champion!

 Above: You and your grandma. At her last visit we had to donate all your old clothes and upgrade you to your next size! You have changed so much in the last month, and you are so happy. The doctor said, "It's rare you get to see such a generally happy baby." He was amazed... he must not get very many happy children! (September 2011)
Now for the irritating part. Besides the insurance (I won't even waste a paragraph writing about that nonsense) battling it out with the clinic over how much we owe at this time for your last appointment, a new concern popped up. For the most part, I'm happy with our Doctor. He's younger, and pretty relaxed about most things. He doesn't seem eager to diagnose you with anything, so I'm happy about that. Unfortunately, at your 2 month appointment, the nurse must have measured you wrong. I say this with a sincere amount of certainty because since then you have outgrown all your onsies and I have had to readjust your car seat. Anyhow, the Dr. let us know that according to your measurements today, you are at 241/2 inches... so you're "not growing." Of course, the Dr. had you remeasured and attributes this fluke to the last nurse failing to measure you correctly. However, we have to return in one month to have you remeasured, just in case it's a hormone issue. I'm sure it's nothing, but in the wonderful world of medicine everything counts for something, and they don't like "what if's." At least, on a positive note, when we go back next month you won't need shots, so you should have a more pleasant experience.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Land of Fire!

Sometimes I think about where we live, and then I think about where it would be nice to live. Of course, I don't take the economy or any of that stuff into consideration... I'm just talking about weather in general. I have a soft spot for cold places, I always assume it's because my heritage Polish, German, all European, icy creatures like Vikings and Celts. So how did I end up here? By now you might think I should have gotten used to it, having been raised in southern states, but I haven't. I am VERY white, and have burned easily my entire life. My mother says I could have been a redhead, I have the completion for it. Throughout my life I've managed to tan, so when  you look at me now you might say, "Oh mom you're not THAT white." Years of getting sunburned by an hour in the sunshine (so badly I might add that I've had to stay home before with blisters all over my face) have given me a tan. But don't look at my legs.. my legs and stomach are a harsh reminder that not only did I not burn evenly, but that my skin tone is a wreck.

Vincent, in contrast, loves the weather here. Our hottest day was in August, reaching 112 degrees! I think I might have quoted it as being 110 in an earlier post, but I have since been corrected. I hate that. The winter stirs up romance in me, it makes me happy. Simply put, I LOVE being cold. I love that my mother lives in Michigan. I went there while I was pregnant with  you, and the four feet of snow mixed with the temperature was wonderful! It put me in such wonderful spirits to layer my clothing, to wear jackets and scarfs and dresses with leggings! Meanwhile here we are having raging fires from all the drought. Every day I have turned on the news this past week a new fire has popped up, robbing people of their homes, destroying land. Oh and these fires aren't just in the countryside either, they are in San Antonio. Some have burned apartment buildings. I seriously think the God of Fire has returned and made this his new home.

Makes me wonder what you will prefer. With any luck you will appreciate a bit of both, since I do hope to take you up north from time to time.

Above: Grandmother Val is from Michigan. Here she is hiding behind you! I hope to take you up there to visit someday. (September 2011)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moms the Word

This past week you saw your grandmother, my mom. It was great. We stayed over night at my father's house with her and we were all together. Vincent had some free nights, and grandmother just loved you. She started tearing up on Saturday as she told me that she was going to miss us. I miss her too. She is such a giving person, I've never met anyone like her. Most people talk about their mothers or grandmothers with a sort of respect, a recognition that their parents made them, created their rules, and made lasting impressions on their psychology. I am one of those that shares much more with her parent. I am grateful to my mother for being that, and because now she is my friend. She's beautiful and it's sad because she's really a sucker. She gives and gives and gives in such a way that I think it might very well turn into a tragedy. I'm not nearly as giving. In fact, I'm a bit on the harsh side.

Indeed I was spoiled while she was here, as were you, but I like to think we were grateful and never frivolous with it. We went to a thrift store and I found a 'Santa' gift for you, as well as one from us. One is a plush cube with pictures on each face, and things you can grab attached. The other is a little piano with four big colored keys. It does not require batteries or anything fancy, which I especially like. Each key hits one of four different lengths of colored metal bars at the top of the piano. It sounds complex, but really it's quite simple, I assure you. Also, we went to various Yard Sales on Saturday. I was so happy because I found lots of things for you, especially books. I love getting books for you, because I want to read so many stories. These stories will be the first in your life, the building blocks for the foundation of your imagination. I can never have too many books or flash cards for you. I also got a couple gifts for some family. I know it's early to be planning for Christmas, but I always admired how my mother planned ahead. She was always thinking of us, gathering little things that we might like to make our holidays special, and so that she wouldn't be rushing around at the last minute.

Above: Your new Exersaucer.. your first experience in it. I finally got a full on smile photo of you! I was so happy. You don't like to stay in it for too long because your legs are not that strong yet. However you are thoroughly entertained in it. (August 2011)

Oh yes, and at the thrift shop I spied a few toys we gave to you now! Since you have outgrown most everything else it was the perfect time to upgrade you! I found an Exersaucer, castle themed, for ten dollars! It's like a little bouncer with lots of toys. And we bought a playmatt with toys that hang over you. You've started turning over like crazy, mostly from your back to your stomach. Suddenly it's as though it's second nature to you. Because you really want to sit and stand, the Exersaucer is something you really enjoy. AND, you'll be happy to know I got your Halloween outfit too! It's so wonderful to know that we are set for that. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because it's Samhain, the night when the veils between the world of the living and dead are the thinnest. Also, I have such solid family memories of it. So, now that your grandmother is gone, it's back to our routine. I will miss her, as will you until we meet again. But in her absence we must busy ourselves and always look forward with hope and back with fondness. Looking forward... winter approaches!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grumpy Gorilla

Well Cesar, it's pretty safe to say that you're no little monkey.. you're a full blown gorilla! Of course I don't mind in the slightest. In fact, I think it's quite cute. When you get angry your brows knit together and we say you have a "grumpy gorilla face."

So today I am quite astounded at how high your spirits are. You're sick,  you see. First fever ever. I tried to take  your temperature but you kept squirming because you don't appreciate the ear thermometer. The reading I got was 99.6, so I imagine it's actually a little higher than that. (On a side note, I never bothered to get one of those dreadful butt thermometers... they may be 'more accurate' but I don't think I need to be exact for the most part. You're sick and that's that.) You nose is stuffy, so much so that you have trouble eating and give up most of the time. You ate very little last night, and have eaten less today. You've been sleeping for most of it as well.

I'm not too concerned. Being sick is part of life, and if anything I am very grateful I can keep an eye on you and comfort you instead of being away at work or something. I think I shall do some writing in my free time while you sleep, and when you wake up maybe we will watch a movie. I read to you earlier some creation myths out of a book I bought the other day at Half Price books. Hopefully it soothed you some to hear the various stories of how our world began. I even started up a vaporizer that Vincent had bought for you. Unfortunately I can't tell how well it is working since I lack the additives (Eucalyptus, Vicks vapors, ect.) for the water. It's just odorless steam, so I'm not certain if it's flowing properly to you. I think I will go check on you again.

Above: Your crazy uncle Sean bundled you up "like a ninja," early one morning while visiting. What a goof! You look nice, warm, and cozy, although seconds later you tore off the blanket as much as you could. I am going to go bundle up with you right now!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Meet and Greet!

So yesterday you met with your cousins, Annadee and Little Oscar. They are from your father's side of the family, Uncle Oscar and Aunt Kellie. I was really thrilled that they came by to chat. I often think of how strange it must be for you to view the world amongst so many large adults. You had met your cousins once before, but it was so long ago and they didn't stay too long. Now they really had an impact. Annadee, who is eight months, just looked and you and you at her. A huge grin came over your face as you went about examining this other person. Little Oscar is much older, but even he was not quick to abandon you. In fact, I'd say he's eager to play with you, except he doesn't realize his own strength..well, that's a three year old for you! We had a good time, and I got to gossip a bit with Kellie, which was very enjoyable. Annadee doesn't crawl... she swims. It's the cutest thing, just watching her use her legs to frog her way across the carpet. After observing your cousins, perhaps it gave you motivation, because it became quite clear that you were not satisfied being immobile!

 Above: You and Annadee. You were very inspired by the whole meeting, and the two of you just look so cute! I think it's hilarious, however, that you already outweigh her! Annadee is 17 pounds, and you are over twenty now. She is in size 2 diapers and you in size 3. I hope that you slim out a little when you get mobile so you don't outgrow your cloth diapers!

In fact, that evening you turned over three times! Always from tummy to back, but it was AMAZING. You just rolled, and on your back you have manged to push yourself almost to your side, so I am certain you will soon be rolling over from back to tummy. That and you do lots of what I have dubbed, "clocktwists." Basically, because you can't crawl, and your tummy is big, you push and move, and you turn around on the floor with your belly being the center of the "clock." You haven't made it 360 degrees yet. Usually you only do a 180 at best before you get upset and I flip you onto your back, but last night you almost made it! I am so pleased... I really believe meeting others stimulated your mind a bit more. And today...

Grandma Val!!! That's right. My mother flew in from Michigan last night and is at my father's house. I offered to stay the night over there and give Vincent a little freedom. She is so excited to see you. After all, it's been three months. Just wait until she picks you up!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodbye August!

It’s the last day of August and a lazy day. You’ve been dozing on and off for most of it. I appreciate August because I was born this month. I enjoy being a Leo, and the idea of summer is very romantic. However, it’s the hottest month, and this summer was brutal. So I am glad to say goodbye to August and head into September. This month has been an adventure though….

The other night I ate spicy picante sauce and tortilla chips. It was fantastic and satisfying until… I was laying on the bed with you. I had just finished breastfeeding you, Cesar, and we were goofing off in the sense that you were making all sorts of noises and I was showing you how to use my phone. I’d grab your finger and have you push things on the touch screen. We sent a few text messages to my friend, Pat. Then, I picked you up to do “Airplane!”  (a typical game for us now) and held you high up over me. Suddenly… BLEH! You barfed all over me. It fell in my mouth, my hair, and on my pillow! Needless to say, no more picante for me.

You laughed a few nights ago as well. I was watching Adult Swim, late night programming on Cartoon Network. The show was Robot Chicken, and as usual when adult shows are on, I was doing my best to keep your attention off of the TV, so I had you facing me. I was shaking your booty, singing, and just trying to get you worn out in general for the night. Suddenly, a bit played on the TV about Jack Sparrow (a fictional pirate) and what he would be like realistically. I burst out laughing at one point, and I was laughing so hard you must have thought I was silly, because you had the biggest grin and then YOU started laughing too! It was a fantastic feeling, to hear your half formed, part hiccup, part giggle.

We saw your Grandpa Harley and Uncle Sean (from my side). Our air conditioning unit went out this past Sunday and it was dreadful. Hottest day officially at 110 degrees.  So we packed you up and the three of us moved over to my father’s house for the night. It was very entertaining, considering that I had to put up a fight. Between your grandfather and uncle they just cannot wait to shove things down your throat. I had to get on them about it. A little taste of something is a treat now and again.. But that was overkill. You had whipped cream, caramel sauce, and my dad even tried to give you bread crumbs! I had to remind him that you are a baby and cannot chew bread and it could get caught in your throat! Sometimes I swear people think you are a toy. It’s humorous but can be very stressful at the same time.  I had to wet a washcloth and make sure I scrubbed your mouth clear of all that sugar also.

Above: You met your Grandfather Oscar, Vincent's dad, on Sunday for the FIRST time. He is a mechanic and tried to help us fix our AC. Unfortunately there was no salvaging it. I could tell he was thrilled about you because he didn't want to put you down! I was very pleased.

And lastly, I am pretty sure that you are teething. It’s so difficult to say for certain since there’s no tooth yet. You have horribly fussy spells though. My best treatment is to get an ice cube, put it in a mitt (yeah, those mitts we put over your hands so you wouldn’t become a thumb sucker? We gave up on those after a few days) and hold it for you to suck and gnaw on. The material feels good on your gums, and you can also suck at the ice. However.. you like to do it for long periods nonstop, so much so that you start crying because you’ve frozen your mouth and we have to take a break!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Going Greeny

When you were young I took long walks. I laugh now at my use of the word, "young." Rather, when you were a month I started taking walks with you in the evening to help get my body back in shape. Sadly, it's the summertime, and the heat just progressively became worse. The pediatrician was a little skeptical that my walks were forty five minutes, even though they were at eight at night after the sun went down. You had a heat rash for a little while, and now that August has come the temperature has skyrocketed into the triple digits. Before you go thinking I was being selfish, note that I did wipe you down with wet cloths and once your rash had subsided with care it did not return. As my father points out, babies have survived the heat before there was such a thing as cool places, and in reading about breastfeeding facts say that it has enough water to hydrate a baby no matter how hot it is. (On a side note I've been reading a ton of facts about breastfeeding lately, but I'll save those for another day). I did stop the walks though altogether, happily substituting them for at home workouts. However, we now are stuck in the home like birds in a cage... flightless birds I might add since the cars are getting worked on. Even if the cage were open we wouldn't be able to get out. Still, you are three months old now, and I decided that the little park around the corner isn't so far. I think I'd like to take you there.

Below: You were too young to enjoy the park anyhow. I took you there and tried to show you things, but you would fall asleep on the short ride over and did not really wake up. Still, it was fresh air. (June 2011)

Today while Vincent was at work I took you around the apartment complex for starters. It felt so wonderful to have fresh air and I believe you craved it too. I showed you the trees around, and encouraged you to feel the bark. However, I think the brown trunks of trees and their rough feel were of little interest to you. What really impressed you were all the bushes. There are a variety here, and I am no herb expert, or even mildly schooled and can't tell you their names. I did let you feel all of their leaves. You would independently thrust your hands into them and just hold on. Some you would let go of and then feel again. Their varying textures and vibrant greens were wondrous to you. In fact, the hippy in me would say that the feeling of life in your hands was pleasing. I talked to you about nature, and how we have to be careful with it, and that the Divine is all around us and in you. We didn't spend too long because after twenty minutes or so you started to sweat a bit and I needed to change you anyway. Still, it was a good day. I'd like to do it again soon, but we were lucky since today it was cloudy. We shall see what tomorrow brings... eventually winter will come, it must!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In with the new

Today we started a new schedule for you Cesar. Vincent’s bus route changes every so often, and this time around he chose a route that requires him to be out of the house earlier and home earlier as well. It’s a pretty big difference from those late nights. You were staying up until around three o-clock with us, although I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, since I imagine that you weren’t quite ready for an early morning type thing and would have kept us up until late anyhow.

This schedule actually seems more fitting, since you usually start getting cranky around midnight anyhow. Yesterday I took you to bed, and granted, there were several odd moments throughout the night in which you or I woke up, but you simply ate and drifted back to sleep. Vincent however, woke up at four thirty and apparently couldn’t get back to bed, so he worked on a few things around the house and is now at work. I suspect he will get a good night’s rest tonight!

Above: You and your father, about to embark on your routine Saturday trolley night ride! (July 2011)

The sad thing is, no more trolley rides… every Saturday for the past couple of months we rode the trolley that your father drove around downtown, but this new schedule does not include a day of trolley at all. It was nice while it lasted, and I can safely say that we made it every Saturday with the exception of the weekend before this last one, because it was thundering outside and I didn’t want to risk getting trapped in the rain since we don’t seem to have an umbrella in the house (strange, right?). In any case, it was a nice little something for us to do, although I am certain that we will pick up new habits soon enough.

I think it’s wonderful also that you take an interest in electronics. I see that you have taken note that we are using these strange objects (cell phones, computers, video games) and that they are a large part of our life and bring us pleasure. You’ve started to bang your hands on the computer if you can reach it, and you stuck your index finger out the other day and let me help you send a text message on my phone. You grab at controllers and try to slap at our phones. I personally believe it’s something to encourage especially if you’re interested in it. Computers are a big part of our lives today, I can just imagine the kinds of things they will be putting on the market when you get older. It’s almost a must for children to have a laptop for school. How strange to think that when I was going to school we still used plain old text books passed down from other classes, and when computers were introduced in high school it was a really big deal! They weren’t laptops either, they were large, bulky things with fat monitors and heavy parts.

Still, I like to balance out your computer interest with other things. The trolley rides were nice, and you also watch me work out for thirty minutes every day, and I like to read to you from time to time from a classic book (not an iPad). When you get a better hold of motor skills and can sit up I think you will be able to satisfy yourself with your toys a bit easier. But, in the meantime you still need our help, and our encouragement to get you to turn over! You’ve only done it those two occasions, and I am anxious to see it done again!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grand Prize Baby

I never stopped to consider the fact that my own son would turn into a trophy. Not for me or for Vincent, but for others. Last night was a lesson for Vincent and myself as parents. I'm amazed at just how special you've become to people, and now even more alert.

Let me begin by saying you have loads of admirers. Girls have stopped us on several occasions to coo at you, and even the odd fella or two will comment on how adorable you are and that they hope they have a son as handsome as you. One such man is our neighbor, AJ. AJ is a pretty decent fellow. He's also pretty strong headed, VERY into his story telling, and also likes to be right all the time. This is said not in a nasty way, but as an observer. I don't think he would ever do anything intentionally to hurt you, or us. He's always dropping by to see you, eager to hold you, tries to insist that you think of him as, "Uncle AJ," and on several occasions had Vincent over to share in some beer.

You Aunt Valerie is Vincent's sister. She thinks you are fantastically adorable, and I believe she would not knowingly hurt you or us, and that if anything she is paranoid for your safety. She's always questioning how healthy you are and has even commented that I take you to the doctor for the slightest thing. She's had a rough past, and a fairly rocky present, as in I don't think she really knows what she wants to do with her life, but she is very outspoken and strong headed.

Below: Your Aunt Valerie meeting you for the first time. After that, she likes to come by every so often and check on you. (May 2011)

So yesterday your Aunt Valerie came over, and it was very pleasant. You enjoy seeing her, and anyone for that matter who entertains you. She does a very good job of this. Later on in the evening Valerie and Vincent had gone outside to talk and talk, and talk and talk further into the night. I was getting slowly ready for us to go to bed. Then, AJ popped by, which is fairly typical. Vincent came in and said AJ wanted to visit with you outside, and I let him know that we would head to bed soon, but this was no problem for you were still fairly wide awake. I went into the living room, hopped onto the computer for a short time. The next thing I knew, AJ was coming inside, telling me how he needed to leave because Valerie was crazy.
"What happened?" I asked. He proceeded to tell me that he had been holding you and you were sucking on your fist. He said he figured you were hungry but that Valerie told him he didn't know what he was talking about and took you from him. I stepped outside, and there was Valerie holding you. I'm not a psychology major, but I have studied people fervently with my mother, learned about it in journalism (for interviewing purposes) and taken a couple courses on it. I'm no expert, but I can see tension and it was there. AJ said a few things to take his leave, and at one point both of them hopped up against each other over the tiniest comment. To wrap it up, AJ decided to walk away and Valerie started barking at him. I told Valerie I needed to take you to bed and left them outside.

I'm not going to pretend that I know the whole story. What I got from Vincent later, was this... AJ said that you needed your chupi (pacifier) because you were sucking on your hands. Valerie said she wanted to hold you, then said you didn't need it. Then they barked back and forth that you did need it, you didn't need it, you did need it, you didn't need it, and that's how it started. Since I was not outside, I can't tell you who was right. I know AJ has seen you more often, but I also know Valerie has had quite a bit of experience working at Daycare facilities. What I do know is that AJ needs to understand that he may claim to have maternal instincts but you are not his child and he is not related to you and that he is not always right. Also, Valerie should not have been so overprotective and rude to Vincent's guest, and her comments were very inappropriate.

However, that said, it goes to show that both of them care about you. I talked with Vincent later, and told him that I felt he should have taken you away from both of them. "When it comes to a point when two people are arguing and including Cesar," I said, "Vincent, you are his father. Don't let him be caught in a petty fight over who knows what's best because you know what's better for him more than any of those people." Vincent tends to be a pacifist when it comes to two friends arguing. He will let them fight it out.. but he can't do that anymore, not when it comes to his son. I explained that Valerie taking you away from AJ psychologically turned you into a kind of trophy. You know, whoever has got the baby wins. Which is why AJ was so upset and Valerie thought she had the upper hand. It's not ok for you to be in that position especially when your own father is there. If anything, Valerie and AJ should have looked to Vincent to begin with, but since they did not, Vincent should have just removed you from the situation altogether and asserted his own dominance.

At first Vincent thought I was severely mad at him. I tried to explain that no, of course I wasn't mad. I told him, "I honestly never thought that two childless adults would start an argument over our son and a damn chupi."
"I know," he said. "It happened so fast, I didn't really realize what was happening."

Well, now we know better. In retrospect it's pretty funny, however.. it's a stern warning of things to come. I'm certainly not saying that people will fight over you all of the time. But lot's of people like to think they know what's best for a child whether it's doctors, teachers, friends, family, ect., and Vincent and I are going to have to learn to step in, talk back, take control, or we are going to end up getting stepped on by people who think they know better. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Months...

Today Cesar, you are officially three months old. It's amazing how time works. Nothing ever slows down. Sometimes, because I am always with you, I feel like you should be much older. Other times I cannot believe how much time has passed. Especially since you are changing so very much right now. You're touching things, going through another growth spurt, you are learning to turn over, and just the other day you started making new noises. Your laugh was once just a hyena's... it sounded more like strained breaths of air you sucked in with a smidgen of sound, followed by a big smile. But now there's a tremor of giggle in it. It hasn't quite broken yet into a full laugh, but I find it fascinating none the less. Even though you have been progressing bit by bit since you were born, it's as if all of that is starting to pile up and BOOM, you are starting to do all these amazing things at once!

Today your Grandmother Melinda (Vincent's mom) came to see you. She was dropping off Vincent's little sister, your Aunt Miranda, and I was so proud to see you sit with her. She said you had gotten much larger, and you reacted so much with her. You smiled and looked her up and down with excited eyes. My dad likes to think that you easily forget him and other family members that you only see every so often, but I don't think so. Maybe it's that illogical mother in me, but I think on some level, buried deep in the subconscious they must seem familiar to you and you must have good feelings for them. 

Below: Close to July fourth, we went out to Market square and hung out with your Grandma Melinda. You really liked watching her dance around to some of the music they had there! (July 2011)

I had a very strange dream about you once. I was an angel of sorts, but I was a masculine angel I think. Anyhow, there were groups of other beings amongst us, and you were there too. However, you were an older angel, unrelated to me and very opposite. You were reckless and fearless and younger than me. We were to go somewhere, to an island, and a couple of girls who were supposed to accompany my group didn't want to go. You said you would go with them, and I told you no, that they had already signed up for this, but you insisted you wanted to go in their place anyhow. I remember they were dressed in white robes with gold in their dark hair.... The next tidbit would be the island. A dark goddess reigned there, and I remember thinking, "This b*tch..." The island kept shifting, the entire shape and theme of it shifted in a strange magic. More or less it left off their.. our team going up onto the shore, with the guidance of our gods on our side. It makes me laugh now, trying to take apart the dream and interpret what it must mean, as you ran and hopped on ahead.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Touchy Feely

I've put mittens on you as of late Cesar. Not always, just mainly when I can't constantly pull your hands out of your mouth. You absolutely hate them, and I expect I know why. Originally we suspected you might be teething, but now I'm not so sure. I think you are beginning to explore your world, and you find your hands amazing.

Last night, (or very early this morning, since we stay up late due to Vincent's job), I was sitting on the loveseat with you. I had you propped up on my knees, as I was using the whole loveseat as a grand chair to spread myself out on. This meant that to your right was the rest of the living room, and to your left were cushions. I was relaxing, playing with you facing me. This way I could also watch TV with Vincent, who sat on the couch. I took off your mittens, so we could play. That's when you decided, to my surprise, to reach out and feel the cushions. It wasn't one of those fluke motions either. Typically your hands have just kind of flailed around, and if they just so happen to come in contact with something, you grab it. This was more than that. You looked closely at the burnt orange and dark blue pattern. You'd lift your hand an inch or so and put it back in a rigid motion, and try to grab the the square blue patch of material. I told Vincent, and we both watched in awe. Cesar, you're finally realizing that you can affect the world around you with your hands!

I grabbed your rabbit. It's an orange rabbit made by Infantino passed to us by my brother (who I might add got it at a garage sale). It's just the coolest rabbit, orange with all sorts of different textured materials on each long ear, and rattles in the feet, belly, and the butterfly it holds in its paw. You love your Infantino Rabbit, but yesterday you actually began to reach out and feel it with your hands like it was a study. I'm so pleased that you've taken such an interest in the world around you. Even this morning when I gave you your rabbit you began to feel him again with those jagged movements. Rocky as they may be, it's wonderful to watch. Soon you'll be playing with all sorts of toys, and probably sticking them in your mouth too.

Above: During "naked time" you are amongst lots of toys. Your Infantino Rabbit is to the right, but you can hardly see him in this photo. To the left is your monkey, George, another favorite. You started to reach your hands out during playtime earlier this month, as in this picture, but you weren't really coordinated to understand that grabbing for a toy was a completable task. (August 2011)