Tuesday, October 29, 2013

30 Weeks

Arlo hit 30 weeks yesterday, and I apparently didn't take many photos this week—most likely because he usually looks like this:

Everything is delicious. 

If he's awake, there's a good chance he's shoving something into his mouth. My finest moment this week was leaving him unattended so I could pee, and returning to the living room to find him rolling around in a corner, gnawing on a cord. He hadn't been alone long enough to do any damage, but good Lord! Step aside, mamas—the Mother of the Year Award is clearly mine.

In case that doesn't clinch the deal, I also allowed Danny to put a temporary police badge tattoo on our unsuspecting child's calf.

Love that little leg.

Anyway. No major developments this week. Arlo's still rocking back and forth on his hands and knees, and we've seen him do two legit crawl-steps (you know what I mean) on two separate occasions. 

We're loving letting him try different foods, and I broke down and bought him some baby cookies (that taste like a melty piece of cardboard) that he seems to enjoy. He somehow makes such a mess with them that, by the time he's finished, you'd swear he'd just devoured a rack of BBQ ribs, not an innocent-looking little cookie. 

Pre-mess. You don't wanna see the aftermath, believe me.

Oh, wait, here's one of him not stuffing something into his face:

But he totally ate that blanket 2 seconds after I took this photo.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

29 Weeks

Arlo is 29 weeks and 2 days old, and at his 6-month appointment 8 days ago, he was 19 pounds (68th percentile) and just shy of 27" long (52nd percentile). His head circumference has reached the 93rd percentile, which might be concerning if Danny's head weren't also quite a bit larger than average. 

At the doctor's office, all noggin.

I've been a naughty mama, and I've been sneaking Arlo hunks of fruits and vegetables here and there. We definitely didn't mention this to his old-school doctor last week. He doesn't actually take any bites (okay, he did with the banana), but he loves gnawing on them, and it's fun to watch him genuinely enjoy the flavors. So far, the crazy plum-apricot hybrid that we got from a produce stand has been his favorite—and we'll probably never be able to find it again. Go figure. I almost cried happy tears while I watched him chew on that thing, smiling and smacking his lips. 
Loving his plumricot.
There are a whole bunch of crazy rogue people like me who feed their babes "real" food. My sister did it with my niece, and that awesome girl will eat anything now. The practice is called baby-led weaning, and the theory is that this technique encourages babies to explore different tastes and textures—and to get used to chewing before swallowing. Pureed baby food teaches babies that they don't have to chew food, which, when you really think about it, does seem a little strange. Don't get me wrong, though—we still love baby food around our house, and we only offer chunks of food once in a while (and we're smart about it. I'm not handing him bowls of grapes or anything). Can we add this to that big list I've mentioned before? The one I'm keeping in my head of all the things I swore I'd never do?  
Tooth update: I've heard nightmares about teething—and I know the bottom front ones are the least painful to cut through—but if it weren't for his ultra-rosy cheeks, we'd never even know when this kid's working on a tooth. He's such a trouper, and I hope my story doesn't change when the bigger teeth start to come in.

Look at those cheeks!
And look at those teeth!

Arlo spends half of his life rolling around on the living room floor, surrounded by toys. He isn't crawling, but he does all kinds of wild maneuvers to get to a toy that's a few feet out of reach. I saw him rock back and forth on his hands and knees last night while he looked at a toy, and I could tell that he just knew he could make something happen if he moved just right—so I don't imagine it'll be much longer until he's mobile. Sorry in advance, cats.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

It's here again—the day set aside to remember all the lost babies. I actually really like this day. It's heartbreaking that it has to exist, of course, but it really gives people the opportunity to talk about loss. I did a post on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day last year, and save for a few numbers, nothing has changed.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my lost babies today, but that's really no different from any other day. I always wonder if this will be the case forever, if I'll ever go 24 hours without thinking of them. I keep waiting to have the thought, "Hey, I can't remember the last time I thought about my miscarriages," but I can tell you in all honesty that they've at least crossed my mind every single day since November 27th, 2011.

Over the course of these last 2 years, at least 20 people have tried to rationalize my miscarriages by telling me that God was waiting until the time was right for us, or he was waiting to give us the greatest, or that Heaven needed my babies more than I did. These explanations used to drive me crazy. How dare they try to justify my losses. Now, while these comments still don't bring me any type of comfort, I just kind of brush them off. People want there to be a reason bad things happen, and there's really no shame in that. It's hard not having answers.

I won't get too far into my religious beliefs here, but tonight, while my perfect boy slept on my chest, I stared at his gorgeous face and asked myself to entertain the notion that maybe these people are right. Maybe somewhere, somebody greater than myself is surrounded by little Baby Celises, and if they're anything like Arlo, it's no wonder she (Yes, she. Because why not?) wanted them so damn badly.

As I felt Arlo's little tummy rise and fall against me, I imagined that somewhere, my four lost babies were being cuddled, too—that right then, somebody was admiring their faces in the same awe I was feeling as I admired Arlo's, astonished that it was even possible to love a love so deep.

And maybe she put them to bed a little too late tonight because she wasn't ready to part with the warmth of their breaths on her cheek, just couldn't bring herself to stop studying their features, stop rubbing their smooth little toes. Maybe, once she finally forced herself to put them to bed, she sang to them on the way there—a song she made up just for them, and wished for the hundredth time that something, anything rhymed with their names, but she did her best. (Arlo, Arlo, I'll see you tomorrow. Dream of joy, not sorrow, Arlo, Arlo.)

Maybe she was secretly happy that they woke up while she was changing them—despite how stealth she tried to be—so she could gaze into their eyes one last time before they closed for the night. Maybe she brushed their wild hair until their eyelids became heavy again, and maybe she let a few tears fall as she whispered in their ears, "Thank you for coming home."

Monday, October 14, 2013

28 Weeks

Arlo is 28 weeks old, and he's incredible.

Can't even handle that cheesin' grin.

This week, we put a bucket on his head, and he was a very good sport.

Glad his belly covers his boy bits.

He chewed on everything in sight and sprouted his second tooth.

He won't eat sweet potatoes, but he'll gnaw on a sock.

Rosy cheeks from teething.

We went to a local farm to feed some animals and pick out a pumpkin.

Arlo couldn't take his eyes off that guy. 

He found the pumpkins highly entertaining and was actually laughing at them.

And he smiled a lot and took my breath away a thousand times.

Such a Danny outfit.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

6-Month Photos

Is there anything more exciting than getting a message from a photographer, letting you know your pictures are ready? The correct answer would be no.

Brittany has exceeded my expectations for the third time now. (I'm noticing a trend here.) She delivered 136 gorgeous photos, and I had a hard time narrowing it down to an acceptable number to share with you.

Sixteen is an acceptable number, right? Aside from the sneak peek I already shared with you, here they are, my favorites from Arlo's 6-month photo shoot, taken by the ridiculously kind and talented Brittany Graham of Brittany Graham Photography:

Monday, October 7, 2013

27 Weeks

Arlo is 27 weeks old, and it's official:  he has a mullet.

Hillbilly boy.

Usually, the back kind of curls up, so it's not super obvious, but once in a while, it hangs over the collar of his shirt, and all I can think of is Joe Dirt. Before I had my crazy-haired boy, I couldn't understand why mothers held off on that first haircut and let their boys look like girls. Well, I get it now. I do not want to cut this hair.

Arlo's mop has been his trademark, his special defining characteristic, from the moment he entered this world—before that, even. When I was in labor with him, as soon as I started pushing, Nurse Sandy exclaimed, "Look at all that hair!" and couldn't wait to show Danny. The very first thing I knew about my boy was that he had a full head of dark locks. Since that day, it's been the first thing everybody comments on. Nobody has met this child without talking about his amazing hair.

And I'm not quite ready to part with it—so until he looks completely absurd, I'm not going to. Let's add this to the ever-growing list of things I swore I'd never do as a mother... but do—along with letting him watch TV, handing him toys off restaurant floors, skipping the shopping cart cover, and God knows what else.

Let's see. Arlo's been spending lots of time rolling around on the living room floor. I used to avoid this because the rug was covered in animal hair, but we have a Roomba now, so that's less of an issue. I can't believe this boy used to hate tummy time; he lives for it now.

Lovin' tummy time.

What I came back to when I left the room to make him a bottle.

Arlo is getting more and more interested in his toys, and he's always playing with something. He alternates between intently inspecting his toys—like he's looking for some secret code or something—to slapping them and beating them against the floor like a lunatic.

But usually, he just tries to eat them.

I keep trying to get a picture of the li'l tooth, but it hasn't come in enough to really be visible in photos. This is the best I can do right now, so stay tuned:

See it there on the bottom? Kind of?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Six Months: A Letter to Arlo (By Danny)

Little Man,

It’s hard to believe it’s been six months; six glorious months of being a happy little family.

You’re a radiant, giggly, mop-topped bundle of energy. There’s rarely a time when you’re not smiling, and consequently, there’s rarely a time when we’re not smiling, either. You're especially happy in the morning. Whenever I get the chance to see you wake up after I’ve worked all night, your sweet smile makes me forget how tired I am. 

We had your six-month pictures taken last weekend, and Brittany, the photographer, commented that you have the most beautiful and animated smile she's ever seen and that even your eyes look happy. When a professional photographer says that, I can’t help but think it’s true. I have never seen a more gorgeous child. Every day, I tell your mother that you’re the best-looking baby I’ve seen in my life, and I mean it. We took you to the park for your pictures, and as usual, you lit up as soon as we got you in a swing. All smiles. 

It's incredible how much you’ve learned to do in six months. You laugh, coo, make consonant noises like “ghee,” “bee,” and “boo.” You can sit up, you can hold your own bottle, and you’ve got amazing hand/eye coordination and can guide anything directly into your mouth or slam it onto the floor. You still have some episodes of gagging and spitting up, but your reflux has improved a lot over the last month. A couple months ago, we could only dream of getting even three consecutive hours of sleep, but you sleep through the night now.

You love your dog. You think he’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. Scooter loves you, too. As crazy and wild as he is, he somehow knows to be gentle with his little buddy. Sometimes you’ll just be sitting in your bouncy seat, and Scooter will walk by, sniff the top of your head, and give you a single lick just to let you know he loves you.

The other day, we had to buy you some new clothes. While we were in the store, I held you in my arms while Mommy looked for some nice things for you to wear (Mommy insists that you be a stylish baby). While we were walking by a display of stuffed animals, you reached out and grabbed one. You'd just picked out your first toy, so of course I had to buy it for you.

We also had to put some of your old baby clothes into storage. It’s amazing how fast you’ve grown and how many of the cute outfits we bought for you no longer fit. I teared up as I looked at each onesie and sleep 'n play, one by one. I can remember you wearing every single one of those outfits, and it made us sad that you’re growing up so fast.

There’s not a day that goes by that you don’t bring your mommy and me joy. When I’m at work, I video chat with you and Mommy. Crime and traffic tickets can wait while I adore my beautiful wife and son. You’re only six months old, but I swell with pride every time I see or think about you. You’ve made me the proudest father in the world, and I keep saying that if you were the only legacy that I left to the world, if you were the only proof that I ever existed, then I will have had a life well lived.

I love you,