Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sweet Potatoes are not his Thing, Apparently (Edited!)

We've been feeding Will again.  I mean, we've been feeding him since he was born (because we're good parents like that.  It's a low bar, but we're clearing it in two and a half of our three cases.*), but now we're feeding him food that is recognizable as food and not just a beverage.

He's on board with carrots and apples, and he's fine with an apple-blueberry mix.  He turned his nose up at pears the first time, which I don't understand, because what is the difference between pears and apples in their mushed forms?  None.  But if kids made sense, where would the fun be?

Last night, for the fourth or fifth time, I tried to feed him sweet potatoes.  He's not a fan.  Not even a little bit.

He's a fan of food, mind you, so when I started feeding him, he was excited.

(I don't have a picture of the first bite, but it was joy then tempered by disgust).

By the second bite, he was suspicious. Still hopeful that what was in the spoon was going to be something he liked, but wary.

Then he thought about it.

And decided that he was not impressed by sweet potatoes.

The funny thing is that he has all the memory of your average housecoat, so he doesn't recall that he didn't like sweet potatoes the next time you bring the spoon to his mouth.  He kept eating them with grimaces for quite a while until he realized that if one blew a raspberry with a mouthful of sweet potatoes, the sweet potatoes became someone else's problem.

*We're feeding Ellie, so that's good, but she's not particularly keen on eating.  We've gotten some fruits onto her list of foods that she's occasionally willing to eat, but nothing is displacing beige carbohydrates.  We're taking steps.  Slow steps.  They involve stickers and praise and sending her to bed hungry.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

In the Middle of the Night

Last night was another one of those nights where my job requires me to go and walk around campus until 10:30 at night to make sure that all the children are neatly tucked into bed.  This is a tedious task, and I hate it.  It was made particularly miserable last night by the snowstorm.

This also meant that it took an unconscionably long time to drive home, and then I had to pump and wind down and what have you, so I didn't get to bed until just before midnight.  I had just drifted off to sleep when the baby awoke.

So I dragged myself out of bed, muttering grumpily to myself.

And I went in and picked him up and snuggled him, all the while imagining the warm fluffiness of my bed, and being irritated that I was not in bed.

And then I looked at him.

It's not a good picture, because it was dark in the room and so I had to use a flash, and then the light made him flinch, but he was very, very sweet.

And then I wasn't so annoyed.  We're going to leave aside the gushing about how this is a fleeting phase, and that someday I will miss snuggling my face into the back of his head, and just note that I got less irritated.

I mean, I didn't get enough sleep, because at 5 am people started calling and texting about school closures (Margaret's was closed, mine wasn't, Ellie's wasn't, but she decided that if Margaret didn't have to go to school she didn't either), and so I'm annoyed about that, but my annoyance is directed away from Will.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Importance of Traffic Safety

This weekend, Will and the girls and I went on the longest, most extended outing possible, taking in several grocery stores, lunch, and a number of scenic parking lots.

Will was quite helpful about all of this, sitting in carts and doing a great job of not being bored.*  So as a treat, I let him sit in the front seat.

He was initially fine with it, if a little confused.

But then he remembered that it wasn't safe for him up there, what with the lack of car seat, and the airbag, and whatnot.

So I assured him that he didn't have to sit there anymore, but could go back to his seat in the back, and he was much, much happier.

It's also possible that the story behind these pictures are that I needed to feed him out on this long outing, and so brought him up into the front of the car, and then needed to put him down while I removed some of the eleventh-billion layers that I had on.  This made him angry, but after he had eaten, and I put him down again while I put the eleventh-billion layers back on, he was smiley.

Possible, but it's not as good a story, is it?  So I wouldn't say that.  I'd just come up with the good story.

*From this, you might get that some of his sisters may have been bored, and may have chosen to show their boredom by lying full-length in the aisles of stores while screaming about not wanting to be there.  This didn't happen, of course, because my children are lovely little beings of light and wonderfulness who never, ever misbehave.  Not ever.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Upside to Global Climate Change

I'm against climate change.  The flooding we just had in Missouri was terrifying, and I'm not particularly a fan of the large storms that seem to happen because of the rise in temperature worldwide.  Besides, think of the penguins.  But (and I will admit that when balanced against global catastrophe it isn't much) it is nice when the weather is warm enough in the middle of January to spend the late afternoon at a park.*

I stuck Will in the swing for the first time.  And so I'm going to subject you to a series of pictures of him in various levels of enjoyment because they're all so cute.  His first impression was that he didn't much care for the swing.

He was interested in the kids in the next swings, though.

Ellie didn't think that Will completely understood the joy of swinging, so she came to explain.  And then give him a kiss, which made all the other mothers googly about how cute she was.

And then he paid attention to what was going on, and realized that swinging was the best thing ever.

The first joy wore off, and he settled down into placid enjoyment.

So then, of course, I pushed him a little harder.  He liked it.

After Will had finished with swinging (or actually, when I decided that he had monopolized the swings long enough) I retired to a corner of the playground to feed him.  Ellie wanted to swing, but can't get up on the swing or pump her legs to get going.  So Margaret helped her out.

Apparently Margaret told another mother that "My mom is busy with the baby, so it's my responsibility to help my sister.  She's littler than me."

So that sounds like I'm a good parent.

*I'm usually working at that time as well, but I had to be out at school until 10:30 last night to make sure that all the little children went to bed on time, so I stole some time in the afternoon to see me children.  I'm horrible like that.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Delusions of Grandeur

William can tell that there are things that people do that he can't do.  He can see these two sisters of his walking around on their legs, jumping, sitting, looking out of windows, bouncing off the walls and you can see that he wants to try too.

The other day, Ellie was looking out the front window at the lovely view of the trucks going down the freeway*.  Will decided that he needed to be propped up to see out as well.  He made this clear by a series of lunges and screams, and the odd bit of grabbing my hair and moving me where he wanted me to go.


He's so excited to be there that all of him is wide-awake, including his hair.

And then I got distracted trying to take pictures of his eyelashes, which are beautiful.

*Come spring, of course, it'll be nice and leafy, so that's something to look forward to, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gender Roles

My children are insane.

Actually, that's not fair.  I'm not sure whether Will is nuts or not.  He seems to be behaving more or less as one would expect a baby to behave, with no signs of mania.  Although his antics when it comes to eating are odd, and his stubborn resistance to learning to roll over and move in the proper order is perhaps evidence of something oddly wired in his little brain.  But I digress.

My children are insane.

The oldest two refuse to wear pants because they are convinced that pants are somehow inherently masculine and that in wearing pants they will be mistaken for boys.  This is, apparently, a fate worse than death.

I've suggested that pink pants are less likely to be open to this misapprehension, but they can't see it.

Anyway, this last weekend, Ellie was going to go around with Leo to hardware stores and whatnot to get some materials for the continued transformation of our basement.  It was under 20 degrees outside, which I feel is a temperature that leggings or tights just can't deal with.  So I said she had to wear jeans.  With tights underneath.

The weeping, the wailing, and the gnashing of teeth was amazing.  I'm surprised that you all didn't hear it from where you were.  And when she was dressed, she was still convinced that people would think she was a boy.

Completely reasonable fear.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Physical Attainments

Will has been working on his physical capabilities.  This morning when I got out of the shower, Leo announced that he had found the reverse gear.  Apparently he scooted himself backwards across the room until he ran into a wall.  Besides that, he is up on his hands and occasionally knees, and he's getting better control of his hands.

He's also working on sitting up.  He's pretty good at it, and can lean over and pick things up.  But he's not particularly trustworthy about it.

The other day, he was sitting in front of me and having a grand old time.  I was holding his hands, but he wanted to grab the strings of my sweatshirt, and so he let go.  I was very impressed with him, and spent some time making impressed googly faces at him until I realized that he was liable to go over backwards.  I chucked a pillow behind him and started taking pictures.

He tried to grab the camera (which is his usual plan in these situations) and it turned out not quite the way he had expected.

I'm sure that he will treat this as a learning experience.

Which is actually more than can be said for me.  Last night, he was standing up holding onto my hands, and he got interested in the strings of my sweatshirt and let go, and I just let him stand there for about 10 seconds before he started getting wobbly and recalled me to a sense of my responsibilities.  I hope that he develops some sense about bodily self-preservation, because apparently I have none for him.

The Mechanics of Eating

So one of the things that I had somewhat forgotten about the baby stage was the period where the baby is supposed to be eating solids, but it's really just for practice and not nutrition, and so the end result is a lot of mess and not a lot of gain on the nursing front.*

For the record, Will is fine with carrots and applesauce, and not that excited by sweet potatoes and pears.  I personally don't see what the difference is between pureed apples and pureed pears, but apparently he finds one.

Anyway, last night he tried self-feeding, and I'm afraid that we may need to do a little work before it really gets there.

You've got to give him credit for trying. And anyway, it's all of a piece with his previous behavior.  For his entire life, he has had a habit of eating whatever happened to waft in front of his face.  He chewed Leo's hand nearly off in the delivery room.  When he's hungry, he'll sample passing chins or elbows until he finds what he's looking for.  And anyway, there may have been some applesauce on that bib.  He has many fine qualities, but he's not yet a tidy eater.

*You may notice a certain amount of ambivalence to this stage of development.  It's tedious, and it means that I have to simultaneously eat my dinner and feed him his, which is a juggling match I don't enjoy that much.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Will can sit in the basket at the grocery store now, and this is thrilling both for me and for him.  He likes to be able to see what is going on.  I imagine that an endless succession of industrial ceilings and fluorescent lights must be awfully boring.  I like it because it frees up important bottom of the cart real estate for things like groceries.  I realize that wanting to put groceries in the grocery cart shows that I am boring and pedestrian at heart, but there it is.

Anyway, he went with me on Saturday evening to do some much-needed grocery shopping.  We had snow Saturday morning, so everyone had gone out and frantically looted the stores of milk, eggs, and bread.  Apparently in St. Louis it is traditional to make French toast during snow storms.  Or perhaps not, but the grocery buying patterns seem to indicate that.  By Saturday afternoon, the snow had stopped, but the people had all done their shopping.  It was brilliant.  Very calm and soothing.  No one to bother us, lots of space to dither in the aisles.  This feeling may perhaps have been somewhat aided by the fact that Margaret and Ellie stayed home, but I'm sure that was negligible.*

I think Will enjoyed it too.  He seemed to want something in his fat little paws, so I gave him some parmesan cheese to chew on hold.  He began furtively.

As he realized that I was just the sort of permissive parent that would let this sort of thing go on, he became more obvious about his depredations.

He found it somewhat hard going, I think, but it kept him interested.

*I'm not.  Grocery shopping with one preverbal, non-ambulatory child was AMAZING.  It might be even better than grocery shopping alone, because then my stream of inconsequential nonsense could be assumed to be directed at the baby, and I didn't look like a crazy woman.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

I know, I know, it's starting to seem like I only update occasionally as a sort of a teaser, and then I lapse again, and you're feeling strung along and lied to and it's all terrible.

Trust me, I know.

And I'm imagining Will's complaints 10 years from now when he finds that all of Margaret's and Ellie's milestones and what have you are painstakingly recorded and he's got nothing.

Well, not nothing.  Evidence that I did try, but just couldn't maintain interest.  And I see his point, I really do, but I'm mentally reminding him that he's going to get three years at home after his sisters have left, and since I'm currently employed (which is what's causing this lack of blogging) we will have more income and he will benefit from that.  Better vacations and all.

When not having imaginary future arguments with my children, I decide that I must do better.

So here is Will's 6-month check-in.

He had a doctor's appointment this morning, and the doctor wanted to know if he was grasping at things.  He's just spent 10 minutes while she was there doing this to the exam table.

He's also, she says, "long and lean," which I suppose he is by numbers -- 50th percentile for head circumference, 75th for weight and 90th for height -- but no one looking at that baby would say "lean."

Chubby.  Chubby is the word for those thighs.

He's not babbling (even though I gave him a hard deadline of today), and he won't roll from his front to his back, even though he can do this.

I think it's just stubbornness.

In other exciting news, we convinced him to sleep without his arms tied down, and that has begun (slowly, very slowly) to lead to better sleeping at night.  Now he sleeps like a zen baby.  It's adorable.