Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Six Months

Lewis is six months old this week and has been here for an entire half a year, as impossible as that may seem. He is such a happy baby, so full of humor and joy and cheerfulness at the world around him. He has four teeth, two still-blue eyes, and many delicious chubby rolls of baby fat. It rather boggles the mind that he has grown to his current self ingesting nothing but breastmilk and a smidge of baby Tylenol; we've made two little attempts at feeding (scrambled eggs once, pureed apricots once) that have not gone super well and I think I'm going to give him a few more weeks before trying again.

Happy boy in overalls

He is such a big, strong baby. I don't think we are just projecting some societal sense of maleness onto him; it is pretty much empirically unquestionable that he is both big for his age and a bit advanced in gross motor skills. He weighed 20 lbs at 4 months and had just moved up into 12-18 month clothes then. Now at 6 months, he weighs pretty much the same and is still wearing the same size, but he has gotten much taller and the arms and legs are not at all long on him anymore. He might spend THREE WHOLE MONTHS in this size of clothes. A friend recently commented that he looks like he is growing into his body, and I think that's true; his proportions are shifting from the long torso and shorter curled-up limbs of early infancy to the longer (albeit chubby) arms and legs of later babyhood. It is a bit of a relief to see his growth start to plateau out. Otherwise carrying him around would have become immensely arduous and there would not be a diaper anywhere that would fit him by the time he is 2!

And as for strength, he's been rolling from back to front for quite a while now. He has been pushing himself up into upward-facing dog for a few weeks and has been somehow wiggling himself around on the floor for about a month. You know-- he's not really crawling but somehow he rolls and wriggles himself so that you put him down in one spot and you find him a few minutes later across the room. Just this week, he has started pushing himself up to his hands and knees, belly off the floor, and will rock back and forth. Right now this most often results in him face-planting on the floor but we are looking at honest-to-goodness crawling very very soon. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! And baby gates! Ugh. He is less advanced when it comes to sitting, although I'm sure that won't be very far behind either.

Lewis is about to grow out of the infant seat so this sight may soon be gone forever

Every night when we change him from his clothes into his pajamas, he laughs and laughs and laughs, with a gurgling chortle that comes from his belly. Apparently it is the most hilarious thing ever, although only at night-- changing the other way in the morning from his pajamas to his clothes is not funny at all. It is a gift every night, a unlooked-for gift of joy and beauty that takes my breath away. Much like him.

Happy boy

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Six Years of Grace

This week Grace turned six years old. A six-year-old! She is getting so big, and so lovely, and so amazing. She has grown so much in competence as well as confidence in the past year; she can actually DO stuff. She can read! She can swim! She can ski! She can brush her own teeth! I am taken aback by how capable she is, by her ability to concentrate and focus. She still wavers in her motivation when something is hard and can be anxious about new ventures but she does so well. There have been a lot of chances this year for her to attempt something unfamiliar and it is such a delight to see her try it out and do well, to see her see her own competence.

She loves to put marker to paper to make cards and pictures as gifts for us, to overwhelm Lewis with cuddles and affection, to dance and run and play, to read books. The reading has been such a pleasure to see unfold; she can now sound out pretty much any word and is getting a good handle on the quirks of English spelling. She still mostly reads aloud, even to herself-- a fleeting glimpse into her mind that I hold dear. She is such a sensitive soul; she has been since she was a tiny baby and I think it is just who she is. She feels her feelings so intensely and has a vulnerable, aware heart. She is so full of love for the people around her. Her teachers say she is highly attuned to the feelings of others, and she has a strong sense of what is right and that rules are important. She is vivid and eager and bright.

The beginning of the birthday festivities

We had quite the birthday festivities for Grace this year. She started out with a little celebration at school in her kindergarten class. There is a state law that you can't bring any homemade food to classrooms (isn't that so dumb?! I am still annoyed about it, and probably will continue to be every time a child of mine has a birthday for as long as we live here) so we ended up bringing fruit leathers, bunny crackers, and party hats for everyone in her class. It was really fun to see all her little kindergarten classmates sing to her and make her feel special.

Next, Grace had a dinosaur-themed birthday party with friends at the newly-opened Natural History Museum of Utah. The architecture of the new building is gorgeous and their staff did a really fantastic job organizing the party. This is the first time we have had a not-at-home party where I paid people money to set up, clean up, plan the activities, etc and I have this to say-- it is WONDERFUL. The party went so smoothly and it was so interesting and I was so relaxed. I will admit that I have harbored a certain doubtfulness about such parties in the past, thinking that one does not need to spend any significant cash on children's birthday parties, that little children just want to play and eat cupcakes with their friends. I still think this may be true for the toddler set but Grace's birthday party at home last year was just this side of too big and too crazy. Hence, our trip to the museum.

A dinosaur party!

I even abdicated the task of making the cake this year. Our amazing friend Haley made it and it was so, so good. It was gobbled up by Grace and her friends from school and church and around town, after walking around the dinosaur skeletons, using picks and brushes to discover their own buried dinosaurs, and checking out fossils.

Little paleontologists

And then finally, on her actual birthday on Monday, we celebrated as a family with her gifts from family, leftover cake, and Chick-Fil-A for dinner. We've only been to Chick-Fil-A maybe 4 times since we moved to Salt Lake but it is what she requested and she is the birthday girl, after all.

Our intense, bright, beautiful birthday girl.

Sweet Six-Year-Old