Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Deliberate Decisions

For Father's day, I gave Mark folder of all the little videos we've taken of Jackson. I gave my dad some of the highlights via youtube. Watching the videos from when Jackson was a teeny infant has been fascinating as it has helped me remember how different he is now. This doesn't make me sad, but rather amazed at how such a tiny human can change so quickly.

When he first came out, his whole body had to focus so hard on bodily functions like eating, sleeping and excretion of matter in various sates. It was pure instinct, limbs flailed around, and no decisions had to be made.

He then moved to small instinctual decisions like smiling, batting at objects, chewing, etc. I even feel like crawling was instinctual because he was reacting to the desire to move. He saw an object, and moved toward it without conscious thought of effect or knowing what he would do once he got it.

Walking has brought on a new side of human nature.

Two days ago, Jackson came up to me on the couch, and turned my hand over. He played with it a little, then opened up my fingers and put his hand inside and began to walk away with my hand still in his possession. Pinnacle of tender parenting moments. Apparently he wanted to walk around with my hand's support.

He now frequently makes non-instinctual decisions like this. He decides he wants something, and he uses his few skills to point, bring objects or show me what he wants. Some are sweet, and others are... not so sweet. It's half relief and half terror. Relief because he can show me what he wants (less guessing), terror because... he can show me what he wants. As such small tantrums come about when he doesn't get what he wants--not out of instinct from sadness, but a desired outcome from the tantrum.

Can you tell what he wants here? No screaming yet, but it's certainly going to happen if dad doesn't concede to Jackson's clear desires.

Thankfully, this is all to be expected, and we're thrilled at the deliberate decisions he is making.

This video is his walking abilities as of Saturday night. It has since turned into less of a walk/fall, and more of a wobbley frankenstein move. It's become more and more deliberate each day, and Mark and I can't believe how joyous of an occasion it is to see him decide to move on his own two feet.

What a cute, not-so-innocent, kid. Love it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dogs and Hunger Strikes

Jackson and I took a nice trip to Portland last week to visit my family. We stocked Mark up with lots of frozen dinners, bought some lollipops and new calculators for the plane ride and took off. It was a blast seeing friends and family, watching my youngest sister graduate high school, and watching my parents follow Jackson around like he was a celebrity.

Amidst all the excitement of the week, Jackson moved from being paranoid to obsessed with dogs. Beyond the occasional da and ma, dog was the first thing he verbalized in a recognizable manner. This video was part of his initial exploration. By the end of the week he was chasing the cat around calling her "do--gh" as well.

Every animal we see now has been assimilated into a dog. Here is Jackson chasing a bird all the while saying "dog."

Who knows if it was the excitement of the "dogs," new surroundings, or just a little tummy bug, but after one day in portland, Jackson went on a hunger strike. Nothing quite gets a mother's anxiety level high like a hunger-striking one year old.

Suffice it to say, Jackson came back markedly skinnier. All his clothes were huge and Mark and I could not get over how little his arms, legs and tummy were. It was certainly most notable in the neck (as pictured below):

Being skinnier had some nice consequences: he was easier to hold, easier to dress, but most of all he looked so much older! All his baby fat left to reveal a toddler.

Living up to his new look, Jackson has taken a few steps, thrown a couple of tantrums and tried to help me do everything from baking bread to pulling weeds.

Thankfully, he ended the hunger strike the day we left. Grandpa's whole wheat pancakes got him regular again (like they do anyone) and he's certainly made up for lost food--eating twice as much as he did before the trip. As such, the skinniness has disappeared,but I think the toddler traits are here to stay.

(Better watch his cute buns now, because we might be forced to remove when he gets some teen traits)

PS: If we hadn't watched him eat all the food he did yesterday, we would have been certain his huge belly swelling came from malnutrition. My goodness that thing got big quickly!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011



coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency;without effort or premeditation; natural or unconstrained; unplanned; acting upon sudden impulses.

Synonym: BABY
Antonym: PARENT

I have a slightly difficult time being truly spontaneous. Much of that comes from my nature, which was only magnified with parenthood. Over-planning and over-preparation seems to produce less tears and frustration, and as such is worth it.

Mark spontaneously decided we should go to Boston this weekend. Despite always wanting to go there myself, he practically had to drag me along. Something about an 8 hour car ride with Jackson did not sound appealing. But we went. It turned out to be quite the planned, yet spontaneous trip.

Mark mentioned that when his family went on a trip they had one snack bag for all 9 of them. There were three of us, and we had 2 grocery sacks full of snacks, and a cooler. Not to mention my bag of things to do, Jacksons bag of toys, plus the diaper bag. It was a little squishy. Worth it? Absolutely. We used pretty much everything to entertain that little guy as long as possible. Once out of the car seat, we didn't really need much. He was happy in his stroller or cruising around on the ground. But the car seat required food, music, toys, books, and lots of spontaneity.

We discovered that plastic cups with toys in them make great rattles; peak-a-boo is a must; rest-stops are critical; and simple mechanics (hinges, lids, buttons) have a longer entertainment life than electronic toys. We also loved the unplanned stops at random places throughout our travels: markets, a dog show, and delicious cafes.

Beyond the car ride we had fabulous time. Walden pond, Faneuil Hall and the new green space over the freeway were highlights of Boston. Cousins, Aunts and Uncles were highlights of the trip up (car ride broken up by stops at relatives houses along the way).

Bunker hill was worth the walk up the hill. Breezy and nice shade made for a perfect resting place after a long day of walking.

Jackson LOVED the USS Constitution (ol' Ironside). I think it was the smooth wood floors, and plenty of ropes to pull himself up on.

Best moments were spontaneous like the crazy dog show we found on the side of the road in New Jersey

Or the out of control produce market near the Northend in boston. We bought blueberries 3 for 2$ from a lady who reminded me of my Aunt Margo on steroids.

Best Bagel sandwich--purchased only after 30 min. of wandering. The whole time trying to decide if the line and money were worth it. No question. Guess I should have been more spontaneous.

Green space exploration video for the grandmas: