January 31, 2012


It has begun.

The dam is breaking.

Seemingly out of nowhere, new words are trickling off of Malcolm's tongue ... And I couldn't be happier!

As I've documented from the start of this blog (when Malcolm could barely sit up on his own!) the language milestones were probably the ones that, as a new mother, I was anticipating the most.

As a self-described nerd, the whole "talking" thing just appealed to me ...

To me, it meant brain power.

A certain aptitude for all things "smart."

Intellectual ability.

And while I know that not talking can also mean these exact same things (Anyone ever hear of a man named Albert Einstein?), having a verbal child, one that could talk and communicate with me, was something that I was really looking forward to. So, even though the signing helped to fill that communication void for a while (and is still such a cool skill that I am happy Malcolm has picked up), the emergence of words in his unique little voice was a highly anticipated thing.

Now that his "little voice" has been found, let's just say that I have not been disappointed.

Not one little bit.

The glimpses into his thoughts and personality keep us entertained for hours (and make my heart melt into a little puddle of goo)!

The dam is definitely breaking, and flowing through its crumbing facade are words like ...

Baby, back, ball, bead, bee, beep, block, boo-boo, boat, book, bowl, bug, bunch, butt, bye, car, church, cook, cup, Dad, door, duck, eight, eye, go, ham, hand, harp, hat, heart, help, hide, high, hot, house, hug, ice, in, Ma (for Grandma), me, milk, Mom, mouse, moon, moose, more, nap, nope, off, oh my, oh no, on, one, ouch, out, owl, Pa (for Grandpa), peas, pee, pie, pink, pop, poop, pork, red, run, Spot (his blanket), sun, three, two, up, wet, what, white, whoa, why, wow, yeah, yes ...

It's quite the increase from my previous post on the subject ... And there are probably more words that I'm forgetting!

Two-word combinations and multiple syllables, here we come!

January 27, 2012

fetal anatomy 101

When I was in my third trimester with Malcolm, there was a pointy lump that would surface every now and then at the top of my belly, just to the right and above my belly button.

It's a sweet little heel! I'd think to myself as I'd press on it, magically making it disappear (until it would come back a little while later).

It was like a little game we'd play.

This baby must be ticklish!

Just like its father!

How cute!

Some time later, at a routine doctor's appointment, my doctor was pressing on my belly to see how the baby had orientated itself in my uterus (I was full term and could, technically, deliver any day).

She commented how the baby was head down (a good sign!) ...

How she could feel the arch of its back ...

And then ... "Here's the baby's butt," she said casually, pressing on the lump that I had been calling a heel for a good two months.

I thought, for a moment, that she had to be wrong.

Who has a butt that pointy??
I wondered.

As it turns out, Malcolm did.

And, now, today, I can tell that his sibling does, too.

The pointy "heel" has returned.

Sitting just up and to the right of my belly button.

Floating in and out of detection at various points throughout the day.

I guess I make pointy-butted babies ... My body must accumulate all the butt fat for them!

It's yet another way that this second pregnancy is eerily similar to the first.

Just another reminder that, yes (although it feels like a different lifetime), I've actually done this baby thing before.

About two months left before I get to meet my second pointy-butted child!

I honestly can't wait.

January 26, 2012

old school

Looking quickly at this photo, one might wonder if it is of Malcolm or my husband at Malcolm's age.

The mischievous look in his eye ...

The little smirk ...

The 80's style turtleneck (one of my favorite thrift store finds!) ...

Luckily for everyone, there is photographic evidence of the two of them together to clear up any confusion!

Turtleneck: Sesame Street (thrifted for $0.50)
Corduroy pants:
Sonoma (gift)
Socks: Circo (gift)

January 24, 2012

phases (of the moon)

Malcolm is completely enthralled by the moon right now.

He loves to look at the real thing, read books containing its picture, point out objects shaped like it ...

If something has even the slightest connection or similarity to the moon, Malcolm is all over it.

Not only does this have the science nerd in me giddy with excitement (maybe my little boy will grow up to be a bit of a nerd, too!), it also has worked to my advantage many times over.

For one, getting him to eat good foods has been a breeze, now that I've harnessed the power of the moon:

Banana slices ... Moons!

Kiwi slices, sliced in half ... (Half) moons!

Baked sandwich pockets ... Moons!

Beans in our taco soup ... Moons!

I even busted out my crescent moon cookie cutter to turn peanut butter sandwiches and pita bread into edible moons, much to Malcolm's delight.

I know I've said this before, but I find it absolutely fascinating how Malcolm has formed preferences like this all on his own ... He knows what he likes and he makes the decisions.

He is his own little independent person.

Although I could push my own agenda on him, try to get him to like something that I like (or that I liked as a child), it's so much more fun to watch his little brain in action ...

Seeing the excitement on his face when he can see the moon through the window at night ...

Hearing him happily shout "moon!" when he identifies yet another object that resembles it ...

Watching him just be Malcolm.

I absolutely love the little person he is so quickly becoming (with or without his science-related preferences).

I am so lucky that he is mine.

January 20, 2012

strange bedfellows

Although Malcolm has always been (and continues to be) a great sleeper, he has turned into a bit of a hoarder and accumulated quite the arsenal of bedtime buddies ...

Each night, before settling in, he insists on filling his crib with various (security?) objects to the point that there is little room for him!

Here are some photos and descriptions of the objects in question to show you what I mean:

The moon block: It's nothing more than a half-circle piece of wood that my grandfather (Malcolm's great-grandfather) cut from scraps during one of his many home improvement projects. Part of a unique "building block" set that my cousins and I used to play with, it somehow ended up in my possession and now Malcolm has attached himself to this specific block. Notice the line of dark, knotty imperfection ... It must be this specific block (not any of the other half-circle pieces that are part of the set).

Bath letters ("Y" and "M" only): For Christmas, we gave Malcolm a set of foamy letters for use during bath time. For some reason, he insists on bringing "Y" and "M"along when it is time for bed ... It might be because they are orange, his favorite color. It might be because he likes to say "Y" and "M."

Plastic turtle toy: This was a Kids' Meal prize that Malcolm got while spending time with his Gramma and Grampa (my parents) one weekend. Back home and ready for a nap after that particular excursion, he cried and cried (tearfully saying "pop!" over and over) until we figured out what he wanted. The silly toy has two different heads that can pop in and out ... My son is a genius.

Plastic cookies (big and small): The big cookie was one of his first bed buddies. Then came the little (baby) cookie ... Now both are staples of his bed time routine.

Spot: Spot is (and has been) the security object of choice for a good year now. This polka dot blanket goes wherever Malcolm goes ... So, in the crib is no exception!

"Eating the Alphabet" board book: This library book (I guess my husband will have to continue to renew it over, and over, and over again ...) makes the cut because it has some bananas on the fourth page. It also proves useful as a little light reading material when Malcolm wakes up (and Mom wants an extra fifteen minutes of sleep).

Orange ball: This ball, a Christmas stocking gift from my parents, got to spend a couple nights in the crib, but since has been bumped out of the rotation. This is good news for me ... It is one less object to worry about!

Doughnut stars (not pictured): This flat, white disc with rainbow stars is part of a wooden doughnut set that Malcolm received for Christmas (it is one of the icing toppers that velcros into place). Since it has colorful stars (one of his favorite things), it quickly became a "must have" for bed time!

Count Von Count plush doll: If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know that Malcolm loves The Count (of Sesame Street fame)! Although he must be present at the start of the night, all too often he is on the floor by morning ...

Fuzzy duck plush: Once relegated to the shelf over his changing table, the fuzzy duck was recently upgraded to a space in the crib.

Talking shark plush: This hammerhead shark is not only cuddly, but also a learning toy! When squeezed (either on purpose or accidentally) it doles out interesting shark facts ... Not something that I expect to hear in the middle of the night (over the baby monitor)!

Domo plush: I'm not sure why, but I have always thought that Domo was super-cute. Of course, Malcolm agrees and insists he be part of his bed time entourage!

Little mousey: My sister-in-law crocheted Malcolm this little mouse years ago. He didn't really pay it much notice until somewhat recently when he learned the sign for "mouse" and decided that it had to be in the bed with him.

Orange Monster: A gift from his first Christmas, the Orange Monster has always been tucked away in the corner of the crib (so maybe this one is my fault). Much like The Count, he must start out in bed, but is usually on the floor by the morning.

Water (not pictured): Occasionally, Malcolm will request that his sippy cup full of water spend the night with him. The more the merrier, right?!

As you can see, all of these little trinkets are quite harmless (and even humorous!) right now. They haven't negatively impacted his sleep routine very much (and we haven't had any meltdowns because objects have gone missing), yet I'm really starting to wonder how things will work out when Malcolm inevitably makes the switch to his "big boy bed" sometime this spring.

Without rails and/or a bumper pad, there will be more opportunity for things to go missing ...

New cracks to fall into ...

Many more chances for him to wake up in a panic and wonder where [insert object here] has gone ...

I can only hope that Malcolm will graciously allow us to narrow down the group, little by little, until only the essentials remain (and by "essentials," I mean Spot because a blanket is big and much easier to locate when you're fumbling around at night!!).

January 19, 2012

playing in a winter wonderland

Snow on the ground, plus a day off from school (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), plus nearly forty degree (and partly sunny!) temperatures meant some time spent in the backyard on Monday.

Malcolm hasn't really been out in the snow (although he loved playing in a patch that had iced over last weekend), so, at first he was unsure as to what to do.

Winter coat: The Children's Place (thrifted for $4.00)
Fleece hat and mittens set: Old Navy ($5.00 on sale)
Sweat pants: Garanimals (gift)
Winter boots: Walmart brand ($15.00)

Eventually, he got the hang of it ... Gathering fist fulls of the fluffy white stuff and hurtling them at me!

Then he decided that shoveling seemed like a fun idea (you're never too young to learn how to shovel when you live in Cleveland!) ...

He was definitely enjoying the change of pace and the chance to be outside again ... But, then again, I was, too!

If only every winter day could be like this!

January 17, 2012

thirty weeks

Today marks my thirtieth week of pregnancy with Baby #2.

It blows my mind that I'm already into the thirties this time around ...

The third trimester!

Only six more weeks until I'm considered full term.

Possibly nine more until I'm holding a new baby in my arms (if this one has the same sense of timing as his/her brother).

But, no matter how you look at it, it's all just a blip on the radar.

A blink of an eye.

These moments are coming and going so fast that I have hardly had the opportunity to catch my breath. Between working/teaching full-time, tending to a two-year-old, and just living my life from day to day, I have had little time to really sit down and reflect on the changes that are taking place.

I know that I am lucky.

It is no secret that pregnancy is easy for me.

Getting pregnant.

Staying pregnant.

Carrying a baby from fertilization to full term.

One milestone flows effortlessly into the next ...

My body grows according to schedule, changes with the new life inside of it.

I eat more.

I (attempt to) sleep more.

I take it easy when I can.

And, at each stage along the way, this little passenger (and our shared time together) reminds me so much of when Malcolm was still in utero ... It might as well be the same pregnancy, but during a different time of year.

I've had no morning sickness.

No back pain.

No elevated blood pressure or gestational diabetes.

Things are progressing just as they should be, all in alignment with the doctor's expectations ... Except for the small detail that, like Malcolm before him/her, this little one is starting to "measure small."

But, still, there have been no surprises.

And, here we are, thirty weeks in.

Only six more until I'm full term.

Possibly nine (maybe ten?) until our family grows by another member.

Like I said earlier, it blows my mind.

January 13, 2012

e is for enamored

I could literally just sit and watch him for hours on end ...

January 12, 2012

stir crazy

These cold (and often dark) winter days can be tough on one's sanity ...

Especially if you happen to be a two year old!

Although he is really, really agreeable (and can sit for hours playing with toys both old and new or watching the latest "Signing Time" DVD), even Malcolm has his moments where he is quite obviously bored and ready for a change of pace.

Sometimes, I'll take a "Good Mom" approach ... I'll set Malcolm up with some crayons (or markers, if I'm feeling really generous) and a coloring book and he'll happily go to town across from me as I work.

Other times, I'll go for all out energy expenditure ... And, for that, a little supervised jumping on the bed is key.

Long-sleeved tee-shirt: Cherokee (thrifted for $0.50)
Fleece pants: Garanimals (thrifted for $0.50)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)

Not only does this give Malcolm a chance to let out his inner wild child, it gives me a little breather from work (and the chance to snap away on my camera).

A win-win situation, if you ask me.

January 10, 2012

warm and fuzzy

When we arrived home from church on Sunday, I hustled into the house.

They stayed outside.

There was a lone patch of snow that hadn't melted, but instead had crusted over in a icy shell, mere steps into the backyard grass.

"Ice!" I could hear Malcolm shout as I stood in the warmth of the doorway, watching.

My husband walked over to the white patch and stomped down on it, making a footprint.

Malcolm followed suit.

Lots of little footprints followed.

Little hands picked up frozen chunks and dropped them on the driveway.

Laughter erupted as the ice scattered across the pavement.

Happy dancing ensued.

Running and jumping followed.

My husband made a ball of "ice" and tossed it at Malcolm's chest.

It exploded as it hit his highly padded winter coat.

More laughter.

"More!" He squealed (and signed).

Lather ...

Rinse ...

Repeat ...

As the patch of crunchy snow grew smaller and smaller (until it wasn't there any more), I swear my heart grew bigger and bigger in my chest.

I am so lucky to have these boys.

They are so lucky to have each other.

January 5, 2012

too big

After the lack of cooperation last year (and my hopes that we'd have sold our house and moved by now ... No such luck!), I didn't think my little New Year's Day tradition would continue ...

January 1, 2010:

January 1, 2011:

January 1, 2012:

Long-sleeved tee-shirt: Faded Glory (thrifted for $0.50)
Jeans: Ocean Pacific (thrifted for $1.50)
Socks: Circo (gift)
Shoes: Toddler University (thrifted for $1.50)

I still have a hard time believing just how big Malcolm is nowadays, and these sequential photos make the differences over the past couple years all the more evident. I can only imagine how HUGE he is going to seem once the baby arrives in March!

I guess, in some ways, the house not selling in 2011 was a good thing ...

At least I got one more New Year's Day photo out of it.

January 4, 2012

pink has no place anytime

After feeling mighty accomplished that I contained my son's pink eye infection and came out unscathed, I have been sorely, sorely disappointed.

Turns out those little pink eye buggers can hang around, just lurking in the shadows, for over a week!

Turns out that, despite my best efforts in washing linens, and blankets, and towels, and the like, and in cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces the little man's hands may have touched ... I have been sporting my very own pink eye for about a day now.

Talk about nasty!

It came on quick during my first official day "back to work," and by the evening, I had made plans to visit an "Express Clinic" near our house to get a prescription for some antibiotics.

"What seems to be the problem today?" The physician's assistant asked me after I was finally called from the waiting room.

"I've got pink eye."

"Okay. Which eye is it?" He asked, looking up from the computer to glance over at me. "Oh. I guess it would be the pink one."

Yes, the pink one.

The nasty, itchy, gunky pink one.

The thing I just eradicated (or so I thought) from my son and our home.

So much for that!

And so it goes ...

Once I've become non-contagious after twenty-four hours, the scrubbing and cleaning and washing will begin again ... And you better believe that I will find those bugs and eliminate them this time!

The last thing I need is for them to find their way into my husband's eye ...

January 3, 2012

a different kind of break

As the New Year rolled in, my Christmas Break wound down.

I'd by lying if I said I was ready to go back to the daily grind ...

To answer emails.

To call students.

To grade labs, tests, and a multitude of other assignments.

To create "catch up" plans.

To motivate and encourage.

To prepare my classes for the coming semester.

To, ultimately, spend my day on the laptop (and not playing on the living room floor with Malcolm).

It is certainly going to be different ... A bit more career-driven and less carefree ... But it in no way will compare to the changes that are just around the corner.

I've realized that, next time I'll have a lengthy "break" from teaching, it won't really be a break at all ...

It will be maternity leave.

Time to adjust to being a mother of two.

Time to bond with my new baby and to continue loving on my old one.

While there won't be any classroom duties to speak of, this break will be anything but relaxing. It will test me in ways I haven't been tested before ... And push me to rise to the challenges of day-to-day life.

When I took my maternity leave after Malcolm's birth, I was fairly certain I wouldn't be returning to the classroom. My teacher's salary just wasn't enough to justify sending him off to daycare ... Staying home made more financial (and emotional!) sense to me and my husband, so the decision was an easy one.

This time, however, since I am already working from home (no daycare required!), the questions seem to loom a bit larger ...

How will I juggle all of my teaching duties and two children?

How will I get everything done?

Can this "working and mothering from home" thing still work for me and my family?

I know that things will be a bit trickier (and naps will be even more important to my sanity and productivity), but I think it can work. Once I'm back on the regular payroll at the end of June things will be winding down with the 2011-2012 school year ... There will be no students (and therefore no emails, or calls, or grading), just a handful of administrative tasks to contend with. Then, by the time I'm back in full swing in the fall, the baby will be about five months old ...

Talk about time flying!

On paper (and on this blog as I type it), it all sounds and looks feasible ... But we shall see when that day comes.

That will be the true test.

So, for now, I'm still mourning the end of my Christmas Break and looking forward to my next big "break" that begins in March ...

At the very least, it will seem nice to be dealing with only two children instead of two hundred (students)!