Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Boy Who Stole Our Hearts: Part One

 * LONG POST ALERT!! * I don’t write a lot about my son, but I wanted to take the chance to record some of my favorite memories of him over the last 15 months. Due to the volume of information I came up with, I’m doing this as a 3-part post.
From the moment Brady was born, he loves to hold things. He grasped my finger, starred up at me with his big blue eyes, and wouldn’t let go. Something about holding a finger in his hand calms him. Eventually we were able to substitute a pacifier for the finger to help him relax and get to sleep. Some nights, he goes to bed with up to four pacifiers – when he wakes in the night he frantically reaches around with his eyes still closed until he finds a pacifier, and he’s right back to sleep.
When Joel and I were shopping for baby room décor, we opted to go the frugal route and get a good-as-new BabiesRUS set from someone on Craig’s List for less than half of what it would have cost us to buy it new. We loved the animal theme, but had no idea Brady would love it so much, too. Every time I nursed, rocked, or burped him in his room, he would face the monkey on a quilt draped over the chair. At just a few weeks old, we noticed Brady seemed to really enjoy the mobile animals, and he would get really excited about seeing “monk-monk” on the back of the rocking chair. These animals became his first real source of joy. Seeing him react to his animals was one of the cutest things to witness. His eyes would light up with recognition, his face would get this “zoolander blue steal” look to it as he scrunched his lips in excitement, his hands would ball up into little fists, and his arms would shake with excitement. One of the things I miss most from his infant days is how excited he would get about things, especially his animals.
Most babies like to be swaddled for a few weeks, and then they are done. Brady had to be swaddled for months or he’d wake himself up by involuntarily flailing his arms. He looked so cute, just a little head poking out from a bundled body. When he got strong enough to bust out of the swaddles during the night, we decided it was time for him to learn how to sleep without one.
Brady had this cute patch of hair toward the back of the top of his head that stuck straight up like alfalfa from little rascals. I was sad when around seven months it got too long and didn’t stick up any more.

We had all kinds of nicknames for Brady: punk-punk, cutie-pa-tootie, bug-bug, stink-stink, buggle d. bug-bug….and others I’m sure. “Bug” stuck the most, though. Actually, I think he thinks his name is “bug” – he responds to it as much as he does to “Brady”.
When Brady was just a couple months old, if you laid him down, held his hands, then let go suddenly, he would freak out. He’d start this hysterical panic until you assured him that he was ok. I know it sounds mean, but I did it a couple times intentionally because it was just so funny and cute. I assure you, he suffered no short-term or long-term harm:)

Although it doesn’t work anymore, for awhile during Brady’s infancy, the song “itsy bitsy spider” would instantly calm him and cause him to go to sleep. It wasn’t a 100% success rate, but it worked quite often, especially in the car.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February Blues

 Wow. No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. I did not abandon the blog, either. Maybe I just hit a slump - writer's block, if you will. At any rate, the last few weeks have been....hard. Let's recap:

After 60 or so consecutive days of 5"+ snow on the ground, there is no end in sight. It seems Iowa simply cannot go more than a week without a massive snowstorm. Now, we Iowans are no weaklings when it comes to snow. But this winter has got to be the snowiest I've ever experienced. It's just all the time snow. And it blows EVERYWHERE. My office has closed multiple times because of the traveling hazards. BIG SIGH....spring, where are you? I know several other areas of the country are feeling our pain. Stupid Puxatony Phil, just close your eyes and then you won't see the shadow - end of story!

So, to defrost from the frozen tundra that has become Iowa, or the midwest in general, Joel and I took a vacation to southern California the last week of January. While it wasn't exactly beach weather, it was sunny, it was warm, and it was gorgeous. We flew to L.A. Monday night in the middle of a blizzard, did the Hollywood thing all day Tuesday, drove to Laguna Beach Tuesday night, and stayed there checking out places nearby like Newport Beach and Dana Point until our flight out of L.A. Friday afternoon. I love Allegiant Air - we flew roundtrip with taxes and fees and everything for right around $300 TOTAL. FOR BOTH OF US. Getting out of the cold Iowa weather has become a must for me, and I think southern California was a perfect place to go. Oh, and we found Lauren Conrad's parents' house. We don't watch the show at all, but thought if there was a show about this town, we should try to find some of the famous places, right? I guess the house is on the market for $17 million! Geesh....

I am pretty sure....no, completely convinced, that I have seasonal depression. I hate the months of January - March. There are no major holidays to celebrate or get off from work, the days are short, cold, and dark, and I'm usually a good five pounds overweight thanks to all the holiday goodies. I also read that credit card bills from the holidays also come in in January and make people extra stressed/cranky, too. Thankfully we don't have that issue! So combine the bleak weather, the long work days (I know, you don't think I should complain since I just work part-time, but I am!), and the low self-image, and you get twelve weeks of agony. ANOTHER BIG SIGH.

I think February is the worst. The holiday high gets you into mid-January. Then if you are truly lucky, there can be some warm, semi-spring like days in March (three years ago we had a week of 80 degree temps in March. Yes, a snowstorm followed at the beginning of April, but I hold out hope every year that March brings the same kind of spring teaser....) At the very least, it's usually not single-digit temps in March, and the days are significantly longer. So that leaves February....but what about Valentine's Day, you say? I say NAY!! I mean, did you not just read how I feel during this time of year? All of the above makes for a grumpy, irritated, annoyed, stressed, flabby, white, unhappy person. Does any of that sound like a person who wants to do anything related to Valentine's Day?

Not to be Debbie Downer, but the icing on the cake is that before the winter began, I heard a national weather reporter say that due to El Nino or La Nina or some such winds, we could expect an unseasonably warm winter with fewer than normal snowflakes this year. Don't you love irony?

I think I will go back into hibernation mode, so if my posts are fewer and farther between than usual, it's probably because I haven't yet shaken the blues and have nothing positive to contribute quite yet. But don't worry, a few short weeks and we'll turn the corner....I think!
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