Sunday, February 28, 2010

11 months

Dear Ell,

Today you turned 11 months old. Which means two things- first, we are almost finished with the winter, the snow, and therefore snowsuits. Second-you will be one year old the next time I write you a letter, something that blows my mind since I feel like the time you have been here has felt like forever on ultra fast forward. That probably makes no sense, but I can't imagine my world without you now, and at the same time-weren't you too small for newborn sized clothes and incapable of smiling on your own five minutes ago?
This month you have figured out a little baby sign language. I've been trying to show you some practical signs to help you communicate with us, and maybe a few vain ones too (Momma? Please? Sign Momma?! Okay fine, sign Daddy? Something?) but until the last few weeks you seemed to not really get it. Then one day I figured out that since you hadn't quite grasped putting your hands together to clap, you'd bang one arm on whatever the nearest surface was. This was how you responded to music, and how you indicated you'd like more. It's also how you indicate "all done", which is confusing. More? No, since you threw those crackers the banging must mean you're finished. Ah- now we're communicating!

You've also figured out waving (which looks identical to your sign for milk), and you wave all the time. At strangers in the supermarket or at restaurants, to Daddy or our friends when they leave our house, and anytime I go near the stairs or to take you to bed. You are a waving fool. You're trying hard to walk, and get a little closer each day. You love music and dance all the time. You fake cry when you are tired, and think someone sneezing is the most hilarious thing you've ever seen.

You probably won't remember him, but you lost your first pet this month. I bought Jack the summer before your Dad and I got married, and he was a great dog. He seemed alarmed when we brought you home from the hospital and cried, and would run to the crib and then to us like "Um, that thing in the bedroom is broken! What do we do?!" Then you started to crawl around after him and pull his fur, and so he stayed clear of you. But when you got to finger foods, he stayed close by your side to snag the treats you at first accidentally dropped, but then later would drop on purpose and watch him scarf up. Although he occasionally went to the diaper pail and pulled your diapers out (never tearing them up, just carefully taking out and then placing on the floor), we couldn't have asked for a better dog.

You are becoming more of a little boy every day. One who makes noises like a bear and makes car sounds as you roll them (ahem, knock them) across the floor. A little boy who likes books and music and people. Who hates snow suits and mittens and being told no. Don't worry guy. The snow usually goes away by April.



Friday, February 26, 2010

Silly sleepy boy

Every now and then, when I want to get out of the house with Elliott and don't have a sitter, I go against what I have learned as a mother (which is to respect the bedtime) and drag him out for the evening. Tonight was one of those nights, and David and I wanted to grab a bite to eat. Despite throwing all of the food I gave him in the floor, he was really good the whole time. Finally, an hour and a half past his bedtime, we went home and I put Elliott to bed. He slept through me taking off his coat, and then I checked the diaper situation and he slept through that too. But when I grabbed his foot to put it back into his jammies, he got the giggles. He giggled in his sleep the whole time, and kept giggling as I carried him to bed, and then fell asleep as soon as I laid him in his crib. I love that kid.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What we've been doing lately...

We've gotten lots and lots of snow lately, so I haven't left the house much. In order to keep busy and warm, I've been breaking in my sewing machine and knitting. My first new machine project was a baby carrier that I saw online that I decided I had to have. The picture isn't a great one, but you can see the finished product.
Then we had a birthday party for our buddy Jaafar, so I made this little pointy hat for him and made a little bag to put a couple of board books in.This is what our back yard looks like. I'd make snow ice cream, but I still have some left from the last time we got ten inches of snow. It melts, then we get another 6 or 8 inches dumped on us. Ugh.

To help Elliott's little toes stay warm, I made some little tube socks. These are the first pair I've ever knitted. The fit isn't the best...
But Elliott assured me that they taste just fine.
Finally, I finished this duffel coat, which I started in October. It didn't take that long to knit, I just worked on it whenever I felt like it. So of course, it took five months to finish. Luckily I used a big pattern.
Elliott has been working on other things. Like taking a step or two-
And growing two more teeth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy belated Valentine's Day

Not related to this post. He just hates snowsuits.

I disappeared for a while. I had a lot to say, but nothing really seemed appropriate to follow up my last post about Jack, and honestly I didn't feel like posting about the various things we've been doing to keep busy. But busy we have stayed. Elliott has mastered bye-bye, will give kisses when he feels like it, and is trying really hard to get the bravery up to take steps. I also figured out that he is signing "more", and has been for a while, but he does it a little differently than I do. Instead of putting his hands together, he hits one hand on the table, floor, or nearest surface. He hasn't figured out clapping yet, so this is his variation.

I've been sewing, knitting, and reading like a madwoman- losing myself in projects and getting through winter. And, since I am a little crazy, I've decided to make life a little more complicated in the name of getting "greener". I meant to start recycling when we moved to Ann Arbor, but it just never really happened. Then I read a post by a friend who told all about how she had to sort her recycling in the laundry room and then drive to the recycling center to give it to them, and I realized that I was being a total jerk not utilizing the curbside recycling service the city offers. It is a little more work, but we have a smaller amount of trashbags going into our bigger trash bin. This isn't the crazy part though. This is just not being so wasteful when it is really so easy to recycle.

The CRAZY part is that I somehow allowed myself to get curious/guilty enough about cloth diapering to try it. I intended to way back before we decided to have a kiddo, but then as part of the deal I struck with my boss that I would bring the baby to work with me and the longstanding policy against cloth diapering, I struck that idea and stocked up on Huggies. I love Huggies. They are wonderful. But then, you know the statistics on diapers in landfills, and I had fifty jillion cloth prefold diapers just lying around (because Elliott has spit up on something everyday since he was born). So today, I gave it a shot.

It wasn't that big a deal. I mean, I need to stay on top of laundry, because EW, but I figure while we're just kicking it at home it could be an option. I just stuck these waterproof little covers over them and it was easy peasy. We have rubber pants too, but Elliott seemed much more aware of those. Anyway, I'm not a convert yet, but I tried it. It was fine. I'll keep some huggies though just in case.

Finally, I'd like to show you a couple of videos. The first is Elliott doing what he does best, which is finding things he shouldn't really have and playing with them much longer than he would any of the jillion toys we have. I know you shouldn't let babies play with plastic sacks, but we never left him unattended.
Also, he got some cutie pie valentines from Memaw and Grandma and Grandpa Ingram today. One of them played music, so he really liked dancing to that. Fair warning, the song restarts if the card is moved, so you will hear the first line of the song thirty times. If you aren't a country fan, you might want to mute it and pretend he is dancing to something else. And please pretend I don't sing along. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Saying goodbye

Last Tuesday night we left Elliott with a sitter and went to see Jack for the last time. David had gotten a call from the vet earlier letting us know that the treatment they had given Jack hadn't worked. He was still paralyzed, and the chance of him ever recovering was pretty slim. I was a wreck. David and I said our goodbyes, and thanked him for being such a wonderful dog and for the time we had with him. We are now slowly adjusting to the quiet house that now greets us after we are away, sweeping up the food that Elliott drops for him, and putting away his things until I can bring myself to deal with them. We still don't really know what happened, and thought that Jack would be with us for 5 or 10 years more. He was an awesome dog, and was good with Elliott, and we will miss him dearly.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


No news on Jack- he still can't use his back legs and is still at the vet. We visited him last night briefly and will go back later on. I'll update more as we get better information.

Month 10

Dear Elliott,

This first month of 2010 has been fun, and you are a busy little boy. You are practicing lots of skills, like standing, walking with push toys, and screaming. Not crying-screaming, just yelling as loud as you can to signal that you want FOOD! or TOYS! or ATTENTION! or hey, it's kind of peaceful and quiet. STOP THAT! You are making Daddy a little crazy with the screaming, but I guess you are just testing out your sounds or something. I've tried to show you how to sign for what you want, and you look at me like, "Yeah, or I could just go AAAAGHHH! That works too."

We are in the dead of winter, and although it hasn't been that snowy here, it is really cold. So I've tried to bundle you up when we leave the house, and nothing seems to tick you off more than a snowsuit and mittens. But if I try to just use a coat, you will dramatically chatter to let me know you are cold- a trait that you have definitely inherited from me. You still only have two teeth, but you make them work just fine and eat anything you get your hands on- especially if I am trying to eat it.

Other new tricks and games you like to play are peek-a-boo (now you will cover your own face), giving a toy to me and then taking it back (the Thank You game), feeding goldfish crackers and other finger foods to me, and giving kisses. They are still open mouthed, but you don't give as much tongue- which I am grateful for. You are also a pro at giving Jack any food that you don't want. You drape your arm over the chair and offer your snack, and Jack will wait until you drop it and then scarf it down.

I'll end this with some videos we took last month.


Monday, February 1, 2010


I actually have lots to write about- Elliott just turned 10 months old, I spent all weekend working on a project with my new sewing machine, and we had a reunion with our Mom and Baby group yesterday- but instead I'm kind of holding my breath until we hear from the vet.

When we woke up yesterday morning, Jack seemed fine. David took him outside, and when he came back we noticed Jack looked a little stiff. I thought maybe the cold weather was hurting his joints or something, because he sort of shuffled up the stairs and into the kitchen. David gave him breakfast, and he ate it and laid down. Then we set out to fix the issue of the dead battery in our car. We had a friend come over and jump the battery, and David went to go replace it.

Elliott and I were settling in to play, and I noticed Jack was sitting down and looked like he was dragging his bottom across the floor. I was about to yell at him to stop, but then I realized he was really trying to get up to come over to us. He couldn't seem to get off the floor. I ran out and stopped David to come look at him, and he helped Jack stand up by lifting his back legs. His right leg didn't seem to do anything, but his left leg shuffled him across the floor. His body swayed toward the left leg shakily, and he came over to us slowly. David checked him for pain and he didn't seem to have any. I called the vet while David went to the auto parts store, and I decided we would take him in tomorrow, since something was definitely wrong, but he didn't seem to be hurting and was eating and not sick.

Later that afternoon, Jack hadn't moved that much. He could get to his back legs after trying for a while when we checked him out, but by 5 pm he couldn't get up at all, couldn't support his back legs, couldn't go to the bathroom when David carried him outside. We fed him his dinner and I watched as his front legs quaked trying to support his weight while he tried to lower his head to his bowl. He still managed to eat his dinner and drink some water, but it was obvious that he was getting worse. David took him to the emergency clinic at the vet. I had to sit at home with Elliott and google everything I could find about a dog suddenly losing the use of his hind legs, finding everything from a spinal injury to hip dysplasia to a saddle thrombus. Nothing looked super promising.

When David came back he said that Jack had to stay in the vet while they ran tests and gave him medicine and tried to figure out what was wrong. Our house is too quiet. There are no clicks on the hardwood, no water bowl scraping the kitchen floor, no squeaks from Jacks decapitated duck. I miss him.