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Happy first birthday, Duder.

8 April, 2017

This time last year, I was alternating between doing something of a side-to-side swaying dance while staring at this spot on the wall and updating some friends via group text.


After weeks of prodromal labor, and after conveniently waiting for me to nurse Pony Monkey to sleep around 20:30, at 41w5d, Little Dude decided to initiate his launch sequence.  I had a hard time taking the contractions seriously because I’d thought I was going into true labor so many times already that I couldn’t see how this time was any different.  My midwife gave me a call around 21:00 to see how I was doing, and then decided to come join us.

She arrived within 30 minutes and was soon joined by her assistant.  Pony Monkey woke shortly thereafter and joined our little birthday party. While I was doing my best to stay relaxed, she was running laps around our living room and building forts on the couch with The Husband.


During Pony Monkey’s labor and delivery, I asked that no pictures be taken.  This time around, I left my camera out, and anticipating being unable to speak, I left written instructions to take ALL the pictures, and I’m so glad I did.

A mere 3.5 hours after getting Pony Monkey to bed, our Duder Bug made his debut. Born en caul, his amniotic sac only ruptured when neither The Husband nor the midwife caught him and he landed (a few inches below) on our daybed.  Big sister and the birthday boy aside, we all had a good laugh about this.

Duder has adapted well to life on the outside.

He’s about 31″ tall, he weighs around 23lbs, he’s got 8 teeth with more on the way, he’s mastered walking and is now branching out to running and climbing, and he’s got four distinct, at least to me, words (go, get/got, that, and cat), and it seems he’s on the verge of two more (cup and mama).

What I can’t easily quantify though is how sweet this kid is.  How his tiny hand fits into mine. The way he rapidly breathes in and out of his mouth when he’s excited. His insistent “get! get!” as he offers me a piece of food he is eating. The weight of his sleepy (but not yet asleep) body as he rests his head on my shoulder.  And even the strength with which he contorts his body and struggles as I change his diapers. As ever, the beauty is in the details.

Happy birthday, Duder.  You are so loved.


a doodle for Little Dude

3 April, 2017

We’ve been busy preparing for Little Dude’s first birthday party.. so busy that I forgot his birthday was so near to F.R. Khan’s.  Google dished out a nice reminder for us this morning, by presenting us with this doodle.


The Husband and I married in Chicago’s Hancock building, which was designed by Khan.  It only seemed fitting to share one of Khan’s names with our son.

things heard from our floor’s hallway: a non-interview with a 10 month old

8 February, 2017

While waiting for the elevator today, the kids and I heard a series of “*click* bad! *click* bad!”

I’m not totally sure what was going on, but given that the occupants in that unit recently got a puppy, I’d guess that they were doing some sort of clicker training.

At some point in the last couple of weeks, I’m sure our neighbors have heard lots of cheering and clapping and the laughter of children and adults alike.  What started as Little Dude raising his arms in response to us saying “YAY!” has morphed into all of us clapping while he smiles and we take up the usual exclamation.

Other tricks that he has recently learned include:

  • drinking out of a straw
  • drinking out of a regular sippy cup
  • pointing and grunting at things he wants
  • saying “guh” within the context of where “go” would apply (also “kuh” with our cats and cars)
  • walking unassisted
  • smacking your hand away if you try to feed him something he doesn’t want
  • shaking his head to communicate “no”

He loves dancing and wrestling with his big sister, trying to “pet” the cats, and playing with our magnetic blocks.

He’s not a fan of sleeping for longer than 90 minutes at a stretch, not being held, or having the books he likes to eat taken away.

2016 in review

31 December, 2016

A year ago today, I saw a friend’s video featuring one second of her life, every day, for the month of December 2015.  It was beautiful, and I was inspired to tackle a similar project of my own.  Thanks, SD!

I’ve just finished piecing all of these seconds of my life, of my 2016, together.

The weight, and the beauty, of this video is staggering.  I’m watching it again right now, and it’s amazing how these tiny clips jog memories and such a range of emotions.  I’ve had birth and death and everything in between this year.  The events and activities I picked to film were largely happy things, so this representation of life skews a bit more to the positive side, but I suppose some parallels could be drawn there.  From seeing how much my daughter has grown to the intimacy that comes with sharing so much that most people don’t see or gloss over, this project has given me more than I had expected.

If you’ve got eight minutes to spare, check it out. It’ll be posted or linked once I can iron out some technical issues.

To everyone who joined me in this project, I thank you, and I love you.  Let’s do this again real soon, yeah?

2016 in books

30 December, 2016
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Here’s what I read this year:

  1. The Book of Aron (Jim Shepard)
  2. Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know (Emily Oster)
  3. The Japanese Lover (Isabel Allende)
  4. The Bazar of Bad Dreams (Stephen King)
  5. Salt to the Sea (Ruta Sepetys)
  6. The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah)
  7. The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money (Ron Lieber)
  8. The Running Man (Stephen King)
  9. Fates and Furies (Lauren Groff)
  10. Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath (Ted Koppel)
  11. The Whole-brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture your Child’s Developing Mind (Daniel Siegel)
  12. The Wicked + the Divine: Vol. 1, the Faust Act (Kieron Gillen)
  13. Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein)

And this year, there’s an honorable mention – Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl) became the first chapter book that I read to Pony Monkey.

What will 2017 hold for us? We’ll have to wait and see.  There is talk, however, of attempting the Harry Potter series.  It’d be a first for both of us..


2016 gift

26 December, 2016

Every year, The Husband chooses one moment to have recreated in a drawing and gives it to me as a gift.  It’s fun to guess at what he’ll choose for that year.  The birth of our son this year was an obvious choice.. too obvious, so he went for something else:


Here we see Queen Elsa, played by three-year-old Pony Monkey, using a seven or eight-month-old Little Dude as a step stool to aid in her attempt to escape from her kennel.

Learning to use one’s environment to help in tricky situations is some sort of developmental milestone, right? And siblings working together is something all parents hope to someday see, no? We’re so proud.

Seriously though, this is our life.  This is what little kids do.  This is what gives us our teachable moments.  And this is what The Husband chose for 2016.  I couldn’t be happier.

(thank you, my friend.)

interview with a 3.25 year old

20 December, 2016

I don’t remember quarter years being a thing when I was younger.  I have clear memories of being in grade school and taking pride in my half year, but never even thinking about a quarter year.  It doesn’t matter though because I’m making it a thing now.  To remember.

While bathing Pony Monkey this evening, I asked her if she’d be up for an interview and explained the (not terribly significant) significance of her being 3.25 years old today as well as taking time to reflect on things at the end of the calendar year.

This is what I got before she decided that the questions were interfering with her ability to fill her dismembered mermaid doll carcass with bubbles:

Me: What was the best part of 2016?

PM: Going trick or treating

Me: What was the worst part of 2016?

PM: That broke down city got broke down. (She’s talking about Aleppo)

Me: What is the best part of being a big sister?

PM: That I will always be a big sister for two thousand years.

Me: What is the worst part of being a big sister?

PM: That I don’t get to get Duder in the bathtub.

Me: What is the best part of the winter holidays?

PM: That we could just go get cookies from people who are giving us cookies. One or three or four cookies.

Me: What is the worst part of the winter holidays?

PM: Not trick or treating. I really like trick or treating.

Me: What is the best part of being 3.25 years old?

PM: We could read Fantastic Mr. Fox over and over again.

Me: What is the worst part of being 3.25 years old?

PM: I’m done. Just done.

And so am I..

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