20 Months Young!


Happy 20 months today, Harmon!  Leaving the baby-teens behind!  In the past few days it seems like you’ve suddenly crossed an invisible threshold from baby to true toddler.  I realize this is my fourth go, but I feel like I’ve never had a toddler before for some reason…you are  veryveryveryVERY good at leaving a path of crazy in your wake despite your overall quiet & timid nature.  In fact, one of your favorite things right now is to empty every single playing card from the giant storage bag all over the living room floor—all these cards used to be in their own decks & spaces until someone rendered that organization pointless. 😉  I am very, very, very, VERY tired by the end of a day.  Bone-dead tired, body & soul, but, Harmon, you make our family complete & we couldn’t imagine life without your tiny hobbit ways!

More likes at 20 months…

  • MAMA!!!! I don’t need to elaborate.  Love you!
  • BALLS! You want all the balls in the entire world, I think.  You love to kick balls & catch balls & you’re still creepily good at catching any size ball that is tossed at you.  You probably need to be a keeper in soccer.  Or attend a bunch of baseball games & start a foul ball collection.
  • CHIPS! Oh my goodness, you are still an addict for chips, but since your diet is no-dairy and no-wheat, tortilla chips, Fritos plain corn chips, and Lay’s Poppables are about all you can stomach.  And with only SIX teeth still (less than 1% of kids your age have six teeth, by the way) eating anything is tricky, let alone something like a hard chip.  We give you tiny, tiny bites or chew them up mama-bird-style for you (I know, I know, gross, but it works).
  • HOLDING! By this I mean you want to hold all the babies yourself & all the animals on our Iowa hobby farm.  You say the word “hold” very well & clearly & ask to “hold” stuff all the time.  When I stopped watching my daycare baby “Sissy” (who, at 6 months of age, was heavier than & almost as tall as you!) you lost your chance to “hold” a baby on a fairly regular basis…you’ll just have to wait for Auntie Ellie’s next little one!  Hopefully by then you’ll be bigger than the average 9 month old & can actually do all this “holding” you think you’re doing! 😉
  • OUTSIDE! You would live outside in our yard if we let you.  You especially like to climb up & down hills, but have a particular fascination with the dirt hill in front of the chicken coop.  The hill that is full of chicken poo & dirt & old stumps & too steep for your abilities…of course that’s the hill you like the best. xo
  • CARS, the movie! You only actually seem to like watching the opening sequence wherein the cars race around the track & Sheryl Crow sings.  Then you lose interest.  You also like the movie Moana to an extent—if someone is not singing onscreen, however, you’re done, which brings me to…
  • MUSIC! You are still our little music man!  Makes me so happy how much you love music.  You love to dance & bob your head & shake your bum to music of all sorts.  Hopefully we can get you enrolled in a toddler music class this fall…how are you that old already???
  • DEER! You LOVE looking at deer in the yard out the windows.  Birds, too.  You like to listen to birds when we’re outside & you’ll cock your ear & point up.
  • BIKING! Daddy fixed the baby seat on the back of my bike up & now we take you for rides up & down the long driveway on a fairly consistent basis in the afternoon/evenings.  You seem to relish it despite the scenery repetition.

More random likes: picking out your clothes from the bottom drawer of the dresser, throwing away your huge morning diaper after being changed & then high-fiving me, sucking on ice in a rag (like your sister June who taught you to do this!), picking grass clumps from the garden while we weed (you like to help!), wiping the floors with a wipe (again, being helpful to mama),  listening to books (favorite books tend to be about chickens, trucks/cars, animals), blowing the dish soap bubbles all over the kitchen, going upstairs to play in your siblings’ rooms (I think it really bugs you that you can’t go up there whenever you want), climbing up & on & all over stuff—you’re a climber!, petting the cats—usually while sitting in a dirt pile, wearing hats & socks & shoes (because you think this means you’re going outside), putting lotion on your face all by yourself (due to your eczema, you have a lot of lotion application going on 24/7), banging on smartphones/iPods/iPads/laptops—but watching home videos of yourself & your siblings is your favorite technological pastime.

A few things you do NOT seem to like: WATER.  You don’t like swimming pools, sprinklers, showers, lakes, or even the bathtub if mama is not bathing with you.  You will not sleep for long without mama or, frankly, sleep at all.  We co-sleep all night & you continue to nurse all night long, so much nursing, in fact, that my period has still not returned, but you’re so very tiny & eat so very little food that breastmilk is probably 50% or more of your diet, so I’m not doing anything to wean you yet.  You won’t nap for very long, which drives me crazy, & you still require two naps a day, which is also driving me crazy.  I’ve tried moving you to one long nap in the afternoon many many MANY times & we’re making no progress.  One nap doesn’t work yet.  Teeth-brushing practically puts you into a tantrum.  Hair-brushing is pretty awful, too, but this seems to be a common theme in this family.  The car seat is also your nemesis.  Riding in the car is generally a very bad thing in your world.  Now that Coralee can drive herself to school and sports on a school permit, however, life in this department has improved a hundredfold for you!

I’m not sure on your stats, I’ll try to weigh & measure you this week & update this post.

Words: You are not talking much, but your babbling seems to be exploding suddenly.  You will try to say most any word we ask you to say, but everything still sounds pretty much the same.  You can make a lot of animal noises—roosters crowing, cats meowing, dogs panting.  You imitate a baby bawling really well (daycare baby helped immensely with this).  You say mama (finally!!!), dada, hold, iwantdat (“I want that” garbled together), datway (“that way”), wawa (water), baba (bottle of almond milk).  You smack your mouth to indicate you’re hungry or when you just want something badly.  You’re actually quite good at communicating in a nonverbal manner.  We can usually figure out what you want without any words…I’m wondering if this will make your speech delayed?  I guess we’ll find out.

Something cute you started doing this week is keeping your head/gaze fixed forward, while rolling your eyes to the side.  Gives me a headache to do it, but you seem to love doing it & usually laugh at yourself when you’re done.

Love you, tiny hobbit!  So very glad you’re here!

 

Advertisements

Good Friday, 2008,…

…was March 21st.  I know this because I spent much of the day in a small town Wisconsin hospital with my mother waiting to have surgery.  A surgery to officially end my third child’s existence as part of me.  It wasn’t the best day, obviously.  Our baby was 20 weeks gestation, but an ultrasound (& subsequent post-mortem) showed our baby to have stopped growing sometime around 16weeks, maybe 17.  I had been to my OB-GYN between 16 & 20 weeks at some point (math is fuzzy now) & our baby was alive with a heartbeat at that time.  But then, on Good Friday Eve-Maunday Thursday-I started bleeding & never stopped.  I refused to look at the ultrasound screen the next day, on Good Friday.  I knew what it showed before I even laid back on the table.  I stared at the wall in that dark room & bit my tongue, trying with everything I had not to cry.  The ultrasound tech never said a word, but held my hand.  My mother sat in the waiting room during the scan.  Brian was still down in Iowa at school.  I was visiting my parents for Easter along with my children, Coralee who was in kindergarten & Merritt who was going to turn 3 soon.  Such a strange day.  It was sunny when I entered the clinic that morning & by the time my surgery was over & I was discharged, my mother & I walked out into an evening of gently falling snow. And it was beautiful.  And I can still see it perfectly all these years later.  Beautiful white flakes filling the air.  Like the world wasn’t crashing down on me.  Like I was supposed to stop & recognize there was still beauty out there.


I bought the baby alpaca green yarn that makes up the vest Harmon is wearing in the above photo when I was pregnant with my 2008 Good Friday baby-who, incidentally, had a due date of MY birthday, August 8th.  I thought the due date was a sign this baby was meant to be!  Harmon has worn this little vest I knit with yarn for his special sibling many times.  I snapped these photos of him just before Christmas last year.


I remember buying this yarn.  I was so happy. I loved the color.  I loved how soft it was; Blue Sky Alpacas is dreamy for sure.  I often thought about throwing the yarn out after that Good Friday.  I think I may have thrown some of it away, but I kept a couple skeins wound & unknit for a long time.  When I was pregnant with June I knit some of it up into this vest.  I don’t think June wore the vest but once, if that…this is Harmon’s vest.  I like to think it’s keeping our baby’s memory present. At least with me.

So three years after that horrid Good Friday I gave birth to a living baby, our June Belle.  Yes, on the same day!  March 21st surprised me again.  That’s got to mean something…


And now our second March 21st baby is 6! And such a wonderful little girl.  She does her birthday proud.  

Good Friday will forever be something of a conundrum to me.  Holy Week is tricky, too.  It’s both the worst of life & the best.  Which is scary true on so many levels I get chills thinking about it.  I feel like I have a special connection to Mary, Jesus’s mother.  I really do.  I also lost a child on Good Friday.  But then I was gifted another three years later on the same date.  So, I want to say, Good morning on this goodest of Fridays.  It is a Good day.  And thank you for indulging my thoughts here on this little blog.  May your Friday be Good as well.

P.S. Thank you, Mom. xxo

Harmon’s Favorite Things: 14 Months 

Another edition!  Another month gone…

a) Harmon is still very VERY much a musical little guy.  He likes playing Coralee & Merritt’s old school recorders (walks around the house tooting away), but I couldn’t locate either recorder for the photo so I used an old loon call of mine from when I was a kid–he likes this, too.

b) These are June’s socks.   Since the beginning of the school year Harmon has enjoyed swiping June’s socks off the floor as she gets dressed in her pants/shirt…it’s become a fun game between the two of them made all the more entertaining now that he can walk!  Suffice to say, June wastes a lot of precious time in the mornings sometimes with her baby brother & her socks…

c) Harmonica!  Harmon continues his love affair with this instrument.

d) “A Day at the Beach” is a book my Grandma Darling (paternal grandmother from Texas) gave me when I was a toddler/preschooler.  Harmon found it on the bookshelf & has decided it is his favorite book at the moment.  He doesn’t really want us to read it to him, he just likes to carry it around & occasionally sit down to flip through it.  He has also thrown it in the bathtub…not cool, little man!

e) Used dryer sheets…I do not get this obsession, but it continues this month.

f) My knitting notions bag–he loves emptying this bag so much he was swiping it off the bed as I took the photo!  He especially likes to unravel the knitting tape measure & drag it around like a puppy on a leash.

g) Brushes.  He loves to brush his hair.  He will use anything to do so, but we try to promote using the actual tool for the job.

h) A PLAN toys pull-along dog.  For a few days recently he was very much infatuated with this toy–not pulling it, just playing with it and pushing it.  He’s lost interest now.

i) Real shoes!  Harmon finally needs a real pair of shoes for leaving the house & he very much enjoys it when we put the shoes on his feet.  Hope it lasts!  He has TINY feet, however, & I had a little trouble finding non-crib shoes for his mini feet.  Went back to my old standby for baby shoes–pediped.  Merritt wore this brand as a toddler, too.

j) Coralee’s knit cat ‘Bubbles’–both Coralee & Merritt have one of these large knit cats.  Harmon likes hugging both & dragging around the house.

k) Doll teepee.  This is June’s toy to go along with her Native American wooden dolls.  It has a handle on top & Harmon likes to carry it around, kind of like it’s his purse.

l) Balls of all kinds, but especially golf balls.

m) Old school “My Little Pony” combs remain a favorite.

n) Wild Kratts!  Well, the theme song to [PBS show] “Wild Kratts”–he dances & shakes his torso whenever he hears the theme play.  He carries the DVD cases around & says “Wha wha.”  His siblings LOVE this show more than probably any other show & Coralee’s 14.5!  Merritt’s almost 12!  Science never gets boring, thank goodness. 🙂

He fell asleep in his carseat once clutching one of his recorders.Pardon the poor quality photo [this post is full of these, unfortunately]–more recorder love!Dryer sheet love.

img_8349

This is embarrassing to admit…Harmon is ridiculously obsessed with chips.  Ugh!  His dad is sort of a chip-aholic.  We don’t eat chips everyday or anything like that, but Harmon has developed a very bad habit of wanting chips.  If we’re shopping & he sees a bag on the conveyor belt, he goes nuts reaching for the bag, whining, etc.  He still only has one tooth so the only way he ever gets chips is if I chew one up for him first.  Needless to say, chips are no longer making an appearance at any of our meals & no one is allowed to eat chips when Harmon is awake anymore.  He was kissing the bag in the above photo.

He loves being in our master bathroom, even in the dark.  I think he likes throwing things in the empty tub & shutting the door mostly…he also likes to play in the hanging cloth diaper bag (yuck!) & in the trash bin.  We’ve moved the trash now due to him emptying the contents into the tub one afternoon.  He thought it was very funny!

Balls are very entertaining.

img_83551I included these photos to show him with the doll teepee, but I snapped the photos because the ribbed waist of his Balloon Baby Pants had gotten so stretched out one day that it just fell down!  He couldn’t figure out what was going on, it was hilarious.  He finally just took the silly pants off.

img_83541

img_83071I couldn’t end with those crazy pants-falling-down photos so I just threw in this napping photo.  He is taking a longer nap now (HOORAY!), but still taking one in the morning & again in the afternoon.

Other new things this month include learning to give “kisses” or “smooches” & saying “muah!” when he does so–it’s adorable!  Coralee taught him the “muah!” part. He also walks around with his arms stretched out to the sides when he wants a hug or to be picked up.  He walks quite well, but no running yet.

He can say mama, dada, wow, bye (he said that for the first time today!), and he makes the cock-a-doodle-do sound when he sees a chicken out the back porch windows or hears one of our roosters crowing.  When he wants something he smacks his mouth–this has meant “I want that” for several months running now.  It used to just mean he wanted to nurse, but now it’s a general “give me that”!  He babbles constantly at home.  He’s quite shy when we’re out & about, but hollers loudly unabashedly if he wants something.

Meal time is still incredibly tricky due to his dairy allergy (we think it’s an allergy at this point–I still mean to blog about it) & his one lousy tooth!  He needs some teeth!  A second bottom one is in the works, but as Brian pointed out last week, he needs some on top, too, if he’s going to chew better.  I’m sure it will happen soon & then I’ll miss his gummy smile.

We have a very VERY bad problem with boxelder bugs in the house this winter & Harmon has decided finding one crawling on the floor is a real “treat” & tries to eat the buggers–GROSS, I know!  And probably dangerous.  I have to be very vigilant.  I spend five minutes or more every morning looking for bugs on the floors & subsequently squash them or pitch ’em back outside into the cold.  I hate those things.

~ ~ ~

Happy 14 Months, Harmon Hunter!

When Babies Become Toddlers

I woke up this morning fairly early & Harmon kept sleeping which is not like him–he seems to “know” when I wake up & bolt awake, too.  I was at the kitchen sink & realized I had a load of wet laundry waiting since yesterday afternoon that needed moving to the dryer. But before I could head toward the laundry room it dawned on me–Harmon loves to help move wet laundry to the dryer, so I better wait until he wakes up.Babies really stay babies for a crazy short period of time, don’t they?  Kind of hurts your heart when you dwell on it.

Bye, Mama!  Laundry’s done & I’m movin’ on!  More toddler tasks await!

Walking (with June), Walking (in an ice storm), Walking (with Harmon!)


img_81741
June has been feeling very lost/left behind the last few months & it only seems to be worsening…our house is definitely a very, very busy place & Harmon takes up a lot of my time, while the older two seem to take up a lot of Brian’s time when he’s not working [read: unpaid Uber drver!].  We’ve both been making an effort to spend some solitary time with June.  Iowa (& most of the Central U.S.) was hit with an ice storm over the weekend/Monday.  Iowa got a lot of rain, too, & June loves walking in the rain/puddles.  I took just her outside yesterday [MLK Day, a no school day] for a hike & she loved it as predicted.  I don’t think she wanted to go back inside despite her wet feet.

img_81731Coralee & Merritt spent much of the day playing with Legos.

img_81751It was pretty bad out there…

img_81471…but June & I persevered!

img_81171First we followed our silly goose Ferdie making her way back to the coop over the extremely icy ground…

img_81181

img_81191

img_81201

img_81231Ooops!  Goose down!

img_81241She made it back inside the warm coop safely, I promise!

img_81271Our ridiculous cat-food-eating, sneaking-into-the-garage-constantly Speckled Sussex ‘May’ got herself trapped downhill from the coop & would not be caught (June tried!), so we just chased her under Brian’s parked, non-operational truck & she stayed dry under there for most of the afternoon.  By the way, if anyone is in need of a free Speckled Sussex hen (she doesn’t lay eggs anymore, however, she’s too old), I can hook you up anytime!  Please.

img_81321June wanted her picture taken by her “outside Christmas tree”–a juniper [aka Eastern redcedar] volunteer in the yard.

img_81291Lots of ice on this tree.

img_81341

img_81351Our Prairie Creek tributary was running loudly for mid-January in Iowa.

img_81371This is our yard.

img_81361Flash creek that runs off the bordering field, across our front yard & into Prairie Creek along our southern boundary.  June loveslovesloves it when the flash creek shows up.  Her outerwear was soaking wet from icy rain by this point.

img_81381Um, we’re not going anywhere.

img_81421We found a yellow wooly bear caterpillar crawling on the glacial erratic that sits near our northern boundary.  June is a caterpillar/butterfly fanatic & was quite surprised to see this caterpillar crawling up the side of the rock in an ice storm, in Iowa, in January.

img_81391S/he was moving at a pretty good pace up this rock.

img_81431We pulled the dry grass back from the underside of the rock & tucked her/him underneath.  Hopefully s/he goes back to hibernating.  One life cycle of this species [a Virginia tiger moth as an adult] spends the winter hibernating.

img_81601Our culvert was clogged with ice, but flowing just the same.

img_81591I thought the reflections rather lovely.

img_81761

img_81481Back inside Harmon has been spending the last several days WALKING, too!  He mostly walks now!

img_81521

Over the weekend he started carrying things around with him as he walked.  He’s getting more confident!

img_81491

Mostly he walks around in half circles before falling over…his navigational skills are not developed yet. 😉

img_81531

I’ve noticed in the past week when I set him down he no longer collapses his legs to immediately assume crawling, his legs are stiff now & he’s ready to walk.  He keeps his arms mostly tucked up near his armpits like he’s a T-rex with tiny non-operational arms, it makes us all chuckle.  His legs are very bowed as he walks.

My baby is making the transition to toddler…

ekjp82101He’s quite proud of his walking!

We’ve been walking a lot here in Iowa despite the ice, just much more nimbly.  Buses were on hard-surface routes only today so Merritt & June are missing school.  Fingers crossed for lots of ice melting to take place ASAP as I can’t seem to exit my house without slipping/falling.  Yesterday I landed in a big pile of Ferdie poo & bruised myself in several places…I sat there looking at the faux glacier growing/flowing around me & wondered where the winters of my youth have gone?  I’d like to take a quiet walk in a fresh snowfall one of these days.

~How’s winter by you?~

Harmon’s (& mama’s) Favorite Things :: 13 Months Edition

img_80331

Harmon turned 13 months a little over a week ago & these are his favorite things currently:

a) he still loves his vibrating/singing puppy lovey from Target

b) he lives in his Purl Lamb sweats collection–these are the best baby pants around!  No sagging, awesome designs, the website is always having sales/promos, & the fit is amazing.

c) he is not into stuffed animals much, but he does have a few he likes to hug & throw around, this knit hedgehog made by mama (pattern from Purl Soho) is one such stuffed animal

d) for some reason he LOVES the BluRay player remote & only this remote (we have to take the batteries out of it so he stops starting movies all the time)

e) his harmonica–he loveslovesloves to play for us

f) it’s hard to decipher what this is in the photo–it’s an old FFA-approved silicone (I think?) liquids bottle with two ice cubes stuffed (& stuck) inside–this has been his preferred teething object since forever & guess what?  Harmon has one tooth (on the bottom right) now with which to gnaw on it!

g) his favorite book to turn the pages & point at is Some BugsJune & I bought this for Harmon when we visited Colorado as a family last July while the older kids plus Brian were up in the mountains birding & we couldn’t stand the hotel any longer & it was like 100 degrees outside

h) pencils, this is a bad obsession that we do not foster

i) old My Little Pony combs from his mama’s childhood–he likes to comb his lovely locks with these

j) a wooden box with a small ladybug attached inside with wiggly legs–he enjoys opening & closing the lid mostly

k) golf balls

l) cloth diaper pins–also not an obsession we foster purposefully

m) the Christmas ornament that his godmother (Coralee) made him this year (see cute photos below)–he is absolutely enamored with this star for some reason & knows it is his & wants it out of the tree whenever he spots it

n) a collection of plastic sea stars based on real species of sea stars (or starfish) that I bought at least ten years ago during my student teaching days; he especially likes to find two that match & flip them over & over in his hands

img_80371

Harmon also loves to hang out with his older siblings…

img_78911

…and yells for them at the bottom of the stairs even when none of them are home!

img_79801

As a result the bottom step is his favorite place to sit.

img_79811

img_79871 img_79891 img_78431

Christmas morning playing with his new ornament made by Coralee.  She made him an ornament last year, too, & hopes to continue doing so every year so someday when he’s a daddy (or just a hip bachelor with a Christmas tree), we can give him a set of classy ornaments!img_78441 img_78701

He actually is very very good about wearing hats of all kinds.img_80441

This is a mama-favorite this month.  My items from the Netherlands arrived!  I got an amazing deal (& free shipping) from Swearhouse designs on Black Friday on these three tees/onesies for baby & I could not be happier!  Soft, silky, unique, well-made-by-hand & in-house designed.  Check Alice’s website out here!img_80451 img_80111 img_80121 img_80301

This was my planned Christmas outfit for Harmon.  Wouldn’t it have been so sweet at the evening service?  Ok, I’m being silly, I know, but sometimes this is what gets a mama through…planning her baby’s outfit for church. 🙂

img_80421 img_80411 img_80401 img_80391

Harmon is quickly becoming an expert harmonica player.  I should also have photographed his fleece vest from Patagonia in the ‘favorite things’ photo–he wears it all the time!  It is perfect for fall/winter/spring in Iowa, an extra layer without being too bulky in the carseat or too hot in our frigid house.  And Patagonia fits forever and ever & has an amazing return policy if you’re unhappy EVER for practically ANY reason.  I bought this owl vest on eBay shortly after he was born for (seriously) pennies plus shipping.

img_80351 img_80341

He liks to feel his one tooth with his tongue & also has been eating Ella’s Little Nibblers a lot lately.  Not sure how healthy these are, but with one tooth it’s hard to find things he doesn’t choke on when he’s tired of fruits & vegetables & grainy toast (he still CANNOT have any dairy whatsoever without dire consequences in the gastro department).

img_80221

These are his favorite kinds of foods–a lot of soft vegetables & meat in liquid that mama can pop into his mouth.  This was chicken noodle soup made from our rooster Kurt von Trapp.

img_80381

He loves riding in the Tula…

img_80461

…& not to brag, but he LOVES his mama, all the time, wherever we are…he also loves to nurse.

img_80431

13 months is a fun time!

img_80361

Happy 13 Months, Harmon!