Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hot Stuff

Eli has been running a fever for the last 24-hours. It came on rather suddenly, especially considering there isn't a cough, or runny nose. When I put him down for his morning nap yesterday he was fine, but when I woke him up, his head and body were burning the temperature of 102.5 actually. He doesn't seem too affected by it, luckily. Eli still wakes up happy and all-smiles, but he has been more tired and cranky than usual. The doctor says not to worry yet - he doesn't have any other symptoms, so it's probably just a virus running it's course. The fever didn't' stop him from enjoying his new bath letters last night. Check him out!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Blatant Discrimination, Indeed....

I don't normally use this blog for anything more than an update on Eli, or a shameless ramble about how much I love my family. However, I couldn't let this topic pass by without a comment.

Anne Maddox brought an article to my attention after I posted Once Upon a Random Thought. If you don't feel like reading the article, here's the summary: babies are being aborted (later in pregnancy) due to small abnormalities including webbed digits and clubfeet.

How horrible to think that innocent babies are being denied life based on small, correctable 'imperfections'. I'm not trying to start a debate on abortion; the devastation here has more to do with the thought process behind why to abort. The birth defects listed in this article are not life-threatening or even immobilizing, in my opinion. More importantly, most, if not all, are correctable. I certainly hope that the "parents" referenced in this article made this decision based on the lack of information they had about correction or therapy regarding their baby's abnormality. At least if ignorance prompted their choice, there is hope that we can prevent this tragedy in the future through education by the media and doctors. However, if they made their decision because they couldn't handle the idea of a less-than-perfect child, God help any future children they might have. I pray that those children never stutter, or lag behind in gym class, or develop a lisp...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Once Upon a Random Thought

When we first found out about Eli's feet, we were caught completely off-guard. Even though I was born with a clubfoot, my parents were told it was not genetic, so the thought never entered my mind that the condition would be passed on to my child(ren). Thank God for the internet: we were able to find enough information about clubfoot treatment in the months before Eli was born to put our minds at ease about his chances at being 'normal'. The only thing that continued to bother me was how he might be viewed by outsiders: kids, parents, teachers, strangers... Thankfully, I've been asked a million questions about his condition, his casts, and his brace in the last nine months, but to-date, I've never been met with any obvious displays of horror or gawking. Maybe I'm just not looking, or maybe society is becoming more accepting of exceptions to the norm. Either way, I never look at Eli and see a handicapped, compromised, or special-needs child, even though I'm sure some doctors or teachers might place him in that category. (Unfortunately, this acceptance we've been met with is not always the case. I've connected with several moms who have been met with horrified stares and 'accusations' about their children's feet.)

So far the correction of Eli's feet has gone better than we could have imagined, and we have every right to think he will be just fine. However, you never know how this condition might affect him when he gets older. We don't know if he'll be able to have a career in track and field, or ice skating, or (take a deep breath, Lehr) dance. There are still plenty of unknowns, just as there are in every child's future. Regardless of all that, looking back, I don't think twice about how things have turned out. Though I would never wish anything but a carefree life for Eli, I don't think I would change his feet even if I could. (Hopefully, any resistance or struggle he meets as a result will make him stronger and more determined.) I associate Eli's bar (and casts) with him as my son; it's hard to imagine him without the foot-gear. In fact, when we were in Florida last week, he spent a lot of time out of the bar and it took a lot of getting used to on my part...I'm not accustomed to seeing his bare feet so much.

I am so lucky to share this blessing of a child with someone who feels the same way. Not only has Lehr been so supportive and strong through the entirety of Eli's 'foot-story', but it seems he and I are constantly on the same page. When planning our trip to Florida, we decided to try and get some sunset pictures on the beach with Eli, all dolled-up and in crisp white linen. The day before we were set to take the pictures, I started running through my check-list for necessities for the photo shoot. Camera, check. Tripod, check. Eli's white linen suit, check. Eli's shoes..... Faced with the question to take the pictures with or without the bar and shoes, I decided for myself that I really wanted the brace in the picture. Again, it's who Eli is, and I have a weird sense of pride about it. However, I figured it was only right to ask Lehr for his opinion also. He looked at me incredulously when I asked if the pictures should be with or without the bar and said "With the bar, of course." Few moments have I loved him more.....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Exercise Fool

Eli has discovered my big red exercise ball. While in our bedroom yesterday, he seemed to be totally transfixed by it, so I thought I'd give him a spin.

He. Loved. It.

Eli giggled when I let him sit on top and bounce. He thought it was funny when I let him stand on the ground and lean against it for support. And he became hysterical when I put him on top of the ball on his stomach. We then continued the fun by rolling it back and forth to each other (one of Eli's favorite games). Of course, when we demonstrated for Lehr later that night, the game was taken a bit further and Eli enjoyed getting 'hit' with the ball (video). Some things never change....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

He's On A Roll....

Eli just went down for a nap, but not before covering every inch of his nursery floor. He rolled from one end to the other and then back again. We were just hanging out in there, playing on the floor when he started. At one point he rolled into me and couldn't flip all the way over, because I was in his way apparently. He started to fuss at me as if to say, 'Get outta my way, lady!'; the attitude is always present.

Eli is still 'challenged' in the crawling department; he'll do a full push-up with his arms (ala Up Dog), but he refused to get up on his knees. Still no complaints for me. That means I have at least one more weekend before I have to baby-proof the house.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Simple Life

Before I begin my unnecessarily long ramble, let me warn you that weekly update blogs are not my forte. My normal daily blog tends to miss the mark on wit as it is, but these longer ones are definitely less organized and harder to follow....good luck!

Lehr, Eli & I spent the last week living as beach bums in Watercolor, in Santa Rosa Beach Florida. (Seaside, which was the set for The Truman Show, is a neighboring community.) Watercolor is such a neat place to visit; it's quite a step out of the hustle-and-bustle of Atlanta life. One of my favorite aspects of Watercolor/Seaside is the amount of bike traffic. Most people make their way around town by foot or bike. Unfortunately there are still vehicles (due to new construction, mostly), but the general feel is reminiscent of a more simple time. I found myself going for several bike rides a day, often while Eli napped. I felt like a kid again; guiltlessly coasting down hills and then peddling like hell on the inclines (only one gear!!). Also, there is no need to lock up the bikes when you park them to eat dinner or go to the beach; it's a pretty crime-free area. (That being said, Lehr's bike was 'borrowed' twice, but we believe it was more a case of mistaken bike-identity than intent to steal.) We were able to enjoy the beach and pool every day since we had unbelievable weather the entire time. Unlike Central Florida (where Lehr and I went to high school) or Tallahassee (where we attended FSU), there was no humidity or intense heat from the sun. Instead we had cloudless skies coupled with a constant breeze: breathtaking.

Eli hasn't been in the pool since his swimming lessons, but he didn't miss a beat. He loved getting in the pool and swimming, or floating around in his yellow floatie. (The best $2.99 spent to-date.) It probably didn't hurt that the pool felt more like a hot tub. As for the beach, Eli loved the sand. He loved to dig his fingers in it and he loved to eat it. We figured the desire to consume would fade quickly, given the face he made after every bite, but it didn't: he continued to eat until the last day. The ocean scared him a bit in the beginning; the water was much rougher than we anticipated due to unseasonably strong winds. However, by day three we was laughing and smiling everytime the waves crashed. And his favorite water activity was 'kicking' the waves as they crash. Of course this was aided by Lehr or myself holding him under his arms and swinging his whole body into the waves.

Back to the bikes: I loved riding around on the rickety old, one-speed bikes (that's right: pedal back to break!). The coolest thing about them was the little kid-caboose you could rent. We attached it to the back of Lehr's bike and zoomed around the whole area on the first day. Eli seemed skeptical in the beginning, but he never fussed. Most of the time he was cooing or yelling at the birds or other bikers. Speaking of which...

Fathers: lock up your daughters now. Eli is a shameless flirt who will stop at absolutely nothing to gain the attention of women young and old. I am not exaggerating when I say that each and every woman who came within 20 feet of Eli got sucked in by his smile. Regardless of what he was doing, he would stop as soon as he saw a new female and flirt by smiling or talking until their eyes met. At which point, it was all over. The women would play peek-a-boo with him, or rush over to talk to him, or smile and flirt was ridiculous! We were unable to go anywhere without getting bombarded by cooing females. The day before we left, one of Eli's victims commented on this behavior. She said he locked in on her as soon as she stepped foot in the pool. Dads, don't say I didn't warn you...

For months now Lehr has been threatening/warning Eli that he was going to bury him in the sand. A man of his word, he did just that. Twice. Lucky for him, Eli didn't' seem to mind at all. In fact, we think he enjoyed it because the sand cocoon made it impossible for him to tip over, regardless of how much he would reach for toys, water, etc. We nicknamed his sand seat his beach-bo (after his bumbo seat at home).

We had an amazing time. Lehr and I have been looking forward to this first family-only trip for several months. It is our opinion that this is the best type of trip to take with kids: one that offers good, cheap fun. Our week of clean living proved to be much more rewarding than any trip to Disney or Discovery Cove, or any other over-priced family vacation. No need for loud music or bright shiny lights, nor long lines and expensive gift shops. Quality together-time is the best: Ahh, the simple life.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Mother of all Mother's Days

Alright, I know it was only my first one, but it was great. I didn't expect much, only because Lehr and I normally don't do much to celebrate holidays outside of Christmas and birthdays. He broke that rule and set the bar way too high for Mom's Days to come.

I woke up to find a card and one of my favorite pictures of Eli and I (right) framed, along with the indication that I am to enjoy a spa treatment or two while we are on vacation next week. Had the day ended there, I would have been over-the-moon happy, but Lehr had more up his sleeve. As soon as we got home from church, he pushed me out the door to go hiking. I protested at first, saying I wanted to spend the day as a family, but he reminded me that Eli always crashes for a few hours after church anyway. So off I went. (My favorite hiking spot is about 15 minutes north, so I got to drive Betty at high speeds with the windows down and the stereo blasting; Life Is Good.) As soon as I returned from my 90-minute heaven-on-earth hike, Lehr whisked the three of us off to The Flying Biscuit (one of my favorite restaurants) for a late lunch, followed by a walk around Piedmont Park. To add to that, the weather was phenomenal all day. It was pretty much the best day I've had in a long time, which is saying a lot considering that since Eli was born, I've had a lot of really good days.

I know he will moan and groan because he always does when I get all sappy in Eli's blogs, but I have a pretty great husband. You rock my world, Lehr....Eli and I are very lucky to have you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Video Clips

I don't have any thing new to report today; Eli is still (making a mess with) eating finger foods, teething, and testing my limits in general.

The clips I added (link to Eli's video located to the right) today include:
  • Eli playing with his xylophone; no doubt he'll be this generation's Bach.
  • Eli playing with his changing pad (his favorite "toy" for as long as I can remember).
  • Eli playing in his crib, including doing 'tricks' once Mommy is present (much like a dog).


Thursday, May 11, 2006

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I took Eli to the Georgia Aquarium again the other day. (This was his fourth visit.) I've found that when I go during the week, first thing in the morning, we miss all of the crowds, so we can get through there in about 90-minutes. Although Eli enjoys it now, I am looking forward to when he's able to talk a little so we can 'discuss' the aquatic life on display.

Eli's menu has taken a new turn: finger foods are here. In the last week he's had tofu (big mess), pancakes (bigger mess), toast (not too messy), sliced fruit (too slippery for his fingers), grilled cheese (mess), and a few small pieces of chicken (no mess since they were fed to Eli from his father's fork). He seems to really enjoy feeding himself, but I need to have a better system for cleaning up. Or better yet, containing the mess. It's bad enough that he squishes all of these already messy foods as he's eating, but then he's drinking water or juice at the same time, so everything becomes a messy, liquid paste. On a related note, I think he's finally coming to terms with the sippy cup. After two months of trying to get him interested, he used it a few times on his own today. Not such a dim bulb after all.....

Monday, May 08, 2006

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da...

Eli has been talking for months, but up until now, he was the only one who could made any sense of what was coming out of his mouth. For the past week I've been working on "Daddy" or "Dada" with him, and he has come around. (Disclaimer: He has NO clue what he is saying; in fact, he seems to only say "dadadada" to his toys or to his crib, and not to Daddy himself.) Sometimes the dadadadada turns into blablablabla, but it's still cute.

Eli kinda sorta fed himself with a spoon today. When he's teething (which is almost all of the time and will continue to be almost all of the time until he has all of his teeth, I imagine), he seems to be more fussy about eating. Today when he started in, I filled the spoon and then had him hold it with me as we put it into his mouth. He loved this game and never tried to take it totally away from me. (I'm aware this will not last, but for today's battle of wills: Mom - 1, Eli - 0.)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Angels Among Us

I know he fusses unnecessarily sometimes. I know he has been clingy to the point of annoying this week. I know when he was younger and woke up during the night, I would curse on my way to feed him at 3AM. I know some days I get frustrated when he refuses to nap (and then stays in a permanent bad mood all day because he's overtired). I know he is already testing my limits with his stubborn streak. I know that for the next three years (at least) I will be picking up Cheerios and sippy cups off the floor during and after every meal.

More importantly...

I also know that I will never forget how I felt when the midwife placed him in my arms for the first time. I also know that even though I would curse on my way to his nursery at 3AM, I would also smile and cherish the special time I got to spend with him while the rest of the world slept. I also know that hearing him talk and laugh is music to my ears. I also know that when he is asleep I miss him. I also know that every week I have a 'new favorite thing' that involves him. I also know that he makes me smile every day.

As I type, Eli is asleep in the other room. After a long afternoon of playing with Cooper and then (patiently) watching everyone eat for an hour or so, Eli remained quiet on the drive home and went into his crib for a nap without so much as a peep. It's moments like these when I know that God has truly blessed Lehr and I with our very own angel.

Friday, May 05, 2006

If You Give a Pig a Pancake

(I guess I'm moving to book titles now?)

So I gave Eli his first pancake this morning (multigrain, of course, with no syrup or butter). Had I thought it through a little more, I would have covered the floor with trash bags and put an empty bucket of water on the back porch to dip him into once he was finished. Alas, hindsight is 20/20...

Within 30 seconds of placing the pancake on his tray, Eli had it crumbled and all over his shirt, face, and the floor. At that point I realized I needed to capture this moment on video, so here is a clip. (You'll hear Eli's "fake cough" as he's eating. It has returned; he does it anytime he's excited.) Long story short, after just ten minutes with the new food, there were crumbles of pancake in his hair, on the floor, on the table, in his diaper, under his legs, inside his shirt, and any other obscure place you can imagine that I have failed to mention. Luckily our back porch is just feet from his high chair, so I was able to take him outside and shake all of the crumbs off of him that didn't already fall onto the floor.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Last Outing for Eli the Frog

I asked Lehr to bathe Eli tonight and instead he came downstairs carrying the happiest frog I've ever seen. We keep Eli's frog Halloween costume hanging on his coat rack (because it's so cute), so when Lehr went to undress Eli for his bath it caught his eye and, I guess, he just couldn't help himself. Since it was a nice night, we took the soon-to-be-too-big-for-his-costume frog outside for a few pictures. Today, six months after Halloween, Eli seemed happy to be in his costume; he didn't fuss once. Too bad, considering it's no doubt the last time he'll get a chance to wear it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Daddy Wins

As I drove up to the house tonight (around 830PM - after Eli's bedtime), I saw Lehr in the window signing to me: "Daddy. Win."

You see, once upon a time, when Eli was a wee lad of three months, we had a great nighttime routine which included Dad giving Eli his last feeding (via bottle obviously) and then putting him down for the night. For whatever reason, that stopped around the holidays and we never went back to it. Fast forward to a month ago when we pick up Eli after having been out to dinner until 10PM to find he refused to go to sleep for Cooper's parents. I finally figured out that without exception, I have fed Eli and put him to bed every night since Christmas, inadvertently creating an unhealthy need. (That's right; no matter how many books I've read, I will still get it wrong many times.)

About two weeks ago we started to work on 'breaking' that nighttime mommy-dependence, first by having Lehr feed Eli a bottle before bed (instead of me nursing him), and then by having both of us put him to bed (to re-introduce Daddy to the equation, and then hopefully remove me). Last night was the first attempt to remove me completely (as I was not even in the house), and with a weak attempt at a fight (20 minutes), Eli gave in and Lehr won the battle (this time anyway).

On a separate note, I was out of the house because I went for my first training walk for the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Thank you to everyone who has already donated in my name; if you haven't yet and want to, I will keep the link up on this page until the money is due (late summer).

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hit Me With Your Best Shot...

I'm sorry - I have a problem - I can't stop with the song titles...

Eli has a new favorite game: rolling the stuffed soccer ball back and forth with Dad. Lehr started this with him last week and Eli really has the hang of it now (video). I decided to play for a little while this afternoon, but after about five minutes, Eli decided he'd rather throw his weight to the side and lie down. This was fine: he was still in a position to push the ball back to me. He wasn't paying attention to me when I rolled it though (read: he was ignoring me), so it hit his arm. Eli exploded into giggles and a new, more aggressive, game was born. The object of this one was to 'hit' Eli with the ball to make him laugh. It started with rolling the ball into his arm or legs and it soon escalated into bouncing or dropping the ball on his legs or torso. This new game made Eli laugh uncontrollably for quite a while. He's already living up to his father's motto: "Pain Don't Hurt!"

On the Cheerio front, Eli has become a master. When I take him out of his booster seat now there are few, if any, leftover Cheerios in his chair. He appears to have figured out the hand-to-mouth motion.