Drowning in Laughter

I have not documented milestones well for Eleanor. I can’t even recall if I did it that well for Benjamin when I was actually home with him for his first year (though I guess I did blog about his babyhood quite a bit…) Gone are the days of the baby book where each of the little minion’s feats are meticulously recorded in ink. Do some parents still do that?

Despite not being good about tracking these, the milestone of laughter is one that I take extra pause to savor. It happened three nights ago (Nora is 5.5 months now). It was a moment of such joy in our house that everything else important in life was forgotten.

I’m constantly guilty of multi-tasking–even during times of relaxation–my brain rarely stops running, but the thing I love about laughter is that it catches you off guard, stops you in your tracks, and then it’s impossible to focus on anything else. It forces you to just go in whatever direction it leads. And then, when you laugh for so long and can’t catch your breath, and you your cheek muscles start to hurt, and you discover new abdominal muscles that you forgot existed….it just feels like the meat of life.

Raising tiny humanoids often feels like its demands will outpace all reserves… For a rather dramatic analogy, it’s like treading water in a vast ocean that seems to have no beginning or end, with your head barely above the crashing waves, and at all times you are gasping with your last breath: “Where will more energy come from?” But then there is always a life preserver…an unexpected moment of laughter, a hug, a new word, a silly moment. They materialize from nowhere amidst the chaotic storm and give you rest and confidence to ride out the next storm.

And you also remember that drowning in laughter (or cuddles and kisses) would be the sweetest,  most satisfying of deaths anyhow.

 

Conversations with a 3.5 year old

Benjamin is our non-stop talker…always has been. He says some pretty hilarious things these days. I’ve been keeping a list of quotes on my phone…so here goes:

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While helping dad unload groceries, Ben takes out a 2-Liter of soda and exclaims: “Whoa, a giiiiant beer.”

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We read a book on the body one night and Ben learned about the heart and blood. The next morning, he noticed the veins in my feet were bulging. With eyes the size of saucers and a look of sheer horror mixed with fascination and said, “Whooooa!!!! There are blood vessels in your feet!??”

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At bedtime, “Mommy when I grow up can I be a Michigan football player AND a lifeguard like the ones at Goldfish Swim School AND a pilot too?”

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At dinner, “Whoa dad, this is the heaviest cup of milk in the WHOLE WORLD.”

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At snacktime I said, ” Eleanor wants to know, what is applesauce made out of?” Ben paused, thinking carefully, and then replied in a voice that was totally like 0h-I-got-this-one…….. “Softness.”

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One morning, “Daddy I had this many dreams (counted out 6 on his fingers)…. and one of them was bad.”

Another morning… “Mom, in my dreams sometimes there are WILD bumblebees.”

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At bedtime, Ben says: “If I wake up in the middle of the night can I come snuggle in bed with you and dad?”

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(In the locker room at the pool):

Ben: “Hey, what are these?” (pointing to his chest)
Me: “Those are called nipples.”
Ben: “Oh, I thought they were freckles.”

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….Reading a book on animals earlier in the fall:
John: “That’s a mosquito.”
Ben: “So that’s what they look like” (as if he had been wondering for quite a while)

….Watching out the window last week…pictured above.)     “Hey Mom, look at all those MOSQUITOS!” (…it was the first snow.)

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Another hilarious thing about having a toddler around is the frequent mistakes with words. Ben has had a few good ones in the past….

-The Victors, “Hail to the CONCRETE heroes” instead of CONQUERING.

-Passing McDonald’s and hearing him call it “Old MacDonalds” because of the song.

-We pointed out the Sears Tower once when we were in Chicago. (John occasionally works there when he travels to Chicago.) Last time we visited the Windy City and approached the skyline Ben points to it and says, “Look! The Serious Tower.”

-Ben’s favorite TV show Fireman Sam has a theme song which really ends with, “Sam is the hero next doooooor” but Ben is convinced that it goes “Sam is the heeyomixdaaa.” Despite trying many times to persuade him that heeyomixdaaa is not actually a word and that ‘hero next door’ is quite a logical alternative, he cannot be convinced. We often hear him humming it and quietly singing that line, “heeyomixdaaa” over and over as if puzzling over the mystery of such a cool, fantastical word. It’s simply hilarious.

His latest is a pretty funny one…caught in the video below:

 

 

A surprise catch

Uncle Patrick came to visit and we had a great time together. He was such a help: moving furniture, making his little niece Eleanor happy, playing monkey in the middle with Benjamin. But the highlight of the trip was Ben’s first fishing trip just down the street to our little lake, where his Uncle Patrick helped him cast out his new fishing pole for the first time. After only a few seconds he was already getting a bite. And here is what happened next:

What a surprising introduction to fishing!

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PT Weekend!

It’s Potty-Training weekend!!! 4 days of big boy underwear (or the birthday suit!), round the clock potty sits, rewards and bribery of all kinds, and watching my guy like a hawk (so that he can’t sneak off to do his private poop thang). We bought a 2nd potty at Meijer yesterday (Ben picked it out) and I’m busting out all of the tricks and motivational strategies to make this work. I had Benjamin and Eleanor home today on Day 1 and I survived, but boy am I BEAT. Eleanor was such a good sport, allowing me to spend nearly the whole day tending to Ben’s needs without much fuss, considering she’s used to having all of my attention on most week days. And Ben worked SO hard to make it happen today, but…. no pees or poops on the pot yet. However, the good news is that he is motivated and he only had one accident in the AM. Then the poor guy held it all day long and was quite proud he was staying dry, until he was finally in bed at night and did his #1 and #2 that he’d been holding out on all day. He has a major mental block to going on the potty. This is not going to be easy for him. We’ve  tried a handful of times before but never got cues that he was quite ready. Now I’m convinced we’re gonna have to fight tooth and nail together to help him be successful at this. I won’t go into any more detail, but send prayers, thoughts, and good vibes this way. We need all the help we can get!

 

These pictures were from Patrick’s birthday/Tigers game back in May. Better late than never! 🙂

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Napping Nora

Nora is 3 weeks old now. And she is still the chillest baby. She rarely cries and still naps pretty much all day and night. This weekend we were out and about doing all kinds of things, with little Napping Nora tagging along. On Friday, she napped away during a pedicure and a happy hour with some girlfriends… on Saturday she slept through a long hike through the Arb followed by dinner at Frita Batidos…. on Sunday she slept the evening away at our friends’ house while we enjoyed a nice dinner out on the grill followed by a great backyard campfire… and yesterday she nodded off all afternoon and evening when we had a big group of friends over for a Fourth of July backyard BBQ to warm up the new house.  Add to that several sleepy shopping trips and other errands… So it was a very busy weekend, yet she remained the easiest, most low-maintenance baby I can ever imagine. I think she thrives on activity… the hustle and bustle that have been around her since birth have her trained quite well.

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In other news, Ben is rocking at life too. He had his 3yo doctor appointment and held his ground at 95th percentile for height and weight. He passed all the tests with flying colors and whispered all of his answers to the NP’s questions in his adorable, shy-guy fashion. In the morning, before his appointment, he asked: “Do they still have the horse rocker?  ..the sticker basket?” and “Will it hurt?”  Amazing what a memory he has since he hasn’t been to the doctor in over 6 months since his last flu shot!

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Ben continues to be a great big brother:
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College friends re-united, with the second generation of boys in tow:

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Nora’s first Fourth of July!

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Welcome to the world, Eleanor Jane!

Our little Miss Eleanor Jane Meixner was born at 7:30am on June 13, 2016 at 7lbs, 8oz, just an ounce heavier than her big brother. We are calling her Nora (and Eleanor). Hearing Ben say his sister’s full name, Eleanor, is pretty adorable though.

I’ll detail her full birth story on here soon, but for now–what an amazing baby she is! Now that she’s almost 3 weeks old, she’s still a great napper and feeder. She had her 2 week weight check yesterday and gained quite a bit, weighing in at 8lbs 4oz already. I’m not surprised because she’s eating every 2.5-3 hours around the clock and likes to take her time with long, drawn-out sleepy feeds so she gets every last drop of milk. It’s quite difficult to keep her awake. And overnight, she usually has pretty low-key nights waking for feeds and going back to sleep. Sometimes she can be fussy, especially early morning and mid-evening, but overall she’s pretty easy to soothe.

Ben is an incredible big brother. He is very attuned to sweet Nora’s needs. He likes to pet her on the head, rock her in her bouncer, hold her hand, tell us when she is crying, and show her what he is up to when he plays. He is a great help bringing us things we need for her (more diapers! more wipes! pacifier! ….always something, especially when I’m nursing!) He’s been quite a trooper through her birth, and our MOVE!

We moved when Nora was 6 days old. Yes. Insane. Luckily, I have the greatest family and my mom (along with John, of course) packed our whole condo up in just a few days before the move, while I nursed and recovered. And then unpacked almost all of it here on this end as well. I was able to stay pretty relaxed and stress-free, despite the chaos around us. (Except for that one night when my milk came in on Nora’s 3rd day of life… my hormones plummeted and I couldn’t stop crying for nearly 2 hours. But we won’t discuss that again. ;))

Other than that, we’ve been just going with the flow and thanking people a lot for all their support….here goes this list:   MY MOM!!! (I can’t possibly detail all the ways she has helped).  My brother Patrick who helped us load and lift heavy stuff, my dad who helped in so many little ways in those first few days (cooking, shopping, holding Nora, and take care of Ben & Toby, etc.), John’s mom who brought Nora so many clothing and other baby items and unpacked our basement and helped us finally relax when most of the boxes were unloaded, John’s dad who made Ben a very happy grandson for a few days entertaining him with his “helicoptelers” (drones), Rachel and Steve who brought over delicious lasagna recently, Katy (and Em!) who showered Nora with adorable clothes and a yummy quiche, and Ben’s family at Little Folks who have been keeping him busy having a blast so far this summer, especially through the days of chaos before and after the move. And shout outs to those that visited and/or showered us with gifts for Nora–Megan, Rachel, Galina, Erika who came by to visit in the hospital, Uncle Nate & Aunt Loren, Uncle Andy & Aunt Monica, Tom, Joanna, & Oli…. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone…(so sorry if that’s you!)   THANK YOU!

Now for some of this adorable new-baby goodness…

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We love her to pieces already!