Monday, February 25, 2008

Tenth Month

This month has been all about the hands and the feet. Your little hands hold so much. Your little but growing hands have learned to pat and wipe, slap and squeeze, pinch and carry. You have found your fingers and discovered that they can work together or be used separately. Your feet have learned to go, to walk, to take you where you want to go, most times, anyway. And in doing so you have both taken yourselves even further along the road that makes you independent and capable. Your little hands and moving feet have shown me the joy that is discovery.This month we will start with you, Mason. You were the first to figure out that fingers can point, especially the pointer finger. For a long time you kept that finger at attention, both hands, pointing and touching, going after any small and interesting speck, any button shaped object, any print that had round or circular bits in it. Those fingers have had you cross-eyed quite a few times as you watched them approach your own nose. You love your fingers, you love your hands. You really always have. Your latest development is to carry one thing in each hand, at all times, everywhere you go. This includes while you are crawling, standing, attempting to walk or drinking your bottle. This has also proven to be a somewhat dangerous endeavor as you no longer have hands available to catch you while you are falling. Some bumps have resulted, but I am confident you will figure out a way to carry things with you soon, I might even give you a man bag to stash things in so you can take it all with you because sometimes you are trying to take more than two things…I am laughing thinking of the time I watched you with a cube in each hand crawling, knocking the third cube along as you went. I laughed at that, always the multi-tasker, just like your mama. Now to sew you that little man bag.

Owen, this was your month to move. Well, actually, walk. I do not write it with exclamation points because it was such a gradual and casual development on your part, it just seems like you have always been doing it. It started with a little tentative step from toy to toy, reaching, letting go, then there you were. Then standing up without support came next. I would turn and you would be standing in the middle of the room without any help, holding a ball or a box, pleased as punch. Then the first step without help, you would look at me like, ‘okay?’ and choose to take a wobbly step, then carefully lower yourself to crawl position. Now, you go after toys, wheel your car around, take steps from table to couch and you really, really want to climb. Because it is not enough to walk at 10 months, oh no, you are out to conquer the vertical world and all its challenges and enticing levels. Is it thrilling to watch you discover this mobility? Oh yes. But it is not how I thought it would be, it was not a sudden, Bang! look he is walking. It was one of the gentler introductions in the parenting experience, a catch you out of the corner of my eye…until you started running.

Mason, you played a bit of catch up this month in the moving category. You had some rough weeks of teething during which time sitting and screaming was your favorite activity. But then you looked up and realized Owen was off, and you tried to follow suit. Tried, I say, because it is a little tougher on you, the upright mobility. You want to walk, but those dancing feet of yours are not always cooperative and you get a bit ahead, behind and all tangled up at times, landing in some akward and seemingly painful positions. We have had a few blooded foreheads and bit tongues of late, Mama had to witness the blood spilled and watch as a fascinated Mason kept swallowing with the most perplexed look on his face. I girded myself and told myself it is something I will likely have to get used to, you two being boys, but it still hurts me to see you get hurt.And now, my big boys, you are eating like people, not babies. Sandwiches, fruit, rice made Indo style by Opa, veggies and soups and meatless meatballs and chickenless nuggets, you seem to like it all. Unless you are tired, then the food gets rejected from mouth or smashed by impatient hands. Cheerios continue to delight, we have introduced the honey nut version which might well be baby crack, the way you take to them. I do hope your love of food stays this way, it makes it easier on this Mama…though it keeps me creatively trying out new dishes. We try to drink water together, but so far no sippy cup passes muster and your little silver cups from Holland are fun for you, but as play items, not drinking vessels. Owen, you stick your fingers in the cup or blow raspberries in the water. Mason, you want to drink but so eagerly go after the elusive water that you invariably end up choking. Ah, well, soon enough you will graduate from bottles, for now, it is one of the only times we get to cuddle you.All of these changes, all of this growth…so delightful and yet unexpected. There is no road map to follow in this experience. We are so intimately aware of you and your needs and desires, we have the pleasure of spending our days together, watching as you grow. And outgrow. No longer content to be in your room, no longer totally content with the array of toys we have, ready to get out and explore. There will be challenges ahead, I see that, as your new mobility allows you new freedoms. And new dangers, but we will do it, get through it, and embrace it. What a whirlwind month. Next up, long distance car travel. I may not want to document that experience, but we will hope for the best.

I love you, my boys, so very, very much. Mama.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How do I Love thee? Let me count the ways...

This week has held untold joys and some pretty tough times…both boys came down with some coughy, drippy, just not feeling (aka sleeping) well thing. Makes for a tired family. But the redeeming factor came via UPS on Friday..our Canon Xti. With a fixed 50 mm lens. And the ability to capture the images I had in my head every time I picked up my point and shoot.

There is a blog that I find so inspiring and beautiful, the documentation she performs on her daily life with twin 3 year old girls is precious. And her photos really make it all so much more beautiful. I have wanted to emulate these photos every time I photographed my projects, but they never looked right. I almost felt reluctant to post pictures as they just were not on par with my expectations. Enter digital SLR, enter joy to my world. So I documented my latest endeavor. This is how I spent my Friday night. Snuggled in bed with needles and thread, husband at side channel surfing, glass of wine and rain dripping down outside our slider. Here is a peek at the first birthday presents for the Beans. Working on two projects. Loving the pattern from Wee Wonderfuls. Scored all those little salsa cups of buttons at close out prices. Enjoying a change from the constancy of my knitting needles and yarn.

We have spent the last 12 hours taking shot after shot of the boys, clicking the play button, reviewing and ooohhhing and aahhing. And lamenting that we did not buy this camera 10 months ago. The boys have been willing subjects, giggling and hamming for the camera. So sweet, despite hoarse coughs and runny noses. Funny, I am not kidding when I say joy is bubbling at watching my subjects appear as I see them, catching those moments that we were missing before. Tim and I are fairly versed on photography, but stuck with film for so long. I missed the clarity of those shots. I missed the flexibility of the SLR, the options I had, the ability to feed my aperture obsession. And now it is all back, and better than ever. Thank god for this camera, thanks Uncle Sam for the ability to purchase it. More to come (probably too many, actually). Watch out Flickr, here we come.Add: The Mister took many of the above photos include the one of Owie staring pensively out at the rain. That kid has a range of expressions, let me tell you. And the Mister is pretty darn good with the camera, si?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Getting in the Knits

I promised some knitting content in my last post and I can actually deliver on that promise. It has been hectic here at Chez Bean and knitting is the thing that pulls me through. I feel as if each little project is a statement that there is a bit more to my life than poopy diapers and juggling work with naps and household chores, etc. I have truly loved each of these little projects and am proud to have them piling up, almost ready or being worn or just languishing on the bedside table because who wears Endpaper Mitts when it is 85 degrees outside?

Without further ado, here are my Endpapers. I loved this project and found it to flow and develop much quicker than I anticipated at cast on. I love the colors, skeins that I have had sitting in the stash for years because I thought I would someday be a sock knitter. It is koigu and the colorway has been lost with the label. Knitted up on 1's and had to be reminded of color dominance between the first and second mitt. Read up a bit on it here and then I recommend you experiment as you knit as I think it depends on how you hold the strands and whether you knit continental, etc. I did wear them once and loved the feel and the freedom of fingerless hand warmers.

I also have cranked out quite a few on those cotton baby washclothes, the intended recipient has yet to arrive, but I am spelling out her name. I entertained the idea of knitting up a blanket then scratched it when I thought about the seaming it would require. Instead these will be hung up clothesline style at a very special baby shower I will be attending in March (up in the Redwoods, no less.)

And speaking of being a non-sock knitter, well, that is a bit of a lie. I cast on for the Tidepool Socks in the anklet form and found myself with a wearable pair in a few days. I LOVE THESE SOCKS! And I love that I can now imagine knitting socks because I plan on converting every pattern I yearn to knit into anklet form as that is the only sock I wear. The pattern requires a skein of Koigu, it is simple and fun and quick, quick, quick. I am kinda' thinking that any sock knit anklet style will be quick, eh? I have started a pair in Camo yarn for the hubs as he really liked mine. And I am wearing them right now....who would have thought hand knit socks were this comfortable? Maybe that is why knitters make them so often.

In other news, (aka Bean news because that is always my other news), we have two babies with lots of new teeth that seem to finally have stopped cutting and lots of new skills that include walking. Yes, walking. At first it was just stepping, but it rapidly progressed to at least 6-8 steps. Mason's are very wobbly, but Owen's are very deliberate and careful, somewhat like their respective personalities, actually. I have yet to catch it truly on video, but I will keep trying. As soon as Uncle Sam sends us our tax money, we are headed to the land of digital SLR...we have chosen the rebel XTi and a spectacular lens, so we will see. Hopefully my shots will only improve.

I cannot wait to procure this one very special item as we just find that they move so quickly and we miss so much. Hope it comes soon, before our trip to the REdwoods as I feel I must document that experience as vividly as possible (well, maybe not the 12 hour car ride. I shudder to think).

add: Once we do have the camera I think I might challenge myself to the 30 days (or 31 days) of picture taking as I feel the need to spark creativity in my life and challenge myself to take a fresh look at the surroundings I sometimes think are so dull. We will see, it seems like a very tall order right now.)

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Green Green Grass

This week taught me something that I think I knew intuitively but had yet to really experience. I had to attend a very long and drawn out computer training class at my office, four almost full-time days. In the weeks leading up to it I was feeling pretty nervous about leaving the boys, mainly worried that my parents, their stand-in caregivers, would be overwhelmed. And then the days before I started to realize that I was going to be the overwhelmed one. I had yet to leave them for more than a few hours at a time and here I was with four days to get through, it started to feel almost scary. I am happy to report the time went well for all, I was trained and am almost proficient in a convoluted computer system that will be the future of healthcare and my boys came through the week fine as did the awesome grandparents. But here is where the grass thing comes in…this week truly illustrated to me the privilege it is that I get to stay home and witness and guide the growth and development of my children.

I always thought I would want to be a SAHM (sorry for the abbreviation) but the reality is that it sometimes sucks and can be so much tougher than one anticipates. But I had nothing to compare my experience to prior to this week, I had always just been home with them. We never entertained the idea of my resuming full time work, figuring we would be fine getting by on our current income. If I did go back to work I could potentially earn enough to make it worthwhile and ease some of the financial strain that occurs with a single income…but now I know it would never be worth it. I could not do it, it was really really hard to come home to their smiling faces at the end of the day and have a few mere hours to spend in their company. It made me feel sad and a little lost, to not be the one mixing up crazy lunch concoctions, struggling to get them down to naps, and rolling willy-nilly on the floor with them during playtime. I kept wanting to go to their room and watch them during the night, just to see them more.
I never truly realized how seamlessly integrated our lives and days and experiences have become until I was not in it. And the relief I felt Thursday, when the training ended and I knew I would be back at home today, well, it welled up and I had to write this. As a reminder to myself that on those hard days, those rough, run-away days, well, I am on the greener grass side. I am so lucky to see and shape and be shaped by their lives. We mamas are required to do many things, wear many hats, fill many roles. It is good to know I like mine right now, that they all feel really comfortable, that I am in the skin I want to be. There is no better feeling. Other than the one I get when Owen open-mouth kisses me or Mason points at me and laughs. Yeah, those feeling are pretty good too.

Next up, some knitting to show…I swear.