Monday, June 23, 2008

Miracle of Miracles

I never thought that it would happen, but The Bear has decided to sleep--ALL NIGHT WITHOUT WAKING. I'm not sure if I can put into words how excited this makes me. I actually want to cry a little when I think about it because it makes me so happy. Sure, most babies start sleeping through the night around 4 or 5 months, some even as late as 7 or 8. But almost a year? Dear Lord. But I'll take it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jack at Two Weeks

IMG_0456, originally uploaded by jennifer.karras.

I've been uploading pictures to Flickr and here is one from when Jack was just two weeks old. I can't believe how tiny he was!

Month Eleven

Month Eleven

Dear Jack,

So much has happened over the past month that it’s hard to find the place to start. I guess the biggest thing that has happened is that you have officially begun crawling. No longer do you just sit idly by waiting for your toys to come to you--now you are able to go to your toys. Everyone has been amazed by how quickly you have learned to get around. At first, it was just a few feet, but within a week, you were crawling from room to room, no end in sight, just the steel bars from the babygate stopping you from heading down the stairs and out the door.

With the crawling came the standing. You love to pull yourself up, especially when you are in your crib. Unfortunately, it took you a little longer to figure out how to get yourself back down again. There have been many times over the past month that I’ve had to rescue you from your crib, where you are standing and crying, unable to find a way back down. It was tough for me (especially when I hear you cry), but I realized that I needed to let you figure it out on your own, without my rescuing you. It only took a day for you to learn, once I gave you the chance to figure it out. Now, you just plop yourself down on your bottom when you are done standing.

You also received your first (and second!) haircut this month. Your Aunt Gigi was so sad to see the end of the mohawk era, but since your mohawk had grown so long that it looked more like a poof on your head, I decided that it was time to get the buzzers out. I took you to a haircutter that specializes in kids and they did a fantastic job. You weren’t overly excited about having your haircut, and tried swatting the clippers away from your head several times, but in the end it was worth it—you looked cuter than ever. And your hair ended up growing back so quickly, that I pulled out your daddy’s clippers and shaved your head again last night. Two haircuts in one month! Your hair is really short now, though, and I don’t think you should need another haircut for at least six weeks. Mommy needs a bit more practice in this haircutting thing.

We also celebrated your first birthday early with all of your friends from the breast feeding group. It was a fun and chaotic day which ended with bedlam, um, I mean a group picture. I’m not sure if I can express how exhausting that was. As your Aunt Gigi said, it was like herding cats. The day was memorable and I will laugh every time I look back at the pictures.

We love you and are looking forward to celebrating your first birthday (officially) in one month!

Mommy and Daddy

Month Ten

Dear Jack,

This past week you turned ten months old and it feels very strange to say that. I don’t know how it’s possible, but ten months seems to have flown by and yet feels like an eternity.

This month has been a really nice month because we seem to have fallen into a fairly predictable schedule. You take two naps each day, that last anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours. I didn’t realize how much you or I needed a schedule, but it has been a benefit to both of us.

This month you learned how to hold your sippy cup and drink from it. While bottles have never been your thing, you seem to have developed quite the infatuation with your sippy cup (especially the new one you just got that has a straw! Oh, how you love your straw!). Sometimes I have to hide your sippy cup from your sight or you get really upset that you can’t have it (especially when I am trying to feed you and all you want is your sippy).

This love of your sippy cup is actually a little bit of a relief to me, as I was starting to wonder how much longer the breast feeding will continue. As you get more teeth, you are more determined than ever to find things to bite. This has led to less-than-pleasant breast feeding sessions between you and me. While it makes me sad to think about the end of breast feeding (since it feels like such a special quiet time with my little guy), I also know that this is the normal progression of things and I feel hopeful that you won’t die of malnourishment now that you are willing to take a sippy cup. I think that ultimately I will try to hold out to your first birthday before we end the breast feeding, but I’m relieved to know that there are other options in case that doesn’t happen.

One new skill that you picked up this past month was the ability to get yourself into a sitting position from lying down. You wouldn’t have believed my surprise walking into your room one day after your nap to discover you SITTING UP in your crib. It was so startling, that I started to doubt whether I had laid you down in your crib for a nap. When it happened again a couple of days later, I knew that something new and strange was happening. And when I observed you doing it one day while playing on the floor, I realized that we had reached a new milestone in your physical development. Almost everyone that I’ve talked to has said that once their babies could get themselves from a lying down position to a sitting position, that crawling soon followed. I can tell by your movements that you are very close to this transition. Which means daddy and I need to get our tushies in gear and start the baby-proofing!

Mommy and Daddy

Month Nine

Dear Jack,

This month marks a milestone in your life—you have now lived in the outside world as long as it took for you to grow inside me. Nine months in and now nine months out. And in many ways, nine months seems like a turning point for you. This month you have grown and changed in so many ways.

First, you have started to sleep longer at night and have started taking consistently longer naps during the day. I’m not sure if this is because you are older or if it’s because you now sleep on your tummy and this position is more comfortable for you. Either way, mommy enjoys the extra sleep, not only because it means more sleep for her, but because you are so much happier when you are well-rested.

You have also learned how to roll onto your back from your stomach. You’ve been rolling onto your stomach for a while now, but you would get so perplexed by your inability to get OFF your stomach. Luckily, this past week you figured out how to roll over to your back. Unfortunately for mommy, this means no more leaving you lying on the bed unattended for any period of time because you now have the potential to roll, roll, roll off the bed.

Other fun things you have learned this month are how to imitate grandpa doing an Indian (I mean, Native American) war whoop (which daddy isn’t quite sure is the most useful skill to know), clapping your hands and giving high fives. And you have become quite the chatterbox. Not that I know what you are saying, but you always seem very determined and adamant about your positions, using your hands to emphasize your points (this is especially adorable to watch through the rear view mirror when I’m driving, which is when you make your most impassioned speeches, which typically involve waving your socks in the air). It’s so much fun seeing your little personality emerge and to see you learning how to do new things.

And finally, your hair seems to be getting long enough that it no longer sticks straight up. I will admit, this makes me a teensy bit sad—I will miss your little mohawk.

Each day I wake up excited to see you and to spend time with you. You are loved very much.

Mommy and Daddy

Month Eight

Dear Jack,

This week you turned eight months old and I have been putting off writing this letter because the month went by so quickly that I’m having trouble remembering any of it. I know that you have a second tooth that is sitting beside your first one now. How do I know? Well, besides being visible, I also got the pleasure of feeling it nip through my skin while breastfeeding last week. Being bit? Not so much fun. It’s very fortunate for you that you are so darn cute or you might be living with gypsies at the moment, because I will not lie, I did threaten to sell you to gypsies. I guess it’s also lucky for you that I don’t actually know any gypsies.

This past month you learned how to get yourself onto your hands and knees. It only lasts briefly, and you don’t know how to coordinate your arms and legs to gather any momentum, but I’m sure it will be soon. You seem to understand the notion of propelling yourself forward, but it mostly ends with you slamming your face into the floor. I’m going to guess that this is why you are not so keen on practicing this position.

It has gotten progressively harder to feed you over the past week. See, you have decided that YOU want to hold the spoon and put it in your mouth. But your aim isn’t very good and mostly the food just ends up in your lap. Your daddy was alarmed the other day when he came downstairs to find you sitting with just a diaper on in your highchair. He thought that I was torturing you. He understood my true intentions, though, when he came back in ten minutes to find you covered head to toe in peaches and oatmeal. Now my choice of attire for dinner was more apparent—it’s just easier to wipe you down after dinner without any clothes on.

As always, you have my heart. I love you so much, little bear.

Mommy and Daddy

Month Seven

Dear Jack,

Yesterday you turned 7 months old and you have gone through quite a few changes this month. After a few false starts, you have finally mastered rolling over from your back to your stomach. Unfortunately, you’re not quite sure how to get back over again once you’re on your stomach, which distresses you quite a bit. This especially annoys you when you do it in your crib while you are sleeping and you aren’t happy until I come “save you” from the evils of “tummy time.”

Another big change this month is your sudden interest in food. You now eat twice a day and have tried a variety of fruits and vegetables. So far, you eat applesauce, bananas, avocado, sweet potatos, peas and cereal. Your favorite is frozen applesauce; nobody gets between you and your frozen applesauce. In fact, your screams of displeasure once it’s gone are actually quite hilarious and a little bit frightening.

Perhaps the frozen applesauce is your favorite because it helps to sooth your gums where your first tooth is slowly appearing. A tooth! I can’t believe that you almost have teeth! You are growing so fast.

I’m so proud of you, my little boy. You charm everyone you meet with your big smile and your crazy faux-hawk. You are so easy going and happy and I feel so lucky to be your mom.

I love you, Jackie Bear.

Mommy and Daddy

Month Six

Dear Jack,

This week you turned 6 months old and it’s hard to believe that you are now a half year old! You went to the doctor on your 6 month birthday and you weighed in at 17 pounds and 3 ounces, putting you at the 50th percentile for weight. You were 26.25 inches, putting you at the 50th percentile for height. This means that you are just perfect—not too big, not too small and totally proportional.

This past month we tried some rice cereal, bananas and apples. You weren’t crazy about any of it and realized that if you clamp your mouth shut, mommy couldn’t sneak any of it into your mouth. So, we decided to wait a couple of more weeks before we try again. Although daddy thinks that you are just holding out for pizza and soda.

You celebrated your first Christmas this month as well. We went to church on Christmas Eve and you were a little doll—not a peep out of you. Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Gigi, Daddy and I all took turns holding you during the service and by the end you were asleep in my arms. The next day, we opened presents at home and then we went over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to open presents there. And you made out like a thief! Not that you noticed—you just enjoyed all the attention. I think your favorite present was the teething ring that Grandma got you—it probably felt really good on those gums of yours.

Only another six more months before we are celebrating your first birthday—this scares and excites me more than you can imagine!

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Month Five

Dear Jack,

Somehow five months have passed since you were born and I have no idea where the time has gone. I remember going to my breastfeeding support group and seeing moms there with babies who were five months old and they seemed so big! And I was looking at pictures of you when you first born the other day and I couldn’t believe how small (well, scrawny) you were! It’s incredible to me how much you have grown since you were born and how much you have changed.

You are such fun to be around. All smiles and giggles. Very rarely do you cry, unless you are super tired or overly hungry. You and I are a little team, going everywhere together and doing everything together. Although you don’t have separation anxiety (yet) you feel most comfortable with other people if you can see or smell me nearby. I guess you are worried that mommy will leave with your lunch!

Some new things that you are able to do this month is sit up by yourself. You can do this for about a minute before you get too tired. You also love to stand in our laps, and it’s amazing to us how very little we need to support you. We just keep you from toppling over while you do the rest. You have also really started to love jumping in your jumperoo. You look like an Irish dancer doing a jig when you get in your jumping chair. It thrills you so much, and you just smile, giggle and jump until you get exhausted.

This month you took your first long roadtrip. We drove from Virginia to Cape Cod and you hardly fussed at all during the long trip there and back. While we were on the cape, you got to meet your cousins for the first time. You especially enjoyed meeting Mia. You two would hold hands and smile at each other like you knew would be good friends. You also got to celebrate your first Thanksgiving, although there was no turkey or mashed potatos for you—you’ll have to wait until next year for that delight.

It makes me a little sad to think about how quickly these first five months have gone—mostly because I know that time will always seem to go by too quickly from now on. Some days I just want to freeze time so I can hold on to my little baby for a little while longer. But then I see how much more fun you get each month and I don’t want to miss out on watching you become a little boy.

Mommy and Daddy love you so much.

Mommy and Daddy

Month Four

Dear Jack,

You turned four months old this week and I’m amazed at how much you grow and change each month. You just had your four month doctor’s appointment where they weighed and measured you. You are now 15 pounds and 25 inches long—putting you in the fiftieth percentiles for both weight and length. The doctor said that you looked healthy and perfect!

Over the past month you have started to have greater control over your hands and arms. You now reach out purposefully to grab stuff that is in front of you. Sometimes your aim is a little off and this frustrates you. You know what you want, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you can actually grab onto it.

You have also started to put things other than your fingers in your mouth. Your toys and stuffed animals are now making their way from your little fists to your mouth and you seem a little confused by the fact that they don’t really fit in your mouth.

One fun discovery that you have made this month is your feet. When you’re lying on your back and see your feet in the air, you’ll grab onto them like they are a new toy.

You have also become a lot stronger this month and can lift both your head and feet off the floor when you are on your stomach. You look like you are trying to fly. You are also getting pretty close to sitting up on your own. Daddy says that I’m just balancing you so that you just look like you’re sitting, but I don’t listen to him. You do sit for about 10 seconds on your own before you topple to one side or the other. Mommy catches you before you fall, though.

This past month you celebrated your first Halloween. You dressed up as a cute little black kitty and helped your grandma and grandpa pass out candy. We had a lot of fun taking a bazillion pictures of you. You also spent the night at grandma and grandpa’s house for the first time. Grandpa made his famous pancakes—next year you will be able to enjoy grandpa’s pancakes.

We love you,
Mommy and Daddy

Month Three

Dear Jack,

You turned three months old this week and, boy, have you been growing! Over the past week, you wanted to feed almost hourly around the clock. They say that babies typically hit growth spurts around three months, and let’s just say you have spurted. Just this past week alone, you put on 10 oz, putting you almost at 14 pounds. One more pound and you’ll be double the size you were when you were born! And you’re not just gaining weight, you’re getting taller, too. I had to move the headrest on your carseat up a few days ago and your feet are hanging off the swing at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house. I fear that you’ll need a bigger carseat by Christmas, if not sooner.

Besides growing, you have also started to drool. Lots and lots of drool. I can tell when your getting sleepy because the drool starts running even faster than usual. Of course, all of the drool makes it much more fun to put your hands in your mouth—which is where they are most of the time these days. You love to suck on your hands.

Other things that you like to do with your hands is to swipe erratically at objects. I’m not quite sure that you know exactly what your doing, but if you swipe at something and it makes a noise, you tend to swipe at it again and again. I think that you are starting to become aware that you can interact with the world around you.

You perplex me sometimes, Jack, because you like to change things up on me unexpectedly. Like one day, you'll decide to roll over three times in a row, but then not attempt to roll over again for weeks and weeks. Or you’ll decide that afternoon naps are uncool and stop taking them for a few days. Or you’ll decide that you need to eat every hour after 3 a.m. And as quickly as you change things up, you change things back. I guess you like a little variety to your life. Or maybe you just like to keep your mommy on her toes.

We have a lot of fun holidays to look forward to in the next couple of months. So many “firsts” for you to experience—I can’t wait!

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, June 20, 2008

Month Two

Dear Jack,

You are two months old today! And you have learned some new fun things this month. The best is that you learned how to smile. Your initial smiles were small and hesitant, like you weren’t quite sure you were doing it correctly. Now, though, those tiny smiles have turned into big, gummy grins. How this pleases your mommy and daddy! We will do anything to get you to smile—make silly faces, sing silly songs—we put on quite a show for you just to be blessed with one of your precious smiles. It makes us feel so incredibly special. Last night as I was rocking you to sleep, your eyes kept sleepily slipping closed. They would briefly open up again and each time this happened you would give me a drowsy smile—seeming happy just to see mommy. I thought to myself, “How did I get so lucky?” I feel so lucky to be your mom.

Your grins now come with little laughs too. You have a cute laugh that sounds a little like a cough. And you love to “talk.” You babble away to anyone who will listen. Mostly, though, you love to chat with the fishies on the mobile of your swing. How I wish I knew what you were saying!

I can see bits of your personality emerging and I think you are going to be a lot like your daddy. He’s calm and patient and rarely gets upset. You are very much like him—you rarely cry for long periods of time and most of the time you just grunt to let us know if something is wrong. You are so much fun to be around—it is hard for me to be apart from you for very long.

You also rolled over for the first time this month, but it seems that it was just a fluke since you haven’t done it since. This is probably a good thing because I don’t think I am ready for you to start moving around yet!

You have also recently started to bat at objects that are put in front of you. Your movements are jerky and uncoordinated, but there does seem to be an intent and interest in your eyes to interact with the world.

We love you so much,
Mommy and Daddy

P.S. It’s okay with us if you wanted to start sleeping through the night. No pressure, though.

P.S.S. Did I mention we’re tired? Still, no pressure.

Month One

Baby Jack,
This week you will be one month old. I can't believe that there was ever a time without you--it seems much farther back than just one month!

So many things have happened for you in the past month. First, and foremost, your daddy and I got to meet you for the first time--after months and months of anticipation. It was such a sweet moment to see your teensy body and your full red lips and your soft dark hair. Sooner after you were born, you got to meet your maternal grandparents and your Aunt Jeanine and Aunt Maria. Everyone was in love with you at first sight! And you were so happy to meet your paternal grandparents during their trip to Virginia. They came especially for you and I know that your Grandpa Karras and Grandma Karras were happy to help turn you into a little Red Sox fan.

Besides meeting all of the people who love you, you have also made big accomplishments in the past month. You have been busy growing--and have proudly packed on two pounds since coming home from the hospital. I guess all that eating you have been doing has paid off! In addition, you have been getting much stronger. You are learning how to hold up your head by yourself and daddy has you doing little baby pushups everyday. I think he is trying to build up your muscle strength so that you might one day be a great baseball player for the Red Sox.

You have also recently started to focus on different objects that have been put in front of you. I can see in your eyes that you want to grab hold of them, but you just haven't figured out how. It will probably be easier once you realize that you have hands.

You are mommy and daddy's pride and joy. We can't wait to see what the next month brings!Love,Mommy

New Blog Home

Welcome to our new blog home. Due to some technical glitches, the old blog is gone, but not all of the content is lost. I kept records of all of the monthly letters that I wrote to Jack, so I will be uploading them over the next couple of days.

It was a little hard to make the switch, but I think that it is for the best. I've set up a Flickr account and have uploaded a bunch of pictures from the past year. So far, I'm happy with this new little blog of ours.