Thursday, September 30, 2010

When In France

I'm not sure this is an appropriate follow-up to yesterday's post, but Cecelia isn't always "appropriate" so here we go...

Cecelia has recently begun to show her receptive language skills.  While expressive language (though she's quite expressive, just not verbally...articulate) is not her strong suit, she's always been a "so big" girl and can now show us where her head and belly button are.  She'll also respond to such requests as those to dance, go to her high chair, answer the telephone, etc.

One response that is awesome, but could prove troublesome is her kiss.  When you ask Cecelia to give you a kiss, she'll either ignore you entirely or approach your face with a wide open mouth.  We'll have to combat this before pre-school or she'll be that girl.

Dorian, one of Cecelia's many men.  Just kidding.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Know Not The Time Nor The Place

One week ago today we lost a good man.  There are many descriptors for my Uncle Bob, but good seems to encompass so much and, of course, words can never fully express all the lives he has touched.  My uncle's departure was a sudden and unexpected one.  He led a healthy life, doing all the "right" things: going to the doctor regularly, exercising, eating right, and enjoying retirement fully.

I know that Uncle Bob would not want us to grieve on this day, or rather grieve and then celebrate a life fully lived.  My uncle lived each day to its fullest and not in some cliche way.  He worked in an industry that he enjoyed (so much so that he ended up retiring...twice) and that challenged his intellect and creativity.  In retirement, he didn't talk about doing things.  He did them.  He was intrigued by woodworking and creating with his hands.  So he did.  He wanted to keep his body healthy with exercise and activity.  So he did.  And he continued to enjoy a favorite past time in golf.  And another favorite past time was giving time both in a voluntary form to help others and spending time with family and friends.  Uncle Bob knew how to do things right.  And his way was always right.

My Uncle Bob and Aunt Cathy lived a life filled with love.  They also showed that love took work, and sometimes tolerance.  That love is not always easy.  But that it is worth it.  And that death does not stop a marriage.  On the night of my uncle's passing, with many family members filling their home with love and support, the power went out.  I decided that Uncle Bob wasn't finished bugging my Aunt Cathy and that we were sure to see many signs of his presence in the near future.  That night the sky filled with lightning and powerful, booming thunder and my cousin's reflection that "Someone special was entering heaven that night" was proven by the spectacular night sky.

My uncle was proud (as he should have been) of both his children.

My cousin, Rob, followed dreams that others would only dream, but never live.  He drove cross country to really experience America, worked in game development for Harmonix industry (a dream for any child of the 80's), and pursued Air Guitar Champion prowess on the national stage.  Most recently, my uncle gathered his family together around his laptop computer for us to watch a surprise.  That surprise was my cousin on stage with the Boston Pops, along with the development team from Harmonix, to sing a Beatles medley as they introduced the advertisement of their newest release.  It was spectacular (as Rob himself is) and he was so proud.

My cousin, Gaby, embodies the kindness of both my aunt and uncle.  Their giving nature and generous spirit.  She has always been a big sister to me and we have always been close, both emotionally and geographically.  My uncle was proud of Gaby being able to stand on her own two feet and find what made her happiest.  She found that in my cousin-in-law, Joe.  Joe has been an amazing source of support for my aunt and cousins and I feel so happy to know that my uncle spent his last moments doing something he loved with someone he loved and trusted so much as Joe.  He also lived his last days creating memories with people he loved in a place he loved.  How many people have that opportunity?  As we've heard many times over the last week, "We know not the time, nor the place."

With that in mind, I feel blessed to have been invited to the beach two weekends ago and to have spent so much quality time with my aunt, uncle, husband, baby, and mother.  Two years ago, Cecelia spent similar time with Aunt Cathy and Uncle Bob and I'm so happy that we were able to have more memories with Uncle Bob before his death.  I know that he enjoyed spending time with my daughter (and I'm also happy she was well behaved for this trip to the beach) and one of my favorite memories of that last weekend was my Uncle Bob bringing Cecelia up onto his lap to give her a tutorial on the computer.  I have a feeling that Cecelia will have a similar love of all things technological as her Uncle Bob did.

I reflect back on how my uncle lived his life and see it as a lesson for us all.  To live each day fully.  To love completely and to accept without judgement.  To see opportunities to help others and embrace them, not begrudge them.  To look at the world and see all there is to marvel at; not all that is wrong.  To see death as only a part of a life well lived.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inverse Proportions

So, I'm not sure if this post is exactly mathematically accurate but what I do know is that it is a little after 5:30 and I am up and blogging.  Why?  Well, that is certainly a good question.  Now, my alarm was set for 5:30 as that is approximately the time Cece wakes up these days, which is quite frankly a DREAM compared to her erratic sleep behaviors for approximately the full year prior to that which would have equated to just about anyone's NIGHTMARE.

So, good news is that she sleeps now.  Her timing couldn't have been better since I returned to work and really needed the sleep.  I don't know what I would have done if her night waking had continued in quite the same manner.  So, she naps now for 2-3 hours pretty consistently mid-day and sleeps for, on average (and by average I really mean maximum) 12 hours, sometimes more like ten, usually starting at 6:30 or 7.  So, like I said a dream for we who were waking hourly with sometimes stretches of 2-3 hours for about 13 months.

 Now, with that said sometimes you get used to things and that is what we like to call a false sense of security, so 2/3 weeks ago - time is blurring together even if I'm getting better sleep....we were down the shore a-visiting and discovered that while Cecelia used to sleep better sometimes even needed us in the same room or bed in order to get quality sleep, now she NEEDS to be in a room of her own.  If she stirs in the night she will resettle herself, but NOT if there is the remote possibility of fun in the air.  So, when Jeff, Cecelia, and I shared a room at the shore, when she awoke around midnight she could not/would not/refused to resettle and sleep.  We got to 3 o'clock and I decided enough was enough.  I took her to the car, we drove (which ironically worked...not because she loves the car now but because she was exhausted.  And then when I was sure she was asleep, I pulled back in the driveway and slept in the car myself as well.  I thought about trying to bring her back in the house.  Then I thought better of that idea.  So, we learned that lesson and upon return trips to the beach slept in separate rooms.  It is amazing that in a house with 6 adults and 1 baby the only person who got a room to herself was the baby, but those 6 adults wised up to the only way that anyone was going to get some sleep was by giving her a little "privacy."

So, onto the inverse proportions.  Something else we've learned that seems to be unfortunately consistent is that the later Cecelia is awake, the earlier she wakes up in the morning.  For example, last night we had visitors over for dinner and we all stayed up and played a smidgen past bedtime.  Maybe 7:30 or so. So, as punishment from the baby gods, Cecelia woke up at 4:00 and could not be convinced to return to a sleep state with her pacifier, by closing the window, nursing, or snuggling.  Nope.  She was up for the day.  And so, alas, am I.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friend or Foe?

Cecelia has been slowly but surely overcoming her fear of dogs, cats, and other furry creatures.   This video was taken when we went to our (newly engaged - congratulations!!!) friend's house and Cecelia met their dog, Peyton.  Peyton was quarantined to the upstairs for long enough, and both Cecelia and Peyton were pretty curious to meet each other.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

13 Months...1 Month Ago

So, my mom's a little (and by a little I mean a lot) late posting this.  This is my 13 month picture and on Tuesday she'll be taking my 14 month picture, because that's about how old I am now!  Over the past month I've overcome many fears (she'll fill you in more later) and am playing more and more at the park and playground with other kids.  Good times!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Times They Are A Changin'

The past month or so has been a time of transition in our home, literally.  Transition was a big word at school this past year as there was construction in progress and staff making the move from one building to another to join ranks.  While I wasn't there for all that...I did change positions within my school.  Now, instead of teaching first grade as I had for the past few years, I am teaching in the school library.  And I love it.  Instead of reaching one class of students (which is also pretty awesome) I get to meet with every class in the school and get them excited about literature, researching efficiently and effectively, citing sources, interacting with Web 2.0 tools to enhance presentation skills (and because they're just plain fun) and learning all day long.  In addition to the traditional roles in the library, this year our school will be starting a TV studio and guess who gets to head that guessed right.  This is both exciting and intimidating, but fortunately I've been able to rope in three other staff members to help me out (phew).  With all that said, it has been a time of transition both professionally and personally as well.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to stay home with my daughter for her first year of life, but alas it was time to return to work.  In our home though, we are still fortunate that one parent can remain home with Cecelia.  In case you weren't clear on the math, that means Jeff is at home with Cece now.  And they are having a blast!!!  But, let me back up.  Jeff and I both come from backgrounds as educators and we take things like transitioning very seriously.  So, when we looked at the prospect of Cecelia going from one full day parent to another, we approached it very much as one would with a student teacher.  And to clarify, this was Jeff's idea, not mine.  But it was a great idea, if a bit rigid :).  Beginning on August 1st, we began a period of observation, where Jeff got to watch what we did all day.  Looking back over the past year, July and August were increasingly predictable months, whereas I would say the previous 10-11 months were NOT.  But I digress.  So, Jeff watched what we did, figured out where everything was (as if I was hiding it from him all this time) and rearranged things to put them in places that made more sense to him (because he likes to do things like that).  He recorded Cecelia's schedules, the foods she could and could not eat and some ideas of activities to do with her on a regular basis, as well as meal planning and food shopping to correspond to those meals.  Basically, my husband is a parenting rock star and I love him more than words can express here.  So, on to week 2 (wherein I screwed up the whole process) when I had a bunch of professional development meetings scheduled and wasn't able to ease into things that week, but trial by fire is also kind of good, right?  But seriously, on days we were able, Jeff took over and I took a back seat.  The following week I went away in the mornings and returned in the afternoons and the week after that I progressed towards full days away one hour at a time, so on Monday I stayed away until 1, Tuesday until 2, Wednesday until 3, and Thursday until 4.  Friday, because I could, I stayed home and cherished one of my last days at home with my baby girl prior to returning to full time days at work.  But then I did.  And everything was fine.  Fine for me, fine for Cecelia, fine for Jeff.  I get the feeling that Cecelia does better when she's with Jeff and now, when I am home it messes with her routine.  She's a bit of a crazy person in the mornings when I'm around, so I have to re-figure out what works for her.  Going on walks, to the playground or park seem to be good activities.  Cece is a busy little person and likes to keep VERY active.  This (realization that I mess up her routine) has been hard, but being away and at work has not.  I think because I did have a full year with Cece, this separation has been good for us.  She is bonding with her daddy (not that she hadn't before) but they are learning more about each other and I like that a lot.  I also like being at work and working with kids.  I think another reason that our transition has been so smooth is that in the teaching profession, well - it's a cliche, but I have the summers.  I have a week around the winter holidays, and a week prior to Easter.  I'm able to be home by 4:30 on days that I don't have meetings after school.  I feel very lucky to be in the profession that I am in.  I feel very lucky to have the family that I have that supports me, including my husband, parents, in-laws, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.  And I feel very lucky to have my beautiful, healthy, sometimes crazy, but mostly really really happy baby girl.  She's not such a baby anymore as she's growing taller, getting bigger, and as Jeff puts it has lost her baby gait and is walking more like a "person".  But more about all that later.