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Dear Scarlett, at 15 months

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My sweet, sweet Letti Lou:

I hate to admit it but your first birthday post completely escaped me so unfortunately, this will have to serve as a combined 12 and 15 month letter to you. While my writing has been few and far between these past few months, your first birthday celebration was nothing short of fabulous! We showered you with love and as a friend of mine put it, we hosted a small wedding at our house in your honor. We had over 20 children under five making mayhem in our backyard and everyone left the party smiling ear to ear and exhausted from a day of fun.

Your development has skyrocketed since I last wrote. You went from walking at 11 months to literally running behind your sister nowadays. You have been steady on your feet for quite some time and love to dance, climb, run, and maneuver your little body into all sorts of strange places. You are a physical girl and nothing can hold you back if you are determined to get from point A to point B.

You are also very verbal. Your vocabulary is pretty robust for your age and some of your favorite words are Nana and Lola. Of course, you rattle off Mama and Dada constantly and can say the names of all your grandparents as well as Ball, Book, Baby, Hi, Bye, Up, and a few other choice selections. Your sign language really took off at around 13 months and you still love to sign for More, Please, Milk, Help, and Bed. Baby sign language has been such a blessing with both you and your sister and I swear, it’s allowed us to communicate with you guys way before you were really verbal.

You are an awesome sleeper although it did take a couple of weeks of growing pains for us both. I cut out the nighttime nursing sessions at 12 months and to say you protested the first few nights would be an understatement. You were pissed! But, you got through it and as soon as reality set in, you started sleeping through the night and haven’t stopped since. You like to go to bed way earlier than your big sis ever did so we literally have time to get home, throw food in your mouth and get you ready for bed before you start getting cranky. You get between 11-12 hours of sleep a night which is great. You’re still a cat napper and rarely nap for longer than 45 minutes to an hour but Savannah was the same way so we’ve adjusted accordingly.

Speaking of nursing, I stopped pumping at a year as well and continued to nurse you on demand when I was with you but otherwise you went straight from the boob/bottle to open cups of whole milk. In January, I transitioned you to just two nursing sessions a day – morning and night – and then cut you back to just one. I still nurse you right before bedtime although they’re very short sessions and I think we’re both continuing for comfort more than anything else at this point.

It’s hard to believe I breastfed for going on 2 ½ years between you and Savs and the thought of never doing it again is bittersweet. It is nice to have my body back to myself though and I was getting really sick of wearing nursing friendly clothes all the time! And don’t even get me started on the breast pump! Still, breastfeeding was one of my greatest joys of motherhood to date and a complete surprise since I wasn’t even sure I’d do it when I was pregnant the first time let alone love it!

Your little personality has really flourished these past few months and we’ve started to see some of the true differences between you and your sister. You are funny – like balls to the wall, test the limits, goofy funny. You love to be LOUD, you love all eyes on you, and you are a determined little bird. Like your sister though, you are a snuggle bug and an amazing eater. There are few things you reject and we joke with your teachers that you could have a mouth full of food and two handfuls ready to go and you’re still signing for “more.” Funny enough, you are more petite than Savs ever was hovering in the middle of the scale on weight and length. I don’t know where all the food goes except you also have about 6 BMs a day so I guess it goes straight through you!

Since we put the tubes in last summer, your hearing has been perfect. Knock on wood but we haven’t had any ear infections since and they don’t seem to bother you one bit.

You are officially a world traveler – we went on our first official “family vacation” to Costa Rica in January. You did a great job flying although keeping you busy, still, and quiet for 5 hours straight was exhausting. Once there, you had a ball! You pretty much ate your weight in sand and loved spending every day at the beach and every evening in the pool. I think most of all, you loved having all of us around 24/7 and we enjoyed the chance to see you and your sister explore a new environment together. We’re already starting to plan our next adventure and can’t wait for many more opportunities to share this beautiful world with you girls.

Everyone says you are your father’s mini-me and you really are. You still look so much like Savs did at your age but your eyes are different – you have his and Savs has mine. You both have combined personality traits and embody some of our best (and worst) features but that’s how it goes. I see a lot of your Dada when I look at you and it makes me smile every time.

We still call you Belly Baby or BB most of the time. I’m sorry but I think you’re going to have a hard time kicking that nickname. If you get older and really protest we’ll try to cut it but I hope you always know, it was established in love and it fits you, my sweet girl. You will always be the baby in our family and every time I hear Belly Baby I flash back to the nine months of wonderment as we imagined if God would bless us with a boy or girl to complete our family.

You are obsessed with your big sister. You follow her around like a puppy dog and imitate everything she does. At best, she adores you right back and at worst, she tolerates you. We’ve yet to uncover any true sibling rivalry but we’re preparing ourselves for the coming years.

You are also a daddy’s girl and often times reach for him first when you need comfort. I think it surprises your dad sometimes because for the most part, your sister has always relied on me in times of need. I swear, sometimes I see his chest puff up with pride as he takes you out of my arms though and I think it must feel really good to him to be your #1 right now.

Scarlett, you make me happy. Like head in the clouds, love beyond words, smile ear to ear, happy. You have a laugh that is deep and guttural and it is infectious. You have a strong will and a kind heart. You love to blow kisses and love on those you know best. You are also a tough nut to crack and don’t warm up to people instantly but that’s okay, I don’t either. I’ve just learned to fake it well! I think you will be very disarming while also maintaining an air of mystery about you. I suspect you will make those who love you work for your affection but once it’s received you give without abandon or hesitation. You will change the world, my girl, and I just can’t wait to see how.

15 Months at a Glance

Weight – 21.75 – 58th percentile

Length – 30.5 inches – 48th percentile

Cool things you’re doing: You are a full blown toddler. You love to shake your booty and dance and love to perform the minute we start singing, “Go Scarlett, it’s your birthday…” You love to run and play hide and seek and enjoy the challenge of finding hidden objects. You eat with a spoon and drink from an open cup. You also clear your own plate which is both incredibly convenient and hilarious.

Likes: Your family, your sister, Lola, exploring the world through touch, hearing your own voice, getting dirty, and unfortunately, you LOVE pooping in the bathtub!

Dislikes: Strangers. You have serious stranger danger. You also get very upset when we take your food away before you finish eating or when we’re delayed in feeding you.

Nicknames: Belly Baby! Letti Lou, BB, Scarletto, Monk

Loving you always, my sweet girl.

Love, your mama

Outtakes:

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Conversations with Savannah

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Savannah’s been full of beans lately. Her vocabulary is exploding and not only is she putting together full sentences she’s repeating pretty much everything we say – and with intended inflection which is a real hoot.

Some highlights from recent weeks:

1. Somewhere along the line, I learned that a good way to correct bad behavior – i.e. hitting, biting, etc. – is to explain that “We don’t do that in this family.” Well, now every time anyone is doing anything Savs disagrees with, she boldly states, “We don’t do that!” Hmm…that lesson backfired I think.

2. Our girl is full of love and is constantly exclaiming that she “doesn’t like something, she LUBS it!” She even went so far as to tell me one morning that she “doesn’t lub me anymore.” Fortunately, before my heart could break into a million pieces she immediately followed up with, “because I lub you soooo much.” I couldn’t make this up if I tried, people!

3. While Mike was working out the other day, she promptly informed him that he was making a “very unsafe choice.” I agree, baby, Sean T. workouts are unsafe indeed!

4. If you ask Savannah what she’s doing at any given time, she’ll usually states clear as day, “I’m just hanging out.”

5. Every night, we ask her if she had a good day at school. She’s now beating us to the punch and usually opens the conversation by inquiring, “Was it a good day today?” or “How was your day, Mommy/Daddy.”

6. We hear a regular rotation of “My do it” in our house and if she’s going to leave the room for any duration of time she proudly announces to whoever will listen, “My be back” and at night she always asks us to “My hold you.” Girlfriend definitely needs to work on her pronouns.

7. The other day, Savs stated proudly, “I’m a bossy, bossy girl.” Oh man, are we in trouble!

And finally, a few of our favorites from her long list of mispronunciations:

Fix skit – fix it

Hahacaca – helicopter (our favorite!)

Lego – here you go

Idi Tooted – irritated

Abogado – avocado (or Spanish for “attorney”)

Towel napkin – paper towel

 

 

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To you, Lemon Drop…at 17-18 weeks.

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Dear Lemon Drop,

You have officially made your presence known to me! I started feeling fluttering sensations in my lower abdomen a couple of weeks ago and since then, your kicks have gotten stronger and steadier. In fact, just a few days ago my hand was resting on my belly and I actually felt a kick from the outside for the first time. This is very exciting and definitely one of my most favorite pregnancy symptoms.

Speaking of symptoms, I’m also pleased to announce that most of the pesky side effects I was battling in the first trimester have dissipated by now. My appetite is back in full force, my mood swings have tapered off and I can actually make it through an entire day without a nap. Unfortunately, a new issue reared it’s head a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been battling it ever since.

PUPPS or Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. Translation: really, really miserable rash!

Actually, “really, really miserable” doesn’t do justice for this thing. It looks like a cross between a heat rash and hives and in some cases, can cover a woman’s entire body except for her hands, feet and face. I guess I’ve been lucky in that (so far) my battle has been restricted to my trunk – front and back. The itch is unlike anything you can imagine. It’s been likened to feeling like your organs itch, it’s that deep, and some women actually go mad with the pain. The really twisted part is that PUPPS occurs in about 1 in 200 pregnancies (usually first pregnancies) and almost always in the final weeks before delivery. When you consider my rash broke out at 16 weeks and that I had absolutely nothing like this with Savannah that makes me pretty damn unlucky I suppose.

The icing on the cake? The only cure is delivering the baby!

I’ve been to a dermatologist and of course seen my obstetrician and all hope is not lost. The dermatologist gave me some topical steroids and the obstetrician recommended an oral steroid but I didn’t feel comfortable with either option. Instead, I scoured the internet and did a ton of research and for probably the first time ever, Dr. Google came to my rescue. There’s a whole movement of women – small but mighty – who have suffered from this horrible ailment and they’ve all shared their stories online.

Through this network, I discovered some alternative forms of treatment and immediately began gathering supplies. What’s working for me? Dandelion root (I take one capsule, twice a day and drink the tea once a day), a magical soap called Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap (I found it at Sprouts and shower with it twice a day), a daily antihistamine, and a combo talc/calamine powder. Funny thing about the powder, a few years back, your daddy got a gag gift called Anti Monkey Butt Powder. It’s sat under his sink untouched ever since. Well, in my desperation I was willing to try anything and it turns out this silly powder has stopped the itching better than most of the expensive creams we’ve purchased.

The good news is the rash is shrinking, the swelling is dissipating and the itch while still consistent is actually tolerable. There’s hope for me yet. I still know the oral steroid is there if this thing comes back with a vengeance but for now, I feel pretty good about my status and very proud that I’ve attacked this thing in the most natural and holistic way possible. It’s not ideal but I can actually live with this for five more months – which I would not have said a week ago. And I’m hoping it only gets better!

So, aside from this latest pregnancy woe, all is great with you! I had a check up on Thursday and you are developing beautifully. You’re getting big, your heart rate is a healthy 144 and I can already tell that you’re strong and mighty. My second trimester blood screen came back normal and as of this moment, there’s nothing for us to be concerned about.

We have our big anatomy scan in about a week and we’re still planning to hold off on finding out your gender. The more we sit with it the more excited we feel about the big surprise and to be honest, the uncertainty doesn’t seem to concern your sister a bit either. She fluctuates between thinking you’re a boy or a girl but most of the time she’s convinced her baby sister is hanging out in mommy’s belly. She’s started calling herself “Big Sissy Nana” and she showers you with kisses every morning and every night. There’s no doubt it’s going to be rocky at first but I’m 100% confident you’re going to have the best, most adoring, big sister in the world.

Those are the big highlights from the past few weeks. I’ve gotten back in my meditation routine and I find myself looking forward to our daily 20 minutes of bonding time every night. That was such a huge part of my pregnancy with your sis and despite how insane our days seem to be I refuse to miss the opportunity to share that experience with you too.

November is beginning to feel very close and something tells me summer is going to fly by and before we know it the big day will be here. Until then, please know that our love for you grows by the minute. I hope you can hear us talking about you, planning for your arrival and imagining what sort of little character you will be. You are cherished.

Loving you always,

Your mama

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Conversations with Savannah

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Savs vocabulary is growing by the minute. In fact, she comes home with new phrases on a daily basis and we are constantly amazed at her unintentional wit and humor. We’ve been practicing new words and some fun names and learned that the more obscure they are the more hilarious her pronunciation. It’s a great way to pass the time.

Here are a few highlights from recent months.

1. Since Lola’s surgery, Savannah stops by her kennel at least once a day to check in on her. The conversation usually goes like this:

Savs: Hi Lola. How you doing today?

Lola: Blank stare (internal thought: Awesome. While you ran around and played all day, I sat here by myself staring at the wall. Will you please go away now?)

Savs: You feel good, Lola?

Lola: Mild glare (internal thought: No, I don’t feel good. I had spine surgery a month ago, you idiot! Will you please go away now?)

Savs: Your ouchie all better, Lola? You resting?

Lola: Pathetic huff (internal thought: Does my ouchie look like it’s all better? And yes, I’m resting because I’m locked in a cage with nowhere to go and nothing else to do but lay here. Will you please go away now?)

2. Whenever I leave for yoga class Savs kisses me goodbye and says, “You go to yogurt now, Mommy? Okay, bye!” It’s hilarious.

3. All departures must include hugs and kisses. Sometimes she forgets one or the other and chases us down the hall yelling “Huggie” or “Kissie!”

4. My all time favorite moment of the day is when we wake up and she rolls over and says, “Goo Mahning, Mommy/Daddy.” Her accent is to die for.

5. Every time we read the Peace Book and get to the page about pizza, she says, “Pizza in the mornin.” I have no idea when she had pizza for breakfast but it obviously left an impression.

5. Other favorites include: gawberries (strawberries), pine apple, backberries, Aacob (Jacob), and NOna

This kid cracks me up!