Dear Julien … Letters to my second son.

Friday, 4th August, 2006

Happy Birthday, Julien

Filed under: General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 8:01

Dear Julien,

Today you are a whole year old.

In one year you’ve come so far from the tiny bundle I brought home from the hospital. I remember our first night together like it was yesterday, curling up under the blankets with you tucked into my nightgown to keep warm and burying my nose in your hair while we both drifted off to sleep.

It’s like this the first year, fast and slow all at once, so many moments that seem like they stretch on forever and then before you know it, it’s all gone by and you’ve gone from baby to toddler in the blink of an eye.

Some things remain constant: your easygoing temperament, the sweetness of your smiles, the smell of your hair and the way you put your head down on my chest and rest a hand there as if to say “This is good, everything is all right.”

Other things change: you are no longer my roly-poly little one, you slimmed out a bunch when you started crawling and that’s continued as you’ve started cruising the furniture and taking those first hesitant steps between things. You speak now, single words, mostly names, but it’s the beginning of sharing your thoughts. You point along with your words to make your meaning more clear and to “ask” about things. Not an evening goes by now that you don’t point at something and say “Dis?” while looking up at me expectantly for the name of the object and the opportunity to touch and explore.

You’ve grown six teeth in the last 5 months with more on the way and you chew up food pretty well with them. You have four up top and two on the bottom, though one of the front two hasn’t fully come down yet to close in your little jack-o-lantern smile.

You aren’t quite walking yet, but you’re nearly there and I know that in no time at all you’ll be running to me and away from me and chasing your big brother in ways he couldn’t possibly imagine. You’re going to keep him on his toes I’m pretty sure, the two of you are quite the pair.

Sleeping through the night is still something we can look forward to, though you’re only waking once a night now to have some milk unless you’re teething. Some of those teething nights can be pretty brutal for me, but otherwise you sleep very well in the crib next to the bed.

You are a snuggy, affectionate, sweet little guy, with bright-eyed curiosity and a laugh that lights up the room.

Happy first birthday sweetheart, here’s to many more.


Wednesday, 5th July, 2006

11 Months

Filed under: General,Progress,Year 1 — Beth @ 8:36

Dear Julien,

Yesterday, on July 4th you turned 11 months old. Unfortunately, our camera is broken and my phone is missing so the only photos I have are from the morning’s swim, taken with Daddy’s phone-camera. Once he emails those shots to me, I can post your picture from that day.

At just shy of a year you are cruising very well and in the last two weeks you’ve started standing up without holding onto anything. When you realize that you’re upright without support your face gets all surprised-looking and you sit down in startlement. A few times you’ve started to take a step while unsupported, but you’re not quite there yet: you still want to grab onto someone or something. You walk around holding onto my hands though and you still crawl very ably and very fast! The other day you surprised us by crawling up the stairs. That was a panicky moment of realization for me as you suddenly appeared out of nowhere when you were supposed to be downstairs with your Daddy. Instead you came rolling into the bathroom laughing, with your eyes all a-twinkle and this oh-so-proud expression on your face. You knew what you’d done even if no one else did! Time to put some gates on the stairs for sure.

You’re working on your 6th tooth, it’s hanging out beside the fifth one but hasn’t quite cut the gum yet. Soon enough you’ll have a full on white smile instead of the gap-toothed one you sport now. Generally speaking a preventative dose of Tylenol before bedtime helps you to deal with any teething pain and most nights you’re only waking once and sometimes you’re sleeping through which makes for a happy Mommy.

Your first words turned up this month, clearer versions of the “duhduhduh” and “mumumumum” of earlier months, you said “Dah-dee” about a week ago and you’re addressing me directly as “Mumum” without the extra trailing sounds. Victor has a moniker too though it’s sometimes indistinguishable from your general babble. “Bahpah” is what it comes out as, roughly, but “bah” is your favorite babbling sound right now and is often used for your first “phrase” which is “bye bye” said, “bah bah” while you wave. I’m trying to work on “Hi” with you now too and I can hear you mimic me to put those sounds together “Ahheee” “Haaaa”. It’s not consistent, but you’re definitely trying: you’re a big talker and keep up a constant patter of cheerful babbling, warbling, chirping and of course, grunting.

Another cute thing you’ve started doing in the past few weeks is putting your head down on a person or on the floor or couch either when you’re sleepy, when you’re wanting a cuddle or when you’re feeling sad/frustrated about being prevented from doing something. Daddy thinks you picked this up from your big brother and that it’s more mimicking. I just think it’s cute and can’t resist sweeping you up into my arms and kissing your forehead to make you feel better or rocking you gently so you can fall asleep.

Recently you and I have also gotten into bumping foreheads and noses lightly. You think this is the funniest thing ever and will happily spend 10 minutes or so, pressing your forehead against mine and lining your nose up with mine while you laugh and laugh and laugh. You also poke your face around into my line of sight if I’m sitting with you on my lap and I’m distracted by something: book, TV, computer to make sure that you get eye contact from me. It’s a little disconcerting sometimes to realize how aware you are, but it’s also a very good thing and it makes me laugh when you do it, because it’s also very cute to see your little face pop up in front of mine, with this broad grin and your eyes alight and questioning as if to say: “Mama? Are you there? It’s me, Jelly Bean!”

Your relationship with your big brother is an ever-evolving one, this month as you’ve become more able to play with him, you and Vic have been spending more and more time together in joint activities. More often than not, they’re still side by side things, with you tagging after him and trying to do what he’s doing, but increasingly, he draws you in, or what you’re doing captures his interest and the two of you wind up playing together. It’s the cutest thing ever to watch you both pushing cars along the floor of the kitchen side-by-side or having spoon clashes with a pair of spoons from the silverware drawer. Your closeness extends to your sleep as well, with Victor still being calmed a lot by your presence beside him. Unfortunately, the same is not the case for you, if Vic is still riled up he can knock you out of a sleepy state and back into play mode which can make for some unfortunate slips in your bedtime. Generally speaking though, if I leave the two of you curled up together once asleep, you wake up happier, playing and “talking” together in the early morning hours, often with games of hide and seek under the covers, or “tag” across the surface of the bed.

You’re sleeping about half the night in your crib these days. I can get you to sleep and put you down in it and put the side on and you’ll sleep there for 4-5 hours at a stretch. You tend to wake up around 2am though, crying and disoriented and you come in with us at that point. Once or twice you’ve slept all the way through the night without waking to nurse, but that’s not a constant yet. I expect that that will happen at some point in the coming year after your first birthday. For now, I’m happy to snuggle up with you and with your brother while I can. I know that it won’t be long before you’re both protesting too much affection from me with a fond, but impatient “Mooooom!”

We’re in the countdown now, to your first birthday. We’ll be having a little party for you at the beginning of next month. Your brother’s reaction was “Will I get any presents?” which made me laugh though I’m trying to get him to buy into the concept of helping me to get something special for you.

As always, you grow and change in wonderful ways every day and it’s a joy to watch you growing up, even if sometimes we want to put on the brakes and say “Wait, stop … just stay little for a while.”


Monday, 3rd July, 2006

Tooth 5 & Fevers

Filed under: General,Year 1 — Beth @ 21:45

Dear Julien,
Your fifth tooth made an appearance last week. It cut through the gum then and it’s slowly descending into view this week. This probably explains why you were having so much trouble sleeping through the night. You kept waking up fussy and unhappy for nights in a row.

There’s the fevers to think of too. I think you and Vic spent 3 out of the last 14 days fever-free combined. You guys just kept trading the viruses back and forth, back and forth. Hopefully we’re done again for now.

Brief as it was, your gap-toothed smile was really cute!

Sunday, 11th June, 2006

Tooth 3 and Tooth 4

Filed under: General,Year 1 — Beth @ 15:54

Dear Julien,

You cut your third tooth a few days after we got back from Smith. Last night you cut your fourth. They’re a matched pair up on top, but not the middle two. Instead the two teeth to either side of the center pair have made an appearance first. Also, while those teeth have cut through the gums, they’re not visible when you smile yet, so we have gummy smiles to look forward to for a little bit longer.

You get very clingy and needy when you’re about to cut a tooth. I’m starting to recognize the signs, so really I shouldn’t have been surprised when I caught that spot of white on your gums this morning. There’s a palpable bulge across your gums so I know the other two in the middle are on their way too, thought it seems to take you a week or two to cut teeth once they make their way down.

We’ve had some restless nights, but not the endless crying that I remember my parents telling me about so I am thankful that both you and your big brother are gradual teethers and cut me a little break in that department.

While I’m going to miss the gummy smiles, I’m looking forward to your being able to chew better. You’re very into your food now and frustrated with puree, but you can’t quite chew properly or even take good a good bite with only 2 teeth!

Thursday, 8th June, 2006

10 Month Portrait

Filed under: General,Pictures,Year 1 — Beth @ 20:41

2006_0603_julien 002

Originally uploaded by littleowl.

Cruising is one of Jule’s favorite things to do now. Here he is midway through a round of the furniture in the living room. I’m trying to stay on top of the mess (with mixed results) so he has room to maneuver without pulling half a ton of junk down on his head.

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