Oh, little buddy... You arrived with a bang a year ago today. You've always been a chill little guy, ever since that day! Your sweet nature charmed our whole family. Your papa and I adore you and your sister does too - unless you're stealing her toys and then she's not such a fan.
You were a big guy at birth (9lbs 13 oz!) and you haven't slowed down one bit. We'll find out for sure in a few days at your one year checkup, but you're somewhere around 26-27 lbs and TALL. You're officially bigger than several 3-year-olds we know. You've always been a pretty good sleeper, even falling asleep at the Common Ground Fair in your little lumberjack shirt. Nowadays I give you a little bounce on the yoga ball and a pat on the back and you toss and turn until you finally enter dreamland. I have mixed feelings about this. It's great that you can sleep on your own, but I know I will never again have a tiny baby that needs to sleep on me! Bittersweet...
You are seriously the happiest baby I know. Everything brings you such joy. All I have to do to get you grinning is just look in your direction. Make a funny face or silly smile and forget it...you might explode with glee! You love to bang on things - blocks, toy pots, pretty much anything that makes a noise. You wave toys around with wild abandon and love to pull everything out of a bin and toss it behind you with utter happiness. You can chew a book to bits in moments and have destroyed more toys in your short life than I ever thought possible! Which is not to say you're malicious in any way, the destruction comes from a place of glee and excitement and, despite the wreckage, is pretty funny to watch.
You love your older sister and think that everything she does is pretty much the best thing ever. You're home a lot with papa and you two have the best times! Mama is definitely a favorite though. You love to cuddle and flop your head down on my shoulder, especially when we meet new people. You love to flirt, as long as you feel secure in mama's or papa's arms. Everybody loves you!
You're a great eater and, in typical male fashion, meat is your favorite. Bring on the chicken! I'm loving watching you learn and grow every day. You've taken a few halting steps but exuberant crawling is still definitely your preferred method of locomotion. You love to make sounds and noises but I've yet to hear a distinguishable word...although it sounds like "mama" might be close! Happy birthday buddy, we love you!
I'm certain someone, somewhere, will want to vilify me for this post. I know this because that's exactly why I'm writing it. I know this because I've already seen people get jumped on for expressing similar, if not identical, stories.
So what am I going on about? Car seats, people, car seats. Specifically, rear-facing. See, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain rear-facing until age 2. The law, at least here, hasn't quite caught up with that recommendation and only requires that children remain rear-facing until age 1 and 20 lbs. I've seen a lot of people sharing this information lately, which is great. Get the word out! Safer kids!
See, though, this isn't a pro-rear-facing car seat post. Not exactly...
I am all for the recommendation. I believe that kids should be rear-facing as long as they can. I'm all for sharing the information and getting the word out about the new(ish) recommendations. Who wants to knowingly endanger their child's life more than they already have to by simply getting them in a car in the first place?
I am decidedly against shaming people and making them feel terrible about their (possibly quite difficult) decision to not follow the recommendation.
In all fairness, the great majority of friends and random internet strangers I've seen sharing this info have been perfectly civil about it. The few who haven't...well, they've been downright brutal toward those that choose to put their kids forward-facing before age 2, for whatever reason. Yes, there is ignorance out there and I know they think they're helping by pointing out the information, but getting angry at someone [that they don't even know] and telling them they are a terrible parent who is endangering their child's life? That is uncalled for. And extremely unlikely to change any minds or save any lives.
I wish I was making this up.
The particular example that prompted me to write this was a woman whose child screamed and screamed while rear-facing and they finally turned him around because the distraction and stress of having a constantly-screaming child in a car seat was making them feel unsafe driving. And you know what? I GET THAT. To everybody who shouted at her that they'd rather have an unhappy and/or uncomfortable child than a dead one - shame on you. You clearly don't know what it's like.
I could have been that mother. I fully intended to rear-face E as long as possible...until age 2 and beyond! But she had other plans. She hated rear-facing. HATED IT. She hated it with the passion of a million fiery suns. She would scream and scream whenever we went anywhere. We never did figure out what exactly she hated about it, though I think it may have had something to do with the sun. She would get in the car seat just fine, there was no struggle there. But once in the seat...screaming. And I'm not talking about regular ol' crying. I'm talking full-blown, screaming, omg-what-are-you-doing-to-that-child, getting-stared-at-by-the-neighbors, shrieking like she's being tortured. And here's the thing - when E gets worked up, she pukes. So, imagine driving anywhere while trying to keep your child (relatively) calm, only having no idea how to do that because you can't actually figure out why they're screaming their head off in the first place. Because if you can't keep them calm (and you can't) they're going to puke all over themselves, their car seat, possibly the car. We tried everything we could think of. I asked for suggestions from friends, our pediatrician, anyone I could. We tried to keep her distracted. We tried snacks, water, no snacks, no water. Sunhats and sunglasses to keep the sun out of her eyes. Singing. Books, activities, special "car toys" to play with. Bribery. Rewards. Treats. Whatever. Everything. I took to keeping paper towels and lots of tissues in the car. Extra clothes. It sucked. Taking her anywhere was torture for everybody involved. We stopped going anywhere that wasn't absolutely necessary. If we were lucky, she would scream herself to sleep before she puked all over. Of course, if she did puke, then she screamed even harder because OMG PUKE.
We did this for months. Finally, shortly before her 2nd birthday, I turned her car seat around so she was forward facing. It was like magic. A switch flipped. She didn't scream anymore! At all! We could go places again! I didn't have to worry about vomiting in the car!
Is she less safe now? Probably, yes. It was still worth it. The person shaming the other woman pooh-poohed her concerns about feeling less safe driving with a constantly screaming child. I completely understand. It was very easy to imagine getting into an accident because I was trying to deal with E's shenanigans.
The small chance that we were going to get into an accident where rear-facing vs. forward-facing would have made the difference for my child...versus the every single day screaming, vomiting, stress-inducing, distracted driving... Well, I weighed my options and you see which way I went. I understand not everybody would make the same decision. But I stand by it.
Over a year later, E is a great car traveler. She literally stopped screaming in the car the instant she was facing forward. Our car rides since then have all been fantastic. And H? He's about to be one year old in two weeks and he weighs a whopping 26 lbs. Legally, I could turn him around. Will I? Nope. He's perfectly happy to be rear-facing. He does not cause nearly the same amount of incredible stress and frustration in the car as E did at his age.
So, please. Before you judge, remember that you don't know everybody's story.
New sweaters are sooo exciting!
I knit this sweater for H before he was born. The yarn I bought at the Yarmouth Clam Festival a couple summers ago - a gorgeous alpaca blend that is so incredibly soft and squishy. But I only had one skein! And no hope of finding more. So I picked a baby sweater pattern that had...no front. It's called Baby Vertebrae and it's perfect for drooly babies. With no front to get all wet and felted and possibly spit up on, H can usually wear this sweater several times before it needs a trip through the washer - a rarity with baby clothes.
It fits him perfectly, which is lucky considering he's much bigger than I'd imagined he would be at this time of year... The colors look lovely on him, if I do say so myself, and I like to think it keeps him nice and warm and cozy in our chilly Maine house.
The actual knitting of the sweater went rather comically bad. I knew I didn't have enough yarn for an entire sweater, which is why I picked this pattern to begin with. But it soon became clear I was not going to have enough yarn even for this pattern. I figured I'd have enough for the main body and could do the trim in another color. I picked a similar weight dark blue to complement the lighter blues and greens. The yarn was left over from knitting a friend some fingerless mitts. Which is to say, I only had a partial skein. Which is to say, I did not have enough... Curses! Upon realizing this, I weighed my options. Buy more yarn, only to use just a tiny amount? Rip the whole thing and knit a smaller size? Pick yet another yarn and hope it didn't look too much like a Frankensweater? Clearly, I chose the last option. The green of the front border is the same yarn as the blue and it does match...somewhat. I'd rather have had the borders all blue, but alas, I still like the way it came out.
Most importantly, it keeps my little guy warm. And that is all I really could ask for!
See mine on Ravelry here.
It's sale time people!
And what, might you ask, is prompting this particular sale? (There's always a reason, you know...) Well, as you may (or may not) know, H is a very tall baby. I know this but I don't pay attention to it on a daily basis. So a week or two ago when we were all over at a friend's house, getting ready to go home for the night, I was putting H in his carseat. As one does. Friend looked over and said, "Wow, he's going to grow out of that seat soon!" And lo and behold...she was right.
Tall baby is tall!
So in an effort to infuse our bank account with some carseat-buying cash, I'm offering 25% off everything in the shop with coupon code BABYSEAT. Now until...we get a carseat.
I should also add that the yarn in the shop is all there's going to be for a while - due to a number of circumstances (cold weather, two kids, lack of time and space, possible move), I don't plan on dyeing any more until spring. But when I do, I've got loads of superwash sock ready to go!
Babywearing is a fantastic way to have your baby close and snuggly and still be able to get (some) things done. (I never can manage to wash any dishes - the sink is too far away with a baby on my front!) I am a big believer in babywearing. Some nights dinner wouldn't make it to the table without my trusty Ergo.
However, wearing a squawky baby while trying to make several relatively important phone calls is maybe not ideal. Especially when one of those phone calls involves a voice response system...
Phone: "For [jumping elephants] press option 1. For [herding hyenas] press option..."
Phone: [pause] "I'm sorry, I did not get your response."
It's funny - when E was little, she was (and still is) a skinny little thing. I would look at chunky, pudgy babies and think, "Oh, my skinny little baby is so much cuter than those other babies. They're so...fat!" She's tall for her age and only weighs in at about 30 lbs, at nearly 3 years old. Her pants fall off. You can see her ribs. I adore her.
And then, when H came along, he was one of those chunky, pudgy babies. He has multiple chins and the most delicious chubby thighs. Now, I look at slender babies and think, "Gosh, they're so scrawny." Even though they look very much like E once did. It just goes to show - no matter what, they are perfect.