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Archive for May, 2013

Once again I find myself at a complete loss for how the hell we got here. How is it possible that this chubby, rolly, grabby, giggly baby is the very same tiny little human with a wispy coif of blond and sleepy eyes that was born just yesterday? YESTERDAY I TELL YOU.

This month Ezra’s personality has been coming out full blast and it is very… physical. He is constantly moving, whether it’s rolling at lightning speed across the floor to get to a desired toy or flailing in my arms to get a better view of what his brother and sister are doing {or watching on TV}. He is very rarely still, which to be honest… has me sort of worried. Though Keaton is certainly All Boy, I feel he took a lot of cues from Rowan, who is definitely All Girl so he is actually a nice mix of calm and crazy. He has the energy of a boy but doesn’t seem as aggressive as most of the boys we come in contact with. I think Ezra will be a bit more true to the typical boy stereotype which is fine but definitely new territory for us.

Gross Motor: He isn’t crawling yet {THANK SWEET HEAVEN} but is very adept at rolling. When I try to lift his knees up so he gets the feel of a crawl position he gives me a “woman be crazy” look and promptly stretches himself out so he can roll on his merry way. I’m fine with this, more than fine, because although he’s pretty quick he has to problem solve to get himself forward rather than side-to-side, which slows him down a bit. Rowan and Keaton didn’t crawl until almost 9 and almost 11 months respectively so I’m in no rush.

Sitting up is hit or miss. He can do it but the minute he sees something he wants he lunges at it and slams into the ground with his face which doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He rarely stays sitting up for more than a handful of seconds unless I’m behind him supporting him and handing him toys.

And this is how our seven month photo shoot went. I got exactly ZERO usable shots of Ezra with his blocks. And now I know why people use those onsie decals.

Aaaand this is how our seven month photo shoot went. I got exactly ZERO usable shots of Ezra with his blocks. I now know why people use those onesie decals… turns out mobile babies aren’t that great at leaving the props alone OR taking modeling direction. Who knew!

I tried to trick him by putting the blocks up on a basket but he kept giving me this "Why you do this, Lady?" look so I gave up. Maybe next month.

I tried to trick him by putting the blocks up on a basket but he kept giving me this “Why you do this, Lady?” look so I gave up. Maybe next month.

Fine motor: He picks up toys and manipulates them all on his own now. Mostly he just shoves whatever we give him, or whatever he finds, directly into his baby maw. This has me constantly paranoid about small toys that the kids leave lying around. We’ve had lots of talks about the seriousness of picking up small things to keep Ezra safe {and, uh, alive} but I still get nervous. I’ve banished legos to the bedroom but somehow they and Keaton’s many many tiny Star Wars and TMNT weapons end up back in the main Baby Rolling Area so I’m trying to train the kids to do several room sweeps a day.

The other thing he enjoys to do with his improved dexterity is Grabbing {yes, with a capital G}. Remember when I used to have a nose, hair, eyeballs and earlobes? Yeah. That was nice. Now they are gone because my baby grabbed them and ripped them right off my head. Seriously though, boyfriend has got a GRIP and it sort of worries me that I’ve already had to break out the “gentle hands” repertoire with an infant. I am now firmly in the strict ponytail/bun, no necklace or earring phase of having a baby, which sucks but is a necessity if I want to avoid any ER visits.

5.26.6

Toes are acceptable to grab, Baby. A handful of mama’s eyelashes are NOT.

Eating: We’re at a solid 4 breastfeeding sessions a day; at wake-up, bedtime and after each of his naps. He can be pretty flexible with the day feedings if I need to push them around a little. He has solids three times a day. So far on the taste-testing menu he will gladly eat anything that is not green, which is apparently not an acceptable color for food. And it’s not just a turning away of his head or pursed lips. He’ll reluctantly take the bite and then dramatically gag on it, not unlike a cat horking up a hairball. His favorites are bananas, apples, pears and sweet potatoes. He likes carrots but they give him a rash. I have to figure out how to get more veggies in him but otherwise he’s doing great.

Diapering: Lieutenant Deborah Morgan of Dexter put it best, since Ezra started solids he has truly become her definition of a baby, “A roly-poly, chubby-cheeked shit machine”. From 2- 6 months the boy only pooped once every 7-10 days and now HOLY HELL he is producing anywhere from 3-6 PER DAY. Baby TMI! For whatever reason they barely smell so we need to check him quite a bit so he doesn’t sit in it and they are of a play-dough consistency so it’s an easy clean-up. We are now exclusively using BumGenius pocket diapers and they are working great. We stuff them with the old prefolds at night for added absorbance but otherwise have retired the prefolds. We keep a pack of disposables on hand for occasional use for sitters or when we get behind on laundry.

5.26.7

Wow. My mom just spent a whole paragraph talking about my poop! Even I know that’s gross, Lady.

Sleep: Very hit or miss. Sometimes he’s up a few times a night and sometimes he sleeps thru until 6am. For the last couple of weeks he’s slept through the night when his teeth aren’t bugging him. He used to wake up around 6:30 and then lay in bed with me while he nursed, dozing or resting quietly for 45-60 more minutes but now he’s up at 6:00-6:15, eats for 20-25 minutes and is all HELLO WORLD, let me thrash about with all available appendages until my lazy ass mother starts playing with me.

Naps are fairly consistent. After a 6am wake-up he is more than ready to go down by 9:30am. He’ll sleep anywhere from an hour and fifteen minutes to 2 hours. He then goes down at 1:30ish and stays down for an hour to an hour and a half. With the end of school and the normal dance rush, it will be interesting to see how his sleep routine evolves.

Toofers: Two teeth! he was sort of cranky all day on Mother’s Day which is pretty out of character for him. We were out all day so I just thought it was a change in routine issue but he’s normally pretty easy going about that sort of thing. He’s been drooly and chewing on everything for 3 months so I didn’t think to check for teeth but just before bed he grabbed my finger and started chewing on it and OUCH there was his front bottom right tooth; three days later it was joined by the front bottom left.

He has not been a big fan of teething which has disrupted night-time sleep, naps and required more than a little tylenol, which does seem to help. I tried the hippie amber teething necklace which, yeah, NO. He will take the drugs, thank you. He is now constantly chewing which has made nursing… interesting. When he gets chompy I calmly remove myself from his reach to set the precedent of bite = no more milk, while using my favorite cursing combinations under my breath. It’s working for now.

He loves:

His brother and sister. Seriously, when they pay attention to him his grin is ridiculous.

His brother and sister. Seriously, when they pay attention to him his grin is ridiculous.

Stacking toys that he can pull apart and bang together.

His Exersaucer.

Pirate Piggens.

Stroller rides.

Hanging with dad in the Baby Bjorn.

Baby swim. Yes. We are those parents. The ones who sign their small infant up for classes. In our defense we had to be there for Rowan and Keaton’s annual swimming lesson session and the baby-toddler class was right after so we thought we’d give it a try. He loved it! It’s definitely geared toward 1 year olds but he loves hanging with daddy, splashing and gets a huge grin while floating on his back.

Plus, a chubby baby in a swimsuit is one of my very favorite things.

Plus, a chubby baby in a swimsuit is one of my very favorite things.

He hates:

Um. Not much {besides green food}. He’s generally a happy little guy. When he’s ready for sleep he hates everything, but as long as I follow his cues he’s just so smiley. Unless I try to take a picture of him, then he gets all Serious Baby is Serious.

As the school year winds down I’m both nervous and excited to get the true dynamic of having three children. Since Ezra’s birth we’ve had to adhere to Rowan and Keaton’s strict daily schedules so I’m looking forward to a summer of hanging with ALL my babies without the pressure of having everyone up, presentable and out the door on time every weekday. Our mini-budders fit right in with this family the minute he was born but now he’s on the cusp of actively being one of us. Yesterday I was holding him and he was watching his siblings run around giggling as they were playing some crazy game, the look on his face as he followed them intently with his eyes and bounced himself up and down in my arms, mimicking their excitement, was one of abject anticipation. I can see already that he can’t wait to ditch me to run around with the other small crazy/wonderful people in this house but for now?

YOU ARE STILL MINE, BABY.

YOU ARE STILL MINE, BABY.

Alllll mine.

Alllll mine.

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The 2013 costuming season can be summed us thusly: So. Much. Sewing.

Seriously. As I was sewing on what I’m pretty sure was the 67th snap, I found myself wistfully remembering that first year when all I had to do was lovingly affix 7,986,231 sequins to two costumes. This year, between the 2 kids, I was responsible for six costumes, all of which needed a moderate to severe amount of sewing. And yes, severe sewing is totally a thing. At least when it’s done by me. I severely sewed the SHIT out of these costumes.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Rowan’s jazz dance was to Monster Mash. This costume was originally slated to be a lacy white and black, Bride of Frankenstein-esque number but it wasn’t quite Monster-y enough, which meant that the sewers had to start over, modeling it after a small-group costume created the previous season. I was a little put off by all the orange at first but it looked great up on stage and even won the costume award at our first competition.

5.13.2

The skirt was probably the most labor intensive. The tulle of the skirt was dotted which made the placement of the sequins a no-brainer {and it was soft tulle which makes a HUGE difference in getting the sequins to stick} but there were A LOT of them. The black stripes on the front were glittered, which was messy but pretty easy. The waistband was added later by our room mom so we could add an assortment of orange, clear and irredescent crystal stones.

5.13.3

The orange muppet feathers were originally on a rope-like spool; 2 four inch and one six inch pieces were cut for each skirt and we sewed them on to create the desired feathered-bootie effect. We also added the flower and tacked the skirt down in several places so it would stay in place during the dance.

5.13.4

I’m sorry there was really just no good way to photograph this fluff of a top. When we got it is was just a rectangular piece of lycra. From there we sewed on two long ropes of orange fluff, tacking each down in 6 or so places. Then we added extra pieces of fluff to the back once we account for stretch, so it would completely cover the lycra. Three black straps were added to connect it around the back and two to the neck. The material is a sparkly black which is great for shimmering up on stage but not so great for the dancers as it is suuuupppeeerrr itchy. I ended up sewing a soft felt-like material on the inside where the straps were bothering Rowan which helped some.

5.13.5

The neck straps were stoned with an assortment of crystals and I sewed on a swimsuit clasp and snaps for closures. There are 6 of these flowers on this costume, which were originally fake flowers with a stem and all, purchased from a craft store. They were de-stemmed, taken apart, hot glued and sewn back together, then a clear gem was sharpied {I promise this is a thing in the dance world} orange and glued in the center. We also glittered all the black stripes by placing many small dots of gem-tac glue and then sprinkling spoonfuls of glitter over them. Obviously this wasn’t enough DUH so we added random stones for shine.

5.13.6

For the arm bands we sewed more orange fluff in a circle to splay out the feathers and WHY YES, that is more glitter on the black stripes, which was thankfully done in the studio and not spread all over my house… although I did mysteriously find some under Ezra’s chin a few days later for which the only explanation I can think of is some made it down my shirt and was transferred via nursing session, whatever… sparkle boob, sparkle baby. We also sewed clear hair elastics to the points of the band to loop around their finger so they would stay in place.

5.13.7

The leg mufflers were made of a very messy fur that sheds everywhere so we had to handle these puppies with care. We sequined the black tulle and sewed on the decorated flowers. To keep these things from slipping down while the girls danced we were given very tight, long, lycra socks. We sewed snaps to both the muffs and the socks to secure them. There was still a little slippage but it worked pretty well.

5.13.1

Last were the hair bows. I helped glitter and decorate the flowers but one of our talented room moms created and assembled the bows. They are super cute and will be great for re-wearing at Halloween.

And here is the finished product…

5.13.11

Rowan’s tap costume was MUCH less labor intensive and I really really love it. Still though, with the sewing…

5.13.8

The skirt was made out of a shimmery plaid which required no extra stones or sequins. I’m not quite sure how we made it through without having to sequin the tulle sticking out but thankbabyjesus for big/small favors. We stoned the belt loops and the buckle and tacked down the belt and the skirt to the tulle so it wouldn’t flip up. Voila! Done!

5.13.9

For the blazer we stoned and sewed on the decorative buttons and then sewed snaps on the inside for the closure. We sequined and stoned to create the LD patch. The pockets and collar were tacked down in several places so nothing gets floppy on stage.

5.13.10

For the finishing touches, the plaid was cut and glued onto the taps. We sewed on two rows of ruffle to the white knee-highs. The bra top required no extra work, as it was really barely visible on most girls.

5.13.12

And here it is! I helped put the little stones on the hair bows but they were again mostly done by one of our room moms. I was disappointed when Charlie Brown was chosen as Rowan’s tap song- it’s just never been one of my favorites, but the costume ended up so adorable and the dance turned out to be one of my very favorites- the best one of Rowan’s yet. I love the whole thing.

5.13.13

The studio also does a number that spans all the competition lines, 1st grade through graduating seniors {6 lines total plus the Dancing Dads- all of them except for the baby line, which is why this is Rowan’s first year in it} called Jive Bunny. It’s always a mix of songs with a common theme. Last year it was a Footloose theme, the year before is was Lady Gaga {those costumes were pretty rad}. This year Jive Bunny had a Rock of Ages theme. Rowan’s group dances out to I Wanna Rock during which they wield Paper Jams guitars. It’s reeeeeeally cute. A group of awesome moms took the helm piecing together this costume. I didn’t do anything but pay for it and add a few tacks to hold things in place.

Now for Keaton. Last fall I offered to help out backstage for the boys. I didn’t think it would be a big deal since there were just three boys on his line, they only do two competitions and two recitals and I was nervous how Keaton would handle all this so I thought it would be better to be back there with him. Then one of the boys ended up dropping out so it was just the two of them and I failed to remember that all the comp boys from the studio do a boys only number that is performed at all 5 recital shows. And little did I know, although I should have suspected, that I would somehow become responsible for the boys’ costumes which were eventually pieced together and modified by myself with a generous amount of help from the room mom from his line and a couple other older boys’ moms who have been through The Crazy and gave me help/tips. I was completely unprepared for this responsibility and hated pretty much every second of it from conception to execution to completion but there really wasn’t anyone else who could do it so that was that. If Keaton stays in dance I praypraypray a boy with a competent mother gets recruited so I can pass the costume conception torch to her, for I absolutely SUCK at it. Give me detailed instructions and material and I will gladly do whatever I can to help out but I’m just NOT cut out to put this stuff together; I do NOT have a brain that thinks in sequins and shimmer, just look at my closet where you’ll be assaulted with only varying shades of grey.

5.13.16

I don’t have detailed or great pictures of Keaton’s costumes. I’m always so busy doing things backstage, a rushed cell phone picture is all I’ve managed so far, Hopefully I’ll get some good ones during the recital weekend. This is his jazz costume. It looks easy and unassuming enough and it really is, except that none of the items he’s wearing here came in the right color. The green t-shirt is the only thing that was purchased outright and the only modification was cutting a hole in it to string the light panel battery pack connector through. The sweatshirt had to match the girls’ vests so I bought white hoodies, cut a hole for the light panel in the lower chest, cut the sleeves off and had them hemmed, then a room mom helped dye them to match. Another room mom found the light-up panels {the girls’ tutus light up so they wanted something cool for the boys} which I glued and tacked onto the sweatshirt in 8 spots. I also tacked down the hood so it wouldn’t flop around and tacked the sweatshirt to the greet shirt.

The shorts were pretty time consuming because all the pink and orange you see on them was lovingly colored in with fabric markers and they needed to be gone over several times to be bright enough. They also only had the converse high-tops in bold colors; no neon or baby blue unless you want to pay big bucks for custom designs so those were dyed along with the sweatshirts, which took a couple of tries because they weren’t coming out dark enough. Then I ditched the white laces for the bright blue. The socks needed to be colored with fabric pens as well. There were tons of neon colors out there this spring but unfortunately they were all for girls and all super feminine styles. The process of running to store after store, getting excited about finally landing on something only to have it not work out and then heading back to return it was really daunting with the baby.

5.13.17

Keaton’s tap dance was to Hound Dog. Please don’t ask me about the zebra print because I… don’t get it either. The pants and fake-leather jacket was purchased at H&M. I searched stores and the Internet high and low for a boys zebra print shirt with close to zero luck. The only one I found was spendy and non-returnable which really wasn’t a chance I wanted to take because I never knew what would make it through approvals or not. In the end I modified the straps on a zebra camisole I found at Justice. The boys HATE it but since you only see the bottom and a little bit at the top it’s not too big of a deal. My least favorite part of this costume was the dog collar {which you can’t really see in this picture}. It’s a men’s gothic spike necklace I got at Hot Topic. I had to cut it down and add elastic and a snap and ugh, it’s weird and yuck and I DO NOT LIKE. Admittedly it looks just fine on stage but I asked the girls’ room mom to sneak it off of him for his individual shot on picture day because just, yeah, no thank you.

5.13.15

For the boys dance Keaton wore an adorable tuxedo. Since he was born with absolutely no butt to speak of, I had to take in the waist by about half. I also had the legs hemmed and each age group of boys got their own color cumberbund and tie. Besides adding velcro on the tie closure {they all pull them off at the end of the dance} and reinforcing the buttons, this one was pretty easy and he was just oh so handsome.

And there you have it! Time is always the big issue~ it seems no matter how hard everyone tries to get the ball rolling early, we always end up having to complete 9,000 tasks in about 3-4 weeks and it is really pretty stressful; especially when you’re caring for a small human that doesn’t understand when I say “hold on, Baby, I just need to sew on 8 more snaps”. I have learned to let go and just try to roll with the punches for the most part which was fine for Rowan’s stuff, especially after I learned to glue down the snap before sewing. There may have been some tears shed when those little bastards wouldn’t stop sliding around as I was trying to sew them down and it was 11 pm and I knew the baby would be up soon and I just wanted to sleeeeeep and STOP MOVING, SNAP I HATE YOU, SNAP WHY WERE YOU EVEN BORN, SNAP. Letting things go turned out to be a little trickier for Keaton since I was in charge of it but with lots of help I made it through with most of my dignity in tact. Being stuck in a dressing room with a dozen boys ages 4-12 is a WHOLE other story, one I’m really hoping I live through.

As in previous years, we are not sure if we’ll continue down this road. There are so many benefits of competitive dance but the main drawbacks, time and money, are getting harder to justify the deeper into this we get. We will reassess after the recital at the beginning of June and see where things stand. In the meantime, I’m so proud of all the hard work Rowan and Keaton put in this year. The progress they’ve both made is really remarkable and watching how much fun they are having up on stage has truly been one of my best moments as their mom, even if I do wince every time I see a hard-won stone or sequin pop off in the process ;).

 

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