It’s been much too long since I wrote a new post. I won’t bother with excuses, but here’s the catch up: I’m still pregnant, now safely into my second trimester, but not yet as relaxed and confident as I’d like; we’re all moved in but far from unpacked, and the needs-to-be-fixed-before-winter list keeps growing, but such is the joy of living in a 160+ year old home; and Hank is still the light of our world, though his adorableness is tempered right now by the fact that he’s got a nasty cold and is leaking disgusting fluids out of most of his orifices. But, this post is not about US: it’s about my little brother’s big, beautiful wedding on Saturday, and our adventures this weekend.
Hank was the ring bearer, which is a big job for someone who turned two the day before the wedding. Here he is all dressed up. The sweet yellow bow tie matched the ring pillow. He did a fantastic job, especially since unbeknown to us he was coming down with a raging flu bug and would be feverish, congested, and inconsolably miserable a mere six hours later.
The wedding party (including the dogs, who preceded Hank down the aisle). If you look closely, Hank is scrunching up his face like he swallowed a lemon. This is the face he makes if you hold up a camera and ask him to smile. I’m not sure the wedding photographers think this habit is quite as endearing as Penelope and I do.
Here comes the bride with her daddy.
(Note the arch behind the bride and groom, above. My brother made that himself, and because every wedding needs a last-minute catastrophe, it got crushed in the truck during transport to the venue. Trevor was late to dress and meet the photographer because he had to rebuild it the morning of the wedding.)
Hank entertaining cousin Niecie, trying to keep her quiet during the ceremony. “It’s like church,” he tried to tell her (which is what we’d been telling him for weeks). She didn’t really understand.
The music (Hank was enthralled by the bluegrass trio who played at the ceremony and during the cocktail hour. There was another band (rock) for the after dinner dancing, but Hank couldn’t stay up that late.) -
The entertainment (you know that awkward stretch at most weddings immediately before and after the ceremony, when the wedding party is busy with photos and set up, and the bar isn’t open yet? Trevor and Kelly’s solution = Lawn Games. Genius. Though what would you expect from the inventor of the Chasket? Hank liked the hula hoops and the jump rope best, though he didn’t know quite what to do with either. Yes, yes, he is singing into that jump rope. No, I didn’t tell him to: he came up with that all on his own.) -
But the best part, of course, was seeing so many people we love. This is the first time that all of the first cousins on the groom’s side of the family had ever gotten together in one place, because we live all over the country. If only the grandparents (Hank’s great-grands) had been able to make the trip. They were sorely missed.
So, even though it was really too much for four day weekend, and we’re paying for it now with a sick toddler, we had a wonderful time. Thanks so much to the bride and groom for bringing us all together to share your day!
“Morning sickness” is definitely turning out to be a misnomer, in my case. I know the books and websites say that morning sickness can strike at any time of day, but for me, late afternoons and evenings are turning out to be the worst. By the end of the day, I am queasy, I am wiped out with fatigue, I know I need to eat but the idea of food makes my stomach roil, I often have a headache, and I just generally feel gross. By 5:00, I am on the downhill slide. By 7:00 or 8:00, I turn into a pumpkin.
This wouldn’t be so bad, except that these evening hours have always been “family time” in our house. Penelope and I are home from work and able to spend quality time with Hank, fixing dinner, reading stories, giving him his bath, hearing about his day, getting him ready for bed. It is the worst possible time of day for me to be less than my best, and lately, I am soooo much less than my best.
They say that pregnancy symptoms are a good sign that all is going well with the baby, and I know from hearing other people’s nightmare scenarios of severe morning sickness that I really can’t complain. I just hate falling asleep before my toddler does, and missing out on our bedtime routine.
Speaking of Hank, he’s waking up from his nap, now, so I’m going to go do something fun with our afternoon before the evening quease sets in.
We took a short break from all of the craziness on our plate — unpacking, trying to clean and rent the old house, the anxieties of early pregnancy, our full time jobs — to take a long weekend on Martha’s Vineyard with my mom (DeeDee, to Hank).
We took one of the Steamship Authority‘s freighter ships, the Sankaty, to the island. The freighters don’t have all the amenities of the regular ferries (no snack bar, tiny weather deck with very little seating), but they do have one great advantage, at least from Hank’s perspective: portholes right at toddler-eye-level. He spent much of the 45 minute crossing saying, “Do you see the ocean, Mumma? I DO see the ocean.”
Much of the weekend was rainy, but we caught a break between showers to go to State Beach, which is nice for kids because there’s never much surf.
Hank had a good swim with Mumma (and he wasn’t afraid of the water at all, as usual), but his favorite part was digging in the sand. It is amazing to watch toddlers develop skills at this age: this first day, he struggled to get any sand onto the shovel, but by Monday (our third beach visit), he was a pro and could fill his bucket in a matter of minutes.
Monday was the best beach day. Here we are at the private Black Point Beach, in Chilmark. (DeeDee’s friend Margie leant us her key.) The surf is a lot more active on the south side of the island, so Hank was too nervous to do more than put his toes in the water, but he loved trying on other people’s sunglasses (these are DeeDee’s), digging in the sand, and watching seagulls steal other beach-goer’s snacks. (One particularly ballsy bird stole a whole, unopened bag of potato chips from the group next to us. It was funny watching them run down the beach trying to get it back. They didn’t manage to.)
And now we are home again, even though I am on vacation all this week, because Penelope needed to get back to get her classroom ready and get some scheduling and planning done for the new school year, which starts (gasp!) next week.
Too hot for jimjams tonight. Hank is ready for bed, but first decided to take a spin around the living room in Mumma’s shoes. Every few steps, he’d fall out, but he’d painstakingly line the shoes up and mount again.
Before becoming a parent, I naïvely thought babies could stay in cribs almost indefinitely. I mean, cribs are not that small: I could curl up on my side, bend my knees a bit, and fit just fine in Hank’s crib (if I were not worried about breaking it due to my weight, which is, um, slightly more than that of a toddler). I don’t recall there being rules about outgrowing the crib when my siblings and I were growing up, but then again, I don’t think we had carseats, either.
I thought the crib would last until Hank was 2 or 3, or at least until baby #2 came along and needed the space, but no. It turns out that Hank is both big for his age, and a climber, and we were afraid he’d fall out and get hurt. (The way Penelope did, diving out of that very same crib some 35 years ago, and wound up impacting her jaw.) Last weekend, I solicited advice from Facebook friends about what we should do, and learned that several of Hank’s cousins started escaping the crib as early as 7 months, so clearly, we’ve had it easy making it almost to 21 months without mishap.
The best of the Facebook recommendations was to put a mattress in a camping tent in Hank’s room, which is optimal because a) we already own all the equipment and don’t have to buy a toddler bed, b) Hank thinks the tent is fun, like his own little fort, and c) it will keep him contained when we are asleep.
Below are some pictures I took of the new big boy bed.
Among my bad habits is my practice of eating junk in the car during my afternoon commute home. I think this routine is so hard to break because it’s one of the last vestiges of my life as a smoker. (Yes, Mom, if you’re reading this, I used to smoke cigarettes — off and on for about twelve years in college, law school, and beyond. Moving on.) When I quit five years ago, like many smokers, I substituted food for cigarettes, and rather than chain-smoking during my commute, I snacked. When I am trying to slim down, the afternoon car-munchies are the hardest craving to resist, because it’s not a rational hunger based in the need for calories or nutrients, but a psychological compulsion.
All of this by way of explanation that sometimes, more often than I ought, I eat potato chips or pretzels in the car. So it is not surprising that Hank has started to pipe up from his car seat, “chip! chip!,” like a baby bird chirping for food from its mother. (He does this even when I’m not snacking, which makes it that much harder to resist the urge to pull into the nearest quick stop and stock up on junk.)
A few days ago, Hank called, “Chip!” and I told him I didn’t have any. His next
request demand came out of the blue. “Jellybean! Need it!”
I don’t know where he got that. I’ll own his addiction to potato chips, but I have never fed him jellybeans. I asked his Grammy, who watches him during the day, and she swore she’d never given him candy. (Well, except M&Ms, occasionally, but chocolate doesn’t count.) I tried to think if jellybeans feature in any of his story books, but I don’t think so.
This is not the first time Hank has expressed an uncomfortable familiarity with adult vices. Penelope and I rarely drink, but several months ago my mother came to visit and brought a bottle of wine. We served it with dinner, and he pointed to the glasses and said, clearly, “wine,” though we don’t think he’d ever seen it before and we didn’t remember saying the word out loud for him to mimic. Also, he calls out “Coffee!” every time we pull into the convenience store/gas station that also houses our local Dunkin’ Donuts, even if we’re just there to get gas.
He is such a little sponge. I shudder to think what he’ll soak up next.