1.5 years

It’s been over a week now that Albie turned 18 months old. Both impossible to believe, and obvious because he’s got the personality, opinions, temper, and persistence of an 18 month old.

Albie in 18 points:

1) Talks constantly and well. He’s at 8-12 word sentences regularly now, which is great for him communicating things like “Albert doesn’t want [insert offensive person/food/object]! Go away!” Flip side is that he regularly tells me that he loves me.

2) Running everywhere! It always amazes me that these little creatures go from immobile to full on running so rapidly. He started walking at 13 months. He now runs anywhere he can, particularly away from diapers.

3) Singing, though mostly telling me what to sing, and it’s usually either Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Old MacDonald, ABC’s, or Jingle Bells.

4) Albert has an amazing sense of humor. He says things that are silly, then looks at me for a laugh. He runs away shrieking “Little Stinker!” He is funny and he knows it.

5) He remains big. At his 18 month well check he was 26 lbs, 32.5 inches tall, and with a head circumference in the 98th percentile that had the tech check 3 times.

6) Walks outside are sanity saving with COVID so limiting his interactions with other kids. At least he has his sisters around half the time – they’re so rambunctious that sometimes I think he’s relieved for a little space when it comes though.

7) Love for Darwin and Linnea abounds. He lights up when he sees them, gives all the hugs, and is generally happiest when following them around.

8) Still nursing regularly. I’ll encourage it until well after my COVID vaccine. Not that this milk monster needs encouragement.

9) Eating all the food still. He loves variety and eats a lot, most of the time. Some days he doesn’t fill up on solids and ends up nursing all night long. 😴

10) Another reader in the works. Albie loves books just like his sisters. Books about owls, birds generally, trucks, and anything silly (Goodnight Moon, for example) are preferred. We’re at the stage of reading single books over and over and over again.

11) Dancing. The girls are very in to dancing around the room, and Albie is right there with them!

12) Ice cream. He knows it, he loves it. He would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it were up to him.

13) Clingy. Albert never went through a strong clingy phase at the 9ish month mark. But now there’s a regular whine for mama that takes on a particular tone when he is tired, or overwhelmed, or just wants a snuggle.

14) Naps suck. I’m very glad my parents are supporting his afternoon naps because he’s much more pleasant, and goes down for me about 1 in 10 attempts.

15) Coloring with pens! Crayons are ok, but getting to use one of mamas pens is definitely the best option.

16) Saying goodnight. At the end of a long day, I’ll ask if he’s ready for bed. Often he’ll say no, wanting to finish up some game, or just get used to the idea of bedtime. A few minutes later he’ll be ready and is very clear that he must say goodnight to Grandma and Opa with a cute, enthusiastic little wave. He’s by far the easiest of three the to take to bed at this age. I directly link that to the fact that I rarely work at night so we often go to bed at the same time and snuggle.

17) Bubbles from a bubble machine are probably his favorite activity.

18) Must smell all the flowers. He definitely got my sense of smell!

Things I long to remember

Albie at 15 months is an utter delight. He is a highly verbal toddler, running nearly everywhere he goes, with a wicked sense of humor and a great appetite. Here are a few of my current favourite parts of his sweet and funny personality.

Recently he began to repeat silly sounds as I put him to bed, then laughing uproariously when I repeat them back. Tonight this went on continuously for about 5 minutes. “Cah-clunk, Mama!” Then laughing so deeply he breaks to catch his breath.

Peekaboo anywhere and everywhere. People covering their faces in illustrations in books are always playing peak now.

“Again” to anything and everything.

The serious love he has for the neighbor’s Christmas decorations. Particularly “Big Dog” and a creepy cutout of the Grinch, called simply “Grinch”. Big Dog has been taken down much to his dismay.

Preferring, always, to sleep on top of another human.

Holding, rocking, and patting his baby doll.

Rubbing noses with me. Always saying again. Being oh so gentle.

Saying “down please” at the table tonight when he was done with dinner.

Saying “good job Albert!” Every time he completes a task, including closing the dishwasher while I’m loading it.

Knowing that putting shoes on means going outside.

Hugs.

Reading all the books, including the adult’s books. Currently he seems to be about half way through Caste.

Insisting he wants a shower, then insisting he’s done after 30 seconds.

The way his head smells.

The way he claims any chair he wants, but now knows which chair is grandma’s.

Albert the 14 month old

Oh this child! I had forgotten what an absolute delight toddlers are. Albert turned 14 months two weeks ago now and is proficiently a toddling toddler. A few things about 14 months that are just too much with this kid.

First, the dancing. Albert grooves with his whole body. He hears music and just starts bopping along. Any music. The news hour theme song, election 2021 music, musicals, symphonies. The kid just loves music.

Next is owls (birds, generally, but owls are a current favorite after moving from ducks to crows). Albert loves owls. He watches a you tube video of owl pictures and their associated calls daily. He tries to imitate them. He asks for the barred owl, names the hawk owl, and calls the western screech owl a “cat”. Owl toys are also enjoyable. Linnea has a small stuffed owl (the girls have about a dozen owl stuffies), which Albert specifically calls “Llllnea’s owl”, it’s very sweet.

Albert is obsessed with all things construction machine, delighting in the diggers, dozers, and cement mixer trucks that are working hard to build new houses in our neighborhood. He also loves wearing masks. For about two minutes at a time!

Most recently he’s started saying enthusiastic “YEAAH”s when he agrees and wants something, and repeating his name over and over again in a quiet, delicate little voice. It’s very sweet!

Darwin is six!

Darwin turned six a month ago, amidst a fire storm here in the PNW that meant we were not only isolated by a worldwide pandemic, but also socked in by the worst air quality in the world. Instead of a fun party at the beach, we stayed home and partied in the living room. Darwin was a rockstar with the disappointment though, signaling how much she has grown in the last year. Also probably helped by the gifts and cheesecake!

Darwin at six is resilient, playful, easily overwhelmed, growing like a weed, a helpful and happy big sister (and a playmate to Linnea). She loves to play outside, and would chase frogs all day long if it were up to her. She’s reading, doing math, playing imaginary games, and coloring. I still regularly wake to find her crawling into my bed for nighttime snuggles, and my hugs still seem to be able to fix many problems, but no longer most. She’s growing up so fast.

The last first year

Albie Swift is one year old. In fact, he has been one year old for over a month. The lateness of this post is indicative of both the business of my life and the emotional nature of the end of the first year. But here I am to share, finally, Albie at one year.

The first noticeable thing about Albie is his generally happy, laid back disposition. He’s delighted to play on his own in the playroom or living room. He has started a few dramatic flop and cries in response to being refused things, but generally recovers quickly.

He loves to chatter away and points at and names everything he knows. His words are too many to count, but some favorites are crow, car, blueberries, cracker, apple, duck, and walk. And of course, mama.

He is big – over 24 lbs at his 12 month check, and loves to eat nearly everything he is offered. Although he now insists regularly on feeding himself, and after meals my parents and I spend significant time cleaning his extras off the floor.

His favorite thing in the world is any vehicle. Cars, trucks, diggers. The bigger the better. Our new neighborhood is still young, with maybe a third of the homes completed, so Albie lives for walks past the construction. His favorite shirt has a car on it and his favorite dress is also cars.

Albie’s favorite clothes (not the hat)

It’s safe to say, life before Albie is literally unimaginable for me now. I’m completely and utterly smitten with this little firefly. I think it’s safe to say his sisters are as well!

Three musketeers
My last strawberry baby

11 months

Today Albie is 11 months old. He crawls everywhere, pulls up on everything, eats almost every food he is offered, says “done” and has made up good own hand sign for done as well. He adores his family, particularly his sisters (although I see I need to be more intentional about taking photos of him with Linnea!). In the early morning when we go downstairs he looks for his Opa immediately, often helping him make coffee (“caa”), which Albie is certain he would like to drink. His grandma takes him to look at the birds and sings songs while I’m working.

Darwin being a delightful big sister, Albie loves the rocking horse.
Albie and Opa. Albie wearing his favorite shirt, reading the train book.

There are now gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs, as a couple of weeks ago he made it to the third step in record time. I got a Nugget couch that finally arrived at thre end of July and he hauls himself into it reliably, and tumbles off spectacularly much to his delight. He is also a DELIGHTFUL HAM.

He has been using the potty reliably enough that I haven’t changed a poopy diaper in a week, and have gone from washing diapers every day to washing them every 3rd day (it is glorious). He also signs done when he’s ready to get off, and will confirm he is all done (or not) when I ask.

I think he’s up to 25 lbs now, which is impressive given how much he moves. He eats and still nurses regularly to keep up with his caloric needs. At 8 teeth and drooling like wild I have to be careful not to get bit. I keep hoping he’ll have a couple more poking through soon and sleep will improve again. We’ve reverted to nursing to sleep this week, which is awful and amusing all at once, since he rarely nursed to sleep as a young infant!

Favorite things include trucks, crows, ducks, books, dancing, baths (water), playing chase, and balls he can throw. Dislikes include going to sleep, laying down on the changing table, being in his bed, and being put down when he wants to snuggle.

Happy, drooling baby Albie.

Nap teaching

I hate sleep, seriously. Albie is generally the best of my sleepers, but it’s still often a struggle. Today it took 40 minutes, a head but to the nose, and 5 minutes of crying in his pack n play while I took a breather to help him get to the point of sleep. If I were a full time parent and not also working full time, this would be slightly more manageable, but the stay at home, no sleep, need to keep a schedule, no reasonable childcare options where he could wear himself out Corovavirus world we’re living in is wearing me down. Not to mention dealing with the remnants of my old life. Y’all. I’m tired.

Ten months

It’s been a busy couple months, and I’ve missed updating as a result. Working full time, taking care of kids, the continual march of unpacking and sorting out 16 years worth of back junk, processing a year’s worth of individual trauma and months of collective corona-trauma has made many of my parenting days feel like treading water. And through all of this Albie is thriving.

What does ten months look like for this cool baby? Crawling, pulling up, climbing on anything low enough. Eating all the food, pounding and clapping at the table to get what he wants. Pointing, shear joy that he can communicate his desires and have them fulfilled.

Albie had his 9 month checkup and passed with flying colors. Only one shot and barely put off by the masks. He even went to the pediatrician happily (she never asks to hold the babies, and clearly she needed a baby fix. Good job Albie!)

Sleep has been up and down. For a long time Albie napped on stroller walks, until I asked my parents to bring him home after he fell asleep so he could sleep in the bedroom. But now the stroller has stopped being a surefire nap, so I have the delightful task of doing some nap training. Meaning I lay with him until he falls asleep, typically after 5-20 minutes of thrashing protestations (his, not mine). Night time sleep is still ok. It’s actually hard only because the big kids also wake me up. When they’re not here I can usually get a couple of nights with more than 5 or 6 hours, which is the only silver lining to their absence.

Back to happier things! Albie is truck and bird obsessed. When asked what a crow says, he answers “caw!” and looks around expectantly. Ground has broken at other home sites, and he is very excited by the trucks and cranes.

And I’ll leave you all with the best beach days all year. Side note, some kids actually do like to eat sand. 🤷‍♀️

4 years of the honeybee

Four years ago, this wild, dancing, singing, child was born into my hands. Today, Linnea turns four.

I think she had a good day (per her it was “the best day ever; birthdays are always the best days ever”), involving mostly playing, presents (oh my goodness so many presents), and delicious chocolate cake.

This year brought so many challenges and changes – a new home, changing family structures, a new sibling, a global pandemic, and more – and Linnea rose to meet them. Not always happily, but with love in her heart and adventure in her (dancing) step.

Happy birthday little Bee, your make the world shine brighter. I’m so glad to be your mama.