Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meanwhile, in the real world...

Some of you know what happened last week out here in blogland. I guess, from what I can gather from posts and comments, that what went down was pretty intense and feelings were hurt and toes were stepped on and noses are out of joint all over the place. If you don't know what in the world I'm talking about, well, it really doesn't matter. If you do know what I'm talking about, well, I'm going to make a lot of friends here and say it really doesn't matter.
Because this is what happened in the real world last week while a whole bunch of folks were sitting here licking their virtual wounds.
On Wednesday folks in N.C. woke to the news that in the wee hours of the morning, a father and his two daughters died in a house fire. He was desperately trying to save them. Their mother, his wife, is the only survivor. He'd just returned home a few months ago from a deployment to Afghanistan. He came home a hero and he died a hero. Please pray for his wife, Louise Cantrell.
Later in the week, just a few miles down the road from our house, a three-year-old ran out the front door of her grandmother's home and into the street, where she was hit and killed. Her grandmother was behind her, but just couldn't move fast enough.
Then, on Sunday, more tragic news. A US soldier apparently murdered Afghan civilians as they slept in their homes. I waited for Greg to contact me at the usual time and when hours went by with no word from him. I began to seriously worry. Finally, I got an email from Greg. He was fine. Later, I was able to talk with him and he described how the Humvee he was riding in had broken down and he'd had to walk a half mile or more to get to the nearest base for help. His colonel provided cover as he walked while cars and trucks driven by Afghan civilians backed up behind their broken down Humvee and cars coming from the other direction whizzed by. Of all days for something like that to happen, it had to be that day -- 9 hours after the apparent murders of civilians.
Needless to say, it was an emotional week for me. But it had nothing to do with blog rolls. Sometimes, it helps to put things into perspective.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vingettes at 13 months

I've been trying to write this post for weeks. It was supposed to be a compilation of small moments with Andrew at 13 months old. Now, he's only a couple of days away from being 14 months old! So, I'm behind, but I still want to honor these moments and remember them. So I'll add a few of the more recent special moments and hopefully, I can get a few more posts in before he is 15 months.
This picture was taken on my 35th birthday. Andrew is very interested in trains right now, "choo choo!"
I woke up a few days ago to the sound of Andrew playing in his crib. I stretched and looked at the clock, we made it past 7, which is pretty much the norm now. I went to the bathroom and listened to Andrew say "hey!" over and over. Instead of bouncing into his room like I normally do, I slowly pushed his door open and peeped inside. There he sat, his back toward me clapping his hands and happily jabbering to his plush lamb. The lamb, who we affectionately call Jingles, because, well it jingles, was a gift from Greg's mother. For months it sat unnoticed on a shelf and then one day, Andrew discovered this new friend and now he sleeps with Jingles every night along with a lion named Leo and a dog we call Pup. Poor Bear Bear is still in there, but he is sorely neglected. I watched as Andrew interacted with Jingles, perfectly content to play in his crib. My heart melted when I saw Andrew blowing kisses to his little lamb. Then, he grabbed the lamb in his arms and hugged him and laid down and said "Tista," in a very whiny little voice.
That is what Andrew calls me now. Not mama or mommy or any other form of the word meaning mother. It's "Tista" or "Tata" if he's being lazy. It's loud and clear. A few days ago when I was trying to get him to call me "mommy" I put my hand on my chest and said "Say mommy. My name is Mommy. I'm Mommy. I'm Mom-my." And he reached his pudgy hand up and put it on my chest and said "Dat Tista."
So I sort of give up. I still remind him to call me "mama." I still refer to myself as mama. But last night, after sitting in my lap to drink his milk before bed, he slid down to the floor and sat between my legs. He laid his little head on my leg and said "Tista, I lalalala you." That's "I love you" in Andrew speak.
So how can I complain? 
Every morning now, Andrew expects us to sit in the big blue recliner snuggling together while he drinks his milk and we watch PBS. When he's ready, he gets down and starts to play and I get dressed and we start our day. Those moments cuddled up together are so precious to me.
Many times, when I go into Andrew's room to get him out of his crib, he greets me with a big "hey!" and then holds up each of his little plushies for me to hug. He even makes the "mmmm, mmmm," sound that I make when I hug him.
The words just tumble out now. "This" is still his favorite word. He uses it for everything. He points to a cup and says "this" when he wants drink, food, toys, to go outside, to come inside, to ride in the wagon, to swing in the swing. He loves the word "this!"
But he has other words -- plenty of them. He can name all the dogs in his life but he still hasn't called most of the people he knows by name. His newest four legged friend is Otis, a tiny long-haired dachschund, who is the newest member of our extended family. He either loves or hates Otis depending on the day, but he never fails to yell "O-issss" a hundred times when Otis is within earshot.
His newest obsession is going on rides with my dad in his little Ford pickup truck. Daddy will take Andrew out, sit him in his lap and circle the house or drive over to my sister's or my grandma's (not on real roads --- we're out in the country, y'all!). Andrew will stand at the door at my parents' house and point his little finger toward the truck and say "Papa, this!"
Since I started writing this post, Andrew and I made a trip up to North Dakota to see my dearest friend, Anna, and her boys (I hope to write a post about our visit soon). Since then, Andrew has decided that my name is "Mama" afterall. I'm not sure what changed his mind. He also has been stuck to me like glue. He must finally be in the "separation anxiety" phase. I don't mind it much, except when I am trying to do something and he is standing in front of me crying and clinging to my pants leg.
He still enjoys seeing his Daddy on the computer. They play peek-a-boo and blow rasberries and click their tongues. His vocabulary and ability to understand and respond to questions continues to grow everyday. For example, today my mom asked him what he had been doing before we went over to her house for lunch and he said "talk Daddy." Indeed, we had been talking to Greg on Skype.
Also today, we were coloring and I said "let's write your name. What letter does Andrew start with?" And he said "A." You could have knocked me over with a feather.
So, there you have it. Andrew at 13 -- almost 14 -- months! And, he still isn't walking. He takes lots of steps from one piece of furniture to another, but inevitably, he drops down and crawls to his final destination. I am optistic that he will become more confident in the coming weeks and officially become a walker.