The best milestone

I don’t have a ton of time this morning – between work and CPE and a birthday party to plan – but I just have to tell you guys something. The dumpling just hit the best milestone.


The dumpling is battling some low-level crud this week. This makes his mornings particularly cough-y and that’s how we woke up this morning, to the sounds of coughing. I went to get him, bringing a cup of water for him, and was greeted by an especially NO filled toddler. Everything I did was no. Hand him water – NO! Take the water back out – NO! Turn off the sound machine – NO! Try to help him out of his zippy since he already had a hand shoved out from the neck – NO! Zip the zippy back up – NO NO NO NO NO! I could go on, but you probably get the idea.

So it seemed a small miracle when I managed to get him out of the crib and into the living room a few minutes later. He requested to watch Drake, so I got the TV turned on and perched lightly on the couch beside him. I still needed to get up and get him his milk, but he started angling down towards my lap. It seemed as though he wanted to put his head in my lap, so I scooted back and allowed him to snuggle down into my lap. He’d never done that before – lay down on me like that – so I just enjoyed stroking his head and his feet. He adorably started kissing my arm, the one that was wrapped around his front. Then:

“Mama!”

“Yes baby?”

“I love you.”

[!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

(To clarify the milestone part, this is his first unprompted “I love you.”)

Fittingly, Facebook had a flashback photo for me this morning. It was from November 1st, 2016, just days after the dumpling was born. And it’s a crazy thought, that the tiny, squishy, old-man of a baby in that photo is now able to tell me he loves me.

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Corn dogs and cotton candy

We took the dumpling to the state fair this weekend!

After our last encounter with the fair, I’m honestly proud that Luffy and I even made it back. (Complete aside – one thing about having a small child is that we get out of the house A LOT more than we used to. Pre-child, Luffy and I could spend an entire weekend in our living room. Now we have usually get out at least once a day, if not more. It’s an interesting change.)

So yeah, we took the dumpling to the fair. We asked Luffy’s parents if they would like to come along. They, of course, can’t get enough of the dumpling so they happily tagged along. We decided to go early, before the fair even officially opened. (It’s much like a mall in that the fair grounds opened at like 8am, many of the stalls opened at 10am, the rides at noon, etc.) After scoring a great parking spot, we stumbled into the bovine livestock exhibit. The dumpling was delighted to see so many cows in real life. Then they moo-ed and he was a little taken aback by the sound (my own moo-sounds will probably forever disappoint him now). We stuck around for a while before wandering off to explore the fair grounds.

When we arrived, none of the rides were operating, but many of them were being tested and cleaned up before the day officially started. The dumpling loved looking at all the lights and dragging me from place to place. We meandered through the children’s ride section and then shared a funnel cake that Luffy procured from some stall willing to sell him something before they officially opened. (That was sort of the oddest part – most of the stalls weren’t “open,” but the workers were already there so sometimes they’d go ahead and sell you things and other times they’d just say they were closed. *insert shrugging emoji*) We wandered around some more before Big Tex officially opened the fair grounds.

Once the fair officially opened, the grounds quickly became crowded. The dumpling was walking around and I’m honestly pretty proud that he didn’t seem to get nervous with the crowds. He’d occasionally want UP, but for the most part, he just stared up at all the different people. Luffy’s mom got a corn dog for herself and then made the mistake of offering it to the dumpling to take a bite. I’m not sure if she was really giving it to him or just giving him a bite, but the dumpling definitely took it for himself. He carried that thing around for a good 45 minutes, gnawing on it here and there. We visited the car show and he (adorably) sat on the side step of a King Ranch truck for a while, daintily eating his corn dog. At one point, he and I made a game of circling a rectangular pillar, shouting “boo!” at each other on the other side. Later on, Luffy got me some cotton candy and I shared it with my little dude. He seemed to enjoy it.

When we started talking about leaving though, Luffy’s dad became transfixed with the idea of the dumpling going on a ride. (Or at least, that’s what I surmised, since, you know, there’s a language barrier there.) At first, I thought he wanted to take the dumpling on his first ride and I was ready to throw down over that one because hell-to-the-no I’M going to take him on his first ride. But then, I figured out that’s what his dad wanted in the first place. Oh. Ok. Right then. Simmer down Belle.

I cleaned the cotton candy off my fingertips as Luffy counted out the coupons. (Such a racket! They charged us for both the dumpling and me!) Once we had everything sorted out, I helped the dumpling up the ramp to the little car for the worm ride (or whatever it was). The dumpling seemed super excited….. right up until I put him in the car.

No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOO. 

Oh. Ok. Right then.

I meekly pulled him out and told the ride operator that, actually, nevermind. I was ready to scrap the whole ride idea then and there, but one more ride caught our attention on our way out. It was a little whale ride, with water and bubbles. We figured, might as well try one more – we’ve already got the tickets counted out. So I took the dumpling up the ramp and cleared our first hurdle when I was able to actually put him into the little car whale without protest. We sat there for a minute, before the ride started, as I futilely tried to explain to the dumpling what was about to happen and he slowly started to freak out about the fact that we weren’t doing anything. And then! The ride started. We just went around in a circle, the little whales doing a little (jerky) up and down motion. I mostly worried about him smacking his head on the handle bar since I couldn’t convince him to brace himself on it, but he seemed to have a great time! Such a great time, in fact, that we had to immediately do it again! Wheeeeeeeeee!

We made our way to the exit after that and headed home. All in all, I think we had a great first fair experience!

A quick memory

Guys! I am gushing with happiness over here and I just have to tell you and you and everyone:

My sweet dumpling gave me a kiss at bedtime rather than accepting my kiss.

The last piece of our normal routine includes Luffy and I singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the dumpling as we head back to his room (after saying goodnight to the house). When we reach his room, still singing, Luffy and I give him his stuffed animals. Then I give the dumpling a kiss, then Luffy gives him a kiss. Then the dumpling goes down in his crib and night night! Lately, the dumpling knows his kisses are coming, so he leans towards each of us in anticipation. But tonight! Tonight, the dumpling refused to take his stuffed animal from me and instead leaned forward with a little (somewhat) puckered mouth to give me a kiss. How sweet is that?! He then gave Luffy a kiss, took his stuffed animals and leaned forward to be put in his crib.

This period is so amazing. He’s picking up so many new things each day. He’s learned how to say bless you! after someone sneezes and even said it by himself the other day after I sneezed in the kitchen. (He also adorably said it for himself today after he sneezed.) He loves feeding Jas and can even almost say her name now (he still calls her meow meow right now). Luffy and I can no longer hide things and hope he forgets about it, like the nail clippers he loves to play with, because he doesn’t forget about it anymore.

He’s getting so big, so fast, and it’s amazing to watch.

A quick update from a week later: The dumpling amazed me yet again over the weekend. I was sitting on the floor with him and wanted my phone (that was on the couch), but knew that if I got up he’d immediately start protesting. It finally dawned on me to ask him to get it for me. Luffy’s phone was right next to mine and they’re extremely similar (not that that’s hard in this day and age). But guys!! He picked up Luffy’s phone and turned it over, then handed it to Luffy. He then picked up my phone, turned it over, then gave it to me. And it hit me, he was looking at the cases. Luffy’s is completely black while mine is black with a rose gold panel. And the dumpling knows it. (!!!!!)

Memorial Day 2018

Whew! We made it! We took our first road trip with the dumpling and we all survived. We had to break a few rules and we did deal with one round of puke, but yay! WE DID IT!

In all seriousness though, I am very grateful Luffy agreed to make the trip down to hill country Texas for my mini family reunion. In the end, my grandparents really only got to say hi to the dumpling, but it made their day. They hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him. Plus I got to catch up with my cousins and their children, so that was a lot of fun. We compared notes Sunday morning on how our respective children handled the night in the hotel room and our parents marveled over how it felt for their kids to have kids now. Weren’t we just in diapers and swim floaties like last summer?

We were there for less than 24 hours, but it was so wonderful to see everyone. We introduced the dumpling to the swimming pool and taught him how to kick his little legs (from his perch on the pool steps) and splash people (mainly my brother [his target] and my mom [an innocent bystander since he didn’t quite understand how to aim his splashing]). We also found a nearby neighborhood playground that he got to romp through. He also took full advantage of the VAY-CAY-TION!!! rules around food and had snacks on snacks on snacks.

To round out our holiday weekend, we spent yesterday afternoon in the backyard with his kiddy pool and bubbles. I managed to distract him enough to get him to wear a pair of sandals for the occasion (have I told you guys that I bought a couple of new pairs of shoes for him at Target that he has flat out refused to wear? because if anyone has ideas on how to convince a toddler that new shoes are not the devil, I’m all ears) and I laughed over his enormous swim trunks. He definitely had a little booty showing at the end, that poor, skinny dumpling.

I’m looking into water activity tables now because I discovered a great solution for all of those little ow-si??? inquiries when it’s 1,000 degrees outside and I don’t want to take his wagon for a walk around the block. A shady backyard and water activities are where it’s at!

Speaking of ow-si? I have to say that my favorite story from the road trip itself is sitting in the back with the dumpling and having to field the ow-si?? question as he’s forlornly pointing out the car window. No, my sweet baby, we can’t go outside. We’re driving. Ow-si?? I know it’s right there, but we’re driving, we can’t go outside. Ow-si?? We can’t go outside; I know you’re bored. All dun. I know you’re all done baby, but we’re not there yet. All dun. We’re still driving my sweet boy. All dun. If it makes you feel any better, mama and dada are all dun too.

Weekend Joy

I was going to write this up yesterday (Monday), but then it took me over an hour to get to work due to multiple accidents. And then my sauerkraut leaked all over my car. And then I got the dreaded call from daycare to come pick up my diseased* child. And then I had to rearrange my day to care for a cranky-ish, infectious dude. And then I got screamed at for a half hour because I had the audacity to think a car ride** might help an interrupted nap. And then, once Luffy got him back to sleep peacefully, I had the audacity to wake the dumpling up from a perfectly WONDERFUL nap to buckle him into the car. Again. Like deja vu woman! And then we went to the pediatrician’s office where he was MOST displeased with me for not letting him out of the examination room when he so politely requested. And then I spent another hour in traffic trying to make it to my exercise class on time. So yeah, it was that kind of Monday.***

*He’s fine. Little bacterial infection in his eye which cleared up almost completely as soon as we used the drops. So Tuesday-edition dumpling is only like 2% diseased.

**I know dumpling. Mama’s sorry; I don’t know what I was thinking.

***But Luffy was the real MVP as he convinced the dumpling to sleep not once, but three times AND he took solo parental duties as I flitted off to teach class.


We had a glorious weekend, thank you for asking. And since I was kicking myself earlier over not writing down the happier times, I’m doing it now.

Saturday morning, Luffy took the dumpling to the playground for the first time as a mobile child and he liked it so much, we took him back two more times. We spent a collective four hours at the playground this weekend. It’s a great one, close to our house, that has separate areas for smaller kids and big kids. The dumpling mastered the climbing wall (not a traditional climbing wall, mind you, basically is was a staircase with unevenly placed and irregular steps) and we introduced him to slides. Saturday morning, he was unsure. Saturday afternoon, he had fun with help (mama getting him into position at the top and dada guiding him down). By Sunday morning, he was getting himself started at the top and only needed our help getting all the way down. (He kept getting stuck on his shoes, then he’d attempt to push up to stand.)

Besides the climbing wall and slides, he loves the steps (he got wonderful practice at holding on to the rail for support) and he had great fun wandering all over the park. We’d give him his sippy cup and off he’d go, to meander through the fields and parking lot, with his little entourage of adults following behind. And what an entourage it was! My mom came in for a quick visit and Luffy’s parents would meet us there, so we’d have five adults following the whims of a toddler. Great fun for him!

Besides the playground, he just played really, really well by himself. He was the sweetest little boy, giving hugs and unloading cabinets. He’d busy himself with the recycling bin, then wander into the living room for a quick snuggle and off he’d go again to upend the next drawer. My mom and I took him to Target and then to See’s Candies, where he stole 3/4 of a chocolate caramel from me and proceeded to amaze me by eating the entire thing. He then gestured broadly at the chocolate display case and I had to break his little heart that those weren’t ours for eating.

Anyway, nothing extraordinary except the quiet happiness of a wonderful weekend. Hope yours was enjoyable too!

Shoes!

Shoes! Shoes people! I took the dumpling to Stride Rite this weekend to get him his very first pair of shoes. I mean, people gave us plenty of baby shoes. Crib shoes? I think that’s what they’re called. We had little moccasins and brand-name Uggs (who knew they even made baby shoes). We had little faux sneakers and cozy slippers. But I’ve never been one to accessorize and that’s exactly what all of those little baby shoes were – accessories. He didn’t need them to walk. He didn’t need them to keep his feet warm. I certainly didn’t want to have to deal with putting them on his feet and then checking every thirty seconds to make sure they were still on his feet. Pfft. The dumpling rocked socks or bare-feet for the first year of his life.

But. He’s walking now. Not completely unassisted, but well enough. Plus, we’ve reached the point that he knows he can walk, so you’ll be carrying him and he’ll stage dive out of your arms trying to get to the ground. Whelp, guess he’s gonna need some shoes.

We happen to have a Stride Rite store close to us and I took him there for a proper fitting. The salespeople were surprised by his shoe size. He was measuring 4.5, thus we were fitted for 5’s. I guess this is large for a fresh walker? To be fair, their beginner walker series only goes up to size 6, so maybe it is. Anyway – he did great there. They gave him a push toy to try out with his new shoes and he was exceedingly happy. We picked up a couple of pairs and then went to See’s Candy (wut? I’m totally picking up chocolate for my family who are coming into town…. just don’t mention anything if it’s all gone before they arrive) where he thought it was the BEST thing ever to get to walk around in public.

The next day, we did more walking at Target and the grocery store. We even let him out of the wagon along our regular walk and his unbridled enthusiasm was absolutely precious. He realized, after we let him take the lead, that he could stop everyone’s progress by squatting down to examine the sidewalk. Then he wanted to touch the mud. Then he took off at almost a run (remember, I’m holding his hand through this) and just laughed and laughed. Mama and dada also learned the lesson that perhaps we should wait until the end of the walk to let him out of the wagon since those tiny baby legs need like forty steps to Luffy’s one.

First Birthday Party

We had the dumpling’s first birthday party this weekend!

It was such a whirlwind weekend that it’s honestly hard to re-cap. I spent a lot of time cleaning our house (nothing like a house full of guests as motivation to get the house spic and span!). I baked the cake layers on Saturday. These turned out beautifully (I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for confetti cake!) and went into the freezer to be frosted the next day.

Sunday morning passed in a haze of oh we have plenty of time to prep to OMG THE PARTY STARTS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES AND WE STILL DON’T HAVE A FULLY FROSTED CAKE!!! So that was fun and stressful. But the party itself was fantastic! We had friends and family there, including two kids just a few months older than the dumpling. It was very entertaining to watch them play.

My absolute favorite part was the cake cutting. We set the cake on our kitchen island and gathered everyone around. We sang happy birthday to a confused dumpling and then I blew his candle out (while he dipped his hand into the frosting). [For a visual picture, I had him on my hip and we were now facing his cake, away from our guests.] He got excited by something, the cake or the singing perhaps, and started clapping. Our guests, delighted by his enthusiasm, gave him an awe and a cheer. He immediately whipped around to look at them with a bewildered look on his face.  Who knew he had a cheering section! So they stop cheering and the dumpling turns back to his cake and begins clapping again. Another cheer goes up from our guests and the dumpling repeats his whip around stare. I swear to you that this happened at least three or four times and was no less hilarious the last time.

He did partake in a couple of bites of cake. I squished it for him (I had frozen the cake layers for easier frosting application but I misjudged how much time it would need to thaw…. it was still a bit firm) but he gamely tried a bite or two.

Another delightful part was when we had all the babies help us open his presents. Especially since the other two were older and were already hip to the present thing, they were more than happy to oblige. (My cousin’s daughter actually started opening a present while everyone was eating!) There was just a pile of wrapping tissue and paper and toys and babies in my living room!

Then, quite suddenly, our house was quiet again. Our friends left to make naptime and my parents left to return home and Luffy’s parents left and my brother left. I’ll admit that I got hit with a bit of melancholy. We’d had such a good time. I was sad to see it end, but that’s probably what marks a good celebration!

Happy birthday dumpling! It’s official now since there was cake!