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!

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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. (!!!!!)

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!

And he’s off!

The dumpling officially figured out the whole crawling business this week. Now, to be fair, he’s by no means an expert crawler or anything. I’d say he’s in need of a few power ups and +1 skills, but he’ll get there.

Tuesday, in the midst of all of this, I happened to be videoing exactly when he made that first knee-shift forward. He’s been getting up onto all fours for the past few weeks (basically since the day AFTER our pediatrician’s appointment where I had to report that he wasn’t getting up on all fours yet, because of course). Astonishingly, he pretty much immediately figured out how to go from sitting to all fours to belly and then added an expert level roll to the whole thing. (You know, I always thought these sort of motor skills would happen slowly. Like, they’d have days and days where you can see them start to make the attempts and go through the motions and then finally put it all together, when really, it’s like – BAM – I can now execute a swan dive off the couch, with Olympic level form, but you should totes catch me because away! I! goooooo!) And that’s where he stayed for a while. He’d get a foot stuck underneath him and the attempt would fizzle out. Or he’d have something worth getting that was juuuuuust out of his reach and he’d lay down and cry rather than make the move.

But then! Something just clicked! And he shuffled a knee forward. The next day, he shuffled two forward. Voila! And just like that, he’s off! And mom’s off to baby proof the house!

Speaking of baby proofing, I’ve been going over my game plan for a while. I don’t think there’s too much to do, although I imagine a lot of this will be trial and error as the dumpling starts to find some independence and wander off. My plan is to keep the bathroom doors closed, full stop. That way, there’s no worry over the toilet or toiletries or toilet paper or any of that. Our house is a wide-open floor plan, so it’s hard to rope off areas. I have, however, already put up baby gates to the utility room (where Jas’ litter box is) and my office (where Jas’ tower is and I just feel like she deserves a safe haven from grabby little baby hands now that he can chase her). Other than that, we’ll need to anchor two book shelves in the living room, as well as our TV (right? can you anchor a TV? idk how these things work) and I plan to reorganize my kitchen to move things like tupperware to the bottom shelves and our cleaners to the utility room. So. Not too much right? Just put a pin in this here and direct me  back to it in like five months when the dumpling is getting into everything and I’m lamenting not just throwing him in his own over-sized tupperware container. That’s safe right?

TEEEEEEETH

Wut the wut?!

The dumpling has teeth!! (scrunches up face, fans eyeballs, valiantly tries… not… to….)

MAAAAAAH BAAAAAABBBBBBBYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

I really thought we’d make it to a year without teeth. I didn’t have teeth until well after my first birthday. My brother apparently got like four in one week when he was five months old and then didn’t get another until around 16 months. And we’ve seen not a single sign of teeth in the dumpling. NOT A SINGLE WARNING that teeth were making their way through his little gums.

I was dropping the dumpling off at daycare this morning (which is usually an extended affair for me because his teachers and I just chat about him). Then they just casually mentioned that they had felt his teeth yesterday and were so excited for him and it also sort of explained his clingy behavior earlier this week and – HOLD UP – WUT NOW??? TEETH??? And they were like yes! Teeth!  And I was like, OMG, this explains so much, but also TEETH?!

So let’s back up to this weekend. Our darling boy was being a touch clingy. And we all know that I’m being a bit facetious when I say *touch* because, yeah. He basically refused to be put down the entire weekend. Don’t you dare walk away from me and leave me here. And no, it doesn’t make it better if you sit on the floor while I’m over here, pick me up woman! The only way I could get him to eat any of his solids was if I held him while feeding him. (Although we did try some baby pancakes I made him which he loved and then had an allergic reaction to, so yeah, not so proud of that one in hindsight.) He also seemed more tired than usual, barely making it a couple of hours before needing a nap. But! We still managed to get lots of smiles and laughs and “da-da-da-da”s out of him.

We mentioned it to daycare Monday morning as a sort of warning. Every other time we’ve warned them about fussiness and clinginess over the weekend, they’ve just laughed at us as, OF COURSE, he’s a perfect angel for them. This time though, even they had to admit he was just not himself. I picked him up Tuesday to find him on the hip of his primary teacher. She joked with me that he’d been there all day, lol, jk, but for realz please take this baby so that I can have my arm back. He, of course, was all smiles after being catered to.

Then yesterday, he kept biting me while nursing. He’s bitten me before, with just his little gums, hard enough to draw blood actually. Those times, it was more about the pressure or tugging. This time though, there was a sharp pain that accompanied each nip. I brushed it off though and tried to get through nursing without yelping. It didn’t help that he kept side-eyeing me while biting me, so I really thought he was just testing a boundary. What will mom do if I do this? CHOMP.

So yeah – teeth – it totally makes sense now. His teachers laughed that I hadn’t even checked for teeth, that they discovered them first, but, to be fair, teeth never even crossed my mind. I mean, aren’t they supposed to turn into little hellions? If my birth board is to be believed, the biggest sign of teething would be the extended night wakings with non-stop screaming, drooling, crankiness, and possibly some devil’s horns to top it all off – much like a bow atop a present. I just chalked the dumpling’s clinginess up to some sort of growth spurt or leap.

It’s true though, I felt them myself before I left the room. Two tiny teeth, poking through. I’m sad, in a way (ok, in lots of ways). Babies look so weird with teeth. Right? I can’t be the only person who thinks so. You’ve got this little cherubic baby, all cute and drooly, who opens his mouth and – BAM – teeth. Like a real person! I’m going to miss his little gummy smile so much… He’s going to look so different with teeth… He’s just getting so big… (scrunches up face, fans eyeballs, valiantly tries… not… to….)

MAAAAAAH BAAAAAABBBBBBBYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!