Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's My Party.

Matt and I had our first Christmas Sweater Party 6 years ago, the year he moved into the house. Before we even married. I would like to add, that the idea was inspired by a red, flannel, plaid business jacket and skirt combo I had stumbled upon in a thrift store one Saturday. It was an idea from my own head...that soon exploded and now these type of parties are commonplace, and expected. Anyhow, the turn out that first year was better than I could have imagined. Many of my friends from high school, even grade school and Blazers swimming were able to make it. It turned into a great reunion type opportunity. My mom and sisters helped me prepare quite a spread of food. I got to decorate my first house for Christmas and show off my new adult lifestyle. I swore then, no matter where I am in life, the Christmas Sweater Party WILL happen.
Now, 6 years later, in my intern year (therefore notoriously the hardest and busiest year) of residency, 7 months pregnant, with 2 children, and only one day off for Christmas, we still managed to pull off a great party. I will admit, the spread of food was more of a potluck. I relied heavily on my husband, mom, sisters, friends, in laws and cleaning lady for help. But my family has come to expect that they will be helping me with this event. It was fairly tame this year, but don't worry the kitchen floor was sticky by the end of the night (I feel this is proof of a party well done). The photobooth, which is now standard was up and running. Lots of out-of-towners made it, though a couple were missing (Sean and Maureen missed for the first time ever).

I just cannot believe I have never specifically dedicated an article to this event. It's my party. I have lofty goals for this event. Some day, I hope to have it catered. I hope to send out a real invite instead of just a "Facebook Event". I hope the same people continue to attend, year, after, year, after year. And that new friends get added. I hope to always be able to fit into that red, flannel suit (provided I am not a few weeks post partum or a few months pregnant as I have been for 3 of the years...) Every year, I fill a big red album with photos from the previous year, I wonder how many people will make it into this album, and how many albums will I have collected 20, 30 years from now? It's a neat thing to have a party. And I am honored that I have attendees.

So, mark your calanders from Christmas Eve Eve 2012. Cause, the 7th Annual O'Laughlin Christmas Sweater Party is on!

The Day.

I thought I loved Christmas as a kid, well, I know I loved Christmas as a kid. But Christmas as a mom, nothing can compare. Giving really, truly, honestly is, so much better than receiving.

Brock came down the stairs ready, and rearin' to go! Finally, he is old enough to understand the concept of Santa and Christmas. In fact, he even seems to know it has something to do with baby Jesus (but it needs some fine tuning, as he often suggests that baby Jesus is in his tummy, and refers to him as a she.) He wanted to open ALL the presents. And nearly did.

I am smiling just looking through these pictures. Christmas is such a merry time. I love seeing all of my family, big and small. I love the joy the gifts bring, and I don't believe it is purely joy because of the material items. It is joy because you know you have so many people who love and support you. You know that you survived an entire year, and were able to keep a roof over your head, food for your mouth, and had enough left over to buy some not so vital things (and not feel guilty about it).
We then continued on to Mimi and Papa's for more gift exchanging. A wonderful brunch. And naps for everyone, except psychotically energetic mom (me) and Brock. Curtis did beat everyone and slept for a solid 3.5 hours.
And we ended at Magra's. Where we did what everyone does on Christmas. The women prepared dinner, in the kitchen. While the men...
...hunted? Or, shot each other in the butt with the beebee gun meant for 6 year old Xander.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Eve.

As is painfully obvious, Curtis joins the millions of toddlers who have an aversion to Santa. Finally, someone the little guy doesn't like. I just don't get why the big, jolly, bearded man in a red suit freaks out the kids? Brock doesn't want anything to do with him either - typically. Then he watched Curtis get to open a few gifts on Santa's lap (oh, did I forget to mention, Curtis decided after a few seconds he didn't mind him afterall) and suddenly, the greedy, gift-loving 3 year old came out and won over the fear.

The funniest part about the whole thing? Santa was their Uncle Johnny! Haha. Not one of the kiddos picked up on his identity. Kids. So easily fooled.

We then moved on to my father's side of the family. Since the boys don't see Pops on Christmas day, we do our gift exchange on the Eve. This year, I passed on the little black babies playing with the seal and soccerball on to my father. He has not been included in this little tradition until this year...

...so, probably 6 years ago, maybe more. There was this queer little dollar store type shop in the Ward Parkway mall. I stopped in to see what I could see, and found this entire isle of ridiculous, cheap, plaster figurines. I mean, non of them made sense. Who wants an POS depiction of 2 little kids playing with a seal and a soccerball. And the race of the kids makes is all the more senseless (as most people purchase objects to match their own skin color.) So, of course I bought it for my sister, Leah, and we have all been passing it around ever since. Dad's turn! Though, I think he is the first one who has received it and actually intends on displaying it on the mantel. Perhaps, its' found its' forver home. How sweet.

And lastly, my favorite part of the night. When Santa visits our very own home. And leaves gifts for our very own little boys. I was too tired to wait up for him to finish assembling the wagon, but Santa kindly took a photograph of the finished product for me. It brings such satisfaction, knowing you can provide well for your kids, and that they will be so happy and glowing in the morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The camera adds 10lbs. Right?

I guess it's because I continue to feel surprisingly well for the current gestational age of my newest child, that whenever I see my update photo I am blown away by how huge I look! I mean, I am 30 weeks and appear to be days from delivery. Lately, strangers don't even hesitate to comment on my pregnant state. And often, they are slightly taken aback when I say I am not due until the end of February. A cashier at the hospital cafeteria was so confident with her pregnancy guesstamation skills, that she saw me and excitedly exclaimed, "A Christmas baby!? How sweet." My reply? "Let's hope not. Baby's not due until February 23rd."

And EVERYONE, with the exception of maybe 4 people, is sure Baby O #3 is a girl. I mean, it's bad. I have gotten to the point where I almost refer to the kid as a she. I imagine I am talking to a girl when I have conversations with my constantly twitching belly. And on that topic. Pretty sure she is trying to escape. Right now. Through the wrong outlet, my ribs. Also, this kid is rarely, if ever, in the correct, head down position. Number 3 spends most of its days lying on his/her back. Completely transverse, pummeling my stomach and ribs with its incredibly powerful legs. Which brings me to another concern. The only way a 30 weeker could possibly be this strong is if it weighs 5 lbs. Already. And if it weighs 5 lbs now, and it gains a hald a pound a week from here on out. And I make it to term. You do the math. Ok, I'll do the math. 10 lbs! I am terrified I am currently creating a 10 pounder. A 10 pound girl? That would just be plain weird. Therefore, EVERYONE, with the exception of maybe 4 people, is wrong. I think. Or not.

Anyway. If I could sleep on just 2 pillows. And keep my legs from becoming so restless. I could go so far as to say I don't mind pregnancy this go 'round. I am not even waddling yet, at all. (Though I am kind of taking this as a bad sign. This means babies head is not buried in my pelvis, as it should be. He/she/it has a few weeks to get it's act straight, but it's making me nervous.)

I am just getting really excited. The more I can discern body parts, the more it sinks in that a little person will be arriving soon. 30 weeks is just fun. It's the beginning of the end. The home stretch. I can't wait for February!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker

Due to my psychotic competitiveness, I thought it would be impossible for me to not care about my child's interests. I thought I was just kidding myself when my answer to the all to often-ly asked question, "Will your kids swim?" was "I don't know, and I kind of don't care". It seems when you are pregnant, you fantasize about all the things your offspring could and will become as a kid, teen, adult. You hope they are genius level intelligent. An amazing athlete. A unique artist. An inspiring musician. In a word, brilliant. Then I had my first child. Suddenly, I didn't care about these fantastical ideas. Suddenly, I just hope for average. I hope that my child will play nice with others. I hope he will obey rules, do his homework, and enjoy himself. I hope other kids like him. I really just hope for normal; will be able to take care of and provide for himself and maybe a family someday, normal. Yes, anything beyond that will be fantastic. I would be thrilled if I had an Olympic or professional level athlete. I would be over-joyed and proud of a Harvard valedictorian who cured cancer. But I can honestly say, my competitive nature is held at bay when it comes to my children.

I can see what unique personalities the 2 of them have. I can see that most likely, Brock and Curtis will not have a problem in school (intelligence wise.) I can guess that Brock will not lack in the passion or motivation department either. And I can guess Curtis will not lack in the ability to make friends. But I can't be sure. And I don't want to pressure them one way or another. I have taken a backseat, and will let them decide on their interests. And when they do decide to give something a try, I will give them the opportunity to go for it.

So, when Brock regularly asks for me to put these goggles on for him. I don't fantasize about how he is going to be a swimmer. I just laugh, enjoy the moment, and marvel at the little creation in front of me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree...

...this is the first year getting a Christmas tree just felt like yet another thing on the "to-do list". Working lots of long hours, with very few days off has make the Holidays feel rushed. Unplanned. And almost inconvenient. Gone are the school days where you get the entire week or so off for Christmas! Teachers really made the right career choice as far as vacation goes.
But, the weather was perfect! Yay! The puppy got worn out running through the trees. Double Yay!! Curtis was all smiles, despite being clueless. And Brock wanted "all the trees" and nothing to do with the camera. Therefore, the day was a good one.
And we found our perfect tree! Which Brock really, really wanted to cut down himself (as he pretty much always wants to do everything himself.) And got quite frustrated when he couldn't (which is also a fairly regular thing.) And Curtis just enjoyed spectating (as usual). And taking off his mittens (man, his hands turned red.)
And, I think, despite the limited hours I have off this month, I am going to have a very Merry Christmas. I just value, treasure, and love every little minute with my, little, cute, snuggley family.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pregnancy myths.

Just like I don't believe in "nesting", I do not believe in "cravings". For the entire first trimester, even if you don't have the full on 24/7 nausea, or vomiting, I am guessing everyone has a touch of a loss of appetite. Therefore, when nothing sounds good, you sit and file through every possible food that you would ever be willing to eat until you stumble upon something that sounds reasonable. And once you find that one, or two items, it's the only thing you CAN eat. It's not that you craved it. It's the only thing that works. Therefore, it seems to the outsider that you are having a so-called "craving" because you insist on eating these one, or two random dishes, and nothing else.

Perhaps you are relieved from this predicament during the 2nd trimester. At which point, you are so excited you can finally eat again, that you begin wanting all the things you couldn't eat before. Slightly appearing as though you crave them.

Then the 3rd trimester rolls around. Now baby is shoving up on your stomach. The indigestion and reflux is in full swing, and again, nothing sounds good. Perhaps your appetite is gone again. Repeat cycle from trimester one.

Therefore, just because I insisted on going to Village Inn last night, for the first time in at least 5, if not 6 years, because I felt like breakfast food for dinner, and perhaps a slice of French Silk pie, does not mean I was "craving" it. It simply means, that's the only thing that sounded edible at that moment.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Real World

I knew heading back to work after a week off was going to be difficult. I knew working such long hours through the holiday season was going to be difficult. But just because you know something is going to be a certain way, doesn't make it any easier to handle.

Today, a Saturday, after coming home from work this afternoon, I am greeted by my overly excited 3 year-old who ran up to me, gave me a hug and told me he missed me. I then heard my little baby crawling toward me making happy sounds with each step forward who I picked up and am immediately offered an open mouth ready for a kiss. I then found my freshly shaven, thank the lord, husband and am fondly received with a non-prickly kiss.

I am also greeted by a kitchen full of dishes, with a cob web above the sink that has been there for a week, driving me crazy. And a basket full of clean, unfolded childrens' clothes as well as an over-stuffed hamper full of unclean childrens' clothes. I am greeted by an insanely dirty kitty litter box that I don't feel comfortable changing myself due to my "condition", and a husband who would rather murder the cat by his own hand than simply empty and refill that toxic container. I am greeted by a house devoid of Christmas decor and no tree either.

I am greeted by a basement I don't even want to step foot into because the puppy somehow managed to break loose of her kennel for an entire work day and pissed all over the dogbed, chewed up at least 4 plastic balls plus a few other toys, pissed on 3 couch pillows and one couch cushion, destroyed and tore up her own kennel bedding, and the place just smells.

I am greeted by my oldest child, who still refuses to use the toilet to do #2 in any kind of regularity therefore forcing me to bend my fat, pregnant ass over to try and wipe the crusted poo off his behind, until I agitatedly give up and just tell him to get in the bath. I am then greeted by my youngest child who insists he needs a bath as well. I then take out said oldest when he is done, and by the time I dry him off and get him dressed, I am greeted by the younger holding a piece of his own poo in his hand. I am now greeted with the task of draining the tub, picking up the poop, re-washing the child and sterilizing the tub as well as any toy that was in the water with the contaminant.

I am now greeted by 3rd trimester exhaustion, along with a multitude of other pregnancy aches and ailments that I am tired of listing, mentioning or, really, even thinking about, which prohibits me from completing a single task on my to-do list for the day. I am then forced to begin nagging my husband to do more around the house, for which I am greeted by an intense feeling of guilt. Guilt that is intensified by the impatience I now have with my children with whom I only get limited time these days. A guilt which is then further intensified when Brock, out of the blue, says to me, "I am sorry for being a bad boy today, mom." Let the water works begin.

And now, it is nighttime. The littles are in bed. I am ready for bed, but sick of 10pm bedtimes being my Saturday night. As happy as I am. As much as I love life and all that is has to offer. Sometimes a good attitude is not possible. And now, I am greeted by self-pity. Gross.

All of this on a Saturday I had dreamt of spending with my family, obtaining a Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music, decorating my house, and drinking warm apple cider in a warm home.

Who is supermom, now?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Every Year...

...I look forward to Thanksgiving so that I can add a picture of my ever growing, changing, and wonderful little family in the right margin of this blog. It makes me happy. It makes me proud.

...I get to see and hang out with friends and family from out of town. It wouldn't feel like the holidays, otherwise.

...my mom has a mental breakdown the Wednesday night before the big dinner. Why she continues to host it if it causes her this much grief, I will never know. But I fear I am plagued by the same desire to have large events in my home.

...the weather is completely different than the year before.

...I try to make it to December without listening to or hearing any Christmas carols. I have yet to be successful.

...I make the mashed potatoes and a chocolate pudding pie....this season manages to make me thankful for everything I have and everyone I love.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Brock is 3.

Brock is three. This birthday was a turning point for so many reasons. One, this is the first time he ever cared about presents. It took him 3 years and a little brother with a birthday right before his, to make him get excited about presents. Ever since Curtis' party, Brock has been pointing out every single toy he comes across and states, "I get this for my birthday!". Seriously, every magazine, commercial, newspaper, ad, or toy at another kid's house, or at school, he is getting them ALL for his birthday.

And, since he has so recently become toy obsessed, and I couldn't get him the LeapPad that I desired for his gift, we decided to take him to Toys R Us and let him pick out a toy. Bad idea. Let me be clear, we pretty much knew it was a bad idea, but it just seemed like what he would want. I'm not really sure how many times we explained to him on the drive there that he only gets ONE toy, not EVERY toy. We re-iterated the one toy rule as we entered the store, and suddenly he didn't care about it...because he saw the motorized vehicles. Thankfully none of them were on or charged, so we got out of that mess by telling him they were all broken. He still proceeded to climb in and check EVERY SINGLE one, just to be sure. Then the first 2 items he placed in the cart were a large Woody and a large Buzz doll. These things were $50 a piece!! Seriously, for a stupid doll? Ridiculous. He finally settled on the dumbest toy of all, a car ramp thing, but it was $17 and he was happy. I took him to the car, and Matt bought him a bike. Much more reasonable.

Second turning point, Brock now likes company. Seeing as he is now in school a couple days a week and constantly calls every child (stranger or not) his "friend", I thought it was time to have a kid-friendly party. I invited all of his 2nd cousins who were 3 and up, as well as a couple other kids. Only 5 showed up. Which is plenty. Seriously, 5 kids sounds like 30 when they are all hyper, hopped up on candy and cooped inside a house with almost 20 other adults.
I think my big three year old boy enjoyed himself. Oh, and the party was pretty darn cheap to boot! I got most of the "goodies" from the Dollar Store. I created the invite. I made turkey noodle soup from the leftover turkey carcass. And we just had veggies and dips leftover from Thanksgiving as well. Some great party planning, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crowds. Eww.

I have major anxiety issues when I go shopping. Even when it's just to the grocery store. Some places are worse than others, with TJ Maxx, Target and Walmart topping the charts. As soon as I step foot in those stores, the battles begins. I immediately want to leave. There are too many people, too much stuff, I've already forgotten why I even went in the store in the first place...but, now I MUST go up and down every aisle to take a look at everything just to be sure I am not missing some huge deal. It's one of my OCD nightmares. I seriously get the cold sweats. I feel shakey. And often, I have to use the restroom from the getting the nervous sh*%s (which as you can imagine, adds to the anxiety, as the restrooms in these particular establishments are horrendously disgusting.)

Every item I pick up and think about purchasing, unless it is a true necessity, such as diapers, food, toiletries, etc, I have a little internal war. I don't need this right now. But it would be really useful. It's pointless. But it would look great in the living room. I will eventually use this. Just not right now. Matt will kill me if I come home with another pair of shoes. But they are only $9! Brock would look so cute in this. But he has 4 sweaters already. He does need another pair of shoes. But only because I don't want him getting his Puma's muddy. Should I buy Curtis some more bibs? Does the dog need another toy? How many maternity shirts is too many? And on, and on, and on...

...so you can imagine how I feel when entering a store during the Holiday shopping madness. I think I need a Xanax, or some Valium just to go to the grocery store to get the 4 things I need to make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. And, to top it all off, I had 2 November babies. What was I thinking!? All I want is to buy Brock a LeapFrog LeapPad. I sucked it up. Walked into Walmart. Weathered the storm, and all the holiday, pre-black Friday ridiculousness, only to find out they were out! As is every other store in Kansas City. Come on people. Christmas is [a little] over a month away! Settle the eff down. I just want to buy a birthday gift for my kid.

Now I am home. I don't think I can venture back out there. I'm not sure it's good for my health. I think it might cause me to go into labor. And now Brock has no gift for his birthday. Looks like dad might be taking his oldest son and a fun birthday gift trip tonight.

No LeapPad for you, today, Brock. I have been defeated.Why don't I shop online, you ask? I have to see items to purchase them. I prefer the moment of anxiety over the extreme disappointment and hassle of recieving something in the mail that doesn't fit, doesn't function, isn't actually what you wanted, is uglier than you thought. And now you have to repackage it, print a label to send it back, perhaps even spend more to ship it again. So, no, unfortunately, there is no solution to my problem.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November Love.

November never meant anything more to me than Thanksgiving until 3 years ago. Now, it holds so much more meaning, nostalgia, and love than just thanks for all that I have. My 2 sons were born in this month. It makes me reminisce and reflect on not just the last year, but the last 3, or more. In my children, I can't but help see a reflection of myself. I can't help but try to think of what I have done well, and what I should do differently to help shape their lives. I would do anything for them. No matter how they behave, or treat me, I will always do anything for them. Which brings me to one of the most profound things I learned during medical school - which was not even medically related.The psychiatrist I rotated with during 3rd year, was this wonderful Nigerian man. He was obviously well read, and enjoyed life. Most of all, he loved his [grown] kids. One day, in discussing the parent/child relationship, he made a statement I will never forget. He said, "Your children don't owe you anything, and you owe them everything. They did not ask to be here. You chose to bring them into this world. Therefore you are completely responsible for them and their well-being. This does not mean to take over their lives, but it does mean to provide them with everything necessary to succeed, and to never ask for anything in return."

Granted. My children are babies, so it is easy to not expect anything in return for all my efforts. But, the fact is, I never foresee acquiring that expectation. With a spouse, it is hard not to expect equal love, commitment, feelings, etc. With a child, you just don't care. For the rest of their lives, I will provide my children with meals if they are around for them. I will buy them birthday and Christmas presents. I will cheer them on in school, sports, careers, life. I will hug and kiss them, whether they like it or not. I will call them. Or give them space. I will happily, and proudly provide for and support them forever and always. And I will do my darnedest, to never expect anything in return, and hope that I have raised them well enough that they will say "thank you" anyway.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

While you're out...

The other day, I woke up [at 4 in the afternoon] to get ready for my night shift. Brock came up to keep me company while I got dressed. And by keep me company, I mean lie on my bed and play Angry Birds on my phone.

Once I finished, I said, "Hey Brock, want to come walk to Starbucks with me?" To which he replied, "No thank you. I will just play Angry Birds." I was quite surprised by this response, as that boy usually does not even think twice about refusing an opportunity to ride his trike. So, I try to bait him, by using his poor innocent brother. "Ok, well, Curtis and I are going on a walk to Starbucks, see you later." And just as I turn to walk down the stairs, I hear, "Mom! Wait!" I smile, and think to myself, I knew you couldn't resist, especially if Curtis gets to do something without you. Ha ha. I have yet again, out-smarted my 3 year old.

So, I turn back around and say, "Yes, Brock?" Without even looking up from his game he says, "Umm, will you get me a chocolate milk?" Excuse me!? Sure buddy. Is there anything else I can grab for you while I am out? I was blown away. The laziness begins. Will I grab him a chocolate milk? Wow. So I say, "No. You have to come with me if you want a chocolate milk." He gives out a loud, exaggerated grunt as he gets off the bed. Unbelievable.

Friday, November 11, 2011

As if I need more hobbies...

...I just discovered how to use Adobe Illustrator.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Little, Little Little

Don't let the title fool you, little, little, little is no how I feel nor look! Despite an only 7 lbs weight gain, my belly is bigger than EVER at this point. Maybe I should quit having my 5 week milestone prego belly photo taken right before bed, after a 12 hour work day, with an iPhone. It's making me appear as though I might be run down. Unfortunately, that is usually the only spare moment I can find for fun little things like this these days.

Though, I no longer go too long without being reminded that there is a little guy swimming around in my belly, I am still extremely thankful that this pregnancy has been relatively delightful. I mean, I was just pregnant. So it seems impossible that I could forget how much each baby moved, but I was SURE Curtis was more active than Brock (who was pretty darn crazy) and now, I have NO DOUBT that #3 is the most insane and strong of them all! I don't remember catching the movement of my stomach out of the corner of my eye this early. And I am not sure this one sleeps. Ever. Awesome. I was bound to have a difficult baby eventually. Anyway, what I find interesting about this third pregnancy and all the movement and whatnot, is that I don't really care about my OB appointments. I don't need to hear the heartbeat to know this kid's ok. I know it all day long. Unlike with Brock. Those appointments couldn't come quick enough. With your first kid, everything is so novel and amazing. With your third, it's still amazing, just no novelty, whatsoever.It looks like another boy, doesn't it? The guess by all, including strangers, is overwhelmingly girl. Mostly, I think it's hopeful thinking on the friend's and family's part. As for the strangers, I really can't explain that. Brock STILL insists he is having a baby sister. Never changes his answer to that question. And I think he is getting pretty excited and/or obsessed with my belly. He asks to give the baby kisses all the time. And does. He will also run up to me and say "belly, belly, belly!" while giving it a rub, pat, or putting his cheek up to it. Just today, he asked if he could play with the baby in my belly. Not quite yet buddy, not yet. Curtis? He remains blissfully clueless (I worry this may be a theme throughout his lifetime.)

Also, I don't think I have done my delivery date prediction! Usually, I try to get this on the record in the first trimester (btw, I guessed the previous two's birthdays exactly, feelin' a lot of pressure right now.) But, I am just having a really hard time with this one. In addition to feeling larger, feeling baby move more, sooner, and the ridiculous number of hours I am working along with the absurd amount of Braxton Hicks contractions I am already having, I am inclined to think this one might actually come early, and naturally (without augmentation that is, not without an epidural!) But, at the same time, the date February 21st just seems to pop in my head, everytime. So, I guess I'll go with it.

So, that's it. I am 25 weeks. It's still as unbelievable and exciting to me today, as it was that random date in June when I decided to take a pregnancy test that we will be welcoming another "Little" in just 3 months. I cannot wait to kiss that adorable looking nose. I may be busy. I may be exhausted. But most of all I am elated. We love you so much already Baby #3!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy doesn't even begin to cover it.

I don't even know what to say about the happiest baby on the planet turning one. I can tell you this though. Considering my competitive nature, it really bothers me when people say or try to act like they have the happiest baby. I have the happiest baby. Me. Only me. NO ONE'S baby is possibly happier than my baby. I met my daycare lady's husband the other day, he is Somali, and in his thick accent said, "Ahh, and you are the doctor. Curty is such a sweety. Such a sweety." And proceeded to pinch Curtis' cheeks as Curtis sat contently in my arms and grinned the hugest grin imaginable. Every time I pick him up from daycare, I am told, "He is so happy, what a great baby, we love him." Said with a tone as if it is a surprise everyday. Which it is. You can't help but think one day, something has gotta give.One day, the harsh reality of daily life will set in, and Curtis will stop being so blissfully unaware of this fact. He will start to notice that his brother regularly takes the toy he is playing with to replace it with a less fun toy. He will notice that no one is playing with him because he is happily entertaining himself. He will get annoyed by the puppy and the three year old romping all over him. He will decide some foods actually do taste bad. He will not smile at just any friend, or stranger, who looks his way. He will not break into a belly laugh at the sight of his brother doing somersaults, or playing peek-a-boo.
Or maybe it won't. Probably it won't. If it hasn't changed a bit in a year, why would it 2 or 3 or 4 years from now? I have been beyond blessed with this boy. I think I can honestly say, I have never felt a single moment of frustration with him. His delivery even, no frustration. I was nothing but smiles. He nursed like a champ from day one. He woke up only once a night from the day we brought him home from the hospital. He still sleeps like a log. He doesn't cry for no reason. I studied for and passed boards while caring for him.

Don't get me wrong, his laid back, content nature does have some drawbacks. He has NO desire to walk. None. He was crawling at 4 months, but not even walking by 12!? He will take 1-2 steps between furniture, and that is about it. I know it's neither a strength nor coordination issue, because he can traverse both up and down the steps no problem. He can climb onto the bed or chair and jump on it with his brother while using only one hand to brace himself. He stands up on his own. He has jumped in that damn Johnny-Jumper for more hours than I care to think about. He has got to have quads of steel by this point. Therefore, it is simply a motivational issue. And honestly? Brock and I have enough motivation for the likes of a dozen people. So maybe it's for the best. I really, really like my happy baby.

The year went too fast. Seems like just a few weeks ago that we welcomed our 9 pounder. Now he is a 24.5 pound, 31.25 inch, 90th percentile linebacker of a kid. Yet, it feels like I've known him all my life. It's funny. No matter how hectic, insane, out of control, stressful, busy, chaotic life gets, you can never regret the decision to have a child. They instantaneously become a part of you. A part of you so big that if you lost it, you may not be able to go on living. And even if you do, you will never be the same. Simply amazing that something so little, so needy, can have such an impact.
Happy 1st Birthday, Curtis Patrick. Thank you for reminding me every single day that there is always something to smile about.