How To Eat Oatmeal

according to Hector.

Step 1: Empty entire contents of bowl. Bowls are unnecessary and completely undermine one's enjoyment of oatmeal.

Note: Be sure to smear oatmeal liberally in hair. Oatmeal is a wonderful conditioner.

Step 2: Use spoon to artistically spread oatmeal on plate/tray. This will allow for a more accurate assessment of quantity, plus your mom will lavish praise on you for being creative.

Step 3: Use fingers to scoop oatmeal into mouth. This is actually more difficult than it sounds and it may end up on your forehead and/or chin. Then, as I understand it, you're supposed to chew on your spoon while managing a mouthful of oatmeal. Don't worry, it just takes a little practice.

Step 4: The oatmeal that didn't make it down to your tummy, just go ahead and spit that back out. If you're lucky it will fall back onto your plate/tray and you can simply re-insert into mouth. Otherwise, there's a good chance it will end up in your lap. This is fine. Your mom will eventually take the time to remove oatmeal from your crotch. No harm, no foul.


We're Being Exclusive

Yep. Since the likelihood of this blog turning Hector-centric is pretty high, I am going to make it private in an attempt to be a responsible parent. Wait! Don't panic! If you want to continue to view occasional (okay, infrequent) updates on my life and Hector, simply send your email address to: archgrrrl@gmail.com and I will in turn send you an invite to view this blog.

Thank you for your cooperation. Carry on.


This One's For You Mrs. Huber!

Hi Mrs Huber! *waves*

Since I suspect you are the only person who still checks this poor forgotten little blog once in a while, this post is for you!

I don’t get to see your daughter nearly enough, but I when I do, it makes me happy. We went to see The Help last Friday evening and it did my soul good to get out and spend time with friends. Everyone is so busy these days. Do things ever slow down? I do hope so. At least at some point.

Hector turns nine months old tomorrow! I know! He has one little nubbin of a tooth that has barely cut his gums, but he uses that thing like a lethal weapon against any finger food we give him. And the kid is NOT picky when it comes to food. If he can pick it up and get it into his mouth, it's all good.

He is also crawling everywhere and climbing everything, which means we have to be ever vigilant. It’s not so much physically exhausting (although climbing up 3 flights of stairs multiple times an hour can be wearisome), as it is mentally exhausting. You have to always be ON. You know what I mean? He’s becoming very brave and letting go of whatever he’s holding onto and will stand unassisted for a few seconds. He is quite pleased with this new trick.

Speaking of tricks . . . Hector has been clapping for a couple of weeks now and just started waving over the past couple of days. It is freaking amazing how quickly they learn new skills. It seems like just last week he was a little bump on a log, and now he’s like a little person - with a personality!

Needless to say, this miniature human being pretty much consumes mine and Daniel’s existence right now. This parenting thing is not a piece of cake and I suspect it only gets harder. Maybe not physically harder, because he has to sleep through the night at some point, right? But emotionally harder. Right now the choices we make for him seem pretty instinctual and elementary. We hold him, love on him, feed him good food, laugh and play with him and do everything we can to make sure he feels safe, secure and loved. Pretty simple right now. Is it always this simple? I doubt it.

But that’s okay. We enjoy being with him more and more. He brings us such delight and I am excited when I think about my future as Hector’s Mom.

Below are a few recent pictures per your request, and I will try to post updates more frequently, even at the risk of my blog turning into a virtual Hector shrine. :)

Double fistin' the H2O:

Monkey Boy:

Showin' off those rolly legs:

"This can't possibly be food!":

Let's climb, let's climb, let's climb, let's climb...

Hangin' with Dad:

Nothin' but CUTE:


Just Poking My Head In The Door

I'm ashamed to say that this blog has all but been abandoned. Perhaps someday when Hector is sleeping through the night and Daniel and I are not walking zombies, I will begin posting again in a regular fashion.

Until then, here are some pictures of our 5 month old for your enjoyment :)


All Aboard the Guilt Train

Toot! Toot!

Last Monday I became a working mother. dunh dunh - DUNH. According to much of the media, working mothers are responsible for a sizable chunk of our children's problems (like obesity, hyperactivity and bullying to name only a few). We also apparently undermine traditional family values, emasculating our husbands and confusing our children while selfishly and irresponsibly pursuing our own lofty career goals (never mind that most women with children work because they have no other financial alternative). I think we may even be responsible for the revolution in Egypt and the protests in Wisconsin.

Can't find someone to blame? Just chalk it up to working mothers!

Le sigh.

Despite the pangs of guilt jabbing at me, it was a good week. I was happy to be back doing work I enjoy with people I like. It was nice to have a conversation that didn't involve "aah-goo, ehh-brehhh, pfttt" or similarly adorable phrases that are only adorable when coming from your 3 month old. And it was surprisingly easy to get back right back into the swing of things at the office. Of course, at about 2 o'clock every day I start to miss Hector fiercely, to the point where it becomes a distraction.

Hector was a champ adjusting to our new routine and his new daytime care givers. He's generally a pretty happy baby and he was always happy when we dropped him off and happy when we picked him up. The thing that really gets the guilt juices flowing (eww) is that by the time we pick him up at 5 o'clock, he has, at the most, 2 hours of awake time before he conks out for the night.

At one point last week I became completely unglued and cried to Daniel that Hector was going to forget who were we and was going to think Lori and Jim (his day caregivers) were his parents.

All you want is the best for your kid. Who would've thought figuring out or trying to decide what is "best" would be so difficult? I've never felt so unsure about anything in my life before - not Hector himself but the choices we make for him.

A week before he started daycare, we made the decision to switch daycare facilities. Originally we were all set for him to go to a daycare center across the street from my office. A very typical child care center where he would've have been in a classroom with 7 other 3 month olds and two adults. I wasn't completely thrilled with our option, but quality infant care in Nashville is REALLY hard to come by.

And then a space opened up at a small family daycare in our neighborhood and it seemed like a sign to make the switch. So now Hector goes to Green Acres (yes, that really is the name of the daycare) during the day where he is cared for by Lori and Jim. They are retired graphic designers from LA who moved here and have been involved in early childhood education for about 10 years. They only take 5 children at a time and only from 6 weeks old to 24 months old.

We arrive in the mornings to a warm home, clean carpets, the faint smell of coffee coming from the kitchen where I put Hector's bottles for the day in the refrigerator. He is the first one to arrive in the mornings, so he gets Jim and Lori's undivided attention for an hour. Instead of feeling like we're dropping our 3 month old infant off at school, it's more like we're dropping him off at a relative's home. The feel is much softer, more organic and less institutional.

The other children include another 3 month old, a 6 month old, a 12 month old, and a 14 month old. Hazel, Maximillian, Miette, and Nora. Those are Hector's faux-siblings during the day. Miette and Nora already call Hector by his name. The "curriculum" is gentle and age appropriate and there is outdoor time everyday the weather permits.

So far, so good. I don't worry about his well being while I'm at work. I feel confident that he is in good hands.

And yet.

The articles I read online tell me to worry about Hector becoming too attached to his care givers and then suffering a sense of loss when we have to switch him to another daycare in 2 years. To worry he will feel abandoned by me once he realizes what's going on. To worry about the myriad of "behavior issues" that somehow got attributed to children spending a large amount of time at daycare.

Y'all, it's a lot to worry about and difficult to tune out. I definitely need to re-read "The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it Has Undermined Women" by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels. It was a good book when I read it the first time. But I think now it will be much more relevant to my life and provide some comfort that I'm not a bad mother just because I'm a working mother.