Catching Up

Aggghh!  It’s been FOREVER since I’ve blogged and I could give a ton of excuses like the end of the school year was really crazy or I’ve been really busy with my family, blah blah blah.  In reality, I’ve been terribly undisciplined in most areas of my life and blogging has been one of them.  I’ve just let it fall to the wayside.  However, now that summer is here, (FINALLY!) I can settle down and make blogging part of my routine again.  Which hopefully will be helpful since the summer is always a den of laziness and undiscipliness (is that a word?).

To begin, Bennett is WALKING!  WHAT?!?!  He took a few steps last Wednesday for the first time.  He is just shy of 14 months, and everyone kept asking me when he was going to start walking.  This can be really trying as a parent.  I knew Bennett would walk when he was ready, but it’s hard sometimes when other parents tell you their kids started walking at 8 months or right at their first birthday.  It is so wrong to compare, and I know this, but it’s just inevitable when you’re a first time parent and have no idea when kids are supposed to reach these milestones.  I just had to keep telling myself that he’ll do it when he’s ready.  He’s just like his daddy–he has to figure it out in his head before he tries it.  And apparently the day he figured it out in his head was a Wednesday.  There you have it!  (I would post a video, but that costs money.  Hint hint, wordpress, people want to see Bennett walking.)

Let’s see…what else has happened?  Oh!  My 8th graders were promoted and we had a fun week planned for them including a field trip to the park and a promotion ceremony.  I’m really going to miss this year’s 8th graders.  They were so fantastic–a group I know will go on and do some really cool things with their lives.  It makes me proud to be able to say that I was their 8th grade teacher way back when at Dunbar.  I hope they look back on their years in middle school fondly.  Goodness knows I sure don’t!  Middle school was rough…  Sometimes I can’t believe I willingly reenter that world on a daily basis.  How narcissistic of me…

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This past weekend, we spent some time with my dad’s side of the family at our Thompson Family Reunion at Lake DeGray.  It was great to see family I only get to see once a year.  It’s nice to get caught up with everyone and hear what’s going on in their lives.  I love how different family is from each other, but we’re all connected in this weird concoction.  It’s kind of interesting to see what conversations take place and which relatives have changed the most throughout the year.  Some years, there will have been a death and we’ll be missing someone and some years, a new baby is born or someone gets married and there’s someone new to get to know.  It’s the endless cycle of life.  And now I’m getting way too deep about family reunions.  Here’s some pictures of Bennett riding the tube for the first time.  I think he liked it!

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Now, I think we’re all caught up to the present.  Today we took Bennett to Wild River Country.  The water park is literally 5 minutes from our house, so we figured it would be worth it if we got season passes.  At least we hoped so.  They have a little kiddie area with some toys and water buckets that dump water on your head when they fill up.  (I guess that’s fun?)  I wasn’t sure how Bennett would fare after his reaction to the splash pad at Keagan’s birthday party (oh yeah, my niece Keagan, turned 2–yay!).  Let’s just say he was more than annoyed by the water in his face and screaming children everywhere.  But, he LOVED Wild River Country!  (thank goodness)  He played around in the kiddie area, floated the lazy river with us, and slapped at the waves in the wave pool.  We had a really good day today.  I think it completely wore him out because he slept for 3 hours this afternoon!  Woo-hoo!  We will definitely revisit.

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Bringing Up Bebe

I had heard of Bringing Up Bebe while watching the TODAY show one morning when I was pregnant with Bennett.  It’s a nonfiction book about an American mother who lives in France.  While raising her own daughter, she begins to take notice of the subtle, but meaningful techniques French mothers used with their children.  I say “techniques”, but they weren’t thought of that way by the French moms.  It was just how they raised their kids.  They didn’t really think about it at all.

For example, they believed in rules, but rules within a realm of freedom.  Like, you have to be in your room at 8:00, but you can go to bed whenever you choose.

Or the 4 magic words:  please, thank you, hello, and goodbye.  They think hello and goodbye are important because it allows children to notice that there are other people in the world besides them.

There are many more, but the one that stood out to me was the concept of waiting.  Basically, when an infant would cry, they wouldn’t run in and immediately start to comfort them; they would wait.  Just wait and listen.  The French mothers knew that children who learned the concept of waiting very early in life would carry that important characteristic with them later.  The author noticed that most French children were extremely patient.  In restaurants, they wouldn’t be throwing their food or whining that they wanted to go home; while her French friends were on the phone, their children wouldn’t be constantly asking them questions or to go get them something; and, French babies slept.  They slept all night long from a very early age.  *Cue flashing lights and fireworks*

I decided I would give this “waiting” thing a try.  I started in the hospital.  When Bennett would start crying, I would count to 10 before I’d pick him up.  When we got home, I broke all the rules that first week because he had a hard time distinguishing between night and day.  But, once he got that straightened out, it was waiting game on.

To make a long story short, Bennett started sleeping from 8 to 7 when he was 8 weeks and hasn’t looked back.  Naps took us a little longer, but he eventually got that, too.  These days, he doesn’t cry when he wakes up (for naps or in the middle of the night) because he knows we’ll come to get him…eventually.(ha)  He patiently waits.  Of course, there are exceptions every once in while.  No baby is a machine, but 98% of the time, he is a very go-with-the-flow, patient kid.

I don’t know for sure that it was what I read in Bringing up Bebe that did the trick.  Raising kids is a giant case of trial and error.  What works for Bennett may not work for 100 other kids.  They’re all different and unique and we parents just have to keep trying out different things to see what works for our little one.  It’s a crap shoot.  Good thing they’re so cute.

Babies are Funny

Let’s face it, babies can be kind of boring sometimes.  Adorable, no doubt, but, a total yawn fest.  Bennett was no different most of the time.  For the first 2 months of his life, he looked like this.

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Every. day.  It was hilarious.

Since Bennett wouldn’t smile at us, we decided to start laughing at him.  (I know, we’re really good parents.  You can give us our “best parents ever” plaque later)  Once we felt like we weren’t going to break him, we got a little reckless.

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Yes, he is propped up in a corner of a ski boat and, yes, he is bathing in a colander.  Recklessness I tell ya.

After that, he got really serious about modeling.  We were supportive.

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Then, he went back to being a regular old baby making silly faces and rolling himself up like a burrito.  I miss the free clothes from the modeling shoots.  I do not miss the constant dieting.

 

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And then there’s this gem of a picture.  This one literally makes me chuckle every time I see it.  I think it’s the combination of that face and his little hand outstretched on the tree limb.

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I hope your days are filled with silliness.