Did I mention May was busy? No I didn't because I was, well, busy!
In May, we had Hank's birthday weekend. My baby has turned one! Such mixed feelings about that. But he is still nursing, so he's still my cuddly baby. Only now, occasionally with sneakers on to rip out my forearm hair. And he is now a frequent sneaker of his brother's milk bottle or any other food we've left out.
We had a great party for his birthday, and Quint was really excited about the party. Quint got to pick out the cake at Publix, but was a bit confused about the process. When guests started coming into town, he would tell them that he picked out the cake but didn't buy it. It was, of course, a Thomas the Train cake. We got to have Nannie, Grandpa, and Grandma all there plus a bunch of others. About 25 total, including three actual children! Also in that bunch was three Mikes and three Georges. How weird.
In the days after the party, Nannie, Grandpa, me and the boys all flew to Texas where we spent 2.5 weeks. Papa joined us for the last week of the trip. Nannie and Grandpa have a wonderfully flat yard with grass (that substance foreign to my children), lots of gently sloping cement, and a lovely porch where you can sit in the shade and play in the hot afternoon and still catch a breeze. They also have a garden, two dogs, a cat, lots of birds, deer and fawns, a cozy coupe, a swing, lots of balls, all fresh toys, a little blue plastic pool, snacks galore and enough adults around that someone is almost always willing to go outside. Oh yeah, and a fence to keep all that where it belongs (everyone in - deer and fawns out!). We had a great time!
And I got a great rest! Life really is easier when there are extra adults around to do all the fetching, cleaning, playing and comforting for two little ones under three. I got to bathe every day!!! I changed lots fewer diapers! I only ever had to bathe one child per night that we did baths! And I got completely spoiled! After we got home, it was a very rude shock to realize that it was mealtime again and that was all me. No one else was going to figure out what to feed all three of us AND put it in front of us.
Anyway. We played with chalk outside on the cement. Hank learned to crawl up any kind of stairs, and learned to crawl really fast to the top of the stairs and then stop and smile at whoever had bolted to the second step to be on "melon watch" in case he lost control. Both boys got lots of scrapes and tiny cuts, but there were no real, melon cracking incidents that I remember. We all learned that Quint likes to splash and Hank really doesn't. We learned that Hank LOVES to play in the semi-gross creek, but more than half the time will balk at chlorinated water for playing.
Now that Hank is mobile (crawling and cruising), and Quint is only ever interested in whatever toy Hank has, Hank has learned the fine art of the fake. Here are Hank's thoughts: "I'd really like to play in the pool, but Quint is splashing and being loud. I know! I'll really enjoy the cozy coupe for a minute and then zoom over to the pool while Quint is still enjoying the fact that he took it from me!"
There are three pocket doors at my folks house. Quint knows how to slide them, but Hank hasn't gotten there yet. At one point, Quint stole Hank's toy and threw it past an open pocket door. Hank stared at Quint for a minute, then crawled after it. Quint quickly closed the pocket door behind him, and then walked into the kitchen looking waaaaay too innocent. Hank would bang on the door (poor guy was trapped in the dark) then say something like, "Hey!" bang, bang, bang, "Hey!" I went to investigate. Hank was standing up on the other side of the pocket door, so I took one hand to help him walk back through the door. As he stumped through the door, he gave his brother a death look and growled low in his throat! Quint coward and backed away from him until his back was against the wall and Hank could pass by! I think Hank will be able to hold his own with his brother.
Hank took his first steps while we were in Texas! Four stumpy little steps from Nannie to me. We didn't get it on camera because it was the 8th time we'd tried and we didn't really think it would work that time either. Around the house here, he has started in the last couple days to stand on his own without noticing it. He's eating something or looking at something and has let go of his hand- hold.
Quint said over and over that he loved being at Nannie's house and he really did! He loved the openness and freedom of the yard. There was lots less to trip over than at our house, no road close by to guard against, and two dogs that always wanted to play. Because of the huge fence, and because he's in general a good little boy, by the end of the 2.5 weeks, I was just nearly willing to let him play outside by himself. It was great!
Hank had more fun inside (less no-nos) and Quint has more fun outside (more running and more active play). When Hank was outside, he wanted to play on the stone steps and we really DIDN'T want him to play on the stone steps. That whole melon-watch thing. So I spent a lot of time with Hank inside, and Nannie spent a lot of time outside with Quint. Nannie and Quint would throw on water shoes and go feed the dogs, or the birds, or pick vegetables, or flowers, or throw compost through the fence, or go on a walk, or play in the sand pile, or play in the sprinkler, or throw balls for the dog, or a jillion other things. Hank really can't do any of that yet.
One terrifying thing that happened was that Hank choked one day. He was eating rice cakes, like we have a million times before, and he choked on a piece. My best friend was visiting, and the resulting noise brought my parents from every corner of the house. I did the thing of turning him face down and pounding him on the back, switch sides and do it again. Over and over. And would sweep his mouth with my finger to pull chunks out. The weird thing about rice cakes, is that it turns into a thickish slime! It's not like it's just cracker and spit mixed together. It's like a gelatinous stretchy goo. Very hard to clear from your throat. The poor little guy choked and gagged and choked and gagged. And we almost expected him to throw up it went on for so long. I finally stopped doing the baby Heimlich when someone pointed out that he was getting enough air to continue coughing. He continued to gag and cough for several minutes. But we finally all relaxed and quick panicking. He would cough like that several times a day for the rest of our visit. And when we got back home, the doctor took a chest x-ray and pronounced pneumonia. Apparently rice-cake pneumonia is not the serious health concern that regular pneumonia is. Regular pneumonia would be the result when your body didn't fight off the sore throat, or the bronchitis, and just kept getting worse. When you aspirate a rice cake, pneumonia is how your body naturally tries to get rid of it. So he's on antibiotics and 4 days into that, started acting like himself again. He's not out of the woods, but the doctor saw some kind of fear on my face that made her reassure me several times that he will be OK.
On a lighter note, the doctor also said that Hank can have peanut butter now! His first PBJ went down with some seriously large smiles and frantic hand pointing that clearly said, "gimme some more of that!"
Also, almost on Hank's birthday, he started refusing to eat goo. No more baby food for him. He wanted some of what we were eating. No more mushy peas, no more mixed veggie - goo. He wants biscuits and gravy. Or bits of roasted chicken. Or cheese. And he probably wants to feed it to himself - a very messy prospect. Hubby thought to put the drop cloth down beneath his chair the other night and I wondered why I hadn't thought of that. At Nannie's house, there was no need for a drop cloth. She has dogs.
I have got to go to bed. Sorry for yet another post with no real conclusion, but there you have it.
Since we got home, Hank's has pneumonia, Quint has had a virus, Hubby has had a name-less illness, and I have had a cough - which I have worried was also pneumonia but is not. Perhaps it's sympathetic rattly chest. With all that whin-ese running around. Life has been really fun around here! Tonight I fled to Wal-Mart without the kids - nearly in tears. (I left them with their father and Uncle Four.) I think that's the first time I've felt the need to flee from them in the car. I'm actually surprised it took nearly three years to get me there!