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Oh man, do I have a lot of ground to cover. I hope you’ve all had a good month or so... Sorry I disappeared, but there were some technical problems with the lovely site redesign. Now we seem to be back up and running. Unfortunately comments had become a spam problem, so if you have something you’d like to discuss please visit the FP.com Facebook page or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll do my best to respond.
Ok, where to start? Since we last spoke, we spent July 4th week out in Oregon visiting my parents, and Tuck had quite a the exciting time. Right before we left, he started pulling himself up to standing. In the next seven days, he started cruising, clapping, nesting things, trying to feed us with his fork, and generally jumping forward again. The changes seem to be speeding up these days! He’s a joy, and it’s tons of fun to watch all the new developments, but it’s also exhausting to chase after him. His patented move is a hilarious butt swivel; he scoots in really fast circles and then suddenly picks a trajectory and shoots forward. He’s obsessed with getting into the bathroom (seriously?!) and desperate to get his hands on fans, hinges, radiators, cords, etc. He’s so tall that he can reach stuff on normal-height tables, not just the coffee table, which means nothing is safe anywhere.
While we were in Oregon he fell deeply in love with heat registers, which he’d never seen before (we have radiators, not forced air). My parents’ house is spotless and sparsely furnished, so it was paradise—he could crawl all over and there weren’t many danger zones. He spent a ton of time sticking his fingers in the heat vents, of course, but he was also very fond of the potato basket on the pantry floor, and of opening the large kitchen drawers to pull up and stand. Also the cupboard with all the baking sheets: Very popular. And flip-flops. We looooove the flip-flops. We hung out on the back lawn most afternoons, and he was pretty dedicated to escaping the crowd of doting relatives to go for the gravel and bark mulch (delicious!), or my brother’s beer (and beard!), but we also had success taking a baking sheet and mixing bowl of water out and letting him splash around.
The jet lag was harder to deal with when we got home this time. Saturday night we got in really late, and by the time we got home he just crashed (he’d napped one hour all day on the plane, ugh). But Sunday night he really struggled to go to sleep, and then woke up and howled after about half an hour. He was inconsolable—we’ve never had this happen before; generally if we pick him up he stops crying right away. It took about 30 minutes to soothe him (even nursing only helped for a couple minutes), but he eventually gave in to sleep. Poor little guy, it was so sad.
It’s been really hot over the last few weeks, and when it’s been even bearable to go outside, we’ve spent lots of time at our terrific neighborhood playground, messing around in the fun water features for a bit of relief. There are sprinkler jets that come out of the ground, but Tuck prefers the arches with sprayers inside them. He sticks his hands over the holes to block the water, and tries to drink out of them like water fountains. The water splashing on his face doesn’t seem to bother him at all (he just licks it off as it runs into his mouth, and has started doing the same during his bath). It’s a great resource to have nearby in the summer.
And to continue down the summer/water line of thought, let’s talk water bottles, at the request of my friend Laurie (Confidential to Laurie: Please move back to Cambridge). We have bought and tried a variety of bottles and sippy cups, and the clear winner so far is the kids’ version of my beloved Better Bottle from CamelBak. Tuck was already fascinated by my bottle, since I carry it around with me everywhere we go. He worked out how to use the bite valve about a month ago, so I got him a stainless steel .4-liter bottle that he is able to manage really well. In fact, it’s challenging to get him to give it up. He loves that thing, and he LOVES water. I have to really watch out to make sure he doesn’t drink until he gets sick! I’m just glad because we’ve dropped back down to three nursing sessions a day, and I was worried that he was going to get dehydrated. Not a concern, it turns out.
[Note: I just saw a review on Amazon that recommended a cover for the bottle, since the metal gets really cold when it’s full of ice water. She said the Built Thirsty Tote (this one, I think: amazon.com ) is a good fit. I’m going to give it a try—I currently have a wicked bruise on my foot from Tuck dropping the bottle on me, and maybe this would pad it a bit, too!]
We had no luck at all with sippy cups. I was excited about an Oxo one with a leak-preventing valve, but it just served to frustrate him. He gets really angry that he can’t get any water out of it, but he won’t give it back to me, insisting on clutching it close even if he’s drinking from his water bottle (see photo). A cheap Munchkin silicone-straw bottle works easily and he loves it, but it leaks more than the CamelBak (warning, no water bottle is completely leakproof, especially when it’s getting thrashed around by a baby!) and I prefer avoiding all that plastic when possible. It would be a good emergency/travel option if you found yourself in need of a bottle that you could grab for cheap at Target, though.
This week Tuck is sicker than he’s ever been, with a nasty summer cold. I have it too, so we’re both feeling low, but despite his horrible cough, fever, runny nose, etc. he’s dead-set on trying to escape the new gate we put up on his door, and pulling up on everything. A week ago, the first day he was sick, we had a terrifying experience: He got locked in the car. AGH. It was one of the brutally hot days out here on the East Coast, and I think something misfired in the car, which has that crazy keyless entry thing. We’d stopped at Whole Foods, and luckily I parked in the garage, so the car didn’t heat up too much. When we came out of the store, I did exactly what I ALWAYS do: Open the door (which unlocks the whole car), put him in his carseat, put my purse on the seat next to him, close the door, go to open my door.....and it won't open.
So there I was. He’s in the car, my keys are in the car, my cell is in the car. I’m outside, all the doors are locked, and OMG panic. There’s a remote unlock service, but of course the number was on my cell. Inside the car. I freaked out and the lady getting into the next car let me use her cell to call:
-Ben, who was out of state at a client meeting and had his phone off.
-411 to get the reception number for his office (before I remembered he was out)
-The receptionist, who looked up the car dealership, but accidentally gave me the number for the one next door
-Dealership 1, which gave me the number for dealership 2
-Dealership 2‘s front desk, which transferred me to repairs, which gave me the roadside assistance number (why doesn't the front desk have that???)
-Roadside Assistance, which took forever and finally transferred me to Remote Unlock
-The Remote Unlock people took forever as well, because we had to trade in our car 3 months after we got it due to a weird squeaking noise, so we have a 2012, not a 2011, and they were trying to unlock the 2011(sorry, dude who now drives the squeaky 2011 that ended up randomly unlocked last week)
Meanwhile, I’m crying, Tuck is eventually crying, the cell phone lady is asking if I want to call the cops, AGH. They FINALLY unlocked it, of course. I think it was 20 or 30 minutes but felt way longer.
I was so scared. He was so good. Luckily I was in the garage and the a/c had been blasting before we went in, so the car was warm but not hot. UGH. Not recommended.
Can you believe we’re already planning Tuck’s first birthday party? I’m in shock at how fast this year has gone, and yet how utterly removed I am from my life a year ago.
Kate Flaim is a freelance journalist and food blogger based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.