Then: April, 2, 2012
Now: April 2, 2023
It’s a little ridiculous to call it a “season of firsts” since the entire first year of one’s life is really a “season of firsts”. But, in an attempt to sound festive, let’s go with it.
December was busy. Santa, snow, a trip to our “Country House”, trips to Iowa and Wisconsin, the ER, Christmas, family, ornaments, lights. Whew. Exhausting. We had a good holiday time and Seeley seemed to enjoy himself so I wanted to share some of the highlights before we move onto more important milestones.
We aren’t big Santa people here but if there was ever a Santa to visit is it Santa Erik who makes his stop at Mother Earth Gardens every year. A more hippy Santa cannot be found: has a pony tail, he has small braids in his hair, he wears Crocs. He is just kooky enough to be called magical. Seeley was skeptical of the whole thing but interested. He found it strangely captivating.
Santa asked “What do you think of my green glasses? Do they make me look like a vegetarian?”
Seeley responded with this face…
And then he settled on this….
If you ask us, the best part of the whole day was that Seeley missed his morning nap and only woke up once that night. Like I said, Santa Erik is magic.
We got our first significant snowfall and, being good parents of the Upper Midwest, we dumped our child in it and told him to figure out how to stay warm.
He was unimpressed but rallied.
Like any Gumshoe, his first step was to gain further clues.
And, then was just irritated.
(We feel exactly the same way about the stuff.)
3) Our Country House.
Didn’t you know? It is fabulous. It has a pool and a continental breakfast and a great view of I-694.
We were lucky enough to get our lead-coated windows replaced and had to move out for 3 days in December. We were put up in the Country Inn and, all in all, it was a fun adventure. Seeley particularly enjoyed hosting is best friend Homer at the pool.
I mean, look at these two. Too much.
4) Christmas with Aunt Missy and Uncle Chris.
Chris and Missy were out of town for the holiday so we celebrated early.
He got totally spoiled. He totally loved it.
5) Small Detour.
Dieter called me at work and said “So, I walked in the room and…” those words were enough for me to know it wasn’t good news. Luckily, it ended up just being comical news once the day was done. Seeley grabbed a screw driver off a table we didn’t realize he could reach and removed the interchangeable screw bit (Phillip’s head if you want to know.) As Dieter walked toward him to get it, he popped it in his mouth and took a big gulp.
A few hours later, we were in the ER. He seemed totally fine. The worst part was that he couldn’t nurse so Dieter had to hold him while I hung out down the hall until we saw the doc. It had been about 7 hours since he had last eaten at that point so he and I both would have liked to have nursed!
But, really doesn’t he look miserable?
Yep, he definitely swallowed it.
After an assessment, it was decided that we would just have to let it pass. We grabbed several latex gloves to help us in our “search” and headed home. Dieter had the honor of finding it about 36 hours later.
The current debate is whether we put it back in the set or turn it into some sort of homage.
We got to spend some quality time with cousins in Iowa. Seeley was completely taken with his cousins, DJ and Joseph. Last time he saw them, he was a little too young to engage. This time, he wanted to be part of the action. We were so fortunate to have a chance to spend some holiday time with my family and, on another day, my mom’s side of the family.
Cousins all around….
…in the bath…
My cousins also made lots of cookies.
…sisters got to hang out…
…and, Seeley and Grandpa D had some good laughs.
We missed the rest of our family terribly but we were so thankful to have a chance to spend time together.
We ended our holiday time with a trip to Platteville to visit Gramma Marge. We were long overdue for a trip back so we made it extra special by extending Christmas even further and having the Bierbrauer/Olson traditional Christmas dinner on Friday night. Gramma Marge impressed Seeley left and right with her amazing collection of musical instruments. He was in heaven. Seeley’s honorary grandparents, Bev and Nick, also had us over for a lovely brunch and Seeley got to sit in an uber-cool retro highchair. Of course, he really just wanted to crawl around and play with computer cords. Gramma Marge’s house also included a friendly dog and cat. Seeley followed the cat, Bowie, around and the two carried lots of conversations. He now makes “Bowie noises” whenever he sees a cat or dog.
Fun with Gramma Marge.
Shenanigans with Pops.
After a quick stop in Madison to see Nicki, Ryan and Eloise, we were back home in time to come down with full blow colds and hunker down for New Years. December was a nutty month jam packed with lots of busy-ness but we loved being able to spend time with so many people we love.
In closing, Seeley says…
See ya later, 2012! Nice to meet ya, 2013 – we’re gonna have fun together!!!
The bleary-ness of the last month meant it felt like I woke up on December 2 and I looked at my baby and saw an almost-toddler. During the sleepless nights and fussiness, it was hard for me to recognize exactly how much growing he was doing these last 6 weeks. But, there was no mistaking it when I compared his 9 month and 10 month photos.
Before – Mid-October:
Off to the Races – End of October:
Unfortunately, teething also happened in full force. At the beginning of October, a few tooth buds started to appear beneath his gums. By the end of October, two tiny teeth had erupted (one on the bottom and one on the top). But, once they started, they just kept coming. By the end of November, 6 teeth had appeared.
End of October Smile:
End of November Smile:
I’d like to pretend he will slow down a bit but I have a feeling that is a mother’s wishful thinking. I recently put away all of his baby clothes for the next time we need them again…the 0-3 mos, the 3-6, the 6-9 mos, and the 9-12. I am sure these 18 mos clothes won’t last us any longer than the others – mind you he is only 10 mos old!
Strangely enough, the day Seeley turned 9 months old on October 27th was an opening night for Dieter. You may remember that the day Seeley was born on January 27th was also supposed to be an opening night for Dieter. In fact it was an opening night, Dieter just wasn’t there. I like strange coincidences like this and it got me thinking about that first week after Seeley entered the world…
The week after Seeley’s birth was one of amazing tenderness and power all at the same time. It was intimate and unfamiliar, epic and yet so simple: Seeley and I stayed in our bedroom almost exclusively, Dieter went to and from the show in the evenings, and we got to know one another as a family. We spent our days napping, watching Netflix in bed, eating, and cuddling. Our birth center encouraged new families to be very particular about how they spent their first few weeks as a new family. One of the midwives said it as such: “It is a time of great vulnerability especially for new parents and care needs to be taken to make sure they never feel inadequate or inferior about their maternal/paternal instincts. Once this window of time closes it can either leave them greatly empowered or greatly fearful.”
Dieter and I talked it over and we decided we wanted to be home as a family of 3 by ourselves for the first week. Since he had to return to work when Seeley was just 27 hours old, I had a few female friends stop by while he was gone and bring me food or check in. But, we hosted no visitors, we only went to our midwife appointment, and we rested. For me, the most surprising part of this arrangement was how much power it gave Dieter to nurture and take care of us; he rose to the occasion beautifully.
He brought me trays of food in bed, placenta smoothies (a story unto its own), he held Seeley skin to skin on his chest. He took care of us. And, did it so gracefully that it wasn’t until weeks later I realized he had never changed a diaper or held a newborn baby before then.
Taking the week to focus on this new little being, physically heal, and emotionally adjust in our own way without seasoned professionals to chime in, give suggestions, or take control let us start this parenting journey on our own terms. It was magical and surreal. We are so thankful to have experienced it because we know next time will be much harder to cuddle in lala newborn-land when Seeley is running around like a little crazy man.
I had a great idea about how to keep Seeley somewhat hemmed in and away from such fun things as the dog food, the surge protector, and the screw covers on the toilet bowl. It worked for about 4 hours before he figured out a new trick and deemed it completely unsafe. Yep, he figured out to pull himself up to standing putting him one jerky movement from pitching himself over the barrier onto his head.
Niblet:1. Mom: 0.
We are nearing a big milestone over here at the Bierbrauer house: in about a week Seeley will have officially been out in the world as long as he was in my womb. I fear that I am going to blink, it will be his first birthday, and I will realize I have nothing more than a few notes scribbled in a notebook and about 12,000 photos piled my computer to show for it all.
Since I finally have a few spare moments, I would like to make an effort to amend this problem and start sharing a few stories and photos of these past several months. For example…
Almost 40 weeks.
Obviously a lot has happened so for awhile this may be a combination of current and retrospective updates.We love this little guy and we know you love him too, so hopefully you will be happy to follow along.