Your mommy and daddy already love you very much.

We love you so much, in fact, we want to share our journey and the beginning of your amazing life with you, our friends, our families and any strangers who happen upon this blog.

Hi strangers, it's weird that you're reading this.

We have so much to learn from each other and we're so proud to be your parents. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's get going littlest Chew...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nine Months of Mabel

This. Is. Crazy.

Nine months have gone by. Nine months of growth and progression and changes and surprises and joy and fear and yawns and giggles and tears and everything. The only things I can say for sure, when I try to really break down the last nine months, is that I have no idea how this has happened and I’ve never been happier about the unknown.

I’ll tell you about all the changes. I’ll tell you about how much she has grown and how funny she is. You’re going to read the stories that have made our hearts swell and made it so easy to forgive and forget all the petty shit life tries to bog you down with. The strangest part is I can’t remember it any other way. I went back through and reread some of the old blogs. I remember it like I was still living through it (must be a really good writer, huh?), but I only as a memory. The Mabel we know and love now is the only Mabel I can really conceive of. It’s hard to fathom a time when she couldn’t crawl; when she only wanted to bounce; when she hadn’t loved dinner time, breakfast time, or any other time we give her as much food as we’ll give her.

So let me think about the big stuff.

There’s her teeth. I don’t know why I’m starting with her teeth, but they’re just so damn cute and I love them. The bottom front teeth have been hanging out for what seems like forever. They were the shining standouts every time she smiled or laughed. One of her top teeth showed up a little ways back and just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Her mouth seems to perpetually swell as if new teeth are on the way (she handles it like a champ. Get’s fussy sometimes, but it’s nothing a little stern discipline and liquor can’t take care of). Before long I’m sure we’re going to have the best Bugs Bunny mouth in the world.

The crawling was delightfully hilarious. She struggled for so long up on her hands and knees just rocking back and forth. Most of the time she shot backward only to start all over again, but every once in a while she lunged forward and was so proud of herself. She was already getting into anything and everything. If she saw it and she wanted it she would roll, tuck, bounce, whatever it took until she had it. She has her Momma's determination. The first couple of days, once the real crawls started, were also really funny. She didn’t quite have it and sometimes forgot to use her legs, forgot to use her arms, or just couldn’t put more than two or three “steps” together. Right away though, she loved getting around and working her way up or onto whatever was close. It could have been weeks, I really don’t know, but once she had it down she was gone. Everywhere! We walked out of a room for a second, there were Mabel’s little crawl grunts following us. She loved the bouncer, more than anything it seemed, until the crawling took over. No more bouncer. No more walker. She was going to crawl there, pull herself up, smile, fall, do it again. She learned quickly to fall on her butt and we haven’t had many disasters. She does forget to let go every once in a while which sends her spinning whatever direction away from where she still has a death grip. I think she thinks it is fun. It’s hard to tell, she genuinely seems to think most things are fun.

The sleeping. Granted it has always been better for me, but now that her sleep routine is the same basically every single night, it’s hard to remember what it was like waking up in the night, even for a few minutes at a time, three times a night. Jenna was the one who sacrificed the most sleep and I know she's thrilled to finally be getting some real zzz's at night.  The napping is still day by day, sometimes 25 minutes and sometimes two and a half hours but we've got a routine established and the consistency seems to be key. She freakin’ loves the dogs.. I don’t quite think the feeling is entirely mutual; though Maizy throws her a kiss every once in a while before resuming her mandatory two foot Mabel radius (Mabius?). I know that’s a strange transition, but the dogs are always there at bedtime and she gets excited to see them when she wakes up, so I made the connection

That’s something else too. She learns and changes so quickly. For a little while she was pointing to noses and mouths on command; she loved giving huge wet awkward kisses that melted every part of your heart. The bouncing went away. These learned skills and adorable things came and left. As soon as she mastered them, she was on to the next thing. She’ll still hit you up every once in a while, but for the most part I think she’s really just expressing her independence. I don’t mind. I’m already so enthralled by her little personality and what she’s going to become that I’m happy to just be along for the ride. Clapping is her new thing and if the last two nights have been any indication, so is peeing on her parents during nakey/bath time.

I’d say her favorite food is chicken. Jenna is still primarily nursing her and Mabel realllly loves milk, but she really does eat (or at least try) anything we put in front of her.  Some things she will pick up and try to share with us and that's her way of telling us that it's not really her favorite. The stuff she really likes, she is focused and set on getting it down. She gets this determination from her dada. Our goal was always to have her eat whatever we ate and we vowed we would try our damnedest not to fall into the habit of making a "kid meal" and an "adult meal" every night. Rice cereal didn’t sit well with her so we moved to the babyfood grinder and puffs. That went well for a very short while but the grinding got old quick and Mabel wasn't a huge fan of mush or being fed. We jumped right to "real" food and since we’ve been giving her portions of whatever we have (properly cooled and cut into baby size, of course) she has just done her thing at dinner time. Dinner time growing up was always one of my favorite times. The whole family at the table eating together is important to both Jenna and me and we are able to do it almost every night. More often than not Mabel makes a damn mess of herself, which is always adorable and the dogs like that too. 

I feel like I’m going on and on, but even though I live with it every day it’s amazing to think about and reminisce. I’m trying to skip over some of the sentimentality and sap because I’ve shared all of that before, but I really can’t tell you enough how it just keeps growing. Jenna and I are so busy. She is back in school full time, working full time and has Mabel all day long. I’ve been working on some big projects at work so I’ve also been insanely busy. We don’t always get as much time together as we’d like, but every second we get is just amazing. The remnants of “remember when we used to…” are gone. It’s Mabel and it’s amazing. Happy hour is fun. Happy hour with the baby is better. Football Sundays are amazing, since it’s the only TV she ever watches, Mabel is particularly fond of them as well. We still do our best to make time with our friends and family, but it definitely isn’t easy. We’re delightfully needy and I don’t mind asking people to come to us. We’re good hosts and Mabel’s smile is worth any number of miles. If you’re out of town, consider this an open invitation.

I really don’t know what to say, but you have to see this girl. She’ll brighten up your world like she does for us every single day. The smiles aren’t fall off. The giggles are just behind. She’s cuddly in the morning, but it’s even more fun to watch her explore. No drawer or cupboard is safe and her million and 8 books probably aren’t going to last all that long. We’re still trying to teach her how to be gentle. She’ll get it. She’ll get everything. I’m in awe of her. I’m in awe of who she is and everything she does and how much she loves people and new places and trying new things. Everything is so much more exciting in life. Watching someone soak it up and breathe it in is revitalizing. Have you heard children’s music lately? Shit’s awesome. Life, life in general is just amazing. We really do our best to be open and loving parents, but Mabel, probably unknowingly, has given us so much more than we could ever give back. It’s scary to think about and it’s so hard to understand, but the future is going to offer us so much. It won’t all be good, we know, but it’ll all be worth it to watch our little bean get bigger and bigger and learn more and more. It’s heart-stoppingly beautiful and I’ve never been luckier or happier in my entire life.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Seven Months of Mabel - Five Years of Family

Little Mabel-

Five years ago, on this day August 16th, 2008, your Momma and Daddy stood in a beautiful little backyard grove and said some vows that ended in some "I do's". Leading up to that day, your mom and I felt an inexplicable draw to each other that ended up forming a bond that eventually led to you, our little peanut. I want to tell you a few things I've learned in that four years and five months before you joined the family:

1 - Time matters. How you spend it, where you spend it and who you spend it with are all remarkably important. Being conscious of that time and acknowledging it doesn't come easy or natural to most people, but when you learn to do so, it changes everything. That time we spent over those years taught us how to love each other better than we ever did before we were married. It taught us how to talk to each other, sometimes how to fight each other, and it taught us to appreciate the mere fact that we were together. We have grown as people, we have grown as a couple, and we have grown as friends to each other and to your vast web of grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles.

All that time, I don't think we realized we were just prepping for you. It's easy to love you and your perfect giggle, gorgeous smile, and everlasting loving looks, but the time and love your momma and I have spent cultivating makes it so much easier to see all the joy and beauty through the times that aren't always easy. Your first cold (which you're just getting over) is nothing compared to watching you roll over on all fours and rock back and forth, prepping for that first crawl. The sleepy mornings after long nights are nothing compared to what we're pretty sure is waving when we say hi and barking when you see Daisy.

2 - Talking matters. By the time you read this, I'm sure you'll have a pretty good idea of your old man's propensity for chattiness. It's easy for me to talk and to give fun speeches and to address large groups, but it hasn't always been easy for me to talk about the important stuff. Your mom either. Five years ago, we had remarkably different approaches for dealing with our conflicts or sharing what we really wanted to get out of our relationship. We worked through it through eventually breaking down those barriers and because we never stopped talking to each other and we kept loving each other.

Learning how to speak to one another, which hopefully we will pass on to you, took a lot of time, but after five years, hopefully we have a pretty good grasp of it. Sometimes, especially now, when I'm frustrated or I know your Momma is frustrated I think of you and I think of five years ago and I smile knowing that it's such a minuscule moment in our lives and I get less frustrated. That all came about through time and talking and just pure love for you and your mom. She does the same for me. More than I acknowledge, but I'm so proud of her. I fell in love with a person years and years ago who has grown into one of the best people I know. She just keeps getting better and better and you get to have her as your Momma and we get to share all this love with you.

3 - Love matters. Your Momma and I have been married for five years today because we love each other. We love each other for the people we were, people we are, and the people we're still becoming and will someday become. In these five years, those three words haven't always been easy to say, but they have always been the port we come back to. We say them to you every day and we want you to grow up to know what love is because you saw it every day of your life. We want you to learn how to talk, how to appreciate life, and how to love by giving back to you what you have given us.

We have spent five years become better people with and for each other, little Mabel Jayne, and now, seven months into your already amazing life, it's even more evident than it was on day one: We were learning to love each other better so we could love you and our new family the best. Thank you for giving us all that you have given us and thank you for helping me appreciate who your parents are as people, as individuals and as a couple. I don't thank your Mom enough out loud, but I thank her every day in my heart and in my life by saying those three small words and knowing she is the best part of me and has given me the best part of us, which is you.

I love you little girl. Thanks for making us better and thank you for helping me realize all the amazing things I get to teach you. I'm the luckiest Daddy, the luckiest husband, and the luckiest person I know. That's all because of the last five years with your Momma, and the last seven months with you.

Thank you, both.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Six Months of Mabel

Even as I type that title I can't believe it's true.

Five months came and went without a blog update. Sorry about that, wedding season and summer in general has us pretty busy. Not to mention a little bean rapidly becoming a big bean and jumping into (and onto) everything!

So much has happened in the last two months. I am struggling to wrap my head around it, but I'll do my best.

DEVELOPMENT: 5 Months Vs. 6 Months

Last month Mabel started trying to roll over. It was adorable. She would throw her body to the side and get stuck on her legs or with one arm underneath her. She would eventually roll back or get frustrated. So we'd help her out and she would do some tummy time until she got fussy with that. Watching her actively try something new and work toward something was mind blowing. It wasn't just a coincidence. She was learning. She was trying, failing, rarely succeeding... her physical actions had a purpose and you could see them slowly getting better.

Until they got better... then boom... pop... pow... gangbusters. Girl is a rolling over master. She got it once and then struggled. Twice. Struggled. Still didn't love being on her belly. Three times. Still had a limited shelf life. Four. Five. Six... I don't know when it happened, but the girl just doesn't care anymore. If she wants something, she'll roll to it. She'll army crawl on her belly, roll two or three times to get what she wants. She's a determined little girl.

Sitting up is another accomplishment we're really proud of. I can't remember when it happened, but she started to like sitting up and playing with her toys in front of her. At first, obviously, we had to watch her closely and hold onto her to keep her from falling down. Then a pillow would do it. Then it didn't matter at all, the girl's a pro.

Pictured: Sitting tall and pretty

Her attention to detail, things, people, and especially the dog are new and exciting. Nothing seems like an accident anymore. She watches people or things and knows where they are and when they're coming back. She gets excited when I get home and nothing is funnier than her momma. Jenna can make her crack up just by looking at her and we finally found the tricks to keeping her from freaking out after bath time (still loves nakie time, bath time with daddy, and eating... always with the eating. More on that later). 

The only thing she hasn't embraced were her old sleep habits. We knew we were lucky when she was sleeping through the night after a month. At some point the sleep luck wore out and she started waking up once or twice. Then two or three times. Sometimes more. Her rolling has definitely effected her sleep, as well as her curiosity. She is so into watching everything that it's harder to feed her during the day, so maybe she's hungry in the middle of the night? I don't know, you gotta keep that low center of gravity in check, how else is she going to be break dancing by 10 months?


I wish I had a better sense of time or had the dates tattooed to my arms, because Mabel's milestones seem to be sprinting toward us lately. Besides the rolling over and the sitting up, she has also started eating food. We tried to start with sweet potato and banana, but they were a little too flavorful. She did much better with rice cereal and even seemed to enjoy it. Mixing fruit with the rice cereal, with the help of the baby food grinder (thanks Grandma Carol) is a revolution. Who wouldn't love peach rice cereal?

As her aunt Melissa said, steak is right around the corner. Little Bean got her first tooth! Teeth now, Jenna just told me the second bottom tooth just poked through. She wasn't all that fussy through her first teething experience except for one day. She started doing a new face where she sucks in her bottom lip. It was obviously adorable, but it was not easy to see her so uncomfortable. I'm really looking forward to her little toothy grin, I can't wait actually!

Pictured: New cute face
It's not really a milestone, but she also has a new scrunched up face she does when she is really happy. It looks like she is sniffing something, so whenever she does it we inevitably copy her and start smelling her. Parenting is weird.

Pictured: Workin' the sniffer

She's also finding her voice. It so happens to be the voice of a lion or a twenty-year smoker, but it's hilariously gorgeous to hear her roar. When she gets chatty she gives it all she has and I swear she's actually said the words A-Goo and Dad on purpose (not dad, that's a lie). I'd have to say the voice comes out most often while she is bouncing. It took a little getting used to, but the Bean is a bouncing machine! We have a Jolly Jumper/Johnny Jump up that is guaranteed to put a smile on her face. It started off as swaying around with a bounce here or there and has evolved to constant bouncing for 20-30 minutes at a time. It's exhausting to watch, but she just doesn't get sick of it. It has also gotten her closer to Daisy. She reaches out for her and somehow the dog doesn't run away terrified. Even while you're holding her she lifts her legs up and kicks off to try to get you to bounce or throw her. Who needs a kettle bell or gym membership when you have an almost 18 pound baby?

Pictured: What does a lion say?
Mabel also proved how much of a champ she is by doing an amazing job on her first extensive road trip. We were terrified of the 4+ hour drive into Pennsylvania for her Great Grandmother's 80th birthday party, but we had nothing to be scared about. It was a great trip and we all got to see a ton of people who met Mabel for the first time. She got some great naps in on the van ride and everyone agrees that she's the best thing I've ever been a part of... mostly me.

Pictured: Family at GG Chew's 80th birthday. New Wilmington, PA

It honestly seems like she was just born. Jenna was pregnant yesterday and we started using cloth diapers this morning. She laughed for the first time this afternoon. By bedtime she's going to be married with kids and it is terrifying.

The constant love and joy we get from this relationship is remarkable. Even after the worst nights or the napless days or the Pukey McPukerson moments, there is always a smile and always just pure love. They do grow up so fast. They do change before your eyes. You will not know where the time has gone. You will cherish every second of it.

Whenever you read this, little Bean, I just hope you can tell how proud we are to be your parents. I hope you can see how much the world loves you and how much love is in the world. Sometimes you'll have to search for it and read between the lines, but you never have to go further than your parents, your grand parents, your real aunts and uncles, your pretend aunts and uncles and all of the amazing people in your life to find someone willing to share their love. That's the world I want you to live in and hopefully that's the world we're creating for you. I love you so much. We all do.

Friday, May 24, 2013

On Breastmilk Donation


One day you'll read this and it'll start a conversation about how when you were a baby, you drank human milk from me and it gave you the most luscious cheeks, plentiful arm rolls and adorable leg dimples. Then I'll tell you all about how the very same milk that helped you grow also helped nourish other babies around the United States.  Here's a little testimonial I wrote about my experience with milk donation, The National Milk Bank and Prolacta Bioscience.

"It’s an amazing and empowering experience to provide nutrients for your child and I feel incredibly fortunate that my body is able to supply my daughter with all of the nourishment her growing body needs. While pregnant, I extensively researched breastfeeding and all of its irreplaceable benefits.  I knew that I wholeheartedly wanted to breastfeed, but also knew that many complications can surface that may hinder a mother’s ability to exclusively nurse her baby.  After giving birth to my daughter and beginning our nursing relationship, it was quickly apparent that I was producing much more milk than my daughter would ever need or want. Knowing the incredible benefits of breast milk, I researched milk banks in hopes that my extra milk could be put to good use.  I was impressed with The National Milk Bank’s mission to provide precious human milk to micro-preemies and was in awe of the technology used by their affiliate Prolacta Bioscience that would allow my milk to be pasteurized, fortified and distributed to hospitals.  I immediately contacted them in hopes of starting the application process.  Qualifying to become a donor is a multi-step and thorough process and the level of detail that goes into donor screening should be comforting to any parent of a child using donated human milk. The team at the National Milk Bank works hard to ensure the process is smooth for donors and that only milk of the highest quality is accepted. I am so happy to be part of the National Milk Bank family and am honored to be helping babies across the nation through breast milk donation. I look forward to the day that I can tell my daughter that she shared her nourishment and helped save tiny lives!"

Thanks for being such a great sharer already, Mabel. Mama loves you so much!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Four months of... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA!

Dear Mabel

I’m a little bit late with your four month blog, but I’ve taken this opportunity to switch it up a little bit. Your mom’s birthday is coming up, it’ll be today by the time I post this, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about your mom so you are ready for when you get bigger and want to brag to your friends.

We live in a lucky place in a crazy world and a lot of little boys and girls think they’re the luckiest of the bunch. I’d like to take a few minutes, in honor of your Momma’s birthday, to tell you why you’re the luckiest little girl in the world.

We’ll start with some retrospectives and move on from there.

You’ve really grown up in the last month. You rolled over for the first time and you really want to do it again, you’re not quite there and we still blame the big diapers. You’re chatty as can be, too. We have the most productive conversations of coos and goos and rahrahrahs I can imagine anyone ever having. Thanks to your momma, you are well on your way to being the smartest little bean in the world. She spends all day and all night every day of the week thinking of one thing above all else: You.

You’re a great sleeper, but not the best napper at this point. You do this crazy kick thing where you lift your legs above your head and slam them down. It’s a good cross between hilarious and terrifying. You can thank your mom for this too. (The sleeping, not the leg raises.) Not a day goes by where your mom doesn’t examine the days and weeks before and think of new ways to keep your schedule manageable, to help you get through the day, to put another smile on your face.

Let’s talk about that smile! Oh lord that smile.

Pictured: The inevitable destruction of 1000 hearts

Throughout your life you’ll learn that outer beauty isn’t the most important thing and really it doesn’t matter at all if you are a good person with a good heart. It’s all very true and if nothing else, your mom and I want you to be that person with that open, loving, giving heart. But that smile. This world is a funny place and that smile will open up a lot of doors for you... or have them opened by nice people. (Fathers Note: If a guy doesn’t open a door for you, even in middle school, he’s not worth the price of his stupid t-shirt he’s probably wearing) That bright face, wide wondrous eyes and that smile are your moms and they are beautiful. You’ll have a lot of opportunity to use that smile, it’s one of the first things that made me fall in love with your mom. So remember to be nice, people will do a lot for a pretty smile, so we’ll try to teach you to use it for good instead of evil : )

One of my favorite things about your mom is a direct testament to you, little bean. She and I have been together for quite a while at this point and we have each grown and changed and matured through our relationship with each other. I have to say though, even as a spritely 20 year old, I’ve never seen your momma have as much energy as when she sees you. Even after a long day when you didn’t nap, your friend Desmond decides he doesn’t like playing outside anymore, and your daddy did or said something stupid, all it takes is your bright and shining face to liven your mom right up.

I’ve adored your mom since the beginning, but after going through the experience of bringing you into the world I couldn’t think I could ever love her more.

I was wrong.
Pictured: Adorable parenting

Every single day you get a little bigger. You get a little smarter. You, somehow, get happier and more loving. I am gone most of the day at work and sometimes I don’t get to see you as often as I want. Your momma takes good care of me too. She sends me pictures and videos and snap chats of your laughs and giggles and smiles and sometimes of your perfect little sleeping face. I couldn’t do any of this, I don’t think I would even know an eighth of what I know about being your daddy without your momma. I see the two of you together and I love you each more and more every day.

When you are old enough to read this, take a second to hug your momma and thank her for everything she does for us. Then give her a kiss for every birthday any of us have had in between now and then. With every kiss, tell her you love her and happy birthday.

I’ll try to do the same.
Pictured: A momma who knows how to party.

Happy birthday Jenna Lyn Chew! Your baby girl and I love you so much that I am currently a little teary eyed. Proud of it love. So proud of you.

Happiest happy birthday!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Three Months of Mabel

Writing these blogs is getting harder and harder.

I just reread Jenna's last post recalling two months of Mabel and it seriously seems like yesterday. I've been thinking about this post and how much she has changed and grown and "matured". So much that I didn't know what I would write until I looked back at last month and had a little inspiration from some pictures Aunt Danielle sent over and Jenna made into a pic-stitch

(I think that's what it is called, I'm not good with that sort of thing... the second Snap Chat I received was a video of a grown man shaking his butt (quite professionally I might add, great butt Rob), so maybe I should just leave my tech savvy-ness to the blogs and my new found love of Twitter).

Back to the important stuff. When you last read Jenna told you about how well Mabel was growing, how she had just started sleeping through the night and how lucky we felt, as parents, to have such a calm, agreeable and pleasant little baby. Thankfully all of that is still true, but after seeing the pictures Danielle sent I realize how much the last month has amplified everything.

Pictured: Itty Bitty Beans first moments with the world.
She was so tiny.
She needed us for everything.

In the last month she has become so independent and (I know this sounds ridiculous) smart and strong and funny.

I'm teetering on "Stop Dad, shut the hell up, it's just a baby" territory, so let me explain:


In the photographs above you see a very small child. That small child needed constant care. In the first month particularly and even up to the last blog post. At that point sleeping a combined total of ten hours between the two of us was a miracle.

Nowadays there are very obvious times when Mabel has opinions. Daddy tickling her or laughing at her makes her grumpy, but mommy doing the same thing makes her giggle. If she doesn't like how she's positioned on the couch, god dammit you're going to know about it! We are able to set her down in one of her play areas and she just goes to it! She doesn't need us to have all the fun in the world. This is actually sorta sad to think about too deeply, which is why my policy is never to think about anything, ever. This brings me to,


The girl is brilliant. In the last two weeks she has really started to love her play mat. Before that it was her vibrating chair with the dangly things. She just liked being in them and staring at the owl or the turtle or the lamb or the doggy. In what seemed like a blink of they eye she went from staring with potential random arm swaying to purposeful grabbing, holding, shaking, rocking and giggling.

She isn't only cooing adorably anymore, she goes back and forth with you when you make noises with her. It's the baby way of talking, but she's still talking. She'll look right into your eyes as you match her grunt for grunt or hum for hum. The other day Jenna was blowing bubbles with her gum and Mabel started blowing bubbles with her spit. The other day I was ignoring her and watching tv. I looked over, she was ignoring me and watching tv. What?! Seriously! Brilliant!

She has always been happy and smiley, but she seems to be understanding situations now as well. We have stuck with our bedtime routine, always slightly altering it as we go (Jenna still reads so much and is constantly looking for ways to make Mabel's life easier and better... it's astounding). We're learning not to worry and to embrace flexibility. Give each other time and space as we need it and include Mabel in those plans. She gets it. Bedtimes are easier, mornings and baths with daddy are easier, she is still an amazing eater, but she even knows now to slow down and give her momma a break.

These things might seem like be complete coincidences and, even if the majority of them are, they are the sign of an ever expanding cognization of the world around her. Her growth isn't just in her belly or cheeks or clothes size (she's rockin' out in 3-6 month attire). It's mental, it's physical, she's always been cute and adorable, of course, but as she looks less like me and more like her mom you can see how beautiful she is. It's in her bright eyes, her warm and happy smile, her long and flowing eyelashes, the way her cheeks and mouth react to what's going on around her. She's growing up and getting so...


Mabel's movements are more purposeful. I feel like a lot people say "she's so solid," which she is (in more ways than one - we know she's a chunk and we love it!). Last month I would have said, yeah, she has great neck control when I hold her up. Apparently science tells us this is very important because we do a little something called Tummy Time. Tummy Time is a magical time when you lay your baby on their stomach, preferably on a soft surface, and watch as they struggle to hold their head up and hone their neck control, back strength, and potential for push ups.

Four weeks ago, Mabel hated her some Tummy Time. She hated Tummy time as much as she loved Nakey Time, which is a significant amount (still). It would take seconds until she burrowed her smooshed up little face into the mat and miserably squirmed and fussed. Now, our girl's gots some grit! She holds her head up like a champ for tens of seconds and when she's tired she sorta just lays down like a big girl and eats her hand. Her hand must be delicious, because she eats the hell out of that thing.
Pictured: Tummy Time during, after, and complex math on her back


The last category I mentioned is definitely true, but a little bit of a misnomer. Maybe not a misnomer, but it definitely has some layers.

It is funny in the most terrifying way how much she has grown so quickly. Look at the first picture posted in her first hours and days. Then look at the picture above. That's only THREE months. She has changed so much in three months it's funny to even try to remember what it used to be like to be her parent; what she used to be like before right now. It's funny how it all blends together and how I feel like it was only yesterday, but I can't even imagine Mabel being anything other than what she is right now. It's funny that in four weeks I will re-read this post and most likely type the exact same things, but comment on how "four weeks ago I thought she had changed from the four weeks prior to that, boy was I wrong."

Then it's funny to think that is how it will be for the rest of her life. She'll always be this tiny thing that needs us more than anything. This tiny thing that looks into her momma's eyes and coos and smiles and makes her so happy. This tiny thing that will start rolling over, then crawling, then walking, then talking, then watching zombie movies, then going to kindergarten, then she will be driving and the President of the United States and then maybe dating.

And all along the way she's going to look to us for guidance. She's going to expect us to be there when she has questions or discovers new things. We get to go through this journey again through the completely innocent eyes of someone who doesn't even know what funny means. Her Bill Murray onesie is just comfortable, she has no idea how great it is. She knows she likes it when we make funny sounds, startle her, make noises with her and laugh at her, but she doesn't really know what it means. (OR DOES SHE!?!?!) Everything changes every day. She picks up on something new, learns a little bit more, does a little bit more and at least now she knows that we have a dog, her name is Daisy and she is hilarious.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Two Months of Mabel

It’s been quite some time since I made an appearance on the baby blog partially because, toward the end of pregnancy and in the first few weeks of Mabel’s life, the exhaustion didn’t allow for complete thoughts let alone complete sentences but mostly because I look forward to reading what Thomas writes about the life as the Chews know it. He makes me laugh and cry and realize and appreciate even more than I do already. That being said, I thought I’d take a stab at recapping our last month with Mabel.  Can you believe she’s already 2 months old? Neither can we!

I could make this blog entry very short and summarize with this: Whoever is in charge of dictating the ways of the universe must have been very happy with Thomas and me on the day that sperm met egg and Mabel’s temperament was decided. Maybe it’s because we are avid recyclers or perhaps it’s because Thomas helped an old woman across the street that day. Either way, the universe gave us the most even keeled, easy going, predictable (as much as a 2 month old could possibly be), amazing, full cheeked baby ever to be born. We realize that we are the luckiest new parents in the world and we haven’t, for a second, taken it for granted. I’m sure whenever we decide to make Mabel a sibling, the same universe dictator will take notice that I left the water running when I brushed my teeth or that Thomas sped on the way to work that morning and we will be granted a colicky, non-sleeper…and we will love that baby just as much as we love Mabel. Except maybe a little less because Mabel is Ah-Maze-Ing! (Sorry, non-existent future fussy baby)

So that could be the short version. But instead of leaving you with that, I’m going to give you excessive details about the 5 weeks since Thomas last posted.

We’ve learned that the go-to question asked to all new parents is, you guessed it, “How is the baby sleeping?”  Everyone wants to know. I’m not sure if it’s a primitive desire because it’s an instinctive behavior or because other parents want to compare their experiences to yours. It’s interesting.  In Mabel’s case, the answer to that question is… amazingly. In fact, she sleeps so well that she out sleeps me now. I have officially repaid the debt of sleep that I accumulated during weeks 39-41 of pregnancy and weeks 1-7 of Mabel’s life on earth. We’ve tried to be as consistent as possible in our nightly bedtime routine. Sometimes we get all pieces in, other nights she’s more tired and things get left out. We aim for something that looks like this: bath (the girl can spash!), pajamas, and storytime. Then we set the mood with high heat, low lights and a sound machine; she eats once more and dozes off to dream land in her bassinet. We’ve done some variation of this routine since the second day she was home. I can’t tell you for sure if it’s responsible for her sleeping through the night at 2 months (yep! THROUGH THE NIGHT!) but I can tell you that it certainly hasn’t hurt matters. Since she doesn’t seem to need me in the middle of the night anymore, Thomas and I (and the pediatrician) talked about it being a good time to transition her into her big girl crib. The thought of this makes me very, VERY sad but I suppose I’m going to have to start letting go little by little at some point, right? I wish she would stay my tiny baby forever but I also look forward to her one day becoming a strong independent woman. I bet Hilary Clinton didn’t sleep in her parents’ room after she was sleeping all night long. I need to let Mabel grow!

Speaking of growing, another question we get often is “How much does Mabel weigh?” Again, not sure if it’s a primal desire to know because in ancient times size was correlated to health (or wealth) or if people just have a common curiosity regarding baby sizing. Either way, Mabel is a big girl. I find this humorous for a few reasons. 1) Because Mabel had the doctors in a tizz at the end of pregnancy because she was “small”, measuring in the 20 something percentile. And we had extra monitoring because of it.  2) Because I am not a large person, in fact I am a very small person and Thomas is a very average sized person.  Mabel’s birth weight ended up being only slightly below average (6lbs, 13oz if you need a refresher since that blog entry) but her striking ability to gain weight was first noticed when she had regained the 6oz she lost in the hospital in a day and a half (doctors allow babies 2 weeks to gain this back without being worried) and she’s continued to grow at an (almost) alarming rate since then! At her 2 month appointment she weighed 12.5lbs bumping the little peanut up to the 84th percentile. I like to take credit for making milk with superpowers but in reality it’s more likely that the cheeks she inherited from her father push her up the ranking. It seems that she’s probably inherited my gene for height though since she ranked in the 37th here... 22 inches of pure, smooshable chub. It’s okay that she’s probably not going to be tall. Thomas and I decided that we’d rather her be a dedicated soccer player than a die-hard b-baller anyway (Mabel- if you read this, we will whole heartedly support anything you do, even if that means you’re the short chick on the basketball team).

So that’s that. Mabel is awesome. She smiles all the time. She loves being naked. She loves riding in the car (usually), taking baths, laying on the changing table and long walks on the beach. She adores her Dad and gives him huge smiles and coos when she sees him at the end of the work day. Her eye contact is unbreakable and she always wins a staring contest. She loves being sung to and read to. When you talk to her, she looks right back at you to let you know that she’s listening to your every word. She’s a trooper at getting immunizations (we decided to have her get them on a slow schedule).  She enjoys sucking and we have finally convinced her that a binky is an acceptable alternative to the real deal. She does NOT love (or even like) “tummy time” but she still has remarkable head control and no longer needs help to support it, even with the weight of those cheeks! (sorry Mabel, Mama will lay off of the cheek jokes now)

Being in the parent club is fantastic. Before we had Mabel I was sure that I already had a pretty good idea about what it would be like to be a parent because I have a fair amount of experience and education in the children department. I. WAS. WRONG. Sure, I might have already known which sippy cup is more prone to leaking or the importance of phonemic awareness in early literacy development but I had no idea that there was room in my heart for so much more love, that it was possible to cry so many tears of joy, or that it was rational to be so irrationally petrified and excited to see what the future has in store.