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Journal 2004
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Wolf's 1st Year
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Mama Cat's Web Journal 2004

DECEMBER 2004
Being a stay-at-home-mom feels a lot like living in another country. I have fond memories of friends I used to work with and nostalgia for my old daily routines like driving to and from the office, alone with the radio for a whole hour every day! Yet immersed as I am in the constant demands of a 15-month old and three-year-old, my former working life has faded quickly away.


I am most surprised by the difficultly of this new job, by how the simplest tasks of rising, dressing and eating breakfast can consume the whole morning. I still have trouble getting the three of us out of the house before 9:30 a.m. I am also surprised by how little time I have to make a note of Wolfie or Mattie's latest accomplishments - and how quickly the days run together so I forget who did what when! I honestly thought by Christmas I would have redecorated every room in the house and sent out so many pictures of the kids that everyone would have my e-mail address blocked from their address books. So that offers a little explanation as to why you haven't seen Wolfie's very grown up 3-year picture.


A few days I have felt completely exasperated, particularly when I was trying desperately to do a particular important thing like folding laundry or go somewhere special like to the portrait studio for 3-year pictures. I'm learning a lot about reading my kids to gauge their readiness for a particular activity and finding that a little flexibility goes a long way - even if it's just waiting until the end of a show to leave the house. I'm also becoming the queen of fruit snacks and diversions. My very best tip so far is to save the toy aisle at the grocery store for last - they get a reward for being good and you get a little time to sort through your coupons and make sure you got everything on your list.
Most days though I feel so blessed and lucky that I am able to bask in the joy of childhood every day: Mattie's beaming pride in walking or covering her eyes for peek-a-boo, Wolfie's wild abandon on his trapeze or can't-keep-still thrill at petting one of the cats. Mattie's tiny voice saying 'Maa maaa' is the sweetest sound, especially 50 times a day. Even hearing Wolf say 'Mama!' 300 times a day still reminds me of my joy when he first said it.
I live now on the other side of the world in this small cocoon of love, where I’m free to wrestle on the floor, have hour-long tickle-fests and make endless play-dough pizzas. Someday I might get around to sending out postcards or attempting some other adult-type connection, but for now my life is completely full with just loving these kids.

October 2004

What a month for the Cat family - starting with my quitting my job of 13 years to finally become the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) I had always dreamt of. Our first event was Mattie’s one-year party, which was just wonderful.  The weather cooperated, albeit a little chilly; the kids all had a great time with Elmo and the moon jump; the food was great and the coffee flowed copiously. We had time to visit with friends and family and it was just a nice party all the way around.

 

Since October is now half over, I’m sure you’re wondering how I’m doing in my new role. Well, I know it has all the potential to bring me every happiness but it is really turning out to be an adjustment for me. First there was party clean up, followed by way too many appointments & play dates, which I blindly set-up while I was still working and looking forward to my new status. The second week turned the Cat family into the house of the sickies with colds for everyone and stomach flu for Mattie and I - lots of icky laundry and plenty of crankiness to go around! I’m hoping (praying REALLY hard) that Wolfie does not succumb. I would just love to fast forward to six months from now to see how all my adjustments work out, but I guess I need to just wait and see.

 

Wolfie is now 33 months old and about 39” tall and weighs 40 pounds. He’s got a trapeze over his big boy bed and is becoming quite the acrobat too. Singing along is the latest skill he’s been working on and loves Shania Twain’s Up and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, especially the one in Wayne’s World. His new love interests are our two Persian cats, that have just recently been re-given run of the house. He trots after them on tiptoes and if perchance they happen to briefly sit still for him, he’ll ask a question like, ‘Do you like to go upstairs BooBoo?’ I really think he believes he’s going to get an answer! Our main challenges with him are getting him to eat dinner and go to sleep, both of which met with mini-fits of tears and turmoil. “I don’t like eating dinner/going to sleep/quiet time,” whines Wolfie regularly.

 

Mattie is one year old and 30” tall and weighs 22 pounds, which are the 75th and 70th percentiles respectively. I wonder what parenting is going to be like when both my children tower over me? She has two teeth, though the doctor says the uppers are on the way soon. She is a crawling master and we call her scooter-pie as she can move faster than you can turn your head, especially to and up the stairs! I think this skill is keeping her from any serious attempts at walking for now – she has incredible balance and can stand well and walks perfectly while holding your hands, but she refuses to take even one step on her own. Instead she’ll drop down to her hands and knees and crawl one step only to stand back up again! Mattie is evidently learning to talk directly from Wolf. She does not say Mama or Papa, but instead, uses the phrase ‘I want that’ and points. It comes out something like, “Ehh ahnnnnt dadt!” Her first ‘word’ was LaaLaa, from the Teletubbies only she pronounced it, Daa Daa.

 

I must say that I am just thrilled with the prospect of being home with my kids and have already re-fallen madly in love with my Mattie. She is just great! I love her sloppy & dangerous hugs where she bangs her whole face up against yours with her open mouth landing on either your nose or chin so she can take a nice wet bite of you – ah, motherhood – I just love it!

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July, 2004 - My Mom and I took the kids to Penneys for Mattie's 9-month pictures. While I did get the shot of her I wanted (matching Wolfie’s 9-month portrait) getting the two of them to do anything for more than three seconds together turned into the challenge of a lifetime. After an hour and fifteen minutes, our exasperated photographer, Stefanie, had enough of us, although she did her very best to create some very cute poses to little success. At least I feel a little less guilty now at not pursuing the child model career for my kids. Maybe photo ops are just a little harder to come by with a 2 1/2-year old.

 

The paradox of Wolfie: How can one boy be so utterly charming one minute and maniacally challenging the next? Last night Wolfie was entertaining us with his usual brand of adorability and he said, ‘Everybody’s all Anthony,’ which means wearing blue like Anthony on the Wiggles – and yes, we were all wearing blue. Then not five minutes later, Papa had to carry him out of the living room screaming because he refused to go to his room to get his diaper changed. I guess that’s just life with a two-year old. And suddenly, Wolfie is all about being two. In the past week, the phrase we’ve heard most often is ‘I want to do it’ complete with the adamant whiny tone. And then, when we let him try to do it and he can’t quite get it, he cries. He’s so advanced he can tell you why he’s crying, “Mama, I’m crying because I dropped it,” but alas his emotions rule. Here we thought we’d been spared the worst of the terrible twos only to find our easy little boy is not so easy anymore.

 

At 2 1/2 years, Wolfie weighs about 39 pounds, has all his teeth, can jump with both feet off the floor and balance on one foot for about 2 seconds. He's quite a conversationalist too, telling stories and asking questions - mostly, 'What's that?' He's very polite and will always thank you if you do anything for him. He can count to twenty (except for thirteen), say his ABC's, knows his colors and sings many songs and can even make up his own songs. And just this month, he learned right foot and left foot. We're so proud of his development.

 

Wolf’s logo recognition is an advertiser’s dream. Any Shell gas station is always the carwash (where Grama takes him weekly). McDonald’s is always pointed out whenever we pass one – he even recognized Ronald McDonald at the July 4th Parade. Shania Twain’s Up logo is very clear to him to – he knew what was on the CD that Tina L. burned for him, just by her writing that logo. He carried an empty cat litter box into the living room and said, ‘that’s toothpaste in there’ because it was Arm & Hammer. [Have I mentioned that we brush Wolfie’s teeth with baking soda, which he loves because he’s such a salt fiend? It’s all we can do to keep him from eating it right out of the box!]

 

At 10 months, Mattie weighs almost 20 pounds, has her first tooth, and is just starting to get mobile - crawling mostly backwards & sometimes forwards – often instead of getting on her hands and knees she does a plank on her hands and toes! She'll also walk if you hold her hands. Even without teeth, Mattie just loves table food. We started with a little chicken a couple weeks ago and now she won't let us eat in peace! She squawks and grunts until you give her some of whatever's on your plate - it sounds cute anyway. She's an awesome little girl!

 

Mattie is not the least bit shy about sharing her opinions. We stopped at DQ one day after visiting Gigi and parked by the train tracks in the hopes of seeing a train while we ate our cones. Grama and I each got a cone with a spoon to feed ourselves and our seatmates – Grama in the back with Wolf and me in the front with Mattie. Mattie LOVED the ice cream so much, she started crying out whenever I let more than two seconds pass between giving her another spoonful. There weren’t any trains so I thought I would drive back to Grama’s to give Grandpa a chance to say hi. Mattie did not appreciate that at all – she squawked and squawked, demanding more ice cream. I’m embarrassed to say that I swerved the car as I held the cone up to her open mouth just to quiet her. I was wondering how mad she was going to be when it was gone, but thankfully she seemed sated by then and had Grandpa to distract her too.
 
 

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Monday, May 17, 2004 – Wolfie became quite a mouser this weekend and spent as much time as we would allow sitting at my computer exploring every page of the Playhouse Disney website. My PC has a trackball mouse and Papa’s has a regular one. Wolfie can work both, but seems to prefer mine. Occasionally he’ll click off the page and get into the Grown-ups area and then he’ll come get you, taking your hand to lead you to the PC so you can fix it for him. ‘Mama, I need your help,’ he says just like I taught him. It’s just amazing to me. Has he been sitting on our laps all this time (well the past 9 mos. anyway) just waiting for his chance to be able to click where he wanted? It kind of seems that way. He must have spent about 4 hours on the PC on Friday since it was raining all day and then after dinner we asked if he wanted to go play and he ran straight back to the computer for more. It's like he’s hungrily devouring all available knowledge, matching letters to form words by dragging a letter onto it’s dotted outline, choosing the object that’s different and building virtual block buildings – at least those are the things I’ve seen him doing. I’m stunned and thrilled by his genius.

          He’s becoming quite the musician too with an ever-expanding setlist. When he doesn’t quite know the words, the sounds he uses to fill in are right in time. [een da een da een da da, ee eye ee eye ooo…]  The new nighttime standard is Up (Yea da yea as Wolf calls it) replacing So Long for Now from Out of the Box, which Papa and I had down to a pretty nice arrangement too.

So long, farewell, to you my friend. Goodbye for now, until we meet again. X2

It’s been great to sing & play together (in the box) but now it’s time to say goodbye, (che che che snap clap)

So long, farewell, to you my friend. Goodbye for now, until we meet again. Goodbye for now, until we meet again.

One day I heard Wolf playing his little toy guitar which has buttons that let you either play whole tunes or crank them out note by note one button at a time. Sometimes the note by note thing makes it kind of hard to recognize the tune since you have to provide the timing and you can only do that if you know the tune. Wolf ‘plays’ Twinkle Twinkle just perfectly. Another day he was clapping out a very tight rendition of B-I-N-G-O.

          We went to the Lilac Parade by the Doyle’s yesterday with Grama and I think it HAS to be a new tradition. Even though it started off with sirens from every emergency vehicle in the town so blaring loud we had to hold his ears, Wolfie can’t wait for another parade. It’s been hard to explain why we can’t just make one appear for him and why I didn’t take any pictures of the actual parade itself, instead of just of him and Mattie. He made it the whole two hours though and really seemed to enjoy the drums in each of the marching bands. And, of course, the sirens, which he’s been chatting about ever since.

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MATTIE:  Sunday, April 11, 2004 – Mattie seems to be developing at a much faster rate than Wolfie did. She is so interested in everything we do and has some magical ability to let you know exactly what she wants. And she wants everything – pop in particular – you simply cannot take a sip out of a soda can (or cup for that matter) when Mattie’s in your arms. She’ll suddenly lunge forward forcing all her weight at the can so you better hold tight to both her and the can.

          Yesterday she had her first ride on Papa’s tractor, mostly because she saw Wolfie riding with him. I only took her outside to show Papa her new Easter Bonnet from Grama, but the way she stared so intently at the two of them you just knew she wanted to try it too. The roar of the engine had no affect on her as she sat on Papa’s knee and studied the big black steering wheel. Wolfie did not seem too thrilled with the idea of sharing his special time with Papa – don’t worry kids, the way the grass grows around here you’ll get your turn every week!

          At her six month appointment, Mattie weighed 16 pounds 14 ounces (75th %) and 26 ” (90th %) and Dr. Holly said she looked great. She wanted her to be rolling over a little more consistently, which might happen if we could give her more tummy time without fear of Wolfie loving her to death! Dr. Holly was rather impressed with her standing ability though and said she was very strong. I was concerned about Mattie’s eating, or more specifically, her immense hunger. Dr. Holly said some babies just like to eat a lot.

          I feel like I treat Mattie a bit older than I did Wolf at this age but she really seems older. She can grab her binky from over her shoulder (or wherever) and turn it around to put it in her mouth. She’s starting to really babble now and seems to delight in all the sounds she makes. She’s also very interested in everything around her, refusing to sleep when something is going on, like at Auntie Rose’s house for Easter dinner. She’s not shy about letting you know her opinion either. If she’s alone in a room, she can be happily playing with a rattle or her feet but then once you make eye contact with her, she’ll fuss and cry out so you know she’d really rather be with you. Whether she’s an advanced communicator or we’re just more in tune to her style, we usually know exactly what’s on her mind.  Mattie also seems to know what YOU want. Most often when you go to put her bib on, she will lift her head up so you can get it behind her neck. And she’s already helping to dress herself by pushing and pulling her little arms through the sleeves – I’m quite sure Wolfie didn’t do that until later.

          Her favorite person in all the world is Wolfie. Wherever she is, she always pays close attention to him. When the three of us are sitting on Wolfie’s bed together, she smiles brightly at him and wriggles her little body around to somehow get closer to him. She’s absolutely thrilled when Wolfie replaces her binky for her and her whole face lights up whenever he goes to give her a kiss on the head. To say that he likes her too would be a gross understatement. I hope it lasts forever.

Mattie's Valentine Picture
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almost 20 wks, she is 15# 3 oz.