Saturday, March 28, 2015

Huggie Bear

Freddie has started giving hugs.  I'm not talking he-holds-on-when-you-carry-him. I'm talking full-on, legit hugs in response to "Freddie, can I have a hug?"

I first noticed it earlier this week when he latched on to Bess's neck. Then, he did it to me, and now, it's become the norm.  I may be overstating it, but from where I sit, being on the receiving end of one of Freddie's hugs is very possibly the greatest feeling in the history of feelings.

Try it; you'll like it.

(UPDATE: I have asked Freddie to hug me about 9,000 times today. Now, when he does it, he'll sometimes squeeze like a bear hug. Other times, he'll make a grunt while he squeezes. Seriously. Freddie's hugs are the best things, since Qdoba's BOGO burritos.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brother Buddies

Without being told to,
Jones kept reaching in to the cookie cup and pulling out
Cheek-Its, which he'd then hand to his baby brother.
Don't get me wrong.

For every nice thing that Jones does for Freddie, there are a thousand not-so-nice things he does to him. But lately, there have been a string of really sweet ways that Big Brother has treated Baby. I never want to forget them. In fact, I want to CLING to them when I have to start constantly yelling, "LEAVE YOUR BROTHER ALONE!" I know that time's comin':

1) Anyway, I've already mentioned Jones covering Freddie up with his afghan and telling me, "Baby fall" if Jones feels like Freddie is too close to the edge of something.

2) Well, today, Jeremy, Jones, and I were all outside in the yard, while Freddie finished up his nap. When I brought Freddie out a little while later, Jones handed Freddie Cheez-Its from the little cup Jones had been eating them out of. He just kept getting them, one at a time, and handing them to Baby. He'd even pick them up and hand them back whenever Freddie'd accidentally drop them.  It was VERY sweet.

3) Later tonite, we went out for Mexican (right after leaving the gym, which was, of course, a VERY wise choice).  Freddie was sitting in his little table mate chair (which, by the way, Brooke, is about to officially become AJ's. You'll see why in just a second). It's so much more secure, I think, than a restaurant-style high chair. Well, in theory it is. Its purpose is kinda defeated when your 14 month old figures out how to stand up in the daggone thing. Tonite, when Freddie did it, Jones watched from across the table and said, "Mama! Ba-by!" Just in case I wasn't paying attention. Thanks, Son.

As amazing as it is to watch Freddie watch Jones, it's just as awesome to see how, without ever being asked to, Jones has become Freddie's keeper.

I can't believe how lucky I am to spend my days and nites with these two.

Also, I love this picture of Jones.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"I'll Be Watchin' You..."

Since Freddie was basically big enough to take notice of anything, he's taken notice of Jones. I've often said, "Freddie watches Jones like he's a movie." And he does. 

But sometimes, Jones watches Freddie, too.  Like today ... we were in the backyard, and Freddie was crawling up the concrete steps. Then Jones decided he'd go up, too, so he, of course, walked up, steadying himself with a splinter-filled, wooden railing. His pace was, obviously, quicker than Freddie's, so he passed Brother, and as soon as Jones was in Freddie's line of sight, Freddie changed his mode of transportation. He immediately crawled over to the railing and pulled himself up to climb on two feet, as Jones was, instead of on all fours, as he'd been doing. 

It was adorable to see him mimic his brother. Just as adorable was when Jones turned around to check on Freddie, making sure he was okay. "Baby fall," he'll alert me any time he thinks Freddie's in danger. 

Another example of Big Brother looking out for Baby came in Nashville last weekend. Jones woke up with tummy troubles just after midnite. Since he and Freddie were in the same room of our hotel suite, Jones's cries, of course, woke up Freddie. Well, Jones had kind of spit up (it was too little to call it a "throw up," but it was enough to require removal of his t-shirt), so I'd taken his t-shirt off and was snuggling with him on the sofa.  He was wearing nothing but pajama bottoms and the blue and white afghan my Aunt Ethel made him when he was born. I kept expecting Freddie to settle himself back down, but when he didn't, I got up and brought him over to the couch with Jones and me. Jones was wedged between me and the back of the sofa, and Freddie was laying on my chest. There we were, the three amigos in the darkened room, when Jones took the blanket he'd been wrapped in and draped it over Freddie. 

It was cripplingly sweet; it also gave me a moment to remember for all the times Jones tries to ... steal Freddie's sippy cup or slam him on the ground and put him in a chokehold.

Something else awesome happened today.  Jones picked up another "chore." Now, in addition to "straightening up the 'room' (Jones for 'playroom')," Jones has to wheel the trash can out to the curb and back on pick up days (Tuesday). Given his passion for pulling wheeled objects behind him, he seemed VERY excited to help today.  We'll see how long that lasts.

Another cute story from today involves a cute story I don't think I ever got around to posting when it first happened. "Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven" was the Hymn of the Month for December 2013. I absolutely love this song, so I kept singing it all year long. Well, by December 2014, when I was really singing it a lot again, Jones was able to pipe in on certain words, most notably "star" in the middle of the first verse. I sing, "Born as a little baby, under a wondrous...," and he'll VERY energetically add "DDDDAAAAAWWWWWWRRRRRRRR."

Well, tonite, "we" were singing it as I got him dressed for bed, only when we got to the point where he'd typically say, "DDDAAAWWRRRRR," he instead said, "dac-dow (tractor)" and laughed like a hyena. We repeated this several times, laughing uproariously together.  It was actually pretty magical, both of us belly laughing at his utter silliness.

I'm hoping the times that we laugh like that together are too many to count.

Speaking of laughing, I'll end this post with a video that Jeremy has insisted I share. 

So you remember the John Deere tractor that Nan and Pop were VERY generous to buy Jones for Christmas?  Well, he loves to look at it and touch the hood, but that's still about as close as he wants to get to it. Still, every time we play outside, he wants it out there with us, even though he answers, "Baby('s) dac-dow" every time I ask, "Do you want to ride it?" (He'll ride the real thing but not one his own size.  Go figure).

So today, I thought, "Wonder if I can ride that thing?" And wouldn't you know it ... I can. The posted weight limit is WAY off. I thought if he saw me riding it, he'd see that it's not such a scary thing after all.

Or maybe it is.

You be the judge.

(By the way, I'm totally fine, though I appreciate Freckle's cries of concern ... or is it horror?)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Play Day

At one point while he was playing,
I said, "Say, 'Cheese,' Jones!"
Instead, he made a gun with his hand
and said, "Pow Pow." To those
who think boys and girls are
the same ... NO.

At 9 o'clock this morning, it was already 65 degrees in Greenville, SC.  Knowing I could take the boys outside WITHOUT packing a jacket was all the motivation I needed. The three of us hit the road and headed to Cleveland Park.

Not surprisingly, Jones's favorite part of the park was the slide. Up and down, back and around he'd go, over and over and always hesitating for a split second before pushing himself down the slide but always laughing by the time he reached the bottom.

Freddie's favorite was most definitely the swing. In fact, they'd swung in side-by-side toddler swings before Jones went back to the slides. When I told him it was time to go swing again, he pitched the kind of fit that would put to shame the wild animals in the adjacent Greenville Zoo. The screaming, the arched back (to keep me from putting him in the stroller), all of it. And when I said, "Look at my face, Jones," he said, "NO, Mama,"and looked in the opposite direction, so we had to cut our fun short (did the GORGEOUS WEATHER MEAN NOTHING TO HIM?!?!?).

"Jones," I told him very calmly, "we are leaving SOLELY because you pitched a fit." I'm sure his guilt completely overwhelmed him.

Though we had to leave the park, we didn't have to head home. From there, I drove to Furman, thinking we'd walk around the lake.

And that's what we did.

When we pulled on campus, I said, "This is where Mama went to college and where I used to teach!" When we passed the Amphitheatre, I said, "This is where Mama and Daddy got married." Both statements, I'm sure, had the same "dramatic" impact as when I told him that his fit prompted our early park departure.

The lakeside stroll was just beautiful. On the walk back to the car, I picked a greenspace and figured I'd let the boys run around some. Jones immediately gravitated to the lake. The ducks were very vocal today, and he'd "kack kack" right back at 'em. Freddie sat on my lap for several minutes, and then I sat him right beside Jones. They sat there, side by side, quiet (except for Jones's intermittent "kack kacking") for about five minutes. Then, when I said it was time to go, Jones said, "bye, kack kack" and went sweetly and without incident to his side of the double stroller.

I will NEVER understand the mind of a toddler.

Which is probably a good thing.

Also of note is that Jones counted to five yesterday!  He still refuses to say "one," but once he hears someone else say it, he can take it from there ... all the way up to five.

I know that I take a lot of
pictures of them in the kitchen,
but the light coming through that
window is just perfect,
in my opinion.
This picture is actually from yesterday.

These pictures were taken yesterday, too.

This was today, of course.
It's Jones saying, "Tum on, Ma-ma"
and making that precious little gesture. 
I now have not one but TWO
little Chick-fil-A tea addicts.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Freddie's First Step!

He started standing just before he turned one, and though he's been cruising like crazy since then - and standing more and more - it wasn't until this morning that Freddie Bear TOOK HIS FIRST STEP!  He took ONE step, mind you. He stepped towards the maraca (of course) that I was holding just a few few in front of him (he didn't do it, I'll have you know, when I was holding a train or my cell phone. It was only the maraca that made him move). When he did it, I cheered so loudly that he quickly sank to the ground, and he's not tried again since.  But still.  It's a *step* in the right direction (ba dum dum), and I could not be more excited ... mostly because Brooke's planning to take the boys' pictures in Nashville next week, and I'd really prefer for Freddie to be on his feet in his. 
So fingers crossed that he really takes off between now and then!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Brotherly Love?

At lunch today, Jones reached out and grabbed Freddie's hand. He's never done that before, and I thought he'd drop it as soon as he took it. Or, maybe, that he'd pinch it or squeeze it or use it to put some of Freddie's Goldfish on Jones's tray. 

But he didn't. 

He held it for several minutes. He even turned back to keep eating off of his tray, still holding Freddie's hand behind him. Freddie didn't seem to mind the attention. He just acted like it was a completely normal thing to have happen. For as many times as Jones has body slammed Freddie - or put him in an unprovoked chokehold - this gesture was the most heart-stoppingly sweet thing Jones has done to Freddie, since he used to climb in Brother's crib and "cuckle" with him after their naps.

Maybe Jones is starting to feel guilty for all of those body slams. 

Later today, the boys and I were at Ingles. We just needed a few things, so I pushed Freddie in his stroller and told Jones he'd have to hold my hand through the store. He did GREAT with this. In fact, he had the best day obedience-wise that he's had in a week, which was a great relief, because, obedience-wise, the last week has been R.O.U.G.H. 

Anyway, we'd almost made it through the entire store when I stopped in the freezer section on the outside wall. Remembering I needed blue cheese for dinner, I stopped the stroller and backtracked no more than nine feet straight back to get the cheese. Jones must've assumed I was leaving Freddie. He immediately said, "Baby!" and ran to the back of the stroller, grabbing the bar to push it (which he couldn't do) and turning to look at me, as if to say, "Have you forgotten...?!?!" It was precious

"We're not leaving Baby, Jones," I explained. "Mama just stepped back here to get something."  

But given the number of times a day I wonder if Jones is ALWAYS going to pick and bicker with Freddie (who, let it be known, never fights back ... yet), I am so grateful for an early example of him being his brother's keeper.

I am ALSO grateful that today was warm enough to go outside without wearing ski bibs.

Freddie's getting more and more bold
about standing, but, 14 months old today,
he's still not taking steps. I'm
hoping we're getting close, though! 

So, maybe Jones wasn't COMPLETELY loving today.

Freddie still watches Jones
like he's a movie.