Kiwi is 13 months: Always on the move

The other day, Kiwi sat at her high chair with a washable marker clutched in one fist. Using wide, sweeping motions, she moved her entire body to cover the paper in bright stripes. Her coloring was like an energetic dance—and that is how she approaches everything.

If she’s awake, my 13-month-old is moving.

This 13 month old cheered on Team USA during the Olympics! Ten Thousand Hour MamaNow that this toddler can walk, she loves the splash pad all summer long!Now that she's mobile, the beach is even more fun for this toddler. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThe beach is full of fun—and opportunities to dig sand!—for toddlers. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Kiwi is 12 months old: Leading me

Not long ago, Peeper came home from gymnastics. She ran into the bedroom, where I was changing Kiwi’s diaper.

“We learned frog jumps!” Peeper exclaimed—and began bouncing up and down, landing with her hands between her feet.

Kiwi squealed. She rolled over. Coming up to her knees, she started to bounce, too.

The two sisters laughed and jumped like frogs and laughed some more, all the while watching each other.

That little scene perfectly shows the core of Kiwi’s personality—her exuberance. She is so in love with life.

At 12 months old, my baby (wait, toddler?!) is the one leading me! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Peeper is 3

It’s hard to believe that 3 years ago, my beautiful Peeper made me a mom.

I will never forget that day. Early that morning I woke with contractions. A bit later, Eric, my sister, Finn and I went for a hike. My water broke on the car ride home. At the hospital, I endured excruciating back labor that made me wild with fear. But just after 9pm, I met the tiny person who had grown from two joined cells to an entire person, and my life broke open in the most joyous way possible.

This preschooler is 3 years old and brings me so much joy. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Peeper’s third birthday marks a division in my life—a clear before and after. But she continues to rock my world every day we spend together. Read more

Kiwi is 11 months

11 month old baby bruises

If my kid is covered in bruises, please don’t worry. It’s just that her ambitions are outpacing her motor skills.

There was one week when Kiwi had several bruises on her head, a goose egg above her eye and a gash on her gums. She had taken several headers, pulled both a chair and and end table on top of herself, and slipped in the tub—twice. All the bonks made me feel terrible, but it’s hard to rein in an 11-month-old baby who is set on cruising and climbing. Read more

Kiwi is 10 months: Time to play

baby play trampolineThis month, someone must have hit the “play” button on Kiwi, because she just can’t stop playing! (Ok sorry, terrible pun.)

One day, I put a plastic cup on top of my head. (Why? No idea. Seemed natural at the time.) It fell off. And Kiwi nearly fell over, she was laughing so hard. She made a game of it: She’d hand me a random object for me to balance on my head then giggle uncontrollably when it toppled off.

My favorite game? After she finishes nursing, Kiwi faceplants on my bare belly and blows raspberries. The first time she did it, Eric had to stop what he was doing in the other room to check on us because I was laughing so hard.

Her favorite game is chase. She’ll crawl away from me then pause, peeking behind her to see if I’m following. When I come after her, she squeals in delight and motors away—until I catch her. As I tickle her belly and nibble her cheeks, she surrenders in a fit of laughter—until setting off again.

10 months play crawling

The bruises on my knees from crawling on hardwood and the drool-covered belly barely register. She is happy and I am happy.

I’m even more grateful for this ease of play for both of us because our time together wasn’t always this carefree. In Kiwi’s early months, everything was hard. She cried, and I cried, and neither of us smiled all that much. She was in pain and I was unhappy. On the worst days I had to force myself to play with her—singing nursery rhymes or doing This Little Piggy on her prehensile toes—even though I felt no joy.

The contrast to today is striking—like walking out of a dark movie theater into a July day, it’s almost blinding in its brilliance. Now Kiwi can light me up, and her smile sparks a glow within me that grows with every tickle fest and game of airplane.

baby dog playing

baby play toy carBaby's first taste of apple I thought of her recently when listening to NPR’s TED Radio Hour. The hour-long show explored the benefits of play. The experts made me realize that when I get down on all fours to crawl-chase Kiwi, or when we do pattacake, or when I have puppets act out a scene from Downton Abbey, I’m growing, too.

Putting me in closer connection with my own inner child is just one more gift Kiwi is giving me. As she plays, so do I, and we’re both better off—and happier—for it.

Kiwi is 9 months: So in love with my baby

Kiwi and I are pretty much obsessed with each other these days.

I fell in love with my baby the instant I met her. Hell, I loved her from the moment I saw that telltale + on the stick I peed on. But this last month, when Kiwi turned 9 months, has brought our mutual adoration to a whole new level.

in love with my baby flowerin love with baby swimming pool

Take, for example, the moment I arrive home and walk in the door. As soon as Kiwi hears my voice, she squeals at a pitch high enough to make poor Finn flinch. Then she crawls toward me as fast as she can as a quadruped. She won’t stop until she’s in my arms.

And when I lift her up, I feel as if I’ve regained some essential part of myself. Read more

2 3/4 years old: All the feelings

Peeper is two and three-quarters years old, but she is more emotionally mature than many adults I know. (Sorry, guys!)

Take, for example, the other day when I spilled something in the kitchen while Peeper was eating breakfast. I must have made some grumpy grunt, because she asked what was wrong. “I’m just frustrated,” I replied.

She slid off her booster seat and walked over to me. She wrapped her arms around my legs and planted a yogurt-covered kiss on my knee.

“It’s ok that you’re frustrated, Mommy,” she said. “Now do you feel better?”

How could I not? trampoline jump girltutu and hat preschoolerblow bubbles Read more