Wednesday, December 30, 2009


For posterity, just wanted to upload the short speeches Jonathan and I said at Ben's party.

It’s so cliché to say that having a baby changes your life forever. Well after a year of being a parent, I’d like to say that having Ben has changed my life forever. Now there are only two phases in my life: before Ben’s birth and after Ben’s birth.
Just how much as my life changed? Well, all of my memories of before Ben’s birth seem like a distant dream; told to me by a third-person narrator. I know that I had experiences before Ben’s birth, but they seem like some old VHS tapes that I haven’t watched in a long while. Now, over the past year, my wife and I have been living fully in the present as main characters of Ben’s rapidly unfolding life-story.
I believe that children are an amazing blessing to us because they present incredible challenges to our daily lives. And I’m not just talking about the challenge of collapsing a Pack ‘n Play, or measuring formula at 3 o’clock in the morning. I’m also talking about the challenges that children bring to our way of life and our pre conceived notions. A child’s mind is purely idealistic, untarnished by fears and biases that we adults accumulate throughout our lives. If we let them, children will change not only our daily routine, but also our values and ideals.
It’s so fitting that the stories of the central figures of the Jewish and Christian traditions begin at birth. Scripture goes into vivid detail of the early lives of Moses and Jesus as babies and as children; two leaders who eventually upended their respective societies. Throughout history these stories have inspired hope that the next generation will bring positive change to our lives; even change that we don’t know we need.
Shortly after the near-collapse of our economy last year, a friend who is a parent asked me: “Isn’t it scary raising a child today with all of the world’s problems, not knowing if the future will be positive?” After thinking about what he said, I have confidently decided that no, it is not scary. I have faith that my son and those of his generation will solve the problems of the today because they are not weighed down by our biases and our fears. The future is not captive to our wrongs and our mistakes, but it is free to fly to the endless heights that this youngest generation can lift it to.
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Jonathan and I would like to thank you all for being here with us today to mark the occasion of Benjamin’s 1st birthday.
Because we did not have a bris or baptism for Ben, this day is quite important to us, and we feel that we’ve hit a huge milestone as a family. We are honored that you took time out of your busy lives to pause and celebrate with us. We feel that our Benjamin is worth celebrating.
To say that it has been an amazing year is an understatement. It has been an amazing, exhausting and exhilarating year. To be responsible for a child, a human life, is an awe inspiring responsibility. To have a partner such as Jonathan with whom to walk this road is truly my greatest fortune.
We would be remiss to gather you all here today and not mention the four people without whom we would not be here today (literally)—our parents, Ronna, Les, Carole and Phos.
They have helped us and supported us and loved us, unconditionally and intensely through the last year.
Every new family should be so lucky to have the support of four grandparents close by to bring food, change diapers, to listen, encourage and gently guide.
Obviously they did a fantastic job with their own children, if I do say so myself, and we could not be luckier to have these four amazing parents in our lives for us and for Ben.
A million thanks are not enough to adequately express our deep gratitude. We will do our best to raise our son using the morals and tenets that you have taught us.
We cherish the relationship you are building with our son and soon he will realize just how amazingly lucky he is to have you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ben's 1st Birthday Party

On the 19th we celebrated Ben's 1st birthday with family and close friends--60 of them, to be exact.
We hosted the gang at Jonathan's church, as we couldn't have accommodated everyone (and fed them) in our house. I was anxious to see how Ben would do, as the party was schedule for during part of his typical nap time, and he hasn't been a huge fan of large crowds in the past.
Our big boy rose to the occassion and seemed to enjoy himself...I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the tale.

Such a lovely celebration for a lovely little dude!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy 1st birthday, Benjamin!

Dear Ben,
I have been thinking about this day for a long while—364 days, to be exact. What will you look like at one year old? What will your personality be like? What will you be eating? Will you be sleeping through the night?
All of the hopes and dreams for our first year together have been superseded. You have made me happier than I have ever imagined. Although there have been some challenging times, the good times are what stick out most when I reflect on this last year.

Let’s hit the details first:
What will you look like? You are just adorable. Some people say you look like me, some say you look like Daddy. Regardless, you have the most sparkly smile and twinkly eyes. You have one dimple on your right cheek and your hair has a neat swirly pattern at the top. Your eyes seem to have settled into a light brown, although in the light I can still see some hazel tones. You have four teeth in fully and two coming in. You like to bite and flip your tongue over in your mouth.
What will your personality be like? I used to think you were a shy boy, and occasionally that still holds true. Mostly, I think you just like to feel out a situation before you get comfy and settle in. You love playing at Grammy and Pops’ house and adore when Grandma and Grandpa come over for a visit. You feel very comfortable in the homes of our friends in playgroup and seem to be totally relaxed and happy with their moms, too. Your demeanor is generally pleasant, except when being changed or getting buckled into the car seat. Then you are sure to let us know that you are not happy. Diaper changes are more like WWE matches these days. I will not be sad to see this phase pass!
What will you be eating? Anything. And. Everything. You are a fantastic eater. Boy I hope it sticks! You have preferences (avocado, cottage cheese, blueberries, bananas) but will eat just about anything we put on your tray. We are switching you from formula to whole milk and it feels like a big milestone to me. Not sure when we’re going to stop using bottles—at least in the morning and before bed. No rush, I guess.
Will you be sleeping through the night? Mostly. You still go to bed around 6:30 and I hear you cry out during the night about 50% of the time. It’s rare that I have to go in and soothe you, fortunately, and the crying usually only lasts for a minute or two. Breaks my heart though. You still take two naps and you really do need them. On days when you skip one of your naps, your behavior is, shall we say, unpleasant. Schedules are a good thing for us.

You have grown into such a good boy—so smart, so interested in life and what’s going on around you, so yummy—and I am very interested to see what next year brings.
My life before you is a little blurry, as if my mind wants to hold on to all of the memories we are creating together, at the expense of other things in my mind. You really are the center of our universe and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy 1st birthday, Benjamin Jay. You are loved.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One small step for Ben-kind!

Yesterday, two days shy of Ben's 1st birthday, he took his first steps.
It was quite exciting--we were hosting playgroup at our home, and were celebrating Ben's birthday a little early with our little friends.
Ben was standing up, and I was holding out my hands to him, encouraging him to walk over to me. One of the moms suggested that I hold my hands up, so that he reaches up to me instead of down and voila--a few steps. It was great being able to share this moment with some of our wonderful friends and moms from the neighborhood. Sad that Daddy wasn't able to be there but Ben put on a command performance later in the evening so Daddy could see.
As one might expect, I have been unable to capture this event on film so far. But trust me, it was momentous!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Chanukah, 2009
Because of how the Jewish calendar works, this is actually Ben's second Chanukah--in one year!
Last Chanukah we were just being discharged from the hospital the day the Begoun Family had their annual party. This year we were there in full force, and enjoyed every moment! We lit the Menorah and sang the prayer. Notice the cell phone Grammy is holding...Uncle Dan was live from L.A.!
We ate latkes (Ben was, not surprisingly, a big fan).
But Ben had the most fun chasing after Roxie, the Markowitz' dog. Good thing she was a good sport--Ben really went after her! Guess we have a dog in our family's future!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last night

I walk into your room in the dark of the night, with the moonlight sneaking in through the shades
(Actually, that’s the streetlight)
The soft night sounds make for a gentle soundtrack
(Actually, the city is quite noisy but no sirens, at least!)
I can make out the outline of your peacefully slumbering body
(Actually, you are thrashing around a bit, trying to get comfortable)
You have such a serene expression on your sleeping face
(Actually, you keep rolling into the side of your crib and bonking your head, bringing a grimace to your grill)
I gently lift you out of harms way, into the middle of your comfy crib
(Actually, I’m kind of short and you are at the furthest point away from me in your crib, making my lift more of a hoist—there might have even been some grunting)
You settle back into sleep, and sigh contentedly
(Actually, there is some stretching and your eyes flutter open…pleasedontwakeup pleasedontwakeup!)
I rub your back and your soft head and feel my heart fill with love and happiness
(Actually, that much is true)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The day to day

A typical day ‘round these parts

Baby wakes up
Baby eats breakfast
Baby gets dressed
Baby plays
Baby gets tired
Baby naps (Mama gets ready, does various things around the house)
Baby wakes
Baby eats a snack
Baby (and Mama) go do something fun
Baby eats lunch
Baby plays
Baby naps (Mama preps dinner, does MORE things around the house)
Baby (and Mama) do an errand or do something fun outside of the house, ideally
Baby eats a snack
Baby plays
Baby eats dinner*
Baby sleeps

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

*I feel as though I am always either prepping a meal, feeding, or cleaning up from a meal for Mr. Cheeks. At least he’s a good eater!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Amazing Boy

Sometimes, nay frequently, I can't believe he's my kid.

Takes my breath away.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Ben's first Thanksgiving was a success, which was not a surprise, as one of Ben's favorite passtimes is eating! We hosted Grandma and Grandpa (Rivera), Pops and Grammy (Jacobson) and the Lerners.
We tried to get a nice family picture but Ben seems to have developed a new hobby, which does not make for very classy photographs.
*Note the position of Ben's finger.Ben enjoyed all of the same foods that we did: turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and even a little pumpkin pie for dessert.

A great time was had by all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11 Months

Dear Benjamin Jay,
Today you are 11 months old and you are already such a boy. I mean, sure, you were a boy when you were born—before, in fact. But now you are REALLY a boy—a sticky sweet, hot headed, boogery boy.
You like to open and close doors and cabinet drawers.
You like to crawl around in the dirt.
You try to put everything in your mouth.
You grab at faces and stick your fingers in mouths other than your own.
You scream and shout and cackle.
You shake your arms when you get frustrated.
You shove food in your mouth with no regard for quantity.

You are sweet and adoring and intelligent.
You love to play and learn and watch.
You take such interest in children and animals.
You do not let the world pass you by but you observe, quietly and reservedly.
You enjoy the art of a good conversation, mostly with yourself so far.
Your gray/brown/hazel eyes sparkle in the light and are, indeed, a window into your soul.


I always want to remember how at this very time in your life, your much adored left thumb is cracked and wrinkled from its important use. I want to remember how blissful you look when your fingers rub the satiny lining on your favorite stuffed bunny blanket as I lay you in your crib to sleep. And all I hear on the monitor is the quiet clicking of your little mouth sucking that cracked thumb. How peaceful you make my heart.

This has been another incredible month, full of new and breathtaking milestones.
You are now clapping. You have two new words (duck, pop). You can walk along the edge of furniture and by holding on to the windowsills. You can walk behind a push toy. We all survived your bout with croup.
Just when I feel as though each day is looking like the last, I pause, and look back from whence we came, and take a deep breath, and look forward to tomorrow.

Thank you for helping me do that, day after day and month after month.


Monday, November 9, 2009


I have officially been a Stay At Home Mom now for about 5 weeks. I find that when in public, I can barely even utter the phrase without qualifying it (“Oh, I’m staying home with Ben now but will be going back to work at some point.”) It has been an interesting experience so far, to be sure. I understand how truly lucky I am to be in a situation that allows for me to be at home, instead of at work. I feel tremendously lucky and privileged to be able to do this.

This time is made even more bittersweet with the knowledge that I will return to work again someday, maybe soon, maybe not so soon—and will leave my boy in the care of someone else. And then I’m sure I will pine for these days.

And yet…some days are hard. I won’t lie—it’s not all sparkles and moonbeams around here. Sick days are the worst, both mine and his. It’s 100% harder to parent when sick and it’s equally challenging and exhausting to parent a sick child.

Then there are the days when sickness or weather issues come up and we are stuck inside. Now that Ben is (extremely) active and mobile, we can tear up the house pretty quickly. It’s truly better for both of us if we have, ideally, a morning and an afternoon activity.
Ben appreciates getting out, too. He adores being around other children (other adults he can take or leave) and I enjoy seeing him interact and try and figure out this social world. Then the magic hour arrives and Daddy comes home. To see Ben’s eyes light up at the very sight of Jonathan is a gift that I just can’t get enough of.

And yet…some days fly by, others drag.
Some moments are so precious you want to repeat them over and over, and there are some episodes that do not bear repeating.
Some days are fresh and full of new milestones; others feel like days gone by.

Parenthood is certainly about riding the ebbs and flows and staying at home is no exception.

Please do not misunderstand this—I love my son and am so, so lucky to be able to be here with him to see all of the amazing things he is doing. Plenty of parents out there would give anything to be in my shoes, it’s just some days I feel like I’m wearing them on the wrong feet!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Ben's 1st Halloween was a fun one!
We started with a party with our friends from playgroup.
Ben was a pumpkin (courtesy of Auntie Beth, who made him this adorable hat).At the local neighborhood festival, Ben was a panda (courtesy of our downstairs neighbors, who had this costume in their stash).
Good thing the costume was so warm. It was quite chilly outside!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Last week, during our spell of amazing fall weather, Ben and I spent an enjoyable afternoon experiencing nature (i.e. trying to put all sorts of flora in our mouths--and by "we" I mean Ben!) in front of our house.
Let's hope we can eek in a few more of these wonderful days before winter hits.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'll never...

Before I was a parent, I had notions of what I would and wouldn't do when I had my own child.
Of course, now that I am a proud parent, I laugh at many of the "I'll never" statements that slipped out of my mouth. I predict that this will be an ongoing blog entry, since new examples of this come to me (too) frequently.

I'll never:
Let my baby sleep in the bed with us.
Sure, I'll never let Ben sleep in the bed with us, if I don't intend on getting any amount of decent sleep, ever! When he was a newborn, I would tuck him in right in the crook of my arm and he was much more likely to get a few solid hours in. This was a lifesaver during our first few weeks. This was also when I learned that he has a very hot head! I would never dream of doing this now, as Ben would surely worm himself off the edge of the bed in seconds.
Feed my child formula.
Ah, the best laid plans...I never thought I would have trouble with breastfeeding and while I didn't have terrible feelings about giving him formula, I certainly never thought we were going to have to. Sigh. We did have terrible trouble nursing and although I pumped for 5 months and had a frozen supply to last another month, Young Master Rivera has been formula-fed ever since. Funny story: I never really understood why we couldn't get breastfeeding to work but knew that Ben really didn't ever open his mouth wide enough to get a good latch. I was recently holding a 6 week old baby to whom I was trying to feed a bottle and boy, she opened her mouth so wide I could have put my whole hand in there! No wonder breastfeeding never worked--Ben would hardly open that stinking mouth! Sheesh!
Let my child hang out with a boogery nose.
Sometimes the amount of screaming that comes from this child when I try to wipe his nose just isn't something I want to hear. So, he is occasionally crusty. Surely I will wipe any actual running I can catch but the crusties will sometimes just have to live there until he gets a good face wiping after a meal. He hates that, too, by the way.
Eat with dirty hands.
See above. Ditto on the screaming while the hands are being wiped.

So, that's the first installment. I will (sheepishly) be adding to this, I'm sure!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10 Months

Dear Ben,

You are now ten months old. We shall not speak of how quickly this time has been passing. No we shall not. But if you could slow things down just a tiny bit, it would be greatly appreciated.

I think this month should be called The Month of Games. Your little brain (or big brain if your head size is any indication) has matured enough to understand the concept of purposeful play and you have created several games.

For posterity:

Up down up down: this game is played standing up (you, not me). You will squat down or bend your legs and look at me expectantly and I’ll say, “down.” Then you straighten up and I say, “up.” This continues until you grow bored or fall over, whichever comes first. You get a huge kick out of this game.
Hit mommy in the face with a piece of foam: The play room floor is lined with foam alphabet tiles and each of the outside tiles has a border piece that you love to pull off and carry around. Occasionally you will try to bop me on the head with the piece that you are carrying and I will faux-scream, “No no no!” while moving my head and hands back and forth. You will stop and smile and laugh at me and then start again. I hope this doesn’t mean that you like to beat other people up. I guess I’ll let this game continue until you get bigger and stronger than I. Then I might really be yelling for you to stop.
Pull the cloth diaper off of your face: this is a simple, but still very fun game. One of us throws a cloth diaper over your head and you grab it off. Whichever adult has initiated this yells, “Where’s Ben? There he is!” Up until about 2 weeks ago you couldn’t figure out how to get the diaper off of your face. This concerned me on many levels. Fortunately, you seem to have figured it all out. Good boy.
Dance dance dance: a simple game and the newest in your repertoire. Even if there is no music, I will say “dance dance dance” and occasionally you will gently bounce up and down. Adorable.

You also have started saying a few basic sort-of-words including: more (which sounds like mma, mma), kitty (which sounds like tee tee—often said in a whisper), and hi (sounds more like haaaaaaai, and I don’t think this is purposeful but we’ll still count it).

Your top teeth have mercifully broken through, bringing your grand teeth total to four. I am not looking forward to the rest of them coming in and I bet you aren’t either.

This month you developed croup, and while it was never extremely serious, you were sick enough to be quite grumpy. We were all very sad when there was not much we could do to make you feel better.

We went to our first story-time, put on by a wonderful neighborhood woman at a local coffee house. You were entranced by her for about 3 minutes, then spent an additional 2 minutes looking at the many children around you before you squirmed out of Daddy’s lap and tried to steal a banana from an unsuspecting mother. Suffice it to say that you have developed clear desires and an even clearer disdain for whatever we are asking you to do, if it is anything other than what you had in mind. It will be, shall we say, interesting to see if this pattern continues as you get older. If you’re anything like your mother, I predict some challenging times ahead.

You had your last days in child care during this month and now we are home together, every day. I am so lucky to be able to spend this time with you, and I especially enjoy going into your room after your nap so see you standing in your crib, shaking the bars, cheeks rosy, with an enormous smile on your face. That is all the fuel I ever need to keep me doing the best I can for you, every day.

So, another busy month draws to a close. Every day is an adventure, even when it looks just like the day before and the day after. These are times to be treasured, even the mundane and I often remind myself of this in the deep, dark hours of the night when I’m trying to rock you back to sleep. I hope that we trust and adore each other this much for our entire lives.

I love you my good boy.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hellooooo? Is this thing on?

Yes, I have been an errant blogger, of late. You'd think since I quit my job I'd actually have more time to devote to maintaining this record of my child's life but, alas, it seems that I am too busy chasing to stop and update this old thing.

We have been enjoying our fall, watching leaves change colors as gradually as Ben's top teeth slowly progress down their slobbery path.

We celebrated both Rosh Hashanah and watched as Ben ate his way to the New Year. Missed Yom Kippur because the Begoun celebration started too late. He would have liked to eat his way through that one, too!

We welcomed a visit from friends Katie and Matt Dunlap and suffered through the family version of a stomach virus, also titled "The Family that Prays to the Porcelain God together..." you get the gist.

We are currently in the throes of a bummer of a sleep regression. The wise Internet tells me that this is very typical, and I know it won't be this way forever, but it's hard to remember that when it's as if we are having a party for several hours in the middle of the night--funny...Ben and I seem to be the only ones who got our invitations...and most of the guests seem to be crying...
So, that's where we've been. In a week Ben will be 10 months old and I will properly document this last month.
For the time being, here is our story's protagonist, doing what he does best.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Poem

Note: I am not a poet but was moved to document the thoughts that floated through my mind as I put Ben to sleep tonight.


You lay, sprawled across my body
Your heart pressed up against mine
Wrestling yourself away from sleep
Your face, sticky sweet resting on my shoulder
Golden moonlight peeking under the door

You try to relax and cannot
You watch yourself wave and gaze up at me and smile
Rest your body, Little Boy
Play time is tomorrow

I can feel you start to relax and we rock in silence together
With only the sounds of the city buzzing in the background
The sleep train has evaded you twice already this night and you are desperate to catch it

This time you see it coming around the bend and leap
Your body feels heavy on mine
We sit together
The sound of your breathing is soft and rhythmic in my ear
The most beautiful music

I hold you just one minute more and savor this time
The treasure that is another day together

Saturday, September 19, 2009

9 month stats and picture

This is getting harder!
Weight: 21lbs 9oz
Height: 2ft 5in
Head circumference: 46cm
All measurements are between the 65th and 75th percentile.

Friday, September 18, 2009

9 months

Dear Benjamin,

We are trying to call you by your name (as opposed to Buddy or Bud, which I find myself calling you most of the time) so that you actually turn when your teachers call you. Poor dude. We’re screwing you up already!

I’d have to say that the two biggest categories of growth over the past month are consumption and exertion. Let’s start with the former, always so much fun!

You are a total eater. You will eat just about anything we put in front of you, with the exception of some slightly undercooked corn kernels and I certainly don’t blame you for that. At school the other day they served you beets and you ate them with no problems (and had a stained red hand as proof!). You eat any old boring jarred veggie or fruit and have consumed approximately 1 ton of cheerios over the last few weeks. You gaze over at us while we’re eating and I can practically see the drool fall from your lips. Wait…I can see you drooling. Babies are so transparent!

I am waiting until your nine month appointment to figure out what other types of foods we can introduce to you but your palate is pretty impressive so far. Your newest additions have been beets, Great Uncle Billy (GUB)’s tasty veggie soup, and Grammy (Ronna)’s asparagus soup.

You also mastered crawling about two weeks ago and just started to pull up to a stand. I marvel at the rate that you are acquiring new skills. It feels like from one moment to the next, I can see your development change and improve.

Along with this new mobility does not come an appropriate level of fear, I’m sorry to say. In other words, my days went from being relaxed and enjoying playing with you or sitting next to you while you play, to something much different. I can’t even turn my eyes away from you for you will have found the single most dangerous object within a two mile radius and will be trying energetically to shove it down your throat. I suppose it’s your way of trying to keep me active and help me shed these last pregnancy pounds but sheesh. You are a kid that likes to get into stuff and you have no concept of danger. Bad combination!

Not to pin a label on you so early in life, but your daddy and I are thinking that you might grow to be a somewhat wild kid. You like to move move move and jump jump jump and grab grab grab. Nonstop. Allthetime. It must be because you are FINALLY sleeping through the night, and usually a nice 12 or so hours.

We did a lot of running around with you during your 8th month and the aquarium was a big hit. You were interested in the fish but, as has been the case for a while now, you got an equally big kick out of watching the other humans that were there. I find people watching interesting too, Buddy, but staring is only socially acceptable when you’re young, sorry to say!

Your personality continues to blossom and you are having so much fun at school with the other kiddos in your class. I walked in your classroom one day and saw you engaging in what can only be described as flirting with Rosie, an adorable 6 month old. She was sitting up and you were sitting directly in front of her and your eyes were locked. She would smile, then you would smile and bounce up and down a bit and she would giggle. It was adorable but I’m sorry to have to tell you that you are not allowed to date until you’re 30—that’s YEARS, not MONTHS, Dude, so be patient, and be sure to get her number!

You had your first fever this week and it was quite a sad affair. All of the kiddos in your classroom were felled by this pesky virus but you managed to beat it in a day. The upshot of this is that we had some nice snuggle time, which I enjoyed very much, since you are usually on the go.

You are continuing to recognize us as important people and to see you spot your Daddy walking home after a long day without him is priceless. Your whole body tenses and you practically jump out of my arms with excitement. It’s adorable and you’re adorable and we love you. That is all.

Another great month has passed and we’re looking so forward to the next.

Mama *9 month stats and pictures coming soon!

Monday, September 7, 2009

37 Weeks, 4 Days

Today is a big day--mostly to me, who finds these parenting induced sentimentalities sweet.
On the day Ben was born, he had grown and developed in the womb for 37 weeks 3 days.
Today he is 37 weeks, 4 days old.
He has been out longer than he was in which is momentous to me, the carrier of this boy. For as much genetic material as I contributed, Ben is still very much his own person, and I look forward to the next 37 weeks 4 days and many more with my fine guy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Going and Doing

As Grandpa (Rivera) likes to say, we are always "going and doing." I'm sure you get what it means, we're an on-the-move type of family and like to go out and see what this city has to offer us. Actually, let me be honest. Jonathan is really the "mover" in this family, and I am happy to go along for the ride.

Now that Ben is in the picture, we constantly walk the line between "going and doing--just the right amount" and "going and doing--way too much." Today I think we crossed in to the latter category.

This morning we found ourselves and Pops (Jacobson) on a lovely boat ride around the Chicago River. Ben enjoyed himself, we enjoyed ourselves...and the mid-day nap was interrupted (nappus interruptus, to be specific) by the fog horn on our boat. What can you do? It was foggy and I didn't think slapping the ship captain upside the head and us risking a possible crash with another boat was the right way to handle this. So, the boy woke up after a 35 minute can nap. He was in good spirits, but obviously needed more sleep. Figuring that he'd catch up later, we didn't fret. After the boat ride we grabbed a quick bite to eat and hoped that I could get Ben to take another nap in his stroller. No go.

He then fell asleep in the car on the way home and figuring that I'd be able to transfer him from the car seat to the crib, I didn't fret.

Do you see where this is headed?

We got home, I schlepped my big boy up the stairs (and up and up and up--man kids are 10 times heavier when they're sleeping!) and into the crib. Pop! Up he sat with a smile that said, "Ready to play now, Mama."

Another failure of a nap. It was 3pm and bedtime was at least three hours away.

Fortunately, Ben was quite a (sleepy) champ. Some friends came over for dinner and disctracted him enough to make it to 6:15 then it was bottle and bed time. He was out like a light...for about 45 minutes, then woke up crying, then went back down, hopefully for the night. I'm exhausted just typing about it!

I could go on and on about the minutae of this sleep thing and how just when I think we have it figured out, something changes and we have to find a new strategy. Ben used to go down with no problems, just bottle then out like a little light. Now he cries for a while before drifting off. Jonathan suspects that all of the major developmental changes Ben's going through are interrupting his sleep and I agree. But how much of it is because we are cruising through his nap times, hoping that he can handle it? This doesn't happen every day, but I worry about how this is going to effect him later. Hopefully I'll look back on this time, just as I have looked back on other rough patches, and will remember to be easy on myself. Repeating my mantra, "this isn't how it's going to be forever" has been tremendously helpful, as has the glimmer in his eye when I go to retrieve Ben from his crib. It feels so good to be adored, even if it is by my own child.

Parenthood is still so much an art, rather than a science, and although I am trying to hone my craft, I still feel like I'm painting by numbers so much of the time.