Sit a spell

“They” say to expect two kids to reach milestones differently, but apparently our kids are peas in a pod. As he grows older, James looks more and more like Maddi, and on Sunday morning he began sitting for a few seconds at a time — at almost exactly the same age Maddi did so, when you adjust for gestational age.

Just when I had gotten used to him rolling over, he surprised me while I was “helping” him play with his toys by suddenly sitting bolt upright and balancing perfectly on his little, barely-existent bottom. Of course, a few seconds later he slumped face-first onto his play mat, but sure enough, over the course of the morning he replicated this new trick time and time again.

I have to say, out of all the milestones he’s reached, this one’s the most exciting for me. Once James is able to sit, it will be much easier for me to watch both kids and give them equal (or close-to-equal) snuggles and attention. Plus, it opens up a world of new options for my wee boy — sitting outside with toys on a blanket in the grass, eating in a high chair, getting wagon rides with his sister, and being propped up in the stroller so he can out at the world. It’s such an exciting time in James’ life!

Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself, as James can only sit for about five seconds at most without then toppling over and crying in frustration. But I know it’ll be only a matter of weeks before he’s sitting like a champ and enjoying things around him even more than he already does. As exciting as milestones are with one’s first baby, sometimes they’re even more exciting with the second because now one knows how much they’ll enjoy doing those new things, and the anticipation is just so thrilling.

Making the cut

Every mom has one or two baby milestones that are more painful than proud. For instance, Maddi’s first teeth were not as delightful as they should have been because they ruined that beautiful gumline I’d come to know and love. For James, it’s the mohawk. It’s been a long time coming, but that doesn’t mean I was ready for James’ first haircut. Once the height of his mohawk began rivaling that of his head and I found myself working for minutes on end to detangle it after his baths, however, I knew I had to suck it up and take the kid in for a trim.

Maddi waited until the ripe old age of 16 months before her first haircut, so I had much more time to mentally prepare myself. So much time, in fact, that I had no anxiety whatsoever about lopping off a few inches of that weird-looking baby mullet. But James is still five days shy of six months old, and the wild Glen Plake ‘do has really grown on us. Nevertheless, it was getting out of control. His mohawk was so tall it folded over on itself, and I had to make one of two choices: Put gel in the hair of my five-month-old child, or get his hair trimmed. After more deliberation than necessary considering pediatricians’ guidelines on chemicals and babies, I reluctantly went with the haircut.

James sat perfectly still during his trim, staring wide-eyed at his reflection in the mirror (probably asking himself why he was sitting in a pink Jeep). We had the sides and back evened out to all one length and took about an inch and a half off the top. Now he has a perfect but short little mohawk and looks only a little like Johnny Rotten. Even with his new, toned-down ‘do, James attracts the same attention he always has — “Love the hair!” is a refrain we hear each and every time we venture out of the house.

Sure, I’m still a little wistful when I see pictures of how his hair used to look. But maintenance and styling are 10 times easier with a short style than with his former untamed mane, and that counts for a lot!

The way of the gum

The passing of my 30th birthday a week and a half ago should have been a startling reminder of how quickly time flies by, but it was quickly eclipsed. It seems as if James has been with us for but a few weeks, but alas, this week we discovered our youngest child is already cutting his first teeth.

Last month, we noticed our boy was slobbering like a Saint Bernard and his cherubic cheeks had become particularly rosy. Chris noticed some little, pale ridges beneath James’ gleaming gums; however, it was nothing substantial. But in the past week, our formerly OK sleeper has slept in stretches of two to three hours at night and, while he’s a good-natured baby, he’s been noticeably cranky. Not only that — his drool has been soaking through not one but two layers of clothing, he’s been choking on his spit and (WARNING: The following is a yucky discussion of bodily functions that non-moms will want to skip!) his poops have risen in frequency from once a week (if that) to every other day.

But now it’s official. After I endured a horrible, sleepless night and a morning filled with inconsolable wailing, the woman who runs the gym daycare (where James and Maddi spend 90 minutes each morning — she’s almost like another mom to them!) ran a finger along James’ bottom gums and discovered the definite beginnings of his lower first incisors. And lo and behold, when she gave him a teething toy, his wailing ceased.

You would think that, as a second-time mom, I would have figured out that this was his problem, but remember, James is only a bit over 4 months’ gestational age and I had no idea that the teeth were this imminent. Of course, it pains me to envision the demise of that gorgeous gummy grin, but there’s no denying it now. After a dose of Tylenol this afternoon, James had the best nap of his life and woke up his old happy self.

It seems like not too long ago, Maddi was cutting her first teeth, and now she’s potty training, talking in sentences, doing small chores and climbing jungle gyms. No doubt, James will be doing all these things long before I’m ready. Time flies when you’re having kids.