an open letter to fritz | vol. 7

dear fritz,

you are an energetic, intelligent, and happy child. and tall, you are also so tall. i don’t know when it happened, but you are such a little boy these days. you run with conviction and bound onto (and off of) furniture with joy. you are obsessed with all things truck. as we drive down the road you point every. single. truck. out to me and tell me that they are all yellow trash trucks, visual evidence notwithstanding. you make engine noises for each and every one, and occasionally throw in a siren sound (wee-ooh) for effect. needless to say, car rides with you are a blast.

out for a walk with mommy.

you have turned into a “morning person” which i find inexcusable. you are chipper and excited when i greet you in your crib, and promptly ask for daddy, kitty, tucker (in that order). after i give you their various whereabouts, you dodge around the crib, darting away from my arms while you laugh hysterically. this goes on for a few minutes, then you decide that you must get out (immediately) and begin to whine. once i grab you, you bury your head in my neck for a hug, then lean back and give me a forehead bonk (your most consistent display of affection). you play fiercely all morning until your nap, and then sleep as hard as you played. you being to wilt in the afternoon and become almost intolerable by dinner time (your cuteness saves you). you always seem happy that bedtime has arrived, and you sleep through the night, every night.

don't ask.

speaking of bedtime, you’ve gotten into something of a routine. you start to wail for your books about halfway through getting dressed, and when i haul you up to see them (so that you can select one) you always pick the same book. the goodnight train. like, all the time. i try to encourage you to branch out, but you hug it closer to snarl “mine!” until i get the point and settle in to read (choo chooo).

firefighter fritz

you are still my adventurous eater. you had your first raw sushi this month and loved it. you also had more octopus (a perennial favorite at this point) and are now a pizza aficionado. you dig my gluten-free bread and my sugar-free jam, and will still devour an entire plate of steamed green beans with butter and salt. you enjoy my chicken and rice soup and pasta. always pasta, but we have to strip you down to a diaper to serve it to you, for obvious reasons.

you have begun to string words together, which is really exciting. some favorites include “no mommy” and “me no baby, tuck tuck”. ok, so they don’t always make sense, but you like the sound of your voice making sentences, and i do too. you learn new words by mimicking us a lot, last night you said “chicken” for the first time. your development has really taken off, and i’m excited for the time (around your second birthday, or so i’ve been told) when we can begin properly communicating with each other.

most pitiful look ever.

in three months you will be two years old and i will write another one of these letters to a very big boy indeed. please slow down baby, you are growing so fast and i don’t want to miss a thing!

until next time, my love,

mommy

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an open letter to fritz | vol. 6

dear fritz,

my darling boy, you are a study in contrast these days. one moment you are all exuberance and joy, and the very next, stubborn grumpiness. i think they call it “toddlerhood,” but i’m not sure.

Untitled

last night you said “love  you” for the first time. after an exhaustive wrestling and tickling match, we were laying on the floor in your room—on our tummies with our hands tucked up under us—and i said “love you baby”. you looked me right in the eye and said “love you”. it was the single best moment of my life to date.

you’ve been growing so fast lately. every day it seems like something new is happening with you. just this week you beat me to “three” when i was counting with you. you said “k” and “o” when we were talking about your letters in the bath tub. you are learning (a little too slowly for me) that if you don’t throw your cup on the floor you get a round of applause from mama and dada. i now trust you to walk around the main floor of the house without seriously injuring yourself, all because your balance and judgement have improved vastly. you are currently obsessed with soccer balls and kicking/throwing balls in general. we can’t leave the house without one and you obsessively scream “ball!” wherever we go until we give it to you. you are obsessed with my hair, specifically my pre/post workout ponytail. you plant both of your chubby hands on my cheeks and violently turn my head so that you can get at it and then you bury your face in it and giggle. sometimes you “hug” it. you just started spinning, which is really funny to watch. unfortunately you chose to do this on the one square foot of marble flooring that we have and i live in fear that you will shatter your skull (though you seem completely unconcerned and appear to enjoy being dizzy).

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last night i made our “go to” easy and healthy dinner (sweet chili glazed salmon, brown rice, and broccoli) and when you saw it coming toward the table you said “oooooo” and then started licking your lips. you’ve turned into quite the little eater my friend. you destroy your bento boxes each day, often requiring more before you get home, and you’ll eat just about everything i put in front of you. i can not put into words how much i love this about you.

you recently had all four of your first molars come in, and are now getting two of your second molars. the rivers of drool have been epic. men will write tales of your sodden tee shirts and wild mood swings. we should take out stock in infant ibuprofen.

sadly, you also recently had another bout of yeast diaper rash, but this time it was coupled with the dreaded thrush. lucky us! you got over it pretty quickly, but have been in disposable diapers for weeks now. we need to strip and disinfect your beautiful cloth diapers and get you back on the cloth train asap. however, you have this residual rash. i have no idea what it is, and neither does your doctor. she recommended putting neosporin and hydrocortisone on it…so that’s what we are doing. i swear a million little bugs are biting you in your sleep. if i catch them, i’ll kill them. promise.

this weekend we are turning your carseat around, and you will officially be a big boy at 18 months. one and a half years. how did it happen so fast?

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until next time…

love you baby,

mamafritz

an open letter to fritz | vol. 5

dear fritz,

you are so very busy these days. you never sit still and mama and papa have learned the art of practicing constant vigilance while completing household chores. you find ways to elude us though, and we will catch you in the act of throwing a handful of cat food on the floor, or dipping your mittens into the dogs water bowl 30 seconds before a walk in 32 degree weather. you run almost everywhere now, and hardly ever sit still. the only thing that gets you to pause is the gentle glow if nick jr. namely, the fresh beat band and yo gabba gabba (which you call “gabba”).

the gentle glow of nick jr.

you’ve fully transitioned into toddler food/adult food now, no more purees for you! initially i was thrilled because this meant that i no longer had to make you baby food. then i realized i had to start making you toddler food and the excitement quickly wore off. for the most part you eat like a champ. you will try almost anything, and often shock us with your favorites. (mac and cheese is still on the “no” list, however, “crunchies” – raw broccoli slaw drizzled with rice wine vinegar – is on the “yes” list.) you’ve started using forks and spoons on your own, which is…messy! you love this new found freedom and don’t seem to notice the puddles of yogurt/applesauce/pasta that accumulate on your tray and shirt/head/pants/arms.

mommy let me use the spoon!

i’ve started making you a bento box for breakfast and lunch every day. it’s been a fun and interesting way to introduce new foods to you, and also lets me keep track of how many vegetables you eat every day (an essential part of motherhood). the bento boxes get a lot of comments, and i love how cute and little everything is. your favorite part are the teeny tiny picks/forks that are shaped like animals. you are quite partial to the hot pink giraffe.

3.8.12 bento: an antipasto and sweet fruit exploration

i was a bit of a wreck earlier this month when you had to have minor surgery. they had to put you under general anesthesia and though they told me it would only take 15 minutes, it took over an hour. you were back on your feet within two hours and would not slow down to rest the whole of the first day. i (predictably) handled the situation with less confidence, but once i saw how well you were doing, i calmed down. (a little.) you are well on your way to being completely healed now, and with the all clear from the surgeon, mama is glad that experience is over!

post-op

you’ve started using new words lately. you say “moo” and “baa” for the cows and sheep we look at in picture books. you say “moon” when you want us to read you goodnight moon (your new favorite book). you try to say spoon, though it sounds more like “boon”. you say “me me” when you want me to pick you up, and “mommy” instead of mama. you ask for your “ninny” when you want your pacifier, and you even say “bubby” for bubba, your stuffed teddy bear. you walk to the refrigerator and say “cold” when you want this elmo cold pack that you are obsessed with. (sadly, you chewed through it the other day and elmo had to take a trip in the trash can…ifyouknowwhatimean.

elmo goes bye bye

you weigh almost 30 pounds and are 33″ tall. you are wearing 2t clothes and size 6.5 shoes. so…you are a big kid! we will have to turn the carseats around soon, and get you out of a high chair! now, if you could just work on not throwing your sippy cups, you’ be a big kid in more ways than one!

until next time…

all my love,

mama

an open letter to fritz | vol. 4

dear fritz,

you are walking with confidence now! i thought you’d finally started on christmas eve, but then there was a terrible skull crushing accident, and you were wary again for a while. we started calling you “the boy who lived”, and you earned the title.

the boy who lived.

i didn’t handle the forehead wall meeting very well. in fact, some would say that i handled it very poorly indeed. turns out that when you are in danger, i melt into a puddle of uselessness and tears. however, since then some healing occured (for both of us) and you took off. you stood up one day and just started walking like you’d been doing it for ages. i’m so proud! right now your mind is quicker than your feet…so you get caught up occasionally. but, a new phase has officially begun.

walking with the mower.

you’ve gotten over your bath aversion and now bath time is your favorite time of the day. we’ve been able to do away with all additional supportive bath slings/tubs, etc. as you are now able to sit in the tub like a big boy. you splish and splash and pull every single solitary toy into the tub to play. your favorite activities are reading your bath books and putting objects into this big cup we use to rinse you off. sometimes i hide behind the shower curtain and you pull it aside and squeal with delight. peekaboo never gets old.

you are eating like a pro these days, but are mainly interested in whatever mama and papa have on their plates. the other night you had asian marinated cod because you refused to eat the “baby” food i’d prepared for you. you still love mango and kiwi and bananas. but now you are eating sandwiches and soups as well, which is exciting. i started making you homemade yogurt and you are totally unto the tangy flavor. you had your first dinner of proper spaghetti the other night. you loved eating big hands full of the spaghetti “strings” and were completely covered in sauce by the end of it.

spaghetti feast.

you use about 20-25 words now…not consistently, but you know what they mean and can use them when it suits your needs. you say turtle and wa wa (water) and bowl/ball/book (they all sound very similar, though you are saying three different words). you seem to be meeting all of your developmental milestones and this makes me feel…reassured.

for some reason, whenever i put a new shirt on you, you smell the left sleeve. i can’t tell if it’s ocd or if you just really like the way the detergent smells.

you still aren’t much of a “toy” kid. you love these bouncy balls we got you for christmas. other than that your favorite thing to do is go pick a book from the bin (lately, “duck & goose”) and climb up into my lap so that we can “read” it together. you point at things in the book and i tell you what they are/what sounds the animals make and you flip through with intense concentration, making sure you haven’t missed a thing. sometimes this goes on for 30 minutes. sometimes we only make it through two pages before you lose interest. but it’s the best part of my day.

more books.

i can’t wait to see what else is waiting around the corner with you…every day is a new and exciting surprise!

i love you,

mama

an open letter to fritz | vol. 3

dear fritz,

you aren’t a baby any more. i mean, you’ll always be ‘my baby’, but from a medical standpoint you now qualify as a toddler. this has been a difficult adjustment for me. i love the ways you are becoming an individual, and demonstrating the personality that i’ve come to adore, but in so many ways it’s just. too. fast. the first year flashed by with a speed that i never knew was possible. i miss your baby snuggles. i long for the days when you would lay your head on my shoulder and nod off. i truly regret not holding you your entire first year (though most would admit that i came pretty damn close).

at the bridge

for all of the things that i miss there are a million more to cherish each day. you are a true joy to be around. your presence lights up every room you enter. you are almost always smiling, and it’s infectious. strangers are drawn to your happy disposition, and i just stand behind you and beam in pride. you are incredibly social and interactive and flirt with pretty ladies all the time. you even scored me an express lane checkout (despite the overflowing cart) when the grocery store was packed on a sunday afternoon. thanks for that! you are fascinated by other children and love to watch them play. i can see the frustration in your eyes that you are, as yet, unable to join them.

you aren’t always smiling though. the most notable time is during your baths. i’m baffled by it, but you detest bath time. i think you must have drowned in a past life because you are terrified of sitting in the bathtub. you stand at the edge, clinging to me and papa fritz, and making this soft whine/mew to indicate your fear and discomfort. washing your hair is the worst part. like, the worst part of my whole day, not just bath time. you shriek. a lot. when we are done you stand (never sit in the tub!) and give us the stink eye for several minutes straight while wiping your eyes with the backs of your hands. i keep thinking that if you could just get used to it, you’d love it. you are not convinced, however, and bath time continues to be a nightly struggle.

you’ve expanded your culinary preferences even wider recently with calamari, chili powder, cumin, mushrooms, cheese, lettuces, rice, waffles, teriyaki sauce, hot dogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, and birthday cake (of course). you are currently really partial to brussels sprouts blended with acorn squash and a puree of mango, pears, and spinach. you’ve reached the stage where you watch us move food from the plate to our mouths and then lick your lips (honestly? if you weren’t adorable it would be a little creepy). however, you are kinda lazy and want us to fork it into your mouth for you.

we’ve recently baby-proofed the house with gates, cabinet locks, and (even more!) bite bumpers for the crib. you pinched your pudgy little fingers in the tv cabinet the other day and i’d just finally had enough. you now hang onto the gates like a little inmate, but papa fritz and i feel much safer.

you’ve become a little zombie baby. true story, you totally bit my face the other day.

Biter
apologies for the crappy cell phone pic, but do you see those four welt marks in the middle of the generally red and inflamed area? yeah, those are from your teeth. the physical marks faded, but the scar to my soul lingers. now when you come in for “kisses” i cringe, and you shy away. i’m scared that i’m slowly training you not to give me kisses. one the one hand, this is good because you clearly don’t understand what “kisses” actually means. on the other, i kinda love them. even though they hurt. last night, while i was nibbling on your chubby thigh, papa fritz said “no wonder he bites! you are always nomming on him!” he’s right. sorry. you are nommable.

for your birthday you received several plastic toy hammers (totally cliche, i know). you use these to beat yourself, us, and the animals mercilessly. you’ve also taken to sitting with your back to the wall and banging your head against it while making eye contact with us. i don’t know if this is a “cry for help” or if you are just trying to see how hard your skull is. anyway, stop it. it freaks me out.

every day with you is a new and exciting adventure. i love you to little tiny bits and pieces. totally just realized i have to give you a bath again tonight. ugh.

i love you,

mama

an open letter to fritz | vol. 2

dear fritz,

you are now eleven months old and you have been a very busy boy. you get into everything; the food and tupperware in the kitchen cabinets, the contents of your diaper caddy, lamp shades and other delicate, expensive, and treasured objects (the paper shades in the basement are of particular interest to you, and i feel sure that you will have an obsession with them until you rip them to shreds, and will then promptly cease to care about them entirely).

you can crawl now…like proper crawl. and you are going. up. the. stairs. you are totally fearless, which makes me insanely worried all the time. you have a habit of crawling to the end of our bed and trying to throw yourself over the foot board. you laugh maniacally while you are doing this, as if imminent death doesn’t phase you at all.

when you were born we couldn’t get you to take a pacifier to save our lives. we tried dozens of “models” and finally had moderate success with the old school green rubber variety. however, now you are rarely seen without a pacifier in your mouth. i was so blase about having a baby who didn’t need a pacifier that i never stopped you from taking it, which thereby unknowingly enabled your current addiction. i fear the shakes that will occur when we finally put an end to the ‘ninny’, as your mom-mom fritz calls it.

you don’t just stop at the pacifier, you put everything in your mouth. shoes, toys, the cat and dog. it is akin to watching a blind man “see” someones face for the first time…it’s as if you can’t “see” the object until you swirl it around in your mouth for a bit. you think it’s hilarious to chew on things, and when i take them from you, you come at me like a vampire zombie and bite at my neck while making “nom nom” noises and giggling. i can’t help but laugh along with you, though i secretly hope this doesn’t encourage you to be a biter.

i have learned the two dirtiest words in the english language, and they are “sleep tight”. i’m not sure who invented skin tight cotton pajamas, but i have dreams about their violent and untimely deaths. you hate these pajamas. we hate them too. forcing your sweet arms into sausage casing every night is the worst part of my day. your wailing indicates that you agree with me. however, we continue to use them because they are “safe” (though this is questionable because you usually scream as though we’ve dislocated a shoulder and often times we feel like we’ve been through a war after getting them on you).

you insist upon smothering yourself with the blanket at night…and i routinely check to see if your head is under cover (it almost always is) and then sneak into your room to pry you from the brink of suffocation. i also cover your feet up for you, you’re welcome.

the other night your father and i were watching tv in the basement and the monitor began to crackle. we though that we were experiencing some wifi interference, and checked the screen, turns out that you’d found the video monitor. in a scene not unlike the blair witch project, we watched you methodically attempt to pull the monitor from the wall, while we simultaneously refused to intervene so as not to confuse your bed time. guess we need to move that.

you are no longer my ‘good eater’ (i guess i let myself get smug about that as well). you refuse things you used to love (green beans, broccoli, and mint and sweet potatoes, apple, and cinnamon) and seem to only be interested in what we are having. i glommed onto this concept and attempted to make you “big boy” food which only resulted in a stink eye the likes of which i’ve never seen. mac and cheese? absolutely not! chunks of pizza from my plate? oh hells no. brussels sprouts? yep! you absolutely love them. please explain yourself! other things you’ve loved recently, slowly simmered beans, chicken and apple sausages, and waffles and pancakes.

i’ll give you one thing kid, you keep me guessing!

until next time…

with love,

mama fritz

an open letter to fritz | vol. 1

i’m taking the lead from heather, over at dooce.com (she is hilarious, you should probably grab a beer and sit down for a good solid hour of laughing so hard you cry) and writing letters to fritz to let him know what he was like as a baby. like heather, i’m not sure how long this will last, but i think it’s an awesome idea and i’ve never been adverse to stealing.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

dear fritz,

you just turned ten months old, and i have to be honest, you are kind of hilarious. you’ve started to stare off into space and just chuckle for no good reason. i always find myself enjoying it and then looking around to see what the hell you find so funny. sometimes you will do this and then turn to me or papa fritz and just open up your mouth in the largest grin, like we are in on the joke. we aren’t. please let us know what’s so funny.

8.16 tongue

you try to talk all the time now, and are mimicking what we say. it’s mostly just sounds, but i can tell you are trying to form words. sometimes you get annoyed and make a deep huffing sound. i find your impatience incredibly endearing, mainly because i’m just as impatient for you to start talking. i have no idea what goes on in that blonde head of yours, but i really want to.

you are desperately trying to walk and often drag papa fritz and i around the house to go “exploring” (though you’ve seen it all before, dozens and dozens of times). sometimes you will spontaneously let go of our hands, thinking—i can only presume—that you are in complete control of your lower extremities. you aren’t. please stop trying to scare me into an early grave. if there is a sharp object within a 12 mile radius you will find a way to bash your head against it, resulting in bruises on your forehead which no doubt leave the neighbors in question of my parenting skills. papa fritz and i have tried to baby-proof, but you are constantly beta testing—and failing—our efforts. thanks for the help.

you hate having your diaper changed, and guess what, we hate doing it! you squirm desperately to the side in an attempt to sit up and grab the sharpest item on your changing table (the nail clippers) and stick them in your mouth. never mind that when i attempt to trim your nails with them you act as though they carry the bubonic plague and slither in the other direction as quickly as possible.

you have the most frustrating habit of running your sticky food-covered hands through your hair when you eat, resulting in what is alternately referred to as flock-of-seagulls-hair or mad-scientist-hair depending on your styling. however, you make up for this by opening your mouth like a little baby bird when you eat, making “num” sounds, and looking around with a slight smile on your face while you masticate your pureed foods. this makes my heart melt. you have the most varied palate of any baby i’ve ever met, and this does your mama proud. the only thing i’ve ever given you that you didn’t like was a strawberry dipped in balsamic vinegar. admittedly, this was a bit out of your wheelhouse, but it should be noted that you also tried a green olive that night and loved it, so what’s a girl to think?

your favorite toys are a tiny plastic ‘little people’ suitcase that opens and a stuffed leek. i have no idea how they made the top of the list, but you love them. the suitcase, in particular, cures all ills. no matter what you are doing, if you see our cat, you turn in her direction and shriek something that sounds like “GIGGY!”, and then you flock to her and try to chew on her butt—oftentimes succeeding—so naturally she avoids you at all costs. you insist upon stepping on the dog, no matter where he is. secretly i applaud you for this becuse he’s been in my way for years too, but i’m not allowed to step on him because i know better. your favorite tv shows are the wonder pets, yo gabba gabba, and sesame street. you love elmo in a deep and pure way. every time you hear the theme song for any of these shows your face lights up and your head swivels toward the flat-screened god in the basement.

when you are sad or upset i sing you offering by the avett brothers, and 9 times out of 10 it calms you down. when i sing you look at me like i’m the best thing in the world, so i sing to you a lot.

that’s all for now, i can’t wait to see what you do next,

mama fritz