Four months

What changes this week has brought! On Tuesday it was time to clear out the diapers, changes of clothes, teethers, and toys from my bag and instead fill it with textbooks and syllabi:

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I was only going to be away for 1.5 hours, so I thought Jax would be fine with the babysitter and that I’d come home to him looking like this:

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Instead, I walked into the house to see Seth’s backpack on the table (he was feeling under the weather…maybe he came home sick from work? I thought. Best case scenario…) and both Seth and the sitter were watching over a red-eyed baby lying in the crib. He had been crying so hard that morning that the sitter thought he was having trouble breathing, so she called Seth, who ran home from work. I am so glad her instinct was to call for help, but felt terrible that our perfect, calm baby was not going to adjust very easily to the new morning schedule. He’s never been known to cry for more than about 10 minutes, and usually because he’s overly tired. Given the rest of the week’s events (fevers, coughing, sneezes) we now think that he was probably falling ill and not becoming the colicky baby we never knew before.

Once I was home and Daddy decided to stay for the inauguration, we watched a bit of CNN all together to try to focus on more positive things:

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Listening to the oath remided us of our weddig vows, when Seth had to read from the print-out and I, the super-organized planner extraordinaire who forgot to actually memorize the important part of the day, said “with this ring I promise you love and… faithfulness? …. Whatever. [laughs]” OK, so maybe our vows were a little worse than the Obama fumble, but hey, we gave our guests some great entertainment and I think our mariage has been off to a successful start.

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There were some nice surprises that brightened up our days as well. A package from Martine and Michel in France was filled with treats. Organic chocolate from Roanne’s famous pastry shop, Chez Pralus, some tastey white wine Dijon mustard, and this cute, weather-appropriate turtleneck:

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Some good-quality, authentic mustard can make plain old grilled meats a gourmet treat. I also use mustard in salad dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
dash of salt

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But I digress. Something else came in the mail in this fun red envelope. Guess what?

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Our photos came, from the photoshoot we did with Jason Angelini last month! I’ve already framed this one to take to my office in the department:

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Seth has had the flu, so after spending a half-day at work on Tuesday, he stayed home for the rest of the week. That meant no babysitters for the babe, but for Seth, it meant taking care of a crankier-than-usual baby while having a fever himself.

Thursday night the inevitable happened: Jax gave us quite a scare with a fever of 102.8 degrees. A quick call to the doctor and some infant Tylenol made us a little less worried, but we went to the doctor as soon as possible the next day. As of this morning (Saturday) he is back to normal, but we are watching him close.

In other developments, Jax has learned how to jump in his jumperoo, instead of using it as a gigantic teether, as he did last weekend:

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Just can’t seem to get enough of this into his mouth.

Since bottles are a bigger part of his life, he’s getting really good at holding them himself.

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Sometimes he gets distracted and has to smile at Daddy.

It usually works best when lying down, since he doesn’t really know about tilting it down to actually get the milk to come out.

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I love how he puts his feet together like a sandwich.

He can also turn the pages of a book. Although boardbooks are safer, he’s actually much better at turning the thin paper pages of the books we read at night. Video to come, perhaps?

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There are clear signs he’s a huge fan of paper. This morning he destroyed a magazine under Seth’s careful supervision.

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Yesterday, once the fever was dying down, we took advantage of the above-freezing temperatures and went to our favorite walking spot: the West Side Highway.

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The blanket made by Auntie Grace kept him warm.

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The air was actually quite nice, but you could tell the water was still at freezing:

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After regrouping at home (and making sure the fever was still over and done with), we packed up the Bumbo seat {thank you, Aunt Renée!} and went out to dinner.

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Tandoori chicken? Just the giraffe tonight?

Finally we woke up this morning without the worries of teaching, work, fevers, and babysitters. One week down, 13 to go… So on this 4-month birthday we were so excited to hear the first real baby laughs. Not just smiles and bubbles and humming, but real giggles!

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I think we may make it after all.

My French Cousin

This weekend we had a lovely visit with my French cousin, Damien. He just finished a 5-month internship in Baltimore and is heading back to France this week. His great-grandmother and my great-grandmother were twins.

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Damien brought the adorable colorful outfit Jax is wearing.

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We went to one of our favorite restaurants, the Olive Tree, for dinner Saturday night.

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“It’s 10pm! What am I doing out? Do you realize the night you are in for?”

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On Sunday we had lunch in the apartment and walked Damien to the bus afterward. It was a snowy weekend, so we didn’t do much else, but being together was the main event, and that was wonderful.

Andrew Wyeth

I just learned that Andrew Wyeth died today at the age of 91. I first learned about Wyeth’s art in my 10th-grade American literature class and I’m sure everyone recognizes Christina’s World, probably his most iconic work. It was painted in 1948 and is now part of MoMA’s collection.

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While it is sad news, the passing of the artist offered me the opportunity to take another look at his career, all these years later, and refresh my memory about the mid-century clash of realism and abstract expressionism. I had forgotten about the criticism Wyeth received throughout his life ‚?? many calling his work too sentimental.

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1964 Photo from the NYTimes.

Maybe I‘m too sentimental, but Wyeth is still one of my all-time favorite American artists and I’m glad he was fortunate to make it to 91.

New York City Snow

Despite the long, cold days when we never leave the apartment, winter can be a fun time to be a baby in New York. Last weekend we went on a lovely walk around the neighborhood. It was snowing in that quiet, almost warm way, when there’s no wind and you don’t even notice the snow piling up on your hat/bag/stroller/baby, and a calm throughout even the busiest of streets (Fifth avenue) makes Saturday shopping for a new coat a pleasure (if only the prices were dropping as much.)

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Experiencing the snow first-hand, for the first time.

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(We eventually did cover the babe with a rain cover.)

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Happy the Washington Square tree was still up. Who needs Rockefeller Center?

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On Sunday we decided to check out the commute on the Hudson Line, once again.

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Leaving Grand Central…

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We checked out this house, only imagine it without all that greenery, and instead a lot of snow and bare trees:

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It was nice to get out of the city, and fun as always to see friends Jonathan and Amanda, too.

For Jax’s 16-week birthday, we got bundled up and went all of 1 building over to go to our new favorite sushi restaurant, where the servers now know us by name (well, the cutest, youngest one of us at least). What we love about our neighborhood is that even when it’s 20 degrees and cabin fever sets in, we’re never far from human interaction and a place where someone else will make us food.
{By the way, the 3-roll spicy combo for 10 bucks is really awesome.}

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The snow all melted but then came back again on Thursday, when we woke up to this:

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It was our last full day home before I went back to teaching. We mostly read books, snuggled, and just did a lot of this:

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and found that *a clever someone* is going to have to be fastened in to the bouncy seat from now on:

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16 Weeks

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Sixteen weeks do not equal four months, as we found out yesterday at the peditrician’s office. We’ll go back in two weeks for Jax’s 4-month “calendar” birthday, and for his second round of shots. In the mean time, here are some exciting stats!

Age: 3 months, 19 days
Height: 25 inches (63.5 cm) ‚?? 66th percentile. This measurement is the same as five weeks ago…I think the height measuring is imperfect because Jax’s 6-month clothes barely fit anymore, and look at how much he gained in Lose Weight Exercise!
Weight: 14 lb 10 oz (6.6 kg) ‚?? 57th percentile ‚?? almost 2 pounds in a month.
Head circumference: 43 cm ‚?? 78th percentile. Quite the noggin… But not shocking in this family; we can never find hats big enough to fit.

Yesterday we had a wonderful surprise in the mail: a new year’s package from my first French host family and these beautiful knit socks made by my French host mom, Josiane! Josiane, si tu me lis en ce moment, je te remercie mille fois! Nous sommes vraiment touch√©s. Tu es vraiment dou√©e en tricot!

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Aren’t they adorable? They make me feel like we should take another ski vacation. Here’s a picture of Josiane and me, from our friend C√©cilia’s surprise birthday party last May 3rd.

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Yesterday we also received the new portacrib mattress: 100% organic, thick and comfy, and made in the USA.  It costs more than the crib itself, but Grandma Barb thinks this babe is worth it. Thanks, Mom!

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So, 16 weeks old, and the hair is longer than ever. But there is an abundance of smiles and expression, too:

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Musical Memories

Two and a half years ago, my sisters and I put together a family songbook for our parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. This year, I printed a second edition with some added lullabies (and photos of the newest member of the family, of course). I also got my hands on the scanned images of some classic family music photos. I’m sharing them with you today:

Left to right: my dad, Uncle Bob, Aunt Marge Ann, and Aunt Barbie

Grandpa threatens to cut my dad’s hair.

Aunt Barbie playing piano.

Mom, Dad, and little old me!

My dad and my sister, Monica, in front of our apartment in L.A.

Party at my crib

I’m growing pretty fast, so you’ll find me at my crib these days. Mama and Pops recently woke up a couple times to find my feet hanging over the side of my bassinet, so they decided it was time for an upgrade.

The old configuration:

I used to sleep in the bassinet of my stroller, right next to Mom and Dad’s bed, which was convenient for feedings in the middle of the night. Downside? Dad couldn’t get into his armoire without rolling the stroller out of the way.

I do have a full-sized crib to sleep in, but it was a little much for my current size ‚?? and more importantly, the size of our current digs (did I ever mention we live in a 400-square-foot prewar apartment?) My great-granddad DeWitt, grandma Barb, and mom all slept in this antique crib when they were babies:

Don’t worry – last summer a welding shop has completely redone the crib to meet today’s safety standards, adding slats to the sides and stripping the paint and replacing it with non-toxic, kid-friendly one. But it monopolized my corner, so for now, it’s going into storage until we move this summer.

Instead, I’m sleeping in a portable crib, which means that my nursery corner can fit both a crib and the swing Mama and Pops borrowed from their friend Michelle.

The crib folds away so it’ll be easy to use later on, maybe for a little brother or sister, and it may go to Grandma Barb and Grandpa Chuck’s place once we move. It’s pretty easy to put together, once you figure out the directions. I distracted Mama a bit, so it took her the better part of an afternoon to finish.

In fact, she had to take a picture of the directions and blow it up on her monitor to consult during the process:

I tested it out, napping with my new teether, Sophie:

Hey, you wanna come over?

(psst…I’m not really able to pull myself up yet. It’s a trick Mama and Pops played to take this picture. I love to “stand,” though, and am trying my hardest to do so on my own!)