My heart BURST with pride

technically, this should be a “Conversations With Ali, Eve of her 2nd Birthday,” but because i was pretending to be asleep (or rather, trying really hard to go back to sleep this morning), this was more of a one-sided, overheard somewhere, kind of Aliana-ism.

Aliana, almost 2

Aliana, almost 2

everymorning, ali and i cuddle while she drinks her morning milk. sometimes, this means we both get an extra 30 minutes of sleep before i really have to get up. as i mentioned, i was trying really hard to get back to sleep, but i was failing. ali was wide awake, and starts to count the beads on my silver necklace. she started as one is wont to do, when counting. “one, two, three, four…” little lady can get up to the twenties now. but that’s when she did something so incredibly surprising: she started to count in spanish.

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“Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, cinco, seis, cinco, seis…”

granted, she started to sound like a broken record, but good Lord did my heart leap from my chest. no one asked her to count. no one asked her to count in spanish. i sometimes feel terribly guilty that i don’t speak more spanish around her. honestly, it’s a word here or there. it happens sometimes when i don’t expect the spanish to come out. but when i have to sit and make myself think of what to say, i feel ashamed. i was hoping that our kids would grow up in a bilingual household, but with not having anyone to converse with in spanish, i’m afraid that i’m starting to lose it. even speaking to my family over the phone (we’ve always spoken in Spanglish, but majority of the conversation is in spanish), i find myself having to concentrate a little harder on what i’m saying. it’s like a complex mental math problem. one thing for sure though, is that my child loves Guatemalan food. i don’t cook the more traditional things at home, that require all day, exotic ingredients, or sometimes a muchacha as an extra hand, but boy does she love the few things i do cook here, or that my mom cooks for us.

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regardless, i think we did a great job finding a daycare that uses spanish in their lessons. i am so incredibly thankful for them, not just as a practical third parent, but for the care and thoughtfulness they put into their lessons at “school.” i was so disappointed when we first interviewed a daycare provider in clifton park who was a native spanish speaker and refused to speak to the kids in spanish. i’m glad that we felt a resounding “no!” and found someplace much much better.

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mommy guilt aside, i have to remind myself that we’re doing this practically alone. we don’t have family to help us at a drop of a hat. we don’t have many close friends, but we’ve done well in raising her. she’s healthy, she’s so incredibly smart and thoughtful, and she’s certainly beautiful.

as a friend told me recently, “guilt shouldn’t belong in a mom’s vocabulary…” and she’s right. i realized that (again) this morning as my baby girl–who’s not so much of a baby anymore–counted her way in spanish. i may not be doing much at home, but the few things she does hear, she’s picking up and absorbing, repeating. that’s worth calling a success, right? we can always add more vocabulary as she gets older.

she’s amazing, and i find that out more and more each day.

call me sappy, but i’m very thoughtful today. to think that this time, two years ago, i was 3 cms dilated after being in labor for almost 24 hours. i was testing out every position i had learned in bradley class, trying to find the most comfortable position for that contraction. then finding another for the next.

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look at her now, from a zygote to a gorgeous little girl. we love you ali. can’t wait to see how much more you grow this next year.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Aliana, 22 Months

At dinner Monday night, Aliana was singing one of her favorite songs. She changes the names based on her friends’ and family…

Aliana: “Ali Kahrs, we love you….Ryan, we love you…Daddy dew, we love you…”

Drew: “Why does she call me that?”

Me: “Ali, what’s daddy’s name?”

Aliana: “Dew”

Me: “You mean ‘Drew’?”

Drew: “That makes so much sense now!”

If you were wondering, I’m “Mommy Kahrs”!

Conversations with Aliana, 21 Months

February 22, 2013

Ali’s learning about the ocean and the animals that live in it at “school.” This was our dinner conversation last night:

Me: so, Aliana, what did you learn about the ocean today?
Aliana: ummmm….
Me: can you tell me what lives in the ocean? (Makes ALS sign for fish)
Aliana: fish!
Me: what else? What about dolphins?
Aliana: yeah, dolphins!
Me: what do dolphins say, how do they speak?
Aliana: (after thinking for a moment) “hi! Hi! Hi!” (Waves her hand in the air)

October – November 2011

Oct. 23, 2012 — Ali's first time in a corn maze

In my last (real) post, it was the day before my birthday (and Ali’s five month birthday). That Sunday, we went to Ellm’s Family Farm to pick pumpkins and do the corn maze. I don’t think I had gone through a corn maze myself, but it was fun to do as a family. Towards the end, Ali did get hungry, so I threw my nursing cover on and walked around with her while she ate. It was an interesting way to emerge from the maze, but I didn’t care. I think this when I started to not care about what people thought/felt about nursing in public. It’s also the time when Ali started to fight under the cover, and I’m sure she exposed me to some people quite a few times too.

For Halloween, we dressed Ali as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ali-Wan Kenobi

Okay, let me clarify: I dressed Aliana as a Jedi. We also have these flashlights that will also glow a certain color, so since I wasn’t allowed to buy her a real light saber (Andrew had to draw the line somewhere, right?), she toted the pink flashlight as her saber.

That night, we participated in our church’s ‘trunk or treat’, where church members open up their car trunks, fill it with candy, and all the kids go car to car collecting sweets. It’s a great alternative to going door to door. We had a lot of fun participating. One minus, we were so used to just going in the car to change her diaper, that it was natural to change her there while we were handing out candy. Drew forgot that the trunk was open, so the car was cold. She cried, the poor kid, because her bottom was freezing. It was a do-it-once-and-learn experience. Neither of us thought to take her inside to change her. Sorry, baby!

I think it was November 5, when Aliana finally rolled over on her own. Of course, she did it at daycare first, but it was exciting to see her do it when we came home.

It was around this time that we had a new set of neighbors moved in next door. This time, they were smokers, and no amount of pleading from us or our landlord could stop them from smoking inside. All their cigarette smoke was traveling into our home, it was really unbearable to smell. Of course, the landlord tried to work with us at first, looking for where the smoke might be entering. They sent maintenance to seal up those areas, but the jackasses didn’t really do anything than add some caulk to some ridiculous places. All the while, they would tell me how what they were doing wasn’t going to really do much, and that I shouldn’t be worrying anyway because “that’s all a lie, smoke can’t do anything, look at me, my mom smoked when she was pregnant, I’ve ben around it my whole life. That stuff isn’t true, it’s not bad for you…”

I really wanted to say, “OK buddy, how ’bout you shut your mouth and do your job, or do you get paid extra for all the stupid things you say?”

Anyway… it quickly became clear that we would have to try to find another living situation, as heartbreaking as the idea was to me. I knew that we’d have to leave that place eventually, but I wasn’t ready to think about it at the time. Regardless, we started to look for other options. It would be a few months before anything actually happened. I’ll leave that to another post.

Here are some more pictures from October and November.

Aliana chooses her pumpkin

Aliana and Mami

It's not until I look back that I realize how much of a chunker she was! Aliana at 5 months

Aliana's first time eating sweet potatoes, she loved them!

Aliana and Elise at Trunk or Treat

Aliana was quite taken with her toes

This was her first time in the stroller using the big kid chair. She knew it was something new and she loved it!

One Year Later…

Aliana is now 13 months old, and we can hardly believe it.

We know we’ve been MIA, and I’m kicking myself hard for not documenting the last six months as I should have. We were going through some tough, personal issues (which included having to move as well as an unexpected job loss), and I may or may not have been a little depressed. I am in denial about it, haha.

Anyway, I’ll begin posting again soon. I’ll begin with a quick recap of her milestones and incorporate where she is now as soon as I can.

Lilly

I Still Can’t Believe We’re Parents

It’s been nearly 4 months since our little Aliana has entered our world and parenthood continues to be everything I never thought it would be (don’t worry, I don’t mean that negatively). It’s incredible how unbeknownst to Ali, she is so deeply reliant on us to care for her, raise her, and turn her into a self-reliant, independent member of society. I tell myself everyday I hope I can do right by her as she grows and develops. I hope I can provide her all the opportunities and tools necessary to allow her to succeed at whatever she does.

As I think about how the responsibilities associated with parenthood, I realize they are far greater than I ever thought they would be, and I’ve been thinking about it since I was 3. Even during Lilly’s pregnancy I still had no real idea what I was getting myself into. I always knew I would do what was necessary and required of me, but it’s been an eye opener. I am beginning to truly understand the daily challenges my parents faced while raising me, and I can’t imagine what it was like for them raising twins (my brothers) along with a 5 year old (me). Lord knows how they put me through 9 years of hockey. I have a newfound respect for them both and continue to seek guidance and parental advice from them.

Those Eyes

As I look into Ali’s eyes, I wish I could remove every challenge and stressful situation she is going to encounter throughout her life. Even now I wish I could prevent every pout and cry she makes when she’s in pain dealing with acid reflux, when she frustrated because mommy and daddy don’t understand her, or when she’s bored and stir-crazy. Knowing full well life has it’s own agenda, I am very aware I cannot remove the trials and tribulations she will face, but I hope she knows daddy would if he could.

The Ups and Downs

I realized today just how much I love my daughter. She was in her swing smiling, cooing, laughing; I was doing dishes (my favorite part of being a grown-up…NOT), and then she made a face that said, “I feel safe daddy, I love you, and now I’m going to take a nap.” It was said all in her eyes. What a moment for a new father.

I also realized today how my beautiful daughter can really test my patience, and it wasn’t even her fault which made me feel like a “Big D.” As anyone who takes part in the real world knows, the high points don’t come without their lows. Ali was due for her daily-dose of Zantac this evening and I convinced Lilly to wait until the next feeding before giving it to her. Wrong move on my part. Soon thereafter Aliana spit up on me 5-7 times in a matter of 30 minutes. Some were messier than others but they were all hot, sour, curdled goo. I’ll tell ya, I know it’s not Ali’s fault but damn its annoying getting puked on that many times in such a short period. As a parent I’m learning your patience is constantly tested and you’re forced to keep yourself calm especially when you feel like screaming.

At the end of the day the UP’s greatly outway the DOWN’s. Her smiles have the ability to shutout the world around me, to make me forget about the blowout she just had, or the projectile vomit that just ruined my clothes. She’s so stinkin’ cute it’s impossible to stay frustrated for long. Keep up the good work Ali, you’re doing great!

I love my Aliana

Creativity

I believe Lilly does a much better job at writing about her experiences as a mother than I do writing about mine as a father. Lilly really captivates me when I read one of her posts. I wish she posted everyday, but an infant doesn’t allow much room for personal time. I feel my writing abilities are more statement/fact-oriented and less about getting the reader to envelop themselves with my story. I spend most of my workday writing professionally to clients. The emails are formal, to the point, are generally boring and usually are requesting something I’ve asked for many times before. There isn’t a whole lot of room for creative expression. My limited vocabulary doesn’t help either in my goal for greatness in writing. Hopefully my continued reading will help me pick up a broader range of descriptive abilities to illustrate my experience as a 25 year old first-time dad. (Please note the obvious use of the Thesaurus).

In an attempt to continue my quest for greatness in writing, I want to show you show you what I thought to be a funny size and attitude comparison of Aliana. I tend to put Aliana in places where she is compared to common everyday objects that are much bigger than she is with her being an infant. The first photo is her sitting upright on a full-size futon wearing a look of concern.

Not Crying...

The second photo is where the concern has turned to intense frustration of “Pick me up Daddy! Why did you leave me on this thing?”

Definitely Crying!

It’s been an interesting experience learning Aliana’s cries of what she is struggling to communicate with us. I actually think we’ve all been learning as the days go by. Aliana’s learning how to cry, and we’re figuring out what they mean. It’s getting easier to tell when Aliana is experiencing pain like acid reflux, anger or frustration with Mommy and Daddy, a poopy diaper, or the need to feed. I’m definitely looking forward to her growing ability to interact with us.