Our Babies

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Of Pig Tails and Tissue Trails

Julia, you are about 21.5 months old, but sometimes you act as if you've been here forever- wise beyond your years, too perceptive and smart to not even be two yet. This summer, your vocabulary has skyrocketed, your singing and dancing have gotten super amazing...

...and you've even learned how to jump.

Sometimes, you just leap forward physically, leaving your mother and I astonished at how much of a big girl you really are.


First and foremost, it's official: your hair has finally grown long enough to sport more 'do's. Today you wore your first ever pig tails, and they suit you to a tee. Just. Plain. Awesome. You are always beautiful.

Today you are beautiful with pig tails!

For just about a week solid preceding the pig tail incident, you were waking up moaning, griping, and sometimes crying in the middle of the night and nothing could console you except for being held. We could not figure out what the heck was going on, since you are normally such a good sleeper. Then, one day, after what turned out to be the last such night, your mother and I both independently noted that you seemed bigger...heavier...and then all of a sudden you could reach things you couldn't reach before. That settled it from an acadmic standpoint: you had a growth spurt!
Sometimes you seem to be growing up before our very eyes. Sometimes you seem like you've been here before.
Sometimes you seem like you might be from somewhere else altogether!
You love to color on yourself.
And you have to sleep with a tissue in your hand. You've been doing this for quite a while; sometimes a tissue to hold will comfort you if you're upset at night time...even so much as a year ago.
 You call tissues 'nanos'; even though you can say tissues. Each night, you request a nano, and then in the morning it's gone. Sometimes we see little pieces of tissues balled up, here and there. Sometimes you call down to us "Mommy, nano fall!" Sometimes you are pretty upset about their frailty, as one night when Mimi and Pops were babysitting and you kept yelling down "Mimi, nano broke!"
Most nights though, the nanos just seem to disappear...Until one day I moved the crib from the wall and found nearly a box-worth of tissues all torn up and balled up under your bed. You are so funny! Some people have security blankets, some people have security nanos that they tear up night after night.
No matter how strange that may seem as you're reading it, it is completely normal- and a good reason to buy stock in Kleenex- and completely a part of who you are: old soul, growing up too quickly, quirky and hilarious!
I think we'll keep you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sneaky Sleeper

You've been sneaking into our bed for a few months now. Nightmares, bad dreams, sleepwalking, checking on us, cold, thirsty, lonely? Who knows why (well,sometimes we do know that it's bad dreams, because you tell us), but pretty much every night/morning around 5 am you wind up in bed with us, and your mother doesn't have the energy to take you back again, and I'm a deep sleeper, so I don't know you're there until the morning unless you drape your arm over my head. Sometimes you manage to sneak in unnoticed by your Mom and we both wake up surprised to see you. Last night, though, was an even more amazing sneak sleeper maneuver.
I tucked you in, and you were fast asleep by 7:25 (those swim classes really tire you out). Your Mom and I worked out, we ate some dessert, we watched some television. There was a huge pile of laundry in the bed. The evening consisted of a few trips back to our bedroom: putting away the weights, changing into PJs, letting the dogs out, and in, and out again.
We made our way to be around 11:00 and your Mom says, "Did you know Aidan was in our bed?" I did not, but there you were, adorably sleeping in our bed. You had snuck in there- which is really interesting, because if you wake up while we're still up, you typically come and see us, but last night you must have simply wanted to sleep...some where else. This is also impressive, because you're not exactly light-footed. Your thud-thud-thud isn't exactly stealthy usually.
But last night, you snuck out of your bed, climbed in ours, tucked yourself in, and got nice and adorably comfrotable..
I don't know if the huge pile of laundry was good enough camouflage, or if you had tucked yourself in so deeply that I didn't see you, but with the multiple trips to the bedroom, I somehow missed your beautiful face sleeping in our big bed.
I'm glad we got to see you there, so peaceful, so at home, so comfortable- exactly the things we want for you to feel in every room in our home. I couldn't resist taking a picture; you looked so beautiful, sleeping there basking in the soft light coming from the closet.
When I see you sleeping, I am immediately transported back to your early days as an infant.
You have grown to be a creative, impressive, hilarious, complicated, emotional, confident, sensitive young boy. But when we catch you sleeping, especially dwarfed by the big comforter in our bed, it's not hard to recall the day you first held my hand and used to sleep on my and your mom's chest during long naps, drenched in afternoon sunlight.
We kissed you and took you back to bed for the night.
I awoke to the sound of my alarm at 7 am, and was pleasantly surprised to find you there, cuddled between your Mom and me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Civil Disobedience

The other morning you both were wide awake before I left for work. Aidan, you led the charge.
"You are not to go to work," you said playfully.
I explained that I had too! Afterall, we'd just had a 3.5 day weekend and a week at the beach. And I kind have to bring home the bacons. But, that doesn't matter. And it didn't phase you either.
You rant to the front door. Julia, chocolate milk in hand, followed you.
"We are blocking your way! You can't leave!" you said, cheekily.
A smile never left your faces, and you both really made me feel so super special that you wanted me to stay at home and be with you.
I thought fleetingly about calling sick...but what kind of example would that set?
We hugged, we kissed, we made plans to play Candy Land when I got home.
And when I got home we hugged again, kissed again, and played, hung out, swam, chased, and read until bed time.

The only good part about leaving the both of you is constantly getting to come back to you.

i love you so much; and thank you for blocking the door, and making my day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Things You Say

Julia, as more and more words- and sentences- come out of your mouth the more apparent it becomes that you are whip-smart, super powerful, and amazingly funny too.

You know most of your body parts and don't hesitate to tell us. "Eye", "Eyebrow", "Elbow", "hair", "knee", "nose", "Behbuh" (belly button), "mouth", "eeah" (ear), "teef!" "eyelash" are among your favorites. I often have no shirt on (that's what Dads do)...so I've noticed that you - like your brother before you- seem very interested in "bibbles" (nipples).  And you use these liberally: in your favorite book ("Nemo") you always have to find the "shaaa" (shark) and tell us all about his teeth.

You know when you want to play "Horsey" or "kikitty" or "dog."

When you go potty, you tell me to "sit!" So, I sit across from you on the edge of the tub.

You learn words left and right, and remember them too. Last night in the bath tub, you said "Grover Cup, Pease."

Last night while you were trying to avoid going to bed, you kept point and asking me to take you to the "chair." "Chair." "Chair."

When you are proud for going pee pee on the potty, or just looking for someone, you use your "Oh!" Such as "Oh, Mama!" "Oh, Daddy!" "Oh, Aidan!"

If you don't know someone's name, that never stops you:  You called your cousin Jenny "That."

"Nah" means "yeah." "Neh" means again. "No no no no no no"- you can figure that one out.

We played "ring around the rosey" once before you fell in love with the game and request it every day a hundred times. "Robey robey robey neh!"

You sing songs too, including "clean up clean up" (often you'll make messes just for the joy of cleaning them up!)

You love to sing songs that your brother is teaching you too. "A, B, A, B, A, B, B" But once a few days ago I sang "ABCD" and you sang "EFG" unmistakably!

You also LOVE when a song from "Frozen" comes on and in a gruff voice you say "FROZEN! FROZEN! FROZEN!"

And of course, Old MacDonald remains one of your favorites.

In the car one day, Aidan was doing some improv and sang "E I E I Daddy." He thought it was hilarious! So did you...and you've been singing it ever since!

You are making sentences quite readily too. "Oolia bath" (you wanted to get back in the bath since Aidan and Kaelyn were still in there having fun).

"Ho me ho me" is of course "hold me hold me".

"Oolia go goo gleep shirt" (you were wearing your Go Goo Gleep shirt..duh!)

"Aidan shoes"

"Mine iPad! Mine iPad!"

"Aidan bite." (no, he didn't)

"Good gog"

"Aidan cry." (yes, he did)

"Mama book"

"Thank you!"

"Hi Nemo!"

"Bye bye, Nemo!"

"Bye bye, park"

"Mimi! Bop!" (Pops)

"Yaya! Baba!"

"NG NG" (it means "swing"...trust me on this)

"Asher! Asher! Asher!"

"Baby Bottle! Baby..."

"More wah wah Oolia!"

"Mama, Dada, there you are!"

Sometimes you just sit and babble stuff we haven't heard before and can't translate yet; occasionally it's over a book, so you're probably just reading. But, with the speed with which your vocabulary is growing and you're mastering language, we'll understand you soon enough. For now though, you are a little girl in a big world, and you have a lot to say about it. We're just happy to hear it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Julia Sekina: A snapshot at 18 months


I can't believe you've only been here for 18 months. None of us can recall life without you- nor would we want to. 

You are an amazing young lady: a burst of sunshine, love, wit, strength, creativity, determination, smarts and- of course- beauty.

It is amazing being part of your life: watching you make connections, helping you grow, being so surprised when you've grown and learned without our help. 

You are funny- and have a wicked sense of humor. You know when you are about to do something mischievous and get this incredible look in your eye. 

You are fearless and brave, but smartly so. You hate to fall down, so you are very careful in your bravery. 

You are independent: If you're hungry, you just go to the pantry, and get what you want. Luckily, it's usually raisins...or pirates booty (aka "boobee") or cereal (aka "seeral").

You talk all the time. Last night you were playing with a toy cat, just saying "meow meow meow meow." Sometimes you even pretend to be a cat. You also have adopted one of Aidan's stuffed cats, which is your beloved "kikitty."

You love your family, including your dear old dad ("Daddy"), your "Mommy", your "Aideen"/"Bruder", and your cousins, whose names you're still learning. But you definitely have words for Addison and Autumn. And you LOVE to just go through the list of all the people you know.

You're very interested in kids younger than you, including your good friend Asher. Everyone is "baby." In fact, sometimes you are "Baby." The baby next door? She's "baby" too. You spent the better part of 20 minutes one day trying to climb the fence saying "Hi Baby! Hi Baby! Bye Baby!"

You are silly:

But, you're also silly smart. When Aidan's not guiding you to color all over your face for no reason, you are usually just applying marker to your face. You started doing this after watching Mommy get ready in the morning. The foundation makeup looks awfully close to the flesh-colored marker. So, why not be like Mama?

You're super advanced too: 18 months old and already you've already started to "go" on the potty. You tell us when you need to go! About a week ago you had gone pee pee on the potty 3 times and poo poo once. Now those numbers are so high that we've lost count. There was, of course, a bit of confusion. At the beginning, you went pee pee on our deck outside and raised your hands in the air triumphantly and said "HOORAY!" But now, when you get chocolate (aka "I-doh") for going on the potty, you really are starting to get it!

Your favorite foods include Jelly Beans, which we discovered on Easter morning as you devoured all the eggs left for you!

Cereal is always in style.

Watermelon ("wamelon") is a perennial favorite.

You are focused. When you want something, you do NOT let it go: "Nemo. Nemo. nemo. Nemo. Shreh. shreh. Shreh? Shreh? Go goo gleep?"

Oh, did I mention that you speak in full sentences? Too? "Hi, Mommy!" "Aidan cry." "Daddy work." "Aidan school." 

And, you're finally learning to say your own name. Right now it sounds like "ooolia", although, sometimes you still call yourself "baby," which is no longer the case.

You love to run, and swing, and go on wagon rides. You love to clean up (so much so that you'll make a mess just to immediately clean it up again). You love your best friend, your brother. 

You are tall at 32.5 inches (75%) and skinny at 23.2 pounds (25.5%). But these are just numbers.

You are 18 months old and you are just plain amazing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My two cents on your senses, and your cent


Lately, your empathy has bubbled up to the surface in incredible strides.

For instance, after accidentally swallowing a penny, which rightly freaked me out, you came up to me unprovoked and said "Daddy, I'm sorry I swallowed the penny."

Whenever we go eat at "Red Baby Tacos" and you see the Drama Masks in the Casa Linda shopping center, you ask, "Why are you sad, Marshmallow?"

You sat quietly in the shower, and your mother asked you "What are you thinking about, Aidan?" You're response? "Closure."

The other day you brought out your doctor's bag and said "Daddy, you are sick." (I wasn't, but I'm always ready to pretend).

"I am. Please help me doctor."

Your response? "I'm a boy, not a doctor!"

When your mother has a headache, you play with her hair and say "It's alright. I got you."

 When Julia's crying, you start crying, saying that her crying is making you sad. One day, Julia stabbed me in the head with her toothbrush. I sternly rebuked this action: "NO HITTING!" Julia's smile crumbled into tears. Soon enough though, she got over it. But you were more upset than her: "Why is she crying? Don't make her cry!"

Even once, Julia bit you...hard...hard enough to leave a mark and make you cry. Your Mom said "NO BITING!" Making Julia cry. You, through your tears, sobbed "Don't...yell...at...Julia!"

Now don't fret, you're not all philosophy and empathy. You're goofy, silly, rambunctious, a bit defiant, proud, clever, creative, and fun too! But this empathy...it's incredible, insightful, -sometimes funny- and beautiful.

That's just my two cents on your sensibility...and your cent...which has now hopefully passed. But your senses won't. They're part of you, and a growing part at that.

Thursday, March 13, 2014



The other morning you awoke a bit before my alarm. Since we were up a little early, we decided to hang out. You asked for us to read a book together. So we sat in your bed and just read. I think the book was "How do Dinosaurs Eat their Food."

The extra time from our early awakening evaporated oh-too-soon.

I had to go take a shower to get all clean and business-presentable for work.

You popped in the bathroom to talk to me for a bit at the end of the shower, asking me questions about lotion, and shaving, and flossing.

You followed me into the closet as I headed off to get dressed.

You quickly figured out what I was up to.

"Where you going?" you asked.

"I have to go to work, buddy."

"No. You don't go."

I got on one knee. You put your arms around my neck.

"I want you to know that when I'm at work every day, I think of you and Mommy and Julia all the time. And I can't wait to come home and be with you."

"Don't go."

"I'm sorry, Aidan. But I have to go to work."


I tried to explain how the house and the electricity and the water and even the food all cost money, and Daddy goes to work to earn the money. I told you that I have to bring home the bacon.

"Do you understand?" I asked.

You turned away from me, folded your arms on your chest and said "I don't. I don't understand."

To be honest, at that moment I didn't understand either. It sucked. I was tempted to just stay home all day, every day with you. But...we kind of need a home to stay home at.

I'm so sorry Aidan- and you too Julia- that this is the way the world works. I wish I could take like 5 paid years off to be home with you guys while you're little and then just work until I'm 72. But I don't think companies like that kind of deferment plan.

So, I'm on lunch break right now- the first one I've truly taken away from work in a long while- and since I can't be with you, I'm writing to you, and -as always- thinking about you.

One day, when you're both older and have little ones of your own, I'll hopefully be nearing 72 and I can use those 5 years to spend days on end with your little ones, so that they'll miss their Daddies and Mommies just a little less, like how Pops and Mimi and Yaya and Baba do for you.

That's the trade off, I guess. And that's the understanding.

But please know, while you don't understand now why I have to be here and you have to be there, I'm not distraught and not sad. I'm thankful that we have such a good set up that your Mommy gets to be with you every day, and I'm excited for every moment I get to spend with you both, after work, on weekends, and days off, when I get to enjoy the company of those for whom I working so hard.

All my love,