Happy 7 Months!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Today marks your 7-month birth anniversary…you’re 7 months old! Holy moly! The time is literally flying since you’ve been born…and boy has this last month brought about so many incredible changes in you both! It’s been an unbelievable experience to watch…let’s see what’s been going on:

Phoebe: you’ve made some absolutely incredible progress – let’s take a look: you can roll front to back and then back to front. You love to roll. You can spin on your belly 3600 in order to search for the perfect toy. You have begun the process of army crawling – and have made it a few inches forward! With more practice you’ll be moving in more new ways! You’ve pretty much mastered sitting up on your own once placed into position – you still haven’t figured out how to get there yourself. You absolutely love using the exersaucer. You love to touch down and do little squats…not to mention play with the mirror. You have discovered that you can giggle and that you’re ticklish. You think your fur-sister Sasha is just the funniest thing ever! And you love when she kisses your little toesies! You’ve officially given up your evening catnap, so we’re now 3 solid naps a day. And lastly, you really love to eat your solids. Your favorites are sweet potato, pumpkin, plums and apples.

Xander: the strides you’ve made have been pretty remarkable this last month! You’ve started to really discover your babble and vowel sounds! You’re finally telling your story! You can roll front to back AND back to front, now, and you no longer cry when you make it to your tummy! You are finally taking to the spoon and exploring solids…your favorites are bananas, apples, oatmeal and plums. You have two teeth that have officially broken through – wow! You have graduated from sleeping in your mamaroo to officially sleeping in your crib…this is such a great accomplishment! We’re so very proud of you for this! You are able to sit up so much better and sometimes unsupported – and you’re doing it so well. You love it when we sing to you – it instantly brings a smile to your face, and you love to chew on your caterpillar toy. You enjoy time in your exersaucer but really long to be able to stand on your own. You love when we hold your arms up and stand…you shake your tushie and smile so much! And…and…you’re giggling! Hooray! Oh, and you painted at daycare! You painted with your hands and a brush!

Each of you has achieved so many individual accomplishments…it’s unbelievable! But there are also some other mutual noteworthy events that occurred: you are both officially unswaddled for all sleeping! You love your new transitional Love To Dream sleep sack (but Pickle – you gave us a RUN for a money during the transition…girl…). You prefer to just play on the padded mat and no more “tummy time” mat as you both roll too much. And you both are able to sit up in your stroller so no more car seats for them! And you are now the stars of your own blog with Abba called, “Not The Momma!” You love posing for pictures (And Daddy secretly loves to dress you both up!).

Yeladim – you’re growing way too fast and changing way too much; literally, something new every single day. What a gift to watch your growth unfold right in front of our eyes! At times it seems surreal and still somewhat of a dream, but when you whine at 4:15am we know it’s not a dream lol. Albeit you are sleeping somewhat through the night…#almostthere

We love you so much. Keep growing. Keep developing into the amazing humans you’re destined to be!

All Our Love,

Abba and Daddy

The Importance of LGBTQ+ Story Books

As an adult my memory of childhood is pretty good. I remember events so far back it sometimes shocks myself – and with the most vivid of detail. One thing I clearly don’t remember is ever being told a story where anything LGBTQ+ was discussed. I don’t ever remember a story about a boy coming out of the closet, or a family with two moms (or two dads), a character who was transgender. In fact, the first time I read anything about “being gay” was when someone bought me the book called, “The Gay Man’s Health and Wellness Guide” in an effort to help me not contract HIV. Real nice, eh? Not the best read for a 17-year-old coming out of the closet. If literature that included these topics were presented to me would things have been different? You can bet your ass it would!

Early childhood education (ECE) is crucial for children’s development and critical thinking. One aspect of importance is learning about family. After all family is everything, right? There are many types of family compositions: mom/dad, two dads, two moms, single parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, step parents and more I am surely missing. When children are presented with stories that show these families, and theirs, it teaches acceptance, not just tolerance. One thing that binds each of these family units is love – and these children’s stories are about the love of family and of their importance.

Recently, I was tagged in a FaceBook post where 32 (random number) books that feature LGBTQ+ friendly subject matter were listed to be included on Public ECE reading shelves. Of course each educator would have to preview books for age-appropriate content. That goes without saying.

These were books that presented different family composition (i.e. same-sex parents), stories of coming out and most of all that we exist and are a part of everyday life. That’s 32 more books than existed when I was growing up. Oh, and how I longed for a book that showed someone like me.

It was only natural that I engaged the poster and, of course, discussed which of the books I already had in my library. Having these books will be so important for my children. I want them to see their family in a book. There’s something so powerful about that message. And of course they will know other family structures – they will know that their father’s have a mother and father. They will have friends with mothers and fathers, two dads, two moms among many more I’m certain.

However, one comment made mention that they would be upset if these books were read to their kids without them having the opportunity to discuss issues like this at home. They continued to share that they had a right to even have their children sit out from stories such as these, or better yet, just not include books about LGBTQ+ families as they don’t align with their religious beliefs, all while attending a public school. Hold up…Just stop…

While I understand there are families that may not fully understand or accept my family, but that is not my problem. My family is here and my family exists. And there are many, many families just like mine. This is why when children attend a public education system they should be presented with facts, not opinions, and allowed to form their own thoughts as they align, or otherwise, with what they’re taught at home. Books that depict other family units only show that they exist. It’s that simple. It’s actually no different than learning about the many religions of the world, the many cultures of the world and much more. It’s also why there are home, private and religious schools. If a family wants their children taught a certain way then by all means choose the best educational path for them. As a parent I wholeheartedly understand wanting the best for my children.

By not including these books as part of ECE you do a gross disservice to our youth. These books simply allows kids to see their families and for others to see families different from their own. It doesn’t take a parent’s right to instill their own beliefs and morals. It just presents other family structures. And for my part as a parent I am glad that these books exist. It gives me much hope that the world my children will grow into adults may be a bit closer to truly accepting all people.

Happy 6 Months!

Dear Pheobe and Xander,

Today marks your 6 month birth anniversary and our sixth month blessed to be your parents! It’s unreal to think just how fast time has flown. There is saying that states ‘the days are long but the months short.’ It’s so true…so much of the last six months has seemed both fast and slow…but when we see the way you’ve grown, your smiles, the way you have started to giggle and the way you gaze at us it makes it worth every minute.

Pheobe – your official nickname is Pickle. Nearly everyone now calls you this! You have started to respond to your name (Phoebe) and you are just a content and happy baby (except when you’re over-tired, but we’ll omit that part from the letter). You love to play on the mat, roll over, be on your tummy and so much more. But perhaps one of your most favorite things is trying new foods. You get so excited to try “nom noms” and literally jump out of the seat with your mouth wide open! You recently started to have a truly audible giggle and it just melts our hearts…You sleep through the night now, which Abba and Daddy thank you for, but when you wake up at 5am you love to snuggle with Abba on the couch – truly precious moments. However, you have recently made a habit of refusing to nap during the day and letting out huge screams just as we lay you down for bed…sleep regression? Who knows? But we hope this phase is short-lived. 😛

Xander – your official nickname is Bubba. It just seems to fit! You have also started to respond to your name which is just so cool. You are the fussier of the babies when compared to your sister, but we try hard not to compare. You’re generally a very smiley baby, but just like to move at your own pace. You have finally grown to enjoy your tummy time and can really lift and move your super big head! We know it’s hard work – keep it up! You are not so keen on taking food from a spoon, which is fine. You will let us know when you’re ready – but the other day you did enjoy some bananas which made you crack a huge smile! Your favorite thing is to stand up – whenever you’re fussing it’s the first thing we do – and you start to smile like such a big boy! You are also sleeping through the night (when you’re not battling a cold or coxsackie virus) and both Abba and Daddy thank you for that! Now please just coordinate with your sister and both sleep through the same nights??

Yeladim – you both have accomplished so much since you’ve been born! It’s amazing to reflect and witness how you both have changed and continue to grow and change. Abba and Daddy love you both more than you know and now on to the next 6 months which will bring us to your 1 year birth celebration! And yes – we’ve already agreed on a theme 🙂

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba

Happy 5 Months!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Tomorrow is your 5 month birth celebration! Daddy and Abba can hardly believe that time has gone by this quickly…so much has happened since your birth and you both have conquered so much. When we reminisce, which we often do, it’s inspiring, really. Fighters since birth!

Phoebe: You have finally made it over the 12 lbs mark, and we speculate you’re likely near 13…you’ve taken a keen interest in reaching across your body in an attempt to roll over. Keep it up, girl, you’re almost there! You absolutely love to play on the gym with your “friends,” animals that light up and sing to you. You squeal and wriggle with excitement each time they sing. It’s entirely too adorable. You also love to tell stories to Abba and Daddy, and we love to hear your explore your voice! It’s just too stinking cute! Oh, and you’ve begun to shuffle on the floor, you’ve eaten multigrain cereal and peaches, begun the teething process and love to practice sitting up. Oh, and how can we forget that you’re a total Daddy’s girl and that you love when he walks you by the frog statue…Pickle, you brighten our days so much! Your smile, your voice and your desire to seek our attention is simply amazing!

Xander: You have nearly skipped 6 month clothes and are now filling 9th month out nicely…you are likely somewhere between 16 – 18 lbs…and boy do Abba and Daddy feel it – boy you is getting heavy! You love to be on your tummy, but most especially propped on the boppy pillow or one of our legs. You are fascinated with standing up and being on your legs! You think it’s just the funniest thing ever! You are just starting to show signs of rolling from your back to your tummy and enjoy reaching for toys and bringing them to your mouth. Which brings me to the next thing: you’re desire to help assist in your bottle feeding. Dude. We love you. And we know you want to help. But you’re not ready. You just push it out of your mouth. Remember, we got you, boo, and will always give you your bottle. We promise :-* You loved your peaches and cereal, love your singing time with Daddy and Abba and you are a total Abba’s boy…it’s stinking adorable. Bubba – you are a beam of light that just ignites the room! Keep smiling. Keep growing! It’s just amazing to watch!

Yeladim – as we celebrate today we also reflect on just how far you’ve come since your birth. You are each nailing your chronological milestones and saying to your prematurity: “Who’s premature!? Not us!” And while each of you develop differently and have different strengths, it’s just inspiring to watch it all unfold in front of our eyes. Each day you seem to learn something new – and sometimes just from the morning to the night! Like if we blink at the wrong time we’ll miss something special. It’s true what everyone’s said: time flies. And even though we’ve only been home a short few months since your release from the NICU it’s just flown on by…

Keep growing. Keep exploring. Keep learning. Keep being the amazing little people you are growing in to be…

All our love,

Daddy and Abba

Happy 4 Months!

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Um…do you know what today is?! It’s your four month birth celebration! Wow! A third of the way through your first year already – my how time flies…

It was just last week Daddy and Abba were holding you saying to one another, “when and how in the heck did you get so big!” Xander, you smiled at us, and Pickle, you just gave us your RBF. It was rather adorable. But seriously: you’re both huge! Abba was even compelled to write an interim letter just about your weights! Keep growing and getting stronger and stronger.

Yeladim: you both enjoy your play mat. You smile, squirm, march your legs and even coo and squee at all the surrounding toys. Phoebala: just last night you almost turned yourself from your back to your belly reaching for your links! Almost there!  You both are slowly discovering your voices and each other are so stinking adorable. Xanatoot: you are so close to giggling…any day now we feel!

You both are enjoying your smiles. Phoebe you are still reserved with yours, which is fine, but you do love to smile when you wake up…oh, and when you sneezed and peed on Abba you thought that was the funniest ever!

You have also started daycare and are currently battling your first sniffles. You’re handling it like champs. You both especially love to go into the shower and steam. You love the warm water running down your keppies (that’s Yiddish for heads).  You smile and just absolutely love it!

Literally you both bring us so much joy! And we appreciate that you’re sleeping more than six hours a night…some nights even 9 hours! We’re so lucky to be celebrating our first Father’s Day as your parents. We truly are so lucky. We love you. Keep smiling. Keep exploring.  Keep being the true miracles you are to us!

All our love,

Abba and Daddy

Happy 3 Months!!

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Oh, my! Where has time gone!? Today, May 17th is your 3 month birth celebration!! Holy moly! Happy 3 months, yeladim! To celebrate we’ve made a list of accomplishments you’ve each achieved since your birth. It’s quite impressive:

1. You were born 7 weeks early
2. Your organ systems were asked to perform before they were ready – and they did
3. You’ve learned how to regulated your body temperature
4. You’ve learned how to breathe on your own
5. You’ve learned how to take a bottle, and have graduated from disposable to 4 fl oz and now big boy and big girl 8 fl oz bottles
6. You’ve graduated from preemie to level 1 nipples
7. You’ve learned to poop regularly (well, Xander, sometimes you like to hold it for an extra large treat for Abba and Daddy)
8. You’ve gone from preemie diapers to newborn and then to level 1 diapers
9. You’ve learned to use different cries to let us know what you want and need
10. You’ve learned how to get our attention, even when you don’t really need it
11. You’ve learned each of our voices
12. You’ve learned to roll from your belly to your back
13. You’ve learned to smile
14. You’ve learned to lift your head up and move left and right – you both enjoy tummy time
15. You’ve taken part in your first primary election (ok, you tagged along with Abba, and we all voted which matters)
16. You’ve taken many walks outside
17. You’ve each doubled your birth weight
18. You’ve each grown hair – Phoebe, we swear your hair doubles overnight, every night
19. You’ve graduated from preemie, to newborn to now 0 – 3 month clothes (Xander, you’re the one in 3 month. Phoebe, you’re still in newborn)
20. You’ve learned how to steal our hearts even when we’re both severely sleep deprived

Above all, you’ve done SO much in your short 3 months in this world. And we love you more than you’ll ever know. Keep growing. Keep smiling. Keep getting stronger and bigger and until our next letter at 4 months.

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba