You Drink No More Mommy Milk Anymore

Soon after writing the post about big boy naps, Jonas didn’t ask for Mommy Milk one night at bed time. The next night he asked once but when I directed him back to the book we were reading, he forgot about it right away. He was telling me he was ready– that this was a small window in which we could wean somewhat easily. I struggled the next day, going back and forth, wondering if I should nurse him that night. Part of me wanted to have one more time, that I knew was the last time. Another part of me thought it would be too sad. When I had read blogs about other people weaning and they had a special last nursing session I always wondered how they could do that. I imagined myself sobbing.

When I was 13, my dad died. We knew it was coming soon, and I was at ballet class. My grandma came to get me, and by the time we got back to my house, he had passed away. My mom told me that he knew Sadie wanted to be there and I didn’t, so he picked a time when that could happen. Later she talked about how they asked the two of us if we wanted to be there– Sadie said yes, and I apparently said no. I have no memory of this conversation. I have so little memory of it, that I actually doubt whether I would have said a definitive no. Maybe I said it hastily, not really thinking about it. Maybe I thought, like I did about having a last nursing session and knowing it would be the last one, that it would be hard, so I said no and then blocked it from my mind. It haunts me a little bit sometimes. Did I really choose not to be there with my dad? Should I have thought about it more, if I did? How did it make him feel? I knew if I chose not to have a last nursing session with Jonas that I would regret it.

So that night at bed time, when he asked for Mommy Milk, I said ok. He giggled with delight and I fought back tears. I let him nurse as long as he wanted (which was a long time) and tried to be present with him for all of it. Sometimes, because my milk supply was down, he would say “That one not work anymore” and switch sides. I didn’t rush him and just enjoyed being with him and holding him.

I got what I needed and wanted from it. I wanted to know he was ready and he showed me. I wanted, deep down, to have a special memory of the last time we nursed. In a way, I think I needed it, to heal from the guilt of running from hard moments in the past. I got that too.

The next day, I wanted to do something to mark the transition, so we went to the mall and had a special big boy day. Jonas decided between noodles and burritos (he picked noodles) and then we went to the big boy toy store where only big kids go and get to make their own toys. Jonas made a puppy and named him Puppy. He drinks no Mommy Milk and he wears big boy underwear!

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He thought it smelled delicious.

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Adding stuffing to Puppy

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I wasn’t planning on starting to potty train Jonas any time soon and I definitely wasn’t planning on starting the same week he stopped nursing, but he woke up in the middle of the night and asked to use the potty and my friend told me she missed the window with her three year old where she was interested and it became a power struggle and I didn’t want to do that. We tried the three day method but it didn’t work with Jonas’s personality. He got annoyed with us asking him constantly if he was dry and reminding him to tell us if he had to go and he would ignore us and have accidents on purpose. Instead we just started putting him on the potty every once in a while and praising him a lot when he went and as soon as the pressure was off, he started doing better. He’s been doing great!

Now when he sees me changing or if he looks down my shirt, he will kind of giggle and say “You drink no more Mommy Milk anymore!” It’s a mix of pride, nostalgia, and disbelief and I feel the same way!

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In his first pair of underwear!

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Two guys in their underwear

West Virginia Summer 2015

We spent July 1-14 in West Virginia and it was awesome! We got to spend so much time with family and did so many cool things.

Our connecting flight was delayed and we had a long layover in Phoenix. Thankfully, they had an awesome kids area and Jonas had fun rolling around on the tumbling mats. One little girl showed him how to do some stretches and he copied everything she did. It was so cute!

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We spent the first part at Nick and Wendy’s house and Jonas had so much fun feeding the fish from the dock my cousin Rachel and I built with my dad and hanging out with his cousin Jackson.

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We celebrated Jackson’s 2nd birthday and I don’t know whether Jonas was more excited about the Curious George theme or the cake.

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Jonas loved snuggling with his Great Grandma and decided to call her Aunt Kate Grandma, a combination of the names he heard people calling her.

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We visited Audra State Park, went on a little hike, and checked out the river.

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Jonas learned a new word: “Hammock.”

The second part of the trip, we stayed at my mom’s house.

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The first night we were there, we went to a play– Harold and the Purple Crayon. They served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Jonas loved it and he got really into the play. He loved the antagonist, Mr. Smudge. After the play, the actors waited outside to meet the kids and sign autographs and Jonas was completely overwhelmed. He wanted to take a picture with Mr. Smudge but then would burst into tears. When we took him away, he would cry that he wanted to take a picture with him. He eventually settled on giving him a high five.

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My stepsister, Amelia, and her boyfriend Mathieu were in from Ireland, and my stepbrother, Alec, was in from Northern California and it was great hanging out with everyone!

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Jonas loved his Uncle Alec and hung out next to him on the floor while he played guitar. Alec took him to pick blueberries outside and after that, Jonas asked for him the rest of the night.

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Grandpa read “Frog and Toad Are Friends.”

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We went to the fountain in town and Jonas had fun splashing and climbing on rocks.

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At the Irish Pub, Jonas loved putting money in the tip jar and other people who were there would give him money to put in. The musicians let him come on stage and help them play and he was so excited!

There are a couple memories from this trip I know I will remember:

Even though the rest of the family did fireworks on July 4, Jonas and I waited because Jared really wanted to see Jonas’s reaction and he didn’t get in until the night of the 4th. We tried again on July 6th. We all went down to the pond and set up the fireworks on the dock and got s’mores ready for the firepit. I had had Jared buy vegan marshmallows for us and bring them with him. We had the chance to make one s’more and set off a couple fireworks before it started pouring down rain. It was just such a family moment, everyone rushing to gather things up, help my grandma back up to the house, and me, Jared, Jonas, and my cousin Katie, staying down to try to get in one s’more before we got soaked.

Another night, at my mom’s, Jonas and I went outside just at dusk and caught fireflies. It was light enough that I could see them to catch them more easily, and so that I could see his face but dark enough that we could see them lighting up. He got so excited when I would go to catch them. It was just completely magical to him. Remembering catching fireflies with my dad as a kid, and then seeing Jonas’s face light up while we did the same thing together, was amazing.

We missed Bubby and Grandpa as soon as we left but we are happy they will be here in a few weeks!

Big Boy Naps

As I type this, Jonas is taking his fourth big boy nap, or a nap without Mommy milk. So far (we’re only 10 minutes in), this is the least hysterical. The first day was a nightmare. He cried and cried and sounded absolutely heartbroken. He was grieving. He finally fell asleep, up in the baby carrier, as I rocked and calmly told him it was ok to cry, ok to feel sad, and named all the times I love him. “I love you when you’re sad. I love you when you’re mad. I love you when you’re scared. I love you in the morning. I love you at breakfast time. I love you at lunch time,” I said calmly as his breathing slowed down and his eyes slowly got heavy.

The second day, I was at a book club meeting and he cried a little and then laid down and went to sleep with Jared on the couch. Yesterday, he fell asleep relatively easily, then awoke 5 minutes later, ready to hang out at the barbeque we were having. A few hours later, he had a complete meltdown, crying so hard he was gagging.

Today, though a relief, is bittersweet. People say that about weaning a lot– that it is bittersweet, but I feel like that implies more of a 50/50 split than what this feels like. This feels a little more like an 80/20, or maybe a 70/30, with the sad parts winning out. I know part of that split is hormones. With every feeding I cut, I have an oxytocin withdrawal. When I night weaned I felt nauseous. This time, I am teary. Part of it is what is making this cut so hard for Jonas too– it’s the next to the last feeding, and we can both feel the end coming. I’m tearing up even writing this. It is also, more than the others, a loss. The other feedings we’ve cut were more ambigous– no more public nursing, then no more nursing while reading, etc. This is a very specific time and tied into a ritual that still exists. We still bounce, I still sing, we don’t still nurse. It feels real. We’re really doing it.

Part of it, too, is my own mixed feelings about weaning. I didn’t expect to feel this way. I knew I wanted to nurse for a year. It was a goal. In the beginning, sometimes the hormones would make me want to crawl out of my skin. And then a lazy latch made me feel that way again when shooting itches surged through my nipples. Not a pleasant feeling. But I knew I would stick with it. I had a wonderful support system and it was just something I knew I would do. I would figure out how to nurse for a year. Then he was a year old. Friends in my mom’s group were still nursing. I read about gentle weaning. It made sense and fit right in with the other parenting that has worked for our family.

But the comments started. They weren’t mean or judgmental. They weren’t from strangers or from people online. They were caring and they were from people who I love, and who are part of that same support system that helped sustain our nursing relationship up to that point. I have to be fair. Everyone has been very civil and has walked very gently around the subject with me. They know it’s very sensitive, and I truly truly appreciate that. Sometimes there were stories– a relative who nursed her baby until he was five. The slightest hint of a question in it– “That’s not going to be you, right?” Sometimes it was advice– little tips for nudging the weaning process along. Sometimes it was just a question, “How long are you planning on nursing him?” or “Is he still nursing at bed time?” and even if it wasn’t what they intended, even if it was my own self-consciousness, I felt something behind the comments– a fear that I was going to be the weird relative. That my kid would be the weird kid still nursing at preschool dropoff. And honestly, I knew I wouldn’t be. I imagined us nursing til 2, slowing down, and him choosing to stop sometime shortly after, with some gentle nudging and encouragement from me. I don’t have the same kind of fear or antagonism toward moms who choose that, but it really wasn’t the image I had for what I would do. I knew that their fears were unfounded. All of the research done on extended nursing shows that there are NO negative effects– physical, psychological, nothing, EXCEPT the social stigma, and I wasn’t receiving any negative feedback or pressure EXCEPT from the people who were concerned about it. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. By worrying about the social pressure, they became the social pressure, even though they were doing it in a loving, supportive way. So even though no one was saying anything judgmental, and even though they weren’t suggesting I do anything I wasn’t planning anyway, the comments made me cringe. When I heard them I wanted to hide Jonas and myself away, to turn our backs and stay in the little world of love we make every time we nurse.

Still, the comments have made me be a little more proactive than I probably would have been otherwise. In some ways it has been good. I’m glad I’m only nursing a couple times a day now and that he knows it is off-limits at other times. With this latest development, though, these big boy naps, I just don’t know. My first instinct, when he cried like he has a couple times was that I was hurting him. When I first mentioned weaning to Jonas, I told him, “You know, when you’re a little bit bigger, you won’t drink Mommy milk anymore.” He was quiet and looked at me for a moment, his face growing sad. “What’s wrong?” I asked him. “Baby get bigger,” he said. “No more Mommy milk.” I asked him if he wanted a hug. He nodded and melted into my arms, bursting into tears. The next day, he patted my chest and told me “Love Mommy milk.” It was his first glimpse at the idea of impermanence. Those tears on his first days of big boy naps– they were tears of recognition of that impermanence, and they carried the pain of that knowledge. The depth of them was just as deep as the pain we all feel at that knowledge. The knowledge that everything we love is here for a while, but not forever.

I know in my gut I need to keep holding him and mothering him in this way for a while longer. I know in my gut it is almost time to stop. I have never in my life felt two completely conflicting things in my gut at the same time like this. I need some kind of permission that isn’t an excuse, that isn’t from someone with skin in the game.

The closest I’ve come to permission came from a woman sitting next to me on an airplane. We talked and she, a school counselor who nursed both of her own children until they were 18 months old, told me that learning resilience is important for kids. Jonas will be resilient through the loss of Mommy milk, she assured me with the confidence of a professional and the compassion of a mother, and that resilience is a skill he will carry with him. I know she’s right, but still. There is so much in this world to build resilience. I want to be part of my baby’s team, not part of what he has to overcome. Maybe as a parent, it is my job to be both.

There are lots of tips for weaning. Even for gentle weaning, there’s lots of advice out there. But it isn’t the kind of advice I’m looking for. I don’t want more practical strategies for distraction. I want someone to tell me how to take deep belly breaths when I feel like I’m going to cry and that sometimes it is harder at night when you’re holding your baby, and this tiny lesson you’re teaching them about impermanence is reminding you that you have never really mastered that lesson gracefully.

And the guilt. The guilt is hard. Some gentle weaning sites say crying and clingyness are a sign you’re going too quickly. We’ve been cutting down extremely slowly, and still this was almost enough to make me stop. Babies also cry and get clingy as they reach developmental milestones. This definitely counts as a milestone. From a behavioral standpoint (my best friend is an Applied Behavioral Analyst and I’ve been texting her like crazy), if you stop, the process will take longer and be more difficult for everybody. Love your baby the way you do through any big change.

Mostly, I need to tell myself the same things I’ve been telling Jonas. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to be mad. It’s ok to feel guilty. It’s ok to not know if I’m doing the right thing. As long as I love him and love him and love him, it is all ok.

Montreal

We went on our first real family VACATION (as opposed to a trip to visit family) last week to Montreal and it was awesome! Here’s some of what we did:

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We stayed at an Airbnb and there were these cool dinosaurs. Jonas had a lot of fun making them roar. I was a little worried he would destroy some things there but we got away with only a ripped book page (that thankfully the host wasn’t upset about.

On Saturday, we mostly just slept since we had been on the red eye and were coming from a different time zone. Then we went to Atwater Market, a cool outdoor market, and walked around.

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On Sunday we went to Mont Royal Park. Every Sunday there’s a thing called the Tam Tams where people play drums and juggle and do Live Action Role Playing and all kinds of other stuff. We ended up taking a really long hike through the park, thinking it would surely loop back around. After climbing, climbing, climbing for miles, we finally just asked someone and they told us it didn’t circle around, so we turned around.

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We went to a place my friend recommended called La Banquise and had vegan poutine. Yum!

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On Monday we met up with my friend Kate, who I know from an online group for moms with babies born in September 2013. It was so fun! We went to a place called Melons and Clementines that had great snacks for grownups and babies and had play space for the kiddos to run around. Jonas and her son Henry LOVED each other and kept asking each other (in English and French, respectively) for kisses and hugs. It was adorable. Kate is totally someone I would hang out with even if we didn’t have babies born 10 days apart and I’m so glad to have gotten to spend time with her.

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An ATM refused our card even though we had put a travel advisory on it so Jared had to call them. There are still pay phones all around the city, and they actually came in handy!

20150608_190848These probably won’t really exist when Jonas is old enough to remember them so we thought we’d take a picture of him with one!

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On Tuesday we went to the Biodome and saw a bunch of animals. Jonas loved it, especially the fish and the penguins. He got so excited when we saw the penguins he was giggling!

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On Wednesday we went to a creperie called Chez Suzette with Jared’s hockey blogging friend and then to the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame. It was cool to see all the old jersies and other artifacts. Jonas slept through the whole museum.

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On Thursday we went to the Montreal International Beer Festival. Kate met up with us again and showed us her favorite local beers to try. It was awesome! My favorite was one called Chihuahua from Brasseur de Montreal that was made with lemongrass. It was delicious. Then we tipsily walked down to the Old Port and visited the Museum of Canadian delights where we got to sample different kinds of maple syrup and maple toffe, which is made by twisting a stick of maple syrup in crushed ice. It was so yummy!

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We didn’t have plans for Friday so we went back to Atwater Market and walked around some more. We had delicious tofu buns with peanut sauce at a place called Satay Brothers for lunch and since Jonas had been asking for strawberries, we got some fresh ones. We also got maple sorbet, which is maybe the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten! Jonas didn’t feel like being in the baby carrier or on our lap, but he was happy when we let him sit in his own metro seat. He didn’t even want us to hold him. When he felt he was indpendent enough, he said, “That’s fun!” with a big grin.

For dinner we went to a vegetarian place called La Panthere Verte– The Green Tiger and had delicious sandwiches and vegan tiramisu.

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On the way back to the apartment, it was raining, and Jonas told us all to put our hoods up and then said we were a “hoodie family.”

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It was so nice– the Montreal airport had toys to keep kids entertained!

We got home late Saturday night. It was such a fun trip and so nice to have so much time to hang out as a family!

 

 

Jonas Says

Jared: Who is SO pretty?
Jonas: Mommy’s so pretty!

(In the car)
Jonas: PICK up with Mommy!
Becca: I can’t pick you up right now. I’m driving.
Jonas: I need this.

Jonas: This is Mommy’s pillow
Becca: This is Mommy’s pillow?
Jonas: Actually, this is Daddy’s pillow.
(What 20 month old says “actually”?!)

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Jonas: Have a helmet! Baby Duck! Hockey Duck. (Takes helmet off and puts stick down). Not a hockey Duck now.

106!

Jonas has had a runny nose for the last week, but didn’t seem to be sick. His bottom canines just came in so I figured it was teething related, though I’ve read some people say now that teething doesn’t cause runny noses, just drooling. He was playing and happy, even if he did have his hand in his mouth a lot!

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Doing “work” on the dishwasher

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He told me he’s a “cool dude”

 

Then Saturday morning, I took his temperature and it said 100.5. He took a long nap and when he woke up, it said 101.5. He was acting sleepy and sad and just not himself, and since we were supposed to see family that afternoon, I took him to the Target clinic. When we got there, they said his temperature was 105.4!! We took off his clothes and put an ice pack on him and gave him some baby Tylenol. The nurse practitioner there checked out his ears and throat and belly and lungs and poor Jonas was crying and clinging to me and saying, “No!” and “Get out!” It was heartbreaking. They took his temperature after 20 minutes and it was up to 106 so we went to urgent care. I was doing my best to act calm so he wouldn’t be more upset, but I was definitely trying not to freak out. We kept the ice pack on him and had the AC on full blast in the car and thankfully, by the time we got there, his temperature was down to 98.6. The DO there looked in his ears and said right away that he has an ear infection and he wasn’t sure why they didn’t see it at the clinic. So now we’re alternating Tylenol and Motrin and he is on Amoxycillin to get rid of the ear infection.

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Back home after urgent care and smiling again!

We didn’t get to go to the family mother’s day dinner, but Jared went and picked up our delicious enchiladas and my awesome presents and dropped off our presents for everyone else.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and Jonas was feeling much better. He and Jared made sure my day was great! I got to sleep in until 10(!) and then took a long shower. Jared made me coffee. I got my present– a hair cut, partial highlights, gloss, condition, and style! I’m so excited to use it! We had the enchiladas for lunch and then went to a frozen yogurt place that has dairy free flavors. Jared and Jonas stopped by to tell Grandma happy mother’s day while I got some groceries for dinner, and then Jared cooked my favorite meal– tofu piccata. We had some rose champagne, went for a family walk, and watched the Ducks eliminate the Flames. Then Jared did the dishes. Perfect!

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I know I say it a lot, but I absolutely love being this kid’s mommy. It is the best!! And now that I am a Mommy, Mother’s Day is definitely my favorite holiday!

It’s May!

We’ve been keeping busy since last month with lots of play dates and adventures. Here is a little of what we’ve been up to:

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We went to the Jurupa Mountain Discovery Center and checked out their cactus nursery and gardens. They have an awesome gift shop with all kinds of rocks and minerals. Jonas even got to touch a snake!

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My Aunt Penny and Mindy visited from New York. Aunt Penny and Jonas rocked out to the Rolling Stones. We also went with them to the Victoria Gardens Farmer’s Market and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and went swimming in the hotel pool. Aunt Penny is a photographer and took a bunch of amazing pictures of our time together!

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We went to the Great Cloth Diaper Change and helped set a record!

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Jonas likes to stand on the toilet and wash his hands, so we figured it would be better to get him a step stool and faucet extender. He loves it!20150428_133531

 

 

Last night we hung out with our friends, who are Flames fans, and watched the Flames/ Ducks game 2! It was really fun. Jonas and his friend get along so well together. They were sitting in the toy box and cracking up.11205516_10155445727925386_2211975413814034485_n

Happy Spring!

We had a busy weekend celebrating two holidays! Here are a few pictures from Passover and Easter.

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Ready to see the Easter Bunny

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Jonas LOVED the Easter bunny. He hugged him and talked to him and pet his fur. When we took him off of the bunny’s lap, he cried for 10 minutes, “See Easter Bunny!”

Passover Seder table

Passover Seder table

 

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Making dinner as Jonas eats his matzo, or as he calls it, “big cracker”

My friend Shona came over to do Passover Seder with us.

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Getting into the Easter spirit by sticking a pretend carrot in the XBox.

Getting into the Easter spirit by sticking a pretend carrot in the XBox.

 

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Bubby’s Visit and Our Road Trip!

Bubby visited from March 2-13 and she, Jonas, and I went on a road trip to visit Pop and Nana in Fairfield.

The first day we drove to Fresno. The trip started out a little stressfully. We set off with what I thought was enough gas. Turns out there is a long stretch with nowhere to get gas, mostly uphill. My car went quickly from saying I had 45 miles worth to 41 to 36 to under 30. We pulled over at the Pyramid Lake rest stop because I didn’t want to get stuck on the side of the road. Thankfully we have AAA and they came in 20 minutes with a couple gallons to get us to the nearest gas station! The hotel in Fresno was ok but not in the best neighborhood. Some little kids were running around the hallways and rattled the doorknob and at one point I thought I heard someone knock on the door. I said, “Who’s knocking?” and then Jonas yelled “Who’s knocking?!” for 15 minutes until he fell asleep.

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The next morning at breakfast. He didn’t actually eat much of that giant plate of food!

 

We drove to Fairfield the next day and hung out with Pop and Nana– it was Jonas’s first time meeting them! It was so cool to have four generations together. Jonas especially liked playing with their dog, Dudley.

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That night, we stayed at a hotel, a Fairfield Inn and Suites, that was SO nice, especially compared to the night before. The beds were so comfortable and we slept so well since we were so tired. They even had soy milk at breakfast!

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I think this is Bubby giving Jonas a “Don’t push that straw into your soy milk” warning look. He takes her seriously!

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We were supposed to stay in Fresno again, but we decided to try to find another Fairfield Inn and Suites since we liked it so much. We changed our reservation to one in Tulare, which actually ended up being closer to the middle of the drive, so it was perfect! On the drive there, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. They had a cute waterfall fountain in front so we posed for some pictures.

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I had a plate of appetizers. It was all fried and delicious! It filled me up so much, I wasn’t even hungry for dinner.

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We stopped in Pasadena the next day to have some food with Sadie and then drove the rest of the way home. Jonas got sick of being in the car sometimes and would cry to “see Mommy” and we came up with some fun ways to entertain him. My favorite was singing Old McDonald. For each animal, Bubby would pull out a finger puppet and have it dance for Jonas.

Here are a few more pictures from Bubby’s visit.

 

 

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I love the way Jonas and Bubby are looking at each other here.

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Jonas loves Bubby! He kept saying “See Bubby!” whenever she was in another room and they had so much fun together. <3

Puppy Love

I was planning to take ten pictures to share on February 10th but ended up only taking these:

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Jonas loves to pretend to put on deodorant just like Mommy and Daddy so I give him an empty deodorant bottle. He even asked to unzip his pajamas so he could reach his armpits!

Since I didn’t take many photos on the 10th, here are some other recent ones of what we’ve been up to lately. Jonas has been fascinated by the dog lately and it is so cute. 20150206_205816 pup1

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The other day, he went with me to visit a doula client and her new baby. We got him to give a kiss in her direction, but he was a little uncertain.

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Later, Jared asked if Jonas liked the baby. Jonas said, “No,” and then patted his chest enthusiastically, saying, “Baby!”

I think doing some yoga helped him relax, though, haha.

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