Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Bennett came home from the hospital on Halloween last year. It was so exciting to have the neighbors bring their witches and goblins to the house and introduce our new little pumpkin. This year we are celebrating a little differently!
He looks pleased, no?
He could hardly believe it when Grandma said he could pick out his own candy.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What We Learned: 12 months

Bennett learned to crawl.
We learned to never say never.
Bennett learned to walk.
We learned to value the camera.
Bennett learned to climb the stairs.
We learned it’s finally time to baby proof.
Bennett learned to say mom.
We learned about playing favorites.
Bennett learned that dog bowls make for great toys.
We learned that sometimes the house can be too quiet.
Bennett learned he loves string cheese, spaghetti, peas, yogurt, peaches, oranges and blueberries.
I learned I could breastfeed for twelve months.  And longer.
Bennett learned that daycare is his happy place.
We learned our son can be a leader and not a follower.
Bennett learned that two naps are for babies.
We learned that one month can bring a lot of change, a whole year even more and we have a whole life of learning ahead.

Friday, October 28, 2011

You've heard my version of Bennett's birth, it's time to hear Rocky's side of the story.  So, we're flashing back fifty-two whole weeks.  

October 29, 2010 was supposed to be a big day in my career. I was scheduled to present my first oral argument at the Richmond City Circuit Court, and as a person that had devoted the last five years of his life preparing to be a litigator from law school, to clerkship, to junior associate grunt, this was my moment to introduce myself to the bar. Needless to say, it was going to be a big day. And it was, but for an entirely different reason.

By October 28, 2010, Allison was pretty much done with the whole pregnancy-thing. She was tired, in pain and could not get comfortable regardless of what she tried. She fretted waiting two more weeks for the due date and seriously contemplated bribing our doctor to induce her. On that night, enduring yet another uncomfortable day, she made an impassioned plea to B.B. to make his appearance known. What did I do after witnessing my wife making such plea – I laughed at her and joked that she was going to deliver late and our baby was going to weigh over ten pounds. She did not find my joke funny.

Well as the night wore on, we got ready for bed and everything seemed fine. What I did not know, is that after Allison’s plea, B.B. apparently responded. Allison, at the time, was not sure if it was labor or another phantom contraction as she had been having fake ones for weeks. So she ignored it and went to bed. But she couldn’t sleep and eventually went downstairs. Four hours later, I went to the basement to check on her and found that she was pacing around and breathing pretty heavily. Odd, I thought to myself. Nonetheless, for whatever reason, Allison assured me that it was nothing big and that I should go back to bed. I happily listened to my wife and did.

I couldn’t sleep now. Her pacing and general facial expressions (I will spare you the details) led me to believe that this was more serious than false labor. So I went back downstairs and convinced her that she couldn’t take it anymore we should go to the hospital. Allison continued to pace and her breathing well sounded more like panting at this point. I remember poor Atticus kept walking right under Allison’s feet. He was concerned, you could tell, but my wife wanted no part of our furry companion.

Realizing that being in Richmond by 9 am was highly unlikely given the current state of affairs, I then began to frantically email every person under the sun letting them know that I could not make my court appearance. Surely by 3:30 am someone’s blackberry would be on and ringing.
At around 4:30 am, Allison called her mom and told her that we were going to the hospital. Kerry went straight to the airport and jumped on a flight right then from Nashville to DC in hopes of being with her daughter. When we got the hospital, I dropped Allison off and forgot about the emergency parking and drove to the parking lot, leaving my pregnant wife experiencing contractions in the waiting room alone. Smooth, I know.

We were one of the first couples there and Allison was tended to immediately. The doctor kindly informed her that she was in fact in labor and that it would not be long until it was show time. Amazingly, Kerry touched down an hour or so later and was able to catch a quick cab to the hospital.

Only a couple hours later at 11:26 am, B.B. entered this world. Our prayers were answered with the first cry he exhaled. He was simply a beautiful, healthy baby boy. As soon as he was born, Allison scooped him up and held on her chest. This is still one of my most vivid memories from the whole day and I luckily captured the second that B.B. looked up at his mom.
I asked Allison if she wanted to introduce B.B. to his grandmother. We were pretty certain Bennett was going to be his name but Allison had not yet firmly committed espousing that she needed to meet him first. I was a little concerned that due to her sleep deprived nature that she may be apt to blurt out some oddball name such as D’Rocklan, which was a favorite among my friends. Luckily, she kept her wits and introduced Bennett to his grandma Kerry. Later that day, my mom arrived and her met her grandson. Tears of joy for everyone it seemed.

October 29, 2010 was supposed to be a major day for me in my career as a lawyer – my first oral argument. It turned out that day was a major day in my life – the day I became a father. Every night since, I go to bed thanking God for the blessing of my family and for Bennett. This past year has been amazing to watch him grow but has also taught us how fleeting time is. In just one year, he has gone from our little baby to our little boy. He now wants to walk on his own, feed himself and dictate when he goes to bed.

Having Bennett in our lives has pretty much reframed our outlook on life. We left DC to come back to Tennessee, leaving truly amazing friends and great jobs, so Bennett could be closer to babysitters, err family. Every time we talk about the future now, we are inevitably discussing Bennett’s future, his college fund, and do we need to start saving for braces because he got his dad’s teeth. He is pretty much our world now and I do not think we would have it any other way. We don’t often hear anymore that someone was a God-send or our prayers were answered. Well Bennett is toddling proof that our prayers were indeed answered.

Happy Birthday Bennett! We love you very much.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Things I don't want to forget

This year has been full of precious memories that I sure as heck don't want to forget when we are celebrating the boy's sixth or seventh or fifty-fourth birthday.

The way he loves hanging out by the bathtub.  There are fabulous toys, like the rubber Dante and the shampoo bottle and tub stoppers and sharp metal door tracks.

The way his little face looks as he stands up all by himself, like "did you see what I just did?"

The way he waves at everyone and everything, from the grandma and grandpa to ceiling fans and squirrels.

His instinct to flirt.  I thought the bashful eye look was something you had to learn, but this kid was born with game.

His giggle as he notices Atticus waiting for dinnertime cast-offs.

His giggle when he sees me hide.

That time he ate an orange, peel and all.

That time he ate a lemon and threw it on the floor.

The way he closes his eyes and shakes his hands when he tastes something he does not like.

His hands searching for mine as he slides off my lap.

The first time he pointed at the moon.

The first time he pointed at a cow.

His mommy phase.  He reaches for strangers to hold him, but as soon as he's there, he can't wait to be back in my arms.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday: Falling for a Boy

We are entering birthday week in the King House.  Brace yourself for some sappiness ahead. 

I remember last fall walking Atticus and admiring the trees in our neighborhood.  The leaves were starting to fall and our street was full of amazing color.  I was very pregnant and very emotional.  I was trying to take it all in and I remember getting particularly sentimental.  I couldn't help but think that every year, when the leaves start to change, we'll think of Bennett and his birthday. 

Sure enough, oranges, golds and some reds started popping up in our new neighborhood.  The Tennessee hills are full of color.  I'm brought back to those walks last fall when my life was entirely different.  I was a big city girl.  I had a tight knit group of friends.  I was a wife, not a mom.  I was afraid of the breastfeeding challenges and millions of things that could go wrong with the birth and his health and the sleepless nights ahead.   

Thinking of the lifetime of fall seasons ahead we'll remember those days before he was born and our eager anticipation and our nerves.  And we'll remember how exciting his first birthday was and how much we are looking forward to his upcoming festivities.  Those leaves will forever be a part of his birthday memory past and future.  This is just the beginning.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Walk This Wednesday

We have spent weeks and months crouching over to help the boy walk.  Our backs are sore and his arms are about to pop out of their sockets.  Then, tonight, he let go.  He walked to my sister.  I wasn't looking.  I missed his first step.  But I was there for the second, third and fourth steps.
Had I known that this would be THE photo opportunity, I wouldn't have put him in such prissy pants.  Good thing you can't see the teddy bear on his dupa.  And yes, those are size nine month pants.
And this is why Steve Jobs invented iPhones.
Proud momma and yay Bennett!

Today his report card from daycare said they practiced walking.  Now, I'm wondering if that isn't the daycare teacher's way of acknowledging he took his first steps.  She was being nice, wasn't she?  Nah, we totally caught his second step on camera!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flashback Friday: Pass Day Part Deux

Pass Day 2007 was a triumph.  Rocky's posse of attorney pals all passed on their first try.  We went to happy hour that evening to celebrate and stayed out way past my bedtime.  Take two was a little less splashy.  Instead of cocktails and champagne there were sippy cups and high chairs.

They were all new to their jobs and money was burning a hole in their pocket.  After three years of student loans and the socratic method, they were ready to celebrate their entrance to the bar with copious amounts of adult beverages and copious amounts of lawyer jokes.

Last Friday we celebrated Pass Day Part Deux with dinner at 5 and an array of baby purees.  The restaurant was swarming with bibs and strollers with nary a nixed drink in sight.  So, it was a little more laid back, a little more intimate, but I'm just as proud and grateful and delighted as before.  I must be, because I never seem to face the camera on pass day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Yesterday, we stood in line for an hour so my sister could flirt with some professional hockey players.  She's one part celebrity stalker, one part on the prowl for a sugar daddy, one part of a chicken to go alone.  Cue the greatest ice breaker of all time.  Sadly, Bennett got a few autographs and promptly stuck them in his mouth.  I wonder how much a slobbery, teeth torn piece of scrap paper will fetch on the internet?  We do need to start the boys college fund at some point.  I suppose that would be unnecessary if the sugar uncle enters the picture sometime in the next seventeen years.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flashback Friday: Vino

When we lived in Virginia, visiting the vineyards on one of our favorite past times.  We would get a big group together, pack a lunch and drive to Loudon County and spend an afternoon tasting wines and pretending it didn't all taste like dirt.  One year, our resident social chair planned a fabulous thirtieth birthday fete with a limo and lunch and we hardly recognized that we were drinking swill.  Folks, Virginia Viognier is no California Chardonnay.

We were sad to leave the Virginia Wine Trail behind. Despite sips of downright smoky whites and tipsy acquaintances congratulating me for my "child bearing hips," it was a lovely way to spend the day. After giving our out of town wedding guests a bottle of fine Tennessee wine as a welcome gift, I know that Tennessee can't compete even compete with Virginia Vintners.

Or so I thought. In an effort to show Rocky the Real Nashville, we visited Kix Brook's winery, Arrington. My mom took Bennett for the afternoon so Rocky and I could take an afternoon drive and enjoy some fine wine in a plastic cup and a $10 block of cheese. The scenery is just as good, if not better. Shockingly, the wine was just as good, if not better. That my friends is because Kix and his friends know that try as they might, grapes should be grown in California. It may be a Tennessee vineyard, but that is one fine California wine!

Going to the Big D and I Don't Mean Dallas

So, Rocky starts his new job Monday.  Hurray and Huzzah and Hot Diggity!  He accepted an offer and then asked if he could start in two days.  That posed a minor problem.  You see, I don't believe babies are welcome at law firms, even cherubic, sweet-smelling, non-crawling types.

We were so lucky to find a great nanny in Virginia.  She was a mother of four children and had watched our neighbors kids for years.  Bennett blossomed in her care.  He had been a crazy fussy newborn and within just a few weeks became an easy-going social baby.  When we told her we were moving, she cried.  I cried.  I knew how difficult it would be to replace her.

Child care in Nashville is an entirely different ball game.  Your choices are basically in-home day care with four to six other kids and the babysitter is paid peanuts or a nanny with a price tag equivalent to in-state tuition.  Anytime I inquired about nanny shares with other mothers or even nanny placement companies they looked at me like I had two heads.

I really didn't want to send Bennett to a daycare center.  When I had toured the centers in DC, they smelled of bleach and poopy diapers.  Babies were lined up in bouncers and fed in an assembly line.  The older children went for walks on a leash through the busy downtown streets for playtime.

Thankfully, day care centers are a different ball game too.  We took a tour on Tuesday.  It didn't smell like bleach or dirty diapers.  Bennett sat down with one of the teachers and read books, studied the older kids intently and enjoyed the new toys.  When we slipped out to finish our tour, he was too happy and distracted to care.

But Bennett's been home with his dad for the past two months.  He's gone to the park and field trips to Target and long walks in our new neighborhood.  He napped in his own bed and his dad was there for him when he woke up.  He had one on one attention for months and soon he'll be surrounded by big kids and babies and there will be a new face rubbing his back when he wakes up crying.  He'll be put down when another kid cries.  He'll get colds and stomach viruses.

Those same anxious feelings I had when we started going to the nanny's are back.  Now, he's bigger and stronger.  But when I pick him up, he still can't tell me he bumped his head or another little boy was mean.  I just have to go with my gut that this is the right thing to do.