Category Archives: newsletter

Allison vs. 1 year

Dear Ally-

Last week, Mama’s co-worker told her that she hoped Michelle realized that the one year old’s birthday was really for the four-year old. That indeed proved to be the case, but it didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. At least this year, you were more than happy to share to the spotlight with your big sister.

I could rehash the past year and talk about all the usual platitudes (it went too fast, you are adorable, we spent so much on bourbon), but let me just tell you about one thing in this last letter. Your smile.

In the past three months, as you’ve moved beyond a gurgling, crying bauble of flesh into a tiny, semi-mobile person you’ve frequently found the world, even at its most mundane, quite funny. I hope you never lose that talent, it will serve you well.

The smile is a work of art that perhaps only parent could love. Indeed, around here we call it the ‘Daddy face’ as there are copious anecdotes and even a few fading photos of your old man sporting a suspiciously familiar grin. Any questions of paternity would be short-lived.

Raising a family is not easy and it is certainly not stress-free. There are times when the whining, crying and squeaky toys (that last one is Dash’s fault) have me contemplating a padded room. That is when you have often come to the rescue lately. Dust  balls? Cheerios? The indignity of diaper changes? It’s all just humorous fodder. That goofy, scrunched up grin and chuffing laugh could slice through the hardest heart and make any burden as light as a feather.

I would recognize that smile anywhere and I always will.

Love,
Daddy

Ally vs Months 9, 10, 11

Dear Ally-

I once either read, or heard, a story about a man attempting to read every edition of the New York Times cover-to-cover. In 2004, he was reading about an unknown governor from Arkansas launching a presidential bid. I just tried to Google it and couldn’t find anything so perhaps it’s apocryphal, but that feeling of slowly slipping inexorably, almost unwittingly, into the past is real. Just ask any forty year-old their favorite band.

It’s also how I’ve felt writing these posts lately. You turned one this week and I’m still attempting to recollect what happened in September. Let’s make a deal. You can go on unchaperoned dates when you’re twenty-five and I’ll try to live and write more in the moment, get those memories out while they are still hot and crispy. Deal? Ok, good.Let’s fast forward three months and catch up with our lives.

Previously in the life of Allison Eileen:

all_septA mostly quiet month for everyone. You had your nine-month check-up and everything was deemed in working order and you hadn’t lost any fingers and toes so you were given back to us for three more months.

We spent Labor Day with one last trip to the Cape and you delighted in tormenting three dogs instead of just one. You also discovered the glorious taste of Brewster sand. Handfuls and handfuls of it. Nothing like sediment to scrub the colon and test the integrity of those promises on diaper boxes.

 

ally_octYou took your first trip to Honey Pot Hill and had a grand time gnawing a meandering track around a single apple for almost two hours. Best money we spent all month. You staunchly did not like your first taste of applesauce. If I had to rank things you don’t like, I’d put being strapped into your car seat, number one, sitting genteelly on someone’s lap number two, and crock pot applesauce number three. Your mother is taking the last one personally.

I could probably put your Halloween costume fourth, at least the top portion. You always find great indignity in wearing hats, so having a costume that included a honey pot lid as a key ingredient was going to be a stretch. Sure, enough, it didn’t last long. If your Pop Pop was in charge of pictures, he’d still be trying to focus and get a clean shot.

 

ally_novIt was feast or famine in November. The month began with the return of the day care plague! Another round of extreme dieting for everyone by not being able to keep anything down for two days.You do seem to be more susceptible to these stomach bugs than your sister and since you can’t yet talk, we are totally laying all the blame for these on you.

On a more positive note, you started exploring joining the rest of us by walking on two feet this month. You are not quite there yet, but definitely before Christmas. This doesn’t bode well for the lower half of the Christmas tree.

The last part of the month was spent cruising down the Mid-Atlantic corridor to visit your cousins for Thanksgivingukkah. (You passed on the applesauce). Despite my extreme reservations about traffic and spending 16 hours in a confined space with you and your sister, things went off without a hitch. No Benadryl or bourbon was needed. Let’s channel those thoughts for our big trip in February.

Love,

Dad

Ally vs. Eight Months

Eight months is when you officially became dangerous.

First, you sprouted two little razor teeth, giving your ubiquitous sunny smile a maniacal gleam.

Then, you quickly became a very proficient crawler.

In retrospect, we were lucky with Cecilia. Always a bigger baby, and without siblings or energetic puppies to spur her on, she really saw no reason to waste any energy in forward movement. Why spend all those calories when you had two first-time, doting parents to kowtow to your every whim? She took her time. She, quite literally, backed into crawling, spending a solid six weeks sluggishly going in reverse. In short, she was more an F-150 loaded with a bed of cinder blocks. You are more snappy Mini Cooper with a double espresso for fuel.

Once you got up onto all fours and found some traction with your new sneakers, you were doing laps through the kitchen, living room and dining room. You were giving Dash no quarter, chasing him down or trying to go through his legs. You needed to know now (!) what was on every tabletop or piece of furniture. Your life depended on it. And don’t get me started on big sister. If she made a noise in the house, it was your personal mission to find her and rescue her. You would not be denied.

With your new chompers, you quickly grew tired of boring pureed food, even if it was in a space-age tube (the tube food blew GiGi’s mind). You wanted puffs, Cheerios, peas, square carrots and macaroni. If it didn’t meet your emerging Michelin standards you were quick to let us know, swiping anything off your tray in a furious windmill. Dash was delighted. Mama was not.

Love,

Dad

Allison vs. 7 Months

Dear Ally-

As summer closes with definitiviness (I picked the last tomatoes today and there’s a frost warning tonight) this post will be old news to most folks reading this, but when I’m reading this aloud at your wedding many, many years in the future, I think it’s important to have continuity. So a quick look back at your seventh month.

Actually, I’m not totally sure why I’m insisting on revisiting July as it mostly conjures up memories of late night nausea, cold sweats and general unpleasantness. On the Cape for Fourth, we were visited by a biblical plague that started with your big sister decorating the walls, bedding and floor with a colorful array of bodily fluids at 3 a.m. The virus quickly laid waste to both the entire house and the entire holiday weekend. We saw a few over the tree tops, but we mostly witnessed the wrong type of fireworks. Let’s just move on before I’m tempted to include more colorful descriptions.

One aspect of your personality that has emerged loud and clear is that you do not like to be strapped in to anything. High chair, car set, stroller. It doesn’t matter. You do not like having your wings clipped. You scream, squirm and lurch your little arms and legs around. We’re not sure the reason as you are not crawling yet. You’re just at the reach and tip over stage, but you let loose holy hell when you see straps and clips approaching.

Two things you definitely do like? Playing with Dash and swimming. Calling it ‘playing’ might be pretty generous at this point. It’s more interacting. One-sided interacting. You like grabbing him, feeling his fur and sampling his toys, which, to be fair, look very similar to yours. He’s handled it pretty well.

You definitely enjoy the water, pool or ocean, you don’t play favorites, as long as you can splash around and watch your big sister you are quite content. You’ll squeal, giggle and smile and make sure anyone in your general time zone gets as wet as you are.

One other thing before I go. You’ve started babbling quite a bit this month and have Mama down pretty well. You keep repeating Da, De, Dah. Your Mom says we’ll never know if you’re trying to say Dash or Dad or something else, but we both know what it really is, right?

Love,
Dah

Allison vs. 6 Months

Dear Ally-

Well, I’ll be honest, six months had its fair share of up and downs. After that month-long illness respite, the day care germ fairies struck again. Luckily, your incubation in there seems to be working. Your congestion was short-lived, but it did lead to some long nights as your sleeping patterns went haywire.

We also discovered the ‘secret’ to your bafflingly long naps that day care report all the time yet rarely were repeated at home. Yes, they really did happen, but they happened in the swing. Momma was not happy with that crutch and ordered a stop to it. After a few crabby days, you now to seem to accept that you have to nap in your cage. You’ve even topped an hour, almost two on occasion.

One thing that has helped the wretched, horrible pain of being forced to take multiple naps a day is your bunny. While Cece developed an attachment to a knitted blanket, you have adopted a plush, white bunny as your crib buddy. It now borders on a magic talisman that will instantly calm you down. You’ll clutch it (actually it’s closer to crush it) close and kiss it and soon be slipping into rainbow-tinged dreams of warm milk, big burps and constant, adoring attention.

Other six month milestones included: a visit to New Jersey to play with your cousins, your first trip to the Cape (no lobster roll yet), your first nibble of blended food and your first meal with the family in a high chair. Six months is the official time to invoke the Gallagher rule and pull out the ponchos to protect ourselves from pureed flying pears, sweet potatoes, bananas and peas. Dash is in heaven.

Love-

Dad

Allison vs. 5 Months

Dear Ally-

You’re actually now almost seven months and the extra daylight just means more light for other chores, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to be bullied into skipping months just for the sake of reality. And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind being stuck in a temporal loop within month five.

Your fifth month I will remember for nothing. A blessed sickness-free, crises-free and generally worry-free month. Thoughts of you contracting Ebola, SARS or a flesh eating bacteria from the day care germ factory hardly crossed my mind. You were just a chubby, chunky, adorable, bundle of wide eyes and gummy grins that greeted us each morning with twitching arms and legs ready to drool and squirm your way through the day. Month five had nothing that will put you into therapy later, but nothing much to add to your scrapbook either. You were a double shot of cuteness and exactly what a happy five month old baby should be. And exactly what your parents needed after a long, sickness-fueled winter.

If this is ever needed for an official court deposition later, here is what I remember:

Unlike your big sister at this age, you continue to favor quick catnaps over longer sustained naps. This could be genetic preference or day care habits or it could be the fact that you have a big sister and a furry brother and letting you sleep is rarely on their agenda. They just want to play, play, play. The good news is that you rarely seem to mind. Give you 20 or 30 minutes and you are ready to play, play, play, too.

By late afternoon (okay, lunch) it often makes your parents want to drink, drink, drink.

In terms of sleeping through the night, you are not there yet. You will go down around seven, but you still like to wake up, have a warm bottle and catch the end of Fallon before nodding off again. You just started in on oatmeal, so maybe those extra calories will help you through the night. We know it could be worse, but we are more than ready for a few uninterrupted nights.

I mentioned last month that you’re developing into a big flirt and that hasn’t changed. During the day, you’re a very amiable little thing provided you have an audience. If we need to put you down for a moment and your siblings are not around to distract you, you sound the alarm, quickly and loudly. The only silver lining here is when someone returns to retrieve you they are usually rewarded with a big, goofy smile. A player and a flirt. Yikes.

Love,
Dad