Owen is 28″ long, 20lbs., has two teeth and four on the way, crawls, is starting to sit up, claps his hands and laughs in response to his mother’s singing or to praise himself, has boundless amounts of joy only to be matched by his endless capacity for making noise, is terrified of any loud noise that is not of his making, laughs easily, recovers from pain quickly but doesn’t tolerate the slightest discomfort, hates having his clothes changed, falls asleep at live music performances and is entranced by his sister’s dancing. Nora calls him “her cute baby brother” and coos at him as she tickles his face with her hair and rubs noses with him much to his eternal delight.

He likes watching his sister do anything and will stare at her for hours, fart noises and being thrown in the air fix anything for him, he likes to give open mouth kisses and hums on the flesh of your cheek once he’s sucked it into his mouth, and he’s taken to doing pushups. He rolls towards me and pats me, strokes my skin as he nurses, explores my face with his hands and mouth to wake me, shakes his maracas in time to the music, laughs when he sees me naked, is happy just sitting outside watching the world go by.

Nora has become more confident and has a healthy self-esteem. She preens and twirls in front of the mirror. She dances enthusiastically with great passion but is quick to be embarrassed if she thinks someone is laughing at her. She’s had problems with being excluded by other children during playdates and on the playground at school. Her language skills have taken a huge leap ahead yet she still battles with being confident in using those skills around other children. Her temper tantrums have lessened and she “uses her words” more often now to express herself, for better or for worse. She loves her brother but misses having us to herself.

I took her on an outing, just the two of us, that she’s fond of calling our “adventures” and made a point of running errands she enjoys. We shopped at Whole Foods and she was in charge of the kid-sized cart with our groceries in it and got to eat samples and a free snack. Then we went to the kids’ consignment store next door and she played in their play area, shopped, and picked out one toy. When we went to pay she started to melt down a little because she was tired. I reminded her that whining was unacceptable and asked her how she might show me that she wanted to do an adventure with me again. She reached up and took my hand as we were walking to the car and stopped me so she could firmly kiss the back of my hand.

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