On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Highlights From Caedmon's 1st Two Years

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

Since we are just starting this blog, we decided that we should backtrack and share some events from Caedmon’s first years of life. Life was anything but dull and boring these past two years as we built a house and continued to travel the world so it seems only fair that we share the highlights.We brought Caedmon home before he was even 24 hours old against the wishes of the hospital’s pediatrician. By the way, Caedmon was delivered at the hospital where Tom worked by his obstetrician friend. Since our pediatrician did not have privileges at the hospital, one who worked at the hospital evaluated Caedmon during his first day of life. There was some ridiculous policy about having to wait 24 hours before you could take a baby home, so Tom’s “rebel” part kicked in and we left early. In hindsight we should have stayed the additional night to get some rest. Caedmon had been circumcised that day, and by the time we got home, the local anesthetic was beginning to wear off. He essentially cried most of that first night and there wasn’t much we could do to comfort him. For the first 4-6 weeks, we were in for one great roller coaster ride in getting to know our newborn. We used to call him “the baby bird” because when he cried he would open his mouth as if he were waiting for a morsel of food to be dropped into it. During the first 3 months Caedmon had a lot of “colic” and had nightly bouts of crying when he was nearly impossible to console. That was until we were shown how to bundle up a baby in a tight swaddle and also found an all-natural product called “Gripe Water”. Ah!, the magic tonic would relieve many potential GI-caused crying spells, and learning to swaddle along with cradling him on his side while holding him in one arm like a football and making “shhh- shhh- shhh-ing” sounds into his ear, would settle him right down and put him off to sleep. From about that time on, he began to sleep essentially through the night. Our sleep deprivation torture had finally ended.

Caedmon also had jaundice which lasted longer than expected. However, our pediatrician told us that it was not uncommon for Asian babies. Caedmon initially settled into a breast-feeding routine, but after 4 months he seemed to fall out of it. He was taking 45 minutes or longer to feed and not too effectively (still wanting more after 45 minutes!). Lynette tried to continue the feedings, but after 6 months, he was switched over to organic formula. We decided that we would give him the blessing of a predominantly organic diet when it was time for solids. If we could start his life off by eating (organically) well, perhaps he would have a health advantage later in life. What an amazing eater he has become to this day (Caedmon loves having rice along with meats such as beef from grass-fed cows, chicken, pork, or turkey. This is mixed with some of his favorite vegetables when in season include: bok choy, spinach, zucchini, carrots, garlic, peas, string beans, broccoli. His desserts consist of organic fruits : mangos, papaya, grapes, pineapple, apples, cantaloupe. Some of his favorite meals to eat at restaurants include : mac & cheese at the Central Market Cafe, beef stew noodle soup with bok choy at King’s Noodle, and of course... pork & napa dumplings at Jeng Chi in China Town!).

His language development began early. Every week from the age of 5 months, Lynette & Caedmon would attend a class taught by a certified American Sign Language instructor. She thought they would be in a group class but instead received one-on-one instruction. It seemed for months that the only person learning anything was Lynette, but amazingly Caedmon began to sign over 100 words! It was great to finally be able to communicate with him before he could talk. Of course, he seemed to learn to say the words almost as quickly as he signed them, but it was still very helpful for us to translate his early unclear speech by using the signs. Caedmon’s oral language skills also took off quickly. At his 1 year old appointment, the doctor wanted to be sure he knew at least 2 words. Lynette could only think of two at that point - dada and yay! (and also E - I - E - I - O when we were singing Old MacDonald). However within 3 months his vocabulary had expanded to over 50 words and by age 2, he was speaking in 5-10 word complete sentences. Also, at 6 1/2 months he began swim lessons, continuing to this day. Lynette and Caedmon go to Emler Swim School once a week for a half hour class. The class was a mommy and me class so Lynette suited up every week and the two of them learned songs, skills and swimming. Caedmon quickly learned to go underwater, working his way to holding his breath for 10 seconds. For the first several months, he took it all in stride, swimming fearlessly. However as he grew, Lynette has had to deal with his bouts of crying and fear that lasted a few weeks at a time. By age two, he was becoming quite proficient and fortunately, was promoted to the next class so Lynette no longer has to get in the pool. Caedmon loves to be in the water... Tom has not ruled out the possibility of him being an Olympic swimmer someday!

One thing we had promised ourselves was that we would not limit our lives because of a baby. In tune with the popular saying from the Nike slogan in the 90’s, “Just Do It!”, we hoped to pattern ourselves after our good friends, Tom & Maureen (rumor has it that they brought just ONE suitcase with them while vacation traveling to Japan as a family of 4!). Prior to Caedmon (in our 1st 3 years of married life), we had international journeys to London, Madeira Portugal, Ireland, Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa), Scandinavia (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki), and closer to home... Kauai, Hawaii and British Columbia and Banff, Canada. Being thusly determined to keep on with life’s adventures with child in tow, Caedmony had his passport picture taken when he was but 2 weeks old. We enrolled him in the American Airline AAdvantage frequent traveler mileage program and he embarked on his first plane flights in the heat of July when he was only 2 months old. First, we flew to Pennsylvania for Lynette’s best friend Stacy’s wedding (Lynette was the matron of honor). We also spent a few days with Lynette’s family and Caedmon met Auntie Amy, Great Gram and several other family members. Next, we flew to New York City, where Caedmon met Tom’s Grandma and Great Aunt Jenny. Finally, we spent some time in South Carolina, visiting Great Aunt Clare and Great Aunt Vivian. All these airplane flights were accomplished over 7 days time. The flying frenzy continued as we took him to Seattle (4 months old), returning back to the beautiful island of Kauai twice (5 months & 7 months old), Peru (14 months old) for 10 days on a medical mission with Tom’s surgeon friends (and also got to experience Machu Picchu. Caedmon was a great ambassador to the native people and everyone’s beloved baby on that trip!),  Taiwan (17 months old). It was a challenging trip traveling with Tom’s parents, but worth the cultural experience to see where Tom’s family originated and where he was born, ... 2 months later, we embarked on a 3000 mile roundtrip drive from Texas - South Carolina - Pennsylvania - Texas to surprise our families for Christmas. Interspersed through these trips were some visits flying to Pennsylvania & Seattle as well. Some people could not fathom it, but by then Caedmon was a traveling pro! Besides our travels, we were able to play host to many friends and family who came to visit us in Texas as well. Of note, Tom’s parents were able to share in Caedmon’s dedication ceremony at church on Tom’s very first Father’s Day. The guest-wing of our current home has become a revolving door for both Tom’s & Lynette’s parents. We feel so blessed that they have taken the initiative to visit so often that Caedmon can develop these bonds with his grandparents. He has also learned much Chinese from Tom’s mother!

We created a “Top Things” list of Caedmon’s Life from birth to age 2:

TOP Things We Love About Caedmon
  • Rolling all around the room
  • Trying to crawl but only rocking back & forth, and finally... walking!
  • Laughing at silly words we said to you: kung-fu!, scooby doo!, silly giggles!, bodacious!
  • Sleeping 10-12 hours/night from age 6 months
  • Saying “dada” first and eventually saying the long awaited, “mommy!”
  • Sporting a mohawk
  • Imitating an ostrich hiding in the sand - sleeping with your butt up in the air
  • Melting into our arms like dead weight at the end of the day
  • Being mommy’s exercise buddy as she worked off her pregnancy weight
  • Running to daddy for a great big hug when he returned home from work
  • Saying, “Where da backhoe loader? I dun-no where it is” – when u turned 2, “Santa Claus say HoHoHo!” at age 1.5, “Tom eats… hotsauce!”, “Daddy wants a labradoodle!”
  • Infatuation with friend E (Yo! Emewee)
  • Being a great worldwide traveler
TOP Things We Could Have Done Without
  • 26 hours of labor
  • Colicky crying 0-3 months
  • 45 minute long nursing sessions
  • Always trying to get into dog crate
  • Excessive drooling while teeth were coming in
  • Our little beaver - gnawing your crib rail
  • Separation anxiety - screaming in church nursery
  • Trimming those tiny baby nails without hurting you
  • Early morning wake-ups (anytime before 6 am is still night time...how do we teach you that?!)
  • Getting into cabinets, drawers
  • Tantrums when transitioning to a big boy bed
  • Poopy diapers

We have met many people along the way and some have become dear to us. Especially for Lynette, who had to adjust from life in Pennsylvania, she began to feel comfortable in her new life as a Texan through Church (and it’s programs - Bible study classes, Women’s small groups, MOPs programs), book club (formed through connections in her women’s group at church), Baby Boot Camp (an exercise program that mommies and babies can attend together), and Emler Swim School, Play Group, & Music class for Caedmon. The friends she formed along the way are some of her favorite people to spend time with : Ashley and Amy and their son Hudson (our neighbors & fellow custom dream home building buddies). Caedmon loves to go across the street and play trains with Hudson while Lynette enjoys the fellowship with Amy. Miss Gretchen & son Charlie - Lynette & Gretchen met through connection group and they have enjoyed a great friendship as their families begin to grow. When Gretchen was pregnant, she was a blessing to us as she watched Caedmon so Lynette could get in shape after the pregnancy. (She was the first person Tom would allow to babysit Caedmon!) Now Charlie has come along and Caedmon enjoys him, too! Miss Betsy & son Quinn - Lynette & Caedmon met these friends through Baby Boot Camp and now enjoys seeing them at playgroup & MOPS also. Lynette & Betsy formed the playgroup made up of friends met through various connections who all have boys around the same age. Miss Chris & son Jack - Lynette met Chris through a bulletin board on Babycenter.com. They enjoy weekly play-dates and the benefit of her inside scoop on Central Market (where she works weekends). Miss Nancy & son Reese - Lynette & Caedmon met these friends through MOPS and they became part of the playgroup, too. We love meeting at parks to play and Caedmon can’t get enough of playing in Reese’s sandbox. Miss Erin & daughter Emery - Erin & Emery started as swim buddies but became some of our favorite friends. Caedmon & Emery took swim together for 8 months until Emery advanced into the next level. Caedmon has been working very hard to swim well enough to move into Emery’s swim class again. Currently, Erin is due with their second baby girl, only 3 weeks after Libby is due to arrive. We are excited to encourage that friendship, too! Miss Adrianne & sons Stone and Grant - More swim buddies! Stone was also in swim with us. Stone and Emery are neighbors and Caedmon really enjoys playing with both kids...all the mommies enjoy each other, too. Grant is too little to join in the fun, yet, but we anticipate that someday all the boys will play trucks and the girls will gravitate to dolls. Play-dates will then take on a whole new look! We matured more and gained much knowledge, conviction, and insight during this time of great change as we became homeowners, passed our newlywed years, entered parenthood, sold our city home after living in it for only 3 years, and endured one of the biggest trials of our lives in building a custom dream house (that Tom likes to call Dream House #1, much to Lynette’s consternation!), and are soon preparing to welcome into the world our daughter, Libby. There is no question that the past 2 years have been filled with God’s blessing us with the privilege and gift of Caedmon. He has opened our hearts to a love we have never known. So, it is with much anticipation that we go through these remaining few days before Libbyl’s arrival. We feel prepared, but we know that once she is born, our hearts will blossom even more and we’ll be adding onto the amazing adventure that is our life-story. It was and remains our faith that ultimately God is in control of everything that anchored us through it all.

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