Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

We have so much to be thankful for here at the Clay house. Yesterday we had a small gathering of friends. Jen cooked biscuits, pies, and a brined turkey that was to die for. I made what was possibly my best batch of stuffing ever. We all played Little Big Planet and ate until it hurt. Gabe wore his hair spiked up in a mohawk for the occasion. He was a show-stealer, of course.

All at once Gabe seems to be learning new tricks. Yesterday he supermaned himself right from his front to his back, without crying. It’s not the first time he has rolled over, but this time seemed deliberate: he was working hard to see what happened if he kept his hands and feet in the air, whereas on previous rolls, the weight of his head had accidentally toppled him over, frightening him in the process.

Gabe enthusiastically grabs anything within his reach with both hands, and herds it to his mouth. This includes toys that he hadn’t shown an interest in before, as well as the hands and hair of grown-ups, loose clothing, and anything else we allow within his reach. His hands try hard to be helpful when he is drinking from a bottle, which usually means they are in the way. And he has settled on a favorite hand-sucking position: both hands, overlapping slightly, palms-down, with all eight fingers crammed into his mouth. If he could get his thumbs in there too, I’m sure he would.

I have never been good at seeing the resemblance among my own family members, but finally I’ve looked at Gabe and seen how he fits into the family tree. Gabe looks like my sister! I can remember what she looked like at about five years old, round-faced and sucking her thumb. If I had memories of any other family members in their childhood, I bet I would be able to see a resemblance there, too.

His vocabulary of pre-speech sounds has grown enormously. His chattering still mostly consists of vowels, but the range of pitch, rhythm, and emotion now spans the gamut. Just right now, for instance, he is telling me all about how he was having fun on the floor, but he is rapidly getting tired of being there.

Okay, time for me to entertain the baby!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

He's Got His Daddy's Hair

Super Baby

During Tummy Time, Gabe now lifts his arms and legs while arching his back, causing him to teeter about on his belly in imitation of Superman. I think he will be rolling over soon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Finally, the Perfect Wall Decoration!

Thank you Grampa and Ruth! What a sweet gift!

And thank you Bill and Helen for hanging it up!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Now That Gabe Has Stopped Pulling His Own Hair. . .

Here we see the result of the hapless mother lured in by the temptation of a kissable belly.

Gabe likes the game of Pull Mommy’s Hair.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Finished with the Fourth Trimester

Gabe is into his fourth month of life now. He is done with the “fourth trimester”, that period of babyhood which has much in common with a potted plant. Now, instead of being just a cute eating-sleeping-pooping machine, he is a cute eating-sleeping-pooping machine who also plays with toys and can hold entire conversations with the vowels “ah” and “oh”. He is in that golden stage of babyhood where he is social and entertaining and capable of entertaining himself, but doesn’t yet have to be chased around while he attempts to kill himself with wall outlets and pointy furniture edges.

Watching a baby grow from scratch is so much more interesting and enlightening than seeing someone else’s baby now and again. This week, Gabe is grasping at toys with both hands at once. He wasn’t doing this last week. It’s such a simple thing and yet because I have seen where he started, I am astounded by what he is doing.

The complexity of his cooing is also new and breathtaking. He likes being talked to, and he likes talking back, even though the conversation is nothing but sound. The older kids at the daycare speak entire sentences of nonsense. Gabe so far generally just says one syllable at a time, but sometimes that one syllable gets stretched out into a long, singsong sound, hitting various pitches. Sometimes he seems to startle himself when he yells a syllable loudly.

Giggling is still a rare, and delightful, event. His smiles are easy to come by, but no less magical for their frequency.

A Chair for Gabe

Gabe loves it! Thank you Al and Lorraine!

Companion Cube Celebration or Nik & Rebecca Vist!

Our good friends Nik and Rebecca flew out from Washington for a visit a couple weeks ago and a grand time was had by all. They brough Gabe out a new best friend as well! Gabe now has his very own Companion Cube and he couldn't be happier!

Unfortunately we didn't get many good pictures of Nik and Rebecca, mostly because we were enjoying their company to much to remember to take pictures most of the time. In this one Nik is contemplating what it would be like to have a baby that you couldn't actually give back when it started to fuss. Gabe is currently in his very own Golden Age as he doesn't fuss much, smiles a lot, and can't move around. In other words he's the perfect sell up to couples that don't have any children yet.

The women folk left the men folk at home with Gabe while they went out shopping for wine and other such stuff. After several hours of Gabe wanting to be paraded around the house, and fighting against the bottles I gave him I was well done. We decided to go out for food and left this message for the girls which I see they took a picture of.

It was great to see them, and hopefully once Gabe is a little older we'll be able to fly out and visit them. I know we don't want to take Gabe on any flights if we can help it. For the holidays we'll be taking the train down to visit Michelle's parents in Virginia. It will end up taking just about as long as it would to fly when you take into account arriving two hours early to get through security and layovers. It also means it'll be a lot easier to handle Gabe as there are no manditory in seat times. I'm sure we'll have lots to post to the blog after that trip:)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Vist

The Clay grandparents Helen and Bill made it out for Halloween weekend, and it was an absolute blast. An exhausting blast, because I think we managed to get done in a weekend what Michelle and I might have accomplished otherwise over the winter. We managed to clean out the garage and open up one of the bays so we can keep the outback in the garage. This will make loading Gabe on chilly mornings so much easier. We moved tons of boxes into the attic from nooks around the house. Broke down tons of boxes for recycling. Went to Ikea and bought shelves and wooden boxes, and put said shelves and boxes together. We cleaned out one of the closets in the laundry room and have now turned it into our pantry. It is full of emergency foods and such. Michelle and Helen gathered up dried seed pods and dad fixed our dish washer so it doesn't dance the mamba every time we do the dishes. Oh, and we played with Gabe endlessly. I don't think I've ever seen him smile and coo so much! He's definitely more interactive than for their first visit.

Gabe tries to use a spoon as a phone. Dad let him try out various cutlery, but I think Gabe liked the spoon the most.

Gabe's getting much better at grasping things and manipulating them.

Like all babies Gabe tries to find out what flavor the spoon has.

Gabe takes care of some business on his mobile spoon during breakfast.

Gabe rocks out on his spoon microphone, luckily it doesn't have an amp.

Gabe is tuckered out by the Ikea experience and takes a nap while pushed around by Lala.

What diabolic plans does Opa have for Gabe? Noisy toys for X-mas? Sweets before bedtime?

Gabe's tongue seems to spend at least half of the time out of his mouth.

Gabe is tuckered out after an exciting morning about the house and naps on Helen's shoulder.

The weekend isn't over yet, but it is winding down. We're all downstairs sitting around a cozy fire and enjoying the extra hour daylight savings time has given us.