Tag: children

Christmas with Kids

I have always loved Christmas, and now that I have children, my holiday cheer has skyrocketed. Keith and I can’t wait to share all of the wonderful things about the holiday season with our boys.

In fact, Christmas is already in full swing in our house. We are already playing holiday tunes—the twins especially love “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman”—and I’m nearly finished with my Christmas shopping. Last weekend, Keith took advantage of his four-day weekend and hung the lights on our house. (Don’t worry, they’re not lit yet.) And we just can’t wait to pick out and decorate our Christmas tree, put up our indoor decorations, watch all of our favorite holiday cartoons with Matt and Nate, and have all sorts of other holiday fun.

As we are planning all of that, though, we’re realizing just how challenging the holidays can be when you have little ones. For one, we are worried about the fate of our soon-to-be-purchased Christmas tree. Keith and I always get a real tree (you can’t beat that smell) and load it up with ornaments we’ve amassed together through the years—several of them rather delicate. And we plop it right in the middle of our living room.

But, like all kids their age, Matt and Nate are quite curious little fellows. Even with their 9 million toys in every corner of the house, they want to touch what they’re not allowed to touch. They open every drawer and door they’re not supposed to. If I leave my purse within arm’s reach, they dig my wallet out and dump its contents on the floor.

So, what exactly will they do when there’s a big tree full of shiny, sparkling ornaments right in the middle of their house? (I am having flashbacks to when my brother and I were little and we’d manage to knock over our Christmas tree at least twice every holiday season.)

Telling them not to touch the tree will only make them want to touch it more. I suppose we can hang all the non-breakable ornaments on the lowest branches. But even then, the thought of constantly having to re-hang them is exhausting. We are considering putting the tree in a corner of the living room where it would be blocked by the sofa and love seat. But that would cover half the tree and make us unable to put presents under it, which would take away a good deal of the fun.

In an attempt to preempt some of the problems, I bought the boys this toy Christmas tree. It has 24 ornaments they can take on and off and reposition to their hearts’ content. It even has two different tree toppers and a tree skirt. I plan to leave this tree right on our coffee table ottoman in the hopes that it might deter them from touching the real tree.

Another challenge is the fact that we spend Christmas in New York. Traveling with two feisty toddlers in tow is quite a hassle, to say the least, and never a fun thing for us or our fellow passengers. But what we’re even more worried about is how we will handle the whole Santa Claus thing on future Christmases. Right now, the boys are still too young to really know what’s going on. So, we’re having Christmas morning at our house before we leave for New York, and then they’ll open Grandma and Grandpa’s presents on the real Christmas morning at my parents’ house.

But starting next year, when the boys understand the concept of Santa Claus, how will we handle Christmas morning? Christmas mornings are something they will remember forever, like I do. Growing up, nothing beat the excitement of waking up in my own bed on Christmas morning, rushing to wake up my parents, and running downstairs to find all of my presents under the tree. So I would like the boys to sometimes experience Christmas morning in their own home. That’s a challenge as a military family, though, when you typically live far from loved ones and the place you grew up in. Once we get to DC in the summer of 2014, we’re hoping some of our relatives will spend some Christmases at our house.

But what about the years we do travel to New York? Will we just tell the boys that Santa Claus knows they’ll be at Grandma and Grandpa’s and will bring their presents there? If so, how will we then get their presents home? (This year, for instance, Santa is bringing them a train table—not exactly something you can check on a plane or stash in the car.) Or, should we tell them that Santa Claus comes early to visit the kids he knows will be away on Christmas Day? That seems like it will really take away the anticipation and excitement leading up to Christmas morning.

I know these are somewhat frivolous things to worry about when there are so many far worse things happening in the world. However, some of my most cherished memories are the holiday traditions my family has created for me since I was little. They are so important to me. I want Matt and Nate to grow up with their own traditions to pass down to their kids. I want them to one day feel the same warmth I feel when they think about their own childhood Christmases.

I know that many of my military friends with older kids travel for the holidays, so I’d love to hear from you: How do you handle being away from home on Christmas morning? Where and when does Santa Claus leave presents for your children? And to all my mommy and daddy friends: How do you keep your little ones from destroying your Christmas tree?

To get you all in the holiday spirit, here are a couple of outtakes from the boys’ Christmas photo shoot. The photos were taken by Julie Pearson of Julie Pearson Photography. She is wonderful, and we highly recommend her. Enjoy!

Nate, didn’t I teach you any manners???
Matt’s ready to go sledding!
Finally, a decent family shot!

Family Time!

My parents came on October 24 for what we thought would be a four-day visit, as my mom had to get back to work. Then Hurricane Sandy hit, and their flight was cancelled—twice. They ended up staying with us a full 10 days. It was hard for them to be away from home when such a horrific event was going on, but the silver lining was that they got to spend an entire extra week with Matt and Nate. As someone who constantly struggles with the boys being so far from their Grandma and Grandpa, I took comfort in that—even as I worried greatly about my family and friends back in New York and New Jersey.

Before I continue, let me say that thankfully, none of my loved ones was injured in the storm. One of my good friends lost her home, and others lost their cars or parts of their homes. Many of my relatives and friends lost power for several days, and some still don’t have power. Everyone back home has been enduring grueling commutes, waiting hours in line for gas, and seeing local institutions destroyed. I am still in disbelief over it all, and I’m feeling a little helpless and guilty being all the way over here in Colorado. Part of my heart is always in New York, and I wish I could be there to help both the people I love and strangers alike. But still, I feel so lucky that everyone I know is OK.

With that said, Matt and Nate really enjoyed their extra time with Grandma and Grandpa. In between talking to loved ones back home, watching storm coverage on TV, and dealing with the airlines, we managed to have a really great visit. What I loved was that it wasn’t a typical visit, in which we would do lots of tourist activities. Instead, my parents got to spend a lot of time with the boys in their usual environment and do their regular activities with them—Gymboree, Toddler Time at the library, running around at the park, going on walks, and just playing at home with their toys. They also got to spend Halloween with the boys, seeing them in their costumes and going trick-or-treating.

Halloween with Grandma and Grandpa, dressed as the Tortoise and the Hare

The greatest part of the visit for me was seeing how much the twins adore Grandma and Grandpa. Some of my relatives tell me they worry that the boys don’t know them because they don’t get to see them too often. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. My parents arrived here very late at night, when the boys were already asleep. The next morning, when Matt and Nate began to stir, my mom and dad went into their room to greet them. The twins’ reactions were priceless. Their little faces lit up and they both began to squeal in excitement. Nate reached for my dad and Matt for my mom. You would never know it had been over two months since they’d seen them.

Nate really latched on to my dad throughout the 10 days. Whenever we would ask him, “Where’s Grandpa?” he would scream, “Da-da!” and point at my dad gleefully with a huge smile on his face. My father would sing, “Here I come to save the day!”—the Mighty Mouse theme song—in a loud voice, and Nate would laugh and laugh. Consequently, Matt was especially drawn to my mom. He constantly wanted her to read to him, and he let her know in such a cute way—he’d head over to the shelf and grab a book, walk over to her, then turn around and scoot backwards with his butt sticking out and plop into her lap. (Sometimes he would miss her lap completely, which was hilarious.) He also wanted her to hold him all the time, and he’d put his head on her shoulder when she picked him up. But truly, both boys really love both of my parents, and they expressed it often—blowing lots of kisses, patting their heads, cuddling, etc.

We did manage to fit in a few special outings during the trip. On October 27, we went to the famous Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade in Manitou Springs. The boys loved seeing all the people in costume, and my dad got a kick out of all of the hearses and decorated coffins. The next day, we dressed the boys in their Tortoise and the Hare costumes (no explanation necessary for these costumes) and went to a Trunk or Treat at Fort Carson. The boys didn’t really know what was going on, but they sure did enjoy collecting treats in their buckets—and we enjoyed eating them. Hehe.

My mom and I also took the boys to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo one afternoon. This is a regular spot for the boys and me because we have a zoo membership. The problem, though, is that I typically take them during the week with friends and their children. Because it’s only me in charge of Matt and Nate, I usually have to keep them in their stroller to stop them from running amok. But since my mom was there this time, we got to hold them and let them really experience the zoo. They were so excited to feed and pet the giraffes and to get an up-close look at all of the animals. It was such a wonderful thing for my mom and me to watch.

Mom and Dad finally caught a flight home two days ago, and we really miss them. But we are settling back into our regular routine. Unfortunately, Aunt Terry had to cancel her visit here, and we were so disappointed—but at least we’ll get to see her when we travel to New York for two weeks for Christmas and New Year’s. And in about two weeks from now, Matt and Nat’s Aunt Pat, Uncle Ken, and Aunt Beth (my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law) and their big cousin Ashley will come here for Thanksgiving. It will be the first Thanksgiving I will host (more on that later)! Keith and I are so glad that despite the distance, the boys get to spend so much time with their family. There is nothing we value more!

I’m Losing My Mind!

When I was growing up, my mom was always losing her keys. I’d constantly make fun of her, but she would just shoot me a look and say, “One day when you’re a mom, you’ll see!”

Well, I am now a mom. And I do see. I see quite well.

Here, in random order, are just a few of the scatterbrained and downright stupid things I’ve done in the past year while rushing around in my perpetual frenzied state:

  • Misplaced my keys, just like Mom. They’ve turned up in a variety of places, including beneath the floor mat in my car, underneath my bed, and in a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry basket. But usually, they’re buried somewhere at the bottom of my purse, where I find them days later after insisting to Keith over and over again that they are not in my purse. One time, I was about to go out and get new keys made when I found them just in the nick of time—in my purse.
  • Put things where they do not belong. “Jen, why are there Mickey Mouse Band-Aids in the pantry?” “Jen, what’s the bottle of Nyquil doing on the boys’ dresser?” “Jen, where the heck is the camera?” These are the types of questions I get asked by Keith on a near-daily basis. One time, I came home from the grocery store and put a carton of eggs in the freezer. We looked all over for it, and by the time we located it, all of the eggs were cracked. Another time, I tossed a poopy diaper into the twins’ hamper. (In my defense, the Diaper Genie is located next to the hamper.) The nasty diaper stayed buried in there for three days until I finally got a moment to wash the boys’ clothes. For those entire three days, Keith and I kept asking, “Why on Earth does it stink so badly in here?” every time we entered the boys’ room
  • Shredded a new credit card. Our credit cards were about to expire, and our new ones arrived in the mail. As I was sitting at my computer in my office, Keith handed me my card and said, “Here’s your new credit card. Make sure to sign it, and don’t forget to shred your old one!” “OK,” I replied, then promptly stuck the new card into the shredder. He looked at me blankly for a moment and asked, “What did you just do?” It took me a minute to register my error. Keith promptly got online and requested a new card for me. After  three weeks passed and it hadn’t arrived, I complained. So he called and ordered me a third card. A week later, he found an unopened envelope containing the second card in a stack of mail I’d piled in a corner on the kitchen counter. Yes—I’d put the mail where it didn’t belong. Surprise, surprise.
  • Forgotten to wear deodorant. OK, I’m not gonna lie: I did this once in a while even before I had kids.
  • Written checks incorrectly. The other day, I was writing my babysitter a check and I wrote the dollar amount next to “Pay to the order of” and her name where the dollar amount should go. I added it to my growing stack of voided checks.
  • Driven past my destination. And we’re not just talking about missing my exit or making a wrong turn, which I’ve done plenty of times. The other day, I actually drove past my house. I did a U-turn at the end of my dead-end street, then drove past my house again. Oy.
  • Nearly run out of gas. The boys had a play date a few weeks ago with their pal from Gymboree, who lives about half an hour away. On the way home, as I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a busy road during rush hour, I just happened to look down and see that my gas tank was below empty. I was literally riding on fumes. I began to panic because I had no idea where the closest gas station was. Luckily, I came upon one a few blocks away, but apparently lots of other people were in my situation: I had to wait 15 minutes for an open pump. All of this while my hungry children cried in the backseat. Not my finest Mommy moment.

Luckily, I can see the humor in these crazy situations and I know how to laugh at myself. Moms and dads, what stupid things have you done? I’d love to hear your funny stories!

A Big Move

Tuesday evening, I went out for a much-needed dinner and margarita with a close girlfriend. When I came home and walked in the front door, the living room was completely empty. My stomach instantly twisted into a knot.

Keith had simply moved all of the furniture while I was out because we were having the carpets professionally cleaned the next day. But walking into that empty living room brought back memories of how my last two homes had looked just before we moved—stark, bare, and void of all the love we had put into them. It was a preview of what the house will look like eight months from now, when we walk out of it for the last time.

For those of you who don’t yet know, we have some big news—next summer, we’ll be moving to the Los Angeles area for one year while Keith completes a fellowship at the Rand Arroyo Center in Santa Monica. The following summer, we’ll pack up our lives once again and head to our nation’s capital, where Keith will spend the next three years working at the Pentagon.

I know I use the word “bittersweet” quite a bit on this blog, but that’s just what these next two moves will be for us—bittersweet. On the one hand, we are moving to incredibly awesome places that we both love and know well. Keith is from LA and we’ve visited it tons of times, and we also fell in love with DC when he was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia for a year. Also, though Colorado Springs is gorgeous and I’ve made some great friends here whom I will miss dearly, it’s no secret that I’ve been hankering to get back to big-city living (and to the beach). And, I am beyond thrilled that we’ll be a relatively short drive from New York once we’re in DC, so we’ll no longer have to miss family functions or go long stretches without seeing family and friends.

Despite all of those wonderful things, this move will be different from the last few. This time, we have our twins, and our house is not just another house. This is where we took the twins home from the hospital for the first time. This is the living room where they took their first tentative steps. There is the spot in front of the fireplace where each morning they find—and gleefully knock down—a new Mega Bloks tower that Keith built for them the night before. Here is the corner Nate likes to sneak off to with his precious board books. And down in the basement is the playroom, which houses the wall on which Matthew decided to create his latest crayon masterpiece.

In other words, this was our twins’ first home, and leaving it will not be easy. But we know they’ll be excited to have new homes to explore and make new memories in.

Matt and Nate’s first home!

Then there are the logistics of the move. Moving is a lot of work under any circumstances, and moving with young children is even harder. Packing, moving, unpacking, packing, and moving again within a year—all with young children—is downright scary. It is definitely just another aspect of Army life, though. Nearly every other Army spouse to whom I’ve complained has just shrugged her shoulders and said something like, “Oh, yeah, one of those yearlong moves,” as if it’s as routine as a trip to the grocery store. And I guess in the Army, it is.

Some of the wives have told me they didn’t bother unpacking most of their stuff during the short moves. Others said they sucked it up and unpacked every single thing and hung every picture. I think we’re going to do something in the middle. We’ll keep some of our things stored in boxes (like most of our winter clothes—yay!) and unpack the things we use often (like all of the boys’ toys). We’ll certainly decorate to make our next place feel like home, despite how short of a time we’ll live there. The stuff that stays packed, as well as some furniture, may have to go to a storage unit, as we’ll likely have to downsize for the year in pricey LA.

The other bittersweet part of it—for Keith, mostly, but also partially for me—is that these next two assignments will take Keith to his 20th year in the Army, when he can retire. That means he currently has what could be his last job in the “real” Army—meaning in an actual combat arms unit and not in a specialized gig like the Pentagon. After spending more than 15 years in the “real” Army, that will surely be difficult for him to stomach. As for me, I’m not going to lie—it will be nice to say goodbye to field time and deployments and potentially long hours. But it is also weird to think I will no longer see him in his ACUs (the traditional camouflage uniform). Because the sense of pride you feel when your husband or wife walks through the door in his or her uniform, and when you see his or her combat boots next to the front door, can only be understood by other military spouses.

In any case, this move is going to be a great adventure for all of us, and I am so proud of Keith for being selected for this competitive fellowship. He will be doing great things for the Army and working on things he is passionate about. And, with three Purple Hearts received during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he has certainly done his part. He can feel proud of everything he has done—and will continue to do—to help make this country a safer place for all of us. I know I do!

Water Babies

A couple of months ago, Keith and I sent in our payment to join our overpriced community pool. Then we bought two giant floats for Matt and Nate to sit in, little life vests, swimsuits for ourselves and the boys, pool toys, swim diapers, sunblock, towels, coolers, and loads more. Needless to say, this has put a serious dent in our funds. But we can already say with authority that it’s some of the best money we’ve ever spent.

When the pool opened last Saturday, we trudged over with our giant beach bag and all of our paraphernalia in tow. This was after we’d spent several hours gathering up everything we’d need, preparing lunches to take with us, and putting sunblock and swimsuits on the boys and ourselves. It seemed—and looked—like we were going to the beach for a week. (Yet we still managed to forget towels for ourselves!)

We set up shop at the kiddie pool, which is separated from the main pool by a fence and is one and a half feet deep. We placed the floats into the water and got ready to plop the boys into them. Since Matthew just recently got over his fear of the bath, we thought for sure this would be a huge undertaking, complete with kicking and screaming.

But to our surprise, the twins immediately loved the water! They settled right in and began to smile and laugh. They didn’t even mind when the older kids descended on the kiddie pool—after being tossed out of the main pool for adult swim—and began splashing water everywhere, including into the boys’ faces. In fact, they reveled in the attention the big kids bestowed upon them. They stayed in the water for 45 minutes, and even protested when we took them out!

Nate the fish
Matt the fish

When we returned to the pool two days later, on Memorial Day, the babies again stayed in the water for nearly an hour and even began kicking their legs. Then, Matt actually napped in his stroller for an hour and Nate just chilled on the lounge chair with Keith. We were more prepared—thus more relaxed—this time and spent three whole hours at the pool. Two days later, the babies and I went again while Keith was at work (I got help from a friend) and had a blast yet again.

I can’t even describe how thrilled I am that the babies are so comfortable in the water and that they love it so much. For one thing, the pool is a great way to entertain them, get them to spend time outdoors, and—let’s be honest—wear them out. After all three pool days, they slept like logs all night.

Second, most of my friends in the neighborhood are pool members, too. Many of them also have small children, so they’re banished to the kiddie pool area as well. We get to chat and catch up while we wade around the pool with the little ones. One of my closest friends has two older daughters, and they are a great help with the babies!

But what really makes me happy is that Matt and Nate will already be one step ahead when it comes time for them to learn how to swim. I know many babies and kids who are afraid of the water, and I was really hoping that mine wouldn’t be. It is so important to me that the boys become strong swimmers. I was never afraid of the water, but I am also not the greatest swimmer in the world. I never took formal swim lessons, so while I can doggie paddle or freestyle my way through the water (thanks, Uncle Andy!), I don’t have great form and probably would never be able to compete in a triathlon.

So, Keith and I definitely plan on putting the boys in swim lessons. I am not entirely sure when we will start. My friend was telling me about a 13-month-old baby at her daughter’s swim school who jumps into the water and floats on his back on his own. He’d been taking lessons for a few months already. While that is impressive, I think my two can wait until they know how to walk before they learn how to swim, and still grow up to be strong swimmers. They don’t need to be the next Michael Phelps (as long as they can throw a baseball)! 😉

So, Keith and I think we’ll start with swim lessons when the twins are 18 months old—about six months from now. Then, by next summer, they’ll have new skills with which to tackle the pool. This summer, though, I am going to let them enjoy the pool from the safety of their huge floats. Then they’ll get nice and tired and nap in their stroller so I can enjoy the pool from the comfort of my lounge chair. Everyone wins!

I’d love to hear other parents’ thoughts: Did you put your children in swim lessons? If so, at what age did they start? Are you happy with your decision?

The Art of Pushing a Double Stroller Through a Door

There are two types of double strollers: tandem strollers, in which the seats sit one in front of the other, and side-by-side strollers. I have both types. And both are pains in the ass in their own ways.

My tandem stroller, the Chicco Cortina Together stroller, is pretty much the limousine of strollers. The thing is massive—it’s over three feet long and weighs 43 pounds. Yet I take it on pretty much every errand. In fact, it rarely leaves my car. It goes with my Chicco KeyFit 30 car seats as part of a travel system, so basically I can remove the car seats from the car with the boys still in them and snap them right into the stroller. This is great when the twins are sleeping and I don’t want to wake them up. Plus, the stroller is skinny, so it fits down narrow aisles. But, it is heavy as shit and—after nearly 11 months—still tricky for me to fold and unfold. I once entertained a man sitting in a car in the Target parking lot for a good two minutes as I tried to open the stroller, my arms spread wider than seemingly possible.

At Seven Falls with the Chicco Cortina Together stroller

My Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller is my walking stroller. It’s light, rolls easily over almost anything, and has huge sun shades to protect the twins. I use it on my power walks around the neighborhood, on trips to the zoo, on strolls to the park, etc. But it’s not as easy to maneuver through small, crowded stores.

The boys with Dad at the zoo in February in their Baby Jogger City Mini double stroller

Now, here’s what the two strollers have in common: They are damn near impossible to get through doors. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten stuck in a doorway, or nearly had a door swing into one of the twin’s faces, or held up an entire line of people from getting their lunch because my clunky stroller was blocking the restaurant entrance.

I have learned that there are basically two ways to attempt to get through a door with a double stroller. The first is to try to carefully pull the door open with one hand while tugging the stroller to the side with your other hand so it won’t close into your children. Then, while your dominant hand is holding the door open, you shimmy the stroller inside with your weaker hand. This method is generally easier with the side-by-side stroller. Trying to angle the tandem stroller perfectly requires a level of skill I fear I’ll never achieve.

The second method is to walk in front of the stroller, quickly pull the door open, do a 180-degree turn, enter the door backwards, and then try to pull the stroller by the front of it through the door. What makes this so difficult is the fact that most doors swing out, not in, so you have to try to pull it open with enough force to give you that tiny window of opportunity to pull the stroller through before the door slams into it. This method seems to work for Keith, put it is pretty useless for me. More on that later.

Consequently, I still break out in a sweat every time I near a door while pushing Matt and Nate in a stroller. It’s as if the door is beckoning me teasingly: “Hey, you! Harried mom with the giant stroller! You’ll never get through me! I dare you to even try! Bwahahahaha!” I always accept the challenge, but I know that, more likely than not, I will cause a scene with my attempt.

Last Wednesday, I tried to enter Black Bear Coffee & Tea Lodge with the twins in the side-by-side stroller. I attempted method two, and it was nothing short of a disaster. The stroller got stuck. So, there I was, standing backwards, halfway through the door, trying to dislodge the stroller by pulling on the bar that goes across the front of it. Two sets of eyes peered up at me from the stroller as if I were a lunatic. I pulled and tugged, and the stroller wouldn’t budge. Then I began to yank at it furiously until the barista rushed over to save me. Everyone in the coffee shop hid behind their newspapers and laptops and pretended they hadn’t seen. And maybe they hadn’t noticed me—until, in my discombobulated state, I proceeded to knock my freshly poured cup of coffee over, spilling it all over the counter and floor. The barista took pity on me and gave me another cup. She must have seen how desperately I needed it!

The one good thing about this stroller difficulty is that it sometimes forces me to get a workout: When I’m going into a place where we’ll be staying a while, I’ll often decide it’s too much trouble to get the stroller through the door, so I’ll just carry the twins inside in their car seats. May I remind you that Matt is roughly 18 pounds and Nate is about 21 pounds, and the car seats weigh 21 pounds apiece. I’ve started carrying the twins into the Kids’ Club at the gym this way to much fanfare from the personal trainers at the front desk. Cue the Alicia Keys song: “I … am … Superwoman. Yes I am.”

Matt and Nate, Career Men

Is it possible to predict your kids’ future career paths when they are only seven months old? I’m not talking about what you hope they will be when they grow up. (We would all love for our children to become doctors, lawyers, or second-baseman and shortstop for the L.A. Angels, right?) I mean actually hypothesizing about what they will choose to do in life based on their current interests.

Keith and I do this all the time. It’s all in good fun, but it sure would be interesting if our predictions came true!

Let’s start with Matthew. We are convinced the little guy will do something related to technology when he grows up. (Maybe he’ll even be the next Bill Gates!) We started saying this when he was still in my belly. Every time I’d sit at my computer and start typing, he’d begin kicking and rolling excitedly. Now, he still goes absolutely bonkers whenever he spots my MacBook. He can be totally absorbed in one of his toys, but if I sit down on the floor to check my email, he’ll immediately fling the toy aside, push everything including his brother out of his way, and get over to the computer by any means necessary. The first time he did it, I let him gleefully pound away at the keyboard—until I realized he was opening screens I didn’t know existed, renaming files, and drooling all over the keys. Now the only time he’s allowed near the computer is when we are Skyping with relatives, and even that gets frustrating when he hangs up on them repeatedly.

Matt catching up on some emails

Matt shows similar excitement for other electronics as well. The first time he did his low crawl, in fact, was to get to the remote control. His face lights up when my cell phone rings, and when I don’t let him have it, he screams bloody murder. (I try to fake him out by giving him his Fisher-Price Smartphone or his V-Tech Learning Laptop, but he’s no fool.)

If our predictions come true, Nathaniel will do something pertaining to the arts. He LOVES books. When we read to him, he’ll knit his eyebrows and really study the pages, reaching out to feel them and turn them. (Matthew, on the other hand, will usually look at a few pages before losing interest and trying to climb out of our laps.)

Nate engrossed in a story

Nate is fascinated with words. When we talk to him or make sounds, he’ll really study our lips and try to mimic us. Every day, it seems, he is stringing together new sounds. He always appears to be in deep thought, as if he’s philosophizing about life. (Maybe he’ll be the next Socrates!) And he loves music. He squeals in delight while watching Baby Einstein DVDs. At Gymboree, when the teacher is singing, he’ll stop what he’s doing and crane his neck to stare at her. And these days, nothing elicits his hearty belly laugh more than singing him the Winnie the Pooh song.

So, you are all our witnesses. If, in 25 years, Matt invents the most innovative social media network and Nate writes the next Great American Novel , you can all say, “Wow! Back in 2012, their parents actually predicted this! It’s amazing!”

What about all of you? Have you ever made similar predictions about your children? And have any of them actually come true?