Little Man Turns Two

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It’s hard to believe Paul is already two years old. He is. And, when he’s not being shy, he’ll tell you he is.

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“How old are you Paul?”

“TWO!”, he’ll answer with a grin as he holds out his thumb and pointer finger to show you.

It’s cute. He is adorable. And he had a really great birthday.

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Before Paul was born, Dan and I joked that we needed a boy. Our girls like their snuggles from Daddy. Several months ago, there was so much fighting over who would sit on Daddy’s lap during Bible time, we had to set up a schedule. So Dan and I would joke that we needed a boy who wouldn’t need the snuggles from Daddy, a boy who would snuggle Mom instead. And do you know what? Paul is the snuggliest little two-year-old I’ve ever met. He wants Mommy to hold him during every meal, whenever he’s tired, and whenever he’s unsure about something. Paul is incredibly sweet and loves to help. Lately he’s enjoyed taking his bib off, bringing it into the kitchen, and throwing it into the sink. He usually does so in the middle of a meal, but it’s still adorable. He also likes to help with laundry, by pushing the wet clothes into the dryer as I put them down on the dryer door. Then he slams the door shut, usually before I’m done. He also likes to shut the dishwasher for me, while I’m still loading it. 😀

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Paul also likes to help set and clear the table. He’ll spot a condiment in the fridge and put in on the table and then come back for more. He’s choices don’t often match the meal (mustard when we’re having tacos, for example). When the meal is done and the girls are delaying as much as they can before clearing their dishes, Paul will walk back and forth, grabbing whatever is left on the table, and throwing it into the sink or trash (not always the right one).

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He’s also a Little Rascal. He’s cute and he knows it. He’s not afraid to cock his head to the side and give you his sweet “emoji” grin when he’s up to no good. He loves to wrestle, but doesn’t like to lose, and isn’t too old to run to Mom for a hug when he doesn’t win. He loves balls and bats, and toys or pictures of animals that growl. (He likes to growl.) Paul loves to be outside and will often grab his shoes and point to the coat closet to tell you he wants out, but he hates the cold and will stay inside whenever it’s below freezing.

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Like Abby, Paul has been slower to start talking. Recently we started using sign language for some basic words at meals and he’s picked up on those pretty well. Even more recently he has started picking up more words and putting words together. Here are some recent favorites:

Bible/Baseball – “Bay-Bul”
“No”
“Coat”
“Bye Nana” (after I got off the phone with my Mom the other day)
“Night Daddy”
“Thank You”
“Hold” (me)
Elijah John – “Lijah John”
Lydia – “Lee-ya”
“Car”
“Nose” (He finds it hilarious to say “nose” and point to your nose.)
OK Google – “Okay Gool” (which he says into my phone whenever he can get his hands on it)

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Paul loves being a big brother and hasn’t had much trouble adjusting, but sometimes he gets jealous if he sees me holding Elijah (or anyone else) when he wants to be held. Overall he is a great older brother who loves his siblings, snuggles his Mommy, and wants to be just like his Daddy.

We love you Little Man! Happy Second Birthday!

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Little Man is One

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to post on here since these kids keep me so busy running around, and even though it’s almost 4:00 and I haven’t cleaned up from lunch yet, I had to post SOMETHING about the Little Man’s Big Day.

Yesterday Paul turned one.

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He loved his birthday and he loves being one. Grandma and Grandpa surprised us all by coming down to celebrate a day early and they gave him a tee and bat and ball, so he’s more eager than ever to learn to stand up so he can play ball with his Daddy.

Ever since he was a newborn, there’s been an ongoing joke that Paul has wanted some bacon. It became such a big deal that we just couldn’t pass his birthday without getting him some. So we found some less-bad-for-you turkey bacon at our favorite store and brought it home to cook up with his big dinner. Not only did the Big Guy get bacon, he got cake. Yes, he is our first baby who actually got to eat cake on his first birthday because with our other preemies we were extra diligent to avoid all the allergens and sugar. Well, to be fair, this was more of a banana bread than a real cake (sugar free, dairy free, egg free…) but it’s what we call cake and he dug right in.

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A tradition of mine is that I always make a cross-stitched picture to go on the kids’ birthday cards. For Paul I did a baseball picture of Charlie Brown, because we’ve often told Paul that he resembles the big-headed cartoon character. And baseball because, he’s his daddy’s boy.

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Dan carried on a tradition from his own dad and gifted Paul with the entire set of baseball cards from the year he was born. Paul was so fascinated by them, I could not get him to look at the camera.

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We spent a little extra time praying for Paul around the dinner table and on the way to Bible Study we retold the kids Paul’s birth story.

Paul has been such a joy, such a blessing to our family. He loves to play, wrestle, eat, and snuggle Mommy. He’s content and cheerful and can entertain himself, and even seems to be learning not to climb up on the dishwasher when it’s open. 😉 His first year has been a memorable one that involved ZERO trips to the NICU, and we still find it hard to believe God gave us a baby we could bring home with us the day we left the hospital. We are eagerly looking forward to the next year with our Little Man and all of the excitement it has in store.

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Happy First Birthday Paul!

On His Feet

Paul is closing in on one year, but before he gets there I needed to give an eleven-month update!

This month Paul was up to 20.4 pounds. Compared to his sisters at this age, he’s HUGE. And doing a lot more too. I remember at 11 months when Abby army-crawled for the first time. Paul is not only army crawling…

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He’s getting up on all fours…

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And standing.

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For weeks, Paul liked to crawl over to our fireplace and push up on the ledge. He’d stand there in a sort of push-up position for a long time. Then he figured out how to pull up on things and now he’s really standing. He has yet to take any steps while holding on, but he loves being upright and almost as tall as Abby.

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Paul also likes to get into things…making my job a little harder. His favorites are dirty diapers (while I’m changing Abby’s diaper) and the toilet. Yup, he’s a boy. Other boy things he likes to do include chasing the vacuum cleaner and climbing on top of Abby whenever she’s on the ground. He’s watched Daddy wrestle the girls enough to know that the person on top is the winner.

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Paul’s gearing up for baseball season too. He’s thrilled that the weather is getting warmer. We had our first outing to the playground this month and he desperately wanted to get down and crawl all over everything. It was wet, so we had to keep him in our arms that time, but he was super observant, taking everything in.

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In fact, Paul is often observant. He watches whatever is going on in a serious face, preferring to be in Mom’s arms whenever it gets close to bed or nap time. But if you get down to his level and start a conversation, you are likely to see his little grin. Keep talking and he’ll flash you a huge toothy smile (two front teeth now). His hair is getting pretty shaggy, and he’s due for a haircut soon, but right now we are enjoying his bed head after naps too much to cut it just yet.

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Paul is a content and happy baby. Often before going to sleep he’ll just keep looking at me and giggling. When I put him down he lets out some protests but willingly goes to sleep without too much of a fight. With our late night and early morning feeds, he pretty consistently lets me sleep non-stop in between.

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He loves to eat and play and I just know he’s going to have a ton of fun this summer when we start spending more time outside. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started walking within a few months, and I’m sure he’ll be hitting baseballs with his dad not long after that!

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Little Rascal

This month has been a month of “mores” for Little Man. Paul is 10 months old this week, still weighing in at just under 19 pounds.

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First of all, Paul is sleeping more. Yay! I desperately started cornering moms at church one week asking for their best sleep advice. I didn’t get much that was helpful, but what I did get was prayer. Thank you to you ladies who have been praying!

Normally Paul goes to bed at around 8:00 and gets up at around 8:30 in the morning. In between there I usually stay up a little later before bed and get up at 5:30 to make Dan coffee for work. So, I decided to make use of my already awake time and feed Paul. It’s working! I wake Paul up before I go to bed and feed him, then I feed him again before or after I make Dan’s coffee, and for now, that’s enough to keep him satisfied through the night. Good job, Buddy!

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Oh, and this is Paul’s sleepy face. If you ever see him crawling around like this, it means he is in dire need of a nap. This is also his, “Mommy is holding me and I am content face”. I love the two-finger sucking. Pacifier days are over; we’ll deal with the finger-sucking later.

Paul is playing with his sisters more. Sometimes I’ll send one or both upstairs to wake Paul up from a nap. They’ll talk to him, try to tickle him through the side of his crib, and giggle together. Then, when Paul is not napping, they’ll bring him toys, tickle him and talk to him. It’s super cute.

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Also, I have come to the sad conclusion that good family pictures for the Taylor family are pretty much a thing of the past. These kids…

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Paul is also eating more. Now that he’s figured out finger-foods (and there’s no going back), we can hardly keep up with him. It’ll be a relief when he gets more teeth and fine motor control so we don’t have to tear or cut all his food into little pieces. Whoever is on Paul-duty can hardly get a bite in between refilling his tray or bowl. Two weeks in a row, we’ve practically run out of food because we’re adjusting to the obscene amounts this boy can eat. You don’t even want to know how many bananas we go through in a week!

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Just for fun, here’s a clip of Paul finishing off some of those bananas I was talking about.

Little Man is also crawling more. I haven’t captured a good picture yet, but he’s even getting up on all fours and rocking back and fourth. Neither of the girls did that, and neither of the girls were mobile until 11 months. Paul absolutely loves it when Dan gets down on the floor and army crawls around with him.

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We’re just loving these days with our little Rascal and the Munchkins. Paul is proving to be just as smiley as the girls, and, if you haven’t picked up on it yet from the pictures, he looks very much like Abby. If this appetite of his keeps up, it won’t be long before strangers are mistaking them for twins.

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Little Man, Big Moves

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Three quarters of a year, already! Paul is getting so big, so fast. During the past month he hit half a billion milestones and is cuter than ever.

We can start off with the one area where our Little Man is not winning our hearts: his sleep habits. Getting up three times a night is usual, four isn’t unheard of, and there’s a rumor that he got up five times in one night (but who can think clearly enough to count THAT high in the middle of the night?). We’re working on this (and someone may be moving out of Mommy and Daddy’s room a little earlier than his sisters). Moving on.

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Paul is so cute. And he’s doing new things. All in the same week, he started sitting up, army crawling, clapping, and babbling. We have definitely heard him say, “baba” and “mama”. Dan claims he has also heard “dada”, but that hasn’t been confirmed. 😉 We just love it when he talks to us. His laugh is contagious. And boy, can he get around! It has conveniently worked out this year that our baby became mobile within a week of our setting up the Christmas tree, so that makes for some exciting times. His sisters do a great job watching him when we ask, playing with him occasionally, and warning us if he tries to pull the tree down or chew the lights.

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Paul has started to enjoy his solid foods more this month too. He, for a while, would glue his lips shut when we tried to feed him. We recently figured out that he will eagerly eat up his food as long as he gets to be the one to feed himself. So meal times are a little messier now, but everyone is a little happier. And we aren’t too concerned that most of his food ends up on the floor since he’s still gaining weight like a champ: nineteen pounds exactly at nine months old.

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Paul still loves Mom and Dad, but isn’t afraid to go with others either. Mostly he just wants attention and the chance to move around. Even when he’s being held or sitting, his arms never stop waving and his feet never stop wiggling. But my favorite is when Dan has him in the other room at Bible study, church, or even at home and Paul starts to get tired. If I come into his line of vision he’ll stop fussing and watch me, and if I step away he’ll start crying. Then I come back, scoop him up and watch him grin, happy to be back in Mommy’s arms.

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My Thankful for 2015

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Last week our family had a restful and happy Thanksgiving Day. It was so good, I didn’t even think to take pictures, as crazy as that may sound. And, though Thanksgiving has passed for this year, I wanted to share my “thankful” for the year. This is what I shared at our church’s Thanksgiving service, so if you heard me there you can go ahead and return to your Facebook feed. 🙂

A little over two years ago, our second daughter was born. At that time, my doctor told me I would probably never carry a baby past 32 weeks.

The months preceding Abby’s birth and the year following her birth were full of trials. It seemed like one trial after another. We did our best to press on, obey God, and trust Jesus that He was sovereign and using everything for our good and His glory. But it was a struggle. Toward the end of last summer, we found out we were expecting Baby Paul. Because we hadn’t moved into our new house yet (or even put in an offer), and because we were anticipating another 12 weeks in the hospital with a preemie, the news was a little overwhelming. I was praying one day about Baby Paul and felt God saying to my heart, “This is a reward”.

I had stayed up late one night researching possible medical interventions that could help Paul make it further along. That was overwhelming too. Operations, procedures, limitations, bed rest, risks, medicine, hormones…it was all overwhelming and I didn’t know what course we should take. I prayed again and God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

So, over the next several months, we did our best to Trust in the Lord, seek His direction in all our decisions with Baby, and acknowledge Him. Right away, many came along side us and began to pray for Baby. There were at least two women from my Bible study who really carried our burden every single day.

From early in the pregnancy Dan and I started praying that Baby would not be born until after our church’s annual Fur Rondy talent show.

He did.

We also started praying that Baby would not be breach. He had been breach through most of the pregnancy. At our 20-week ultrasound he was still breach and it was around that time that I became convinced that he would not flip. Though I asked our Bible study prayer group and my husband to pray that Baby would flip, I eventually resigned myself to the likely possibility of another breach baby, which would mean another c-section baby. I prayed about it one last time and fully surrendered it to God. A couple of nights later, Baby flipped and stayed head down for the rest of the pregnancy.

Baby was not a c-section baby. He was not even early enough for me to be stuck on magnesium or antibiotics. In fact, in answer to many, many prayers, Paul was born completely naturally. All the hospital did was provide ice chips, a birthing ball, and someone to catch Baby. (They even offered to let me do that, but I was a little distracted at the time).

My last big prayer request was that I would be able to hold Baby right when he was born. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen, but I prayed anyway, and asked everyone else to pray too. I didn’t get to hold Lydia until she was one day old. I didn’t get to hold Abby until she was three days old. Words cannot describe how badly I wanted this. The closest I can come is “desire of my heart” (see Psalm 37:4). Words also cannot describe how happy I was the moment the picture below was taken. Or any time I see this picture. I know I’ve shared it before. I will probably share it again. This was one of the happiest moments EVER.

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God is so kind.

Paul was born at 35 weeks.

He came home with us from the hospital without spending a single day in the NICU. Our transition to having a baby at home was the easiest we’ve had yet and Paul has continued to be such a content, sweet, cuddly, cute, precious baby boy. He really feels like a reward. 🙂

I am so thankful that God is so kind. That he leads us when we seek Him and He blesses us when we obey.

“Sing Me a Song, Mommy”

You guys. I feel like I just did an update on Paul. Where does the time go?

Although my last post was late, and this one is early, so I guess it’s my own fault. But still. Where does the time go? How is our baby already 9 months old? That’s three quarters of a year…a whole year. Nevertheless, here is an update on our almost-nine-month-old with several pictures so you can enjoy both his latest antics and his adorable face.

Little man is as cute and cuddly as ever. This month he has shown more of his personality and insisted on snuggling with his Mommy every night at 3 in the morning. We’re working on that.

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Paul likes broccoli and peas. Sweet potato and avocado are alright. Sweet corn is not his thing and he all but refuses to eat oatmeal. I’m sure he’ll grow into it, I mean, who doesn’t like corn? And you cannot survive in this family if you won’t eat oatmeal. 🙂 He’s not the biggest fan of solid foods yet, but we’re easing him into them with tiny hopes that they might just help him sleep better at night.

After getting up several times each night for several nights in a row, I finally admitted that this wasn’t just a six-month-growth-spurt. A couple of nights ago I decided to just hold Paul instead of feeding him. In just two days he’s down to getting up twice a night: once to eat and once to snuggle. And, speaking of snuggling, Paul loves to snuggle with Mommy. Often he enjoys being held by anyone, but sometimes he just wants me (yay!). He also likes it when I sing to him. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this yet. When Paul is sleepy and grumpy in the evenings, he’ll fuss and cry and stop instantly if I start singing “Jesus Loves Me” to him. He goes into a daze and starts sucking on the middle and ring fingers of his left hand. If I switch into “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, Paul will resume fussing, but “Jesus Loves the Little Children” keeps the daze going.

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Paul doesn’t like noise. Yelling, large groups of people singing together in a small space, and sharp rebukes to misbehaving toddlers will bring tears to his eyes and cause him to stick out his lower lip. One Sunday Paul spent an entire church baseball game snuggled in the arms of one of the ladies from church. Just once she cheered for someone on the field and he started crying. He likes quiet and peace. He also doesn’t like being cold. Normally he’s a smiley guy but put him in a coat in the stroller these days and he’s super serious. Bring him in, take off the coat, and set him down, and he’s back to his smiley self.

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Paul likes books. A few days ago we accidentally left Lydia’s “F” flashcard on the floor and when I found it later it was in shreds. The next day we forgot to pick up the library books and found a quarter of a page gone and the rest of the book covered in drool. We’re learning to be more careful about leaving paper on the floor, but we’re happy that Paul already has an appetite for reading. 😉

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Paul is up to 18 pounds now (probably more, we need to weight him again). He’s getting stronger, but still not sitting up or crawling. He rolls, pivots, and can make it from one side of the living room to the other if there’s something tempting enough. His favorite items to maneuver toward (besides books) are shoes, blankets, and articles of clothing. His favorite real toys are his tiny stuffed elephant with polka dots, and the red animal that we’ve named “The Monkow” because it seems to have the head of a monkey and the body of a cow.

Paul is the perfect age for Thanksgiving and Christmas and we cannot wait for him to meet the Christmas Moose in just a few weeks.

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Two Foods, Two Teeth, Two Months

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In the midst of our vacation and other end-of-summer activities (and trying to keep up with my three busy little Munchkins) I missed Paul’s 6-month update.

But that is most certainly not because we were failing to enjoy Paul’s sixth month! Little Man is getting close to sitting up (already?!?) and can push himself up higher and higher with those arms. The most fun part of this month, though, was that Paul started learning to express his opinion.

One evening, I was sitting on the floor holding Paul in my lap and playing with a couple of baby toys. He’s learning to grab and he would reach out and try to get his fingers around the toys as I moved them around. Suddenly he started crying a little and I realized that I had set down one of the toys which he obviously preferred. It’s so fun to see him pick his favorites now and let his voice be heard. He especially likes things that crinkle and grabbing people’s feet.

I had gotten into the habit of letting Paul play in his exersaucer (we just call it the Standing Toy around here) during lunch. One day, without really thinking about it, I put him in his Bouncy Seat (it’s actually a rocking infant seat but we still call it the bouncy seat…even though it doesn’t bounce) and, to my surprise, he started crying. I was puzzled at first, but then wondered, “he couldn’t possibly want to be in his Standing Toy, could he?” Yes, he could. As soon as I moved him he smiled away and started playing. I guess you just don’t mess with the Big Guy’s routine.

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Paul is a little night-owl and, sadly, has started waking up during the nights again. It’s usually just once or twice, and we’re all surviving for now. He also doesn’t like to go to bed at night. Most evenings I’ll tuck him in and he’ll go to sleep only to wake up half an hour later. Dan will run upstairs to get him and come down with Paul, wide awake and smiling. He just loves to party with Mom and Dad after the girls go to bed. Some nights we find ourselves, tired and ready for bed, sitting up with a perky baby waiting and waiting for him to get sleepy enough to finally call it a night.

Oh, and for the record, Paul came in at 16 pounds and 3 ounces at six months old. Big Guy.

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By month seven, Paul was up to 17 pounds and 12 ounces (gotta keep these weights on here for the Baby book!). He’s huge. Also, he made this the most monumental month by far with two major achievements: first solid food and first two teeth!

Paul loves to eat. What he really wants is bacon, or at least a burger, but we haven’t introduced those just yet. 😉 Avocado and peas don’t quite do it for him, but he still slurps them down as well as a new eater can. He never looks particularly interested in the food at hand until we stop feeding it to him, then he whimpers like a puppy and pulls the bowl, our arm, the spoon, or anything else he can reach, toward his face. He will be a much more content little boy when he can figure out how to properly chew and swallow, or maybe more importantly, use his own fingers to put the food in his mouth.

Also, Paul got his first two teeth. He drools like a faucet and has for several weeks. We even invested in some better waterproof bibs that snap on so he can keep them on to catch all that drool anywhere we go. He loves to chew and suck, and so far teething hasn’t been a problem in any way (other than the endless drool).

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He’s sticking to his easy-baby reputation in the second half of his first year. Our only complaint is that it’s going by too fast. Many evenings I think or even tell Paul that I just want to hold him while he sleeps a few more times before he really gets squirmy. So far he’s been agreeable, often falling asleep in my arms at church or Bible study. So I snuggle him while I can and enjoy the not-quite-toothless grin whenever he is awake, even if it is late at night when we should really all be sleeping.

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