Friday, February 12, 2016

Ryder Three Years and Eight Months

We are currently in Buenos Aires, having been dumped off of our cruise ship and then feeling slightly exhausted from 2015, we’ve been recuperating and taking it easy.
Ryder is so easy to take it easy with. In general, Jacob and I both agree, we never get tired of his company. FIrst of all, he is hilarious. Toddlers have to be the funniest creatures on earth—almost human, but not all the way. Second of all, he’s extremely cuddly and affectionate-like a teddy bear come to life. And third of all, he’s quite independent and can entertain himself pretty well.
He loves his daddy as much as ever. He calls him his best friend and his twin.

He makes friends very easily, still. Apparently imitation is the sincerest form of flattery even with toddlers. They love it, and it’s Ryder’s number one play trick. Along with chasing. He made a friend on the playground yesterday. “Say como te llamas!” I encouraged him. “She’s a girl, I don’t need to know her name,” Ryder said. OK then.
Thanks to the cruise, however, all waiters are now his friend. Old ladies, though, are not-and they’re the ones who all want to come over and coo over him. “She’s not my friend!” he’ll announce. Good thing their English isn’t very good usually and so no offense taken.
Swinging is still his favorite thing to do on the park. Now Christmas songs are what he loves to sing. He only got four Christmas presents this year-three from Jacob and one from Santa Claus. (My present was taking him on the cruise in the first place.) Shhh he doesn’t know any better. He loved Christmas anyway and wants to sing about Santa Claus, reindeer, and Frosty every day.

He now has been to all the continents except Africa.
He was thrilled to get to talk to his best friend from Japan on Skype the other day. Earlier, he was chanting “water…water…remember Roderick?” I knew then that he probably needed to talk to him. It’s been almost a year since he’d last seen him-I think he’ll always remember him now.
If you do talk to Ryder on Skype, he’ll be happy to either A) imitate animals walking for you or B) dance This is Halloween, Katy Perry, or What the Fox Say for you. He is starting to want to call people by himself. He loves Skyping and is always down for a session.
When he does something to make him nervous, like climbing the jungle gum, he says “Oy…oy….oy” when I mimic him he laughs like crazy.
HIs schedule is very fluid right now, like ours. He liked school and I’d put him in one again depending on the situation. We don’t have any plans set in stone for this year so we’ll see.
He is obsessed with downloading new apps on his ipad “cause it make me so happy” of course, any app with a dinosaur in it is his preferred request.

He also draws a lot. He likes to draw dinosaur parks, which are either closed or open. You can guess that often I take him places not knowing the hours and they are closed.
We sit on the couch next to each other and he keeps one hand in my hair. The little monkey.

Christmas Day, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ryder update: 3 years and 3 months

IMG_7097 My little boy goes to school! It’s called jardin here in Cusco. 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. Our neighbor took us there and helped us to avoid the 200 sole registration fee. It’s 400 soles for the month and includes snacks. Although, last week, the teachers told me Ryder tries to eat everyone else’s food and asks for more so I’ve just paid 40 soles so he can also have lunch. Those who know Ryder, this will not surprise you. Since he was a baby, he’s begged food off of strangers.


Pretty much sure: Ryder is left-handed.

His favorite food is chicken. It’s even his first Spanish word-beyond hola and gracias that is. He likes hamburgers too, and French fries. In general, he doesn’t prefer fish-so we share dishes well.

His favorite vegetable is carrots. He requests a carrot soup I made with coconut milk regularly, except he doesn’t realize just yet I never make the same dish twice, so he hasn’t gotten that again.

His schedule has changed radically since starting school. Now he wakes at the crack of dawn and goes to bed by 7:30 pm. He wakes me by shouting, “It’s hot outside! It’s sunny! Time to get up! I want breakfast!” And at twilight he says, “There’s not sun anymore.”


When we walk to school, he usually insists on plucking a weed flower for me. Sometimes he’s not strong enough, so I have to pick it, give it to him, and then he gives it back. “I want to get a flower for you!” he’ll announce.

Every day he says the same thing: “I won’t cry at school Mama! I stopped crying!” because indeed the first week or two were rather heart-wrenching, though now he loves it. He used to say in the most touching way, “but I want my mama.” He also says, “Wonder what we’re going to eat at school. Maybe spaghetti!” He also loves to talk about Liam and Raphaela, the kids whose names have stuck the most. Liam and he are best friends, surviving a bite attack has not seemed to dampen the friendship (Ryder was apparently aggressively grabbing his arm and Liam bit to release).

The school is entirely in Spanish. Ryder is not speaking in Spanish yet, though he seems to understand more and more.

He enjoys church and has a friend there named Brando. Rather than rolling the r, Ryder calls him Blando. It’s quite adorable.

He still loves going to the park, swinging, and singing his favorite songs. He has built up quite a repertoire:

Old McDonald, Farmer in the Dell, Twinkle Twinkle, ABCs, The Rainbow Song, Shoe Fly, I Love the Mountains, The Wise Man and the Foolish Man, Eensy Weensy Spider, One Bottle of Pop, This Old Man, Roll Over, If You’re Happy and You Know It, Row Row Row Your Boat, Daddy’s Homecoming, Jingle Bells, and I Feel Like A Morning Star.

Ryder is potty trained except in the night. He aspires to be fully, saying every day, “Don’t go pee pee in your pants, get a surprise egg!” But though the motivation is there, the bladder control doesn’t seem to be.

The school had a rather adorable day where the children dressed up as animals, I didn’t get the memo, seemingly the only downside to be the only gringos in the school is the language barrier.



Ryder loves all animals, though he is reasonably intimidated by all the stray dogs here ( I am too. One drooling, snarling one followed me for a bit on the way home last week!) He picked out the lion hat himself.


Ryder likes to share his food. And he doesn’t take no for an answer.


If there’s one character quality that I admire most about him, it’s how brave he is. Examples:

-He didn’t cry when he got his yellow fever vaccine. He literally said, ‘It was just a pinch, Mom.”

-He loves to ride roller coasters with his Dad.

-He goes to a school where he doesn’t speak the language and comes out smiling and with friends.

Ryder is a little mini Jacob in a lot of ways. But Ryder and I are best buds too.



Friday, March 13, 2015

Three months til three

Ryder is three months away from turning three.

The older he gets, the more fun he gets. How is that even possible?

My favorite memories of this age are:

In the middle of the night he’ll thump out of his bed, without a word to me, flop down next to me and go to sleep on my pillow.

Then, when he wakes up, he and I will gaze dreamily into each others eyes as he says, “Touch yer hair?” and strokes it. Then we’ll start giggling together. It’s my favorite part of the day, I think.

I’ll tell him to go give his sleeping dad a kiss which he happily does.

Then he wants breakfast. 

First we go sit in front of the heater together.

He can pull himself onto the potty now and make a “triceratops poo poo.”

He says “Thanks Mom!” to every little thing and it melts my heart.

He loves to go to the firetruck museum, and to go to church because  “friends and toys.” He calls museums “meeums” and he begs to go to them. When he’s ready to go he says “lets get outta here!” Jacob also loves the way he so cheerfully and engagingly says, “Come on!”


He learned to pray. He likes to bless all the members of his family, and misses them.

He loves to “ming” (swing) and sing songs at the same time. Current favorite song: “Farmer in the Dell.”

He makes friends easily, mostly by running in circles and getting kids to chase him. He has a best friend here, and they are fun to watch-almost identical in age, Ryder follows him around and copies him exactly. He likes to tell his friend jokes who apparently retells them at home. Well, the jokes are as simple as falling off a swing on purpose, but…

Ryder is all boy. He already loves burping and potty jokes, and the missionaries just gave him a whoopee cushion for a present.

He repeatedly says, “Baby is Mickey Mouse, Mama is Minnie Mouse, and Dadu Goofy!” Consequently, when watching his dad play his favorite game, Sonic, on the ipad, he said, “Good job, Goofy!” When our friend Burton came to visit us for 24 hours, he apparently made quite the impression, because Burton made it in the list now as well, and is Goofy also.

He goes to playgroup once a week. Tokyo has some awesome play spaces, I gotta say. One thing I’ve noticed about him, is he is never the one crying. He can make others cry unfortunately at times, but no one makes him cry. He’s very tough. He laughs when he gets hurt.


Ryder says, “Dadu workie?” When I say yes, he says, “When Dadu gets home, that’ll be happy!” They play dinosaurs together making them talk to each other.


Lately Ryder has been babbling so nonsensically Jacob and I both came to the independent conclusion that he is mimicking Japanese.

We took Ryder to Sanrio Puroland, home of Hello Kitty. He’s now a fan. It’s sure easy to teach a kid what they like, isn’t it? So influenceable.


He likes swimming, but he likes hot tubs better. Takes after me in that respect.

We read Disney books before bed. He always needs a “bako” or to get tucked in, a glass of water, and a good night song which he sings along with. He’s easy to put to bed.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ryder is almost 2 and 1/2


I love getting to spend all day with him and I’m so grateful that our situation due to Jacob’s work gives me the opportunity to do so.

To me, Ryder is the funniest person.

Things he does to make me laugh:

He has developed an interest in scary clowns. He knows he is not allowed to watch scary clowns. So he will announce to me: “Scary clown all done. Happy clowns?”

I have forbidden all clowns from viewing, however, despite his hopeful questions. He likes to tease me by calling me a happy clown and/or a scary clown.

He also likes to tease me by: winding up his mouse toy and getting it to chase after me, jumping on the futon as I’m trying to fold it up and put it away, taking my museum coupon book and hiding it because I’m always looking at it so he knows it’s important, and running away as soon as I’m ready to walk out the door.

He calls all things soft “doggie.” Therefore, his coat is doggie and my ear muffs are doggie.

He calls all spiders “spiderman.”

He is obsessed with dinosaurs, balls, and vehicles.

He has recently developed a love of both coloring and books, which makes me happy. Before, his attention span was too short for either.

When we eat cereal in the morning together and I start to drink out of the bowl, he grabs it from me so he can finish it off.

He asks “Mama lost?” and “Mama map?” when I stop pushing the stroller as we’re walking. Often, he’s right.


What kind of mom am I?

I have this theory about people who are angry with their parents. You know, there’s a lot of them out there, a lot of generational angst going on. I think they are angry with their parents for not being better parents to them. This may or may not be justified, but either way, from what I’ve noticed, it’s hard to be a better parent than the person you actually are. So really a lot of adult children are just angry their parents aren’t better people, period, and really that’s a silly thing to be angry at someone for. If we all knew  exactly how to be better people, we’d just do it, wouldn’t we? But it’s not that simple. Parents are human too. Now that I’m a mom, I can tell you the same weaknesses I have as a person show up in my parenting. I feel like I am borderline careening into chaos sometimes, but despite that I “do it anyway” with Ryder whether that’s going to a museum or riding for hours on public transportation. I can be oblivious and in my own world—fortunately this hasn’t caused any major accidents to Ryder (yet) though I personally can be accident-prone sometimes. I am not super comfortable with disciplining—Jacob’s better at that.

Ryder is my accessory and not the main event. He eats what I eat, sleeps when I sleep, and devices when I device (me on my computer and he on his ipad). I wish I were more organized, look enviously at mothers who are polished and stain-free, but still hold out hope that one day I might achieve this too. I admire mothers who sew and craft and quilt and bake. One day, maybe I’ll develop those skills too. For now, I’m a mother who explores, learns, sings, goofs off, shares food, and plays with her son and enjoys almost every minute of it.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Ryder—27 months

Height: 88 cm (34.5 inches)

Weight: 14 kilos (30.5 pounds)

Percentile: Depends on which country you’re asking. He’s a little taller than average and a little heavier than taller than average. No surprise—he loves to eat.

We managed to obtain this information despite his greatest attempts at non-cooperation. He hates the doctor. I can’t say I blame him, since he usually gets shots every time he goes.

Current phrases we hear often:

“Belly hurts”. Usually means he needs to go poop.

“Wash yer hands”. He hates having dirty fingers, and loves playing in the water.

“Bako”. Means tuck me in (at night), or clean my hands.

“Eggs, spice, choclate?” His breakfast here in the Philippines (although he doesn’t eat the rice, he requests for it in the mornings.)

“Trampoline, balls!” 60 pesos gets 20 minutes of jumping on the trampoline full of balls.

“Dadu coming?”

“two, three, four!” Usually counting his cars.

“Clean up, mess!” He did not get his neat genes from me. Sometimes it confuses me how a toddler can have more aversion to dirty clothes and hands than me.

Sometimes he will sing a request to his favorite tunes, like “E-I-E-I-O” but along the lines of “Baby mall” it is too cute to refuse.

“Ouchie” said in the tiniest baby voice, which means he doesn’t really hurt, but he just wants kissies.

“Dinosaurs?” He has a dinosaur book and a dinosaur movie. He’s a little obsessed. I think it happened after we took him to a dinosaur theme park in Istanbul.

“Nother?” Often in reference to sweets and somersaults.

“Walk!” He likes to walk, but due to his dawdling, I always cajole him into the stroller.


The Colusseum is actually there in the very back.

He is no longer allowed to say no to everyone, but has to say hello. Surprisingly, he has caught on quickly. His yell is so loud, he inherited a singer’s lungs I think.

Jacob’s favorite thing Ryder does is look very confused and point at things that he knows: “Apple? Banana?”

He’s about 85% potty trained. Even with Delhi belly. I’m pleased.

He is an angel child on flights. Honestly, he really just loves airplanes. Again, very foreign to me. He also loves boats, trains, and transportation in general.IMG_0014

On the ferry in Istanbul

He still loves to Skype his grandparents.

His favorite things include: nandy, goats, dogs, cats, balls, vroom vrooms, slides, swings, and pushing the button on elevators. I think he has a lot in common with other two year old boys.

His favorite foods are: pizza, spaghetti, and eggs.

He and his dad are best buds. His mom is the one who puts him to bed, gets him ready in the mornings, and feeds him, and his dad is the one who does the fun stuff like playing basketball and riding tiku! Together we all make a pretty good team.IMG_0009

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ryder’s Two

Our little boy is two.

We celebrated first in Croatia at a lake and then with a birthday party in Macedonia that Aunt Danche and Uncle Luke orchestrated.

He’s still just a baby really.

He’s much easier for me at two than he was at 18 months.

He parrots everything we say.

He sleeps through the night, most of the time, even though he’s often in a different bedroom each night (hooray!)

He is semi-potty-trained (basically he’ll go if we take him.)

He loves to pat his belly and dance.

He’s an extravert but selective who he lets do things—hold hands or push him on the swing for example.

He’s a daddy’s boy.

He asks for the ming (swing) pargie (park) milchy (milk), nandy (candy) and Duke (Uncle Luke) and Dana (his Aunt) Vassya (his Macedonian cousin) on a regular basis.

He now calls his grandparents Baba and Papa. He made that up on his own, and what’s interesting about that is Macedonians call their grandma Baba.

He can count to ten in English, Spanish, French, German, and Macedonian.

He no longer resists going to bed.

He gets a lot of attention from his scootering (tiku as he calls it) skills. We have a little daredevil on our hands already. He likes to go down ramps on it.

His preferred toys are: choo choos, vroom vrooms, and balls. Oh, and a singing turtle. For some reason he has grown out of the ipad, for which I am both relieved and disappointed. Relieved because I think other toys are probably preferable, disappointed because it was easy!

This Is probably related to the fact that he doesn’t like to sit still. At all, Restaurants can be a rocky experience, sometimes resorting to chasing him around the table. He is faster than me.

It just doesn’t seem right that he can and does say no in three languages (no, nein, neh) and not yes.

Ryder turned two and visited his 21st country the same month.

We are still head-over-heels for this kid.

ryder daduluke mingtiku luke

birthday party 1party 2DSC06423

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ryder-20 months

smiling rydWhere has the time gone? I don’t mean Ryder’s time—I mean MINE? I have meant to write about him since he was 18 months old. Well, here we are, In Edinburgh.

I have had many people tell me their favorite age is 18 months. I can see why, and I can also see why not. It’s because it’s the age where they stop being your baby and they become independent. Their personalities start to shine.

It also means more public tantrums, more “no’s” and more disciplining!

For that I miss my sweet and calm little baby.

Ryder makes Jacob and I laugh, not just daily, but minute-to-minute. I am so glad I have a partner to share the little details of our son with. No one else is interested in the tone of voice he uses while reading, or the number of times he’s used the potty that morning. Jacob and I can discuss these kind of things endlessly.

Ryder still doesn’t speak much but makes his opinions very clear by pointing, using questioning tones, and by crying and yelling of course. He can say potty, and it’s usually the first word he says in the morning because he wants to go. He is not potty trained fully—oddly the biggest road block seems to be he can’t pull down his pants yet or pull them back up. But he knows when he needs to go and he asks. He is getting close. Makes me feel better about all those disposable diapers. The end is coming soon.

He also can say “water” when asking for a drink.

Instead of saying “yes” he laughs.

He understands many other phrases, the most important being “Don’t cry” “Lay your head down on your pillow” “close your eyes” (he manually closes them with his fingers when I say that) “Do you want to dance?” (he adores watching me dance to Xbox and then copying the moves at random times) “Let’s go” “Put on your shoes” “Get in your stroller.”

He can Skype with his grandparents and gives the computer kisses. It’s semi the sweetest and most pathetic thing ever. The time we spent in Utah, Missouri, Iowa, and Texas with family over Christmas break was beautiful.

He is the easiest eater ever. He likes everything and I mean everything. He has eaten in the last week: cold brussels sprouts, rotten carrot juice (shalgam, Jacob’s favorite drink), spicy sunflower seeds, undiluted lemonade, and I could go on. He loves to eat. I guess that comes from hanging out with me all day.

He is a bit physically aggressive still—likes to hit and pull hair—haven’t figured out how to tone that one down yet. He’s really such a boy. In general it is totally playful. He loves to wrestle. Here he is pulling our hair on Valentines Day.


He’s a great little buddy to take with to museums, in general he handles them pretty well. He can eat at restaurants like a champ—better than I could ask out of a hyperactive little goblin.

museum edinburgh

He can go really fast on rocking horses.

rocking horse nessie

But despite buying him a bunch of toys from the second hand shop, his favorite is the ipad. And he’s gotten quite adept at it.

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