Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rafael Right Now, 13 1/2 Months

Guess where I am right now, while I'm writing this blog post? In bed! Alone! I know, I am as surprised as you are. I can't remember the last time I sat in bed, covered in a warm blanket, in the middle of a blustery day, with my computer on my lap. Ramon took Rafael on a walk, so I have some 'me time.' It won't last long, but hopefully long enough for me to write this post.

Rafael right He has grown so much, and is evolving every day. Besides the joy of him learning words, or learning how to walk, the most significant thing for me is watching his personality unfold. I am getting to know him, and at the same time, I am also one of the people molding him into the person he will one day be. 

As much fun as this time is, with him making me laugh throughout the day, it is also the most challenging age so far. He is mobile, quick, and curious. He understands so much, but chooses to ignore 'NO' most of the time. My approach to authority is to keep a loud and strict 'no' for the things that are dangerous. I don't want to over-use the word, and make it into something he hears all the time, therefore making him more likely to ignore it. But of course a 'no' also comes out when he is throwing rice in fistfuls from the highchair after I just vacuumed, or when he is poking the dogs while they are trying to eat. The hardest part for me is when my 'no' causes him to cry and throw a fit. This usually only happens nearing the end of the day, when he is tired. But I never really know what to do in this situation. He won't let me hug him, and usually points at my chest, demanding I comfort him by nursing. This leads me to say 'no' again, but it's a somewhat bewildered 'no,' because I am torn between going the easy way and giving him what he wants, or showing him that breastfeeding isn't something he demands from me when he is angry. In other words, I don't want to be bullied into breastfeeding him every time he doesn't get his way with something else. To me, this feels like our first bout of 'power struggle.' I try to avoid this situation at all costs, because it's very uncomfortable to me. It breaks my heart when he is crying his eyes out, pointing at my chest, wanting to be comforted, knowing I could give him that comfort very easily. But it just feels wrong.

Besides those tantrums, and my personal struggle with finding my voice and stance as a mother, I must say that Rafael is the most loving and hilarious little person I have ever encountered. This guy really has a sense of humor! We crack each other up so much, and there is nothing like hearing and seeing him laugh really hard. 

Another thing that impresses me is his incredible eye for detail. He will make car noises, pointing at a soda bottle, and I'll think, 'What is he talking about?' Then I turn the bottle to see what he's looking at, and there's a small red sports car on the label. 

Today he was looking at a book about winter, and there was an illustration of birds picking at the snowy ground. He pointed at them and then threw his arms wide and to the back, like wings. I have never shown him this move; in Baby Signing we learned to show a bird by using the thumb and index finger, up and down, like a beak opening and closing. He came up with this sign on his own, by observing the birds flying on our walks, and I thought, 'His sign makes so much more sense!' 

His eyes are definitely brown now. He has eight lovely little teeth. His hair grows at an alarming rate, it's been cut three times already and he'll need to go to the hair salon again soon! Feeding him is a bit difficult at the moment, as he seems to be getting very picky, and I'm never quite sure what to cook for him. It's pretty frustrating to cook him a meal and have the majority of it land on the floor!

One of the funnest things we do lately is go to the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna. We bought year-cards, so we can go as often as we like. Rafael especially loves the fish in the indoor aquarium, the seals, the flamingos, and the red pandas. 

My little with him is such an adventure. I love him so incredibly much. I thought about his birth the other day, while running errands and pushing him in the stroller, and was so overwhelmed by my love for him, by the bond we share. I had to stop the stroller and nuzzle his nose and shower his tiny smiling face with kisses.



  1. Hello, enjoyed your update on your little one. One word my daughter used instead of "no" all the time with her little ones is "stop". It seemed to get their attention.


  2. Rafael looks very sweet and a fun child to be with, and his room and toys are wonderful. The zoo will be a great place for your family to visit for many years to come.

  3. you are always so honest and raw and that is part of the reason i love reading your words. thank you for sharing the 'reality' of motherhood: the balance of figuring it out with the joys that make your heart burst wide open. i think the best advice i've been getting going into motherhood is to show grace towards yourself and know that no matter what, your heart is trying to do the best that it can to help mold raf into the wonderful man God will have made him into. sounds like, even in the 'tough' are doing a fantastic job and should be proud! i'm cheering you on!!! :) on another note: he is is your eye for decor...I am in love with his peaceful room and all the colors/tones/placements you did. you're a woman of many talents dawn....know that there are so many of us celebrating you, encouraging you and "in your corner" as you wonder through the paths of mothering...and the beauty it reveals throughout all of it. :) Big hugs from a friend in WI. ><>

    1. Jaclyn, this note burst my heart wide open. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Xoxoxo

  4. Mothering/parenting comes with great challenges. It sounds as though you definitely have the right take on it, Dawn. I encourage you to continue as you are doing, though it is very difficult to have your precious little one collapsing in tears.:( If he is able to be distracted at times rather than hear the word, "No," that is a great accomplishment!

  5. He is such a precious little boy! Thank you for the update, he's sounds very smart and quite sweet.

    My Mom always said with little kids, it is redirect, redirect, and more redirecting! He might be asking to nurse simply to know that you aren't too mad at him. See, I'm mush when it comes to disciplining! LOL:) I'd be crying with him!! I'm not saying you should give in, I'm just agreeing that it is hard. But it sounds like you are doing a great job. I loved your last paragraph, so adorable.

    Sometimes when my niece got herself overexcited in a tantrum, we would give her a drink of water, which helped break the cycle, calm her down, and let her move on to the next thing. It sounds crazy, but it worked. Raffi might be too young right now. We would say, almost as a statement and question, "Do you need a drink of water?" and she would say, "Yes!" with tears streaming down her face. Then she'd drink, calm down, and most of the time, the tantrum was over. They get themselves so overexcited and simply don't know how to stop.

    Take care,

  6. how beautifully and sincerely you speak your heart out, dawn. each cord touches me. i'm sure raffi will grow up to thank the blessing that you are.

  7. Dawn, this is an amazing post as ever from you and what you are saying rings so true with me and my 'just turned one' year old. I hear myself saying that word far too often and when I so desperately didn't want to. I love reading your words and so often think of Raffi as the next stage to expect with my little man Sam.
    Could I also please be cheeky and ask where you got the little table and chair set from as I am looking for something like that for Christmas. And also that fabulous wheelie elephant?

    1. Hi Cassie! Thanks for your sweet message.
      The elephant on wheels is handmade, purchased from this awesome etsy shop:
      The table and chairs were purchased through Amazon. This is the exact set, though I don't believe it's available in the States:öbel-Sitzgruppe-Stühle-Kolonial/dp/B005FWXRFS/ref=sr_1_16?s=toys&ie=UTF8&qid=1352192619&sr=1-16
      But you can just search 'childrens furniture set' on Amazon and I'm sure you will find something similar.
      Good luck!
      xo Dawn

  8. Thank you Dawn,
    I am in the UK so hopefully I stand a good chance of getting a similar set, it is so nice. Also always lovely to find a new fabulous etsy shop, thank you.
    Hope you are having a good week, we braved a trip out today and my poor little man and me were frozen even with quilted coats, sheepskin boats and snuggly jumpers! Sure it is even cooler for you than it is here in Suffolk. Wishing you a good rest of the week.
    Cassie xx

  9. Great update! Rafael is such a happy and adorable little boy!

  10. Good for you mommy that you were able to capture just a moment of two snuggled under the wonderful. Always take time for yourself as your body needs YOU as much as YOU need your body and your family needs all of you. He is precious; beyond words precious; I wish I could see him in person, but somehow, through your camera lens, you capture beautiful details...

    Enjoy it all!



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