Saying Goodbye to the Ardmore

Our little family said goodbye to its first home this week – the first home, at least, with the little guy and our pup, Jessica Jones. A tiny condo on Ardmore Avenue in Chicago, in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood. We’ll miss the neighborhood dearly. We’ll always have fond memories of our first home together, but we are so happy to be moving on.

In truth, Betsy and I didn’t buy smart. The place was too small from the beginning. We would have soon outgrown it even if it was just us. Add a growing baby to the mix, and it was never a good fit: No formal dining room, a small living room, and two small bedrooms. Our son’s room didn’t even have a formal closet, just an IKEA wardrobe.

We were taken by the eagerness to buy, and the updated finishes, especially in the kitchen. We had come from an apartment in a two-flat that desperately needed updating. Our sense of what was important and what we needed was a bit off.

Betsy was at the condo tonight putting on some finishing cleaning touches before closing tomorrow. She cried a little cry when she left.

I was there the other day moving some stuff out, and when I left, I barely looked back. I’m sure it will hit me soon enough, but it just hasn’t quite yet. But that tiny condo is where we brought our puppy and baby home to. It’s where we sat devastated the night we were supposed to bring Jessica home from the animal shelter, only to learn she had been taken to the vet for overnight observation because she had eaten something, and may need surgery. (She eventually passed the object without surgery, a small metal spring.) It’s where we watched the Cubs win the World Series. It’s where we sat in shock and watched the news as Trump was elected. It was where Betsy’s water broke, and we watched The Crown for a few hours while waiting to go to the hospital to deliver our child. It’s where he had so many of his firsts – his first rolling over, his first steps, his first poop on the potty.

It will eventually hit me. It just hasn’t yet.

For now, I’m sitting in our new home, a rental a couple of neighborhoods southwest, with literally twice as much square footage as the old place. We’re still buried in boxes and surrounded by Home Depot logos everywhere, but this place, with our furniture and things, and new (well, new to us) dining room table, and our son’s toys already strewn about – this place feels like home.

We live on Monticello Avenue now. We’ve already dubbed this place The Monty.

We’re ready for the next adventure, whatever life may bring at The Monty.

BedTimes

We moved our son to his first “big boy” bed a few months ago. It was a challenge, no doubt.

The first couple of weeks was him constantly climbing out of it the moment we left the room during his bedtime. Some nights, we put him back to bed repeatedly for close to an hour or more.

Those days are past, but he still frequently needs company as he falls asleep, and also if we he wakes up in the middle of the night. From the get-go, we knew we needed to have a semi-comfortable way of sleeping with him in the room. We have a small mattress set up, from his old crib, padded with a fur blanket, and a couple of pillows. Many nights, his mom or me might spend anywhere from two to four hours lying on the floor next to him instead of his bed.

I don’t mind. The set up is actually fairly comfortable, and there’s a lot to be said for the bonding time it allows us. I’m especially appreciative since my work schedule often has me away on the weekends, and many of his bedtimes.

Some nights, we have to sleep in the chair next to his bed for a bit. I’ve gotten some good snoozing in sitting in that chair.

Some shots from the monitor from last night, trying to get him down at bedtime. For whatever reason, he was particularly wired last night:

He’s swinging around his big, plush shark “Do Do”, because all sharks he sees are named “Do Do”. Yes, because of the song.
Finally, he pointed to the chair, said “Chair”, and that was our cue to move there so he could wind down. That’s me getting a solid 20 minute nap in as he finally dozed off.

And then in the middle of the night, I spent a couple of hours with him, both of us lying on the mattress next to his bed.

These are the moments that make parenting worth it.