Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sleep changes, more play, and getting bigger

Well, it seems like the baby has decided that he's moving towards just waking up 3 times a night (not always but it's starting to change) and changing 5 naps into 3 or 4. He is awake for longer periods and needs to be more active. He's actually a lot of fun and Carolina and he are starting to play together. I enjoy not having to carry him all the time.

The new sleep times are a little tricky as they are in between when I have to bring or pick-up Carolina from school, or after her nap. So if I'm not clever enough to get Carolina to go take her nap when her brother takes his 2nd or 3rd nap of the day (depending on what time it is), then I have one or both of them awake ALL DAY. And that is a long, tiring day for mommy.

Since he can sit up really well (although he still needs pillows around him for the occasional toppling over) Carolina likes to hug him and laugh with him and give him things to hold (as well as quickly take them away or put them just out of arm's reach).

And as he can play by himself for a while, I've started to ignore him. Now, I'm not leaving the room for an hour and not checking on him. I'm in the room, back turned to him and checking on him every few minutes. And whenever I leave, he's either in his jungle play thing or in his walker. Limited damage can be done in a few minutes while he's a bit contained and entertained. (It's that Evenflo Exersaucer Jungle toy. It's probably the best $100 we spent since we get to use it for both kids and they both seem to enjoy it equally, although differently. It's this one if you want to know: We've recommended it to anyone with a new baby who asks.)

I remember doing this with Carolina when she was about this age. She would be in her jungle and I'd be cleaning up or reading something or writing an email or having a snack or just anything else. By the time she was 9 months old I remember realizing that she was able to play by herself for a good period of time, often looking at books for 10 minutes or so. I truly think that has more to do with her ability to play by herself and focus on her own thing than what I did but I am sure ignoring her for periods of time helped encourage her to play alone. So, as I have things to do while Carolina is at school, I let the baby play by himself. There are mornings where I feel a bit guilty for not paying total attention to him, and then he gets annoyed that I'm interfering. I mean, yes, he smiles and loves that I'm there but he wants to handle things into his mouth and touch things on his own. So, I let him.

Besides, once he starts crawling, and man, that's going to be soon, I won't be able to ignore him for long. He's a grabber. I remember the boys in Carolina's play group being more grabby and strong than she and the other girls. And it's true! He can grab things from shelves and handle them much more than she did. I'm going to have play referee between him and our bookshelves.

This week we started making Christmas decorations. We took down the turkey paper plates we put up on the front door and put up Christmas-theme paper plates. Trees, snowmen, wreaths, and bows. Plus lots of confetti of different colors. As always, black needs to play a part in the color scheme. Because, really, what is a holiday without black confetti?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First word, used a lot... and pretty regular sleeping

So the baby's first word was "Hey!" And combine that with screaming (to get our attention, well, usually his sister's attention) it's like living with someone who is very "Jersey". Every time he says "hey!" I think of the Beastie Boys' song "Hey, Ladies". Not really appropriate but what comes to mind.

When Carolina was little and about this age, I used to have "Brass Monkey" (Beastie Boys) running through my head. And when I was pregnant with each of them, I was humming Beatles songs a lot. So I guess musically, it's my MO to associate with certain artists when they get to certain stages.

He's been eating a lot. He seems to like, food. Prunes, Apples, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Carrots, Green Beans, Rice, Oatmeal. Everything I give him, he's like "Hooray! It's food." He eats it pretty quickly and then I give him milk if he's still hungry. If he's SUPER hungry, I might give him a bit more food, but he needs the stuff in the milk more than the food at this point.

Unfortunately, it's still "uhg, this again" whenever he sees the bottle. So we can get him to take an ounce, maybe two, in the mornings. Only freshly-expressed milk. Otherwise, he's not interested in the bottle and I've been too busy to bother to force it more often. He doesn't hate it, so it's not a battle anymore, but it's impossible to get him to drink a bottle's worth or a regular milk feeding worth in a bottle. We tried to get him to take 2 ounces and it was a very long hour with several small battles.

At this rate, getting him on formula is going to take forever. Or I'll be feeding him until he's about a year, and then go straight to cow's milk. Unless he's got a lactose problem like his sister and I, and his dad, and then he will have to take lactose-free milk. So, bypassing bottles and formula completely.

I don't think this is actually how it's going to go down, but it's exhausting trying to get him to take a bottle and this means that we don't go out without him. Ever.

It's a good thing he's starting to 'talk'. At least it makes for good conversations at home... His sister is going to be a big help when it comes to boosting his vocabulary. :)

I can even say he has a regular naps and a mostly regular nighttime sleep schedule. It's like this:
Get up about 6am
About an hour to 90 minutes later, nap for an hour

Get up, have some food, play...
Second nap about 9.30-10am.

Sleep for about an hour
Get Carolina from school, have lunch,play
Third nap about 12.30-1pm for 1-2 hours
Get up, have some food, play...
Fourth nap at somewhere between 3.30-5pm (depending on what happened that day) for about 30-45 minutes
Get up, dinner, play, bath
Sleep about 6.30-7pm

Get up sometime between 11pm-2am
(Sometimes get up again during this time period)
Get up at 4am
Get up at 5am
Get up for the day at 6am

Mostly it's to eat and fall asleep immediately, sometimes just needs a pacifier. When we're lucky, it's only twice a night, but mostly it's 3-4 times. We're still debating how and when to get the baby into Carolina's room.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sitting up on his own

The baby has been sitting up by himself more and more.

It really started over the weekend where he would hold himself up for a minute or more if put him on his butt. He can do it now for several minutes with limited or no balancing help. And when we do help him, we're very gingerly holding his hand or just putting a hand on his leg to give him more reassurance than actual support. It's impressive and fun!

Bath time has turned into more of a play time between the kids since he's upright the entire time. He plays with a ducky and Carolina plays with her paintbrush and cup. Basically using the water as her paint.

The baby has been getting better at putting himself to sleep at night. Tonight in fact, as I was holding him after I fed him, he was nodding off but wasn't falling asleep. I got the sense he was waiting for me to leave, so I walked over to the crib and put him down while he was awake. He got settled into his corner, his favorite spot, and then took a deep breath. I haven't heard a peep since.

Now, he's not sleeping through the night or doing anything amazing, but these small steps are progress in the right direction. Of which, I'm proud and grateful, and mostly relieved.

At the moment, Carolina is in her "ja-mamas" and "doing drawings" with her papa on the couch. It'll be bedtime for her in a minute and then dinner for us. I'm glad. We made brownies this afternoon and I WANT SOME!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

6 month check up

I took the baby to his 6 month check up at the new pediatrician's office. He's 30% for weight (16lb 10oz) and height (26"), and the doctor suggests I increase the amount of solid food he's getting to 2-3 times a day, instead of once.

I'm very slow going when it comes to giving my babies solid foods. I don't give a lot and I am very methodical about introducing new foods. It's probably because so many foods have ended up bothering me that I want to be careful with them. But I do agree that I should increase the number of times he's getting solids and he's hungry very often, I can feed him every hour and it's not just a snack most of the time.

We're also talking about moving him into Carolina's room. In our minds it's always been "their room" but Carolina knows it only as "her room". She may love having him there or resent it. Either way, I agree with the doctor that if we're going to move him, this is a good time. In a few months it'll get more complicated as the baby will have more to say about it. If we had 2 extra bedrooms, instead of just 1, he'd have been in his own room for 2 months now.

In other news, the baby has been sitting up on his own for up to a minute. The doctor seems to think in a few weeks he'll be sitting up on his own. That makes sense from what I know as he'll be about 7 months then and that's when it usually starts to happen.

The poor kid got 5 immunizations and his first of two flu shots. Let the criticism begin! He only cried for a few minutes (nothing like his sister). And was just glad that I was holding him after I got him dressed. I could tell the pain came in waves since he'd be okay and then suddenly whimper. I feel badly but I'd feel more badly if he got really sick with any of these diseases he's being vaccinated against. I do think this 6 month check up vaccination time is a doozy and could be spaced out, and I understand why some parents do space them out, but I still believe get it over with and be done. Getting pricked with a needle is a really awful thing for a baby, so why do it over 3 months instead of just all in one day? Apparently the healthy immune system can handle it. I gave him some Tylenol anyway just because by the time we got home he was very hot and exhausted. Whatever, I like to alleviate pain when possible.

The doctor also looked at his gums and saw the two nubs that have been sitting there since he was 2 months old. I checked the blog and remembered that Carolina didn't get her first tooth to come out until January, when she was about 9 months old. So if he follows suit, then it'll be in 2 months. If he takes longer, then that's when it'll happen.

Big stuff is about to go down with the room changes. I'll keep this space apprised of the progress. Basically, though, we'll tell Carolina the day we're going to start moving furniture and let her help re-design the space with us. If we tell her in advance, she will likely mull it over and obsess and decide she doesn't want it and then have days of protests. This way, she can have a total meltdown and deal or not deal but it'll be done.

Yes, I prefer the much-pain-at-once approach versus little-pain-over-long-time.

I'm still pretty sleep deprived so my tolerance is low :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eating solids

We have recently started the baby on rice cereal and added prunes. He was having trouble with his bowels and so I added prunes regularly to keep it all moving. I gave him apple sauce for the first time today and he seems to like it more than the prunes (not much of a surprise)!

He's very proud of himself that he's eating in the high chair. He beams with happiness when I feed him there. He also gets really frustrated and so doesn't eat a heck of a lot and wants me to feed him after about 5-10 minutes. I have made his first meal after we bring his sister to school the one where he gets to sit in the high chair. I find it easier to do that with him while she's not at home. It took me a few days but now I remember that I need to have a moist paper towel at the ready as the food goes EVERYWHERE on his face!

We've also been more diligent about the bottle as the first meal of the morning. He resisted like it was, I can't even think of what to compare it to, but with the formula it was just no-no-no. I thought I could just steamroll him into the formula without adding it to breast milk. Yeaaaaaaaah. No. It was about 2 hours of him crying and screaming and if he did put the bottle into his mouth, it was only to gnaw on the nipple and allow all the liquid to fall out of his mouth. In fact, he was so worn out from crying that he fell asleep without eating. I realized that no matter how willful I could be, it was not worth the aggravation and he wasn't going to budge until he was actually starving.

So, roll it back to something more reasonable. I pump 1 oz every morning and we give him that. Then when he's done, I feed him. As this isn't as simple as it sounds, and takes longer than you'd imagine an otherwise hungry little boy to eat, we'll keep doing this until he stops objecting at all and then I'll increase the amount as well as then slowly introduce the formula into the mix.

I remember being more strident and making more progress with Carolina by this point, but I think my will is bent by having two kids to contest with. So they win. Always.

Thanksgiving we'll give him sweet potatoes since we'll be having some, too!

A play date, imagined

Carolina has been asking to have these particular kids from school come over for a play date. I've had a hard time getting in touch with any of their parents so far, and while I've been trying she's moved on to talking about having a play date with all of them on a regular basis. Several times a day. In fact, there is one girl in particular she likes a lot and pretends she is even at the apartment sometimes.

Last week while we were driving back from school, she mentioned that she was going to have those kids over and named them individually and then she added 'Abuelo, too.' I asked why Abuelo was coming over for a play date with the kids, she just told me "otherwise [aka because] he's invited." Fair enough. In fact, the next day it was not only Abuelo who was invited, but also Abuela, Gaby, Angela and Papa.

When I retold this story to my in-laws over the weekend during our weekly video call with them, I did so in Spanish. Carolina heard me get to the end of my story where I added that the baby and I weren't invited. She piped up and said (in English), "You and da baby can come too, Mommy!" She will not speak in Spanish but she understands EVERYTHING. She's gotten so good that sometimes I'll admit that her father has said something in Spanish that I don't understand, and she'll just tell me what it is in English.

I'm really proud of her, I just wish she'd speak more. So I'm going to speak more with her dad so she can hear how a back and forth conversation in Spanish sounds, just in case it's the fact of her only hearing it from her father and no one is having natural conversations in Spanish on a regular basis around her.

I hope we get this real play date together soon, I'm beginning to worry she will only have friends in school but no one will want to come over.