Monday, January 28, 2013

After his first trip abroad, things slowly back to normal and a second tooth!

We took the baby and Carolina to visit the family in Mexico. It was his first airplane rides and first trip out of the country. He did pretty well. I had pretty high expectations as Carolina was a surprisingly good traveler and I had very low expectations with her. Again, my Carolina was a great traveler.

She slowly picked up some Spanish and got used to visiting a lot of people and missing her naps, and staying up late. In fact, she took only two naps in the car when we were going or coming home from visiting someone and the rest of the week she was up. And up late! She was a good girl most of the time and rarely gave us a truly hard time. I think playing with her cousins made it more fun. Once Angela went home midweek she was less interested in being there, but there was always Jose to play with and his little sister.

The baby was afraid of everyone the first day, of course. And the second day he slowly warmed up to family. He was having a week where he preferred men to women. Carolina was like that around this age: having a preference for men over women and then vice versa. Always, the babies prefer other babies. This was great as Elena is just a year old and also using a walker, so the babies had dueling "andaderas" (walkers).

Carolina was very excited to be there and be able to take off her socks and shoes and run around in the grass. I have to say, she got very dirty most days and was very happy about it. She was very loving with her Abuelos and was happy to see Tita and Bis. That was nice as it's the first time she was clearly happy to be there and the family was glad to have her, as always.

The baby, once he warmed up, was very charming indeed. We took them everywhere and only had 3 days where we stayed at my in-laws (aka "home"). In fact, we shared a room, all four of us. It wasn't too bad. It did get crazy half way through since the baby's second tooth came through. So, now he has two teeth!

And that night when it broke through was pretty much like the night his first tooth broke: he got up constantly and sometimes stayed up for up to an hour. Gratefully, Carolina was very tolerant and either didn't wake up or was able to go back to sleep. She would be more concerned with "what happen with the baby?" than "why's he waking me up?" She is more kind than I was!

Yesterday, our first full day back, was a bit of a trial. I forgot until the afternoon that the day after a big trip like that with a baby, you basically have to just throw away the next few days in terms of sleep patterns and just do whatever the baby needs. It's like when a baby gets sick: all bets are off and schedules are whatever the baby says. End of story.

He didn't sleep well Saturday night, and Sunday was skittish and didn't want to be put down. It was when we were plotting to get him into Carolina's room ASAP and thinking this was the beginning of a nightmare anti-sleep situation (we must let him cry it out for an hour!) that I realized the baby just needed more time to adjust. He didn't want me to put him down? He was afraid? He only wanted to sleep 30 minutes at a time and whine the rest of the time he was awake since he was exhausted? Ok! Let's just roll...

Last night was a bit better with him only waking up 4 times but always going back to sleep, and today's naps were back to a regular schedule.

I have to decide what to do next: Re-start the bottle with formula (to get him weened off me), Ween him off of the reflux meds, Start to move him into Carolina's room.

I think I'll do bottle in the morning tomorrow or Wednesday and start with weening him by the weekend. I just don't want to do too many changes in case something goes "wrong", then I won't know what the thing is that set off the "wrong".  Since we don't have any more big trips planned, I can start to plan for him to go into Carolina's room in a month or so.

After we all shared a room, Carolina was very interested in having her brother be in her room at home.

Finally, I should mention that the baby has started to "cruise". He figured out how to pull himself up in the crib while at my in-laws and sit back down (sort of). I say, "sort of" since he mostly just loses his grip and falls down. Mostly startling himself but not hurting himself. So when we got home, he's very adept at pulling himself up and has started to do that everywhere. He even tries to "walk" by holding on to chairs or a table or the couch. He's less interested in crawling than figuring out how to walk. He's clearly trying to keep up with his big sister.

His quick crawling style is still more military commando-behind-enemy-lines-on-the-belly, but even that changed while we were away. He's doing more and more crawling with his belly off the floor.

I had previously thought that crawling was important but not essential. I read an article about a book that talks about the correlation between the importance of the crawling stage and learning ability/styles in later development (early childhood), in particular the lack of crawling and ADD/ADHD. So, now I know that it's REALLY important for the brain to go through that phase. I'm not worried that Ismael will miss the crawling phase, but now I understand it's importance as more than just being a milestone between sitting up and walking.

This is the book if anyone is interested:

And this is the part that I'm talking about from
The Main Problem: There are many children and adults, at least 10% of the total population, who cannot seem to sit still comfortably for more than a few minutes. They are often classified as ADD or ADHD. The mechanical aspect of writing, just getting the words down on paper, becomes an incredibly difficult task. Many of these difficulties can be traced to an immature Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex.

The Cause: Although the Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR) occurs naturally in the normal development of children, if this reflex stays at an immature level, it can greatly interfere with specific and general coordination tasks. The STNR will stay at an immature level if the child does not crawl enough or properly in infancy. Individuals with an immature STNR will be extremely uncomfortable in what is generally considered the “proper” sitting position: sitting up straight and sitting still.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Second tooth while traveling

The baby's first tooth is still making its way up and his second tooth broke through today.

It's been tricky to see when it happened as he salivates a lot and moves his lips and mouth in such a way that you can't keep it open enough to see. But while at Manuel & Paz's new house, I got a quick look and saw the second tooth broke through.

It's been difficult for him to initially fall asleep the past three nights. Now we know, at least in part if not all, why.

All four of us sharing a room hasn't been as terrible or difficult as I had imagined. The baby wakes up 2-3 times a night and gets up anywhere from 5-6.30am. Same as at home. Carolina has been sleeping through his bits of crying and wakes up about 6.30-7am, which is later than at home, since she's missing naps and going to bed later. Playing with her cousin has been a surprising highlight. They're getting along famously and both behaving better than we expected.

The baby is chatting more and with more sounds. I think he's trying to speak Spanish, too. I remember Carolina doing this when we'd visit. She'd make more and different noises. The baby has started to make a sound that sounds a lot like "Carolina". It's more like "Cah-lena" in baby -- so not defined sounds. But that's what it sounds like. Man, he adores his sister. I think she wants to eat him up sometimes with how strongly she hugs him. It's lovely they get along.

We're now planning on getting him on a regular bottle schedule when we return and will put him in Carolina's room shortly. Within 2-3 months he should be totally on a bottle with formula and in Carolina's room. So says the PM in my head. Let's see what reality says...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quote of the day

"I love Mexico! I take off my shoes and socks and run in the grass!" (While at Bisabuela's house.)

Traveling with babies: Airplanes & Mayhem in Poopville

Traveling via airplane with a baby,  especially one under a year who doesn't have a regular diaper-change schedule? Here's a tip from me: 1 diaper for every hour of daytime travel. (Bring an extra 2 for any overnight flights.) Never leave for a flight without a 4 diaper minimum and a new pack of travel wipes.

It may seem like a lot but if you ever have a trip like the one we had yesterday, you'll be glad you brought them all. 

I hadn't changed his diaper for about 4 hours since leaving Newark airport and we just landed in Houston for our 2 hour layover. It was still fairly dry but who wants to sit in a kinda-pee pee diaper? So that's 2 diapers used. 

Next flight I used 3 diapers. There was a poop marathon BUT I made a rookie mommy mistake: I tried to change his diaper BEFORE waiting 5 minutes after I thought he was done. (It smelled! The Fasten Seat belt light was on. I felt lucky.) Wrong!

I even just went to the bathroom with the changing pad, one diaper, all the wipes and a little plastic bag. Not even the entire diaper bag. (Mostly it works out you don't need the entire bag with you every time. But if you don't bring it and have to change poop or peed on clothes...)

In the midst of changing him on one of those mini commuter planes where the changing table is so small it's only good for a newborn, I got the diaper on and "Blurfffppp" more came out. He was so terrified of the plane's motor noise I cringed at having to walk back to get another diaper just to do it again. But we went. 

All changed. Done, right? Nope!

He fell asleep and 5 minutes before landing--more poop! So get through immigration as quickly as we can, change again. (That was diaper #6.) And we made it through the hour car ride without incident. I used nearly ALL the wipes from a travel pack of about 70. Really. 

The two flights plus 2 hour layover was about 7 hours of travel. Then 2 hours of car rides all in all. I should have brought 7 diapers in our carry-on but only brought 6. Good thing. 

There have been flights where we brought 5-6 and only used 2-3. Still, more is better. Too much is unwieldy. 

You never know when the flight will be delayed or cancelled, or when you may need to change a diaper on your seat and not in a bathroom because you can't leave your seat!

Have children, will travel!

PS They were both very good. Must be why we keep doing it. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

First tooth!

Last night was a doozy. He was up, maybe 20 times, from when he went to bed at about 6.30pm until he got up this morning at 6.45am. Now, if you've been around us recently you know that sleeping until 6.30am is unheard of these days. He's been up at 5am for nearly 3 weeks. It's been rough. Last night he kept waking up crying out, like he was scared or in pain. He didn't want to nurse much and I thought at one point to try Orajel but I was honestly so completely exhausted that I didn't act on it.

We were running a bit late and I wanted to get back to the apartment early so he could take a nap, so I didn't even think to check his mouth. After bringing everyone to school and the bus, I put him down for a nap. It was another short one, and I figured after that tough night he'd have slept more. So I checked his mouth -- a little tooth had started to come through!

It's the bottom, front on his right side. The bottom, front on his left side is right there, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it broke through tomorrow or any day in the next few weeks.

If I remember correctly, this was around the time that Carolina got her first tooth, too. I'll have to check back to see when the second through fifth teeth came as I recall always being relieved a tooth broke through and then going through another cycle for the next one. And she didn't wake up this much, or I don't remember if she did. So if this is his M.O. then next time this happens, he's getting Tylenol and Orajel before midnight because mommy was so tired she didn't know where she was a few times.

Once I can get a photo of the little tooth, I'll post it.

In other news, Carolina has been back at school for three days and is MUCH happier than being at home all the time. She's even gone back to being more polite and whining and protesting less. I am certainly no Montessori teacher and there aren't any kids for her to play with in our apartment like at school.

She came home today with her name traced a few times, and it's really good. Over the holidays she started to write on her own, and has been naming the people and things she draws by just writing whatever letters she thinks of and then asks what the name is that she gave to it. It's pretty funny sometimes. Her tracing of letters during our holiday card bonanza really improved, and continues to at school. I'm fairly certain that they enforce her holding her pencil more correctly than I was.

Having my mom as a teacher always made me respect teachers, and just seeing what Carolina's teachers do with her, reinforces what I already knew -- good teachers are amazing. They're full of patience, clever ideas for different ages, and are so good as sussing out what a particular child will like and needs. Often doing this better than a parent...

Yesterday, she asked if we could go ice skating since she was reading a story in a magazine that had an illustration of a girl ice skating, so after I finish this post I'll be looking into where we can do that locally. I knew where they were in the city but I forget where in this part of NJ. Of course, she wants to use purple skates, but I think white rental skates will have to do.

Finally, her new favorite story (that we read at least twice daily) is: The Sleepy Little Alphabet. My mom gave her this book and two others for Christmas. This one is clearly the favorite as the illustrations have lots of little, fun details that she enjoys looking at and we talk about. She will even sit with it alone for 15-30 minutes while I put the baby down for a nap or to bed at night. The next new favorite is Oh, No!, then it's The Snowman, which I bought for her and didn't realize that they flew to Brighton in the story. I nearly cried when we turned the page and I saw the Brighton Pavilion (I miss it!). Then it's The Lonely Book. (These are all links to, and I don't get any money if you click on them.)

See? Having a mom who was a teacher means always getting age-appropriate books as gifts for your kids, and ones they LOVE.

Speaking of books, once I finish my 8" high pile of Financial Times weekend inserts, especially the How To Spend It magazines, then I can FINALLY start reading Murakami's 1Q84.