Friends, Neighbors, Allergies, and Cheese

Yesterday started with beautiful weather; it ended with freezing rain! A huge thunderstorm moved through right as we arrived at our play date, which was thankfully moved to our new friends’ house instead of the park. We were grateful for our friends’ hospitality, and the kids had a lot of fun playing with their bunny. 🙂

Today I get to play hostess as I will have three of our neighbor’s kiddos over this afternoon. I plan to make cookies and then let the kids run wild. The house is clean, and since the kids are four and up, I’ll most likely be able to make some dinner while they’re here since they’ll need a bit less constant supervision. Before they come over, we will have some rest time and I hope to read a bit of Charlotte Mason’s Home Education.

Monkey Man slept in until almost 9:00 this morning. That is the first time any one of my kids has ever slept past 8:30. I was worried about him! He seems to be all right, except for his seasonal allergies, which are really dragging him down right now. We have been giving him some raw honey and a couple of my friends have mentioned some essential oils to use. We’ll try that today!

I think I’ve discovered why Sugar Plum has issues with dairy. I think it’s related to Jonathan’s migraines. Sugar Plum has always had a rough time of it when I’ve tried to introduce dairy into my diet. I had some cheese last night, and today she was just crying and crying while she held onto her little head. She’s done that in the past when I’ve tried cheese (we live in Wisconsin, after all). We’ve been experimenting with keeping Jonathan off dairy for a few weeks, and then trying cheese. Each time we’ve tried it, he’s had a migraine the next day. It’s becoming quite obvious that while dairy may not be the only trigger for his migraines, it certainly plays a part. And I’m thinking it’s the same for Sugar Plum. She gets little baby headaches when I have dairy. Poor thing! So… no dairy for us. Good thing I’m weaning her soon. I’m ready to eat pizza again.

Gelato- 15 Months

We went to Gelato’s 15 month appointment this morning.

He has stayed small: he weighs 22 lbs 2 oz, which puts him in the 25th percentile for weight; he is 30.5 inches tall, which puts him in the 25th percentile for height; and his head circumference is in the 10th percentile.

I find it interesting that he has not gained weight in the past two months. We’ve been a couple times for an ear infection and then another suspected ear infection, and his weight has hovered right around 22 pounds. I know that he eats a lot, but he’s also a very active little guy. He burns it off quickly!

According to the (very accurate, I’m sure) development assessment that I complete each well check, he’s on par with a typical 21-month-old as far as cognitive, language, and physical skills are concerned. I found it funny that there was a question related to how many words he can say outside of family members’ names; if he could say more than 3, I was to circle Yes. This would have been indicative of a typical 20-month-old’s language ability. Knowing I was to fill out one of these questionnaires today, I laid in bed this morning counting the words I can think of off-hand that Gelato already uses on his own, and I got over 100 before I stopped counting. He even uses 2-3 word phrases frequently, like “What’s that?” or “Get it!” or “Wear it!” or “Up there!”

I love that Gelato still has a passion for accessorizing. He wears Hula Girl’s necklaces, headbands, bracelets, belts, and purses all around the house. He puts on my shoes, Jonathan’s slippers, and Hula Girl’s boots all the time. He tries to put on his own shoes but since they’re shoes that actually fit him, it’s too hard for him to wrangle them onto his feet.

Gelato loves to talk on the phone. He will carry around the toy phones (he no longer uses the dollhouse sink/mirror as a phone, much to my chagrin!) and talk all day long. He says, “Heddo, doing? Dood!” (Hello, what are you doing? Good!) Then he tells the person on the other end what he’s doing- sliding, climbing on the chairs, eating play fruit, reading a book, throwing a ball, etc. It’s pretty funny.

He still loves to climb. Lately this has taken him on top of the table in the playroom and on the dining room chairs. I don’t like him up on the dining room chairs since the floor in there is tile, so now I have a strict push-in-your-chairs rule at the end of every meal. He also climbs outside, and has gotten really good at climbing up and down the ladders on the playset. He doesn’t let go mid-ladder anymore, which saves me a bit of my sanity.

He has also discovered the joy of sliding. Since the slide from the playset is pretty steep and a bumpy slide, I make sure to be right there slowing his descent. He really enjoys the slide in the playroom and will slide down it over and over all day long.

He is not afraid of anything, which scares me to death. Moms of boys, I totally get you now. He does things that make my heart stop. Literally, I feel it stop momentarily when he does some of the things he does. WHY are boys so daring?!

Gelato certainly has his own opinions about… everything. I am thinking we might be investing in Dr. Dobson’s The New Strong Willed Child somewhere here in our future. I’m not trying to imply he’s a naughty boy; he’s just very determined. This is a great characteristic when he’s trying to learn how to take off his shoes. But when he’s trying to run after the neighbor’s dog and it’s time for us to go inside for dinner, it can be quite ear-splitting. 🙂

Gelato has some loveys that sleep in his crib with him now. He has his blanket with an owl on it, a stuffed owl, and a bunny that’s larger than he is. The bunny was a gift from the Easter bunny, who brought Hula Girl her giant sheep that she slept with for months as well. He will ask for his “Nanket” while I sing to him, then when I lay him down, he says, “Owl? Bunny?” Then he squeezes his little arms around his blanket over his chest and laughs.

Oh, he laughs, and the boy’s laugh is absolutely the best sound in the world. He laughs all day long. He finds delight in what he does and in what his family members do. Hula Girl will be sitting in her chair kicking her feet and he will notice and burst out in a huge belly laugh. Or Jonathan will peek around the corner and he’ll grin and giggle until Daddy pops out, then the chortle ensues. He loves when I say “Alligator, alligator, chomp, chomp, chomp,” and tickle his little collarbone super gently. He just laughs and laughs. He laughs when he succeeds in doing what he wanted to do. He laughs when he’s surprised, like when a ball rolls off the table. He just laughs SO much.

And he sings. All the time. If he’s not talking on the phone or laughing, he’s singing. And dancing. His current favorite is the same as Hula Girl’s was at his age- Abiyoyo. It’s a song from a book based on a South African folk tale about a giant. A boy tames the giant with his ukelele and then the boy’s father makes the giant disappear with his magic wand. Then all the townspeople join the boy in his song, “Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo…” Pete Seeger wrote it, in case you care. 😉

Gelato decided to try something out this past week- not napping in the afternoon. It’s kind of a bummer deal for him, because then he has to go to bed super early, like 5:30 early. Today is the first day in over a week that he’s actually taken an afternoon nap. I think he got overtired from the time change and then he just hasn’t been able to figure out what to do. I put him down super early this morning for his nap, and he fell asleep quickly, but I wasn’t sure today’s nap would work… yay, it did! I think we’ll stick to slightly early nap times in the next few days to see if he self-corrects. I remember Hula Girl went through a non-afternoon-napping phase at 15 months as well, but then she went back to sleeping twice daily until 17.5 months old. I am holding out hope. Gelato doesn’t get cranky with just one nap, but he DOES sleep really restlessly at night and we are wakened several times per night by him crying out or flopping around. I could do with a good solid night’s sleep again.

And you guys, Gelato is so smart. I have said this before about him, but it is more and more apparent to us every day. He learns so quickly, he speaks so clearly (and so abundantly!), and he is so independent! We are so blessed to have two amazingly bright children who love to learn and who pursue knowledge and skills on their own, without me having to direct them at all. It is such a joy to see their little eyes light up and the looks of consternation on their faces while they’re trying to figure something out. The two of them share a look that says, “I’m thinking really hard about this right now!” It’s so cute.

Oh, I should mention that he is fully weaned now, as of a week and a half ago. It’s nice, but bittersweet. Good thing he drinks well from a sippy cup now.

I love my little man.

Changing Tastes…

I love how fast things change as a young toddler develops. A couple weeks ago, I posted Gelato’s 14-month update. Now that he’s 14.5 months old, so many things are different! In just two weeks!

I want to capture his interests right now so that I can remember him THIS way. He is such a funny little guy!

Gelato does not like Baby Beluga any longer. If I bring it out, he says, “No, Bu-ga! No, Bu-gah!” He pushes the book away. He was really into Margaret Wise Brown’s I Like Stars for about a week and a half. That’s all he wanted to read. He’d say, “Stars? Stars? Read-ee? Stars?” But now he’s so over it. He also had a couple days of being really into “A B C?” Which stands for Dr. Seuss’ ABCs. That book is old hat, so he has moved on to a book called Who’s Hiding? It’s about a mama owl who is looking for her baby, and Gelato LOVES opening all the flaps. He calls it, “Ow-el? Ow-el?”

He loves to wear necklaces. My little guy just adores necklaces. He walks around with about five of Hula Girl’s dress-up necklaces (think pink pearls, sparkly blue beads, purple butterflies, etc.) strung around his neck. Fortunately Hula Girl inherited about a million necklaces from our neighbor before we moved, so there are plenty of necklaces for both children. He will come down the stairs, walk to the dress-up “closet,” and stand there saying, “Neck-iss? Neck-iss?” until I finally get him some. Never just one. If he can’t wear a necklace, he will find his special blue ribbon and drape it across his shoulders, behind his neck. If it falls off, he will stop and pick it up and re-drape it before moving on. I think this is such a silly and cute little phase. I kind of want him to keep it until he’s four or so.

Gelato loves apples. Like, apples are his very favorite food. He will walk around with an apple in his hand and eat the entire thing, down to the core. I bought him an apple in the grocery store a while ago just to keep his tummy from eating itself alive while I rushed around getting last-minute ingredients for our (very late) dinner. The clerk thought I was nuts for buying him an apple, saying, “He’ll never eat that. You should get him chips or something.” When I went back through her lane 15 minutes later, he had eaten about half his apple, and she was pretty much in shock. “He did eat the apple? That’s amazing. I have never seen a kid eat an apple before.” Um, what? Anyway, apples. He also likes applesauce. He calls it, “ap-poh AHS? Ap-poh AHS?” Today he found an applesauce cup in the fridge just before lunch and asked for it. I told him he could eat it at lunch, and let him wander with it a bit. I was surprised when he wasn’t following me and whining about eating it. When I stopped to look at him, I saw he had bitten a hole in the foil and was slurping it through like a smoothie. “Mmmm, Mummy! Mum! Mummmy!!!”

I am currently weaning Gelato. He used to nurse four times a day: 7, 11, 3, and 7. I have slowly dropped one feeding a week, so that now he is only nursing at bedtime. Next Friday will be the last day I nurse him. I am so sad about it, but so happy all at the very same time. I love that I have nursed both my babies until 14.5 months old, but I really feel like that’s about my limit. 🙂

Gelato is a little independent guy. He does not want to be held or pushed in a stroller; he wants to WALK. He doesn’t want to walk with me, though, so he tries to wander. Too bad for him when he tries to wander and I don’t let him. He can also be a bit disobedient at times. ‘Tis the nature of the age, I suppose. He is truly a toddler now- when I tell him to come, he grins, turns, and RUNS the other way. Goober.

All in all, Gelato is just a delight. Still.

Oh, and one more story. The other night Gelato was told a firm, “No, you may not throw your food off your tray.” I removed his dinner. Hula Girl clapped and shouted, “Hooray! [Gelato] got his first consequence!!!!!” It was hilarious.

Gelato- 14 Months

My little boy just melts my heart.

There is only one thing about him that annoys me right now: he is the world’s messiest eater. It doesn’t help that I feed him messy foods like rice, cottage cheese, yogurt, and the like. But he drops it on the nice, clean, freshly-mopped-tile-and-scrubbed-grout floor! I keep telling Jonathan we need to invest in a splash mat or just an old shower curtain, but I keep forgetting.

Gelato is a climber. He has always been, as long as he could. He will climb anything. Rocks, trees, ladders, people, tables, chairs, desks, bookcases, cribs (we’ll be turning his around when he gets big enough- I have a feeling it will be a struggle to keep him in his crib as long as we did his sister!), couches, dirt piles, fences, cars. His favorite thing to climb right now is the “rock wall” that goes up into their playset. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but that rock wall is over six feet high, it’s at about an 85° angle, and it has plastic rocks to hold or step onto. And he has been doing this since before he was even 13 months old. Now that he’s a seasoned pro, he’s making some careless mistakes. Just today I had to catch him (my hands were 3 inches from his body, so it more of a “steady” than a “catch”) when he decided to take his hat off mid-climb. Who knows what he’ll climb next?

Gelato is a water baby. I have been able to take him to the Y a few times lately, and since he can walk now, the toddler pool is just way more fun. The only issues come when he gets knocked over by a big kid splashing him or a current under the water that pulls his feet out from under him. Then he falls down into the water and doesn’t even try to get back up. So my hands are, again, always within a foot of him. I don’t touch him unless I have to. He needs to learn it on his own. But I have had to several times. Silly boy. He really enjoys getting his face wet, too. He’ll crouch down and bend his neck so his face just barely touches the water, then he jumps up and lets out a little shriek of happiness. So cute.

Gelato is a bookworm. Whereas Hula Girl would just come sit on my lap for hours and hours, Gelato has resisted the sitting for reading time his whole life. The only time he sits still for a book is just before nap, because that’s part of our nap routine and he’s used to it. Otherwise, he will carry a book all the way across the house and cry out, “Read-ee! Read-ee!” until I read the book. He will sit next to me for a page or two, but then he gets up and wanders off, but he still expects me to keep reading. If I stop, he will come back, open the book to the last page I read, hand the book to me while giving me a very convincing eyebrow-raise, and say, “Read-ee!” Aye, aye. His favorite right now is Baby Beluga. He calls it “Goo-gah? Baby Goo-Gah?” He loves the pictures.

Gelato is a dog lover. And a polar bear lover. If we are reading and come across a dog or polar bear picture, he gets quite excited. Our neighbor has a dog who is allowed to roam freely. Her name is Scampers. Gelato calls her “Mamper? Mamper?” He looks out the window for her every few minutes and chases her around with random objects whenever she’s outside and we go on walks. She doesn’t like that part very much, but she does like to come out and sniff us and then she takes off in one direction or another like an unpaid tour guide, and Gelato follows her wherever she leads. He adores her.

Gelato is a BOY. Kid picked up a beetle today. I think he wanted to eat it, but Hula Girl smacked it down out of his hand because she was so terrified of the thing. (You go, Girl!) Instead of letting him pick it up again, I told him he could just look at it. He followed it around for a while, saying, “Beeboh! Beeboh!” Then he forgot about it, played with a stick, and was disappointed when he remembered about it and it was gone. (Aw, shucks.)

Gelato is a Mama’s boy. This one is my favorite. He just loves me. He likes Jonathan and Hula Girl, too, but he loves me. Probably because he likes to nurse. But really, it’s so cute. He’ll just wander into the room and hug my leg. Or he’ll sit on my lap and grab my hand so he can interlock his fingers and hold my hand for a while. He likes to give me kisses all day long (“mmmm-ah! mmmmm-ah!”), and he pats my face so gently while he tells me about my eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and hair.

Gelato is a listener. He obeys really really well. The other day I called both kids into the kitchen and asked them to clean up the kid dishes they’d spilled out of the drawer in their hunt for breakfast utensils. He grabbed some cups, put them away, and said, “All done!” Smartie boy. He also tests quite a bit already, which shows me he understands what I’m saying. For example, I tell him stop before he gets out into the street in front of our house (we live on a very sparsely used dirt road, or else he wouldn’t be getting to the road before me). He stops, turns, grins like a little imp, and takes a few more steps before stopping, turning, and grinning again. Test, test, test. I take his hand and move him back to where he was when I said it first, and reinforce. Repeat. It’s a long process, but he really does listen well.

One more thing I just want to record for posterity: I’m beginning to wean him now. Hula Girl was weaned at 14.5 months, and Gelato will likely be weaned by then as well. We’re putting him on coconut milk and we’re trying to cut out all dairy for both kids as soon as we can. He is really excited to drink milk, because he’s seen his idol (big sis) drinking milk so much and now any time she has it, he wants it, too. Her influence can be so great. 🙂

Gelato- 11 Month Update

Gelato was 11 months old yesterday! I will no longer have a baby in less than a month. (I told Jonathan yesterday that seven sounds like a good number. He just laughed. But I kinda meant it. Babies. I love them.)

Nursing: Yep, still nursing. His teeth are kind of an issue. He doesn’t bite me, but the way he latches really irritates my skin. It’s like he rests his top teeth against me. But if I hold his head in really close we avoid pain/broken skin. One more month.

Eating Solids: Gelato likes to eat. When he finds a food tasty he will sit there and say, “Yum, yum, yum!” over and over. His absolute favorite food is peach-apple sauce. He gets so shrieky with excitement when I serve it! He doesn’t like watermelon, pears, peanut butter (Jonathan about disowned him), or red plums. Yesterday I gave him half an apple and he really liked that. He has stopped (for now) throwing his food off the tray.

Sippy Cup: After trying every type of cup imaginable- soft spout, hard spout, straw, open cup, syringe, bottle, etc.- I finally found a cup he will drink out of on purpose. Yesterday we went shopping and bought him a NUK learner cup (thanks, Rachel A, for the suggestion) AND HE DRANK FIVE OUNCES OF WATER! You guys, he has only had that much water to drink over the course of a week before. Not a day. I know, that sounds so small. But this has been hugely encouraging to me, since I have been freaking out about getting him to drink out of a cup when I wean him, especially now that his teeth are hurting me when he nurses. Hallelujah for the NUK learner cups.

Brushing Teeth: I had to go get a real toothbrush for him once his top teeth came in. The silicone finger one was not protective enough of my fingernail bed. He absolutely loves to brush his teeth. He says, “Teeth! Teeth! Ahhh,” and grabs for the toothbrush. I brush first and then let him go to town. He cries whenever I take the toothbrush away.

Sleeping: Yeah. Kid doesn’t sleep nearly as much as his sister did. And she wasn’t a huge sleeper. He sleeps about 10.5 -11 hours at night and MAYBE 3 hours during the day. Hula Girl really spoiled me as far as a sleeping kiddo goes. But we consistently reinforce good sleep habits, so he naps and goes to bed around the same times every day, and he hardly fights it at all- maybe a bit of crying when he knows it’s naptime. But we don’t have bedtime “battles” at all.

Talking: Still talking up a storm. His favorite words right now are bye, button, hi, ball, teeth, nose, hat, play, amen, apple, eat, nurse, daddy, and night night. He is a very talkative little chap, and his words sound great! I hang out with a lot of little kids, and his pronunciation beats at least two 2-year-olds’. Crazy kid.

Free Play- Gelato is cruising and as of yesterday, he’s letting go and trying out his legs. He’s quite stable- he lasted about 5 seconds before having to grab on again this morning. I was impressed. He can also squat all the way down (while holding on) to pick up a toy. He hasn’t been too interested in a lot of toys lately because he just wants to MOVE. But he does love balls. He’ll toss/push a ball all around the house and chase after it. He also likes obstacle courses with pillows, my body, toys, chairs, or whatever. He loves to scramble from one end of the couch to the other.

Independent Playtime- Still about 30 minutes each day. He’s in the “toss everything out of the pack-and-play” phase. I often come in to find him standing up, chewing on the rail, and waiting for me to put his toys back in. At least he doesn’t cry while he waits!

Personality- here’s an illustration- he skipped his first nap today (totally out of the blue, I have NO idea what caused this) so he was up 6.25 hours before his nap. He was laughing, giggling, and smiling while I put him down. He is just one delightful little man.

Our Schedule:

5:45-6:15 wakes up, plays around in crib
6:45 nurse, eat breakfast, free play
8:45 nap
10:30/45ish wake, nurse, independent playtime, walk, sibling play, lunch, play with Mommy
1:30ish nap
3:00/3:30ish wake, nurse, afternoon whatevers with Mommy and Hula Girl (sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay home)
5:15 eat dinner, then family time
6:00/15 bath, pjs
6:15/30 nurse, bedtime story
6:30/45 bed

Watch for his next summary… one year old. Whoa.

Gelato- 7 Month Update

Well, the little Monkey Man is getting older. And for some reason, I feel like he’s SO much older this month than he was last month. Time just really keeps on flying. He was 7 months old yesterday.

Physical Development

Gelato can sit up unsupported for several minutes at a time. The only time he really falls over now is if his sister bonks him on accident or if he’s reaching for the cat. (Nothing is so wonderful as the cat.) He can’t crawl yet, but he can roll anywhere he wants to go and he can spin on his tummy like a seasoned member of the Step Up cast. So basically, we have to keep an extra eye on him now. Jonathan stopped him from eating cat food a couple days ago. Crunch, crunch.

His pincer grasp is coming right along. He can grab things with both hands, transfer toys and food from one hand to the other, and doesn’t have to “swipe” at things at all anymore- he can just reach out and get whatever he wants. He tends to leave his fingers open to feel an object for a few seconds before closing his fist around it. This gives me enough time to realize he’s reaching for my bangs before he gives them a good yank. Thank goodness.

Language Development

Gelato can make all kinds of sounds, starting most frequently with /d/. He also has the /b/, /g/, /y/, /h/, and /w/ sounds down pat. He likes to talk all the time. Our friend from the library says he’s got “the talkies” whenever she sees him. That’s pretty accurate. Jonathan is 100% convinced Gelato knows how to sing, and we’re both pretty sure he’s already using some of his own “words.” Whenever he sees Riley, the cat, he says, “gee-gee!” It sounds like a very babyish approximation of “kitty.” He also makes specific noises when he first sees Jonathan.

He is learning to sign. He has attempted to sign “all done” at the table a few times. I really need to get on this whole signing thing with him. Hula Girl had signs coming her way from like 4 months of age! Ah, well, the second child is supposed to reach milestones later than the first… anyone wonder why?

Nourishment

Gelato is still nursing 5 times a day. He nurses fast and well. I am not on any kind of restrictions in my diet any longer, except caffeine. That one’s just common sense.

We have started solids with him (actually, we started a week before he turned 6 months old). We use Baby-Led Weaning, which basically means we skip the purees and go straight to letting the baby feed himself (finger-sized wedge-shaped pieces at first so the baby can grab it and have enough left hanging out of his fist to take some bites). It’s a lot less work (you know I’d be all up in the making-my-own-purees-from-100%-organic-ingredients-and-breastmilk business) and it’s pretty much hilarious to watch a baby munch away on a half of a banana. I was getting sort of worried about his intake- he wasn’t really interested in eating very much. Tidbits were making their way into his diapers, but he’d really only lick the food and then play with it, squish it, and generally make a huge mess. I know that food is just for fun before they’re one, but my only other REAL frame of reference was Hula Girl, who demolished a whole cucumber quarter the first time she ever had solids at all, and she never looked back. Girl’s always eaten like a fiend.

Two nights ago, I gave him some roast chicken, carrots, and potatoes, and mango for dessert. Apparently it pleased his palate. He gobbled it down and has been eating like crazy ever since. He had sweet potatoes last night, and this morning I gave him banana. He actually managed to eat over half of both. And his diaper this morning had evidence of what he’s been ingesting! 🙂

Sleeping

Yes, he does sleep. I would not say he is a better or worse sleeper than Hula Girl. I would just say he’s a different kid and has different sleep needs and challenges. He goes down between 6 and 6:30, and wakes between 5:30 and 5:45. I used to get him up and nurse him for a half-feeding, then put him back down… but that was just getting ridiculous. So now he’s just awake until I get him. Here’s a typical day in his life:

5:45 wake, play, coo

6:15 nurse, play with Daddy, breakfast

7:45 nap

9:30 nurse, independent playtime, go for a walk, sibling playtime

11:15ish nap

12:45/1 nurse, 1-on-1 time with Mommy, read books

2:15/30 nap

3:15/30/45/4:00 nurse, hang out with Mommy and Hula Girl, jumperoo time

5:00 dinner

5:45 bath/bedtime routine with Daddy

6:15 nurse

6:30 in bed (earlier if he wakes from nap earlier than 3:30ish)

Personality

Gelato is a go-with-the-flow kind of kid. Not much bothers him. He rarely cries. He rarely fusses. He’s really active and always wants to be able to see what’s happening. He likes playing games that include a lot of 1-on-1 interaction, especially with Daddy. He thinks the world of Hula Girl- you can see it in the way he watches her and smiles at her. He is only snuggly when he is tired, but he will tolerate a little kiss-and-tickle-fest every now and then. He is extremely inquisitive and very much a go-getter.

We are very excited to see him growing into an actual person rather than just a little blobby baby. I had forgotten how much fun it is when they really start interacting a lot. It is also nice when naps lengthen (for the most part) and our days become predictable!

I expect he’ll start crawling and get some teeth within the next month. Watch out, world!

How they’re Sleeping

Well, the good news is that our sleep is more consolidated. Finally.

Hula Girl has been back to her normal sleeper self, with very few disruptions in the past few weeks, even with Christmas and illness. She did wake several times one night, which was how we knew sickness was on the horizon. Sure enough, she woke up the next morning with a veeeery runny nose. Boo. But that was before Christmas, and she has since gotten much better. In fact, no vestiges of her cold remain. So most days now she’s sleeping 7-6:45ish and taking a 2.5-3 hour nap starting around 12:30.

She is still in her crib. Yep, my above-average-height-and-weight girl is still sleeping in her baby jail. She’s so funny because she lies on her back across her crib at the end so her head and side are all up against the rails. Then she puts her feet up on the front while I tuck her in. She sometimes remains in this position while she sleeps. Other times I find her sprawled on her belly the normal direction. Something tells me we’ll appreciate the rail when she moves to a big girl bed.

Hula Girl still sucks her thumb and sleeps with her very beloved bear, Daisy, three blankies (pink, white, and purple flower), and her pillow that I made for her.

Gelato has been doing better… and worse. Better at night. I put him down at 6 or 6:30. Then I go and nurse him without waking him (dreamfeed) at 10. Then he sleeps until 5 or 5:30. Then he sometimes falls back asleep unassisted, but sometimes I nurse him back to sleep just to get him on his normal starting time for the day without being overtired. He gets up for the day at 6:30. (Can I just say that I am extremely looking forward to March 10, when he will be getting up at 7:30? I will probably adjust his schedule 30 minutes backward, so he’ll be on a 7-7 schedule. Hula Girl’s may or may not adjust. We’ll see how things go.) The “worse” part of his sleep is that we’re back to battling 45-minute naps. I just can’t seem to nail down his optimal waketime. In the past weeks, we’ve done waketimes ranging from 65-140 minutes, and it seems like the best naps he’s gotten (1.5-2 hours in length) have been from the longish waketimes (mostly within the 90-110 minute range). However, a 70-minute waketime yielded a 2.5-hour nap the other morning, so WHO KNOWS?! what this kid should be able to handle. It’s all very frustrating, especially since he gives ZERO sleepy cues. He just doesn’t fuss. He doesn’t yawn. He doesn’t rub his eyes. Oh wait. He DOES. After we’re already swaddling him and tucking him in. But never in any sort of time frame that would help us determine the proper waketime. Silly boy. You’d think he wants to stay awake and enjoy his family or something!

Gelato is still swaddled. We attempted to drop his swaddle while Jonathan was home on vacation. Um, no go. We’ll try again soonish. Gelato is getting pretty skilled at rolling during his waketimes. I’ve found him smashed up against the rails of the crib several times (still safely on his back- he has not rolled while swaddled yet). He does this back slide-hop thing that really gets him places. Anyway, I would love to put him down just in his jammies, but he seems to really like being in his straight jacket. Okie dokie then. I am betting he won’t be a thumb sucker since he can’t right now. When he has his hands free and he happens to get hold of his thumb, he doesn’t suck it long. It’s merely a passing fancy. So we’ll see what he ends up doing.

In anticipation of dropping the swaddle, I cut up one of his muslin swaddle blankets into four pieces and I have been working on getting him attached to them. I place one in his hand while he nurses and put it next to his cheek while we cuddle. It seems that he likes soft things like blankets very much. He will choose fabric over plastic for gumming every time. So let’s hope I didn’t ruin a very expensive swaddle blanket for nothing!

Well Played, Gelato.

I tell ya. As soon as you say anything about your kids, they do the exact opposite and prove you a liar.

Gelato found his feet today. AND he can scoot/squirm about 2 feet forward in order to get a toy. AND he was pushing up on his arms fully straightened. AND he was sitting straight up (against me). So yesterday, when I posted about how Hula Girl could do all those things at his age and he can’t? Yeah. Me=Liar. Well played, Son.

Also, can I just recap today so y’all can feel jealous of my life? For realz, I am having such a great day.

5:45 Gelato wakes and Jonathan goes to hold him until it’s time for him to nurse

6:00 Gelato is talking all cute and happy so I decide to go nurse him early so we don’t have a weird beginning of the day

6:15 Gelato falls asleep nursing; I decide to hold him until it’s time to wake him for the day to officially begin- it has been a LONG time since I held him while he slept

6:55 I wake him, finish his nursing session, and take him to see Hula Girl and Jonathan

7:10-7:45 Gelato, Hula Girl, and I hang out in the living room reading books and playing with toys together

7:45 Hula Girl starts eating her breakfast while I put Gelato down for his nap

8:00 Hula Girl and I eat more breakfast together

8:30 Hula Girl and I go outside to play in the snow (we threw snowballs, made a snowman, and ingested a TON of filthy snow- meh)

9:30 Hula Girl and I come inside and I put her in roomtime

9:45 I nurse Gelato then put him in independent playtime while I switch the laundry

10:00-10:40 Hula Girl, Gelato, and I play and read in Hula Girl’s room together

10:45 I put Gelato down for his nap while Hula Girl works on cleaning up her toys

11:00-11:30 Hula Girl and I talk and she goes BERSERK while I clean the kitchen, do the dishes, and make lunch (another post on this!)

11:30-12:20 Hula Girl and I enjoy a long lunch while we play and laugh and sing and talk

12:30 Hula Girl goes down for her nap

12:45-1:55 I nurse Gelato and play with him and discover that I am a liar (see above)

See? What a fun day. Now I have to go chop veggies and bake cornbread for tonight’s dinner (turkey and black bean chili). Mmmhmm, I’m loving life right now.

Gelato-4 Month Update

Yep, they all said it would happen. The second child syndrome- Mom wasted all her energy on documenting and fawning over the first child’s “firsts” so the second child has no pictures, no dates, and no mementoes to prove he even existed apart from big sib. Well, Gelato, you are not the exception to the rule. Sure, I have some great shots of you throughout your life. But they’re basically all of you doing the exact same thing- lying on your back and looking up. You just do it so cute!

Plus, you haven’t really done much else yet. I am not going to make this a compare-you-to-your-sister post, but let me just remind the readers: by 4 months of age, Hula Girl was proficient at rolling both ways, grabbing on to toys, playing with her feet, and was well on her way to crawling and sitting up. Little Man, on the other hand, has rolled a grand total of maybe 10 times in his life (always front to back), can hold toys that are handed to him (actually, he did work for and grab onto a toy today during tummy time), doesn’t know his body exists beyond his hands and ears, and slumps over like a little ol’ grandpa any time we try to sit him vertical. 🙂

That’s not to say he’s not reaching age-appropriate milestones. We had his 4-month checkup yesterday and he actually tested at 5 months 3 weeks according to the pediatrician’s development “test”. I circled yes for everything up until “pushes body up with arms fully extended” and “swallows purees off a spoon”. Poor little guy. He hasn’t even had a chance to try purees- he never will! We’ll always have to circle no on that one! (We will be using Baby-Led Weaning again with him.)

Gelato is 16 pounds 4 ounces, up 4 ounces since I took him about a week ago. That means he’s actually on trajectory to double his birth weight by 6 months. Wowza. He’s in the 75th percentile for weight. He’s 25 inches long, in the 50th percentile, and his head is back up into the 50th percentile as well. Basically, he’s growing along his growth curves nicely.

He is healthy in every way. Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chest, hips, skin. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check. The doctor noted that his top two teeth are definitely moving down through the gum; it’s only a matter of time until we see those little pearly whites. I will be sad, again, to see my baby get his first teeth. I just adore those gummy baby smiles so very much, and once they get teeth, it’s like they grow up SO much SO fast and the sweet infant days are gone forever. I think my heart just shed a tear in preparation for Gelato’s first tooth breaking through.

I really am hating having him grow up. It is flying by so fast, too fast. I remember just being so darn bored with Hula Girl because she couldn’t DO anything at this stage. But now that I have a toddler who does it all, I am rather enjoying the do-nothingness that comes with the infant stage. I am SO glad this boy isn’t light years ahead of his peers. Who needs to roll when Big Sister just fetches toys for you? Stay still, Little Man, there’s no rush.

I will, however, be glad to have a 12-hour sleeper sometime. I definitely took that for granted when Hula Girl was the only little munchkin boppin’ around the house. 12 whole hours to rest, relax, enjoy my husband, pig out on popcorn and ice cream (without having to share it or do “duck-under-the-kitchen-counter-while-she-sits-at-the-table-so-she-can’t-see-you-take-a-bite-of-that-cookie” maneuvers), and sleep.

This boy’s sleep is taking a LOOOOOONG time to iron itself out. But we’re getting there. Right now, we’re basically doing this schedule (within 30 minutes)

  • 6:30 wake, nurse, lay in Mommy and Daddy’s bed laughing and squealing and talking
  • 7:30 nap
  • 9:30 wake, nurse, independent playtime, possible sibling time, read books, some tummy time
  • 10:35 nap
  • 12:30 wake, nurse, tummy time, outside time (unless it’s FREEZING), lots of physical activities
  • 1:40 nap
  • 3:30 wake, nurse, sibling time, read books, hang out
  • 4:40 catnap
  • 5:20 wake, family time
  • 6:00 bath, lotion, jammies (all with Daddy)
  • 6:30 nurse
  • 6:45 bed
  • 10:00 dreamfeed (I take him out of his crib and nurse him without waking him)

SOMETIMES he has a middle-of-the-night feeding… other times he sleeps until our waketime in the morning. I can’t WAIT for this to get consistent.

He is in the middle of a wonder week. I have definitely noticed it for the past week or so. He has been waking 45 minutes into his naps and has not fallen back asleep easily. This is common during this stage, but it’s hard on me when I am trying to keep things normal for Hula Girl while balancing his needs as well. It’s extra hard because Gelato will not fall back asleep with ANY kind of help- he will not be rocked to sleep, he will not sleep in his swing, he will not take a pacifier. So it’s either let him talk/play/cry in his crib until the next feeding time or get him up early and hope we can adjust somehow. We usually opt for the second choice  because I can’t emotionally hack it when I have to listen to him crying and Hula Girl whining (another post, coming later tonight).

Nursing is going well regardless of his crazy sleeping habits. If I am not sure he’ll be  hungry enough to eat in the morning (due to eating in the early hours, close to our waketime), I just have to get him as soon as he stirs and nurse him while he’s drowsy. Then he’ll eat.

Also, I am still doing a partial elimination diet. I tried introducing wheat and soy a couple months ago- that didn’t go too well. His arms and legs got some eczema. However, I’m not sure if it was diet related or if it was because we had just switched his soap and lotion (we switched back). Anyway, his skin is all cleared up again (has been for a month) and so I decided to try introducing something else. This time I tried dairy. I had lasagna (with rice noodles) on Sunday night, and so far things seem to be going fine! I’m going to eat some cheese again tonight and if he’s still doing okay by the end of the week, I’m going to get myself some yogurt this weekend so I can munch on that next week. If dairy goes smoothly, I will try the soy again. I will keep wheat for last. I am very excited to eat something terribly delicious again soon, though. Like cheesecake. Mmmmm.

Anyway, let me share something else with you. I may have written it somewhere in a previous post, but even if I have, it’s worth restating. My friend Jennie once posted on her blog something that her mom said. It was something like, “As a mom, you will love your daughter so deeply it will hurt and then some. But you will have a crush on your son.”

OH.MY.GOODNESS. It is so true. I have the biggest crush on this little guy. Perhaps it’s because he looks so much like his Daddy? Maybe it’s because he has the qualities I have always admired so much in others (mild-tempered, easygoing)? Maybe it’s because he’s just so darn sweet? I don’t know what it is. But I cannot tell you just how much happiness is squeezed into my heart whenever I’m with that baby boy. It doesn’t hurt- it just makes my heart feel glad. I am so thankful that God allowed me to feel that way about this child- what a blessing to rejoice SO MUCH in someone five or six times daily!

He really rounds out our family, and I think all of us have little crushes on him, even Hula Girl. Several times a day, I hear her saying, “I just YOVE [Gelato]!” Melt.

Catching Up

It’s officially fall here, folks. Today’s high was 54°. When Hula Girl and I went outside to play on the swing, the wind chill was 36°. Yep. Chilly.

I wish I had posted on Monday. We had a perfect day on Monday. Perfect. I loved my children like mad because I didn’t even have to think in order to get through the day. Hula Girl was on best behavior, she was well rested, and I enjoyed spending every moment with her. Gelato slept well for all his naps and was cooing and smiling up a storm. Ah.  The good ol’ days.

Today I was struck yet again with how very sporadic the early baby days, weeks, and months can be. As soon as we hit our “groove” in the earlier part of this week (hey! We beat the 45-minute intruder!!!!!!), today was crazy because Gelato is now experiencing Wonder Week 8. Basically, his sleeping, eating, etc., are going to be “off” for a few days because his brain is experiencing a huge developmental leap. So yeah. We had a perfect little 3-hour schedule happening for a few days… and today he ate every 2-2.5 hours. It’s not like his naps were short, either. That’s what kills me. With the 45-minute intruder, I felt confident letting him fuss or helping him get back to sleep because I know a 45-minute nap is just not long enough. However, with his naps today, I had no justification for trying to let him/help him fall back to sleep because each time he’d been sleeping for over an hour and a half. That is a decent length for a nap! So when he woke early, I went ahead and got him. We ended up adding a feeding and a nap today. Ugh. SO not my favorite thing.

Also, because of Gelato’s unpredictability today, Hula Girl’s schedule shifted. She didn’t get roomtime until 5:00 this evening… and that was just crazy. She needs her morning roomtime in order to make it to lunch happily. I have made it my personal goal to ensure she has roomtime in the morning tomorrow.

Can I just put another little complaint out there (in the hopes that some of my BW mom friends will chime in)? I have been doing everything by the book since Gelato was born. I made sure we got full feedings. I woke him every three hours during the day, every 5 hours at night. He was on track- sleeping 5 hours at night during his fifth week. Then he regressed during his 6-week growth spurt and we haven’t seen a nighttime stretch longer than 4 hours since. Some might say that I should drop the “dreamfeed” (his 10 p.m. feeding that I wake him for) but even if I do that, he still wakes around that time. And after his late evening feeding (around 10ish) he consistently wakes every three hours afterward. Feed him at 10? He wakes at 1 and 4 a.m. Feed him at 11? 2 and 5. He is so stuck on eating every 3 hours!!! So I try letting him sleep. He’ll wake at 10:30 or 11:30. And wake every 3 hours after that. BAH. By 8 weeks, he’s supposed to be able to sleep 7-8 hours at night. If you ask any pediatrician, babies can “sleep through the night” (general definition of that is about 6 hours) by the time they’re 12 pounds. My kid passed 12 pounds about 2 pounds ago… and here we are. Awake every flipping 3 hours. What am I doing wrong here?!!??!?!?!?!?! Vent over.

On the bright side of things, Hula Girl is getting funnier and funnier and more sophisticated in her conversational skills lately. She has started giving out step-by-step directions. “Here, I will show you. First you… Then you….” So funny to hear her describing things like how to put her blankie in the proper corner of her crib! It’s also a great experience to finally have a child who is able to express every thought she has in her head so that I can actually understand her the majority of the time. Some of her thoughts are supercute due to the fact that she’s two and can’t conceptualize things yet. For instance, yesterday we were talking about how my grandma turned 90. I said, “Isn’t it amazing that Great Gramma is 90 years old today? Do you think you want to be 90 years old someday?” She said, “Yes! I want to be 90 years old. And Great Gramma will hold me!” So I guess 90 years old is actually destination where your loved ones will wrap their arms around you and hold you. Hm. Might not be too bad after all!

Gelato is developing in his own little baby way. He has discovered his little hands and is perfectly content to sit and suck his knuckles all during his waketime. He’s learning to laugh and to use his consonants. He’s good with /g/ these days. He also likes to squeal, coo, and gasp. But his laugh is the best. I also enjoy his willingness to just sit and stare into my eyes while smiling his gummy little baby smile. He knows his Mommy. And I love that.

Something else I want to make note of for my own future reference (as if I could ever forget) is the differences in the ways my children smell. I swear their scents match their personalities. Hula Girl has always had more of a “sharp” smell to her. When I nursed her I could smell her sharpness mingled with the smell of the milk. However, Gelato has more of a soft, fresh smell. I have also not noticed the scent of the milk when I nurse him. That’s probably because he gulps it all down faster than I ever imagined possible.

Jonathan and I have gotten into Grey’s Anatomy. We just finished season 1 tonight. So far, it’s an okay show. Nothing to write home about. But we will continue to watch, because we are deprived of the ability to actually leave the house much. Here’s hoping it gets…better?

Well, it’s 10:00… time to do the dreamfeed. Let’s hope we don’t do another feeding at 1 and 4! Maybe my littlest man will surprise me!

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