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.

Hula Girl and her Buddy Boy

Hula Girl absolutely adores Gelato. She calls him her Buddy Boy. And he loves her, too. He walks around the house calling her name, “Wa-wa!”

Every morning when he comes in her room with me to get her up, the first thing she says (quite loudly) is, “Hi, Buddy Boy! How was your sleep?” (Forget you, Mommy!) He grins all huge and toddles across the room as fast as his little sock feet can carry him, always leading with his tummy. They bonk heads as he crashes into the side of her bed and they giggle in each other’s face. Then he opens his mouth and plants it on her eyebrow and she shrieks, “Mommy! He’s giving me a kiss!” Every single morning.

Hula Girl likes to sing a little ditty about Gelato. It goes something like this:

“Oh, Buddy Boy!

You’re my Buddy Boy!

I love you so much, Buddy Boy!

How I just love my Buddy Boy!

Oh, yes, I love yooooouuuuuuu!” 

When we were in California, Jonathan and I took Hula Girl to the beach one day while Gelato stayed with Ama and Papa. We arrived home and the very first thing that happened was a glee-filled sibling reunion. Gelato came out of the bedroom and saw Hula Girl standing there next to the fridge, and he ran over to her and threw his hands up to her shoulders (haha, like she could even try to pick him up) while laying his head on her chest and saying, “Up! Up!” He was smiling like he’d won the lottery the whole time.

Today on the way home from the doctor’s office, Hula Girl said, quite out of the blue, “Mommy, [Gelato] is my little brother. He is my Buddy Boy.”

It sure must be great to have a sibling. I hope these two will stay close forever. What love they share!

Gelato 8 Months Update

Um, hi. <crickets> Well, I’ve been gone a while.

We just went through another major schedule transition this month, which accounts for my absence here. I intend to get back soon. For now, I just want to put up a quick post detailing Gelato’s last month and all that jazz, for posterity at least.

Wonder Week

Gelato is technically 35 weeks old, but since he was born 5 days late, he’s about 36.5 weeks old in brain development age. That means he’s right on track for wonder week 37, and WOW, we’ve seen it. This one has been the most noticeable of all the wonder weeks so far. He’s been showing all the classic symptoms: clinging, crying, and crankiness. Oh, and sleep funkiness. But since I understand what is happening, it’s not freakin’ me out that much. I’m just grinning and bearing it!

Physical Development

He’s so good at sitting up that we’re doing regular baths in the big tub now. Gelato especially enjoys bathing with Hula Girl. Somehow siblings make the menial tasks in life so much more fun.

He’s finally kind of on the move! On Easter morning he started moving forward across the floor. It looks like he’s swimming in the Olympics, freestyle. So funny. He has also started to push himself up onto all fours, and he’ll stay there a few seconds and rock or he’ll push too hard with his arms and move backwards across the floor. But hey, this is major progress! Of course, he can always fall back on rolling and spinning, and he does those things frequently, too!

He’s also been working on his pincer grasp. He can pick up raisin-sized crumbs (don’t judge- I have a toddler), rocks, blueberries (smooshed), and, much to Hula Girl’s consternation, felt “sprinkles” that go on her felt “cupcakes.” I don’t think he’s actually eaten any of the things that aren’t food. But I do know he’s eaten at least two blueberries. Progress. Ha!

We still have no teeth.

Language Development

Gelato’s receptive language skills are pretty good! He’s able to look where we tell him to look, find familiar objects and people when we ask him (“Where’s Daddy?”), and imitate several movements and facial expressions. He knows how to turn a page in a book when we ask him to. He smiles and laughs with us when we smile and laugh in front of him.

He has been working on saying some words. He can say “Dada” and “Mama” as well as “tat!” and “gee-gee!” Both “tat” and “gee-gee” refer to Riley, our cat (tat=cat; gee-gee=kitty). Jonathan has been practicing saying “red” and “green” with him; his approximations sound like “ded” and “dee!”

Gelato also enjoys making lots of bubbly gurgly noises. He blows raspberries, rolls his tongue around while saying, “aaaahhhh,” and generally drools a lot while just sounding like a happy baby. (Hula Girl is always thinking it’s okay to chastise him for spitting at the table. I have to remind her that he’s only a baby and even though toddlers aren’t allowed to spit at the table, babies are. How unfair! 😉 I’m also having to remind her that Mommy and Daddy may tell Gelato what to do, but toddlers aren’t allowed to do that.)

Nourishment

Gelato is still nursing 4-5 times a day. Most days it’s 4 times/day. (See “Sleeping/Schedule” for more details.) He still nurses well. We have had no issues with nursing other than a few bouts of soreness from biting or a weirdish latch. I am thinking some teeth might pop through soon.

We are doing really well with baby-led weaning. Gelato has just figured out how to keep his hand in front of/in his mouth to hold his food in there while he chews it up. We have had far less food falling back out, and his diapers hold evidence of a much larger solids intake (can I take a moment to just say THANK YOU to whomever it was that invented the diaper sprayer?!?!?!). He still doesn’t seem to really like pears, but he likes pretty much everything else we give him. So far, he has eaten: chicken, egg yolks, mango, pears, peas, broccoli, cucumber, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, waffles, bread, pancakes, rice cakes, oatmeal, hummus, avocados, bananas, apples, ham (for Easter), asparagus, muffins, pasta, cheese, and more. I can’t seem to make my brain think of anything else right now.

Sleeping/Schedule

We are still having early waking every single morning. It is still driving me crazy. I guess Gelato is just an early riser. I think I have found that he needs to be in bed between 6:30 and 7. Too early, and he’s awake between 5:30 and 5:45. Too late, and he’s awake between 5:45 and 6. If I get the sweet spot, he sleeps until about 6:15. I do need to start logging his bedtime/awake times for the next few days to check this theory, but I really feel like he’s just an early riser, plain and simple. Fortunately I am a bit of an early bird myself… or these early mornings would be way more brutal than they already are.

A week into this month, Gelato decided he was ready to be on a 4-hour schedule. He had one day where he slept through to 4 hours between feedings. Then he went back to 3 hours the next day, 3.5 the day after that, 3.5 for another day, then he moved to 4 and that’s where we’ve been ever since.

We’re still working to figure out the last “cycle” of the day. He doesn’t sleep late enough in the day to drop his third catnap, but he doesn’t take that nap (or at least, he’s only taken it once in the past 11 days… but who’s counting?). I would just say the nap’s officially dropped, but since he’s in the wonder week, I have been attempting to do the 3rd nap every day anyway.

Another issue we’re facing is that he’s waking sometimes in the middle of the night and he will.not.go.back.to.sleep.without.nursing. (See the 4-5 feedings/day mentioned in the previous section.) I know he COULD sleep through the night, every night. But we haven’t had him cry it out. I have been too afraid of him waking Hula Girl. We actually plan to have him cry it out and get rid of all night wakings as soon as his wonder week is over. Or maybe sooner. I have a hard time convincing a super sleepy Jonathan this is what we need to do when I return from nursing Gelato at 3:45 a.m.

So, here is what his schedule typically looks like (parentheticals are times when he DOES take the catnap):

  •  6:15 wake
  • 6:45 out of crib, nurse, start making breakfast, get Hula Girl up
  • 7:45 breakfast, sibling playtime
  • 8:30 nap
  • 11 wake, nurse, independent playtime, go for a walk
  • 12 lunch, free play time
  • 1/1:15 nap
  • 2:45/3ish wake, nurse, one-on-one time with Mommy (so rare!), “baby activity”
  • 4:45/5 attempt catnap
  • (5:30) up, dinner
  • 6:15 (6:45) bath, bedtime routine
  • 6:30 (7:15) bed

Personality

Even with the wonder week and fussiness, Gelato is a happy guy. His favorite thing to do is to be held facing me so we can fake laugh back and forth. He has a crazy deep voice and he laughs like, “Huh, huh, huh!” It’s so funny. He’s very inquisitive and he enjoys studying things- his sister’s movements, the way a box opens and closes, the holes I’ve poked through a lid, the way Riley’s tail swishes (so tempting), or the way a drawer pull swings in its brackets. He can use his little fingers to manipulate small objects and will do the same motion over and over and over… to make sure the outcome is the same every time? … to practice making his fingers move the same way? … not sure why, really, but he does. He is a very independent player most of the time and does not mind just rolling around exploring in the room while I read to him and Hula Girl or help Hula Girl clean up or whatnot. As always, he’s just a laid-back kid. I have a feeling that when he’s a toddler, he will test me a LOT… not because he’ll be obstinate or willful, but just because he’ll be so involved in what he’s doing he won’t hear me telling him to stop or he’ll be so active he won’t remember what I said about jumping on the couch eighteen hundred times yesterday! 😉 All in all, he’s a very very very fun little person and it’s a delight having him in our lives.

Sibling Relationship

I added this category because I feel like the two of them actually have a relationship now. It’s not just Hula Girl smothering him and cooing over his latest achievements. He has really started to interact with her and she expresses to me at least fifteen times daily how much she loves him, how much she wants to play with him, and how fun it is to have a little “bo.”

He watches her every move. He tries to copy her to the best of his ability. Yesterday this led to him pouring a measuring cup full of cold water all over his legs (kids were playing with a bowl of water and “scoops” on the kitchen floor), but he dipped that thing back in there and tried again!

He screeches or fake laughs to engage her in a screeching or fake laughing “conversation” across the table.

He bounces up and down in my arms when we go upstairs to get her up from her bed in the morning and after naps. As soon as I open the door, he lets out a shout of glee and screeches until she says, “Hi, Buddy Boy!”

He pulls himself up onto her lap. (She helps him sit up all the way, and then she sings songs or says nursery rhymes with hand motions and guides his hands, just like I did with her when she was little.)

He cries when she leaves the room.

I feel so blessed to have two children who love and care for each other the way they do. I KNOW that many siblings, especially at this age, do not get along and/or end up hurting each other (accidentally or not). Hula Girl has never hurt him, and I have never heard her speak one jealous word against him, barring the occasional, “Gelato doesn’t need to get up from his nap. You can let him cry a while so we can finish this book.” I know we are bound to have scuffles in the future, but I really do hope we can continue to grow our family’s sense of respect and kindness as they get older. It is just so lovely to see them enjoying each other. I’ve really started to see a lot of that in the past two weeks, and now I believe all those folks (like you, KATE!), who said that a sibling is the greatest gift I could have given Hula Girl. Love.It.

Yowza, Today was Bad.

I rescind my optimism from last night. That’s because Gelato has repealed his offer to become more stabilized.

Today was a mess. Gelato has this really great/obnoxious tendency to not ever be hungry before 3 hours have passed between feedings. Great because, well, who wants to spend all day and all night feeding a baby who wants to nurse constantly? (BTDT with Hula Girl. She spit up on the t-shirt.) Obnoxious because I am shooting for an eat/wake/sleep pattern throughout his day, and when he eats for 7 minutes, tops, followed by a wake time of about 40 minutes, followed by a 45 minute nap, he ends up being awake around every 1.5 hours, and he refuses to eat that soon. So the pattern is gone! Sometimes I get him up and do a short wake time and then put him down for Nap Round Two. So then the pattern becomes eat/wake/sleep/wake/sleep/eat. Sometimes I can get him to fall back asleep for the rest of his nap and preserve the original pattern. But that takes work and time, my friends. I don’t have a lot of time. I am also a mommy of a two-year-old.

Hula Girl was actually really good all day long. She has not let me down in believing that she’s getting the hang of this “big sister” thing. She looooooooves her “edoo bahbah” very very much. So much, in fact, that she wants to kiss him and hug him and move his arms and feet around and pat him on the head while he’s nursing. All while screaming, “He’s moving! He’s nursing! He’s awake! His eyes are open!” All of which startle the moving/nursing/awake/wide-eyed child who then becomes a crying/not-nursing/shocked/eyes-squeezed-shut banshee. Delightful. Then we have the problem of him not taking a full feeding. And the cycle continues. But really, Hula Girl is learning how to be a sibling. It’s amazing to me that when I’m thinking about her, the old “only child” identity is super fuzzy in my mind. I can barely recall the two years we spent without Gelato in our lives. It’s almost like she was always a big sister and now her little brother has finally come to meet us. Isn’t that funny? Seven weeks is all it takes to knock out two years’ worth of programming in my brain.

Anyway, I am going to try some new things just to see how we can make this work. I’m going to try skipping his “dreamfeed” and just let him wake on his own in the night. Hopefully that will put his super early morning waking somewhere around 4ish, so I can get him up at 7 and have him take a full feeding to start the day. I just know that if I can rely on full feedings and get his wake times figured out, we can beat those pesky 45-minute naps he’s been having. I must have timed his first wake time just right this morning (35 minutes), because he actually took a 2-hour nap. Hula Girl and I used that time to have a lot of fun together- and the time flew! In fact, when he woke up I almost thought I had to go and resettle him because I thought the nap was another short one. Then I looked at the clock and realized how long it had been, and I almost jumped for joy! Of course, the rest of the day was a disaster… but we did have that one shining moment.

I apologize for the nitty gritty complainy post. But it’s good to get it out there.

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