Posts tagged baby
Burrito bowl

When you have a newborn, cooking becomes even more challenging. Just when you would sit down to cook your meal, the newborn begins cluster feeding. What is cluster feeding you ask? It is a non-stop, open bar nursing session that can last for hours! Owen would start at 3 and want to stop at 7. So there I am stranded on the couch, a prisoner to my new baby and the boppy. Why can't David cook you ask? Oh he can! He is better at it than me, but there is the two year old who needs some entertaining and while he is interested in cooking he easily becomes a hazard in the kitchen.  So what do we do? Starve.

No, we have really amazing friends who bring us amazing food those first few weeks while we get our feet under us. And then those amazing meals become a part of our repertoire when our amazing friends share the recipe! 

We have probably made this one three times since Owen was born and since Lyndsay brought it over to our house the night we came home from the hospital. Gratitude is not enough for the meal drop off those first days and weeks.

Recipe: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/burrito-bowls/

36 weeks & counting

How is it that every month has roughly 30 days and then the last month of pregnancy has 5,435 days! I am not a patient person and this wait killed when it was Henry's turn and it is just as hard the second time. You would think I would have learned? And it's Spring Break which is such a blessing and curse for this mama. Clearly the timing is amazing because I should be relaxing and taking some time off my feet because before I know it this house is going to be VERY different. But I really struggle with empty space. I am notorious for filling up my calendar with a dozen errands and chores and trips and visits. The first day of spring break alone I plowed through most of my two week long to-do list by tackling the basement clean-up, Henry's closet organization, baby room set-up, and hospital bag packing. I guess the bright side of this is that now there is very little to do and I am forced to confront my free time as it stands...free time. Seriously, this is not a problem because it is such a glorious gift but I need to really practice some mediation to help calm my frantic energy that wants to go go go. I am going to dedicate this time off then to centering and spending quality time with Henry without racing him from one thing to the next. These may be our final weeks as a mama, papa, kiddo triumvirate so I better savor it now before it totally passes me by!

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Here is a little glimpse at the room all set up and ready to greet our newest member!

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Is he really going to be this tiny? It feels so good having the hospital bag packed just in case, although NO ONE thinks I am going to go early except for me (and maybe my OB). That is what happens when baby 1 is so delayed, everyone around you just keeps reminding you of it.

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I probably can't afford a daily Lush bubble bath until baby, but I can squeeze in a few  between now and baby. It was a glorious reminder that when I can shut down my brain there is beauty in the silence.

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But, I am so excited to start the next few days home with my littlest man! It is going to be great to just snuggle this peanut and maybe even sneak him off to lunch with Daddy downtown (yup, there I go again planning out our days!).

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And then this little one joins the party and it is SO crazy to see him because I feel like I know him and yet he is our greatest mystery.

 

the key....

Since the day we took Henry home from the hospital, he has hated the car. When I tell this to other parents they look at me in disbelief. "What do you mean he hates the car?" they blink open-mouthed. "Our little one falls asleep after 5 minutes of rolling along," they say in such a way as to suggest we must be mistaken about Henry. But, alas, we are not. Yes, the majority of babies can barely hold their eyes open once they are cruising along the highway or casually driving around town running errands. Henry though is not that baby. Never was. Instead our otherwise totally chill dude goes wild. Screams at the top of his lungs are common place as are shrieks and shrill hysterics. We could be driving 5 minutes down the road or 5 hours away. The pitch, frequency, and duration of the scream is constant. Needless to say, we have not gone on many road trips. And when we do, no one is happy (or very sane after). We have tried everything to make the car a more enjoyable space. We started to consider that if he is such a pleasant, happy, and easy baby everywhere else in life (including sleep), then maybe this is our burden? Maybe this is the bad that we have to take with all the rest that is so so good. And then....

Something changed. Quite unexpectedly, Henry started to carry a book with him to the car. Sometimes he would even try to muster the strength to carry two books. We buckled him in, placed his desired books on his lap, shut the car door and....silence. For the entire car ride from our house to Boston (approximately 30-35 minutes), he read. It must have been a fluke, no? We tried it again, and again, and again. Henry LOVES to read in the car. It keeps him entertained as he flips through the pages, points at various characters and images, and babbles to himself. The longest car ride so far has been 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes of silence! WHAT!?! That was completely unheard of in this house. This might not be a total silver bullet, but I am happy for a little reprieve and watching him sit cross-ankled in his carseat paging through a book is SO CUTE!

steps
David knows his baby boy!

We waited and waited for those first independent steps and then last night, motivated by his woodland creature stuffed animals, Henry did it. He is not walking walking, but he is stepping off and maybe traversed 10 feet solo.  Not bad for his first flight. Watching this little man grow, play, and explore has been the most beautiful gift. Maybe, just maybe, I am ready for this next chapter of his babyhood.

Henry Adam: 10 months
Happy Double Digits! Woot Woot!

It feels like just yesterday this little guy was born and now we are staring straight ahead to his first birthday in just sixty days.  Madness; this is just utter madness. How is Henry already ten months old?!? It is funny how the school year's end stills seems so long away and yet Henry's birthday seems too soon. I remember a year ago at this time my belly was swollen with baby and I was nervously anticipating the labor and delivery to come. We were attending birth classes and installing our car seat and imagining what it would be like to have our baby boy join us. We hypothesized and theorized this future. Our expectations were wrong. I never knew just how much life would flip like a switch and how much I would come to love this truly blessed existence of motherhood. Our little family is the best part of every moment of every day for me. But enough of this, I will have a chance to write more about my reflections once we get to that finish line of one year!  For now, what is important is to share everything that this little dude has be up to and into.

This month was all about visiting family and friends! It kicked off with Henry's first Easter celebration. At brunch with family and friends, H dined on an assortment of yummy delights from eggs to scones to pancakes and bacon. He ate heartily while enjoying the company around him. It was then off to California for an extended weekend with my brother and his family. I noted in my previous gushing post that we had the BEST time and are eagerly awaiting our return to that West Coast kind of living. This month Henry also visited with some new faces in New York. We drove down to see my extended family at a little party and topped off the visit with a chance to hang out with Colleen and to meet baby Marcella (my oldest friend's newest addition). If that were not enough, we are soaking up as much time with our friend Amelie and her parents before they become expats this summer. Their current location near Jamaica Pond makes strolls in the fantastic weather descending on Boston ideal. This full month ended with our first birthday party for Annabelle and it was such a fantastic event! It really made me a bit sappy to think about how all of our baby friends are growing up so fast!

Henry has also been super chatty this month. His repertoire of sounds is constantly evolving. While he is a bit reticent with new people, he is quickly starting to warm up and babble away. When he sits in his highchair for dinner he loves to have long conversations. He babbles to his daddy or me and then pauses for us to respond and then babbles again. He changes his tone and cadence and is really imitating dialogue. It makes me so excited for the next few months. Some of his new sounds include (but are not limited to): dada, mama, hi, ta ta, pa pa, ha ha, doh doh, dog, ga ga, goo goo. What makes this all even more exciting is that he can also identify people now. When we ask, "Where is Mommy," "Where is Daddy, " or "Where are the doggies," he looks right to the person or pups in question. Each morning when he wakes up he immediately starts calling "dog dog dog" and wants to see his pups and pet their heads.  In practicing his sounds he has either intentionally or accidentally begun to whistle. With lips pursed, the little whistle sound comes forth and is so surprising. When we first started to hear it, we both thought, "Who is whistling?" or "Do you hear that whistling sound?" and there he was crawling about and whistling his way through the house.

After a long hiatus development has begun again on the smile project! Henry's three bottom teeth have now been joined by his top front teeth. Despite the teething concerns that inevitably come with the arrival of each new chomper, these came in with little pomp and circumstance. After two nights of mild discomfort, his little teeth broke the surface and are working their way down. He is now eating more and more thanks to this development! He has not shied away from a single meal or delicacy we have shared with him. This month's new foods and food experiences included: Indian buffet, pizza, bacon egg sandwiches, steak, almond butter, fish and chips, blackberries, pineapple, thai fried rice, ice cream, and brussel sprouts. Henry is a brussel-sprout monster! He can devour a full plate of these baby cabbages before you can blink your eyes! Dining al fresco has been such a new treat as well. Since the snows have melted, Bostonians have eagerly spent sunrise to sunset out of doors. And we are no different in our desire to be soaking up the fresh air and sun!

While he hasn't taken that first solo step yet, Henry is definitely inching closer to that day. Some of his favorite activities include walking by pushing either his elephant toy or his little activity cart. He walks his cautious little self around and around the downstairs. It is one of my favorite things these days. The little elephant push ride sings this silly song that goes, "I love to go a walkin' with my best friend every day," and around the corner here comes Henry with the biggest grin! He stands with the tiniest bit of assistance and can walk barely holding onto your hands, but he is not quite ready for his solo step. David and I are really excited for that moment though...whenever it happens.

Henry is really into:

  • Imitating everything you do. If he sees you kissing, he opens his mouth for a sloppy kiss. If he sees you doing raspberries on someone's belly, he leans over and tries to do it too. If he sees you eating, you better have food for him. If he sees you turn a stacking toy into a trumpet, he grabs it and babbles into the "trumpet" too.
  • Sleeping through the night!! Sleeping through the night is no longer the rare chance night time experience but it is now the standard. From 7PM to 7AM, Henry is far away in slumberland.
  • Drinking water. From cups or with straws, Henry has mastered drinking water sans bottle. He even prefers to avoid his bottle at baby school and drink his milk via cup. We have found both the munchkin 360 cup and munchkin straw super helpful. Both of these cups have helped him practice this skill to transition from bottle to cup and straw.
  • Waving and clapping. Henry loves loves loves to wave and clap. He cannot contain himself! It is especially sweet and apparent when I bring him to the commuter rail to pick up Daddy and he waves and claps for each passenger disembarking the train.
  • Tucking in. Henry has a "tell" for when he is ready to sleep. When you give him a hug, he puts his head on your shoulder and then tucks his arms in underneath himself. This tucking-in is so darn sweet. I cannot take it! My heart melts each time as he presses close, tucks in, and nods off.
  • Sucker fish. It is hard to wrap your little baby mind around kissing. What exactly is kissing? To H right now, kissing is opening your mouth super wide and then sealing it onto mommy or daddy's cheek, chin, or mouth and then sucking hard. It is reminiscent of the bottom sucker in a fish tank. He loves to give his sucker fish kisses and even though it might sound gross or weird, I sort of love getting them!
  • Playing with toys. I say this because now he no longer immediately puts every toy in his mouth. Instead of playing being another name for salivating on toys, playing now means playing. H pushes his cars around his room, stacks bowls, and passes toys back and forth to you.
  • Towel Cuddles. After a splash in the tub, Henry loves to laugh and squeal as he is wrapped in his towel. Then we hug and hug and hug while he belly laughs and my heart melts every time.
Amsterdam Part II.

Amsterdam at night is known for its seedier side. Americans immediately conjure up images of ladies of the night hawking their bodies in the windows of the red light district as tourists gape open mouthed at their gestures and nakedness. The smell of pot smoke fills the air as drunken stag parties stumble about from pub to pub. While some of this might be true, much of it is the stuff of imagination as this "darker" side of Amsterdam wasn't really visible to us during our sojourn to the city. Yes, we toured the red light district and came upon coffeeshops from time to time, but none of it seemed illicit. All of it seemed totally normal and even "respectable" (also we attempted to get to bed by 9:30PM so we probably missed all the fun anyway). On the other hand, our nights in Amsterdam were consumed by another nefarious agent. Did you hear that sound? Oh no? You are lucky then because each night if we attempted to put Henry to bed in his travel crib an exorcism of the most horrific order unfolded! That first night was the stuff of parenting nightmares and I was convinced that Henry's screams could be heard back in beantown. For hours, he was completely inconsolable and wanted nothing to do with David. I was left pacing the floor of our tiny Amsterdam apartment with Henry strapped to me in the Ergobaby. If my paced changed, he shrieked. In those early morning hours, I broke down and begged David to get us back home to the States. I had had enough 24 hours in to our week long vacation. I threw in the towel. David however filled my cup with coffee and assured me that despite my zombie state and utter fear of a nightly repeat that it would get better. And it did. Well it did because we just gave in to the little tyrant. Instead of trying to get him to sleep in his crib (which he does beautifully every night at home), we let him sleep in bed with us. We also just went with his flow. Instead of bedtime at 7PM, he went to bed at 9:30PM. Instead of sleeping through the night, he woke up from 1-3AM for a play time session everyday. It was a crazy schedule, but we made it work. In the end, we all got enough sleep to make it through each day feeling rested and excited to explore. But, I will not lie, I am really happy to be back home if only for the return of our sleep schedule!

On top of our random and at times horrifying nights, we jotted down some funny or random items from our trip that either made us smile, laugh, or scratch our heads:

  • Selfie sticks: everywhere we turned photos were taken using selfie sticks. From teens to geriatrics, the selfie stick was by far the device of choice among the tourist circle. We saw them so often that we even thought to ourselves, "hmm maybe we should get one?"
  • Grandparents: when you take a bus tour you will inevitably be among the grandparent tourist circle. And there is nothing wrong with this. It is just a fact. The convenience of these types of tours make it incredibly welcoming to this demographic and it was also ideal for our little family. As such, we learned so much about all of the grandchildren of these delightful tourists. Each Oma and Opa would pet Henry's hand or head and tell us how sweet he was and how cute he was and how much they missed their own little grand-babies.
  • Dutch Girlfriend: Everywhere Henry went, he was a flirt. He would cast his "come hither" eyes to the crowd hoping to catch a young lady. Henry melted many a hearts in Amsterdam but no one fell harder than this little girl we met while eating dinner at the Golden Temple. She could not stop coming over to our table, holding Henry's hand, and staring at him. It was an instant connection and I cannot wait for their paths to cross again.
  • Day of Details: One morning David declared it the "day of details." While I sort of laughed at this idea, it was actually really fun. David went about the city with a keen eye hoping to capture the smaller points of Amsterdam. He ended up taking some great shots!
  • Love Boat: When we got aboard the ferry to Marken the theme to the Love Boat played on repeat for the 30 minute trip. Ha, it was amazing!
  • Bjorns & Bikes: Did you know that you can just strap your newborn to you in a Bjorn and bike around the city? Every country is different and we should not jump to immediate judgements but this was one practice that surprised me every time I saw it. Dads glided by with their little fresh babies in Bjorns as they biked here and there. Amsterdam bike culture is VERY different from Boston. In Boston, a cyclist runs the risk of losing life or limb to a disgruntled driver which is not at all what it is like biking in the very, very cyclist friendly city of Amsterdam. Nonetheless, this practice was super curious, but I am sure those little babies napped really well while their parents biked them about strapped to their chests!
  • Robin & Heather: It is sometimes hard to realize how much you miss someone until you see them again and are directly reminded of how awesome they are! I miss Robin and Heather terribly. They are truly good friends, good people, and good souls. Their visit to Amsterdam for the weekend of our stay was by far my trip highlight.
Henry Adam: 8 months
How big is Henry? SO Big!  Just as this becomes a favorite game, we tick another month off in this year of firsts. Happy 8 month birthday, little man!! Yet again, I am in awe of how much this little guy has grown and changed these four short weeks. The happiest moments are the ones in which the three of us are together playing, singing, and laughing. This parenting business is really fun. Yes, there are tough moments (especially when we were tackling two colds back to back), but 99.9% of the time, it has been nothing but pure joy being this little man's momma.

Six snowstorms in one month meant a lot of days snowed in together. I could not have imagined a more fun way to spend the winter than hibernating with my two guys. With each added inch to the ever growing heap, we were granted days away from work to snuggle and play together. It felt like an extended mat leave and I was so thankful. At the same time, the snow storms hit every Monday and Tuesday which meant that the two days Henry was set to attend daycare never happened! Mother Nature must have known how sad and worried I was about this daycare transition that she softened the blow with pillows of snow. Instead of starting on January 16, Henry started his two days on February 16! That first day was so hard. Covered in food and tears, H's first day was less than ideal as he processed his new environment away from home. He was so distraught at pick-up that first day it broke my heart. But with each successive visit, he has become more comfortable and the latest pick-up he was even on the ground playing with his buddy, Wyatt, and a make-believe salt and pepper shaker set. It was a bumpy start but these two days at daycare are starting to finally look pleasant.

In January, we reached out to a local photographer, Ann Lyle, to take 6 month photos of Henry. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that the price point was a little out of our range. Then two weeks later, Ann contacted us to say she was in need of a six month old baby boy model to update her website. If we agreed to let her use Henry's photos, then she would give us a mini session. Immediately agreeing, we headed to her studio one snowy morning. Her space was awesome. The props, clothes, and setting were perfect to capture some sweet photos of the little man. Ann was great to work with and so patient with our shy guy. She captured such excellent images that we decided to book a one year session with smash cake for July (stay tuned for maximum cuteness coming your way!).

What has the little guy been up to this month? Oh, a whole lot.  Henry had his first night with a babysitter so that we could go out to dinner with our neighbors. After meeting Abby when she first arrived to the house at 5:45PM, he spent the rest of the night asleep, so that was successful, no? Henry is also crawling for real now. This means that you turn around for a second and H criss-crosses a room and moves across the floor at ludicrous speed. It is amazing and awesome and incredibly intimidating. If he moves this fast on his hands and knees, what will it be like when he is up on two feet? He even dangles little toys from his mouth in order to carry them around the house with him. His favorite to do this with is his little turtle. Bath time is also a blast these days. Instead of reclining in his little tub, he sits upright and just splashes and plays. Standing up and plopping down to make waves, he laughs and laughs. His little playful personality is busting out these days and he has the mischievous grin to prove it. Whenever he makes "that face," David and I turn to each other and say, "oh we are in for it!" With his little grin and tongue sticking out, Henry makes a beeline for his bookcase in order to drop his books one by one onto the carpet or knock over any block tower, or push his little cart and elephant around. Add to this waving and clapping and we have had a pretty fun month with our little "hell raiser."

With a second tooth coming through the surface the sky is the limit on this little man's appetite. This month he has tried more and more food items and eaten them all with gusto. From peanut butter to meatloaf, our little foodie has enjoyed them all. And when we go out he is now big enough to sit in a high chair so meal sharing has become easy. He is so cute sitting at the dinner table chomping on his cuisine. I just love how much he loves to eat and I hope he continues to enjoy this part of the day. Some new foods for Henry included: peanut butter, italian food, brazilian food, chinese food, and puffs. You cannot eat in front of Henry without giving him his share and his little pincer grip gets more and more adept.

This month Henry is really into:

  • Reading books. Henry loves to snuggle up in your lap and read board book after board book. His favorite right now is Otis Loves to Play.
  • Crinkle books are very entertaining these days!
  • A new lovey to snuggle at night. I cannot wait to watch Henry bring this little guy around with him. It is so darn cute.
  • Someone has finally moved up in life! That's right, we upgraded to the next phase car seat. This means that we can no longer cart Henry around in his infant car seat and wheels. So Henry is now advanced to the regular UppaBaby Cruz stroller too.
  • My new favorite clothing item is hands down these baby moccasins. They are made from such soft leather, they are easy to slip on (and they don't slip off), and come in the greatest colors. I want every single one of them!
  • Singing songs. This little crooner sings to himself his little babble songs in bed and in the car and at night when he nurses himself to sleep. I love hearing his little voice, it is the sweetest. And I love to sing to him too. Our favorite lullaby these days is Silent Night.
  • Expanding his friend circle. Two more little friends were born this month. Henry got to welcome baby Jack and baby Logan to the world and he cannot wait to play with them.
  • Attending wee reads and taking books out of the Sudbury Library is always a treat!

 

henry adam: seven months

Today Henry turns 7 months old and tomorrow he will be 17!  That is seriously how it feels sometimes. Don't get ahead of yourself, Melissa, you still have many more months to go until he is off to college, but each month flies by with his constant changes and firsts. Not everything about being a mom is easy. For example, this past month I tackled two illnesses while simultaneously needing to continue to care for Henry. Ugh that was SO hard. All I could think about was this commercial as I went between my death bed and Henry's room. But, I am super thankful for the family and friends who dove into the trenches with me to help get us to the other side of it all.  Despite these challenging times, being a mom is the best job ever (at least that is how I feel about it). I get so excited watching Henry learn and play each day. I remember when I was a babysitter always thinking how repetitive the days were and thinking how I would never ever want to be a mom myself.  How could I sit on the floor and "play" with an infant day in and day out? How could I pick up flung toys over and over again? But, it really is different with your own little one. Each time we play and each time he does something, you really do see the learning that is going on underneath and the subtle differences in each attempt. That, or I am so far down the mommy hole that I cannot come back up for air!

Month six was a full one to kick off 2015. Henry probably met more people in this one month than he has in his short lifetime. The parade of family and friends was kicked off by a visit from Auntie Kaelin. K spent a week with us (and helped out during illness #1 food poisoning by fish taco!). Each morning we would lay around the house in our pjs playing with Henry, grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and just be together. It was so fun to be able to share my winter break from school with my two faves! Henry just loved spending time with Kaelin and it was so so sad to say goodbye. We are counting the days until we can see her again and show her Henry's new move: pseudo-crawling (which might be real crawling when we see her again).

Then, Henry was swept up in a hectic social scene which included celebrating a new bestie soon to arrive in February.  He had a great time at his first baby shower. He was held a ton by our friends Kellyanne and Lauren, and soaked up every second of the experience, i.e. he went on a nap strike. Despite the lack of sleep, he remained pleasant and content throughout the luncheon and he even snuck  in his first kiss! That is right, Henry is starting early on the girl front. This adorable little one-year-old (yes, my son is into older women), was so sweet and thought that "kissing the baby" was the best thing ever. So clearly, she had to lay the love on thick. I only wish David could have been there to see the love shared ;) If this wasn't enough love, Henry also spent time dressed up as baby Cupid with his little crew of baby friends. We all headed to our friend's house as she hosted a play date and holiday craft day. It was a fun time watching the littles play on the floor with an assortment of toys, dip their hands and feet into paint to make cards, and dress as baby Cupid for a little photo shoot. Obviously we kept one card for ourselves because the cuteness was killer and then shared the others with our fan club, grandmas and grandpas. And, we ended the month with the same baby group to celebrate the Patriots in the Super Bowl potluck style.

This month also contained Henry's first flight!  We packed up a ton of gear and boarded a flight from Boston to Jacksonville to spend some quality time with David's family. It was a smooth trip down and back. Best of all Henry got to meet his great-grandmother, uncle, aunt, and three cousins and, of course, spend time with grandma and grandpa too. We all stayed together in one house which meant that despite the shortness of the visit we were able to squeeze out every second together. Henry was totally smitten by his new family members and loved loved loved playing with his cousins. Alyza could not stop cuddling and holding him, Alex enjoyed reading to him, and baby Zachary was such a sweetheart and played and shared toys with him all weekend long. It really was special and I am so glad we were able to get down there.

What are some of the new skills that this little guy has mastered heading into month 7? Well, he loves to babble. He is constantly making sing-song sounds, little shrieks, squeals, and laughs. He has really found his voice this month and I cannot get enough of it. Every night I make it my mission to get him to laugh himself silly. I seriously love the sound of his voice. It is soft and high pitched and just so darn cute! His favorite things to laugh at these days are: wrestling with David's head, tickles to the tummy, and the space ship song. Henry is also sticking out his tongue and trying to mimic the shapes we make when we talk. He focuses very intently on your mouth and then tries as best he can to move his mouth and tongue in a similar fashion. He also loves to roll his tongue over his new tooth!  Yup, our little guy is all grown up now with his one little chomper. His bottom left tooth has broken through the surface of this gums. It is hard to catch a glimpse of it though. And spotting it feels like claiming a sighting of the loch ness monster, but every now and then he pulls his tongue back just enough and bam there is the tooth! He is pseudo crawling too. If you place something at just the right distance from him, he will slow crawl his way over to it.  Too far and he will look for something close to distract himself, too close and he will army drag himself to it. But we have caught the crawl on camera to confirm that he is SO close to doing it. Of course he prefers to walk though. He loves to hold your hands and walk all around the house and pull himself up on things. I hope he doesn't skip crawling. I really want to see him scooting about, but clearly his passion is for the two-footed approach.

Lastly, he can sleep through the night! I say "can" versus "is" because he is not consistently sleeping through the night quite yet. His first cold has set him back a bit as has teething.  Let's just say having a sick baby is so miserable even if it is just something as slight as the common cold. It is just awful watching him struggle to breathe and sleep (thank goodness for Vick's Baby, a humidifier, Tylenol, and an amazing husband). Fingers crossed this cold gets its butt kicked by his budding immune system quickly!  But, back to sleeping. The other night Henry slept a solid 6 hours straight, then 8 hours straight and finally culminated in a 10 hours straight night! What?!? It was nuts! My chest was so confused as to why no one demanded nursing through the wee hours of the morning but the rest of my body was feeling delighted by the sleep drunkenness I was experiencing (darn you cold for making it so short lived!).

This month Henry is into:

  • Eating solid food bits by himself and perfecting his fine motor skills. I am finally getting over my fears of choking (a little) and Henry has tackled: eggs, toast, broccoli, tomato, and banana. All while playing in his high chair with measuring cups, prep bowls, and a pasta claw.
  • Playing in the snow, or really experience the snow around him.
  • Sorting out his new day care experience. Yes, the little man is now attending daycare two days a week.  It has been a tough start. His first day was quite sad and it left me with a broken heart and then he skipped his second week because of his cold. So he really hasn't started but he is technically in daycare for two days a week (a blog post about this to follow soon).
  • Loving his Travel Crib. This item is SO easy to move through the airport with, stows in the overhead bin, and is comfortable and simple to assemble.
  • Playing with some new toys: Push Cart, Ball Drop, Octopus, Talking Puppy.
  • Wearing his latest eating fashion item, the long sleeved bib, for easy clean up!

 

 

 

 

 

long sleeve bib

new year resolution...sort of
I used to love making new year resolutions. It always seems like a fresh slate on my bad habits and sluggish ways. Somehow January first promises to bring everything anew. Typically my resolutions or fresh starts are unimaginative: eat better, exercise more, save money. This year, while I will probably still hold those as important, I also just want to take this year more slowly. Each year feels like a race to the next step.  So this year, I am going to adopt a new mindset around time and family. Instead of racing between events and scurrying between appointments and packing our weekends full, full, full, I am going to ease up on all of this. My priority, love, and attention will be focused on my new family unit.  Henry is this little for such a fleeting moment that it is important for us to savor, enjoy, and prioritize our time with him and as a family. I want to enjoy this year of first for us and this year of being a new family. It feels right to turn a bit inward this year and ensure the tranquility, love, and happiness of the home front. This doesn't mean that we will forgo all relationships with friends but it does mean that we will be more discerning of our time in a way that perhaps forgoes our more flippant scheduling of the past.
henry adam: six months
Why is it that I love and hate ticking the months off? Each month is SO different with this little guy. He learns so much and becomes more and more social with each passing day and I love all of this. And, I hate it! I wish I could hold on to these minutes more. Everywhere I go with him, strangers always stop to say, "Ah, savor this time it doesn't last long." I want to say to them, "I know and it kills me! And how did you adjust because clearly you are saying this to me because your babies are now thirty or so, no?" Oh well...it is the plight of all of us mommies and daddies.  Aside from this sad introduction, I promise this has been a fun month, in fact the best yet. (Yes, now that I am a mommy to this little guy, I cannot help but be hyperbolic, it comes with singing children's songs all day long!).

This month, Henry is all laughs. And, when David gets Henry into a laughing fit my heart melts. These two guys already seem to share something special. Henry knows that when daddy is in the room it's time to get the belly laughter started. David holds Henry high over head and "adjusts his grip" shifting Henry from his right to left hand and back eliciting the baby giggles. Growling on his belly or neck will do the same. Whenever we pack him up for an outing and buckle him into his car seat we share Eskimo kisses, touching our noses to his and he cannot stop himself from cracking a smile and giving us more of those adorable, sweet laughs. And one of my favorite new additions to the Henry laughter list is "goo goo gaa gaa." Lately, if you are holding him and start this little baby phrase, he cracks up.  Perhaps he is mature enough to know that adult baby talk is ridiculous?

Henry has been eating and eating and eating this month. As I type that it sounds so weird to me. Obviously he is eating otherwise he we would have a problem on our hands. But, what I mean is that he is weaning on to solids and really enjoying himself. He seems to enjoy a fruit for breakfast, a fruit and some greens for lunch and greens for dinner. So far he has enjoyed:  sweet potato, carrots, turnips, avocado, peas, green beans with raisins and apples, banana, mango, pear, butternut squash, apple and peach. Some of these he enjoyed more than others but overall he hasn't been fussy about eating as long as you pull his highchair about in the kitchen like a choo choo before settling down to the meal. We even tried some BLW with a banana and toast twice. I peeled the banana the first time and while he could grasp it initially, it quickly became too slippery. The second time with a little help from my mommy friends, we peeled the banana a little and left a bit of a hand grip for him.  This was a much more successful attempt! We see our pediatrician on Henry's six month birthday and we plan on really starting BLW then once we get the green light (because I am such a chicken about choking)!

Christmas is a cozy time of year and with it sandwiched by both David's and my birthday this time of year is so fun!  Now top this with a new little baby, and the joy of the season is quite palpable. Henry woke up around 8AM on Christmas morning and we were all so giddy and excited to race downstairs and open presents. I doubt he knew what was going on but he could definitely tell that the adults were happy and making a big deal about the beautifully wrapped packages.  Henry made out like a bandit. So much love poured in from family and friends all around the country. He received so many loving and wonderful gifts: a ride-a-long elephant, activity table, his entire 9 month wardrobe, a singing monkey, a sorting raccoon, a push cart, blocks,  rattles, hooded towels, and books. He was a lucky little boy and this was one very special first Christmas both for him and for his parents (I cannot believe I am this little guy's mom and David is his dad, seriously?)!

Henry has developed a number of fun new skills this month. It all started with slobbery attempts at raspberries. He was determined to master this skill and practiced SO much. As soon as he woke from a nap, he immediately started to razz, after eating, during tubs, when being changed, when in the car, really just everywhere. And...he did it! After days of constant practice, he is now a pro-razz man! A weird new talent on the surface, but it is the first step toward real communication skills, so hurray! He is also able to sit on his own. This has completely changed how he plays. Now he rocks back and forth on his hands and knees into a sitting position and can reach and grab toys nearby. He seems so much more independent in a way because he can now get what he wants into his hands and play with it without being inhibited by the prone pose. Because of this mobility and sitting up (and even pulling up to standing), we have lowered his crib. David also has taught him to turn off lights, which has been incorporated into our sleep routine. It is adorable to watch his little hand encircle the light switch and ever so slightly lower the switch enough for the lights to go out. He is quite proud of himself. He loves to sit in your lap and read many books. He has a nice attention span now and is really interested in the story watching both the pages and your mouth as your read. With help, he likes to turn the pages too.

Despite the rapidly cooling temperatures, we have been out and about. First, Noah was born!!  Henry's little best friend finally joined us and we have visited him and his parents and were excited to celebrate Christmas with them as well! We attended music classes at the Sudbury Library and introduced this to Noah too. Most excitedly we visited the aquarium downtown. Henry was amazed! He was enthralled by the fish and turtles. He just watched everything and reached out to touch everything. I can already see that this will become a standard spot for us. And, obviously you have to follow-up a visit to the aquarium with a visit to the North End for cannolis, no? Yes, I could get very used to this family outing. And to cap off the month, Henry turned 26 weeks old on New Year's Eve, he currently is weighing and is tall and wears size 9 months clothing!

Henry is really into:

  • Since Master Henry is drooling like it is his job, he needs to wear a bib all day or have multiple costume changes. I am not a fan of the bib look so we discovered these scarf bibs and love how hip he looks!
  • Someone loves to read these days. His new favorites are: Babies Everywhere, Baby Loves Summer, Giraffes Can't Dance, and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.
  • Now that the little man is munching his way through solids we have found these leather bibs to be SO helpful in keeping him clean and they wipe clean so there is no extra laundry (Thank you, Bryan and Jessie!)
  • We have started using Honest diaper wipes and really like them. They have a mild scent, a textured material which allows for super easy clean-up, and they are supposed to be made of only good, safe stuff for baby bums.
  • And to hold the little man's food we have been using these espresso cups!  Yup, we now measure how much he eats by how full the espresso cup is: He ate 2/3 of an espresso cup today!
  • Henry had a really good Christmas with lots of love coming in from all other the country. Some of his new favorite toys are his ride-along elephant and activity table. He just cannot get enough of these. (Thank you, Andy and Heather)
my bestie had a baby

IMG_4554 On Wednesday morning, my bestie had a baby. He is a beautiful little boy who is just so sweet and snugly. I thought I would be excited, but just how amazing it is to see my friend turn into a mom, is almost indescribable.

I met Laura when I was a freshman in college. For the four years at university, she challenged me, supported me, loved me, and made me laugh. She became my sister, confidant, and truly best friend. We were never far from one another and today only live a few miles apart. So many aspects of our lives have changed since those first awkward days as freshmen, but instead of these forcing us to grow apart, they have helped us grow closer. Through first jobs, boyfriends, husbands, marriage, home-ownership, and so much more, I have always known that Laura would be right there by my side, and this has always given me strength.

When Henry was born, she was the first to come to the hospital and she visited me each day during the early weeks of motherhood. I was scared and tired and feeling completely incompetent and like my body had been run over by a semi, but she helped me through it. She made me laugh while I awkwardly tried to feed my baby and reminded me over and over again that I could "do this." She kept me company, kept me feeling strong, and kept me sane.

On Tuesday night before her baby was born, I was able to visit Laura in the hospital. As I walked through the hallway of the labor and delivery wing, I felt lightheaded. I remembered being in this position so vividly. A slight PTSD fit descended, but once I saw Laura sitting in bed with a smile on her face, this subsided and all I could see was my brave and beautiful friend. I was so excited for her. She was about to be a mom!  Of course, I had seen her bump growing for 9 months but suddenly seeing her in the hospital it all became real. She was confident, cheerful, and in control. I could not have been more proud of her. I could see that awkward freshman friend inside the eyes of this strong mom and I felt nothing more than overwhelming love for my best friend.

I sat on pins and needles waiting to hear about the birth. Finally, on Wednesday morning, the little one arrived! Seeing Laura in the hospital the following day was so special. Yet again, I was impressed by how at ease she was. She is a natural mommy.  From holding, to feeding, to changing the little one, Laura looked like a pro.  She was unafraid to advocate for herself and little one with the nursing staff and truly was glowing! I had never seen her look more beautiful (and this is saying a lot since she is just such a beauty already!).  Watching her trouble-shoot breastfeeding has been amazing to witness. Breastfeeding can feel like anything but natural those first days and weeks. I remember feeling so lost, sore, and tired. Henry would squawk at me and I felt totally out of control of something that should be "easy." It was the hardest thing I ever did next to pushing that little boy out. Now, Laura is there working through the early breastfeeding trials. In the times, I have seen her, she has not been frustrated or angry or upset. She continues to approach each feeding with new eyes, awareness, and determination. Her love for her baby is truly palpable.  I am incredible impressed by her.

Having a bestie who has a baby while I, myself, am a new mom is truly a gift. All I can imagine are our days together raising our little boys. There will be so many firsts over the next few days, months, and year together and I am so lucky that I will be able to share my mommyhood with my best friend who I truly love so much!

henry adam: five months

"Where is he?" David asks as we stare at the baby monitor at 2AM. Quickly, we scan the cam from side to side. "Ah, there he is, all the way up in the corner," I sigh, relieved. Henry might not be fully mobile but he is definitely not still any more! It might take him a long time to creep across the crib but if you miss the process (because you are catatonic between feedings) his positional change seems tremendous! This nightly movement has been dubbed "creeping to the corner." Each night, we lay the wee one down in the center of his crib on his back. It is a textbook transition. But this little guy has his own agenda these days and patiently creeps and drags his squishy body up into the corner of his crib so his face is smushed up against the rail as though he were trying to smother himself. And of course, he flops onto his belly. In this dangerous pose he slumbers sweetly and sticks his bum up for good measure! This, combined with his new talent of re-binkying himself, has helped lengthen his sleep cycle. I cannot help but laugh in the middle of the night while I watch him search for his binky in the dark. His little hand glides over the sheet searching for it, finding it, and then through a process of trial and error he is able to get the binky into his mouth correctly! Hooray!

Since mobility is the theme of the month, awake-Henry is also actively scooting himself across the floor. He can now lock his arms and hold himself upright in a "crawling pose" and when on his belly he can do a fancy 360 spin. He rolls across his play mat and across the room, so turning your back on him to grab something or do something quickly is no longer an option. He is able to hold himself upright in a sitting pose for about 30 seconds and really wants to master this skill. Lying under the canopy of his play mat is frustrating for him as he would much rather sit up alongside his baby gym in an seated assist. He is our adorable, floppy gymnast as he tries out his new moves and we spot him throughout his day! This spotting includes watching him stand and hold onto various low items around the house. Henry likes to grab onto the coffee table, his bookcase, and the couches. But it will definitely be a little while before he can do this without a helping hand. Lastly, my latest favorite Henry move is the crunch out of the car seat. He clearly knows that when the buckle to his car seat is unclasped, it is time to come out. He immediately locks his arms and crunches forward with all his might in an attempt to bust out. I cannot help myself from laughing at this adorable attempt.

There have been so many firsts this month, including a whole lot of laughter. Henry finds yawning to be hilarious.  Do you want to snap a great shot of the little guy with a sweet smile? Then just start yawning at him. He literally cannot contain himself. He also laughs when he sneezes! When I sneeze, he cries but when the sneeze is self-generated he laughs and laughs and laughs.  If you nibble his belly while changing him, he bursts out laughing and cannot contain his delight as he flies about the house as an airplane in the arms of his dad! And then there is the owl puppet.  Henry loves this fury little toy. He watches it swoop and fly and dive bomb him for belly tickles. This is where we hear his heartiest laugh!

Did you know Henry eats? Well, sort of. We started noticing that when we ate in front of the little guy he started to fuss or stared at our food with his mouth agape. The signs were becoming clear. This boy was ready to start some solids. David assembled his high chair and we tried the first meal: peas. The green mush did not go over well. Henry batted our hands away and made those baby faces that all babies make with their first bite of solids. We were excited nonetheless, because at least he tried it and we would just have to introduce it again some other day. Bananas have been a recent hit!  He eats almost a sixth of a banana which is a lot for someone so small. No more batting the food away, he eagerly opens his mouth for a spoonful and even cried out for more! Watching Henry explore food is hilarious and awesome. I can already see this is going to be fun...and quite messy. I am hoping to start BLW (baby lead weaning) once he is about six months. A number of my mommy friends are doing it and they love the experience.

Lastly, every parenting article about sleep suggests establishing a sleep routine early and sticking to it. We followed this advice but it never seemed like Henry cared for it. Sometimes he would cry through a bath or fuss through a book. He seemed always to want just to nurse and sleep. Finally, this month it all clicked for him and you can tell he "gets it." He splashes and plays in the tub and he squeals when we lay him down to put on his pajamas and halo sleep sack. As soon as we pull the books out, he gets quiet and focuses on each and every page. His favorite bedtime stories are Dear Zoo and the Going to Bed Book. It is amazing to see how he anticipates the different steps of his sleep routine. Then David kisses and cuddles him before it is time to nurse. With the lights out, the nightlight on and his tranquil turtle playing softly in the background, Henry and I rock on the glider together while he nurses. This is going to sound super sappy but sometimes in this setting with my drowsy little boy I cry a little because it is so overwhelmingly sweet and cozy. He holds my hand and looks up at me and I tell him how much I love him and how special he is to daddy and me and how we are so lucky to have him in our lives. Then prying myself away I lay him in his crib.

This month:

  • Snuggles are constant. Henry loves to snuggle. He can lay and cuddle in your arms all day. He loves to sneak into the nook of your neck and play with your hair and just be held nice and close. Gosh this is my ABSOLUTE favorite!
  • Coy smiles happen every day. He gets this light in his eyes and just cracks the sweetest smile at you even from behind his binky.
  • Mobility is growing. This kid is ready to be on the move.
  • Henry arches his back when you try to change him, because really diaper changes have been too easy these past four month, ha! And, he tries to roll and roll away from you.
  • He loves to scratch fabric in order to hear the sound it makes, he especially loves scratching the netting on the side of his pack n' play and the arms of his glider while nursing.
  • Rolling is a skill we see practiced. You cannot lay him down without him rolling right over.
  • Art cards for babies from Wee Gallery are vastly entertaining these days.
  • Puppy pets are a must. He loves to get close to them and reach out his hand to touch their backs and heads. Who needs TV when you have four puppies to watch wrestle about the house? They entertain Henry for hours.
  • Henry tried some arts and crafts this month. During our mommy brunch, he made Christmas trees with his feet. Afterward, I tried to make turkey hands to send to our family and friends but this was a Pinterest fail.
thankful

Tis the season to be thankful! As we head into the holiday season, there is so much to be grateful for. 2014 has been a very very good year for our family. We have grown in so many ways and owe so much of our happiness to those who loved and supported us. David and I are so appreciative of our family and friends. Their constant presence this year truly helped us tackle the learning curve of parenthood. From cooking meals, to late night phone calls, to helping fold laundry, to Skype dates, to holding the baby, and checking in on us, we were never isolated as new parents and found instead a warm and welcoming community. This has been truly invaluable. And, I am so thankful to my parents who have uprooted themselves to Massachusetts.  Their close proximity is an act of complete selflessness. Having my parents near to us is such a gift. It is the ultimate gift to a new family. Not only will we be able to spend more time with them each week but Henry receives constant love from his mema and pepa as they care for him during the week. I know that this family care is unique and amazing and I am SO SO thankful that they have chosen to provide this for us and for Henry. Since I cannot be with him during the day, I know that my mom and dad are able to give him everything I would love to give. There is a great sense of comfort provided. There are so many pros and cons to the various care options for new babies. And so many studies reflect how babies grow and thrive in each of these settings. For us, this is the right fit and we are so thankful that my parents are equally excited about it. I am really looking forward to this new year with family nearer.

arts & crafts
On Saturday, we hosted a little Mommy & Baby Brunch at our home. It was fun setting up Henry's toys downstairs and thinking about how to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. I wanted the "play date" to be relaxed and a space where moms could connect while babies wiggled about and played together. It was exactly that! The moms I met when Henry was two weeks old are a fantastic group of supportive and fun women. I truly enjoy their company. Their insights, questions, and joy about motherhood are enriching! And, their creativity set us up for some fun arts & crafts that morning too.

Perhaps we will have to make a few more for grandparents for Christmas?

henry adam: four months
The days are long but the months are short! Is it really four months already since our little man joined our clan? I cannot believe it! When I look back at pictures of newborn Henry, I am amazed that he was ever that tiny (and, yes, I know he was never really that tiny but still you know what I mean).  Here is a picture of Henry our first night and next to it is a picture of him in the same bassinet last week. Despite a little razbliuto for my itsy bitsy newborn, I love exactly where we are right now. Another mommy blogger I follow keeps saying, "This is my favorite month" when writing about her son's growing up, and I know exactly what she means. It is amazing to witness this little one's constant development into a little boy. He really just melts my heart and I continue to fall deeper for this one.

This month has been full of noise. Henry is all about practicing his noises and testing out his vocal chords. After a hearty long nap, he can he heard cooing, babbling, and shrieking in delight. He loves to makes sounds like, "ah," "agoo", "ma," and "ha." He is also "laughing" a bit more too. No longer thunder without lightning there is a laugh now. He especially loves to be tickled under his arms and at his sides which often leads to little squeals. His voice just melts my heart and then when he and David are on a roll of making each other laugh, I could burst. Seriously, there is no faster way to make me swoon than watching those two together. Be still my heart!

And then there is all the singing. Henry loves to listen to music and singing. While most people would be pained to listen to me croak out a show tune, Henry is my biggest fan. He can sit in his bumbo chair or bouncing seat for up to thirty minutes or so just smiling and smiling as I sing at the top of my lungs with gusto a variety of Disney songs that I seem to know by heart. Henry's favorite songs though are "The Ants Go Marching" and "Proud Mary."  For the ants song, he loves to bounce side to side on your knees and he likes a deep octave, think Barry White. For "Proud Mary," he likes being held standing and he gets a little funky with the beat. We only ever make it through this part of the song

"Left a good job in the city Workin' for the Man every night and day But I never lost a minute of sleepin' Worryin' 'bout the way things might have been

[chorus] Big wheel keep on turnin' Proud Mary keep on burnin' Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river"

But Henry loves it and I cannot stop laughing whenever David busts it out. Then there are the evening dance parties at our humble abode. From Michael Jackson to Al Green to Journey, Henry loves to be held while we dance about the house. Even Mema gets in on the fun! Tonight for example we did an homage to motown before bedtime. It also helps that we are starting Henry early with pseudo instruments. He is all about the shaker eggs during these music sessions and can even hold one on his own and "shake" it a bit.

His hands never cease to amaze him these days. Everything he can grab goes straight into his mouth and he holds tightly to rattles, toys, clothes, necklaces, etc. etc. And when he falls asleep he holds his hands together over his little chest and slowly, slowly his hands come apart and in super slow motion find their way to the bed beside him. I love watching this little activity over the baby monitor. You know Henry is asleep once his hands make contact with the mattress.

Aside from all of these little-person growth triumphs, October has been a very busy month as we introduce him to Fall treats and savor the beautiful crisp weather. So far Henry has been pumpkin picking at Volante Farms, attended Wee Reads at the Sudbury Library, gone to a Halloween celebration, met new friends (like Erin and Bill), spent time with baby friends, attended a costume party, baby shower, and a few  tiny tot swim classes.  These swim classes have been SO fun. Each Sunday at 11:15AM we meet up with some friends in Sudbury and do the open swim time for littles. Henry is not sure how he feels about swimming. The first time in the water he was as stiff as a board as we helped him glide through the water. The second time, he was grumpy for the first ten minutes then we got some laughs and smiles out of him. One thing is for certain after each swim session, the little man crashes for an epic nap!

Ah, and that gets us to his sleep schedule these days. Finally we have hit our stride again when it comes to sleep. Henry takes a morning nap around 8AM for about an hour, then an afternoon nap for about two hours, and an early evening nap around 4PM for another hour. Then it is bedtime at 6:30, late night snack at 10PM and even later night snack at 2AM and then up for the day at 6AM. While this isn't exactly sleeping through the night the schedule works for him and me and I love snuggling his little sweet self in the middle of the night while we rock together on the glider. Luckily once he finishes his nursing he goes straight to sleep. He is wearing 6 months clothes now. And as always, I am just so lucky to be this little one's mom. I love him so much and miss him all day long when I am off at work.

This month Henry is

  • Starting to sleep on his side
  • Loving his Zutano Booties
  • Mad about his Jumper
  • "Talking" up a storm
  • Starting to laugh and squeal when you tickle him
  • Mesmerized by singing
  • Loves dance parties
  • Dresses up for Halloween
  • Looks at pictures of his family in a little photo album we made for him
  • Rolls around like a professional
  • Nibbles on everything
  • Enjoys sucking on apples
  • Loves to hold his hands and to hold your hands
  • Swims (sort of)
  • Shakes his musical instruments
  • Plays with puzzles
  • Loves looking at himself in the mirror
lion man

I am not sure what Henry's first Halloween will look like exactly. Since it falls on a Friday, David and I will both have to work during the day.  Once we get home, it might be either too late or too cold to take the lion man out. Of course, if these two concerns do not present themselves, then we are aiming to taking the little lion out on the town (for at least a few minutes) to "trick or treat." It will be funny bringing him by our neighbors homes or bringing him over to close friend's. If nothing else, he will don his little costume and we will observe the holiday through photographs! I am sure Henry is psyched about it! Regardless of how we celebrate on October 31, Henry was able to spend a little afternoon with his friends recently at a pumpkin festival in costume!  It was adorable seeing his little buds dressed as a strawberry, cow, and astronaut. And, of course I loved seeing their parents as well. It is nice being a part of a little group of moms to share stories, insights, goofy moments, and, most importantly, to watch our babies grow up, thrive, and begin to reach out and "play" with one another. It is such a fun part of mommy-hood. To me, this was our Halloween celebration!

dogs & babies
It has been said that a dog is man's best friend, and "a dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down." In our house, this is incredibly true. Since welcoming Henry into our lives, we have not been the best puppy parents. Henry's needs have constantly come before our own and before our pups. He has laid a fog over our eyes in which we see only his little self and his little needs. And despite this negligence, Buster and Bella have been unflappable in their love for their less then mindful pack leaders. They continue to be love and loyalty personified.

In the middle of night when Henry chirps and squawks, the dogs cock their heads to the sound, confirm that the little man is being addressed by one of the humans, and return to slumber as best as they can. Just like the humans, they have not had one restful night since July. Yet, they remain ever present. They come to bed each night and brace for the restlessness. They warm the bed on chilly nights and occasionally lick an exposed leg or hand to remind us that they are there and there they shall remain. In the wee hours of the night, when I am awake with my little owl, I know I am not alone since their half-watchful eyes and their always ready to secure selves remain close by.

When I am frustrated that they are crowding the bed while I try to nurse Henry, a short "move, move, move" and Bella lumbers over to the end of the bed in order to make space for this unapologetic newcomer and her sometimes distraught and disheveled adult human . During the day when we aren't always able to take them for walks, they head out back and make do with the yard. They romp about and play with each and return to the house and maintain their quiet, watchful place. When Henry is on the floor flaunting an interesting toy, they don't rush ahead for it, they lay beside him, sometimes steal of lick of his little hand or of his toy.  But, they know these are not their toys and instead wait for this little human to grow up into the boy who will chase them about the house. As a result of their condition, the dogs play a long waiting game. They wait for David and I to pet, cuddle, and play with them, they wait outside a lot longer these days while we wrangle the little man inside, they wait and wait for Henry to grow up.  They are truly beautiful, wonderful, amazing pups. They have proven that despite their world being turned upside down by this pint size new ruler of the home, that they are calm, loving, patient little beasts.

henry adam: three months
and an "out take" because it is so darn cute and funny!

According to the app "wonder weeks," Henry has just completed his stormy week. As he turns 3 months old, his body is focused on learning smooth transitions: coordinating his limbs, focusing his eyes, developing speech, and processing his surroundings.  Since this is so much work for a little one, the app marks it as "stormy" because babies can be often quite fussy.  Thankfully, Henry has been his usual jovial self. Yes, this time period may have affected his sleep which up until last week was merely Henry not sleeping at all.  But, aside from the lack of sleep (which has gotten MUCH better) Henry has been a super curious, playful, and happy little guy.  We joke that his laugh is like thunder and lightening. Right now he opens his mouth wide to give a hearty chuckle but there is not a sound. Perhaps like thunder, his laugh will soon follow his toothless smile. At lunch on Saturday, David had to change a blow out diaper and said that he heard the first true hearty laugh out of the little man! I am waiting patiently for a repeat performance.

This month marked my full return to work and Henry's daytime care turning over to Mema's capable hands. Mema and Henry are doing great together. Each morning my phone buzzes with picture updates, as Mema reads stories, plays on the mat, feeds and swaddles him for naps, and helps Henry practice rolling over.  I love coming home and asking Mema, "How was your day?" and she replies, "Oh it was wonderful. We did all of our activities together." At the same time, it is hard being away each day. Leaving in the morning continues to rip out my heart and I still cry most mornings on the drive in. The consolation is knowing that Henry is having a wonderful time at home with Mema who loves him so very much.  Under her supervision, he has started to really respond to conversation and is determined to roll over.  A few "accidental" rolls have occurred. Then finally last night, while I was working my epic long night on campus, Henry did it. He rolled, and rolled, and rolled for Mema and Pepa.  This left us all in a little panic. We were planning to wean Henry from his swaddle this weekend but had to do it cold turkey now that he could flip himself over. He must have been ready for the release of his arms during sleep because he slept great despite the new sensations and freedom.

The best part of this month may just be the sounds that Henry makes. He loves to lay down and stare up at you and just coo and shriek and babble. I know he has to grow up but I wish I could just savor these moments longer!!  This may just be my most favorite month yet, really. His little personality continues to develop and he is such a flirt! He practices his grin, coy smile, and even his frown. And while he obviously cannot speak yet, these expressions really do fill the home. It is not a far stretch to imagine him chatting at the dinner table.

Henry is starting to grab and reach for things and this includes holding onto your clothes as you cuddle and sway him. He loves playing with his rattles, although sometimes he gets carried away and whacks himself in the face.  And, he loves watching the dogs play.  Right now we have four dogs in the house: Buster, Bella, Daisy, and Blaise. Each of these little beasts wants to be near Henry at all times. While this can be a little frustrating since they don't quite understand their own strength, it does come from a place of curiosity and Henry is equally curious about these fuzzy creatures who like to stick their wet noses on his cheeks.  With a little assistance, Henry pets each  of his furry friends.

His morning and evening routines seem to be developing as well. My alarm goes off at 5AM and I head into the shower to get ready for work. By 5:30AM, Henry is awake and David plays and cuddles him in bed until I finish. Then I take over from 5:45-6:00AM and play in bed with Henry while David showers and gets ready. Then around 6:05AM we all head downstairs. My mom joins us and makes coffee for the adults while David plays with Henry in the living room.  I pack up my bags for school, eat some breakfast, and then snuggle the little guy so David can do the same. We usually have 15-20 minutes all together in the living room before it is time to said our goodbyes for work. At night, recently, Henry has started his bedtime routine at 7PM with a bath.  Then it is pj time, reading, snuggles, a fresh diaper, a last meal, a little swaying and down for bed.  While he doesn't sleep completely through the night the new pattern is to sleep until 12:30AM and then get up again around 3:30AM and then 5:30AM.  And, our little man is about 15lbs and 25.5 inches and barely fitting in size 3 months!

This month Henry is:

  • All smiles
  • Cooing, babbling, and shrieking
  • Using his tranquil turtle to help him go to sleep (and David and I love it too, it is SO peaceful!)
  • Has changed swaddles , these seem to be a little stronger than the summer swaddles we originally used
  • Plays with his rattle and rocket ship from Bannor Toys
  • Sits in his Bumbo Seat
  • Loves reading. We have started to read the Biscuit books
  • Loves seeing his friends
  • Takes strolls in the park
  • Enjoys brunch on Sundays
  • Can be in the Ergobaby without the infant insert and doesn't only sleep in it now
  • Showing signs of laughter and rolling over
  • Takes a bottle like a champion (Dr. Brown all the way!)
  • Has discovered his hands and feets
  • Loves to chew on your hand or his hands
  • Is starting to drool and blow bubbles
  • Grabbing and grasping for things around him

 

sleep deprivation: it's real
Remember when I posted about how Henry was a sleep champion? Yea....that's over. Our little man has decided that he is no longer sleepy and much more interested in the world around him. Of course, this was inevitable but it is still a little sad to say good bye to those beautiful long 4 and 5 hour sleep stretches. Now, I am thrilled if we get 2 hours of consecutive sleep! The decline of sleep coincided with my return to work. Isn't that how it always goes?  I am left wondering why this is and how exactly this can be "corrected" (if it can).

Really, I just wish I had enough energy to observe our situation more. With Henry, we have discovered that if we observe him and really watch his cues, we are usually able to "crack" the code. Unfortunately, I am just SO tired. It wasn't so bad after the first week of sleep deprivation but now heading into our third week of inconsistent sleep, I feel it in my bones. My mind is in a perpetual cloud. Things hurt that I never knew could hurt so badly, like my lumbar, my neck, and eyelids. Yes, my eyelids actually hurt, probably because those eyelid muscles are working so hard to keep my eyes open, right? In the middle of the night when Henry cries, my initial thought is, "Whose baby is crying?" Then once the sleep fogs lifts a bit I realize where I am.  But, it is always so funny to me that I forget in my delirious sleep state.

It is amazing how many "second winds" you get in a single day. Just when I think I cannot stop myself from falling head over heels to the ground for a snooze wherever it is I am standing in that moment, then a surge of wild energy hits. Clearly, it is this wild energy that has sustained parents throughout generations of sleepless babies. But you have to be careful about this energy. It fades as quickly as it arrives and while it fades you may find that your mind, thoughts, and speech, which seem sharp one minute, turn to mush the next. Sitting with my advisees, I ask, "Who attended the leadershit conference this year?" Laughing their heads off, they ask, "What!??" and I reply, "What?" Yup, I had no idea that my mouth had forsaken me and in trying to retrieve the correct vocabulary misfired swapping a "t" for a "p".  There I was thinking I was asking a clear question and starting up a nice dialogue when in fact my body was shutting down and there was nothing I could do to stop it!

Even David is walking around in a zombie-like trance. One minute he is awake on the couch cuddling Henry and the next he too is resting his eyes. So what do we do? Seriously, what do we do? Yes, this phase will pass and as my friend noted: David and I will get accustomed to living and operating "light and lean." But, I wonder if the issue stems from Henry's swaddle a.k.a. his sleep crutch. He might be in limbo right now.  He seems to still want to be swaddled in order to fall asleep but he also is fighting against the swaddle.  His startle reflex is still very apparent though and leaving his arms out free wakes him. I think we need to wean Henry from his swaddle and get him to a place where he can fall asleep without his baby straight jacket. And.....we need to practice this whole, "lay baby down while sleepy and not asleep" so that he learns how to put himself to sleep and isn't also dependent on swinging and swaying. So fellow parents, can you have mercy on the weary and share your sleep tips or advice?