16 Month Check In

Hey there Ben Boy! I’ve been thinking about you lately and decided to write a quick post. Dad and I were talking about what lucky parents we are to have such a nice, mellow kiddo. One of Dad’s co-workers has a son who is very into sports, likes to kick and throw balls, and can get aggressive. Your favorite things are reading and coloring (more circles now than line-y scribbles), the Winnie the Pooh movie, and climbing up to where ever Dad or I happen to be. You catch on to puzzles pretty quickly and love the barnyard animals eat and the transportation one. You are usually happy, although I think you’re starting to get frustrated with your vocabulary. You get upset when you try to tell us something by flapping your hands and grunting and we don’t understand. 

Since last post, you’ve learned lots of new things. You know all the letters of the alphabet, say Mama, Dada, banana, bubble, raisin, and did it, and can go down the stairs pretty much on your own. You still nurse a handful of times during the day, and we still co-sleep for the second half of the night. When you wake up too early in the morning, Dad and I are often not mentally prepared to play yet, and you take advantage of that by going into the cubbies built into our headboard and finding things to play with. This has prompted Daddy to start calling you Magpie. Your favorite things to get are the TV remote, the remote for the fan, and the Ukelele tuner which has a fun button you like to press. 

   
 

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One Year Olds Can…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here, Love, but I had to record all of the cool things you can do at one year old. We celebrated your birthday on the 11th by getting you a goldfish. We thought it would be a gift that you could grow into, giving it a name when you’re talking, and feeding it twice a day when you’re a little older. Right now, you like to sit on the counter while I feed it, and follow it with your finger as it swims. Your birthday party was on the 19th, and we had both sets of grandparents, Aunt Kendra, Uncle Andrew, great aunts and uncles, cousins once removed, and even a few of Daddy’s co-workers there. You LOVED all the attention and had a great time playing with Daddy’s cousins. Instead of a cake, you had a pavlova with nectarines and strawberries and whipped cream that I made. Dad and I weren’t super excited about your first refined sugar experience being a cake, even if it was smallish. You were not sure about the whole singing Happy Birthday thing.  What was everyone doing gathered around watching you, singing a song you didn’t know?! You didn’t seem to know what to do with the pavlova at first either. You picked off the candies that spelled “Happy Birthday Ben”, licked the whipped cream from them, and put them to the side. You offered one or two to your friend Emily, which was very nice 😀 Eventually, you got into the texture and taste of the whipped cream and really started digging your hands in. Once you found the fruit, you were hooked!

So what are all the great things you can do with a whole year under your belt?
Words and Sounds

  • “Da” – your official first word! We noticed that you whisper Da when you see or run to Daddy. This is different than your typical dadadada babbling that happens at other times. 
  • Elephant, sheep, horse sounds – when we ask what these animals say, you are happy to trumpet, Baa, and sort of yell Ahhhh (two weeks after your birthday, you added pig noises to your repertoire. You don’t say oink, but you kind of make a back of your throat g sound)
  • Letters – you will tell us the sounds that a letter makes if we ask the letter name, you know them both in order (you often randomly make the A and B sounds, or E F G H sounds), and out of order/individually. You know :A B D E F G H I M N P T   You are working on: C K J   The rest will come eventually I’m sure!
  • Sign Language – you sign milk, more, all done, and water often. You try to sign shoes and fish, but they look like more and waving respectively. You’ll get it! I’m adding airplane, bird, swim, diaper, potty, pee pee, poo poo, and dog to your repertoire, but you haven’t really made any attempts at those, which is ok, they’re all sort of complicated. You have a basic understanding of what I mean when I sign them to you, and that’s half the battle

Following Directions

You are really keeping things in your mind as you run from room to room. You’ll bring us things we ask for, put toys and books away, and look for things in the room. You also do things like shrug, bend your neck, thump your chest, stomp, spin, and dance (bouncing) when we ask.

Likes/Dislikes

You are pretty clear about what you like and don’t like, and have learned that crying is a way of expressing displeasure. You often “cry” with no tears when something upsets you. You like:

  • Books and reading – you’ll bring me book after book, read the same one over and over, and sit all by yourself flipping through your library. We still read a book together each night before bed
  • Things that move – airplanes, birds, helicopters, and blimps stop you in your tracks. You point at the sky at the hint of an engine roar. You also love to watch cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and strollers. When we take walks where you’re not in a stroller, you run to pet dogs we pass.  Most people are happy to let you pet their dogs, and you eat it up
  • Routines – you have several routines, and I just need to tell you what we’re going to do, and you’re running to the next step. You hustle to the bathroom to brush your teeth, know the song we sing, and love to dry your mouth at the end. When you want to go outside (which is always) you run to where we keep your shoes, then to the closet where the baby backpack is, then to the key holder, then to the patio door, hoping we’ll take the hint and take you outside. After we sit on the potty in the morning, you grab your old diaper and throw it in the Ubbi. I have started letting you help me unload the dishwasher, and you know exactly where the cutting boards go; not so much the other dishes, but there’s lots of time for that!

To be honest, you don’t dislike much. You don’t like Daddy’s lime La Croix sparkling water. You don’t prefer asparagus, but you’ll eat it if it’s the first thing on your plate. You’ll eat spicy food, but when it starts to burn your mouth, you cry and want water. We think you’ll grow into liking it eventually. That’s really all I can think of!

Personality

Daddy and I are so lucky to have you, Ben! You are so easy-going and content. You just want to be included in whatever is going on, doesn’t matter what it is. You transition from one activity to another with no issues, you do great in the car, and love taking walks in the stroller. You are starting to find humor in things and will sort of chuckle to yourself when something tickles your fancy. You love when we have the Apple TV screensaver on; it’s all of our pictures of you. You are very independent. We have set up the house so it’s safe for you to wander the floor we’re on at will. Sometimes we leave the patio door open and let you play out there while we work in the kitchen. You love to interact with people, but will absolutely go off and do your own thing too. You are showing signs of being a very kind person. When another kid grabs a toy from you, you will sometimes let them have it, sometimes take it back, and sometimes bring them another toy to add to their collection. You give hugs, snuggles, and pats, but are more withholding with kisses. I’ve never seen you do anything out of malice or anger or even sneakiness! 

Happy birthday, Ben. I love you all the ways, and can’t wait to see what the first year of toddlerhood brings!

   
Your Chicka Chicka Boom Boom birthday party!  

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Figuring out Food

Mr. Ben, you are eight months old. You love to move around, crawling all over the house (you’re pretty quick!) and standing up on your own. You’ve even taken a step or two, but you don’t seem very anxious to walk. You got your first tooth a few weeks ago, the bottom left one, and the bottom right is on its way. Daddy and I are really enjoying watching your personality develop. You are still very easy going, and like people. You have developed some separation anxiety,  but for you, it means that you prefer to have Mom in sight when new people (or people you don’t see very often) are in your space. You warm up pretty quickly, though. Grandma and Granddad have watched you when the nanny couldn’t be here, and that’s gone just fine. 

You love to eat and try new foods, especially if Mom and Dad are eating the same thing. We started out doing home made baby food purees, and you liked those quite a bit. We put fruit in your oatmeal in the morning and we do veggies for lunch and dinner. We even tried puréed salmon with potatoes, which isn’t your favorite, but you power through it. I’ve been reading a few books about Baby Led Weaning, so after maybe a month of strictly puréed foods, I started to add smushy foods like banana and avocado for lunch. It made sense to me to let lunch be a sensory experience, because you don’t really need the calories as we are still nursing. I wanted you to be able to practice your hand-eye coordination and learn pincer grip. You absolutely love being in charge of your own meal. We add new foods often, and you haven’t found one you don’t like! Right now, the only purees you get are fruits mixed in with your oatmeal, and we’ve even moved from baby cereal to steel cut oats, so you’re pretty much eating whatever I do now. 

I am having a great time finding recipes that I will like and that you will be able to tackle too. We have had great success with veggie fritters, mango chicken curry, chicken noodle soup, and fish tacos so far. I want you to experience a variety of seasonings in addition to a range of fruits, veggies, and meats. Veggie fritters are one recipe that I will definitely continue to play with. They are really versatile in terms of what can go in them, and I’d like to get away from the cornmeal aspect and see if adding a few more eggs would result in a more quiche/omelette type of product. I’m pinning the recipes we love and commenting on my modifications on Pinterest. I hope you continue to love every food we offer you, and appreciate a wide range of healthy things as you grow up. We love you little man!

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Ben’s Bedtime

As I’m writing this Ben, I’m lying on my side in a cuddle curl, and you keep snuggling closer and closer in. My nipple is in your eye, but you’re sleeping so you don’t care. All you want is to have at least one pajama clad foot on my leg, and one hand touching my skin, preferably petting my breast. I have to say, watching you behave perfectly instinctually in your sleep, and realizing that means more contact with Mom makes me feel very peaceful. 

We have been on a sleep journey this last month. You used to sleep from 7-11 (sometimes with a break or two) by yourself, then we’d put you in the Bassinest next to our bed for the rest of the night. From around four months, you’d  usually only wake once around 3:30 to eat, then right back to bed until 7:30ish. Then at six months things changed. You gained the ability to pull up and stand, making the Bassinest too dangerous. Dad and I thought this was perfect crib training time. You had slept there before for naps and the first stage of the night, so why not just keep you there? You had been such an easy going kid that we never expected this to be such an epic fail. You had no intention of staying in the crib all night long. After the first night, where I sort of figured you’d cry and wake a bit more often, you wouldn’t even last from 7-9pm without waking up. You became MUCH more sensitive to us putting you down after you fell asleep. Dad tried swaddling with some success, and I kept my hand on your back or covering your eyes until I could sneak away. I tried holding you still while rubbing your back to get you to fall asleep when you woke up way before feeding times. Dad tried cry it out for a few rounds of 90 seconds at a time, but that made all three of us want to cry. We read that you should learn to self-soothe and that we shouldn’t disrupt you during times when you were supposed to be sleeping by picking you up to rock you back down. This meant that the SECOND I heard you stir in the crib, I’d run to your room to administer a paci and a shushing, because the less fully awKe you were, the shorter it took to get you back to sleep. I was getting less sleep than I had in months and though I was going to go crazy!

Finally we decided to let you sleep in the Bassinest again. We lowered it a bit so that if you pushed up on the collapsible side, you’d be level with our bed and could crawl out. Your sleep pattern started to mellow out again. We gradually shifted to where we are now, 100% bedsharing. First, we let you stay in the Bassinest until you woke in the middle of the night, then I’d bring you in bed. Then it was for the twilight feed and for the rest of the night….maybe it wasn’t so gradual…! Anyway, now that we sleep this way, I think we both get a ton more sleep! Neither of us has to wake all the way up for you to nurse, and we started overnight diapers, so I never have to leave the bed at all during the night. I try to make sure your face is clear of my pillows ,  but it hasn’t really been an issue. Sometimes Daddy takes you to bed early for cuddles before I come in to feed you. I love that!

Our last issue is figuring out how to get you to sleep later in the morning. You used to be a 7:30 am kind of guy, and now it’s more like 6am! I can’t quite deal with this, so we pushed your bedtime to 8pm. This has not helped… Oh well. We’re learning, right? Your routine starts at 6:30 with dinner, then at 7:30 we do bath time. It used to be at 6:45, but not with the pushed back timeline. Then we nurse, read, pray, and sing Twinkle Twinkle. I rock you to sleep and you stay in your crib until 10:30 or 11 when we bring you to our bed for the night. It’s not the typical setup I think, but I think it’s sweet and it works really well for us. Love you little bug!

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10:44pm

Ben, right now there is milk on my belly because you’re a messy eater while you’re sleeping. I love you!

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Floaty Thoughts

Ben, I’ve been thinking about the idea that you will never know me as a person other than your mom. That’s a sort of weird thing to me, as I’ve spent 28 years not being your mom. I’ll likely tell you stories about when I was younger, had fights with my parents, loved show choir and drama, worked at crappy jobs, and played softball every summer, but unless I get some of those activities back into my life, you won’t know me as that person. In your life, I will have always had smile lines, grey hairs, and a C-section scar. You won’t know the little girl who read a book while walking, eating, and brushing her teeth. You won’t know the kid who had pretty debilitating stage fright until a school choir rendition of a Beauty and the Beast medley made her re-think performance. You won’t remember the nine months where I was the only person in your world; a person you knew so intimately that you didn’t understand that we were separate individuals. You probably won’t remember the next few years as Dad and I check your bassinet or playpen to watch you breathe, laugh and clap every time you poop, and watch in disbelief as you grow SO much week by week. Hopefully what you will remember, the culmination of all of my past experiences, will be relatively good!

Whew! That was a load! Anyway Ben, you’re 19 weeks old now, and you’re just the most adorable kid! You’re on the cusp of crawling. You will sit up and play with a toy, but if you see something you want elsewhere, you’ll tip yourself forward onto your hands and knees (often by way of your face!) and rock back and forth. You don’t feel comfortable lifting your hands when you’re in this position, but sometimes you’ll scoot your legs forward, put your face on the ground, lay out in a superman, then get back onto hands and knees. You have a 33/33/33 chance of moving forward, moving backward, or turning 🙂 You have excellent hair, and we’ve started putting you in the big tub when we give you a bath. You get really smiley in there when you’re on your back, but are a bit panicky on your tummy, even though you can easily push up on your arms to keep your face out of the water.  Another new trick is shown in the pictures below:

Eating toes

Eating toes

IMG_1286

You caught me!

You used to try to get your toes by leaning forward, but you’d pretty much only make yourself throw up.  Now you grab your feet pretty much any time you’re on your back, and pop those toes in your mouth.  You also love being up in the air, and have ticklish ribs.  Your dad and I love to make you laugh!  We lay you on the ottoman, kneel over you, and chat, tickle, laugh, and play 🙂  It’s one of the best times of our day.

That’s all for now!  Love you little man 🙂

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The First Eight Weeks

Holy man, Ben! You will be eight weeks old tomorrow! (Note: I started writing this post a few weeks ago…) Two months is not very old, but you have changed SO much since we first met you.

The first thing that comes to mind as having evolved a lot is your eating habits. While we were in the hospital and for the first week we were home, I talked to a bunch of lactation consultants. You didn’t always have the easiest time latching on, and I wanted to make absolutely sure that you’d get the food you needed to grow. You lost about 7% of your birth weight in the first few days, and the nurses told us that it shouldn’t dip too much more than that or we might have to supplement with formula. Thankfully, by the time we left the hospital five days after your birth, you had surpassed your birth weight and were on the path to growing very well. Once I could help you latch well, feedings were positive experiences. Sometimes though, you’d pull off and bonk your head all over my chest like you had lost the nipple (keep in mind that you were just on it). I’d have to re-position myself in your mouth and wait for you to get a good suction. You also were pretty tough to keep awake during feedings. You’d fall asleep several times and I’d have to tickle your neck, stroke your throat, or blow cold air on you to remind you that sleeping and eating are sort of mutually exclusive activities. Sometimes you would indicate to me that you were finished eating by throwing your head back and both hands in the air. It was a very dramatic way to tell me “Mom, I’m finished”, and you would always do this in your sleep. Nowadays, you seem to be a very efficient milk consumer. You continue to grow well both in weight and height, you’re very strong, and quite alert when awake. You rarely sit still when you feed, and you still pull yourself off pretty often. You still seem confused when you pull off; your reactions range from looking around for where I might have hidden your food supply to screaming your head off. Once I help you re-discover the right spot though, you’ll latch yourself on with no help from me. I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment! You tend to stay awake through full feedings, which shouldn’t be too hard, as they typically range between 7-12 minutes total. This is not very long as far as average infant feedings go, but because you’re growing so well, neither I nor the pediatrician is too concerned.

The next major area of change is obviously size. When you were just born, I could cradle you in one arm and just your little feet would dangle off. At one month, way more of your leg passed my fingers, and now I need to use both arms or have you partially sitting in order to support you with one arm. You were such a big guy at birth that we pretty much ditched all of the clothes that were NB size, so you started in the 0-3 month clothes. At six weeks, we moved you into some 3-6 month outfits, because the smaller jammies and onsies pulled pretty tight between your shoulders and diaper. You’re not all that chubby of a baby though, so most of the outfits you wear (and even some of the ones you’ve grown out of) have a good amount of room in the belly area. It’s sort of sad to me that you’re doing so much growing so quickly, so I like to see that the 3-6 month clothes generally need to have legs and sleeves rolled once or twice to get the proper length.

Finally, your strength and mobility have really progressed. In addition to being big and long, you’ve pretty much been strong since day one. At four weeks, you had reasonably good head control, but Dad and I would still have to provide some support to keep you from flopping around too much. Now, you hold your head up entirely on your own (unless you’re totally falling asleep), you turn your head from side to side, and you’ll raise your head up without using your arms at all when you’re on your tummy. In the one month range, you really enjoyed tummy time. You would open your eyes and look all around, and you’d even prop up on your elbows to get yourself higher. Dad watched you kick on that tummy mat, so he started to put his had at your feet to give you something to kick off from. In this way, you’d propel yourself from the bottom to the top of the mat in no time!  Now that you’re two months old, we’re trying to teach you to sit up on your own.  You sit pretty well, but you still need our help not to topple over sideways, backwards, or forwards.  You will sit and play with us sometimes, but you typically prefer to stand!  You hold onto our fingers and stand on mom’s lap or dad’s belly.  You smile and drool and talk, and we just LOVE to play with you!  Some of your favorite things to do are:

1) Trying to get your toes.  You lean forward and look hard at your feet, but your hands aren’t coordinated enough to grab your toes yet.  You grunt and groan like you’re doing a bunch of hard work, and end up getting frustrated.  Even when we put your hands ON your toes, you don’t seem satisfied.  Maybe one day you’ll lay on your back, and bring your feet to your face like other babies do!

2) Airplane.  We sing the “Airplane flying in the sky” song and you smile really wide at all the zooming

3) Dancing.  I made up some words to This Land is Your Land, and we do a lot of dance moves.  The song goes like this: “My name is Ben; And I love to dance; And I dance dance dance (And I bounce/shake my butt/shimmy/hula/etc.); I dance all day; My name is Ben and I love to dance, and so I dance (bounce/shake/etc) all day long; My name is Ben; And I love to dance.”  It’s a pretty fantastic song!  You like all the different movements, and I like the song because I anything new I think up can easily fit right in.

I could write about you all day long, but I can only write while you’re sleeping, and you just woke up!  I’ll tell you more about yourself later 🙂

Sleeping after eating a few days after we got home from the hospital

Sleeping after eating a few days after we got home from the hospital

One month old - laying on Rufus the Elephant

One month old – laying on Rufus the Elephant

Two months old and standing with Dad

Two months old and standing with Dad

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