Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seven Months Old and Going Strong

Our Ollie Bear is 7 months old today! This last month has flown by; I feel as though I just updated his 6 month status.

His personality has started to develop more this month. He doesn't like loud noises and, in fact, cries when certain people laugh (Specifically, when my good friend, Phuong, and Andrew's good friend, Dom, laugh. They both have booming laughs!). He's very observant, although we've known that from the day he was born! In fact, my good friend, Aminta, tells me that her mom still talks about how she's never seen such an alert newborn. That trait has continued to develop. He picks things up, studies them, tests them in his mouth, and bangs them on things. He'll pick up two objects and bang them together. He scratches at objects and table tops to see what they feel like. He flips objects over in his hands to see them from different angles. During feeding time, when I hand him his spoon, he now sticks his hand into the food and watches his hand as he mashes the food between his fingers. Lately, he's gotten extra grabby. My glasses are not safe! Today, Andrew opened his desk drawer, and within 5 seconds, Oliver reached in and threw two packs of batteries and a glue stick onto the floor.

Oliver's also getting more mobile. He tries very hard to push himself forward, and he frequently uses one foot to push forward a few inches and then flops onto his back. Then, he rolls back onto his stomach and pushes with one foot again, moving forward and flopping onto his back. Occasionally, he pushes himself up into a position that's similar to the yoga pose, downward dog. We have to watch him all the time now! We haven't set up the baby gate, but if I'm on the opposite end of a room from him, I keep the door closed so he doesn't motor out to the stairs. Speaking of which, Oliver took his first tumble this month, too (and it was my fault). I was changing his diaper up on the couch. I finished buttoning him up, and I turned my head from him for (literally) 3 seconds, and he plopped over and off the couch! Thank goodness, he landed on his butt, but I was so scared. I'm sure many of you other moms/dads know what I mean, as it's the worst feeling, ever.

Oliver officially has two teeth! His bottom right tooth popped through on May 16. He teethed for just over a week, and he was so miserable I took him to urgent care because I didn't realize he was teething. Last Sunday, I thought his top left tooth broke through. Turns out, it was pushing against the gum so I could see it, but it didn't actually break through until today. The teething wasn't too terrible this time around. He drooled a lot, which irritated his chin, and he wouldn't let us touch his mouth. Now he's my little jack-o-lantern!

His solid food selection is rapidly expanding. As far as grains go, he's had baby rice cereal, baby oatmeal, and Cheerios (oats). For fruit, he's had apples, pears, bananas, and avocado. His favorite fruit is definitely bananas! For vegetables, he's had carrots, parsnip, sweet potatoes (he's coming around on those but still doesn't love them), peas, onions, and green beans. Of those, he really likes carrots, peas, and green beans. As for the meat group, Oliver has tried turkey, and he seems to like it (although he's not sure about the texture). He has had both jarred turkey and homemade turkey that Andrew's mom made for him. We still haven't given him much dairy, although is pediatrician gave the green light on it. His turkey dinner was made with a touch of butter, and he did OK with that. Today, for the first time, we gave him some baby yogurt. He liked it very much, but because it's higher in fat than anything else he's eaten before, he got full quickly. Thankfully, Andrew was around to eat the rest. Also, we gave him a little taste of our homemade mango sorbet (it just had mangos and limes with a little sugar and water), and he really loved it!

Cheerio halves are the only finger foods he's tried. He picks up the halves but has only gotten one into his mouth so far. I pop them in for him, and he loves them!

He's also kind of drinking water from a cup. Well, first, let me say, on the rare occasion he has a bottle, he drinks the milk himself. When I give him a cup of water, I hold onto it with him and help him tip it. He drinks it right up! Sometimes, when I let go, he drinks it just fine. Other times, he spills it everywhere, but he's definitely learning!

Oliver is sitting very well, but he's still not at a point where we could plop him down on the floor and walk away. When he has something against his butt, like my leg, he'll sit for 10 minutes or more. When he's completely on his own, I think his record is about 3 or 4 minutes before falling over or pushing himself forward.

Diaper changes are getting more exciting. First, he tries to roll everywhere, so it's hard to seal them. Then, when we do Velcro/stick the diaper (depending on if it's cloth or disposable), he undoes the seal! One day, it was hilarious: Andrew sealed one side and moved to the other. Oliver undid the first seal. Andrew went back to snap that one, and Oliver undid the other side, and so on and so forth. Yesterday, Andrew's parents watched Oliver for a couple of hours. Colleen had Oliver just in his cloth diaper. She let him play for a few minutes, and when she went back to him, he'd unsnapped and wiggled out of the diaper!

As for "talking," Oliver loves to say, "Momomomomom," and I pretend he's calling my name. He also coos and babbles to himself. I'd say his most common sounds are "Heh," "Meh," and "Yeah." The screeching has decreased drastically!

He smiles and laughs all the time now. Every time he looks us in the eye, he smiles. He smiles every time Andrew comes home. He smiles when we get to his crib when he wakes up (which is currently once at 2:30am and then up for the day around 6am). He laughs when we smooch his tummy or play with his feet, and he laughs sometimes when we make funny faces.

Finally, here are a list of his likes and dislikes for the month:

*Playing with his feet
*Being naked
*Untying Andrew's shoelaces
*Looking at the ceiling fan
*Playing with the Wii mote or the remote (minus the batteries)
*Rolling around on the floor
*Playing with Ducky
*Throwing things
*Chewing on Tupperware
*Sitting out on the back porch with us
*Mango sorbet
*Getting his tummy smooched
*Having us pretend to eat his feet
*His jumparoo
*Playing "This Little Piggy"
*Bath time
*"Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes"

*Getting a shirt pulled over his head
*Being alone
*Loud noises
*Loud laughter

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sleep Success!

Because Oliver has teeth now, we're not too keen on the middle of the night feedings. We don't want to rot away his chompers!

Normally, Oliver gets up once in the middle of the night (around 1 or 2am). Then, he usually gets up again around 4 or 5am and will only go back to sleep if he gets fed again. I'd say he skips that wake up about once a week. That one day a week, I feel much more rested.

We decided that Oliver is definitely old enough to only get fed once. But how to stop a habit? Last night, we were determined not to give in for that early feeding because everything I read said babies his age can go 9 - 12 hours without a night feeding. I decided he can certainly go 9 hours. I thought I'd soothe him in other ways.

At 6:30pm, I fed him, and at 7pm, Andrew put him down for the night (I didn't feed him right before putting him down because I didn't want to mess with any milk pooling around his teeth). He slept until 3am! At 8.5 hours between feedings, I decided it was good enough and nursed him. I put him back down into his crib, and he slept until 6:30am! OK, so maybe he fussed at 4:30am and 5:30am, but those fussings were all of 2 minutes before he went back to sleep on his own.

He's such a big boy!

This morning, he's doing a marathon nap of 2 hours. I like it when he naps only twice during the day for longer stretches because I feel like he's getting through his sleep cycle and getting more rest. Plus, maybe he's growing more!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For the Love of Sweet Potatoes!

I made Oliver a "trio of root vegetables," which is blend of carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnip yesterday. At first, he was unsure, but in the end, he decided it was, in fact, delicious. Could this mean he's getting over his disgust of sweet potatoes? I think so! Next, maybe he'll get past his dislike of dill weed (I mixed some in with his carrots, and he was not happy). Tonight, Andrew's mom is going to make him a sweet potato, apple, and turkey blend. I also made and froze a sweet potato and broccoli blend. Andrew sarcastically asked me when he looked at it, "So Oliver doesn't like sweet potatoes, but you thought mixing it with broccoli would change his mind?"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oliver the Jack-o-Lantern

Oliver's teeth aren't coming in typical order! Yesterday, his top left one started to pop through. This means his bottom right and top left are in. Ha!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oliver Gets into the Garbage

Sleepy Bear and the Closed Door

Last night, Oliver didn't want to go back to bed after his 2:45am feeding. We gave him a few pats, and I sang him a lullaby. When that didn't work, we decided to close his door, and we went to sleep. I'm not sure what happened after that, but I woke up at 6:15am to him calling out to get up for the day. On one hand, I feel guilty about leaving him to fend for himself last night. On the other hand, it seemed to work so well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adventures in Baby Food

I don't make all of Oliver's baby food. For example, I don't make his peas or green beans because it seems like too much of a hassle to run it through a sieve to get all the bits out. Also, I don't make any meats for him because it grosses me out.

However, I make most of Oliver's baby food. I bake squash, I boil apples, I steam carrots. The easiest foods to "make" are bananas and avocados. All you have to do is mash the fruit part, and that's seriously it. Easy as pie!

Here are photos of the two most recent meals I made for Oliver. To make the carrots, I chopped them up into pieces and then steamed them until they were soft. I used some of my milk when I pureed the carrots because I read that they're more nutritious when eaten with a little fat. A baby food recipe book I have recommends using butter, but I'm reluctant to give Oliver any cow's milk products because of his issues in the past. Anyway, other than the timeliness of the chopping, it was very easy and convienent. I make a bunch at once and freeze it so I can just pop it out and resteam it or microwave it later.

To make the banana, I cut it in half, peeled it, and mashed it with his baby spoon. For younger babies, you can puree it so it's completely smooth, and you can even add milk to it. Banana doesn't freeze well, so I just mash half a banana on demand. It's so easy! Right now, bananas are 46 cents a pound, so there's really no rationalization for buying a jar for 60 cents.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

From Uncle Mike

Somehow, Uncle Mike managed to catch a rare shot of my Super Baby flying over Chicago. I'm going to frame it for Oliver's room!


Oliver's bottom right tooth erupted from his gums today!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teeth for Real This Time?

Oliver hasn't been sleeping well since Friday night. I thought it was from the vaccinations he'd received on Thursday. He slept very well Thursday night but was cranky throughout the day on Friday and cried throughout that night. Saturday night was the same, only he was screaming as well. At 11pm on Saturday, we took Oliver to the ER. To be honest, I was a little reluctant to go at first. What would I say? He didn't have a fever or anything. Still, Oliver is not usually a screamer, and I felt something was wrong.

The pediatrician at the hospital was so nice. I liked her a lot. She checked Oliver everywhere and examined every finger and toe. She was slightly concerned about his skin. She said she's reluctant to diagnose it as eczema yet but that we should keep an eye on it. Ollie's pediatrician had also questioned me on any family history of eczema (Grandma Jo had a mild case, and my sister, Julie, had a mild case). It makes me worry, but it also makes me feel good that neither of them diagnosed him with it. The pediatrician at the hospital said the rash on his body was not hives nor eczema, and it went away shortly after. I think it was from stress because that's what my skin does when I get stressed, too. In the end, she deemed Oliver a healthy baby but told me to come back if he developed a fever or any other new symptoms.

Neither of the pediatricians felt teeth in Oliver, but yesterday (Wednesday), there was a drastic change in his gums. His tooth buds are raised more, and I can see a line in each bud that looks like the top of a tooth. Also, looking at the gums straight on, I can see the outline of teeth (where you and I have our tooth roots). I think the teeth have been coming up slowly throughout the week and bothering him, but that's just speculation.

Today, Oliver woke up at 5:30am crying. He was exhausted and kept rubbing his eyes, but he wouldn't go back to sleep. He spent the morning crabby and tired, but he wouldn't go to sleep. Finally, at 7:30am, we gave him some infant Tylenol (don't worry; it's not the recalled lot), and he's been sleeping ever since.

I hope it's teeth because, if it's not, there's definitely something bothering him. If he doesn't have teeth by Monday and is still crabby, I'm going to call his pediatrician and have her check him out again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Too Much Extra Time

We're house-sitting for Andrew's parents for a few days as they take a work vacation in Vancouver. In some ways, it's awesome because we have cable, and I have no work to do (piles of laundry? None! Floors and counters to clean? None!). In other ways, it's not very fun because I'm bored out of my mind when Oliver naps. And, of course, he would choose today to have his longest nap of all time (currently 2 hours and 15 minutes).

I have nothing to do! I ate lunch. I dusted a bit. I set up a play area for Oliver when he wakes up. I watched some TV. Hmm.

Speaking of TV, an episode of 60 Minutes really got me fired up. It was on a bunch of people who are able to pay their mortgages but choose not to because their homes aren't worth as much as their mortgages. They had no remorse, no issues at all with not paying their debts. In fact, many of these people were mad at the banks!

Let's explore this issue. Say you want to buy a CD. I loan you $20, and you agree to pay me $30 back for interest. A few months go by, and the price of CDs drop. You tell me the CD you used my money to buy is no longer worth $20, much less $30, so you want me to agree to let you pay me just $10. What? Excuse me?

And what if the value of their homes had gone up instead of down? Would they be happy if the bank said to them, "Well, your home is worth more now, so we expect you to pay us more." No. Because that's not how investing works! Investing is a gamble. However, with a home, you get something for your money no matter what. These people have a home they can live in, a home that they liked for what they paid. If they can still pay for the home, then they need to do just that. It doesn't matter that the value dropped.

Because of these people, home values can continue to drop and contribute to the recession. Apparently, laws in many states don't allow the banks to take these people's assets, like their cars or w/e to pay for the mortgage they're choosing not to pay. I think those laws need to be changed. And shame of those people for not feeling guilty at all! And shame on the companies they featured who encourage people to stop paying their mortgages even when they can afford them.

I think I'd be better off not watching TV. Hopefully, Oliver will wake up soon...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Vaccinations at 6 Months

I have been so unreliable for the last year. I mean it! First, I had pregnancy brain, and I couldn't remember anything. Now, I have so much going on and not enough sleep, that I still can't seem to remember most of what I need to.

I'd rescheduled Oliver's immunization appointment to Thursday, May 6 at 1:30pm (rescheduled because, as you may have read, I'd forgotten his appointment on Monday and missed it). I wrote it on the calendar in bright blue marker and circled it. Seriously, it's the only thing on the calendar for this month.

Anyway, at about 3:15pm on Thursday, I was changing Oliver's diaper and suddenly remembered the appointment I was supposed to have made two hours earlier. Crap! I had wet hair, and Oliver had oatmeal on his clothes, but I grabbed him and ran to the car.

What could I say? What could I tell them? What would they think of me? Hopefully, they wouldn't look at us and label me as unfit. I finally decided I'd play stupid. They'd offered me appointments at 1:30pm or 3:30pm, and I took the 1:30pm one. I decided that once they told me I was late for the appointment, I'd look puzzled and say, "Wasn't it at 3:30pm? Shoot! I can reschedule it if you need me to."

Instead, they didn't say one word about me being late (which only made me feel more guilty). They simply took us straight in and gave Oliver his shots.

The nurse who helped us, Jenny, was the same nurse Oliver saw for his 2 month old appointment. She's very sweet, and she's so good to my Ollie Bear. She even gave him a book for being so brave.

Oliver's had a few reactions this time--none of which are severe, thankfully! At about 6pm, he started showing signs of pain in his left leg. He didn't want us to hold him, and he'd cry if we accidently touched him in that leg. When I changed his diaper, I saw that it was red and warm. This reaction is listed on our sheet as occuring in 1 out of 4 babies. I knew it was normal, so I didn't panic, but I felt awful for him. We gave him some Tylenol, and he slept happily. By morning, it was better.

Today, his poop was pretty runny. I still don't know how to tell if it's diarrhea, but maybe it was. Anyway, there's that, and he's been sleeping like no other! He's had three naps today. The one he's currently taking is 2 hours long and counting. I've gone to check on him, and he's fine. Still, this is his longest nap ever.

I understand his little body's immune system is working hard, and so it makes sense that he's tired. I'm going to let him sleep and nurse him all he needs. Still, I'm concerned about tonight. Will he be up all night? Hmm.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm Da Baby, Gotta Love Me!

A few minutes ago, I was holding my baby in my arms, walking through the hallway singing, "Hush, Little Baby," and putting Ollie to sleep. I love getting to do that. I love all those little moments of getting to be a mom.

As I laid him in his crib and thought about how lucky I am, I realized I don't often talk about those moments in my blog. I focus on recording everything that might be important in case I ever have another baby and need the information because there's so little information out there. I'm worried I'll forget everything I learned and have to start over, not knowing up from down.

It's very frustrating to be a new mom and not know what to do. It's even worse that all the books don't give any advice except to say, "Enjoy each stage" (even if the stage is your baby crying every hour at night, ha!) or that "every baby is different." That doesn't help someone who has never changed a diaper or warmed a bottle or had to pull a shirt over a baby's head. I decided I wouldn't write all the evasive non-advice for people. I wanted (want) to write something tangible that a person in my position could really use or consult.

But, I have to say, the more I get used to being a mom, the more I love it. In the beginning, I was so focused on keeping Oliver from crying, getting him to sleep, worrying how he was developing, etc., but now, I get to relax and play with him almost all the time. I love it. I love getting to smooch his tummy. He squeals with laughter when I pretend to eat his stomach! I hold him up in the air and lower him into my smooches, and he laughs even harder. I give him raspberries on his chubby cheeks and he coos and shrieks with glee. This morning, at the grocery store, I kept leaning over him in his car seat and shouting, "Boo!" and he just kept cracking up. He loves it when I sing, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," and he (sometimes) loves it when I hold him tight to me. I feel so incredibly lucky and unbelievably happy.

If other moms are like me, they're probably always thinking in the back of their heads, "When did I feed him last?" or "Why's he cranky? Is he tired?" or "I need to go to the store. When is he going to be well napped and fed?" or "How long did I read to him today? Have I read to him for 20 minutes?" or "Has he had any tummy time today?" The list goes on and on. Some of those things are important, but it's also very important to find time when it doesn't matter what does or doesn't get done, and just play with the baby. Oliver is definitely the happiest when I'm being goofy, and that's when I'm the happiest, too.

Learning to be a mom is so hard. Reaping the benefits, though, is the greatest thing, ever.

P.S. On an unrelated note, here are some photos for today (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crabby Pants!

Oliver had quite the cranky night last night. It was so unusual for him, we were convinced he was either sick or teething. However, there was no fever and no sign of teeth. Still, he was restless from 7:30pm to 10pm, and then he cried nonstop for an hour. At 4am, he cried for another hour. In the midst of all the chaos, I realized we'd forgotten to take him to his vaccination appointment at the health department, which had been scheduled at 5:30pm. Shoot!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Little Swimmer

Oliver attended his second of three swim classes today (his Christmas gift from Colleen). It's such a cute class. There are about eight babies ranging in age from 6 months to 2 years old (Oliver is definitely the youngest, and next are two boys who are 8 months old). Mothers and fathers bob their babies up and down and swish them side to side. Oliver's favorite part is when he gets to pick out a toy to play with. He spends the rest of the class waving his toy around and sucking on it. Today, he chose a seal squirt toy. I kept squirting him with it, and he'd wiggle all about in the pool (while Andrew held him) trying to get at the toy! None of the other babies are that excited about their toys.

It's also fun seeing how different all the babies are. One little girl (she's 16 months old, but I don't know her name) doesn't seem very happy in the pool. She keeps making complaining noises, but her dad is always able to cheer her up. Another little boy loves crawling. There's a point in the lesson when our instructor has us put our babies up on the ledge (sitting) and let them jump into the pool (I hold Oliver since he doesn't sit well on his own). Well, this little boy takes off crawling every time his mom sets him on the ledge! It's hilarious, and she always has to chase after him.

Anyway, this class was special because Oliver got dunked for the first time! We blew hard in his face and then dipped him (nose and mouth!) into the water. He came back up and spit water out like a fish. It was sooo cute! He definitely didn't breathe any in; he just held it in his mouth and spat it. We did that a few more times, and, finally, we dunked him all the way. I wouldn't say he loved dunking, but he certainly didn't hate it. I think he generally loves swim class, although he gets cold and his gums chatter (as opposed to his teeth chattering...).

I Have Math Skillz

I just wanted to acknowledge that, today, Oliver is officially closer to being 1 year old than he is from the day he was born!

Can you believe how much he's changed? I can't.