Friday, April 30, 2010

6th Month Well Visit & the Crying Baby

Let me begin by saying that Oliver almost never cries anymore. He cries on occasion when I lay him down in his crib, and that's it. If he's ever unhappy about something, he lets me know by grunting or making other "protest" noises. However, any time I leave him with a "stranger" (i.e., grandparents), he freaks out and doesn't stop crying.

Today, we went to the doctor for his 6 month well visit. It was our first time to this pediatrician's office, and I loved it there. They had separate offices for well visits and for sick kid visits. Sweet!

Anyway, Oliver was his usual curious, content self. Then the doctor came in. She turned him towards her, and he started shrieking. He didn't stop until she was done and he was "safe" in my arms. Then, every time she's start talking to him, he'd start flipping out again. I'm so out of practice with calming him when he's crying that I got flustered and didn't know what to do. I didn't feel in control until she finally left and it was just Ollie & me.

In other news, she cleared him to start some basic finger foods like Cheerios, peas, small peach pieces and small banana pieces. She asked me how he does with grasping very small objects like those, and I told her I didn't know because he's never had anything small before. She told me to try it. Also, she told me I can increase his food feedings to twice a day!

I have Cheerios at home, so as soon as we walked in the door, I put him in his high chair and set Cheerios out in front of him. Yeah... he couldn't grab those. He smashed them and flung them on the floor. I put one in his mouth, and he loved it. He mashed it all around until it was soft. How cute! I gave him another and another. When I held one out on my hand, he didn't try to reach for it himself. Instead, he just opened his mouth and tried to get it that way. Ha! This is fun and new, though, and I'm very excited to try finger foods once a day.

Oliver's Half Birthday!

Oliver Kory is six months old today! I guess this makes it his half birthday. He’s officially just as close to his first birthday as he is from the day he was born. Unbelievable! The day we went to the hospital to have him seems simultaneously so recent and so long ago. How our lives have changed!

Oliver’s first two months were (by far) the hardest and most challenging two months of my life. All he did was cry and scream, and we didn’t have a clue what to do. In order to get a break from the crying, we had to alternate who was caring for the baby at all times. As a result, Andrew and I spent almost no time together, and we spent almost no time together as a family.

That has changed so much! Oliver is very interactive and a delight to be around. We eat dinner together every night as a family now, and we have family reading time almost every night. One of our favorite things to do together is to put Oliver on the bed and watch him roll and play with his toys. We talk to him and to each other, and it’s a much more pleasant experience.

This month, Oliver has started going on more walks and runs with me. Most of the time, he seems to really like it. Sometimes, he makes complaining noises. When that happens, I just turn around instead of pushing him. I don’t want to make him hate the stroller!

He’s not sitting up on his own yet. At least, he’s not sitting for more than about 30 seconds on his own. He can hold himself up for a short while, but then he topples forward or to the side, or he throws himself backward. Crazy kid! I have a lot of confidence that he’ll be sitting up on his own soon, though. He holds his back upright and strong, and so it’s allowed me to carry him around on my hip. So, any time I’m running into a place quickly (like the post office), I just plop him on my hip, and I can navigate easily. It’s so much better than hauling around that bulky & heavy car seat! I look forward to the day (which will be soon) that he can sit in the grocery cart because it’s going to make it so easy to go to the store!

It’s hard not to compare ones baby to everyone else’s. As a new mom, there’s always a worry in the back of my head: Is my baby normal and developing normally? I’m grateful to have a few friends who post blogs about their babies (Sam, Meghan, and Patti) as well as a couple friends who post a lot of baby photos and updates on Facebook (Kristie and Lindsey). I frequently flip back on Sam’s blog about Charlie to see what he was up to at Oliver’s age. He was sitting up on his own (Oliver’s close!) and rolling to get around (Oliver does not do that!). Meghan’s newest updates about Murphy (who’s about two weeks older than Oliver) say that Murphy is also sitting up on her own and rolling. Gulp! Lindsey’s baby, Isabella, is a month and a half younger than Oliver, and she’s rolling around, too! I’ve started to get a little worried. I’ve heard babies who skip crawling miss an important developmental milestone that can affect them in the future. What if Oliver doesn’t crawl? Of course, I think he will. He just might never roll. He lies on his belly and tries to get his knees under him and wiggle forward, though he’s not quite doing it yet.

Meanwhile, Oliver continues to excel with using his hands and fingers. I’ve been teaching him how to remove items that I’ve stuck on things. For example, I’ve been sticking socks on the bears that are attached to his walker, and he usually loves to pull them off. As a result, he’s also started to pull his socks off of his feet (oops). A couple of times, he’s pulled them off and then started to shove them into his mouth. I guess he can’t have socks on unattended anymore!

Oliver has also started to get pretty good at feeding himself with his spoon. I dip the spoon into his mashed food and hand it to him. He usually shoves the spoon in his mouth and gets most of it off (he doesn’t quite angle it right to get all the food off of it). Sometimes, though, he takes his other hand and grabs the food off of the spoon. Naturally, he then smears the food all over himself and his high chair.

Spoon feeding brings me to my next point: food! Oliver’s menu is starting to expand. He regularly eats his old favorites (oatmeal, acorn squash, and apple sauce), but he also now eats green beans (his new favorite) and bananas. He’s also had cinnamon now, which I occasionally mix in with his oatmeal, apple sauce, and squash. I almost always make his baby food, which I enjoy doing, but I don’t make his green beans right now because websites I’ve read have said younger babies don’t like the pulp and recommend staining it through cheese cloth. I don’t have cheese cloth, and that sounds like a pain to do (especially considering a jar of green beans—which lasts for two feedings—is fifty cents). Yesterday, though, I realized that Oliver prefers his bananas when they’re still pretty chunky, so I might try making my own green bean baby food without straining it to see what he thinks. Next on our list of foods to try are peas, avocados, carrots, and papaya. I’m very excited to try those out! I’m also excited to start doing baby food blends (My friend Melissa gave me a recipe book for baby food purees that I’ve been checking out). I think his first blend might be banana with papaya. Tropical!

This month, we also officially introduced him to his Jumparoo (I think it has a different name, but that’s what we call it). He has so much fun in it! He loves playing with the toy that’s attached (it lights up and talks to him when he pushes buttons and pulls levers), and jumps like crazy. It’s his new favorite toy!

Two weeks ago, Oliver went to his first swim lesson, and he was definitely the youngest baby there. He loved the toys they had, and he enjoyed us holding him into a back-float position. He hasn’t dunked yet, but his next swim lesson is tomorrow, so who knows?

Now that he’s stronger and starting to sit up, I’ve started to think about retiring his jungle gym (that’s what I call his play mat). I know it’s just about time, but he loves it, so it’s hard to take it away. Also, he’s getting close to outgrowing his changing table. His feet touch one end, and his head is about an inch away from touching the other end. I think I might put a bookshelf in its place and dedicate a shelf of it to his diapers and wipes. I’ll just change him on the floor, I guess.

Speaking of outgrowing things, Oliver is too big for 6 month sized clothes, and most of the 6-9 month sized clothes are too small, too. And so, my big baby wears mostly 9 month old clothes! He’s also upgraded from size 2 diapers to size 3 diapers, and his cloth diapers are at their largest setting now!

At six months old, here’s a list of Oliver’s likes:
*Mommy (He whines when I leave the room or if I’m anywhere he can’t see me. This has made it hard for the grandparents to watch him, I’m sure!)
*Waking up Daddy in the morning (This morning, I propped him up on the pillow facing Andrew, and he wiggled about until he got close enough to grab his face. His face also lights up every time Andrew comes home from work).
*His toothbrush. Still no teeth, but he loves gnawing at it!
*His Jumparoo
*Bath time (He now kicks like crazy, splashing water everywhere, and sucks on the washcloth. Soon, he’ll be sitting up in the tub, but he’s not at that point yet!).
*His spoon (Although he still likes food, he doesn’t act as excited about it as he did before. Now, he’s mostly interested in the spoon).
*Green beans. Even though it seems to go against my last point, they’re his favorite food, so I’m listing it here.
*Floor time (He rolls a little in one direction or the other to grab a toy, but he won’t roll more than one flop for anything).
*Nursing, although he gets distracted easily
*Watching the washer and dryer
*Getting smooched on his chubby cheeks
*Watching us toss things in the air
*Hitting things to make noise, including hitting two toys together (right at this moment, as I type, he's slamming his hand on the desk to make the "thump, thump" noise).
*Splashing with his feet
*Watching me stir things
*The spice rack
*Paper products
*Anything we have (the remote, the keyboard, bills, anything)
*His elephant humidifier (I think. He insists on staring at it all the time)
*Watching people chew

*Mommy leaving
*Being laid down in the crib for naps (He wants to sleep, just in our arms. Too bad!)
*Getting buckled into his car seat
*Getting shirts pulled over his head

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oliver Feeds Himself

Oliver's Bed

I decided to post a couple photos of Oliver's bed and the way I have the blanket set up. He's been sleeping very well with it. In fact, all week, he's been sleeping for a 7 hour stretch before waking up for his feeding. Then he sleeps for an additional 3 hours.

As you can tell from the picture, there are no tucked corners for him to get stuck in. It was the safest blanket layout I came up with (thanks to a tip from my 2nd cousin, Heather).

P.S. In case anyone is worried, there are socket plugs in the outlet behind the crib, and, although you can't tell from the perspective of this photo, the crib is about 18 inches from the wall so he can't reach it.

And the Worst Mom of the Day Award Goes to...

At 8am this morning, Oliver got super cranky, which is his way of telling me he needs a nap. I tried to walk him to sleep, but that didn't work. I nursed him, and he fell right asleep. However, the moment I set him in his crib, he started screaming and crying. I gave him about five minutes, but I finally decided he was no longer tired. I pulled him out of his crib, changed his diaper, and took him downstairs to play.

When we were downstairs, I noticed something was stinking like poopy. I'd just taken all his old wipes down to the kitchen trash, so I decided that was the source of the stink, and I took the garbage out. Meanwhile, Oliver was still super cranky and complaining & crying. I walked him around, and he fell asleep. Once again, as soon I lowered him into the crib, he started crying. I pulled him out and sang to him, and he fell fast asleep. Or so I thought. He hadn't so much as touched the matress when he awoke, crying. I pat his back and whispered, "Shhh," and finally decided to let him cry to sleep.

Five minutes later, he was still crying, so I went back upstairs and pat his back and whispered to him. Ten minutes later, I did the same thing. It's very stressful and heart-breaking to hear him cry that long (Fifteen minutes doesn't sound that long, but try listening to a crying baby for that long, and you'll understand). I didn't want to give up because I read that if you pick a baby up when you're doing this method, it un-does all the work you did. After another ten minutes, I was about to go back upstairs, when he finally fell asleep. Whew!

After about half an hour, he woke up, and I ran upstairs and picked him up and smooched him and told him what a good boy he was... and then I noticed the poop stink again. Uh oh. I took him to the changing table, and he had poop all the way up his back to his shoulders, and it was crusted onto his butt cheeks. I can't believe it. I made my baby sleep in his feces! No wonder he was so upset. Poor baby.

And so it was that I earned The Worst Mom of the Day Award.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Penny Saved...

My job is taking nurturing my baby and taking care of the house as best I can. It doesn't pay, but I make a difference in our budget every month by saving money. I cut corners as much as I can. Here are a few more tips for me to share:

*Cut your sponges
Sponges get really nasty, so I change mine out every week. I save a lot of money by buying them in bulk at Costco (they come in packs of 18). Then, I cut each of those into thirds, so I end up with 54 sponges. That's enough for a year (plus)! The sponge still fits completely in my hand, and it's no hassle. Really, I'm just wasting less and making them last a lot longer.

*Turn off the heat & the lights
The heating bill is so expensive! We paid $110 to Xcel last month for heat and electricity. That's a lot of money, even though we cut as much as we can. As soon as I get downstairs in the morning, I turn off the heat. The heat stays off all day, and so we bundle up if it's chilly. We're moving around so much that it's really not a problem. Of course, in the middle of winter, we put it at a minimum (62 degrees during the day), but we turn that down to 55 if we're leaving our house for most of the day or if we're going out of town. At night, I turn it up to 67 so Oliver (OK, and us) can sleep well and comfortably. During the day, I also keep the lights off almost all the time. Sometimes it's a little dim, but why is that a problem?

*Open the oven
This kind of ties into the last point. After we turn off our oven from cooking, we crack the oven door. This way, the heat from the oven goes into our home and not into the walls and out into the neighbor's house (we live in a townhome) or outside. Also, if I'm going to use the oven to, say, make dinner, I'll also take that opportunity to bale anything I might need for Oliver's baby food (like a squash). This way, the oven only needs to heat up once.

*No cable
I might have written about this before, but I don't think there's a need to have cable if you have good internet access, as almost every show is available on its network's website or on hulu. We recently cancelled our Netflix subscription as well to save that $9/month.

*Use the library
I love our library! The only problem I have with the library is that ours is about 3 miles away, so we have to drive. Still, I don't see the sense in buying a book when I can just check it out at the library. Besides, it gets me out of the house! Also (and this ties into my last point), you can check out movies at the library. So, if you need help with your budget, I recommend cancelling your Netflix or stop going to Blockbuster and start going to the library.

*Redefine what's fun
Andrew and I can't afford to go out much anymore. When he meets up with his friends, it's to hike. My mother-in-law gave me a pass to the Denver Botanic Gardens, so I try to head there with Oliver when I want to get out of the house. They often have free and discounted activities for members, too. I'm looking forward to their movies at the gardens this summer. I also keep my eyes peeled for deals and discounts. For example, Baskin Robbins has 31 cent ice cream cones tomorrow. This will be a very nice, fun, and cheap family outing for us! I've been looking forward to it for weeks, and, really, would going out anywhere else be more fun? Nope. Finally, last week, Andrew and I tried pub trivia with our friends for the first time. It's completely free, and it's a blast! We even won a $15 gift card to the pub for next time.

Do you have any tips on how you save money for your family every month? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day at the Botanic Gardens

I took Oliver to the Denver Botanic Gardens today. I have a season pass, and Earth Day seemed like a good day to go. As a bonus, they were having story time every hour on the hour until 1pm. Unfortunately, it's more difficult to get out the door on time now that I have a wee one, so we pulled up at the Gardens at 10 after. Oops! That's OK, we still had fun strolling through. I showed Oliver some flowers, and he thought they were OK. I took him to where Andrew and I were married, and he didn't seem interested ;-). A group of elderly men were very excited to see Oliver, and one of them kept saying, "She's looking around! She's looking at everything!" Yes, he referred to my baby boy as a she, hehe. Ah well!

The way home from the Botanic Gardens was even more of an adventure. The car started to overheat because traffic was so thick. I made the sacrifice of pulling over at Lollicup. We sat at the cafe for about 20 minutes and let the car cool down. I sipped on a boba tea to pass the time.

During that 20 minutes, it began to rain. To get back to the car, I draped the extra pair of Ollie jammies I had in my purse over his head. We made it! After a few blocks, my windshield started to fog up. My defroster thing doesn't work, so I had to open the window. I got soaked! Meanwhile, Oliver started to get hot, and he started crying (and crying and crying). It was pretty rough, but we made it home.

Happy Earth Day!

Sleeping Like a Baby

With more frequentcy, Oliver's been sleeping from bedtime (7:30pm) to 3:30am in a stretch. Last night, he woke at 11pm, which is too early for his nighttime feeding. I rubbed his back, whispered some soothing words, and left. He fell asleep after five minutes or so, and then he slept until 4am. I'm pretty sure 7:30pm - 4am is his longest stretch between feedings. After that wake-up, he went back to bed for another two hours (which is his norm).

I'm very happy when he only gets up once at night. I have a rule that he doesn't get fed before midnight after he goes to bed for the night. Basically, if he wakes up at 10pm or 11pm, or even 11:50pm, he gets a back pat or a back rub, and that's it. If he wakes up after midnight, he gets a diaper change and nursed. Many nights, he gets up at 1am and then again at 4am. It really helps me, though, when he skips that 1am feeding (which has happened 3 times in the last week or two).

I'm thinking about extending the midnight rule to be the 1am rule, just to give him a push to sleep longer and soothe himself to sleep. I think, at this age, it's not terrible to have him go 5.5 hours between nursings.

In other news, he's outgrowing the last of his sleep sacks. I'm entertaining the idea of letting him use a blanket, but I don't know if that's a good idea or not. A friend of mine told me she tucks the blanket under the matress so her baby can't pull it out.

I know mothers always used to put babies to bed on their stomachs and then drape a blanket on their backs. Once the back-to-sleep rule started, blankets were no longer used because babies could accidently cover their faces with them by throwing their hands up. Ollie rolls over and sleeps on his tummy now, so I'm thinking I could just lay him on his stomach and lay a light blanket over his back, with the bottom of the blanket tucked under the mattress. Is this an OK idea? I think I might post the question on Facebook to see what other mommies think.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Look At Who's Poopin'

Oliver had his 1st solid poop today! There's something you can't put in a baby book.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Diaper Butt!

It's getting more and more difficult to change my wiggly baby's diaper, which, by the way, is now a size 3!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Babies vs. Young Adults

Some aspects of my personality have changed since becoming a mom. One of the things I've noted is that I no longer find it cute when young adults partake in children's activities without kids. That is to say, many teenagers and young adults find it cute to do things like throw birthday parties at places like Chuck E Cheese or Casa Bonita, or go out trick-or-treating (sans kids). It used to not bother me, and I'd never given it a second thought. Now, it just seems silly, childish, and not the least bit cute. So many people resist growing up. Having an adult birthday party at Chuck E Cheese is not a way to appear youthful; it's a way to appear idiotic and a little creepy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Babies on Planes

By no means do I think people are bad parents when their babies cry on planes. As a mom, I now know that there are times your baby will cry, and there's nothing you can do about it. However, I think airplanes are a place when you pull out all the stops to keep your kid from crying or fussing for as long as possible.

Oliver is a seasoned traveller now. He has flown to Austin and back, gone on a road trip to Omaha and back, and has now flown to Omaha and back. Truly, he's done a superb job. In February, when we flew to Austin, he slept the whole time. Easy, easy! On the way back, he fussed for a few minutes, but never really threw a fit and was happy for most of the time (not bad for a two hour flight, ey?). Driving to Omaha, he cried for about one hour out of the eight, and he was quite the trooper on the way back.

I was nervous flying to and from Omaha this time because it wasn't timed to be during bed time. Still, he managed to be amazing. Before boarding at DIA, Andrew walked and patted Oliver. He fell asleep and stayed asleep for about 40 minutes of the 54 minute flight. When he woke up, I nursed him, so he didn't fuss a moment.

The trip back home was a different story. We elected to go to the airport early so my sister, Julie, could drive us on her way to work. We arrived at 6:30am for our 10:50am flight. Oliver was a champ at the airport and didn't cry at all. He even napped. This good mood lasted until shortly after boarding the plane. He sat on my lap and watched all the passengers board (when travelling with a small child, you get to board first). As the plane taxied before take-off, he started to fuss. I tried nursing him, but he wasn't hungry. Andrew and I started to panic. If he started fussing before take-off, it was going to be a long flight. I busted out a few toys, but he wasn't interested. I went for the Hail Mary--Oliver's toothbrush. Success! He chomped at it and shook it for about 10 minutes before showing signs of fussiness again. Andrew and I busted into song: Head, shoulders, knees, and toes... The singing worked for a few more minutes. Forty-five minutes left in the flight. What to do? I tried nursing him again, but he lost interest after a minute or two. We changed his diaper. Oliver still hadn't cried, but he let out a few unhappy calls. We knew it was only a matter of time until the crying would start unless we could figure out something quickly. Then, Andrew started patting him and swaying him (which wasn't easy in the restriction of an airplane seat), and Oliver fell asleep. Cue sighs of relief. Oliver slept until we landed.

After landing, Andrew and I had to wait for our gate-checked stroller. We stood off to the side as other passengers disembarked. A man from New Zealand whom we'd met at the Omaha Airport gave Andrew's shoulder a pat as he passed by. "Not a sound," he said. It was a reference to Oliver, as we'd previously confided in him that we were scared Oliver would cry on the plane. Success! Even though we wre freaked out the whole time, apparently the other passengers never realized that Oliver was close to throwing a fit. We did it!