Friday, April 30, 2010

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

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