Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Now That I'm Standing on My Own

This morning, Oliver was hanging on to his changing table shelf and grabbed a book off of it, as usual. Then, something different happened. He let go of the shelf to hold the book in both hands, and he wasn't leaning against the shelf. I was right next to him and in complete shock. I didn't want to startle him, so I just sat, watching. It only lasted about three seconds (at which point, he toppled, and I caught him), but it was amazing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

10 Month Birthday Boy

There's no way my baby boy is ten months old today. My goodness; kids grow so quickly!

Oliver has developed a lot this month. My mom tells me kids always grow "two steps forward, one step back." Well, this month, he took two leaps forward. The biggest change is his mobility, as he consistently does his big boy crawl now. Cutest thing ever: he grunts as he crawls. My crawling, grunting baby goes everywhere, and on three separate occasions now, he has left the room I was in. Yes, it appears his separation anxiety (although still great) is decreasing.

Oliver's always been curious and smart, but now that he can get to the things he wants to see, life has become quite challenging. Oliver wants to examine outlets and loves power cords. He always wants to pull up on the oven drawer. Of course, I don't let him do those things. This is probably why they are so appealing to them. Yes, Oliver has learned the word, "no." He doesn't like it when I say no. In fact, when I say, "No!" he gives me "the lip." Then, he pretends to do something else. As soon as I relax, he tries to go back to his dangerous activities.

Let me tell you, as a 10 month old, Oliver has absolutely no fear of falling. He climbs up the stairs and then tips himself backwards. I'm always there to catch him. Then, on our bed, he crawls off the edge (two feet down!). He hasn't actually fallen off of it, but I'll keep my hands on his waist, and he'll crawl right off the edge. I ask you, when do babies learn about height/falling?!

Oliver's sleeping pattern has continued to improve this month. He goes to bed around 7pm and (usually) wakes up once around 3am or 4am. Sometimes, it's been difficult to get him to go back to sleep, but he usually does and then sleeps until 5:30 or 6:00. He naps one to two times a day, usually for 45 minutes. He naps on his mattress on the floor, not in the crib. This has made his nap time much easier for me.

His eating is also slowly improving. Instead of just eating Cheerios, he'll now eat jarred green beans and turkey again. He'll also eat his "organic spinach puffs." The only food I make that he eats is a vegetable penne pasta dish. When Andrew and I eat that for dinner, I blend some up for the Ollie Bear, and he digs it. There are a few other foods, like peanut butter toast and turkey dogs, that he'll eat a few pieces of before dismissing. He still loves water! As far as nursing goes, I'd estimate he nurses 5 times a day (for my reference: 6pm, 3am, 6am, 9:30am, 2pm).

In general, this new stage Oliver is in is a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work. From birth to 8 months, things with Oliver consistently got easier and easier. Last month, we started to face a few new challenges, and now, life with Oliver is arduous again. I love being Oliver's mom. He always makes me laugh, and I thrive on making him giggle. However, I look forward to the coming months when I don't have to worry every single moment about what Oliver's getting into!

Oliver's likes:
*Seeing Dad come home
*Cuddling with Mom
*Turning the pages of his baby books
*Listening to The Alphabet Song and watching us sign the letters
*Throwing books
*Pulling out baby wipes from the wipe holder
*Pulling himself up to a stand using chairs, tables, and bookshelves
*Climbing up on Mom
*Dancing with Mom, especially getting "dipped"
*Getting his cheeks smooched
*Listening to music
*Batting toilet paper
*Rolling and kicking his soccer ball
*Watching us bounce his soccer ball
*Dad's wireless keyboard
*Buckles of all kinds (belt buckles, high chair buckles, car seat buckles, etc.)
*Playing "in and out" with the laundry in the laundry basket and dresser drawers

*Being alone
*Having toys taken away
*Being told, "No!"
*Not being able to do something physically (like pull heavy jeans out of the laundry basket or move a heavy object)
*Diaper changes
*Clothing changes

Friday, August 27, 2010

Those Teeth Keep Coming

Oliver's been working on cutting his upper canines for a couple of weeks now. These ones are driving him crazy! I like that I can see the canines through the side of the gums. They're getting close to the gum line now, so I think they'll pop within a week. Hopefully, that'll give our little guy some relief.

He has his bottom central incisors, and I'm starting to suspect that the other bottom incisors are on their way in as well. He keeps feeling that area on his gums.

At the WIC office last week, he was teething like crazy and quite crabby over the forthcoming canines. The nurse who helped me told me about a trick she learned from a friend--green onions. She told me to wash them well and freeze them solid. Apparently, babies love chomping on them, and then the cold helps numb their gums. I had green onions at home, so as soon as we got back, I washed one and put it in the freezer.

When it was ready, I proudly handed it to Oliver. He thought I was crazy and dismissed it without so much as giving it a single chomp. Why is it this kid puts every speck of dirt, crumbs, and paper into his mouth, but as soon as I want him to try something, he won't? My little boy has a mind of his own; that's for sure.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let Me Tell You Somrthing About Nearly-10-Month Olds

They get into stuff. Not just stuff. They get into everything.

Yesterday, I posted about the perils of shampoo bottles. That was just the beginning. Oliver discovered fun in pulling on electrical cords yesterday. I unplugged his monitor and set it up high because it was just a matter of time until he pulled it down onto his head. Situation remedied, right? Wrong! Oliver decided to try to get into the wall socket. Gah! So I plugged those up with baby-proof plugs.

Later in the morning, I started to sweep the floors downstairs. Sweeping isn't the easiest task with a baby. Oliver loves grabbing at the broom and swinging the dust pan around. I make a game out of it and pretend to sweep him up. Now, typically, Oliver crawls after me from room to room as I go. However, when I was sweeping in the dining area, I realized he remained back in the TV room. That's not good. I walked into the room, and there he was with one of the baby-proof plastic corners shoved into his mouth! He had pulled it off the corner of the TV stand. I fished that out of his mouth and grabbed the others to throw them all away. I decided to quick sweep off the patio, so I stepped outside. I kept an eye on Oliver, who watched me through the glass door. It took me about 30 seconds to sweep off the patio, and, in that time, Oliver dragged out the surge protector from underneath the desk. I ran in like grease lightning! This boy... you cannot leave him alone for a minute!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Righty Tighty; Lefty Loosey

"We're screwed. He knows righty-tighty-lefty-loosey," Andrew declared to me when he came downstairs.

He then proceeded to tell me the following story. Andrew took a shower this morning in the bathroom connected to Oliver's nursery. Within seconds, Oliver crawled into the bathroom. That's normal, and it lets us keep an eye on him. This time, however, Oliver grabbed his baby shampoo bottle and unscrewed it! Andrew quickly took it from him and screwed it back on. Once he set it down, Oliver grabbed it and unscrewed it again in seconds.


I guess anything that's everything needs to be put up high. Crazy, smart kid.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Sixth Beach Boy

Oliver keeps singing, "Buh buh buh buh!" whenever we play the Beach Boys' song, "Barbara Ann."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Special Shelf

Because Oliver started crawling yesterday, I decided to finish up some of the baby-proofing around the house. I cleared out the bottom shelf of the book shelf. It looked so empty, so I decided to designate it "Oliver's shelf." I put some of his toys, tupperware, and an empty coffee can (It does not have jagged edges, don't worry! It came sliced with a rounded edge.) on it. I turned to grab the camera to take a picture, and Oliver was already making a bee-line for it! He loves his shelf! I set it up for him again and again with various toys, and each time, he delighted in pulling them off of "his" shelf.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oliver Crawls for Coco Roos

He Only Eats Cheerios

Yes, Oliver has decided that he will only eat Cheerios with the occasional exception of some non-food items he's found on the floor. No, he will not eat bananas! He does not care if I mash them or carefully chop them into soliders and roll them in rice cereal for his little fingers to grasp. No, he will not eat steamed and pureed peas! Don't even think about giving him steamed carrot pieces or hunks of turkey dog. Oliver says no to almost everything...

...except Cheerios.

Cheerios it is then. I guess.

Pictured: For lunch, I tried to get Oliver to eat bananas. I even tossed a few Cheerios on the tray to get him going. He only ate the Cheerios. So, I took the Cheerios and mashed a little banana in the middle of them. He inspected them and began throwing them onto the floor. His message was clear: no bananas.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Oliver went to bed last night at about 6:45pm. Andrew said he woke up around 11pm for just a few minutes but put himself back to sleep (I was so tired, I slept through that!). Then, at 3am, Oliver woke. He started babbling instead of nursing, and then he tried to play patty-cake. It was no use. Oliver was up for the day.

I tried to get up with him, but I was so tired, I was dizzy. After twenty minutes, I had to wake Andrew for help. He wasn't much better. In fact, he fell asleep twice at the kitchen table. I was so tired, too, that I started to shake. That's when Andrew told me to go to bed. He took Oliver up to his room and rested on the floor while Oliver crawled all around him. Finally, at about 4:30am, Oliver rested his head on Andrew's stomach and fell asleep. Andrew carried him to the crib, where he slept until 7am.

I'm so grateful for the extra couple hours of sleep, but, I'll tell ya, I'm really desperate for more shut eye. I think I'd better hit the sack when Oliver does tonight. Hopefully, he'll sleep straight through to 3am so I can get an eight hour stretch of sleep. Then (fingers crossed!), I hope he'll go back to sleep for another couple hours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pull to Stand

Last night, after Oliver woke, Andrew and I had a difficult time waking up to go get him. It took us about ten minutes to gather up the energy, and, by that time, Oliver had pulled himself to a stand in his crib.

Oliver Shares Toys with Mommy

This video is from August 10.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oliver Sings to "For What It's Worth."

Laundry Games

Sleep, Where Art Thou?

Oliver continues his stretch of interrupted sleep. Last night, he passed out at 6pm and awoke at 9:30pm. Desperate for sleep, I nursed him again and then fell back asleep until he awoke at 1:30am. I woke Andrew and asked him to walk Oliver to sleep if possible, as I knew he didn't need more milk.

Andrew walked Oliver and set him in the crib once he was asleep. He immediately awoke, crying. Andrew wanted me to nurse him, but I was of the opinion that if I kept nursing him throughout the night, he'd grow to need it. I tried to stay strong. At 2am, I gave up. I got out of bed and walked to Oliver's room. I just stepped into his room when he stopped crying. I froze and watched him. He tossed and turned a couple times, and then he went to sleep. Yay! He did it!

From there, he slept until 4:45am. That's a little early, but I hope tonight will proove easier now that he's re-learned to put himself back to sleep.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scooting Along the Table

Oliver has just started to scoot along the table as he stands. It takes him a while, but he'll get from one end to the other. Come to think of it, so far, he's only shuffled along to the right. Ah, well, at least he's getting mobile!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Oma's Pflaumenkuchen

Pictured: "Oma," Elisabeth Johanna (Westerkamp) Altenkamp, in Germany in 1926.

My great grandmother made this Pflaumenkuchen, or plum cake. Almost all the flavor of the dessert comes from the plums, which release their juices while cooking, adding both a sweetness and a tartness. The best part, though, is the smell of the kitchen as it bakes.

My Oma's Pflaumenkuchen calls for Italian prune plums, but, if you're like me, you might have difficulty finding them. I use regular plums. They're larger, so I only use a dozen (as opposed to the two it calls for), and I quarter them instead of halving them. Depending on what is in season, you're supposed to be able to use apples or apricots in place of the plums. I've never done this myself, but I'm considering trying pears from my parents' pear tree once they've ripened a bit more. Definitely make sure your fruit is ripe.

Also, if you ask Aunt Gerry, Oma always made this cake in two 8-9" round cake pans. My mom insists Oma used a jelly roll pan. Most Pflaumenkuchen recipes online call for a jelly roll pan, but I think the rounds look pretty. I'm going to take the stance that you can use either two 8-9" round pans, or, for simplicity (and, perhaps, to be a little more authentic), use a single jelly roll pan.

One last tip. If you don't bake very often, you might not be familiar with water temperature for yeast. This recipe says to use warm water. Really, for yeast, you want your water temperature to be 100-110 degrees. Hot tubs are typically around 103-105 degrees, so I always shoot for hot tub temperature.


1 package dried yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg (room temperature)
2 cups flour
2 dozen purple plums/Italian prune plums
cinnamon and sugar

1) Grease two 8-9" round cake pans or one jelly roll pan
2) Combine yeast and water in a bowl
3) In a saucepan, combine and heat the milk, butter and sugar; allow to cool (it should still be warm but not hot when you pour it over the yeast mixture). Pour it over the yeast mixture.
4) Beat the egg. Add the salt and beaten egg to the yeast mixture.
5) Stir in the flour.
6) Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a slightly greased bowl, cover with a dishtowel and let rise until doubled in bulk.
7) Preheat oven to 375.
8) While dough is rising, cut the plums in half (quarter your fruit if you're using large fruit!) and remove the pits.
9) Punch the dough down. Divide in half if using the two round cake pans. Press the dough into each pan. top with plums, cut side up, pressing them down a little. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (I'm pretty liberal with my cinnamon and sugar usage!).
10) Bake for 45 minutes


Oliver woke up for the day at 6am, and his rash looks so much better! There are a few faint patches left, but most of the redness and sores are gone.

Oliver vs The Cow

After waiting a couple months, I decided to give some dairy to Oliver to see if he has overcome the allergy yet. As posted previously, most children outgrow a cow's milk allergy by age 1 or 2. I guess the large protein structure of cow's milk is very bothersome to infants' digestive systems, and it causes intestinal bleeding and shedding in some babies.

I learned that Oliver has not outgrown the allergy. Poor guy. For lunch on Tuesday, I have him some baby banana yogurt (he loves it!), and on Wednesday night, he had an eczema-like rash all over his stomach. He keeps scratching at it and hasn't been sleeping well, either. Specifically, he's getting up about once every 3 hours at night.

Last night, I decided to give Oliver a bleach bath. No, I'm not crazy. http://http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eczema-bleach-bath/AN02003

I put about a quarter cup of bleach in his tub, and I sat him in there for about 5 minutes. It appeared he got itch relief from the bath, but the rash remains.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oliver is Stronger

Yesterday, Oliver climbed all the way onto something for the first time... his mattress! I motivated him with the camera, and he did it twice.

This morning, Oliver tried hard to pull himself into a stand using the laundry basket (I held it so it wouldn't slip). He pulled himself onto his knees!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Past Magician Work

After posting my most recent post, I realized I hadn't posted about Oliver's past Houdini maneuver. Last week, Oliver busted out of his car seat buckle.


...and Oliver can undo the safety buckle on his high chair now, too.

Oliver = 2
Safety Buckles = 0

Monday, August 9, 2010

Roughest, Toughest Mountain Man

For our 3rd wedding anniversary, Andrew and I took Oliver to Glenwood Springs. On the way back, we stopped in Vail and snapped these photos of Oliver.

OK, so Oliver's not actually climbing yet. I stood him on a rock and leaned him against another. I stood by, just out of the picture, in case he took a tumble backwards. I would like to say, however, that there was no trick photography in the other picture. Oliver actually rode a grizzly bear (after he tamed him first).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hand-Eye Coordination

For the first time, Oliver took his block and banged it against the block I was holding. Typically, he bangs two blocks together in his hands or against a table. I thought this demonstrated good hand-eye coordination, so I snapped a picture of his new skill.

Play Time with Oliver

Oliver's having a fun time learning "in" and "out." At Andrew's parents' house, where we're housesitting this week, there's a plastic box with about a dozen matching blocks. Oliver enjoys placing them either inside or outside the box to hear me shout, "In!" or "Out!"

He's also started handing me blocks when I ask for them, even if they're not in his hand. I'll ask, "Oliver, may I have a block?" and he'll grab one and either hand it to me or toss it when his hand gets close to mine. He does the same thing when he's feeding me his Cheerios. Sometimes, he puts them in my mouth. Other times, he lets go as soon as his hand is close to my mouth. It's pretty cute.

I've tried working on imaginitive play with him. I pretend to feed his stuffed animals his Cheerios and baby food. He used to not be interested at all, but now he smiles a little... sometimes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How Do Moms Do it All?

Sometimes, I have no idea how other moms manage to do things. I got up for the day after Oliver's 4am feeding to have a couple of hours to myself (finally got a shower!) before he got up for the day a few hours later.

We've spent the day playing and cuddling and exploring. We've practiced walking and standing and crawling. I tried to get dishes done while he played with some toys (I unloaded half the dishwasher) and then tried to clean the counters while holding Oliver.

At 11am, I still wasn't dressed, Oliver still hadn't napped, and the house still needs work. I had to call Andrew and cancel our plans with his friends (actually, I told him, "I can't have them here. You can take Ollie and go there if you want").

I feel so overwhelmed when I try to have people come over. Suddenly, the smallest thing (like getting dressed, having the dishes done and the toys picked up) seems impossible to have done in time. I don't know how other moms with young ones do it, especially those with more than one kid. I think, either their kids are a little more independent than mine or they let their kids cry or they let their house stay a mess.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Little Tongue Action

Oliver has just started learning simple commands. If I say "kick," he kicks his legs. If I hold out my hand and ask, "May I have your toy?" he either sets itin my hand or tosses it.

It's so fun teaching him things. Today, Andrew taught Ollie how to stick out his tongue. Ever since, Oliver's been sticking out his tongue at us nonstop.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Momma's Boy

Oliver's dependency on me continues to increase daily. Last month was his most independent month; I could easily set him on the floor with a toy and talk to him as I did dishes and prepped dinner. Those easy days were temporary. Thankfully, I know this stage will be temporary, too, but I wonder how long of a stage this one will be.

When Oliver was a few months old, the doctor told me that his dependency would peak at nine months. At the time, Oliver refused to be set down at all, so I assumed the nine month rule wouldn't be the case for Oliver. I was so wrong.

Like when he was younger, Oliver cries again when I leave the room. He freaks out if anyone tries to grab him from me (which is different from when he was younger when he was happy as long as someone was holding him). Also, he's mobile now, so if we're playing on the floor together, he crawls to me and climbs up on my lap (as best as he is able). If he's not in the mood to crawl, he cries until I pick him up. If I'm a foot or so from him, I tell him he can come to me. Sometimes, he does. Other times, he cries... and gets hysterical.

I feel badly for Andrew, although he tells me it's a non-issue. When I hand Oliver to him, Oliver freaks out for me to take him back until I leave the room and a few minutes have gone by. It's been hard to get family time in because when Oliver people are around (including Andrew), Oliver just wants me to hold him. Andrew seems to understand it's not him. In fact, other moms have told us the same thing happened to them. Still, if Oliver cried every time I took him from Andrew, it would break my heart.

Once I'm out of the room for a few minutes, Oliver begins to calm down and then enjoys other people's company. I can hear him coo to his daddy, and they have great one-on-one time. I'll feel inclined to join them for family time, but as soon as Oliver sees me walk into the room, he starts sobbing and doesn't stop until I pick him up.

This new stage is weird for us because we're used to things consistently getting easier with Oliver. We're used to him growing in independence and ability. Having this sudden increase of dependency on me is different.

I don't know if I should always give in to Oliver's pleas for me to pick him up (which happens--literally--every time there's someone else around) or if I should have him "deal with it" occasionally. I wonder if that inconsistency is confusing for him.

I can tell I'm a softy. That doesn't really bother me too much, except then I worry Oliver will either end up spoiled or end up resenting a future sibling. Still, when he's clawing at my leg for me to pick him up, how can I refuse? However, now that he's twenty pounds, I can't realistically carry him all day long like I did when he was ten pounds (Although, I must brag, I can carry him for a long time still. Andrew is frequently impressed by how buff I am, as I often carry Oliver for an hour straight). Usually, though, I carry him until he's calm and plop him on the floor with me to play with toys or peek-a-boo or patty cake. It works for a few minutes, and then he fusses until I pick him up again. When it's just Ollie and me, he'll often play for longer. Things are more normal and calm when it's just the two of us, but, then, that can't be good for him socially. He needs some exposure to other people!

I tried to read a bit about babies who are very dependent on their mommies. I read that babies often want to be held by parents who aren't very attentive to them. Apparently, being held is the only way to get attention. Their solution is for moms and dads to play with their kids more. Perhaps that's valid for some parents; I'm not sure. However, in our case, it's not valid. We have reading time, and Oliver cries until I hold him. We plays drums on pots & pans, and after a minute, Oliver cries until I hold him. Typically, Oliver wants to be held more than he wants to play. I've tried to kind of wean him from that mentality by not talking to him and not playing with him when I hold him (I'll go around cleaning with him on my hip) but play with him a lot when he's on the floor. So far, this tactic has not worked.

Of course, being over-dependent on me at nine months old isn't the worst thing in the world. It's good to know Oliver loves me and knows me as his mommy. I love all the snuggle time we share. I suppose it's best for me to let things work themselves out for now and worry about it in a few months if it's still an issue.

(photos are from 8/6/2010)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Oliver's Big Hike with the Guys

Andrew put the baby backpack to use today and brought Oliver with him on his weekly Sunday hike. Andrew said Oliver loved every moment of the hike. He "talked" to Andrew from the pack and loved looking at the scenery.