Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lucky Seven

Outfit courtesy my Synergy bestie Rachel Clark. I need her to do all his shopping - how adorable is this outfit??? I love you, Rach. :)

Seven months has been by far my favorite age yet. He is so much fun and so easy to take care of. Isn't he a doll? I can't believe how old he is looking! A far cry from that little newborn face. Here's the latest on this kiddo.

- He is now strictly on soy formula. I am hesitant to even mention this because I know there is an army of La Leche League enthusiasts out there who are ready to burn me at the stake  - but please let me explain first. Believe me, I know the benefits of breastmilk - I've read every book on the planet about babies, after all. :) Calvin has had a rough time nursing from the very beginning, if you remember my old posts. My surgery made things difficult for both of us, so I pumped and bottle fed for weeks before he finally latched (and only with the use of a Madela silicone shield). Anyone who has not had to do this may not realize the time and energy commitment it is to pump, bottle feed, and attempt to nurse all at once. Since babies eat every 2-3 hours, I felt like it was all I did all day long. It was painful and I was completely exhausted. I was glad the shield helped him latch, but at the same time, I don't think he ever established the kind of latch that really helps maintain supply. When his allergies hit, I cut everything I loved out of my diet to see if it helped. It certainly did, but I can't tell you how stressful it is to worry that every morsel going into your mouth might be hurting your baby. Then, when he weighed in at his 6 month appointment and was so tiny, I worried about supply. I did a few yields and was immediately concerned because I was only producing 2 or so ounces each time. Poor little guy was probably so enthusiastic about solids because he was starving! I thought he was getting enough because I always let him nurse for 40 minutes or more. I tried and tried to increase my supply but to no avail. I cried to TJ that I felt like such a bad mom because I couldn't give my baby what he needed, and he was really kind and reassuring. I started supplementing with formula and saw how much happier Calvin got - immediately. His skin looked perfect, he seemed happy and satisfied, and his nap problems magically disappeared. Because Calvin is now older and eating solids along with milk, formula fits more easily into our grocery budget if I make a few cuts here and there. We just made a prayerful decision to go with formula 100%, and while I hope with all my heart I can breastfeed my next babies with ease, I just feel like formula at this point is what Calvin needs. Anyway - sorry for the novel on that one. It's just been a very emotional adjustment for me. Although I will say - I love being able to eat what I want again. :)

- Like I said previously, his naps are perfect these days. He is down to 2 naps a day, though once a week he might take a third catnap. He naps at 9:30 am and 1:30 or 2:00 pm for a couple hours each time. He goes to bed for the night at 7:00 pm. He always sleeps until at least 4:00 or 5:00 am, but usually these days he wakes up and talks to himself or plays around in his crib before falling back to sleep until his wakeup time of 7:00 am. I generally just get up and put in his pacifier. He doesn't go down to sleep with a paci, but I do use it as a mute button in these circumstances since we share the same room. Honestly, I don't think the night wakings will stop until we get separate rooms. He knows I'm in there and I think he knows if he bugs me enough in the wee hours, I will go to him and put his paci in. Smart kid. :) It's really annoying though. I can't wait until we get a house!

- He has 4 bottles and 3 solid food servings a day. I mix oatmeal with fruit for his breakfast, oatmeal with peas and squash for lunch, and oatmeal with bananas and sweet potatoes or carrots for dinner. I change things up a little each day, but usually this is what we do. I probably need to add more variety to his diet. He also eats little cereal puffs sometimes to practice his fine motor skills. He can't figure out how to put it in his mouth once he picks it up and it's really cute to watch him try to eat his fist. He loves food. We have started giving him little tastes of the things we eat. He gets really mad the second he sees food in his vicinity because he wants it now. Especially his bottle! When he sees his bottle nearby, he screams until it's in his mouth. It's hilarious. 

- He can easily sit for long periods now. He is not interested in rolling anymore - he doesn't do it nearly as often as he used to. I have been practicing with him lately and I think it's helping. He's not very excited about tummy time but we still do it. He can move toys back and forth between his hands now. He loves to hold your hands and pull himself up to a standing position. Every time he does it, he looks at me and beams because he knows I will cheer for him. He is showing no signs of crawling yet, thank goodness. I don't want to babyproof! He is talking more and more, but isn't saying real words. Everything makes this kid giggle, though, especially when Daddy sneaks up on him and bites his tummy.

-  He is a very good baby. At church, he will just sit on my lap and hold my fingers. When we go places, he seems very happy and observes everything (unless he is hungry or very tired). Our Sunday School teens just adore him! He isn't fussy and has a peaceful spirit about him. He is totally content to play on his own on his playmat or in his bouncy chair if I need to get some chores done. He has not shown any signs of true separation anxiety yet, for which I am grateful. I am anticipating it soon, though. We spend our days taking walks, playing with toys, reading Berenstain Bears, eating snacks, and practicing motor skills. It is so fun! I am enjoying motherhood more and more as time goes by. He's the easiest kid these days. 

Here are some more pictures. Just today, I did a side-by-side of me as a baby with Calvin and TJ as a baby with Calvin. I wanted to see who he looked like more. I'll let you be the judge. :) 

I also played dress-up with Calvin today and couldn't help but be reminded of the time Jamie did the same thing with Easton when he was a baby! Jamie, you are seriously beautiful. I would pose with Calvin in his picture, but the lens would crack. :) 

Ok, fine, here is one picture. But only because I can hear Sydney Beames yelling at me from here. :) This is me and Calvin at Grandma Smedley's Easter egg hunt. 

Calvin is the light of my life. I can't quite remember when I've ever been this happy. Little cutie pie! Happy 7 months, Mr. Man.      

Monday, April 1, 2013

Calvin at 6 Months

Could you just die? Is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen? Okay, I'm biased. :) But I really think this kid is the most adorable child on planet earth. 

Here are some new bits of information about Calvin in his sixth month. 

- He sits up, rolls over, and stands like a champ. You can hold his hands while he is sitting and he will pull himself up to standing - all with his own strength! He rolls best back to tummy but has a harder time from tummy to back. He sometimes tries to roll while he is holding his foot and it's very funny to watch him get mad when he can't do both at the same time. It reminds me of that story about the monkeys who could reach into the box to grab the fruit but then couldn't pull their fists out while holding the treats. They wouldn't let go, and that's how they were caught. My little monkey. :) He is also very skilled at grabbing and pinching. He can now put his paci in his mouth by himself when you give it to him.

- He positively wolfs down solids. He will eat anything and loves food. LOVES it. I feed him peaches, oatmeal, peas, carrots, pears, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice cereal, prunes, and, of course, bananas (his favorite). He gets impatient between bites and will bark at me the second his mouth is empty. It takes all of 2 minutes to feed him his solids (about 1/4-1/3 cup serving 3-4 times a day). He will stare at me when I eat and start smacking his lips like he wants some, too. It's ironic he loves food so much, since...

- He is 14.5 lbs and 24 inches tall. That is 10th percentile for height and 7th percentile for weight. TINY. He still fits in his 3 month clothes. Personally, I love that he is still my little man and I hope he stays miniature forever! His head is 50th percentile, though - huge for his size. I started to worry that my milk supply was running low, but I don't think that's the case anymore. He gets what he needs and is a very happy baby. I mean, does he look skinny to you? I think he is the right weight for his height. Plus, breastfed babies tend to be leaner anyway. I love getting people's reactions to him because he looks much younger than he is but is much more advanced than a 3-month-old. He's extremely alert as it is, so couple that with his size, and everyone marvels at how attentive and active he is. I get comments everywhere I go about two things: how big and expressive his eyes are and how observant he is.

- His sleep has really evened out and it's so nice. He takes a 1.5 hour nap at 9 and then a 2 or 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon (around 12:30 or 1). Then he takes a catnap around 5 with bedtime around 7:30. I have just accepted that his morning wakeup time is 6:30. I tried and tried to push it to 7 or 7:30 but I think that is just his body's rhythm. Usually, babies have their longest naps in the morning, and that's how it was for him for a long time. Ever since daylight savings, though, he's switched the two naps and now his afternoon nap is longest. He is showing signs of being ready to drop the catnap and moving bedtime to 7pm, but not yet. He also sleeps in his crib now - we dropped the Rock 'n Play sleeper. He is doing fantastic with the crib and it was a very easy transition. 

- TJ and I have been very aggressively house hunting over the last few weeks. I have been communicating with our real estate broker (who is FABULOUS by the way - more details on that later), and we have been meeting up daily to look through homes and make offers and all that fun stuff. Poor Calvin has had to come along for the ride, which mean little to no routine on those days. He sleeps horribly anywhere other than his crib, so he has had to just catnap in his carseat on the road and then I've had to feed him sporadically. In this market, you have to jump on the good homes instantly or you lose out on them. Case in point - the homes we've looked at in the last week have sold in one day - ONE. Since a home temporarily trumps a routine, I've had to just deal with it. Calvin is awful on the days where we have no structure. Fussy, grumpy, a poor eater... you name it. All the action and activity makes him overstimulated and then he has an even harder time winding down at home in his crib. It just helps me see even more clearly that this is the kind of kid who thrives on a routine. Not all children need this kind of structure, but Calvin sure does.

- He had not taken a pacifier at all until just recently. We started using it when he got sick about a month ago, and then something annoying started happening. He would cry out for it during naps and had a harder time going to sleep without it. Even at night, he was crying out for a binky at 2am... not fun. So, I weaned him from the pacifier. It was easy since he was used to living without it, but I was still surprised at how quickly he became dependent on it. Not anymore, though. He goes down for naps just fine without it. I still use the pacifier in emergencies, though (like at church or when I need him to not make his little noises). 

- He is such a happy kid. When I come to get him from naps, he does this happy baby dance where his limbs go flying in all directions and he beams up at me. It's the cutest thing ever. He loves to play and makes happy noises all day. Most of the time, it's just this big "ahhhhhhhh" sound, but sometimes he does a "yayayaya" or "gigigigi" sound. Precious.

- Calvin loves his dad. He is so happy to see TJ come home and giggles and plays with him until bedtime. TJ and I have a lot of little nicknames for Calvin, his toys, and aspects of his day. We would sound absolutely ridiculous to anyone if they could listen in. Here are a few of his nicknames...

Mr. Man
Mr. Guy
Mr. Mister
Mr. Chub
Little Mister
Little Man
Scrunchy Face
Mr. Toes
Monkey Man
Cutie Face
Cutie Man
Chunky Thighs
Mr. Buddy

We tell Calvin, "It's time to play with Mr. Bedtime!" when it's time for him to go to his crib. We tell him, "It's time to play with Mr. Bathtime!" when it's time for a bath. We tell him, "It's time to play with Mr. Jumble Gym!" when he plays on his play mat. I have no idea when, where, or how this started, but it's here to stay. :)

We sure love this little guy. Six months is my favorite so far. Each month that goes by gets better because he gets more and more interactive and fun. We are kind of obsessed.