First Christmas

Henry's first Christmas has been a resounding success. We arrived in to town late Friday night. This was Henry's 7th airplane trip and although it was probably his fussiest (he no longer just falls asleep in my arms) at least we can keep distracting him from his tiredness through props and funny faces and noises. Once we got off the plane we sailed into Gran's waiting car (and new NOVA-based carseat) and off to granparents house we went! He went to sleep easily that night and has slept all night so far waking at the respectable hour of 8 each day.

Oma, Opa and Uncle Eric came over on Christmas Eve for an extended family buffet and Henry got to open several gifts. He had lots of fun with the paper and ribbons (as predicted) and was pretty in to his new books and the festivities. Then suddenly he was done and off to bed. Christmas morning he did so well. We took turns opening gifts for him (he even managed to pull some open himself) and he just couldn't be happier with the parade of gifts and clothes for himself and others. He made it all the way through post-gift stocking opening and then headed down for a nap. He's been napping like a champ while we're here-- Christmas is really taking it out of him.

This morning we got to meet a friend of mine and her 9 month old son Iain. She lives out by my folks so we conveniently met at the Starbucks close to both of us. It was fun to see the two babies that are so close in age, but very different in temperament and size. Iain is a really active, 21 lb baby. Very physical and into interacting physically with his environment. Henry was pretty content to just take everythig and everyone in for the first 10 minutes and then proceeded to coo, flirt and charm anyone within spying distance.


8 Months, 5 Days

He gained weight! Yes, the news was good from the Dr's office today. Henry gained 10 oz in 14 days-- just ahead of the average rate of 1/2 oz per day (after 6 mos). The Ped. was pleased and said we averted the next level of medical concern which would have included extensive blood-work to figure out why he wasn't gaining weight. We're supposed to keep up the 8 oz. bottles and try to incorporate an additional 4th bottle during the day as he's often very tired by the time he takes his last nursing session just before bed.

As far as solids, he's moving right along. He had mozzarella cheese for the first time today and not only did he enjoy it, but he did pretty well picking up the small pieces and feeding himself. We're supposed to mix 2-3 tsp of oil into his food a day and go heavy on things like egg yolks, ricotta cheese, and other sources of protein. We don't go back until his 9 month check-up in a month.


8 Months, 4 Days

When JT was getting ready to feed Henry tonight he was walking over to his booster seat with the bowl of bananas and raspberries (yum, sounds like dessert to me)and as JT was approaching, steps away, Henry had his mouth open and arms and legs really going. It's so much fun to watch how he interacts differently with JT and I. Not that all he does is cuddle with me and rough-house with JT, but we certainly have our different styles and Henry responds to that.

We're off to the Pediatrician tomorrow. Here's hoping Henry has put on some weight in the last two weeks. I'll let you know.


8 Months, 3 Days

Henry really hates his snowsuit/carseat combo. He fusses most days as i'm getting him situated (which it's hard to do with frozen hands and thick gloves). Today he flat-out cried almost the whole way to Ms. Brenda's. He seemed pretty tired and out of it when i dropped him off too. Brenda said he took his first nap right away, but overall did just fine.

He was playful as usual this evening. We're still working with him on laying on his stomach. I can't say he likes it any better and he's still not showing any interest in trying to crawl or get from point A to B. We'll mention it to the Ped. at Thursday's weight check, otherwise we'll just try to enjoy his non-mobile days while they last.

I posted all the 7 month pictures on yahoo. I'm out of new pictures so here's a signature i use on my message board!


8 Months, 2 Days Old

Either Henry is sleeping off a long night of partying or he's on some kind of growth spurt. After his monumental naps over the weekend, he took three full naps with Brenda today and was so exhausted when i went to pick him up that we skipped the bath and he went to bed as soon as possible after eating dinner.

He tried hummus for the first time tonight and seemed to like it; although it was a bit difficult to tell since he was spacing-out tired after just a few bites. We're trying to move him up to table food so the that he can enjoy some Dim Sum and Vietnamese Soup outings in DC while we're there.


8 Months, Belated

Yesterday i heard Henry making noises signaling that he was waking up from his nap. When i went in to get him i found him flipped over on his back, turned around 90 degrees, and kicking his chirping birds with his foot. He seemed pretty proud of him.

Today he acted like he was catching up on some zzz's, but we didn't realize he was deficient. He took a 2 hour and 3 hour nap which worked out well because i was out most of the day running errands and seeing a movie with friends and JT was trying to get some work done at home.

When i picked Henry up from Ms. Brenda's on Friday i asked how old they are when they learn to hold their legs around you. Henry has a habit of just going slack and sliding down your body as you try to keep him on your hip. He doesn't seem to be using it as a nonviolent approach to escape-- he's just not much on helping you hold him. She said that he does a similar thing in his bouncy chair at daycare. There's a toybar in front of him and every time he sits in it he extends his leg over the toybar so it looks like he's kicking back-- fully relaxed. His Dad had a particular way of draping himself over furniture in high school, so perhaps it's genetic.


7 Months, 29 Days

Ella's mom usually picks her daughter up from Ms. Brenda's about the time i get Henry. Henry is generally smiley when i go to pick him up and today was no exception. When Ella's mom walked up she said "It's Happy Henry!" Seems he's taken on a nickname that we weren't aware of but that generally fits.

I was talking to Brenda about other things (namely that at daycare he actually moves around) and forgot to ask about his naps, but i'm guessing they were good because he was a barrel of monkeys this evening. He played contentedly on his stomach for about half and hour until it was time for dinner. I made him pasta with peas and a little lemon juice and he smiled and ate and smiled and ate and seemed to definitely dig the meal. I used a package of orzo that we've had kicking around for awhile. The "grains" are too small for self-feeding but they were the perfect size for him to eat off a spoon and not have any gagging issues with.

Normally his bath is a happy calm time but tonight he had all 4 limbs going, he was squirming in an excited way and was very into really checking everything out-- including what was behind him. Tonight was the first night i implemented my plan to read to him during bathtime as a way for us to get in stories during the weekdays.

In one short week we'll be traveling to see friends and family to celebrate Henry's first Christmas!


7 Months, 28 Days

What a fun evening we had! Henry had a good, normal day at Brenda's and then we came home and played in his room for awhile. He even lasted awhile on his stomach in his crib. He can stand on his own for a bit but only when leaning on something. I had him leaning on his toy table but his feet kept slipping out from beneath him. Later i sat him in front of the table and he was reaching up for things but didn't really seem interested in trying to pull himself up or anything.

He tried yogurt for the first time tonight and it was a big hit! I mixed it in with eggplant (Khyber Pass restaurant here we come!) and peaches and he really loved both. In a few more days i'm going to try pasta and see how that goes.

When we were visiting my paternal grandparents at Thanksgiving, my grandmother gave me a few of my father's baby items. Henry is sporting his cap in this picture.



Just a quick post to say that i'm home and can't wait to see Henry in the flesh tomorrow morning. I've missed him so much but i'd say our first time apart has gone fine. After Monday he's taken two normal naps each day and has slept through the night without any commentary. I'm just sorry i have to work tomorrow and don't have all day to breathe him in. I promise to have new pictures tomorrow.



This is my first post from the road. I'm taking a quick break from meetings and just wanted to let everyone know that Henry's having a mixed time of it while i'm away. He slept just fine last night, but only after not napping again at all with Brenda on Monday.

I had sent her an email going though all the information our pediatrician gave us and some of the new things she needed to be doing with him, i.e. more time on his stomach. I also told her that his naps are not negotiable. I went through what we do at home and sent a lovey that he can use at daycare. Unfortunately this didn't seem to do the trick.

Today JT re-iterated that he needs to nap and that she can let him cry until he falls asleep. She seemed a little surprised by this so i'm thinking somehow we weren't clear in the past about this. Please keep your fingers crossed that he's sleeping there as i write this-- as it's naptime. I'm hoping JT has good news to report when i check in tonight.

Being away is odd and bad because i miss him intensely, but getting an uninterrupted nights sleep with no worry about being awoken by the cats or Henry was not too shabby. I'm hoping to make it to the gym after work today and then off to bed early again so that i can knock this cold out for good.


7 Months, 24 Days

We've come to like our weekends fairly quiet, with enough visits with friends to keep us connected to those we care about. This weekend was one of those perfect balances of not being stuck inside, not going out too much.

Our very good friends came over this morning and we cooked breakfast together. We had quite the spread and Henry's sleep coincided nicely so he was awake and eating along with us (bananas and raspberries) and then played for awhile (on his stomach) before heading for a nap just as they were getting ready to leave.

Errands had to be run of course and i had to get packing for my trip. That's right, don't be offended if this is the first you've heard of it. I'm traveling for work and will return Wed night. I've been so focused on getting everyone scheduled to see over Christmas that i hadn't even given this trip another thought. I considered telling you all that i had decided just to be spontaneous and not plan but i wasn't sure i could get that by you.

It is momentous however, because it's the first time i've been away from Henry overnight since he was in the hospital for his stomach surgery when he was just shy of 2 months old. JT's been primed with information and i know he's looking forward to spending all the time with Henry. I won't have pictures for a few days but hopefully will have enough info to tell you something. I'm thinking that between feeling better and the hotel fitness center, i might actually start to workout again.


33 Weeks

First let me start by saying that i think Henry got through his little sleep blip. He slept for 13 hours last night with just one peep (and he talked himself back to sleep in just a few minutes) and today he took a 3 hour nap in the morning which had me poking him just to make sure he was okay.

Tabitha and her kids came over to catch up for a few hours this morning and although Henry was asleep basically the entire visit, we managed to squeeze in just a few pictures of the three of them together at the very end.

After marveling at how well Helen plays on her stomach, i'm redoubling my efforts around Henry. The one limitation we still have is that if he's just eaten (even after we make sure to burp him) he pretty much spits up a decent amount. This didn't affect Helen but Henry is still a spitter so his stomach time is somewhat limited by this. Of course he doesn't really care but our washing machine occasionally protests.

I did discover that he kept himself entertained quite well when i put him down with a mirror he has. He talked and laughed at himself for quite awhile and then when he knocked the mirror over on himself he proceeded to explore the smooth surface of the mirror with his mouth.

By the way, we're in the middle of quite a snow experience. We got about 8 inches yesterday and then it flurried again this morning and has been snowing pretty steadily since late this afternoon. The weather said accumulations of an inch this evening but we went out to dinner tonight and drove and there was at least an inch on our car just in the time we were inside the restaurant.


7 Months, 22 Days

I'm open to theories. Henry is all discombobulated and in an attempt to reassure other parents and expose a sliver of the experience of parenting young children, we're going to treat this like a case.

Overall his sleeping has been pretty good this week. Last weekend we made the transition to 2 naps a day and things went pretty smoothly. Wednesday night he slept great-- not a peep until about 7:30 in the morning. Yesterday he had his ped appointment at 11. I picked him up around 10:30 and at that point he hadn't taken his morning nap. After his shots*1 he came home and took a solid 2 hour nap. By about 4:30 i decided to try for a second short late nap because he was clearly getting sleepy/fussy. I swayed a bit with him in his darkened room and turned on his chirping birds. When i laid him down in his crib he arched his back, held his head up, reached and talked to his birdies. I left his bedroom thinking the nap wouldn't happen and when i walked back by a few minutes later he was out cold. He slept a solid 45 minutes and woke at 5:30*2.

Typically our evening routine consists of dinner around 6, then a bath, then nursing and bed by 7. Most nights he's asleep or very drowsy by the time he settles into nursing. Last night he was yukking it up in between drinks-- smiling and laughing at JT, trying to get his attention, talking, just carrying on; no sign of drowsiness. I let him sit with JT for a few minutes and then took him back to his room to try to get him soothed for bed. We were already stretching things at 7:45. I put him down and he clearly expressed his displeasure. He cried, and protested and babbled and carried on until 9 pm when he finally fell asleep. He woke up a few times briefly during the night but was awake fully by 5:15 this morning which makes for one of his shortest overnight stretches since the bad old days*3.

Now here i am trying to sort out what is causing this. Add in the cold medicine*4 i'm on (approved by my doc for nursing moms) that i'm supposed to take at least 4 hours before bed so it doesn't keep me up, and i've got at least 4 theories.

To make matters worse he didn't nap AT ALL today. Not one nap, nothing. Brenda said she tried everything, letting him cry, rocking him, etc. He wasn't fussy though, just wouldn't sleep and kept babbling and talking and laughing.

My money is on a combo effect: the cold medicine affecting H combined with him reaching this new milestone where he talks all the time--literally, he doesn't really coo or fuss much anymore, he just babbles either happily, unhappily, or irately. It's as if in the course of 2 days he reached the protestation milestone. They say milestones can affect sleep (and while i think they're generally physical in nature), that's my story and i'm sticking to it until i collect more evidence.

Feel free to chime in?


Lazy, Long Cool Drink of Water

Henry had a pediatrician appointment this morning. We saw a new pediatrician which i'll tell you about in another night's post. We had quite awhile to just get to know the new Dr. and get her up-to-date on Henry and his sordid past. The good news is that now he's in the 75% percentile for length, the bad news is that he basically hasn't gained any weight since 6 months. Or, as the Dr. said, he's a "long cool drink of water."

Now Henry is a Bloch, and if you've met many of the Blochs you'll know that they tend to the long and skinny side of things. That said, the Dr. wants us to up Henry's milk supply and introduce a number of other calorie dense foods into his diet. We're supposed to go back in two weeks to check his weight. The Dr. wasn't alarming and had several helpful concrete solutions which was essential for me feeling okay about the situation. The biggest thing is that i'm supposed to increase his bottles from 5-6 oz to 8 oz. Also, after he finishes breast feeding i'm supposed to offer him a small bottle to see if he'll take anymore. I tried that twice today and he took a bit but was pretty quickly disinterested. I'll most likely need to supplement with formula since i haven't been pumping anywhere near 24 oz a day. I was hoping to make it to the year mark without formula, but as the Doc said, what's most important now is that he get additional calories. So, we've got some formula samples to try with Henry over the weekend. I've heard a lot of breast-fed babies don't really like formula because it tastes different, here's hoping Henry's open-embrace of all food continues.

The Doc also said that we need to put Henry on his stomach and back more. She said that for some babies, as they get really good at sitting, they get lazy and don't have much motivation to try out new positions or get moving. So, even if he protests we're supposed to build tummy-time back in. I did two sessions today and we made some progress. The first only lasted about 5 minutes, but the second went up to over 10-- in part because i bribed the cat to stay just out of Henry's reach; there was also a lot of clapping involved.

So we've got marching orders and as soon as i can get a little better (and the snow storm abates) i'll head to the store to stock up on all of Henry's new food and feeding implements.


7 Months, 20 Days

Thankfully JT is well now because he was able to come home and get Henry from Brenda's today, entertain him for awhile, and now make dinner. I'm just camped out on the couch until i go to bed around 8:30. I have a Dr. appt tomorrorw morning-- was the earliest i could get so hopefully it will be productive instead of just being told i have a virus, drink lots of fluids and get some rest.

Blessedly Henry is oblivious to all the sickness that has gone on around him. We've got a pediatrician appointment on Thursday for his second flu shot and hopefully to have tons of general questions answered about how Henry's developing and what he should/shouldn't be eating.

Here's another shot with the house-- we're running low on pictures so hopefully you enjoy this photo series.

7 Months, 19 Days

I tried to post last night and i believe the blogspot server was down because i never could access it. Of course i only tried up until about 7:45 when i took nighttime cold medicine and hit the sack. I'm concerned my cold (yes, still beating about) has worsened and turned into a sinus infection. I'm going to call my Dr. today to see if i can get an appt or an antibiotic prescription. I'm cautious not to overdue the antibiotics but all signs are pointing to an infection instead of just a cold.

After a day and night full of sleep, JT seems to have rebounded and JT's parents are on their way back home after a trip we all just want to put behind us. Luckily we'll see them again in a few short weeks and we'll keep our fingers crossed that they get to spend more quality time with Henry.

So Henry, he's just doing ducky. So far he's been spared the pox and just has his stuffy daycare nose. We've discovered he really hates his snowsuit but loves his little people house. Actually he's been pretty much obsessed with this house for a few weeks but i keep forgetting to tell you about it and post pictures. To be honest it's a dollhouse-- it's got a huge pink roof. I bought it on cragislist.org when Henry was really little without really thinking. It came with a million little people and some cars and other miscellaneous pieces. I had them up in his closet and figured it was something for when he's much older.

A few weeks ago, i got them out for the playgroup i hosted where i knew older kids would be around. Before i put it away i decided to see if Henry was interested. Bam! He's been playing with it since. Of course he's not making the little figures walk around and talk or anything but he scritches on the upper level, picks up the figures and eats them, beats them on the house, presses the buttons in the house that make noise (bringg, telephone for Henry!), etc. In short he loves this thing. In fact we've temporarily abandoned all his other toys because if he's done playing with the house, he's done playing.


32 Weeks

A pox has been visited upon our house. Unfortunately a virulent stomach bug seems to have claimed JT's dad and JT. I'm feeling a bit queasy but can't tell if it's sympathy stomach or the real thing. I'm trying to get to sleep but as i was able to sleep-in nice and late today the sandman hasn't arrived yet.

I think Henry is transitioning to two naps and that is partially to blame for some of his slightly strange behavior lately. Both Saturday and Sunday he took 2 naps that were longer than usual but went without his 3rd nap. Saturday he had about a 45 minute "quiet time" in his crib during his usual third nap timeframe. He didn't sleep but seemed pretty content. I tried the same thing today and it only lasted about 15 minutes, 10 of which i wouldn't describe as content. We'll see how he does with Brenda tomorrow. I'd be happy for the switch to 2 naps because i think it will lead to his naps being a bit more scheduled-- a boon to my planning needs.

Here's a wish that everyone reading this stays healthy and avoids all those nasties out there right now. Keep washing those hands!


7 Months, 15 Days

Another bonus to visiting family is that JT and i got to make use of some built-in babysitting. We attended something called "dollar store" which happens at an out of the way little bar the first friday of every month. The hosts pick out the wackiest items they can find at a dollar store, give them to local writers and comedians and then turn them loose on an audience. It's not improv really-- most things were pre- written, but it was cool to hear some local writers' work and to have a perspective different from the one we view from our couch.

Henry continued to be a bit off. Brenda said he was really miserable all day-- just gnawing away on everything and would only sleep for 30 minutes-- total. When he got home though he was just as social and happy as usual. He got fussy and tired a bit earlier and sacked out about 6:30 but so far he's had a solid night. He's running a low-grade temp like last night that i'm treating with tylenol but it's hard to think something is really wrong when he's so happy. We'll keep an eye on him tomorrow and hopefully he'll be able to make it to Thursday next week when we have a follow-up Dr. appt.


7 Months, 14 Days

Henry had a strange evening. JT's parents (Oma and Opa) are visiting for a long weekend and we all piled in the car, picked up Henry, met JT and headed out to dinner. Henry was okay, but seemed lethargic and acted a little drugged-- definitely sleepy. After trading off holding him he managed to fall asleep on my shoulder with nary a peep. Henry doesn't do that. We were wracking our brains to figure out what might be causing this strange behavior on his part. He slept until we put him in the carseat when he woke up and fussed a bit and then quietly looked out the window on the ride home. He had a light fever when we checked it at home but by then he was awake and as smiley as his usual self.

I went ahead and got him ready for bed and he went to sleep easily. We're hoping to keep our record of sleep-filled nights intact.

Here's a picture from our post-turkey walk that was cut short by Texas-sized mosquitoes on Henry's face.


7 Months, 13 Days

Baby it's cold outside... and yet Henry complained loudly this afternoon at Brenda's when she tried to get his coat on. I was worried he hadn't slept much because he was fussy on the way home too but once home he was a barrel of laughs and happily played with his little people house until it was time for dinner and a bath. He fell asleep just before 7 but has actually woken up crying twice since then (it's 9 pm now). Hopefully this isn't what the rest of the night is going to be like.

I'm getting more congested by the minute so i'm off to bed with some cold medicine. Hopefully the early night will do me good.

Today's picture is Henry in his first piece of sports-paraphernalia enjoying some post-turkey play time.


7 Months, 12 Days

I've taken to sitting Henry up in the bathtub sans bath-chair in just a few inches of water. He can sit up well enough now that he's free to play and grab at toys without fear of a face-full of water (which thankfully, he's weathered quite well in the past). Tonight after he finished playing with his crab, he began splashing his hand up and down in the water. This caused tiny bubbles to form which absolutely captivated him. He would try to pick the them up with his fingers and then get so excited he'd splash and the whole thing would start again.


7 Months, 11 Days

Henry adjusted well back at Brenda's today and the other kids hailed him heartily when i dropped him off this morning. She said he didn't skip a beat and settled right back into his nap schedule.

We enjoyed an early dinner and now we're off to start to put the house back together. JT's parents come to visit this Wed and i'm a little under the weather so i'm planning on doing a little today and a little tomorrow.

Today's picture features Henry playing with his Great-Grandfather.


On the seventh day...

Travel is something that both JT and i enjoy and something we felt would be a marker for our parenting style. We weren't going to buy into the conventional wisdom that you couldn't travel with children and i was determined to disprove the notion that child as traveling companion necessitated mountains of luggage.

If it was just the logistics of travel that turned out to be difficult i wouldn't even be writing this. Unfortunately, as with most things parental, the difficulty lies in the areas i can't control.

I am a ruthless packer and an efficient travel planner. I can winnow Henry and i's belongings to a single roll-aboard and schedule flights so they coincide with nap times without a second thought. I can keep Henry on his general routine, bring Ralph and his other sleep accoutrements, and generally try to provide him the same environment he's accustomed to at home. I can not however figure out, let alone solve, the reason H can be super-baby all day (charming everyone with his continual smile) while his sleep quality begins to erode and then unravel.

At this point Henry is averaging slightly over one trip per month since he first traveled at 2 months old. I think our solution is cutting back on his travel schedule until he's a bit older. At this point we need to pick and choose his trips carefully so that the benefits of visiting family and friends are not out-weighed by the temporary damage to his sleeping. I think i might just start treating this as an experiment (albeit not a controlled one) to see if certain variables make things better or worse. Look for the results of my study in a Pediatric Sleep Journal in a few years...

We'll see what the night holds, but i think after a day filled with many, many naps, we may have little Henry back on his routine. After finally falling asleep at 7 last night he slept until 7:45 this morning with only one brief night-waking. I was so dead i didn't even know he was crying until JT got back in bed from checking on him. His day started out with a brief 20 minute nap, but after pretty short awake periods i just kept putting him back down for increasingly longer naps. By tonight he seemed to be getting back to his smiley self.

Here's a picture from the second full-day of our trip. Showcased is the entire Thetford cousin and second-cousin gang.


7 Months, 9 Days

We enjoyed seeing all of my family in Oklahoma and Texas, gathering with the second cousins, meandering around the family farm, and getting back home. Henry was super-traveler baby and truly amazed everyone with his generous smiles. I really worked hard to keep him on a pretty good semblance of his schedule but his most sensitive feature-- sleep, was still affected. He did pretty well until the last few days when his naps shortened to 30 minute stints and he was waking 4-5 times at night. We put him to bed early tonight because he was falling asleep in his milk but it took him quite awhile to truly fall asleep. I knew coming home that this would take a few days to sort out but it's just so hard to bear the crying after we suffered through it so many months ago. Thankfully JT is able to keep reminding me that he'll be the same (happier) smiley Henry tomorrow once he gets back on top of his sleep needs.

I'll post more about traveling and the details of our trip in the next few days. For now i wanted to let you know that i was home and that we have lots of fun pictures to share over the next several days.

Here's one from our first stop-- Henry hanging out with my paternal grandparents!


7 Months, 1 Day

What a fun milestone to report! Last night i heard Henry waking up around 1:00 am. As i was lying there listening to his waking-up noises, i was dreading having to get up and see what was wrong. Instead of crying though, he talked to himself for about a minute and then just went quietly back to sleep. Up until this point, if he woke up in the night he would automatically cry, or at least cry out, before getting himself back to sleep. What a sweet minute this was to just listen to him babbling a bit and then quietly drifting off to sleep.

He continued to wow me as we hosted neighborhood playgroup at our house this evening. Last time Henry was the oldest baby, this time he was squarely in the middle with a 16 month old at the top and a 4.5 month old bringing up the year (well there was a 3.5 year old as well but she practically seems like one of the big girls.) With the older mobile babies it was less talk and more refereeing between little ones and choking hazards (and the kitties). Henry sat on his quilt for most of the evening playing with his toys and watching all the activity while i helped head off the kidlets. Everyone commented on what a good content baby Henry was and i was right there saying, "i know, he *is* good!"

I can't wait for my whole family to get to meet him and know him better over Thanksgiving. I've been dropping hints, but this is offical notice that i'll be on vaction next week from Monday-Friday as Henry and i will be traipsing through our heartland (OK) and Texas. Hopefully i'll have a trove of pics for when i return but probably no posts in the meantime.


7 Months!

I almost missed posting tonight because things are so hectic around here! Tonight i made it back to quilting for the first time in awhile but then had to run home and get preparations underway to host our neighborhood playgroup tomorrow afternoon. This mostly involved getting the house into decent shape and prepping some food that i can throw together tomorrow afternoon. Still, it's a bit after 11 and i've still got a mountain of laundry to fold. Unfortunately there's so much of it i don't think i can just shove it in the laundry closet! We'll see how much i get done otherwise i'll be shutting the door to the folding room/guest room.

Henry did indeed turn 7 months old today. He didn't celebrate it in any particular kind of way but just had a happy normal day at Brenda's and then ran to the grocery store with me after work. He charmed the clerks and couldn't take his eyes off all the produce. We played at home and managed to all three eat dinner together as a family. That happens about once every 6-8 weeks as we usually eat well after Henry's gone to bed. It's kind of fun to be all together though so it's a happy turn of events when we can swing it.

All 6 month pictures are up on yahoo.


6 Months, 30 Days

Well, i think i found a food that Henry doesn't really like-- yellow bell peppers. He ate his avocado with flair and then ate about 3-4 bites of bell pepper just fine. With the next bite he grimaced and turned away. He also seemed to be getting full and distracted by the cats. When he'd look back he'd respond to my query of more, but would then make the terrible grimace face again. We did this for a few bites and i decided to call it quits. I've got an entire ice cub tray worth so i'll be trying them again with him soon but so far they are most definitely not his favorite!

Today was Henry's first snow-- mostly flurries but it was freezing, windy and snowing which i believe should count as his first official winter day. He's been trying out his various snowsuits the past few days. Here's one that i love but that he's almost outgrown already.



I've never been so happy to hear a euphemism for fat before in my life. When i was dropping Henry off this morning we were talking about how he's really outgrown all the baby buntings (snowsuits) that i got for him before the season even hit it's stride. The one i put him in today had feet built in and it was so tight he was almost doing a forced back-bend when the hood was up. I made a comment that he was growing so long and was such a long skinny baby.

Brenda kinda of laughed and said that she thought he was kinda fluffy. First of all i think she's nuts because while he's not skin and bones, he's certainly no round bellied little chubby baby. But since i'm a little over-paranoid about his tiny stature i was positively glowing from the comment. Now if she had called me fluffy it might have been different but call my baby what you like big-boned, strapping, corpulent and i'm liable to give you hug.


6 Months, 28 Days

Hopefully no one is looking too closely but i got a bit off count with Henry's months and days. We're caught back up and soon to be seven months old (this Thursday!).

When i went to pick Henry up there were two other moms that arrived at the same time so while they were busy getting their kids coats on and gathering their stuff i chatted with Brenda a little. She told me that Henry was just such a good baby and that he all the other kids just love him because he reacts with such big smiles when they say hello or talk to him. We said it was like Norm going to cheers because as soon as he arrives a chorus of voices yells "Henry!" I thanked her and let her know how happy we were with our arrangement. To show this in a practical manner i gave her an amazing Tamra-creation-- if only i had pictures because i'm not sure you're going to believe it.

Brenda had asked each family to donate one box of tissues now that cold season is in full effect. I decided i want to give her something else that would be useful and settled on batteries because i know how many of the babies' swings, toys, etc. gobble them right up. I went to Costco and bought packs of C,D and AA batteries but felt i couldn't just hand over these mega-packs of batteries; clearly i had to do something to liven them up without going overboard.

First i played around with arranging them in different shapes and settled on the larger D cells in a circle surrounding the smaller C batteries. Then i lashed them together and cut out a base for them to rest on. Next i cut out tail feathers, a gobble, and little feet-- you guessed it, i made the battery sculpture into a turkey. Just to temper things a bit i just put the AAs in the bag in their own packaging. She was appreciative although perhaps a little freaked out by the turkey.


30 Weeks

Becoming a mother has profound implications, not least of which is the re-introduction to social pecking orders. Not since i was in highschool have i been thrust together with groups of women that i would normally not come into contact with... ever.

In highschool (and i'm basing my comments here on a public school experience) you have no choice about the people with which you are confined to a building day in and day out . Students do what they can to mark themselves as part of a group, but it's impossible to completely avoid the jokers plaguing your yearbook class.

College provides a much larger pool from which to find kindred spirits. Move along the non-profit route and generally you find yourself surrounded by people that share many of your social, intellectual and cultural markers.

One day you're blithely mocking urban hipsters (welcome to the world Henry!); the next you're sitting on the floor of someone's living room exchanging parenting tips with a woman in oversized sunglasses and manolo blahnik boots.

True story, a group of us with babies 6 months or less are gathered in a neighbor's living room exchanging stories about meltdowns our babies experienced while we were out. The woman across from me began by recounting the time her newborn son had a fit while she was shoping in Sacks 5th Avenue. It didn't even occur to me what a contrast my story of Henry's freak-out in Walgreens was until well after the fact.

All of this to to say that motherhood is a much stronger forced commonality than high school district ever was. The fact that you can make absolutely opposite choices about 99% of your life and still find a fierce 1% of parenting topics to hash over with strangers is a really new experience for me.


6 Months, 25 Days

As far as milestones go, i have a few to catch everyone up on. For probably the past week or so Henry has been babbling-- adhering to the strict definition of the word. Since mid-summer he's been experimenting with o's and ah's and then moved on to blowing bubbles and running his lips in the fall but now he's finally embraced vowel consonant combinations. For many babies the ma-ma-ma or da-da-da sounds are often first which lead many people to brag that their child said their first word at 6 months. Henry doesn't want anyone taking credit for something until he's ready so he's going with ba-ba-ba.

Baby book wisdom seems to be that you should encourage your baby by following along,inserting uhuh's into the conversation as if you were participating, and making the sounds back to them. If you follow the experts lead, Henry will just clam up. If you initiate the sounds yourself Henry will look at you like you're a complete idiot. If however he's content (happily playing in the bath or on the changing table) he'll babble away.

Tonight also marked the first time he intentionally splashed in the tub. If only our excitement wasn't tempered by the need to recaulk.


6 Months, 23 Days

I've been putting Henry down on the hardwood floor in the evenings on his stomach. He isn't crazy about that unless he's distracted with toys. This evening i moved his toys a fair distance away from him and he was really trying to get to them-- trouble is he either turned in circles as if his stomach was the pivot point on a protractor or scooched backwards. This made him very unhappy. I just kept clapping and cheering him on the farther away he got which would temporarily make him happy and then confuse him because although i was excited he was farther away from the target. From what i've read, moving backwards-- even on the belly is one of the first steps to mobility. I have a feeling it's going to be a long process with Henry because he's not particularly interested in moving around but it's fun to see him making his first moves.

Can't remember if i told you that he had blackberries yesterday for the first time.


6 Months, 22 Days

So i told you Henry was really into the kitties-- well Mason's really into Henry too as evidenced by this picture (don't worry no babies were harmed in the posing of this photo.) They don't usually get this close, but H loves to watch the kitties' every move.

Although i haven't braved going into his room when he's sleeping to document his habits, he's got such a cute routine now when you lay him down in his crib. He has two little stuffed animals in his crib-- one in front of him and one in back. He immediately rolls to his stomach and grabs Ralph the monkey and nuzzles him against his face. He reaches his other arm behind him for his soft doggy and scritches his fingers against his fur-- is this kid into textures or what. By the way, the doggy doesn't have a name yet so i'm open to suggestions.


6 Months, 21 Days

Okay, sorry for the lapse. I've had a steady cold since Henry started daycare and i was just musing the other day about which was worse-- one long mild cold or a couple really bad colds (my usual MO for the winter). I found out yesterday that what's worse is both-- one long cold that takes a turn for the worse.

Sunday night Henry inexplicably woke up 4 times. He didn't have a fever, i've cried teething too many times for it to be that, and i couldn't really figure anything else out. He was fine with Ms. Brenda yesterday and last night he slept just fine. I on the overhand spent the day in bed and went to sleep by 8 last night. So, that's my excuse for not posting.

Just to make you feel better i'm giving you two pictures tonight. The first is H chilling out ready for bed. I know, I know he's wearing a pink blanket sleeper, but i'm having a hard time getting my hands on them and they work the best for keeping him warm at night so i've taken what i can get at the resale shop by our house. The second one is of Henry eating dinner last night-- the famous face he makes to tell you he wants you to speed up the feeding process, STAT.


6 Months, 19 Days

I've been trying to be nonchalant about making Henry's baby food because i've always associated homemade baby food with Diane Keaton's character from the 80's movie Baby Boom. From what i remember Diane Keaton left her high-powered NY career and moved upstate to stay at home full-time after a baby arrived (her baby?, adopted?, it's fuzzy). Too type A to just stay busy with raising the child, she pours her energy into her home-made baby food line and eventually turns it into a booming business. I can't remember if the business ultimately gets too harried and the moral is that as a good mom she should focus on child-rearing, or if we're inspired that she manages to have it all by defining her career on her own terms. Regardless, the image of her making batches and batches of homemade baby food has always made the efforts seem so over the top that it's to be disparaged.

I say all of this because i've felt like i should be self-deprecating about the fact that i make Henry's baby food. But really, truly, for me it's not that big a deal. Most of you that know me know that i'm a doer and happiest when i'm tackling various projects. Baby boom makes me feel like only obsessive crazies would do something as labor-intensive as make their own baby food. I'm here to tell you that i'm neither obsessive or crazy and that in some ways i do it because the idea seems easier than buying millions of those little baby food jars (cheaper too!) and then having to wash all of them out for the recyling bag.

So just thought i'd ramblingly get that off my chest. To cap this off i'll give you a rundown of the output of 2 hours spent in the kitchen today that i hope will keep Henry in food for quite some time:
Old favorites: yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potato, peaches
New tastes: butternut and acorn squash, peas, asparagus, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries


29 Weeks

Took last night off-- no reason to worry-- we just went to bed very early after enjoying a nice quiet evening at home. Today was also relaxed. Our friends came over this afternoon to chat and see Henry. The weather wasn't great but we made a short outing to our closest park and Henry was having a ball on the swings. I believe he charmed the tough high school girls that were also hanging out on the swings.

This evening the three of us went to Trader Joe's to stock up on "essentials" (TLC crackers, trail mix, cheap wine, and dark chocolate!) Usually one of us does the grocery shopping and the other one stays home with Henry. He had a ball though tonight sitting up in the cart and checking out all the action. We were planning to head to the bookstore for our cheap date night afterwards but decided coming home and hanging out a bit before making dinner and putting Henry to bed sounded better.

I wanted to add some detail on the subject of teeth. Henry still has none and i will supposedly wear my braces for 18 months. We'll have to see how close that estimate comes. By the way, Henry had avocado for the first time tonight. I bought all kinds of stuff to make him new foods for the coming weeks-- a wide range of berries, all kinds of fall squash and peas. I want to investigate artichokes and asparagus-- not sure if they're approved for babies.


6 Months, 17 Days

I think i should have dribbled those professional shots out day by day instead of inundating you because now i'm starting to run dry after a few days with no new pictures. I hope to get back on the picture wagon by this weekend at the latest. Thanks to everyone for their comments lately. It's fun to have incontrovertible proof that people outside my living room are reading this.

Henry had eggplant again for dinner tonight but with decidedly less gusto than he's shown in prior sittings. We have started giving him these infant multivitamin drops since with iron since we aren't giving him cereal (Dr's suggestion). The drops smell absolutely terrible and i'm sure taste just as bad but the bottle says you can mix them with food. I did that two nights ago with peaches and Henry didn't seem to even notice the different taste. Last night i forgot about them entirely until just before he was ready to go to bed and then just decided to try giving them to him in the dropper. He sucked them down without even a frown line. Tonight i mixed them into the eggplant and he gave a visible shudder with every bite. When it was clear he wasn't enjoying dinner and wasn't really making any headway we switched back to peaches-- hold the medicine. It took a few bites for his tongue to embrace the new taste but finally he got the hang of it and proceeded to devour dinner just like the good ole' days.


6 Months, 16 Days

As you can see, i picked up Henry's 6 month photos today. I think they turned out quite well if i do say so myself! Henry had fun with Brenda today and they got to enjoy another walk in the warm weather. Brenda has a new toy just for Henry that makes a crinkly sound when he plays with it and by all accounts he's enthralled.

He had eggplant for the first time today and gobbled it right down. We've decided to up his portion to 3 cubes 2 x day because after he finishes two he's very upset that there isn't anymore.


6 Months, 15 Days

Henry finally slept through the night again last night and woke up just a bit early at 5:30 this morning. It's an improvement over 5 am the morning before, so i think he's adjusting to the time change. We've had some wonderfully warm days and Brenda said they got out on a walk today to take advantage of it. Thursday is supposed to be the pinnacle with 74 degrees and sun!

I've been meaning to mention that i'm getting braces in two weeks. Last Friday i had the spacers put in and Friday and 11th i get the actual metal brackets and wire. I've been in complete denial so i just keep forgetting to mention it. I had braces as a kid but my teeth completely shifted after the year i was told to wear my retainer. My mouth is just too small for all my teeth and especially on the bottom, things have become so crowded that the teeth are being damaged.

My current orthodontist says that generally you either need a permanent retainer put in or to wear a removable retainer at night forever. She wants to use me as a live announcement to her younger patients and i'm thinking maybe we can cut a deal. So, you've been warned. In another week and a half i'll have a mouthful of metal and i only want to hear supportive words!


6 Months, 14 Days

Henry's first Halloween left a lot of room for future years of improvement. He was an aviator and i made him a set of biplane wings to turn his stroller into his own airplane. I'll hold onto them for when he's older and can appreciate them a bit more. Clearly this year was all about me enjoying making his get-up, but the weather, traffic, and timechange all conspired to make Henry's trick-or-treating experience incredibly short-- read one house. I decided things weren't going to get any better so we went ahead and packed it in and came on home. He lit up when he saw JT so we had a bit longer to enjoy him before he had his milk and i just laid him down. I have a feeling it might be another difficult night though so i think i'm off to take a shower and get an early start on bed.

I did manage to take some pre-Halloween pictures yesterday-- thankfully because i didn't get any taken today!

Remember, if you're reading Henry's blog and haven't already-- post a comment to let us know who you are and how you know us!


28 Weeks

Henry enjoyed a nice quiet day at home after all the excitement yesterday. After eating this morning at around 6:30 he went back to sleep until about 8:30. We both appreciated the late morning and the nice quiet long naps later in the day. I put the finishing touches on Henry's Halloween get-up and we laid in for another week's worth of baby meals.

Henry finished the sweet potatoes today and i believe they are a bit um... binding for his own good. So, from now on i think i'll mix them with something a bit less dense. For this reason we're going back to yellow squash for a few days and then will either try yellow bell peppers or eggplant.

I'm going to poach an idea i read on another parenting blog. Many of our friends and family have shared with us that they enjoy reading about Henry's day and seeing new pictures. I print these entries (including comments) out to save in Henry's baby book. If you could use this week to post a comment about how you know us, why you read all the petty details of Henry's life, and anything else you'd like to share, we'd love to print it for posterity. Not that you have to be profound-- i certainly am not.


6 Months, 12 Days

Today was a big outing day for little Mr. Henry. After a bit of a fuss (and not too wonderful of a night) he took a short nap and then we were off to the pumpkin festivities. As today was a gorgeous day, and the last Saturday before Halloween, the park was mobbed. We walked around and took several pictures in the "pumpkin patch," watched a gaggle of baby goats, sheep, a llama, donkey, baby pig, chickens and a rabbit co-exist in a pen way too small for all of them, not to mention the 50 parents and children running around in it as well. It looked like a lawsuit waiting to happen, but everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. We just watched from the outside and Henry had his eyebrows up the whole time.

After re-grouping at home with a nap we headed out to Oak Park, did some shopping and browsing, and met friends for dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant in the area-- Khyber Pass. We hadn't been there since before Henry was born and it was definitely nice to be back. The three couples of us have been going there since we first moved to Chicago and were all childless. Tonight we needed three high-chairs and none of them were for me!


6 Months, 11 Days

The sleep demon's little brother visited last night. Henry went to sleep pretty easily but woke up crying around 2:30. It wasn't nearly as severe as the night before but it still took quite a bit of doing to get him back to sleep. Tonight he went to sleep without a peep so i'm hopeful he'll get back to his good sleep patterns.

Tonight we went to our second neighborhood playgroup. There were seven moms and their babies that all live in just a few blocks of us. Henry was actually the oldest baby and one of only two boys. There was one other little girl that was just a few days shy of six months and the rest were between 3 and 4 months. Of course Henry wasn't the biggest, but he was sitting up the best, so we'll take it. It was fun to see so many moms that might turn into prospective winter buddies. The woman i talked with the most (with almost 6-month old daughter Patricia) lives just down the block and works from home as an attorney with her own practice. She was really interested in my experiences with making my own babyfood and was psyched to start making some of it herself.

We got a few pictures of Henry in his "baby's first Halloween" outfit next to the pumpkin we carved last night. Tomorrow morning we're going to a Chicago Park District Pumpkin Patch. There will be hayrides and face painting and pumpkin decorating-- all kinds of fun stuff for Tabitha and I (i mean the kiddos!) I promise to tote my camera along.


6 Months, 10 Days

Something possessed Henry last night and i just hope it doesn't come back tonight. He woke up and cried for a few minutes about 8:30 pm and then around 10:30 he woke up again screaming. He was basically inconsolable for about an hour. I tried giving him tylenol, oragel, his zantac, holding, walking, nursing, laying in the crib, and NOTHING worked. Finally he did nurse and eventually went to sleep. This was exactly at the time that the sox WON THE WORLD SERIES, so my enjoyment of it was somewhat distracted. Unfortunately the waking repeated again at 3:30 this morning. He was a little fussy this morning but Brenda said he was just fine and chipper and took three good naps today. He fussed a bit going to sleep but i'm keeping my fingers crossed that he stays asleep and the evil sleep demon doesn't come back.

Tonight he had sweet potatoes and it was hysterical to watch. You'd think i had given him salt water taffy to chew on based on the amount of mouth action he had going on. I carved our pumpkin tonight with friends so hopefully we'll have some pre-Halloween pictures tomorrow.


6 Months, 9 Days

Henry slept quite a bit today and got in 3 full naps. I'm assuming he was sleepy from all the shots he had yesterday. He had fun with Brenda and we had a good time playing when we got home. He is just too funny with his dinner. He doesn't try to put his hands in his mouth or grab at the spoon he just strains with the essence of his soul to get that food in there faster, faster, faster. He ate 2 cubes of zucchini and 2 cubes of peaches and i think he was full. JT got home just in time to take a bath with Henry and they both enjoyed playing around in the warm water.

Here's a picture of Henry in his carseat that i took yesterday. You can see Ralph the stuffed monkey in the picture too. I'm trying to get Henry to attach to Ralph or his stuffed doggy. Personally i'm attached to both of them and love to cuddle with them. I've been sending Ralph to daycare each day for his naps and he sleeps with his doggy. I'm not sure Henry would miss them but he did have his arm around the doggy while he slept last night.


6 Months, 8 Days

This afternoon Henry had his 6 month appointment and was a real trooper during his shots. This nurse was very quick and let me hold Henry while she gave him his shots so he barely whimpered. He's grown another inch to 26" but just gained about a quarter pound. The Dr. said he's just not a fast gainer but he looks fabulous developmental wise.

Here's a shot of Henry and Brenda-- i thought you'd like to see them together instead of just hearing about her!


6 Months, 7 Days

This morning when i was dropping Henry off at Brenda's one of the older little boys started telling everyone, "Henry's here, hey Henry's here." Henry just starts smiling and kicking his arms and legs and all the little kiddos start talking to him. It's funny how he's got his own little cheering section. Now we think he's completely adorable, but he seems to have won over his own share of fans.

We tried his Halloween costume on tonight and it's a little big, but we're going to make do. I'm not revealing what the costume is yet, but i've been working on the accessories that will go along with his outfit. He's got his 6 month appointment and shots tomorrow afternoon which i'm really not looking forward to. Hopefully the evening won't be too rough.


27 Weeks

Last night we enjoyed dinner with friends sans kids, this morning we went out to our favorite brunch spot with a friend of JT's from work, his wife and their 18-month old son. I think it might have been the last day that we could reasonably walk to brunch as it was quite cold on the way home. We had a really fun time and both boys did wonderfully at the restaurant. Although we had tried to get Henry up early so that he would take a nap before brunch; Henry disagreed with this plan. Still, sleep or no, he was as happy as a clam looking around, taking in all the other people and enjoying his bottle. He didn't eat while we were out but he did try peaches for the first time this evening.

I expected him to take right to them since they are sweeter than what he's already had, but he seemed a little perplexed by them at first. By the end he seemed to have come around. Tonight after he went to bed i had a baby-food making fest and have eggplant, more squash, sweet potato, avocado and bananas ready to introduce over the next few weeks. Also on my list to have him try eventually are pears, various berries, and peas.


6 Months, 5 Days

Henry got his "professional" pictures taken this morning at JC Penny's and it was a much more enjoyable experience than our last attempt at portraits. When Henry was 3 months old and i was in DC with my mom and grandmother, we went to get a 4 generation shot done. We actually managed to get a great one of all of us but after two shots Henry was done-- in dramatic fashion.

This time they were running about an hour behind but Henry was just having a grand old time watching and laughing at all the other babies. He then smiled like crazy at the photographer and obliged me with two different rounds of pictures (and an outfit change!) He fell asleep in the car on the way home but was as close to the idea of a baby being an angel as possible.

He enjoyed a nice long nap at home and then we practiced some more sitting and horsing around with Dad before eating squash (his latest vegetable), having a bath and going to bed just as the babysitter arrived. We headed out to Korean BBQ with three other couples and really enjoyed getting back to one of our favorite restaurants-- what with the open coal braziers, it's not particularly child-friendly, so the two of us with kiddos left them at home. Now we're home watching the sox game on TiVo delay.


6 Months, 4 Days

If you read last night's post you witnessed JT's sneaky editing without my notice. Hint, we're not giving Henry any alcoholic beverages, i promise.

We're struggling with how to keep Henry warm up here in the North. It's not even that cold already and his hands and feet are like ice blocks. I know they say that babies have bad circulation and what's important is that their trunk stay warm, but last night Henry's feet looked almost blue! I found some baby mittens today and now i have to try to find some kind of warm booties for him. Any suggestions from our Northern friends and neighbors would be appreciated.

We went out to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant where they now have our "usual" table. Henry had his squash and has officially moved up to 2 cubes 2 x day. He was exhausted by the time we got home and went straight to bed after his milk. Tomorrow we've got his 6 month pictures scheduled-- hopefully things will work out so he can actually take them this time!