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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!