4 Months, 4 Days/ 2 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week

I know i've been remiss in posting lately. I have a few ideas for things i'd like to write that will require me to sit-down and focus, and i haven't been able to come up with that time lately. Work has certainly picked up and we've been pretty busy on the personal front as well.

Because Chicago has a much longer winter than summer i feel like each weekend, nay each day, needs to have enjoyable summer activities planned into it. Of course we have to schedule laundry and grocery shopping in there somewhere, but we've been doing a pretty good job of accomplishing fun stuff. Friday we finally made it to the pool by our house and Henry got excited all over again about swimming. I've taken to heading there after i pick the boys up from Brenda's, because the baby pool area is completely shaded and it's not as busy as on the weekends. We only wind up with about 30 minutes before the pool closes but that's a decent-enough amount of time-- especially considering Silas would really prefer to start getting ready for bed around 6-- more on Silas and sleep later.

This weekend we enjoyed a really nice bbq at Tiffany and Mike's house and Henry FINALLY got to see "Mike's Dogs" as he calls Zippy and Josie. Even better, he got to play "Hide Seek" with Helen and Carys. A high point of the night for us was that Henry went to bed uncomplainingly on a pallet on their floor, and Silas slept in the pack-n-play without much fuss. Unfortunately neither of our kids have ever let us fulfill the "transferring a sleeping child to the car" scenario that i see in my minds-eye movie of parenting. Our children wake-up and stay awake-- looking dazed, all the way home. Henry always goes right back to sleep once he's in his own bed, but this move threw Silas off his game. And here's where i start to become consumed by sleep issues again...

On Saturday Silas took a 5 (!) hour nap and went to bed like normal right about 6:30. We woke him around 11 to head home and he didn't sleep great that night (which didn't surprise me). The next day however, he wouldn't nap for more than 30-45 minutes at a stint and would wake up absolutely crying. He couldn't be soothed back to sleep and in general seemed overtired and miserable. That night i worked and worked to get him to go to sleep for the night and he put up a fight to say the least. We decided that it was time to commit to sleep training the little guy. We went through this with Henry around this time and it was truly terrible.

I was feeling like it was almost worse with Silas because he was surprisingly stubborn when it came to sleep training. Silas has been and continues to be a happy mellow baby. Everything i've read about babies with mild temperaments indicates that you might have around 20 minutes of crying and you've got the whole thing whipped in 3 days. The first night Silas cried off and on for 2 hours. Most of the time it wasn't full-on screaming, but he was definitely crying and NOT sleeping. Last night was better-- i think he only cried 20 minutes when we put him down, but he cried quite a few times during the middle of the night. He hasn't eaten in the middle of the night for almost a month but he's very resistant to falling back asleep on his own.

I was feeling drained and vulnerable the way only an infant's incessant crying can make you feel so i re-read some of my sleep books-- in particular Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He helped me remember why we were "sleep training" in the first place and realize that this is short-term pain for long-term progress. After my experiences with Henry i do truly believe that good sleep habits are a crucial skill for babies to learn.

The only thing that caught me off guard, is that we're having to "teach" Silas these habits. I thought we might have lucked into one of those babies that somehow figure this out on their own. That's why the first night of crying was so difficult and unexpected. I'm hoping that with some good naps under our belt, and reduced crying at bedtime (and did i mention that 6 pm bedtime routine) we'll be on our way to solid-sleep habits for all of us. I'll let you know.



Wow! Guess we haven't been to the playground in awhile! Today JT was going to be a little late getting home from work, so Henry and Silas and i stopped off at the playground. I sat and fed Silas the rest of the bottle he hadn't finished at Ms. Brenda's, and Henry very independently and very assuredly played on the playground. Just the last time we went to the playground a few weeks ago Henry still wanted me to stick close to at least the equipment and he wanted help doing things like going down the slide. Tonight not only did he repeatedly go down the slide on his own, he crawled UP the slide like it was no biggie. I also saw him scampering down this climbing incline thing and with only a little boost from me he climbed up two steps of an open chain-link ladder. Seriously, has JT been secretly taking him to toddler boot camp or something?

All of this bodes well for my plans to enroll him in a gym class this fall. I'm in the process of trying to determine if the (much cheaper) Parks district class is any good or if we should bite the bullet and shell out some bucks for the Little Gym or My Gym class. At least now i think we stand a fighting chance of him engaging at least a little with some of the activities-- and maybe i should even set the bar higher.

Silas is just moving along in his babyhood. It stands to reason that he *can* roll because if you put him on his back he rolls to his side and at other times he'll roll from his side to his stomach, but he's not doing full-on rolling much that we can tell. He is very excited for his jumper and has paid more attention to those toys than anything else to date. He's also starting to watch Henry more and seems fascinated by what he sees. I've been trying to draw Henry's attention to Silas when he's doing this so that they can start to develop more of a relationship. I think it won't be long before Silas is demanding Henry's attention and Henry will be excited for his big-brother role.


17 Weeks/ 2 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week

I think Silas' personality is starting to develop in a more robust way recently. He's still very mellow but he's also quite social. He'll coo and gurgle until he gets you to look at him and then he flashes this HUGE satisfied grin. It's fun to see him discovering cause and effect and nice that he's chosen honey rather than vinegar to test things out.

Although Henry was quite the happy baby by this time, i seem to remember him being much involved in his hands and his toys than Silas is. Give Silas a face to smile at and he'll choose it over whatever flashing, musical doo-dad you're trying to show him.

Henry is really into giving kisses now. He has been a good hugger for a long time but kisses have taken awhile for him to figure out. For the longest time if you asked him to give you a kiss he would hold his cheek out for you as if OF COURSE you meant that you wanted to kiss HIM. With coaxing he would occasionaly hold his mouth still and have it hover near your cheek, but in the past few weeks he has taken hold of the kissing sound and now asks to give someone a kiss whenever he's saying good-bye or good-night. It's very, very sweet.


Childcare Fall-Out

So Brenda is great, Silas is settling in wonderfully and Henry is as excited as ever to go to daycare. The only downside is the onslaught of immune-system busting colds that Silas is now getting and passing on to me. Before any one posts a comment or calls and says something like "wow, you're ALWAYS sick!," let me mention that this is akin to insulting someone's spouse. Of course they do annoying things and of course you personally are free to pontificate at length on these issues. It's not okay for someone else to talk trash about your significant others. Same thing applies here. Yes, i have the immune system of a Victorian invalid-- but don't you go rubbing it in my face.

So this all means that i'm sick with a relatively bad cold. Unfortunately it meant cancelling most of our weekend fun plans and having to really try to lay low while i get better. I had a doctor appointment today (unrelated to the cold) where the Doctor verified that mothers of small children are essentially always sick. He said the good thing was that my immune system would be stronger for it and in the long-run i wouldn't get sick as often as time goes on. That's great, but i'm dreading winter already and searching out a Chinese herbalist closer to home, as the one i had good luck with before is a tad far away.

The weekend wasn't all sneezes and misery though, Saturday we babysat Kerala for a few hours and attended the annual block-party for our street. Henry missed the bounce-o-line (naptime called) but did get WAY excited for the fire truck that came to visit. He got to sit in the drivers seat but was a bit freaked out, so no pictures of that. He was excited to examine the big tires at length, and i'll try to post pictures of that soon. They opened the fire hydrant for a bit and now Henry finally associates firetrucks with water as opposed to referring to all emergency vehicles as boo-boo trucks. (Actually he will call a police car a boo-boo truck and when you correct him he'll say "no, no, no, no" doing the tsking motion with his finger. At some point i think we mentioned that policemen tell you when you're doing something wrong.)

Silas' sleep continue to boomerang wildly. He no longer eats at night, but is still waking most nights off and on.


16 Weeks, 2 Days/ 2Y, 3M, 2 Days

We're moving right along here at little-boy Central. Sharp eyes may have noticed that Silas slept for 11 hours (read truly through the night!) a few nights ago. Unfortunately he developed a little cough that kept him up the next night, so now we're working on a) getting him totally better and b) getting him to where 11-12 hours is routine. The fact that we made progress so quickly without too many tears (on either side) is encouraging and really makes me think i'll have a full night's sleep before you know it. Of course when he slept 11 hours i was up wondering if he was still alive and in general not sleeping myself.

I've changed the sidebar to reflect Henry's continuing language development. It's less about new words and more about new phrases and how he's learning to put words together. He's very much into directional concepts right now; front, back, above and under are things he's constantly doing with his toys, utensils, Ralphs, you name it. He likes to talk through what he's doing as well which is super cute. I've noticed him doing more pretend play lately and making noises to go along with what he's doing.

He was playing in his play room the other day and he didn't hear me coming down the stairs. I paused and watched him pretending to heat water and pour a cup of tea and he was quite precise with all the different noises involved. He's also taken to toting a plastic iron with him to Brenda's after he saw me ironing clothes for one of the first times in his existence. It was like a light bulb turned on in his head when he realized he had his own version of the very same thing. Of course he makes his iron fly around and hides it behind the window shade, but still it's the toy of the moment.


Playgroup Pictures!

To address Kai's request for pictures from our weekend, i'm posting a few of Maia, Eva, Henry and Silas:


15 Weeks, 6 Days/ 2 Years, 2 Months, 4 Weeks, 1 Day

What a nice relaxing weekend! It flew by even though we were largely hunkered down at home, but it was so nice just to hang around the house and chill out. Saturday we enjoyed having one of my friends' from Guam over for a bbq. She and her husband have been in the Chicago area since college and have two girls very close in age to Henry and Silas. Henry and Maia had fun playing, but not really together-- they were pretty much the definition of "parallel play."

Sunday Henry took a power nap and i managed to get the mountainous pile of laundry all done and even ironed a few pieces. This caused Henry to figure out what his plastic iron is for and led to him toting it along to daycare this morning.

Silas has continued to make progress on the sleep front. Last night he woke up at 3 (before the 4:30 allowed feeding time) but once i got him back to sleep he didn't wake up to eat until 5:00. So, that's the new feeding time, which means tonight might be a rough one for me. 3 nights of 8+ hours for Silas have definitely helped me feel like i can handle it though!

I mentioned that i had finally gotten all our old photos moved over to Picasa. In the process i was able to go through and make some comparisons between Henry's baby pictures and Silas'. Here's the first in a couple looks at the two of them.


Photo Update

Just wanted to let you know that i finished the laborious process of transferring all of Henry's 0-6 month photos to the Picasa photo site. Everything is now in one place, so you can reminisce to your heart's content!


15 Weeks, 2 Days/ 2 Years, 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 4 Days

Now that i'm back to posting more regularly i'm trying to capture the little details that happend on our trip. One thing that i believe ranked right up there was all the new toys that Henry received. He was particularly into trucks (still is really) and was overjoyed at the "My first remote control car" that he received from Aunt Tammie. Henry had a great time with it and even got decent at figuring out how to make it go forward or back up when it got into a tight spot. One of his best new words was "my mote" which he would yell whenever he wanted to play with it.

Henry also got to enjoy "treats" much more with Nonna than at home. He helped Aunt Tammie bake a cake for the fourth of July and got to have a piece (which honestly lasted about 3 sittings), sampled popscicles and sno cones for the first time, and had his share of animal crackers.

I didn't witness it but by all accounts Henry helping decorate the cake was a hoot. They had frosted it and Tammie was trying to teach Henry how to shake sprinkles all over it. He would shake, shake, shake his head and them just dump the sprinkles all in one place. It actually wound up looking kind of like fireworks, and Henry was very pleased with his handiwork.

Silas had his best day yet with Brenda. She said she thinks it took him a few days to get used to all the noise and kids, but today he was just happy as a clam, didn't cry at all, and slept a lot and soundly. I'm hoping if he can get into a good nap routine during the day it will help our case at night.

He's moving along pretty well at night though. We're down to only one 4 am feeding, and i'm in the process of reducing it by 3 minutes every 3 days. He's still been waking up around 2, but last night after i gave him the pacifier he went right back to sleep and slept until 4 when he woke up to eat. Once we've eliminated his night feedings, i'm going to sleep downstairs and JT is going to soothe him when he wakes up during the night. Sweet uninterrupted sleep, you're only 10 days away!


15 Weeks/ 2 Years, 2 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

Today was my first day back at work and Silas' first day with Brenda. I think we both did pretty well. It definitely helps knowing that Silas is with his big brother at a place he loves and that we know provides good care. I still missed being with him all day, but it was definitely nice when i was getting Silas and Henry into the car and Silas turned and flashed me a huge grin. I guess he did just fine with naps, but he resisted taking his bottle for a little while. We haven't had any problems giving him a bottle so that surprised me. He got hungry enough eventually and hopefully won't give her any more trouble.

We made some good progress with Silas and his sleep last night. He fell asleep by about 7:15 and slept until 12:45. I'm following a plan where you keep moving their sleep and eating forward, but don't let them fall back. For example, Silas had his first nighttime feeding at 2 am the night before, so even though he woke up at 12:45 he couldn't eat until 2 or after. It took a little doing, but he went back to sleep after i gave him the pacifier and he slept until 4. That was great, but it also really ups the ante. Tonight he fell asleep by 8 but i can't feed him until 4 regardless of when he wakes-- i'll let you know how tired i am tomorrow!

Henry has been getting "tougher" the past month or so. He's still a sensitive kid, but he doesn't get scared when he hears the dogs barking next door, just talks about the "big rain" when he hears thunder, and laughs off minor falls. I think it helps that he's able to communicate so much more because he can talk through things and we understand what he's saying. In fact it's less about new words at this point and more about how he's combining them into little sentences.


We arrived home yesterday from vacation and i remember why i started trying to post frequently-- catching up when a lot of time has passed is very daunting!

I believe i last posted when we were heading to a baseball game. It was a minor league game about an hour away from my parents beach house-- the Shorebirds. Henry could have cared less about the baseball, but the big orange mascot bird (Sherman) was a huge hit. Henry was enamored with him and talked constantly about him when he wasn't in sight. "The Big BuBu" as Henry calls him was definitely a highlight of the trip.

A few days later we went to a model train show that was being held at the local fire department. They had several vendors selling things, and an extensive set-up of multiple tracks and all kinds of little things you could make light up and go like a ferris wheel, or the circus tent, or a water tower, etc. The last train Henry watched go around the track actually had smoke coming out of his stack, so he also talks a lot about the "hot choochoos."

For all the highlights of Henry's trip, Silas had several low points-- including two weeks of 4 hour max stints at night and excessive fussiness. Now that we're back home i've been working on putting him to bed in his crib for naps and nighttime and getting him to bed earlier. I'm also working on getting him on a feeding schedule so that hopefully all these things will feed into getting his nighttime sleep back on track. I'm not going to do anything too drastic since he starts with Brenda on Tuesday, but at least we'll be working to get his new routines established and hopefully go up from there.

JT also didn't have the best trip in that he got sick the second day he was at the beach and as of today he's actually worse that he was a few days ago. It started out as some kind of flu and then it seemed like it had turned into a bad head cold, but tonight he's been nauseous and having all kinds of stomach upset, so now it seems like the stomach flu. We're all doing our best to sanitize our hands because it will be a national disaster if i come down with it as well.

We had a chance to see JT's parents and some of our good friends the one afternoon we were in VA before flying back to Chicago. The Bane kids were there and although it took them all awhile to actually warm up to each other, they were having an amazing time running around the backyard collecting acorns by the time bedtime rolled around.