8 Months: Eating, Growing, Talking, Moving

I’m overdue for an update. Baby boy is outstanding. He’s an absolute joy. Daycare says that he’s the best hugger and the best kisser in the room and I’m not surprised. A is a cuddle bug. He wraps his little chunky arms around your neck, pulls your hair, licks your face, and my heart melts every time. I love him more every day.

Eating A eats like a champ. We’ve fed him a long list of foods: mangoes, bananas, blueberries, turnips, parsnips, carrots, melon, avocado, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, yogurt, quinoa, lentils, peas, pears, apples, broccoli, zucchini, a couple bites of tiny, tiny pieces of turkey and beef, and maybe a few other things. We’ve added cinnamon, cumin, garam masala, and nutmeg to his various dishes. He eats it all–the only thing he hasn’t liked is black beans, but we’ll try again. It’s very cute when he first tries something for the first time–he grimaces, shakes his head back and forth several times. Then he opens his little mouth for more, the second bite causes less of a reaction, and generally by the third bite, he’s warmed up to the food and eats it all. I was gifted a baby food maker, so I’ve been making his purees and so far it’s been pretty easy. I’m hesitant to puree meat, so his protein as an infant may just come from beans and grains. He has 5 teeth, but I’m still absolutely terrified to give him food that he has to chew (we’ll give him pieces of soft fruit, but so far, we’re steering clear of cheerios). We had a brief (less than 10 second) choking scare (involving the dreaded black beans), which was terrifying and solidified my absolute fear of him choking and me being unable to help him. We’ll take a choking class next week, so maybe that will ease my fears a bit and we can start adding crunchier foods. In addition to his solid foods, he still drinks 5 bottles per day, but the amount of formula required is sloooowly starting to diminish. So far, it doesn’t look like we have a picky eater, but I’m fairly certain that will change as he ages. At our next doctor’s appointment I’m going to have to ask them about introducing peanut butter, the new studies are saying introduce it earlier to prevent allergies, so I just want to talk to them and see what they recommend. I may just sit outside a hospital and give A a taste of peanuts for the first time, just in case.

Growing All that eating has created a big boy. We had a couple sick visits in February and at his last appointment, around 7 months, he weighed 22 lbs and 1.5 ounces. At 6 months he was 29 inches. He’s probably over 30 inches and at least 23 pounds now. But his chubby thighs, wrists, arms, and chins are just too adorable! I need to transition him to his 12 month clothing; his little legs stick out of the bottom of his pants so far and his shirts are looking a bit snug. He’s growing out of his infant car seat and we’re upgrading to the convertible car seat. Those are expensive, by the way. And if you have 2 cars, you need to buy 2. I completely glossed over this expense when doing all my infant gear research. However, I do think that he’ll be more comfortable in the bigger seat. We’ve started putting him in the regular stroller rather than keeping him in the carseat and snapping him into the frame, which I like much better when he’s awake, but it definitely makes it impossible to keep him asleep when transitioning in or out of the car.

Sleeping Ugh. Sleep. It’s not as bad as some have it, A sleeps through the night for the most part. However, he sleeps best through the night when we’re co-sleeping. We don’t actually cosleep as a threesome, the few nights that B has been out of town, I’ll often put A in the bed with me; sometimes I sleep on the couch with A on our oversized ottoman (don’t worry, he’s still not rolling over in his sleep, the boy doesn’t move in his sleep really at all), sometimes B sleeps on the couch and A and I get the bed. If we’re all in the bedroom (preferred arrangement, or at least having the two adults in the bedroom), A sleeps in the pack n play. We’ve tried to sleep train him in the crib, but he either catches a cold, or we cave because *we* really want the sleep, or because grandparents are visiting, or a dozen other excuses. He fidgets and wakes himself up and it’s just so much easier for me to reach over, put the pacifier back in his mouth, pat him on the head or stomach, and let us all go back to sleep in 2-3 minutes. I don’t mind it so much in the evenings, he sleeps pretty soundly while we wind our evenings down. In the mornings, however, I think we wake him up too early. I generally get out of bed at 6, and then A is generally awake 10-15 minutes later. I think that he probably needs more sleep and I really want some more time in the morning to get ready for the day. Napping is hit or miss. He rarely naps at daycare (we’re lucky if he sleeps for an hour all day), so he often falls asleep for an hour in the evenings. On the weekends, he acts like a teenager and takes extra long naps to catch up for the sleep he’s not getting during the week. On average, I think we’re doing pretty well in the sleep department. *knocking on wood*.

Talking. The boy is a bit of a chatterbox. We have grunting conversations with one another and other times he just screeches. We screech back. B and I think it’s highly amusing. He makes “M” sounds and “B” sounds and that’s about as far as we’ve gotten with our consonants. He’s totally interactive, he knows his full name, which is a mouthful at 9 syllables, but won’t respond to just his first name. We also find this highly amusing.

Moving. So, I think that A is a bit behind in the gross motor department, but he does have a lot of mass to move. He sits with ease now and he can stand up while holding onto the couch. For a while he was rocking back and forth, but has added side to side rocking and bouncing recently. While sitting in his high chair he rocks his upper body back and forth with such force I’m surprised he’s not moving the whole chair. I can only assume that he’s building his core muscles which will eventually lead to crawling, pulling up and walking. He can scoot backwards ever so slowly and he can pivot around the floor, but we don’t have him lying down that much so he doesn’t practice pivoting too much at home. I think his fine motor skills are right on target. Pincer grasp seems to be coming along. He can manipulate his pacifier quite well, he passes small items back and forth between his hands. He studies things, and pays attention to things. He loves, loves, loves his jumper. He’s banging toys on the high chair and the floor. He loves spinning toys. He loves putting all the toys in his mouth. Sometimes he thinks the dog toys are his toys, and then he puts those in his mouth. Yummy!!

Speaking of moving. We are moving. We are moving out of our rental house and into a beautiful house with a beautiful backyard and, crucially, a beautiful third floor in-law suite. So when my in-laws, or even my own parents really, come for extended visits, they have their own space away from mine. We have a beautiful master suite with heated floors and a soaking tub! We have separate office space! We’re counting on the steady stream of cockroaches we find scurrying off our kitchen counters at night to become a thing of the past, that our cat won’t catch anymore mice in the pantry, and that various other critters we find in our current location will become outside friends rather than not inside friends. Our house is chaos right now, I don’t really know how to pack for this move. Truthfully, I don’t want to pack, I just want to take 50 carloads across town and not deal with the organizing and wrapping and taping that is involved in moving. I’ll probably hate myself on the 25th trip, but I think that’s what we’re going to do. Some things will get packed, but why put the super heavy kitchen aid mixer in a box when a shopping bag with handles will also work? I am so, so, so excited about our new house. It feels like the grown up house I’ve been waiting to move into for 20 years. First it was rental apartments, then a small condo, then a rental house, all very prudent decisions that allows us to really get a house that we can live in for the next 15 years. We may kill each other during the move, but if we make it through that, it will be an amazing place to raise A.

I am doing well. I can’t figure out how to eat healthy, exercise, work full time, spend quality time with A every day, play with my dog, and actually have some me time. So I’m not exercising, really, and I eat healthy about 60% of the time. With spring upon us and warmer weather and longer days and fresh produce, I’m hoping to get recharged and back on the eating healthy and exercising kick. After all, we have baby #2 to start thinking about…

Finally, thank you to everyone who sent thoughts and prayers out into the universe for my niece. She’s doing pretty well, latest is she’s gained 9 ounces, my SIL held her for the first time this week, the bleeding in her brain was very minimal and they think it will resolve on its own, her blood work is more or less where it should be. She’s having greater breathing interventions (so an oscillator instead of a CPAP), but that is allowing her to keep her blood pressure up, her bradycharida episodes down, and allows her to rest. Most babies at her GA don’t need to breathe on their own, so it takes a lot out of her. I’ll give periodic updates on her when I can.

Finally, leaving you with a recent picture of A, which will disappear from the blog eventually…

Post-bath curl fest

Post-bath curl fest

Niece

My niece was born yesterday morning. 1 pounds 3 ounces. Things seem to be going okay. The word my BIL uses is normal. They seem very relaxed and positive given The circumstances. The first 72 hours are crucial; 24 down, 48 to go.

25w4d

My sister in law is scheduled to deliver her baby tomorrow at 25 weeks 4 days. There’s a small chance of a reprieve, but I’m so scared for her and get little girl. Any thoughts or whispers of support are welcome. Also, advice on how to support her from afar would be appreciated.

Disclosure

I told someone at work that A is a DE/DS baby. This person is married to an Indian and he and his wife lived in the same state in India where my husband is from for a couple years, his wife is from a neighboring state, so we’ve bonded a lot over Indian in-laws. He’s probably 10-15 years older than me and he adopted two children from India, one from his wife’s state and one from my husband’s state. I’m not sure why they adopted, he’s never said, but I always have assumed it is fertility related. However, it could also be that they felt it was a better choice to adopt than to have biological children. Today he was telling me some of the behavior problems of one of his children–nothing severe, but he has some anger issues. They suspect there was a problem during birth and his child suffered some mild brain damage (brain damaged confirmed by a pediatric neurologist). During the course of the conversation it just felt appropriate to say something about A being DE/DS. No adverse reaction, no positive reaction, no questions, no nothing, we just carried on our conversation (which was about how you just never know how children are going to turn out). In such a liberal, safe environment with a colleague who I don’t know outside of work, whose children 15-20 years older than A, it felt safe and appropriate to say something. It was like I was trying out saying the words. And it felt OK. Maybe I’ll try it again some day.

Christmas in July?

July at Christmas? It was 80 degrees where I live on Christmas Eve. We have the air conditioner running because it’s so hot and humid. The roses are blooming, the spring trees are blooming, daffodils and starting to send up their shoots. This weather makes no sense. I just hope that the rain continues to fall in California so at least something good comes out of this wacky weather pattern.

Christmas Apart from the weather, Christmas was wonderful. When A woke up on Christmas morning, I wished him a Merry Christmas and he just grinned his toothy/gummy grin at me and I was at peace. For the first time in many years we didn’t have to make an effort to make a difficult time of year bearable. My heart was full. It was really, really wonderful. I actually haven’t been one to really struggle with the holidays–we have a limited number of children in our immediate family, so we haven’t spent the holidays surrounded by children, reminding us of what we didn’t have. This year, however, we had 13 people over for Christmas, including 4 children under 6. A’s cousin who is 1 day older came down from DC (Jate’s birthday twin), and we had fun putting them on the play mat together. It was interesting to see the two babies interact. They were definitely aware of one another–there was some hand holding and toy stealing, but interaction was limited. It was fun, though. A hasn’t had too much exposure to other children in his short little life.

Daycare All of that is about to change. We start daycare next Monday. Part of me is dreading it, but part of me is so happy to finally get settled into our permanent routine. There’s been so many transitions in the last few months–from me to my mom to my in laws to the chaos of the holiday–and each transition throws him off a little bit. I feel like it’s time to implement a regular routine. And so far, I remain very happy with our choice in daycare. We took him there for an hour just to see how he did, and within 5 minutes of arriving at daycare, our boy finally rolled over from front to back. I was so worried I was going to miss that milestone that I teared up as I watched it happen, so grateful that I got to see it. The daycare owner was there to, and she also got a little misty-eyed and told us later that having him roll over was the best moment they’ve had in their center since it opened in September. The women in the infant room love, love, love the babies there. And the babies love them. I feel very comfortable with them watching A during the day.

Baby Boy Update A is thriving. A couple weekends ago we heard a full on baby laugh, and it was the most magical sound. He hasn’t done it again, but hearing the pure joy in his laugh was awesome. He has two little bottom teeth–they came in about week apart and right about when turned 5 months old. He’s babbling and screech laughing, he smiles all the time. His smile gets so big when he sees me now, it just melts my heart. He rolls over from front to back regularly, not every day, but he does it, not when he’s fussy on his stomach, but rather when he’s active and looking around. Tummy time isn’t a fight any more–we’re now just referring to it as playing on his stomach. He does get tired of holding his head up after long stretches on his stomach and will fuss until we turn him over. I think he’s nearly rolling from back to front, he arches his back and gets to his side, but then he just kind of stops. He can scootch himself around in a circle and move maybe 4 inches across the floor–I think we’re a ways away from any real movement, but he’s trying to move. He can sit up assisted, but topples over pretty quickly when we let go. Sometimes the poor boy just bend in half at the waist with butt and head flat on the floor. He’s generally happy, a bit reserved, but once he knows you, will smile away at you.

At four months he weighed 17 pounds 8 ounces and was in the 87th percentile and we had a sick visit right around 5 months and he weighed in at a hefty 19 pounds 4 ounces, right around the 90th percentile. A little more than he was at the 4 month, but more or less in the same vicinity. He’d had quite a big lunch right before he was weighed and I also think there are fewer babies getting weighed at 5 months so I wonder if that skews the results. Regardless, he’s still a big baby–the doctor said that he was as big as a 12 month old. However, he’s actually not that much bigger than his cousin, so that made me feel better. I was worried there for a while we had a goliath baby.

Feeding Like Jane, we’re sort of dragging our heels on feeding him. In part I haven’t wanted to start while my in-laws are in town because I don’t really think I can handle the unsolicited advice about feeding the baby and in part because we have the bottle thing down. Adding this new element of eating seems intimidating. I’m torn between baby led weaning and purees. Because he hasn’t been breastfed, I’m eager to make sure he gets exposed to as many types and flavors of food as possible (B is particularly interested in exposing him to Indian spices), and I think that might be easier to accomplish with purees. However, I do really like the idea of him learning how to eat foods on his own and eating smaller, blander versions of the food we eat. We did give him some banana pieces over the holiday weekend and he just kind of pushed it around on his highchair, made a mess and once or twice put it in his mouth. Not unlike our cloth diapering approach, I think that we’ll probably go with a hybrid of pieces of food and purees. I think that I’m committed to making his food rather than buying jars of food although I’m still a bit at a loss as to what and how to make his food, but I’ll figure it out. We may abandon the homemade baby food approach, but I’m going to try. Right now our plan is to start with a little [store bought] rice cereal over the weekend.

Sleeping We still have yet to transition this boy out of our bedroom. We tried it right after Thanksgiving, thinking it would be easier with help. Total disaster. Having a screaming baby when your in-laws are in your house it a terrible idea. We put him to bed in the crib around 8, and then he woke up around midnight and cried. My MIL, who was up watching Indian soap operas, got him out of his crib to comfort him. That kind of pissed me off, because of course he was going to be upset about being away from us and a) she shouldn’t have taken him out of the crib and b) I wasn’t actually neglecting him, but rather waiting to see if he’d go back to sleep. However, I took him back and was trying to get him to go back to sleep, but he was having none of it. A started screaming and as I was trying to calm him down, MIL came and asked if I needed help. I yelled at her that I didn’t need her help, and then B was pissed at me for being yelling at his mom, so we were yelling at each other. All in all, it was a mess. So, I apologized to MIL in the morning, and B and I decided that we were going to abandon the transition until after they left. It is just so stressful to have all the screaming with guests. And I deal particularly poorly when I feel like someone is implying that I can’t care for my child.

In-laws I do think my in-laws think that I’m making bad choices for A. I think they think our house isn’t clean enough (i.e., not sterile). They hate that I let our dog lick A’s face and hands and feet and I let the cat sit as close to A as he wants. They think he’s always cold, they think that the cloth diapers are preventing him from rolling over. They think that we don’t bathe him enough. They think letting the baby cry for any length of time greater than 15 seconds is too much. They think we’re sending him to daycare too early. That, a 100 other non-baby related things are driving me nuts. My kitchen isn’t my own. Sure, it’s great that she’s cooking, but I don’t know where anything is any more. And unless we’re going out for dinner (they only like burgers and BBQ and south Indian food; they won’t eat any other kind of food), we have variations of same meal. Same flavors, different protein. She always seems to be making tea when I’m trying to get ready to go to work, or when I’m washing the bottles. I think she thinks the kitchen is her domain (and somehow I’ve failed as a wife?) and so now I feel like a guest in my own home. Always, my nicest anything is used first; my nice holiday dishes are turned upside down to cover a bowl of rice. My nice holiday dish towels are used to wipe up spills–not the 70 cent ikea towels, but the pretty ones. They leave on Wednesday and I’m so ready to have my house back.

More in law drama I’d say that one solution to this problem is to have them visit for shorter periods of time, but the last time my in-laws were in town, they stayed with us for about 36 hours and we also got into a fight then. That might actually be when I stopped really liking my in-laws. They basically told me that I should put down my dog (my poor, sweet, paralyzed dog who I still miss every day)–actually MIL suggested that I put him in a shelter because she didn’t want the guilt of suggesting that we kill him–and that my house was filthy because of the dog she wanted me to abandon to die in a small cage–(she claimed lack of knowledge of the English language for her word choice, I call bullshit because she lived here for 30 years). I probably have to get over it and figure out a way to have them stay for extended periods of time and also forgive them for not loving my dog as much as I do. A bigger house, with a bigger kitchen, which we will hopefully have this summer will help.

My family My mom really redeemed herself with this visit; she was so helpful with Ayan, she cooked, did light housework, helped with A exactly the right amount. Her being here made our lives so much easier and was so nice. We drove to Chicago to visit my extended family over Thanksgiving and having my mom in the car to help with A was also helpful. We had to split the drive up both ways–without the baby we would have pushed through, but A reaches his carseat limit at about 9 hours. Introducing A to my grandmother was hugely important to me. When she was holding him, just watching the two of them together brought tears to my eyes. She’s 95 and in decent health, but I’m glad that that met. My entire family flew to my grandma’s house, and it was quite nice for my mom to have her entire family together–it’s been several years since that’s happened. A got to meet a lot of second cousins and great-great aunts and uncles. It was quite a nice visit.

New Year’s Plans As per usual B and I will stay in and probably fall asleep well before midnight. But I’m hopeful that once we have a regular routine, I’ll introduce exercise back into my life. We’re definitely planning on healthier eating. I hope to blog more regularly so I don’t have 2000 word posts. However, I do have to find that post-baby IF blogging balance. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I always get so disappointed when people abandon their blogs immediately after having a baby.

I wish for all of you a happy, happy new year! And a final picture of A, that will probably disappear one day…

Real World Application

My new job involves working on a project that is working in support of the delivery, uptake, and adherence of an oral or vaginal pill or microbicides gel HIV prophylaxis. It’s rather exciting because this would be an HIV prevention method that that is entirely within the female’s control to use. Prior, the only way to prevent HIV (apart from abstinence) was through the use of c.ondoms, which, obviously is entirely within the male’s control during sexual encounters. That there is now a product that could prevent HIV that a woman could use on her own is quite a step forward.

The other day I was sitting in a meeting with one of our partners, who were giving a presentation on their research into product development and they showed the vaginal applicators they were developing and I flashed backed to my own use of similar applicators–for both the pill (endometrium) and gel (crinone). The presentation was around the best type of applicator to develop in order to get women to use, and more crucially adhere to, the product. I was silently laughing to myself because the amount of thought that went into the delivery mechanism was so much greater for these HIV-prevention products than were put into our products. The ones that I used looked like the ancient prototypes this company was trying to get away from; I found myself wishing that someone had put the same amount of thought into our applicators, but on the other hand, it wouldn’t have mattered one iota what the applicator looked like as I was going to use it and adhere to the recommended dosage.

It’s funny how infertility can sneak back into your life when you least expect it.

October

I’ve posted every month since I started this blog 2.5 years ago. I was beginning to worry that October would pass by without a post, so I thought I would quickly update.

I started working about 75% time two weeks ago, and whoa, it is crazy. I feel pretty inadequate in both roles. I can’t really focus as much on learning my new role as I want to and I’m much less engaged with A during the day. He’s spending more time in the swing and I don’t read to him as much and leave him to his own devices more than I had been. I actually dislike working from home this much–I miss the easy access to colleagues who can help me figure out the new processes I have to learn and I miss the collaboration that comes with working with people face to face. I don’t feel like I’ll fully engaged with my work and that I’m missing things. I’m sure when I’m back in the office 100% of the time in two weeks, I’ll wish I was at home with my boy.

A is doing well. I swear he’s close to rolling over, but I’ve thought that for about a month now, so what do I know? He moves his legs and arms like he’s about to take off and he tolerates tummy time for about 6 minutes at a time. He can lift his head high off the ground, he can hold his head steady when we practice sitting. He eats his hands constantly–or at least when he’s not shoving a blanket/burp rag/small tow into his mouth. He laughs constantly. He talks to us when he’s well rested. And the noises he makes just crack us up. And we make the sounds back to him, so the whole family sounds like screech owls, or pterodactyls (I totally didn’t know that word started with a p until I googled it just now), or like we’re all straining to go to the bathroom. It’s pretty hilarious. He looks like a turtle when he rests on our legs and sticks his head out to look at us, but has the cutest double chin when he’s resting in his swing or carseat. The back of his head is still flat, but I’m not too worried. I’ll bring it up again at our 4 month appointment just to make sure the doctors think it’s normal.

We never tried again to put A in his crib at night. Instead we moved him to the pack n play, which is next to me and where the bassinet used to be. So, rather than gaining real estate, we lost it. But it’s OK. I like holding his hand as he goes to sleep, I still like to rest my hand on his stomach to make sure he’s still breathing if I wake up in a panic, I like being near him. The move to the pack n play coincided with worse sleep, so we bought Mer.lin’s magic sleep suit, and it’s helped. He sleeps through the night more than without the sleepsuit, but not as consistently as he did in the bassinet. We rarely have to feed him in the night, but we do have to hold him for several hours as he sleeps. It’s disruptive, but I am usually able to sleep with him for the last few hours of the night so it’s not horrible. I’m hoping that he’ll learn to love the wide open spaces of the pack n play and will eventually go back to sleeping soundly all night. And then I will go back to sleeping soundly all night.

This past weekend we went to the mountains for some leaf pepping, and wow was it beautiful. I’m constantly amazed that colors like this exist in nature. It’s like the mountainsides (I’m from the west coast, so I still struggle to call what’s here mountains) were painted with the best warm red, yellow and orange colors in the crayon box. No picture I took can really do it justice. We were lucky to find a place to stay since it was peak weekend and Asheville is a very popular place to go to see the leaves, but B has a knack for finding great cabins in great locations. We took some hikes, we had a fire, and we relaxed together as a family. The best part–no cell service so we were forced to disconnect. We also bickered, and sometimes these simple disagreements escalated because both B and I are short on patience with one another. But the weekend was good for us and restored a sense of peace and togetherness. The hardest part for A was that his naps were short because we kept getting in and out of the car seat and/or stroller, so he was a bit sleep deprived and slept basically for the entire 4 hour drive home yesterday.

So, that’s my October update. Once I’m back at work, I think I’ll be able to update more, but more importantly I’ll comment more.