Mara at 10.5 months

My little Marabelle (not her real name) is 10 1/2 months old*. My tiny baby girl is no longer tiny, but she is still very babyish to me, or at least she was up until the past several weeks. It seems like right when she hit 10 months, she started to mature at lightning speed with first words, waving, first teeth, rolling around, wanting to crawl… more on all that in a minute.


But In a nutshell… Laid back. Social. Content. That’s Mara right now (and how she’s always been).

Mara is the happiest baby I’ve ever seen. She is almost always content, whether she’s sitting on the floor with toys in reach or being carried along to the various adventures we head out on with Corban and friends. Nursery volunteers at church comment every week that she’s the easiest baby in the room (she just chills with a few toys in the middle of the floor) and I don’t go anywhere in public with her without being stopped by strangers thrilled that she returns their baby talk with smiles. Whenever Corban is being stubborn or throwing a tantrum (a.k.a. being two years old), I am extra grateful that Mara is calm as ever and not adding to the stress.


I don’t want to simply compare her to Corban, but they have been so obviously different in the timing of their developmental milestones that it’s hard not to note. Compared to Corban, Mara has been slower with gross motor skills. She didn’t roll over until just the past week or so! I don’t think it was that she couldn’t before (she’s been sitting since around 6 months and that uses the same muscles as rolling) but more that she just didn’t feel the urge to roll. She isn’t crawling yet, but is starting to want to move more. No pulling up on furniture either.

But socially, she has been earlier than Corban for the most part, with early smiles, coos and laughs as a newborn. She started waving right at 10 months, and shocked us a few weeks ago by very clearly starting to say “Mama” in reference to me. Now she sometimes says “bye” (or something vaguely resembling it) when people are waving goodbye. I wasn’t expecting that for a while!


Mara was toothless until 10 months. The past week she sprouted two bottom teeth and I think it makes her look much older. She has had a fussy few days — which isn’t saying a whole lot, but she’s been clingy and had a rough morning at the beach last week when I wouldn’t let her stuff handfuls of sand in her mouth. Mean mom am I.

Mara loves her solids. We has a slow start with baby-led weaning, but at around 8 months she really got the hang of it and has embraced every food we’ve given her. She enjoys beans, eggs, steamed veggies, soft fruit, avocado. Bread is a little more confounding, and perhaps harder to down with essentially no teeth. Next we’ll try plain yogurt and maybe small pieces of meat.


She’s still breastfeeding and still very efficient and to-the-point with nursing. I am in no rush for Mara to wean and I hope she continues to be interested in nursing for a good while.

Maybe it’s the steady diet of solids, but Mara has started sleeping through the night enough that I’ve lost count of the exact number of times it’s happened (10 or 11 now?). I was astounded and almost didn’t believe it the first time, more than a month ago. But this week it has become normal. Amazing that it just happened naturally! As much as I love getting uninterrupted sleep, it makes me a little wistful thinking she is outgrowing her habit of nursing in the middle of the night. I know that sounds completely crazy.

We finally kicked the swaddle last month when she simultaneously outgrew it and it became too hot to be wrapped in fleece, so now she sleeps with this creepy little torso-less knit clown that was mine as a child, a random stuffed ball and a blanket crocheted by the same friend who made Corban’s favorite blanket. Those items were not chosen intentionally (aside from the blanket) — they just happened to be thrown in her crib at one point and then stayed because they work.

Sibling love
Mara is highly amused by Corban. She loves any attention from him and laughs at his antics. Every night after dinner, she gets in her pjs and I bring her out to say goodnight to Corban and Peter. C says, “Goo-night Mara!” in the sweetest little voice and kisses her on the head, and she just giggles hysterically. The girl loves kisses in general, but especially from her brother.


Weight: 21 pounds 6 ounces
Height: 28.5 inches
Naps: 2 (9 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
Sleep: 6:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Clothes: Size 12 month for pants and onesies, 6- and 9-month still fit in dresses and shorts. Love little summer dresses with cloth diaper bottom!
Hair: Light, light brown, soft and wispy
Eyes: blue/gray on the outside, brownish in the inside (in transition?)
Diapers: Charlie Banana with two inserts during the day, size 4 disposables at night
Words: Mama, bye
Tricks: Rolls her tongue all the time, waves, claps and cheers, high fives
Favorite foods: Steamed zucchini, banana, avocado
Favorite toy: Fischer Price xylophone/piano

*she was 10.5 months when I started writing this, but life is busy and she is now almost 11 months as I hit publish AHH!

Mara at 6 months

My baby girl is six months old today! In my mind she’s still fresh and tiny and helpless, but in reality she’s a solid little snuggler who loves two activities more than anything: grabbing and bouncing. Mara could spend all day and night in the Jumperoo and be content. Or so it seems.

I want to say these past six months have gone by so fast, but they haven’t really. Warm fall days seem so distant from where we sit now in this never-ending winter. The truth is Corban is so demanding (and deserving) of my attention right now that I don’t notice the little changes in Mara as much. She’s just my happy little baby sidekick, and I half expected her to stay a little baby forever.




Mara is so easy. She is just happy. Like, all the time. I feel so in tune with her needs (I think paying attention to how long she has been awake is the biggest key to this) and that just makes everything a lot less stressful.

A bit has changed since my last Mara update (at two months!). Here’s the rundown.


She started developing more of a routine around two or three months old, and as long as we don’t keep her awake longer than her maximum, she’s (usually) a cinch to put down for a nap. We’re up to around two hours of awake time between naps. Mara naps three times a day – the first is always around 9 a.m., then after that the schedule changes a bit each day depending on how long her naps are. Usually she’ll take two 45- to 50-minute naps and one longer nap that can be 2+ hours. We still swear by the swaddle for naps and nighttime.


She was close to overstaying her welcome in the baby bunk in our room when we finally moved Corban into his big boy bed and let Mara take over the nursery. That was around 4 months old. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), her nighttime sleep habits haven’t changed much since two months. We’ve had some better and worse patches, but she always levels out to about two wakings/feedings a night. We’ve had a few unexpected full nights of sleep (6:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. for first waking, or something similar) but based on how long it took Corban to sleep through the night I don’t get my hopes up. Mara likes her 6:30 bedtime and has been extremely consistent with that, which I’m thankful for, though a little sad if I get home from work late and have to put her straight to bed.


Speaking of work, I went back when Mara was four months old. I am so grateful for such flexibility with my maternity leave. Four months didn’t seem long enough, but it was the right time for me to return. We had to find a new nanny, and Mara and Corban have adjusted quite well to her. I’ve been working three days a week, so it’s nice to still have a couple weekdays with them. It was much, much harder going back to work this time – not really because of Mara, but because Corban is at such a vibrant stage. He’s exhausting, but so much fun.


Mara still is on a 100% breast milk diet. She nurses (or has a bottle) after each nap or about every three hours. She’s still a fast eater – five minutes on one side and we’re done. Since she moved into the nursery, I now feed her in our new glider (yeah, it took us 2 years, but we finally got one) with the Boppy pillow instead of lying down in our bed.

Now that she’s at the 6-month mark we should be starting solids, but I’m not exactly in a rush. It’s just… more work, ha. We unofficially did baby-led weaning with Corban, and I’d like to do it again and maybe learn a bit more about the official method this time. From what I remember, they recommend you start when your baby can sit up, and Mara’s not at that point yet so I’m okay with not rushing into solids.



Let’s see… laugh, vocalize, grab… check. Roll over? Sort of. She has rolled front to back a time or two, but I’ve never seen her go back to front. She really wanted to at one point and got close, but recently she hasn’t seemed to be as interested in rolling.



Mara is very social – we look at her or talk to her and she smiles. Laughing comes easy too.


I mentioned her love for the Jumperoo – just being in that thing and bouncing makes her smile and laugh, and those little legs just can’t stop jumping once they start. For a while she just loved hanging out on her play mat and grabbing at her “friends,” as I call them (little birds and toys hanging from it). But now she’s all about the bouncing.


I love giving her new toys and textures to grab. She has pet Biggles a few times and (bless his heart) he hasn’t seemed to mind.


She grabbed my glasses off my face today and tried to eat them. That is, of course, the next step after grabbing – tasting. We read cloth books so much more with Mara than I remember with Corban because she is so happy to grab and touch the pages.




She’s still very easy to take along on whatever adventures our days hold.


Sibling love

Mara will smile and laugh if Corban and I are doing something silly, and Corban just gets a huge kick out of her reaction. While most of the time he is still self-absorbed, he has started to interact with her more. Every night he says, “Night night, Mara,” and gives her a kiss on the head. He loves to give her kisses and involve her in his play. Except when she’s interfering with his fun, of course.


One of my favorite moments was lying in Corban’s bed reading with the two of them, and they just turned to one another and started giggling. It was one of the first true one-on-one interactions I’d seen between them, meaning I wasn’t the one facilitating it. I almost felt left out for a second, which is silly, and something I’d better get used to since I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re plotting together without me.





It’s pretty much impossible not to love this little bundle with all my heart.




Height and weight: To come after her 6-month checkup
Hair: Finally starting to grow! Her fuzz is getting fuzzier.
Clothes: Size 6 month, but moving quickly into 9 month
Diapers: Cloth snapped at maximum tightness, but size 2 disposables at night (which leak often enough that it’s time to move up to size 3)
Nicknames: Marabelle, Mariella, Marzipan, Ladybug, Miss Mara Mack (love it when Corban calls her by her nicknames)

Mara at 2 months


Two months old already!

I sat down thinking that not much has changed in the past month – Mara is still sleepy, sweet, snuggly and overall a great baby – but she has hit a few exciting new milestones since my last update.

Most notably: smiling!




And also cooing!


We finally started offering the pacifier, around 6 weeks. It took her a few days to learn how to keep it in her mouth, but now that she’s got the hang of it the pacifier really helps during her evening fussy time. Before, she would act hungry then cry when I would try to feed her, then pass out for a few minutes, repeat. All during dinnertime and bedtime for Corban… so evenings were rough. The paci has helped a bit with that.


Speaking of eating, Mara is the opposite of Corban – she eats super fast and doesn’t like to linger and suck for comfort. 5 minutes is an average nursing session. We have had some issues this month as my milk supply regulates and found that nursing lying down works best for us so the flow isn’t as fast.

It’s hard to believe, but until last night I hadn’t been apart from Mara for more than an hour (to run an errand once or twice). Last night Peter and I went out for the first time without her, so she had her first bottle (no major issues). It was nice to have a tiny bit of freedom! We were only gone for two hours, though. Baby steps.

As my dad put it, she’s like an appendage.


Mara goes where I go, and I don’t hesitate to get out and about. The Moby wrap has been essential!

Top of the tower at Holy Hill:


At the park with my mom:


Bundled up at the park with Corban (we’ve had a drastic shift in weather this month, as these photos demonstrate!):


Pumpkin farm:


She has now graduated past the newborn hold in the Moby, so her little legs dangle out. This helps me look like I’m actually carrying a child and I’m not just an oddly shaped person.

We switched fully to cloth diapers around 6 or 7 weeks. They fit her much better now. She’s growing so fast!


I’ll write an update on cloth diapering soon! Quite a bit has changed since my initial posts.

I love that Mara still will sleep anywhere. I know those days are probably numbered and am taking advantage of it before we have to start planning outings around her naps.

Nothing better than a baby snuggled on your chest!


I still sometimes pause and marvel at the fact that I have a daughter. Two months later, it still seems surreal. Two kids. A boy and a girl. Whoa. (In the best sense of the word!)

One thing is certain: baby girl outfits are irresistible! Mara has been outfitted quite well with gifts from family and friends.



Baby leopard?!



She has outgrown this outfit since the beginning of the month. She seems so small here!

Tummy time has become a fun game for Corban, and Mara has become quite advanced at it. She actually loves being on her stomach.


And although most of the time he’s doing his own thing, Corban has melted my heart with some tender moments with Mara. There have been a few times when he’s been touching her head and talking to her, and she just looks up and smiles at him. I am looking forward to seeing their relationship grow.



The stats:

Height: 22.75 inches (62nd percentile)
Weight: 11 pounds 14 ounces (62nd percentile)
Clothes: Size 3 month
Naps: All the time, no regular schedule
Night: Sleeps in our room; wakes twice to eat
Diapers: Cloth, or disposable size 2


After 14 months, we are officially done breastfeeding.


All I can think about in summation of that 14 months is WOW — breastfeeding is a wild, emotional ride. I had absolutely NO idea it was so emotionally complex. In fact, I basically knew nothing about it 14 months ago except what I learned in the class I took before Corban was born. I don’t think it’s even possible to really understand all the facets of breastfeeding until you experience it.

I’m so very thankful that, overall, Corban and I had a beautiful experience with it. (And I realize that sounds creepy to anyone who hasn’t done it!)

In the beginning, I had no idea how I would survive the pain, sleeplessness and long hours of nursing.

But slowly it got easier. And by six months I couldn’t bear to think of the day when I wouldn’t nurse my baby — or, rather, when he wouldn’t depend on me in that way. Just imagining it made my eyes well up.

But each new milestone and development that seems so distant eventually comes in perfect timing. So last week, when Corban nursed for the final time, it seemed a natural conclusion.

How did we get to that point? I admit, weaning was something that seemed intimidating at first, but we took it one step at a time. Here’s what that looked like for us:

0-6 months: Exclusively breastfed. No food except breastmilk for Little C.

6 months: Start introducing solid foods, but still nursing the same amount as before — almost all nutrition is still coming from breastmilk.

7 months: I go back to work full time (previously was part time) and Corban has two bottles a day while I’m at work. I pump twice a day at work.

10-11 months: I drop down to pumping once a day at work. All this time, Corban’s solids intake is increasing, and milk intake is slowly decreasing naturally.

12 months: We officially begin what I considered weaning. I stop pumping completely, and begin to wean Corban from nursing in the middle of the night. So we are down to nursing right when he wakes up and right before bed, and he has bottles of breastmilk during the day. I also stop nursing him during the day on weekends.

13ish months: He doesn’t seem to be very into the nighttime nursing, so we drop that but still feed him as much breastmilk as he will drink before bed. Still nursing first thing in the morning (my favorite feeding because it’s done while lying in bed).

14 months: By this point, he is nursing very little in the morning and only on the left side. He usually has a bottle after he nurses. We finally reach the very end of our freezer supply of breastmilk. So at 14 months and one week old, Corban nurses for the final time and switches fully to cow’s milk.

To be honest, the real reason we completely quit when we did is because Peter and I went out of town with friends — without Corban — and so that just seemed like a natural cut off point. I sure as heckfire wasn’t going to pump while we were away — and I don’t even think there was much left to pump anyway. Although I did have some times of discomfort at various points during the weaning process (most notably when weaning from the pump!), I didn’t feel anything at the end.


On our last morning of breastfeeding, I was a little nostalgic, but it just seemed right. Corban is a little toddler now, and though we both still enjoy plenty of snuggle time each morning and night (and during the day when I’m home), he hasn’t seemed to miss nursing.


That final morning, Peter left early for a men’s church group, so Corban and I had time to ourselves. He nursed for a minute or so, then sat up. I asked if he wanted more, and he nursed a bit longer, then sat up again. Not quite ready to be done, I encouraged him to nurse one last time. He did, briefly.

When he finished, I just lay there, smiling at his sweet mass of bedhead. He sat on a pile of covers, laughing and making silly faces, and eventually crawling off to climb down and explore on his own.


13.5-month update

13.5 months? Wouldn’t you just round that to one year? That’s what I always thought before having Corban. I actually thought it was kind of ridiculous when people would say their baby was “13 months old.”

But now I’m the one doing that, because, as it turns out, a lot can happen in a month.


It’s hard to believe it’s only been roughly six weeks since Corban’s first birthday. It seems like he’s changed so much in that time, but then again, I think I say that every month. Here are some milestones of the past month and a half:

Communication Skills

He is getting much more proficient at communicating with us. It’s amazing to witness this process! He points to his mouth if he sees food and he’s hungry. He will clap and sometimes wave on command. He gives sloppy, open-mouthed kisses if you ask for one  (the best!). He will say “woof, woof” if he hears someone talking about a dog or sees any animal resembling a dog (this includes cats — both live and in books — and just about every farm animal). Actually, we’re pretty sure he just thinks animals in general are called “woof, woofs.” We’re working on introducing some meows and moos into his vocabulary.



The biggest physical development of these past six weeks is his ability to stand unsupported. He usually will only do this if you’re sitting on the floor with him and stand him up, but he finds it hilarious and waves and laughs the entire time he’s up (the video at the end of this post demonstrates this). We think his record is about 15 seconds. This new ability has made him much more proficient at walking while holding our hand(s), and he can walk across the entire house this way. If he really wants to get somewhere though, he’ll crawl (super fast) or reach for us to pick him up and then point to where he wants to be carried.



His hair is out of control! Actually, it’s just the front that is an issue. It doesn’t like to stay brushed to the side and is getting quite long. But I’m still not emotionally ready for the first haircut, so we’ll continue to attempt to sweep it out of his eyes. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all.


Play Time

He loves zooming cars around on the floor, especially little Hot Wheels. Still enjoys dancing, and sometimes “singing” with us. Buttons and touch screens are absolutely fascinating.


He’s really into books, and has definite preferences for certain books. If he’s in a picky mood he will reject each book you offer until you hold up the one he wants. This is usually any of the three “Spot” books we own (they are the best! Perfect size, storylines, flaps, pictures, etc.), “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Hear?” or “Where is Baby’s Bellybutton?”

Corban now uses his shape sorter as a shape sorter (rather than just a bucket) and after a few tries can usually fit the shape through the correct slot. He adores his counting piggy bank my parents gave him for his birthday, and also got tons of use out of his Little People nativity set from Peter’s parents before we put it away for the season.


He also loves putting this plastic bucket on his head – his “helmet” – and wearing it around while talking to himself in the echo chamber.




Ah, yes. Right when he turned one, it seemed time to officially start the process of weaning. We are now down to one nursing session a day, in the morning right when he wakes up. I always thought the bedtime nursing would be the last to go, but we both seem to enjoy it most in the morning. I’m guessing my milk supply will naturally deplete over the next few weeks and that will probably be the end. *Tear!* But weaning has actually been very natural and comfortable (minus a few days of physical discomfort for me) for us both so far. I’m thankful for that.

Thanks to my ridiculous freezer stock of breast milk, he still has at least three bottles of breast milk a day and we probably have another month of milk left. I admit, it is nice to clear some space in the freezer, though.

I will probably do a separate post about the weaning process, so leave a comment or email me if you have any questions!



I almost forgot, Corban experienced his second Christmas and New Year’s Eve this past month. He got to see two cousins who are a little bit older than him.


Can you handle this?


Christmas Eve was such a sweet (and toy-filled) night with my mom’s side of the family.


We didn’t spoil him on Christmas Day, but he loved his new sled.



Corban also got a kick out of riding around in Pa’s walker like it was a stroller.



Huge improvements/changes in sleep this past month! I finally weaned him from nursing in the middle of the night, which doesn’t mean he is consistently sleeping through the night (yet, at least), but he is sleeping through the night a lot more. Peter and I switch off nights getting up and getting him back to sleep if need be. This usually involves replacing the pacifier, re-covering him with his blanket and rubbing his back for a couple minutes. I’d like the back-rubbing part to go down the drain, but we’re taking this one step at a time.

He is definitely down to one nap a day now. That was a somewhat rocky transition, but now he naps for 1.5 to 2 hours starting in the late morning or early afternoon. This is much better than our previous mid-morning and late-afternoon nap schedule, which often involved either a battle for the second nap or a cranky, awake baby.



Corban’s appetite is sometimes shocking. He’s unleashed an undying love for frozen peas/carrots blend, and if he’s in the right mood he can eat half a bag in one sitting. I maintain that he is welcome to eat as many veggies as his little stomach desires! His other main food groups are bread, Cheerios, bananas, grapes, scrambled eggs, plain yogurt and cantaloupe. I need to find some more easy foods for him because the aforementioned make up probably 90% of his diet.

He has mastered the art of drinking water from his straw cup, and we also introduced a travel mug-like sippy cup (this one, specifically). It’s basically a baby version of a travel coffee mug, with a lid with a small opening. I like it because he is learning to drink like you drink from a regular cup (which is the end goal) — just with less spillage. I took the no-spill suction thing out so he can drink it without sucking like he would from a bottle.


Life is good with this little one in it. My love for him grows as he grows. Each new development and personality quirk is such a blessing.


In Action!

Here’s a video of Corban from earlier this month when he first started standing on his own (right at 13 months old). Note how thrilling the novelty of it is to him!

P.S. I completed my attempt at taking and posting a photo of Corban each day of his first year. Here is the finished project.

Ode to the pump

Oh, breast pump. You have served me well.

You aren’t much to look at. Your black leather case has a broken latch and a mysterious white stain. Your knobs have some dust and dirt.


You’re old – I’m not quite sure just how old. Your instruction manual says copyright 1996. I know you’ve had at least two previous owners: the friend who gave you to me and the woman she purchased you from on Craigslist six years ago.


I would assume the woman in the photo was fashionable when this was printed.

But you’ve done your job well for the past year.

You’ve been by my side almost every day.  You’ve accompanied me to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Virginia Beach, Las Vegas and St. Louis. You’ve made it through airport security a half-dozen times – mostly without incident. You’ve allowed me to be with my best friends to celebrate weddings and bachelorette parties. You’ve allowed me to feed my baby bottles of nothing but breast milk for the first year (and counting) of his life.


You’ve stayed by my side in loud hotel rooms filled with girlfriends, creepy airport bathrooms, tiny hotel bathrooms, a retreat center, the Chicago History Museum during a wedding reception and Corban’s dark nursery after each middle-of-the-night feeding while I was on maternity leave. How many times have I listened to your rhythmic ruuu-uuum, ruuu-uuum, ruuu-uuum while perched on a recliner in the lactation room at work? (Twice a day for about six months and once a day for another couple months.)


um, yeah, I totally panorama-ed the lactation room*


You’ve helped me pump 2,561.6 ounces of milk (and that’s just what I’ve recorded in the Baby Connect app). That’s 320.2 cups, or more than 20 gallons of milk.

Despite your age, you’re a hardworking pump. You deserve a break.

Two days before Corban’s first birthday, we had our last fling (at least until Baby #2). I admit, I already kind of miss those calm moments when I could zone out to your whirring motor in the middle of my workday. But I don’t miss carrying you around with me, worrying about milk refrigeration, hunting for private electrical outlets in public spaces and hand washing your plastic parts.

So until next time, old friend, take it easy.

*There used to be this sweet 1970s-era (I’m guessing?) TV in the lactation room, but then we got someone new in HR (a mom) who cleaned the room up and cleared it out:


12-month update

One!  Year! Old!

And yet, life goes on as usual. Turning one seems like such a big milestone for a baby, but I think it’s actually a bigger milestone for the parents. Corban continued to do his little almost-toddler thing all week, while I found myself replaying the week before Corban was born over and over in my mind. Each day I would think, exactly one year ago today I was [fill in the blank]. 

The most vivid parallel moment for me was driving home from work Thursday night, thinking about how exactly 52 weeks prior, I drove that same route at that same time. In 2011, I was on the phone with Peter, trying not to freak out about the fact that I was going into labor. When I hung up the phone, I just drove silently, a million thoughts, lists, questions racing through my head as I wondered what the future would hold.

In 2012, again I was on the phone with Peter, but this time asking how Corban was doing, if he had eaten dinner, how long he had napped. When I hung up the phone, I drove silently, remembering the past, reliving that night 52 weeks prior, my last drive home before my baby was born, and the year that followed.

What an amazing year it has been.


But back to the present… here’s the quick take on Corban’s 12th month:

Age: 12 months
Weight: 23 lb. 1 oz.
Clothes: 12-month and 18-month
Size 3 during the day, size 4 at night
Two on top and four on bottom (one new bottom tooth this month)
 Same as last month — asleep around 7 or a few minutes after, most often wakes up between 2 and 4 a.m., then up for the day around 6:30 a.m.
Naps: Morning nap is getting later (10:30ish) and afternoon nap is starting to disappear
Noises: Makes little “vroom” noises for cars and airplanes; no clear words yet but lots of noises
Nursing: Last month before starting to wean 😦 So, still 4-5 times a day, but that will be changing soon.
Pumping: One pumping session a day when at work (around 1 or 2 p.m.) Will probably be stopping that this week, though.
Solids: 3 meals a day plus snack some days.
Mobility: Climbs up stairs like a pro; can climb down with some help; learning to climb down from couch; no interest in walking.
New skills: Pointing, throwing a ball
Favorites: Dancing, balloons, turning pages of books, eskimo kisses, slides, plastic tupperware


Making baby “vroom” noises with the paper airplane.

It seems like Corban’s communication skills really took off this month. Even before he was pointing with his fingers, he would stretch his arm out toward things he was interested in, or reach his arms up if he wanted us to pick him up.

He started to really quickly pick up on our actions and imitate them. I showed him how to comb his hair once, and now he wants to do it every time he picks up the comb (even if he’s not very effective).


He started initiating games, like shaking his head back and forth (then it’s our turn to do it, etc. — yes that is a game to a one-year-old) or sticking his face in a tupperware container to play peek-a-boo.


And I just love that he understands how books work and loves to flip through the pages, even on his own.


Of course, it’s even better with Mama or Daddy reading, but you have to read really fast because he doesn’t like to sit for long on most pages. Exceptions are the page in “Spot Says Goodnight” when Spot is in the bathtub (playing peek-a-boo with a lift-the-flap towel) and the page where Cookie Monster is popping bubbles in this book called “Bubbles, Bubbles.”


“Bubbles, bubbles, float on top. Bubbles, bubbles, pop, pop, pop!” We have been reading the same 4-5 books before naps, and I have all of them memorized.

We had some incredibly nice days this month (for Wisconsin in November/December), so we got a few more trips to the park in, and let Corban slide a few feet by himself (with Peter and I at both ends, of course). The boy loves free falling.


Also loves: dirt.


Caught with his hands dirty.


He has become quite good at entertaining himself these days. Dirt, a ball, a toy or a good view out the window are enough to keep him content if he’s in the right mood.


Of course, he still has his moments where he doesn’t want to be put down, and with those newly pointing fingers he can get a little bossy.

This month also brought Corban’s first real sickness. Poor baby. We did enjoy lots of snuggles that weekend though. There’s nothing quite as sweet as a soft mop of hair resting on your shoulder.


He felt better just in time for his first Thanksgiving! After several days of barely eating, Corban feasted with us at the Thanksgiving table. He loved the turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and green beans.


I was a tiny bit worried that he’d attack the Christmas tree, but he has been fairly disinterested so far. He did try to eat an ornament, but I was sure to put only baby-safe ornaments at the bottom.


This bell, however, was a huge hit. At least until he started to get curious and try to pull the ringer out of the inside.


I have felt this way at every age so far, but I am just loving where we are at right now. Corban is so curious, enthusiastic and full of joy, and it’s so much fun to be able to engage with him on a slightly deeper level now. I know it will get even more fun as he develops further.

On workdays, I don’t get a lot of time with C, but it’s still the best part of my day. As I’m trying to get him into his pajamas, he squirms away and crawls around his room in his diaper. I think he realizes it’s his last chance to play before bed, so he gets extra energetic. I’m often sucked into his happy world and end up playing with him for an extra few minutes until he can’t resist rubbing his eyes, and I know it’s definitely time for bed.


Now that we’re at the one year mark, we decided it’s time to start weaning. He already is, technically, weaned during the day when I’m at work, so the first step is me weaning from the pump (we have a LOT of breastmilk in the freezer, so we still have a while before transitioning to cow’s milk). I can handle the idea of that, but the thought of him not nursing first thing in the morning or right before bed makes me all teary-eyed. For now I’ll just enjoy those sweet moments and try not to think about it!

On a happier note, we celebrated Corban’s first birthday with a little party this past weekend. I’ll write about it in another post, but here he is eating refined sugar for the first time:


I’m kind of obsessive about him not eating anything remotely unhealthy, so there won’t be any more cake in the near future, but on his birthday I couldn’t have been happier to see him create a sugary mess.

So there you have it. Month 12. My son is now a year old, and it doesn’t feel any different. Unless you go back a year. Everything’s different since then. Different, but better.


On Thursday, I started writing a post about our pretty predictable schedule these days. Then, of course, the next three days were completely erratic and unpredictable. Little baby was sick for the first time.

In the past Corban has had runny noses from teething, itchy eyes from plugged tear ducts and mild fevers from vaccines, but Friday he got sick for real, with conjunctivitis (pink eye), a cough and a fever.

It really wasn’t terrible considering how much worse there is out there, but he was crabby and listless most of the weekend. As Peter put it, he had a heavy head – always resting against our chests.

He napped a ton, often in our arms or with us on the couch. One time my little boy who needs things just so to go down for a nap passed out within seconds of me lifting him into my lap.

Corban also, surprisingly, didn’t want to nurse much this weekend. He would take a bottle of breast milk though. We’re guessing he was just uncomfortable lying down to eat.

And you know something’s up when your enthusiastic eater sits with a tray full of cantaloupe in front of him, just staring blankly ahead.

We got a few laughs out of him this weekend, though. The boy still loves to dance, even when sick, and he can always find it in him to knock down some block towers. And sometimes kitties are the best medicine (shout out to Biggles for being such a good big brother and letting Corban swat at his face).

Last night, he either felt better or worse – I’m not entirely sure – because he was alert and ready to play for about three hours in the middle of the night, but he would scream and writhe hysterically if we tried to soothe him to sleep. It was definitely a throwback to the newborn days when we had no idea a) how to get him to sleep at night and b) if we would get any sleep at all ourselves. It actually made me a bit nostalgic for that era when clocks were meaningless and Peter and I had one singular focus: take care of Corban.

That said, I do hope he sleeps tonight. I have no problem with a weekend spent at home – mostly on the couch, napping a lot, snuggling always – but our usual routine means Corban is healthy, and for that reason I think we’re all ready to welcome back the predictable schedule.

11-month update

Age: 11 months
Weight: ~22.5 lb.
Clothes: 12-month and 18-month
Size 3 during the day, size 4 at night
Two on top and three on bottom (last month I falsely reported four on bottom)
Bedtime is now usually more in the 7-7:15 range than 6:45-7. About 1/3 of the time he sleeps through the night. Usually up for the day around 6:45. Small improvements!
Naps: Morning nap at about 9:30 or 10 and afternoon nap at 3. Usually one of them is 1.5 hours and the other is shorter.
Noises: Still no real words, but makes pfffft (motorboat) sound when he doesn’t like something, and says ma, da and other syllables
Nursing: Not as interested in nursing as he once was. Doesn’t nurse very long, even before bed. Still nurses ~5 times: when he wakes up in the morning, after each nap (usually those are bottles of breastmilk because I am at work), before bed and usually around 4 a.m.
Pumping: One pumping session a day (around 12:30)
Solids: Breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Still a great eater, but showing more preferences with food.
Mobility: Super fast crawler, pulls up on furniture and moves around while holding onto things.
Favorite games: Dancing to music, pulling things out of boxes and putting them back in, stacking the cats’ food bowls, peekaboo, being tickled, bubbles, what I like to call “assisted falling”

In the words of my dad, every day’s a party with Corban. He is into everything, and so easily entertained (also starting to be more easily upset, but that never lasts long).

We see him learn more and more each day. He has picked up on the fact that the remote control works with the TV, so he will grab it and point it at the TV or hold it up to it. I desperately don’t want him to actually watch any TV, but I’m married to a media junkie so, alas, Corban is learning the ways of the digital world at a young age. (We don’t let him watch anything, but Peter will have it on while Corban’s in the room.)

We took him to the zoo for the first time this month – the St. Louis zoo – and he wasn’t too impressed. I think most of the animals were too far away or not active enough to really catch his attention, but he loved the penguins and couldn’t keep his eyes off them.

He also got to sit less than two feet away from a gorilla.

See? Not impressed.

I’m trying to be better about expanding his diet, and we’ve learned that certain things he just isn’t into (see below for what he thinks of tomatoes). One trick I’ve learned is that tomato sauce can instantly make anything palatable for him.

Fruit is still his favorite, but he eats lots of veggies, grains and yogurt. One day he got really mad at his pumpkin/yogurt/oats mixture and smeared it all over his face.

This is why I love table foods so much more than anything that needs a spoon!

One really handy “game” that we’ve taught him (actually, Peter gets all the credit on this) is the sharing game. We hold out our hand and say “Can I have that please?” and Corban hands us whatever he is holding. Then we get excited and say “Thank you!” and he is very pleased. I use this when he grabs the spoon to feed himself and doesn’t want to give it back. If I ask, he always hands it over.

It’s actually kind of funny how much he likes sharing. He finds it hilarious to stick his pacifier in our mouths.

Corban also learned how clap this month! It is still rare that he will do it, but sometimes when he’s dancing he will throw a few claps in there.

Speaking of dancing… it is my favorite! He has a few toys that play songs that he absolutely loves to dance to. He gets a serious look on his face and just fist pumps and waves his arms, or gets on his hands and knees and rocks in time to the music.

Some other new skills include opening and closing drawers:

Climbing up stairs:

Taking big boy baths:

Corban still loves the cats, and Biggles still lets him abuse him. This happens just about every day:

Basil is still the smart one and tries not to let Corban near her, although when he picks up their “cat dancer” (toy wire that they chase around) and starts waving it, she usually can’t resist.

We were able to see a lot of family this month. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents. They all adore Little C.

I’m still in disbelief that it has been 11 months since Corban’s birth. One year ago today we graffiti-ed our basement walls in preparation for our basement finishing project.

Corban was still in my very large belly, and I was running around Mayfair Mall modeling ugly shoes for a scavenger hunt with women from my church.

A year later, we’ve got a sweet little ball of energy that lights up our each and every day with his giggles and antics.

Life is so different in so many ways, and so much better in ways I never could have imagined. Being a mom is way more awesome than I expected.

Sleeping through the night (or not)

Ah, the coveted “sleeping through the night” merit badge.

In short, Corban’s still doesn’t have it. At least by definition for a 9-month-old (for a newborn, 6 hours straight is considered “through the night,” and at that stage, it truly feels like it).

Every night at about 2 a.m., I am aroused from my sweet slumber and must force my eyes open enough to stay awake while feeding Corban. He goes right back to sleep after filling up, and the whole thing including a diaper change, takes about 20-30 minutes, provided I don’t fall asleep in the chair and wake up 2 hours later with a sore neck. But on the best nights I still feel like a zombie come 6:30 a.m. when C is up for the day.

At Corban’s pediatrician visit last week, our doctor said this routine is common in breastfed babies and will likely continue as long as I continue nursing him when he wakes. The problem is Peter can’t sleep when he’s moaning (it’s not really crying, just making noise) and the easiest way to guarantee he’ll go back to sleep is just to nurse.

So, after discussing with the doc, our solution – or at least current attempt – is to turn off the monitor at night. Or, rather, not turn it on. And hope that Corban is able to just go back to sleep without us waking up.

Big boy pajamas (glow-in-the-dark, even). His sleep sack thingie (“nightgown” as I like to call it) is still the easiest for middle-of-the-night diaper changes though.

This worked the first night, sort of. We didn’t hear anything from him till around 5:30, at which point I brought Corban into our bed and nursed him lying down and we all went back to sleep till 7.

Obviously, if he had awoken in the middle of the night, he was able to settle himself back down without making too much noise. Success!

Then we were out of town, so I nursed him on demand at the tiniest peep for three nights just so as not to disturb others in the house.

Monday night, we forewent the monitor again, and this time Corban freaked out. He full-on cried in the middle of the night, and wouldn’t stop. For, like, an hour. So finally we couldn’t handle it anymore and I fed him. Poor baby. I am totally a proponent of cry it out, but this seemed extreme. Was he really, truly in need of food? (Very doubtful.) Or did he just think so? (More likely.) Or maybe he just wanted to know I was there to feed him like usual? (It’s habit at this point.)

So the past few nights we haven’t used the monitor, but if he wakes Peter (I’m that rare mother that sleeps through everything, even her kid) I’ve been nursing him. Pretty much back to square one but sans monitor (which has actually caused a few late starts to the day because Corban has been our alarm clock for so long, and these days he doesn’t cry when he wakes up – just sits up and babbles in his crib, which usually isn’t loud enough to hear across the house).

I feel kind of stuck. I’m not really sure what to do to end the night-waking. Part of me is fine with just continuing on with it because he is so sweet when he falls asleep in my lap and I’m sure a tiny part of me will miss those mid-night nursing sessions when they’re gone. But another, more rational part of me is tired and ready to start sleeping like a normal person again. And I know Corban needs to learn to sleep through the night as well.

So I guess in summary, help? Seriously, any advice would be appreciated!