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.

4months

5months

6months

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.

Sleep

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.

6months2

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.

6months4

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.

Eating

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.

6months8

Milestones

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.

6months5

Play

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

6months11

 

 

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

6months12

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.

6months9

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.

6months13

 

5months2

 

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

6months6

 

Stats

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)

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Corban’s 15- and 16-month update

16months11

I started writing this about a month ago, as a 15-month update, but never finished or posted it. Such is life. That update was written while I was in the throes of morning sickness and emotional stress/sadness while Pa was sick, so it started like this:

This past month or so has been a challenge for all sorts of reasons. But through the ups and downs Corban continues to be a bright, beaming light to me every day. And even though I’ve felt at times like I’m coasting through as a mom and not giving him 100%, he continues to learn, grow, impress us and make us smile.

Thankfully, I am feeling much more like myself now, so I’ve been able to enjoy the fun of having a sweet toddler this month. He has changed so much since the last update I wrote, at 13.5 months! Here are some of the adventures and milestones he’s experienced in that time:

  • Started walking
  • Said his first word (well, sort of…)
  • Started understanding and following directions
  • Weaned completely from breastmilk/nursing
  • Switched to a convertible car seat
  • Had his first haircut
  • Learned how to open doors
  • Learned to walk (not crawl) up very small steps
  • Flew on an airplane for the second time in his life

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Busy few months, I guess. Each new skill so naturally builds upon every other that these milestones just keep creeping up on us.

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Walking

C took his first steps at almost 14 months, and now he walks all over like a pro. When he’s tired or overexcited he might get clumsy and falls on his big diapered butt, but he gets right back up again like nothing happened. He tries to run if you pretend to chase him, but usually gets too giggly and trips. It still makes me smile to see him toddling all over the house like a little busybody.

Talking

He has absolutely mastered the point, gesture and grunt to communicate his desires to us. He used to consistently sign things like all done, more and eat, and he sometimes does that still, but now is more apt to use sounds and facial expressions to communicate. He is surprisingly effective at telling us what he wants – but without using real words.

I have been eagerly awaiting a “mama” or “dada” (which we reinforce constantly to him), but instead I think Corban’s first official word is “dog.”

No, we don’t have a dog. We have cats. But Corban still thinks almost every four-legged creature says “woof woof” and, starting about three weeks ago, will point at them and bark and occasionally say “dah,” which I interpret as dog.

For a while he would constantly point at things and says “dis,” but I think “dog” is more of a real first word than “this” since “this” can refer to anything.

Over the past few days he has been saying “bah,” a lot, sometimes possibly in reference to a banana, but several times when I pointed to a picture of a sheep and asked him what sound it makes. Another new one is “aaarrr,” like a lion roaring. Yes, our child makes lots of animal noises (see video at end of post).

15months19

Listening

Although he hasn’t done much talking yet, it’s been amazing to see Corban’s language comprehension really take off these past couple months. He understands and obeys when we ask him to go get a book off the shelf, put something away, go give something to mama or dada, find a diaper, go get his blocks, throw something in the garbage, go find Biggles/Basil, get his blanket and various other simple instructions. Every time he hears a phone ring, he puts his hand to his ear like he is holding a phone. It’s so much fun seeing the things he picks up just by observation.

16months06

Eating

Corban is generally a good eater, but I feel like I bore him with the same rotation of foods in his diet. His nanny and I try to ensure he gets a good balance of grains, fruits, veggies, protein and dairy, but because of a combination of his preferences and my shopping habits, that means he eats some combination of eggs, plain yogurt, peanut butter, toast, bananas, cooked carrots, cheese, hummus and a few other fruits and veggies almost every day. It’s easy, healthy and he likes it, so I guess I shouldn’t worry, but other ideas would be welcome. He rejects most meat I have tried to feed him recently. Green smoothies are my new favorite way to get some extra veggies in him.

He went through a phase where he was obsessed with eating whole apples. He would spend a good 45 minutes working his way (partially) through one in tiny bites, with a huge grin on his face the entire time.

15months11

Sleeping

Happy to report we are at a REALLY good place with sleeping! Corban naps for usually 1.5 to 2 hours right after lunch (usually asleep around noon). Bedtime is 7:30 p.m. He goes down without a problem and sleeps until the early morning, when Peter may go in and replace his pacifier to get him to go back to sleep. Up for the day between 7 and 7:30 a.m.*  I’d better hurry up and enjoy this before we start all over with #2!

16months01

He has become attached to a blanket my friend Jess crocheted for him last Easter. He threads his fingers through the holes and picks fuzz off of it for comfort.

*Of course… I typed this two days ago and the past two mornings he has woken up in the 6 a.m. hour. Grr!

Fun

Current obsessions:

Being outside. This really took off when we were on vacation in South Carolina two weeks ago. He was fascinated by the snowless ground, filled with sticks, leaves, pine cones and other exciting things to pick up and carry around.

16months10

But even before that, he enjoyed playing in the snow.

16months00

He loves walking around outside and going to the park.

16months03

This past week has been cold and rainy almost every day, and Corban doesn’t understand why we aren’t taking him outside. A few times he carried his and Peter’s coats over to Peter, his way of asking to go out. One time he even carried both of Peter’s big shoes over to him. Don’t worry, C, we aren’t fans of this weather either.

Balls. Corban loves to play catch (though he can’t catch yet) with tennis balls, a beach ball or balloons.

15months21

16months09

Climbing. We are his human jungle gym and climbing on us while we’re lying down can entertain him for a long time.

16months-00

When Peter and I hug or kiss. This is highly amusing to Corban. He grins and laughs hysterically. I’m sure someday he will have the opposite reaction…

Jumperoo. We still have the Jumperoo out (even though I am sick of seeing it in our family room) because our nanny’s son uses it while she is putting Corban down for naps. Surprisingly, Corban still asks to go in it sometimes and has an absolute ball bouncing around. I never would have guessed he would still be into that thing at 16 months.

Stairs. Ugh. He doesn’t get to climb stairs very often because we have a one-story house, so you bet that the first thing he runs for at church or someone else’s house is the staircase. He has never fallen, but still needs supervision, which is the inconvenient part because he would be happy climbing up and down stairs for hours.

16months05

Touch screens. He thinks every screen is a touch screen, and tried swiping at a friend’s TV the other weekend. I let him hold my phone and play with it, usually only while it’s locked, and he is usually sufficiently entertained by pressing the home button to reveal a photo of himself at one day old. A couple months ago I showed him the Gangnam Style music video on my phone and he was riveted. Eventually he started dancing, and then bent down to kiss the screen and put his face/ear on it.

15months13

15months16

15months15

Humidifiers. This love has subsided quite a bit, but for a long time he was really into playing with humidifiers. We turn one on at night in his room, for white noise and to keep the air from getting too dry in the winter, and he used to freak out over it — squealing, clapping, putting his face over the vent.

15months05

15months09

Stickers. A cheap thrill, but now I find them in unexpected places all over the house.

16months02

“Cooking.” I designated a plastic spatula for him to play with and he likes to get a mixing bowl out of the cabinet and sit and stir the bowl while I’m cooking. It will be fun to try actual cooking with him when he’s a little older!

16months07

16months08

“Helping.” Unloading the dishwasher, sweeping, doing laundry… these are all exciting activities in Corban’s world. He loved the Swiffer in the house we rented in South Carolina, so I’m thinking we should get one. Productive playtime!

16months04

Brushing his teeth. If he sees you brushing his teeth, he tries to grab your toothbrush and put it in his mouth. He smiles while I brush his teeth with his apparently very yummy toddler toothpaste.

Whew. It’s daunting catching up on 2.5 months of changes. And these are just the highlights. I keep thinking I’ll focus these updates more on my thoughts as a parent, but I like recording the details of Corban’s development (with photos) for both myself and far-away family and friends. I’ll leave you with some quick stats:

Height: 32 inches at 15-month appointment (80th percentile)
Weight: 24 pounds 4 ounces at 15-month appointment (75th percentile)
Clothes size: 18 months
Diaper size: 3 during the day, 4 at night (in Target brand — other brands tend to run smaller)
Shoe size: 5
Teeth: 14, I think, including 4 molars
Words: Woof woof, baah, dah (dog), aaarrr (roar)

And here he is yesterday showing off some of his animal noises. All but woof woof are recent developments within the past week.

Day in the life of an 11-month-old (and his working mom)

Ever feel overwhelmed by all the thoughts and ideas racing through your brain? I have had a list of about a million things on my mind this week and have had no time to focus further than the one that needs the most immediate attention at any given moment — the daily deadlines at work, the one year photo album I had to finish in time for Corban’s first birthday(!!) party, scrounging just enough food out of the empty fridge to satisfy current hunger needs (truly pathetic). I opened a fresh Moleskine notebook yesterday just to dump a bunch of one-liner ideas for work into it – otherwise I would have risked losing them in the jungle of my brain.

I realized today that despite the dizzying pace of my life these past days, weeks, months, I am enjoying it. I don’t feel like I have enough time at home, or at work, or with friends, or with Corban, or with Peter, or by myself – but to make more time for one would mean cutting time with another. What a conundrum.

I will go with the theory that more time spent with any of the above would make that time less valuable. Maybe my current situation actually is ideal. (OK, more time with Corban would definitely be better, but let’s just be positive for now.)

Speaking of time… that post about our predictable schedule I mentioned that I had started writing right before C got sick and our schedule went out the window? Here it is.

I wrote this typical day out at about 11 months. It’s changed slightly since then. It’s always changing slightly. That’s one reason I have been wanting to write this post – to capture a moment in time. I also wanted to write it because I love reading other bloggers’ day-in-the-life baby posts. It’s fun to look both forward and back at babies’ routines and needs at different ages.

Here’s what a typical workday is was [at the time of writing] like for me and Baby C.

4 a.m. Corban wakes up and I nurse him. No, he still isn’t always sleeping through the night (though some days he does), but a quick 4 a.m. nursing session is barely a burden at all anymore (sometimes it is at 2, which is tougher). While a bit of CIO (cry it out) has worked for us for naps, neither Peter nor I have the energy to do it at 4 in the morning, so, whatever, I feed him.

6:30 a.m. C is up for the day. Peter gets up and brings him into bed with us and I nurse him while lying down and trying to get some more shut eye. I love this part of the day! If he ate a lot at 4, it will be quick though. We try to keep him entertained in bed with a pacifier and snuggles for as long as possible.

6:45/7 a.m. By this time, bed usually isn’t cutting it for him, so we let him crawl around on the floor of our room and explore while we attempt to sleep for a few more minutes. We are not morning people.

7:15/30 a.m. We change Corban’s diaper and I hustle into the shower while he plays in our room. He also loves pulling things off the shelves in my closet and opening the bathroom drawers or playing with the scale.

7:40 a.m. I get ready while playing with/entertaining Corban. Peter showers and gets ready.

gettingready

8 a.m. I get C dressed, then it’s breakfast for us both. Followed by more of me getting ready mixed with some playtime.

8:30 a.m. Our nanny arrives and takes over Corban duties while I pack my lunch and update her on anything newsworthy. Peter retreats into our office to start his work day.

8:40 a.m. I’m off to work (ok, usually it’s a few minutes later). Corban and our nanny’s son start to play, play, play (or eat breakfast if I didn’t have time to feed him).

9:30 or 10 a.m. After some quiet reading time and a pacifier, it’s nap time, usually for an hour and 15 minutes at least.

11:30 a.m. Right after his nap, he has a bottle of breast milk. Then the three of them go for a long walk – about an hour – and sometimes stop at the park or the library. Or they play inside.

12:30 p.m. Pump break for me. I can be in and out in about 15 minutes, but I try to take this time to relax in the middle of the day and not rush. It’s my Google Reader (on iPhone) time.

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12:30 p.m. Lunch for Corban. Then it’s more playtime (our nanny loosely structures some activities for them) or a walk if they didn’t go before lunch.

2:30 p.m. Nap time for C, or at least soothing time so he can start napping around 3.

3:30/4 p.m. Corban wakes up from his nap (this is a shorter nap usually – like 45 minutes to an hour) and has a bottle of breast milk.

4:30 p.m. Peter is off work and makes the long commute from the office to the family room to take over Corban duty. Our nanny leaves and Peter and Corban spend some quality time playing and calling me at work to see when I’ll be home.

5 p.m. I try to wrap up at work if possible, but I’m usually not heading for the door till it’s at least…

5:30 p.m. I collect my junk (why do I seem to cart so much with me to and from work each day?), grab the pumped milk and pump parts from the lactation room (I leave the pump there during the week) and head home.

6 p.m.* Reunited with Snuggleface! He is overjoyed to see me. We play on the floor for a few minutes.

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6:15 p.m. Dinner time for Corban. Peter and I usually eat too while he’s in the high chair.

6:40 p.m. More playtime and some dinner cleanup.

6:55 p.m. PJs on, some quiet play or books in the nursery, then nursing and sleep for Little Boy.

7:05 p.m. Corban is down for the night. Commence adult time to tackle to-do lists, more work, relax and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.

*The days that I get home late (after 6) from work are especially painful. Even just 20 minutes late can cut my Corban time in half for that night. Then I find myself missing him after he’s asleep. Thankfully, this grind is broken up by my strategic use of vacation days, which I’ve been sure to use spending my time 100% focused on my baby C.

Sick.

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.

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!

6-month update

My dear baby is six months old today! I absolutely love this age.

Age: 6 months
Weight: 19 lb. 3 oz.
Diapers: Size 3
Clothes: Some of the 6-month clothes are getting tight, some still fit, and a few 9-month items fit
Hair: Light brown, thickening, with bald spot on back of the head!
Eyes: Blue with brown flecks
Sleep:
Asleep between 6:30 and 7 p.m.; wakes once (sometimes not at all) to eat; up for the day between 6 and 6:45 a.m.; early morning nap, early afternoon nap and late afternoon (short) nap
Noises: “Ha,” “Hoo” and high-pitched “Ah”s are the most common
Nursing: Still at least 5 times a day when I’m not working
Solids: Started 3 days ago on brown rice cereal and tried a little sweet potato today
Teething: Probably? He drools a lot and puts everything in his mouth; no teeth yet though
Sitting: Too wobbly to sit on his own – always tips over after a couple seconds
Mobility: Rolls from back to front all the time; wants to crawl but nowhere near capable yet
Essential items: Sophie giraffe, Fischer Price Jumperoo, cloth books

Here are 12 milestones and memories from Corban’s sixth month:

1) He is always, always reaching and grabbing. Then, if possible, whatever he grabs goes in his mouth. This includes burp cloths, clean diapers, hands (ours or his) and even cats’ tails (see #3).

2) His hands are in a constant state of opening and closing. If there’s nothing to grab, he’ll rhythmically and lightly scratch whatever his hand is on (mattress, wall, table, etc.)

3) He is becoming more and more interested in the cats. If given the opportunity, he will place his hands on them and, of course, grab (see #1). This usually results in a fistful of fur and a kitty trying to make a quick exit. Biggles is slightly more tolerant of him; Basil just stays far away. He also loves just watching them move around.

4) He gets distracted really easily. I can no longer have conversations with Peter while nursing because Corban’s head will snap up to watch us. This morning I tried to get his attention to get him to try the sweet potatoes, but he would not take his eyes off Biggles, who was rolling around across the room.

5) Sometimes while nursing (if he’s not super hungry) he’ll pull back, look up at me, smile and then return to eating. And then I melt.

6) This month I got hardcore about healthy sleep and instituted a nap schedule of sorts. It was looking pretty hopeless at first, but after a couple weeks of nap training, things are pretty good now. The key for us was to maintain a similar wake time every morning by not letting him doze in bed with us after he wakes up for the day. We also started letting him cry it out for naps, and as hard as it was (and still is sometimes), it works for us. We aren’t Nazis about it and we know Corban well enough to know when he needs a little extra soothing and when he just needs to soothe himself. Now we’ve got a pretty good routine of going down for a nap between 8:30 and 9 a.m. and between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (depending on how long the morning nap was). He also usually needs a short late afternoon nap too.

7) The Jumperoo is such a help in the mornings! I usually put him in it while I eat breakfast and start getting ready, and he stays entertained bouncing and playing with the toys on it. Of course he also loves being talked to while bouncing, and will look up and give me a big grin every time I say something to him. It’s a good way to start the day, and it gets him nice and tired for his morning nap.

8) Corban still does really well with strangers. No separation anxiety – yet. He actually thrives in big group settings where he’s being passed around between eager sets of arms. At my sister’s bridal shower, he even fell asleep on a friend’s shoulder amid the din of the party.

9) He laughs the hardest when Peter roughhouses with him (a baby version of roughhousing, of course). He saves those big belly laughs for Daddy.

10) His thighs are so juicy! I could squeeze them all day. I’m also constantly amazed by their softness.

11) He still loves to “fly,” and without fail makes an open-mouthed, rock concert “Yeah!” face every time he swings in close to my face.

12) At bedtime, he almost always falls asleep nursing. I like to take a few extra minutes and sit there, with his sweet, snuggly body in my lap, and stare at his precious sleeping face before placing him in his crib. It’s one of my favorite moments every day.

Parenting these days…

Last night we made it home from our first significant road trip with Corban: a 5.5-hour drive to Missouri to visit Peter’s parents and family.

On the trip down, we left close enough to Corban’s bedtime that he slept almost the entire way (and so did I).

The drive back yesterday got a bit more challenging when after four hours of snoozing and playing in his car seat, C decided he was over it and just wanted out. Not going to happen while cruising down the interstate!

He cried inconsolably for over an hour – longer than he ever has before. Corban is generally a happy baby – thankfully – so we’re not used to this kind of crying! Every time we got to a breaking point and pulled into a rest area, he would calm down immediately, but as soon as he would go back in his seat and we would hit the road, the pouty lip would return and the sobbing would start.

After trying all the singing, shushing, hand holding, toy dangling, toe grabbing, smiling, talking and even mimicking we could muster (we each took a turn in the backseat with him), I finally pulled my phone out and put on the Rockabye Baby Pandora station while holding the glowing phone in front of him.

And he stopped. And stared. And listened. At least for a few minutes.

When he started to fuss again, Peter asked if I had any apps or screensavers with moving colors to get his attention. I pulled up Angry Birds and started to play on front of him.

And with that, he quieted for good, fascinated by the bright, moving colors. It kept his attention long enough for him to pass out, probably exhausted from all the crying. When we got home, I fed him, put him in his crib and he slept straight through from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.!

I am not one to promote phone apps for 3.5-month-olds, but hey – in a situation like that, it’s whatever works!

My surprising pregnancy symptoms

Just like labor, every pregnancy is very different. There’s no way to really know what to expect.

Going into this adventure, I didn’t really have any expectations except that I would be hunched over a toilet for the first three months and the thought of a leafy green would disgust me.

Turns out neither of those expectations came true! [Yay.]

Here are some of the more unexpected symptoms I’ve experienced:

-Constant nasal congestion. I now know what it feels like to have allergies, except it’s like I’m allergic to everything.

-Itchy eyes. See above. I have to limit my contact-wearing to every other day.

-Nosebleeds. Thankfully, this has subsided, but I would get light nosebleeds almost every morning during the first trimester.

-Sensitive gums. They bleed if I floss. There’s one particular spot that’s extra-sensitive. The nurse I get paid to talk to through my insurance company tried to tell me I wasn’t keeping up with my dental hygiene and I might have gum disease, which can cause pre-term labor. My dentist told me I have great hygiene and sensitive gums is a pregnancy side effect. My doctor concurred. Take that, nurse.

-Lack of appetite. I thought pregnant women were constantly hungry. I guess I am not one of those pregnant women. Instead of traditional hunger, my body tells me I need food by feeling weak or empty. I don’t really crave much. I rarely feel like cooking. It’s actually really sad! I used to get such joy out of good food, but now most of the time I just have to force myself to eat something palatable. This isn’t always the case, but it has been lately. And don’t worry, I am getting enough calories and paying attention to nutrition.

-Acne. This should be a post in itself. My skin has never been as bad as it has over the past seven months. I’ve overhauled my skincare routine, and that has helped maybe a little, but it pretty much just… sucks (for lack of a better word) and is really frustrating.

-Ridiculous gag reflex. I never threw up from morning sickness during the first trimester, when most women are bowing to the porcelain god. If you’re squeamish about barf, stop reading here. OK, I warned you. I have, however, thrown up from coughing too much when I was sick with a bad cold earlier in the summer and, unfortunately, right now. It’s pretty disgusting. I guess that’s what I get for not getting real morning sickness. I also have to be careful when brushing my teeth not to gag myself or I’ll say goodbye to my breakfast. Yeah, sick.

-Fatigue. OK, I expected this. But I never expected it to be this bad! It comes and goes, but some days I just cannot get enough sleep no matter how long I’m snuggled in bed. And I pretty much always get 8-9 hours a night these days.

-Nightmares. They say you have “vivid dreams” during pregnancy, but mine are definitely vivid nightmares, not dreams. And violent nightmares at that. Usually it’s something like I’m getting shot at or stalked or attacked. The other night was the absolute worst though – I dreamed I had the baby, a girl, but she was kidnapped and murdered! I don’t even like writing that. It was horrible. Go away, nightmares!

-Sore feet. If I’m on my feet all day, a foot massage from Peter is a necessity.

-Constantly being warm. This is a pretty predictable pregnancy symptom, and I admit I’ve kind of enjoyed it at times. I am normally cold everywhere I go – especially in the summer when buildings are overly air conditioned. This summer I was perfectly comfortable in those cold buildings though. It was great. At work, however, my desk is in an extra-warm area of the newsroom. Even before getting pregnant, I couldn’t wear sweaters in the winter because I’d get too warm. Now it feels like it’s 400 degrees every day.

-Forgetfulness/stupidity. I’m pretty sure my brain is not functioning at 100%. I have forgotten a couple meetings or written them down on the wrong days while pregnant. The crossword puzzle and word scramble games at my baby shower seemed absolutely impossible.

All of the above sound bad, but overall I think I’ve had it pretty easy during this pregnancy. I’m able to be active and pretty much function as my usual self. I’m definitely thankful that everything has gone smoothly so far and the baby’s heart is beating strong and looks healthy – that’s the most important thing.

I’d take clear skin if it were offered though 😉

The wrong side of the bed

Shortly after I announced I was pregnant and it started to trickle through the grapevine at work, I had a quick chat with one of my coworkers, Crocker, who is entrenched in a yearlong series for the paper on infant mortality.

Side note: This reminds me that last winter when I was on the team helping to develop the series’ focus and online presence, he jokingly asked me if I planned on getting pregnant so he could follow my pregnancy as a case study of some sort. At the time, we had no immediate plans, but obviously things changed! haha.

Anyway, Crocker mentioned that he had just written a blog post about how it’s best for pregnant women to sleep on their left side. It helps maximize blood flow to the uterus, he said. Immediately I took stock of my usual sleeping position and freaked out. I normally sleep on my right! Crisis!

This is easily remedied though. I decided to give left-side sleeping a shot.

The only problem was that I like snuggling up to Peter and pretty much using him as a pillow when I sleep, so in order for me to do that and sleep on my left, we would have to switch sides of the bed. No biggie, right?

Um, whoa. Switching sides of the bed ended up being an ordeal for me. I would wake up in the middle of the night and be completely confused as to where I was. I also was waking up to go to the bathroom, which is closer to my usual side of the bed, so the new arrangement required me stumbling around the bed to get to the bathroom.

I continued to persevere though. Surely I could adapt to this new side of the bed. And for a while it did get easier. I would awake several times during the night, but don’t all pregnant women? I was determined to do whatever was best for the baby.

Problems started to arise again when I kept hearing from other pregnant bloggers about how it’s unsafe to lie on your back while pregnant. Suddenly the forbidden back sleeping position, which had never been comfortable for me in the past, seemed more appealing than ever. I had it in my mind that right was bad, so when left wasn’t comfortable I would find myself on my back. Then I would wake up, promptly freak out that I was going to induce labor by lying on my back, attempt to fall asleep on my left, not be able to, so eventually give up and turn onto my right or repeat the process and get an extremely restless night of sleep worrying that I was hurting the baby.

Finally I decided to ask my doctor about it. She immediately told me to sleep however I’m comfortable. The “don’t lie on your back” rule, she said, only applies to women who are full term. When I seemed skeptical, she made it abundantly clear by telling me all the studies on the subject involved full-term pregnancies, and if I was comfortable on my back then that meant the baby was fine. Basically, if your uterus isn’t getting enough blood, that means your head isn’t either. So you’ll know. And if you feel lightheaded, then you should change positions. The “sleep on your left” rule, she said, is not a big deal. Yes, your left side theoretically aligns your body the best for bloodflow to the uterus, but that doesn’t mean your baby will suffer if you sleep on your right.

Phew! That night, Peter and I switched back to our normal sides of the bed, and all was right with the world again. I got a restful night’s sleep, and learned that you can sleep through the night while pregnant.

This shows how the mental can really affect the physical. Just the thought that I was hurting the baby by sleeping a certain way ended up making me not comfortable enough to sleep at all. I’m so glad my doctor was able to put to rest (pun intended) my fears.