Eleven

Dear Baby Ike,

Yesterday you turned eleven months old.  Without looking back at my past ten letters to you, I’m willing to bet that the second sentence in each one has something to do with my disbelief that another month has flown by.  I suppose it should go without saying, but it continues to be remarkable to me, every single month.  It’s very hard to believe that next month we will celebrate your birthday, but the calendar doesn’t lie, and I can’t wait to see your first cake-covered birthday face.

The speed at which the days and weeks go by is not the only fast thing around here these days.  At approximately the speed of light, you went from all army-crawl scooting to short spurts of halting hands-and-knees crawling, and now to full on, full time crawling as if you’ve been doing it forever.  Plus lots of pulling up to standing and now cruising from one piece of furniture to another, testing your balance, holding onto our fingers and walking from one end of the house to the other.  You’re a pretty good sport about the bonks on the noggin that will happen most of the time, and you don’t mind falling on your butt from standing at all.  I thought at first it was due to the extra cushion from the prefold diapers, but you’ve done it many times during naked baby time (airing out the butt to try and get on top of some diaper rash) now, too, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether you plop down on the diaper or just your cute little baby cellulite covered tush.  The toys that used to occupy you for good chunks of time are much more often now cast aside in favor of whatever you may find somewhere else, simply because you can take yourself there now.  And you do, all the time.  We finally got a little weary of trying to head you off before you take a dip in Dexter’s water bowl and moved it to the counter.  Now we just have to remember not to dehydrate our doggie.

Speaking of doggie, I am pretty sure that you did.  Just yesterday we stepped outside the front door to look at the clematis blooms and Dexter was sitting on the back of the couch (as he does when someone goes out front without him – we are not the best dog trainers, for sure).  You noticed him there and I could swear that you said DOGGIE!  That one hasn’t been repeated clearly yet, so it may be a fluke or my imagination, but we have started to get lots of in-context Dadas and some Mamas (I wonder if you’d say it more if I didn’t coach you as much).  There is a monkey-with-banana decal on the wall above your changing table (which you now FREAK OUT every time we go near – not loving diaper changes AT ALL these days), and as I try to distract you with it, making monkey noises (dignity?  don’t need it), I asked you what a monkey eats – does it eat a banana? And you replied, ‘ANA!  That one has been repeated pretty clearly a few times now, though I’m honestly confused on what qualifies as a first word.  Must it be intelligible by anyone other than your father and me? I’m guessing so.

I was just starting to get concerned that we haven’t seen you wave bye-bye or clap yet, but yesterday your Aunt Jen came over to watch you for an hour or so while your father and I went out to do some stuff and we returned home to you waving bye-bye.  High five, Aunt Jen (context will come, I’m sure).  Still no clapping, but you do give fives (high, low, and mid), you still raise your arms up to answer Sooo Big when asked how big Baby Ike is (if you’re in the right mood, of course).

We’ve been trying to spend some time outside as often as possible now that the weather is finally staying pretty nice most of the time. Just sitting with you on a blanket in the shade under the Japanese maple in the backyard is probably my absolute favorite thing to do right now.  You alternate between turning random pages in your books and watching birds as they fly around the yard from tree to tree.  You are not yet a big fan of the texture of grass, though.  You touch it willingly, but then make a scrunchy EW face and give a little shudder, not unlike your reaction to the taste of green beans.  When I picked a blade that had gone to seed and twirled it around and tickled you, though, you thought it was hilarious.  This morning you were so interested in the cable guy climbing the pole in the corner of the neighbor’s yard that you held my hands and walked barefoot through the grass for several feet, apparently forgetting that you dislike touching it so.  Won’t be long until you’re all over the yard all on your own, not holding onto anyone or anything.

You’re still somewhat in the stranger/separation anxiety stage. Thankfully you are so happy to be with Grandma that every workday morning doesn’t involve tears upon my departure, but you often shyly lean into the shoulder of whomever is holding you if someone you’re not familiar or comfortable with approaches you.  As with all these phases, this too shall pass, and I am not ashamed to admit that I quite enjoy those snuggles, knowing you feel safe with us and will turn right to us for comfort when needed.  You do have your social moments, of course.  When we went out to eat with Grandma and Grandpa for Mother’s Day, we waited in the bar for our table to be ready, and as Grandpa carried you around to see all the things while killing the time, you got very smiley and played up your cuteness for at least one pretty girl.  When we get the timing right (soon after a second nap of the day and not too close to bedtime), you’re a delight for an early bird dinner out.

Your eating and drinking skills have advanced way past the days when I called you Stinky Milk Neck (pincer grasp, check; sippy cup, check), but now I can call you Stinky Feet Ike – when I pick up a foot and sniff it, make an EW face and tell you it’s soooo stinky! you laugh and laugh and laugh.  I’d do it all day long if it wouldn’t get old.  We try to keep baths to when they are absolutely necessary so as not to aggravate the few spots of eczema still hanging around, so they may indeed be stinky sometimes, but I often catch a whiff of your lingering baby smell and wish it could stay forever.  A couple of months ago a friend of mine came by as we were getting you ready for bed, and as she leaned in to give you a smooch on the cheek she asked in surprise how you could still smell like a newborn baby.  I’m not sure exactly how that works, but if I had to guess I would say it’s mostly due to you still breastfeeding, which I’m very happy about.  I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to keep that going, but I will surely be sad when you begin to smell more like little boy than little baby.  I wish I could bottle up that scent and keep it close forever.

Love you so much,

Mama

Let me out!

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Way Back Machine Memory Jogger

The title above is the subject line of an email my dad sent to me and my siblings a few days ago, and it is definitely apt.  The email contained two links to You.Tube videos of this crazy song, apparently from the 70s, that we found absolutely hilarious as little kids.  What can I say?  We are a bunch of weirdos.  Memories like this from my childhood are one of the many things that make me hopeful that we’ll be able to give Ike a sibling someday in the not-too-awfully-distant future, so he can have someone to share giggles and peals of laughter with, creating memories with his own family’s strange silliness.  Not to say that I’m really anywhere near ready to start taking action now toward that end, or even soon, but it serves as a reminder not to wait too long, either.  It still feels like a greedy thought to imagine another baby coming into our lives, and I don’t assume that it will definitely happen, but I am hopeful enough to allow myself to think about it from time to time.  I love the idea of Ike having a little brother or sister with whom he can someday look back on the funny things they remember from childhood.  He needs someone else who’ll “get” how weird his parents are, and thus are probably going to make them.  I would rather there not be a huge age gap between siblings, so they’ll be able to relate to one another (though I’m sure not always) but again, I know that we certainly don’t always get our druthers when it comes to family building.

Here is the video that gave me such a flashback/flash-forward (skip to the two minute mark if you want to go right to the song – but the first two minutes do contain some supreme oddness that I think is worth watching!):

Fish heads, fish heads,
Rolly-polly fish heads,
Fish heads, fish heads,
Eat them up, yum!

Fish heads, fish heads,
Rolly-polly fish heads,
Fish heads, fish heads,
Eat them up, yum!

In the morning,
Laughing happy fish heads,
In the evening,
Floating in the soup!

{Chorus}

Ask a fish head
Anything you want to,
They won’t answer,
They can’t talk!

{Chorus}

I took a fish head
Out to see a movie,
Didn’t have to pay
To get it in!

{Chorus}
They can’t play baseball,
They don’t wear sweaters,
They’re not good dancers,
They don’t play drums!

{Chorus}

Rolly-polly fish heads
Are never seen drinking cappicino
In Italian resturaunts,
With Oriental women, yeah!

{Chorus x four}

Yeah.

(Link)

I am still laughing at “they don’t wear sweaters, they aren’t good dancers….”

What oddball things from your childhood would you like to pass along to your own child(ren)?  Do you share certain things with your sibling(s), if you have them, that instantly have you laughing, but would make no sense to anyone else?

Seven Months

Dear Baby Ike,

I hardly know where to start this month.  You turned seven months old this past Friday, and while I know this letter won’t capture anywhere near all of the amazement I have in your development in the last month, I need to get it posted now or before I can blink you will be eight months already!  You are doing so many new things and there aren’t enough hours in the days for me to properly sop up all your deliciousness and also function as an adult human.  I gladly sacrifice the functioning part, frankly.  A lot of the time I know I am leaving a lot of quasi-important, household-y things completely undone, but for the most part I don’t care at all.  It’s quite difficult to convince myself that I should do anything at all instead of hanging out with you, feeding you, playing with you, or snuggling you.  This often means that I also neglect to do things like cut your fingernails and toenails, because I have such a hard time forcing myself to do something that I know will frustrate you and make you upset (and yet I’m also loathe to try doing it while you’re alseep, because I know you need that sleep and I don’t want to wake you up accidentally!)  Good thing Grandma is happy to help out on that task as well.  Otherwise you’d have talons probably literally inches long sometimes!

Going to work five days a week makes me feel like I am missing SO MUCH of your cuteness, which is getting dangerously cuter by the day.  Grandma got some awesome pictures of you in the bathtub at her house the other day, and I can’t wait until she sends them to me. I love it when she gets her camera out so I can feel like I get to catch up on at least a sliver of the fun you have with her all week. You really do keep her on her toes, and you’re not even actually mobile yet.  I know she loves being with you so often (but she could probably stand it if you gave her a break with a real nap now and then).

Speaking of sleep, we have been mostly cosleeping for a while now (three months?  I don’t even know anymore), as it seems most logical that neither of us has to really get up out of bed to have your dream feeds.  I know I should probably be working harder to get you used to sleeping in your crib, but again, it’s very hard to care right now.  It seems silly to put effort into putting you down for the night farther away from me than you need to be.  You will only be small for a short time, and this time of being a baby is getting shorter all the time, so I don’t think I will look back and regret being able to cuddle you close after you drift off to sleep.  Waking in the night with you can be exhausting, but I treasure it at the same time.  A couple of times now you have woken up in the morning and fussed for a bit without actually opening your eyes first, and then you eventually open them, continuing to fuss a little, not realizing that I am right there in the bed next to you.  When you do notice that I’m there, your face breaks into the biggest, most joyful smile I have ever seen, and my heart bursts into a million pieces right there on the spot.  It makes me long for the technology of a camera implanted right in my brain so I could simply blink and try to capture that feeling and never ever let it go.  I suppose I might get the same kind of smiles coming in to pick you up out of the crib in the mornings, but it’s so nice to be able to lay my face down right next to yours and just drink in the sweetness that is you.  I have never in my life been this close to being a morning person, but you really do give me endless things to look forward to, day after day.

You’ve now tasted several different solid foods:  avocado, sweet potato, green peas, and bananas (I feel like I may be forgetting one right now).  At first you didn’t seem to really be liking the tastes of these things, if the hilarious faces you make are any indication, but you do like the act of eating, grabbing the spoon and putting it in your own mouth.  I think you’re slowly starting to actually like the food itself, at least sometimes.  Next on the list to try are pears and apples, and who knows what else.  There are still many, many tastes that will be brand new to you; it is so exciting to me to think about seeing your face and reaction to new foods.  I am also relieved that you’re still nursing.  Now that you’re not exclusively breastfed, I will admit to living in a little fear of the day that you decide to wean.  As thrilling as it is to watch you grow and develop, I am nowhere near ready to be done with your babyhood.  Thankfully we still have a little ways to go!

You continue to add different sounds to your repertoire of baby babble.  Lately I hear a lot of “buh-wuh” and “bwuh” though I don’t think it means anything in particular yet.  Still lots of MEH and MUH, sometimes repeated so it gets awfully close to ‘Mama,’ which I of course love to hear.  The more I hear you making recognizable sounds, the easier it becomes to picture you actually talking, though that is still a ways off yet.  I can imagine your little voice singing songs and telling jokes and asking for things that you want and telling me what you think about all kinds of things, and I just can’t believe how lucky we are that we get to have you in our lives, doing all these normal things that to us will be clear strokes of genius, every time.

You’re not crawling yet, and I haven’t seen you roll from back to belly yet either, but in addition to rolling from tummy to back you now also scootch in circles when we put you down on your belly, so you’re definitely working hard on the pre-crawling skills.  It’s starting to become more concretely imaginable that we’ll be chasing you all over the house soon – we have a lot (read:  ALL) of babyproofing yet to do!

I love you so much, my little Sugar Butt.  I never thought I would be the kind of mother to make up ridiculously obnoxious nicknames for her kid like that, but you have really turned me into a different person, and I absolutely love being that goofy, baby-obsessed mother that I never thought I’d have a chance to be.  I’m definitely a great big silly fool for you, Isaac.

Love always,

Mama

Six Months

Dear Baby Ike,

Yesterday you turned six months old, and on Monday you had your six-month checkup with the pediatrician.  You now weigh a whole 17 lbs. and 9 oz., and you’re 25 and a half inches tall.  You’ve done so many new things this past month, I can hardly keep up!  You really love it when we make a zzzzipzzzipzzzzzzip sound as we zip up your sleepers (snaps are seriously inferior for getting-dressed entertainment).  You’re sitting up on your own now, which threw me for a loop because I expected you to roll over before you sat up – wrong, Mama!  You clearly do things on your own timeline, as all babies should.  Just the other day, Grandma said that you rolled over in stages, starting on your belly, then hanging out on your side for a bit playing with a toy, then eventually flipped the rest of the way over onto your back.  And this morning you did it without all the pauses between stages, twice in a row.  You tolerate a whole lot more tummy time before you get mad about it these days.  You’re almost mobile…which is a whole new world of parenting for your father and me.  I doubt we’re ready, but as always we’ll try to catch up quickly.

You’re babbling all kinds of sounds now, becoming quite the little conversationalist.  I’ve heard Gs and Bs and Ws and Ms and many more.  You still love doggies, and get so excited when Grandpa and Maggie do their little obstacle course in which he lies on the carpet and she runs around and jumps over him, and you don’t mind when Dexter tries to make you his popsicle.  Your squeals of delight are the best music my ears have ever had the privilege of hearing.  You love to stand on our laps and jump and jump and jump up and down, laughing and yelling.  I know there’s a Jumperoo in your future, thanks to your Grandma on Daddy’s side.  She and Grandpa are coming up from Alabama on Saturday, and I know they cannot wait to see you. Skype is great, but they don’t yet know the force of your current cuddles since you’ve gotten so much bigger than the last time they saw you.

For quite a while now you have shown keen interest in food when you see people eating, recently adding a sort of practice chew to your repertoire  but we held out and waited until yesterday to give you your first solids – starting with avocado.  I think that you did like it, because you kept eating it, but the faces you made were hilariously indicative of displeasure all the same, complete with an emphatic and perfectly-timed blehhhhh sound at one point that cracked everyone up. You are too hilarious right now, sometimes I can hardly stand it. This eating thing opens up a whole new world for you to explore, and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be one of the people who get to guide you through it.  I have so much fun with you; I still can’t get enough of your chubby little smiles and sweet little snuggles.  I’m sure I’m probably forgetting some milestones (oh!  passing toys from one hand to the other – I didn’t know that was kind of a big deal, but apparently it is) but suffice it to say that you continue to amaze me with every little thing you do.  I know that most people probably will not agree because they think the same of their own babies or the babies in their lives, but I’ll tell you a (not so) secret:  we think you’re the best. baby. evah.

Love,
Mama

Catching Up

I ended up hearing from the pediatrician’s office on Friday after all. Diagnosis:  benign large head of infancy.  Chuckleworthy phrase, I say. I’m sure the bill won’t be so hilarious, but whatever.  I made Mike promise to come to his six-month checkup, because I do NOT want to have to do an MRI if his head circumference still measures too big for the medical establishment’s comfort.  Just, no.  I’m sure whatever they’d give him to knock him out would not be helpful to his liver’s irritation, which seems legit enough a reason to refuse.  Hopefully it won’t come to that, but we shall see come December, I suppose.

Trick or Treat in our neighborhood got postponed until Saturday due to the nasty weather Sandy brought.  We didn’t take Ike out or anything, but did take the opportunity to let him wear his two costumes.  (Note: I had to slice the panda hood up the back in order to get it over his giant noggin!  These are six-to-twelve month sizes!)

Tigger!

Panda!

Gorilla?

Let’s see…what else?  All in all it was a pretty great weekend.  I ate entirely too much cheap, crappy, Halloween candy.  I am certainly relieved to not be heading into the holidays trying to be dairy and soy free, but I must anticipate that I could very well end up looking like I’m pregnant again by the time the new year rolls around.  Things are delicious!  What is one to do?

(The answer is definitely not ‘Diet.’  Just FYI.)

Stuffs

Health stuff:  I took Ike for the ultrasound of his noggin this morning. Of course it will be a few days before the radiologist reads the images and gets the information back to the pediatrician’s office, so we don’t really know anything yet, other than that he is still the offspring of a big-headed father, so I am not too nervous about that.  Just glad that his fontanel is still open enough that they could do an ultrasound and not have to knock him out for an MRI.  Still no word from the hepatologist’s office in Cincinnati about the latest round of bloodwork. Not sure if I should call them and ask, or assume they just wanted it as a new baseline and I’ll hear from them after we repeat it next month.  Again, not too nervous about it since the doctor was so reassuring.

Halloween stuff:  Our Beggar’s Night (do they still call it that, or is it back to Trick or Treat?) was postponed due to the icky weather, so we’ll be dressing Ike up to hand out candy on Saturday instead of last night.  We did go to a friend’s kids Halloween party on Friday, but it was so warm in the house that he only had his Tigger outfit on for a few minutes.  Didn’t even get a picture, so we’ll have to try that and the panda outfit both on Saturday.  He’ll surely drool and/or spit up at least enough to justify that wardrobe change.

Mike and I did go to an adults’ party on Saturday.  He recycled his Dick Cheney mask from several years ago, and I cobbled together a Toddlers & Tiaras costume using my sister’s tutu from the box of old dance recital costumes in my parents’ basement, the tiara from my bachelorette party, pigtails, excessive (for me) eye makeup and one of Ike’s future sippy cups.  Plus my I FUCK LIKE A GIRL t-shirt because, well, seems legit, right?

There was beer, and plenty of it:

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I’ve misplaced my sippy cup, but I think I like this better!

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Aren’t we cute?

Supply stuff:  have been having a fairly significant dip in my pumping output, and have been trying many things to get back on track. Thankfully Ike has only had to have one or less partial bottles of formula on really low days to tide him over.  I hate that he’s had any, but it’s not enough to diminish the benefits of breastmilk, I’m sure.  I ended up breaking down and buying a new pump.  The one my friend loaned me had already been through three babies, so I think I was lucky to have gotten as far as I did with it.  The new one is helping, though I’m still not ending up with much of a surplus every day.  I think it’s partially hormonal (maybe my period is about to come back? Eeeeeeeek!), and partially stress-related, and was exacerbated at first by a failing pump.  I started calcium/magnesium supplements, which I should have done while I was off dairy anyway, have been trying to add an extra pumping session at work whenever I can, and am drinking Mother’s Milk tea like a fiend until my fenugreek and blessed thistle arrive via Amazon.  Hoping I’ll be able to ramp back up to get a few extra bottles in the fridge again on a regular basis.  They never hang around long enough to be worth putting into the freezer anymore, so I just try to rotate FIFO at my parents’ house, and anything left on a Friday, of which there was almost none last Friday, can come home for the weekend, letting Mike take an overnight shift on occasion.

Development stuff:  my mom said that Ike’s been showing off a new consonant, and it’s M!  He’s been saying MEH, which cracks me up, because…that’s so my kid.  Not that I really think he means it like I would like to interpret it, but funny all the same.

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So perhaps there’s a chance that Mama will end up being his first word after all.  I haven’t yet actually heard him say this myself, but I can’t imagine that my mom would tell tall tales.  She also noted that he enjoyed seeing his first snowflakes yesterday.  They usually walk her dog every morning, but since it was so miserable outside they just took her out in the yard instead of taking the stroller around the block. A few flakes fell on his face and he smiled.  Hopefully we won’t have a totally snow-free winter like we did last year, and he’ll be able to really enjoy some snow as he gets bigger over the next several months.

That’s all for now, I suppose.  Oh!  Tonight I get to go meet and visit with my friend’s sister’s newborn baby girl.  I think she’s only threeish weeks old, and I cannot wait.  I have a total newborn addiction anymore.  So grateful to be able to enjoy things like this now.  There was a time not so very long ago when I would never consider doing such a thing, because it would just have made me too jealous and upset.  Yet now I’m excited and looking forward to hearing her birth story and passing on some cloth diaper geekery (and supplies).  Fun!

Hope you’re all faring well if you were in or near Sandy’s path.

Hepatology Update

Yesterday was exhausting, but overall went well.  I really liked the hepatologist, and the fellow that works with him seems thorough as well.  They did take more blood, which will be checking for potential anemia which could explain the slightly elevated bilirubin, and we have to repeat the tests in a month, but they believe that he may be part of the 10% or so of the population that just naturally has slightly elevated liver enzymes, and he’ll likely continue to outgrow it.  He was very reassuring, stating that Ike’s overall a very healthy baby, so just keep loving him and feeding him and enjoying him.  Very sweet; the sincere way he spoke about him makes me realize that he probably spends an awful lot of his time working with and treating very ill children, so I feel very lucky to not be dealing with more severe issues.

Bonus for Mama – he thinks that even the mucusy poo has nothing to do with my diet, so on our way home we stopped for a very late lunch and I had cheddar cheese soup, guilt-free.  Then later that night I snarfed to the two pieces of leftover pizza – one cold from the fridge, the other hot out of the toaster oven.  The roof of my mouth and my tongue still feel seared, and I could not be happier about it.  I’m apprehensive that allowing dairy back into my diet will have me gaining a bunch of weight back, but frankly right now I’m not going to obsess over it.  It’ll just be nice to have a few days where I don’t have to stress about what I can or cannot eat.  If in three or four days’ time we don’t see anything getting markedly worse with Ike, I think I can comfortably get back to my normal eating, be it better or worse for me and/or my weight in the long run.

More later, hopefully.  I need to try and focus on the piles and piles of work that are, um, piling up.