Posts tagged crawling

The Fearless and The Anxious

Enough with the generic titles. It’s getting awkward to list the kids’ ages, and I get frustrated not being able to title the blogs based on what they actually contain. So from here on out, I’ll be nixing the time-stamp and utilizing my creativity.

Reid is 11 months old now. He is learning new things every day, and it is getting so fun. Just in the last couple weeks, he’s learned to wave bye-bye, give hugs and kisses, pat my breast when he wants milk (he usually says, “Mama” while patting), and sign “more” when I say the word… I’m not sure he quite understands what it means yet.

I thought for sure he’d be walking by now. He’s been standing on his own with confidence for months. He can stand up from sitting without using anything for leverage. He can go from standing, to squatting, to sitting. He can bend over and pick something up off the floor and right himself. He can wiggle, dance, clap, play with toys while standing. But he shows no interest in walking. Only occasionally will he let me lead him around by holding his hands while he walks. He prefers just to crawl since he’s a master crawler–a sprint-crawler even.

He’s also a climber. He tries to climb on everything. We bought a sit and stand stroller from some friends at church recently which both boys love. When not in use, it is parked in our front hallway. Reid loves to climb up into it and stand in the seat. He could stand there playing for several minutes. In fact, I’m not sure how long he’d be content there since I usually get him down after a few minutes so I can attend to something else. We have also found him sitting on the bottom shelf of our built-in DVD unit, inside the bathroom cupboard (completely inside), standing on the open door of the dishwasher, on Daniel’s bed, and he desperately tries to fling himself into the bathtub as soon as he notices the water is on. He is going to get hurt one of these days. He just is. And I’m afraid.

Daniel never did that kind of stuff. He was curious. He would make feeble attempts. But he wasn’t the daredevil that Reid is. I can see huge differences in the two already. It’s as if I birthed the two most opposite boys our DNA would allow, and not just in their behavior. Reid is nearly three inches shorter than Daniel was at this age. Reid still barely has any hair, while Daniel had his first haircut at 3 months old. Daniel could say several words at this age, but Reid is still only babbling–he does say, “Mama” and perhaps “bath” (as “ba!”). Several wise moms have told me that you think you have it under control, when the next kid comes along and changes everything. It’s so true.

Daniel has been dealing with some anxiety issues lately. Thankfully, they’ve calmed down and he’s slowly getting back to his old self (phew!). The immediate trigger for his anxiety was two-fold (three-fold, if you count Reid being born). First, Dan and I planned a trip to San Fransisco to surprise his friend Mike for his 30th birthday. We arranged for Daniel to spend the night with his grandparents (something he loves to do), bought our plane tickets and booked our hotel. We told Daniel that we were going to go on a trip while he spent the night with grandma and grandpa. But that didn’t go over very well. We decided not to talk about the trip in front of him, and instead just talk about how much fun he’d have spending the night since he was going to get to go to a baseball game.

Right around that same time, during Daniel’s gymnastics class (he’d been attending for about 6 weeks already with absolutely no issue), he looked up to where I normally stand and watch him to let me know he had to go to the bathroom. When he couldn’t locate me (I had gone around the corner to another viewing area to eat a muffin and wasn’t paying attention to the class below), one of the teachers walked with him to the bathroom. On his way back he spotted me and seemed okay. He went back downstairs to the class, but before he even sat back down on his spot, looked up to find me again, couldn’t see me for a second, and freaked out. He started crying and wouldn’t return to the class. And every class since then (about 6 weeks ago now), he’s needed me to be with him down in the gym area (the gym regulations state that parents are not allowed to be in the gym area, but they have kindly made an exception for us). For a few weeks, he would barely leave my side, but now he’s content as long as I am within 10 feet of him.

I think the initial problem started when I attended my dear friend’s birth when Daniel was only about a year and a half old. I left him for several hours with my mom in San Diego (he’d never been without me for more than an hour or two). He didn’t know my mom very well, and he wasn’t terribly familiar with her house. We’d visited several times, but nothing more than a day or two here and there. It seemed that the day went well. He ate, slept, and played with my mom. He didn’t seem lethargic, or depressed. But he was obviously relieved to have me back. And every time we visited my mom after that, he wouldn’t let me leave his sight. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without him. I couldn’t even go around the corner without him panicking. And while he is okay visiting my mom’s house these days, he still has to be reassured that I am not going to leave him there. I’m sure the issue is not with my mom, since he adores her when she visits at our house. But in his mind, her house is associated with that feeling of abandonment.

Thus, I have concluded, when we told him we were going on a trip without him, when he couldn’t spot me at gymnastics class, that terrifying panic was conjured up for him. Now, whenever we had to be separated (dentist appointments, a date with Dan), Daniel screamed, cried, had to be peeled off of me. A good friend and child psychiatrist confirmed my suspicions that we (at least I) should not go on our trip without Daniel–that his extreme separation anxiety would only be made worse if I forced us to be separated, that we needed to help him deal with his anxiety step by tiny step.

I felt frustrated, powerless, worried, annoyed. I thought it was going to take months of hard work. Instead, things have been getting easier on their own. Well, not totally on their own. We have been talking with him about his feelings, reassuring him that we would never leave him without telling him first–and even then we would always leave him with someone who loved him and who he trusted–and we would always come back.I’ve been leaving for short amounts of time when necessary (multiple dentist appointments, Holistic Moms meetings), but never more than necessary, and I’ve called to check in and make sure he’s okay. And little by little, he’s been okay with my leaving. Little by little, he’s going back to the confident little boy who plays by himself and reads books to pass the time. He’s once again comfortable enough to play with daddy, or auntie, or grandma with me in another part of the house. He even went happily with Dan to the grocery store a few days ago.

I’m relieved. But nervous about what else might trigger his anxiety response again. I know the fear. I have the same feelings about earthquakes. And I was reminded of how terrible those feelings are when we had a small but violent earthquake in the middle of the night. I could barely sleep afterward. I jumped with every move Dan made in the bed. I lurched awake with that firey surge of electric butterflies in my body every few minutes sure that the whole house was going to come crumbling down on me. For several nights, I was afraid. The fear got less and less every day, but occasionally something would bring it back up for me.

So even through my frustration, my worry for Daniel, through my own fears, I was able to have real empathy for him. Fear is a terrible thing to have to experience–especially as a child with no real ability to rationalize, to talk yourself down. I dealt with irrational fears as a child myself, and remember how paralyzing they were. I’m sad my poor little Daniel has to deal with that dumb inherited trait of mine (and Dan’s as well), but grateful that Dan and I both have experience dealing with it personally so we can help him through it gently should it come up again.

For now, he is doing well. He still won’t spend the night at his grandparents’ house. He still prefers that I stay close by. But he’s  not terrified anymore. And for now, I’ll call it a win.

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8 Months Old & Crawling

Last week Reid figured out how to crawl. He has be loving his new-found freedom. Of course, since everything goes directly into his mouth, I have to be extra vigilant, but I am actually really glad he’s figured it out. He’s just a happier guy, and he’s more stable now that he’s figured out how to maneuver. The only thing that’s been stressful is when he crawls over to the coffee table and pulls himself to standing. He’s very unstable on his feet. Unlike Daniel who was a bit of a scaredy cat, Reid seems fearless. He’ll get himself on his feet, then let go of the table with total confidence in himself, even though every time, he falls and usually bonks something. I think it’s safe to say he’ll be walking before his first birthday.

We just got back from a 10-day vacation in Seattle and Canada. Most of our group (Dan’s immediate family) was sick for the bulk of the trip, so it seemed like a bit of a downer vacation. It was good to get away, and I did find the time out of my normal routines refreshing and renewing, but by the end of it, I was really ready to get home. Daniel didn’t do very well cooped up inside, and his jealously issues seemed to amplify with his general frustration at being bored. He’s really testing his limits right now. Today I had to actually reprimand him twice. Usually, I just have to tell him to stop doing whatever it is he’s doing, and he generally stops. But today, he didn’t stop.

I know he’s acting out because he’s jealous. He’s been asking to nurse a lot lately and has been asking to be carried in the carrier. One time about a month ago, I gave in and let him “try” nursing. He opened his mouth, came close, then giggled and turned away saying he didn’t know how. After that, I haven’t let him “try” again. I really wish he would have just nursed a little right after Reid was born, so we could have had a more ceremonious ending that he remembered to our nursing relationship. But now that he’s approaching 4, allowing him to start nursing all over again (which means I’d have to teach him how) seems a bit much, even for me. I wish there was something I could do for or give to him that could help him feel less jealousy.

There’s a book called Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish that I hope to buy and read soon (unless someone has a better recommendation). I hate the idea that I will need to up the ante in the “discipline” department with Daniel, when his actions are clearly dictated by him feeling pushed aside. Still, I can’t be passive while he yanks things away from his brother, lays on him, puts his feet in his face, etc. And I feel like I need to nip this in the bud for Dan’s sake as well, or I can kiss my chances of having another baby goodbye. He’s already having a hard time with things as they are. I know he really wants to be finished having children. He’s really loving Daniel at his age, but Reid is still tough for him to know how to handle. Starting over yet again with another baby and all the stuff that goes along with them really stresses him out.

I have given up my hopes for a full house of children, though. Now I only hold out hope for one more. And the easier our current children are, the more likely it is that #3 will come to be.

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7 Months Old and Finally Jealous

Daniel is the jealous one. He’s been showing off his jealousy by “tackling” his baby brother, head-butting him, and swatting at him. All of these things have been rather mild and gentle–Daniel is still just testing the waters with what he can get away with.

It’s not just with Reid that he’s testing us. He’s started using some violent language lately that is tough for me to handle. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it, though–thanks to Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, PhD. For example, today, while sitting in a play car, he announced that he just hit and killed “that guy who does mean things” (an imaginary “friend” who does mean things like knocking Daniel over or hitting him). Instead of reacting with anger and reprimanding him for saying such a thing (what I wanted to do), I took Cohen’s advice and said, “Oh no! That would make his family very sad. Let’s call the ambulance to take him to the hospital. When he gets better, maybe you can teach him not to do mean things any more.” To which he responded that the ambulance was on its way. Phew!

Reid is trying so hard to crawl. He can’t quite figure out what to do once he’s on his hands and knees, but he knows there’s something to it. Sometimes he rocks back and forth, but usually, he just lunges forward and bonks his head on the ground.

No teeth have popped through yet. Reid is definitely teething, and sometimes I think that maybe his gums are a little swollen. But there’ve been no signs of imminent teething–just the standard drool and chomping on everything.

Reid is still screeching and screaming–he’s done it at several restaurants now, which is so stressful for us. We always had such an angel at restaurants with Daniel. We’re just not sure how to deal with a screamer.

Christmas is only a week away and I am so unprepared this year. I haven’t thought about stockings really at all yet. And I haven’t wrapped anything yet, either. I’m feeling so behind. There’s no way I’ll be getting Christmas cards out this year. Next year I will, though. I will, I will, I will.

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Over 10 Months Old

I’ve been meaning to blog for the last few weeks, but just haven’t found the time. I’ve either been too tired, too busy or too distracted. This month has had it’s fair share of drama as well as several developments, so this will probably end up being a long one. Right now it’s probably too late (it’s after 1am) but if I don’t get it done now, I’ll just keep putting it off.

Last Saturday, Daniel started to get a little bit of a cold. We didn’t think anything of it since he didn’t have a fever or a runny nose and his attitude was that of any healthy little boy. He had a little cough and some sneezing, but they were fairly minor, so we spent the day out and about hoping the fresh air would do him some good. But about halfway through the day, the cough started to sound like croup. Still, we didn’t think much of it–Daniel’s cough turned to croup last time he was sick. We finished up at Target (buying some last minute things for our planned vacation to Lake Tahoe that we were supposed to leave for the next morning) and headed home to let Daniel take a nap and to turn on the humidifier with eucalyptus oil to help his cough settle down.

By the time we got home, he was coughing so much, he gagged himself and threw up which made him cry. Croup quickly makes your throat sore, so that on top of the vomiting was too much for him. Dan took him into the bathroom and turned the shower on to get Daniel breathing the humidity asap in hopes of soothing his throat so he could calm down and sleep. But his crying made his coughing worse, and his throat got so raw and sore that it started swelling and he was wheezing, which freaked me out. I told Dan we had to go to the emergency room just in case he started really having trouble breathing.

He screamed and coughed all the way there, and was breathing noisily until the doctors gave him epinephrine, then put him on oxygen. Once the epinephrine reduced the swelling in his throat, he started acting more like his normal self. They gave him a steroid shot, prescribed oral steroids for 4 days and told us we could take the trip to Lake Tahoe as long as he did okay that night.

We called his doctor when we got home (it was pretty late, but our doctor gives his patients his home number for such circumstances) who also told us Daniel could go on the trip and also prescribed him an inhaler in case he needed immediate relief as he did that night.

Daniel ended up refusing to take the steroids. When I forced the syrup into his mouth with the medicine dropper, he vomited it back up as soon as he swallowed it. He wouldn’t even take them disguised in a bowl of ice cream–they did taste awful. Still, he didn’t need the inhaler and he seemed to feel much better the next day and every day thereafter. He’s still got a bit of a cough and a runny nose, but it seems like a regular cold–milder than the two times he was sick before.

Our vacation ended up being a lot of fun… somewhat stressful at times, but a good break from everyday life. And with Dan’s parents there with us, I had tons of help with Daniel which was wonderful.

Earlier this month, I ordered Daniel a new car seat since he’d outgrown his infant seat. I did tons of research before deciding on the Britax Boulevard–a fancy-pants car seat that children can use from birth to 65 lbs. It was expensive, but worth it since it was the only seat Daniel would need until he could ride in a simple booster. Well, we waited and waited, and the seat never came. I contacted the company and they didn’t get back to me. A week later, I contacted them again and they apologized saying that my order must have gotten lost in their system and that they’d send the seat right away. Then UPS had a mishap and the delivery was delayed. Finally, we received a seat, but it was the wrong one. While it was in the same category of seats, it really couldn’t compare to the one we ordered. it was less than half the cost of the Britax and can only hold up to 45 lbs. On top of that, the straps are awkward and the seat is almost too short for Daniel (the top of the seat needs to be at least 1 inch taller than the baby when they’re in the rear-facing position). But instead of returning the seat like I probably should have, I just asked the company to refund us the difference because I didn’t want to deal with returning a 35 lb., oversized car seat. But now every time I put Daniel in that seat, I mutter some frustration about it. At least the seat sits in Dan’s car so I don’t have to look at it every day.

But onto more exciting news. Daniel is a crawling expert now and has learned how to climb. He can go up stairs and can almost climb into his bed by himself. He’s quickly cruising around the furniture, and is starting to be able to balance when only holding on with one hand. I can get him to stand without holding onto anything so long as I trick him into it. If he’s distracted by something, I can sneak my hand away and he’ll stand on his own for a few seconds before sitting down. But if there’s nothing to distract him, he holds on tight and sits down if I even try to take my hand away.

I believe Daniel is saying his first words (besides mama and dada). We’re pretty sure he’s saying “light” and we think he might also be saying “that”. The words sound similar coming out of his mouth, but he usually only says “light” (or “yite”) when he’s repeating us saying it or when we actually turn on the light. He says “that” (or “dat”) in his babbling and without a whole lot of intention. Still, he says it often enough that we think it might actually have some meaning to him.

He’s still doing well on the potty. He has good days and not so good days, but the not so good days are almost always attributed to my laziness rather than to Daniel’s lack of communication about his needs. The days that he has the most wet diapers are the days I spend being busy with work, housework, TV programs, or some other distraction. Strangely, though, sometimes on those busy days, he still stays dry, though those days are few. Usually we can have a dry day so long as I’m fully engaged with him and responding to his communication. He was dry most of the time we were in Lake Tahoe due to the fact that there were very few distractions for me there. He even had two dry nights! Both nights he needed to use the toilet twice and then immediately when he woke up in the morning. For some reason, since we’ve gotten back, I haven’t been as willing to get up in the middle of the night to take him to the potty, so he’s had very wet diapers again.

I’m sure there’s more to say, but it will have to come at another time. I am exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open. I don’t even think I’ll proofread this blog before posting it. Good night.

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9 Months Old

Crawling, cruising, teething, all so exciting.

Daniel knows how to crawl now, but he’s still a little slow and clumsy. If he wants something he can certainly get to it, though. But he prefers to be up on his feet cruising around the furniture. Any chance he gets, he’s pulling himself to standing. I have a feeling he’ll be walking before his first birthday.

He’s finally cut is top two center teeth. It’s been 3 months since his first two teeth came through. Normally the first sets of teeth come in about 1 month apart. Daniel’s lucky he has any teeth, though. Both Dan and I were late teethers. We didn’t expect Daniel to get his first teeth as soon as he did.

Along with the new teeth came teething biscuits. I finally introduced Daniel to both wheat and dairy, so he can eat just about anything now. He loves crackers, and just about anything he can feed to himself. His coordination is still pretty off, so it’s funny watching him pick up little things like Cheerios and try to put them in his mouth. The effort takes both hands smashing the Cheerio into his face in hopes that it makes it into his mouth. He’s successful about 65% of the time.

Separation anxiety is really starting to be an issue now, too. Daniel has been a mama’s boy for the last week or so. He’s even wanting me over his Grandma and Grandpa Hanson! In the past, he’s favored them when they’re around. He seems to be fine without me if he can’t see or hear me, but once he does, he’s writhing away from whatever or whoever he’s with to get to me. I do like it a little that he’s so clingy to me right now. It’s nice to know that he knows I’m his mama.

I think he’s starting to say Mama and Dada with intention. He really seems to be able to understand what we’re saying when we ask, “Where’s Daddy?” or, “Where’s Mama?”

He can now wave bye bye, give high five, and sometimes, give kisses (those slimy open-mouthed baby kind).

Sleep is going okay. Daniel’s still not sleeping well, but we’re back to a more manageable schedule. Last night, though, Daniel was sleep-rioting (like sleepwalking, but baby-style). His eyes were either closed, or vacant-looking, but he was tossing and turning, getting up on his hands and knees then falling to his belly, digging his head into the mattress and pushing with his feet to drive himself forward, kicking his feet, turning in circles… I tried rubbing his back, nursing him, walking him, but nothing worked. After an hour and a half, he finally settled down and relaxed into the rest of his sleep. I was tired this morning. Dan didn’t even remember that during this sleep-rioting period, Daniel crawled over to him and pulled his hair and pounded on his face.

Tonight Daniel went to sleep relatively easily and still hasn’t woken up. I’m pretty tired, so I should get myself to bed and take advantage of this precious quiet.

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8 1/2 Months Old

Ugh. Daniel has been sick for the last few days. He and I were both a little congested at the end of last week, but then on Saturday night, Daniel woke up very unhappy. It turns out he had to vomit. And vomit. And vomit. It’s so sad to see a little baby so unhappy and uncomfortable. And it was partly my fault (I think).

I know, I know. You’re not supposed to give babies new foods when they’re sick. Especially not hard-to-digest food. Especially not meat. But we were having pork (not even chicken!) and I ground up a little bit from the unseasoned center in the food mill and added it to Daniel’s lentils and rice. He liked it. He liked it a lot. Until it came back up 4 hours later.

He was probably going to vomit anyway. At least he was going to have an unsettled tummy. But I’m sure my giving him that stupid bit of pork didn’t help things.

That night we were up most of the night cleaning up vomit, changing clothes, comforting our poor feverish baby. The next day wasn’t much better. Daniel slept for short stretches all day until evening. He would only sleep if he was being held a certain way in our arms. As soon as we shifted or tried to put him down he’d wake up so unhappy. Finally I was able to get him to sleep laying in his bed around midnight. I decided to sleep with him in his bed so Dan could get some sleep in ours. I was ready to brave the night. And Dan was on standby in case I needed him. It turns out Daniel slept until 7:30 Monday morning! He was so exhausted.

By Monday he obviously felt much better, but was still quite sick. He cried every time he coughed. He had so much mucous in his little body. We took him to the doctor (an Osteopath) who gave us a homeopathic remedy, some eucalyptus oil to help him breathe, and some general sick advice and sent us on our way. Daniel’s been doing so much better the last two days. He’s been sleeping better, too. By better, I mean at longer stretches than before he was sick. I know it’s because his body is trying to recover, but I hope this puts a new pattern into place.

Our new big bed must have something to do with it too, though. Daniel has more of his own space, as do Dan and I. Daniel can still roll over and touch me, cuddle with me, but he’s not awakened by the cramped quarters.

Yesterday Daniel crawled for real. He only took 4 little “scoots” but he did it! He hasn’t been able to replicate the action yet today, but soon he’ll be crawling around like an old pro. For awhile he’s just been getting onto his hands and knees and either flopping forward with the momentum or pushing himself to a sitting position. I’m looking forward to the crawling stage now more than I was a couple months ago, but I’m still a little apprehensive. Our house has yet to be babyproofed. And I’m not really looking forward to that process, even though I am.

Let me clarify. I’ve been wanting to get organized for a LONG time. But I have a very hard time actually doing it. I’m glad to have a reason to go through everything and make sure it’s in its proper place (away from Daniel’s grasp), but I’m not really looking forward to the actual doing part. The sense of accomplishment will be great, I’m sure. I just need to get off my tired butt while Daniel is napping. Currently all I want to do when he naps is rest myself.

BUT if we start getting better sleep, hopefully my butt won’t be so tired anymore. And then I won’t have an excuse… I’ll just be lazy, then.

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