Posts tagged solid foods

6 Months Old and 3 1/2 Years Old

Readers, where have you gone? You’ve abandoned me because I’ve abandoned you… So much has been going on lately, I just haven’t gotten around to writing. I’m getting back to it. I promise.

Reid is nearly 6 months old now. The time has flown by so quickly. As I said above, I’ve been so busy–with Holistic Moms Network stuff, mostly–that I feel that age-old tug-of-war between identifying myself as Mom and as Woman. They don’t have to be at odds, but I am currently feeling as though they are.

I cannot claim–as many women can–that I have ever been fully self-sacrificing. It is fine with me to sit on my rump instead of clean the kitchen if I just feel too tired. And it is fine with me to strap baby to my chest and pace the house while reading a book. But I struggle with what is an appropriate balance between doing the work of mothering–playing, cooking, bathing, nurturing, going on outings, giving my full attention–and doing the things that satisfy my adult longings–sewing, knitting, graphic design work, planning events, volunteering, talking to friends, shopping for a pair of jeans that actually fits me.

I can sense, by Daniel’s behavior as of late, that I have been spending too much time with my adult self. Even when I was sewing his astronaut suit for Halloween (that he begged me every day to work on), I could tell he felt neglected. Lucky for me, I suppose, Daniel really likes to look at books. Sometimes he won’t even let me read them to him. He prefers to just look at the pictures and tell me about them. He can sit in the same spot looking at the same book for over an hour! Where does he get that attention span? And while I am thankful that he is able to sit still for so long, I wonder what is going on in his head. I worry that he is moping as he sits there. I worry that he’s not utilizing his creativity; that he ought to be playing make-believe or running, or dancing, or something.

I am not very good at playing either. I never really played pretend as a kid. And when I used to babysit, I had a really hard time figuring out what to say and do when the kids wanted to play school, or house, or store. So part of Daniel’s problem is lack of example. I don’t really know how to show him how to pretend, or to guide him in the way of creativity. Now that Daniel is 3 1/2 (!!!) I’m feeling kind of at a loss as a parent.

When I imagined being a mother, I always just thought about parenting babies and toddlers. I know how to care for a baby. It is easy and second-nature. But bringing up a preschooler is bewildering. And thinking about parenting elementary-aged children, and teenagers (gad!) is beyond me.

I am part of a small group of moms with similar-aged children who have been talking about doing some kind of homeschool/preschool co-op. We tentatively said we’d meet in January to talk about getting something started. I really think having some structure–any structure–will be helpful.

We also plan to enroll Daniel in the YMCA’s little tots T-Ball league. I’m not exactly sure when it starts, but sometime in the spring. I can’t wait to see a bunch of 3-5 year-olds running around pretending to be like the baseball players they see on TV. Daniel already thinks he needs to spit when he plays baseball–and he wiggles his bat around when he’s in his batting stance waiting to bat.

Reid continues to be an easy baby. He sits well now, rolls easily from front to back, can support himself on his hands and knees (though he can’t go anywhere just yet), plays with toys (his favorites are Sophie the Giraffe, a Sassy ring toy, and anything that crinkles), jumps in the doorway jumper, adores the ExerSaucer, and loves to hear the sound of his own voice.

He has lately been experimenting with screetches and squeals. He used some high-pitched sounds a couple months ago, but then moved onto others. But now the upper end of his range is getting tested out again–both for pleasure and for displeasure. Either way it brings displeasure to his parents. We are nervous about him becoming a screamer.

I experimented with giving Reid some solid foods a few weeks ago. He was grabbing at everything and stuffing it in his mouth. His first reaction to a bit of banana that I was eating was as if I had given him a lemon. He twisted his face and shuddered. But then he grabbed for the banana again. And again–lemon face. I gave him little bits of banana, avocado, and sweet potato which went over fairly well after the inital shock of the flavors, but his tummy was a bit rumbly after each, so I didn’t give him any more until tonight.

Tonight, it was a totally different experience. I gave him some avocado mashed up with some breastmilk and he ended up eating nearly half an entire avocado! Then when I put him to bed, he only nursed for about five minutes before he detached and fell asleep. We’ll see how his tummy does tonight and tomorrow, but I think he may really be ready to have solids regularly.

Just in the last couple weeks he’s been spitting up so much less as well. He still has one or two good sized up-chucks per day, but that’s down from ten or twenty! Daniel seemed to stop spitting up around this age, too. I’m so grateful.

I have recently swapped graphic design services for professional organizing, and have since completely cleaned off my hallway mail center/cabinet area so it is functional, and have rearranged and completely cleaned up Daniel’s room. Even just having these to areas looking magazine-esque is enough to clear some cobwebs from my mind. My focus and motivation in other areas of my life are much improved. And it’s a good thing, too, since the holiday season brings its own hustle and bustle and I’m going to need all the focus and motivation I can get.

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5 Days Short of ONE YEAR

My son is not a good sleeper. He’s not a bad sleeper, but he’s most certainly not a good one. His biggest issue with sleep is getting there. Putting him to bed has become a huge chore. He used to nurse happily to sleep most nights, but in the last month or so, it’s been taking him longer and longer to fall asleep. Tonight, for example, it took him nearly 2 hours! He’s so tired, tossing and turning, even drifting off to sleep for a few seconds here and there, but he just can’t fully relax and let himself get into a deep sleep. And lately he’s been waking up around 3 or 4am doing the same thing–tossing, turning, wiggling, grunting, and occasionally, popping his head up and crawling around to see if either Dan or I will give him the time of day. After about 2 hours of that (the sun is usually up) he’s back asleep until 8 or 8:30. It’s really driving me nuts.

Yesterday I purchased a “calm kit” from Whole Foods. It’s a series of herbal supplement drops that are supposed to help children calm down and relax. I gave it to Daniel last night and he fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep for 3 1/2 hours before waking to nurse (he usually wakes within 2 hours). Unfortunately, it didn’t last through the night. He was up at 4:15 and didn’t fall back asleep until after 6. Tonight, the drops didn’t help him get to sleep, but they’ve helped him stay asleep. We’ll see how he does when dusk rolls around tomorrow morning.

Now that Daniel is understanding more and more words, the night time routine isn’t as frustrating as it could be. I can tell him he needs to “lay down in bed” and he knows what that means. If he doesn’t stay laying down in bed, I leave the room for a few minutes. He really doesn’t like that, so he’s motivated to keep himself horizontal. And I do get a lot of good quiet thinking and praying time in.

Enough about sleep, though. Daniel took his first steps on Sunday. Auntie Laurie was holding onto him from behind as he toddled toward Grandma Sue when she let go of him and he continued to walk! He repeated the trick when Grandpa and Daddy came running in to see what all the cheering was about.

He’s up to 8 teeth now, but he’s still not eating much. From talking to other moms who breastfeed their older babies, this is completely normal, but I would feel better about his nutrition and mine if he’d eat a little more. He’s figured out how to spit food out of his mouth and he usually does so after 3 or 4 bites of something.

Daniel’s vocabulary is increasing as well, though his words still aren’t very clear. He can now say: light, water, milk, mommy, daddy, hello, and he mimics other words, though I don’t think he really knows what they mean. For example, when we’re in the shower, and he points at the diamond-shaped tiles, I tell him, “diamond” and he says something like, “daidoh”. We play that game almost every morning.

Because we’ll be in Newport for Daniel’s birthday (a work conference for Dan), we’re having his party the following weekend. I originally intended on keeping it small, but now I’ve invited a bunch of people and I’ve planned games and swimming and barbeque. One year birthdays are more for the parents than for the children anyway. Daniel won’t remember his first birthday but through photos and video. Dan and I will. And hopefully the memories will be wonderful. You’ll soon find out!

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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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4 1/2 Months Old

Wow! Daniel is growing so fast. He’s almost as big as the 2-year-old I babysit. He’s bigger than two of the 9-month-olds at our church. He outgrows his clothes so fast, we’ve begun only buying him shirts and pants (no more onesies). They last longer.

Today, I sat him up and let go to see what he’d do… he stayed sitting by himself for about 30 seconds–long enough for me to call Dan out of the bathroom to see him before he fell over. I’m so excited for him to be able to sit up. It’s the first step in him graduating from a lap baby to more of an independent baby. My back needs a break!

Lately I’ve been having a very sore stiff neck and upper back from carrying around my hefty baby. When I went in for a massage, the masseuse commented that I was very tense and needed to have several more longer deep tissue sessions because I had so much tension in my muscles. I have noticed also that my arms are getting nice and toned. Some days, I wake up feeling like I’ve been to the gym lifting weights.

We’ve been very slowly introducing solid foods to Daniel–not as meals yet, just as tastes, to see how he reacts. Last week, I let him taste a bit of avocado. A couple days ago, he got to taste banana. He won’t get to actually eat any of these things for about one more month when his digestive system is more mature. For now, he just gets to taste a few things while we eat our dinner so he stays calm long enough to let us finish eating.

One of his bottom teeth is starting to move around in his gums. Some days we can feel a little ridge, and other days we can’t. He’ll probably start cutting the tooth in the next month or so… but we’re told that teething can be a very long and slow process–so who knows.

The hair on Daniel’s head that used to be that sweet soft baby hair is making way for his big-boy hair. There are only a few little wispy pieces of the baby hair left on the very top of his head. The rest of it is coarser and feels like big-boy hair. It’s still pretty thin, but it contributes to him looking much older than he really is.

He recently went through a period of time when he was waking up every 2-3 hours to nurse–like when he was first born. Thankfully that’s going away again and I’ve been able to get a little more sleep. I was feeling like a zombie. And being tired added tension to my already tense neck. I’ve also been drinking a bit of coffee on a daily basis again. As a nursing mother, I’m supposed to limit my caffeine intake, but the benefits of my getting a cup of wake-up juice in the morning outweigh the unhealthiness of it.

And with that, I’m going to finish my coffee and try to do something productive.

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