Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Week 13: Fish out of Water

This week's discovery: Our son is a water rat. We had our suspicions early on - all those relaxed baths... that time he fell asleep in the shower... his newfound love of splashing... the fact that he is a descendent of two water rats... you know - little clues :)

And this weekend our suspicions were confirmed during Daniel's first swimming pool encounter.

Being Memorial Day weekend, we headed for Fernando's parents' house for the traditional day of "lots of food, lots of family, lots of swimming". The water was take-your-breath-away cold, so we thought Daniel wouldn't last a minute. And our first attempt was unsuccessful - dipping his feet right in didn't go over well at all.

But then I sat on the shallowest step, and put him on my lap, and one by one I splashed each foot and hand in the water until it was acclimated. Then we slid a little deeper in, constantly splashing and moving. Not only didn't he mind - he actually smiled and had a good time. Once all the way in, he had a blast. Fernando tipped him forward and Daniel kicked his little legs like he was swimming. It's incredible how much of that comes instinctively. I have always heard that babies born under water swim immediately.

Anyway - we took about 300 pictures (I know, I know... our second child is destined to feel neglected...) and then Daniel enjoyed a bath in his gramma's sink (a staple in every kid's childhood memories). Also - we stuck him in the pool fully clothed - diaper & onesie - which not only prevented pool poop, but made him much less slippery to hold onto.

In other news, Daniel's daycare girlfriend Ava was kissed (twice!) by another little boy in daycare. Not sure if we should worry... the other little boy is about to move to the room for crawling babies... hopefully we won't have to call off the wedding. Yet.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Week 13: Steady As She Goes...

We're in the middle of his third month, and so many little things keep constantly changing that it's hard to keep track of it all!

Daniel's doing better each day in daycare - they've started having him nap on his side, without the wrap - and it's actually working pretty well. He was developing a flat spot on the back of his head - so now he's napping on his side, and he's sleeping through the night swaddled on his back.

And speaking of sleeping through the night - this kid is incredible! Last night he did 10.5 hours. Insane! His diaper was way beyond soaked though - I should look for something made for extended wear.

His eating habits have also changed in the past week - he no longer greedily gulps the whole 7 ounces every time. Sometimes he'll stop at 5 or 6, or become so distracted with other things that he doesn't want to eat anymore. (Who IS this child?!)

He smiles and laughs more - i suppose the amount of expressed happiness will just keep increasing from this point on. Kissing his feet or squeezing his thighs almost always makes him giggle - and seeing one of our faces after being apart for hours elicits the biggest smiles from him I've ever seen.

The only bad thing to happen recently is that he's outgrown the sling - I need to find a different one. Apparently 3 month olds don't usually weigh this much, so the standard pouch sling that we've been using now seems a little too restricting for his lower body. He doesn't seem as comfortable as before. There's another position we can use with this sling, but his head control isn't quite good enough yet, and his legs aren't long enough to "sit" on my hip. I'm looking for a new one to use - I'm still determined to find a way to carry Daniel on my body instead of in a stroller. Surely he isn't the first big baby with this issue. (Today in Pier 1, the clerk asked if he was 1 years old...! I'm going to hope that she was just clueless to the world of babies...)

He is doing a great job of sitting - with our assistance, of course. He's incredibly strong - and his head is huge, so he's got a pretty daunting task ahead of him. He can sit very well just holding our thumbs ... he can even look around the room, up and down, side to side ... all on his own.

He still loves both showers & baths - we did buy him a new bathtub that seemed MUCH more comfortable for him until I actually put him in it. He's too tall for the baby part - his head is a full head above where the head cushion is. Hilarious. The shower is still lots of fun - he actually doesn't mind the shower water hitting him directly in the face (not for a long time or anything, but a few seconds is ok). And he still loves mirrors - now he consistently smiles at himself when he looks in a mirror.

There are lots of tiny little changes daily and it's so much fun to watch - to see the light go on when he learns to actually reach for a toy instead of hitting it by accident. Or when he wraps his hands around the bottle and holds it on his own for a few seconds. Today he was sitting in his bouncy chair and he reached his right foot out and touched one of the dangling toys. Then he did it again and again. Every time I put him in the chair, he sticks his right foot out. Incredible. And for the the first time he reached both little hands out and put them on either side of my arm - intentionally. These little changes absolutely amaze me.

What hasn't changed is how much I love him. Scratch that - it has changed - I love that kid more every day. It's amazing how he has a special control over my heart that no one else does - how sometimes my insides physically hurt with how much I feel for him. When I do something that makes him laugh, I feel such incredible joy that my heart aches. Today I found out that scaring him makes him laugh - I said "boo!" and opened my eyes wide, and he jumped a little and laughed and laughed. That game lasted a ridiculously long amount of time... no way was I stopping while it still made him laugh.

He is such a fun baby - and we're having the time of our lives watching him grow up!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Week 12: Our First Date

Since Daniel is a whopping three months old, we thought it was time to try out the "leave him with someone else for a few hours and have some grown-up time alone" thing. Not that we wanted time away from him (we never do!) but we did want some time with just the two of us. All in all, leaving him for a few hours wasn't as bad as I'd feared, but not as easy as I'd hoped.

It was surprisingly strange to drive around without Daniel in the backseat - we've only had him three months, but already life doesn't feel the same without him. Fernando and I ended up having a great time just the two of us - and really this was the first time since Daniel was born. We gorged ourselves on sushi & caffeinated beverages of all sorts... delicacies I have been sorely missing for nearly a year now.

Amazingly, Daniel survived just fine without us ... (What?! Life goes on without Mommy & Daddy?!) ... he even took his nap right on schedule, and was very playful and happy while awake. Fernando's Mom & Sister took care of him, and did an excellent job.

Now for our next date... we haven't had massages in almost 2 years... and I think I'll actually be able to relax knowing Daniel's in good hands.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Week 12: Magical Sounds & Nasty Colds

Today, he laughed. Not like a tiny giggle, or a "maybe that was a laugh" but a real, bonified, tickled-pink laugh. Fernando was making silly faces at him, and when he started doing raspberries, Daniel let out the most incredible sound we have ever heard. I came running, and we both started doing silly "tongue out" faces, and he just kept going for at least a minute. We starting laughing, of course, and that seemed to perpetuate his laughter. There we were - all three of us on the bed, unable to stop laughing.

By far the most magical sound he's ever made - and while getting a smile out of him is still so much fun, nothing compares to the feeling of him laughing with you. After a few minutes of it, his laughter turned to tears (just like mine does when I'm really tired...) and we put him down for his evening nap.

We have all been sick for the past two days - home from work and daycare - as we have managed to pass a pretty nasty cold around between the three of us. We took Daniel into the doctor, and he came out with apparently the least amount of discomfort - just a low grade fever and a little congestion. Fernando and I wound up with a big ole cold, complete with headache, sinus stuff, coughing sore throats, etc. So the place is now littered with kleenex and empty containers of Vicks Vapor Rub. We couldn't resist taking a picture of the three of us in bed - not the world's greatest picture, but we weren't exactly feeling fantastic either. Unshowered, in pajamas at 3:00 in the afternoon... you get the idea.

While at the doctor, we found out that Daniel weighs just under 17 pounds... pretty impressive for a kid who's not even 3 months old yet. The doc said to keep up what we were doing - not to decrease his feedings - that he's just going to be a very tall little boy. (He's eating 7 oz. five or six times a day). He was also amazed to hear that Daniel's been sleeping 9.5 hours a night - and has been through the night for almost a month now.

A few other "week 12" tidbits (even though it's only the beginning of week 12)... 1) Daniel's still running marathons when he's laying on his back - those little legs just pump like crazy for really long stretches of time. So cute :) 2) He's still obsessed with his tongue - sticks it out all the time, and loves to watch other people stick their tongues out. 3) Daniel has started reaching for objects in the past two days. It's not consistent, but today when he was playing on his back in his little jungle gym toy, he figured out that he can smack the mirror part with his hand and it spins in circles. It's fun to watch him make little discoveries like that. 4) His head and neck control is amazing - he loves to sit up (usually propped up against our stomachs) and can look around the room and control his head with almost no help. 5) His love affair with ceiling fans grows more intense by the day...

Wow. We're only two days into week 12 and he's already changing so much. He'll be 3 months old next Monday - feels like yesterday that I was 3 months pregnant. It's absolutely impossible how much we love him, too. Tomorrow we all go back to work (and daycare, for one of us...) and while I'm glad we're all feeling better, I'm a little sad not to have just one more day of being sick together.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Week 11: That Time of Year

Today is my first Mother's Day. Well, there's a tiny chance that last year was my first, but we were definitely not aware of it at the time :)

So far, it's been great. Daniel slept late - until 8:00! I opened two very sweet presents (more on that later). Then I fed the little monkey, and took a nice long shower with him. Now we're about to leave for church - he's being dedicated today. But I have about 20 minutes before he wakes up again, so I thought I'd go ahead and write a little.

Daniel finger-painted this week at preschool. That's right - my 2 month old finger-painted (and I was there, like the paparazzi, taking a million pictures). He painted a beautiful green blob for me - and the teachers at his daycare put little pictures of him and stickers all over it. It's our first official "fridge art" - it's already up on the door with magnets.

Apparently, Daniel did great, too... most babies don't like the feel of cold paint on their hands, but he kept his fingers outstretched the whole time, and did the whole painting himself. Mommy's little Van Gogh. It's amazing how much pride I feel over his accomplishments - no matter how small.

So what were my Mother's Day presents? :) A brand new hard drive from the cats (they're so thoughtful!) and some really cute canvases with foot prints and hand prints from Daniel. Which completely explains why his cuticles were orange on Friday... I almost called the doctor, thinking he was having some kind of allergic reaction! It looked like he had stuck his hand in a bag of cheetoes. (One of his teachers suggested that maybe he'd been raiding the pantry at night...)

Later today Fernando's family is coming over - we're making burgers and just spending some time together to celebrate the day. It's fun to do special things for Moms - but so far, every day has felt this celebratory. I love being a Mom so much already - just interacting with Daniel, feeding him and playing with him... those are the best gifts I could ever have asked for.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Week 11: Melting my Heart

Daniel's smiles are completely infectious. It's absolutely impossible to remain in a bad mood when he flashes that grin.

This week he woke up smiling in his crib, kept smiling during his diaper change, and even was grinning during mid-bottle burps, when he used to cry like crazy. And he definitely knows his Mommy & Daddy - we get the majority of his smiles and giggles - he smiles a little bit at daycare, and every now and then with other people.

But that flash of recognition that comes across his face when he sees us is priceless - sometimes he just smiles at us without us "trying" - like just knowing we're there is enough to make him happy.

To be realistic, it's not always us that makes him smile. Sometimes it's nothing - an imaginary something in mid-air. Yesterday he beamed at the ceiling fan for a good 15 minutes, smiling and babbling. (Meanwhile we couldn't stop laughing at the (very bad) pun, "he's a fan of the fan!"... In our defense, we were very tired...)

A few things consistently make him smile: kissing his feet, tickling his collar bones, and a few lines of "little bunny foo-foo". Daniel particularly likes the "DOWN came the good fairy" and "the next day" parts. :)

Of all the types of smiles and laughs, my two favorites are when he laughs at something then can't seem to get the huge grin off his face. He just leaves it there a minute, and then it drops off his face in a second. Hilarious. My all time favorite though is the little lop-sided half grin... it's like we're sharing a secret. He usually turns his face away a little bit, and gets this perfect little gleam in his eye. I imagine if he could talk he'd say "Mommy you're so silly..."

Most days, I live for those smiles.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Week 10: Sling Wonders

Today I learned a lesson I wish I'd learned months ago: Slings Are Wonderful.

After reading Harvey Karp's theories on the "fourth trimester" I wanted to try out the whole baby-wearing thing. So, with the help of my friend google, we found and ordered a beginner's sling, in a very classy shade of chocolate brown. This sling is supposed to work for a bunch of different ages, as there are multiple ways to carry the baby.

It arrived two days ago. And within 5 minutes of it's arrival, I had it unwrapped and in use. (Maybe I should have washed it first...:) Daniel loved it immediately - he became very calm while in it, almost suspended in this "calm awareness" state where he just took in the world around him. After about 30 minutes in it, he got sleepy, and fell asleep in it. Deep sleep.

It took me a few tries to figure out how to get him OUT of the sling (I panicked the first time - I thought we were stuck!). But now we're naturals - and it's MUCH easier running errands, going to friend's houses, even house-cleaning. I love carrying him everywhere - but my arms were getting worn out. This is the perfect solution. No wonder the majority of cultures around the world wear their babies... we are definitely the dense ones when it comes to baby care.

And the final evidence that it's an awesome product? The first time I had him in it, I thought (for the first time since having Daniel) ... "I could do this whole baby-thing again." God save us all.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Week 10: Mommy's Lack of Objectivity

Ten weeks already. I can't believe it. As my Dad said this week, "double digits already!" I'm terrified of how fast time is flying already - and I know it's only going to go faster.

Daniel's doing great - sleeping through the night like a champ. The one night he woke up at 4 a.m. was the night we skipped his late night feeding and put him down at 8:30. So we learned our lesson there. Now his last feeding is at 10 p.m. for at least a few more weeks. He goes all the way to 7 a.m., usually. Sometimes longer!

This week I did the unthinkable and volunteered in our church's nursery. That sounds tame enough, but our church sees anywhere between 1200 and 1400 kids on a weekend. So I thought it would be a fun way to learn more about baby care from the experts while keeping Daniel in the same room as me. It was actually fun - I worked all three services on Sunday and in each service we had about a dozen babies.

And I did learn a lot about babies, but the main three lessons I learned were about Daniel:

1) daniel IS the cutest baby in the world.
2) daniel IS the best behaved baby in the world.
3) daniel IS the most fun baby in the world.

I feel vindicated! Now I know I was right all along - i wasn't just being biased. :) (It won't do you any good to reason with me... my mind is made up!) It was amazing how well behaved he was. At times he was actually ignored because the workers all had to take care of the screaming ones. It helped that he was in the same room as his daycare during the week. And it was fun to have all the volunteers come in and ooh and aah over him - how great his hair is, how cute he is, how perfect his lips are, etc. Heaven for a proud mama.

The other thing we started this week (well, by "we" I mean "my husband") is teaching Daniel good manners. It's pretty cute, actually. Every time Fernando gives him a bottle, he has the same conversation with himself. "Daddy, may I have a bottle please?" "Yes, Daniel, you may." "Thank you, Daddy!" "You're welcome, Daniel!" Too cute. Now Daniel just calms right down when he hears the word "bottle".

I have also been thinking a lot about what I'd do differently if I could start over with Daniel. And the more I think about it, the more I realize it's a pointless thing to think about. As parents, we're learning to respond to a need in a particular moment, and it's going to play out a little differently every time. I guess I'd just be a little more flexible from the beginning, and not freak out when he doesn't act "like the books say he will". Daniel is developing his own personality, and the more we can remember that he's his own person - not a statistic - the easier life will be.

Needless to say, my policy on not rocking him to sleep has become a little more... flexible. All too soon I'll look back and wish I had indulged him just a few more times. And there is nothing in the world that's more fun than watching him nap in my arms. Nothing.