Friday, September 28, 2007

Month 7: Picking Up Speed

And I'm not kidding. The first 6 months were a casual walk in the park compared to the incredible rate of development Daniel seems to exhibit daily. Hourly. Minutely.

I guess the biggest change is his energy level - he is absolutely all over the place, all the time. (And that's even without the "official" crawl...) But there has been a dramatic change in his willingness to "sit still" over the past few weeks. It's not a bad thing - it's tons of fun, and he's so strong and coordinated, he can do all kinds of fun games. But I will admit that restaurants are becoming a little more difficult. And bath time. And Mommy's nap time. :)

The army crawl is upon us - it's hilarious, and pretty efficient - but definitely not the graceful knees & hands thing I know is right around the corner. Up until now he's done a pretty amazing job of barrel-rolling to get from place to place. The day he got really good at it, he barrel-rolled right into a coffee table leg and had a big red line that went from his forehead down his nose and onto his chin.

He's also become very aware of us being in the room - if we leave, he expresses his displeasure. The same thing with being held - he's a little monkey, and monkeys want to play up in the air, not on the ground with toys. It's a strange dichotomy - I LOVE it when he cries for me, or reaches for me, or throws himself around my ankle so I can't walk away. No question there. But I also don't want him to be spoiled, so I know I can't indulge every little whine. (But while I attempt not to indulge him, I can secretly feel needed and loved, right? :)

Daniel enjoyed a two-week visit from his Gramma from Texas - lots of play time in the park, on the living room floor, and out and about town. Including a 4-hour visit to the local Urgent Care when Gramma broke her little pinkie toe. Not fun at all, but we all still worked in as much (immobile) bonding time as possible for the time we had together. It's always fun for us newbie parents to watch an experienced parent in action. My mom knew all the tricks of the trade - how to make "homemade" toys of empty crystal light containers, some packing tape and a bouncy ball: the result? A toy that Daniel MUCH preferred over his store-bought items. She showed us the miracles of straws in restaraunts (it's like feeding iced tea to a little bird!) and the 20 minutes of entertainment a simple spoon will provide.

Next week we're headed out to San Diego for our first family vacation since Daniel's birth - I'm excited and a little apprehensive about traveling with him, but he's such a good baby that I think we'll be fine. We rented a big beach house for the week - about 10 steps from the ocean, and on the other side of the house, about 15 steps from the bay. Not a bad set up at all :)

Stay tuned for the inevitable adventures to come...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Month 7: Ingestion Update

(Sorry, but that's the most creative title I could think up for: "Here's what Daniel's been eating lately"...) Starting just after he turned six months, we dove into the brand new world of baby food. A little scary, a lot messy, and a ton of fun.

As of now, Daniel's breakfast is a small bottle along with oatmeal & prunes - which he eats in man-sized portions. Lunch #1 is fruit & a bottle and lunch #2 is a different fruit (or vegetable) and a bottle. Dinner is brown rice and a vegetable, followed by a bath, followed by a bedtime bottle. Snacks along the way include little sweet potato puffs or a small bite of whatever fruit Mommy is snacking on.

As for preferences, we started out ok with green beans, but by the end of that week he turned up that cute little nose to those poor beans. Peas were an ABSOLUTE no, but the rest were great - carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. He got a little stomach bug during the carrots week, and he pooped watery orange for quite a few days. (The really bad part of that story is he gave me that bug, and all I could stomach was blue gatorade. You can imagine how colorful my trips to the bathroom were...)

In other non-nutritive news, his vocal skills are becoming entirely amusing. He's definitely doing more immitation - number of syllables and type of sound. He seems to pick a particular sound for a day or two and just practice non-stop. "Mah" "Dah" "Ba" - that's his recent favorite. I actually think he may be using it with meaning: "Ba-ba" for bottle... it's not every time, but frequently when he's hungry, he'll cry/whine "baaaa - baaaaa". Pretty cute.

Personally, my favorite types of conversations with him are the non-verbal ones. Take for example - the raspberry conversation. This intellectually stimulating encounter consists of Daniel blowing a raspberry for a few seconds, then the second party following suit. Then Daniel. Then the second party. It can last as long as twenty minutes ... something I don't think the adult tongue was meant to do, as mine is usually numb after these conversations.

Daniel's recent favorite is a fake cough conversation - back and forth, back and forth. I think he learned the fake cough from a little girl in his preschool class (definitely not as bad as the fake scream he learned from a different little girl). The fake coughing usually leads to real coughing though, so it's not quite as much fun as the raspberries.

All sore throats aside, I will never forget the first time we had a "cough" chat - in the bathtub, about to get out, and Daniel fake coughed. I replied. He looked up at me and giggled. He coughed. I coughed. He laughed outloud, and put his little hand on my cheek. I think we coughed and laughed for a good ten minutes, soaking wet and naked in the lukewarm tub water. It was one of those "oh please let time stop RIGHT NOW so I can never leave this moment" moments.

(Also one of those "better remember this forever cause there's NO WAY we're taking a picture of this moment" moments :).

As a closing note, I believe I forgot to mention that Daniel's third and fourth teeth arrived - together, top and center. I thought he couldn't get any cuter - but I was wrong - he's hilariously ferocious with four teeth, and that much more determined to stick things in his mouth.

The difference is that before, he'd just kind of suck on whatever was in his mouth - now he bites. Hard. We need to invest in a little "warning" sign and mount it to his chin. Just in case people have never seen a four-toothed monkey before.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Month 6: No Sibling For You!

There is nothing more fun than watching a baby try to figure out the solution to a problem. Not just blindly stab at a guess, but really think through it.

Having already mastered the art of rolling from his back to his front, yestereday Daniel set out to overcome the next obstacle: rolling from his front to his back. Easier said than done, by the way. He apparently had done it in his sleep the night before (we put him down on his back, Fernando snuck in at 2 am and saw him on his tummy, and I found him on his back at 8 am). But doing it intentionally, while awake, was a whole other challenge.

First, he would attempt to turn his torso. Arms would stay in the same position, and he'd just rotate that little butt as far as it would go. First one direction, then the next. No luck. Then the legs were the next attempt. He'd swing the left leg as far to the right as he could, and vice versa. No luck. Then the winning ticket: that giant noggin of his. (Whoever said that your weakest point can't work in your advantage never saw a baby flip over).

He figured out that it's all about the head. First, he'd suddenly drop his head onto the ground, looking left or right. This usually was accompanied by the butt twist. Then he'd try the other direction. The problem was his little arms, that acted like a kickstand on a bike. Acting confused that the sudden head drop did nothing, he stared at each arm for a minute. Then, in a stroke of genius, he threw his head again, but this time, over the weight-bearing arm. In slow motion, the momentum of his oversized cranium slowly lead the rest of his body and he landed on his back (in a fit of giggles, of course).

The rest of the day was filled with rolling practice. He looked like a dog that someone was training to "lay down!" or "play dead!" with all that head dropping. It was priceless.

The past two days have been fairly eventful overall - our air conditioning unit bit the dust, and we had to pack up a few bags and escape with out lives (we do live in Phoenix, after all). The result was Daniel sleeping in his pack-n-play all night for the first time. We were skeptical, but he came through like a champ - 12.5 uninterrupted hours of sleep. Out of town vacations, here we come!

The downside of yesterday was last night, when for no apparent reason, Daniel decided he wanted Mommy & Daddy's company at 9 pm, 1 am, 3 am, 4 am, and 5 am. And he wanted to scream the whole time. We had no idea what happened (still don't know) but it was utterly exhausting. We tried everything in the book, and the only thing that put him to sleep each time was rocking him in a specific position. We all woke up at 8:30 this morning - Fernando and I feeling like zombies, and Daniel in a dandy mood.

It was a blast from the (not so distant) past ... just six months ago, that was our nightly sleep routine ... and the nightmare of it all came rushing back in a torrent. This morning, I had a nice little chat with Daniel about how I wasn't angry with him, but that every action has a consequence. I let him know that his actions last night might very well have cost him a future sibling - that Mommy and Daddy just couldn't go through that again! I'm sure he understood every word, as he contentedly sucked away on his morning bottle.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Month 6: A Goatee of Prunes

That's right, folks. It's food time. Not this measly formula concoction they call food. But REAL food - in a bowl, with a spoon, all over the face. Yup - those days have officially begun.

Breakfast is a delicious puree of prunes & rice cereal. Not for the faint-of-heart... Fernando nearly lost his lunch when he tried a bite. But Daniel is a brave boy with adventure in his heart - he loved every bite. In fact, he cried if we didn't get the second spoonful to him fast enough.

A few times, he grabbed the spoon from us and attempted to feed himself (from both ends of the spoon) and giving up on that method, he grabbed the bowl by the sides, and attempted to "drink" the food as if from a cup. Smart cookie. And a smart handsome cookie when we created a goatee of prunes on his little face. (And you think he looks like Fernando NOW! You should see him with a purple beard!)

The photos from that first feeding session reveal what rookies we are as parents. It's like one of those games: "Can you find everything that's wrong with this picture?" 1) No bib. Lesson learned. 2) Glass bowl = completely unthrowable, and not baby teeth friendly when you child decides to suck the rim of the bowl. 3) No high-chair. We just put him in a toy that has a tray in front, and toys off to the sides. The toys are a little distracting, and dried prune mush is pretty hard to get off of baby dinosaur eggs and plastic palm fronds.

Lunch & dinner are green beans - which smell way better than the prunes, but still had that same pesky gag-reflex effect on Fernando. (Further evidence to back up my theory on the paternal compulsion to try everything their kids try. Reference Appendix A: My previous post called "Month 4: Teethies & Guinea Pigs" ... you can guess which half of that title applies).

At any rate, it's all going well. Daniel's still taking bottles, but hasn't been finishing them. Which I suppose means he's filling up on food. After another week of green beans, we move on to the next green veggie. The photo ops never end!