May. 31st, 2015 11:15 pm
juthwara: (Chu)
So three years ago, James looked like this:


Last month, when he turned three, he looked like this:


(we cut his hair last week and the curls are gone. Sob. And then the teachers at preschool made a big deal about how good it looked because "Now he looks like a boy," which makes me want to grow it out until it's to his waist. But his hair was a little too egregiously in his eyes and I don't need any of my children to be Cousin It)

What can I say about a three-year-old James? He loves baby dolls and stuffed animals, trains, cars and legos. He's fascinated by the alphabet and trying to count to twenty.

I am coming to the conclusion more and more that I gave birth to my father. James is gentle and considerate - he apologizes if he accidentally hurts someone and solicitously asks if we're okay if we cry out in pain. He's fastidious - he asks for a wipe if his hands get dirty and I suspect he mastered using eating utensils as early as he did because they're neater. He's neat - he will often clean up toys he scatters or things he spills without prompting. He's mild-mannered - even though he has an enviable attention span which makes it hard to redirect him away from things we don't want him to have, he'll sulk for a little while instead of throwing a full-blown tantrum when denied things. Even when he does tantrum, he calms quickly and easily.

Of course, these traits are all for relative values of being three. Does he throw tantrums, make yogurt art, happily strew toys hither and yon and refuse to share? Of course he does. He's three. He just does those things so much less than our previous three-year-olds.

All in all, it adds up to a pretty stinkin' cute kid. I think we'll keep him around for another year.

juthwara: (Chu)
This evening, I was making Alec take a few bites of dinner before being excused. He had taken three bites, and I asked him to take two more, then asked him if he had taken three bites and then took two more, how many would he have taken? He took a bite, then said, "Five."

He was evaluated for a speech delay earlier this year and the evaluation report came back reporting fairly limited math skills for his age. I'm thinking they were a bit off on that.


At James's two-year appointment, he weighed in at 24 pounds, 3 ounces. That's no weight gain at all from his previous doctor's appointment six weeks earlier (when we took him in after he had been throwing up for two weeks straight, so you would think once the vomiting stopped, he would put some weight back on). And it's around the 5th percentile for weight, when he's over 50th percentile for height. This is somewhat worrisome.

Now mind you, I don't think he's ever managed to crack the 35 percentile for weight, but a drop in weight gain curve from the 30th to 5th percentile is still not something you want to see. It could be quite likely he just takes after his father, who was six feet tall and 140 pounds when we met, and could be legitimately accused of being able to disappear by turning sideways. But meanwhile, we're working hard on getting more fattening foods into him.

I had thought we were doing pretty well on that front. But as it turns out, while we were giving him lots of fat and protein, closer attention to what he actually eats revealed that our toddler is attempting to turn himself into an herbivore. All of the nice fattening cheese or sunflower butter sandwiches in the world won't matter if he plows his way through a plate of apple slices first.

It seems silly to complain that my child likes fruits and vegetables too much, but he really does need fat and protein to grow properly too. I didn't realize the extent of the problem until the other day when he threw a cheese stick on the ground and came over to me to beg for lettuce.

Good lord child, that's just weird.

Anyway, I'm giving him less plant matter so he can't fill up on that and making a bigger effort to get him to drink milk. I haven't pushed cow's milk much because he's not incredibly fond of it and if he doesn't drink enough liquid, he comes to me to make up for it. I've partially solved that by adding hot chocolate powder to his morning milk, which both make it more appealing and adds calories. I've started giving him cheese sticks as a default snack and putting cream cheese on his morning toast. And there's always direct injections of lard. We'll fatten up our little piggy yet.


Exercise: twenty minutes on exercise bike, 11000 steps per pedometer (thank you James, for deciding to do laps around the bookstore this evening)
juthwara: (Chu)
Given my rate of posting over the past year, it seems foolish to attempt NaBloPoMo this year. And yet I truly want to post more, so I'm going to try it anyway.

I've actually been meaning to post for most of the past week, but instead, I've been working on Katherine's Halloween costume:


She's a musketeer. I'm a little conflicted about it, because she got the idea from a movie she watched. Afterward, she was asking me about historical Musketeers, practicing her fencing and even told me she thought she was over princesses. Great, right? The problem is that the movie was Barbie and the Three Musketeers, and she may be over princesses, but now she's into Barbie. Something of a lateral move, I think.

Anyway, I'm absurdly proud of the costume, because the long skirt is detachable and can be turned into a cloak, while there's a short skirt underneath more suitable for swashbuckling. Here's a very bad picture of it:


With the amount of work that went into Katherine's costume, I didn't have it in me to do any other sewing, so the boys got store-bought costumes. James was an elephant:

IMG_0771 IMG_0774

James currently has a passionate love affair with elephants, and aside from dogs which bark properly, all animals trumpet like an elephant as far as he's concerned. Meanwhile, Alec loves clothes with monkeys on them, so his costume was a natural fit:


And now I'm going to save the rest of my words for tomorrow, when November begins. More anon.
juthwara: (Chu)
If you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have said we had another month until walking. James had cruising down, and was occasionally standing without holding onto anything for a few seconds but honestly, he just didn't seem that interested when crawling could get him where he wanted to go.

But then last week he started standing independently for longer and longer. He figured out how to stand up without using anything to pull up (something Alec didn't figure out until after he learned how to walk - if he fell, he would have to crawl over to something he could pull up on). He started squatting with a clear gap between his butt and the ground. This past Wednesday, I saw him do deep knee bends without holding onto anything. It's like suddenly two weeks ago he decided mobility was his new job. So it wasn't really a surprise Saturday morning when I saw James stand up and then take three tiny steps before landing on his butt. Walking at thirteen months! What a prodigy! Well, compared to his brother (14 months) and sister (16 months!) he is.

Speaking of prodigiousness, our baby who disdained all forms of spoon feeding like we were trying to feed him lukewarm library paste? Started feeding himself with a spoon last month, remarkably neatly. Even Katherine, who was a fine motor skills fiend needed to have baby oatmeal added to her applesauce to keep it on the spoon at that age, but he happily spoons the slippery stuff up without a problem. On the not-so-prodigious self-feeding front, he is finally successfully drinking from a straw cup. You would think that a child who has spent literally his ENTIRE life sucking on things to get liquid would, when presented with a straw, think to do more than just look at it dumbly and then try to bite it, but not our special snowflake. I wasn't sure how to deal with this, since the older kids both took to straws naturally and instantly, but (for anyone Googling "How to teach a toddler how to use a straw") finally I switched from the fancy spill-proof strawcups to the cheap Take and Toss type where I could squeeze the sides and push some liquid up through the straw. Once the flow got started, he would instinctively suck to keep it going and got the idea of sucking to get it started pretty quickly. He still can't hack the fancier cups with longer straws, but I found a compromise in the form of these cups, which are small and cheap, but have a screw-on lid that can't be pried off by an enterprising toddler. If only I could find more than the one pack of four, I would switch all of our kid cups over to them.

On the cognitive end, it became incredibly clear when James had passed the 55 week developmental spurt and not just because he started sleeping for more than 20 minutes at a time. He started becoming very interested in putting his nesting cups together instead of seeing how far across the room he could scatter them. He started grouping like things together. He added three new words - okay, baby, bye. He started getting very interested in baby dolls and stuffed animals and now has a cloth baby doll who is becoming his lovey (I'm so pleased - he chose a doll that's easily commercially available and simple to replace, unlike Katherine who glommed onto a mother and baby bunny pair from my childhood. Not merely irreplaceable, but with a small part that's easy to lose!). He's less likely to freak out when he wants something if he can see me in the process of getting it since now he's starting to understand sequences.

At the moment, his main interests are baby dolls, the play kitchen, things that fit together, cars and anything that plays annoying electronic music. He was 19 pounds, 13 ounces last week, continuing to skate under twenty pounds and be our skinny little guy. He's silly and cuddly, and still my sweet baby.



Apr. 24th, 2013 12:10 am
juthwara: (Chu)
One year ago today, we got up and went to the hospital at the remarkably civilized hour of 9 to have a stubborn baby curled in a ball at the top of my uterus extracted. At this point, it was all pretty much old hat: the coldness of the operating room and the lovely warmed blankets, the sting of the numbing shot before the odd but not painful administration of the spinal, followed by rapid numbness, the weirdness of having your innards jostled. Really, the only real difference has been when the numbness would reach the nerves in my chest and make it feel like it was hard to breathe, and when I would throw up. In this case, it was after the baby came out. I was lying there after the spinal, feeling a little worried because I still had some feeling around the edges and hoping they wouldn't start before I was completely numb when I smelled something burning and realized - oh, cautery. They've already started. It wasn't too long at all before James appeared and expressed his displeasure at his eviction. We were shocked at his weight - 6 pounds, 15 ounces, a good two pounds lighter than his siblings, and he was wrapped up and given to [ profile] longstrider to hold. Then the breathlessness and nausea hit, so I closed my eyes and thought very hard about breathing until it eased. Eventually, the jostling of my digestive system stopped, which relieved the nausea and after a while longer, they closed me up. [ profile] longstrider told me later it took longer to close me up because they were having trouble finding all of the sponges, to the point that they had to empty the waste basket onto a mat to recount them. Thankfully, it was found on the floor, but I don't really mind them taking the time to make sure they weren't leaving anything behind that didn't belong there.

At that point, I was transferred to a gurney, had James tucked in next to me and was taken to recovery, and actually got to get to know our new baby. He was a lot like he is now - calm, cuddly and a good sleeper. He was long and bony then, and while he has a nice layer of fat, he's still pretty skinny now. He has just about the same amount of hair too.

I can't believe how fast this year has gone. There have been parts of having three children that have been very hard, but as babies go, James has been a dream. He gave me a chance to finally get breastfeeding right, and he remains passionately devoted to nursing. He wasn't planned or expected, but I wouldn't give him back for anything.

Happy birthday, baby boy.


Jan. 18th, 2013 11:40 pm
juthwara: (Chu)
Every baby we've had has had different songs sung to them. Katherine heard a lot of Lydia the Tattooed Lady. Alec heard Union Maid, Alice's Restaurant turned into Alec's Restaurant, and Alouette, sung as Alexander. Nothing says love to your baby like singing about plucking them. For James, rather than something pedestrian and cliched like Sweet Baby James (mostly because I don't really know the lyrics well), lately he's been hearing variations on the Harvey the Wonder Hamster theme song from the short-lived Weird Al tv show:

Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy the Wonder Hamster,
He doesn't bite and
He doesn't squeal,
He just runs around on his hamster wheel,
Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy the Wonder Hamster!
Hey, James!

It's a big hit, plus The Wonder Hamster is a good baby nickname. Then Katherine came up with the dog variation:

Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy the wonder doggie,
He doesn't bite and
He doesn't bark,
He just runs around all day in the park,
Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy the wonder doggie!
Hey, James!

Finally, to avoid species confusion, I came up with a proper human baby version:

Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy the wonder baby,
He doesn't bite and
He doesn't poo,
He just jumps around in his jumperoo,
Jamesy, Jamesy, Jamesy the wonder baby!
Hey, James!

Katherine would like to point out that he does in fact poo, copiously. To which I can only respond that he bites too, but I've included the biting line in every version to try and get him to take a hint.
juthwara: (Chu)
So we have this baby, and he keeps growing. And then he develops more physical skills. The nerve, I tell you. Doesn't he know he's supposed to be my tiny baby?

This is such a gross motor age. James can: stand at a table, go from lying down to sitting up, creep across the floor, occasionally in the direction he wants to go in and has pulled himself up nearly to standing at least once. I think he will be crawling next month.

In fine motor skills, he can: pick things up in a fine pincher grip, wave and is working hard on clapping. He uses his pincher grip on the two or so solid meals a day he's eating now. I had to laugh - we were so careful about introducing solid foods to Katherine (although there were food allergy issues there, to be fair). And after a month or so of lackadaisically trying different baby foods to indifferent success, we found James eating Cheerios off of the floor and started giving him Cheerios. As it turns out, the boy just doesn't like mushes. He's also thrilled with apple and pear slices, orange slices cut up small, broccoli*, buttered toast, graham crackers and corn flakes.

Cognitively, he's babbling away like a little brook (the small body of flowing water, that is, not his father). And while visiting my mother, several of us heard him say something that sounded quite a bit like "Hi" in response to people greeting him. I'm pretty sure I've heard "Mama" and "Dada" a couple times, but they don't seem to be repeated too often. Separation anxiety has started to take hold, which means he's not quite so happy to go to other people any more if I'm there.

No matter how big he gets, he's still my sweet little love muffin. He's such a happy, happy baby, who smiles all the time and rarely gets upset. My happy little lovey.


*It's bizarre - I have three children who all love broccoli. Goodness knows I haven't done a thing to deserve such good eaters. They get plenty of junk and sweets. And yet last night, out of a meal of chicken, roasted potatoes and broccoli, the only thing either of my older children ate was the broccoli.
juthwara: (Default)
James has finally taken to a solid food he likes - oatmeal, probably because it tastes like thick breastmilk. This doesn't seem like much progress, but at least he's eating something off of a spoon with quite a bit of enthusiasm, and my hope is that a nice solid meal in the evening will help with whatever growth spurt he's going through right now that requires eating every hour all night long. Because if it doesn't, it sure will hurt when I jump out the window after another night like the last two we've had.

He's also started inching forward incrementally, as well as getting up on his hands and knees and rocking. Bad baby! Stop that right now. Your older siblings strew far too many small chokeables in their wake for you to become mobile.
juthwara: (Default)
Recently, James has been resisting falling asleep while nursing. He pulls off, clearly full, but is also clearly distraught with tiredness and tosses himself around, whining and shrieking. I usually wrap him up, pop a pacifier in his mouth and hold him until he falls asleep.

But it would take an utter fool not to recognize the flashing neon signs of a baby ready to be put on the path of putting himself to sleep, so tonight when he started doing his tired baby pterodactyl routine, I wrapped him up, popped his pacifier in and put him down in his bouncy seat. And he lay there calmly for a long time, going from looking curiously around the room, to a thousand-yard stare, to drooping eyes, to... completely asleep? Great Caesar's ghost, who is this child? If I hadn't been in the delivery room, I would never believe any baby who sleeps like he does could be a child of mine. As it is, I occasionally wonder if he's a changeling sent by the fairies to confuse me.

My children don't sleep. Katherine could only fall asleep when left completely alone and after fussing for ten minutes, when she would actually deign to sleep. She went through long hideous, mind-rending periods where she would be awake for never less than two hours in the middle of the night for weeks on end. Alec slept wonderfully as long as he was always in contact with another human body, at least until he would cheerfully rise to greet the rosy-fingered dawn at the bracing hour of 5:30. So James, who has regularly been sleeping an astonishing 6-8 hours without waking every night after falling asleep without the slightest fuss, is entirely foreign to our experience with babies. Kind of like discovering an exotic, yet very easy to tend South American orchid in your marigold bed.

Not that I'm complaining. No, no, no, no, not at all. In fact, I'm crossing every appendage I have and knocking on an entire forest to make sure that merely talking about this in public won't cause him to suddenly start waking every 45 minutes all night long, like a proper child of mine.

Baby notes

Nov. 12th, 2012 12:25 am
juthwara: (Default)
* Sigh. I'm not deliberating missing days, I just keep being so sleepy by the time of night that I have hands free to type that I can't stay awake long enough to do it. Which is more or less the reason that blogging in general has been so sparse in the past year or so.

* James has sprouted a tooth! Is it one of the two teeth on the bottom that have been pushing about as hard against the gums as they could without actually poking through? Why no, it's the one on top that came through completely silently which I didn't notice until he flung his head backward off of my lap. Sneaky little thing. I think I felt actual tooth on the bottom this morning though, so it's probably two teeth now. James is the latest of our children to get teeth, but he seems to be making up for it in volume.

* James also tried his first solid food tonight - vanilla yogurt. He ate about an ounce without much enthusiasm and a generally dubious expression. He's never been a fan of the flavor of anything except breastmilk. His reaction to Zantac was understandable, and I can't fault his being less than pleased with receiving formula in a bottle when he's used to human milk from the tap, but he also dislikes the highly sugary tylenol and ibuprofen, which the other kids have always enjoyed. I think he may become our picky child. I guess tomorrow we'll try applesauce. I haven't been too eager to get him on solids, but it's occurred to me that a nice solid meal in the evening might make him lose the need for a midnight meal, so I'm going to give it a bit more of a try.
juthwara: (Chu)
17 pounds, 5 ounces and 27 inches. Not as huge as his brother and sister at that age, but a respectably sized baby nonetheless.

He smiles his way through life, showing off his delicious round cheeks and double chin. He even managed a smile at the nurse giving him his shots this morning, in the pause when she switched from one fat little thigh to the other. He has a very ticklish neck and never fails to giggle while I'm cleaning out under the folds under his chin. He also thinks his brother and sister are absolutely hysterical.

In physical developments, he is sitting unsupported, grabbing everything in sight and rolling all over the place. He hasn't managed to wiggle his way across the floor yet, but he still manages to work his way around to wind up a couple feet away from where he started. He has two teeth so, so close to pushing through, as well as four lurking close under the surface.

His coos are steadily turning into babbling. He's also discovering the upper ranges of his vocal register, making it a fun guessing game to figure out if he's really distressed or just performing vocal exercises.

I highly recommend having a jolly little fat man like James in your life. He's a happy baby at a very happy age, and we're so very happy to have him.


Life lately

Nov. 3rd, 2012 12:42 am
juthwara: (Chu)
* As I said yesterday, we came through the hurricane just fine. It got very windy, but didn't rain too terribly much. We never lost power, and while we saw a number of large branches and trees down the next day, most of our immediate vicinity was up and functioning. I think the suburbs were affected much more simply because they have more trees; I had not thought of that being an advantage of our blighted urban landscape, but silver linings and all that. All in all, we were very, very lucky, especially compared to New Jersey and NYC.

Really, we live in a very favorable weather area. We get about a foot of snowfall annually, it gets hotter than I would like in the summer, but still almost always below 100 and not terribly humid, we're not in a flood plain, we're not prone to tornadoes and we're tectonically stable. We do get hurricanes, but we have New Jersey absorbing the brunt of most of what comes our way.

* James is six months old. Stop it, relentless march of time! He has taken the longest of any of my children to produce teeth, but to make up for it, I can feel at least six right under his gums. Two on the bottom are very nearly through. Even though he's old enough and seems interested, I've been reluctant to start him on solids since breastfeeding is so easy right now. But if enough of those teeth pop through, I think I will swiftly reconsider my position on solids.

* Thanks to a generous grant from the Mom Foundation, Katherine is now spending two days a week at a local center for homeschoolers. It's called Talking Stick, and every bit as hippy-dippy as you might guess from a name like that. There are organized activities, but much of the day consists of putting children in a big room with lots of educational materials and letting them have at it. I'm not the sort of person who can take that approach in my homeschooling, but it definitely suits Katherine very well, since she can happily occupy herself most of the day with self-designed projects. I'm the sort of wet blanket who insists she learn to read though, so this is an excellent compromise. She can go make a mess for someone else to clean up, spend time with other kids and have people to help facilitate her ideas. When I picked her up last Thursday, she had completed a poster advertising for auditions for the play she had written. She had already played a dolphin in another play that day. Then the other three days a week, I'll do the organized academic stuff with her, which will be easier for not having to butt heads with her two days a week.
juthwara: (Chu)
Well! That was certainly a week and a half. No really, it's been an eventful week and a half. Although properly, it started two and a half weeks ago when I got a call from my mother on Thursday telling me she had been in the hospital since Monday.


I was in the middle of the grocery store, and while I called her back later, her phone kept cutting out, so I wasn't able to gather much more than that she had gone in for heart tests and they had decided to keep her for several days. She got out of the hospital the next day though, and seemed healthy enough to drive out to see us a week later for James's baptism.

So last weekend, my mother, her intrepid aide and my brother drove out to visit us and my aunt and uncle drove down from Connecticut as well. We don't get to see my aunt and uncle nearly enough given that we only live three hours away (thank you, weekend jobs), so we passed a lovely weekend catching up with everyone.

James was baptized on Sunday, wearing the traditional familial christening dress, now 106 years old. He was an absolute doll, allowing the minister to walk him through the congregation, smiling beatifically the entire time. He really is such a lovely, happy baby. If you're going to have a surprise third baby, I highly recommend having one like him.

My mother and brother stayed until Wednesday, so we got more of a chance to visit. And Doug and I went out to dinner alone with my mother so we could discuss various things about her health. On the whole, given that it was a conversation that largely revolved around what you could call end-of-life housekeeping, it was pretty good all things considered. It was established that yes indeed, we DID want to be called when she was in the hospital, preferably before she had been there three days. And my mother was even the one who brought it up, although my brother and I had gone in planning to talk to her about it. My mother had significant issues with her parents telling her about health crises - she learned about her mother's first heart attack through a letter written two weeks after the fact - so she's always felt pretty strongly about this sort of thing. Which is why it's been so surprising to me that this is the second time this year I haven't learned she was in the hospital until she had been there several days. We discussed making sure Doug and I both have all of the power of attorney we need (I have financial, but I'm not sure if I have health) and discussed other such cheerful topics as whether the insurance company would want any of her medical equipment back or if we needed to dispose of it. Not cheerful conversation, but necessary and good to have.

As it turns out, she was in the hospital because she's had a heart murmur her entire life, and they were doing a heart catheterization to establish what kind it is, but couldn't because there was too much pressure in her heart from fluid in her heart and lungs. So they admitted her for a few days to get rid of it and established that the heart murmur isn't a bit deal, so we only need to worry about that pesky congestive heart failure. She's not sure what her prognosis is, but as she said, it's never enjoyable to receive a diagnosis with the word "failure" in it.

Sigh. I don't feel ready for this yet. It feels like when you're dealing with a person in their late 80s or 90s who have a significant health crisis that really knocks them down and then have a series of little things for the next few years until the final big thing hits. So far this year, Mom has been in the hospital twice for her heart, once for a UTI that got out of hand and then got C. diff. Only she's only 74. It's too early for end-of-life conversations and accelerating loss of health.

So: family - good! Congestive heart failure - bad! Baptized child - cute! It was a long week but I guess that pretty much sums it up.
juthwara: (Default)
My goodness, where does the time go? One minute you're crossing the tabs on your stick-like newborn's teeny-tiny diapers, the next minute you're straining to lift a fat, wiggly five month old. At his four month appointment, James was 15 pounds, 12 ounces and 26.25 inches. That's around 60th percentile for weight and 85th for height. So he's officially more than doubled his birth weight.

This is the handsy age. He grabs everything in reach, from toys to hair to plates, and examines them with scientific keenness before attempting to bring them to his mouth for the purpose of a vigorous gumming. Speaking of gums, he's been working on getting a tooth through for about a month now. Oddly, despite the fact that this is often a very drooly age, he barely drools despite the impending fang. He's still something of a spit-up volcano, although not as often. That has the effect of making the spit-up a more random event, lending a charming air of Russian Roulette to holding him without a protective cloth.

On the gross motor front, he went from happily lying on his back and doing half-rolls to one day rolling back onto his back every time I put him on his front. Then, the day he turned five months old, he rolled from back to front, and he's barely done anything else since. I will be interested to see how soon he can work up an army crawl. He's starting to take more than a few seconds to topple over from sitting to lying down. Katherine is very determined to teach him how to sit up, so we'll see if she can have him sitting independently before he's six months old.

He favors us with happy conversational cooing, with a couple consonants and proto-babbling being introduced just before four months. He's just happy, period. He doesn't seek out attention the way Alec did, but pretty much anyone who pays attention to him gets a big smile (not surprisingly, he's a very popular baby. I admit I'm hardly impartial, but he's got the sort of Gerber baby looks and cheerful mien that attracts a huge amount of attention in public). He adores his big sister and brother, and the huge smile he gets every time he sees them makes the aggravation of multiple children worth it.

Did I mention he's a happy baby? Happy happy happy. And we're happy to have him.

juthwara: (Default)
People who stop to coo over James tend to exclaim about how tiny he is (including an odd woman who was exclaiming how tiny he was compared to her baby who was a month older, when as far as I could tell they were exactly the same size), but I can never see it. Partly because at the 90th percentile for height, he isn't tiny for his age, but mostly because all I can see is how much bigger he is than the newborn that was so impossibly skinny we had to cross the tabs on his newborn diapers and 0-3 month pants fell right off him when I held him up.


firstdiaper P7250132

That's one month and three months. It's kind of astonishing how quickly a baby can turn from scrawny, sleepy newborn to a fat little flirt. In James's case, while he's been smiling regularly since six weeks (his first was at four, but they were pretty rare at that point), it was around 10 weeks that he suddenly turned on the charm and got really interested in the fun game of social interaction. Now, he pulls away from nursing and gives me a big grin and a long coo, and I have to be careful not to catch his attention so he doesn't get distracted from eating by the sudden need for a flirting session. And I must say, he's very good at flirting. He gives any object of his affection gigantic grins and earnestly coos at us. He's starting to really enjoy being sung to, although I wonder how much of it is the music versus the fact that I'm paying attention to him. He's laughing more and more, first at the mobile above his changing table and then when Katherine figured out that he loves having his hands clapped together.

His neck is ticklish, although I wouldn't stick your finger in too far since he has a prosperous artisanal cheese-making business in the many folds. He's still a very spitty baby, but we only intermittently feel the need to give him Zantac for his reflux.

So far, his current interests are: Me, his father, his siblings, the cats, his hands and anything dangling above his head, from mobiles to dangling toys to the ceiling fan. He can hit dangling toys fairly reliably and can grasp anything near his hands, but has yet to reach out to grab anything successfully.

In the gross motor arena, he can hold his body stiff enough to "stand" and support himself with his legs when held upright. He can hold his head and upper chest off the ground while on his stomach. He can routinely roll onto his side, and a couple times has rolled onto his stomach while on his side, but that was on the bed which isn't a very even surface. Still, I think rolling over from back to front is speeding up on us. He can wiggle himself around to 180 degrees from where he started while playing on the floor. Aaah! Independent movement - the beginning of the end!

His nighttime sleep continues to amaze me - usually from around 8 or 9 pm to 5 am, then another couple hours after that. I've actually started putting him down in the bedroom to sleep on his own. His naps aren't as great - they tend to be short, even in the sling, and you certainly can't think about putting him down. I did get a swing recently, and with proper sleight of hand, he can be put down asleep in it and stay asleep for probably about as long as he would have slept.

I love three month olds. They've left behind the crankiness and unpredictability of newborns, but they're still small and cuddly. They're the epitome of sweet and adorable. And I love our three month old most of all.


Two months

Jul. 1st, 2012 11:54 pm
juthwara: (Default)

A week ago last Saturday, James turned two months old.

He's a sweet little baby. He's waking up more and enjoys looking at dangling toys and can hit them with his hand. He still loves the ceiling fan and contrasts of light and dark, but also exploring our faces and making eye contact. He's smiling more and more. Alec as a baby is a hard act to follow when it comes to smiles - James isn't nearly the sort of extroverted flirt Alec was, but he still gives us sweet little smiles which are all the more lovely for being harder to come by.

Mostly, he still devotes his time to eating and sleeping. He is a devoted nurser and spends quite a bit of the day eating. He no longer needs a nipple shield, thank goodness, and we achieved a new landmark this morning in church when I finally felt like he's good enough at latching on without crying or other nonsense to nurse him in church (it's not the sort of church at all where anyone would be bothered by my nursing a baby during the service, but my own hangups made it hard for me to try it when I wasn't sure if he wouldn't pull tricks like crying around my nipple for a while before finally latching). I look forward to the day when he doesn't want to spend quite a bit of the afternoon and all evening nursing, but I feel quite a bit of pride when I see his beefy little legs and a chin for every month and know that I'm responsible for every ounce of that delectable fat.

Part of the reason he eats literally all evening is that he's still sleeping like a champ. He's only two months, so sometimes he likes to mix it up and only sleep four or five hours, but he's still mostly doing a six to eight hour stretch at the beginning of the night, and sometimes even nine. He's developing a nice pattern of going to sleep for the night between eight and nine and sleeping to sometime between four and six. It's like magic. I knew there were babies in the world who sleep, I just never thought I would give birth to one of them.


Oh yes, more pictures at the usual place.
juthwara: (Default)
I've been mentally composing blog posts for the past two weeks, but never quite getting to it because of the many things in my life conspiring to prevent me from typing. In no particular order:

* Alec has been out of preschool for the past two weeks. We had known about last week, because his preschool year ended a week before his summer program starts. However, he wasn't able to go to his last week of preschool, for absolutely infuriating reasons. For the past couple months, he's had molluscum, an utterly harmless virus that causes painless bumps on your skin. There's no real treatment for it, except for unpleasant sounding things like freezing or scraping the spots, or medications that may or may not work after a few weeks. So unless there's a problem, you just wait it out. It's really common, and as I said, he's had it for a couple months. Unfortunately for us, it's on his face, and the preschool called us concerned about a couple of the spots the next-to-last week of preschool. We humored them and took him to the doctor (K had it in preschool as well, so we recognized it right away), who wrote us a note saying that it was harmless and there was no reason he couldn't attend school. But the preschool director saw that it was contagious and refused to let him attend, even after talking to our doctor on the phone. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that he almost certainly caught the virus at preschool, but as far as I know, there was no effort made to inspect any of his classmates to see if they needed to be sent home because they had this terrible virus. Just Alec, because he was unlucky enough to get the spots someplace visible.

So we need to find a new preschool for next fall, because aside from being nail-spitting mad, molluscum can last for months and it's entirely possible he'll still have it in September. I'm hoping that the drive to his summer program won't be too bad and we'll be able to send him there in the fall. It would have the advantage of removing the time pressure of getting him potty trained before the fall.

Meanwhile, he's been home for two weeks, and he's developing an advanced case of Three, mostly in the form of finding it funny to defy us. Summer camp starts next week and it can't come soon enough.

* I'm still working on the stupid homeschooling portfolio. It's turned out to be more complicated than I expected, because I stupidly didn't read the stupid guidelines closely enough and discovered that while I had been keeping a stupid book log, it was supposed to be a dated stupid book log. I feel dumb now. And I've been a bit busy fudging reconstructing the stupid book log.

We're meeting with the evaluator on Monday, so I have to have it done by then. I should, in fact, be working on it now.

* I'm beginning to suspect that James has reflux. It took a while, because he hasn't been doing the classic arch away during eating, although he's starting to get fussier during feeds. Instead, he's falling in a pattern of eat for half an hour, fall asleep and sleep for 10 minutes, wake up when the acid makes it too painful and want to eat again to soothe the pain. Repeat on endless loop throughout the day. I can usually get one longer nap in the middle of the day where he can be put down, and he's getting pretty consistent with an 8 hour stretch at night, which is saving my sanity. But other than that, it's me pinned to the couch all day long, feeding him endlessly and I find it difficult to type around him. I know he's getting plenty of milk, because he does an excellent Vesuvius impression (in addition to the copious emissions from the other end). Meanwhile, I'm going slowly crazy sitting trapped in one place while my two older children engage in spirited attempts to kill each other. He's getting fussy enough that I feel justified in calling the doctor on Monday instead of waiting until his next appointment, nearly two weeks away. I might develop bedsores if we wait that long.

* This isn't actually preventing me from typing, but it's weighing on my mind: shortly after getting home from the hospital, I got a call from my mother's main health aide saying she was in the hospital after a period of atrial fibrillation. As it turned out, one of the smaller arteries going to her heart was 80 percent blocked, and she was placed on medication to break it up. But she's been very low energy ever since, and when I discussed it with her aide when they were visiting that one doctor at the hospital said she was showing signs of the early stages of congestive heart failure.

So yeah, that's super fun. I've known for a long time that people in wheelchairs often live shorter lives. If nothing else, Mom has a perpetual UTI because she has a catheter. It's sent her to the emergency room a couple times, and I'm sure at some point she'll get sick with something else and it will rear up while she's weakened and make everything far more complicated. But being prepared for the possibility of my mother starting to develop life-threatening problems doesn't make it suck any less when it happens.

* Oh yes, did I mention I have a cold? That's super convenient right now.

So to sum up: I'm busy and stressed. But I'll try to find more time to type after the stupid portfolio is in.
juthwara: (Default)
At the doctor on Thursday, James weighed in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 23 inches. Since he came home from the hospital at 6 pounds, 1 ounce, that's a gain of three pounds in a month. Not too shabby. It's good to know all that nursing is doing some good. In other physical developments, he's lost all of the hair on top of his head, giving him the same hairline that his great-grandfather had, and has developed a raging case of baby acne. This isn't the most attractive phase of infancy, but he's still cute.

What can you say about the developmental accomplishments of a one-month-old? He's having more alert periods where he's awake without wanting to eat. He's fascinated with the contrast between light and dark, which makes him enjoy staring at the woodwork, our hairlines and ceiling fans. He's making eye contact more often and has given me a couple smiles (although he gave his best one yet today to the ceiling fan. I guess the person who gave him life just can't compete). He's taking interest in dangling toys and has started trying to hit them. He's pretty good at holding his head up. All just about exactly where our other two babies were at at one month.

One thing that distinguishes him from his predecessors (and I have to touch wood, cross all my extremities and spit to ward off curses when I say this), is that I think this one is a sleeper. He usually sleeps for a 6-8 hour stretch every day, and at least one long nap, usually more. Mind you, the long stretch isn't always at the most convenient time, like 4pm to midnight, but the fact that he's capable of sleeping that long bodes well for when he's more clear on the difference between night and day. I've actually had to decide to break my cardinal rule of not waking a sleeping baby and not let him sleep more than three hours during the day. Trust me, that's a decision I never had to even think about making with his brother and sister. We can also put him down when he's asleep. At this age, his siblings were living in the sling, because it was the only place they would sleep. We use the sling with him, but it's not essential. We actually forget it sometimes when we go out, and it's never a disaster.

Another thing I hesitate to say is that breastfeeding is really going very well. He's obviously gaining well, and it's entirely on breastmilk. We've introduced bottles, although he's not a huge fan, but it hasn't even been one a day. He generally gets one to give me a break in the evening, but because he sleeps so well in the evening, it's often not necessary. We're still using a nipple shield, but today, in about hour 7 of cluster feeding (hurrah for the six week growth spurt. Blargh), I experimentally offered him the breast without a shield and he latched right on. I can't say breastfeeding a newborn is easy, but I can see a day in the future when breastfeeding will be the convenient experience everyone touts, as opposed to the draining, all-day-on-the-couch experience it is now.

So that's James so far: easygoing, loves his food, loves his sleep. I really can't complain (except during all-day cluster feeding days like today. I reserve the right to complain bitterly about those).


One month

May. 28th, 2012 01:24 am
juthwara: (Default)
James was one month old on Wednesday, but a screwup with our health insurance paperwork made us push back his one-month appointment by a week, which means I still don't know how much he weighs. Phooey. I'm not too worried because he's getting visibly longer and fatter. His stomach has a pleasing roundness and he's working diligently on a second chin. He's clearly about to outgrow newborn diapers, fits into size 1 and when I tried a cloth diaper on him today it was clear that while it was large, it fit just fine. So I don't need a scale to tell me he's gaining well, but I want to actually know how much, darnit.

In any case, I'm holding off on a one-month developmental update until we have his official stats. Since he's only a month old, it all boils down to "becoming slightly less larval." Cute, but larval.


Last Friday, we stopped by the Friends school that is holding the summer camp we're planning on sending K to so we could hand in the registration paperwork. As [ profile] longstrider ran into the camp office, the rest of us sat in the car and I realized that the group of students running around on the lawn were in fact playing Quidditch. I think K is going to have a great time at this camp.

Heck, I think I'd like to go to this camp.

My main worry is dropping her off the first day. In the past year, the social anxiety K has always had has ramped up quite a bit. When I tried to leave her in the gym for a homeschooler's gym class this spring, I wound up getting called back in to sit with her for the hour it took for her to warm up enough to feel ready to participate. Once she did, she was fine and stayed fine for the next six weeks of classes. So I'm fairly sure that once we get past the first day of camp, she'll be fine. It's just getting to that point. I don't have a lot of hope that we'll avoid any drama the first day because she's already showing anxiety. She started out gung-ho over the idea of camp, progressed to worrying about spiders and thinking maybe we should find another camp that wouldn't have spiders, and then finally to outright refusal to go, within the space of three hours.

We've never had to deal with dropoff anxiety before - K ran off into daycare and preschool with no problem. That left me wholly unprepared to have to peel her off of me and leave her sobbing on the gym floor, feeling like crap. I suppose we should talk to the camp, since surely any camp that takes children down to 2 has dealt with this sort of issue.

Sigh. You would think getting a child just like you would help you know how to deal with them, but no. Not really. Having been a shy and anxious child myself doesn't help at all. If anything, I wind up overempathising and I never know when to push and when to respect her boundaries. I suppose it has helped in that I've never showed her The Wizard of Oz because it terrified me at her age, and I think being the kind of child who got scared easily has helped me judge what movies and books are too scary for her. On the other hand, I mildly bullied her into seeing Tangled in the theater for a second time because the rest of the family wanted to see it and I still don't know if it was the right move. She enjoyed it at the time, but complained about having been scared for a long time afterward. Should I have respected her when she said it would be too scary? Or was it good for her to be exposed to a little bit of scariness? Damned if I know.
juthwara: (Default)
How you can tell James is a third child:

He's lying in my lap, blissfully asleep with a full diaper. And because he's a third child, I have no intention of waking him up to change it unless he starts developing diaper rashes or decides to protest. Until then, if it isn't bothering him, it isn't bothering me. As an experienced parent, my first priority is always on "blissfully asleep."


[ profile] longstrider's parents left last Thursday (leaving behind a rearranged basement, some very nice plants in the backyard and our eternal gratitude), which means shit is about to get real around here. [ profile] longstrider will be home from work for the next two weeks, which will cushion me from the cold hard reality of life with three children for a little while longer.

Life being outnumbered by our children is going reasonably well. We're getting a good bedtime routine down, and except for a stomach bug throwing it into chaos last week, the older children are actually going down pretty easily. The nighttime itself is much dicier - James will often go for at least one extended 5-6 period a night, but it might not always be at a useful time. Sunday, for instance, it was from 4:30 to 10:30. Not exactly helpful, baby.

Yesterday was devoted to figuring out how to get Alec out of the house for the summer. His current preschool has a summer program, but it's full time only, and that feels like a big jump from the two days a week we've been doing. So we checked out the preschool at our church today, which will let us do only a couple days of week on an individual weekly basis and have the advantage of being quite a bit cheaper. I think it will be worth it, even though it will be more driving. It will be good for all of us for him to have time out of the house with well-rested people who have planned activities for him, and it will save my sanity to have one less kid in the house.


As for the oldest kid, we're keeping her somewhat occupied with a minimal schedule of reading and math, and that's more than plenty for the moment. Last week, I had to ask [ profile] longstrider to take over math instruction for the day because I couldn't figure out how to do it. In my defense, our math curriculum is designed to teach problem solving and algebraic thinking, so it wasn't just straight addition and subtraction. But still. Five terms of upper-level college math and a BA in computer science and I was so tired I had to look at the answer manual to figure out a first grade math sheet. Sigh.

I do have a few more things beyond reading and math planned to do soon to round out our portfolio. Do me a favor and bug me to get the portfolio done this week, since I really need to make myself do it while [ profile] longstrider is home and I still have some time and energy. Bleah.

On a completely different note, we managed to see Avengers last weekend. I think it might possibly have been the best action movie I've ever seen (and the least problematic, which I admit is pretty low bar, but I was pretty happy with how little cringing I had to do). The interactions, both positive and negative, between the team members was fantastic - of course, who would expect any less that great dialogue and character development from Joss Whedon?


juthwara: (Default)

May 2015



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