A Beautiful Thing

March 28, 2011

My current favorite in the baby gear department: the Fisher Price Precious Planet Jumperoo

Baby D’s love affair with his jumperoo continues unabated. This evening he dozed off again in mid-bounce and then sleep-bounced a few times before I plucked him out and took him to bed. Watching your siblings ride their bikes is apparently exhausting work.

In other Baby D news, he has finally outgrown his infant seat. He’s a little guy, so it’s taken him longer than either of his siblings. His little feet hang out over the end of the seat now, however, so he’ll be upgrading to the convertible car seat. I’ve had that seat, still in the box, since my wreck last year, just waiting for him to grow into it. Fortunately we had a second infant seat and base that I used until now.

He’s such a smiley guy, and now he flashes four sharp little white teeth every time he grins. Sure, he bites occasionally, but that toothy little smile and the laugh that almost always accompanies it are adorable. If only I could entice him to eat more than applesauce and puffs with his tiny chompers!


So sweet your teeth would hurt

March 18, 2011

Lately I’ve found myself staring at baby D while he plays and engages in his usual antics. The little guy fascinates me with his enthusiasm and fascination for the world. He has a huge grin with a couple of shiny white bottom teeth poking out, and he flashes that smile all the time – except when he pokes out his lower lip and cries because he wants me to pick him up/feed him/pay attention to him/change him/put him down for a nap he needs but doesn’t want.

Some of you may know that he arrived early. Not sure where he got that from – I’m late for everything. But he spent just under two weeks in the NICU and has remained small in weight and length. His head, however, is almost off the charts. My kids all have big heads, like Hubs and me – because we need lots of room for our massive and amazing brains.

So, when S was a baby of about this age, I toted him to the hospital for all sorts of scary tests and a visit with a pediatric neurologist, who greeted us, measured my head, measured Hubs’ head, and informed us that our son just had a big head like his parents. I guess it stands out so much because all of my kids are in much lower percentiles for height and weight, but we were relieved to learn, after all of the stress, worry, mystery, and anxiety, that S is a normal kid who just needs big hats and bike helmets.

The smiling baby went to the (new) pediatrician a couple of weeks ago, and we talked extensively about his head circumference, other measurements, and developmental milestones. Baby D isn’t exactly doing everything that “they” say a baby his age should know how to do. Until last week, he wasn’t sitting up. Now he’ll sit up if we make him do it, but he usually yells and complains about it until we leave him alone.

He doesn’t like baby food. He’ll eat a couple of bites and rapidly lose interest, and often he spits out most of the food that enters his mouth (for extra fun, he’ll blow raspberries while doing this to achieve maximum distribution of his mushed peas). He’ll scrape up little puffs and get about half into his mouth, and he’ll bring anything he grabs straight to his mouth, but he doesn’t cooperate nicely when Hubs and I try to feed him baby cereal or baby food.

Baby D is a tiny guy. Most of the outfits he wears now are size 6-9 months, or just 9 months. He’s closing in on 11 months. He hasn’t put on much weight since his six-month pediatrician appointment. He does take his acid reflux meds like a champ, and fortunately he doesn’t seem to have issues with reflux as long as he takes the meds regularly.

He prefers to roll around on the floor like a log and rotate his body when he needs to change directions. He’ll assume the crawling stance, but he never actually progresses forward, although he does inadvertently back up in a crawl until he gets stuck under a chair or table.

After the conversation with the pediatrician, I had a few ideas and conclusions:

  • I have a very stubborn, strong willed baby. In a battle of wills, he’s a fierce competitor.
  • He wants to do it himself, tyvm. He’s independent.
  • He probably doesn’t have any physical reason for not crawling. He just doesn’t want to do it. He’s good at conning someone else into doing his bidding, so why should he worry?
  • He doesn’t like to stay still in one place, so why would he want to sit up and use all of those muscles when he could be playing? And why would he want to sit up and be confined in a high chair, particularly when he can barely see over the tray because he’s so short?
  • It might be a good idea to have a pediatric neurologist check him out. The developmental stuff is probably due to his being a little early, and stubborn, but he does have the massive head for his massive brain, so it wouldn’t hurt.

I was all ready to make an appointment and have him checked out, although I didn’t relish the idea of repeating those tests that S had at this age. Then Hubs suggested that we hold off a bit and see if we could persuade him to master a few of these important skills. Enter the Jumperoo.

Baby D has a Jumperoo. It’s his Jumperoo, so don’t walk over and try to play with the toys on it while he’s enjoying it, brother or sister. He can make himself bounce and laugh, and he can turn himself around in it so he can see everything in the room. He can play with cute animal toys, and if it had the batteries installed, he would be able to listen to tinny music (but his mean old daddy doesn’t want to put the batteries in it just now). It has a tiny spot on the toy tray for his puffs, too, so he can keep snacks handy.

He doesn’t like to be taken out of the Jumperoo. He spent nearly three hours in it yesterday evening after Hubs assembled it. This evening, he started falling asleep in it, but every time I plucked him out, he woke up screaming.

Hubs and I are asking ourselves why we didn’t buy this months ago. He had a swing that we borrowed from my cousin back in Georgia, but since our move, he hasn’t had anything like this… until now.

I feel like we’re in some bad spoof of a Taster’s Choice commercial: Baby D doesn’t realize that his parents are pulling a fast one on him. He’s getting exercise and building up abdominal and leg muscles but thinks he’s just having fun.

I pulled him out once again about an hour ago. He had passed out with his head resting on the lion toy, and I finally managed to make the transfer without waking him. We’re going to hold off on the pediatric neurologist a bit longer, I think. Maybe he just needed a new flashy, fun toy to inspire him a bit. He isn’t showing any symptoms that cause immediate concern, so I’m thinking that the doctor’s conclusion is accurate:

He isn’t doing everything the book says he should be doing, but then, he never read the book.

I don’t think my independent guy will ever like taking orders very much, anyway.

Missive from the handbasket

January 13, 2011

So, I’m trying to type while a baby snorgs loudly in my ear, sucking his thumb and chewing on my hair at the same time.  Somehow this baby has developed a thing for my hair.  It’s like his security blanket.  I’m trying really hard to get him to transfer his affection to a blanket or stuffed toy, but no luck so far.  Which means I have little wet wads of hair after holding him.  And oh, does he want to be held.

I thought his “hold me now” insistence was bad when we were in Georgia and we were trying to pack, but if anything it’s worse now.  I can understand.  He’s in a new environment, and he’s been through a lot of upheaval in the last month, and he wants his mama.  Of course, now this makes unpacking difficult to accomplish.  But if I get him sitting just right, happily situated with thumb and hair, I can type a bit or read things on my laptop.

From what I’ve seen so far, I like Texas pretty well.  It’s different, and this morning when S started talking about playing my cousin, a big wave of homesickness washed over me.  I started tearing up as we were driving back after driving A to school (most days we’ve been walking, but it’s really cold today, and I didn’t want to take the baby out for a long walk in that).  There are so many changes right now that I just feel emotionally spent by bedtime most days.  I really miss my parents and extended family.  I feel so divorced from what’s happening in their lives, and I guess it’s similar to how things were when we lived in North Carolina, but then I hadn’t had the years of closeness and near-daily contact as fresh memories.

Did I mention that our garage is completely packed with boxes and plastic bins?  Over five feet tall, completely filled to the door, a two car garage full of our stuff.  The sight makes me feel so materialistic, and overwhelmed with the prospect of unpacking it all.

Dear Lord, I need a break.

November 27, 2010

This holiday weekend is rapidly driving me insane. A and S are constantly picking at each other, sniping, whining, wailing, and coming to me to complain about each other. I knew things were off to a bad start when I spent most of Tuesday night in the emergency room.

Tuesday morning, I called A to the table to eat breakfast. She stumbled out of bed, barely awake, and came to the table, where she sat in some sort of contorted, unstable position on her chair. I told her to sit up straight, but she didn’t move. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and had her arms inside it because she was cold. She maintained this position even after I placed a plate of food in front of her and told her to take her arms out and eat. And then, as I worked in the kitchen, she toppled from her chair and landed on her side, on the tile floor, with a horrifyingly loud sound.

Immediately she wailed. I picked her up and held her, while her busted lip and bitten inner cheek bled out on her shirt and mine. I could see the beginnings of a horrid bruise forming on the side of her face, from her forehead down her cheek. Once she stopped crying, I gave her an ice pack and put her back to bed to rest. She missed the bus, and I thought she might need to stay home for the day, maybe go to the doctor. But she insisted that she felt better, so I took her to school, an hour late.

Apparently she had a headache much of the day at school. She didn’t mention this to anyone (even though her teacher knew what had happened that morning) until she got home. She seemed tired, so I gave her some Tylenol and told her to take a nap that afternoon, but she kept waking up and complaining about her head hurting. I called her pediatrician’s office, and they said to see if the headache went away within an hour of taking the medicine. If not, I should take her to the emergency room. After an hour, she woke up screaming and wailing about her head and neck hurting, so I loaded up the kids and went to the ER. My mom met us there and took S home with her, leaving A, baby D, and me at the packed ER, waiting to be seen.

After three hours, a doctor finally examined her. By then, A announced that her headache was mostly gone, and that she felt a lot better. The doctor said she didn’t need a cat scan, since that would mean a lot of radiation exposure and since A never lost consciousness or threw up. So we were sent on our way, with instructions to watch A for anything troubling.

By this time, it was nearly 10 pm. A hadn’t eaten dinner (nor had I), and she requested Steak ‘n’ Shake, so I went to the drive thru. As I got the food, she complained that her neck hurt. I looked at her, and then, as we pulled away from the window, she barfed. On my coat, sort-of fortunately. Have I mentioned that I had a wreck a couple of weeks ago, so we have a rental car? I got her out of the car to barf more on the lovely grassy area beside the drive thru lane. She finally said she felt better, and mentioned that the kid who sat next to her at school today had barfed. Lovely.

Not knowing whether to attribute the barf to germs or head injury, I took A and her baby brother home. S spent the night with my parents (prompting some jealousy from A, who insisted that she felt much, much better after throwing up). I put her to bed and stuck her untouched food in the fridge (said food would later become fodder for one of many fights between A and S). I checked on her regularly through the night, and she seems fine now.

The next morning, my dad came to get A and take her to join S. The two of them spent the day and night with my parents, while baby D rolled on the floor and I worked like a dog (not my dogs, mind you – they’re all lazy bums). The woman who cleans my mom’s house occasionally came by and helped me with packing and cleaning. We made so much progress, and she is such a lifesaver. I can’t do this packing alone – I’ve been trying for weeks with almost nothing to show for it. She’ll be back next week on two days.

That night was amazing. I was exhausted, went to bed early, and slept in the next morning. I think it still counts if one gets up around 5:30 to feed a baby and then goes back to sleep for a few more hours. The key thing, for me, was a respite from the wake-up committee (climbing onto the bed, getting in my face with their hot morning breath, saying “wake up, mama” over and over and over).

I tried watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade that morning – I haven’t watched it since I was a kid (Hubs can’t stand the parade coverage, largely due to the chipper commentary), and I used to love the floats and the balloons – but I gave up fairly quickly. Dance numbers and interviews with actors pimping the network’s shows are not a parade. That disappoints me.

Thanksgiving Day at my grandmother’s house was delightful. The only thing missing was Hubs – his absence felt like an ache all day long, but I enjoyed the time with aunts, uncles, and my cousin. A and S had a fantastic time with my cousin, and baby D loved being the center of attention. He’s a great sport at family gatherings, smiling and laughing and doing adorable baby things. All three kids crashed on the way home, and the older two slept from late afternoon straight through until morning.

Early morning, that is. S woke me up at 4 am to tell me he was hungry. He wanted macaroni and cheese, and I wanted to go back to sleep. We compromised, and I heated up the aforementioned Steak ‘n’ Shake kids meal. I parked him in front of the tv, watching kid shows on Disney, and he scarfed down the food. I headed back to bed.

5:30 am  “MAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHMMM! S is eating my chicken fingers!” Much drama ensued. I was up for good. The day, in summary:

Needy baby D wants to be held at all times. A screams at S. S screams at A. He did it! She did it! Make him stop! Make her stop! MAAAAAAAAHHHHMMMM! Whining. Wailing. Sneaky, naughty behavior. Contraband food discovered in A’s room after explicit warnings, less than one hour before, not to go there. A scolded and sent to room. Am I gonna have to stay here forEVer? More whining. Wailing. Full-blown tantrum: kicking feet on walls, screaming, lots of it’s not fairs.  A busted trying to sneak out of room/time out to get toys. Toys confiscated. More tantrum. Plans to go to grocery store, to get some food for the mostly-bare kitchen, scrapped. Pizza ordered. Pizza arrives. A and S pick off cheese, toppings, leaving crust and sauce, and have nerve to ask for dessert. Denied. Requests for indoor camp-out. Denied. Children to bed. Baby D resists. Late night.

And then, this morning, another disgustingly early wake-up call. A wants pancakes. No can do – don’t have all necessary ingredients. I make muffins (Cinnabon style, from a mix). Food snobs strike again: What are these? I don’t like these. These look funny. I don’t want to touch these. I’m so full, I can’t eat any more (after a single bite). And now? I’m taking these ingrates to the country. I hope the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise will exhaust them, so maybe I can get a nap this afternoon.

At least tuning them out to write this post has been a break, of sorts. At least getting it out of my system helped a little. But I could use one of those nice, quiet afternoons where I can get a bit of uninterrupted sleep.

Valuable skillz

November 2, 2010

My brilliant, talented baby has an exceptional talent.  From any position in the den, he can manage to turn, twist, roll, and contort his body so that he can see the television.  Having done so, he quickly enters that tv-watching zombie state observed frequently in his older siblings.  Even worse?  Despite repeated rebuke, said siblings will turn his chair around to face the television if they see him doing his maneuvers – to “help him see the tv better.”

He really likes Anthony Bourdain, too.  But tonight, he’s insisting on election results while he slurps on his thumb, laying on a blanket in the floor.

Who knew?

September 21, 2010

Apparently I am hilarious.   Baby D told me so.  He smiles and laughs at everything I say to him.  And sometimes, if I’m really amusing, he blows raspberries.

He’ll be the cutest baby in town, naturally.

September 16, 2010

Baby D’s Halloween costume:

Carter's infant dragon costumeI can’t wait to see him in it.  I really hope the weather will be cool enough on Halloween to keep him cozy, not hot, in his adorable dragon suit!