Friday, May 25, 2018

air & space museum

Last month we took a family outing to the Air & Space Museum. One of the best parts about living here is having access to so many great experiences. It's fun that Charlie is just now getting old enough to really enjoy some of these things. I'm excited to do more exploring as the boys get older. We planned in advance to go on a weekday when Jon could be out of the office for a morning. We opted to go to the auxiliary location near Dulles airport, which is less crowded, easier to navigate, and has the added bonus of watching live planes land and takeoff.

Charlie is really into planes and helicopters these days so we thought now would be a fun time to take him (especially while we could still take advantage of Leo being in his sleepy baby phase). I knew Charlie would be excited, but I think we still managed to underestimate his excitement level. He started pointing with glee as soon as we walked in the door and didn't stop for roughly 1.5 hours. He especially like the helicopters and didn't hesitate to show off his helicopter sign language and accompanying helicopter noise.

As if the museum portion hadn't already blown his mind, our last stop was the observation tower. It's the original air traffic control tower for Dulles so it provides an excellent view of incoming and departing planes. Even on an overcast day, it made his every toddler dream come true.

The only downside was the car ride home. Even armed with jelly beans that I was doling out one by one, we lost Charlie to sleep about halfway home. I reached back and knew we were in trouble when no sticky little hand emerged to grab the jelly bean I was holding. I think that car nap messed up his nights and naps for a couple of days, but I'd say it was worth it.

Now please enjoy this gallery of Charlie excitedly pointing at flying objects. :)

His first glimpse upon entering the main exhibit

Why did we stop, mom? Has no idea a space shuttle is behind him...
By this time, I think he was pointing to a forklift working on repairs. :)

Observation deck

Plane! Or as Charlie would say, "Pane!"

I don't even know what this is, but I'm going to point at it anyways.

Maybe he thought it would play Elmo...

three months with Leo

We've reached three months, and you have definitely left your newborn phase in the dust. Naturally, this both breaks my heart and brings many new joys.

We don't have a well visit this month, but on our baby scale at home (which runs a bit heavier than the scale at the pediatrician), you weighed 15 lbs, 5 oz. You certainly are no slouch. You are all cheeks and thighs. I like to joke that you smile with your chins. I'm sure you have a neck, we just can't see it. You have more chins, but less hair than when you were born. It's started to fall out in a classic baby pattern creating a nice friar tuck hairstyle.

You are in size 2 diapers, but only because we have half a box left. Once they are gone, we're moving you up to size 3. You have completely outgrown 0-3 clothing. Most 3-6 month clothes still fit, but there isn't much room left in them so it won't be long before you're on to the next size. It's on my to-do list to get out the next box of Charlie hand-me-downs. I know there are things in the 6-12 month box that would probably fit right now. The onesie you are wearing in your 3-month photo is a 6-12 onesie for example.

You are really a delightful baby, and your happy disposition is on full display these days. You are full of smiles, and you do lots of chatting with goos and gahs. You can grasp soft objects and follow activity/sounds with your gaze. Giggles still take a bit of effort, but you often smile right back when we make eye contact and smile at you. This is the best feeling - especially since I know this one baby - I won't name names - who really made us work for smiles. One of your happiest times of the day is right after bath - it's when we get the biggest smiles and best giggles out of you. You also have a habit of spontaneously giggling in your sleep, which is quite adorable.

You're an efficient nurser now, which is a welcome development for this mama who is juggling the needs of two wee ones. It only takes 20 minutes max to feed you - often just 10-15 min - and you eat about every 2-3 hours. Sometimes I'll try to nurse more often to top you off before we leave the house or to get you to sleep more quickly, but you might refuse because you only like to eat when you want to eat. You don't even require the same amount of cluster-feeding at night anymore. These are all very welcome developments. I'd assume you'd be a bigger comfort nurser since you don't like a pacifier, but your favorite soothing method is just being held and cuddled.

In other not so welcome developments, sleep was really all over the place this past month. After making good progress last month and inching toward an earlier bedtime and consistent 5-6 hour stretches (with one long 7 hour stretch!), we reverted back to a more unpredictable schedule with wake-ups every 3-4 hours. Every night seems different, and sometimes the unpredictable nature is the worst part. Expectations can be the hardest part when it comes to baby sleep.

Naps, however, are another story. You usually nap on-the-go in the morning or if we are home, you might snooze in your mamaroo or rock n play. You really nail your afternoon nap, though. After I put Charlie down for his nap at 1:00 p.m., I put you down for a nap in your crib. Sometimes this involves nursing you until you are drowsy or walking around/rocking in the chair, but once you are nice and relaxed, I can put you down in your crib and you'll fall asleep watching your fish tank. Every now and then, you resist and might end up napping in the rock n play after nursing to sleep, but usually it's not much of a fight and I can get you to go down shortly after Charlie. You'll sleep anywhere from 2-3.5 hours. It's basically all my dreams coming true to have two sleeping kiddos from 1-4 almost every day. Praise Jesus.

You take a third and final little siesta in the early evening. The timing of this is hit or miss, as is the length, but it's most helpful when this snooze coincides with Charlie's dinner/bath/bedtime. Thankfully, we've had a few good nights recently - back to longer stretches of sleeping from 10-8 with just one wake-up to eat. I was hopeful we were getting back on track, and last night you fell asleep at 9:00 p.m., but then you woke up twice - around 2 am and then 6 am (even though I did a dream feed around 11:00 p.m. before I went to sleep). Sigh. At least you did sleep until 8:30 a.m. when I finally had to wake you up because we had to take Charlie to playgroup.

Despite the hiccups, I do see a natural rhythm is starting to form. And I appreciate that you are still a champ at being put down awake and falling asleep on your own. I hope this sets us up for success when we move toward instituting a schedule. Your bedtime is inching closer to 9-9:30 pm, and your wake-up is moving back to around 8:00 am. I'm in no hurry, but I'm guessing over the next month, we'll start to work toward more of a set schedule with a consistent bedtime and predictable nap times.

I don't swaddle you during naps, and you sleep in the most adorable position with your arms up in a goalpost pose. We do still swaddle at night, and save for getting one hand out once to chew on, you really haven't tried to break free. You also haven't shown any interest in trying to roll over so we plan to keep swaddling at night until one of those two things happens. We did, however, have to search high and low for a new larger swaddle blanket. Since babies are only swaddled for the first 4 months, give or take, swaddles only come in sizes meant for little babies. I guess they don't really plan on a 3-month old baby who could easily pass for 6 months or older.

Speaking of rolling over, you seem to be most content to not exercise your baby strength. I don't blame you - it's a lot of baby to try to move. I'd hate to call you lazy, but if the shoe fits...I think you're just fat and happy and happy to be just fat and happy. For example, you hold your head up just fine when being held or sitting up in our laps, but during tummy time, you refuse to prop yourself up and just prefer to flail on your stomach like a beached whale. Needless to say, tummy time is not your favorite. When laying on your back, you like to kick and move your arms resembling an overturned bug.

You like being outside and are happy to hang out in your baby seat while Charlie plays in the backyard. You discovered bubbles this month and you think they are pretty magical. Bath time is still most enjoyable. You get into the tub and kick away with great delight. Baths are also essential because you collect all kinds of fuzzies in your fat rolls.

The kitchen counter is still one of your favorite hangout spots. I have to be careful about that now too - not because I think you're close to rolling although I'm on alert because you could always surprise me - but because when you get your little legs going, you can migrate from your original position.

The bottle was a big no go again this month. We finally just took a break from trying because everyone was frustrated. Oddly enough, I decided to give it a go this week on a whim and successfully got you to drink from the bottle twice like it was no big deal. When dada returns from his work trip maybe we'll try again to have someone else give you a bottle.

You don't always love your car seat so it's not uncommon for there to be tears during some portion of car rides. You fall asleep easily in the stroller or most any other moving thing, but for some reason, you often resist falling asleep in the car. But what you hate most of all is being overtired. It's not hard to get you to fall asleep, but when naps get delayed for whatever reason and you've been awake too long, that's when the wheels fall off and you get quite cranky. You have also started to spit up more, which is always a fun development. I try to always have a muslin swaddle blanket nearby to catch any surprises. One time I was smelling your diaper to see if you needed a change, and you spit up on my face. It was really a special moment.

Your big brother is still pretty enamored with you, and you seems rather amused by him. Charlie never turns down an opportunity to burp you - gently patting you on back like he's seen mama do. He's shown quite an interest in picking you up these days. When I'm carrying you, he sometimes comes and puts his arms out to show he wants to hold you. Or he'll climb into the rocking chair after we get up and sit down and put his arms up to signal it's his turn to hold the baby. Of course, when we do help him hold you, it lasts about 10 seconds before he's ready to be off and running again. One time, I stupidly left you on the couch within his reach - I had to get up from nursing you to take away a broom that your brother was brandishing around the living room. In the 10 seconds it took to put the broom away, Charlie had made it over to you and was attempting to hold you. Needless to say, he did not succeed and you ended up on the floor. You were none too pleased about it. Thankfully, no harm was done and it's a short distance from the couch to the floor, where you landed on our cushy rug. Mama learned an important lesson to make sure you're always strapped into something safe - even if it's just for a few seconds.

Your Aunt Monica, Uncle Tad and cousins Zachary and Isaac came to visit this month and so did your Aunt Mae Mae. They all think you're pretty great. Shi Shi will be here next week to help us survive while Dada goes to trial in Charlotte, NC. And then later in June, you'll take your first flight to Oklahoma to meet Uncle Boo and cousin Abby.

We love you so much, little lion man. It's been so much fun watching your happy little personality start to emerge. Thanks for being such an easy, delightful if we can just get you to sleep through the night and take a bottle with ease. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

two months with leo

You've reached two months little lion man! Your baby rolls are becoming quite the problem. Besides the fact that your chubby cheeks are a constant distraction, I just can't handle the fact that you are growing so quickly. You weigh 13 lbs (77%), are 23.8 inches long (88%) - although I think they measured you a little shorter than you really are because you wouldn't hold still - and yes, you still have a giant head. In the words of our pediatrician, "He looks like he's 6 months old." It's bad enough that you are already two months old, much less that you look so much bigger than that.

You've really become such a sweet baby. We turned a corner around 5-6 weeks much to everyone's delight. You were sweet before - just a little more demanding. ;) I don't think it was ever really your fault, though- I think mama just forget how much attention newborns need. But all of a sudden, things just changed. I suppose that's something I also managed to forget about new babies. You suddenly became less fussy, less needy, more content when awake, and easier to put down for sleep. Like I said, delightful developments all around. I was afraid I was going to have to hold you the rest of your life. Not that I minded the snuggles, but sometimes a mama's got to eat, shower and keep your big brother alive.

We've also made another wonderful discovery this month - I can put you down awake, and you will often fall asleep on your own. Praise Jesus. This is really the nirvana of baby sleep....and one of the biggest battles we had to fight with Charlie who would only fall asleep while nursing for the first 4+ months. We discovered this somewhat by accident, somewhat by necessity, and somewhat by remembering lessons of the past. Because I can't always pick you up right away when you fuss (second baby problems) and because I learned with Charlie that it can be detrimental to immediately pick up an unhappy baby, we have allowed you to cry and fuss a little bit in certain situations. And like magic, many times, this leads to a nice deep sleep. Of course we don't let you cry very long at this point (just a few minutes), and only when we know you are tired, but not hungry.

The first time this happened spontaneously when I put you down in your bassinet so I could get ready for the day. Charlie was on our bed watching Sesame Street and I just needed to put you down in a safe place (i.e. somewhere Charlie couldn't sit on you) for a bit so I could have both hands to get ready. You squirmed a bit and made some noise, but after a few minutes, I realized you had become very quiet. I peeked over and sure enough, you were asleep. I almost cried happy tears.

Now, I routinely put you down awake in your bassinet, and you drift to sleep on your own - both for naps and at night. It's so nice that after I nurse you before bed I don't have to wait until you are really asleep and then hold my breath hoping you'll stay asleep while I transfer you to the bassinet. It makes for a much easier bedtime for both of us. You've also successfully fallen asleep in the rock n play, mamaroo, and while laying in the outdoor wagon. You love wagon naps on a warm spring day. Of course, you still also like to fall asleep while being held (and swaying) or while moving in a stroller or car seat. And yes, you still have that wonderful quality of being able to stay asleep even when the stroller or car seat are no longer moving. All of this makes for one very happy mama. I'm hoping we can continue to have success letting you fall asleep on your own so we can avoid the worst of sleep training later.

You generally go to bed between 10:30-11 with your first stretch of sleep lasting about 5 hours. The longest you've slept is 6-6.5 hours, but that's only happened one or two times. After waking up to eat, you go right back to sleep for another 3-4 hours waking for the day between 7-8. Of course when Dada was out of town this week - his first trip away since you were born - you decided to sleep regress a little and wake up after only 3-3.5 hours. I hadn't changed anything we were doing so I think it was just an anomaly (growth spurt perhaps). Last night you slept from 11:30-5 so hopefully we are already back on track.

You aren't up very long in the morning before you like to take a nice long nap. We aren't on any kind of schedule yet, but you do generally take a longer nap in the morning and another long nap in the afternoon with other little cat naps sprinkled throughout the rest of the day. You've really become a champion daytime sleeper, and you aren't too shabby at night. Best of all, I can usually manage to get you to take a decent nap while Charlie is napping so I have a couple of hours to get things done in the afternoon....who are we kidding - more like a couple of hours to nap myself!

Your first smile was right around 5 weeks. It was so great watching you try to figure out how to do it. At first, you would only use half your face for a crooked smile. By now, you've pretty much perfected your form, but you don't give them away for free. You have even let out some good giggles in the last two weeks. Your first giggle was for mama after getting out of the bathtub. I used almost the exact method that worked with Charlie AND managed to capture it on video.

Charlie is the one who makes you smile the most. I think you like him. And I know he definitely likes you - maybe a little too much.... He has a lot of love to give, and doesn't quite know how to show you his affection. Right now, I'd say his favorite avenue is smothering. He wants so badly to play with you, but doesn't quite understand that you are just a baby. Mama has had to intervene a few times when he tried to lay on top of you or sit on you. So far, we've only had one intentionally aggressive moment when he bit you. That hasn't been repeated yet so hopefully it was just an outlier episode because you were taking up too much of mama's attention. He is still concerned when you are unhappy and has learned to say "baby cry."

You love laying on the kitchen counter. Maybe because you like looking up at the lights? It's a little unclear, but it's one of your favorite places in the house. We're afraid you'll roll over soon so I've started putting you in the very middle so you don't fall off. Luckily we have a big island. :) In fact, during wakeful periods when you don't want to sleep, you kind of prefer laying on flat, hard surfaces rather than in a rock n play or mamaroo. It's a funny little Leo quirk that we've learned to just accept.

You still love bath time, and would probably stay in there forever if we let you. It's fun to watch you become more aware of the world around you. You've started following us with your gaze, and you like to look at the mobile above your mamaroo. The fish tank in your crib is a fun spot to hang out while I'm folding/putting away laundry. Charlie likes to watch the fish tank with you too.

So far, you haven't minded just going with the flow as we shuttle Charlie to his toddler activities. We took two big family outings this month - opening day and the Air & Space Museum. You were a dream baby both times.

You are still eating about every 2 hours during the day. Sometimes I stretch you out more if you are sleeping or if we are running around town, but I generally aim for every two hours, and will probably continue to do that until you are truly sleeping through the night. The bigger issue in regards to eating is that you still refuse to take a bottle. We had some success earlier this month getting you to take the bottle from mama (I should mention that this totally defeats the purpose of said bottle) so we know you CAN take a bottle. It's just that you don't usually WANT to take the bottle. The last few times have not been successful - including last weekend when Mama went to grab coffee with a friend and get her hair cut. We figured I would eventually need to leave the house and let you do bottle battle with Dada so that's what we did. But you definitely won round one (why are my babies so stubborn?!), and Mama came home to a hangry baby 3 hours later.

As much as I love you, I would eventually like to go see a movie or enjoy a glass of wine with friends so we'll keep trying. I'm pretty discouraged about the whole thing because I'm afraid I'll never be able to leave the house again. Dada, however, seems pretty determined, which is good because he's probably the one who will have to find a way to make it happen. Godspeed.

Speaking of, it's been really nice to still have Dada around so much this month. He's still been working from home some or doing shorter stints in the office. He often hangs around in the morning to help get Charlie up and, when possible, all of us out the door for whatever we are doing that morning. His travel schedule is about to ramp up, but luckily we have visitors coming to help for the longer trips.

Every day gets a little bit easier as we figure out our new normal. I feel like a new person now that you are sleeping more and happier when awake. My heart explodes watching you and Charlie interact even though it's limited at this point. As much as I don't want you to grow up, I can't wait to see your relationship continue to develop.

holding hands

baby's mouth!

introducing Leo to Sesame Street

Wagon nap

another day, another wagon nap