I used to love making new year resolutions. It always seems like a fresh slate on my bad habits and sluggish ways. Somehow January first promises to bring everything anew. Typically my resolutions or fresh starts are unimaginative: eat better, exercise more, save money. This year, while I will probably still hold those as important, I also just want to take this year more slowly. Each year feels like a race to the next step. So this year, I am going to adopt a new mindset around time and family. Instead of racing between events and scurrying between appointments and packing our weekends full, full, full, I am going to ease up on all of this. My priority, love, and attention will be focused on my new family unit. Henry is this little for such a fleeting moment that it is important for us to savor, enjoy, and prioritize our time with him and as a family. I want to enjoy this year of first for us and this year of being a new family. It feels right to turn a bit inward this year and ensure the tranquility, love, and happiness of the home front. This doesn’t mean that we will forgo all relationships with friends but it does mean that we will be more discerning of our time in a way that perhaps forgoes our more flippant scheduling of the past.
A week went by too quickly! Auntie Kaelin came to town this past week and we had quite the visit. From shopping, to sharing cocktails, to playing with H, to eating way to much food, to lounging together on the couch and catching up, it was a lovely visit. I wish Madison and Boston were closer so that Kaelin and I could hang out throughout the year. Thank goodness FaceTime is so easy, but it is still not the same as a face-to-face.
Auntie K was an excellent auntie. H loved singing his repertoire of baby tunes with her, rolling around on the floor with her (showing off his new move of sitting independently), and snuggling and laughing with her. After a week of us, I am sure K is excited to be back to life without baby chaos but she definitely enjoyed the chaos while here! I am really looking forward to our next visit and restarting the series: ‘Drinking with Baby.’ No one mixes into our life here in Boston as seamlessly as Auntie K, but every time she goes, it breaks our hearts!
“Where is he?” David asks as we stare at the baby monitor at 2AM. Quickly, we scan the cam from side to side. “Ah, there he is, all the way up in the corner,” I sigh, relieved. Henry might not be fully mobile but he is definitely not still any more! It might take him a long time to creep across the crib but if you miss the process (because you are catatonic between feedings) his positional change seems tremendous! This nightly movement has been dubbed “creeping to the corner.” Each night, we lay the wee one down in the center of his crib on his back. It is a textbook transition. But this little guy has his own agenda these days and patiently creeps and drags his squishy body up into the corner of his crib so his face is smushed up against the rail as though he were trying to smother himself. And of course, he flops onto his belly. In this dangerous pose he slumbers sweetly and sticks his bum up for good measure! This, combined with his new talent of re-binkying himself, has helped lengthen his sleep cycle. I cannot help but laugh in the middle of the night while I watch him search for his binky in the dark. His little hand glides over the sheet searching for it, finding it, and then through a process of trial and error he is able to get the binky into his mouth correctly! Hooray!
Since mobility is the theme of the month, awake-Henry is also actively scooting himself across the floor. He can now lock his arms and hold himself upright in a “crawling pose” and when on his belly he can do a fancy 360 spin. He rolls across his play mat and across the room, so turning your back on him to grab something or do something quickly is no longer an option. He is able to hold himself upright in a sitting pose for about 30 seconds and really wants to master this skill. Lying under the canopy of his play mat is frustrating for him as he would much rather sit up alongside his baby gym in an seated assist. He is our adorable, floppy gymnast as he tries out his new moves and we spot him throughout his day! This spotting includes watching him stand and hold onto various low items around the house. Henry likes to grab onto the coffee table, his bookcase, and the couches. But it will definitely be a little while before he can do this without a helping hand. Lastly, my latest favorite Henry move is the crunch out of the car seat. He clearly knows that when the buckle to his car seat is unclasped, it is time to come out. He immediately locks his arms and crunches forward with all his might in an attempt to bust out. I cannot help myself from laughing at this adorable attempt.
There have been so many firsts this month, including a whole lot of laughter. Henry finds yawning to be hilarious. Do you want to snap a great shot of the little guy with a sweet smile? Then just start yawning at him. He literally cannot contain himself. He also laughs when he sneezes! When I sneeze, he cries but when the sneeze is self-generated he laughs and laughs and laughs. If you nibble his belly while changing him, he bursts out laughing and cannot contain his delight as he flies about the house as an airplane in the arms of his dad! And then there is the owl puppet. Henry loves this fury little toy. He watches it swoop and fly and dive bomb him for belly tickles. This is where we hear his heartiest laugh!
Did you know Henry eats? Well, sort of. We started noticing that when we ate in front of the little guy he started to fuss or stared at our food with his mouth agape. The signs were becoming clear. This boy was ready to start some solids. David assembled his high chair and we tried the first meal: peas. The green mush did not go over well. Henry batted our hands away and made those baby faces that all babies make with their first bite of solids. We were excited nonetheless, because at least he tried it and we would just have to introduce it again some other day. Bananas have been a recent hit! He eats almost a sixth of a banana which is a lot for someone so small. No more batting the food away, he eagerly opens his mouth for a spoonful and even cried out for more! Watching Henry explore food is hilarious and awesome. I can already see this is going to be fun…and quite messy. I am hoping to start BLW (baby lead weaning) once he is about six months. A number of my mommy friends are doing it and they love the experience.
Lastly, every parenting article about sleep suggests establishing a sleep routine early and sticking to it. We followed this advice but it never seemed like Henry cared for it. Sometimes he would cry through a bath or fuss through a book. He seemed always to want just to nurse and sleep. Finally, this month it all clicked for him and you can tell he “gets it.” He splashes and plays in the tub and he squeals when we lay him down to put on his pajamas and halo sleep sack. As soon as we pull the books out, he gets quiet and focuses on each and every page. His favorite bedtime stories are Dear Zoo and the Going to Bed Book. It is amazing to see how he anticipates the different steps of his sleep routine. Then David kisses and cuddles him before it is time to nurse. With the lights out, the nightlight on and his tranquil turtle playing softly in the background, Henry and I rock on the glider together while he nurses. This is going to sound super sappy but sometimes in this setting with my drowsy little boy I cry a little because it is so overwhelmingly sweet and cozy. He holds my hand and looks up at me and I tell him how much I love him and how special he is to daddy and me and how we are so lucky to have him in our lives. Then prying myself away I lay him in his crib.
- Snuggles are constant. Henry loves to snuggle. He can lay and cuddle in your arms all day. He loves to sneak into the nook of your neck and play with your hair and just be held nice and close. Gosh this is my ABSOLUTE favorite!
- Coy smiles happen every day. He gets this light in his eyes and just cracks the sweetest smile at you even from behind his binky.
- Mobility is growing. This kid is ready to be on the move.
- Henry arches his back when you try to change him, because really diaper changes have been too easy these past four month, ha! And, he tries to roll and roll away from you.
- He loves to scratch fabric in order to hear the sound it makes, he especially loves scratching the netting on the side of his pack n’ play and the arms of his glider while nursing.
- Rolling is a skill we see practiced. You cannot lay him down without him rolling right over.
- Art cards for babies from Wee Gallery are vastly entertaining these days.
- Puppy pets are a must. He loves to get close to them and reach out his hand to touch their backs and heads. Who needs TV when you have four puppies to watch wrestle about the house? They entertain Henry for hours.
- Henry tried some arts and crafts this month. During our mommy brunch, he made Christmas trees with his feet. Afterward, I tried to make turkey hands to send to our family and friends but this was a Pinterest fail.
Tis the season to be thankful! As we head into the holiday season, there is so much to be grateful for. 2014 has been a very very good year for our family. We have grown in so many ways and owe so much of our happiness to those who loved and supported us. David and I are so appreciative of our family and friends. Their constant presence this year truly helped us tackle the learning curve of parenthood. From cooking meals, to late night phone calls, to helping fold laundry, to Skype dates, to holding the baby, and checking in on us, we were never isolated as new parents and found instead a warm and welcoming community. This has been truly invaluable.
And, I am so thankful to my parents who have uprooted themselves to Massachusetts. Their close proximity is an act of complete selflessness. Having my parents near to us is such a gift. It is the ultimate gift to a new family. Not only will we be able to spend more time with them each week but Henry receives constant love from his mema and pepa as they care for him during the week. I know that this family care is unique and amazing and I am SO SO thankful that they have chosen to provide this for us and for Henry. Since I cannot be with him during the day, I know that my mom and dad are able to give him everything I would love to give. There is a great sense of comfort provided. There are so many pros and cons to the various care options for new babies. And so many studies reflect how babies grow and thrive in each of these settings. For us, this is the right fit and we are so thankful that my parents are equally excited about it. I am really looking forward to this new year with family nearer.
On Saturday, we hosted a little Mommy & Baby Brunch at our home. It was fun setting up Henry’s toys downstairs and thinking about how to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. I wanted the “play date” to be relaxed and a space where moms could connect while babies wiggled about and played together. It was exactly that! The moms I met when Henry was two weeks old are a fantastic group of supportive and fun women. I truly enjoy their company. Their insights, questions, and joy about motherhood are enriching! And, their creativity set us up for some fun arts & crafts that morning too.
Perhaps we will have to make a few more for grandparents for Christmas?
The days are long but the months are short! Is it really four months already since our little man joined our clan? I cannot believe it! When I look back at pictures of newborn Henry, I am amazed that he was ever that tiny (and, yes, I know he was never really that tiny but still you know what I mean). Here is a picture of Henry our first night and next to it is a picture of him in the same bassinet last week. Despite a little razbliuto for my itsy bitsy newborn, I love exactly where we are right now. Another mommy blogger I follow keeps saying, “This is my favorite month” when writing about her son’s growing up, and I know exactly what she means. It is amazing to witness this little one’s constant development into a little boy. He really just melts my heart and I continue to fall deeper for this one.
This month has been full of noise. Henry is all about practicing his noises and testing out his vocal chords. After a hearty long nap, he can he heard cooing, babbling, and shrieking in delight. He loves to makes sounds like, “ah,” “agoo”, “ma,” and “ha.” He is also “laughing” a bit more too. No longer thunder without lightning there is a laugh now. He especially loves to be tickled under his arms and at his sides which often leads to little squeals. His voice just melts my heart and then when he and David are on a roll of making each other laugh, I could burst. Seriously, there is no faster way to make me swoon than watching those two together. Be still my heart!
And then there is all the singing. Henry loves to listen to music and singing. While most people would be pained to listen to me croak out a show tune, Henry is my biggest fan. He can sit in his bumbo chair or bouncing seat for up to thirty minutes or so just smiling and smiling as I sing at the top of my lungs with gusto a variety of Disney songs that I seem to know by heart. Henry’s favorite songs though are “The Ants Go Marching” and “Proud Mary.” For the ants song, he loves to bounce side to side on your knees and he likes a deep octave, think Barry White. For “Proud Mary,” he likes being held standing and he gets a little funky with the beat. We only ever make it through this part of the song
“Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the Man every night and day
But I never lost a minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river”
But Henry loves it and I cannot stop laughing whenever David busts it out. Then there are the evening dance parties at our humble abode. From Michael Jackson to Al Green to Journey, Henry loves to be held while we dance about the house. Even Mema gets in on the fun! Tonight for example we did an homage to motown before bedtime. It also helps that we are starting Henry early with pseudo instruments. He is all about the shaker eggs during these music sessions and can even hold one on his own and “shake” it a bit.
His hands never cease to amaze him these days. Everything he can grab goes straight into his mouth and he holds tightly to rattles, toys, clothes, necklaces, etc. etc. And when he falls asleep he holds his hands together over his little chest and slowly, slowly his hands come apart and in super slow motion find their way to the bed beside him. I love watching this little activity over the baby monitor. You know Henry is asleep once his hands make contact with the mattress.
Aside from all of these little-person growth triumphs, October has been a very busy month as we introduce him to Fall treats and savor the beautiful crisp weather. So far Henry has been pumpkin picking at Volante Farms, attended Wee Reads at the Sudbury Library, gone to a Halloween celebration, met new friends (like Erin and Bill), spent time with baby friends, attended a costume party, baby shower, and a few tiny tot swim classes. These swim classes have been SO fun. Each Sunday at 11:15AM we meet up with some friends in Sudbury and do the open swim time for littles. Henry is not sure how he feels about swimming. The first time in the water he was as stiff as a board as we helped him glide through the water. The second time, he was grumpy for the first ten minutes then we got some laughs and smiles out of him. One thing is for certain after each swim session, the little man crashes for an epic nap!
Ah, and that gets us to his sleep schedule these days. Finally we have hit our stride again when it comes to sleep. Henry takes a morning nap around 8AM for about an hour, then an afternoon nap for about two hours, and an early evening nap around 4PM for another hour. Then it is bedtime at 6:30, late night snack at 10PM and even later night snack at 2AM and then up for the day at 6AM. While this isn’t exactly sleeping through the night the schedule works for him and me and I love snuggling his little sweet self in the middle of the night while we rock together on the glider. Luckily once he finishes his nursing he goes straight to sleep. He is wearing 6 months clothes now. And as always, I am just so lucky to be this little one’s mom. I love him so much and miss him all day long when I am off at work.
This month Henry is
- Starting to sleep on his side
- Loving his Zutano Booties
- Mad about his Jumper
- “Talking” up a storm
- Starting to laugh and squeal when you tickle him
- Mesmerized by singing
- Loves dance parties
- Dresses up for Halloween
- Looks at pictures of his family in a little photo album we made for him
- Rolls around like a professional
- Nibbles on everything
- Enjoys sucking on apples
- Loves to hold his hands and to hold your hands
- Swims (sort of)
- Shakes his musical instruments
- Plays with puzzles
- Loves looking at himself in the mirror
I am not sure what Henry’s first Halloween will look like exactly. Since it falls on a Friday, David and I will both have to work during the day. Once we get home, it might be either too late or too cold to take the lion man out. Of course, if these two concerns do not present themselves, then we are aiming to taking the little lion out on the town (for at least a few minutes) to “trick or treat.” It will be funny bringing him by our neighbors homes or bringing him over to close friend’s. If nothing else, he will don his little costume and we will observe the holiday through photographs! I am sure Henry is psyched about it!
Regardless of how we celebrate on October 31, Henry was able to spend a little afternoon with his friends recently at a pumpkin festival in costume! It was adorable seeing his little buds dressed as a strawberry, cow, and astronaut. And, of course I loved seeing their parents as well. It is nice being a part of a little group of moms to share stories, insights, goofy moments, and, most importantly, to watch our babies grow up, thrive, and begin to reach out and “play” with one another. It is such a fun part of mommy-hood. To me, this was our Halloween celebration!