Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Impish Infant

I just had to start off with one of the cutest pictures ever. This was taken at the beginning of one of our Stroller Strides classes. Jack was all sunscreened up with a hat and his trusty stick ready to hit the pavement. Sometimes I really wonder how he got this cute :)

Lately, my back and neck have been killing me, which I'm assuming has a lot to do with picking Jack up over and over again all day long as well as all of the heavy items that come along with a baby. I've also noticed that my upper back hurts when I carry him on my hip all the time. I had put the Moby Wrap away thinking we had probably outgrown it, but I watched a few YouTube videos that talked about the side wrap for carrying your baby on your hip, and I think it might be life changing for my back :). It's actually one of the easier wraps, and it supports all of his weight so I can even use both my hands if a need to. Whoever invented baby carriers is a genius! Jack keeps me on my toes all day long, and there's barely a moment to sit unless he's napping. If I turn my back for even a second, he's about 3 steps up the staircase. Besides the stairs up to our bedroom, there is a HUGE staircase down to our garage. Jack recently recognized the presence of these stairs, and it was officially time to get a gate. Besides that, poor Izzy can't get a moment to herself to eat her food in peace. We got a gate to block off the stairs and put Izzy's food on the other side of it. We couldn't find one big enough for what we needed at Babies R Us, so we headed to PetSmart. For anybody looking to find gates, I think pet stores have a better variety for cheaper prices. This gate is great for us too, because it has a miniature door (technically for cats), but it is perfect for Izzy to go through to get to her food while still blocking Jack off.
And with the purchase of the gate, another new hobby is born...

Izzy is still warming up to Jack, but the gate has also helped bring these two together towards a common goal when the little door on the gate is closed.

I really cannot believe the amazing climbing ability of this little baby. Jack climbs our 16 step flight of stairs numerous times per day, and now he has moved on to bigger and better things. I was on top of our step ladder the other day dusting off the top of Jack's dresser, and I felt someone climbing up behind me.

He's so brave and strong-willed, it makes me scared of the day he's on the playground and tries to fly or something.

Jack also spends a lot of time pulling up on the coffee table and reaching for items to play with. I was trying to think of the perfect word to describe him in this phase, and impish (synonymous with mischievous) came to mind :).

He's one busy guy, but he also takes some time out of his day to snuggle his mama...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting Creative

Jack and I have started going to Stroller Strides workout groups a few days a week. It has been a great opportunity to meet some people, get out of the house for a workout, and an opportunity to socialize Jack a little bit. He's so outgoing that it's a great chance to foster that baby extroversion :). I just wanted to share this cute picture of Jack playing with his little friend Jacob. Jack doesn't have great play etiquette seeing as he hit his friend in the face with a ball one or two times, but it's all in good fun!
Later that day I was looking for a way to keep our busy beaver occupied. I decided that we would make a homemade fort since Jack has an adventurous spirit. One of the side supports was his old swing. He doesn't want to lay in it anymore, and he's too big anyway, but he loves to stand on it.

He moved on from the swing to tunneling through our coffee table as usual.

I put the blanket on the coffee table, swing, and chair and let him crawl through. He had a great time in his little fort while simultaneously stealing Izzy's bone.

Later that evening when Jonathan got home, he made Jack a fort and obstacle course out of the couch pillows. He changed it into different configurations so that Jack could crawl over them and stand up using them as support.

Jack concluded playtime last night by climbing all 16 stairs up to our bedroom. After such a fun day, it ended great with Jack falling asleep as soon as I set him in his crib. He postured like he was going to cry when I was carrying him over, but once I set him down he rolled onto his belly and passed out!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Play Time...Jack Style!

In the midst of teaching Jack how to fall asleep more independently he has developed two new "tricks." On Saturday (7/16/11) Jack learned how to climb the stairs by himself and wave! Every day for the past month Jonathan and I have been waving at Jack when we say hello to him. Jack and I also wave to Other Jack aka OJ in the mirror every morning when Jack wakes up. On Saturday morning I went to go get him out of bed, and when I waved to OJ, he waved to him as well. He did it twice that morning and then not for the rest of the day. After his morning waves, he was hovering around the stairs as usual. I showed him how to lift his knee up onto the stair to climb, and then he did it by himself! He was only able to scale the first stair that day, but he was happy with himself.
On Sunday, he waved and waved when we would say hi to him and OJ, and now he's been doing it ever since. He only waves at OJ in the mirror, me, and Jonathan right now. When I try to have him wave at people when they come up to say hi to him when we're out and about, he gets shy and won't do it :). Also on Sunday, Jack ascended 6 steps! Definitely Trouble with a capital T.

This morning we had some playtime before going to a trial workout class, and Jack was all over the place. Here he is scaling all of the stairs this morning! I lured him to the landing with Spongebob on my phone :). (Sorry for bad lighting and Disclaimer: I ran to the bottom of the staircase just long enough to snap a picture then ran back baby would have been hurt during this stunt).

I've also been trying to put together a designated play area for Jack in what should be our dining area. I got a rug for him (thanks Angela for the Target recommendation) and a toy bin. I'll add to it a little more here and there. After his stair workout, he played with some toys.

What a little, so busy!

As for sleeping, things are getting A LOT better. Thank you to everyone for your encouragement and words of advice. He still cries, but not nearly for as long or as intensely. The past two nights he's fallen asleep after about 5-7 minutes of crying compared to a little over 30 the first night. Now when he wakes up when he should be sleeping, he cries for about a minute and falls back to sleep on his own. Still a little bit of a work in progress, especially with naps, but big strides in the right direction!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Uncharted Territory

So the past couple of nights have been a little more challenging than usual. Jack is 8 months today, and for the past 8 months he fell asleep almost flawlessly with his nightly feeding. He has even been sleeping through the night for many months now besides a few nights here and there where he will wake up, eat, and immediately fall back asleep. For some reason, that has all changed. At night, he cries as soon as you put him in his crib. He wakes up in the middle of the night, does not want to eat, but cries when you put him back into his crib. If you pick him up he snuggles in and falls asleep, but when you put him back down he cries. This makes for a very frustrating 3:30 a.m. wake-up. Last night, he battled to go to sleep from 8:30-9:45 p.m., then he woke up every hour to hour and a half until about 2 a.m. and did not want you to put him down. Nap time has also been challenging, and he does not want to take naps unless he is about to pass out. My stress level has increased since I have always been able to say we have such a good sleeper...this is uncharted territory for me.

So, I went to good ol' facebook for advice from friends. What it comes down to is establishing a more structured routine and more rigid sleep training. I purchased the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. by recommendation of Brie Prose and doing some background reading on it. I always thought I would try to avoid the cry-it-out method, but after doing some reading and putting some thought into it, I think it's the way to go. Today I have gotten a quick start. His morning nap and afternoon nap (which he is taking right now) have been a bit traumatic for me. He has cried about 18-20 minutes each time before falling asleep. His first nap only lasted about 40 minutes, which is short for him. I may have gone in to get him too early. I'm obviously barely into the book, so I'll have to perfect some of the techniques. I always watched Super Nanny thinking how silly it was that parents wanted to run in to get their children when they cried at night not wanting to sleep. Now I am that parent sitting on the couch with tears welling up trying not to go in since he sounds so upset.

I have given myself a few extra things to overcome in this napping thing, because I usually let him nap in his swing with the sound machine on...maybe not the best idea in hindsight. Today I have committed to having him nap in his crib like he really should be, and I'm sure that adds to his frustration.

I know sleep training is best and it's the right time, because Jack will get upset now, stop crying to look at your reaction, and when you say his name he will start crying again. So smart, but so manipulative :) I am always tempted to start things like this "tomorrow," but today is yesterday's tomorrow, right?!

Ok, so I just needed to vent a little via blog. If anyone has any tips, suggestions, words of wisdom, I'd love to hear it. Tonight I think I will be doing a workout video while Jack cries to try and distract myself. I'm doing this while Jonathan's gone over the weekend for National Guard drill, so I'm hoping we can be on the right track when he gets back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Our Weenie Baby Turns 4

Today is Izzy's fourth birthday! I can't believe I've had Izzy for that long. I remember seeing her and choosing her a few days after she was born, and I brought her home when she turned 6 weeks old. The first 6 months were really difficult with early morning wake ups, going to the bathroom all over the apartment, and making me sit outside in the 100+ Memphis heat for 45 minutes to an hour hoping she would go to the bathroom outside.

I got Izzy in 2007 when I was single, living in Memphis. How things have changed :). Here's my sweet little weenie baby a day or two after coming home with me.

Here she is in the in between stage where she kind of looks like a puppy but also has that older look as well.

And then in 2008 as she was turning one, she met the best thing that ever happened to her...

These days Izzy spends her days evading attack. Jack uses numerous tactics to try and capture Izzy, and he likes to climb over the bottom of the coffee table now to get to her. Poor Izzy hardly has a moment of peace unless she goes upstairs where he can't get to by himself.

Happy birthday, Izzy! You can be a pain in our butts, but we love you :)

A Fun Filled Fourth!

We had a great long 4th of July weekend, and my sister-in-law, Amy, had the chance to come out and visit us. We were able to capture the above photo after several tries right before a wave washed in and ruined the words. We spent Amy's first full day with us at Laguna Beach...

Jack hasn't seen his Auntie Amy since he was just under 3 months old when we moved to California, so it was a happy reunion 5 months later!

We got a chance to go swimming at the pool near our condo, and it was the longest Jack had spent in the pool. I think we were there for about an hour.

While Jonathan was at work, Amy and I tried to find a good beach to go to and walk a pier. I have no idea where I am going around here, so we set out without an exact destination and ended up at Seal Beach. From Seal Beach you can see oil rigs out on the ocean and Long Beach, which is pretty industrialized. It wasn't the best view of California, and I felt like a bad tour guide. The day we were there was supposed to be Amy's last day in California before heading back to Denver.

In a twist of luck, we got a redo day when Amy's flight back to Denver got cancelled. She ended up coming back to our place, and we got another whole day together!! This time we set out with more of a plan and ended up in San Clemente. Not without stopping at IHOP first, though!

After what Jonathan called breakfast for a "lumberjack," we set out for our 3 mile ocean side hike in San Clemente.

We had a great time, and both of us got a tad bit burnt. We were wise enough to lather and re lather Jack in SPF 50 sunscreen, but we weren't so great about doing so for ourselves. Overall, though, it was a great beach day!

Part of my sunburn was on top of my head on the part in my hair and scalp since I have such thin blonde hair. Jonathan saw a hat shop and stopped to get me two hats on his way home from work today to help me prevent reoccurring sunburns on the top of my head :). Here's me and Jack grilling out tonight with one of my new hats.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mama's Little Troublemaker

About 2 weeks ago we got into a fender bender where the car two spots behind us hit the car behind us, who then hit us. No major damage to our car, but it's been a little bit of a pain taking it in for 2 estimates to get the fender fixed. On the positive side, though, it's California law that if a child is in a car seat at the time of an accident, the insurance company has to replace that car seat even if it was not damaged. Yay for us, because we were coming up on the time to upgrade to the bigger convertible car seat! So, we got a free car seat even though the other one is fine. I think Jack is much happier in this one, because it gives him a lot more room!
I have been sick this week and finally went to the doctor today to find out that I have a sinus infection. Being sick while at home with a baby is always an extra challenge when all you want to do is sleep in and lay in bed all day. Luckily, Jack seems to have a sixth sense for when I need rest and will nap a little bit longer in the mornings.

However, Jack finds other ways to make day-to-day tasks more challenging. I almost dread diaper change times, which take place about every 2 to 2.5 hours. He refuses to stay on his back, and he battles me til the end to roll over onto his stomach. My way of handling it is to get the diaper ready and wipes all in place, then put him on the changing table, get him unbuttoned, and then hand him a toy to try to distract him long enough to get the diaper on him. He still manages to roll over and get mad when I try to roll him back. You can't be too mad at someone this cute, though...

We give Jack a bath every other night, but one day last week I really wanted to get it done earlier in the afternoon so that we could make sure he got to bed on time. I decided a sink bath was the easiest way to go, and it lent itself to a pretty cute picture.

Jack is still not officially crawling, though our lives won't change very much once he does from where we are now. He still commando crawls everywhere and will follow me back and forth as I do things around the house. He is also relentless about going after Izzy's food bowl, and I spend much of the day picking him up and bringing him back to HIS toys over and over again. He gets into the crawling position and sometimes the push-up position, but he always decides the commando crawl is the way to go. The only reason I really want him to crawl is to keep his clothes from getting so dirty. He mops our floor with his onesie and manages to look like he rolled around outside by the end of the day.

Jack also continues to pull-up on whatever he can. He can pull up in his crib as in one of the previous posts, but he also gets enough traction on our leather couches and chair that he can pull himself up on the back of the couch/chair and look out the window. He tries to pull up on us all the time and whatever else he can get his hands on.

Jack has also found a new interest in trying to climb our stairs. You have to admire his confidence and perseverance in trying to climb them even though he does not get very far.

After work on Tuesday Jonathan took Jack and Izzy to the park while I stayed home. Jonathan gave Jack his first up close and personal experience with grass. Jonathan said that he wasn't sure what to think for the first minute, and then he decided he did not like it very much.

One last thing I almost forgot to mention is that about a week and a half or two weeks ago Jack started saying Mama. I heard most babies say Dada first, and I actually practice Dada more than Mama, but somehow Mama caught on. It's usually more like Mamamama drawn out and not directed at me, but it's Mama all the same. It also usually gets said most when he's upset. He wants his mama :).